Five & Dime Eatery: Reservations recommended


Sporting a modest single page menu, Five and Dime eatery located along River Valley road at the back of Killiney Road has clearly got something right with queues snaking out of the restaurant and an army of reservation tags attempting to conquer my dining territory on the bar counter. 2 years into business and yet there is still no lack of activity within the stand alone building. With a parking lot conveniently located next to the cafe, that could be a contributing factor.

I had the Braised Pork Belly Sandwich ($18); Black Berkshire Pork slow-cooked for 6 hours on toasted ciabatta with sweet potato fries; this comes across as a knockoff (though as knockoffs go, it's very well made). The rich spices in the braised pork rich are very predominant and the pork was braised to a jaw-dropping tender. The only flaw in the dish would have to be the mindless horizontal slicing of the pork belly in order to spread it out onto the ciabatta, This resulted in a half of the sandwich swathed in succulent fatty goodness whilst the other half left to deal with a chunk of lean meat. Just deal a smaller serve of bread please. That would solve the whole situation. The sweet potoato fries on the side are excellent, crisp, slightly hollowed and a bit creamy on the inside.

The much raved about Mentaiko Pasta ($18) spaghetti tossed in spicy mentaiko, topped with more cod fish roe was perfectly delicious albeit a little on the dry side. A peak at our neighbour revealed a little inconsistency to the dish, hers gleaming with a more raucous sheen from the sauce.

Simple and cozy with homely cuisine, don't expect the kitchen to achieve transcendence here. But still, with such tough crowds to handle, make sure to nail your reservations should you be dropping by on a weekend.

Five & Dime
297 River Valley Road
T: 9236 5002

Opening hours: 
Mon-Thurs: 12pm - 10pm
Friday:        12pm - 12am
Saturday:    10am - 12am
Sunday:       10am - 10pm

ON-YASAI @ Chijimes: A Welcome Relief


Weekends are when the guilt sinks in, a culpability towards the stress that I put my body through with my horrendous diet during the weekdays. Take today for example where I followed a Chicken Tikka Naanwich from Fix with Pulled Pork tacos from Mex-out and then rounded up the whole sinful affair with the BEST fried chicken and waffles at The Beast. All this washed down with copious amounts of alcoholic beverages... hey.. don't judge.. after all #TGIF folks! Continuous days of dietary insurgence with hardly any greens in sight usually leaves me feeling sluggish and out of shape. Then, as my mind shifts to the notion of healthy eating, I am deterred by the thought of bland tasteless dishes. Well, if some of you out there are faced similar dilemmas, fret not, I reckon I've found a solution to this problem.

ON-YASAI is a shabu shabu joint hailing from Tokyo. With origins since 2000, this chain currently has more than 300 outlets in Japan alone. ON-YASAI aims to challenge the common concepts, firstly that shabu shabu is an expensive affair and secondly, to delineate the all-you-can-eat steamboat experiences you often get in Singapore brimmed with cheap ingredients and frozen meats. Targeted at the families, couples and the professional woman, they strive to provide a healthy selection of ingredients driven by seasonal produce with a creative array of soup bases.

Besides its usual ala-carte menu, there is the buffet option which comes with 40 different types of vegetables and appetizers. Each diner also receives 1 tray of meat, 1 Chicken Tsumire (Japanese minced chicken in bamboo stick) and 1 dessert. Priced at just $49.90++ on weekdays and $54.90++ on weekends for adults; this is a wallet friendly manner of eating healthy yet eating well. Do take heed that there is a time limit of 1.5 hour per table on the buffet so pace yourselves.

Japanese hospitality meant us trying a multitude of appetizers before the real deal. Jagakara ($8.90) was a peculiar combination of potato and pickled squid that was very much acquired taste, the distinct poignant taste of the sea with the squid kicking up an appetite. Another stellar dish to order with your beers is the Brown Sugared Broad Beans ($3.90), sugar coated with a brief touch of salt, this crunchy snack is extremely addictive and I dived at it continuously much to my embarrassment when the host offered to refill my bowl.

One of the main characteristics of ON-YASAI is the assortment of soups, there are Tomato Soup, Citron Soup with Collagen, Japanese Style Spicy Soup, Golden Soup (truffle flavored), Seaweed Soup, Sichuan Spicy Soup, Soyamilk Soup and secret Sukiyaki Soup. Best part is.. you get to select 2 soups for every pot! 

Soon, the pots of soup (we chose the citron soup, golden soup, seaweed soup and soyamilk soup) placed on the induction stoves had reach a rolling boil and we proceeded to cook our meats with gentle precision. The Japanese Wagyu Chuck Roll ($34.90) and Australian Wagyu Chuck Roll ($23.90) both had excellent marbling and cook within seconds of its interaction with the hot stock. Boosted by a refined setup, we were encouraged to leave our meats on a drip tray before dipping in our choice of goma or ponzu suce to prevent watering the sauce down. Utter brilliance and such attention to detail on the restaurant's part. The Japanese Momoiro Pork Collar ($18.90) was best savored in the soyamilk soup, the milky richness of the soup enhancing the fattiness of the protein. I found refuge in the exquisite goma sauce, the use of foie gras adding an extra flavor dimension. Truth be told, I would have loved to take a swim in this sauce had it not been for my nagging reminder to maintain proper table manners in front of my hosts.

The Chicken Tsumire ($6.90)  is a house special of chicken mince stuffed in a bamboo skewer that eventually becomes meatballs as you carve them with a spoon into the pot of soup.

Let the feast begin.

The assortment of fresh vegetables and mushrooms filled us up quickly. The excellent broths adding to the pageantry of the dish, the restaurant's consideration for every aspect of the meal pushing it past any type of expectations I've had for a shabu shabu experience.

The Soya Milk Cheese Risotto Set ($5.90) hit the nail right on the head with a grand finale that I've yet to encounter anywhere. At the end of the meal, instead of letting a good rendered down broth with the essence of all that cooked meats and vegetables in it go to waste, we are given cheese, rice, condiments and an egg. After a few magical whisks of the wrist, we were presented with a bowl of silky smooth risotto. As simple as it sounds, it's an ingenious and satisfying way of appreciating the entire shabu shabu experience at ON-YASAI.

The meal concludes in a wave of gustatory pleasure capped off with a dazzling cat-walk of light desserts to sweeten the deal. The Homemade Pumpkin Pudding ($8.90) comes strongly recommended, the dish entailing a restrained sweetness with elegance, stacking earthy flavors from the steamed pumpkin to comforting nuances of cream with the warm toasty notes from the brown sugar syrup.

We also indulged in the Peach Sorbet ($6.90) and the ON-YASAI ice cream ($7.90),  a pleasant way to round up the evening of food festivities.

ON-YASAI on the grand scheme of things offers up a holistic experience that intends to debacle some old school shabu shabu controversies. With the backing of such an excellent array of soup bases to boot, I reckon that factor alone seals the deal for many return visits.

30 Victoria Street
t: 6336 4002

The Ugly Cake Shop: Sweet nothings and a {GIVEAWAY}


From one 2-in-1 foodie and baker to another,  one can be sure that Lisa Tan knows what she's talking about when it comes to cakes. Her labor of love, the Ugly Cake Shop churns out confectioneries both toothsome to the palate and sweet to the heart; armed with a belief to spread the love, Lisa has pledged to donate 20% of the proceed to support the meals of undernourished kids in Timor-Leste. Delicious artisanal cakes for a worthy cause.

One thing to note, if you do have pre-conceived notions about cupcakes being just dried out mini cakes with a ton of sickly sweet frosting over the top, be prepared to have these challenged when you get a load of Lisa's handmade versions. Using only high quality basic ingredients such as cocoa powder, butter and chocolate, the results speak for themselves in the form of rich, moist petit cakes that are even addictive on its own. Lisa then kicks it up a notch, employing her marvellous pastry skills to produce silky smooth frostings, both ganache and Italian meringue buttercreams which leaves a pleasant mouth-feel (accompanied by numerous eye-rolling motion).

Some of her signature flavors include Zesty Zee ($4 per cupcake and $55/7 inch, $70/9inch). My personal favourite, Sally, featuring an indulgent dark chocolate cake crowned with a delicate wisp of peanut butter frosting, a little salt thrown in for good measure. Cross over to the dark side with her Big Daddy Junior ($3.50/cupcake), guaranteed to please any chocolate snob in the room.

Another crowd pleaser is the ever so popular salted caramel cupcake named Juliana, recent R&D efforts in the kitchen have blessed these beauties with a magic dusting of sea salt flakes, pushing this creation across óut-of-this-world' boundaries.

Melissa is the newest addition to the group, made similarly out of an addictive dark chocolate cupcake base christened with an innocent looking strawberry frosting, hiding a deep dark secret of its salacious hook up with rum.

Thanks to the kind folks at Ugly Cake Shop, Fundamentally Flawed is holding a {GIVEAWAY} where you'll stand a chance to win a box of 4 cupcakes, each box containing one Zesty Zee, one Melissa, one Sally and one Big Daddy cupcake!

All you have to do is
  1. Like my facebook page and comment on this blogpost with your favorite cake flavor in the world (including your name and email address)
  2. Follow fundamentally_flawed on instagram
and you're in the running to win a set of these wholesome cupcakes from UGLY CAKE SHOP. Hurry as the contest closes on the 11th September!

t:  8288 8300

{Wordless Wednesdays} @ Percolate: Seriously Coffee


Alvin and Vincent in their lovechild of a cafe, Percolate, located in the caffeine deprived neighbourhood of Bedok.

Here, the duo's passion for delivering excellent coffee is translated resoundingly with the aid of Nylon Coffee beans (a favourite of mine). While the tantalising display of cakes and sweets may be too bewitching to ignore, have a go at their Smoked Salmon with Wasabi Cream Cheese Croissant, this will surely please the rainy day cravings.

136 Bedok North Avenue 3
S ( 460136)
T: 8259 0316

Peramakan @ the Keppel Club: Family Birthday Dinners


Nothing is more motivational than having a fire lite under your ass. 

I kid you not, and this was the circumstance I faced when thrown into the deep end with some vigorous finger-pointing action over a family whatsapp conversation. Yes, so I had to organise the twin's  (my mum and auntie's) 55th birthday celebration. Confounded with a variety of food intolerances ,whims and fancies from a large group of finicky diners; I looked to the cause of Peranakan cooking for a solution.

Nonya cooking as defined by Wikipedia is the 'result of blending Chinese ingredients with various distinct spices and cooking techniques used by Malay/Indonesian community'. For instance, Malay dishes such as assam fish and beef rendang have been reinterpreted to suit the Chinese palates and more often than not are more subtle in spices and possessing more of a tangy edge.

As I had taken the liberty to select the dishes before the event day (please take my advice and follow suite for a more efficient dinner service), dishes starting filling the turn table slowly but surely, like some Chinese wedding banquet sequence gone haywire.Thanks to the ravenous appetites of my surrounding company, we soon got cracking on the intimidating stockpile of food.

The Ayam Buah Keluak appealed to me, regardless of its black ominous stare. For those clueless ones, Buak Keluak is a black nut originating from Indonesia, for this dish, these tough nuts are cracked, prepped with age old traditional methods to get rid of its toxins then then fleshy parts of the nut are removed, mixed into a delicious paste with minced pork and then stuffed back in the the shell. These, together with chicken are then stewed with a copious amounts of spices till tender. I found delight in Peramakan's version, the lavish amount of aromatic filling, highly addictive when mixed in with plain rice. 

The Nonya Chap Chye ($10) is not jaw dropping but scrumptious nonetheless, the cabbage achieving an ethereally soft texture carrying the full fledged flavor of the tau cheow (fermented soybeans). A light addition of dried shrimp introducing more umami to the dish.

Food here ranges from average to very good, but what is amazing is how reasonable the prices are. 

One dish we did not care for was the Otak Otak Makanan Laut ($18), a mackerel based otah with prawns in spicy paste. It had an almost turgid bite to the finished product, the innards not moist nor fragrant as you would with most generic versions.

Turn your attention instead to the Babi Pongtay and Penang Nyonya Pork Ribs,  the former stealing the limelight with its ode to the pork belly, swathed in a sweet and savoury sauce, this was sinfully rich enough with a good refreshing sharpness thanks to a good lashing of vinegar. The latter, a tad more popular amongst the health conscious folks around the table seeing that the dish was big of flavor without featuring such a 'waist-line detrimental' cut of meat.

Perfectly decent is the Beef Rendang, shin beef is used here and it is braised low and slow in a coconut based broth till fork tender. Being more accustomed to the Malay Nasi Padang store versions, I preferred my gravy more thick and textured from the use of desiccated coconut and hence found Peramakan's version a little pedestrian.

If there is still room for dessert (you'll be dammed if you insist you don't!), jump in on the Durian Chendol ($6), the mind blowing experience that comes from devouring the dreamy durian paste with the rich coconut milk and addictive savoury sweetness of the gula melaka syrup, like a random jolt of inexplicable bliss. Not to be missed! Other desserts like the Bubor Cha Cha and the Sago Gula Melaka paled in comparison to the mastery of engagement that the former offered to its tasters. Smitten, we were.

The Peramakan located at Keppel Club has my strong approval for proposed family birthday dinner venues. Armed with helpful staff who are non-intrusive, the joint sees a good healthy business even on a lethargic Monday. The fact of the matter is, you get good food in healthy servings that won't cost you an arm and a leg. What's there not to like?

Level 3 Keppel Club
10 Bukit Chermin Road
Singapore 109918

Revolution Coffee: Single Origin Coffee Roasters


Fans of the widely popular Single Origin Coffee Roasters in Sydney, hold on to your horses, now you can get your fix at Revolution Coffee at the coveted location along Media Circle! Having just came back from Sydney not long ago, I was more than thrilled to see the Reservoir blend being lugged back to our local shores. Thank goodness for the tenacity of owner Ajie Pramana, who saw his love for the humble roast to the end with the manifestation of this precious cafe.

With a menu conceptualised by Shen Tan; of the now defunct Wok and Barrel and new kid on the block Ujong, I prepared myself for a treat after a successful trip down coffee alley. My skim latte, full bodied with a good touch of bitterness on the finishing notes were a perfect late morning pick-me-up.

It doesn't take much convincing to be sold on the idea of the Pancakes with Gula Melaka Butterscotch and Bananas ($13), sounding completely like a dream team to begin with, this dish delivers on every level. The fluffy pancakes receiving a standing ovation welcome at the table. Every swipe of that rich palm sugar butterscotch inciting obscene moans from my family members.

And then you have the Corned beef hash ($13),  a play on the local favorite Malay dish, bergedel. . It's an attractive duo of golden crispy patties filled with a spicy corned beef hash. As much as I do agree with a little bit of spiciness with the referencing to Malay food, however, the dish tripped up majorly with a over gregarious overloading of chili padi throughout the filling that rendered the rest of the spices invisible. Perhaps a pinch of sweetness would have helped to soothened out the overbearing heat.

Big Brunch Breakfast ($16.90) is a good option for the ravenous versus the peckish; whilst my dish of 
Baked Eggs ($12) failed to impress with an overall lack of seasoning in the mix of capsicum, mushrooms, herbed potatoes and beef sausage hidden underneath the smouldering crust of cheddar cheese melt. Did I mention the door stopper sourdough toast I got on the side? I almost cracked my teeth biting down on that one.

Despite it's hits and misses, Revolution Coffee does seem capable of stealing the hearts of a regular clientele base, raking in the folks with its genuineness and respect for coffee. I, for one, might just head down for another cuppa soon!

Revolution Coffee
21 Media Circle

D'Bell: Indian food with a side of good laughs


Indian food for me has possibly been the least inspiring cuisine to date. Hardly ever do the nagging cravings for a good briyani or butter chicken dawn upon my munchies led diet. However, a session at D'Bell soon sorted that out. Right now, I'm hankering after a good Chicken Dum Briyani and I know where to get a mighty fine one.

D'Bell is a modern fine dining Indian restaurant which focuses more on the finesse of North Indian cooking with a little ode to Italian cuisine as well for variety. Governed with an iron rod by Chef Satish who has an arduously long 14 years of experience under his culinary accolades and a bunch of other shiny medals from culinary challenges such as that FHA's East Meets West; the kitchen achieves great things, some of which we got to savour over the course of the evening.

When we arrived at the scene, the end of the dining hall was occupied by a 'laughing yoga' group, their forced cackles that soon broke off into pleats of contagious laughter bouncing off the walls. This 'elephant in the room ' breaking down the steely almost 'too uptight' atmosphere in the dining premises. Upstairs, an intimate cocktail party was in full swing, the sexy bar and VIP lounge filled with office workers clasping delicately to their high rimmed glasses, the music and sophisticated ambiance egging them on, pleading with them to to let their hair down; let loose.

After the laughing in the room had subside, we approached the bar with trepidation. Mainly because we were unsure about the concept of Indian ingredients being fused in classic cocktails. These fears were countered with an overwhelming sense of warmness and generous hospitality provided by and in the signature cocktails.

Tamarind Dream ($20) house bourbon with homemade tamarind mix was a stunning combination of  contrasting notes, the sourness like that from a Chinese sour prune drink giving punchy characteristic to the alcoholic mix.

The Golden Moment ($20) was yet another hit with the diners in the group, as its refreshing grouping of fresh mango with pulp, passionfruit and kaffir glides so smoothly even with the strong presence of vodka. The hint of chili evoking an air of mystery. 

There was no need for grappling for food at the table. The dishes were fastidiously brought to the table in a grand fashion. We kicked off the meal with an array of appetisers. Despite the Lobster Bisqque ($12) won over the hearts of many with its robust flavors and despite it's strange misidentity as Indian cuisine, found a violent death with the continuous clanging of the soup spoon till the bottom of the bowl. Moving to the left, the Kofta Kebab, a beef croquette filled with cheddar cheese, prunes and dusted with semolina failed to maintain charm with it's slightly dry interior made worse only by the coating of semolina on it's minuscule surface. I would strongly recommend the Tawa Wali Fish, Chennai Express though, the butterfish cubes marinated for a good long 3-4hrs being being tossed in charcoal flames, resulting in it being out-of-this-world succulent with a dash of cheekiness from it's caramelised edges. The Tandoori Chicken Tikka did not tickle my fancy as well and at this juncture, my provoked palate, awakened by the depth of spices cried out for more...

We sampled a assortment of dishes fit for a king that night. And I shall present you with an illustrious description of a list that I thoroughly enjoyed; starting with the classic Butter Chicken ($18), the in-house version a bit sweeter and milder than i would normally like, however, the charred finish on the chicken tikka pieces were perfect savored with the lashings of creamy tomato sauce flavoured with fenugreek. Another dish not to be missed is the Mutton Rogan Josh ($20), a well executed dish with a perfect spice disposition rocked out by tender chunks of protein, devour this hearty dish with mountains of basmati rice and I guarantee you a happy man. My favourite dish of the night had to be the Kerala Fish curry ($18), the masala fish curry elevated to the next level with a clever touch of coconut millk. The butter fish fillet gently poached in the rich sauces soaking in the flavors like a sponge. I also loved the Kahdai Vegetables ($12) which injected a bit of sunshine to the otherwise brown on brown color scheme we were seeing a lot of throughout the night, the broccoli, cauliflower and capsicum putting some balance into our meat heavy menu. Aside from the usual suspect of Basmati rice to soak up the goodness of all those sauces, D'Bell serves up a huge variety of Naans which include the Chili Cheese Naan, Kashmiri Naan, Garlic Naan and even the Pudina Paratha, a flaky whole-wheat version of the tandoori bread (ranging from $5-$8).

The highlight of the meal arrived looking deceivingly like a chicken pot pie, the Hyderbadi Chicken Dum Briyani was a sight to behold, break thru the dough crust to reveal a steamy showing of supple chicken pieces with aromatic Indian spiced rice. At this very moment, I'm at a loss for words. But my rapacious repeated attacks at the dish despite my full belly speaking volumes.

Sad to say, desserts were a non-impressive showing that failed to capture the imagination and genuine talents of the Chef. The platter featuring smaller servings of the Rasmalai, Mango Kulfi and Chocolate Brownie was uninspired and honestly a tad disappointing.

Brushing that aside, indulging in the superb fare at D'Bell had provided me with waves of delight and I would strongly recommend it to those who have been jaded by the experience of having sub-par Indian cuisine which have often left us with bloated tummies and unsettled hearts. D'Bell will change all that... I promise.

43 North Canal Road
T: 65364046

Fat Cow: Leaves a bad taste in my mouth


Leave it in the hands of the experts of course.

Over at the Fat Cow, located aptly at the Camden Medical Center (in the case of heavy heart palpitations caused from gluttony); the Zen-like surroundings prepares one for the thrill of the cuisine at hand. The atmosphere is mildly cold and a tad intimidating for most, so, warm up with a cup of hot green tea or some well acquainted company is advised too.

The Donabemeshi ($68) is a pulse quickening dish of Wagyu beef grilled over charcoal and finished in a claypot of baked rice with onsen egg and house-seasoned shoyu. For those that relish in a good slice of claypot rice action, this my friends is a Rolls Royce version. The deliciously rich and salty wagyu breaking down at the slightest touch, it's delicate marbling combined with a gingerly sweetened basting sauce is a joy to eat with the plump Japanese rice. The grains of charred rice at the bottom providing a pleasing textural contrast to the conjugal bliss of melt-n-your mouth goodness.

My 45 Dry Aged Sirloin from Rangers Valley ($68) was a sight to behold when it was portioned out by the craftsman right before my eyes. My heart pleading with him to stop as he shaved the steak till it sat with prim precision on the flat board. I'm not fussed. The cooking was  long tedious affair, the thickness of the steak warranting a longer time on the Teppen, it's blistering heat building a distinctive crust. All went downhill as the Chef took the paddle to the metal with a deft slicing motion almost immediately after the steak came off the grill. The lack of resting time meant the muscle fibres haven't had time to relax and retain its juices, resulting in a deluge of juices flooding the plate. Outrageous... this is no way to treat a 400 day grain fed wagyu. I ate with grim face, the less than succulent meat leaving a bad taste in my mouth. Call me a snob but I believe that some respect is called for in such situations.

Word of advice, make your reservations before hand to avoid being disappointed. The Fat Cow sees a very busy lunch crowd so do take heed.

Fat Cow
Camden Medical Centre
1 Orchard Boulevard

Suprette: a Top 3 Burger...


The end of my burger drought came in the form of a Suprette Burger ($20, +$3 for extra bacon), this was not just another pretty looking burger stack as it seems like, and somehow I can't get it out of my mind. Here at Suprette, the kitchen doesn't stinge, loading the wax-paper lined platter with an initially intimidating mountain of fries that would unknowingly disappear in a matter of time; seconds optional and highly dangerous. The cook on the beef patty was spot on, a slight pink in the middle teasing me with it's moist innards. The melted gruyere cheese forming a nappage over the patty, lending that edge of complex savoury notes to the construction. 

First trip was a charm. Now it was time to put it to my test of 'repeated visits'

The Ken's Heart Attack Burger ($45) is the most dressed-up  version of a burger I've ever laid eyes on. Reaching staggering heights with a double patty, bacon, gruyere and mushrooms all layered by a master builder in the confines of his kitchen. The strips of perfectly fried bacon with the gooey cheese making it a comforting mess of umami and saltiness with a touch of earthiness from the mushrooms. As much as the monster burger carried sensible flavors, it would be crazy not to share this with someone. 

My verdict  on this burger aligned with the many opinions I've heard thus far, this is your secret go-to burger. One that fills the voids of broken dreams and horrid days. The cat's out of the bag.

Did I mention that fries are a free flow affair. Eat that...

Kam Leng Hotel Lobby
383 Jalan Besar
S ( 209001)
Tel: 6298 8962