FIRST DINE-IN OUTLET
MALA VEGETARIAN SET AT JIAK ZHEY
Home-grown vegetarian brand Jiak Zhey (Hokkien for "eat vegetarian food") has come a long way from its hawker days.
It started in 1987 as Lucky Vegetarian Food in Kampong Ubi. After closing in 2008, it reopened from 2016 to 2018 at Geylang East Food Centre, renamed as Jiak Zhey. It also had two other stalls in foodcourts.
Two weeks ago, Jiak Zhey, which has a takeaway kiosk at White Sands mall in Pasir Ris, launched its first dine-in outlet inside FairPrice Xtra's store at Changi Business Park.
The no-frills menu at the 20-seat eatery features a vegetarian spin on familiar local favourites. These include mee siam ($5), mee rebus ($5), nasi lemak ($6.80) and chicken rice ($6.80).
Go for the best-selling laksa and prawn noodles, both priced at $6.80.
My pick is the spicy mala rice set ($7.80), a vegetarian rendition of mala xiang guo (a stir-fried version of mala hot pot).
Unlike mala xiang guo, you cannot pick the ingredients. That is fine with me because the included ingredients already have my must-have lotus root and eringi mushrooms.
Other items include mock luncheon meat and prawns, all stir-fried in a fairly spicy sauce. For the rice options, choose between chicken rice and nasi lemak.
I pick the fragrant chicken rice, which goes well with the mala vibe.
Add $1.10 for a set meal, which comes with a choice of kopi or teh, and the snack of the day.
My snack - zai er (vegetarian mock goose), made with premium fried soya crisps - adds a nice crunch to the meal.
WHERE Jiak Zhey, FairPrice Xtra, 01-51/02-51 UE Bizhub East, 8 Changi Business Park Avenue 1 MRT Expo OPEN 11.30am to 7.30pm daily INFO www.facebook.com/jiakzheysg
FINE MODERN EUROPEAN FARE AT SOMMER
For your next dinner treat, head to new modern European restaurant Sommer, helmed by chef Lewis Barker. He is the former sous chef of the now-defunct Vianney Massot Restaurant.
Prices start at $68 for the three-course Discovery menu and goes up to $228 for the exquisite six-course Experience menu.
The six-course dinner starts with a trio of picture-perfect canapes topped with smoked mackerel, foie gras, botan ebi and ikura.
This is followed by a Majestic Oyster with crisp green apple, green chilli ponzu and caviar; and kuri pumpkin balls with smoked eel, aged parmesan espuma and shaved black truffle.
For the mains, I get a perfectly cooked langoustine with roasted eringi mushroom, and foie gras; as well as dry-aged Irish duck with liver parfait.
The meal ends on a sweet note with a chocolate dessert with candied hazelnuts and medjool dates.
I am completely stuffed, but manage to make room for the petit fours, which include a buttery madeleine, canele and yuzu meringue tart.
WHERE Sommer, 01-02 The Sail at Marina Bay, 2 Marina Boulevard MRT Downtown/Raffles Place OPEN Noon to 2pm, 6 to 9.30pm, Tuesdays to Saturdays, closed on Mondays and Sundays TEL 6436-3668 INFO www.sommerdining.com
WORLD MEAT SERIES RETURNS TO BEDROCK BAR & GRILL
It has been beef dishes galore this Year of the Ox. Now, have your fill at steakhouse Bedrock Bar & Grill, which has brought back its World Meat Series promotion.
This year’s edition transports diners to Yamaguchi, Japan, home to Jukuho Farm and its famed Yamaguchi aged wagyu beef.
While aged wagyu usually refers to beef that has been hung or placed on a rack to dry for several weeks, Jukuho Farm uses the term to refer to its approach to cattle rearing. It specialises in producing beef from cows that are “re-fattened” after they have given birth – a process said to change the quality of the meat and impart a distinct umami flavour.
At Bedrock, executive chef Isaac Tan highlights the aged beef in three dishes.
Bone Marrow Tartare ($36++) is a starter that showcases the chopped ribeye cap on roasted bone marrow, topped with crisp crackers, and “mountain caviar” or tonburi, which are seeds of the bassia scoparia herb from the Akita prefecture.
Another starter, Applewood Smoked Wagyu Tataki ($42++), features thinly sliced aged ribeye cap served with tangy pickled radish, grated hard-boiled egg, puffed rice and mustard.
Or go straight for the main. Fullblood Aged Wagyu Striploin ($148++) is grilled over Bedrock’s signature applewood fire grill and served with house-made sansho pepper sauce and beef fat Yukon Gold potatoes.
The juicy and flavourful meat is not too fatty and delicious without condiments.
WHERE Bedrock Bar & Grill, 01-05 Pan Pacific Serviced Suites Orchard, 96 Somerset Road MRT Somerset WHEN Till March 31, noon to 3pm, 6 to 10.30pm daily TEL 6238-0054 INFO www.bedrock.com.sg