Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Anar Singapore - An Epicurean exploration of Middle Eastern Cuisine

The culture of the Middle East is diverse and varied. It has been influenced by many different historical movements and civilizations and is richly diverse and intricate. Similarly, Middle Eastern cuisine is diverse and changes depending on the country. Some dishes are specific to one region, and flavoring techniques may change from country to country. Similarities exist, however, and some dishes are popular throughout much of the Middle East. Olives and chickpeas are frequently used in cooking, and flatbreads such as pita are popular.

I was browsing the Palate website searching for something exotic and different for lunch last week, Anar caught my attention. Wife and I had a wonderful afternoon at Anar, thanks to the delicate Arabian-influenced interior setting, the well-prepared food and the friendly and attentive service staff.

For cold starter, we had the Cold Mezze Platter which consist of Hommos bel kamoon, Moutabbal & Warak Ebnab Bel Zeit (Stuffed vine Leaves). The cold dip of chickpeas and cumin was a perfect match with the fresh Naan bread and the cold Bordeaux Blanc that we ordered.

We also tried the hot appetizer platter - a selection of meat and cheese filled spring rolls (Sanbosek) and  my favorite Falafel - fried dumplings of ground chickpeas.

We enjoyed both the hot and cold starter with the wine so much that we were more than half full when our main course was served. The Doo Platter, selection of chicken and lamb kebabs - Shish Taouk (Garlic marinated chicken), Joojeh Kebab (Saffron marinated chicken) , Chelow Kebab Kubide (minced lamb), was served over charcoal grill. The well marinated and juicy kebab meat was just so perfectly grilled - Both thumbs up!

Dessert was Um Ali - made from sweet milk, puff pastry, pistachios, almonds, raisins topped with sweet whipping cream. An arabian version of bread and butter pudding. Yum!

I must admit that Arabian cuisine did not really rank high on my favourites such as French, Italian and Chinese previously. However, this visit to Anar changed my impression of fine Middle-Eastern cuisine.

Although on the pricey side, with the Palate discount and based on the wonderful experience that we had, we will be back again soon.

Anar Singapore (Resorts World Sentosa)

26 Sentosa Gateway,
Singapore 098138
Tel: +65 6884 6989

Operating Hours:

Lunch: 12:00 - 15:00
Dinner: 18:00 - 22:00

Complimentary Starter - Platter of Feta Cheese, mint, tomato and pickles.

Cold Mezze Platter - Hommos, Moutabbal and warak enab bel zeit

Hot Mezze Platter - Selection of meat filled springrolls, cheese filled spring rolls and fried falafel.

A good starter spread

Doo Kebab Platter

Saffron Rice

Um Ali - Egyptian Bread and Butter Pudding

Arabian Tea

Freshly prepared bread

Not a perfect meal without wine...

Hebrard Bordeau Blanc - White blend, slightly acidic with nose of white flowers and citrus aroma

Array of eclectic furniture, Arabic decorations and paintings

The round shaped building is made to emphasize the Arabian aesthetics within the design while the lighting around the restaurant is inspired by the low-hanging old lamps within the Blue Mosque in Istanbul 

The tiles that are used within the Arabic Persian Arches at the centre of the restaurant are hand-made and imported from Iran, detailing the perimeter of semi-circular arches which are Moroccan in origin.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Huber's Food n Wine Fair 2012

Last Sunday, the kakis met up at Huber's @ Dempsey for an afternoon of wine tasting with free flow of roasted meat, antipasto, cheese and sausages. For the second year running, the event was jointly organised by Huber's Butchery and The Straits Wine Company.

There were over 50 different wines from 6 countries available for tasting and sales this year. Just like last year, it was an enjoyable afternoon of great food and wine. We will definitely be back again next year.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tiong Bahru Bakery by Gontran Cherrier

We were very disappointed when we first found out that the egg wholesaler shop along Eng Hoon Street was closing and moving out couple of months ago. It was the supplier for my daily protein breakfast of hardboiled eggs. However, the disappointment turned into excitement when we found out that the egg shop would be replaced by a bakery. Not just an ordinary bakery but an Artisan bakery  by Gontran Cherrier, a shaggy-haired French baker, TV chef and author, in the nostalgic Tiong Bahru neighbourhood.

We were there for breakfast on its second day of business 2 Saturdays ago. It was not as crowded then as compared to now, after it appeared on the ST Lifestyle section days later.

The bread were freshly baked in the kitchen located behind the shop along Tiong Bahru Road (Used to be Guan Hin Provisional shop). Here you would not find bread with pork floss toppings or donuts with fanciful fillings. Instead, Cherrier believes in offering very simple traditional bread with numerous flavours or a fusion twist.

It’s a charmed life to snack on croissants and pain au chocolat that were just pulled out of the oven—not to mention ones made by one of the best boulangers in Paris. Equally good was the delicious and aromatic coffee served in the bakery (from 40 hands, I supposed...)

If you like bread... good bread, you must not miss this place.

Tiong Bahru Bakery by Gontran Cherrier

56 Eng Hoon Street
Singapore 160056
Tel: 6220 3430

Operating Hours:

8:00 am - 8:00 pm
Closed on Monday

French Artisan Bakery with laid back rustic Tiong Bahru neighbourhood as backdrop

Bakery/Cafe interior

Interesting varieties of baguette - original, multigrain, squid ink, sesame...

Signature butter croissant - so light, crisp on the outside, tender inside, and fragrant with ever-so-slightly toasted butter

Olive bread with my favourite latte

I love our Tiong Bahru estate - new F&B outlets and lifestyle shops sprouting up in the old charming estate. This is a hipster suburb where everything old is becoming new again

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Seafood Risotto

I first cooked this seafood risotto two Sundays ago and my eldest girl requested to have this for dinner again last Sunday and again today. In fact, she asked if we could have this for dinner every Sunday! She is my best food critic and when she requests that, I know I have to share this recipe here and this is one that you should not miss.

This is a fabulous one-dish meal recipe that is easy to prepare and turns out very well. You can use any seafood of your choice as long as they are fresh. Pair the yummy rice dish with a cold dry Chardonnay... Heaven.


This recipe serves 4.

2 cups Carnaroli rice
8-12 prawns (shelled and keep the heads aside)
8 scallops
2 big squid (sliced into rings)
800g chicken broth (Dilute with 0.5l water)
1 carrot (sliced)
2 tomatoes (chopped and divide in 2 portions)
1 onion (chopped and divide into 2 portions)
4 cloves garlic (2 sliced and 2 mashed)
2 teaspoons dried mixed herb
Dry white wine (Chardonnay)
60g butter
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper


Boil the chicken broth with prawn heads, carrot, 1 portion each of the chopped tomatoes and onion and the mashed garlic. Put stock aside.

Season the scallops with salt and pepper.

In a cast iron pan or a heavy bottom saute pan, heat the pan until very hot. Add plenty of oil in the pan and add the scallops.

Do not touch the scallops until a nice brown crust has formed. Once a nice crust has developed, flip it over and add a tablespoon of butter. Tilt the pan a littler and splash the scallops with the hot butter oil. Cook for another minute and remove it from the pan.

Place the scallops on a piece of paper towel to drain off the excess oil. Put aside.

In the same pan, heat olive oil and saute garlic until before it browns. Add the remaining tomatoes and all the seafood. Saute the seafood for a minute. Add white wine and cook for another minute. Add salt, pepper and the mixed herbs. The seafood should just be 80% cooked at this stage. Transfer and put aside.

Heat up the pan again with butter and olive oil. Add remaining onion and sweat until before it turn brown. Add the Carnaroli rice and coat the rice with the butter and onion. Pour in the white wine and allows the rice to absorb the liquid.

Once the wine is fully absorbed by the rice, add the liquid from the stir-fried seafood to the pan. Add the stock in few stages (on average three), allowing the liquid to be absorbed each time before adding the next amount. Stir continuously until the stock is almost completely absorbed.

When the rice is just tender but still firm to the bite (al dente), add the seafood and cook for another minute or until the seafood is cooked and the rice starchy and ready.

Spoon the rice to serving plate and arrange the prawn, squid and seared scallop on top. Garnish with fresh dill.

Use only fresh seafood and ingredient

Sear the scallop to golden brown

Cooking the seafood in a separate step prior to the rice

Sweat the chopped onion in butter

Coat the rice with butter and onion and end off with white wine

Stir continuously until the stock is almost completely absorbed

Return the seafood to the pan

Spoon the rice to serving plate and arrange the seafood on top. Garnish with fresh dill.

Bon Appetite

We had the seafood risotto with the 2008 La Forge Estate Vin de Pays d'Oc Enigma - blend of 80% Chardonnay, 15% Viognier and 5% Muscat. The Chardonnay, harvested in November, gave a rich, soft and slightly sweet and very aromatic wine. The Viognier and Muscat enhanced the wine with fruit character and complexity. It sang with the seafood risotto.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Brunetti, Singapore

It was six years ago in Melbourne when we first tried and fell in love with Brunetti - The Italian style cafe owned by The Angelé family. It was quite interesting to know how an Italian cafe actually started and became an icon in Melbourne, Australia.

The founder, Mr Giorgio Angelé began his training in Rome at the age of 10. In 1956, at the age 23, Giorgio went to Australia with the Italian Olympic team as a pastry chef. After working for a few years, Giorgio was then given the opportunity to migrate to Australia permanently and had been involved in the pastry industry ever since. In 1991, the Angelé family acquired the original Brunetti shop, which had started trading since 1985.  It has since been expanded to a chain of 5 outlets in Australia, 1 in Dubai and the latest here in Singapore.

I am not really a dessert or pastry person but I must say that I am truly impressed with the wide variety  Brunetti has to offer - delicious Italian style coffee from the Bar, cake from the Pasticceria, gelato or tempting savoury from the Paninoteca.

Wife had always wanted to visit the Singapore outlet since its opening at Tanglin Mall in September last year. Last Saturday, we decided to go there for breakfast after sending the kids to British Council for their morning classes.

The restaurant interior resembles the Myer outlet's at Bourke Street, Melbourne -  warm and inviting. The floor, covered with glossy black and white mosaic tiles, was a beautiful eye-catching delight. Our senses were all in overdrive because of the many delicious looking and colourful treats on display. We just could not stay focused on one single thing and were very excited, just like kids in a candy store.

I had wild mushroom omelette with sausage and toast while wife tried the parma ham and rockets in thin Italian Pita. Although the breakfast was quite alright in terms of serving size and quality, it was the thick aromatic Latte that reminded us the very reason why we first fell in love with Brunetti. Not forgetting the wide selection of cakes, chocolates and gelato which we really loved but did not have the time to try this time.

We will be back soon.

Brunetti Singapore

163 Tanglin Road
#01-35, Tanglin Mall, Singapore
Singapore S247933
Tel: 6733 9088

Operating Hours:

Sun, Mon - Thu: 8:00 am - 9:00 pm
Fri - Sat: 8:00 am - 10:00 pm

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