Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

​​Fresh Italian mozzarella in Singapore? HELL YEA! Be treated to fresh cheeses at The Mast’ of Mozzarella & Co.'s first SEA's outpost at Frasers Tower. Originating from Rome, the concept proudly combines a cheese production laboratory with a delicatessen, osteria and bar all in one space. It is the first in Singapore to make fresh mozzarella, burrata and stracciatella daily on site. 
The cheese are made from high-quality milk from the osteria’s very own buffalo farm in Valle dei Templi in Paestum, an area with the perfect climate conditions for buffalo breeding. Only 6kg of fresh cheese is made daily, most used at the restaurant and the rest for takeaways at a mere price of $8/12 for 125g of mozzarella/burrata.
In addition to being able to purchase freshly crafted cheeses over the counter, guests can enjoy them showcased in a host of sumptuous offerings available from breakfast through to dinner. An all-day dining menu is available for both lunch and dinner. 
In addition to the regular menu, The Mast’ will also introduce weekly specials that showcase the season’s freshest offerings.
Oh hey Sri Lanka, it has been a while! I know i've procrastinated on the writing, probably because i lost all my photos and i've no idea how. But anyway, thank god for Facebook because i uploaded some pictures along the way. So here is finally sharing my experience in this very exciting country.
Sri Lanka will have a place for you, no matter what kind of traveler you are. For the active traveler, you could climb mountains, kite-surf the massive waves, or go diving if you wish. Nature lovers would enjoy hunting the elusive leopards in the safaris, or catching a glimpse of whale sharks. Learn the rich history of the country in the Cultural Triangle. Or if you're seeking some peace and down-time, the tea plantations in Nuwara Eliya will be your cup of tea. Me? I'm an all rounder so i did everything. Here's how i did it.
After a night's rest in Negombo, we started off our trip with the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka, where 5 UNESCO World Heritage sites are located. First, the Golden Temple of Dambulla, also known as the Cave Temple.
This cave monastery with its five sanctuaries, is the largest and best-preserved cave-temple complex in Sri Lanka. There are 157 statues and Buddhist mural paintings in the compound, which you will explore barefoot. Note that there's a short climb as the cave is on the top of a 500 ft rock mass.
When we thought that was the most active part of the day, our guide drove us next to Sigiriya Rock Fortress, the Lion Rock. The history of Sigiriya dates back to over 5000 thousand years! The climb isn't that bad actually but if you're scared of heights.. then you'd probably have some issues with this. 
Check out the scary stairs around the vertical walls!!
Another day was spent at the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, another UNESCO World Heritage site. the medieval capital of Sri Lanka. This is considered one of the most beautiful centres in Sri Lanka’s cultural heritage and the second capital of the Sinhalese kings back in the 11th to 12th century A.D. 
Visit the world famous rock-cut Buddha statues of Gal Vihara and the Parakrama Samudra (‘Sea of Parakrama’), a 2500-hectare man made reservoir built by King Parakramabahu I (1153 –1186 AD) with a capacity of 134 million cubic meters. 
If memory didn't fail me, we skipped Anuradhapura as it was further up north. Plus it was more than enough ruins to last the trip. For visiting the cultural triangle, we stayed at Habarana Village by Cinnamon. The food at the hotel wasn't too bad and they have a huge international and local selection. 
The lunches for the first 2 days were all typical Sri Lankan food- curries in all forms, served with rice and roti (bread). 
Expect to eat a lot of brown and yellow stuff if you were to stick with the Sri Lankan diet. The curries are very mild imo. Here's a short read on some dishes that are commonly served in Sri Lanka. My favorites are the green jackfruit curry, coconut sambal, and the hoppers are not bad too. After 2 days of the typical Sri Lankan food, we reached our quota and went with international cuisine for the rest of the trip. :P
Then it was off to Kandy for the Sacred Tooth Relic Temple, the most revered Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka. From ancient times kings have kept the Sacred Tooth Relic in their kingdoms as a symbol of power. It is a traditional belief that, whoever takes possession of the Tooth Relic, ruler or invader, has the power to rule the people. No world domination for me because the tooth is under lock and key, and only taken out for display during important celebrations.

The no-shoes policy will certainly cause you a lot of pain, especially outdoors. Thank god there's an air-conditioned mall nearby which serves Baskin Robbins (i can't remember which) which is perfect for the Sri Lankan.
The drive to Dick Oya continued after lunch. The destination was the charming Governor's Mansion, a fully restored English styled mansion located 4000ft above sea level in the tea valley of Hatton-Dickoya. This is where we prepared ourselves for the Adam's Peak climb ahead. Word is that the British royal family were hosted in the suites before. We had the entire mansion to ourselves when we were there! The dinner here was really decent. We had stuffed crabs, a proper steak, followed by desserts. 
TBH, i did not do any research on Adam's Peak, and i included it because many itineraries said that you can catch a gorgeous sunrise there. And so, that's how we ended up climbing 2243m/5500 steps up this sacred mountain at 2am in the morning. The mountain is known for the Sri Pada "sacred footprint", a 1.8m rock formation near the summit, thought to be the footprint of Buddha/Shiva/Adam/St. Thomas (you get the point that it's sacred). 
Anyhow, it's all stairs and the entire way up is brightly lit. If all the old grandmothers and grandfathers can climb this thing, you can too. Just give yourself sufficient time to get to the top and also keep warm. There are shops along the path where you can buy snacks and drinks. There are toilets along the way but well, they aren't the cleanest. I held my pee in from 2am till we got down to the base at 8ish am. I thought i was gonna die from an erupted bladder. 

There's a temple at the top and there's a ceremony every morning to mark the break of day. It gets crowded so get there slightly earlier to snag a spot for sunrise. 
We got back to our mansion at about 9ish 10am and we took a long bath to refresh ourselves. Breakfast was a sumptuous affair on the terrace before we headed to Nuwara Eliya. To get there, we wanted a train ride experience but didn't wanna toot the whole way to the tea valleys.
So our driver-guide packed us on the train, made sure we were safe (he's such a mother bird), and drove our luggage to our pick up point (2 stops away) and waited for us to arrive. We were exhausted from the climb since we did not get much sleep at all and ended up dozing on the train. Before we fall asleep, we caught glimpse of the rugged hills, and then the manicured tea estates.
The reason for visiting Nuwara Eliya was for the tea plantations. It was in our itinerary but my gf was way too exhausted to want to do anything else when we got to our hotel. Despite our guide's protests, we stayed in. :P So if you have the change, go see the fields, pick some leaves, and have some tea! 
This is the view from our accommodation: Blackpool Hotel
Another highlight of the trip was the Safari visit! I thought it was seriously amazing that we could see animals in the wild so close to Singapore! We'll save that Africa safari trip for the future. We decided to check out Yala National Park as it has the largest leopard density of leopards in the world.
Here is a listing of the animals that you may see, as provided by my tour guide. You may see Elephant, Sloth Bear, Sambhur, Spotted Deer, Wild Boar, Stripe-necked, Brown & Ruddy Mongooses, Black-naped Hare & several civet species.
In the water holes you may see Mugger Crocodile, Painted Stork, Lesser Whistling Teal, Black-headed Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill, Great, Median & Little Egrets & the rare Black-necked Stork. Also drive up to the Buttuwa Tank to see the rare winter visitor, Bay-backed Shrike. The migrant bird species that you are likely to see include Indian Pitta, Brahminy Myna & large flocks of Rosy Starling flying for roost. The monsoon forest vegetation of the park is dominated by Palu Trees (Manilkara hexandra) and the thick undergrowth is dominated by thorny bushes. 
As we only got to our resort late morning, we had lunch before heading out for the afternoon safari tour. Be prepared for a bumpy and dusty ride in the safari jeep. I was amazed at how i was able to doze off on the ride.
We woke up early next morning (before sunrise) for another half day of hunting down the leopards. Unfortunately for us, it was few moons just several nights ago and the leopards were all hibernating after their hunt. so NO LEOPARDS for us. Only a lot of elephants. We spotted a large cat too but i can't remember what. LOL. 

We stayed at the nearby Laya Safari resort which is by the sea. Dinner was included in our stay and there are live bbq stations which were pretty decent. 
After exploring the land, we headed to Mirissa to catch some blue whales in action! For this, we based ourselves at Matara and stayed at Amaloh by Jetwing
We got up bright and early for a morning drive to Mirissa Fishery's Harbour for a whale and dolphin watching experience. Well.. be prepared to get a tan, plus endure a rocky ride out. I must say it wasn't the most comfortable experience but seeing the wild dolphins was worth it. We also spotted a blue whale after what felt like forever. The whole trip took us a good 6 hours i believe! 
Our last stop of the trip was to Galle, before we headed into the capital to catch our night flight. The main attraction is the Dutch Fort-Galle, yet another UNESCO world heritage site. We had a short wander around the fort walls to stretch our legs mainly. I'm glad we did not spend more time than required here. 
We had half a day to chill around Colombo without much to do really. Of course we occupied ourselves with a tea break and had the most amazing bakes at The English Cake Company- The Cakery, followed by a long spa session at White by Spa Ceylon, before dinner at Ministry of Crab.

Our 9 day tour with Jetwing Eco Holidays was US$1485/pax and it included the accommodation with half-board, transport and guide, entrance fees (to the safari as well) and the dolphin and whale watching charges, as well as our Ayurveda treatment. I thought it was a steal! They are more focused on nature travel and may not be able to provide a lot of information on cultural sites. 

LeVeL33 has earned its reputation as a upmarket microbrewery with a view over the years but now with the addition of a couple of new faces, including Executive Chef ArChan Chan and Chef de Cuisine Maksym Chukanov; expect a stronger focus on their beer, because you are gonna be drinking it,  and eating it.
Their latest menu offering focuses on featuring dishes with elements of beer, and although the team comes with plenty of experience, I had my doubts about fusing beer into European cuisine beyond typical bar pairings like pork knuckle and German sausages. As it turned out, I didn’t have anything to worry about.
With more delicate starters like Kingfish Sashimi ($26) (above) and Hokkaido Scallop ($24), Chef Chan managed to push the boundaries of what diners would typically associate with beer flavours. The cured kingfish doesn’t quite fall within the standard definition of sashimi but goes well with the accompanying nori and spent grain sand, while the addition of house-pickled cucumber made for an interesting combination of textures.
The grilled Quail ($27) (above) has a much more robust flavour from the stout used in its marinade, and while it is a bit closer in nature to other alcohol-infused dishes we’ve encountered elsewhere (think Guinness pork ribs and 三杯鸡), it was hearty, satisfying and left us wanting more.
A clear winner was the pan-seared Seabass ($36) with beer malt risotto and beurre blanc sauce – besides the perfectly done fish (crispy skin and all), the risotto also went extremely well with the sauce and made for a very satisfying main course.
However, it wasn’t only the meat items that were hearty and well done – vegetarians and vegans will be glad to know that Chef Chan’s Garden Greens Tart ($29) combines a gluten-free taro tart ring with seasonal vegetables to great effect. Although I typically don’t enjoy pure vegetarian options, I would recommend this in a heartbeat as an alternative to the Truffle Ravioli ($32) which was commonplace, though generous with the amount of truffle used in the dish. 
On a separate menu, folks looking for bar bite options would be pleased to find items like Spent Grain Flatbread ($16), Shisito Peppers ($10) and Southern Fried Chicken ($22) among LeVeL33’s offerings. The flatbread is served with cod roe dip and salmon roe, which was a little on the salty side, but otherwise makes for a moreish snack. For those who have trouble deciding, the Sharing Platter ($46) feeds up to 3 people and features both the chicken and flatbread, as well as a mix of white anchovy croutons and sweet potato fries.
The bar menu pairs perfectly with the beers on tap at LeVeL33, and for those looking for a more interesting introduction to beer, their craft beer cocktails are definitely worth checking out - we’d recommend the refreshing Blond Mojito ($22), and if you’re keen on sampling the beers brewed onsite, the Beer Tasting Paddle ($23.33), which comes with five 0.1L tasters of LeVeL33’s craft brews, including the Blond Lager, India Pale Ale, Stout, House Porter and Wheat Beer.
For those with a bit more of a sweet tooth, Chef de Cuisine Chukanov draws inspiration from his Russian heritage to create a Layered Honey Cake ($15) served with beer aerated honeycomb, topped with house made sour cream ice cream, lemon balm and fermented kumquat. The ice cream and lemon balm do wonders to cut through the sweetness of the honey cake and honeycomb, and balances this rich dessert very nicely. A darker option would be the Malt & Stout Parfait ($12), which combines a coffee oat crumble with a malt, stout and vodka parfait in choux pastry puffs to present a dessert that highlights the chocolate and coffee notes that stout lovers will recognise – this was particularly enjoyable without being too sweet.

8 Marina Boulevard, #33-01, Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 1, Singapore 018981
Tel: +65 6834 3133
Mon-Thu: 11.30am – 12am 
Fri-Sat: 11.30am – 2am
Sun: 12pm – 12am 
It's been a while since i explored the Farrer Park area since i moved out of the North Eastern part of Singapore. Well Park Hotel Farrer Park was constructed while i was busy exploring other parts of Singapore (mostly the East) and in it i found Blue Jasmine, a Thai restaurant currently helmed by a petite female Thai chef!
Classic Thai dishes are served here but regional specialties are also dished out here and i got to eat my favorite Esarn (Northeastern Thai cuisine) dishes!

Start with the Cha-Om Fried Egg ($12), which is served rolled up at Blue Jasmine. The rolls of thin acacia leaves omelette is fragrant on its own but if you feel like it needs more kick, the classic Thai dip named Nam Prik Kapi based on fermented shrimp paste and fiery birds’ eye chillies will pack that punch you want. I loved this dish! 
We're used to Tom Yum and that's available at Blue Jasmine too. However, do give Sea Bass Poh Tek ($30), an Esarn style hot and spicy traditional soup, a try. The flavour profile sounds similar to Tom Yum and could, in fact, be considered a type of Tom Yum but Poh Tek is made with a different proportion of spices and ingredients, with the addition of deep-fried sea bass, offering a different dining experience to the classic. Sweetness and a lovely spice. Love the refreshing aromatics. Firm fried fish with a light batter that isn’t too soggy either.

Do not miss the Roast Chicken Esarn Style ($16), which is a double roasted chicken for that extra crispiness. Despite being cooked twice, it is super juicy. The marinate is made of an Esarn paste of galangal, lemongrass, coriander, garlic, turmeric, fish sauce and palm sugar, and is well absorbed by the chicken overnight. Accompanying the chicken is a spicy dipping sauce made with roasted glutinous rice with fried kaffir. The overall flavor is like that of a satay with moderate sweetness. 
Holy Basil KAPRAO (Squid, $24) is made for basil lovers. The fragrance permeates through every bite. It's classic Thai stir-fry and you can choose to have the succulent squid, or even kampong chicken and beef ribeye. 
Afternoon Tea, my long-lost love. How i've missed you. Is it me or has this idyllic event fallen out of favor? Whatever the case, InterContinental Singapore's new Afternoon Tea: Checkmate will make you fall in love again. From now to 31 January 2019, the Lobby Lounge at the hotel will showcase Pastry Chef Ben Goh's collaboration with world-renowned premium chocolate manufacturer Valrhona’s Master Pastry Chef Brice Konan- Ferrand's chess-inspired chocolate-based desserts, alongside some savory bites.
The set is priced at $88 for two persons, inclusive of a fine selection of loose-leaf teas and coffee. You can indulge with a half-bottle Taittinger Brut Champagne (375ml), along with everything else at $138/set.

I'm a traditionalist when it comes to tea and was surprised that we were served sweets first as Chef Ben wanted to focus on the sweets in the afternoon tea set. However, you can always request for a change in order of presentation, or to have both served at the same time (which i recommend). 

3 of the chess desserts are created by Chef Ben- The King, Pawn, and Bishop, while Chef Brice created the Queen, Rook, and Knight.
We meat lovers can always count on Opus Bar & Grill to satisfy our carnivorous cravings. This season, the restaurant has introduced new premium butcher’s cuts that are perfect for sharing. 
The new Premium Butcher's cuts showcase a variety of textures and flavors with 4 types of meat cuts on one platter. The platter is meant for two people but i really think that it's good for 4. Plus, it's only priced at $128, which i feel is a steal for the amount and quality of meats served. 
The platter includes 500 - 600g Rangers Valley Angus OP rib which has been dry-aged in-house between 18 to 36 days, which to me, is the highlight of this platter. There's also a 150g Margaret River wagyu flank steak cooked on open fire, best paired with the homemade smoked chili glaze. I loved the texture of the grain-fed beef short ribs (400 - 500g) with a marble score of three, however, even though it was braised with aromatic spices, the meat didn't have much flavor. All was saved by the barbeque sauce though. There are also sausages which have been grilled over Jarrah Wood for additional smokiness, however, they were kinda dry imo. 
Other sharing plates are worthy of your choice as well. I'd go for the Wagyu Sirloin with Boston lobster sharing platter ($138). While the lobster is on the smaller side, i loved the smoky umami flavors, plus the meat was super sweet and flavorful. The Wagyu Sirloin cut here was executed flawlessly as well. Other than meats, Opus serves Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)’s Chain of Custody certified seafood which are sustainably caught- the live Boston Lobster being one of them.

Not to be missed is also the new kelong local green mussels steamed in lemongrass fumes. There's a hint of Thai green curry in this with an aromatic perfume. 
If you just want your steak and want it bloody, I highly recommend the 1 to 1.2kg whiskey-aged U.S. California Tomahawk steak which is 365 days grain-fed ($153).  
A touch of flamed bourbon provided a light sweetness to the juicy steak before service. If you're not in the sharing mood, there are also prime grade cuts steaks from U.S. Greater Omaha, priced from $58.

As usual, there's a special wine package with two hours of select free-flow wines from Sunday to Thursday, or 50 percent off wine by the bottle on Friday and Saturday. 

Opus Bar & Grill 
581 Orchard Road, Singapore 238883 
Lobby Level, Hilton Singapore 
Tel: +65 6730 3390
Grill Daily: 6.30 – 10.30pm
Bar Daily: 10am – 12am 

I've heard interesting things about Nouri in the past year, prior to them earning their first Michelin star. Unfortunately (or fortunately), it took the star for us to check out Chef Ivan Brehm's crossroads cooking, only because we've been too busy with life (moving in, preparing to get married and all). In anticipation of the meal, I studied Chef Ivan's menu and i was very curious as to how our meal will turned out because of the strange mix of ingredients and flavors and how they don't conform to a type of cuisine.
After polishing the pretty plates that Chef Ivan sent out and also listening to his stories behind the dishes, I guess we got a sense of what crossroads cooking means. At Nouri, you'll taste universally good food- no matter where you're from, or where the food takes inspiration from, you'll be able to identify familiar flavors that strike a chord or bring back some fond memories. Well at least that's what i took away from my meal.
For dinner, there's the option of a 5 or 7 course Chef Tasting Menu ($145/$175). Lunch tasting is also available at $85 for 5 course. The portions aren't very big, but our dinner party of 4 (3 boys and me) were rather satisfied at the end of our 5 course meal. Wine pairing is available at an additional $90 with some interesting pairing choices from lesser known regions and producers. We were very impressed with how knowledgeable the staff are of the food and wines served. A girlfriend who visited Nouri earlier noted that their sake pairing is excellent as well. 
Dinner started proper with the Bread and Broth, featuring rye sourdough bread served with a bowl of silken cheese topped with extra virgin olive oil and 25 years old balsamic sauce; and a shot of bone and 7-vegetables broth.