Sunday, December 17, 2017

[Media Invite] Cast Iron 铸铁 @ Duo Galleria

Have you been to Duo Galleria? Yes, that's right. The new place where Man Man Unagi second outlet is located. You may have also seen reviews on Andaz recently and all that, are located at Duo Galleria. It is located opposite of Parkview Square (aka Gotham City) and accessible via Bugis MRT.

Was invited for a tasting at Cast Iron Japanese Restaurant recently, and this place is only a few month's old. It may take a while to find this restaurant as the layout of Duo Galleria may be a tad confusing at first. Cast Iron is located at the far end away from the MRT station exit.

drinks counter

The place has a nice ambiance and spacious enough for large groups' gathering and intimate enough for cosy couples. If you prefer interaction with the friendly Chefs, head towards the counter seats.

Cast Iron has an interesting concept of having a gaucho grill (think cowboy) alongside with the Japanese foods. Think grilled meats (USDA Angus Prime Ribs, Bone-in Ribeye, Japanese meats such as Kagoshima wagyu etc) The open kitchen allows diners to watch the flames while the Chef grills the meat. Watching that might just ignite the inner caveman in most of us, in wanting to eat some juicy grilled meats!


Look for Alex if you would like some sake or Japanese whisky recommendation to go along with the foods.

drinks menu and bar snacks

If you're drinking (or even if you're not!), start with Eihire Yaki (grilled stingray fin). This is a popular alcoholic drink snack. It has a slight chewy texture and very tasty. Gets rather addictive too.

Eihire (エイヒレ) @$13
Sea Eel
The sea eel was rather good too. Firm, thick cut meat and only lightly salted.

If you are in a larger group of say 5 to 6 pax and would like to try the Porterhouse or Bone-in Ribeye, do place your order early as it might take about 40 to 45 minutes to prepare and cook.

grill section
Chef Ming in action
While the meat is being fired up, you may hop by the Japanese counter to watch Chef Anson as he prepares your food. Watch him slice up the various fishes and plating them so beautifully.

Chef Anson
Cast Iron sources their produce not only from Japan but from Australia and America as well. Whatever that is in season, then that will likely be seen on the menu. In season now, there's the Akamutsu (アカムツ), Amberjack/Buri (寒鰤), grouper, sardine (鰯), toro (とろ), mackerel, prawn and Bafun Uni (馬糞ウニ) from Hokkaido.

Sashimi Moriawase (Chef's Selection) with in-season fish (price ranges from $120 to $380)
Lovely sashimi platter and price varies, depending on what's included on it. First time having sardine sashimi and it was rather enjoyable if you like stronger flavours. Sardine will be of a stronger flavour when compared against mackerel. After tasting the Bafun Uni, finally understood why so many had come to love this variant of sea urchin. So deliciously creamy and clean tasting. The buri and toro gave a luscious mouthfeel and not to be missed.

sweet creamy uni

Good thing that Cast Iron has a duel concept and for that, we got to indulge and to satisfy our inner cravings for hot, grilled meat (and vegetables!).

First, we got a taste of grilled Iberico pork, done in a few ways. Multiple flavours and textures on one plate. Loved the pork collar for its flavour and the pork jowl for its texture. The pork belly and karubi were lightly seasoned and did not stand out.
Grilled Iberico Pork - miso pork loin, pork collar, pork belly,pork jowl and karubi

Then, we got an assorted grilled vegetables and a Ribeye Bone-in Double Cut done medium. We've seen the flames, now to taste the fire-licked steak.

Grilled Vegetables 
 USAD Prime Grade A Ribeye Bone-in Double Cut, served with Bone Marrow Butter and Chimichurri @$130
This was the moment the meatatarians have been waiting for. Thick slices of meaty yums! One side as it is and the other, slathered with chimichurri. Chef was generous in giving us plenty of bone marrow butter. So, we coated it on the corn and it was superbly delicious! No joke.

I loved the meat as it was. Dabbed it with a little salt and in it goes. Charred smokey meaty chews were match made in heaven that's just oozing with flavour.

The portion was about 1.5kg, and fed the 6 of us comfortably. Great with a glass of ice cold Asahi.

If you would like to have Japanese Wagyu steak, it is available albeit in limited portions. Currently in-stock, they have the Kagoshima and Miyazaki wagyu.

How about ice-cream for dessert? The two available flavours are matcha and yuzu. Actually, it was more of a sorbet. Yuzu was the crowd favourite.

matcha (front) and yuzu (back)

If you are looking to splurge a little, there is omakase option available. The budget to set aside is about $120 to $180 per pax, and about 1.5 to 2 hours to experience. One could also opt to request Chef for a few items from the grill.

Thank you Cast Iron for hosting the dinner and Kris for the invite.

Cast Iron 铸铁

Address: 7 Fraser Street, Duo Galleria, #01-32/33, 189356
Contact: 6581 0159
Business Hours:
Mondays to Saturdays: 11:45am–2:30pm, 5:30pm–10:30pm
Closed on Sundays

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

[Media Invite] Christmas Feast at Ellenborough Market Cafe @ Swissotel Merchant Court

Come celebrate the festivities by indulging in a wonderful feast with your loved ones at Ellenborough Market Cafe from 15 December till 31 December 2017. This year, Chef Louis Tay (Executive Chef, Swissotel Merchant Court) has crafted a delightful menu for the festivities. Did you know that Chef Louis was part of the Singapore National Culinary Team that had won Singapore's first Culinary Olympics back in 2016? Singapore was the only Asian country that had struck double gold for the Cold Display and Hot Cooking categories. Read about it here.

Christmas Highlights at Ellenborough Market Cafe

Start with the deliciously sweet Pumpkin Soup with Crab Meat. Followed by an excellent Oxtail Stew that has been lovingly braised for many hours to achieve the fork-tender texture. So good with all those collageny tendons. Must-not miss the bone-in Champagne Ham with Pineapple Glaze and truth be told, this was one of my favourites. Ellenborough Market Cafe is well-known for its Peranakan spread, so do leave some space for brinjal prawn sambal, ayam buah keluak and durian pengat.

Pumpkin Soup with Crab Meat
Oxtail Stew braised in Red Wine
can't get enough of this!
a festive plate consisting of champagne pineapple glazed ham, Tom Turkey in Cranberry and Szechuan sauce, baby brussels sprouts

Kudos to the Chef who had crafted such an excellent festive menu for diners. The Roasted Szechuan Flavoured Tom Turkey was moist and a joy a eat. The Szechuan sauce had familiar flavours yet remained slightly mysterious. This was one of those rare occasion when I actually enjoyed the turkey.

is that you, Santa?

Not forgetting the Peranakan spread that Ellenborough Market Cafe is famed for. So many choices, so little tummy space!

ayam buah keluak
buah keluak sauce
terung sambal udang
deep fried tenggiri
dessert counter
And, for the festivities, Christmas log cakes and Christmas Stolen. It's interesting on how Christmas Stolen is made. Essentially, a loaf of bread that's dipped into liquid butter before coating it with sugar. Then, it is kept in a cool dark place like a cellar for quite a while before having it as a tea-snack.

The version at Ellenborough Market Cafe is of a reasonable sweetness and the fragrance of the dried fruits increases as you chew.

Strawberry Yoghurt Yuzu Yule Log, Christmas Stolen
The Strawberry Yoghurt Yuzu Yule Log was refreshing and it actually felt rather light even when it was eaten towards at the end of a heavy meal.

Strawberry Yoghurt Yuzu Yule Log @$65
Strawberry Yoghurt Yuzu Mousse, White Crunchy Pearls and Almond Sponge
Noisette Chocolate Yule Log @$65

Thank you Swissotel Merchant Court; Jennifer and team, and Chef Louis for the delicious preview of the Christmas Feast at Ellenborough Market Cafe.

And for the nightcap, how about a warm alcohol-inspired ginger tea concocted of rum, spice and all things nice? Get yours from Crossroads (bar).

'tea' making
from the bar: mocktail with gula melaka (left) and rum-based ginger tea (right)

Christmas Feast @ Ellenborough Market Cafe | 15 – 31 December 2017

PRICE: $58 per adult and $29 per child for lunch, and $68 per adult and $34 per child for dinner.

Business Hours (Mondays to Sundays)
Lunch: 12.00pm - 2.30pm
Dinner: 6.30pm - 10.00pm

Christmas Takeaway Goodies | 1 – 25 December 2017

Roasted Tom Turkey with Ginger Flower Chilli,  Honey Glazed Champagne Ham

Early Bird Promotion for Christmas Takeaway Goodies

  • Enjoy 25% discount on orders made from 1 to 17 December 2017
  • Enjoy 20% discount on orders made from 18 to 22 December 2017

For enquiries and reservations, please call Ellenborough Market Cafe at 6239 1847/1848.

Ellenborough Market Cafe @ Swissotel Merchant Court

Address20 Merchant Road, 058281
Contact+65 6337 2288

Sunday, December 10, 2017

[Media Invite] Christmas Indulging at Element and EOTS Amara Hotel

Christmas is round the corner so let's suss out the spread at Element and EOTS at Amara Hotel Tanjong Pagar. Element and EOTS Christmas highlights included Turkey Buah Keluak, Cognac Lobster Bisque, Tajima Wagyu Foie Gras and Amara’s Signature Chempedak Yule Log Cake amongst others.

Wait. Tajima Wagyu Beef with Foie Gras, Truffle Mashed Potato and Port Jus for New Year Eve Buffet dinner? Oh yes!

Parma ham, pastrami, turkey ham and salami
Honey Baked Butter Squash with Honey Mustard and Pumpkin Seed (Christmas Eve Buffet Dinner)
Cocktail Prawn with Crab Meat Duo

For the Christmas Eve Buffet Dinner spread, do look out for the Platter Salad section, It features European dishes such as Burrata Cheese, Honey Baked Butter Squash, Cocktail Prawn and Crab Meat Duo. It's easy to mistake butter squash as pumpkin. Both are similar in colour and texture. The cocktail prawn is a favourite. Light, 'crunchy' bite of the prawn, and a scoop of those crab meat (yass!) followed by sweet melon.

Marinated Duck Rillette with Red Wine Dried Fruits Chutney and Gherkin Salsa

There's duck rilette and its flavour was pretty balanced. Yummy to spread on toast or cracker and with a bit of those red wine dried fruit chutney. Sweet.

First time encountering a lobster bisque in a buffet. A rare indulgence.

Cognac Lobster Bisque

Another dish that was executed well was the Roasted Chicken with Meat Floss. Crisp browned skin and moist well seasoned tender meat. Just like those old-school Chinese restaurants.

Roasted Chicken with Meat Floss

And of course, the highlight of the Christmas feast would be the Turkey Buah Keluak and the log cakes. Interesting fusion of flavour for the Turkey Buah Keluak.

Turkey Buah Keluak 
Liked all of Amara's Yule Log cakes. Which one would be your favourite? Would it be the signature Amara’s Signature Chempedak Yule Log Cake, or the alluring Pink Champagne Lychee Yule Log Cake or the classic Dark Chocolate Cherry Yule Log Cake? My votes went to the alcoholic lychee log cake and the signature chempedak log cake.

Amara’s Signature Chempedak Yule Log Cake @$65
Pink Champagne Lychee Yule Log Cake @$52
Dark Chocolate Cherry Yule Log Cake @$52
The cakes were simply delightful. There were bits of chempedak meat in the cake while the champagne lychee log was more of a mousse-like texture. Fragrance of lychee was refreshing and the taste of alcohol was noticeable.

chempedak and champagne lychee

The spread for New Year's Eve Buffet Dinner is impressive. So many favourites in the line-up! To start, go for the tuna tataki which was sliced with the perfect thickness, and seared just enough while its center remained raw. The seasoning was good and this is one thing that I can imagine myself eating everyday!

Oh, and I reckon that Stir-fried Moreton Bay Bug with Salted Egg will be one of the crowd favourite. I liked it a tad too much.

Tuna Tataki with Cucumber Ribbons and Puffed Quinoa
Stir-fried Moreton Bay Bug with Salted Egg
Personally, the main highlight of the New Year's Eve Dinner Buffet would be the Tajima Wagyu Beef Foie Gras. Would be crazy not to get a refill of these gems. Just wished that the meat was of medium rare doneness instead. Nonetheless, the rich flavour was strong and those blobs of foie gras were really good.

Tajima Wagyu Beef with Foie Gras, Truffle Mashed Potato and Port Jus

Of course, a second serving of the delicious beef is not an option. For me, it was almost mandatory.

second serving
For dessert, I was enticed by the colourful macarons. The blue macaron with salted caramel fillings was my favourite. The coconut shell was white like snow and the lime flavoured ones were also good.

Not forgetting, Amara's signature Chempedak Creme Brulee.

Chempedak Creme Brulee

Indulge in the many dishes that Element and EOTS at Amara Hotel had crafted for us this season. It is a season of festivities, merry making and eating deliciously.


Address: 165 Tg Pagar Rd, Singapore 088539
Tel: 6879 2607

24 Dec 2017, 11.30am to 3.30pm
S$68++ Adult / S$34++ Child

24 Dec 2017, 6.30pm to 10.00pm
S$108++ Adult / S$54++ Child
UP TO S$500!
*Children under 6 years dines free with 2 paying adults
*Add S$2++ to enjoy free flow beer, house pour and
sparkling wines

25 Dec 2017, 11.30am to 3.30pm
S$68++ Adult / S$34++ Child

31 Dec 2017, 11.30am to 3.30pm
S$68++ Adult / S$34++ Child

31 Dec 2017, 6.30pm to 10.00pm
S$108.00++ Adult / S$54.00++ Child
*Add SS$30++ for F.U.N.O.L.O.G.Y 2018 countdown party,
free flow draft beers, sparkling and house pour wines and

1 Jan 2018, 11.30am to 3.30am
S$68++ Adult / S$34++ Child

Terms and conditions apply.

The above buffet pricing were extracted from
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