JADE RESTAURANT'S NEW SETTING
Jade at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore has been refurbished and now has a soft, luxurious and elegant feel, thanks to its more muted palette of taupe, white and teal-grey. Previously, it had a stronger, more ritzy vibe.
The food, on the other hand, continues to be impeccable. Headed by executive chef Leong Chee Yeng, must-have offerings include the crispy roasted pork belly ($29), supple pork belly with an unrivalled crackling that boasts a fine crunch; and the simmered egg noodle with Boston lobster and XO chilli sauce (above, $39 a person), deep-fried noodles in a robust gravy of pork lard, prawn head oil and soya sauce.
Leave room for the housemade pistachio muah chee ($8 for two). It is by far one of the best mochis I have had at a Chinese restaurant - soft glutinous rice flour mochi skin with just the right amount of give and bounce encases a lush roasted pistachio filling. Heaven in a bite.
WHERE: Jade, The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, 1 Fullerton Square MRT: Raffles Place OPEN: 11.30am to 3pm (last order 2.30pm), 6.30 to 11pm (last order 10.30pm), daily. It serves a dim sum brunch buffet on weekends and public holidays in two seatings - 11am to 12.45pm and 1.15 to 3pm TEL: 6877-8911/6877-8912 INFO: Go to www.fullertonhotels.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
MADE-TO-ORDER POKE AT ALAKAI
Over the past couple of years, shops selling poke (say poh-kay), a Hawaiian marinated raw fish salad, have been popping up all over town.
While most places toss their poke in large batches and have it ready in time for lunch, four-month-old Alakai at Everton Park makes its poke to order. For one thing, the fish does not go limp or soggy with sauce.
Alakai offers poke in five flavours, from house dressing to Korean-style spicy mayo to spicy Thai. There is salmon, tuna and even a tofu version for vegetarians. Prices start at $14.50 for a set plate or you can opt to mix and match. Add $2 for brown rice.
I tried the salmon poke with house seasoning and the ahi tuna (above) with shoyu sauce. Both were excellent in flavour with just the right amount of marinade.
Owner Lon Ho, 32, who comes from Hawaii, tweaked the flavours to make them a little stronger for the Singaporean palate after feedback from customers. But if, like me, you are a little sensitive when it comes to seasoning, just let him know and I'm sure he can tweak it.
WHERE: Alakai, Block 3 Everton Park, 01-79 MRT: Outram OPEN: 11.30am to 2.30pm, 5.30 to 8.30pm (Tuesdays to Fridays), 11.30am to 8.30pm (Saturdays), closed on Sundays and Mondays TEL: 6904-4957 INFO: www.alakaicompany.com
NEW EATS AT SUGARHALL
Sugarhall is one of those cocktail bars that actually serves proper food, not just the usual fried bar snacks that make you thirsty and inevitably make you drink more than you ought to.
Dishes that I had liked in the past include its roasted beetroot, grilled cauliflower and pork knuckle. Those items are no longer on the menu, which has gone through a few iterations since the bar first opened in 2014.
It revamped its menu - everything is meant to be shared - recently, ahead of its third anniversary.
New items to try include the pork secreto ($19, above). Secreto refers to a "secret" cut of the Iberico pig, which is somewhere between the loin and shoulder. The tender meat, which is served with an addictive side of blackened brussel sprouts topped with pickled onion, is given a wonderful sear on the charcoal grill.
For dessert, try the new strawberry meringue ($12). It is filled with a sweet-tart rum-spiked mousse and is sprinkled with cracked Sarawak pepper for a little bit of extra kick and dimension.
WHERE: Sugarhall, 102 Amoy Street MRT: Telok Ayer OPEN: 6pm to 1am (Mondays to Thursdays), 6pm to 2am (Fridays and Saturdays) TEL: 6222-9102/9732-5607 INFO: Go to www.sugarhall.sg or e-mail email@example.com
DRY MEE HOON KUEH AT FAR EAST PLAZA
Going to Orchard Road does not necessarily mean you have to splurge on a meal.
At Far East Plaza, for example, tasty, wallet-friendly eats range from nasi padang to fish soup.
Another inexpensive option at this mall is dry mee hoon kueh, or hand-torn noodles, from Greenview Cafe on the fourth floor. I like the mee hoon kueh ($4.50, above) here because each piece, which is irregular in shape and thickness, soaks up the flavours of the sauce well.
The noodle squares are tossed in a delicious mix of vinegar and chilli with a subtle sweetness to it, and topped with minced pork and leafy vegetables.
WHERE: Greenview Cafe, 04-96 Far East Plaza, 14 Scotts Road MRT: Orchard OPEN: 10am to 8pm (Mondays to Saturdays), closed on Sundays TEL: 6734-2312 INFO: www.facebook.com/Greenview-Cafe-671656216208409