SMALLER BITES AT WAKU GHIN
Dinner at Waku Ghin is always a treat, but I do not always have $400 or three hours to spend on dinner.
So a good alternative is to eat at the restaurant's bar instead. It's not cheap either, but rather than an omakase concept, you get an a la carte menu so you can better control how much money and time you want to spend.
The menu has been totally refreshed, with about 17 new items to choose from. The servings are smaller, with prices also adjusted downwards.
Dishes include simple items such as oysters with ginger and rice vinaigrette ($6 to $15 each) and a refreshing vegetable salad served with a bagna cauda dip ($20). The moreish dip is made with anchovies, garlic and oil.
You can also get more decadent with a toasted parma ham and black truffles sandwich ($26) or sea urchin and salmon roe on rice ($38).
You can even find a commonplace but delicious WG marinated fried chicken ($20) that chef Tetsuya Wakuda says he put on the menu just because he loves karaage.
Servings are small, so this place is ideal if you're feeling peckish. If you're planning on having dinner, however, be prepared to shell out a few hundred dollars a person.
WHERE: The Bar at Waku Ghin, Level 2 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Avenue MRT: Bayfront WHEN: 6pm till late daily TEL: 6688-8507
REFRESHED SUNDAY BRUNCH
The Ash & Elm Sunday champagne brunch has been refreshed with a new menu of dishes cooked a la minute on top of the usual buffet spread.
Divided into three sections - the self-explanatory From The Land, From The Garden and From The Sea - the dishes are served in bite-sized portions in tiny cocottes (right), but you can order as many as you want.
Dishes I like include braised beef short ribs with carrots, mushrooms and pearl onions, pan-fried duck foie gras on toasted brioche with spiced apple marmalade and pan-seared scallops in brown butter sauce with lemon, parsley and pancake.
From the buffet are popular items such as oysters and lobster on ice, cold cuts, roast beef and dessert.
WHERE: Ash & Elm, Level 1 InterContinental Singapore, 80 Middle Road MRT: Bugis WHEN: Sundays, noon to 3pm PRICE: $138 an adult with free-flow Perrier-Jouet champagne, wines and other drinks TEL: 6285-1008
FEAST ON 100 SICHUAN DISHES
The 100 Sichuan Delights, 1 Gastronomic Feast promotion is on again at Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant in Beach Road till Sept 3. The restaurant closes the following day for renovation.
Those who checked out the same promotion in July last year would recall the eye-opening range of Sichuan dishes on the menu, many of which are seldom served in restaurants here.
This year's menu comes with 30 new dishes, further showcasing the diversity of Sichuan cuisine. Contrary to common perception, many of the region's dishes are not ma la (numbing spicy), but incorporate sweet, sour, garlic and ginger flavours.
Examples of new dishes are chilled sliced pork knuckle with ginger sauce; pork roll with egg skin in garlic and chilli sauce; and pork ribs with sweet and sour sauce. For something more tongue-tingling, there is an interesting crispy sliced beef in Sichuan chilli oil.
You can order unlimited servings of all 100 dishes, but I'd suggest you go slow. I had only a bite or two of most dishes, but still threw in the towel after about 80 dishes.
My favourite is the laziji, or diced chicken with spicy chilli sauce. The deep-fried chicken is crisp outside, juicy inside and so addictively spicy I almost finished the whole plate.
WHERE: Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant, Parkroyal on Beach Road, 7500 Beach Road MRT: Nicoll Highway/Bugis WHEN: Till Sept 3, 11.30am to 2.30pm, 6.30 to 10.30pm daily PRICE: $50 a person, $60 with free-flow Kirin draft beer TEL: 6505-5722
MAN MAN UNAGI AT TEPPEI
If you have been wanting to try the grilled eel dishes at Man Man Unagi Restaurant but are daunted by the two-hour queues, you can try some of them during the current promotion at Teppei Syokudo outlets.
Teppei Syokudo is a chain of casual eateries opened by YCP Dining Singapore and chef Teppei Yamashita, who owns Man Man.
Three rice-based dishes featuring grilled eel are available at Teppei Syokudo until Aug 31 - Unagi Tamago Don ($17.80), Unagi Bento ($24.80) and Chopped Unagi Kaisen Don ($19.80).
The eel is not as good as the one I tasted at Man Man because it is not served hot off the grill. Instead, the live eels are slaughtered and grilled at Man Man before being sent to YCP's central kitchen.
But it is still better than many grilled unagi I've eaten because it is not fishy and the sauce is not as sweet.
The first 100 Straits Times readers who go to the Teppei Syokudo outlet at Plaza Singapura and quote "SPH X Teppei Unagi" will get 15 per cent off their bill.
WHERE: Teppei Syokudo, seven outlets including at B2-20 Plaza Singapura, 68 Orchard Road MRT: Various, including Dhoby Ghaut for the Plaza Singapura outlet WHEN: Till Aug 31