boon tong kee, ang mo kio

reliable, comforting local cooking (and of course, very good hainanese boiled chicken).

boon tong kee is a local institution for chicken rice. known most particularly for the white, boiled variant of the dish, they serve up plates of tender and juicy chicken that arrive doused generously with a sweet-and-savory soy sauce (that I think could actually be the true star of the show).

they also do a large range of cooked dishes, or cze char, but these – while decent – tend to run second fiddle to the chicken (and rightly so, perhaps). on this visit, we ordered bitter gourd sauteed with regular and salted eggs (our new favourite thing to order everywhere, also possibly a reflection of increasing age), and seafood hor fun (the thick rice noodles had a hint of wok hei, but were a little gloppier than we would have wanted).

definitely a good option for the weekdays. the place is packed at dinner times, and is a good alternative if you had initially planned to visit melben seafood, which is just a couple storefronts down (which was what we had initially come for). the common (and typically, the only) gripe I’ve heard about this place is its price, but hey, let’s not be stingy about paying for local food.

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garibaldi italian, purvis street

I’m (super) late on this one (and many others), and so just a short piece on this place – it was a birthday meal, and we arrived with heightened expectations and a keen sense of disappointment after. while service was lovely, and the place was neat and crisp with its white tablecloths and fancy tableware, we found the food to be just about middling. nothing so bad as to surprise, but certainly not as good as we were led to believe with its longstanding, positive repute. at the long and short of it, we are unlikely to return, especially with Singapore’s large range of excellent Italian restaurants (such as Senso and Gattopardo).




Garibaldi Italian Restaurant & Bar
36 Purvis St
Singapore 188613
tel + 65 6837 1468
$$$: 55ish onward

yamazaki japanese restaurant, one fullerton

no.. that’s not a glass of yamazaki. the eponymous whisky made no appearance at my meal, though a slew of rather (surprisingly) delicious dishes made it onto our table, and very quickly into our stomachs.

this place looks pretty much like a tourist/ yuppie trap, with its location at one fullerton and its disarming views across our beautiful marina bay area. but the food is prepared by bona fide japanese, and there are plenty of japanese clientele to provide credibility to the kitchen (or perhaps the well-stocked bar). slightly pricey, but no more than you’d expect for the location and the slight fine-diningesque feel about the place.



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happy national day, singapore

you awe me year after year – and may you stay beautiful, strong and resilient.

x

I had the opportunity to attend the first preview parade for 2016 (an excellent initiative on our government’s part to ensure more people get to watch the show every year), our first at the national stadium in years. it was excellent, as always, but I do wish we could have retained the mobile column and the red lion segment.

the celebratory song is excellent this year too – catchy and upbeat, and it gets you going. happy national day, everyone!

pita pan, marina bay sands

this is one of my favorite places to grab a meal – and even if prices appear to be rising and the portions gradually reducing, and the flavors a little less robust than when I first tried them a couple years ago, it still hits the spot rather perfectly.


I love mediterranean/ middle eastern food – and this tiny place on the outside of the marina bay sands shopping mall has a simple menu of a few choice dishes (and various flavored permutations).

I tend to order the same thing: hummus, shakshuka, falafel and tabbouleh – all which give you a good spread across both flavor and texture spectrums. the homely falafels are particularly savory and delicious, and any heaviness is offset by the fresh, herbacious tabbouleh (with juicy pomegranate seeds dotted throughout).

the red shakshuka tastes better to me than the green – and everything goes quite nicely with the triangles of heated pita that arrive alongside.

it’s a simple meal, and a nice way to catch up with friends (or spend some alone time) – it doesn’t get much better than that.

Pita Pan
L1-87, Bay Level (on the outside, near the ArtScience Museum)
2 Bay Avenue,
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, The Shoppes
Singapore 018972
tel +65 6688 7450
$: 15ish

zafferano, clifford pier

ok, ok, I ate here during restaurant week – which was in.. october? WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE?!

decent food, good view, quiet cosy-type environs all done up in dark tones – it’s a safe choice for dates, and its location in the CBD is plenty convenient.

I will say though, that the photographs of zafferano are a little nicer than the actual restaurant is, but at least the food and service pass muster. and – they have a stellar tenderloin on offer that was quite utterly delicious.

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napoleon food & wine bar, telok ayer

cute little wine bar hidden away in telok ayer run by a legit frenchman, filled with an impressive number of wine bottles and plenty of artwork with (slightly lame-o) alcohol-derived puns.

they serve plenty of nibbles and mains here to go with your glass of wine – but beware: the sharing plates aren’t small, and the well-seasoned, rich flavors almost necessitate sharing.

take the home-made terrine of foie gras, for example, which had the goose liver mix served with fig chutney, a balsamic reduction and a small roll of bread. this is plenty rich, and slightly overwhelming in such a large portion (large for me at least, since I do not favor the liver), but that chutney was delicious and helped to keep the dish fresh.

the hand-cut angus beef tartare was perhaps my favorite starter: served with a raw yolk, capers, and crunchy diced white onions. stir in plenty of pepper, mustard and just a touch more salt, and it is delicious. crispy hand-cut wedges came on the side, flavored with parmesan and truffle. all in all, super moreish.

the angus beef tenderloin has that same meat seared pink and served with a creamy gratin dauphinois, ratoutouille and a red wine sauce. but the carrot puree that arrived bright orange was the star of the show: soft, silky, and very pure-tasting (though the texture is slightly reminiscent of baby food).


the shrimp truffle capellini felt particularly asian, especially with those bits of salted seaweed strewn throughout. the noodles were well-cooked, and there were plenty of shrimps to break up the texture – it’s a nice fusionesque dish, and a light-tasting option if you’re looking for some substance.

but if you’re in for something rich, the lobster risotto is definitely the way to go. it was a particularly creamy (and wet) rendition, with tender grains of acquarello rice and al dente asparagus dice to break up the texture. and I haven’t even mentioned the lobster, which comes in nice thick slices and as sweet as you’d want.

the last part was definitely the best – but how can you go wrong with chocolate? a mi-cuit (half-cooked) canelle – I have never had one like this before – that had an oozy, oozy, molten centre, next to good vanilla ice cream and coffee crumbs. not to forget the slab of chocolate ganache though, and my goodness was that fudgy and rich and good.

it’s a small piece of parisian bistro in sunny singapore, and a very nice one run by a friendly frenchman. they know their food here, and it’s a lovely place to grab some wine after work on the weekdays. definitely one to try.

Napoleon Food & Wine Bar
206 Telok Ayer Street
Singapore 068641
tel +65 6221 9282
$$.5: 35ish onward

thanks to the entertainer and napoleon for the lovely meal and wine!

wingzone, bugis+

perfect-for-students and binge-day casual dining a few steps above regular fast food in bugis+. if you spent most of your university days (this applies more to men than women, and of course I’m generalising) surviving on take-out and fast food, this place will bring back memories (most especially if you did that tour while in the US).

conceived by two starving students in Georgia who just couldn’t fathom another slice of pizza, this place has nearly twenty years of experience behind it, and more than its fair share of expanded waistlines.

it’s no diet food for sure, but those wedges are well-worth any guilt.

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pasta fresca da salvatore, boat quay

ah, the lure of pork fat and cheese – and wine and pasta. I have a soft spot for italian eating – it’s hearty and delicious, and comforting and fresh with its honest, clear flavours.

pasta fresca da salvatore has been around for quite a while (nearly three decades!), and it’s one of those places that feels spectacularly appropriate for a cozy dinner with friends and wine. I was gobsmacked by the sheer range of food on the menu – as so would you be, even ignoring the fact that they allow you to customize anything from the noodle to the sauce they sit in (very good for fussy eaters who insist on customising their food a particular way – hi mum!)


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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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