Chef Wan’s Kitchen at Esplanade Mall

Chef Wan’s Kitchen
#02-14 Esplanade Mall
8 Raffles Avenue
Singapore 039802
Reservations: reservations@chefwanskitchen.com

Operating Hours
Lunch: 12pm to 230pm daily
Dinner: 530pm to 1030pm daily

Halal status: Post-MUIS audit, pending certification!
Halalicious rating: 8/10
Recommended dishes: Chef Wan’s Oxtail Soup (S$17.90), Prawn Curry with Pineapple (S$21.90), Steamed Jackfruit Custard (S$5.90), Churros Cheese Tart (S$5.90)

Hey guys! Oof sorry I haven’t updated in a while. I recently finished reading Shoe Dog – it’s the very entertaining autobiography of Nike founder and Oregon native, Phil Knight. I CANNOT RECOMMEND IT ENOUGH!!!! It was such a candid, page-turner of a book and I really dug the conversational tone. His narrative voice was so engaging and so humorous, I found myself laughing out loud many, many times on the train, alone in my room, sitting in a cafe; basically everywhere. Plus you learn all these interesting nuggets of pop culture/historical trivia, like how Puma was a splinter-faction started by one of the Adidas brothers! (OK my mum actually told me that a few years ago and I totally dismissed it like “ok what do you know about Adidas, mommmm?” I’m the worst.) And how Nike was the first brand to introduce air cushions into their shoes! Boy, it sure made me reconsider my #teamadidas stance.

Anyway after Shoe Dog I moved on to Ready, Player One by Ernest Cline, which is a science fiction novel set in dystopian 2044, about this protagonist trying to crack a virtual egg-hunt game designed by an 80’s-obsessed game-maker. It is absolutely riveting as well and I’m about halfway through. UGH SO GOOD. You guys should get on that stat if you’re looking for new reading material.

Alright so unsolicited book recommendations aside, as those of you who watched my Instagram stories would know, I was invited to the new Chef Wan’s Kitchen at the Esplanade last week to try out their menu! Ok quick STORYTIME. When I was in London during Raya 2005, I went to this Hari Raya gathering organised by Malaysia House with my Malaysian friends (Ya I was the only Singaporean Malay in my uni and I felt sad and lonely) and Chef Wan was totally there looking fabulous! I mean, I didn’t go up to him or anything because I was a little starstruck (“my mum watches you on tv!” LOL.) but it was cool nonetheless. Anyway I digress.

The all-new Chef Wan’s Kitchen is located on the second floor of the Esplanade, and it’s really the ideal place for a chill dinner with family, especially as the windows look out to the Esplanade waterfront and the gorgeous Marina. It’s the Chef’s first proper sit-down restaurant in Singapore, after he experimented with buffet-dining at the now-closed 1-Market, so I was pretty excited to check it out.

Here’s a look at the restaurant decor:

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Look you can see MBS from here! Gorge.

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You can also look out upon the Esplanade Waterfront and watch people passing by (like a creep)

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View of the entrance/exit from the inside

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View of the entrance within Esplanade Mall

On to food – check out this super packed full food table comprising all the dishes we got to try that night!

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Clockwise from left: Lawar Salad, Javanese Fried Chicken, Nyonya Laksa, Pineapple Prawns, Oxtail Soup, Lontong, Beef Rendang, Ayam Percik and finally Mee Rebus in the middle!

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I tried to do a flatlay like the other very zai photographers around me but let’s face it I was born to eat, not take photos.

We got to try so many dishes omg so let’s break em down dish by dish!

1. Balinese Vegetable and Chicken Salad (S$17.90)

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Balinese Vegetable and Chicken Salad (S$17.90) – 6/10 (sorry this photo is so overexposed)

This lawar salad is made up of tempeh (which is my favourite superfood ever), jackfruit, chicken, and long beans tossed in coconut milk. I truly, love tempeh. Like I will eat it in every which way except for raw BUT it was not enough to save this salad for me. I am not a salad person (unless presented to me in a poké bowl lol or doused in that terrific Japanese sesame dressing), so I really was not feeling this traditional Balinese. Ergo, through no fault of the restaurant’s, this was a weak start for me. Oh plus, S$17.90 for a chicken salad seems pretty steep don’t you guys think? Sorry salad, you’re not lawa to me (lawa means good-looking in Malay and yes I made a terrible pun sorry!! #carpediem). 6/10

2. Javanese Fried Chicken (S$18.90)

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Javanese Fried Chicken (S$18.90) – 8/10

Oof ok I love fried chicken, and this one comes with a bowl of slightly sweet dipping sauce. I think it was a little like peanutty? Anyway the chicken was really crispy on the outside and really quite moist/juicy on the inside, so that was great! However, as with the salad earlier, I’m not quite sure the pricing is sensible here – knock a few dollars off and I might consider it a fair price. 8/10

3. Bibik Neo’s Laksa Noodles (S$15.90)

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Bibik Neo’s Lemak Noodles (S$15.90) – 8/10

OMG look at how lemak it is, all glistening and thick. The laksa was tasty with a really substantial, creamy broth made from coconut milk and also ground prawns! The actual prawns are really big and fresh, and that egg yolk doused in lemak gravy is just 💯. Also love the taupok in it! Now in all honestly I prefer my laksa just a little less thick, but if you guys love your gravy rich as heck, please go for this one. I’d highly recommend asking for more sambal to spice it up, as it can get a little jelak without the heat. 8/10

4. Prawns in Pineapple Curry (S$21.90)

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Prawns in Pineapple Curry (S$21.90) – 9/10 (ugh sorry my photo is so Bad & Blurrie *DAB*)

OK, 15-year-old me would never imagine I would someday be sitting around blogging about how much she enjoyed eating pineapple curry prawns, but here I am doing it anyway. My god, what an adult I’ve become. Anyway yes it was SO SEDAP! And sneakily pedas (spicy), like when you have that first spoonful of the curry you go ‘oh interesting, this is sweet and fragrant with rose notes. I was expecting more of a prickly pineapple taste!’ and then you feel your tongue tingling and then your mouth is suffused with a warm spicy glow. Mmmmmm. 9/10

5. Chef Wan’s Oxtail Soup (S$17.90)

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Chef Wan’s Oxtail Soup (S$17.90) – 9.5/10

Ahhhh you guys this was my favourite dish of the night! Omg I mean you can tell from the picture just how complex the soup broth is – it was very, very flavourful and savoury. The oxtail was perfectly tender and came off the bone fairly easily, while the potatoes and carrots were a welcome addition to the texture. This definitely could use some roti perancis (french baguette) for dipping, and I wish they’d serve some warm toasted bread to go with the soup. 9.5/10

6. Lontong in Vegetable Curry with Coconut Milk (S$13.90)

Chef_Wans_Kitchen_Lontong

Lontong (S$13.90) – 7/10

OK maybe it’s not even fair to rate this, but honestly guys, I would not go out to eat Lontong. It’s just not my thing – my mum and brother love it, but I’m more of a soto ayam girl when it comes to traditional malay breakfast food. So while I feel like this was objectively a good lontong, I just would never order it, especially at S$13.90 oh boy. But for all you lontong fiends out there, HAVE AT IT. 7/10

7. Selangor Beef Rendang (S$22.90)

(No picture because I am just the worst and seriously forgot to take one, but you can refer to the main photo of all the dishes at the start of this post!)

OMG guys the rendang is SO tender!!! Seriously the beef just melts in your mouth. The rendang gravy is tasty enough, but my rendang palette has been so, so spoilt by the great cooks in my family (mostly my aunts). I felt like it was missing just a little something to make it more fragrant and complex. Sorry Chef! 8.5/10

8. Grilled Chicken in Spicy Gravy (S$18.90)

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Grilled Chicken in Spicy Gravy (Ayam Percik) (S$18.90) – 7/10

Mm i had high hopes for this ayam percik, because I LOVE ME SOME AYAM PERCIK. As advertised, the gravy was spicy and delicious, but I thought the actual chicken was a little bland inside. Now this really should not be the case, because they’re supposed to have marinated the chicken in spices and also the gravy, before grilling it. This one came across more like regular fried chicken that they poured some gravy over – I need the meat inside to be more flavourful please! 7/10

9. Cik Aini’s Mee Rebus with Prawn Fritters (S$15.90)

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Cik Aini’s Mee Rebus with Prawn Fritters (S$15.90) – 8/10

Cik Aini refers to Chef Wan’s mum, who made a living selling mee rebus for 31 years to support her family, so this dish is really a tribute to her (😭 😭😭 OK why am I crying while typing this in bed?)

ANYWAY this was interesting because I’m not usually a mee rebus type of person given (a) see Soto Ayam reference above and (b) my aunt already makes literally the best mee rebus ever, and hers is the only mee rebus I will ever bother eating. HOWEVER. This version was not bad! The mee rebus gravy is thick, flavourful, slightly sweet but also gently spicy (the spice creeps in langorously on your tongue). I hate yellow noodles because of the alkali taste but this one didn’t taste plasticky so that was good. I’d still be REALLY reluctant to part with almost S$16 for a bowl of mee rebus though.

I also didn’t understand the whole prawn fritter addition, because the mee rebus is already so heavy, but luckily the prawn fritter was crispy and light, like an atas vadai. 8/10

FINALLY we were done with the starters and mains. We moved onto dessert:

10a. Steamed Jackfruit Custard (S$5.90)
10b. Kueh Jongkong (I think! It was a bonus off-menu item)  

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Steamed Jackfruit Custard (S$5.90) and the off-menu Kueh Jongkong! UGH that gula melaka syrup is what’s UP.

Ooh the jackfruit (or nangka in Malay!) custard is delicious! I used to think I was firmly #teamcempedak and thought jackfruit was like a low-rent cempedak, but this custard got me re-evaluating my life decisions. It’s reminiscent of Krave’s divine Cempedak Crème Brûlée (again, typing all those accents on a Macbook is torture) – the nangka is sweet but with hints of bitterness so it’s not cloying. Loved it, 9/10.

This other kueh jongkong thing is like ok I’ve never tried it in my life but the tastes are instantly recognizable – it’s creamy and coconutty with an amazing gula melaka flavour. The texture is like panna cotta or pudding, yum! I’m not sure if it’s going to be a permanent menu item but try asking for it if you guys are curious! 8.5/10

We closed with the pièce-de-résistance:

11. Churros Cheese Tart ($5.90)

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Churros Cheese Tart (S$5.90) – 9.5/10

UNFFFFF ok I loved this Churros Cheese Tart omg. Firstly, how pretty does it look? Secondly, the churros tart crust was pretty genius – although I did wish it could be lighter. Thirdly, THE CHEESE WITHINNNNNNN. It’s like Bake cheese tarts but with slightly heavier cream cheese inside. YUMMMM. Definitely worth ordering! If you’re a light eater I’d recommend sharing with one other person because chile you don’t want to eat all that crust after a heavy meal at Chef Wan’s Kitchen lol. 9.5/10

That’s it for my review you guys!! Wasn’t that a long one? Lol in all honesty I think during my next visit here I’d probably be happy with the oxtail soup and maybe 2 other dishes before moving on to dessert. I’d definitely want to come back and bring my family here to try the food. The ambience is lovely – laid-back vibes, warm lighting, wood interiors, a beautiful view of the waterfront outside. As you can see above there were definitely dishes I liked, but also a few I wouldn’t care for. Luckily the menu is extensive enough for you guys to pick whatever you feel like eating most. Give it a try for yourselves; hope you guys have a great time there 🙂

Chef Wan’s Kitchen
#02-14 Esplanade Mall
8 Raffles Avenue
Singapore 039802
Reservations: reservations@chefwanskitchen.com

Operating Hours
Lunch: 12pm to 230pm daily
Dinner: 530pm to 1030pm daily

Halal status: Post-MUIS audit, pending certification!
Halalicious rating: 8/10
Recommended dishes: Chef Wan’s Oxtail Soup (S$17.90), Prawn Curry with Pineapple (S$21.90), Steamed Jackfruit Custard (S$5.90), Churros Cheese Tart (S$5.90)

 

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Citrus By The Pool at Woodlands Swimming Complex

Citrus By The Pool
3 Woodlands Street 12
3-3A Woodlands Swimming Complex
Singapore 738600
Tel: +65 6366 6581

Opening Hours
Mon-Fri: 11am to 11pm
Sat-Sun: 9am to 11pm

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 8/10
Recommended dishes: Molten Chocolate Lava Cake (S$10.90), Sweet Potato Fries (S$7.50), Homemade mushroom soup (S$5.50), Da Burger Bomb (S$11.90)

Hey guys! First of all a belated SELAMAT HARI RAYA TO ALLS YALL!!! How was your Raya!! I guess by last weekend everyone was pretty much done with major open houses and visiting (I know I was so done by end of last weekend). My first couple of weeks were pretty tiring because we hosted so much more this year compared to last year, and my hands were pretty chapped from constant dishwashing lol (I hate washing dishes with gloves on eww). I also doubled down on the baking this year – I made honey cornflakes, chocolate chip cookies, and choc chip + cornflake meringue. Not gonna lie, it’s so tiring but I’m also super kembang (lol like puffed up, or self-congratulatory) when my relatives say they’re good! (Also my horrible brothers finishing them off is a good sign I suppose).

So are you guys excited about Game of Thrones Season 7?!?!? I’m so excited I could die. I’ve been watching all kinds of YouTube videos as a primer lol here are some of my favourites:

Basically just check out ALL Alt Shift X’s videos and subscribe to their channel omg.

OK ANYWAY so a couple of weeks ago I was invited to a tasting at Citrus By The Pool, to try out their new menu. Some of you might know that this was the first outlet, followed by the second one called Citrus Bistro located at Sengkang Sports Complex.

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The entrance of Citrus By The Pool is exactly opposite the Woodlands Sports Hall!

The decor of the place is great! Warm lights lend a cosy feel to the interior:

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Here is a look at the menu, which included the new items we were going to try:

 

 

So first of all we tried the Homemade Pumpkin Soup (S$5.50):

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Homemade Pumpkin Soup (S$5.50) – 6.5/10

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I LOVE pumpkin soup, and the Royals Steakhouse does a pretty good job. This one was not terrible, but I thought the soup was a little bland. I would’ve preferred it slightly tastier, and with a thicker consistency. 6.5/10

The Homemade Mushroom Soup (S$5.50) though was great!

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Homemade Mushroom Soup (S$5.50) – 9/10

Definitely in no danger of wading into Campbell Mushroom Soup territory, this homemade soup is creamy, savoury and wholesome. I nothing croutons, like if they’re there I’ll eat them; if they’re not I never ever miss them, but that was a nice touch. 9/10

We moved on to the Sweet Potato Fries (S$7.50), which comes with a choice of two dips from a selection of Salted Egg, Wasabi Mayo, Spicy Mayo, or Curry Mayo:

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Sweet Potato Fries (S$7.50) – 9.5/10

OK so some of you might know, I’m not the biggest fan of sweet potato fries; like I’m not going to scan a menu and look past the regular fries, or the truffle fries, or the chilli con carne fries and be all “omg sweet potato fries let’s get those!” BUT. These were really great. Maybe they air-fried these or whatever but the fries were really crisp and light on the outside and super fluffy on the inside!!

For the purpose of this tasting we were given all 4 sauces to try, although on a regular order guests can choose 2. I’d definitely recommend the wasabi mayo and the curry mayo, yum! The salted egg mayo was really prohibitively salty, like I LOVE salt egg yolk but this straight up tasted like the white parts of a salted egg. Which I always leave untouched lol. The spicy mayo also had this strange aftertaste; can’t quite describe it but let’s just say my 2 favourites were wasabi and curry. The thing to note though is that these fries were already so good I’d be totally fine eating them on their own! You know like regular fries can be a little bland and require sauce to jazz em up? Well sweet potato fries are already slightly sweet so they’re def ok to eat on their own. 9.5/10

We moved on to Da Burger Bomb (S$11.90) featuring teriyaki chicken burger with cheese, a sunny side up egg, lettuce, and tomatoes served with a side of (regular) fries:

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Da Burger Bomb (S$11.90) – 8.5/10

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UNFF I love burger cross-sections

My first thoughts were “Ooh I love this the burger is so juicy!” followed rapidly by “did McDonalds also have a teriyaki burger last time because I feel like this is low-key invoking memories of said burger?!” So yes as promised on the menu, the teriyaki chicken was indeed succulent, so bravo, Citrus chefs. I liked the teriyaki flavour which was slightly sweet, slightly savoury, without overpowering the burger. My friend said she would’ve preferred if they had seared the buns a little in butter. I agree, but the burger’s still good with plain buns! A solid 8.5/10.

I was mad excited to try the next dish that came – the Fried Chicken and Waffle (S$10.90) featuring boneless fried chicken on a waffle, served with butter and a shot of maple syrup:

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Fried Chicken & Waffle (S$10.90) – 8/10

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Look how appetising this issssss 

 

OK so I LOVE fried chicken and waffles, what a bomb-ass combo (ok but as a Muslim should I really be throwing around the B-word without a care in the world 🤔). The chicken was really perfectly fried – super good crunch without tasting too oily. However, I did find that it was a little bland and could have been better-seasoned. Having prawn paste chicken could remedy that, although the price might have to increase! Another solution would be to serve with some sort of spicy-sweet combo, like sriracha maple syrup or something. That would be delishhhh. Still though the main thing is the chicken should’ve been more flavourful.

The waffle was chewy and sweet, and I liked it a lot with the chicken. My friend commented it was like waffles made from Kueh Keria LOL and you know what? Once he mentioned that I realised he was kind of right! It was pretty cool and different from plain old tasteless waffle. 8/10

Next up we tried the Salted Egg Seafood Pasta (S$12.90) featuring linguine in creamy salted egg sauce with scallops and shrimp:

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Salted Egg Seafood Pasta (S$12.90) – 8/10

Ooh we were a little apprehensive about this especially as the sweet potato fries salted egg dip was not our favourite, but this was pretty good! The salted egg flavour was solid thanks to the curry leaves and chilli padi. The scallops were a wee bit lacking in taste, but the shrimp were good. A decent offering at 8/10.

Finally for the main dishes, we tried out the Seafood Risotto (S$16.90) which came with loads of seafood such as squid, prawns, scallops and mussels:

 

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Seafood Risotto (S$16.90) – 6/10

Ok guys I was actually super excited to try this, because YUM I love risotto. However, I have to say I was really disappointed in this version for a few reasons. Firstly, it tasted like regular rice with some gravy on it. Nooooooo 😦 If you look at the picture, the rice looks pretty skinny like long-grain, whereas risotto rice is usually of the rounder, short-grain variety, allowing for better absorption of liquids and flavours. Secondly, the scallops and squid were really rather tasteless. Perhaps a bit more of a char on them would’ve made them better or just better seasoning maybe. I also find the prawn head twin towers a little imposing; some of the best risottos I’ve had have been served in the simplest of presentations, without fancy accoutrements like this. Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE sucking on prawn heads (YA I KNOW OMG don’t be like my doctor), but maybe just lay ’em down. 6/10

Phew, so after all that food we finally moved on to dessert, which was the Molten Chocolate Lava Cake (S$10.90):

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Molten Chocolate Lava Cake (S$10.90) – 10/10

 

Yes this is delicious, just like the one at Citrus Bistro. I mean, what else can I say – the cake is moist and warm, the molten chocolate lava within is like liquid ecstasy (the feeling, NOT the pills.)

 

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UNFFFFFF SO GOOOOOOOOODDDDD

Yes this is delicious, just like the one at Citrus Bistro. I mean, what else can I say – the cake is moist and warm, the molten chocolate lava within is like liquid ecstasy (the feeling! NOT the pills.) and tastes so, so good. It’s thick and sweet but not too sweet. The vanilla ice cream and strawberries are there to refresh the palette with something cool and tangy if you need a break from all that chocolatey goodness. 10/10 for sure. No question.

Phew so that was our meal at Citrus By The Pool! Overall I had a good time and really enjoyed most of the new menu items that we had. We were very comfortable in our corner by the window, and also super grateful for the air-conditioning as the evening started off pretty warm and humid. How great is it that more and more swimming pools/sports complex are having decent halal options these days! I remember back in the day having to eat like soggy nuggets and super salty fishball sticks lol. I mean I was a kid with no broad base for comparison so those were fine back then, but dayummmm the youth these days are lucky. Plus the price points are very reasonable at Citrus By The Pool, so I think it’s a great option for decent food without breaking the bank.

Citrus By The Pool
3 Woodlands Street 12
3-3A Woodlands Swimming Complex
Singapore 738600
Tel: +65 6366 6581

Opening Hours
Mon-Fri: 11am to 11pm
Sat-Sun: 9am to 11pm

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 8/10
Recommended dishes: Molten Chocolate Lava Cake (S$10.90), Sweet Potato Fries (S$7.50), Homemade mushroom soup (S$5.50), Da Burger Bomb (S$11.90)

Noosh Noodle Bar and Grill at The Esplanade

Noosh Halal Noodle Bar and Grill
8 Raffles Avenue
#01-13B Esplanade Mall Annexe
Singapore 039802
Reservations: +65 6755 4225

Opening Hours
Mon – Thu: 12pm – 12am
Fri: 3pm – 1am
Sat: 12pm – 1am
Sun: 12pm – 10pm
Eve of PH: 12pm – 1am

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 7.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$40

Recommended dishes: Curly Fries with Bacon & Cheese (S$12.90)

Hey guys! Have you tried Noosh Noodle Bar and Grill at the Esplanade? I know I’m a little late to the party but I just tried them for the first time last night! I’d heard good things about it and had been meaning to visit, especially since I’m actually at the Esplanade quite a bit either to go to the library or to catch a play/concert.

Noosh Noodle Bar and Grill was opened by well-known restaurateur Ummi Abdullah of Ambeng Cafe fame, and I personally love the concept because I LOVE noodles (unless they’re the yellow, very alkaline type noodles that haven’t been properly cooked, eww). Here is a look at their menu:

We called to make reservations on the same day and were told to choose between the 630pm or 830pm seating, so of course we chose the 630pm one, which gave us just enough time to peruse the menu, place our orders in time for them to arrive right at 713pm LOL.

We started with the tantalizing Curly Fries with Bacon and Cheese (S$12.90), which featured crisp golden curly fries topped with nacho cheese, sour cream, beef bacon and spring onions:

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Curly Fries With Bacon & Cheese (S$12.90) – 9/10

OOOFFFFFF you guys, this was really good. I LOVE CURLY FRIES SO MUCH ugh. These ones were crispy, savoury and fluffy on the inside. I did think the nacho cheese was a little too overwhelming – I don’t want my golden crisp fries drenched in nacho cheese, but that is just a personal preference. I also thought the beef bacon bits could have been either crispier, or more meaty… does that make sense? Like if they’re going to have small bits of it, I’d prefer for them to be crispy. If they’re not crispy, they better be bigger pieces so we can savour them still. 9/10

For my main, I had the Smoked Duck Lemak Chili Padi Pasta (S$18.90) which had a generous serving of smoked duck slices and spaghetti in the super savoury coconut-based gravy, topped with fresh arugula and sweet cherry tomatoes:

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Smoked Duck Lemak Chili Padi Pasta (S$18.90) – 7.5/10

Mm when I first saw the heap of arugula leaves I thought “ok that’s weird why so much”. It was only after a few bites of the fiery pasta that I realised that, oh boy, I needed that much arugula leaves to counter the spiciness of the sauce. Hurray for sensible pairing! I liked the taste of the lemak chili padi gravy enough, but I thought the duck was a little mushy and I could barely discern the smoked flavour of the duck meat, which was probably overpowered by the strong lemak taste.

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Shoved some of the arugula away so you can see the actual stuff underneath

I usually prefer my smoked duck to be a little juicier and with a little more bite, whereas this one seemed a little… I don’t know how to describe it – lumpy? Like a regular slice of mushy chicken breast. Great quantity but the quality could be improved slightly. 7.5/10

My friend had the Spicy Beef Ramyeon (S$16.90) which featured ramen noodles with bulgogi beef, braised in Korean hot bean paste.

Noosh_Noodle_Bar_Spicy_Beef_Ramyeon

Spicy Beef Ramyeon (S$16.90) – 7/10

Firstly, loved the ramen eggs with the soft, half-cooked yolk. Crazy about it, yes. Secondly, yum the braised bulgogi beef was delicious, tender, and juicy. Thirdly and unfortunately, I found the broth a little too thick:

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Look at how murky the broth is omg it’s so lethal

I like my ramen broth a little thinner, especially if you’re going to make it so spicy (which this one was). Thick and spicy is just a little too much for me to handle. The broth just was not to my liking and I don’t think I will be ordering this in future. Personal preference though, so if you guys like what you just read, go for it! 7/10

For dessert, we weren’t really feeling the heavy ondeh-ondeh cake that everyone raves about online, so we went for the White Chocolate Panna Cotta with Berries Coulis (S$9.90).

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White Chocolate Panna Cotta With Berries Coulis (S$9.90) – 6/10

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Oof I can feel the tartness at the back of my jaw

Oh boy, the berries coulis was just a little too tart for me and my friend. It almost tasted medicinal. Luckily the panna cotta was sweet enough to balance out the flavour, but basically we did not enjoy the coulis very much. I also felt that the Panna Cotta texture was a little off – it was too thick and a little like eating white chocolate fudge. Panna cotta should ideally be silky smooth and just firm – with a gentle wobble (in the words of writer Domenica Marchetti), and this was a little too dense. 6/10

So a dinner of hits and misses, but I will definitely want to come back and try the rest of the menu! I’m sure if I try a few more dishes I’ll figure out which ones suit my taste and which ones don’t.

So that’s it for food, but I do have some not-great comments about customer-service here, starting with the fact that service was super inattentive. I was sat close to the corner of the restaurant and it was so, so challenging trying to catch their attention. The hallmark of good customer service is when you realise that you might miss customers sat in the corner (your corner, of your restaurant, that you sat your customers at) and so you eyeball the room regularly to see if anyone is trying to catch your attention, even the poor corner table. There were a few staff and they were mostly huddled in their employees’ corner – maybe they were eating their dinner also, I’m not sure, but so were we (eating, that is) and it was distressing having to wait for “when they give that table their food” before trying to hijack their attention. It should not be that hard.

Another thing – my friend and I were given only one fork between the two of us and it took so long to get their attention I eventually got up and went to the nearest staff. When I asked “Hi could I get a fork?” she unsmilingly walked over to the cutlery station behind the counter, took it out, and wordlessly handed it back to me. It was weird.

Also when we asked if they charged for water, they said “yes $1 but it’s refillable”. I hate when places charge for water, but ok fine it’s refillable so I guess it’s not so bad. However because of the inattentiveness of the staff, my glass was never refilled. It was just so hard to get their attention that when I did get their attention it was for things like “can we get our dessert now” and “can we get the bill” and I clean forgot to ask for a refill. Not topping up your refillable $1 water is by no means a cardinal customer service sin or anything, but let me just say some places that serve water for free actually survey the room at regular intervals to see whose water glasses needed topping up.

Lastly, I was very disappointed they didn’t offer a prayer corner of some sort here, especially since (a) they are a Muslim-owned restaurant, (b) this is Ramadan, (c) they limited the seatings to 630pm or 830pm, meaning I couldn’t reserve for say 730 after finishing Maghrib prayers, and (d) the nearest mushollah was all the way in Marina Square carpark on the other side of the mall away from the Esplanade side.

My pregnant friend and I had to eat our food quickly and then rush over to Marina Square and navigate the confusing annexes/wings to get to the mushollah. We literally made it to the mushollah with 5 minutes of Maghrib to spare, so I guess this story has a happy ending. Still, I really, really wish they would just dedicate a 2m x 1m space for a sejadah for diners to pray Maghrib so we wouldn’t need to rush our meal which we would’ve preferred to savour, especially since it isn’t the cheapest.

Disappointing as the service was though, I will probably still go back to give the staff another chance, and try the other stuff on the menu. I really, really hope it was just an off day or something for them ugh.

Noosh Halal Noodle Bar and Grill
8 Raffles Avenue
#01-13B Esplanade Mall Annexe
Singapore 039802
Reservations: +65 6755 4225

Opening Hours
Mon – Thu: 12pm – 12am
Fri: 3pm – 1am
Sat: 12pm – 1am
Sun: 12pm – 10pm
Eve of PH: 12pm – 1am

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 7.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$40

Recommended dishes: Curly Fries with Bacon & Cheese (S$12.90)

The Halia At Singapore Botanic Gardens

The Halia
1 Cluny Road, Ginger Garden (enter via Tyersall Avenue)
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Singapore 259569
Reservations: +65 8444 1148 or general.hsbg@halia.com.sg
Note: Reservations not accepted for brunch and tea
Ramadan Communal Menu: Click here
Ala Carte Menus: Click here

Opening Hours
Mon-Thu: 12pm to 930pm (Last seating)
Fri & PH eve: 12pm to 10pm
Weekends & PH Dinner: 4pm to 10pm (Last seating)
Weekends & PH Brunch: 10am to 4pm
Weekends & PH Afternoon Tea: 3pm to 5pm

Halal status: Halal-certified effective 1 Jun 2017
Halalicious Rating: 9/10
Favourite Dishes: Boston Bay Mussels, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Lemongrass & Ginger Salad
Remarks: Ramadan Communal Menu runs till 30 June 2017, but the featured dishes remain on the ala carte menu thereafter 🙂

Hey guys! So I woke up today to so much drama about the First Family. (You know, the statements by LWL and LHY directed against LHL) – and since then the interwebs have all but exploded with commentaries and analyses. I won’t go too much into it here because I’m still digesting it myself but you guys should totally read all the commentaries online! Honestly I’m a little shook :/

…okay but like is this a food blog or did I accidentally click on The Online Citizen?

LOL YES FOOD so guess what just became halal on 1 June 2017 – The Halia at Botanic Gardens!! I knew a couple of months ago they were gonna go halal – basically one of my girlfriends wanted to host her wedding dinner at The Halia and so the Halia rep told her they were going to convert to a fully halal menu #alhamdulillah LOL. (My other friend low key was forcing me to crack a #TheHalalia joke tsk). After my girlfriend told me about it, I had already planned to try out the new halal menu on my own, but then I got an invitation from the Halia PR people, and that was a nice surprise!

The Halia at Singapore Botanic Gardens Exterior

Gorge omg.

Tucked away in the lush foliage of the Ginger Garden at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, The Halia is a beautiful restaurant that is quite unmatched by other dining establishments in its ambience. I have to be honest though, it is not the most public-transport-friendly location; so while it’s all good for car-owners (the carpark is pretty close-by!), it’s a bit of a pain for people like myself. My friend and I took the train to Botanic Gardens on the DTL and then ubered from there, and our Uber driver got a little lost lol so we ended up doing a lot of walking. BUT it’s really just a short uber ride away from Botanic Gardens MRT and the ambience more than makes up for the inaccessibility.

We arrived just in time for dinner and tried out the Halia’s Ramadan Communal Menu for 6 for $270! The menu combines selections from their regular all-day menu so you get to taste more dishes without breaking the bank!

 

Halia Communal Menu for Ramadan 2017-2

The Ramadan Communal Menu runs till 30 June 2017!

We were seated in the al fresco dining area called the Viewing Deck. I was initially worried about feeling too warm and sweaty but the evening air was cool, and after 2-3 courses, it started feeling super pleasant with the cool air and the gentle breeze from the ceiling fans.

The Halia at Singapore Botanic Gardens Viewing Deck

Media photo taken obviously long before Maghrib lol

The_Halia_Ceiling_Lights

Charming lights!

Besides the Viewing Deck, The Halia also has an airconditioned main dining hall with tall ceilings and glass walls. I would seriously recommend making reservations to get seats inside especially if you’re coming with kids (you don’t want to get sweaty tending to them!)

The Halia at Singapore Botanic Gardens Dining Room

The interior at the main dining room at the Halia – so beautiful!

OK let’s start from the top. First we had the Soup of the Day, which was the Pumpkin and Carrot Soup:

The_Halia_Pumpkin_Carrot_Soup

Soup of the day – pumpkin and carrot soup! 10/10

Mmmm ok I love all soup but this was also objectively the perfect opener. The flavour is subtle (I love pumpkin but I wouldn’t be a huge fan if the carrot taste were too strong) and the texture is creamy. It’s a good soup that’s not too cloying or thick. Bonus points for pouring it into our bowls on the spot from an old-school metal kettle! 10/10

Next up was the trio of starters – the Halia signature Lemongrass & Ginger Prawn Salad, Potato Fries with piquant mayo, and the Deepfried Salt & Chilli Squid with a ginger-lime syrup dip and piquant mayo.

The_Halia_Starters

Lemongrass & Ginger Prawn Salad: Oh boy I loved this and I suppose it’s with good reason this is one of their signature dishes! The prawns were phenomenal – fresh, juicy and flavourful. It was altogether a great combination of spicy and coconutty with a hint of ginger. One of the diners wasn’t a huge fan of ginger, and even she found this dish delicious because there was only a hint of ginger. There’s also cubes of juicy, sweet mangoes accompanying the prawns, making this a great salad even for someone like me who’s not naturally predisposed towards salads. 10/10. 

The_Halia_Lemongrass_Ginger_Prawn_Salad

A closer look at this phenoms prawn salad argh YUMMMMM that slight char thooooooo 💯

Potato Fries: This was decent but nothing to write home about. The piquant mayo though, was delicious! Piquant, by the way, means spicy in French (This is obviously the precise reason I learned French, so I can decode fancy food names lol). I’m not a fan of regular mayo – ugh, that slick, oily texture and that middle-of-the-road taste – just, NOOO. But this piquant mayo is smokey, slightly spicy and really adds oomph to the otherwise ordinary fries. 7.5/10

Deep-fried Salt and Chilli Squid: I was pretty excited about this but after tasting it I felt this was the weakest link on the menu. The squid was only okay – the batter was very, very light and on its own the squid came off a little bland and unimpressive. The ginger-lime syrup dip was not to my liking – it was watery and sweet, and maybe my McDonald’s-friendly palette wasn’t refined enough to appreciate the taste 😕 So again, the piquant mayo dip was the star of this dish. 6/10

Next up was the Fresh Boston Bay Mussels with coconut and ginger flower broth, chilli, lime and freshly-made grilled foccaccia:

The_Halia_Fresh_Boston_Bay_Mussels

Fresh Boston Bay Mussels in coconut and ginger flower broth!! SEDAP OR WHAT OMG 10/10

You guys, these mussels are amazing and out of this world. Literally, the mussels are so juicy and plump and fresh, and the broth is so tasty it’s like a cross between tom yum and laksa broth ARGH I LOVE. It’s tough to find good mussels at halal places – I honestly can’t name one because the good ones I’ve eaten have tended to be from non-halal places. This is definitely a welcome change and I would for sure come back again to Halia for these mussels alone. 20/10 if I could defy the laws of mathematics but ok let’s settle for 10/10 for now.

Served at the same time as the mussels was the Panfried Barramundi on a bed of pignolina mini pasta in thai coconut cream, asparagus and cherry tomatoes:

The_Halia_Pan-fried_Barramundi

Panfried Barramundi – oof look at the char on the asparagus!! 👅💦 7.5/10

Ok the barramundi was super fresh and the meat was tender, while the crispy skin was a delight to bite into. Full marks for the fish. However, I found the pasta a little too creamy; it got pretty jelak after a few mouthfuls. I wish they wouldn’t make the sauce quite so thick, especially since the pignolina pasta is tiny and the sauce wholly coats each and every single one of them. LOVED the asparagus and the cherry tomatoes though. 7.5/10

The_Halia_Mussels_Barramundi

Couple photo

We moved on from the intermediate dishes to the mains, the first of which was the Slow-cooked Tender Chicken Breast & Braised Minced Leg Potato Gratin:

The_Halia_Slow-Cooked_Chicken_Breast

Slow-cooked Tender Chicken Breast – 7/10

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Braised minced chicken leg potato gratin – 7.5/10

So the chicken breast was really, really tender, as befits chicken that’s been cooked using the sous-vide method. Flavour-wise though I didn’t get much from this dish. As for the braised minced (chicken) leg potato gratin, it was a riot – the moment we had a forkful, we were hit with a sense of familiarity and spent the next 10 minutes trying to figure out what it tasted like! We started out with begedil (those Malay potato balls) and ended up deciding it was most like shepherd’s pie LOL. It was very flavourful, but I thought it was way too rich and slightly too sweet for me. Not altogether catastrophic, and nothing a few tweaks couldn’t fix. 7/10

We moved on to the Tajima Wagyu Skirt Steak with a marbling score of 7-8 (I tend to go for 7), served with potato gratin dauphinoise & mushroom jus (you know how I feel about jus I LOVE EM).

The_Halia_Tajima_Wagyu_Steak

So when we heard the name Tajima wagyu, everyone was guilty of making terrible Hana Tajima for Uniqlo jokes, including yours truly lol. Mostly though we were just really excited to try halal wagyu beef – there’s def not enough establishments here in Singapore that do it! The last time I had halal wagyu beef was in KL at Las Vacas :/

The skirt steak had a nice char and I was all over it like white on rice! It was juicy, tender, and had great flavour even without the jus. The dauphinoise potato gratin however was SO oniony I left it alone after one bite. 8.5/10 with half a point docked for the overwhelming onion taste!

For the final main we had another one of The Halia’s signature dishes, the Halia’s Singapore-style Chilli Crab Spaghettini in spicy, sweet and tangy sauce:

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

My photo of the Singapore-style Chilli Crab Spaghettini – 9/10

Chilli Crab Spaghettini

The press photo of the Chilli Crab Spaghettini LOL I think mine wasn’t too shabby in comparison

Did you guys know the Chilli Crab Spaghettini was created all of 13 years ago? Gosh so much history behind this dish. You can say they were the pioneers of the chilli crab pasta which is pretty ubiquitous nowadays.

I thought this was a solid offering – the spaghettini was perfectly al dente and coated in the chilli crab sauce which was robust, full-bodied, and flavourful. However – and maybe this was just a one-off thing – I thought the sauce was a smidge too sweet for me. Just dial down the sweetness and we’d have a great pasta dish. 9/10

Oof after all that it was time for dessert. We had the Sticky Toffee Pudding first, which came with butterscotch sauce, sea salt and vanilla ice cream:

The_Halia_Sticky_Toffee_Pudding

UNFFFFFFF Sticky Toffee Pudding 10/10 omg

Good grief you guys this was far and away the best dessert I’ve had in a while. The sponge cake – made from dates – was so moist and delicious, and the combination of the butterscotch sauce with the sea salt was absolutely heavenly. The contrasting sweet and salty tastes just made this dish perfect without being too jelak. Add vanilla ice cream to the mix and you’ve got yourself a veritable mouth party once again. This was so, so good and I’ll def come back for more. 10/10

The next dessert was the cheekily-named Die Die Must Have Chocolate, comprising chocolate “elements” (fancy name for morsels?), raspberries, raspberry sorbet and a surprise ingredient – gasp – pop rocks candy!! OMG I love those?!

The_Halia_Die_Die_Must_Have_Chocolate

Die Die Must Have Chocolate – this terrible photo doesn’t do this delightful dessert any justice I’m so sorry 9.5/10

Oh wow I was very impressed by this dish! The chocolate pieces were perfect and not overly sweet, while the juicy, juicy raspberries added a nice tang to the dish. Also how can you not love the sensation of popping candy rocks in your mouth?!  As a side note here’s some trivia about pop rocks candy, but ok back to business – I loved this fun dish. 9.5/10

Last but not least there was the Ginger Spice, All Things Nice which was made up of coconut mousse, compressed pineapple and shavings of dehydrated coconut flesh:

The_Halia_Ginger_Spice_Dessert

Ginger Spice, All Things Nice (Don’t be alarmed that green mossy-looking thing is pistachio crumble and it actually tasted pretty alright) – 7.5/10

With its distinctive Southeast Asian features, this dessert was a little less conventional than the first 2. I LOVED the pineapple which was juicy and sweet with a hint of ginger spice, BUT the coconut mousse was just okay for me. I would definitely stick to the Sticky Toffee Pudding if I had to choose! 7.5/10

WHEW! That was a trip and a half, wasn’t it? Thank you for reading all of that with me LOL. I had a great time at The Halia and I will definitely come back with my friends to share! It works out to $45++ per person for all that food, whether you have the 4-pax or 6-pax set. I also asked if more people could share, let’s say if 5 or 6 girls with smaller appetites could order the 4-pax set to share, and the PR folks said yes this is possible! The Ramadan communal menu runs till 30 June so go get some before it ends!

P.S. There is a (unisex) prayer room right across from the Viewing Deck with a sink for ablution, but it fits only one person at a time so do take note!

The Halia
1 Cluny Road, Ginger Garden (enter via Tyersall Avenue)
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Singapore 259569
Reservations: call +65 8444 1148 or email general.hsbg@halia.com.sg
Note: Reservations not accepted for brunch and tea

Opening Hours
Mon-Thu: 12pm to 930pm (Last seating)
Fri & PH eve: 12pm to 10pm
Weekends & PH Dinner: 4pm to 10pm (Last seating)
Weekends & PH Brunch: 10am to 4pm
Weekends & PH Afternoon Tea: 3pm to 5pm

Halal status: Halal-certified effective 1 Jun 2017
Halalicious Rating: 9/10
Favourite Dishes: Boston Bay Mussels, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Lemongrass & Ginger Salad
Remarks: Ramadan Communal Menu runs till 30 June 2017, but the featured dishes remain on the ala carte menu thereafter

Citrus Bistro at Sengkang Sports Centre

Citrus Bistro
57 Anchorvale Road
Sengkang Sports Centre #01-01
Singapore 544964
Reservations: +65 6904 4850 (recommended for weekends!)

Nearest MRT station: Sengkang
Nearest LRT station: Farmway

Opening Hours
Tue-Sun: 9am to 9pm
Closed Mondays except Public Holidays

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating:
Average spend per pax: N.A. (invited tasting!)
Recommended dishes: Smoked Duck Breast (S$19.90), Curry Chicken with Bread (S$9.90), Molten Chocolate Lava Cake with Ice Cream (S$8.80)

** BTW GUYSSSS you can enjoy 10% off your bill at Citrus Bistro from now till 30 Apr 2017 if you flash them this blog post or my instagram post right here! Just let them know when you’re making the order at the counter! **

 

Hey guys! Aren’t Mondays just the worst? Hope you guys had a good weekend anyway. I spent most of Saturday recovering in bed with a body aching from late night floorball last Friday, and so I blazed through season 1 of Atlanta, the amazing comedy drama by Donald Glover. Please go watch it if you guys are looking for something a little different!

So right before floorball, I was fortunate enough to be invited to a food tasting at Citrus Bistro, a fairly new dining joint at the Sengkang Sports Centre. The bistro, which just got its halal certification in late December 2016, is situated right past the gantry going to the swimming pool. Diners enter the gantry for free – but you have to be escorted by the Citrus staff so just inform the gantry booth operator that you’re here for the food, and they will call someone up to fetch you 🙂

Citrus Bistro - Decor 2

Love the lighting and nautical theme!

Citrus Bistro - Decor

The delightful counter area

 

The Citrus Group also has Citrus by the Pool at Woodlands – I’ve never been there but have been meaning to try it! I was told the main difference is that the Woodlands branch is air-conditioned, while the Sengkang branch is open air and faces the pool so it is a little noisier. It was still pretty cool at the Sengkang bistro because of the cool fans so I was super comfortable.

Here is a look at the menu at Citrus Bistro:

Citrus Bistro - Menu

Lots of  light bites for the swimming crowd, and mains for the more serious eaters! Also the snacks are mostly fried with an air fryer so they’re not going to be as oily as regular fried stuff yay!

The first dish I tried was the Curry Chicken with Bread (S$9.90) – you can choose between rice or bread, and I went with bread because I love dipping lightly toasted french baguette into curry ugh.

Citrus Bistro - Chicken Curry 2

Curry Chicken with Bread (S$9.90) – 8.5/10

Citrus Bistro - Chicken Curry Closeup

A close-up of the chicken and potatoes in the rich, tasty curry uughhhh so good

This curry is legit legit! My first couple of spoonfuls had a pretty strong star anise taste – some of you might not like that – but personally it made the curry taste a little more like home. After the first few mouthfuls the star anise taste receded into the background as I got a more rounded, robust flavour. I found out later that this curry was cooked with 15 different spices, so no wonder it’s so delicious. It wasn’t super jelak because it was spicy without going overboard, plus the santan taste was not overpowering, so that was good.

The bread that they served it with was lightly toasted and crispy on the outside, while still being chewy on the inside so that was good. My only gripe is that the chicken itself, while tender, was a little bland – it was almost as if it hadn’t absorbed enough of the flavours of the curry. Small matter though, because what I did was take apart chunks of the chicken myself and dunk it in the curry. I would however recommend that they simmer the chicken in the curry for a little longer next time. Overall still a strong dish! 8.5/10

Next up we had the Beef Sliders with Nachos (S$10.90):

Citrus Bistro - Beef Sliders Trio 2

Beef Sliders with Nachos (S$9.90) – 6/10

OK so is it just me or are the burgers just so cute and perfect that they look fake?! 10 points for presentation! I only wished, though, that the sliders tasted as great as they looked 😦 The patty was a little tough, the mini buns a little hard and the sliders rather dry overall. I was thankful for the cheesy sauce and the tomato which I almost removed lol (because some anti-veggie habits just stick with you for life). The nachos were nachos, and honestly I would have preferred fries, but I suppose these were better for my health. Not my favourite dish I’m afraid! 6/10

Citrus Bistro - Beef Sliders Trio

I feel like a genius kid made these sliders using playdough or supersized Yupi

Citrus Bistro - Beef Sliders Closeup

Thank you tomato for providing juiciness!

 

The final main that I tried was the Smoked Duck Breast (S$19.90). When I saw it on the menu, I knew I had to try it because man, halal duck is SO hard to come by. They knew I was struggling to eat all the food by myself so they were kind enough to prepare just a tasting portion for me:

Citrus Bistro - Smoked Duck Breast

Smoked Duck Breast (S$19.90) – 10/10!!!

OK so I was not expecting to be blown away, but the duck is SO LEGIT?! The smoked duck meat was tender but with good bite, and that extra strip of fat right underneath the skin made it so juicy!!  It also paired PERFECTLY with the hoisin sauce which had a great umami taste while being fairly sweet. The duck came on a bed of mashed potatoes which were SO GOOD even on their own!! The mash was smooth and perfectly seasoned – I don’t know if they used crack or Mamee seasoning or what but seriously, I could’ve had a whole vat of it ugh. All in all the duck, the mashed potatoes and the wild mushrooms were just a bombass combo. 10/10 for sure!

Citrus Bistro - Smoked Duck Breast 2

A close-up of this beauty for good measure

Finally we moved on to dessert, when I got to try Citrus Bistro’s signature Molten Chocolate Lava Cake with Ice Cream (S$8.80):

Citrus Bistro - Molten Lava Chocolate Cake

Molten Chocolate Lava Cake with Ice Cream (S$8.80) – 10/10

Citrus Bistro - Molten Lava Chocolate Cake

Not the best of photos because I’m not at all a great photographer but UNFFFFFF

OMG guys the molten chocolate lava cake is so good, I just ugh can imagine the taste right now. TOTALLY regretting typing this so close to bedtime when I really should be sleeping instead of drooling. So anyway the cake was delicious – warm, gooey on the inside, with the “lava” being semi-sweet with a very very slight bitterness so it doesn’t cross over to jelak territory. Coupled with the bananas and the raspberry ice cream, each mouthful was just absolutely delightful. 10/10!

Overall I had a terrific time at Citrus Bistro. Apart from the sliders, I was very impressed with everything else I had! Although I was invited for the tasting, I remained conscious of the price points for each dish and I think that they were very reasonably priced for the quality you’re getting. Sengkang is not a place I envision visiting often, but if I were in the area, I would be SO grateful to have Citrus Bistro to go to! Will definitely come back here when I’m next in the area!

** Just a reminder guys, you can enjoy 10% off your bill at Citrus Bistro from now till 30 Apr 2017 if you flash them this blog post or my instagram post right here! Just let them know when you’re making the order at the counter! **

Citrus Bistro
57 Anchorvale Road
Sengkang Sports Centre #01-01
Singapore 544964
Reservations: +65 6904 4850 (recommended for weekends!)

Nearest MRT station: Sengkang
Nearest LRT station: Farmway

Opening Hours
Tue-Sun: 9am to 9pm
Closed Mondays except Public Holidays

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating:
Average spend per pax: N.A. (invited tasting!)
Recommended dishes: Smoked Duck Breast (S$19.90), Curry Chicken with Bread (S$9.90), Molten Chocolate Lava Cake with Ice Cream (S$8.80)

Additional remarks:

Access: Entry to Citrus Bistro is free for dine-in customers. Simply give them a call at +65 6904 4850 and their service crew will pick you up at the entrance to the swimming pool!

FLO – Food Lovers Only at IMM

flo (food lovers only)
IMM #02-15A
2 Jurong East St 21
Singapore 609601
Tel: +65 6896 1396

Opening Hours
Daily: 11am to 10pm

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 7.5/10
Average spend per pax: n.a. because I was invited for a tasting 🙂
Recommended dishes: Corn Soup (S$8), Korean Beef Bulgogi Sandwich (S$15), Tom Yam Prawn Pasta (S$15)

Hey guys! Hope everyone is doing alright. I’m a little tired today because I was watching the chilling Martin McDonagh play called The Pillowman last night at the Victoria Theatre, but let me tell you it is worth the 5000 yawns today. The play centers on an author Katourian being interrogated by the police due to some recent child murders that closely resemble his gruesome fairy-tales. It is SO dark and so chilling, and yet manages to have some moments of black humour. Brilliant staging and animation by Pangdemonium and Mojo studio! Unfortunately last night was the final performance for this round, but I hope they’ll stage it again soon here in Singapore and you guys can catch it!

OK so back to food – the nice folks at FLO invited me for a food tasting recently at their cafe FLO (Food Lovers Only), which is the halal sister of Cafe Manuka (situated at Paragon).

FLO Cafe - Ambience

Bright and airy!

Flo is located at IMM, which I know is far away from some of you, but great for a Westie like myself. Although it has its origins in New Zealand-inspired food given that it is under the Manuka group, flo is helmed by the SUPER adorable 18-year-old Chef Kim Jin Myeong. As such, you will find that their menu runs the gamut from the very kiwi pancake dish “Pikelet Stack” to a korean fusion items such as the Korean Beef Bulgogi Sandwich. I personally find it a little confusing in terms of messaging/branding, but I suppose that offers more choice to the customers.

One plus point of this cafe is that it is super kid-friendly, so feel free to bring children to this establishment! Look they even have games and books to entertain your youngins while you eat:

FLO Cafe - Kids Stuff

CRAYONS – what a bold choice lol. But look at the books!

FLO Cafe - Kids toys

Boardgames yasss. And some Minion thing which is bound to amuse the kids

Anyway on to food! We tried a LOT of dishes so I’ll break it down to you real quickly so you guys can see which ones catch your fancy and try ordering it next time!

1. Corn Soup (soup of the day) – S$8

Yum, this was surprisingly good! Corn soup is not something I would normally order for myself as I prefer alternatives like mushroom soup or clam chowder, but this managed to be creamy, tasty and light at the same time! There were bits of corn that added texture with every spoonful, which I liked. 8/10 for this dark horse!

FLO Cafe - Corn Soup

Soup of the Day – Corn Soup (S$8) – 8/10

2. Tomato Mozzarella Salad (S$12)

Honestly I’m not a huge salad person so I may be biased, but I found this a little disappointing – the mozzarella could stand to be a little creamier but it was pretty bland. This could have been mitigated by a great pesto, but the pesto was unfortunately pretty tasteless as well. I suggest you give this a miss unless you’re in the mood for a cool salad on a hot day.  6/10

FLO Cafe - Tomato Mozzarella Salad

Tomato Mozzarella Salad (S$12) – 6/10

3. flo’s Rosti Special (S$15) 

I quite liked this! The potato rosti was crispy on the outside but tender on the inside, and paired well with the runny egg. The shredded chicken on the side was a little tart, but I like the added protein to the dish, otherwise it would seem a little bare with just potatoes and eggs. 7.5/10

FLO Cafe - flo's Rosti Special

flo’s Rosti Special (S$15) – 7.5/10

4. Korean Beef Bulgogi Sandwich (S$15)

OK this sandwich was delicious and definitely my favourite of the night! The beef was juicy, tender and a little sweet thanks to the caramelised onion. The ciabatta bread was crispy and not too aerated (I hate insubstantial bread). I’m ambivalent about the chips and side salad, as the sandwich itself was good for me, but I suppose it makes up for the cost! 9/10

FLO Cafe - Korean Beef Bulgogi Sandwich

Korean Beef Bulgogi Sandwich (S$15) – 9/10

FLO Cafe - Beef Sandwich

UNFFFF YUMMMM JUICYYYYY

5. Korean-inspired Marinated Chicken with Korean-style Fried Anchovies & Kimchi Fried Brown Rice (S$16)

OK firstly the name of this dish is a mouthful argh, I would highly recommend paring it down to just Korean Chicken Kimchi Fried Brown Rice, at most. Naming pedantry aside, I think this was not bad, but not mindblowing. The chicken was tender and tasty, which was what I liked most about it. I also liked the fried anchovies, which is usually one of my favourite banchan dishes at korean restaurants.

The brown rice was the weak point for me. It’s healthy-tasting, which I suppose is fine if you’re trying to make incremental changes to your diet, but the rest of this dish isn’t exactly the healthiest. I would’ve preferred white rice like a true-blue asian lol. 7/10

FLO Cafe - Korean Chicken and Kimchi Fried Rice

Korean Chicken Kimchi Fried Brown Rice (S$16) – 7/10

6. Tom Yam Prawn Pasta (S$15)

Mmm I love myself a good tom yam pasta, and flo’s version was really good! It was spicy and creamy without being too rich/jelak. The prawns were fresh and weren’t like those super turgid, flavourless types you sometimes encounter. 8.5/10

FLO Cafe - Tom Yam Prawn Pasta

Tom Yam Prawn Pasta (S$16) – 8.5/10

7. D’Orange Pasta (S$14)

Oof, guys this was a little unusual for me. Is orange pasta a thing now?! The sweet orange taste was a little overwhelming for me, it was like pasta bathed in orange juice :/ I would have preferred if the dish were overall still savoury, but with a hint of orange zest in it – something a little more subtle. 4/10 unfortunately, but if you guys think this could be your thing, by all means go for it!

FLO Cafe - D'Orange Pasta

D’Orange Pasta (S$14) – 4/10

8. Flank Steak (S$18)

This dish was a little forgettable for me – I found the meat a little dry and a little on the bland side. I like my steak juicy with a side of fries, but I mean just look at the photo – cucumber AND broccoli? Nuh-uh no way, not for me. 6/10

FLO Cafe - Flank Steak

Flank Steak (S$18) – 6/10

We moved on to dessert –

9. Bountiful Choco Brownie Waffles (S$14.50)

I am a sucker for ice cream and waffles, so I was pretty excited about this. The waffle texture was slightly crispy but remained chewy, so that was good. The ice cream itself is like any other decent vanilla ice-cream, although I would personally prefer like salted caramel or Thai milk tea flavour ice cream on my waffles 🙂  7/10

FLO Cafe - Bountiful Chico Brownie Waffle

We were also able to choose a couple of cakes to try from the wide selection that they had that night! Here is a look at the display counter:

FLO Cafe - Cake Display

Mmmm cakesssss

FLO Cafe - Cakes

It was so tough picking a flavour!!

10. Speculoos Cookie Cheesecake with Cinnamon (S$6.50)

I can’t resist speculoos anything so we opted for this in the end. I was a little disappointed that the cinnamon taste was so strong it overpowered the cheese flavour. I like my cheesecakes cheesy! I think they could’ve maybe used less cinnamon and used a little more cream cheese. The cheese part of the cake was also a little too dense, whereas I would’ve wanted it a little more moist and creamy. 7/10

FLO Cafe - Speculoos Cheesecake

Speculoos Cookie Cheesecake with Cinnamon (S$6.50) – 7.5/10

All in all I would say I had a decent time at flo. The menu is so extensive so there are bound to be both hits and misses, but I might come back for the Korean Beef Bulgogi Sandwich (S$15) if I’m in the area because it was so satisfying. Also good to note that there is no GST or service charge at this cafe, yay.

flo (food lovers only)
IMM #02-15A
2 Jurong East St 21
Singapore 609601
Tel: +65 6896 1396

Opening Hours
Daily: 11am to 10pm

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 7.5/10
Average spend per pax: n.a. because I was invited for a tasting 🙂
Recommended dishes: Corn Soup (S$8), Korean Beef Bulgogi Sandwich (S$15), Tom Yam Prawn Pasta (S$15)

PrimaDéli’s Pandan Kaya with Gula Melaka Roll

Hey guys!

Yesterday I received two boxes of PrimaDéli’s new Pandan Kaya with Gula Melaka Roll to try. As you know, PrimaDéli is Singapore’s first home-grown bakery franchise with over 40 halal-certified outlets all over Singapore.

PrimaDéli - Pandan Kaya Gula Melaka Roll

It’s just so, so kind of these folks to send me two rolls instead of one.

PrimaDéli - Actual Roll

OK ignore the empty patches where the gula melaka got stuck to the plastic lid cover, but look at the richness of the drizzle and look at how soft the sponge cake lookssssss UNFFFF

The Pandan Kaya with Gula Melaka roll is a collaboration with celebrity chef Siti Mastura Alwi, a specialist in local-flavoured dishes and desserts.

PrimaDéli Chef Siti Mastura Alwi

Chef Siti the brains behind this new roll! Apart from heading the SSA Culinary Institute as their Principle Consultant, she also runs her own firm Siti’s Delights

PrimaDéli - Yum

Look at this disgustingly beautiful photo I got from the PrimaDéli PR team. Why are all my photos so awful and not at all like this haha

I felt pretty undeserving of those rolls that PrimaDéli wanted me to taste, like oh shizz maybe PrimaDéli made a mistake and meant to send it to some OTHER food blogger what do I do what do I do but anyway NEVER MIND if I eat it quick enough they can’t do anything to reverse it.

So the moment they delivered it to my office (contrary to popular perception I am employed and don’t just sit around all day at home in my jammies waiting for cakes to drop out of the sky, although that is a lifegoal.) I cut one roll into 7 slices and shared it with my colleagues. That’s right, share the calories and crowdsource the reviews.

kayodememe

Pretty pleased with myself

I took two slices for myself because I mean they’re mine so no one could object, and also I was just being greedy.

PrimaDéli - Roll slices

Check out this whimsical plate from my office pantry lol so extra

My verdict? YUM it’s really good! The gula melaka drizzle at the top is SO delicious!! On its own it can be too sweet but the subtle pandan kaya flavour from the sponge cake helps to balance it out. The sponge cake, by the way, is so moist and fluffy!! Everyone who tried it asked me where it was from and were very impressed with PrimaDéli’s latest creation.

Two of my colleagues said it was a little on the sweet side, and alright full disclosure I admit I do have a sweet tooth, so I loved it. But also you can’t have gula melaka and not have it be sweet?? And also one of the two colleagues literally bit off only the top layer of the roll (where all the gula melaka was. CASSANDRA FOR THE LOVE OF GOD YOU HAVE TO RATION IT OUT WITH EVERY BITE.) So apart from the 2 comments of the roll being a little sweet, overall the cake scored very well among us.

I must admit I have not bought anything from PrimaDéli for a few years now, but I will definitely buy a roll or two every now and then for house visits and to serve to guests at home.

PrimaDéli - Pandan Kaya Gula Melaka Ingredients

How delightful is this photo also!! I love it. Could never ever come close lol

The Pandan Kaya with Gula Melaka Roll is going for an introductory price of S$4.80 per roll from now till 31 Mar 2017, after which it will go for S$6 per roll. Still basically cheap as chips, you guys (literally like Kettle Chips are S$5?).

Visit http://www.PrimaDéli.com to locate their outlets, http://www.facebook.com/primadeli , and http://www.instagram.com/primadelisg to check out their latest specialty cake creations!