Nuts about Pistachio Grill!

Click this to listen to this week’s spicy smoked episode!

This week, join cookbook author & restaurateur Violet Oon at an unusual place for world-class Middle-Eastern/ Mediterranean food prepared by a highly skilled Egyptian chef! Hidden away in Zhong Shan Mall along Balestier Road is a little kitchen unit serving up wonderfully authentic delicacies from the Middle East & Mediterranean in the atrium of the shopping centre. Don’t be put off by the very open plan, the food here is fit for royalty! Why? Because Chef Khaled Elelimi has cooked for sheiks, kings, dignitaries and all the Middle Eastern embassies based in Singapore. You might recognise him from his stint at the Shangri-la Hotel, but over his 20 years in the culinary business, he has also worked at Four Seasons Hotels across the globe and also specialises in healthy Ayurvedic spa cuisine. Married to a lovely Singaporean, Chef Khaled & his wife Agnes are now the proud owners of Pistachio Middle Eastern & Mediterranean Grill, which at barely a year old, offers classic dishes with a contemporary twist for lunch and dinner. Everything is made from scratch and served fresh. Violet was introduced to this hidden gem of a restaurant by her friend and Singapore’s Golden Girl of Swimming, Pat Chan. They absolutely love the food there and these are Violet’s recommendations:

The enormous flat bread is delicious with hummus and olive oil. Great as a shared starter.

Be sure to order the Lebanese Platter – juicy boneless marinated chicken kebabs served with garlic sauce, fresh salad,and the beautifully fragrant and fluffy saffron rice. The homemade Harissa (Moroccan chilli paste) is a must dolloped over everything!

The Turkish Platter is another delicious option if you love good quality beef.

If it’s seafood you’re craving for, try Chef Khaled’s Fish Chermoula, which is an oven-baked Sea Bass fillet seasoned with Moroccan spices or, Violet’s top pick, the black mussels with garlic cream and garlic bread.

The whole family will enjoy the food here, as child-friendly dishes like pastas, pizzas and wraps are available, along with classic dishes including baklava, tagines & falafels, which are perfect for sharing. Best of all, with his training, Chef Khaled approaches his food with a very light touch and believes in the freshness, quality of produce and prepares everything very healthily. He and his wife also offer up warm, friendly hospitality along with the delicious food, so Violet urges everyone to go discover the lovely Pistachio Grill for yourself. You’ll get food fit for kings, but at very unkingly prices – sublime cuisine that’s unbelieveably great value for money! She believes in the care, the skill and the flavours Chef Khaled brings to the table and it’s about time this little treasure of a restaurant got its turn in the spotlight!

20 Ah Hood Road, Zhongshan Mall #01-15
Singapore 329984
Tel: 6262 6400
Open Daily: 11.30am – 9pm

*all photos via

Where Chefs Eat: Mauro Muroni of the Mangiatutto Group of Restaurants


Listen to this week’s Makan Kakis talk about their Greek restaurant at Sentosa’s Quayside Isle, Mykonos here.
Listen to Executive Chef Mauro Muroni of the Mangiatutto Group of Restaurants talk about some of his favourite places to eat in Singapore!

Denise with (L) GM Gerri Sottile & (R) Executive Chef Mauro Muroni

Here are some of Mauro’s favourite places to eat in Singapore – obviously as an Italian in the East, he’s more inclined to rave over Asian cuisine, as seen from his choices. It’s all about Japanese, Indian & Chinese cuisine for him!

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If you’re ever at Resorts World, you’ve got to try Syun, which is Japanese fine dining at its best, especially if you want some of the freshest sashimi & sushi from their dedicated sushi bar! Click here for more on Syun!


A neighbour to Chef Mauro’s restaurant Mykonos at Quayside Isle is this great place for curries, tandoori and other spicy Indian delicacies. Click here for more on the Earl of Hindh!

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Finally, when he wants a noodle & dumpling fix, Chef Mauro heads to Ion Orchard’s Paradise Dynasty for their famed 8 treaure xiao long bao & soupy noodles. Click here for more on Paradise Dynasty!

Middle-Eastern with a Crazy Singapore Twist

Listen to this week’s delicious episode here!

This week, our Makan Kaki Chef Anthony Yeoh of Cocotte & The Provision Shop shares with us one of his favourite places if you want an unusual, unforgettable and yes, absolutely delicious meal…

Artichoke is an amazing restaurant run by Chef Bjorn Shen that showcases a fresh, exciting menu of Middle-Eastern inspired dishes. These are an evolution from the traditional and you’re going to be tasting flavours in combinations so wild and different, your tastebuds will be singing. For example, instead of your regular cucumber Tzaziki, you’re gonna get something else like beetroot Tzaziki, which is really yummy.

But for the ultimate taste experience, Anthony recommends you try the Lambgasm (yes, Chef Bjorn also comes up with interesting names for his interesting flavour combinations!). Why? You will be in ecstasy eating this slow-roasted whole shoulder of lamb. So tender, it can literally be scrapped off the bone with a spoon, the lamb is shredded and then crisped up and served on a giant platter along with pita and an assortment of Arabic condiments, so you can build your own little sandwiches. Be warned: the garlic sauce is particularly addictive.

Another must-try dish is the Fried Chicken (seasoned with Lebanese spices). Deep-fried, then coated in a ridiculous honey glaze and sprinkled with spring onions, this dish is juicy, crispy and sticky sweet. So, so good!

You can’t go to Artichoke without finishing off the meal with a fun popsicle (Chef Bjorn’s latest project) from the new Neh Neh Pop range. Anthony is partial to the Strawberry Pockie – featuring strawberry ripple ice cream, white chocolate dip & strawberry Pocky, all on a stick.

Other awesome flavours to try are the Mango Sticky Rice – coconut rice pudding ice-cream, fresh mango chunks, white chocolate dip, toasted coconut flakes and rice crispies AND the Rocky Road – milk chocolate ice-cream, marshmallows, toasted almonds, dark chocolate dip, pop rocks, Fruity Pebbles and Nerds.

Judging from the pictures and descriptions, you know you’re in for a fun, casual, delicious and surprising time at Artichoke. Just be prepared for the Brunch queues. But believe us when we say the wait is SO worth it!

161 Middle Road (Waterloo Street)
Sculpture square
Opening hours:
Tues – Fri: Dinner
Sat: Brunch & Dinner
Sun: brunch
Reservations: 6336 6949 (Tues – Sat from 3pm)

Sunday Brunch at UNA

The season for gatherings, parties, friends, families and food is nearly upon us and this Sunday, why not celebrate the holiday season with an easy, breezy, big, brunchy affair at UNA? Makan Kaki Shermay Lee highly recommends the Spanish/ French/ Italian/ Mediterranean Brunch there – it’s absolutely delightful and yummy!
Located in the leafy, Colonial enclave of Rochester Park, UNA is a charming restaurant helmed by Jean-Philippe Patruno, who used to be head chef of wildly popular tapas bar Barrafina in London’s Soho. And now, the same delectable food that set London in a tizzy with snaking queues is available here in Singapore and in a beautiful environment.

Be prepared to eat. Go hungry. It’s gonna be really delicious, thanks to Chef Jean-Philippe’s impeccable technical skills and his ability to cook with real depth and honesty. Tapas and brunch foods may seem deceptively simple to make, but trust Shermay, to achieve this sort of flavour, a lot of experience and know-how is required!

A must-try is the Jamon croquetas (ham croquettes) – light, crispy, panko-coated with an oozy, creamy, piping-hot ham and bechamel interior. They are perfection and always a hit with adults and kids alike. Order lots! You’re gonna have to!

For a decadent treat, how ’bout the slow-cooked egg with smoked mash and summer truffles? Rich, over-the-top indulgence from the yolk, smokey potato and earthy truffle. If you like bread, you’ll love the roasted peppers on toast with spicy, fatty chorizo sausage and delicate quail eggs. Or go for one of their toasted sandwiches! If you want something even more substantial, the Spanish fry-up is hearty, filling and really hits the spot.

Leave room for dessert, especially their Churros! These deep-fried Spanish crullers are hard to find and even harder to do right, but UNA does! Light and crisp, not oily at all, but with enough firmness to bite, the Churros are tossed in cinnamon-sugar and come with a dark chocolate Valrhona dipping sauce.

There you have it, for a beautiful Brunch on Sunday, you really can’t go wrong with UNA @ One Rochester, where Chef Jean-Philippe Patruno serves up his home-styled cuisines from Spain, Italy and France, with a full selection of tapas, starters, mains and desserts, backed with a full bar, signature cocktails, with $48++ for free-flow cava and house wine.


1 Rochester Drive
Reservations: 6773 0070
Open: Mon – Sat 6-11pm
A la carte Mediterranean Brunch every Sunday from 11am to 4pm