VEGAN AFTERNOON TEA
If you are looking to get started on Veganuary, an international movement to encourage veganism in January, consider Anti:dote bar’s vegan afternoon tea (from $58++ a person, add on champagne from $75++).
Internationally renowned Franco-Australian chef Richard Hawke, who specialises in vegan and gluten- and lactose-free pastry, is behind the delicate sweet treats made with Weiss chocolates from France.
My favourites are the sesame sponge cake with a sesame and almond praline cream and yuzu coulis; hazelnut dark chocolate brownie, with semi-liquid praline enrobed in Weiss VAO vegan milk chocolate and toasted chopped hazelnuts; and pear jelly bon bon with fresh pear jelly encased in a thin chocolate shell.
The flavours and textures are spot on and I find myself trying to figure out how chef Hawke makes the beautiful creations.
It is mind-boggling to find out that the macaron, which looks and tastes like the real thing, is made of potato protein instead of the usual whipped egg whites. The filling is Weiss Mahoe 76 per cent dark chocolate ganache.
I enjoy the savouries too, which include a sausage roll with Impossible Pork, OnlyEg Tamagoyaki on shokupan and Karana taco, with the marinated jackfruit meat substitute paired with chilli crema and pickled onion.
The tea comes complete with raisin scones made with plant-based butter Be Better My Friend, apple cider vinegar and animal-free milk Very Dairy.
They may not be as buttery as I’d like, but I can overlook that with every smear of strawberry marmalade and lemon curd, also made with the same plant-based butter.
Where: Level 1 Fairmont Singapore, 80 Bras Basah Road
MRT: City Hall
When: Till Feb 11, noon to 2pm, 3 to 5pm daily
NAKIRYU’S MICHELIN-STARRED RAMEN
Another ramen of Michelin star fame has landed in Singapore.
Nakiryu, which has retained its one star in Tokyo since 2017, opened on Jan 13 to long queues at Plaza Singapura.
The brand is brought in by food and beverage company Japan Foods Holding, which is also behind the one-Michelin-starred ramen Konjiki Hototogisu’s entrance here.
At first glance, Nakiryu’s menu is interesting. I spot wontons, hot and sour soup ramen and tan tan men, which is what the brand is famous for in Japan.
The restaurant’s chef Kazumasa Saito used to work at the now-defunct one-Michelin-starred Mist restaurant in Hong Kong, which was known for its ramen.
The inclusion of plump wontons in some ramen options (from $17.90) is thanks to the chef’s wife, who is from Hong Kong.
The ramen soup base is made with beef bones, pork and chicken. Chicken is the main ingredient, which makes the broth lighter than the usual tonkotsu.
While I enjoy the creamy tan tan men ($15.90) topped with minced meat, it is the punchier hot and sour soup ramen ($15.90) that hits the spot for me.
Side dishes worth ordering include prawn wonton with spicy garlic sauce ($8.90), which is reminiscent of Sichuan-style wontons in chilli oil; and yodare dori ($5.90), which means mouth-watering chicken in Japanese and is a milder version of the Chinese kou shui ji.
Where: Nakiryu, 02-35 Plaza Singapura, 68 Orchard Road
MRT: Dhoby Ghaut
Open: 11.30am to 2.30pm, 5.30 to 9.30pm daily
THAI HIGH AT SARAI
Go beyond the usual tom yum soup at the three-month-old Sarai, a Thai restaurant in Tanglin Mall.
It takes the place of the now-defunct Patara Fine Thai Cuisine by food and beverage company Creative Eateries, which also runs Sarai.
For a start, the set menus – priced from $68++ for lunch and from $88++ for dinner – give a good snapshot of the overall menu. You can also add dishes from the a la carte menu.
I go for the $68++ set lunch, which starts with a refreshing amuse bouche of watermelon with toasted coconut and smoked fish.
This is followed by two delicious bite-size starters – dried prawns and wild ginger wrapped with betel leaves, and sweet crab meat with pickled garlic on crunchy rice.
I can have bowls of the next course – a flavourful roast duck soup with sweet young coconut and Thai basil.
While Sarai is billed as a fine-dining establishment, there is a homely look and feel to the mains which I like.
My wild mushroom salad with grilled prawn and chili jam and stir-fried sweet pea with tonkin jasmine flowers and rice is served on a big dinner plate. All the better to mix the flavours with the additional dry green curry with beef (add $36).
The meal ends with a creamy pandan coconut pudding with young coconut meat.
Where: 03-122 Tanglin Mall, 163 Tanglin Road
MRT: Orchard Boulevard
Open: 11.30am to 3pm, 5.30 to 10.30pm daily