Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

Hai Tien Lo (海天楼) has been given a glorious makeover by new Executive Chef Ben Zeng, who brings to the table contemporary presentation of authentic Cantonese flavours. Seafood specialties steal the limelight at the award-winning restaurant now but be rest assured that your favorite roasts and dim sum are still available, with a twist of course. 
The twist comes in the form of Western cooking techniques employed. Some of the dishes would not look out of place in a fine-dining non-Chinese establishment but they still captured the essence of traditional Cantonese cuisine. 
We started with a Combination of pan-fried scallops and sliced crispy barbecued suckling pig stuffed with prawn paste in Thai sauce. The stuffed suckling pig skin is a classic that is done well at Hai Tien Lou. The sweet prawn paste with crunchy water chestnut was a juicy contrast to the thin crispy skin. 
In Hai Tien Lo’s new menu, Executive Chef Ben gives the traditional double-boiled Cantonese chicken soup a unique twist with the new Double-boiled Chicken Soup with Abalone, Dried Scallops, Fresh Prawns and Chinese Mushrooms served in Young Coconut. I absolutely loved the aroma of the young coconut and the light sweetness that it imparted to the broth that was already flavored by the seafood, chicken, Chinese ham and pork. 
I'm not a sea cucumber fan, but i polished a plate of the Deep-fried crispy sea cucumber stuffed with minced pork and shrimps accompanied with preserved vegetables. Chef took a traditional salty-sweet preserved vegetables and sea cucumber dish and turned it into something more palatable and attractive to younger folks. There's certainly a better balance of texture and flavors as compared to the traditional gelatinous dish that was often too salty.  
I was so in love with the Baked Sea Perch Fillet with Kumquat Chilli Sauce that i asked for the recipe! Orange peel was added for that pleasant citrus taste which balanced the fatty oily fish. The bitter-sweet spicy note at the end was divine. 
You can't possibly be on a carb-free diet when faced with Hai Tien Lo's Wok-fried rice with lobster and ginger spring onion. The wok hei in the rice was perfect and actually all i needed was the lobster bisque and superior stock broth that came with it. Honestly the flash-fried live lobster was just icing on the cake. 
To end the night, the newly added Chilled Lemongrass Jelly and Lime Sorbet will refresh your palate with invigorating flavours of lemongrass, fresh lemon and lime. 

I really enjoyed the new menu at Hai Tien Lo! The refreshed menu is extended to Hai Tien Lo’s four set lunch menus and six set dinner menus, prices starting from $58++ and $88++ per diner respectively. Regulars, fear not! Your favorites are probably still on the menu but now there's an opportunity to discover new favorites! 

Hai Tien Lo
7 Raffles Boulevard Singapore 039595
Pan Pacific Hotel Level 3
Tel: +65 6826 8240 
Daily: 11.30am - 2.30pm. 6.30 - 10.30pm
All-day dining venues are perfect for the Singapore CBD crowd and 51Soho at Telok Ayer is all geared up to bring you from day to night with menus for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and all the hours in between. 

Need a power up before that morning meeting? Well there's the healthy Breakfast Overnight Oats ($9.90) or grab one of 51Soho's freshly baked Croissant with Ham and Cheese and Scrambled Eggs ($10.90). 
For lunch, tuck into their wholesome one-bowl meals, which have been calculated to provide you with a good mix of muscle-building protein, nutrient-rich greens and wholegrains. Pick from one of their bowls, or customize them. 
Wind down after work with the 51 Soho Specials cocktails that use Chinese rice wine, plum wine and bamboo wine as their base! I'd go for the Bamboo Dream, a lightly floral cocktail made from fermented rice wine and osmanthus Oolong tea. A little yuzu in this goes a long way to freshen your palate, while the passionfruit helps to sweeten the drink.

Another fruity drink is the 51 Soho, a plum wine that is spiked with lychee juice and a spritz of rose liqueur, 51 Soho's take on a lychee martini.
Dancing in The Moonlight’s bamboo wine is underscored with cucumber syrup, snow fungus and goji berries. It tasted really light, but light is deceiving, as with all their cocktails. 
Along with the drinks, there are charcoal-grilled skewers inspired by those served in Sichuan drinking houses. Sticks of marinated meats and vegetables are dusted with an original spicy mala blend. I'd recommend the pork belly sticks (2 for $7.50) which have crispy fatty bits around it. The beef skewers ($11) were good too.  
You could also have a proper dinner at 51Soho. I'm a huge fan of green mains and the Green & Nutty ($18) features different types of broccoli tossed in a lemony and herbaceous spring onion pesto.
For dinner, dig into heartier dishes with a tinge of Asian flavors in them. I would order the Salmon & Pearl ($28) in a heartbeat. I loved the crispy skin on the fatty fish, which was balanced with couscous that has been cooked in fish stock and sour vegetables and chili for a light tangy spiciness. 
The Spice de Canard ($30) is an Asian braised duck pretending to be European. I enjoyed the nuances of the chinese spices that the duck has been marinated in and then glazed over. The duck is then slathered with lentils marinated in Italian balsamic for a sweet tartness. 
When people said looks can be deceiving, they were referring to the Wicked Pasta ($22) at 51Soho. The zucchini-green linguine looked grassy but it tasted like a hearty tomato cream pasta. The pickling of the zucchini with yuzu must have caused some magic to happen because there was simply no tomato in this dish.  
For a more indulgent pasta, the Spicy Pasta ($24) will hook you with its addictive fiery and sour Mala sauce and chunky luscious seafood. Boy will you feel the burn but well we can deal with the consequences the morning after.
Also check out the Soho Burger ($28) with a house-made braised pulled beef, kimchi and fries. The bun is EVERYTHING. It's super pillowy, buttery, cloud-y delicious. It is best paired with an extra side of Shaky fries ($7.90) that is tossed with none other than 51Soho's house blend of Sichuan spices.

Desserts are not served for but you can always request to have some leftover bites from their tea menu. 51Soho is more than happy to accommodate.

I loved the idea of a one-stop-shop for meals and 51Soho does it well with their variety of offerings. Be sure to check them out!

51 SOHO
51 Telok Ayer St #01-01
Tel: +65 9755 1058 
Weekdays: 8am - 10pm 
Weekends & PH: 10am - 10pm
The Kilo compound has shifted from their Kampong Bugis home of eight years, to their new enclave at Duxton Road, with the new Kilo Kitchen located just steps away from their sister property, Kilo Lounge. The menu takes on a wood-fired focus with most of their Latin American-Asian flavored dishes being cooked in their wood-fire grill for that extra char.  
We started off with Kilo’s Seafood Ceviche ($23), a wonderful reminder of the chopped seafood salads that we had in Peru. We enjoyed the good mix of crunch from peppers, corn, and octopus too. 
We each had a small Beef Tongue Taco ($18 for 2pcs/$35 for 4pcs) with a mix of green apples, miso, and jalapeño-garlic tallow. The tacos are made with buttermilk and flour, which gave them a nice chewy texture and a slight butter note. However, the tacos were on the thick side and that took away the attention from the filling, which would otherwise have shone brighter with the balance of acid and fat. 
The folks at Kilo also tried to make lentil more up-class with their Atas Lentils ($26), by adding shaved Manchego, bacon, truffle, ibérico, egg yolk to the mushy nosh. Not one to eat lentils on its own, I thought that some chips would have gone perfectly with this saucy mix, which strangely had a hint of tomato when none was used.
The Squid Ink Rice ($29) took the classic paella and put it in the claypot but that was all to it. The dish was tasty with crusty bits, probably from cooking it the paella way but definitely not attributed to the claypot. Non-so-usual pairings of lightly battered octopus and ikura provided the slight variation from the typical black rice. 

I took one bite of the Ricotta Gnocchi ($26) and left it alone, due to the raw flour taste in the dumplings. The mushrooms were also too salty. 
Large plates include the Grilled Whole Rainbow Trout ($46) served with confit tomatoes, basil & olive oil. Well it was decent, but nothing wow. 
Desserts took forever to be served, and we contemplated leaving without having any, especially considering that we had to sit through two blackouts during dinner. Turns out that the Coconut Tembleque ($14) with pineapple sorbet was not worth waiting for.
The Chocolate Terrine ($14) only appeased us a little, with the soft chocolate mousse and smoked salted caramel with a butter tuile.  
Maybe go to Kilo Kitchen for some snacks, or perhaps drinks. Their bar programme features an intercontinental selection inspired by drinking cultures around the world.

I was quite disappointed at the experience at the new Kilo Kitchen. Doubt i'll be back anytime soon.

97 Duxton Road Singapore 089541
Tel: +65 64673987/ 9625 0279
Tues- Fri: 5.30pm - 12am
Sat: 6pm - 12am
Behold the luscious King of all fruits, with the fragrance (or odour) of none- the Durian. Regardless of whether you're a durian-loving Singaporean, or a visitor who would like to give this thorny fruit a try, you should definitely head over to Goodwood Park Hotel for their durian fiesta, which is happening now until 14 July 2019.
If you don't already know, Goodwood Park Hotel has satisfying the cravings of all durian lovers since 1983, with their creative durian desserts. This year, they have six new exquisite D24 durian desserts, together with four perennial favourites and signature ‘Mao Shan Wang’ durian pastries. 
Their new collection includes the D24 Pandan Lapis Coconut Cake (THE BEST), D24 Royale Cheesecake, D24 Strawberry Bliss, Mini D24 Ice Cream Bars and D24 Matcha Mont Blanc Tart. This is on top of their mainstays such as D24 Mousse Cake, D24 Puff, D24 Crêpe, and D24 Ice Cream.

My favorite was the D24 Pandan Lapis Coconut Cake (see top right) [$16 nett per slice / $88 nett per cake (1.2 kg)] which perfectly balances the richness of the durian between the layers of pandan sponge and cream frosting and coconut flakes.


If you want a super intense bite of durian in each mouthful. then go for the ‘Mao Shan Wang’ Power Puff ($22.80 nett per piece). This decadent choux pastry sees bountiful swirls of durian mousse sandwich in between a fluffy choux puff. 
Or for bite-sized happiness, there's the Mini D24 Ice Cream Bars going for $22 nett for a box of 4. Each stick of D24 durian ice cream is encased with flavours of dark chocolate, almond, cappuccino, and Oreo. 


To mark the 200th anniversary of Sir Stamford Raffles’ arrival in Singapore, Goodwood Park Hotel has launched their D24 Singapore Commemoration Cake ($88 nett, 1 kg) on 15 March 2019 in conjunction with the Hotel’s annual Durian Fiesta. The 1-kilogram cake features four flavours – gula melaka, coffee, pandan, and durian mousse, is adorned with a mosaic of white chocolate squares imprinted with eight historical scenes of Singapore and Goodwood Park Hotel’s illustrious past. Limited to only 200 cakes, an advance order of five days is required, subject to availability.

From 4 May to 14 July 2019, Coffee Lounge will be serving its popular Dessert Buffet with D24 Durian Pastries at lunch and dinner. So yes! You'll be able to enjoy their 3-Course / 4-Course Design Your Own Local Degustation Menu (read it here), inclusive of Dessert Buffet with D24 Durian Pastries for only $49.80/53.80. 
Also, if you're a fan of Coffee Lounge's Taiwan Porridge A La Carte Buffet, they also have a special D24 spread on their dessert buffet on 4-5 and 11-12 May! For more info, check out Goodwood Park Hotel's website for the full list of durian sweets and offers.

Goodwood Park Hotel
22 Scotts Road, Singapore 228221
Tel: +65 6737 7411

Date nights are for checking out restaurants we haven't been to. Fact is i have an extremely long list of restaurants to try. I decided on Italian and Braci was saved somewhere with a comment that it is pretty swell. I didn't realize it is a one Michelin-star restaurant until after i made the reservation. 
The location is in one of the shophouses along touristy Boat Quay. If you don't look up, you'd probably miss the little door to leads you to the restaurant. An elevator transports you 5 floors up, to a cozy dining space dominated by an peaceful open kitchen space. It's a vast difference from the chaos downstairs. You don't hear much from the chefs but you do smell a lot of mouth-watering perfumes from the Josper oven and shichirin grill. 
Various tasting menus are available, alongside the a la carte dishes. Even though they were some dishes that i wanted to try, like the Foie Gras Semifreddo ($28), we couldn't decide on the other choices, and so we decided to be surprised with their Surprise four-course menu ($100/pax).
For those who travel the world in search of great hotpot experiences, the name Little Sheep (小肥羊, or literally Little Fat Sheep) needs no further introduction with their outlets in Canada, China, Japan and the US. For the rest of us who prefer local food adventures, we’ll be glad to know that they’ve finally come to Singapore, with their first outlet located at One Fullerton. 

Given the glut of hotpot places opening in Singapore lately, our first impression was that Little Sheep needed to really bring their A game if they wanted to stand out from the crowd. After our first visit to their latest outlet, we were certain that Little Sheep is more than ready to take on the competition. 
Established in 1999 and originating from Inner Mongolia, Little Sheep’s offering focuses squarely on the quality of their broths and the freshness of their ingredients. Their signature broths include House Original White Soup ($9 for small / $20 for large) as well as a fierier House Spicy Mala Soup ($9 for small / $20 for large). I was particularly impressed by Little Sheep’s Mala Soup, since it came with plenty of flavour without being too intense. 

Little Sheep has a range of sauces similar to most other hotpot joints, along with some unique touches for those of us with more adventurous tastebuds (think lime juice, or fermented beancurd) to explore. However, the fact that all labels are in Chinese also means that patrons who don’t read the language will face more challenges here – a key area of improvement for sure. Having said that, our servers were also more than happy to mix their house blends for us, even going as far as serving a special one meant for pairing with their fresh seafood. 
Most hotpot places serve reasonably fresh seafood, but the White Pomfret ($22) served on ice gets top marks for presentation as well as quality. When we were done, our servers added the bones to the soup – although it's fairly common for fish head steamboat, it's less common to do that for hotpot (and for good reason – it takes up real estate in the pot and doesn’t add much to the dining experience). Our recommendation? Skip adding the bones entirely – the soup doesn’t need the boost!

 
Little Sheep’s main claim to fame (as the name suggests) is lamb, best represented by their 3-Tier Signature Lamb Platter ($36). The lamb is fresh and sliced thinly enough to cook within seconds in the pot, and was an absolute delight, even for those who don’t usually enjoy lamb. We also didn’t detect any of the gaminess or strong flavor typically associated with lamb, which made the meat even more enjoyable. 
However, the real showstopper was clearly the Signature Lamb Kebab ($8). Heartily seasoned and served fresh from the grill, sliding the chunks of juicy lamb off large metal skewers made for a really fun dining experience, not to mention tasty. For a more adventurous experience closer to Little Sheep’s Mongolian origins, put manners aside and consider eating your lamb right off the skewers! 
No hotpot experience is complete without the usual meatballs and assorted dumplings, but Little Sheep once again takes it to the next level with their Handmade Prawn Paste ($9/$18) with bits of fresh prawn providing texture, as well as Juicy Beef Balls ($8) that squirt boiling soup if you’re not careful while biting into them (yes, we’re speaking from experience). Skip the dumplings unless you're a fan of starchy soup (it disintegrates) and save your stomach space for something a bit more exotic like the Handmade Snakehead Fish Paste ($9/$18), or even the Pork Aorta ($13) and Beef Tripe ($16). 
Finish off your meal with some of Little Sheep’s complimentary soft serve (which we liked for not being too sweet), and walk off some of the calories along the Fullerton promenade – a really satisfying way to end off a satisfying hotpot experience. 

-Ben

Little Sheep Hot Pot
One Fullerton #01-05
1 Fullerton Road, Singapore 049213 
Daily: 11am - 11pm
I've tried several Singapore Airlines Business Class products and have been waiting to check out the A350-900 Business Class design since it was rolled out 2 years ago. I originally thought i'd be able to check out the then new design on my SIN-NRT flight but they did not retrofit that particular SQ B777-300ER. I finally managed to do so on our honeymoon by taking the twice weekly non-stop SIN-BCN flight on SQ and then another flight from Barcelona to Casablanca. The honeymoon travel posts will eventually come (2 years later). 
We all know that the A350 is a new generation aircraft and i thought that the flight experience is a lot more comfortable than the other aircraft- it's quieter and the air feels less drying, so yes, tech works.
There are 42 Business Class seats in a 1-2-1 seat layout. As you can tell, the seats are generous in size, though not as huge as the older designs. But hey, even if you're a big dude, the 60" seat pitch and 28" seat width beats many other airlines offering out there. 
The Scottish leather seat can be adjusted to your comfort with the numerous buttons to play with. There are two new seating positions—the Lazy Z, a cradling position that ensures your weight is centered and balanced when you’re sitting down, and the Sundeck, a lounging position that extends the base and foot of your seat so you can stretch and rest your legs on the ottoman. 
The seat also transforms into a 78" flat bed when you're ready to snooze and it comes with a cushioned headboard, complete with linen, duvet and pillows. This is why i love taking SQ business class on long-hauls. The side lights were very useful for reading under different conditions, be it sitting upright, in-bed, or lounging. I don't think Jr was too bothered by my light as it didn't spill that much into his cabin. Also, there are also 2 earphone jacks, for sitting and lying down. I thought that is a very thoughtful design!
There was a time when we thought about fine Italian dining, the ilLido name would come up. I mean, that was before the booming food scene (i'm obviously not a young millenial). I remember dining at ilLido was a special affair- I parted with my hard-earned tuition money for a date at ilLido. How times have changed! Anyhow, now you don't have to break the bank and could enjoy the same great Italian fares at Amò, the smart-casual Italian eatery and bar by established restaurateur-chef Beppe De Vito of the ilLido Group. 
I very much preferred the casual-chic setting of Amò and also the central location at Hong Kong Street. We started our meal with a crispy calamari with sumac and sun-dried tomato aioli ($19). The sauce is what makes the dish, along with the crunchy batter.
Burrata is always a good idea, and the one here is accompanied by an eggplant salad, walnuts and bottarga ($28).
The private dining game in Singapore is going strong. I'm in a chat group with some fellow foodies (many famous ones), for such private dining dates. Mind you, private dining in Singapore is anything but cheap, with prices starting from $70 per head (check out fellow foodie The Ranting Panda's list of some private home dining). Perhaps it's the exclusivity that drives dinner to home restaurants, or the special recipes passed down from the generations before. Well some restaurants are also trying to get on the private dining bandwagon, Subrosa is one of them. The rather new restaurant along Jalan Besar is branded as a private dining restaurant which delivers an exclusive farm-to-table fine dining experience, using local ingredients such as their own locally-grown lobsters and in-house herb garden and all items are made from scratch. 

I wondered what is the story behind Subrosa. What's special about it that warrants the private dining tag? Well.. i found none. Subrosa is helmed by Executive Chef Steven Snowdon, who cooked for the British Royal Family several times, and worked at several Michelin starred restaurants. Consulting Chef Francis Lee has more of a private dining cooking experience, being a private chef for some celebrities and Singapore high society members. However, the menu doesn't have a strong focus on heritage, story, or even personality. That's not to say that the food is bad. It's just not remotely private dining.
Branding aside, i thought most of the dishes had a Japanese influence, with the exception of some. Our meal started with their homemade breads, which were a mix of fluffiness and chewiness. Their truffle butter  also had this amazing earthy quality- it was almost like biting into a mushroom. 

Then, a buttermilk cured scallop dish served with fermented melon, pickled cucumber, dill oil and caviar. A Siracha and wasabi dressing, together with some lemon gel, provided an Asian twist to this carpaccio. It must have been pretty good for me to forget about the photo.
2019 is Singapore's bicentennial so expect a lot of multi-ethnic, historic promotions coming your way this year. Here's one if you would like a taste of all our signature hawker food. Over at Goodwood Park Hotel, their Coffee Lounge is presenting a 5-Course Singapore Commemoration Local Degustation Menu ($40/pax) until 30 Apr 2019. 
The local dishes on the menu are prepared with traditional recipes, To start, bite into the juicy Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce, skewers of grilled chicken that were brought over as kebabs by the Arab traders, and later adapted to the Asian palate. 2 satays were certainly insufficient for the amount of peanut sauce though. The sauce could be a bit spicier too. 
Singapore Rojak, or what i call an Singapore salad, consists of turnip, pineapple, cucumber, Tau Pok, fried you tiao, Kang Kong, bean sprouts and ground peanut, dressed with a tangy sweet black prawn paste. More fried you tiao (dough fritters) would be preferred. 
Pace yourself for the two full-sized mains, a Hainanese Chicken Rice, and Laksa. The smooth chicken is the result of poaching in chicken stock for an hour, and steeping in ice water to stop the cooking process for that firm succulent meat. I also enjoyed the bowl of fluffy rice that is lightly flavored but fragrant. Of course, chili is a huge part of this dish and Coffee Lounge's housemade garlic chilli sauce is made with big chilli (sometimes chilli padi to achieve desired spiciness), garlic paste, white vinegar, lime juice and sugar. 
As for the Laksa, which has Peranakan roots, Coffee Lounge’s Laksa Singapura is full of prawns, fish cake, shredded chicken, fried beancurd and hard-boiled egg, swimming in a smooth coconut prawn gravy. The slippery rice noodles are cut into shorter lengths to be eaten the traditional way with a spoon. 
As though there wasn't enough carbs, dessert is Bubur Pulut Hitam, a black glutinous rice porridge enriched with coconut milk. Honestly i couldn't get through this even though it's pretty decent. Honestly i've not had a horrible Pulut Hitam before.  

A better dessert option would be Goodwood Park Hotel's signature, the Durian Mousse Cake. For the bicentennial, a special D24 Singapore Commemoration Cake ($88nett) will be available on 15 March 2019 in conjunction with the Hotel’s annual Durian Fiesta. Featuring four flavours – gula melaka, coffee, pandan and durian mousse, the 1-kilogram cake is adorned with a mosaic of white chocolate squares imprinted with eight historical scenes of Singapore and Goodwood Park Hotel’s illustrious past. These cakes are limited to only 200 and orders need to be made 5 days in advance. 

What would you like to see, experience, or eat this Singapore Bicentennial?

22 Scotts Road, Singapore 228221 
Tel: +65 6737 7411