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Food Attack

Food Attack

Featuring Portico Host (Alexandra), The Disgruntled Chef (Dempsey), 4Fingers Crispy Chicken (ION Orchard), Doi Chaang Coffee (Rochester Mall), LeNu Chef Wai’s Noodle Bar (Bugis Junction), Sweet Monster (Plaza Singapura), HarbourFront Centre, Dian Xiao Er (Jem), Kyū Coffee Bar, DessertStory (Tiong Bahru Plaza)
Vanessa Kou
Vanessa Kou

A non-spicy option is the way to go for me as I inhaled the Grilled Limbo Fish with Soy Sauce ($45.90). Sweet and savoury, the gravy does thicken pretty quickly making it a tad cloying but went superbly with a steaming bowl of rice. The vegetables also helped a little to cut the richness. The highlight was certainly the fish itself as it was all tender, succulent, smooth yet firm.

Buried under a heap of soybeans and red chilies, Tanyu’s Chongqing Grilled Sea Bass Fish with Bean Curd ($45.90) looked intimidating especially for a non-spice eater like me. However, a quick sweep of the chilies and picking out portions that were not soaked long in the menacing sauce proved fruitful as I got to sample the dish without choking or burning myself. Fragrant, spicy, and tantalizing, the sauce didn’t carry as much heat as expected and meld together well with the fresh-tasting Sea Bass. Hence, spice lovers would certainly find the heat level more than tolerable. Though it is worth noting that the Sea Bass had a fair amount of bones so I would suggest going for the Limbo Fish.

Extremely light and balanced, LUNA’s Orh Nee ($8) cake was a lovely surprise. Crowned with dollops of chantilly cream, crunchy white chocolate pearls, desiccated coconut, and specks of gold leaf; the slice was delicate with a touch of finesse. I love the wonderful play of textures layered between the soft vanilla sponge, with the chunks of yam as well as creamy yam ginkgo paste. The mild earthiness of the smooth puree complementing the subtle sweetness of the sponge. The coconut-infused cream up top also offered a gentle nuttiness and added an airy quality to the cake.

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With the Beyond deal, I also got the Beef Short Rib Fettuccine ($29). Tender, fatty, and sweet, the pulled Australian beef short ribs were well-seasoned. Not overly beefy, the protein also added a comforting, hearty flavour to the dish. Tossed with al dente Fettuccine, the richness of the meat was wonderfully balanced with the use of mushrooms and tomatoes.

Another score with Burpple Beyond’s 1-for-1, the Pizza & Pasta deal at LINO restaurant was really value for money.

Covered in a tangy layer of tomato passata, the 12-inch Burrata ($26) pizza was so good - especially having it piping hot during a cool rainy day! A great meat-free option; the savoury and nutty pairing of the juicy marinated cherry tomatoes, with the herby basil pesto was very enjoyable. The luscious yet mild flavour of the burrata ball melded well together with the other ingredients too. The pizza crust was also thin and had those little blisters among the edges which provided a nice charred aroma to the pie.

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Having snagged Tarte’s limited-time-only National Day Special Calamansi-Meringue Tart ($11/ small, 8cm) a couple weeks ago, I believe it is now my new favorite tart! Crowned with fluffy meringue, the smooth calamansi curd had just the right amount of zing and sweetness. And what I enjoyed most was the fruit’s unique citrus-y flavour. For me, the brightness from the fresh calamansi really set it apart from the usual lemon curd and was also a great complement to the crisp buttery tart base. Likewise, the classic Strawberry Tart ($13/ small, 8cm) was executed wonderfully. The juicy, sweet strawberries with the light yet fragrant vanilla cream were a perfect match.

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A little treasure trove of baked goods, last week’s @sugarthieves.co Omakase Picnic Box ($32) saw a wonderful mix of croissants, pastries and cakes.

Caramelized Onion Mushroom Tart - Topped with mushroom, mozzarella, and a generous layer of caramelized onions, the tart was fragrant, savoury, and sweet. The puff pastry was also buttery, light, and crisp after a quick pop into the oven.

Signature Carrot Bundt Cake - Chockfull of toasted mixed nuts, the mini bundt cake was lightly spiced and moist. Paired with lemon cream cheese and lemon pineapple curd which offered the perfect zing, the cake wasn’t cloying or overly sweet.

Levain Cookie - Soft, gooey, and lusciously chocolatey, the cookie was a classic done right. Best enjoyed warm, the big pockets of melted chocolate were superbly good with the buttery cookie.

Ispahan Croissant - A foolproof combination done on a freshly baked croissant, Sugar Thieves’ rendition uses rose cream, raspberry jam, and lychee bits. The floral-fruity number wasn’t too sweet for me even with the sugary glaze and was nicely balanced with the buttery pastry in my opinion.

Spring Onion Croissant - My second time having this and I am still loving the punchy aroma of spring onions and the slight tang from the sour cream on their croissant.

At $21 for a box of 4 (two flavours), Lookie Cookie’s Giant Stuffed Cookies may not be the most affordable out there but was certainly worth every penny and calorie in my opinion. Big, rich, and decadent; the Peanut Butter Stuffed Valrhona Chocolate Cookies were the perfect treat as you just can’t go wrong with the classic flavour power couple. Sweet-salty and gooey-crunchy, the cookies with their delicately crisp exterior and nutty center were so indulgent. They also smelled really good - I could barely contain my excitement when I broke them open!

And speaking of complementary flavours, the Uji Matcha Stuffed Cookies were indeed downright addictive. With more of a bittersweet profile, the chunky bakes had a great balance between the earthiness of the matcha as well as the boldness of the chocolatey batter. Made from premium French Valrhona 70% dark chocolate and Craft Tea Fox’s craft matcha; the oversized stuffed cookies tasted super luxe too. Texture-wise, it was a lovely mix between a crumbly cookie and soft fudgy brownie.

At Dumpling Darlings, you have to leave some space for dessert!

With just a single item on their dessert section, you know you struck gold with their Dessert Dumpling ($8). Stuffed with small chunks of poached pears, cream cheese, amaretto (liqueur), vanilla bean, and drizzled with honey, each order of their fried dumplings comes as a gang of five. Served with a scoop of Tasmanian Honey Ice Cream, the warm-slightly savoury-crunchiness of the dumplings were a superb contrast to the sweet-cold-creaminess of the ice cream!

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Exclusive to their outlet on 86 Circular Road, Dumpling Darlings' new XO Prawn Noodles ($10/ ala carte, +$4 lunch set) was pretty darn good. Think thin, springy egg noodles tossed in flavour-enhancing XO Seafood Sauce, Soy Tare, Fried Shallots, Spring Onions, Nori Seaweed, completed with briny Tobiko, Hanjuku Egg and plump Prawns. Though my favourite is still their Miso Mushroom Noodles, the new offering would be a hit among seafood lovers. The combination was essentially an umami bomb, albeit a tad dry overall.

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The latest addition to their repertoire of dumplings, the Prawn & Crab dumplings ($10/ ala carte, +$2 lunch set) were flavourful and generously packed with ingredients. Prepared with Prawns, Crab, Celery, Chili Rempah, Assam Mayo, and Peanuts, the dumplings had a good dose of heat. I would liken them to our local chili crab with the familiar hints of spices but toned down on the sweetness. Full of crustacean goodness, the morsel also had a tantalising tang and a great medley of textures from the fresh-tasting chunks of prawns, to crushed nuts, and soft crab meat.

I had missed out on their Kaiseki Box previously, thus I was glad that I finally managed to snag Flourcrafts Tsukimi Box II ($30) last week. Presented with two of their signature Yuzu Matcha Tarts, two Classic Vanilla-rum Canelés, and two Uji Matcha Canelés; each item was a treat. A matcha made in heaven, the Uji Matcha Canelés had the pleasant earthiness of Japanese green tea which lends a nice counterpoint to the slightly boozy afternote due to the infusion of rum and whiskey. The classic, on the other hand, was a tad sweeter with a fragrant mix of vanilla and aged dark rum. No oozy lava centers with this bakesale box, but both canelés had that sought after crunchy caramelized crust that gives way to a custardy interior. A great contrast to the deep flavour of the canelés, the Yuzu Matcha Tarts tasted bright and citrusy. However, the added element of matcha takes a back seat and seems like more of an afterthought as the layer of homemade yuzy curd was pretty overpowering in my opinion. I would have loved for a stronger more bittersweet punch from the Uji Matcha Ganache and the grassy notes from the Matcha Pate Sucrée to be turned up a notch.

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2 Moods: Hangry & Not Hangry [Instagram: @vanessa_kou]

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