takumi, marina at keppel bay

unspectacular, averagely japanese at this restaurant by keppel bay – it’s actually a little disappointing, given the distance to which you literally have to travel to, and the expectation you build up while sitting in this quite gorgeous restaurant.

but it’s fairer to say the food isn’t all that bad – it’s merely a case of unfulfilled expectations.

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torikin, bukit timah

surprisingly delicious collagen chicken hotpot (or is it chicken collagen hotpot?), also known as hakata mizutaki, at this little place along bukit timah. I admit to ALOT a healthy amount of skepticism before coming to this place – I don’t like thick soups, the texture or excessive flavor of fat, and the whole idea of collagen as a age-defying beautificant (literary license) is a pretty strange notion (like, do you just grow so fat you don’t get wrinkles?

and, well, it tastes (and is) a fantastically long-brewed chicken broth, although definitely a little too unctuous and viscous for me. but the chicken that comes out the pot is beautifully tender and flavorful, as are the vegetables that cook in the same.

but they don’t just do a collagen hotpot – you get things like okonomiyaki and oden, the latter possibly my favorite dish ever.

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gourmet greens week, or how to get your 5 a day

or, the most hip (hippest?) string of restaurants I’ve been to all year: humpback, oso ristorante, burlamacco, sugarhall and pepenero (and more!).

if you have an aversion to greens, can I suggest you grow up?, there’s a spate of restaurants out to change your mind with a slew of dishes that are so beautiful (and delicious!) as to defy any accusation of boringness.

on the week of 23 november, gourmet greens week opens at an amazing range of restaurants offering menus centered around beautiful vegetal produce. keep an open mind – because what they’re doing is plenty tasty:


like this brand new, hip-and-yuppie australian-feeling restaurant that’s drawing crowds for their delicious oysters and sides – they’ve taken the sunchoke, a rare tuber to see in singapore, and dished it up three ways: fried, pureed and raw .

one for the carb lovers, the freshness of the raw shavings plays up the heartiness of the other two preparations (and I love the trendy kale chip that came with it!).

oso ristorante

I didn’t have a great time at this italian place at bukit pasoh when I last visited for restaurant week a couple years ago, but the simple homeliness of the classic eggplant parmigiana was very (pleasantly) surprising here.

tender slices of eggplant baked with an intense tomato sauce and interspersed with cheese (BEST part of the dish), it’s a simple appetiser that exemplifies the best of italian home cooking. watch out for that sprout garnish though – it’s spicy (and more than a kick to the senses!)

also, a shoutout to that foccacia topped with perfectly caramelised onions – SO GOOD.

burlamacco ristorante

I’ve been here before, and ordered this very dish – eggs cooked in spicy marinara.

there’s something ridiculously easy about eggs in tomato sauce – the first brings richness (AND WHO DOESN’T LOVE EGGS), the second a bright tang – and I enjoyed it just as much now as I did before. scoop it up with the soft, fluffy rolls they serve here – italian eating is all about carb-overloading.


there’s plenty positive being said about this dark, fashionable restaurant, but I have to say that this was my least favorite dish. essentially cubes of tender beetroot atop mascarpone cheese on a dish of puff pastry, that last component overshadows the delicate flavors of the purple root.

if you choose, as I did, to eat the beets, cheese, and candied pecans, it’s a pretty decent dish – but I prefer the first few dishes. it’s all a matter of taste though, as each component was executed quite well (just that I didn’t like the finished product).


this restaurant is ON my list, and this last dessert is only more incentive to visit for a full meal. zabaglione ice cream frozen with crumbled amaretti biscuits and served with a caramel drizzle, it escapes the too-sweetness you’d expect given the components, and hey – vegetarian dishes can be plenty rich too!

to finish (what was a fantastic meal), these dishes are available on the set menus offered by the various restaurants for gourmet greens week – and at $30++ for lunch and $45++ for dinner (where do you even see such prices anymore!), it makes a great deal for an innovative meal.

you’ll want to hop onto chope.co to make your bookings for the #gourmetgreensweek meals – and I forgot to mention that because of their collaboration with FIJI water, you’ll get a bottle of what is probably the most delicious bottled mineral water with your meal (but also, do what I did, and get a glass of white to go with the dishes – you won’t regret it).

Gourmet Greens Week
instagram: #gourmetgreensweek (did you know I’m on instagram?!)

thanks to chope and FIJI water for the lovely trail around town!

henri charpentier singapore, dempsey road

it’s nearly the weekend!

a (well, no longer) recent addition to our shores from tokyo, charpentier serves up fancy, expensive desserts in this french-styled japanese-feeling cafe in dempsey. a small space filled with curtains for partitioning, booth and sofa seats, it’s the sort of place you expect a japanese housewife to sit with friends for tea.

it’s rather unique in a time where most places are styled casual or hipster (or both), with a fully suited up japanese man serving as maître d’ to the noisy boisterous group of us here for a part 2 after brunch. but the desserts are lovely, theatrical in a very impressionable sort of way, and tasty for all the fanfare.

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tonkatsu & sake bar tonzaemon by ma maison, chijmes

there once was a pork,
battered and golden-fried

doused in sauce,
an oyster alongside

oh such a pork.

(easy, good, tonkatsu at this simple cafe-restaurant in the newly-renovated chijmes. I go heavy on the sauce, which goes fantastically with the clean, non-greasy cutlet and the quality japanese rice. so good, and a decent price at lunch. that oyster is pretty damn good too, with plenty of lemon, even though I don’t usually like those mollusks.)

Tonkatsu & Sake Bar TONZAEMON by Ma Maison
#01-09 Chijmes
30 Victoria Street
Singapore 187996
tel +65 6337 7810

cafe brio’s buffet, copthorne kings hotel

small buffet at the grand copthorne waterfront hotel along zion – this is going to be a short one, because while the buffet isn’t outstanding (pretty much at all), I thought it worth a shout-out for its quite reasonable price and decent spread.

I find buffets to be a good manifestation of the diminishing returns quandary – although there are fantastic, fantastic, large buffets that are priced equally exceptionally (by which I mean high), how much food can you really eat – and more to the point, how much do you want to pay for it?

this place is pretty much mid-priced, but I think its crowds on the weekends (especially at dinner, when there is a barbecue pit fired up serving up all sorts of meats and seafood) are testament to the fact that it feels pretty much worth its lower price (especially if you get the ala carte card, with which there is a further discount).

there isn’t much here that is fantastic, although I enjoy the roast beef when they have it, and can consume a pretty decent amount of cold prawns (usually fresh and meaty). the sashimi is more than edible, the sushi is quite lamentable, but the cooked food dishes (usually chinese and peranakan) do a good job of filling stomach space.

the dessert table is often questionable – sometimes you get a decent chinese dessert amongst the rather okay cakes, and there’s always fruit, fondue and ice cream, if you’re so inclined.


the tldr version: cheaper than your average buffet, but decent for a family meal.

Café Brio’s Buffet
Grand Copthorne Waterfront Singapore
392 Havelock Rd, Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel
Singapore 169663
tel +65 6233 1100
$$: 48++ onward (depending on lunch or dinner, weekday or -end)

don quijote, dempsey

very surprisingly good, even great, tapas at this restaurant hidden away in dempsey road. I’m really surprised by this place, and it might just be my new favorite spanish. rustic plates here differentiate it from the more refined dining at una (the other spanish restaurant high up on my list), and the ambiance is more friend-friendly than the latter’s date-friendly vibe.

my first visit here was on a tasting, and we returned two weeks later to verify if the food really was that good on a more regular basis – and it most definitely is.

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sopra cucina, tanglin

hidden away by the pan pacific at cuscaden road, this nook of a restaurant serves up decent food. it has an authentic steakhouse feel, in that it is dark enough for dates, and full of wood and metal.

when we visited, there was a pretty large group that had booked out the alcove area for an event – and the atmosphere was both vibrant and convivial, which made this place a pleasure to visit. one can only hope that you experience the same.

although: the walk in from orchard road brings you past the more unsavory part of the shopping stretch, where you can either leer like some of the older men there, or stand and gawk like a prudish miss (I mean, you could just walk by, but let’s not lie).

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bistro du vin, shaw house

this place is an institution for french food in singapore – and to my mind, rightly so. it’s been around for years but I’ve only got to it recently, and I like the food and the vibe. it feels like your round-the-corner french bistro (if you’re lucky enough to have one), with decor that recalls that balanced kitschy-but-cool decor I associate with paris.

there are two classes of french food – the poncy, and the rustic. my tastes run to the latter, which is what they do here, served up hearty and without fuss.

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boteyju san, star vista

one-up-from-fast-food japanese at the star vista. this place sits price-wise and feel-wise somewhat with ichiban boshi, with sub-twenty prices and a space that feels better than a food court (but perhaps only slight better).

it’s a decent place for a quick lunch, which is really why we were here – my dad likes the fried rice for a simple meal if he’s in the area.

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