Relax and Unwind with Afternoon Tea at the Chihuly Lounge, Ritz Carlton Singapore!

Some days just call for high tea. Usually, they’re Fridays for me: you’re exhausted by the week, and you really just do want to sit down somewhere, with a lovely platter of little nibbles, and a good drink. And it won’t do either, to head somewhere noisy and crowded: you are seeking respite, after all.

May I suggest the Chihuly Lounge at the Ritz-Carlton, with their 8-course afternoon tea? I know what you’re thinking: 8 courses for tea?! TEA?! But oh, definitely worth it. Here’s how my experience with Stellar Dining Series 8-course afternoon tea goes (Note: now they are serving up the festive afternoon tea promotion).

A little early for alcohol perhaps, but never too soon for a tea cocktail.

Begin with the Tea Cocktail: a light concoction of fruit and tea, bright enough to perk up tired faces from the week. It’s accompanied by some light crackers and sambal: perfect start to the tea already.

At this point, conversation’s still light, and you’re drinking in the lovely surroundings of the Chihuly Lounge. And then the Coquelet Stew in Pie comes out.

Oooh, coquelet stew in pie!

It resembles a Yorkshire pudding with meat more than your classic image of a pie, but make no mistake, it’s pretty tasty too. With a truffle mash on the side, it really whet the appetite properly: I was all ready for the tea stand!

I like my tea stands big. And bigger.

Tea stands are really a thing of beauty: the bigger they are, the more imposing the look, and the greater the number of treats they contain! I will admit I used to be less enthusiastic, but after studying in the UK, where afternoon tea is serious business, I repented of my ways. Look at that beauty!

This is how a good Friday afternoon looks like.

Right in that wonderful stand were two types of scones on the top tier: the traditional scone, and the citrus scone. And then the savoury bites tier (middle) had dill cream egg salad, marinated salmon belly, iberico ham brioche, and a king crab and tuna mayonnaise roll of sorts that I quite enjoyed!

Scones are serious business.

Finishing off the bottom tier were the sweets: these were quite the treat, though I admit I was getting a little stuffed by the time we headed here. Chef Richard Long’s creations of hazelnut lemon, apple caramel, star anise raspberry, and ivory vanilla with fruit were one bite wonders. I enjoyed the mix of flavours, though I think I should have had a bit more tea to balance the sweetness of the tarts.

The Chihuly Vacherin: I have never had a dessert that looked like the environment it was served in!

Rounding off the meal after the tea stands were dealt with, was the Chihuly Vacherin. A mix of pandan ice cream and mango sorbet, there was also tangy lime jelly and a meringue shaped like the iconic sculpture in the Chihuly Lounge! Regrettably, I didn’t quite enjoy the coconut flake texture, but I’m not a huge fan of coconut flakes mostly. This was served alongside a chocolate and cookies trolley, but in all honesty, I was too stuffed by this point!

So, was my Friday afternoon good? You bet it was. I might just come back soon for some much needed slow de-stressing, along with the scrumptious food. You deserve it too.

Thank you Ritz Carlton Singapore for the invitation.

Chihuly Lounge
Ritz Carlton Singapore
7 Raffles Avenue
Singapore 039799

Website

8-Course Festive Afternoon Tea
26 November 2018 to 4 January 2019
12pm to 5pm
Mondays to Fridays
From $52++ per person
Menu

Weekend Festive Afternoon Tea Buffet
24 November 2018 to 30 December 2018
2.30pm to 5pm
Saturdays and Sundays
From $65++ per person
Menu

Ramen fans rejoice: Ramen Nagi finally opens in Singapore

For years, the absence of a Ramen Nagi restaurant in Singapore has been conspicous in a city where new ramen restaurants open every quarter. But the wait is now over, with the award-winning ramen chain opening its first outlet in Suntec City.

The Singapore branch does not serve the Japanese chain’s famed ramen with sardine broth, but its chef-owner Satoshi Ikuta has promised to create a limited-edition ramen exclusive to Singapore soon.

For now, the chain serves four tonkotsu-based flavours: traditional Butao King (tonkotsu pork broth, $13.90+); spicy Red King (blend of garlic, chilli oil and cayenne, $15.90+); Black King (blackened garlic and squid ink, $15.90+); and Green King (basil and olive oil in tonkotsu broth topped with grated parmesan, $15.90+).

At Ramen Nagi, you customise your ramen by selecting the ramen texture, the amount of garlic, the richness of the broth, the spice level, and whether you want pork shoulder or pork belly chashu.

The pork shoulder and belly pass muster with their fragrance, soft texture, and generous serving size. But I do not find the traditional Butao King and Red King  flavours to be remarkable. Perhaps it is a case of the kitchen struggling to find its feet on opening night, because even the ramen eggs that I ordered did not come with that glorious runny centre.

Instead, consider ordering the  Black King and Green King flavours. The former will delight social media users with its striking colour, while the latter’s unconventional  appearance and aromotic flavour of basil will please jaded ramen fans used to conventional flavours. I will be back to try the Green King again.

Chef Ikuta recommends diners to have their ramen with a side dish of  gyoza ($7.90+). I took to the chive-filled meat dumplings, but more picky diners might take issue with the bed of strong-smelling raw bean sprouts that the dumplings are served on.

The outlet is compact and noisy when it is full, so this is probably not a place you want to linger at. The reasonable prices, however, mean that it is worth a visit to see whether the hype is justified.

Thank you, Ramen Nagi Singapore, for the invitation.

Ramen Nagi Singapore
Suntec City Tower 2
#01-512/513
Singapore 038989

Reservations: 6821 1601
Website

Opening Hours
Lunch 11am to 3pm
Dinner 5pm to 10pm
Opens daily

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Ô Comptoir blends East and West with its crêpes and galettes!

Most Singaporeans are probably familiar with crêpes, but not its close cousin the galette. Both are French pancakes, but the former is a sweet pancake made from wheat flour, while the latter is savoury and made from buckwheat flour. Ô Comptoir in Circular Road is one of those rare places in Singapore that serves good crêpes and galettes. And true to its stereo-typically French roots, the crêpe and cider bar takes quality very seriously.

Famished? You will have to wait for your galette. Every single crêpe and galette is made-to-order. The restaurant owners also insist only on organic flour from a mill in France’s north-western Brittany region, because no one else makes it to the same exacting standards they demand.

The restaurant has a line of galettes and crêpes that is inspired by Japanese sushi rolls. I am usually wary of fusion food because the gimmickry often overshadows quality. But Ô Comptoir largely pulls off this fusion attempt with fresh ingredients and piping hot pancakes.

Try out the Chef’s Recommendations

The crab avocado maki galette with cider sauce ($16++) is a chef’s recommendation, and rightly so. You taste juicy crab roe first, then creamy and sweet avocado, before savoury crabmeat registers on your palate. It is a great mish-mash of flavours and textures.

I am ambivalent about the smoked salmon maki galette with wasabi sauce ($18++) as there are too many things going on in this dish. The smoked salmon is strong-tasting, but so is the thyme and wasabi sauce. It does not help that the galette is coated with a layer of black sesame seeds, which adds more complexity to a very forceful dish.

The allure of duck confit and mashed potatoes

I like the Duck confit maki galette with mashed potatoes ($16++) the best. Rich mashed potatoes and fragrant duck compliment the slightly grainy texture of the buckwheat flour roll.

The salted caramel maki crêpe ($8++) is the right amount of sweet and is delightfully chewy with its homemade caramel sauce. But while it is good, I cannot help but wish for a more substantial accompaniment such as ice cream, fruits, or nuts. The dish feels like it is incomplete without one of these or a richer sauce.

Ô Comptoir’s “usual” galettes are good as well. I have the cheekily named Ménage À 3 ($14++), which comprises Emmental cheese, ham, and a sunny side-up. For three more dollars, you get mushrooms and tomatoes added to the mix. The Ménage À 3 was pleasant enough, but I should have gone for the upgraded version. The mushrooms and tomatoes would have added pep to the slightly salty Emmental cheese and ham.

I strongly recommend the Khao San Road ($22++). This is a perfect example of how good a fusion dish can be, done correctly. The pancake is a perfect wrap for the prawns, mango cubes, tomatoes, bean sprouts, sunny side-up, mint and peanut bits. Every bite taken brings me back to Thailand, reminding me of the good street food.

Thirsty? Make sure you try the ciders and the wines. The ciders start from $6 for a 125ml serving. I tried the dry pear ($7++) and the rosé apple ($7++) and found them both great accompaniments to the savoury galettes. Don’t be surprised if the wait staff asks if you would like to have your cider (directly imported from France under controlled temperature conditions) served in a bowl, as is the practice in Brittany.

The restaurant’s mainstay is its pancakes and alcohol, but like any decent bistro, they also serve salads, cheeses, and other sides and mains.

Charming for that date night out!

Ô Comptoir has a charming ambience. There is a cheeky neon quote from Oscar Wilde on one of the walls, quirky light fixtures, and cosy lighting. The young-at-heart should request for the sole swing seat in the house. That spot also happens to be one of the best places in the restaurant to people-watch. When I visited on a Wednesday night, the place was quiet, with the restaurant and bar never more than a quarter filled. But with such an ambience, Ô Comptoir is a good place to have a romantic dinner or an intimate catch-up with friends before a walk along the adjacent Singapore River.

Thank you Ô Comptoir for the invitation

Ô Comptoir – SG
79 Circular Road
Singapore 049433

Reservations: 6534 7645
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Opens Daily
Mon an Tue 11am to Midnight
Wed and Thu 11am to 1am
Fri and Sat 11am to 2am
Sun 10am to 10pm

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Chic, Snazzy Vibes at Ginett Restaurant and Wine Bar!

I used to regularly drink on weekday nights when I worked in town, but since I moved out of the civic and commercial district for work, it takes something special to lure me back for a weeknight out. Ginett, however, provides the perfect reason for me to head down to the city centre. On top of its unique array of dishes from sharing platters to absolutely fantastic desserts, their wine selection and prices are an absolute steal! Will I be back? Yes!

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