The best Valentine's Day chocolates
Chocolate is that classic, sure-to-please gift that can, depending on where you're at relationship-wise, propel you straight out of the friendzone or butter your partner up (hey, chocolate is an aphrodisiac, right?) The women of Time Out Singapore gave the following brands of chocolates a blind tasting to make planning for the 14th more manageable.
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Latest restaurant reviews
New restaurants and cafés in Singapore
JINzakaya, the new kid in the Les Amis group, is a throwback to old Tokyo subway station taverns. In keeping with its name, it looks after the office crowd with affordable set lunches ($12.90) of ramen, udon, donburi, salads and sandwiches. At night, it turns a retro joint for laid-back drinks, with sakes ($89-$119/bottle) sourced from small breweries. Staying true to its izakaya roots, the watering hole dishes out sharing plates as the mainstay for dinner, with skewers ($2.50-$9.50) ranging from the usual (chicken wings) to the luxe (foie gras).
Priding itself on cooking pastas, pizzas and even gelato from scratch, this Tuscan eatery is all about that cucina alla casalinga (home-cooked) feeling. Expect rustic favourites like caprese, mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and basil ($12) and vongole in white wine ($17) to start off your hearty meal. Luca's imports flour from Italy to make the dough for pizzas ($17-$25), and serves traditional pastas ($16-$25) like bolognese, pesto, marinara and carbonara. There are also risottos ($21-$25), meat and fish dishes ($25-$34), and desserts ($7-$12).
The Coffee Academics
The Coffee Academics by Jennifer Liu is a specialty coffee café that sails in from Hong Kong. Its first branch in Singapore spans 3,000 square feet, with a main bar, a Custom Blend Concierge that requires an appointment, a hand-brew bar inspired by Japanese tea ceremonies, and a 'cupping corner' for coffee appreciation and cupping workshops. Beans are sourced from around the world, and TCA even has a farm in Panama producing its own Panama Barufee Estate blend ($8). Another exclusive house blend is JWF ($12-$14), named after the owner and comes ice-dripped, just how Jennifer likes it. TCA's laboratory of brewing equipment means that even teas aren't left behind – its 'Steampunk' contraption is controlled by Android technology ($9-$15/pot). Salads and light bites ($14-$22), mains ($18-$28) and desserts ($6-$19) are also available.
'ARC' stands for 'academy, roastery and café', three elements that are brought together under one roof for a complete bean experience. Classes are available for coffee lovers of all levels, from basic appreciation workshops and latte art, to brewing courses for the wannabe barista ($50-$240). Coffees range from $3.50 to $7, brunch classics like salads and a pulled pork twist on eggs Benny are priced at an affordable range of $6.80 to $19.80, and meat-based mains go for $16.80 to $23.80.
The Nomad, as its name suggests, is a travelling barista bar that invites people to learn how to make coffee. Although it's a pop-up, its Bukit Timah residence serves its signature cold brews ($7), hot smores in a cup ($6), mocha falls ($5.50) – the rim is adorned with white and dark chocolate – and Thai iced tea ($3.50). The bar also offers coffee-making workshops from $49.
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