Archive for the ‘1.0 Media Invites’ Category

Straits Cuisine at Orchard Cafe

Orchard Hotel’s Orchard Cafe has relaunched its “Straits Cuisine” buffet where you can savour Peranakan dishes, traditional roasts, seafood options and all-time local favourites. This is really one buffet where you won’t find any cooked Western dishes, which attests to the passion that Orchard Cafe, Executive Chef Paul Then and his team of chefs have for the buffet spread they have come up with.

Straits Cuisine at Orchard Cafe

Available at the Straits Cuisine buffet spread includes familiar favourites such as Ayam Buah Keluak, Sambal Sting Ray in Banana Leaf, Nyonya Chap Chye, Beef Cheek Rendang etc. Chef Then has has also come up with some interesting dishes such as Black Cod Fish Otah, Crabmeat Kueh Pie Tee with Buah Keluak Caviar and Chempedak Creme Brulee.

The worry about attending such Peranakan / Straits Cuisine themed buffets is that those who love such dishes often come with very high expectations, having had their palates refined from a very young age. To be more direct, there’s just no beating your grandmother’s or your mother’s version. There are however some gems that I’ll be mentioning below. 

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Arossa Wine & Grill

I haven’t had many opportunities to visit Scott’s Square, one of the newest kids on the block along Scotts Road so I was sure glad to be given the opportunity to review Arossa Wine & Grill. If this place sounds or looks vaguely familiar, that’s because they did a revamp of the restaurant and had a change of name from La Luna Rossa to Arossa Wine & Grill. The wooden floors and brick walls have been retained to exude the rustic charm.

Arossa Wine & Grill (2)

Pricing wise, Arossa caters mainly to the business crowd, what with the table cloths and wine glasses. Strangely though, there are attempts to appeal to the masses by doing away with napkins and also serving brunch on the weekends.

Arossa - Charcuterie of Pate de Campagne, Foie Gras Terrine, Proscuitto $32 (2)Charcuterie of Pate de Campagne, Foie Gras Terrine, Prosciutto $32

We started off our meal with this mouth-watering plate of chacuterie. Seeing slivers of ham, pate and terrines never fails to lift my mood up. It’s also a very good way to distract customers while they wait for the mains to be prepared. I particularly liked the Foie Gras Terrine, which went really well with the complimentary bread. Had to control myself or I would have eaten more and had no space for the mains. The Pate de Campagne was also quite interesting as it had nutty bits in it, something that is not too common.

Arossa - Pan Fried foie Gras with Caramelized Apple $30 (2)

Pan Fried foie Gras with Caramelized Apple $30

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Hotel Clover Staycation review

Staycations are all the rage these days, it makes you wonder why haven’t they been popular all along? I suppose 10 years ago when the oil price was still cheap, one could simply fly away to a distant beach resort to spend the weekend there. But with air tickets costing what they do these days, staycations, aka hotel vacations without leaving Singapore makes sense. It definitely does make good sense to me. I for one do not believe in short weekend getaways. If I have to take a plane to get somewhere, I’m going to stay at least 4 or 5 days.

And we all know how taxing it is to take leave from work. First of all, you have to choose dates which are preferably not during your department’s peak period. The days leading up to the said holiday, you feel like you’re in a pressure cooker, trying to make sure all the work is cleared before your departure! A short weekend staycation takes the pressure off me, as there’s no leave that needs to be taken.

Couple of weeks ago, the Partner and I had a short staycation at Hotel Clover along Hong Kong Street. Hotel Clover is a new budget business hotel. The rooms may be small, I’ll be frank about that, but being new, the rooms and furniture are speckless and clean. The best part about Hotel Clover? That it’s so close to the Central Business District area! It’s located right smack in the middle, where Clarke Quay is on one end while Boat Quay is on another. We had a great time combing the whole of Clarke Quay to soak in the vibes, and only had to take a short stroll back. No need to worry about how long it would take to get a taxi! If we had had another night to spare at Hotel Clover, we would have checked out Boat Quay as well. The stroll along the river at night can be quite romantic.

Hotel Clover on Hong Kong Street Facade

Hotel Clover on Hong Kong Street

Hotel Clover on Hong Kong Street Reception Foyer

Reception Area

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Brunch at Ku De Ta, Marina Bay Sands

Ku De Ta - (9)

Are you looking for a brunch location with a difference? How about having brunch at one of the highest spots possible in Singapore, and having it in style? Ku De Ta’s modern Asian brunch moves away from conventional eggs, sausages and baked beans to feature an assortment of fresh sashimi and Asian breakfast favourites inspired by the Singaporean and Japanese palate.

I had the opportunity to partake in Ku De Ta’s gastronomic brunch a couple of weeks back. I have one word of advice, come HUNGRY. As it’s Asian styled, appetisers will be served sharing style. Portions below are for three pax.

Ku De Ta - Edamame with maldon salt

Edamame with Maldon salt

Healthy start to the brunch. And the Maldon salt, there is salt, and there is Maldon salt. These salt flakes are less bitter than the usual iodized granular types that we are so used to.

Ku De Ta - Oysters on Ice, Salmon Sashimi, Tuna Tataki (2)

Oysters on Ice, Salmon Sashimi, Tuna Tataki

Sashimi and oysters to further whet the appetite. As you can probably tell from the photos, these were exceedingly fresh tasting and delicious with the condiments. The tuna tataki had onion ponzu and spring onions on top while the salmon sashimi had a shishito, mizuna and uni powder dressing.

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The Missing Pan

With a name like that, it’s hard not to sit up and notice this new cafe that’s popped up in the Bukit Timah area back in November 2013. I was quite happy to be invited down for a tasting session to help them find their pan if need be. For the record, there’s a western stall at the food court in the Botanic Gardens called Two Cooks and a Pan. The people from The Missing Pan might want to inquire with the Two Cooks….

The Missing Pan - (6)

If you walk past The Missing Pan, at first glance, you might mistaken it for a really tiny cafe able to seat 2 or 3 couples at the most. That’s because the bulk of the seating is actually upstairs! Take the tiny lift right in the middle of the cafe to the 2nd floor, and take your pick of whether to sit facing the open kitchen concept or by the full length windows looking out onto Bukit Timah Road. I’m sure most people would love the quirky yet stylish decor here, with understated tones lots of shelves high above us. I’m frankly a little tired of the retro look that so many cafes sport these days.

The Missing Pan - (26)

The Missing Pan not only differentiates itself from the other cafe in terms of decor, but in terms of menu as well. I like it that there are quite a number of items to choose from. I’ve kinda reached a point where I would like to relax in a cafe and have some brunch that doesn’t just comprise of eggs benedict or all day breakfast, although I must admit I do often order those. But I would LIKE to have a choice. At The Missing Pan, you have 4 egg dishes to choose from, several sandwiches, burgers, a pasta dish, salads and a beef stew.

The Missing Pan - French Toast Salpicon - Chicken, spinach and mushrooms stuffed in French toast, banana nuggets, mixed berries, strawberry-smoked maple syrup ($19  ) (2)

French Toast Salpicon – Chicken, spinach and mushrooms stuffed in French toast, banana nuggets, mixed berries, strawberry-smoked maple syrup ($19)

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