kai, plaza singapura

surprisingly decent, sort of (maybe slightly better than) middling conveyor-belt standard sushi at this (almost hole-in-the-wall) Japanese cafe (diner?) at the basement of plaza singapura.

it’s quite a lot of qualification in that single paragraph, but this place was a better meal than I thought it would have been – and is a brilliant showcase of how Singapore’s space-intensification (or, turning corridors into store spaces) churns out a useful product from nothing.

I’m not quibbling over wasabi paste (I never do, actually) or anything fancy here – it’s a quick stop for a Japanese craving, and a satisfying one at that. service is brisk and helpful, and the small space renders the counter seats the best choice (for comfort and privacy).

I’ve found that at places like this, your best bet is often the oyako/ tonkatsu/ pick-your-meat don. at worst, the meat gets dry or tough, but the sweet broth and egg improves things regardless. and that proved right here – though of a slightly wetter variant, it was a bowl of comfort.

even the sashimi was fresh and sliced decently (no dodgy cuts here), which was most surprisingly (highest potential for failure, you know).

it’s a pretty cheap meal, and definitely an option if you’re in the area (also because there isn’t a sushi tei around).

Kai Sushi & Grill
#B2-33/34 Plaza Singapura
68 Orchard Road
Singapore 238839
tel +65 9455 3953
$$: 10-25 per person

ravello, serangoon gardens

average-ly, is how I would describe this place. I was full of hope – an italian diner, complete with bona fide italianos right-smack in the middle of the expatriate-rife serangoon gardens. the place looks gorgeous and welcoming – and very much the epitome of the neighborhood round-the-corner.

but for the but. it’s expensive, almost bewilderingly so, and the food was nothing to really shout about, even if it scores plenty high on looks.

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una at one rochester, rochester park

fantastic spanish at this new-ish restaurant in buona vista. part of the rochester group, it’s taken over the space of the less-than-stellar one-caramel to serve up enjoyable, fine-dining-but-not-stuffy spanish food.

the flavors were delicious, intense in the best way, and it really does rise above many other español-dishing places, which tend toward the expensive-but-unsatisfying small plates category.

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mad about sucre, outram park

alright, slightly overhyped cake place with not very many cakes.

so this place opened recently in the sort of revitalised-retro part of the outram park area, and I’ve been hearing a slew of compliment-ary reviews across the board – but I’m not sure I was terribly impressed, even if the cakes were decent.

it’s a swanky place with a TINY door (like you-might-not-get-through-if-you-eat-far-too-much-cake kind of small), filled with kitschy, gilded items, (overpriced but very nice) merchandise, and wedding cakes.

note I said wedding cakes, and not wedding cake models – the waiters (is it fair to call them that, because they were rather theatrical, dramatic evangelists of the store) kept assuring us that the cakes were real.

not something I can understand – since the frosting dries up (yes, I know the sign said not to touch), and it seems a waste of food.

the dark chocolate dome was a moussey sort of confection with a square cube of liqueur-containing bonbon, sprinkled with gold dust. sat on a crisp biscuit and filled with banana creme, it was difficult to break the tempered chocolate neatly, and the biscuit also sort of shattered (unneatly, which is irritating to this OCD soul).

we also had a lemon-coconut tart, and I liked the tropical combination, with the barely discernible coconut flakes.

the pastries on offer were rather gorgeous and technically well-executed – I’m not quite sure why I wasn’t more impressed. perhaps you should give it a go, and let me know if you too feel like something’s missing from the experience?

Mad About Sucre
27 Teo Hong Road
Singapore 088334
tel +65 6221 3969
$$.5, also known as not-cheap

xperience at the sofitel so, robinson road

tasty modern dining at the in-house restaurant of the new sofitel so, the boutique arm of the chain. located in the central business district, it makes sense that the restaurant does this sort of european-fusionish cooking – the clientele looks primarily business-type travelites, and it is located next to lau pa sat, which has the local thing covered.

and the cooking and flavors are pretty fantastic, though the tasting portions we were given ran a little small – it felt even smaller when I realised I actually wanted more of what was on the plate.

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kilo, orchard central

I really like kilo. I don’t visit it nearly as often as I’d like, but I think very often of visiting it, which has to be the best indication of a good restaurant (cafe is more accurate here).

I’m not sure there’s a better accolade I can give it – it goes beyond the tasty food to the minimalistic, concrete-slathered space (hipster, but not irritatingly so) that’s brightly sun-filled on weekend mornings – it’s sort of what you’d expect brunch and lunch out in an (australian/ american, take your pick) town would feel like, but with air-conditioning (a definite must).

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cake, to the rescue!

dessert is powerful. but even more so when you get it delivered.

I’m pretty sure I can’t be the only one that forgets an upcoming birthday-or-some-other and panics close to the date, searching for a nearby cakery that fits right into the schedule and sells something appropriate.

so I jumped on the chance to try out foodline, which is an online service that lets you order catering – and now moving into cake and dessert (that’s where all the good people are, seriously).

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plain vanilla bakery, tiong bahru


not-bad baked goods from this beautiful whitewashed bakery in tiong bahru. from a yuppie enclave (i.e. katong), to this hipster one (the bicycles say it all) – this popular cupcake place actually also serves up a range of other items (that provide more compelling reason for a visit).

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rabbit carrot gun, katong

to follow on the brunch theme (does one post a theme make?), I’ve finally made my way to rabbit carrot gun – which is as strange and awkward (and can I say, unuseful) a name as an eatery could have – doesn’t really tell you anything apart from the fact that their owners are are probably modern types having an inside joke.

it’s a corner cafe in katong serving up fancified british, at prices the people of that fair isle would likely balk at – dominated by katong-type yuppies and expatriates all sitting al fresco in the heat (no one else but the too-cool and foreign would brave it – generalisation, yes, but stereotypes exist for a reason).

my bowl of homemade muesli served with yogurt and berry compote was decent, if small and unfilling. it was the french toast that really surprised us – thick bread that held its structure despite soaking enough egg-and-milk for a custardy inside, served with proper maple syrup and berry compote – it was delicious, and well-worth an order.

if you’re in the area for brunch, the food is pretty decent. which is to say I might come back again (although not travel specifically for) – but the prices are somewhat prohibitive (even for what is supposed to be an overpriced meal), and I like air-conditioning with my food.

Rabbit Carrot Gun
47 – 49 East Coast Road
Singapore 428768
tel +65 6348 8568
$$.5: 30 per person