Tuesday, August 12, 2014

New Restaurant: Tess Bar & Kitchen

Following the explosion of cafes in Singapore, the new trend seems to be cocktail + tapas-style food joints! One such place opened recently and with an experienced bartender (ex Bitters & Love), and chef (ex L'Atelier Robuchon), I told the boy "Okay we're eating here this Friday!" and he was like "but there's no menu online and the instagram posts of the food looks q limited!" but I insisted knowing it'll likely be good. Am v happy I did! He was v happy too that dinner turned out to be good :)

We arrived at about 6.30pm and managed to snag a lot along the street outside the restaurant! Its quite difficult to park along that road so I suggest leaving some time for finding parking space. 

They were having happy hour till 7pm and I must say, their happy hour deal is quite attractive! 30% off all house pours, 10% off all alcohol. 

I really love the atmosphere of the place and we were greeted with really awesome hospitality. Very sincere and friendly! Initially I did not want to sit at the low tables (foreground of the picture below) as I do not like having to bend down to eat, and compressing my stomach (damn uncomfortable!?), so we moved to the bar seats. However the bf wanted to sit at the table (cos we usually order a lot and well, its more spacious) so we kept looking over. Then the same staff came over and asked if we changed our minds, then convinced me that its not so bad and gladly told me that she'll give me the corner seat (initially ours was in the middle) with the cute doggie armrest haha. So we moved there and it really wasn't that bad! 

The space at night


So the staff will explain the drinks + food menu to you upon sitting down and I think this is sorta an added value to the experience! I wouldn't go as far to say that all restaurants should do this cos I know manpower issues and all, but its a good plus point. 

Do note that the tiger prawns for small plates is actually 6 pieces (photo later) -> they're still in the process of tweaking their menu!

Their very interesting cocktail menu!! I remember we were recommended Dawa for sth sour, and scandalous pear for sth sweet! I really like their mix of ingredients for the cocktails and makes me feel like trying 'em all! Cocktail review coming up after the food review below!

Bohemian Vegetables Love
Grilled zucchini, bell peppers wrap in aubergine with pepper coulis 

Basically its grilled veggies served in a wrap form accompanied by a slightly tangy but slightly sweet coulis that was served cold. The grilled veggies were hot of course. So this was quite a good contrast and well its hard to fault these sweet veggies 3.8/5

Triple truffle fries
Yukon, idaho, sweet potatoes, deep fried and seasoned with truffle oil + salt

The boy said this was a little dry and honestly the way they cut it? More of wedges haha except maybe the sweet potato ones. The truffle oil taste wasn't strong. 3/5

Crispy pork belly
Served with spiced Asian dip

Sea bass, Momotaro & Arugula
Seared sea bass slices, momotaro tomatoes sliced and topped with arugula salad

Please do not order this. Its such a waste of money! The fish was dry and unflavourful. Saving grace was the very crispy skin. The tomato, honestly maybe momotaro tomatoes or not in season or sth but this tastes like our regular tomatoes and nothing like the ones I've had at Tatsuya or other Jap restaurants. And if putting a few strands of arugula is considered salad… I have nothing to say. I won't even give a grade for this

Tiger prawns in Herb Garlic Butter
King prawns seared to perfection

This was very very juicy, bursting with flavours. Can really taste the butter in the sauce but the herbs didn't really shine through. 3.6/5

Seared Smoked Duck Breast + Foie Gras
Served with braised lentils & blueberry compote

Really really love how they used lentils as a side dish cos not many places in Singapore use lentils and I love lentils! The Foie gras is on the left and its average at best. Blueberry compote was good, but hard to go wrong. The smoked duck was beautiful. Just a tinge of saltiness, with a rather firm but still a little soft kind of texture, with a mild duck taste. This was quite a good rendition of duck I must say! Not too fatty either :) 3.9/5

Tess Wagyu Cubes & Bone Marrow
Seared wagyu beef cubes on bone marrow glaze with veal jus

This was very good according to the boy! The sauce was very flavourful, the marrow melted in his mouth and went beautifully with the amazing wagyu cubes! You've gotta scoop up the marrow from the bone which adds an element of "fun" to this dish. The wagyu cubes were very soft and bursting with flavours from the sauce. 4.5/5


We didn't order any desserts because they did not interest us.

Bespoke cocktail - refreshing + no bitter taste

I can't really remember what was in my cocktail but it was refreshing! :) These bespoke cocktails are charged based on the alcoholic base they use and the prices of these "bases" can be found in their menu. You can tell them whatever you want, or don't want and something will be created for you :)

Monkey Shoulder scotch whisky, Disaronno amaretto with cigar smoke

We were curious about the cigar smoke! You gotta breathe in deeply + quickly when you open it as the smell dissipates really quickly!

Wild Turkey 81 whiskey, home made fives puree, fresh lemon with tonic

Was very intrigued by figs in cocktails as I've never had such a drink before. However there was barely any fig taste in the drink! :/ it was quite refreshing though

Their cocktails are really easy to drink and thats dangerous haha cos you can just keep going on and on like you're not drinking alcohol cos you don't feel any burning in your throat or difficult to swallow or whatever.

Service: friendly, good, rather prompt
Ambience: bar + tables w seats, industrial kind of decor, quite pretty at night!
Food: above average food
Cocktails: creative! Would like to try more

Tess Bar & Kitchen
38 Seah Street S188394
Mon- Thurs 1130am-1am
Fri 1130am - 2am
Sat 430pm to 2am
closed Sundays

Friday, August 1, 2014

Chefs for a Cause 2014: please go!

Hello everyone!

Am very very grateful to have been invited to this media preview of this event which I must say, humbled me a lot and made me rethink a few things in life. I'm also very heartened after attending this talk that there are still many good souls out there who are willing to sacrifice for others. I was very touched by the efforts of all who are involved in this event. So what IS this event?

Project Happy Feet's Chefs for a Cause started out in 2009, conceptualised by Chef Jimmy Chok. He roped in 9 other local chefs for his cause and together they executed the inaugural event for Chefs for a Cause. Firstly, they contributed recipes to a cookbook "Recipes from the Heart" where 100% of the proceeds were donated to the beneficiaries namely MILK (Mainly I Love Kids) and Project Happy Feet's beneficiaries. The highlight was whipping up a 3-course meal for 600 underprivileged children at Swissotel Merchant Court. They showed us a video of that event and I smiled numerous times while watching it :) "this is my first time having a meal in a hotel" "I loved the magic show" were what the kids were saying. Seeing the kids facial expressions in response to the magic show, the food etc really just put a smile on my face. 

So why did Chef Jimmy Chok think of starting Chefs for a Cause? Well because he wanted to give back to society while doing what he loved, and what he was good at. So naturally cooking! Hence this idea was born and acted upon with amazing results! 

So this year, the event is coming back bigger!

Chefs participating this year

13 local chefs from Singapore's Top Restaurants are coming together for the first time ever to present this gastronomical event in hope of raising $50, 000 in support of Children's Cancer Foundation. The chefs will be serving their signature dishes and newly conceptualised dishes for this event happening on 24 August 2014!

Now why should you go? 
1) More than 35 mouth-watering dishes will be served - mixture of local delights and new creations such as sea urchin chawanmushi, salt-crusted stripling, nasi lemak sushi, white truffle cookies etc. More details below!
2) ALL and I mean ALL proceeds, 100% go to Children's Cancer Foundation why?
3) Because everything is sponsored. Yes the chefs sponsor the ingredients, the cooking, the prep, everything to do with preparation of the dishes. The venue is sponsored by Swissotel Merchant Court once again. The PR is also done pro-bono. Basically, all the costs have been covered by sponsors hence 100%, all of your money WILL SURELY go to Children's Cancer Foundation!
3) You get to speak to and rub shoulders with some of Singapore's top chefs
4) You get to watch your food prepared live in front of you!

Okay so now I'll talk more about the food that we had the privilege of trying during the preview.

Seabass ceviche, coriander, shaved asparagus, pomegranate, ginger
Chef Robin Ho

This was very refreshing and a great starter to our wonderful evening. The sea bass was really well marinated and had a slightly chewy texture. The sauce was great - not too tart, tones of sweetness, spiciness from the ginger, some creaminess. The pomegranate lent a nice contrast of textures. 4/5

Chef Forest Leong Inspired Pomelo + Coconut salad with Prawn
Chef Forest Leung

Now I don't like pomelo actually because my luck with them have been really bad - almost always bitter and yucky. So I stay clear of them and never eat nor order dishes with them in it. However, the boy tried this and told me it was good so I decided to take a leap of faith and try it. Turns out? It was good! The pomelo honestly, wasn't bitter but neither was it very sweet. The salad was refreshing with citrusy tones, crunchy nuts, fresh pomelo, and a crunchy prawn :) 4.2/5

Pissaldiere - onion, anchovies, black olive tart
Chef Daniel Sia

This was the highlight for me! I've never eaten such a combination of savoury ingredients and the taste was very unique! I can't exactly articulate it so you've gotta try it for yourself. Its served on a crispy puff-pastry look alike layer with caramelised onions and the aforementioned ingredients. I wanted to take another slice but there were none left! Also I saw people taking seconds as well :) showing how yummy it is! Sweet salty crunchy all mixed together but no one overpowers any and they all blend and merge beautifully 4.8/5

Deep Fried Seafood Cake with Lemon Mayo and Mango Salad

We didn't manage to try this cos it was already all taken by the time we got there!


This was a very light bowl of laksa! The noodles were very very smooth and extremely slurp-worthy! Love such perfectly cooked noodles! The broth could've a tad stronger coconut taste but it was alright! Spicy level was mild. Prawns were fresh. The egg was slightly molten which I liked. The boy who doesn't like laksa, tried this and said that it was q good! The other chefs also tried this dish and had good comments about it! Also I kept hearing people attending the event saying that the laksa's good :) Sorry but am not sure which chef this came from! 4/5

Compressed watermelon with prawns salad
Chef Yen Koh

This was my 2nd fav dish that night! Sweet juicy watermelon paired with creamy crunchy cubed prawns. I love the taste contrast between the watermelon and the prawns. This was a sweet savoury dish done well! Pity it was such a small portion :( 4.5/5

Pull pork sandwich and wasabi mayo
Mohammad Shahrom

The boy thought that there was a little too much bread for this one. However the pulled pork was flavourful, with a smokey taste that was balanced out by the tangy creamy wasabi mayo. 3.2/5 

Chawanmushi with sea urchin, ikura and chives
Chef Jimmy Chok

The egg was so smooth and I quickly slurped it down along with the uni and the ikura! I really love this chawanmushi! The eggy taste isn't overly strong which is a good thing imo. The uni was okayish sweet but didn't do much for the dish I feel. The ikura gave it texture but again, taste wise nothing to shout about! The egg's really good though by itself :) 3.9/5

Black Forest
Chef Pang Kok Keong

We didn't manage to try this!

Matcha and red bean butter cake
Chef Christopher Tan

This was a little little bit too dense for my liking as I like fluffy, loose cakes. The matcha flavour didn't shine through nor did the red beans have much taste :/ 2.9/5

Okay so that was all the food presented to us at the food tasting, there's still 20+ more dishes we've yet to try! So to try these dishes and to find out yourself how the other 20+ dishes taste like, do make it down for the event!

Now let me give you more information about the beneficiary and Project Happy Feet.

Project Happy Feet is a not-for-profit organisation, started off in 2009 with the aim of empowering underprivileged youths and children by supporting their education and training so that they can break out of poverty. It was established because the two founders, Grace and Deborah, went on a holiday to Cambodia and visited a few schools there. They brought over slippers and stationery for the kids. The response from the kids was extremely heartwarming and it touched their hearts deeply. They came back and told family + friends about their experience and subsequently managed to get 800 pairs of slippers for the kids there. Soon they were receiving more and more money and they decided that they needed to set up a company to maintain transparency, and to embark on greater projects. 

At this point, I must say I am really humbled and inspired by them. I myself have been on OCIP trips quite a few times, but the spark and the experience lingers for awhile and then it dies down in the midst of the hustle and bustle of life. There's no lasting flame that spurs me on to do what they did. Same for my friends. I think its very encouraging and heart-warming to know that people actually do stuff about the things they've seen or felt after an overseas community experience. So they pride themselves on carrying out a signature event per year and their events must be fully sponsored so they actively look for and rope in sponsors for their events! Theirs is a 100% volunteer based organisation and most of them are working with full-time jobs! They now raise funds for mainly kids in Singapore who are under meaningful and sustainable education-related initiatives and programmes run by local non-profit organisations. They have not forgotten their Cambodian roots! They fly back annually to check on the organisation they've selected to benefit in Cambodia and the people involved.

Children's Cancer Foundation is a non-profit organisation with a mission to improve the quality of life of children with cancer and their families through enhancing emotional, social and medical well-being. It is founded in 1992 and they help about 2000 children and their families each year. They have an integrated hospital-home-community service model catering to the symptoms of each patient and their time of presentation. They also conduct therapeutic play, back to school programmes, caregiver/sibling support and many others! Honestly, cancer at such a young age, has many repercussions and it is definitely not something easy to deal with so they really need your help :)

How will this event be carried out? It will be held on 24 August 2014, 4-6pm. So basically 300 tickets will be sold. Each chef will have their own station in the ballroom of Swissotel Merchant Court and they'll be cooking their dishes on the spot! So you just walk around and get whatever you want :) free & easy! I think its amazing that its live cooking and its kinda like a mini market with 13 pop-up food stations!

So in summary! Savouring good food while knowing that the money you paid, 100% goes to Children's Cancer foundation, what could be better than that? You're effectively not paying for your meal but making a donation with a free meal added upon! 

I'm definitely going on the 24th, and hope to see you there! May I also ask a favour from you? Even if you've read this and can't go, please do spread the message!

To read more information or to buy tickets, please visit 

Thank you!

Also thank you to Amantha from Nuffnang who invited me for this media tasting event where I met so many inspirational people :)

Monday, July 28, 2014

2 weeks old: Sela Restaurant!

We came across this restaurant while going for dinner at Tess Bar & Kitchen (review coming up!)

So after dinner at Tess Bar + Kitchen, we decided to hop over to try some of their dishes! Yes, I know you must be thinking "omg how much can these people eat" but well, date nights are meant for eating right? :)

The restaurant's setting is simple but beautiful imo, love that setup in the middle (although it is q common nowadays). Anyhow, there was only 1 other table while we were there. We asked the waitress how new they are, and she said 2 weeks old! 

Sorry the menu is a little blurry! 

They also have a drinks menu that I didn't take a photo of

Baked Miso Chilean Seabass, Edamame, Sweet Peas

This was the item on the menu shouting out to me and I ordered it though I was already full! Boy was I glad I did :) The fish was WONDERFULLY done. Cooked just right, it was fatty, tender, juicy, fragrant and oh so satisfying. The fish was marinated really well, and you can tell that its miso you're eating with the fish! Not many restaurants can achieve this. The miso was not overpowering the sweetness from the fish, don't get me wrong. It was a nice balance of flavours between the two! The skin of the sea bass was crispy and extremely fragrant with the miso! The ikura + sweet peas + edamame were mere additions to the wonderful fish. I did like the texture of bursting ikuras with the fish though! Oh yes there were also potatoes for your much needed carbs :) extremely good fish dish!!! Only wished it were bigger and I had an empty stomach haha 5/5

Pinenut crust lemon tart, fresh cream

So this caught my eye in terms of desserts. However it was a letdown :/ the crust was a little soggy for my liking, not crispy crunchy like the ones that I like. When eaten on its own, you can taste the pine nuts in the crust! But I must applaud them for their creativity though, using pine nuts :) The lemon curd had a little too strong an eggy taste for me so I didn't really like it but the bf thought it was okay! 3/5

Service was v friendly and good plus good ambience and relatively good food, I'll most likely be back!

Sela Restaurant
32 Seah Street
Mon-Sat 630-11pm

Sunday, July 13, 2014

New Restaurant: Follia Italian Restaurant

Incidentally found this new Italian restaurant while browsing through some websites, and decided to give it a try 'cos its menu looked quite interesting! This restaurant took over Rubato's space at Clover Way. I've never been to Rubato so I cannot compare the food standards!

When we reached, we told the staff that we were dining in the restaurant and they promptly freed up a parking lot for us to park in front of the restaurant. Inside, it was relatively quiet when we reached with 2 other tables only and the restaurant's music was barely audible. However more people came after awhile so the silence wasn't that bad. Also, my partner and I just talked as per normal so the silence was okay for us.

We took our time deciding what to order in the rather vast menu and finally settled on the stuff shown below!

Pane Pizza all'Aglio
Fresh hand-streched pizza bread spread with garlic, mixed herbs, olive oil and sea salt & baked to perfection. Served with cherry tomatoes

This pizza bread was AMAZINGLY crispy. But it still retained a tad bit of chewiness and so the texture was a win in my books. Also led me to say "hmm I don't mind coming back here for pizzas" the garlic was fragrant and so were the herbs. Felt like garlic bread haha. This serving was far too much for 2 people and after awhile, the bread got cold, and got a bit boring. So I'd recommend this for 4 people instead! 3.2/5

Bisque di Aragosta
A rich & flavourful soup cooked with assorted crustacean stock, dressed with clams, mussels & fresh river shrimps

Soup: it was so SO rich omg! If this is really purely made with seafood then zomg how much seafood must they have used! It was really super rich! Bordering on too sweet haha.

The seafood: mmm overall freshness was okayish. Some mussels were a bit stinky. That pincer like leg's "thorns" were a bit too sharp for us. Also we had 1 prawn and then 1 flower crab! 3.2/5

Risotto Frutti di Mare e Zucca
Little neck clams, mussels, river shrimp, flower crab, squid & prawns, all sautéed together with garlic & onions, & cooked in white wine tomato sauce dressed on a bed of pumpkin risotto

Actually what attracted us to order this dish was the new pairing of seafood with pumpkin risotto! Okay so firstly the risotto: honestly its too wet. Felt like we were eating porridge! But it was flavourful and yummy. A drier version would've been much nicer though!

Seafood: once again it was okayish. All the seafood esp the flower crab + idk if it was a yabby/crayfish/lobster or what, anyway these 2 items turned v mushy. 3.4/5

Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia
Fresh homemade squid ink pasta, tossed with assorted seafood in a squid ink sauce dressed with char-grilled squid

I've been hunting high and low ever since my previous fav squid ink pasta dishes dropped tremendously in standards. So I was hoping very much that this would be THE one after so long. When the dish arrived, it looked super promising. Dark, murky, thick, fragrant sauce. I had great hopes :)

Next the pasta was made very thin, but flat, and the sauce coated the pasta wonderfully, I got yummy mouthfuls of the sauce each time I had the pasta and it was very easy to twirl it with my fork. I loved the pasta! The texture and the doneness was purrrrfect. However main gripe, TOO SALTY! But after awhile your taste buds just kinda adjust. But again, if it was less salty, this would've been purrrrrfecto! I loved the char-grilled squid and not just normal boiled ones. Adds smokiness to the dish and a bit of crispy with the crunch of the grill. The rest of the seafood was okay. 3.7/5

Orange & White Chocolate Fondant
Freshly baked-to-order & made with fresh orange, & served with vanilla ice cream & strawberry 

Honestly when this first came I was like whutttt such a small size?? It is quite pathetic in terms of size vs price. Also it was a tad overcooked and the "lava" took awhile to flow. There were real wedges of orange inside which is a new thing I suppose. Also the flavour is also a new one! Kudos to creativity :) Did it work? I felt that the taste was okay a little bordering on cough syrup-ish but still okay! 3.1/5

 Dark Chocolate Tart

I'm sorry I don't know how much this costs because it was a special item (i.e. not on the menu) and I threw away the receipt + I didn't look at it so I dont know the price! They have a lemon tart on the menu for $7.90 so am assuming it should be around the same price? Haha. 

The tart: the chocolate was wonderfully dark which I loved. The crust was v thin but wasn't soggy which I initially thought it would be! It held up the thick chocolate ganache well and was still crispy! 
The ice cream: vanilla flavoured but barely any vanilla taste. Instead there was this artificial taste so I barely touched the ice cream and let the boy finish it for me. 
Overall: 3.5/5

Service was good, fast, polite. A couple that sat down before us were told of the daily specials from the menu, a family that sat down after us were also told the same thing. However we weren't told such a thing. Also, when the staff asked if we wanted to have desserts, we said yes and he brought over the menu but didn't tell us the dessert special. It was only after awhile did a lady come up to us and tell us about the chocolate tart. And boy was I glad she did :) 

Ambience: just a very basic simple set up of dark tables + chairs and then a bar at the corner that's about it. Decor wise plain + simple. 

Food wise: Average Italian food! But creative menu that doesn't follow the norm which I admire! There are some more dishes that I would want to try and if I want to go for italian somewhere near and don't mind some okayish food then I would come back again to try the other items and hopefully it'll be better than what I've already tried!

Follia Italian Restaurant
Mon, Wed-Fri, Sunday: 11.45am-3pm, 6-11pm
Saturday: 3-11pm
Closed tuesday
You can book via as well

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Art of Sundays Brunch at Intercontinental Singapore

Hello everyone! 

Yes another buffet post :) With their revamped Sunday Brunch which looked promising, plus a $100 discount, I dragged the boy down for Sunday Brunch!

We were seated diagonally across the live singer who's voice was quite good I must say!

Now on to the spread! Sorry some photos are damn ugly haha

Cold seafood

Oysters! A few kinds 

More cold seafood!

Appetiser section

DIY salads

Japanese Appetisers

Japanese section - sushi

Soba x udon





Desserts part 2

Just some close ups of the desserts:

Complimentary Malay/Indonesian appetisers to start!

There's otak, some beef rendang, some fish curry and I can't remember what the rest were but they were all pretty good


Theirs was quite good, the lobsters are quite fresh and oysters were okay too.

Live station - eggs ben x poached egg w caviar

Live station - pasta cooking

Soft poached egg w caviar

Well barely able to taste the caviar. Nicely poached egg though haha

Roast Beef

I think this was chicken? Not sure sorry!

Pan seared foie gras x onion compote x crisp bread x balsamic

This was a really good rendition!! Fatty foie balanced by sweetness of onion + sweet/sour tinge of balsamic. The bread was really really crispy! Had many servings of this!

This live station can be found near the roast beef section. You just tell the chef how many you like then you can go back to your seat to wait for it/stand around/take other stuff while waiting for your plate of decadence :)

Took pieces of their cod fish, but it was a tad overcooked for me!

The boy had their ravioli with cheese which he said was not bad

Eggs Benedict

The chef put a bit too much hollandaise he felt and didn't really drain the vinegar water (used to poach the egg) away properly so it was a bit wet. 

Roasted pork

He said it wasn't too fatty but not that crispy either!


Don't really see this at buffets! This was a good rendition

Stewed clams

Very sweet broth, clams cooked just nice

Kueh Lapis
Chocolate Royale Hazelnut Crunch
Red velvet
Salted caramel tart
Chocolate pave

The 2 chocolate items in this photo are very similar in terms of taste + texture + components! Both with a mousse and crispy crunchy bottom layer. One was darker chocolate than the other I think it was the smaller one but I'm not sure! It was good though. Didn't try the rest on this plate because I don't like those items! The boy said the salted caramel tart was q good though

Floating Island on Sarawak Pineapple and Ginger Coulis

Fruits x macarons x cheese

They have quite a wide selection of fruits and from what I've chosen their standards are okay! The macarons are very mini (look at it compared to the grapes) so its not substantial enough for me! One mouthful and its gone haha. Was chewy though the shell, which is the kind I like

Generally I would say the variety is okay, a little bit lacking in the mains department. But otherwise the variety is not bad. Quality wise slightly above average.  We didn't really try everything at the buffet! There was also a crepe suzette trolley (but somehow, they never asked us) and a trolley making Irish coffee for you on the spot (quite nice to look at!). The spread is pretty much what I've pictured except for the mains department that had about 10 different mains. Half Western half chinese I would say.

Service was average-splotchy. We told the people who seated us that we weren't taking the champagne option, then another person came to ask us, later on we were poured champagne by another person. Sigh. Then when we presented our discount coupon, different people looked at it to see what it was and whether it was legit. Plates sometimes weren't cleared on time, had to be called over. Water as well. Sometimes hard to get their attention. The place wasn't even full. Chef at the eggs/pasta counter seemed a bit inexperienced/not confident. Wouldn't go back because don't think the spread/quality justifies the price!

Ambience: very nice place to laze the afternoon away with good music and a pretty colonial surrounding!

Art of Sunday Brunch
Lobby Lounge Intercontinental Singapore Level 1
$158++ unlimited champagne, cocktails, selected house wines, soft drinks, irish coffee
$128++ unlimited soft drinks + juices
$58++ per child 3-12years old
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