Ms Skinny Fat.

Skinny.Fat. Sophisticated.Fun. Adventurous.Grounded. Material.Zen.

I'm a Caffeine Addict

Sipping on my 4th cuppa at Seven Seeds. Melbourne, Australia.

Breakfast Any Time of the Day

Perfectly cooked Sous Vide Eggs Benedict. Skyve Wine Bistro, Singapore.

A weakness for sweet things

My love for cupcakes. It all began at L'uisine. Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.

Itadakimasu

Colours of Autumn: Omakase Hidden Find at Giro Giro Hitoshina. Kyoto, Japan.

Wanderlust

The World is my Oyster. Home is where my heart belongs.

Frozen in Time

Shooting old school muscles on our off-the-beaten-path trip. La Habana, Cuba.

Riding into the Purple Sunset.

Decadent villa getaway complete with black golden sand. Alila Villas Soori, Bali, Indonesia.

Bagism is my religion

Latest addition to my bag family- The Proenza Schouler PS11 Mini Classic in Textured Brown. 2013.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Gaest Nordic Cafe Brunch

I could live on sandwiches like the Europeans do. Well, that's if the sandwiches are the hearty types Gæst (pronounced as Guest) makes. This Nordic sandwich shop in CBD is run by Danish owners Kim and Stinne and they serve freshly baked breads daily from 7am and yes, everything is made from scratch.

I wanted to visit Gæst before my Norway trip to get an insight of this Nordic cuisine but that didn't happen. Now that I'm back, I'll give you a comparison report. I've not seen anything remotely close to this awesome brunch I had at Gæst. But if there's anything this standard and this amount, be prepared to give up your arms and legs. The food in Norway is terribly expensive and just really meh.
Back to Gæst. To tackle their sandwiches for a weekday lunch, the strategy is to dress for a picnic and to get out of office before lunch time. The small kitchen churns out limited quantities of bread and you probably gotta wait to dine alfresco while they prep your sandwich (it takes a while). The better alternative is to head there on the weekends like I did and yes they finally decided to open on Sundays as well. Brunch items are served from 9am on weekends and the menu is different from the weekday one.

Thankfully, the signature Pulled Pork Sandwich ($14) is available on the weekends too. One simply has to order this. You gotta screw your diet plan a little or work doubly hard after digging into the roasted pork with crunchy crackling. My favorite part was the refreshing orange marinated red cabbage and with apple slices. The juiciness helped to balance the slightly dry pork that was lacking a little in flavors.

I would have gone for the Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon ($15) but the other Mister C had a different idea so it was the boring Brunch Plate ($20) for sharing.
Well, I guess the supposed highlight of this dish is the Danish style omelette with potatoes and bacon. This is quite like the Spanish Tortilla in terms of concept but turned out to be more homecooked chinese fried potato egg. I enjoyed the sourdough bread on its own with the rhubard compote, brie, caramel sauce (love!!) and cream cheese.

Other weekend items include Muesli ($7) and Potato Sandwich ($14), which I thought would be a great vegetarian option with salt boiled potato, lemon and salt marinated leeks, hazelnut and rye crunch with pea tendrils and smoked mayonnaise.
Coffees are strong and decent enough, though a little on the bitter spectrum. I'd probably give their refreshing elderflower and rosemary soda ($5) a shot next time.  

GAEST
21 McCallum Street, #01-01 
The Clift, Singapore 069047
Tel: +65 6634 0922
Weekdays: 7am - 9.30pm
Weekends: 8.30am - 3.30pm

Yufuin, Kyushu Japan Travel Review

Finally getting down to doing some travel posts and this is on my Kyushu, Japan trip. I've previously blogged on my SQ business class flight from SIN-FUK SQ656 (read about it here). 

We arrived at Fukuoka at 0825 and was bound for Yufuin, Oita. Most of you probably have no idea where's this and what's there to do here. Well, Yufuin is famous for her hot springs (onsens) and extremely popular with the domestic tourists. It is located beneath Yufu-dake (Mount Yufu is a volcano) and is a really chill town with nothing much to do. Well, the main purpose of this trip was to chill at the ryokans so that's perfect for me.
If time affords, I would highly recommend the scenic JR Yufu No Mori train from the Hakata station to Yufuin (4680¥). It may take some time though as you'll still need to make your way into Fukuoka city center. Well, to save time, we took a bus from the airport to Yufuin which was also cheaper.
Check in for the ryokans is pretty late and we arrived approximately 2h before the 3pm check in time. After dropping our luggage, we headed out to explore the town. The scenery immediately put me in my holiday mode.
One of the main sights, Kinrin-ko aka Golden Scale Lake. It's a nice 15mins stroll from our ryokan, along the main shopping street, to the lake. Well I was expecting it to be bigger but it was just a large pond I guess. Nevertheless, a nice place to have a spot of tea. 

The Yufuin Floral Village felt like a Christmas market with little European houses and they also have a petting zoo on site. I felt like a kid again feeding hungry rabbits and little ponies. So idyllic!

The main shopping street is where most of the action is. Get your souvenirs and snacks along Yunotsubo Kaido
Couldn't resist a snack as usual. This potato croquette store seemed pretty famous with all the newspaper clippings hanging around the display. They have quite a number of flavors and we just randomly picked one to try. Nice crunchy crust with a creamy and tasty meat and potato filling.
We then popped into Cucu.Chi cafe which has a lovely outdoor garden with a view.
My guide to eating in Japan is just to leave all guidebooks at home and just wander into any eatery that you fancy. I've honestly never had a bad meal in Japan before and this turned out to be a great meal.
Our Yakiniku (sautéed beef) bento with some Japanese sides like botan shrimp, tamago and some maki. Comes with tea as well. The meat was very well seasoned and tasty.
Of course, sweets are a must. Just look at the presentation of this one!

Cucu.chi also has a candy store right next to the cafe and I went crazy with all the precious and exotic jams! They also have these amazing brown sugar chocolate with nuts that I could not resist. Make sure you grab a thing or 2 from them.

Another place to get some really good sweets at Théo Murata/B-speak. They are housed in the same spot and there is also a ryokan by the same group called Sansou Murata.

B-speak has this really popular Swiss roll which is called a P-roll and they've been serving this since 1999. Sadly it was all sold out at 2pm! Bah! We settled for the vanilla bean pudding (it's probably a panna cotta) with a nice brown sugar syrup at the bottom. Well if you missed tasting the P-roll, there are some bakeries near the train station which sells Swiss rolls and other delicious Yufuin cheesecake as well.

Yufuin is a good spot to chill out for a day or 2. There are some private ryokans that may be open to tourists but I'd certainly choose a ryokan with decent private onsens. We didn't do much after heading back to our ryokan because it was simply too lovely to leave. Will update with my ryokan stay at Ryoso Yufuin Yamadaya soon. :)

xoxo
Travelerintransit 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Flying Squirrel Japanese Restaurant

A japanese food craving had me set out looking for some under the radar joints in Singapore. Thanks to V and her recommendations, I checked out The Flying Squirrel, a hidden laneway restaurant off Amoy Street that does a fusion Japanese cuisine. Oh I shudder at the fusion/mod tag but well no prior judgment. Ultimately it's the taste of the food that matters.
Look out for TFS signboard when you're walking along Amoy Street. You may simply miss the entrance which is in the left fork. The half-a-shophouse space is narrow but cosy. Reservations certainly required as they only sit about 30 diners max. The bar seats didn't look that comfortable and I saw no place for precious bags to be placed. The good thing is that you'd get to see your sushi being prepared behind the counter.
Chef Kannu helms the kitchen and he used to work in a defunct sushi restaurant, Inagiku, at Fairmont hotel. I'm going to do things a little different by showcasing the highlight first because i can't wait to share it NAO. 
Do not leave The Flying Squirrel without eating the TFS Chirashi ($25)! To set expectations right, it's not a true chirashi but more like an Anago don with sashimi sides. Just look at the proportion in comparison to the different sashimi! The anago was one of the better anago I've had in Singers and the pillowy texture with that light sweet sauce was amazing on its own. I also liked the combination of sweet sauce on the heavily vinegared rice but the rice could be more moist on its own though. The other standard sashimi included salmon, maguro, hamachi, octopus, shrimp, hotate, salmon roe and tamago.

There are mains available like Wagyu Burger ($36), Miso Gindara ($26) or Curry rice ($18) but nothing quite like the TFS chirashi.
We also ordered other sides such as the Mini Charcoaled Udon ($6) with soba jelly. Chewy noodles these were but the dipping sauce was on the bland side. I guess all the flavors went into the cool jelly.

The soba jelly paired a lot better with the Onsen Egg ($6), which had an amazing gelatinous and translucent yolk. I do not recommend sharing, you'd thank me for this.

Back to the sushi (well TFS seems to do this better than the cooked items), you have to order at least 3 sushi or sashimi in one order. Again, go for the Anago ($7.90), which IMO is really cheap. We weren't too impressed with the Salmon ($1.50/$2.20) mainly due to the rice (again a little too dry for sushi). Makis ($12 onwards) and handrolls ($5 onwards) are available too or if you wish, sashimi platters ($45) or the omakase ($125/pax).
It's a good thing that we weren't quite impressed with the beer variety at The Flying Squirrel because that led us to the super cool speakeasy bar opened by the Oxwell & Co. dudes, Operation Dagger. More on this hipster cocktail bar in a bit!

Overall, i liked the vibe at The Flying Squirrel and of course their TFS Chirashi. Certainly where i'd head back when a fusion chirashi craving strikes!

The Flying Squirrel
92 Amoy Street #01-02, Singapore
Tel: +65 6226 2203
Mon - Thu: 11am - 11pm
Fri: 11am - 12am
Sat: 3pm - 12am

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

&Sons Italian Bacaro in Singapore

I fell in love with Italian ciccheti (little bites) after visiting many bacaros in Venice. How can anyone say no to little sandwiches and a huge variety of small food items along with wine yea? &SONS at China Square Central attempts to recreate the traditional bacaro vibe with their authentic Italian offerings. The decor is also similarly styled as the Venice bacaros though more spacious for sit down dining. Tried their offerings at Savour 2014 (read about the highlight dishes here) and i promised i'd check them out and so i did! 
Prices are very reasonable here with food starting at $8 per plate, cocktails from $10 and wine from $8 per glass. The bar features an entirely Italian list of wines, craft beers, cocktails, grappa and the finest malt whiskies made available throughout the day.
Apparently there's free flow of ciccheti with purchase of wines and cocktails. Certainly a great deal! 
We started the meal with a Bellini with peach which was a mere $10. Decently spiked and delicious. S had the Whiskey Sour ($15) which was really strong IMO.
&SONS is the only place in Singapore to make its own specialty-cured meats and salami on premises in a custom-made curing room. These are great with the tipples I must say. Italian cheese are also available. 

On the left, we have the Black Pork Capocollo ($9) which is similar to prosciutto and made from the pig’s neck muscle. The Salame Dolce & Piccante ($8) are made from the shoulder and belly of the pork and rather enjoyable.
Pasta, the Italian staple, is a big feature at &Sons especially for lunch when they serve affordable big plates between $8-$10. The servings are huge. They also have a Sirloin Steak for only $12! We sampled the Homemade Tagliatelle Bolognese ($9). The pasta noodles are done perfectly and the meaty bits were plentiful but i thought it could do with a little more seasoning.
The pasta options at night at served in tapas portions. This encourages sharing of small plates like the typical bacaro. The portions are still very substantial and can feed 1 sufficiently. My favorite paste is still the Tagliolini, Crab & Nduja ($9) which was similar to what I had at Savour 2014. The Tagliolini is a thinner strand noodle with more pull and gave the impression that it were cheese. Nduja is a spicy and smoked soft salami from Calabria and that gave the dish a savory and lightly spiced flavor.
If you're a cream and cheese fab, go for the Paccheri, Iberico Pork & Truffle. The paccheri (a large tube pasta) was stuffed with Iberico and cooked in tomato pesto served alongside a truffle besciamella. A little too heavy and bland for my liking.

Veal Ossobucco, Orzotto ($19) is a Milanese specialty of cross-cut veal shanks braised with vegetables, white wine and broth. There's also barley added to the mix. I didn't like this dish as it was too gamey.
Wagyu Beef Tagliata ($26) was paired with a refreshing Salsa Verde.

My favorite meat dish of the night was the Baccala Cakes with Sea Urchin Sabayon ($13). The salted cod is mixed with béchamel sauce and potatoes and then coated with black squid ink crumbs and fried. The fish had a light texture that is kinda like fluff and it was all too easy to eat with the Uni cream.
Fresh greens are my favorite and the Asparagus, Garlic & Anchovy Sauce ($9) was a nice mix to our little bites.

Well the good thing about the smaller plates (they're by no means really small) is that I can have more variety! And then I'd have space for desserts! The Homemade Tiramisu and Pistachio Gelato ($5/scoop) were good. The tiramisu ice cream was essentially frozen tiramisu and chef is very generous with the alcohol. ;)

If you're for tons of cream, the Salted Caramel Strawberry Jubilee ($12) wasn't too bad. Strawberries and cream isn't quite a typical dessert choice so it was rather refreshing.
Would certainly be back at &SONS for more tipples and bites. Don't miss out on their weekday lunch specials if you're working in the area. 

&SONS 
20 Cross Street #01-19 
China Square Central 
Singapore 048422 
Weekdays: 11.30am - 1am
Sat: 6pm - 2am
Reservations only for 8pax onwards

Friday, July 11, 2014

Senso Ristorante & Bar

Senso Ristorante & Bar, Club Street’s favorite Italian restaurant turns 14 this year and i must say it's a feat in our dynamic food scene! To celebrate this milestone, a Best of Senso’s Signatures menu is put together for this occasion. From 1 to 31 July only, sample popular dishes from over the years and also taste exclusive dishes from Senso’s international outlets.
The 2 exclusive items are from the restaurant’s outlets in Geneva and Crans Montana.
The Manzo ($32), Beef Tartare, Roquette & Parmesan, Olive Oil, Chervil and Roasted Potatoes, was a sell-out dish in Crans Montana when it was introduced in 2010. Love the tender and well flavored meat.

The menu also features the Sogliola From Mediterranean, Dover Sole Meuniere with Orange Zest, Rucola and Ripened Tomatoes, a special dish from Senso’s outpost in Geneva. Only the Dover Sole is used, the preferred fish for an authentic Sole Meuniere and also the use of oranges from Sicily for that added authenticity.
We also had a mini olive oil tasting during the meal and that wonderfully aged (12 years) Balsamic vinegar that tasted like honey. It was amazing with the freshly baked breads.
The other dishes are from the Singapore menu. The Green Asparagus and Morels Soup (Singapore 2005) $24 was a light and refined soup, perhaps a little too delicate for my liking.

The Risotto (Singapore, 2006) $36, was probably the favorite dish of the night. The salty and creamy risotto paired simply with sweet and succulent grilled tiger prawns. While fresh zucchini flowers from Italy were used in the dish, i found it doing little to complement the already perfect combination. In fact, the fried flowers tasted oily and a little stale.
Premium NZ Lamb Rack (Singapore, 2011) $44. The lamb was cooked to perfection with a nice pink center and was good on its own. The olive crust came served as a disk by the side instead and was a little too dry and crumbly.
We ended our meal with a deconstructed Tiramisu Revisito (Singapore, 2011) $22. This was specially created by Executive Chef Yves Schmid in 2011. So there's coffee mousse, homemade mascarpone ice-cream with Savoiardi biscotto and coffee milkshake. Good flavors but give me a traditional tiramisu with all that richness anytime.

All dishes on the menu are available a la carte, but diners looking for a heartier meal can opt for the three, four or five course menus that start from $88. Wine pairing is also available.

The Senso experience was lovely as usual and i really love the atrium section where you get to dine under the stars but in comfort. Great place for a romantic date with your significant other. Do drop by The Best of Senso’s Signatures Menu which is only available from 1st – 31st July.

Senso Ristorante & Bar
21 Club Street, Singapore 069410
Tel: +65 6224 3534
Weekday: 12 - 2.30pm, 6 - 10.30pm
Sat: 6 - 10.30pm
Sun Prosecco Brunch: 11.30am – 3.00pm