Sunday, 9 October 2016

Hearty Italian Fusion Cuisine at Blend It Up

Love this pizza margherita

Blend It Up is a new restaurant helmed by Celebrity Chef, Peter Neo. A veteran in the culinary scene with 35 years of culinary experience, he specialises in Italian fusion cuisine with an Asian twist. The name Blend It Up suggests a creative combination of local, Asian and Western ingredients combined with Italian cooking style to create innovative dishes. The restaurant also uses fresh quality ingredients, blending their natural goodness to create unique flavours.

With Celebrity Chef, Peter Neo

Chef Peter had his humble beginnings starting his career at a hawker stall before becoming an apprentice in a hotel. Over the years, he has honed his skills at Raffles Hotel and has also travelled to Italy to learn the art of Italian cooking from his friend. Affable, bubbly and down-to-earth, Chef Peter has been featured on numerous radio and television programmes and has been invited to showcase his culinary prowess at food demonstrations and cooking workshops.

Chef Peter is known for his creativity and his passion in satisfying the taste buds of discerning diners with his bold and adventurous creations.

Whole grilled squid

For starters, I like the whole grilled squid ($18) which was seasoned with a homemade blend of mixed herbs, paprika, crushed black pepper and basil, topped with fresh diced tomatoes and glazed with extra virgin olive oil and a dash of lemon.  It was succulent, flavourful and gratifying to the last bite.

Prosciutto e melone

The prosciutto e melone (rock melon wrapped with Parma ham -$18) was a palate pleaser topped with fresh greens and cherry tomatoes.

Wild mushroom soup

Using only the freshest mushrooms, the wild mushroom soup ($10) was filled with earthy flavours oozing heartiness in every mouthful.

For pastas, my favourites are the spaghetti vongole ($18) and linguine al cartoccio ($19). The spaghetti vongole was cooked with fresh clams, garlic, olive oil, chillies and parsley in a white wine sauce. The clams were luscious and the freshness can be tasted with every bite while the spaghetti was al dente. The sauce was also delicious although I could not taste the chilli when I tried it during the tasting session. The culinary team was also very generous with the clams.

Linguine al cartoccio

The linguine al cartoccio was cooked with prawns, mussels, clams and squid and abounds with the rich flavours of the sea. It was cooked in a parchment paper to fully absorb the flavour of the sauce and the ingredients.

Pizza margherita

The pizza margherita ($16) was delightful and tangy with a thin, crispy crust. The sunny side up perched atop the tomato and mozzarella cheese filling made it simply heavenly.

Chef's Special BBQ Honey Baby Pork Rib

The Chef’s special BBQ honey baby pork rib ($26) is not something that one would find in an Italian restaurant. Chef Peter Neo’s rendition is sweet, savoury with a hint of smokiness and a melt-in-your-mouth consistency. The delectable ribs were served with homemade coleslaw and shoestring fries.

Black sesame lava cake

Desserts were quite unusual and I was completed swooned by the black sesame lava cake ($13) accompanied with vanilla ice cream.

Yummy black sesame lava cake

The black sesame lava oozing out of the cake tasted similar to the Asian black sesame soup dessert. It was not as rich as the quintessential chocolate lava cake but was equally mouth-watering. I was tempted to try the durian lava and chocolate lava cake but there was no more room in my stomach. I will definitely be back to try the other interesting creations.

Celebrity Chef, Peter Neo shows you the steps of making Spaghetti Vongole

Celebrity Chef, Peter Neo shares the secrets of a good Spaghetti Vongole

Blend It Up is a restaurant to go if you are looking for hearty and affordably priced Italian fusion comfort food. Ambience is cosy and frills-free and is ideal for a casual gathering with your family and loved ones.

With Agnes and baby André Aaron

The restaurant is located at 325 Upper Paya Lebar Road, Quemoy Building, Singapore 534946. For reservations, please call 6281 2688 or email Alternatively, please visit here.

The entrance

Thank you Agnes and Blend It Up for the invite.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Skyve Wine Bistro Introduces New À La Carte Menu with Vegan and Gluten-Free Delights

Feeling relaxed in the cosy setting

Nestled within the old Monk’s Hill Secondary school and just a stone’s throw away from Orchard Road, Skyve Wine Bistro provides a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. The name Skyve is a clever pun on the word ‘skive’ (which means to escape from work). 

The interior

Skyve’s ambience is casual and relaxed, making it a haven for chilling out. The names of the food items on the menu instantly puts me in a relaxed mood with notable ones such as the sleeping oysters, the dilly dally appetisers and the languid main course.

Skyve has recently launched a new à la carte menu comprising some gluten-free and vegan options which do not compromise on taste.

The Sleeping Oysters Gaucho and Ume Uni oysters ($36 for half dozen for Ume Uni)

I don’t normally take oysters, but I must say that the Ume Uni oysters are palatable. The sweetness of the Japanese plum and the salty flavours of sea urchin gastrique provide a unique combination which is very refreshing and appetising. I am pleasantly surprised. Slide the entire oyster in your mouth and enjoy the delightful burst of sea flavours with a hint of sweetness.

Uni Spaghettini ($22 for appetiser portion, $38 fr main course portion)

This is one of the most interesting and unique pastas I have tried. With influence from Japan , this is prepared with aburi uni (sea urchin), aburi kazunoko (herring roe) and uni preserves and accentuated with seaweed caviar. It has a distinct umami flavour which is light on the palate and pleasant to the senses.

Soft Shell Crab Amandine ($22)

What I like about this is the skin of the soft shell crab. It is battered in semolina flour, resulting in a crispy exterior and a succulent interior. The yuzu wasabi dressing is also very tantalising, helping to whet my appetite for the main course.

Shoyu Saba ($22)

Diners who are looking for gluten free meals can opt for the shoyu saba (mackerel fillet with crispy root vegetables). 

Daizu portobello burger ($34)

Skyve also has other vegetarian and gluten free options including the daizu portobello burger which is 100% vegetarian and misozuke cod which is 100% gluten free. The former is a burger which is prepared with grilled portobello, spinach, fried tofu, tempeh, Kaiser brioche bun, finished off with a signature Marie Rose sauce and accompanied with truffle fries. 

Misozuke cod ($42)

My favourite is the misozuke cod masterfully prepared with bacon miso corn succotash and accented with red fruit gastrique and scallion. The smoky bacon is beautifully combined with corn which gives it a harmonious balance of sweet and savoury flavours.

Sous vide Hibachi pork ($38++)

The sous vide Hibachi pork is another recommendation. The pork is chargrilled to perfection spiced with a trio of togarashi and accompanied with savoury crackling pork skin, wilted spinach and hearty barley risotto.

Sweet Indulgence Platter ($25)

I have always had an affinity for desserts. Skyve believes in creating sweet treats for every need. The Prefect’s chocolate pudding ($12) is vegan friendly and gluten-free and is meticulously crafted with bananas and avocados and topped with a crunchy oat crumble. The Tarte Au Potiron with a spicy cayenne crème fraiche and crushed speculoos is an interesting twist to the traditional pumpkin pie. 

For those who want to try a bit of everything, you can go for the sweet indulgence platter which offers tiramisu, lime semifreddo, chocolate pudding, pumpkin pie and snicker bar in bite sizes. A rapturous selection of delish treats which concludes the dining experience on a wonderful note.

Skyve Wine Bistro also has a daily weekday 3-course set lunch which is priced from $36++ onwards.

Very satisfied with the Doraemon balloon sculpture

On Thursday evenings, there will be a balloonist cum magician to entertain the diners in the evenings. 
With my family

With restauranteur, Ms Celine Tan 

At the bar counter

The swing in the garden outside Skyve Wine Bistro

Overall, Skyve Wine Bistro is a fabulous place to unwind and indulge in a good meal.  The bistro is located at 10 Windstedt Road, Singapore 227977
For reservations, please call 6225 6690 or visit here.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Oso Grillery - Fantastic Grill Restaurant at Bukit Pasoh

Exclusive private section of the restaurant

Oso Grillery is the grill section of Oso Ristorante Restaurant, a renowned Italian restaurant located in a 4-storey 17, 100 square feet conservation heritage mansion. Accommodating up to 80 diners, this grillery specialises in premium and sustainable meats and seafood cooked in an oakwood oven and grill. 

I have dined at Oso Ristorante a few years ago and I was pretty impressed with the food and ambience. What makes the grillery different is that the restaurant’s setting is casual and inviting. The food is flavourful and unpretentious, satiating the appetites of even discerning gourmands.

Sally and me

My friends organised a post birthday gathering for Sally and myself yesterday and we were very pleased with the food and the service quality.

Creamy and delicious ravioli

We commenced our meal with the ravioli ($24) which was generously filled with veal, cheese fondue and drizzled with creamy mushroom sauce. A simple creation which is hearty and satisfying.

Polpo (roasted octopus with cherry tomato, lemon zest and chives)

The polpo (roasted octopus with cherry tomato, lemon zest and chives -$35) was perfectly grilled, with a firm texture. The sweetness of the octopus was coupled with light hints of smokiness.

Beef tomahawk

The main highlight of the meal was the 1.2kg 100 days grain-fed beef tomahawk ($188) which was grilled till it was crisp on the outside with a juicy interior.

The succulent beef tomahawk

The lovely accompaniments - ratte potates and broccoli

It was accompanied with baby ratte potates and broccoli. Every bite was a burst of wondrous flavours.

Panna cotta

Desserts were excellent too, visually arresting and delightful to the taste buds. The panna cotta ($14), a classic dessert from Piedmont region was superbly executed. It had a ‘just set’ consistency, slightly wobbly but still relatively firm in texture.

Tiramisu with Happy Birthday Message in Italian

The tiramisu ($14) is an all-time favourite with a decadent mascarpone cheese texture and lady fingers steeped in espresso and dusted with cocoa powder at the top.

D' Aranchio

What I enjoyed the most was the D’Aranchio ($14), a white chocolate and orange Grand Marnier cake. It was very refreshing with gentle hints of orange zest and small bits of almond.

Yummy tiramisu

Oso Grillery is the grill section of Oso Ristorante which has an elegant yet relaxed setting. The grilled items are the main highlights and are perfect for those who enjoy meats and seafood of premium quality.

The restaurant is open for lunch from 12pm to 2.30pm from Mondays to Fridays and 6pm till late on Mondays to Saturdays. 

For reservations, please call 63278378 or visit here.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Open Door Policy Introduces 100% Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Menu

With my colleagues, Ji Cheng and Raymund

I have always wanted to try the cuisine at Open Door Policy, therefore I was delighted when my colleagues organised an advance birthday lunch for me at this restaurant.

The rustic interior

What attracts me to the restaurant is the rustic look and the wooden furniture, making me feel relaxed instantly. The menu is refreshed recently by Executive Chef Ryan Clift and Founder of Spa Esprit Group, Cynthia Chua. Open Door Policy prides itself on its 100% gluten-free and dairy-free sustainable menu which does not compromise on taste, making it the perfect venue for diners who are health conscious and have gluten or dairy intolerences. The menu draws inspiration from Latin America, Europe and Australia and every dish is crafted with passion and care to appeal to diners who desire tasty and wholesome food.

In line with its emphasis on healthy food, ODP has also introduced a new indoor vertical farming programme where vegetables are grown in-house and incorporated with the restaurants’ dishes.

Rustic Tapioca

A new creation to look out for is the Rustic Tapioca ($18)  a tomato-based sauce served with barlotti beans and accompanied with fresh bread on the side. A simple soup which is soothing to the palate and delightful to the senses.

Vegan maccheroni

Another new item on the menu is the vegan maccheroni pasta topped with portobello Bolognese grain and béchamel ($24). This is the ultimate comfort food which hits the right notes in all aspects. It is flavourful and abounds with fresh, wholesome ingredients. The best part is that it  is completely vegan which makes it much healthier than the usual Bolognese pasta.

Fresh spaghetti

Another dish which deserves a special mention is the fresh spaghetti tossed with artichoke hearts, mountain asparagus and smoked mackerel ($28). It is a hearty combination of savoury, nutty and creamy flavours. The sauce is slightly creamy but not overly rich.

Pistachio and mortadella ham ravioli

For those who prefer lighter flavours, go for the pistachio and mortadella ham ravioli served in a tasty hen’s broth ($26). It is a clear consommé soup which is refreshing and subtle in taste. It is not exactly mind-blowing but it is palatable. The skin of the ravioli can be a little thinner though.

The restaurant also has a daily set lunch priced at $35++ which includes a soup, pasta and mocktail.

Garden lemonade

We tried the garden lemonade ($10++) which was not exactly the most memorable mocktail on the menu. It had a zesty and slightly tart taste which I did not really enjoy.

Overall, I like Open Door Policy for its concept, cuisine and its focus on sustainably sourced ingredients. What I did not really enjoy was the service which in my opinion was not amicable enough.

Open Door Policy is located at 19 Yong Siak St, Singapore 168650. For enquiries and reservations, please call 6221 9307. For more information, please visit here.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Over the Moon with These Divine Mooncakes!

Traditional Baked Millennium Mooncakes

Mid-Autumn Festival is the time for moon gazing and to relish delectable mooncakes. Here’s some of my recommendations if you are planning to get mooncakes to surprise your family, business associates and loved ones.

Traditional Baked Millennium Mooncakes

These timeless classics are delicately handcrafted and baked to glorious golden brown. The White Lotus Paste with Single Yolk and Macadamia nuts is my all-time favourite. I think the combination of the salted egg yolk and macadamia nuts is heavenly, giving it a well-balanced sweetness. The double yolk version is a little too heavy for me. Those who are on a diet can opt for the plain White Lotus Paste which is low in sugar and calories. Another flavour I enjoy is the Red Bean Paste with Melon seeds. Although this is slightly on the sweeter side, it has a refreshing flavour. The Seeds of Harmony is a little too nutty for me. For those who can’t decide, you can go for the Hua Ting's Traditional Treasures Gift Box which has a mix of different flavours. 

From $73 per box of four

For orders, please call 6233 1100 or email

Gu Ma Jia's Traditional Baked Mooncakes

Gu Ma Jia, a Chinese restaurant located at Tai Thong Crescent, Sennett Estate debuts with a series of baked mooncakes namely the White Lotus Paste with Single Yolk, White Lotus Paste with Double Yolk, White Lotus Paste with Melon Seeds and the Five Nut Mooncakes. What makes Gu Ma Jia’s mooncakes special is that it is made with fresh ingredients and is crafted with passion. Although the packaging is not as striking as other Chinese restaurants, Gu Ma Jia’s winning formula is the wholesome and genuine taste. The White Lotus Paste with Single Yolk and the White Lotus Paste with Melon seeds are the more popular flavours. The Five Nut flavour is a hit with those who are health-conscious and like a crunchy texture. Nuts are generally good for the heart and contain a considerable amount of fibre, unsaturated fats and omega 3 fatty acids.

Gu Ma Jia mooncakes are available in the following packages:

Package 1 at $45
-2 pieces of White Lotus Paste with Melon Seeds
-2 pieces of White Louts Paste with Double Yolk

Package 2 at $45
2 pieces of Wu Ren (Five-Nut)
2 pieces of White Lotus Paste with Single Yolk

Free delivery for orders of 4 boxes and above (except Tuas)
Delivery time: Monday to Thursday, 2pm to 5pm

For orders, please call 6285 2023 or

Prima Deli Snowskin Mooncakes

Prima Deli has introduced a Royal Gift Set consisting of nine different flavours this year. I like the Mini Chocolate Mint which is light and the mint neutralises the sweetness of the chocolate. The Mini Sakura Matcha is also another flavour which deserves a mention. It is sweet but not overpowering therefore you can indulge without worrying. If you like fruity flavours, the Mini Mango Lemongrass and Mini Soursop with Guava are noteworthy metions. Tangy and refreshing, these flavours are perfect for our humid weather, however my taste buds seem to veer towards the Mini Mango Lemongrass which has a very refreshing tropical flavour. Durian aficionados will definitely be delighted with the Mini D24 Durian. Although, I am not really a fan of durians, I must say that the Mini D24 Durian is quite delightful. It tastes really great when it is cold and just out of the refrigerator. Other flavours that won my heart include the Mini Cookies and Cream and Mini Salted Caramel Toffee. The more exotic flavours are the Mini Cranberry Cheese and the Mini Thai Milk Tea with black pearl. Cranberry and cheese is quite an unusual combination, however, it works quite well together as the taste of the cheese is quite light. The colour of the Thai milk tea with black pearl put me off initially due to its charcoal black colour, however, when I sunk my teeth into it, the pleasant aroma and taste of the milk tea makes my taste buds tingle with delight.

$49.80 per box
Enjoy 20% discount when you purchase from now till 15 September. While stocks last.

The Royal Gift Set is available at all Prima Deli outlets.  For more information, please visit here.
Above prices are subject to 7% GST.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Delightful Tapas at My Little Spanish Place

Wine section

My Little Spanish Place at Boat Quay is a quaint restaurant resembling a cosy tapas bar which one would find in the streets of Spain. The owners advocate a ‘meson’ which offers a home restaurant experience. Once you step into the, you will be charmed by the rustic brick walls and soft, subdued lighting.

The open kitchen

There is also an open kitchen where you can see the chefs preparing the food.

Enjoying the tapas

I discovered this restaurant by chance when I was strolling along Boat Quay. As the restaurant was packed on a weeknight, I decided to give it a try. Furthermore, I love tapas and as it is hearty and light and is the soul of Spanish food culture. Although, I have only sampled three items from the tapas section of this restaurant, I must say that they are very well-executed.

Tortilla de patata

Known as the national dish of Spain, the tortilla de patata -traditional Spanish egg omelette with potatoes with onions served with homemade alioli ($10). The main ingredients are olive oil, potatoes, egg and homemade aioli). It is a simple dish which is so comforting and satisfying. The different ingredients go very well together, resulting in a delightful burst of flavours and I can’t help but finish all of it.

Gamas al ajillo

My favourite tapas at this restaurant is the gamas al ajillo ($16) which is also the traditional house favourite. The shrimps are expertly cooked in a dish of boiling olive oil with garlic and chilli pepper. The sweet, succulent shrimps are coupled with the piquant taste of the chilli pepper, resulting in a unique mix of spicy, savoury and sweet flavours. It is absolutely delicious and goes well with the bread on the side although I would have preferred the sauce to be a little less oily.

Albondigas de la casa

I can never get enough of meatballs. The albondigas de la casa ($14) consists of homemade Spanish meatballs in a robust tomato-based sauce. The meatballs are dexterously prepared with minced beef and pork. A refreshing and tantalising summer tapas, perfect for every occasion.

The alfresco area

My Little Spanish Place is located at 54 Boat Quay, Singapore 049843.  It is open from Monday to Friday, 12pm to 2.30pm and 5pm to 12am. On Saturday, it is open from 5pm to 12am. The restaurant is closed on Sunday. For reservations, please call 6532 0665. For more information, please visit here.