Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

For 2 nights only on 17 and 31 October, the Backstreet Bengs of Amoy Street- chef Jeremmy Chiam of Le Binchotan, chef Eugene See of Birds of A Feather, and chef Miller Mai of Ding Dong, will work together to present a six-hands event. The mini food journey would bring guests to all three restaurants where they would sample a signature and a specially created dish that is based on the heritage of Amoy Street, Chinatown at each location.
The menu was planned in tandem, while carefully maintaining their individual culinary identities.
At Birds of a Feather, chef Eugene presents a special Sichuan-style Chwee Kueh. The “water cake” is made in-house the traditional way with rice flour, but is given a spicy savoury Szechuan spin with crispy kohlrabi bits and Szechuan spicy red oil, then dressed with scallion oil, pickled daikon and black fungus. The toppings are super addictive and i wished there were more with the cake.
This is served alongside a plate of Baked Eggplant, one of my favorites from the new a la carte menu (read about my review of Birds of a Feather here). The yuxiang [鱼香] sauce is so good with the baked eggplant and fried mantou!

At Ding Dong, chef Miller serves a special chee cheong fun made out of scallop. The smooth and silky sheets are made of scallop and encases crunchy tiger prawns and blue swimmer crab. The rolls are served with a typical South-East Asian sauce made with fish sauce, lime juice, clam stock and chilli. I thought it was a tad too fishy overall.
The signature Ding Dong dish is the Pork Collar, Char Siew, Caramelised Pineapple. The Iberico pork collar was a tad dry even though it was sous vide though.
My favorite dish of the night was served at Le Binchotan. The Uni Okayu with Charcoal Youtiao by chef Jeremmy is inspired by rice porridge but it was definitely a more superb version. Uni rice is served in a pool of rich kombu and scallop bouillon, garnished with crunchy charcoal youtiao rounds, and topped with even more lobes of fresh uni. This needs to go on the main menu. AGAIN.
The signature dish he presents will be a roll of his ‘Edible Charcoal’- beef short ribs braised for 16 hours wrapped in charcoal spring roll skin and accompanied by house-made garlic yoghurt. Careful of that really spicy and pungent garlic yoghurt!

Reservations must be made in advance; only a maximum of 60 reservations will be accepted each evening. Guests will be assigned a schedule the day before the dinner, so that they know where their meal for that evening will begin, where to go next, and where their meal will end that evening.

To reserve your seat, e-mail events@spa-esprit.com. Confirmed attendees will be sent an itinerary the day before the reservation.

Le Binchotan
115 Amoy Street #01-04 Singapore 069935 (Entrance via Gemmill Lane)
Tel: +65 6224 1045

Birds of A Feather
115 Amoy Street Singapore 069935
Tel: +65 6221 7449

Ding Dong
115 Amoy Street #01-02 Singapore 069935
Tel: +65 6557 0189

Let's put it out there. I like Pollen, and mainly it's because of Executive Chef Steve Allen. He's such a nice, down to earth, funny guy who pays a great amount of detail to his dishes. "A dish without a story, is a food without a soul", said Steve. For Pollen's sixth anniversary, he has put together a six course Stories Tasting Menu that tells of his journey as a chef and Pollen's philosophy of presenting accessible and genuine food from the heart. 
Steve draws inspiration from Southeast Asian chefs and regional agriculture to create his brand of French-Mediterranean cuisine which celebrates the freshness and integrity of produce through simple preparation. He seeks to let the natural flavours of ingredients take centrestage with his dishes.
A series of snacks were fired shortly after we sat down. This chicken liver parfait snack has been on the menu since the beginning and probably the only thing that has stayed because Steve loves changing the menu.  
This has to be the most refreshing egg tart i've eaten. That buttery filo pastry is love and it held a savory egg cream with spring onions and herbs like dill. Strangely, Jr thinks it tasted like Big Mac. We also had another anchovy snack that is wrapped in a leaf and done in the tempura style. 
The snacks just kept coming and we were starting to feel a little full from them even before the start of the meal. Thankfully, a refreshing sour cream in beetroot and pickled cabbage broth with smoked sausage helped freshen our palate and tummies for the meal.

Every meal starts with bread and Pollen has a special "mother dough" recipe for their sourdough made when they opened in 2012. Since then, it is used in the starter to make their fresh bread daily. It's not pictured here because i polished it off with their whipped butter with leek oil before i could photographed it. 
Then, Pollen’s Garden, a Russian salad of sorts according to Steve, made of 16 vegetables done in different ways, with bagna cauda, and topped with a smoking tomato and basil snow. I loved the different textures and flavors in this dish- pickled, raw, baked, compressed, marinated and tempura. It's creamy, tartish, herby and also umami. We heard that the soil is actually made of vegetable peels! For pairing, we had a homemade sparkling "rose" made of rhubarb, basil, and Hendricks gin. The combination of the two certainly left our mouths watering.
We moved on to Langoustine & Lardo, a dish that is conjured of Head Chef Carmine La Garciola's fond memories from his childhood and family in Italy. The ricotta used here is the exact recipe that his grandmother taught him as a child and the lardo comes from the Tuscan region. What's lovely is the combination of sweet tender translucent flesh of the langoustine and salty lardo. An acidic herb juice is prepared tableside and poured on the dish. At this point, i thought that citrus and acid could possibly be another main feature of Pollen's menu. 
Next, Steve's signature dish- Sea & Sand. This dish was inspired by his childhood days in Eastbourne, south coast of England, where he would spend his days eating cockles, prawns and mussels from the pier. This pretty plate made us want to visit his hometown. It's not just the presentation of the dish that brought us to the beach, we could even smell the ocean in this one! The plate of perfectly pink salmon, was complemented with salty sweet bites of ikura, crab, and clam. 
The sand that accompanied the dish tasted like candied furikake but it's made from brown butter solids and a vinegar-sugar "honeycomb". I really loved the sand!

The seafood dishes were paired with an Italian orange wine from the region Emilia Romagna made with Malvasia grapes. It's really dry, and tart and it really doesn't taste or smell much like wine imo.  There's a very strong diesel nose to it. It's our second time drinking orange and we concluded that it's not our thing. 
Arriving in Asia is a dish of beef cheek tea, like a ba kut teh but not quite either. Steve's wife is the one who taught him about Chinese herbs and how to use them to enhance certain flavors. This dish is actually Steve's favorite English dish- boiled beef and carrots but with a local twist. We could taste sweetness of the ba kut teh herbs but the soup wasn’t all that herby. The beef-turnip-herb stock is further infused with Chinese herbs in a siphon before serving. 
The pairing here is with "Michael Jackson", a Black Cow vodka sour with grass jelly, which was yet another sour drink. 

We ended our savory course with Nose to Tail, which featured all parts of the suckling pig. A piece of lovely meat, and a creamy croquette made with all the other parts. This was kinda a symbolic end to the meal and embodies the philosophy of Pollen on food wastage. This is paired with a Pinot Noir from Beaujolais.
Finally desserts. We started with a non-traditional English Tea at Raffles which we couldn’t get enough off! The drink is served cold, with an Earl Grey sphere that pops and mixes with the Osmanthus milk foam. It’s perfectly light and fragrant. 
The Singapore Sling is an iconic Singapore drink, even though most of us would never ever order this drink. Steve has taken the fruits, herbs, and spices in the drink and made it into 2 desserts- A cherry cream and pineapple jam biscuit, and a sorbet dessert.
Both desserts fared better than the darn cocktail IMO. However, we’d have preferred a heavier dessert to anchor the meal but that’s just us. Desserts were served with a Gosnells gluten free Hopped Mead from UK. 

Love the stories at Pollen and the restaurant is magical. It’s perfect for a romantic date night. Thanks Chef Steve Allen for the wonderful experience and also helping with my wedding surprise for Jr! 

The Stories tasting menu is priced at $158 for 6 courses and the pairing is $55 for 5 glasses. I’d recommend getting a good bottle of wine for sharing instead. 

Pollen
Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay
18 Marina Gardens Drive, #01-09
Singapore 018953
We are all aware of the many Japanese restaurants hidden in Cuppage Plaza, but do you know there's one hidden in plain sight just opposite the building? Sushi Chiharu by Tamaya Dining is tucked within Tamaya Dining, another casual Japanese restaurant. Expect an intimate night of intricate Japanese dining featuring fresh Japanese seasonal produce at this 12-seater omakase restaurant, whose flagship in Osaka is a three-time Michelin recommended Bib Gourmand (2016 to 2018).
Quality and consistency is expected of the food delivered at Sushi Chiharu. Sushi Chiharu handpicks the best chefs to work at their Osaka branch, and only a selected few get to be posted to their regional outlets. The chefs prepare two menus at the Singapore outlet, a 18-course Omakase Menu ($140) and a 10-piece Nigiri Sushi Course ($90). All items are served a la minute at the open sushi counter. 
The 18-course includes three appetisers, two seasonal sashimi, a seasonal dish, the restaurant's signature 10-piece nigiri sushi, a soup and dessert. We started with a pumpkin soup with caviar. I loved the distinct dashi flavor in this Tsukiji pumpkin purée. 
Next bite was the chunky Taraba Kani Kimi Sunose with Kimizu- grilled king crab legs with a vinegary egg custard.
The fatty Hokkaido sardines were complemented with a refreshing sharp ponzu. I thought that the acidity helped take the edge off the fish.
The sashimi course consisted of horse mackerel and chutoro. There was also aburi chutoro which melted perfectly. 
The tempura course was Hamo- Daggertooth Pike Conger. I enjoyed the light fragrant batter which didn't overpower the fluffy fish. 

Haenuki rice is used in the signature sushi course for its unparalleled softness, distinct grains, and how well they mold together. This rice is cooked with kombu, rice vinegar, and a touch of salt and sugar, to enhance its natural flavours. I love love love the rice and also how each piece of sushi is perfectly sized to pop into my mouth. 
The Ika Somen Nigiri features thinly sliced squid (like noodles) topped with squid ink salt and a light drizzle of Japanese lime.  
Kisu- Sand borer.
Edomae sushi is served here and thus there are several cured seafood dishes. Cured tuna may sound like a salty bomb but the special blend of soy sauce that Sushi Chiharu marinates the tuna in brings out the sweetness of the fish. 
In the preparation of Aji Su Arai Nigiri, Aji (horse mackerel) is submerged in a homemade vinegar blend between one to three minutes. It is then sliced and scored, and topped with finely chopped spring onions and ginger, and lightly brushed with soy sauce to finish. Again, the tartness cleverly cuts through the strong flavor of the Aji.  
Moving on, both the Bafun and Murasaki Uni (sea urchin) tantalized my palate. Who can say no to Uni?!
Prior to this Grilled Botan Ebi course, we had been tortured the whole night by the heady aroma of the grilled prawns that other diners were having. The sweet shrimp is served two ways- plump sashimi with marinated roe, and a crispy grilled prawn head stuffed with sushi rice. 
This was pure happiness. 
The Aburi Barracuda Kamasu was served with wasabi and salt. I thought it was a tad spicy.
Anago Nigiri is uniquely prepared by first boiling the Anago (sea eel), then grilling it atop a sasa leaf on the hibachi grill. The result is fluffy cloud-like flesh with a touch of earthiness from the sasa leaf. This is finished with a light dab of sansho pepper and a glaze of a sauce reduced from a combination of soy sauce and its own juices.
I can never say no to hotate and this one is coated in umami tare. Love that luxurious texture! 
Sushi Chiharu's signature is Kerayaki, their unique take on tamagoyaki made with locally sourced eggs. Egg whites are whipped up into a meringue and the yolks are folded in.
This results in an airy and slightly sweet sponge cake. A small amount of sushi rice is wrapped within the egg  layers (i'm not sure why though). I mean i could have a block of it on its own as a dessert.  
We ended the meal with a comforting miso soup with water lily.
The meal ended with a sweet Japanese melon which turned into juice when we bit into it. MAGIC. One can could also enjoy a wide range of seasonal sakes by the bottle, ranging from $118 to $300.

I really enjoyed my time at Sushi Chiharu. Great good, great price, great service. Be sure to make your reservation!

45A Cuppage Rd, Singapore 229464
Tel: +65 6835 3639 (Reservations are required for dining from 6pm to 9pm.)
Mon - Sat: 6 - 11.30pm
Sun & PH: 6 - 10.30pm 
We all know that Potato Head has mad burgers and cocktails and we are truly glad that they have dedicated a standalone joint Three Buns Quayside to serving these finger-licking good comfort food. 95% of what you're gonna be savoring are handmade by the team helmed by Chef Adam Penney.
The menu is a mix of old favorites from Potato Head folks (hello Baby Huey) and new menu items unique to the Quayside location. Expect the highest-quality grass-fed Australian patty made from two prime cuts of beef, house-made sauces, and premium cheeses from US, UK, and Greece, sandwiched between their lovely butter brioche buns. 
If you’re looking for a hit of local flavour, check out the Red Man Burger ($28) – this isn’t on the regular menu yet, but you can tell that this is a burger that’s put together very intentionally. This is a twist on beef rendang, using beef cheek that’s prepared sous vide, accompanied by a specially prepared burger bun made from coconut oil and milk. This was easily our favorite burger! Just look at that juicy meat that falls apart!
You can tell how good a burger joint is by how well they do the classics and Three Buns doesn't fail. The Smokin’ B-Boy ($23), a bacon cheeseburger, is perfectly balanced with its juicy patty, savory bacon, crunchy fried and caramelized onions. Their no-frills cheeseburger Da Cheese Master ($15) works if you're a hard-core ketchup lover.
The Bun DMC ($16) is another one that’s unique to this location, moving away from the typical pickle to a home-made watermelon relish, as well as a mix of fried onions and onion puree. These ingredients worked quite well together, but the watermelon relish didn’t stand out as much as I thought it would (which was a pity). 
For a meat-free option, the Truffello ($15) was very aromatic, and buns were well done. Unfortunately, the slaw and the juicy Portbello makes for a very soggy burger, and there's nothing sadder than wet buns that disintegrate. The truffle butter sauce was also lost in the mix. If you want more of that punchy flavor, go for their Truffle Hound ($15) hotdog instead. It’s rather plain but at least you’ll taste the truffle.
We would come to Three Buns for their fries alone. Naughty Fries Jr. ($9) (pictured below), and Miso Dirty Fries ($9) were the stars in their own right – these fries are shaped in a curve, which was excellent for scooping up the sauces and toppings. What's more, they stayed crunchy even after being out on the table for a while, and the flavour profiles of both hit just the right spots.
I had a hard time deciding which one was my favourite – the Naughty fries has a hit of gochujang, while the miso and pork floss in the Miso Dirty fries adds an umami that makes the dish so addictive. My advice? Go in a group and get both – they’re great for sharing around a table, and will be gone in a heartbeat.

Come during the weekends and you'll get more than just burgers from 11am to 4pm. The Blueberry Basic ($15) is anything but basic. The porous buttermilk pancakes are savory bittersweet, with hints of coffee, vanilla beans and vanilla salt with ice cream and blueberry sauce served on the side. The Ronnie ($19), a chicken sausage with miso bearnaise burger, is served with super crunchy tater tots. I found the tater tots more irresistible than the slightly sticky and mushy patty (it tasted similar to MacD's).

Desserts wise, I found them all a tad too sweet for my liking, but the milkshakes were worse. Give them a miss please. However, I thought that the tartness of the Zesty Calamansi & Lemon cream ($6) would make a really good filling for a lemon tart/crumble. 

If you have to have a milkshake, go for the Aye Sailor ($18), a rum-spiked chocolate milkshake which countered the diabetic drink. The 3 Monkeys ($18), a banana-infused whisky milkshake tasted like cough syrup after being left out for a while.
In spite of the unhappy ending, let's focus on the good stuff, which are the burgers and fries. Those are gonna have us coming back to Three Buns again and again. 

-B & C-

Three Buns Quayside
60 Robertson Quay, #01-01, Singapore 238252
Tue-Fri 5pm-12am
Sat-Sun 11am-12am 
Our favorite garden restaurant Botanico has been revitalized with a new Singaporean head chef at the helm, a reinvigorated concept and an enhanced interior. Dine in the lush greenery that has now been brought indoors and feast on a contemporary European bistro cuisine that is integrated with Asian inflections.
Chef Sujatha Asokan, or Chef Su, is a true-blue Singaporean who rose through the ranks at Esquina, Pollen and Stellar at 1-Altitude. It is at Botanico where she brings her distinctive voice and culture to the table and boy were the dishes interesting.
My suggestion is to dive into the interesting bits, and leave the oysters, cauliflower, and tempura asparagus out of the way. Sure there may be some interesting bits like the use of an exclusive-to-Botanico Cañarejal cheese (a traditional raw unpasteurised sheep's milk cheese from Northern Spain) but honestly it did nothing much to make the dish extraordinary.
The Seabass Ceviche ($17) sounds regular enough but there is nothing regular about it. This dish is Chef's interpretation of Assam Laksa, comprising of a spicy-sweet ceviche of seabass with green chilli, pomegranate and shaved ginger flower, served with tamarind dressed glass noodles and shrimp paste ice cream. Yes you heard me right, the pungent fermented shrimp paste has been made into ice cream sans the stench. You get a mere hint of the prawn paste flavor, but it did a good job in binding the dish together, like how it would in a rojak. Don't go expecting it to taste like Assam Laksa though.
The Beef Tongue ($20) is a must-order here IMO! Australian beef tongue is brined, sous vide and chilled before being sliced very thinly with a meat slicer. There isn't much chewiness to the meat anymore, and it tasted very much like what i would imagine a high quality piece of spam (i mean it in a good way, i mean, who doesn't like spam?). A contrasting crunch comes from the deep fried capers and there's also a spicy chipotle mayo and honeyed yellow mustard seeds to accompany the briny slices.  
Now, the Slipper Lobster Chittara ($32) is like a zhnged up mee goreng using fresh pasta that is cooked in a Chinese XO sauce, accompanied by chunks of sous-vide slipper lobster. This XO sauce is made in-house by slow-cooking iberico ham trimmings, dried scallops, dried shrimps (hae bee), lemongrass, shallots, garlic, Thai fish sauce, dark soy sauce, sesame oil, housemade chicken stock, chilli flakes, sugar and salt for 2 to 3 hours. 
Another of my favorite is the Iberico Char Siew ($34) which is smokin shiok. The  Spanish top loin (pluma) is marinated overnight with housemade char siew sauce, smoked and then chargrilled. It's served with a crunchy carrot "noodles" and a roasted carrot purée spiked with ginger and OJ. 
Curry Lamb Neck ($32) features 24-hour slow-cooked lamb neck fillets and a curry inspired by chef Su's Indian heritage. The brined lamb neck is sous-vide at 55 degrees for 18 hours, then grilled in the INKA before serving and there is no gamey taste to the meat at all. The light curry is made from Vadouvan, a blend of curry spices from France. Accompanying the fillets are Vadouvan-spiced king oyster mushrooms, soy pickled tomatoes, roasted potato foam and pickled onions. 
Can't say no to the Stockyard Wagyu Petit Tender ($34), a cut from the cow's shoulder (there are only 4 pieces per cow). Served with a housemade green sriracha (like an Asian chimichurri), charred leek flowers and fluffy and creamy potato terrine. 
A sweet and savory dessert is the Jalapeño ice cream ($11). It tastes like a sour cream ice cream with a hint of spice and i love how it coats the dehydrated bacon financier crumble! Charred Sarawak pineapple adds a touch of sweetness to the dish. 
For something that is a bit more safe, the Lemongrass-infused Panna Cotta ($10) will satisfy, if you're into botanical flavors like ginger and lemongrass. It provides a refreshing end to the meal with pops of acidity and calming spice. 
What is food without wine? Pair your meal with Botanico's 30 premium wine labels -- all rated 90 points and above by Wine Spectator -- available by glass and carafe through the Coravin system, and even more by bottle. Cocktails are aplenty too, with stalwart classics sitting alongside new experiences like edible cocktail jellies (these are too dangerous). For the budding bartender in you, you can also personalise your drink from scratch.
Always a fun experience at Botanico!

50 Cluny Park Road Singapore 257488 
Singapore Botanic Gardens 
Wed- Sun (Dinner): 6 - 11pm
Weekends: 11am - 3pm