Featuring Shukuu Izakaya & Sake Bar, Meadesmoore (Raffles Place), Tendon Ginza Itsuki (Tanjong Pagar), Springleaf Prata Place (Springleaf Garden), Sin Heng Claypot Bak Koot Teh, Market Bistro + Elixir Coffee Stand, Chilli Padi Nonya Restaurant, Nutmeg & Clove, Brawn & Brains Coffee (Hamilton), Bangkok Street Mookata (Upper Thomson)
Darren Lee
Darren Lee

Had dinner at Shukuu Japanese Izakaya and Bar on a weekend night. The place is located along Stanley Street, an area packed with plenty of popular eateries.

The first dish I had was the Crab Gratin with Mentaiko, creatively served in a crab head. The potato was cooked perfectly—soft but not crumbling when eaten—with notable chunks of crab within, all topped with a generous amount of torched mentaiko. Another mentaiko dish that I thoroughly enjoyed was the Rosti Mentai, which featured a plentiful amount of torched mentaiko paired perfectly with shredded rosti potatoes that had crisp edges and a soft, steamy interior.

I also ordered several Kushiyaki, namely the Tontoro Black Pork Collar, Bacon with Asparagus, and my personal favorite, Tsukune Meatballs. The meatballs were superbly well glazed, and the meat was juicy and flavorful.

Last but definitely not least, for drinks, I decided to try the Sawanotsuru Aged Umeshu. It was sweet with hints of sourness and a pleasant plum aroma, and I will most certainly be getting an entire bottle to enjoy at home.

I highly recommend Shukuu Izakaya to anyone looking for a great night out with friends and family while enjoying good Japanese izakaya cuisine and drinks.

Had a weekend dinner at Noa with my partner and her family. We were a large group and ordered many of their dishes, and I will highlight some that I really enjoyed.

For appetizers, three dishes really stood out. First and foremost was their signature NOA “Bomba.” The meatballs had a clean, crisp exterior with flavorful and juicy meat within, paired perfectly with the harissa and allioli sauces. The other starter that not only myself but my entire group thoroughly enjoyed was the hummus salad. The texture was perfectly creamy, and the chickpeas were of great quality. Topped with sardines and grape salad, the hummus was a unique and delightful dish that paired wonderfully with the warm and fluffy bread served alongside it. Last but definitely not least for the starters, my personal favorite which really impressed me was the falafel. Fried perfectly, the chickpeas were fresh and of high quality. The za’atar yogurt and olive oil were extremely flavorful, elevating the entire dish.

For the small dishes, a must-order is definitely the burnt cauliflower salad. It was so good that we had to order seconds. They roasted the cauliflower impeccably, and the sauce it was served with is unlike any other I have tasted before. It was citrusy with a hint of sourness from the plum, plus a hint of saltiness from the anchovies, making it a really special dish.

For the mains, two dishes stood out to me: the black angus beef tenderloin and the Iberico suckling pig belly. The beef was cooked just right, with a texture that was neither too tough nor too soft. The potato puree and vegetable escabeche with their sauces blended really well with the meatiness of the beef. My personal favorite main was the latter, the suckling pig chunks were packed with flavor, and every bite oozed with juices. The cuts were perfect, with the right amount of skin, fats, and lean meat in every piece. What really brought the gastronomic experience of this dish to the next level had to be the roasted pineapple served with it. The pineapple was sweet and juicy with a seared exterior, and having it alongside or even after every bite of the pork added a unique flavor and also served to clear the greasiness of the pork.

Moving on to the desserts, I chose to take a leap of faith and ordered the truffle cheesecake. To put it out there, this dessert is not for everybody. The truffle smell and taste are extremely strong. Even for me, someone who absolutely loves truffle and cheese, it still took me by surprise. The portion stated was for two people, but it definitely could serve up to four or even five given that it is quite overwhelming. That being said, nonetheless, I really enjoyed it, and it was an eye-opening experience.

The ambience of the restaurant was great, it had an up-class yet chill environment. The wait staff were extremely attentive, and service was great. Not forgetting the drinks, they have a decent alcohol selection. I ordered the Moscow Mule, and it was an extremely well-done cocktail. I wouldn’t expect less as they had an entire bar within the restaurant, and the bartender seemed to be very proficient in what he was doing.

Overall, Noa offers great food with an impressive selection of dishes and drinks. The prices are definitely on the higher side, but Noa is perfect if you are looking to celebrate something special.

Had a weekend dinner at Sin Heng Claypot Bak Kut Teh (BKT), located along the bustling streets of Joo Chiat. The restaurant is quite famous and popular among locals in the area. I have dined here several times already, and the food quality and quantity have always been consistently excellent.

Here are my top 3 must-order dishes at Sin Heng Claypot BKT. Firstly and most definitely is the Claypot BKT, their soup is the herbal variation, with a rich and fragrant flavor that is not too overpowering. The soup is refillable, and the pork ribs are always cooked to perfection, offering the right texture and chewiness. The portion size is generous for the price. They also offer variations with pork innards and tail, and a mix dry version.

Next is the Cereal Chicken, the portion is generous, with many chicken pieces fried to an even, crispy coating of cereal. The cereal chicken pairs extremely well with the hot, soupy Claypot BKT.

Last but not least is the Cai Po (Preserved Radish) Egg. This dish features a thick and fluffy omelette paired with crunchy cai po. It serves as a perfect complementary side to the previous two dishes, making for a hearty meal combination.

Beyond the food, the staff at Sin Heng Claypot BKT are friendly and very efficient. From queuing to ordering, getting condiments, serving, and payment, everything was hassle-free. I believe the restaurant has deep heritage and dates way back, with a display booth at the front showcasing their history, which is very interesting, which you can check it out while queueing.

The dining environment is clean with indoor seating, but it is not air-conditioned. It can get quite hot and humid during sunny afternoons, which might not be ideal while eating hot BKT soup. However, on rainy days and chilly nights, this conditions are perfect.

They have a small car parking area right in front of their stall reserved for customers, accommodating about 10 vehicles. The queue during dinner time, especially on weekends, can get pretty long. However, the food wait time is short, and the turnover is usually fast, making it worth the wait.

I highly recommend Sin Heng Claypot BKT to anyone looking for an authentic, hearty BKT experience to enjoy with friends and family.

After dinner at Star Vista, my family and I were on the lookout for a dessert place and happened to chance upon Plan A Dessert Cafe. Located away from the bustling crowds on the lower levels of the mall, the cafe is situated on the second floor, offering a dining view of the Star Vista Atrium.

They have a wide selection of Bingsu flavors, and after some deliberation, we settled on a large bowl of Choco Banana. Firstly and most importantly, the shaved ice was perfect—soft like snow and deliciously milky. The toppings of banana, chocolate ice cream, oreo bits, and whipped cream were fantastic, making for a fail-proof flavor combination.

I will definitely be back again when I am in the area to try their other Bingsu flavors. I highly recommend Plan A if you are looking for a pleasant dessert place to enjoy great Bingsu with your friends and family or to treat yourself!

Went for a weekday dinner with my family at Boon Teng Kee Happynest, located at the basement level of Star Vista. The restaurant offers plenty of outdoor seating and a few indoor tables. Given the Singapore weather, I opted for the indoor air-conditioned seating, which was a comfortable choice as the place was about half full.

We ordered their signature boiled kampong chicken along with a few other dishes to share. The kampong chicken tasted okay, but given the price, I expected a larger portion. It's worth noting that kampong chickens are typically smaller and less meaty but offer a softer texture and better flavor. The saving grace was the chili sauce, which wasn't too spicy but had a nice kick and complemented the chicken and rice well.

The other dishes we tried included Stewed Pork Belly with Mui Choy, Spinach with Assorted Eggs, Salted Egg Prawns, and Crispy Beancurd. While all the dishes were decent, my personal favorite was the Crispy Beancurd. The skin was thin and lightly fried, with a hot, steaming, and soft beancurd inside, paired perfectly with the wasabi mayo sauce.

Overall, for the price point, some aspects could be improved, particularly the portion sizes. I believe their other branches, especially those at coffee shops, will be a better option.

Had my much-needed and long-awaited Friday night dinner at Market Bistro, located on the first floor of Marina Bay Financial Tower 3. Conveniently situated within walking distance from several MRT stations in the CBD area, it is an ideal spot for a relaxing evening meal.

I ordered two of their extremely popular dishes. To start, I had the Fried Baby Squid with Spicy Aioli Sauce. The squid was battered and fried to perfection, but what truly elevated the dish was the house-made spicy aioli sauce. The mix of chili flakes and oil blended with mayo created a unique and delicious sauce that paired perfectly with the baby squid.

For mains, I had the Steak Frites. The steak was cooked to the exact doneness I requested, and the fries were crispy, just the way I like them. The jus (thick gravy) was not too overwhelming and complemented the meat well.

Major props to the service staff, who were very friendly yet professional and attentive at the same time. The ambience of the place was classy yet comfortable, making for a pleasant dining experience.

All in all, Market Bistro offers great food, a pleasant atmosphere, and excellent service. I highly recommend trying it out if you are looking for a quieter date night dinner spot in the CBD area.

Went to Mr & Mrs Super Crispy Prata for a late breakfast on a weekend, introduced by my partner who knew my love for prata, and it definitely did not disappoint.

Tucked in a small coffee shop on Joo Chiat Street, it is extremely popular among the locals. As the name suggests, their prata is consistently crispy yet not too oily, with great-tasting dough.

My personal go-to dishes, which I highly recommend, are the plaster prata and the egg cheese prata. The plaster prata features a perfectly cooked egg with a runny yolk, which pairs extremely well with their signature sambal sauce. Their sambal is on the sweeter side but is packed with flavor. Combined with the curry, it creates a match made in heaven for their prata. The egg cheese prata is thick and hearty, with a generous amount of cheese packed within the egg and dough.

The coffee shop is relatively small with limited seating, and on weekends, the prata may run out quickly. So, do come early and be prepared to wait for both seats and food. Nonetheless, it is worth the trip to indulge in their sinful yet delectable prata.

Celebrated Father's Day dinner with my family, and what better way to do so than with a good old Mookata in the heartlands. Bangkok Street Mookata has several branches across Singapore, but I've always felt that the one in Ang Mo Kio is the best. I used to visit frequently, and when I returned last Saturday, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the coffee shop had been renovated for the better. There are more seats, better spacing, improved lighting, and cleaner facilities, including a much-improved toilet. Overall, the atmosphere has significantly improved following the renovation.

The mookata was as good as ever, with generous portions at reasonable prices. Their garlic chicken remains the superior go-to dish and is a must-have. Other recommended dishes include bacon, quail eggs, luncheon meat, and, of course, tom yum maggi. What truly sets them apart and elevates their mookata experience are their two chili sauces. One is a thick, sweet chili, and the other, my personal favorite, is a wetter, spicier chili that resembles chicken rice chili sauce.

A new addition is their collaboration with the Thai cuisine store, allowing customers to place orders from them as well. We tried the Moo Ping, which was excellent—rightfully so, as it is run by a Thai family. I look forward to trying more of their dishes, such as basil chicken rice and tom yum soup, on my next visit.

The staff are nice and attentive, always ready to help change the gas or refill the soup. It can get quite crowded, with long queues on weekend dinners, so be prepared to wait a bit. Nonetheless, it's worth the wait, and Bangkok Street Mookata is a great place to gather with friends and family for a hearty meal. Highly recommended!

Went to the OG Springleaf Prata Place at Springleaf Garden on a Saturday night for a late dinner and to catch up with friends. Having discovered this gem many years ago, I've returned countless times. It's one of the most popular prata spots in Singapore, not just for their yearly specialty prata creations, but because their prata is consistently top-notch, always leaving me in awe. There's something special about their dough—it’s perfectly fragrant, with an ideal balance of chewiness and a crisp finish.

The dining environment is comfortable, with air-conditioned seating inside that doesn’t compromise the authentic ambience of a local prata place.

During my most recent visit, I ordered two of my all-time favorites: the Murtaburger and Roti Bomb. The Murtaburger, part of their ultimate series, is inspired by the famous Ramly burger. It features lamb patties and various sauces, all executed perfectly, with a generous portion size. The Roti Bomb is the best sweet prata choice, with perfectly melted sugar glazed over their perfect prata dough—truly a life-changing experience.

Beyond these two, I highly recommend some of my other favorites. The cheese prata is excellent with a huge portion size, while their specialty series Plaster Blaster offers a unique experience with poached egg and hollandaise sauce over prata. If prata isn’t your thing, their other mains such as Mutton Briyani and Maggi goreng are seriously good too.

While they used to be open until the early hours, they now close at 11 pm due to operational changes. The queue can get extremely long, especially on weekends and some weekday nights, so plan for some additional waiting time. However, the food is served relatively quite quickly once ordered.

In my opinion, Springleaf Prata Place truly stands at the top. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a unique yet authentic prata and dining experience.

I visited the Paparch store and got the trio set, which consists of their original flavor and two other rotating flavors.

This is my second time getting the mini square trio set. Previously, I had the set with Chocolate Praline and Pistachio Berry, both of which were executed extremely well and quickly became my favorites.

In general, all of Paparch's cheesecakes have a gooey interior with a firm yet soft outer layer, providing an incredible gastronomic experience of contrasting textures.

This time, the trio set included Salted Gula Banana and Yuzu Thyme flavors. The Salted Gula Banana was slightly watery inside, and the banana flavor was lacking. However, the Yuzu Thyme was exceptional. The refreshing citrusy yuzu paired perfectly with the herby taste and flowery scent of thyme, elevating the uniqueness of this flavor.

Nonetheless, their original cheesecake remains consistently the best. It’s a fantastic cheesecake, and theres nothing more one can ask for.

The store is somewhat out of the way, located in the basement of City Gate. They are open for walk-ins on selected days, while other days are reserved for delivery only. I recommend checking their website for exact details and to see which flavors are available.

I will definitely be back to get their original whole cheesecake soon, while eagerly waiting for the return of the incredible Chocolate Praline and Pistachio Berry flavors. I recommend Paparch if you are looking to treat yourself or your family and friends to some delightful sweets!

I had dinner at Chili Padi Nonya Restaurant on a Sunday night with my partner and her family.

Chili Padi has been a household name for Nonya cuisine and has long been a staple in Joo Chiat, the epicenter of Singapore’s Peranakan scene. The restaurant recently completed renovations, which explains their contemporary Nonya décor, furniture, and fittings. The ambience is modern and clean, yet retains its authentic Peranakan personality.

We ordered the chef-recommended Ngoh Hiang, Laksa Goreng, and Nonya Chap Chye, all of which were excellent. However, three dishes stood out as particularly special.

First was the Sotong Hitam. The portion was generous, and the squid ink blended with spices paired perfectly with the firm and springy squid. Secondly, the Bak Wan Kepeting stood out with its clean yet flavor-packed soup and soft, delicious meatball.

The highlight for me was the Buah Keluak gravy, a Nonya staple and their specialty. We chose the pork ribs option (they have chicken as well), and the ribs were cooked to perfection—soft and tender. The Buah Keluak sauce tasted authentic and had a unique flavor profile that is unparalleled in other cuisines.

I highly recommend Chili Padi if you are looking for an exceptional Nonya dining experience with friends and family.

I visited the Brawn and Brains Hamilton Branch this afternoon for my Sunday brunch. It was my first time here, as I usually frequent their East Coast branch.

To start, I had the mentaiko curly fries. The flavor was fantastic—not too heavy—with mentaiko sauce topped with seaweed and sesame seeds, making it a perfect beginning to the meal.

I then ordered their signature baked molten egg. It was so enticing that I dug in as soon as it arrived, hence, I didn’t manage to snap a photo. But trust that it lives up to its reputation!

Next, I had the Masala Chicken Taco, a dish I had previously enjoyed at their East Coast branch. The chicken was perfectly spiced with a slight kick of heat, wrapped in a crisp taco shell. The papadum retained its crunch even after being left out for a while and was fried to perfection.

I also tried their recommended favorite, the chicken avocado sando. The combination of chicken and avocado was excellent, but what really elevated the sando was the nicely toasted house-made brioche bun.

For drinks, I have previously enjoyed their iced chocolate, iced mocha, and iced white, all consistently great. This time, I decided to try something new and opted for the slightly indulgent BnB Kopi Shake, which turned out to be a delightful treat.

Highly recommend Brawn and Brains for a great brunch if you're in the area!

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