Monday, December 25, 2017

Humpback @ Bukit Pasoh

Drinking place and oysters! That's what I'd call Humpback. Operated by the young, the vibe was casual and the expected bar pricing. Tapas-sized, so order up. Drinks at Happy Hour (till 8pm) was around $15. Not exactly happy with that, but oh well.

White Negroni @$14 (HH)
bar counter
On Mondays, they have oysters whole-day Happy Hour. That means, $2 to $3 per shell. WoOohOoo! But first of all, do get their bread and dip. It was really yummy. The bread was thick and served warm. And a glorious spread of that spicy dip. Yasss! Bread without the dip is $7 and served with olive oil and some cut butter.

Bread & Dip @$12

If you're in a group of 5 or 6, you might be ordering most of the food on the menu, like what we did. Let's see which are the plates that we liked the most. The octopus was well-executed and everyone can have one or two slices each. Chewy yet tender, that was the texture that we were looking for. Well seasoned and charred just enough to have that smokey hint.

Octopus @$26

And of course, one must have their greens. There were 4 options listed under 'Garden' section of the menu, but I think we got one that's not exactly in the menu. They have ice-lettuce so we had that.

Salad @$16
Iberico Pork with cauliflower @$28

Of course, not forgetting the oysters. We had the Hama Hama, Blue Pool, Sea Cow and Eld Inlet. Cae was right. Kind of hard to tell which flavour was which. But it was all enjoyable. Some just had more of that briny juice in its shell but probably 'coz some shells had more depth while some was shallow.

oysters galore @$39 (HH)

For other shellfish, there's razor clams as well. These were served cold and rather small portions, in my opinion. Would trade these anytime for the oysters. On hindsight, the two servings of razor clams, could get us another round of 3 oysters per pax.

Razor Clams @$16

If you're hankering for some deep fried stuff, there's mac & cheese balls. One serving is 5 pieces. Could they do additional if you have a group of 6? The answer was a resounding no.

Mac & Cheese Balls @$15
close-up view
Best and most expensive dish of the night? The lobster roll! Served in a well-buttered soft bread roll, topped with firm sweet lobster meat and a side of fries. The seasoning on the fries were a bit erratic but the lobster roll itself was good. Yummy!

Lobster Roll @$45

Since it was a girls' night out, we couldn't leave without dessert! Hahaa! Actually, by now, one would be full from all the food. We had about 10 plates (excluding the oysters) shared amongst the 6 of us.

The salted caramel mousse that came with the churros was overly salty. Was that to compensate on the sweet churros? Gosh. If you had tried it, do let me know what you think of it. Maybe, it was a one-off thing?

Panna Cotta @$11
Churros @$10

Since there were some hits and misses, Purple Taste recommends the freshly shucked oysters (during happy hour for happier pricing), the bread & dip (so that you won't go home feeling hungry), the octopus, a plate of salad, the delicious lobster roll (when you feel like pampering your date and yourself) and a drink. For the teetotaller, there's hot tea or apple juice.

Expect to spend about $80 per pax (with one drink).

Thank you Cae, Mya, Bel, Tiara and Jen for the girls' night out!

Ps: The chairs are all pretty high and could be cumbersome for the vertically challenged like me

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Paddy Hills @ South Buona Vista Road

Paddy Hills is a cafe located along South Buona Vista Road. It was a road of nothingness, and if you see a stretch of eateries, that's the stop. We didn't notice the awning signage with the shop's name and ended up having to turn back.

The place exudes a classy comfy vibe with industrial-chic cement floor. Paddy Hills was rather busy during the weekends. The place has some instagram-worthy items that attracts the young adults.

hand brew
board menu for drinks
The lotus roots chips with sumac powder was served in a porcelain basket-like container. Pretty looking but the seasoning was light and chips wasn't crispy.

lotus roots chips @$10
Since it was morning when we visited, naturally coffee would be in the order along with juice or something similar. The latte was pretty good. The Orange Sky was bottled juices but it was really pretty. A layered mix of blood orange and grapefruit juice.

Orange Sky @$8

The cakes at the counter looked quite enticing but alas, we didn't try. For food, we managed to try a couple of items.

ciders, cakes and coffee
Who eats mussels for brunch? Us, I supposed. Hahaha! The mussels were too salty unfortunately.

NZ mussels @$20
The main courses fared slightly better than the appetisers. Pork belly, duck confit and a festive item. Of the dishes, there were more misses than hits. The crispy pork belly indeed had crackling crispy pork rind but the belly itself was rather dry.

crispy pork belly @$26
duck & waffles @$25

The duck & waffles looked promising but it was let down by the utterly bitter waffles. The thin 'forever-running' apple ribbon was a good choice and the duck was enjoyable.

Christmas Burger @$26
Usually, I'd steer clear of any festive items that had turkey in it and the advice is still the same.

photography in-progress

Also tried the Uni Truffle Pasta. A plate of black pasta with parma ham and uni. Interesting dish, and tossed dry.

Uni Truffle Pasta @$35
have a bite
The Uni Truffle Pasta was good but it didn't wow. For brunch/breakfast, would recommend the Pork Cassoulet. This would be the classic beans, sausages and egg combo. The bread on the side was good for mopping up the tomato sauce.

Pork Cassoulet @$24

Brunch with friends in a cosy ambiance. Let's have a cup of coffee and relax during the weekends! Happy Festivities everyone!

Berry Muffcake @$23

Paddy Hills

Location: 38 South Buona Vista Road, 118164
Contact: 6479 0800
Business Hours:
Weekends: 9am to 10pm
Weekdays: 1030am to 10pm

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
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