Friday, 26 May 2017

Contemporary Asian Brunch with a Stellar View at Cé La Vi, Hong Kong

The stellar view of Hong Kong's skyline

Situated at a prime location at California Tower at Lan Kwai Fong, the chic Cé La Vi restaurant cum lounge is the place to see and be seen. Boasting stellar view of Hong Kong’s stunning skyline, you’ll be awed by the captivating ambience of the roof garden. If you prefer to dine indoors, the restaurant exudes glamour and sophistication, perfect for a romantic date with your loved one or a gathering with your best pals.

The interior

Sunday Brunch at Cé La Vi is a lavish affair. The food is an eclectic blend of the East and West, though it tends to veer towards the East. Superbly conceived, dexterously executed, exquisitely assembled, the unique food will life your spirits and delight your senses. What makes it even more pleasurable is the impeccable service.

A medley of appetisers - green salad, prawns with wasabi and chilli and prawn tempura

For a start, refresh your palate with prawns with wasabi and chilli, European oysters, green salad, edamame or the potato salad. 

Potato salad

I personally like the potato salad which is prepared with crunchy carrots, cucumbers and kewpie mayonnaise which is made with rice vinegar and has a smoother, creamier texture.

Shrimp tempura

For the hot appetisers, I like the shrimp tempura which is accompanied with daikon, ginger and chilli. The shrimps are sweet and succulent with a light, crispy batter.

Eggs benedict

For the classic brunch favourite, tuck into eggs benedict comprising baby spinach, tomato, onsen egg and shimichi hollandaise.

Korean style fried chicken with waffles

For the mains, the Korean style fried chicken accompanied with waffles is a refreshing combination. Enhance the taste with spicy raspberry jam which will make your taste buds tingle with delight.

Short ribs with lettuce wrap

Another standout item is the short ribs with lettuce wrap. I love the delightful combination of cherry tomatoes, sweet corn and ginger soy dressing. 

Deep-fried pork katsu

The deep-fried pork katsu served with Japanese curry, Hokkaido rice and pickles is one of my favourite items on the menu. In fact, the curry was so delicious that I asked for another serving.

Misoyaki salmon

For something healthy, go for the misoyaki salmon skilfully prepared with saikyo miso, mirin and sake or the Portobello mushroom accented with balsamic Dijon mustard dressing. To make it a complete meal, select your choice of sides such as baby corn, steamed vegetables, broccolini, Hokkaido rice, vegetable fried rice or miso soup.

Dessert platter

My awesome dining experience concluded with the lovely dessert platter consisting of strawberry tart, green tea tart, mango pudding and yuzu passionfruit mousse cake. A delicate masterpiece, it looked so pretty that I could not bear to eat it initially. The yuzu passionfruit mousse cake is light, fruity and tangy and helped me to refresh my palate after the meal.

Cé La Vi's Sunday Brunch is priced at HKD$488 per person. For free flow of (non alcoholic drinks), top up an additional of HKD$88.  For unlimited servings of Moët & Chandon, add  an additional of HKD$498. For free flow of Veuve Clicquot Rosé, top up an additional of HKD$398 and for Veuve Clicquot, add an additional HKD$ 298.

Cé La Vi is located at 25/F California Tower, 32 D' Aguilar Street, Central, Cental District, Hong Kong. For reservations, please call +(852) 3700 2300.

For more information, please visit here.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Peranakan Food at its Finest at National Kitchen by Violet Oon

The entrance

National Kitchen by Violet Oon located at the historic National Gallery is a restaurant I have always wanted to try. My first encounter with Violet’s cuisine was when I tried her Shepherd’s pie at the Takashimaya food outlet about two decades ago. That was probably the first time I tried Shepherd’s pie and I must say I was very impressed with the rich flavours. The creamy texture of the mashed potatoes, coupled with the flavourful minced beef filling blew my mind away. 

A household name, Violet Oon has cemented a reputation for being the grand dame of Peranakan cuisine. Born a Singapore Nyonya in 1949, Violet Oon started her career as a music and arts reporter. Her love for food led her to host cooking programmes, be a food researcher for the National Heritage Board, launch her culinary magazine called The Food Paper in 1987, as well as introduce a food outlet in Takashimaya in the 1990s

Violet Oon’s first restaurant Violet Oon Singapore (formerly Violet Oon’s Kitchen) opened its doors in 2012 specialising in Peranakan favourites such as buah keluak ayam, dried mee siam, dried laksa and meatless meatball rendang. Being a fan of her cookbooks and cooking shows, I decided to try the food at Violet Oon Singapore. The food there was good, but not particularly mind blowing. What made it popular was the casual setting and the family-friendly vibe.

The beautiful decor

Her second outlet, National Kitchen somehow sounded more promising. Housed at the former Supreme Court of Singapore, the restaurant is a celebration of Singapore’s national heritage. Opulent chandeliers, gold accents and floral-patterned tiles give the restaurant a classic yet elegant touch. The dark toned walls are embellished with black and white photos depicting her illustrious career and Peranakan roots.

Scenic view from the alfresco area

There is also an alfresco area which boasts a picturesque view of the Padang and the Marina Bay Sands. The décor is so stylishly chic that it debunks the myth that Peranakan restaurants are usually traditional, homey and frequented by families. 

The cuisine at National Kitchen is predominantly Peranakan with a mix of Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian influences, reflecting Singapore’s colourful food culture. Each dish is meticulously executed using time-honoured recipes, original ingredients and traditional cooking methods.

Ngoh hiang

We started our meal with the ngoh hiang ($15)  comprising crisp, bean curd skin with succulent chicken meat seasoned with five spice powder wrapped inside. I like the addition of water chestnut which gives it a crunchy texture. What paired with the sweet sauce and chilli, it is undeniably mouth-watering.

Kiam chye ark thng

The kiam chye ark thng ($10) which consists of salted mustard greens and duck in a clear broth is a hearty mix of savoury and tangy flavours with a hint of spiciness. Every mouthful is filled with homemade goodness.

Chap chye

Chap Chye is a quintessential Nyonya dish and I must say that Violet Oon’s version is well balanced in flavours, tasty in a very homely way.

Beef rendang

The main highlight is the beef rendang ($23) which is remarkably flavourful and succulent and every bite is unforgettable.

Garam assam fish

Another dish which is executed superbly is the garam assam fish ($23) which consists of Spanish mackerel fillets in a tangy and piquant gravy with fresh pineapple slices and ladies fingers topped with julienne pink ginger flower. The gravy is appetising and tasty, blowing our minds away.

Pulut hitam

Our delicious Peranakan meal concluded with a grand finale with the delicious pulut hitam ($12) – black glutinous rice stewed with decadent gula Melaka and rich coconut milk topped with a scoop of creamy, vanilla ice cream. Exquisitely prepared and beautifully plated, satiating all our senses.

National Kitchen by Violet Oon is located at 1 St. Andrew’s Road #02-01, National Gallery Singapore (City Hall Wing), Singapore, Singapore 178957. The restaurant is open from 12pm to 3pm (last order 2.30pm) during lunch and from 6pm to 11pm (last order 9.30pm) during dinner. The veranda is open from 5.30pm to 11pm (last order 10pm). 

For reservations, please call (+65) 9781 3144 or email Alternatively, please click here.


Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Luxuriant Sunday Brunch at Flavorz, The Ritz Carlton Shenzhen

The interior

Sunday Brunch is a delightful affair. And The Ritz Carlton Shenzhen Flavorz Restaurant’s Sunday Brunch definitely brings a smile to those who like to relax and indulge during the weekend. With a lavish spread, impeccable service, fresh seasonal produce and innovative culinary delights, this buffet definitely lives up to its reputation of being the “Best Sunday Brunch” in Shenzhen.

Seafood on ice

The chic all-day dining restaurant is styled after a market concept featuring brunch favourites such as eggs benedict, extensive selection of seafood, fresh sushi, cured meats, assorted cheeses, grilled meats, noodles prepared à la minute and a lovely repertoire of desserts. 

Assorted breads and cheeses

Other than the flavourful cuisine, what really impressed me about this buffet is that everything is served to my table and food is not just passively laid on the table. Throughout the meal, the wait staff is zealously rushing to bring food to my table, making me feel pampered. 

Fresh oysters

The fresh seafood is a hit with many seafood aficionados. Tickle your palate with fresh oysters, crab and prawns

Assorted sushi

The Japanese section is decent with an interesting selection of sushi. I expected sashimi but did not see it on the buffet. 

Seared tuna

Smoked salmon

Iberico ham

For the appetisers, my personal favourites are the seared tuna, smoked salmon, prawns with mango and iberico ham.

Double-boiled snow fungus, pear and pork rib soup

 The double-boiled snow fungus, pear and pork rib soup is tasty and nourishing. 

Eggs benedict

The egg benedict tasted okay but would have been better if it was prepared on the spot. What is lacking is an egg station which would have made the brunch buffet more complete.

Teriyaki salmon

For the mains, you can look forward to teriyaki salmon, fried rice, stir-fried Chinese noodles, Chinese roast items such as roast pork belly and roast duck, lamb shank, grilled rack of lamb, steak and sausages from the grill section and Chinese wok-fried delights.

Fresh fish
Take your pick from the fish section and let the expert chefs grill them for you right before your eyes.

The Thai section

There is also a Thai section where the chef prepares Tom Yum soup complete with condiments such as mushrooms and prawns.

Different varieties of noodles

Relish noodles prepared with your choice of soup and condiments such as mushrooms, cabbage, enoki, pork balls, fish cake, beancurd puff, quail egg and more. 

Lovely desserts

Conclude your afternoon of indulgence with the lovely repertoire of desserts such as chocolate brownie, rose cupcake, mango dome, cheese cake, pistachio nut cake, crème brûlée, guiling gao (herbal jelly), mango pudding, black glutinous coconut soup, berries trifle verrine, chocolate molten lava cake, chocolate fondue and waffles with ice cream.

 Sweet finale

The buffet is priced at RMB588 and includes free flow of juices, red, white and sparkling wine. Add RMB100 to enjoy unlimited servings of Champagne.

Assorted fruits

Flavorz is located at Level 2, The Ritz Carlton Shenzhen, 116 Fuhua San Road, Futian District, Shenzhen 518048 P.R. China. For reservations, please call +86 (755) 2222-2222.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Delectable Fusion Creations at Flo, a New Halal Café at IMM

Food tasting session at flo

During my recent trip back in Singapore, I was delighted to be able to try the food at flo, a brand new casual dining café located at IMM launched by singer, actress and host, Candyce Toh. 

The interior

Founded by the Manuka Group, flo drew inspiration from its sister café by adding a mix of Western creations with Asian influences. This new kid on the block features a kaleidoscope of different cuisines with an innovative twist. 

With Robert and Agnes and my family

Flo is also a halal certified café which aims to satisfy the palates of all food lovers. With a capacity of 36, it is open daily from 11 am to 10pm. What makes it most attractive is that prices do not include service charge or GST. 

Rosti Special

We started our food tasting session with the all-day breakfast favourites, flo’s Rosti Special -$15) which consisted of fresh grated potato (made-to-order), rocket salad, egg (choice of sunny side up or scrambled), marinated pulled chicken slices and sour cream and chives on the side. The rosti was pan-fried to a perfect golden brown hue and tasted heavenly with the sour cream and chives. The marinated pulled chicken was tantalising and helped to refresh the taste buds. The rocket salad provides the vitamins our body requires while the eggs give us the energy boost for the day. Overall, this is a wholesome dish which appeals to most diners.

The corn soup ($8) is prepared with the goodness of fresh corn and has a smooth consistency and a pleasant sweet taste. This is suitable for toddlers and children too.

Tomato and mozzarella salad

I also like the tomato and mozzarella salad ($12) with consists of sliced tomatoes, mozzarella, mesclun, basil pesto and balsamic reduction. A quintessential Italian appetiser, it oozes the refreshing taste of summer.

Succulent flank steak

My favourites are the flank steak ($18) which is served with cauliflower purée, seasonal vegetables and herb butter and the signature Korean inspired marinated chicken ($16) served with myeolchi bokkeum and kimchi fried brown rice. 

Korean inspired marinated chicken

The former is succulent and flavourful and melts readily in my mouth while the latter is palatable, enhanced by the crunchy texture and savoury taste of the anchovies. The chicken is also tender and complements the rice well.

Korean kimchi pasta

The Korean beef pasta ($17) is a unique fusion dish which combines the Italian pasta with the exotic flavours of the Korean kimchi. Made with flo's in-house blended base, it allows the pasta to completely absorb the spicy, tangy flavours. This is a must-try dish if you are inclined towards spicy food, though it may be a tad too spicy for those who are not fans of spicy cuisine.

Bountiful choco-brownie

The bountiful choco-brownie ($14.50) was the finale dish for the food tasting session, ending our dining experience on an exceptional note. It was superbly prepared with freshly baked crispy waffles, chocolate brownie, walnuts, premium vanilla bean ice cream and maple sauce. The waffle was crispy on the outside and fluffy inside and the different ingredients merged together to create a wonderful explosion of various flavours and textures. Chocolate sauce was added which gave it a rich, decadent taste.

Review of the Bountiful Choco-Brownie

Flo offers a lovely setting for a casual meal with your loved ones. Thank you Agnes once again for the invite.

Flo is located at IMM, 2 Jurong East, Street 21, #02-15A, Singapore 609601. It is open from 11am to 10pm daily. 
For enquiries, please call 6896 1396 or visit here.
For more information or for tastings, please visit here.

Photos by Photographer, Producer and Song Writer, Robert Wesley Seng.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Tease Your Palate with Fish Prepared in Innovative Styles at Be A Flying Fish (鱼乐飞) at MH Mall, Shenzhen

With my new colleagues

Be A Flying Fish (鱼乐飞),  MH Mall is part of the Mission Hills Centreville located within the largest golf resort in the world - Mission Hills, Shenzhen.

The restaurant specialises in fish prepared in innovative styles, guaranteed to pique the palates of those who love fish. As the name implies, the fish is so tasty that one literally feels like 'flying'.

Here are some of my favourite dishes:

凉拌皮蛋 (Chilled Century Eggs)- RMB16

I don’t usually fancy century egg but I am quite impressed with Be A Flying Fish (鱼乐飞)'s version. It has a translucent orange hue instead of the usual charcoal black colour which makes it look much more appetising. Traditionally, century eggs were made by preserving chicken or duck eggs in a mixture of salt, lime and ash and wrapping in rice husks for several weeks. This helps to raise the PH of the egg, the chemical process breaks down the proteins and fats into smaller complex flavours. After the egg is chilled, it is served with soya sauce and topped with chilli. The yolk has a creamy consistency while the white has a gelatinous texture. Cool and refreshing, it helps to whet one’s appetite before the main meal.

韭菜鸡蛋干 (Sliced Egg White with Leek) - RMB18

Resembling beancurd, this is another popular appetiser. The egg white is sliced thinly and has a firm, pleasant texture. It is accompanied with leek giving it a fragrant and crunchy flavour.

麻辣鱼皮(Fish Skin in Mala Sauce) - RMB36

A traditional Szechuan favourite, this will tantalise your palate and titillate your senses. The fish skin is chewy and delectable and goes well with the mala sauce which consists of Szechuan peppercorn, chilli pepper and various spices simmered in oil. Spicy, numbing and delicious.

金牌酸菜鱼 (Signature Fish with Preserved Vegetables)--RMB148

For the mains, the signature fish with preserved vegetables is my ultimate favourite. It consists of boiled and fried fish cooked in a tangy, flavourful broth which is meticulously prepared with preserved papaya, preserved vegetables, ginger, bamboo shoot and chilli and enhanced with sliced lemon. The marriage of tangy, spicy and savoury flavours makes it absolutely delightful.

招牌脆鱼锅 (Signature Crispy Fish served in a Pot) - RMB 158 

The fish is tender, delicious and crisp as we heard that the fishes are farmed and fed only with soybeans. Topped with peppers, green and red chilli and served in a huge pot, it delivers gratification in every bite.

Enjoying 金牌酸菜鱼 (Signature Fish with Preserved Vegetables)

The entrance

Be A Flying Fish (鱼乐飞) is located at L304-306. For more enquiries, please call 
0755 -21002527; 4008818632 or email Alternatively, kindly visit