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Whenever I feel like splurging on a meal at Muji, I always make a beeline for the Sakura Chicken with Curry Miso and Dried Chilli ($18.90 for a Jewel set). I swear it tastes like a milder salted egg chicken. Anyone else share the same sentiment?

I also get the exact same Cold Deli sides every time: Prawn Couscous Salad with Yuzu-sesame Dressing and the Duo Apple Kale Salad, Maple White Wine Vinegar Dressing. The latter even has cranberries, hazelnuts and chestnuts tossed into the mix – very autumnal.

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BURPPLE BEYOND DINNER SET (Main & Tempura & Drink)

I'll always place my bets on the sweet and silky Sanuki Beef Egg Udon ($11.20) - a safe AND solid choice!

We would've all loved a batch of freshly fried tempura, but what can one do? My kakiage tempura had unsurprisingly lost its crunch, giving way to a more greasy mouthfeel.

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I loved the Shack Stack ($14.30), but was it really the "best of both worlds"?

One cannot deny that the pillowy potato buns and Angus beef patty were excellent in their own right, but they were no match for the juicy fried portobello mushroom.

Get the 'Shroom Burger ($10.80) so that you can, even if only for a moment, slip into molten cheese-induced ecstasy. Vegetables reign supreme after all.

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No bridges were burnt in the making of Bridge of Marrow ($14). Smoky and straight to the point, it demands your undivided attention. The buttery amalgamation of bone marrow, breadcrumbs and garlic, when spread onto sourdough, is nothing but decadent.

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The small plates at Sideways are, frankly speaking, superior to the mains. I was awash with despair once the last piece of Sicilian Crostini ($15) disappeared from the plate. Even as the next attraction beckoned, a lasting impression from the kiss of creamy burrata, a buffer for the nduja's fiery heat, lingered. Alas, my rare encounter with spreadable pork (salumi) ended all too quickly.

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Alcohol recommendations? No can do.
I will, however, gush about this draft beer I was enchanted by.

The aptly named Obama ($17 reg) is the alcoholic epitome of wholesomeness. This festive concoction of dry Irish stout, marshmallow, vanilla, and mint was smooth and velvety, with the personality of a warm snuggly blanket on a cold winter's night. Not something I've had much experience with but hey, I can dream.

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Malindi Halwa ($10) is a dessert you and I may not have heard of, but it certainly piqued my interest.

Halwa, or Halva(h), is the general term for a dense, sweet confection found across different geographical locations and cultures, notably the Middle East, Africa, and the Indian subcontinent.

I believe Kafe Utu's interpretation is that of East African halwa, a gelatinous flour-based dessert typically prepared with tapioca starch and/or cornstarch. True to its roots, these oblong blocks of Swahili "mochi" are made with dragon fruit juice (hence the vibrancy), hazelnuts, cashew nuts, macadamia, pistachio, and Malindi spices.

The floral sweetness was a bit much for me, although it was slightly offset by the light coconut yogurt and dukkah filo. Nonetheless, its mochi-like texture would definitely appeal to fans of kueh lapis sagu (9-layer kueh), or any Nyonya kueh of the bouncy, gummy variety.

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I thought I would always be faithful to mango salad. Not with this Thai Papaya Salad ($5) around.

The word “FLAVOUR” flashed across my eyes, a dizzying display that left me feeling like a deer in headlights. Spicy, tangy, sweet, refreshing – intermingling sensations wrestled with one another for dominance, before being tied together by fresh tomatoes and crunchy, aromatic peanuts.

Executed with aplomb, this must-order of an appetiser bears a fiery heat that eventually settles, giving way to an experience of satisfaction so profound you’ll be asking for more.

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If you can only order one thing from here, make it the Salted Egg Chicken Chop ($9). Juicy, charred chicken is slathered in a salted egg sauce the consistency of thick curry gravy – zi char taken up a couple notches?

The sauce does look different from what we’re used to, a promising mustard yellow flecked with spices, curry leaves, and who knows what else.

As I took bite after bite, I waited for a little tingle of the tummy, or any slight discomfort, but there was none. Didn’t feel like trash afterwards, as I usually do after consuming a rich salted egg dish. Joy in the absence of jelak!

This is served with garlic rice that wasn’t garlicky enough, and cucumber achar. If carbs = calamity is an equation you go by, this may just change your mind. You have the gravy to blame.

Fat Belly’s Alternative Experience Menu ($78) is evidently gaining traction within the Burpple Beyond user community. Although I marvelled at the sear on the Wagyu Tri-Tip Steak, the “Most Memorable Course” award has got to go to the Char Siew Beef Ribs.

Let’s just say, my taste buds were confused in a good way. I kept thinking to myself, “is this really beef?”

It. Tasted. Like. Pork.

Every slice of char siew was glistening, pink in the middle, and wickedly caramelised. A “love me tender” moment that left me crooning with sweet fervour. Even better, I spotted many a slice with those unctuous fatty bits – my ultimate demise!

As for the crisp kale, it’s a reminder of why kale chips exist. That wonderfully deceptive “potato” taste gets me every time.

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I don’t see this pumpkin and burrata ($22) being talked about a lot. It’s a fairly straightforward dish that’s meant to be slowly savoured, the kind you'd order on a Friday night or Sunday morning.

While the pairing of burrata and woodfired pumpkin with a pistachio dukkah crust is guaranteed to leave you grinning, the pumpkin's caramel-like sweetness is further enhanced by orange blossom and molasses.

Burrata's not the best on the market, but hey, it’s burrata. I may or may not have also eaten it with bread dipped in olive oil.

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As the name suggests, it is what it is. How can one say no to the Udon with Seasoned Cod Roe & Half Boiled Egg ($11.90)? It’s simple, it’s effective, it hits the spot.

The spice from the mentaiko comes through, but only for a split second before it gets swept away by the creamy egg, lost (and found) in the sea of udon. Every bowl comes with seaweed, but you can help yourself to extra garnishes and/or sauces. Cue in the tempura bits.

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