Taste of Vietnam
Savour a three-course menu ($68++ a person) at Cook & Brew restaurant, created by popular MasterChef Australia contestant Tommy Pham, who participated in seasons 13 and 14 of the cooking competition.
The self-taught Sydney chef – whose Vietnamese mother inspired his love for cooking – was in town last week to work on the dishes. He spent the rest of his time on holiday with his family.
While Pham is not here for the promotion, you can still try his modern spin on Vietnamese cuisine.
The meal starts with Roti Banh Mi, his play on the traditional banh mi without the baguette.
Instead, slices of roasted Australian beef tenderloin, mushroom banh mi sauce and truffle mayonnaise are piled onto flaky roti – his nod to being in Singapore.
Every bite bursts with flavour – from the tangy pickled daikon to the heat of the chilli balanced with cool cucumber.
My appetite is whetted for more, and the main dish is quite the showstopper.
Cha Ca La Vong is grilled turmeric black cod on bee hoon with sauteed dill, spring onion, cucumber and roasted peanuts.
It may look and sound deceptively simple, but it certainly packs a punch. The magic is in the dill oil and nuoc cham sauce – a party of spicy, sour, sweet and salty flavours.
To balance the robust flavours, the meal ends with a Vietnamese Flan topped with a slightly bitter coffee granita, caramel and a sweetened coconut sauce.
Where: Cook & Brew, The Westin Singapore, Level 33 Asia Square Tower 2, 12 Marina View
MRT: Shenton Way
When: Till April 30, 6 to 10.30pm daily
Fat cow’s new chef and omakase
Over the years, Japanese restaurant Fat Cow has constantly worked on elevating its omakase experience – and the current one is the most refined yet.
It is helmed by new head chef Shingo Iijima, who spent 14 years refining his kappo and kaiseki craft in Japan, then working as executive chef at the prestigious Miraku restaurant at G Hotel Kelawai in Penang.
The Shin Omakase for lunch is $168++, while the dinner Tetsu Omakase is $350++.
Treat yourself to the dinner option which starts with an intriguing combination of flavours and textures from the dashi-marinated Kyoto crown daisy and chrysanthemum served with kelp-cured flounder sashimi, grilled hon maitake mushroom, sea urchin and salmon roe.
Another highlight is the unagi tamajimushi – the most elaborate chawanmushi course I’ve ever had. It features silky egg custard topped with mountain caviar sauce, charcoal-grilled unagi and sea urchin wrapped in shiso leaf and fried tempura-style.
Noting that local diners love sushi, the chef offers two rounds of sushi in this menu instead of the usual donabe. It is also his way of balancing out the meal, so that you do not fill up too early.
Wagyu lovers, do not worry, you will still get your meat fix with Miyazaki A4 wagyu with delicate Japanese yuba and yuzu miso in a bonito broth; and Kagoshima wagyu tenderloin served with caviar, fresh truffles and Kyoto daikokushimeji mushrooms.
Where: Fat Cow, 01-01/02 Camden Medical Centre, 1 Orchard Boulevard
MRT: Orchard Boulevard
When: From 7pm, Tuesdays to Sundays
New menu at Halcyon & Crane
Out of all the concepts under food and beverage company The Foreign Project, I will admit that I am the least familiar with its all-day dining cafe Halcyon & Crane.
I like its sister outlets Basdban and Sichuan Alley – both in Telok Ayer – that feature modern Sichuan fare with bold flavours.
At Halcyon & Crane, the menu is more Western-style, although there is some Sichuan and Asian influence in the food. And that is the direction that the new menu continues to push, in line with its demographic of customers who have asked for lighter, healthier options.
My dining companions agree with the direction, so I recalibrate my expectations for an enjoyable meal. No chilli does not mean no flavour, and that is evident in the smoked duck and chorizo baked black rice ($43, good for two to three people). The meat flavours – along with burrata and preserved olive leaf – somehow all work well together.
I eat a lot more than I expect myself to, especially after the grilled tiger prawn “risotto” ($32) which includes multigrains, sweet corn and cucumber. Texture-wise, it feels more like porridge than risotto – and with the toasted sourdough on the side, it is a lot of carbs to handle.
For sides, go for the addictive crispy squid dish ($18) and seared gyoza ($20) with truffle pumpkin sauce and crunchy black fungus.
Where: 03-09 The Paragon, 290 Orchard Road
Open: Mondays to Thursdays and Sundays, 9am to 8pm; Fridays and Saturdays, 9am to 10pm