On the wall near the travellator at Tanglin Mall's basement carpark is a black signboard with white text that tells you about home decor shop House of AnLi. You can't miss it.
But what it doesn't tell you is that the shop also has a bistro and it serves good food.
Light heather grey and beige tones accent the bright and inviting dining space at this Belgian-inspired bistro, which also serves Mariage Freres tea.
I appreciate that the eatery uses organic eggs from New Zealand. The deep orange yolks pack plenty of flavour. Have your eggs (from $6 for one) soft-boiled, poached or scrambled, with add-ons such as smoked salmon.
The smoked eel brunch plate ($26) with avocado, grilled asparagus and caviar served on sourdough toast, is simple and light.
The bistro also makes a good zucchini and bacon quiche ($16), with a thin, crumbly pastry shell and a lush, home-style filling.
Main courses include moussaka ($28), beetroot risotto with feta ($24) and dishes such as lemon sole ($38) and beef cheek ($28). WHERE: House of AnLi, 03-17 Tanglin Mall, 163 Tanglin Road MRT: Orchard OPEN: 9am to 9pm daily TEL: 6235-3851 INFO: houseofanli.com/the-bistro/
JAPANESE BAK CHOR MEE
I stumbled on this mazesoba specialist by chance. The real reason I ended up at Kajiken in Tras Link was that I was so grouchy after poor service and a disappointing meal nearby, I needed to eat something else to keep me from growling at someone.
And was I glad I decided to try its Nagoya-style mazesoba (dry ramen). The noodles ($12.80, photo) hit the spot.
My friend aptly described the dish as Japanese bak chor mee.
Here, chewy, springy noodles come topped with a more than generous amount of snipped chives, piquant and flavourful minced pork and a wobbly onsen egg. Add extra chilli oil and vinegar for kick. Toss and tuck in. Oishii.
WHERE: Kajiken, 01-07 Orchid Hotel, 1 Tras Link. It also has outlets at 7 North Canal Road and 02-03 Square 2, 10 Sinaran Drive MRT: Tanjong Pagar/Raffles Place/Novena OPEN: 11.30am to 3pm, 6 to 9.30pm (weekdays), 11.30am to 9.30pm (weekends) TEL: 8226-0199/ 6904-4714 INFO: Go to www.kajikensg.com. The restaurant accepts only cash
HALAL RICE BOWLS AND SANDWICHES
Muslim-owned cafe All Things Delicious has been my go-to place for moist, wholesome cakes and baked goods for a few years now.
Its baker-owner Imelda Wadhwa does a mean sticky toffee pudding, a gorgeous carrot cake... I could go on.
After it relocated from Crawford Lane to a bigger space in Arab Street last year, it introduced an array of savoury options, much to the delight of its growing fan base.
There are now salads ($16.90) as well as hot, hearty ciabatta sandwiches (from $11.90), with fillings that range from Sriracha chicken to mushrooms and grilled vegetables; and open-faced sandwiches ($15.90), such as roast chicken with mango salsa, a cheesy tuna melt, and avocado toast with soft-boiled eggs (from $8.90, photo).
It had sold out its shakshouka ($18.90), a Middle-Eastern stew with eggs, when I was there (the dish is available only on weekends), so I opted for the chicken tikka rice bowl ($16.90) - basmati rice with sweet-savoury tomato relish, chunks of tender spiced chicken, grilled peppers and a fresh and zingy cucumber raita. It was filling without being too heavy.
There's also a soya-glazed salmon bowl with short-grain rice, avocado, cherry tomatoes, shimeiji mushrooms and a soft-boiled egg ($16.90) for those who prefer fish.
WHERE: All Things Delicious, 01-01, 34 Arab Street MRT: Bugis OPEN: 10am to 9pm (Tuesdays to Thursdays), 10am to 10pm (Fridays), 9am to 10pm (Saturdays), 10am to 7pm (Sundays), closed on Mondays TEL: 6291-4252 INFO: allthingsdelicious.sg
When it comes to yakiniku or Japanese barbecue, I'm used to having to cook the beef myself. But at Yen Yakiniku, the staff cook the meats for you, one piece at a time.
The meats come in a choice of marinade - barbecue sauce, salt and pepper, garlic sauce, miso and spicy miso. If you're a purist like me, stick to salt and pepper for most of the meats.
The thinly sliced Iberico pork jowl ($14) is tender and crisp along the edges. Slices of wagyu oyster blade ($48 for Japanese wagyu, $36 for Australian Mayura Station wagyu, photo) come topped with chopped onions. Each slice is grilled on only one side before it is rolled up and served to you. There is no need for sauce here - just soak up the beef's natural juices and flavour.
WHERE: Yen Yakiniku, 15 Ann Siang Road MRT: Telok Ayer OPEN: 6 to 10.30pm (Mondays to Thursdays), 6 to 11.30pm (Fridays and Saturdays), closed on Sundays TEL: 6221-6380 INFO: Go to www.theyengroup.com.sg. Reservations can be made online at www.chope.co