Food picks: Peach Blossoms' abalone and Ugly Cake Shop's cakes

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This month, head to Cantonese restaurant Peach Blossoms at Marina Mandarin Singapore hotel for your fill of abalone.

Start with an elegant but robust double-boiled abalone soup in a coconut ($20 a serving, right). The flesh, which gives the soup a natural sweetness, is so soft you can use your porcelain spoon to scrape it off the inside of the fruit.

There is also a range of other soups as well as dishes which incorporate the prized molluscs,such as the Braised One-head Mexican Abalone, which is served in a luxurious and flavoursome stock with some broccoli florets.

Abalone set menus start at $68++ a person (minimum of two people), while a la carte dishes start at $12++ a serving.

Where: Peach Blossoms, Marina Mandarin Singapore, 6 Raffles Boulevard, Level 5 MRT: Promenade When: Till June 30 Open: Noon to 2.30pm, 6.30 to 10.30pm (weekday); 11am to 2.30pm, 6.30 to 10.30pm (weekend) Tel: 6845-1118 Info: E-mail

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Why would anyone in their right mind call their shop the Ugly Cake Shop?

It turns out that the online cake shop's baker-owner Lisa Tan, 30, decided on the name because her cakes have no "ugly" preservatives and artificial stuff. Now that I like. Plus, some of the profits go to feeding undernourished children in Timor Leste.

In any case, the cakes are too gorgeous to be called ugly, especially the cupcakes, which are piped with a generous amount of frosting in the shape of a rosette.

My favourite among her creations is the Big Daddy Junior ($3.50 each) - a moist, rich, dark chocolate cupcake with a decadent Valrhona and Nutella frosting which makes me coo in delight.

Most of the time, cupcakes are either too dry, too sweet, too dense or have frosting made from hydrogenated vegetable oil which barely melts even in Singapore's heat. Right now, this cupcake tops my list in Singapore.

Other good cakes include Sally ($65) - a dark chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting. Next on my list of things to try is the Nicholas cake, a bittersweet dark chocolate cake which, she says, is for "serious chocolate lovers".

Where: The Bakers Society, Block 330 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1, 01-1801. Orders can be picked up from there. It does not retail cakes MRT: Ang Mo Kio Open: 10am to 8pm (Tue to Sat), closed on Sun & Mon Tel: 8228-8300 Info: E-mail or go to Orders should be made at least three days in advance

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Kaya Toast Baked Alaska ($24) is one of the newer desserts at steakhouse Cut by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at Marina Bay Sands.

It is inspired by the local breakfast staple of kaya toast which is often served with soft-boiled eggs and a cup of kopi. Here, a sliver of coconut sponge cake forms the base for a pandan gelato and coconut sorbet dome which is piped with a soft and cloud-like meringue. It is served with a delicious egg-yolk sabayon, dark and sticky soya sauce and coffee crumble.

Each component lifts and complements the other, while the flavours are distinctly familiar and comforting. Even its shape is Singapore-inspired - the peaks of the meringue resemble the roof of the Esplanade.

Where: Cut, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Galleria Level, B1-71, Bayfront Avenue MRT: Bayfront Open: Main dining room from 6 to 10pm (Sun to Thu), 6 to 11pm (Fri & Sat); bar & lounge from 5.30 to 11pm daily Tel: 6688-8517 Info: E-mail


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In a back corner of Far East Plaza, opposite clothing shops and a nail salon, is a small sushi eatery aptly named The Sushi Bar.

And for what you get - think everything from chirashi and sushi to chicken karaage and katsu curry - it is very reasonable. Chawanmushi is $2.80 a serving, and chirashi, or sashimi atop a bed of sushi rice, starts at $19.90. A serving of three kinds of sashimi is priced at $14.90, while a plate of fried shishamo costs $5.90.

It is frequented by all sorts of people, from teens and those in their early 20s to groups of Japanese women with their toddlers.

Everything is fairly fresh, tasty and, most importantly, good value for money.

I like the juicy grilled sirloin steak ($14.90 for 100g) and rolls such as the salmon aburi ($14.50), a torched salmon roll with mentaiko. Handrolls start at $3.20 each.

Where: The Sushi Bar, Far East Plaza, 14 Scotts Road, 04-28 MRT: Orchard Open: 12.30 to 3pm, 5.30 to 9pm (weekday), 12.30 to 9pm (Sat), closed on Sun Tel: Text 9653-6464 for reservations. Walk-ins only on Sat & public holiday Info: