Hype or Hit: New foods that got us talking in March

Are MasterChef Singapore runner-up Gen Lee’s desserts, KFC’s mala chicken, and Strangers’ Reunion’s new offerings worth the hype? We tried them to find out. 

New foods that got us talking in March
New foods that got us talking in March
18 Mar 2019

New foods that got us talking in March

The lineup this month gave us plenty to drool over, from Strangers’ Reunion’s new all-day brunch menu and KFC’s fiery mala chicken, to The Marmalade Pantry’s delectable Asian-centric dishes and innovative desserts from MasterChef Singapore runner-up Gen Lee. And if you are a fan of fresh pasta, we’ve got just the place for you.

Strangers’ Reunion
Strangers’ Reunion
18 Mar 2019

Strangers’ Reunion

Address: 33/35 Kampong Bahru Road, Singapore 169355

Best-known for serving some of the best coffee and all-day brunches in town, Strangers’ Reunion has unveiled a new menu that goes beyond your usual brunch fare. Taking centrestage are modern, refined dishes prepared with ingredients that would otherwise be discarded like cutoffs such as salmon skin and coffee grounds. Upcycling ingredients not only reduces waste, but also helps to keep costs down.

Strangers Coffee Smoked Salmon on Toast ($18.90)

What sets this brunch menu staple apart from the rest is the house-cured salmon that is smoked in-house with spent coffee grounds (so nothing is wasted) to give the star an aromatic flavour. Like coffee? The crème fraiche is also infused with espresso.

Hype or hit? We like that the smoked salmon is not too salty and the coffee aroma subtle. When paired with the silky egg yolk and creamy espresso-infused crème fraiche, the dish is on a whole ‘nother level.

Photo: Strangers' Reunion

Strangers’ Reunion
Strangers’ Reunion
18 Mar 2019

Strangers’ Reunion

Salmon Skin Chips ($11.90)

Remember the salmon skin we mentioned earlier? Instead of letting it go to waste, the chefs deep-fried it to create this moreish appetiser, which is studded with sesame aioli, avocado coulis and coffee-smoked salmon purée.

Hype or hit? Unlike regular fish skin chips, these chips are light, thin and a little fatty. A little plain on their own, but when dipped in the smoky and salty salmon purée, which is made with salmon trimmings, they are the bomb diggity.

Buttermilk Waffles with Hazelnut Praline & Almond Crumble ($14.50)

No visit to Strangers' Reunion is complete without having its buttermilk waffles. House-made hazelnut praline is added to the signature batter, and the crisp and fluffy waffle is crowned with hazelnut sauce and vanilla ice cream. The almond crumble and chocolate shavings are the icing on the cake.

Hype or hit? Hit! Decadent and comforting, this is like their signature waffles, but better.

Verdict: If you’re tired of the same ‘ol Eggs Benedict-based breakfast plates, Strangers’ Reunion is the perfect place to grab an affordable, non-basic brunch with your pals. And kudos to them for taking the first step in sustainability.

Photo: Strangers' Reunion

Alt. Pizza’s Rocketman and Wicked Veg pizzas
Alt. Pizza’s Rocketman and Wicked Veg pizzas
18 Mar 2019

Alt. Pizza’s Rocketman and Wicked Veg pizzas

Address: Various outlets including 267 Holland Village, Singapore 278989

To mark the opening of its latest outlet in Holland Village as well as the launch of its revamped look, homegrown pizza chain Alt. Pizza has introduced two limited edition pizzas to the menu: Rocketman and Wicked Veg ($18 each). Like all its pizzas, the Rocketman and Wicked Veg are made with sourdough starter mixed with 100 per cent French flours, in-house sauces and fire-baked in a stone heath oven, to give it a chewy and slightly charred crust. Available till March 31.

Hype or hit? Being huge meat lovers, we were naturally more drawn to the Rocketman which features ripened tomato sauce, Calabrese-style salami and roasted red peppers, and fresh rocket. And while it’s good, the Wicked Veg, a vegetarian option of roasted sweet pumpkin, cherry tomatoes and spinach, was the quiet hit. The acidity of the tomato cuts the sweetness of the pumpkin, giving it a balanced flavour and - like its name suggests - is wicked.

KFC’s Mala Chicken (from $8.95 for a 2-piece meal)
KFC’s Mala Chicken (from $8.95 for a 2-piece meal)
18 Mar 2019

KFC’s Mala Chicken (from $8.95 for a 2-piece meal)

Looks like Singaporeans’ love for mala has spread to fast food. The latest mala snack to fire up our senses is KFC’s Mala Chicken. Made with Szechuan pepper, chilli as well as an assortment of spices, KFC’s own version of the Sichuan-style mala sauce is drizzled over the Colonel’s signature juicy fried chicken. The result: fiery fried chicken perfection. Spice fiends will not be disappointed.

Hype or hit? KFC’s juicy fried chicken never disappoints and this potent mala sauce, which boasts the perfect balance of spice and buzzy numbness, takes it to another level. The heat lingered even after we were done with the chicken and was so dangerously addictive that we hoovered everything down – crispy skin, fats and all - in minutes. KFC should consider bottling up that sauce and selling it. We’d eat it with burgers, fries and all things deep-fried. HIT! (Apparently Shane Pow and Ian Fang think so too.)

McDonald’s Crispy Chicken (from $6.20 for 2 pieces)
McDonald’s Crispy Chicken (from $6.20 for 2 pieces)
18 Mar 2019

McDonald’s Crispy Chicken (from $6.20 for 2 pieces)

Giving KFC a run for their money in the fried chicken department is McDonald’s Crispy Chicken. Tender, mildly spicy and packed with flavour, the juicy chicken thigh cutlets hit all the spots. It’s like eating McSpicy without the buns.

Hype or hit? It's pretty good though we find it a bit pricey. But it is a good option when you are on the keto diet, or are simply too lazy to dirty your hands.

Photo: McDonald's Singapore

Pasta Supremo
Pasta Supremo
18 Mar 2019

Pasta Supremo

Address: Suntec City Mall, 3 Temasek Boulevard, 01-365/344/373/374, Singapore 038983

Shawn Kishore, the mastermind behind popular Taiwanese zi char restaurant The Salted Plum, has introduced his latest venture: Pasta Supremo. Conceptualised with the intention of making “atas food accessible”, you can build your own pasta bowl from as little as $8, or choose from their selection of four ‘haus’ pasta. All pasta are made fresh and naturally coloured with ingredients such as egg yolk, blue pea flower, beetroot and activated charcoal. These are the two ‘haus’ pasta that received the most hype:

Prawn Olio Olio ($20)

This mala-inspired pasta was the clear winner at our table. Blue pea flower-coloured curly pasta is tossed with fragrant Sichuan garlic oil made with green peppercorns and rendered duck fat, and finished off with succulent garlic tiger prawns, lap cheong crumble and crunchy tobiko.

Hype or hit? Done perfectly al dente, the pasta has a nice, clean taste with a touch of tongue-tingling spiciness. Together with the juicy prawns and crumble, which is made of three different types of locally-sourced lup cheong, it makes an incredibly satisfying main.

Pasta Supremo
Pasta Supremo
18 Mar 2019

Pasta Supremo

Supremo Porky Marinara ($15)

For this, erm, baller take on the classic spaghetti and meatballs activated charcoal-infused pasta is tossed in rich marinara sauce, home-made bacon (a cross between char siew and siew yok), and topped with a tennis ball-sized meatball made with a mix of beef and pork.

Hype or hit? Not the most Instagrammable dish, but the Supremo Porky Marinara is packed with flavour and a must-try for pork lovers. Seasoned with five-spice powder and studded with water chestnut, the springy meatball reminds us of ngor hiang, but the bacon was a tad hard and on the salty side.

Spiced Supremo Chicken Skin ($6)

Like Taiwanese chicken cutlet? This is the crackling version. Chicken skin is boiled then dehydrated before being fried and coated with a thick layer of house seasoning made with Sichuan peppercorn and cumin.

Hype or hit? Deep-fried to a golden crisp, the spicy skins are an explosion of flavour and highly addictive. They were gone in 60 seconds.

Verdict: If you are looking for affordable, fresh pastas with an Asian twist, Pasta Supremo is definitely worth a visit. 

The Marmalade Pantry
The Marmalade Pantry
18 Mar 2019

The Marmalade Pantry

Address: ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn, #04-11a, #04-27 to #04-32, Singapore 238801

The Marmalade Pantry is back at ION Orchard and in celebration of the opening of its flagship outlet, the home-grown bistro has collaborated with MasterChef Singapore runner-up Genevieve Lee on three specially curated desserts. Conceptualised by Gen, the desserts will be sold exclusively at the ION outlet till October. Apart from the sweet treats, diners can also look forward to new menu items like Asian-centric mains that, in our opinion, stole the show at the tasting. Here’s what stood out for us:

Kimchi Fried Rice ($26)

This Korean-inspired take on the donburi is made with Japanese rice and comes topped with sous vide strip loin steak and onsen egg.

Hype or hit? We never thought we’d find ourselves ordering kimchi fried rice at The Marmalade Pantry but this tastes pretty legit. Cooked to pink perfection, the steak melts in your mouth and the rice, though not as spicy as we’d like, is best eaten with the kimchi and runny egg mixed in.

Photo: The Marmalade Pantry

The Marmalade Pantry
The Marmalade Pantry
18 Mar 2019

The Marmalade Pantry

Spicy Sriracha Chicken Burger ($24)

Marinated in garlic and chilli powder, the thick, juicy spice fried chicken patty is topped with blue cheese and home-made Sriracha mayo to amp up the heat. Served with mesclun salad and a side of parmesan fries.

Hype or hit? The burger sure lives up to its name. Sharp and spicy, it packs a punch and makes for a great prelude to the desserts.

Reimagined Kaya Toast ($14)

This is perhaps the most on rustic and imaginative take on Singapore’s kaya toast breakfast yet. Drizzled with salted coconut cream, pistachio sponge is layered with gula melaka ice cream and “caged” up using meringue shards, which Gen tells us, are made with “chao tar” brown toast.

Hype or hit? Impeccably styled, not only is the deconstructed kaya toast Insta-worthy, but the flavours are also on point - it is reminiscent of eating kaya toast.

Photo: The Marmalade Pantry

The Marmalade Pantry
The Marmalade Pantry
18 Mar 2019

The Marmalade Pantry

Sunset in a Glass ($14)

If you have always wanted to try Gen’s edible work of art that almost won her the dessert challenge on MasterChef Singapore, here’s your chance - albeit a more toned down and refined version. Inspired by Thai mango sticky rice, Gen’s version of the dessert features fresh mango, sweet-salty coconut cream, kaffir lime meringue and mango sorbet for the “sunset”.

Hype or hit? While we found the sticky rice a little too sweet on its own, the tangy and refreshing sorbet balanced out the flavours. Definitely our favourite dessert meal.

The Blue Rhapsody ($10 per slice, $70 for a whole cake)

This pretty confection is composed of layers of blueberry gel, lavender hazelnut crumble, and sponge cake, topped with cream cheese frosting, and blackcurrant meringues.

Hype or hit? Perhaps we were too stuffed from the tasting, but this was a little too rich for our taste.

Verdict: Most of the dishes tick all the boxes taste-wise but it is the Asian-centric dishes what will keep us coming back.

Photo: The Marmalade Pantry

Report a problem