Tag Archives: restaurant

Arbite – a hearty brunch

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Arbite is no newcomer to the list of popular brunch places in Singapore. It’s cosy interiors created by wooden furniture in a white space is no doubt a less formal, more chillax place for heartlanders to have gatherings there especially on weekends. The view overlooking Serangoon Gardens may not be posh but it certainly made the place look airy.
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I jumped straight into my order immediately. With such a pretty name, the Sea Salt Banana Pancakes ($14.90) was a definite call. With huge chunks of banana heavily caramelized in between the pancakes, you’ll never have to endure an overload of plain, boring pancakes. What’s more, the plate is rimmed with caramel sauce, berries and nuts.
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In my opinion many brunch places have mediocre breakfast sets with a random mixture of sausages, eggs….. but even till now, the Arbite Breakfast ($12.90) lingers in my cravings  with a note set in my memory. A good spread indeed: veal bratwurst which was tender to my liking, greens, bacon, mushrooms, fried potato balls, a nicely grilled tomato, soft brioche and of course truffle eggs (additional $3). Even though I preferred truffle on fries, I must agree that truffle on anything is still good.
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The Truffle Fries ($10.90) here are of a thicker cut. The hints of truffle salt and oil are barely there on the fries, they’re mostly hidden in the truffle mayonnaise. So don’t forget to dip them in!
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By that time, the both of us were pretty full from such a hearty and filling brunch. Yet, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity for desserts since they sound delicious by descriptions on the menu. Sadly, My Wife’s Chocolate Cake ($8) was quite a disappointment. I would think that a wife has better standards for her chocolate cake. It was undeniably dry and normal with no kick to it. I can imagine a sallow-faced wife.

 

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Lucky for Arbite’s Gula Melaka Tiramisu ($8) which saved the day. Having a gula melaka mascarpone made the dessert extra sweet but I’m not complaining. Because of the well-infused gula melaka into a tiramisu, it has turned out to be a unique rendition which is not too heavy on the stomach.

The number of tables here are limited but you’ll be happy that Arbite has opened another eatery, A for Arbite at Aliwal Street. Both the concept and menu mimics the original outlet except for its funkier location.

66A Serangoon Garden Way

Tuesdays to Fridays 11.30 am – 3.00 pm     6.00pm – 10.30pm
Saturdays & Sundays  9.00 am – 10.30 pm

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Five & Dime Eatery

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This is a long overdue post of my belated birthday dinner. Of course, everything would not have been possible without Amanda, Tricia, Wileen, Angela and B who specially planned the secret trip to Five & Dime. The original intention was to proceed to Valentino’s for an Italian fix but since they were full I was brought here whilst being kept in the dark. Anyway, I loved the theme of the entire place. It’s a little hard to describe, more like a creation of artsy meets kiddy meets classic feel.

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Mocha on Mars ($12) and Decadent Chocolate ($12) in the background. I had the mocha milkshake and how I wished there could be less caffeine and more chocolate in it to balance it out (it tasted rather bitter for a drink called mocha on mars).

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Calamari ($8)
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Unlike the usual thick and cheesy ones out there, the Mac n Cheese ($15) here was based on a lobster sauce together with cheese thus giving it’s pinkish appearance as you delve into it. It was less heavy a dish and certainly a lot less cheesier which I felt was a good thing, unless you prefer an over dosage of cheese.

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The Cajun Chicken ($18) was not that bad, what with its evenly grilled surface.

Next was a surprise. The Mentaiko Pasta ($18) captured in the first picture was a great fusion pasta. I’ve had those at other places served either too creamy or too dry so it was heartening for me to finally find a good one there at Five and Dime. The faint taste of mentaiko was not overpowering, neither was it lackluster in flavor.

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Fish & Chips ($20) which were okay.

The Burger ($23) which I ordered was a tad of a small portion but otherwise enjoyable.

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Something like a Nutella Brownie with ice cream ($12) written on a blackboard would catch my attention immediately. When it first came served to my table I thought it looked divine. Sure enough, not only was the nutella concentration just the right amount for me, it was also just as moist to make a good brownie. Topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, it ended my lovely dinner on a sweet and satisfying note.
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The space here at Five and Dime may be a little small for a full-fledged restaurant but heck that, the dining experience was intimate. Just remember to make a reservation early. Generally the food here was enjoyable with a few outstanding dishes you must try ie mentaiko pasta, mac and cheese, nutella brownie. Now that I’m craving for more from five and dime, I certainly need a date to hop down and grab some of their brunch items. I mean, we’re talking about beef hash, panini, pancakes and waffles over here.
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297 River Valley Road

Mondays to Thursdays 12pm – 10pm
Fridays 12pm – 12am
Saturdays 10am – 12am
Sundays 10am – 10pm

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Menya Musashi Kodou

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Named after Miyamoto Musashi, the 5 branches of Menya Musashi are currently enjoying some attention as they join the new ramen scene in Singapore. Originating from Tokyo, it seems that their ramen stalls in Japan sell a-huge-number of bowls a day with stretching long queues.

And then, it’s always a battle in the mind between choices of ramen. Over at Menya Musashi, Ramen comes in white (original), black (garlic and onion) and red (spicy) flavors for the soup base.

We went with something rather original to start with. If there’s anything memorable about the White Kakuni Ramen ($14.9), it would be its braised pork belly which was juicy, tender and oozing with goodness. I also had the Bokuto Gyoza ($5.9) as my I’m-bored-I-want-my-ramen appetizer and sure enough it served as a dish solely for that purpose.

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The tsukemen, a.k.a dipping noodles, was something new I’ve never tried. Tsukemen comes in white, red and black as well. Unlike the usual ramen served in soup stock within the same bowl, the noodles are dry and separated from an independent bowl of hot, piping stock which is much thicker than soup. The right way to devour the 2 bowls is to dip a pair of chopsticks full of noodles in soup and slurp them up right after. Otherwise, you may find yourself a mouthful of extremely thick and salty soup. I had the Black Tsukemen ($14.9) which was interesting. The soup can, however, get less warm if you stop too long for photos though….

Overall, I still find their soups a little too salty for my liking. It appears to encourage you to drink more water rather than the soup. Despite those, the tsukemen experience is worth a try.

 

2 Orchard Turn

ION Orchard

#B3-25

Daily 11.30am – 10pm

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Ramen Keisuke Tori King: Best Ramen in Singapore?

I hardly go crazy over ramen, but once I find a fantastic rendition, it’s gaga time.
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Ramen Keisuke had two branches, Keisuke Tokyo and Keisuke Tonkotsu before their latest, third outlet, Ramen Keisuke Tori King. I’ve never tried the first two and decided to leave them aside to go with the new craze on tori king. It is located at the newly renovated 100AM mall at Tanjong Pagar, just a few minutes walk away from its sister outlet Keisuke Tonkotsu at Orchid Hotel. 100AM’s rather quiet so far with the slow stream of people. As such, Tori King seemed like a bustling dining place.

On a weekday night, it was already crowded and we actually queued at least 10 minutes in line. Don’t expect to spend a long time in there since diners come and go quickly and there always seemed to be people waiting for seats.

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Tori King’s menu revolves around chicken. Their ramen come in three different types of chicken soup base – the original, black spicy and green spicy. Of which, you can choose three different levels of toppings – seaweed, tamago and all toppings.
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I had the Black Spicy Keisuke Ramen ($16.90 with all toppings) and it was by far the best bowl of ramen I’ve had in Singapore. What makes the black spicy broth different from the original broth is the additional factor of spiciness by peppercorn. Spicy chicken broth for ramen was a first for me. I found it much more interesting than pork broth. From the broth to the noodles to the partially runny tamago, everything was worthy. The best part? Definitely the tender chicken thigh which it is easily ripped by the teeth, grilled to perfection. The jap food khakis and I barely talked much as we were busily slurping through the bowl.
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Free flow hard boiled eggs and beansprouts come along on the table, so remember to get a fair share of them.

100 Tras Street

#03-15

100AM

1130 – 2200 Daily

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Hoshino Coffee

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As what I said on my previous post on Hifumi, I’d be exploring the new extension at Plaza Singapura – this time at yet another Japanese cafe cum restaurant enjoying long queues. Seems like the new restaurants at PS are doing quite well with the crowd especially on weekends. The food models displayed at Hoshino’s entrance can already make me drool, but are they the real deal?

I ordered what seemed to look like the signature dish/most appetising dish on the menu, the “Fuwa-fuwa” Hoshino Souffle ($15.80). The entire layer on top is actually cheesy fluff which sad to say, came nothing close to what I expected it to be. It may seem to be a big portion but everything above the bowl was merely their cheese soufflé which proved too much for me to finish them (but you had to finish it to get to the bottom). At the bottom is a bowl of cheese baked rice which was not that bad but nothing to rave about either.

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The other dish we ordered was the Hoshino Spaghetti w/ Eggplant, Bacon, Shrimp and Sausage ($14). I have to admit it was a good Japanese twist to the Italian Aglio Olio. Quite big a dish too. My only complaint is that they scrimped on a sauce which could’ve made the spaghetti better well-balanced.

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If you’re still doubtful about Hoshino, have their souffle pancakes – truly the signature. There are souffle pancakes with different toppings ranging from maccha to vanilla to mango but my friend and I decided to go plain with their Double Pancake Souffle Style ($12) which came with vanilla ice cream. We were unhappy that they took so long to arrive despite the early order – another patron which came later even had her pancakes already. But nevertheless, we were impressed with the thick, fluffy, spongy and warm pancakes. Definitely a first for me. Have them together with ice cream and maple syrup and you’re good to go on a satisfied tummy.

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I admire their food presentation a lot, but soon after I realized that they may seem to be better looking than they taste. Service-wise, there was an inconsistency with how their staff handles matters so I may think twice about coming back. Maybe I’ll try another pancake soufflé. My only regret is that I didn’t try their drip coffee. Still, Hoshino Coffee is rather popular in that new area so do make reservations to avoid queuing for long.

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68 Orchard Road

#03-84

Plaza Singapura

Daily 1130 – 2200

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The Merry Men’s Kitchen + Bar

Pre note: Blogging speed’s been slow these days but I’m still very thankful to all viewers out there. Currently trying to clear as many overdue posts as possible from my previous short break 🙂

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Robertson Quay remains as one of my favorite food enclaves in Singapore. And so I had yet another great ladies night out there over the festive season. The Merry Men was chosen and I could see why it is easily one of a popular choice for a more casual yet ambient restaurant and watering hole.
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To my surprise, it’s interior is rather small with a couple of communal tables very suitable for large groups and just another couple of tables for smaller groups. Yet, a cosy, light-hearted mood seemed to befall on the place especially at night. (Definitely in love with their window panel.) But don’t worry, outdoor seating is available and not that bad too.

As we dined in a large group that night we had the luxury of trying bits of pieces from every section of the menu. We started off with my all-time favorite Truffle Shoestring Fries ($10) which I always try to order whenever I spot it on a menu. I felt that the truffle oil wasn’t intense enough but there was an attempt to cover up by truffle-scented mayonnaise. Still, better ones out there!

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From their “Nibbles & Gobbles” we also had the Sausage Platter ($26) which mixed pork, beef and chicken sausages all together. We all agreed all of them were pretty good with some consistency.

Moving on to their pastas, we had Penne Carbonara ($18) and Spaghetti Crabmeat Aglio Olio ($20). I preferred the later because it was more special in terms of its taste. It’s shredded crabmeat went rather well with the aglio olio. My only complain is the lack of garlic of chilli in the dish which could have turned tables around.
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The Bolognese Pizza ($20) felt plain and dry especially with the too generous heap of greens and tomato sauce which was light while the Roast Duck and Lychee Pizza ($20) won me over. I’ve always marveled over the pairing of roast duck on crust and their rendition has surely not disappoint me.
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Hold on, we still have the mains to go. The Fish and Truffle Fries ($16) brought us back to another truffle state of mind except now with battered fish fillet and 3 sauces to dip and go along with. Not anything special but not any less disappointing as well. Same goes for the Yorkshire Pork Rack ($28), which had pretty tender char grilled pork meat, probably one of the better ones I’ve had. Yet it’s portion size really left me hungry for more.
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Of course, we can never call it a night till we have a proper ending with desserts. We opted for the Waffles ($12) and Chocolate Lava Cake ($14). The former was thick and good but a pity that it’s toppings were too creamy. Basically there were more whipped cream than chocolate, bananas and and ice-cream they were supposed to have. However the latter was a lot more satisfying with it’s thick, flowy chocolate popped molten hot into our mouths, accompanied by vanilla ice-cream afterwards.

I guess I have mostly uncovered the ups and downs; hits and misses of The Merry Men. Quality of food is quite well done considering they function very much as a bar as well, but don’t be setting high standards. They do serve western food pretty well despite the several lacking points. Indeed, you leave as a merry man.

86 Robertson Quay

#01-02

Mondays to Thursdays 1700 – 0000
Fridays 1500 – 0100
Saturdays 1500 – 0200
Sundays 1100 – 0000

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Hokkaido Sushi Restaurant M Hotel

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A few months ago I had the opportunity to go for Canon’s Food Photography Workshop by Dr. Leslie Tay (of Singapore’s best known food/hawker blog  ieatishootipost.sg) which they hold once or twice a year. I’ve missed a few of these workshops previously so I was pretty excited to get some tips and meet some food and camera addicts. The location was at Hokkaido Sushi Restaurant at M Hotel off a street of Tanjong Pagar, which I’ve never heard of before. Now I’m here to tell you that Hokkaido Sushi Restaurant has got to be one of the most underrated Japanese places in Singapore.

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The restaurant is a rather cozy one with a bar counter. Definitely the place to go in Tanjong Pagar if you need a quiet hideout. All of us attendees had a hands-on session with our cameras before enjoying our 9 course Kaiseki meal (valued at $65 per person).

We started with the very refreshing Wafu Salad and Homemade Pitan Tofu.

Then came the assorted 5 pieces of Sashimi. I was never a fan of sashimi (not even when I went to Japan) but that day felt like a life-changing moment when I finally came to like it. I didn’t really fancy their maguro though.

The Hokkaido Ginkarei Shio (Grilled Hokkaido Halibut Fish) was my first halibut ever and except for the irritating number of small bones in a small portion of fish, it ranks high on my list of favorite type of fishes. Soft and tender; not Shio but Shiok.

To restate my stand from a previous blogpost, everyone loves chawanmushi. The Hokkaido Ikura Chawan Mushi (Steamed Custard Egg with Hokkaido Beni Salmon Roe) came with a generous serving of salmon roe which was interesting.

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Signature Hokkaido Mai sushi: truly a signature. In the middle is a roll of cooked salmon wrapped with crispy seaweed which you can hear crunching in your mouth. The sushi was also rolled in sesame, then topped with salmon roe (again!) and a sauce that added flavor. Unlike the usual sushi, this had a unique texture with a good blend of ingredients which made me hungry for more.

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Another highlight of the menu was the Hokkaido Taraba Udon (Hokkaido King Crab Leg Udon). The crab’s leg meat was very tender and unfortunately we couldn’t get more than one crab’s leg in the udon… So we could only capture this massive Hokkaido King Crab below on our cameras.

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Every meal deserves a sweet ending and we polished off our green tea ice cream before saying goodbyes. It surprises me that Hokkaido Sushi Restaurant is less known in the food context of Singapore. Furthermore it’s kaiseki menus are fairly less pricey than some other kaisekis in Singapore, so I don’t see how it is so underrated.

M Hotel Singapore

Level 9

81 Anson Road

Mon: 11:30 – 14:30, 18:00 – 22:30
Tue: 23:30 – 14:30, 18:00 – 22:30
Wed – Thu: 11:30 – 14:30, 18:00 – 22:30
Fri: 23:30 – 14:30, 18:00 – 22:30
Sat – Sun: 11:30 – 14:30, 18:00 – 22:30
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The Square Novotel Clarke Quay: Are you hot enough?

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With Valentine’s Day cum Chinese New Year round the corner, I can imagine lots of Singaporeans scrambling around for the most suitable restaurants for a celebration. Look no further than The Square at Novotel Hotel Clarke Quay. In conjunction with the 2 upcoming seasons, The Square has a special, new concept buffet spread titled “Are You Hot Enough?“. New dishes cooked with none other than spices, spices and more spices are the main highlights. For just $98++ per couple on Valentine’s Day, this is the one place to consider. A few bloggers and I had their luxurious spread for buffet dinner that evening. 

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One of my favorite counters there was the salad counter. This surprised me a lot as I wasn’t a salad or cold cuts type of foodie.   What made them interesting was the good use of spices which made them unlike the usual, plain old ones. The beef salad and chicken salad were memorable. Next to them was a huge parma ham which had me drooling.

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Seafood lovers will be happy to find that their quality of seafood is rather high. Right at the front of the buffet line is the tantalizing fresh seafood counter of prawns, clams, oysters, mussels and salmon. Further on there are black pepper mussels and prawns with mayonnaise sauce which are worth the try as well.
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The cod fish with laksa and baby kailan served to our table was a good rendition of cod. The laksa was not spicy but brought upon a rather light feel on the cod fish which I thought was the right taste for me.

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At the end of the buffet line for the main dishes were three dishes with three levels of spiciness tagged on their lids. They are the spicy pork (one level), fish with cream sauce (two levels) and chicken with brown sauce (three levels). I wasn’t too sure if I could handle that much of spiciness initially but after trying them, they were really not that spicy. There wasn’t a distinct difference in their level of spiciness too. Still, the dishes were enjoyable.
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Another one of my favorite counters would be their risotto corner. There is a “grinder” sort of cookware in which they mix the risotto with parmesan cheese. We tried both renditions of risotto they offered that day: the normal risotto with cheese (left) and risotto with laksa mix.(right) Both were good risottos which can sink well into your tastebuds but I preferred the risotto with cheese for its more authentic taste.

The meats were also worth a mention. Their roast pork, roast beef and ham were juicy enough for the thumbs up. Other than that, expect to find dim sum, laksa, fried rice, noodles, sushi, breads, cheese and more.
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Moving on to the desserts, some of them are infused with spices as well: Fruit spicy syrup (fruits sunk in chocolate syrup with spices) and chili chocolate mousse (chocolate mousse with ground red chili) are the main ones. A while after tasting them came the sharp spicy taste so be careful not to gobble them too quickly. Interesting creations though.
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And of course, everyone loves chocolate fondue!
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There was a spread of desserts which are pretty normal so I won’t elaborate much. From L-R top to bottom: Fruit spicy syrup, carrot cake (infused with spices as well), strawberry butter cake, assortment of glass shooters, orange tarts, green tea cheese cake.

I guess the bloggers and I should have this pretty same verdict about The Square at Novotel. With dinner buffets at other hotels costing at least $50 and over, it’s really hard to find somewhere more affordable with a decent spread these days. I’ve found the answer and The Square at Novotel is the answer. It scores high for variety and quality. For it’s price, the buffet would be absolutely value for money and worth it.

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Thank you John and Jean-Philippe for the kind invitation and warm hospitality.

177A River Valley Road

Novotel Clarke Quay (Level 7)

0600 – 1030 Buffet breakfast

1200 – 1430 Buffet lunch

1800 – 2200 Buffet dinner

Are you HOT enough buffet (only for dinner):

$58++ per pax for adults on Fridays & Saturdays 

$48++ per pax for adults from Sundays – Thursdays

$38++ per pax for child on Fridays & Saturdays

$30++ per pax for child from Sundays – Thursdays

$98++ per couple on Valentine’s Day

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Hifumi Japanese Restaurant

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The new extension of Plaza Singapura is here with many new F&B outlets including new branches of old favorites and totally new restaurants unheard and unseen of. They are a fusion of Western, Malaysian, Thai and especially Japanese eateries. Of those, Hifumi is one that is enjoying long queues for lunch and dinner.

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One of the main reasons why shoppers are attracted Hifumi would be their all-you-can-eat Japanese sides served in a mini buffet style in the center of the restaurant. If you opt for the set meal when you order the mains instead of a la carte (about $2 more) you will be entitled to it (with additional rice and miso soup with your main course). My favorites from all the sides were: Japanese curry, tofu, potato salad and chawanmushi. A definite thumbs up for this concept of theirs. I am not sure if they rotate these sides on a daily/weekly basis though.

Moving on to the mains, the prices are very well affordable, just that their standards were soso, or just right. I had the Tonkatsu set ($13.99) by myself which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was a tad too dry and it could be a little crispier for a more authentic feel.

Another main course my friend had: Bara Chirashi sushi set ($17.99)
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The Hamburg set ($15.99)’s beef was not that bad either considering it’s price. I guess the fact that Hifumi’s food is just nice with value-for-money prices are keeping it’s customers, with more to come. Everyone likes simple and comfort Japanese food right? That said, I will be trying more restaurants at the new PS extension so look out for them!
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#04-68 Plaza Singapura

68 Orchard Road

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Au Chocolat

Au Chocolat is the new hype at Marina Bay Sands after opening mid last year. As it’s name goes, Au Chocolat features chocolate – comfort western food with some having a twist of chocolate in them, chocolate drinks, chocolate tarts, cakes and macarons and gelato. The classy, modern retro designs of the restaurant makes it a very cool casual place. I absolutely adore the the cute toy train circling on its tracks at the Victorian ceiling.

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To my surprise, Au Chocolat’s Hot Chocolate Fudge ($9) was one of the best hot chocolates I have ever had. Most of the time they would be too bitter, bland or even taste like milo but their rendition was far from those adjectives. It comes with a hefty price tag but trust me, it is worth it for it’s thick, chocolatey taste at a rather sweet level.

Eggs benedict has always been one of my favorite dishes to have for lunch. Au Chocolat actually serves three types of eggs benedict which I thought I had to try. The Au Chocolat Benedict ($18) is the usual benedict done in the Au Chocolat way – two poached eggs atop bacon, spinach and tomatoes on an English muffin and instead of normal hollandaise sauce they are covered by hollandaise infused with red wine and dark chocolate. It takes a few bites to get accustomed to it’s taste which I quite like. Definitely one of the better ones I have had.

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My friend went for the Ultimate Benedict ($22) which looks like a delicious mess of the same items from the au chocolat benedict with extra pancakes, steak and chicken. Sounds like a myriad of popular main courses – not for the ones who can’t take in the heavy and messy.
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The Bubblegum Cheesecake ($7) seemed special enough to catch my attention with it’s light blue appearance for a cake. With fusion of bubblegum flavor, the cheesecake was quite light and finished easily.

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The Chocolate Tart ($7) – sweet chocolate cream on a crust. It appeared to be a chocolate overload but it is the perfect tart for chocolate lovers.

Their Lemon Meringue Tart ($8) was one of the biggest meringue tarts I have ever seen, a perfect dessert to share between two people.
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I like that the food here is more casual with a magic touch to it – probably from the chocolate. This is definitely a place to dine at if you are on a budget, for the celebrity restaurants may be too “high end” when you just need a cafe cum restaurant to chill at.

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#01-03/04/05

The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

Mondays to Thursdays 1000 – 2300

Fridays and Saturdays 1000 – 0000

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