From Cassia to the Knolls, the Christmas feasts begin at Capella!

We had been invited to dine at Chef’s Table tonight, hidden within the upscale hotel the Capella on Sentosa, apart from the hustle and bustle of the mainland. When we walked into the small room which contained the entirety of the kitchen and a long table that only sat 24 guests, I didn’t feel like I had just entered a restaurant. I felt like I was in the chef’s house. I could smell the food the chefs were cooking a few metres away from me as Michael Bublé’s Christmas album played in the background.

We were here tonight to sample a few of the dishes that were going to be available for Capella’s Christmas and New Year menus at their various restaurants: The Knolls, with Mediterranean-style cuisine; Cassia, their Chinese specialty restaurant, and also their festive sweets.

They were really proud of their seasonal cocktail from Bob’s Bar, the Christmas Carol ($22++): a refreshing cocktail mixed with inhouse Navegante rum from Barbados and champagne. They had also mounted a slice of pear on the edge of the glass and sprinkled ground cinnamon on it, so when the glass is brought to the lips, the nose catches a whiff of the spice straight away.

From the starters for the Knolls Christmas Eve & Day Lunch, they gave us the well-crafted Pink Pepper Caramelised Foie Gras Mi-Cuit. A thin strip of mashed pineapple is shaped around a round slice of foie gras terrine. Sugar is sprinkled on top, then promptly blowtorched. The sugar sizzled, bubbled, and darkened into a deep purple colour as the flames danced on top of the foie gras. The fragrance of burnt sugar wafted into the air. The result is like a crème brûlée: a soft savoury foie gras base with a thin crisp covering of hardened caramel. The pineapple was soft, sweet with a subtle tartness. Whole pink peppers were added to be eaten with the foie gras. When cracked, it doesn’t burn the tongue, but releases an atomic hint of floral spice. A painted stripe of dark brown sauce adds a sweet and salty element.

The next thing to be served was something from the main course of the Knolls Christmas menu, the Halibut Confit with Citrus Junos. The halibut is sweet and uniform in its perfect doneness, not flaky or powdery, but soft and fleshy. It paired well with a creamy hollandaise-style sauce made of lemon, butter, and fish juices. Plated together with the fish was the Pumpkin and Corn Gnocchi, a separate option on the same menu. These orange molded balls of a pumpkin and corn mash had the comforting texture of a scone.

From the Cassia New Year’s Eve and Day Dinner, we were treated to the Braised Bird’s Nest with Crabmeat. A small island of shredded crab meat tops a foundation of bird’s nest, surrounded by a sea of thick, chicken and pork bone broth. A few eggs of fish roe round the dish completes the experience with bursts of saltiness. I love the creativity of using bird’s nest away from its traditional usage in a sweet cold dessert in a warm soup instead. The texture of bird’s nest resembles that of shark’s fin minus the guilt, so when your soup crumbles the island into the soup and everything is eaten together, it reminds one of the pleasant times eating warm shark’s fin soup at special occasions with the family.

I was gladly surprised by the succulence of Capella’s tandoori-style Exquisite Turkey. It’s a Christmas turkey with a twist: the bird is seasoned and marinated with classic masala flavours and roasted inside an actual tandoori oven. The result is a turkey that is more juicy and tender than the typical roast turkey. Served alongside is a tasty stuffing doused with fragrant truffle oil, spicy green chutney, and roasted root vegetables.

You’ll have a chance to taste it as well at the Festive Open House at Chef’s Table on 24 November and 9 December 2018. If you purchase it on 24 November, you get a 10% early bird discount of the usual $138++ for the whole turkey, which is still available for orders after 24 November.

The evening is brought to a sweet close by a panoply of sweet delights taken from Capella’s Festive Afternoon Tea. From the moment I touched the chilled plate, I knew that Capella’s efforts in giving the best dining experience extended even to the desserts. The Pecan and Pistachio Carrot Cake was adorable with a carrot-shaped almond-flavoured icing.

The Hazelnut Praline Tart is best enjoyed whole by biting the thin praline case to release the flowy chocolate ganache inside. Vanilla Chantilly Slice with Raspberry Preserve and Lemon Zest Biscuit is a delicious combination of sweet and sour on a soft sponge cake. The Chestnut Cheesecake is royal on top with a gold flakes, but hides a down-to-earth chestnut core inside. And the Almond Marzipan Stollen: it’s like a cold-served slice of thick bread, and it’s sweet and crunchy with marzipan sugar.

These sweet treats — and more — will be available for Capella’s Festive Afternoon Tea from 3-31 December 2018.

As we were eating our dessert, musicians were brought in to serenade us with a joyous rendition of ‘Feliz Navidad’, which got our Spanish chef de cuisine Ignacio Moreno dancing and singing along. Great food plated with love, with a convivial atmosphere; it certainly felt like Christmas at Capella.


The food tasted today comes from Capella’s various seasonal offerings from November to December: the Festive Open House, Christmas Eve and Day Lunch and Dinner at Cassia and The Knolls, Christmas Afternoon Tea at Chef’s Table, and many more. See the full list here.

We thank Capella for the invitation.

Capella Singapore
1 The Knolls

Sentosa Island
Singapore 098297

Cassia (Website link)
The Knolls (Website link)
Bob’s Bar (Website link)
Chef’s Table (Website link)

When Skyve-ing Is A Very Good Thing

As MRT stations go, Newton is an oft-overlooked one, even though it’s an interchange station between the North-South and Downtown Lines. Nestled in a fairly quiet neighbourhood without high-density housing estates, it’s usually more associated with its eponymous hawker centre (though, tourists beware).

However, just a few minutes walk away from the station sits the hidden gem that is Skyve Wine Bistro. Helmed by the Le Cordon Bleu-trained Executive Chef Jachin Tan, it’s recently launched a new revamped menu of modern bistro fare to go along with its recent facelift.

Stepping into the compound at 10 Winstedt Road, you get a sense of calm already: it’s tucked away enough to make this a wonderful date spot, or a weekend recharge hideaway. But that’s not enough, of course. If we’re here to eat, then the spotlight must be on the food.

And shine the food does. Chef Jachin’s new menu hits the sweet spot: it’s produce-driven, and I often found it hard to figure out what sort of cuisine this was. But that’s not a bad thing, since he’s not limited by a single culinary tradition, and so the quality of the produce really shines through.

Smoked Tomato: Who cares what cuisine this is, if it’s this good?

One example of this is the Smoked Tomato ($12++). Featuring Momotaro tomatoes from the Cameron Highlands, with buffalo snow, heart of palm and a basil sorbet. The tomato is slow-smoked, and together with the heart of palm, really bursts with flavour that is complemented by the buffalo snow. What then rounds it off nicely is the refreshing sorbet: I’ve never quite been a basil person, but this was a surprising pairing that I really enjoyed!

Mediterranean Octopus: My only regret is that an octopus only has eight tentacles.

Another appetizer that went really well with me was the Mediterranean Octopus ($18++). Pickled eggplant, vandouvan (a French derivative of masala spices) and cauliflower puree accompanied this dish. The octopus was chewy but not tough, and its char-grilled flavour was absolutely delicious. This was one of the best octopus I’ve had in a while, because most places either deliver on the flavour, but produce tough octopus, or a wonderful texture but slightly lacklustre flavour.

Beef Tartare: A French classic with a twist.

But not everything here is all new and fancy: Chef Jachin delivered in the Beef Tartare ($18++) a French classic. But of course, as you probably can figure out by now, he’s not the sort to not mix things up a bit: this came with miso-cured egg yolk, shallot dust and gherkin gelee. Beef tartare is hard to get right, if only because most people aren’t that used to the gamey taste of raw beef. But here, the grass-fed Australian beef takes centre-stage, with just a hint of truffle to get the heady aroma. The miso-cured egg yolk contrasts the flavours wonderfully, a bit of beef, a bit of egg yolk, and you start to believe that perhaps you could live a life of food untouched by fire at all.

Lobster Sang Mee: If it means something to the chef, you can bet it’ll taste very good.

You can’t live off appetisers, of course, even if these are that good. So we move on to the mains: first up is a childhood classic of the chef, a Lobster Sang Mee ($32++). No one really expects a zi char dish to show up in a chic bistro, but I’m not complaining if it’s as good as how he does it. With egg drop soup, mussels, and “abalone” (actually a type of mushroom), the dish is intensely homey, but the lobster and the plating remind you that this is quite a step up beyond what you’ll get at your friendly neighbourhood coffee shop. Clearly, never underestimate a chef when he prepares a dish that is emotionally important to him!

Smoked Tenderloin: A garden, with soil, greens, and an animal I could eat over and over again.

Continuing on the smoked theme, I had the Smoked Tenderloin ($38++). Now, it comes with gobo, braised shiitake and truffle soil, but these are merely the accompaniment to the real star: the excellent meat on offer. It is juicy, and the smoking has clearly managed to lock in the flavours, with a depth of taste that I find difficult to describe in words. Maybe it’s the smoking, maybe it’s the quality of the meat already, but this was quite the tour de force. What added a lot of joy to my dining here was the way the other ingredients came in to play: the braised shiitake offered incredibly earthy tastes that contrasted with the meatiness of the tenderloin, and the truffle soil was just excellent mash. I am very picky about my mash, since potato can be boring if you don’t do it right, but I had zero complaints here.

Semifreddo of Lime: Nothing done halfway here in this semifreddo; wholly goodness.

A meal that begins this well, carries this well through the mains, must also end well. To this end, I enjoyed the two options available: a light and refreshing Semifreddo of Lime ($10++) and the simpler but richer Molten Chocolate ($12++). The semifreddo comes with a lovely aesthetic, using blue pea flower caviar, alongside a distinctively floral treat from the crumbly sable that gave depth to the lime notes of the ice cream. Texture-wise, the dessert developed over the time it took to eat it: first with distinct notes from each flavour, then commingling of flavours as the ice cream melted and each spoonful became a delicious potpourri.

Molten Chocolate: What it says on the tin, in a real celebration of chocolate.

But if you’re not into light finishes, then the option for decadence will also not disappoint. Skyve’s chocolate lava cake is as good as I have had anywhere else, with a candied zest that manages to cut through the richness. This dessert is exactly what it looks like: an elegant chocolate cake that degenerates very quickly into a wonderfully sticky and gooey mess that celebrates chocolate gloriously.

Ah, all that satisfaction. Ultimately, there’s a whole host of options for dining that begin from brunch, till dinner, and I think the setting really just is perfect for the food. Come in for lazy brunches, quiet lunches, and charming dinners. They really do hit the right spot.

Thank you Skyve Wine Bistro for the invitation.
This article was written by Lan Yingjie

Skyve Wine Bistro
No. 10 Winstedt Road

Block E #01-17
Singapore 227977
Reservations: 6225 6690

Website

Indulge in a Multi-Sensory Culinary Celebration with a Spanish Gourmet Extravaganza at Capella Singapore!

When it comes to dinner, you have three types. The first is what you eat when you are in a rush: picture grabbing a few bites from whatever is in the fridge as you rush out to whatever you have to be at. The second is what you usually eat on a regular day: some people cook at home, others get zichar in, it all varies. And the last type is when you decide: “okay, today’s a special day to splurge”.

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Brotzeit launches snazzy, limited-time Karneval menu; Take up the half-meter sausage challenge!

Popular German restaurant bar chain Brotzeit will, for a limited-time only (16 January to 25 February 2018), launch a specially-curated Karneval menu across its outlets in Singapore. “Karneval”, a traditional German festival which usually marks the season before Lent, is a time when there is much joy, merriment and festivity. In Germany, circuses, social and political parodies are commonplace during this period. Once Ash Wednesday hits, Karneval ends, and the traditional season of fasting gets underway.

Although the street festivities back in Germany would feature food markets and stalls selling specialty craft beers, sausages, pretzels and the like, Brotzeit has decided that a special, additional menu is right for the season. On top of it all, there is also the Brotzeit Half-Meter Sausage Challenge! Pair up with a friend, and finish the entire half-meter of Brotzeit’s Deutsche Halbmeter Wurst, complete with sauerkraut and potato salad in a baguette, and have the sausage on the house! Of course, bragging rights are almost a guarantee if you are one of the few on the peak of glory and excellence in speed food-eating.

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