SNOW GLOBE CAKE

Photo: Rebecca Lynne Tan

Pastry chef Pang Kok Keong has created a new range of stunning Christmas cakes this year. My favourite is the edible snow globe (above), complete with a snowman, white mushrooms and snowflakes ($15 for a 10cm cake, $65 for a 15cm cake).

The hemispherical cake is chef Pang's luxe and whimsical take on a Christmas trifle, with layers of light vanilla cream cheese mousse and raspberry marmalade, passionfruit cream and finger sponge doused in kirsch, a fruit brandy. It also includes almond nougatine, which gives the cake an added crunch.

For a bit more decadence, try A Walk In The Forest ($55 for a small cake, $110 for a large cake).

The cake is a chocoholic's dream. Made with grand cru dark chocolate mousse cake, lemon cream and cocoa sponge laced with Grand Marnier, the cake resembles the floor of an enchanted forest and is a gorgeous show-stopper.

WHERE: Antoinette, two outlets - 30 Penhas Road and 02-33 Mandarin Gallery, 333A Orchard Road MRT: Lavender/Orchard OPEN: Various timings TEL: 6293-3121 (Penhas Road), 6836-9527 (Mandarin Gallery) INFO: Go to antoinette.com.sg. The Christmas cakes are available till Dec 31. Petit cakes are available over the counter. Large cakes should be ordered three days in advance. Pre-orders are also available for collection on Jan 1

 

FINE KUSHIKATSU

Photo: Ginza Rokukakutei

A handful of Japanese eateries specialising in kushikatsu, which is also known as kushiage, have set up shop this year, including Ginza Rokukakutei, an offshoot of the Michelin-starred eatery in Osaka.

Kushikatsu refers to deep-fried skewered items coated in crumbs. The skewers at the four-month-old Ginza Rokukakutei, which I tried earlier this week, are refined and delicious.

Nothing felt oily even though the items are deep-fried. The batter that coats the ingredients is thin and light, and the crumbs, crisp.

Skewered items here are seasonal and are currently Wagyu, scallop, oysters, shrimp and green peas.

For the omakase menu, skewers are served one at a time. There are a variety of sauces, including a sesame mustard, shoyu and a red wine sauce. The chef will have a recommended sauce for each item, but dip as you please. For freshness and zing, squeeze some lemon juice over the skewers.

Opt for the omakase meal ($50 for lunch and from $98 a person for dinner, with seasonal fresh vegetables, an appetiser, donburi bowl, soup and dessert) or sit by the bar for sake and kushiage (from $21.50 for three sticks).

At lunch time, the restaurant also serves beef and pork katsu sets (from $29 a set).

WHERE: 01-04 Odeon Towers, 331 North Bridge Road MRT: City Hall OPEN: Noon to 2.30pm (weekdays), 6 to 11pm (Mondays to Saturdays), closed on Sundays TEL: 6266-1077INFO: www.rokukakutei.jp

 

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PECAN TART TO WARM THE HEART

Photo: Tarte by Cheryl Koh

For me, no Yuletide feast is complete without a pecan pie for dessert. It is a tradition in my family to eat it over Christmas every year. So when I tasted Tarte by Cheryl Koh's version ($45) last week, it warmed my heart. Here, a French pate sucree tart shell is filled with a sweet, sticky filling and topped with pecan halves laid out in a beautiful radial pattern, baked to golden brown perfection and dusted with icing sugar.

The tart is rich and calorific, which means you and your guests can probably stomach only a small slice, considering the bounty of food at your Christmas gathering. But that's a good thing because one tart will certainly go a long way.

WHERE: Tarte by Cheryl Koh, 01-12 Shaw Centre, 1 Scotts Road MRT: Orchard OPEN: 10.30am to 10pm daily TEL: 6235-3225 INFO: www.tarte.com.sg. Available in store, order one day in advance

 

CHRISTMAS ACAI BOWL

Photo: Project Acai

Project Acai, which specialises in acai bowls and smoothies made with acai berries, a superfood high in antioxidants, has a special Christmas Mint Chocolate Acai Bowl.

Acai berries are blended with chocolate oat milk and mint to form a smooth, icy-cold paste that has a similar texture to sorbet. I like this flavour - the subtle hint of chocolate is a real winner for chocolate lovers like me - even more than the regular acai blend, which can be a little tart.

Toppings include granola, slices of banana, blueberries, strawberries, grapes, bee pollen and cacao nibs for added texture.

You also get a choice of nut butter - cookie, cashew or almond - and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon for a taste of Christmas.

Priced at $9.30 for a medium bowl and $14.50 for a large one, it is available until the end of the year.

WHERE: Project Acai, three outlets - 27 Lorong Liput, Holland Village; B2-32A Takashimaya Shopping Centre, 391 Orchard Road; and 217 East Coast Road MRT: Holland Village/Orchard/Paya Lebar OPEN: Holland Village and East Coast: 11.30am to 10pm daily, closed on Christmas Day and New Year's Eve; Takashimaya: 11am to 9.30pm daily, closed on New Year's Eve INFO: www.project-acai.com

 

This article first appeared in The Straits Times.

 

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