Lower East Side Taqueria – A Chill-out Mexican Bar

14 03 2014

The folks at Spathe Public House have done it again, this time with their conceptualization of Lower East Side Taqueria, a relative newcomer to the red ocean of Katong. Standing out from all neighboring eateries with its prominent shop sign and happening vibes, this Mexican joint is hard to miss as you drive pass Katong Shopping Centre and Katong Laksa. I was definitely eager to dive into their interpretation of Mexican cuisine and suggested meeting up with several old buddies here for dinner and drinks.

Closing time

While there’s no lack of affordable watering holes around the area, with the likes of Bar Bar Black Sheep and Two Fat Men, Lower East Side doesn’t seem to compete on price. Non-happy hour prices (8pm onwards) of their Australian/New Zealand draft beer goes for $15-$16 a pint, compared to just $11 for a pint of Kronenbourg at Bar Bar Black Sheep @ Tanjong Katong. What Lower East Side does strive at however, is to create a much more holistic dining experience with a well thought out interior design that I personally found pretty hip.

Spacious seating arrangements

Having not been to Mexico, I can’t attest to the authenticity of the food here, though my gut instinct told me the flavors seemed tweaked to suit local palates. A beer list featuring a mere two types of mainstream Mexican beers (Sol and Corona) further fueled my skepticism. Then again, it does take ingenuity to improve on tradition and if a Singapore-inspired Mexican cuisine works, that’s fine and dandy too.

Whilst waiting for everyone to arrive, we ordered Les Mix ($14+) that comprised of Garlic Fries and Corn Chips, with 4 accompanying sauces (Cheddar Cheese, Sour Cream, Salsa, Guacamole). Nothing worth raving about unfortunately. Just simple bar snacks to keep the liquid courage flowing more smoothly.

I was initially worried that the Ancho Pulled Pork Burrito ($13+) wouldn’t fill me up. After all, what does $13 get you in a bar nowadays? Surprisingly, my doubts were unfounded and what was presented was a bursting burrito filled with fragrant basmati rice, chunks of pork in a hearty stew-like gravy, black beans and fresh avocado that brought perfect balance to the dish. I would imagine that the creamy avocado would also help sooth the burns had a high spice level burrito been requested. Was pretty glad that the basmati rice wasn’t clumpy and yet defied the laws of physics by not flying everywhere as I sank into the burrito. Overall, this was something I would recommend ordering here.

On the other hand, I didn’t like the Chipotle Beef Burrito ($15+) quite as much. The beef was a little too sinewy, hence much chewing was involved. The burrito fillings of sweet corn, pineapple salsa and guacamole weren’t as compatible either.

If you are less hungry or more carb conscious, tacos might be a better option. I only tried the Hake Tacos ($18+) and found that the size of the hake fillet on the petite side.

Range of Japanese beers > Mexican beers

All in all, keeping food expectations in check, Lower East Side is a pretty nice place to chill out. The staff were very friendly too and took the initiative to offer a complimentary tequila shot since my friends mentioned it was my belated birthday.

Lower East Side Taqueria

19 East Coast Road

Tel: +65 6348 1302

Website: https://www.facebook.com/lowereastside.sg





Salt Tapas & Bar – Pairing Churros with Sangria

13 04 2013

It was only when Salt Grill & Sky Bar commenced operations did I realize that Ion’s top most floors (level 55 & 56) were open to the public. I paid them a visit last year for a Restaurant Week lunch and left with a positive impression. Following the success of Salt Grill, Australian celebrity chef Luke Mangan must have gained an epiphany that Singaporeans love gourmet food but are rather sloppy when it comes down to dressing for meals and hence launched Salt Tapas & Bar last year, a tapas bar where no one will judge you (much) if you and your girlfriends started giggling and banging tables after a couple round of drinks.

While the restaurant has been operating for a while now, the recent appointment of Chef Matthew Leighton as head chef in March 2013 has resulted in a major revamping of the menu. At only 26 years of age, he has served in the Glass Brasserie in Sydney, as well as The Palace in Melbourne, both reputable restaurants by Luke Mangan. Guess we can call him Mangan’s protege of sorts.

The interior of the restaurants gives off a charming rustic vibe, thanks to the red brick walls and wooden furnishings. The tables are spaced out sufficiently and coupled with the high ceilings, I was pretty oblivious to the noise level and could carry out conversations without straining my voice despite the full house on a Tuesday evening.

Now that I see a picture of the bar, I’m reminded that Salt Tapas & Bar has a Ladies night on Wednesdays too. I believe the current promotion is that on every order of a tapas, ladies get 2 drinks FREE (choice of Sangria or Lychee Martini). That’s seriously a good deal, given that a glass of sangria costs $17 bucks here. Oh and the sangria tastes great by the way, would recommend ordering it even without Ladies night. It’s on the sweet end and doesn’t compromise too much on the alcohol.

The menu here is divided into 6 sections, namely “Nibbles”, “Butcher”, “Garden”, “Sea”, “Paddock” and “Sweets”. The sections are more or less quite self-explanatory, so items in paddock would be your meats dishes, items in garden your salad dishes and so forth.

We started off dinner with the Fried Potatoes (Potatas Bravas), Spicy Sauce & Garlic Aioli ($9++), a traditional Spanish tapas dish. Rather tasty and came in a pretty generous serving too.

The Beetroot, Asparagus, Egg, Radish, Rocket, Tarragon Dressing ($12++) wasn’t quite as good. It’s greens after all though objectively, the sweet beets does go quite well with the bitter rockets.

The Pork Sliders, Pickled Cucumber & Chilli ($13++) consisted of a trio of mini burgers filled with pulled pork and pickles. Instead of a solid patty, the pork patty had a consistency which was more of a paste, similar to that of the tuna you find in your subways. Cute as it may be, I thought it was pretty forgettable taste-wise.

Parmesan Truffle Fries ($10++) tastes more or less the same everywhere but the ones here loses its crispness rather quickly so must 趁热吃.

The Roasted Barramundi with Squid, Tomato & Chorizo ($32++) is something I would recommend here. The Barramundi is pretty bland on its own so the zesty tomato base does well to add some much needed flavour to it.

For a tapas bar, I expected better from the Paella of Prawns, Mussels, Chorizo & Chicken ($38++). It was too dry and the rice was unappetizing, very must like soggy clumpy fried rice. A good paella in my view would have the rice absorb a fair bit of the seafood broth and be palatable enough to eat on its own.

Interestingly enough, the star of the Lamb Rumb with Crumbed Zucchini & Salsa Verde ($34++) was the zucchini. The batter was really light and the deep fried zucchini reminded me, in a good way, of the cheese sticks from Burger King which I used to get as an add-on every time I dined there. The lamb was decent and I was impressed by how well the Salsa verde complemented the meat. Salsa verde is a green sauce generally made using parsley, vinegar, capers, garlic, onions, anchovies and olive oil. The one here had a nice mild minty taste.

After a heavy meal, I was thankful for the Berry & Custard Cream Mille-feuille with Elderflower Sorbet ($12++), which was a relatively light dessert made using a layer of of cream filling between 2 layers of puff pastry. I especially liked the elderflower sorbet which was had a nectarous flavour that cleansed the palate.

If you have no time for a meal, do still consider dropping by for the Churros & Chocolate ($11++). Deep fried dough, coated with sugar, dipped in cream and dark chocolate. Sinful as it may be, I think it’s definitely worth the calories.

I like the fun vibes at Salt Tapas & Bar. It’s a great place for meet-ups and you don’t have to be too hush for fear of disturbing other customers. A fair share of hits and misses food-wise but nibbles like the Potatas Bravas and Desserts are worth dropping by for…and not forgetting the Sangria.

Special Thanks to Salt Tapas & Bar for the hosting the dinner invitation!

Salt Tapas & Bar

252 North Bridge Road, #01-22A Raffles City Shopping Centre

Tel: +65 6837 0995





Two Fat Men – Not your Everyday Neighbourhood Pub

9 11 2012

Pub food rarely has to be good. After all, they are served to customers who probably won’t remember a thing by the next day. That’s why I find Two Fat Men an interesting discovery. It operates along a similar concept as Bar Bar Black Sheep, offering excellent Thai and Western food at an affordable price point. Another plus point is that they have my favourite beer, the very light and fruity tasting Kronenbourg Blanc on tap at $6.50/$12 for half or full pint!

It was pretty quiet when I visited last weekend, probably because of the light drizzle. For that I’m thankful as well, as we hardly waited 5 minutes before our first dish arrived.

The Grilled Pork Neck with Tamarind Spicy Sauce ($9.90++) is a signature dish here and comes highly recommended. Interlaced with sufficient fat, the texture of the pork is kept moist and tender even upon grilling. I love the dipping sauce too, which isn’t exactly spicy but still leaves a tongue numbing effect from the tinge of sourness present. The sourness and spice also helps to moderate the unctuousness. Definitely a great accompaniment for booze!

Perhaps one of the most underrated burgers around is Two Fat Men’s rendition of a classic beef burger aka Plain Joe ($8.20++). Retaining a slight pink hue, this beef patty was definitely far better than the dry ones from our favourite fast food chains. It was tasty and had just enough bite, not too rubbery from overcooking nor too soft from the liberal use of fats in making the patty.

I harboured ambivalent feelings towards the Fish & Chips ($8.50++). On one hand, it was a joy to eat while still piping hot but I did detect the taste of raw flour in some areas where the batter was thicker.

Don’t expect too much from the ambience though, as it’s really just a neighbourhood pub perfect for catching up with your mates and making a ruckus.

Two Fat Men

376 East Coast Road

Tel: +65 6346 0046





2am Dessert Bar – Contemporary Desserts with Wine Pairings

22 10 2012

It’s no secret Singapore lacks a wine culture. For most, the urge to splurge on a bottle of wine costing as much as the meal itself just doesn’t seem all that appealing. It doesn’t help that when a wine menu arrives, one meets lines and lines of words that seem all too foreign. Not wanting to buy something that we might not enjoy, we typically settle for a lesser soft drink or a more approachable beer.

Harbouring such feelings for the longest time, I decided to take a little more initiative over the past 2 months by attending wine tastings. Rather than just buying bottles off the rack, I think wine tastings are the best way to get a crash course on wine appreciation. That’s because by trying different wines one after another, you will be better able to appreciate the subtle and not so subtle differences between different labels.

The latest wine tasting I attended was at 2am Dessert Bar, an event organized by the SMU Wine Appreciation Club. I paid a nominal fee of $30 for 3 desserts with wine pairings and if you are vaguely aware of 2am’s price catalogue, you would have realized that I probably saved about $90, much thanks to SMU subsidizing my meals! Now you now why SMU charges school fees that are 20% higher than NUS’s and NTU’s…

While there’s classical fare like Tiramisu, Cheesecake and Chocolate Cake available, I’d imagine that 2am prides itself more on creating contemporary desserts that play on all your senses. To enhance the whole dessert experience, every dessert on the menu also comes with a recommended wine pairing. Friend R tried their degustation menu a while back and told me for one of the courses, she was given a test tube smelling of Popcorn to whiff at while having her Popcorn dessert. Interesting much?

The first dessert I had was the Popcorn ($17++) but it wasn’t the same one as what R got previously if that’s why you are wondering. It’s a creative concept, where 2 different types of popcorn mousses (sweet and salty) sprinkled with dehydrated popcorn are at the opposite ends of the dish, with Passionfruit sorbet in the centre. The silky popcorn mousses totally worked for me, with both varieties tasting exactly how actual popcorn tastes like. Despite being polar opposites, I still found trouble deciding on my favorite. My only gripe was that the sorbet was extremely sour, much too sharp for the delicate tasting popcorn mousse in my humble opinion.

Pairing this dessert was Prophet’s Rock Pinot Gris Central Otago 2oo8 ($18++), a white wine from New Zealand. Despite taking down tasting notes, I shan’t go into describing the wines because I believe the articulation of wine flavours varies quite greatly from person to person and I’d hate to sound like a pretentious snob saying the wine tastes of vanilla, pine nuts and lychee.

For the 2nd dessert, I had the Kayambe H2O ($18++), which is essentially Chocolate Rocks with Caramel, a Burnt Caramel ball, Chocolate Soil and Yuzu Sorbet, made using 72% Michel Cluizel Chocolate (a French chocolate with 72% cocoa content), and Evian water. This dessert didn’t quite agree with me as the chocolate comes across as a little too heavy. The best thing in this dish was probably the yuzu sorbet.

This dessert was paired with Finca Constancia Petit Verdot & Syrah 2010 ($21++), a red wine from Spain that smells of matured fruit (imagine stewed fruit) rather than fresh ones. Anyway a random wine tip I learnt at this juncture was that as red wines get older, it gets a lighter shade. When white wines get older, it gets a darker shade.

Lastly, I had the Cheese Avalanche ($18++), a deconstructed Cheesecake with Biscotti, Candied Figs, Spanish Corn and sous vide Cantaloupe (a classy synonym for Rock Melon). My favourite of the 3 desserts, I was amazed at how balanced this dish was in flavour. The cheesecake was smooth but by itself, it would have been merely pleasant and uninteresting. I liked how the rock melon cubes added the extra sweetness while the spanish corn (tastes like those corn snacks you get from Philippines) added a savoury tone and distinct crunch.

This dessert was paired with Pauleczki Tokaji 3 Hungary 2000 ($16++), a sweet dessert wine that goes down pretty smoothly, downplaying the actual alcohol content.

Desserts take centre stage at 2am Dessert Bar so apart from the few snacks like Fries and Drumlets, there isn’t much “proper food” here. Then again, you might be surprised at how 3 desserts can fill you up quite nicely for dinner.

2am Dessert Bar

21A Lorong Liput, Holland Village

Tel: +65 6291 9727





Paulaner Brauhaus – Singapore’s Longest Standing Microbrewery and 2 Affordable Ways to Get Smashed

11 10 2012

The concept of microbreweries was first conceived in Singapore in the early 1990s, by a small brewery called Orang Utan Brewery, located where Zouk now resides. The market just wasn’t matured enough then and it winded down shortly after. Next came Paulaner Brauhaus in 1996, currently Singapore’s longest standing microbrewery. Brewerkz was another early player which opened in 1997. Over the years, names such as Pump Room, Archipelago Brewery, Level33, Reddot Brewhouse and Tawandang have also jumped on the microbrewery bandwagon and added vibrancy to our domestic beer market.

I first visited Paulaner slightly over 2 years back for a friend’s birthday. We had the Sunday Brunch Buffet, which is still ongoing and comes with either free flow soft drinks or free flow beer at $48++/$58++ respectively. This time however, I was back  for an Oktoberfest dinner event organized by the SMU Gourmet Club.

In light of the Oktoberfest festivities, a German band was playing what I guess were German drinking songs and going around dancing with selected audience members. The party was still pretty mild at this time, especially since the night was young and few had had their fill of food and drink.

I started off the meal with the Caesar Salad with Air-dried Pancetta Ham and Garlic Croutons ($14++). I would say its not worth the money as there’s better alternatives on the menu. Come on, you are in a German Restaurant! Act like it and order some MEAT!

It’s weird that there’s Sauteed Escargots with Herb Garlic Butter ($16.50++) on the menu, since snails are more of a French dish. Still, it’s prepared rather legitimately here and the snails are plump and juicy, with a savoury garlic butter sauce that I didn’t hesitate to soak my garlic bread in.

Someone took our preordered meatloaf by mistake, so being the magnanimous individuals we like to think we are, we swapped for their Munich’s Famous White Sausages with Freshly Baked Pretzel ($13.50++) instead. The pretzel is not worth mention but the sausages and dipping sauce are. The sausages are on the salty side but is toned down by the tangy mild BBQ-like sauce.

I’m still on the fence about the Potato Rosti with dry Smoked Ham Gratin with Gruyere Cheese ($13.50++). It’s nothing to shout about really, and the fried potato strips weren’t even crispy when the dish was served but there’s something about rosti that one finds it hard to complain about. You know that feeling too, it’s akin to complaining about hash browns and you just don’t!

Never leave Paulaner without having their Paulaner’s Famous Grilled Pork Knuckle on Sauerkraut with Gravy and Bread Dumpling ($29.50++). It’s one of the better grilled pork knuckles I have tried so far and for some reason, it came conveniently deboned. The meat is suitably moist with a nice layer of crackling and the portion was indeed generous enough for 2 to 3 people to share comfortably while allowing for stomach room for other dishes. The only thing I didn’t like in this dish was the Bread Dumpling, which tasted like a dry savoury muffin with random bits of vegetables inside.

The biggest surprise today came from the Sirloin Steak 250g with Sauteed Mushrooms, Roasted Potatoes & Seasonal Vegetables. It was done as per request of medium rare, well marinated and tender. I had no qualms eating it without any condiments. The Roasted Potatoes are great too, lightly charred on the edges for that crisp texture and light smoky flavour.

Paulaner offers 2 types of fresh brews on a regular basis, the Munich Lager and Munich Dark. Seasonal beers are offered at special times of the year so instead of the regular brews, only Oktoberfest Beer was available today. Beer girls were also going around with German Pear Schnapps. I tried a shot and it’s rather potent, the beer girl said it’s stronger than tequila but it definitely tastes better with a refreshing fruity aftertaste.

At the end of the meal, the band came out for a second set and fuelled with food, Oktoberfest Beer and Pear Schnapps, the crowd was really participative, standing on chairs while following the lead of the lead singer with his hand gestures, truly uncharacteristic of typical Singaporeans. I loved the spontaneity of it all and would return just to soak in the atmosphere again.

PS: Don’t tell mommy you heard it from me but for the love of booze, I have 2 suggestions on how to get smashed whilst on a budget. While it’s not cool anymore to buy booze off the shelf, especially when there’s fresh beer from all the microbreweries around, canned beer is definitely the cheapest way to get smashed. Specifically, Baron’s Strong Brew. At 8.8% alcohol, it’s one of the stronger brews around and three 500ml cans will translate to roughly 11 shot of vodka, all for the price of $19.50 (assuming $6.50 per 500ml can).

If you have slightly deeper pockets, I would suggest Bar on 5 @ Mandarin Orchard. I know you must be thinking I’m mad for suggesting a hotel bar as a cheap way to get smashed but with their current promotion for non-premium hard liquor (ie.Jack Daniels, Johnny Walker Black Label, Smirnoff) at $250++ for 3 bottles, which comes with mixers and some generic bar snacks, you can get smashed on approximately 9 vodka shots with just $35 bucks. Did I mention you can store your bottles there up to 2 months if you can’t finish? Awesome Possum 😀

Paulaner Brauhaus

9 Raffles Boulevard, #01-01 Millenia Walk

Tel: +65 6883 2572





Magma German Wine Bistro – My Favourite Watering Hole

27 05 2012

I first came to know about Magma 2 years ago when I participated in one of Time Out’s Dine Out Tasting Events, in which it was one of the 10 odd participating restaurants. Each of the participating restaurants featured some of their signatures and Magma left the deepest impression, with their freshly baked German Pizza and free-flow of German wines. My friend D and myself were so intrigued by the wine we tried that soon after the event, we paid a visit to Magma. That was the start of my Magma adventures and whenever any friends needed a suggestion for a watering hole, it would always be the first on my list.

As a regular here, I have to say I’m a little apprehensive blogging about this as one of the main reasons why I love the place is because the crowd is thin on weekday nights and is a perfect place to catch up with friends over affordable wines that ranges as low as $25 per bottle. In my mind, having too many people know of Magma will simply spoil the exclusivity and charm of the place. But I guess good food and drink is meant to be shared and Magma should be rewarded for hosting the good times I have had over the past 2 years.

As Magma operates a wine shop within the restaurant premises as well, the wine menu here is really extensive. I estimate that the restaurant carries around 250-300 different wine labels from Germany, a number you are unlikely to find in many other restaurants locally. I have only tried about 5 or 6 though, sticking to the ones that are generally sweeter and not too dry, suitable for unsophisticated drinkers. My favourite one here is the GEWUERZTRAMINER & SCHOENBURGER & RIESLING (Blend) ($37++), a still White wine which has been recommended by “The Local Nose” and attained a “SILVER” in Wine & Spirits Asia 2012. Although Gewuerztraminer (pronounced goose-ter-min-er) is a red grape, the wines gained from it are white, though the colour tone is slightly more golden compared to most white wines. Texture wise, it’s very smooth and easy to drink with floral undertones as it shares similar aromatic compounds to lychees, pairing well with cheese, roasted poultry, roasted fish as well as Flammkuchen (German pizza which will be covered below).

Another wine that provides great value is the ROTKAEPPCHEN Rubin red ($29++), a sparkling red wine which has attained a “Bronze” in “WineStyleAsiaAward 2011”. ROTKAEPPCHEN literally means Little Red Riding Hood in German, named as such because the top of the wine bottle is sealed in a ruby red foil. Again, its on the semi-sweet side and personally, I think it pairs well the Roasted Pork Knuckle here.

For food, I’d highly recommend trying out the Flammkuchen (sometimes referred to as a Tarte Flambee). It is a thin Crispy German Pizza with Sour Cream, Bacon & Onions ($16/$24 for Small/Regular) and is a great accompaniment for a bottle of white wine. Apart from Bacon & Onions, diners can also choose to have other topping mixes such as “Spinach & Cheese”, “Smoked Salmon & Leek”, “Chicken Breast with Tomato, Onions, Apple & Cheese”.

Something you can give a miss is the Beef Goulash with Capsicum, Onion & Spaetzle ($26++). In essence, it is simply an unexciting beef stew with egg noodle or pasta. The beef is the chunky type, not the fatty marbled ones that I like.

The Wildschweinbraten or Pan Fried Female Wild Boar with Forest Mushrooms & Potato Croquettes ($38++) is good too. The meat is utterly tender with a good fat-meat ratio but I wasn’t too excited about the cream sauce though as it didn’t add much value to the dish.

A must-try at Magma is their signature Pork Knuckle with Sauerkraut, Mashed Potatoes, German Mustard & Beer Gravy ($29++ for Roasted Bavarian-style as per picture below). However, the lack of consistency can be an issue as the Pork Knuckle is freaking awesome only two-thirds of the time. On off-days the meat can be a tad too sinewy, and the crackling soggy but I believe it’s still worth taking my chances whenever I’m here. Another good point is that the portions are huge so I usually find trouble finishing it all by myself when I order this for dinner. Apart from the Roasted Bavarian-style, there are other styles available as well for how you want your Pork Knuckle to be done. This includes Boiled Berlin-style ($28++), Roasted Honey Glazed ($34++), Roasted Garlic Flavour ($34++), Roasted Chili Flavoured ($34++).

For amateur drinkers, I think Magma is definitely a great place to start out. The staff are friendly and the owners (a German couple) run the restaurant themselves, so any queries on wine selection or appreciation can be directed straight at them or the staff. And from my interactions with them, I believe it is fair to say they are always happy to educate new drinkers.

Magma German Wine Bistro

2 Bukit Pasoh Rd

Tel: +65 6221 0634





Stellar @ 1-Altitude – A New Star?

29 08 2011

*This dinner was sponsored by Stellar @ 1-Altitude

I was pleasantly surprised when I received an invitation to a tasting session to Stellar @ 1-Altitude last week. This was my first time dining there and I was glad that several other food bloggers were invited as well. It’s always interesting to find out what makes food bloggers tick and their impetus for starting their food blogs in the first place.

1-Altitude is the latest venture by the One Rochester Group, which also operates its flagship gastrobar One Rochester, Coast @ 1-TwentySix and patisserie 1 Caramel (if you haven’t already found out, I hate to break the sad news to you but the outlet between Cathay and Plaza Singapura has relocated to One Rochester quite recently). Perched on level 62 of OUB Centre, be astounded by the panoramic and breathtaking 360 degree view of the Singapore CBD/Marina Bay skyline.

1-Altitude actually manages levels 61 to 63 of OUB centre, with each level catering for different functions and crowds. On level 61, 1-Altitude runs 282 and Citygolf, a sports bar and indoor golf simulator. On level 62 is the fine dining restaurant arm of 1-Altitude, Stellar. Lastly located on the top level is 1-Altitude Gallery and Bar, which is the World’s highest rooftop bar at 282m.

Stellar is helmed by Group Executive Chef Christopher Miller, who in addition to being Stellar’s head chef, also runs his own Thai eatery Sweet Salty Spicy around the Bukit Timah area. He tells us that while Stellar’s modern cuisine carries with it a high level of sophistication, Stellar aims at providing diners with a fun dining experience rather than evoking stifling and rigid fine dining rules.

While Chef Miller specializes in Modern European cuisine, Stellar’s menu isn’t limited as such. There’s food here that caters to most palates, from Japanese, fresh seafood like Sashimi and Oysters, Grilled meats, and even a Charcuterie section (cured meats) but Chef Miller made it clear that Stellar doesn’t serve fusion food.

Our tasting session started off with Stellar’s Twice Baked Gruyere Souffle. For traditionalists who believe that souffles should only be left for dessert, I bid them to try this rendition. The gruyere souffle is served alongside additional servings of 2 different melted cheese sauces (gruyere and blue cheese), meant for those who want an extra cheesy kick. The cheese sauces complemented the souffle as much, if not more, than the typical vanilla sauce to a chocolate souffle. I believe that I would have no qualms eating this for breakfast, brunch, lunch, high tea, dinner or supper 😀

The Seared Hokkaido Scallops and Octopus was a pretty sight. The octopus is cooked in a sous vide style, adding a softer texture to the normally elastic rubbery bite.

The Sashimi: Omakase Taster is an assorted tray of fresh Tuna Belly, Salmon, Tai, Hamachi, Swordfish, Scallops, Ikura, Caviar, and Surf Clams. Typically, “omakase” means entrusting your meal in the chef’s hands such that he would normally bring out the freshest or seasonal ingredients to whip up your meal. Therefore, its probable that one might not get the same types of sashimi everytime, but that’s just my guess. I found the quality and freshness of the seafood laudable given that Stellar isn’t a full fledged Japanese restaurant. After all, who can complain about Tuna Belly?

The Sushi(Spicy Tuna, Swordfish, Lobster and Salmon) was done delightfully well too. I especially liked the Swordfish Sushi (2nd row from top). In addition to the inner sushi fillings of diced swordfish, the sushi was also topped with a slice of creamy swordfish smeared with a rich mayo sauce which was subsequently seared. Really yummy.

There was a small side of lightly seared Ocean Trout and Swordfish Tataki which I found so-so.

There’s so much variety within the Charcuterie Taster that it’s hard to keep track. Apart from the 2 different types of Jamon hams (can’t remember their exact names though), there’s also a fowl terrine which I found too bitter and strong-tasting for my liking, cured sausages of duck and pork which were so-so, and a creamy foie gras parfait which was my favourite mini-item of this Charcuterie Taster.

Transiting to Mains, I harboured ambivalent feelings towards the Truffled Risotto with Poached Maine Lobster. While I liked the texture of the risotto and fresh sweetness of the lobster, I found the use of Truffle oil excessive which threatened to overwhelm the dish’s naturally mild flavours.

The Slow Roasted Suckling Pig with Iberico jamon and Fig Stuffing was pretty decent but objectively speaking, I’m just too much a fan of fat meats to be that reliable.

The Grain Fed ‘Tomahawk’ Rib Eye served with Bone Marrow is sourced from Australian cattle, which according to Chef Miller is what Australian cattle are good for (US cattle are better for their sirloin according to him). If I recall correctly, this Rib Eye was dry aged for 120 days, which is quite long. Just to recap on the similarities and differences between wet aging and dry aging, both types of aging carries with it the same purpose; to allow the beef to become more tender by allowing its natural enzymes to break down the proteins within the beef. The main difference is that for dry aging, the beef (usually of higher quality) is hung and allowed to air while for wet aging, the beef is sealed in a vacuumed plastic bag (hence retaining more water and tasting a bit more bloody). Another tidbit of info regarding food aging that I found out from Chef Miller is that aging of egg whites (for 2 weeks!) is crucial in making a light and airy souffle!

Utterly seduced by the Chocoloate Seduction, I loved every aspect of this creation, from the velvety chocolate ganache to the crunchy praline base, not to mention the Moist Chocolate Cake (much like a chocolate lava cake) at the background. I just think that while 1 chocolate cake is good, 2 is always better.

Topped with Coconut Ice Cream, I’m not an ardent fan of the Tropical Vodka Trifle, which while still passable by usual standards, was dwarfed by the other desserts.

Whenever I used to visit 1-Caramel, I never fail to order the Strawberry Shortcake which is airy and not too cloying. I was simply beaming when I saw it present among the Trio Fraise, which also comprised of Champagne Jelly and Chocolate Dipped Strawberries.

The Tropical Teaser comprised of a citrus cheesecake and Lemon Sorbet, effective as a last dessert for cleansing the palate after such a heavy meal.

While there was a mix of hits and misses, I generally enjoyed my dining experience at Stellar. After our dinner, we took a short stroll up to the rooftop bar and gallery. Having been to a few rooftop bars in Singapore like Helipad, Orgo and New Asia Bar, I believe that 1-Altitude’s ambience and view is the best of these few. Of course, I won’t be as hasty to say that it’s the best rooftop bar in Singapore, as I haven’t been to LeVel 33 or Ku De Ta etc yet.

Many thanks to the One-Rochester Group and Stellar @ 1-Altitude for their kind and gracious invitation.

Bon Appetit!

Stellar @ 1-Altitude

1 Raffles Place, Level 62 OUB Centre

Tel: +65 6438 0410








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