Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

We love odens. Having sticks of warmness on a cold winter night is just so comforting. Like I’m being wrapped in a chikuwa blanket. It took nary effort to convince this 2 skinnyfat girls (twin tummy and I) to check out the new Oden Kaiseiki meal at HAN, a restaurant specializing in in Naniwa (‘old’ Osaka) cuisine and Kushikatsu
We were curious about the kaiseki aspect, since oden is typically a one-pot affair, a convenient store eat, a bar snack (yea Japanese). HAN modernizes and enhances the guests’ experience by serving each ingredient in individual courses, allowing for the distinctive taste of each component to be highlighted in every dish. For $160/set, we were very interested in seeing how Chef Arakawa elevates the simple ingredients. 
We started with the appetizers of Anago, Whelk with Sake Lees and Wasabi, Chicken Fillet with Asparagus Terrine with Sesame Sauce. While there weren't anything spectacular, the flavors were familiar with an extra touch of TLC e.g. the umami sake yeast and crunchy Hokkaido asparagus. God knows how much effort went into making that chicken fillet dressing. 
Another pretty distraction was the Sashimi. The gelatinous pike eel was an interesting change to the usual mix of sashimi assortment served in restaurants and we had it alongside the fresh cuts of kinmedai, maguro, kanpachi and saba.

Finally! Oden was served! HAN has chosen to serve Kansai-style (specifically the Kamigata Osaka style) Oden, using a blend of kelp, dried bonito, white shoyu and mirin to yield a lighter and sweeter broth. Every piece of oden (7 in total) was served individually on a beautiful ceramic dish (the pottery artist in us couldn't stop admiring the artworks). The simplicity captured the essence of ‘wa' in Japanese art. Sitting at the counter, it was as though we were transported to a Japanese family-run restaurant, having a comforting meal after a hot soak in the onsen. 
Cold is how i typically like my Hokkaido Snow Crab Leg, but the sweetness of the succulent and fluffy meat was brought out by the dashi. We could certainly do with more of this! 
The Thick Fried Tofu with homemade Inaka Miso, and Fried Beancurd Skin, tasted just like their names—simple and homely. The bean products were of high quality, having been sourced from Osaka and Kyoto respectively. We are fans of the silky sheets of beancurd skin-- the layers picked up the lovely broth so perfectly. And that personal touch of inaka miso.. oh how i love miso. 
“One cannot claim to have eaten oden if he did not eat the daikon”. Famous words by the twin tummy and i concur! The beauty of daikon is that it absorbs the flavours of the stock that it had been carefully simmered in, and a bite into it is like eating a round block of TLC. The Boiled Radish with Sweet White Miso at Han satisfied the tastebuds. The daikon was well-prepared and can be eaten without the miso. However, the miso was delightful with hints of yuzu and that citrusy sweet-salty combination is a winner that can be easily eat on its own.
Also served was the Simmered Pork with Ankake Sauce, Sardine Ball with Yuzu Chilli Paste and Cabbage Roll with Minced Beef and Pork. We loved the healthy vegetarian-looking Cabbage Roll which exploded with the taste of a hamburg with a touch of light homemade tomato sauce.
The simmered pork belly was first broiled, then steamed for 3 hours with ginger, garlic and spring onions to break down every sinew for that melt-in-your-mouth texture. Delicious.
Even though i'm not a fan of sardine, this sardine ball mixed with horse mackerel reduced the strong fishy flavor and the yuzu green chili paste masked it further. That said, it was a little powdery on the palate.
The grilled course consists the Burdock Cake and Red Ginger Fish Cake. I was never a Japanese fish cake fan as it's often quite dense and jaw-breakingly chewy. HAN didn't change my mind but the flavors were interesting enough. As for Z, she was in love with the Burdock, something she only fell in love with while living in Japan. 
Kushikatsu was next and one can't go wrong with breaded and fried food on sticks. The taste of Italian-Japanese cuisine was reflected in the Cherry Tomato with Cream Cheese. Give us more! 
The Angel Prawn and Scallop Kushikatsu (the later hails from the Aomori sea) had the distinct taste of the ocean. 
Like at a chinese wedding dinner, the last course (before dessert at least!) served was a carb dish. It was a choice between Udon or Ochazuke (plum, seaweed or wasabi). The udon was decent but you should not miss the Ochazuke. The smoky soup porridge is best paired with seaweed for that comforting and warm buzz, plum for a sour hit, or the seasoned wasabi stem if you like a punch (i loved this too). 
The evening at Han was a cozy affair and ended with the refreshing Shizuoka Melon and Peach. Now, the big question is, would you pay $160 for the simple (but high quality) produce that are prepared perfectly? You decide. It did kind of 'transported' us to Japan, and made us forget that we were dining in a restaurant right smacked in the 'Civic District' on a Tuesday night. 
HAN’s Oden Kaiseki Course is available at dinner and it includes an Appetizer, Sashimi, 7 kinds of Oden, 1 Grilled course, 1 Fried course, a choice between Udon or Ochazuke and Dessert. Those looking for the complete Oden experience can opt for HAN’s Oden Omakase Menu at $120++ per person. Ala carte Oden is available at market price. 
This article is proudly presented to you by the Skinnyfat Twin Tummies C and Z. 

331 North Bridge Road #01-04 
Odeon Towers Singapore 188720 
Daily: 12 - 3pm, 6 - 11pm
My recent dining experience at Sorrel, the latest fine dining bistro in town, was impressive. First was the interesting play of unexpected flavors, exquisitely crafted into bite size dishes; and second, that they were created by 24 year old Chef Johnston, Hotelier-Restaurateur Loh Lik Peng's golden boy.
Trust Loh to find someone to put the fun back in fine dining, and fun we had as we sampled the 5 and 7-course dinner sets ($88/$118). The 2 dinner sets are completely different so it was a no brainer for us to order both. There are no stuffy starters or main courses here. Instead, dishes are categorized into Snack, Amuse Bouche, Pre-Dessert, and Sweet. 

I was never a fan of cold brew, but that life changing experience at Old Hen Coffee Bar. I may not be a connoisseur but i noted that my taste buds are actually pretty sensitive to the tasting notes of coffee, more so than alcohol heh.

The coffee hails from Nylon Roasters and it's 50% Brazilian and 50% Colombian. Milk based espresso drinks start from $4 for 3 oz to $5 for 7oz. A decent blend that is slightly sweet and not too acidic.
What cannot be missed is certainly the Cold brew of course. The White Cold Brew ($6.50) was creamy and milky. I was surprised that it's a lot more palatable than the other ones i've tried at CSHH or Oriole. I could also taste the raisin notes and the nuttiness from the pistachios despite the milk. If dairy is not an option, go with the black cold brew. I'm sure it's equally good. Besides coffee, there's also Valrhona Chocolate and Iced Thai Milk Tea. 

Selected all day dining consists toasted muesli and spinach salads, heartier eats like Chicken Cheese Burrito ($10) or the Crab Coleslaw Burger ($13). Well, i simply could never resist any carbs with ham and cheese in it.
Croque Monsieur it was for me. Crusty multigrain toast was used and i thought the bechamel was of the right amount, providing the savory notes without it being too rich and heavy. 
I always make it a croque madame with an added egg. Isn't that perfect sphere of 5 minute cooked egg ($1.50) just perfect?
Old Hen Coffee Bar is certainly a favorite. I could not stop raving and thinking about that cold milky beverage. Will definitely come back to stock up on the coffee!

88 Rangoon Road #01-03 Singapore 218374
Tel: +65 63415458
Weekdays: 12 - 10pm
Weekends 10am - 10pm
Closed Tues
Being on the go (as much as i can) doesn't bode well for my skin. After my recent Laos and Bali trip, i ended up with dry skin, uneven skin tone (no thanks for the crazy sunshine and heat), and pimples. Things that the traveler in transit has to live with.. So of course i immediately booked my facial appointments (yes i needed more than one) with the trusty DRx Medispa.
As one ages, your skin condition changes as well. I went from oily skin in my teenage years, to combination skin currently. With regular use of the Derma-RX products, my sebum level has been controlled. Well, here comes the next problem- dry skin and fine lines. I started noticing that there are laugh lines developing at the corners of my eyes. GASP. Well, together with the lack of sleep, i also developed dark eye circles and the eye bags were especially horrid in this bare-faced picture. 
In an desperate attempt, i gave the Cryotherapy treatment a try as it is supposed to treat dark eye circles and some hyperpigmentation skin conditions, plus it is supposed to help brighten my skin as well, with continuous treatment.
Micro-needles are first 'stamped' over your face to stimulate the cells. It was absolutely painless for me and merely felt like a prickly brush on the skin. Active ingredients, which have been specially formulated to aid in pigment lightening, hydration and skin repair, would then be applied on your face and infused through cold iontophoresis. 
The session was very quick and effective. I was in and out of the spa in 30 minutes flat. While the lines did not all go away (it's not Botox you know), they were slightly less noticeable. This treatment can be repeated over time to improve the conditions without thinning your skin. :)

Pair this with the Essential Facial (Plus) treatment for the perfect radiance. I'd recommend you do the Essential Facial a week before the Cryotherapy since all the junk can be extracted and your face cleansed before you infuse more goodness into your skin. 
For my readers, quote "Blogger Cheryl" to enjoy 40% off on your first trial for Cryotherapy and Essential Facial Plus at the DRx Medispa! 

Oh and for additional goodness, add some juice to that. Loving the convenient baby bottles of cold pressed juices by HIC and they are readily available at their first store, the Shop by Hic at Suntec City Mall. Be sure to check them out too yea!

302 Orchard Road, #14-02/#16-02
Tong Building (next to Paragon Shopping Centre)
Singapore 238862
Mon to Sat: 10am to 8pm
Sun: 10am to 6pm

Many people would associate Aperia Mall in Lavender with Tim Ho Wan since that is the most visible restaurant and it's also open 24h! However, if you are deterred by the queue while you are there, you may want to check out a Japanese dining alternative Haha Sushi.
The Haha name may sound pretty familiar, yes it is related to Haha Thai at Ngee Ann City (read review here) and you can expect affordable Japanese Teishoku meals here, which is perfect for the working crowd in this unexciting industrial area. We started with the Haha Sashimi Salad ($9.80) with special homemade sauce, a tangy and nutty blended mixture of greens and fruits. There are some trimmings of some higher quality fish like chutoro in this one. 
Portions are pretty generous at Haha Sushi. We were stunned by the huge chunks of Foie Gras Teriyaki ($10.80 for 60g). It is done a little like the agedashi tofu, coated with a light batter and pan seared, and then served with a touch of teriyaki sauce. The foie gras was creamy but could do with more time on the pan for a better crust. A thinner cut would also be more ideal in terms of presentation and mouthfeel but anyway it's super value for money if you love liver.
We would do wiser next time by ordering the typical sushi roll instead of the Haha Crispy Roll ($7.90) as there was too much fried stuff (tempura batter and breaded salmon) and heavy cream going on.
The Golden Soft Shell Crab ($12.80) was a great snack as the batter was light and crisp and did not taste oily at all. Plus there was a lot of crab in this one. The downfall of the dish lies in the salted egg yolk sauce, which was on the sweet side and severely missing the richness of the salted egg. 
If i were to dine at Haha Sushi again, i'd go straight for the grilled fish. The Gindara Misoyaki ($15.30) was my favorite dish of the night. It was perfectly fatty with a nice browning on the edges and simply seasoned with the fermented bean paste. Umami! 
The Salmon Teriyaki ($12.30) didn't do too bad either. It was served crispy all around (i hope it's meant to be that way). They were a little heavy handed on the salty teriyaki sauce but i guess it goes well with rice.  
I also enjoyed the simple bowl of Curry Udon. What is shown here is only a 2/3 portion so you can imagine how filling this would be. The curry was rich with a bit of kick. Noodles could be a little more chewy but still decent nonetheless for a simple meal. Curry is featured in the lunch sets which are priced from $12 onwards. 

Do not end the meal without some ice cream and i'd say go for the sesame or yuzu one! 
This year, to celebrate SG50, Haha Sushi is having a $50 Lobster Fiesta dinner set which consists of everything lobster and includes carpaccio, salad, grilled lobster, fried rice, miso soup and a cup of sake.

Overall, Haha Sushi is a decent Japanese restaurant for their set price point. I guess they can't get too fancy with the dining crowd profile as well but it's perfect for a affordable family meal or working lunch if you are in the area. 

Haha Sushi
#02-07/08 Aperia Mall
12 Kallang Avenue Singapore 339511
There's something magical about watching seafood, i mean fishes swimming around in deep blue. Guess you know what my priorities are (i do dive for leisure though). Nevertheless, it's like watching a ballet, a live performance while dining at the amazing Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora at Resorts World Sentosa Singapore.
Chef Cat Cora returned to Singapore in June to introduce the new dinner set menu at Ocean Restaurant and we had the good fortune to be hosted by Chef herself. The 5 course menu is created by her, together with Chef de Cuisine Yew Eng Tong.
Our dinner started with the amuse bouche of Fresh Oyster with Passion Fruit & Watermelon Salsa.
This is the best dressing that i've had with oysters yet, where the sweet and tanginess fruit salsa refreshes the briny flavor of the shellfish.
The Brown Trout “Farbio” was the same trout that Chef Yew used in the prestigious Bocuse d’Or competition. This was first torched and paired with a smoked eel wrapped in Shanghai green. Simply drizzled with a caviar vinaigrette and lemon curd, we found it a little too bland for our liking. The curd had the potential of lifting the dish with a refreshing tang but it was sadly dull and bitter. 
The Sautéed Langoustine saved the day with its perfectly juicy, salty-sweet flesh.
The crustacean cream was buttery but light and we mopped up the remainder of the smoky sauce with the delicious olive bread and baguette.
The Blue Swimmer Crab is a signature ingredient at Ocean Restaurant and it is made into a crispy Beignet and dropped into the comforting Charred Corn Soup. Instead of a fritter, the meat would have done better as a topping on its own, on top of the amazingly creamy and rich sweet corn soup. The bacon crumble was redundant in this case as it wasn't smoky or crunchy enough. That said, BEST CORN SOUP i ever had in my life.
Next, a fresh sustainable fish from New Zealand, a cod with crispy skin that crackles. Oily meat in this one but the textures were amazing. Comes paired with crunchy chorizo and smoked potatoes.
For dessert, we enjoyed the Rocky Grand Cru Chocolate, a salty sweet mix of chocolate textures which featured a bitter chocolate rock mousse, salted chocolate crumble, and aerated sponge. A light passion fruit cream and fresh berries helped to cut through the richness of the chocolate. We couldn't ask for a better end to our meal. 
The 5-course Seafood Set Dinner is priced at $168/pax and is currently available at Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora. Definitely a great restaurant for a romantic date.   

Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora
Level B1M, S.E.A. Aquarium
Tel: +65 6577 6688
Daily: 11.30am – 2.30pm, 2.30 - 5.30pm, 5.30 - 10.30pm
Usher in SG50 at The Halia at The Singapore Botanic Gardens over gorgeous orchid-infused teas, cocktails, and desserts specially created for the grand occasion. Afternoon tea is certainly a leisurely activity i approve of, especially in the lovely environs of our national park. 
I'd recommend you getting started on some light bites and the soothing Orchid teas created by 1872 Clipper Tea Co. There are 3 blends currently available, the White, Red, and Gold Orchid Tea, each using a different tea base with varying strengths. 
The Orchid White is the most delicate mix of green and white tea; the Orchid Red will awaken you with the strong Rooibos and Pekoe; while the Orchid Gold is a zesty mix which showcases the notes of cream and blueberries perfectly (80g, $28).
Of course, light bites are mandatory. The Broken baguette bruschetta ($10) provides the perfect crunch with its crisp and airy texture. Rub some of that garlic confit onto it for that savory pungent flavor, dunk it into some chilled tangy tomato compote for that explosion of flavors. 
Something more sinful is the Chili Crab dip ($15), a Halia signature. We couldn't get enough of the lightly spiced chili sauce with convenient chunks of crab meat. 
Now that your stomach is lined, it's time to cool that heat with some Orchid Tea infused mocktails/cocktails. Check out the Singapore Jubilee ($10), a refreshing Vietnamese honey homemade lemonade which has this amazing vanilla and blueberries perfume.
We were thrown back to 1965 ($25), with this cool Hendrick's Gin base, modern day Long Island Tea. This is the perfect afternoon tipple in my opinion.
Something sweeter would be the Yam Seng ($23), a Sailor Jerry spiced rum with Orchid Red tea, lemon juice and grenadine.
What's an afternoon tea without desserts. Be refreshed with the Ginger & Gold Orchid Tea Granita ($12), an mild black tea ice kachang with an acidic yuzu gel, lychee fruit and tea jelly. 
Skip the White Orchid tea and lapis ($14). The layered cake we had was terribly soggy and bland (of course i ate it without the ice cream to be certain). Stronger flavors are definitely required here as we couldn't taste the tea in the ice cream. Also the textures of banana, especially the dehydrated one, was strange (it was kinda stale).
The Orchid Tea Gift Set, 30g x 3, ($42) are the perfect gifts for friends back home and i'd recommend you get them from the Botanic Gardens Shop. If you do not fancy the food items created for SG50, i can assure you that the regular Halia Afternoon Tea set is amazing (read about it here). The items do change with the season but i have faith in the team. Can't wait to be back for tea soon. I'm severely missing their scones. 
1 Cluny Road Singapore 259569
Ginger Garden, Singapore Botanic Gardens (enter via Tyersall Avenue)
Afternoon Tea: 3 -  5pm (Weekends & Public Holidays)
Tel: +65 8444 1148
Pretty sure we all know Spizza, the casual Italian pizzeria by The Senso Group which serves freshly made thin crust pizzas and pastas. The latest addition at food haven Capitol Piazza is Spizza Mercato, a new concept with a gourmet retail section and a dedicated takeaway counter to provide for busy executives.
The retail market concept isn't new in Singapore but Spizza makes it easier for working professionals to get their quick lunch fix/ grocery shopping done with the selection of easy-to-grab food items e.g. 6" mini pizzas and panini sandwiches and packed meals; all of which are available for takeaway or can be pre-ordered via Spizza’s mobile application or website and then self-collected. 

An antipasto that i'll definitely order is the Burratina ($22) which features the milky and creamy cheese flown in from Italy, Parma ham and a side of rucola salad.