Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

Kovan is becoming a hipper place for people living in the North East! I know we have Serangoon Gardens and all but that area is seriously too congested for my liking. Recently, the brothers and i checked out Lola's Cafe, a fairly new joint located at Simon Road, just a stone's throw away from our regular Punggol Nasi Lemak haunt (i don't like it btw). 

Lola's Cafe is a cheerful cafe with a limited seating capacity. I reckon it sits about 20 to 30 pax. And they are really popular. Go early, put your booking down on the iPad booking system and be prepared to wait.

I've heard good things about the brunch menu (available from 10am - 3pm on weekends) but i've yet to try it. Friends that i've sent in Lola's way enjoyed the Avocado Eggs Benedict very much. All my favorite ingredients in 1 dish, you bet i'd order that next time.
We met late for supper and picked from the bites section. The Truffle fries with grated Parmesan cheese ($12) was MEH. I'm a fan of soggy fries but this style is simply not compatible with truffle oil. The fries were bland and lacking in the truffle aroma.
My favorite is the Honey and Paprika Crispy Wings ($9). You have to order this! This is an order from the Tummy Ministry. I loved the light crispy batter which stayed crunchy throughout the meal. The meat was nicely marinated and went perfectly with the light touch of honey which coats it.
Their homemade desserts are apparently quite popular here but both desserts that we tried were less than satisfactory. The Dark Chocolate Sea Salt tart with Kahlua coffee cream ($5) sounded more delicious than it tasted. Filling to tart ration was off (too much tart) and the tart lacked in the butter department and was simply too crumbly (and i don't mean it in a good way). The tart tasted like one of those factory manufactured pastry shells. Meh. 
Sticky Honey Apple cake with French Vanilla ice cream ($7). According to the brothers, who aren't very picky with food,  Swensen's apple crumble tastes better and i concur. 
I had the Matcha green tea latte ($6) which was worse than Starbucks. It was terribly bland. Will never order this again.

I was hoping that i would be head over heels in love with Lola's Cafe but i wasn't. Hopefully their brunch will change my opinion about them. Till then.

Lola's Cafe
5 Simon Road Singapore 545893
Tel: + 65 6343 1808
Tue: 3pm - 11.30pm
Wed - Thu: 10am - 11.30pm
Fri - Sat: 10am - 12am
Sun: 10am - 11.30pm
If you're nuts about everything beef, then Fat Cow would be your beef heaven. They really do live up to their name and serve lots of Fat Wagyu Cows, which happens to be my favorite kind of animal!
After savoring the Wagyu no Kakuni during the FijiWater Signature expedition some time back (read about it here), I knew I had to feed my beefy addiction.
There have been mixed reviews on the restaurant and one thing I heard was that the food doesn't justify the price. However, with the downward revision of the already affordable lunch sets, I don't think anyone would be deterred from checking FC out. Each set comes with salad, chawanmushi, miso soup and dessert with your choice of mains. Pick from the 12 mains which are priced from $25 to $48. Don't worry if you're not a beef fan, there are sashimi, pork and chicken on the menu too.
The chawanmushi was topped with a light tasting crab sauce and it has prawn, mushroom and scallop in it.
We ordered the Kinoko ($14), assorted Japanese mushrooms braised with sake, lime and butter. Honestly, it tasted like normal stir fry with a tinge of lime. A disappointment really. And it was a rather small portion.
We also tried the Nasu Dengaku ($10), barbecued eggplant glazed with honey miso. This is a tiny baby Japanese eggplant and it certainly isn't worth the price tag. There was a plum undertone in the salty miso which didn't sit well with the girls.
We had the 2 hot favorites at Fat Cow, which is the Fat Foa-Gura Don ($42) and The Fat Cow Donburi ($38). It was a tussle between the 2 choices but here's the flavor profiles so that you can decide for yourself! The Fat Foa-Gura Don has the rich and buttery glazed foie gras chunks and grilled wagyu beef cubes. The sauce was a little on the sweet side but the overall flavor is strong and heavy. I liked the toppings on this one but i found the rice to be a little on the dry side and it acted like a sponge, soaking up all the oil from the goose liver..
The Fat Cow Donburi is a simpler dish in comparison but it has its own merits. Charcoal grilled Wagyu Beef with a light garlic flavor, with onsen egg and shiro negi. The first thing we noticed about the dish was its truffle aroma.
Break the egg and mix everything together and enjoy the moist and flavorful rice. Absolutely delicious.
Dessert was a scoop of ice cream. Even though chocolate ice cream sounds boring, the texture of this ice cream was smooth and milky. There were nutty bits in it as well. Quite a good ending to the meal.

If you want to enjoy a great beef bowl without breaking the bank, i'm all for Fat Cow.

Fat Cow
#01-01, 1 Orchard Boulevard, Camden Medical Centre,
Tel: +65 6735 0308
Mon - Sat: 12 - 3pm, 6 - 11pm
If you frequent the Robertson area, you would probably have seen or heard about District 10 at UE Square. My impression was that it is a cool bar that does drinks and the usual bar grub and hence it piqued my curiosity when i was invited to brunch by the nice folks at District 10.

When i stepped into the restaurant, i noticed that the decor has changed. The place is now bigger, brighter and certainly classier. The direction has been steered towards a gastrobar concept with separate indoor and outdoor space. The al fresco area provides a casual ambience for customers who would like to chill out with some bar bites while the Dining Room provides a more elegant environment and cuisine. 

What is brunch without some eggs? 
We had the District 10 Eggs Benedict ($16). I was a little confused because they turned out to be Eggs Florentine. Anyhow, lovely poached eggs on fluffy toasted muffins with a nice crisp on the outside. I found that the hollandaise sauce was well balanced with the flavors from the sautéed spinach and smoked salmon.
We had the interesting Pandan Coconut Pancake with Gula Melaka Syrup ($9) which tasted like the traditional Malay kuehs. The pancakes are on the dense and chewy end with crispy shredded coconut on top (the browned parts). I couldn't stop soaking the pancakes into the brown sugar syrup. Lovely. But only if you like kueh.

Next, we moved on to the heavier items. The Hoegarden Battered Fish & Chips with mint mushy peas and tartare sauce ($22). The fish was satisfactory crisp but had its limelight stolen by the amazing natural cut fries. Hell they can be a main on their own. Love the salty batter! 
The District 10 Brunch Beef Burger ($20) comes paired with the fries too. Hooray! Charcoal-grilled Black Angus patties topped with fried egg, crispy back bacon, cheddar cheese on a sesame bun. You can never go wrong with the egg bacon cheese combination but i thought the patty was a little dry. Well, at least you know they don't use unknown cow bits in this one. 
Do not miss the thin crust pizzas by Italian Chef Luca Pezzera. Love the crust that crackles with each bite. The Portobello Mushrooms pizza ($26) with Portobello mushrooms and a generous serving of truffle oil on top was earthy and delicious.
For something with a local twist, there's the Wagyu Beef Cheek Rendang pizza ($29). The meat was flavorful but somehow it was very gelatinous. The sauce however was pretty spot on for an Italian creating a local favorite. Thumbs up to Chef Luca but could we have more toppings please.
For those looking for something less casual, the Dining room offers a more refined menu. Start with Pan-fried goose liver with wild berries sauce and balsamic syrup, and Burratina cheese with peas, sun-dried tomato puree and extra virgin olive oil. Then move on to Grilled Kurobuta pork chop and homemade angel hair pasta with lobster, peperoncino, basil and fresh tomatoes. Pair your meal with some prestigious European wine labels such as Antinori and Tenuta.

For a more intimate setting, you could also book the private room which seats a small party of 12. There is also an adjoined alfresco lounge for your party's use. 

Thank you District 10 for hosting the brunch. 

District 10 Bar & Restaurant 
81 Clemenceau Avenue, #01-15/16/17
UE Square Shopping Mall, Singapore 239917
Tel: +65 6738 4788
Mon - Thu: 11.30am -11pm
Fri: 11.30am - 1am
Sat: 11.00am - 1am
Sun: 11.00am - 11pm
Weekend brunch till 3pm
Affordable Japanese Omakase meals are on the rise in Singapore with the most famous being Teppei, with their insanely long waitlist (read my review here). The other new kid on the block is Tamashii Robataya, which i heard great reviews about and so i went with high expectations, thinking it would blow me away like Teppei.
The restaurant is tucked away in a discreet building in North Canal Road. There's no way you'd notice the restaurant from the main road.  Look out for Communal. Tamashii is located in the same building but you have to enter it from the side alley. Another landmark is the Mad Men bar which is in the same building.

Robatayaki is fairly new to the Singapore scene. Well, it's just a Japanese barbecue where chefs will grill your food before your eyes and serve your selections on a long wooden paddle. At Tamashii, you'll be seated around a U-shaped counter with seafood, meat and vegetables places all around.

Dinner sets are priced at $88, $128 and $168. There's also the a la carte and omakase option. We decided to try the $128 (7 course) and $168 (8 course) dinner. The difference is in the quality of ingredients and for the 8 course, there's uni with caviar and the signature Wagyu Donburi.

Appetizers. My favorite was the tofu with century egg sauce and tobiko roe.

Ikura (salmon roe) is served for the cheaper set.
Don't you love Uni? Even better with caviar.

Fresh and buttery sashimi with freshly grated wasabi is LOVE.
Yaki Yasai Moriwase. Grilled assorted seasonable vegetable. I'm becoming a fan of roasted onions and they are best paired with a umami miso paste.

Grilled fishes. Simply done. I don't know about fishes enough to be able to identify them.
The Plat de résistance has to be the Wagyu Donburi! A well marbled buttery Saga A4 beef striploin sits on top a fragrant marinated short-grain rice. Mix all that runny onsen egg with truffle oil and shaved black truffles in and every mouth will send you to beef heaven. Certainly the best dish of the night. Goes for $55 a bowl if you order it a la carte.
The Kashira Donburi, a grilled black pig pork cheeks paled in comparison to the Wagyu Donburi. The pork was too bland for my liking.

Both soups were bland. I found it a waste to use tuna belly in a soup. The clam soup from the $128 menu was just bleargh.

The meal concluded with dessert. I love the jelly with peanut powder and brown sugar syrup but still it's nowhere as good as the ones i had in Kyoto.

Was i impressed by the food served at Tamashii Robataya? Frankly i was hoping to be blown away but sadly it was underwhelming. I may go back for the Wagyu Donburi but that's about that. If you'd like to try, I'd say go for their lunch sets. It's priced in the $30 range.

Tamashii Robataya
#02-01, 12 North Canal Road
Tel: +65 6222 0316
Mon - Sat: 12 - 2.30pm, 6.30 - 10.30pm
With the festive air hanging over us, it is time for us girls to get all prepped and dolled up for the season! I recently headed down to my pretty junior's nail spa, the lovely Hands+Feet Studio to try out their award winning foot reflexology and pedicure. I chatted with Caryn, the beautiful and capable young lady as the therapists worked their magic on my feet.  

Ms Skinnyfat: So Caryn, tell us about the philosophy of Hands+Feet Studio. How do you set yourself apart from the other nail salons?

Caryn: Hands + Feet Studio believes in providing a unique, contemporary and quality spa experience. Our studio is stylish, modern yet relaxing. In a country where land is scarce, we have managed to make our spa look spacious and not overcrowded.

C: The services and products are value for money. Customers get to choose from a wide range of nail polish brands and even have the option of choosing an organic, vegan-friendly nail polish which does not stain and harm your nails (Ginger + Liz from New York). 
C: We have also included an extra "exfoliating" step into our pedicures with "My Exfoliator" from Australia, to further get rid of dead skin and impurities on your skin. 
MSF: Sounds great! So tell us about your all time favorite treatment!

C: My favorite treatment is the classic pedicure + foot reflexology and we're well known for this! This is the same treatment that you'd be enjoying today. Customers can now enjoy our classic pedicure along with a full 45 min or 60 min foot reflexology/massage for that additional pampering. ;)
MSF: My hour long food massage was surprisingly relaxing, despite my low threshold for foot reflexology. Simon was very meticulous with my bony feet and made sure that every spot was kneaded and rubbed. That certainly prepped me for the next part of the session, the classic pedicure which was done by Mandy.  
MSF: It's the festive season! What would you recommend for a luxurious pampering session for the girls (or boys) this holiday?

C: Check out our newly introduced treatments, the HFS Deluxe pedicure treatment ($68) for the boys, and OP (Organic Potato) pedicure treatment ($78) for the girls. 

The HFS Deluxe Pedicure treats your feet to 20 minutes of complete pampering. Drawing on the soothing powers of lavender, your relaxing foot treatment comprises a lavender foot soak, deep cleansing mineral mask, and a specially-crafted 20 minute foot reflexology session to offer immediate relief and tension release under expert hands.

The OP Treatment is the “Birkin” of nail spa treatments. this spa treatment entails a rigorous preparation process. The organic potato mask, which takes hours to whip out, is the most natural whitening and moisturizing treatment on the beauty planet. Chemicals and artificial ingredients free, this treatment is suitable for all skin types and perfect for sensitive or dry skin. This treatment is not available to walk in customers so do make your booking early! There is also a Manicure version ($68).

MSF: I'm sure you'll be expecting a lot of customers once they read about this! Sounds like you've found the recipe for success. So what can we expect from Hands+Feet in 2014? Any big plans?

C: We are looking at expanding Hands + Feet Studio overseas, location to be kept secret till further confirmation. It is also at the exploratory stage hence I cannot say much. I can only hope things go smoothly and we get the opportunity to provide our services outside of Singapore. :)

Hands+Feet is also having a pop up store by thefashionvein, another brainchild of Caryn. Watch this girl! She has her eyes set on conquering the beauty world! 

Hands+Feet Studio
44 Siglap Drive, Singapore 456169
Tel: +65 64487187
Daily: 11am - 11pm
Last appointments for nails: 7.30pm
Last appointments for massage: 9pm

Full price list can be found on their FB page.
I'm but a little late in visiting Jamie's Italian at Vivocity Singapore since their opening in July, but the long queues and the lacklustre reviews just made it too easy to put off. But don't write Jamie's off just yet! A recent visit to sample their updated menu left me walking away satisfied and looking forward to the next visit.
Just four months into Singapore and the restaurant has added 15 new dishes from the UK menu which includes some seasonal produce. Most of the dishes we tried were the additions but i also made it a point to order some tried and tested dishes. 
We started with the Baked Mushrooms ($12.50). Swiss browns are thinly sliced and layered on top of the Carta di Musica (a Sardinian-style thin bread) which has been dipped in the juice from the mozzarella, and baked with smoked scamorza cheese, Hay smoked mozzarella, sprigs of thyme, parmesan and olive oil. The flavors were rather earthy and i thought it was a little on the dry side but it does make for a good cracker replacement for breads. 
I couldn't resist the newly added Crab and Avocado Bruschetta ($14.50). A thinly crisped sourdough is topped with green apple sticks and crab that has been mixed with natural yoghurt, mint, parsley and chillies. Spread a little of the smashed avocado (ripe avocados blended with basil, lemon juice and red chilli) and whipped buffalo ricotta (blended with brown crabmeat and lemon juice and zest) and pop it whole. The flavors are guaranteed to blow you away.

Other must orders include the Crispy Squid and the Stuffed Risotto Balls (both $11.50 each).
I must admit that the mixed reviews on the pastas has deterred me from ordering them. So we went with another new addition, the Simple Baked Lasagne ($24). Trust me, there was nothing simple about it. A rich and tart ragu of minced beef and pork, is cooked for 2.5 hours with red wine, tomatoes, and stock. This is layered between Jamie's homemade lasagne sheets, with sweet roasted squash (LURVVE) and a thick and silky béchamel sauce. Finally it's baked with a tomato and basil passata, and finished with grated Parmesan and a fresh rocket salad. While the pasta sheet was quite dense and raw-ish (apparently very Italian), i enjoyed the combination of a tangy and chunky sauce and the sweet pumpkin. It's a little dry but it's awesome.

Other recommendations for carbs include the Tagliatelle Bolognese and Wild Truffle Risotto.  
The highlight of my meal was undoubtedly the 30 Day Matured Prime Rib ($59.80), a 350g Angus breed bone-in strip loin served with wild mushrooms and peppery endives. The juicy slab is  cooked on the grill al Mattone which seals in the juices. Go for the pimped version (add $5) for a disc of truffle butter and shaved black truffles. The medium rare version was absolutely bloody and buttery and extremely savory, just the way i like it.

Another option for carnivores would be the grilled pork chops, which is one of Executive Chef Gary Clarke’s favourites. 
For a lighter and more responsible meal, the Baked Sustainable Halibut ($29.90) cannot be missed. The sustainably fished Norwegian halibut has a nice lightly salted crust and comes paired with a vignole- a Roman white wine spring vegetable stew made with pancetta, baby onions, artichokes, broad beans, peas, Swiss chard, asparagus, mint and baby gem lettuce. Remember to soak that crostini smeared with a lemony basil yogurt dressing into the broth. S loved this dish and finished most of it.
If you love chocolate, forget everything and just order the Epic Brownie ($11.50) with amaretto ice cream and caramelized amaretti popcorn.  Made with 70% cocoa solid chocolate, this was super gooey and rich. I could taste a hint of salt which brought out the intense chocolate taste. Sweet and savory anytime! If the brownie were warmer and the ice cream less icy, this would be the ULTIMATE dessert.

Pair this (or the lovely tiramisu) with the award winning Italian coffee from Musetti. My latte ($5.50) was smooth and milky. It would have put me to sleep with happiness if not for the caffeine. 
The Raspberry Frangipane ($9.50) is a nice complement to the sweet brownie with the tart raspberries and nutty almond filling. The center was a little too soggy for my liking but the outer crust was nutty and crunchy. Yums. Now if they could work on the overall consistency of the texture. 
Another area of improvement would be their drinks. My Florence Fizz ($16.50) tasted like cough syrup and i sent it away after 1 sip. The Ginger beer ($6.50) was spicy but dilute. 

So go to Jamie's Italian. I was won over really. Just make sure you make a reservation (only for groups smaller than 7pax)

Jamie's Italian
1 Harbourfront Walk #01 165-167, VivoCity
Tel: +65 6733 5500
Sun - Thu: 12pm - 10pm
Fri & Sat: 12pm - 11pm