[BALI EATS]: Urchin Grill & Raw Bar does poncey with major appeal

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On a weekday night during the off-peak season at Urchin, it's a silent, empty place of polished floorboards, stiff back chairs and mahogany wood stained atmosphere. Similar to other establishments winging the Seminyak stretch, the ill-fated predicament seems commonplace. A waiter appears and injects some life into the dry as dust persona, introducing us to the tasting menu we would be navigating. Albeit, alone in the expanse of the spacious dining room. Urchin defers from most other restaurants, no death-defying design stunts, devoid of tropical-vibe inducing paraphernalia. 

I had no qualms, of course. Settling in prompting with a comp basket of sexy warm sourdough flanked by a small dish of Kombu butter that had seen too long a time in the freezer.

It's Cake Time!

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Anchor Food Professionals (AFP) and nine local bakeries preset It's Cake Time, a campaign comprising nine specially created, tea-inspired cakes. All speciality cakes featured in the collection are delicately made with premium, New Zealand-made Anchor butter and cream.

More wicked cake action after the jump.

The Pelican Seafood Bar and Grill conquers both land and sea

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Letting off a sigh that signalled both contentment and resignation, this was me, right after I had taken a first bite of my burger at The Pelican. The bay front restaurant has been around for what seems like ages now, its menu recently making transition from being full fledged seafood focused to featuring a pleasant interweave of surf and turf. The list reads easy and offers nothing out of the ordinary as far as your regular mid-tier restaurant would go - however, what lies simmering below the seemingly tranquil surface is a conglomerate of stellar staples. Hear me out.

Winter is coming: PORTA Fine Food and Import Company rolls out Christmas specials

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Tucked away in a corner of the lobby of Park Hotel, PORTA Fine Food and Import Company is known for dishing out modern European specialties. This December, they have released a festive menu with dishes that offer a twist from the regular Christmas fare.

Tsuta Singapore celebrates their first-year anniversary with two brand new ramen offerings

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Helmed by Chef Yuki Onishi, Tsuta's flagship outlet in Japan is the world's first Michelin-starred ramen eatery. Its outlet in Singapore at Pacific Plaza has been awarded the Bib Gourmand Award for the 2017 MICHELIN Guide Singapore. In conjunction with Tsuta's first anniversary, Chef has created two duck ramen dishes specially for Singapore that have made available to the public on the 4th November' 17.

Alaturka Turkish and Mediterranean Restaurant: Faith in Middle Eastern restored

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A few years back, having returned from a short business-related stint in the Middle East and subsequently working under a throng of Lebanese bosses whilst living in Sydney, Australia; I've entertained thoughts that if in the case I weren't born Chinese, Middle eastern would be the next best thing. Reason being, the cuisine was gorgeous.

I had grown a furtive love for all things Middle Eastern, baba-ganoush, hummus, fattoush, baklava, halva - I wanted them all. Simple, satisfying and supposedly good for you.

[Weekend Pick]: Butcher Boy for late night munchies and Sunday therapy

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On first glance, Butcher Boy comes across as just another one of the bar-touting restaurants flashing a  modernistic approach on Asian cuisine in the hope of enticing the ignorant tourist or expatriate. But on closer inspection, the joint boasts some amazing accolades, mostly with Andrew Walsh of Cure helming the finances and kitchen. Cure, having survived more than 2 years in the merciless Keong Saik neighbourhood, has proved its mettle; the informal diner is in good health and does a bustling trade with a spotlight placed on ever-changing menus dictated by seasonal goods.

Chef-owner Andrew Walsh has turned it up a notch in his second and newest venture, churning out grilled meat specialities with Asian sauces - think baos and buns, sharing plates and Asian centric cocktails - all inspired by his tasty adventures whilst traversing Asia. There's an immediate sense of ease and comfort, something metaphysical as you step into the low-light of the longish dining room. The high stool seatings and the tight tables encourage communal dining with a lofty chance of alcoholic tipples, the open bar making sure to fortify those thirsty needs. Staff are affable and not before long, a bottle of wine graces your groups table, and fret not, it is a perfectly plush spot to indulge in a tipple at mid-range prices.

Let's do the LOCO-motion - Mexican food trail with the Loco Group

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The Loco Group brought us on a mini food trail to all three of their outlets, Super loco Robertson Quay, Super Loco Customs house and last but not least Lucha Loco.

We commenced the trail at Robertson Quay. Set just beside the Singapore river, Super Loco adopted a Mexican diner look and feel, with the strange use of vibrant colours, creative graphics, festival lighting, handwritten typography and street posters. It wasn't hard to fall in love with the venue. They even have a retail cabinet showcasing an array of quirky Mexican merchandise to be purchased!

Neon Pigeon: Autumn Migration

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If you asked me to name two things the Singapore dining-scape (in specific the Keong Saik precinct) already has plenty of, I'd reply "modern-Asian cuisine and cocktail bars." So did I need to review another place that thrived on selling a combination of these two concepts to the unsuspecting audience, mostly expats, sorry. Theoretically, no. Especially where full-house bookings and raucous crowds are concerned on a daily basis. But gastronomically, where the autumn menu is headed, yes.

Hear me out.

Morsels: Timeless cuisine fostered by Asian heralded techniques

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Areas like the lush Dempsey Hill have had its fair share of ups and down over the last decade. It spruced up nicely in its food and beverage conquest, attracting voracious appetites and roaring conversations in its hay-days with distinguished overseas brand backing. Think Jones the Grocer with its cool, softly lit gorgeous lofty interiors and fresh stacks of pancakes. However, the slowing economy took a huge hit and expatriates who were the majority denizens of Dempsey started making rarer appearances in the enclave. All of a sudden, things too a turn and these giants slowly moved out of the leaving a void to be filled. Not long after, new life style quarters Como Dempsey happened and the precinct teamed with life once again. Taking the plunge, was Petrina Loh, Chef/Owner of Morsels (previously located in Mayo Street) who moved her small plates restaurant into a more intimate 40-seater, 1000 sqf space  just at stone's throw from Long Beach Seafood.

Having not patronise her previous outlet before, I was pleasantly surprised by the cottage like intimacy of the dining space adjoining the open kitchen. Wild ferns frame the bar while wicker chairs and wooden table tops up the 'rustic' quality one experiences once you slide pass those full length barnyard type doors. At the point, you'll wonder if you've inadvertently stepped into someone's home, lifting your eyes to look out for quilted corners.