HAVE A BALL AT TIMBRE+
When it opened in April this year, hip hawker centre Timbre+ had set aside two stalls under its Incubator Programme to allow first-time food operators to set up shop.
So, as part of their three-month internship, six final-year Technical Diploma in Culinary Arts students from the Institute of Technical Education are running a food caravan, Juz Ballz, until Sept 30.
As its name suggests, expect a ball of a time as the well-curated menu features dishes that are shaped as, well, balls.
For a satisfying lunch, dig into the truffle-flavoured mushrooms ($7.50) - sauteed mushrooms cooked in cream and herbs and flavoured with truffle oil. The mushrooms are shaped into balls and fried in a crisp batter that is not greasy. It is served with fries, housemade coleslaw and mushroom sauce.
Another highlight is the Meatballs Marinara ($9.50), a mix of beef and pork meatballs served with fried mantou, marinara sauce, pickled cucumber, fries and housemade coleslaw. The tender and juicy meatballs go perfectly with the crunchy mantou.
If you have space for dessert, try the Coconuty Goodness ($4), where balls of mashed Japanese sweet potato are fried, drizzled with gula melaka sauce and topped with desiccated coconut. Each ball also has a kaya centre. Definitely a sweet ending.
WHERE: Timbre+, 73A Ayer Rajah Crescent, JTC LaunchPad @ one-north MRT: one-north WHEN: Till Sept 30, 11am to 6pm (Monday to Saturday), closed on Sunday
NEW MENU AT DING DONG
Along with Ding Dong's move to Amoy Street is a revamp of its menu by head chef Jet Lo. The modern South-east Asian restaurant was previously located in Ann Siang Road.
Some of the new dishes - which I was slightly sceptical of - turn out to be pleasant surprises.
One of them is the five-spice lamb tongue with pickled cucumber and black pepper sauce ($17).
The lamb tongue is brined overnight, sous vided for five hours at 92 deg C, cubed and then deep-fried. There is no strong gamey smell and the meat is tender.
Skewer on a pickled cucumber and dip everything into the black pepper sauce for a burst of flavour. It makes for a good bar snack too.
Another interesting combination that works is the housemade banana bread with foie gras and kimchi ($25). The contrast of banana with the spicy-sour kimchi and buttery foie gras makes for a delicious appetiser.
For mains, opt for the chargrilled ocean trout with spiced quinoa and green mango salad ($24, photo). I love chef Lo's Asian spin on the quinoa, with turmeric powder, cardamom, cumin and coriander seeds.
WHERE: 115 Amoy Street, 01-02 MRT: Telok Ayer WHEN: Noon to 3pm (weekday), 6pm to midnight (Monday to Saturday), closed on Sunday TEL: 6557-0189 INFO: www.facebook. com/dingdongsingapore
CHILLI CRAB WITH A TWIST
Curry Times, Old Chang Kee's halal-certified chain of casual cafes, puts its spin on the much-loved chilli and pepper crab dishes for National Day.
This month, check out the chilli soft-shell crab noodles (photo) or black pepper soft-shell crab noodles. Each dish is priced at $13.90++ and comes with free chendol.
I prefer the chilli crab option as the noodles are tossed in a sweet and slightly spicy sauce. The black pepper option reminds me more of a Western-style pasta dish with black pepper sauce, but at least it's not too spicy.
Both options come with a whole soft-shell crab that is fried to crispy goodness. It is not too oily and rather juicy. Plus there is no mess as I don't have to use my hands to fiddle with any crab shells. Major bonus points.
WHERE: Curry Times outlets at Novena Square, 238 Thomson Road, 02-33/34; Westgate, 3 Gateway Drive, 02-08; Changi Airport Terminal 3, B2-51; and One KM, 11 Tanjong Katong Road, 01-70/71/72 MRT: Novena/ Jurong East/Changi Airport/ Paya Lebar WHEN: Till Aug 31 INFO: www.facebook.com/CurryTimes
HOT ROLLS AT MIAM MIAM
French-Japanese casual cafe chain Miam Miam has rolled out a selection of French bread rolls served in hot pans. My favourite is the Alaskan King Crab ($18.90), with crab chunks, Australian spinach and king oyster mushrooms. The other choices are sauteed miso chicken ($14.90), with sauteed chicken breast slices, zucchini and carrots; and grilled shogayaki pork ($15.90, photo), with tender pork fillet, cherry tomatoes and crunchy asparagus.
Each roll comes with a small salad, sauteed shimeiji mushrooms and chips - making for a balanced lunch.
WHERE: Miam Miam outlets at Westgate, 3 Gateway Drive, 01-21/22; Bugis Junction, 200 Victoria Street, 02-14; Tampines 1, 10 Tampines Central 1, B1-05; and Waterway Point, 83 Punggol Central, 01-62 MRT: Jurong East/Bugis/Tampines/ Punggol WHEN: 11.30am to 9.45pm (Sunday to Thursday), 11.30am to 10pm (Friday and Saturday) INFO: www.facebook.com/miam.sg