Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

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I'm a fan of Chef Vincent Teng even before Skyve Wine Bistro was established at Winstedt Road. I fell in love with his European fare and that to-die-for Duck Confit when i first tasted it at Table 66. My duty as a food blogger has made it hard for me to visit any particular restaurant on a regular basis but Skyve is gonna be another exception (there aren't many) for me. 
Sous vide is the focus at Skyve Wine Bistro, as it was at Table 66. With the larger kitchen, Chef Vincent has taken the sous vide technique to a higher level and practically every item was done this way for their updated menu. If you don't get what the rave is all about sous vide, you should really give it a try at Skyve because it's fantastic. Sous vide enhances the natural flavors of the ingredients and you can really taste the goodness of each cow, lamb, fish or vegetable. S claimed that i was gushing non-stop after my meal. Perhaps i was/am still gushing but that's what good food do. 
Following the awesomest olive bread that was served (i was too shy to ask for seconds), we had the cold Crab & Tomato Momotaro ($22) as the first starter. The confit of tomato momotaro from Japan is an intricate and harmonious combination of sweet and tangy. The chilled crab meat provided a tinge of saltiness from the sea and thai inspired basil pesto (with fish sauce) a taste of the garden. What's surprising was the icy yuzu sorbet that cooled and refreshed the palate.
If i were to give a description of the 64 deg Sous Vide Egg & Spaghettini ($18) on the menu, it would be 'The starter that you will NEVER wanna share". I'm just a little disappointed that they only serve this for dinner! Soft poached egg, spaghettini in truffle salsa, iberico ham, truffle hollandaise.. this is perfect breakfast food hello! The truffle taste was pretty strong on aroma but the taste was bland. However, if you mix the whole lot together, the saltiness of the Iberico ham will help to overcome that. Still.. this is my favorite dish.
Something a little more Asian was the Cereal Crusted Cod ($36).
The cereal and spice crust was similar to our chinese zi char style. The cod fish was slightly savory and i do love the oily fish which was accompanied by a soyu ginger vinaigrette. All the seasonal vegetables are sous vide as well and i love how tender and sweet they were despite the absence of seasoning.
When i first heard that we were gonna do a tempura of beef tongue, i was puzzled. Like seriously? Beef tongue? With all its chewiness? But that's the great thing about sous vide and its ability to break down all that sinew and proteins and that's how the beef tongue became.. Tofu. The other half of Tongue in Cheeks ($36) is a 6 hours sous vide wagyu beef cheeks that is soooo well done (not in the overcooked sense) it melts. Lovely lovely dish.
Now what i like better than the beef and fish was the Lamb Rack ($40), a lovely grilled marinated lamb rack served with a light curry spiced roasted pumpkin (da luuurve). The sauce is a little sweet and sour a la Korean style when eaten on its own. However, when accompanied with the mango and mint chutney, the dish took on a Mediterranean taste. Surprise surprise.
Desserts were pretty stellar. The Mango & Cheese Semifreddo ($12) wasn't the least heavy/gelat because of the frozen lime foam that tasted like a zingy yogurt. I'm glad that Chef Vincent shares my love for buttery and crumbly pastries because the sablee cookies that he insists on making himself were fabulous.

Inspired By Reds ($12) is an intense strawberry parfait served with sous vide strawberry in balsamic vinegar (werrrt), raspberry sorbet, flower tuile, dehydrated raspberry. I can go on eating dehydrated raspberries because the flavor was much more powerful than the fresh ones.
Skyve gave the typical Tiramisu ($12) a twist with this open presentation. The ladyfingers were soaked in STRONG coffee liqueur, piled with whipped and light mascarpone cream and icy kahlua granita. More crunchy cookie bits to give it more texture. I stopped myself from eating the display set for our blogging purposes. Chef Vincent made us petit portions so that we could enjoy all the dishes without stuffing ourselves silly. Such a sweet man. 
Me with Myfoodsirens, Chef Vincent and Alexis 
So yea.. Skyve is definitely my chill out place from now. It's great for a lazy brunch (which i will post up on the blog soon), a fun dinner with the girls or even for drinks with the pals. I do love the alfresco area on a breezy night. Live music also available every Wed and Friday. Now let's go skyving. ;)

Skyve Wine Bistro
10 Winstedt Road, Block E, #01-17, Singapore 227977
Tel: +65 6225 6690
Daily: 10am to 1am 

I've been exploring the off the beaten path eats along the Orchard hotel belt and it has been pretty enjoyable. The ambience is serene and peaceful and there is none of that jostling with the Orchard Road crowd. I recently dined at the Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre’s Tandoor North Indian Restaurant, which i didn't even know existed because it's hidden at the basement of the hotel, which is not even visible from Orchard Road.

This hidden gem is only mostly known to the Indian community and corporate diners looking for a posh yet cosy dining environment. The palace courtyard decor is complete with balcony-like windows and tranquil fountains. This will change come August 2013 as the restaurant undergo a contemporary facelift in June.  

In commemoration of their 28th year of operation, the restaurant is offering a 12-dish set menu (veg and non-veg) comprising of their all-time favourites. Available from 1 April to 31 May, the menu is affordably priced at $28 nett and will allow loyal customers and new ones to reminisce and sample their offerings. 
The sampler of appetizers in the Non Veg menu include Tandoori Aloo, Paneer Ka Soola, Mahi Rai (Sole fillet) and Murg Tikka (tandoori chicken). My favorite was surprisingly the starchy and smoky Aloo (potatoes) stuffed with dry fruits and Indian spices (i've a potato-cooked-indian-style phobia since my 1 month stint in Uttarakhand). The Sole Fillet was moist and flavored with yogurt, mustard seeds and lemon juice but i thought it was a tad salty. 
The Tandoori Chicken on the other hand was a little bland despite the spices. I'm not a fan of tandoori chicken because they tend to be a little dry but these cubes maintained their juiciness.

My liking for an Indian restaurant depends largely on how well they do their Butter Chicken. Tandoor did it well enough for me to ask for a second helping. The sauce was creamy and thick enough to be easily mopped up by the garlic naan though i would prefer something richer. The richness in the flavor has been toned down to suit the Asian palate with the generous use of tomato sauce, which tasted even stronger when the food is cold. I guess i'm not that Asian/Chinese when it comes to eating..
Other items for the main course include the Classic Mutton Curry, Gobhi Gajar, Bhindi Jaipuri (okra) and Yellow Moong lentils dhal. I especially loved the Spinach paneer. Gotta feed my Popeye biceps you know ;) Naans, Lachha Parantha and Tandoori Roti, as well as basmati rice are served along with the mains. The naans were a little tough and chewy while i prefer soft and fluffy texture.
The food is served by small portions but you can ask for seconds or thirds and fourths. For small eaters like me who love variety, this is a great way to dine. 
Dinner ended on a sweet note with a Cardamom flavored indian ice cream with pistachio and a milky cup of Masala Chai. I left Tandoor feeling a little nostalgic thinking about all that chai i had in India. Would certainly be interested to come back for the relaunch in August to taste their special degustation menu ($48) which will be updated and modernized. Head on down to taste their food before the closing in June. 

Tandoor North Indian Restaurant
Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre
Basement 1
Daily: 12 - 2.30pm; 7 - 10.30pm   

Clinton Street Bakery serves the BEST Breakfast in New York City. There I said it. Even though i haven't tried all the breakfast places in NYC but it about tops all the breakfasts that i have had in my entire life. That's gotta be something considering i do Breakfast-Breakfast-Breakfast-Breakfast-Breakfast for my meals. And NYC agrees with me, because practically everyone in the city was there queuing to get a table at this coveted bakery/cafe/bistro/restaurant.
Despite our best efforts to get there early, the starving and jet-lagged us (mainly S) were told the wait was 2-3 hours. Desperation called for some random breakfast around the corner (which turned out to be decent), just so we could have a taste of the best blueberry pancakes in NYC (crowned by New York Magazine twice) and more.
The wait and additional calories consumed prior were all worth it when i took that first bite into my Eggs Benedict (US$15). Perfectly poached cafe free organic eggs sat on top the maple cured ham and the signature toasted buttermilk biscuit and given a generous pour over of a creamy, cheesy and full bodied hollandaise sauce. This is THE orgasmic combination and i think we should only do Eggs Ben on Biscuits from now on.

It isn't the most traditional Eggs Benny but who cares? Clinton Street Bakery is part Jewish deli, some Mexican stop and the rest American take out, but the best qualities of them mixed together, as said by owner/chef Neil Kleinberg. It's that kind of hearty food that comforts and warms the tummy when one is exhausted and starved, just as we were that morning.
Great ingredients maketh a good meal and Clinton Street Bakery sources their products from organic and quality farms so that means cage free eggs and chickens, seasonal and local produce, as well as prime quality meats and high grade maple syrup.
Their Award winning pancakes also had Martha Steward singing their praises. Their Wild Maine Blueberry with warm maple butter ($14) are so recognizable i could identify it anywhere. Texture-wise, it's like biting into a slightly salted and buttery cloud dusted with snowy icing. And that warm maple butter is simply divine. This is an excellence case of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

And guess what?! The above mentioned items are served ALL DAY. YESSSS! Even for dinner. That's how good and popular they are. The other 2 breakfast items available all day include The Clinton St. Omelette ($14) and the Huevos Rancheros (Mexican breakfast tortilla, $14).
I guess i'll never do lunch or dinner at Clinton Street Bakery. I'm sure that they do some good food as well but nothing can trump breakfast. If you wanna do the other breakfast items, they are served daily from 8am to 4pm.

Clinton Street Bakery
4 Clinton Street (btw. East Houston & Stanton)
New York, NY 10002 
Tel: +1 646 602 6263
Many tourists would flock to Magnolia Bakery for cupcakes when in New York (i blame SATC, SJP and her bad taste). Honestly the cupcakes from Magnolia are terrible. The batter is too dry and the icing is just really mucky. So here is a way better alternative Sprinkles Cupcakes. It's my girlfriend's favorite cupcake in US and Mr Cupcake a.k.a. S gave his nod of approval (though that boy eats anything sweet).
Apparently they are the world's first cupcake bakery and it all started in Beverly Hills where the stars shine and cupcakes dazzle. Their sweet treats are handcrafted from the finest ingredients, including sweet cream butter, bittersweet Belgian chocolate, pure Madagascar Bourbon vanilla, fresh bananas and carrots, real strawberries and natural citrus zests. It's no wonder why they are so popular. What i love most about their cupcakes is the deliciously moist interior, not too cloyingly sweet frosting and intense flavors. It also helps that they look so simple and pretty.
If you happen to be in LA, visit the Sprinkles ATM to get your convenient fix of cupcakes. Check their video out. 
Definitely gonna head back for more flavors this time round. I would love to try the spiced Chai tea cake with chai vanilla frosting. The Cuban coffee would sure send me spinning with the powerful coffee frosting on top a Belgian chocolate cake. Oh and they have vegan and gluten free options available for their Red Velvet cake too.

Guilt free option of a 'Doggie cupcake' are available too with no sugar and yogurt frosting instead ($2.50) too which is sugar free with yogurt frosting ($2.50). Regular flavors are $3.50 a pop.
Which other cupcakes in NYC do you dig? Tell us! Just don't say it's Magnolia Bakery. I WILL JUDGE YOU. Kidding. No really. Now go eat a cupcake. :) 

Sprinkles Cupcakes
780 Lexington Avenue (between 60th & 61st streets)
New York, New York 10065
Mon - Sat: 9am - 9pm
Sun: 10am - 8pm
Momofuku Milk Bar is the sweet dessert sister of David Chang’s Momofuku restaurant group. Founded and owned by Christina Tosi, the queen of all things sweet and lovely, Milk has been coined one of the most exciting bakeries in the US of A.
The desserts are not fancy schmancy but they resonate with everyone from young to old. It is no secret that Christina has a major sweet tooth but the secret lies in her eye for little details and knowing what exactly warms the heart and tummy. Anyone who have tried her Cereal Milk™ Soft Serve (US$4.50) would agree wholeheartedly. I wouldn't even bother going for the other flavors. 
It is easy to place the taste if you grew up on milk and cereal. The flavor is the essence of the all that cornflakes frosting with bits of honey oat clusters and other crunchy bits at the very end of your cereal breakfast. I'm amazed at how she could replicate all that different dimensions in one smooth, milky and a little icy soft serve. It comes 'bottomed' with cornflakes in the cup and you can add more crunch for a little more. 
The Crack Pie® is as addictive as crack. Perhaps even more. But it's real good stuff. It's sticky and chewy, sweet and salty caramel-ly in the middle, with some maltiness as well. The crust is a nice blend of oats and buttery graham which is my absolute favorite kind of pie base. Get a slice for $5.25. Heck. Get the whole pie ($44). I did. And it is still not enough. Yea.. that addictive.

Was told to try the Cake Truffles (3pcs for $4). These ping pong sized balls are essentially cookie dough. I'm not much of a fan of the Birthday Truffles (shown above), they tasted artificial in some ways. The chocolate malt ones were alright too. I guess i'm not a fan of cookie dough.

If you can't make time for the queues at Momofuku but wanna have a taste of their famous Pork buns , you can get them here at Momofuku Milk bar. Each costs $8 but they are bigger than the individual portions at the store. The texture of the bun is more ciabatta like and this is the pulled pork version. I topped it with a wonderfully slow poached egg for a buck. Absolutely delicious.

The blur me thought the pork bun was different from the ones served at the main Momofuku chain because it looked different. Ordered it again at Momofuku Ssam Bar just to make sure. The taste is the same but the texture is just a little different.

Another must try in NYC. I LOVE MILK!

Momofuku Milk Bar
East Village (around the corner of Ssam Bar)
Mid Town
Upper West Side
Carroll Gardens
I thank David Chang for being such a godsend with his Momofuku brand. You gotta have at least 1 meal at 1 of his restaurants when visiting the Big Apple. My winter gastronomic itinerary was too darn packed for me to squeeze in another reservation at Momofuku Ko and i thought it was lost to me till the next trip. Thankfully there is Momofuku Ssam Bar and their no reservations policy, we tried our luck and managed to get a table on our last day in the city. O the happiness when we saw only a short queue. Whee! 
Momofuku Ssam Bar serves an unpretentious Asian comfort food with a duck-dominated menu. This is a casual joint where you can simply pop in for a quick meal or a snack or 2 for 20 bucks and leave really satisfied physically and emotionally because the food is ingenious and vibrant. Yes eating is an emotional thing for me.

For lunch, there is a 3 course Prix Fixe meal for US$25. I decided not to be greedy and stuck with my own choice of dish while S took this option.
The Striped Bass was picked from a list of 3 appetizers which included Fuji Apple Kimchi and Steamed (Pork) Buns. All are great choices and come recommended. I would say go for the famous Momofuku Pork buns if you have not eaten that before. As we already had that bun at Momofuku Milk Bar, we decided to try something different. The bass was very fresh and the texture was sublime. Interesting rice pops to give the carpaccio an added crunchy texture. This is seasoned with plum, cilantro, green peppercorn. Very refreshing.
Charred Octopus didn't seem like a very good choice to me but S didn't wanna order another duck dish because of my duck rice order. Do not make the same mistake as he did. You should ALWAYS do duck at Ssam. The octopus was grilled to a crispy exterior but i found it very bland even all that stuff going on the plate. Don't remember anything about this dish other than it's plain and you shouldn't order it. I'm sure the Fried Duck Dumplings and Duck Bologna Sandwich options would have been much better.
Now.. How did the Steamed Pork Buns (2pcs for $10) come about if we didn't order it with the lunch set? Well.. blame it on the greedy me. When i saw that the other tables had the kong ba bao version, i wondered if the bun that i had at Momofuku Milk Bar was the same Momofuku Pork Bun (seriously..) The one at Milk is a pulled pork version in a different bun. Not sure if it's because i added an egg with it but you can't blame me for thinking that they were different! Anyway, they tasted about the same with the hoisin sauce, cucumbers and scallions. The textures were a little different and i kinda like Milk's version better as it seemed a juicier.
Now, you gotta have my absolute favorite dish, which is the Rotisserie Duck Over Rice ($14). I felt that the duck was very interesting as a flavored minced duck scallion patty was sandwiched between the caramelized skin and the pink tender meat. Add a little of the sweet hoisin sauce with some chili and the taste is absolutely heavenly and very Vietnamese. I added a chives pancake on the side ($2) and wrapped the meat in the salty flaky dough and it became an interpretation of a modern Peking Duck wrap. I'm so gonna have this again and this time probably the huge ass Whole Rotisserie Duck Ssäm ( with chive pancakes, bibb lettuce, hoisin, duck scallion, crispy shallots, two side dishes) AND the Bo Ssäm (whole pork butt, dozen oysters, kimchi, rice, lettuce).
The Chevre Sorbet was a terrible terrible choice from the lunch set. We should have gone with the safer Lemon Meringue Pie. There's simply too much going on. We didn't finish this and went to Milk bar (which is around the corner) to have our favorite Cereal Milk Soft Serve and Crack Pie. :) 

Remember, whatever you do, you GOT TO HAVE the duck rice at Momofuku Ssam Bar. Do it for supper, whatever. Just eat it. 

Momofuku Ssam Bar
207 2nd avenue, new york, ny 10003 | corner of 13th street and 2nd avenue.
Tel: +1 212 254 3500
Reservations are only taken for large-format meals.

A New York City 3 Michelin stars restaurants list would have been perfect for my blog should i have had things my way. That's if i had all that tummy space, time and money to experience it all. Last trip was meant for Daniel, Le Bernadin and Jean Georges (which we cancelled because we were shopping boo). Out of the 2, i was more impressed with Le Bernadin for their stellar execution of everything fish. They even made this un-fish fan (fish hater seems too harsh) change her mind about having fish as a proper meal (though i still maintain that fish is not meat).
I'm not a food snob in the sense that i don't blindly believe/follow the stars; the food should always precede the reputation. At Le Bernadin, Chef Eric Ripert recognizes and respects that. The use of subtle textures and flavors and sourcing of the freshest ingredients all contribute to the award winning meals that are served at this NYC seafood establishment.
We had the 3 course lunch which cost a mere US$72. This is why i love fine dining overseas at  because it's so much higher in quality and way easier on the pockets. The menu selection is extensive and we had a hard time just picking a starter from the Almost Raw or Barely Touched section. 

We started with the generously portioned Amuse Bouche of Salmon spread, which is the usual salmon mayonnaise but tasted so much better than what anyone could possibly make at home due to the freshness and condiments used.
The Almost Raw Tuna was a layered plate of thinly pounded Yellowfin Tuna, Foie Gras and Toasted Baguette, served simply with shaved chives and extra virgin olive oil. The individual flavors could be tasted separately but they worked extremely well on the whole. The tuna took on an almost beef like taste as a result and the thin baguette gave the dish its surprisingly factor with its wafer like crunch. Love this one.
The Barely Touched Scallop was a new creation, created a month before we arrived. The cute pearly Nantucket Bay Scallops were really sweet and when done carpaccio style with the Finger-Lime, Lemongrass and Lime-Shiso Broth, the dish was a breath of fresh air in the dreary winter. 
The Poached Skate was fantastic with a nice bounciness to the meat. I love eating it along the grain as there's hardly any need to use the knife. Food eating quirks. The Brussels Sprouts-Bacon Mignonette gave the mild illusion of a meat dish without the heaviness.
I love the oiliness and fattiness of a good fillet of Cod. The meat is firm and substantial but still maintained its moisture after undergoing the wrath of the oven. The silky texture tofu strip with sea bean salad and octopus wouldn't have been out of place at a Chinese restaurant so it comes as a surprise that it appeared on a French plate. The dish would have been perfect if were left untouched by the cumin-red wine sauce. I liked the sweetness of the red wine reduction but the cumin added that touch of exoticism that's better left in the Mediterranean.
A good meal should always end on a sweet note and my Coffee dessert was quite perfect. It looks simple and plain with the Caramel Crémeux, Mascarpone Mousse and Coffee Ice Cream but the astronaut-ice cream-ish chocolate pops that almost evaporate upon contact with your tongue make it a pretty cool dish. Plus it's chocolate. How can anyone not love chocolate?
The Black Forest was a little more interesting with the varied flavors of sweet and sour. Special mention to the Belgian Kriek Beer Sorbet which got S really excited. Interesting characters on this plate; Mr. Dark Chocolate Cremeux was a smooth fellow while Ms.Vanilla Kirsch Bavaroise hid a dark skeleton in her closer- a brandy-soaked cherry. Despite the differences, cherries, chocolate and vanilla will always be the perfect love affair. 
Should you have more time and cash to spare, please please please do the Chef Tasting menu ($147). I don't think anyone will regret that.

Le Bernadin
155 W 51st St.
New York, 10019
Tel: +1 212 554 1515