Eunice Quek Food Correspondent recommends

Food Picks: Tapas Club's fresh dishes, Zafferano's summer menu, Konditori's delicious bakes and more

Mazara raw red prawn ceviche
Mazara raw red prawn cevichePHOTO: ZAFFERANO
 Pulpo a la Brasa
Pulpo a la BrasaPHOTO: TAPAS CLUB
Takoyaki gyoza
Takoyaki gyozaPHOTO: GYOZA-YA
Strawberry cream cheese Danish
Strawberry cream cheese DanishPHOTO: KONDITORI

SUMMER DELIGHTS AT ZAFFERANO

Summer's bounty has descended on Italian restaurant Zafferano in Ocean Financial Centre, with special dishes on the menu by head chef Marco Guccio.

One of my favourites is the juicy Italian sardines in "beccafico" style, served on a bed of zesty orange and fennel salad with fresh pomegranate. The fish is first de-boned, then filled with breadcrumbs, lemon skin, raisins and pine nuts. Each piece is rolled, skewered and baked.

Another highlight is the Mazara raw red prawn ceviche ($32), served on crispy sourdough bread with figs.

I can't resist a risotto and the squid ink superfino carnaroli Acquerello risotto ($32), served with sauteed calamari and fava bean puree, is a hit. The rice is cooked to a perfect al dente texture.

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WHERE: Level 43 Ocean Financial Centre, 10 Collyer Quay MRT: Raffles Place WHEN: 11.30am to 3pm (weekdays), 5.30 to 11.45pm (Mondays to Wednesdays), 5.30pm - 1am (Thursdays to Saturdays), closed on Sundays TEL: 6509-1488 INFO: E-mail info@zafferano.sg


TAPAS TIME

The glutton in me loves big hearty meals, so I am not always a fan of Spanish tapas and its small portions. I do love Spanish cuisine though, and have a soft spot for a good paella.

My stomach gravitates towards the "Tapas+" section of the menu at three-week-old 85-seat Tapas Club in Orchard Central. Items under this section are of a bigger portion and can be eaten as a main course or for sharing. Each dish also comes with a complimentary side dish.

My favourites are the Pulpo a la Brasa ($22), grilled octopus with paprika oil, along with a selection of paella dishes such as Fideua Negra ($25), special squid ink noodle paella with cuttlefish and garlic mayonnaise; Paella de Chorizo ($25); and Paella Mixta ($25), with chicken and seafood.

The good thing about tapas is that you can order plenty to share. I like the Tartar de Atun Con Ajo Blanco ($12.90), red tuna tartare with tomato and avocado served with almond soup; and Carrillera de Ternera Con Idiazabal ($12.90), stewed beef cheeks in red wine sauce and served with Idiazabal cheese cream.

Another sign the food is good: The kitchen is helmed by executive chefs Jose Alonso and Manuel Berganza. Alonso also runs Spanish restaurant Binomio in Craig Road, known for its authentic Spanish fare.

This is one Tapas Club I wouldn't mind being a part of.

WHERE: 02-13 to 15 Orchard Central, 181 Orchard Road MRT: Somerset WHEN: Noon - 3pm daily, 6 - 11pm (Sundays to Thursdays and public holidays), 6pm to midnight (Fridays, Saturdays and eves of public holidays) TEL: 3163-7577 INFO: www.facebook.com/tapasclubsingapore


GYOZA GOODNESS

A convenient location for my gyoza fix is at gyoza specialist Gyoza-Ya, which opened its fourth outlet at Plaza Singapura last month. Its other branches are at Ion Orchard, Robinsons The Heeren and Paragon.

Exclusive to the Plaza Singapura outlet is the new takoyaki gyoza ($7.80 for five pieces), a take on the Japanese octopus balls topped with bonito flakes, mayonnaise and a sweet sauce.

I love eating takoyaki and, at Gyoza-Ya, I can get the same goodness without the (sometimes) doughy batter. Here, the gyoza's juicy filling is made with a mix of pork and octopus (tako), encased in a thin and crispy skin.

This adds to the menu's signature yaki gyoza ($4.80 for five) with pork filling; sui gyoza ($4.80 for five), which is boiled instead of fried; and truffle gyoza ($9.80 for three).

For sides, a surprisingly tasty dish is the new aburi burokkori ($4.80), where broccoli is first boiled, then roasted and lightly deep-fried. Finally, it is torched and topped with bonito flakes and Japanese spices, resulting in a smoky broccoli dish bursting with umami.

WHERE: B1-50/51 Plaza Singapura, 68 Orchard Road MRT: Dhoby Ghaut WHEN: 11.30am to 10pm daily TEL: 6266-8311 INFO: www.facebook.com/gyozaya.sg


KONDITORI'S PASTRIES

It is hard to walk by the tantalising display of pastries at this Muslim-owned European-style bakery Konditori in Bussorah Street and not end up buying anything. Everything is picture-perfect and tastes equally good.

Some delicious artisan bakes include the blackforest croissant ($5.90), topped with chocolate flakes and with a cherry filling; Semla Bun (from $6.90), a traditional Swedish bun filled with fresh cream, ground almond and marzipan paste; and strawberry cream cheese Danish ($5.90), with a lush custard and fresh berries.

I am not usually a fan of cream, but the freshly churned cream used here is light and not too sweet.

There is also a selection of bread loaves, tarts and cakes. Highlights include the chocolate cinnamon banana bun ($4.80) and Dark Angel ($4.50), a Belgian chocolate loaf made with whole wheat flour.

Konditori's owners are also behind the popular Fika Swedish Cafe & Bistro in nearby Beach Road, as well as the new ice cream parlour Lickety Ice Cream and Waffles, just next to Konditori.

My plan next time is to have a meal at Fika, then head for some ice cream at Lickety and buy some pastries from Konditori for tea time.

WHERE: 34 Bussorah Street MRT: Bugis/Nicoll Highway WHEN: 11am to 8pm daily TEL: 6209-8580 INFO: www.facebook.com/konditorisg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2017, with the headline 'Food Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe