The food and beverage scene has been getting into the spirit of SG50, with bakeries, cafes and restaurants pulling out all the stops to showcase beloved local flavours in creative dishes, desserts and drinks to celebrate Singapore's Golden Jubilee. Eunice Quek & Kenneth Goh suss out 15 items to try.
1. SG50 Singapore Food Trail August Afternoon Tea
Celebrate SG50 with afternoon tea inspired by a variety of local flavours. Savoury items include beef rendang pot pie and chilli crab pie, as well as canapes such as spiced sardine sandwich; laksa, salmon and corn wrap; mini Roti John; French toast with durian and butter; poached Hainanese chicken roulade with chilli and ginger; Nonya rojak served in a cone; and fried carrot cake with scallions and prawn. This is followed by a slew of durian desserts. The afternoon tea is priced at $42 a person or $80 for two people.
Where: Axis Bar and Lounge, Mandarin Oriental Singapore, 5 Raffles Avenue, Marina Square
When: Till Aug 31, 12.30 to 2.30pm (weekends and public holidays), 3 to 5pm daily
Info: Call 6885-3500 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Uncle John
Modern Singaporean restaurant The Quarters puts a twist on the omelette sandwich Roti John. It has created Uncle John ($12 nett), French toast topped with spiced chicken and a special chilli sauce, served with a side salad. It is part of the restaurant's weekend brunch menu.
Where: The Quarters, 01-09 Icon Village, 16 Enggor Street
When: Available on weekends and public holidays, 10am to 4pm
Info: Call 6834-4174 or e-mail email@example.com
3. Singapura Nacional
It was the winning cocktail at last year's SG50 A Toast to the Nation contest, organised by the Singapore Hotel Association. Manhattan bar's Singapura Nacional ($23++) is a combination of two iconic cocktails - the Cuban classic Hotel Nacional Special and the popular Singapore Sling. The drink is made with Small's Gin, pineapple juice, lemon juice, apricot brandy, grapefruit bitters and homemade spiced syrup. The perfect tipple garnish? Singapore's national flower - the orchid.
Where: Manhattan, Regent Singapore, 1 Cuscaden Road, Level 2
When: 5pm to 1am daily
Info: Call 6725-3377 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Bandung Cafe Latte
The rose syrup-flavoured Bandung drink - commonly mixed with condensed milk or evaporated milk - goes modern.
It is blended with a classic Italian cafe latte and can be drunk hot ($5.50 for dine-in or $6.10 for take-away) or cold ($6.30). The beverage is part of cafe chain Joe & Dough's SG50 menu, which also features durian profiteroles ($4.80) and a sandwich with soya sauce chicken and achar ($8.80).
Where: All eight Joe & Dough outlets, including 01-10 orchardgateway and 01-156 Square 2
When: Till Aug 31, various opening hours
5. Lau Pa Sat Gula Melaka Tea
Tea company The 1872 Clipper Tea Co has put out three tea blends inspired by prominent locations in Singapore.
The iconic food centre Lau Pa Sat is represented by green and black tea infused with gula melaka, or palm sugar. The loose leaves include pieces of coconut too. The other two flavours are Orchard Road, a blend of hibiscus flowers, peppermint and raspberry leaves; and High Street, Ceylon black tea infused with ginger.
The three teas (25g each, loose leaf) come in a set called City Of Flavours - Singapore's Local Delights ($50). It comes with a stainless steel teahouse infuser. The teas can also be bought individually at $14 each.
Where: All five The 1872 Clipper Tea Co's retail points, including Tangs Orchard, Basement 1; Gardens by the Bay gift shops and Singapore Botanic Gardens gift shops
When: Available while stocks last, various opening hours
CAKES AND PASTRIES
6. HeartSG Cake
Eat a slice of home with this red velvet cake in the shape of Singapore (below). Paying homage to the Republic's little red dot label is the cake's fire-engine-red exterior, which is chocolate sprayed on cream-cheese frosting. The shape is cut out from a rectangular cake block.
The cross section of the cake reveals red-and-white sponge layers with cream cheese in between. It is adorned with chocolate badges bearing local icons, including chilli crab and Singa the Courtesy Lion. A 1kg cake costs $50++. It is available in bigger sizes: 2kg ($100++), 3kg ($150++) and 4kg ($200++).
Each cake comes with a limited-edition tote bag.
Where: Lime Patisserie, Parkroyal on Pickering, 3 Upper Pickering Street
When: Till Sept 30, 11am to 11pm daily
Info: Call 6809-8899 or email email@example.com. Order three days in advance for larger cakes
7. SG50 Cake
Taking her inspiration from the Singapore flag, baker Dewi Imelda Wadhwa, 36, transformed a plain gula melaka cake into a pictureperfect, two-tiered SG50 cake, complete with gold cake toppers of a crescent moon and stars. The cake is frosted with vanilla buttercream and the top tier is covered with strawberries to symbolise the red part of the Singapore flag. The cake comes in three sizes: small ($115, single tier, for 12 to 14 people), regular ($185, two-tier, for at least 20 people) and large ($250, two-tier, for at least 30 people). All come with the gold cake toppers.
Where: 01-61, 462 Crawford Lane
When: Till Saturday; 10am to 1pm (today, for cake pick-up only), 8am to 5pm (Monday to Thursday), 8am to 6pm (Friday and Saturday)
Info: Call 6291-4252, send an SMS to 9382-4767 or order online at andallthingsdelicious.com. Order at least one day in advance
8. Chendol Cheesecake, Orh Nee Cake And Pulut Hitam Tart
A trio of local desserts have been smartly refashioned into cakes and tarts by Ms Ann Chong, 37, and Ms Ng Hui Yi, 27, co-owners of Bloomsbury Bakers in Bendemeer Road. The Chendol Cheesecake ($7 a slice) is studded with red beans, grass jelly, corn bits and attap chee, with a gula melaka jelly topping. Orh Nee Cake ($6 a slice) has yam cream in between layers of vanilla sponge cake and is frosted with coconut cream and dressed up with candied gingko nuts and toasted coconut flakes. The Pulut Hitam Tart ($6.50) is coconut panna cotta resting on a bed of black glutinous rice and crowned with crispy coconut nougatine.
The cakes are also available in larger sizes - a 700g Orh Nee Cake costs $40, while a 1kg Chendol Cheesecake costs $60.
Where: Bloomsbury Bakers, 01-889, Block 30 Bendemeer Road
When: Till Aug 31, 11am to 7pm (Tuesday to Friday), 10am to 7pm (Saturday), 10am to 6pm (Sunday), closed on Monday
Info: Call 62990-3450, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or go to facebook.com/BloomsburyBakers
9. Teh Tarik Eclair
Bakery chain Artisan Boulangerie Co organised a Create the Perfect SG50 Treat contest in May, asking customers to submit ideas for pastries that feature local flavours. Out of more than 300 submissions received, the Teh Tarik Eclair ($4.50++) was one of the four winning entries. Inspired by the pulled tea drink, the choux pastry is loaded with fresh cream infused with a fragrant milk tea extract and is topped with milk chocolate fondant and a SG50 chocolate badge.
Where: Eight outlets, including 01-01, 118 Killiney Road and 01-01 Asia Square Tower 2, 12 Marina View
When: Till Aug 31, various opening hours, go to artisanbakery.com.sg
10. SG50 Lapis
Conrad Centennial Singapore has given the traditional thousand-layer cake, or kueh lapis, a National Day makeover. The cake has alternating red-and-white layers in rose syrup and evaporated milk flavours, reminiscent of bandung, the rose syrup-and-milk beverage. Topping the 1kg cake ($75) is an SG50 white chocolate disc. The cake is also part of the dessert offerings at the SG50 buffet in the hotel's buffet restaurant, Oscar's, which serves local dishes such as salted egg squid and chilli crab. It runs till the end of this month.
Where: The Terrace, Conrad Centennial Singapore, 2 Temasek Boulevard, Level 1
When: Till Aug 31, 7am to 8pm (weekday), 10am to 8pm (weekend)
Info: Call 6432-7487 or e-mail email@example.com. Order two days in advance
11. Nasi Lemak Cake
Encouraged by the warm response to her nasi lemak cupcakes, Ms Julia Idris, 34, owner of online bakery One Cupcake A Day, has upsized it and created a savoury-sweet nasi lemak cake. The 10cm-tall cake has pandan sponge layers with sambal in between. Enveloping the cake is light-green coconut buttercream studded with crushed ikan bilis and peanuts. The cake is decorated with flower-shaped frosting and tiny squares of omelette. It is available in two sizes - 1kg ($50) and 1.5kg ($70).
Info: Call 8268-7930, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or go to onecupcakeaday.com. Order one week in advance
12. The Queen's Kaya Toast
The classic kaya-and-toast breakfast goes French at Antoinette patisserie.
The toast is a crusty house-made baguette, while the kaya is creme patissiere (pastry cream) flavoured with pandan juice and coconut cream. Go luxe with French Echire butter and a sprinkling of fleur de sel. It costs $10++ (three-portion platter for dine-in) or $15+ (takeaway). A jar of the kaya costs $8+.
Where: Antoinette, 30 Penhas Road
When: Till Aug 31, 11am to 10pm (Monday to Thursday), 11am to 11pm (Friday and eve of public holiday), 10am to 11pm (Saturday), 10am to 10pm (Sunday and public holiday)
Info: Call 6293-3121
13. Kopi-C Ice Cream
Have the best of both worlds - coffee and ice cream - with coffee specialist Chye Seng Huat Hardware and ice-cream parlour Creamier's Kopi-C ice cream flavour. Kopi-C refers to hot coffee with evaporated milk.
The ice cream is made with an Asian blend of premium Arabica beans - Sumatra Triple Pick and India Thippanahalli - and infused with Carnation evaporated milk.
Unlike over-milky or lacklustre versions of coffee ice cream, this one packs quite a punch as each batch of ice cream requires 50 shots of freshly pulled espresso.
It is served on a slice of old-school rainbow bread (above, $5.50) at Chye Seng Huat Hardware, while a single scoop costs $4.20 at Creamier.
Where: Creamier, 01-835, Block 128 Toa Payoh Lorong 1; and Chye Seng Huat Hardware, 150 Tyrwhitt Road
When: Creamier: Till Sept 30, noon to 10pm (Tuesday to Thursday and Sunday), noon to 11pm (Friday and Saturday), closed on Monday and from Aug 17 to 31 for minor renovations; Chye Seng Huat Hardware: Till Dec 31, 9am to 7pm (Tuesday to Friday), 9am to 10pm (weekend), closed on Monday
Info: Call 6250-1476 (Creamier) or 6396-0609 (Chye Seng Huat)
14. SG50 Pralines
Decadent chocolate pralines get a local spin by pastry chef Janice Wong at her eponymous pop-up sweets boutique at Marina Bay Sands. Flavours include chilli padi (red praline), kaffir lime caramel (blue praline), gula melaka chocolate and laksa leaf lemongrass (green praline). They are priced at $15 for a box of five.
Where: Janice Wong, B2-K6 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
When: 10.30am to 11pm daily
Info: E-mail email@example.com
15. Ginger & Gold Orchid
A refreshing spin on the crushed ice dessert, Halia's Ginger & Gold Orchid ($12) features ice kacang granita topped with yuzu gel, lychee and jelly and infused with Gold Orchid Tea. The dish is part of the restaurant's SG50 menu, celebrating the flavour of orchids.
Where: Halia, Singapore Botanic Gardens, 1 Cluny Road, Ginger Garden
When: Till Aug 31, noon to 9.30pm (Monday to Thursday), noon to 10pm (Friday and eve of public holiday), 10am to 10pm (Saturday), 10am to 9.30pm (Sunday and public holiday)
Info: Call 8444-1148 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was first published on August 9, 2015.
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