The team behind SPR MRKT in McCallum Street has opened an offshoot at Hong Leong Building called Koskos, a takeout shop that sells deli-style sandwiches, salads, cakes and quiches.
It opens at 8am from Monday to Saturday.
For those who want their morning cuppa, there's the option of a breakfast set ($6.80, available until 11am) that includes a coffee and an English muffin with scrambled eggs topped with either avocado, smoked salmon or honey-baked ham.
I have liked the deliciously wholesome cafe fare at SPR MRKT since it opened in 2012. So, it's no surprise that three-week-old Koskos is a real winner in my book too.
For one thing, the sandwiches, which are made every morning, are good and hearty. Fillings include a cheesy mushroom omelette with aged parmesan and a hint of truffle; smoked duck with pear and spinach; and a teriyaki chicken seaweed wrap (from $8.90 each).
Next week, Koskos will be introducing a new bulgogi beef wrap.
The cafe's pastry chef Furrene Hoh rolls out fresh bakes each day too, ranging from kaya muffins ($4.80 each) - it is worth all the calories - to fluffy vanilla chiffon cake with strawberry icing ($8 a slice), a childhood favourite but with more finesse.
Where: Koskos, Hong Leong Building, B1-34, 16 Raffles Quay MRT: Raffles Place When: 8am - 7pm (weekdays), 8am - 3pm (Sat), closed on Sun Tel: 6221-6151 Info: Go to www.facebook.com/koskos.sg or e-mail email@example.com
The Bukit Timah area is home to a handful of decent and unpretentious Italian restaurants including Capri Trattoria & Pizzeria in Binjai Park.
Dishes to try here include the house-cured cold cuts that include pancetta, capocollo and bresaola ($28 for a platter) and the pizza (about $20 each).
To start, I like the Gamberi E Cappesante Alle Erbe ($20) – seafood such as prawns and scallops in a rich and robust sauce served on a bed of mesclun with sun-dried tomatoes and olives.
Those who like bacon will enjoy the Cannarozzi Allo Zafferano ($25) – tube pasta tossed in a light saffron and ricotta sauce with crisp, honeyed bacon.
Where: Capri Trattoria & Pizzeria, 3 Binjai Park MRT: Botanic Gardens When: Noon - 2.30pm, 6 - 10.30pm (Tue - Sun), closed on Mon Tel: 6468-4886 Info: Go to www.trattoriacapri.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Complimentary valet parking at dinner time, Fri - Sun
GILA OVER GULA MELAKA CAKE
I am drawn to anything, be it a drink, a salad dressing or a dessert, that is made with gula melaka.
I love that its deep majestic molasses flavour always shines through no matter the dish.
The Gula Melaka Cake ($7) at Sinpopo Brand in Joo Chiat Road may not be the fanciest of cakes. It doesn’t have the looks, but it is definitely a hero in the flavour department. It’s sweet, but not in a cloying way.
This is for gula melaka fanatics like me – there’s gula melaka in the sponge and gula melaka in the icing between the layers of sponge. There’s even a sticky shiny layer of gula melaka glaze on top.
Where: Sinpopo Brand, 458 Joo Chiat Road MRT: Paya Lebar When: Noon - 10pm (Sun & Tue - Thu), noon - midnight (Fri & Sat), closed on Mon Tel: 6345-5034 Info: Go to www.sinpopo.com or e-mail email@example.com
MOUSSE IS MORE
Diners here have a pretty big appetite for dessert, especially for fine, elegant and chic pastries like the ones at three-month-old Mad About Sucre in Bukit Pasoh.
I didn’t think I could stomach another fancy mousse cake from an upscale patisserie, but I was wrong.
The two petite gateaux I tried – Le Camibi ($11.80) and San Domingue ($12.80) – are divine. I ate both of them without concern for my growing waistline.
Le Camibi is a smooth and enchanting Madagascar vanilla mousse cake with a centre of raspberry velvet coulis sandwiched between layers of Corsica almond creme, atop an almond sponge base.
The whole cake sits on a crunchy hazelnut sable base. The sweet flavours meld well together – bursts of vanilla, citrus, nut flavour and tartness from the raspberry dance in the mouth.
San Domingue is for chocolate lovers.
Made with decadent 70 per cent single origin chocolate, this sensual gateau has a caramelised Caribbean plantain centre – a must for those who love the combination of banana and chocolate.
The chocolate jewel box that sits on top of the dome is filled with liquid rum.
The patisserie also specialises in customised cakes and sells conserves in flavours such as Rum, Pineapple And Iranian Date; and French Wild Berries, Cambodian Peppercorn and Spanish Balsamic Vinegar (from $17 a jar).
Where: Mad About Sucre, 27 Teo Hong Road MRT: Outram When: 12.30 - 10.30pm (Tue - Sat), 12.30 - 5pm (Sun), closed on Mon Tel: 6221-3969 Info: Go to www.madaboutsucre.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org