Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

I've been told that i'm a COMO fan by someone i was introduced to for the first time. But who wouldn't be really, after getting a first taste of the signature Christina Ong experience at Point Yamu by COMO in Phuket. So immediately after my Phuket getaway, i booked the next COMO holiday in Bali Indonesia- Uma Ubud.  
It was not love at first sight at Uma Ubud for me. For one, you really don't get to see much at a glance. It took a while for my other senses to kick in and that's when the Uma brand of love crept in. 
If privacy is what you want, privacy is what you get. Uma Ubud is in Ubud, but not in Ubud. You step in, and you leave the world behind. Everything is tucked away and secluded and you're enveloped by the lush greenery, tall trees, bird and insects and all. Pause for a moment, and all you hear and feel would be the pulse of nature and the beating of your heart.
The property is sprawling without any feeling of crowdedness. The planted rock walls that mark each room blend in perfectly with the nature, removing any type of clastrophobia. On several occasions, i found myself lost on the narrow paths that connect the different spaces. It's literally a jungle in there, which is amazing because it was unexpected, at least based on my first impression at the reception area.
Has it been 4 years since i last visited Salt Tapas & Bar??! Apparently so! It was one of my first few reviews on the blog in fact and i did enjoy the small bites over at this casual joint by Luke Mangan. Glad i made time for the Christmas tasting at Salt Tapas and Bar and here is the line up for the one day only New Year's Eve dinner menu available from 6 - 10.30pm (min 2 pax, reservations required). 2 menus are served, King of the Land ($80/pax) and King of the Sea ($100/pax). No prize for guessing the theme of each menu.
A preview of the King of the Land Menu- Wagyu Sirloin!
Both menus start with freshly baked sourdough (chewy and porous) with smooth churned butter that are flavored. This round, Sea wins with the rich prawn butter that is umami and fragrant. Word is that prawns have been blended and added to this for the rich crustacean flavor. Land serves a milder bacon bone marrow butter, which i expected to be more smoky but it wasn't particularly.
2016 food trend alert! I foresee there will be many more of the Japanese omakase-cocktail pairing type of restaurants popping up next year. Yes you heard it here first! I first experienced this at Kakure by Ki Sho. Sushi Mitsuya does it as well, and then recently at the spanking new FORT by Maison Ikkoku. Yes our favorite brunch co. now has a cool and classy restaurant-bar sister at Pinacotheque De Paris on Fort Canning Hill. The menu sees a line up of bespoke cocktails alongside pretty plates of mod Japanese food, and the entire concept is developed by the familiar Ethan Leslie Leong, who is both the Executive Chef and Master Mixologist
I first met Ethan at Drink Culture and he already wowed me with his cocktail skills then. Now add chef to the mix, and interior designer too?? The 30 seater restaurant is also designed by him and it's super underground chic. Love the vibe here!

Much thought has gone into the cocktail pairing multi-sensory dining experience at FORT by MI. Expect to be surprised by the changing scents, textures, sounds, flavors, and techniques showcased in the food and tipples preparation. It's a F&B lab with the -insert chemical process here- processes going on right before our eyes. 
Some highlights from the a la carte dishes here. The Sea ($38) is a pretty sashimi platter which layers on Hokkaido Scallop, Irish Oyster, Seaweed, Ikura, Tobiko and Ebiko on a bed of sea salted ice. It's gorgeous, but the overall flavor was a little too salty for me with all that roe, and it got fishy as well. 
The Nest ($28) is such a festive plate! Doesn't it remind of Easter? Think of this as a western chawanmushi which combines hot melted Mozzarella and  Parmiagiano-Reggiano with free-range chicken eggs. Not a fan of the smoked hay (it smelled like gym socks), but I guess that adds to the overall rustic appeal of the fish. 
A mod sushi roll which is quite fiery is the Spicy Maguro Hand-roll, The Fort [4 pcs $18 (4pcs)/ $28 (8pcs)]. The heat comes from a special Asian chili sauce added to the minced tuna, which was a bit mushy but the overall bite was quite shiok. 
This holiday, FORT by Maison Ikkoku presents a Three-Course Festive Menu (20 Nov - 31 Dec 2015) which is priced at $38/pax + $20 for 2 cocktails. This includes a surprise starter of the day, a main, and dessert.
I enjoyed the main of Holiday Turkey, comprising two succulent turkey breast medallions marinated with a mix of herbs and spices and cooked sous-vide style. So tender and juicy! Truffles have been infused into the meat and a sprinkle of cinnamon for good (holiday) measure! 
I highly recommend drinks pairing for this. The Santa Red is such a mellow  sweet cocktail with a port-like red wine reduction and perfumed with bergamot. 
To end off the dinner, the delicious Martell Cordon Bleu Lavender Crème Brûlée. Silky custard infused with the subtle lavender and a buttery caramel cognac. End the night perfectly with The Snowman, a concoction of spice rum with buttered popcorn, hazelnut and milk, which is another dessert in a cup! 
I'm definitely coming back for the super affordable 12-course Omakase for just $68/pax. Ethan definitely has many more tricks up his sleeves! 

Bespoke cocktails are priced at $18, and infusion shots at $10.

FORT by Maison Ikkoku 
5 Cox Terrace, Fort Canning Hill, Pinacotheque De Paris, S179620 
Daily: 4pm till late 

More ideas for Christmas, this time from Raffles Hotel Singapore with their line up of award-winning Raffles Grill, Long Bar Steakhouse, Tiffin Room as well as Bar & Billiard Room. 
Trio of Appetizers here- Gillardeau Oysters with lettuce, fennel bronze and Oscietra caviar from Raffles Grill; Tuna Nicoise from Tiffin Room; Foie gras with artichoke and smoked duck from Long Bar Steakhouse. Fav? The last. The foie gras terrine was very smooth.
From the Raffles Grill Christmas Menu and New Year's Eve Gala Ball, the Oxtail Consomme with scallops, heirloom beet and leek, and black truffle. Loved the light broth with robust flavors of the meat and the extraction of all that meaty sweetness. Plus those plump seared scallops were the best.
Oriole Coffee + Bar has been around in the Somerset area for a bit now but it was never a choice cafe for me until recently. With its refreshed food and beverage menu at its Pan Pacific outlet, there are now more choices for my picking!
All day breakfast FTW! I really liked the Humble Baked Egg Skillet ($16), which is a hearty mix of tender and flavorful roasted lamb stew with sweet potatoes, sous vide eggs and Emmental cheese to add on that creamy and stringy texture. They really ought to serve bread with this massive pan.
I highly recommend that you have this to share because it's really quite a huge portion. While i don't see myself having this at 8am in the morning, this is certainly perfect for brunch, or dinner.
Are you a diced or sliced chirashi-don person? Well if you are a sashimi person who don't mind some vinegared rice, i guess you would go with sliced. Well, i was that person until Aoki Restaurant, fine dining Japanese restaurant by the Les Amis Group, and they have been known to convert the hearts of many to the diced maze-chirashi style with thueir superb value for money and delicious lunch sets. 
Omakase would definitely be the best way to enjoy the Aoki experience but lunch is much easier on the wallet with sets starting from $33 and they come with salad, miso soup and dessert. Make sure you call early for a reservation.
Every established hotel needs a decent Japanese restaurant and Ginza Yoshihiro from Tokyo Japan has taken over the defunct not-so-swell outpost of Sushi Dai (also from Tokyo) at Marina Mandarin Singapore.  With over 30 years of history, Ginza Yoshihiro provides authentic Japanese cuisine in both gozen (from $32) and omakase (from $128) format, featuring selected seafood in season. Head chef Hisayuki Nishioka aka "Bob-San" helms the Singapore outlet and he was previously head sushi chef at Hide Yamamoto (Marina Bay Sands).
Other than the sushi and sashimi (fish flown in from Tsukiji thrice weekly), oden is also a specialty here. Dinner at Ginza was a surprise as I was simply told by Chef that I would be well fed. Looking at the succession of dishes that follow, you can be sure that this was an extension of their most extensive Botan set ($188).
Looking at the pretty colors of the sashimi, I knew I was in good hands.
The Christmas season has officially descended upon us and if you have not made your festive dining plans, you better NAO because all the good children do, if not they would starve so badly. Thankfully, here's your Skinnyfat Santarina and her recommendations of the St. Regis Singapore's festive menu! 
This non-turkey fan is absolutely loving the Whole Roasted Turkey (Brasserie Les Saveurs) which was better than roasted chicken (my tolerance for turkey is fairly low). This comes with buttered brussels sprouts, glazed chestnut, fried caramelised yam (which was amazing, like a preview of Chinese New Year). Slather the meat with the cranberry-orange compote or the savory Giblet gravy. 
Amuse Bouche of Slow-cooked egg with smoked salmon tartare and horseradish espuma (BLS). A well balanced spoon of saltiness coated by that creamy quail egg.
From LaBrezza, the Foie gras and Boston lobster terrine. The foie gras was amazingly soft and creamy and i was surprised it worked well with the briny sweet lobster. The sweet, sticky, and dense dates and shallots compote, bitter cocoa sauce, and lobster essence added on interesting flavors that gel the dish. Give it a shot!
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.