FOOD CRITIC WONG AH YOKE RECOMMENDS

Food picks: Peach Garden, SPies & All Things Nice, Yan Ting, Luk Yu Teahouse & Restaurant

SMELL THE FLOWERS, FEAST ON DISHES

Peach Garden is planning something a little different this year for Mother's Day on May 10. Besides offering the usual set menus at its outlets, it has also booked the Flower Field Hall inside the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay for a day of feasting.

Diners can take a stroll among the flowers before their meal to work up an appetite or after the meal to work it off. Prices include entry into the dome.

Lunch and dinner feature semi-buffets with a spread of starters and desserts while main courses will be served to each table. High tea will be a dim sum buffet.

Two seatings are planned for lunch, from 11am to 12.45pm and from 1 to 2.45pm. But dinner will have just one seating from 6 to 8pm. High tea will be served from 3.15 to 5.15pm.

On the lunch menu are dishes such as Canadian lobster claw soup and salt baked chicken, while dinner main courses include roasted suckling pig stuffed with glutinous rice and double-boiled mini Buddha jumps over the wall.

Where: Flower Field Hall, Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay, 18 Marina Gardens Drive MRT: Bayfront When: May 10, various times Price: Lunch: $68 an adult, $39 a child; high tea: $45 an adult, $25 a child; dinner: $88 an adult, $49 a child Tel: For reservations, call 8611-6185 or go to www.peachgardeneshop.com


YUMMY BABI PONGTEH PIE

SPies & All Things Nice, which specialises in pies with spicy Peranakan-inspired fillings, has been around since last August. But I have not tried its wares until two months ago, when I was passed a jar of its pineapple tarts after SundayLife! ran an article on a blind tasting of the pastry for Chinese New Year. The tarts were excellent and even better than those featured in the article.

The shop moved this month from Tiong Bahru to the newly renovated The Bedok Marketplace (formerly the Kampung@Simpang Bedok hawker centre), so I lost little time in making my way there to see what else is on offer.

Pineapple tarts are now off the menu. In their place are pies with interesting fillings such as beef rendang, chicken laksa and babi pongteh ($2.50 each).

I find the spicy ones too mild to make an impression, but the babi pongteh one is good, with slices of tender, fatty pork tucked inside a nice pie pastry.

Chicken laksa works better in kueh pie tee shells ($6.80 for six), as the flavours are not diluted by pie pastry, but the spice levels can do with some boosting.

Where: SPies & All Things Nice, 02-15 The Bedok Marketplace, 348 Bedok Road MRT: Tanah Merah Open: Noon - 8pm daily Info: E-mail ordernow@spiespies.com


REVAMPED MENU

Yan Ting's new Hong Kong chef Tony Wun has revamped the menu of the Cantonese restaurant and some of his new dishes are good.

The double-boiled abalone consomme with ginseng served in teapot ($38) is a light, nourishing soup that is best savoured slowly in a tea cup. But if you prefer something stronger, the braised prawn with pumpkin soup ($12) may be more to your taste. I like clear soups, so the consomme is my choice.

Another dish that stands out is the pan-fried chicken with morel in superior soya sauce ($48). The combination of chicken fillet and morels is an unusual one, but both take on the flavours of the soya sauce well and the dish boasts good wok hei.

For dessert, try the crispy red bean and banana fritters ($8). Think of it as a deluxe, refined version of pisang goreng, but without the greasiness.

Where: Yan Ting, The St. Regis Singapore, 29 Tanglin Road MRT: Orchard When: Noon - 2.30pm, 6.30 - 10.30pm daily Tel: 6506-6887


DIM SUM TREATS

A recent visit to Luk Yu Teahouse & Restaurant in Chinatown Point led to a pleasant discovery.

Two of its dim sum items - baked BBQ pork bun ($4.50 for three) and traditional Cantonese steamed sponge cake or ma lai go in Cantonese ($3.80) - look just like those from popular dim sum eatery Tim Ho Wan.

The reason, I found out, is that the chef was part of the opening team for the Tim Ho Wan outlet in Plaza Singapura. The difference is that Luk Yu takes reservations, so you need not waste time queuing, and its menu offers much more. Other dim sum items that I like include Chinese chives and shrimp dumpling ($4.50 for three) and wonton in spicy vinegar sauce ($3.80 for three).

The roast meats here are good too, especially the crispy roast pork ($12.80). The crackling is light and crispy and the meat has just enough fat to render it tender and juicy.

Where: Luk Yu Teahouse & Restaurant, 01-41/42 Chinatown Point, 133 New Bridge Road MRT: Chinatown When: 11am - 10pm (Mon - Fri), 10am - 10pm (Sat, Sun & public holiday) Tel: 6262-1717