I have no clue as to how I missed @shakeshacksg Black Truffle Burger last year, but I sure wasn’t gonna miss it this year. I was prepared for truffle, and I made it double for $17.50. A standard Shackburger has its components of lettuce, tomato and proprietary Shacksauce substituted off for black truffle mayonnaise, crispy shallots & arugula.⠀

Is it just me, or have Shake Shack’s traditionally thin smashed beef patties gotten tastefully thicker since my last visit? Each patty in my double burger was phat, and my burger was stacked. Thickness aside, the beef lived up to the standards expected of the Shack. A gorgeously caramelised crust overlaid with melted Swiss cheese forms the exterior of the patties, while the innards were delectably juicy despite being grilled to well done.⠀

There were many complaints about the dire lack of black truffle mayo last year, but I’m pleased to announce that the mayo is more than sufficient this year. The mayonnaise is utterly imbued with the flavour & scent of black truffles, and it blesses the breathtaking burger with its earthy, heady aroma. The crispy deep fried shallots were a great addition for the crunch, but their greasiness was the straw that broke the camel’s back, making the burger too rich to handle.⠀

Or it would’ve been without the inspired inclusion of arugula into the mix. The natural bitterness & pepperiness of the arugula sweeps all that creamy, fatty richness from the beef, cheese, greasy buttered bun, fried shallots & truffle off your tastebuds and readies them for round two.⠀

Yes, The Shack’s Black Truffle Burger is indulgence redefined and will give nutritionists an aneurysm, but it’s Christmas, and it’s Wideboi Winter. Go treat yourself to this brilliant black truffle burger multiple times before it vanishes at the stroke of midnight on 31 December.

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And the cherry on the cake of a good feast at @blackcherrysg is, you guessed it, a Black Cherry Cheesecake ($9++ a slice). A sumptuous slice of creamy cheesecake is sauced up with a tart cherry coulis and topped with a cherry. Gotta live up to the branding, buddy.⠀

The creaminess is well restrained, possessing enough richness to satisfy your cravings while being far from cloying. This rendition is a little sweeter than most, but that’s where the cherry coulis comes into play. Its fruity sourness rebalances the creamy & sweet qualities of the cheese layer, and injects some levity into the otherwise hedonistic dessert.⠀

Combined with the crunchy cake base of crushed graham crackers, this cheesecake is an excellent representation of this indulgent dessert. Enjoy it with a freshly brewed coffee (yes, Black Cherry has a full on espresso bar), or better yet, pair it with a glass of free flow Prosecco at the end of a weekend brunch at Black Cherry. Yessir, Black Cherry offers a two-hour long free flow boozy brunch every weekend! Pick your poison of IPA, house wines, or Prosecco. That ain’t just a good morning, that’s a good goddamn day.⠀

Thank you so much for inviting us, @blackcherrysg & @sghappens!

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@blackcherrysg doesn’t just whip up piquant pizzas, redolent risottos and tantalising tapas, they’ve got options to satisfy the carnivorous caveman in you. Enter the Steak Florentine, or Bistecca alla Fiorentina as it is called in its native Italian, and is one of Tuscany’s most prominent culinary specialties. For $118++ at Black Cherry, you get a full kilo (before grilling) of prime T-bone steak done to your liking. Complemented by baked potato wedges, onion marmalade, pickled red cabbage, and carrot purée on the side, it’s a gargantuan meal.

While this is definitely a T-bone steak, I reckon it could qualify as a porterhouse steak due to the girth of the filet (the right side of the steak). What I can certify is that this is a stellar steak. We ordered it medium due to fears that it would be raw closer to the bone, but those fears were unfounded as the Florentine was mostly evenly cooked. We found out later that the steak is sous vide before getting a scorching sear, which explains the edge to edge consistency. The beef is tender & well marbled with fat, yes, even the filet. Most crucially of all, it’s simply but sensationally seasoned.⠀

The sides were decent enough, but should’ve been larger in serving considering that this steak could feed a party of four. The onion marmalade thrilled with its sweet & slightly sour flavours, the carrot purée pleased with its smoothness & sweetness, and the pickled cabbage was the ideal palate cleanser to curb the lavishness of the steak. However, the potato wedges were a bit of a dealbreaker, as they were dry, limp and bland. The wedges could & should be tossed in light olive oil, salt and herbs before baking one more time for a crispy crust, but oh well.⠀

Still, for mammoth meats to feed you & your fellow savages, Black Cherry’s Steak Florentine is a sterling selection. Thank you for your generosity, @blackcherrysg!

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I like rice. White rice, basmati rice, japonica rice, bomba rice, and arborio rice, I like all of them. However, one of the rices I absolutely love is @blackcherrysg exquisite Clam & Crab Risotto ($23++). The arborio rice is simmered in clam broth, white wine and butter, and topped with shredded crab meat & littleneck clams prior to serving.⠀

The arborio rice hoovers up the clam broth & white wine that it’s been cooked in, and each luscious grain of rice is bursting with umami from the sapid clam broth, and sweetness from the white wine. The butter adds extra body & richness to the savoury broth in the bowl, and gives each grain of redolent rice a lustrous sheen. Black Cherry’s surprise tool that helps to distinguish their risotto from the competition is the addition of mirepoix to the risotto while simmering.⠀

The addition of carrots and celery to the risotto sweeten it a little more, and adds a mild vegetal tone to the ravishing risotto, making all of the flavours in the dish crisper (for lack of a better word). The fresh, sweet crabs & clams are just the incredible icing on an already stellar cake, or risotto in this case. I don’t think I’ve ever had a risotto this sublime for just twenty three bucks, and I might just be motivated enough to make an expedition to Pasir Panjang just for a second serving of Black Cherry’s risotto.⠀

Thanks for hosting us, @blackcherrysg!

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Of course, to cement their Italian cred, Black Cherry also offers pizza. Their chorizo pizza ($26++) is perfect for sharing between two, or you could just solo it if you’re starving. The pizza crust is thin enough to be soloed comfortably, but it still retains a little soft doughiness to it. The decently delicious marinara sauce that’s made in-house is a fitting base for the toppings, which comprise of sliced up chorizo and an charitable amount of mozzarella cheese.⠀

The tangy tomato sauce accentuates the fatty, meaty & salty chorizo, while the mozzarella blanket holds everything together and gives you #instaworthy cheese pulls. Lads & lasses, it’s a big sausage pizza. There’s absolutely no way it’s gonna be bad.

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Did you hear about @blackcherrysg, a modern European restaurant serving up both Italian & Spanish cuisine, at Pasir Panjang? Well, now you have. They’re an all-day bistro that offers brunch classics & coffee in the am, and Italian/Spanish staples & booze in the pm.⠀

Starting our dinner was the new addition to the menu, the Spanish Prawn Gambas ($18++). Featuring fantastically fresh prawns seared in garlic chili infused olive oil, these shellfish were a hit. The salty & gloriously garlicky oil lent its savoury goodness to the snappy, subtly sweet prawns, and the chilies added that tantalising tinge of spice to the prawns. Put the oil coated prawns on the garlic bread provided, and you get a terrific tapas.⠀

Thank you so much for the invite, @sghappens & @esth3r_esth3r, and to @blackcherrysg for hosting us!⠀

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Finally, for the first time ever, Hougang Central finally gets an exciting dining option in the form of the new foodcourt. Now there’s King of Fried Rice, famous ban mee, draught beer on tap, Donburi, Teppanyaki, beer on tap, briyani, beer, Collin’s, draught beer-sorry, where was I? Ah yes, @chefweihkcheongfun has also set up their newest outpost at Foodies’ Garden.⠀

The location couldn’t be more perfect: there are no fresh chee cheong fun (rice roll) merchants anywhere nearby, and I’ve been hankering for some good chee cheong fun (CCF) for a while now. Chef Wei has a reputation as an elite CCF merchant, and their rolls really do impress. The char siew chee cheong fun ($5.60 nett) was the best of the best, with an ideal meat to fat ratio on the sweet & salty BBQ pork cocooned in thin silken sheets of rice dough. It was doused sufficiently in a supremely sapid soy sauce mix, infusing every roll with unbelievable amounts of umami.⠀

Now, while the scallop ($6.80, first pic bottom) was the least impressive of the trio, it’s still plenty palatable with the same tremendous rice rolls & savour sauce, plus there’s fat & fresh scallops encased in the rolls. And finally, the prawn CCF ($5.60, 2nd pic) was more of the same, except with uber fresh, portly prawns. Definitely one for the prawn addicts.⠀

With excellent hawkers like Chef Wei and beer from the tap in Hougang Mall’s new foodcourt, I’ve just found my new hawker haunt.

Out of all the sandos at @thestacksg, the Pollo Avo Club was my favourite, just barely edging out the sublime K-Sando. As the name suggests, this sando is stacked with slices of smoked chicken & avocado, sumac onions and dressed adequately with a spicy aioli.⠀

The tender chicken was lubed up well by the avocado, and each soft bite was well flavoured by the spicy, salty & satisfyingly creamy aioli. While the aioli is spicy enough to zing your palate, it’s restrained enough to avoid making you sweat. The sumac onions added that charming crunchy contrast to the soft textures of the avo, bread & chicken, but it did overpower the flavours of the chicken with its sourness by a fair bit. If the sourness were toned down a little, the Pollo Avo would be gucci. Still, even with overly sour onions, this was an incredibly delicious sando.

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The other egg sandwich was considerably more…eggcellent. The K-Sando ($10+) is a vegan sando that contains eggs…eggplants, that is. The miso glazed eggplant is garnished with kimchi & kale, dressed lavishly in a gochujang aioli, and sandwiched between the same chewy buns as before.

Despite lacking meat, the K-Sando felt surprisingly complete. The supremely savoury miso glazed eggplants are perfect, while the slightly spicy kimchi chipped in with an addictive sourness that gets the saliva going. The kimchi & kale combined to give a soul satisfying crunch to the otherwise soft sando, forming a complete balance of tastes & textures.

If all eggplants were this good, it might just egg me into reevaluating my hatred for the purple thing.

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Tonight, I tell a tale of two egg sandos from @thestacksg. First is the Spam And Egg And Egg ($12 before additional GST), in which they really spammed the egg. A tremendously T H I C C slab of chicken luncheon meat is sauced up by egg salad, and is further, shall we say…EGGED on with the inclusion of a half boiled egg that retains a free-flowing yolk. Think Japanese 7-11 egg sandos, and you get the rough idea.⠀

The buns were chewy, reminiscent of bagels, and I had to check that they weren’t actually bagels. The moderately saucy egg salad is notably tangy, which aids in restraining the richness of the mayo & the runny yolk from the boiled egg. However, the chicken spam fell flat, as it wasn’t charred enough to develop that coveted crust, and it wasn’t salty enough to unite all the elements. Also, the entire sando was just soft all throughout, resulting in a decent but one dimensional sandwich of monotonous flavours & textures.

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As for the dessert waffle, the Yaks ($12 before GST) is a liberal interpretation of the signature Singaporean staple breakfast of kaya toast & coffee, and the name is a play on a famous local kaya toast chain. While its components of buttermilk waffles, kaya soft serve ice cream, shoyu caramel, coconut granola & coffee cream cheese were great individually, they had little chemistry together. ⠀

The shoyu caramel absolutely blew everything else out of the water, overpowering everything else with its intense salty-sweet flavour. The coffee cream cheese completely failed to make its presence felt, and the coconut granola was entirely invisible. The kaya soft serve was strongly flavoured with pandan and was charmingly creamy, but it eventually got eclipsed by the dominant shoyu caramel.⠀

While the Yaks fell short, it’s nothing that can’t be fixed easily.

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@thestacksg is a halal café focused on two brunch staples: sandos & waffles. The sole savoury waffle option is the Morning Glory ($16 before additional GST), which lives up to the name of the café. It’s amply stacked with slices of smoked salmon, avocado, tomato and a half boiled egg. It’s a hefty brekkie, but it’s plenty healthy.⠀

The waffle is chewy and delightfully dense, possessing a mild savouriness. It’s an excellent vehicle for the fresh avo & tomatoes, and pairs surprisingly well with the sublime smoked salmon. It also does quite an adept job of soaking up the runny yolk from that perfectly poached egg thanks to its spongy quality.

However, the thing that carried the entire Morning Glory to, well, glory was the stunningly stellar sriracha aioli. Spicy, sour, salty and rich, the demand for this creamy, awesome aioli far outstrips the supply. One of the best aiolis I’ve ever sampled for sure. I’d gladly rise & grind for this glorious stack.

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