Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Food Tasting - Shin Minori Japanese Restaurant

Tagged along Pauline to another food tasting. This time, we're at UE Square shopping Mall to try out the Ala Carte Dinner Buffet at Shin Minori Japanese Restaurant.

Located at level 3 of the shopping mall, Shin Minori (meaning New Harvest) is adorned with Zen inspired dark wood furnishings with clean lines and cozy warm lighting.

This casual Japanese diner offers wallet friendly All-you-can-eat Lunch and Dinner Ala Carte buffets. The buffet menu is definitely one of the most extensive ones I've seen, with more than 160 items to choose from! Fortunately, the restaurant has implemented a handy tablet ordering system where customers can browse the categorized food sections with ease, and place order for dishes online.

For the Ala Carte buffet menu, drinks and beverages are not included in the buffet prices, but complimentary ice water is served, and replenished, at every table. We started with some chilled juices while we ponder over what to order from that huge selection of food.

Apple juice & Lime juice $4.50++ ea.

The food arrived pretty quickly after order submission via the tablet. Most items are served in single portions (some in pairs), serving sizes are smallish which is good as we can order more variety to try.

Rice, noodle, chawanmushi & soup


Garlic fried rice

Mentai roe pasta

Sashimi moriwase platter

Dragonfly maki rolls

Rainbow maki rolls

Bacon wrapped asparagus

Grill quail eggs & chicken skin

Grill chicken meatballs

Grill salmon

Ebi tempura

Eggplant with yuzu miso dressing

Cucumber with soy bean paste

Overall, I enjoyed the Sashimi and sushi roll items the most. The raw seafood were extremely fresh, and the colorful Maki rolls actually tasted as good as they looked. Some grilled items were impressive too, the chicken meatballs and grill salmon were really good. The rest of the items were pretty standard in terms of taste.

The restaurant owner offered some of their in-house specialty dishes for us to try. The grilled yellow tail collar was excellent. This dish is not found in the menu and will be served complimentary to their special guests and regulars, based on availability. The other two dishes can be found in the Ala Carte menu.

Grilled yellow tail collar

Deep fried soft shell crabs

Baked scallops

No dinner is complete without desserts, so we each ordered a scoop of Japanese flavor ice cream and sorbet. These are priced at $5.90++ per scoop, or $8.90++ for double scoop.

Mixed berries, Matcha azuki ice cream & Yuzu sorbet

Dinner at Shin Minori was a pleasant experience, the buffet spread is extremely impressive, with a reasonable price tag to boot. Definitely a great spot for big groups of friends or family gatherings, where everyone can find something they like to eat here. I would suggest to go for their fresh seafood items which are more worthy of the bucks you're paying.

**Thank you Shin Minori for hosting us!

Shin Minori Japanese Restaurant
81 Clemenceau Avenue #03-15/16 UE Square
Singapore 239917
Tel: 67332272

Opening Hours & Buffet Prices
Lunch 11.30am to 2.30pm, Last order 2.15pm
Lunch (MON to SUN)
Adult S$35++
Child S$25++

Dinner 6pm to 10.30pm, Last order 9.45pm
Dinner (MON to SUN, EVE OF PH & PH) *
Adult S$39++
Child S$29++

*Except Christmas Eve, New Year Eve, CNY Eve & Special Occasions

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Birthday Lunch at Halia @Raffles Hotel

Halia, a well known fine dining establishment in the F&B scene, with numerous accolades in it's name, was the venue of choice for our Nov sistas birthday celebration. I've heard only good words for this restaurant, so it's high time we give this place a try.

The Raffles Hotel's branch has the same garden theme as its big sister at the Botanic gardens, with added colonial vibes. Planted foliage matched with colonial style black and white theme decor, and tall classic French windows giving the interior natural lighting during the day. Check out the centerpiece, a carved wooden table made from a 150yrs old tree.

Interesting table setting with cutlery housed in an old school tin container and ice water served in a wine/beer bottle. The menu here showcased modern European dishes with Asian influences.

We ordered a main course each and two appetizers for sharing.

For drinks, I had the Ginger Jive $12++, a concoction of fresh ginger, fruits and wild honey. I love its refreshing fruity taste with subtle hints of ginger kick. Some of my friends had their signature Halia Infusion $10++, a ginger drink served with wild honey (hot/cold). The ginger taste was more prominent for this beverage as compared to my mocktail.

Appetizers were served shortly after we placed orders. Crispy salt & chilli squid $15++ served with piquant mayo and ginger & spring onion lime dip, and Potato fries $8++ served with piquant mayo and truffle aioli dip. Both were delish and addictive to munch on.

The main courses did not take long to be served but alas, they keyed in the wrong order for two of our dishes. The apologetic staff explained the error to us, and quickly served up another set of appetizers (on the house) for us to kill time (another 15mins wait) while they prepare the dishes. Good service recovery from the restaurant!

My Halibut en Papillote $44++, baked fish fillet wrapped in parchment paper with mirin broth and veggies, served with sushi rice and wakame. This was a fabulous dish, fish was succulent and well infused with flavors. The rice topped with seaweed and cucumbers has a nice contrast of textures too. Thumbs up.

My friend's Slow Cooked Canadian Pork Loin $33++, was amazingly tender despite its 2" thickness. We suspect it has been sous vide for long hours before pan frying to achieve the nice browning on its exterior. Another excellent dish.

Steak & Eggs $30++, with extra Bacon top up at $4++, served with grilled tomatoes, poached eggs & spinach on toast, and buttery Béarnaise sauce. The steak's doneness was just right, retaining its moist and juicy texture, wonderfully executed.

To end the enjoyable lunch on a sweet note, complimentary dessert was served. Crème Brûlée with Rum & Raisins ice cream, and a Happy Birthday message. This simple looking dish tasted much better than its looks, we were not disappointed.

Halia definitely lived up to its reputation as one of the best restaurants in town. Magnificent food, incredible service, coupled with lovely ambiance, a great choice for that special occasion you are planning to celebrate. Prices could be a little on the steep side but it is well worth the money spent. We utilized two The Entertainer App 1 for 1 Mains vouchers and waived about $60++ off the bill, a good deal indeed.

Halia @Raffles
1 Beach Road, #01-22/23, Raffles Hotel
Singapore 189673
Tel: 9639 1148

Opening Hours

Mon - Fri: 12pm – 2.30pm (Last order), 6pm – 9.30pm (Last order)
Sat: 12pm – 10pm (Last order)
Sun & PH*: 11am – 9.30pm (Last order)

Closed on Tues

*Restaurant will remain closed if Public Holiday falls on a Tuesday.

Halia also has an Al fresco bar just outside the restaurant.