LUNCH-TIME LOBSTER ROLLS
I finally made it down to The Naked Finn at Gillman Barracks for lunch two weeks ago to try just one thing: its lobster roll ($29), which was introduced recently. It is worth the trip, including the walk to the restaurant under the blazing sun. In fact, the restaurant was packed on a Tuesday afternoon.
For one thing, the lobster roll here, unlike many other places, is served warm. Not only is the bun warm - buttered and grilled - but also the lobster meat, which is tossed in butter on a cast-iron griddle. At many other restaurants, the lobster meat is cold. I love a warm sandwich. But that being said, it is a different style of lobster roll, owner Tan Ken Loon says. His is a Connecticut-style lobster roll while most of the others in town are New England-style, where the meat is served cold.
While other restaurants toss lobster meat in dressing before placing it on the bun, The Naked Finn instead dresses it with homemade mayonnaise, no less. And I like that, because for once, the meat is not overpowered by the flavour of its dressing.
You can add a squeeze of lemon for extra zip, but I don't think the roll needs it. It is flavourful as it is. The 90g of lobster meat has crunch and texture.
There are also other things on the menu, including the restaurant's robust Hae Mee Tng or Prawn Noodle Soup, and fish and chips done with a line-caught lingcod fillet.
To beat the heat, you might want to indulge in a cocktail or two. My favourite ones are the Fresh Coconut with Barcardi Superior Rum and the Kalamansi with sour plum-infused syrup and Skyy Vodka.
Where: The Naked Finn, Gillman Barracks MRT: Labrador Park Open: Noon - 2pm (weekdays), noon - 3pm (for brunch on Sat), closed on Sun. The restaurant also opens for dinner from Mon - Sat (6 - 10pm) Tel: 6694-0807 (make reservations between 2 & 6pm) Info: www.nakedfinn.com
KUEH TUTU IN THE HEART OF TOWN
Steamed rice flour cake filled with either coconut or ground peanuts has been increasingly difficult to find over the years. When I was growing up, I remember eating it often. There used to be carts at places such as Holland Village and Centrepoint. So, when I came across Queensway Lau Tan Tutu, a small kiosk selling kueh tutu, pandan waffles and muah chee, in the basement food hall at Ion Orchard, I was thrilled. The kueh tutu, which is made-to-order with fillings that include coconut, peanut, red bean and chocolate, is priced at $2.50 for three pieces. It is a small price to pay for a little bite of nostalgia.
Where: Ion Orchard, B4 Food Hall, 2 Orchard Turn MRT: Orchard Open: 12.30 - 10pm daily Info: www.facebook.com/queenswaytutukueh
IMPERIAL TREASURE STEAMBOAT
If there is one restaurant that I can keep heading back to, it is Imperial Treasure Steamboat Restaurant. It has two outlets at Ion Orchard and TripleOne Somerset. Unless you feel like spicy mala, I recommend the traditional pork bone broth or the drunken chicken broth - both are rich and wholesome. The more adventurous can opt for the pork bone soup with tomato and potato. The air-conditioning at Ion Orchard is cold enough so you won't find yourself perspiring.
Another draw is the do-it-yourself dipping sauce where diners are given a tray of condiments, from sesame and chilli sauces to freshly chopped garlic and pickled chillies.
Food-wise, my favourite item is the US beef short rib ($34), which is well-marbled and has good texture because it is thicker than shabu shabu beef.
Other items to order include the prawn balls, not starchy and with a nice crunch, and the prawn or cuttlefish noodles, paste that is squeezed from a piping bag straight into the hot pot. These noodles soak up the robust flavours of the broth.
Where: Ion Orchard, 04-09/10, 2 Orchard Turn & TripleOne Somerset, 01-21/22/23, 111 Somerset Road MRT: Orchard & Somerset Price: Set menus for two start at $88 Open: 11am - 3pm, 6 - 11pm daily Tel: 6636-9339 (Ion Orchard) & 6732-8231 (TripleOne) Info: www.imperialtreasure.com/en/steamboat
NEW DINNER MENU AT NASSIM HILL
Nassim Hill Bakery Bistro & Bar at the Tanglin Post Office started opening for dinner last month. I love the warm and inviting cafe in the day for its breakfast items and sandwiches and am equally impressed by its night-time offerings. You must order the gherkin tempura ($9), where sweet baby gherkins are coated in a light batter and fried to a crisp. Great with a beer, these are easy to munch on as you wait for your main courses.
I like the new DIY Steak Sandwich ($22), a deconstructed sandwich with toasted ciabatta, tender slices of grilled US Angus ribeye and onions caramelised in balsamic vinegar. The fresh coriander the steak is served with also adds a brightness to the palate with each bite. For some lift and extra zing, don't forget to add a small dollop of Dijon and grain mustard on each mini open-faced sandwich.
The rosemary lamb chops served with four breaded polenta cubes ($39) are juicy. The satisfying dish is simple, without fuss. Good news if you are a DBS card member: There is a one-for-one deal for main courses at dinner time from now till Nov 30.
Where: Tanglin Post Office, 01-03, 56 Tanglin Road MRT: Orchard Open: 8am - 11pm (Tue - Sun), closed on Mon. The dinner menu is served from 5 - 11pm. Tel: 6835-1128 Info: www.nassimhill.com.sg