72 Ribeye Steak
Morton's Of Chicago - The Steakhouse (main head picture)
4th floor, Mandarin Oriental Hotel,
5 Raffles Avenue,
Open: 5.30 to 11pm (Mondays to Saturdays), 5 to 10pm (Sundays)
The clubby atmosphere, the trolley with all the steaks displayed, the perfect martinis - there is something delightfully old-fashioned and comforting about dining at Morton's.
You know the steaks are going to be good. The restaurant is possibly the best place in Singapore to eat it, and that's saying something, with so many restaurants now catering to carnivores. Order the ribeye ($80 for a 470g behemoth) if you want good marbling, good flavour, and tenderness in a steak.
The restaurant uses grain-fed beef graded Prime and Choice by the United States Department of Agriculture. The meat is also wet aged under controlled temperatures for 21 to 28 days, to ensure tenderness.
Then it is broiled and arrives at the table with a good crust on top. Order it medium rare so you really get to taste the beef.
The meat slices off cleanly and with each mouthful, you get a good balance of seared crust and tender pink meat. It is almost impossible to finish the whole steak, so doggie bag it and make a steak sandwich out of what's left for a breakfast of champions the next day. THY
73 Wagyu Burger
Four Seasons Hotel,
190 Orchard Road,
Open: 6.30am to 10.30pm
Wagyu burgers suddenly popped onto the culinary scene here two years ago and now, every upmarket Western eatery wants to offer one.
But my favourite - and the one that is best value for money - is the wagyu burger ($59) at One-Ninety in Four Seasons Hotel.
You can choose to have it topped with foie gras or without. My advice is to have the works. The 200g chunk of Australian wagyu is hand-chopped to leave it juicy and still left with some bite. Then there is the plump slice of pan-fried foie gras to moisten it further. It also adds richness and a sinfully good flavour.
And to make it even more indulgent, there are slivers of black truffles as well.
All these are sandwiched within a lovely, soft bun. Take a big bite. That way, you get a bit of everything in the mouth. Then chew and enjoy. WAY
HSBC Premier MasterCard, Visa Platinum and Gold credit cardholders get 10 per cent off the food bill until June 30 2008.
74 Asian Blini
43 Jalan Merah Saga 01-70,
Open: 9am to 9pm. Last orders for lunch at 4.30pm
Lunching at the counter of Bunalun, an organic shop-cafe in Chip Bee Gardens, is always a pleasure. There is sunlight streaming in through the windows and doors, the staff are friendly and always on the menu is Asian Blini ($17), a light and delicious meal that will leave some room for dessert.
Some customers are so devoted to it that they order this signature dish every time they are there. You get several savoury pancakes dotted with black glutinous rice, with fresh pieces of panfried wild snapper in between. All of it sits on a thick, syrupy balsamic dressing, and the dish is topped off with salsa and salad leaves.
Everything goes together beautifully. The pancakes make a lovely mop for the sticky dressing and the salsa is great with the fish.
The dish was terribly, scarily spicy when it was first on the menu, but the chefs have tamed it a little since then. It still has a chilli kick, but not so much that you want to dunk your head in a bucket of water. THY
75 Large Flat Pasta with Bacon, Cabbage and Branzi Cheese
Marina Mandarin Singapore,
6 Raffles Boulevard,
Open: Noon to 2.30pm (Mondays to Fridays), 6.30 to 10.30pm (Mondays to Saturdays), Noon to 4pm (Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays)
Cheesy pastas always taste so good but they are also always very heavy.
Which is why this dish ($23) from Ristorante Bologna is such a good idea. The chef uses large homemade pasta sheets which the cheese does not cling to as heavily as it does to spaghetti or fettucine. That makes for a lighter dis and you can taste the pasta so much better.
Even more interesting is that besides chopped-up pieces of bacon, there are also shreds of cabbage in the sauce.
The crunch of the vegetable is such a nice surprise whenever you bite into it. WAY
HSBC credit cardholders get a free pasta for every three a la carte pastas ordered, until Nov 30 2007.
27 Tanjong Pagar Road,
Open: Noon to 2.30pm (Mondays to Fridays), 6.30 to 10.30pm (Mondays to Saturdays), closed on Sundays
Dogs with floppy ears are adorable. Ditto boy bands with floppy hair.
But floppy tiramisu ($14) is harder to find and all the more delectable.
At Oso Ristorante the other night, I was served a soft slice of tiramisu and my friend said approvingly: "I like the look of it. I like how it flops on the plate."
We liked the taste of it too. Satisfying but not too sweet, the tiers of flimsy liqueur-soaked cake and wispy mascarpone cheese really did melt in the mouth. FWW
HSBC credit cardholders get 15 per cent off the bill till Dec 31 2007. Valid for the first seating only.
77 Bosco Misto
Block 43 Jalan Merah Saga 01-62,
Open: 6 to 10.30pm (Mondays), 11.30am to 2.30pm, 6 to 10.30pm (Tuesdays to Fridays), 11.30am to 3pm & 6 to 10.30pm (weekends and public holidays)
In a restaurant I am always looking over my shoulder to see what others are being served. This is how I found the bosco misto ($25), a leafy tower of a dish I had overlooked on the menu of Singapore's sole Mediterranean vegetarian eatery, Original Sin.
The two thick discs of spinach, feta and tofu piled high on a plate, amid the greenery of rocket and asparagus spears, looked so good that I made a mental note to order this tall thing the next time.
I have since had it several times and it never disappoints. Chewy yet crumbly, the baked patties smell of melted cheese - of breakfast, really. Plum sauce adds a sweet note to the otherwise savoury dish. It might not be meaty by any stretch of the imagination but it will do. FWW
Menotti The Original Italian Cafe
01-17 Raffles City,
Open: 10am to 11pm (weekdays), 8am to midnight (weekends)
There are two kinds of desserts in the world - the kind that oozes and the kind that doesn't. And one of my favourite from the first kind is the Duomo ($5.50), a pastry by the Garibaldi Group's Menotti Italian Cafe & Bar.
At first sight and first taste, the Duomo seems to be just a mound of mascarpone and spicy cream on a base of sugar dough. It has a dark secret though: a chocolate centre that contains coffee sauce. As the sauce seeps out, the result is a most delicious, bittersweet mess. This is a dessert for adults. FWW
HSBC credit cardholders get 15 per cent off the food bill till Dec 31 2007.
79 Seafood Platter
6 Mohamed Sultan Road,
Open: Noon to 2.30pm, 6.30 to 10pm daily except Mondays
Everytime I go to Azhang, that quirky, hard-to-define restaurant in Mohamed Sultan Road, I end up sharing the seafood platter ($50.90) with two or three other friends. But secretly, I want the whole thing to myself. I sometimes stay up nights thinking about that large, juicy squid that is part of the platter.
Chef-owner Patrick Zhang bastes the monster in red wine and manages to keep it juicy and tender. You can taste the sweet freshness of the squid, and all that's needed is a drop of homemade sambal belacan to make a delicious mouthful. People used to over-cooked squid will take some time to adjust to it. The first time I had it, I thought it was under done. The two big grilled prawns are always very fresh and meaty, and tastes of good olive oil.
Then there's the fillet of salmon belly, grilled till the skin is delightfully crisp. The meat is flaky and rich - it is salmon belly after all. Just heavenly. Azhang's flavourful pilaf rice makes a good accompaniment, especially after some salmon oil has soaked into it, and there's a rough chopped tomato and onion salsa to provide some relief from the richness. THY
80 Cherry Jubilee
06-19 Far East Shopping Centre,
545 Orchard Road,
Open: Noon to 2.15pm,6.30 to 9.15pm
Desserts don't get fresher than this.
At the quaint Hainanese-owned Russian restaurant Shashlik, an elderly waiter or waitress wheels ingredients like butter, cherries and brandy to your table on a trolley, then assembles them in a flaming pan right before your eyes.
Classic cherry jubilee ($16 for two persons) is served: dark sweet cherries in swirls of a buttery brandied sauce, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The dessert is fruity, frosty, fiery and absolutely delicious. That butter in the sauce is a stroke of genius too. It takes the sting out of the alcohol blazing down to your stomach, leaving a creamy taste in your mouth. FWW
81 Laksa Pesto Linguine With Tiger Prawns and Quail's Egg
10A Upper Wilkie Road,
Open: Noon to 3pm & 6.30 to 11pm (Tuesdays to Saturdays), 11.30am to 3pm & 6.30 to 10.30pm (Sundays). Closed on Mondays
This dish has 'never remove from menu' written all over it. Chef Willin Low, who runs this charming restaurant at the top of Mount Emily, has become ever more confident in his cooking since he opened Wild Rocket in 2005.
He specialises in what he calls Modern Singapore cuisine and his laksa pesto ($17) sums it up very neatly - a Western dish given an interesting local twist.
In this case, fragrant, pungent, knock-your-socks-off laksa leaves are ground up into a pesto, tossed with linguine and topped with prawns and little quail's eggs. Other restaurants have done it, but Low's version is punchy and flavourful - the essence of laksa without the fattening coconut milk.
It helps that he keeps the dish simple, since nothing should - or can - compete with the pesto. The prawns and eggs look pretty on the plate but are not strictly necessary.
This is a dish you want to return to time and again, when the siren call of laksa calls out to you.
He'd better not take it off the menu. THY
HSBC credit cardholders get 5 per cent off the a la carte menu till Dec 31 2007.