Monday, October 31, 2016

Restaurant Week October 2016 @ Kuvo Orchard Shopping Centre

Do you try out new places during Restaurant Week? Have been to a couple of restaurants for the past few years now through this event. I think it was useful to suss out up-and-coming restaurants or just to find a menu that offers good value with dishes that you like. Booked a date with buddy for dinner at Kuvo to try out its $38++ 3-course dinner.

Restaurant Week Menu at Kuvo

As usual, we started with a glass of wine. I chose a white wine from Austria while she has her usual bubbly. The Austrian white had a fruity flavour with slight mineral finish.

Lenz Moser Prestige Grüner Veltliner @$12++

First course was the scallop tartare presented in a large white plate. Very light and clean tasting. Tasted of fresh greens and sweet scallops.

wasabi espuma, petite mesclun and hokkaido scallop

Next, I had the braised beef cheek while friend had the Cod Medallion. Am happy with braised till fork tender beef cheeks. Flavourful and of a good portion. Had a bite of the cod medallion and it was rather firm.

200-days grain fed beef, porcini pommes puree, asparagus spears and port jus
Cod Medallion in bacon-nut crust, pearl barley fricasse and lardon emulsion
For the final course, we had desserts. The Cocoa Bar, served with vanilla gelato was such a heavy dessert but so good, so decadent.

Cocoa Bar - rum soaked raisin, milk chocolate sauce
vanilla gelato


Address: 321 Orchard Rd, #02-01 Orchard Shopping Centre, Orchard Shopping Centre, 238866
Business Hours:
Monday – Thursday : 5pm – 1am
Friday & Eve of PH    : 5pm – 2am
Saturday                   : 12 noon to 2am
Sunday & PH             : 12 noon to 1am

Saturday, October 29, 2016

[Media Invite] Kinsa Sushi @ HillV2 Bukit Timah

Kinsa Sushi is not a stranger to the folks staying at HillV2 area. If you're a foodpanda user, you might've come across this restaurant or had tried its signature dish of wagyu don. If you have not, that's ok too as you can read about the experience here.

Recently, we had a mini reunion of sorts at Kinsa to try out some of their new healthier choice creations.

One of those dishes was the Kagoshima A4 Wagyu Kamameshi. Well-cooked purple rice (or also known as the forbidden rice or black rice) cooked in a small steel pot and topped with savoury deliciously tender Kagoshima wagyu beef slices with some naruto (ナルト/なると), sweet peas and shimeji mushrooms. Add an onsen egg for that extra moistness.

Kagoshima A4 Wagyu Kamameshi @$26.80++

The portion of rice in the kamameshi may have looked smallish, but purple rice has similar properties to glutinous rice and one gets full pretty fast by consuming this. Purple rice is also high in antioxidants and fibre. Taste wise, with the savoury sauce, it was similar to eating claypot rice but with a 'healthier' feel. Interesting indeed.

Have you heard of mosaic sushi? Kinsa is offering a version of this trendy food. When we think of mosaic sushi, it is usually colourful, squarish and arranged very neatly. Almost perfect for the OCD in us. The version at Kinsa is like a summer version with other items alongside the mosaic sushi set. The Kinsa Mosaic Sushi set is available from 1 November to 31 December.

Kinsa Mosaic Sushi @$38.80++

One gets a 3 x 3 squares of sushi that has various toppings including tako, ebi, unagi, inari, tamago, surimi with tobiko, ikura etc, lobster salad, pidan tofu, assorted fried items including fried oyster, soft shell crab, pumpkin croquette and soba tempura. Plus a small plate of 3 cute imported Miyazaki mochi. The mochi fillings had either mung bean or red bean.

Miyazaki Mochi (part of the Kinsa Mosaic Sushi set)

Other than that, if you'd just want to sample purple rice, I'd recommend the Black Beauty or the Salmon Mentai Yaki.

Black Beauty くろかれい @$16.80++
The Kurokarei (Black Beauty) has shisamo, mayo, purple rice, tobiko and ikura. I liked. But, in terms of flavour, I'd strongly recommend the Salmon Mentai Yaki. Very nice, with the texture of crunchy (rice) and soft (salmon), bursts of umami'ness from the ikura and the saltish goodness of the mentai, not forgetting the smokey flavours from the aburi'ed salmon. Yums!

Salmon Mentai Yaki @$15.80++
lovely flavours

And sometimes, green tea is not the only choice.


Thank you Shannon and Kinsa Sushi for the tasting and Hence for the invite.

The place was observed to be rather busy on weekend and it was still crowded between 130pm to 3pm. If you feel like having wagyu kamameshi or wagyu don, and staying around Hillview area then head on to Kinsa to try it as it is conveniently located around your neighbourhood.

For lunch, the prices ranges from $15 to $22 per pax, and dinner prices ranges from $16 to $30 per pax, mostly with some specials to cost more.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

[Media Invite] The Peranakan Restaurant @ Orchard Hotel, Claymore Connect

The Peranakan is an authentic Straits cuisine restaurant helmed by Executive Chef Raymond Khoo. He brings to the table years of culinary experience and an arsenal of family recipes accumulated from three generations. Many of the dishes are labour intensive with complex preparation and requires long hours of cooking.  Lucky for us diners, we can skip all of those and just sit back, relax and enjoy Peranakan food at the restaurant with our loved ones.

Location: Claymore Connect is within walking distance of Delphi and Forum Shopping Mall. Was invited by Hence to join him and fellow foodies (Elle, Ivan and Justin) for a tasting session at The Peranakan.

Claymore Connect
The restaurant is interesting. Brightly lit by the many chandeliers, and at every nook and corner, there was always something that catches the eye. Porcelain items, beautifully crafted screens, tiffin carriers and even baju kebaya. It was like a treasure trove!

The Drink

Soursop/Passionfruit with biji selaseh @$8++
Had a glass of soursop passionfruit with basil seeds drink. Served in a tall glass and was a rather nice thirst quencher. Just that often times, the soursop fruit got stuck on the straw.

While waiting for the food to be served, one could munch on the complimentary prawn rolls. Yup, those tiny popiah looking that has hae bee hiam (fried dried shrimp sambal) inside. These were rather spicy and quite addictive too.

prawn rolls

The Food

For soups, what are the first things that came to mind? Yes, you are right. That'll be Itek Tim and Sup Bakwan Kepiting. The version at The Peranakan has a mellow and mild taste. The kiam chye (preserved vege) and duck taste was rather subtle.

Itek Tim @$9++
Thought it was pretty interesting to see in the menu that one could add sea cucumber to the soups by topping up extra $9++.

Sup Bakwan Kepiting @$9++

For appetisers, we tried the Prawn Ngoh Hiang. A rather more'ish meat roll that was fried to a deep brown and then cut. Served with homemade chili cuka (vinegar chili) and sweet sauce. The ngoh hiang has minced pork, prawn and chestnuts in it.

Prawn Ngoh Hiang @$15++
Liked it when all the dishes were brought out at the same time and quickly filled up our round table.

just missing a few more dishes

Suggest to skip the white rice and order their Nasi Ulam Istimewa. Loosely translated as Special Raw Herb Rice. This was a plate of refreshing zesty carbs. Consisting of  raw herbs, vegetables, minced fish and salted fish. Enjoyed this quite a bit. Sedap!

Nasi Ulam Istimewa @$17++
Every Peranakan meal would not be complete if these were not ordered. Ayam Buah Keluak, Nonya Chap Chye and Babi Pongteh. Do you agree?

Ayam Buah Keluak @$22++
Nonya Chap Chye @$15++
Kaki Babi Pong Teh @$19++

The buah keluak is a curious thing. According to wiki, the fresh buah keluak contains hydrogen cyanide and is poisonous if consumed without prior preparation. Since this seed is essential in the ayam buah keluak dish, then extra care and meticulous preparations are required before the fruit/nut is edible. Is this the 'fugu' of the plants?

The Ayam Buah Keluak dish at The Peranakan differs from others as one buah keluak here actually contained two portions. A quaint tiny spoon is provided to dig into the nut. Tried a bit of this and found it smooth. It is still an acquired taste and so I will just enjoy the meaty chicken thigh and the excellent thick sauce.

Sotong Masak Asam @$19++

The Sotong Masak Asam is a dish of squid cooked in tamarind, palm sugar and starfruit. Not as sourish as it sounds. In fact, it was more on the sweeter side.

Satay Babi Sum Chan @$19++

As you may have read at other blogs' reviews, there's nothing remotely 'satay' about the Satay Babi Sum Chan (三辰) dish. No peanut sauce, no skewers, nope so don't go asking for satay sticks nor was the meat grilled. This dish was of pork belly rendered down till the fats melted into the sauce for an overall slightly sweet meat'ish taste. The sauce was flavourful and I'd drizzled lots of it onto my plate of steamed rice. Yums.

In comparison of the two pork dishes, I preferred the Kaki Babi Pong Teh. Cooked for hours, the pork trotters were tender enough but not till the meat falls off the bones.

All meat and no vege? There was. The second vegetable dish was the steamed ladies fingers topped with sliced onions, and chincalok. Simple dish but so good to eat. Feels like home.

Bendeh @$12+

Save some space for desserts

Oh boy. When we said we'll have coffee and dessert, we didn't expect another mini feast. But glad that we did. Loved the Pulot Enti Kelapa and the Pandan Chiffon Cake with Gula Melaka and Durian. Recommend the Pot of Malacca Milk Tea too.

Pot of Malacca Kopi-O (served with kueh bahulu) @$6.50++
sugar, condensed milk or evaporated milk?
Pulot Enti Hae Bee @$6.50++
Pulot Enti Durian @$6.50++ 
Pulot Enti Kelapa @$5++

Make sure you try the Pandan Gula Melaka Cake with Durian. Chef had removed the fibre from the durian, so one gets a fragrant smooth sauce. The hot lemongrass tea is also a good option for those who like to have a not so sweet drink paired with the desserts.

Pandan Gula Melaka Cake @$6.50++
Pandan Gula Melaka Cake with Durian @$8++

Also worth mentioning is the Pineapple Tart. Buttery and with just the right sweetness of the fruit.

The Peranakan Restaurant also offers Peranakan High Tea from 11am to 530pm daily @$24++ and @$28++ per pax on weekdays and weekends. If you'd like to experience a Tok Panjang feast, simply order a day in advance so that Chef and his crew can prepare the ingredients prior to your visit. Tok Panjang is available @$45++ and @$65++ per pax. Both the High Tea and Tok Panjang requires a minimum of 2 pax dining. An 8-course degustation menu is available @$88++ per pax.

You may also let Chef Raymond decides on the menu via the Chef's Table experience. The Chef's Table seats 8 and requires 3-days advance booking notice. Yes, pretty much omakase-style of dining and its price of $288++ per pax is inclusive of wine and sake pairing.

Thank you Chef Raymond and his team at The Peranakan for their warm hospitality and Hence for the invite.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Loof Rooftop Bar @ Odeon Towers

Tucked away at Level 3 of Odeon Towers at 331 North Bridge Road, there lies a cool rooftop bar called Loof. Suspected that it's called Loof 'cause pronounced the 'lao hong' (漏风) way so instead of Roof, it became Loof. No idea, but could possibly be true, right?

menu, please

It's menu has fun things in it, tapas style. We ordered Bacon Lollipop, Twisties Charred Corn, Ichiban Fried Lice (yup, that's correct spelling alright) and Loof Original Ramly. Most extravagant single item in the food menu is the Original Ramly @$23++.

view from the top

Ah, and since it is a bar first and foremost, one would keep the tab open by supplying a card.


Yes, not forgetting the drinks. Our teetotaller friends had mocktails while the drinkers had cocktails. Mine was Little Pink Dot, a pinkish concoction served in a lightbulb. It's made of marshmallow gin (first time seeing this!), mandarin rice wine, dark plum, orange, pink grapefruit, egg white and lavender bitters. Overall, it has a slight powdery texture and sweet. Alcohol content, probably on the lower side. It was a rather small bulb after all.

Little Pink Dot @$19++
Jackfruit Bubble Tea @$21++

There's also a MaMa shop once you exit from the lift. Nice retro things. A blast from the past, if you may.

old school biscuits and accessories
my toy when I was a kid

Service was efficient and our food arrived after a short wait. Liked that everything was served at one go. Nice.

[anti-clockwise] Ichiban Fried Lice, Twisties Charred Corn, Lollipop Bacon and Loof Original Ramly 

The fried rice at one glance, did have a whole lot of ebiko loaded and that provided crunchy texture for each bite. Yums! There's sakura shrimp and edamame too. Enjoyable and hey, it's carbs!

Had high hopes for the Twisties Charred Corn as I do have a gold standard that all charred corn now had to match against. The version at Loof was not it, but still nice. Appreciate that the service crew indulged us in our request to have the corn removed from its cob so that the four of us could share it easily.

In terms of value, the fried rice provided a better value at $18++ per plate when compared against the corn.

Twisties Charred Corn @$13++

The Loof Original Ramly was a thick Australian beef patty, wrapped in egg dripping in secret sedap sauce and served with waffle cut truffle fries. But the sauce was rather mild though.

Loof Original Ramly with waffle fries @$23++
patty wrapped in omelette in sedap sauce

The winner in terms of taste with a decision by unanimous collective agreement, was the Bacon Lollipop. Four sticks of succulent juicy, shiny thick pancetta glazed with sweet maple syrup. Salty, so best paired with a drink.

Bacon Lollipop @$16++

Expect to spend about $40++ per pax minimum if you intend to have a cocktail and a bar bite.

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