2015 was a gastronomical year here for us at jiaksimipng here. While technically the pace of blogging had slowed down, there was never an end to eating for we are always in for a good lunch or dinner gathering with friends or even the lonely tea breaks and quiet brunch moments on certain occasions. Here are just a few of the most memorable meals of 2015, as well as the dishes that were worth mentioning that you should try in 2016 if you hadn’t tried them already.
With 2016 just round the corner, we would also be slowing down on the postings on this blog due to personal commitments (e.g. school). Do follow @the_XW on Instagram and the_XW on Burpple to see what we are eating and what you should try as well. Jiaksimipng would still be around though; we would still try to post as we can so do stay tuned!
Do note that this list is not in any chronological order, it’s purely based on what just came off from my head.
Juniper Roasted Vension Saddre – Odette
Stating that it is not in any chronological order but Odette is definitely one of my most memorable meals of the year. Everything was stellar, but if I had to pick one dish it had to be this; we could not resist that bouncy Venison that came with a pink centre, executed so well and so tender without any gamey stench. And that Chestnut Pasta; a subtle sweetness with all that truffle …
National Gallery Singapore
1 St Andrew’s Road
Aburi Salmon Don – DSTLLRY
This was actually one of my very first few donburi, and usually I tend to not order the same thing during revisits but I had ordered this 3 out of 4 times I visited them (the 1 time was because I was accompanying a friend and I was too full to eat). Yes, the Bara Chirashi here is good, but this irrational fear of not being able to satisfy myself if I do not order their Aburi Salmon Don is mostly the reason why I end up having the same thing all the time. Smoky flame-seared salmon sashimi atop rice served with a savoury sauce, this is sure an unforgettable experience and ultimate value at $18 for lunch. To be really honest, I had not found another Aburi Salmon Don that is quite as impressive as this one.
21 Media Circle
(Update: DSTLLRY had been revamped into a brand new concept named DSTLLRY par Christophe. The Aburi Salmon Don is still available at their D2TLLRY location.)
Putu Piring – Traditional Haig Road Putu Piring
We have tried a couple of Putu Piring and Tutu Kueh around this year but we can’t help but to compare with the rendition that this stall sells every single time. Nothing beats the piping hot Putu Piring that encases the gooey and sticky palm sugar within, without the Putu Piring disintegrating into a mess. Coupled with the coconut shavings atop, this is local comfort food at its best.
Haig Road Food Centre
14 Haig Road
Truffle Lobster Roll – Pince & Pints
Probably mentioned till death but I would have to add on to the hype. The original lobster roll is good, but for those who prefer a warm lobster roll, the truffle variant would be up your alley with that shaved truffle and truffle roe atop chunky lobster and a truffle aioli that replaces the usual garlic aioli. After having tried out my friend’s order of the Truffle Lobster Roll on my first visit, I ended up revisiting a second time and ordered it for myself. So good, and so much truffle that you would end up burping truffle flavours after the meal (I ain’t joking on this one!)
32 Duxton Road
Special Char Siew – Char
Char’s specialty is in their roasts, but in particularly, the Char Siew. Combining the use of modern cooking techniques into traditional cuisine, the Char Siew here seemed to have been sous vide, for the Char Siew bore a melt-in-the-mouth texture which sets it apart from others. Together with the sticky, almost jet-black honey coating which makes it sweet, this is one char siew that blows the mind.
393 Guillemard Road
Finnish Almond & Vanilla Bun – Brawn & Brains
Some things just don’t seem to change much, just like my love for them had not waivered since my first visit last year. One of the new items that they have started to serve recently, this is also my new found favourite in their new lot just a corner away from their previous space. Simple it is, but the light, fluffy bun with vanilla swirls inside and a crusty top sprinkled with toasted almonds proves itself as a comfortable bake to have with a cuppa in your hand.
100 Guillemard Road
Crispy Duck Curry – ding dong
It’s largely known as a watering hole, but not many people know that they do serve set lunch that features some of their ala-carte offerings for dinner. One of the most innovative Duck Confit we have had for the year, this was also one of the best for its local flavour infusion. Rich red curry, crispy duck skin and tender meat, the only thing that made us deduct some points from were the passionfruit which were a tad hard to bite. Still, a worthy mention for one of the more impressionable dishes we had this year.
23 Ann Siang Road
(Update: Ding Dong had since moved to a new space at 115 Amoy Street.)
Bacon Cupcake – Coffee Bandits
Having worked near Fusionopolis for a short while, I was pretty glad that I had to try out Coffee Bandits which comes by on Friday morning to afternoon. Out of the lot of items they sell, this was one of those that I look forward to. Small enough, but makes for a hearty breakfast with all that bacon, English muffin, cheese, mushroom and an oozy egg. Just look past the greasiness and you would find yourself a good power breakfast to start the day with.
Like Coffee Bandits on Facebook to view their schedule to catch them the next time they pop by!
Latkes with Pastrami & Hollandaise sauce – Sacha & Sons
People usually say go for the bagels here, but I personally prefer the Latkes here instead and its not any other ones but the Pastrami variant. Why go for the Smoked Salmon one when you can get heaps of smoky, cured meat stacked in between savoury and crisp potato cakes. Sounds so delicious already by its own!
333A Orchard Road
Koo Chye Kueh – one kueh at a time
We preferred the Ang Ku Kueh here but its more of an acquired taste (at least amongst the group we had), but the Koo Chye Kueh is one of the hot sellers here and you could totally taste why; the Koo Chye Kueh comes with a smooth, glistening skin which is chewy and of the right thickness, while filled with generous fillings of Koo Chye which did not carry an aftertaste yet had lots of crunch.
Berseh Food Centre
166 Jalan Besar
Pumpkin Gnocchi – Pollen
I know I know; it’s not really fair for this one because it came off from the festive menu but I was indeed blown away by the flavours and textures of this dish that made me harbour thoughts of going back again just for the usual set lunch menu. Taking a little bit of everything on the plate, this was truly amazing where the soft, subtly sweet gnocchi meets savoury goat cheese, crushed pistachio nuts and have the flavours enhanced with the pumpkin gnocchi at the side.
Gardens By The Bay
18 Marina Bay Gardens Drive
Kopi-Cat – Hatter Street
Of the many scoops of ice-cream we have had, Hatter Street’s Kopi-Cat ice-cream is perhaps one of the most memorable, though sadly it is not the whole deal that got us but just a tiny bit of it. On first sight, the ice-cream seemed to be smacked with all sort of local tidbits with a decent but not too impressionable coffee ice-cream. You would, however, have to order the Soy Milk ice-cream just by itself; it is very reminiscent of the drink itself with sugary syrup sweetness along with the soy milk and comes without the unnecessary details.
Blk 212 Hougang Street 21
Crackling Roast Pork – Empress
To be fair, it’s a dish that I do not usually order at Chinese restaurants (usually too filling) so I could be wrong about it, but we were totally impressed with the how Empress does their roasts here. So chunky with enough bite, yet so soft on the fatty areas that you will just keep going for more.
Asian Civilisations Museum
1 Empress Place
Special Tendon – Ginza Tendon Itsuki
There are only two items here; the Special Tendon or the Vegetable Tendon. One of the better Tendons out there, you get a wide spread of tempura items which are crisp and lightly battered (e.g. Tempura Mushroom, Corn, Lady Finger, Shrimp and Chicken) which does not feel overwhelming when you finish the entire don. A flowy, fried egg hides at the bottom of the bowl for a little surprise. The only gripe about this place; you will end up walking out smelling like a walking tempura from all the grease from the open-concept kitchen which most really would not fancy.
101 Tanjong Pagar Road
Mt. Fuji – Two Bakers
Two Bakers are known for their bakes and pastries, though some of which felt that they lack character or that something to make them impressive. Mt. Fuji is seems to be the one that shines, and fills up the gap that the other bakes seem to lack from being impressionable. Undeniably Japanese, you get a chocolate-sable based tart with white chocolate mousse atop which hides all the matcha and azuki red bean hidden within. A combination so good its hard not to order this on return visits, and a must-try if you are matcha lover.
88 Horne Road
Moonlight Hor Fun – KEK Seafood Alexandra
Pretty much a late boomer to this one, but let’s just say that it was so good that I have had it a couple of times unplanned, and still planning to make return visits. Admittedly, it was hard to decide which dish to feature but the Moonlight Hor Fun takes the cake for being a photogenic dark mess with raw egg yolk in the middle. Tossed in dark sauce, the hor fun is savoury and smoky from the wok hei with a little hint of pepper, while the raw egg yolk makes everything smooth when mixed into the hor fun. Also on the top of my to-have list at Keng Eng Kee Seafood; the Coffee Pork Ribs and Salted Egg Yolk Prawn.
Blk 124 Bukit Merah Lane 1
Foie Gras Macaron – Hashida Garo
No one should ever be caught dead trying to pay $12 for a macaron unless it is Hashida Garo’s Foie Gras Macaron. It sounds insane, but this is a simply out-of-this-world experience where savoury meets sweet that actually works so well that non Foie Gras lovers would not actually mind. Foie Gras filling in the middle not only carries no stench, it is also smooth and creamy with sweet shells and raspberry powder that cuts the savoury flavours with its tart flavours.
333A Orchard Road
(Update: Hashida Garo had since ceased operations.)
Black Angus Ribeye – The Betterfield
With a portfolio from places like Absinthe and 21 at Rajah, you could tell that Chef Shaun Giam knows what he is doing when serving up french fare. Out of the many stellar dishes he serves, the dish that gets us back most of the time would be the Black Angus Ribeye (or any beef steak that he serves; they are known to rotate different types of beef). Order it medium-rare for the pinkish centre and succulent melt-in-the-mouth beef seasoned with salt and pepper to keep its original flavour. Best of all? It’s all value for money at around $20 at 200grams of beef.
261 Waterloo Street
(Update: The Betterfield had since moved to a new location at 100 High Street within The Treasury.)
Breakfast Burger – One Man Coffee (Fusionopolis Two)
Having worked in the one-north neighbourhood for a short duration, we were lucky to have tried out quite a number of items from One Man Coffee at Fusionopolis Two. People usually rave on the Brie, Honey Ham and Truffle Mascarpone Croissant, but the Breakfast Burger is just as good. Those who love the bacon jam from the Gashouse Eggs at their Thomson and myVillage @ Serangoon Gardens outlet would love this; scrambled eggs, sundried tomatoes and a whole bun spread with bacon jam. How could you not love that?
4 Fusionopolis Way
Fish Head Curry – Na Na Homemade Curry
A hidden gem within a coffeeshop at Dover Road, this stall has pretty good curries but the Fish Head Curry is the one worth mentioning. One of the most memorable ones I ever had, the curry was not only rich from the heavy amount of coconut milk used, it was also bright and tangy and even carried a subtle sweetness that makes it such a pleasure to have.
Blk 34 Dover Road
Matcha Molten Lava Cake – Babette
Chocolate Molten Lava Cake is so yesteryear, especially with more innovative ones such as Red Velvet and Matcha flavours coming round. Most come tasting pretty much of milk chocolate, but Babette’s rendition has to be one of the best for matcha-flavoured molten lava cakes which comes rich with green tea aroma in a warm, crusty cake. Definitely a delightful end to any meal.
Parc Sovereign Hotel
165 Tyrwhitt Road
(Update: Babette had since ceased operations.)
Egg Confit – Saveur Art
Egg dishes are usually safe options, but they are so safe its hard to make them impress. One such egg dish that was more out-of-the-ordinary is the Egg Confit; a complex combination of flavours from the crunchy macadamias, potato mousseline perfumed with brown butter and earthy truffle alongside sous-vide egg. Also pretty much worth the try here, the Poached Pear dessert which was a classy and luxurious combination of Pain Perdu, vanilla pastry cream and coffee.
2 Orchard Turn
Banana Bread – Revolution Coffee
I have friends whom actually swear by this Banana Bread that claims its one of the best you can get out there though it is really hidden in a place you might not quite want to make the trip down specially for it. If you do, however, you would find yourself rewarded with a banana bread stuffed with mushy banana chunks inside, yet with a crusty exterior. Do ask for them to warm it up; it really makes a difference somehow.
(PS: DSTLLRY is in the same building, so why not kill two birds with one stone by visiting both on the same day?)
21 Media Circle
Baked BBQ Char Siew Bun – Avenue Joffre
There are many renditions of this ever since Tim Ho Wan entered the Singapore market, but the Baked BBQ Char Siew Bun here takes the cake here. We could never forget how the ones here were like; baked, crusty buns that were light, fluffy and buttery that is well filled with sweet, honey-coated Char Siew which were chunky and gave a good bite. Their other dimsum are equally stellar, but this is probably the most worthy to try of the lot.
Resorts World Sentosa
26 Sentosa Gateway
Chocolate with Vanilla and Macadamia – Patisserie Platine by Waku Ghin
Throughout the year we had tried many cakes, but ever since Patisserie Platine came about its hard not to dream about their cakes. Premium dark chocolate mousse with crushed Macadamia nuts and smooth vanilla cream within, the cake was undoubtedly elegant in both aesthetic and flavour.
(PS: Patisserie Platine is situated within Rise Lounge of Marina Bay Sands Tower 1)
Marina Bay Sands Tower 1
10 Bayfront Avenue
Chili Crab Burger – Artistry
Fusion food is the trend of the late, and it could actually be a rather dangerous attempt for it can easily go very wrong. Artistry managed that well with their chili crab burger especially with the crab patty which was filled with shredded crab meat without excessively using fillers such as potato, and that mildly spicy sauce which replicates the original chili crab dish; seemingly goes well with everything on the plate from the buns to the fries.
17 Jalan Pinang
Duroc Pork Jowl – Corner House
One of the first fine dining places we have been to, but still one of the more memorable dishes even till date despite the number of months passed. Using Riso grains, the pasta was easy to down for its resemblance to rice, while complimented with tender, smoky and savoury Pork Jowl that is sliced thin but still substantial enough to bring enough taste. And there is never a mistake in serving all that with a jiggly, warm sous vide egg which flows when poked.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
1 Cluny Road
E J H Corner House
Candied Bacon & Grilled Cheese Pancakes – Bread Yard
Usually pretty dishes come with a price, but Bread Yard nailed it with their pancakes, and not just any of the pancakes but the Candied Bacon & Grilled Cheese Pancakes. How could one get past the dripping maple syrup on the pancakes, the crisp, melted grilled cheese layer on the bottom sitting on a pool of maple syrup and caramlised bacon strips atop? On first sight, it looks deceivingly overwhelming of sweetness but it feels like a slightly lighter version of a McGriddle. A totally hearty breakfast treat.
1 Fusionopolis Place
Burnt Ends Sangar – Burnt Ends
There are a lot of places that serves pulled pork burgers, but no one does it quite like the way Burnt Ends did it. The fluffy burger buns are baked in-house, and instead of using barbecue sauce for the pulled pork like everyone else does, Burnt Ends uses Chipotle Aioli which makes the fibrous, tender and moist pulled pork carry a kick of spiciness right where the pork starts to get gamey; a perfect combination of ingredients. If it all sounds too meaty for you, there is also coleslaw in between which gives the burger a refreshing crunch and a layer of cheese lined up on the top bun.
20 Teck Lim Road
Here’s wishing for a gastronomic 2016 ahead!