Whimsical Sanrio wonderland
Get your fill of Hello Kitty and Little Twin Stars at The Stamford Brasserie, which is featuring the Sanrio characters until Jan 29.
The French-style bistro at Swissotel The Stamford is serving up a themed menu with cutesy-sounding dishes such as On Cloud Nine ($16++), which is wild mushroom soup with cappuccino foam served in a Hello Kitty mug.
The cafe interior is decorated in pastel colours for its collaboration with Sanrio, the Japanese company which owns the rights to the bow-wearing white cat and other characters. There is also a photo wall outside the bistro for photo opportunities and a merchandise corner.
The bistro’s themed offerings are as palatable as their pretty presentation.
For a start, the mocktails are refreshing and not overly sweet.
Rosy Dreams ($18++) is a tea-based mocktail that contains milk and is concocted using a rose and strawberry syrup from France. It comes with a motif of Hello Kitty floating on top. The dried rose petals used as garnish are aromatic, though they get in the way of drinking.
The Galaxy Adventures ($18++) gets its blue hue from butterfly pea flower tea and Blue Curacao cordial. With ingredients such as apple, coconut and cucumber, the mocktail is delightfully tropical.
The Rainbow Mediterranean Salad ($16++) has star-shaped slices of pickled daikon in pink and blue nestled on mixed greens. The highlight of the dish is the tangy beetroot hummus which gets its pink hue from beetroot puree that is added to blended chickpeas, sesame paste, olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
For a hearty vegetarian main, go for Fried Rice Paradise ($22++). Edamame beans and sweet corn kernels lend crunch to the fried rice with scrambled egg. The rice comes covered in a thin crepe-like omelette that is baked at a low temperature.
The accompanying blue bechamel sauce, which also gets its colour from butterfly pea flowers, seems a strange addition, but it goes surprisingly well with the rice.
The Kawaii Pulled Pork Milk Bun ($28++) has a filling made from fresh Kurobuta pork belly that is slow-braised for at least six hours. The sauce is housemade pork jus with red wine, beer and housemade barbecue sauce. Even the accompanying vegetable chips are brined and dehydrated in-house.
Save room for the desserts. Monaka Wonders ($16++) is a tasty honey mochi sandwich with azuki bean filling and a small scoop of matcha gelato on the side.
Get your smartphone into video mode for the Instagram-friendly Sun, Moon & Stars Gelato (16++), which is a selection of gelato in different flavours: Madagascar vanilla, matcha, wild strawberry, Sicilian pistachio and Alphonso mango.
The gelato is hidden under a cloud of white cotton candy decorated with edible silver leaf. The dish containing the gelato is placed atop a glass container filled with dry ice. Upon serving, a blue solution is poured over the dry ice for a misty effect.
Where: Hello Kitty and Little Twin Stars at The Stamford Brasserie, Swissotel The Stamford, 2 Stamford Road
MRT: City Hall
Open: Till Jan 29, 10am to 11pm daily
Fluffy focaccia sandwiches
When lunchtime rolls around, I get a craving for the stacked sandwiches made using airy focaccia bread complete with a light crispy crust at L’Arte Pizza & Focaccia.
Situated at a standalone unit opposite Pura Brasa Singapore at Guoco Tower, L’Arte Pizza & Focaccia opened in April, focusing on pizza for the past few months. Now, it has launched a range of focaccia sandwiches.
The Focaccia Mortadella ($20+) comes with a filling of mortadella, basil pesto that is made in-house using pine nuts, burrata and thick slices of beef tomato.
The mortadella’s supple meatiness goes well with the creamy burrata. The beef tomato, which is imported from Europe, is firm and juicy.
Prices are not low, but it is value for money considering the bread is kneaded and baked freshly in-house daily. Ingredients such as the cured meats and cheeses are imported from Italy. Portions are hefty enough to make a filling meal.
For something with a slightly spicy kick, go for the Focaccia Salami ($19+), which is stuffed with salame piccante (a spicy Italian cured meat), porchetta (Italian boneless pork roast) and thick, round slices of firm mozzarella cheese. Caramelised onion lends a toasty sweetness to the sandwich which is also stuffed with Italian arugula.
The highlight is the Focaccia Tartufata ($22+), which oozes housemade truffle cream and is satisfyingly stuffed with prosciutto ham, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese and arugula. The truffle cream is light and has just enough black truffle bits to give it a savoury nuttiness.
The focaccia bread stays light and airy even when it is no longer warm, making it suitable for L’Arte Pizza & Focaccia’s takeaway and delivery concept.
The dough is made from Le 5 Stagioni flour, a leading brand of pizza flour in Italy. Each batch of dough takes over 48 hours to prepare, from mixing and fermenting to kneading and moulding by hand. The liberal use of extra virgin olive oil gives it a beautiful flavour.
The Salad Perfetto ($16) is a mixed-green salad topped with shavings of prosciutto ham, pine nuts, gorgonzola cheese and pickled baby red and yellow peppers from Italy, and tossed in a housemade dressing of Italian extra virgin olive oil, honey and lemon juice.
L’Arte Pizza & Focaccia also has Christmas specials such as the Pizza Tacchino ($36+), which is topped with pumpkin puree, brie, parmesan, turkey breast, strawberry, basil, thyme and drizzles of truffle oil. The turkey breast is marinated in sweet white wine, thyme, extra virgin olive oil and honey, then cooked sous vide to retain its moisture. The resulting turkey is tasty and tender.
The Pizza Tacchino and other L’Arte Christmas specials are available till Jan 2.
Where: L’Arte Pizza & Focaccia, 01-14 Guoco Tower, 5 Wallich Street
MRT: Tanjong Pagar
Open: 11am to 8pm, Mondays to Saturdays. Closed on Sundays
To order: WhatsApp 8932-2923 or order via Oddle at lartepizza.oddle.me