Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

Etiquette-free Chinese fine dining, that's what Madame Fan at JW Marriott NCO Club provides, and boy was it refreshing. You probably wouldn't associate the lush plush and dark cozy setting, which includes a DJ spinning music in the middle of the restaurant, with fine Chinese food. It's like a speakeasy, a hidden unspoken secret, and that's what makes the experience even more exhilarating.
We started with dimsum for our dinner starters because you can definitely have dimsum for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and supper.
While i would want Madame Fan to take all my money (which they likely would) for their delicious Scallop Shumai ($16), i'm not sure if the price tag is entirely worth it? I mean, i could get really tasty siew mai elsewhere, at double the portion for the same price. The Sri Lankan Mud Crab Wanton ($16) doesn't get my vote for a different reason as i could hardly find any crab in this one. The cheaper vegetarian dimsum were provided more ROI because they were very tasty. The Sichuan Vegetable Dumpling ($6) had a lovely mala flavor to it but maintained a light sweetness; and the Chinese Chives dumpling ($8) didn't have a horrible overpowering chives flavor either. 
The Double-Boiled Four Treasure Soup ($28/each) did well in soothing my shock from. The smooth and creamy soup with a lovely coconut fragrance will filled with chunks of seafood- sea cucumber, fish maw, dried Hokkaido scallop, and crab meat. Dig around the coconut and you'll be rewarded with tender sweet flesh which complements the savory broth.

By the time we got to the Aromatic Duck ($38 for half a duck), the dimsum fiasco had been completely erased from my memory. Sheesh that aroma was haunting. Each bite of the thin chewy crepe roll was filled with flavorful meat! I would love a bigger duck because that skin.. OH THAT SKIN. Making a mental note to order this as a main dish for myself next time.
Other decent-restaurant-standard dishes include the comforting Home Style Crispy Pork Stir-Fry ($16/portion) with salty black bean, bitter melon, preserved cabbage and yu tofu; and Steamed Soon Hock with Ipoh Soy Sauce and Spring Onion ($14/portion) 
What was a standout, which currently isn't available on the menu, is the Handcut Taiwan Noodle with Wind Dried Pork and La La clams. It appeared to be very bland-looking and i'm not a fan or carb heavy dishes, but one bite and i was sold by the thin and smooth noodles! ! The texture is a cross between hor fun and mee pok and flavored by a smoky sweet seafood-meat stock, likely from the addition of the lup cheong (which is a favorite of mine as well).
Save space for desserts. The Mojito Lemon Tart with Mandarin Sorbet ($14) is a must-have. It's one of the best lemon tarts in Singapore really. Expect a refreshing tartness in the lemon curd on a buttery crust. Who said a Chinese meal has to end with Chinese desserts?
Madame Fan is located in The NCO Club, a three-story entertainment lifestyle destination which also hosts hosts Fish Pool (a champagne, caviar and oyster bar in an esteemed collaboration with Louis Roederer);
Stags' Room (a wine reserve and lounge in partnership with Stags’ Leap estate and Penfolds); Cool Cats (a live music venue) and The Britannia Room (a unique events space).
The NCO Club
32 Beach Road, Singapore 189764
Tel: +65 6818 1921
Daily: 12 - 3pm; 6-11pm 
I've been a fan of Birds of A Feather since they opened because they provide the unique offering of contemporary Western cuisine with Sichuan influence, but you know, we Singaporeans can definitely do with more spice. So after several sojourns to Chengdu in the last year, Head Chef Eugene See has created a new menu with original creations of authentic Sichuan flavours.
I was sold on the Charcoal Grilled Pork Bits ($15), a dish derived from the roadside barbecue pork belly skewers. A garlicky-spicy Duroc pork belly was crunchy and numbingly spicy but so perfect that i could have this all night with a cold cider (because not a beer fan). There are other crunchy bits like crispy rice crackers, crunchy Japanese sweet potato, and smashed baby potatoes.
The Baked Eggplant ($14) is also love because 鱼香茄子! The sauce made in-house by frying garlic, ginger, soy sauce, doubanjiang, pickled chilli and black vinegar. Chef layers the yuxiang-seasoned Japanese nasu with mozzarella, grills it to perfection, before serving the dish with fingers of fried mantou. The brioche-like pillowy fried sticks were perfect with the sauce! In fact i was craving this so much that i made a version of this at home. 
Brunch with style at Origin Grill's new Sunday Vintage Brunch which places a focus on a selection of vintage wines for the ultimate epicurean experience. Why? Because champagne brunches are so over. Adding to the romance and nostalgia is the sunlit grand railway decor that welcomes you as you embark on this gastronomic journey.
The dining experience commences with Chef de Cuisine Heidi Flanagan’s signature appetisers – Yummy Toast, Cured House Salmon, San Daniele Prosciutto, Flaky Pastry, Doughnut Time, Charred Asparagus and Origin Salad – at unlimited servings. Go easy with this, we ordered almost everything and struggled with the lot. Strategy- go with a big group of friends so that you can sample a bite of each and not let all that glorious food go to waste.   
I'm a huge fan of that Yummy Toast, which has a creamy sweet pumpkin slathered over it, sweetened by a floral wild honey, balanced with a touch of tart goat's cheese and given some crunchiness with the pistachio. Perfect little bites these are! The grilled asparagus with gorgonzola sauce, prosciutto and house-cured salmon are standard fare done well and they paved way for the main event.
We started off with some NV Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut Champagne, and then moved on to their Vintage wines selection, a dry 2007 Domaine Trimbach Cuvée Frédéric Emile Alsace Riesling. I thought the petrol aroma was rather jarring but it was a lot better after the wine opens up. I much preferred the Tempranillo 2004 Bodegas López de Heredia, a Viña Tondonia Reserva.
Pick a main course of your choice with grilled mains or breakfast staples like eggs, which i would advise you to skip because what's a meal at Orgin Grill if you don't have one of their grilled dishes!
Steak lovers will Rangers Valley Striploin with Blue Cheese Butter, or the 35-days Aged John Stone Striploin. We had the striploin and it was very flavorful on its own!
What was even more gratifying was the Iberico Pork Chop which was absolutely the juiciest beast on a plate. This is the defining pork chop of my life and i thought it was even better than the steak. I enjoyed the hint of mustard along with the char.
If i have to give up red meat, i'd choose to have this Grilled Sea Bass Fillet for the rest of my life. 

treat yourself to the lavish spread of gratifying pastries, cakes and cheeses that changes weekly, and the live crepe station; as you end the brunch high- spirited with cocktails from the trolley. 

Sunday Vintage Brunch is available every Sunday from 12.00 pm to 3.00 pm; priced at $108++ for food & non-alcoholic drinks, $168++ for food, unlimited wines & cocktails, and $208++ for food, unlimited wines, cocktails & vintage wine pouring. 

Desserts- The Snickers Peanut Bar was more Mars Bar than Snickers imo. Well i can't fault the chocolate caramel but it was missing some peanuts i think. Nevertheless, that's my pick from the dessert section. The Matcha Lemon Cremeux Verrine was creamy but delightfully refreshing with a hint of matcha. The chocolate cone was great too but the rest of the desserts were rather plain. Fresh crepes are also served on demand. 

Lobby Level, Tower Wing, Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore 22 Orange Grove Road, Singapore 258350 

Opening Hours:
Lunch: 12noon – 2:30pm (grill) Dinner: 6pm – 10:30pm (grill)

Tel: (65) 6213 4398

More National Day specials this August! How about a local inspired dim sum? Check out the array of bite-sized dishes specially crafted by Yàn Executive Chinese Chef Lai Chi Sum and his dim sum chef, inspired by our favorite local dishes available during lunch hours from 12 - 2.30pm from now till the end of the month. 

One of my favorite bite out of the special six is the Steamed Xiao Long Bao in Laksa Stock (4 pieces $5.80). Each soup parcel contains vibrant notes of shrimp in a sweet and fragrant laksa broth.  Instead of a rich coconut milk, coconut oil is used for the same aroma. I thought that this version is a lot better than the typical chili crab ones.
Happy birthday Singapore! It's been a while since i'm celebrating it from our sunny island and a first from our new home. Looking forward to the fireworks from our terrace later! :) Now if only i can get Chef Jeremmy Chiam's supper special at Le Binchotan delivered to my place, that would be perfect celebration! 
From now till end August, dig into some specials at this French-Japanese restaurant, like this elevated local Hokkien Mee ($17).
The broth is based off the stock for French seafood bisques, which is even more painstaking to cook than our local version. At least 2kg of fresh prawns, 2kg of prawn shells, and 2kg of lobster shells are roasted together with mirepoix, then sauteed over high heat with a dash of tomato paste. This is then simmered with water, bacon, dried japanese scallop, soy bean and pork belly for at least 10hrs. The resulting broth is then used to cook yellow wheat noodles and white rice vermicelli. And of my.. the flavors.. May i say its the best Hokkien mee in town? 
Skirt is raising the steaks and is now more than what you'd expect of a regular steakhouse. Using the season's best produce, Skirt is now serving a new menu of modern European cuisine with a distinct Asian overtone.
To prove that it's not just a steakhouse, the first appetizer we had was a Sri Lankan Crab and Caviar with Shellfish bisque and Lemongrass ($32). The cold sweet crab contrasted with the warm umami bisque, which reminds me very much of Thai food, probably due to the aromatics used in the dish. 
Another Asian tasting appetizer was the Marinated Raw Beef with Crispy Rice and Chipotle dressing ($28) which is only available for lunch (Skirt is now open for lunch on Saturday and they serve a bistro style menu). If you like your pungent onion, this spiced beef dish will hit the spot. Me.. well i'm more of a regular beef tartare girl. 
There are other slight twists to the typical steakhouse appetizers, like the Oven Roasted Bone Marrow ($45) which was stuffed with escargot and Café de Skirt Butter. I'm not a fan of bone marrow since there's absolutely no flavor in them are is always very oily. What worked here is garlic butter that flavors the escargot and the bone marrow at the same time. Fresh sourdough is served with this to help you mop up all that mess. 
Sweetbread vs Sweet Bread. Which will you go for? If you got that mixed up, well, you may think that the sweetbread in the Veal Sweetbread and Foie Gras ($45) is a doughy fried carb. Well, brain and pancreas do have that kind texture. I much preferred the pan seared foie gras which was buttery. The richness of the offals is cut by the tangy red wine jus but the mushrooms kinda soaked up all that oil. Definitely not a dish for the faint-hearted. Literally and figuratively.  
Of course, what's a steakhouse without a proper steak! We had the Chef's special, a Grilled Cape Grim Sirloin with celeriac foam, truffle and artichoke caviar. I had mine medium-rare and it was perfect. A similar cut is the Black Market Sirloin ($82) which is on the menu.
To accompany the meat, i'd definitely order the Baby Beets and Blunts with Labneh ($21) because it's cold and refreshing with a lemony burst. 
Eat your greens! The Broccoli Rabe ($11) was buttery and salty but still provided the dose of fibre.
For carbs, i'm likely to go with the Lobster Mac & Cheese ($19) instead of the layered Duck Fat Potatoes ($15) because who can resist gooey cheese! There are some chunks of lobster that required some poking around to find. Share this with company as it's unlikely one can stomach the whole plate, even though the cheese wasn't that rich.  
Dessert was a surprise to us and despite all that food, we all made space for the Banana and Pistachio Pizza ($18) with vanilla bean ice cream. YES WE EACH HAD ONE. Gosh that thin crispy filo pastry base was amazing and when the ice cream melts on it, it turned a little soft and chewy. Plus the pistachio fragrance was amazing.

Some hits and misses at Skirt but the steaks are still great, and there are alternatives for non cow-eating creatures, and boy you MUST have their desserts.

W Singapore - Sentosa Cove 
21 Ocean Way Singapore 098374 
Daily: 6 - 11.30pm
Sat: 12 - 3pm

Wah Lok Restaurant at Carlton Hotel Singapore celebrates their 30th year anniversary with a revival of their best dishes in the last three decades! The following dishes are available from now till 31 August and tasted of the good old days of traditional Cantonese cooking. Miss it, and you'll regret it.
We started with a refreshing Chilled Sliced Roasted Duck with Water Chestnut & Dough Fritter ($16 small).  
This definitely wasn't what i expected from the description. To put it simply, this is a Chinese chopped salad with juicy slices of roast meat and deep fried you tiao (which is almost cracker-like) plus refreshing bites of water chestnut, all coated with a tangy cocktail sauce. This could make a good substitute for the Chinese New Year Yusheng. 
I enjoyed the simple but flavorful Braised Bamboo Fungus stuffed with Asparagus and Crab Claw in Golden Crown ($18/pax). The superior stock sauce is key to this dish. Of course, the lovely crab claw was pillowy and sweet. There's a light wok hei aroma to the dish, without any of the bitterness.  
Prawns are usually done rather predictably in Chinese restaurants i.e. Salted Egg, cereal coated, wasabi mayonnaise... It's a first that i had Prawns with Rose Sauce ($30 small). Yes the sauce is made from the bandung syrup and thankfully it was not overpowering. The eggy and airy puff that hides the prawns was a crunchy cloud that did not turn soggy from the sauce. Try it if you're a prawn lover. 
You know you’d be eating balanced and well at Six Senses, a brand that pays high attention to wellness and sustainability. At Yellow Pot, Six Senses Singapore’s modern Chinese restaurant, Chef Sebastian Goh delivers a contemporary Chinese menu that avoids unhealthy additives, banging his buck on sustainably-sourced ingredients and local produce and contemporary techniques to please the diner’s palate. And it works.
Practically everything is made from scratch here- all sauces are made in-house, and there is no use of sugar or salt as well. 
We started with a juicy and refreshing Chilled Organic Vine-Ripened Tomatoes ($8 for 4 pcs) which were infused with preserved Li Hing plum and Farm Delight micro herbs. I was amazed by the tomato- it had a crunchy exterior but a plumy and jammy inside. Great way to whet your appetite.
Next, a rejuvenating Chicken Soup ($12/portion) slow-cooked with a shimeji-stuffed tomato. The rich but not cloying soup is made from simmering chicken for a good 3 days to extract all that goodness. The organic vine-ripened tomatoes are stuffed with an assortment of mushrooms, including wood ear mushrooms, enoki and shimeji and it has a comforting ginger zing to it.
Dashi is the ‘Broth of Life’ to the Japanese- it is the backbone to all Japanese dishes. At NAMI Restaurant & Bar, dashi is an art mastered to perfection by Head Chef Shigeo Akiba. While some fine dining restaurants in Singapore only have 1 to 3 dashi for their dishes, Chef Akiba showcases up to 8 different types of dashi in the refined dashi-forward menu, all prepared in-house using meticulous age-old methods and best picks of kelp and bonito and superior seafood.
To better appreciate this elixir of life, i'd suggest checking out Nami's monthly Dashi workshop  ($118/pax includes a 4 course lunch) where Chef will break down the various components of the dashi and you'll get to compare how superior dashi compares to the commercial hondashi.
TLDR version, awesome dashi at NAMI, it's damn labor intensive to make, and i'm ruined for life because i only have hondashi at home.
I don't know about you but i usually base myself at Shinjuku when i visit Tokyo. The location is relatively central (other than Shibuya) and extremely colorful (Kabukicho is Tokyo's red light district), has easy access to the airport, plenty of shopping, and lots of food. 
It's impossible to go hungry in this relatively mild red light district. If you're looking for something to fuel your late night partying, there are plenty of izakayas here! Check out the smoky Omoide Yokocho 思い出横丁near Shinjuku Station West Exit for all that bbq.

Lest you think i'm going all R21 on you, this post is on the other eats that will last you from dawn till dusk. I'm just scratching the surface as usual with only highlights of what i ate/checked out. 
Wake up to the smell of fresh coffee over at Blue Bottle Coffee! Well this is one of my favorite coffee chains from U.S. and i would buy their packaged cold brew for times when i can't make a pit stop at their cafes. Be prepared for the queue though, this cafe is extremely popular. 
We googled for the best pancakes in Shinjuku and Sarabeth's popped up. Well it's not Japanese pancakes (they hail from NYC)! We would have considered Clinton Street Bakery if not for the fact that it's not within walking distance from our hotel. Sarabeth's is conveniently located at Lumine II Mall right next to Shinjuku station. We had 2 of their signatures- the lemon ricotta pancakes (thin and fluffy with a light citrus, could do with way more syrup), and a creamy eggs benedict. They are satisfying enough but i wouldn't wait more than 30mins for this. 
When you are on the go, sometimes you just want a quick meal. Well here's introducing my favorite comfort food go-to MATSUYA.
If you want a Gyu-don (better than Yoshinoya), you have to come here. I'd dedicate at least 1 meal to Matsuya in every Japanese city that i go to (if available). What's not to love about thinly sliced marinated sweet beef and oozy onsen egg on rice! I always get mine upsized just for the meat! Thank god there are 5 outlets just around Shinjuku station!
I really do love my Ichiran ramen. It's 24h, it's fast, and it's tasty, and there are 2 outlets in Shinjuku. Perfect for that weird-hour hunger pangs. I'll always add their soft boiled eggs! 
On our most recent trip to Tokyo, we also tried another rather popular ramen, Fuunji Ramen. They are very famous for the tsukemen (noodles with dipping sauce) and i tell you.. it's an umami bomb. The super rich chicken broth is topped off with dried fish powder and you'd be surprised by how much of that rich cream the chewy noodles could pick up. I ordered the special without knowing what it entails. Turns out that it's a super large portion of everything, tsukemen style. Their soup ramen is less of an assault to your palate. I'd say go for the small portion, unless you're a big eater. We found it impossible to get through half a bowl each but the petite Japanese ladies don't seem to have a problem slurping theirs. 
Shin Udon is just around the corner from Fuunji Ramen and i've not managed to try it on 3 occasions for various reasons. We were either too full, too hungry, or too tired to stay in line for the handmade buckwheat udon that are made on order. There was always a substantial line for this 6-seater (except the time we were really full). Maybe next year. 
We tried our luck at Tempura Tsunahachi Shinjuku one night, after giving up on the queue at Shin Udon. And oh boy were we lucky to be immediately ushered into this popular tempura establishment without a reservation! Our fellow diners marvelled at our good luck as we tucked into the set meals, priced at ¥2300 onwards. 
The draw here is the fresh live seafood that is lightly battered and fried in sesame oil. Boy the prawns and eel were swimming right before us and we witnessed way eel after eel being skinned and thrown into the boiling oil. The basic set comes with two shrimps, assorted seafood, vegetables, anago (sea eel), kakiage, appetizer; and a set of rice, miso-soup and Japanese pickles. The more expensive sets uses better ingredients such as tiger prawns and you get more items as well. Their omakase is only priced at ¥8,000 (SGD$103). 

If you can't get into Tempura Tsunahachi Shinjuku, you may get lucky at the other very popular tempura restaurant, Funabashiya Honten, which is just opposite.
I wanted Unagi-don and the nearest to us was Unagi Unatetsu (Nodaiwa and Izumoya are too far from Shinjuku). Well.. lunch turned out to be at least a 45min wait in the smoky restaurant as the chef lovingly grilled the fresh eels over charcoal. We could not understand the menu but it seems like there are other skewers available. We simply ordered the unagi-don, and a una-tamago as a side. As the wait progressed, we regretted not ordering a bigger portion (we both went for medium). The silky tamago helped to ease the hanger pangs a little. 
What's great is that the don wasn't overly doused in sauce, even though it could do with a little more oomph in the flavor. The portions could also be a bit more generous! We paid about ¥8000++ for the 2 of us. It's definitely not as satisfying as the one i had at Atsuta Horaiken in Nagoya.

If you're wondering why this is under the 'take it slow' category, it's because the wait is long. But once the food to you, you really wanna gobble it and leave before you smell too bad. 

Shinjuku Kappo Nakajima is where i'd want to really take it slow for dinner. This one Michelin-starred restaurant offers traditional Japanese cuisine made with seasonal ingredients. For dinner, their Chef's selection is priced at ¥15,000, which features their specialty soup dish, the Owan. Their sardine lunch set is but a fraction of this price at ¥800 and you get to choose from 4 types of preparation- Sashimi - raw sardine with seaweed and sesame, furai - fried sardine, nizakana - sardine in soy sauce and yanagawanabe - sardine cooked with egg.

Now now, with so many options to pick from, why wouldn't anyone wanna base themselves in Shinjuku on a trip to Tokyo?