New Bukit Timah Eateries; The Plain; Wild Honey’s Service

Just Beachy
It seems like Bukit Timah’s heating up, what with more and more F&B establishments setting up shop. Aside from four-month-old Greek restaurant Blu Kouzina (893 Bukit Timah Rd., 6875-0872)—you can check out our review online—there’s also three-month-old Taberna Wine Bar (17 Binjai Park, 6762-5570), with offerings from countries including Argentina, Chile, Germany, France, Italy and New Zealand. In our efforts to find a parking space in the Greenwood area, I also spotted Cut the Mustard (1 Greendale Ave., 6466-9436). This barely two-week-old gourmet products store was closed at the time, but I’ll be back there soon for a proper look. While in the area, I went by Bronte (8 Greenwood Ave., 6219-9151), an Australian bistro named after a lesser-known cousin of Bondi beach. Bronte beach was one of my favorite Sunday brunch spots back in Sydney. I had a quick look at the menu and spotted a few dishes that looked most appealing indeed. Bring on the nostalgia.
Mate, That’s Sweet!
Still running with an Oz theme, I had some delish Humpty Dumpty & Vegemite Soldiers ($5) at The Plain (50 Craig Rd., 6225-4387) over the weekend. While I can’t profess to be the biggest fan of the stuff (I reckon that’s how you tell the real Aussies from everyone else), I really fancied dipping Vegemite-smeared toasty sticks into oozy soft-boiled eggs. The last time I had anything with the V on it, was when I crashed with a bona fide Sydneysider mate of mine. My flat white ($3.80) wasn’t half bad either, thanks to friendly owner and barista Vincent Teng. If you’re in the vicinity and have a sweet tooth (guilty as charged), you’ve got two good options. The first is Flor Patisserie (2 Duxton Hill, 6223-8628), a Japanese café that offers nibbles such as Earl Grey Choco cake ($6.50)—Earl Grey-scented cream piped onto a Swiss roll of dark chocolate meringue and bananas, marron pie ($4.20) and chocolate madeleines ($2.20 each). The other is two-month-old Bonheur Patisserie (70 Duxton Rd., 6221-1148). Intriguing sweets include a strawberry balsamic cake ($6.50)—layers of pistachio sponge, vanilla bean Chantilly cream and strawberry balsamic mousse—and a sweet potato mont blanc ($7).
No More Honey
I had a less than sweet experience at what used to be one of my go-to all-day breakfast spots in town, Wild Honey (#04-21/22/23 Mandarin Gallery, 333 Orchard Rd., 6836-6372). One major pet peeve of mine is bad service, so you could say I had a stellar example of what not to do to piss your customers off. I’ll spare you folks the long story but it boiled down to the manager’s bad attitude (yes, I saw you rolling your eyes at me and also overheard you bitching to your team about me). Even if I was able to overlook the glaring absence of an apology, the jumble of change, all in 10 cent coints, slapped on my table was uncalled for. Perhaps someone else would’ve shrugged it off, but when the boisterous farewell from the wait staff is much more enthusiastic than the service, it doesn’t sit well with me at all.
Calling All Boys to the Yard
The Handburger‘s (#B1-65/66 Raffles City Shopping Centre, 252 North Bridge Rd., 6334-4577) got a new milkshake and coffee takeaway counter. But that’s not the best bit—they also have a special 1-for-1 deal on milkshakes through Feb 28 from 3-6pm, so pop by and have some Naked Chocolate ($3.90), Nutella with marshmallows ($4.90), or our pick, peanut butter with banana (also $4.90).
Vino, Vidi, Vici
For those who love vino, there’s a dinner with Spanish winemaker Alvaro Palacios coming up on Mar 1, 7pm at Santi (#02-03, Casino Level 2, Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Ave., 6688-8501). This 11-course meal ($350) will pair offerings from vineyards such as Palacios Remondo, Descendientes de J.Palacios and Alvaro Palacios with dishes including King crab “a la plancha” with Iberico ham and saffron-infused tomato sauce, market fish with Catalan trinxat (shredded cabbage and potato cake) and braised veal cheek with black truffles and topinambour (Jerusalem artichoke). In light of chef Santi Santamaria’s passing, undoubtedly a huge loss for the culinary world, please call the establishment for reservations and confirmation. My thoughts and prayers are with chef Santamaria’s family and friends at this dificult time.