Seoul 2016 – 5 Things You Must Try

A month since my Korea trip, and I’m still hung up on everything I ate there… from my simple triangle kimbap breakfasts to hearty barbecued meats. Even Churros 101 felt like heaven on a 1 degree Celsius night out shopping. P.S. Watch out for photo spam ahead.

1. Korean street food – Forget gloves and heat packs. All you need is Korean street food to keep both your lips and tummy warm while you shop along the streets of Myeongdong. For instagram-worthiness, the tornado potato or the twister potato is a must (got mine dipped in cheese). For something luxurious, try the grilled eel which the vendors will blow-torch in front of you. And yes, it was tasty as hell. For the sweet teeth, there are items like my favourite honey or red bean hotteok (filled Korean pancake) and crazily tall soft serve ice creams.

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2. Authentic Korean BBQ – Be ready to revel in the buzz of nondescript barbecue restaurants. The voices of grown (and possibly drunk) Korean men may be slightly off-putting and you may leave with a less than pleasant smell on your clothes, but trust me, you will miss this experience. Mapo Jeongdaepo – 183-8 Dohwa-dong, Mapo-gu. Gongdeok subway station exit 8. 11am – 2pm daily.

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3. Hipster cafes – A must for coffee lovers and especially the café-hopping instagrammers out there. Sadly, coffee in Seoul is a little pricier than that in Singapore, but go for the quality and experience anyway. Out of the many cups I’ve had there, I did not get disappointed by any one of them. I was also amazed by the work put into the interiors of the cafes there, and just how they have gigantic units for cafes. I say ‘gigantic’ in comparison to our local cafes. Read my guide to 5 Cafes to Visit in Seoul here.

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4. Sweet treats you won’t find better elsewhere – Who says only the Japanese do great stuff with green tea? The renowned green tea desserts at O’sulloc Tea House are not only refreshing but are light on the tastebuds and are not cloyingly sweet. Don’t forget to pack some jars of green tea milk spread home! O’sulloc Tea House – 12, Myeongdong 7-gil, Jung-gu. Myeongdong subway station exit 6. Sun – Thu 9am – 10.30pm, Fri & Sat 9am – 11pm. We also chanced upon this quaint little store in Garosu-gil selling mochi fruits, and they looked as pretty as they tasted. Mochi Story. Made by Minsu – 2F, 40, Gangnam-daero 152-gil, Gangnam-gu. Sinsa subway station exit 8. 10am – 9pm daily.

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5. Western brunch – I know it’s hard to ever get sick of Korean street and traditional food, but a superb western brunch should never be missed. Bills restaurant which has Aussie origins opened two restaurants in Seoul not too long ago, and is a brunch haven for many Koreans. Recommended items are the Ricotta Hotcakes with Banana and Honeycomb Butter and the Full Aussie. Check out my full review here. Bills – 1F Lotte World Mall, 300 Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu. Jamsil subway station exit 11. 8am – 11pm daily.

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Some other places I ate at in Seoul:

Andongjang – For Korean Chinese comfort food. Specializes in jjajangmyeon (thick noodles with black soybean paste) and tangsuyuk (sweet and sour pork). 315-18 Euljiro 3-ga, Jung-gu. Euljiro 3-ga subway station exit 10. Mon – Fri 11.30am – 9.30pm, Sat 11.30am – 9pm, Sun 11.30am – 8pm.

Chuncheonjip Dakgalbi Makguksu – Order the cheese dakgalbi set and get drooling! Specializes in dakgalbi (spicy, boneless grilled chicken). 1, Yonsei-ro 5ga-gil, Seodaemun-gu. Sinchon subway station exit 1. 10am – 6am daily.

Elbon the Table – Owned by South Korean celebrity chef Choi Hyun Seok. One of my most memorable fine dining experiences till date, where every course felt like a main course and we were simply stuffed to the brim. Also featured on the latest episode of Running Man (Ep 291, the restaurant Gary and Jihyo went to). Specializes in modern European cuisine with a Korean twist. 530-5, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu. Apgujeong subway station exit 6. Mon – Fri 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 11pm, Sat 12pm – 11pm, Sun 12pm – 10pm.

HanCook – A Korean buffet restaurant in N Seoul Tower. A truly romantic place for dinner, what with the panoramic view of Seoul. 1F, N Seoul Tower, 105, Namsangongwon-gil, Yongsan-gu. Myeongdong subway station exit 3. 11am – 11pm daily.

Maple Tree House – Where I had one of the best beefs of my life. Specializes in hanwoo (Korean beef). BF1 Mokhwa Milart, 113, Teheran-ro, Gangnam-gu. Gangnam subway station exit 1 or 12. Mon – Sat 11.30am – 11.30pm.

Samgeori Butchers – A must-visit for YG fans. Bigbang, 2NE1, Winner and Lee Hi have all visited before. Epik High’s studio is also right across. Specializes in barbecued pork. 1F, 361-10, Segyo-dong, Mapo-gu. Sangsu subway station exit 1. 11.30am – 2am daily.

Easter Brunch Extravaganza at The Knolls, Capella

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No plans for Easter Sunday yet? The Knolls at Capella warmly welcomes you to their Easter extravaganza this year featuring a free flow Sunday brunch buffet and an Easter egg hunt with enticing prizes to be won. (First prize is a one night stay in a one-bedroom garden villa, second prize is a nespresso machine and the third prize is a Sunday brunch for two adults and one child.) Headed down to the preview just last weekend and I must say that the brunch experience there was one of the best I’ve ever had!

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For the savoury side, the meats station has got to be my favourite.

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And for the seafood lovers out there, no extra words are needed I presume….

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Mojitos and margaritas!!

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More savoury stuff there include a cured meats station (with so many types of salami, pastrami… you name it), a large station dedicated to French breads (the croissants are recommended), cold salads and fresh sushi and sashimi.

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We also had a great time being entertained by Capella’s culinary director David Senia who was full of jokes and warm hospitality. He even prepared this memorable foie gras crumble pastry for us that day.

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If you feel that you are getting way too stuffed, it’s time to fill your second stomach with the impressive array of desserts. What still linger in my mind are the chocolate-based cakes and tarts. Surprisingly, The Knolls whip up some pretty good churros that can go on par with my favourite ones from authentic Spanish restaurants, so don’t skip them.

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And so we gradually slipped into a massive food and drinks coma, which is a state I wish I could be in every Sunday.

 

Date: 27 March 2016

Time: 12.30pm – 3pm

Venue: Grand Ballroom

Prices: $78++ per child (4-6 y/o) with free flow specialty mocktails, soft drinks and fresh juices

$118++ per child (7-12 y/o) with free flow specialty mocktails, soft drinks and fresh juices

$188++ per adult with free flow specialty mocktails, soft drinks and fresh juices

$228++ per adult with free flow Magnum Taittinger champagne, wines, specialty cocktails & international beers

$258++ per adult with free flow Vintage Taittinger champagne, boutique wines & international beers

For more information or to make your reservation, please contact The Knolls at 6591 5046.

Thanks to Melissa and Capella Singapore for the invite.

 

1 The Knolls

Sentosa Island

Singapore 098297

Hyde & Co. – New brunch offerings!

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It has been ages since my last post on Hyde & Co., and since then the menu has undergone tons of facelifts and improvements to suit the local palate more. The latest revamp would be that of their brunch menu (which is only served on weekends!) including both savoury and sweet treats.

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Let the chicken and waffles war begin. Hyde & Co. also dishes out their own rendition of the Har Cheong Gai Waffle ($17) comprising prawn paste fried chicken on waffle, honey dijon syrup, fried egg and fries. That is a whole lot of savoury goodness for just 17 bucks.

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Because pour shots will never be out of trend. Inspired from the local delight, the Ondeh Ondeh French Toast ($12) – brioche french toast, grated pandan coconut, gula melaka sauce, vanilla bean ice cream is for the coconut and gula melaka lovers out there.

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I have a strong belief that Hyde & Co. serves one of the better pancakes out there and the new Banana Walnut Pancakes ($12) is yet another testament to that. The batter used for the buttermilk pancakes has always been consistent and the relative thinness of the pancakes makes it hard for anyone to get sick of them. Also served with banana, walnuts, cornflakes, vanilla bean ice cream and butterscotch drizzle.

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Due to the many tai tais requesting for high tea to be served, the Sunday Hyde Tea ($38 per set, serves two) was launched and is sadly only available on Sundays. On the savoury tier of this two-tiered high tea set are chili crab crackers, mini smoked salmon sandwiches and pulled beef brisket mantous. Amongst these, the pulled beef brisket mantous adapted from their discontinued pulled pork mantous were our favourite. Really liked how the mantous are now a lot fluffier on the inside yet maintaining a crisp exterior. The pulled beef is also marinated in a homemade BBQ sauce that is not overly salty.

And then on the sweet tier you’ll find home-baked scones (including a pretty red velvet scone with cream cheese on the side to dip), Victorian sponge cakes & brownie squares. The set also comes with a pot of artisanal tea.

Hyde & Co. fills up really fast on the weekends especially, so be sure to make your reservations early.

Thanks to Derrick of Hyde & Co. for the invite!

 

785 North Bridge Road

Singapore 198753

Sun to Mon 11am – 6pm

Wed to Sat 11am – 10.30pm

Atlas Coffeehouse

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Fans of Assembly Coffee were certainly not underwhelmed by their new venture, Atlas Coffeehouse. Within one week of operations, the entire café was packed to the brim (with a queue outside) on a Sunday when I went on my second visit. In the end, I had to settle for seats by the counter. Look out for the very cool owner, Daphne, pulling shots by the coffee machine.

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Interior wise, Atlas’s much bigger space gives it an edge over Assembly Coffee where I always had squeeze between tables. Minus the louder echoes at Atlas. The brunch menu is also more extensive, serving up stews, pancake, French toast, egg dishes, and last but not the least, Assembly Coffee’s signature buttermilk waffles (one of the best in Singapore). Check out their new flavor Candied Bacon ($14).

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As expected, coffee here did not disappoint, but oddly enough, I felt that the coffees I had in the past at Assembly were smoother and less bitter. I tried the Flat White ($4.5) and I believe that other cafes usually price them between $0.50 to $1.50 more than the price here. Hmmm.

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The Nutella Brioche French Toast ($15) served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and maple drizzle is quite jaw-dropping dish. Its portion makes it impossible to be finished alone, no matter how big a chocolate or nutella addict you are. The amount of nutella between the two slices of French toast is no joke. The winning factor for me was the brioche French toast which proved to be soft, fluffy and very moist. Ah so sinful.

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A much lighter and healthier option for brunch here would be the Salmon Soba Noodles ($17) – house made yogurt dressed on poached salmon served on soba noodles, roasted shimeji mushrooms and fried egg. The house made yogurt was less thick and dense than yogurt and felt more like a lemon dill sauce which was refreshing to pair with the salmon and soba. Would love to see an option to switch out the fried sunny side up for poached eggs too.

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Amongst the three main dishes we had that day, my friend and I agreed that our favourite was the Atlas Butterscotch Banana Pancake ($18), served with honeycomb icec cream. It seems more like a hotcake though. Unlike ricotta hotcakes, this pancake was less buttery and milky and came with a tinge of saltiness that paired well with the sweet caramelized bananas and house made butterscotch sauce. This pancake is also one of the airiest and fluffiest I’ve had in cafes. Aesthetically, it may not look as good as the pretty berry ricotta hotcakes around but taste-wise, it happens to be the opposite. Despite the huge portion size, it was not overly heavy and ‘gelat’ like the nutella French toast.

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I’ve also heard good things about their Summer Chicken Stew ($17) and Creamy Mushrooms on Sourdough ($12), so I’ll definitely be back to try those items. Let’s hope the new cafes this year do food as well and as affordable (considering the huge portion sizes) as Atlas Coffeehouse.

 

6 Duke’s Road

Singapore 268886

Tues to Sun 8am – 7pm

Punch – By the folks behind The Plain and Ronin

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Brought to you by the lovely folks behind the The Plain and Ronin (2 very essential cafes to visit in Singapore) is their latest venture, Punch. Cue the expectations.

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The café is divided into two areas – the open air courtyard with benches, concrete tiles and walls lined with greenery, preferably for a chilly day, and the main air-conditioned dining area with tables and chairs. Despite it being a little warmer, my favourite spot is still the (natural) light-filled table by the windows. Perfect for the wannabe minimalist in me.

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On weekday mornings from 8am – 12pm, the café only serves Filter ($6.50)Chemex and V60 and Batch Brew Coffees ($4.5), together with the Donuts with Jam, Custard or Nutella ($1.20 each, $10 for 10 pieces). The donuts were mini, and tasted pretty normal. Nothing to shout about.

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Milk-based coffees like the White Espresso ($5) I had are only available from 12pm onwards. For non-caffeinated drinks, there is the lone option of Pineapple Slushie ($8). It may not be the cheapest drink around ($9.60 after GST and service charge omg) but it proved to be refreshing.

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Though the Poached Eggs on Avocado Toast ($13) may be a fairly simple dish to prepare, but the mountain of avocado piled on the two slices of slightly tough, slightly crisp sourdough toast sure did appeal. Would be better if the egg yolks can be slightly runnier though.

We tried another main course for lunch – the Grilled Seabass ($26) with mango salsa and greens. I liked the tangy, slightly sweet yet sour mango salsa which went well with the seabass.

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I believe there is a main course option for the fried chicken here, but we were offered the small portion of the Fried Chicken Wings ($11 for 5 pieces) on a particular Sunday. Sadly we didn’t really like the batter used.

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The food and coffee at Ronin are still my favourite amongst the three cafes, but I have to agree that the atmosphere at Punch is the most conducive for chilling. Well, apart from the smell of fried chicken from their open kitchen of course.

One final gripe – no printed menus around, only verbal ones from the servers. Which means you won’t know the prices unless asked. Eeks. Good thing that the café crew here is friendly and helpful.

P.S. They are open through Chinese New Year from 12pm – 5pm. Only for coffee and some small sweets though!

 

32 North Canal Road

Tues to Fri 8am – 11pm

Sat & Sun 8am – 6pm

Luxe Singapore

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Luxe Sydney’s first ever overseas venture led to the birth of Luxe Singapore mid-2015. Their gorgeous interiors and contemporary Australian fare took over social media last year, and till date I have patronised the restaurant four times.

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The space accentuates the vibes of a modern Australian cafe, with its white-washed walls paired with beige wooden tables and wooden floor panels. The laid-back ambience here and the fact that at any one time there would be westerners present, kind of makes you feel as though you’re somewhere overseas… away from overly humid weathers and insanely packed public transport.

Luxe offers different menus for brunch and lunch/dinner, and recently I gave their updated brunch menu a try.

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If I had an ideal breakfast bowl, it would be the Quinoa and Chia Seed Pudding with Coconut Yogurt and Fresh Fruit ($16) – I’m not very much of a “chia seed pudding” kind of person, but this dish won me over. There was a contrasting mix of subtle flavours that worked well – the sourness from the passion fruit and the sweetness from the coconut yogurt. The almond flakes and passion fruit seeds gave some added crunch too.

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Luxe also dishes out their own version of a Ricotta Hotcake with Berries, Exploding Candy and Maple Syrup ($20). Portion-wise, this thin slice of ricotta hotcake may be pricey but surprisingly it turned out better than expected. The hotcake was dense and moist and felt like a thick slice of crepe instead of the usual fluffy ones you’ll find. Watch out for the crunch and sizzle of exploding candy as you dig in.

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The old and boring poached egg dishes like the Eggs Royale with Smoked Salmon, Hollandaise ($20) may still be served here, but they are done well above average with great presentation. What I liked about the hollandaise sauce was that it was not too buttery and rich.

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For a less common poached egg dish, go for the Breakfast Bruschetta ($21) that comes with poached eggs, pesto, parmesan, rocket and roast tomato on artisan bread. Thanks to the generous amount of parmesan shavings and pesto, the bitterness of the rocket leaves got hidden well and I managed to chomp them down easily. A seemingly simple yet satisfying dish.

I think I’ve found myself a favourite cafe spot – the small round table at the back of Luxe, where natural light flows in from a transparent back door. Admittedly, prices are steep for brunch fare and their coffee is a tad bitter in my opinion. But then again you can also have champagne with breakfast here, like I did during my last visit. Because why not?

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One out of my four meals here was courtesy of The Uniform SG and Luxe Singapore.

1 Keong Saik Road

#01-04

Tue to Fri 11am – 12am

Sat 9.30am – 12am

Sun 9.30am – 4pm

The Plain Jane Cafe

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North Easties rejoice! The very dreamy-looking The Plain Jane Cafe has opened in Serangoon (opposite Serangoon Stadium), just a distance down from Nex. Swiss rolls take the centre stage over here, with some beautiful interiors to complement them.

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At a corner of the front of the cafe there is a drawer table decorated with dried flowers, books, candles… and even a rocking wooden horse beneath it. Yes you got it. Let’s not forget there are marble tables, old school wooden chairs, hanging light bulbs, and a retro tiled floor as well. My kind of cafe and lifestyle space.

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We tried the Latte ($5) and Mocha ($5.5) here, and I thought that the coffee could have a more robust flavour, although it was quite smooth.

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As a fan of matcha, I personally preferred The Not So Plain Matcha Swiss Roll ($5.9). Despite taking up a huge portion of the swiss roll, the matcha cream was not to the extent of making me sick of it. It was light and airy while the cake was soft and fluffy.

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Meanwhile, my friend liked The Plain Swiss Roll ($4.9) better. Since the cream in this roll was plain, I thought that the cream content could be lesser. Nevertheless we cleaned off both plates of swiss rolls easily.

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I guess the Lemon Yogurt Loaf ($4.9) has to make do with not being the main character in this cafe. But it caught our eyes too, for looking quite prettily. The yogurt loaf was on the sweet and dense side. Pretty decent.

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I’ll definitely be back to try more flavours of swiss rolls! Read: earl grey and thai milk tea.

 

Blk 211 Serangoon Avenue 4

#01-10

Singapore 550211

10am – 10pm daily, closed on Wednesday

Kanshoku Ramen Bar – Dry Truffle Ramen and Truffle Ramen Broth!

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Truffle ramen and truffle edamame? Yep, you did not hear it wrong. These are now served at Kanshoku Ramen Bar, the offshoot of Kanshoku Ramen which first opened at The Metropolis two years ago.

Traditional ramen in broth is available, with choices like the Black Garlic Ramen ($14.9), Flaming Hot Tonkotsu Ramen ($14.9) and the Signature Kanshoku Ramen ($13.9). But the truffle lovers in us were there for the trendy alternative the other day.

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Served dry, the Black Truffle Ramen ($16.9) is a must-try. The thin ramen noodles are tossed in some truffle oil and topped with black truffle shavings and two slices of well-marinated charshu. Considerably, the amount of truffle served was generous but not to the extent where it can get too strong and overpowering. Not sure if I can ever order a bowl of traditional ramen for myself here when the truffle option is so tempting and tantalizing. I particularly liked how the marinade on the slices of charshu gave it more flavor. We also added ajitama for $2 to our ramen. There was initially some confusion over the availability of the truffle ramen, but all I know for now is that it’s served on a daily basis at the orchardgateway outlet.

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The other truffle dish here is the Black Truffle Edamame ($4.9), which is coated with truffle oil and black truffle shavings. It might possibly be the best side dish amongst the others on the menu.

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Sadly, the too ordinary Nagoya Chicken Wings ($6.9) fell short of our expectations.

Drinks-wise, Kanshoku has a selection of sake and craft beers. A pity we couldn’t try the Yuzu Lemon Juice ($5.4) and Matcha Latte ($5.4) which were not available that day.

Kanshoku means ‘to finish eating every last bit of your food’ in Japanese. And so we did.

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Update: Kanshoku has recently launched its all-new Truffle Broth Ramen ($17.9, add $2 for an egg). Expect 3 layers of truffle goodness in it – truffle pate, shaved truffle and truffle oil infused with their tonkotsu broth. Compared to the dry version, this is a lighter option and is probably comprised of the suitable level of truffle for those who found the dry version a little too ‘gelat’. As usual, I managed to wipe clean yet another bowl of ramen here.

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Thanks Melvin for the invite!

277 Orchard Road

OrchardGateway

#01-06

11am – 10pm daily

Montana Singapore @ PoMo

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Montana Brew Bar entered the cafe scene last year with interesting waffles and burgers at affordable prices, making it one of the cafes that stand out more. I too myself have been a fan, having tried their food at the old premises. Great news for the foodies out there: Montana has gone big and better, having switched units at PoMo and occupying two levels now.

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Don’t be confused by the differing themes of the two levels. The new Montana is based on a 3-in-1 concept within the same restaurant. The first level is occupied by South Bronx, a casual burger bar serving up burgers and booze while the second level is occupied by Montana Brew Bar serving waffles and pasta as well as Fabulous Dough serving donuts. Collectively, they make up Montana Singapore.

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Fans of the old Montana Brew Bar need not worry as their signature waffles are making a comeback – with the same old quality and consistency. My all-time (both past and current) favourite has to be the Truffle Jalapeno Mac & Cheese Waffle ($12). Months of research and experimenting resulted in this waffle-lised mac and cheese which is topped with white truffle oil and served with jalapeno tomato dip on the side. Though the hints of truffle are quite faint, this waffle can still be easily ranked as one of the best savoury waffle in Singapore.

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Look out for a strong contender of the Mac & Cheese Waffle – the Assam Crab Waffle ($18). Inspired by the kedah laksa, this assam-spiced waffle is topped with seasoned crab meat and pineapple cucumber salsa. Fortunately, the sourness from the assam is not too overpowering and the waffle is not overly spicy. Overall, a very refreshing dish.

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The last savoury waffle we had that day was the Bulgogi Beef Waffle ($16) made of gochujang rice waffle with sous vide bulgogi beef, orange sesame coleslaw, sous vide poached egg and bonito. The rice waffle is pretty soft and came with a spicy aftertaste that sets in slowly. A decent dish but compared to the previous two, this waffle was underwhelming.

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From the dessert waffles menu, the Red Velvet Waffle ($11) – a red velvet waffle stack with vanilla ice cream and white chocolate rose sauce is making a return, looking as tall, steady and aesthetically pleasing as before.

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The new Black Velvet Waffle ($14) is NOT a charcoal waffle. It is instead a black sesame waffle with black miso caramel and a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream coated with black chocolate. The subtle flavour of black sesame in the waffle won me over immediately. It also gave a tinge of sweetness to the waffle.

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Marnier Brew ($6.50) – grand marnier coffee with a coconut sphere. This is essentially cold brew infused with coconut water once the sphere melts. Unlike normal cold brews you find in Singapore with a strong, sour and acidic taste, this one is much milder in taste. The coconut water helped to sweeten the cold brew in an unusual yet interesting way.

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Over at South Bronx, we shared some sides like the Beer Battered BBQ Chicken Wings ($7) and Mac & Cheese Fritters with Tomato Relish Dip ($8) which weren’t too bad at all.

All burgers are served with triple fries comprising curly, straight cut and criss cut fries to accommodate everyone’s preferences.

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Sir Spam-A-Lot ($12) – fried egg, luncheon meat patty, smoked bacon, grilled pineapple ring, spicy BBQ mayo.

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The Original Rump Shaker ($12) – South Bronx original, house-made beef patty, signature sauce, smoked bacon, melted cheese slice. Preferred the beef patty burgers to the luncheon meat patty burgers.

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Our favourite amongst the three burgers is probably The Mac Daddy ($16) – beef patty topped with jalapeno mac and cheese. I never knew mac and cheese could work well in a burger, but somehow it complemented the beef patty rather well. There was a spicy kick to the dish, thanks to the jalapeno.

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Montana is one of the cafes you must visit this year if you haven’t done so. Despite the major renovation and revamping works, their prices remain affordable even for students. As for food quality, it has remained as consistent as ever. After all, they do take feedback very seriously.

Thanks Amanda and Montana Singapore for the invitation!

Montana Brew Bar

1 Selegie Road

#02-25

PoMo

8am – 10pm daily

 

South Bronx Burgers

1 Selegie Road

#01-02

PoMo

Mon – Thu, Sun 11am – 10pm

Fri & Sat 11am – 12am

Little Bao – Best Brunch in Hong Kong?

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Fusion food is in in Hong Kong, and Little Bao still remains as hip as ever since its opening in 2013. This swanky diner gives western food an Asian spin, with the focus centered on the Chinese bao. They’ve also started to open for weekend brunch.

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No coffee here at Little Bao unfortunately, but they do have a rather good cocktail selection. For something more pleasant and less strong, opt for the Chris Lemonade (HKD$85, SGD$15.5) – 42 Below vodka, chrysanthemum, honey, rhubarb bitters or Yakult Fizz (HKD$85, SGD$15.5) – Broken Shed vodka, absinthe, Yakult, egg white.

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I’ve always thought that only truffle fries which are heavily laden with truffle oil and truffle salt make a good plate of truffle fries, but Little Bao’s take on Truffle Fries (HKD$98, SGD$17.9) has opened a new dimension of what a good plate of truffle fries can actually be. Their version involves shitake tempeh and truffle mayo paired with shoestring fries and resulted in an addictive side dish. And I usually do not eat mushrooms, mind you. The fries are also served with pickled daikon on the side.

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We also had another side to share – the Roasted Pork Cheek (HKD$128, SGD$23.4) which was cumin-spiced and came with fennel and burnt apple puree. The pork was sufficiently tender and moist and not fatty at all.

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Pork Belly Bao (HKD$78, SGD$14.3) – slow-braised pork belly, leek and shiso red onion salad, sesame dressing, hoisin ketchup

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For myself, I had the Szechuan Fried Chicken Bao (HKD$78, SGD$14.3). The Szechuan fried chicken may be a tad oily, but was slathered in a delightful combination of sweet Chinese black vinegar glaze and slightly spicy Szechuan mayo.

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Beef Bao (HKD$88, SGD$16.1) – grass-fed organic beef, tomato jam, roasted onion sesame mayo, shiso, cheddar cheese

Just as we were finishing our baos, a family with children sat on the bench outside the restaurant, ordered the ice cream baos, and devoured them without complaint in the light drizzle (restaurant was running full house at that time). A reminder that dessert here should never be skipped.

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The LB Ice Cream Bao (HKD$48, SGD$8.8) comes in two flavours – green tea ice cream with condensed milk and salt ice cream with caramel. Personally, I preferred the green tea bao for its distinctive green tea flavour. The salt ice cream felt more like vanilla ice cream with a muted vanilla taste. Nonetheless, the warm, crispy fried mini buns, together with the ice cream, ended the meal on a high note.

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Generally the baos are pretty small so it’s highly recommended to get some sides to share, followed by the savoury and the dessert baos for the full experience. Best brunch in 2015? Yes, I conclude.

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G/F, 66 Staunton St

Mon to Fri 6pm – 11pm

Sat 12pm – 4pm, 6pm – 11pm

Sun 12pm – 4pm, 6pm – 10pm

Sheung Wan MTR Exit A2

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