Feature: Pamper Your Mom at Limoncello This Mother’s Day

With Mother’s Day only a month away, it’s the perfect time to start planning for the mothers we so loved. “A memorable dining experience is not just about good food, but also about a pleasant dining environment.” And Italian Restaurant, Limoncello offers just that. With an al fresco dining area with a serene view of the Singapore River, Limoncello’s very own stone pizza oven (it can’t get more authentic than this), and a cascading waterfall within the restaurant’s premise, it’s hard not to simply relish and soak into the restaurant’s homely atmosphere.

Now that we are done with the formalities, time to score the dishes.

Portobello Al Tartufo
Oven baked Portobello mushroom with sautéed spinach and truffle sauce

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First up, the Portobello Al Tartufo for antipasti (starters in Italian). The over-baked mushroom was cooked to a tender perfection with fresh sautéed spinach and drizzled generously with truffle sauce. I mean, wow. I’m no fan of truffle sauce, but this sealed the deal for me. The truffle sauce with spinach was very rich and compliments the portobello mushroom perfectly. The mushroom was soft and slightly chewy, making it easy for people with braces – me. It’s dangerous to set the mark so high right from the first dish, but I knew that I’m in for a treat for the rest of the night.

Sauté Vongole 
Clams sautéed with white wine sauce

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Second antipasti, Sauté Vongole. I’m no big fan of clams either but cooking the clams with butter and a dose of white wine certainly did the trick for me. The taste of sea is retained in the clams; not too overpowering like those you find at the normal restaurants, but not too faint that either. I like that garlic was added to give the dish some punch. Vietnamese clams are fresh, sweet and juicy. No complaints from me.

Customers choose between two mains; Fettuccine Con Frattaglie Di Wagyu and Branzio Al Sale.

Fettuccine Con Frattaglie Di Wagyu
Fettuccine with mushrooms and sliced wagyu beef in natural juice

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First main, the Fettuccine Con Frattaglie Di Wagyu. Unlike the antipasti that fires up the taste buds, the fettuccine (organic – health enthusiasts take note!) is just right. Slices of wagyu beef lends their savoury taste to the natural juices used to flavour the dish. The fettuccine is done al-dente – chewy to the bite. Might not be the thing for people looking for flavourful burst of taste palates, but perfect for the moms who are watching the waist lines, and love a clean yet a hearty main course with tender wagyu beef.

Branzio Al Sale
Salt-baked Catch of the Day

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Second main, Branzio Al Sale, Salt-baked Catch of the Day. We had Sea Bass for the Catch of the Day. The fish is baked with rock salt from the ocean bed, as I was told. Unlike the processed salt that you have, rock salt lends a gentle flavour without overpowering the taste of the fish; thus bringing out the sweetness in the fish. The fish is baked for 30 minutes; thus sealing the fresh flavour of the seas within the fish – you can literally taste it’s freshness. All I can say is go with the fish!

Customers choose between two desserts; Limoncello Cake and Tiramisu.

Limoncello Cake
Cake with liqueur, almonds and white chocolate

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As the name goes, the Limoncello Cake is one of Limoncello’s signature dessert. And it’s not too hard to guess why. The cake is warm and buttery, making it a welcoming after-meal treat. Infused with Limoncello liqueur, the cake is not too sweet. The texture is soft while the lemon and orange rinds and crushed almonds lend a nice texture to the cake.

Tiramisu
Ladyfingers dipped in espresso and amaretto with Mascarpone Cheese

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And of course, who doesn’t like a good Tiramisu? The cream used for the tiramisu is subtly sweet and very smooth, adding to the richness of the amaretto and espresso.

Verdict: I think Limoncello is definitely value-for-money for those who crave authentic and good Italian food. It’s hard to find an Italian eatery that fits within the (middle class) budget, which gives Limoncello many plus points. The downside however is that it may be difficult to find the restaurant on your first attempt. Prepare your Google map. Other than that, this Italian restaurant is a (hidden) gem.

Menu Selection A ($148++ for two)

  • Limoncello Spritz (complimentary welcome drink)
  • Portobello Al Tartufo & Sauté Vongole
  • Fettucine Con Frattaglie di Wagyu paired with Riparosso Montepulciano D’Abruzzo
  • Limoncello Cake or Tiramisu

Menu Selection B ($168++ for two)

  • Limoncello Spritz (complimentary welcome drink)
  • Portobello Al Tartufo & Sauté Vongole
  • Branzino Al Sale paired with Calanchi di Vaiano Chardonnay
  • Limoncello Cake or Tiramisu

Limoncello Pizza & Grill is located at 95 Robertson Quay, #01-19/20, S 235256. Reservations can be made at +65 6634 5117 or limoncellosg@gmail.com.

Top Five Movie Scores

What makes a good movie click? Good(looking) actors, good plot, appropriate story buildup, awesome movie backdrop to make a few. But what makes a good movie an apt movie are the scores and soundtracks. It’s the icing on the cake. A good score not only enhances the movie, it helps evoke and bring out the emotions the actors and producers behind the movie want to give to the movie viewers. Even a lousy movie can turn into an average one with good scores. And then, there’s the haunting scores that embeds itself into your head, playing its tune over and over again. Those are the apt scores that turn an average movie into a good movie, a good movie into a great movie, a great movie into an apt movie.

Here are my top five favorite movie scores. It’s a little difficult to decide who make the cut (there’s so many great composers out there!) but here’s to the five (in no particular order) who strike that chord in my heart.

1. Soul Outside by Antonio Pinto – The Host (2013)

The Host was just slightly above average as a movie actually, but I like that the score made the the scene whereby the ‘souls’ were extracted/imparted really enigmatic, mysterious yet wonderful to watch. The music is the saving grace for the film. This is one of my top replays at the moment. Can’t get it out of my head!

 

2. Latika’s Theme by A. R. Rahman – Slumdog Millionaire Soundtrack (2009)

This beautiful score brings the eight Academy Awards, seven BAFTA awards, five Critic’s Choice Award and five Golden Globe Awards movie to a close, of how a boy who went from rag to riches and gets his girl at the end of the day despite all the odds stacked against him. I like this.

 

3. Main Theme by Michael Kamen – Band of Brothers (2001)

This was one of the few scores that was ingrained to my head back at my schooling days. Those were the days when I still dreamt of being a cop, or being a fighter pilot and defending national soil. I think this song has a part to play in this. War is never fun and games, and the reality of the people who were sacrificed for the countries interest is very real. Yet who would remember their names when the credits roll in? It takes remarkable courage to be a soldier. One of my favorite scenes from the TV series has to be during the Christmas episode when soldiers from both sides laid down their rifles and celebrate as one collective band of brothers. I love this.

 

4. Evacuating London by Harry Gregson-Williams – The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)

When one thinks of Fantasy and Adventure, one would think Narnia. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe is possibly one of the most magical movies ever brought to life from a book. Oh when the time Lucy stepped into Narnian snow by the lamppost for the first time, oh when the Pevensies stood to take in the beauty of Narnia, oh when Peter valiantly charged alongside the line of centaurs and Aslan’s animals towards the Witch’s overwhelming army, oh when Aslan turns the tide and saves the day, this movie brings me to tears! But even before that, there was ‘Evacuating London’. That was at the beginning of the movie when the Pevensies were threatened by the London bombings during World War One. Just from listening to this score, I know I am in for a good time, and a magical one on that note.

 

5. Cloud Atlas End Title by Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek and Reinhold Heil – Cloud Atlas (2012)

And there is Cloud Atlas. This is by far the BEST movie I’ve watched in my opinion. This movie is by far in a league of its own. Spanning across six different timelines, the movie itself is “an exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution.” – IMDb.com One of my favorite quote from the movie Cloud Atlas: A:“There is a natural order to this world, and those who try to upend it do not fare well.. Only as you gasp your dying breath shall you understand, your life amounted to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean!” B:“Yet what is any ocean but a multitude of drops?” And there’s the Cloud Atlas Sextet to match this ‘thought-exploding’ movie. Though close to a three hour movie, you will be glued to the film every minute of a second. Remember to stay for the end credits too.

 

Is there any movie score or soundtrack you believe should make the top five list?

How to get to HaHa’s restaurant

안녕하세요, 여러분!

It will probably take a while before I get to share the pictures (after processing) and stories of my Seoul backpacking trip.

In the meantime, if you’re heading to South Korea soon just as I did a month earlier, and am a Running Man fan, and am clueless on getting to HaHa Dong Hoon’s 팔자막창 restaurant, then you’re in the right page.

It’s already tough finding the place from the net and the few blogs offering help seem to only confound rather than enlighten, I know I know.

So here’s the step-by-step guide on getting to your favorite Running Man’s restaurant.

HAHAMap credit goes to NANTA

 

1. Take the Subway Line 2 [Green] to Hongik University station and exit at Exit 9.

The station is located between Sinchon and Hapjeong and is also located by the very happening Hongdae shopping street.

2. Getting to HAHA’s restaurant via landmarks

The entire area on the map is actually the shopping area and I would advise you to make it one of your night escapades definitely but for the sake of not getting lost, walk forward by the main road after you exit from Exit 9.

You will cross a road and bypass Tom & Tom’s Coffee (they serve great coffee!). Keep walking until you see a Massage signboard/Ginseng Chicken restaurant. Just before you turn left into a small lane, you should also see a traditional Hanok shop.

After turning left into the small lane, follow the road ahead until you see the NANTA building.

IMG_4950PHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay

 

FYI: NANTA is South Korea’s longest running non-verbal performance show combining drama and comedy all in the kitchen There are currently four NANTA theatres (3 in Seoul and 1 in Jeju) as well as an international traveling troupe. Bottomline is you just catch it if you’re in Korea!

That would mean that you’re on the right track! Well done! Now walk a little further and turn right. You will see shops selling clothes and such, but don’t be distracted and wander away just yet.

Upon turning right, walk straight away and you should see a relatively big Marvel Superheroes poster on top of a shop. That’s your cue to keep advancing forward. Walk beyond the poster and you should see a ‘makeshift carpark’ in the middle of the shopping area. Look up, diagonally to your right and you will see the Sang Sang Ma Dang. Upon seeing this building, you know you’re really close to your destination.

The building looks like this:

IMG_4964PHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay

 

FYI: The Design Square on the 1st level of this building offers many cool products designed by Korea’s budding young designers. Check it out! Pictures to be up soon.

Walk past Sang Sang Ma Dang and cast your eyes to your right and you should be able to see HAHA’s 팔자막창 restaurant just down the road!

하하(HaHa) 팔자막창(Pal Cha Mak Chang)

IMG_4972(Collage)PHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay

 

Signatures of past celebrities that visited. Recognize any?

Collage

PHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay

 

Pork Intestine with Vegetable (Very spicy but oh-so-yummy!)

IMG_4985PHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay

 

Got to know a new Korean friend. Meet Haesung, currently studying in the States. He’s back in homeland during his school breaks. He taught us how to eat the food! What a nice chap, dinnering with his little brother!

IMG_4989PHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay

 

Barbecued pork intestines and pork strips anyone?

IMG_5291PHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay

 

IMG_5292PHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay

 

Condiments to eat the main course with

IMG_5300PHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay

 

IMG_5296PHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay

 

LeeSSang’s 팔자막창

IMG_4991(collage)PHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay

 

박명수(Myeong Soo) 와 유재석(Jae Seok)!!

IMG_5304PHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay

 

IMG_5303
PHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay

 

We went to both HaHa and LeeSSang Gary’s restaurant but they are both essentially offering the same thing, plus the food is quite pricey for Korean food standards. So if you only have a few days in Korea, just go to one. But if you’re a fan of Running Man, I say go both! 😉

Thanks for visiting!

(Whew, this entry took so much more effort and time than I’ve expected!)

Movie Insights – Dark Shadows

Lots of unpleasant things has rocked our once-peaceful tropic island lately; death of national servicemen, MRT repeated disruptions which-I-don’t-know-why, the impending arrival of Lady Gaga.. So on and so forth. Picking up the newspaper and glancing through the headlines can be rather depressing at times like this (not that headlines has ever been very positive in the first place), but thank God for movies.

Being a BIG movie fanatic, how can one miss the dynamic duo Johnny Depp and director Tim Burton’s latest film; Dark Shadows? Dark Shadows talks of a dark tale (puns puns) of Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp), a rich and hopeless Casanova from the prestigious Collins family in 1872, who finally falls in love with his true love; Josette du Pres. Dark as the story goes, one of the ladies, Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green), a witch whose heart he broke cast a spell on all his lovers, making every single one of them commit suicide, killing Collin’s parents, turning Collins into a vampire and subsequently locking him up in a coffin.

196 years later, Collins awoke from his slumber from an accidental excavation only to find his beloved Collins Manor in a state of disrepair and his (highly dysfunctional) descendents struggling to make ends meet after their main business was falling apart due to the acts of the very witch who turned him into a vampire. Chaos ensures as Collins battle it out with Bouchard to restore the glory of the Collins, dark secrets of the family is swept out of the carpet, and Collins fighting to protect his new love Victoria Winters (Bella Heathcote) who’s a splitting image of Josette, from suffering the same fate.

As usual, Depp puts up spectacular acting through his quirky personality; his expression from being fascinated by the big M (for McDonalds) and a weird terrain (road) is priceless, not to mention his old Georgian English which have smitten the hearts of some of my friends. Eva Green is so wicked at being wicked yet so able to bring out her deliciously sexy sex appeal at the same time (you kinda hate her but love her, now that’s what I call acting). Though a small role, one of my favorite up-and-coming actress, Chloë Grace Moretz plays it well as the rebellious descendent of the Collins, (and secretly a werewolf).

But that’s about it. The star powers in the film are  really the redeeming grace for the film which so disappointingly lack in plot and depth. Is Victoria Winters the lead character or just a side character, I don’t know. Unlike Burton’s previous films, Dark Shadows is a pretty ordinary movie which lacks that special spark, magical touch, X factor, Allspark, chemical X, whatever you wanna call it to make it a blockbuster. The movie is one that is cliché, forgettable, and is entertaining to say the most. Watch it if you’re bored or just a Johnny Depp and Chloë Grace Moretz fan like me.

Verdict: 3 out of 5 movie bites

 

Hello Musical: A Chorus Line

PHOTO: A Chorus Line – http://www.feveravenue.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/292678_303121133089935_197635606971822_744418_781765927_n.jpg

 

If you’re a musical fanboy(or girl) like me, missed Wicked musical for some reason and am kicking yourself for missing it (but seriously I have no idea how did you miss it since it was showing from 7 December 2011 all the way to 22 April 2012), fret not because A Chorus Line is here to bring you some comfort.

A Chorus Line tells the tales of 17 uniquely different dancers, auditioning for their dream job, a place in an upcoming Broadway production. The catch was that only 4 pairs of boys and girls will be selected from the 17. The 17 dancers who were short-listed from a previous audition told of their stories, many rather melancholic and even tragic, and how they found their love; Dance.

Ultimately, the musical comes to a bitter-sweet end as only 8 hopefuls could be chosen, the efforts of the chosen rewarded, those not selected – dreams crushed.

At the end of the day, this musical [would probably] strike a chord in the hearts of the audience, because for fact that all of us have (or had) a dream, age regardless.

Nominee for 12 Tony Awards and winner of 9 including ‘Best Musical’ and the Pulitzer Price for drama, A Chorus Line Musical is in a league of its own, being the fifth longest-running musical on Broadway (somebody say wow~), A Chorus Line promises you 2 hours and 5 minutes of well-scripted, no-intermission, lyrical  entertainment. If you ask me, its entertainment worth as a musical can be compared to the likes of Lion King, Wicked and what not, less all the glitzy props and costumes, and multiple sets.

For more information, discounts and ticket prices, visit the official Marina Bay Sands website:
http://www.marinabaysands.com/Singapore-Entertainment/Shows/a-chorus-line/

Stay tuned to City News official review by our editor-in-chief, Theresa Tan:
http://citynews.sg

Got to know a fellow writer at the Gala Premiere at the musical. Turns out she is a journalist with YahooSG. She churns out some remarkable writing. Check it out here.

YahooSG A Chorus Line review:
http://sg.entertainment.yahoo.com/blogs/going-out-by-night/chorus-line-enchants-without-frills-074147441.html

Food Journal #7 – Watami Singapore (J8)

Months ago, I was pretty sad when I found out that the Cafe Cartel at J8 was being replaced by some Japanese restaurant (because that would mean no more half-priced cakes after 9.30pm!). But all that was set to change after a visit to Watami Japanese Casual Restaurant which now occupies the retail space of the then Cafe Cartel.

Gf bugged me to give it a shot after hearing that they were on 50% discount, or something like that. She also said that she always see people leaving the restaurant with a bright smile on their faces and wanted to find out what’s so special about the restaurant. So I decided to go try out the food. The waitresses were professional and would greet us in Japanese as well as in English as we walked into the restaurant. While at the restaurant, we feel like royalties, haha. The staff were really polite and customer-centric. The furniture of the restaurant is arranged in such a way that one dining table is not really that close to the other, giving diners personal space and privacy. The restaurant is also given a very modern layout while at the same time giving customers a very cozy feeling.

The food (ala carte) prices are a lil pricey but still affordable (between $10 to $20). We decided to go for the special set for 2 which cost $49 (before GST and service charge) since it looked really good from the menu and very value-for-money. The waitress that was serving us was probably around the age of 18 or so but was professional and also gave us her recommendations. Best of all, she takes our order in a half-kneel position! Talk about customer service!

This is where the ‘fun’ begins. The food didn’t take too long to arrive, and I mean ALL of them. Just the psychological impact alone is enough to make one full. All the food (too many to name) taste really good. Even a non salad and corn fan like me actually love their salad and sweet corn. Sukiyaki Teishoku (Beef hotpot) got Tong all excited! The waitress also offered to help us break the egg for the Sukiyaki Teishoku. The Wafu pizza recommended by the waitress was really good too. As for the other dishes, the pictures are self-explanatory.

In the end, we were so full that we had no choice but to do a very Singaporean thing; ‘Tak Bao’! Haha! The meal costed $49 before tax and $57.70 after tax. After the meal, I was presented with $20 Watami vouchers (I was not given another $5 voucher because the meal cost $1 short of $50!). But it was still a good deal anyway for that amount of food.

Overall experience: 4.5 out of 5 yummy bites.
Value-for-money: Definitely!

Restaurant Details
9 Bishan Place, #01-33,
Junction 8 Shopping Centre
Singapore 579837
Tel: 6258 3577

Opening Hours:
11.30 am to 11 pm (Mon to Sun)

Watami Website:
www.watami,com.sg