Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

Saveur is known as the decent and highly affordable French food for the masses in Singapore. Since their humble beginnings at the Ali Baba Eating House (i'm serious) in Katong, the young chefs have gone a long way and have even made a mark for themselves at Purvis Street. My friend said that they have expanded from their original store front the next store in order to meet the demands of the customers.  
We didn't make a reservation as we were under the impression they do not take any (i'm still unsure). At 7pm, we had to wait 30 mins for a table for 7. As we sat there waiting, the wait time given to the other customers increased from 15 mins to a good 45 mins. 
For starters, we had the Signature Saveur pasta tossed with chili oil, fine-chopped Japanese konbu and sakura ebi with minced pork sauce ($4.90). This is the Italian version of our local minced pork noodles. The texture of the angel hair pasta makes it more delicate than its fat mee pok cousin. Kind of reminded me of Iggy's signature cappellini. Of course, every cents count towards the quality but this is not too shady. 
From the Special menu, the Seafood Pasta with Tiger Prawn and Lumpfish Caviar ($6.90) is also a crowd pleaser. Perfectly al dente noodles which is well flavored by the natural seafood sweetness. The taste is lighter than the signature pasta and the spring onions gives each mouthful a refreshing burst when you bite into them. Prawns are a wee small though but it's only $6.90. 

Portions are small, about a 12cm long roll but it will fill you up together with a main course order.
If you want something smaller, perhaps pick from the 2 different pan-seared Foie Gras: One served with creamy lentils and pickled pearl onion ($7.90) and the other with apples infused with port wine and vanilla bean ($9.90). I wasn't too much of a fan of their foie gras as it was on the grainy and powdery side. La Petite's (another cheap French place at Serene Centre and Thomson) tasted better in my memory. 
Duck Confit ($10.90) is their hot favorite. The flatted and pan fried duck leg was served atop homemade mashed potato with saute shiitake mushroms, orange segments and orange infused natural juice. I like that the meat wasn't too salty or dry and the creamy thick mash helped to give it a little moisture. It may look small but i was very satisfied even after giving S a few bites of my dish. 
The Pan-seared sea bass with diced saute potato with crabmeat, french beans and caper vinaigrette ($14.90) was equally tasty. Fresh and juicy fish with a crispy exterior but it still maintained that smidgen of fats under the pan fried skin. The potatoes were nicely flavored with the crabmeat and herbs. If Duck or Fish are not your cuppa, there is also the braised beef short ribs in red wine ($14.90) or oven roasted beef tenderloin ($24.90) if you are in the moo mood, chicken and pork are also available. 
As for desserts, we had the Special Tarts: Lemon Curd, Gula Melaka and Coconut, Araguani Dark Chocolate Tart and Raspberry Sorbet ($9.90). The tarts are smaller than 1.5inches and i like the lemon and coconut one. Bite into the light coconut tart and it would reveal its moist gula melaka center (brown coconut and cane sugar). They should really make this a bigger tart.
Chocolate & Hazelnut ($7.90)- chocolate mousse with crushed hazelnuts, broken raspberries and roasted rice puffs to give it that extra crunch. I'm not a huge fan of mousse but i like the different textures in this one. The raspberries also add a nice zing of sourness to the sweet mix.
I've been dying to try Esquina for the longest time since it's like the Holy Grail of Spanish Tapas in Singapore. Well at least before Catalunya appeared on the scene. So anyway, i headed down, with a couple of friends in tow, with the aim of trying as many items on the menu as possible. 
Esquina is a haute tapas boutique where patrons perch precariously on weirdly shaped metal stools that will seriously damage some nuts. Not a place for large groups because you can hardly converse farther than your immediate left/right. The interior is chic and industrious and the vibe no nonsense-ish unlike the friendliness at Foodbar Dada (though i was teased by the head chef when caught playing with my food). Everything goes like clockwork behind the bar and it was quite a performance for the guests. Love the order of it all. 
Starters: Ham Croquetas ($10) is my must order. 4.5cm tall balls filled with creamy bechamel and chunks of what is possibly iberico ham (i expect no less) left us wanting for more. The ham was a little salty but i love it. But i maintain that Catalunya's remain at the top spot.

From the Eggs section:
The Smoked Haddock, spring onion and Manchego omelette ($18) was the fluffiest eggs i've tried in a while. I would liken it to a souffle but firmer. The taste was light; simply flavored with the natural sweetness of the smoked haddock. I was pleasantly surprised by this one.
Fried quail egg, asparagus & iberico salad, truffle mayonnaise ($19). Pretty plating but nothing special. The textures and ingredients just didn't gel.

Onto the Seafood section.
Do order the Sauteed gambas, chili garlic, potato dumplings and bisque sauce ($24) even though it doesn't look spectacular. The prawns were fresh and bouncy and i love the rich bisque sauce so much i could inhale it. Gnocchi were meh.
Skip the Salt & pepper squid with black ink aioli ($20). We wanted a little difference in texture and hence this dish. Certainly not worth the 20 bucks.

The Meat dishes are quite faboosh. Check it out in my order of preference.
Please please please do order the Beef tartare with spicy ketchup, confit egg yolk, frozen foie gras and toast ($27). Extremely flavorful and smooth tartare, especially after you scoop the confit egg yolk onto it. The taste and texture are simply sublime, especially when coupled with the crunchiness of that yeasty toast. Craves.
The Grilled rib-eye with spice aubergine puree, served with lentil pearl barley dhal ($39) is also superb. The meat is so good you don't need any of that fancy sauce to go with it. In fact i thought the sauces overpower the natural goodness of the red. Medium rare ftw. This is a dish i will never share again, same goes for the tartare.
The Roast lamb rump with black olive polenta, baby romaine and anchovy chimichurri ($27) was another good dish. The meat portion would suffice as a main course for a small eater. None of that gaminess in the meat. I thought the polenta with anchovy chimichurri was a tad too salty.
I know how everyone has been raving about the Iberico pork & foie gras burger ($27) but you would need a huge pitcher of water to wash down all that saltiness from the patty. There isn't enough bun to tone down the sodium of that pork and needless to say, i couldn't taste any of the foie gras.

From the Specials, we had...

Roast suckling pig, iberico belly, crispy skin pickled vegetables and pig gravy ($33). If you are afraid of the porcine taste, you may want to skip this one. It's quite a heavy dish to finish on your own due to that porkiness. That said, the tender meat and semi solid fats may win itself some fans.
Grilled ox tongue on burnt cauliflower puree, cauliflower crisp & couscous, sherry jelly ($23). I love tongues. My first experience was in Tokyo and we had this thinly sliced ones done the yakiniku way. This is a little thick and hence you get more of that chewiness and fibre, and the slight metallic taste. We adored how the cauliflower was prepared though.
Sauteed clams, saffron white bean stew, lemon parsley gremolata ($22) is one of the hot favorites though i couldn't understand why. Granted the seafood is fresh but the preparation and seasoning didn't leave any impression on me. Perhaps my tongue was assaulted by the saltiness of the other dishes so much i couldn't taste this. Maybe?

The damage came up to $320 for the above dishes. 12 dishes+ 1 bread for the 5 of us were quite substantial for us. So much that we had to give Keong Saik Snacks (by Atherton as well) a miss. Instead we walked down to Chinatown to have Chinese desserts instead. :/

Would i be back? Sure. Esquina is a must try. I would say 2-3 dishes should fill you up, more if you are greedy. They don't take reservations, so go early especially on a fri/sat or be prepared to wait in line.

Esquina Tapas Bar
16 Jiak Chuan Lane
(No Reservations)
Weekdays: 12pm - 3pm | 6pm - 11pm
Sat: 6pm - 11pm

[Media Invite]

Was invited by Derrick of Sgfoodonfoot to join him, Metropolitan, Dennis of Superadrianme and Alexis for a Thai Steamboat dinner at MooJaa, Keong Saik Road. My own Moojaa (Thai slang for 'my lovely pig') S dropped me off for the tasting so that he wouldn't feel obliged to finish the food that i waste.

According to my wonderful dinner companions who seem to have more experience with the Thai (Club) Food scene (heh), Moo Ka Ta, "Pork Skillet" in Thai, has been catching on in Singapore. This wonderful combination of both hot pot and barbecue is essentially the reverse pan of the typical Seoul Garden sorta steamboat bbq. I couldn't place an image to it until the pot was served, that's when i realized i had this in Cambodia.
Moo Ka Ta is not a typical Thai thingy as it developed along the border cities. The soup is poured into the shallow trough for the steamboat while the grill dome is for the barbecue. The slits allows smoke from the Binchotan Japanese charcoal to perfume the meat from underneath and apparently it is less acidic than the generic black charcoal. 

It was only during this tasting that i realized there's a purpose for this design; the essence (aka fats and oil) of the meat would trickle into the soup to give it that smoky and flavorful taste at the end of the meal. 
A built in ventilation system prevent you from stinking at the end of your meal. Perfect. I hate smelling like bbq food.
Love the Chai Yan (thai milk tea) which is strong (it kept me up all night). It also has a bit of that rose syrup taste to give it that unique flavor.
The fried fish skin isn't as scary as it looks or sounds. It's just a cracker in fact. Dip it into the lovely homemade dipping sauce made from 31 different ingredients, painstakingly prepared through 6h of non stop stirring over the pot. Both the Spicy BBQ and Sweet Sour Seafood sauce were fabulous.
Set Moo or Set Gai (Pork or Chicken, $39.90/set) comes with quality seafood and MSG free marinated meats that are freshly prepared every morning. The set includes fish/pork balls, squid, luncheon meatm cheese hot dog, Hokkaido scallops, Surimi crab sticks, prawns and squid alongside cheese tofu and marinated meats. The kang kong, golden mushroom, tang hoon (rice vermicelli) and cabbage are also included.
Add on the Kurobuta Pork and Angus Beef for more of that meat! The special Cheese Balls are also fantastic. We were warned to be careful when we bite into the balls as the cheddar has been known to squirt. Shortly after Shaun warned us, we witnessed for ourselves the range this ammo can achieve, a good 1m and the piping hot cheese sauce landed on Shaun. Hilarious (not for him of course).
Another trick i've learnt is to throw in the glass noodles (tang hoon) into the soup at the end of the session so that it'll absorb all that umami goodness from the meats. 

In all, a satisfying meal. MooJaa also does other Thai dishes like Green Curry Chicken, Pineapple Fried Rice and Basil Leaf Pork. I do enjoy the smoke free and airconditioned venue, as well as the lack thereof Thai disco club crowd. It can be expected you will not see me at Golden Mile. You could be nice and bring the Thai food to me please. MooJaa and Nakhon are enough to sustain me for now. 

MooJaa25 Keong Saik Road Singapore 089132
Tel: +65 6526 4780
Lunch (Weekdays): 11am - 2pm
Dinner (Daily): 5pm - 11pm
I love Mexican and Spanish food. While the Spanish food scene has been flourishing with all the haute tapas bars (think Esquina, Foodbar Dada, Catalunya), Mexican kinda has remained the way it is, the go to cousin for comfort food. Sadly, it has been hard to find chimichangas on our sunny island. Give me my salsa, guacamole and nacho chips with chili con carne!

I got really interested in El Toro after hearing my dear friend Alexis rave about it on her blog. Now, El Toro is an interesting place because it serves halal Latin American food. Sorry my porky friends! I'm a beefy one so it doesn't matter.
It's located next to Saveur along Purvis Street. Give this a shot if you are too famished to wait in line for French. 
Love the complimentary tortilla chips with their salsa. It's not too spicy and really addictive. We asked for seconds of the sauce!
A cold rainy day calls for the Brazilian Nutty Pumpkin Soup with Roasted Garlic ($4 for cup, $6 for bowl). I believe the pumpkin is pureed with chicken stock. I like that it's not overly creamy and you can still taste the grainy pumpkin in it. Pine nuts are thrown in to give it that nuttiness and crunch. The bowl is more than enough for sharing between 2. We didn't finish this.
For variety, we ordered the Plato Mixto for Two ($16)- 6pcs of mini cheese quesadillas, 4pcs el toro's special bbq wings and 2pcs jalapeno poppers. S loves the cheese quesadillas but i thought it to be too plain. Some meat would be nice. Then again, i'm too much of a carnivore. The wings are meh but the cheese stuffed jalapeno poppers are really interesting with the spicy vinegar kick.

If i had my way, i would have ordered the House Special Nachos Grande ($14), which is my perfect idea of a nachos with chili con carne. Or the Special Hard Shell Tacos ($10), similar to a chimichanga but with the stuffing served on the corn taco shell.
The Cuban Chimichanga ($16 with chicken, $18 with beef) was what i went to El Toro for. As you can see, it's fully stuffed with the minced Beef. This is the ultimate comfort junk food. The meat is really juicy and well flavored. I can't believe i'm saying this but there's a little too much meat. The juices from the meat made the fried tortilla soggy and i didn't get that flaky and buttery texture that i so crave. A little more of that cheese would be awesome too. Nice dish nonetheless.

Is El Toro good? Sure it is. I would come here instead of Margaritas anytime (terrible service and expensive food that is mediocre). I shall make it my mission to review all the Mexican restaurants in Singapore. Watch this space!

El Toro
7 Purvis Street, #01-01
Singapore 188586
Tel: +65 6887 4787
Weekday lunch: 11.30am -2.30pm
Dinner: Mon-Thu 6pm - 10pm | Fri 5pm - 8pm | Sat 6pm -11pm
Sunday: 11.30am - 10.30pm

2012 has been a good year for me. It's been a year since i started this blog and i'm grateful for all the people i've met and all the opportunities that have come my way. So thank you yall! 2012 was the best year of eating and traveling for me. I doubt it could be trumped once i start on my new job. A recount of all the places i visited this year: Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok (check out my best view in BKK post), Genting (with the Nuffies), Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Bali (luxing at Alilas Soori), Hong Kong, Kyoto and Osaka.  

So, to end off my year with a big bang, i'm off The Big Apple and Cuba. Ta da!! The 2 cannot be more opposite. 2 seasons, 2 vastly different countries, a mishmash of cultures, worlds apart in technological link up (oh how will i survive Cuba without Internet) among a million other things.
Credits: Whatyourbucketlist
I cannot tell you how hard it was for this trip to materialize. There was little information from this region's travelers (ICA tells me few Singaporeans go to Cuba) and the troublesome VISA application (we don't have a Cuban embassy in Singapore). But the stars aligned for us and now it's one more place off my bucket list of places to go before i die! :))
I'll be backpacking for the first time in my life and taking the public transport from city to city in Cuba. (Only in Cuba. My Balenciaga and BaoBao will be put to good use in NYC). We usually drive but it's not advised due to the poor road conditions. Anyway, don't expect your regular backpacking with me, I believe i have a planned outfit for every day of the 2 weeks that i'll be there. Heh. That will definitely be a funny story to tell (probably from S's point) so watch this space. 
Hit me with all the passionate salsa dancing, neat Cuban rum and refreshing mojitos and Cuban cigar. I'm ready for it. 

If Cuba were all torture (i highly doubt that), the reward of the Upper East Side (no less) and Fifth Avenue would certainly cheer me up come Christmas. That's when i would unleash the starving monster in me and visit all the fabulous restaurants in New York City. They include Daniel, Momofuku, Le Bernardin, Stanton Social, Balthazar and Babbo among the many others that i'm gonna check out. You guys will be in for a treat.

Don't worry, the blog won't be dead. I've been working very hard to schedule regular posts over the next 3 weeks so you guys won't starve while i'm gone. 

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram or Facebook to get instant updates from the US of A. 

See you folks! And have a Merry Holidays!


I suppose by now everyone has heard of IKYU (Tiong Bahru) by now. It's a high end Japanese dining joint opened by Executive Chef Takuma Seki, former chef-de Cuisine of Hide Yamamoto at Marina Bay Sands. And it is the only Japanese restaurant in the hippie Yong Siak coffee zone in Singapore.
Well, honestly speaking, i don't think it's the best location for a Japanese joint. Think about it. Tiong Bahru is mostly a brunch and coffee enclave (can't you blame me for thinking that?) with 40 Hands, Drips, Open Door Policy, Tiong Bahru Bakery, Poteato and more.. it makes me wonder if a Japanese restaurant would work in the area.  

The interior is a futuristic industrial jungle made with stunning pieces of brass, bronze and concrete. Definitely an atypical Japanese restaurant and i'm not quite sure how it relates to fine dining or the Zen that IKYU tries to achieve. It's not that i don't like the decor, it's just that i feel it works better for an izakaya bar instead.

Food wise, the prices are on the high side as IKYU takes pride in using quality ingredients. The fish is flown in three times a week from Tsukiji and so, sashimi prices start from $15.50 for 5pcs of Salmon/Squid/Engawa to $68.50 for 5pcs of Blue Fin Otoro tuna. Sadly, the fish didn't come close to the Tsukiji sort that i've had.

The lunch menu on the other hand is a lot more affordable ($25/35) and i'm glad i tried this before even considering their ala carte menu. 4 sets are available and each comes with appetizer, salad, soup and dessert. Pardon the bad quality pictures as it was a spontaneous lunch and the lighting is not the most ideal for food photography.
I enjoyed the crab meat appetizer that was served that day. Sweet and juicy shredded crab meat with some sesame dressing.
The IKYU sushi set ($35), assorted sushi 6 pieces and roll, is the most pricy of the lot because of the expensive fish from Tsukiji. If you have eaten at Tsukiji before, these sushi are like half the size of what you get there. I was perhaps 50% filled after eating this and i don't consider myself to be the biggest eater around (just look at my size). I found the fish to be on the dry side as well.
S had the IKYU Chirashi set ($25) which is the same Bara chirashi on the menu ($28 ala carte). Little cubes of sashimi?! You've got to be kidding me. The only other place that i see cubed sashimi is at Sushi Tei and they serve it on their salads. Honestly there are way better chirashi-dons around and i would direct you to my favorites- Chikuwatei and Tomo Izakaya. They give you fresh, chunky, sliced sashimi. Not diced ones.
I have no idea what to make of this orange milk pudding that they served us for desserts.

Perhaps the seven-course omakase menu ($128) would provide you with a better idea of the quality of the food served at IKYU, but honestly, i would rather take the money somewhere that can actually fill me up. IKYU is just average to me. I think i would be happier eating at Sushi Tei in fact. Maybe i'm biased; a hungry girl is an angry one. It makes me hungry just thinking about this one. :/

Would IKYU work for the Tiong Bahru crowd? I can't speak for the others but it's not my cup of coffee. Pop over to the other bakeries for your brunch instead.

5 Yong Siak Street, Singapore 168650 
Tel: +65 6223 9003
Daily: 11.30am – 3pm, 6pm – 10.30pm
Very often, Singaporeans associate areas/hoods of Sg with food/famous dishes/landmarks (of food again). When i think Jalan Besar, i think of the Eminent Plaza hawker center (even though i don't frequent it) and chinese food. However, recent development has seen the addition of cooler-than-thee coffee place Chye Seng Huat Hardware and boutique hotel Kam Leng and its resident restaurant Suprette
Kam Leng Hotel was first established in 1927 by a mysterious owner whose identity remains unknown till today and was recently reopened at the colorful Jalan Besar road. I very much dig the old school raw remodeled shophouse feel to the place and the room rates are very reasonable (from $99/night onwards). I've bookmarked this for a staycation. :)
Executive Queen Room (Credits: Kam Leng Hotel)
The restaurant-bar-cafe Suprette is quite the perfect choice for a light meal even if you are not staying at the hotel. The small and cosy set up has a really lean menu (5 mains for lunch/dinner) but i like that the dishes don't overlap in terms of similarity in taste/textures.
The Suprette Burger ($19) is a medium rare Beef patty orgasm. Well marinated and juicy with that slightly charred exterior, each bite was spilling with the essence of the meat. Garlic lovers would adore this burger but it may be slightly (just a lil) overpowering for others. Love the buttery crisp toasted sesame bun which really held the burger together nicely and tasted good even on its own. 
It's quite a sizable burger as evident from the picture above (thanks to sue for being my model). If the regular burger is not enough for you, top it with more cheese, bacon, mushrooms or avocado for $3 each or opt for the decadent foie gras for $12. The pile of shoestring fries will fill you up for sure even if the burger doesn't. I only wish there to be truffle fries though. 
I chose the Chicken Pot Pie ($14), a glorious 7-8inch golden pastry sun. The buttery and flaky sheet envelops the creamy gravy of carrots, peas, potatoes and chicken that is held in the shallow iron pan. This has got to be the best Pot Pie i've had in ages. I think it's better than M Hotel's pot pie because it's not too creamy and heavy. 

If you are a cheese lover, the Welsh Rabbit aka Cheese on toast ($13) would be your poison. It is plastered with a good 1.5cm of Gruyere cheese and the works and then toasted. The stinkiness and saltiness of the strong tasting cheese would knock you over (in the good way). The toast (2 slices) may look depressing next to the humongous burger but it is extremely filling. We liked the homemade bbq sauce baked beans (very refreshing) that is served with the toast as well.

We didn't get a chance to try the breakfast brunch offerings as it is served till 1030 on weekdays (but till later on weekends). The ricotta pancakes sound damn faboosh to me. Give it a shot and let me know if it's good! Dinner is similar to lunch and you could have the hangar steak and marrow for a more substantial something.
383 Jalan Besar, Singapore 209001
Tel: +65 6298 8962
Mon - Thu, Sun: 7.30am - 11.30pm
Fri - Sat: 7am - 2am