HOLIDAY FEAST AT PORTA
Modern European restaurant Porta keeps the feasting traditional with a four-course festive meal ($66++) on Monday and Tuesday.
The meal starts with a plump pan-seared Hokkaido scallop in a vichysoisse (creamy leek and potato soup), topped with avruga caviar and herb oil. This is followed by Lobster Thermidor in two ways - half of the succulent Boston lobster is topped with cheese and gratinated, while the claw is poached and basted with brown butter.
Pick either beef tenderloin or pan-seared black cod with chorizo stewed with tomato sauce and chickpeas as your main course. I would go for the juicy, perfectly cooked beef, which is served with king oyster mushroom, celeraic puree and red wine reduction.
Complete the meal with red velvet sponge cake, dark chocolate ganache and rich cream cheese.
Add $50++ for a flight of Cattier Champagne to pair with the food - good for those dining on New Year's Eve, who will also get complimentary entry to Park Hotel Clarke Quay's Countdown Party.
WHERE: Porta, Park Hotel Clarke Quay, 1 Unity Street MRT: Fort Canning WHEN: Monday & Tuesday, 6.30 to 10.30pm TEL: 6593-8855 INFO: E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
GREEK GRAIN BOWLS
To balance out the incessant feasting, go for tasty grain bowls at the new Supergreek at Raffles City.
The brand - by the same owner of Omakase Burger and Picnic food hall in Wisma Atria - specialises in grain bowls, wraps and salads with a Greek spin. The portions are substantial and also come with nutritional information, in case you are counting calories.
I must have some meat in my salads, so the Flame Grilled Steak ($13.90) is my top pick. It includes roast beef, housemade tzatziki and hummus, brown rice, sweet potatoes and roasted broccoli.
For a lighter option, go for the Roasted Barramundi ($12.90) with quinoa, cherry tomatoes,and a creamy housemade Parmigiano sauce and crunchy walnuts.
Roasted Vegan ($7.90) focuses mainly on vegetables, with ingredients such as cured beetroot, purple and white cabbage, roasted broccoli and cauliflower, and corn. The mango capsicum sauce and orange vinaigrette add a bright and refreshing dose of flavour.
A guilt-free dessert is the housemade creamy Greek yogurt (from $4.90) - the Superfood Special includes blueberries, bananas, chia seeds and walnuts with the yogurt.
WHERE: B1-54 Raffles City Shopping Centre, 252 North Bridge Road MRT: City Hall OPEN: 10am to 10pm daily INFO: www.supergreek.sg
GET SPICED UP AT TAIKOO LANE
With Chinese New Year coming up, it spells the season of steamboat for me. And if you like your steamboat broth to pack a spicy punch, head to two-month-old Taikoo Lane at Chinatown Point. It is by the owners behind Chengdu Restaurant in Amoy Street, also known for its authentic Sichuan fare.
One of my favourite dishes from Chengdu Restaurant - fish with green peppercorn soup - is the inspiration for the Chengdu green pepper broth ($5) at Taikoo Lane. I order that and add on the Sichuan spicy broth ($5) for my yuan yang individual pot, which is good if you are dining solo.
Other non-spicy broths include pumpkin millet soup ($5) and fish soup broth ($5).
Go luxe with Lobster Noodles ($39.80), which comes with a separate set of condiments to toss with your noodles after cooking.
The Instagram-worthy Spanish Iberico pork collar ($17.80) - beautifully displayed in the shape of a rose - is also a must-try.
Feeling brave? The extremely spicy marinated beef ($18.80) - which is coated in red pepper flakes, chilli powder and other spices - is worth breaking a sweat for.
WHERE: B1-16 Chinatown Point, 133 New Bridge Road MRT: Chinatown OPEN: 11am to 10pm daily TEL: 6970-0966 INFO: www.taikoolane.com
CEDELE'S NEW MENU
Home-grown restaurant chain Cedele may have been in the business for 22 years, but it is not resting on its laurels. Its Wheelock Place outlet recently relaunched with a new menu, along with a renovated dining space that includes a bar counter and retail section.
The new menu includes more vegan and plant-based items - using natural ingredients instead of meat alternatives.
One of my favourite new dishes is Crab Kerabu ($25) - like a version of nasi ulam but with soft-shell crab and fresh crab meat. Organic Jasberry dark purple rice - from a Thai social enterprise that supports small-scale farmers - is tossed in a simple, zesty lime dressing. It is a generous portion of rice that is surprisingly light on the palate. Prawns from local farm Ah Hua Kelong are used in the Sunshine Fish & Prawn Pilaf Rice Bowl ($25, above). It includes turmeric basmati rice tossed in a fragrant lemongrass lime dressing, ginger, kale and toasted coconut.
I also enjoy Portobello Pumpkin Risotto ($19), which is cooked in soya milk and gets a lovely creamy texture from pumpkin, not cheese.
While the main menu revamp is at the Wheelock Place outlet, some of the new dishes are also available at the all-day dining branches at Marina Bay Sands and Great World City.
WHERE: Cedele, 03-14 Wheelock Place, 501 Orchard Road MRT: Orchard OPEN: 11am to 9.30pm daily TEL: 6732-8520 INFO: www.cedelegroup.com