Le Fuse at Lim Tua Tow Road (Serangoon)

Le Fuse
22 Lim Tua Tow Road
Singapore 547772
Reservations: DM them on Instagram or Facebook!
Closest MRT Station: Serangoon MRT!

Opening Hours
Tue-Sun: 4pm to 10pm
Closed on Mondays

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 7/10
Average spend per pax: ~S$25
Recommended dishes: Chong Qing Diced Chicken (S$9.80), Sweet Potato Noodles with Beef (S$9.80)

Hey guys! Wow it’s been FOREVER since I last posted something, sorry I’ve just not been in any mood to post, and also really lazy?? Raya was so tiring ugh I felt like retreating from everything and everyone for a while. Also, I’ve been watching Season 3 of Crazy Ex Girlfriend on Netflix (ugh I LOVE the series, but this season is particularly dark haha).

Anyway I wanted to tell you guys about this halal fusion mala place I recently visited called Le Fuse. So apparently the owners had their original branch at Middle Road under the name Mala Hui Cui Guan – the ingredients were halal and the place was muslim-owned, BUT they served alcohol which made some of the patrons uncomfortable. I guess not the ideal place to bring your old folks too, they’ll be all “eh apa ni ada beer semua ni” LOL. So yeah they decided to vacate and restart at Lim Tua Tow Road as Le Fuse!

Le Fuse - Exterior

The exterior which opens out to a public carpark. Quite convenient for drivers!

Le Fuse - Interior

The interior. That Fuse projection on the wall makes it look like a club lol.

Le Fuse - Counter

Counter

Le Fuse - Carpark

This is the carpark on the outside; quite nice right.

Here is a look at the menu for you guys!

Le Fuse - Menu appetisersLe Fuse - Noodles Menu 2Le Fuse - Rice MenuLe Fuse - Drinks Menu

There were 7 of us so we got to try quite a bit of stuff. My friend and I actually came early to sneakily try a couple of starters first (HAHA so greedy). We tried first the Mala Tofu Skin (S$6.80):

Le Fuse - Mala Tofu Skin

Mala Tofu Skin (S$6.80) – 6/10

Man, this was disappointing because firstly it wasn’t at all chilled; it was maybe like 2 degrees above room temperature haha. Also there wasn’t much of a texture/bite to the tofu strips. Added to that, the sauce, which wasn’t flavourful enough to begin with, was in such small quantities and did not manage to coat the tofu skin well. I hope next time they’ll improve this dish, shouldn’t be too hard! 6/10

Next up we tried the Chong Qing Diced Chicken (S$9.80), comprising deep fried diced chicken tossed in with dried chilli and sichuan peppercorns.

Le Fuse - Chong Qing Diced Chicken

Chong Qing Diced Chicken (S$9.80) – 8/10

Le Fuse - Chong Qing Diced Chicken 2

A close-up

Okay YUMMMM this was such a good dish. I loved the texture of the chicken; it was so so crispy. The mala flavour wasn’t too strong unless you bit into the peppercorns, which is not ideal. I wish it had been incorporated into the chicken seasoning somehow, but it’s a small complaint. The dish was also borderline over-salted but I have quite a high salt tolerance so I could not stop eating lol. Pair it with the delicious plum (PRUNE??) juice and it’s all good. 9/10

Le Fuse - Prune Juice

Delicious Chinese Sour Plum Drink (S$3.80). Shoutout to my clean thumbnail.

We were also swayed into ordering the very trendy Salted Egg Calamari (S$9.80):

Le Fuse - Salted Egg Calamari

Salted Egg Calamari (S$9.80) – 6.5/10

Le Fuse - Salted Egg Calamari

Mm not my favourite of the lot; the salted egg taste was not to my liking, and the texture of the batter was a little hard when it should’ve been light and crisp. My favourite salted egg calamari dishes are also the ones with a creamy salted egg sauce though, instead of the battered ones. 6.5/10

Another dish we ordered was the Dengdeng Beef Sichuan (S$10.80), comprising thin crispy slices of beef coated in Sichuan sauce:

Le Fuse - Sichuan Beef Dengdeng

Dengdeng Beef Sichuan (S$10.80) – 7/10

Okay to be frank I don’t remember much about this dish, and neither did my friend when I asked him! I remember thinking it was okay – not terribly memorable, but not bad either. It was a little like those crispy beef balado you get at some Nasi Padang stores. I remember wishing it had a bit more of that mala sichuan numbing taste, but that’s about it. 7/10

Okay so finally we moved onto our main noodle dishes. I went for the Mala Tang (S$12.80) which is the spicy mala soup version. It came with pre-selected ingredients comprising sausage, chicken luncheon meat, lotus root, broccoli, cauliflower (BOOO), and that fungus ear mushroom thingy:

Le Fuse - Mala Tang Spicy Soup

Mala Tang Soup with Noodles (S$12.80) – 7/10

Oh no I terribly wanted to like this but I found it way too oily and not spicy enough! I got it in level 2 but would have def preferred level 3 I think. I also felt like it was just regular spicy and not mala-spicy. When I spoke to the owner towards the end of our meal, he did mention that he went easy on the mala spice because not a lot of the Muslim crowd likes that numbing spice taste, but that we could customise our order and indicate our preference when putting in our order. I also didn’t like that they had pre-selected ingredients. I much prefer being able to select my own ingredients at those Kopitiam mala shops lol. 7/10

One of us went with the dry version Mala Xiang Guo Noodles (S$12.80) which I actually found slightly better than the soup version:

Le Fuse - Ma La Xiang Guo dry noodles

Mala Xiang Guo dry noodles (S$12.80) – 7.5/10

Less oily than the soup version, and I feel with the soup version you need to make sure the broth is super tasty; otherwise it won’t add to the dish. As with the soup version, the ingredients are pre-selected. Please god I don’t want cauliflower lol. Broccoli is okay I love broccoli. 7.5/10

One of us got the Sweet Potato Noodles with Beef (S$9.80):

Le Fuse - Sweet potato noodles with beef 2

Sweet Potato Noodles with Beef (S$9.80) – 9/10

Le Fuse - Sweet Potato Noodles with Beef

UNFFFF

OMG I loved these noodles and totally wished I’d ordered them instead!! Actually my friend and I ended up basically swapping lol since he preferred my soupy mala noodles. Anyway wow the noodles were super on pointtttt they were so perfectly chewy and soft!! Loved the beef chunks also which were rather tender, and I think the noodles soaked up the broth better. Yum; would def get this the next time I’m at Le Fuse!! 9/10

All in all I think there’s definitely room for improvement at Le Fuse; the selection of dishes is pretty good so after some tweaks it could really be great. One thing I’d like to see is more customizable levels of mala spice in the menu, as well as the ability to select ingredients in your mala tang/mala xiang guo! I’d definitely welcome any place that serves halal sichuan food so I hope Le Fuse only gets better with time!

Le Fuse
22 Lim Tua Tow Road
Singapore 547772
Reservations: DM them on Instagram or Facebook!
Closest MRT station: Serangoon MRT!

Opening Hours
Tue-Sun: 4pm to 10pm
Closed on Mondays

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 7/10
Average spend per pax: ~S$25
Recommended dishes: Chong Qing Diced Chicken (S$9.80), Sweet Potato Noodles with Beef (S$9.80)

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Kucina Italian Restaurant at OneKM Mall

Kucina Italian Restaurant
OneKM Mall B1-09/10
11 Tanjong Katong Road
Singapore 437157
Online Reservations: Click here or here
Online Menu: Click here

Opening hours
Daily: 1130am to 10pm (last order 930pm)

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 9/10
Average spend per pax: ~$50
Recommended Dishes: Spaghetti con Porcini e Parmigiano (S$35), Pizza Bread Salvia (S$5.80)

Have you guys watched The Shape of Water? OMG IT’S SO GOOD!! I was truly, truly not expecting to be quite so taken with it. Honestly I’d read the synopsis about 3 times and each time I did not feel any more compelled to watch it. BUT with the Oscar Best Picture win and my GV birthday one-for-one, I couldn’t find a good reason not to watch it. BOY WAS I GLAD I DECIDED TO!!!!! UGH. It was so delightful and whimsical, but with a solid plot and resonant themes. It felt a little French and a little surrealist to me, like a cross between Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amélie and Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge.

Aaaanyway another recommendation I’m making in this entry is Kucina Italian Restaurant at OneKM Mall!!! I saw on their Instagram that they had flown in a whole cheese wheel from Italy and were gonna make pasta in it as a special menu item 😱😱👅💦

Kucina_Cheese_Wheel2

THE CHEESE WHEELLLLLLLLLLLL

So I first found out about cheese wheel pasta from when John Legend got his wife Chrissy Teigen a cheese wheel for her birthday, and since then I had been absolutely dying to try a plate for myself! So it was really great that Kucina gave me the opportunity to try a halal one!

Before I talk about how it tasted, let me quickly take you through the process of making this cheese wheel pasta:

1. First they torch the insides of the cheese wheel:

Kucina_Cheese_Wheel_Grana_Padano

Torching

2.  Then they scrape off the torched parts of the cheese to collect the scrapings at the bottom:

Kucina_Cheese_Wheel_Scrape

Scraping

3. Then they torch the scrapings again to further melt the cheese:

Kucina_Blowtorch

Re-torching

4. Then they toss in the spaghetti and pour in hot vegetable stock and mix it all around:

Kucina_Cheese_Wheel_Stock

Mixing in the vegetable stock

5. And voila! The spaghetti is all cheesy and flavoured up and ready to be served:

Kucina_Cheese_Wheel_Pasta

Beauty

So the end product is the Spaghetti con Porcini e Parmigiano (S$35), and it is a thing of beauty:

Kucina_Spaghetti_Con_Porcini_e_Parmigiano

Spaghetti with Porcini Mushrooms and Parmigiano Cheese (S$35) – 10/10

OMGGGG this cheese wheel pasta was absolutely all that I’d dreamt of and more. It was SO moist and flavourful – the cheese was slightly bitter and had a nice char, so we didn’t feel like it was too jelak or overly cheesy. The porcini mushrooms and creamy sauce made every bite extra juicy. I finished the entire plate without difficulty. 10/10

My friend got the Al Granchio (S$22) featuring linguine pasta with fresh crab meat in tomato cream sauce:

Kucina_Al_Granchio_Crabmeat_Pasta

I had a bite of this pasta and thought it was a little too sweet for my taste, and my friend def preferred my pasta over hers too. Maybe I was a little biased because I was absolutely over the moon about my pasta, but yeah unfortunately the al granchio came up short in comparison.  The portion of crab meat was generous tho, so overall 7/10 for this one!

Going a little in reverse chronological order here, but for starters we got the Truffle Fries (S$15) and the Pizza Bread Salvia (S$5.80):

Kucina_Truffle_Fries

Truffle Fries (S$15) – 6.5/10

I liked that the truffle fries had shaved parmesan cheese on it (and what I suspect is shaved black truffle, which are the black streaks), but I thought the fries were a little dry and not fluffy. 6.5/10

Kucina_Pizza_Bread_Salvia

The Pizza Bread on the other hand was a nice surprise! It was a decent starter – slightly chewy beneath the crisp outer layer, and savoury too. I’m not a huge fan of onions but these ones were thinly sliced and baked, so they were fine. 9/10

Here’s a flatlay for you kids:

Kucina_On_The_Table

This is making me so hungry rn

 

Kucina_Fizz_Mocktail

The Kucina Fizz with cranberry juice, peach sparkling juice, grenadine syrup and orange juice (S$7.90) – SUPER YUMMM and perfect to cut through the heavy food

All in all I had a terrific time at Kucina and majorly had my dreams of having cheese wheel pasta fulfilled. You guys should def check them out while the special item is still available! It’s not a permanent menu item yet, but for now they’re still importing cheese wheels to make this special item and gauging demand. Otherwise it seems to be a solid halal Italian joint, and I would def go back again to try their other menu items.

Kucina Italian Restaurant
OneKM Mall B1-09/10
11 Tanjong Katong Road
Singapore 437157
Online Reservations: Click here or here
Online Menu: Click here

Opening hours
Daily: 1130am to 10pm (last order 930pm)

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 9/10
Average spend per pax: ~$50
Recommended Dishes: Spaghetti con Porcini e Parmigiano (S$35), Pizza Bread Salvia (S$5.80)

Deanna’s Kitchen at Toa Payoh Lor 1 Blk 127

Deanna’s Kitchen
#02-25, Blk 127
Toa Payoh Lorong 1
Singapore 310127

Opening Hours
Closed Mon-Tue
Wed-Fri: 10am to 2pm, 5pm to 8pm
Sat: 9am to 5pm
Sun: 9am to 2pm

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 10/10
Average spend per pax: S$6.50
Recommended dishes: Everything because the broth and ingredients are spectacular, but I had the Prawn Noodles with Clams (S$6.50).

You guys. I had initially planned to talk about Netflix’s The Crown and how much I’m enjoying watching it because Claire Foy is such an emotive and talented actress. BUT. I can’t even wait to tell you guys about the amazing Chinese prawn noodles I had last week at Deanna’s Kitchen at Toa Payoh Lorong 1 Food Centre with my friend and her husband!!

Seriously I should’ve known it was going to be a perfect evening when this was my view while walking from Braddell MRT station to the hawker centre:

Blessings

Hashtag alhamdulillah feels

So Deanna’s Kitchen is a 100% muslim-owned, authentic Chinese prawn noodle stall set up by Denise Chew (Deanna), a Chinese convert (or revert if you prefer, I’m not fussed) and her husband Asri Ramli. I read that after converting to Islam, Deanna couldn’t find good halal prawn mee so she asked her mum for the recipe and tweaked it to halal perfection!! The Chinese versions usually use pork bone broth, but Deanna uses prawn broth instead. The story of their interracial love is also super touching; if you guys are interested to know more you can read it on her IG here!

Deannas_Kitchen_Menu

Menu!

I love that they specialise in one thing only (prawn noodles with variations in ingredients and noodles), because you can rest assured they’re focused on perfecting their signature dish. I love that you can customise your noodles too; I really do not like yellow noodles for that horrible lye taste and the starchy texture. BOO.

I went with the Prawn Noodles with Clams (S$6.50) which consisted of noodles in prawn broth with prawns, fishcake, a very generous serving of plump clams, and some kangkong:

Deannas_Kitchen_Prawn_Noodles_Clams2

Prawn Noodles with Clams (S$6.50) – 10/10

OMGGGGG you guys. I could already smell the fragrant broth when I carried the bowl over to my table to set it down, so I knew it was going to be special, but man, the first sip was transcendental. I loved, loved, loved the prawn broth taste; it was so flavourful and went perfectly with the bee hoon noodles I had selected! Also guys, you gotta add the fried shallots (bawang goreng) because they are delicious and make the already-perfect noodles taste better.

Don’t even get me started on the clams. I LOVE clams omg I am an absolute clam FIEND, and there were SOOOOO many in the bowl! All for S$6.50?!?! It’s madness. The same quantity of clams you buy as an à la carte stirfry dish would’ve easily cost more. 10/10 for this delightful bowl of prawn noodles UGH.

Deannas_Kitchen_Prawn_Noodles_Clams3

Plump and juicy clams omg

My friend got the same thing as me but her husband went with the Big Prawn Noodle (also S$6.50) – take a look at the photos here:

Deannas_Kitchen_Big_Prawn_Noodles

Ahem my best flatlay attempt lol I just can’t take good photos most of the time

Deannas_Kitchen_Brig_Prawn_Noodles

Big Prawn Noodle (S$6.50)

Deannas_Kitchen_Clam_Aftermath

The aftermath. LOOK AT HOW MANY CLAMS!!! From just two bowls of Prawn Noodles with Clams ugh!! ❤

Deannas_Kitchen_Opening_Hours

Opening hours for Deanna’s Kitchen

The service here is terrific too you guys. Quick story – after finishing my bowl I went to order 3 more bowls for takeaway. It was almost closing time just before 8pm, and while I was waiting for my order, these two girls came up and ordered what was to be the last couple of bowls. The stall didn’t have enough broth for a full second bowl, and so the co-owner Asri gave a great discount for the bowl! UGH what great customer service. Also because theirs were the last two bowls, he gave the girls all the remaining clams and warned them that they were being given excess clams because the stall was closing, lest they come back next time and wonder why they’re not getting as many clams. Very thoughtful service.

Second story is, I took away those 3 bowls to my Chinese friends who were still working late in the office, and they LOVED it!! One of them said it’s the best prawn mee broth she’d tasted in a long time, and the other one told me she counted TWENTY FOUR CLAMS in her bowl. LOL it’s insane. So yeah while I have no basis for comparison, having never eaten porky prawn mee before, my Chinese friends definitely vouch for the taste and authenticity of Deanna’s Kitchen’s Chinese prawn mee ❤

Go try it soon you guys!

Deanna’s Kitchen
#02-25, Blk 127
Toa Payoh Lorong 1
Singapore 310127

Opening Hours
Closed Mon-Tue
Wed-Fri: 10am to 2pm, 5pm to 8pm
Sat: 9am to 5pm
Sun: 9am to 2pm

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 10/10
Average spend per pax: S$6.50
Recommended dishes: Everything because the broth and ingredients are spectacular, but I had the Prawn Noodles with Clams (S$6.50).

The Big Cheese at Sunshine Plaza

The Big Cheese
Sunshine Plaza #01-59
91 Bencoolen St
Singapore 189652

Operating Hours
Tue-Sun: 12pm to 9pm
Closed on Mondays

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 9.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$9-10 for Mac & Cheese + a canned drink!
Recommended dishes: There’s only Mac & Cheese guys. Go crazy!

You guys! I know I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus from blogging. The truth is I’ve been busy with… Narcos Season 3 and Black Mirror Season 4 LOL. Netflix is life-changing in ways both good and bad. Apart from that, so many things happening in the world to keep up with.

  1. Did you guys hear about Harvey Weinstein getting slapped by some rando in Arizona?!?! Shiok or what sia.
  2. Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Mahathir Mohd (did I get all this honorific titles right?) is running with Pakatan Rakyat against Najib as PM, at the tender age of 92. It’s a little insane but I’m out here with popcorn waiting for it to unfold.
  3. There’s been a lot of debate on Aziz Ansari’s public shaming for a date gone wrong. I empathise with the girl a very very small bit, but I also feel bad for Aziz Ansari who isn’t a mind reader. Still, the discussion needs to happen on what’s consensual and what’s not though. The balance of power and consequences are always so disproportionately skewed against women.

ANYWAY coming out of hiding to post about The Big Cheese, a halal mac & cheese joint at Sunshine Plaza! Been meaning to do it for a while and some of you might have seen my IG post about The Big Cheese (@halalicioussg) from October. I’m back out here with more deets!

It’s a hole-in-the-wall located right at the drop-off point of Sunshine Plaza. There are about 3 small high tables and a 3-seater counter facing the outside.

The_Big_Cheese_Corner_Seat

My view from the counter seat

Okay so I LOVE mac & cheese because it’s just classic comfort food. It’s cheesy, it’s gooey, it’s warm, savoury, and you can eat it with one hand (unlike other pasta variants like spaghetti etc). LOVE. Here’s a look at their menu:

The_Big_Cheese_Build_A_Mac_Menu

Bespoke Mac & Cheese for those who like to retain control!

The_Big_Cheese_Specialties_Menu

Specialty maccazzzz

The_Big_Cheese_Ingredients

A buffet of options for your customizable mac & cheese

The_Big_Cheese_Takeout_Boxes

Size comparison for the small and regular macs

So here’s what I got:

The_Big_Cheese_Cheddar_Gruyere

And here is the breakdown:

  1. Size – I chose small (S$6)
  2. Choose your pasta – I chose elbow macaroni because it’s classic duh
  3. Choose two cheese base – I went for cheddar and gruyère (extra 50cts because fancy)
  4. Choose two proteins/greens – I opted for bacon and pepperoni because I ain’t about to disrespect my mac & cheese by adding vegetables LOL
  5. Choose one topping/condiment – I opted for truffle oil (I miss Reminis’ truffling mac & cheese back when they had a stall at Sembawang 😦 )
  6. Add-ons – I went for pulled beef (S$2) UNFFFFF

Here is the final product at $8.50:

The_Big_Cheese_Macaroni

UNFFFFFF small mac & cheese (S$6) with added pulled beef (S$2) and premium gruyère cheese (S$0.50) for a total of just S$8.50 for all this deliciousnezzzzzz

Mmmmm guys this was so creamy and delicious and comforting!! I couldn’t really taste the gruyère, so I think the key is to select stronger tasting cheeses like parmesan. I’d def go for maybe parmesan and cheddar next time. Also I love that regular elbow macaroni traps a lot of that creamy cheese so it oozes out with each bite unfffff. The pulled beef was pretty good but also a little…soft? I would’ve wanted more bite. Still a pretty worthwhile addition at just S$2 though. The small size was perfect for me because mac & cheese is already SO heavy; I was just stuffed enough. 9.5/10

Those with bigger appetites might probably try the regular size one, which is what my friend did. He got the regular sized mac (S$7.50) with parmesan, cheddar, bacon and pepperoni topped off with bacon bits at no extra charge:

The_Big_Cheese_Duo

Regular on the left, small on the right

The_Big_Cheese_Regular_Small

The_Big_Cheese_Spork

A spork!! How cute is this?

All-in-all, The Big Cheese is just the place for a quick bite if you’re in need of some nourishing comfort food. If the place is empty you can choose to stay longer but the stool seats are not entirely conducive to staying longer haha. I’d definitely go back every few weeks for a mac & cheese lunchtime fix!

Also as the menu suggests, you can top up S$1.50 for a drink 🙂 Def worth it to wash down all that goopy heavy cheese sauce!

The Big Cheese
Sunshine Plaza #01-59
91 Bencoolen St
Singapore 189652

Operating Hours
Tue-Sun: 12pm to 9pm
Closed on Mondays

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 9.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$9-10 for Mac & Cheese + a canned drink!
Recommended dishes: There’s only Mac & Cheese guys. Go crazy!

 

El Cubanos at Short St (Selegie)

El Cubanos
1A Short St #01-01
Singapore 188210
Tel: +65 9162 5540

Opening Hours
Mon-Fri: 12pm to 11pm
Sat: 4pm to 1am
Closed on Sundays

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 10/10
Average spend per pax: S$11 including a drink
Recommended dishes: Signature Pulled Beef Cubano with Cajun Fries (S$8.80), Grilled Chicken Cubano with Cajun Fries (S$8.50)

WHERE DID THE WEEKEND GO YOU GUYS 😭😭. I always dream of having a super nua stay-in weekend where I sequester myself at home and get my life in order, like do some laundry, tidy up, maybe go for a run, take naps, and get caught up on my favourite TV shows. For some reason it never happens and I always end up going out. Half of me is just this lazy homebody, and the other half always has major #FOMO ugh.

Anyway this weekend I managed to squeeze in a couple of brunches, did two loads of laundry AND blazed through 5 episodes of Stranger Things Season 2 omg. HAVE YOU GUYS WATCHED IT?! It’s so great.

You know what’s also great though? THE SANDWICHES FROM EL CUBANOS 👅💦😭💯.

El_Cubanos_Pulled_Beef_Signature

Just look at this.

My friend and I meet up for lunch once every couple of weeks and we usually try a halal place that’s anywhere between our two offices. Couple weeks ago it was The Big Cheese (review to come!), and this week it was El Cubanos!

Located just off Selegie Road at 1A Short St, El Cubanos serves up Cuban-style pressed sandwiches as their specialty. Think grilled cheese panini but with a generous serving of meats as well. SO SO GOOD.

El_Cubanos_StorefrontJPG

The El Cubanos Storefront

Here is the menu display at the shop:

El_Cubanos_Menu

“Good people serving good food to make you feel good” – I a hundred percent support

I had the Signature Pulled Beef Cubano with Cajun Fries (S$8.80), which featured a pressed pulled beef and cheese sandwich with jalapeños, served with a side of cajun fries:

El_Cubanos_Pulled_Beef_Cajun_Fries

Signature Pulled Beef Cubano with Cajun Fries (S$8.80) – 10/10!!! ❤️

OK not even kidding but the first bite was transcendental. I still remember it so, so vividly. The bread was crisp on the outside, and the pulled beef within was just so tender and flavourful and cheesy. It was really sublime, and I recall just melting into a delirium of sounds as I consumed the rest of the sandwich.

UGHHHHH the beef was really so juicy and there were heaps of it too in the sandwich. There were a couple of jalapeño slices adding mild heat. Also loved the fries with the savoury Cajun seasoning. They reminded me of 4 Fingers fries in terms of texture. But of course it was the Cuban sandwich that stole the show. 10/10

My friend got the Spiced Up Grilled Chicken Cubanos with Cajun Fries ($8.50) in extra spicy:

El_Cubanos_Spiced_Up_Grilled_Chicken_Cubanos

Spiced Up Grilled Chicken Cubano (S$8.50) on top, Signature Pulled Beef Cubano (S$8.80) below.

So my friend and I swapped one half of our sandwiches with each other’s so we could have the best of both worlds. I really liked the grilled chicken version too, except that it somehow had more onion inside. Also pulled beef is way shreddier and juicier so I’m giving this grilled chicken cubano a 9.5/10.

The both of us left the place feeling thoroughly satisfied and also kicking ourselves for not having discovered it way earlier! Literally, we were texting later that Friday about how we were still thinking about the sandwich. Next morning, he joked that he “dreamt he was eating the cubano and woke up to find his pillow gone” LOLLLL DEAD. Seriously, I was thinking about it all weekend and we’ve already fixed another date later this week to go again 😀

Service is pleasant, the ambience is terrific (look at all the Cuban photographs and paraphernalia adorning the walls!) and they have good Cuban/Latin music to put you in the mood. I went to Cuba in 2015 and being here just brings me right back. It makes me wonder if we have any sort of Cuban expat (exiles?! ok maybe émigrés.) here in Singapore because if so I hope they know about this place.

YOU GUYS HAVE TO VISIT!!!

El_Cubanos_Shirt

Getting sassed by this t-shirt.

El_Cubanos_Signature_Pulled_Beef_Sandwich

Post swap: Chicken cubano on top, pulled beef cubano below

El Cubanos
1A Short St #01-01
Singapore 188210
Tel: +65 9162 5540

Opening Hours
Mon-Fri: 12pm to 11pm
Sat: 4pm to 1am
Closed on Sundays

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 10/10
Average spend per pax: S$11 including a drink
Recommended dishes: Signature Pulled Beef Cubano with Cajun Fries (S$8.80), Grilled Chicken Cubano with Cajun Fries (S$8.50)

Hararu Izakaya at Bussorah St

Hararu Izakaya
16 Bussorah St
Singapore 199437
Tel: +65 62915373
Online reservations: Click here
Online menu (no prices tho): Click here

Operating Hours
Mon-Sun: 12pm to 11pm (Last Order @ 10pm)

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 8/10
Average spend per pax: S$44 (omg why do we spend like kings)
Recommended dishes: Hotate Turkey Bacon (Scallop) (S$6), Gyuniku Nitsuke (Stewed Beef Ribs) (S$18), Negima (Chicken & Spring Onion) (S$5)

OK you guys I finally tried Hararu Izakaya at Bussorah St a couple of weeks ago! (edited to add: ok it’s now become a couple of months ago because I am just the worst and I sat on this review with about 20% to go and it just remained in drafts FOREVER).

Some of you might know I went to Tokyo on holiday in May this year, and came back literally 2 days before Ramadan began. I had an amazing time there eating my absolute weight in sashimi, sushi and even life-changing lobster rolls from Dominique Ansel Bakery (OK lah I’m not so strict which is why I *need* to keep a halal blog to encourage myself to find halal options). Unfortunately I only had time to visit one halal ramen place called Naritaya near the Asakusa shrine, prior to attending the Sanja Matsuri festival. (P.s. it’s not great, but it’ll do if you’re looking for halal food in the area!)

So you can imagine how happy I was at the opening of Hararu Izakaya in late April 2017, the first halal izakaya in Singapore! We’re still some ways away from like, a halal Shinji or even a halal Teppei for that matter, but still this is a welcome step in the right direction! You can read more about the restaurant founders in this article I found online here.

So hilarious fact: Hararu is how the Japanese would pronounce the term “halal”, just like how in Southpark, the (Japanese) people at Sony had a meeting to discuss their “serusu report” (sales report) for the new PlayStation and the launch of their Brack Friday Bunduru (Black Friday Bundle) LOL I died. Loved this episode.

Also, in case you guys didn’t know, the term izakaya refers to a Japanese gastropub, and has its origins in sake shops that allowed its customers to stay and drink on-site (‘”i” means to stay, and “sakaya” refers to sake shop.) So okay lah not super halal origins, but why should seekers of halal food be denied those delicious grilled skewers, right?

Hararu_Izakaya_Foreword

Hararu_Izakaya_Mural

Located on Bussorah St right next to Kampong Glam Cafe and opposite the now-defunct Vintage Delicafe, Hararu Izakaya occupies 2 floors of the shophouse. I made reservations about 5 days in advance and was ushered to the more pleasant upstairs seating – sweet! We were asked to remove our shoes to sit on the tatami mats (don’t worry there’s a depression “moat” in the floor around the table so you sit on the edge and put your legs in, so you’re effectively sitting on a bench instead of cross-legged and risking accidental indecency if you’re wearing a skirt lol). I was so thankful I wore sandals that could be slipped off and on with ease instead of, say, shoes with buckles UGH. Or like sneakers with ratty sockettes lol. Y’all have been warned.

Hararu_Izakaya_Decor

You sit on the floor and put your legs in the “moat”!

Hararu_Izakaya_Wall

I assume all mountains in Japanese drawings are Mount Fuji because I don’t know any other names help omg let me read up more so I don’t stay ignorant ugh

We ordered from a digital menu on an ipad attached to the table – I can’t tell you how much I love this. This iPad ordering system is prevalent in Japanese izakayas as it facilitates ordering skewers gradually and incrementally. Love it. Plus you don’t have to keep calling the waitress over to take your order. It’s great, 10/10.

So anyway we started off with the Hotate Turkey Bacon (S$6 for 2 skewers), which features grilled scallop wrapped in turkey bacon. You can choose the version with shio salt dressing or teriyaki sauce dressing, and we tried both:

Hararu_Izakaya_Scallop_Turkey_Bacon

Hotate Turkey Bacon on Teriyaki sauce (S$6) – 9/10

Hararu_Izakaya_Scallop_Turkey_Bacon2

Hotate Turkey Bacon in shio salt (S$6) – 9/10

YUM I really liked these! The scallop tasted fresh and was flavourful, while the turkey bacon really helped raise the umami quotient. I’m a little torn with regards to which dressing is better than the other; it’ll really depend on your mood as the teriyaki dressing can be a little sweet for some but also more juicy than the salt. I’d say a solid 9/10 for both of these.

We were deciding between udon or soba noodles, and eventually decided on the Zaru Soba (S$8). Here’s a definition for you guys taken from Just One Cookbook:

Zaru Soba is a chilled noodle dish made from buckwheat flour and served with soy sauce based dipping sauce called tsuyu (つゆ). The word zaru means “a strainer” in Japanese and the name of the dish was derived from the way the noodles are served over a bamboo strainer during Edo Period.

So I always thought I was more of an udon girl; I find the chewy texture of the thick noodles in hot broth very satisfying and comforting. However, in the past year I’ve been dipping my toes in the proverbial cold soba waters (this metaphor does not work but go with me on it) and I’ve come to really like cold soba as a refreshing, light dish.

Hararu_Izakaya_Zaru_Soba

The ones at Hararu, unfortunately, were not great. The soba was too starchy, while the good-quality ones were more refined with a springier, lighter texture. The dipping sauce was just fine, but the noodles are really the star of the show, and to have them be mediocre is a little disappointing. I hope they tweak the texture next time! 5/10

We also had the Negima chicken thigh and leek skewers (S$5 for 2 skewers):

Hararu_Izakaya_Chicken_Thigh_Leek

Negima Chicken Thigh and Leek Skewers (S$5)

YUM. Happy to report these chicken thighs were juicy and well-seasoned, yum! I even ate the leek which had a slightly charred taste yum and wasn’t super oniony YES. Definitely a staple skewer for me. 9/10

We tried to be all healthy and included the Shiitake Negi (S$4 for 2 skewers) in our order so we can say alright we had some vegetables:

Hararu_Izakaya_Shitake_Negi

Shiitake Skewer (S$4) – 6.5/10

I confess I am not usually the biggest fan of shiitake, especially in stir fries, but I don’t mind them grilled! That being said, I still found these were pretty average – a little dry and rubbery, although I honestly don’t know if they would’ve been better elsewhere. 6.5/10 I guess!

We also had to try the Gyu Kushi Ponzu (S$10) which were the beef skewers in a citrus + soy sauce glaze (bonus: click here for ponzu recipe):

Hararu_Izakaya_Beef_Ponzu

Gyu Kushi Ponzu beef skewer (S$10) – 8/10

You will not believe how many times I accidentally typed Ponzi (as in Ponzi scheme) instead of Ponzu in this review lol. Anyway these skewers were just a smidge tougher than I would have liked, but I did enjoy the citrusy-umami flavour of the ponzu dressing. A little steep at S$10 but worth a try if you like your red meats like I do. 8/10

Moving on from the skewers, we tried the Yuzu Miso Tebasaki Chicken Wings (S$12 for 6 pieces):

Hararu_Izakaya_Chicken_Wings

Yuzu Miso Tebasaki Chicken Wings (S$12) – 7.5/10

These grilled chicken wings (tebasaki literally means wing tips) were not bad – they were savoury and lightly sour, with additional flavour from the sesame seeds and seaweed garnish! While the meat was succulent, I thought the skin could have been either a little juicier, or crisper instead of in-between. 7.5/10

Finally the pièce-de-résistance was the Gyu Nitsuke (S$18) featuring stewed tender beef ribs in some sweet-savoury sauce.

Hararu_Izakaya_Beef_Ribs1

Gyu Nitsuke beef rib (S$18) – 10/10

OMG GUYSSSSSS this was really good!!! The beef was really so, so tender, and juicy, and packed with flavour!! I swear, it was super succulent and the meat slid right off the bone and onto my chopsticks UNFFFF YASSSSS.

Hararu_Izakaya_Beef_Ribs2

HNGGGGGGGG gasm.

OK full disclosure – towards the end, it did get just a little bit jelak because the sauce was a little sweet, but thankfully the dish came with some sort of dip on the side which had a hint of wasabi, helping de-cloy the flavour. I’d still rate it 10/10 though!

All in all I had a good time at Hararu Izakaya, although I do think there is room for improvement in the quality of the dishes. Nothing some tweaks and continuous fine-tuning wouldn’t fix. I LOVE the ambience of the 2nd floor seating, and I love the ipad ordering system. I do however wish they would serve more like sashimi stuff (OKAY I KNOW this is a yakitori place ugh I’m sorry but I love sashimi help please send me some).

Also I hate that they do not serve water, and a drink costs you like S$3-6 at this place. I def got a sore throat the next day because of all the skewers and not enough water (my fault for being too cheap to buy mineral water) so either come with a water bottle of your own or be prepared to pay for water (mmmm I just do not agree with paying for water ugh).

Still, looking forward to going back and trying that amazing Gyu Nitsuke beef ribs ugh.

Hararu Izakaya
16 Bussorah St
Singapore 199437
Tel: +65 62915373
Online reservations: Click here
Online menu (no prices tho): Click here

Operating Hours
Mon-Sun: 12pm to 11pm (Last Order @ 10pm)

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 8/10
Average spend per pax: S$44 (omg why do we spending like kings)
Recommended dishes: Hotate Turkey Bacon (Scallop) (S$6), Gyuniku Nitsuke (Stewed Beef Ribs) (S$18), Negima (Chicken & Spring Onion) (S$5)

Wilder Cafe on North Bridge Road

Wilder Cafe
749 North Bridge Road
Singapore 198717
Online reservations (only for 4 pax and above): Click here
Online Menu: Click here

Opening Hours
Tue-Sat: 1230pm to 10pm
Sun: 1230pm to 9pm
Closed on Mondays

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 7.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$22
Recommended dishes: Eggs and Salted Egg Crab Croissant (S$17)

Happy weekend guys! It’s been a while since my last post. As always, I have been eating and eating, but just have not found the time to upload photos and start writing! Worse stilll I’ve been OBSESSED with this book I’m reading called Shades of Grey by Jasper FForde – NOT, I repeat, NOT, to be confused with the horrible 50 Shades franchise. I borrowed mine from the National Library, it’s SO GOOD!!!

Shades of Grey is about this dystopian world where social hierarchy is dictated by the colours one can perceive, and so the Greys are the lowest on the scale, whereas the purples are considered high up because they can see red, blue and purple – that sort of thing. The dialogue between the characters are usually really funny in a dry humour way. Such great writing, like a modern day Evelyn Waugh, and more accessible.

Aaanyway, unlike the Rihanna and Calvin Harris collab, this book talk is not what you came for. I’m really here to talk about my recent lunch at Wilder Cafe on North Bridge Road before heading over the the National Library for Rent the Musical! (My first time watching Rent, great set design.)

Wilder Cafe - Table Decor

Cantiknya ya Allah (lol melebih)

Wilder Cafe - Interior Decor

Industrial chic like the former Rouse

Wilder Cafe - Interior

I’m not supposed to pixelate his face right?

Wilder Cafe - Table Flowers

As you can see from the photos above, Wilder is beautiful! I love what they’ve done with the space, it feels very welcoming.

Here’s a look at the brunch menu:

Wilder Cafe - Brunch Menu

Ignore my friend’s RIDICULOUS reflection

Wilder Cafe - Brunch Menu 2

Dranks and stuff

We ordered the Pulled Beef Fries (S$15), which was described in the menu as having 12-hour braised beef and 3 types of melted cheese over fries:

Pulled Beef Cheese Fries

Pulled Beef Fries ($15) – 6/10

So my friend and I were deciding between either these Pulled Beef Fries or the Old Fashioned Truffle Fries (S$11), and in the end the Pulled Beef Fries won out because it was more unique. Plus, we were curious about how the pulled beef would taste after having been braised for 12 hours.

Wilder Cafe - Pulled Beef Fries

Unffff – if only it tasted as good as it looked

Alas, these were a letdown. Off the bat I thought the presentation in this blue-grey bowl was not really appetizing (maybe try a platter?!), and I wish they’d used thicker-cut fries. These thin fries were frankly soggy and a little hard. I like my fries crispy on the outside and mushy on the inside. These were neither.

The pulled beef was also not the most tender, and fairly dry. I don’t know what happened in the preparation process, but I would have much preferred if the pulled beef were more saucy and tender, so that the fries could have soaked up the gravy and the flavour that comes with it. I feel like it’s a great concept, but maybe the execution/preparation was not the best. I hope they can improve on this! In the meantime, 6/10 unfortunately.

For my mains I got the Eggs and Salted Egg Crab (S$17), consisting of two poached eggs, and crabmeat with salted egg sauce on a croissant:

Wilder Cafe - Eggs & Salted Egg Creb

Eggs and Salted Egg Crab (S$17) – 9/10

Wilder Cafe - Salted Egg Crab Eggs Benedict

UGHHH look at that frothy creamy goodness and them CURRY LEAVES UGH YUM

OK so let’s start with the negatives – check out the sad few rocket leaves on the tomato (which thankfully was pretty yummy). It couldn’t hurt to add a handful more leaves to make up a decent side salad. Secondly the poached egg was not very presentable, and could’ve been slightly runnier. Thankfully, the salted egg sauce made up for this so that each bite was juicy and not dry.

On to the plusses – i liked the croissant. It lent a slight sweetness and also some crunch to the dish. I can imagine it would also save time for the kitchen staff who wouldn’t have to bother themselves with fresh toast or muffins.The crabmeat portion was generous, and went well with the salted egg taste! A pretty solid dish, although for S$17 I really would expect at least a little more salad, or better looking poached eggs. 9/10

My friend (who guest-starred in the menu reflection) got the Baked Spinach and Cheese (S$8) and topped up S$3.50 for some smoked salmon:

Wilder Cafe - Baked Spinach and Cheese Smoked Salmon

Baked Spinach and Cheese with added smoked salmon (S$11.50) – 7.5/10

Wilder Cafe - Baked Spinach and Cheese with Smoked Salmon

MMMM CHEEESYYYYYYYY

I liked this dish – it was really creamy and cheesy, and annoyingly had more rocket leaves than my croissant LOL. There was an adequate amount of spinach in it, and the smoked salmon added extra texture. It was quite comforting. I only have 2 gripes about this – the cheese/cream base was a little too liquidy, almost like chunky soup. Maybe they could have done something to make it a little more solid, like add some ingredient to bind the cream and cheese together. My second bone to pick was that they made the cream base a little too spicy. We found bits of chilli padi in it. Go easy on the chilli, and I think we’d be 9/10. For now though, 7.5/10!

We didn’t get any dessert since we were pressed for time, but all in all we had a pretty good time at Wilder. I think it’ll be a nice place to go for coffee or just a casual hang with some friends. It was fairly quiet when I was there, and like I said, the decor felt really welcoming.

It’s worth noting this place does not charge GST or service charge, since you order and pay at the counter. Cutleries and water are available at the self-service station. It’s very no-frills. Oh they also sell random paraphernalia like this Salted Egg Fries Tote Bag for S$28:

Wilder Cafe - Salted Egg Fries Tote Bag

Pretty cute eh? If only I carried tote bags more. I have 4 right now at home I hardly use.

Wilder Cafe - Openig Hours

Lol I took a photo of this so I could put up the Opening Hours info here.

Wilder Cafe
749 North Bridge Road
Singapore 198717
Online reservations (only for 4 pax and above): Click here
Online Menu: Click here

Opening Hours
Tue-Sat: 1230pm to 10pm
Sun: 1230pm to 9pm
Closed on Mondays

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 7.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$22
Recommended dishes: Eggs and Salted Egg Crab Croissant (S$17)