Fusion Flavours

Fusion Flavours

Sometimes, combining cuisines or food that don't usually belong together, can lead to delicious results.
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua

When @gathershop.co shared about new weekday lunch items on their Instagram, I immediately wishlisted the Keema Curry ($18). Made it down last Friday to have it and confirmed what I’d felt in my bones - it’s a real gem!
Co-owner @huishaan revealed to me that the dish was inspired by a particular curry restaurant in Japan that bossman @vincteng used to frequent. I could see the country’s influence in the precise, minimalist style of presentation. But there’s clearly a maximalist approach when it came to the taste.
That neat circle of minced chicken and pork curry on a bed of Japanese rice was by no means meek and mild. Instead, it was strikingly complex in aroma and flavour. The level of spiciness, being at an inviting medium, should please the majority. I loved that the curry was presented with an onsen egg on top (it added a silky lusciousness) as well as slices of house-pickled beetroot (those brought a welcome palate-cleansing crunch after mouthfuls of the rich meaty curry rice).
Do note this dish, along with the other lunch items, are only available on weekdays from 11.30am onwards.

My one piece of advice when you dine at @anju_singapore and decide to order the Hogam Jeon ($25) is to top up $3 for mozzarella. The thick, hot and gooey creamy cheese truly elevates the already tasty crispy potato pancake with prawns and zucchini, to crazy goodness! Seriously to-die-for.

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Our slow-mo mahjong game yesterday can be attributed to the insane lunch we had prior at @nonyabong private dining. I decided to pick from Uncle Jeffrey’s a la carte menu for my group of mostly first-timers instead of choosing the “Eat Until Pain” and “Eat Until Pengsan” 8 and 10-course set menus. Judging from everyone’s enthusiastic praises, I guess I did very well.
Ordering my personal beloved dishes first was a no-brainer. These included Kueh Pie Tee (every part of it is made from scratch at Nonya Bong), Itek Tim (there’s fresh green chillies and brandy to dress your “kiam chye” duck soup), Sambal Hati (a mash-up of chicken gizzard, liver and heart in a rich, thick lemongrass-scented paste-like sauce), Sambal Belimbing (this feminine creation blazes with a bright acidity), Chicken and Pork Buah Keluak (double protein and fully-stuffed nuts for the win), Sambal Prawns with Petai (the rempah used here is spectacular and that’s why this is my forever favourite), and Wing Bean Salad (very finely-sliced by @icookyoueatishiok, the “kacang botor” is unerringly fresh and crisp, and comes in a pitch-perfect dressing with lime juice and other seasoning, plus prawns and a crunchy nut crumble).
As for the two dishes I decided to order for the first time ever, they turned out to be excellent as well. The Nonya Curry Chicken with its medium-bodied gravy swimming with chicken pieces (not just wings and drumlets), chunks of potato and a couple of tomatoes, was unbelievably aromatic and complex. I was struck by how closely it resembled my late maternal grandmother’s version of the dish - all the familiar spices she used were also in every whiff, slurp and chomp of Nonya Bong’s.
The other new-to-me dish was the Sotong Hitam. I’ve had my eye on it for the longest time and after gobbling it yesterday, I can say it’s been worth the wait. While the squid itself was tender and full of roe (we got lucky as it’s the season), the squid ink gravy was delightfully tangy with a slight sweetness. I loved it.
In the midst of eating, we were accidentally blessed with a serving of Beef Rendang. How fortuitous as everyone ended up enjoying every bite of the aromatic and tender meat.
After Uncle Jeffrey presented the Sago Pudding in his inimitable style, the eight of us inhaled our bowls of tiny slippery pearls in au naturel Orang Asli gula melaka and cold-pressed coconut milk that’s been mixed with some coconut water and a touch of salt. It was also the first time in all my visits that the Sago Pudding was completely wiped out.

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(Hosted) Nothing deceptive about it. What you see is what you get at the newest restaurant opened by Chef @a.a.walsh.
Located just off Club Street on Gemmill Lane, this Asian-Fusion Raw Bar and Fish Grill serves a variety of small bites and substantial plates with cocktails and wines to pair. Interestingly, last Saturday when we were there, the lunch crowd was 95% female. Perhaps it has to do with the space which is really quite lovely. Its relaxing atmosphere makes it an easy spot to stop for snacks and drinks or to linger over a full meal. The fact that is isn’t enclosed on all four sides also has it feeling open and welcoming. I have heard a few people say it was a bit warm when they visited but we felt comfortable. Maybe because the weather was slightly overcast then.
In his introduction, @catfish.sg’s Head Chef Erik (@thenordicchef_) told us that their aim is to “elevate seafood through great flavours and great techniques”. I think a few of the courses in the Catfish Experience Tasting Menu we had (it costs $158++ per pax and is available only for dinner) did exemplify that well.
Our meal commenced with items from the Raw and Snack sections of the menu. First up, Champagne and Oyster “Fruits de Mer” which saw Bafun uni, beetroot-pickled salmon and Sturgeon caviar piled alongside the small but plump and creamy Canadian oyster in its shell for a surprisingly tasty combination.
The Japanese Catfish Taco was a crunchy bite of fried wantan skin cradling catfish dressed appetisingly in plum sauce, umeboshi-mayo, wasabi and a topping of hazelnuts.
Much-instagrammed, the Catfish Mini Cones Selection consisted of a trio of cones, each filled with a different ingredient combination. I really liked the one with raw scallop, avocado cream and Bafun uni. The other two which had salmon, ikura and furikake cream, and Wagyu tartare with caviar, winter truffle and wasabi cream cone, were decent.
A genuine standout for me was the Hasselback Potato crowned with lime-marinated blue fin tuna, trout roe and wasabi cream. They proved solid with the extremely crunchy potato (it was a tad salty but I had no issues to be honest).
The Squid Noodle Ramen featured chewy noodles and fried chicken in a broth of chicken and truffle. Can’t say I was a fan of this.
The Sesame Prawn and Scallop Toast was however, a big winner with me. I thought the crispy-coated toast, plated with a refreshing citrus emulsion, was so superb on its own, even if the grilled Argentinian prawn, caviar and uni were left out, I wouldn’t have minded.
For the main course, Chef Erik served us a Barbecued Red Snapper that was coated in Sichuan spices. Accompanying it, a laksa cream sauce and a bowl of their take on coconut rice, blanketed in crispy tendrils of fried egg. Overall, a flavourful creation that wasn’t as spicy as the name suggests. The highlight for me was the rice. It was also tasty mixed with some of that laksa cream.
Both desserts turned out to be amazing! While the chocolate mousse (it’s made from two kinds of Valrhona chocolate) with luscious orange custard, orange segments and honeycomb pieces was fabulous, I was more drawn to the Pavlova. Beneath the light-as-air meringue (it had the perfect crunchiness) was fromage blanc mixed with Greek yogurt, fresh strawberries and a basil and yuzu granite. Everything about this was perfect.
Amir (@theflyingsomms), the charming Operations Director, and @ch.limm plied us with drinks throughout the meal. As I wasn’t having any alcohol, they kept me happily lubricated on a few wonderful mocktails. The first was a blend of @Melatidrinks, citrus, berries and @singhasodas. Hot on its heels was a Bloody Mary which I finished rapidly as its lime zest-sprinkled savoury tomato and pickle juice drink suited my palate to a T. Lastly, @ch.limm shook up a gorgeous gold leaf-decorated glass of coffee with cardamom and vanilla which made for a really enjoyable finale.

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(T R E A T)
There are some chefs whose food once you’ve tasted, is clear they have a fantastic palate and you just know are capable of even more exciting things. In my opinion, such is the case with Head Chef @kurt.sombrero at Meatsmith Little India.
I have always found his menu for the Campbell Lane outlet of Meatsmith, peppered with Indian-inspired twists (a homage to its location), creative and well-tuned in flavour balance. With the launch of the new dining concept - Meatsmith Little India Level 2, he now has another avenue to flex his culinary muscles (while still running the kitchen for the restaurant downstairs and the takeaway menu - phew!).
The multi-course Tasting Menu he’s devised for Level 2 is explorative, refined, and undoubtedly worthy of attention ($85++ per pax). To complement, Senior Bartender Kelvin Chow (@ch0wwww) has engineered a special cocktail pairing menu at $65++ per pax.
Our dinner commenced with vibrant small bites of a coriander cream-dressed Potato “Pani Puri”, an artfully balanced Biryani rice and cured Hamachi Sushi, “Fish & Chips” made with purple potato chips, smoked creme fraiche and cured hamachi, as well as a collection of colourful bites on skewers. These included a pan-seared Amaebi wreathed in pickled fennel, its head deepfried to a crunch, Tandoor oven-baked Leek with Foie Gras, and a cabbage-wrapped Chicken Medallion “lollipop”. Kelvin’s first cocktail to go with these was a light concoction of distilled lemongrass and tea with a hint of honey.
Chef Kurt presented the next course himself, a stunner of Carabinero prawn with cauliflower purée, seaweed salad tossed in oils from curry and prawn shells, and for a finishing touch, curried smoked granita - easily one of the strongest dishes in the menu. Lightly fermented Mango with apricot, barley and fresh coconut went into its accompanying cocktail.
Then came an irresistible grilled squid in thick, aromatic curry shielded by wavy Pappadum “shells”. To enjoy this dish, the “shells” were broken and swiped through the curry. The matching drink was my favourite of the night, an alchemised liquid of fermented green apple and fat-washed burnt cream.
Crispy grilled pork cheeks, pickled beetroots, chives and chilli aioli on grilled potato buns (made in-house at Burnt Ends Bakery by @tart_tatin and her team) made up the next course. This delectable mix was matched by a cocktail of fat-washed red and green apples, and distilled macadamia. General Manager @thomaskoh83 told me it’s his personal favourite.
From the three main course options, I picked the Butter Chicken Deluxe, and was suitably delighted by Chef Kurt’s contemporary take on the classic Indian dish showcasing smoked butter and cream, on to which he shaved black truffle. @huatkaliao opted for the Tandoori Cube Roll (this requires a $15 top-up) and loved every bite of the smoky, tender and richly-flavoured meat. I stole some of it and was equally enamoured. A fab choice for red meat lovers. We were presented with the Pork Belly Chop with Sauerkraut Kombucha to try too and it was good, but my heart really belonged to the other two. It’s good to see all the mains come with housemade Roti as they‘re perfect for mopping up curries and sauces.
My hubby had done a wine-pairing instead of cocktails, and he was very pleased with the pours. So pleased that at the end of the night, he decided to purchase a couple of the wines from @burntends.cellars.sg.
Of course Chef Kurt wasn’t about to do a simple dessert for his inaugural Level 2 Tasting Menu. Hence, what appeared was a scrumptiously complex offering of smoked yoghurt ice-cream, ginger ale-compressed apple, sugarcane meringue mousse with kaffir lime and orange zest, and a shockingly fragrant butter and cumin bread smoked till dry and crumbly. A Coffee Negroni was its sparring partner.
Lastly, on a bed of edible “Gunpowder” spices and Milo were these nibbles to send us rolling off into the night: a fluffy coconut caramel sponge with coconut caramel purée, chocolate ganache and sour plum jelly.

Thank you again for springing a surprise on us and taking care of the bill, Thomas 🙏🙏😄. I’m sure you know we would have happily paid for it.

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(T R E A T)
There are some chefs whose food once you’ve tasted, is clear they have a fantastic palate and you just know are capable of even more exciting things. In my opinion, such is the case with Head Chef @kurt.sombrero at Meatsmith Little India.
I have always found his menu for the Campbell Lane outlet of Meatsmith, peppered with Indian-inspired twists (a homage to its location), creative and well-tuned in flavour balance. With the launch of the new dining concept - Meatsmith Little India Level 2, he now has another avenue to flex his culinary muscles (while still running the kitchen for the restaurant downstairs and the takeaway menu - phew!).
The multi-course Tasting Menu he’s devised for Level 2 is explorative, refined, and undoubtedly worthy of attention ($85++ per pax). To complement, Senior Bartender Kelvin Chow (@ch0wwww) has engineered a special cocktail pairing menu at $65++ per pax.
Our dinner commenced with vibrant small bites of a coriander cream-dressed Potato “Pani Puri”, an artfully balanced Biryani rice and cured Hamachi Sushi, “Fish & Chips” made with purple potato chips, smoked creme fraiche and cured hamachi, as well as a collection of colourful bites on skewers. These included a pan-seared Amaebi wreathed in pickled fennel, its head deepfried to a crunch, Tandoor oven-baked Leek with Foie Gras, and a cabbage-wrapped Chicken Medallion “lollipop”. Kelvin’s first cocktail to go with these was a light concoction of distilled lemongrass and tea with a hint of honey.
Chef Kurt presented the next course himself, a stunner of Carabinero prawn with cauliflower purée, seaweed salad tossed in oils from curry and prawn shells, and for a finishing touch, curried smoked granita - easily one of the strongest dishes in the menu. Lightly fermented Mango with apricot, barley and fresh coconut went into its accompanying cocktail.
Then came an irresistible grilled squid in thick, aromatic curry shielded by wavy Pappadum “shells”. To enjoy this dish, the “shells” were broken and swiped through the curry. The matching drink was my favourite of the night, an alchemised liquid of fermented green apple and fat-washed burnt cream.
Crispy grilled pork cheeks, pickled beetroots, chives and chilli aioli on grilled potato buns (made in-house at Burnt Ends Bakery by @tart_tatin and her team) made up the next course. This delectable mix was matched by a cocktail of fat-washed red and green apples, and distilled macadamia. General Manager @thomaskoh83 told me it’s his personal favourite.
From the three main course options, I picked the Butter Chicken Deluxe, and was suitably delighted by Chef Kurt’s contemporary take on the classic Indian dish showcasing smoked butter and cream, on to which he shaved black truffle. @huatkaliao opted for the Tandoori Cube Roll (this requires a $15 top-up) and loved every bite of the smoky, tender and richly-flavoured meat. I stole some of it and was equally enamoured. A fab choice for red meat lovers. We were presented with the Pork Belly Chop with Sauerkraut Kombucha to try too and it was good, but my heart really belonged to the other two. It’s good to see all the mains come with housemade Roti as they‘re perfect for mopping up curries and sauces.
My hubby had done a wine-pairing instead of cocktails, and he was very pleased with the pours. So pleased that at the end of the night, he decided to purchase a couple of the wines from @burntends.cellars.sg.
Of course Chef Kurt wasn’t about to do a simple dessert for his inaugural Level 2 Tasting Menu. Hence, what appeared was a scrumptiously complex offering of smoked yoghurt ice-cream, ginger ale-compressed apple, sugarcane meringue mousse with kaffir lime and orange zest, and a shockingly fragrant butter and cumin bread smoked till dry and crumbly. A Coffee Negroni was its sparring partner.
Lastly, on a bed of edible “Gunpowder” spices and Milo were these nibbles to send us rolling off into the night: a fluffy coconut caramel sponge with coconut caramel purée, chocolate ganache and sour plum jelly.

Thank you again for springing a surprise on us and taking care of the bill, Thomas 🙏🙏😄. I’m sure you know we would have happily paid for it.

5 Likes

( T R E A T )
What may seem like a small shift is seismic at its soul. Born and bred in France, Executive @ChefDavidThien officially joined the @cornerhousesg earlier this year, taking over from true-blue Singaporean Chef Jason Tan who helped this iconic establishment secure a MICHELIN Star (the latter is due to open his own fine dining place soon).
To definitively put his own stamp on Corner House’s new menu, Chef David drew on his French heritage and life journey which includes the last twelve years spent working with Chefs of MICHELIN-starred restaurants in Singapore. I was very impressed by his French-Asian food, especially in terms of how he frames many familiar ingredients in ways quite novel to me. Just to be clear, I had made reservations to visit as a regular customer but at the end of the meal, was told my bill “was taken care of”, so thank you again Chef David for the surprise.
With housemade sourdough, squid ink-marbled “you tiao” (dough fritters) and curry brioche rubbing shoulders, the bread basket paved the way for the rest of the meal. The French-Asian theme was signed, stamped and delivered with the accompanying unsalted Bordier butter and an ingenious #Belachan butter.
Our lovely server presented every course well but I was glad she also left a card with additional information. Written in Chef’s own words, they provided extra context which made me appreciate his creations even more. And that’s how I learned of the rationale behind the exquisite snacks named “Spirit Of Singapore” which comprised of a pappadum cradling Sri Lankan crab, vadouvan spices and dhal aioli, a lettuce cup with Grass-fed Beef Tartare dressed in Thai herbs and a French-Malaysia/Singapore brioche sandwich featuring comte cheese and a strata of “otah” made with Obsiblue prawns, local mackerel.
Also, the reason why Chef David chose to elevate the humble Achards (pickled vegetables) into a stunning appetiser with Japanese hamachi, burrata and a granita made from the bracingly tart and spicy pickling juice.
The charming backstory to his “P’tit L’ail” was revealed on another card. An immensely tasty dish which seemed to be one with the verdant surroundings, it featured chives broth with “wok hei”-perfumed rice noodles, scallops and Carabinero prawns.
If it wasn’t for the explanation, Chef’s take on the carb course could have left me perplexed. I doubt beansprouts have ever played such a major part in a MICHELIN Star restaurant but in that petite bowl, it shone with the company of Hokkaido uni, uni sauce, Parmesan and lemon.
Learning the reason for “Wagyu 2-Ways” brought forth a chuckle. And I must say, both of Chef David’s Japanese-influenced beef dishes sparked great joy in me. While the first, a contemporary take on Sukiyaki boasted silky A4 Wagyu and morel mushrooms, the second, a Wagyu Tartare Ochazuke with toasted furikake, was the gastronomic equivalent of a cuddle.
Rounding off lunch was a palate cleanser where herbaceous fruitiness ruled and dessert was the popular Mont Blanc, tackled through deconstruct with gently sweet Azuki red beans replacing the classic chestnut. But surprises lay in store. I shan’t spoil it for you as you ought to experience it yourself.
The meal ended with petit fours so gorgeous I felt a twinge of guilt eating them but of course I did. And they were fabulous.

Chef David will launch a Chef’s Tasting Menu soon enough but for now, lunch is available in 3 / 5 / 7-course Omakase-style options ($78 / $148 / $218) while dinner is offered in 5 / 7 courses ($168 / $218). For a point of reference, I had picked the 5-course.

If it’s been a while since you’ve ventured into the CBD for a meal, I reckon now’s the perfect time as it’s actually very pleasant in the evenings without the office crowds (most are still WFH). That’s why I’d suggested Roketto Izakaya by Willin Low to Annette for our overdue catch-up.
I desperately wanted everything on his Modern Singaporean (Mod Sin) menu. All of the food looked so good! But since there was just the two of us, it wasn’t humanly possible. Tried our best though, kicking off with the insanely crunchy Har Jeong Pork Keropok dipped in aromatic mayo ($8.90). It must be some kind of an unwritten rule that anyone who walks in has to order this because as the evening progressed, I noticed it kept appearing on every table.
We each had a serving of the Scallop “Her Kiao” Glass Noodles to ourselves - honestly, it’s too delicious to share. Initially, when I read that it contains peanut butter, my eyebrows rose in skepticism. They fell immediately after my first bite - wow... it works beautifully with the spicy marmite sauce. And the scallops in the springy fish paste skin were excellent ($9.80). A must-order.
Trust Willin a.k.a. the “Godfather of Mod Sin” to come up with a Prata Pizza topped with Miso Spring Onions and Three Cheeses ($13.80). I was rolling my eyes in pleasure while inhaling the fragrant, flaky-crispy thing.
His “atas” take on Chinese-style Satay was also a delight. It featured grilled Iberico Secreto pork topped with a Javanese satay sauce and finished with pineapple shallot salsa ($10.80 for 2 heftier-than-average sticks).
There’s a very good reason why Roketto’s “Orh Luak” Oyster Omelette Spaghettini ($20) kept popping up on so many people’s IG Stories throughout the Circuit Breaker - IT’S DAMN TASTY LAH! I implore you to do yourself a favour and try this ASAP. But take note, the “hae bee hiam” sambal pulls no punches.
I wolfed down the Asian Tofu and Mesclun Salad with sesame dressing. Yes, it ain’t roketto science (haha, see what I did there? 😆) but I liked the simple yet flavourful mix.

If you are into all things Mod Sin, here’s an exciting piece of news. @nutmegandclove is doing a Cocktail Pop-Up at Roketto Izakaya from 1st to 31st July (it started yesterday). So don’t procrastinate if you love the sound of Singapore-inspired cocktails to pair. Swiftly secure a booking for maximum Mod Sin mayhem by calling:

6904 5458

OR WhatsApp-ing:

8189 6417.

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T R E A T
Available Wednesdays to Sundays, @artichoke_sg has a Deli Dinner for takeaway. As the set menu for 2 pax ($80) changes every week, you can’t sit around on your asses if you want to get your paws on it.
I had the privilege of a sneak eat last Sunday of this week’s Vietnamese-inspired version when the bossman himself dropped off a very generous meal at my home - thanks so much again for that @bjornshen.
Although the main act of the Deli Dinner is the monster of a modified Banh Mi (it’s apportioned into 2 x 300gms heavyweights for the Set), I found the rest of the items real attention-grabbers too.
Take the Chicken Broth for instance, the only thing that needed heating up. It was extremely tasty, especially with the beansprouts, onions, herbs and enoki mushrooms (by the way, these should only be chucked in moments before you commence slurping).
The Potato Salad was a side so bold from fish sauce caramel, fresh basil and a squeeze of fresh lime juice, it threatened to steal the thunder from everything else. It’s easily one of the more exciting potato salads I’ve ever had.
With shredded cabbage, carrots, pickles, firm tofu and peanuts tumbled together, the Vietnamese Coleslaw was vibrant in colour but that wasn’t why it made an impression. Leave it to a sliced chilli-filled “nuoc cham” to create the splash (quite literally).
Be prepared to unhinge your jaw for Bjorn’s larger-than-life cold-pressed Vietnamese sandwich. But remember, DO NOT REMOVE the plastic wrap around it. I made that mistake and it was like trying to get toothpaste back in the tube 😂 The wrap is to keep all the stuff packed in there, IN THERE. And there’s a lot of stuff. We’re talking lemongrass-grilled pork, bologna, housemade pickles, fresh herbs, vegetables and more. Except for coriander. Coriander gets its own ride.
One of the sweets I received was a box of pretty, gold-dusted Donuts topped with pineapple and jackfruit. It was nice but the Chocolate Pudding was the dessert that made me sit up and go wow. I‘ve never been into chocolate-and-banana combos but Pastry Chef Nancy had me happily eating my words (and her coconut cream-covered intensely chocolate-y dessert with bananas and peanuts).
The drink included in the Set was a pleasant and not overpowering Lychee and Lemongrass Cooler.

To order, go to:
www.bjornshen.com

You may want to also take note a new Deli Dinner menu drops every Monday at noon.

Shortly before the Circuit Breaker was implemented, I had a most wonderful brunch at @allium.sg. So when Chef-owner Dillon and his wife Chef Lulu launched their Takeaway Menu, I was eager to try it. The reason I was particularly drawn to the dishes in this menu (sorry, today’s the last day for it and they’ve already sold out), was the abundance of aromatics featured in them. And I do love my aromatics.

Here’s what I ordered and thoroughly enjoyed:

1. Empress Chicken "Ayam Ungkep" - Extremely fragrant roasted boneless chicken rubbed with turmeric & fennel, and topped with bunga kantan and shallot sambal, it is a feast for the eyes and a thrill on the palate.

2. Kurobuta Pork Cheek Curry - The meat was braised till melt-in-the-mouth in a mild curry redolent in an unusual but appealing blend of peppercorn, cardamon, clove & shaoxing wine curry. So glad it came with Homemade Fried Buns to mop up every bit of that tasty gravy.

3. Kale Ulam Salad - If everyone can make kale taste this delicious, I would eat it much more often. Dressed with herbs and spices from a traditional nasi ulam recipe, as well as mushroom garum and calamansi juice, the locally-grown kale from @susteniragriculture was a revelation.

4. Signature Nasi Liwet - Made from stewing Koshihikari rice with bits of fried salted threadfin, petai (my fave!) and alliums, the result was a fragrant, fluffy, flavourful, multi-textural carb dish that’s wonderful enough to be enjoyed on its own.

Chef Dillon was also kind enough to include these two dishes appearing in next week’s menu:

1. Squid and Quail’s Egg in Sambal - The perfectly cooked squid (even grandparents would have no problem enjoying it), and the sambal in which it was gently braised, along with the mini eggs, was a lip-smacking roasted chilli and tumeric leaf blend that’s not too spicy at all. Shiokness.

2. Tuscan Kale Gulai - Featuring another produce from @susteniragriculture, the dark leaves were stewed in Gulai - a fragrant, more-liquid-than-paste style of curry found at Nasi Padang stalls. This was concocted from salted fish, galangal and juices from ayam ungkep. And it was DA BOMB!!

I suggest you keep your eyes peeled for news on the next Takeaway Menu by following @allium.sg on Instagram because from what I can see, they sell out fast.

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T R E A T
T’was a wonderful surprise when I was told by @theenglishhousesingapore that they would like to treat me and my family to lunch. I just had to let them know what I would like from their new Takeaway Menu, which I did in a jiffy. The food was delivered on time and it traveled well, arriving in prime condition thanks to the attention paid by Head Chef Andrew Bennett and his team.

Here is what I picked:

1. “The English Rump and Foie Gras Burger” ($25) - A fine specimen of the loaded-style burger, it came with a massive portion of fries. A little assembly was required as the melted cheese and crispy bacon-topped juicy patty (made with beef and foie gras), came wrapped in foil. The iceberg lettuce which was also packed separately, remained delightfully cool and crisp even after I stacked everything together between the lightly toasted soft buns and took a bite. What a great idea to send the burger this way as it helped it to taste extra fresh and delicious.

2. “Confit Crisp Duck Leg with Japanese Egg Fried Rice” ($32) - Never thought these two could be a combo let alone a winning one. The confit duck was seasoned and cooked on point, and I found the best way to enjoy the dish was to shred the duck up and mix the tender, moist meat with the super eggy fried rice.

3. “Braised Shortrib of Angus Beef with Singapore Spiced Noodles” ($40) - I had enjoyed this a lot when I dined in previously, so I was very pleased to see it in the Takeaway Menu. Although the noodles were a tad dry compared to when I had the dish in the restaurant, the huge hunk of meat was every bit as melt-in-the-mouth as I remember.

4. “Mr. White’s Tiramisu” - Dessert was a hefty scoop of their popular mascarpone and 70% cacao creation. Loved how rich, creamy and intense in coffee and chocolate it turned out to be.

To place an order, please visit:

www.theenglishhouse.com/TAKEOUT/

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H O S T E D
I’ve been a huge fan of Chef Damian D’Silva’s cooking for years and have followed him from restaurant to restaurant. It had taken a while for me to dine at @restaurantkin.sg though (he heads the kitchen there now) because for months, I‘d been under the impression that only members of the Straits Clan could do so. I was wrong - oops (FYI: About half of the tables in the restaurant are set aside for non-members). Regardless, the key thing here is that my forlorn pining finally came to an end last Friday, with a banging feast to boot!
After we toasted with the welcome “Gibette”, a traditional Eurasian celebratory concoction of ginger, aged rum, honey, lime & aromatics, a bowl of Nasi Ulam arrived. An authentic rendition of this herb rice is nigh impossible to find nowadays so we treasured every bite. Served at room temperature as an appetiser, it exuded a beautiful fragrance, the result of chiffonaded herbs. Chef Damian also shared that the dish originated as a test by Peranakan matriarchs for prospective daughters-in-law.
Next was a platter of appetisers comprising of Chi Pow Kai (paper-wrapped chicken that’s juicy and tasty), Hakka Fried Pork and two Asian salads - the herbaceous Daun Pegaga and the brighter Heritage Salsa.
We then progressed to the large dishes which numbered enough to almost cover our entire table. Meant to be eaten with either plain rice or Nasi Kuning - a tasty, albeit slightly oily “kunyit” (turmeric) flavoured yellow rice, they consisted of:

- Braised Babi Assam: A pork rib and pork belly dish cooked with “tau cheo” (preserved soya beans), tamarind, Chinese mustard and “kiam chye”. Chef Damian’s is an unusually wet version, so it is ideal for those looking to splash their rice with a non-spicy “zhup” (gravy).
- “Selar”: The big fish, stuffed with a chilli and “buah keras” (candlenut) rempah and fried till crispy, brought back happy memories for me as my late grandmother use to prepare “selar” the same way for my brothers and I during our growing-up years.
- Ayam Lemak Chilli Padi: I really enjoyed its aromatic, spicy and coconut-rich gravy. What’s more, the chicken was properly “serap” (well-saturated) in the gravy, a vital point some places seem to overlook.
- Sambal Brinjal and Prawns: The slightly sweet and spicy dried chilli sambal used in the frying was so appetising and I could’ve eaten it on its own.
- Chap Chye: chef Damian revealed that he added “rempah titek” to the classic recipe to get the stewed mix of vegetables and beancurd ablaze with spiciness. Ingenious.
- Beef Gulai: The braised meat was unbelievably tender and the sauce, only mildly spicy. Those who can’t handle too much chilli can relish this with no issues.
- Dou Miao: The succulent vegetable was stirfried with garlic for a straightforward yet satisfying fix of greens.
- Kedongdong Salad: We were surprised with this off-the-menu salad too was a genuine saliva-trigger. Its intense sourness was a perfect foil for all the richness.

Even though nearly every dish was an innate flavourbomb, resisting the siren call of the housemade condiments, namely the Sambal Belado, Sambal Hijau and fiery-hot Sambal Belachan, was futile.
Finally, it was time for desserts. Let me just say, Chef Damian’s creations are so overwhelmingly good, eating them was an almost religious experience for me. I loved the Kedongdong and Coconut Sorbet which managed to taste simultaneously familiar and novel, but when I dug into the #SugeeCake, #KuehKosui and Kueh Bengkah, a sense of euphoria welled up so strongly I thought I was going to burst into tears.
In not so many words, Restaurant Kin is a MUST GO.

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