Eunice Quek Food Correspondent recommends

English and Peranakan afternoon tea at Pan Pacific Singapore, chicken rice from Roost, Grissini, and LeTAO's matcha cheesecake

PHOTOS: GRAND COPTHORNE WATERFRONT HOTEL, LETAO SINGAPORE, PAN PACIFIC SINGAPORE, ROOST

BEST OF BOTH WORLDS

Savour the best of both worlds with new English and Peranakan afternoon tea sets at Pan Pacific Singapore. My suggestion is to grab a friend or two and order both tea sets. Highlights from the English set include the Pacific lobster roll, eclairon (a cross between an eclair and macaron) with a blackberry filling, sea salt caramel chocolate tart and strawberry profiteroles.

The savoury side of me prefers the Peranakan set (above), which comes in a three-tier tiffin carrier. I like the crab meat kueh pie tee, Nonya chicken curry and popiah.

The dessert selection includes ondeh ondeh, kueh dadar and a not-too-sweet bandung macaron, a play on the rose-flavoured drink.

Instead of the raisin scones that come with the English set, the Peranakan option comes with coconut scones, which go well with the kaya spread or pineapple jam. Classic scones come with both sets as well.

WHERE: Atrium and Pacific Marketplace, Level 1 Pan Pacific Singapore, 7 Raffles Boulevard MRT: Promenade WHEN: 2.30 - 5.30pm daily PRICE: $38 (includes coffee and tea); $58 (includes coffee, tea and a glass of Laurent-Perrier Champagne); $68 (includes coffee, tea and a glass of Laurent-Perrier Rose Champagne) TEL: 6826-8240 INFO: E-mail celebrate.sin@panpacific.com


CHICKEN RULES THE ROOST

Whenever I see chicken rice served in a restaurant setting, I always wonder who would order the dish besides tourists. After all, locals would certainly prefer to eat the dish at a hawker centre and at a cheaper price.

But I do a double-take when I walk past Roost at The Centrepoint, as its kitchen houses an automated poultry-cooking machine - made in Singapore - called iKook.

The machine can cook up to 10 birds in less than 40 minutes and delivers consistently cooked chicken.

Choose from the menu of chicken-centric noodle or rice options, priced at a decent $7.90++ for a noodle set or $8.90++ for a rice set. Both sets come with a barley drink. It is not the cheapest, but still reasonable for the portion and its Orchard Road location.

My pick is the Yin Yang Chicken Rice (above), with both poached and soya sauce chicken. While I wish the pieces were thicker, the portion is still substantial and the chicken is perfectly tender, juicy and still slightly pink. The fragrant rice is not too oily.

I also get house-made chilli and ginger condiments and a bowl of soup - all neatly plated. I do wish the chilli was a tad spicier, but it is still flavourful.

Other dishes include chicken laksa ($7.90), Ipoh kway teow soup ($7.90) and more unique offerings such as chicken sushi ($4.90) and crispy chicken rice balls ($4.90).

WHERE: B1-17/18/19 The Centrepoint, 176 Orchard Road MRT: Somerset OPEN: 11am - 9pm daily TEL: 6909-0411 INFO: www.facebook.com/roost.sg


ITALIAN DELIGHTS

Italian restaurant Grissini at Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel continues to jazz up its menu offerings with new dishes.

While one cannot really go wrong with the Caprese salad ($26) of mozzarella and fresh Buffalo Heart tomatoes drizzled with Sicilian extra virgin olive oil, the Gamberoni salad ($26) with sous vide Mediterranean king prawn salad with yellow frisee and cherry heirloom tomatoes requires more seasoning.

I much prefer the Wild Catch Mediterranean Octopus when it is served grilled and as a whole tentacle for a main course ($38, above) over the "tartare" version for the appetiser ($24). In this case, the octopus is diced, but still cooked and not raw. However, I had parts which were slightly overcooked and tough, while others were too soft.

I enjoy the housemade charcoal ravioli ($33) with an Alaskan king crab filling, datterini tomato sauce and Sicilian extra virgin olive oil. The pasta is al dente and stuffed with the sweet crab.

I also like the slow-braised Australian veal cheek ($38) with mashed potatoes, carrots and gremolata, as the cheek is fork-tender and very tasty.

WHERE: Grissini, Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, 392 Havelock Road MRT: Tiong Bahru OPEN: Noon - 2.30pm (weekdays), 6.30 - 10.30pm daily TEL: 6233-1100 INFO: E-mail dining.gcw@millenniumhotels.com


DELICIOUS MATCHA CHEESECAKE

My first encounter with LeTAO was three years ago in its home town of Otaru city in Hokkaido, Japan.

It was love at first bite as I sank my teeth into the lush Double Fromage - with a layer of unbaked cheesecake on top and baked cheesecake below.

The four-month-old LeTAO Singapore at Ion Orchard also sells the signature cheesecake ($28), along with a variety of its cookies and chocolates.

And for a limited time only, there is also the new Matcha Fromage ($35, above), which is made with Hokkaido cream cheese, Italian mascarpone and matcha from Kyoto. The matcha flavour is light, but not overpowered by the slightly tangy cheese layer.

The cake is best eaten by the next day and I don't think finishing it is an issue.

WHERE: LeTAO Singapore, B1-K7 Ion Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn MRT: Orchard OPEN: 10am - 10pm daily TEL: 8799-3551 INFO: www.letaosg.com

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 21, 2017, with the headline 'Food Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe