Jamie’s Italian @ Vivo City, Singapore

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I like Jamie since he was a skinny boy in the 90s. My mother and I even considered buying that stone bowl to grind spices to season fresh seafood at a beach like Jamie does. So I’ve been a sucker for his brand and I hesitated a little to visit his first outlet in Asia. It’s like when you become afraid of watching a movie which was based on a fantastic book you read and adored. But there was no hint of disappointment within me after I dined there.

 

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20140430-213952.jpg 20140430-213936.jpg 20140430-213919.jpgExcept the polenta chips which were a little too heavy for our likings, everything fared really well. Indeed delicious. Our special vote goes to the apple cole slaw which was so colorful that it should be the named the rainbow/diversity salad. We loved how the yoghurt sauce and lemon zest harmonized the sweetness of crunchy green apples, purple cabbages, and pink and yellow beetroot.

The house-made pasta had a nice texture and I loved a light-hearted crab pasta served in a flavorful seafood broth. I was actually getting tired of overly creamy seafood tomato pasta. Let’s save that creaminess for chill crab… Not forgetting Jamie’s signature tuna fusilli. Pasta-picky Mr.Samurai liked this pasta the most (if that means something…).

Note that we ordered starter sized pastas and was just enough for both of us. They were both under $20 which made our lunch a lot more affordable than we expected. Thanks Jamie! I still love your food, recipe, and food porn you post on instagram!

Restaurant Bouillon Chartier @ Grand Boulevard, Paris

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If you spot this sign in Paris, I suggest you go in even if you are not so hungry. We can always eat.

Some say dining scene has been revolutionized with brave young chefs breaking the stereotype of a parisian bistro fare. While their concoctions were fantastic (didn’t know Japanese inspired food is so big here), our wallets got lighter after few meals and our taste buds a little overwhelmed. We headed to Chartier Restaurant because we wanted some simple, affordable French bistro fare. After all once in France, we had to taste the original.

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Stepping into the grand hall, I felt like I was time slipped into 1890s, when Chartier first opened. A hundred year old traditions were still alive. Waiters dressed in black vests and white aprons scribbles your orders and calculates your bill on your table’s paper table-cloth. The strangers share tables and eventually dishes after few glasses of table wine. The customers create their own BGM as they joke, laugh, and talk politics with everyone around.

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Food was so classic; all dishes taught us how simply, simple is the best. Your English teacher told you simple is a meaningless word that cannot be used in your in-class essays? Well, Chartier taught us there is so much more under the skin of simplicity. We were blessed with everything we ordered – Beef steak, a duck confit, a fish with a cream sauce, and pork steaks all served with potatoes cooked differently. All cooked, seasoned, paired with sauces and condiments perfectly.

As we dined a false fire alarm went on, an electricity went down, and they ran out of ice cream and chantilly but the happenings just added joy to our dining experience. A false alarm especially brought every one in the big dining hall together; a small talk about the ringing alarm brought laughter among strangers. The three women at our neighboring table, who we later found out, came individually, recommended us an unforgettable dessert, baba au rhum, which became the reason we came back few hours before our flight left from CDG airport.

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My mother and I were obviously very well-fed after a long wine-laden weekend at Beaune, on our second visit. Chartier’s pot au feu was perfect to soothe our stomach. Actually our attempt to eat healthy backfired with a lovely soup that revived our appetite for more champaign, white wine, and baba in a pool of rum. We ended our last meal in France with a shot of espresso and headed to our respective homes. La vie en rose. What a sweet ending to our trip.

フランスの変わりゆく時代を見守ってきたシャルティール。日本の大衆酒場を思わせる賑やかな大ホールは世界中から人々をよびよせる。国籍関係なく食いしん坊と飲ん兵衛は皆、同じ雰囲気にひかれるんだなと嬉しくなった。

IL Localino, Hobart Drive Sandton, Johannesburg

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Offering varieties of starter size portion dishes and bite sized desserts and tapas, this new little Italian joint in the neighborhood is perfect for greedy gourmands who dream of ordering everything off a menu. IL Localino’s pastas were especially delightful and it is highly recommended to try two or more pastas in their starter portions. Trust me, one portion won’t be enough…for everyone! Only exceptions would be those with extra small appetites or those who hoarded on their delicious appetizers. I tried their homemade egg-based Tagliatelle al Ragu (the above picture is my individual plate. I was too late to take a picture of the actual pasta dish) and I was smitten by the texture of their Tagliatelle.

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The grilled pork chops with sage butter was perfectly seasoned, likewise the fish main we had. The subtle yet complex taste combinations of each dish were a gracious surprise for us as we were getting used to a little too bold, over-seasoned food served at other cafe and diners around town.

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After devouring our main dishes, something rare happened. We had some spaces in our stomaches for a dessert! This was a revelation for us since we were never able to squeeze a bite of dessert after eating mega-sized main courses in other restaurants. We took the full advantage of this and ordered three ‘regular’ portioned desserts.

The ‘Tiramisu with a Twist’ was a South African rendition of a mascarpone with lady-finger with a local twist of Amarula liquior and hot chocolate, resulting in an exceptionally fluffy tiramisu. The other two were the banana and chocolate filled beignats and mini-fruit tarts.

IL Localino definitely answered the much needed niche in the Bryanston neighborhood with affordable yet flavorful dishes with a special twist, comfortable casual setting, a breezy terrace dining, and a cheerful staff. A great new comer!

IL Localino
Hobart Grove Centre
Corner of Hobart & Grosvenor Roads
Bryanston, Sandton

Chee Cheong Fun @ New World Park Food Center, Penang, Malaysia

20140311-151638.jpg The Chee Cheong Fun in Penang seem to have two distinct characters – very sweet ‘sweet black sauce’ and moist texture. Indeed the sauce was too sweet for Mr.Samurai and me. We felt like we were eating a dessert. The delicious chili was not enough to balance the sweetness. But the best part about this CCF was definitely the moist ‘skin’. Served open style, the individual roll had an amazing texture like it’s sister in HK, cheong fun. The skin was so silky that we wish we could have only the skins and pair them with more savory sauces served in Singapore.

It is understandable that the Penang locals call this a softer cousin on Char Kway Teow, Penang’s most popular and admittedly  the best dish we had there. These relatives share an essential component – the moist, soft skin. It is no surprise that one of our memorable meal was eaten at a local dim sum restaurant.

 

A Story of A Chinese Nasi Lemak

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There is something so comforting about a plate of Chinese Nasi Lemak. A medley of toppings – a fried chicken wings, ngo hiang, fish balls, fried egg with a gooey yolk, fish cakes, sautéed veggies – piled up on a fragrant bed of steaming coconut rice, highlighted with an addictive smear of sambal all on a plastic orange hawker plate. Not forgetting the generous flakes of fried peanuts and ikan bilis. Messier it looks, the better.

The best things I love about Nasi Lemak is the fragrance of coconut rice, crunchiness of ikan bilis, and sweet sambal that harmonize all the components. My big love goes to this stalls sambal! I want to steal a bucket full and eat it with a toast or rice every single day. The best sambal ever. Challenge me if you can.

20140311-161432.jpgThis specific plate was a treat from my boyfriend’s aunt who has run a stall for more than thirty years at a popular food court at Tuas, the edge of Singapore. Probably the only coffee shop in the 5km radius, the place was bustling with hungry workers from the nearby construction sites and factories. Although a day late for the International Women’s Day, I wanted to dedicate this post for this hardworking woman, Aunt Anna, the owner of this stall. As a single mother, she has worked from 5am to 2pm every single day without a break for many, many years. The number of regulars who drop by not only for her delicious food but to see her speak of her accomplishments. She even donates the leftovers to the migrant workers working nearby her house everyday. While this short post fails to cover all the amazing things she has done for the others, at least I want people to know that there are many women like her out there who need an honorable mention.

Reasons why I didn’t blog for a while…

1. I moved to Japan in May and this blog filled a lot of memories in Singapore made me homesick. Quite badly.

2. Someone who was really bored hacked into my account (and I got lazy handling it).

3. Started cooking a lot more and eating out less especially in Japan.

4. I got lazy taking and uploading photos. (No energy to take photos when I am hungry).

Things that haven’t changed about me:

1. I still love food as my instagram proves.

2. I missed writing about food.

3. I still love exploring new food in different places I visit. Even more with Mr.Samurai.

So I decided to keep this blog going (on a lazy pace). I might talk more about wine because I am taking wine courses now! Anyways, the blog will still focus on food but the format may become more..freestyle.

Just saying.

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This is just too cute to be sexual

Love, Aruquita@THR

Level 33 @ Marina Financial Center Tower 1, Singapore

 

Traveling against the mad crowd flow at rush hour on Monday night, we travelled into the CBD to taste house-brewed beer of the world’s highest urban craft-brewery, Level 33.  Despite the late hour visit at 10 pm on a weekday night, (it was our third bar of the night), we saw full house upon arrival. The drinking flock was dominantly white-collared with their ties loosened and interestingly many were Japanese. We loved the supreme golden brew of 33.2 Pale Ale out of three craft beers we tasted.  Nice aroma, balanced hoppy and mild taste got us wanting for more and more. The crowd pleaser, Blonde Ale, was too fruity and light for us but it is a perfect easily drinkable beer for ladies and not-so-beer-fans.

We were delighted to find decent quality food here to accompany the craft beers. All of the plates were rather highly priced from $20-50. I recommend you get few plates of appetizers to nibble with your beer.

IMG_4126Our favorite was ‘Pigs and Tails’ which was a minced pork croquettas and butter grilled escargots served on a bed of mashed potatoes, poached garlic, pesto sauce, and grilled tomatoes. Gather all the flavors with your folk, pop them in your mouth and taste it, hopefully not wash it down, and quench your thirst with their great craft beer.
IMG_4130We were not so impressed with the overcooked scallop appetizer but we liked well grilled soft Poisson served with creamed cous-cous like pasta paired with grilled tomato and mustard. Interesting yet bold flavors of their contemporary barbarian dishes were nice change from the usual German beer sausage and British pub fish and chips affair. Highly recommended for dates (Ask waitress in advance for the outside seats after meal. Amazing night view).

Level 33
Tel: +65 6834 3133
8 Marina Boulevard #33-01
Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 1