The Peranakan...

Bright blue floral wall, Peranakan porcelains, chandeliers and batik sarongs are some of the things that will greet you when you enter the Straits Cuisine Restaurant at Claymore Connect. I was particularly awed by the delicate setting of the entire restaurant which not only gives off a very cosy and homely vibe but also paints a strong narrative of Peranakan culture. The warm and friendly service staffs also make the whole dining experience a memorable one. Headed by the experienced Executive Chef Raymond Khoo, the Peranakan Restaurant offers an extensive range of nostalgic and authentic Peranakan cuisine good for all ages (proven with so many families patronising their place). Also, they will be opening throughout this Chinese New Year.

Salmon Yee Sang Istimewa // $68
Unlike any other Yu Sheng, the Peranakan’s Yu Sheng was refreshing and very flavourful (there’s a subtle aftertaste of herbs & spices). It was not dry and the crackers were so addictive. They also added dried orange peels into the Yu Sheng to give a sour texture to it. This was legit delicious and dangerously addictive! Can’t watch my diet once I put a small portion of it into my mouth.

Like what I mentioned earlier, the crackers were really good. The vegetables were fresh and crunchy. They were also generous in the salmon servings and the salmon was really smooth and tender.

Each customer is given a small portion of Hei Bi as an appetiser. The Hei Bi is not very spicy and it goes very well with the in house belacan sauce. 

Soursop/Passion Fruit with Biji Selaseh
A refreshing drink to rid away your tiredness after a long day of work!

Kueh Pie Tie Mini Set // $10
Kueh Pie Ti is one of my favourite Peranakan food. The cup was super crunchy. You can hear the cracking sound when you gently bite the crust down. The fillings, on the other hand, was juicy and flavourful. I could eat the fillings just by itself. This is definitely worth ordering!

I think I can eat 10 of this on my own. Paired with their in-house sauce, this was really amazing! You will regret if you did not order this!

Itek Tim // $9
This reminded me very closely to home. The broth was boiled for 6 hours to capture and absorb the essence of the ingredients that were put into the soup which makes it very rich and flavourful. The duck meat was tender and the kiam chye (salted vegetables) were soft.

Sup Bakwan Kepiting // $9
Again, the soup was boiled for 6 hours to encapsulate the flavour. The pork bone flavour was very distinct which makes the soup very sweet. The tender and succulent meatball is to die for. The texture was really good!

Nasi Ulam Istimewa // $17
The first bite was weird but it later becomes very addictive. Mixed with raw herbs, vegetables, minced fish and salted fish, this dish was definitely aromatic and flavourful. The rich wasn’t too dry or wet as well. A good appetiser to start the feast!

Satay Babi Sum Chan // $19
Contrary to its name, this is not the typical satay like we always see outside but this is a Peranakan rendition of satay without adding peanuts and it is not serve in a skewer form. Even though it looks very spicy because of the colour, I can assure you it is not spicy at all. The sauce was flavourful and if you add the sauce into your rice, you don’t need anything else at all. 

Ayah Buah Keluak // $22
Some people might find it too exotic for their liking but you will get used to it after a while. The meat was well-cooked and firm. The sauce may be a little salty if you eat it alone but it tasted alright if you drizzled it onto your rice. 

Nonya Chap Chye // $15
This was superb. From the sauce to the mixed vegetables, everything was on point. The mixed vegetables were really soft and tender (literally melts in your mouth). 

Pandan Gula Melaka Cake with Durian // $8
My eyes were wide open when I popped the chiffon cake into my mouth. It was insanely delicious. The combination was deadly – Gula Melaka Cake, Coconut Shavings and Durian. All these are prepared daily to maintain its freshness and quality! This was so addictive. I nearly wanted to buy one box of it!

Besides their Peranakan cuisine, the Peranakan also offers Chinese New Year goodies such as Pineapple Tarts and Love Letter. 

Like what I said earlier, the interior has a strong Peranakan vibe and the setting of the restaurant is very cosy and homely. Also, the Peranakan Restaurant does not add any MSG into their food which makes their cuisine healthier. Thank you the Peranakan & Executive Chef Raymond Khoo for inviting me!

Nearest Mrt Station: Orchard
Location: 422 Orchard Road, Orchard Hotel – Level 2 Claymore Connect, Singapore 238879
What To Order: Chap Chye, Satay, Pandan Gula Melaka Cake with Durian
Restaurant Rating: 4.5/5
Food Ratings: 8.5/10

Written by: Yong Wei Kai (Follow me on Instagram @yongweikai or @sgcafehopping)

Ban Heng Restaurant...

With only one week away to the eve of Chinese New Year, most people would already have in mind the dishes they are preparing for reunion dinner. If you are still having trouble deciding on what to cook on that day, or simply, you just want to skip all the hassle, Ban Heng Restaurant is offering free delivery service for their Special Reunion Dinner Set Menus from now till 11th February 2017, excluding 28th January 2017. 

Offering 4 different set menus (with prices ranging from $398++, $498++, $698++ & $888), you can now enjoy your reunion dinner comfortably with your family without having to worry about the food and cleaning up at the end. Also, be prepared to be blown away by the lavish dishes that are offered in each set menu. Even though some people may find it too expensive, the quality and quantity of the food makes it extremely value-for-money. 

Pencai & Assorted Seafood in Claypot // $188 (4-6 pax) & $288 (8-10 pax)
This is so value-for-money! Buy pencai and you’ll get an assorted seafood in claypot for free. Also, you get to keep the claypot (as seen in the above picture) for good. The pencai includes cold crab, boiled prawns, blackfish, dried oyster, goose meats, roast chicken, braised meats, Chinese sausage, cured wax meats and sea moss while the assorted seafood in claypot comprises of superior shark’s fin, abalone, sea cucumber, dried scallops, mushrooms, top shell and pig’s trotter & lettuce. They were both massive!

The Honey Mustard Fruit Yu Sheng // $68++ (10 pax)
Throwing the honey mustard sauce into the Yu Sheng may sound bizarre at first but it totally works. The honey mustard sauce not only added flavour and texture to the Yu Sheng, it was also very addictive. The addition of the fruits made the entire Yu Sheng very refreshing and the watermelon especially added an additional crunch to the Yu Sheng.

I was served the "Good Luck & Prosperity Yu Sheng Set Menu (鸿运鱼生席)" under the Special Reunion Dinner Set Menus for Home Delivery. Below are the pictures of the dishes I had on that day. The meal left me in a very deep food coma and we couldn’t finish all the food even though they were delicious!

Shark's Fin Soup with Shredded Dried Scallops & Crab Meat
Steamed Live Sea Garoupa in Hong Kong Style

Boiled Live Prawns

Braised Whole Abalone (10 Headed) with Chinese Mushroom & Vegetables

Braised Chicken with Chinese Herbs
Stewed "Tien-Tsin" Cabbage Topped with Fatt Choy
Heat Rice in Lotus Leaf
Pumpkin Orh-Nee

As you can see from the picture, I had a sumptuous feast and went home with a bulging stomach. Besides the huge portion, I found all the dishes not too oily and it was very comforting. Also, Ban Heng Restaurant is having a promotion which I thought was worth sharing to you guys! There is a 38% discount from 11 Jan 2017 - 26 Jan 2017 & 50% discount from 29 Jan 2017 - 11 Feb 2017. Hurry and call them at 6298 5285 or 6291 0407 for home delivery services or for reservation purposes!

Thank you Ban Heng Group and Levitate for the super fulfilling dinner!

Nearest Mrt Station: HarbourFront
Location: 1 Maritime Square, #04-01 HarbourFront Centre, HarbourFront Centre, Singapore 099253
What To Order: Chinese New Year Set Menu
Restaurant Rating: 4/5
Food Ratings: 8/10

Written by: Yong Wei Kai (Follow me on Instagram @yongweikai or @sgcafehopping)

Fort by Maison Ikkoku...

Sick and bored of the old Chinese New Year tradition where you have to sit in a round table and eat steamboat with your family for reunion dinner? Spice up your Rooster year celebration this year with an Omakase dining experience at Fort by Maison Ikkoku, bound to bring phenomenal pleasure to both your eyes and mouth.

Besides their carefully-curated 12 course Omakase Chinese New Year menu which is only priced at $88++ for dinner, Fort by Maison Ikkoku is also renowned for their minimalistic and personalized cocktails. The cocktails are specially customized to suit your personal preference as well as to pair it with your food to achieve maximum experience. So, just sit back and relax while resident mixologist Matteo Cadeddu whip out a drink for you in no time!

Away from the hustle and bustle, Fort by Maison Ikkoku is also the ideal place to celebrate Chinese New Year this year if you want to avoid large crowd and spend some quiet time with your loved ones.

A pity I couldn’t fit all the 12 dishes into a collage frame but each dish has an element of surprise which makes the entire dining experience very complete. I thought the portion was also very well planned because I don’t feel too hungry or too full after the meal! It was just right!

Appetiser of the Day
Before the feast begins, they provided a small starter to clean your palette. The lotus was crunchy and flavourful. A good way to start your Omakase dining experience!  

Fatt Choi Lou Hei
What’s Chinese New Year without Lou Hei? But with so many different Lou Hei around Singapore, why the Fatt Choi Lou Hei at Fort by Maison Ikkoku. Besides being very refreshing, the team at Masion Ikkoku also added rum and raisins flavoured beans into their Lou Hei which surprisingly works. My eyes popped immediately after a bite because the flavour was occupying every single space in my mouth. If you are not a fan of alcoholic-related food, you can just remove it away or simply give it to an alcoholic person like me! Besides the rum and raisins flavoured beans, the other ingredients such as the salmon were really fresh. Overall, I thought the Lou Hei was very revitalising!

Swordfish Carpaccio in Asian Touch
I’m not an adventurous person when it comes to eating food that I’m not familiar with. When the swordfish was served to my table, I was, as usual, being sceptical and thinking of ways to avoid eating it. I was glad to try it because I fell in love with the texture of the fish instantly. Besides being smooth and tender, the swordfish turns out to be very sweet. Coupled with the chef’s superb marinating skills, the flavour (especially the sauce) was punk and addictive!

Buddha Jump Over the Wall
Serving in a nice glass cup, the Buddha Jump Over the Wall was rich and flavourful. They were also very generous in the amount of servings they give for an Omakase setting. The broth was definitely very alluring because you can really taste the herbs and spices used to prepare it. 

Smoke Goose Nigiri
Take out your phone or camera because your eyes will be in for a good treat. The server will torched the rosemary placed on top of the tender goose meat, not only to make it more visually appealing but more importantly, enhancing and combining the flavour of the rosemary with the goose meat. The combination was definitely deadly! Can I have more of this please? 

Truffle Tuna Maki Seaweed
Nobody can resist the smell and temptation of truffle, at least for me! The truffle was well incorporated into the Seaweed Tuna Maki. If you give me a full roll of it, I can finish in within a few minutes! This was so delicious!  

Lobster Udon, Kaffir
Thanks to the Lobster Udon, I think I can forget about losing my weight. The broth was legit addictive. It had this tom yum yet sweet flavour which I couldn’t stop myself from finishing very single gravy of it. It was very appetising as well. Together with the smooth udon noodles and sweet lobster meat, this was one of my favourite dish for their Chinese New Year Omakase menu!

Cheese Baked Live Irish Oyster
Hidden under the melted cheese lies a succulent piece of fat and juicy oyster that tasted especially good after the addition of the nitrogen, making it cold on the exterior and hot on the inside. The hot-cold approach definitely enhanced the flavour of the oyster and the melted cheese complements the oyster perfectly!

Otoro Nigiri
The Otoro was definitely fresh and tender. Combined with the nigiri sushi, it has a sophisticated essence, fantastic composition and exquisite marbling! Simple but yet very memorable dish!

Miso Abalone
Never have I imagined in my life that I would ever eat one big piece of abalone all by myself during Chinese New Year. Usually, the abalone at home are cut into smaller pieces and you have to fight over for it. Over here, you are entitled to one yourself. The abalone was so well-marinated that we questioned whether was it taken out from a canned food? We were wrong because it was prepared daily by the chefs! 

Unagi Don
The unagi was well-marinated and firm. Without any saying, Japanese rice are still my favourite rice. 

Homemade Matcha Creme Brulee Tart
The matcha tart is to die for! Seriously! The matcha filling has this tofu texture which literally melts in your mouth. The matcha flavour was also strong but not too overpowering. You don’t have to worry about feeling jelat after a while. The tart was well-baked and crunchy! A perfect dish to end and complete my Omakase experience at Maison Ikkoku!

Rainbow Cocktail // $26

Sake with Black Berry & Yuzu // $25
Lemon Fatal // $26

Earl Grey Martini // $25

Thank you Fort by Maison Ikkoku for inviting me and Jane for the great hospitality! Also, special thanks to Matteo and Nick for mixing the wonderful drinks for us!

Nearest Mrt Station: Dohby Ghout
Location: 5 Cox Terrace Singapore (179620)
What To Order: Chinese New Year Omakase Menu (Dinner: $88++) and 4 Course Chinese New Year Menu ($68++)
Restaurant Rating: 4/5
Food Ratings: 8.5/10

Written by: Yong Wei Kai (Follow me on Instagram @yongweikai and @sgcafehopping)
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