DESSERT PIG OUT
I don't have a sweet tooth, but I have found a dessert programme I can get behind. Fat Lulu's restaurant in River Valley Road may be known for its grilled items, but its dessert menu is also well-executed and offers a good selection. For $65++, you get a set of 10 desserts (for up to four people).
My picks are those which include a granita - perfect for cleansing and refreshing the palate, balancing the sweetness and adding texture. One of them is the hazelnut popsicle, served with chunks of housemade chocolate cookies and raspberry granita. Another favourite is the Usimarit (tiramisu spelt backwards) where the sponge fingers are dipped in coffee syrup, and topped with an amazingly smooth mascarpone panna cotta and kahlua granita.
I also enjoy Lemongrass Jelly, which comes with calamansi sorbet, fresh mango or lychee and garnished with edible flowers. It's like a more refined version of the old-school ice jelly cocktail dessert.
If 10 desserts are too much for you, try the new desserts on the a la carte menu. I'd go for the Three Porn Stars - a trio of milk chocolate, hazelnut and Ipoh white kopi popsicles, and frozen passionfruit and prosecco foam for added Instagram-able drama.
WHERE: Fat Lulu's Asian BBQ & Desserts, 297 River Valley Road MRT: Somerset WHEN: From 8.30pm (Tuesdays to Fridays), noon - 3pm (weekends) TEL: 9236-5002 INFO: E-mail email@example.com
OFF-MENU WHISKY EBI RAMEN
Everyone loves an exclusive off-menu item and I like that new online platform Saucy is working with eateries to create such options. So it has collaborated with ramen restaurant Jimoto Ya to amp up its already popular ramen - where the soup is made from a blend of tonkotsu and amaebi broth - with a 20ml shot of ebi oil-infused Yamazaki whisky.
Try the soup first, then pour the whisky in. Whisky purists might frown on this, but the combination works to balance the flavour of the sweet prawns and the whisky.
Instead of char siu, there is minced chicken and pork as well as cabbage - making it even easier to slurp up spoonfuls of the ramen.
To reserve a bowl of the Yamazaki Ebi Ramen ($28), buy a $3 ticket (expires within one month from date of purchase) online from Saucy and pay the balance of the dish at the restaurant. Limited to 30 bowls a day.
WHERE: Jimoto Ya, 01-44/45 Nanking Row, 3 Pickering StreetMRT: Telok Ayer WHEN: Till Dec 31, 11.30am to 10pm (Mondays to Saturdays), closed on Sundays TEL: 6223-3397 INFO: http://saucy.sg/products/whiskyramen/
THE AFFOGATO BAR
An affogato is one of my favourite ways to complete a meal. It brings together the perfect combination of cold ice cream and hot coffee. Yet the pairing does not have to be boring, especially at The Affogato Bar at Cluny Court which plays around with more elaborate versions of the dessert.
For Christmas, three new options are available. My favourite is the Toasted S'mores ($14.90), which comes with a chocolate brownie stack, chocolate ganache, and graham cracker with a scoop of Smokey Road ice cream. It is topped with toasted marshmallow and served with a side of double-shot Grande Tazza coffee. The combination is not overly cloying and good for sharing.
The Firewood Affogato ($15.90) is filled with toffee sticks, gingerbread crumbs, ginger jelly, and a scoop of Toffee and Gingersnap ice cream. It is topped with a dazzling sparkler and served with a double-shot La Tazza coffee. If you prefer something with alcohol, go for the Lady Claret ($16.90) with Cherry Bianca ice cream, ladyfingers, cherry compote, and served with a double-shot of rum-infused Prima Tazza coffee.
WHERE: 01-04B Cluny Court, 501 Bukit Timah Road MRT: Botanic Gardens WHEN: Till Dec 31, 8am - 11pm daily TEL: 9238-9005 INFO: www.theaffogatobar.com
When I think of Japanese restaurant Shima at Goodwood Park Hotel, I think of teppanyaki which it has been serving since 1980. But with its new seasonal kaiseki menu launched last month, there is even more reason to dine there. Lunch menus start at $48 and dinner from $68.
Some highlights from the $88 dinner menu which I try include seasonal sashimi; fukahire (shark's fin) chawanmushi; and matsutake takikomi gohan, which is matsutake mushrooms with rice cooked in dashi - a simple but comforting bowl. Another delicious item is wagyu beef and aonegi (green spring onion) wrap, paired with amberjack marinated in Kyoto miso. There is also a radish dish where the radish is carved to resemble a chrysanthemum flower and stuffed with shrimp paste, because the traditional multi-course kaiseki meals are always works of art.
WHERE: Goodwood Park Hotel, 22 Scotts Road MRT: Orchard OPEN: Noon - 2.30pm, 6 - 10.30pm daily TEL: 6734-6281 INFO: http://shimarestaurant.com.sg
Book a meal at Shima with Chope.