Operation Dagger – Experimental Cocktails Gone Right

11 03 2015

Food enthusiasts will be spoilt for choice this month. From 7th to 14th March, we have Singapore Cocktail Week, with a host of activities lined up ranging from cocktail workshops, pop up bars and cocktail bar crawls happening throughout the week.

Then, from 14th to 22nd March comes the 10th edition of Singapore Restaurant Week, where diners get the opportunity to try out special set menus at a special fixed price from some of the finest restaurants in town.

To end off the month, from 26th to 29th March, we have Savour 2015, a food festival for gourmands. Its not merely a gourmet food fair, as attendees also get the chance to participate in interesting workshops such as Sake & Beer Masterclasses and partake in hands-on cooking classes with the guidance of industry professionals. There’s even a Gourmet Market, where you can get your hands on white strawberries, cheeses, oysters, wines, sakes etc. It’s definitely going to be a whole day affair for me.

Given that we are in the midst of Cocktail Week, I thought it would be apt to blog about one of the participating bars – Operation Dagger, where I was at during the first day of the two weekend long event.

Some of my friends had previously raved to me about this joint and after today, I can see why. The spirits used for the cocktails have all undergone some form of modification or redistillation processes to infuse certain flavors into the spirits and are subsequently all rebottled into generic brown bottles, giving the effect of a chemistry lab or fragrance lab. That is also the reason why you won’t ever see spirits in their original bottles here. Very hipster indeed.

I managed to try 2 of the cocktails from the concise menu, both of which I found refreshingly creative. The Egg ($25) comprised of salted egg yolk, vanilla, caramel and had been smoked, which is why it is served in a jar, probably to preserve its smoky aroma. I have come across smoked beers in Bamberg, Germany but never smoked cocktails, so this was a first for me. The cocktail carried with it an incense-like scent that was stronger to the smell than to the taste. I thought that the smokiness accentuated the saltiness of the salted egg yolk, adding greater depth and the cocktail’s flavour sort of reminded me of a mild but smoother Bailey’s.

The tiny glass to the right of The Egg is the Hot + Cold ($25), a cocktail flavoured with lavander, coconut and pineapple. The Hot + Cold literally describes the cocktail, where the top foamy layer is warm and smells like freshly baked buttery new year pastries, while the bottom layer is somewhat reminiscent of a pineapple-infused pina colada. My friend G commented it was too weak for her liking (she’s hardcore and loves stiff drinks) but I actually liked the flavours a lot.

No night is complete with just one cocktail so we headed down to Jigger and Pony for their Punch Bowl and man, it definitely packed a punch despite such an innocent look and unassuming name. I suppose that’s just what happens when 600ml of spirits and a whole bottle of prosecco is poured in a bowl.

Happy drinking!

Operation Dagger

7 Ann Siang Hill, Singapore 069791

Advertisements




Stranger’s Reunion – A Lively Cafe

31 08 2013

I first heard of Stranger’s Reunion from ZH last year but never got the chance to drop by (actually I did once without checking opening hours and it happened to be closed). One year down and the once humble cafe has since expanded; now taking up two shop units at its flagship location to cater to the strong demand, as well as opening a second outlet called Strangers’ @ Work at Collyer Quay, with a 3rd outlet in the works.

Stranger’s Reunion wouldn’t be the ideal place if you are looking for a quiet cafe to catch up on reading as the place does get pretty lively, which is exactly what cafe owner cum 3-time National Barista Champion Ryan Tan has been gunning for. The concept of Stranger’s Reunion is predicated upon “old friends catching up”, where cafe goers bump into old acquaintances they haven’t seen in a while.

I was here with some old friends I have known half my life (I’m only 24). We had partied the night before (Zouk’s National Day Mambo) and decided to meet up the next day to grab some coffee and a late breakfast/lunch after sleeping in.

C had the Eggs on Toast ($8++), with choice of eggs cooked either scrambled or poached and choice of English Muffins or Olive Bread or Ciabatta. C opted for the Scrambled eggs on English Muffins. Wouldn’t recommend ordering this as it’s a little plain for my liking and there’s more exciting items available on the menu.

I had the Baked Eggs in Shakshuka with Salami, Goat’s Cheese, Dukkah & Toast ($19.50++), which was rather reminiscent of my favourite brunch item at Cafe Epicurious; Baked Eggs with Toast Soldiers, though the ones here are somewhat less cheesy with stronger hints of tomato in its place. I loved the accompanying bread as it was crisp on the outside yet soft and airy on the inside.

The Truffle Fries with Truffle Aioli & Parmesan Cheese ($12.90++) was very decent as well, hovering around Barracks Cafe and PS Cafe standards, which I find above average relative to others I have tried.

SS had the Buttermilk Waffles with Artisan Greek Yoghurt & Fresh Fruit ($11.50++). There was nothing spectacular about it in my view and on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the crispy-type waffles and 1 being the chewy doughy type, this would lie somewhere around 3-4.

The featured coffee of the day was one from Panama. While the coffee was unique from the usual non-gourmet coffees I’m used to having, I believe what took to me most was the fact that the staff took the time to thoroughly explain where the coffee came from and what was so special about it, even despite the full house. We were given 3 choices of how we would like to have our coffee done and we opted for one cup being made by aeropress and another by syphon (using a vacuum coffee maker, pic shown below). We felt that the syphon method gave a cleaner less bitter taste and both C and myself preferred it over the aeropress.

Overall, I think Stranger’s Reunion is a place worth visiting for their gourmet coffees, light bites, people watching (yes their clientele comprises a young and good looking bunch) and of course, increasing the odds into bumping into old friends.

Stranger’s Reunion

37 Kampong Bahru Road

Tel: +65 6222 4869





Latteria Mozzarella Bar – For Cheese Lovers

19 12 2012

Compared to the Chinese, the Italians sure love to complicate things. When ordering bak chor mee (minced meat noodles), we state whether we want mee pok or mee kia, but when an Italian guy orders pasta, he will state whether he wants linguine, spaghetti, tagliatelle, penne or fettuccine and so on. Growing up, I have encountered so many instances where I have felt lost and bewildered staring at the menu of an Italian restaurant, wondering what the words meant.

Pompous as many Singaporeans are, I strutted in confidently to Latteria Mozzarella Bar, smirking that the days of being an “unseasoned” diner was now long behind me. However, a glance at the menu knocked me off my high horse immediately. To think there are over 10 different variants of mozzarella coming in differing shapes, size and density, each with a unique name! Lucky for me, a glossary was provided on the menu to explain each one.

Latteria Mozzarella Bar is a relatively new place just over a year old if I’m not mistaken but the local food scene is evolving so fast  that one can hardly distinguish the definition of new anymore.

Choice of indoor and outdoor seating is available and my party chose the rustic indoor seats given our affinity with air conditioning. Based on observation though, outdoor seats tend to be more popular, especially with the expat crowd, which forms a major clientele for Latteria.

The good thing about Latteria is that food portions are ideal for sharing.

We started off with a Fresh Burrata ($30++). Burrata means “Buttered” in Italian, and is one of my favourite appetizers for Italian meals. It’s made such that a shell of mozzarella encases a rich core of mozzarella and cream. The one here was very decent with a density that was just right, complementing the sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes and rocket leaves well.

The Nodini Pugliesi, Parma Prosciutto ($22++) is also worth trying. Nodini Pugliesi (hiding under the parma ham) are little marshmallow-sized balls of mozzarella that are more dense that Burrata and given the mild-tasting nature of mozzarella, it helps to buffer against the saltiness of parma ham well.

Despite being an Italian joint, I actually found most the meat mains a lot more stellar than the risottos and pastas, the Slow Roasted Lamb Shanks, Chickpeas & Red Wine Casserole ($30++) being such an example. Devoid of gaminess and a fork tender texture sealed the deal. Portions were super generous as we got 2 shanks.

The Linguine Vongole ($25++) was the best pasta dish of our meal. The white wine sauce is a little different here from the usual renditions as some cheese had been added to the white wine base, giving an extra dimension of creamy flavours in addition to the bittersweet flavours of clams.

I would recommend avoiding the Oregano Risotto ($25++), which I think is really yellow due to the use of pumpkin squash. It was really bland, not sweet nor cheesy and if not for the gravy from the lamb shank which I paired the risotto with, it would have been highly unpalatable.

What surprised me most was the Tagliata-style Sirloin ($35++). Done perfectly to medium rare, the quality of the sirloin far exceeded what I had expected given the price range, with visible light marbling and tasty oils oozing with each bite.

The Truffle and Smoked Mozzarella Risotto ($25++) was another let down, as it lacked cheesiness and was bland as well.

When the Porcini and burrata pasta bake ($25++) arrived, my friends jested that it looked like baked pasta from pasta mania. They weren’t that far off though, as the quality of the cheese was probably the main distinguishing factor.

Similar to the Pasta Bake, but way most aesthetically pleasing was the Mac & Cheese ($25++), which was served in a hollowed out pumpkin.

The Tiramisu ($15++) is definitely meant to be shared. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it can easily satisfy dessert cravings for 3-4 pax easily. Taste-wise, it’s rather run of the mill, but with brownie points awarded for the very smooth mascarpone.

As many hits as there were misses, Latteria failed to leave much of an impression apart from the laudable meat dishes.

Latteria Mozzarella Bar

40 Duxton Hill

Tel: +65 6866 1988





The Clan Restaurant – Classy, Lucious & Noteworthy

14 09 2012

Being inconspicuous is the new cool for the dining scene in Singapore, something The Clan Restaurant is trying to emulate but for someone who frequents Bukit Pasoh Road road often enough (for the affordable wines at Magma Restaurant a couple of shops down), The Clan Restaurant sticks out like a sore thumb to me.

There is no shortage of good great food along this stretch, with Oso and Majestic Restaurant just down the road, and Ember, Bistro Soori and Esquina on the adjacent lane. Daring as it might seem in choosing to locate here given the stiff competition, I had little doubt that The Clan Restaurant would be able to pull it off, and fabulously well at that. After all, it is helmed by Executive Chef Ken Teo, formerly of fusion restaurants Dozo and Tao’s Restaurant. Having eaten twice at both these restaurants, I was expectant of a mind blowing meal should The Clan be anything like them.

The Clan Restaurant claims to serve modern European cuisine, though Asian influences are evident within many of their dishes as well. Prices are not cheap per se with 5-Course Set Lunches and 6-Course Set Dinners going for $42.80++ and $62.80++ respectively, but definitely affordable given the quality and quantity of food. Ala carte is available as well, with mains at the $20ish range and all other courses at the $10ish range but I would suggest going for the sets which works out to be way more affordable. You wouldn’t want to miss out on any of the courses anyway.

From the outside, the restaurant doesn’t all look that spacious but once you are in, it feels like a labyrinth. With a seating capacity of 110, I really wonder if the restaurant can handle a full house. There are 2 levels to the restaurant. The 1st boasts an open concept kitchen that allows diners to view the kitchen action whilst enjoying their meals, while the 2nd floor is a little more dim and cosy to cater for more private moments.

1st Floor Seating Area

2nd Floor Seating Area

While waiting for 1 of my friends to arrive, we starting munching on the complimentary bread, which is served with a tasty dip made of sour cream and a hint of truffle oil. With the dips being this good, we weren’t shy to ask for extra helpings.

Before the 1st course, we were served an Apple Sorbet to whet our appetites.

1st Course: Chef’s Starter

Our first course was the Chef’s Starter ($18++), comprising Salmon Mousse Cone, Pan Seared Scallop with Asparagus & Truffle Foam and a Foie Gras Chawanmushi. Apart from the visual appeal, there was nothing fantastic about the powdery salmon mousse as it tasted like it could be bought off the rack from Cold Storage. The Scallop was seared well but I’m not sure if it was prepared some time ago since it didn’t feel as warm as it should be. What I loved most was the Foie Gras Chawanmushi, a smooth steamed egg custard with just enough foie gras blended in to tease the palate.

2nd Course: Cold Dish

The Cold Dish Course is only available for the set dinners, and is the only thing that differentiates the set lunch from the set dinners. C chose the Alaskan King Crab with homemade Karashi Dressing ($20++). The crab was pretty much left unadorned, methinks to allow the natural sweetness of the crab to shine through.

According to the wait staff, one of the more popular cold dishes is the Oyster in 3 Ways ($18++), which I didn’t manage to try since oysters aren’t ideal for sharing.

For myself, I had the Beef Carpaccio, Truffle Mustard Salad, with Truffle Teriyaki and Horseradish Sauce ($16++). I enjoyed the thin slices of marbled raw beef very much, and thought it went well with a light dab of the sweet teriyaki sauce and truffle mustard (which tasted like mayo). Just be sure not to be too liberal with the teriyaki sauce, as The Clan is with its liberal use of Truffle and Foie Gras in naming the dishes on its menu, as it might overwhelm the delicate beefy flavours.

3rd Course: Sides

The Kurobuta Pork Belly Confit with Pork Cracker & Passion Fruit Sauce ($14++) fared well in terms of moist tender meat, but failed in terms of crackling. I initially expected the belly to be slightly fattier, as the slab we had was rather lean. I want my fat meat!

I was rather taken by the Herb Encrusted Mushroom Escargot ($14++) as the snails were nothing short of plump and juicy.

The Deep Fried Foie Gras, Balsamico Reduction and Cheese Foccacia was somewhat a disappointment. I recently had the Deep Fried Foie Gras at Alkaff Mansion and thought a replication of that would have made my night. However, The Clan’s rendition was off by a mile. My main gripe was that the batter was too thick and drowned out the foie gras. A simple pan-seared one would have sufficed.

4th Course: Soup

I perceive mushroom soups in a negative light. To me, it’s usually something watered down that you get, alongside a drink from a $5 add-on upgrade to a set meal. The Cepes Mushroom with Truffle Paste ($9++) from The Clan however, is far from the cheap mushroom soup you find in such places. It’s chock full of flavour yet not overly thick, retaining a smooth consistency that just warms your whole body as you sip on it. It’s heaven in a bowl, one of the best mushroom soups around surely. I would go back just for this.

Not as awesome as the mushroom soup but nevertheless tasty was the Crab Bisque Cappuccino with Truffle Foam and Prawn Twister ($9++). Very airy and big on flavours to the extent that some of my friends found it too rich and sweet, but it agreed with my palate.

5th Course: Main

T had the 48 Degree Poached Salmon with Japanese Broth, Dehydrated Wakame and Leek Confit ($22++). While the salmon is cooked perfectly in a sous vide style, resulting in a fork tender texture, the flavours are awfully subtle, a huge contrast to the previous dishes that took some getting use to.

I had the Kurobuta Pork Jowl in Pistachio Puree, with Pickled Zucchini and 64 Degree Egg Yolk ($24++), reminding me again of the chef’s history at Dozo where a very similar dish in the form of Kurobuta Pork Cheeks is served. By the way, Jowl is just another word for animal cheeks. The marinade encrusting the pork cheeks added depth to what might have otherwise been a mere savoury dish, and coating the meat with egg yolk balances the flavourfulness of the dish.

Another dish reminiscent to that at Dozo’s is the 48 Hour Beef Short Ribs on Hoba Leef, with Madeira Sauce on Lava Stone ($27++). It’s no surprise that Chef Ken brought this idea over with him, especially since it’s a crowd favourite. The boneless beef ribs are served sizzling atop a hot stone that cooks the beef slowly, leaving the extent of doneness up to the individual to decide. The beef is extremely tender so chewing is kept at a minimal.

6th Course: Dessert

I thought the Madeira Cheese Panna Cotta ($9++) was a pleasant ending to the meal, with the smooth custard topped with a syrup made using madeira, a sweet fortified wine.

One of the more boring dishes I had today was the Chocolate Lava with Raspberry and Homemade Hazelnut Gelato ($9++). Not the best chocolate lava cakes I have come across, but it does its job of satisfying a sweet tooth.

As it was my friend P’s birthday, the staff arranged for a complimentary cheesecake. It tastes alright though it’s rather dry but who’s to complain when it’s free right?

95% of the 75 votes on Hungrygowhere gave The Clan recommend ratings, something almost unheard of and makes one question the authenticity of the votes. However, real votes or not, it’s hard not to love this place. They take care of the small details, like holding 6 different brands of sparkling water and that speaks volumes. In essence, The Clan offers fine dining fusion food that works without burning a hole in the pocket, very much living up to its motto of “classy, lucious and noteworthy”.

The Clan Restaurant

18/20 Bukit Pasoh Road

Tel: +65 6222 2084





Bistro Soori – Where French Meets Japanese

3 07 2012

Bistro Soori. Don’t be mistaken, it’s no Korean joint. It serves up an array of fusion dishes, drawing mainly from French and Japanese influences. I would describe its furnishing as chic, modern yet homely, reminiscent of a showroom at a condominium launch.

Marinated Angel Hair Pasta with Avruga & Seaweed ($17++). The pasta is coated lightly with a creamy sauce, with a little brininess coming from the caviar and seaweed. My main gripe is that the portion is quite tiny.

The reasons I love French cuisine is because the food is rich (and artery clogging). So if you are into French as well, I’m assuming that animal fats isn’t an issue for you and even if it is, I’d still insist you try the Slow Roasted Pork Belly, Pumpkin, Frisse, Pumpkin Seed, Yuzu Gastrique ($18++).

There’s a lot of bombastic terms in this dish name so let’s break it down a little into bite-sized pieces. Frisse is the name of the type of lettuce used (the frizzy kind) while “Gastrique is caramelized sugar, deglazed with vinegar, used as a flavoring for sauces. Nowadays, the term is frequently used to refer to any thus-flavored sauce itself, e.g. citrus gastrique, mango gastrique” (Source: Wikipedia).

This is definitely one of the best pork belly dishes I have had in recent memory and I loath how it is available only in starter-sized portions. The best thing about this dish is the fats. It doesn’t come across as the soft and wobbly kind but rather, gives off a firmer mildly crisp finish when you bite into it, which implodes with a concentrated accumulation of flavor.

I like the Cured Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Braised Red Cabbage, Grain Mustard, Golden Raisin, Pear ($33++). I love how the core of the tender tenderloin manages to retain a light pink hue. I love it even more that the curing process was executed well, with a subtle salty flavour being infused evenly throughout the meat. Most of the time, one encounters a cured meat that leaves you cringing from the excessive salt used but this one is different, leaving sufficient breathing room to appreciate the accompanying condiments as well.

Throw in the words uni and scallops (foie gras too!) in any dish and you’d be sure to pique my interest. Not that I’m complaining but somehow, I have noticed that sea urchin (aka uni) has been making guest appearances in modern french cuisine, such as the Uni Tagliolini at Pamplemousse, a restaurant in Dempsey that specializes in contemporary French.

That said, I wasn’t impressed with the Uni, Scallop, Prawn, Risotto, Yuzu, Thai Basil ($35++). The rice was considerably overcooked in my opinion, hence the texture failed to retain a slight firmness and bite and was on the mushy side instead. In addition, I didn’t think that the citrus yuzu was a good complement to the savoury seafood and it’s distinct flavour musked the more delicate flavours from the uni. No complaints about the execution of the seafood components though!

My favourite dish of the night was the Brown Butter Maine Lobster, Tomato, Tamarind, Thai Basil, Fennel ($42++). I wasn’t harbouring high expectations initially since I perceive Maine Lobster as a cheap lobster species. It was so easily available when I was at Canada and the States last summer, being sold in a Brooklyn flea market in “lobster buns” going at US$12 a pop, and the amount lobster meat given was really generous. Based on my estimation, I got about half a lobster in 1 hot dog sized bun. I even managed to get cooked live whole Maine lobsters in Granville, Vancouver during Canada’s National Day for C$14. Crazy affordable.

For the ones at Bistro Soori, it’s awesome not just because the lightly charred lobster flesh is fresh and springy, but also because of the tamarind butter sauce. Everything just tastes so good in butter, but add in crab shells to simmer with, what you get is a very concentrated crab bisque that really complements the sweetness of the maine lobster. Friend J ate a huge chunk of lobster in one mouthful and after that, gave a look of despondence. That was the end of her portion, a portion she had failed to thoroughly enjoy.

Duck Leg Confit, Fried Apple Puree, Fig, Parma Ham ($39++). The deboned duck thigh was a little too dry for my liking but taste-wise it was ok, especially with a dab of sweet apple puree followed by a dab of the vinaigrette, a good mix of sweet, savoury and tangy.

2 minutes before serving the Pandan Souffle with Strawberry Compote ($14++), the wait staff in charge of our table walked over and told me, “you might want to get your camera ready, the souffle will start sinking after half a minute”. I was quite pleased he bothered to show such care and concern, thumbs up for the service!

It is no wonder this is Bistro Soori’s most prized dessert. The souffle is light as air but as the wait staff said, it sank rather quickly. No matter, we polished it off in a matter of seconds anyway.

The Araguani Dark Chocolate Cake, Raspberry Sauce with Vanilla Ice Cream ($14++) was a run of the mill chocolate fondant.

My least favourite dessert was the Almond Milk Panna Cotta, Blueberry Gastrique, Lemon Grass Syrup ($14++). The panna cotta was a little lumpy and not as rich as I would have liked.

Overall, truly a wonderful experience, from the service, food to ambience.

Bistro Soori

2 Teck Lim Road

Tel: +65 6438 3802





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





The Plain – For that Simple Unpretentious Brunch

24 01 2012

A cafe’s name often speaks volumes about its history and concept. For The Plain, it seems that the owners named it as such after much thought. Location seems to be the main driver behind this decision, with The Plain’s location near Duxton Plain Park. Concept was the other driving factor, with the owner’s intention of setting up a cafe that is as plain as possible; simple and easily understood without the gimmicks. A minimalistic cafe where one could come in for a casual cuppa, coffee or sandwich.

There’s just so few brunch places around nowadays that eludes the super chillax uncommercialized feel like The Plain does. I’d be lying if I said cafes like Wild Honey, Epicurious and Spruce are like that too. Somehow, they come across as trendier, with a see and be seen vibe to it, where you actually end up dressing up for a simple brunch. On the other hand, I’d be entirely comfortable dropping by The Plain in my shorts and flip flops.

There’s nothing distinctly special about the food here. The food menu is quite limited and the items can be easily prepared at home. For example, the Darling’s Eggs ($12), “Poached Egg with Ham, Cheese and Roma Tomatoes on Sourdough Toast”, can be easily replicated. Seriously, poaching eggs isn’t that difficult! Normally, it’s the Hollandaise Sauce that comes along with it that’s the problem but The Plain keeps it simple by using melted cheese instead.

My personal preference veers to the Dean’s Breakfast ($11), “Poached Eggs with Melted Cheese & Vegemite on Sourdough Toast”. This is my first time eating vegemite, a yeast extract that is supposedly nutritious. I thought it went rather well with the toasted sourdough, intensifying the flavour of the melted cheese. My only quibble was that the eggs were noticeably over-poached so the yolk was solid instead of runny. That definitely can be worked on.

HH and JH shared an Iced Chocolate but I didn’t get to try it.

Iced Chocolate ($5.50)

The Plain does their coffees well. T got a Cappuccino (butter cookies on the side were made by T’s gf and meant for decorative purposes only and not served with the coffee) which he said was pretty good.

For myself, I got a Latte which was quite fragrant and smooth with the right thickness (“gao-ness”).

While I normally emphasize on the food, I think The Plain is just one of the few places where I can bear to leave critical food-related judgements behind (not that there are many) and soak in the ambience instead. It does help that the staff are super approachable and really treat their customers as they would their friends.

PS: Currently, I’m embarking on a pet project to identify Singapore’s best 5 brunch places so you’d probably see more brunch posts coming up shortly.

Bon Appetit!

The Plain

50 Craig Road

Tel: +65 6225 4387








%d bloggers like this: