MEDITERRANEAN FLAVOURS AT LA BRASSERIE
In case you do not know, what was formerly called The Clifford at Fullerton Bay Hotel was renamed La Brasserie six months ago - to avoid any confusion with the hotel's newer Clifford Pier restaurant.
A new chef has also come on board to revamp the menu into one of French brasserie items.
Chef de cuisine Nicolas Reynard comes from southern France and his cooking reflects the Mediterranean flavours he grew up on.
Look out for his lobster bouillabaisse ($88 for sharing platter), a delicious fennel and saffron-scented shellfish broth filled with scallops and mussels as well as lobster.
Fish-lovers will enjoy the Mediterranean sea bass ($15 per 100g), a whole fish encrusted in rock salt and baked. It tastes light and fresh, with just a hint of saltiness to bring out its natural flavours.
I like the sauteed prawns with chorizo ($21, above) too, especially with the kick of spice provided by the chorizo.
For meat lovers, there is the pistachio duck and pork sausage ($19), made in-house, and served with fresh figs. And a roasted spatchcock ($36) served with garlic potatoes sarladaise.
WHERE: La Brasserie, Fullerton Bay Hotel, 80 Collyer Quay MRT: Raffles Place WHEN: Noon - 2.30pm (Mon - Fri), noon - 3pm (Sat & Sun), 6.30 - 10.30pm daily
A LUXE AND LUSH MAKEOVER AT SUMMER PAVILION
Summer Pavilion at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore reopened on Monday with a totally revamped interior design that looks luxe and lush.
The Cantonese restaurant, which is housed in a glass pavilion surrounded by a little garden, is now decorated in darker tones and the garden is given a Chinese design. A new moon gate has been created for the restaurant's entrance, which is accessed through the garden from the hotel lobby.
The more dramatic changes can be seen in the private rooms, which are named after plants such as wisteria and pine, and feature Italian crockery with hand-painted floral motifs.
The menu by chef Cheung Siu Kong has been updated too, with dishes such as braised whole South African abalone with wild mushroom and winter melon ($65 each, above), and braised estuary grouper with dried beancurd skin and organic black garlic (market price).
WHERE: Summer Pavilion, The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, 7 Raffles Avenue MRT: Promenade WHEN: 11.30am - 2.30pm, 6.30 - 10.30pm daily TEL: 6434-5286
A CULINARY TOUR OF ISHIKAWA, JAPAN
Ishikawa is a region I am not familiar with, but that is likely to change after my taste of the Japanese prefecture's produce at Keyaki restaurant recently.
The prefecture is located on the west coast of Honshu, Japan's biggest island, with a peninsula projecting north into the Sea of Japan, which has bountiful seafood. Now is the season for kano gani (snow crab), which can be caught only from November to March, and it is on the menu, served chilled with ponzu and miso sauces on the side. But the crabmeat is so sweet that I'd suggest you eat it plain. The miso sauce, especially, tends to mask the sweetness.
It is available as part of a $240 eight-course menu.
Also included in the set menu is Jibuni simmered beef with sudare gluten dumpling and vegetables. The dumpling has a soft, stretchy texture that is irresistible and is filled with delicious minced beef.
Another Ishikawa speciality is grilled squid stuffed with sweet miso ($28, above), which is available as an a la carte order. The squid is fresh and springy, while the miso provides the flavour needed to relieve it of blandness.
WHERE: Keyaki, Pan Pacific Singapore, 7 Raffles Boulevard MRT: Promenade WHEN: Till Dec 13, 11.30am - 2.30pm, 6.30 - 10.30pm daily TEL: 6826-8240
INDULGE IN RICH KWAY CHAP
Kway chap is one of my favourite hawker dishes. But the dish of cholesterol-heavy stewed pork and offal is not something one should eat too often, so I make sure I get a good version when I eat it.
An acquaintance told me about Lao San Kway Chap in Ang Mo Kio recently, so that was where I went last week when I felt like indulging.
It is good, especially the stew gravy, which has well-balanced, complex flavours - unlike some stalls where it is too diluted or tastes too strong of soya sauce or cinnamon.
The taupok (deep fried beancurd puff) tastes especially good, having soaked up all those flavours, even though it needs to be simmered a little longer to make it softer. But my favourite is the stewed pork belly. The meat is tender with some bite and is packed with flavour.
A one-person portion, with four different items such as egg, taupok, pork belly and intestine and a bowl of kway (rice flour sheets) costs $5 (above).
WHERE: Lao San Kway Chap, 01-1222 Block 232 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 MRT: Ang Mo Kio WHEN: 6am - 3pm (Tue - Sun), closed on Mon PRICE: From $5