NEW UBIN SEAFOOD HEADS WEST
New Ubin Seafood has uprooted from its Sin Ming Industrial Estate location to the Lam Soon Industrial Building in Hillview Avenue.
It has a larger air-conditioned area, but the outdoor area is breezy. And there's plenty of sheltered parking.
New Ubin Seafood is, arguably, one of the classier zi char restaurants in town, serving items such as Spanish carabinero (a sweet and intense-flavoured prawn), foie gras and French fine de claire oysters.
The menu is extensive, from crab and crispy pork knuckle to noodles, satay, oyster omelette and more. Most dishes are delicious.
My favourite eats here include carabineros sashimi ($18 a prawn); grilled US Black Angus beef ($14 for 100g) and its accompanying flavourful Heart-Attack Fried Rice cooked with beef fat and drippings; and the Foie Gras Egg Special ($9.50 a serving), a slow-cooked egg topped with seared foie gras and a pinch of truffle salt.
WHERE: New Ubin Seafood, Level 6 Lam Soon Industrial Building, 63 Hillview Avenue MRT: Hillview OPEN: 11am to 2.30pm, 5.30 to 10pm (Tuesdays to Sundays); 5.30 to 10pm (Mondays, dinner only) TEL: 6466-9558/9740-6870 INFO: ubinseafood.com
FAVOURITE GULA MELAKA SNACK
Gula melaka is something I write about time and time again because I am obsessed with it.
My all-time favourite treat with the palm sugar is traditional Malay putu piring - steamed gula melaka rice flour cakes served with a side of lightly salted grated fresh coconut.
There are not many shops that sell it these days because it is tedious to make, but one stall has been keeping the heritage food alive with a family recipe that dates back to the 1950s - Traditional Haig Road Putu Piring in Geylang.
It has two outlets, one at a coffee shop at 970 Geylang Road and the other at the Haig Road hawker centre.
For $2, you get five light putu piring with a generous amount of fresh coconut. Each piece is filled with pinches of molten gula melaka.
Be sure to consume it quickly, while it is hot and fluffy.
WHERE: Traditional Haig Road Putu Piring, 01-08 Haig Road hawker centre, Block 14 Haig Road MRT: Eunos OPEN: 11am to 10pm daily TEL: 9456-7573
CAFE IN THE GARDEN
There is something tranquil and relaxing about eating amid lush greenery, and what better place to dine at than Singapore's Unesco World Heritage Site, the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
The Bee's Knees is a new cafe at The Garage, located at the gardens' Cluny Park entrance, which is within walking distance from the MRT station. The building also has a dinner-only restaurant on the second floor.
The self-service eatery has a selection of focaccia sandwiches ($14), pasta (from $15) and pizza (from $22).
The sandwiches are not the tastiest, but the pastas and pizzas are worth a try. The Pesto Genovese ($17) gnocchetti, which is tossed in a mild pesto and served with roasted bone marrow, is simple and delightful; while the Beef Cheek Bolognese ($16, photo), served with fresh pappardelle, is hearty.
The pizza has a deep, rumbling crunch when you bite into it. It will make you want to finish that crust.
WHERE: Bee's Knees at The Garage, Singapore Botanic Gardens, 50 Cluny Park Road MRT: Botanic Gardens OPEN: 10am to 6pm (Tuesdays to Sundays), closed on Mondays. Pizza and pasta available from 11.30am TEL: 6264-7978 INFO: www.facebook.com/thegaragesbg
CHINESE NEW YEAR COCKTAILS
Cocktail bar Nutmeg & Clove in Ann Siang Hill is offering three drinks to ring in the Year of the Rooster.
Sip on The Prosperity Flip (photo), a rum-based drink with Amaretto and a spiced pineapple reduction. It is a Chinese New Year take on Christmas egg nog with a great, rounded mouth-feel to it.
The bar's other creations are Huat Ah! - a Campari and vermouth tonic-soda flavoured with mandarin orange juice and peel - and The ChinaTown - a local take on a classic Manhattan bourbon cocktail, made with bak kwa-infused Bulleit Bourbon, Aperol, dry vermouth, a blend of sweet vermouth and shao xing wine, and orange bitters.
Huat Ah! is a fancy, upscale and more complex twist on the staple F&N Orange soft drink that is served at many homes during this festive season, while The ChinaTown - my favourite of the three - is a stiff, spirit-forward cocktail that has the savoury, smoky hint of bak kwa.
All cocktails are priced at $18++ each.
WHERE: Nutmeg & Clove, 10A Ann Siang Hill MRT: Chinatown/Telok Ayer OPEN: 6pm to 1am (Mondays to Thursdays), 6pm to 2am (Fridays and Saturdays), closed on Sundays. The Chinese New Year cocktails are available until Feb 11 TEL: 9389-9301 INFO: nutmegandclove.com.sg