HEALTHY CATCH OF THE DAY
Casual restaurant Aloha Poke, which opened last week, wants to introduce poke (say "po-kay"), or marinated Hawaiian raw fish salad, to Singapore diners.
In Hawaii, poke is traditionally done with ahi tuna (yellowfin tuna), but Aloha Poke has decided to offer tuna and salmon poke, given the latter's popularity here.
Fresh sashimi-grade fish is cut into cubes and tossed in a dressing that includes ingredients such as shoyu, sesame oil, sesame seeds and slices of white onion.
Apart from the original dressing, there are also wasabi mayo and spicy versions. Stick to the original if you're a purist, but try the spicy salmon poke or wasabi mayo tuna poke if you want a bit more punch. There are six types of poke.
The pokes are flavourful, well-balanced and distinctly Asian in a comforting yet slightly magical sort of way. Those who don't typically eat raw fish may find this Hawaiian fish tartare more palatable too.
Each bowl of poke (three sizes, starting at $11.90) is served on a bed of vinegared sushi rice and/or brown rice and salad greens (for kale, add $1).
Each serving comes with two toppings - choices range from edamame and cherry tomatoes to seeds and nuts; and an additional superfood of either avocado, chia seeds, pomegranate or quail's eggs. Add more of anything for an additional 50 cents or $1, depending on your selection.
The restaurant turns into a tiki bar at night with cocktails and poke tacos.
WHERE: 92 Amoy Street MRT: Telok Ayer WHEN: 11.30am to 2.30pm, 5pm till late (Monday to Saturday), closed on Sunday TEL: 6221-6565 INFO: www.alohapoke.com.sg
FAMILY-FRIENDLY ITALIAN EATERY IN HILLVIEW
iO Italian Osteria at HillV2 is run by the same people behind Etna, an established Italian restaurant with outlets in Duxton Road and East Coast.
Try the porchetta ($12) - roasted pork belly with wild fennel; eggplant parmigiana ($13) - layers of eggplant and cheese in a rich tomato sauce, baked to perfection; orecchiette pasta with pork sausage in a sensuous and fragrant saffron sauce ($18, right); and garganelli tossed in a luxe slow-braised lamb ragout with lentils, rosemary and sage ($18).
WHERE: iO Italian Osteria, 02-01 HillV2, 4 Hillview Rise MRT: Bukit Gombak WHEN: 11.30am to 3pm, 5 to 10pm (weekday), 10am to 10pm (weekend) TEL: 6710-7150 INFO: http://io-osteria.com
DAINTY DIM SUM
Chef Li Shou Tao, Shang Palace's new dim sum chef, has added an array of dainty and delightful dim sum creations to its menu.
The steamed lobster and bittergourd dumpling's skin is smooth, thin and delicate ($10++ for three), while the golden-brown flaky deep-fried shredded turnip and foie gras pastry ($7++ for two pieces) crumbles in the mouth.
For dessert, order chef Li's steamed custard-coconut layered cake ($6++ for three pieces) - warm layers of lush goodness.
WHERE: Shang Palace, Lobby level, Shangri-La Hotel Singapore, 22 Orange Grove Road MRT: Orchard WHEN: Available at lunch time only, noon to 2.30pm (Monday to Friday), 10.30am to 3pm (weekend and public holiday) TEL: 6213-4473/6213-4398 INFO: tinyurl.com/pjuy5cd
MOZZA'S MEATLESS MONDAYS
Pizzeria Mozza has brought Meatless Mondays - a campaign to stave off meat for one day a week - to its Singapore restaurant at Marina Bay Sands.
Avoiding meat for one day a week is said to reduce the risk of disease and benefit the planet's ecosystem.
Roasted cauliflower, blanched with salted water, then massaged with olive oil ($18, served with a mint yogurt) and roasted carrots rubbed with cumin and coriander seeds ($16, served with dill creme fraiche), have never tasted sweeter.
I love the whole roasted eggplant with hummus, za'atar and zhug ($16, photo). The Middle Eastern-Mediterranean spices, along with the hummus, fresh coriander, garlic and lemon juice, come together well and also bring out the natural sweetness of the eggplant. Even a simple piece of housemade sourdough toast spread with burrata and drizzled with a bright basil pesto, halved cherry tomatoes and garlic chips, is heavenly.
All the produce comes from farmers' markets in California in the United States. Other items on the Meatless Monday menu include roasted beets, white bean bruschetta and grilled cheese sandwiches.
Chef Karla Mendoza, the restaurant's executive chef, says she plans to add items such as parsnip and heirloom carrots in different colours when they come into season as winter in the Northern hemisphere approaches.
WHERE: Pizzeria Mozza, B1-42 to 46 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Galleria Level, 10 Bayfront Avenue MRT: Bayfront WHEN: The Meatless Monday menu is available from 5 to 11pm on Monday only TEL: 6688-8522 INFO: Go to singapore.pizzeriamozza.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org