Most Affordable, Mind-Blowing Fine-Dining

Jazz Hands with Chefs Bjorn Shen & Jason Jones!

We’re having lots of fun chatting with our new Makan Kakis from Taco Libre: The All-Star Taco Showdown happening at Lucha Loco on Duxton Hill. Chef Jason Jones is the Culinary Director of The Loco Group and host, if you will, of the Michelin-starred & celebrity chefs who’ve been invited to create their ultimate tacos in this Taco-Off!

Chef Bjorn Shen (of restaurants Artichoke & Bird Bird) was the first chef to kick off Taco Libre back in August, with his insane surf & turf Bacon & Crab taco. Since then, Chef Andrew Walsh of Cure, Chef Dave Pynt of Burnt Ends, Chef Rishi Naleendra of Cheek by Jowl, Chef Sam Aisbett of Whitegrass and Chef Clayton Wells of Blackwattle (his tacos are currently being served up at Lucha Loco) have also contributed their creative taco genius.

But don’t worry if you missed Chef Bjorn’s taco, you can head on over to Lucha Loco on 14th November for the Grand Finale Event and all SIX tacos will be on the menu! Best of all, part of the proceeds from this campaign will be donated to the Singapore’s Children Society.

Listen to our studio guests talk food and about the Taco Showdown by clicking the links below. Also, be sure to scroll down for Chef Jason’s recommendation for affordable, mind-blowing fine-dining you shouldn’t miss!

HEAR:

    • Click here for more about their restaurants, food philosophies and the Taco Showdown!
    • Click for a quick-fire round of random questions & what music these chefs listen to when they cook.

Click to watch Bjorn describe his surf & turf taco creation!

SEE:All it took was the humble frog for Chef Jason to fall head over heels for the food at Bistro November and he makes this week’s recommendation with the utmost urgency because this is one amazing restaurant with an expiry date. So named for when it closes, Bistro November occupies the former space taken by Restaurant Ember at Hotel 1929 on Keong Saik. The hotel is closing for major refurbishment come end November, that’s why you need to get over to the bistro while you still can!

So. FROG. From legs, to livers (see above) to blood, Chef JP is one of the most underrated chefs in Singapore and an innovative genius in the kitchen, passionate about using every part of his ingredients and squeezing every last drop of flavour from them to create mind-blowingly inventive dishes that not only look amazing but also taste fantastic. Even better, the prices are so reasonable, you might need to do a double take! Chef to Chef, Jason Jones finds himself challenged in delightful ways every time he returns for JP’s food. Chef JP goes to the market himself everyday, so his food is super fresh and super creative. He has such an interesting take on cooking and dining at Bistro November is never a dull affair.

Fromage de tête (frog head cheese). $12.

One dish that has stayed with Chef Jason long after the eating is Chef JP’s take on Boudin Noir. Traditionally, it’s a French-style blood sausage, or black pudding that is completely unavailable in Singapore because it’s illegal to import or sell blood sausage made from pig’s blood. That’s where the frogs come in. Chef JP uses frog blood to make his own version of Boudin Noir, something Chef Jason wasn’t keen on trying at first. After a little coaxing and a little taste, he was asking for more!

Dessert made from ingredients you’d might otherwise throw out: Potato skin ice cream with Shiitake mushroom stalk bits infused in honey & roasted malt flour, made from barley ferment leftovers. $16.

Bistro November needs to be put on the top of your must-try list, not just because it’s closing soon, but also because you’re going to get the freshest, best quality, most innovative dishes at unbelievable prices. The full JP Dinner is well worth your time and money, but he does lunches and also a wonderful Sunday Brunch as well. GO GO GO!

TASTE:
BISTRO NOVEMBER
50 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089154
Open Daily: Breakfast 7:30 – 10:30am
Lunch by Chef JP Tuesday to Saturday 12 – 3pm, Dinner 6pm – late
Sunday Brunch 11am – 3pm
Cheese, Wine and Charcuterie all day.
Tel: +65 63471928

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Farm-Fresh Food!

HEAR:
Click here to listen to this week’s farm-fresh episode!

SEE:

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Hail Caesar Salad with House-smoked Chicken

This week, our Makan Kaki Chef Jordi Noguera of FOC shares with us another one of his favourite places to eat at in Singapore. Tucked away in a charming, rustic, corner of Dempsey, you’ll find Open Farm Community (from the same guy behind Tippling Club, Chef Ryan Clift), a restaurant that is doing excellent work in using farm-fresh ingredients, like lots of vegetables to create healthy yet hearty & tasty dishes. Chef Jordi finds the contemporary, yet laid-back style of food & presentation here much like what you’d find in Australia, but you’d be hard-pressed to pin it to any one style. The focus is mainly on sourcing ingredients from local and Malaysian farms (as close as possible, whenever possible) and even cooking produce grown direct from their own edible garden.
Chef Jordi is partial to their pastas, in particular their pesto trofie, with potatoes, french beans & pumpkin chunks.

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Minden Road Pesto Trofie with potatoes, french beans & pumpkin chunks

But there are other pastas to choose from, including this gorgeous Mud Crab Spaghettoni.

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Mud Crab Spaghettoni

While there is a focus on fresh vegetables, Open Farm Community is far from a vegetarian restaurant – you’ll find beautifully turned out fish, like this Asian-inspired Coconut Laksa Baramundi and also for the carnivores, robust, meaty dishes like braised lamb shank & beef short ribs.

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Coconut-Laksa Baramundi
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Braised lamb shank, homemade couscous, olives, capers & green peas

Bottom line, if you want delicious, fresh, quality produce prepared meticulously and beautifully presented in gorgeous leafy surroundings, this is the place to be!

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TASTE:
OPEN FARM COMMUNITY
130E Minden Road
Singapore 248819
Opening Hours:
Restaurant:
Mon – Fri: 12pm – 4pm/6pm – 10pm
Sat – Sun/PH: 11am – 4pm/6pm – 10pm
Cafe:
Mon – Sun: 8am – 9pm
Reservations: +65 6471 0306

It’s Meta-Physical!

HEAR:
Click here to listen to this week’s brand-new episode!

SEE:
pancakeThis week, our foodie friend, restaurateur, hotelier & judge of Eat List Star Loh Lik Peng returns with another wonderful discovery along his favourite street, Keong Saik Road! In Meta he has found what he calls very modern Korean/ Asian cuisine by young, classically-trained South Korean head chef Sun Kim, who cut his teeth at Waku Ghin in Singapore and Tetsuya’s in Sydney, Australia. He does a bang-up job of reinterpreting his cultural roots using modern techniques. The result is a sublime, super-refined meal that will not disappoint.

Peng was blown away by the Seafood Korean Pancake – wafer thin, fabulously prepared with sea snails, squid, seaweed, kimchi  & a special heirloom chili sauce. Another winner is the Oyster Ginger/Lemon with Pomelo, a perfectly balanced briny bite of hefty, fresh oyster with scattered sacs of bitter-sweet pomelo and a beautifully acidic sauce.

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After an 8-course meal at Meta, you leave feeling thoroughly satisfied but not uncomfortably stuffed, which is really testament to the chef doing a great job. This lovely restaurant is a little tucked away, but Peng hopes by sharing, Chef Sun Kim gets the recognition he deserves, for the outstanding food he’s turning out.

TASTE:
META
9 KEONG SAIK ROAD, SINGAPORE
Reservations: +65 6513 0898
OPENING HOURS
Lunch: Monday to Friday 12pm – 2.30pm
Dinner: Monday to Thursday: 6pm – 10pm
Friday & Saturday: 6pm – 11pm

More Than Mere Morsels

HEAR:
Click here to hear morsels of foodie fun!

SEE:
morsels-clamsThis week, our foodie friend Chef Tony Yeoh of Restaurant Cocotte continues his guide through his neighbourhood of Little India, highlighting another great little restaurant run by his friend Petrina Loh, the chef-owner of Morsels. The vibe here is relaxed, rustic & Bohemian, with charming mix-matched furniture and a herb garden out back along with a smoker in which they smoke their own meats & seafood. For a small restaurant, they certainly have a pretty extensive menu, but Tony has a couple of favourites, first of which is the Venus Clams in Fig Broth (see above).

This intriguing dish is a hit with diners, combining the briny-sea-saltiness of the fresh clams with the soft-sweetness (but not too sweet) of the fig-infused broth & the salty-tartness of Kimchee! This perfectly balanced dish is super comforting and delicious! Next dish you’ve gotta try is the Milo Tira-Miso. Yes, Miso, not Misu. Imagine how amazing this dessert is: you’ve got the powdery crunch of the Milo powder, with a the added oomph of miso paste, which permeates through the layers of ladyfingers and cream to give you gorgeous salty-sweet chocolatey flavours & textures!

Morsels, as its name suggests, is all about small plates of tasty bites to be shared, so go on, you know you want to!

TASTE:
MORSELS
35 Mayo Street S(208316)
Tel: +65 63966302
Opening hours:
Lunch Fridays only 12pm – 230pm
Dinner Tuesday to Thursday 6pm – 1030pm; Friday to Saturday 6pm – 11pm
Closed Sunday and Monday

P.S. Got your tickets to the COCOTTE X MORSELS collaboration dinner yet?
Monday 26th September, 2016
630/ 730/ 830pm
COCOTTE
2 Dickson Road, S(209494)

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Refined, Contemporary Peranakan Cuisine

chef jordi nogueraWe have a new foodie friend joining our panel of culinary personalities this week! Please meet Chef Jordi Noguera of FOC Restaurant. Today, we talk about this hot Catalan-inspired culinary destination on Hong Kong Street, their plans for more FOC outlets, Chef Jordi’s approach to food and also what he likes to eat since moving here to Singapore…

HEAR:

  • Click to hear more about FOC (it sounds so naughty! LOL) – the space, the food, the drinks and some of the must-try dishes at this cutting-edge Catalan inspired bar-restaurant.
  • Click to get to know Chef Jordi’s food philosophy and why he eats his Hainanese Chicken Rice with garlic mayo!
  • Listen to this week’s mouth-watering Peranakan episode here!

SEE:
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Chef Jordi recommends Peranakan food with a contemporary twist at Candlenut. He found his entire encounter with the unique cuisine really amazing, especially since each dish is carefully sequenced for maximum flavour. For a visitor to Singapore, Candlenut is a wonderful, elegant introduction to the varied herbs, spices, flavours and heritage of Peranakan cuisine. That said, for dinner, you really can’t go wrong indulging in their tasting menu, which promises an experience like stepping into Grandma’s house for a lovingly home-cooked meal. With witty reference to their ‘ah-ma-kase’ menu, you can expect weekly changes because they use only the freshest ingredients available each day.
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For a refined restaurant that really cares about preserving old traditions, yet pushing new boundaries (Hellooooo BUAH KELUAK ICE-CREAM!!!), do pay a visit soon to Candlenut. Chef Jordi dined at their current location at Dorset Hotel, but hears they will be moving soon to Dempsey.

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TASTE:
CANDLENUT
Dorsett Residences
331 New Bridge Road
#01-03
Singapore 088764
Tel: +65 81214107

Open Monday – Saturday:
Monday to Friday 12 noon – 2:30pm; 6 – 10pm
Saturday 6 – 10pm
Closed on Sundays & Public Holidays

Super-Fresh Tokyo-Italian

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Denise & Chef Seita Nakahara

Hello Makan Kakis, Denise here. A few weeks ago, I had the good fortune to dine at Terra Tokyo-Italian, helmed by chef-owner Seita Nakahara, and what a special meal it was!

Chef Seita spent his teens in Singapore before working in restaurants across Tokyo, Florence, Sicily & Torino, honing his skills in Italian cuisine. His style of Italian cooking focuses on only the very freshest produce he can source directly from fishermen and farmers in Japan & Italy, which he then prepares with a very light Japanese touch, allowing the natural flavours of his ingredients shine through.

  • Listen to Chef Seita on The Lunchtime Jukebox talking about his food philosophy and restaurant here.
  • Listen to Chef talk about his culinary roots and what kind of food he enjoys going out to eat when he’s not cooking for others.

From his humble beginnings in the kitchen helping his mother, to his training across Italy, Chef Seita’s approach to food is always to keep everything simple, without using a lot of spices or herbs to cover the flavours or fragrance – something he says he learnt from those hours spent cooking with mum. The affable, ever-so-polite Chef Seita’s love for the food and his passion is evident in the sublime plates of food that emerged from the kitchen.

His Omakase menu changes all the time, depending on the seasonal produce available and out of his creative mind, Chef Seita keeps things exciting for his customers – he enjoys being surpised and surprising diners – that’s why he will never serve you the same thing if you are a returning guest (not unless you insist, of course!).

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Service is wonderful, with very friendly staff, who are patient and careful to explain everything that has gone into each dish you are served. Your meal begins with two things:

  1. A  box of fresh ingredients presented with a flourish, so you know what you’re going to be eating, and…

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2. A really delicious homemade foccacia bread, served hot with a porcini mushroom butter I wanted (and did) to eat on its own!

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I have to say after that lovely start, nothing I was served afterwards disappointed. In fact, everything was eye-rollingly tasty – check out what else was on the menu when I dined at Terra Tokyo-Italian:

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The Uni bruschetta is the perfect embodiment of Chef Seita’s food concept – bringing the best of Japanese & Italian together – generous little mountains of fresh sea urchin jiggling atop crisp toasted bread.

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Super-fresh shellfish – Akagai, okagai, Hokkaido asparagus, cherry tomato drizzled with dill sauce.
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Another one of my favourites (and this is saying alot because I’m not a fan of tomato sauces) – the Ise bay spiny lobster linguine. Perfectly portioned, the handmade pasta was also perfectly al dente and coated in a rich, yet not cloying tomato sauce. It was light yet creamy was complemented by a succulently-sweet grilled lobster from Japan’s Ise Bay.
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Score! Managed to scoop out the lobster meat in one whole juicy chunk! And you can bet I sucked out all the briny juices from that lobster head – sooo yummaaay!

IMG_0349Ama-dai tile fish with Mediterranean sauce, Hokkaido shaved button mushroom, Japanese bamboo shoost with crispy fish skin.
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Tender Tochigi beef with mushroom sauce, charred Japanese cabbage, mustard and chives & caramelised onion – really clean, simple and absolutely satisfying, The beefy flavour really comes through thanks to Chef Seita’s delicate touch.
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Homemade Tiramisu with Japanese strawberries – an appropriate end to my Tokyo-Italian experience. This Tiramisu was again, perfectly-portioned, not too sweet and very light.

Chef Seita’s very Japanese sensibility truly shines through in his respect for his ingredients and his guests and I can’t recommend Terra more if you love Italian Cuisine but want something surprising, very fresh and light. The Omakase Menu is tailored to suit your dietary restrictions and you can choose the number of courses you enjoy. I had 7 courses (possibly more), but so light was Chef’s touch, I didn’t walk out of Terra feeling uncomfortably full, just very satisfied and with a huge smile on my face!

TERRA
54 Tras St
Singapore 078993

Open Hours:
Mon – Fri 12:00 pm-2:00 pm, 6:30 pm-10:00 pm
Sat 6:30 pm-10:00 pm

Phone: 6221 5159

Say Hola to OLA for Sublime Spanish Cuisine!

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HEAR:
Listen to this week’s mouth-watering episode here!

SEE:
This week, our new Makan Kaki Chef Seita Nakahara of Terra Tokyo-Italian shares with us where he goes for outstanding Spanish food. Chef Seita’s food philosophy is to keep things very simple so that the natural flavours of the fresh produce always shine.  It’s all about respecting the ingredients and not overshadowing them with heavy seasoning, spices or herbs. It’s about subtly enhancing the flavours and fragrance of the food. That’s why he enjoys OLA Cocina Del Mar – he believes its Peruvian chef, Daniel Chavez shares the same approach to food.

Ola’s Chef Chavez is no stranger to Singapore, having worked at Les Amis under the direction of Gunther Hubrechsen and later as the executive chef of the late Michelin-starred chef Santi Santamaria’s “Santi” at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Since 2012 THOUGH, Chef Chavez has moved away from the fine dining scene with a more relaxed approach at  his personal project, OLA Cocina del Mar in Marina Bay Financial Centre.

With OLA restaurant and bar, you can expect contemporary Spanish cuisine with an open kitchen concept, serving only the freshest and most seasonal produce, with a focus on seafood from around the world.

Here are the dishes Chef Seita recommends (choose the Omakase menu for a really great meal!):

Fresh sustainable baby octopus
Sustainable Baby Octpus A La Plancha, Piquillo Pepper Sauce & Hazelnuts
Grilled Octopus With Tomatoes, Peas & Black Olives
Fideua Negra, baby calamari, aioli and smoked paprika
Wagyu beef

TASTE:
OLA – COCINA DEL MAR
Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3
#01-06
12 Marina Boulevard
Singapore 018982

Tel: +65 6604 7050

Opening Hours
Mon – Fri: Lunch 11:30am to 2pm, dinner 6pm to 10pm
Saturdays Dinner 6pm to 10pm
Saturday Lunch & Sundays Closed

Charcoal BBQ Bliss

HEAR:
Click for the sound of this week’s sizzling episode from Gold 905!

SEE:
Man. Meat. Fire.
If these words appeal to you in the most visceral way, you’re gonna love this week’s recommendation!

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via http://www.burntends.com.sg

Choice cuts of meats expertly cooked by chefs on custom charcoal grills, finished with the freshest of herbs and seasonings… Intensely delicious food infused with smoky notes that can only come from a perfectly prepared barbeque…

This week, Makan Kaki Shermay Lee shares with us a restaurant that takes all things charcoal-grilled to a whole other level. Burnt Ends can be found in the hipster enclave of Keong Saik Road, but there’s nothing faddish about the food they serve here – grilling up the freshest produce on specially-designed grills is what they truly excel in. Chef Dave Pynt trained with one of the best – acclaimed self-taught chef/ cool grilling contraption inventor, Victor Arguinzoniz of famed Spanish restaurant, Etxebarri in the Basque region of Spain. Indeed, the spirit of Burnt Ends stays very true to Chef Victor’s style, with grills that can be raised and lowered to control the cooking process, according to the different produce at hand.

Shermay’s favourites on the menu include the blue-black steak, which is charred to perfection on the outside, yet gloriously bloody on the inside. The rareness of the steak might be off-putting to some, but for meat-loving purists, this is a dish worth drooling over.

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via http://www.burntends.com.sg

Another gorgeous dish is the grilled fennel with a creme fraiche dressing, drizzled with orange oil. It’s fresh produce like this and the interesting, layered, flavour & texture combinations that elevate things beyond your ordinary BBQ and keep diners coming back for more. Believe us when we say reservations are a MUST. This place is almost always PACKED! Space is limited at its mostly bar counter seating, but if you are in a party of 6-8 persons and lucky enough to get a reservation, then the single dining table is yours, for a minimum spend of $100 pax.

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via http://www.burntends.com.sg

By the way, Burnt Ends was recently voted #30 in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2015 and you can read more about it at www.theworlds50best.com!

TASTE:
BURNT ENDS
20 Teck Lim Road (Off Keong Saik Road)
Reservations
+65 62243933
Opening Hours
Lunch: Tues – Sat 11.45am – 2pm
Dinner: Mon – Sat 6pm till late
Closed Sundays