SLOW-ROASTED IBERICO PORK BELLY
Music to a foodie's ears is the snap and pop of crispy pork crackling as a knife saws into it. I tried Goodwood Park Hotel's slow-roasted Iberico pork belly at a tasting last week and, despite the many other items in the Christmas spread, I had to have a second serving of the pork just to be doubly sure that I was in love.
The crackling is splendid - you get a nice crunch as you sink your teeth into it - and under it, the smooth layer of fat provides an extra dimension of texture and flavour and acts like a luxe lubricant as you chew. The meat, which is roasted for 31/2 hours with sherry vinegar, white wine and mirepoix of onions, carrots and celery, is flavourful, tender and wonderfully juicy.
The roast pork is available for takeaway from Tuesday to Dec 26 and is priced at $320. It's good for six to eight people, but can probably feed about 10 to 12 people if you have other meats and fillers such as pasta. It comes with pickled cabbage, house-made Granny Smith apple sauce and pork jus infused with smoked bacon.
WHERE: Goodwood Park Hotel, 22 Scotts Road MRT: Orchard/Newton WHEN: Available from Tuesday to Dec 26. Orders must be placed at least three working days in advance. Last day for orders is Dec 18, 2pm TEL: 6730-1867 or 6730-1868, between 10am and 6pm daily INFO: E-mail festive@goodwoodparkhotel. com. Place orders in person at the Deli from 9am to 9pm daily. Orders can also be made online from Tuesday. Go to festive promotions.goodwoodparkhotel.com
PERFECT PUMPKIN PIE
Dolcetto's latest creation, a pumpkin tart topped with a light cinnamon mascarpone and chantilly cream, is the perfect addition to any Christmas party this year. It is available from Tuesday until the end of next month.
The tart shell is layered with a filling made with almonds from Noto in Sicily, followed by lush baked pumpkin pudding.
The cinnamon-flavoured mascarpone cream is light and airy, like a fluffy cloud of Christmassy spices.
It is priced at $9.50+ a slice, $38+ for a 500g tart and $68+ for a 1kg tart.
If you're after a log cake, opt for the Black Currant, Pistachio, Raspberry Log Cake ($79 for 1kg) for something a little less conventional.
Its reddish-pink neon exterior is a little off-putting, but once you tuck into it, you'll be treated to a lovely balance of sweet and tart flavours.
WHERE: Dolcetto by Basilico, Regent Singapore, 1 Cuscaden Road MRT: Orchard WHEN: Both items are available for the month of December. Dolcetto opens from 7.30am to 9pm daily TEL: 6725-3243 or 6725-3244 INFO: E-mail dolcetto.rsn@ fourseasons.com or go to www.regenthotels.com/EN/Singapore/ Cuisine/Dolcetto-by-Basilico
FOR THE LOVE OF UNI
Terra Tokyo Italian restaurant is one of the new haunts to open at trendy Tras Street in Tanjong Pagar.
It is headed by Seita Nakahara (he prefers to go by chef Seita), a Japanese chef trained in classical Italian cuisine.
His Italian food is cooked with ingredients from Japan and pastas are made in-house. The menu changes with the seasons.
At present, the highlight for me is his elegant Sea Urchin Pasta ($38++), made with sea urchin or uni from Hokkaido, yuzu and generous shavings of bottarga.
He generally uses either the dense, full-flavoured bafun uni, or murasaki uni, which is more yellow in colour but still robust in flavour.
The day I went, my pasta was made with murasaki uni and it was heavenly.
The yuzu adds a subtle bright burst of flavour, while the prawn stock that is used to make the sauce provides another layer of intensity. Adding to the umami goodness are generous shavings of house-cured Japanese mullet roe bottarga.
WHERE: Terra, 54 Tras Street MRT: Tanjong Pagar OPEN: Noon to 2pm, 6.30 to 10pm (weekdays), 6.30 to 10pm (Saturday), closed on Sunday TEL: 6221-5159 INFO: Go to www.terraseita. com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
TASTE AND LEARN AT WHISKY LIVE
If you love your whisky, then you had better make your way to Sentosa for the annual Whisky Live festival this weekend.
Don't worry, it's not a beach party, so no bikini or board shorts necessary.
This year, the event, held at Capella Singapore, will showcase more than 90 whisky labels including Kavalan whisky from Taiwan.
I have become quite a fan of Kavalan over the last few years. In fact, the Taiwanese label was named this year's world's best single malt whisky at the World Whiskies Awards. The different styles are worth a try.
I'm also looking forward to tasting Dublin's Teeling Whiskey, which is said to have bright sweet notes of rum on the nose and a sweet-spice finish with woody undertones. The event will also feature other spirits such as rum, including the Caroni (Trinidad & Tobago) Rum.
You can also join one of 10 masterclasses if you want to learn more about these spirits.
WHERE: Whisky Live Singapore 2015, Capella Singapore, 1 The Knolls, Sentosa MRT: HarbourFront WHEN: Tomorrow, 2 to 10pm; and Sunday, 11am to 9pm PRICE: $95 for a one-day pass, $150 for a two-day pass, $250 for a VIP pass with access to the Collector's Room of rare whiskies. Masterclasses are priced at $35 each INFO: Go to www.whiskylive.sg for more information. Go to www.sistic.com.sg to buy tickets. Eventgoers must be aged 18 and above