Venchi is one of those fairly mainstream Italian chocolate brands that I can never resist.
Its dark, milk and hazelnut chocolates are heaven in a bite.
The brand's gelato, available at Takashimaya Food Hall and Robinsons at The Heeren, is also top-notch. Smooth and creamy, it is easily the best gelato in Orchard Road, from $6.90 a scoop.
For some decadent chocolate, opt for a scoop of Azteco, a rich and semi-sweet dark chocolate water-based sorbet. This probably has fewer calories too, which is what I like most about it.
If you like orangettes - dried candied orange dipped in dark chocolate - you'll love Venchi's Orange Chocolate, the perfect blend of deep citrus with the intense flavour of chocolate.
Other favourite flavours of mine include Giandujotto - perfect for those who like chocolate and hazelnut - and Brutto Ma Buono Nocciolato Al Latte, an elegant gelato with crunchy hazelnuts.
Each counter offers different flavours so check both out since they are only a two-minute walk from each other.
WHERE: Venchi gelato is available at Venchi, Takashimaya Food Hall, World Confectionery, Basement 2, 391 Orchard Road; and at Le Chocolatier, Robinsons at The Heeren, Basement 1, 260 Orchard Road MRT: Orchard/Somerset OPEN: Takashimaya: 10am to 9.30pm daily; Robinsons: 10.30am to 10pm daily INFO: www.facebook.com/venchi.sg
HEARTY BAR FOOD AT LOOF
Loof burst onto the scene in 2005 as one of Singapore's first roof-top bars.
It's gone through a few renovations and facelifts over the years. Last month, it also launched a new food menu in collaboration with Artichoke and Bird Bird chef Bjorn Shen.
He has taken Loof's bar food up a notch. Forget boring shoe-string fries. Now you can have crisp waffle-cut fries with a deliciously refreshing chilli crab dip that boasts a bit of extra zing ($15, photo).
The panchetta bacon lollipops ($16), with maple syrup and topped with nuts and herbs, are tender and sinfully addictive.
There are two versions of fried rice (from $16 a serving) for those who like their carbs, as well as a selection of burgers. Go for the Pork Chopper ($19), Hainanese-style pork chop with salted vegetable slaw, and the Loof Original Ramly ($23), with a juicy beef patty wrapped in a thin omelette.
Wash everything down with some new Asian-inspired cocktails.
WHERE: Loof, 03-07 Odeon Towers, 331 North Bridge Road MRT: City Hall OPEN: 5pm to 1am (Monday to Thursday), 5pm to 2am (Friday and Saturday), closed on Sunday TEL: 6337-9416 INFO: Go to www.loof.com.sg or e-mail email@example.com
PLENTYFULL AT MILLENIA WALK
Plentyfull is a new 132-seat restaurant at Millenia Walk that also has a gourmet grocery section.
I love that the flavours here are a mish-mash of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Asian.
For lunch, it offers a range of main and side dishes which you can add to a base of greens, Israeli pearl cous cous or brown rice with quinoa (from $17).
Mains range from miso cod to Turkish baked chicken, while sides include sweet and tangy kimchi-macerated tomatoes, charred maple and bacon brussel sprouts, and corn with togarashi powder.
Come dinner time, the space turns into a full-service restaurant with offerings such as Miso Gratinated Aubergine ($16) and Grilled Kin Yan Farm Mushrooms ($18, photo).
WHERE: Plentyfull, 01-79 Millenia Walk, 9 Raffles Boulevard MRT: Promenade OPEN: 11.30am to 10.30pm daily TEL: 6493-2997 INFO: plentyfull.com
SPRINGY WONTON NOODLES
I was recently introduced to a Cantonese-style wonton noodle stall called Lo Chan Kee at Holland Drive Market & Food Centre.
And it lives up to expectations. The noodles ($3, photo) are springy until the last mouthful.
The chilli, while piquant and a beautiful orangey-red colour, does not overpower. The dish comes with a decent amount of leafy greens, char siew and handmade wonton.
Order a bowl of sui gao or prawn and pork dumpling soup ($3) to go with the noodles.
The dumplings have generous fillings, with chunks of prawn mixed with well-seasoned minced pork and wood-ear fungus, and boast good flavour and texture.
WHERE: Lo Chan Kee Cantonese Wanton Noodles, 02-23 Holland Drive Market & Food Centre, Block 44 Holland Drive MRT: Holland Village OPEN: 6am to 2pm, closed on Monday and Friday