Spathe Public House – Weekend Brunch at Robertson Quay

26 02 2014

Spathe Public House is best known for its communal dining concept, featuring items such as a metre long currywurst on their menu. On weekends however, the communal menu is replaced by a separate weekend brunch menu during the earlier part of the day (before 5pm).

While diners are left spoilt for choice in the number of brunch places around Robertson Quay, with the likes of Kith Cafe, Hummerstons, Toby’s Estate, Five & Dime and Epicurious all within walking distance, Spathe is my top pick. There just aren’t that many places that consistently serves up perfectly poached eggs with a decent Hollandaise sauce to boot. The spacious interior makes for perfect catch up sessions too!

Eggs Royale ($18++)

Eggs Mushroom ($16++)

Spathe Public House

8 Mohamed Sultan Road #01-01, Singapore 238958

Tel: +65 6735 1035 

Website: http://www.spathepublichouse.com/

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Shunjuu Izakaya – Defining Sumiyaki

26 09 2012

Shunjuu Izakaya is a sake dining bar specializing in sumiyaki, and carries over 40 types of sake. Having discovered it over summer thanks to one of my NUS law friends (who had been frequenting this place during her law internship at the expense of her associates, jealous max…), I decided to organize a friend’s birthday dinner here given that my virgin experience had been a positive one.

I have mentioned this before in one of my previous posts but I think now’s the perfect time for a refresher course on Grilled Japanese foods 101, whose terms we are so guilty of mixing up. Sumiyaki means “Charcoal Grilled” (Sumi meaning charcoal and Yaki meaning grilled). Kushiyaki means “Grilled on a Stick” (Kushi meaning Stick), in short Japanese Satay. Yakitori means “Grilled Chicken”, so it is more specific than Kushiyaki or Sumiyaki which can be used to refer to other types of grilled meats or seafood too. Robatayaki (meaning fire-side cooking) refers specifically to a method of cooking; hearthside grilling.

Hope this clarifies things a bit.

Shunjuu doesn’t seem to receive much publicity nowadays but back in the heyday, it used to be a major contender for dining awards, evident from its wall of fame. I guess extra publicity is redundant now anyways, since a full house during weekends is more or less assured for this sumiyaki heavyweight. So, reservations are recommended. The general consensus is that dinners here can work up to quite a fair bit but I believe that with strategic orders and abstinence from booze, dinners under $40 are still very possible, which in my view is reasonable given the quality of the food.

We took up a very friendly auntie staff’s suggestion and got the Tofu with Century Egg Sauce topped with Ebiko. It was a great opener to the meal and on hindsight, we should have gotten individual portions and not go through the pains of having to share something so tasty.  A similar one can be found at Fukuichi Japanese Dining at TripleOne Somerset, which happens to be one of their signatures.

For first timers to the restaurant, it’s really easy to get lost on what to order so I would suggest going for the prix fixe sets which comprise of an assortment of 5 grilled items, and further supplementing the meal with additional orders. There are 3 different sets available, of which Set A and B are meant for 1 pax, while Set C is meant for 2 pax.

For Set A ($20++), you get a stick of Beef Short Ribs, Asparagus rolled with Pork, Chicken Meat Ball, Golden Mushroom rolled with Beef, and Pork Belly.

The Golden Mushroom should have been rolled in beef but due to its unavailability, we got ours rolled in pork instead, which turned out great and is definitely one of the highlights from Set A. My other favourites from the set are the Chicken Meat Balls and the Beef Short Ribs. I usually scoff at meat balls but the ones here are clearly legit, hands down best chicken balls I have had the pleasure of eating.

from left: Chicken Meat Ball, Pork Belly, Asparagus rolled with Pork

Golden Mushroom rolled with Pork, Beef Short Ribs

For Set B ($28++), you get a stick of Grilled Ribeye, Scallop rolled with Pork, Rice Cake rolled with Pork, Chicken Wing, and Goose Liver. The star would be the Goose Liver, whose wobbly interior is encased by a smoky lightly charred surface. Less memorable items included the Scallop rolled in Pork. I could hardly discern the bland scallops whose flavour was overpowered by the savoury marinade from the pork. The Grilled Ribeye was also slightly too chewy for my liking and was not as tasty as the Beef Short Ribs from Set A.

from left: Chicken Wing, Scallop rolled with Pork

From left: Goose Liver, Ribeye, Rice Cake rolled with Pork

Apart from the grilled items, Shunjuu does their staples amazing well too. The Udon with Sesame Sauce ($7++) is served chilled which contrasts with spicy sesame sauce it is served in, causing a tingling sensation to the throat as one slurps it down. The spiciness of the sauce is of a right level which makes the dish super addictive.

The Garlic Fried Rice ($8++) is worth ordering too, as the pearly grains are evenly cooked with bits of aromatic crisp garlic bits garnishing the dish.

My favourite staple though is the hearty Fish Porridge ($12++), which is on a totally different league from what is available from hawker stalls. It has a naturally sweet flavour and creamy consistency, with very generous chunks of Salmon and Mackerel.

Instead of having desserts at Shunjuu, I would recommend heading to Laurent Bernard’s Chocolate Bar just opposite for their ice creams there chocolate tart.

Al Fresco area of Laurent Bernard’s with Shunjuu in the backdrop

Another enjoyable dinner at Shunjuu Izakaya cements Shunjuu’s status as one of the best sumiyaki restaurants around. Competition is stiff however, so next stop for sumiyaki will be Kazu at Cuppage Plaza, where we learn who defines sumiyaki best.

Shunjuu Izakaya

30 Robertson Quay, #01-15 Riverside View

Tel: +65 6887 3577





Toby’s Estate – Assessing Food, Assessing Life

15 02 2012

Summer internships applications are finally in full swing and with that, university students eagerly await their interview call ups at the various hiring firms. One of the typical questions interviewers love to ask is “what are your strengths?” and my usual response is that “I have good time management and motivation towards activities that interest me, and that has allowed me to juggle school work, cca commitments, competitions and writing a food blog all at one go, sustaining a well balanced lifestyle that most students nowadays fail to achieve.”. But actually when I think about it, I find myself working a bit too hard over the past year in building up my resume, that I’ve been neglecting getting a life. So I have embarked on a mission this semester, dedicating my lesson-free Sundays/Mondays chilling at cafes, perhaps sitting at the communal tables or bar counters, chatting up random strangers as I have brunch, you know doing the whole indie thing you’d only normally do while overseas alone. Then after a satisfying meal, I would then sip a cappuccino, whip out some readings and let my imagination drift randomly. That’s what a pretty well-balanced life would sound like don’t you think?

This was my 2nd week doing something like this (Was at Prive Cafe for brunch last week which I have yet to post about). I wasn’t alone though, good friend R was with me. We didn’t bid for any modules together this semester so Sundays were now our catch up days. We decided to drop by Toby’s Estate, which came highly recommended from friend J and I have to say, I wasn’t left disappointed.

Originating from Australia where it has already established its brand name, Toby’s Estate founder Toby Smith continues his mission of educating the public on the diversity and complexity of coffee with the recent opening of his first Singapore branch located at Robertson Quay. Unlike 0ther western brunch places, Toby’s Estate really does well with the whole communal dining thing, where the interior seating area comprises just of bar seats and a central table, providing a great avenue for friendly strangers to strike up random conversations.

They weren’t kidding when they said they specialized in coffees. The Cuppaccino ($5+) I had carried with it a rich aroma and milky froth, just what I needed to get the day going. R had a Flat White ($4.50+) which she enjoyed as well.

Toby’s Breakfast ($16+), comprising Free Range Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Roasted Tomatoes, Sauteed Mushrooms and Brioche was hearty enough to be considered my lunch. Everything was pretty standard I suppose but I have to give extra credit to the scrambled eggs which were super creamy and evenly cooked.

We both preferred the Poached Eggs, Salmon with Brioche ($12+). The yolks were runny and the smoked salmon was extra tasty for some reason, probably because it tasted rather fresh (I find smoked salmon tends to get noticeably drier and less smooth when left in the fridge more than a couple of days) and had just the right amount of saltiness to go along with the egg and brioche. A side of sauteed baby potatoes with onions for accompaniment would have been good though!

Sometimes, we just have to take a step back and reassess our lives. Take the time to smell the roses and enjoy the greenery and not be too engrossed in meaningless work. Carefree and happy, can I be like those kids in 20 years time? I really hope so.

Toby’s Estate

8 Rodyk Street, #01-03/04

Tel: +65 6636 7629





Graze @ Martin No. 38 – Contemporary Australian Cuisine

13 11 2011

I have only been to Graze @ Martin No 38 once and it was for lunch. At night, the setting and ambience mirrors that of daytime, quiet, cosy yet classy, a perfect venue for that special date or simply catching up with friends and loved ones. The menu revolves around contemporary Australian cuisine, offering a Charcuterie section and meats off the grill as well.

Chance brought G and myself here today. Our original dinner plans were set for Le Bistro du Sommelier, a quaint french bistro located at Prinsep Place. Unfortunately, our reservations got screwed up somehow and we took a detour to Graze instead.

For starters, we were recommended the Upside down Duck Pie, Dried Black Olives, Mash & Pickled Vegetables ($24++) which we both found really pleasant. Soft creamy mash forms the base of this dish, followed by a middle layer of buttery filo pastry and topped off with marinated duck meat that carried with it a distinct Indian influence.

Another recommendation by the staff, I had the Spiced Baby Chicken, Cracked Bulgar, Broad Beans, Soft Herbs, House Sea Urchin Butter ($34++) as my main. I was expecting to be hit by a wave of intense flavours at first bite but it wasn’t so. While the mild flavours failed to excite initially, my tastebuds quickly adjusted to the natural flavours and I was soon smitten by the complementing urchin butter and bulgar (a type of grain like couscous). I couldn’t make out the taste of urchin but the butter does possess a mild cheesy undertone which I adore. It does help too that the chicken was executed skilfully, succulent and tender with a crisp layer of skin.

G had no complaints about her Pan-Seared Barramundi, Chorizo Broth, Watercress, Salad of Ruby Red Grapefruit, Avocado & Mint ($34++). A common feature that I have noticed about Graze’s cuisine is that they rely a lot on natural fresh flavours, in this case letting the sweetness of the fish speak for itself rather than littering the dish with excessive seasonings and spices.

Graze’s wine list isn’t extensive, featuring a selection of less than 20 wines. We tried 2 different whites today to complement our white meats, the delicate Italian Torresella Pinot Grigio Trentino 2010 ($18++/glass) which was smooth and mildly sweet,  and the Australian Corriole Chenin Blanc, McLaren Vale 2010 ($14++/glass) which we found much too tart.

Bon Appetit!

Graze

38 Martin Road

Tel: +65 6509 1680





Graze At Martin No. 38 – Sorting out the Teething Issues

30 04 2011

2 birthdays ago, some of my friends got me a book entitled “Asian Bar And Restaurant Design”. That’s where I first came across Graze (Rochester outlet), which is featured on pages 224-229 of this book. Sadly, Googlebooks doesn’t allows us to preview so far into these copyrighted books so if you want to read more, you just have to purchase the book or borrow it from the library or if you’re adventurous enough, drop me a mail or comment and you can just borrow the book from me!

Although I haven’t been to the Rochester Park branch (mainly due to my refusal to travel so far from home), I’m really loving the pictures and contemporary concept of the place. There’s a sheltered al fresco dining area surrounded by lush greenery, an outdoor lounge for movie screenings, indoor dining areas featuring different themes and walking up to the second storey, you will be greeted by a long outside balcony, a cigar section and a bar. Sounds awesome, doesn’t it?

So awesome that CW and myself decided to pop by the the newly opened 1-month old Graze branch at 38 Martin Road, slightly off Robertson Quay.

Personally, I really love the Robertson Quay area. It’s where I first learnt how to mambo jambo when Double O (with their Saturday retro nights, similar to Zouk’s Wednesday’s Mambo Jambo) was still operating there. On many occasions, I also saw myself sitting amongst the expat crowd in the fountain square of Fraser’s Service Suites, watching live soccer on projector screens while indulging in a beer or two. If that’s not all, the entire vicinity is littered with happening pubs and eateries, my favourites being Laurent’s Cafe & Chocolate Bar for chocolate and ice cream and Cafe Epicurious for brunch. I have also been dying to try out Boomerang Bistro & Bar which I hear serves a kick ass Sticky Date Pudding but that’s better left for another post.

 Anyway, I was at Graze for lunch and was surprised at how large the seating capacity was. The combination of the main dining area, dim-litted romantic private dining area and the al fresco area probably fits 80-100 diners easily.

I had the Pan-roasted Barramundi, Orange & Beets Salad & Green Chili Almond Mayo ($24++) for lunch. The fish was fresh and its skin crisp, and the mayo complemented the it well. It’s a simple dish executed well.

CW just had the Pavlova ($10++) served with Fresh Berries, Thickened Cream, Passionfruit Sauce & Mango Sorbet. It’s a native Australian and New Zealand dessert that is meringue-based, chewier than the average meringue but just as sweet. I didn’t try the one here but CW seemed to like it. Best for people with sweet tooths.

The drinks here are rather pricy. My Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice and CW’s Watermelon Juice cost $8++ each which is quite a rip off. CW’s Cafe Latte ($4.80++) was also underwhelming.

Being newly opened, I wasn’t surprised that the number of diners was rather sparse, yet I found the service staff way too chill. They didn’t bother taking our orders when we first arrived, totally forgot to bring the bill after we requested for it and charged for an extra latte in the bill. Teething issues or not, I think that’s pretty much pushing it.

Bon Appetit!

GRAZE

38 MARTIN ROAD

TEL: +65 6509 1680








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