Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

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 
Dessert parlour Sugarhaus by day, speakeasy steakhouse Fat Belly by night. These two are reasons why you can camp out at Serene Centre for the whole day without having to go hungry. 
In the day, Sugarhaus offers diners of all ages homemade European-inspired ice cream. My favorite was the smooth-like-butter Dutch Chocolate which is made with a concoction of different types of chocolates. The Sea Salt Toffee is another one that you cannot miss. I love the saltiness in this, which has a butter caramel aftertaste. Have the ice cream on their own ($3.50/$4.30 per scoop) or with their fresh waffles ($6). 
Other exciting flavors include Sour Cherry, made with amarena cherries imported from Italy; or the Hibiscus Yogurt for an exotic and aromatic treat. 
Apart from ice cream, of course there are a mix of homemade desserts on display at the counter. Fat Belly is where i had my first galaxy cake and i must say that it changed my mind on artificial looking cakes (which is the main reason why i did not eat any earlier).
Sugarhaus’ Galaxy Tart ($8) is a dome of beautiful white chocolate mirror glaze that is filled with chocolate mousse, raspberry jelly and chocolate crumble. It's a lovely mix of tartness and rich smoothness. 
Next up is the Lemon Popsicle Tart ($8). As its name suggests, the mouth-watering tart comes in the shape of a popsicle filled with lemon sable, lemon parfait and coated with white chocolate. I love the sharpness in the lemon cream, with a crunchy sable that is reminiscent of the Chinese cashew cookie. 
Sugarhaus also offers a simple menu of savoury options available till 5pm. We started with the Melted Cheese Toastie ($12) which has gruyere, cheddar, and mozzarella sandwiched in a distinctly sour sourdough from Woodlands Sourdough next door. Not my preferred toastie sadly.
How about a modern okonomiyaki? The Corn & Zucchini Fritters ($15) was more on the wet floury spectrum, slightly salvaged by my love for kewpie mayo, bonito flakes and okonomiyaki sauce. AND THAT FRIED BACON! And sunny side up egg. 
For a more filling bite, the Crab Linguine ($22) satisfies with the heady and umami peppery prawn sauce. Shards of shredded blue swimmer crab claw added a sweetness to the savory pasta. The linguine was on the slightly softer end but i wouldn't mind ordering this again. 
Come nightfall, the bar section of Sugarhaus turns into Fat Belly, serving a lucky 10 customers alternative cuts of beef, particularly the Flat Iron (or Oyster Blade). The menu also features other cuts such as short rib, skirt, rib-eye. 
The Flat Iron ($22), was quite marbled and tender. It certainly has more meaty flavors than the usual steak though i still prefer a ribeye. All steaks come with a side of house salad and chimichurri sauce. Very Argentinean.
For an additional $5, guests can also enjoy side dishes such as Creamed Kale and Guanciale Mac & Cheese. There will also be one dessert exclusively available on Fat Belly’s menu: the Foie Gras ($13) is served with foie gras ice cream, brulee banana, speculoos and roasted nuts. If that's too funky for you, stick with their usual, they're good.

Sugarhause and Fat Belly
#01-03A, Serene Centre, 10 Jalan Serene, Singapore 258748 
Tel: +65 6314 2247 
Sun - Thu: 11am - 10pm, 6 - 10pm (Fat Belly)
Fri & Sat: 11am - 11pm (Last order 5pm for hot food; 15 minutes before closing for desserts), 6pm - 11pm (last order 10pm)
One of the greatest challenge of a chef must be running an all-day dining restaurant in a hotel. There must be a wide selection of dishes for guests of all nationality and ages, and a balance between serving Singapore cuisine and international ones. Now throw in the healthy eating trend too and get the chef to whip up a menu that incorporates all of the above! Thankfully for Courtyard by Marriott, they've found Executive Chef John Chye who managed to do all of that at Sky 22.
Sky 22 is located on the 22nd floor of the newly opened hotel and diners get to enjoy an expansive view of the city area while dining. While breakfast is quite typical (western and local), lunch is more refreshing with the option to Build Your Own (Healthy) Bowl.
You'll taste more of Chef Chye's creations at dinner. Local flavors are infused into Western cooking and some of his inspirations come from dishes like Hakka Braised Pork, Singapore Chili Crab and more. Of course, standard Western dishes as thrown in for diners who are not that adventurous. 
A safe but tasty appetizer is the Oven-baked Camembert Cheese ($18). Somehow the saltiness of the Camembert was enhanced and it's gorgeous with the herby arugula walnut pesto and the earthy and tart Rosemary-balsamic portobello. Perfect combination on the crusty sourdough. Simplicity is awesome.
Ryan’s Grocery, a specialty gluten-free grocer and organic butchery, makes preparing for your Chinese New Year essential steamboat feast hassle-free (and healthier!), by offering a selection of Shabu-Shabu sets, imported organic meats and wild caught seafood. 
Ryan’s Grocery offers a selection of handmade, gluten free, organic meat ball platters ($11.80/12 pieces). Choose from hormone free chicken, juicy and flavorful beef balls made from Blackwood Valley Black Angus beef or my personal favorite- the moist Borrowdale pork balls with extra texture and crunch from the water chestnut. I could have had a dozen by myself!
Fans of pork will go crazy over the selection of free-range Borrowdale pork available in a variety of cuts, including the collar, loin and fatty belly. These lucky hogs are raised in a stress-free environment, being allowed to freely roam, play in the mud and apparently even fed strawberries! The meat is not further processed, resulting in natural flavors. We especially love the fatty pork belly, which melts in your mouth after a quick dip in the soup.
Bovine lovers will love the Black Angus beef from Blackwood Valley in the countryside of Western Australia. Exclusively grass-fed, and devoid of growth hormones and antibiotics, these lucky animals live longer than other farm bred cattle, allowing their natural flavors to develop and mature. The meat was tender, with just the right amount of fat, and was excellent with the Great Southern Truffle Mustard!
I will never be sick of brunch but the cafe fatigue is real. On one of those days, you just want to go back to something that's familiar and comforting and guaranteed good. Well for days like that, there's Atlas Coffeehouse, sister of Assembly Coffee at Evans (which i adore). 
Finally a bigger space than the hole-in-the-wall at Evans Lodge, Atlas Coffeehouse brings to the table the same delicious eggs and buttermilk waffles among other food items (expect heartier offerings)! 
The scrambled eggs here are still as spectacular as the original. We chose to have it paired with the Creamy Mushroom on Sourdough ($12) for an added $3. That garlic white wine cream was sharpened by some freshly grated Parmesan, which melted slightly from the heat of the eggs. Oh we inhaled this in less than 5 minutes. 
The menu offers more than just the regular brunch, with heartier options (somewhat Japanese style) like the Summer Chicken Stew ($17); Atlas Super-bowl ($18); Salmon Soba Noodles ($18). 
Well, we needed some sweets to pair with the savory eggs on toast, so it was the Salted Caramel Buttermilk Waffles ($12) for us! Upon the first taste of that smooth caramel, i remembered how good this sauce was (and still is)! Well, the waffles could still be crispier as per my last review. But decent it was. Other versions include Earl Grey Caramel ($12); Mixed Berries Compote ($12.50); and Candied Bacon ($14). 

If you can afford more time (like 20 mins), perhaps try the ATLAS Butterscotch Banana Pancake ($18), a fluffy pancake served with caramelized banana, house-made butterscotch, and honey comb ice cream. 
For coffee, the beans are from Two Degrees North Coffee Co, using a blend which consists of 70% Brazil and 30% Guatemala, producing a full bodied and nutty drink.
Making Atlas Coffeehouse my cafe regular spot in Bukit Timah. You should too.

6 Duke’s Road, Singapore 268886
Sun – Tue: 8am - 5pm (subject to changes)
If there's a coffee chain that you have to visit, make it Costa. Yes I've heard how terrible their UK version is but trust me, the Singapore version is 👍🏻 (no they are not paying me to say this). I've always enjoyed their muffins and especially their relatively new Corto Classic (a super strong creamy blend of espressos). With the opening of their newest flagship Costa269 at Holland Village, we now get to enjoy proper cafe food from their hot kitchen. And HELLO all day brunch! 
The menu features a combination of British inspired flavours and classic breakfast favourites. Every order is made fresh-on-demand and designed to complement Costa’s range of handcrafted coffees. Their headliner is the Croffle, which is a crispy, flakey, buttery waffle-pressed croissant and I found it quite the perfect base for desserts even!
First, savory maybe? The Morning Croffle ($14) is served with slices of turkey ham, sautéed button and swiss brown mushrooms and scrambled eggs . The eggs are decent, but could be more moist, less firm. There's also the typically British Fry up version- The Great Croffle Fry-Up ($17) which has the option of a beef sausage made from ground beef, tomatoes and onion (which was a tad too powdery and mushy for me though the flavor is quite decent).
IMO, the croffle worked the best in the sweet version- the Very Berry Croffle ($11)! The croffles are served with a choice of salted caramel, chocolate or vanilla ice cream and topped with sliced strawberries and blueberries dusted with icing sugar. GO WITH SALTED CARAMEL! It's a tad sweet but that saltiness goes so well with that buttery and chewy center of the croissant.
Step into Sakurazaka at the affluent Greenwood Estate and you would be forgiven for thinking that you are in a restaurant in Japan. Sakurazaka is the new restaurant of Consultant Chef Masashi Horiuchi (also of Shelter in the Woods and Verre Wine Bistro), and it marries Masashi’s Japanese heritage and European culinary roots in this Shabu Shabu and Sukiyaki restaurant
Tuck into one of the 3 Shabu Shabu sets available at Sakurazaka- Pork ($48), Seafood ($54), or Beef ($64). Each set comes with the stone grilled Ishiyaki (Iberico, Seafood, or Wagyu), meats, vegetables, and a dessert (traditional Kakigori) to end off! 
It's always fun to be able to participate in your meal. Dip the sizzling grilled meats into the onsen tamago with mild Sukiyaki sauce. 
Have your choice of Shabu Shabu in 6 different broths specially created by Chef Masahi. Expect an infusion of European flair in the special soup stock with the rich and tangy Bouillabaisse stock and light Beef Consommé; or have a taste of Kyushu with the Ago Dashi (dried flying fish stock). Of course, the regular Chicken, Tonkotsu, and even Soya Milk are available. My favorites are the versatile Ago Dashi, and the slightly milky Tonkotsu.

To accompany the prime meats and seafood, 3 special dipping sauces are provided. My favorite is the refreshing and light peppery and very versatile Tamari Ponzu made with miso essence and yuzu. The Shiyo Ponzu is a slightly tart sudachi with seaweed salt. Of course, there's also the rich Goma sauce, with a touch of espelette pepper in this one.  
Have the Seafood set with the Bouillabaisse stock for that superb umami flavor at the end. Tiger prawns, white clams, succulent scallop, red snapper, squid, and mussels are in this one. The fresh prawn paste was definitely my favorite of the lot. The minced prawn is mixed with lotus roots, shiitake mushrooms, and shiso.
How do you differentiate yourself from the many bakeries selling a variety of Asian soft rolls and European breads and even providing hybrid versions? Well, you pick your favorite kind of bread and focus on being an expert in that. Well that's how i see the newly opened Crown Bakery & Cafe, latest venture by gardening retail giant Far East Flora Holdings Pte. Ltd. There's immense potential of them becoming the de facto Sourdough Expert

Let's start with their belief of using all things natural and wholesome. I love bread but i also know that the store bought ones aren't very healthy. However, Crown Bakery makes their bread healthier by not adding any artificial food flavoring, coloring, preservatives, additives, and chemical improvers. Natural leaven is used to craft all their breads (yes they grow even their own yeast)! Also, the best ingredients, including the finest French mill wheat flour, Hokkaido Kitanokaori flour, German sourdough, French butter and direct-from-farm honey are used. 
I fell deep in love with the inventive Crown Sourdough Buttermilk Waffle ($6 with maple syrup and butter, $9 with Haagen Dazs ice cream and fruits). The batter is only kept for 4 hours each time to ensure freshness. I loved the light chewy German sourdough texture. The savory (sea salt is used) and lightly sour flavors set this waffle apart from the a dime a dozen ones out there. 
This delicately crispy waffle is best paired with butter and maple. I thought the ice cream overpowered the batter with its sweetness and soaks it and that kind ruined the overall texture and flavor but well it all boils down to personal preference. 
This bread monster brought home a huge box of breads and finished it in a couple of days. Here's what i ate and would recommend to you guys. Matcha lovers should definitely get the intensely flavored Shizuoka Matcha products. The Azuki Loaf ($4.80) has a mochi like texture in the middle (i kid you not) and i liked that the azuki beans weren't too sweet. 
The Shizuoka Matcha Brioche ($3.20) is like a little bouncy cake (look at those air pockets)! The green tea paste provides a great shot of caffeine for all you caffeine addicts. This is a lot less sweeter than what's available on the market so don't be too surprised. 
Do heat up the breads and pastries for that added crisp (I swear that everything toasted tastes better). The Croissant Aux Amandes ($3.60) was full of almond paste.
The New Zealand Cream Cheese Danish ($3) is one of my favorites! I took a bite before i considered toasting it and even though it was more like a bun when it is cold, it was so yummy i finished it before the toaster saw the light of it. NZ cream cheese and Parmesan are used in this one and the handcrafted raisin yeast gives the layers a fruity honey aftertaste. However, it was not crazy sweet as lemon juice is added to balance the sweetness. 

On to the savories. The Mentaiko Mayo Garlic Crisp ($2.80) is a no brainer and the garlic baguette is given the Midas touch with the creamy and salty mentaiko and Japanese mayo mix. It's heavily flavored with the pungent garlic so beware! This MUST BE TOASTED. Remember that!
The Red Wine Fig Sourdough ($8.50) is a great sandwich bread. On its own, it's a tad sour so i'd prefer to add my nut butters or my current favorite Ovaltine spread to it. Toasting it can do too but do not over do it. Otherwise, pop it into the microwave briefly and it'd be a little moist and warm enough. 
Crown Bakery's crown treasure is the Hainanese Chicken Bread ($4.50). This is made from chicken soup, skinless chicken thigh, garlic, ginger and shallots, together with their sourdough batter. You even get chunks of chicken in the bread! The flavor isn't particularly strong but it goes well with the garlicky chicken rice chili sauce. 
Crown Bakery & Café currently offers 45 varieties of bread, viennoiseries and snacks. A small all day breakfast selection is currently available and more will be added in the future but i think i'll be happy eating a warmed up slice here.
Crown Bakery & Café
557 Bukit Timah Road, Crown Centre #01-03
Singapore 269694
Sun - Thu: 7.30am - 8.30pm
Fri - Sat: 7.30am - 9.30pm