Monday, January 31, 2011


After about 4-5 attempts to eat at this so talked about cake shop, I finally managed to find it open and they did have cakes! Was the frustration of visiting them multiple times to have one of their cakes worth it?

The shop is nicely decorated, and includes a small retail area which sells "modern antiques" such as 25 year old Polaroid cameras, classic telephones, typewriters and various figurines. The merchandise is very colorful and extremely attractive for youngsters to browse. The number of available seats inside the shop is quite limited, so it might be hard to get a seat during peak hours. I was lucky enough to get a seat outside and I ordered two cakes: the Little Red Riding Hood and the cheese soufflé.

This 70% dark chocolate cake tasted as good as it looked. A rich chocolate mousse surrounded a not too sweet raspberry geleé core, while a crunchy based gave a bit of texture to an otherwise all-soft dessert. Good and enjoyable combination overall, but only if you like soft, moussy stuff.
The cheese soufflé was heaven on earth. It really reminded me of the heavenly cheesecakes I had in Hokkaido during my last visit to Japan. This moist has an incredibly light and airy texture and a mild flavour to match. I haven't seen this served anywhere else in Singapore, and it's a must try.

The bottom line is that at Kki you can have amongst the best cakes in Singapore, but as good as it might sound, due to inconsistency in stock and opening hours, it's a bit of a hit an miss that demands a lot of patience and endurance. If you have what it takes, you will be rewarded.


7 Ann Siang Hill
Singapore 069791
Tel: 6225 6650
Closed on Mondays

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Linguine ai filetti di aguglia

On rainy days such as today, I really can't figure myself going out shopping for ingredients, and I'd rather try to make do with what I have at home. I haven't been cooking fish for quite some time, so I decided to finally cook a sanma (Aguglia in Italian), which I vacuum packed and froze some time ago.

I have been keeping a pack of sun dried tomatoes which I bought in Italy over a year ago, since I never found the inspiration to prepare them. Today, having limited ingredients for the seasoning, I decided to bring them back to life. To do that, I brought some water with a dash of vinegar to the boil and kept the tomatoes in the boiling water for about 10 minutes.

I then let the tomatoes rest on an absorbent surface and squeezed any excess water out of them. I vacuum packed and froze most of the batch, and kept about 4 of them aside to cook this pasta for 2.
Ingredients for two people:
  • 1 sanma (aguglia)
  • 4-5 sun dried tomatoes, as softened directed
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • Some herbs (parsley, oregano or coriander)
  • A bunch of basil leaves
  • Salt and pepper 
Remove head and tail from the sanma, remove the innards and discard them, debone it and put bones, head, tail, the carrot, onion and herbs into a skillet and bring it to a slow simmer. Keep this simmering for over 20 minutes to create the base for your pasta.

In the meantime, wash your basil leaves and blanch them for 10 seconds in a large pot of boiling water. Remove them from the pot and immediately soak them into ice water. Gently squeeze all excess water, then put into a container together with the sun dried tomatoes, and half a garlic clove, finely chopped. Top with a drizzle of olive oil, then gently mash with an immersion blender until you obtain a paste that is not too fine.

Add some freshly ground pepper to your paste, and there should be no need to add salt since generally sun dried tomatoes are already very salty. Bring a large pot of water to the boil, ready for your pasta, do not salt the water and add the linguini (which should usually take about 10-11 minutes to cook). Wash your fish fillets, pat dry them and sprinkle them with salt. Lightly pan fry them on a large frying pan on both sides in abundant olive oil, then remove them and set them aside.

Deglaze the pan with half a glass of white wine. Once the wine evaporates, you should obtain a thick sauce as shown in the picture below. Now your pasta should be almost ready to be removed from the water. Make sure that you drain it 2 minutes before it's ready.

Add some of the simmering stock to your frying pan, put in the pasta and lightly salt (do not fully salt the pasta, to counter-balance the salty paste that you will combine later) and simmer until the stock is absorbed and your pasta is al dente. When the pasta is ready, remove it from the fire and rapidly stir-in some of the basil-tomato paste.

Arrange on serving plates, topped up with your sanma fillets (filetti di aguglia), and some freshly ground peppercorns. Enjoy the powerful aromas of basil and sun dried tomatoes!

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Recently, I have noticed a proliferation of new burger joints in Singapore. It seems like up until about 4-5 years ago, all we had was Carl's Jr and Relish and all of a sudden, following that "Everything with fries", "Fat Boyz" and "Bergs". Most interestingly, the latter markets itself as a gourmet burger joint. While I have eaten various times at their branch in Changi Business Park, for this review I decided to visit the Far East Square branch.

Out of the three, this branch is definitely the best both in terms of location, setting and decor. It's spacious and airy, and it provides sheltered outdoor benches.

Coming to the burgers, they are served in two sizes, small and "bergs" size. Prices are approximately below $10 for the smalls, and in the $14 region for the large burgers. In my previous visits, I tried their chicken burgers, "The Berg" and "Miss Piggy", and loved them all. This time I wanted to try something different, so I ordered "Crikey Too": a combination of bacon, beef pattie, beetroot, pineapple, Edam cheese, lettuce, onions and tomato.

The pattie was already tested on the other burgers, so it didn't disappoint me, but I loved this burger with the added flavour from the beetroot and pineapple. Some might find it slightly sweet, but it's overall very juicy and flavorsome.

Just to try a different "base", I also ordered a "Kiwi Stud", which is a lamb burger with Masala spices, lettuce and tomato. I didn't appreciate this burger as much as all the others due to the strong spices, and the pattie felt drier than its chicken and beef equivalents. I will continue to stick to chicken and beef in my future visits.

I think Bergs offers tremendous quality for its competitive prices. All their burgers are well thought, well assembled and presented, and have simple, distinct flavours, making them true gourmet burgers.
I also like their setup, except the fact that they do not provide trays to their customers and since the tables are made of spaced out wooden beams, all the juices dripping from the burgers end up decorating your trousers. This is not very well thought, I must say.
Despite that, I will be excited to eat at Bergs again and I would recommend it.  Just watch your lap!


Saturday, January 1, 2011


I have been planning to try Nicolas for over a year now, and for one reason or another my visit kept being postponed. This is a very reputable restaurant which is doing extremely well, so after a few failed last minute attempts to get a reservation, I finally managed to get a seat for lunch. Nicolas has been recommended by many, and they all had good things to say about the food, so I was extremely curious to try. Located within a shop house in Keong Saik road, the restaurant is fairly small and only has a few tables in the main dining room. A long kitchen counter occupies one side of it, where the Chefs can be observed quietly focused on the food preparation.
We were politely welcomed and escorted to our dining table at the far end, and Nicolas himself gave us an overview of the specials of the day.

The set menu started off with raw Hokkaido scallops. These were fresh, firm but juicy just as I like. I am actually questioning whether they really are from Hokkaido, since every Hokkaido scallop I had in the past was not to my taste. Even when I went to Hokkaido and had the scallops at the fish market straight out of the shell, the texture is totally unlike these scallops. In any case, whether they are from Hokkaido or not, these were absolutely wonderful. The thin slice of cured ham on the side was also outstanding, adding a little salty contrast against the sweetness of the scallops.

The second starter was a red prawn, accompanied by its bisque and ravioli. All three were a pleasure to the palate. I am usually not too keen on eating prawns, as they tend to be dry and tasteless (especially here in Asia), but this prawn really felt like what prawns should be about. The lardo di colonnata wrapped around it formed a tasty layer of fat which brought out the flavour of the prawn. The bisque was a foamy, creamy prawn flavoured soup and I could subtly taste the roasting of the shells. The ravioli had a thin, almost wanton like skin, wrapped around chunks of prawn.

The hen egg was lightly steamed and flavoured with truffle oil. I liked the soft little triangles of pork which decorated the dish.

Excellent the rack of lamb, served with its own juices. The meat was medium rare throughout, lightly crisped on the surface, accompanied by a subtly smoked red carrot pureé. The daily special was a rather rare venison, succulently tender and served on a bed of tasty barley risotto. I loved the texture of the barley much more than I would enjoy rice. The cooking juices brought together the flavour of the lamb and the risotto.

I must say that Nicolas fully lives up to its reputation of a restaurant where both service and food are done at their best. At S$68++, this lunch was well worth its price, and I am looking forward to try their dinner menu soon. Nicolas' food is sophisticated French that intentionally does not push the boundaries of creativity (as some of the nouvelle cuisine can do) in order to remain truthful to the tradition, while lightening and refining flavours for the modern, cultured palate.

Nicolas Le Restaurant
31 Keong Saik Road
Singapore 089138

Tel: +65 62242404
Fax: +65 62229123
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