Food News, Lifestyle

Brunch Spots To Check Out This Weekend – Vanessa Tai

When it comes to brunch spots in Singapore, you’re absolutely spoiled for choice. There seems to be a new one opening every other weekend, but restaurants here are also upping their ante by offering dedicated brunch menus on top of their existing menus. We check out three. 

For something casual, try Pies & Coffee

Like the gourmet pies they’ve been dishing out for the past two years, the brunch items you’ll get at Pies & Coffee are simple, unpretentious fare. Enjoy familiar brunch favourites such as its signature breakfast set, the Hearty Brekkie, which comes with lightly toasted Belgian waffles, a juicy piece of cheesy chicken sausage, and a generous serving of scrambled eggs.

Sunriser, $11.90

Sunriser, $11.90

Probably because they are better known for their pies, I still preferred the Sunriser, which is a dish of truffle mash and cheesy chicken sausage poured into crispy pastry cups before being topped with a whole egg. This baked treat gives you a delightful medley of flavours – from the soft, velvety texture of the eggs to the savoury chewiness of the sausage.

For a full listings of Pies & Coffee outlets, click here.  Brunch is available daily, from 8.30am to 3pm.

For a big bang for your buck, try Balzac Brasserie 

Balzac Brasserie’s Executive Chef, Jean-Charles Dubois is a man of many talents. Apart from whipping up hearty, delicious French nosh, the affable father of two also found time to co-author a cookbook for children. The book, “Around the World with Sophie and Remy” was modelled after his two young children, and tells the tale of two kids who travel around the world, learning to cook national dishes from 12 different countries. The next time you pop by Balzac Brasserie, be sure to pick up a copy of the book! Proceeds from the book go to Open Book, a non-governmental organisation behind a library in Phnom Penh that provides a safe place for all to read, including children who live on the city’s streets.

When he’s not busy penning cookbooks, Chef Dubois has his hands full creating inventive new dishes. His brunch menu is a nod to traditional French cooking, sprinkled with a couple of exotic indulgences. For example, Dubois’ Lobster’s Bisque comes with a serving of sautéed organic mini black Qwehli prawns, which are premium shrimp from Mozambique. You would think having a bunch of shrimps in your soup would make it unbearably salty, but they actually add a nice crunch to the creamy bisque. For mains, Balzac offers several communal dishes, one of them being the Sautéed Free Range Yellow French Chicken served with Potato, Lardons and Onion. Imported from southwest France (just below the wine region of Bordeaux), the chicken is plump and juicy, with tender meat that soaks up the flavours from the lardons and onions.

Sautéed Free Range Yellow French Chicken served with Potato, Lardons and Onion

Sautéed Free Range Yellow French Chicken served with Potato, Lardons and Onion

Braised Spanish Pork with French Lentils and Natural Jus

Braised Spanish Pork with French Lentils and Natural Jus

Another communal dish that I absolutely loved was the Braised Spanish Pork with French Lentils and Natural Jus. Think of the best char siew you’ve ever had, and multiply that flavour by ten. That’s how flavourful this dish is, and the subtlety of the lentils is a genius accompaniment to the robust flavours of the pork. Mmm … my mouth is watering even as I type this.

For dessert, I would recommend the Lemon Tart with French Meringue. The lemon tarts that I’ve tried at other places tend to cop out and add too much sugar, which defeats the purpose because it overpowers the natural tartness of the lemon. I love the sharp and tangy flavours of Balzac’s Lemon Tart; it’s the perfect ending to a filling and satisfying meal.

Balzac Brasserie & Bar is located at #01-01 Rendezvous Gallery, 9 Bras Basah Road, Tel: 6336 0797. The brunch menu is available at $58++, on Saturdays and Sundays, from
11am to 3pm. 

For an all-out indulgence, try KU DÉ TA

At first glance, the brunch menu at KU DÉ TA appears to be terribly overpriced, but if you consider the amount of food you’re getting, it’s actually great value for money. And no, you won’t be getting the done-to-death Eggs Benedict here. Executive Chef Frederic Faucheux is determined to go beyond the usual brunch suspects like bacon and eggs, and create brunch food that retain a distinctively Asian flavour. Kick off your meal with a platter of freshly shucked oysters, salmon sashimi, and tuna tataki. The seafood is fresh and succulent, without any of that briny aftertaste.

Oysters, Salmon Sashimi, and Tuna Tataki

Oysters, Salmon Sashimi, and Tuna Tataki

 

Asian Omelette

Asian Omelette

One of the new brunch items to try is the Asian omelette with tuna. Inspired by the Japanese Okonomiyaki (a type of grilled savoury pancake containing a variety of ingredients), this stuffed omelette is comfort food at its best. Another new item worth trying is the Prawn Salad with Glass Noodles, which comes with a lavish serving of fresh prawns heaped atop a bed of glass noodles and topped with seaweed flakes. For dessert, go wild at the all-you-can-eat buffet spread! The mouthwatering array of sweet treats all come in tantalising bite-sized portions, so you can try as many as you want.

KU DÉ TA is located at 1 Bayfront Avenue, Marina Bay Sands SkyPark, Tel: 6688 7688. The brunch menu is available at $98++ or $178++ (with Champagne) on Saturdays and Sundays, from 11am to 3.30pm. 

Material World was invited for a tasting at the abovementioned restaurants and was not paid for this review. All opinions are the author’s own.

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets.

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Beauty & Shopping, Singapore Fashion

Have An Indulgent Weekend – Vanessa Tai

Aloha!

Aloha!

After a long week at work, you deserve a little weekend pampering. Good food and music plus some retail therapy … that will chase the Monday blues away for sure. For starters, check out the Hawaiian Festival at Shangri-La’s The Waterfall. The wide variety of Polynesian dishes and Hawaiian live entertainment combined with the cafe’s lush, tropical surroundings will make you feel as if you’ve teleported to the Aloha State.

Some of the mouthwatering dishes you can look forward to include Steamed Lomi Salmon Rice Ball with Hibiscus Ume Ankake, Coconut Butter Poached Lobster with Galangal and Kaffir Lime as well as Sour Crispy Pork Belly with Pineapple Gastrique and Parmesan Seared Scallops with Truffle-Flavoured Edamame Puree. As you tuck into these exotic treats, unwind to the music of Grammy-nominated Hawaiian musician Jeff Peterson, who will be accompanied by two native hula dancers.

material world singapore-shangri la-aloha

“Aloha Hawaii” is ongoing at The Waterfall from today till 29 September. For reservations and enquiries, please call 6213 4398 or e-mail dining.sls@shangri-la.com.

material world singapore-kwerkee

After a satisfying meal, it’s time to go SHOPPING! For the first time ever, luxury lifestyle brands Reebonz, Reebonz Vintage and Kwerkee have banded together to bring you a shopping carnival unlike any other. Occupying two entire levels of the cavernous Marina Bay Cruise Centre, you can expect exciting brands like Commes Des Garcons, Cath Kidston, Salut De Miel and many more. Even better, you can also get your hands on all your favourite designer brands like Prada, Miu Miu and Balenciaga at clearance prices!

Reebonz Fashion Fest 2013 and Kwerkee Pop-Up Karnival is ongoing from today till 29 September at Marina Bay Cruise Centre, 61 Marina Coastal Drive, Singapore 018947.

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets.

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Beauty & Shopping, Singapore Fashion

To Market, To Market! – Vanessa Tai

Let’s face it, sometimes the retail offerings at malls can get a little boring and while online shopping is great, there’s the whole waiting around for your package to contend with. Which is why I love a good flea market – you get to discover lesser-known brands and more often than not, it’s way more affordable than regular shops. Every Little Thing – which focuses on apparel and accessories – is an offshoot of Public Garden, a flea market operator that specialises in local indie labels.

This weekend, ELT will be held at City Square Mall and will be featuring over 50 booths of local fashion retailers. Here are some vendors we can’t wait to check out:

material-world-singapore-every little thing-cloudberry circus

Cloudberry Circus

Are you a loud and proud shoe addict? Then you’ll love the cheerful colours and bright patterns of Cloudberry Circus’ footwear.

Lunakins

Lunakins

Priding themselves on only stocking one piece per design, this unisex vintage label will be launching a range of vintage Hawaiian shirts at this weekend’s flea.

Loot Boutique

Loot Boutique

This local accessories maker has amassed quite a following with her whimsical designs that feature clouds, odd-sized flowers and even pink zebras!

Ozzy & Lulu

Ozzy & Lulu

Why splurge on brand-name stationery when you can get lovingly handmade paper goods and stationery from Ozzy & Lulu?

You Klub Kid

You Klub Kid

Vintage continue to live on through the elegant designs of You Klub Kid. This flea sees the stallholders bringing in a collection of gorgeous ’70s inspired dresses.

Every Little Thing will be held on 13 and 14 July, from 1pm to 7pm at City Square Mall Fountain Square, Basement 1. For more information, click here

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets.

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Entertainment, Lifestyle

Even More Cable TV Options – Vanessa Tai

Good news for all couch potatoes! With the launch of Lifetime on Starhub TV, you now have access to first and exclusive screenings of hit shows like Masterchef Australia Season 4, The Client List (starring Jennifer Love Hewitt) as well as Liz and Dick (starring Lindsay Lohan in her first comeback in like, forever.)

Contestants on Masterchef Australia Season 4

Contestants on Masterchef Australia Season 4

The Client List premieres on 17 June, Monday, 10pm

The Client List premieres on 17 June, Monday, 10pm

Liz and Dick premieres on 30 June (Sunday) at 8pm

Liz and Dick premieres on 30 June (Sunday) at 8pm

We had a quick chat with Michele Schofield, A+E Networks’ senior vice-president of programming and marketing in Asia Pacific, to find out what Lifetime has in store for viewers.

Tell us more about the shows viewers can look forward to in the next few months. 

Masterchef Australia Season 4 is going to be really exciting because there are two Singaporean contestants in this season! It always wows me how these home cooks are able to turn out dishes that are near-professional standards. Another show to look out for is The Client List, about a small-town Texas housewife-turned-masseuse who’s forced to offer “extra” services at her job in order to earn more money after being deserted by her husband. For movies, there’s the much-hyped about Liz and Dick, the TV movie about the passionate love affair between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

Lifetime used to get a lot of flak for being producing TV shows that were mawkish. How has things changed over the years?

Lifetime TV started in the US 29 years ago, and did have a bit of a reputation for creating shows where the woman is often portrayed as the victim. However, the channel has now shifted gears to create movies where the female characters are empowered and appeals to the modern superwoman who juggles work, family and friends. It helps that most of the people working at A+E networks are women (including our CEO!) so we’re very focused on creating bold, risk-taking and provocative content that women today will enjoy.

What if I don’t have time to park myself in front of the television set to watch an entire TV show?

You can now watch Lifetime anywhere, as long as you have an Internet connection and a Hub ID. Whether you’re using a mobile tablet, a smartphone or a laptop, just log on to this website and you’ll be able to catch any StarHub channel on the go!

MasterChef Season 4 premieres tonight, June 14 (Friday) at 10pm on StarHub TV Channel 561. 

 

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets.

 

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Family, Lifestyle, Relationships

4 Gift Ideas For Father’s Day – Vanessa Tai

In case you’ve forgotten, Father’s Day is this Sunday! Before you rush to buy Dad yet another tie, check out these fab gift ideas.

1. Grohe Power & Soul Shower Head

Grohe Pacific - Power&Soul Mood 1

If your father works long hours and often complains about having tension headaches, gift him with a Grohe Power & Soul shower head. Designed to offer therapeutic results, the Jet Spray is a welcome relief for tense muscles. Grohe Power & Soul shower heads is available from $250 at Grohe Spa Boutique, #03-333 Marina Square, Tel: 6338 4352

2. Nederburg Heritage Heroes Wine

nederburg

Does your dad fancy himself as a wine connoisseur? If so, he’ll appreciate this limited-edition range of wines from South African wine producer, Nederburg. These handmade, artisan wines are made with the finest blend of grapes and come in four variants – two reds and two whites. Look out for the wood-fermented sauvignon blanc, The Young Air Hawk, which is less fruity than regular white wines and has a richly nuanced flavour. Nederburg Heritage Heroes Wine is available from $39 at DFS. 

3. +Rehab London Skincare

+REHAB

Whether your dad is still a “soap-and-water” kind of guy or has been known to nick Mum’s skincare products, he’ll appreciate having a skincare set all to himself. +Rehab London was created specifically for modern men and carries just six fuss-free, easy-to-use products. We reckon your dad will love Men’s Scrub Up Daily Detox, a two-in-one exfoliating facial cleanser that’s refreshing and leaves him feeling clean and polished. +Rehab products are available from $24.95 at all Beauty Horizon or Beauty by Nature outlets, or online at http://www.rehablondonsg.com (Delivery takes 3 working days.)

4. Roast Beef Tenderloin at Balzac Brasserie

Roasted Beef Tenderloin

After a long week of work, there’s probably nothing Dad likes more than kicking back with a hearty meal of meat and potatoes. This Father’s Day, award-winning chef Jean-Charles Dubois has created the perfect meal for hungry dads. A generous slab of Roasted Beef Tenderloin topped with French Morel Mushroom sauce and Potato Truffle Gratin Dauphinois. Yum! To further sweeten the deal, all dads also enjoy a complementary house red or white. Available for lunch and dinner on 15 and 16 June. For reservations, call 6336 0797 or email reservations@balzacbrasserie.com. 

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. She’s also an unabashed Daddy’s girl. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets

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Adventures, Lifestyle

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone Already! – Vanessa Tai

There are countless reasons why you should get out of your comfort zone. Through new experiences, you discover facets of yourself you may not even have known existed. And from there, your confidence grows. Moving out of your comfort zone doesn’t always have to be something major like moving to another country; it can even be as simple as taking up a new course, or as co-founder Debs and I did last week … trekking through the waters and forests of Old Holland Road.

To put things in perspective, Debs and I are city girls through and through. We are definitely way more comfortable navigating our way through a crowded Topshop sale than a forest overgrown with weeds. Our feet are accustomed to the reassuring hardiness of concrete, not the unpredictability of boggy marshlands. You get the drift.

However, last weekend, when fellow co-founder Lili was off on her own trek, we decided to go on our own (guided) adventure. Led by the affable Kid, a group of about 11 of us hiked our way from Teban Gardens to Sixth Avenue, going by the road less travelled of course. Starting from the now-deserted rails at Teban Gardens, we bashed through tall, prickly wild grass and waded through swampy sewage water to reach the famous railway bridge in Ulu Pandan. From there, we made our way across the rusty bridge (if you’re afraid of heights, this will be absolutely nightmarish) to reach the mother of all tunnels. As we sloshed through the drain water with our calves getting increasingly achy by the minute, we couldn’t help but wonder, “WTH are we doing here on a Saturday night?!”

Debs' expression is clearly one of, "Get me outta here!"

Debs’ expression is clearly one of, “Get me outta here!”

Well, at least we learned the importance of teamwork

Well, at least we learned the importance of teamwork.

But when we finally reached the end point, the feeling of elation and accomplishment overshadowed any tiredness we felt. We were filthy and smelly, but in absolutely high spirits. And that’s what you get when you force yourself out of your comfort zone. A renewed sense of purpose and vigour for life. So … what are you doing this weekend? 🙂

Mission accomplished!

Mission accomplished!

Note: If you’re keen on joining a trek led by Kid, there’s one going on this Sunday. Jane’s Walk, the first of its kind, will take you along the scenic Changi coastline, where you’ll get to view various historical sites, such as Changi Beach, where the infamous Sook Ching massacre was carried out.

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30.

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