Go West

Go West

This is where the more generic Western dishes that don't fit in my other compilations, get listed.
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua

You either love or hate tripe. And if you love, you tend to love it hard. Like I do this Cassoulet of “Trippa Alla Romana” ($29++) at @spagosingapore.
It’s not just that the pieces of tripe are always perfectly jiggly-soft and tender but the thick, spiced-up tomato sauce they are cooked in, which is thickened with burrata, is extremely appetising. Love that the dish is served with mini grilled baguettes too because it is criminal to not mop up every bit of that sauce.

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Expectations tend to run higher when a great night out to mark a birthday is at stake (in this case, it was for my god-daughter/niece Yujun who turned 22). The restaurant has to have a winning hand of great food, fabulous drinks, comfortable ambience and impeccable service. That’s why I picked @cutbywolfgangpucksg. I knew we’d be in the excellent hands of Executive Chef @gregabess and his team.
Shortly after we had settled into our seats, warm cheesy gougère arrived. We all loved them but the birthday girl, most of all.
Setting the tone for the evening were the first two snacks which sent us over the moon. I could’ve inhaled three of those buttermilk chicken sliders - they’re real flavourbombs with jalapeño aioli, jalapeño slices, pickle and honey. Not to be outdone was the apple apricot compote-dotted pork belly braised with Chinese spices and glazed in hoisin - it melted like butter in the mouth. I washed them down with the refreshing gin-based “London Calling” cocktail.
When the bread basket arrived, I attempted to not scoff too much but it was hard. The olive ciabatta, onion focaccia and German pretzel were a formidable trio of temptation.
In order to taste more items, we shared the appetisers. I chose the Maryland Blue Crab Cake with heirloom tomato relish and basil aioli (Yujun is a fiend for crab so I knew it would be up her alley), the Big Eye Tuna Tartare in wasabi ginger, served with thin, spicy togarashi crisps (surprisingly, this turned out to be her favourite), the brightly herbaceous Vietnamese-Style Beef Carpaccio plated with crunchy beef tendon, nước mắm vinaigrette and holy basil (my favourite!), and the Asparagus with Poached Egg on thin toast with mushroom marmalade, a lipsmacking bacon vinaigrette and bacon slice.
What has always impressed me at CUT is the attention they pay to the smallest details. Like serving us hot plates to eat our main course off.
@kndherb used to rave to me about the Rotisserie Baby Chicken at CUT, and of course I’d eaten it before but it was particularly well executed that night - immensely juicy, tender and flavourful. And let’s not forget those meaty chanterelle mushrooms.
Usually, deciding on a steak at CUT isn’t an easy task as they offer a premium variety but since I’d been floored by the Snake River Farm (an American Wagyu) when we had it at @spagosingapore (yes, they serve it up there on the 57th floor of Marina Bay Sands too), I made a beeline for its Sirloin cut. Everyone heaped it with praises too.
The other red meat I selected was the juicy ColoradoLamb Chops. Like the steak, each piece was perfectly cooked, and although a mini jug of cucumber-mint raita arrived alongside, it also tasted perfectly fine on its own.
That’s not to say we didn’t have fun mixing and matching the assorted sauces and condiments with our meats.
In all frankness, the side dishes deserve top billing. I was most smittened by the Tempura Onion Rings - each thin ring was ethereally light yet really crunchy. Even though they look similar, no other Creamed Spinach comes close to the version here that’s crowned with an organic egg. Proving highly addictive as well were the Mac & Cheese and the ridiculously silky and buttery Yukon Gold Potato Purée (if you love mash, this is a must-order).
Thank you Chef Greg for sending us the Spring Peas. I adored this seasonal side dish for its sensational mix of fresh peas, pea purée, ragu of peas, runny-yolked eggs, bacon and perky pea tendrils.
Naturally there was cake since we were celebrating a birthday. I’ve had the moist chocolate beauty before and it was as scrumptious as I recall. The team helped to slice and present it with raspberry sorbet and a macaron for us to enjoy. Besides that, I ordered the Apple Butterscotch Crumble to share. Served warm with toasted almonds and Tahitian vanilla ice-cream, it was very well received by everyone too.
The petit fours we nibbled on with our tea and coffee at the end, were also exquisite in appearance and taste.

It eluded me on my first visit but I had better luck with the iconic Baby Cauliflower the second time I dined at @miznonsg. The reason for its popularity was crystal clear from my first bite as the unbelievably sweet vegetable seemed to burst with juiciness. Do order it if it’s available when you’re there because not every batch of baby cauliflowers delivered, passes Executive Chef @orhakmimi’s scrutiny.

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(Hosted) @miznonsg is less than a month old but it is already packing in the crowds. News of the opening of the Israeli brand was out on the streets early on and the excitement in our city had been palpable. My friend Zhenia, who joined me at the lunch, was hyped up as she had heard so much about Miznon from her friends overseas.
Singapore’s outlet is located on Stanley Street, and the casual eatery seems to crackle with an infectious energy (also the reason why I kept the ambient sounds as the video soundtrack 😊). My guess is Executive Chef @orhakmimi is the source because that man radiates an irrepressible joy. You can spot him easily - he’s the tall dude who thinks nothing of spontaneously breaking into a dance in the kitchen 😄.
For our tasting, he told us sit back and wait to be fed, and moments later, a succession of items (I swear each was more delicious than the one before) landed in front of us. First, a large, freshly baked #pita with little tubs of tahini, as if to let us know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, exactly how amazing they get their basics. Then Chef @owjiewei brought the “Hot Chickpeas” ($16). He had ladled them straight from the pot onto a plate smeared with tahini, and dressed them up with a hard-boiled egg, raw onions, tomatoes and zhug (a spicy paste made from green chillies, olive oil and salt). The flavours in that plate danced with verve on our palates and provided the first clue to how vegetarians would have a field day at #Miznon. Our impression was confirmed when more exuberantly flavourful vegetarian items came our way, namely the roasted “Batata” ($12, sweet potatoes from New Zealand paired with sour cream and Atlantic sea salt), the “Bag Of Beans” ($12, a mix of cold Haricots verts, French beans and snap peas tossed in garlic, lemon, olive oil and sea salt which is aptly nicknamed “the healthiest fries” by Chef Or), and the “Run Over Potato” ($11, a tuber baked with butter, garlic and herbs, then flattened and served with sour cream). The parade of vegetables ended strongly with the devastatingly delicious “Ratatouille” ($17). Having been charred a little, the eggplant, carrot and onions cooked in a light tomato sauce were sweetness personified, and like the dish of “Hot Chickpeas”, came with a hard-boiled egg, tahini and zhug.
After that, Chef Or assembled two #Pitas for us to share: the “Chicken Liver” and “Abu Kebab”. Both came in the fluffiest pitas I’d ever seen and delivered must-close-eyes level of tastiness. While the former brimmed with seared chicken liver (it’s so creamy), tahini, spring onions, Japanese cucumber, salsa and zhug, the latter was crammed full of perfectly-seasoned meatballs of lamb and beef (made fresh daily on site), tahini, parsley, onions, salsa and zhug.
When we saw the Hraime ($26), a Spicy Moroccan Barramundi Stew, we had to have it too. It was really appetising with the smoky tomato gravy elevated by dollops of tahini and zhug for fragrant creaminess and a spike of bright spiciness. Highly recommended, especially if you like fish.

Thank you again Violet, Natalie and @sixthsensepr for arranging this hosted meal. We love the food at @miznonsg and will surely return very soon!

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Dinner with my parents tonight was a nostalgic affair as we visited the second outlet of British Hainan. Located at 158 Kallang Way on the ground floor unit of an industrial building, its cavernous space was infinitely more comfortable than the much smaller original outlet (although there are those who love the cosy feel of it).
My choice of main was the Grilled Chicken Chop and it was surprisingly large. Drizzled over the smoky piece of boneless thigh meat was an appetising albeit sweetish housemade apricot sauce.
I personally prefer this over their signature Hainanese Pork Chop ($14.90 nett) but my mum enjoyed her order of that.

H O S T E D
Although appearance-wise, this resembles a dessert, it is actually a lovely appetiser to start your meal with.
Drizzled with an aged balsamic vinegar, the creamy burratina comes with slices of pickled pumpkin, fresh wedges of juicy and sweet persimmon, smoked tomato and toasted seeds.
I enjoyed the pleasantly light and balanced flavours of this a lot.

H O S T E D
If you love mashed potato and truffle, this is a match made in heaven. All of us at the lunch went gaga for it. The earthy fragrance was deliciously heady and the hot potato was cooked till perfect softness.

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The very appropriately named “Crackling Organic Chicken” at The Dempsey Cookhouse & Bar has a battered coating that puts others well in the shade. Seemingly formed from a gazillion air bubbles (the batter reminds me of the kind you find on some excellent “goreng pisangs”), it is extremely light but fantastically crunchy. That, however, is only one of three reasons why I was so blown away by this dish.
The pool of vibrant orange liquid, a brilliant blend of their fierce housemade habanero hot sauce with butter, is another. Its tongue-tingling tangy fieriness is the perfect lip-smacking lava to ignite each bite of the chicken with.
Last but not least, to help temper the burn is a gentle, sweet-natured creamed corn.
I was besotted with every part of this dish. So was everyone else who stole a bite from me. And not coincidentally, it so happens to be Head Chef Lisa Revilla’s personal favourite item as well.

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H O S T E D
I am embarrassed to admit I had never seen the inside of “Bedrock Bar & Grill” till last Sunday night. And what a revelation it was to discover that hidden from the main thoroughfare is a spacious, cosily-lit, comfortable restaurant.
“Exceeding expectations” would be an apt description for our evening, as my party of four feasted on a menu planned by the General Manager.
It began with a bang when steaming hot, soft and puffy flatbread was brought out. Rolled and baked only when main course orders are placed, it tasted incredible slathered with butter and roasted cloves of garlic.
Our main course of Tomahawk Steak (400gms grain-fed) could have easily fed a village. Expertly grilled, the huge long-bone ribeye boasted different done-ness to appeal to our varying preferences. Accompanying the steak were four sides: the totally-deserving-of-its-fame Bedrock Mac & Cheese ($20++), a healthy Steamed Broccolini ($18++) plus two items from the restaurant's promotional menu: Steak Fries and Chilli Corn (this last one was too spicy for the others but I adored it). There was also a tray of five condiments of which I was most into the Whisky Mustard and Chimichurri while the Red Wine Sauce, Béarnaise and Asian-tasting Chilli Oil went down well with everyone else.
Besides the Tomahawk, we got to share a plate of Prawn “Thermidor” ($48++) and that surprised us with a show-stealing umami orzo pasta simmered in crustacean sauce.
The service here is professional and warm, similar to what you’d experience at a 5-star hotel. In case you think it’s because we were hosted, I saw the team treat the other customers exactly the same.
We all agreed this is a place we’ll be returning on our own soon.

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M E D I A T A S T I N G
Fatburger, an American casual restaurant chain which was founded in Los Angeles, California back in 1947, has landed in Singapore with the double impact of two outlets. First one to open is at Kinex Mall (previously known as OneKM) situated at the junction of Tanjong Katong and Changi Road. The eatery itself is located on the outside of the building facing the Haig Road Food Centre, so you have to walk along the outside to access it.
During the media launch, we each got to customise a Fatburger to our exact preference - that was fun! We were then served assorted sides to go with our burgers and also, trays of chicken from Buffalo’s Express (a partner of Fatburger here). To go with the boneless and bone-in styles of the chicken, we picked from seven types of sauces including a fiery “Death Valley” hot sauce. These came in little plastic cups so there was no need for clumsy wrestling with foil packets.
I was glad to learn that everything we ate was cooked only upon order and although that meant a few minutes’ waiting time, my food arrived piping hot when it was served to me where I sat. And yes, that kind of service is something you can expect at every Fatburger outlet in the world, including the one at the Velocity Novena targeted to open in the second half of this month.
I would say from among the Fatburger sides I sampled, their Onion Rings ranked no. 1. Made fresh daily using real sliced onions, they tasted really good. I liked how the savoury batter gave a crunchy coating that brought out the natural sweetness of the onions nicely.

Singapore is the first country in Asia to have a “Black Taps” restaurant and it isn’t a franchise either. After paying it a visit for dinner tonight, my conclusion is it’s a brand that does good ol’ American food well and loads that with an extra large helping of fun energy.
The signature here is the range of over-the-top #Crazyshakes priced between $19++ and $22++. Choosing from the eight variants was tough for us as they all sound equally irresistible but the “Cookie Shake” eventually won. It turned out to be fantastic and tasted every bit as rich as it looked. The extremely thick and creamy vanilla-flavoured milkshake itself was absolutely delicious but sucking it via the skinny straw got a little tiring after a while, so we ended up scooping with a long-handled teaspoon.
The food menu is straightforward with beef burgers dominating (the exceedingly tender and juicy patties with 24% fat are built from 75% chuck and 25% brisket) but I did spot a couple of fish and chicken ones too. Priced between $22++ and $26++, each order of burger comes with a big heap of crispy chunkily cut fries (there’s still a bit of skin left on the potatoes), half a large pickle, a tomato and some lettuce. You can opt to upgrade the fries to salad, onion rings, sweet potato fries or any of the sides for just $3++ more. Speaking of which, they offer some very tempting options. There is also a selection of snacks too that are perfect for sharing.
This place has an awesome playlist with funk and old-school rap thrown in. But unless you sit at what I consider the best tables in the house - the ones right in front of the kitchen, I doubt you can actually hear it.

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Glazed with a spicy Korean BBQ sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds, these sticky mid-joint wings are a sure-win appetiser.
They come with a bowl of light, cool buttermilk and dill dip that helps to offset the spiciness of the wings while simultaneous adding a silky touch to every bite.

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