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)

ryan’s grocery, binjai park


cute little grocery in binjai park, with a focus on gluten-free, complete with an in-house butchery and shelves of amazing imported goods. I have a weakness for supermarkets, and spend an inordinate amount of time in them on holidays (hello and sorry, fiancé!) – and I especially love seeing new things you can’t get in our ntucs and cold storages.

so it’s fair and likely embarrassing to admit that I have a love for imported goods – just for the variety – and while I don’t have gluten-free requirements (hallelujah bread!), this place is a veritable haven for them.

(and OH MY GOD, but did you know that mary berry has her own mayonnaise?!)

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don quijote, dempsey

very surprisingly good, even great, tapas at this restaurant hidden away in dempsey road. I’m really surprised by this place, and it might just be my new favorite spanish. rustic plates here differentiate it from the more refined dining at una (the other spanish restaurant high up on my list), and the ambiance is more friend-friendly than the latter’s date-friendly vibe.

my first visit here was on a tasting, and we returned two weeks later to verify if the food really was that good on a more regular basis – and it most definitely is.

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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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binomio spanish restaurant, craig road

very good spanish food at this well-known restaurant along craig road – it’s a cosy, intimate space that’s packed at night, with waiters that are just the right mix of personal and professional, and dishes that both taste good and feel authentic.

it’s more napkin-ed fine dining than small-plate tapas, with prices that tread the high side for dishes well-worth the expense.


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fantasia by escriba, the real look

I gave you guys a peek a couple days ago at fantasia – or what was described as more than charlie’s chocolate factory – and kept it cursory on purpose.

I didn’t want to spoil it for you if you were going – or create too much pre-judgment – but I think enough time has passed, to tell you the truth: it totally wasn’t worth it.

this photo looks almost accusatory.

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fantasia by escriba, a first look



if you’re heading to the festival this weekend, the best must-do item: chocolate shaped and colored like parma, shaved like parma, drizzled with olive oil and speckled with sea salt on melba toast (like parma).

delicious, and rather revelatory. very photographable, too.

have a good weekend!

xx

p.s. giveaways going on!


catalunya singapore, bayfront

showy see-and-be-seen posh-masquerading-as-rustic spanish in this ball floating by the marina bay area.

this place is gorgeous, all dark intimate lighting and architectural elegance, the people inside as dressed up as they come – and it’s got some serious pedigree (el-bulli trained staff, hello). so while it’s probably no surprise that while the food here does exhibit certain expertise, I think it better visited for an experience per se, than explicitly for the cooking.

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bomba paella bar, robertson quay







great spanish food along martin road, pretty much near to the robertson quay area. I haven’t been to this area much – its location is most amenable for when you have a car, and I don’t drive. but nothing brings me out like the prospect of good food, and I’ve been on the lookout for bomba’s opening since I saw it on the graze website a while ago. this was also a celebratory meal, and thankfully didn’t disappoint.

I’m pretty smitten with the graze franchise – I mean, it’s really difficult to go wrong in my book when you have thick toast and pancakes and forgoodness a dessert platter on your brunch menu. they’ve always been pretty consistent and outstanding with the quality of the food, and so I went with pretty high expectations. add the fact that my partner and I truly love paella – and you’ll realize how much was riding on this meal.

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esquina tapas bar, chinatown












interesting and very expensive food in chinatown. so esquina is part of a spate of celebrity-chef openings in singapore (which I think have been a reason for the rising prices of dining out) – and more interestingly it has been set up by jason atherton, of british and pollen-street-social fame. there has been such hype about this restaurant, about how this tiny place of a bar has been racking up hour-and-more waits with fantastic ground-breaking food that I went with high expectations, waited an hour, and really just to let you know up front: I left with exactly the same sense of being underwhelmed as I did after pollen street.

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