Gourmet Trip

Gourmet Trip

The better and the best of the places I've eaten at.
Russell Leong
Russell Leong

I’ve always correctly regarded cauliflower as trash tier broccoli, but trust @lumbre.sg to turn this unpleasant veggie into a desirable one. The Grilled Cauliflower with Black Tahini ($24++) features a whole head of cauliflower grilled on Lumbre’s flame grill, showered in black tahini and garnished charitably with pomegranate seeds.⠀

Just like with the meats, the grill has bestowed a sexy smokiness upon the cauliflower, charring it just right for maximum impact. The rich, creamy tahini might be fortified with squid ink to achieve its colour, but I can’t confirm that. What I can confirm, however, is that the tremendously tasty tahini transformed the dull cauliflower into a vivacious veggie bursting with sapidity.⠀

The pomegranate covered two more flavours that the human tongue perceives: sweet & sour. These little seeds burst forth their sweet and tart juices, harmonising with the salty & smoky cauliflower & tahini flawlessly. This savoury symphony was so sublime that I was compelled to finish my veggies in short order.⠀

Alright, alright, I’ll admit it cauliflower. Perhaps I treated you too harshly.

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Y’all might scoff at us for ordering the Grilled Iberico Chorizo with Mexican Cheese ($22++) at @lumbre.sg, but sausage and cheese on bread is one of mankind’s greatest inventions. It’s right up there with the wheel, alcohol, and nuclear energy. If you disagree, go argue with the wall. Snags are an amazing appetiser, and these chorizos had us snagged real good.⠀

As the chorizo uses ground up Iberico pork, it is felicitously fatty and full of fabulous flavours. This extra juicy sausage was spicy, salty and the casing was sprightly and snappy, which are the prerequisites for a stellar sausage. Grilling the chorizo gives it an additional smokiness and oomph that it didn’t need, but is still incredibly welcome. That spicy, smoky sausage is plopped atop a small slice of crusty cheese toast, and quite liberally drizzled with nacho cheese.⠀

Cheesy, creamy, crispy, fatty, smoky, salty, and supremely satisfying, the Iberico Chorizo with Mexican Cheese is the ideal appetiser, and a sublime booze bite that goes well with every drink on Lumbre’s well curated drinks menu. My only issue with this meaty slice of heaven? There wasn’t nearly enough of it to satiate my desperate need for more of its excellence.

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Yes I know lobster laksa pasta has been done to death in Singapore, but believe me that @cherki_sg isn’t like all the other restaurants. First and foremost, that ain’t no slipper lobster/crayfish, that’s a legit Boston lobster baby! Well, half a Boston lobster, if the description on their menu is anything to go by. Besides that, Cherki’s Laksa Lobster Linguine ($27++) also has more lobster meat, taupok (fried tofu puffs) and a whole heap of linguine tossed in laksa gravy.⠀

The linguine was juuuuust barely al dente, with a more distinct bite to each noodle. The laksa gravy it was coated in was remarkably rich, with a weighty, gluttonously gratifying creaminess to it from the coconut milk. It wasn’t spicy enough to light up your tongue, but the ambrosial aromatics of the belacan (shrimp paste), galangal & lemongrass will certainly please your palate. I do wish there was much more of this luscious laksa gravy on this dish, that gravy was truly glorious.⠀

The lobster meat was sweet and tastefully tender, with each lobster chunk effectively melting after a bite or two. The sweet lobster paired impeccably with the luscious, spicy & savoury laksa, a match made in culinary heaven. The airy, charmingly chewy taupok was mainly there to give a familiar element to the laksa linguine, but it made the dish feel more complete. All Cherki needs to do now is throw in some crunchy beansprouts for a much needed textural contrast, and this dish would be perfect.


Argentinian Prawn Pasta? I didn’t expect the Argentinians to do pasta, but I really shouldn’t be that surprised considering that pasta is pretty much a universal dish. While it is neither a hundred percent Italian or Argentinian, @tonito.singapore piquant prawn pasta is definitely a hundred percent exquisite.

Silky strands of spaghetti done al dente are bathed luxuriously in a palatable pomodoro sauce, and fortified with two titanic Argentinian prawns, littleneck clams & shredded crabmeat. The sauce is a textbook example of how to do an excellent pomodoro : smooth, thick, garlicky, and jam packed full of satisfying savouriness with just a little sweet & sourness to shake it up. Just the perfect sauce for the pasta.

As one would expect of any self respecting restaurant, all of the seafood on the plate were commendably fresh. The huge prawns still retained their subtle sweetness, but now boasted a newly acquired smokiness from being grilled expertly. Garlic & prawns are a match made in heaven, and this is definitely seventh heaven. I mean, the prawns are comprehensively blanketed by fried garlic. Unless you’re Dracula, that’s Flavortown on the back of a couple of prawns.

As for the clams & crabmeat, they don’t add much in the way of flavour, but they definitely complete the dish and give it a sublimely satisfying weight. The crabmeat in particular will ensure that almost no mouthful is purely pasta and nothing else. Nossir, the carbs are completed by all the deeply satisfying seafood that rounds it all out. If you’re ravenously hungry and have an insatiable craving for pasta, this ponderous plate of prawn pasta is just what you need.

But wait, there’s MORE! With the brilliance of #burpplebeyond, you can enjoy TWO plates of this amazing Argentinian Prawn Pasta for the price of one! That’s right, TWO of these Argentinian beauties for the low, LOW price of $26++! Now, I’m crying for this Argentinian prawn pasta, but they are most definitely joyful tears.

Thank you so much for the invite, @tonito.singapore and @burpple!

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Usually when someone has their virgin experience, it’s a cringefest that’s better left forgotten. However, my virgin experience with lechon was an intensely pleasurable & unforgettable affair. @don_lechon_singapore has been one of the original dons for this porky Filipino staple, so it was a natural choice to go to get my lechon virginity taken.

God damn, I regret being a lechon virgin for so damn long. I have been persistently robbing myself of the carnal pleasures of that crazy crispy pork rind, and the salty & slightly herby joys of that fatty, immaculately roasted meat. For just ten bucks, I got a hearty helping of hog, which I hogged down in short order.

When you hear lechon, the sounds of earth shattering crunches and crackles immediately dominate the imagination. Don Lechon delivered all that ASMR and much more, with a ridiculously crispy rind that was more like a superbly savoury cracker.

Under that crunchy armour lies the juicy, stupidly sapid, smoky & tremendously tender meat. All porky odours have been banned here, with the scallions, lemongrass, pepper, garlic & salt marinade transforming each sinew of meat into a veritable orgasm of flavours. The smoke serves to intensify said orgasm of flavours, and each bite will send you into nirvana.

Normally it just comes with a heap of steamed rice, which serves its purpose well, but if you ask nicely enough, the proprietors will generously give you a bowl of kare kare sauce to pour over your rice. Kare kare isn’t actually curry, but a peanut butter based sauce. Think of it as watered down peanut butter and you’re right on the money. Yes, this is almost guaranteed to induce a sore throat, but you can’t have pleasure without a little pain. Also, you can call @don_lechon_singapore the don.

Chinese brand Yu Ba Fang had these stick-looking Pan-Fried Dumplings (or some call them 鍋貼 or pot stickers) catching my attention along the food kiosks at Basement 1 of Raffles City Shopping Centre.

At 8 pieces for S$10.90, I initially thought it might be a tad pricey. However, when eaten immediately, these Pan-Fried Dumplings were comforting and tasty, with pork and chive fillings going well with the dark vinegar. But perhaps I took my time with the food from start to finish, the last couple of pieces started to stick to each other as they cooled down.

In short, unless one could eat this very quickly upon serving, I would think that the dumplings might be expensive to savour.

@sevenscafe.sg has only been officially opened for less than 24 hours at time of writing, and they’ve already deeply impressed me with their fantastic food. Besides all day brekkie staples, the modern Australian inspired menu features this lipsmackin’ Land Protein bowl ($21++).⠀

Sliced smoked duck is fanned out on a bed of white rice mixed with quinoa, and is accompanied by smashed avocado plus diced beetroot and radish on the side. Of course, it wouldn’t really be a rice bowl without an egg, so there’s a nicely poached egg that crowns the entire affair. The carbs have the occasional additional bite to them due to the quinoa mixed in with the rice, and unaware diners may mistake the added resistance of the quinoa as the rice being undercooked. The rice is cooked perfectly, it’s just the natural bite of quinoa, relax.⠀

As expected, the star attraction is the smoked duck. It’s sliced a touch thin, and it’s a little uncomfortably close to being so thin that the texture of the duck is ruined. Fortunately, it’s thick enough to retain the tender, meaty texture of the duck, and the flavours are utterly scintillating. The already savoury smoked duck is glazed with a sapid soy glaze and is blowtorched, giving the fowl a delightfully deep smoky & umami flavour. The fat is skilfully rendered out, leaving a tastefully moderated layer of unctuous duck fat under that gloriously browned skin.⠀

I haven’t had smashed avo & beetroot since I left ‘straya, and both elements really take me back to the best year of my life. The avo is universally welcome with its comely creaminess, and the beetroot balances out the stellar sweet & salty elements already in the bowl with its zesty tanginess.⠀

At $21++, this is a premium portion, but the premium pleasure it provides will bowl you right over.

I haven’t seen any posts repping the sweet potato bites ($3.80 as a solo order) from @momstouch.sg, so imma be the pioneer. These bites are some sweet treats, as the small sweet potato balls are satisfyingly sweet & soft at its core, and creditably crispy on the exterior. These bites are some of the best you’ll ever get at a fast food joint, change my mind. Hint: you can’t.⠀

I find the cheese stick kinda funny, I find it kinda sad because it’s alone, and it costs $2.80 for a solitary stick. Still, it’s a a stick of mozzarella cheese that’s been breaded & deep fried, of course it’s gonna be awesome lmao⠀

Me posting salads? What in the fresh heck is going on? Look, imma keep it real with you chief. I sure as hell wasn’t intending to post about the salad course in @wineconnectionsg insane steal of a set lunch which is $14.90++ for this salad, a pasta or pizza of your choosing, and a drink. Of course, there’s the irresistible option to get a glass of red or white wine for an extra five bucks. Of course I did a spot of day drinking, I have a reputation to maintain after all.⠀

However, the minute this beautiful bowl of the garden’s finest was placed in front of me, I knew that I had to wax lyrical about it. Sure, it’s dressed very plainly in olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette and seasoned simply with some salt, but this ain’t your typical halfhearted salad. Besides the base of baby spinach, lettuce and rocket leaves, there’s cherry tomatoes, battens of roasted red & yellow capsicums, olives, and a pair of wedges that possess the texture of roasted potatoes.⠀

This is a textbook example of how to do an excellent salad at just a tiny touch more cost. I’m not even talking dollars here, I’m talking cents and pure sense. The sweetness of the roasted capsicums & cherry tomatoes offset the peppery heat & sharpness of the rocket. Meanwhile, the black & green olives provide an unctuous umami & a compelling complexity to the salad that’s already layered with flavour thanks to the aforementioned sweet elements.⠀

And this, people, is how a salad should be. A layered, delicious dish that is far more than just the easiest way to get in lots of fibre, minerals & vitamins at one go. I never expected a wine merchant to teach everyone else how to structure a salad properly, but I’m glad Wine Connection’s restaurant arm is here to teach these plebs.

One thing I definitely miss about dining out are freshly shucked oysters. Especially when an oyster goes for just $2++ with the purchase of any drink at @tanukiraw from 1700-2000 every damn day. Of course, you can only get a half dozen of these plump pretties with every drink you order, but that’s just more encouragement for an alcoholic like me.⠀

Am I broke? Yes.⠀
Did I drink way too much? Of course.⠀
Did I clear out an entire sea of oysters? Yep.⠀
Would I do it again? Shuck yeah.

As for the crispy cauliflower ($8.90), it’s a damn good appetiser that has me reconsidering my scathing condemnation of what I have deemed as trash tier broccoli. The batter is thin & quite deliciously seasoned, and the sriracha mayonnaise was slightly spicy & charmingly creamy. The only problem with it? Not nearly enough sriracha mayonnaise. Imma channel my inner Kylo Ren and say: more. MORE!⠀

Garlic. Butter. Mussels. It’s a simple spell, but quite unbeatable. @littlepart1cafe does them exceptionally well, and their version of garlic butter mussels ($18 nett for 500 grams) is quite memorable.⠀

The mussels are fresh & thoroughly cleaned, which allowed the simple yet stellar sauce of garlic, butter & possibly white wine to shine. The sauce is thin, as expected, but there’s a myriad of marvellous flavours in it. It’s rich & silky from the butter, it’s pleasantly pungent from the aromatics of the garlic, and it’s satisfyingly salty.⠀

That’s it, that’s the review. The garlic butter mussels consist of less than five ingredients, but it’s deliriously delicious. Now, I’m gonna get Part 2 of these majestic mollusks, so you can see yourself out the door.

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Alcohol may not be good for my body, but my body is good for alcohol.

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