When you have friends who love food as much as you, you will probably find yourself exploring new eateries every other day. And when your said friends work in the CBD area, these explorations tend take place over lunch near their workplace.
Last week, I found myself going to the Marina bay area almost everyday to have lunch with my lunch kakis (kakis = Singlish for like-minded friends). If you follow my blog, you probably know my lunch kakis tend to be Nat and Mabel of So Amazingly Bums. This time round, we also called along Justin, an instagrammer-cum-burpple tastemaker whose opinions on food and graph theory (inside joke) I trust. Because the three of us were desperate for some free lessons on Math… I mean food photography.
Stop 1: Nude Seafood (Marina Bay Financial Centre)
Our first stop of the week was at Nude Seafood, highly recommended by Justin who sometimes goes to MBFC
to catch Charmanders for work.
Nude Seafood served different menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner and we were there for lunch. Since there were four of us that day, we ordered four dishes to share.
My favourite was the Hickory Smoked Salmon (SGD17 nett). I don’t usually like cooked salmon, but the salmon here was really good. It was perfectly done – evenly cooked through but not dry. And the salmon was served with this purplish grain which I thought was black glutinous rice (it even tasted somewhat like black glutinous rice but not so sticky) but it was some other special grain which I have never eaten before. Whatever it was, I super loved it.
My second favourite dish was the Unagi & Inaniwa Udon (SGD19 nett). The udon was served in a very tasty dashi stock and topped with unagi, a slice of tamago and yasai tempura.
What I really liked about this dish was the Inaniwa udon – which is one of Japan’s top 3 udon. Inaniwa udon is quite different from the usual udon we get from supermarkets or most other Japanese restaurants. They are thinner and almost translucent when cooked and has a more ‘springy’ texture. I liked this much more than normal udon. If it was normal udon, I would have given this dish a miss.
The third dish we had was the Uni & Prawn Pasta (SGD24). If you read my Hokkaido food posts, you would know how much I love uni (sea urchin). In this dish, the squid ink pasta was coated with an uni sauce. The taste of uni was quite distinct, so they definitely didn’t scrimp on the uni. But having had uni fresh from the sea in Hokkaido, I think I would still skip anything with uni in Singapore because there is just no comparison. Don’t get me wrong, the uni pasta here was pretty good and value-for-money, especially if you know how much uni usually cost in Singapore. The prawns were big and fresh and the uni was better than most other uni in Singapore. But I still prefer my uni fresh from the sea. Period.
The fourth dish we ordered was the Bara Chirashi Bowl (SGD17). I wasn’t very impressed by the chirashi don here. The ikura was very sweet and the salmon was fresh. But it was just very ordinary.
On the whole, I found the food at Nude Seafod very value-for-money and highly recommend dining there if you are near Marina Bay Financial Centre and have a craving for some high quality seafood dishes without burning a big hole in your pocket.
Information on Nude Seafood:
Address: Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3, #01-02, 12 Marina Boulevard, Singapore 018982
- Monday – Friday: 8:00am – 10:00pm
- Last order for lunch at 2:30pm; last order for dinner at 9:00pm
- Weekends and public holidays: Closed
Tel: +65 6443 1167
Stop 2: Peach Blossoms (Marina Mandarin Hotel)
For our second stop, Justin and I were invited to a media tasting at Peach Blossoms at Marina Mandarin Hotel.
Peach Blossoms is an exquisite Chinese restaurant with a million dollar renovation. So this is not your usual ‘let’s meet up for lunch’ venue. It is a place I would go to to celebrate special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries.
We were invited to try out their seasonal ‘Simply Indulge in Abalone’ menu (SGD128++ per person) that is only available from 1 October to 30 November 2016.
The meal started with the Peach Blossoms Trio Appetizer Combination which was almost too beautiful to eat.
Trio Appetizer Combination [7 course menu at $128++ per person]. So pretty, my eyes were bouncing between these three admiring the intricacies and wondering which to start with. 🔸 Appetizers plated like this usually require you to start from left to right, but this is my ordering: I started with the chilled Japanese cucumber roll (right) which was filled with jelly fish, moved to the prawn coated with mayo and mixed nuts (left), then finally the deep fried scallop and banana wrapped with mashed taro (centre). 🔸 Good medley of the three – one's refreshing, one's creamy, and one's crispy. Thank you @bumble_bee_mum and @globegalsg for the invitation to this media tasting at @marinamandarinsg! 🔸 #chinesefood #peachblossoms
The typical cold dish ingredients like prawn with mayo and chilled jellyfish that we often find in Chinese appetizers have been ‘repackaged’ and presented in the most elegant form I have ever seen.
The next dish on the menu was the shark’s fin in supreme broth or your choice of other broth if you are against eating shark’s fin – like this crocodile broth. Regardless of which broth you choose, you can be assured that the best ingredients have been used to brew the stock for several hours to extract the collagen and nutrients to create a thick delicious broth.
The star of the menu was the braised six-headed whole abalone in superior oyster sauce. I am not a big abalone fan because abalone tends to be rubbery and chewy. But the one we had here was very tender and easy to bite. And the sauce it was served in was so good!
[New Menu] Braised six headed whole abalone in superior sauce, 红烧六头鲍鱼 [$128++ for seven courses]. You know a good abalone when you have one. 🔸 I like that the abalone is thick, firm, yet soft to the bite, so that it can be sliced easily with the knife or teeth without feeling rubbery. It's also seafood briny and sweet, with superior sauce well absorbed into the center. This is worthy of being the highlight of Peach Blossoms' new menu. 🔸 Other courses were good too, I'll be posting two more dishes, but check out our favourite mummy blogger @bumble_bee_mum blog for more detailed write up soon. Thank you @bumble_bee_mum and @globegalsg for the invitation to this media tasting at @marinamandarinsg! 🔸 #chinesefood #abalone #鲍鱼
Next up was the steamed silver cod in ‘penang’ style. The cod was super fresh and the sauce was spicy and tangy – great for me who likes spicy food.
After the fish came the “Dong Po” Pork Ribs in Honey Sauce.
Dong Po Pork Ribs with Honey Sauce, 蜜汁东坡骨 [$128++ for seven courses]. 🔸 Executive Chef Francis first slow braised this pork ribs to achieve its internal tenderness, before putting it in fire to grill it for that exterior smokiness. And look at that shine created by the viscous layer of honey glaze. Instead of using pork belly in 东坡肉, pork ribs was used so that it's less fatty. Chef Francis does know that I'm beginning to watch my waistline 😅 🔸 This is my last post of Peach Blossoms. Although I've only posted 3 out of 7 courses, my other photos would be in @bumble_bee_mum blog. Do check that out for more detailed write up when it's up! This is a media tasting hosted by @globegalsg from @marinamandarinsg. 🔸 #porkribs #chinesefood #marinamandarin
The pork ribs were braised for hours to achieve the right tenderness where you could just peel the meat off the bone. The meat was soft and juicy on the itself and crispy on the outside.
And as with all Chinese set menu, the staple was served at the end. In this menu, we had the stewed rice vermicelli with assorted seafood. It may look like a rather plain dish, but the broth that they served the vermicelli in was very rich and when soaked up by the vermicelli – yumz!
Last but not least was the dessert – Chilled coconut jelly with Mango Puree served with coconut ice-cream. Which I felt fell short in terms of presentation. Considering how beautiful each dish we had was, I expected the dessert to be like the climax in terms of presentation – because you know, desserts these days HAVE to look good. I expected it be served in like a coconut shell with smoke coming out from the bottom or something, just to end the meal with a bang. Okay, that didn’t happen. But the dessert tasted real good – not too sweet and I loved the addition of thin slices of coconut inside.
We had a splendid meal at Peach Blossoms and there was no doubt about the quality of the food they served. This particular set menu may not be for everyone, for instance I wouldn’t order this menu because I’m not a fan of abalone nor shark’s fin which I thought were the two most expensive dishes on the menu that warranted the price tag. However after tasting their dishes, I would love to come back for their ala-carte menu or dim sum buffet.
Information on Peach Blossoms:
Address: 6 Raffles Boulevard, Marina Square, Singapore 039594
- Monday – Friday Lunch: 12.00pm – 3.00pm
- Weekend Lunch (Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays): 11.00am – 3.00pm
- Daily Dinner: 6.30pm – 10.30pm
Tel: (65) 6845 1118
Stop 3: Starbucks Reserve (Marina Bay Sands)
Taking a break from all that heavy eating, it was time for coffee break! Mabel and I were trying to find a place for morning coffee and decided to check out the newly-opened Starbucks Reserve at Marina Bay Sands. Justin, who was attending a conference at MBS, popped in to join us later on too.
Starbucks Reserve at Marina Bay Sands was no ordinary Starbucks. Because over here, they served Siphon coffee on top of their usual array of Frappucinos and lattes. There were four types of beans to choose from, and after you select your bean, you would be invited to take a seat at the counter where you could watch the coffee prepared right before your eyes.
I mentioned before that I am no coffee connoisseur. I picked my coffee based on smell – they had samples of the beans for you to smell there. And I was happy with the Malawi coffee ($8.40) that I ended up picking. I would order this over Frappucino anytime.
If you need a perk-me-up (Frappucinos cannot perk me up but this coffee did) when you are at Marina Bay Sands, don’t forget to check out Starbucks Reserve.
Information on Starbucks Reserve:
Address: #B2-56 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 2 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018972 (Starbucks Reserve is located near the food court – It’s one of the shops beside the ice-skating rink.)
- Mon – Thur: 0800 – 2130
- Fri – Sat: 0800 – 0000
- Sun: 0800 – 2130
- Public Holiday & Eve of Public Holiday: 0800 – 0000
Tel: 6509 8401
Stop 4: Aquamarine (Marina Mandarin Hotel)
Justin, Mabel and I were invited to a media tasting at Aquamarine. Aquamarine changes their menu periodically, and from now till 27 October 2016, they are having their Best of Spice & South East Asian Delights buffet.
This was not your typical international buffet where you go and stuff yourself with sashimi and raw oysters to try to make your money worth. They didn’t even have raw oysters when I was there. And their sashimi wasn’t exactly the best I’ve had. But what was special about the buffet was the assortment of exotic dishes from all over Asia – some of which I have never even heard of before although I lived my entire life in Asia.
Thai, Cambodian, Javanese, Balinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Singaporean.. Omg, I was like having a geography lesson looking at the array of dishes and the little flags next to the name of each dish.
The selection was mind-boggling. Coupled by the sights and smell when you are there – gosh, I didn’t even know where to begin. Usually I try to be detailed in my reviews and show you as much as possible of what is available, but this was one buffet I gave up after a while. Because if I went around to photograph everything, I won’t have time to eat.
My favourite section at this buffet was not the sashimi, not the seafood, but the GRILL section.
Like OMG, you need to be there to smell the grill to know why I love it so much.
Justin also agreed that the grill was awesome.
Grilled lamb rack [Buffet at $60++ to $80++]. My favorite dish at Aquamarine "Appealing Asia" which features a whole range of Asian cuisine – from South East Asia to Thailand/Vietnam, and northwards to China/Japan/Korea. 🔸 This Balinese style lamb rack is grilled above fire, hence the skin has a smoky fragrance and is slightly crispy, while flesh remains juicy and velvety. Other possible buffet dishes include Thai barbecue, Japanese roast, Korean samyetang, Japanese sashimi, Penang assam laksa, Vietnamese braised fish, Shanghainese dumplings and Singaporean chilli crab. 🔸 Available till 27 Oct 2016, half price for children. This is a media invitation, thank you @bumble_bee_mum and @globegalsg. 🔸 ✋🏻 model: @bumble_bee_mum
I was rather adventurous that day, I would say. Eating stuff I usually wouldn’t touch. Because that’s what buffets are for right? For you to try a bit of everything? Okay, I regretted taking the Miang Kham – totally not my kind of food. But at least I tried and know never to touch Miang Kham if I see it in Thailand.
I also put together my own Assam laksa – and I am proud to say it was the best assam laksa I have had since the one I had in Penang 4 years ago. I was freaking proud of my assam laksa and kept asking Justin to take more photos of it.. haha!
Moving on to desserts.. The dessert selection was also quite Asian. From kueh lapis to that old-school cake.
And we all super loved that durian mousse cake which had a Singapore flag next to it.
And instead of the usual jelly-in-a-cup, we had chendol and red ruby in a cup.
Other than those special Asian desserts, there were also cupcakes, meringue, bread & butter pudding, fruits and a fancy ice-cream cone holder. The machine dispensed frozen yoghurt instead of ice-cream though. So one of the disappointing things about the dessert section was the lack of ice-cream. Bummer.
The menu at Aquamarine is ever-changing, and if you go on a different day, the dishes you have may differ from what I had. But if you love Asian food or would like to try different types of Asian food in one place, don’t miss the limited-time-only Best of Spice & South East Asian Delights buffet at Aquamarine, on till 27 October 2016 only.
Nightmare in Halloween (28 – 29 Oct 2016)
Image Source: Marina Mandarin Singapore
Look out for highlights such “Coffin” which is Norwegian Salmon Baked in Charcoal Brioche, “Anatomy” with Braised Whole Lamb Shoulder with Organic Tomato and Garlic, “Eye” Lychee Tart, “Torture” (Chicken Shawarma with Avocado, Tomato and Taco) and “Witch” (a Manhattan Seafood Pot dish) at this two-days only special Halloween dining event!
Mediterranean Food Festival (1 Nov to 30 Nov 2016)
Image Source: Marina Mandarin Singapore
Featuring key dishes and Barramundi Baked in Rock Salt and Ash, 16 hours Slow Cooked Wagyu Beef Shortribs with Feta Cheese, Free Range Chicken and Mushroom Risotto served in whole Parmesan wheel, Zuppa Di Presce (a Sicilian Seafood Stew) and Salmon Escabache with Capers and Pimento – Have a taste of the Mediterranean without leaving Singapore!
(Dishes on menu above are on rotational basis in the buffet.)
Kids Eat Free Promo
During weekend lunch, one child dines free with every paying adult at Aquamarine!
Terms & Conditions:
- Offer is valid for Weekend and Public Holiday’s Lunch Only.
- Applicable to child aged below 12 and advanced reservations are recommended and subjected to availability.
- This benefit is applicable with credit card promotions, vouchers, membership/VIP card, and privileges and offers unless otherwise stated.
- General Terms and Conditions apply
Information on Aquamarine:
Address: 6 Raffles Boulevard, Marina Square, Singapore 039594
Opening Hours & Buffet Pricing:
- Breakfast: 6.30am – 10.30am
- Lunch on Monday to Friday:
12.00pm – 2.30pm $60++ per adult, $30++ per child (5-12 yrs)
- Lunch on Saturday, Sunday and Public Holiday:
12.00pm – 3.00pm $60++ per adult, $30++ per child (5-12 yrs)
- Dinner on Sunday – Thursday:
6.30pm – 10.00pm $70++ per adult, $35++ per child (5-12 yrs)
- Dinner on Friday, Saturday & Eve of Public Holiday:
6.30pm – 10.00pm $80++ per adult, $40++ per child (5-12 yrs)
Tel: (65) 6845 1111
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