Prego's got a new chef in town, and his name is Chef Samuele Boudiono. To tie in with the chef's rustic Tuscan cooking style, the chic restaurant has also been transformed into a bustling Sunday market, Italian countryside-style.

A very enticing 4-course Set Dinner, exhibiting the best of Chef Samuele's creations, costs only $55 so we opted to have that and order another main off the ala carte menu.

Instead of the usual bread basket, a thick wedge of Ciabatta is now individually served alongside a ricotta cheese and olive tapenade in olive oil emulsion.

I particularly loved the medley of flavours in this emulsion, with aromatic olive oil, mild ricotta and rich piquant mashed green olives balancing out each other beautifully.

For starters, we chose the Forest Mushroom & Parmesan Soup with White Truffle Oil over the arugula salad. 

We couldn't quite taste the truffle oil, but this had a very wholesome, earthy, homestyled appeal to it.

For the Pasta course, we chose the Spinach and Buffalo Ricotta Ravioli with Amalfi Lemon and Mint. There were only 3 dumplings but this was a 4-course dinner afterall, and portions are purposely kept smaller than if you were to order the ala carte versions.

The zesty lemony sauce played up the cheesy spinach pasta dumplings wonderfully, deliberately making this a very light dish.

The other set dinner pasta choice was correspondingly available on the ala carte menu, so we also got the Prawn & Saffron Risotto with Fennel Fronds ($22) off the ala carte menu. I loved this, risotto was done perfectly al dente, with saffron lending a sunny hue, onions and fennel provided a lift from the starchy creaminess of the arborio rice. Prawns were firm and sweet.

For the main course, we opted to have the Pan-Seared Seabass with Olive Oil Tapenade, Tomato & Eggplant. This tasted a little like cod, oily and moist, but very fresh and with a clean clear taste. I couldn't see the eggplant either but it was just as well. I hate eggplant.

The dessert was the Tiramisu, fluffy, light-as-air mousse, mild mascarpone, and rich aromatic coffee.

Level 1, Fairmont Singapore
80 Bras Basah Road
Tel: 6431 5156
Open daily for breakfast from 6am to 11am, lunch from 11.30am to 2.30pm and dinner from 6.30pm to 10.30pm


Jane Thai Food

Update September 2016: Jane Thai has moved east to 41 East Coast Road, at 6966 5187, open Mons to Sat from 11.30am to 2.30pm; 5.30pm to 10.30pm

Of all my best men, Long is the most difficult to catch up with because he works the longest hours. And also because he's the hardest worker lah. So as soon as he gets a little free time, I'll make room for him in my schedule to meet up. This time round, the Fiance came along to have dinner with us, and we brought Long to have Thai food at Orchard Towers. It's cheap, authentic and always such a "colourful" experience eating at the populated-with-katoeys-and-American-military-men and filled-with-go-go-bars-and-massage-parlours shopping centre.

As usual, we tried ordering the Pandan Chicken ($10), which is seldom available (the menu does state that you need to check for availability of this popular dish). And today of all days, it was! 

Juicy morsels of tender flavoursome chicken, lightly spiced for a bit of kick, were wrapped in pandan leaves for extra aroma.

We also got the Tom Yum Talay ($10) the classic Thai spicy seafood soup with plentiful mussels, prawns, squid, fish. Very spicy and very sour. They sometimes tone down the spice level of their dishes, so you've got to specify that you can take the heat if you prefer your food spicier.

At the waitress' recommendation, we ordered the BBQ Pork ($10) which was deceptively delicious. The well-marinated pork slices was grilled to a smoky perfection, but it wasn't dried out. It was still moist on the inside with a delectable charred exterior.

Jane Thai Food
400 Orchard Road
#04-30 Orchard Towers
Tel: 9054 4219
Open 6pm to 4am


SICC Bukit Room

The good thing about the Bukit Room is that the service here is exceptional although there's no service charge. It's also really quiet on weekdays so it's really relaxing and peaceful to dine here after hitting the gym. Plus, it's about the only place we can indulge in sharks fin soup without burning a hole through our pockets.

We were obviously in a seafood mood, so we first had Live Prawns Drunken with Herbs ($28). Prawns were fresh and sweet, but the herbal soup wasn't that great. It was just lacking in that wholesome fragrance and depth that Jumbo's version is so famous for. But at only $28, we couldn't really complain.

We also had the Wok-Fried Homemade Beancurd ($15), smooth custard-like plain beancurd slathered in a luxuriously rich gooey oyster sauce gravy flavoured by Honshimeiji Mushrooms and Dried Scallops.

We also got a Steamed Soon Hock ($56) Hong Kong Style. Fish was fresh and steamed just right, so it was still moist and soft, and it was drenched in a very delicate, soy and sesame oil concoction. I liked that the soy sauce was really very light and not very salty, so it was a wonderful complement to the mild clear taste of the fish.

The Braised Sharks Fin Soup ($36) with Dried Scallops and Golden Mushrooms is probably the cheapest around. This was thick, rich and nicely accented by enoki mushrooms, egg drops and the umami flavours of properly shredded dried scallops.

The sharks fins was the authentic version, no fake sharks fin served here. And they were really generous with the fins so you get chunks of it every spoonful.

Bukit Room
Singapore Island Country Club
Bukit Location
Tel: 6461 7425/6
Open daily for lunch from 11.30am to 2.30pm,
Mondays to Thursdays and Sundays for dinner from 6.30pm to 10.30pm
Fridays Saturdays and eve of Public Holidays for dinner from 6.30pm to 11pm


Melt The World Cafe

No stayover at the Mandarin Oriental would be complete without having breakfast at their award-winning buffet restaurant, Melt The World Cafe ($48+). To be perfectly honest, all I really wanted was my scrambled eggs and bacon. But at Melt, we got more than just eggs and bacon. We liked most items, though, admittedly, it really wasn't that difficult to like classic breakfast fare like breads, cereal, sausages, eggs and bacon. So, unless I've commented that the food wasn't up to par, you can assume that it was good. Or at the very least, ordinary. The fare was extensive, but not the most comprehensive I've seen. Still, the breakfast was one of the better ones around, in terms of quality and variety.

We started off with the Cold Cuts and Cheeses section.

My fave cold cut was of course the Parma Ham, with its silky smooth ribbon-ish texture and mild salty flavour.

The Fiance's fave was the Honey Baked Ham

Beef Salami

Chicken and Mushroom Ham

Smoked Ham

Turkey Ham


Cheese Table with Grapes

Breadsticks and Table Wafers to complement the cheeses

Soba Noodles and various accompaniments

Various salads, Pasta Salad, Beetroot Salad and Kimchi (non-spicy and spicy)

A Mix-Your-Own-Salad Station

Tomato Salad and Carrot & Raisin Salad

'The Healthy Breakfast Corner, consisting a couple of salads, grapefruit, a few cheeses

The Homemade Healthy Bakeries Section, with low sugar breakfast muffins and banana bread, gluten free herb, tomato and white breads, and trans-fat free breads.

Homemade Muesli, with organic rolled oats, dried blue berries, almonds, pumpkin seeds, golden raisins, dried apricots, pistachios, dried figs and walnuts.

Assorted Pre-Made Bircher Muesli and Strawberry and Apricot Yoghurt. I liked that they were in tiny portions and covered with a plastic lid for hygiene purposes.

Vegetarian Lassi using green capsicum, bitter gourd, green apple, celery and cucumber, Skim Milk and Blueberry Oatmeal

Mix-Your-Own-Yoghurt, with freshly diced dragonfruit, papayas, watermelon, jackfruit and pears.

Assorted Cereal, Honey Stars, Cornflakes, Oats, Koko Krunch

Smoked Seafood Station with Smoked Mackerel, Smoked Salmon, and cream cheese and pickles for accompaniment. 

Chilled Seafood, Poached Prawns with Lemons

Indian Food Station

Chick Pea Curry

Curried Potatoes

Lentil Curry

Crispy Prata

Deep Fried Flatbread (puri)

Pancakes (thosai)

Upama, a South Indian snack of curried cream of rice


Indian dessert of Gulab Jamun, a deep fried flour ball dipped in syrup. This is strictly for the sweet-toothed.

The Chinese Food Section with Plain and Chicken Porridge

Fried Noodles and Fried Rice

Fried Dim Sum, Spring Rolls and Wantons

Noodle Station, where the noodle-of-the-day was Seafood Noodle Soup, and you get to pick your preferred noodles

The Japanese Area with Miso Soup and its various condiments

Grilled Chicken Teriyaki

The Omelette Station, where you get to pick what you want to stuff into your omelette. This is where you get your eggs sunny side up and scrambled eggs as well.

My omelette had peppers, mushrooms, ham and cheese. YUMS.

Eggs Benedict

The egg was perfectly poached and runny. 

Veal Sausage

Chicken Sausage

My favourite was the Pork Sausage, with its chunky meaty texture and richer flavour.

Back Bacon

Streaky Bacon

The Honey-Maple Glazed Ham was very good, moist, salty, with a slightly smoky sweetish accent.

Potato Pancake Patties, this was like a gourmet version of hashbrowns.

Roasted Potatoes

Grilled Tomatoes

Muffins and Honeycomb

Waffle and Pancake Station with its mind-boggling array of jams, peanut butter, fudge, and toppings

Sweet Pastries

My fave fruit danishes, with raspberry

Peach and Blueberry Danish


Sliced Breads and Bagels for toasting

Fruit Compotes

Mixed Fruit Compote

Freshly Cut Fruits

Dessert mousses served in tiny cups so you get to try everything.

Dessert of Aloe Vera topped with a sweetened fruit of strawberry, peach or lychee.

Melt The World Cafe
Mandarin Oriental Hotel
Level 4
5 Raffles Avenue
Marina Square
Tel: 6338 0066
Website: www.mandarinoriental.com/singapore/
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