Ash & Elm @ InterContinental SG

Scrumptious European dining at Ash & Elm.

For our latest quarterly dinner date, my church mate who shares the name of an evergreen climbing woody plant and I decided to go for European flair this time. That’s how we ended with Ash & Elm at InterContinental Singapore, which now occupies the space where the former (and rather good) Olive Tree restaurant used to be.

Decor was chic and elegant, and though the tables for two were small, the space however was comfy. After the waitress presented us with the menus, a waiter popped over to run us through the very extensive wine list comprising reds, whites, sparkling, champagnes and ports. Ash & Elm boasts three culinary theatres including a charcuterie and cheese room, wood-fired oven and an open charcoal-grill kitchen. The dinner menu thus comprises sections for charcuterie and cheese ($24-$60), wood-fired flatbreads ($22-$28), charcoal grill items ($39-$188) and a host of other meat and seafood items “from the pan” ($22-$69), plus good selections of hors d’oeuvres, salads, soups, sides and desserts.

Thought the restaurant was trying to match the water with the nice cosy chairs!

The first thing we were attracted to was the “non mineral nor sparkling” water they served us – whether warm and cold, it was a lovely blue! When asked, our server told us that the color comes from the butterfly pea flower which is said to have loads of antioxidants and health benefits for the body. Apparently the hotel was taking part in Singapore International Water Week 2019 and offering a healthy alternative for serving water was one of their contributions. Well, that’s rather ingenious I must say!

Super cool bread basket.

We thought of trying one of their hand-crafted, sourdough-based flatbreads but was quickly told that for every table, a bread basket will be provided. And what a great basket it was, there were five different types of yummy bread—the chewy mini-baguette was my fave—with portions enough for two, served with salted and seaweed butter. (So good I actually contemplate coming on my own next time and maybe just have a small charcuterie and cheese platter along with this bread basket!)

A carnivore’s delight: the Ash & Elm Platter.

Except that even a regular charcuterie and cheese platter is way too much for one person (unless you really, really enjoy chewing lots and lots of meat!) We had a regular sized Ash & Elm Platter ($28/$48 for large) which comprises house-cured beef pastrami, house-smoked pork loin, air-dried pork belly, cold-roasted beef and pressé de foie gras with smoked duck. Every item was delicious in its own way but the platter was seriously big enough for a party of four. Went very well with the wonderful bread though and I kinda regretted not ordering a red wine to go with all these great red meat.

Love it when chefs put effort to make a dish look pretty.

Knowing the platter will have a lot of beef and pork—plus the fact that most of really nice sounding meat items (especially the steaks) were a tad expensive—we went for chicken for our second dish. The French free-range yellow chicken breast a la basquaise ($34) was alright — tasty but nothing out of the extraordinary. Top marks though go to its presentation and the delicious Basmati pilaf rice and sweet cherry tomatoes.

Seasonal Vegetables Persillade

For our “healthy” bit, we opted for a side of Seasonal Vegetables Persillade ($10) which is really “side dish” sized (read: not meant for a vegetarian meal). Still, it had a good mix of veggies including sweet corn, carrot, broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower, and long bean. Other choices for sides include homemade ratatouille ($10) and sauteed mushrooms ($10).

All in all, we really had an enjoyable time at Ash & Elm, definitely one of our most satisfying dinners. As we decided we needed a walk and will have coffee and dessert elsewhere, the total came up to about $85 which is decent for what we ordered. Will definitely come back again to try other items, especially the other charcuterie and cheese platters — and to enjoy that bread basket again!

Ash & Elm is at Level 1, InterContinental Singapore, 80 Middle Road, S(188966). Breakfast: 6-10.30am daily; Lunch: 12pm-3pm (Mon to Sat); Sunday Champagne Brunch 12pm-3pm (Sundays); Dinner: 6-10.30pm daily.

Advertisements

Tasmania’s Finest @ SKIRT at W SG

Tasmania’s finest produce will be showcased in a seasonal menu takeover at
SKIRT @ W Singapore from now till 21 April.

Besides lush World heritage wilderness and stunning coastlines, Tasmania is renowned for their fine grub and grog. This ranges from grass-fed beef to quality cheeses, from prized black truffles to award-winning whiskeys.

It was thus with glee that Musings on the M49 accepted an invite to savor some of the Australian island-state’s finest produce at an UnDiscover Tasmania event held at SKIRT @ W Singapore last week. In conjunction with Tourism Tasmania, SKIRT will host an exclusive Tasmania’s Finest seasonal menu takeover from now till 21 April 2019.

Besides food, the event also showcased a range of Tasmania’s finest wines, whiskey, champagnes, gin and beer. I started with a Josef Chromy Pinot Noir 2016, a medium-bodied red wine, with notes of berries and spice. It complimented the slice of goat cheese cake I had very well!

Next, I tried the Elderflower Gin and Tonic, comprising Van Diemen’s Gin from Lawrenny Estate (located in Tasmania’s Central Highlands) and Ashbolt Elderflower Concentrate. It was light, breezy and refreshing, just apt for the blazing hot weather we’ve been having of late!

First on the list of the Tasmania’s Finest Grazing Menu is Lentara Groves Olives. Lentara Grove is one of the oldest olive groves in Tasmania and produces quality products such as extra virgin olive oil.

Next up was the Cape Grim Beef Tartar. Located along north-western Tasmania, Cape Grim reportedly has the cleanest air in the world. Not sure how much it affects the cattle raised there but this beef tartar was tender and its taste enhanced by the well-made crispy egg yolk.

Spring Bay, located on the eastern coast of Tasmania, is famous for its fresh seafood and this Spring Bay Mussels Pot was simply the bomb! Stewed in a tomato broth, the mussels were small but oh so tender and juicy. Easily one of the best dishes of the night!

I popped the next item, the TAS-SAFF Saffron Arancini with truffle aioli, into my mouth before taking a decent picture of it. So all I could tell you is that it was really good – crunchy and flavorful, just like this lovely foccacia bread which, alas, is not on the grazing menu.

Halfway through I decided it was time for a Tasmanian beer. Moo Brew Pilsner is styled like a German Pilsner, with a good mix of hops and malts, fruity aroma and a slight bitter aftertaste. Light and refreshing, went very well with various food. Brand owned by David Walsh, the man behind the famous MONA (Museum of Old and New Art).

Tasmania though is foremost famous for its whiskey. The Apple Isle is Australia’s biggest whiskey producer and Sullivans Cove is among its best brands. Its Single Cask Malt Whiskey was smooth, rich and full-bodied, great on the rocks and even better if you drink it neat.

The grazing menu has two choices for mains. The Cape Grim Shortribs, grilled with smoked garlic and red wine sauce, was meaty yet tender, and tasted better with the brown gravy it came with and even more so if you drink a good whiskey along with it!

The other main, the Petunia Ocean Trout En Croute with wasabi beurre blanc, was a pure delight. The fish was velvety and favorful, and you won’t stop till you finished every bite. The Josef Chromy Sparkling 2011 champagne, which has strong green apple notes (too fruity for my taste), went well with this dish.

The mains also came with sides including juicy grilled baby carrots, tarragon curd, grilled broccolini and gratin potatoes (left) which was really nice.

Last but by no means least, the dessert came in the form of a Golden Gay Time comprising dark chocolate, Dolce De Leche ice cream, honeycomb and nuts, which offered an explosive burst of sweet flavors that was simply heavenly. Everyone agreed that it was a great sweet way to end the evening.

So if you enjoy great food or have always wanted to check out food produce from Tasmania (especially fresh sustainably sourced meats, seafood and other stuff), do check out SKIRT’s Tasmania’s Finest seasonal menu takeover. The special grazing menu, priced at SGD85+++ per person, will be on till 21 April 2019.

SKIRT is at W Singapore, Sentosa Cove 21 Ocean Way, Singapore 98374. Tel: +6568087278. Opening hours: Sat 12pm-3pm; Sun-Thu 6pm-11.30pm (last food order at 9.30pm); Fri, Sat, Eve of Public Holidays & Public Holidays: 6pm-12am (last food order at 10.30pm).

Fat Belly @ Serene Centre

Fat Belly, a wine and steak place, is nestled within ice cream parlor, Sugarhaus.

Last month, after conducting a full day’s media training, I decided to treat myself to a hearty steak dinner. But where should I go for a jolly good one? “Go to the one in an ice cream shop at Serene Centre,” cooed my training partner. Sorry, come again? She wasn’t kidding. Goodness know how many times I’ve eaten at Serene Centre in Farrer Road – ‘cos that’s where our dear friend always dropped me on route to her home – but I never knew there is a steak place called Fat Belly hidden inside Sugarhaus!

Even so, I almost bypassed it again ‘cos Sugarhaus still and always looked totally like an ice cream parlour inside and out. Upon a closer check however, yes you can see a kitchen with a narrow counter behind the ice cream counter with a sign on the wall saying “Fat Belly”. The counter was full that Monday evening but diners are allowed to sit at the Sugarhaus tables.

Roasted Spiced Sweet Potato

Fat Belly’s menu is simple. The Charcoal Grill selection has only three items – Angus Flat Iron Steak (USDA 150day Grain Fed, $22); Angus Short Rib Steak (USDA Grain Fed, $25); and Wagyu Marble Score 4-5 Onglet Steak ($38), and each paired with a recommended glass of wine ($12-$15). Add $13 and you can include a side ($5) such as Creamed Kale or Sauteed Thyme Mushroom and a dessert ($12) such as Foie Gras Panna Cotta and Sticky Date Pudding. For dinner, there’s an “Alternative Experience” ($78) which includes items such as a beef steak, beef char siew, mini beef burger and a sweet. I assume the special menu entry was for groups to share as they down wines as the drinks selection is primarily red and white wines (from $9/glass to $90/bottle).

After the waitress confirmed that the steaks come “only with a little asparagus”, I ordered a side of roasted spiced sweet potato ($5) to go with my main course. And though Alamos Malbec 2016 from Argentina ($12/glass) is recommended as a good pairing for the beef item I chose, I opted for a glass of Victoria Park Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 ($9/glass), a South Australian wine richly flavored with notes of spice and berries.

The absolutely succulent, juicy Angus Flat Iron Steak.

The main course didn’t take long to arrive and though the dish was very simply presented with just gravy and three miserable albeit crunchy sticks of asparagus, the Angus Flat Iron Steak ($22) cooked medium rare was absolutely tender, succulent and oozing with juice. It was arguably the best steak I’ve ever eaten for quite some time! Needless to say, I really took my time to chew and savor each slice as long as I can.

It was certainly a satisfying meal to end a tiring day. The bill came up to $42++ which is decent for a steak-and-wine dinner. Will definitely make a return to try the other items.

Fat Belly is at 10 Jalan Serene, #01-04 Serene Centre (within Sugarhaus), Singapore 258748. For reservations, call 6314 2247.

Komyuniti @ Yotel Singapore

Celebrating Renri @ Komyuniti

When a bunch of my mates from TV days decided to meet for Chinese New Year, we didn’t realized that we had chosen Renri or Yan Yat – the 7th day of the Lunar New Year – to meet. So, auspicious it was when we all gathered to celebrate “everyone’s birthday” at Komyuniti, nestled on the 10th floor of Yotel hotel (next to the swimming pool) in the heart of Orchard Road.

We lo hei with a yu sheng of a different kind!

Slick and modern with a full bar, Komyuniti was also chosen for its central location and the fact that it serves yu sheng. The CNY raw fish dish ($28.80/small) was very unique though as it had many substitutes for the traditional ingredients. For the main salad base, besides carrot and cucumber, there were also purple lettuce, yellow bell pepper, beetroot and spinach. And instead of peanuts and crackers, it was rice krispies and crispy fish skin. There was even sunflower seeds and a yuzu dressing for good measure! You probably could call it an “angmo” version – it definitely had a different taste but overall, along with the thick slices of salmon, it served its purpose of auspiciously kicking off our dinner date. (And belated apologies to the hotel guest diners as we lo hei at the top of our voices when we tossed for good fortune in the Year of the Pig!)

[If you need help with Lo Hei Phrases, check out my blog post “Lo Hei Phrases 101”.]

Sharing Plates Galore

Komyuniti’s food menu comprises a wide selection of appetizers, bar bites, small plates and big plates for sharing, while its drink menu has an extensive range of wines, cocktails, spirits, house craft beers and hot beverages. As there were nine of us, we opted to order a few bar bites and small versions of the big plates to share, whilst the one vegetarian among us ordered his preferred dishes though the waiter did offer to make a Beef Bolognese for him without the beef bits which was nice of them.

The Shoestring Fries with Rosemary Garlic ($9) was the first to arrive, and they were crispy and lovely. The portions are probably meant for 2-3 pax to share so if you have a bigger group, you will need at least two orders. We made do by first limiting each one to 6 fries, before extending it to 12 each…

Next up was the Crab Rillette ($14) which is delicious chill crab “pate” on rice krispies. Very nice even after having to halve each piece so all of us can have a bite.

The Charred Kailan ($10) with caramalised onion puree, fried ginger and garlic chips, was… fascinating. Not sure if the ginger was too overpowering but the kailan took a while to get used to but at the end, it was a nice veggie dish to have.

All the big plates have snack portions. This is the mini version of the Buttermilk Fried Chicken ($13) served in a sweet potato mash. It was nice and a fancy way of serving chicken nuggets you could say.

The Roasted Pork Belly ($10/snack) was my favorite though. Succulent with crispy skin and served with potatoes, green apple and brussel sprouts, it was a dish which I wished I didn’t have to share! A big plate would be too much for one though.

The snack version of the Pan Seared Snapper ($9) could be a main course on its own really. Meat was tasty and would probably be even better if eaten with rice.

Talking about rice, the mini Teriyaki Rice Bowl ($9) complete with egg could also be a main course on its own. This dish is hard to share, like, what can we do with the egg but to mesh it with the rice? But the chicken was tasty and the Japanese rice chewy and fragrant.

The Slow Roasted Duck Breast ($10/snack) with braised red cabbage and carrot puree was another nice meat dish. But between this and the roasted pork belly, I prefer the latter.

Presentation of all the dishes were great except for this one so much so we thought it was ordered by our vegetarian friend (hee hee). Luckily, the waiter quickly informed us that it’s actually the mini Beef Bolognese ($9) with beef in it. Ah-so! Well, it’s a flavorful pasta and the portion is just nice for a snack.

We also ordered a Waldorf Salad ($11), which was alright except the green apple slices were like, whoa, utterly soaked in balsamic vinegar or something which utterly woke up everyone who ate a slice! Our vegetarian friend ordered a Beetroot Salad ($11) which is seemingly a Waldorf with, er, beetroot. Just realized that the salads are more expensive than the meat snack items. Hmm…

Last but no means least, our friend also ordered a plate of fried Padron Peppers ($9) which were not “hot” but deliciously sweet and yummy.

So stuffed we were we decided to forgo dessert (of which there ar but three items) and coffee/tea. All in all, the bill came up to about $180, which means just $20 per person. Extremely worth it as the food was good and the place has great ambience. Komyuniti is areat place for powwows with friends and associates alike. Will certainly make a return.

Komyuniti is at 366 Orchard Road, Level 10 Yotel Singapore.
Opening hours: 6.30am-12am (Sun-Thu); 6.30am-1am (Fri & Sat)

Xiao Ya Tou @ Duxton Hill

Asian delights at Xiao Ya Tou. [All Photos by Marguerita Tan]

During a full-day offsite office retreat with the company I part-time with, lunch was at this quaint restaurant bar located at Duxton Hill. Xiao Ya Tou, Chinese for “little rebel or imp”, is a cool eatery offering new twists to popular Asian dishes.

A mixed of old and modern decor at Xiao Ya Tou.

It was evident that the owners made much effort to make the place look like a bar from the ’60s / ’70s by bedecking the walls with replicas of old-fashioned beer posters, calendar girls, album covers, iconic figures such as Lao Fu Tze and Hong Kong singer Sam Hui, and classic soda pop bottles like Green Spot.

Xiao Ya Tou’s lunch menu is a simple, colorful 1-pager highlighting rice and noodle items, small plates, sweets, a range of coffees, and weekend brunch offerings (Sat, Sun and PH only).

Crispy Otak-Otak rolls

As there was a whole bunch of us, we decided to share dishes. First up were the small plates and we kicked off with this delightful Crispy Otak-Otak Rolls ($14) which was super crispy, spicy and yummy.

Gu Gu’s Ngoh Hiang

Next up was the equally crispy albeit a tad more meaty that is Gu Gu’s Ngoh Hiang ($15, literally translated “Auntie’s Five Spices”) which is minced meat, prawns and water chestnut wrapped in beancurd skin and deep fried. Absolutely lovely especially after dipping in sweet black sauce.

Mapo Tofu

Unlike the two small plates above, the Mapo Tofu, tasty as it may be, is not something you can eat as a snack or appetizer. With the tofu stewed in a spice bean paste with greens and enoki, this item is– as recommended by the menu–best eaten with jasmine white rice ($2 a bowl).

XYT Hokkien Mee

If you are not a big eater, just zoom in straight to the rice and noodles items which Xiao Ya Tou is arguably most famous for and are rather substantial portions for one person. Their XYT Hokkien Mee ($20, aka stir-fry prawn noodles) is a pure delight. Yellow noodles are wok-charred with big prawns, clams, baby cuttlefish, egg, smoked pancetta, spicy prawn paste and pork broth. So good that it was the one item that most of us wished we weren’t sharing!

Other fascinating dishes in this section include XYT Lu Ru Fan (aka braised Waygu beef on rice, $20), Chilli Crab Mee Goreng ($18) and KL Hokkien Black Noodles ($17).

Soy Sauce Chicken

This rather large Soy Sauce Chicken ($19), served with egg, cucumber, shaoxing wine, Chinese spices, and soy ginger sauce, was surprisingly considered a small plate. The sauce was lovely but the meat could have been more tenderized.

One meat dish that was really good is the Hakka Deep-Fried Pork ($19) cooked with black rice vinegar ketchup and crispy garlic. So good that every piece was snatched up before I could take a decent photo of it! Oh well, as long as it’s happily in my tummy…

Stir-fried Seasonal Greens.

Of course, we just have to have the obligatory vegetable dish which is the Stir-Fried Seasonal Greens ($15) that the Chef apparently will surprise you with his own personal pick of the season. The chai sim and bean sprouts combo we had, sprinkled with fried onion, was crunchy and delicious (and much better when eaten with white rice).

Old Master Lao Fu Tze gets his own gallery space.

As there were other events on the day’s agenda, we didn’t have time to check out their desserts like Coconut Tau Huay ($8) and Glutinous Rice Ball ($9), or their extensive range of cocktails, mocktails and special drinks like chendol or coconut.

Well, at least that gives us a reason to patronize Xiao Ya Tou again and try their other dishes. Nice place for both small or big groups–our 15-strong troupe split into two tables–and especially if you are into delicious well-cooked Chinese dishes.

Xiao Ya Tou is at 6 Duxton Hill #01-01, Singapore 089592.
Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 12pm to 11pm; Fri 12pm to 12am; Sat 10am to 12am; and Sun 10am to 5pm.

Long Beach @ Stevens

Long Beach Chili Crab

Long Beach’s Famous Chili Crab Is Still Da Bomb. [Dish Display Photo by  Marguerita Tan]

Whenever anyone asks for good seafood restaurant recommendations, Long Beach is often than not among the top three choices. My food pals and I used to go all the way to East Coast Seafood Centre just for Long Beach, before the relatively more convenient Dempsey outlet became our favorite. It was at a Dine @ Stevens media event that we learnt that Long Beach now has a new outlet at 30 Stevens Road (located to the far left of Hotel Mercure). Musings on the M49 was invited for a media tasting and to say that yours truly couldn’t wait to check out the new outlet was an understatement.

Long Beach @ Stevens is relatively small compared to their other outlets but it has an elegant, pristine look that one would expect of a restaurant within a hotel property. My foodie buddy and I were led to a side stall table which was cool as it has a reflective wall which was very handy for us to check whether we had food bits or sauces on our faces every now and then! Before the dishes were served, our drink orders were taken and seafood-feasting essentials such as paper aprons, plastic gloves and finger bowls were readily provided.

20181102_125022 (640x640)The first dish served was the Golden Stripe Lobster, which is basically Canadian lobster stir-fried with sweet cereal flakes. The thick meaty flesh was extremely fresh and succulent, coming off the shell easily, and the flakes were so crispy that we were happily spooning it and eating it on its own.

20181102_125615 (640x640)The Popular Chili Crab was up next and seriously this is and has always been Long Beach’s star item. Besides the fact that huge, fresh Sri Lankan crabs are used, it is the magnificent gravy that has the right amount of tomato and chili – not too sweet, not too hot – that make this one of Singapore’s most popular dishes. We have eaten at many different seafood places—from restaurants to hawker zi char stalls—and truly Long Beach’s chili crab is still arguably the best.

As we were plowing through the crab, we were actually asked by the manager if we’d like them to peel the crab meat for us. We were rather puzzled ‘cos this was the first time we heard of such a service but—just like durian is more enjoyable when you eat it off the shell and not from a styrofoam box—we politely declined as one of the joys of eating chili or pepper crab is to dig out the meat directly from its shell with your mouth and hands (and preferably without gloves)!

Of course another joy of eating chili crab is lapping up the delicious gravy with either Fried or Steam Buns, or white rice if you are a “fan tong” (Cantonese for “rice bucket”; also slang for “idiot”.) I’m a “fan tong” but when it comes to chili crab, it’s mantou for me and I’m glad the buns served are not the mini ones but decently medium-sized and served warm, soft and yummy.

20181102_125924 (640x640)As if being deep-fried and smothered in a thick rich pepper sauce isn’t enough, the Famous Black Pepper Crab, another Long Beach signature dish, was actually served with an extra bowl of black pepper sauce. The manager explained that when customers request for the crab meat to be peeled for them, the extra pepper sauce is used to pour over the meat. Ah-so. Well, the pepper on the crab was already sharp and robust enough and we were more than happy to eat it the old fashioned way—with our hands. Of course if you are having a business meeting or other important meet-ups, asking for the meat to be peeled is probably a good idea ‘cos chili/pepper crab eating can get rather messy as you know.

20181102_135737 (640x640)Last but not least, we came to the “health part” – a vegetable dish in the form of Claypot Mushrooms with Baby Cabbage, which is a delicious combo even for this carnivore. It’s definitely a change from our usual choice of stir-fried kangkong or kailan.

Most of the dishes served are quite big portions, so having a companion or two to share is probably a must unless you have a huge appetite. Besides the usual seafood suspects, other specialties at Long Beach @ Stevens include Thai Emperor Prawn, BBQ Live Golden Phoenix Fish, Live Canadian Geoduck, and Classic White Pepper Alaskan King Crab. Most items have fixed prices but some are priced at market rates, so be sure to ask for a rough estimate of the seafood item before ordering.

20181102_122452 (640x640)Usually I would have beer with seafood but as it was lunch time, I decided to go with lime juice instead which I kinda regret immediately as it was a tad too sour for my taste but as I was so focused on eating, I kept forgetting to ask for sugar syrup. My pal went for a coconut which was a better choice especially when half-way through, the offer to “dig out the meat” for her was given. Needless to say, she readily said “Yes!” A coconut is always good as it is like a refreshing drink and sweet dessert rolled into one.

Besides the great food, the service at Long Beach @ Stevens is also top-notch, rather outstanding for a Chinese restaurant. Our plates were replaced at regular intervals, water topped up without our asking, and a waitress was thoughtful enough to give us straws for the water glasses so that our hands would be free to tackle the food. Every effort was made to ensure that diners are as comfortable as possible as they tackle the art of eating crab, which is very good service as far as we are concerned.

So, good to know that there is now a Long Beach in town that we can consider if our regular go-to outlet at Dempsey is packed. It’s definitely a nice place for big friends or family gatherings, or an intimate chow-down with a fellow seafood-loving friend.

Long Beach @ Stevens is at 30 Stevens Road #01-10 (next to Hotel Mercure on Stevens), Singapore 257840. Opens daily 11am-3pm / 5pm-12am. Tel: 6445 8833 or email one@longbeachfood.com.sg

 

East Meets West In Bonchon’s New Menu

20181017_185123 (640x408)Mention Bonchon and your K-food loving friends will sure to say, “Yummy fried chicken!” Well, the popular Korean restaurant, in Singapore since 2011, aims to be known for more than just that when they roll out a new menu by end October. This includes a selection of new “East-meets-West” fusion items, as well as a host of new novelty drinks, that will offer diners more variations of K-food delights at their outlets.

Musings on the M49 was hence delighted to be invited to the media tasting of their new menu items held earlier this week at Bonchon’s Boat Quay outlet.

When East Meets West

2018-10-17 20.28.39 (640x640)What happens when an Italian rice ball meets a Korean rice ball? You get Breaded Kimchi Rice Balls ($7.90), that’s what! This was a lovely mash-up. Crisp and crunchy on the outside, and the kimchi-flavored rice within was tasty and yummy.

Another newbie is the Bonchon Sliders. The Trio Sliders ($12.90) comprising mini deep-fried chili crab, beef and chicken mantou burgers, has a great story behind it. It’s meant to commemorate the presidential Trump-Kim summit held in Singapore on June 12, 2018 – chicken is North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, beef is Trump, while chili crab represents Singapore. Well, out of the three, Singapore wins hands down. The chili crab slider was the yummiest, crunchy and juicy with a lovely homemade chili crab sauce. Which is why it’s great that you can actually order the Chili Crab Sliders separately ($10.90/2 pcs). If you really prefer chicken, beef or mixed, then go for the Turf Duo Sliders ($9.90/2 pcs).

We also got to try out some of the new drinks on the menu which comprise flavored ice teas and sodas, as well as alcoholic fruit-mixed sujotos. To kick off, we had the Pear & Passionfruit Iced Tea ($5.50) which also includes doses of chamomile, a very refreshing and not-too-sweet drink to kick off one’s meal. Meanwhile, another bite-sized East-meets-West item is the Beef Meatballs ($8.90/6 pcs) which tasted like western beef meatballs except with a distinct dash of Korean bulgogi sauce.

2018-10-17 20.28.28 (640x629)One of the fascinating new items is the Truffle Cream Tteokbokki ($15.90), which is definitely inspired by European cuisine with the tteokbokki (Korean rice cake) being sauteed with shimeji and shiitake mushrooms, onion and truffle cream. I’s a very rich dish which is probably best shared unless you thoroughly enjoyed tteokbokki mixed with loads of mushrooms in a rich creamy sauce!

K-Stew (No, not Kristen Stewart) Delights
2018-10-17 19.15.37 (640x581)Next on the tasting menu were a trio of Korean stews. First up we had the Bonchon version of the very popular Andong Jjimdak Chicken ($15.90/$29.90), which comprises pieces of braised chicken stewed with vegetables such as carrots and potatoes, and marinated in a ganjang (Korean soy sauce) base broth. A tad spicy, the combination was delicious and would be even more satisfying if there was white rice to go with it!

2018-10-17 19.16.06 (640x555)If you prefer your chicken to be even spicier, then go for the, er, Spicy Chicken ($15.90/$29.90) which is chunky chicken with potatoes and carrots braised in a spicy reddish Korean sauce. It was a tasty dish although the Andong Jjimdak probably win out a tad bit in terms of unique taste.

2018-10-17 19.15.25 (620x640)Last but not least, there’s the not-exactly-new Budae Jjigae or Army Stew ($29.90) which has always been a popular item at Bonchon. A  post-war Korean novelty dish that uses leftover army rations such as sausage, luncheon meat, kimchi and tofu, the Bonchon version includes chicken, tteokbokki, egg noodles and string mushrooms. Needless to say, it’s a dish that needs to be shared with an “army” of friends or those with big appetites.

2018-10-17 19.14.52 (640x636)We ended our meal with the Summer Sojuto ($12), which is pineapple, peach, mint mixed with a shot of soju (Korean distilled spirit) which is available in bottle form ($18) as well. A refreshing soothing alcoholic drink that will probably hit you a bit after you finish a jarful, it was a good way to end a good meal.

Other dishes on Bonchon’s refreshing new menu include rice items such as Bibimbap and Bonchon Kimchi Fried Rice, noodles such as cheese or spicy ramyeon, and Bites such as luncheon meat fries, friend mandu (Korean dumplings), and seafood pancake. And not forgetting of course, their famous fried chicken and special sauces.

Bonchon’s new menu is currently available at its Compass One and Northpoint City outlets, while the Boat Quay and Bugis+ outlets will carry it from October 29, 2018.