the populus coffee & food co., bukit pasoh

very hipster, very young clientele, similarly young baristas – decent food on a rather impressively-large menu for a coffee-focused place, but rather too-cool-for-you service that could be a little off-putting if you’re an old, plodding person soul as I am.

but these places sure know how to use design to create ambiance – I loved the wood, cork and black metal used all over here, and look at these lovely vintagey amber glasses.

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li bai cantonese restaurant, sheraton singapore

average-ish cantonese fine dining at the basement of the sheraton – which is to say, it fulfills at least the baseline for the sort of eating you expect at this sort of establishment.

very traditional, quite heavy, not really inspiring. we had high hopes for this place: it’s an institution in its own right, and you’ll notice from its clientele that it draws many old-school regulars. but while I have a care for tradition, our tastes run to the lighter flavours associated with modern cuisine – and we found this place a little too conservative, and might I say, a little stifling.

this post is a little late – but the flurry of CNY (chinese new year) celebrations and the closing of the financial does not make for punctual blogging.

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salt tapas and bar, raffles city

immensely satisfying – and one would say incredibly surprising – brunch at this tapas bar under the luke mangan group at raffles city.

truth be told, I’ve walked past this place a million times, but it just looked too tourist-y to bother (I may have been easily misled by its location right outside a hotel and the scores of Caucasians who enjoy dining al fresco) – and that’s stupid, because the food here is well-thought out, well-balanced, and well, very good.



egg berentine with bonito flakes



spanish omelette with spicy sauce


scrambled egg with ratatouille, sauteed zucchini and toast

if you’ve been here – the brunch menu is new – and if you haven’t, there’s plenty to eat and drink. it’s an excellent selection that covers both Spanish classics and otherwise reimagined versions of classic brunch-type dishes – which makes it acceptable even to persnickety parents like mine.

you can almost smell the rustic Spanish town of your dreams – the place is classy but not at all fussy, the sunlight streams over you like you’re a yummy mummy with nought but champagne in hand, and the rather seamless transition from patio to dining room could only be designed for/ by Europeans.


chilli salt and pepper squid, yuzu mayo



taco of tempura soft shell crab, pineapple salsa, wasabi mayo


grilled sirloin with mash, watercress salad, poached egg and madeira dressing

what with the multitude of dishes we had – I’ve resorted to using captions (incidentally, do you like this format?). but can I say how excellent the whole meal was? the flavours were all Mediterranean-style clean and simple, the seasoning was just so, and it was just that balance of rich and not-so-rich that truly hit the spot (I mean, you want to feel/ fill like you’ve indulged, but you’re not getting any younger are you?).

my favorite dishes are (in no particular order): 1) the tortilla of tender potatoes encased in egg, with a pool of tomato sauce that I could have used more of; 2) the very beefy beef, seared till pink and juicy; and 3) the pork ribs, which were omgawd-good, doused in a piquant, savory sauce and served atop a smooth mash that my sister couldn’t stop eating.


oysters served au naturel, nam jim dressing



pork belly sliders, bbq pulled pork, pickled cucumber & chilli

did I think anything could be better executed? yes, of course, but I did eat plenty of the dishes in their already above-average state. for example, the soft-shell crab and ikura tortilla was quite a spectacular mix of Japanese flavours, but its wrap was a little too floury and brittle – can I suggest further toasting and a softer tortilla?

the salt and chilli squid were a rift off the classic Chinese salt-and-pepper flavours, and the strips were very moreish, but the batter could have been much crisper.


halloumi, eggplant, chickpea, dried tomatoes, herbs, tahini dressing


sumac-spiced veal & pork meatballs, mash fontina


BBQ pork ribs, mash, pickled onion, sautéed pea, edamame

and of course one must finish with dessert – here, a single slice of excellent French toast. this was quite mindblowingly excellent, with a crisp exterior and soft, custardy insides. excellent.


french toast, Okinawa ice cream, clotted cream, jam

I think, one of the best brunch places I’ve had recently – and there has been a long drought of these. the proof is in the fantastic pudding – and if you too, suffer from what I’d like to call middle-ageness and require more than a cup of hipster jo’ (there’s a good drink selection, too!) and paltry dishes to get along, then this is the place for you.

truly praiseworthy.

Salt Tapas & Bar
#01-22A, Raffles City Shopping Centre
252 North Bridge Road
Singapore 179103
tel +65 6837 0995
$$.5: 25-40 per person (depending on gluttony)

char, guillemard street

good caramelisation, great flavours, but very fatty meat at this upmarket version of your typical roast-meat stall.

straight up, it’s pretty expensive – you could argue that a slab of pork in a restaurant would cost much, much more, and you would be right. but value is relative, and the comparison is more accurately made with singapore’s (gradually less) plentiful good-and-cheaper hawker stalls.

but the flavours are worth a visit – if only just to see the hype – and you’d be eating in a modern bistroesque environment with air-conditioning.

n.b. all Chinese and dialect spellings are mere illustrations and may not reflect their true pronunciations (though they certainly reflect my imperfect grasp of the language).


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ah lam’s abalone noodles and salt-baked chicken, jalan besar

quite a special bowl of noodles at this coffee shop in jalan besar – they might first incite interest because of the expensive mollusk, but this otherwise pedestrian-looking bowl of minced meat noodles would hold that interest with its flavours.

it’s a typical-looking coffee shop, but spruced up white and clean – with an impressively old-looking signboard and a photo of our prime minister up there.

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dibs, duxton hill

good flavors of the rich and heavy variety at this restaurant along ann siang hill – it’s a trendy place run by young hipster-types, with a clientele that suits the dark decor.

this was shot AGES ago – so I apologise for the photos, but how else would I tell you about this place?


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tiger radler, and a beef stew

my preferences for alcoholic drinks run toward sweet dessert wines, smooth whites, warming sake, and champagne. four years in England and I never picked up a beer habit, much less an affinity for the drink.

but that’s because most beers seem bitter and not quite flavorful enough (I’d rather have water, thank you) either for food-pairing or plain-drinking; and if you think the same – can I please introduce the tiger radler to you?

just in time for your lunar new year preparations, the can is decorated all festive-like – and the drink itself is redolent with the fragrance of mandarin oranges (which will go plenty well with thousands of the actual fruit actually being passed around over the 12-day celebration period).

and if you still don’t feel like you’d want to drink it (and I don’t see why, since it’s rather like a less-sweet, adult version of Fanta orange), it sure makes for a great base to a beef-and-carrot stew.

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joie restaurant by dozo, orchard central

really, surprisingly, good vegetarian fine dining atop orchard central. I’m a big fan of vegetables, not so much of vegetarian eating – the latter with its not-always-positive connotations of overt ingredient manipulation, and the unhealthiness you often see in the Asian understanding of the cuisine (i.e. deep-frying and excessive use of gluten products).

I came here with absolutely no expectations – no review-reading, no foodie-asking – and they delivered a quite remarkable meal full of fresh ingredients and many surprises. and whilst the plates belie a care expected of the fine-dining standard they aspire to, the prices don’t (in other words, great for dates and impressing without being hard on the pocket).

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may may, tras street

for all you resolution-makers, health-bunnies and aspiring yuppies, this place is for you. a modern, luxe restaurant that serves up balanced grain bowls at lunchtime and transforms into sexy bar at night – this place has been garnering more-than-decent reviews across the board (and I have finally visited something while it’s still very trendy).

AND, if you’re up for something sweet to balance all that healthfulness out, they’re known for their salted egg yolk donuts. there should be a law for so much overindulgence in a single form.

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