SPR MRKT Catering: Quality Over Quantity

Last night it was another fortnightly session of Associates Gathering in my office. I was most looking forward to this particular session as SPR MRKT was delivering their newest goods. Some of you may know they cater to this event frequently. At every session, I become the most popular colleague for that evening! It helps with my self-esteem, I am not going to lie. Last night I was hoping to repeat the “glory” and sure enough, SPR MRKT nailed it.

Unlike the previous menus, this menu was a succinct two savouries and two desserts. That’s because the two savouries were higher-priced and you will see, less grubby. Featuring new items from their baby sister, Koskos Café, I could not resist the Crayfish Rolls with Two Rabbits Smoky Chilli and Sriracha Shrimp Paste Chicken with Slaw in a Waffle Cone. Yes, for reals, a waffle cone!  For desserts, two cakes: Double Fudge Chocolate and Coconut Carrot with Butterscotch Frosting. What I love most about SPR MRKT, and the main reason I keep going back to them, spot-on seasoning! It is never under-salted or overwhelming so. The flavourings always balanced. At the end of yesterday evening, my colleagues surprised me by not complaining about the small quantity. In fact they all agreed quality over quantity. I think that means, no more grubby food, we want those crayfish rolls again!

Without further ado, let me show you the spread that made me so popular last night:

Look how the Sriracha Shrimp Paste Chicken with Slaw in a Waffle Cones were delivered…

My colleagues were surprised when they first saw this. “How does one eat this?!” Well, like an ice-cream. It was a delicious fusion take on our beloved Tze Char classic. And the whole cone was filled with juicy fried chicken thigh.

Crayfish Rolls with Two Rabbits Smoky Chilli was the winner of the evening. Check out those scorched marks! I did not see a single person stop at one roll…

For desserts: two perfectly portioned cakes.

The Double Chocolate Fudge Cake was soo rich, just a slice single-handedly took them down. The Coconut Carrot with Butterscotch Frosting was a different story. Think bits of coconut in every bite of the tender carrot sponge with the subtle butterscotch frosting providing another flavour hit. This cake is officially my favourite. I loved every bite of it! Let it sit out at room temperature for a tender texture but at fridge-cold, the flavours are more pronounced.


Can’t wait for more marvellous spread from the ever-reliable SPR MRKT/ Koskos!

London Fat Duck @ Scotts Square: Patience Duly Rewarded

One and a half hours. That’s how long it took for my family to try out our beloved London-style roast duck at London Fat Duck. In the end, we concluded the wait was worth it! You may already know LFD is one of two new eateries in Singapore offering extremely fatty roast ducks that can only be found in London or Four Seasons in Siam Paragon, Bangkok. With these two eateries, there is now a possibility that our craving for London ducks like those found in Gold Mine, Bayswater, London will be satisfied. However I heard the other eatery at Capitol Building is severely disappointing. Not wanting to risk wasting calories, my family decided to check out the better-reviewed LFD in Scotts Square Shopping Mall.

We braved the dreaded weekend Orchard crowd, queued for what-seemed-like-eternity, but we had no regrets. I’m not going to lie. The wait was a b*tch! And the only thing that stopped short of classifying the queue as a royal pain in the ass: Maison Kayser. Just opposite LFD, we shared some pastries while waiting. This held us over the agonizing wait. But the entire time we were watching LFD’s queue number monitor like a hawk in case we missed ours and all hormones broke lose. The number on the monitor was at “1” when our queue number was “24”, we had a long wayyyy to go.

But you know what, we all agreed in unison that the wait was worth it! I don’t remember when we last all agreed a place was good so LFD was memorable. We LOVED every dish right down to the extremely oily chilli, but saved by its fragrance and spiciness, and the white rice. Every flavour and seasoning was spot-on! By the end of the meal, we were already planning our return trip. But we decided my Dad, who works nearby, shall come and taopao for us to eat in the comfort of our own home. No one was up for queuing.

On to the most important point of this post, here’s what we had on the Sunday afternoon:

Shrimp Wanton Soup. On first taste, we exclaimed “taste like Hong Kong!” I can’t describe it but the fragrant broth transported us back to Hong Kong. It felt good. We were sold on first slurp. And we were equally enamored with the large thin-skinned wantons were filled with a delicious blend of crunchy shrimps and minced pork.

Seasonal Vegetables in Oyster Sauce was exactly as described but this being the only veg on the menu, was saved by the kick-assed chilli..

Signature Black Pepper London Duck Bun. This is the famed buns akin to the Dim Sum favourite Bo Luo Buns and well worth the hype! I could not get enough of the fragrant buttery bun topped with a crisp peppery crust. We liked this dish very very much. I assumed the pepper top was going to be strong and off-putting but no, it balanced beautifully with the duck filling. Do order a plate, or two, while you are there.

  Barbecue Pork with Honey Sauce (Char Siew) we liked this very very much. So much so that we ordered a second plate even before we finished the first. And you know what? The second plate was even better! Smoky and sweet caramelized exterior with the tender meat. Thanks to this porky goodness, we pledged loyalty to LFD and this was even before tasting the famed duck.

My brother-in-law ordered this Pig Liver Noodles. He was very happy with it, said the noodles tasted like those in Hong Kong.  Signature London Roast Duck (Half). The pièce de résistance arrived after a long wait and we succumbed to it. It was good but to be honest, not as magical as the heydays of Four Seasons, Bayswater, London. Having said that our craving for London-style duck was satisfied thanks to the tenderness of the meat, luscious roasted skin with a good thick layer of fat underneath, and the meat devoid of any gaminess. We were almost in heaven and will be back for more! The sauce, on the other hand, could be improved. Thicker perhaps? It’s o.k. because we had the chilli to dip it into. The chilli really rocked our socks.

Hong Kong Crackling Pork Belly. Crispy skin, tender not-so-fatty pork, we had a second plate of this.

If you plan to try out LFD, do go with a game-plan and bring along tons of patience. The service can be a bit slow and inefficient as there are many servers but only two ladies can take orders. One of the ladies forgot our repeat order (I so knew this was going to happen given the crowd) so I reminded her after 10 minutes… If you are going with a group of more than 3 with large appetites, order multiple servings of the Char Siew and Pork Belly at the beginning. They take a while to be served. Oh by the way, the Char Siew was sold out by 1:48pm this afternoon! It pays to be a kanchiong spider and check on your order. While waiting, I suggest coffee at Maison Kayser or Dome opposite while you wait. Bring along a magazine or heck, the whole of Kinokuniya. Just be prepared to wait. The restaurant allows take-aways and orders to be made over the phone. I’m not sure if it is accurate but my family is going to try it out at the end of the week and I shall duly report back.

All in all, LFD is a great addition to the Singapore Dining Scene! I foresee many return trips and take-aways. The restaurant should expand. I feel for the empty boring mall. It really felt like a ghost town. Now I only hope the high-level execution can be sustained for as long as possible. Hope you have an equally good time at LFD.

Keng Eng Kee Seafood: Tze Char Heaven

My wonderful Mother turned 60 years old and she requested Tze Char for her birthday meal. Her favourite cuisine. My family was only too happy to oblige to her request. Secretly, the break away from our usual (snoozefest) Japanese for Sunday family lunch was a relieved for me. Keng Eng Kee Seafood (“KEK”) has been high on my family’s Tze-Char-bucket list for ages! Many friends highly recommend it. For Tze Char, non-Brunch or Western, that is rare feat. There must be something good about KEK. So on Sunday, we finally made it! My Mum’s birthday celebration was an extremely good reason to justify ingesting all those calories. In the end, the thousand over calories was so worth it. Every dish we ordered was simply outstanding! It made us fall in love with Chinese food all over again. However KEK is a strange place. The ugly pictures of the dishes do the food no justice. They don’t look as appetizing as in “real” life. Time for the restaurant to update its menu! Or maybe these days with the convenience of social media, who still flips through menus? Check out our spread.

We arrived at the empty air-conditioned restaurant just before 12pm and my Dad was convinced the emptiness meant our food was in danger of being just so-so. We were so wrong. Within 15 minutes, all tables in the air-conditioned room were occupied. Every table ordered large portions of classic Tze Char dishes.

For our lunch, we played safe too. We selected the most popular dishes featured on food blogs and Instagram. We expected the dishes to be good but we ended up being blown away by seven out of eight dishes! In fact the 咸蛋(炸)螃蟹 SALTED EGG (FRIED) CRAB was the best salted egg yolk crab I ever had! Think thick, creamy and luscious salted egg yolk sauce imbued with notes of curry. The 1kg crab may have been pricey at $65 but the flesh was sturdy. Instantly we could taste the freshness in the flesh! Our other crab dish, the classic 辣椒螃蟹 CHILLI CRAB was outstanding too. Spicy with subtle sweetness, the addictive thick egg-y sauce caused us to drink it like it was soup! My favourite part of the two crab dishes was the abundance of crab roe.

It has only been less than five hours and I am already craving for KEK’s crabs.

Other stalwarts of KEK we had: 黄金三拼(明珠卷,虾棗,油条) MIXED PLATTER (MINGZHU, PRAWN ROLLS & YOU TIAO). In the center of the platter, the Mingzhu rolls were stuffed with mushrooms, prawns, egg yolk and ham encased in beancurd skin and deep-fried. This is a rarely-seen appetizer and we were instantly sold! The prawn roll balls were stuffed with minced prawns and cubes of vegetables. Highly addictive.

If you love your coffee, KEK’s 咖啡排骨 COFFEE PORK RIBS is unmissable! The aromatic smell of coffee will hit you the moment the plate arrives on your table. Not only did we fall madly in love with the smell, the freshness and tenderness of the pork were unbelievably impressive. In love.

For our vegetables, I could not resist insisting on the 鱿鱼应菜 KANGKONG W/ CUTTLEFISH. This boring-sounding dish was anything but! The crunchy KangKong stems were engulfed in a spicy-sweet sauce with heaps of crunchy cuttlefish. Marvellous.

My brother-in-laws likened the cuttlefish sauce to Thai Chilli Jam. Whatever it was, we liked it.

On the internet it seemed like you couldn’t visit KEK without ordering their 月光河粉 MOONLIGHT HORFUN and for good reason! A simple yet perfectly-executed dish rich with smokiness. The raw egg cooked by the heat of the flat noodles, that retained a bite, provided a sultry texture. My low-carb diet was swiftly thrown out the window with this one. Certainly my happiest problem for the weekend.

My parents liked this one: 砂煲姜葱猪肝 CLAYPOT PIG LIVER. I found it too liver-y or organ-y. But the braised brown sauce was arresting.

Here’s our ONLY disappointing dish of the afternoon: 脆皮烧鸡 ROASTED CHICKEN. When making reservations, I was advised to “reserve” this dish in advance. However this dry-to-the-bone chicken was just so-so. I doubt many of us went back for a second piece.

With seven out of eight dishes outstanding, KEK won our hearts. This is by far the best Tze Char restaurant I have ever visited! Classic Tze Char dishes prepared with utmost respect and care, the hype was warranted. For us, KEK exceeded all expectations.

Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck @ Asia Square Tower: Raffles Place’s Gemstone

It must have been awhile since I dined in a fine-dining Chinese restaurant because there seems to be a particular dining procedure that will not sit well with hungry diners. Dishes will ONLY be served when ALL guests are seated. Satiate yourself with the candied sesame walnuts in the meantime. If Peking Duck has been ordered, the shiny crispy skin with pancakes will be served and enjoyed first as an appetizer. Thereafter the mains. Please bear in mind the duck needs time to be prepared. So the procedure last night went like this: 7pm – enter and sit down at the restaurant. 7:10pm – put down order. 7:50pm – last dining companion arrives, waitress promptly asked if dishes can be served? 7:58pm – hears tummy growling, looks at watch, asks for dishes to be served. Informed that Peking Duck takes time to be prepared and the rest will be served after the pancakes. Asks for others to be served at the same time, receive bewildered and ridiculous-request look. 8+ – dishes start flowing in… 

Of course, if you are pressed for time and waited a full hour for your food, you could always chase them to serve everything together. Peking pancakes and all. There might have been slight suffering but when the food arrived, we swiftly surrended to its goodness.   

Tucked in a corner of Asia Square Tower’s food court, Food Garden, Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck’s offerings make it a gemstone in Raffles Place. Every dish was sublime: exquisite and supremely tasty. I am in awe. It was not my first Imperial Treasure Peking Duck experience but I do not remember the Paragon branch being as good as the dinner we had in Asia Square. If not for the wallet-busting $52 per pax bill last night, I reckon I will be a regular.

Here’s what we had last night. 

The star of the evening but not the best dish because every other was equally as good! Beijing Style/ Peking Duck Pancakes.

First up was the shiny crisp skin.


Then large pieces of the roasted fatty skin with some meat… Dunk it with the addictive thick sweet sauce provided and be prepared to swoon.


You will be asked how the roasted duck meat itself was to be prepared: we chose stir-fried black pepper with onions. You could request to be fried with carbohydrates too. Each chunk of duck meat was coated with a thick uber-peppery sauce. Perfect.


Double Roasted Meat Combination: Roast Pork Belly and Char Siew. Dunk the roast pork belly in the yellow mustard provided – heavenly. Both meat were equally juicy and every bite a joy. I was popping in those cubes of pork belly like popcorn.


This golden Salted Egg Yolk Squid rendered us speechless. Large pieces of snappy squid and not the least bit overcooked. Swathed in a thick salted egg yolk batter, such deep-fried goodness should be declared illegal!


Three individual portions of Steamed Egg White & Mixed Mushroom with Crab Meat were shared between the six of us. A surprisingly truffle taste hit us immediately beckoning the truffle-lover diners to squeal with joy.


I never knew Braised Beancurd with Mushroom & Oyster Sauce could be executed so well. Imperial Treasure definitely blew us away! Those were some silky smooth beancurd. 


For dessert: little dainty bowls of Sweetened Walnut Cream and Mango Sago with Pomelo. I am so embarrassed to admit that I have never had Chinese nut soup before. On first bite, the rich nuttiness tasted exactly like melted Skippy Peanut Butter. It was revelating and so so hard to stop at a scoop. Is it possible to fall in love with Peanut Butter again?! Yes because I sure did last night!


Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck at Asia Square is now ranked high on my list of “special places” in my heart. Unfortunately during this festive season, Dim Sum will not be served in the afternoons. Opportunity to savour their baked pork pastry shall have to be delayed until next month. Boo. 😦

Jing Hua Xiao Chi @ Palais Renaissance: The Classics Still SO Good!


Jing Hua Restaurant has been around for 26 years(!) and specializes in variations of Chinese Dumplings and an uncommonly-seen Chinese Pizza. A deep-fried Pastry in the shape of a pizza and stuffed with minced pork and chives – which were effectively fillings of the dumplings. It was also the first place when I tried and swiftly fell in love with Crispy Red Bean Pancake.

I have not been to Jing Hua in the longest time. On my last trip to the main-Neil Road branch years back, right after it went through a makeover, I found the dumplings a little lacklustre and uninspirational. Fast forward to the past Sunday afternoon, my family hit up the Palais Reinanssance branch and I am DELIGHTED to tell you all that their famed dumplings were BETTER THAN EVER.

That afternoon we ordered our collective weight’s worth of food as our love for Chinese dumplings were reinforced and strong! Not every dish on the menu was excellent but the stalwarts were stellar: Pan Fried Mixed Seafood & Pork Dumplings 三鲜锅贴 (addictive little nuggets. It was hard to stop at one or three!), Chinese Pizza 三鲜盒子 (solid pastry), and Mixed Seafood & Pork Dumplings 三鲜饺子 (healthier steamed dumplings but STUFFED with meat and so delectable). My one true love, Crispy Red Bean Pancake, went straight to my heart with the generous thick and sweet red bean paste contained by a doughy fried pancake.






They were in short, quite splendid.

New dishes (I never saw in the Neil Road branch pre-makover): long sticks of minced pork and green bean-stuff Fried Spring Rolls will see us return for more. Crispy Mixed Seafood & Pork Dumplings 三鲜饺子, fried version of the Mixed Seafood & Pork Dumplings 三鲜饺子 was equally as appetizing. Especially when the hot pork-broth bursts out when bit into. The little Rice Dumplings Balls filled with an assortment of Red Bean, Peanut and Sesame, made most of us happy campers.





There were some dishes we definitely won’t be ordering again: Noodle with Minced Pork & Soya Bean Sauce 炸酱面, Noodle with Sliced Pork & Sichuan Vegetable 搾菜肉丝面, and Green Vegetables. Them three were terribly under-seasoned and lacked “oomph”; we collectively agreed these dishes could be better. If I had to douse the noodles with the complimentary black vinegar, there is no point isn’t it? Still this ONLY meant the next time, we will skip them and have more room for the sublime stalwarts.



One of the best part of the Palais branch is the modern and fine decor. Located in Orchard Road but surprisingly quiet on a Sunday afternoon, I foresee being loads of visiting-friends to Jing Hua. It makes for the perfect respite from the hear outside and delicious grub, yeah can’t wait to plan my return trip!



And that Crispy Lotus Seed Pancake is next on my Jing Hua-bucket list! 🙂