Tan Hsueh Yun Life Editor recommends

Lucia Cakes' cheesecake, SBCD Korean Tofu House, KinMoo, and The Bakery by Woodlands Sourdough

Ombre Berry at Lucia Cakes.
Ombre Berry at Lucia Cakes.PHOTO:LUCIA CAKES

SAY CHEESECAKE

I know the thought of cheesecake makes some people shudder. While I love a rich one, others are put off by the dense texture and how it can fill a tummy too much.

Enter Lucia Cakes. It offers two kinds - Ombre Berry and Avocado Lime (from $45 for a seven-inch cake that serves eight to 12) - that are not baked, but set with halal beef gelatine.

The avocado does not register as strongly as the lime in the avocado version, but I love the bright berry flavour in the Ombre Berry. Both are so very delicate and, after polishing off one slice, I immediately want another.

Ms Agatha Xavier, 35, named her business after her maternal grandmother Lucy, who lived in St Lucia's Lane in Sri Lanka. The baker was in banking for a decade before enrolling in Le Cordon Bleu in London to train in classical French patisserie.

Her offerings are a mix of ethereal and light, like the cheesecakes; and homey, like her brownies.

The Triple Chocolate Brownies (from $35 for an eight-inch square that can be cut into 25 pieces) have a satisfying fudgy texture. They are made with cocoa powder, dark couverture chocolate and white chocolate chips, and is a recipe she has adapted and honed over several years.

Lots of flavour is packed into each little square and there is little to quibble about. But I do think a bit more salt, and dark chocolate chips instead of white, would bring me closer to brownie nirvana.

It is tempting to hop over to the shop, but you are likely to be disappointed. Order online and then pick up.

WHERE: Lucia Cakes, 93A Club Street (for collection) MRT: Telok Ayer TEL: 9726-5101 OPEN: 10am to 7pm (Mondays to Saturdays) INFO: www.luciacakes.com


TANTALISING TOFU

There are many food temptations at Tanjong Pagar Centre. Hattendo cream buns from Japan call out to me and so does the Penang food at The Little Island. But on my first visit there, it is SBCD Korean Tofu House that catches my eye. The attraction: organic tofu made in-house daily.

The tofu is served with beef or pork ($18.90) in a hearty soup. Diners pick the level of spiciness and I am happy with mild. Wobbly, custardy and oh-so-soft, the tofu is a real treat to tuck into, especially together with the spicy soup.

Other versions include Assorted ($19.90) with beef and seafood; Seafood ($19.90), with clams, prawns, squid and mussels; Intestines ($19.90), with beef and offal; and the curious Ham & Cheese ($19.90).

All of these come with Hot Stone Rice (above) and the fun is digging up the crisp grains from the bottom and the sides of the pot. Some stellar side dishes that are part of the set include sweet fried yellow croaker fish.

Other dishes worth ordering include JabChae ($19.90), sweet potato noodles with shredded vegetables and beef; and Prawn Tofu Pancake ($19.90), patties made with that excellent tofu.

WHERE: SBCD Korean Tofu House, B1-01 Tanjong Pagar Centre, 7 Wallich Street MRT: Tanjong Pagar TEL: 6386-6441 OPEN: 11.30am to 10pm daily INFO: www. facebook.com/SBCDSingapore


YUMMY THAI STREET FOOD

While a Bangkok holiday is always a treat, I find fewer reasons to go these days. So much of what I enjoy in the Thai capital - the street food and strong Thai iced tea - is available here.

One of the newest Thai restaurants is KinMoo in Tan Quee Lan Street. The 50-seater, which opened in January, is owned by Ruldoph Tan, 35, who worked in marine fuel oil trading; his Thai wife Thanyaphad Tanapermpassaphon, 30; and Mr Tan's former colleague Lei Tsen Siang, 57.

KinMoo means "eat pork" in Thai and that is what diners do at the restaurant, seeing as how 90 per cent of the menu is dedicated to it.

Kow Lao Moo ($8.90, above) is a dish I would go back for. It is a simple dish - sliced pork, pig liver and intestines and pork balls in a flavourful (and a little sweet) soup. On a rainy night, it is perfect, and made better by slices of daikon in the dish, meltingly soft after soaking up the flavourful soup.

BaaMee Keow Haeng Moo Dang ($6.90), dry wonton noodles with grilled pig jowl, is the best dish of the meal. Neither the wonton nor pork is spectacular, but the noodles are. They take springiness to the next level and are made in Singapore to the owners' specifications. If that isn't enough, they are tossed in lard and there are chunks of it topping the noodles too.

WHERE: KinMoo, 01-02, 2 Tan Quee Lan StreetMRT: Bugis TEL: 6908-1896 OPEN: 11.30am to 3pm, 5.30 to 10pm (last order at 9.30pm), daily INFO: www. facebook.com/kinmootql


BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS

Tucked away at the end of a row of restaurants on the ground floor of Serene Centre is The Bakery by Woodlands Sourdough, a place I keep haunting for breakfast.

As the name suggests, it's a bakery that sells sourdough bread. The bakers are husband-and-wife duo Nurhasanah Johari, 39, and Chalith Kanchana Kariyawasam, 36. Former customer-turned-investor and business partner Bridget Emily Chen, 43, round up the trio of owners. Woodlands comes into the picture because that is where the couple live and where the sourdough starter was created.

The Bakery has a great toast menu.

There are no boring flavour combinations here. My favourite is Vegemite & Cheddar Cheese ($4, above).

A thin layer of the Australian yeast spread sits on the toast and is blanketed by shavings of cheese, with softened butter plopped here and there. There is just enough Vegemite, just enough cheese and just enough butter - perfection.

Peanut Butter & Sriracha ($4) sounds like an odd combination, but makes perfect sense if you think of satay or gado gado sauce.

Bite into Sage Cream & Berry Compote ($4) and you get a little jolt. Is that garlic? Yes, it is and this savoury-sweet vibe is one I like very much.

The only sweet one I try is Chocolate & Marmalade ($4). The orange is lost in all of this, but that is a small quibble. There is good bread. There is melted dark chocolate covering it. What's not to like?

WHERE: The Bakery by Woodlands Sourdough, 01-05 Serene Centre, 10 Jalan Serene MRT: Botanic Gardens TEL: 9816-6251/ 9487-4045 OPEN: 8.30am to 6pm (Wednesdays to Sundays), 5 to 8pm (Sundays for Pizza Night), closed on Mondays and Tuesdays INFO: www.facebook.com/ WoodlandsSD

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 31, 2017, with the headline 'Food Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe