Wong Ah Yoke Food Critic recommends

Mamanda's nasi ambeng, Corner House's new menu and more

Imperial Drunken Chicken Soup at Imperial Treasure Steamboat.
Imperial Drunken Chicken Soup at Imperial Treasure Steamboat.PHOTOS: ST FILE, WONG AH YOKE

ONE FOR STEAMBOAT FANS

Fans of Imperial Treasure Steamboat Restaurant who miss the outlet at Triple One Somerset can now go to Great World City instead.

After Triple One Somerset restaurant closed last year for the overhaul of the mall, the brand had only one outlet left, at Ion Orchard.

Now, there is another outlet on the ground floor of Great World City, taking up part of the space vacated by the defunct furniture store iwannagohome.

The menu is the same as the one at the Ion outlet. But I guess there is no reason to change because many customers, including myself, usually end up ordering the same things.

The soup base I like is the Imperial Drunken Chicken Soup ($28), which comes with a platter of raw chicken marinated in Chinese wine.

And I always order the Four Treasure Ball Platter ($14), which usually includes shrimp balls and pork balls that boast fresh flavours and springy textures.

The live prawns (from $24), which are really sweet, should not be missed either.

WHERE: Imperial Treasure Steamboat, 01-37 Great World City, 1 Kim Seng Promenade MRT: Orchard/Somerset OPEN: 11am to 3pm, 6 to 11pm daily TEL: 6235-6008


MALAY FOOD SERVED IN HISTORICAL BUILDING

Mamanda, the Malay restaurant beside the Malay Heritage Centre, is often overshadowed by the nasi padang eateries in the area, which offer good - and cheaper - food.

But those who do not mind paying more will be rewarded with a nicer ambience and more refined cooking.

The restaurant is housed in a historical building that used to be the home of the Bendahara, who was second only to the Sultan in rank in the old days.

The dining room and kitchen occupy the ground floor, while the upper floor is reserved for special functions.

If you're visiting the restaurant for the first time, a good option is to order the Nasi Ambeng ($44 for two people, photo). It comes on a large platter, with a mound of rice in the centre surrounded by various dishes, such as beef rendang, fried beef lung, chicken curry, sambal prawns, sambal goreng, fried salted fish and vegetables.

It is a good sampling of the restaurant's cooking and some dishes - such as the chicken and salted fish - are pretty good. I find the rendang rather dry and tough though.

If you are big eaters, order an extra dish to supplement the meal. My dining companion and I pick the Sotong Sambal Nusantara ($13.90) and it turns out to be excellent. The squid is cooked just right, with a springy texture. And the sambal is delicious.

WHERE: Mamanda, 73 Sultan Gate MRT: Nicoll Highway OPEN: 11am to 10pm daily TEL: 6396-6646


UNUSUAL THRILLS

Fine-dining Western restaurants that offer only omakase or set menus need to update them periodically to keep things fresh for their regular diners. But not many can come up with a winning set of dishes each time.

Corner House is one of those that do. Chef Jason Tan has just refreshed his dinner menus and the new introductions are good.

Two of the dishes I tried match ingredients that you do not think of putting together. The results are odd, but exciting and strangely alluring.

One of them, Japanese Geoduck (photo), comprises slices of the shellfish topped with caviar and paired with vegetables, such as lotus root and parsnip, as well as wedges of burnt orange. All these sit on a mild citrus sauce that binds the ingredients together.

The other is the dessert, Pineapple, which comprises sable breton with pineapple marmalade, paired with pineapple sorbet and salted egg yolk foam. The pastry reminds me a bit of a buttery pineapple tart, but the foam gives it a complexity that no tart alone can achieve.

The two dishes are included in the $158 four-course menu and $198 five-course one. They will be introduced next Wednesday, after Valentine's Day.

WHERE: Corner House, Nassim Gate, Singapore Botanic Gardens , 1 Cluny Road MRT: Botanic Gardens OPEN: Dinner: 6.30 to 11pm, Tuesdays to Sundays TEL: 6469-1000


HIT TOKYO-ITALIAN DISHES

Terra has been open for more than a year, but I managed to dine there only last month .

It certainly deserves the Michelin star it received last year. Chef Seita Nakahara cooks Italian dishes using a number of Japanese ingredients, which is why he describes his restaurant as Tokyo-Italian.

There are three omakase menus for dinner, priced at $128, $168 and $208. They all comprise five courses each, says the server, with the more expensive menus having pricier ingredients. I pick the $168 menu and find the excellent cooking worth paying for. I get six, not five courses, but I'm not complaining.

From the first course of a lightly cooked, sweet langoustine from Japan, the meal is a hit. Most are seafood dishes, including a broth with fish, mussels, clams and a plump scallop (photo), as well as the restaurant's signature sea urchin pasta with yuzu, sprinkled with grey mullet roe. The meat dish is a lightly grilled wagyu that is tender and delicious.

WHERE: Terra, 54 Tras Street MRT: Tanjong Pagar OPEN: Noon to 3pm (Mondays to Fridays), 6.30 to 11pm (Mondays to Saturdays), closed on Sundays TEL: 6221-5159

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 10, 2017, with the headline 'Food Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe