Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

Ovenbird is a family-owned, home-style SG-Japanese fusion restaurant helmed by self-taught Chef Jeffrey Yeo. The one-man show started 2 years ago from his Yishun flat before opening in Mar 2021 at City Gate Bugis and Chef Jeffrey continued to run everything on his own, sometimes with the help of his wife. A seasonal Omakase menu ($130 nett) is served here and Chef Jeffrey calls it 'Ah Beng style Japanese food'. 
Since there's only 1 chef/waiter, the courses are served to all diners at once. So please be punctual. While waiting, we started with a Japanese Dasi Ale which Chef recommended. This is definitely a first that we had beer with omakase but it was actually good with our courses. The Chawanmushi with Sake Sujiko, Matsutake trimmings and Shoyuzuke, was first served. The egg custard was deliberately kept plain to go with the creamy marinated salmon roe. 
Then the generous Ah Beng started serving us a whole lot of fish, starting with the Katsuo Tatami- fresh line-caught (bonito). Autumn is the perfect season for bonito as the fish is super fatty. The grated daikon with chili pepper and lemon ponzu helped to cut the richness of the fish. 
For a year, i was waiting for the most popular Sri Lankan chef Nishi Naleendra to open possibly the first Sri Lankan restaurant Kotuwa in Singapore. Circuit Breaker disrupted his plans and Kotuwa operated as a take-out only concept. When I was ready to give it a try, they stopped service while preparing to open their physical outlet at Wanderlust Hotel. Fast forward many months later, I finally got myself a table at this popular spot. 
Kotuwa is vastly different from Rishi’s first 2 ventures. While Cloudstreet and Michelin-starred Cheek Bistro draw influences from modern Australian, European and Asian, Kotuwa displays Rishi’s Sri Lankan heritage. My own experience with Sri Lankan food wasn’t spectacularly memorable; South Asian food mostly overwhelm my palate with the heavy spices and flavors. I was thus hoping that Kotuwa may change my opinion of that.
To start the meal proper, pick a carb base as your canvas to the spread of sambols, achcharu, and curries. Rice and hoppers are available here and I highly recommend the bowl-shaped fermented rice flour crepe. The crisp-edged bowls provide a touch of tang, similar to an Indian Thosai. Pick the egg one for extra textural enjoyment from the runny yolk. 
Start your own Chinese New Year tradition at InterContinental Singapore Man Fu Yuan (MFY). Now this is one highlight that i look forward to every lunar new year. This year, Executive Chinese Chef Aaron Tan and his team at MFY will be offering a selection of delicacies and prosperity prix-fixe menus until 26 February 2021 and it caters to couples and also intimate gatherings with family.
We tossed our way into prosperity with visually stunning 60-inch Blossoms of Spring Prosperity Yu Sheng adorned with Hokkaido scallops, salmon, crispy fish skin, shaped in the form of the Chinese character ‘Chun’ (春). The golden yuzu and plum sauce with shallot oil provided refreshing and light sweetness to the yu sheng. It is also possible to arrange for individually portioned yu sheng for your own tossing! For a 牛 beginning, there's also a yusheng with with Japanese Omi A4 Wagyu beef with salmon and Hokkaido scallops.
Next up, a luxurious Superior crab meat and pumpkin bisque with generous amount of birds nest and crab meat and roe in pumpkin husk. Lovely savory sweetness in this one! A must order IMO. 
The Signature West Lake Longjing smoked duck with truffle sauce (from real truffles) make for a good appetizer with its thin crispy skin and juicy meat. 
Easily one of my favorite Chinese restaurants, Man Fu Yuan at InterContinental Singapore has always provided finessed plates of comforting traditional dishes which bring together the family. Their latest menu by Executive Chinese Chef Aaron Tan has spiced things up with innovative techniques along with smoke and fire, providing diners with a multi-sensory experience. 
We started with a luxurious honey-glazed bbq Duroc pork belly char siew ($28 per serving) which was topped with caviar and gold flakes. The meat was served cold but the flavors were robust. I would have preferred a warm piece so that the fats would be creamier. 
The chilled Fanny Bay oysters in hua diao wine, ikura, bonito shoyu ($24/3pcs) was a stunning appetizer and is definitely my preferred way of enjoying the plump shellfish. Served in a cloud of tea-infused smoke, the presentation is certainly to impressed a corporate client but the dish is more than that. The refreshing yuzu dressing provided a touch of sweetness which enhanced the briny freshness of the creamy flesh. 
The braised beef short ribs, wild mushrooms, spicy sauce in lotus leaf ($68) is best eaten with a bucket of rice, which we regretfully did not have. That braising sauce had amassed all the goodness from the chicken mushrooms, morels and the gelatinous meat. The dish is served in a salt crust and flambéed with peppercorn for a very slight fragrance (hardly noticeable) but it was more theatrics than for flavor enhancement.  
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.
There's nowhere else i'd head to for a good Sichuan meals but Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurants and they've introduced a variety of seafood dishes "Colours of the Sea" which is available till 12 Jan 2020 at their three outlets. TOP of UOB Plaza and PARKROYAL on Beach Road are offering special a la carte and set menus, while PARKROYAL on Kitchener Road serves a buffet. 
Did you know that Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant is pufferfish on its menu? Their fish is imported directly from Japan. Check out these cute Steamed pufferfish dumpling which is exclusively available at TOP of UOB Plaza, where you can also enjoy the rest of their delectable dimsum bites. Expect a refreshing sweetness in this dumpling.
Another must try is the Sliced pufferfish with fresh chili and sesame (right). I love the blend of spices and the sesame fragrance in this one.  
There's no such thing as regular seafood dishes at Si Chuan Dou Hua as we were wowed by the interesting combinations of flavors. In the seafood combination platter, what stood out was a crispy soft shell crab with Osmanthus sauce that all of us could not stop nibbling on due to the lingering floral taste. The salted egg fish skin was irresistible as well.
In need of some fresh air this smoggy September! Short of going on a getaway (somewhere without the haze), i'm thinking of a mini afternoon break at InterContinental Hotel Singapore, nibbling on Chef Ben Goh's Classic Afternoon Tea. And no, you don't have to wait for the weekends to enjoy this because it's available daily at the Lobby Lounge.
This particular Classic Afternoon Tea set celebrates Chef Ben's recent win as Pastry Chef of The Year 2019, awarded by World Gourmet Summit. The sweet treats tell the story of Chef Ben's culinary journey- inspirations from his childhood (such as the buttercream cake and his grandmother's kueh lapis), and his milestone creations and award winning sweets. These are accompanied by some specially created light savory bites to balance the desserts. 
Starting with the traditional stuff, the nostalgic old school buttercream cake. I NEVER liked this style of cake because the colors look radioactive and it always has this oily Planta mouthfeel to it. Well Chef Ben's version was totally NOT that. I loved the light saltiness of the buttercream and the light sponge layers. Chef also took a leaf out of his grandmother's book for the kueh lapis and created a springy and eggy cake that wasn't too sweet. The secret ingredient is DOM Benedictine. 
My heart melted at the Peach Melba Cheesecake with the loveliest shade of pink. I mistook the exterior for a tart shell and was surprised that it was a chiffon sponge instead. It's a perfect harmony of sugar and acid in this one. 
The best thing about Chef Ben's desserts is that they are always delicate and nuanced, even with the seemingly rich stuff like chocolate. The award winning Chocolate Lemongrass Pineapple cake may look intimidating but the filling is an airy mousse that is a chocolate cloud, further lifted by the notes of lemongrass. If that doesn't lift your mood, head over to the ice cream counter and help yourself to the free flow of a creamy smooth yogurt yuzu ice cream!  
I've always been a fan of Man Fu Yuan's fine dining Cantonese dishes and there's more reason to love it now. Executive Sous Chef Aaron Tan is the new chef helming the kitchen and he has introduced a collection of 13 signature dishes. The essence of the MFY brand is still upheld even with the contemporary looking dishes. 
We started with a "floating" Roma Tomatoes ($18/serving) stuffed with chunks of crab meat and ikura roe. This cold appetizer refreshed our palates with bursts of sweetness from the fruit and seafood, and accents of sourness from the yuzu and plum dressing. The tea-infused smoke wasn't just for show, the light scent also helped to reinvigorate us after a long day at work.
We became fully present at the meal when the Slow-braised Pork Ribs with Steamed Mantou ($36/serving) was served. The medley of sizzling red sauce certainly woke us up. Short pork ribs were braised in an array of Chinese spices, herbs and red glutinuous rice, which works as a natural colour enhancer for the The meat was served on the bone but came off with a light pull of the fork (or a stir of the spoon). I enjoyed the light savory herbiness of the dish, which was balanced by the sweet fluffy buns. 
Perennial Cantonese classics are still served, including the new Braised Three-Head Abalone, fish maw, black truffle, broccoli ($128). Expect the usual fine standards of MFY. The meat was very tender and well flavored, having gone through 6 to 8 hours of braising.
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.
It's been a while since i explored the Farrer Park area since i moved out of the North Eastern part of Singapore. Well Park Hotel Farrer Park was constructed while i was busy exploring other parts of Singapore (mostly the East) and in it i found Blue Jasmine, a Thai restaurant currently helmed by a petite female Thai chef!
Classic Thai dishes are served here but regional specialties are also dished out here and i got to eat my favorite Esarn (Northeastern Thai cuisine) dishes!

Start with the Cha-Om Fried Egg ($12), which is served rolled up at Blue Jasmine. The rolls of thin acacia leaves omelette is fragrant on its own but if you feel like it needs more kick, the classic Thai dip named Nam Prik Kapi based on fermented shrimp paste and fiery birds’ eye chillies will pack that punch you want. I loved this dish! 
We're used to Tom Yum and that's available at Blue Jasmine too. However, do give Sea Bass Poh Tek ($30), an Esarn style hot and spicy traditional soup, a try. The flavour profile sounds similar to Tom Yum and could, in fact, be considered a type of Tom Yum but Poh Tek is made with a different proportion of spices and ingredients, with the addition of deep-fried sea bass, offering a different dining experience to the classic. Sweetness and a lovely spice. Love the refreshing aromatics. Firm fried fish with a light batter that isn’t too soggy either.

Do not miss the Roast Chicken Esarn Style ($16), which is a double roasted chicken for that extra crispiness. Despite being cooked twice, it is super juicy. The marinate is made of an Esarn paste of galangal, lemongrass, coriander, garlic, turmeric, fish sauce and palm sugar, and is well absorbed by the chicken overnight. Accompanying the chicken is a spicy dipping sauce made with roasted glutinous rice with fried kaffir. The overall flavor is like that of a satay with moderate sweetness. 
Holy Basil KAPRAO (Squid, $24) is made for basil lovers. The fragrance permeates through every bite. It's classic Thai stir-fry and you can choose to have the succulent squid, or even kampong chicken and beef ribeye. 
Afternoon Tea, my long-lost love. How i've missed you. Is it me or has this idyllic event fallen out of favor? Whatever the case, InterContinental Singapore's new Afternoon Tea: Checkmate will make you fall in love again. From now to 31 January 2019, the Lobby Lounge at the hotel will showcase Pastry Chef Ben Goh's collaboration with world-renowned premium chocolate manufacturer Valrhona’s Master Pastry Chef Brice Konan- Ferrand's chess-inspired chocolate-based desserts, alongside some savory bites.
The set is priced at $88 for two persons, inclusive of a fine selection of loose-leaf teas and coffee. You can indulge with a half-bottle Taittinger Brut Champagne (375ml), along with everything else at $138/set.

I'm a traditionalist when it comes to tea and was surprised that we were served sweets first as Chef Ben wanted to focus on the sweets in the afternoon tea set. However, you can always request for a change in order of presentation, or to have both served at the same time (which i recommend). 

3 of the chess desserts are created by Chef Ben- The King, Pawn, and Bishop, while Chef Brice created the Queen, Rook, and Knight.
Let's get into the 3 (chefs), 2 (nights), and 1 (Michelin Star) on the Beefbar x Ash & Elm collaboration happening this weekend! S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna has brought together the signatures of Hong Kong's one Michelin star Beefbar Chef Andrea Spagoni, and InterContinental Singapore's Chef Philippe Duc and Chef Ben Goh for a special five-course menu. 
The menu starts with an Amberjack carpaccio with wasabi dressing and coriander cress, followed by a Beef tartare “bistro style”. 
There's no doubt of the quality of the prime beef served by Beefbar Hong Kong, the only star-rated steakhouse in Hong Kong. Within the first year of opening in 2017, they earned their first Michelin star, and have kept it for the second year running. Tenderloin is used in this chunky beef tartare. 
Next, the Pan-seared Hokkaido scallops by Chef Philippe. Chef even gave us a class on how to prepare scallops (that are still in their shell). 
I loved the sweetness in the firm scallop, which had a nice browned crust to it, paired with a tangy brown butter sauce. 
For mains, 2 cuts of beef were served- American prime Black Angus tenderloin, and Australian wagyu-crossbred striploin. The tenderloin slices like butter! For those who prefer a richer flavor, you'd enjoy the striploin for sure. 
Dessert Rouge was prepared by award-winning Chef Ben Goh, and features a lovely Single origin 68% cuvee Bali chocolate crémeux and a yuzu yoghurt sherbet, decorated with strawberry compote and vanilla meringue. THAT CHOCOLATE was amazing! I finished every bit of that dessert! 
Go get a table if you haven't. The five-course dinner is $128/pax and wine pairing is available at an addition $88. Looking forward to more of the Fine Dining Lovers Guest Chef Series by fine dining waters S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna.
80 Middle Rd, Singapore 188966
Tel: +65 6825 1008
Not into OTT Chinese New Year reunion meals? Then head to Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant for their Reunion Imperial High Tea (新春团圆宫廷下午茶) instead! I've always been a fan of their high tea because they're portioned just perfectly for a lady (though guys may complain of the portion). The 9-course dim sum and tea pairing set menu comprises yusheng customised for the party size (even for one), handcrafted dim sum, as well as Chinese New Year desserts. 
We started with the Prosperity Salmon Yusheng, which takes on a western style with salad vegetables but the orange dressing with candied orange peel gives the dish a Chinese spin. 
Long Jing is served for the dimsum course. But over at the TOP of UOB Plaza, as they have a spanking new cocktail bar Chuān @ The Sixtieth, they have added on a cocktail to their dimsum-tea menu. For the reunion menu, Jubilant Gathering (欢菊一堂) is served. It is a specially concocted craft cocktail made of vodka and chrysanthemum tea, and a lemon ice ball that melts into the drink slowly. We loved the fragrance of the tea in this delicate cocktail! 

Handmade dimsum is served next. Every item is hand made and they are so delicate! We hear that the items on the high tea menu are specially created but sometimes they'd include 1 or 2 items from the regular dimsum menu inside. We particularly enjoyed the steamed juicy seafood wrapped in seaweed (pictured left). The broth from the seafood was so delicious we literally drank it all. The pink mushroom dumpling had filling that is encased in this amazing thin mochi skin. Oh, special mention goes to the crispy yam puff in curry paste, which was super crispy (and not oily at all).
Every Chinese New Year, i'd be looking forward to the decadent creations by InterContinental Singapore Executive Chef Eric Neo at Man Fu Yuan (满福苑), one of my favorite Chinese restaurants. From now till 2 Mar 2018, indulge in five 5-8 course prix-fixe festive menus.
Begin the festivities with a toss to a prosperous year ahead with new creation, the Prosperity Yu Sheng with Hokkaido Scallops, Salmon, and Sake Goma Sesame Dressing (双星报喜). 
Those looking for a more indulgent celebration can opt for the Fortune Menu (五福临门) which features the Treasures Yu Sheng with Abalone, Hokkaido Scallops and Salmon served with a sake-goma sauce. I loved the balance of 酸甜苦辣 in every bite of salad. That and the luscious slices of seafood!
What's a proper Chinese meal without Double-boiled Chinese Soup? We sampled the creamy pork bone soup with fish maw, bamboo pith, and the prized fresh Matsutake mushrooms (fresh from Yunnan). The aroma was intoxicating but i wished the soup was less salty.
When it comes to pig, no one does it better than Man Fu Yuan. I'm a HUGE FAN of their Whole Suckling Pig stuffed with Glutinous Rice (read review here) which is a staple on their menu. If you like to try something different, this pig-duck-veg-carb sandwich made with roasted suckling pig, pan-seared foie gras, citrus-marinated daikon, and crepe could be your alternative. While it was suggested that we wrap all of that using the crepe, we ended up eating each item individually because they were massive. The crispy suckling pig was faultless but i thought the foie gras was an overkill and the crepe was more of a "paper towel" to absorb the oil from the goose liver.  
Tis the season to feast and we headed back to one of our favorite restaurants this year, Audace at Wanderlust Hotel (read about our previous meal here). This time, we sampled Chef  Jérémy’s communal Sunday brunch, which is actually more of a fine bistronomy lunch! How else can you categorize a meal consisting of 6 appetisers, 5 main courses, 5 side dishes and 5 desserts? To call it Sunday brunch is a plain understatement. 
Instead of going through all of the food we had, i'll just highlight my favorites, since the menu changes very often and you are likely to be tasting something different. Well one thing that should be kept on the menu for sure is the Pumpkin Soup. The creamy pureé is rich and buttery and super intense and that one shot is certainly not enough. If you're expecting some brunch sort of food, the Focaccia With Cooked Ham & Mascarpone Black Pepper will hit the right spot mainly because of the herby crusty bread!
The Salmon Gravlax with Beetroot had a light acidity and sweetness to it. Texture en pointe.
The Asparagus Salad Chorizo Iberico was also a nice nuttiness to it. 
For mains, i thought the fish dishes were a lot better than the meat ones. In particular, the Pearl Grouper With Orange Paste was my favorite main dish. There's this lovely smooth fat to the fish and it's perfect with the smooth broccoli pureé. The orange accent was also very interesting. The Grilled White Tuna was a bit drier but love that crisp on the outside. 
The Braised Pork Belly was a tad too bland for me when i first bit into it, but as i chewed on, it has a nice light sweetness to it. It's great that it isn't too seasoned actually.
Both duck dishes we had- the French Breast Duck, and Duck Terrine were both too gamey for my liking. They had a strong bloody liver flavor to it, which wasn't appetizing.

The mains come with sides of creamy Polenta (love this one)/ Broccoli Mash (the best!)/ Baked Carrot/ Risotto (yums)/ Baked Rutabaga & Aubepine (most interesting veg). 
Then there were desserts and i enjoyed ALL OF THEM! On this platter (left to right), a Speculoos macaron which will explode in your mouth; a comforting crunchy chocolate cookie; and a snappy and not too tart Lemon Cream Tartlette & Candied Berce
The Dark chocolate mousse with salted caramel is LOVE! Super dark and smooth and not too sweet!
End on a refreshing note with the Pomelo, Black Pepper and Honey. The bitterness worked strangely! 

So glad to be able to revisit Audace before the year ends. Can't wait to be back for Chef's signatures!
2 Dickson Road Singapore 209494
Wanderlust Hotel
Tue-Sat: 7.30am - 12am
Sun: 7.30am - 4pm
Sunday Brunch: 11.30am - 4pm