Friday, October 21

Mahota Commune

Mahota Commune is such a special place. They have got a kitchen, pantry, market. workshop spaces, and yoga studio all under one roof, and they specialize in healthy food, made with no preservatives etc. Best of all, the overall vibe still feels very down-to-earth and friendly, and unlike those pretentious vegan-friendly restaurants that feel remarkably self-righteous.

Just take a look at what they wrote on their website "Mahota Commune is a gathering of goodness. Through growing good food, serving good meals, selling good ingredients and bringing people together to do good, we hope that we can all be one step closer to being good. We seek to adopt sustainable practices where we can because we are here for good."

If this doesn't make you want to break out in "Kumbaya," you are heartless.

I wouldn't blame you if you questioned my decision to have pork knuckle. Just how could I have picked the unhealthiest dish on the menu? Ah, the moral agony...

As much as I don't need meat to survive, every now and then, I get an intense meat craving; when I saw pork knuckle on the menu as a special Oktoberfest item, I knew I had go get it in my system. It was a handsome platter filled with goodness for your soul and gut. Though the irony of ordering this isn't lost on me, it was a massive plate of food enjoyed by all.

We also ordered a mushroom pizza to share. Thin crust. good crisp, great nibble. My only quibble was they added jalapeños and we fished them out for the kids before any damage was done; but the pizzas was delicious enough and the jalapenos really not necessary IMHO.

My sister's Mahota hotpot set was impressive-looking, and it comes with 4 different types of tofu and a quinoa-crusted meatball. Typing out that last sentence was surreal... but my sister enjoyed her hotpot.

Stuffed to the neck, we shared one dessert, Sabayon, made with layers of slightly dry sponge cake which benefited from being drenched in blueberry sauce and served alongside a scoop of homemade yogurt ice cream.

FYI the Pantry stocks quite a wide selected of cakes so you might want to hang out there if cake beckons.

Looking forward to more visits soon!

Wednesday, October 19

Dean & DeLuca, Far East Square

For some reason, Dean & DeLuca in Singapore just doesn't have the same allure as their international outlets. Their outlets here are quite cold and sterile, unlike the homely bustling feel felt elsewhere. Even on a weekday during lunch hour lunch, we found indoor table for 6 easily at the Far East Square branch. Anyway we made a pit-stop here for desserts to celebrate our intern's birthday. 

I love cheesecake, I love tarts so this Strawberry Cheese Tart was a hit in my book. Most strawberry tarts are filled with custard so this definitely felt denser and more decadent than others. The pistachios crumbs was a nice touch and the strawberries also helped out through the heaviness of the dessert.

For a lighter but just as lovely dessert, I would highly recommend the Lemon Meringue Pie. Perfectly sweet and tart, the meringue and lemon curd were wistfully light and refreshing.

Unfortunately, there was nothing to obsess over the dry and crumbly Dark Obsession Cake. I know have known when I saw it sitting woefully on the cake display. Oddly enough, this was the intern's favourite so our visit boded well for everyone. 

Monday, October 17

Anniversary lunch at Spago by Wolfgang Puck

OMG, 5 years! Where did all that time go?

We had good memories of Spago from Epicurean Market last year but it wasn't the food the drew us there for our wedding anniversary meal. Instead, it was the allure of somewhere relaxing and far away from the crowds that made us cast the vote. That said, I thought our meal was really good - every dish was flavourful, perfectly executed and seasoned. On top of that (almost cracked a joke about being 57 floors up), service was personable and earnest, polished without the pomp.

As you can tell, the interior is elegant, beautiful and best of all, spacious. Sorry, it's my anniversary meal, I don't exactly desire to elbow-rub with someone other than my boo. 

With an inkling of portions to come, I wolfed down a couple of breads, not before slathering them with copious amounts of creamy butter - the butter glided effortlessly onto the warm and crusty breads and clung with adornment. Till death do us part, indeed. I got to say, after meeting KW (who looooves butter), I have eaten more butter in our time together than my entire life. That is also why, I like to refer KW to as 'my butter half.'

Big Eye Tuna Tartare Cones
Chili Aioli, Soy, Wasabi, Shaved Bonito, Scallions, Masago 

I'm really glad we had the tuna tartare cones as our amuse bouche. I loved these at Epicurean Market and was tempted to get a separate order for this. Chunks of seasoned raw tuna encase within lovely brittle sesame-studded lace cones, these were sublime. I am glad there was only 2, splitting the third would have tested our marriage.

Burrata with Caramelized Mission Figs 
 Prosciutto Di Parma, Marinated Artichokes, Arugula, Aged Balsamic, Candied Almonds

We went for the 4-course lunch menu (Pre Fixe Menu $95++ per person), and the starter was the only course we both had the same of. Sorry Roasted Baby Beet Salad, I'm sure you would have been nice, but it's hard to resist the allure of burrata. Though the portion as admittedly smaller than expected, every element was moreishly good.

Pasta with Veal Ragout 
House Made Ricotta, Porcini Mushrooms, Prosciutto Di Parma, Parsley, Parmigiano 

For the second course, I chose the pasta with veal ragout, which is totally uncharacteristic as I loathe tomato-based pasta. However, this dish turned me around. With its deep, rich and complex flavours, I could hear Lucas in my head going, "More... More... More!" In fact, I googled ragout recipes on the ride back home in a bid to capture these flavours. The portion was perfect this time round.

Sweet Corn Agnolotti
Caramelized Corn, Mascarpone, Parmesan

KW had the angolatti, which were sweet little bundles studded with pumpkin purée. If you are into sweet-savoury stuff, you would love this. These babies might not look like much, but they expaaaand in your gut.

Roasted Quail 
Maitake Mushrooms, Toasted Farro, Burnt Leeks, Fennel Puree, Natural Jus 

 My main course - roasted quail - was the epitome of autumn. Every ingredient played its role and shined, and that sauce... Lets just say if my skin were thicker, I would have ordered another round of bread. I can't find any fault, other than, Why quail, are thou so small? 

Grilled Iberico Pork Chop 
 Asparagus Purée, Caramelized Garlic, Rosemary, Natural Jus

I had a bout of food envy when I saw the portion of KW's pork chop. Thankfully, he was kind enough to share a couple of pieces with me. Again, a really good wholesome dish, and those flossy-looking things were the lightest deep-fried pork rinds I have ever had in my life. Fairy light, my friend.

Chocolate - Coffee Semifreddo
Banana Ice Cream, Coffee Cremeux, Praline Snow 

Our meal cumulated with this dessert of chocolate, coffee and banana. Normally, I would raise an eyebrow over this flavour combination but whoever concocted this dessert deserves a pay raise. This dessert is stick-to-your-gut intense, if you are looking for light and refreshing, order a glass of juice instead. Oh, and those caramelised banana balls were the best bananas I have ever tasted.

Well played, Spago

I am quite sure we will look back 5 years from now 
and reminisced how young we look!

Thank you for the memories, Spago! You were lovely. 

Friday, October 14

Pita Pan, Marina Bay Sands

Come for shashuska, stay for the falafels

Wednesday, October 12

Super Simple not for me

I wish I liked this Super Simple more. It serves up heslthy nosh, it's super convenient from my office and the lunchtime queues are manageable.

Yet I always feel like there is something missing.

Today's concoction was actually pretty good. Romaine lettuce, corn, roasted beetroot, onion confit and a gorgeous slab of slow-cooked salmon. Yet I found myself reaching for a snack within 2 hours.

Monday, October 10

ArtScience Museum at MBS

Over the weekend, we had a grand time at ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands. We visited all 3 exhibitions - FUTURE WORLD: Where Art Meets Science, Big Bang Data, Journey to Infinity: Escher's World of Wonder - which were all quite amazing in their own way. I highly recommend it for people of all ages and kids would love FUTURE WORLD! 

Friday, October 7

Casa Tartufo, Scarlet Hotel

I always trouble finding family-friendly but not family restaurants for occasion meals. A couple of choices were thrown out as they don't do Saturday lunches. Finally we settled on Casa Tartufo. Frankly speaking I was half crossing my fingers hoping the meal would be memorable enough for KW's birthday.

Case Tartufo has been around since 2010 but moved to Scarlet Hotel from Forum Gallery a couple of years back. A wise move, given their previous location at a mall didn't exactly fit their profile. We visited the family-run restaurant with our family for KW's birthday and had a lovely experience, thanks to the friendly service and hearty food. The restaurant specializes in truffle-d dishes but it pays to note, their dishes are elevated with a thoughtful touch of truffles, and they don't use truffles for the sake of using truffles. Ahhh, truffles are my spirit animal (or fungi) so truffle anything is half the battle won.

We were ravenous by the time the bread basket was served (we usually have early lunches) and ravaged the bread basket like a pack of hungry wolves. The focaccia was simply delightful - warm, fragrant and fluffy, perfect with a dip of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I had 4 pieces in under 3 minutes. No shame, no regrets.

We shared two appetizers - creamy burrata drizzled with black truffles. I've never had burrata with truffles and would definitely get on board with this rendition.

The scallops were small but powerful mini bursts of flavor. Everything on this dish was spot on.

With my in-laws, a birthday celebration usually calls for steak. Bar Roque, Bistecca, ...there are very few things more endearing than a hunky slab of steak served family style. At Casa Tartufo, we had the Fiorentine, which was uber tender and beefy. Ahhhmygawwwd! So good... We did the cow proud, by wiping it clean and washing it down with a bottle of Barolo.

The steak was served with sautéed green beans and we ordered another side of sautéed spinach to get our green quotient up.

Knowing we had quite a bit of to go through, we ordered one other main their signature truffle pasta - Tajarin. We came for truffle and we ate truffle. Every strand of homemade egg noodles was longingly coated with rich black truffle sauce - and yet it wasn't over the top.

Beef, carbs, mushrooms. You can't get any better than this.

For desserts, I knew for sure I wanted to try their tiramisu. It wasn't groundbreaking but still a delightful dessert.

Accompanied with a scoop of smooth icicle-free gelato, their fig tart was a beautiful slice to be had. Sweet, buttery and incredibly homely.

The restaurant surprised us with a lemon cheesecake when they realized we were celebrating KW's birthday. It was a wee bit too tart for KW, but perfect for me! What can I say, I'm a sucker for a pucker. 

Although Casa Tartufo wasn't our first or second choice, I'm glad we spent this lovely occasion at this stately yet homely restaurant. They have a beautiful private room, I can only imagine how lovely it must been to hold a small party there. Buon appetite!