The White Rabbit

October 2012 is significant for 2 things. The Hari Raya Haji long weekend (mucho amor!) and re-connecting with old friends. In the short span of just a couple of weeks, I've somehow managed to reconnect with 2 old friends whom I've lost touch with over the years.

I first got to know Addie at brownies, I thought she was just the prettiest girl ever and couldn't resist chatting her up. Yes yes, I was a superficial kid: I thought all pretty people were nice. And as they say, the rest is history. We lost contact, however, when she moved to live and work in France. I found out, over facebook, that she's recently moved back to Singapore and that's how we re-connected (and this is why facebook, with its ability to reconnect you with long lost friends, has the least choosiest customers ever). It's heart-warming how, despite the almost decade-long disconnect, we were able to pick up exactly where we left off. We yakked our heads off and were so oblivious to our surroundings that we didn't even realize that we'd stayed way past the opening lunch hours! I'm really liking the service standards at The White Rabbit, they did not once come over to chase us off because the restaurant was closed after lunch. Granted, they stopped refilling our waters once past 3pm, but they did let us sit there , past closing time, without disturbing us.

Although Wild Honey remains our favourite brunch spot, The White Rabbit has at least one truly outstanding dish that makes this a standout brunch option. The small brunch menu consists mostly classics, with a few unique deviations. The food was generally commendable and done well, with nary a wrong step so even if Wild Honey's refined cuisine trumps the rabbit, I'd say that this is a much more tranquil place than the bustling Wild Honey.

We shared everything. The Eggs 'Fry Up' ($24), with eggs that I opted to do sunny side up-style, thick cut bacon, house-made pork and spinach sausages, a whole juicy sauteed portobello mushroom, half a grilled tomato, thick brioche bun, and a piquantly herbed mesclun salad, was executed well. Nothing fancy or particularly stellar, just good ol' fashioned comfort food.

The White Rabbit Mac and Cheese ($28) with spring vegetables and truffle sauce is an absolute MUST-TRY. Pasta was al dente, cheese sauce was rich but not cloying, with the layered, multidimensional taste of different cheese pungency and saltiness, and the truffle jus lent incredible aroma for a woodsy robust finish. I'll return for brunch just for this.

The Belgian Waffles ($16) topped with blueberries, strawberries and whipped cream was also very good, although I hedge on having sweet stuff for breakfast. Thick and fluffy, the waffles were lightly showered with icing sugar. I liked that the maple syrup was served on the side, so we could control the sweetness as we liked.

The White Rabbit
39C Harding Road
Tel: 6473 9965
Open weekdays from 12noon to 2.30pm for lunch and 6.30pm to 10.30pm for dinner
weekends from 11am to 2.30pm for lunch and 6.30pm to 10.30pm for dinner
Closed on Mondays
Website: www.thewhiterabbit.com.sg


Plain Vanilla Bakery Cupcakes

I've recently been let in on a secret. Kang's plan for domination: to get all his friends fat by feeding them all irresistibly yummy cupcakes. That kind of made sense, because he'd recently gifted us with a box of his latest culinary discovery - Plain Vanilla Bakery. Even after I'd been whining about my weight gain!

Ah well, I've come to terms with the fact that I'm one of those who live to eat. Life's short and you don't ever want to kick yourself for not having savored all that life's to offer, right? I'm not advocating obesity, but I think we should stop obsessing about every single calorie and body image issues. The key is moderation. Live to eat, but make sure you live long enough to eat!

Plain Vanilla Bakery is a small-ish establishment that's made quite a splash in the cupcake business scene for churning out really good confectionery. Their cupcakes are dense and moist, with a nuanced sweetness that walks the tightrope between rich and delicate. They've only got the one shop at Holland Village now, but it's great that they do deliveries too! Definitely an added bonus.

Red Velvet ($3.50 per cupcake) You know, I don't quite understand this local obsession with the American classic. Save for its strikingly lush red hue, I don't see how it stands out from the other cupcakes flavours.

Cookies and Cream, the Hubs' favourite.

Chocolate Hazelnut, my favourite flavour, with its intensely rich nutty elements.

Milk Chocolate Banana, this was a little too sweet for our liking. Would have been better with a little walnut accents.

Plain Vanilla Bakery Cupcakes
34A Lorong Mambong
Holland Village
Tel: 6465 5942
Open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 12noon to 8pm
Sundays from 12noon to 6pm
Closed on Mondays
Website: www.plainvanillabakery.com


The Lookout, SICC

We were in the Upper Thomson vicinity getting the Hubs' car fixed after he'd dented it (on this note, it irks me when someone tells me that ALL women are bad drivers, or that ALL men make better drivers than ALL women. While the stereotype is generally true, I think it's awfully presumptuous to prejudice against that generalization. I happen to be acquainted with more than a handful of men who are driving-challenged. *cough cough CC cough) and popped over to the club to spend the quarterly F&B levy. Although we dislike the fact that The Lookout is completely open-air, it is admittedly airy (but a little muggy) and does boast a picturesque view of the sprawling green. Save for a few sweaty golfers enjoying their post-game cigars and wines, the bistro was delightedly empty. It was, afterall, mid-afternoon, when we arrived at the all-day dining spot.

If not for the dining levy, I don't think we'd eat at the club as much as we do. Most of the bistro fare aren't memorably good, and you'd do well to stick to the straightforward local stuff. Best to stay away from the complicated or fancy dishes. This is a policy we try to adhere to while at the club. That said, we've discovered that the club is a wonderful place to chill out, post dinner, over drinks. To be specific, alcoholic drinks. Notwithstanding the less than impressive cuisine, the alcohol here is cheap! And because Pops' place is just a conveniently short stroll away from the club, we tend to end off most of our nights at the clubhouse after family dinners.

The Fried Ikan Papan ($10) was less than super fresh, and despite the deep-frying, reeked of the unmistakeable fishy taste. Worse that the pungently salty sambal cincalok accentuated its fishiness.

The Ayam Curry ($8.20) was easily the best dish for lunch. The Nonya-style chicken curry was creamy and rich and moderately spicy, the standard on par with notable hawker fare. Paired with steamed rice and pappadom, we lapped up the mouth-wateringly good curry. An appetizingly piquant achar cut through the richness with a little tang.

The Weiner Schnitzel ($16.50), a seasonal dish part of the Octoberfest menu, was surprisingly alright. Compacted and dense, this was pleasantly tender, if a tad gamey. Mesclun and lemon wedges provided a lift from the heavier elements of the red meat.

The Lookout
Singapore Island Country Club
180 Island Club Road
Open daily from 6.30am to 10pm


Wild Honey, Scotts Square

Wild Honey recently collaborated with famed Melbourne chef Barry Iddles (to be brutally honest, I'd never heard of the guy until his name popped up on Wild Honey's "Melbourne Does Breakfast" menu) to bring a little touch of the cosmopolitan Victorian state to Singapore's breakfast scene. For 4 days only, Wild Honey featured an eclectic menu that reflected the melting-pot culture of Melbourne. We were very lucky to have been at the right place, at the right time (we were both on leave, yes, we got a headstart on the long weekend...yippee! And we'd just viewed another property so we were in the area), to sample the "limited edition" dishes. Even if I still have no idea who this Aussie dude is, his food's awesome! I loved how the dishes were creative and innovative but worked so naturally well you end up wondering how you didn't think of it in the first place. It was all about freshness of ingredients, a restrained hand with the seasoning, and the unexpectedly brilliant marrying of flavours.

As per our previous visit, we walked in without any reservations. There were tables available on the balcony, and we didn't mind taking those. It's been raining all day and it was a cool day to be outdoors, watching the crowd below scuttle by.

Service was great as usual - cheery, professional and sincere. The waiter took the time to explain all of the "limited edition" dishes and proferred his personal preferences as viable options. I suppose we do scrutinize the service standards of this establishment a little more than anywhere else, due to their, erm, less-than-stellar track record, but I'm glad to report that we couldn't find major lapses in service despite being putting them under the microscope.

The Boulevard St Michel ($22), a thick fluffy French toast layered with a double baked cheese and spinach souffle, parmesan crusted poached egg, grilled bacon, topped off with a slow roasted tomato and dressed with an onion chutney was the perfect marriage of flavours and textures. It all just blended together just right - a little salty, a little tangy, a little sweet, a little smoky.

The Flamenco ($19) was the Aussie way of bringing the Spanish culture to the Singapore plate. Fresh sweet juicy corn was folded with ricotta into fluffy scrambled eggs and laid on toasted sourdough with grilled chorizo. So simple but so awesomely good. I'm inspired to throw in a handful of sweet corn kernels everytime I scramble up some eggs from now onwards. A couple of roasted vine tomatoes finished this off nicely.

As usual, we paired our eggs with a Latte ($6). I love drinking something hot and frothy on a cool wet day. This was such a comfort - creamy and full-bodied, though they could definitely improve on the coffee art.

Wild Honey
6 Scotts Road
Scotts Square #03-01
Tel: 6636 1816
Open Sundays to Thursdays from 9am to 9pm;
Fridays to Saturdays from 9am to 10pm
Website: www.wildhoney.com.sg


Moo Bar & Grill

We wanted to eat at SPRMRKT but it was filled to the brim with diners so we headed to the air-conditioned eateries opposite. Moo Bar & Grill had a very attractive 1-for-1 promotion and it seemed a popular enough lunch option. As it turns out, the 1-for-1 promo is really the entire reason for the restaurant's popularity. At full-on prices, the quality isn't up to par. But, with prices halved, the portions seem twice as generous, you become twice as forgiving and the entire meal appears doubly value-for-money.

But, as expected, the downside of a busy restaurant is the resultant choppy service. It took a good half hour before our mains arrived. Our iced waters arrived after 2 reminders and when we were halfway through our mains. 

The Oven Baked 'Beer Can' Free Range Chicken ($30) with rosemary and a beer-infused pullet was too dry and lacking in taste, even if the portion was generous and could easily feed 2. The free refill of truffle mash was the best thing about this dish. As i've said before, truffles are the best!

The kitschy beer can stuffing. We couldn't quite taste the beer accents though.

The Grilled Fillet of Chicken Thigh ($16) with a lemon and rosemary spice rub was much better than the beer can chicken. Juicy and tender, albeit a little ordinary and pedestrian. A mild gravy of smoked jus provided additional lubrication, while sides of tangy fruit salsa and steak frites rounded off the dish.

The Giant Bangers and Mash ($18) was a tad disappointing. The sausages turned out to be ordinary hotdogs, like those generic supermarket brands types, lacking in texture. So, despite the seemingly impressive 2 x 1ft length, it was a little underwhelming. We liked the truffle mash and sweetish onion rosemary jus though.

In addition to their 1-for-1 promotion, all mains arrive with a Soup-of-the-Day, i.e. a cream of potato and leek which was a little too watery and generically can-based.

or a Salad. If this was the standard of free starters, I'd rather they save the trouble and just keep the truffle mash refillable. Much better use of resources, methinks.

The unappetizingly browning lettuce edges. More quality control is definitely required to ensure that the greens served are fresh.

Moo Bar & Grill
21 McCallum Street
#01-06 The Clift
Tel: 6634 2662
Open daily from 9am to 11pm
Website: www.moo.com.sg


Kith Cafe, Park Mall

Kith Cafe at Park Mall is the second offshoot of the original at Robertson Quay. Unlike its original, this one's a collaboration with Xtra, which probably explains their eclectic and ultra stylish furniture. We'd stumbled upon Kith Cafe one afternoon after furniture-shopping at Xtra (we love their stuff!).

For those who can't decide between the 2 outlets, this second branch has a distinct advantage over the picturesque riverside original. It's got a wider menu and larger space. Plus, you can indulge in a little furniture shopping afterwards!

Despite the many rave reviews, we found Kith Cafe a little underwhelming. The food's a mix of hit and misses. Pleasantly rustic and unpretentious vibes, but the cooking's a little uneven and inconsistent. Also, the place is usually packed so remember to make reservations or be prepared to wait.

The Green Eggs ($14), a kitschy nod to Dr Suess' literary classic, isn't as gross as it sounds. Basil pesto provide the green elements to scrambled eggs, while pesto-dressed cherry tomatoes are served alongside toast and homemade strawberry jam. The deceptively ugly jam was fabulous - wholesome and fruity and sweet. A perfect complement to the thick buttery brioche. The eggs didn't fare as well, they were undercooked, so instead of being fluffy and light, these were mushy and waterlogged.

The Big Breakfast ($15.50), with 2 scrambled eggs, bacon, smoked bratwurst (these were my favourite supe brand of Johnsonvilles!), sauteed mushrooms, half a grilled tomato, toast and strawberry jam, also suffered the same hiccup with the green eggs. The eggs definitely needed half a minute longer in the pan.

The extra sides of Sauteed Mushrooms ($3) and Honey Baked Ham ($3.50) were standard, average, run-of-the-mill fare, but a little stingy in portion.

The nice thing about Kith Cafe is its lazy, relaxed vibe, you don't feel a need to eat-and-quickly-go. We lingered over lattes and iced mochas, and Straight Cut Fries ($6.50) dressed with rosemary, parsley and parmesan. Hated the parsley, loved the rosemary.

Kith Cafe
9 Penang Road
#01-01E Park Mall
Tel: 6338 8611
Open daily from 8am to 10pm
Website: kith.com.sg


Preparazzi Bar Gourmet

Preparazzi is a new restaurant that's opened up along Boon Tat Street.  Apparently, the head chef used to be a private caterer who won some competition and got this one-year-rent-free restaurant space as a result.

Preparazzi's food is "mod Sin", i.e. modern Singaporean. This is really just cool-speak for fusion fare - an Asian twist on western classics. In their attempt to be innovatively cool, it seems that they've fallen flat. We found the main courses generally pedestrian, forgettable and average, but the cupcakes were really quite yummy. Service was great - friendly and warm, though not enough to save the lackluster dining experience. I don't think any of us will be back anytime soon.

That's the thing. I don't like try-hards (this applies to people as well btw). Just be damn good at the simple, straightforward stuff, instead of being the CMI amateurish player in the big leagues.

We didn't expect the Warm Duck Confit Salad ($12.90) to be this huge! This definitely makes for a meal in itself. Romaine, cherry tomato, beetroot, cucumber, and carrots were laden with strips of duck breast and drizzled with a spiced curry honey mustard dressing. The duck had a hint of gameiness and even with the generous portion, I didn't think this was worth its pricetag. Fresh+ does much better greens with much more competitive price edges.

The Miso Cod ($15.90), with calrose rice, honshimeiji, asparagus, stacked in a pool of ginger miso broth, is really just standard, run-of-the-mill, Asian "mui fan" with a western plating style. Alright but not memorably so.

The XO Crumb Salmon ($14.90) with avocado, potato mash, corn, tomato salsa, and grilled lemon, was uneven. Despite its enticing description, it was devoid of any XO taste, and the salmon was less than sparkling fresh. 

The Spicy Prawn Spaghetti ($13.90), with sambal chilli, tomato sauce, garlic and white wine, looked and tasted like a Pastamania dish, which, by the way, isn't a compliment. At least Pastamania's prices are in line with the quality of their food. The spaghetti was overcooked and the sauce was generic.

The 48 Hours Beef Ragu Spaghetti ($13.90), with minced beef, tomato, pinto beans, and parmesan shaving didn't fare much better. Equally forgettable and amateurish.

The Mushroom Aglio Olio Spaghetti ($12.90) with cherry tomato confit, garlic, spicy bean paste, and button mushroom, was marginally better than the other 2 saucey pastas. At least this was simple straightforward fare. Pasta was still overcooked though.

The Truffle Fries ($9.90) were possibly the best dish of all that we had. Crisp, flavoursome and aromatic, these were snapped up in seconds. Once again, my theory that truffle makes anything better holds true!

The Cupcakes ($4 each) were really quite good, dense, moist and rich, even if they weren't super pretty. Remember to let the staff know, when ordering, if it's someone's birthday or celebrating any special occasion, you'll get a personalized complimentary dessert. Clockwise from top left: Chocolate and caramel (we loved the kitschy caramel-filled syringe!); strawberry; raspberry and white chocolate.

Preparazzi Bar Gourmet
29 Boon Tat Street
Tel: 6220 0629
Open Mondays to Saturdays from 11am to 11pm
Website: preparazzi.sg



SPRMRKT (otherwise known as SuPeRMaRKeT, but without the vowels) is one of those places that seems to exist in a different dimension, a parallel universe such that you don't realize that it's there even if you're right in front of it. It was only after I read a couple of good reviews about SPRMRKT, that I realized that I've actually walked past it several times. I guess I never really had the impetus to go in because of its nondescript entrance and facade. I mean, I've got friends who've been there to eat and yet do not know its name. Throw in the distractingly snaking long queues of the locals buying 4D at the 7-11 next door and you've got a recipe for invisibility.

Gotta really thank the blogosphere for informing about SPRMRKT, would never have discovered this gem of a cafe otherwise. Despite its bustling CBD locale, the small-ish cafe is surprisingly laidback and relaxed. Here, it seems like time passes a little slower than the world outside, a calm respite from the hassles of work. The turnover isn't high and people really do take their time to savour their food and linger a bit over coffee. I really like the ambience here.

Their menu, whilst decidedly limited (there are only 3 mains everyday to choose from), rotates on a daily basis. This way, there's no food wastage, but you still get to sample a somewhat extensive menu. Also, their menu is overhauled every few months. Putting aside their ever-changing menu concept, I found that their food is honest, straightforward and unpretentious.

The Beef Lagsana ($16) was hearty, wholesome and one of the best ones I've had. Generous in portion too. I was stuffed by the time I was done with this. The bolognese was rich and meaty, with enough cheese to hold the layers together without being too rich. Good, old-fashioned, comforting flavours.

The Grilled Zucchini and Eggplant Croissant Sandwich ($10) was a vegetarian's dream. Soft mushy slices of grilled vegetables were dressed in a tangy spicy tomato and basil paste with olive oil, matched with peppery mesclun and sandwiched in a buttery croissant.

2 McCallum Street
Tel: 6221 2105
Open Mondays to Fridays from 8am to 9pm;
Saturdays from 9am to 4pm
Closed on Sundays
Website: www.sprmrkt.com.sg


La Cantine by Bruno Menard

Update November 2015: The restaurant has closed down, and replaced by Folks Collective. 

Friends know that I generally stay away from any new restaurant, until after its first year of operations. By then, the so-popular-have-to-make-reservations-one-month-in-advance crowds would have dissipated, and the restaurant would have ironed out any kinks in service and food. However, I broke my visit-a-restaurant-only-after-passing-first-year-survival-test for La Cantine, the newly opened three-Michellin starred Bruno Menard's second foray into our local shores (the first being &Made). I think it was really because the restaurant's within easy walking distance from my office, which made it a really convenient spot for October's L.A. Lunch.

For a restaurant that's just opened in September, I was surprised by how much they've got their act together. Service was unbelievably smooth, genuinely friendly, efficient, and worked seamlessly like a well-oiled machine. And, despite our large lunch group of 20, the food was churned out really quickly.

We ALL loved the food (yes, even the fuss-pot Professor gave his stamp of approval). For a set lunch (it changes daily depending on whatever's available in the market to ensure freshness) that only cost $39++, we were all stuffed and left with satisfied, sated bellies. Possibly the most value-for-money set lunches around, boasting both quality and quantity.

I'm glad I broke my visit-a-restaurant-only-after-passing-first-year-survival-test for this. It was truly a pleasure to witness, first-hand, the early days and making of a success story that is La Cantine. If this is what it can do in its early days, just imagine what they can do in the future, given the benefit of time and experience.

We kicked off lunch with a teacup of Asparagus Gazpacho & Shrimp Tartar, thick and smooth in consistency, refreshing with a crisp finish.

The Roasted Pork Collar was awesome, tender and moist and meaty and flavoursome, slathered in a creamy mustard pickle sauce that was enlivened by arugula and baby parsley. I appreciated that this was portioned just perfectly, generous enough to not feel cheated but not too big that you'd be too full to walk back to the office.

The other option of a Cod with Potatoes was delicate, an exercise in restrain. A creamy, plain-ish sauce dressed the potatoes and cod chunks, while paprika and peppery arugula lent spice to the dish.

The Truffle Macaroni was the best part of lunch. Al dente pasta, with just the right balance of creamy and cheesy, was dressed with truffle oil/salt and parmesan and served in a tiny ramekin. If the pork wasn't filling enough, this would certainly do the trick.

The trio of desserts were delicious as well, from right to left, Vanilla Creme Brulee, soft Chocolate Macaron, Petit Pot with lemon jelly, vanilla espuma & blood orange sorbet. If I had to choose, my vote has got to go to the petit pot. A refreshingly light confection that blended sour, sweet and creamy elements really well.

The Bread Basket with crusty banana-infused (more like banana-scented..we could smell it but not taste it) baguette, refillable, and complimentary of course.

La Cantine
#01-01 Asia Square Tower 1
8 Marina View
Tel: 6690 7567
Open weekdays from 12noon to 2.30pm for lunch; 6pm to 9.30pm for dinner
Saturdays for private bookings only
Closed on Sundays
Website: lacantine.sg


Wild Honey, Scotts Square

We finally visited to Wild Honey! To be honest, we've resisted going to Wild Honey because of all the horror stories regarding their abysmal service standards (and, to be blunt, primarily due to the "preferential treatment of ang mohs debacle"). However, we were pleasantly surprised when we recently visited the Scotts Square branch for brunch. While the restaurant consisted a predominantly white crowd, we didn't sense any preferential treatment towards the "fairer race". In fact, we found that service was professional, efficient, knowledgeable (they knew their specials and menu inside out) and reasonably polite. Not super warm, but as polite as Singapore service standards go.

Also, despite negative reports of long snaking queues for tables, we managed to find counter seats for us both immediately without any reservations. On a Saturday at noon, no less! Still, it may be prudent to make reservations.

As with most brunch places, there's that inevitable pretentiousness in the air. But, as long as you're with good company, it really shouldn't bother you. Even if you're dining alone, there are magazines (yes, even the "low-brow" ones like Maxim) everywhere to keep you occupied.

Even if the pretentiousness does bother you, you'll immediately forgive Wild Honey because their stuff is really quite fantastic! Refined elegant cooking. Well, as refined as breakfast eggs can get, I suppose. This is definitely going on my favourites list. The breakfast dishes are all named after the city it originates, like how the "Aussie" will feature Australian steak and eggs, and how eggs benedict with prosciutto is classically "European" cuisine.

I like my breakfast done the English ($24) way, which is basically the full works with heavenly scrambled eggs (these managed an incredible fluffiness that wasn't assisted by the heavy taste of cream), back bacon, a chunkily textured Cumberland pork sausage, juicy sauteed mushrooms, Dad's baked beans (enlivened with bacon and chili flakes), breakfast potatoes, grilled vine ripened tomatoes and 2 slices of their signature buttery brioche. Hearty solid stuff.

The Brusceta ($22) a seasonal off-menu special, was as good as it sounded. Crisp-as-a-cracker bacon (just the exact way the Hubs loves it), perfectly poached eggs, woodsy sauteed mushrooms were layered on an aromatic flavoursome foccacia. A overloaded twist on the classic bruschetta that was just mouthwateringly delicious. A vinaigrette-dressed rocket salad provided the obligatory greens without compromising on taste.

The Sauteed Shitake and Button Mushrooms ($6) were simply seasoned with salt and pepper to leave the focus on the naturally juicy flavour of the fungi, then sprinkled with chives for an uplifting freshness.

Wild Honey
6 Scotts Road
Scotts Square #03-01
Tel: 6636 1816
Open Sundays to Thursdays from 9am to 9pm;
Fridays to Saturdays from 9am to 10pm
Website: www.wildhoney.com.sg


Honeymoon Dessert, Vivocity

From the first mouthful of the mango sago pomelo with black glutinous rice dessert at Hui Lau Shan, the Hubs became a fan for life. So, every time we spy a Chinese/Hong Kong dessert stall, we make it a point to check it out, in the hope that we can find a substitute. Just so we don't have to hop onto a plane just to satisfy the Hubs' craving.

Like Hui Lau Shan, Honeymoon Dessert has its roots in Hong Kong and serves up a veritable range of Cantonese desserts. Despite the wide selection of sweets, we couldn't find the same dessert as the Hubs' fave at Hui Lau Shan.

We eventually settled for the Mango Pomelo Sago ($5.90) and topped it up with a scoop of Ice-Cream ($1). This fell short of our expectations. Too much condensed milk was added to this, so instead of a refreshingly light dessert tinged with sweetness, you get a heavily creamed, saccharine concoction. They should have just done away with the condensed milk for a cleaner, clearer taste.

The Double Boiled Milk with Baked Walnut and Almond ($5.50) wasn't half bad, even if I was reluctant to try it in the first place. The warm milk was light and plain, and had an old-school comforting flavour to it. The duo of diced walnuts and almond slices lent crunch while a drizzling of honey provided a little sweetness.

Honeymoon Dessert
1 Harbourfront Walk
#01-93 Vivocity
Tel: 6376 8027
Open daily from 10am to 10pm


Singapore Turf Club Committee Box

It's been years since I was last at the Singapore Turf Club. While I'm far from the gambler type (I'm so risk averse I don't even play the "junior league" 10-cent-bets-only blackjack with my cousins over Chinese New Year), I do enjoy hanging out with my colleagues, even if it's at the faraway and inaccessible Singapore Turf Club (we took an hour and a half to get there from the city!). Plus, it's not like I have to squeeze with the predominantly retirees crowd at the spectator stands, all betting their CPF withdrawals away. Instead, we got to watch the races in the air-conditioned comfort of the committee box, where a small buffet kept those of us who are risk-averse occupied.

The highlight of the evening was definitely getting into the behind-the-scenes parade field, where we got to see the horses and their jockeys circling round the parade track, just before each race. I suppose this kind of "insider experience" would have some benefit for serious gamblers (you get to see the jockeys interacting with their horses, the way they move, all of which help to determine a winning bet, you see).

The buffet was mostly awful, with a couple of barely passable dishes, and we've realized that it's really just bad country club food. People don't really go to there to eat, they go there to socialize and network. To see and be seen. The cooked a la minute food stations generally fared better. This rule of thumb worked the last time I attended at the turf club as well.

The Fuzhou Fishball Macaroni Soup was run of the mill local fare. Standard stuff you'd find at a food court. Generic fish based stock and a relatively bouncy minced meat-filled fishball, crunchy greens and elbow pasta made for a full but not quite satisfying meal.

The best part of the Fried Risotto Balls with Curry Sauce was the breadcrumbed crust. This really was like fried glutinous rice, stuffed with a bit of minced mushrooms for flavour.

Singapore Turf Club
Committee Box
1 Turf Club Avenue
Singapore Racecourse


Broadcast HQ

Broadcast HQ is a collaboration between 40 Hands and Tippling Club so there's supposedly good pedigree behind this multi-concept spot. The rustic place, with its deliberately unfinished decor, smoothed cement floors, exposed red brick walls and backpacker-favoured Little India locale makes Broadcast HQ the offbeat kind of place that quirky individuals will love.

The adjoining music records shop, and upstairs bar and club, further lend credence to the indie rocker vibe of this place. There are headphones for personal listening at every table as well, although I have no idea why anyone would prefer listening to music, which is quite the anti-social thing to do, over meaningful conversations with their lunch/dinner mate(s). I guess I'll never understand why some people spend their entire dinner tweeting or facebook-ing their online friends instead of actually talking to their dinner companions. What's the point of going out with your friends for dinner if you're gonna ignore them and spend the entire time on chatting on twitter/fb?!?

Finding parking at the very limited parallel parking only Little India stretch requires more luck than gambling at the IRs so you may want to turn into Kelantan Lane, off Jalan Besar, and park at the multi-storey carpark, then walk over to Broadcast HQ. Broadcast HQ is closer to the Jalan Besar end than the Little India side anyway.

Also, it's probably prudent to make reservations because it's quite popular.While the coffee certainly lived up to its heritage, the food was a bit of a hit-and-miss. Service, though, was pleasantly upbeat and energetic, like Energizer Bunny on steroids. It's probably the kickass coffee and alternative rock music blasting throughout the restaurant.

I'd heard so much about the truffled mac & cheese so it was quite the letdown at first bite. The Crack & Cheese with Truffle ($16) was a lot milder than we'd expected. It lacked the layered depth and creamy richness of really good mac & cheese. It didn't help that the truffle taste was too faint. And, at $16 a pop for a relatively tiny portion, this was a tad overpriced. Nice, but lacking in oomph.

The star of the Broadcast St Louis-Style Ribs ($30) has gotta be the Miso and Black Pepper (orangey hued side) and Tamarind with Maple Syrup (darker tinged side) sauces. Unique and lip-smackingly good, the miso black pepper had a finger-licking umami Asian flavour while the tamarind maple syrup had a more intensely smoky tangy sweetness. Marinated well, the flavour soaked right into the bones but the ribs would have benefited from another half hour on the grill. The meat, while delectably fatty, didn't have the requisite fall-off-the-bone tenderness. The masala bean stew was a very welcome unique on the typical baked beans accompaniment as the Indian spice mix enlivened the beans. Pickled cucumber and a corn kernel-sweetened coleslaw completed the fit-for-2-big-eaters ensemble.

The Latte ($5.50) was thick and rich and full-bodied and creamy. If you love your coffee strong, this would be it.

For an occasional coffee drinker like me, the Iced White Coffee ($6.50) would probably suit you better. This was still rich and creamy, but not as strong and potent like the latte.

Broadcast HQ
109 Rowell Road
Tel: 6292 4405
Open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 6pm to 12midnight
Thursdays and Fridays from 6pm to 1am
Saturdays from 12noon to 1am
Sundays from 12noon to 10pm
Closed on Mondays
Website: www.broadcasthq.com

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