THE FIORENTINA EXPERIENCE AT MONTI
I never say no to a good steak and The Fiorentina Experience at Italian restaurant Monti is right up my alley.
The new menu offers a selection of T-bone steaks (1.1kg each, with tenderloin and sirloin cuts, good for four people), and my favourite is the juicy and flavourful Mayura Full-Blood Wagyu T-Bone ($320++). The meat, from beef producer Mayura Station in South Australia, has a marbling score of 9+ and the cows feed on grains and chocolate.
Other delicious options include the Sanchoku F1 Wagyu T-Bone ($220++) and Rangers Valley Black Onyx T-Bone ($180++). Get your camera ready as the steaks are carved and flamed tableside, and served with corn, potatoes and asparagus.
Monti's housemade pasta can't be missed, so go for the fregola ($35++) with tiger prawns, Boston mussels, clams and Sardinian bottarga (salted, cured fish roe) cooked in a rich lobster bisque. The small balls of pasta, like barley pearls, have a chewy bite to them and I like that they soak up the lobster flavour.
Come March 1, look out also for the restaurant's House Of Ravioli selection, which plays on various stuffed pasta options, such as wagyu agnolotti (stuffed small square pasta) with cream of bone marrow, rosemary gremolata (herb sauce) and butter sage sauce.
Where: Monti, 1-Pavilion, 82 Collyer Quay
MRT: Raffles Place
When: Noon to 2.30pm (weekdays), 9.30am to 5pm (weekends and public holidays), 6 to 10.30pm daily
BARISTART'S MILKY WAY
When it comes to good coffee, the focus has always been on the bean, not the milk. So when Baristart Coffee from Hokkaido boasts the use of full cream Hokkaido Biei Jersey Milk, I am immediately intrigued. The milk comes from brown Jersey cows from Biei in Hokkaido, and there are apparently only 800 of such cattle left.
I sample the milk on its own, and it is rich and creamy and has a delicate sweetness. It lends a lovely richness to my hot latte ($6.70+), which comes complete with pretty latte art. To savour more milk, go for the cold Biei Jersey milk coffee ($7.50+), where a shot of coffee is added to a small carafe of milk. What I like is that the milk never overpowers the coffee flavour.
Food options at the cosy 40-seat cafe include tuna and avocado salad with wasabi dressing ($14.80+), Hokkaido carbonara ($17.80+), and tonkatsu sando ($16.80+) - fried pork sandwich with fries. The carbonara uses the same Biei Jersey Milk, which adds extra creaminess to the hearty dish.
If you have no space for food, I suggest just getting a latte and the must-have cream puff ($4.50) - one of the best I've had so far. The crisp pastry is loaded with creamy custard made with the Biei Jersey Milk - perfect for tea time.
Where: Baristart, 65 Tras Street
MRT: Tanjong Pagar
Open: 10am to 10pm daily
CHINESE NEW YEAR BUFFET AT GRAND COPTHORNE WATERFRONT HOTEL
Round off your Chinese New Year festivities at Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel's buffet restaurant Food Capital.
The rotating menu offers a variety of dishes such as cheesy baked oysters, fish maw and seafood soup, stewed pork trotters, drunken herbal prawns, and a show-stopping pen cai (dinner only) served in a huge wok. The pen cai includes goodies such as abalone, scallops, prawns and roast meats.
The buffet is priced at $66++ (weekday lunch), $66.60++ (weekend lunch), or $88++ (dinner daily). Add on yusheng as an a la carte order ($68++ or $88++, available for takeaway) to complete your meal.
Where: Food Capital, Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, 392 Havelock Road
MRT: Tiong Bahru
When: Till Feb 20, noon to 2.30pm, 6.30 to 10.30pm
Info: E-mail email@example.com
NEW DISHES AT RAMEN CHAMPION
With the plethora of dining options at Changi Airport, food outlets have to up their game to stand out. Ramen Champion at Terminal 3 recently revamped its outlet to feature Hokkaido-themed dishes.
I enjoy the Stamina Miso Ramen ($16.80 nett) - inspired by Hokkaido's Mount Yotei - which is topped with all my favourite ingredients such as Hokkaido corn, butter, sukiyaki-style meat, torched pork belly char siew, and ajitama (ramen egg with soft yolk). As the name suggests, you do need some stamina to finish this, so indulge in this miso and tonkotsu-based ramen with a friend.
For something a bit lighter, go for the shio-based Hokadate Kaisen Ramen ($18.80 nett), topped with prawns, squid and scallops. Vegetarians can try the Vegetable Potage Tsukemen ($16.80 nett), with a rich vegetable broth made with pumpkins, corn and carrots, as well as Hokkaido milk.
Dessert highlights include kakigori (shaved ice dessert) (from $11.80 nett) with flavours such as hojicha, Royal Milk Tea, strawberry, and Milo; and brulee toast ($13.80 nett) with a crisp torched crust.
Where: Ramen Champion, B2-58 Changi Airport Terminal 3, 65 Airport Boulevard
MRT: Changi Airport
Open: 10.30am to 11pm daily