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Showing posts from 2010

Food Review: Matsu

You know that feeling of familiarity when you bump into a long forgotten acquaintance or  friend?  That was how I felt when I was having lunch at Matsu. 

Matsu may not ring an immediate bell but you could probably remember Shibaken, a Japanese French restaurant located at the second level of the Gallery hotel.  I believe that at one point in time, Shibaken was pretty popular, no doubt brought by its interesting concept (Japanese take on classical French cuisine) and unique restaurant layout (sushi-bar counter style ala L'Atelier).  But it never really made it and then it fell off the radar.  Later, the original chef left as well.

Matsu is the newer version of Shibaken and named after Matsu-san, one of the original chefs from the old restaurant and now the executive chef at the new restaurant.  His food is no longer just about classical French techniques but more contemporary and lighter on the palate as well. 

At lunch, there was 3 different sets to choose from, good for differe…

Mumbai: Britannia & Co.

Even if it was right after a late-ish brunch, my colleague could not resist showing me to another place, an institution marked by its retro-checked tablecloth, creaky wooden chairs, cocktail-style-folded serviettes, dusty metal-bladed fans, peeling paint and finally, the four generations of Parsi-owners working in the restaurant.  For some reason, Britannia reminded me much of our own Colbar. 

We were full, it was less than 1.5 hours since we ingested any food.  But we were there and Bombay duck was actually available (it was not available previously when my colleague ate there).  We had to eat!  

Did you know that Bombay duck is actually not a duck dish?  Well, I found out it is a fish, coated with a fragrant spice rub, and small enough to be deep-fried whole and could be eaten bones and all.  Somewhat like sardines, but less fishy and very moist and soft.  Most of the bones were soft enough to chew through and swallow.  The spice rub was very addictive and despite being very oily, I …

Paris: L'Arpège (***)

On route back from Spain, I stopped over in Paris to visit a dear friend SW and her family who kindly hosted my stay. We are both big foodies and took the opportunity to check out L'Arpège, a 3* Michelin restaurant by Alain Passard.  He created a big hoo-ha back in early 2000s when he decided to focus his cuisine on vegetables.  Following shortly, he bought and developed a farm to grow vegetables especially for his restaurant.  The only reason why I was particularly keen to try his food, being the big veg-head that I am, was precisely our mutual love and respect for vegetables.   Many of his disciples also picked up the love of vegetables, notably David Kinch from Manresa restaurant and Singapore's own Chef Gunther Hubrechese, whose cuisine reveals his five-year training under Chef Alain Passard at L’Arpège. 

I had lunch at the end of July 2010.  It was a memorable experience for a few reasons.  Firstly, although it is a 3* restaurant, there was not a note of snootiness abo…

Private Affairs

Encouraged by a fellow foodie to check out what could be one of the best kept secret in town a.k.a best value for a 3-course set lunch, I trotted over to the East one Saturday to lunch at Private Affairs. Indeed, for $28++, Private Affairs delivered in terms of value. Fortunately, the delivery did not stop there and the food was really pretty decent.   But, unfortunately, we were the only people dining that Saturday.  What a shame that the restaurant don't see more patrons.  Could it be lack of awareness?  Or that the restaurant is simply not attractive to make trip down?  If it is the latter, I am pleased to share that Private Affairs will be moving to Boon Tat Street sometime soon (next year?).  Hopefully the great lunch deal remains and the restaurant would get to enjoy more diners.

Back to the food.  I would strongly recommend that you give the lunch a shot.  Here is what I had last month:


Private Affairs
45 Joo Chiat Place
Tel: 6440 0601

Recipe: Sticky Date Pudding

Going out to eat is always a fun and interesting thing to do.  I unconsciously like to pick out on human behavior towards food and try to rationalize them.  This post is about a girl's reaction to sticky date pudding.  Whenever I am with girls, their reactions to seeing this dessert on the menu would almost always invoke some sort swooning and I could "see" their hearts fluttering in excitement.   Then they will comment: 

"Oooh!  They have sticky date!" (and that is the dessert that they will order)

"Aiyah, I have to sin again *insert fake sulky face*" (because they will have to order it whenever they see it on the menu)

"Ok, I know what I want! *excited face*" (they will happily select their dessert first, even before looking and selecting a main course)

I cannot understand why those reactions.  I think it is probably because of my bias against toffee / caramel desserts, as they are more often than not too sweet for me and their sticky text…

Pavé Chocolates

One Saturday's random venturing into the East saw us at Pavé Chocolates at East Coast Road.  Highly recommended by A, this little dessert shop sells more than chocolates.  There were quite a few entrements that caught our attention and because we trekked all the way to there, we wanted to try at least one.  The Miyuki was green tea cake, green tea mousse, purple sweet potato mousse and layer of apricot jelly.  It was just a wee bit dry but the flavour was pretty good.  It was also what got me craving for a really good macha cake.  Yummy.

ETA (6 Nov): I met the inspiration behind the Miyuki creation!  I was invited to a friend's place and one of his guests was a Japanese lady called Miyuki.  Without a thought, I blurted out that I just eaten a cake called Miyuki.  It turned out that Chef Nicolas from Pave was a good friend of Miyuki's husband, and had created the Miyuki especially for their wedding!  Such a lovely coincidence :)

Pave Chocolates
93 East Coast Road,
Singapore 4…

Food Processor

I do not own a food processor although it is something quite common in a US household.

Since there are macarons and pesto to be made, the urge to get one is increasingly nagging. What brand of food processor would you recommend?

Birthday Cake - The Vert by Flor

The cake from Pave sparked off an intense craving for green tea cake and a search for a good one for my birthday.  After reading through the limited number of reviews on "best green tea cake in Singapore", I was ready to give up as the reviews failed to ignite any excitement or confidence from me.  Finally, I decided to take a gamble on "The Vert" from Flor Patisserie.  I figured a Japanese baker would have some national pride to do a good job using one of Japan's national pride, the maccha green tea.  Besides, its description seemed to affirm that:

A layer of green tea sponge base, followed by the harmony of vanilla cream and fragrant green tea mousse, and finally covered by a thin layer of cold, green tea jelly. FLOR Patisserie uses Kyoto-uji matcha (green tea) powder for this particular green tea cake for its clear and pristine flavour and aroma.

Adorned with sweetened Japanese chestnuts.
Well, I am pleased the gamble paid off!  I loved the mousse cake. …

Birthday meal at Tatsuya

Dinner at Tatsuya, one of Singapore's more popular Japanese restaurant, is one that requires some sort of an occasion, at least for me.  The lunch sets are good value for money but going omakase at dinner is really an indulgent, fun experience that I wish for all sushi fans to have an opportunity to experience.  In my case, what better ocassion could I ask for other than my birthday, especially the last birthday before I turn big 3-0?

On a Saturday at 7:30pm, the sushi counter was still relatively quiet less than half-filled. Closer to 8pm, the rest of the dinner crowd started filling up the restaurant and counters. The waitresses in their body-hugging kimonos walked hastily back and forth, back and forth behind us, along a narrow corridor to fulfill orders from hungry diners. The sushi chefs, all five of them behind the counter, never had a free moment. Their deft hands could not stop moving and that busy scene went on for another good two hours. 

Initially, the chefs almos…

Seville: Abantal (1*)

The other meal that impressed me a great deal was at Abantal, a 1* Michelin restaurant located in the city of Seville.  Touted as a modern take on traditional Andalusian cuisine, I had no benchmark and no expectations going into the meal.  That was probably why I walked away feeling like Abantal was a little gem that caught the eyes of just a few.  The meal was worth remembering so much so I tried to look up the young talent behind the restaurant,Chef Julio Fdez Quintero, to find out more about his food and philosophy.  Alas, nothing remotely interesting was available online.

The dining room at Abantal was simple and classy with brown tones and wood as the main themes.  The food was presented simply as well, letting the food speak for itself.  It was a meal that I wished I had more stomach room so I could try more of Chef's dishes.  It would be a meal that I want to return to Seville for. 

7 Alcalde Jose de la Bandera
41003 Seville