Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

We're closing on 3/4 of a year since the Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble Corridor has been announced. Well if i were to satisfy my dimsum fix in Hong Kong, i would have starved to death already. Thankfully Singapore has decent dimsum and we even have some really good bolo buns now. Champion Bolo Bun at Tanjong Pagar is a specialty bun store which pivoted from an online business to its current 3 storey shophouse space serving only bolo buns and Hong Kong style milk tea and coffee to go accompany the snack.  
Yes only these pineapple looking buns are sold here and basically they only have 2 variants of it, the regular type, and a filled one. Go on a weekend and be prepared to be faced with a snaking queue even though the Muji-esque space is huge for dining in. Why? Because Champion doesn't differentiate their dine-in customers from the takeaway ones. So yes, everyone gotta wait in line for the precious buns. The buns are baked fresh every 15 mins and it's recommended to eat within 20 mins. You could even replace your buns if you don't eat it within that time but WHY WOULD ANYONE DO THAT?
For the regular variant, you could have the Classic ($4.50), the Classic with Butter ($5) featuring an added slab of chilled New Zealand butter, or the Mini of 4 ($4.50) if you wish to split (over my dead body). For a sweet-savory one, there's also a curry potato filled bolo ($6). Unfortunately, it was one me so i can only stomach one bun and of course it had to be the one with butter. 
Firstly, the bun is gorgeous. A brown streusel crust tops the soft pillowy bun below and a butter tongue peeks from between the fluffy bread. As you take a bite into the huge square, you get the crunch of the cookie shell, which gives way to the pillowy soft bun and moist center. I loved the mix of sweetness and savoriness in each bite. And boy it is a big bun. 
The Champion Milk Tea ($5.50) is a perfect accompaniment to the bun. How could you not have the Hong Kong style milk tea with a bolo bun? That's the quintessential pairing. I went with the hot milk tea as the sweetness could be adjusted. While I typically have mine unsweetened, which could be a wild card depending on where you have it, I went with slightly sweetened this time and it was just the right mix. Rich smooth tea with a lovely fragrance with just a tinge of tannins. I'd probably go with unsweetened next time to lessen the guilt from the sweet bun. The cold drinks come sweetened so you don't really have an option. HK style coffee and lemon tea are available, and they also serve espresso-based drinks.

Champion Bolo Bun serves the best bolo bun i've eaten in Singapore, and also Hong Kong. The craving is kicking in as i'm writing the review. Damn i need to go now. 
Champion Bolo Bun
92 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088513
Tues- Sun: 11am - 5pm
Another exciting addition to the quickly gentrifying Joo Chiat area is Common Man Coffee Roasters (CMCR). No stranger to the cafe scene in Singapore, CMCR was established in 2013 with its flagship at Martin Road. The cafe-coffee roaster has been championing specialty coffee since and is one of the OG third-wave coffee places in Singapore. 
Specialty grade Arabica coffee from their partner Five Senses Coffee Australia is roasted, sold, and served at CMCR. Our flat white was full of bitter dark chocolate, which could do with a tad more acidity. 
The Joo Chiat outpost is a lovely breezy 2-unit ground storey shophouse which would not be out of place in Flinders or Hardware Lane, except that it is in the heart of colorful Joo Chiat where its neighbors are KTV pubs and Vietnamese restaurants, which is very charming imo. 
Bakes are from Tiong Bahru Bakery as CMCR's other partner is Spa Esprit Group. Bite into a buttery pastry or pick from the all day breakfast items. The Savory/Sweet sourdough pancakes were unfortunately unavailable when we were there for breakfast. As usual, we order a sweet and a savory dish to share. 
The Croissant Croque Monsieur ($18) was a brainless choice for me as it's a combination of my 2 favorite things- flakey croissant with the creamy cheese flavors of a Croque Monsieur. The b├ęchamel had earthy, peppery, and garlic notes which cut through the richness of the cream. Lovely. 
For sweets, we had the not too sweet Brioche French Toast ($22) with a coffee toffee salted caramel with a light bitter note, banana, and a thick sticky whipped-vanilla ricotta. The brioche could be a tad dry-ish on the corners but the center was perfect fluff. If you need a bit more moisture/sweetness, you could swap the cheese for ice cream (which was too indulgent for us at 9 in the morning, but no judgment if you do). I enjoyed the layered flavors in this one- some spice, some citrus, and definitely mint. 

Big eaters could obviously go for the Common Man Full Breakfast ($29) which is the full English fry-up or the vegetarian version of that in the form of a Veggie Wonderland ($28). Even the "Lunch" items are served early from 10am so if you could wait a bit, there's the Smash Burger ($28) or Cubanos Sandwich ($27). 

Lovely spot, lovely addition to the hood, and more options for me (yay)!
185 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427456
Daily: 7.30 am – 5.30 pm
You’ll not go hungry at Tanjong Katong- the entire street is practically a stretch of eateries ranging from roast meat to Wanton mee and Nasi Lemak. Little Rogue Coffee is a welcomed addition to the mix, bringing an end to the dearth of brunch offerings (though i heard the 6 Letter Coffee is pretty decent) in this enclave.
An impromptu breakfast calling had me call my trusty early bird friend B who was already out cycling since god knows what time. Just as well, Little Rogue Coffee has a bike rack within the cafe where B's expensive bike could be parked (i guess there is really a growing bike community in the East). For families, there’s even a little playground to occupy the kiddos while the adults eat.
The newly opened cafe is already drawing a crowd but thanks to the spacious interior, the queue moved rather quickly (the wait is of a diff sort). Breakfast is served all day with more substantive mains like Beef Cheek Linguine ($24), K-pop Chicken Burger ($23), Steak and Eggs ($30) dished out from 11am.
Breakfast is more Australian-cafe style with various egg options. The dish which has made its grand tour on social media is the Soft Scrambled Eggs & Ikura ($14), featuring wet creamy eggs with small curds, with a scoop of uber umami truffle cream and pops of ikura and chives. I wouldn’t recommend stirring all the cream into the eggs as i felt that it overpowers the dish but feel free if you're a fan. The sourdough was flawless on its own, lightly chewy and perfectly buttered and toasted. The dish speaks for itself and the bonus is its IG-worthy appearance.
I've been ordering way too many food takeouts/deliveries but well do we have a choice? Here's revisiting some deliveries that i've tried over Circuit Breaker and Heightened Alert Phase 2 in Singapore. Here;s what i've tried from Goodwood Park Hotel Singapore and their one-stop platform for orders from Min Jiang, Coffee Lounge, and also their deli.
I've been meaning to head back to the Coffee Lounge for their Taiwanese Porridge Buffet since i tried it the last time. Well now that there's no dining in again, at least there's a porridge bento option. Each bento comes with 4 sides and a porridge for $13.20. A bit pricey for teochew porridge you say? I do agree and the portions are also rather small. I guess you could skip this and wait to dine in.  
Instead, go for the dishes at Min Jiang. Currently they have some rice bowls promotion, the likes of roasted pork belly and braised duck thigh, which starts at $13.20. You could also curate your own degustation with a 4 course menu for 2 for $100. We ordered some a la carte dishes previously, which consists of sauteed diced chicken with pine nuts, fried string beans, and fried rice. My mun went on and on about how good the fried string beans were because they still remained crunchy despite the delivery. The diced chicken were tender and flavored with peppers and the delicate fragrance of the pine nuts.
For a year, i was waiting for the most popular Sri Lankan chef Nishi Naleendra to open possibly the first Sri Lankan restaurant Kotuwa in Singapore. Circuit Breaker disrupted his plans and Kotuwa operated as a take-out only concept. When I was ready to give it a try, they stopped service while preparing to open their physical outlet at Wanderlust Hotel. Fast forward many months later, I finally got myself a table at this popular spot. 
Kotuwa is vastly different from Rishi’s first 2 ventures. While Cloudstreet and Michelin-starred Cheek Bistro draw influences from modern Australian, European and Asian, Kotuwa displays Rishi’s Sri Lankan heritage. My own experience with Sri Lankan food wasn’t spectacularly memorable; South Asian food mostly overwhelm my palate with the heavy spices and flavors. I was thus hoping that Kotuwa may change my opinion of that.
To start the meal proper, pick a carb base as your canvas to the spread of sambols, achcharu, and curries. Rice and hoppers are available here and I highly recommend the bowl-shaped fermented rice flour crepe. The crisp-edged bowls provide a touch of tang, similar to an Indian Thosai. Pick the egg one for extra textural enjoyment from the runny yolk. 
Are you the kind of diner who chase celebrity chefs or collect Michelin star eats, or are you the type more likely to support a restaurant for its beliefs? Well if you're never considered the latter, here's introducing Kausmo, an intimate restaurant backed by the Les Amis Group. The restaurant is run by Lisa Tang and Kuah Chew Shian, and the duo aims to elevate your consciousness about sustainable and thoughtful living through their meal. 
If you don't know by now, food wastage is a big thing in Singapore and it starts even before you see the produce at the supermarkets. Kausmo showed us how these ugly unwanted produce could be created into beautiful dishes. Local perennial (think Singapore kampong vegetables), sustainable ingredients and secondary cuts of meat are used as well. Even their tableware are repurposed or upcycled. As the meal unfolded, we can't help but rally to the cause and be more determined in making conscientious choices. 

Kausmo serves a 6-course Carte Blanche menu ($75/pax) based on the availability of produce, with a home-brewed Kombucha tasting at an additional $20. The dishes combine European techniques with Asian influences, and are inspired by thoughtful stories. 
We started with crisp but fluffy Kausmo flat bread served on a Southern Wood Tzatziki, flavored with herb oil and pork rib rillette (which i thought could be saltier). 
Next, a squash gazpacho made with aesthetically-filtered pumpkin. The pumpkin puree tastes exactly like how a pretty looking one. Substance over looks anytime. This was topped with heirloom tomatoes and pistachio with locally grown savory with a flavor profile of marjoram and mint. 

Since we can't traverse the Mediterranean sea, the next best option right now is to hang out at Tanjong Pagar's hottest rooftop bar Levant, which is possibly the first cocktail bar that explores the Mediterranean with experimental drinks made from quality spirits and mixers from the region. 
The secret bar is tucked on the 4th floor of the newly-built co-living hotel ST Signature on Tras Street. You have to take the lift to the 3rd floor and then up another flight of stairs. There, you'd be greeted by the club vibes of Beirut/Athens with groovy beats and a spectacular view of the Tanjong Pagar skyline. Quite perfect for some all-night outdoor dancing when conditions permit but we also liked the intimacy the venue offers when it's quiet. 
The cocktails are certainly adventurous, far from the typical flavors we're used to, like a combination of star anise and bergamot in the Amber Constellation (which i'd never try). I started with the way too easy Sangaree Rose ($18) which uses Mirto, a myrtle liqueur, with Cocchi Americano Rosa as base. There are hints of cinnamon in this, and overall was like a really light apple spritz. It's refreshingly sweet but not quite my cup of tea. Well i guess i'm more of a stiff-drinks kinda girl. The Athena’s Olive Branch ($24) was more my thing, which is some kind of Martini made with Gin Mare, Madeira, with a touch of Amalfi lemon and garnished with an olive.
For Sours lovers, the iL Rhubarb Sour ($18) spices things up with cinnamon and hibiscus. My other favorite of the night was the Greek Forest ($18), with Greek honeycomb-infused Tsipouro, mountain pine liqueur, Greek Vermouth, and Maglini lemon. 
Luke's Lobster Singapore is on a roll with another limited edition exclusive- the Hot Honey Lobster Roll available through the month of May. 

This roll was first launched in the USA end 2020 as a partnership between the New York City-based brand and Mike’s Hot Honey. If you enjoy the signature lobster rolls, the Hot Honey Lobster Roll ($27.50) is the same 4oz/113g of Maine lobster claw and knuckle meat but tossed in the chili-infused honey (that honestly is more spiced than spicy for us Singaporeans). You could still taste the sweet brininess of the delicate meat, but with a tad more flavor than the usual rolls. What would make it better- if the meat were hot, though this cold style is definitely what Luke's is known for (it's just not what i prefer). 

I also gave the rest of the menu a try and i'd say stick with the lobster rolls (the meat is more flavorful than the very bland crab), and get yourself some curly fries to pair with (these are crunchy curls of goodness). The soups are sorely disappointing- the lobster bisque was overly buttery and the clam chowder was too salty. 

The permanent addition to the menu- the Grilled Cheese series, ought to balance the negative at Luke's. The Lobster Grilled Cheese ($18.90) sees chunky seafood crammed with a load of melted cheddar within two square slices of buttered Shokupan. It's not quite grilled cheese so don't go expecting the traditional rich stringy pulled cheese for this is more of a creamy cheese lobster mix. I wouldn't mind having this in bun form too.

You could now also enjoy Luke's Lobster at home now. Pick up some of these pre-packed, flash-frozen seafood from most of NTUC Finest outlets and create your own rolls. There's the Lobster Meat with Seasoning ($42) with two packs (4oz each); Lobster Tail with Seasoning ($36) for two slabs (3-4 oz each) of flash-frozen and half-shelled tails, complete with Tessa Mae’s Lemon-Garlic Marinade that is perfect for stovetop sizzling or grilling; and the retail-exclusive Lobster Mac & Cheese ($31), smothered in a creamy blend of mascarpone and cheddar, ready to eat after a quick pop in the microwave. 


Luke's Lobster
350 Orchard Road #01-K4, Shaw House, Isetan Scotts, Singapore 238868 
78 Airport Boulevard, #01-K209, Jewel Changi Airport, Singapore 819666
BBQ on sticks, all the convenience, none of the hassle. Yakitori Yatagarasu obviously is doing things right by their skewers, having expanded their business during these strange times. Both outlets are situated along Circular Road, just a few stores apart, offering a selection of yakitori and pork belly-wrapped sticks, alongside some appetizers, fried food, and some carbs. I loved the cosy interior and we sat at the counter where we could see chef work his magic.
It was brainless to go with the starter set ($29/pax), which includes chef's choice of 4 chicken skewers, 2 pork skewers, with a salad (cabbage, onion, or coriander), plus an alcoholic drink (except sake). 
Glad to have this refreshing cabbage salad to go with the savory sticks. Jr went for coriander which IMO is one of the most disgusting veg to eat on its own. Like isn't it a garnish? As much as he liked coriander, i guess his love for it isn't sufficient for him to finish the plate of salad. 
Yakitori are priced at $2.50 with the exception of tsukune ($4). We were served the tender fillet which was flavored by teeny drops of yuzu kosho. 
Of course the chicken thigh was better due to its higher fat content.  
Now something i've never tried in my life is the chicken tail (aka chicken backside). What have i been missing out my whole life?! This part is perfect for grilling because the fat makes it crispy and there's a tender knob of meat hidden as well. I happily gave the gizzard away because i'm not a fan of such chewy textures. As for the soft bone, well i ate whatever meat there's on it. Unfortunately, all diners have to order the set together, so i'm stuck with these parts. I'd probably order my choice of items in the future but i'm also glad i got to try the chicken butt because of this. 
We enjoyed the juicy crunch of the lettuce wrapped in pork belly. The pork belly items are priced from $3.50.
The long beans wrapped in pork belly also exploded when we bit into them. 
Of course we had to order more. Sitting in front of the grill was of no help when it comes to restraining calories. Loved the mix of king oyster mushrooms with pork belly. Asparagus works too. If we had more space, i'd have gone for the more interesting items like pork belly wrapped curry rice or okonomiyaki.
The shiso leaf pork belly was another of my favorites due to the refreshing flavor.
We also had an order of the fried oysters, which were plump and juicy. 
Yakitori Yatagarasu is worth a repeat visit for a casual dinner. Good food, good prices, and attentive service. Also, frozen towels are a thing, perfect for refreshing your fingers while dining. 

Yatagarasu
66 and 72 Circular Road Singapore 049426
Tel: +65 6221 7785
Mon - Sat: 6 – 10.30pm
More Japanese restaurant reviews! What can i say, Japanese cuisine is my favorite. This time, we checked out Kaunta, a modern 20-seater Japanese restaurant by the same team behind The Sushi Bar. Kaunta is the slightly more upmarket sister which uses fresh ingredients from Japan. While they used to serve donburi, they have moved on to serve an omakase concept now, with lunch starting from only $50. 
Other than sushi, you could also have the A5 Wagyu Beef Bowl ($80) which is limited to 5 sets per day. This don is topped with butter wagyu, and uni, ikura, caviar, onsen egg and truffle bits over Japanese rice. 
We went with the Aoi sushi set ($60), which consists of an appetizer (sakura ebi salad), hot dish (chawanmushi), 8 pcs of sushi, complimentary toro maki, miso soup and dessert.
The appetizer was a salad with fried sakura ebi. Love the fragrance in this but the wasabi citrus soy was a tad strong. This was followed by the unagi chawanmushi with a silky mushroom dashi broth. I loved how the eel was fluffy and not at all rubbery. 
The fish are mostly aged at Kaunta to give it that umami boost. We were also surprised by the house-smoked salmon here. At first i tolerated the generous smear of wasabi in my first 2 pieces of sushi, but when it came to the spineless squid, i teared. That was when i had it and requested that Chef Peter tone down the wasabi and everything tasted much better after. 
Chutoro and Akami, both were good but i preferred the marbled piece better. 
Shima Aji. 
Scallop soaked in sake.
I didn't quite like the sweet truffle tamago which was served way too cold. Somehow cold tamago just reminds me too much of the generic supermarket types. 
The complimentary toro roll was a tad vinegary but delicious nevertheless. 
A Salmon belly miso soup marked the end of the savory course. The fish had been fried lightly and provided a toasty flavor to the soup. 
Ice cream was served to end the meal and there was the choice of yuzu or sesame ice cream and they are served with a homemade umeshu jelly. The jelly goes better with the bright yuzu but i really liked the rich roasty sesame. 
The sushi at Kaunta are fresh and decent. There was also an effort to share with diners what produce are used. Sans the not too pleasant spicy start, the meal was quite pleasant and makes for a good casual sushi meal. Wouldn't mind dropping back in for a quick lunch. 

Kaunta Singapore
11 Kee Seng Street
#01-12 Onze
Singapore 089218
Tel: +65 8788 3535