Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

Are you tired of Avocado Toast and Eggs Benedict yet? Try a different brunch at Fat Prince, a modern Middle Eastern restaurant located on Peck Seah Street. Contemporary kebabs, mezzes and sharing mains are fired from a custom-made oven, accompanied by Fat Prince's unique "koktail" programme. 
Enjoy a Royal Brunch ($49), which comes with a choice of a dip, mezze/salad, main, and dessert, and also a welcome koktail. The permutations will keep you busy so here are my favorites. 
From the dips, I absolutely love the roasted cashew gremolata hummus ($12)with smoked paprika. I could feel myself filling up because i could not stop eating the toasted pita with this dip!
It's a feat to have survived the past nine years in the Singapore F&B scene and Artichoke has done it, despite being the "least authentic Middle Eastern restaurant in Singapore" (so they say). They're here to remind you that they're still alive and kicking and why you should head back or check them out if you haven't.  My my, the last time i visited was before i started blogging! Oops.
If you haven't been to Artichoke, do not go there expecting anything traditional or standard (you can go to Arab Street/ Kampong Glam for your run-of-the-mill tagine). Instead, head there for a casual night with hearty shared plates and un-ME music (the playlist is all chef-owner Bjorn's own favorites). The food uses ME ingredients as a start, but Bjorn adds on his own brand of creativity and likes to un-ME his dishes. 
The right way to start is the meal is with some mezzes and fluffy Turkish bread ($4.50). Definitely go with the Hummus with Iraqi spiced mushrooms ($14). What special about this hummus is that miso is added for that extra umami, along with the usual chickpeas, whipped creamed tahini, lemon juice and garlic. The mushrooms were seasoned in Baharat (a leavened thyme spice mixed, containing 7 spices) and sauteed with olive oil and garlic. 
I also do love the jammy Turkish eggplant ($12). The eggplant is halved and stuffed with onions and tomatoes, then confit and deep fried to turn the regular eggplant into an umami bomb. I also could not stop dipping the bread into the Beetroot Borani ($12), a sweetish beetroot cream cheese mix. If you enjoy the spicy pungent kick of garlic, the Israeli Sea asparagus ($12) is for you. The naturally salty veg is tossed in shallot oil and served with labneh (a yogurt-like cheese) and pickled garlic. It's not quite date-food material i must warn. 
Now now, i would not share the Crab Toast ($16/2pc), which is inspired by tzatziki (there's a bit of it in the mix but the crab takes center stage). I could not deal with the explosion of textures and flavors in this one- the sweetness of the Blue Swimmer crab, briny pops of Ikura, flavorful fried chicken skin and buttery pillowy brioche. Such deliciousness.
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. 

Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay
18 Marina Gardens Drive, #01-09
Singapore 018953
Every time i walk past Moosehead, i'm reminded never to forget making a reservation, if not i wouldn't be able to get into the contemporary Mediterranean restaurant. It's always full because their menu is always exciting.
In the past year, they've had so many interesting collaborations with international and local chefs and hawkers, and all that has gone into inspiring their updated dinner menu.
You HAVE TO start with Burrata ($21). Chef Seumas’s version may look simple but it tastes unlike any other burrata i've had. There are three other ingredients to this dish, other than a creamy Italian burrata. A crunchy house-pickled zucchini (with Chardonnay), fragrant Genovese-style pesto made with Thai basil, and an aromatic deep-fried deep-fried curry leaves lent depth to the sweet cream of the cheese. 
I thought i was having a Japanese dish when the Hokkaido Scallop Crudo ($21) was presented. The thinly sliced ponzu-marinated Japanese scallops were served with apples pickled in housemade verjus pickle marinade and garnished with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. There's a light refreshing spice at the end due to the yuzu and wasabi that went into the scallop marinade.
Has it been two years since Maggie Joan's opened?! Since that very first bite at this super cool contemporary Mediterranean-inspired restaurant on Amoy Street, i've been impressed with them over and over again (read my first review of Maggie Joan's here). To celebrate their second year of opening, they have given a thorough shake to their menu and we had many interesting plates that I would come back for.
Teaser, this is one of my favorite dishes. Read about it below!
Do the twist and nibble (not dunk) with the Taramasalata, Squid Ink & Nori ($3/pc). It's small but the flavors are punchy (like me haha). The crunch comes from the homemade squid ink tortilla and the Taramasalata cream is a citrusy mentaiko aioli sprinkled with some nori-wakame-cayenne pepper seasoning. I just wanna keep popping these babies. 
If you prefer something a little more substantial for a starting bite, try the Crab Sandwich and Green Harissa ($7). An airy cookie choux (the crust is sweet) holds a juicy and tart crab filling with refreshing chives and shallots. I liked the light touch of heat from the spicy harissa olive oil mayonnaise. Interesting balance of flavors i must say.
Now the Green zebra tomatoes, black olive and sea lettuce ($20) is just the right amount of green for me (you can’t have too much greens anw). I love the subtle flavors of the sea and the garden. To break it down for you, there's a slighty tart torched green zebra tomatoes, earthy tapenade, creamy homemade ricotta, salty pops of the sea grapes, and a crispy sourdough crouton cracker base. Savor each bite slowly for maximum pleasure. 
I can never resist ordering a burrata dish and i wasn't disappointed with the Burrata, roasted plums, shio konbu & basil ($23). The surprising element is the umami deep fried shio konbu strips which tasted like Mamee fried noodles (Singaporean childhood snack). 
Then we had a taste of Chef Oliver's childhood- Chicken liver, rhubarb, cocoa & peanut ($17).  As a kid, he would look forward to the rhubarb harvest in his garden and his family would have it with chicken liver pate. Well i have to agree with this combination as I couldn't stop slathering my sourdough with this creamy mixture. The flavored chicken liver pate and juicy rhubarb jam are blanketed with a savoury-sweet ‘soil’ made with peanuts, cocoa nibs, dark chocolate, malt powder and dehydrated mushrooms. I love how the grainy cocoa soil light bitterness provided depth to the dish. The House baked sourdough with smoked beef fat butter ($6) is great on its own, but it's even better with the chicken liver parfait!
If there’s something I have to pick on, it’s the Beef tartare, kimchi & smoked beef fat ($19). Somehow the mix of seasoning gave the Australian beef a ketchup flavor (which is not my favorite sauce) with a light bitter ending note from the kimchi. The charcoal mayo also does nothing for the dish.   
On to mains, the Smoked potato and egg yolk raviolo, pickled girroles mushrooms & hazelnuts ($28) was an unexpected delight. The thin chewy handmade pasta encases a lemon curd-like filling of ricotta, smoked mashed potato and egg yolk. It even tastes a little like lemon curd. The dumpling is complemented by baby spinach, pickled girrole mushrooms and roasted hazelnuts in a brown butter sauce infused with sage, and finished with Parmesan. Overall, it’s a great choice for a carb.
The Roasted barramundi, artichokes, seaweed and charred red pepper sauce and charred red pepper sauce ($34) is a simple comforting dish to have on a cold day or after a really shitty one at work. It's nothing wow though. 
We also tried the Coconut sorbet with rock melon granita which is only available on the tasting menu. That coconut is so rich and creamy without being oily at all and it contrasts with the refreshing rock melon ice made from fresh rock melon juice. Fav!
End the meal on the right note with a sweet treat like the Paris-Brest ($16) with chocolate, praline, pear and thyme. It’s more hazelnut than chocolate in this one, which satisfies the sweet tooth without going overboard. The thyme also gives the dish a refreshing twist.
Goats’ cheese parfait, honeycomb, raspberry & sorrel sauce ($12) may sound like a funky dessert but it's really a light ice cream made with goat cheese, sabayon and whipped cream (can’t taste the “goaty” flavor in this). The homemade honeycomb and granola provided the crunch to the dish, with a grassy sorrel syrup for contrast. Funky it was but it was more from the sorrel i think.

Always a pleasure to be back at Maggie Joan's. Be sure to check out their new menu!

110 Amoy Street #01-01 Singapore 068579 
(Entrance from Gemmill Lane) 
Weekdays: 12 - 2.30pm, 6 - 11pm
Sat: 6 - 11pm
It was a throwback to my gorgeous Greece holiday (read more about my itinerary here) when i stepped into the natural light-filled breezy space that is the newly opened Bakalaki Greek Tavern at Tiong Bahru. We heard that Bakalaki's kitchen is run by Greek Chef Spiros Palaiologos (formerly of Blu Kouzina) and they use traditional ingredients are sourced from Greek suppliers. A range of Greek wines and other specialty products like extra-virgin olive oil are also available here.

We started with a bottle of Avaton – Gerovassiliou ($86.90), a dry full-bodied red which consists 3 Greek red varieties. The wine held up well with the accompanying rich meats that we ordered. For starters, we had the Spanakopita (2pcs for $15.90), a Greek filo pastry filled with spinach, feta cheese, leeks and dill. We enjoyed the refreshing aromatics used in the filling though the dill was a tad overwhelming. 

We made it a point to not over-order and so the eggplant dip Melitzanosalata Agioritiki ($14.90) was forgone. I trust that the smoky spread with red peppers would go so well on the pita (which we also did not order, because carbs).
Moussaka ($25.90) it was for us because it's one of the defining dishes in Greek cuisine (at least for me). I ordered this at every opportunity i could when i was in Greece and i had the best one in Delphi (Epikouros Tavern). Bakalaki's version was a huge disappointment due to the overwhelming curdy béchamel sauce. There was hardly much of the tart tomato minced beef sauce to cut through the richness. The star of the dish should be the eggplant but i could hardly taste it. Skip the Moussaka and go for the crowd favorite grilled octopus Htapodi ($32.90) instead.
Looking for a dinner place to impress your date? Whisk her away on a buggy through a gorgeous garden; wine and dine her with gourmet dishes while admiring the spectacular Singapore skyline and marina view, followed by a fairy-tale post-meal excursion to an exotic garden! All the above is made possible at POLLEN, Gardens by the Bay.
Executive Chef Steve Allen (previously from 1 Michelin-starred restaurant Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's in London) serves French-Mediterranean cuisine, with inspiration draw from South-East Asian chefs and regional agriculture. 
Two light snacks were served to start the meal- Mushroom Tapioca Cracker flavored with an onion, cèpe mushroom and feta mousse; and a smooth Chicken Liver Parfait with Beetroot Jelly
The amuse-bouche of Celery and Seaweed is inspired by Sussex pier (chef's Brit) and features the flavors of the sea with cold briny flavors from the cured mackerel, furikake, and a crunchy seaweed sand made of brown butter solids. The celery was presented in a sorbet form, without the pungent flavors of the smelly veg (hate it but that's me).
If you're looking for a restaurant with the most out-of-Singapore vibe and view, then it's definitely The Knolls at Capella Sentosa! The South China seafront setting and the Mediterranean fine dining experience help to trick your mind into thinking you're on a holiday (a good enough alternative if we really can't escape the island). 
What i like about The Knolls is that on top of the regular offerings, they also provide diners with exclusive culinary experiences from around the world. I previously had the chance of sampling the dishes created by British 2 Michelin Starred Celebrity Chef Tom Kerridge of The Hand & Flowers. This weekend, one-Michelin-starred Chef Alain Llorca from Nice will dish out a slice of Provencal Michelin together with Capella Singapore's Culinary Director David Senia, presenting diners with a line-up of contemporary French Mediterranean cuisine. The events include gourmet lunch (4 course $78/pax) and dinner set (5 course $98/pax) menus at The Knolls for the public as well as an intimate MasterClass at Chef’s Table perfect for group sessions. For Sunday Brunch, there would even be a live demonstration by  Chef Alain. Here's a look at the dinner set menu with wine pairing ($198).
The meal started proper with the starter of a Hot Foie Gras from Chalosse cooked on embers to give it that lovely sear all around. The creamy slice was then topped with a crunchy hazelnut crumble, and glazed with an intense bittersweet coffee jus for that kick. Dig right through the liver to reach the tangy earthy mushrooms and send the whole spoon of goodness into your mouth.
The berry component as with most foie gras dishes came in the form of a Churchill's 20years old Tawny Port. Port is typically served at the end of the meal but it works here too due to the light sweetness.
Next, the Langoustine cooked with a sweet crunchy chutney of peppers and fruits. The tangy juiciness complemented the salty-sweet crustacean and the crispy sesame tuille provided an added fragrant crunch to the dish.