MASONS is located within the beautiful and historic grounds of the Gillman Barracks. Situated near the Alexandra Retail Center (near the Labrador Park MRT), it is a great place to chill, enjoy the art galleries within the Gillman Barracks or just relax and unwind. A great escape from the doldrums of city living.
MASONS pays tribute to the rich history and heritage of Gillman Barracks. Taking styling cues from the area’s historic past, the 1935 building has been restored to re-capture the essence of colonial luxury, offering a stylish yet relaxed dining experience. The restaurant has four sections - the main restaurant, the verandah, the bar and the alfresco area.
This place came highly recommended to me via my sweet German colleague, Jessica who’s a true epicurean when it comes to the art of dining at rad places in Singapore, Germany and around the world! It’s great to have friends like her around ;-)
Inspired by the colonial heritage of Gillman Barracks, Masons provides a stylish and elegant dining experience. Masons offers high quality yet affordable European cuisine with a strong French influence and a Singaporean touch. You can choose to dine inside the luxurious main dining room, or dine outside - in the alfresco verandah. On a lovely day, I’d definitely prefer to dine outside on the verandah! (See photo below)
So, the three of us - a German, a Mexican and a Singaporean dined here on a lovely but boiling hot week day for lunch. A United Nations team feasting on delectable French cuisine. How nice! ;-)
Above: Inside the luxurious Main Dining Room area. We were the first diners here at 11.30am! ;-)
Above: The Bar area….
if you come here on a week day for lunch, you can choose their 2-course Executive Set Lunch (S$28.00++) or their 3-course Executive Set Lunch (S$38.00++).
Above: We marveled at the way the table was set, including the interesting way they set their dishes! Noticed it’s shaped like a man’s shirt? With Tie? Kewl much?
Above: We love their table mats!
Above: The Menu! Here’s a clearer view of their All-Day Menu http://www.masons.sg/menu_allday.html
Above: The warm basket of bread was delish!
Above: Appetiser - Moules Marinières aka Mussels in Creamy Broth. My Mexican colleague loved this dish!
Above: My German colleague’s Main Dish - Pork Cheeks with Bacon Mash & Apple Sauce. She said it was yummy!
Above: My Mexican colleague and I chose this as our Main Dish - Leek & Cheese Fondue Ravioli with Spinach Porée & Crisp Leek. It was truly mouthwatering. But I felt the portion was quite small. I was still hungry about this!
Above: For Dessert, my Mexican colleague and I chose the Panna Cotta with Jus de Fraise aka Panna Cotta (like a milky custard with raspberries). My Mexican colleague loved it whilst I felt it was too milky. O.K„ O.K., maybe because I don’t quite dig milky stuff?
Above: My German colleague had the simple Lemon Tart for Dessert. She gave a thumbs up for this dish.
Coffee costs S$5.00++ and Tea is S$6.00++. Here’s the entire Beverage Menu - http://www.masons.sg/menu_beverage.html
If you’re coming for Dinner, here’s a peek at their Menu: http://www.masons.sg/menu_dining.html
Personal Rating for Food: 4/5
Personal Rating for Ambience: 5/5
Would I come back again? For sure!
Masons (Gillman Barracks)
8 Lock Road
#01-17 GIllman Barracks
Tel: +65 66942216
1130am to 11pm daily
If you are an artsy person (like ahem, moi!), this is definitely a great place to come visit. Gillman Barracks has been touted as the new contemporary art destination in Asia. Distinguished as a creative and intellectual center, it will become a center for the production, discussion and distribution of contemporary art in Asia.
Check out the official website of Gillman Barracks:
There are some fine exhibitions which I wish to catch…and some cool galleries in Gillman Barracks on my must-see list!
Restaurant info courtesy of Masons Official Website
This restaurant came highly recommended to me by my Mexican colleague cum BFF. And I wasn’t disappointed with her recommendation. Hm, it seems that my BFF has become quite an epicurean ever since she was posted to Singapore with her hubby! ;-)
Trattoria Pizzeria Cugini at Club Street serves authentic Southern Italian food, combining the unique taste of Sardinia with the spicy flavours of Sicily and the aroma of the Southern Italian regions.
The menu is rounded off by rad desserts & a good selection of Italian wines from the regions of Piedmont, Tuscany, Sardinia & Sicily in Italy.
We were here for dinner on a week day evening and chose to dine outside on the verandah. Yes, at times, we wished the waiter was more attentive especially when we have finished our San Pellagrino bottled water (the restaurant leaves a bottle of still water on every table. You are charged S$7.00 per bottle!). It would be great if the waiter could pop out occasionally to check on the tables outside on the verandah. My friend had to go inside (!!) to personally summon the waiter to our table. Tsk! Tsk!
But the quality of the food compensates for the less than stellar service. HOWEVER, the prices at this eaterie are priced at an up-market restaurant’s pricing (read: It’s a little on the expensive side). If this were the case, then customers DO expect better service.
Here’s a run down of what we ordered and its prices:
Above: The delicious bread with an interesting dip which the restaurant serves all guests. Try dipping it in their inhouse Olive Oil with Chilli! Ooh, yummy!
Above: This is the first Italian restaurant that I’ve eaten in that serves Olive Oil with Chilli (as a dip). It tastes AMAZING and I CAN take hot/spicy food.
Above: Kewl dish(es)!
Above: Huge Capricciosa Pizza (S$26.90++) with ingredients like tomato sauce, mozzarella, mushrooms, roasted ham, artichoke, salami + we paid for an extra ingredient (sausages). S$3.00++ per extra topping.
Above: Here’s another mouthwatering glimpse at the Capricciosa Pizza (S$26.90++).
Above: This is possibly the BEST and most unique Pasta that I’ve tasted in Singapore! Spaghetto alla Bottarga Gamberetti Peperoncino (S$27.90++). It is a Sardinian style spaghetti with mullet (fish) roe, prawns, olive oil, garlic and chilli. Even my BFF said this is such an amazing dish. If this is what Sardinian food taste like, I’m heading to Sicily and Sardinia! Too delish for words!
Above: A closer look at the Spaghetto alla Bottarga Gamberetti Peperoncino (S$27.90++) dish.
Above: Gelato Artigianale (S$6.00++ per scoop) - Italian homemade ice cream. My friend chose Pistachio flavor.
Above: This is my mouthwatering dessert - Souffle al Cioccolato con Gelato Artigianale alla Vaniglia (S$15.90++). I didn’t like Vanilla Ice Cream and had it changed to Gelato alla Cioccolato (chocolate ice cream) instead.
Above: Another look at the warm Chocolate Souffle!
Above: My BFF’s Italian Pinot Grigio i.e. White Wine (S$15.00++ per glass).
Above: Filtered Coffee (S$6.00++ per cup). It was thick and good! Exactly how coffee should taste like!
Above: The Menu.
Above: The bill for dinner for 2 pax.
Personal Rating for Food: 4.5/5
Personal Rating for Service: 2.5/5
Would I return to this restaurant again?
Above: The lovely restaurant… Trattoria Pizzeria Cugini
Trattoria Pizzeria Cugini
87 Club Street #01-01
Tel: +65 6221 3791
Daily Noon-3pm, 6:30-11 p.m.
Above: Inside the quaint eaterie.
Above: The street view from outside the eaterie…
This amazing Thai eaterie came highly recommended by my Mexican colleague cum BFF who’s a regular at this fine dining restaurant.
Truly, this restaurant lives up to its reputation. I have tried Tom Yum Goong soup at many Thai restaurants…but the Tom Yum Soup at this eaterie is par excellence! Yes, beyond excellent.
We ordered four dishes + dessert + wine/ coffee and the bill came to S$180++ for 2 persons. It’s a tad on the expensive side BUT it is amongst the cheapest restaurants located around the area!
This is what we’ve ordered. My friend has tried quite a lot of the dishes here and also gave top marks to their Green Curry dish! So, please take note!
Above: ตมยํากุง, ปลา ๏ Dtom Yam Gung, Pla (S$20.50 per pot. Good for 4 bowls)
Spicy and sour prawns or fish soup with lemongrass, galangal, chilli, kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce and fresh lime juice. Yum!
Above: ผัดฉาหอยเชลล ๏ Pat Chaa Hoey Shell (S$32.00)
Stir-fried scallops with fresh chili, peppercorns, wild ginger and holy basil leaves or with chilli jam and sweet basil leaves.
Above: ผัดผักรวม ๏ Pat Pak Ruam Nahm-mun-hoey (S$17.70)
Stir Fried Mixed Vegetables with Oyster Sauce.
Above: ผัดไทยกุง ๏ Pat Thai Gung (S$19.30)
Sabai’s “famous tasty Thai Fried Noodle”. Stir-fried noodles with prawns, chicken, yellow bean curd, eggs, grounded peanuts and sweet tamarind sauce.
Above: ขาวเหนียวมะมวง ๏ Kao Niew Mamuang (S$14.50)
Sabai’s famous Mango with sweetened sticky rice. Ooh, this is my absolute favorite!! I can’t find the words to describe it. Just ORDER IT! You won’t regret it!
Above: ทับทิมกรอบ ๏ Tap Tim Grop (S$7.00)
Water-chestnut in syrup and coconut milk. This is just average. It didn’t “wow” me as much as the Mango with Sticky Rice dessert.
Above: Wine anyone? Per glass of white wine (Savignon Blanc) cost S$18.00++
Above: The Coffee is great here! (S$6.00++ per cup)
My personal opinion?
I LOVE this eaterie. The Thai food here is indeed deserving of praises. It’s truly one of the best Thai food I’ve tasted in a long while. I am referring to the Sabai Thai Restaurant at the Customs House branch. Not the other one at Ngee Ann City. The Sabai Fine Thai on the Bay Restaurant has a million dollar view of the Marina Bay.
And you can even catch the WonderFull Sound and Light Show (a nightly event) from your table if you dine al fresco - which is my recommendation!
Personal Rating for Food: 5/5
Personal Rating for Ambience: 5/5
Personal Rating for Service: 5/5
Sabai Fine Thai on the Bay Restaurant
Authentic Fine Thai Cuisine
70 Collyer Quay
Customs House #01-02
Tel: +65 6535 3718-9
11:30 - 14:00, 17:00 - 22:00
Information about the Restaurant
Majority Thai female chefs
Nickie Sangngampal/ Jan-Peer Lehfeldt
Valet parking at Fullerton Bay Hotel/ Hourly Parking at NTUC buidling
One of my BFFs is a Mexican expatriate on a 2-year stint in Singapore. Many a times, she told me she misses a good mean Mexican meal. So far, her verdict for good Mexican restaurants in Singapore are Cha Cha Cha Mexican Restaurant and Pedra Negra Mexican Restaurant. The rest of the so-called Mexican restaurants in Singapore have failed her taste test.
Needless to add, when this new Mexican eaterie opened its doors recently (this March 2013), I excitedly brought it to her attention. It so happened that her hubby was on a business trip that weekend and I too was free that weekend (in a long time!)…and that means - a girls’ night out! Yay! We were bent on scouring the BEST Mexican restaurants in the city!
We decided to give Mex Out Mexican Restaurant at Far East Square a try (after reading all those rave reviews from The Sunday Times to Epicure magazine et al!).
To say we were disappointed is an understatement. Even I (who ain’t Mexican) can tell you I have tried better Mexican food! It is also not cheap to dine at this casual eaterie.
My Mexican friend and I both had the Rice Bowls. She took the Beef Rice Bowl whilst I settled on the Chicken Rice Bowl. We shared the Nachos and a Jug of Margarita and the total bill came to S$67.00!
Above: The Menu written on the chalkboard.
Above: The Beef Rice Bowl (ordered by my Mexican friend). S$13.00
Above: This is my Chicken Rice Bowl with Guacamole on top. S$16.00
Above: Do you believe this Nachos cost S$13.00? The Salsa dip was tasteless and the chips were soggy (like it had been left out in the open for a long time). My Mexican friend returned the dish and insisted that they serve us with warm crispy fresh Nachos! They did. It was better the second time round. The Nachos was warm, crispy and fresh.
Above: The 2 Rice Bowls + Nachos we ordered…..
Above: …together with this jug of Margarita (good for 4 glasses). S$25.00 per jug.
The ordering process… Chipotle style!
For this kind of price, we can dine comfortably in a lovely restaurant. This eaterie is not what I would call a “restaurant” or a “cafe”. It has more of a McDonald’s feel to it.
I guess they wanted to emulate the Chipotle chain of eateries in the United States. Except that the food at Chipotle tastes way, way better.
My Mexican expat friend was sorely disappointed with the food (and the price). I am too.
I really doubt if we would return UNLESS the owners decide to do something radical and re-look at improving the quality of food served at this place.
Personal Rating for Food: 1/5
Personal Rating for Ambience: 2.5/5
Above: The view from the restaurant. We chose to dine al fresco that evening.
#01-01 Far East Square
39 Pekin Street
Located at the atrium lobby of the hotel, The Courtyard at the Fullerton Hotel serves classy English High Tea… Perfect for your afternoon tête-à-têtes over a glass of Earl Grey or brewed coffee. Oh, and be serenaded by live music over your afternoon tea.
I love the plush sofas here. Coupled with an idyllic ambience, and fine service, I felt almost pampered! Seriously.
Yes, I do agree that the English High Tea served here is a tad on the pricey side. S$50.00 (*inclusive of taxes).
We were here on St Patrick’s Day and were given the 2nd seating (that’s because we arrived at 4.30pm). The English High Tea here has been split into 2 seatings: 2.00pm to 4.00pm (for the 1st seating) and 4.30pm to 6.00pm (for the 2nd seating). The afternoon when we were there, it was packed. There was an even mixed of guests - 50% locals and the other 50% were either expats or tourists. The lovely couple who sat next to our table were from England. So there you go: The Courtyard serves an international clientele.
This is the English High Tea served at Fullerton Hotel’s The Courtyard:
My personal take?
The High Tea here is just average (sorry, Fullerton Hotel!). For a swanky place like this, I kinda expected them to serve unique varieties of sandwiches and cakes like Salmon or caviar! ;-) Alright, at least I expected Smoked or fresh Salmon! The cakes served included the very Singaporean “Kueh Lapis” (Multi-Layer Cake), the Fruit Cake (nooo!!) amongst others. The mini-sandwiches were very dry (the bread, I mean). Felt like it had been left out in the open for hours…that kind of dryness. The sandwich fillings were pathetic :-( Come on, please put in more fillings in the sandwiches!
The service however deserves full marks. The waitresses were very attentive in spite of the crowd that late afternoon. They replenished my food without me having to ask them to. So kudos to the 2 waitresses. The Malay waitress deserves special mention. She was the one who gave us first class service. I wished I had taken down her name! Sigh.
Personal Rating for Food: 2.5/5
Personal Rating for Ambience: 5/5
Personal Rating for Service: 5/5
If you are a foodie/ epicurean, this High Tea might disappoint you. BUT, if you’d prefer to come here for the ambience and the tea/coffee, then this is a highly recommended place to be.
I’ll let you be the judge!
The Courtyard, Fullerton Hotel
1 Fullerton Square
Tel: +65 6877 8128
Daily English Afternoon Tea: S$50.00 (inclusive of taxes)
Mon to Fri: 3.00pm - 6.00pm
Sat & Sun: 2.00pm - 4.00 pm / 4.30pm – 6.00pm
Hotel Website: http://www.fullertonhotel.com
We were at the luxurious Capella Hotel for a business meeting in mid-January 2013. As you can imagine, this all-suite cum villa hotel blew me away with its class. We took a look at their 1-bedroom villa (complete with a plunge pool) and outdoor shower and were nothing less than impressed.
And for lunch, their Spanish chef whipped up a delightful (and delicious meal for us). It is truly one of the best Spanish lunches I have ever tasted. It is on par with the lunch I had at the Ritz Madrid Hotel in Spain.
Above: A basket of warm bread with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, anyone? Really tasty!
Above: Chilled Gazpacho with Crispy Croutons and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Ooh la la! I had chilled Gazpacho in one of the restaurants in the La Mancha region in Spain and it made me hate cold soups after that. But this…this Gazpacho at The Knolls is sooo different!
Above: Macaroni Land and Sea with Wagyu Meatballs + Seared Scallop. Oh my, this dish was so delicious, I licked the plate clean. Well, kinda. I’m sure you caught my drift!
Above: Crema Catalana with Seasonal Berries. Another heavenly concoction!
The Knolls also served some amazing Western dishes. The chef impressed us with this set lunch the following day:
Above: Baby Romaine Salad with Grilled Asparagus, Cherry Tomato Confit, Parmesan Crisps and Lemon Aioli.
Above: Steamed Cod Fish with Vegetable Risotto and Yuzu Emulsion. I am not a Risotto person but my goodness, this risotto was cooked to perfection! I finished the entire dish!
Above: My colleague chose Sirloin Steak as his main dish. He mentioned it was cooked too rare. I saw blood still oozing out of his steak. Er… Maybe ordering the fish is a better idea. He had to wait for another 20 minutes for them to re-cook his steak. Sigh.
Above: Sorbet Trio for Dessert. Mango Lime, Wild Strawberry, Citrus Orange & Crisp Meringue.
All the above dishes which we have tried can be ordered a la carte style from the restaurant’s menu.
You can also dine outdoors at the Knolls. The Hotel’s resident peacocks will entertain you with their antics for sure ;-) Don’t worry. They are harmless.
Above: Al fresco dining.
Above: This is the RAD view from the restaurant.
Above: The restaurant also has an impressive wine list.
Above: The Main Entrance to the Knolls Restaurant.
Personal Rating: 5/5!
This is truly one of the best restaurants that I’ve dined in that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. If you order a soup/salad, main dish, dessert and coffee or tea, it would cost slightly less than S$80.00 per pax… with an unbeatable ambience and view of the pool and ocean! The main dishes cost between S$34.00 to S$38.00.
Would I return to the Knolls to check out their famed High Tea? Yes, Yes, Yes! Even though it’s located on Sentosa island, I’d still come!
The Capella Hotel
1 The Knolls
Hotel Website: http://www.capellahotels.com/singapore/default-en.html
Restaurant Website: http://www.capellahotels.com/singapore/the-knolls-,dining_viewItem_14-en.html
One of my favorite eateries for breakfast/brunch and to simply just chill-out…is.„, (drum roll, please)…Jones, The Grocer Restaurant.
There are currently 2 outlets here in Singapore: One at Dempsey Hill and the other outlet is located inside the posh Mandarin Gallery. So this is the branch/outlet where we had our late brunch last Sunday, highly recommended to me by my awesome expatriate Mexican colleague.
Be warned - both outlets are perpetually crowded! The expat crowd come here to shop and dine. I bumped into Americans, Australians and some European expats here…..and a handful of hip Japanese who spoke excellent English (they must have studied abroad because most Japanese I have met thus far, struggle in speaking good English). There are also quite a few locals here. The bourgeois type, of course. This should give you a rough idea what kind of crowd frequent this place ;-)
So, here are just some of my humble recommendations…
First up: For soup, I had Potato and Leek Soup. And because it was the Soup of the Day, it cost S$11.50 per bowl. Otherwise, expect to pay approximately S$15.00 for a bowl of soup! And…oh my, it was such a huge bowl that I absolutely could not finish it on my own! Thank goodness I had the foresight to tell my friend NOT to order another bowl but that we could both share the soup.
For our appetisers, we ordered the house’s speciality i.e. Potato Wedges dipped in some awesome creamy sauce. We asked the waitress what type of sauce it was. She told us what it was but somehow, both my friend and I just couldn’t grasp what she was saying (she was from China). The next time when I come back to Jones The Grocers, I’ll be sure to ask the servers to spell it out for me.
Now, for our main course, I had the Full English Breakfast with Scrambled Eggs (S$22.00 per dish) whilst my friend had the Full English Breakfast with 2 Eggs cooked Sunny Side up (also S$22.00 per dish). My friend absolutely loved it whilst I felt mine was just so-so. Let’s just say that I have tasted better ones ;-)
Another time, I chose the above dish - an interesting Egg Benedict dish (S$20.00) for my main dish.
Above: If you like something less complicated, you can try this English Breakfast too (S$22.00) or….
Above: Scrambled Eggs with Toast.
To polish off your meal, Jones the Grocer has an extensive drinks menu (yes, including various types of coffee and tea!). I had a large cup of Long Black Coffee (S$6.50). It was really thick and good, exactly what I like. My friend had a large cup of Latte (also S$6.50).
Thinking of a good way to spend a leisurely breakfast/brunch…and just chill out with the hip crowd? Look no further! Head over to Jones The Grocer! My favorite hang-out for breakfast these days.
Food Rating: 4/5
Jones the Grocer (at Mandarin Gallery)
333A Orchard Road #04-21/23
Mandarin Gallery Singapore
Tel: +65 6836 6372
Jones the Grocer (at Dempsey Hill)
Block 9 #01-12 Dempsey Road
Tel: +65 6476 1512
For info, the branch at Dempsey Hill is near to all the major embassies e.g. the US Embassy, The outlet at Mandarin Gallery is right smack in posh Orchard Road. Take your pick, baby.
It is a well-known fact that Hong Kong has the best Dim Sum restaurants in the world. But hey, Singapore is not lagging far behind. Not when we have the Tung Lok chain of restaurants here.
Tung Lok Signatures offers a combination of signature dishes from the various restaurants under the Tung Lok Group. Specialties include its trademark Lobster and Grilled U.S. Kurobuta Pork.
Let me introduce you to Tung Lok Signatures Restaurant @ Vivocity which servesd impossibly delicious Dim Sum. The BEST that I’ve tasted here in Singapore. Not kidding.
An ala carte Dim Sum for Lunch for 2 persons costs approximately S$150.00 (inclusive of drinks/beer).
So, without further ado, let’s go on a virtual food tour of this rad eaterie…. Don’t drool ;-)
Above: Fried Chee Cheong Fun (Rice Rolls) with Bean Sprouts…sprinkled with Cognac XO liquor - with Pork Floss as toppings. Delish!
Above: Steamed Chee Cheong Fun (Rice Rolls) with Prawn fillings.
Above: Har Kow - a Dim Sum staple. Must try!
Above: Scallop Dumpling (with Fish Roe toppings). Yum!
Above: Deep Fried Bean Curd Skin with Fish Paste Fillings. Ooh la la!
Above: Steamed Radish Cake. Another winner.
Above: Siew Mai - another Must-Try Dim Sum staple.
Above: Prawns and Mushroom Dumplings (I think). Sorry… I can’t remember the name of this dish.
Food Rating: 5/5
Tung Lok Signatures @ Vivocity
1 HarbourFront Walk
Telephone +65 6376 9555
Nearby Stations: HarbourFront
Tung Lok Signatures @ The Central
#02-88 The Central
6 Eu Tong Sen Street
Nearby Stations: Clarke Quay
Sun & PH 11am-3pm;
As you know by now, the world didn’t end on 21 December 2012. The Mayans were dead wrong. That’s why they are an extinct breed! Haha.
Sorry if I have not been posting much of late. The Christmas season is always the busiest time of the year for me ;-) And I just returned from a short break yesterday. Slooowly getting back into the groove of things.
I will be posting more food recommendations and rad places to eat in the coming days and weeks. So, watch this space ;-)
Thank you for bearing with moi.
Oh, and a belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2013!
Enjoy some of these pictures of what it is like to celebrate Christmas in Singapore! ;-)
I am not kidding you when I say that Hock Lam Beef Noodles is by far the BEST beef noodles I have ever tasted. In the world. And trust me, I have tried many different types (including the Vietnamese Pho). But nothing…NOTHING can compare to Hock Lam’s! No wonder the founder’s daughter, Ms Tina Tan quit her high-paying banking job to run the business. This businesswoman has expanded the business to 4 outlets island-wide now. We sincerely hope she’d be able to expand her operations worldwide because the rest of the world really needs to try just how rad this dish is.
My foreigner friend rated this dish: 9/10! He was simply blown away by the beef noodles. I asked him “have you tried beef noodles before?”. His reply “No. This is really the best noodles I have ever tasted”. And he doesn’t lie.
Seriously, you guys need to check it out for yourself.
Here is an article which appeared in THE BUSINESS TIMES
- written by Tan Teck Heng | Tue Oct 2 2012:
You cannot deny that a recipe that has been around for 101 years has staying power.
Throw in fourth-generation owner Tina Tan’s branding savvy to the tried-and-tested Hock Lam beef noodles, and you get a winning formula.
The flagship stall in China Street has the look of hawker fare given a 2.0 upgrade, joining the ranks of Ya Kun; google the Hock Lam Beef name and you will be pointed to a put-together website, complete with YouTube video marking its centennial.
Ms Tan, who ditched a high-paying banking career to take over the stall in 2005, said: “My father took a year to pass me the recipe, and there’s no recording of it as he doesn’t want to leak it.”
Spurred to make the career switch because her father’s failing health would have meant the end of a legacy, she went from a desk job to 16-hour-days preparing ingredients - she slices up 60kg of beef herself - and managing the daily operations. She has no regrets.
The manpower issue continues to dog her. The prep work is brutally labour intensive: the chilli, for instance, takes five days’ work because of the addition of blue ginger, which has to be hand-shredded, squeezed, then sun-dried and de-veined with scissors.
She adamantly refuses to cut corners on this, saying it is part of educating the younger generation of customers so a heritage is not lost.
But the chilli definitely complements the beef slices, which are briefly scalded so they remain deliciously pink and tender.
Going for the noodles in soup is a good choice. The broth is characteristically Teochew with a mild, simple herbal flavour.
If you still prefer the dry version, add some pickled vegetable garnish. It is juicy and a tad too salty, but does the job to moderate the thick sauce so it does not get too heavy.
Despite staffing problems, Ms Tan has expanded to a total of four outlets; a new branch at Alexandra Retail Centre offers an extended menu which will be rolled out to other branches soon.
Her brother Ken has joined the business.
To those who gripe that $6.50 to $8.50 for a Hock Lam original is too steep, Ms Tan has this snappy comeback: “Why is one more willing to pay more than $15 for a bowl of ramen with three thin slices of pork?”
Fine, she’s got us there.
** End of Article **
We dined at the Alexandra Retail Centre (ARC) outlet. This is possibly the most upmarket of all the outlets. For 2 pax, it can cost almost S$60.00 to dine here if you choose 2 set meals with 1-2 additional dishes e.g. vegetables like what we ordered.
Per set meal comprising of 1 bowl of Beef Noodles, 1 side dish and 1 drink costs about S$15.00.
But hey, for such wonderful food, we don’t mind paying a little bit more!
Above: Long Beans with Chye Poh (Pickled Vegetables). Their signature dish. Highly recommended. It is truly delish!
Above: Spicy Chicken Nuggets. This comes as part of the Set Meal. Really succulent yet, so crispy!
Above: Coleslaw. This also comes as part of a Set Meal. You have an option to choose either Spicy Chicken Nuggets or Coleslaw as your side dish.
Above: Fried Pumpkin. My friend apparently loves this!
Official Website: http://www.hocklambeef.com/blog/
Food Rating: 5/5 (yes, I am serious)
HOCK LAM BEEF
Far East Square:
22 China Street, #01-01, Far East Square
Tel: +65 6220 9290
Monday to Sunday & PH: 10.00am – 9.00pm
949 Upper Serangoon Road
Tel: 6285 6119
Monday: Closed | Tuesday to Friday: 5.00pm to 11.00pm | Saturday, Sunday & PH: 10.00am – 11.00pm
38 Seah Street
Tel: +65 6339 9641
Nearest MRT station: Esplanade, City Hall
Alexandra Retail Center #02-24
460 Alexandra road
With so much hoopla and buzz surrounding this celebrity chef-owned Pizzeria (we are looking at you, Chef Mario Batali), it really got us all curious! And me, with the uber-adventurous taste bud (seriously, I would try ALL kinds of food at least once) decided that my next food adventure will be at THE Pizzeria Mozza here in Singapore.
Firstly, ensure that you have made dinner reservations at least 1 week in advance. This place gets sooo unbelievably crowded on weekends, including Friday nights. When I called for a dinner reservation less than a week before our dinner date on a Friday night at the Pizzeria, I was told by the Concierge that the EARLIEST they can sit us for dinner is at the 9.30pm seating! Oh my, I’d be starving by then. No amount of begging can make them change their minds. However, they did tell me that we could drop by at 8.00pm and if the dinner guests did not turn up, they’d give us a table. Alternatively, we could dine at the bar area! Er, not a great idea because I was clad in a mini dress that night. Anyhow, we decided to take our chances and arrived at the famed Pizzeria at 7.45pm (no thanks to the horrendous traffic jam on a Friday evening) and queued in line. The odds were definitely in our favor that evening.
Lo and behold, someone had backed out at the eleventh hour and we were given their table! We did not have to wait. Phew! Really good news indeed.
And now, my first impressions of this eaterie: This place was so unbelievably crowded on a Friday night. This also means that it can get really VERY noisy! The owners should really do something about this place because the noise was bouncing off the walls! The American seated next to us was talking at the TOP of his voice. My expat friend and I glared at him a few times but he did not catch our killer gaze! He looked like a carbon copy of Steve Wozniak. So dear Sir, if YOU are reading this blog, just know that you have been terribly inconsiderate! And yes, I heard everything you said about your sordid love life. There! Bribe me and I’ll stay quiet ;-D
As for the food, there are definitely a few winners here. The first thing that strikes you about the pizza here is the thick but crispy crust! I am not a crust person BUT I must admit the way the pizzas are made, even a person who abhors eating crusts WILL love it.
So stay with me as I introduce you to the selection of food we ate and the wine that we drank.
Above: Bruschetta - courtesy of the eaterie. Yummy!
Above: For our Antipasti, we shared the Calamari Al Forno with Fagioli and Oregano (S$18.00++). Interestingly, my good looking expat friend loves this dish. Me? I thought it was a tad too raw. Hence, it was very hard to chew! If it weren’t so raw, maybe I would have appreciated it better. To each his own!
Above: For Insalate, I highly recommend the Nancy’s Chopped Salad with Raddichio, Salame, Aged Provolone, Ceci, Pepperoni (S$22.00++). A definite winner! I have NEVER tasted salad this delicious containing THIRTEEN different ingredients inside! For sauce, it was vinaigrette with a tad of lemon in it. Pure heaven!
Above: This Meat Lover Pizza is the 2nd most expensive pizza in the eaterie at S$37.00++ (for a personal size/serving). It contains Bacon, Salami, Fennel Sausage, Pancetta, Tomato and Mozzarella.
Above: Here’s a closer look at my Meat Lover Pizza containing Bacon, Salami, Fennel Sausage, Pancetta, Tomato and Mozzarella (S$37.00++). I could only eat 2 slices and gave my friend the rest of my pizza (2 slices!).
Above: My friend’s Prosciutto Pizza (S$31.00++) containing Prosciutto di Parma, Rucola, Tomato & Mozzarella. I did not try this pizza (I was too stuffed!) but my friend says it is “Wunderbar!” ;-) So it must be!
Above: Vino rosso, anyone? My friend drank a few glasses of Regaleali red wine (S$120.00++ per bottle/ $19.00++ per glass). I had the Peach Bellini (S$18.00++).
Above: The total damage for the night ;-) It really wasn’t too bad. When we ate at the posh fine dining sister restaurant Osteria Mozza (next door), the bill came to about S$500.00++. Ah yes, inclusive of a bottle of Chianti wine, of course.
Food Rating: 5/5
Ambience: 3.5/5 (Maybe we were seated next to the wrong crowd!)
Osteria & Pizzeria Mozza
2 Bayfront Ave #B1-42/46
The Shoppes @ Marina Bay Sands Singapore
Tel: +65 6688 8522
Would I recommend you to dine here? Why, most definitely! It surely is one of the cheapest restaurants here in the Marina Bay Sands. AND it serves the best pizza in Singapore, in my humble opinion. In case you are not aware, this place is littered with celebrity chef-owned restaurants from the world famous Wolfgang Puck to Mario Batali and Hide Yamamoto amongst the elite.
Welcome to celebrity chef, Mario Batali’s new restaurant here in Singapore - the Osteria Mozza and the cheaper, Pizzeria Mozza. For today, I will be focussing on his Italian fine-dining eaterie, the Osteria Mozza which is receiving rave reviews in Singapore. He has another Osteria Mozza restaurant located along Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, U.S.A. which is also creating waves over there.
It is surely pure ingenuity when celebrity chef Mario decided to open the Osteria Mozza restaurant right in the heart of the most happening place right now in Singapore - at the Marina Bay Sands. The BEST restaurants and eateries on the island can be found here. Yes, the best! Believe it or not, for such an expensive eaterie, be prepared to pay an average of S$500 for dinner for 2-3 pax which includes a humble bottle of wine.
If you have not made any reservations, do not expect to get a table for the evening…! Yes, it is that popular.
What are my thoughts about dining here?
The service here is beyond excellent. We had a very cute Caucasian waiter who served us. I was deliberating whether he’s Italian or….maybe not…because of his impeccable English. I could not detect any Italian accent when he spoke.
The Italian sommelier who served us was very prim and proper; the no-nonsense type. My dining companion chose our bottle of wine for the evening. So Chianti wine it is! The wines at the restaurant cost from S$120++ to over S$2000++ per bottle.
And now, for the menu: The main ala carte menu comes in 2 serving sizes. The individual (small) portions and the family (main meal) portions. My advice? Please, please choose the individual tasting portion sizes! I made a mistake by choosing the main meal portion for my Aglio Olio Pasta. It was too much. Too much! I utterly regretted it. My dining companion chose the tasting portion size and it was just - perfect! You see, I was really hungry that evening since I hardly ate anything the whole day. Mistake number 2.
Now, let me impress you with the array of food we ate which I am sure, will impress Chef Batali ;-)
Above: The menu is also available online at http://www.osteriamozza.com/singapore/dinner.cfm
Above: Compliments of the restaurant. Mozzarella Cheese on Crackers, I think! It was really yummy! ;-)
Above: Warm toasted bread dipped in Olive Oil and Vinegar. Compliments of the restaurant
Above: For our appetiser, we chose King Prawns with some salad and a slice of mandarin orange. The prawns were unbelievably fresh cum succulent. And huge! It was worth the price. I think it cost S$20 to S$22.00 per dish.
Above: My friend’s main dish. Pasta - but in individual (tasting size) portion. S$30.00++ per dish.
Above: My main dish - Aglio Olio Pasta (the family portion) which arrived in a pot like dish! :-D Yes, needless to add, it was too much for me to finish. Cost: S$60.00++ per dish. Our waiter recommended me this, although the original dish was tomato-based. I told the waiter I prefer it in Aglio Olio style and the chef promptly agreed to my request.
Above: Our side dish - Fried Potatoes with Rosemary (S$14.00++) per dish. I found it a tad too dry for me. My friend felt it was delish. So there you go. Two different taste buds. Two different opinions! ;-)
Above: Another one of our side dishes - Roasted Cauliflower with Red Onion and Mint Yogurt (S$14.00++). I felt it was a little too raw. And the portions were so huge that we had to get a knife to cut it up to smaller pieces! And no, none of us are old people. If it were a little bit more well-cooked/steamed, the cauliflower would have been perfect.
Above: This was the side dish I chose - Sweet Corn cooked with the most amazing sauce. I can’t find this dish in the menu online. My dinner companion agreed this dish is a winner. It’s simple. And yet, so delish. S$16.00++ per dish.
Above: After-dinner coffee, anyone? It was thick and perfect.
Above: Enjoying my glass of Chianti wine! Mmmmm…..
Above: This was the Chianti wine my friend chose.
Oh, and don’t forget to check out their amazing Mozzarella Bar (located in the center of the restaurant).
In case you are wondering why is it so expensive to dine here. Maybe the following accolades speak volumes.
The Osteria Mozza has been listed as one of the world’s top 50 best restaurants:
Here’s their DINNER Menu:
Note: Some of the dishes which we ordered does not seem to be listed in the online menu. I guess they change their menus sometimes!
Above: Some random snapshot I took of 2 gorgeous ladies ;-)
And this is what I think of Osteria Mozza:
Food Rating: 4.5/5
Would I return soon to dine at this fine Italian eaterie? Hell yeah!
2 Bayfront Avenue
B1 Galleria Level 42-46
Hours of Operation:
Daily: 5pm - 11pm
Last Reservation at 10:45pm
Sundays: 12pm - 2pm
Last Reservation at 1:45pm
Free Flow until 2:30
Chi mangia bene, vive bene — One cannot live well, unless one has dined well. #quote
Excuse me if I keep raving about Australian celebrity chef’s Luke Mangan’s latest restaurant - the Salt Tapas & Bar over at Raffles City, Singapore….because it is seriously that good!
For lunch (week days), they have a value-for-money set lunch where you can choose any three items from the menu for S$33.50++. Or you can choose the a la carte option. Each dish is averagely priced at about S$12.00++ to $15.00++. The Sangria (which you MUST try!) costs S$17.00++. Yes, another must-try! You can go online to their official website to check their menu.
This is also a great place to come for after-dinner drinks which we did during the F1 weekend.
My ONLY grouse is the service… it is SUB-PAR!
Note to Mr Mangan:
Sir, if you are running an upscale restaurant and if you intend to attract an international clientele, please…please…please…DON’T hire service staff from China! The male waiters were OK. The female waitresses at the restaurant needs to be given a pep talk. They can hardly understand English (shocking, I know!)…and some of the girls are down right rude!
The night I was there with my expat friend, one waitress could not wait to get rid of us. Half an hour before the official closing time, she was literally chasing us away by blatantly SWEEPING the floor right under our feet…! To describe my expat friend as being disgusted is an understatement. We have been to restaurants whose service staff willingly worked till closing time. For that, we will always appreciate it and we DO give a big tip. So, if you ask me to rate the service level at Salt Tapas, I’d give it a 1! Yes, 1/5!
Thankfully, the food there is the saving grace. Seriously, Mr Mangan, take note of your regular customers’ advice before we get p*ssed off and move on to another rad tapas bar.
Alright, now that I have said my peace, let me introduce you to the array of tapas we ate.
Above: Roasted Garlic Flat Bread with Romesco. Ooh, yummy!
Above: Parmesan and Truffle Fries (S$10.00).
Above: This dish is really delish! Arancini of Wild Mushroom & Leek with Taleggio and Green Goddess Dressing. Simply, it is really yummy!
Above: Tuna Tartare, Ruby Grapefruit with Wasabi Mayo. This dish is the Spanish answer to the Japanese sashimi…! The tuna is sooo fresh! Perfect!
Above: Wagyu Sausage, Soft Polenta, Capers and Tomato. You can never go wrong with anything Wagyu! ;-)
Above & Below: This is possibly my favorite dish - Crispy Soft-Shell Prawns with Chilli and Garlic Aioli (S$15.00). It looks scary…with the prawn’s heads still intact but trust me, it’s so crispy that you can eat EVERYTHING.
Above: For dessert, may I humbly recommend that you try the Churros and Chocolate (S$11.00). It is delish…but of course I have tasted better Churros [at the impressive Ritz Hotel Madrid’s famed restaurant]. If you have never tried Churros before, you will certainly agree that Salt Tapas’ Churros is rad.
Above: For dessert, I also tried their Banana Chocolate Ice Cream AND Mango Sorbet. Ooh la la!
Above: Coconut Panna Cotta, Mango and Passionfruit for dessert. My friend said it was yummy!
Above: Coffee, anyone?
Food Rating: 5/5
Service Level: 1/5
#01-22A Raffles City Shopping Centre
252 North Bridge Road
Telephone +65 6837 0995
Nearby Stations: City Hall
Bus Lines: 14, 16, 36, 77, 106, 111, 128, 130, 131, 133, 162
Main courses from $9.00 to $32.00
Open Mon-Sat 11.30am-midnight
Above: After dinner drinks with my expat friend one lovely weekend….
We recently celebrated a friend’s birthday at the rad American Club here in Singapore. For information, the Club is not opened to the general public. Membership is strictly for American citizens residing here OR for corporate memberships (i.e. American organizations with an office in Singapore). AND, it is not cheap to join the American Club either :-)
Needless to add, any place with the word “American” needs high level security. Security at the American Club is extremely tight. You are not even allowed to take photos of the area! And have you ever been to the American Embassy? Oh boy, when I was there recently, it looked like Fort Knox! I was trembling at the sight of guards holding automatic guns!
Above & Below: The Lobby of the American Club. These photos which I have uploaded onto my blog have been checked and approved by the Club! Yes, they actually checked the photos that I took before allowing me to move on…
Anyway, back to the American Club… We held the birthday celebration at the Club’s 2nd Floor Restaurant (yup, it’s literally called that)..and yes, it was located on the 2nd Floor! ;-)
The Club has a restaurant serving buffet, another cafe next to the swimming pool…and then there is the posh 2nd Floor Restaurant serving a la carte and set meals.
We chose the Set Meal. Per set meal (depending on which ones you choose) cost an average of S$35 which is really value for money. We chose the most expensive ones in the menu.
This is the most expensive Set Meal in the Menu:
Above: For starters, we were served an array of the best warm breads available…from the Chinese Man Dous to Oatmeal bread et al. It was so delicious that we ordered another basketful of bread!
Above: This is my Asian Tapas consisting (from left): Hunan Bean Curd wrapped with Sliced Roasted Duck + Deep-Fried Prawns tossed with hot Pumpkin Sauce + Steamed Chicken Dumplings. Verdict: It was sooo yummy that I was so tempted to order a second round of the Asian Tapas!
Above: My main dish: The 80-Hour Braised Szechuan Style Beef Brisket with White Rice. Seriously, I don’t think they actually took 80 hours to cook this because it was still not tender enough when I ate it. A chunk of the beef brisket almost choked me! It was really difficult to chew! Sigh.
Above: Mango Pudding for Dessert. This was perfect!
This is the cheapest Set Meal in the Menu costing approximately S$25.00.
Above: My friend had Dim Sum. It’s almost similar to my Asian Tapas…but the dumplings were not as expensive, I guess. Haha.
Above: This is my friend’s main dish: Japanese Seafood Ramen. He said it was good. Whatever that means! He’s a man of very few words…
This is Set Meal 2 i.e. The In-Between. Not too expensive and not the cheapest in the Menu!
Above: Corn and Radish Soup. I was told this was - delish! ;-)
Above: My friend’s main dish - Stir-Fried Beef with Yam + White Rice. Again, the verdict given for this dish was - delish!
Above: Aloe Vera with Ice Cream for Dessert. Looks yummilicious!
Above: Coffee, anyone?!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GRACE!! ;-)
The lovely 2nd Floor Restaurant.…
The view of the gorgeous (and inviting!) swimming pool at the American Club as seen from the 2nd Floor Restaurant…
If you have an opportunity to dine at the Club, I encourage you to check out the 2nd Floor Restaurant.
This lovely Thai fine-dining restaurant is nestled in a tranquil corner of Singapore’s famed Dempsey Hill where you’d be able to find some of the best restaurants. Welcome to the Jim Thompson Restaurant.
This is another huge group dinner outing for us - a United Nations group for dinner that evening - Singaporean (ahem!), American, British, Hong Konger, Swiss, Dutch, Vietnamese, Indian, Korean, Danish, and Malaysian. And yes, I was responsible for choosing the menu! Oh, the pressure. Anyway, I must give credit to the Restaurant’s PR Manager for helping me finalize the Set Dinner Menu (S$120++ per pax, not inclusive of drinks) which you will be able to oogle below.
For starters, we were brought to the Restaurant’s lovely lawn for drinks while they prepared our table which could sit 20 persons. And drink we did! From Beer and Pinot Noir to cocktails (Cosmopolitan, anyone?) and to the exotic juices like Coconut Juice (see photo below).
** Note: This Restaurant DOES NOT have a Private Room. We had to mingle with the rest of the dinner crowd in the Main Dining Room (see photo below) ** So, if you are a restaurant snob and insist on having a Private Room to host your dinner, then this eaterie might not be what you are looking for!
This was what we had for our Set Dinner (which I had pre-selected earlier):
Above: Goong Hom Sabai + Yam Neau Yang. Prawns wrapped with rice paper and yellow egg noodles - deep fried and served with chilli plum dip + Beef tenderloin, grilled, sliced and tossed with grapes, lemongrass and chilli-mint dressing.
Above: Tom Yam Pla (Fish).
Above: Our Main Course! It consists of the following dishes….
Above: ….Gai Phad Med Ma Moung….aka Stirred Fried Chicken with Cashew Nuts
Above: ….Pla Ga Pong Daeng Rad Prik….aka Deep Fried Red Snapper…
Above: ….Phad Pak Ruem Mitr Hed Hom….aka Wok Fried Mixed Vegetables with Mushrooms in Oyster Sauce…
Above: Desserts! Tab Tim Grob + Polamai Sod. Water chestnuts coated with tapioca flour in coconut milk with shaved ice + Tropical fuits.
Food Rating: 5/5
Dining here was truly a fine culinary experience! Jim Thompson deserves full marks in ALL areas.
Jim Thompson Restaurant
on Dempsey Hill
45 Minden Road,
Tel: +65 6475 6088
* The Jim Thompson Restaurant here in Singapore has been selected as one of Asia’s finest restaurants and the Best Thai Restaurant in Singapore by the Miele Guide 2009/2010 *