Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

Sandwiches are back in favor or is it just that this pregnancy craving has led me to searching for them? Anyhow, i was rather excited to see that there are more sangas (the Aussie slang for sandwiches) available in the East, this time at Bloom Coffee at Siglap
The menu is quite limited, focusing on 5 sangas options such as Tonkatsu ($18) and Grilled Mushroom & Eggplant ($17). They have one sweet option, which is the PB & Strawberry Basil ($15) which we heard is a hit or miss.
On my first visit, i went straight for the Tamagoyaki Avocado Bacon ($18) as it seemed like the lightest tasting option. Made using smashed avocado, grilled bacon and tamagoyaki, the sandwich was a combination of different flavours and textures. Expect an eye-popping brightness to hit you first but it gets better with each bite. I had high hopes of the rest of the sandwiches but unfortunately they were rather disappointing.
Both the Sloppy Bob ($17), and the Tonkatsu ($18) had the smelly frozen meat flavor which was hard to stomach. The former, a bolognese sandwich with their housen made minced beef sauce with cheddar and mozzarella, would have been better if the meat were fresh. The minced meat was a tad dry too. The meaty taste of the Tonkatsu was slightly masked with the pickled daikon and zucchini and the tangy rosemary and plum sauce. However, we could taste the oil in the breaded pork belly mille feuille. 
Xi Yan Culinary Group has recently launched a new concept Zing by Xi Yan, a conscious-dining concept which collaborates with The Social Kitchen to provide employment for disadvantaged communities. This casual concept caters to everyone in the family as they do not only serve Xi Yan's contemporary Chinese cuisine but also salads, grain bowls, steaks and pastas, and even croffles!
I must admit that i was skeptical when browsing through the menu which seemed schizophrenic. But after tasting the dishes, i can see the charm and appeal of having such a varied menu. Most importantly, i enjoyed every dish i tried and that says something.
We started with Yum Som O Kung Salad ($15) which is a refreshing mix of pomelo, prawns, and sakura ebi. You wouldn't be faulted for thinking it's a Thai salad as fish sauce was definitely at play here, along with the perk-me-up calamansi and yuzu. We hear that this sauce based is also used on one of the fish dishes. 
Do not miss The Squid Game ($14), which is as popular as the Netflix series. Octopus tentacles are used here actually and we loved the light tempura batter which is tossed in chilli, celery and parsley and lemon and a bit of peppercorns for that light numbing sensation. This was perfect with Xi Yan's blend of shrimp sambal, which they also bottle and retail.
We're always finding new restaurants to check out when out having dinner in Joo Chiat (which is all the time). The name Asador jumped out at us because we thought it is an Argentinean steakhouse (like Asado) but it turned out to be a Spanish restaurant instead. We were lucky to score a last minute table by the bar on a Friday night (i called 15 mins before we headed down) because the place was packed after we started eating.
The bar counter in front of the wood-fired oven gave us a vantage point of the kitchen and direct access to the chefs and their recommendations (as well as the heat from the oven). Don't go expecting the usual Spanish tapas and paellas, Asador is a proper Spanish restaurant which is quite grill-forward. Many of their dishes are prepared on a Basque-style parilla grill using different types of wood for different flavors.
The Huevos Rotos ($16) called out to me because i can never resist a breakfast dish. Fries, chorizo and egg may sound super simple but the combo at Asador certainly was not. The hand cut fries were the perfect starchy sort with a thin layer of crisp, flavored by the salty chorizo. If i can, i'll only have my eggs done this way- a fried fluffy cloud of egg whites, topped with a runny sticky yolk that brought the ingredients together. 

The Santoña anchovies were also recommended as a starter and Asador does theirs with some homemade smoked butter and toasted bread. While i know it's a delicacy, i'm just not that much of a fan of canned food? Plus i've yet to eat any of the tinned sardines that we brought back from Spain. Hurhur. 
I knew that the Pulpo Char-grilled octopus with Spanish pork belly ($34) was a sure-order by Jr (that's his weakness). The was the perfect surf-and-turf featuring an adeptly cooked tender and fresh octopus plus a smoky bacon-like pork belly. The meats were served atop patatas revolconas, a paprika mashed potatoes flavored with pancetta, pimentón, garlic, olive oil and sherry vinegar.
Another exciting addition to the quickly gentrifying Joo Chiat area is Common Man Coffee Roasters (CMCR). No stranger to the cafe scene in Singapore, CMCR was established in 2013 with its flagship at Martin Road. The cafe-coffee roaster has been championing specialty coffee since and is one of the OG third-wave coffee places in Singapore. 
Specialty grade Arabica coffee from their partner Five Senses Coffee Australia is roasted, sold, and served at CMCR. Our flat white was full of bitter dark chocolate, which could do with a tad more acidity. 
The Joo Chiat outpost is a lovely breezy 2-unit ground storey shophouse which would not be out of place in Flinders or Hardware Lane, except that it is in the heart of colorful Joo Chiat where its neighbors are KTV pubs and Vietnamese restaurants, which is very charming imo. 
Bakes are from Tiong Bahru Bakery as CMCR's other partner is Spa Esprit Group. Bite into a buttery pastry or pick from the all day breakfast items. The Savory/Sweet sourdough pancakes were unfortunately unavailable when we were there for breakfast. As usual, we order a sweet and a savory dish to share. 
The Croissant Croque Monsieur ($18) was a brainless choice for me as it's a combination of my 2 favorite things- flakey croissant with the creamy cheese flavors of a Croque Monsieur. The béchamel had earthy, peppery, and garlic notes which cut through the richness of the cream. Lovely. 
For sweets, we had the not too sweet Brioche French Toast ($22) with a coffee toffee salted caramel with a light bitter note, banana, and a thick sticky whipped-vanilla ricotta. The brioche could be a tad dry-ish on the corners but the center was perfect fluff. If you need a bit more moisture/sweetness, you could swap the cheese for ice cream (which was too indulgent for us at 9 in the morning, but no judgment if you do). I enjoyed the layered flavors in this one- some spice, some citrus, and definitely mint. 

Big eaters could obviously go for the Common Man Full Breakfast ($29) which is the full English fry-up or the vegetarian version of that in the form of a Veggie Wonderland ($28). Even the "Lunch" items are served early from 10am so if you could wait a bit, there's the Smash Burger ($28) or Cubanos Sandwich ($27). 

Lovely spot, lovely addition to the hood, and more options for me (yay)!
185 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427456
Daily: 7.30 am – 5.30 pm
You’ll not go hungry at Tanjong Katong- the entire street is practically a stretch of eateries ranging from roast meat to Wanton mee and Nasi Lemak. Little Rogue Coffee is a welcomed addition to the mix, bringing an end to the dearth of brunch offerings (though i heard the 6 Letter Coffee is pretty decent) in this enclave.
An impromptu breakfast calling had me call my trusty early bird friend B who was already out cycling since god knows what time. Just as well, Little Rogue Coffee has a bike rack within the cafe where B's expensive bike could be parked (i guess there is really a growing bike community in the East). For families, there’s even a little playground to occupy the kiddos while the adults eat.
The newly opened cafe is already drawing a crowd but thanks to the spacious interior, the queue moved rather quickly (the wait is of a diff sort). Breakfast is served all day with more substantive mains like Beef Cheek Linguine ($24), K-pop Chicken Burger ($23), Steak and Eggs ($30) dished out from 11am.
Breakfast is more Australian-cafe style with various egg options. The dish which has made its grand tour on social media is the Soft Scrambled Eggs & Ikura ($14), featuring wet creamy eggs with small curds, with a scoop of uber umami truffle cream and pops of ikura and chives. I wouldn’t recommend stirring all the cream into the eggs as i felt that it overpowers the dish but feel free if you're a fan. The sourdough was flawless on its own, lightly chewy and perfectly buttered and toasted. The dish speaks for itself and the bonus is its IG-worthy appearance.
Luke's Lobster Singapore is on a roll with another limited edition exclusive- the Hot Honey Lobster Roll available through the month of May. 

This roll was first launched in the USA end 2020 as a partnership between the New York City-based brand and Mike’s Hot Honey. If you enjoy the signature lobster rolls, the Hot Honey Lobster Roll ($27.50) is the same 4oz/113g of Maine lobster claw and knuckle meat but tossed in the chili-infused honey (that honestly is more spiced than spicy for us Singaporeans). You could still taste the sweet brininess of the delicate meat, but with a tad more flavor than the usual rolls. What would make it better- if the meat were hot, though this cold style is definitely what Luke's is known for (it's just not what i prefer). 

I also gave the rest of the menu a try and i'd say stick with the lobster rolls (the meat is more flavorful than the very bland crab), and get yourself some curly fries to pair with (these are crunchy curls of goodness). The soups are sorely disappointing- the lobster bisque was overly buttery and the clam chowder was too salty. 

The permanent addition to the menu- the Grilled Cheese series, ought to balance the negative at Luke's. The Lobster Grilled Cheese ($18.90) sees chunky seafood crammed with a load of melted cheddar within two square slices of buttered Shokupan. It's not quite grilled cheese so don't go expecting the traditional rich stringy pulled cheese for this is more of a creamy cheese lobster mix. I wouldn't mind having this in bun form too.

You could now also enjoy Luke's Lobster at home now. Pick up some of these pre-packed, flash-frozen seafood from most of NTUC Finest outlets and create your own rolls. There's the Lobster Meat with Seasoning ($42) with two packs (4oz each); Lobster Tail with Seasoning ($36) for two slabs (3-4 oz each) of flash-frozen and half-shelled tails, complete with Tessa Mae’s Lemon-Garlic Marinade that is perfect for stovetop sizzling or grilling; and the retail-exclusive Lobster Mac & Cheese ($31), smothered in a creamy blend of mascarpone and cheddar, ready to eat after a quick pop in the microwave. 

Luke's Lobster
350 Orchard Road #01-K4, Shaw House, Isetan Scotts, Singapore 238868 
78 Airport Boulevard, #01-K209, Jewel Changi Airport, Singapore 819666
The East is best when it comes to food. There was a dearth of cafes in the past but that has quickly changed with big boys like Brawn & Brains, Dutch Colony and Forty Hands moving into the Siglap/Katong area. The latest hottest is The Brewing Ground, which has amazingly popped up steps from my place at The Yards, a transformed school compound at Telok Kurau. 
Experience the bright and breezy Eastie vibe with the glasshouse-inspired interior, or park your bike/pet out on the alfresco deck breezy alfresco deck. I've been lucky enough to walk in without a wait at lunch time but now that the secret is out of the bag, please make your reservations. I hear weekdays breakfast can pack a queue!
This is not quite the place for early risers, that is if you are looking to bite into their much raved about Breakfast Burger ($20), which is only served from 11am. They ought to call it a Brunch Burger actually. It is just as well because i doubt anyone can stomach this massive beast too early in the morning! Toasted brioche buns sandwiches a juicy rosemary pork sausage patty and creamy scrambled eggs, flavored even more with a lovely caramelized onion relish and a sweet ketchup mayonnaise. There was too much of the latter and i had to scrape some off for balance. A perfectly crispy hash brown completes the blockbuster. I was thankful for the side of mesclun salad which helped to to cut through the richness of the bun with its refreshing acidity. 
New Ubin has launched UbinEats for the solo diner craving for your local kopitiam fare but prefers to have it at home. The virtual restaurant dedicated to ‘Truly Singaporean’ ready-to-eat meals for one has launched with five sub brands—Ubin Nasi Lemak, Vijay Banana Leaf, Ah Koon Scissor Cut Curry Rice, Ah Ma Chicken Curry Noodles and Ah Boon Signatures, each representing the different ethnic groups in Singapore. 

The favorite of the lot goes to Vijay Banana Leaf devilish Chicken Masala ($12). Vijay is a long-serving New Ubin chef of South Indian descent who’s responsible for the many Indian dishes that have become signature mainstays on the tze char’s eatery menu. We loved how the heat from the chicken is balanced by the perfumed biryani basmati rice. The fluffiness of the rice was also what attracted us to the dish. The price tag is quite reasonable given the huge portion. 
Next favorite is the Ubin Nasi Lemak ($15). It's pricey but my mama was pretty satisfied with the fragrant coconut rice that has been cooked with pandan leaves. The sides are a bit different with a joo hee sambal, a sweetish sambal cuttlefish that wasn't too tough to eat, and a juicy and tendy piece of ayam bakar (charcoal grilled chicken). The thick slice of omelette was also very enjoyable, along with the spiced anchovies and sliced cucumbers.
Peranakan matriarch Violet Oon is unstoppable. Was it only earlier this year when we dined at her newest outlet at Ion Orchard (read review here) and now she has gone on to open an even bigger restaurant at the iconic JEWEL Changi Airport? The JEWEL outlet is the group’s biggest (3,800 square feet) outlet to date, and as per every VO restaurant, it has its own specials!
Special to JEWEL, guests can get their hands finger-licking good with Violet's Fold-It-Yourself Family-style Poh Piah Party ($58). While the price may seem pretty steep for a poh piah set that makes 6 rice flour rolls, you'd understand why when you dig into the rich bamboo shoot and jicama stew that has been braised in a house-made prawn bisque and Fujian bean paste. The feast of sauces and condiments like Chinese sausage, steamed prawns, ground and deep fried garlic, and dried sole fish, add a variety of textures and flavors to each bite of the roll. There's also a vegetarian version which goes at $56.
VO JEWEL also specialises in grilled dishes. We enjoyed the Ayam Panggang Katong which comes in a quarter or half a chicken ($16/25), and is plump and juicy. The lightly spiced chicken is brushed with gula melaka and grilled for a nutty sweetness. It is accompanied with some sour and piquant atchara (pickled vegetables) and VO signature chili sauce.
Never one to say no to a refreshing mango salad, i found that the Mango Kerabu with Ikan Bilis ($10) a great side for the grilled chicken. What makes this sour salad different is the touch of pink ginger flowers tossed in with a sweet and sour plum and chilli infused sauce. If you can take spice, the BBQ Eggplant with Sambal ($13) is topped with green sambal hijau and spicy Goreng Chilli sambal. These would have you eating lots of plain rice to numb the heat. My preferred vegetable dish is the Sayur Paku Gulai ($16), a sweet Fiddlehead fern served on a bed of coconut-spiced gulai sauce.
Our favorite wood-fired bakehouse Firebake has launched a refreshed lunch menu and also more new items to tantalize our taste buds! In its latest dishes, Firebake goes ‘back to basics’, offering quality bakes that reach out to childhood memories and comfort. 
My childhood would have been a lot more awesome if i've had something like the Firebake Tartine ($18 for full portion – available for brunch & lunch), an open-faced sandwich featuring a slice of Seedy sourdough. 
The Seedy is my favorite loaf at Firebake. Made with organic wholemeal with toasted sesame and pumpkin seeds, each bite is full of nutty crunch and fragrance. The toppings vary from time to time, and i had a slice topped with avocado, sauteed mushrooms, feta, pickled pistachio and cress. This is bound to satisfy any brunchy cravings!
Forget the Shake Shack queue guys and check out the Firebake Wagyu Cheese Burger ($18 – available for brunch & lunch). The fluffy house-baked wood-fired sourdough potato buns sandwich a juicy medium-done Australian Wagyu patty (with the perfect balance of lean and fatty mince). Hidden between the layer of meat, bun and melted cheddar are more umami surprises- an extra pat of butter, Grana Padano parmesan and -drumrolls- a thick tomato-based beef sauce created by Firebake’s founder, Konstantino Blokbergen. This sauce is inspired by the traditional Greek pastitsada stew and boy that really changes everything. 
Another new favorite for me is the Grilled Argentinian Striploin ($28 – available all day) which is topped with a refreshing and vibrant salsa verde. Argentinian steaks are known for their intensely flavorful profile and this 220g lean steak is no different. The beef is grilled to medium over Firebake’s traditional wood stove and served over a slice of rye bread. Absolutely rustic way to enjoy the slab.
I'm always craving for Japanese food and this is not an easy craving to satisfy given that we live in the East and there're not many decent Japanese restaurants. So when Rakuya popped up a fellow foodie's IG feed and i saw that their omakase are priced from $48 onwards, i immediately made a reservation for dinner. 
Rakuya presents Japanese cuisine with an Asian twist, with signatures like Mapo Chawanmushi with Foie Gras and Ba Kut Teh Udon. The Asian flavors may sound like a marketing gimmick but the typically strong flavors were toned down to the Japanese dish profile. Just don't go there expecting traditional Japanese dishes/experience/service.

The omakase set menu, priced at $48/88/128, comprises an amuse bouche, an appetiser, a cold dish, a hot item, a hot dish, a main, rice or noodles, a soup and dessert. We gave the $48 and $88 menus a go. To accompany the food, a selection of sakes are available,  including seasonal ones from various regions in Japan.
We start with an oyster with a spicy flavored ice, similar to Tobasco. The chunks of ice were quite jarring when eating the creamy and plump oyster. It would be better if the ice were more finely shaved. The appetiser was an octopus with tobiko which i can't remember anything of. 
For the $48 set, salmon carpaccio with homemade ponzu and truffle oil was served. I must say that this Italian presentation was quite tasty. A mini sashimi platter was served for the $88 set, and included chutoro (my favorite tuna sashimi cut), salmon belly, scallop, and also a skipjack tuna (aka bonito) with ginger flower. The sashimi was pretty decent. 
Chawanmushi was served in both sets. I preferred the one with ikura. It's simple and comforting, as compared to the super rich and confused one that is topped with pan-seared foie gras with a slightly spiced mapo tofu sauce. 
We had a simple minced chicken and vegetables cooked in dashi for the $48 set. This is typical of Japanese home-cooking and all i needed was a bowl of Japanese rice to go with this. Think of it like a Japanese version of a Taiwanese minced meat dish. My favorite part was the brinjal that was stewed in the chicken stock!
Jr really enjoyed the Gindara with miso, which was firm and fatty. Miso and cod is always a winning combination. 
We had the Kurobuta Miyazaki Black Pork Neck marinated with ginger onion for 48h with dry chili and red miso in the $48 set. This is one of the chef's personal favorite. The first taste was kind of like the local satay, with a light sweetness from the red miso. The meat certainly has a nice bite but it was a tad dry for me.
You get what you pay for in the more expensive set, that is the A4 Hokkaido Wagyu with seaweed pepper, salt, grated wasabi. The flavor is a lot lighter in this dish, as compared to the pork neck skewers. The different condiments bring out different characteristics of the beef. 

Another comforting Japanese dish was the Chicken soup with tsukune. I enjoyed the fluffy ball of meat in the light broth. A hand roll was served with this and mine had a fat scallop in it. Unfortunately, the rice was lacking in seasoning. 
The signature Kurobuta Ba Kut Teh with Inaniwa udon was served for the $88 set. It smelled like the traditional pork rib soup but the flavor was a lot more subtle to complement the delicate udon. The hidden gem in this dish is the stewed daikon. Surprisingly, it worked rather well. I can see why this is a hot favorite with the guests.

We had a horrible dessert which was a berry yogurt mousse. Be glad to know that the dishes are frequently changed so you would probably get a different meal from ours altogether. The restaurant also serves set lunches and a la carte plates.

I wouldn't mind going to Rakuya occasionally for a slightly different Japanese meal but i guess the search continues for our staple Japanese meal spot in East Coast. 

89 East Coast Road, Singapore 428790
Tel: +65 6440 7071
Daily: 12 - 3pm, 6 - 11pm
Riding on the Korean wave, home-grown brand Seoul Garden Group has opened two new Korean F&B concepts at Century Square mall- Seoul in a Sandwich and Two Hana to draw in the young and trendy. The former is a Korea sandwich kiosk, and the latter a Korean cafe, both with Western influences.
Time pressed but don't wanna reach out for instant ramyeon? Well Seoul in a Sandwich provides the warm comfort of Korean food in a convenient sandwich made with Western breads. I'm sure you'd know of the Issac toast craze, well, it's very similar but you get better breads at Seoul in a Sandwich for sure. 
Of course they have a similar Seoul Street Toast ($6.50), a simple buttered sandwich with onion-cabbage omelette, chicken ham, sliced cheese and mayo. It sounds really simple but woah, it's a sandwich that i can have for days. I would love for more mayo on this but apparently everyone feels that it's sufficient. How can there ever be enough mayo?? 
An unsuspecting favorite of mine is the Kimchi Prawn Cocktail ($7.50). I loved the fluffy and fragrant buttered focaccia bun which sandwiches a cold mix of Asian pear, kimchi, and mesclun mix. The kimchi flavor is very subtle in this one, which allows the light sweetness of the pear and prawns to come through. 
Something special is the Army Stew-wich ($8.50) made of a soft Tteokbokki, chicken sausage and spam, sliced cheese, daikon slaw on mayo ciabatta toast. I would say this tastes like what a healthier version of an Army stew. I was expecting punchier flavors but this was more balanced with a bed of refreshing daikon salad. If you love bulgogi, there's a Bulgogi Cheese Steak ($8.50) filled with sauteed peppers, grilled bulgogi beef and cheddar mozzarella mix, all in a buttered baguette. I'm not a huge fan of sweet meats so this wasn't for me. 
If you prefer sweet toast, give their Asian Pear Toast consisting of citron jam bits with cream cheese a try. The Matcha White Chocolate toast was also calling my name. 

If you have more time, head over to Two Hana for a modern Korean meal any time of the day. From 8am to 10pm, Two Hana promises to fill you up any time. What i love is the hearty and generous food served at value-for-money prices.  
Now, i'll just go straight to what i enjoyed. Go for the Korean Cauliflower Fritters ($9 for 6-8pcs) rather than the Kimchi Mac & Cheese or the Drumlets. The tempura battered cauliflowers are coated with a lightly spiced inspired dakkanjung sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds and spring onions. It's light and refreshing. 
The downfall of the Kimchi Mac & Cheese and the Drumlets (Honey Butter and Yangnyeom) is the oily flavor. It could be an opening issue so it could be rectified by the time you try it. I couldn't taste much of the kimchi in the mac & cheese cubes though, but be careful of the extremely spicy chili dip that it comes with. The drumlets had too much batter, some of which soggy and uncooked. Flavor wise, the spicy flavor helped to mask the oily taste but the honey butter sauce unfortunately enhanced it. 
For mains, i absolutely LOVE the Striploin Bap ($13). Kimgarou rice is topped with with generous servings of kimchi, spinach and beansprout namul, caramelised onions and 63 degree poached egg, crowned with perfectly-seared juicy medium-rare striploin slices. I cannot believe how much meat there was on my bowl. SO GOOD!!
For sharing, go for the huge Braised Gochujang Lamb Shank ($24) which if fork tender from being sous vide for 36 hours! There isn't any strong lamb taste to this and the flavors reminded me more of an ox-tail stew. Whatever it is, it's super hearty and perfect for 2-3pax. The lamb is served with a special kimchi-soft rolls, and a side of kimchi mash, which has a distinct butter flavor to it (we hear that it's 40% butter in this mix)! 
For something lighter, the Korean Seafood Ciopinno ($13) takes its inspiration from a soondubu jigae but i thought it was a little more like a tomato-based western soup. Anyhow, lovely creamy tomato flavor in this, with  fresh mussels, clams and prawns in it. Choose to have this with their soft rolls or tofu in this. 
Two Hana is perfect for that coffee break as well. Allpress coffee is used here and the desserts and ice cream are quire spectacular. Do not miss the Apple Caramel Waffles with Doenjang Caramel Ice Cream ($9)! Love the crispy waffles and the salty-sweet fermented soy bean icecream pairs perfectly with the cinnamon spiced apple puree. Their honey citron ice cream is very refreshing as well.
I also had the Cookies and Cream Affogato and that cream balanced the acidity in the espresso perfectly. Their Iced Matcha Latte ($6) isn't a bad choice either as it's not overly sweet. Oh and it comes with a super buttery fish bochubang! 

I need no more reasons to head back to Seoul In A Sandwich and Two Hana for a meal. Missing that Kimchi Prawn Sandwich and Sirloin Bap already!

Seoul In A Sandwich
#B1-23 Century Square 
2 Tampines Central 5 Singapore 529509 
Daily: 10am – 10pm

Two Hana
#01-21 Century Square 
2 Tampines Central 5 Singapore 529509 
Daily: 8am - 10pm