Wimbly Lu Chocolates is probably one of the best places to get dessert, but their weekend breakfasts aren’t half bad either. Prices are reasonable, service is lovely. Table sizes are compact, making Wimbly Lu incredibly ideal for lovey-dovey couples on romantic dates or small gatherings up to four. It’s a pretty cosy space with a red brick wall running one length of the narrow café, dark wood flooring, wrought iron ornaments, and a glass roof halfway down the back to allow natural light to flood the otherwise minimally lit interior.
- Monniker Cafe @ Balestier Road / Singapore
I can see what they’re doing with the interior design: a very brassy, very distinctive Victorian steampunk theme complete with warm and cosy undertones from dark wood tables and atmospheric, vintage-looking Edison light fixtures. They’re not going for subtlety here – they’ve gone all out with the decor and I must commend them for it. Full length windows allow for plenty of natural daylight to flood the cafe, accentuating the monochromatic walls and industrial fittings.
- The Grain Store @ Flinders Lane / Melbourne, Australia
The cafe is staggeringly busy, crawling with breakfast hunters, coffee lovers and diligent apron-wearing staff. The sound of enthusiastic chatter and cutlery on ceramic echoes delightfully trough the space. For a Wednesday morning, the turnout is nothing short of fantastic. Festive baubles, wreaths and fairy lights adorn the walls and ceiling, inviting that end-of-year holiday charm while somehow retaining that rustic, minimalist vibe cafes these days are so famous for.
- Amisfield Winery & Bistro / Queenstown, New Zealand
Amisfield is famous for its seasonal slant on classic European cuisine using New Zealand’s amazingly fresh and quality produce. The executive chef, Vaughan Mabee, best exemplifies this with his Trust the Chef menu. The menu changes almost daily based on available ingredients, and is kept a surprise from the diners right until the dishes are served. As you’d expect, the food is made to be paired with Amisfield’s wine.
- Boom Boom Burgers @ Burra Street, Chevron Island / Gold Coast, Australia
Overall, I give Boom Boom Burgers a thumbs up for quality comfort food and lovely service. I think they try really hard at making customers happy. They seem passionate about their business and while they might be a new establishment, I can see them attracting a huge following. Great job so far!
Owned by French artisan boulanger and creative baker Gontran Cherrier (who also has a number of other shops in Paris and Tokyo under his name), this place has a very strong following. Local café-goers and even out-of-town visitors flock to it despite its odd location in the quiet, sleepy heritage neighbourhood of Tiong Bahru.
- Cafe I-Lunga @ Yumekaze Plaza, Nara / Nara, Japan
Pleasant location, well-organised space, attentive staff and, best of all, lots of natural light for great food photography. Prices here are a little steep for the simple food you get, but the presentation is lovely and the place does invite a wonderful, relaxing ambiance. The café also has open-air terrace seats with a view of Mount Wakakusa and Tōdai-ji Temple’s Nandaimon (Great Southern Gate), Daibutsuden (Great Buddha Hall).
- Sumiya Charcoal Grill Izakaya @ Orchard Central / Singapore
Located on the rooftop of Orchard Central, the restaurant is designed such that it splits its huge floor area into three different concept spaces: a 1970s-80s izakaya dining space, a conceptual 1960s yokocho (alleyway), and a 1950s outdoor garden al fresco area. […] The establishment places emphasis on their char-grilled items and their high-grade sashimi. They also get many of their ingredients air-flown straight from Japan.
Taking up a large section of the 55th floor of the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel, the decadent Cheese and Chocolate Bar brings you face-to-face with a luxurious abundance of, well, cheese and chocolate. At SG$48++ per person, the buffet offers you a serious time with over 40 handcrafted desserts, 12 varieties of European cheeses, and a free flow of TWG teas or coffee.
Priding itself as a modern Australian bistro, Rokeby offers its customers a decent, wide-ranging menu that clearly promotes the use of fresh seafood and high grade meats, along with a variety of Australian wines, beers, teas and artisan coffee. […] The staff greet you with a smile and the food, although not exactly cheap, is impressive and well-presented. The interior is light and airy, making it a good spot for a weekend brunch or early dinner.
- 京 Apollo Hexagon @ Rokakku-Dōri, Kyoto / Kyoto, Japan
With a beautiful interior and wonderful food, 京 Apollo Hexagon is a great place for those looking for a hip, modern, and laid back izakaya experience. There are enough skewers (and other goodies) on the menu to keep any foodie happy, all at fairly reasonable prices.
- Manzara-Tei @ Ponto-chō, Kyoto / Kyoto, Japan
We ordered their Assorted Sashimi Platter (¥2800), full of fresh fish, beautiful garnishes and the best yuba (tofu skin) I’ve ever had. We also had their Grilled Black Cod Marinated in Miso (¥950) and Gratin with Kyo-eggplant and Miso Cheese (¥780). […] Manzara-Tei is a place we’d likely return to, and possibly regularly if we lived in Kyoto. The food is reasonably priced, extremely well presented and, most importantly, mouthwateringly tasty! The convenience of them having an english menu is also a giant plus!
- Koisakaba @ Ebisu Yokocho, Tokyo / Tokyo, Japan
[…] we finally settled on Koisakaba, an informally intimate 10 table joint selling a very odd (but very welcome) mixture of Western and Japanese bar food, Korean snacks and Spanish tapas. Never before have I seen japchae (Korean stir-fried sweet potato noodles) and jamón serrano (dry-cured Spanish ham) on the same menu, but I sure hope it happens again.
- Hazel Tea Shop @ RSL Centre, Surfers Paradise / Gold Coast, Australia
The Hazel Tea Shop is a Taiwanese dessert café franchise known for their extensive bubble tea menu and sweet desserts. We deem this particular Hazel outlet far better than the others on the Gold Coast as it is able to offer hot food options like noodle bowls and rice dishes (other outlets serve only drinks).
You may be familiar with yakitori (grilled chicken skewers), a common izakaya bar snack. This restaurant offers much more than just that. From uzura tamago skewers (quail eggs with soy glaze) to their special foie gras skewers (goose liver with caramelised green apple) to gindara teriyaki skewers (black cod fillet with teriyaki sauce), there is something for even the most adventurous of eaters.
- Yebisu Izakaya @ Regent Place, Sydney / Sydney, Australia
Yebisu Izakaya is located at Regent Place, a notoriously bustling shopping and dining hub in Sydney’s CBD that is home to a number of drool-worthy restaurants specialising in Asian fare. We stepped into the establishment for an early dinner and this proved to be the best idea we’d ever had. […] As is the trend nowadays, you get to pick your order through a touchscreen interface at your table. This saves a lot of time and orders are placed immediately at the touch of a finger.
- Saké Restaurant & Bar @ Eagle Street Pier, Brisbane / Brisbane, Australia
Eagle Street Pier is graced with numerous dining options and gorgeous views of the Brisbane River. This prime location is fitting for Saké’s award-winning status in the world of contemporary Japanese dining. The restaurant interior is modern yet cosy. It is surprisingly spacious and boasts a clean layout with interesting décor, soft lighting and various seating options.
- Grill’d Healthy Burgers @ Robina Town Centre / Gold Coast, Australia
Grill’d offers a diverse range of burgers, plus satisfying sides and salads to boot! They boast fresh, healthy ingredients, with delicious vegetarian options, additional toppings and gluten-free burger buns available. Located on The Promenade, overlooking the lake at Robina Town Centre, the atmosphere here is great, especially in the evening – beautifully lit surroundings forever pulsing with life and people.
- Mecca Bah @ Oracle Boulevard, Broadbeach / Gold Coast, Australia
Out of all the dishes, the Hummus Topped with Spiced Lamb, Pinenuts and Herbs + Lebanese Za’atar Bread was our favourite. The hummus had a perfect ever-so-slightly grainy texture, complemented well by the smoothness of the olive oil and the grittiness of the ground lamb. […] I’d definitely recommend visiting Mecca Bah with a group of friends to get a good taste of all the different mezze offerings.
- Jamie’s Italian @ VivoCity, Harbourfront Walk / Singapore
I’m sure the man behind the establishment needs no introduction – Jamie Oliver is a celebrity in his own right. The interior – a sprawling, charmingly lit restaurant overlooking the harbour and Sentosa Island – appeared to be completely booked out, with an overwhelming number of people seated at every corner of the restaurant. This was a Tuesday night, too.
Watami is one of our go-to places for quick and decent Japanese food at a moderate price. Their 15-paged menu has sections dedicated to appetisers, tofu dishes, salads, sushi, sashimi, deep-fried items, okonomiyaki, egg dishes, meat, tempura, seafood, hot pots, skewers, rice dishes, ramen, udon and soba, plus 12 different desserts to choose from. Clearly a menu of epic proportions.
- Hakataya Ramen @ Centre Arcade, Surfers Paradise / Gold Coast, Australia
Hakataya’s specialty is tonkotsu ramen, a cloudy white-coloured broth made by simmering pork bones for 39 hours. Unlike many other ramen places on the Gold Coast that offer a large selection of different ramen bowls, Hakataya only has four types to choose from. And thank goodness for that, because you know they’re all going to be good. By specialising in just four flavours, they’ve had time to make them just right.
- Dumpling Republic @ The Promenade, Robina Town Centre / Gold Coast, Australia
Rather sceptical of the authenticity of a Russian-owned dumpling restaurant on the Gold Coast, but intrigued by the possibility of a new restaurant to add to our list of favourites, we decided to finally check it out. The restaurant is quite large, with bright, modern décor and a large open kitchen where diners can watch Singaporean chef Sim Kim Kwee (or ‘Master Sim’, as they call him) and his team make the dumplings to order.
- Yuuga Japanese Restaurant @ Surfers Paradise / Gold Coast, Australia
Yuuga scores a lot of points in the presentation department. All the charming arrangements and little finishing touches make you really appreciate their attention to detail. With friendly staff and a cosy atmosphere, the restaurant does well in making you feel comfortable. But the most important thing is the quality of their food, which has impressed us greatly.
- River Penang @ The Promenade, Robina Town Centre / Gold Coast, Australia
River Penang is a restaurant situated along The Promenade lakeside of Robina Town Centre. Primarily serving an amalgamation of traditional Malaysian and Singaporean food, it offers many Straits Chinese (Peranakan) dishes. Their menu is extensive, the service is efficient (if not a little rushed sometimes), and the location is pleasant. Prices are fairly steep but portions are huge and you can easily share a dish between two people, so it balances out.
- Palm Beach Seafood Restaurant @ One Fullerton / Singapore
Palm Beach Seafood was founded back in 1956 and has a long history of serving their popular Singaporean favourite: the chilli crab. Relocating several times to increasingly spacious and luxurious venues, the restaurant finally made its home at One Fullerton. Blessed with stunning, picturesque views of Marina Bay that can be enjoyed through al fresco dining, it also offers air-conditioned indoor dining for patrons on a rainy day.
The TWG Tea Salons are well-known for their inventive and contemporary tea-infused savoury dishes and their fresh, handmade pastries are crafted daily by Executive Pastry Chef Philippe Langlois. Their Tea Boutiques boast a wide variety of over 800 different teas from all over the world. Fancy some Red Chocolate Tea? How about some Gyokuro Samurai Tea? They’ve got them all.
- Daidaiya @ Queen’s Square Yokohama [at!] / Yokohama, Japan
I especially enjoyed the warm sea bream dish from their seasonal menu. The fish was perfectly tender and the flavoursome broth that accompanied it tasted absolutely divine! The little crunchy croutons on the top were an adorable addition!
- Panorama Lounge @ Royal Pines Resort / Gold Coast, Australia
The Panorama Lounge itself is well-lit and boasts a pleasant ambience as it sits directly under a glass dome ceiling that fills the area with natural light. However, it is perhaps not the best place to have your lunch owing to the distinct shortage of proper dining tables and an odd abundance of awkwardly low lounge tables that make it difficult to eat comfortably.
- Uchouten Japanese Restaurant @ Surfers Paradise / Gold Coast, Australia
The food at Uchouten is gorgeous. I am a sucker for their chicken karaage because they do it so well. In fact, they do it better than any other Japanese place I’ve been to on the Gold Coast. The chicken portions always come out perfectly cooked, juicy and succulent, never dry or tough. Consider me impressed!
- Absynthe @ Q1 Tower, Surfers Paradise / Gold Coast, Australia
As for my favourite dish, I quite enjoyed the beetroot risotto. Although the caramelised walnuts were rather few, I liked the way the risotto and blue cheese foam complemented each other and formed a warm, rich saltiness in your mouth, thick with flavour.