Wednesday 29 April 2020

Cavemen – Hybrid F&B Concept

USDA Prime Ribeye, Aged 45 days - Medium Rare

Cavemen at Balestier is Hybrid F&B concept consists of Butchery, Restaurant and Bar. The butchery offers a premium cut of beef, pork, deli and also mini groceries focused on dried goods, alcohols and its utensils. 

Cavemen Butchery

The nice thing about this hybrid concept is that you have a free hand to choose anything from the butchery / deli and you can enjoy it all at the restaurants and bar with nominal fees.

Drunken Koala Bear cocktail

We started the evening with cheese, snacks and cocktails. Cheese Platter: Petit Camembert ($11.68), Tomme de Savoie ($6.17 for 88 gram), Gouda Truffle Cheese ($5.21 for 62 gram) plus plating 201 – 300 grams ($12).

Cheese Platter

The cheeses are weighed and charged only for the portion that we ordered. This allows us to sample different type of cheeses in one seating.  The plating / service fees of $12 are for the additional condiments such as crackers and dried fruits. For taste wise, Petit Camembert is mild and easily accepted by everyone; Tomme de Savoie is stronger with distinct pungent smell; while Gouda Truffle Cheese is unique infused with truffle aroma and flavours.

Imperial Triple

Not to be missed is the Parma Ham – 30 months ($10.10 for 80 grams, plus plating $6). I would recommend you to order this. The final portion looks generous. The Parma ham is smooth and delicious, complement the rockmelon. I wish they are more generous with the rockmelon.

Parma Ham – 30 months

Truffle Shoestring Fries ($12). It has a nice crispy external texture with a moist interior, topped with generous shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano. The truffle is subtle, bode nicely with the cheese.

Truffle Shoestring Fries

Baby Squid ($14). The presentation of this dish sets a very high expectation. However, that expectation was unfulfilled when it comes to the flavours. The baby squid is rubbery, while the egg and spicy seasoning feel that they alienate each other. Give this dish a miss.

Baby Squid

Drinks to go with the starters were Hellooo Pomeloo ($12) mocktail for me and Drunken Koala Bear cocktails ($16) for LD. Our friends ordered Imperial Triple ($15) and Lady Marmalade ($16) cocktails.

Hellooo Pomeloo

For the mains, we decided on USDA Prime Ribeye, Aged 45 days ($45.65 for 264 gram + cooking $15) and Aus Angus HGP Free Ribeye ($29.83 for 394 gram + cooking $15). Since each of our steaks are less than 400 grams, the cooking charge is only $15 each. For bigger steak like T-bone or tomahawk, you can expect a higher cooking charge.

USDA Prime Ribeye, Aged 45 days with chimichurri sauce 

We ask both steaks to be cooked to medium-rare and they come out perfectly. Our first impression of the USDA prime ribeye looks a bit dry. To our surprise, it delivers an intense a strong beef flavour, tender and melts in your mouth sensation. The sprinkle of salt and pepper is on the spot to accentuate the flavour of the beef. This steak served with chimichurri sauce, but I enjoy the steak without any sauce.

USDA Prime Ribeye, Aged 45 days 

The AUS Angus Ribeye is a bigger cut compare to the USDA Prime Ribeye. The beautiful sear on the steak and the shine from the beef oil will make you lick your lips in anticipation. It is juicy, succulent and with a good bite to the steak. The beef flavour is mild and the veal sauce is nicely suited to dip this steak in. Yum Yum.

Aus Angus HGP Free Ribeye

For the sides, we had Crème Spinach ($6), Sautéed Brussels Sprouts ($6) and Mash Potato ($6). The crème spinach has a good combination of creaminess and bitterness. The sautéed brussels sprouts delivers the crunchy and bitter taste. I will order these two sides again next time. Unfortunately, the mash potatoes were too watery that evening, the texture is more like a puree potato soup.

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts, Mash Potato & Creme Spinach

For desserts, we have Chocolate Tart ($16) and White Bait ($14). The mini chocolate tart is topped with caramelised banana, cream and a little sprinkle of sea salt served with berries and strawberry sauce. The choc filings in the tart is solid, together with the rest of the ingredients bring you through the journey of sweet, salty and solid chocolate flavour. For $16, maybe they can double the size of the tart.

Chocolate Tart

Yes, we did order savoury White Bait for dessert. Considering there were 2nd and 3rd round of alcohols (not for me!!), a savoury dish is to call for. These mini fishes are crispy, well coated with batter and seasoned with chilli, curry leaves and lime. It was yum. A yummy bar bite or in our case perfect savoury dessert.

White Bait

The restaurant setting is casual and modern. I would say the ambiance is like a gastropub dining experience. The lights are dim and the surroundings are loud. There are two seating area, indoor and al-fresco. The main attraction of the restaurant is the bar. Located indoor, however, it has an opening facing the al-fresco area plus bar seats on both sides. Service is friendly, efficient and accommodating.

Cavemen Restaurant & Bar - The Bar Outdoor

Overall, it was a pleasure dining at Cavemen. The food is good, the drinks are creative and the ambiance is just lively. LD and I like the concept of freedom to choose your meat and enjoy it at the restaurant. Cheers!!

Thanks The Running Man and The Arctic Star for sharing the calories with us.

Food & Drinks: 8/10
Value: 8/10
Service: 7.5/10
Ambiance: 7.5/10
Budget per Person: $51 - $80

1 Jalan Dusun
#01-09, One Dusun Residences
Singapore 329363

T: +65 6250 1168
IG: @Cavemen_sg
Butchery: 12.00 – 22.00
Restaurant: 12.00 – Midnight
Closed on Mondays

Thursday 23 April 2020

Dashi Master Marusaya – Umami Dashi Shabu [MEDIA INVITE]

A4 Wagyu Beef Dashi Shabu 

Dashi Master Marusaya is the flagship restaurant of the Marusaya group, specialising in traditional Dashi. Dashi Master Marusaya is managed by Japanese katsuobushi wholesaler Marusaya, who is dedicated to all-natural dashi, Japanese soup stock, to bring out the natural flavours of the ingredients.

Dashi Master Marusaya

Katsuobushi is a dried, fermented and smoked skipjack tuna. Dashi Master Marusaya (‘DMM’) offers natural dashi-based using a carefully selected katsuobushi, especially Satsuma 2-year-old hongare-honbushi, and in which the natural dashi here are made together with kombu to deliver that complex umami flavour.

Satsuma 2-year-old hongare-honbushi Katsuobushi

Shaved Katsuobushi

In March 2020, DMM launched its special Signature Dashi Shabu Course featuring seasonal appetiser, chawanmushi (steamed egg custard), assorted sashimi (3 kinds), a seasonal dish, dashi shabu shabu, udon or porridge and dessert. Ala carte menu is also available.


We had the pleasure to attend the Media Tasting before the Circuit Breaker in Singapore commenced and we were treated with a unique dashi gastronomic journey.

We started our meal with Taberu Katsuobushi (Half Dried Bonito Fish Jerky - S$15). The first time we tried half dried of katsuobushi. This is a half-dried bonito, shaved about 2mm thick and served with mayonnaise. It tasted like fish jerky, with a salty soy sauce flavour. The mayonnaise adds a creamy and eggy taste to it plus offsetting the saltiness. A bit of chewing is needed but a good dish to go with your beer / other alcohols.

Taberu Katsuobushi

Taberu Katsuobushi

Ohitashi (Blanched Spinach with Dashi Sauce - $9). Served chilled, the spinach infused with dashi sauce. Together shaved katsuobushi, chilled dashi sauce and cherry tomato it made a refreshing appetizer.


Agedashi Tofu (Deep-fried Tofu with Dashi Sauce - S$12). The tofu is coated with sweet potato flour and fried, served submerged in dashi sauce and topped with shaved katsuobushi. The tofu is soft and smooth, coated with chewy layer of potato flour skin. The dashi sauce provided it with a complex umami broth. Let’s just say, the agedashi tofu in regular Japanese restaurants will not appeal to me anymore.

Agedashi Tofu

Agedashi Tofu

Dashi Oden (S$20). Ingredients include homemade chicken meatballs, fishcakes, konjac, daikon and hard-boiled eggs. The homemade chicken ball is succulent and packs with flavour. Frankly, the juiciness of the chicken balls was unexpected. The fishcake and konjac are bouncy, while the daikon not only soak up the dashi it also adds a sweet flavour to the dashi. The hard-boiled egg just completes the oden experience.

Dashi Oden

Dashi Oden - My Portion

Next up is the Dashi Shabu Set, we are sampling the A4 Wagyu Dashi Shabu (S$68 per pax) and Pork Dashi (S$48 per pax).

Pork & A4 Wagyu (Portion for 3 pax)

The Vegetable Base of Shabu

The vegetable base of the shabu are Chinese cabbage, carrot, kale, tang oh, leak, shimeji, shiitake and myoga / Japanese ginger. Not forgetting the silken tofu as well. Then the dashi soup is poured into the pot and heated up. We were told that it is best to lower the fire to simmer after the dashi reaches the boiling point. This will prevent the stock from turning bitter.

Dashi Base - Ready to Boiled

For the sauce, you can choose between Japanese sesame sauce or Japanese Ponzu sauce. Additional dipping ingredients include chopped spring onions, grated spicy daikon and yuzu paste.

Additional Dipping Ingredients

The Dashi after 1st Boil

We started with A4 Wagyu that comes with dense marbling. We cooked it till medium and it just melts in our mouth. Moo Moo!! The A4 wagyu is already so good, I can’t imagine the A5 Wagyu.

A4 Wagyu

A4 Wagyu

Unlike the beef, the pork meat does not have marbling. Instead, the thick layer of fats at the top is equivalent to the marbling in the beef. We cooked it a tad longer than the beef, it produced juicy and succulent pork meat, with a slight chewiness in it. Yummy.



For the staple, you can choose between homemade udon or porridge. We are glad that we got to try both. The udon is thick, silky, bouncy and packs with flavour. Udon lovers should not miss out on this homemade udon. LD, the udon lover, give her two thumbs up!

Homemade Udon

Homemade Udon

The porridge at the end of shabu or hotpot is kind of comfort food for me. The combination of rice, eggs, chopped green onions with intense dashi broth is just a perfect ending for a shabu-shabu meal. We were filled to the brim with the udon before, but the soothing porridge gave us the perfect ending for the savoury dishes.



Desserts were  Ice Cream ($6). I choose Black Sesame and LD choose Green Tea. There are also an option for vanilla. Both the ice creams are solid, creamy and packs of punch.


The décor of the restaurant feels classic, covered with lots of wood elements. DMM is a 90-seater restaurant, where you can fit 48 pax inside and 42 pax alfresco plus 3 private rooms. LD and I prefer the indoor seats.

Part of Dining Area
Bar Seating

Overall, it was an eye-opener dashi culinary experience. The quality of the dashi made with katsuobushi and kombu are just amazing. It elevates the natural flavours of the ingredients in the dish and delivering the complex umami flavour. Definitely, a place to try for Japanese cuisine and dashi shabu. Cheers!!

Dashi Shabu at Dashi Master Marusaya
Signature Dashi Shabu Course featuring seasonal appetiser, chawanmushi (steamed egg custard), assorted sashimi (3 kinds), seasonal dish, dashi shabu, udon or porridge and dessert.
- A5 Wagyu Beef $148++ per person
- A4 Wagyu Beef $108++ per person
- Pork $88++ per person

Dashi Shabu Set
- A5 Wagyu Beef $108++ per person
- A4 Wagyu Beef $68++ per person
- Pork $48++ per person
- Homemade Chicken Meat Ball in Hotpot $38++ per person

Special Promotion for Chubby Botak Koala Reader – Free Ice Cream  (choice of Green Tea, Black Sesame or Vanilla). Just quote or show my blog, you can enjoy this special offer.

Thank you very much Jennifer Yeo Consultancy and Dashi Master Marusaya for hosting us.

In addition to Dashi Master Marusaya, the group also owns MAI by Dashi Master Marusaya at Bukit Pasoh Road, TEN Sushi at Robertson Quay and Monte Risaia at Duxton. (Click on the link for the review of the other restaurants).

Food & Drinks: 9.25/10
Value: 9/10
Service: N/A (Media Tasting)
Ambiance: 7.25/10
Budget per Person: $26 - $50; $51 - $80; $81 and Above

Dashi Master Marusaya
86 Robertson Quay
#01-01 Robertson Blue Singapore
Singapore 238245

T: +65 6732 0383
IG: @Marusaya_Singapore
Mon – Fri: 17.00 – 23.30 (LO 23.00)
Sat, Sun & PH: 12.00 – 23.30 (LO 23.00)

Sunday 19 April 2020

Lau Ah Tee BKT – Old Style Teochew Bak Kut Teh

Prime Rib Bak Kut Teh @ Lau Ah Tee BKT

LD and I chance upon Lau Ah Tee Bak Kut Teh (“Ah Tee”) last year when we were looking for Boon Tong Kee at Whampoa. We noticed the shop is filled with diners eating Bak Kut Teh (‘BKT’) and steamed fish, so we remind ourselves to give it a try.

Lau Ah Tee Bak Kut Teh

During lunchtime, this place is usually packed. However, not too worried, as they occupied a sizeable eating house, the waiting time will be minimum. Apparently, Lau Ah Tee BKT has been operating for more than 30 years and most of their customers are regulars.

The Menu

The menu is simple with two-third of it is filled with a different type of fishes and seafood on offer. Withstanding that, I think you should just take a quick peep at the fridge in the middle to see the catch of the day.

Price List

The Premium Rib ($6 each). Surprisingly, for these premium ribs, you can order just one piece instead of the usual two pieces. The soup is clear, robust, peppery, plus well infused with the essence of the pork and a touch of sweetness from the garlic. The taste that LD and I like.

Prime Rib Bak Kut Teh

The meat from the prime ribs is succulent, juicy with a good bite to it. The first time I tried it, I find the meat a bit hard. On the second visit, we asked for the fatty prime ribs and the meat is just perfect. We also notice that the first batch of the broth that comes with the BKT is usually sweeter. The top-up broth is a bit more peppery.

Prime Rib Bak Kut Teh - The Fatty Version

A must order companion for our BKT is the fried youtiao ($2). The version here has a super crispy texture. Though it is good to bite on its own, the trade-off is that the youtiao does not soak up the broth as well as the softer, pillowy you tiao.

Fried Youtiao

Liver and kidney mixed ($5). It is cooked to perfection. The kidney is plump and juicy, while the liver is pinkish, velvety and melts in your mouth. One of the best BKT liver around.

Pig Liver

Pig Kidney

During our first visit, we notice people around us is ordering the braised Tofu Knots ($5), not in the menu. We decided to give it a try. It is just delicious, the tofu knots are soft, moist and absorbs the solid braising liquid. Usually, some the knots part can be undercooked or hard, however, you will not have that issue here. It is cooked thoroughly.

Braised Tofu Knot 

Tang oh vegetable ($3) is highly recommended for the vegs here or should I say the only soup vegetables on offer. It is crunchy and minty. There is a slight bitterness in the vegetables to balance any fattiness on the meat.

Tang Oh

Big intestines ($5). It is braised over a long period, resulting in a soft and fatty intestine. I feel it is not clean properly, as I can taste a slight foul and smelly flavour at the background.

Big Intestines

On another visit, there were three of us. So, we ordered their steam prawns and steam fish. The chilled prawn ($-Market Price) is sweet, crunchy and fresh.

Prawns - Small

Meanwhile, the steamed Red Snapper ($28 for this piece / Market Price) is done Teochew style. The fillet portion is good for 3 pax and you can see it comes from a big fish. The freshness of the fish just shines, with its flaky and bouncy flesh. Both LD and I were drinking the jus from the fish like a soup broth. Even my MIL that hardly eats steam fish nowadays had a few bites.

Steam Red Snapper

The service here is efficient, friendly, with a warm neighbourhood touch. We realise that most of the diners are regulars and it can span over three generations. The price is very reasonable, compare to those famous BKT with branches.

Overall, I am glad we found this place. The BKT and steamed seafood are just superb. It is an old school delight and I hope it remains open till the next generations. Cheers!!

Note: If you are interested in the Singapore History of Bak Kut Teh and how Mr Sim Choon Lian started Lau Ah Tee BKT, read it at IeatIshootIpost blog or Miss Tham Chiak.

Food & Drinks: 8.5/10
Value: 8.75/10
Service: 6.5/10
Ambiance: Eating House / Coffee Shop
Budget per Person: $11 - $25

Lau Ah Tee Bak Kut Teh Eating House
Blk 34 Whampoa West
#01-67 Singapore 330034
(Near Boon Keng MRT Station Exit B)

T: +65 9755 5250
Wed, 07.00 – 15.00
Thu – Tue, 07.00 – 21.00

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