Rebecca Lynne Tan straitstimesfood.com Editor recommends

Food Picks: Glamping at TBB Safari, Verde Kitchen's assam laksa and more

Pandan-infused pineapple with rolled oats served with a black sesame-infused milk from TBB Safari.
Pandan-infused pineapple with rolled oats served with a black sesame-infused milk from TBB Safari.PHOTO: TIONG BAHRU BAKERY/SPA ESPRIT GROUP
Penang assam laksa by Verde Kitchen.
Penang assam laksa by Verde Kitchen.ST PHOTO: REBECCA LYNNE TAN
Yuletide Blossom log cake from The Deli, Goodwood Park Hotel.
Yuletide Blossom log cake from The Deli, Goodwood Park Hotel.PHOTO: GOODWOOD PARK HOTEL
Cauliflower rice only at Aloha Poke.
Cauliflower rice only at Aloha Poke.PHOTO: ALOHA POKE

GLAMPING AT TBB SAFARI

I went glamping - glamorous camping - in Singapore recently, in the wilds of Minden Road near Dempsey Hill. There, foraged herbs were even included in my food and drink.

The two-week-old TBB Safari is the latest urban glamping bakery experience. It is Tiong Bahru Bakery's newest outlet, housed in a kitschy glamping tent .

The seating area is decorated with ethnic kilim rugs, brass insects and vintage suitcases. Afraid of the heat? Don't worry, there are air blowers for cool comfort.

Aside from the bakery chain's staples like buttery croissants and addictive kouign amanns served in spanking new mess tins, exclusive treats here include pandan-infused pineapple with rolled oats served with a black sesame-infused milk ($8.80) and an apple bircher muesli with rojak flower ($8.50).

Speciality drinks include the blue bell latte ($6) - made with blue pea flowers from the garden and coconut milk - and beetroot and ginger latte ($6.50). Opt for soya or almond milk at no extra charge.

I like the dairy-free turmeric and ginger latte ($6.50) - a zingy, wake-me-up latte made with almond or soya milk and a smidgen of coconut sugar for sweetness.

Head here for breakfast, tea or a casual tete-a-tete.

WHERE: TBB Safari, 130E Minden Road MRT: Farrer Road/Botanic Gardens OPEN: 8am to 6pm daily TEL: 6877-4876 INFO: E-mail enquiries@tiongbahrubakery.com or go to www.tiongbahrubakery.com


VERDE KITCHEN'S ASSAM LAKSA

Earlier this year, when Verde Kitchen opened in the place previously occupied by Glow, one of my favourite cafes, I was devastated. Gone were some of my favourite dishes on the menu too.

Thankfully, while the space and most of the menu have been revamped, some items remained, including the Penang assam laksa ($25), which always satisfies.

A little more luxe and much more expensive than that from a hawker stall, but I think of it as a treat.

Here, the spicy fish broth is thick, robust and full of flavour. The bowl is huge and the cafe does not stint on ingredients - there is plenty of gravy with chunks of fish, shredded cucumber, pieces of pineapple and torch ginger flower.

WHERE: Verde Kitchen, Level 2 Hilton Singapore, 581 Orchard Road MRT: Orchard OPEN: 10.30am to 5pm (Mondays to Saturdays), closed on Sundays TEL: 6730-3397 INFO: E-mail verdekitchen@hilton.com or go to str.sg/oXnd


BEAUTIFUL LOG CAKE FOR CHRISTMAS

I always take descriptions in press releases with a pinch of salt, especially when words like "gorgeous" are used to describe Christmas offerings. I will believe it when I see it.

So when Goodwood Park Hotel's new Yuletide Blossom log cake was delivered to me two weeks ago, I was gobsmacked when I opened the box. The cake was, as described, gorgeous.

The log cake ($82 for a 1kg cake) is decorated with skilfully hand-piped blooms of butter cream in festive colours - intricate and reminiscent of old-school grandeur.

Expect a lush layer of white chocolate mousse around a light strawberry chiffon sponge on a hazelnut sable breton base that is not too sweet. In the centre, tangy yuzu-infused pear poached in red wine makes for a less cloying and more refreshing Christmas dessert.

WHERE: The Deli, Goodwood Park Hotel, 22 Scotts Road MRT: Orchard OPEN: Available for collection till Dec 26. Order at least five days in advance. Order in person at The Deli between 9am and 9pm daily, or over the phone TEL: 6730-1867/6730-1868, from 10am to 6pm daily INFO: E-mail festive@goodwoodparkhotel.com or go to festivepromotions.goodwoodparkhotel.com from tomorrow to order online. Last day for orders is Dec 19, noon


POKE WITH CAULIFLOWER RICE

It has taken a while for the cauliflower rice trend to take root here, but I am glad it finally has.

Cauliflower rice is essentially cauliflower that has been finely chopped until it resembles a grain. It is then cooked and seasoned.

Poke chain Aloha Poke, which has eight outlets in locations such as Change Alley and Westgate, introduced cauliflower rice to its menu last month.

It has also increased its options of cooked and vegetarian poke, as well as added more salad toppings like marinated jelly fish, ikura and roasted red peppers to its arsenal.

I like having the option of cauliflower rice because that way, I can cut down on boring and unnecessary carbohydrates - I like to save those calories for hawker food. Aloha Poke's version is tasty on its own - mildly spiced and fragrant.

Build your own poke bowl for $10.90 and opt for cauliflower rice (additional $2) in place of white or brown rice.

For a vegetarian option, try the Green Giant ($17.90) with cauliflower rice, cubes of tofu in a sesame sauce and sauteed oyster and button mushrooms.

WHERE/MRT: Aloha Poke, eight outlets including Tikki Bar by Aloha Poke, 92 Amoy Street (Telok Ayer), tel: 6221-6165; Takashimaya Shopping Centre (Orchard), B2-31, tel: 6732-1420; Bugis Junction (Bugis), 04-01, tel: 6266-8553; Westgate (Jurong East), 01-09, tel: 6252-7996 OPEN: Various opening hours INFO: www.alohapoke.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2018, with the headline 'Food Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe