Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

Hi guys, hope you are well! Sorry for the lack of updates. The Circuit Breaker in Singapore has kept me very busy at work in fact and i resorted to updating more on IG @msskinnyfat instead. If you wanna stay connected with me, hop over to the other side to check out the meals i've been whipping up or work out with me! 

I was hoping that things would go back to normal soon but it'll be awhile before we can start dining out. I don't enjoy takeouts as much since the experience is very much diminished but i guess we all need something to look forward to and food is a way to maintain that normalcy. So i'm back to sharing here again but in a shorter form since things can get cray at work. 
Anyhow, here are some bentos from Yàn, a restaurant that i frequented. When it comes to takeaways, i enjoy variety and these are great for individual diners. There are 4 bentos to pick from and they are a steal at only $10.80. Plus you get a 20% discount if you pick it up yourself.   
My favorite is the Set A, which consists of Pan-Fried Carrot Cake with XO Sauce and  Chinese sausage; Honey Glazed BBQ Char Siew; Deep Fried Prawn Dumpling with Mayonnaise (2 pcs); and Mushroom with Broccoli. This bento holds up even with cross island travel and it also keeps well overnight in the fridge. I would know because i ordered an extra set to keep for lunch the next day. 
Lumo, or light in Esperanto (an artificial language), is a new addition to the expat clutter in Boat Quay. Thankfully, it sets itself apart some really good drinks by the bar team complemented by the approachable modern European dishes by Head Chef Martin Wong. Lumo aims to not only bring together diners, but also support the F&B community through collaborations with local brewers, coffee roasters and neighbors too (RVLT curates the natural wine list at Lumo). 

LUMO’s cocktail concept revolves around the essentials of life; so the launch cocktail menu focuses on Breakfast, the first and best meal of the day. The drinks are categorized into Brew, Milk, Fruit, ABC, Impossible Salad, Toast, Treat. If you're wondering how Impossible Salad would taste like in a drink, check out the Patty Royale, a cross between a Vesper and a Dirty Martini and is guaranteed to knock you out. An Impossible™ distillate is made with vodka and a fat wash using oil from the meat-free patty. The cocktail’s savoury profile is accentuated further with macerated fermented cherry tomatoes, buna shimeiji mushrooms, and shisho leaves soaked in vermouth, and a garnish of olives filled with vegan cheese. 
I started with an easy MILK cocktail, the Salt Honey Fizz, made with orange flower, fino sherry, sea salt, caramelized honey, plant milk, Tried and true vodka. On the nose, a familiar tang of sourdough, and on the palate, soothing cereal milk and a light citrus. It's way too easy to drink, and probably dangerous when you gulp this like you do out of a carton. 
The Brown Derby, is more my kind of thing. Rebel Yell Bourbon with zesty notes of shadow citrus and grapefruit bitters prove to be a great perk-me-up after a long dreadful day at work. Josiah made me another same-same-but-different cocktail which is stronger and my day was complete.
2020 hasn't been quite kind to us but life goes on. Hope everyone is taking the safe distancing thing and work from home seriously! Well if you get a chance to take a breather, i'm sure working from a tea lounge works too. Regent Hotel Tea Lounge has a well spaced layout that allows you to privately enjoy your three-tiered tea set that's served to your table on weekdays from 12 - 5pm. Regent's signature scones are one of my favorites in Singapore and best sliced apart and slathered with a thick layer to lush Devonshire clotted cream and a smidgen of lemon curd.  
On weekends, the tea lounge takes on a semi buffet format. The current theme is English Garden and you will find counters stocked with English cheeses and dainty sandwiches filled with black truffle, egg mayonnaise and cucumber. 
I very much enjoyed making these bite-sized blini sandwiches, which i generously topped with the various caviar. Other English delights include mini pot pies with Angus beef ragout, classic roasted Wagyu beef rump with truffle, and Yorkshire Pudding.
It's been more than a year since #meetthelulus went on our honeymoon to Morocco and i've procrastinated on the writing because i found it daunting to cover a 12 day trip in 1 post. The only thing i managed so far was a trip report on the wonderful Singapore Airlines A350 business class from Singapore to Barcelona
I wanted a fuss free honeymoon experience which doesn't involve fretting over the logistical arrangements on the road so i booked a private tour with Berber Space Morocco, a Moroccan agency that started in the Sahara Desert. I compared several Singapore and Moroccan agencies before deciding on them due to the great pricing and good reviews. I provided them with a skeleton itinerary (of cities to visit and activities that i want included in the trip) and they got back with the rest- which included accommodation options. 
The accommodation that we took were mostly riad stays (think of them as small boutique hotels) with some hotel options (for convenience in the bigger cities). I was happy with most of the options except the one in Fes (there was some screw-up and we were put up at a different riad). Anyway, if there's a specific accommodation that you want for sure, just let them know and they'll make the necessary arrangements. 
To get into Morocco, we took SQ from SIN to Barcelona, and then Royal Air Maroc to Casablanca. Our English-speaking driver Hamid drove us around the country and helped us settle into our local accommodation, got us our SIM cards and also helped us with general enquiries and suggestions. At the various cities, we were met with the local guides who'd provide us with insights to each location. Breakfasts are provided, and some dinners are included too (in locations that are not accessible e.g. in the desert and mountainous regions). Our luxury desert camp stay which includes our camel rides were also part of the package. The price was only 1400 Euros per person. We added on a little bit more for a half day hiking trip at the Atlas mountains (100 Euros each). Honestly i think it's a steal. A friend went on a 10 day trip and paid more than S$4000 per pax. Her accommodation was more standard luxurious but i was pretty satisfied with what we got at the price we paid. 

Below is a highlight of my trip. Do note that in order to visit the following spots, there may be some long drives in between and overnight stays in smaller towns. 
We stayed the night at Riad Zyo, a clean and modern riad just outside the old city (medina), had our first Moroccan meal of chicken with preserved lemons at Dar Naji (they did not speak a word of English) and spent the next morning with a local guide touring the medina. We visited the oldest house in the Medina and the Kasbah des Oudaias which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. Here you'll see houses painted in white and blue (apparently to keep out the mosquitos). While touring the Medina, we saw a really lovely riad Dar Shaan which you could also consider.

Chefchaouen is the blue city of Morocco, situated at the footstep of the Rif mountains. Unlike many parts of Morocco, Chefchaouen was occupied by Spain; therefore there is much influence from the Spanish civilisation and Moorish architecture.
Our original planned riad was supposed to be Darech Chaouen but somehow the booking changed and  we were put up somewhere else. Thankfully Riad Cherifa was equally charming, where every nook is the perfect photo spot. They have a pool and a hamman too! It was our safe harbour from the torrid rain that we experienced the 2 nights we stayed in Chefchaouen, which ruined our plans to go hiking.
There's nothing to do in Chefchaouen except to explore the labyrinth of blue alleyways and take plenty of pictures. A guy tried to show us his marijuana farm situated inside his house, which we politely declined of course. 

In our crazy fast paced nation, a slow food trend is burgeoning. At Tiong Bahru Bakery Diner, they've taken slow food and made it fast and casual. Almost every element of each dish is is made from scratch, using locally sourced ingredients and minimising food waste. Of course, the result is new flavors and food that is good for your gut and soul. The two diners are located at Raffles City and Funan Mall and provides diners with convenient all-day breakfast options with a whole lot of vegetarian and vegans dishes. 
At the helm of the bistro is the sweet and enthusiastic Chef Paul Albert, who cut his teeth at several Michelin starred restaurants in France and Rio. Paul brings along his experience in sourdough baking, after his experience with The Slow Bakery in Rio where he learnt a great deal about wild fermentation. 

A look at the menu and one may be surprised at the number of vegetarian and vegan options. It's a concerted effort to do so in fact. Trust me, it'd change your mind on going green if you're a serious meat eater. 
For starters, reach for the Chayote Kimchi & Mung Bean Salad ($18) which features a toss-up of slow-cooked mung beans, blanched local snake beans and an old-style Korean kimchi made using local chayote and turnip that has been fermented in-house for several months. The kimchi was definitely on par with those that i've had in Seoul and it's riper than usual. Crispy buckwheat and toasted peanuts give the dish an additional crunch. 
The Hot Chicken Salad & Caramelised Pumpkin ($20) is a generous salad that will satisfy your protein craving. The chicken is first marinated with various local spices and then sous vide. Unfortunately the breast was a tad dry and salty for me. The highlights for me were the Kabocha pumpkin that has a lovely brown butter flavor and a caramelized sugar-like crust that is au natural; and also the zesty pomelo salad with a Greek yogurt wasabi dressing and parsley oil.
It's a feat to have survived the past nine years in the Singapore F&B scene and Artichoke has done it, despite being the "least authentic Middle Eastern restaurant in Singapore" (so they say). They're here to remind you that they're still alive and kicking and why you should head back or check them out if you haven't.  My my, the last time i visited was before i started blogging! Oops.
If you haven't been to Artichoke, do not go there expecting anything traditional or standard (you can go to Arab Street/ Kampong Glam for your run-of-the-mill tagine). Instead, head there for a casual night with hearty shared plates and un-ME music (the playlist is all chef-owner Bjorn's own favorites). The food uses ME ingredients as a start, but Bjorn adds on his own brand of creativity and likes to un-ME his dishes. 
The right way to start is the meal is with some mezzes and fluffy Turkish bread ($4.50). Definitely go with the Hummus with Iraqi spiced mushrooms ($14). What special about this hummus is that miso is added for that extra umami, along with the usual chickpeas, whipped creamed tahini, lemon juice and garlic. The mushrooms were seasoned in Baharat (a leavened thyme spice mixed, containing 7 spices) and sauteed with olive oil and garlic. 
I also do love the jammy Turkish eggplant ($12). The eggplant is halved and stuffed with onions and tomatoes, then confit and deep fried to turn the regular eggplant into an umami bomb. I also could not stop dipping the bread into the Beetroot Borani ($12), a sweetish beetroot cream cheese mix. If you enjoy the spicy pungent kick of garlic, the Israeli Sea asparagus ($12) is for you. The naturally salty veg is tossed in shallot oil and served with labneh (a yogurt-like cheese) and pickled garlic. It's not quite date-food material i must warn. 
Now now, i would not share the Crab Toast ($16/2pc), which is inspired by tzatziki (there's a bit of it in the mix but the crab takes center stage). I could not deal with the explosion of textures and flavors in this one- the sweetness of the Blue Swimmer crab, briny pops of Ikura, flavorful fried chicken skin and buttery pillowy brioche. Such deliciousness.
I'm not a fan of crowds (or human contact) in general and Chinese New Year is a chore for me. Have you had one of those super rushed reunion dinners at restaurants which have 3 seatings in 1 night? I mean, i already don't like people and i still gotta be hangry?? Well thankfully, there are now decent CNY takeaway meals by Goodwood Park Hotel's Min Jiang and Min Jiang at Dempsey to the rescue.
I enjoyed Min Jiang's (GWP) Joyful Abundance Yusheng ($168++/$179.75 nett, large portion only)., which is a fresh and refreshing salad with real salad leaves, alongside the tradition pickled melon strips, crushed peanuts and pine nuts, and sesame seeds. The dressing is a mix of calamansi juice, plum sauce and strawberry jam to provide a mix of acidity and fruity sweetness. Deep-fried cheesy chee cheong fan strips are used if you're dining in but are replaced by the simple but good golden crackers if you do takeaway. There're also fresh baby abalones and raw salmon. 
Follow it with a Pot of Gold ($243.95 nett for 8 pax, includes claypot), a pretty tessellation of braised pork belly alternated with creamy Australian pumpkin for a delicious bite, further adorned with Australian 6-head abalones and broccoli. 
As simple as the dish may sound, the pork belly and abalones have been separately braised in chicken stock and Chinese ham which gives it that extra umami.
Now now, this is what i'd definitely order. The Longevity noodles with baby abalones and roasted Iberico pork loin ($201.15 nett for 6 pax) is a plate that would tantalize your palate. Capellini is tossed in shallot oil, kombu, soy sauce and chives and topped with the cutest braised baby abalones and chopped chives. This is umami at its peak. The Ibérico pork is done char siew style, marinated overnight before seasoning with salt and caramelized with a house-made bbq sauce. 

Takeaways are also available at Minjiang at Dempsey. Their Yusheng is different from that at GWP ($108/$169++).  
There's nowhere else i'd head to for a good Sichuan meals but Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurants and they've introduced a variety of seafood dishes "Colours of the Sea" which is available till 12 Jan 2020 at their three outlets. TOP of UOB Plaza and PARKROYAL on Beach Road are offering special a la carte and set menus, while PARKROYAL on Kitchener Road serves a buffet. 
Did you know that Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant is pufferfish on its menu? Their fish is imported directly from Japan. Check out these cute Steamed pufferfish dumpling which is exclusively available at TOP of UOB Plaza, where you can also enjoy the rest of their delectable dimsum bites. Expect a refreshing sweetness in this dumpling.
Another must try is the Sliced pufferfish with fresh chili and sesame (right). I love the blend of spices and the sesame fragrance in this one.  
There's no such thing as regular seafood dishes at Si Chuan Dou Hua as we were wowed by the interesting combinations of flavors. In the seafood combination platter, what stood out was a crispy soft shell crab with Osmanthus sauce that all of us could not stop nibbling on due to the lingering floral taste. The salted egg fish skin was irresistible as well.
Kai Garden is one of my go to Chinese restaurants for dim sum and their very well priced and gorgeous Peking Duck! And guess what! Kai Garden has opened a new restaurant Kai Duck that focuses on innovative dishes made with their Cantonese-style Peking duck.
Their new outlet at Ngee Ann City is a modern casual restaurant that caters to smaller groups of diners. Yes, one can enjoy some glorious bird dishes even if one were alone. Oh the beauty of it! Unlike the traditional Peking style of baking the duck with fire, the duck skin used at Kai Duck is prepared by using the Cantonese method of drizzling the duck with oil after baking, to enhance the aroma and juiciness of the skin. 
We started with the Chilled Mini Tomatoes topped with Japanese Sesame Sauce ($10.80) which uses fresh Japanese cherry tomatoes marinated in a tart plum sauce, and is served with handmade squares of plum jelly. This refreshing appetizer complements the rich flavors of the other dishes. Save some for in between dishes! The plum marinade is exactly like the sauce that accompanies most roast ducks. 
One of the signatures at Kai Duck is the Peking Duck Salad Hand Roll ($4.80 ea). Think of it as a fried spring roll filled with juicy slices of Peking Duck, cucumber and lettuce, seasoned with Japanese sesame sauce and seaweed.
Sans the millenials, do you guys remember the start of the cafe wave in Singapore and how brunch was all about English Breakfasts and Eggs Benedict before it's about Smashed Avo on Toast or Soufflé pancakes? As i cut into my Instagram-perfect Eggs Benedict at The English House by Marco Pierre White and that sunset orange trickled down those pearly whites, i was reminded how the Eggs Benedict will always be an oldie but goodie. Is this what old people do? Reminisce? 

Anyhow, The English House is now serving traditional English breakfast items daily (except for Mondays) in their gorgeous colonial house. Daytime is the best time to get a good look inside the restored conservation building filled with quirky English curios and pop art, and also a touch of local kopitiam/old medical hall furniture. 
Breakfast starts with a basket of complimentary freshly baked sourdough with French butter and your choice of coffee, tea or juice. Proper yes sire.
Since i got you thinking about the Eggs Benedict ($20), here it is, the perfectly round eggs with a curtain of bright and lemony, rich and smooth hollandaise. Trust me when i say this is one of the best Egg Benedict out there currently. Of course the English got it right. The round Japanese egg sits on top of some juicy shredded Wiltshire ham, which provides a lovely saltiness to the dish. As the yolk explodes, the viscous liquid is soaked up by the pillowy muffin. DAYUMS. This reminded me why Eggs Benny is an evergreen brunch dish.