Friday, June 22, 2018

FOC PIM PAM: Spanish Tapas Bar & Restaurant at Orchard

Good Spanish food is hard to find in Singapore. No matter what you say, it just isn't the same as eating in the country itself. The produce, the vibe, and the service: it's best experienced in Spain. But with places like FOC PIM PAM, we can get a taste of Barcelonan bodega buzz.

Starting with the food!

Witness the magnificent Ibérico Secreto Pork & Mushroom Paella (above, S$33). Let me first say that I am not a fan of European rice dishes. But this paella blew me away. It's the richly infused flavours of mushrooms (ceps, button and oyster) and whatever magical stock they've conjured up using chicken and pork trotters; like a spell, it pulls you in and just makes you reach for more. The special cut Ibérico pork topping the rice is marvellously tender too.

Prawns ‘Al Ajillo’
My favourite dish is probably the Prawns ‘Al Ajillo’ (S$22) - Argentinian prawns generously pan-fried with sliced garlic, chilli, olive oil, salt and sweet paprika, all coddling atop a ratte potato espuma. This is a dish unapologetically bursting with flavours. Have it as a tapas (S$13) or main (S$22).

Fresh Burrata (crispy Ibérico Ham, ‘Picadillo’, baby spinach)
Fresh Burrata (S$22): Creamy Italian burrata cheese jazzed up with a picadillo of chopped sun-dried tomatoes, preserved piparra peppers, mint, pine nuts and extra virgin olive oil. Refreshingly good!

Patatas Bravas
Patatas Bravas (S$6 Tapas; S$10 Main): deep-fried potato millefeuille! Crispy thin layers of potato - these are so much better than fries! I would halve or omit the overly rich aioli and salsa brava on top. They actually take away from the experience.

Half Suckling Pig
The Half Suckling Pig (2.5kg, S$130) comes with dramatic presentation - it will be chopped up tableside by a waiter using a plate.

Half Suckling Pig
This can easily feed 3-4 pax. The suckling pig comes from Segovia about 3 to 6 weeks old. It is first sous vide cooked for juicy tenderness, and then roasted for crackling skin.

Ibérico Cold Cuts Platter
Iberico Cold Cuts Platter (S$13 half/ S$24 full; tapas menu): From the tapas bar, you can nibble on acorn fed Spanish Jamon Ibérico Pork Loin 'Lomo', 'Salchichon' sausage, Chorizo and bread sticks.

So those are all my favourites here. The other dishes were a bit more hit and miss.

Leek Salad & White Asparagus Salad
Leek Salad & White Asparagus Salad (S$16): dressed with a butter-soy cream, rocket leaves and anchovies; it's pleasant enough but not memorable.

Pim Pam Croquetas
PIM PAM Croquetas (S$10-S$12 for 4pcs; main menu): Various choices of filling include ham, mushroom, crab, spinach & pine nuts. These are easy to eat but disappear too quickly. 

FOC Pig Tripe Stew
FOC Pig Tripe Stew (S$12): this is a medley of so many good things - beef tripe, pig ears, trotters, head skin, cheek and pork belly chopped into small pieces, and cooked with white wine and sofrito. There's chorizo and chickpeas too adding bulk and flavour. Comforting though it was, it just fell a little short of wow. Maybe it's just me; I'm not big on tomato-based anything.

Tomato Tartare
And yet...the FOC Tomato Tartare (S$19 Main Menu) left a positive impression. It's a party of confit tomatoes, chopped Morrocan caper berries, mustard mayonnaise, pickles, shallots and salt. The tomato ice cream adds some sweetness to balance the tart. I'd have this over beef tartare any day.

Chocolate Forest
The Chocolate Forest (S$16) looks like a modern designer dessert. Chocolate ice cream, leaves and soil nestles amidst pistachio sponge, raspberries and crispy hazelnuts. Providing some contrast is white chocolate passionfruit jelly and yoghurt custard. Squeeze the pipette of Arbequina extra virgin olive oil for that  Spanish touch.

Other desserts are simpler.

Lemon Lemoncello
The Lemon Lemoncello (S$12) should prove a good palate cleanser after all the heavy dishes. The limoncello sorbet sits atop burnt meringue, garnished with fresh mint and lime zest.

Spanish ‘Torrija’
The Spanish ‘Torrija’ (S$10) is a traditional Spanish french toast with housemade vanilla ice cream. Portion looks small but it really is quite filling.

And of course Spanish dessert would be incomplete without churros.

Churros - White Chocolate Coated
They have a white chocolate covered one studded with freeze-dried strawberries.

Churros - Classic
But I much prefer the classic. It's good on its own even without the chocolate sauce.

FOC PIM PAM (which means ‘quick and easy’ in Spanish) recently underwent a refurbishment. It now sports a more sophisticated palette of blacks and greys with timber finishes and metal accents. Partition walls, display shelves, pillars and counter tops flow in sleek curves, at once unifying the different spaces as well as defining them.

The Tapas Bar, Main Dining Room, Private Dining Room, Bar and Terrace present unique alcoves for diners seeking different experiences, be it a quick meal on their own, feasting with the family or casual drinks with friends.

You can look forward to a pared down, yet varied selection of casual tapas at the Tapas Bar and Terrace to a full and comprehensive menu at the Main Dining Room; and for special occasions and events in the Private Dining Room, a
customised menu conceived by the culinary team.

Outside, the takeaway counter has been transformed into the Bar. Here you can try 16 different cocktails for whatever mood you're in. FOC PIM PAM also boasts the widest collection of Sherries in Southeast Asia, sourced from sherry bodegas and boutique producers from different regions of Spain. Enjoy it by the glass (S$12) or bottle (S$60).

Gin cocktails from FOC PIM PAM
The Spanish love their gin & tonic, so appropriately there is a heady array of 17 gins paired with tonic water and garnishes, served Spanish style. There is also a wine list with 150 labels.

Interestingly, FOC PIM PAM carries a variety of retail products for customers to enjoy at home. Spanish wines, olive oils, preserved vegetables, snacks, salsas, acorn fed Ibérico cold cuts, premium canned seafood popular in Spain such as cockles and mussels, can be picked up at the restaurant or ordered online.

Cockles in Brine
Espinaler Premium Cockles (S$28/115g) in Brine. They taste more like clams than the blood cockles that we know. Not for the light of wallet, but certainly Spanish food aficionados will be glad you can get these here.

These Les Peperetes Preserved Percebe (Goose Barnacles) from Galicia would be quite the conversation starter but they are not on the menu yet. Let's hope these can come in soon. I had the Japanese version called kamenote. How amazing that the same bizarre creature is appreciated across cultures!

At any rate, FOC PIM PAM is a pretty cool place to chill out at. It's at the laid-back corner of Orchard Road near Orchard Hotel. While I've not been to Spain (yet), I'd happily come back here for the food and the easy-going vibe.

442 Orchard Road #01-29
Singapore 238879
Tel: +65 61004242

Opening Hours:
Mon-Thu: 12pm - 3pm, 5pm - 11pm
Fri-Sat: 12pm - 3pm, 5pm - 1am
Sun: 12pm - 3pm, 5pm - 11pm

Many thanks to FOC PIM PAM for the invitation.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Visiting Penang for the first time? Must-See Attractions!

Many Singaporeans love traveling to exotic and far-flung locales, so much so that we sometimes forget the gems nearby. For instance, the laid back yet culturally bustling island of Penang, Malaysia. Besides being a food paradise, this island is full of places to explore and must-see attractions. If you've never been to Penang, here are some places and activities you can see and do that are perfect for all ages.

Enjoy the beautiful view at Penang Hill

Being the first colonial hill station developed in Peninsular Malaysia, this hill compromises Western Hill, Bukit Laksamana, Tiger Hill, Flagstaff Hill and Government Hill. Penang Hill is set 891m above Penang’s capital and it is generally 5 degrees cooler than Georgetown. Breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the island’s breeze on this hill. Not only that, you also get a panoramic view of the northern coast and Georgetown City.

Pray at Kek Lok Si Temple

Kek Lok Si Temple is jaw-droppingly awesome. This massive complex, the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia, totally requires time to explore. With Georgetown city as the backdrop, this temple is every photographer’s dream, thanks to its unique architecture. Do make sure you go up there on foot so you don’t miss the tortoise pond.

Enjoy Nature at Penang National Park

Everyone knows that Penang is a food heaven, but once you are done eating, visiting the Penang National Park is the great way to burn calories and to view Penang from the sea. All the way from Monkey beach to the lighthouse and Pantai Kerachut, there are many stops along the way for you to catch your breath and enjoy the beautiful view. If you are looking for a quiet beach to just relax without the noise from the crowd, you should totally visit Pantai Kerachut, one of the hidden gems in Penang.

Explore the fascinating street art

When you are in Penang, make sure you check out all the hidden murals in Armenian Street. From murals of cats to kids on a bicycle, do ensure you find all. Easier way for you to move around the street is to rent a bicycle and ride around this heritage site for the perfect photo opportunity. You can get a map of each mural’s location for the shops nearby.

Enjoying the sunset at Chew Jetty

Chew Jetty is among the last of floating villages in Penang. Wandering along the Chew Jetty is really interesting. The residents have turned it into a little shopping area which is very enterprising given the space or lack of it. When the sunset comes, this jetty becomes a beautiful picturesque view. A must see when visiting Penang.

Dare yourself at The Top at Komtar

If you love an adrenaline rush, check out the new attractions at THE TOP at Komtar. Get your heart racing at the Rainbow Skywalk, a semi-circle glass path that is built just several meters out of the building. The Open Deck will leave you amazed while you enjoy a spectacular view and experience of being amongst the clouds.

Apart from the things above, there are many more activities that can be done in Penang, making this your trip of a lifetime. Don’t miss out your chance to visit Penang when you visit Malaysia. For cheaper flight deals, you can always check out Traveloka Malaysia. They have great deals for flights from Singapore to Penang and to everywhere else you would like to go. Make sure to check them out.


Thursday, May 24, 2018

Shabu EN Taki Nabe Hotpot: Miyazaki Wagyu and Iberico Pork

Is there a sight more alluring than marbled meat all laid out for your enjoyment? This is certified A5 Miyazaki wagyu and Iberico pork belly sliced thinly and placed around a shabu-shabu hotpot almost volcano style.

This is Kyushu Taki Nabe from Shabu EN, the fourth dining concept from EN Group (which also operates EN Sakaba, EN Japanese Dining Bar and Monster Curry). This Japanese wagyu and Spanish pork combo (S$38.80) feeds two and makes a pleasant, interactive shared meal.

The fact that is Japanese wagyu makes all the difference. You know how Australian and other wagyu doesn't quite taste the same, even if they try to breed or cross-breed the same kind of cattle. There is an aromatic sweetness that is unmistakably the essence that makes wagyu the prized meat it is.

Taki Nabe at Shabu EN

The Taki Nabe features a 40cm hotpot and introduces a new way of enjoying the steamboat dish. The wagyu and pork are layered over cabbage and garnished with spring onions, circling the pot of boiling stock. Simply push in a stack of ingredients, swish them around for a couple of seconds and enjoy!

Shabu EN
There are three different broths to choose from. The Dashi Bonito and Kobu soup, which is the best for making porridge with at the very end. Head Chef Tatsuya Nakayama has also created a Paitan Collagen Chicken soup and a Spicy Kara Miso soup using spices from Okinawa.

Shabu EN

There are three dipping sauces:

  • a ponzu (above) enlivened with shiquasa or shikuwasa limes from Okinawa (it's super citrusy and really cut through the fat): I really liked this one although some may find it a little too tangy
  • goma-dare: the sesame staple with soy and vinegar
  • chili sauce: Monster Curry's spicy and garlicky chili given a touch of sake and ponzu

Shabu EN
You can add on more meat. This is Iberico pork collar (S$7.80). You can get more pork belly (S$6.80) or more wagyu (S$16.80) too.

Shabu EN
They also have Premium Beef (S$8.80) which turned out to be pretty good.

Shabu EN
Big slices of beefy goodness. This beef would suit those who prefer something lean but still tender.

Shabu EN
See that umami broth brimming with flavoursome wagyu and Iberico fat at the end? You simply MUST finish off with a porridge add-on (S$2.50). The friendly wait staff very kindly helped us cook and stir the porridge. Takes about 15-20 minutes but it is so WORTH waiting for!

Shabu EN
The other highlight we found is their Jyubako (or "treasure box") Black Box Bento and I'm referring specifically to the Miyazaki Aburi Wagyu Don Set (an absolute steal at S$22.80) which gives you torched Miyazaki wagyu with sweet soy steak sauce. You can choose your preferred level of doneness, but you can also trust the staff to get the perfect slightly rare grill level. This set is so good, you'll want another one almost immediately.

The bentos come with miso soup, a supremely delicate ikura chawanmushi, salad and dessert (we got a purple sweet potato ball coated with sesame seeds). Kyushu is well-known for its sweet potatoes.

Other options for the bento include Unatama (grilled eel), pork belly shogayaki, wakatori teriyaki, premium beef yakiniku, chicken/pork katsu tama, and tendon. Prices range from S$13.80 to S$15.80 for these sets. They are also available at Monster Curry Downtown Gallery.

Shabu EN
I'm so lucky Shabu EN started this first outlet at Parkway Parade just across from Monster Curry. We are regulars there and the staff already know us well, so we always get fabulous service. My girls and I love hotpot, so we'll definitely be back for this and the Jyubako Aburi Wagyu!

Meanwhile, there's a promo going on: get a free plate of Iberico pork belly with every Taki Nabe hotpot (prices start from S$28.80).

#01-11 Parkway Parade
80 Marine Parade Road
Singapore 449269
tel: +65 6348 6171
Open daily 11am – 10pm

Thank you, Shabu EN for the the invitation and hospitality!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Sunday Brunch Buffet at JW Marriott's Beach Road Kitchen

Ahh...nothing quite sums up the joy of Sunday brunch like a kid with ice cream. The pure head-on enjoyment is what the Sunday indulgence ought to be like.


Friday, April 27, 2018

Beauty in The Pot at OneKM Mall: New Bigger Branch On Third Floor

Beauty in a Pot is one of my foodie gangs' favourite hotpot haunts. The collagen broth is something not many places can match, and the ingredients and service never fail to disappoint. While they have a branch at Centrepoint, the original one at OneKM Mall is still better. However, reservations at OneKM Mall are almost impossible and long queues are an everyday sight. So when we heard that they expanded upstairs with a huge 7,600 square feet outlet, this could only be good news.


Wednesday, April 11, 2018 Healthy, Tasty, Singapore-wide Food Delivery Under 45 Mins

I've liked ever since its young but talented team started the venture four years ago to feed people better. Grain creates and delivers nutritious and well-balanced meal boxes. These are cooked by professional chefs and not only look amazing but taste good enough that you might find yourself wanting seconds or maybe the very same meal the next day. I like the the meals are well thought out and sophisticated enough to keep interest going. And they're certified halal!

I particularly appreciate the detailed nutritional breakdown you get with each meal box - calories and macro breakdowns - which are so essential for planning your daily intake.

They used to only serve the CBD (using technology and apps to swiftly deliver orders in 15 minutes) but now deliver islandwide within 45 minutes.

I got a sample of four different dishes, and they are all so beautifully packaged. Here are the official descriptions and my verdict.

Roasted Thai Chicken with Sautéed Greens ($12.95)

This dish was so popular that it was brought back in 2018 with a healthy makeover. This Thai-inspired twist on a classic Sunday roast turns up the heat and delivers on flavour. Roasted chicken thigh is served on a bed of antioxidant-rich sweet potatoes and sweet purple potatoes. We've also added spinach to our version 2.0 – a powerhouse of nutrients. Still as tasty as ever, this dish is just what you need after party season.

VERDICT: This was my favourite of the lot! The richly marinated chicken yielded beautifully aromatic flavours and the sauteed greens were just crunchy and gorgeous. Pour on the dressing for an intense tangy effect.

Beef Brisket Rendang on Butterfly Pea Rice with coconut flakes and long bean achar ($12.95)

This striking dish takes inspiration from Nasi Kerabu, a North Malaysian specialty. Chunks of beef brisket are cooked low and slow in a thick velvety sauce with star anise, cinnamon, cardamom and turmeric. This is paired with fragrant basmati rice enriched with freekeh, a nutritious whole grain. The brilliant blue colour of the rice comes from the petals of the butterfly-pea flower. Achar, spicy Malaysian pickled vegetables, brings all the elements together with a perfect balance of spicy, sour and sweet flavours.

VERDICT: This is quite appetising eaten with the achar, and the rendang spice mix is not too overpowering (it didn't even need the rice). I found myself wishing there was more beef (I was sharing) but the portion was just nice for one actually. Do make sure you eat this within two hours as the rich coconut in this may spoil easily especially at room temperature.

Tofu-Powered Tabbouleh with aubergine, roasted pumpkin and bulgur ($9.50)

This plant-powered dish will put a spring in your step, even for meat-lovers. The meatiness of aubergine contrasts with creamy roasted pumpkin and nutty bulgur wheat, a hearty Middle Eastern grain. Silken tofu carries the Japanese flavours of soy and mirin, with a delicate citrus note. This dish is all about the interplay of textures and naturally vibrant ingredients.

VERDICT: This is vegan but oh so delicious! It's chilled and refreshing; the combination of ingredients just works. I also like how the soy-ponzu dressing ties everything together. This pack is also the lowest calorie one among the four I got. 

Pan‑seared Norwegian Salmon with citrus vinaigrette on pasta ($14.50)

This vibrantly hued dish is a real feast for the senses. Norwegian salmon is slow-cooked for a buttery texture and seared in a sizzling pan. A zesty citrus vinaigrette keeps things fresh along with crunchy edamame beans, cherry tomatoes and fusilli pasta. Super-satisfying and packed with omega-3 fatty acids, it’s as good for you as it looks.

VERDICT: What seems to be a simple salmon pasta is elevated by an unusual dressing. It's a little on the sweet side, but the fruity accent is interesting. The fish is fresh and cooked perfectly - not dry at all. 

Check out their easy-to-use app.

Use my code RF40460 

and we’ll both get $5 towards good eats!

Meanwhile, Grain is launching a subscription plan, Grain Up, that is currently in its pre-release phase. For a monthly fee, subscribers will enjoy unlimited free delivery and savings up to 25%, depending on which plan they choose. The Mid and Premium plans come with meal credits which can be used to purchase meal boxes, and any unused meal credits will be carried over to the next month. If you are interested, you may email the team at to register your interest.

Many thanks to for the meal boxes. Good luck with the new plan!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Morton's S$98 Sunday Lunch Menu Has New Dishes

Morton's has introduced new dishes to its Sunday lunch which it started two years ago. For S$98, you get a three course lunch of starter, main and dessert. From the mains, you can choose from the 8.5oz Filet Mignon above, served with asparagus and mash potato. New items include Short Rib Tacos and their Crab Cake BLT. A la carte options are still available.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Shermay Lee Peranakan Signatures at The Dining Room Buffet at The Sheraton

If you love indulging in a good Peranakan spread, you might like to check out The Dining Room and Shermay Lee's collaboration. This sixth generation Nyonya needs no introduction but she's probably most well-known for her award-winning cookbooks featuring recipes from her Peranakan grandmother.

Shermay has curated 20 heritage favourites for Sheraton Towers' The Dining Room x Shermay Lee's Kuehtessentially Peranakan showcase. It happens every on weekends in April (7 to 29). These are some of the dishes you can look forward to.

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