Vibrant Middle Eastern cuisine at Safiya by Shangri-La
You know you hit the peak of Christmas when it takes years to get anywhere because of the roaring traffic, when the queues to pay get stretched and stretched. At times like these, I feel like withdrawing. And really, just by typing on my phone, I can conjure up whole meals.
Shangri-La Singapore launched Safiya, offering great Middle Eastern food for take out and delivery. Overseeing the menu is its Middle Eastern chef, Chef Ara Sayegh.
Food is available a la carte and there are also meal plans priced at $ 48 + for two and $ 90 + for four. Each set includes a cold mezze and a hot mezze, a choice of main course and pita bread, dessert, pickles and Arabic rice.
I would go a la carte because I can order any mezze I want, and the main dishes I like are not on the menu list.
Warak Enab ($ 14 and up) – grape leaves stuffed with rice, onions, tomatoes, parsley, lemon, and mint – is just awesome. These little cigars have a lot of bite. The tangy grape leaves, sweet pomegranate sauce, lemon and mint really whet my appetite.
Another must-try is the Kibbe Krass ($ 16 and up), lamb croquettes with a crispy bulgur coating, with toasted and buttered pine nuts in the middle.
For the main course, please order Lamb Kebab ($ 22 +), so aromatic and juicy. It travels and heats up nicely, and is so delicious wrapped in hot pita bread, with chopped purple onions.
While I’m convinced that life is too short to eat chicken breast, I’m about to change my mind after a bite of Shish Tawook ($ 20 +) – a main course of chicken-fed chicken breast. corn in a spicy tomato sauce. Imagine how much better it would be with a chicken thigh.
For dessert, I would choose Meghli ($ 9 +), a smooth Lebanese rice pudding topped with grated coconut and toasted nuts. It’s vegan to boot, if you care about those things. There’s nothing wrong with the Baklava ($ 14 and up), crisp layers of filo – 28 – with toasted pistachios in between. But I prefer to save my calories for more Warak Enab and Kibbe Krass.
Or: Shangri-La Singapore, 22 Orange Grove Road
Phone : 6213-4398
Info: To order, go to This site or send an email to [email protected] Island-wide shipping is free for orders over $ 200, and $ 20 for each location otherwise. There is also self-service pickup from the Shangri-La Singapore Tower Wing, from the lobby level Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 2:30 p.m. (last order 2:00 p.m.) and 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. ( last order at 8:30 p.m.).
Cozy neighborhood cafe
In these days of working from home, I don’t haunt Toa Payoh, which is where the office is, as often as I used to. But I feel drawn to a coffee from Lorong 1.
Niche Savieuse, with a rather grandiose name, is truly an unpretentious cafe serving up a terrific Gula Melaka cappuccino ($ 5.80). This is the only version I have had where I can taste palm sugar, that light musk that I find very pleasant. If I was still working in the office, I would have so many problems. I would need to have one every day.
The dinner menu has all-day breakfasts, waffles, pasta, and pizza – pretty standard stuff. The half portion of savory waffles ($ 8.90) I have comes with a great bacon glazed with agave syrup, but the scrambled eggs cry water. The waffles are good, nothing to write home about.
But what surprises me are the cakes. The star is undoubtedly Ondeh Ondeh Cake ($ 8.50 per share). First, the green is from real pandan juice, not the coloring. Already, coffee is earning points. What could be more off-putting than a cake in a shade of green that cannot be found in nature? Everything is light – its soft crumb, the icing not too sweet. Love the toasted coconut on top.
The Niche Cheesecake ($ 6.90) is quite rich, but won’t induce an eating coma.
Two other cakes deserve a mention.
Nuts About You ($ 7.50) features the potent peanut butter and chocolate combo and is for those days when you have to eat yourself in a blue funk. If available, the traditional Kueh Salat ($ 4.90) is worth ordering. I’ve had better layers of custard from amateur bakers, but the rice is so tender and sweet and has just enough salt in it.
Or: 01-833, block 128 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh
Phone : 9633-5108
Open: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Monday, Wednesday to Friday), 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Saturday and Sunday), closed on Tuesday
Info: Tasty Niche Site
Christmas at home
It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas, and now is a good time to think about the main protein on your Christmas table. Last year I had a duck stuffed with sour cherry sauce and it was just the perfect size for me and my parents.
This year, the field is wide open and the options are numerous. Restaurants, hotels and home food businesses read people well and have main courses suitable for small families. Large gatherings, of course, have followed the path of the dinosaurs.
Two great options come from Blue Spoon, a home food business.
Her Slow Cooked Beef Cheek with Roasted Sweet Potatoes ($ 48.90, for three to four) features a fork-tender meat that’s so easy to love. I like that the sweet potatoes are roasted first, so they don’t crumble in the stew. The sauce is rich, without a doubt, but the cranberry sauce and apple cider vinegar cut off some of it, and the flavor is just what the dish needs. Too bad the bourbon is indistinguishable.
The other dish I like is the curry lamb neck rosettes ($ 36.90, for two or three), which will most likely feature in one of my Christmas meals. I love this aromatic curry, spiced with padi and green peppers, with tomatoes, mint and cilantro to add freshness. It comes with roasted potatoes and there is a festive richness of almonds and cashews.
All I have to do is cook some basmati rice with saffron and mix it with chopped mint and pomegranate arils, make a side salad and I’m good to go.
Both dishes are sold frozen, so they will also keep in the freezer for New Years.
Or: Blue Spoon
Info: Order five days in advance via WhatsApp at 9147-4678. The last day for orders is December 17th before 3 p.m. The last collection day at Serangoon Garden is December 23. A minimum order of $ 35 is required for delivery. Shipping costs range from $ 6 to $ 20, depending on the distance.