New Coffee Joints; Durian Delights; All Things Italian

Addicts Unite
Hi, my name is Jalean and I’m a caffeine junkie. If you suffer from serious caffeine-addiction too, get your fix at two of the latest coffee spots. Loysel’s Toy (#01-01 Ture/Sam Tat Warehouse, 66 Kampong Bugis, 9451-0236) is the second venture from the good folks at Papa Palheta (140 Bukit Timah Rd., 9799- 0420). Aside from an array of coffee sets such as an espresso duo (house and single origin espresso), drip drop drink (two different filter coffees) and brewed otherwise (single origin of the day brewed in French press and siphon), they have a streamlined menu of light nibbles including salads and sandwiches. Also new is SoHo7 Café & Bistro (see Open Door, right), which is just about to hit their three week mark.
Durian, Durian
For those of you who don’t come undone at the smell of the stuff, the annual Durian Fiesta at Goodwood Park Hotel (22 Scotts Rd., 6730-1704) is back. Aside from signature durian items like their puddings ($4) and crepes ($6.80), they have Oreo durian cakes (from $9), strudels (from $9) and éclairs ($6). New additions to the stable of treats include mini durian ice cream cakes ($12.80), white chocolate-coated domes of D24 durian ice cream, and durian cappuccino cakes, layers of chocolate sponge, D24 pulp and cappuccino mousse (from $9). My picks are the homemade D24 ice cream ($16.80/pint), which is incredibly satisfying, and the durian mousse puffs ($5.20 for two)—trust me when I say, two is never enough. You’ve got till Jul 17 to grab yourself some of these irresistible sweets.
All Things Italiano
Pasta Inc (35 Keong Saik Rd., 6297-7515) has reopened at a brand new location, in the same neighborhood as dining establishments like Nicolas Le Restaurant (31 Keong Saik Rd., 6224-2404), Bistro Soori (2 Teck Lim Rd., 6438-3802), Restaurant Ember (G/F Hotel 1929, 50 Keong Saik Rd., 6347- 1928) and Donoma (see our review on page 17). Along with the usual suspects, they’ve introduced several saffron items such as saffron-scented risotto with Parma ham and scallops ($26) and fettuccine with clams, mussels and scallops in saffron-infused sauce ($24). Italian restaurant il Lido (Sentosa Golf Club, 27 Bukit Manis Rd., 6866-1977) marks its fifth birthday with a makeover and chef Gianluca Visani’s new Spring menu. Look out for dishes such as suckling pig ($58), marinated in a spiced-salt blend of orange peel, lemon, rosemary and thyme, with caramelized radicchio and vincotto sauce, and smoked fettuccine ($42)—crafted by hand and topped with shavings of goose liver terrine and hazelnut pesto. Chef Visani has also introduced a family set menu ($88 per person), which includes an assortment of classic antipasti and mains such as potato gnocchi and crab spiked with white wine, and grilled prime beef with rucola and balsamic vinegar sauce.
Top Chefs in Town
It seems like Singapore is fast becoming the stopover destination of choice for ex-Top Chef contestants. Elia Aboumrad (season two) played guest chef for a few nights at Bistro Amigo (#02-15 Funan DigitaLife Mall, 109 North Bridge Rd., 6835-0238), which recently celebrated its 16th anniversary. Along with husband, master sommelier Darius Allyn, they created a series of intimate wine and food pairing dinners. I was lucky enough to make it to one (thanks boss!), and was treated to delectables such as fresh mussels in an intoxicating chorizo and mussel soup, perfumed with oregano and bay leaf, Wagyu cubes accompanied by a well-executed convoy of roasted fingerling potatoes and mushrooms, as well as an exquisite flourless chocolate torte with a rosemary-scented strawberry compote. All of which were lovely and matched with Banfi wines: My favorite pairings of the night were the 2006 Chianti Classico Reserva with the mussels and the 2004 Brunello di Montalcino ‘Poggio Alle Mura’ with the beef. Another chef that will be popping by is Eli Kirshtein (season six), who will be cooking up a storm at Krish (9 Rochester Park, 6779-4644) for the first two weeks of April. Having worked in Le Bernardin, Restaurant Daniel and Jean Georges, as well as a stint at Alain Ducasse, chef Kirshtein is known for his modern American cuisine, with Japanese and Spanish influences.
Just Opened
Haven’t had enough of the Spanish food craze yet? Bilbao Restaurant & Gastrobar (#02-12 TripleOne Somerset, 111 Somerset Rd., 9115-1970) has finally opened, so it might be worth your while to pay them a visit. Meanwhile, the folks at Tomatillos (#01-04 The Foundry, 18 Mohamed Sultan Rd., 9655- 0423) have set up Rascals Gone Dining (#01-04, 5 Purvis St., 6339-4803), a Mexican restaurant in the former Miss Clarity Café spot.