Food Snippets: [NEW OPENINGS] COCOIchibanya, Populus Cafe, Confetti, Seattle Pike Chowder,The Rotisserie

Here's how we like doing it this Tuesday. Fast and furious.

Often stumped by the question, 'so, what are we eating later?,'  We round up several hot new venues that have just opened, veering towards the more family friendly style that perhaps have existed in a different forms before being reincarnated in new landmark. So whether you're craving a soul-satisfying roast chicken and gravy, a trendy instagrammable brunch plate or simply a bread bowl filled with chunky clam chowder, there's a Singapore restaurant that will satisfy. The scoop, below.


COCOIchibanya opens its 5th outlet in Singapore at Plaza Singapura. Along with that, its menu touts several items geared towards attracting the younger, more vivacious crowds that flood into the shopping haven daily.

My previous experience with the chain was one that left me bittersweet impressions, however, the recent tastings took my palate by storm and wiped out a couple of my spotted memories. The new menu reads well, showcasing a variation of side dishes that compliments the main rice-laden meals well - that and the star attraction of having a choice of level 1 - 5 Japanese curry which will satiate everyone from the novice to the hardcore chili fanatic.

Some sides worth fretting over are the Tofu with Fried Fish Salad ($7) and the Deep Fried Chicken Gyozas ( $4.20) - the latter, golden brown parcels of succulent chicken meat especially suited for the peckish personality. The Grilled Spinach, Bacon and Corn ($3) is a welcome addition to the usually brown color palate of the meal in all entirety - and bacon - nobody can turn that down.

With your rice, choose between the usual suspects such as their famous Deep Fried Pork Cutlet ($4) or the Thinly Sliced Boiled Beef ($4) amongst other more unorthodox protein choices, for example Grilled Pork and Kimchi ($4) and Pan-fried Squid. The easygoing nature of Japanese curry together with its variation in spice levels, locking in uncustomary flavor combinations of protein with sweet curry. There's one thing that I would strongly recommend at COCOIchibanya, that would be the Black Pepper Grilled Chicken ($4); memorable and wildly daring in terms of flavor, these slabs of juicy bird may just benefit from the use of less curry as accompaniment.
Grilled Pork and Kimchi
Top - Bottom: Black Pepper Chicken ($4), Deep Fried Pork Cutlet ($4), Pan-fried Squid
I was left less impressed by the desserts. A slew of sweet treats that were overly creamy and one-dimensional, not too mention, watered down from its frozen treatment. In its defence, this proved majorly successful in putting out the flames started by the Level 5 curry that may put on an innocent front initially but creeps up on you as you spoon its potent constitution with reckless abandon over your rice.
Top left (clockwise): Chocolate Crepe Cake ($5.50), Matcha Cheesecake ($4.80), Milk Cream Puff ($5.50)

Coco Ichibanya
68 Orchard Road
Plaza Singapura

Operating Hours: 
Mon - Thurs: 10am - 10pm
Fri - Su: 10am - 11pm

The Populus Cafe

Yet another cafe to join the ranks of 'too-cool-for-school' outfits in and around the Keong Saik, Bukit Pasoh region, straddling the outskirts of cafe-trodden Everton Park region; is the new The Populus Cafe - a collaboration effort between Department of Caffeine and coffee roasting outfit 2 Degrees North Coffee Co. 

First things first, decor is absolutely smashing, with the minimal front seating leading into a narrow alleyway flanked by open bar on the other side and finally opening up into cozier grounds highlighted by a wooden framed window that allows for the aura of natural light to flood into the wood and copper clad space.

Here, get The Populus Scramble($17) - soft scrambled eggs combined with a melange of fresh herbs, marinated feta cubes waiting to spring a lovely briny surprise in between creamy folds and all this over a toasted buttery croissant. For plating purposes, the eggs reside above the croissant, with its cheeky golden toasted edges peeking out at the sides, however, visuals aside, this did nothing for the poor croissant that resulting in a soggy mess from the residual heat in the eggs. The picture perfect streaky bacon makes up for all grievances and for a moment, you'll assume its sole purpose is to contrast that mushy croissant. Other menu items include the innovative Spring Pancake & Fried Chicken ($21) as well as the Beef Ragu Pappardelle ($18), each retaining a bit of Asian flair to put a commonplace brunch dish into perspective.

The Populus Cafe
146 Neil Road
t: 6635 8420

Operating Hours:
Tues - Sun: 10am - 6pm
Mon: Closed



The new Confetti at Jalan Sultan road retains some remnants of its past life as B Bakery along Bussorah Street. What most will see when stepping foot into the shop is a flower and gift shop, but push pass the plethora of flora and you'll find a gem of a speciality cake shop tucked at the back of the shop. Currently, they only entertain take-away so don't expect to find a full fledged cafe here, although iced teas and hot coffees are on offer as well in this cozy establishment.

From immaculate entrements to homey treats that will warm your heart, the spread of Asian inspired sweet treats at Confetti will be guaranteed to please the most finicky of taste buds. Favourites include the Chocolate Raspberry Jewel, Stylo-hot-islo gateau, Matcha Goma keki and the Sticky date Gula Melaka - the former, a decadent chocolate fiesta with tangy raspberry curd, seeds intact and 56% Dark Chocolate fudge nestled between spongy flourless chocolate cake. Stylo-hot-islo Gateau is a melange of contrasting textures and tastes including sharp passionfruit creme together with a placid coconut cream mousse and raspberry gel. Coconut dacquoise provides a bit of chewiness and its entire velvety constitution balanced out by a buttery lime sable crust.

Die hard matcha fans will revel in the Matcha Goma Keki, a sultry merger of green tea mousse, black sesame cream, white choc whipped ganache and green tea sponge. The sneaking presence of citrus helping to lift and accentuate the earthy flavors. Last but not least, the Sticky Date Gula Melaka is a real winner with the usual stodgy renditions of a sticky date pudding being updated for a lighter version but still retaining those heavy hints of toffee within, caramelised gula melaka sauce dons the top and seeps into the cracks and crevices of the airy sponge when given a slight nudge in the microwave.

As you gaze through the entire selection here at Confetti, some other entries would stand out, such as the Lemon Meringue Tart, Bandung Hokkaido crème puff and the Passionfruit New York Cheesecake. My advise would be to work through the collection slowly, cakes are made fresh daily, so what you see everyday (the dwindling amount of cakes as it approaches night) is pretty much the best you're going to get.

89 Jalan Sultan
t: 6284 0284


Seattle Pike Chowder

I'm going to outright confess that I'm not much of a clam chowder fan and then turn around to say that Seattle Pike Chowder's rendition really won me over. Pike Place Chowders, an institution in Seattle has decided to spread its wings and expand across oceans, to Singapore.

When here, order the New England Clam Chowder in a bread bowl (ranges from $12.90 to $14.90), the soup, creamy and thick with the inherent sweet flavors of chopped ocean clams, potatoes and mire poix is surprisingly addictive. Especially when enjoyed with the bread bowl that retains a gorgeous crumb from start to finish.

Other options for chowders include the queerer Manhattan, Seafood Bisque, Smoked Salmon, Scallop and Alaskan Fish.

My advise would still be to stick with the original. Sometimes it doesn't pay to be adventurous.

Seattle Pike Chowder
Parkway Centre
1 Marine Parade Central

The Rotisserie @ Claymore Connect

My fervent love for rotisserie chicken stems from my days spent working in Sydney, where my daily routine 3km walk home would take me pass a roast chicken stall straddling the tranquil streets of Homebush. The tantalising smell of chicken as it spins on a heated carousel permeating the biting cold air. Quarter of a chicken would score you a juicy thigh, perfect to go with rice and some steamed vegetables for dinner; while a half (less than A$10) would feed you over two meals, the less succulent breasts, best shredded over a petite salad of olives, capers and fresh romaine lettuce. Such was life then.

Fast forward a couple of years and still I am overcome by the same tingles, thrills and spills from the drifting aroma of rotisserie chicken adrift from the kitchens. However, circumstances have changes and I'm a patron of The Rotisserie's newest branch at Claymore Connect Mall.

Shedding its shady image, Claymore Connect Mall formerly known as Orchard Hotel Shopping Arcade is home to this affordable Western dining establishment that has its roots in the CBD area. Well known for its succulent rotisserie chicken and black Angus beef burger, I arrived with towering expectations only to be greeted with a lukewarm reception at the counter manned by staff who had perhaps endure a rough service on a Sunday night.

All-day-breakfast options are available here at Claymore Connect and diners can enjoy a spread of breakfast choices including Sourdough toast, bagels with cream cheese and Egg Benedict; however, for me, it was all about em' sexy chickens and I dived straight into the hot meals section like a crazed reincarnation of a tyrannosaurus rex. Half a Roast Chicken ($19), Half a Pork Knuckle ($21) and bring on the sides!!! The former brings me back to familiar territory, succulent chicken that comes off the bone with ease, drenched in gravy which went down perfectly with those fluffy hot chips. The roast chicken arrives at the table on a boisterous large plate, flanked by cauliflower gratin and mashed potato, both heart warmingly good. Another beautiful abstraction was the pork knuckle, its pinkish flesh retaining its immaculate porcine juices within, my only gripe would be that the gray should have been served as a side consideration as it rendered my perfectly crispy skin stodgy a little too quickly.

We also tried the Spinach and Feta Quiche ($8) which wasn't too bad a meal option if you're looking for something a bit lighter.

Take note that this Christmas, The Rotisserie is proud to present its Christams Feast take-home packs (worth $180) that consists of a traditional roasted whole turkey served with cranberry sauce, Honey-Glazed Ham and Christmas Fruit Cake. This pack feed 8-10 people, perfect if you're considering catering for a home or an office party.

The Rotisserie
Claymore Connect
442 Orchard Road
t: 6734 4858

Operating Hours: 
Daily: 7 30am - 10pm

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