Kuro Izakaya, Suntec City Tower 3

Worth a try.

Everybody loves to chill over bar bites and beer after work. Bonus points added if a place that has this combi is situated at the heart of town. Located at Suntec Tower 3, Kuro Izakaya easily attracts the working crowd when the sun goes down.

To find Kuro Izakaya, you’ll have to walk to Suntec Tower 3 (where Oppo, Harvey Norman, Timberland, GV movie are situated) and exit towards the taxi stand. It’s located outside of the building.

They have a huge range of Japanese whiskeys and beer, perfect for pairing with your bar bites (well they do have staples such as ramen and Japanese curry, but it’s really out of the place to be having those items here).

Pork Jowl, $5. Scallops wrapped in Bacon (Tare and Shio versions), $6. Pork Belly (Tare and Shio versions), $4. Enoki wrapped in Bacon, $4.

Chicken Breast with Mentaiko, $4.

The best kushiyaki? Pork Jowl, followed by Scallops wrapped in Bacon (Tare version). I tried both the tare (sweet sauce) and shio (salted) versions and I very much preferred the tare one. The scallops were huge and juicy, which I really appreciated. As for the pork jowl, I do think that it’s quite difficult to go wrong with it as the texture of the meat is excellent to begin with.

I thought I would like the Chicken Breast with Mentaiko, but unfortunately the breast meat was way too tough. Wrong choice of meat, Kuro Izakaya. Chicken thighs would have been much, much better. Either that, or you make sure you cook your breast meat well.

Kuro Izakaya is a nice and cozy place to chill, but I don’t think I’ll be back again as their kushiyakis aren’t well executed, and the place is seriously lacking in variety. Once is enough for me.

6 Temasek Boulevard, #01-604, S(038986)

Mondays to Thursdays: 1130am to 230pm, 5pm to 11pm

Fridays: 1130am to 230pm, 5pm to 1130pm

Saturdays and Sundays: 1130am to 230pm, 5pm to 10pm

+65 6235 1066

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8 CNY snacks to usher in the new year, Takashimaya

It’s pretty in pink at Takashimaya this CNY 2018 as local and overseas bakeries bring forth their best cookies to the table. Littlemissramen visited the fair on the first day of the event and here are my top favourites.

1. Yuzu Orange, Divine Cookies

This is my top favourite because after eating all the heavy and dense foodstuff everybody stuffed you with (because CNY), this unassuming, petite biscuit magically breaks the tardiness with it’s refreshing and light texture. You’re good to chiong again, and you’re welcome.

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2. Purple Boo-Berry, The Cookie Museum

Unfortunately the sales girl stopped me before I could get a better picture.

The name doesn’t do justice to what’s inside the cookie. It has purple wheat, purple corn, blueberry, oats and white chocolate. How’s that for a super power healthy cookie? You probably can’t tell there’s so much goodness in one single cookie because of the intense flavour of the blueberry, but I’m not complaining. the taste is excellent. These do not come cheap but they’re definitely worth a try.

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3. Bak Kut Teh Cookies, Old Seng Choong

Having this around will definitely break the silence during awkward CNY gatherings. Kampong Spirit also carries other unique flavours such as cereal prawn, but I felt that the Bak Kut Teh was the most outstanding.

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4. Caramel Oat Cookies, Kele

Yet another healthy cookie on the list this year. Those watching your weight will definitely feel less guilty munching this snack. I do shudder at the thought of an oat cookie, but caramel makes everything taste and sound good for some reason. Side point: Kele’s infographics are way too cute!

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5. Pink Champagne, Christine’s by The Cookie Museum

Okay I’m familiar with champagne in mooncakes but champagne in cookies? Now that’s something new, and definitely a crowd pleaser. Pink Champagne not only has liqueur, but also rose petals, grapefruit and cereal within. While the alcoholic tones weren’t particularly obvious, the grapefruit and rose petals certainly helped to carry the flavour through.

6. Three Layers White Cloudy Cookies, The Bakerhaus

If you’re tired of eating too much of the crumbly cookie texture, then I suppose the Three Layers White Cloudy Cookie would be a nice alternative. In all honesty the name of the cookie sounds a little silly, but trust me, you’ll be wanting your second piece in no time. There’s a crumbly layer yes, but quickly you’ll also feel an airy, sweet meringue layer.

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7. Salted Egg Potato Chips, Aunty Esther

The salted egg hype has been given a new breath of air because of the recent Straits Times article. I would say that their chips are really light yet the salted egg flavour is both creamy and gao.

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8. Lychee Kueh Bangkit, Butter Studio

Kueh Bangkit is one of my childhood favourites and I’m so glad Butter Studio still has the lychee flavoured ones this year. I ate this last year and made a mental note to find them again this year and so I did.

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Bonus: CNY Hampers, Asian Treasures

If you’re feeling generous this year and would like to up your hamper gifting game, do check out Asian Treasures for their CNY hampers. I particularly like this year’s hampers because apart from the usual Chinese delicacies like abalone, Asian Treasures’ hampers have incorporated local bakes like salted egg yolk cookies.

The Takashimaya fair runs from now till 14 Feb 18.

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1 Tyrwhitt Bistro Bar, Tyrwhitt Road

Go!

1 Tyrwhitt Bistro Bar sits in the vicinity of Farrer Park MRT, at a corner just opposite Jalan Besar Stadium. It is the place to go whether you’re looking to gather with a big group of friends, or when you just want to have one or two drinks with your buddy.

Screenshot from 1 Tyrwhitt Bistro Bar’s Facebook page.

Truffle Egg Pizza, $23.80.

I’ve been here a couple of times, including when they first started out a couple of years ago. Pretty happy to say that the Truffle Egg Pizza is still my favourite pizza to order when I’m here. The toppings are generous and the pizza base is thin and crunchy.

Mushroom Risotto.

This truffle aroma of the risotto was super satisfying! I also liked that they chose the right type of grains for their risotto.

Mushroom Prawn Aglio Olio, $16.80.

I was surprised when I took my first bite because this certainly didn’t taste like your usual aglio olio. In fact, it tasted a bit like 麻辣香锅. As a result, it was a great hit with my guests. This should be on our list of to-orders when we’re back here the next time.

Four Cheese Gnocchi.

At this point I must say that you should have your gnocchi done four cheese style IF you’re a serious cheese lover. The flavour was intense. I had two potato bites and I was done with this dish.

Chicken Chop, $16.80.

I know, it looks like a mess here but I would say that this dish is worth every penny. There’s mushroom medley, mashed potatoes, salad and a huge serving of chicken chop. The chicken chop was still juicy when it reached me!

Tiramisu, $8.80.

After gorging on the above, if you find that you only have space for one dessert, please go with the tiramisu. The whole tiramisu was well constructed, with each layer encompassing just the right amount of alcohol-coffee mix.

1 Tyrwhitt Bistro and Bar has got a huge variety on their menu. With soups to finger food to pasta, pizza, mains and desserts, you’ll definitely find something to share or to pair with your wines and spirits. Bonus point: they have a huge seating area and they open till 12 midnight so you can yak away comfortably!

1 Tyrwhitt Road, S(207522)

Closed Tuesdays.

Mondays, Wednesdays to Sundays: 1130am to 12midnight

+65 6341 5167

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Imperial Treasures Nan Bei, Takashimaya

Go!!!

Imperial Treasures Nan Bei Takashimaya is my favourite place to go when I’m craving for good dim sum. Many would think this place is super atas just by its looks and name, but in reality the prices here are rather justified for the standards and comfort.

Xiao Long Bao, $6.80.

I always lookout for the thickness of the skin, as well as the amount and flavour of the soup. It is rather difficult to make a XLB with a thin skin that remains unbroken when you pick it up with your chopsticks. By the way, you should pick up your XLB by pinching your chopsticks close to the knot. Happy to say that the XLB at Imperial Treasures Nan Bei met my standards.

Siew Mai, $6.20. Har Kau, $6.80.

Typical dishes for a dim sum meal. Again, the skins of the siew mai and har kau were rather thin and easy on the palate. This is unlike some other har kau where the skins are thick and starchy.

Shrimp Cheong Fun, $7.

I loved this dish. The sauce was the right amount of salty, and the cheong fun was light.

You Tiao Cheong Fun, $7.

I hardly see this at dim sum shops, but when I do, it comes already soaked in the sauce, making it soggy. Here, they separate the sauces so you get maximum crispyness. The you tiao itself was super fluffy and not oily at all.

Roasted Pork, $12.

Everyone knows that a good roasted pork depends on the texture of the pork skin, followed by the ratio of fats to lean meat. This dish was well done.

Pork Ribs, $5.30.

Well if there was one dish I would skip, this would be it. Not that it’s horrible, but it wasn’t out of the ordinary for me.

La Mian with Hot and Sour Soup, $12.

I thought this would taste ordinary, but it was surprisingly tasty. The balance of spicyness against the sour tinge was well executed, and the dish is kinda addictive contrary to the jelat impression it gives.

Liu Sha Bao, $5.80.

The Liu Sha Bao here is one of the best Liu Sha Baos in Singapore. There’s more custard than the bun can handle, the texture of the custard is smooth, and the salted egg yolk taste is gao. A must try at Imperial Treasures Nan Bei.

Daily Soup, $28.

The daily soup is good for about 6-8 pax. They will first scoop just the soup for everyone (because afterall, all the essence of the meat and ingredients are in the soup), then lay out the edible ingredients on a plate. I didn’t try the meat, but my guests said it was soft and tender.

Osmanthus Jelly, $4.80.

Great way to end the meal. Look at how gao the Osmanthus jelly is!!! I could finish the whole plate by myself.

Overall, Imperial Treasures Nan Bei is on the pricy side, but you can be assured that the quality of the food and service standards matches your dollar. If you want to celebrate a family member’s birthday but think that zichar is too common and boring, why not consider this place?

Do make your reservations early if you’re planning to dine on weekends as they’re usually quite packed (I made reservations for lunch a day before and couldn’t get a good time. Had to start my “lunch” at 1030am).

391 Orchard Road, #05-12, S(238873)

+65 6738 1238

Mondays to Saturdays: 11am to 10pm

Sundays and PHs: 1030am to 10pm

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Buffet Town, Raffles City

No.

This is the worst buffet I’ve ever eaten.

Buffet Town is located strategically at the basement of Raffles City. This means you can eat your fill and shop off the calories after that (actually maybe you wouldn’t want to do that). Long queues were already forming before they even opened for lunch. For that, I really wonder why. (picture below doesn’t capture the long queue which is on the other side of the entrance)

You have to pay before you enter, and an invisible stamp which is only visible under UV light would be stamped on your hand in case you need to leave and re-enter the eatery.

Seafood on ice. Oysters, prawns, mussels, crayfish. Nothing fantastic about this station, plus the oysters were rather tasteless. I usually start my buffet by taking four oysters, but I struggled to finish even the third one.

Sushi and sashimi counter. Don’t bother going for the sashimi. It didn’t feel fresh at all – texture was mushy and there was a slight bad smell to it.

Roasted pork collar. Unfortunately this was overly dry.

Baked chicken, fish and vegetables. They were over baked and their meat became too tough as a result.

Assorted pizza. I thought the formaggi (cheese) pizza was the best, but they all had soggy, oily crusts.

Grilled salmon fish head. Hits and misses for this. Sometimes it’s really well grilled, but sometimes it’s overly grilled. They don’t really control their timing and consistency.

Pork and beef satay. This was the best dish of the entire buffet! The pork always runs out though, and a queue would form just when the pork is about to be done. Slightly disappointed that the consistency wasn’t there. Took satay from two different batches and while one was well cooked, the other was overcooked and tough.

Teppanyaki. Not much of a choice with the ingredients, and the wait for this can get quite long sometimes.

Assorted tempura – prawn, long beans, mushroom, eggplant. The batter used to fry the tempura was quite heavy and lacked flavour on its own.

Chicken rice and laksa. Didn’t get to try their chicken rice, but their laksa was a little too heavy on the coconut milk. The laksa soup wasn’t strong enough.

Forget about the desserts. Skip this section entirely.

Actually, I started this post with “worth a try” because Buffet Town really has a decent variety and it’s not too pricey ($40 for weekend lunch). But after reviewing all the food above, I figured that you should spend your money elsewhere.

Perhaps it’s because of its variety and price, Buffet Town attracts bargain hunters – people who have that “kiasu” attitude and won’t hesitate to cut your queues and take more than what they need. This, together with the subpar food quality, greatly affected my dining experience.

Won’t be putting their details here because really, don’t go.

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Sushiro, Thomson Plaza

Go!

If you don’t mind having a good sushi in a not so optimal ambience, Sushiro is the place for you. Strangely, Sushiro has two eating places on the same floor within Thomson Plaza — one located within the cluster of small eateries (pictured below), and one located in a proper shop about 30 meters away. It was my first time there and I saw the smaller one first so I dined there.

You’ll see what looks like a queue during dinner, but actually it’s because they have this self serving kiosk which is rather wonky and you only get to view the menu when you’re at the kiosk. Lots of time wasted here.

The self service kiosk only accepts cash. Didn’t have a chance to ask the staff if payment can be done by card. Also, the chef (left corner of the picture) looks pretty legit.

Salmon $3.20, Salmon Belly $4.80, Salmon Belly Mentai $6.20.

Rather rare to see nigiri so beautifully done in Singapore. The fresh salmon slices were pressed on top the rice with perfect, consistent pressure.

Bara Chirashi, $12.80.

The secret to a good barachirashi is the seasoning and rice. Sushiro’s seasoning was fantastic. It was flavourful yet not too overpowering, so you could still taste the freshness of fish bites. The ikura was plump and firm too. The rice however, was a little disappointing. I’m not sure what rice they used, but it doesn’t seem like Japanese rice, and it was a little too moist.

Gyu Yakiniku Set Meal, $19.80.

Look at the soft runny egg! And while you’re at that, take a moment to appreciate the thickness of the salmon sashimi as well. The gyu yakiniku was well cooked and flavoured. Soft, chewy beef slices with the right amount of onions. No complains about this dish sans the rice.

While Sushiro is a great place to get good quality sushi at affordable prices, Thomson Plaza is a little out of the way and there’s nothing else to do in the mall. So unless I’m around the vicinity to begin with, I won’t travel specially to here just for the food.

301 Upper Thomson Road, #01-113F, S(574408)

Closed Tuesdays.

Daily: 1145am to 215pm, 545pm to 915pm

+65 9450 1020

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Ah Chiang’s Porridge, Tiong Poh Road

Go!!!

The best testimony any open air eatery can get — when you see a truckload of people on a sunny afternoon queuing for piping hot porridge at a coffee shop.

There’s definitely something for everyone at Ah Chiang’s Porridge. The varied menu has not only has 28 different types of porridge, but side dishes such as stir fried vegetables and ginger chicken.

After making your order and payment at the cashier, be sure to get your condiments by the side. Yes chilli slices in porridge does seem odd, but when put together with sesame oil, spring onion and ginger, the porridge becomes extremely fragrant and addictive.

Minced Meat Porridge with Egg, $4.50.

The egg is cracked into the bowl just before the pipping hot porridge is poured in, so part of the fun is actually digging for the egg yolk and quickly mixing it into the porridge. Doing so will give you a creamier texture.

Raw Salmon, $5.50.

Always feel this is a must eat when I’m at porridge stalls. Feel free to add more condiments! Also, a dash of pepper makes wonders for this dish.

If you’re heading there for lunch, do go early as by the time the clock hits 1230pm, you’ll have difficultly finding a table.

65 Tiong Poh Road, #01-38, S(160065)

Daily: 6am to 11pm

+65 6557 0084

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