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Set Menu Meals

Set Menu Meals

Isn't it nice to indulge in a meal that comes in 2, 3, 4 or more courses?
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua

I’ve never met a bowl of Buah Keluak noodles I didn’t like.
One of the earliest, if not the earliest, was the “Buah Keluak Mee Pok” by @chefshentan at the now-defunct Revolution Coffee cafe. I remember trying to chew while gaping in wonderment at its deliciousness, on top of being a bit flustered at finally meeting Chef herself properly (#fangurling).
Shown above is the most recent, which took place here where it appears as the seventh of nine courses in Chef Ming Kiat’s September menu. Naturally, each person has their own take and his featured an oxtail buah keluak ragout and egg noodles made fresh from scratch in-house. I loved how the meat and Indonesian black nut were cooked till they basically became one, a black melt-in-mouth beauty that after some tossing, clung tenaciously to the fine strands of springy noodles. So sublime a Peranakan-Chinese match they made. Chef Ming Kiat urged us to squeeze the lime and mix in the housemade sambal belachan to give the earthiness from the buah keluak a note of brightness and savoury heat. Doing that really did transform the dish in ways I didn’t expect, to heightened tastiness of course.

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Another delicious dish that only made its appearance on my second visit to this restaurant was the Jeju abalone served in an abalone liver sauce with barley, tiny curry leaves and a kangaroo tail consommé. Yes, a marsupial made an appearance in my dinner (it tasted like a light and clear beef soup to me). Besides loving the contrasting chewiness of the smooth shellfish and the textured grain, as well as the aroma from the fresh herb, I felt this was the course that encapsulates the essence of Chef Rishi’s Cloudstreet best. If you’ve had this dish, do let me know if you agree.

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“Life-changing” is NOT a hyperbole when used to describe the Amela Tomato Soup from the Chef’s Tasting Menu at Spago.
Drizzled with a little basil oil, the sensuousness of the silky orange liquid was heightened further when the bobble of burrata cheese could no longer contain itself and exploded (isn’t spherification pure mouthfeel porn?!) And do you know what else made this course stand out? It came with a set of instructions on how to REALLY enjoy it. Executive Chef Greg Bess told us to take a piece of the charred crusty rye bread and swipe it through the tomato caraway butter (this quenelle of umami creaminess was so incredible I can’t even) before dunking it in the soup. We all did so and were pretty much simultaneously caught up in a rapture from that point on.
Chef, please, please put this on Spago’s menu and never, ever take it off.

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Like the Beyoncé of fish porridges, this bowl of Aji Ochazuke commandeered eyes effortlessly. A full-bodied beauty, its quiet but charismatic presence drew everyone in like a magnet. Spending a few seconds (in my friend Szeliang‘s case, about a minute at least) devoted to simply inhaling its “breath” and marveling at its existence was the least we could do before plunging in to savour one flavourful slurp and bite after another.

I am a sucker for all things egg, so this super-soft, wobbly and piping hot version with wheat beer dashi and topping of Oscietra caviar was sublime.

I think of this as the equivalent of a brilliant spin-off from an award-winning series because in a way, it is a derivation of my all-time favourite dish on Spago’s dinner menu - the Pan Fried Red Snapper “Laksa” by Executive Chef Greg Bess. In here, he has combined that with his other favourite local food: “otah”.
Boneless chunks of locally-caught snapper are assembled with a coconut milk-rich, spicy “otah” along with clipped strands of laksa noodles that have been fried in “rempah” in a banana leaf and grilled. The package is presented as a whole first to the guests, then unwrapped table-side. Even before the rising steam clears, spanner crab curry is ladled over the tender, moist contents, followed by some foamed laksa gravy. Tiny coriander flowers from Vietnam, a few wispy strands of saffron and a sprinkle of laksa leaves are added as the finishing touches.
This elevated amalgamation of two kinds of hawker food is no namby-pamby thing that tiptoes through the daffodils when it comes to spiciness. It’s pretty robust but doesn’t raze tastebuds. Well, unless you decide to overload it with the accompanying sambal (which by the way, looks nothing like any other sambal I have seen). What’s non-negotiable for me is a squeeze of the fresh lime - a few drops of this “good juju” is integral to taking things up a notch.
If you wish to give the “Otah Stuffed Red Snapper” a try, do take note it appears on the seasonal Chef’s Tasting Menu.

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H O S T E D
The Grand Old Dame is looking splendid after almost two years of restoration works. And she has started to roll out unique dining experiences that only she is capable of offering, such as the eternally elegant “Raffles Afternoon Tea” which can be partaken in the main lobby of this legendary hotel.
Although it heaves with classic Englishness appearance-wise, the food, apart from the scones which are escorted by clotted cream and a strawberry and rose petal jam, is a little less straightforward. And I really like that about it.
Executive Pastry Chef @chienlin_tai and his team have put together three tiers of scrumptiousness that include mini sandwiches formed from cottony-soft housemade bread in assorted flavours, coupled with delicious fillings. Proving most popular with those present yesterday were the chicken mayo in mixed grain and the crab in curry bread.
The middle tier’s strawberry yogurt cake and the crunchy peanut bar (an inspired take on Raffles Hotel’s iconic Long Bar’s famous peanut shell-strewn floor) were very good but for me, it was the pistachio mousse and pistachio chocolate in choux puff pastry that reigned supreme.
Sitting pretty on the top: a fruit and nut loaf and a refreshing coconut panna cotta with passionfruit and mango. I liked them a lot as well.
Available daily between 12noon and 6pm, the “Raffles Afternoon Tea” is priced at $68++ per pax and includes a beverage of your choice. Champagne is also offered with a top-up. Granted this tea set is not cheap but if you desire whiling away an afternoon over tastefully done food and drinks in a beautiful iconic venue, this would suit you to a “Tea”.

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The “Burrata with Confit Kumquats” first piqued my curiousity when I spotted it in the a la carte menu (price: $24++) and then I realised it can also be had as an appetiser in Spago’s 3-course express set lunch menu for just $10++ more. Which is a very good deal if you ask me.
I enjoyed the marriage of the sweet and tangy, slightly chewy kumquats with the soft creaminess of the burrata a lot. The taste of the dish was however, elevated further by the presence of Sicilian pistachios, orange blossom honey, fresh mint, arugula and the crispy pieces of San Daniele Prosciutto.
If creamy cheeses make you go weak in the knees, like it does me, this is something worth considering when you dine at Spago.

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If you aren’t too fond of fish or chicken, or are simply open to trying something unique to “Charcoal Grill And Salad Bar Keisuke”, the fish cake is what you should get.
Made in-house, it is prepared in the Southern Japanese style, so the texture is cottony-soft and fluffy. What I love is that kernels of corn and chopped up pieces of edamame are mixed in for extra textural excitement. These also enhance the fish cake with a delicious sweetness and mild nuttiness.
It comes in a set with rice, a soft-cooked egg, pickles and a bowl of miso soup for just $10.90++. Which effectively makes it the second least expensive thing on the menu here after the $9.90++ grilled chicken with rock salt set meal.

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#OysterPorn #ScallopPorn #WagyuPorn #Eggporn - yup, Waa Cow has them all.

The #BurppleBeyond 1-for-1 Set Meal at the Marina One outlet of Waa Cow is excellent value for money because before the main course of Wagyu Sukiyaki Gyu Don is served, you get huge, fresh, sashimi-grade Hokkaido oysters dressed in mentaiko sauce and aged shoyu, followed by an appetiser of Torched Mentaiko Scallops.

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I know of many foodie friends who count Meta as one of their favourite restaurants in Singapore. On my second visit last week, I got all the evidence, and then some, as to why this Michelin-starred place is highly beloved.
Done up in light colours, the spacious premises they now occupy at 1 Keong Saik Road makes you feel relaxed and comfortable the moment you walk in.
At our lunch, it was Chef Maira Yeo who launched us off on a magnificent trio of snacks:
- a sago chip piled with lime juice-sparked octopus, ikura, garlic aioli and seaweed powder
- a snap-crispy rectangle of pastry laden with beef tartare and caviar (shown above)
- a foie gras tart with sweet Australian cherries

From these three bites, I had a strong inkling that the rest of the meal was going to be fantastic. I was right.

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Holy Cow! The beef alone made it totally worth the $22++ top-up. My friend SK and I had zeroed in on the fat-woven Kiwami Wagyu for our set lunch main course, and we were equally over the moon with it.
In the mouth, those thick, chunky cuts of beef melted like butter on a hot pan. No surprise there considering the close-to-creamy meat had a marbling score of 8+. The accompanying risotto of Acquerello rice was cooked to a firm chewiness. Arranged on top were Black Trumpet Mushrooms that brought a strong earthy aroma to the mix.

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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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