boCHINche Brunch: a home-run of bold Argentinian flavors

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It's right before the break of dawn that I start to think about breakfast. Weekend brunch if you'd like to be specific. One that my mind drifts back to ever so often was my experience at boCHINche while it was still tucked away in the lush enclaves of Martin Road (read my experience here) - the classic Proveleta is a predictable order, oldie but gratifying nonetheless.

For those of you who don't already know, boCHINche had made a move to the dynamic precinct of Amoy street about half a year ago, sporting a more sleek and intimate outlook amidst several other changes. The weekend brunch menu, too seeing some revisions yet retaining some of the old classics. Take the Empanadas for example; days of the thick crusted 'curry pok' have changed and the pastry recipe has been swapped out for a flakier variant with a slight puff like consistency. Spinach, goat cheese, raisins and pine nuts ($6) is a product of those pre-dinner daydreams and is really good in my opinion leading up to the main brunch affair.

[NEW] Soi Thai Soi Nice: Don't judge a book by its cover

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I must admit my prejudices at the start of this excursion. The mention of Atmosphere Bistro sending shivers down my spine (read here for the full experience);  though slightly irrelevant in this circumstance, Soi Thai Soi Nice is the latest addition to the food and beverage group, SIMYEE Holdings that manages both Atmosphere Bisto and Shin Sapporo Ramen. The latter, enjoying a slightly more favourable response from yours truly.

What struck me at their most recent attempt, Soi Thai Soi Nice, was "the inverse relationship between Instagram friendliness and deliciousness." (What I ate wasn't unpretty, but it wasn't a mad-dash attempt to be an instagram whore and boy, was it highly delicious.) Headed by Chef Worawong Phairat from Bangkok with 19 years of experience under his belt, including rigourous training under a head-chef who cooked for Thai royalty - it was no wonder that the restaurant offers authentic Thai dishes, some of which you wouldn't recognise from your run-off-the-mill Thai restaurant menu.

RedRing Treasures: Chicken Cutlet Noodles in the heart of town

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If RedRing Treasure was born out of a moment of Eureka!; boy would I not have surprised. Especially given the founding family's deep rooted history in engineering. But for a fact that the business was the successful product of a young culinary talent's tenacity in the kitchen and his parents unwavering trust and support in his work; did it struck a chord in my heart.

Birds of a Feather: Contemporary Szechuan cuisine in cafe settings || You should flock to this one.

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Birds of a Feather along Amoy Street is anything but unassuming. What really impresses me about the store is it's depth and differing vibes with every crook and cranny. The front section is seemingly formal, similar to Bochinche; traverse your way in the direction of the kitchen and you'll find a specific zone awashed with the warm glow flooding in from the skylight above head. The ginormous mounds of wood employed as table tops flanked by tufts of greenery and lush fern. Mesmerizing. Tucked away in the space behind is a large communal table equipped with power-points flushed into corners - perfect for impromptu meetings or long mulling sessions accompanied with a good cuppa joe or perhaps a cheeky afternoon cocktail. Befitting of that restorative settings is a food menu like non-other I've seen; contemporary Szechuan cuisine served cafe style. Now, you really ought to give it a go.

Pollen @ Gardens by the Bay: New Year, New Chef

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Since it's the start of a new year, I decided that it was timely that I disclosed one of my favourite eats of year 2016. That being the profound modesty of Chef Steve Allen and the new culinary direction he has Pollen embarked on.

Novelty is a major lure for me and this is enhanced by a personalised buggy ride service from the arrival plaza to the restaurant, through lush foliage and scenic views of the Marina Bay waterfront. Sights targeted at calming the senses and whetting the appetite. To top it all off, you'll get to wander into the Flower Dome too! free of charge. Yes, they weren't kidding when they said POLLEN experience.

Teepee Bar and Restaurant: Burgers & Cocktails match

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Sure, it took me awhile before the shutters on this one were open to actually pay my maiden visit. But I'm certain my somewhat tardiness paid off.

Opened last Wednesday, Teepee Bar Bar is a casual joint hidden behind a non-descript frontage on 31 Hong Kong Street, just opposite the alley way from Pyxiemoss. Judging by the erratic working hours, Teepee is a true-blue all-day dining concept. Churning out hot cuppa joes from 8am in the morning and transiting into 'too-cool-for-school' intimate burger and cocktail bar by night.


Ordering is a walk in the park given the concise menu of a few burgers and rice bowls. I dived in straight for a customised cocktail - a White Negroni, padded with my favourite old suze bitters in place of campari. The result was a sensory overload , the herbaceous root flavor earthing the heady sweet mixture. If you're gunning for one of their signature cocktails, let it be the Dark and Stormy ($16) - Diplomatico rum meets homemade cola syrup and East Imperial's Ginger Beer for a concoction that is as tingling cold as it is fresh and punchy.

Where burgers are concerned, pick the Umami Swiss ($18) featuring a 150g beef patty, caramelised onions and mushroom trio blanketed by melted cheese. Sure, this does bring to mind the Burger King perennial favourite: mushroom swiss, only BETTER! Pick it up between your fingers and dig in, safe to say this needs about 3 napkins but I managed with 1. The challenges were aplenty as the double slice of thick juicy tomato and lettuce attempt to steal the limelight with every bite; I removed those successfully in order to enjoy my burger in its full glory.

The partner's Buttermilk Chicken ($17) burger did have a nice ring to it, with brined chicken thigh, apple raisin slaw, cheese and caramelised onion. The amalgamation worked miraculously, although he did feel that the protein was a little too turgid to the bite. 'It's chicken thigh, honey'.


For what it's worth, Teepee Bar and restaurant serves as an idyllic den for escapism from the world and indulgence of the burger sort. They do have a couple of rice bowls on the menu for those on the prowl for something a little more 'hipsterish', but for me, the familiar formula of burgers is unavoidable. And for that, I can safely say I will be back to suss out the rest of the burger menu.

p.s. I hear they are running a 31% off promotion till the end of the year. With the exception of Public Holidays and the day before public holidays, meaning that today is technically the LAST day you get to enjoy a big cut off your bill. Jump on it!


Teepee Bar and Restaurant
31 Hong Kong Street #01-02
S(059670)
t: 6225 0025

Operating Hours:
Mon - Sat: 8am - 12pm
Sun: Closed

Lan Ting: for Crackin' Dim Sum this festive season

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If the trayfuls of roast meat and leftover turkey are starting to give you the heebie jeebies then look no further than the wealth of dim sum choices at Lan Ting.

The only folks I know to churn our dim sum at 8 am in the morning, you'll be sure to visited by pangs of nostalgia similar to those you get when making your rounds of the Hong Kong dim sum restaurants.

Phat Cat Laundry: Not a Washout

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Jiak Chuan road has a party vibe that has made it synonymous with neon lights. And that is what you get with a brief introduction to Phat Cat Laundry as you stumble past the fake facade of a laundromat up front (apparently licensing for a proper laundromat, to throw guests off is quite a hard deal to get around). Instead you find lengthy black marble bar counter and heaps of lounging space illuminated by artificial candle light. The walls meandering in the same backwash with cheeky aphorisms with visuals to match: dry hump with consent? do not dampen spirits? - a tad cheesy we think but superimposed on white laundry tag like cloth, it does relay a strong theme.

Monday Light Bites: Roxy Laksa EST 1952 @ Timbre+

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Not to be confused with the original Roxy Square laksa, Roxy Laksa EST 1952 was borne out of humble push cart origins. Started by Mr Lim Kiok Seng who used to station his cart outside the Roxy Theatre, the recipe has since then been passed down to its current 3rd generation runner, and endearingly, his grandson, Mr. Mike Lim.

With a short stint at East Coast Lagoon Food Village, the stall has now relocated to Timbre+, this brazen move in collaboration with lawyer-turned-chef Willin Low of famed Wild Rocket. It's long heritage a tad aloof to the new-ish facade of the shipping container composed grounds. Still, food standards here are kept on a tight ship and artisanal integrity is preserved, right down to the itty gritty details. Mind you, Mike still takes to squeezing his own coconut milk by hand, daily.


Ordering is kept fuss-free at the stall, and unlike the usual where you get a choice of noodles and the decorative sides of egg and cockles. Roxy Laksa only does theirs one way - the Roxy  Laksa ($4.50) comes served with slices of fishcake, prawns and beansprouts. All splayed out over thick rich gravy with hand chopped spices for a touch of Perenankan nostalgia. To be perfectly honest, I've not quite savoured a broth like this, chock full of prawn bits and thick with nyona influences, this will have you slurping till the bottom of the bowl.


So if you're around the area and looking for a quick laksa fix, visit Roxy Laksa EST 1952 and show your support! Last I've heard Chef Willin and Mike are working out plans to create a production kitchen that will make hawker food on a more scalable level without compromising on flavors!


Roxy Laksa EST 1952
Timbre+
73A Ayer Rajah Crescent
S(139957)

Operating Hours:
Mon - Sat: 9am - 6pm
Sun: Closed

13 Duxton Hill: BEST EVER Birthday meal by a long shot

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One of the 9 or so courses (non-inclusive of the escapades on the drinks frontier) served to me the first time I ate at the new 13 Duxton Hill was a cathedral rock formation cluster of daikon rolled shavings and cured apple with a raw sunchoke creme filling ($10).. It looked pretty and almost pagan at the same time, I could have sworn it was sorcery when the first mouthful touched my lips and the vinegar lit a steady burn on my ulcered lips.

This plate was more than just a pretty picture. Wrapped inside its towering lengths was an earthly whirl of goodness, pulverised till it no longer resembled its usual crunchy state. In the following dish, there was baby corn, salted prawn head butter and dusted with meanders of burnt cocoa powder ($16) for that slight astringency amidst lashings of lavishness. The combination of prawn head butter and toasted croissant was a complete surprise, extraordinary in ways I'd never imagined before.