Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

I was just a little disappointed with this year's birthday celebration(s) because the new job doesn't allow me to spend the entire week celebrating and not go to work. Boo! Also, the jetlag caused both S and i to be yawning throughout my birthday dinner at Rakuichi (read review here) and then miss our Gold Class movie. To make up for the underwhelming celebrations, S decided to surprise me with an overwhelmingly beautiful treat at Jaan, Swissotel The Stamford, Singapore
He gave me no clue other than telling me to be my pretty self. Boys, please be a little more specific even if you wanna spring your date a surprise. Dress code for one is very important. I had to tease the details out of him and he was very careful not to let the cat out of the bag knowing how much of a PI i am. 

I'm glad i didn't ask too much, if not we would have missed this beautiful sight. My very first sunset in Singapore, from the top, looking down on one of the most beautiful sight of Singapore. I could stand there and watch this forever but my tummy was protesting by then. 
Into the dining room we went and we were greeted by the stunning Murano crystal and silver free-form chandelier that spans the entire length of the ceiling. The view from Jaan's side is not as spectacular as Equinox's though i'm sure the food is more stellar. 
Our meal is designed by Chef de Cuisin Julien Royer, a young chef who brings with him the unique taste of Cantal, Auvergne, France. Growing up on a farm developed in him a great appreciation of pure and organic ingredients and 'simplicity' (so he says) in his dishes. Seasonal ingredients are used to ensure freshness and thus the flavors will be different each quarter you visit. Here is our 7 course Winter Prestige Menu.
Amuse Bouche- Chestnut and Lentil Hummus with cracker. Very interesting sweetness with a little of that spice from the lentils. 
Amuse Bouche- On the left, some fried cheese balls with sesame, fried chicken skin and the third a foie gras pate on cracker with a jelly broth (if i didn't get that wrong).
My stomach was starting to fill up a little and we are still on the Amuse Bouche! This is some soup, kinda Japanese style bonito soup, served with some bisque foam and rice pops and mushrooms (i think it's truffles).
Our first course: Wild Caught Langoustine and Avocado Canneloni, served on top of a light crustacean jelly, ikura and Oscietra Caviar. This is a light seafood dish which is served cold. I like how the jelly is bisque infused. Needless to say i polished every bit of this. 
2nd Course is one of my favorite dishes from Jaan. One of their signatures too. The 55' Rosemary Smoked Organic Egg with smoked rattes, autumn mushrooms and chorizo iberico. Perfect breakfast food that i would eat any time of the day. The smoked rosemary reminded me of our previous experience at Mikuni (read it here).
Third Course: Roasted Hokkaido Scallop, Viennoise, Musquee Pumpkin, in Beurre Noisette (a brown butter sauce that tastes nutty). Call me traditional but i thought there was a little too much done to the scallop ie the crumbly top. This dish was a little sweet for my liking but it's good nonetheless.
It's my first time having a Foie Gras done in a Chinese manner. This Grilled Landes Foie Gras in Autumn Broth is one of my least liked dishes at Jaan. Perhaps Julien wanted to add a touch of Asian to this traditionally french ingredient but that touch of the broth and chinese vegetables killed the dish for me. The liver had lost its emulsification after being soaked in the soup. I thought it was a waste of a good piece of liver. :/
After the Confit Atlantic Turbot Tournedos- the fillet mignon of the turbot was served, i concluded that Julien likes the color orange and he also likes it in the puree form. He probably also has a sweet tooth as the dishes tended to be a little sweet. The crystal clear oily fish was served with char-grilled leeks, Hokkaido corn, baby crayfish and Jus Dolce Forte. Nicely executed but not memorable. 
My phobia of pigeon was caused by Hibiscus in London, which served me a pigeon that looked and tasted like road kill. The only pigeon i can take is the Hong Kong roasted sort. The Hay Roasted Bresse Pigeon breast with confit leg by Julien was a whole lot better than Hibiscus' but it's hard to wipe that taste and texture out from my mind. If you are afraid of the gaminess, perhaps ask for something more well done. I enjoyed the organic beetroot, barley, Jus D'abats a lot better than the meat. 
Me with my scary pigeon. Gulps.
Selection of fine cheese with condiments would be served with a supplement of $35. I love the idea of cheese as part of my meal but somehow degustation menus always stuff me too full and i always have to give this a miss since S wouldn't finish it for me. :(
Desserts was the 4th Generation of Choconuts, a staple at Jaan but it is currently on its version 4. Sable Breton, textures of white, milk and dark chocolate in biscuit, crumble, aerated, creamed, meringue, flakes and ice cream form. There was also a surprise with those crackly pops in the chocolate bits. I thought my mind was playing tricks at first.. but..
The same thing appeared in the Petit Fours. A passion fruit sorbet served with crackly pops! It's like Julien's way of owning up to his little trick in the earlier course. Lovely chocolate bites here. Great sweet ending to our lovely meal. 

There are about 3 menus to pick from and the minimum is a 5 course for dinner. I kinda regretted not doing that as there is some wagyu or beef short ribs and you know how i love my red meats (not pigeon). So yea. Jaan, great place for the special occasion. 

Jaan
Level 70, Equinox Complex, Swissôtel The Stamford
Tel: +65 9199 9008
Monday - Saturday: 12 - 2pm; 7 - 10pm
Closed on Sunday and PH, dinner is available daily except PH.

When i was younger, i never understood why people said ice cream is unhealthy. How can something made of milk be, when it is an essential part of our daily calcium intake? Well, i am still in denial even after knowing it's made from fatty cream but now, i've found an ice cream parlor that actually makes its ice cream from fresh milk and that is 320 Below Nitro Cream Cafe. They also happen to be the first ice cream cafe to freeze its ice cream using nitrogen
This special cafe doesn't have the usual tubs of ice cream on display and there's no tasting of the flavors. This is because all the ice cream are made fresh on the spot, right in front of you. It may take a while but there're absolutely no emulsifiers, stabilizers or preservatives used at all. 

So in goes the fresh and natural ingredients AND the milk into the colorful home mixers. Then blasts the nitrogen gas which quick freezes the mixture at -320.4 Fahrenheit. The quick freeze process ensures there is no build up of ice crystals and hence the end mixture is a smooth and molecular gastronomy sorta melt. One moment it's there, and the next it's gone, leaving only a light trace of the flavors once present. There is none of that heavy and oily aftertaste and it feels like you can go on eating tubs after tubs after tubs..
The flavors are rather extensive as you can tell from the board. The red colored ones are flavors that could be made in the yogurt or sorbet form. The level of sweet is really dependent on the natural flavors of the ingredient so some must taste a little more bland than others.
Tiamaria Coffee (left) and Rum & Raisin (right)
You could go for the regular plain ice cream flavors or make your own creation with the various toppings.
My current favorite is the Christmas Horklicks. They should keep this on the menu. If not, just get the Horlicks flavor and add in honeycomb and oreo. Fantastic combination.
Great place to bring the kids. You can just leave them to their own devices, literally. iPhones and iPads have this amazing ability to shut kids up and turn them into potatoes. Awesome possum.

They also do tubs and delivery! Don't say i never share. ;)

320 Below Nitro Cream Cafe
33 Mackenzie Road, Singapore 228686
Mon - Thu, Sun: 1 - 10pm
Fri - Sat: 1 - 11pm

[Media Invite + Giveaway]

I'm a Matcha fan. In fact, it's the first thing i drink every morning and then throughout the day. How do you find a drink that improves metabolism, boosts energy, kills cravings and provides many health benefits as well? Now you can grab good matcha on the go because the No. 1 Japanese Cafe Nana's Green Tea has set up shop in Plaza Singapura to serve you all the delicious versions of the green drink. 
This is the first Nana’s Green Tea Café outlet outside of Japan. Lucky us! The zen decor is a modern twist on the traditional tea ceremony space. Even though the space is very open, the use of the suspended wooden frames as table setting cleverly creates a private environment for the diners.
Matcha Shiratama Float ($9) and Matcha Soft Cream Latte ($8)
All green tea leaves served in the Café are imported from Kyoto only, which is the most famous production center of Matcha. I love the intense fragrance of the green tea latte and how the aroma lingers on the tongue after a long sip. Best still, top it up with Matcha ice cream for a happy buzz. 

For the fat conscious, there's the thin version (no milk and sugar). Or go for the Hoji-Cha variation, a roasted green tea that has a smoky, slightly caramelised flavor. A whole range of hot japanese tea is also available.
Other than the teas and desserts, Nana also provides a substantial food menu, the largest among all the Nana outlets. Salmon Carpaccio ($8.80) is one of my favs here. Just look at those thick buttery slabs drizzled with a light sesame and citrus dressing. It's really more sashimi than carpaccio. 
From the hot section, I enjoyed the Locomoko Don ($15.80). This is a juicy and tender Japanese Hamburg over Japanese rice. Absolutely hearty and well flavored. The tomato bbq sauce is a little on the sharp side but overall it is very appetizing. 
Something lighter would be the Mushi-Dori Goma Dare Udon ($13.80). I adore GOOD cold udon with the dipping sauce because it's refreshing and i always feel healthy eating it (even though it's pure carbs). This version is akin to a Japanese salad, tossed with Nana's special sesame sauce and topped with steamed chicken fillet. A little bland but fragrant nonetheless.
Something that is quite Singaporean is the Ebi Chili Don which tasted like ko lo yok prawns ($14.80). Give the sushi rolls a miss for now. Interesting use of cream cheese in the Salmon and Avocado roll but they really need to perfect the recipe of the rice first. 
Save some room for the Matcha Shiratama Parfait ($11.80). Or have this as a meal replacement. This Matcha Tower of Happiness has a layer of kanten jelly and matcha syrup at the bottom; soft serve ice cream, corn flakes in the middle, and garnished with red bean paste, matcha ice cream mochi, whipped cream and finally a drizzle of matcha syrup. Not a fan of the Hoji-cha version as the cake in the parfait was too dry and the taste bland.

[Facebook Giveaway!]
Nanaʼs Green Tea Café is now offering weekday lunch set (11am- 2.30pm) featuring any drink of your choice (below $8) and a main course of your choice for $13.90. Signature dishes like Salmon Don, Locomoko Don and Mushi-Dori Goma Dare Udon will also be available. 

As part of my Facebook Giveaway, I will be giving away 5 complimentary lunch set vouchers.

Now this is what you have to do
1. Visit my facebook page (click!)
2. On my Nana Green Tea Post: Tell me what's your favourite matcha drinks/dessert
3. Share the post with your friends! 
4. Like Nana's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/nanasgreentea

I will be picking 5 lucky winners on the 31 Jan 10pm

Head on over now!

Nana's Green Tea Cafe
The Atrium, @ Orchard, Plaza Singapura,
60B Orchard Road #03-80/82 
Tel: +65 6684 4312
Daily: 11am - 10pm 

What do you do when you can't find a good enough All American Burger to satisfy your craving? Most of us would continue our search but boss cum chef of Omakase Burger was too impatient for that so he made his own. 
His 1.5 year experimentation culminated in THE ONE Patty; made from a blend of 4 USDA Choice Grade premium cut beef, expertly grilled to maintain the pinkness and juiciness, topped with a secret sauce made from 13 ingredients, all sandwiched between 2 yellow colored Japanese artisanal bun.   

So ST has called it the King. 8 days said it's the best. Now here's my skinny on the fat burger.
Deluxe Cheeseburger with Sweet Potato Fries
The basic burger is the Omakase Cheeseburger ($13.90). All the patties are ground, blended and hand-formed daily to ensure the freshness. The disformity leads to certain charred bits and extra smokiness but the meat is extremely juicy. The other variations are just the different toppings so it's up to your preference. Deluxe comes with grilled onions and mushrooms ($15.90). There's Bacon as well. Or have all of them in the Ultimate Cheeseburger ($17.50)

I had the Deluxe Cheeseburger. My medium rare patty was oozing so much jus the bun became soaking wet and liquid was flowing freely down my hands. Perhaps it was the combination of the toppings but i thought my burger was on the bland side. Should have stuck to my all time fave bacon cheeseburger. But the bun. OH THE BUN. Absolutely buttery and fragrant. I love how it compresses and molds to my fingers and the patty (till it soaked up all the essence). Fantastic bread. 
Make any burger a double with an additional $5.90. I would certainly do that with the Bacon Cheeseburger ($15.90) next time round. Double the cheese, double the American bacon smoked in natural hard wood, double the happiness level. Now how about doubling the buns?
The prices are for the a la carte burger but i'd suggest you top it up to a meal for an additional $5.90. Somehow i wasn't quite satisfied with the burger alone. Get a regular sized French Fries and Soft Drink with the full meal. Upgrade to any side or drink and top up the difference. The Sweet Potato Fries is a must have and so is the homemade lemonade. The sweet potato fries remained rather crispy even towards the end of the meal. It kinda doubled up as a dessert as well. Very nice starchy texture. 
Other than the regular fries, there's also the Cheese Fries ($5.90/6.90) and Truffle Fries ($6.90/7.90). On the special menu was the Poutine with grilled mushrooms and onions with cheese crumble. I also spotted a Port wine burger.

Another side to get is the Onion Rings ($4.90). Nice thick crispy batter on the outside and stringy/semi soft onion on the inside. Dip into special sauces like Truffle Mayo, Wasabi Mayo for an addition dollar.

So how's Omakase? Well i think it's kinda over hyped. The burgers are decent but it's not like out of this world. Plus the price is on the high side considering it's self service and all. I much preferred Roadhouse and Suprette. They have better ambience and service too. 

So which is your favorite burger joint?

Omakase Burger
200 Turf Club Road, The Grandstand #01-05
Tel: +65 6763 2698
Mon- Thu: 11.30am- 3,30pm; 5- 9.30pm
Fri- Sun: 11am - 10pm
[Media Invite]

There's nothing like pampering oneself at a luxury hotel. Every whims and fancy would have been thought of and catered to so that one could go into vegetation and relax comfortably. The St. Regis provides all that customized service and attention with panache, as evidenced by accolades heaped on by many renowned publications around the world. The same standards apply to the restaurants as well and i was fortunate to experience what fine Cantonese dining means at the award winning Yan Ting. 
This Chinese New Year, if you prefer a less raucous reunion celebration and one with more bespoke fineness, Yan Ting would purrrfect. The contemporary interior provides an intimate space for dining, though the intimacy is more so between the individual diner and their food. That said, you could book one of the 3 private rooms and be your boisterous self. The private rooms accommodate 8-20 pax with a minimum spending, which would be met if you order the set menu.

We had a special 7 course set designed to give us a preview of the 10 CNY set menus that Yan Ting has this Snake year. Think of this as a best of dishes list. Now, feast on the freshest, premium and decadent ingredients.
Yu Sheng is a must have dish for CNY. Every component has its own significance and mostly related to wealth and luck. Yan Ting has switched the radish for snow pear to give the dish its subtle sweetness. I like that the sauce is lot less sweet than the usual Yu Sheng because pomelo juice is added. Abalone and Salmon are also included in this dish.
Here comes the fun part of tossing the dish around with our long chopsticks. Whee! The higher you 'pull' the dish, the more good luck you get in the year. Great excuse to play with food!
Pun Choy is a classic CNY dish. This casserole pot dish came about when villagers offered the best ingredient they have in their home for sharing during the festive season in the old days. All the contributed ingredients would then be placed, layer upon layer, with the blandest ingredient (typically the vegetables) at the bottom and the meat on top. The end result would be a rich and flavorful stew that is delicious and satisfying.

Yan Ting's Pun Choy is the luxe version with abalone, dried scallops, dace fish, pork belly, fish maw, prawns, roasted duck and soya sauce chicken, layered on a bed of white radish and cabbage. This is no doubt one of my favorite dishes of the night. You could also take this away for reunion dinner at home. Each takeaway order receives a complimentary Salmon “Yu Sheng” with Fish Roe, and Fried Glutinous Rice with Preserved Meat, all stellar dishes. This is a great leftover dish because the flavors are more intense overnight and the ingredients more tender. Definitely my favorite leftover CNY dish. :)
The Steamed Sea Perch Fillet with Special Coral Sauce is minimally flavored to allow diners a clear taste of this premium ingredient. It's so premium that only top Chinese restaurants serve this fish. This deep sea fish is more expensive than cod fish and richer in omega 3 content. Definitely not something that you can get at the supermarket. The taste and texture of the sea perch is very delicate and doesn't taste as oily and heavy as cod. This is great for health conscious folks. 
The King Prawn with Plum Sauce is a masterpiece of art, so much that i didn't know what to do with it after it was served. The size is that of a mini lobster but Chef has managed to cook the meat to the right amount of crunchiness while maintaining the freshness of the crustacean. I thought there was a little too much sauce on this one and it kind of overwhelms the taste of the meat. 
As compared to the rest of the dishes, the Beef Brisket Stew pales in comparison. I would expect the meat to be fork-tender but it was a little tougher than that. The sauce however was perfectly crafted and i enjoyed the radish that has been infused with the essence of the sauce.
Till that point in the dinner, I had been sampling all the dishes in an effort not to overeat. But when the Wok Fried Glutinous rice with Wind Dried Sausages was served, i finished every single grain. The dish is very simple but it tastes like home, very heart (and tummy) warming. I guess i tasted the effort Chef put into bringing in the special wind dried Chinese sausages from Hong Kong.

Our sweet ending was the Chilled Black Glutinous Rice served with Ice Cream with Crispy Glutinous Rice Cake. It sounds like a heavy dish but it isn't. The fried nian gao is the orange colored sort and is less sweet than the brown one. We suspect that the smooth vanilla ice cream is from the Italian restaurant and it went really nicely with the black dessert.

The Set Lunch and Dinner Menus are priced $98 to $328++ per pax, with a minimum of 2 guests. There is also an 8 course Vegetarian set menu at $108++ per pax. Other than set menus, there is also a special á la carte menu and some dishes are also available for takeaway from now till 24th Feb 2013.

Takeaways include Yan Ting’s Signature Roasted Suckling Pig, Roasted Duck, Roasted Chicken with Garlic Sauce, and Braised Prosperity Pork Knuckle. Prosperity cakes and new year snacks and hampers also available.
A special cocktail, Red Slangur, has also been created by The St. Regis Singapore mixologists to usher in the Snake year. Doesn't the lime peel twist resembling a water snake swimming in the red hues of the festive drink? This cocktail contains Bombay Sapphire, Lustau Manzanilla, Schweppes and Monin Grenadine, and is spicy, citrusy and refreshing all at once.

Here's wishing everyone an early Prosperous Chinese New Year! This year i'm gonna take a break from the CNY visiting and heading Down Under. Hope you guys have fun!

Yan Ting
29 Tanglin Road, The St. Regis, Upper Level 1, Singapore
Tel: +65 6506 6866
Lunch: 11.45am -2.30pm
Dinner: 6.30pm -10.30pm





[Media Invite]

I love meat and i love them BBQed. When i was holidaying in Korea 2 years back, the frequency at which i wanted to eat Galbi was driving S nuts (he thinks it's too oily). I don't even get to eat much of that in Singapore. BOO. So imagine the excitment when i was invited to Bornga at The Star Vista. Now pile me with the Woo Samgyup till i go into a meat coma!
A little more on Bornga- it is the brainchild of Jong Won Paik, one of Korea’s most successful and renowned celebrity chefs. Since 2002, it has grown steadily into a BBQ chain that is popular not only in Kimchi land but also in China, US and Indonesia. How did Bornga win so many hearts? Well.. read on.
With the start of each meal at Bornga, or any decent Korean restaurant, diners would be greeted with a slew of Banchan (small plates). The dishes vary from day to day, and each restaurant would have their own signatures. These are refillable too. My favorites are the marinated spinach, anchovies, potato salad and omelette.

Bornga serves 3 types of kimchi- the regular, water kimchi and radish kimchi. Each has its own unique flavor and they are all made in house. I quite enjoyed the light sweetness in the refreshing shredded radish kimchi. The looooong tray of raw vegetables on the left is served, to diners on the patented design tray, with any BBQ meat order. 
Just look at the size of each piece of veggie! It doesn't matter if you're eating alone because you'll still get the whole deal! That certainly helps with the guilt of eating BBQ meat. It's practically health food. ;) 
Many Korean BBQ serves Bulgogi, which is a sweet marinated meat (pork or beef typically). I'm not a huge fan of the high sugar content of this dark colored marinate. Bornga suits my taste because they offer Ggot Sal, an unmarinated prime cut Australian beef boneless ribs ($38). Saeng Galbi, another tender prime cut beef is also served without all that seasoning. This allows the natural flavors of the meat to be enjoyed. Eat it simply, or add some sesame and pepper seasoning and then stuff the entire veg-beef parcel into your welcoming mouth. 
If you prefer a little more flavor, go for the signature Woo Samgyup, a thinly sliced US beef shortplate with Bornga's special sauce ($22). This recipe is patented by Chef Paik and no one knows what's in it. The sauce is flown in from Korea regularly and the recipe secretly guarded. We only know that there are fruits in it.

The sauce is only poured on the meat shortly before serving to maintain the meat's natural color. Due to the thin slices, the meat absorbs the flavors very quickly. I like that the mild sweetness, which is unlike the typical cloying bulgogi.
Here's sharing the Bornga way of eating the Woo Samgyup. 1. Put the scallions onto the grilled meat 2. Roll them up in the meat 3. Dip into the patented Woo Samgyup sauce (top left) 4. Wrap the parcel up in the lettuce 4. Open your dinosaur mouth and EAT. The scallions lift the taste of the meat and thus there isn't any heaviness even after eating a lot of meat packages. Heh.
If you prefer a sweeter and more substantial meat, go for the Tteokgalbi, a grilled ground rib meat patty mixed with a soy sauce seasoning ($20). If Bornga is going the fast food way, i highly recommend that this patty be made into a burger. It would be 2 patties as the 'bun' and then vegetables in between. Idea?? :)
For those who can't do without their carbs, the Chadol Duenjang Jjigae is a signature dish. This is a traditional Korean soybean paste stew with beef ($16). The stew is reduced over the table top stove and then made into a bimbimbap after mixing the rice and vegetables in.
The result? A rich and flavorful bowl of rice a la mui fan style. Love the spicy kick in this one. 
If the meat is getting to you, i would highly recommend the Naeng Myun, buckwheat noodles in an icy beef broth ($15). The thinner than usual buckwheat noodles are chewy but still easy on the jaws. I love the light beef broth with the snow pears. I think the table was shocked when i said that this dish helps to whet the appetite, considering how we were at our last dish and it was almost bed time. :P
To end it all, the Omija (five flavored tea) is served to all guests after their meal to cleanse their palate. This tea supposedly has cleansing and beautifying properties. I took home a pitcher. Kidding.
I enjoyed my Bornga experience very much. The environment and ambience is very comfortable for a meal with family and friends. Noted that there isn't much smokiness in the indoor area. I would say sit outdoors if the weather is cool.

Bornga will also be opening a second outlet in Vivo City some time this year so keep a look out.

Thanks to FoodNews and Bornga for this invitation.

BORNGA
1 Vista Exchange Green #02-24, The Star Vista
Tel: +65 6694 4696
Daily: 11.30am - 10pm