Food Picks: Greenwood Fish Market’s omakase counter, Breakfast Hola and LR Boulangerie

Greenwood Fish Market's Omakase counter at Quayside Isle in Sentosa. PHOTO: GREENWOOD FISH MARKET

Greenwood Fish Market

Omakase in Sentosa

Sentosa seems like an awful long way to go for a meal, but the vibe at Greenwood Fish Market’s sprawling multi-concept space at Quayside Isle is so seductive. There is a breeze blowing through the doors, all thrown open so you can appreciate the waterfront location. And there is enough cool air blowing inside so you never get hot and bothered. It’s casual, it’s inviting, it’s the perfect place for a mental vacation.

Park yourself at the 12-seat omakase counter. The meals are priced to entice, and cost less than many places on the mainland. Lunch is $98 for an eight-course meal and $138 for a 10-course one. At dinner, there is a choice of 10 courses for $188 and 12 courses for $238.

Behind the counter is chef Steven Hong, 51, who has worked at Ashino in Chijmes, Akane at the Japanese Association and Tamaya Dining in Cuppage Road, among other restaurants. The experience shows.

Seasonality is everything and when I have my $238 omakase meal, I get a plate of tempura with mountain vegetables or sansai. Kogomi, a fiddlehead fern that is in season only for a short time in spring; taranome, young bud of the angelica tree; and fukinoto or Japanese butterbur. The botan ebi and satsuma imo on the plate are good to have, but the sansai wins me over.

So does tender takenoko, tender, sweet young bamboo shoots served unadorned.

Greenwood’s impeccable sourcing means the akagai with the egg yolk miso sauce is crunchy and sweet, and there is jabara otoro on the sashimi platter – the fattest part of the fattest part of the tuna. There is also kinmedai with asparagus, kanpachi with miso and the three nigiri sushi – chutoro, kinmedai with shio kombu and scallop with bafun uni on top.

Just in case you need varying textures, before the sushi course, there is a perfect little interlude – salmon namasu, cartilage from the fish lightly pickled in vinegar.

The main course comes in a hollowed-out chunk of daikon, and it is stewed wagyu brisket. So unexpected and so delicious – I just want the radish to be tender enough to eat. Maybe some rice too, because that sauce is delicious.

Tuna consomme is a luxurious way to end the meal, and all I expect is some fruit. Instead, there is a platter of sweets – umeshu jelly, sesame mochi, datemaki or sweet rolled omelette, yuzu mochi, blood orange supremes and persimmon.

Dear reader, I waddle out of Sentosa, resentful for having to get back to the real world.

Where: 31 Ocean Way. 01-04 Quayside Isle, 31 Ocean Way
MRT: Harbourfront
Open: Noon to 10.30pm daily
Tel: 6262-0450

Breakfast Hola

Good morning, Taiwan

Bacon Egg & Peanut Butter Toast from Breakfast Hola ST PHOTO: TAN HSUEH YUN

While tramping up and down Chinatown for a feature recently, I come upon Breakfast Hola. There is something very quaint and homespun about its facade, and I make a mental note to go back.

Well. It is as charming inside as it is outside. There is simple food done well and a laid-back vibe. I think at first that hola is a Spanish greeting, but the Chinese name of the place says it is Breakfast Is Ready.

Spicy Cai Poh Egg Crepe Roll from Breakfast Hola ST PHOTO: TAN HSUEH YUN

I love the Spicy Cai Poh Egg Crepe Roll ($6.30), a thin pancake rolled up with the pickled radish and a fried egg. It takes me back to jian bing breakfasts in Taipei. Bacon Egg & Peanut Butter Toast ($6.50), is a simple sandwich made better with lettuce and lightly pickled cucumber. Sandwiched between slices of well-toasted bread spread with peanut butter is a fried egg with a runny yolk and thickish slices of bacon. Everything melds beautifully in a bite.

Those cucumbers feature in Taiwanese Cold Noodles ($6.30) too. This pared-down dish relies on the pleasantly chewy noodles, light sesame sauce and a little dollop of not-too-hot chilli to delight.

Taiwanese Cold Noodles at Breakfast Hola ST PHOTO: TAN HSUEH YUN

My only gripe is with Good Morning Milk Tea ($2.90). The tea for milk tea needs to be bracingly strong to stand up to the milk. This one isn’t. It’s insipid, wan and served at the cooler end of lukewarm. Skip it.

Where: 280 South Bridge Road
MRT: Maxwell
Open: 8.30am to 5.30pm daily
Info: @breakfasthola (Instagram)

LR Boulangerie

Hidden in plain sight

Golden Horn from LR Boulangerie ST PHOTO: TAN HSUEH YUN

Many times I have gone someplace to check out something, only to leave with plans to write about another thing altogether. And so I go to Empress Road to check out a stall in the food centre, and instead, find some fantastic pastries at LR Boulangerie.

The business has another shop in Valley Point Shopping Centre, and the one at Empress Road opened late last year. It is the little window with the tempting display of pastries that catches my eye. What is this shiny shop amid the heartland hardware and grocery shops?

Arabiki Croissant from LR Boulangerie ST PHOTO: TAN HSUEH YUN

LR, short for Le Rustique, is more polished than its name suggests. For one thing, the Arabiki Croissant ($7) is terrific – I don’t even need to toast the pastry, stuffed with chicken sausage, to revive it. It is still crisp when I eat it a couple of hours after buying it. Portuguese Egg Tart ($2.80) is similarly magical – the crisp tart shell, which triumphs over Singapore’s humidity, is filled with an eggy, not-too-sweet filling.

My favourite though, has got to be the Golden Horn ($4.20), bread shaped like a croissant. It is lightly chewy, nothing like fluffy milk bread. Perfect with a smear of good butter and a slick of jam. Or for dunking into soup. I’ll be back.

Where: 8 Empress Road, 01-31A
MRT: Farrer
Open: 8.30am to 5pm daily

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