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In Chef Mode


I'm so excited to share with you my latest product - kombucha! Well...technically speaking, it isn't new since I have been teaching people how to make booch since last year. However, I'm now ready to do retail and I need your help.

I have a few flavours of kombucha going and I would like to give them some catchy names instead of the usual "Ginger Lemon" or something of those sorts. If you checked out kombucha.thewellnessinsider.sg, you'll realise that my Ginger Turmeric Kombucha is actually named "Bye Bye Flu". You get the drift.

Here's YOUR chance to help me come up with some quirky names and I'll be picking the top 5 names and the winners will win a month's worth of special brew worth S$46! To take part, fill in the form hereand all the best!

Contest ends on 1 May 2018.

I was recently invited to Frunatic, a 30-seater fine dining restaurant located in Palais Renaissance, for a nutritional therapeutic 8-course meal that was aptly named "Beautifying & Detoxifying" (S$108.80). Their philosophy is to use nutrition to help maintain, restore and improve the health of all individuals.


Stepping into Frunatic, I must say that I do like their modern contemporary design which borders on a slight minimalistic Nordic feel. Launched late last year, Frunatic is the fruition (all puns intended) of 5 years of research and development.

Founder of Frunatic, Mr Jason Fong, had invested over S$7 million into the R&D of Frunatic which was driven out of passion and conviction. "As Asia gears towards consuming more organic food and beverages and adopts clean eating habits, the health and wellness sector continues to grow to meet these demands. Frunatic stresses on a strict food production that preserves and maximises nutrients in the meals, as a regular supply of good nutrients helps to protect the body from environmental cellular damage and delay cellular malfunction that occurs with ageing," he said.



Frunatic offers over 40 different therapeutic menus to choose from and each meal is served Omakase-style. For walk-ins, they have the "Beautifying & Detoxifying" as well as the "Longevity & Anti-fatigue" course which is more popular with the men. The menu changes every week so that regulars will always have something to look forward to. If you want something that is bespoke, you may want to consider their packages (details at the end of this post).


The meals here do not contain diary, gluten, wheat, trans-fats, additives and all forms of preservatives. As mentioned earlier, the food prep for Frunatic is very strict and with very high standards in order to ensure maximum nutrients are retained in their foods: they only use ceramic knives to prevent any temperature increases during the cutting of the ingredients as steel blades are supposedly rougher; cooking the foods at low temperatures (with exception to the grains); alkaline ionised water is used in the preparation of food and drinks as well as in washing the ingredients to remove pesticides.

The meticulousness continues as seen from how they have also infused TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) herbs and super foods into their foods for optimum results.

The Food



Starting off our "Beautifying and Detoxifying" meal was a lukewarm tea made from Forget Me Not blossoms and Goji berries. It was slightly sweet due to the goji berries and had a very mild floral flavour. Steeped in the alkaline ionised water, this tea helps to boost immunity and improve metabolism while also promoting healthy skin. I do know that goji berries are also good for the eyes, which is why I do use them in my kombucha brewing too. 


Second course was a Superberry Smoothie that reminded me of my usual breakfast smoothies as it contains spinach, blue and blackberries as well as almond milk. I liked how smooth it was and I was pleasantly surprised that the passionfruit did not make it too sour or 'crunchy' thanks to the seeds.


Our host, Gerardine, had the Anti-fatigue meal instead and for her second course, it was a Tropical Energising Smoothie which was a blend of mango and banana with hint of ginger and cinnamon powders.


The third course was a Chickpea Salad and Quinoa which is where the proteins are starting to come in. I liked the chive vinaigrette, which was a surprise because I'm not particularly fond of chives or spring onions. However, it served as a nice accompaniment to the quinoa.


The Southwest Tofu Scramble from the Anti-fatigue menu looked really good and Gerardine was nice enough to share a bite with us. I could not tell that there was no egg in this and I loved the meatiness that the mushroom gave to the dish.

I had noticed that the menus are vegan and when I asked Gerardine about this, she shared that the concept behind the meals is that you should have a meatless meal at least once a week to help your body detox and reset itself. Moreover, they do not try to be a vegan restaurant but rather, focusing more on creating healthy, clean meals that use plants.


The next course was a Citrus Sensation with Chia Seeds, which contains grapefruit, orange, lemon and sweetened with sweet Granny Smith apples. In preparing the drinks, the juices are only cold-pressed to ensure the maximum retention of nutrients. They have also infused the juice with their therapeutic electrolyte powder (potassium and magnesium), which is why this juice is a good drink after a hard workout.


Above is the Chocolate Banana Fibre Bites which was very dense. It was not crispy but reminded me of my protein brownie but with a bit more chew in it. I'm starting to feel that my lunch was a series of dessert, with exception to the quinoa dish.

Below is the Beet Roots Chips which were dehydrated at very low temperatures for 3 days before serving with dusting of savoury nutritional yeast. I loved these beet chips and was hoping for a bit more though...hahaha.



For mains, we had the Japanese Yam Noodles but I felt that this was a bit of a misnomer. There were two types of handmade noodles - one made with brown rice and the other with fresh Japanese yam and edamame. The accompanying broth was made with mushrooms, vinegar and ginger but the flavours were really very subtle. I love Japanese yam and one of my favourite ways to eat it is grated with chopped maguro. However, they do not serve a lot of the yam in this dish so one is spared the slime that the yam naturally produces. I'm also curious whether the carrots were cut in that particular shape purely for presentation sake?


For dessert, we had chocolate mousse cake and we were all very surprised that it was gluten-free, diary-free and even sugar free!

The Verdict

This is the most delicious clean meal that I've ever had in a restaurant (with Sufoods in second place). I liked how I did not even think too much about it being a vegan meal and I enjoyed it a lot more than your bowl of salad or even a trip to a Chinese vegetarian restaurant. Yes, the meal was filling and you do not walk out feeling dissatisfied nor bloated 

However, I do wish that the meal had a few more savoury dishes. This is perhaps the Asian in me or the side of me that has also given up quite a lot of sugar which leans on more savoury foods. Moreover, the air-conditioning in the restaurant was freezing and the foods that were served at lower temperatures (nothing piping hot for sure) made me feel that I enjoyed the food a little less than I would've as I was half craving for something hot while the other half wanted the meal to end soon so that I could go out to defrost.

Should you try it? Definitely! I truly believe that we are all eating too much crappy processed foods and that it is important to look after your health. As the saying goes, "We are what we eat" so do try out their lunch meal. Quote my name or "The Wellness Insider" at Frunatic from now till 30 Apr 2018 to get S$50 off. There you go...no more excuses to eat clean at least once!

Frunatic
390 Orchard Road
Palais Renaissance #B1-06
Singapore 238871

Tel: +65 6736 0288

The packages

If you're keen to explore a longer term health goal, Frunatic also offers nutritional therapeutic programmes where you'll get a health assessment to see what nutrients you would require. Their nutritionist and dietician would then tailor and prescribe set meals that suit your health condition.

Their Nutritional Therapeutic Meal Trial Package is S$888++ and is for 10 meals (one meal per week) as well as a pre and post assessment by their nutritionist; delivery of the meals to your home or office is included or you can also choose to dine in their restaurant. 


I've been making smoothies for breakfast recently thanks to my brother who started it all. I must say that it really is a healthy and quick way to get all the essential nutrients into one meal. Best part? It really fills me up till lunch.

For the full recipes, you can read it here.

Above is my "All Rounder" as described in the article on The Wellness Insider, while below is the Berry Power.


I do highly recommend you try these breakfast smoothies out and if you don't have all the powders, do note that they can always be substituted accordingly:

  • milk with any nut milk
  • yoghurt with soft tofu
  • collagen powder with any soy or whey protein powder
  • soy or whey powder with soft tofu 
Recipes are quite flexible and just play around with whatever ingredients that you have so that you have various flavours. After all, variety is key in a balanced diet!
With the Korean wave, they have brought to us one of their desserts - Patbingsoo. Honestly, this is not very new. We have Ice Kachang in Singapore and kakigori in Japan. We humans seem to like to put fruit, nuts, syrup and ice cream on a bed of ice.


Above and below is their Sinsa Patbingsoo (S$17.90++) which has half a cantaloupe aka rock melon, pat (Korean for red bean), cornflakes, nata de coco and vanilla ice cream on milky shaven ice.


You have to find someone to share this bingsoo with because it's huge. I've eaten this 3 times and the rock melon is sweet every time. When you think about it, it's actually very worth the price considering that you do get half a melon! The fruit is your excuse that this is 'healthy'. LOL. This is a definite MUST TRY!


Above is their latest Mango Sticky Rice Bingsoo and we ordered it because we were wondering how the sticky rice is gonna make it's appearance (and taste) in this frozen dessert.

That whole coconut was frozen rock solid and contained the mango snow ice, sticky rice, coconut cream and that half of a mango. Honestly, you must love mango in order to eat this dish cos that's the only flavour you're going to get until you hit the bottom of that shelled coconut where the sticky rice sits.

Highlight of the dessert for us was really the sticky rice. It was chewy and the texture alone was fun to eat! Wished that we didn't have to dig through so much snow ice just to get to it though. Perhaps they could've layered some in between then it would've been really good to get a spoonful of rice, mango ice and the coconut cream together.

We were blown away by the sticky rice and that was also why my friends preferred this over the Sinsa Patbingsoo. Nonetheless, I do think it's another MUST TRY so gather a group of 3 or 4 and just order these 2 dishes to try and share the calories! Haha...enjoy!

Patbingsoo
Plaza Singapura
68 Orchard Road #B2-47

Jurong Point
63 Jurong West Central 3
JP2 #03-56

Northpoint City
930 Yishun Ave 2 #B1-181

Vivo City
1 Harbourfront Walk #B2-27

Opening hours:
Sun - Thu  11.30am to 10.00pm
Fri - Sat  11.30am to 11.00pm

Website: www.patbingsoo.com.sg



Went to Johor Bahru with a few friends for a quick day trip to get our Chinese New Year goodies and for dinner, we decided to go and have some fresh cockles after one of my friends told us about how huge they were.

Yes...there were cockles that were GINORMOUS and looked slightly vulgar (LOL) but we ended up choosing what we called the 'medium' sized ones.


They were good...no wonder my friend kept asking us whether one plate was enough. It was most certainly not enough and I think we will go back soon to try out the larger cockles! I honestly don't remember how much we paid for the plate but I'm guessing that it was about RM12 (S$4)?

That was all washed down with a super huge mug of Buah Long Long juice drink. Yeah...I had that all to myself. I put my Hello Kitty tissue pack there so that you guys can get a size reference. If you're wondering what Buah Long Long is, the closest description that I can give is that it is an Asian gooseberry. It tastes sour and a bit grassy, which is why they add sour plums into the drink to make it taste a lot better. Health benefits? Supposedly good for your eyes as well as acting as an antioxidant.

Can't wait to try out the larger cockles soon! Hello JB!

This is not the first time you're seeing a salmon head here as I've cooked a salmon shioyaki before. The difference is that Meidi-ya now knows that we love to eat the salmon heads too and have increased the price from $1.50 for half a head to $4 for a full salmon head. Oh well....it's still cheap.

The Grilled Salmon Head part is really easy - salt it and bake or grill it for 10-15 minutes. I used frozen broccoli here so I did grill my vegetables together with the fish with a bit of salt and sesame oil for added flavour. Came out perfect.

As for the Sweet Potato Mash, my recipe is vegan-friendly so you can cook it for your vegan or vegetarian friends.

Ingredients:
1 sweet potato
2 tbsp almond milk (unsweetened)
1 tsp coconut oil
salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Cut your sweet potato up into cubes and either boil or steam them until they're soft
  2. If you boiled them, drain the water before mashing the sweet potato up
  3. Add in the almond milk and coconut oil. Continue mashing until it's a bit more fluffy.
  4. Add in salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve
Some recipes call for maple syrup for added flavour to the mash but I chose not to do so because I wanted it to be a little less sweet. This is great as a complex carb that will help you last through to the next meal!

I was invited to the media launch of a new supplement in Singapore - Tru Niagen, which was held at COMO Cuisine at Dempsey. But since this is my food blog, I'll be reviewing the food part of whole event while I'll blog about the supplement in my lifestyle blog www.melfann.com.

Located at 18A Dempsey Road, COMO is relatively conveniently located near the main Dempsey Road, further past Huber's Butchery. It's nestled among lush greenery and is unexpectedly welcoming once you've entered the main entrance.

They do have a private room that sits about 20 pax and that was where we were seated for the media launch. I immediately liked the decor and ambience, which was fresh and inviting, modern but yet with touches of shabby chic.


I have no idea what drink we were served but I heard 'mango' and decided to try it. It was quite tasty but I found out later that it can't be found on the menu. Others also tried their "Green & Clean" drink which was a concoction of green apples, fennel, cucumber, spinach, celery, spirulina, sunflower seeds and macadamia nuts. Uh...I got thrown off by the celery. Ugh. Not my favourite vegetable to consume raw.

The cuisine is fusion, where Executive Chef Timothy de Souza uses flavours that are inspired by Singapore's melting pot. The menu that we ate was specially tailored for the media launch so I'm unable to give you prices but I reckon that it is still a good indication of what you can expect from the rest of their menu and whether you should even give them a try.


For appetisers, we had pan seared scallops with a pomelo salad and served with a tamarind chilli sauce. I found this very interesting because it felt like a deconstruction of the Indonesian gado-gado but made lighter with the zesty pomelo and all these went very well with the scallops.


For the mains, I had their Rangers Valley Sirloin (S$42++) which was served with frites (fancy French word for fries) and cafe de Paris. Yes, there's a piece of steak hiding under that foliage. The fries were huge chunks at the bottom and reminded me a little more like roasted potatoes rather than French fries. The steak itself was rather disappointing. I'm not sure whether it's because we were at an event or not, but we were not asked for our preferred doneness and my steak came medium well. As a result, it was a tad dry and not very tender. It wasn't chewy, mind you, but I like my steaks medium rare and juicy.

If the salad on top of my steak wasn't enough, there was a side of Broccolini (S$9++) for us to share and that was really not too bad. Nonetheless, I reckon you can't go wrong with stir fried vegetables with garlic chilli sauce and a squeeze of lemon.


Now, let's talk about dessert. We had a choice between Chocolate Tartlet (S$12++; subject to flavour changes) which was served with summer berries and milk ice cream OR the Sumatra Honey Flan that was served with chamomile pineapples and buttered almonds. I chose the latter because it just sounded a lot more promising and I also found out later that it's not on their regular menu!

Sorry I didn't take any photos of the Chocolate Tartlet as my neighbour had already taken a bite of it before offering a bite to me. The pastry of the tart was a tad too hard but the chocolate filling and milk ice cream were really good. The chocolate filling didn't feel too cloying in the mouth and it was nicely balanced with the milk ice cream. And once you feel that it is getting a tad too sweet, just pop some of the blueberries or raspberries to even it out!

As for the Honey Flan. Mmm...this was really good. It tasted like salted caramel pudding and the buttered almond just made the dish seem a little richer, with added crunch. I didn't care too much for the cubes of pineapples but I could see that the chef wanted some contrast in flavours - again, if it got a bit too sweet or 'boring' on your tastebuds, there's something leaning towards the tart side on the plate.

Overall, I would not mind visiting COMO Cuisine again just to try out the rest of the menu, although I wish their prices were a little more wallet-friendly.

COMO Cuisine
18A Dempsey Road
Tel. no.: 1800 301 6688 (local calls only)
Website: http://comodempsey.sg/restaurant/como-cuisine

Opening hours:
Lunch  Mon - Fri  12pm - 4pm
Brunch  Sat, Sun & Public Holidays  10am - 4pm
Dinner  Mon - Sun  4pm - 10.30pm (last seating at 9.30pm)

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Photo credits: Watson's and In Chef Mode