Sunday 25 April 2021

Meat n’ Chill – Smoking Sixth Anniversary [MEDIA INVITE]

Smokin’ Wagyu Striploin Steak 

Meat n’ Chill (“MNC”) is celebrating its sixth anniversary with Smokin’ Special from this April with two special offerings. Smokin’ Wagyu Striploin Steak ($68) and Smoked Whisky ($16).

Meat n' Chill

A bit of background of MNC. Meat N’ Chill is a “Meat Centric” restaurant born from the friendship of three good friends that are foodies at heart. MNC is an ideal restaurant to gather, enjoy a hearty meal and chill over a few glasses of drinks. Located just outside Sixth Avenue Bukit Timah, MNC is very accessible. Helm by Chef Bruce, these three good friends spend countless hours experimenting to come out with their secret marinade and produce the perfect marinade for the meanest ribs in town.

Back to the steak, The Wagyu Striploin [MB5], promising a delicate marbling that gives a buttery flavour and tender mouthfeel. I find the overall experience is just intriguing. 90% of the flame grilling are done in the kitchen. The service staff brought the steak to the table, covered with the glass dome attached to the smoking vessel. The service staff then lit the vessel and the smoke slowly engulf the steak and sides inside the dome.

The Wagyu Striploin [MB5] in Smoking

Vessel for Smoking

Shortly after, the dome is removed and as the smoke slowly dissipates, the “diva” appeared. True to its reputation, Wagyu MB5 is just delicate and easy to slice. I ask for medium-rare and it was cooked to perfection. Although the hickory smoky flavour is strong, the aroma remains subtle on the steak. I am glad that MNC uses striploin instead of ribeye, as you can taste the flavour of the beef, as it melts in your mouth instead of just the fats. A #beefgasm experience.

The Wagyu Striploin [MB5]

The steak is served with smoked bread and butter with greens. If you like a strong smoky flavour, you should eat the steak with the bread. It acts as a sponge and absorbs most of the smoky flavour. The baby asparagus is crunchy, butter and lovely.

The Wagyu Striploin [MB5] - Medium Rare

***Please take note that the Smokin’ Wagyu Striploin Steak is a limited edition. Only available on Tuesday to Thursday and only 6 portions available per day.

Smoked Remy VSOP

Smoked Whisky ($16) choice of Jim Bean / Glenfiddich 12 / Chivas Regal 12 / Remy VSOP. As I can’t drink alcohol, my dining partner Alvin ordered Remy VSOP. According to him, “the smoky scent was nice, adds some dynamism to the taste of the Remy VSOP. There’s a fuller sweetness in the taste as opposed to whisky”.

Smoked Remy VSOP

Of course, you can’t come to MNC without ordering MNC “Meanest Pork Ribs”. We choose the Hickory flavour with coleslaw and chili cheese fries. Smoky, juicy and succulent pork ribs. Don’t expect fork-tender pork ribs, instead, expect a lovely succulent pork ribs texture coated with the hickory flavour BBQ sauce. Leave the cutleries aside and just use your fingers.

Hickory Pork Ribs

Hickory Pork Ribs

For chili cheese fries, MNC uses thick-cut fries which have a crispy exterior and soft interior, a good vessel to carry the smoky chili and cheese. However, I find the fries can do with another scoop (or 2 scoops) of chili. The coleslaw is way too watery to my liking.

Chili Cheese Fries

Overall, the Smokin’ Wagyu Striploin Steak is a worthy dish to celebrate the sixth anniversary of MNC together with the Smoked Whisky. It was an awesome experience and I don’t mind coming back for more. Cheers!!

Thank you very much Protegie and Meat N’ Chill Team for hosting us.

Food & Drink: 7.75/10
Value: 7.5/10
Service: N/A (Media Invite)
Budget per Person: $26 - $50; $51 - $80.

Meat N’ Chill – Steak N’ Ribs Restaurant
805 Bukit Timah Road
#01-04. 6th Avenue Centre.
Singapore 279883

T: +65 8812 4455
IG: @Meatnchill
OH: Daily 08.00 – 22.00
Menu available online

Wednesday 21 April 2021

PIPES by Hattendo – Café, Roaster & Izakaya Under One Roof [MEDIA INVITE]

Salt Baked Barramundi 

Hattendo, a popular Japanese bakery known for its signature cream bun has expanded and opened its FIRST overseas outlet with dual-concept Café & Roasting Gallery and Izakaya, PIPES by Hattendo (“PIPES”). LD and I used to get their cream buns from Tanjong Pagar Centre and we are pleased to see that they have elevated their offerings by introducing a dual-dining concept.

PIPES by Hattendo

To complete the café experience, PIPES brought in the NOVO Mark II automated coffee roasting machine and roast their beans on the spot. Known for its revolutionary automated coffee roasting machine, its aesthetic design allows café owner or roaster to showcase the beautiful machine at their café. For coffee aficionados, PIPES also provide you with an exciting coffee experience where you can choose the best beans source from around the world and roast them on the spot to your desired roasting degree.

Roasting Room with NOVO Mark II Roaster

I tried Iced Americano using PIPES house blend, Antimatter Dark Roast. I find it very easy to drink. Low acidity, with a light nutty and chocolaty flavour. Check out their full coffee menu from their website.
Iced Americano using PIPES house blend, Antimatter Dark Roast

LD choose Momoemeshu ($11 per glass), a light umeshu on the rocks with the flavours of peaches bursting in your mouth. A good drink to have with your gal friends with the izakaya dishes. 


We started the Izakaya tasting with Hiroshima Oysters. It comes in 4 different flavours Umibudo ($8), Ikura ($6), Mentaiko ($8), Hokkaido Cheese ($8). The oysters are plump and juicy. The Hokkaido Cheese adds a light and creamy finishing to the oysters, while the umibudo (sea grape, quail egg yolk and shoyu) enhance the natural ocean flavours in the oysters.

Hiroshima Oysters, Clockwise from Top: Umibudo, Mentaiko, Ikura, Hokkaido Cheese

The mentaiko is rich, creamy but not overwhelming. While the ikura surprisingly tasted sweet instead of salty. Superb topping all round for the oysters.

Hiroshima Oysters

Sashimi Moriawase - Chu toro, Scallop, Salmon ($38). Generous slices of each sashimi. The scallops are sweet, plump and juicy. The salmon is fatty, while the chu toro deliver an almost melt in your mouth sensation. Accompanied the sashimi are PIPES homemade sashimi sauce, which is light and sweet plus paired nicely with the freshly shaved wasabi for the subtle kick. For a non-regular wasabi eater, I scooped the wasabi on a few slices of my sashimi to LD amusement.

Sashimi Moriawase: Salmon, Chu Toro & Scallop

Sashimi Moriawase: Salmon, Chu Toro & Scallop

Yaki Onigiri ($12, 2pcs). A homemade onigiri filled with pork belly, tamago and furikake. The rice is light and fluffy, while the juicy and aromatic pork belly and furikake give the onigiri the OMPH flavour. It is served with 3 different pickles, to balance the richness of the rice.

Yaki Onigiri

Yaki Onigiri

Mozambique Lobster ($42, 3pcs). Grilled to perfection, the flesh of the lobster sweet, tender and melts in your mouth. It is served with 3 different types of dipping: rock salt, sweet sauce with shallots (like Indonesian grill fish sauce) and Japanese green chilli dip.

Mozambique Lobster 

Mozambique Lobster 

Tonkatsu Sandos ($20). The bread used here is made from the same flour used in Hattendo’s signature cream buns. The soft, fluffy and buttery bread cradle the juicy, succulent and crisp Tonkatsu. It is rich and delicious, probably can do with some of the pickles served with the onigiri to cuts through the richness.

Tonkatsu Sandos

Tonkatsu Sandos

Salt Baked Barramundi ($58, 1kg). Known as Shiogama-yaki cooking technique in Japan, the salt crust works in two ways. One to seasoned the fish and the other to provide a protective layer to ensure the fish retain the soft and juicy flesh. The chef also engraves the salt crust to make it looks like a fish. I had fun hammering the crust and cutting through it to get to the fish.

Salt Baked Barramundi 

The salted baked barramundi also served with sweet sauce with shallots and Japanese green chilli dip, the same ones served with the Mozambique lobster. Those who liked Thai salted baked fish, you will surely appreciate the Japanese refine version here.

Salt Baked Barramundi 

For desserts, we decided to try the Hiroshima Lemon Bun ($3) and Seasonal Mango Cream Bun ($3.50). The mango cream bun is delicate and packs with mango compote and signature cream. Meanwhile, we find the Hiroshima Lemon Bun is unique, especially with its crispy bun unlike the rest of the soft cream buns.

Hiroshima Lemon Bun and Seasonal Mango Cream Bun

Hiroshima Lemon Bun and Seasonal Mango Cream Bun

The setting of PIPES by Hattendo is café centric. The left side of the café is set aside as a roasting room, the middle part is for cosy seating and dining area, together with the coffee order and coffee counter, while the right part of the café is catered for small group or individual seating area.

The Coffee / Bar Counter

Overall, we like the new concept by Hattendo. The dual concept caters to different type of customers and for different occasions. The coffee is good, LD like the alcohol list and the Izakaya food is delicious complete with signature Japanese flair in each dish. We’ll definitely come back to try the rest of the menu and the Salt Baked fish. Kanpai!! Cheers!!

Thank you very much Protegie Consultancy and PIPES by Hattendo Team for hosting us. 

Food & Drinks: 8.5/10
Value: 7.5/10
Service: N/A (Tasting Invitation)
Ambiance: 7.75/10
Budget per Person: $26 - $50; $51 - $80.

PIPES by Hattendo
331 New Bridge Road
#01-02 Dorsett Residences
(Beside Outram Park MRT Exit H)
Singapore 088764

T: +65 8113 6096
IG: @hattendo_singapore
Tue – Sat: 11.00 – 16.30; 17.30 – 22.30
Sun: 11.00 – 19.00
Closed on Monday
All Menu Available on the website


Saturday 17 April 2021 – Flavour of Russia [MEDIA INVITE]

Dumplings 12pcs Combo Platter is an authentic family-owned Russian restaurant, brainchild of Russian Owners Vadim Zoubovski and his wife, Alena Zubovska. serves dishes from Vadim and Alena family-owned recipes that have been passed down over 100 years. In short, you can expect to taste authentic home-cooked Russian food, Russian drinks together with Russian hospitality.

LD and I were there on Friday afternoon and the place are buzzing with lunch crowd. The restaurant is cosy, with industrial design flair and without a doubt, the bar is the centrepiece of the restaurant. It can also fall under the classification of Gastropub.

The Bar
We started our tasting with Kholodets (Chicken Jelly Terrine, $8.90). Our first-time trying this and we just loved it. These mini jelly chicken cups are light and wobbly. The initial taste is very neutral almost bland like it is not seasoned at all. However, once you eat it with the mustard and spring onion, the flavour of the chicken, egg and dill just burst. Awesome.

Kholodets is served with slices of Rye Bread, also known as Black Bread in Russia. The Rye bread is a staple of the Russian household and always available on every dinner table. Rye bread is normally made with sourdough, but this version served by is soft, moist and neutral in flavour, slightly different from the rye bread we tried before.

Shuba (Salted Herring Salad, $9.90). Nicely plated salad filled with chopped potatoes, carrots, onion, hard-boiled egg, salted herring, chopped beetroot and topped with mayo and spring onions. We like the medley of flavours in the salad as it works well together, in between you get the surprising salty flavour from the salted herring that perk up the salad. A refreshing salad indeed.

Pork Chebureki 2pcs ($12). I called this the giant fried wanton. It has a crispy exterior (like Malay curry puff) filled slightly with pork fillings. The fillings are a bit salty, however, they can be offset with mayonnaise dip. Suitable for bar bites during drinking.

Pork Chebureki

Pork Chebureki - The Fillings
Okroshka Cold Summer Soup ($8.50). A quick sip of the soup tasted like watery yoghurt soup. Ingredients consist of potato, cucumber, egg, dill, sour cream, vinegar and served cold. It is refreshing, suitable for summer and also helps to balance the carbo-loaded dishes.

Okroshka Cold Summer Soup
We finally reach the star dish of the restaurant, Pelmeni (Russian Dumpling). We ordered the Dumplings 12pcs Combo Platter ($19.90). It comes in multi-colour; each colour represents one type of fillings. Black for beef, green for lamb, orange for hog (pork), yellow for chicken, white & pink for salmon. For the complete guide, see Dumpling 101 photo below.

Dumplings 12pcs Combo Platter 
Unlike the Chinese version of the dumpling, Pelmeni skin is thick, dense and chewy. The colouring does not influence the flavour of the skin, instead the flavour come from the fillings.

Dumpling 101 - Your Dumpling Guide
We like the black (beef) and orange (hog / pork) flavour most. They are moist and tasty. Surprisingly, the dumplings with potato fillings are moist and delicious, like mashed potatoes fillings.

Dumplings 12pcs Combo Platter
The lamb fillings are very gamy and best eaten with the sour cream that serves with every order of the Pelmeni. If you don’t like strong gamy flavour, you might want to give the lamb a miss.

To end the meal, we choose Medovik (Honey Cake) and Napoleon Cake ($7.90 each) as desserts. Medovik is a traditional honey layer cake, well-loved by the Russian. It is fragrant, sweet and just melts in your mouth. The unique flavour comes from honey and browned butter and sugar. Think of it as Russia’s version of Mille Crepe. As the Medovik came out straight from the fridge, it is best to let it thawed for about 5 to 10 minutes. Once it’s thawed, you can enjoy the dessert melts in your mouth with each bite.

Meanwhile, Napoleon cake is another multi-layer traditional Russian cake. It is made from filo pastry and cream. It is light, fluffy and easily melts in your mouth. For Napoleon, you can eat this straight away, no need to let it thawed.

Dining in a Russian restaurant will not be complete without the alcohols. I shall not mention their world-famous vodka, instead let me cast the light on their beer, wine and non-alcoholic drinks.

Kompot & Khvanchkara
LD tried their red wine Khvanchkara ($17 per glass), also known as ‘Joseph Stalin’s favourite Georgian red wine. The schuchmann is semi-sweet, smooth and easy to drink. I tried Kompot, a non-alcoholic fruit punch made from cooking fruits such as strawberries, apples, rhubarb with sugar or raisins. It tasted like cranberry juice with reduced acidity and sweetness.

Khvanchkara - The schuchmann also serve bottled Russian Beer ($16 per bottle). From the size, it will give the German beer a run for their money.

Russian Beer
Overall, it was a pleasant dining experience at The food is tasty, hearty, delicious and homely. The kholodets, schuba, pork chebureki and dumplings are a must-try. Not forgetting sweets offering or Napoleon cake and Medovik. Cheers!

Thank you very much Protegie Consultancy and team for hosting us.

Food & Drinks: 7.5/10
Value: 7.5/10
Service: N/A (Tasting Invitation)
Ambiance: 7.25/10
Budget per Person: $11 - $25; $26 - $50
32 Maxwell Road
#01-05 Maxwell Chambers
(Tanjong Pagar MRT Exit B)

T: +65 8875 7033
Mon: 17.30 – 20.30
Tue – Sun: 12.00 – 14.30; 17.30 – 22.30

Sunday 11 April 2021

George Town – New Authentic Penang Creations and Drinks Line Up [MEDIA INVITE]

Claypot Mutton Stew with Beancurd and Radish

George Town Tze Char and Craft Beef have added NEW Authentic Penang Creations and exciting drinks line up to their menu. These new dishes inspired by signature Penang dishes and perfectly complement the current craft beers, wines, cocktails and also the new range of craft beers, soju and sake.

We started the feast with Crispy Chef's Homemade Chestnut Beancurd ($12). Made from scratch with soya milk, sotong paste, water chestnut and vegetables. It has a light crispy exterior followed by soft, velvety soya beancurd texture and crunchy water chestnut. You will hardly notice the sotong paste, however, it contributes a unique savoury flavour to the dish.

Crispy Chef's Homemade Chestnut Beancurd
Butter Prawns ($20). Huge tiger prawns, deep-fried and deliver a crispy and crunchy texture. The flavour bomb comes from the mini granules of the butterball, made from butter and coconut milk. Eat this together with curry leaves and chilli padi (if you like), it will be an explosion of flavour in your mouth. Best dish with their range of Hitachino Japanese Craft Beers, LD recommend their Red Rice Ale, as it paired well with the seafood as it gives a slight sweetness to the taste buds.

Butter Prawns
Salted Pepper Crispy Brinjal ($12). Probably the only way I will eat eggplant is when it is deep-fried as I don’t like the mushy texture. The crispy exterior, followed by a soft interior and seasoned with salt and pepper, does the trick for me. Pop a few pieces of the brinjal and I really enjoy it as well.

Salted Pepper Crispy Brinjal

Salted Pepper Crispy Brinjal
Penang Laksa Steamed Fish Head ($28). From our previous visits, we know for sure that Charles (the owner) source one of the freshest fish head around. This dish delivers a nice balance of sour and spicy. It has a thick lemak gravy, haeko and topped with assorted vegetables that is signature to Penang cuisine. For those who like a spicier version, you might want to ask them to increase the heat during ordering. Definitely a rice thief! Cool the heat down with the Brewdog Craft beers from Scotland, LD loves their Hazy Jane.

Penang Laksa Steamed Fish Head 

Penang Laksa Steamed Fish Head
Claypot Mutton Stew with Beancurd and Radish ($25). Simply the best dish of the night. Most of us on the table just nods in agreement. The mutton ribs are stewed for more than 6 hours in special sauce producing juicy and succulent ribs. The long braising time also extracts the essence of the mutton into the sauce, absorbs by the radish and beancurd, creating another superb "rice thief" dish. Yummy.

Claypot Mutton Stew with Beancurd and Radish
Salted Egg Yolk Soft Shell Crab ($18). One of the easiest ways to enjoy crab without getting your hands dirty. The crispy batter filled with salted egg yolk, followed by juicy soft-shell crabs. A great dish to have with your drinks.

Salted Egg Yolk Soft Shell Crab
Penang Crispy Fish (Tilapia, $28). This dish brings back the memories of fried fish from a defunct Indonesian restaurant in Singapore. The fish is butterflied, then deep-fried until crispy to the bone. Topped with Haeko (Black Shrimp Paste) base sauce and refreshing garnish. It is delicious, enjoyable and finger-licking good. You can hear the crunch with each bite of the fish.

Penang Crispy Fish (Tilapia)
Golden Chicken ($20 for half chicken and $38 for whole chicken). A dish that requires great skill and painstaking preparation. The chicken needs to be deboned and meat removed. It is then blended with the sotong, stuffed back into the chicken and air-dried. Upon order, the chicken is deep-fried to produce that addictive crispy skin. The version here is has a bouncy flesh, infused with the chicken flavour as well. The taste itself is unique, different from what on offer in the market. A must-try dish here.

Golden Chicken

Golden Chicken

Golden Chicken - The Chicken and Sotong stuffing
To complete the dining experience here, you can freely pair your meal here with craft beer on tap from Brewlander, bottled craft beer Hitachino Nest (Japan) or Brewdog (UK), fine wines, award-winning sake, soju and gin (including Chendol Gin and Rojak Gin). The drinks are curated by Charles, the owner and also drink aficionados, PLUS they are reasonably priced, almost like Happy Hour all day long.

Hitachino Nest (Japan) 

Brewdog (UK)

You can check out the full review of the original dishes at George Town Tze Char and Craft Beer here.

Overall, it was indeed a pleasure to return to George Town to try out their new dishes. Our personal favourites this round is Claypot Mutton Stew with Beancurd and Radish, Penang Laksa Steamed Fish Head, Penang Crispy Fish (Tilapia) and Golden Chicken. We’ll definitely come back for awesome claypot mutton stew and the rest of the dishes. Cheers!!

Thank you very much Jennifer Yeo Consultancy and George Town Tze Char & Craft Beer Team for hosting us.

Food & Drinks: 8.25/10
Value: 8.5/10
Service: N/A (Media Tasting)
Ambiance: 8.5/10
Budget per Person: $26 - $50; $51 - $80

George Town Tze Char & Craft Beer
81 Boat Quay
Singapore 049869
T: +65 6535 6277 / 9682 3826

IG: @Georgetowntzechar
OH: Daily 12.00 – 23.00

Our Popular Reviews: