For A Limited Time Only

For A Limited Time Only

Food I have enjoyed at pop-ups and events.
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present the “Laksa Lobster Burger”!
Available NOW, this limited edition, saucy seafood sensation is a collab between myself and the team at @meatsmith.xpress.sg. Shocking, I know since I don’t cook 😆 But after intense brainstorming, R&D-ing and taste-testing with Head Chef @kurt.sombero and his team (thank you guys for being so patient), we’ve come up with a burger that I hope you will enjoy. Allow me break it down for you:

1. Customised brioche buns by Head Baker @tart-tatin and the @burntends.bakery_sg team with a smear of chilli butter.
2. Laksa sauce made from scratch - There’s plenty of it.
3. Tandoor-roasted lobster tail - The smoky, springy and succulent chunks give a really satisfying mouthfeel.
4. Crispy cubes of pork fat because I love me a little lard.
5. Basket-grilled bean sprouts - Often found in a bowl of #laksa, the vegetable is prepared in an alternative way to complement the burger.
6. Laksa leaf and marinated cucumber - More laksa ingredients represent! And they add oomph and a refreshing crunch.

On the side is a heap of crunchy-fried rice noodles seasoned with laksa leaf and prawn powder, plus a belachan aioli dip to use as you please.

Get your hands on this limited edition burger today by tapping on the link-in-bio on Meatsmith Xpress’ or my Instagram account:

http://xpress.meatsmith.com.sg/

P.S. I am not making money out of this. It is purely my honour to be invited as a Guest Chef and besides, I knew it would be fun creating something really tasty with Chef Kurt and the Meatsmith LittleIndia / Xpress team 😄

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This special Valentine’s Day Gift Set by @laderach_singapore is a real treat! Not only does the beautiful blonde wooden box contain a dozen large Swiss Miss Strawberries, but also a heap of large 56% dark chocolate buttons. Meant to be melted into a thick silky liquid for dipping the fruit in, these are essentially the same chocolate used in most of #Laderach’s hugely popular dark chocolate #frischschoggi variants. And just like wine, chocolate too possesses tasting notes. In this, you can expect to encounter hints of plums, berries and bananas on your palate as you bite into the juicy strawberry.

Pre-orders have begun. To place yours, just tap on @laderach_singapore’s link-in-bio on Instagram.

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G I F T
I have been extremely impressed with everything @twgteaofficial has kindly gifted me over several occasions. Yes, their tea collection is world-famous but I also found their mooncakes creative and scrumptious (they were my favourite collection of 2020), and now, it is their Christmas goodies that have me wreathed in smiles.
Besides the Grand Christmas Tea Flavoured Chocolate Bonbons which my niece has pretty much hijacked the box of, and the Grand Christmas Tea-infused Pistachio Macarons with their perfect soft crunch, it is the Hazelnut Caramel Log Cake with its layers of hazelnut and white chocolate crumble that has bowled me over. Flavours are rich yet it’s not too sweet. And to top it off, this festive cake has the most luxurious mouthfeel.
Highly recommended.

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G I F T
For someone who only recently learned to appreciate and enjoy lamb, I must say, I found this LIMITED EDITION Lamb Burger ($18) by @burntends_sg’s Executive Chef @patrick_leano, very good.
Top marks for how tender he got those double lamb patties. And whatever subtle gaminess my sensitive nose picked up, the luscious feta and mint aioli he loaded on, in and all over, did the trick of neutralising it. Needless to say, the soft #burger bun by Burnt Ends Bakery’s Head Baker @tart_tatin was the bronze gloriousness (barely) holding everything together.

Available only via online order, it is the first collab of the “Guest Chef Series” by @ms.xpress.sg (they are part of @meatsmith_sg). Tomorrow’s the last day you can get your hands on it, so hesitate and you’re too late.

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M E D I A D R O P
I am familiar with @chefshentan’s twice-steamed nasi lemak rice. In fact, my familiarity goes back more than a decade to when I first had it at her stall in Maxwell Road Hawker Centre in 2008.
Her gently fragrant, moist but not clumpy rice forms the “foundation” of Nasi Lemak Bento Sets by newly-launched @tginasilemak. You can place your order online for their food anytime but please note delivery is only available from Thursdays to Sundays weekly.
Each set meal ($15) comes with two pieces of thick, fluffy omelette, crispy ikan bilis, lacto-fermented rainbow pickles plus a “hot main” of your choice. Because I got to try two sets, I decided on the Crispy Chicken which lived up to its name and was convenient to crunch on as it’s boneless, and the Beef Rendang, which I ended up favouring as it really impressed with its fall-apart tenderness and lip-smacking rempah. I topped up $10 to purchase 2 extra “hot mains” of Sambal Goreng (a stirfry of beancurd with vegetables in a spice paste) and Sambal Brinjal (priced at $5 each). Both were really decent and I wouldn’t mind ordering them again.
To enjoy with the #nasilemak were not one but two housemade sambals - a dark, earthy Coffee Sambal and a bright, sharp and spicier Sambal Belachan. They were both terrifically addictive. I had a lot of fun trying them together in different ratios.
The dark horse from this meal though was the dessert of Double Valrhona Fudge Cake ($8 for a piece / $64 for a whole cake). This is not to be missed. The large square of fluffy and moist deep chocolate cake tasted incredible on its own but when I had it with the caramelised-coffee infused 64% Valrhona chocolate fudge sauce, it made my jaw drop.
@tginasilemak also offers their food in larger servings for sharing under the a la carte section, and even retails a couple of items on their website too, such as the aforementioned sambals. Do tap on their link-in-bio to find out more and to place orders. I would also suggest doing it sooner rather than later because it seems there is an end date to this and it falls on 9th August 2020.

H O S T E D
On Sunday, 8th March, three female chefs banded together to present a 6-hands menu in celebration of International Women’s Day. Held at @tonocevicheria, the dishes that Tono’s Head Chef Tamara (@tamarachavez_chef), @restaurantnouri’s Sous Chef & Head of R&D Culinary Ashlee (@ashleemalligan), and Chef-owner Petrina Loh (@pe3na) of @morselsinsingapore came up with, were every bit as spunky and vibrant as they are.

To whet appetites, it was their takes on Ceviche, a Latin American marinated raw seafood specialty first. Each imbued it with her own culinary style (this was to be repeated for their respective Tacos and Main Courses that followed). So while Chef Petrina served a distinctly Southeast Asian Ceviche with a slightly “lemak” Thai Tom Kha-dressed Hokkaido scallops, Chef Ashlee’s octopus and prawns in tamarillo broth boasted a clean and bright flavour profile, and Chef Tamara’s tortilla-scattered creation hit the highest level of intensity as she had tossed prawns, octopus, clams, crabmeat and avocado in the zingy citrus of “Tiger’s Milk”.

For the Tacos, different proteins were showcased, making things more interesting. Chefs Petrina and Ashlee decided to use Asian ingredients but their delicious results were a world apart. The former’s aromatic and rich Angus beef rump rendang with raita and pickled green mango was decidedly Southeast Asian, but the latter’s ventured further afield, into the South Americas actually as her Taco had lamb shoulder in an earthy buah keluak “mole” and finished with pickled jalapeños. Roasted chicken marinated in “Achiote” sauce, black beans and pickles were what Chef Tamara chose to fill hers with. Frankly, all three Tacos were stellar - yes, even the lamb, a meat I don’t usually order myself. I would have been very happy to continue inhaling more of them but there were the Main Courses to consider.

These too turned out to be really enticing and well executed. There was a grilled snapper by Chef Ashlee (its texture was absolutely perfect) accompanied by amazingly done purple sweet potato and polenta fritters, salsa verde and mint. Chef @johnjohn0822 from Morsels represented Chef Petrina to explain her dish, a very juicy take on “Har Jeong Gai” (the popular fried shrimp paste chicken you find at every “zi char” stall). I love how she had marinated it with Cinchalok (fermented tiny shrimp), imbuing it with funky savouriness. The final course of Arroz Con Cangrejo by Chef Tamara triggered an “OMG” moment because the spicy crab meat-laced yellow rice exploded with larger-than-life flavours.

H O S T E D

Whether you are visiting for lunch or dinner, I recommend starting with the other ongoing promotion: “Any 3 appetisers for $20++”.

You get to select from a list of 10 which means there is ample choice. We tried the chilled marinated lady’s finger with spiced sauce, the deepfried mushrooms with salted egg yolk and the wok-fried carrot cake with Chinese pork sausage, beansprouts and X.O. sauce. I found the former two good but the carrot cake was my no-fight favourite. It had a mochi-like texture and was extremely flavourful from the sauce and the way it was fried.

What I also appreciate is the complimentary herbal drink every guest gets. The lovely brew is made from herbs that help with boosting immunity (the Head Chef had gone to source for them himself) and sugarcane for some sweetness.

H O S T E D

Originating from the Jura region in France, the Mont d’Or is a soft-ripened cheese which is made from raw cow’s milk. It is washed with white wine and baked to a sublime gooey-ness which stays pretty much the same even when it has cooled down. This cheese has a subtle funkiness but that is what makes it irresistible.
Head Chef Balaji served it on a board with assorted cold cuts, toast and some impossibly delicious potato grenaille. We could not stop ourselves from dunking the latter two in the creaminess even when the other dishes started showing up.
If you want to give the Baked Mont d’Or ($36++) a try, do note this item is only available until 15th March.

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M E D I A P R E V I E W
The event sells out in a flash. Yes, even the third date that was added after the initial two were filled, had all its slots taken up faster than a strand of pasta can be slurped.

Is it surprising though? I think not.

This is after all, the first 4-hands by the home-grown, much-loved Cicheti group that comprises of @cichetirestaurant, @barcicheti @caffecicheti restaurants. And the other pair of hands getting in on the action belongs to none other than Chef Yum Hwa of @benfatto_95, the private dining chef who has an almost-unhealthy obsession (but I applaud him for it!) for traditional Italian pasta.

Their menu is collaborative in the truest form, with every one of Chef Yum Hwa’s fresh hand-made pastas cooked by Chef-owner @limyewaun and Team Bar Cicheti in a different lip-smacking sauce to accentuate the uniqueness of each. To top it off, the overarching theme of this pop-up is minimal waste which means they have pushed themselves to think out of the box in mining the possibilities from each ingredient. The truth is, I would not have noticed the theme if it weren’t for it being highlighted by PR extraordinaire @bydanieleng because I did not feel the dishes were in any way forced or “out there”. Nor was the tastiness compromised. On the contrary, I was intrigued by how incredibly delicious and new a couple of their ideas were. Most notably, the second pasta, the Tajarin - its hand-cut strands glistening in a sauce of butter and drippings from the ossobucco (due to appear in the fourth course), and the deconstructed Bread And Butter Pudding by new-ish Group Sous Chef @dylancheong_. This dessert is an almost-misnomer as the lemon, truffle milkshake and upcycled crunchy bits of potato in there were too much of a delightful distraction.
To complement the courses served in order from the lightest in flavour to the heaviest, co-owner and sommelier @ronaldkamiyama has curated a few extremely small batch wines. Therefore, due to the limited quantity, do note a couple of the wines at the media preview (and therefore, my video) are stand-ins.
Last but not least, can I just say the complimentary housemade bread by @barcicheti is TO DIE FOR?! Apparently, having a carb-laden meal could not stop me and my dining companions from emptying the bread basket twice.

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H O S T E D

Kicking off Andaz Singapore’s female chefs-powered series at “Auntie’s Wok & Steam”, is Chef Tubtim Warapai from Park Hyatt Bangkok who is in Singapore to showcase her authentic North-East Isan style of cuisine. Between now and 14th Feb (yup, Valentine’s Day), you can taste her repertoire either a la carte, as a lunch tray set ($26++) or a Dinner Set for 2 pax ($68++).

My plus-one Kenneth and I had the Dinner Set which we were agreed is good value-for-money as it includes 2 desserts and lets you choose 3 appetisers and 3 main courses from a decent number of options. The pair of us also had a couple of extra items sent by the kitchen team. Here is a rundown:

1. Som Tum - Chef Warapai’s version of the classic green #papayasalad comes with raw cabbage and hits all the mouthwatering points of spiciness and sourness.

2. Pad Thai - this is on the light and healthy side with springy rather than oily noodles.

3. Grilled Pork Neck - wonderfully done appetiser of tender meat laced with the right touch of fat accompanied by an addictive spicy, herbaceous dipping sauce.

4. Softshell Crab with Green Mango Salad - this fiery-hot number left us gasping but wanting more in that #painispleasure way.

5. Thai Beef Salad - a dryish dish dressed in dried chillies, fresh mint, toasted sesame seeds and kaffir lime.

6. Red Curry Prawn - our favourite from the 3 mains we chose because the gravy was very fragrant (we could not stop splashing it on the accompanying white rice) and the prawns were large and fresh. Love that strips of succulent bamboo shoot were thrown in too.

7. Crab Fried Rice - cooked with organic eggs, spring onions and garlic, this gives off a healthy vibe as it’s not greasy.

8. Pad Krapow Moo - Chef Warapai’s take on the classic of minced pork stirfried with chilli padi, garlic and Thai basil is aromatic and not overly spicy.

9. Thai mango sticky rice and Red Ruby desserts - while the mango was sweet, I enjoyed the Red Ruby more personally.

The restaurant's comfortable ambience and great views from the 25th floor are also good reasons to dine there.

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H O S T E D
Being a sucker for pork, I was immensely curious about the taste of Budou-buta, the “Grape Pork” from Japan that Bedrock has brought in for this festive season. So I said yes at once when I received the dinner invitation.
Of the three dishes featuring the premium pork created by Executive Isaac Tan and his team, the Pulled Pork and Shrimp Sandwich ($48++) was the one that swept both my dining partner and I off our feet.
It’s an extraordinarily tasty combination of the very tender Japanese pork with just the right amount of truffle mayo between slices of brioche. Now, the brioche itself deserves special mention because it‘s crazy buttery in fragrance and possessed an otherworldly airy-lightness.
Honestly, I found the sandwich impressive enough to warrant a return visit but its accompaniments sealed the deal. The in-house pickled cucumber and chillies provided the perfect counterpoint to the rich sandwich while the highly-addictive crispy-fried potato straws contributed extra texture to the overall. I am glad @momofuku doesn’t do potatoes because it meant I could inhale the entire heap freely.
It may not be obvious in my video but the portion is huge. If you have a smallish appetite, sharing might be a good idea. But make sure you don’t miss out on trying other items when you’re at Bedrock, like the deliciously complex Smoked Tomato Soup, the ever-popular and decadent signature Mac ‘n’ Cheese or the well-seasoned Roasted Bone Marrow.

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H O S T E D

Only until 15th November 2019 is the Aki Matsuri Omakase Dinner Menu available at Fat Cow. It is one designed for Wagyu lovers as Head Chef Shigeru Kasama and his team (including Chef Nigel Loh who served us when we visited) have flexed their creative muscles to develop a menu that showcases the best of Kumamoto beef in various preparation styles. Priced at $250++ per pax, the 12-course set is sheer indulgence as it comprises of:

1. Aki Chinmi Moriawase - this platter has a glass of Fat Cow’s own sake warmed up, shark soft bone, abalone liver, koji miso on Wagyu, cream cheese miso yaki and tsubugai umani.

2. Snow Crab Chawanmushi with kani miso sauce: the rich sauce is marvelous with the egg.

3. Shimofuri Wagyu Sashimi Negimaki: we found the raw slices of beef with leek, gold leaf and three sauces very delicious.

4. Kaki Ume Wan: comforting seafood soup with an oyster.

5. Seiro Mushi: one of my two favourites from the menu, the extremely soft beef tastes incredibly refine as it’s steamed with pure spring water from Kyoto.

6. Sukiyaki: the other favourite of mine is this course with beef simmered briefly in a sweetish sauce and served with raw egg and freshly shaved truffle.

7. Aki Tempura Moriawasi: this delectable assortment of battered ingredients include shiso leaf-wrapped Wagyu tenderloin, large, sweet chestnuts, gingko nuts and shimeji mushroom, sprinkled in some sea salt flakes.

8. Zabuton Grill: sinking my teeth into the thick, juicy slices of charcoal-grilled Wagyu chuck flap left me in a state of bliss.

9. The Fat Cow Wagyu Sandwich: the very soft toasted buttery brioche and breaded Miyazaki A4 chateaubriand tastes even better swiped through the accompanying tangy sauce.

10. Wagyu Striploin Aburi Nigiri Sushi: served in a glass bowl and topped with Bafun uni, this is “surf & turf” in premium form.

11. Chef’s Special Donabe Truffle Meshi: cooked using pure spring water from Kyoto, the supremely fragrant and appetising Japanese claypot rice has truffle shaved on right in front of you. If you decide to skip second helpings, Chef will pack the remainder in a box with more truffle for you to take home.

12. Musk Melon and Yuzu Ice-cream: ending the decadence with sweet fruit and citrus coldness is lovely.

Every guest is given an elegant sake cup as a souvenir too. I like the design a lot because to me, it looks like Mount Fuji when it’s upside-down.

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Follow me on Instagram (@veronicaphua) for much more content! 😊

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