Rebecca Lynne Tan Food Correspondent recommends

Food Picks: The Backstreet Bengs Collaboration, Tokyo Soba, The Matcha Project and Blue Jasmine

Matcha latte (far left) and houjicha latte (left) at The Matcha Project. The Backstreet Bengs comprise (from left) Miller Mai of Ding Dong, Jeremmy Chiam of Le Binchotan and Eugene See of Birds of a Feather.
The Backstreet Bengs comprise (from left) Miller Mai of Ding Dong, Jeremmy Chiam of Le Binchotan and Eugene See of Birds of a Feather. PHOTO: SPA ESPRIT GROUP
Matcha latte (far left) and houjicha latte (left) at The Matcha Project. The Backstreet Bengs comprise (from left) Miller Mai of Ding Dong, Jeremmy Chiam of Le Binchotan and Eugene See of Birds of a Feather.
Chee cheong fun (above).PHOTO: SPA ESPRIT GROUP
Matcha latte (far left) and houjicha latte (left) at The Matcha Project. The Backstreet Bengs comprise (from left) Miller Mai of Ding Dong, Jeremmy Chiam of Le Binchotan and Eugene See of Birds of a Feather.
Matcha latte (far left) and houjicha latte (left) at The Matcha Project. The Backstreet Bengs comprise (from left) Miller Mai of Ding Dong, Jeremmy Chiam of Le Binchotan and Eugene See of Birds of a Feather.PHOTOS: BLUE JASMINE, REBECCA LYNNE TAN, SPA ESPRIT GROUP, WILTIAN ANG
At Tokyo Soba in Tanjong Pagar, soba is freshly made every morning. The shop is an offshoot from Yomoda Soba in Japan.
At Tokyo Soba in Tanjong Pagar, soba is freshly made every morning. The shop is an offshoot from Yomoda Soba in Japan.ST PHOTO: REBECCA LYNNE TAN

THE BACKSTREET BENGS COLLABORATION

Chefs of three restaurants in Amoy Street - Jeremmy Chiam of Le Binchotan, Eugene See of Birds of a Feather and Miller Mai of Ding Dong - are putting on a six-hands collaboration dinner. The first dinner took place on Wednesday, but there are two more sessions on Oct 30 and 31, each limited to 60 people.

The three Singapore-born chefs, who refer to themselves as the Backstreet Bengs - they often hang out together in the back alley behind their restaurants - have themed their dinner around dishes inspired by their childhood and Chinatown.

Diners will be treated to a six-course meal - two dishes at each restaurant. Items include a Sichuan-style chwee kueh from Birds of a Feather; and uni okayu served with charcoal youtiao at Le Binchotan. At Ding Dong, expect a chee cheong fun made with scallop and prawn that has been pressed into a sheet and filled with blue swimmer crab meat.

WHERE: All three restaurants are located at 115 Amoy Street - Le Binchotan, 01-04, entrance is in Gemmill Lane; Birds of a Feather, 01-01; Ding Dong, 01-02 MRT: Telok Ayer WHEN: Oct 30 and 31, 7pm PRICE: $90++ a person TEL: 6224-1045 (Le Binchotan); 6221-7449 (Birds of a Feather); 6557-0189 (Ding Dong) INFO: For reservations, e-mail events@spa-esprit.com. An itinerary will be sent by e-mail to attendees a day before the event. Groups will be split into three and diners will walk from restaurant to restaurant to enjoy the courses



PHOTO: REBECCA LYNNE TAN

HANDMADE SOBA IN TANJONG PAGAR

At Icon Village in Tanjong Pagar, there is a tiny shop with less than 20 seats that serves freshly made soba.

This place is a gem.

It is called Tokyo Soba and is an offshoot of Yomoda Soba, which has three outlets in Japan. The soba here is made in-house every morning from scratch with imported buckwheat flour from Japan. Its subtly flavoured blend of kaeshi used in the dipping sauce for the noodles is also made in Japan for the Singapore outlet. I love that the soba has bite and texture too.

A plate of plain handmade soba - have it hot or cold - costs just $7.50, which is excellent value, considering the use of imported ingredients as well as the laboriousness of making it by hand.

My only gripe is that the cold noodles could be colder, but it is not something that would stop me from heading back.

You can also opt for noodles with toppings such as prawn tempura, kakiage, pork belly or pork katsu.

WHERE: Tokyo Soba, 01-16 Icon Village, 12 Gopeng Street MRT: Tanjong Pagar OPEN: 11am to 11pm daily. It is closed between 3 and 5pm on weekdays and is open all day on weekends TEL: 6410-9353



PHOTO: BLUE JASMINE

TERRIFIC THAI AT BLUE JASMINE

For some delicious Thai food, try Blue Jasmine at Park Hotel Farrer Park. The halal-certified restaurant is great for get-togethers and serves everything from noodle and rice dishes to curries and stir-fries.

Try the cha-om or acacia leaf omelette ($12), which has a robust, tangy and spicy housemade nam prik kapi dipping sauce made with fermented shrimp that I cannot get enough of; as well as the yellow river prawn curry ($26) - an aromatic and appetising yellow curry made with ingredients such as turmeric, galangal and lemongrass, served with perfectly cooked plump shelled prawns and julienned betel leaves.

The holy basil and chilli-jam stir-fried with a choice of squid, chicken or beef ($24 to 28) is also delicious - savoury with good flavours and wok hei (breath of wok).

WHERE: Blue Jasmine, Level 5 Park Hotel Farrer Park, 10 Farrer Park Station Road MRT: Farrer Park OPEN: 11.30am to 10pm daily; buffet dinner from 6.30 to 10pm (Fridays and Saturdays) TEL: 6824-8851 INFO: Go to www.parkhotelgroup.com/en/farrerpark/blue-jasmine or e-mail hello@bluejasmine.com.sg



Matcha latte (left) and houjicha latte (right) at The Matcha Project. PHOTO: WILTIAN ANG

MAD ABOUT MATCHA

I love everything matcha and am always on the hunt for a good matcha latte.

Earlier this week, I tried three variants - a matcha latte, genmaicha (roast rice and green tea) latte and houjicha (roast green tea) latte - at The Matcha Project, a hole-in-the-wall cafe that specialises in both matcha and coffee. I sipped, I stopped and I smiled. The tea lattes ($5.50 each) here are wonderful.

The cafe is located in a corner in the basement of The Sail, in the linkway between Raffles Place MRT station and Marina Bay Financial Centre. There are only six counter seats here, so think of it as more of a grab-and-go sort of kiosk.

This is a haven for matcha fans. Matcha here is sourced from Kyoto. Have a matcha shot (from $5), whisked to order with a chasen or bamboo whisk. Elegant and just lively enough in flavour.

I like that the matcha latte here is bold and spirited, while the milder genmaicha latte is soft, with a lovely aroma and roundness. Opt for the houjicha latte if you like something more savoury. None of them need sugar by the way.

The cafe has plans to change its name to Volks Coffee Co. at the end of next month. But don't worry, it will still serve matcha latte.

WHERE: The Matcha Project, B1-08C The Sail, 2 Marina Boulevard MRT: Raffles Place OPEN: 8am to 5.30pm, weekdays; closed on weekends INFO: E-mail thematchaproject.sg@gmail.com

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2018, with the headline 'Food Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe