HANDCRAFTED KUEH FROM OLLELLA
Home-grown brand Ollella, known for its delicious choux pastries, has expanded its range of hand-made kueh as part of the Food Fiesta at Takashimaya Square.
Options include the kue dadar gula melaka which is filled with moist grated coconut cooked in gula melaka. For something less sweet, go for the kue dadar putih, where the grated coconut is cooked with winter melon and honey rock sugar instead. Each piece costs $2, or buy three and get one free.
Another highlight is the lemper ayam ($3 a piece) with shredded chicken braised in coconut milk, lemongrass, candlenuts and other ingredients wrapped in glutinous rice. The lemper ebi ($3.50 a piece) comes with dried prawns instead, stir-fried with a mixture of herbs and spices.
Cake options include the putu ayu original - steamed pandan cake topped with freshly grated coconut. I'd go with the putu ayu gula melaka because everything just tastes better with the added caramel notes, thanks to a drizzle of gula melaka.
The brand's range of kue lapis is also available (from $21), or you can order the goodies online as well.
WHERE: Takashimaya Food Fiesta, B2 Atrium Takashimaya Square, 391 Orchard Road MRT: Orchard WHEN: Till July 8, 10am - 9.30pm daily INFO: Order online at https://ollella.oddle.me/
STINGRAY RICE BOWL AT JIAO CAI HOTPLATE BBQ
When it comes to hawker food, I'm all for youngsters putting a spin on the classics. While Jiao Cai Hotplate BBQ at Yishun Park Hawker Centre is known for its popular grilled seafood items, its second-generation owner Chew Zhi Jie, 27, has come up with two rice bowls - sambal stingray (above) and sambal sotong. Both are priced at $7.
The rice bowls come with a perfectly poached egg with runny yolk, topped with shredded seaweed and sliced cucumber. The tender and moist stingray, of course, remains the star and I enjoy the fragrant and spicy house-made sambal.
Mr Chew's 61-year-old mother has been running the original outlet at Yuhua Village Food Centre in Jurong East for more than 30 years. He left his job at DBS Bank to help her and learn the ropes, before striking out on his own at Yishun Park Hawker Centre.
The enterprising Mr Chew - who created these rice bowls as a convenient lunch option, especially for solo diners who may not want to order a full platter of seafood - has also launched another item, sambal stingray with kang kong and fried egg on rice ($7.80).
WHERE: Jiao Cai Hotplate BBQ, Yishun Park Hawker Centre, 51 Yishun Avenue 11, 01-39 MRT: Yishun WHEN: 11.30am - 4pm daily INFO: www.facebook.com/JIAOCAIBBQ
NEW MENU AT BACCHANALIA
One-Michelin-starred Bacchanalia restaurant has undergone a revamp with new management and a new menu. Thankfully, its head chef Luke Armstrong still helms the kitchen.
Set menus start from $48++ for a three-course lunch, to $238++ for a special Carte Blanche or omakase dinner menu.
Highlights from the Seasonal Inspiration four-course dinner menu ($168++) include the amuse bouche of Majestic Oyster Bavarois with a poached Irish oyster topped with Schrencki caviar (above); and wild line-caught black bass with celeraic linguini and preserved truffle juice.
My favourite dish is the Mieral Duck (above, subject to availability), which is slow-roasted on the crown and served with a bitter chocolate sauce. The duck is juicy and flavourful, and served with a fragrant consomme cooked with different parts of the duck and Armagnac brandy.
WHERE: Bacchanalia, 39 Hongkong Street MRT: Clarke Quay WHEN: Noon - 2pm, 6 - 9.45pm (Tuesdays to Saturdays, closed on Sundays and Mondays) TEL: 6909-6360 INFO: www.facebook.com/BacchanaliaSG
TORI PAITAN RAMEN AT TSUTA
It is out with the duck and in with chicken at popular ramen brand Tsuta.
The restaurant debuted two years ago with its signature shoyu and shio ramen topped with a black truffle sauce, introduced duck ramen late last year, and launches its new tori paitan (above) chicken in white and creamy soup options today.
The broth, made with chicken bones and feet, is boiled for five hours, then blended with shoyu tare (ramen seasoning). The thin noodles come with a roasted teriyaki chicken thigh - cut into thick slices - which has been marinated in shoyu and white wine.
There is also sweet corn, sliced mushrooms, salad leaves and chopped raw onions. While I like onions, the flavour overwhelms the delicate chicken broth. So if you are not an onion fan, avoid it or request for more sweet corn.
The onions, however, can stand up to the spicy tori paitan (from $13 nett), because of the strong spicy kick from the chilli oil made with chilli padi, olive oil and leek. It looks deceptively harmless, but there is a slow release of heat which I thoroughly enjoy. A saucer of tomato paste is served on the side to tone down the heat if necessary. It doesn't make much of a difference to me, so I can do without.
Complement your meal with four new side dishes - smoked salmon salad ($8.80), edamame ($4.80), as well as pan-seared yaki gyoza and boiled sui gyoza ($6.80 each). I like the yaki gyoza as it comes with house-made chilli miso paste - same as what is served with the spicy tori paitan.
WHERE: Tsuta outlets at Pacific Plaza, 9 Scotts Road, and 18 Tai Seng Street MRT: Orchard/Tai Seng WHEN: Pacific Plaza: 11am - 10pm daily, Tai Seng: 11am - 3pm, 5 - 9pm (Mondays to Wednesdays), 11am - 9pm (Thursdays to Sundays and public holidays) INFO: www.facebook.com/Tsutasingapore
Book a meal at Bacchanalia with Chope.