Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Hankering for a touch of Viennese for your afternoon tea?

Take a look at the Kaiserhaus High Tea set (S$28 for two; photo above shows two sets). It is available from 10.30am to 6pm, and comes in three tiers with the following:

- two slices of Zaunerstollen: nougat praline mixture with wafers, hazelnuts and chocolate (handmade from a 1905 recipe)

- a slice of housemade cake (choose from pastry counter)

- a selection of organic rye sandwiches with different toppings

- two pastries: Kipferl (crescent shaped puff pastry with marzipan crumbles) and Nussschnecke or Nut Swirl (rolled puff pastry filled with nuts, sweet crumbs, and glazed with fondant chocolate)

The set is served with Julius Meinl coffee or tea – a Viennese brand exclusively available here

Executive Pastry Chef, Patrick Schilling, 24, prepares up to 30 different kinds of pastries a day. He was handpicked to lead Kaiserhaus in Singapore.

I had at first thought Kaiserhaus might be German, but it's more Austrian and pays homage to cuisine from the Habsburg rule which stretched across from Hungary, Northern Italy, to parts of Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Ukraine.

There have been four Kaisers of the Austrian Empire, and they all came from the Habsburg dynasty.

I should like to come back and explore the savoury items and main courses. They have signatures like the Tafelspitz - gourmet beef simmered for hours with marrow and mixed vegetables in a copper pot - favoured by Franz Josef I, former Emperor of Austria.

There is also Ćevapčići (pronounced: Che-Vap-Chee-Chee) – spicy grilled skinless beef sausages, served with homemade Rösti and Ajvar, a type of relish made primarily from red bell peppers. Another Chef’s recommendation is the crispy Bohemian Pork Roast with natural jus, Gabelkraut, a slightly sweeter variation of Sauerkraut and Semmelknödel (bread dumplings).

The restaurant, café and bar covers two storeys with a dramatic wrought iron staircase with ornate spindles or balusters brought in from Austria.

It's spacious and contemporary but you'll see touches of Austrian vintage charm in terms of an old piano, old maps, artwork and little bronze artefacts.

Upstairs you'll find the bar with exclusive Austrian Hirter beers on tap and wines. This part opens directly to the Capitol theatre, so you can have a bite or refreshments conveniently before a performance or during intermission.

Kaiserhaus also brings in pastries from Zauner, a renowned Austrian pâtisserie established in 1832 and that is still known for some of the finest selection of sweet delicacies in Europe.  Zauner desserts are exclusive to Kaiserhaus.

Some of the cakes look really good! However, I tried taking some home but they were so fragile, they collapsed by the time I got home. So lesson learned: eat them there, don't wait!

The high tea set is very good value at S$28++ for two persons. The Sissischnitte cake is light (but has a good dose of whisky in it) while the sandwiches are very dense and filling. I love anything with hazelnut praline and wafers but I still think the Zaunerstollen would have been more amazing when freshly made.

17 Stamford Rd, #02-06 and #03-06 Capitol Theatre,
Singapore 178907
Tel: +65 6377-0013
Opening Hours: 10:30am – 12am (Sun-Thurs), 10:30am – 1am (Fri-Sat)

Thanks to Kaiserhaus for the invitation

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Clinton St Baking Company from New York City has landed in Singapore, on 19 Sept 2015, after opening in Tokyo and Dubai. The famous Lower East Side institution is an "it" place for breakfast and brunch, so it's got many people excited here. Already the place is packed with people wanting a taste of American classics with a South-western touch.

The signature Pancakes with warm maple butter (S$18) have been voted "Best in the City" twice by New York magazine. These are made extra fluffy and flavourful from the use of whipped egg whites as well as American flour. You can choose from wild blueberries, banana walnut or chocolate chunk toppings.

But the absolute highlight is the housemade maple butter, using real maple syrup from Canada. I would happily pay for extra servings of this.

The pancakes are a little on the dense side. While I have had softer and more fluffy versions in the United States, this one is clearly made of better batter compared to most of the pancakes in Singapore.

I was also pleased to see a Southern Breakfast (S$18) - two eggs any style, velvety cheese grits (with Monterey Jack and Cheddar), panko-coated fried green tomatoes (from California) and sugar-cured double-smoked bacon. This is an extremely hearty breakfast. The barley grits taste a bit like oatmeal but I like the savoury aspect. I would love a stronger cheese profile but it is already very filling. The silky scrambled eggs are the best part.

Eggs Benedict (S$20) fans will be pleased with these two mounds of poached eggs in housemade Hollandaise sauce and maple-cured ham enlivened with tabasco and lime. What makes them truly different is the chunky toasted buttermilk biscuits they sit upon. They are heavy but a delightful change from the usual English muffin or brioche.

Gratuitous egg porn.

The other thing they are famous for is the Chicken & Waffles (S$21) - buttermilk fried chicken and Belgian vanilla buttermilk waffles served with honey tabasco sauce and warm maple butter.

It's chicken breast sliced rather thinly coated with cornmeal and a secret mix of spices. But I found this to be a little too dry, maybe because the thin slices lose moisture when deep-fried. The chicken also may be a little too bland for the local palate that prefers stronger flavours. The waffle is also not as light and crisp as I would have liked it to be.

They do have a Buttermilk Fried Chicken Dinner (S$25) which uses a combination of drumstick, thigh meat and breast meat.

Side dishes include hand-cut fries (S$7); rosemary pork sausage (S$7); and house-cured salmon (S$12.50). I liked the sausage as the rosemary brought out the meaty flavour. But if you hate rosemary, this would be a deal-breaker for you. The fries are twice-fried but some of them are still a little too oil-sodden for me. Salmon was a bit salty today.

Desserts include cakes and pies. The Peanut Butter Ice Box Pie (S$9.50) is named after the ice boxes used to store them in pre-electricity days. It's made with Chantilly cream, peanut butter-cream cheese mousse, chocolate ganache and graham cracker crust. It really isn't as heavy as it looks; the mousse is very light.

Chocolate Banana Cream Pie (S$9.50) has slices of fragrant banana in bed with chocolate ganache, generously smothered with Chantilly and Boston cream. You can't go far wrong with chocolate and banana.

The classic Black & White Layer Cake (S$9.50) features triple layers of alternating chocolate and vanilla cake topped with dark chocolate glaze. It's not bad but the recipe must use a fair bit of baking soda; it was a bit cloying on the tongue.

iPhone 6 photo
OK, this is awesome. The huge milkshakes are made with ice cream, heavy cream and milk, and topped with Chantilly cream. The Chocolate Peanut Butter (S$10) sounds good, but I just had to try the Boozy Salted Caramel (S$15) made with a generous splash of bourbon - whoa, it's strong! You could also go for Wild Blueberry (S$10) or Root Beer Float (S$10).

They have other drinks as well - juices, draft and craft beers, soft drinks, coolers, wines and a small selection of cocktails (Mimosa, Bellini, Mojito and Bloody Mary).

What started as a mom and pop little store simply focusing on best baked goods, handmixed in small batches is now a phenomenon that's crossed the Atlantic. Founders Neil Kleinberg and DeDe Lahman probably never dreamed it would come this far, but hey they'll be here next week to see it for themselves.

The kitchen team here trained in the US. While the franchise here does try to keep to the standards that made Clinton St Baking Company legendary, it looks like they may need more time to master some details. I'd still like to come back and try the other items on the menu - Huevos Rancheros, Seafood Po'Boy, Salmon Burger.

31 Purvis Street
Singapore 188608
Tel: +65 6684-4845 (no reservations; parties above 6 pax may be split up)
Open daily 8am to 6pm

Thanks to Clinton St Baking Company for the invitation

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Unlimited portions of roast meats - sounds like the perfect way to spend a Saturday night, no? This is happening at Cook & Brew, The Westin Singapore’s specialty gastro-bar at Level 33, every last Saturday of the month.

The dining area will get a“live” carving station showcasing three different types of roasts – Prime Ribeye, Catch Of The Day and a Specialty Roast Of The Day.

A photo posted by Catherine Ling (@camemberu) on

We saw Prime Rib (above) on the very first evening, along with Roast Pork Loin (first photo) and a whole grilled Snapper.

You can look forward to these specialties on a rotational basis - Salmon, Sea Bass, Mullet; Porchetta, Suckling Pig, Roasted Pork Belly, Bone-in Ham, Whole Roasted Chicken, BBQ Turkey, Whole Roasted Duck, Bone-in Veal Loin, Roasted Lamb Shoulder or Lamb Merguez Sausage.

Served alongside the mains are house-made gravy and sauces, Yorkshire Pudding and Grilled Sourdough. The breads were incredible! I found myself going for seconds of bread instead of beef! How crazy is that? Well, you have to try the housemade butter. One taste and you'll understand why; it is that divine.

Along with the roasts you have a choice of side dishes: two cold plates, two starch and three vegetables, per table. Seven side dishes in total, and that is a LOT of food.

We had Carrot and Celeriac Remoulade, Beetroot and Goat Cheese Salad (top row). For vegetables, we chose Cheesy Broccoli, Heirloom Carrots with Apples, Yellow Butterbeans and Chili.

For starches, try the Perogies (Pierogi?) stuffed with Smoked Cheddar and Potatoes. But my favourite of all the side dishes is the Stout-Braised Green Lentils with House-smoked Bacon (sorry, pic turned out blurry in the romantic lighting). The bacon and stout infused lentils were mouthfuls of comfort.

Dessert was a baked Alaska, but you may also get the French classic Marjolaine Cake with luscious layers of chocolate, buttercream and meringue.

Photo courtesy of Cook & Brew

Cook & Brew is gorgeous in the evenings, with the view of Marina Bay (even with all the construction going on). I love the cosy armchairs and dark wood accents.

This Saturday Night feast is perfect for an intimate evening with your other half or even a feast with family and friends. Wines not included but feel free to add a Chardonnay or Merlot to complement dinner.

Saturday Night Roasts is available every last Saturday of the month, from 26 September 2015 onwards, 6.00 p.m. – 12.00 a.m. (last order at 9.30 p.m.) at Cook & Brew, Level 33.

$95++ per person (minimum of two persons required)

Level 33, Westin Singapore
12 Marina View
Asia Square Tower 2
Singapore 018961
Tel: +65 6922-6948
Open Monday - Thursday 11:00 AM - 12:00 AM; Friday 11:00 AM - 1:00 AM; Saturday 5:00 PM - 12:00 AM

Many thanks to Westin for the invitation.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


I love the 7D Mark II. Yes, I'm late to the game, but I just only got to try this Canon beauty at a specially organised Canon-NHB heritage trail. For a few hours, we got to play with new cameras and discover beautiful religious sites that aren't on the normal tourist path.

The 7D Mark II is the first Canon DSLR equipped with both a 20.2-megapixel CMOS sensor and dual DIGIC 6 image processors. This combination enables low noise, high sensitivity and speedy processing for both still images and movies. It is fast and does pretty well in low light situations. Colours are vivid and true to life.

The new 65 all-cross-type Auto Focus (AF) system enables the user to quickly track and focus on the desired subject, nifty when shooting fast-moving subjects. Overkill perhaps for my food photos, but useful for events.

I tested the camera with the EF-S15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens, which captured details very well.

Abdul Gafoor Mosque was our first stop. What a brilliant day it was with clear blue skies. This mosque has many interesting and eclectic architectural highlights, but the most outstanding is the elaborate sundial above the entrance (first photo) with the names of the 25 prophets as the sunburst spikes in calligraphy.


St. Joseph’s Church has the largest collection of stained glass windows in Singapore. This neo-Gothic style church was built in the plan of a Latin cross. It also carries a lot of light blue because Mother Mary is often depicted wearing this colour.

At the Yueh Hai Ching Temple, one of Singapore's oldest Chinese temples, I got to try out the EF8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM, which is an absolute delight. You can really get 180-degree views. The full circular photos are too extreme, so I found it better to go easy on the wide angle aspect. I love how it captures so much more in one shot. But oh S$1,999...

OK, I have too many photos to put in one blog post, so here's a slideshow of all 45 shots.

Album link is here:

The 7D Mark II has a lot of improvements. It seems to be way more rugged than its predecessor. The enhanced sealing over the external cover seams is estimated to be four times more resistant to dust and water over the EOS 7D. Just fabulous for traveling.

You can also take more shots since it has a maximum shutter release cycle of 200,000, up from 150,000 in its predecessor.

Photo courtesy of Canon Singapore

The EOS 7D Mark II has a tough but lightweight magnesium alloy body, which gives it a solid feel. It's still a little on the heavy side for me, but I like the stability from the weight.

If you'd like to see more photos I have taken with the 7D Mark II, see my posts tagged with it.

Thanks to Canon Singapore for the tour and 7D Mark II experience!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

I've been wanting to try the much lauded Pince & Pints lobster roll but the epic waiting time (over an hour at times) is enough to make anyone wilt. If you've felt the same way before, you'll be glad to know that starting today they're adding 30 seats on the second floor! This will certainly help to ease congestion for the initial 46-seater downstairs and reduce waiting time.

I had a sneak peek of the second floor. It's casual and unpretentious, with warm woods lending a cosy feel, and a high ceiling giving it airy space.

Pince & Pints is also expanding north to Kuala Lumpur! Come 9 October, folks at Jalan Telawi 5, Bangsar Baru can look forward to the same signatuer lobster goodness. In fact, they'll be having something extra - lobster noodles in superior broth!


To commemorate this expansion, Pince & Pints has introduced the Truffle Lobster Roll (S$68++). Buttery sweet lobster paired with earthy truffle? A divine combination!

The meat from a full lobster (claw and all) goes into this roll. The lobster is first blanched 3-4 minutes and then given an ice bath. Then it's seared with butter and homemade truffle sauce. Chopped chives and truffle caviar complete the ensemble.

The dish is served with a homemade truffle sauce (no artificial truffle oils here) with a serving of fries and chef's salad.


This is the regular lobster roll (S$58++), which is utterly decadent as it is. This too, has a whole lobster stuffed in a soft, toasted roll. The meat is done perfectly; it's tender and juicy. These are wild caught Maine lobsters flown in 2-3 times a week, and kept in a special holding facility until delivery to the restaurant.

The bread they chose also goes really well - it's very soft and slighty sweet, made by a local bakery.


But I discovered just how good the Grilled Lobster (S$58++) is. That char grill smokiness permeating the succulent flesh...oooh. It didn't even need the herbed butter sauce but that was nice too.


The Chili Lobster (S$58++) was probably the only one that didn't thrill me, mainly because the sauce was too starchy for me. I think it could do with more chili heat and spices too, but then again, I probably eat too much chili padi for my own good.


You can also get some nice cocktails at Pince & Pints. Here's their lychee martini and the 500 Days of Summer. They were a perfect way to start our dinner there, but take your pick from the wide variety of drinks on their menu there.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pinceandpints
32/32A and 33
Duxton Road
Singapore 089496
Tel: +65 6225-7558 (no reservations; walk-in only)
Open Mon - Fri : 5pm - 11pm (Dinner Only)
Saturdays : 12pm - 11pm (All Day)
Open on Public Holidays
Last Order for Kitchen 10pm

Thanks to Pince & Pints for the invitation and congratulations on the expansion!

Friday, September 25, 2015


Sugarhall - apt name for a place to celebrate rum. Now there's even more to celebrate as they extend their offering of flame-kissed steaks on the menu. The Parilla grill in the kitchen churns out some serious grilled goodies. But more on the food later. The rum collection here is amazing.


With over 100 types of rum sourced from all over the world, Sugarhall is a pure temple of rum adoration. There are all styles from hogo-rich (still funky from fermented molasses) English style rums from the British Caribbean Islands to the more refined Spanish style rums found in Cuba, Guatemala and Panama.

There are over 18 playful cocktails here, each designed to match the food served. To help diners pick the right types, the cocktails carry a tag to describe their flavour and characteristics.


Coconut Daiquiri ($22++)
Spiced Mount Gay Eclipse Rum, coconut, lime

I started with a coconut daiquiri, which I absolutely enjoyed (right down to scraping the coconut flesh). The cocktail is on the sweet side, easy to drink and not too strong (perfect for me).

In terms of the food, there are a few starters which were stellar.


Bone Marrow ($18++)
Oxtail, onion marmalade, house-made brioche

This was a Wow dish for me. That's surprising because I'm not a fan of marrow actually. But I loved how buttery good this was on the toasted brioche. The garlic crisps and fried parsley on top added flavourful crunch.


House-made Sausages ($32++)
Beef, chicken, lamb, cranberry, chimichurri

One of my favourite dishes of the evening. They make everything inhouse as much as possible to control the quality and taste - breads, sausages and sauces. These housemade sausages taste as good as they look; I particularly like the spicy lamb one.


Hokkaido Scallops ($18++)
Coconut, carrot, brown butter, pistachio

We also had the scallops. While fresh, these were seasoned very mildly, so you could taste the natural sweetness of the scallop. But I think some acidity would help alleviate this dish.

Now for the main event. From the Parilla grill, come the steaks which are supposed to be the highlight of the steakhouse.


Tasting of Beef ($76++)
Angus black onyx (Australia) sirloin 120gm
John Stone (Ireland) 21-day dry aged rib eye 120 gm
John Stone (Ireland) 21-day dry aged tenderloin 120 gm

The steaks are also available separately, but this platter gives you the best value.

The John Stone beef is grass fed, so it's leaner than grain-fed varieties. It's also more concentrated in flavour thanks to dry-aging. The tenderloin surprisingly fared the best.

The Angus Black Onyx is grain fed for over 270 days on premium vegetarian grain feed. It is prized for hearty flavor and marbling (the beef is guaranteed a score of MB3+).

After a while, I couldn't tell which was what, but the tenderloin stood out the most. Normally tenderloin is tender but tasteless, but this one was nicely beefy and robust while not being too soft.

The chimichurri goes really well with the steaks. This one is more smoky than the one with the sausages.


Whole Spring Chicken ($32++)
Rosemary brine, cucumber yoghurt

This is the house bestseller, and has been on menu since day 1. Once we bit into it, we understood why. The bird is so moist, tender and aromatic, having absorbed all the flavours from hours of brining. It's giving the steaks some real competition. Certainly, if you don't take beef, try the chicken.


Sauteed Kale ($14++)
Parma ham, red wine, pecan, kale chips

Some side dishes deserve mention. The crispy sauteed kale is delightful along with candied parma ham and red wine dressing.


Grilled Cauliflower ($12++)
Bacon puree, burnt butter, capers, hazelnuts

Some people like the grilled cauliflower, but I found it a little underwhelming. You really have to toss it well so that you get dressing and hazelnuts in each bite.

There isn't a lot in the way of desserts. The cocktails probably are the best desserts here.


Pumpkin Creme Brulee ($12++)
Jamaican rum, pumpkin chips

Love the pumpkin chips (well, anything crispy gets me) but the creme brulee barely tasted of rum or pumpkin. It was smooth and pleasant, don't get me wrong, but just a little plain.


Foie Gras Profiteroles ($18++)
Foie gras ice cream, caramel, icing sugar

This was not bad. I forgot to ask if they make their own ice cream, but you can really taste the foie gras. The only letdown was the choux pastry which would have been better freshly made or kept warm. Imagine toasty light pastry and cold ice cream...that would be spectacular.

Sugarhall sits right next to sister establishment to Jigger & Pony. The atmosphere here is fun, casual and informal. I would come back to try the Hangar Steak, and maybe the pork sausages.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sugarhallSG/
Instagram: @sugarhallsg
102 Amoy Street
Singapore 069922
Tel: +65 6222-9102 or 9732-5607
Open: Mon-Sat 5.30pm to 12am (last order for dinner 11.30pm)
Happy hour dining from 5.30pm to 7.30pm

Thanks to Sugarhall for the invitation
Photos taken using the Canon 7D Mark II kindly loaned by Canon Singapore

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