food

2016 Round Up: 10 Best Invited Tastings Of The Year That Got Us Raving

Last Updated: July 5, 2017

Written by Melissa Goh

It’s crazy how 2016 is coming to an end – in a blink of an eye we’re ushering in a new year and starting again on a clean slate. Or clean plates rather, for us at Sethlui.com and we can’t think of a better way than to start the year with loads of feasting!

But before we enter 2017 with great anticipation, let’s recall some of the best invited tastings that the team has been to and been spoilt silly by. We can only pray that the PR reps and F&B establishments will be ever so kind to us again in the coming year.

To us, each tasting is like taking up a new assignment or project in the corporate world. If you find any of us returning to the office, going on excitedly about a tasting, you’d know for sure that it’s a guaranteed superb dining experience. Here my friends, are the top few that garnered such rave.

10. O Boeuf A 6 Pattes

o boeuf cote de boeuf

Nestled in Park West Condo, just two bus stops from Clementi MRT, it was refreshing to find a restaurant serving French food in such a relaxed and friendly environment.

The restaurant name may be in French, but it’s pretty clear from the logo that beef is the name of the game here. When you’re there, we suggest you get the premium Grilled Wagyu Beef Cote De Boeuf ($15/100g), which is just the right thing to order for two very hungry people.

It will range from 800g – 1.2kg a portion depending on how many people are sharing, so make sure your kakis are beef lovers. We can’t wait to head back in 2017!

Read more: O Boeuf A 6 Pattes: Hearty French Food In The Heart Of Clementi

9. Zott’s

Zotts

If you’ve ever wanted to try authentic Alpine cuisine, Zott’s is the place to go. You’ll find the restaurant set in a colonial-style shophouse along Amoy street, providing a cosy and inviting atmosphere to dine in, and it also doubles as an art gallery.

Our personal favourite was the Pulpo, which was preserved for a good amount of time to retain the great taste. The octopus was tender and soft, requiring very little jaw work. Served with San Daniele ham, cauliflower puree with carrot bits, and fig in a gelatinous jelly form, the amalgamation of flavours truly came together for this dish.

Definitely a place to try for a flavour explosion on the palate.

Read more: ZOTT’S: Finest Alpine Cuisine In The Heart Of Singapore

8. Ninja Cut

ninja cut squid fix

Remember Ninja Bowl? Well, founder Darren Wee is back with another addition to the Ninja brand. With healthier balanced meals and more unique options to choose from, the menu at Ninja Cut includes must-try dishes like Gimme Chimi Chicken ($14), What’s Your Beef? ($18), and Polenta Mash ($18).

The Squid Fix ($18) features a whole grilled Surume Ika brushed with unagi sauce, which made for the most sweet-tasting combination ever. Each sliced squid ring was tender and chewy, complementing the side of sautéed mushrooms and greens including miso cucumber and honey-glazed carrots.

Combined with spoonfuls of the furikake and onsen egg, this made for a very palatable meal that kept us talking about it days after.

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Read more: Ninja Cut: Wholesome Japanese-Inspired Bowls That Fill You Up

7. Alter Ego

alter ego grilled cheese

You might remember the whirlwind of a poke storm that A Poke Theory caused in the food scene with their irresistible poke bowl flavours and healthy add-on ingredients. The brother-sister duo behind the success story quickly embarked on their second food concept and this time, they embraced the darker side of food.

You’ll still find the famous poke bowls on the menu in the day and sold till 8.30pm, but we’re still dreaming about the Grilled Cheese ($11) which was 100% worth every single calorie. Toasted to perfection and served with a homemade tomato dip, the marriage of melted gruyere and taleggio cheese was UNREAL.

Definitely go for the $3 upgrade to add braised beef short rib filling (you won’t regret it).

Read more: Alter Ego: A Poke Theory’s Evil Twin Welcomes You To The Darker Side Of Food

6. Seafood Paradise

Seafood Paradise MBS (15 of 18)

If you were wondering, Seafood Paradise from Defu Lane shifted to Level 2 of The Shoppes At Marina Bay Sands this year, offering new food items and old classics on the menu that will guarantee a second visit.

Our favourite was the 斯里兰卡肉蟹炒米粉 Wok-fried Bee Hoon with Sri Lankan Crab (Seasonal Price), with the bee hoon entirely infused in the natural sweetness of the crab’s essence. The Sri Lankan crab (pictured above) weighed around 800g and was sold at $7 – $8 per 100 grams (seasonal). Get your family together and don’t miss out on this in the new year!

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Read more: Seafood Paradise Reopens at MBS With Old-Time Favourites And New Dishes

5. Esquina

Esquina - "BBC"

In conjunction with their 5th anniversary, the culinary team at Esquina has put out a special 5-course tasting menu, showcasing hit creations by Chef Carlos Montobbio from the restaurant’s a la carte menu. We were (very luckily) recently treated to a scrumptious selection of tapas, featuring Esquina’s culinary best.

While we enjoyed everything they had to offer, we all agreed that the  “BBC” (pictured) was most worth mentioning. The combination of beer ice cream served on a bed of banana textures and drizzled in a warm caramel sauce was truly amazing. Everything went so well together- from the sweet caramel sauce to the mushy banana bits and the slight bitterness of the stout that lingers in your mouth from the beer ice cream.

The 5-course tasting menu will continue only till the 31st of January 2017, but we’re sure we’ll be coming back for everything else on the menu long after.

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Read more here: http://sethlui.com/esquina-5-course-anniversary-menu-modern-spanish-tapas-limited-time/

4. Man Man by Teppei

man man unagi

After all the craze about chirashi and tendon, it was finally time for unagi to take centre stage when Man Man first opened its doors in the late quarter of 2016. The unagi speciality restaurant is located in the heart of Chinatown with a relatively small seating capacity. A word of caution: Big groups of six or more might find themselves waiting slightly longer in line.

Large tanks held the live eels at the front of the shop, which had been imported from the Mikawa Isshiki region known for supplying the best freshwater eel in Japan. Like in Japan, the eels were actually being cut up and gutted before our eyes, which was indeed an eye-opening (heh) experience only for the bravest of hearts.

Our favourite was the Hitsumabushi ($26.90++) that came with a generous portion of unagi and fresh wasabi root served on the side, providing a nice spicy kick that was refreshing to the palate. Oh, and don’t miss out on ordering eel liver, which was definitely something to rave about too.

Read more: Man Man by Teppei: Singapore’s First Unagi Specialty Restaurant, that’s eel-ectrify-ingly delicious!

3. The Kitchen at Bacchanalia

bacchanalia-2007

The Kitchen at Bacchanalia is a newly re-branded concept by Head Chef Ivan Brehm that launched in early 2016, where diners can enjoy a hearty meal in the heart of the bustling restaurant’s kitchen.

Focusing on keeping things simple and emphasising on a communal dining concept, the restaurant offers a 36-seater space, which spans across the front and back of the kitchen for a more intimate and homely dining experience. Most ingredients used are locally sourced, with greens and herbs being freshly plucked from their very own roof top garden, or brought in from Cameron Highlands ensuring a gastronomical treat.

The highlight of our tasting was the Bafun Uni, served with chocolate buckwheat pasta, basil vierge and egg yolk underneath. Chef Ivan explained that cocoa powder is added for its texture—the powder dries out your mouth, which helps to enhance the creaminess of the dish when you take a second bite. 

You can choose from Bacchanalia’s three-, five- and seven-course menus, which range from $75++, $125++, and $165++, respectively. Specially concocted cocktails, artisanal spirits, and wine pairings start from $95++ and trust us when we say that it’d be a shame to miss them.

Read more: Bacchanalia: Wine & Dine In The Heart Of A Restaurant’s Kitchen

2. Fat Cow

Fat Cow Tochigi A5 Wagyu

27th to 29th October 2016 was when the Head Chef of Ginza Tochigi Chalte restaurant in Tokyo took over the reigns at the kitchens in Fat Cow Singapore, and we were extremely honoured to be invited for a tasting.

The main event was more than worth the wait. Glistening slices of Tochigi wagyu were served with three different accompaniments, each meant to bring a different flavour to the beef. The wafu sauce is a popular dressing in Japan and this was probably our favourite since the combination simply melted in our mouths and highlighted the natural flavour of the wagyu.

This special dining experience might be over, but the popular Japanese steakhouse continues to serve an exquisite range of raw, cold and hot starters and is also well-known for their omakase experience. Fans of steak HAVE to make this a dining destination in 2017.

Read more: Fat Cow: Taste The Best Of Tochigi With Guest Chef Seiichi Shinbo From 27th – 29th Oct

1. Lewin Terrace

Lewin Terrace

Lewin Terrace is known for changing its menu according to the seasons and we had the WAKON YOSAI “和魂洋才”, a Summer menu specially crafted by Chef Matsumoto that was available till August 2016.

The Nippon Rossini (summer version) consisted of Kagoshima Wagyu steak, foie gras terrine, Japanese mushroom paste and truffle. Served with black rice, Japanese lily root, shiitake, madera and oyster sauce, the dish leant towards being heavier and headier in flavour.

The steak – soft, fatty, and tender, fused magically with the mushroom paste and the strong heavy flavours of the foie gras terrine. What piqued our interest was the contrasts in temperature in this dish: the foie gras terrine was served cold while the steak was warm, making for a great combination of textures.

That night, we left the place absolutely satisfied. We’re probably biased, but we agreed unanimously that it was the best tasting yet!

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Read more: Lewin Terrace: Marvelous French-Japanese Dining Experience In A Colonial House

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