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Bring On The Carbs

Bring On The Carbs

Atkins-schmatkins. These pastas, risottos, breads, rice and noodles can all banish carb's bad rep.
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua

The Pork Keema Curry Risotto was a dish that wow-ed me on my first visit but I then read an Instagram post by @alanloveshisboys that the level of peppery heat in it had been reduced since. So I asked Chef @issey.a0711 to make ours as spicy as he had it originally. And it was superb. So if you like your food with a stronger kick, be sure to ask for your order of this dish to be cooked “extra spicy”.

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Recently, I stumbled upon “Tasty Court by Chef Pung”, a Chinese restaurant.
Tucked away inside Opera Estate, the unofficial name of the residential neighbourhood in Siglap that has roads named after famous operas, it is smallish in size but offers a respectable selection of dishes.
Since there were only two of us, and most of the dishes come in one standard serving size, I decided two items would be enough for our lunch. Turns out they‘re generously apportioned and could have fed up to four people comfortably.
Anyway, pictured above is the “Stewed Rice Vermicelli in Seafood and Supreme Stock”. The striking golden colour of the broth took me by surprise but it was very tasty and thus, so was the “beehoon” as those strands of vermicelli were a natural sponge. Besides pieces of prawns and fish, there were mushroom in there as well. Although the dish had a lot of flavour, I did enjoy it even more with sliced red chillies. T.H. on the other hand, preferred pickled green chillies with it.

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Visited Bar Cicheti with relatives from overseas recently. And because I have always trusted Chef Jason’s judgement, it was a no-brainer to leave it to him to decide what to feed our group of eight.

The four pastas cooked by the team and him were excellent, each a star in the taste department. Two were from the existing menu: the chockfull-of-seafood “Tagliolini Nero” with its blow-your-socks-off “wok hei”, and the “Taglierini” in housemade tomato sauce pimped up with chilli padi and creamy stracciatella. The other two were brand new creations to be launched to the public in the coming weeks. One I’ve named the “Uni Pasta” because its sea urchin sauce commandeered attention from the first slurp. Upping the enjoyment factor were shallot crumbs and savoury bottarga. The fourth, a “Duck Ragout Garganelli” entranced us with very tender duck meat and a sauce bright with orange notes in which the tubular pasta was simmered.

Needless to add, our meal was bookended by various delicious appetisers and desserts. Making up the former were a ball of burratina cheese on onion marmalade, fabulous melt-in-the-mouth meatballs in a tangy tomato sauce, that day’s special of batter-and-fried zucchini flowers and Chef Jason’s version of foccacia (it’s paper-thin!) with cheese.

For dessert, not only did we plunge headlong into a decadent tiramisu but were also given a sneak preview of Chef Danny’s fig tart. Accompanied by vanilla gelato, it was a hit, lasting all of maybe five seconds after I took photos of it.

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H O S T E D
I said this on my Instagram Story before and I will say it again here for digital posterity: The “Thicc Hashbrown” at Artichoke is the BEST everrrrrrr!!

Think of it as Marche’s rosti that decided to hit the gym and after months of dedicated training, bulked up and nicely chiseled, then went for an intense suntanning session.

The combination of the shredded potato in crisp and moist form, with sour cream, fresh thyme za’atar and chives, was so enormously addictive I actually gave up extra helpings of the grilled rump cut steak for it. That says everything.

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Even though I had quite a lot of pasta the night before, I still nursed a craving for more. So for my main course, I zeroed in on the “Fresh Tagliatelle with Clams, Chilli and Parsley”.
Besides being really Instagrammable, I found the dish beguilingly tasty. The flavour profile of the perfectly al dente pasta struck me as being light and fresh at first, especially with those soft-cooked sweet tomatoes, but the heat from tiny chillies crept in like stealthy ninjas, creating an even more mouthwatering bowl of pasta.

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Having enjoyed this eatery’s famous Moonlight Hor Fun on a previous visit, I wanted to try something else for our meal-closing noodles, which is how the Fried Mee Sua ended up on our table.
Light and a little fluffy, the strands of noodles were suffused with “wok hei” and a rich flavour. Obviously, whatever stock Chef Wayne splashes on during the cooking process was of a superior kind. The amount of “liao” (ingredients: prawns, pork, squid and egg) thrown in was also impressive. It hit the ideal noodle-to-“liao” ratio for me, which means I never had a bite where it was mee sua and mee sua only.

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H O S T E D
So good I feel compelled to get it out there ASAP.
Executive Chef Armando who joined the restaurant at the end of April, is Italian, so you know his pasta is bound to be of a high standard. True enough, this plate of fresh fettuccine he brought out as an additional item after serving the pre-arranged menu was a stealer of hearts.
Made in house but of course, the ribbons of egg pasta were perfectly al dente and coated with just the right amount of a luscious sage butter sauce. The dish had only one other ingredient - shaved black truffle. But it was enough for the table of us to sing its praises with our mouths full.

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H O S T E D
I’m not kidding when I say my friend Dex and I were blown away by the Superior Prawn Mee Pok ($19++) here. It is a mouthwatering creation that is unlike any other prawn noodles I’ve had. The thin strands of silky “mee pok” are cooked al dente in a lusciously rich gravy-broth made from prawn heads. There is a whole bunch of ingredients in it: tiger prawns, pork, half an egg and sakura ebi. What I love most though is the small chewy pieces of “lap cheong” or preserved Chinese sausage. They use the type that’s imported from Hongkong, so the Chinese wine-fragrant meat adds a delicate sweetness that is intoxicatingly good with the savoury profile of the dish.

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I had not ordered this in more than a year so it was good to have it again.
Nothing about it has changed. The Bone Marrow Bun is the same super-soft cushion of bun I remember, that still sports a few neat cuts into which rich bone marrow is generously gunked in.
A really good choice if you are craving carbs but yearn for some meaty flavour too.

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Sturdy on the outside yet soft and yielding within, the bread was coated in a sticky savouriness I found really delicious. I did have my initial reservations though when I learned it was made with liquorice and Singapore stout because liquorice has always been something I wasn’t into. However, from the moment my teeth sank into a warm wedge, slathered generously with the whipped butter of course, I got too busy dying and going to heaven. There was some serious carb magic happening.
The distinctive smell of liquorice was in no way intrusive. Instead, it stealthily shaded in depth and an extra dimension to the overall taste.
Texture-wise, I felt the bread was a love child of an Italian Panettone (one devoid of distracting dried fruit that is) and a bagel. A little unusual but in a good way.
The bottom line is, this was so good I was only too happy when my friend Leon and his wife declined to have the last quarter.
It was mine, all mine.

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Burpple Tastemaker @blueskiescottonclouds and I found this pasta very much to our liking. Embellished with mascarpone and chopped pistachio, the chewy shell-shaped pasta which was made from scratch in-house, was simmered in a tasty red pesto made from sundried tomatoes and piquillo peppers. The blend of flavours and textures led to lip-smacking results.

Here is a new pasta that sparked joy on my palate.
Cooked perfectly al dente, the fresh Farfelle or bowtie pasta has the vibrance of summer written all over it thanks to the bright raspberry vinegar Caponata, a Sicilian style of sauce that’s chockfull of eggplant, celery and olives.
Nicely rounded off by some creamy ricotta and jazzed up with the crunch of toasted pinenuts, I felt every forkful was a happy dance in my mouth.

Can't cook to save my life but boy, can I eat! 😄 (I pay for all my meals unless otherwise stated)

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