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The Great American Buffet

Mandarin Orchard Singapore’s award-winning and pretty famous atas buffet restaurant, Triple Three, marks Independence Day in the United States of America with the return of The Great American Buffet!

Making Buffets Great Again

In what can arguably be regarded as one of the national hobbies of the USA, the buffet features both classic American favourites as well as some with a local twist, You’ll be spoilt for choice with the massive spread of premium meats, seafood, desserts, and a great variety of sides—all prepared with a dash of freedom!

RIght at the centre stage are grilled and roasted meats prepared to succulent perfection, such as the Smoked Barbecue Pork Ribs, the Oven Roasted USDA Prime Black Angus Ribeye, and the ever popular Smoked USDA Short Ribs which packs an intense smoky flavour from the special dry rub marinade.

Something else not to be missed is the Creole Gumbo, a rich stew from southern Louisiana, featuring rock lobster, mahi-mahi, scallops, clams, mussels, and browned sausages. This delicious medley of ingredients is cooked for hours in hearty stock requiring layer upon layer of flavours and spices.

Executive Sous Chef Sam Chin adds his own twist to the American classics in his rendition of the Lobster Roll, where toasted buttery brioche replaces the traditional white bread hotdog buns. Chef Sam also wants you to try his Gourmet Beef Sliders using premium Black Angus beef patties, caramelised onions and melted cheddar, sandwiched between two slices of toasted brioche (seems like we know his favourite choice of bread).

On top of all these delicious creations, there’s also several other American delights, in all fried and roasted (freedom) goodness!

Dear ladies and your dessert stomachs, you have not been forgotten! There’s also a wide range of desserts to let you fill up that second space. With a selection like the Apricot Almond Tart, the Vanilla Panna Cotta, and the Bourbon Pecan Pie, AND the traditional Apple PieKey Lime Pie, and Blueberry Cheesecake, you can be sure that you leave with delight.

Triple Three at Mandarin Orchard Singapore

Named after the location which the Mandarin Orchard Singapore sits on, Triple Three, with its iconic three 三 (Japanese/Chinese character for the number 3) logo, is a Japanese-inspired buffet restaurant that is known for an extensive international buffet selection. Apart from the the seasonal specials such as the above Great American Buffet, it’s also known for fresh seafood and other international delights such as Chinese and Indian cuisine.

Book Now And Be Free!

The Great American Buffet runs from 4th (Wednesday) to 15th July (Sunday) 2018, and is for dinner at 6:30pm to 10:00pm daily. So go get yourself some freedom before it’s gone!

More Information

Triple Three
333 Orchard Road
Mandarin Orchard Level 5
Singapore 238867

Price: $108++ (Adult) | $48++ (Child 6 to 12 years)

Credit Card Promotions: DBS/POSB/UOB card members enjoy 50% off every second adult diner (up to eight diners per card)

Stand a chance to walk away with an exclusive dining experience for 2 worth $576++ when you dine at Triple Three! Click here for more information!

For reservations and enquiries:

Online Reservation – www.meritushotels.com/diningorchard
Tel – (65) 6831 6288
Email – dine.orchard@meritushotels.com

A Dash of Szechwan

Chen Kentaro, Executive Chef of Shisen Hanten by Chen Kentaro—Singapore’s highest Michelin-rated Chinese restaurant, draws on three generations of culinary heritage to complete his first English cookbook, A Dash of Szechwan.

The collection of 50 recipes, some of them never before shared family secrets, features Chef Kentaro’s own take on family recipes and Shisen Hanten signatures. Also included are recipes originally developed by his grandfather, Chen Kenmin—lauded as the “Father of Szechwan cuisine” in Japan, and his father, Chen Kenichi—the renowned “Szechwan Sage” and longest-running Iron Chef Chinese. (For the uninformed, Iron Chef was, and still is, a popular cooking battle show with lots of theatrics in Japan, and is considered a pretty big deal to appear on it)

Recalling his inspiration for the cookbook, Chef Kentaro said,

“With A Dash of Szechwan, I hope to share my love of Szechwan cooking with a wider audience, and showcase that the flavours of the cuisine offer so much more than the piquancy it is more popularly known for. I am excited to have this opportunity of bringing my favourite recipes into everyone’s kitchen.”

In the book, Chef Kentaro takes readers on an easy-to-follow journey through the bold and versatile flavours of Szechwan cuisine. Stunning food photography fills the pages of the cookbook, and peppered throughout are useful tips and visual step-by-step guides on cooking and preparation techniques. He also adds personal background stories to the mouth-watering recipes, and dedicates a pictured glossary for easier reference of some of the more essential and commonly mistaken ingredients featured in the cookbook. He also includes recipes for stocks, sauces, and marinades that can be used for a great variety of dishes.

Book Launch Event at Shisen Hanten

After the official launch, we were treated to a selection of Chef Kentaro’s signatures that are also featured in the book, from light starters like the Foie Gras Chawanmushi with Crab Roe Soup, to hearty and homely favourites like the Dan Dan Noodle (旦旦面) Soup, Stir-fried Lobster with Chilli Sauce and their now-gonna-be-famous Chen Family’s Mapo Tofu (meat and vegetarian versions were both served, how you like it at home is totally up to you). In good Szechwan fashion, the cuisine had the perfect balance between the spice from the chilli and the savoury tastes of the other stars of the dish (read; umami). Of course it’s up to you to up the ante on the spice either at the restaurant or at home. So fear not ketchup boys and girls!

After the official book launch, the Chef ‘challenged’ us, the guests, to a cook-off a la Gordon Ramsay style. Our gusty volunteer, Bobby, put up a good showing as he was instructed back-facing Chef Kentaro to cook some stir-fried beef. Our judge even called it a tie! Maybe he was a secret Masterchef-level home cook, who knew?

At the end we received a personalised signed copy of Chef Kentaro’s book, together with some special gifts from Shisen Hanten and their partner, tea sellers Pryce Tea (more below). For more information on how to get your hands on limited editions of SIGNED COPIES of Chef Kentaro’s cookbook, visit the restaurant or contact them with the details at the end of this article.

Shisen Hanten by Chef Kentaro

Started in 1958, Akasaka Szechwan Restaurant aka Shisen Hanten which it is popularly known in Japan, was the brainchild of Chen Kentaro’s Grandfather Chen Kenmin which was then passed down to his Father Chen Kenichi. Regarded as Japan’s “Father of Szechwan Cuisine”, the eldest Chen envisioned the restaurant to “make Shisen Hanten customers truly appreciate Szechwan food through all the five senses.” Through Kentaro’s Father, Kenichi, the Shisen Hanten brand branched out across Japan, with 14 branches across 6 cities and now with it’s first debut outside the country in sunny Singapore, where it is Kentaro’s turn to continue their legacy and set the stage for global recognition of Japan’s best loved Szechwan Restaurant. Indeed it is already Singapore’s most decorated Michelin-rated Chinese restaurant (two-stars).

Shisen Hanten by Chen Kentaro celebrates the seven basic flavours of Szechwan cuisine: sour, pungent, hot, sweet, bitter, aromatic and salty. Highlights not to be missed include Chen’s Mapo Doufu, Chen’s Original Spicy Noodle Soup, Stewed Fish Fillet in Spicy Szechwan Chilli Pepper, and Deep-fried Chicken in Spicy Szechwan Chilli Pepper. Also available on the menu is a delicious selection of authentic Cantonese classics. Situated at level 35 or Mandarin Orchard, you can be sure of a good view too!

Pryce Tea

A quick feature on what I feel was a good selection of tea by the restaurant’s partner Pryce Tea. Established by one of Singapore’s oldest tea companies, Lim Lam Thye, Pryce Tea seeks to demystify the age-old perception that Chinese teas are only enjoyed during elaborate tea ceremonies, to bring you wonderful epicurean blends that embody oriental finery with modern simplicity.

We were treated to a display of a small part of their big collection of teas, such as the Cocoon Night, with decaffeinated Oolong tea leaves and Australian Eucalyptus and French Lavender which promises a good end to a busy day, and their aptly-flavoured Peppy Day, which is blended with Szechuan Peppers to give it a good oomph to pep up your day. Check out their website here!

More Information

Shisen Hanten
Level 35 Orchard Wing
Mandarin Orchard Singapore
333 Orchard Road
Singapore 238867
Phone: 68316262 / 68316266
Email: shisenhanten.orchard@meritushotels.com
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“Peng Gang” in the Park

Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park now has a brand new Izakaya! Nestled in the lush greenery contrasted by the bustling of the popular public park, visitors to ToriYard can experience a dining experience where good friends, delectable grilled meats and wind-down drinks go hand-in-hand.

Curated by Chef Hasegawa Isao, a Tokyo native with decades of experience in Japan, France and Malaysia, patrons can relish the sight of their grilled meat cooked to perfection, with Japanese-imported charcoal grills at the open-concept grill station (separated by a glass window for your comfort).

Chef Hasegawa Isao. Courtesy of ToriYard

ToriYard

Apart from the namesake Tori (chicken) skewers available on the menu, there are also a long list of grilled beef, pork, seafood and vegetable Kushiyaki skewers. So there will be something for everyone at this abobe-in-a-park. Some ToriYard specials include the Tsukune Ohba Tsutsumi Age (deep fried chicken ball with perilla leaf) and Onsen Tamago Cocktail (a luxurious combo of onsen egg, foie gras, salmon roe and uni), and for me the latter was quite rather much intriguing! My favourite was actually the Tebasaki (chicken wing) Gyoza, where instead of a usual gyoza, the chicken wing IS the gyoza. They even have a cool sauce station for you to find the perfect dip for your skewers!

ToriYard also serves a good selection of sake and Japanese draft beer, like any good Izakaya would. So enjoy a night of liquor and perfectly-grilled skewers in the cool comfort of the night!

Verdict

hole-in-the-wall-ness:
Price:
Quality:
Overall:

More Information

ToriYard
1380 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1
Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park
Singapore 569930
(It’s within the bunch of restaurants/cafes near McDonald’s)
Tel: 9296 5988
Operating Hours
Weekday lunch – 11.30am to 2.30pm
Weekday dinner – 6.00pm to 10.30pm
Weekend lunch – 11.00am to 2.30pm
Weekend dinner – 6.00pm to 11.00pm
Closed on Tuesdays

Facebook|Instagram|Reservations (Chope)

Iza – Your Local Izakaya Bar

In collaboration with the guys from The Skewer Bar (TSB), Iza is a new Izakaya located in the rustic neighbourhood of Siglap in December 2017. Nestled along a cosy row of shophouses, the restaurant provides a relaxed and laid-back industrial setting against a backdrop of concrete floors and walls, exposed light bulbs and wood finishes.

If you’re already familiar with TSB’s no nonsense, delicious grilled skewers at their first outlet in Geylang, you’ll be pleased to find that Iza similarly serves a good mix of traditional kushiyaki skewers grilled to perfection, alongside creations that marry Japanese-inspired classics with local flavours.

Grill? Grill!

We were first introduced to the first of many local-infused classical Japanese dishes; the Four Ton Chawanmushi. Instead of boring mock crab fishcakes and mushrooms, this spinoff includes a bled of four different eggs: the usual chicken egg, together with century, salted and quail eggs. Despite being an appetiser, the loaded savouriness will already make you go u-mamamia! Other equally intriguing Singaporean-styled dishes include the Otah Tamago, the Stuffed Taupok Special (a TSB special; please try this) and their two Hae Bee Hiam (Shrimp paste) specials: the Onigiri and Spaghetti.

Not to forget in true izakaya fashion, Iza presents a wide array of well-marinated skewers grilled-to-order. From yakitori to yakiton, fresh seafood and grilled vegetables, you can be sure you’re not sacrificing quality for them being decently-priced. My recommendation is that you go in parties of 4 and above to ensure that you have enough stomach space to share as many items as you can!

Photo by Iza
Photo by Iza
Photo by Iza
Photo by Iza

Of course what’s an izakaya without good Japanese booze?  From Japanese craft beers to Dassai, Tengumai and Fudoh sakes, and Japanese whiskies, you can unleash your inner salaryman with a vengeance!

Verdict

hole-in-the-wall-ness:
It’s pretty easy to miss if you’re just passing by, and you may not even pass by this quiet part of the neighbourhood despite being along a ‘main’ road. Not that it deters many savvy foodies from patronising the row of restaurants and bars.

Price:
With skewers starting from just $1.90, you can be affirmed of their value for money.

Quality:
No-nonsense, on point grilled skewers made in full view through the glass window of the kitchen.

Overall:
Existing TSB fans would definitely recognise the quality of Iza’s food, with a more comfortable ambience. If you have never been one, no worries; you’ll have a grilling good time.

More Information

Iza – Your Local Izakaya Bar
695 East Coast Road
Singapore 459059
Phone: 6385 2883
Operating Hours: 4:00PM to 1:00AM Daily (Last Order 12:30AM)
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The way you make an omelet reveals your character. – Anthony Bourdain

Pecori

Liang Court to many *cough* youths of my age used to be associated with the 24hrs MacDonald’s at the first floor (which has since been replaced with a food court instead) that you go to for cheap calories before a night of parties. But relatively unbeknownst to many, there is actually a Japanese enclave with a wide selection of F&B options. From premium nigiri sushi to croquettes and curries, there’s something for everyone and their wallets.

Natalie Wang

Poet. Debate specialist & coach. Makeup artist & beauty blogger. Natalie (@natwangthecat , and @natziwang) keeps herself busy with many activities. You should check out her adventures and short-lived love affairs with cats she encounters! But tonight, she brings me to her favourite spot to recharge with some of her comfort food: omu rice.

Pecori

A post shared by natziwang (@natziwang) on

Pecori Japanese Egg Restaurant

Placed at a cosy corner of the cooked food section of Medi-Ya supermarket, Pecori specialises in, amongst other minor ones, Japanese omelette rice. While many are familiar (thanks to social media) the dramatic service style of Kyoto’s Kichi Kichi, they (Pecori) do it quietly and without much fanfare. Designed like a cutesy countryside cottage, the interior has very limited seating; most customers, including us) sit at the common tables in the area right in front.

PecoriPecoriPecori

With any purchase you get access to the all-you-can-eat salad and soup bar. Perfect for warming your poor soul, but why would you overeat and miss out on the star of the night? (edit: free access is only for dinner; a small top-up is applicable during lunch)

Pecori
PecoriPecori

 

 

Picture from PecoriSG facebook
No automatic alt text available.
Picture from PecoriSG facebook

The mainstay of Pecori, the Japanese omu rice, is served with a variety of sauces and toppings (e.g. like a huge piece of tonkatsu, which I got). There’s no real favourite here, although the classic thing to order here is the demi-glace sauce with the beef stew. If you’re feeling for something a bit lighter, there’s the mushroom ankake sauce (kind of like a light clear soy sauced-based gravy). Underneath the fluffy omelettes lay an equally fluffy bed of stir-fried rice, and the generous portion will make sure you get your full $12++ worth of comfort! They also have other non-omu rice items on offer… but really?

Usually they also have a selection of dessert(s) to finish of the meal, such as this jiggly piece of Japanese pudding. According to Natalie, if you’re lucky you may even get their elusive chocolate cake!

Pecori

Verdict

hole-in-the-wall-ness:
It is pretty hidden from most mall visitors, but nonetheless it is a shopping mall. Natalie would disagree as virtually none of her friends even know this corner of the mall existed.

Price:
Japanese food have always commanded a premium here. With prices starting from about $12, it is indeed quite dear. But in exchange you will get quality and freshness where it matters.

Quality:
Portions are big and ingredients clearly look and taste fresh. Mmm those eggs…

Overall:
Fancy some eggs, monsieur? Maybe come here before a long night ahead at Clarke Quay next time!

More Information

Pecori Japanese Egg Restaurant
177 River Valley Road
#B1-31
Liang Court
Singapore 179030
(Go down the ramp escalator to basement 1, and walk towards Medi-Ya supermarket and all the way across the cashier rows, not into the supermarket)
Tel: 8277 0959 (but you don’t really need it, they are open rain or shine)
Opening Hours: 11:00am to 10:00pm daily
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So it was my birthday a while back, and the gf decided to bring me to a place she had found on the entertainer app for a lunch treat. At first when I first heard the place to be at Camden Medical Centre, I thought she wanted to bring me to a dietician clinic for some slimming!

Fat Cow

A paraphrased introduction to their history and name won’t do them justice so much, so here’s their self-explanatory introduction:

 

Established by Refinery Concepts, FAT COW first opened its doors in October 2011.

The word “FAT” in FAT COW stands for luxury and indulgence, and is also a play on the word “Fatt” which in Mandarin dialect means prosperity. Spanning slightly over 3500 sq ft, the restaurant’s design takes a contemporary approach to the Japanese “Wabi-Sabi” concept – the art of finding beauty in things modest, simple and humble.

Indeed, the interior is reminiscent of a simple Japanese inn despite its premium status; basically wooden outfit with straw mats, and warm, dim lighting. Separated sections also give you the privacy you’d like while enjoying really good beef!

Fat Cow Fat Cow Fat Cow

Let’s get on with the food, shall we? At Fat Cow, the set lunches apparently have lots of raving reviews, with their signature The Fat Cow Donburi being obviously the most popular. But for today, my only beef (hehe) is how limited my stomach space was!

Well, as the name suggests Fat Cow is known for serving quality beef, and in different styles. For the sake of variety, I ordered the A5 Ribeye Shabu Shabu, while my partner got the Grade A4 Ribeye Ohmi beef. Ohmi beef, being one of the “Top Three Wagyu” of Japan, is known to have one of the most intense flavours coming from its fine marbling of fats. Served with a plethora of seasonings, you can either top it up with some yuzu sauce or with just some good ol’ salt. As soon as I popped that piece of meat into my mouth, it just melted and true enough, the sweetness was simply put, glorious! The shabu shabu serving was also pretty generous, and the soup stock, unlike some more casual dining places, isn’t just blasted with MSG and doesn’t rob your taste buds of the inherent full-bodied flavour of the meat. If you’re looking for a fuller meal though, I’d recommend getting some carbs like “The Fat Rice” which is basically seasoned with their signature shoyu sauce mix.

Of course they also have a (very) mean collection of Japanese whisky and other good food on the menu, such as the sweet potatoes we ordered to start off but somehow ended up coming right at the end of the meal. It was for the better in any case, as it would have masked the taste of the good stuff (read: beef).

Fat Cow Fat CowFat CowFat Cow Fat Cow Fat Cow

Verdict

hole-in-the-wall-ness:
They’re quite atas, but at the same time they’re tucked in a quiet corner of the Orchard district

Price:
I have to say that it is dear to dine here given the strictest standards they give to their food preparation. However this was made much better with the entertainer app!

Quality:
You mean you didn’t see my pictures above? Also, if you’re into a more well-rounded meals, you can also check out their set lunches which are relatively affordable and from what I observed from my dining neighbours, are generous in serving as well.

Overall:
Trust me when I say that not coming here is a huge missed steak!

More Information

Fat Cow
1 Orchard Boulevard
#01-01/02
Camden Medical Centre
Singapore 248649
Tel: +65 6735 0308
Email: ENQUIRY@FAT-COW.COM.SG
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Japanese food makes me feel particularly good

-David Mitchell

Despite being a cosmopolitan city, getting quality yet affordable Japanese food is not as easy as you think; either it costs you an arm and a leg, or it feels like a monkey with a spoon can do a better job.

Ming San (鳴 San) Casual Japanese Dining

Ming San, after their eponymous owner, sits just about at the edge of the Chinatown area. To get there, one way is to take a short walk through Pearl’s Hill City Park, and it’s not a uphill task at all! Geddit? <Insert corny punchline here>

(From here on, I will interchangeably refer to both the restaurant and the owner as “Ming San”)

The restaurant was the brain-child of Ming San, and was realised just in September 2015. Serving food in a casual, modern style, the interior does look proper with natural light flooding in from the full length windows and no-nonsense wooden furniture. Generally, the crowd consist of OLs and very often he also gets Japanese customers working in the area coming for dinner!

Ming SanMing San Ming San

Ming San serves up a plethora of Japanese cuisine from his humble kitchen (just behind the wall of mouth-watering photos). From bento sets to sushi platters,  you definitely will be spoilt for choice.

Speaking of which, when he first started the restaurant, the bento sets were initially a fixed selection of less than a dozen choices. However, this often lead to much confusion for Ming San as he has to entertain countless requests to customise the sets to suit each customer’s palate. So, to make sure everyone leaves Ming San a happy pup, he introduced the mix & match concept menu for his bento sets which are now a hit with his customers:

So instead of just under 10 sets, you can have different permutations of dishes to make up your bento with the 20 (wow!) items available. All for just $10! Ming San also told me that more selections will be added soon, and the menu will be updated from time to time to keep his customers interested.

Ming San Ming San

Although Ming San says that Sushi is not his forte, he does serve up some respectable hand-kneaded goodness, like his signature  salmon aburi available as a nigiri sushi or in a maki roll. The nigiri sushi, topped generously with crystal seaweed and roe, has a full-bodied flavor, where the freshness of the fish is locked in by the aburi sear.

Ming San Ming San

However, I felt that the ramen broth was too complex for me, as it is heavily loaded with tastes of shrimp and tonkotsu all jumbled up together. Personally, I prefer lighter and clearer broths, but you can see if this adaptation floats your boat. As the broth is now prepared by Ming San’s eldest daughter, it’s definitely worth encouraging her as she continues to experiment and find that signature Ming San ramen taste! がんばって!

Ming San

The Verdict

hole-in-the-wall-ness:
Tucked in the corner unit of a office building right at the edge of chinatown, it’s definitely off the beaten track. If not for me knowing that it is near a popular dimsum restaurant nearby, I would have much more trouble locating it the first time around!

Price:
Ming San prides himself for being able to give decent, quality food at affordable prices. You pay for what you get, but what you pay is worth the buck!

Quality:
The sushi, salad (not pictured) and bento sets especially were freshly made and flavourful, making the food a good hearty lunch for one, or a cosy dinner with your friends after a long day of salaryman work. However, I personally feel the ramen broth could use more fine-tuning.

Overall:
To Ming San, his restaurant is more than just a place of sustenance. To him, eating should be casual, enjoyable and most importantly, in good company of your family and closest friends!

More Information

Ming San Casual Japanese Dining
171 Chin Swee Road
#01-03
CES Centre
Singapore 169877
Opening Hours:  Mondays to Saturdays, 12:00pm to 3:00pm & 6:00pm to 10:00pm
Open for lunch ONLY on Wednesdays
Tel: 6386 9311
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/mingsan0103/
Note: Call in advance and check their facebook page to avoid disappointment, as they are occasionally closed for private bookings/events. Catering menu is also available on request!


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