Monday, October 31, 2016

Szechuan Court @ Fairmont Hotel Singapore - A Seasonal Crustacean Affair At Szechuan Court


The annual hairy crab season is back at Szechuan Court, Fairmont Hotel Singapore. The much anticipated Shanghai delicacy will be available at the restaurant from 24 October to 24 November 2016. Gourmands can indulge in the finest hairy crabs dishes specially created by Master Mok Wan Lok, ranging from dim sum to main dishes.

Hong Kong Style Traditional Roast 4.2/5

Dinner at Szechuan Court started with a trio of Hong Kong Style Traditional Roasted Duck, Pan Fried Pi Pa Tofu and Hairy Crabmeat Broth & Honey Glazed BBQ Pork. All three items on the plate were well executed and I have a hard time deciding which was my favourite. For something different, I would go for the Fried Pi Pa Tofu which is slightly crispy on the exterior with a smooth and silky interior. It is then topped with luxurious hairy crabmeat, giving it a fuller flavour.

Chef's Signature Superior Crabmeat Consomme 4/5

Next we have the Chef's Signature Superior Crabmeat Consomme. In the comforting and lavish bowl of soup, there are zucchini, cod fish, crab meat, carrot and scallop. There are so many ingredients in it that it can be a meal by itself.

Steamed Twin Hairy Crabs, Shiso Leaf Served with Hot Ginger Tea 4.2/5

The highlight of the night has to be the Hairy Crab itself. The Steamed Twin Hairy Crabs, Shiso Leaf Served with Hot Ginger Tea comes with both a male and female hairy crab. The prized crabs are sourced from the pristine freshwaters of Yangcheng Lake in Jiangsu province, China. I felt that the female crustacean is sweeter compared to the male one. But the utmost enjoyment was the rich and decadent roe.

Hairy Crab Roe Scrambled Egg White Tart 4/5

A new creation this year is the Hairy Crab Roe Scrambled Egg White Tart. This dim sum creation has incorporated a DIY element. Customers can squeeze from the plastic tube to add the amount of vinegar they like onto the pastry. Besides the flaky pastry, the vinegar plays an important element to make the scrambled egg whit glow.

Homemade Crispy Crabmeat Beancurd Skin Roll 4.5/5

Another new creation that I enjoyed a lot was the Homemade Crispy Crabmeat Beancurd Skin Roll. Besides the thin and slightly crispy beancurd skin, what I enjoyed most is the flavoursome stuffing of mushroom and crabmeat. It felt that the chef has wrapped a whole luo han zhai dish into the parcel.

Handmade Ramen, Hairy Crab Roe, Golden Pumpkin Soup 4.2/5

Progressing from the usual hairy crab fried rice, Chef Mok created the Handmade Ramen with Hairy Crab Roe in Golden Pumpkin Soup. The rich and sweet pumpkin soup complemented the silky ramen beautifully. This is further crowned by the hairy crab roe, giving it an unami finishing.

Black Glutinous Rice Cream with Lotus Paste in Filo Pastry 3.5/5

Wrapping up the sumptuous meal, I had the Black Glutinous Rice Cream with Lotus Paste in Filo Pastry. I enjoyed the modern interpretation of the traditional pulut hitam. This will delight both the young and old. Shaped like a flower, the lotus paste in filo pastry felt like Chinese Mid-Autumn festival again.


Set Menu (minimum 2 pax)
5-course set - $138++ per person
6-course set - $188++ per person
Complement your meal with a bottle of Shao Hsing Hua Tiao wine or house wine at a special price of $50++

For a truly decadent experience, dine in a minimum party of two and opt for the set menu from $138++  per person, and stand to win a weekend stay at Fairmont Yangcheng Lake. Seasonal a la items from $18++; a selection of premium Chinese teas and wines is also available.

Note: This is an invited tasting.

Szechuan Court
Fairmont Hotel Singapore
80 Bras Basah Road
Level 3
Singapore 189560
Tel: +65 64316156
Nearest MRT: City Hall (EW Line, NS Line)

Opening Hours:
Daily: 12pm - 230pm, 630pm - 1030pm

1) Alight at City Hall MRT station. Take Exit A and C. Walk to destination. Journey time about 3 minutes. [Map]

Saturday, October 29, 2016

FORT by Maison Ikkoku @ Fort Canning Arts Centre - 12 Course Omakase For Only $68


Sitting on top of Fort Canning Hill there is literally a Fort but this is not a fortified place occupied by troops. Instead it housed a omakase gastro-bar concept, FORT by Maison Ikkoku which is led by commander-in-chef, Executive Chef and Senior Master Mixologist, Ethan Leslie Leong.

Together with my dining partner, we sat through a 12 course omakase set dinner at only $68. The gastro-bar dining concept is set up in such a way that there are only bar counter seats. Diners sit around the bar counter enjoying their meal while at the same time you can watch the skillful mixologist prepares your bespoke cocktails.

Cold Braised Radish with Cuttlefish 3.5/5

Our 12 omakase menu started with the Cold Braised Radish with Cuttlefish. A refreshing start to dinner. It helped to freshen up the palate for the upcoming courses. I like the addition of the cuttlefish which provided an additional texture and oomph to the dish.

Chef's Salad with Dehydrated Cauliflower and Yuzu Wasabi 3/5

The Chef's Salad with Dehydrated Cauliflower felt rather boring for an omakase item. The saving grace has to be the Yuzu Wasabi, that gives life to the fresh and crunchy shredded vegetables.

Pan Seared Scallop with Japanese Purple Sweet Potato and Bonito Broth 4/5

Dinner got more exciting at the 3 course. The Pan Seared Scallop sits in a pool of Japanese Purple Sweet Potato and Bonito Broth. Besides the beautifully cooked scallop, what arouse me is the purple broth. The use of the Japanese purple sweet potato and bonito is a deliciously new experience for me. I can see it working well with other seafood dishes too.

Swordfish Carpaccio with Asian Dressing 4.2/5

The Swordfish Carpaccio with Asian Dressing caught me off guard in a good way. Beside appreciating the freshness of the swordfish, I was drawn to the Asian dressing. It gives the dish an oriental dimension which felt like having Cantonese style steamed fish.

Onsen Egg with Garlic Oil and Seaweed 3/5

The dinner experience got a little bit confusing with the Onsen Egg with Garlic Oil and Seaweed. The whole presentation made me felt that I was having breakfast. The dinner flow kind of took a detour but I am not saying it is a bad dish. It is more in terms of the whole dining experience. Maybe the presentation can be more elegant with a bit more components to change the perspective.

Signature Spicy Fort Roll 3.8/5

The Signature Spicy Fort Roll comes with spiced maguro tuna and cucumber rolled up in sushi rice and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Pop the parcel into the mouth to get a a fiery burst of flavours. Be warned if you have a low tolerant of spicy food.

Green Peas Soup with Homemade Wasabi Oil 4/5

Like a runner in a marathon, the Green Peas Soup with Homemade Wasabi Oil is served timely on the half way point at the seventh course. The hearty soup is further lifted with a few drop of the wasabi oil for a comforting finish.

Foie Gras Sushi and Charcoal Salt 4.2/5

An interesting substitution of the sashimi is the used of Foie Gras with Sushi Rice. The rich and buttery foie gras literally melted in the mouth. Dip it with a bit of the charcoal salt to get a fuller enjoyment of the sushi.

Truffle Mushroom, Mac & Cheese 3.5/5

Replacing the macaroni with shell-like pasta (conchiglie) it gives the Truffle Mushroom, Mac & Cheese a delectable al dente bite. Using only simple ingredients, the chef has managed to turn it into a beautiful dish, coating the pasta in a pool of cheese and perfumed by the earthy scent of truffle.

Lamb Burger 4/5

The mini Lamb Burger comes with a juicy lamb patty that is sandwiched in between 2 crispy buns. If you are worried of gamy taste, you would not get that in the burger. In fact you probably would not be able to tell its made of lamb. It is a lovely burger but if it can be more cheesy, I would have love it more.

Salmon Aburi Don with Ikura

The last dish before dessert is the Salmon Aburi Don with Ikura. Each mouthful of the bowl comes with the sweet and smokey torched salmon complemented by the popping saltiness of the ikura and fluffy Japanese rice.

French Vanilla Ice Cream with Japanese Red Beans

Wrapping up the 12 course omakase, we had the French Vanilla Ice Cream with Japanese Red Beans. Matcha and red bean is the usual combination so this is rather unique. I also like the fact that it is not overly sweet but nicely balanced for a smoothing finishing to the dinner experience.


At FORT by Maison Ikkoku, besides the affordable 12 course omakase menu, one should not missed out having a drink or two of their bespoke cocktails. Let the mixologist knows what you like and they will work their wonders to make your night even more magical.

Note: This is an invited tasting.

FORT by Maison Ikkoku
Fort Canning Arts Centre
5 Cox Terrace
Singapore 179620
Tel: +65 63360507
Nearest MRT: Dhoby Ghaut (CC Line, NE Line, NS Line)

Opening Hours:
Sun-Thu: 4pm - 1am
Fri-Sat: 4pm - 2am

1) Alight at Dhoby Ghuat MRT station. Take Exit B. Walk to Penang Road. Cross the road and turn left. Walk to the end of the building. Take the stairs up the hill. Walk to destination. Journey time about 15 minutes. [Map]

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Sen Of Japan @ Marina Bay Sands - Modernised Japanese Cuisine by Ex Head Chef Of NOBU


Sen of Japan is a casual dining Japanese restaurant and bar located at Level 1 of Marina Bay Sand Shoppes. Their menu features modernised Japanese cuisine, crafted by Chef Nakano Hiromi who used to head the famous NOBU at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas.


The elongated layout of the restaurant gives a fairly intimate setting and in particular, I like the long chef's counter that occupies the body of the restaurant. Housed in a semi glass structure, while waiting for the food, do take a while to look out and enjoy the world slowing down in the evening.

Ikura Uni Chawanmushi 3.8/5 & miso soup 3/5

We started off with some warm dishes in the Ikura Uni Chawanmushi ($13) and House Miso Soup ($5.50). The Japanese egg custard adorned by the glistering salmon roe was beautiful. If you like roe, this is like popping ocean liqueur. The luxurious Uni was gone before I knew it, so do make an effort to slowly savour. I love the dash of truffle oil which releases a nice earthy aroma and flavour in the warmth. On hindsight, I should have ordered their Chawanmushi with shaved truffle instead as the taste of the fresh roe tend to overwhelm the mellow eggy flavour.

Sweet Miso Eggplant 4.2/5

Their manager Ellie recommended us to try the Sweet Miso Eggplant ($9.50). Sauteed and glazed with a layer of home-made miso, this humble dish is indeed not to be missed. The best portion is of course the charred parts. Together with the savoury-sweet flavour of the miso, they teased my taste buds in a illusive manner. Known as nasu dengaku in Japan, it's no wonder that this simple but yet delectable dish is one of their staples. As mentioned by Ellie, this is a very authentic dish but rarely available elsewhere. So you must really try it!

Wagyu Tataki 4/5

Special Carpaccio 4/5

Their raw bar special is good to go with any drinks. Wagyu Tataki ($18) showcases the clean and quick Japanese cooking that brings out the fresh flavours of the ingredients. The seared wagyu striploin though in very thin slices, was full bodied and meaty in my mouth. Likewise it is the same for their Special Carpaccio ($16.50). A quick sear with sesame olive oil seemed to have locked in the flavours and fats. Every piece had a deep, satisfying melt-in-your mouth texture. It released a fatty sweetness into my mouth which was neutralised by the tangy yuzu soy dressing.

Sashimi Platter 4.2/5

'Sen' in Japanese means 'Fresh', which they strongly believe the source of ingredients is the key of it. You can certainly taste that in their Sashimi platter 10 pcs ($42).

Salmon Aburi Roll 3/5

From the various social media posts, their Salmon Aburi Roll ($20.50) is apparently one of the most popular choices among diners. I tried it but it didn't wow me as much. It didn't disappoint with its melt-in-your-mouth sensation accentuated by their special cheese sauce. However, I wish I could taste more of the light avocado and the sweet, fatty salmon. Too rich a dressing seems to be an issue I have in most aburi salmon roll.

Prawn Tempura, Salmon & Prawn Roll 3.8/5

What was surprisingly good was their Prawn Tempura, Salmon & Prawn Roll ($18.50), another brilliant recommendation from Ellie. It was a refreshing departure from the salmon aburi roll or any other rolls which I have tried. I could taste the crispy tempura, the sweet and crunchy prawn, juicy mango, as well as the fatty torched salmon. The heat lent from the spicy garlic ponzu sauce & curry sauce at the side enters with a right punch.

Braised Pork Belly 4.5/5

For mains, their Braised Pork Belly ($29.50) looks so enticing on the menu that it made me forgo my favourite fish cheeks to give it a try. What a gorgeous piece of pork belly with visible define layers of fats and meat. Despite looking so sturdy and solid, the meat fell apart as the fork came down onto it. One taste of the juicy and flavourful meat glazed with the rich egg yolk was a bliss!

Inaniwa 4/5

Their Inaniwa ($16.50) is specially imported from Japan. Silky smooth and refreshing, the handmade white noodles are eaten with the special dashi broth with soy. This is perfect for our summer climate.

Green Tea Brulee 4/5

A variety of Japanese ice creams are available for desserts. The most recommended is their Green Tea Brulee ($15) topped with black sesame ice cream. It is a combination of both very popular Japanese ingredients - matcha and black sesame. Creamy yet not cloying, the balance of flavours resembles a cup of well seeped tea.


Among the F&B choices at Marina Bay Sands, Sen of Japan seems to stand out with an aura of zen-ness. I would love to sit at their chef's table someday!

Written and photography by Si An. A girl who is allured by travelling, loves the feel of freedom, smell of the rain and the aroma of fine coffee and food. Note: This is an invited tasting.

Sen of Japan
Marina Bay Sands
2 Bayfront Avenue
Singapore 018972
Nearest MRT: Bayfront (CC Line, DT Line)

Opening Hours:
Daily: 1130am - 11pm

1) Alight at Bayfront MRT station. Take Exit D. Walk to Hermes at Level 1. Take the lift beside it to level 2. Journey time about 5 minutes. [Map]

Monday, October 24, 2016

You Yi (友谊) Fish Soup @ Havelock Road Food Centre - Great Seafood Soup and Fried Fish That Tastes Like Fish & Chips


During a recent project, I went down to Havelock Road Food Centre to have lunch and I noticed a queue at You Yi (友谊) food stall that sells Seafood Soup, Fried Fish Soup, Mian Fen Guo and Ban Mian.

Seafood Soup 4/5

As I was alone,  I could not order everything to try. After browsing what is popular among the patrons around the tables in the hawker centre, I decided to order the Seafood Soup ($3.50) and a separate side of Fried Fish ($2). The seafood soup is the clear and sweet type, without the rich crustaceans flavour.  In the bowl of seafood soup, you can find tofu, fish ball, crab meat ball, prawn, fish, minced meat and tomato.

Fried Fish 3.5/5

The Fried Fish which I added on as a side dish is really chunky and it felt like having a mini version of fish and chip. Unfortunately this was pre-fried and it did not have that enjoyable crispiness. Even so, I could still bite in bits of crispy batter and I could only imagine how good this is when they were just out of the hot boiling oil.


If you are in the vicinity, I would recommend trying its seafood soup and fried fish. During my visit, I noticed many patrons were having their Tom Yam Ban Mian Soup. In my next visit, I shall give the tom yam ban mian soup a try.

You Yi (友谊) Fish Soup
Havelock Road Food Centre
Blk 22A/B Havelock Road
Singapore 162022
Nearest MRT: Tiong Bahru (EW Line)

Opening Hours:
Daily: 1130am - 230pm

1) Alight at Tiong Bahru MRT station. Take Exit B. Walk to Bukit Ho Swee Link. At Bukut Ho Swee Link, turn left and walk to Jalan Bukit Ho Swee. At Jalan Bukit Ho Swee turn right and walk to Jalan Klink. Walk down Jalan Klink and look out for a staircase that goes down the slope. Take the staircase to the bottom. Turn right and follow the covered walkway to destination. Journey time about 5 minutes. [Map]

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Di Wei Teo Chew Restaurant @ Food Canopy Singapore Botanic Gardens - Food Court In A Garden


My curiosity brought me to Singapore Botanic Gardens but it is not to admire the scenic beauty of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. I heard that there is a food court at the park. The food court is run by Food Canopy and there are 7 stalls in it.


What caught my attention is Di Wei Teo Chew Restaurant. I am surprise to find a stall selling Teochew cuisine in a food court. According to the information online, the restaurant is helmed by Head Chef Chew which has 30 years of experience servicing classic favourites prepared using time honoured recipes that has been handed down through generations.

Cai Po Kway Teow 3.8/5

After browsing through the 43 items on the menu, I decided to order some staple Teochew food items. We started with the Cai Po Kway Teow ($7 for 2 pax). I have tried the dish before but the chye poh or Chinese dried radish are usually not noticeable. The rendition here comes with crunchy chye poh that is cut into short strips which is well infused with the wok hei smokiness.

Braised Duck 4/5

Sliced to generous thin slices, the Braised Duck ($10 small) was tender and well infused with the fragrant braising sauce. It is not overly sweet and comes with a subtle aroma of the spices. Dip the duck meat with the accompanying sweet and tangy dipping sauce for an elevated enjoyment of the duck meat.

Cold Crab 4.2/5

I thought we can only eat Cold Crab (seasonal price) in restaurant but I am surprise to be able to have it in a food court. I paid around $24 for quite a reasonable size crab which was sweet and meaty with a lot of roes.

Di Wei Teo Chew Restaurant 
Food Canopy
1J Cluny Road
Singapore 259607
Tel: +65 67636578
Nearest MRT: Botanic Gardens (CC Line, DT Line)

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 1030am - 9pm
(Closed on Mon)

1) Alight at Botanic Gardens MRT station. Take Exit B. Turn right onto Bukit Timah Road. Walk down Bukit Timah Road to Evans Road. Turn right onto Evans Road. Walk down Evan Roads. Walk to destination. Journey time about 15 minutes. [Map]

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Oak Room Restaurant & Bar @ Hotel Royal - An Unexpected Find In A Hotel I Have Not Heard Of


When I was told that we are going to Oak Room Restaurant & Bar for dinner, I did a search on the web and I realized that it is located at the Hotel Royal in Newton. I have to admit that I have not heard of the hotel and not to mention the restaurant located on level 3 of the hotel. The restaurant which used to be at Bukit Timah is helmed by Executive Chef Darrence Wee before relocating to its current location in July 2016, offering modern European cuisine.


Stepping into Hotel Royal is like being transformed into the 80s. The decor of the hotel seems to be stuck in time. Worried not as Oak Room Restaurant & Bar welcomes you with a warm, cosy ambience in a modern setting.

Lobster Bisque 4.2/5

Dinner at Oak Room started on the bright side with a delicious Lobster Bisque ($18). The bitter sweet crustacean flavour shone through the creamy and robust soup.

Jamon Serrano 4/5

Next we had the Jamon Serrano ($28). The parma ham which is aged for 18 months is further dried by the chef to intensify the flavour. This is beautifully paired with tomato and a few drips of balsamic.

Grilled Spring Chicken 4.2/5

As my dining partner does not take seafood, the chef was kind enough to do an off the regular menu item from the Chef's Table 8-course menu. The Grilled Spring Chicken paired with parma ham and tomatoes was juicy and tender, However the highlight is the cajun rub on the chicken that make it a notch different from the rest.

UK Kurobuta Pork Chop 4.2/5

Next up we have the UK Kurobuta Pork Chop ($30) with bacon sauce, apple chutney and parmesan mash. This is one of the best pork chop I have eat. The texture was so soft and tender that I would have easily mistaken it as chicken in a blindfold. The portion was also very generous and affordability priced.

Prime USDA 4.5/5

The finale has to go to the Prime USDA Ribeye ($45) which is grain fed and dry aged for 28 days. The perfectly cooked pinkish meat is served with parmesan mash, greens, baby carrots and natural jus. When you have a premium piece of meat, there is no need to do anything fancy but just let the natural flavour does its own talking.

Sticky Medjool Date Pudding, Tiramisu, Creme Brulee 4/5

Ending the dinner on a sweet note was a trio of dessert samplers. From the left, we had the Creme Brulee, Tiramisu and Sticky Medjool Date Pudding. The desserts were better than I anticipated, especially the sticky medjool date pudding. The warm cakey bake accompanied with the carmel sauce is both warm and comforting.


Overall I have to say Oak Room is an unexpected discovery serving above average modern European cuisine. The price may seen a bit steep but this is justified through its quality and portion. It is a bit sad to see the restaurant was empty during our visit. I think they deserved more. I really hope they can get more awareness and business can turn better.

Note: This is an invited tasting.

Oak Room Restaurant & Bar
Hotel Royal
36 Newton Road
Singapore 307964
Tel: +65 97116490
Nearest MRT: Newton (DT Line, NS Line), Novena (NS Line)

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 12pm - 3pm, 6pm - 1030pm

1) Alight at Novena MRT station. Take Exit B. Walk to bus stop at Novena Church (Stop ID 50037). Take bus number 5, 54, 143, 162 and 167. Alight 1 stop later. Journey time about 8 minutes. [Map]

2) Alight at Newton MRT station. Take Exit A. Walk to bus stop at Newton MRT station (Stop ID 40181). Take bus number 5, 54, 124, 143, 162 and 167. Alight 2 stops later. Cross the road. Walk to destination. Journey time about 10 minutes. [Map]

3) Alight at Novena MRT station. Take Exit B1. Walk to Newton Road. Continue walking along Newton Road. Walk to destination. Journey time about 12 minutes. [Map]