Brunch deals

french toast with apples and fig & honey
ice cream from Marmalade Pantry

I’m a big breakfast person. Whenever I travel, one of the things I enjoy most is sussing out a city’s coolest and best places for my morning meal. On my recent trip to Perth, I was thrilled to discover a cool cafe in Murray Mews called Tiger Tiger. They serve fantastic coffee, make gorgeous cappuccinos with deliciously velvety foam, and good, simple but hearty breakfast food. Here in Singapore, I have several favourite places to go when feeling a little peckish in the morning. As I’ve written before, I’m not a fan of hotel buffet brunches. In fact, I really can’t stand them. I’d much rather spend my time and money in more relaxed venues that offer a variety of well-made and affordable options.

Willin’s scrambled eggs on toast

One of my favourite brunch venues in town is Wild Rocket. Readers of this blog will already know that I’m a regular there and a big fan of chef-owner Willin Low. So when the kind folks at OCBC and I discussed the idea of profiling some of the best brunch places in town, I knew that I had to include Willin’s fabulous little restaurant. I was even more excited when, after calling the chef, he immediately agreed to create a special menu for OCBC cardmembers.

a delicious burger from Wild Rocket

Very embarrassingly, Willin wants to call it the Chubby Hubby Brunch menu. That said, I’m not at all embarrassed to say that the menu is terrific. The meal starts with a pineapple cosmopolitan martini, a nice boozy and refreshing way to start your meal. Then you get a plate of scrambled eggs on toast. I like mine runny, but you can order yours slightly more cooked if you prefer. For your main course, you get a choice of the always good Wild Rocket burger with sun-dried tomato salsa or Willoughby bangers & mash. The meal is then capped with a fresh pandan panna cotta with gula melaka. The menu runs S$33+++ which I think is a pretty good deal. And if you get thirsty and you are part of a party of at least 4 persons who order this menu, you are eligible to order a bottle of Prosecco that normally goes for S$75 for just $60.

Graze’s cast iron pan brunch

Another place I like to go for breakfast is Graze. I know that some people have had mixed experiences there, as have I. That said, I’ve recently had some really great morning meals there. I’ve written previously about their breakfast menu and that I’m a fan of Graze’s cast iron pan and their baked omelettes. OCBC cardmembers can now get a 10% discount on all brunch items, plus free cupcakes (one per customer though, so don’t get greedy).

Marmalade Pantry’s eggs benedict

Another place that I like to go to on weekend mornings is Marmalade Pantry. Popular with the trendy and the chi-chi set, this cool cafe in the basement of Palais Renaissance serves some pretty tasty comfort food. My wife S and I have a lot of favourite dishes on Pantry’s “all day Sunday brunch” menu. I’m a sucker for classic egg dishes, so I tend to order things like the always well-executed eggs benedict or corned beef hash with tomato coulis and fried egg. I always love Pantry’s chicken pot pie, a relatively light but delicious version of this classic dish, and their burgers. Sometimes though, when I want something sweet, I’ll order the French toast with caramelised apples, served with fig & honey ice cream. This dish is delicious and it’s especially ideal when you want a sweet plate of carb after a big night out. OCBC Platinum and Titanium cardmembers can now enjoy some free drinks when brunching or dining in both the older Marmalade Pantry and the new branch in Hitachi Tower. At the original branch, cardmembers will receive a complimentary Lychee Bellini during Sunday brunch. At the Hitachi Tower branch, when dining, cardmembers will receive a complimentary glass of wine with the order of a main course.

I hope you find these brekkie options useful. I enjoy going to them on lazy weekend mornings. Just make sure you make reservations. All three are already pretty popular and usually can’t find space for walk-in customers. I know because I’ve stupidly tried just turning up at all of them at least once (some more than once) and have been (politely) turned away on most occasions.

Wild Rocket
Hangout@Mt Emily
10A Upper Wilkie Road
Tel: 63399448
Promotion: OCBC cardmembers can order the Chubby Hubby Brunch at S$33+++. Includes a pineapple cosmopolitan martini; scrambled eggs on toast; a Wild Rocket Burger of Willoughby bangers & mash; and fresh pandan panna cotta with gula melaka. If 4 or more people order the Brunch, enjoy a bottle of prosecco for just S$60 (normally S$75).

No 4 Rochester Park, Singapore 139215
Tel: 6775 9000
Promotion: OCBC cardmembers enjoy 10% off all brunch items, plus a free cupcake.

Marmalade Pantry
Unit B1-08/11 Palais Reniassance
Tel: 6734 2700
Promotion: OCBC Platinum and Titanium cardmembers enjoy a free Lychee Bellini with their brunch.

Marmalade Pantry
Unit 01-04, Hitachi Tower
16 Collyer Quay
Tel: 6438 5015
Promotion: OCBC Platinum and Titanium cardmembers enjoy a free glass of wine with the order of any main course at dinner.

All offers are valid until 4 May 07

Promotion is subject to Service Charge, prevailing Government Taxes and GST. General Terms & Conditions for all Dining Privileges apply. These promotions are valid every day except eve of and on public holidays. For more details, visit

lost and FOUND!

It’s a little after 10pm on Monday and I’m very, very happy to report that Alix has been found, picked up, showered and is happily snoozing away.

I’d like to send out huge thanks to all the people who posted very kind and sympathetic comments, who emailed me during the day, and all the bloggers who put up notices on their own sites. Your support was amazing and it really touched both S and me.

Even bigger thanks go to Andy, the ultimate kind samaritan. This very nice guy saw our crazy little gal trying to cross Siglap Road last night. He rescued her and gave her a safe place to spend the night. Andy, thank you so very much!

Help. Our dog has gone missing!

I’m typing this from Perth, where my wife and I have been the last few days. Last night, we got some horrible news. Our younger dog Alix (pictured here) has gone missing. She was staying a friend’s house while we were away. During a walk near Telok Kurau Lorong M, she got spooked by a stupid little boy on a bicycle (who almost ran into her), got loose and ran off. She was last seen running towards the canal that runs adjacent to Lorong M.

PLEASE, please, if you have seen her or have any information on her, my wife and I would be eternally grateful. Alix is a 3 year old Golden Retriever. She’s very small (much smaller than normal) with a short coat. She doesn’t bark (ever) and is overly friendly. She’s wearing a yellow collar with an AVA tag on it. S and I are very willing to give a small reward to anyone who helps us find her.

Please email me at if you have seen her or have found her. Also, I would be very grateful if you could ask friends who live in the East to keep their eyes out for her. She means the world to us.

What to do this weekend

Justin Quek, Passion & Inspiration, the first cookbook by Singapore’s most celebrated chef, Justin Quek, goes on sale across Singapore and Malaysia today. The book is great. It’s big, glossy and full of gorgeous pictures. It’s also chock full of recipes that are guaranteed to make you drool. Surprisingly, they are also very easy to follow. If you buy just one book by a Southeast Asian chef this year, this is the book to get. Justin’s recipes and his story, told throughout the essays in the book, are truly inspirational.

If you have some free time and actually want to meet the amazing chef, and taste some of his delicious food (for free), he’ll be making some special guest appearances today and tomorrow. Details are below:

Saturday, 14 October 2006, 2pm, Borders
Saturday, 14 October 2006, 4pm, Kinokuniya main store (Ngee Ann City)
Sunday, 15 October 2006, 2pm, MPH Parkway Parade

So, what are you waiting for? Call all your friends! See you later!

A sad day for all of us

I was deeply saddened earlier today when my wife and I got an SMS from a friend. It was soon followed by other SMSes and several phone calls. Respected journalist, awe-inspiring foodie and family friend R.W. Apple Jr passed away yesterday, at the age of 71. I consider myself fortunate to have gotten to know Johnny, as his friends called him, over the past few years. I feel especially honored that this blog was mentioned in one of the last pieces he filed for The New York Times. He was an amazing man, the kind of person that inspires, entertains and enthralls. He was totally unique. And he will be missed.

For those who might not know Johnny, I’ve attached a link to one of the best stories ever written about him right here. It was written by his long-time friend and fellow foodie Calvin Trillin and ran in The New Yorker in 2003. The story wonderfully illustrates what an amazing man he truly was.

The winning entries

The fabulous winners of the Justin Quek dinner contest, brought to all of us through OCBC’s generosity, have kindly agreed to allow me to run their winning entries. To recap, I had asked readers to write a short essay (100-200 words or so) about their own chubby hubby or sexy spouse. Here are the winners, in no particular order:

1. We met 9 years ago and I can still remember the T-shirt she wore, what she drank, where she worked, the colour of her hair, the sparkle in her eyes. I remember thinking ‘WOW!’

Unfortunately she has no recollection whatsoever of this meeting!

Fortunately, fate threw us together 6 months later and she was bowled over by how much I knew about her – particularly her love of food. For our first proper date I took her to the famous Swee Kee restaurant at the Damenlou Hotel. The 4 C’s! Not in her mind. Can he order good Chinese food! I ordered the chicken, broccoli and the special tofu with crab meat. I passed the test.

We’ve since been to hundreds of restaurants all over the world and that remains the only time I have ever ordered for her! Food is King in her world…we chose our apartment because of the kitchen…the TV remote is stuck on AFC…and a small forest no longer exists due to the books and magazines lining our walls. Food is her passion. And I’m much the better man for it and her (even if a slightly bit chubby). SEAN DONOVAN

2. My once chubby hubby, Eric, has been my pillar of support, my buddy, my makan kaki and personal Aunt Agony all rolled into one. Lately he has also become my iPod fairy as I am not as technologically inclined like he is. New songs and photos get uploaded into my iPod every time I charge it while I am asleep. The next day while commuting to work, I would hear new songs on my iPod and it makes me smile as these songs bring back sweet memories of our relationship that started in ’88, which was a great vintage year, and it has been an ongoing sweet marathon for 18 years of which 9 were spent together as husband and wife.

Food is one of the strong links that binds us both. From trying street food in Shanghai to hunting down the best ramen in town to satisfying my midnight cravings for frog leg congee in Geylang, he has always been game and relishes the food experiences each time with as much as gusto as me. He has been my “guinea pig” and diehard fan as I try out different recipes at home after reading cooking books and the numerous local food blogs such as Kuidaore, Nibble & Scribble, Umami, Slightly Pretentious Food and yours.

After being together for almost two decades, every day with him is still fresh and fun and most important of all, my chubby hubby still makes me laugh and I love him for that and so much more. ANNIE TAN

3. “Greta Carbo”
Not the screen goddess. I am talking about my XM and her craving:


She simply must have her carbohydrates. Bread, potatoes, rice, noodles, pasta – one of these characters must cameo at some point in every meal. I on the other hand am a carbo minimalist: I love my fruits and greens, meat and oceanfare. Of course, XM likes all of those too, but her true passion is carbo.

As the cook, you can imagine the balancing feats I am obliged to perform to achieve peace in our time:

“What’re you cooking for lunch?”

“Seared striploin in its pan juices with sauteed mushrooms on a bed of wilted spinach?”

“Atop a quivering slab of pommes dauphinoise?”

“Of course, what was I thinking…”

Sometimes I try to outwit: pseudo-carbos like carrots, radish and lotus root parade in different guises, though often in vain. Sometimes she lets it slide, mostly I do.

But when I see her nibbling blissfully on a piece of hot buttered toast or starting dinner with that first unaccompanied mouthful of steaming white rice, I understand why she has the final word:

“Carbo makes me happy.”

You can’t really get smarter than that, can you? CHONG KIM SOON

Movies and free tickets to the opera

(Note: as of 1230pm on 3 October 2006, the five pairs have been snapped up. Congrats to the winners!)

I’m a huge, huge movie buff. Sometimes S is amazed at the number of films I’ve watched and the sheer volume of ridiculous movie trivia that I know.

Of course, I love food-centric films. My all-time favourites are Babette’s Feast, Tampopo, and Big Night. I love the cooking scenes in Eat, Drink, Man, Woman, but I always found the female characters a little too annoying to enjoy the film thoroughly.

As a movie fan, I was quite thrilled by Singapore Lyric Opera’s idea for a concert which was aimed at introducing new audiences to opera. Titled “Opera on Silver Screen” (yeah, I know it’s grammatically incorrect), this performance features arias and other great pieces of music from some super-popular films, like Armageddon, Babe, The Godfather and Superman Returns. The concert runs on 13-14 October at the Drama Centre (National Library); tickets are available here.

SLO has been gracious enough to pass me some tickets for the 8pm performance on 13 October. Which, of course, I am passing onto you. This is open to anyone who can actually get him or herself down to the concert (which means that Malaysians or Indonesians or Thais, etc who really want to take part can).

I’m giving away 5 pairs of tickets (good seats in the stalls). All you have to do is be the first 5 persons to email me the correct answers to the following quiz questions:

1. What were the names of the two chef brothers in Big Night?
2. What kind of food was Tampopo, in Tampopo, trying to perfect?
3. In The Bad News Bears (original version), Walter Mathau’s character was constantly whistling an opera tune. From what opera was it?

Please email answers to

Winners for Justin Quek’s dinner announced

CONGRATS TO THE THREE people who sent in hilarious, sweet and very smart essays about their significant others. These three super-cool spouses have won two seats each to dinner next Thursday, 12 October, at Snappers restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore. They’ll join me and some friends at a gastronomic feast cooked by Singapore’s best and most famous French chef, Justin Quek.

And the winners are Sean Donovan, Chong Kim Soon and Annie Tan. I have asked all three if I can run their entries. I hope they say yes.

Congrats again to Sean, Kim Soon and Annie. And thanks to all the wonderful readers and OCBC cardmembers who took part in this contest. Lastly, if you didn’t win, you really should consider booking your own table at Snappers on the 11th or 12th. Who knows when Chef Quek will be cooking in Singapore again?

Winner of Nokia N73 Contest #2

Congrats to Prabakaran Rajinderan for winning the second free Nokia N73. Prabakaran submitted the below photo to win this awesome new handpone.

He wrote, “Giving a Heart

felt Thumbs Up after Eating In MarryBrown Singapore. A marvelous,good tasting but rare Fast Food Restaurant which has/had stores in Changi Airport, Tampines and Jurong.”

Prabakaran took this using a Nokia 3230.

Free seats for Justin Quek’s dinner! Contest ends Friday!

Quick reminder for all Singapore-based readers with OCBC credit cards! If you haven’t entered this contest to win a pair of seats at a table I’m hosting on 12 October, during Justin Quek’s upcoming promotion, at Snappers restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton, you have just 2 days left. The contest ends this coming Friday, 29 September. Three couples will win a pair of tickets to this 8-course extravanga cooked by arguably Singapore’s best French chef. The menu includes Smoked Cobia Parfait with ‘Avruga’ Caviar; Seared Romaine Lettuce and King Oyster Mushroom with Autumn Dressing; Duo cooking of Maine Lobster with Ceps Mushrooms; Tagliatelle with Salted Natural Pork and Fresh Autumn Truffles; Demi-Tasse of Herbal Duck Consommé and Foie Gras Dumpling; Grilled Smoked Cote de Beouf with Autumn Vegetables, Bordeaux Sauce, or Pan-Roasted Ocean Fish Fillet with Lobster Essence; Avant Dessert; Duo of Chefs’ Dessert; and freshly brewed coffee, decaffeinated coffee, a selection of teas, and petit fours.

In addition, each winning couple gets an autographed copy of Justin’s new cookbook, which launches 13 October 2006. The book will retail for S$69 and the dinner is usually S$150+++ a person, so getting a couple free seats and the book seems a pretty good deal to me. What are you waiting for?

HOW TO ENTER: Email me a 100-200 word description of your own chubby hubby or sexy spouse. You can tell me anything you want about them; it can be why you love him or her; it can be a funny story; it can be about how much he or she loves to eat. The wittiest, most sincere and most well-written 3 entries will win. Email me at Email me by 29 September 2006. I will announce the winners on 2 October 2006. Please be sure to include your full name, IC number (or passport number) and contact phone number. You must be an OCBC cardmember to enter.

Return of the king

Just a few days ago, I wrote about Chef Justin Quek and his new cookbook, simply titled “Justin Quek: Passion & Inspiration” (pictured here). I’m very excited because I’ve just received some truly exciting news. Just prior to launching his book on our shores, Chef Quek, easily Singapore’s most famous and finest (Western) chef, has agreed to cook a few meals at the Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore. And to do it properly, he’s bringing an entire team with him. That’s right. Justin will be closing his award-winning restaurant, La Petite Cuisine, in Taipei for a week, giving some of his staff a much-needed vacation but bringing a much larger contingent down for this very special home-coming promotion.

Quek will be hosted at Snappers restaurant, located on the 1st floor of the hotel, near the pool, from 11-13 October. He’ll be serving lunch all three days, offering 2 different menus, a regular menu and another that Justin calls his “menu prestige”. The difference between the two is the quality of ingredients being used. While both menus look fantastic, the latter uses much more expensive and exquisite products. Justin will only be offering dinner on the 11th and 12th (because on the 13th, he will be cooking at a gala dinner in aid of the Children’s Cancer Foundation). The dinner he’s planning to prepare sounds fantastic. It’s an 8-course extravanga: Smoked Cobia Parfait with ‘Avruga’ Caviar; Seared Romaine Lettuce and King Oyster Mushroom with Autumn Dressing; Duo cooking of Maine Lobster with Ceps Mushrooms; Tagliatelle with Salted Natural Pork and Fresh Autumn Truffles; Demi-Tasse of Herbal Duck Consommé and Foie Gras Dumpling; Grilled Smoked Cote de Beouf with Autumn Vegetables, Bordeaux Sauce, or Pan-Roasted Ocean Fish Fillet with Lobster Essence; Avant Dessert; Duo of Chefs’ Dessert; and freshly brewed coffee, decaffeinated coffee, a selection of teas, and petit fours. In addition to the above menu, there is also one (and just one) “chef’s table” available each evening.

Given that Snappers is a pretty small restaurant and that Justin’s only offering 3 lunches and 2 dinners, I’d book as soon as possible. There’s no telling when he’ll cook again in Singapore, especially after he opens Le Platane, his new super-chic fine-dining restaurant in Shanghai’s Xintiandi area, this coming December.

To book a table or for more information, call the Ritz’s restaurant reservation people at 64345288 (I’ve listed the prices at the very end of this post).

SPECIAL OFFER / CONTEST: I’ve decided that it would be super cool to host a dinner party during Justin’s promotion and invite some of my readers to join me. In other words, I’m booking a table at Snappers on 12 October and giving away 6 seats! Okay, so here’s the kicker. You have to be an OCBC credit cardmember to take part. Here’s how you take part. Email me a 100-200 word description of your own chubby hubby or sexy spouse. You can tell me anything you want about them; it can be why you love him or her; it can be a funny story; it can be about how much he or she loves to eat. The wittiest, most sincere and most well-written 3 entries will win 2 seats each to Justin’s dinner! In addition, each winner will get an autographed copy of Justin’s new cookbook. Email me at You can email me from today till 29 September 2006. I will announce the winners on 2 October 2006. Please be sure to include your full name, IC number (or passport number) and contact phone number.

Justin Quek promotion at Snappers, Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore

4-course lunch menu
$ 55+++ per person without wine
$ 105+++ per person with wine

4-course lunch menu prestige
$ 95+++ per person without wine
$ 185+++ per person with wine

Lunch 11-13 October 2006

8-course dinner menu
$ 150+++ per person without wine
$ 290+++ per person with wine

8-course menu Chef’s Table
(minimum 6 guests)
$ 250+++ per person without wine
$ 450+++ per person with wine

Dinner 11-12 October 2006