Binomio – Happy Mothers’ day!


Near Outram MRT


This picture looks really rustic with the barrel in front of the door.

It’s my 2nd visit to Binomio. As I was confident that this place serves really good Spanish food, I decided to bring my parents here tonight to celebrate Mothers’ Day. While I was at the bar (as restaurant was full) on my first visit, I booked the restaurant this time, thinking that it may be more appropriate for dinner with the parents. Wanted to look for the sous chef that I made friends with but he is in Spain currently! So lets see what’s on the restaurant menu.

DSC_0713Got a glass of sangria white wine to share as I know that it should be good here. Indeed it was a very good glass of sangria as there is a strong fruity punch while the white wine makes it a little alcoholic and more zesty. It felt a little diluted initially but after swirling it, the sangria became more homogeneous and tasted right and refreshing! The dilution must be due to the melting ice. $14.

DSC_0709Tortilla for $8. I had this when I was at the bar the other time and found it soooo delicious that I need to get it again this time. This was actually not on the menu and they do not serve any bar food as the bar kitchen is very small and will not be able to cope with it if everyone were to order from there. I guess the actual reason is because the bar tapas is cheaper and if you are in the restaurant, you would be expected to get the more upmarket tapas. But the waiter was nice enough to give me the tortilla as I looked so addicted to it. Again the omelette in it is really soft, wobbly and fragrant while the potatoes are really soft and soothing. Very delicious comfort food. You can eat it with two kinds of mayo, either the normal white ones or the slightly spicy orange one. I personally prefer the spicy one.


DSC_0717Ham croquette. Sorry for the first blurry picture. Did not qc properly for that. Croquette was very delicious as well, the outside was thin and crispy while the filling is really moist and has a ham fragrance. $14.

DSC_0719Grilled octopus with pork belly underneath. This was a recommended tapas from the waitress but I didn’t really enjoy it. The octopus was very fresh, succulent and wasn’t overcooked nor tough and has a really good texture. However, it felt bland overall as the sauce tasted quite flat. The pork belly, was not my type of food as it purely is just fats and so I left it untouched. Maybe you will find that the fragrance of the pork belly would complement the taste of the octopus if you are a pork belly lover. $29.

DSC_0721I got this grilled fish with vizcaina sauce, garlic and thinly sliced potatoes from the ‘principle’ section for $32. The sauce tasted right and would have brought out the freshness and succulence of the fish. However, it was a pity as the fish tasted a little dry inside. It was an overgrilled fish. The potatoes were delicious though as they were slightly charred and has a nice fragrance. It would have been a much better main if the fish was moist.


DSC_0723Then I had something that I know I wouldn’t be disappointed in. Squid ink Paella for 2 for $70. This Paella was again, very delicious. Rice was very moist and heavily coated with the fragrance of the stock. Squid is very crunchy and has a very good texture while the clams felt fresh as well. My parents loved the two paella that we ordered initially but found the heavy taste a little too overwhelming towards the end. But I like that intense flavour of these paella.


DSC_0726And this is the chicken and seafood Paella for 2 for $66. Had this the first time and I am addicted to it. Really intense flavour and every grain is uniformly coated with the the fragrant stock. The way they serve it is actually quite interesting as they will first bring these paella out for you to see first before they help you to apportion it into your plates. Of course you can request to scoop them up on your own but our table wasn’t big enough to accommodate two huge pans. The waitress knew that I wanted to take pictures of it and so placed it down for me to take them first while they waited patiently beside. Really nice service here.

DSC_0728And this is my ying-yang paella after they apportioned it. Yummy!

DSC_0735Then before getting the bill, we got the churros for $14 to satisfy our sweet tooth. The dessert menu is quite small and only has about 5 desserts on it. Antonio recommended the churros to me the other time and I found it really unique as it isn’t dry inside but slightly gooey and really moist. That is the main difference from most churros which makes this one a winner. Parents loved it and you can eat it plain or dip into that cup of thick, rich chocolate sauce.

So, did Binomio impress and satisfy me again? Yes, it definitely did despite having two misses in the more expensive tapas. Though that was a little disappointing, the other tapas and delicious paella made up for it. My parents were also really happy with the meal and glad that they had a delectable Spanish meal. Service here is really good I felt as the waitresses and waiters are always smiley and felt quite sincere from bringing you in to sending you off (which is something you don’t get a lot from ang mor establishments here). The waitress was quite amazed that we could down so much food and offered to make one of the paella smaller (at a lower price) but I was too famished then and so went with the total serving for four. After we were done with the paella, she even exclaimed in disbelief. Somehow, I feel more won over by the bar as tapas there is cheaper and delicious while I also get to order my favourite Paella. So the next time I go back to Binomio, I will return to the more familiar bar instead!

Verdict: An excellent restaurant




Jaan – 3 course lunch menu



As promised, finally brought V to some fine dining in Singapore and we went to Jaan. Have been here twice, the first time I had the 5 course lunch menu and I was blown away; the second time I was back for the 7 course lunch and I was pretty impressed; the third time (this time) I’m here and I felt that this place is good but very predictable. As I already had a slight hunch that the lunch menu would feel repetitive even after a year, I went in knowing that I just want the three course menu. Opened the menu, read the descriptions and I wasn’t interested in the five at all so, we got the three course.

DSC_0711Once again, their pre-starters were really pretty and exquisite. V loved this a lot. The hummus and thin slices of biscuit in front are very delicious again like in the past. Tasted the same as my first visit while the biscuits have many different kinds of seeds on it.

DSC_0710Purple meringue on the right. There was some onion taste in it and is savoury. Fluffy purple crust on the outside.

DSC_0712The black thing in the middle is seaweed and the meat on top of it is smoked and fragrant. The left most is biscuit with cheese flakes on it. Biscuit is very thin and crispy.


DSC_0718Then here comes the fragrant buttery rich mushroom soup. This has been my favourite from the first visit. Very rich soup that lingers in your mouth for quite a while. Delicious.

DSC_0720Then comes the delicious tray of bread. I had four in total for today’s lunch. Had 2 walnut, one sour dough and one brioche. Loved the walnut bread. It was warm, soft, fluffy and slightly sweet as it has some raisins embedded in it. Really good bread served here.

DSC_0722V got this poached egg starters with white asparagus. Garlic was very fragrant while I find the asparagus not bad.

DSC_0723Mine is the zucchini starter. They initially got my order wrong and I told the waitress that I didn’t order that. Zucchini was what I ordered. I didn’t want Jaan Garden as I didn’t really enjoy it the other time. Zucchini is the tempura like thing on the right. There were also other fillings together with it in the fried flavour. Tasted light even though it was fried. There was also some white cheese in it and the other vegetables. This is another salad dish to me and somehow I find it pretty normal.

DSC_0726V’s mains was pretty good. She got the lamb cooked in many different ways and thus have many different textures to it. Lamb didn’t have the lamb smell while they all tasted very tender. Yummy.

DSC_0732I got the trout with kuroshima roast pork at the bottom. Pork tasted like siu yok and was delicious while the trout was kinda medium rare and melts in the mouth. It is really tender, soft and really orange on the inside. Pretty not bad mains but I wouldn’t say memorable.

DSC_0733And then came the desserts. I got this strawberry dessert. Everything was not bad except for the strawberry which tasted a bit disastrous. They were not tasteless but overly sour. Considering that I am someone who is able to take sour stuff, this was actually too sour for me, especially in a dessert. There were some cheese rods in it. I initially thought it would taste like the strawberry dessert I had in Esaki whereby the dessert tasted blissfully sweet. Looks like it’s not easy to nail a strawberry dessert after all.

DSC_0738V got the exotic dessert which is on the seven course menu. Not too bad I feel.

DSC_0741That’s the petite four. We got some popping nuts on the right, chocolate ice cream ball and a banana marshmellow-like thing coated with coconut shavings.

DSC_0742Like the popping nuts quite a lot. They initially served popping ice rods in the past but have changed to these caramel nuts instead. Pretty yummy I felt.

So, I guess I actually feel quite lethargic writing this post up for Jaan’s lunch. Apart from the pre-starters and petite four, everything tasted very predictable and some were actually a letdown. I wouldn’t say that the food is bad. Food quality over here is good but just feel that this place is lacking in creativity. Even the pre-starters and petite four feel repetitive to a certain extent. It has recently improved its ranking on Asia’s best 50 and I’m not sure how did it do it. It definitely is a place that will wow you for the first time, but really after a while things will get boring and it’s quite incredulous that the menu and style of food served didn’t change much after a year. Singapore’s top restaurant, Andre, will make it a point to change the menu regularly and this really puts a test to the chef’s creativity. I think these are the restaurants that will make me want to revisit them in future.

Verdict: An excellent restaurant on your first visit but gets very predictable thereafter.



Burnt Ends

Burnt Ends

Near Outram MRT

Couldn’t get a reservation a few weeks ago and I decided to postpone the dinner to a month later as we had some international test at work for two weeks. Yes, Burnt Ends is that busy and I think reservation should be made 2 weeks in advance. And I know why they are so busy after today’s dinner! I went in with the impression that the food will be good while servings will be morsel-like but charged at an exorbitant price. To my delight that was totally not the case as food was really good while serving is filling and reasonably priced.

Upon entering, a poised looking lady will be standing at the door ready to usher you to your seats. And I felt lucky to be able to sit in front of the luscious ingredients.

DSC_0709Beautiful artichoke, leek and fennel.

DSC_0712Pretty tomatoes on a bendable plate.

DSC_0713Delicious complementary doughy cookies that will be given to you when you leave!

DSC_0719And so the meal begins. We got the baby octopus. It may look really unappetising but it actually tasted pretty good. X and S loved this a lot while I find it not bad. The octopus is springy and has a heavy oak taste. I like the texture and it didn’t smell fishy at all but I wasn’t sure if I love the heavy oak taste. $12.

DSC_0735The sobradasa which is a minced beef spread. Bread was crusty while the spread is quite tasty. However, I find it slightly oily and thought it was just not bad. $10. I was hoping for more for these two starters and thought that this may be the standard of the restaurant which is quite a disappointment but my impression changed immediately when the next few dishes were served.

DSC_0724Jacabs ladder was the last starter we got. $12. This is really some serious beef served over here. While the outer layer tastes fragrantly burnt, the inner meat was totally impeccable. Very good texture and yet not too raw. I love these few slices of beef over here. And together with the mayonnaise, it is really delicious.


We then moved into our first mains. Jamaican chicken bap which costs $20. Fillings are chicken, mashed avocado, parsley and cucumber. I love this burger a lot. It’s really interesting to add such pungent vegetables into your burger such as parsley (which is subjectively fragrant) but it worked really well for us as it makes this burger interestingly tasty and refreshing. Chicken was delicious and has quite a bit of fragrant chicken skin in it. The mashed avocado is creamy, smooth and gives the extra oomph when eaten together with everything else. Cucumber is pickled. Super delicious.

DSC_0747Dissect the burger and it looks like this!



And then the sanger burger which is really a must order. While most of the dishes are regularly changed, this has been on the menu for really long and I think it’s one of the signature dishes that will stay forever. Really fragrant shredded beef in it while the cabbages were coated with delicious mayonnaise. I think it is paprika mayonnaise as it is slightly spicy and has a paprika taste. $20. In contrast to the lighter tasting Jamaican chicken bap, this is a heavier burger and We all loved both of them!


DSC_0756We got the baby snapper which was so deliciously cooked again. This baby snapper is huge. Really fresh and flesh was very tender. It is really fun to see how they grill the fish to prevent it from sticking onto the grills. The sauce beneath is made up of I think olive oil and definitely has lemon zest in it. That makes it really appetising. The salad by the side was really good and there are these interesting purple strands which are very crunchy and slightly chewy. Very interesting texture which I love a lot. $55. It’s really reasonably priced for such a big fish.

DSC_0723And we got our last piece of mains. a 230g Tri tip. I don’t know what does the name of the dish mean, but to me this last dish was really delicious. They will weigh the beef first and present it to you before cooking it.

DSC_0765And tada, our delicious Tri tip. There’s bone marrow in the sauce according to the menu but I wasn’t sure how bone marrow taste like as I haven’t had it before. Well, as long as the food is good who cares. sauce was delicious, thick creamy and super fragrant I felt. Which goes well with this beautifully barbecued slab of evenly marbled beef. Beef is really soft and melts in your mouth. The sauce gives it an extra oomph. The salad by the side was also zesty and clears your palate, so you can enjoy the next piece of beef. $23 for 100g.

DSC_0768Pineapple with almond nougats, rum and thick vanilla ice cream for $10. This dessert was pretty good. Thick and sweet sauce while the pineapple still tasted juicy though it was grilled.

DSC_0714And I think these are the two head chefs for Burnt Ends.

So did I enjoy Burnt Ends? Of course I did! Really good grilled beef and burger over here definitely. Service is kinda mixed though. The Singaporean guy serving was less professional I felt as he got wasn’t too nice when it got busier (no word of thanks after paying the bill), while the lady at the counter was always very smiley and would say a big thank you when you leave. It really isn’t that hard to give a smile I feel and that means a big difference to your service. Then again, food is really good and chefs are friendly. It is a place that I will consider coming back again. And they have no service charge here. We paid about $66 per person and I find that reasonable for such a great meal. Yums!

Verdict: An excellent restaurant.




Aoyama Esaki – My best Kaiseki meal so far

Aoyama Esaki

And so, this is THE meal in Tokyo! The last michelin meal for this trip was settled at Aoyama Esaki which has three michelin star. As it isn’t so pricey, unlike the other 3 stars, I booked it for dinner. There were two menus, one for 10 000 yen and the other for 13 000 yen and the difference is that the 13k one has abalone so G and I immediately got the 13k! And booking was done by the hotel concierge way before my trip and if you are wondering if that’s the usual way to book Michelin restaurants in Tokyo, I would say that it is more often than not the only way. It really is very weird that these restaurants do not make reservations for you via email but require the hotel concierge to call for you if you are a tourist. I guess this is done so that if you were to not turn up for the meal, the bill could be sent to your room. Like sushi Iwa, these michelin restaurants sign boards are never conspicuous. I was ready for that and searched for the smallest sign board when we were near the area. It is located at B1 along a residential side road.

DSC_0475So this is the path along which esaki is located at. The circled bit is its sign board. Lets take a closer look at it.

esaki 1And this is the sign board. Yes no English words, and G would have easily missed it. But luckily, I am hiragana literate and managed to spot it very quickly.

So, lets take a look at how well this 8 course Kaiseki meal fared. I would say that I was blown away by everything.

DSC_0429That’s the menu all in Japanese but could make out what some of them stand for.


Clam risotto. Clear and really fragrant broth the rice is cooked in and the refreshing vegetables are drizzled with this slightly sweet and delicious strawberry sauce. Tomato was really sweet, fresh and juicy while radish is refreshing and carrot has a natural sweetness. Rice is warm, smooth, rotund and evenly coated with the broth. It isn’t soggy and felt very soothing as you can taste every rice bit. The raw ingredients themselves are already so good and tasted even more fantastic under the meticulous planning of the chef.


Flounder served next is springy. There’s this saucer served with salt and we were supposed to squeeze the lemon juice into it. The fish tasted very appetising after dipping into the lemon sauce. very refreshing and indeed is a unique way of eating sashimi. The other interesting thing is that the radish is served with menthol leaf which helps to cleanse your palate and allows you to taste the freshness of the sashimi again.

DSC_0446Guess what is this? No it’s really not ginger, but is actually the potato used to make our potato soup. The waitress was really cute and she brought it out to show us. They must have known that we haven’t seen this kind of potato before and yeah G and I went wow, you must be kidding me but we always trust the honest Japanese.




The Potato soup made from that ginger-looking potato. Really intriguing indeed. Soup was very smooth, slightly creamy with a tinge of pepper. Doesn’t taste diluted at all and is very flavourful. This dish has the fusion vibes I thought as it’s really like those more westernised soup. And there’s a thin baked slice of potato on top of it. Blown away by this soup and it was heavenly.


Sea bream with nabana tempura. Again, what is nabana, I really have no idea but it is a kind of vegetable. I asked the waitress what is this vege and she immediately took out a book and showed me a picture of it. They are really well prepared aren’t they. The batter it is fried in is very fragrant yet light and doesn’t make you feel queasy. Tempura felt crispy while vegetable is slightly crunchy. Sea bream was delicious when eaten with the light but fragrant soup. And radish is really fresh while slightly sweet and soft.


Next star of the night – kinki fish steamed in soy sauce with mint leaf on it. The meat is really smooth and has a slight creamy taste which goes really well with the fragrant soy sauce. You know you usually will scoop the sauce up and drizzle over those typical steamed fish during a wedding dinner, this fish doesn’t need such enhancement as the fragrant soy sauce has already penetrated into the flesh of the fish. Super delicious and according to most blogs, this is a signature dish which has never been removed from the menu. The meat comes off the bone very easily and melted so quickly in my mouth. I literally finished everything except for the bones, yeah I also attacked the fish head as it’s so soft and the meat come out so easily. I want to have more!



The other star – Abalone with sauce that is soy sauce based. There’re yam and turnip in it. Yam was crunchy and refreshing while turnip is soft. The huge abalone was slightly seared. When you chew on the slightly springy yet not rubbery abalone, you would be able to taste and smell a light yuzu taste which makes one feel so blissful, shiawase ne(blessed). Fragrant and calming to the nerves I felt this meal is. Sauce is very fragrant and goes so well with abalone and the whole abalone is literally penetrated with the fragrance of the sauce. Umai! Black sesame was also added to further enhance the taste.


The second last course is rice with ika and white sesame and spring onions. In a kaiseki course, rice is usually served last before dessert and it’s pretty common that it will be a simple bowl of rice with miso soup. However, this may look simple but such ‘simple’ dishes usually will put the skill of the chef to real test. Rice was lightly fragrant but super delicious. The taste lingers in your mind for quite sometime and every mouthful is so good, memorable. Really amazing! Ika is soft while rice is also soft, rotund and uniformly fragrant. Miso soup is fragrant and I believe that the miso paste is freshly prepared too.

esaki 3 Ichigo, ichigo, ichigo dessert. Yes, that was what was written on the menu in kanji, katakana and hiragana. Strawberry is so refreshing and naturally sweet. You can never get such good strawberries in Singapore. So red, big juicy and not sour at all. The sauce used is slightly milky and not too sweet but full of strawberry aroma. The milky sauce goes so well with the strawberries and make the taste more complete. Theres also a bit of japanese pepper in it which is quite interesting as it tinkles your palates a little. Very interesting to have pepper added to strawberry and it actually worked! Yummy! Jap fruits are always so good on their own! Strawberry is from shizuoka according to the waitress.

esaki 2And we ended the meal with coffee or tea. I really like the coffee set presented to us. Sugar looks like cheese doesn’t it.

And so that’s the end of the 8 course meal, which left me craving for more. Everything was so well executed, from the quality of food, to the attentiveness of the waitress and it’s service is really impeccable. It really is worthy of its 3 stars. They sent us out of the restaurant when we were ready to leave and kept bowing and thanking us when we were walking up to the first floor. I turned my head back when I was up there and expectedly, they were still at the door and I bade farewell to them. It really felt like Japan hour really. It was interesting to also see how Japanese dine in Michelin restaurants. While a private room was reserved for a group of businessmen, the Japanese lady at the table opposite us was going ‘sugoi’ at everything. Very fun experience here and it definitely is the best kaiseki I’ve eaten so far!

This will be the last post for my Tokyo trip for now and I really hope to be able to visit Tokyo again soon (perhaps end of this year) and visit the many amazing restaurants they have.

So, some last sakura pictures before saying bye to the Tokyo posts!


DSC_0577Shiawase ne!

Takemura 竹むら

Takemura – A place for traditional Japanese sweets

Near Akihabara JR station

DSC_0605Does this not look like a Samurai’s house? Really interesting I thought when I read about this place on Japan Times and therefore I wanted to visit this place when I was around the Akihabara area. Takemura serves traditional Japanese sweets and interestingly not only are there aunties or uncles in this restaurant, you also will see quite a handful of teenagers in there chatting while sipping away their tea. Most of the teenagers around us were mostly having the same thing that is the manju which we will see later.

DSC_0589This is the interior and there are two kinds of seatings. One is on a chair while the other is on a tatami mat. So we chose the traditional seating area and sat on the mats.

DSC_0588We were served sakura tea first which has an acquired taste. It actually tasted salty. I realised that anything with the sakura flower would usually taste salty, such as the sakura mochi I had at asakusa. Didn’t finish this tea as I couldn’t get used to the taste. Nevertheless, it was a pretty cup of tea I felt.


This is kuzu mochi made from arrowroot and cover bown sugar yellow bean powder. This mochi is less chewy but is still a very good texture as it makes you feel refreshed. The brown sugar makes it slightly sweet and goes really well with the fragrant yellow bean powder. Delicious! Very simple and felt super japanese.

DSC_0592And then came my favourite and also is what most people around us are having – Manju. The waitress will surely recommend you this if you were to ask for osusume.


Manju with red bean azuki paste. Love the texture of the skin as its lightly fried while the pastry actually has mochi in it. The dough is stretchy and slightly springy and I love this texture as it somehow helps to retain the fragrant azuki paste longer when you are chewing it. Really delectable I felt. The red bean paste is smooth and not overly sweet which really makes a good dessert. To sum up, fragrantly crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside with delicious red bean paste. I find it really interesting that some students just come in on their own, order a plate of manju, munch on them and then get the bill. They really just came for a plate of manju before going home to finish their homework.


Anmitsu with red bean paste and salted red bean. The red bean paste is served in the shape of a ball. It is well mashed and quite smooth while not overly sweet. I guees that’s the natural taste of red bean. Sliced fruits like peach and cherries are also added in to make it feel more refreshing while red beans in it are salted. It was fine for me but K and G couldn’t get used to it. The jelly like cubes also have a good texture, slightly chewy while not too rubbery and also makes you feel refreshed. You can add the sweet black syrup into this bowl if you want your dessert to be sweeter. Quite a good bowl of dessert!

So Takemura was really an enjoyable place for me. It’s not that easy to find such traditional buildings in busy Tokyo I feel and coming across one is itself a compelling reason for you to try out the desserts served there. From the menu, they also seem to serve savoury food but I guess their strength lies in their traditional desserts as everyone around me was having that. But maybe I visited the place during tea time. Really fun experience I thought! And the sweets are not expensive, it’s about 400 – 700 yen for each. A recommended place to go for traditional desserts.