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)

brewerkz, dempsey

good, quick-and-dirty american food at this chain of restaurants across singapore. mostly popular with the drinking crowd (unsurprising given the name of this place, and their booze-making status), I’ve recently rediscovered this place, as well as my love for comforting, gut-filling american dining.

there’s a certain impatience that comes with age – it’s got to be age or disposition, and I prefer to blame the first – and a meal of ribs and burgers is exactly the thing when you’re not into a foamy, decorated plate.

I had the pulled pork burger – a mass of meat bound with barbecue sauce and topped with thick slices of pickled jalapeno. the chillis pack a mild heat that creeps up on you, and the sauce could be a little cloying if you’re going bun-less (so don’t). it’s quite a generous mound of meat, so eat whatever doesn’t fit between the buns with the crisp salad on the side.

you get a choice of sides – and I usually go for just a salad, but the onion rings are thick and pretty decent, even if it came slightly greasy this time. and if you’re into beer – their daily specials are usually a tad cheaper than the other menu options.

the dempsey hill outlet is a little dark and small – basically a porch with a couple indoor seats – and doesn’t have the character of the one at riverside point. but it’s still a decent place to get a meal (without overpaying, as the locale would typically require), and relax at the end of a long day.

Brewerkz Microbrewery
18 Dempsey Road
Singapore 249677
tel +65 6634 1229
$$: easily under thirty a person, which is almost a steal

morganfield’s, buona vista

decent american food in the huge rock that is the star vista mall. if you’re looking for a place this weekend to meet up with the large family and consume a large amount of food, this could very well be it. reasonably priced, large portions and decent cooking, this made for an enjoyable mother’s day dinner – I know, I know, it’s the end of the month now – and its way on our list of family-congregation-venues.

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north border bar & grill, buona vista

decent american food at this colonial house hidden in the rochester park. done up with a bar, al fresco dining areas and two floors of sitting, this place has food you want to eat when you think of american chains like TGIF and billy bombers, but at standards those places aspire to. not revolutionary food, but very much well worth returning to – singapore doesn’t have many restaurants that do a large american menu well, and the surroundings are gorgeous.

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naughty nuri’s warung, bali

really good ribs – and pretty okay everything else at this small but very famous store in ubud. I had read so much about this place before we left for bali, and was pretty excited about it – I love ribs, and there aren’t many place in singapore that serve it, let alone do a decent version.

we came here on our way from kerobokan to mount batur for a look at the kintamani volcano, and the place filled up very quickly at lunch-time. you’re greeted by the sight of a lady piling up glistening racks of ribs on the barbie, and we quickly headed in to get an order.

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handlebar, sembawang
















great american food in the deep-of-the-woods in sembawang. I’m of half a mind not to share this with you, but I rather like the photos that turned out so let’s just say I’m doing this in narcissism, though we both know I’m being amazing!!! by sharing what really is a sort of largely undiscovered gem.

I’ve never really thought much about bikers or the biker culture in singapore – for one, I hardly knew we really had one, and secondly I had always sort of thought them a group of rather obsessive hobbyists with nothing in common with myself (not that I don’t recognise a sort of problem in my clear obsession with food). in any case, handlebar is a rather aptly named bikers’ bar that just sort of happens to serve remarkable food, and at prices that are more than reasonable for quantity and quality – I think this must have to do with their really rather rural location.

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