Tag Archives: west

UNA Dining and Tapas Bar

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After the closure of popular noshing spots in Rochester such as Roast and Graze, the regular patron may just be feeling a little melancholic. Well, fret not. The past few months of renovation and refurbishment of One Rochester have led to the opening of latest Spanish kid on the block, UNA Dining and Tapas Bar. Helmed by Chef Jean Philippe Patruno previously from Bomba Paella Bar, UNA is Singapore’s first bar and restaurant that brings together the authentic and rich flavors of Spanish, Italian and French home-styled cuisines. This concept is termed the ‘South of Latitude 30°‘ (SOL30°).

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The interiors of UNA are split into 2 separate dining areas with different sets of menus – UNA Dining on the first level and UNA Tapas Bar on the second. UNA Dining is set in a lush garden setting with classic white decor – also perfect for the many weddings which are frequently held here. The full menu (designed by Chef Philippe) here offers a fine selection of starters, mains, desserts and drinks. On the other hand, UNA Tapas Bar provides a casual, laid-back atmosphere with a full bar. Here, choose from a range of spirits, mixers and artisanal cocktails on the bar menu (specially created by Proof & Co) to go along with your tapas.

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And what better way to start off the meal with some classic, specialty cocktails? The Le Bucky ($19) above is a refreshing mix of bourbon, mathilde framboise, fresh apple juice, fresh lemon juice and ginger beer while the Bastille ($20) is a combination of gin, hibiscus, maraschino, amaranto and fresh lemon juice.

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We got started with some small plates. Among them was the beautifully plated Heirloom Tomatoes, Piquillo Peppers and Burrata ($18 for small, $28 for large) which caught our eyes. From the soft burrata cheese to the juicy cubes of tomatoes, this petite dish makes for a light, refreshing appetizer.

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If you’d like soup, go for the starter Gazpacho Salmojero ($12 for small, $22 for large) which was recommended to me by a server – a cold dish of a rich tomato and cucumber soup alongside with a quail egg and Sicily olive oil. Though the tomato-based soup requires an initial acquired taste, I thought that the texture and consistency was excellent – smooth and substantially thick.

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Hanger Steak Tartare, Slow-cooked Egg Yolk, Watercress ($28 for small, $38 for large)

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Iberico Pork Belly and Smoked Chorizo Mash ($32 for small, $42 for large) – I was in awe of the 24 hour slow-cooked spanish pork belly which was cooked to near perfection. It was tender in the mouth and the springiness of pork belly which I abhor is also at is bare minimum. The smoked mash with chorizo oil in the middle deserves a mention as well.

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Another huge favorite for that day would be the Wild Sea Bass with Serrano Ham and Caviar D’Aubergines ($40 for small, $50 for large). The sea bass had a crisp exterior with touches of salt and its insides were soft – this was suitably coupled with the dry cured serrano ham.

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Towards the end of our meal, the kind bartenders recommended the cocktail Champs de Fraise ($19) which is only offered on UNA Dining’s menu. The concoction – strawberry infused cognac, fresh lemon juice and sparkling wine presented a fruity fizz which I enjoyed more compared to the aforementioned cocktails I had.

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I’m always particular about my desserts and UNA’s desserts were right on spot to me. The Pedro Ximenez Panna Cotta, Popcorn ($14 for small, $18 for large), unlike the usual panna cotta, came in a glass shooter and was uniquely topped with popcorn. Fortunately, the salted popcorn complemented the sweeter, smoother pudding it was laid upon. The panna cotta was as creamy as how it should be, making this version one of the best I’ve had.

Falling a little short of our expectations was the Churros dipped in chocolate and accompanied by honey ice cream ($16 for small, $20 for large). They were too crispy (for my liking) such that they broke easily. A fluffier and chewier interior would better befit them churros. Shoutout to the honey ice cream though.

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From the idyllic environment of the restaurant to the helpful service provided by servers and bartenders to the cuisine itself, the dining experience at UNA, I believe, should not be skipped. You’ll be surprised at how every intricate detail matches with the other, be it ingredient-wise or interior-wise. This is definitely in accord with Chef Patruno’s vision for UNA – “an exquisite dining experience providing the best of [his] worlds, with heartfelt and comforting foods that will form great memories.”

 

All food shown in this post are of the small portions.

This was an invited media tasting.

1 Rochester Park

UNA Dining – Mon to Sat 6pm – 11pm

UNA Tapas Bar – Mon to Sat 6pm – 1am

Closed on Sundays

www.onerochester.com 

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Necessary Provisions

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For a good few months I’ve been dreaming of local coffee joint Necessary Provisions and racking my brains if it’s worth the trip. As a north-eastie, traveling to the western part of the island may be nasty without a personal vehicle. The opportunity came when an instagram friend of mine was visiting from Kuala Lumpur – as a fellow cafe hopper back in her own country, she happened to be interested in N. Provisions as well. I obviously jumped at the opportunity.

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Thanks to the really ulu location the cafe is set in, I took an hour and a half to get there via public transport – From Clementi Bus Interchange which is next to the MRT station, take bus 173 and alight at the 8th stop. Then you’re left with a hundred metres of walk into Eng Kong Terrace.

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I like clean, white spaces. But then I like sleek, black spaces even more. N Provisions has a cool ambience with its accompanying black walls, tables and chairs. The counter (shown above) made of quintessential green tiles, together with a vintage bicycle against it as a backdrop, makes for that obligatory shot for instagram. My favorite is the prominent back wall though. It features a collection of ceramics, coffee apparatus and a random handful of items that, when shelved together, creates a hip background for the cafe. Talk about vibes.

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Then of course, we started off our morning with their coffee. Since NP is by the people behind Smitten Coffee who also set up the now defunct Homebodies and Henry Congressional, you can expect them to be serious about their caffeine fix. I had a White 6 oz ($5) and I love that it leaves no bitter aftertaste.

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I know I should have ordered more from the menu but we decided to keep it simple that day with a slice of Pandan Chiffon Cake ($4) and Orange Walnut Cake ($4). $4 for a Pandan Chiffon?! I can get a slice for $1 at a local bakery. The pandan chiffon there was a lot fluffier but I would rather save those few pennies for another coffee. The latter was a zesty delight especially with the grated orange rind and huge chunks of walnut.

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In case you’re feeling hungrier, the all day menu has simple breakfast items like Savory Scones ($5) and Banana Nutella Panini ($5) and sandwiches such as Rosemary Chicken ($9). Available from 6pm onwards is the more enticing dinner menu. From fresh pasta like the Winter Pasta ($14) to the Blackened Halibut ($22) to the Pork Burger with Apple Sauce ($14), the choices are not endless but interesting.

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Anyway, I’d forgotten to take some shots of the exteriors which features a few outdoor seats and tables so I thought the many angles of the back wall would make up for it. This place really makes such a chill corner. If only I lived in the west…

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21 Eng Kong Terrace

Singapore 598993

Tuesday to Thursday 10am – 10pm

Friday & Saturday 10am – 12am

Sunday 10am – 6pm

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Carpenter and Cook

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Carpenter & Cook became a hit late last year as an artisanal cafe with one of the coolest decors and food. Despite the far off and rather inaccessible location at Lorong Kilat (a remote corner in Bukit Timah), foodies and cafe goers in Singapore are hardly deterred from exploring this food enclave.

The vintage layout of the entire cafe from the exteriors to the interiors were meticulously handled with all sorts of quirky little things that matched. Somehow it reminded me of a fairytale setting where rabbits hopped among green, dreamy grass… Anyway, every piece of furniture and decor was handpicked by the founders of C & C from all over Europe. The best part is, most of them are for sale so you may wish to enquire about them.

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Moving on to the food, the treats from C & C are baked at limited numbers and in irregular intervals so new items may be put on the display while you’re eating. The Passionfruit meringue ($6.20) is one of their signatures (especially on Instagram). This tart, even though similar in appearance, is different from the lemon meringue. Instead, I liked it a lot more than lemon meringue as I thought that the passionfruit was a better, more suitable ingredient than the odd, sour lemon. I guess it’s a matter of personal preference.

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Sadly, the only savory item we had that day was The Picnic Sandwich ($8). It was a simple affair with ham and cheese and side salads but (not kidding) it was one of the best sandwiches I’ve had in Singapore compared to plain, boring other ones. Truly a savory piece. My only regret was not trying their quiches (which I heard were good too).

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Both the Lemon Drizzle Loaf ($5) and Frangipane fruit tart ($6.20) served as light bites for me. The former was somewhat like a lemon sponge cake only denser and more condensed with lemon. I felt like it was a better alternative to replace a lemon tart.

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Moving on, the Valrhona Sea Salt Caramel Tart ($6.20) was a much “heavier” dessert with its thick chocolate accompanied by sea salt caramel throughout the entire tart. Perhaps it may prove to be too much for some people to take it but I found it alright.

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We ended our hearty meal with the Caramel Walnut Cheesecake ($7). It was a good ol’ cheesecake made more outstanding with of course its caramel and walnuts. Though I’ve had memories of better cheesecakes, this one is still rather nicely done with some parts to rave about.

Put good food with a cosy atmosphere and you get one of my favorite cafes in my food list. Carpenter and Cook has just the right thing for me and that is quality. On your way out, don’t forget to get their homemade jams at $12.50 a bottle or even their tiny treats of biscuits, marshmallow and granola.

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19 Lorong Kilat

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Tuesdays to Fridays 1200 – 2200

Saturdays 1000 – 2200

Sundays 1000 – 1900

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Boston Seafood Shack

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Singapore’s newest mall in the West, The Star Vista, is a food haven. By chance, I won a set meal also known as “The Lob Mob” during their early days of operation a few months back. A trip down to the mall at Buona Vista is rather convenient and it was pleasing to know that this place is full of F&B stores including new gems that I am going to try soon enough.
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Stepping into Boston Seafood Shack, the interiors are well-decorated with the feel of a shack in the imaginary world of Bikini Bottom. The place is bright, airy and much more cooling than the natural aired mall. Wooden tables matched nicely with bright red plates and stools. Altogether it was a colorful sight.
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The Lob Mob ($50) consists of 4 premium Boston Lobster Rolls (one for $15 if a la carte) and 2 giant milkshakes. Not being a big fan of lobster, I had doubts but nevertheless, complimentary food is worth the excitement. I took a bite and it turned out not as bad as I imagined. The green spread may throw you off a little but it’s a different story after eating it. The taste of seafood was not that heavy keeping the sandwich refreshing.
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We ordered an additional Barramundi N’ Chips ($13.5) (The portion in the picture is not representative of the entire serving). Despite the barramundi being not as flavorful, I loved the thicker cut fries.

Others on the menu include burgers, pastas and soups. Desserts can only be ordered from a kiosk at the outdoor seating area so remember to check them out. It is a self-service system here yet the staff is warm and friendly compared to other self-service eating places.

There were only several people in and out of the restaurant on a weekday lunchtime, which is why I feel that this place deserves more recognition as a cool and casual corner to hang out. Definitely worth a try even if you are in need of a quick meal.
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1 Vista Exchange Green

#01-46

The Star Vista

Mondays to Thursdays 1100 – 2200

Fridays & Saturdays 1100 – 2300

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