Monday, 1 August 2016

Rikuzentakata Fair at Ippin Café Bar

I have always had an avid interest in Japanese food and culture. Therefore, when I received the invitation to attend Rikuzentakata fair at Ippin Café Bar on 12 July, I accepted it without hesitation.

With the Mayor of the City of Rikuzentakata, Mr Futoshi Toba

Rikuzentakata fair is a one-day trade show, showcasing eleven different types of seafood, fresh produce and Sake, providing a platform for the city’s seafood, vegetables, rice and sake suppliers and buyers to meet face-to-face and network. 

At the dining table with the Mayor of the City of Rikuzentakata, Mr Futoshi Toba

The fair commenced with a welcome address by the Mayor of the City of Rikuzentakata, Mr Futoshi Toba and an introduction of the city. I was also delighted to meet up with Mr Kiyoshi Murakami, Senior Advisor to the City, Mr Satoshi Murakami, Assistant Director of the city, and Mr Takanori Obayashi from the planning department of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Section.

Exquisite Japanese food

This enriching fair was presented by Rikuzentakata city in Japan, which is surrounded by mountains with fisheries and clear waters. During the fair, we had the opportunity to savour fresh produce from the city such as rice, tomatoes, sea urchin clams, salmon egg roe and more. In addition, we also got to sample traditional Japanese creations prepared by Chef Matsuto Takanobu from Ishikawa, Japan and Asian fusion dishes executed by Eugenia Ong, Chef Director of Table at 7 and Karl Dobler, Executive Chef at Table at 7 (restaurant focusing on contemporary East meets West cuisine).

The authentic Japanese dishes crafted by Chef Matsuto Takanobu were healthy and tasty. I like the tomato sorbet  made of fresh tomatoes from Rikuzentakata city. It was cool, tangy and refreshing and helped to whet my appetite. Perfect to cool yourself down on a hot, summer day. The wakame (Japanese seaweed) soup was light, savoury and comforting to the soul. 

I also enjoyed the tomato and tofu miso dengaku which consisted of miso glazed tomatoes and cold tofu. The teriyaki hotate (scallop) with special sauce was delectable with a mix of sweet and savoury flavours, topped with yuzu pepper. I am not an ardent fan of clams but I must say that the ezoishikagegai clams were delicious. Skin was was deep-fried to crisp golden perfection while the interior was luscious and juicy. The urchin and ikura (salmon egg roe) was delightful and the ikura was fresh and bouncy with a sweet taste. It was not fishy unlike some others that I have tried.

The fusion dishes curated by Chef Director, Eugenia Ong and Executive Chef, Karl Dobler from Table at Table of 7 were equally interesting. 

The white balsamic Japanese sweet tomato and bocconcini with basil, cucumber and rocket was zesty and helped to perk me up. 

Tartare of iwate sea scallops with ikura and cucumber in shoyu truffle dressing

My favourite dish from Table of 7 was the tartare of iwate sea scallops with ikura and cucumber in shoyu truffle dressing. The ingredients were very fresh and you could taste the freshness and quality of ingredients with just one bite. The cucumber gave it a crunchy texture while the shoyu truffle dressing added a unique twist to the dish. 

Squid ink pasta in urchin and ikura

The squid ink pasta in urchin sauce and ikura was another standout dish. The pasta was al dente, retaining a firm bite and the urchin sauce and fresh ikura gave it remarkable depth of flavour.

With Mr Kiyoshi Murakami, Senior Advisor to the City of Rikuzentakata

(L-R), Mr Takanori Obayashi, Planning Department, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Section, Ms Hazel, Mr Satoshi Murakami, Assistant Director of Agriculture and Forestory Section, Mr Gabriel and me.

Overall, I enjoyed myself very much during the fair and I learned more about the food and culture of Rikutentaka City. It was very insightful and enriching. Thank you Hazel for the invite and Ippin Café Bar for hosting this event.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Papa's Grove Olive Oil Wins Hearts and Palates with its Unique Taste

Papa's Grove Olive Oil tasting session

I was delighted to attend the exclusive tasting session of Papa’s Grove olive oil at The Provision Shop, a quaint café located at Everton Park on 19 June. 

Savoury sandwiches, éclair and mini brownies from The Provision Shop

During the event, we got to sample Papa’s Grove olive oil and indulged in light bites including caprese salad, ham and cheese sandwich, smoked duck sandwich, mini éclair and mini brownies. 

With one of the founders, Mr Andreas Papaspyrou

Group General Manager of The Unlisted Collection (umbrella company of The Provision Shop), Mr Stepan Marhoul welcoming the guests at the event.

The tasting commenced with Mr Stepan Marhoul welcoming the guests at the event. Papa's Grove olive oil was started by two brothers Andreas and Petros.  It was developed during the Greek economic crisis when Petros lost his job. The two brothers, Andreas and Petros decided to start their own olive oil business and bring premium olive oil to Asia. 

Papa's Grove olive oil

Originating from Greece, Papa’s Grove’s olive oil is aromatic, 100% natural and has a full-bodied flavour. It is made from Koroneiki and Manaki olives and is low in acidity (only 0.21% acidity). The olive oil has also attained many prestigious awards including bagging a silver medal in the most prestigious competition in the world, the New York International Olive Oil Competition (NYIOOC). Other awards that Papa’s Grove olive oil has garnered include silver medal at the Athena International Olive Oil Competition in March 2016, Silver Medal at the London International Olive Oil Competition in April 2016 and Silver Medal at the Olive Japan International Olive Oil Competition in April 2016. The awards are a testament to the quality and unique flavour of Papa’s Grove olive oil.

What differentiates Papa’s Grove olive oil from the usual olive oil is that it is robust with a distinct peppery bitterness coupled with refreshing notes of herbs, nuts, citrus and fresh grass. Every drop is packed with flavour and bursting with wholesome goodness. Its unique taste enhances the flavour of food and adds an interesting dimension to simple dishes such as pastas, risottos, meats and seafood. In fact, it is so good that it tastes great even with plain bread. In fact, I have been experimenting with different recipes using this olive oil and I must say that I am pretty pleased with the results. The best part is that including olive oil in your diet helps to prevent heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.

What is interesting to note is that no chemicals are used in the production of Papa’s Grove olive oil. The oil is also harvested early and cold pressed before being bottled painstakingly by hand. The oil is stored in a sleek and elegant bottle which is painted white and designed specifically to protect the oil from direct sunlight. There are no paper labels on the bottles as these labels contain chemicals and gather bacteria. 

With Founder of Papa's Grove, Mr Andreas Papaspyrou and his wife and publisher of Wine & Dine, Ms Lynnette Lim.

My hubby, Thomas and baby, André Aaron

For more information on Papa' Grove olive oil or for orders, please visit here.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

DC Comics Super Heroes Café Launches Suicide Squad Menu

The entrance

DC Comics Super Heroes Café is a Superheroes themed café which was introduced in September 2015 at the Marina Bay Sands.  Superhero murals and life-sized figurines adorn the café making it a haven for Superhero fans. 

Seating area for light bites

The café has a dedicated takeaway counter with a small seating area for light bites, desserts and pastries and a bigger dining room for main meals.

Takeaway counter

Retail section

There is also a retail section where you can purchase merchandise such as T-shirts, caps and other collectibles.

DC Comics Super Heroes Café has just launched a Suicide Squad menu in conjunction with the upcoming American Superhero movie – Suicide Squad. While waiting for the movie to make its debut on 3 Aug, why not try the Suicide Squad menu first? 

The menu consists of four signature items such as Katana Cut Chicken Miso ($38.90), Harley Quinn – Laugh this off, Puddin’! ($28.90) , The Joker’s Rainbow Freak Shake ($16.90) and the Sweet-Side Squad ($14.90). The two main courses come in rather substantial portions.

Harley Quinn: Laugh this off, puddin'

I like the Harley Quinn: Laugh This Off, Puddin'!  -a delightful dish with vibrant colours and textures and the doughnut resembling a smiling face. What makes it special is the addition of peanut butter, giving it a nutty texture and flavour. The sweetness of the doughnut is balanced by the rich, savoury flavours of grilled chicken patty with turkey bacon, fried egg, cheddar cheese, guacamole and tomato salsa. French fries, mesclun greens and vine tomato are lovely accompaniments to this fun creation. 

Katana Cut Chicken Miso

Katana Cut Chicken Miso gives an innovative twist to the regular chicken chop. The spring chicken is de-boned, marinated with white miso and sake and roasted to perfection. Shaved roasted almonds are added, giving it a crunchy texture and a hint of sweetness. The chicken is accompanied with seasoned fries, garden vegetables and sesame dressing.

Sweet-Side Squad

The Sweet-Side Squad looks like a mild and harmless drink but the combination is anything but mild. The mix of gula Melaka (a palm sugar used in Indonesian desserts), milk, black tea and a shot of espresso is highly stimulating and invigorating, giving you your energy boost for the day. Do not take it at night as it may give you a sleepless night.

The Joker's Rainbow Freak Shake

The Joker’s Rainbow Freak Shake is a popular choice with many kids. The combination of vanilla syrup, milk, rainbow sprinkles, white chocolate sauce, gummy beans and chocolate cream wafer stick is interesting, colourful and playful, resembling the Joker in some ways.

In addition to the Suicide Squad menu, DC SuperHeroes Café has a Super Heroes Set Lunch is which is available from 11am to 3pm (excluding public holidays and eve of public holidays). The set lunch comes with caesar salad, parmesan lavosh (thin, crunchy Middle Eastern flatbread) and soup of the day. 

Batman's Fantastic Fish Steak

The Batman’s Fantastic Fish Steak ($19.90) is nicely grilled and topped with Gouda cheese ( a Dutch yellow cheese) and served with vine tomatoes, buttery mashed potatoes, green peas, lime and salsa. This is a pretty satisfying dish however, the fish is slightly on the salty side. 

Mushroom soup

The mushroom soup is creamy, aromatic and bursting with wholesome goodness. I can taste the fresh mushrooms in every mouthful. 

BVS Batman's Truffle Pasta

Pasta lovers can try the signature BVS Batman’s Truffle Pasta ($26.90) which consists of squid ink linguine served with sautéed garlic white shrimp tail and arugala salad parmigiana shavings and drizzled with premium alba truffle sauce. What I like about this pasta is the soft, gentle taste of truffles and the generous servings of shrimps. However, it may be a little too rich and intense for those whose palates veer towards a lighter pasta.

Hawkgirl's Hot Wings

If you are looking for light bites, you must not miss the Hawkgirl’s Hot Wings (fried chicken wings served with BBQ sauce - $6 pieces for $12.90 and 12 pieces for $20.90).  Deep-fried to a perfect golden hue and served with hot BBQ sauce, they deliver gratification with every bite.

Dynamic Duo's Double Chocolate Kraack

If you are in the mood to indulge, go for the decadent Dynamic Duo’s Double Chocolate Kraack ($9.90) which is the ultimate enjoyment for chocoholics and provides a sweet finale to the meal. 

Wonderwoman's Citrus Exotica

Alternatively, you can also quench your thirst and refresh your taste buds with the Wonderwoman's Citrus Exotica ($8.90)

Striking a pose

Baby André Aaron having fun

From now till 29 June 2016, you’ll get to participate in a lucky draw with a minimum spending of $200. 10 lucky winners will win a pair of tickets to the premiere of Suicide Squad on 3 August 2016. DC Super Heroes café is located at L1-01/ Bay Level, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. It is open from 10.30am to 11pm on Sunday to Thursday and from 10.30am to 11.30pm on Friday and Saturday.

For reservations, please call 6688 7610 or visit their facebook page here.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Wholesome Brunch Delights at The Provision Shop

The rustic interior

The Provision Shop is a quaint café nestled in the nondescript row of shop houses along Everton Park. What makes it popular is the cosy, rustic interior and wholesome food prepared using sustainably sourced ingredients. Most of the ingredients come from eco-friendly farms with responsible, farming methods. What is most noteworthy is that they even have their own farm in Cameron Highlands.

Humble setting with tables made of recycled materials

The décor is understated and modest with wood-lined panelled counters and walls and tables made with different recycled materials, evoking a nostalgic ambience. 

Eggs Benedict

The menu is not very extensive, consisting of mainly brunch favourites and delectable desserts.I love the Eggs Benedict ($15) which comes with runny poached eggs sitting atop delightful salmon tataki on crunchy ciabatta, accompanied with healthy salad. Every mouthful is a pleasant explosion of different flavours and textures. Other than salmon tataki, you can also choose to have the eggs benny with corned beef. sauteed wild mushrooms, crispy bacon or Parma ham.

The Provision Shop’s Reuben Sandwich

Another popular favourite is The Provision Shop’s Reuben Sandwich ($15), a hearty sandwich with corned beef, sauerkraut Russian dressing and Swiss Cheese. The combination of savoury, briny and creamy flavours is excellent, making it completely irresistible.

BBB Big Boys Breakfast 

If you are in the mood to indulge, go for the BBB Big Boys Breakfast ($18) which comes with sausage, baked beans, bacon, potato salad, green apple and fruit jam. The mish-mash of ingredients works very well together, delivering satisfaction with every bite. The portion is also very substantial with the creamy potato salad giving you your energy boost for the day and the green apple providing you with the essential vitamins.

We did not manage to try the desserts this time, but will definitely be back to try them the next time.

Overall, The Provision Shop offers a lovely dining experience. The brunch delights also taste much better than most restaurants. The best part is that you can be assured that your meal is prepared using wholesome, sustainable ingredients.

The Provision Shop is located at #01-79, 3 Everton Park, Singapore 080003. For enquiries, please call 6225 9931. Alternatively, you may visit here.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Mouth-Watering Indonesian Buffet at The Rice Table

The Rice Table is one of my favourite Indonesian buffets. It is one of the few places in Singapore with the Rijsttafel concept. The best part is that prices are pocket-friendly and you get to dine in a cosy and nice environment. At only $17.90 nett per person for lunch, it is a steal!

The mouth-watering dishes

Rijsttafel originates from Indonesia as the dishes served are authentically Indonesia, however the concept of Rijsttafel was coined by the Dutch colonists living in Indonesia. Drawing inspiration from the traditional Indonesian rice dish with meats and vegetables in rich, flavourful sauces, the Dutch created the feast known as Rijsttafel to savour various Indonesian dishes in one sitting.

Javanese chicken soup

Many of the dishes offered at The Rice Table exceeded my expectations. The Javanese chicken soup is very similar to the soto ayam, it is tasty and is served piping hot. 

Tauhu Telor

The winning dish is the quintessential tauhu telor, which comprises of fine egg shreds and tofu fried to golden perfection and drizzled with a delectable peanut sauce. 

To pique your appetite, go for the Indonesian fruit salad which consists of chunks of apple and pineapple. This appetiser is a little similar to the Singapore rojak but does not contain peanuts. The sauce is also slightly watery and less robust.

The vegetables in coconut stew are delicious with a rich, flavourful gravy. The beef rendang is succulent and tender with just the right amount of rempah (spicy paste). I also like the curry chicken which is steeped in an aromatic gravy. The lady's fingers in bean sauce is surprisingly good with the irresistible, nostalgic flavour of fermented soy beans.

Other popular dishes include the assam squid which is tangy and spicy at the same time and chicken satay  which is tender and delightful. The prawns in sambal sauce contained just the right amount of spice and is mild enough even for those who do not take spicy food. 

Some of the items which did not leave much of an impression include the otak, eggplant in kecap spice, curried tofu, kangkong belachan and fried sweet and sour fish

The zesty pickled cucumber is excellent for refreshing your palate in between the different dishes or after the meal.

The only setback of this buffet is that the restaurant does not serve plain water. Water is chargeable at $2 per bottle. You can also order lime, orange and sour plum juice priced at $3.50 per glass or assorted soft drinks at $3.00. Coffee, hot tea and Tiger beer are also available. 

To conclude your meal, you can order es chendol ($3.75) or durian chendol ($4.25). I did not order the desserts as I was very full when I finished the meal.

The entrance

The Rice Table is located at 360 Orchard Road, #02-09/10 International Building, 238869. It is open from 12pm to 2.30pm for lunch and 6.30pm to 9pm for dinner. For dinner, the buffet is priced at $28.50 nett.

The interior

For reservations, please call 6835 3782. Alternatively, please visit here.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Issho Izakaya - A Place to Chill Out and Enjoy Understated Japanese Fare

Issho Izakaya is a 2-year old Japanese restaurant located at Kallang Wave Mall. True to its name Issho (which means to gather in Japanese), the restaurant has a cosy and warm interior which is perfect for gatherings with friends and family. The Izakaya generally refers to a gastrobar where food is served to accompany the drinks. 

Sakes and wines

You’ll be awed by the extensive selection of sake and wines at the front entrance. The décor is rustic and homey with private rooms complete with floor seating on tatami mats.


Our dining experience started with the chawanmushi ($5) which was prepared in a savoury dashi stock and topped with ikura, prawns, fish cake and gingko nuts. It was very silky and smooth and the broth was very tasty.

Gindara teishoku set

The gindara teishoku (grilled cod fillet - $28.50) set was very gratifying. It was glazed with teriyaki sauce, topped with smooth, melted butter and accompanied with tsukemono (Japanese preserved vegetables), miso soup, Japanese rice and buta salad, a refreshing salad accentuated with thinly sliced pork belly and drizzled with goma (sesame) dressing.

Yakiniku teishoku set

My hubby had the yakiniku teishoku (grilled yakiniku beef - $24.50) set, which was very tasty too. The beef was stir-fried with onions and a sweet, soya-sesame sauce. Juicy and tender, the beef oozed perfection in every mouthful. It was accompanied with fresh salmon sashimi, Japanese rice, tsukemono and miso soup.

My baby boy, André Aaron having fun at the restaurant

The food at Issho Izakaya is delicious and the restaurant provides a convivial setting for a gathering with your loved ones. We will definitely be back to try the other dishes.

The interior

If you are planning to head down to Issho Izakaya, you may want to try some of their daily treats: 

Monday: Ladies Night - 50% off all à la carte items

Tuesday: 1-for-1 on Bottled Beer - $2.50 appetisers are available to spruce up your drinking nights

Wednesday: Men's Night - $1 for your first drink (choice of Sapporo beer - by mug / Shochu - by glass / Umeshu - by glass)! , 50% off subsequent draft beers and house pour wines, 50% off sake/shochu/umeshu (by glass)

Thursday & Friday: issho Happy Hour - $39.90++ with free flow of draft beer and happy hour items, limited to 120 mins

Saturday & Sunday: 30% off all bottled sake (720ml & above)

Sunday: Kids Dine Free! - Complimentary Don / Noodles (with minimum spending of $50, limited to two complimentary orders per table per bill)

The entrance

Issho Izakaya is open on weekdays (Sunday to Thursday) from 10am to 10pm and on weekends (Friday to Sunday) and eve of public holidays from 10am to 10.30pm.
For reservations, please call 6702 4708. Alternatively, please visit here.