By: Monica Pitrelli
Looking for the latest hot spot, new menu or fancy some inspiration for brunch on the island? Check out Singapore’s wine and dine news below…
Anti:dote, the swanky new bar at Fairmont Singapore that we told you about in last month’s issue, is already making major waves on the island. Tom Hogan and Bannie Kang of the bar’s Craftsmen Team won the Annual Diageo Reserve World Class competition. This month, the team will take part in the Diageo Reserve World Class Southeast Asia event; the winner moves on to the Global Finals in Great Britain in July.
* Thai, Indian and Western restaurant The Fat Cat moved from Jalan Riang to Holland Village.
* Plaza Singapura’s Michelin-star dim sum favourite Tim Ho Wan has new outlets in Bedok Mall, Westgate Jurong and Toa Payoh.
* Krispy Kreme’s second outlet in Singapore has opened in the CBD at Income at Raffles, 16 Collyer Quay.
Brunch This Month: Picotin Express
The new Lazy Sunday Lunch is Picotin’s suburban answer to the brunch craze. If you live on the East Coast, it’s an easy way for you to keep the kids happy and stay out of the kitchen on the helper’s day off – and there’s no need to get dressed up. For starters, there’s a buffet of healthy salads such as rocket, baby mozzarella and roasted tomatoes, and a tasty beetroot-and-feta duo. The roast of the day is a hefty portion of meat that changes weekly, from lamb to beef to pork, always accompanied by roasted vegetables and the all-important gravy. Chocolate brownies, macaroons and other tasty morsels add a sweet finale to a relaxed afternoon. Sundays, 12pm to 3.30pm. Adults pay $45, kids under 12 pay $20, and that includes soft drinks. With free-flow wine and beer it’s $80. 1 Figaro Street, Siglap. To book, call 6445 5590.
Tiers and Cheers
Lime at Parkroyal on Pickering has launched an afternoon tea called “Tiers of Joy”. Grab a girlfriend or two and sink your teeth into savoury sandwiches and sweet treats, like mini-macarons, plump raisin scones and Earl Grey chocolate brownies, all prepared daily at the hotel. 3pm to 6pm at Lime restaurant and lobby bar. $38 per set. To book, call 6809 8899 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you missed the cherry blossoms this year in Japan, sip your sorrows away with TWG’s 2014 Sakura! Sakura! Tea. Packaged in a vibrant vermillion tin, the tea is infused with delicate cherry-flower petals. For a limited time, matching macaron gift boxes are available, too. The tea is $38, and the gift boxes are available in 6, 12 and 24-count for $2 per macaron (the box is complimentary). Available at TWG outlets.
I Scream, You Scream
Looking for ice cream without artificial colours or preservatives, without the hassle of having to make it yourself? It’s chocolatier Laurent Bernard to the rescue. The shop’s handmade ice cream and sherbet can now be ordered via the company website (though you still have to pick up your purchase), and an ice cream cart is available for parties and special events.
District 10 Bar & Restaurant has introduced a gastro bar dining concept to match its recently revamped space. Alfresco diners can order casual meals like weisswurst with buttered mashed potatoes and onion gravy ($18), and a duo of Black Angus cheddar cheese mini-burgers ($12); while those inside can enjoy gourmet offerings like pan-fried goose liver with berry sauce and balsamic vinegar ($20) and foie gras ravioli with Parmesan sauce and scarmorza cheese ($34). There are new happy hour promos too – one-for-one draft beers, house-pour spirits, wines by the glass and gin cocktails from 11am to 3pm daily. 81 Clemenceau Avenue, UE Square #01-15. Call 6738 4788.
Eating at Sentosa’s Quayside restaurant strip feels like an escape from the daily grind, even if it’s just a few hours spent looking at the million-dollar boats and daydreaming. Amongst the great range of bars and restaurants is our recent discovery, trattoria Sole Pomodoro. Next to the W Hotel, it serves the food your mythical Italian grandmother made – ricotta and spinach ravioli, the artery-bursting burrata, tomato and ricotta salad, proper pizza and traditional pastas and gelato. To quote Lonely Planet founder Tony Wheeler, the best Italian food is found outside Italy! 31 Ocean Way #01-14, Quayside Isle, Sentosa Cove. Call 6339 4778.
Bread is hot on the heels of rice as the carb of choice in Singapore, if the number of new artisanal bakeries is any indication. Now East Coasters can add East Manhattan Artisan Bakery to their list. Baker John Wee has gone creative with offbeat flavours such as walnut-apricot and rye-caraway-rosemary. The handmade lemon cream tarts, cakes, chocolates and croissants are impossible to resist, too. Good news for drivers: there’s an open-air car park accessible from Marine Parade and East Coast Road, and a FairPrice Finest in this new mall, too. 10am to 10pm daily. 30 East Coast Road, #01-04 Katong V.
If you’re no Martha Stewart in the dinner party arena, you might consider hiring professional help for your next gathering. Trained in Ducasse Education (a culinary school by Alain Ducasse), Sandy Gwee of Coupe Cuit specialises in French and Mediterranean cuisines. While you tend to your guests, she prepares and serves a multi-course meal for up to ten people, right from your own kitchen. Private cooking classes at home are available, too. Call 9011 3101.
Toast to That
Premium French appliance brands Cristel and Magimix are now available in Singapore for the first time. Both brands are well regarded in the culinary scene for combining durability, form and function in products that become kitchen must-haves – like Magimix’s award-winning Vision Toaster ($498), the world’s first see-through toaster. Available at Robinsons Orchard.
So Very Berry
If you’re the type that hangs onto every celeb-related morsel, then you’ll be thrilled that Singapore’s first Yogurberry has opened. Known for its fresh nut and fruit toppings, this dessert has only a third of the fat of ice cream. If Paris and Britney eat it, it must be good for us, right? Bugis Junction, Food Juction.
See heaps of step-by-step designs in the gallery above
How to make the ‘rosetta’…
1. Hold the espresso in one hand and the pitcher of milk in the other. Give the espresso a little tap on the table. Give the milk a good swirl. This is to keep the milk from separating too much
2. Tilt the pitcher a little, then “sink” the milk by pouring it directly into the centre of the coffee, and then in a small circle. Tilt to reach the milk at the bottom of the pitcher.
Tip: Fill the base of the coffee with milk without disturbing the “crema ring” along the outer edge of the cup.
3. “Float” the milk by simultaneously tilting the cup and increasing the tilt of the pitcher to allow the foam to pour out.
4. Straighten the cup while pouring the foam quickly from side to side and simultaneously pulling the pitcher back towards you. This makes the design emerge when the milk rises.
5. Level the cup and add the stem with a thin pour of milk.
[caption id="attachment_16286"] Aslam shows me the ropes[/caption]
Preparing the milk
The consistency and temperature of the milk is critical. Follow these tips to get it right:
• Start with a clean pitcher and cold milk. Insert steaming nozzle just below surface at a tilt. As volume increases, sink the tilted nozzle further into the pitcher. The milk should swirl vigorously, and the pitcher should get so hot you can’t touch it for long.
• Listen for a hissing sound. If you hear screeching, the nozzle is too close to the metal pitcher.
• The whole process should take about 30 seconds. If steamed too little, your milk will be flat. If too much, the foam will be dry. The result you want is a creamy, almost velvety milk (steamed past the microfoam phase).
• Work quickly. The milk starts to separate immediately, so have your espresso on hand when the milk is ready.
[caption id="attachment_16287"] I begin my attempt[/caption]
Aslam Yusoff on designs, from easiest to hardest:
Heart, tulip, layered tulip, rosetta (looks like a fern), inverted tulip (a combination of rosetta and tulip), swan
On how long it takes to master:
Quick learners could produce art worthy of serving to customers in a month. Others never get it down.
On what happens when the barista screws up the design:
No latte art is better than bad latte art. We don’t waste coffee, but we don’t serve bad art either.
On the popularity of latte art on social media:
It’s become a social standard of “good coffee”, though we all know it’s not.
On etching versus pouring:
Etching used to be big, back in the day. The emphasis now is on the barista’s ability to pour the perfect design without using any tools.
On its detractors:
I liken it to a chef’s plating. Coffee is about good quality ingredients and presentation.
On the latest trend, 3D latte art:
The one popular in Japan, using dry foam shaped into the shape of cats? Yeah, we’re not into that.
[caption id="attachment_16288"] I’m fast discovering latte art isn’t as easy as it looks[/caption]
If you get one of these, you may want to send that cuppa back. Nicely, of course.
Bubbles: This means the cup has been sitting on the counter a little too long, or that the coffee was ground too close to roasting. (A week’s break gives the best results.)
Broken crema ring: Your first taste will be milk, rather than coffee, which isn’t a good thing.
Inexperienced barista: In this case, that would be yours truly. This is my first stab at latte art – a rosetta (supposedly) and evidence that this craft is not as easy as it looks.
[caption id="attachment_16289"] My suspect rosetta[/caption]