Category Archives: review

Aura Wedding Lunch, National Gallery Singapore

Yes!!!

Newly weds to be, if you’re considering Aura at National Gallery as one of your choices to host your wedding lunch, this review is definitely timely in helping you make that choice!

I had the honor to be part of a 60 person wedding lunch recently and I must say I really, really enjoyed the experience.

The below write-up is a review of their Deluxe 4 course sit down lunch ($1088++ for 10 pax).

Artisanal Burrata Cheese with Green Asparagus and Truffle.

Nevermind that everything visible on this plate tasted great. Hiding underneath the slices of asparagus was a generous lump of truffle!

Strozzaprati Pasta with Crab, Prosecco and Salmon Caviar.

At first glance I thought this dish was going to be bland. Boy I was so wrong. The sweetness of the prosecco permeated throughout the whole dish yet not overwhelming on the taste buds. From the first mouth to the last, it was delightful. The strozzaprati would have done great on its own, but the crab and salmon caviar were the finishing touches — cherry on top of the cake.

Beef Tenderloin with Foie Gras, Porcini Mushrooms, Potato Mousseline and Marsala Jus.

I really wasn’t expecting such a huge chunk of foie gras. Oh the melty goodness alongside slices of perfectly seared tenderloin. For a big event like this, getting the consistency of the beef is a very hard thing to do. So glad that this dish turned out excellent.

Aura Classic Tiramisu with Coffee Cream and Chocolate Crumble.

I can understand why the groom gave special mention to the tiramisu. It was rich, velvety and well balanced. I’m particularly sensitive to coffee because I’m no coffee drinker but Aura’s tiramisu had a nice coffee touch to it.

Aura’s wedding lunch is really worth the price, service and experience. I didn’t take a picture, but my lunch view was the Singapore skyline with Marina Bay Sands in the background. Now imagine that.

1 St. Andrew’s Road, #06-02 National Gallery Singapore, S(178957)

+65 6866 1977

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Chocolate Buffet, Fullerton Hotel

No.

I’ve long heard of the legendary chocolate buffet at Fullerton Hotel on Friday and Saturday nights, but only recently did I manage to convince myself that I have to take on the calories just this one time for the experience. My conclusion: not worth the extra pounds at all. 😦

Screenshot from Fullerton Hotel’s website.

There are four savory items on the menu, I strongly recommend eating these first as a base to the sugar overdose later on.

(L) Bittersweet Chocolate Lime Arancinis stuffed with Risotto, (R) Cocoa and Spice-rubbed Baby Pork Ribs.

(L) Baked Ocean Trout Quiche with Ivory White Chocolate, (R) Wagyu Beef and Peruvian Chocolate Poblano Chilli.

The best was the ocean trout quiche, followed by the baby pork ribs and finally the risotto. I strongly suggest skipping the wagyu beef all together. It was terribly dry and not delicious.

Tip: To get juicy ribs, wait till they replenish the dish. The ones available at the start of the buffet have been under the strong heating light for sometime, making it rather dry.

Mango Cake.

Brownie.

Chocolate Praline Crunch.

Raspberry Mousse Cake.

Almond Blanc.

Chocolate fountain with fruits and marshmallows.

Yuzu Mousse. Best dessert of the entire buffet.

White Chocolate Pistachio.

Assorted Pralines.

Tasting table.

Chocolate tart.

Assorted shooters.

Macarons.

Ice cream station.

Live Nitro station.

To be honest I left the place feeling very disappointed with the lack of variety and creativity in their desserts. Pretty much everything you’ve seen above is what you’ll get at the buffet (certainly doesn’t sound as fancy as the PDF menu provided on Fullerton’s website).

Taste wise it is decent, but it doesn’t give you that super wow factor when you cut into the cakes or shooters. Even the pralines were meh! Comparing it to the likes of their weekend highteas (Clifford Pier, Landing Point, Courtyard), the Chocolate Buffet which specialises in pure desserts pales in comparison.

The live nitro station which many other food blogs raved about was so lackluster! By the time I brought it back to my table the effect had already weaned off and the components were so weak that breaking the chocolate dome did not give much surprise. It’s was like eating a room temperature kinder surprise; boring and plain, coupled with the fact that you’ve outgrown the toy inside.

Perhaps my expectations were set too high by the other reviews (which I now realize were all media invites). But honestly at $45 a pax this is not the kind of standard I think Fullerton would be comfortable upholding. Come on guys, you can do better!

1 Fullerton Square, S(049178)

+65 6733 8388

Fridays and Saturdays: 8pm to 11pm

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Funsiamo, Suntec City

Go!!!

If you’re ever out of birthday cake ideas, why not bake one your own? At Funsiamo, you choose your preferred cake, turn up at your reserved time slot, marvel at how everything has been prepared nicely for you, and bake away!

When I visited on a weekday afternoon it was empty so I had the whole place as well as the staff’s attention to myself.

The interior is bright, clean and neat. The working stations are on one end of the studio while the mixers and ovens are on the other end. You can leave your belongings in the lockers provided. Remember to take your phone because you’ll be taking pictures throughout the session.

I chose to bake the Rarity Unicorn cake ($130).

Depending on your selection, the staff would have prepared all necessary tools and ingredients before your arrival. For example, if the recipe calls for just egg yolks, you’ll find separated yolks in their fridge. No fuss about separating them on your own and making a mess out of it.

Before starting work, you’ll first have to watch a video of how the cake is made. The video is customised by Funsiamo, so everything you see in the video is similar to what you’ll experience later on.

Let’s start!

Detailed, step by step instructions (including which tools you’ll need at which stages) are all available so it’s really quite foolproof.

Whisking the egg whites.

If you have baked before, you’ll know how difficult it is to get the soft peaks/ hard peaks correct. Here at Funsiamo, the staff generally lets you do your own mojo, but at critical junctures like this they’ll be there to assist. I got the perfect egg white texture with their help.

Coloured the egg whites.

My unicorn cake is actually a rainbow cake within! Pretty excited at this point to see how it’ll turn out in the end.

Letting the cakes cool down.

The baking process was fuss free. I think I was too easy on the colouring here, couldn’t really tell which was what colour till I took them out of their trays.

Preparing the buttercream for the unicorn mane.

While the buttercream was already provided (i.e., you don’t do it from scratch), you have to colour the buttercream separately before combining them into one huge tube. By the way, do you see those three little squeeze bottles at the back? Those were used to draw the eyes and ears!

Stacking the cakes together.

After stacking the coloured cakes on top of each other (haha they even instruct you which colours to stack first so you get that nice contrast in between the colours), you can slap on the soft cream and freeze your cake in the blast chiller before decorating.

Stuck on the eyes and ears.

Piping the buttercream twirl by twirl. This was so much fun.

The end product! Love how this cake turned out.

Cake, box with ribbon and a fitted paper bag.

Funsiamo has got you covered till the very end. They would pack your cake into a box with an ice pack so you have enough time to travel home without the cake melting. If you prefer to shop around or have your meal in Suntec before leaving, do let them know as they will let you to store your cake with them if there’s enough space.

Had a pleasant surprise after cutting the cake. The colours were so pretty! Taste wise, it wasn’t too sweet as well. Not a single piece of cake was left that day.

My experience at Funsiamo was great for several reasons. At Funsiamo, you don’t have to wash anything except your hands! You know how many bowls you will use in baking? Every ingredient one bowl, 10 ingredients 10 bowls. The staff will also constantly clear your workspace for you so that you have more space to do your stuff.

What stood out for me was the staff’s attentiveness. You don’t get the feeling that someone is eyeballing you yet at the same time the staff will appear when you need help. For instance, I was super nervous when piping the mane because I was afraid that I’ll screw it up. In this split second a staff showed up and helped me to pipe the first one!

3 Temasek Boulevard, #02-458 Suntec City North Wing, S(038983)

Daily: 10am to 10pm

+65 6910 0890

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SKAI Lunch Menu, Swissotel The Stamford

Go!!!

Taking over the space of Equinox on the 70th floor of Swissotel The Stamford is SKAI, a contemporary grill helmed by Chef Paul Hallett. As with all atas places with a ceiling to floor view of the CBD area and a great ambience, the hack is to have their lunch sets which promises you all the frills without burning a hole in your pocket.

As soon as the lift door opens you are greeted with the warmth of overflowing natural sunlight. The super high ceiling gives this place a feeling of grandeur, lifting your spirits instantly.

The interior is simple yet classy. Love the woody textures overlaid with various greens scattered around the place.

The view from my table. Protip: if you’re there to impress, do request for a table by the window prior to your reservation.

For lunch, a 2 course set menu will set you back by $39++ while a 3 course set will set you back by $45++. Needless to say, I went for the 3 course set because you get one more dish for only $6++!

Freshly baked sourdough served with mushroom butter.

Hehe, one of the things I look forward to at such posh restaurants is the bread basket. The bread was so crusty! Left a whole trail of breadcrumbs on my table.

Appetizer: Yellow Fin Tuna with Kohlrabi Remoulade, Watercress, Rice Crisp

The rhapsody of elements in this dish makes every bite a different and refreshing experience. You wouldn’t think that some of the components would make a big difference because they seem so innocuous.

Appetizer: Cauliflower Soup with Roasted Eggplant, Enoki and Truffle

If I were to give a name to this dish, I would call it The Girl Next Door. The whole dish looks really plain and simple, until you take the first scoop. The soup was extremely smooth and you could tell that it’s filled with the natural sweetness of the cauliflower. Also, check out the amount of truffle shavings!

Main: Stanbroke Wagyu Petite Tender with Endive Salad and Asian Spice

Did you know that tenderloins are the most tender part of the cow since this muscle does very little work? It’s perfect for grilling and has that melt in your mouth texture. Super pleased they serve this part for lunch because again, this 3 course meal is only $45++!!!

Look at that pinkish, juicy meat!

Dessert: Exotic Trifle — Coconut, Mango Compote, Lemongrass Sorbet

This dessert is served as a mini show. The staff will pour water into the glass dome containing dry ice in front of you. I knew what was coming but I couldn’t help feeling like a little girl feeling excited and in awe. A pity the dry ice ran out too quickly.

Dessert: Earl Grey Parfait — Raspberry, Citrus Jelly, Yoghurt Ice Cream

Where is the earl grey you wonder? It’s in that hexagonal biscuit looking thing! Because of the sweet and sour details of this dish, you’ll find yourself wanting more and more after every bite.

SKAI lunch sets are a really good deal given the amount of creativity and variation going into each dish. I had a great experience there, and so will you.

2 Stamford Road, Level 70, S(178882)

Lunch: Mondays to Fridays 12noon to 230pm, Saturdays 12noon to 330pm

+65 6837 3322

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Blue Ginger, Tanjong Pagar Road

Go!

Tanjong Pagar road is famous for rows of Korean BBQ eateries and bridal shops, but little did I know a charming Peranakan restaurant rests itself here as well.

As I came with a large group, I was immediately escorted to the second floor where the Peranakan setting was more apparent.

They don’t have set menus for lunch or for a large group, so do ask the staff if the food you’ve ordered is enough for your group; it’s hard to tell the portion size just by the price of it.

Ngo Heong, $12.50.

This dish was good, but must be eaten piping hot to experience that crackling skin sensation. We were hooked, and immediately ordered a second plate to share.

Kang Kong Lemak, $12.

Those chunks that you see are actually sweet potatoes! Oh my, what a delightful combination! Who could have guessed that sweet potatoes would be this delicious with coconut milk and chilli shrimp paste.

Beef Rendang, $18.

I think this was the best dish in the entire meal. The rendang was aromatic to say the least. My table unanimously agreed this was one dish not to be missed.

Ayam Buah Keluak, $20.

Was slightly annoyed that they didn’t provide picks to dig out the creamy flesh but other than that, the dish was well seasoned and prepared.

Chap Chye Masak Titek, $13.

The Chap Chye tasted weird. Apparently it’s prepared using prawn stock but it didn’t taste like the usual Nonya Chap Chye that my colleagues or myself were used to. I recommend skipping this dish.

Otak Otak, $4 per piece.

At this price, I expect the otak to be meaty, creamy and substantial. Blue Ginger’s rendition of otak had bits of fish within and a well balanced blend of spices. Yums.

Bakwan Kepeting, $6.80.

I felt this bowl was a tad too pricy. Granted, the meatballs were made with minced meat and crabmeat, but $6.80… Plus, the soup was also a little mild for my liking.

Nonya Fish Head Curry, $32.

I can’t begin expressing how disappointed we were at this dish. It was overly sweet! What a bugger because it was supposed to be the star of the show. Also, I had the belly area which tasted really, really bad. I am usually I am able to stand the smell of bellies but this was particularly repulsive.

Gula Melaka, $4.50.

Is there such thing as an overly sweet dessert? The gula melaka was so rich that I had a sugar rush shortly after my meal.

97 Tanjong Pagar Road, S(088518)

Daily: 12noon to 3pm, 630pm to 1030pm

+65 6222 3928

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Four Points Eatery Weekend Lunch Buffet, Four Points by Sheraton

Worth a try.

Thanks to Chope’s 1 for 1 buffet promotion, a weekend lunch buffet at Four Points Eatery costs only $30! It is definitely a budget buffet for sure, but at this price, why not go for the experience? Besides, some of the dishes are really worth the calories. You also get a glass of beer or orange/apple juice.

On a Saturday afternoon this place isn’t packed at all. It’s comfortable, bright and the food is well spaced (lack of variety more accurate?).

The cold dishes were barely sufficient. No oysters (duh!) but I was surprised that there weren’t any sushi or sashimi as well.

Fried Homemade Tofu with Chilli Mei Chye Chicken.

Fried Mussels with Dried Tom Yam.

Assam Curry Crab.

Kueh Pie-Ti station.

Roast Meat station.

Salted Egg Squid.

Fried Chicken.

Rojak station.

I would say that Four Points Eatery does their Chinese dishes well. The salted egg squid especially was super crunchy and on point with the amount of salted egg flavour. The roast chicken was also cooked well, not dry at all.

Of all the Chinese dishes, the only miss was the asam curry crab. It lacked the sour kick I was looking for. The crabs were also quite small, not quite worth the effort cracking and digging.

Baked Salmon, Spinach and Parmesan Crust.

Seafood Quiche.

There were a couple more non-Chinese dishes such as Sambal Udang Bendi, Braised Oxtail, Ayam Panggang and Duck with Orang Sauce. Didn’t think those were exceptionally great.

Assortment of local desserts.

Mango Sticky Rice.

Muah Chee.

Ice Kachang station.

The dessert station was quite surprising actually. Didn’t expect to see muah chee and mango sticky rice. They did try to have some exquisite looking cakes (about 3 varieties by the side, bottom left of the picture above) and frankly they were quite nice! My favourite was the mango sticky rice.

I have pretty much covered the entire buffet above, and you can see that indeed the spread is rather limited. For the price of $30, I think the spread and quality of food is worth the buck.

382 Havelock Road, S(169629)

+65 6349 4872

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Shang Pin Hot Pot, Marina Square and Rendezvous Hotel

Go!!!

Step out of the comforts of Hai Di Lao and Beauty in the Pot. Shang Pin Hotpot at Marina Square and Rendezvous Hotel is arguably the most affordable alternative to the two big players. As a bonus, there’s hardly any queue especially at the Marina Square branch because the floor area is huge!

I’ve visited both branches and there’s a stark contrast in ambience and service between both branches. Go for the Marina Square branch if you can.

I’ve included pictures from both Marina Square and Rendezvous Hotel just to show you the contrast.

Exterior and interior of Rendezvous Hotel branch (my pictures look better than the reality!):

Exterior and interior of Marina Square branch, so huge that they have a children’s play area:

Below pictures are a mix from both branches; quality is similar with some differences which I’ll mention.

(L) Tomato Soup, (R) Pig Stomach and Chicken Soup, (M) Mushroom Soup.

The price of the soup is dependent on the most expensive soup you’ve selected. It doesn’t matter if you select one, two or three soups, they charge you only for one soup base. In this case, the pig stomach was the most expensive at $20.

Meat Festival, $24.

I giggled at the name of the dish. At one point the service at Rendezous was so slow that I had to ask the staff “is my Meat Festival coming soon?” Apart from that, good quality slices of beef, mutton and pork. The beef was really fatty though.

Fish Egg Ball (half portion), $6.

Ordered this in lieu of fancy pastes. Unlike HDL and BITP, Shang Pin’s pastes are rather ordinary and common. This was the most interesting fresh paste ball out of the entire selection.

(L) Mushroom Platter (half portion), $7. (R) Cabbage (full portion), $4.

I thought the mushroom platter was value for money. 5 different types of mushrooms for $7! The mushrooms here are about $5 to $6 for full portions so the amount you pay for variety is well spent.

Fried Beancurd Skin (full portion), $6.

I ordered this dish at both outlets but somehow it seems like ordering the half portion is more worth it. The above picture has 6 rolls (Rendezvous Hotel) but when I ordered the half portion for $3 (Marina Square), I got 4 rolls! So I should be getting 8 rolls at Rendezvous but somehow only got 6. Hmm.

Shrimp Paste (half portion), $7.

This is a must order when you’re here. The shrimp paste was crunchy and fresh.

Shang Pin Beef, $16.

The Rendezous Hotel one came rather frozen, causing its texture to be a little rough after cooking. The Marina Square (above) came thawed and fresh looking.

US Beef (half portion), $7.

My advice is to skip this and go straight for the Shang Pin Beef. The difference is only $2 for the full portion but the quality is so, so different.

US Black Pork (half portion), $6.50.

Look at the balance of fats to lean meat! I only thought it was slightly unsightly that the meat was cut in half. Doesn’t have that shiok feeling if you know what I mean.

Chinese Dumplings (half portion), $2.50.

The dumplings were normal tasting. What caught my attention writing this part was that I realised I had 6 dumplings for $2.50. Not sure if they had mistakenly given me the full portion but if not, $2.50 for 6 dumplings is so worth it!

Overall, you can expect the price per pax to be about $40. It’s still not really within the budget of an everyday hotpot meal, but it’s slightly cheaper than HDL and much cheaper than BITP. There’s no fancy waitressing or gifts at all, but the amount of food you get here is definitely more than the other two places. The variety at Shang Pin honestly is not as great, but it suffices. Best of all, NO LONG QUEUES!

Marina Square

6 Raffles Boulevard, #02-102, S(039594)

+65 6565 7666

Daily: 11am to 12am

Rendezvous Hotel

9 Bras Basah Road, #02-02, S(189559)

+65 6238 7666

Daily: 12 noon to 12am

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