Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

I could hardly find any proper reviews of Iru Den online and only chanced upon it thanks to the fellow foodies with trusted taste buds on IG. So, here is a proper review for you guys who are considering dining at this hidden omakase-only restaurant on Scotts Road.

Chef Owner Javier serves a Modern Japanese Kappou style cuisine. If you thought he sounds familiar, he used to run a one-man kitchen IL DEN which served Modern Japanese cuisine. Since then, his style has evolved and grown and he now runs a full-fledged kitchen serving 3 choices of omakase meals starting at $198++ (7-courses).
When i said that the restaurant is hidden, i meant it quite literally. Entering the main gate, we naturally went to the first obvious building we saw, only to be given the dirty eye and directed to the left corner of the black and white. Enter the wooden gate and down a little dark garden, you will then arrive at the locked doors of Iru Den. Only after our reservations were checked could we enter the restaurant. 
My gf and I went with the 10-course dinner omakase ($268++) to sample more variety. I was originally worried that i wouldn't be able to stomach the whole course but the portions are really small and i was feeling just right at the end of the meal (i'm a small eater btw). 

Our first dish was the Aka Ebi, dressed with Tosazu vinegar dressing and Nanohana pesto. I enjoyed the light and refreshing citrusy acidity and touch of herbiness with the sweet prawns. 
If there's one good thing that came out of COVID-19 for me, it's the appreciation of Korean cuisine, thanks to Netflix and K-drama. I've always prefered Japanese food over Korean, as it is more delicate  and refined, as compared to the one pot, mix-it-all with lotsa sauce, and eat out of a huge metal bowl kinda way of eating. Well consider me a convert. Korean food is best for social bonding over hearty dishes and alcohol. For those who want the best of both worlds, i highly recommend ANJU for a more elegant modern Korean dining and bar experience in a chic and tasteful setting right in little Korea that is Tanjong Pagar. I promise you would not leave smelling like a BBQ post-dinner.
Dinner reservations are hard to come by and i was lucky that a friend made a reservation more than 2 months ago! Forget the regular green or blue bottles of soju. At Anju, they have a curated list of Koreans alcohol and Makgeolli is a special. 
If you are here with more friends, definitely go for their special Champagne Makgeolli ($75, 940ml), which is naturally carbonated. Since there were only 2 of us, we went with the White Lotus Makgeolli ($28, 375ml). The grain liquor was infused with white lotus, which provided hints of floral undertones and a refreshing nutty finish. 
For appetizers, it's a toss between the umami crunchy bomb that is the Bori Prawns ($8) simply seasoned with green baby garlic shoots and salt; or the Black Bean Mascarpone ($16) with sourdough crackers that is my one true love. The latter could be a snack or a dessert due to its delicate sweetness from the sweet Suritae beans. Mix it with Chef’s special chive oil and it provides a savoury headiness. 
We didn't think we were going to travel in 2021 earlier this year due to work restrictions and so we decided to give the cruise-to-nowhere a try again given our desperation for a break. Since it's our first proper break in a while, we decided to just go with the Palace Suite on Genting World Dream, which is an all-inclusive and exclusive suite experience. 
The price tag for a 3D2N cruise was about $700 for us. This was for a booking in July but we postponed it to October at no further charge (our original cruise was cancelled due to a COVID case). While it may seemed pretty pricey for a short cruise, it's like going to a fancy resort with a huge suite, meals entitlements at all the specialty restaurants, special activities at no costs, free Wi-Fi, plus a 24-hour butler concierge service to assist with all your restaurant reservations, show bookings, and any other requests you may have. 

One thing that wasn't conveyed to us is that there's priority check-in and embarkation. If you're a Palace guest do take note of that so that you could skip the queue. I would suggest checking in earlier if possible to enjoy all the facilities and to get your hands on those popular restaurant bookings. 
Stepping into our Palace Suite cabin, we were surprised by the size of it. The average suite size is over 42sqm and there's plenty of room to fit a king size bed with fine Italian linens, a sitting area, dresser, work counter, wardrobe,  a huge balcony with expansive views of the ocean, and a bathtub and shower. This time i made sure i was fully prepared with my bubble bath!
 
Bath amenities from Etro™which are decent enough, though i did bring my own shampoo still. 
Coffee and mini bar are all complimentary with our room. Apart from beers, there are also these cute single serve bottles of Prosecco. Make sure you finish everything before you leave, if not you would have to go through the hassle of paying for taxes should you decide to bring them home. 
Another perk that we enjoyed as Palace Suite guests are the dedicated facilities. Check out the dedicated pool and lounge area for the Palace guests. You could also choose to enjoy Happy Hour at the pool area as well, just that it's a bit more troublesome getting your drinks. Note that you'd need to make a booking for the pool or jacuzzi due to COVID social distancing measures. 
  
The dedicated facilities like the gym and all-day-dining Palace restaurant could be easily accessed by the dedicated lift, which connects your cabin level to them! It is entirely possible to spend all your time within the Palace facilities only. 
 
We also signed up for a pilates class at the dedicated gym. The class size was really small to start with (it was limited to 4-6 pax) so we almost didn't think we could squeeze in but it became a private session because only 2 of us showed up! Absolutely lovely experience with a view too. We also booked ourselves a steam and sauna session. Just look at that soothing ocean!
If you were to venture out of the confines of the Palace, some fun activities include the Waterslide Park with five slides. There's also a ropes course and zipline, a rock climbing wall, mini golf, pool, and VR games arcade. 
Unfortunately, the weather wasn't that great when we wanted to check out these activities, so we chose to go into our private hot tub and enjoy a wine instead. 
We also caught one of the shows, which is Vision by Vincent Vignaud. I was really amazed at the illusions because they were quite impossible? There's another show called Faith which is a mix of ballet, acrobatics, and comedy but our schedule was too packed and we couldn't fit that in?? Honestly 3D2N was too short a break and i would recommend a longer cruise to check out all the restaurants and activities. 
Now the food. We only ate at the specialty restaurants during this trip. Our previous experience with Royal Caribbean was that the general dining and buffet selections were very underwhelming. Silk Road Chinese restaurant served pretty decent Chinese food and we were surprised at how empty the restaurant was. We enjoyed the dishes but the portion were really small. I guess better since we could check out the supper offerings at the Palace Restaurant.
The food wasn't super wow for supper but at least you get fresh veggies and fruits too. The curry, dimsum, and congee are among the better tasting items we had but yes you can have char kway teow too. The Palace Restaurant also serves afternoon tea, which was again quite basic but well it's just something to pass your time.  
 
We also enjoyed our experience at the Seafood Grill and Prime Steakhouse by Mark Best, which was our favorite restaurant on board. The quality was great and so was the ambience and service. You could enjoy both the seafood menu as well as the grill menu at the same place. Umi Uma is another hot spot for dining but honestly if you don't manage to get the Teppanyaki tables, you may wish to skip their Korean BBQ or bento services. I may just have gone for the alfresco Hot Pot restaurant instead if i knew how meh the Korean BBQ was. 
I'm not gonna delve too much into the COVID measures on board but we felt quite safe with the reduced capacity, contact tracing measures and sanitation, except that there could be better enforcing of group dining (guests were speaking across tables). There are still queues for the main cruise activities but the crowd was orderly. The Antigen Rapid Test at Marina Bay Cruise Centre pre-boarding was a breeze as well. 

So yes, the short and sweet review of the Palace Suite on Dream Cruise. I've definitely changed my mind on cruise holidays after this experience. Would you give it a try? 



Revolver has to be one of the best new restaurants that have opened this year, in the midst of the pandemic no less. You have to admit that they are bold, just like their fiery wood-fired, grill and tandoori offerings made with fresh seasonal ingredients and based on Indian cooking sensibilities. But the boldness works and it's already one of the hardest restaurants to get a booking at.
I was lucky to score a weekend lunch table and had a taste of Chef Saurabh’s revolving menu. While grill houses are commonplace these days, it's rare to find an Indian one like Revolver. 
To complement our 6-course affair ($99), we added a 3-glass wine pairing ($65) for a not too indulgent day-drinking experience.
First, the stuffed courgette flower, filled with a creamy spicy potato mash is first kissed by the fire, and then painted with lemon pickles. The flower maintained its delicate nature and eased us into the meal.
The fresh paneer with coriander pesto has to be the best paneer i've had. The cottage cheese is flown fresh from New Delhi daily and boy that firm tofu texture was kept even though it's finished in the tandoori. I'm not a coriander fan but i mopped up that pesto.
We couldn't help ourselves but to order the Kurobuta pork belly Vindaloo (+$20). Marinated in 5 spices and then grilled and glazed with tamarind pickles, the meat leaned on the sweet side with char siew flavors to it. We expected some heat in the Vindaloo curry sauce to balance the dish but it wasn't spicy at all. Nevertheless, this was very enjoyable.
We enjoyed it more than the Red Snapper with Gunpowder salsa (mix of Indian spices), which was a tad too blackened. Someone needs to watch the fire more closely here.
We thought the Chicken Scotch eggs were a tad out of place on the menu but it was tasty nonetheless. The soft egg was wrapped in a juicy chicken mince and nestled on a crispy nest of fried thin potato strips. The aioli and chili oil definitely helped to spice things up a notch.
Another of our favorite was the Spiced chickpeas with Parmesan Kulchette. Surprisingly, this was the spiciest dish on the menu and the heat was very manageable. Loved the texture and the umami cheesy note to this dish.
To end, the Kulfi Gelato with cardamom spices. It's not as cloying as the traditional dessert but I guess you either like it or you don't.

Come dinner, there are 3 tasting menus to pick from- Discovery Menu ($139), Experience Menu ($199) and Vegetarian Menu ($129). I can't imagine eating more though. Is Revolver worth the hype? It definitely warrants a repeat visit, if i could get a table.

56 Tras Street, Singapore 078997
Tue-Sun : 12 - 2.30pm, 6 - 11pm
Tel: +65 6223 2812
Ovenbird is a family-owned, home-style SG-Japanese fusion restaurant helmed by self-taught Chef Jeffrey Yeo. The one-man show started 2 years ago from his Yishun flat before opening in Mar 2021 at City Gate Bugis and Chef Jeffrey continued to run everything on his own, sometimes with the help of his wife. A seasonal Omakase menu ($130 nett) is served here and Chef Jeffrey calls it 'Ah Beng style Japanese food'. 
Since there's only 1 chef/waiter, the courses are served to all diners at once. So please be punctual. While waiting, we started with a Japanese Dasi Ale which Chef recommended. This is definitely a first that we had beer with omakase but it was actually good with our courses. The Chawanmushi with Sake Sujiko, Matsutake trimmings and Shoyuzuke, was first served. The egg custard was deliberately kept plain to go with the creamy marinated salmon roe. 
Then the generous Ah Beng started serving us a whole lot of fish, starting with the Katsuo Tatami- fresh line-caught (bonito). Autumn is the perfect season for bonito as the fish is super fatty. The grated daikon with chili pepper and lemon ponzu helped to cut the richness of the fish. 
If you're following me on IG (@msskinnyfat), you'd know that Jr and I recently travelled to Germany on the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) on a whim. Before i get down to sharing more details of our trip and the highlights, here's a quick overview of our self-drive trip. This plan was put together and finalized in -drumrolls- 3 nights. We wavered between taking the train and driving and thus our itinerary actually changed 3 times. Anyhow, we eventually decided on driving, which gave us more flexibility in terms of our schedule and Autumn is a good time to enjoy the great German autobahns and scenery. 
Day 1
Flight to Frankfurt, Germany
Stay- Niu Charly near the Frankfurt Main train station (the breakfast spread was surprisingly good)
Day 2
Pick up car
Heidelberg
Baden Baden
Stay- Holiday Inn Express Baden Baden
Day 3
Baden Baden
Drive through Schwarzwaldhochstrasse Motorway for the Black Forest experience
Mummelsee Lake
Strasbourg, France
Freiburg
Stay- Freiburg, Busses Guesthouse
Day 4
Freiburg
Triberg Waterfalls (Go to the waterfalls only if you have time for a 1 hour hike if not it's a waste of time). 
Füssen
Stay- Hotel Sonne Füssen (highly recommended!) 
Day 5
Füssen- Hohenschwangau Castle and Neuschwanstein Castle (this will practically take the whole day). 
Oberammergau- We wanted to do the Alpine Coaster but we missed the season by 1 day. This is not available during winter. Ettal Abbey for their liquor distillery (we skipped this as we were tired from the day of touring the castles).
Stay- Quartier, GaPa
Day 6
GaPa- Partnachklamm hike (failed because it's closed for works). We did half a loop from the top of Eckbauer and almost killed ourselves on the steep icy paths. It would be best to ski down if there were snow. This took us about 1.5h. 
Mittenwald (can skip)
Stay- Quartier, GaPa
Day 7
Lake Eibsee- this is a 2h walk around and fyi there is no food around. You could take the cable car up to Zugspitz (Germany highest peak) but it's probably not worth it. We would if we were skiing.
Munich
Stay- Schwan Locke, Theresienwiese
Day 8
Took a BMW M2 and drove out of Munich for the day.
Ingolstadt Village- outlet shopping and Laduree
Nuremberg- Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds
Stay- Schwan Locke, Theresienwiese
Day 9
Took pre-departure ART test. 21dx.de near the Residence has short queues and was very fast.
Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site (English tours are at 11am and 1pm and is at least 2.5h. It was really cold when we went and it would be colder in winter. 
Stay- Schwan Locke, Theresienwiese
Day 10
Explore Munich
Flight to SG

More details on recommendations in a fuller post hopefully soon but this should give you an idea on the key stops if you were to drive from Frankfurt to Munich!

XOXO,
Travelerintransit

























When we celebrated our 3rd anniversary last month, we "travelled" to Japan through Omakase @ Stevens new autumn menu, since we thought we wouldn't be travelling till next year. Chef Shusuke Kubota managed to bring autumn to us through the 11-course dinner omakase ($280/pax), using the freshest seasonal ingredients from one of our favorite countries. 
We stepped into my favorite season with a pretty delicate bowl of Gomadofu that resembled Koyo (autumn leaves). Under the warm orange Bafun uni and fresh Hokkaido Ikura lies the mochi-like homemade sesame beancurd with 'ago dashi jelly' which was slightly chewy and incredibly fragrant.
In the Hassun (snacks), the seasonal Pacific Saury made an appearance on top of a homemade brioche, dressed with garlic oil. Other snacks included the pan-seared Anglerfish liver on crispy Monaka pastry and topped with persimmon (almost foie gras-like); and the deep-fried yam with Wagyu Prosciutto.
The Hay-smoked Katsuo has been a fixture on the Chef's menu. The interesting use of Fourme d'Ambert sauce helped to tone down the fishiness, together with the sherry balsamic and walnut oil. 
This was followed by a cold Kagawa Somen tossed in a sauce made of abalone liver and rock seaweed, topped with sliced Chiba abalone and more uni. You know it's love when you get more of your favorite uni from your other half (i gave him more abalone). 
While i've had Shirako before, this was the first time i had it served hot in a broth. The heat gave the cod sperm an even creamier and milky texture. Chef Shu cooked this in his special chicken scallop broth and it does have a strong taste despite the chili oil. 
One of our favorite dishes was the fried tilefish with edible scales. Even though the fish was fried to a crisp, it was not oily at all and the fish remained crispy in the Matsutake dashi that was finished with some shaved Kabosu citrus. 
The maim event is also a staple on the menu- a charcoal-grilled Kagoshima Wagyu served with the seasonal lily bulb with Okahijiki and a sauce made with port and red wine and Sansho pepper. 
Even though we were stuffed, we couldn't help but add on Chef's special donabe. There were several toppings to pick from and we went with the Sakoshi Bay oysters on maitake dashi rice (since we didn't have it on the dinner menu) and boy were they huge! Jr was very pleased with this. 
For desserts, there's the choice of a boozy sake one with seasonal Nagano grapes on a sake jelly covered with sake kasu mousse and crushed sherbet, topped with crispy rice puffs and sake foam. The deconstructed Mont Blanc was truly a special one that is inspired by Chef Shu's childhood and his grandmother and resembles the snowcapped mountains in Nagano. 
If you're hoping to experience Japan (before any VTL happens), Omakase @ Stevens would deliver with their dinner plates and exceptional service. 

Omakase @ Stevens
30 Stevens Rd, #01-03, Singapore 257840
Tel: +65 6735 8282
Mon- Sat: 5.30 - 10.30pm