Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

jones the grocer is back in the game! They have streamlined and refined their concept to continue bringing us gourmet and quality food recognised, with a greater emphasis on promoting healthy eating and lifestyle. 
The airy Dempsey outlet is pretty much the same. Other than housing Singapore’s first walk-in cheese room (with over 100 varieties), a large artisanal retail outfit, and bakery, jones has now added a brand new butcher’s corner by Swiss Butchery as well. Have a meal here and then bring another meal (or 2) home!
We started with the Cheese & Charcuterie board (3 items $35, 5 items $45, 7 items $55, additional items $8). This is served with truffle honey, jones olive oils, jones Egyptian dukkah and a selection of jones artisanal bread. I can't go on about how good the Stilton Blue was with the truffle honey. UMAMI. I would also add the smoked duck breast and some other cured meats to the mix.

If you're not sure what to pair your cheeses with, don't fret. The on-site cheese experts would help you with that. There are also suggested accompaniments placed together with the different types of cheeses on the shelves so you can always pick them out yourself. 
A starter that is the equivalent of a main course is the Oriental Crispy Duck ($26) which is a pan fried duck confit served on a bed of mesclun salad tossed with shimeji mushroom, Russet potato, cherry tomatoes, and tossed in a plum dressing. Somehow the salad stole the thunder from the duck, which was simply a protein accompaniment that is rather characterless. 
jones Classic Wagyu Burger With Truffle Fries ($26) is the bomb. Resistance is futile. How can anyone say no to this juicy 120g 100% Australian wagyu beef patty with crispy bacon?! Of course, the various condiments layer on the flavors perfectly- melted gruyere cheese, truffle mayo, bois boudran sauce, pickles, hot English mustard, and caramelized onions. They even make their own fluffy brioche bun which held the stack perfectly. I also had to tell them to take away the fries, if not i would not be able to taste the rest of the food with my limited stomach space. 
The Asparagus Risotto ($24) was a creamy soft herb risotto with fresh asparagus, Taleggio and rana padano with black truffle oil. Expect this to be very very filling. I couldn't take more than 3 spoonfuls of this as it was rather cheesy, though bland. 
An enjoyable pasta was the Spicy Seafood Aglio Olio ($28), which was piquant and full of garlic. This dry pasta could do with a larger variety of seafood actually as it was mostly prawns (not that i mind but it did say that it's a seafood pasta). I wouldn't mind finishing a plate of this actually, but i thought the prawns were too powdery.
Grilled BBQ Chicken ($26) was succulent and juicy, though pretty standard. The BBQ sauce had a nice hint of apple, which i thought was rather refreshing. That creamy and buttery garlic mash and minty coleslaw were kinda heavy for the dish. 
So i have found the best Warm Sticky Date Pudding ($15) in Singapore. Seriously this cake was buttery and moist and that salted caramel sauce was the bomb, especially with that rich vanilla bean ice cream. Any dessert after this just couldn't compare. 
Of course, if you're looking for something small, the freshly baked breads, pastries, and cakes would satisfy your tastebuds. All jones breads are organic and they only use premium ingredients here. 

So yes, welcome back, jones the grocer now!

jones the grocer
Dempsey Hill
Block 9 #01-12 Dempsey Road, Dempsey Hill
Singapore, 247697
Tel: +65 6476 1512
Daily: 9am - 11pm 

Mandarin Gallery 
333 Orchard Road, Singapore 238897
Tel: +65 6836 6372
Daily: 9am - 11pm 

The hippie food trend of the year (and probably next) revolves around seasonal and locally sourced food and Open Farm Community is serving up by far the most polished and marketable urban farming and restaurant concept at their sprawling 35,000 sqft hub at Dempsey. Chef Ryan Cliff brings to the table wholesome dishes, using as much produce as he can from the on site gardens and local farms. 
My favorite dish at OFC is the Coal-baked omelette with smoked haddock, tarragon and grain mustard mornay. I was surprised at the portion given that the rest of the dishes were minute (relative to their price point). This makes for the best brunch dish and i would gladly polish off the creamy eggs with chunks of salty fish. Now where is my bread?
Sauteed local clams with pita and lemon meuniere sauce. Lovely briny morsels here but the portion was pathetic. A crunchy bread would work better than the pita, which turned kinda tough after being in the open for a bit.
The Black Swan is all about the 1920s sophistication. Think fine European classic dishes served in an equally classy and Art Deco building (The Quadrant) at Cecil Street. What i hear is that the bar is rather spectacular for an after work drink but don't miss out on their food! 
The Black Swan recently updated their menu and it now features classics such as Chicken Velouté, Steak Tartare, and Duck Leg Confit We hear that the Head Chef watches his team like a hawk to ensure the traditional preparation of these dishes are adhered to. 
Starting with the Raw Bar, the Black Swan Seafood Platter ($148) is a good starter to go with the selection of martinis and cocktails with its mix of Alaskan king crab, oysters, Maine lobster, Obsiblue prawns, Uni, and clam ceviche.
VEGGIES LOVERS REJOICE! From 23 to 29 November 2015, look forward to the first ever Gourmet Greens Week showcasing the natural, pristine beauty of vegetables on a plate, presented by FIJI Water and Chope. Singapore’s hottest restaurants spanning cuisines such as Balinese, French, Italian, Indian and Mediterranean will feature exquisite all-vegetarian menus priced at $30/pax for a four course set lunch and $45/pax per person for a four course dinner. Additionally, each diner will also receive a complimentary 330 ml bottle of FIJI Water during their meal. 
Meat lovers, trust me you will fall in love with the humble vegetable after this. The Kale dish at Humpback by Group Executive Chef Polo Seah has won the hearts of many meat eaters. Really. 
The Kale dish at Humpback has been updated for the #GourmetGreensWeek with Holland Sunchoke done 3 ways- puréed, pickled, and roasted, and sweetened with some honeycomb. Love the kale chips as always because of that umami after they have been crisped. The sunchoke (or jerusalem artichokes) were given a tad of spice and i love the sour pickled ones. Thought the sunchokes were a tad too soft. I much preferred the crunchier types at Maggie Joan's
At Sugarhall, Chef Polo once again swept me off my feet with the innovative Beetroot Tatin with pecan nuts, golden beets and mascarpone cheese. Gosh those gorgeous buttery, crispy and flaky pastry!! Plus that creamy mascarpone was perfect with the sweet soft beet and that tangy balsamic tinge. 
Of course you gotta get Stewart's Legado Rosa, a Bacardi Legacy drink, when at Sugarhall. This refreshing drink is made from Bacardi Carta Blanca, passionfruit, egg white, Angostura bitters, and Mezcal spray. 
If you're afraid that vegetables won't fill you up, then go with Burlamacco's Three Eggs Cooked in Spicy Tomato Sauce & Fresh Herbs which IMO is the best hangover food ever. Every mouth was a rollercoaster ride of flavors with the spicy and peppery arrabiata. I can't help but mop the sauce with the warm mini baguette (which was a tad too hollow for me). OSO's Oven Baked Classic "Parmigiana" Eggplant wasn't too bad either (it was very filling) but i thought they could totally do with more tomato and cheese. 
Be prepared to be wowed by the various flavors, textures, and techniques in these vegetable dishes during Gourmet Greens Week. Participating restaurants include Absinthe, Afterglow, Blue Bali, Burlamacco, Highlander (Chijmes), Humpback, Luxe Sydney, Original Sin, Oso Ristorante, Pepenero, Punjab Grill, Song of India, Sugarhall, Tandoor, The Missing Pan, Neon Pigeon and Sopra Cucina & Bar. 
Semifreddo by Pepenero
To book, guests can visit Chope at Bookings will commence on 16 November 2015(that's today!) All menus during Gourmet Greens Week are meat-free, with a focus on vegetables, but may feature dairy and eggs. 

Additionally, stand to win $1,000 worth of dining vouchers when you participate in the Gourmet Greens Week Instagram contest. Simply upload a photo of your #GourmetGreensWeek experience with the hashtag and follow FIJI Water (@FIJIWaterSG) and Chope (@ChopeSG) on IG.
Sofitel So Singapore wants you to know they have more than a pretty pool with an awesome city view. With their newly appointed Chef Trevor Paulo heading the the hotel’s gastro-bar dining concept restaurant Xperience, their new star attraction is gonna be the delicious mod European dishes.

We put Chef Trevor to the test with his four-course Christmas Eve dinner ($88 onwards). 
We started with the Amuse bouche of Potato Blinis, topped with a dollop of  refreshing dill Greek yogurt and a salty herring roe. 
Entrée was a house-cured Salmon Gravlax on a bed of edible truffle and mushroom soil and pickled shallots. Interesting textures though it felt a little dryish when brought together. Perhaps a tad more creme would provide a smoother sensation.
For the main course, Chef Trevor will personally present a Hay Roasted Savel Chicken at the guest’s table. Lots of theatrics involved in this main course, including the firing of roasted hay and on the spot carving of that tender bird.
My my the chicken was so damn good. The white meat was flavorful on its own and even better with the creamy stuffing of mushroom pate, brioche, shiitake and truffle. The touch of truffle split jus added more umami to the dish. The jus is full of fatty goodness from the roasted chicken, which was sauteed with a mirepoix and deglazed with red wine, reduced further for 1.5 days and given a touch of truffle oil at the end. Yea.. Such dedication is given to an accompanying sauce.
If the meal were to end there and then, it would bask in the glory of the chicken. But (yea the but..) the deconstructed version of the Pear Tarte Tatin spoiled the meal with an overall dry and bland experience. The individual components were decent actually (lovely chiffon and honeycomb) but they just didn't gel together as a dish. The lack of pear flavor also didn't sit too well with me either. I found myself craving for the traditionally intense cinnamon spice, butter, and pear. Well just give me a regular pear tart and that would have been perfect.

That said, the sampling was sufficient to convince me that there are more reasons to come back to Sofitel So Singapore. Check out their Festive menus which include prix fixe and buffet options from $88 onwards. Something to look forward to is certainly Chef Trevor's specialty Croque En Bouche.

Xperience Restaurant
35 Robinson Road, Singapore 068876
Tel: +65 6701 6800

Omakase at fine Japanese restaurant because nothing beats fresh seafood in terms of cheering us up. Sushi Mitsuya comes highly recommended for the new old school type of edomae (traditional Tokyo style) headed by Chef Ryosuke Harada
If you wonder how it differs from the regular Japanese restaurant, Sushi Mitsuya prides itself in the traditional storage and preparation of fresh seafood, adapting techniques from the Edo era when refrigeration was not used. Natural ingredients with sterilizing and preservative qualities are used to keep the food fresh. We were initiated into this technique right after we sat down at the 18 seater Hinoki counter- Harada san skillfully made cuts on our chutoro and proceeded to soak it in soy sauce for the course to come.
Only omakase is available for dinner ($130/200/300) and there is also a bar omakase menu ($100) available with purchase of a 750ml sake. We went with the Umi set ($130) and added 2 a la carte urchin dish to our meal. Of course we didn't grasp the full extent of our impending meal. 
Dinner started with appetizers. The marinated octopus had the quality of a kakuni (braised pork belly). The typical chewy texture had been broken down and the meat was sweet and tender.
Next, the Buri Yellow Tail belly. Harada-san told us that Japanese chefs are particular about how they name the Yellow Tail and they do not call them Hamachi. Hamachi actually refers to the name of the farm which grows the small yellow tail (farmed fishes are a no no at fine Japanese restaurants). This fish is named by their size and there are 4 types with Buri being the biggest of the lot. That marbling was gorgeous and I actually preferred this to the super oily Otoro (tuna is overrated). 
Hot small plates interspersed our sashimi and sushi course to excite our palates with differing textures and temperature. In season are the chestnut and baby taro; the former served in a light tempura style with a brandy syrup (it was marinated in it), and the latter steamed. 

The following fish courses: 
Sawara- King Mackerel that has been marinated to a briny robustness and then lightly seared. 
Ika with shiso leaves- lemony, refreshing, with a light gluey texture from the sweet squid. 
Ika no Shiokara- Squid tentacles marinated in salted and fermented squid gut (or liver). The saltiness is perfect for beer or sake. 
Then came the Shirako, or milt, aka sperm sacs of the male fish (typically cod). The raw shirako was creamy and velvety all around, and the soy bean cream added to the custard texture. 
Bonito served with ginger and chili padi in soy. This tasted more South East Asian than Japanese actually but it captures the edomae spirit.
Next, Madara cod, which is less fatty as compared to the Gindara. Madara is a tad more bland and typically used for hot pot whereas Gindara is grilled and served with mentaiko or teriyaki. 
Next, the sushi course which was a succession of the salty tangy sushi rice with succulent seafood. I'm so coming back for more sushi. 
Kinmedai, golden eye snapper. Chef Harada's favorite apparently.
Scallop with black salt and yuzu peel was spectacular. It's a party in there with the sweet succulent flesh, zesty citrus and the special black salt to season. 
The Chutoro which Harada-san prepped at the start of our meal was taken out of its soy marinate. It was super umami as the soy had taken some moisture from the fish to bring out its natural flavor.
Anago is always a favorite and this was soft and fluffy but had a couple of bigger spikes, which I removed.
Unfortunately we missed the White Uni season by a bit and had to settle for red uni, which is still delicious. When I saw the plate lined with those gorgeous tongues, my exclamation of beauty amused Harada-san, as I am the his first customer to say that uni is beautiful. Well it tasted as good as it looked! Creamy, briny, and sweet. Such deliciousness. We had this in the sushi version. 
For a different uni texture, go for the super umami Grilled Uni Rice ($40). Uni was mixed into the rice, formed into a patty, and then topped with more tongues and grilled. It gave the uni a firmer texture, which was a good contrast to the creamy sushi course.
After that, the otherwise stellar Mini Ikura Uni don ($35) paled slightly in comparison. It's still really awesome of course but I'd pick the grilled uni rice anytime. 
The mini makimono was the standard Negitoro, which I thought could do with more vinegar and spring onion. 
The savoury tamago which had the texture of a sponge cake. Almost a pre dessert.
Harada san busied himself with making some leaf art while we sipped on the comforting grated turnip in soup. Turns out that he was making a crane and gecko cutout for the sushi birthday cake! It even came with a seaweed-wasabi candle! Thank you Sushi Mitsuya for the successful surprise! 
We rounded the meal with a trio of sweets- Kinako ice cream, dried fruit mochi and a sweet Japanese pear. Yummy. We left thoroughly stuffed and immensely satisfied. Pretty sure we'd be back. 
60 Tras Street, #01-01, Singapore 078999
Mon– Sat: 11.30am – 3pm, 6pm – 11pm