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The Circuit Breaker Chronicles

The Circuit Breaker Chronicles

Here’s food that I either took away or got delivered during this time when we can’t dine out.
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua

G I F T
A few years ago, I was recommended by my French acquaintance Steve Desobeau, to try @fleurdesel_sg on Tras Street, opened by his friend, @chefalexandrelozachmeur. But somehow, I never got around to it, so when the restaurant messaged me recently about sending dinner, I didn’t think twice about saying yes.
Our meal began with a fabulous homemade Foie Gras Terrine to be savoured with onion marmalade on brioche toast. It’s rich and the portion was large, so there was plenty to go around.
Although I enjoyed the sweetness of the ocean’s bounty in the Seafood Boullabaisse (it was served with rouille garlic toast), the Lobster Bisque was the soup that wow-ed me more. A little creamier, it hummed powerfully with the glorious note of that single crustacean.
I was also very taken with the hugely tasty dish of Seared Hokkaido Scallops. Plump and juicy, they were presented on deliciously braised leek with a black truffle chicken sauce. SO GOOD.
I‘ve always been a sucker for beef tongue and have eaten it in different preparation styles but this was the first time I had it cut in such large cubes. And oh man, did they taste marvelous! Cooked with gherkins and baby potatoes in tomato sauce, the large meaty pieces were simultaneously chewy and tender - amazing! If you enjoy tongue, you need to try this.
I realise duck leg confit is pretty commonplace these days but Fleur De Sel’s classic version with its intensely crispy skin and saltyish-in-a-good-way flavour, was impeccably executed. Loved it with the sauteed baby potatoes and lip-smacking mustard sauce. It’s another dish I’d order again at the drop of a hat.
Their Beef Cheek Bourguignon, the epitome of rustic French comfort food, was equally wonderful. Simmered with the pieces of tender meat were strips of bacon, carrots, mushrooms, it was a well balanced stew. In addition, there was a swoon-worthy silky buttery mash to round it off.
A French meal should naturally include a cheese platter, and the restaurant put together a really attractive one with four kinds of French cheese, grapes, dried apricot and walnuts.
Dinner ended on a strong note and I mean that quite literally because the unassuming-in-appearance Rum Baba was potent in alcohol. Paired with the vanilla whipped cream, this dessert had me whimpering in happiness.

You can savour @fleurdesel_sg’s expertly done French classic dishes at home because they are still doing delivery via the popular platforms of Grab Food, Food Panda.

Thank you again Chef Alexandre and Team Fleur De Sel for the generous treat.

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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.

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Having seen quite a few posts about the Indonesian dishes cooked by Christina of home-based @hunterskitchensg, I was excited to give her food a try. Naturally, it would be my foodie friend Leon (@uncle_lim_chiak) with his knack for reading minds (and cravings) to beat me to ordering it as he kindly arranged for her Nasi Liwet and Soto Tangka to be delivered last Friday for my lunch.

I was not disappointed as both items delivered in tastiness. They weren’t as spicy as I thought they‘d be but that’s not a bad thing because it means more people can enjoy her food.

The Nasi Liwet ($15) was a well-balanced set meal with turmeric rice topped with crunchy tempeh strips, a piece of lemongrass-marinated chicken thigh, a modest portion of spicy prawns with petai, sambal belachan and keropok on the side.

As tasty as the rice set was, I preferred the Soto Tangka more as I loved the aromatic gravy and the chunks of tender flavourful beef rib meat in it. Love how Christina included freshly chopped herbs on the side to be thrown on just before eating. There were packets of fresh ground chilli, lime and a sweet black sauce I could add according to my preference too. You get to choose to have this dish with either rice or noodles, so it will surely fill you up.

Availability of both items is subject to her cooking schedule so it is best to DM her to check. I have placed an order for 4 boxes of Nasi Liwet for today (which I will be collecting shortly) when I heard that‘s the next date she was preparing it.

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G I F T
I got to know @qdcheong back when Clinton St. Baking Company first opened in Singapore and he was managing the place. From then until today, I have always had a very good impression as he has exquisite manners. So I was really pleased for him when he told me that his girlfriend @michelle_tsp and him have started a little weekend business selling home-baked Caneles and dark cocoa Brownies. Going by the moniker of @levelled.sg, they’re focused on their Tasting Set for now, of which I was blessed to receive a box of to try last Saturday.
Priced at $39, and limited to just 30 boxes a weekend, each Tasting Set comprises of 3 #Caneles and 4 #Brownies, with no two in the same flavour.
The heavily caramelised exterior of their Caneles have an obvious crunch and burnt sugar fragrance with a core that is either soft and custard-y, like in the Vanilla Rum, or fluffy and gooey as I discovered in the case of the Matcha and Chocolate (this uses 70% Valrhona) variants.
All the dark-as-night Brownies hide a surprise within for extra scrumptiousness. For the current collection, you can find the following:

1. Ovomaltine - This is a malted dark chocolate with crunchy bits.
2. PB & J - @fixandfogg’s crunchy peanut butter with Valrhona’s raspberry chocolate ooze out when this brownie is cut.
3. Cookie Butter Brownie - Best to pop this in the oven / microwave to get the cookie butter in the middle extra gooey.
4. Nutella - The Valrhona 70% Dark Guanaja chocolate meets Dutch-processed cocoa powder creates true fudginess.

By the way, Qing Da and Michelle have instructions on reheating to ensure the bakes taste their best.

If you want to get your hands on one of @levelled.sg’s Tasting Sets, please standby tomorrow at 8pm. Yup, every Tuesday at 2000 hours, you can DM them on Instagram to order. But be quick about it because like I‘d mentioned, only 30 boxes are available every weekend.
Flavours will be rotated monthly to keep things exciting as well.

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M E D I A D R O P
Just when I was feeling like having soup noodles (blame it on the rainy weather), IPPUDO’s brand new D.I.Y. Meal Kit got teleported to me (ok, it actually arrived the conventional way 😆). Didn’t waste any time preparing both the Hakata-style Shiromaru Motoaji ($15.30 a pack) and Akamaru Shinaji ($16.35 a pack) Ramen for lunch.
Definitely not to be mistaken as instant noodles, these have the signature creamy-rich, full-bodied tonkotsu broth arriving in frozen form. After following the clear, simple instructions to simmer it for about 15 minutes, the concentrated block, the result of an 18-hour cooking process prior, became exactly like the broth one would taste if dining at an Ippudo restaurant. When the lusciously smooth umami pork-based liquid met the al dente ramen (these noodles are meant to be cooked for only 30secs in boiling water), the combination went beyond my expectations. It was enhanced by the slices of pork belly chashu and marinated black fungus that were also packed in the D.I.Y. Meal Kit.
I might try my hand next time at making Onsen Tamago eggs and chopping spring onions to pimp up the ramen and take it to another level. But for today, it already qualified as a happy meal.

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T R E A T
At first glance, it may seem a little pricey at $38 but when you see how extraordinarily large and thick the Haddock is (Head Chef @bennett_andrew orders his fish from Europe) and taste the chunks of its smooth, moist flesh, you know that’s quality you’re enjoying. Coating it is a thin, very light and crunchy beer batter. The chips are made from British potatoes and triple-fried for a crisp finish. Accompanying these are some really good housemade Tartare Sauce and a tasty Mushy Peas (I am not a “peas person” so it’s rare for me to like a dish with it, let alone of it).
If you fancy an authentic British classic this Friday or on any other Friday, just order via the link-in-bio of @theenglishhousesingapore. Parents, they do a $15 Kid’s Set as well.

G I F T
For those who aren’t ready to dine out yet in Phase 2 of Singapore’s post-Circuit Breaker, you’ll be pleased to know @restaurantibid is continuing with their takeaway/delivery menu until Sunday, 28th June. On offer is an eclectic spread that’s full of delicious surprises, so I suggest ordering an assortment of items that catch your eye and graze across them. Here’s what Chef-owner @woowaileong selected for my dinner last Thursday:

1. Shao Bing - This has been on the menu since Ibid opened for business but has been tweaked and refined over time. It’s currently available with two kinds of fillings: sweetish shredded Wagyu Beef and Cheese with scallions. I preferred the latter because of the savoury taste and I thought the oozy creaminess was marvelous with the chewy dough.

2. Ibid-Style 8 Treasure Duck - Deboned, the #duck is stuffed with fluffy sticky rice mixed with a generous amount of chopped up “lap cheong”, mushrooms, chestnuts and more, which pretty much qualifies it as a one-dish meal too. I enjoyed it most with the bright chilli sauce served alongside. By the way, the caramelised skin is not meant to be crispy.

3. Five-Spice Roast Spring Chicken - A classic done with a Chinese twist. If you aren’t fond of the coriander powder-heavy seasoning, you might want to skip this as it’s liberally rubbed all over.

4. The 50/50 Potato Purée - Super smooth, buttery and creamy, it was beloved by everyone.
5. Shaoxing Creamed Spinach - The Chinese spin put on this popular steakhouse side got it more appetisingly nuanced.

6. Lao Gan Ma Slaw - Did the chilled crunchy cabbage improve from a spike of savoury Oriental-style heat? You bet it did.

7. Mapo Tofu - Like I suspected, this turned out to be one of my favourites. Supremely fragrant and controlled in spiciness, Ibid’s had more structure than most renditions that tend to veer into mushiness.

8. Pork Fat Rice - Dressed in pork oil, crispy lard and scallions, it’s a most apt and delicious carb for the Mapo Tofu.

9. Lion Head’s Meatball - Formed from seasoned minced pork, the huge thing contained a mild Hongkong-style curry at its core which flowed out once a cut was made.

10. Scallion La Mian - The strands of al dente noodles tossed in scallion oil were a good match for the XXL meatball.

11. Black Glutinous Rice Mochi Cake with Taiwanese Milk Oolong Ice-cream - So utterly perfect in its uniqueness and taste, I was inspired to do a stand-alone post about this dessert (please go have a read). The cake is incredible bare but when served a la mode, it took things up a few notches.

12. Chocolate Chip & Walnut Cookie - The other (and rather unexpected) favourite of mine from this meal, I would go so far as to call it THE BEST chewy cookie I’ve had in the past few months.

Don’t hesitate to hit up Restaurant Ibid to get your order in.

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G I F T
The other (and rather unexpected) favourite of mine from the meal I had from Ibid was this huge cookie. In fact, I would go so far as to call it THE BEST chewy cookie I’ve had in the past few months. The chocolate chips are gooey and the fresh tasting nuts add a very enjoyable light crunch.

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G I F T
Before eating, I followed @restaurantibid’s instructions to pop it into the oven at 180 degrees for 8 minutes. Once it got nice and hot, I cut a slice and topped it with a scoop of their “Milky #Oolong” ice-cream, a flavour Chef-owner @woowaileong describes as “Chinese vanilla” which I find very apt because there is a delicate sweet fragrance to its milkiness. The combination was mesmerising as the soft and chewy #cake exuded its own aroma from the black grains. @huatkaliao while eating, heaped so many compliments on it, I’m sure if cakes could blush, this one would have.

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G I F T
Everything you see above is part of the “Rang Mahal Thali” Set ($52). I had picked the non-vegetarian option and it was a bountiful meal that comprised of the following delicious items...

1. Chowpatty Ki Pani Puri - A fun, vegetarian D.I.Y. delight of airy-light crispy puffs to be savoured with masala potatoes, chutneys, spiced mint water and sev (each packed separately).

2. Murg Tikka Dhaba Biryani - This Punjabi Dhaba style of hearty rice had big pieces of tender boneless chicken buried in the basmati grains.

3. Tandoor-grilled Seabass - Marinated with carrom seeds, yoghurt and spices, the big pieces of fish were fragrant and moist. I enjoyed this dish a lot.

4. Chicken Tikka - Enhanced with paprika, yoghurt and spices, the aromatic, thick gravy demanded to be mopped up by the Garlic Naan. The pieces of chicken were well-cooked and full of flavour.

5. Garlic Naan - Rang Mahal’s version leaned towards the puffy and light, and was very yums.

6. Dal Makhni - I found this comfortingly rich bowl of lentils that had been slow-cooked overnight, impossible to resist.

7. Crispy Moong Lentils - Never had I eaten anything like it and I was smittened from my first bite! The light and crunchy flakes were a bit spicy and on the salty side but boy, were they addictive.

8. Kachumber Raita - Who doesn’t love a splash of this yoghurt relish with onions, tomatoes and cucumbers, over everything.

9. Gulab Jamun - I am sure there are those who are crazy about this dessert but a small bite of the round dumplings saturated in sweet rose saffron nectar syrup was sufficient for me.

Even though we are now in Phase 2 of post Circuit Breaker opening, @rangmahal is continuing with their Takeaway / Delivery Menu. So if you are looking to have some Indian food at home, just tap on their link-in-bio on Instagram to check out the menu and place an order.

G I F T
Everything you see above is part of the “Rang Mahal Thali” Set ($52). I had picked the non-vegetarian option and it was a bountiful meal that comprised of the following delicious items...

1. Chowpatty Ki Pani Puri - A fun, vegetarian D.I.Y. delight of airy-light crispy puffs to be savoured with masala potatoes, chutneys, spiced mint water and sev (each packed separately).

2. Murg Tikka Dhaba Biryani - This Punjabi Dhaba style of hearty rice had big pieces of tender boneless chicken buried in the basmati grains.

3. Tandoor-grilled Seabass - Marinated with carrom seeds, yoghurt and spices, the big pieces of fish were fragrant and moist. I enjoyed this dish a lot.

4. Chicken Tikka - Enhanced with paprika, yoghurt and spices, the aromatic, thick gravy demanded to be mopped up by the Garlic Naan. The pieces of chicken were well-cooked and full of flavour.

5. Garlic Naan - Rang Mahal’s version leaned towards the puffy and light, and was very yums.

6. Dal Makhni - I found this comfortingly rich bowl of lentils that had been slow-cooked overnight, impossible to resist.

7. Crispy Moong Lentils - Never had I eaten anything like it and I was smittened from my first bite! The light and crunchy flakes were a bit spicy and on the salty side but boy, were they addictive.

8. Kachumber Raita - Who doesn’t love a splash of this yoghurt relish with onions, tomatoes and cucumbers, over everything.

9. Gulab Jamun - I am sure there are those who are crazy about this dessert but a small bite of the round dumplings saturated in sweet rose saffron nectar syrup was sufficient for me.

Even though we are now in Phase 2 of post Circuit Breaker opening, @rangmahal is continuing with their Takeaway / Delivery Menu. So if you are looking to have some Indian food at home, just tap on their link-in-bio on Instagram to check out the menu and place an order.

M E D I A D R O P
A dish that was an eye-opener for me was the Wok-fried Sweet & Sour Omnipork Balls which were made with a type of vegan substitute for meat. To my surprise, they turned out to be very good - similar in texture to a real meatball. I also liked that the sauce was well balanced and not too sweet.
The side dish of vegetable that came as part of this set meal was not one to be relegated to a supporting role either (it even had luffah!). I could happily enjoy a plate of it with plain rice.

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