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)

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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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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.

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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)

my awesome cafe, tanjong pagar

I think it takes guts to use an adjective like awesome in one’s name – especially because it invites comparison where there might not have been any.

like, do I usually give cafes concessions for serving not-nearly-up-to-the-mark food? yes – because they pander to the hipster and the cool, and so sometimes the food gets overlooked for the decor or the drinks. but when a place calls itself awesome, it sets up expectations that might be difficult to fulfil.

but that’s not to say that the food here is bad, because it isn’t: it’s hearty and quite filling and rather delicious, BUT the name just makes me wonder if I’d have naturally said that it was awesome (or would anyone, unless they had lived as a or was stuck in the persona of a teenager in 90’s america).

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dessert at ps.cafe, palais renaissance and tiong bahru

judging by the number of ps.cafe posts I have on this blog – four at last count – it’s pretty apparent that I have a soft spot for this chain.

I’m also going to summarise all the posts so far with this one – slightly pricey, big mains, hefty-and-satisfying-and-rich desserts, and beautiful, characterful restaurants. it’s an institution for brunch and lunch (not that dinner falters, by any means), and caters primarily to the yuppie, yummy mummy kind of crowd.

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ikyu, tiong bahru

quite pricey, but also rather homely japanese dining in hipster tiong bahru – those two characteristics seem incongrous, but the restaurant manages to feel both a little exclusive and quite familial.

as with most upscale japanese restaurants, the lunch set makes for the most value – and unlike most upscale japanese restaurants, this place extends that offer even on the weekends. how good is that?

and because I was there for lunch – admittedly much less expensive than their regular à la carte menu – I’m not sure it’s entirely fair to say that the food is pretty much just about okay. it’s not particularly overwhelming or special, but the atmosphere makes it a good place for a meal to catch up with friends.

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garden kadhai north indian fine dining, serangoon gardens

delicious indian food at this small restaurant along maju avenue – I live just ten-ish minutes away and never knew this restaurant existed until this visit, and what a pity. for the food was very good and authentic (as much as I can reasonably gauge), and the cosy bistro-like atmosphere of the place lends itself to easy eating, with a casual-but-not-of-the-flip-flop intimacy that I appreciate very much.

it’s a tad on the pricy side, but it’s pretty worth it – I reiterate, the food was delicious.

I’ve been having quite a bit of indian food these days (I gravitate toward the northern styles), and have come to the conclusion that I am most of us are still pretty biased about the prices we’re charged at indian places such as this. despite the amount of work that clearly goes into the cooking, we still grumble about overpaying for what should be a cheap cuisine, when we’re willing to spend the equivalent in our fancy chinese restaurants.

strange eh, these human quirks.

I did conclude this place a little on the high side when we left, but hindsight is both enlightening and moderating, and so I will say – it’s certainly not cheap, but you leave with a belly stuffed with tasty curries and leavened breads that do a great job scooping those incredibly flavors into your mouth. I don’t have the skill (or the patience) to cook proper indian, and I submit myself to these chefs that do a great job at it – especially when I get to eat in air-conditioned comfort.

make a visit, pronto!

Garden Kadhai North Indian Fine Dining
24 Maju Ave
Singapore 556696
tel +65 6283 9688
$$$ (or should it be $$.5?): 30-40 a person

level33, marina bay

good fusionish european dining high up in the financial district – this is the first time I’ve done a full meal here, and it was a good one. it’s on the pricey side, but at least the dishes were pretty stellar, and the muscato and beers are reliable.

plus, you very seldom have the option of starting dinner in an air-conditioned, comfortable place (it’s far too hot for an entirely al fresco meal these days), before proceeding outdoors to a fantastic view for some dessert and a sip of something-something.

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hill street coffee shop, chinatown point

back-to-basics eggs and toast at this small cafe at the basement of chinatown point. it gets surprisingly crowded, considering its rather obscure location and rather basic decor – but there’s nothing like a traditional breakfast.

it’s a deceptively simple meal hinged at two points: the soft, oozy, just-nice doneness of your bouncy, still-slightly-translucent eggs, and the traditionally-styled crustless bread (none of that new-fangled gardenia or sunshine, thank you very much) that’s crisp but not biscuit-like. this place does it decently – my eggs were jiggly, and the two peanut butter sandwiches were crusty without being crumbling (and the PB was generous, too).

we’re losing our traditional kopitiams and breakfast places, and in their place, new, sanitised (some may say clinical) places like this are popping up – and I’m not complaining. eat your two eggs and toast – and go with the tide.

Hill Street Coffee Shop
#B1-52 Chinatown Point
133 New Bridge Road
Singapore 059413
tel +65 6702 0192
$: 4-6 a person

p.s. hope you’re easing all good into the work day after all that new year feasting!

saveur art, ion orchard

I’ll start off with the best photo in this series, to make a point – it all looks gorgeous here, but I feel like the flavor fell short of expectation (both from reviews and looks).

this is the upmarket version of the much-lauded saveur restaurant in bugis, which is known for low-priced french cuisine – I didn’t like that one either, and this place strikes me the same way: the prices are low for a reason.

I don’t doubt there’s a strong selling point in making what is a typically expensive cuisine more accessible for the masses, and the food isn’t so subpar that you wouldn’t eat it – but I do think the prices are low because the portions are small, and the flavors are muted just because there doesn’t seem to be much in there to provide that flavor you’d expect.

so, not bad, but I feel like the hype can be attributed to the lower prices more than the food – and if you aren’t restrained by budget so much, I would recommend going somewhere else.

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