Review: Botanico - 'It's almost like an unexpected shimmery mirage in a sea of gastronomical wonderland'

‘There's also that other C word that's lacking in the Singapore food scene: Courage. Courage to step outside the norms of familiar flavour profiles to create masterful dishes that exude inventiveness, audaciousness, and a generous sprinkle of joie de vivre; a celebration of life, love, and the pursuit of staggeringly soul-altering food. 

'Enter Botanico, a dining concept brought to us by the wonderful folks behind 1-Group and the purveyor of Summerhouse, Wildseed cafe, Monti, and Pixies. Helmed by head chef and gastronomy extraordinaire Sujatha Asokan, Botanico tries its hand at bold flavour pairings inspired by the lush greenery it is surrounded by - and succeeds.’

Review: Deanna's Kitchen Prawn Noodle - 'Sincere adoration of the common'

So when I heard of Deanna’s Kitchen prawn noodles along with all its adoring fans, I was reticent. Firstly, it’s halal, meaning there’s absolutely no pork bones in the broth. And there will be no lard sprinkled anywhere in the noodles. Secondly, the reviews I’ve had and heard were from Muslim customers. “What would they know about good prawn noodles?” my arrogant self asked in, well, arrogance. Thirdly, it’s in Jurong. And I live in Sengkang. So, having to taste this would mean an actual day out across the island and goddamnit it better be worth the trouble I’m taking in this sweltering heat at one in the afternoon.

And goddamnit it was.

Profile: The Mixtape Chef

I am of course talking about The Mixtape Chef, a moniker given to home-cook Kenneth Yong, who runs this home-dining experience with his wife and muse, Laureen Goh. The Mixtape Chef appeared on my radar solely because its page was liked by a friend on my list and you know how far my curiosity tends to get the better of me (the answer is far, very, very far). Several clicks later and a few minutes of research and I decided this seems like a very good story to chase. Plus it’s so near where I stay. Could this be a sign sent from the culinary Gods (Christina Tossi, Jordi Roca, and Nancy Silverton)?

Review: Backyard Kitchen - 'A brave new world of haute cuisine"

The Backyard Kitchen is a misnomer, probably a pun on the obvious of a backyard kitchen being this casual thing of an experience where hearty and flavourful grub is fancied over experimentative ingredient pairing, clever textural degustation, or attention to presentation. Yet, Backyard Kitchen defies all overt references to the comforting nature of its name and instead presents a gilded front, wrapped up in a neat little bow of scrutinies that frames their version of fine dining repertoire. 

Profile: Jack the Spice Artisan

Like a hummingbird, Jack fleets around the two shop units at Mayflower Market with dazzling speed, almost as if being chased by someone or something; perhaps time, perhaps age, possibly sheer expectations. Or maybe he's just deeply motivated by a heightened sense of purpose. The wings of a hummingbird have only recently been captured on slow-motion camera, allowing us to revel in the wonder of mother nature. For Jack, I'd like to think that this interview is the slow-motion camera that requires him to pause for a mere moment (in actuality, exactly an hour) to reflect on life, passion, and pursuits.

Review: Atap Bar - 'The drinks here are created, inspired, and named after all things steeped in Malay culture'

The little I knew about Atap Bar came from the pictures I saw on Instagram of the youthful hoi polloi cuddled in close quarters, nary a care in the world, their worries literally taken away by the breeze. "What does this place sell? Why is it a bar? Why is it a halal bar? What is going on?" I wondered almost with indelible alarm. Turns out it's just so damn hard to talk about a drink with the same level of poetic nuance as you would a plate of food.

But I shall try, of course.

Review: The Garden by Sofitel - 'I suggest they leave the intricate peacock-ing to the birds that roam outside'

"I'm here today to sample the monthly all-organic brunch for the health-conscious, body-conscious... you get the drift. The food comes from the prix fixe menu, which could really benefit from a little more assisted paragraphing. My friend and I spent a good ten minutes figuring out what's on our plate as we tried to discern from the menu where a dish ends and where a new one began."

Review: Mongkok Dim Sum - 'Food that, though simple, is as comforting as it is tasty'

"Food is also why the hoi polloi descend upon Geylang in droves. Here is where you can find every type of food your taste bud can handle. The choices run the gamut from frog porridge (which a friend declared emphatically, 'No, I don't eat amphibians, Zat) to Beef Hor Fun, duck rice to bak kut teh. Naturally, Geylang is not short of dim sum houses which is what I'm here today to try at Mongkok Dim Sum; a little slice of Canton in the charming 'hood of Geylang Lorong 8.

Review: The Summerhouse

The Summerhouse is not the place for fleeting gratification or a quick snap of eroticised amuse-bouche, posed prettily in front of a wall that screams INSTAGRAM ME NOW all over its grey exterior. Instead, The Summerhouse invites and titilates the discerning diner looking for a place where sustainability is of the highest priority and reverence for ingredients is the order of the day.

Part Duo: From Bangkok, with love

"We were about to head off, meats in hand, when suddenly she nonchalantly remarked to Tiger to bring us in further down the alley. Further? But this alley ends right there, about 6 metres away. Where is this ‘further’ she was referring to, and most importantly, how does anyone remark nonchalant in Thai?"

Review: Pickleville

As evidenced by their moniker, Pickleville specialises in pickled food. Apart from pickling, Pickleville is also inspired by the process of fermentation, a food preservation method that, while closely related to pickling in as far as what it sets out to achieve, couldn’t be more different in terms of taste and preparation.