Sunday 17 February 2019

Kafe Utu – Blending African Flavours with Modern Flair [MEDIA INVITE]

Caribbean Goat Curry

The hipster Keong Saik neighbourhood has welcome a new Café and Lounge, that brings with it the culture of Africa. Kurt Wagner, the owner of Kafe Utu grew up in Kenya and wanted to bring a piece of home to Singapore. Actually, Kurt brought more than a piece, he decorated almost the whole three stories of the building, even the doors, with items homemade and handmade in Kenya.

Welcome to Kafe Utu

For food, Kafe Utu is presenting a combination of east and west African dishes, together with modern café cuisine as well. A few of the recipes originated from Jon, Kurt’s brother whom together owned a few restaurants in Nairobi. Those dishes are Liberian Peanut Chicken Stew ($28), Swahili Fish Curry ($29), Caribbean Goat Curry ($28), and West African Spicy Greens ($28).

Kafe Utu - Level 1

Liberian Peanut Chicken Stew – Sakura Chicken Thigh, Natural Peanut Butter, Smoked Fish and Habanero (served with coconut rice). Surprisingly, the taste feels familiar. To put it in a local context, tasted like a combination of creamy satay sauce with chilli padi and served with basmati nasi lemak. Instead of sweet, it tilts towards savoury version. Yum Yum.

Liberian Peanut Chicken Stew

Swahili Fish Curry – Red Snapper, tamarind, coconut milk, house curry paste & habanero (served with coconut rice). I like the firm texture of the fish fillet, cooked with tangy, assam curry fish-head like flavour, with extra richness from the coconut milk. It is best to eat the fish together with Kafe Utu version of tomato salsa.

Swahili Fish Curry

Caribbean Goat Curry – Fresh goat meat, house curry paste & habanero (served with coconut rice). You can expect a strong gamy flavour from the goat. The curry paste helps to minimise the strong gamy flavour, and the spiciness of this dish is definitely higher compared to the rest of the African dishes.

Caribbean Goat Curry

West African Spicy Greens – Mixed Greens (cassava leaf), chicken thigh, smoked fish & habanero (served with coconut rice). At first, I thought it was a vegetarian dish, however, under those greens come the surprise. It is packed with umami flavour, originated from the smoked fish and chicken thigh. It did well to nicely balance the greens and meat proteins.

West African Spicy Greens

Although the above dishes supposed to come with rice, we had ours with Homemade Chapati ($2 per serving). Aromatic, fragrant and crisp roti, works nicely to scoop the curries.

Homemade Chapati

Complementing the African cuisine are the modern brunch dishes that is comparable with modern café in Singapore and Australia. The spread includes Pulled Pork Breakfast ($24), Quinoa Chia Seed Pudding ($18), Curried Avocado with Raw Garlic and Toast ($16, add egg +$3), Mama’s fresh garden salad ($25), Utu Bowl ($20).

Kafe Utu - Level 2

Pulled Pork Breakfast - Fresh pork shoulder, house hickory smoked BBQ sauce, curried avocado, corn salsa, poached barn egg & potato hash. Amazing flavour on the plate. The pulled pork shoulder is super juicy, the poached egg is perfectly cooked, while the creaminess of the avocado and corn salsa really spiced up the dish. Not to be missed is the perfectly crispy hash brown. Oink Oink.

Pulled Pork Breakfast

Quinoa Chia Seed Pudding representing the healthy brunch cuisine. It has chia seed, quinoa, Greek yoghurt, seasonal fruits (grilled banana, grapefruit and blood orange) topped with roasted almonds and pure maple syrup are just delicious. Who says healthy food can’t taste delicious.

Quinoa Chia Seed Pudding

Curried Avocado with Raw Garlic and Toast with egg. Style like modern breakfast in Australian café, the fresh and creamy avocado on sourdough toast definitely get your tongue wagging. The twist here is red curry paste and raw garlic, which helps to overcome the richness of the avocado together with the bitterness from arugula leaves.

Curried Avocado with Raw Garlic and Toast with egg

Mama’s fresh garden salad. This salad has a nostalgic feel to Kurt, reminding him of the salad that his mum made. A generous dose of baby leaf, fruit tomato, cucumber, avocado, red radish, alfalfa. The earthy flavour definitely stands out here, but I like the twang from the apple cider vinegar dressing.

Mama's Fresh Garden Salad

Utu Bowl - Quinoa, Orange Zest pickled carrots, apple cider pickled cabbage, fresh kale, marinated goat’s cheese, sous vide egg, roasted pumpkin, fresh avocado & spiced pumpkin seeds. What an explosion of healthy flavours in your mouth. Simply put, delicious.

Utu Bowl

For starters, we had Beetroot Burratini ($18), Potato Wedges ($14), Buttermilk Fried Chicken ($15) and Padron Peppers ($14).

Kafe Utu - Level 3

Beetroot Burratini - Picked beetroot, white truffle oil, burratini & fresh basil leaf. I definitely like the combination of beetroot and burratini. However, the white truffle oil definitely does not belong in this dish. Instead, they should just replace the truffle oil with apple cider vinegar dressing or maybe balsamic vinegar.

Beetroot Burratini

Potato Wedges. The wedges are good, crisp externally and moist internally. However, the three homemade dips here are extraordinary. They are mango chili marmalade (Fresh Mango, habanero, onion & coarse black pepper – Spiciness level LOW), Congo Bongo (Fresh Veggies, habanero, natural peanut butter & house spice blend – Spiciness level MEDIUM) and House Chili (Garlic, chili padi, habanero, citrus & butter – Spiciness level MINDBLOWING).

Potato Wedges with the homemade dips

Buttermilk Fried Chicken. This is Kafe Utu version of Popcorn chicken. Bitesize crispiness to be eaten with homemade dips.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken with the homemade dips

Pardon Peppers - Pimentos & Citron Sea Salt. For those who live on the edge. Definitely not for me, but a must try for those who like everything and anything spicy. Good Luck!

Pardon Peppers

The desserts line up included Ricotta Hotcakes ($23), Mandazi ($8), Tiramisu ($8) and Canele ($5).

Ricotta Hotcakes. This is definitely one kick-ass hotcakes. It is fluffy and creamy, topped with delicious ice cream, icing sugar and apple syrup. A must order for a pancake lover. Although it is listed as brunch, I think the ice cream made it suitable for brunch or desserts.

Ricotta Hotcakes

Mandazi - Swahili Coast Fried Bread with Coconut Flakes & Cardamom. Interesting flavours, however, the cardamom is too strong for my liking.


Canelé has a dense texture to the pasty due to over caramelisation. I find it needs a bit of liquid to smoothen up the pastry, like Utu soft serve ice cream. In Kafe Utu, it is likely that the soft serve cream is made using House Ubuntu Coffee.

Canele and Tiramisu

Tiramisu - House Ubuntu Espresso, layered with sponge fingers & mascarpone frosting. A signature dessert here that exploit your love for desserts and coffee. It is fully caffeinated and creamy, a perfect dessert to showcase the nutty and chocolaty roast profile from their signature coffee beans.

Not forgetting, the coffee here definitely suits my palate. I like the chocolate and nutty flavour from their coffee beans. I tried Bidi Bado (Abracadabra – Utu Style Mocha, $7). Mocha rimmed with natural peanut butter, pink peppercorns and toasted almond. Almost like the coffee mocktails, filled with a lot of nutty ingredients and sparks from pink peppercorn. Best of all, Kafe Utu uses Hokkaido Milk, known as one of the best milk in Asia for your coffee.

Bidi Bado - Abracadabra

If you are a coffee junkie, this information might interest you. Kafe Utu are using the LaMarzocco Leva coffee, it is also one of the first to be in the F&B market. Their coffee bean is their house blend, “Ubuntu” consisting of Uganda, Mexico and Brazil. Therefore, you can expect a rich buttery texture with hints of cashew nuts & brown sugar, subtle notes of red wine, caramelized apricot acidity and intense dark chocolate finish.

Ubuntu Coffee Bean

Cold Brew, Protein Balls and Hokkaido Milk in the background

I loved the décor of this place. Without a doubt, you will be exposed to culture and visual art of Africa sub-continent. During the day this place is to be known as Kafe Utu, as the sun set, it will turn into Utu Lounge.

Kafe Utu - Level 2

Overall, Kafe Utu has definitely introduced to me a taste of African food. The menu here is curated to present the best of modern brunch cuisine together and the best of African Flavours as well. Not forgetting, their House blend, Ubuntu coffee bean is just amazing. Definitely, a must visit place. Cheers!!

Outdoor Bar - for Utu Lounge

Thank you very much to Kris and Kafe Utu Team for the tasting invitation.

Food: 8/10
Value: 7.75/10
Service: N/A (Tasting Invitation)
Ambiance: 9/10
Budget per Person: $26 - $50; $51 - $80

Kafe Utu
12 Jiak Chuan Road
Singapore 089265

T: +65 6996 3937
IG: @kafeutu
Tue to Sun: 08.00 – 17.00
Closed on Monday

Utu Lounge
Tue – Thu: 18.00 – 23.00
Fri & Sat: 18.00 – 01.00
Sun: 11.30 – 17.00
Closed on Monday

Saturday 9 February 2019

Singapore Airlines vs Scoot: The Ultimate Battle of The Aviation Empire

Image Credit: Singapore Airlines

When we’re talking about the airlines in Singapore, two things come to mind; Singapore Airlines and Scoot (of previously known as TigerAir). Why the two? Well, Scoot is the subsidiary company of Singapore Airlines, which makes it technically what you can call a breed of Singapore Airlines. Although both round different pool of flyers as Singapore Airlines is the national carrier while Scoot is the low-cost airline, however, the two have it going when it comes to providing the best services for its flyers. You can find cheap Singapore Airlines flight tickets easily with various online air ticket booking platform out there like Traveloka, but Scoot does not fall short of providing the best deals as well.

Image Credit:
So, let’s put these two to battle it out, which is the king of services, shall we?

Let the battle begins!

ROUND 1: On Screen

Everything starts with the website. It may not seem like it, but any good airline carrier website presents three important things on their website, interactivity, convenience and transparency. Both Singapore Airlines and Scoot got the first thing covered well. When you go over to Singapore Airlines, you really have that sophisticated nature to its interface that is consistent with its image as the primary carrier in Singapore. Scoot looked much lively and laid back with the bright yellow colour that makes it more relaxed and not too corporate-ish.

Screenshot from 

Both are quite easy to navigate as well, which brings to the second element - conveniency. Everything is laid out on the homepage with clear indicators of where to find what. Although Singapore Airlines have drop-down menus for each of its features, which is a plus one while Scoot provides a drop-down menu for only certain features on the site.

Screenshot from

In terms of transparency, both are on par concerning the extent of the information they provided. They are pretty clear cut and in detail in both visually and language use.

I’m giving my points to Singapore Airlines for this one as it provides extra convenience in terms of web navigation compared to Scoot.

Results: Singapore Airlines - 1 | Scoot - 0

ROUND 2: Off Screen

For Round 2, we’ll be looking at the cool stuff both airlines provide; Lounges and Club/Flyer perks. Let’s talk about the lounges, shall we? Who doesn’t like VIP access to special airline lounges? If you’re going on long-haul flights, then, you would definitely appreciate the greatness of airport lounges.

Krisflyer Gold Lounge
Image Credit: Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airline has four different types of lounges, First Class Check Reception, SilverKris Lounge, KrisFlyer Lounge, and Airline partner lounges. Focusing on SilverKris Lounge, you will be greeted with world-class comfort including facilities like bartender service, nursing room, wheelchair accessible restrooms, meeting rooms and a wide selection of food plus snacks.

Scoot’s Scoot-in-Style provide the comfort for business and leisure. Although it’s operating hours is 24 hours, but the access duration is strictly 3 or 6 hours max, so, you gotta get Scooting. Facilities provided in shower rooms, workstations, massage chairs, and unlimited Wi-Fi connection.

Scoot Lounge
Image Credit:

I’m going with Scoot on this part, even though they have the limited access duration because of the fact that it is very family-friendly from my point of view. You don’t feel like you’re walking into a meeting room, instead, you feel at ease to stretch out your legs while waiting for your flight. Sometimes a backpacker would appreciate this kind of relaxed environment. So, yeah, I’m going with Scoot for this one.

Results: Singapore Airlines - 1 | Scoot - 1

ROUND 3: Up In the Air

The final battle that determines it all! We are narrowing down on Meal. The meal is the most important, well, the meal of the day when you’re flying. If you’re doing short routes, then, maybe it can be overlooked a bit, but let’s say it’s an 8 to 10 hours flight and the only entertainment you have for your belly is the airline food.

Singapore Airlines take great consideration on selective diets, be it drafted by religion, diet or allergies. They pretty much have it all, I reckon. It’s one of the Special Meals they provided for their passengers that you will be able to request whenever you are onboard. They also have the Book The Cook service where you can actually request your own signature dish prepared first hand by their chefs. Of course, this kicks applicable to Suites, First Class and Business Class passengers.

Chinese Flavours at Singapore Airlines Business Class
Image Credit:

Scoot provides a deluxe meal, two deluxe sides, and a drink. They present the best of local’s cuisine such as their famous Singapore Signature Chicken Rice and Signature Nasi Goreng with Chicken Satay. Other popular dishes including their Golden Fried Chicken with Rice and Signature Laksa Goreng with Prawns (might I add, this is a new addition to their meal selection). However, the downside is, meals are subject to availability on the routes too. All food is Halal certified as well to provide for Muslim travellers.

Scoot Biz Deluxe Meal
Image Credit:

For this one, I’m going with Singapore Airlines. Why? Because of the personalized service, the airline provides for its passengers. I like my food specially crafted, and if it’s a very long flight I’m going through, I would want my food to be as perfect as it can be.

Final results: Singapore Airlines - 2 | Scoot - 1


Image Credit: Singapore Airlines

Although, please be aware that I’m not disregarding one or the other as each have its own preferences and features. This is just a brief experimental analysis I’m presenting on my part. Let me know what you think about both airlines! What are your experiences with them? Good? Bad? Somewhere in between?

Let’s share the stories in the comment section below, and I’ll see you in my next stories!

This post is brought to you by Syafiq Hamzi

Monday 4 February 2019

Sunday 3 February 2019

Ginger – Prosperous Reunion and Gathering at Ginger [MEDIA INVITE]

Baby Lobster with Abalone Sauce

Usher in the Year of The Boar with the new creations by Executive Chef Vincent Aw at Ginger, all-day dining restaurant for PARKROYAL on Beach Road. The luxurious buffet line up for Chinese New Year (‘CNY’) is definitely something to look forward to.

Part of the CNY Spread at Ginger

Signature dishes for this Chinese New Year are:

Baby Lobster with Abalone Sauce. Baby Lobster is one of the signature ala minute stations at Ginger. For this CNY, it is cooked and served with Abalone Sauce. The baby lobster is fresh, juicy, succulent and springy, served with a clean and robust Abalone sauce. The combination of delicate broth and lobster is superb and definitely got my two thumbs up. I actually have to stop myself from ordering a few more as I want to try other dishes.

Baby Lobster with Abalone Sauce

Baked Salmon with Fried Salmon Skin. I am not a big fan of baked salmon normally, however, it just irresistible at Ginger. The flesh of the salmon is pinkish, moist and flaky, basked with creamy seafood sauce. On top of the dish is a deep-fried crispy salmon skin, which I can’t resist.

Baked Salmon with Fried Salmon Skin.

DIY Ginger’s Prosperity Yu Sheng. This is the time to showcase your creativity in designing your own Yu Sheng. The ingredients are provided and it is up to you to add the rest. I suggest go beyond the Yu Sheng station and add the Crispy Salmon Skin from the Baked Salmon, the assortment of ‘Keropok’ and lots of salmon sushi into the mix. Huat Ah!!!

DIY Ginger’s Prosperity Yu Sheng

Salmon Sashimi and Soba at Japanese station

Braised Dried Oyster with Sea Moss and Abalone Fried Rice are available in the hot food isle. Black Sea Moss (a.k.a. Fatt Choy) represent one of the most auspicious ingredients during Chinese New Year, representing prosperity in the new year. I personally like the braised dried oyster, the solid gooey gravy with the crunchy broccoli. If I ‘struck it rich’ in the New Year due to this dish, it is definitely an added bonus.

Braised Dried Oyster with Sea Moss

Meanwhile, abalone is known to look like the traditional gold ingot. Therefore, it hopes to bring you more money in the coming year. Alas, I only managed to try the fried rice, while these mini abalones got whacked by others.

Abalone Fried Rice

Grilled Half Shell Scallop and Satay at the Live Station. The juicy and springy scallops are baked just right, you can easily savour half a dozen at one go. The assorted satays have a slightly charred exterior, juicy and well-marinated flesh that can be consumed on its own or with the thick satay sauce. I personally recommend the pork satay.

Grilled Half Shell Scallop

Grilled Half Shell Scallop

Satay Pork Collar, combining the western style of cooking with local flavours. Tender, succulent, coated with satay flavour externally.

Soft Shell Crab. Perfectly fried, with crispy exterior and crab filled delicious interior. You won’t feel the oiliness in this dish, despite it is been deep fried. Surprisingly, it is better than those served in most of the Japanese restaurant in the market.

Soft Shell Crab

Soft Shell Crab, Grilled Half Shell Scallop and Grilled Chicken

Abalone Salad and Bak Kwa with Pineapple Salad. A very good appetizer that uses the CNY ingredients. The abalone is crunchy and refreshing, while the pineapple with bak kwa, balance up the sweetness from the bak kwa seasoning.

Abalone Salad

Bak Kwa with Pineapple Salad

For desserts, there will be Steamed Nian Gao, Pineapple Tarts and Chinese Eight Treasure Longan Soup with Glutinous Rice Ball. You will definitely have you filled with all these Chinese New Year treats.

Steamed Nian Gao, Pineapple Tarts and CNY Cookies

Chinese Eight Treasure Longan Soup with Glutinous Rice Ball

As the food served during the Chinese New Year period is on a rotational basis, you will also look forward to Braised Pig Ear Terrine with Chinese Herbs at the Salad Station, Singapore’s favourite Black Pepper Crab, Cereal Crab and Roasted Suckling Pig with Kumquat Compote.

Above: Yam Paste with Gingko Nuts and Pumpkin Sauce, Baby Lobster with Abalone Sauce, Bak Kwa with Pineapple Salad, Steamed Nian Gao, Chinese Eight Treasure Longan Soup with Glutinous Rice Ball, Chef’s Cereal Crab, Grilled Half-shelled Scallops, Ginger’s Prosperity Yu Sheng and Braised Pig Ear Terrine with Chinese Herbs
Image Credit: PARKROYAL on Beach Road

Braised Dried Oyster with Sea Moss, Abalone Fried Rice  and Roasted Suckling Pig with Kumquat Compote
Image Credit: PARKROYAL on Beach Road 

Prosperous Reunions and Gatherings at Ginger
When: Now to 19 February 2019.
Where: Ginger Restaurant at PARKROYAL on Beach Road
Timing: Lunch 12.00 – 14.30; Dinner 18.00 – 22.00
Lunch Buffet
21 January to 19 February (excluding dates below):
Mon to Fri: Adult SGD48, Child SGD24.
Sat & Sun: Adult SGD68, Child SGD34.
1 to 6 February: Adult SGD68, Child SGD34.

Dinner Buffet:
21 January to 19 February (excluding dates below):
Mon to Thu: Adult SGD68, Child SGD34.
Fri to Sun: Adult SGD78, Child SGD39.
4 February: Adult SGD108, Child SGD54.
1 to 3, 5 to 6 February: Adult SGD88, Child SGD44.

*Prices are subject to 10% Service Charge and prevailing Goods and Service Tax.
*Child prices are applicable for children aged six to twelve years old.

For Reservation:
Call: +65 6505 5710

Cold Seafood Station

DIY Rojak Station

During the Media Tasting session, Ginger served one of the most delicate Lemon Meringue Pie. It is light and refreshing, it makes me remember those solid Lemon Meringue Pies I had in Melbourne. Kudos to the culinary team at Ginger for making this awesome pie.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Thank you very much for to the team at PARKROYAL on Beach Road for the tasting invitation. Cheers!!

Signature Chilli Crab

Coffee and Tea Station

Food & Drinks: 7.5/10
Value: 7.25/10
Service: N/A (Tasting Event)
Ambiance: 7.75/10
Budget per Person: $51 - $80, $81 and Above
7500 Beach Road
PARKROYAL on Beach Road, Singapore
Ground Floor
Singapore 199591

T: +65 6505 5710
IG: @Parkroyalbeachroad
Breakfast: 06.00 – 10.30
Lunch: 12.00 – 14.30
Dinner: 18.00 – 22.00

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