Tag Archives: western

House, Dempsey – The Essential Brunch

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I mean it when I say that House is the essential brunch place. It’s almost been exactly two years since I last stepped foot into this quirky cafe-restaurant. (P.S. you can refer to my 2-year-old review here. Still can’t believe I took those photos though.) Everything felt familiar and it feels as though I’m visiting an old friend of mine. The mismatched furniture, though the same and not replaced, feels irreplaceable instead. How should I describe it? It’s like Alice in Wonderland.  From a homely dining area lined by bookshelves to a cosy tent installment to dining in the outdoors garden, it’s no wonder why some people don’t ever tire of patronizing.

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During my past visit here I tried their legendary truffle fries (my favorite thus far). Since then, they’ve introduced 4 new types of fries to whet your appetite: Pumpkin hazelnut, truffle taro, curry mustard and carrot fennel. So so tough a decision to make on just one since there were only 2 of us.  In the end we went for the Truffle Taro Fries which were straw-cut and a lot thinner than potato fries. As expected, the truffle oil was very aromatic. *inserts relevant emoji*

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House Pancakes used to be a 7-layer pancake stack which I’ve always wanted to try, however after the menu revamp the pancakes are now a more “down-to-earth” version. Inspired by the pavlova, the pancakes are topped with kiwi, passionfruit and strawberries and then drizzled with chocolate sauce. The combination comes across as a tad unsuitable but it turned out well.

I didn’t get to try much of the Black Pepper Prawns with Sweet Corn Salsa and Sunny Side-Up but there’s one thing I’m certain about it: the prawns are really fresh and the sunny side-up is fried with organic eggs.

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The dessert menu at House is even more so recently revamped. On a more accurate note, it is a new dessert menu. Yet again, it’s a dilemma with 10 tantalizing options…

At $15, the Salted Caramel Toastie may not be the most worthy for money dessert considering it just a toast topped with a scoop of ice cream. But it’s more than that. The toasted brioche was as good as brioche can get. Having caramelized walnuts to go along with the toastie upped the level of crunchiness and crispiness. That scoop of caramel biscuit ice cream fared well too, except that it melted all too quickly.

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A petite delight was the Warm Chocolate Toffee Cake, which came out pretty moist and fluffy like a sticky pudding.

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I must say that I was pretty shocked some perennial favorites from the old menu like the strawberry shortcake were removed. Still, the new options all sound promising and if I had the space for more, I’d definitely go for the banana coconut pecan cake.. and possibly a slice of lemon curd cheesecake. Apart from that, I’m grateful for the fact that weekend brunches here remain lovely.

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8D Dempsey Road

Singapore 249672

Monday – Thursday 12pm – 11pm

Friday 12pm – 12am

Saturday 11am – 12am

Sunday 9am – 11pm

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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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Wild Oats: in the park

Funny how Punggol Park is one of my frequent haunts yet I never got down to Wild Oats ever since it took over Bliss Cafe sometime back. So on an unfortunate evening which rained, I had no excuse to make about jogging at the park instead of eating at the cafe. Wild Oats is under the same family together with Wild Rocket and Relish, with another branch at Mount Emily.
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We started off with something safe on the menu – Golden Chicken Wings ($7.8). A good appetizer indeed – what with its crispy, prawn paste-like texture with a tinge of spiciness from accompanying chili sauce.

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Moving on to the mains, Wild Oats offers both western and local delights such as sambal fish. Ribeye Beef ($17.2) was not that worthy of a mention. The tenderness of the beef was clearly lacking.

The Fish & Chips ($14.5), on the other hand, was much more decent with an outer layer crispy enough while the fish remained tender.

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We were practically left with 2 desserts since the rest were unavailable. The Brownie ($6.3) was not that bad. The chocolate fudge brownie was real thick with a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream and heavy drizzles of thick chocolate sauce as well.

Wild Oats’ version of the local favorite Chendol ($6.3) has it in a tall drink glass instead of a bowl, transforming it into a dessert somewhat like a cool milkshake or ice cream. Its taste is comparable to the chendol we can find in hawker centers, or perhaps even better than local renditions.

Service is a little shaky at times – the crew is mostly attentive but fall short in other areas. Another gripe would be the fact that plain water is not served here. They do a wide variety of booze though, making it a late night hang out as a liquid kitchen. This also leads me to another point that the alfresco furniture has a heavy, lingering feel of beer from people drinking them the previous night. Other than that, the cafe does make a pretty sight from across a lake.

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Hougang Avenue 8

Punggol Park

Mondays to Thursdays 4pm – 12am
Fridays 4pm – 1am
Saturdays 4pm – 2am
Sundays 4pm – 12am
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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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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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Marché Restaurant Vivocity

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Marche Restaurant used to be my favorite place that I frequent with the family but we kind of stopped going there after I found my love for exploring foodie places. After at least 2 years from my last visit, I thought I should return to test their standards. I guess people more or less know about Marche but I see no harm in writing a post.

Over the years, new outlets have opened at Somerset and Raffles City, but my favorite remains as the Vivocity outlet. It is so much more comfortable there especially with it’s location at the sky deck. In terms of layout, it gets first place.

The Smoked Salmon Crepe was filled with chopped lettuce, red cabbage and smoked salmon and it was super savory. At times you taste the crunchiness of veggies, otherwise you get the softer, savory taste of the salmon.
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Pork Knuckles with Mashed Potato is one of the main courses to order at Marche, except that the quality is not that good anymore.

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Everyone’s favorite at Marche is no doubt the Swiss Rosti. I added on a chicken cheese sausage which was rather juicy. It is no doubt for me too that the rosti is my favorite dish from Marche, but I wish they could go easy on the oil content.

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For desserts, there is the Movenpick ice cream which I have always loved. Otherwise, they have sweet crepes, cakes and tarts.  The Brownie looked good but unfortunately it was a tad too dry for my liking. If not, the chocolate taste would come out good and strong. On the other hand, the Mousse was mainly a good dollop of dark chocolate which surprised yet amazed me.

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This Christmas Fruit Cake did not fail to impress me. It is not a norm for me to order fruit cakes so I was glad I did not make the wrong choice. The taste of cinnamon together with dried fruits and icing sugar was great, I would not mind a second serving.
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The conclusion: Will I continue to patronise Marche? Probably. The food here have their hits and misses but ultimately they have comfort food and ambience which makes everything about them seem homely – perfect for family outings.

 

1 HarbourFront Walk

#03-14

Vivocity

Weekdays 1100 – 2300

Weekends 1000 – 2300

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Keong Saik Snacks

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Keong Saik Snacks have been opened for months and featured in the media for sometime, which brings me to it. The layout is small and homely, with one side of red couches for bigger groups, and the other side of old skool tables and stools. A bar stands out at the back. Upon stepping in we are welcomed with warm service. The best part about it? No service charge over here!

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It was my first time seeing a menu of boxes. Names of each item in a box, so it looks like a grid. When I do not know how to start my meal, I go with the default fries. The Chili Garlic Fries ($6) reminded me of my all-time favorite truffle fries, only that the distinct taste of truffle was not there. Still, it was free of chili and garlic taste altogether and instead was the resemblance of fries with very good seasoning.

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The Kimchi Burger ($20) caught my attention; I expected some kimchi-flavored burger patty but alas, it was a beef patty burger with a side dish of kimchi. It was kind of hard to have it together with the burger so I had to have it separately. Both the burger and kimchi were good but not fantastic. Definitely waiting for an eatery to come up with a real kimchi burger.

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By chance the other main course we had, the Grilled Bone Marrow & London Gentleman’s Relish ($18) was also of beef. I just realised that Gentleman’s Relish is the anchovy paste on the bone marrow after googling. It is a messy affair having to pick out the beef from the bone marrow and to spread it on toast but the result is worth it. It reminded me of a beef pastrami sandwich, but only better.

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Only 2 desserts are available on the menu: Hot Doughnuts with Cinnamon & Vanilla Chantilly ($8) and a selection of home made ice-cream flavors. I had to go with the former which sounds more interesting. Essentially it was two pieces of doughnuts coated with sugar and to be dipped in a caramel paste. A simple light bite, yet it could be better.

The food offerings from Keong Saik Snacks are of a small range yet it sort of brings out the best from every food item. If beef is not for you, try the Jason’s Very Hot Dog, DIY Tuna Tartare and Lobster Roll with Spiced Mayo & Iceberg Lettuce – which are all very special in their own ways.

By the way, a bar next to Keong Saik Snacks is hipster. And mysterious as well. It requires a password which you can get from the staff of KSS to enter. Have fun exploring!
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49 Keong Saik Road

1200 – 2300 daily

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Skyve Elementary Bistro & Bar

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A few months back I made the trip with my fellow companions to Skyve, located at a quiet corner in a lane at a distance from central Newton. Skyve is now the previous Monk’s Hill Secondary School and actually it’s school canteen to be exact. It has been gaining popularity since months ago and even though it may seem overrated these days, there’s nothing to complain about with its charming ambience and food.

Indoors dining is divided into two areas – a classy area with cool green upholstery and another bright, white and airy area. Even though mismatched, the entire restaurant had that magical touch.

On weekdays, breakfast items are available from 1000 to 1600 while lunch items from 1200 – 1500. A la carte main courses etc are only for dinner time. We had a few breakfast items that day, including:

Toasted French Soldiers ($16) – 2 french toasts with nutella & 2 soft boiled eggs
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Croque Madame ($16) – sunny side up with brioche sandwich with sliced ham, melted cheddar cheese, tomatoes and salad
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Skyver’s Breakfast ($22) –  2 eggs with choice of bread, mushroom, sausage, tomatoes and potatoes
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I’ve heard loads about the sous vide cooked dishes from Skyve so I had to have the Sous Vide Eggs Benedict ($18). The poached eggs have to be cooked at an exact temperature for evenness. It was different from the usual eggs ben I had and I loved this different style. I enjoyed the 2 poached eggs drizzled with what seems like a very good hollandaise sauce. The only complaint is that they were too small, easily slurped up within 30 seconds.
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For desserts we had the Ivory Dome ($12) and Valrhona Chocolate Fondant ($14). The former was unique. It was mainly a mango sponge cake but with touches of passionfruit, dark chocolate and marscapone. The creation was vivid. The latter was the traditional chocolate lava cake with vanilla bean ice cream but deserved a thumbs up as well for keeping it a good ol’ must-have.
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On another occasion I had their char grilled burger with truffle fries and it was good but not exceptionally tasty.

On another note, even wedding dinners have been hosted at Skyve hence the suitability of it for birthday parties and more.

Not only are their breakfast items good, their main courses for dinner are also given good reviews and high ratings, including the duck confit, spring chicken, seared beef tartare and crispy pork belly. Skyve is quite packed especially for this season so be sure to make reservations early.
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10 Winstedt Road

Block E

#01-17

Daily 1000 – late

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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

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The Star Vista

Mondays to Thursdays 1100 – 2200

Fridays & Saturdays 1100 – 2300

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