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Food news: Restaurant Week, brand new menus, cooking classes and more

In the mood for a delicious brunch for your next laidback weekend, or classes to whip your cooking skills into shape? Read on for Singapore’s wine and dine news below…

Revolving Doors     
• Keong Saik Snacks has been renamed The Study.
• Canele is officially a thing of the past – the last remaining outlet of this French patisserie, located at Shaw House, has closed.



Brunch This Month: Cocotte
We’re really patting ourselves on the backs this month. It’s not every day that you discover a place that’s all French fare, all free-flow and priced under $50. Taking cues from San Fran’s famed State Bird Provisions restaurant (which, incidentally, ripped off the idea from Chinese dim sum carts), the entire brunch at Cocotte is served from trolleys that roll from table to table, dishing up French toast, poutine (Quebec-style fried potatoes), bacon and spinach quiche, duck confit and cèpes tarts, roasted pork collar and grass-fed Tasmanian flatiron steak. This brunch is for those who like quality over quantity – but make no mistake, you will leave absolutely stuffed (no one leaves without seconds of the roasted chicken, carved tableside, and the French onion soup “sandwiches”). Desserts, too, are phenomenal; they include crème brûlée, key lime curd and homemade banana bread topped with candied walnuts, caramel pecan sauce and house-made ice cream. It’s truly the lazy man’s bubbly buffet, but with better food and cheaper prices. Consider this weekend’s plans made.
Saturdays and Sundays, 12pm to 3pm. $49 (for food only) and $89 (for free-flow Prosecco). 2 Dickson Road, Wanderlust Hotel. Call 6298 1188 or visit their website.


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Sweet Deals
Singapore Restaurant Week is shaking things up this time round. From 25 October to 2 November, over 100 participating restaurants will offer three-course meals (from $25 to $55), where one or more courses showcases an inventive use of chocolate – we’re not just talking dessert, either. And on 18 and 19 October, there will also be a Kids’ Restaurant Weekend for the first time, with three-course menus (from $15 to $30) tailored especially for children. (Parents, you can opt for the Restaurant Week menu one week early or order à la carte.)
Book a table online now.


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Sip Before You Spend
There will be over 300 wines available for tasting and more than 70 winemakers from around the world at Singapore Wine Fiesta 2014. Hosted by The Straits Wine Company, the event features free master classes every 45 minutes and an opening night wine-pairing dinner at The Fullerton Bay Hotel.
23 to 26 October. Clifford Square (beside The Fullerton Bay Hotel). Tickets are $55 each ($228 for the wine dinner), available at Sistic.



Eye Candy 
This one is definitely not for the faint of heart. Book a spot – if you dare – at Saint Pierre’s nine-course Hannibal Lecter-themed Halloween dinner with dishes like “Open your eyes, Clarisse” (an eye-ball shaped appetiser of hen egg confit with black truffle puree, Campari jelly and bellota ham, shown above) and more, all paired with fine Italian wines.
$168 per person. 31 October at 7.30pm. Communal seating. 31 Ocean Way, #01-15 Quayside Isle. Call 6438 0887 or email info@saintpierre.com.sg.



Tuesday Head-turner  
Turn your typical Tuesday on its head with oysters, champagne and live jazz at The Powder Room, located on the mezzanine of the CBD’s The Black Swan. Every Tuesday, the lounge brings in sultry jazz quintet, The Steve McQueens, as the perfect backdrop to its collection of signature cocktails, wines, whiskies and gourmet bar snacks.
Tuesdays, 5pm to 1pm. 19 Cecil Street. Call 8181 3305 or visit the website.



Easiest Order Ever  
Once you get used to big tables of communal food à la Asian style, the Western practice of “pick one meal from the menu” seems unnecessarily cruel. That why Halia at Raffles Hotel is introducing a communal menu where diners can feast on Euro-Asian dishes that are shared by the entire table. Choose either the light ($160, serves four) or the hearty option ($270, serves four), and feast on dishes like wild honey goats’ cheese mousse, chilli crab dip, minced beef “Zhajiangmian” (where the noodles are replaced with long vegetable strips), twice-cooked spatchcocked spring chicken, and much more. A definite crowd-pleaser.
Raffles Hotel #01-22. Call 9639 1148 or visit the website.



High Class Culinary    
If only there was a Pinterest-like website dedicated solely to food – and someone would teach us how to make the beautiful creations pictured in the photographs… right here in Singapore. Think you know where we’re going with this? There is exactly that, now that The Kitchen Society has opened. Housed in a conservation shophouse along River Valley Road, the company offers cooking classes (everything from choux pastry to cake decorating and banana salted-caramel cheesecake), recipes galore and an online store for high-quality cooking products from brands like WMF, Silit, Kitchenaid and Magimix.
11 Kim Yam Road.



Sea Here
The dish shown above is called branzino alle olive – sea bass rubbed with a black olive tapenade and wrapped in Parma ham, accented with sweet piquillos sauce and spinach. It’s the creation of Dolce Vita’s new chef, Omar Bernardi, a northern Italian who is spicing up the menu with dishes like handmade spaghetti with bottarga and prawns, gratinated zucchini flowers stuffed with milk ricotta, and a chilli-infused pineapple carpaccio. Try them at all at Mandarin Oriental’s fifth-floor Italian restaurant, complete with a panoramic view of Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer.
5 Raffles Avenue, Marina Square. To book, call 6885 3500 or email mosin-dining@mohg.com


The Company of Cats

Hello Kitty  
Japan’s famous “cat cafés” have been around for a while, so it wasn’t too much of a surprise when Singapore’s first, Neko No Niwa, opened last year in Boat Quay. A passing trend?  Perhaps not. Singapore’s second kitty coffee shop is now open for business. At Chinatown’s The Company of Cats, all cats are rescue animals – either born on the streets or abandoned by their owners – and have been adopted by the café. Plus, a portion of the company’s profits goes to Animal Lovers League, a shelter for homeless animals.
$14 to enter (includes one soft drink). 6B Mosque Street (2nd floor).



Tipple or Treat?
The kiddos aren’t the only ones being offered hair-raising sweet treats this month. Sip on one of four Halloween-inspired tipples created by Caffe B’s mixologist, like The Witch’s Brew, The Eye or the Flaming Flesh (shown above).
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, #B1-15 and #01-83.



Chip Clip
Meat is expensive and can be hard on the arteries; the meat industry is also a major producer of greenhouse gases. That’s why some say the future of sustainable protein is in insects, including three Harvard grads who just launched Chirps, a brand of chips made up of ground beans, rice and cricket powder. Each bag is gluten-free, naturally low in fat and contains more protein than an egg. Two billion people in the world already eat bugs – so take your pick: sea salt, hickory BBQ or aged cheddar?


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Superfood Sitdown  
If you’re looking a little bit drab lately, consider the food you are putting in and on your body. Foods rich in nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants can do wonders for your skin and hair, whether you are eating them or applying them directly to your body. Join medical nutritionist Karin G. Reiter of Nutritious & Delicious for an anti-ageing workshop to learn all about superfoods to add to your daily diet, how to make natural skin and hair masks at home, and strategies to boost your daily nutrient intake.
27 October at 8pm. To sign up, email karing@nutritiousndelicious.com or visit the website.



Float this Idea
Singapore is short on space, yet full of hawker’s centres. So why not float a few out to sea? That’s the idea being proposed by Spark Architects – the masterminds behind a floating hawker centre, called Solar Orchid, made up of solar-powered hawker station pods that would pop up in a variety of locations and formats around the city. No word on whether this is a go or not, but sources say that plans are being made to have this project ready in time for SG50, the big bash in honour of Singapore’s 50th birthday next year.


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In Hot Water 
There’s nothing like finding your $12 tub of raspberries covered in mould the day after you bought them, especially after you took great pains to wash, dry and refrigerate them. The good news is that one tiny tweak to your routine may change this. New research shows you can significantly prolong the life of your berries by rinsing the fruit in hot water rather than cold. In a process called thermotherapy, rinsing berries, grapes and stone fruit in water of temperatures ranging between 45 and a whopping 63 degrees Celsius (or 113 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit) staves off mould for days.