Monday, February 23, 2015

Fabbrica at Bussorah Street

Its not often I feature pizza, but I recently went for a tasting at this interesting place in the Arab Street area, and I felt I needed to write about.

The restaurant is tucked in the middle of an area somewhat specializing in Middle Eastern cuisine...Lebanese, Arabian, Malay, et al. But this brilliant place, which serves a wonderful selection of craft beer is rather interesting. The chef is Matteo Boifava, with over 18 years in the kitchens of many restaurants in the world, including  Heston Blumenthal's 3 Michelin starred The Fat Duck.

We started on the table with a soup. The Tortellini in Bordo

The soup was a revelation. The tortellini was made with a mix of pork and beef, and was delectable. The skin of the tortellini was thin, light, and the meaty filling was very nice. The broth, which is made from house made chicken stock is magnificent. Very nice, shiok.

Next, the Primi Piatti of fregola with seafood, bottarga and zucchini. 

Fregola is not a common pasta in Singapore. It is a kind of cous cous, made from semolina dough rolled in small balls and toasted. Quite typical in Sardinia, I was told. The texture was nice and el dente, firm to the bite, with some springiness. The seafood broth was rather strong and nice. With prawns, squid, scallops. 

Next the pizzas...these were cooked in a wood fired oven, and made Sardinia style, with a thick, soft dough, which rose to be rather fluffy and crisp on the outside. 

The house pizza: Pizza Fabbrica is a vegetarian option which features pumpkin cream, fior de latte, broccoli, and sun dried tomatoes

The taste was very good. The pizza dough was nice, fluffy but with a consistency which is rather springy. The pumpkin cream was magnificent. And provided with excellent counterpoint by the tart sweetness of the sun dried tomatoes and smooth, cream. Very good. Two thumbs up for this pizza.

But the other two pizzas we tasted was not to be shamed. The Pancetta fungi caprino e scalogno was next

Same dough, so same excellence. The toppings were the fior de latte, and a rather magnificent pancetta. Savoury, and beautiful flavours which blend well with the mushroom, scallions and oh, so wonderful goat cheese. Another winning dish.

And finally black truffles on a pizza...somebody's gotta do it

And am I glad I found it here. The delicate and yet unmistakable flavour of black truffle wafted through the restaurant as this was being served. Again, same pizza base, magnificent as with the others, with fior de latte, porcinni mushrooms, scamorza cheese and freshly shaved truffle. Very good.

For desserts, a special dish. Instead of a traditional tiramisu, Fabbrica presented us with the Birramisu...

Made from Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout instead of coffee, the dessert was interesting. The stout was brewed using espresso beans so the flavours carried through as rather robust notes I must add. And the entire concoction was masterfully made, such that it was sweet but not too sweet, and very pleasant. 

Rather interesting...first time I have come across stout brewed from coffee beans.

Overall, a wonderful place to dine in. With great food, and a variety of craft beers to accompany. Recommended.

Pizza Fabbrica
69/70 Bussorah Street
S 199482
tel: 62910434

Monday, February 2, 2015

Onya Sayang: Peranakan food in Paya Lebar

I have written about Dulu Kala, a Peranakan restaurant started by the grandmother and parents of Zan Ho. And since then, Zan has become a chef of his own reckoning, and opened updated versions of Dulu Kala, which he calls O'nya Sayang.

I was invited for a tasting at their newest outlet in Paya Lebar Square.

We started off with the interesting dish, totally tradition based, but updated. The Ayam Buah Keluak Fried Rice

Interesting take. Stir fried rice, seen in the background with keluak filling, onions and chillis. Very fragrant fried rice.And a bowl of chicken with buah keluak. The rempah (spices) are made from scratch, and like most peranakan recipes are from secrets only known to family. 

Next up, we had a kind of seafood with rice, topped with a fried egg

I found the gravy, made from house made spices to be very nice, the dish was let down by slightly less than fresh fish and prawns which, though were sweet and rather tasty, was a bit mushy within the shell. 

Another innovative dish is their lorbak noodles

In our family, we would have called the braised pork Tauyu Bak, though Lor Bak is still a descriptive name. The pork belly is braised in a black sauce with house spices till tender. A boiled egg is added to the braise and absorbs the braising liquid, and the dish is poured over the noodles. Interesting, and perhaps totally untraditional. But I found it to be very savoury and nice. Good touch!

Bakwan Kepeting (pork balls in a soup with bamboo shoots) is a typical Peranakan dish

In this instance, the interpretation is truly traditional, and wonderfully so. The bakwan was superb. The texture - bouncy, springy, crunchy to the bite but still tender and juicy. The soup was nourishing, and very nice.

I have mixed feelings with Babi Pongteh, another classical Peranakan Dish

The pork was very tender, the spices quite interesting, but this was not my idea of a babi pongteh. Perhaps my family recipe is not similar...but the main elements - pork belly, potato, a thick mildly spicy braise. This version is still rather delicious, no doubt. And quite satisfying.

Their otak dish I truly loved. Served with a small portion of sambal kangkong, it was quite nice. Again, not in the traditional style I am accustomed to, as in our family, otak is steamed in banana leaf. This was, to me, perhaps a more Melakan styled dish. The otak was grilled. But I must say, it ramains very nice on the palate. Good chunks of fish with nice springy filler. Tasty.

But the desserts blew me away. One of my favourites, sago gula melaka:

Truly superb. Worth the trip just to eat this. The sago was cooked just right, with the a touch of very creamy coconut milk and a generous portion of gula melaka. A scoop of coconut ice cream crowned this magnificent dessert. The coconut ice cream was exactly as the name suggests. It tasted of a creamy iced santan. The gula melaka was special. Very fragrant, coying sweet, and luxurious mouthfeel. Fantastic! I enquired, and Zan told me that the gula melaka was sourced from Surabaya, where the quality is even higher than in Melaka. 

The same coconut ice cream, which is sourced from a manufacturer in Thailand, is used in the chendol, which is also a winner in my view

This reminded me of the version by Mei Heong Yuan, where shaved ice, made from coconut milk is dished out on top of chendol, attap steeds, red kidney beand, piled high. There, the gula melaka is served on the side, where one can drizzle to one's heart's content. Here the base of this dish is the same coconut ice cream as in the sago gula melaka, and the same superb gula melaka. With the traditional chendol ingredients. Quite superb.

I found the dishes in O'nya Sayang to be very homey feeling, with a somewhat traditional taste. One which does not totally agree with my family's Peranakan family's recipes. But the nature of Peranakan cuisine is such. Each family has its own secret recipes, and often times, these are not even shared with other members of the family, only to be handed down from mother to daughter and sometimes son.  

The packaging at O'nya Sayang into individual meals is very innovative. The traditional Peranakan meal is taken on a Tok Panjang (long table), where the dishes are shared by all. Very traditional families eat in shifts...the men in first shift, then the children, then the ladies and finally the servants. But the offering of individually sized, balanced meal portions is very nice. 

And as mentioned, the desserts, a twist to Peranakan tradition, are divine. Highly recommended.

O'nya Sayang @ Paya lebar square
60 Paya Lebar Rd, Paya Lebar Square, #B1-30/31,
Singapore, S409051
Tel: 67838140
Fax: 66848168