A local’s guide to 4 MUST EATS in Singapore

I thought I did my research well. Consulted with bloggers, clarified with Google. All the hot spots were written down with special notes on what to try from there. But nothing, I repeat, NOTHING will guide you like the words of wisdom from a local food lover. And that is what I got lucky with. Thank you Ken, because of you, I saw Singapore in a fabulous new dimension. Here are 4 drool-worthy gems I discovered while following the Singaporean’s advices.

  1. Hai Di Lao Hotpot

A steamboat specialty restaurant that can be your ‘nirvana’ spot after a late night clubbing in Clarke Quay. The outlet is open till 6AM serving lip-smacking hot pot soups along with super-flavorsome meats, specialty balls, house-made noodles and a whole hoard of intriguing things on skewers and platters. Reservation is heavily advised; though waiting is made fun with free manicures, popcorns, fruits and games. Recommendation – select the 4 base hotpot so you get to try four different flavors of soups. We loved the seafood and Sichuan soup, and the Hai di lao style beef and cumin marinated chicken to go with it. Click HERE for my complete post on our Hai Di Lao experience.

  1. BBQ Station

Its modest and it’s as authentic as it will get! The servers know just bits and pieces of English, but are great with signs and gestures, so fret not – you are covered! The menu is mostly about grills and barbecues with a phenomenally fragrant spice rub that I can kill to get my hands on. There is a HUGE choice of pork delicacies if you wish to try, along with premium scallops, mandarin jelly fish, beef tendons and dumplings. Fervently recommend the Grilled fresh prawn, chicken mid-wing and the big lamb rib. The friend who tried the pig ear with cucumber and the grilled pig trotter swore by it, so that (especially the former), should also be in your list to try. BBQ station lets you choose the number of pieces/skewers needed – giving you the flexibility to try a LOT of their offerings without having to order too much food. HERE to read my full account of the BBQ Station experience.

  1. Lao Sichuan

This is not a fairy tale land. It is a boxing ring where your taste buds are going to get assaulted. Sichuan comes as a revelation where wonderfully hot chillies rule your meals. Whether it is the Snake head sliced fish in hot & spicy sauce or the Spicy frog in Sichuan style, masochistic things will be done to your palate but in the end your hands will go back to the ladle dumping more of those Sichuan peppercorns laden, flavor loaded, incredibly aromatic curries into your plate. Highly recommendable if you can handle some spice. Our advice is to stick to the “Low SPICY” version of the meals. Our misplaced bravado had us ordering the “Very Spicy” version and that maybe something you should steer clear of. Took us to the doors of hell and back even though it was one helluva delicious ride. Click HERE to read the full account of our Lao Sichuan adventure.

  1. Hainanese chicken rice

Though we were short on time to march to the Katong Shopping Center and relish the Hainanese Chicken Rice there (as originally advised), we had to make do with the next best option in our vicinity. That meant dining at Jew Kit in Killiney Road, a restaurant that specializes in the said dish. Hailed as the national dish of Singapore, Hainanese Chicken Rice looks pale and bland (especially to those coming from curry drenched, masala soaked Indian sub continent!), but the chicken is infused with a flavor that is sure to grow on you. Jew Kit served us well in enjoying our little affair with this Singaporean, locally-loved dish, though you can try it out at any of the street food courts which I’m sure will not let you down. Just make sure you don’t remain a Hainanese chicken rice-virgin on your trip back from Singapore. Click HERE to read the full account of my Hainanese Chicken Rice endeavor at Jew Kit Restaurant.

P.S: According to Ken, the Laksa at Katong is a must try. So is the tri-shaw ride around the city at night. He literally dragged us into it, and I must say it was a lovely 20 minute open-air experience. 4th generation tri-shaw cyclists took us around the city, pointing out to the landmarks and giving us snippets of the city’s olden and local secrets. We rode in an 85 year old tri-shaw that can be found parked somewhere along the Clarke Quay alleys. Keep your eyes open for them- it’s worth it!

Trishaw parked along Clarke Quay, Singapore

Trishaw parked along Clarke Quay, Singapore

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Best Of Singapore: Hainanese Chicken Rice (Jew Kit Restaurant)

The instruction from the Singaporean friend was clear. Hainanese Chicken Rice served at Katong Shopping Center. But with just 2 days left in our schedule, that looked like an unachievable target. The solution to the crisis was to settle for the Hainanese Chicken Rice at the next “crowded-with-locals” joint we could spot. And that’s how we arrived at Jew Kit.

Hainanese Chicken is a humble dish. This steamed chicken preparation is adapted from early Chinese immigrants from Hainan province and is hailed as one of the national dishes of Singapore. Returning to Dubai without trying and tasting the dish, was a sin I had absolutely no intention to commit!

Jew Kit interiors held so many quaint little intriguing things that made us look around for more than a few minutes, halting the server in his tracks. Posters and showpieces that took us a few decades back shared the décor space with radios, weighing machines and iron boxes from the olden days. With an efficient server taking our orders and patiently explaining the ingredients and textures of various dishes, we were sorted and settled for the food to arrive.

The order: Hainanese Chicken Rice, Jew Kit special chicken wings, Black Pepper Beef, Hong Kong Noodles and Chicken Fried Rice.

The first to arrive was the Hainanese Chicken Rice, ofcourse. Now for those hailing from a land like India, where things are either coated with a zillion colored spices or drenched in voluptuous curries, THIS will do nothing to your imaginations. The chicken looked bland and oddly naked. While the soup at the base looked flavorsome, the skin of the chicken loosely hanging on the top did less to spark my appetite. But we all know appearances can be deceiving, don’t we?

I dug in.

At first, removing the skin and picking only the meat. Soon, the adventurous streak overcame and my fork gingerly accompanied the skin along.

Hainanese Chicken is probably a dish that will grow on you. Or a dish that you grow up with. The chicken is deliriously soft, tender and juicy. Together with the vegetables and the aromatic soup, it forms a delicious concoction that makes it Singapore’s favorite for good reason.

The chicken fried rice was good, but remained a simple straightforward chicken fried rice. The Jew Kit special chicken wings was crunchy and fried crisp making it an ideal snack to fight over. The war was however waged for the Hong Kong Noodles and the Black Pepper Beef which formed an irresistible match, complete with the blessings from heaven in the form of succulent meat pieces, sautéed vegetables and lip-smacking, thick, soy based gravy. The noodles gave away a faint echo of aginomotto (MSG) here and there, but it wasn’t overwhelming and hence was excusable.

So while the original target of Hainanese Chicken Rice from Katong Shopping Center remained unmet, we made well with (I can safely presume this, given the busy-at-all-hours state of the restaurant) the Jew Kit version which was quite a fab deal in itself. And to think that all it takes is a lovely chicken, some vegetables and (probably) a sack of salt to cook up this dish!

The Jew Kit Dinner spread

The Jew Kit Dinner spread

Have you tried this national meal of Singapore? How exciting was your experience? I’d love to know!

Jew Kit Restaurant: 105 Killiney Road, Singapore 239546. PH: 67335578
Open from 10.30am to 12.00 midnight.

 

 

 

 

 

The Best of Singapore: Lao Sichuan. Not for the faint-hearted.

Did I wake up to know I was going to be eating frogs and snakes that day? No. Did I think it would be one heck of a meal to cherish till the end of time? Yes.

Let me rewind. We were meeting this friend of my husband in Singapore. This friend turned out to be a food lover and a local who knew about hole-in-the-wall places serving mind-blowing food in Singapore’s alleyways. Would you believe my sheer dumb luck? I nodded like mad at the mention of spicy food, and probably with a slight hint of caution, nodded some more at the mention of frog legs. Entrusting the well being of our taste buds upon him, we headed out to Lao Sichuan at the relatively ungodly hour of 1.30AM.

Lao Sichuan restaurant is famous (read notorious) for its extravagantly flavorsome, inhumanely spicy dishes. With red furniture, cushioned sofas, and remnants of the Christmas décor hanging here and there, the ambience was of a modest dining spot, giving away not much clue on the cuisine it serves. The server spoke chinese and if we didn’t have our Chinese-speaking friend with us, we would have had to resort to the sign language. The iPad menu was detailed and included English (hurray!) along with the pictures of the dish (whoop whoop!).

 

A quick exchange between the server and our friend enabled us to take a walk into the pantry where in a tub sat the frogs croaking about. It was not the best feeling knowing couple of these were going to end up in our plate in a short while, but seeing them fresh and feisty in the kitchen was an experience.

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Let me tell you about our order. Spicy frog in Sichuan style (ordered the very spicy way), Snake head sliced fish in hot & spicy sauce, Sichuan style sliced pork in spicy sauce and Stir fried shredded potato with chili padi. Yes, I realize that’s a lot of chilli and spicy in one line.

The first to arrive was the Snake head sliced fish in hot & spicy sauce.

The “water cooked fish” dish looked dangerous with a truck load of red chillies and Sichuan peppercorns dotting the entire surface of the bowl. The ladle comes up with the chilly oil infused broth, fragrant sliced fish and oodles of soybean sprouts.

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If you have been bred Sichuan from anywhere else other than where the cuisine is originally from, understand that you have been living a lie. Be prepared for an assault on your senses. With the first spoonful of the curry, all those doodles and animations on breathing out fire and shooting smoke from the ears suddenly made sense. THIS was the real deal. Minimum artificial sauces. Maximum powerful chopped chilies. Need I say that the rest is history?

Despite ordering the medium spicy version, the dish was SPICY even by a South-Indian standard. We thought we were the undefeatable ones when it comes to spicy food. But this was beyond all that. WAY BEYOND. So much for our severely misplaced notions!

The Sichuan style sliced pork in spicy sauce caused eruptions of appreciation from our friends, so we could easily judge the dish was an above average beauty. It looked gloriously infused with chilly oil and the vegetables seemed to be drenched in all sorts of sautéed flavors, making it almost impossible to dig in!

Spice level was a 6/10 for this dish.

The heat got turned up by a zillion notches as the Spicy frog in Sichuan sauce was brought in. We have nobody to blame but our selves, as we had arrogantly ordered the very spicy version of the dish. Look here to see what the dish looked like!

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This was intimidation of the finest order. Our friend explained the battle strategy: Scoop out only the meat, avoid the Sichuan peppercorns and pass the chillies as if our life depended on it!

It was a mind-blowing dish. I cannot begin to put the spiciness of this dish into words. The oil, the chillies, the meat– it was a parade of spices. The peppercorns numbed my tongue even as the chillies performed masochistic things to my palate. We were using up the tissues fast – our noses were sniffing, eyes were watering and the ears were screaming. And YET, we COULD NOT STOP! So enrapturing was the gravy, that despite the inexplicable heat, we were tempted to take some more till all the meat was consumed. It is STRONGLY advised to stay away from the Very Spicy version unless you know what the deal is. Amateurs and soft-tongued diners, please stick to the non-spicy (no, not even medium spicy), to build a base before you venture into the wilderness! All said and done, WHAT A DISH!

Amongst the entire hullabaloo, one dish remained to give our tattered tongues some comfort. The stir fried shredded potato with chilly padi was not considered much while ordering. It was after all “just a side”. But how wonderful a simple potato can taste when simply shredded and tossed with some chillies (hardly a surprise now). It’s spice level was quite very low as compared to the other deadly dishes, and hence provided us with much reprieve as we struggled to soothe our senses from the heat. Completely recommendable for its raw flavors and healthy crunch!

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Lao Sichuan will not be kind to your sensitive palates. If you are touchy about shocking your tummy with the real flavors of Sichuan cuisine, it is recommendable to steer clear. The food is “amazing” in one word, “insanely spicy” in two and “Can’t stop eating!” in three. That should give you a fair idea!

The Damage at Lao Sichuan:
Snake head sliced fish (small) – S$18.80/ (large)- S$36.80
Spicy frog in Sichuan style – S$28.80
Sichuan style sliced pork – S$12.80
Stir fried shredded potato with chilli padi – S$7.80

Lao Sichuan: 24 9# Outram RD Tel- 62229489/ 268# middle RD Tel- 93956808/ 197 New bridge RD Tel- 64231068/ 50 Serangoon north ave 4 first centre #02-08sg 555856. www.laosichuan.com.sg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Of Singapore : BBQ Station

“Guys I really suggest BBQ Station if you can take some heat”, said Ken, our local friend in Singapore. I smirked.

How could anyone suggest barbecue to a Dubai resident? What do they think our winter (whatever that is) comprises of anyway? We buy dozens of absurdly warm but-hey-its-fashion woolen wears for our 15 days of winter. We roam around scores of “winter markets” which basically sell the same things. But above all, we barbecue away, man. We are the kings of the play. The champs of the game. Don’t talk barbecue to us!

I couldn’t have been more of a moron.

Barbecue Station turned out to bear a different take on the concept of barbecue. For one, it might look as if the spice rub on different meats are more or less the same – but of course, they are not. Second, it might seem as if some of the dishes have more of a fried texture than barbecued – which could go either ways, I’m quite unsure. It proudly showcases the fatty layer, it sometimes leave that slight oil tinge. But the essence of the matter is – it is deliciousness no matter how you look at it.

It was around 3.30pm when we stepped in, so the restaurant was empty with the battle scars of the past lunch time remaining here and there. The staff squat around couple of the tables working on assembling meat on skewers and handling the home-made noodles – preparations for the dinner time. We took our seats and skimmed through the menu, ticked the items we fancied and sat back. The menu gave us the option of ordering the item per piece or skewer so that we could try more dishes without the hazard of a precariously bulging tummy.

Our order consisted of one skewer of chicken mid-wing, one big lamb rib, one fresh sleeve- fish, one grilled fresh prawn, grilled oyster mushroom and two mutton BBQ leg meat. Our friend wanted to try out more daring options like the grilled pig trotter and pig ear with cucumber. We waited with unabashed impatience and a well-built appetite.

The skewers arrived first and everything else followed within a span of 2 quick minutes. The spice rub was worth killing for – fennel and chilly flakes seemed to be the stars of the rub. The prawns squirted out juiciness when bit into, instantly prompting me to order two more of them. The mutton bbq leg meat and the chicken mid-wings were perfectly grilled and well marinated, so was the sleeve fish, though one skewer was too less to appreciate it fully. Being a sucker for mushrooms, I quite liked the grilled oyster mushrooms too. All said and done, the Skewer of the Year award belonged to the fabulous grilled fresh prawn.

The grills at BBQ STATION

The grills at BBQ STATION

The big lamb rib was a shocker. It was glorious in looks. The marinade glimmered on the dry skin. And the fat…oh the fat! The fat proudly paraded itself just under the skin, but visible enough to be seen and salivated on. Four very rich and ravishing rack of lamb that came with a dry dip of spices. Tasting much like a chaat masala of sorts, the dip did unspeakably amazing things to the already delicious lamb, making it almost sinful to leave any bits untouched or wasted.

The pig trotter looked more like a boney version of the lamb rack, so that didn’t interest me much. But the pig ear with cucumber looked fascinating and refreshing with the greens drenched in chilly flakes. Our friend recommended it heartily and the empty plate at the end of his meal proved to be his testimony.

So this place BBQ Station, also called BBQ Box in their visiting card and some banners, is not really a hole-in-the-wall restaurant. They have mini branches around Singapore, with the one we visited in South bridge road. The cuisine is Northern Chinese, with an extensive selection of fish, meats and vegetables (cold and hot) to choose from. Everything we had ranged from S$1-3 per skewer, with the big lamb rack being the exceptional $S18 and the pig ear and cucumber being S$10. A locally recommended BBQ spot that is definitely worth a visit during your next visit to Singapore.

BBQ Station/ BBQ Box: 262, South Bridge Road, Singapore 058811
Tel: 62216629. Open from 12pm – 2am.

*Our friend says the restaurant is PACKED during the meal times on regular days, so make sure you are prepared to wait a bit, or make a reservation.

The Best of Singapore: Hai Di Lao HotPot

Hai Di Lao Hotpot serves customers from 10.30AM to 6AM. Yes, you read that right. Their waiting room gives free-manicures, eye-wear cleaning, popcorn and fruits. There are rubik’s cubes, cards and board games to kill time till your table is ready. FREE icecreams at the end of your meal. And if none of that entices you enough, they serve, quite possibly, THE BEST HOTPOT experience in Singapore. Okay, well, now that I have your attention, read on!

Located in Singapore’s “holy-land” of good-times, Clarke Quay, Hai Di Lao (HDL) is a delicious dining spot if you are a lover of steamboats. The first time I decided to try it out, it was 9pm and I was given an hour-long wait, which I declined. The night was too young to waste waiting, especially in Singapore, where every other food stall looks promising with epicurean delights. So, couple of days later, I ventured back to HDL – this time at 1am, to be given a 15-minute wait, which I didn’t have the audacity to decline.

If there is ever a fun waiting room, this is it! One could opt to do a 20-minute free manicure or get their eye-wear polished and cleaned. Solve the Rubik’s cube and get discount on your total bill. Order your beer or munch on free caramel popcorn. Play with your tot at the kid’s play area or get busy with puzzles and board games. The restaurant has done a LOT to make sure your waiting time is as entertaining as possible.

Walking in to occupy our table, we were thrilled to see the size of the restaurant unveiling before us. What looked like a relatively tiny space from the street below, turned out to be an expanse of 691 square meters, good to seat 252 customers.

There seemed to be a lot of staff around, paying attention to every table, and every customer seemed to be wonderfully relaxed and relishing the gurgling sounds of their respective hotpots. Saleen, the staff dedicated to our table helped us out with our order selection and soon, I was able to submit the order on the ipad menu.

We went ahead with the 4 soup base hot pot, starring:
Seafood hot pot
Chicken soup hot pot
Local laksa hot pot and
Sichuan spicy hot pot

The meat selection was enough to go berserk over. Amongst other random choices, we included Cumin marinated chicken, sea prawns, black fungus and Hai Di Lao flavored beef in our order.

Soon after the order was given, Saleen came to us with a stack of aprons and zip lock bags. The bags were for our smart phones and luggage so that they were all protected from the splashes of stock and oil from our hotpot. We couldn’t help but appreciate their thoughtfulness.

The hotpot concoctions arrived and smelled magnificent! Each soup had a unique fragrant taste and desirable spice levels, with the Sichuan spicy hot pot ranking first in flavor and spice. Order this only if you have a fair endurance level for spicy food, if not, stick to the equally delicious seafood and local laksa soups. The chicken soup is cooked with black chicken, wolfberry and chinese dates, giving it an aromatic, herbal feel. We dipped our meats and mushrooms in the different soups for about 2-4 minutes depending on the meat and had a lip-smacking culinary experience. Between 3 of us, we shared a 4 soup hot pot with 6 half portions of meats and the bill came to 75 Singapore Dollars. Money very well spent, if you ask me.

We were too stuffed to try it out, but if you can, go for their specialty balls like the ‘urinating beef balls’, which are supposedly epic. Oh, and order the House Made Noodles, which will be made right in front of your table by their noodle-wizard guy, who is an assured entertainment with his acrobatics and expertise. On your way to the exit, snap a quick picture, post it on the Hai Di Lao facebook page and immediately get a print of the photo from the machine at the door. Pick up your icecream cups from the freezer and grab a couple of caramel popcorn boxes, all on the house.

Hai Di Lao has three branches in Singapore – the Clarke Quay one is their first. A must-try place if you like to dip your meat into delicious steam boats and have a guilt-free meal ridden off the MSG essence. Be prepared to wait unless you reserve your table. Or you know what, just wait and have some fun too!

Hai Di Lao: 3D River Valley Road, #02-04, Clarke Quay, Singapore.
Ph: +65 6337 8626/ 6337 8627
Email: xjp1d@haidilao.com

A night to remember at TRE

Actually, its quite easy to floor food lovers. The decors, ambience, service and presentation – all melt away into oblivion at the beautiful aroma of a butter chicken made with love or a seafood paella cooked with heart. So it is when we dine at a place that has got its food and act well together, we generally call it “ a night to remember”. And that is the kind of experience we had at TRE at the 49th floor of Nassima Royal Hotel.

TRE by Roberto Rella is spread across 3 floors of the hotel. The restaurant is on 49th floor, the lounge on 50th and the bar on 51st. The congregation of food bloggers met and hello-ed each other at the lounge. Drinks and canapés kept the buzz high and we found ourselves looking forward to an appetizing night ahead. In ordinary case, THIS ANTICIPATION spells danger. High expectations often cause high disappointments. But thankfully, this story has a good ending.

After the bruschetta platters and the foie gras canapés, both of which tasted quite lovely, we were ushered to the restaurant floor where a stunningly decorated dining table waited before us. The fully lit, festive Christmas tree stood right beside our table and presented a gorgeous something to gape at while munching on some delicious food!

The dinner started with sharing platters of octopus salad, greens, burrata with semi dried figs and balsamic, eggplant parmesan and the classic margherita pizza. The burrata struck a great combination with the fig, the eggplant parmesan proved exceptionally delicious.

The first round of mains came plated up looking too pretty to spoil with our waiting cutleries. There was a porcini mushroom risotto which was drenched in cheese and truffle oil – probably one of the best risottos I have had. Then there was the pacchero pasta with duck ragout which was unfortunately too al dente to begin with, and a fabulously creamy, truffle laden ravioli which I’m guessing to be filled with ricotta and spinach.

Just when the appetites were getting sated, the showstoppers came reeling in. Grilled salmon steak with vegetables tasted absolutely brilliant, though I would have really loved the Josper grilled Wagyu strip loin to be slightly more well done. But evidently, that’s a personal opinion at play, as later on I found many had loved the wagyu more than the salmon! So that’s that!!

By now, food coma was inevitable. We were undoubtedly a happy lot, being herded to the 51st floor where the Tre Bar was located. The live performer was already swaying away with the microphone, crooning beautiful jazz music, while the pianist did his magic. The music, the view, and the large chairs meant it was time to keep the phones away and just blend in to the ambience. That was until the desserts rolled in. The dessert platter, if I may call it so, had a mash up of Tre’s various dessert offerings, including a cannolo filled with ricotta cheese, a sponge cake soaked in custard and chocolate and a milk chocolate pannacotta with salted crumble and vanilla icecream.

A delicious rollercoaster ride with sensuous Italian flavors and great company sums up the bloggers dinner at Tre that night. While I was part of a pre-planned dinner, what makes me confident of Tre’s food is that it felt original. Things weren’t surreal with everything tasting splendid and staged. There were minor flaws here and there, but the general performance in terms of all dishes make the place a very safe bet if you are craving Italian tonight. And yes, don’t forget the view!

TRE – The Pricing Story:
Porcini mushroom risotto – Aed 120
Pacchero pasta – Aed 90
Ricotta & spinach ravioli – Aed 98
Char grilled Salmon – Aed 165
Margherita pizza – Aed 80
Burrata cheese (150g) – Aed 110

Tre is located in the Nassima Royal Hotel in Sheikh Zayed Road around the Trade Centre area. Reservations can be made at +971 4 4573703.

TRE Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

REVIEW: Cooking made easy with DinnerTime

I will not kid you. I’m NOT the best domestic diva you know. That woman who can dump random ingredients into the pot and cook up magic? That won’t be me. That mommy who creates fun-looking, healthy lunch treats for her kids? No, not me. That wife who keeps the budget tight with zero food wastage in the fridge? Nope, still not me.

So while I’m not a lot of things, I’m most certainly a deal spotter. I can evaluate the pros and cons of something and decide if it’s worth my family’s appetite. And it is with great pleasure that I found DinnerTime to be a service impeccably worth our attention.

DinnerTime lets you choose a menu from their website, order it for the week for 2-10 number of people and then delivers all the ingredients needed to cook it up, complete with a detailed recipe card.

The menu changes every week and are classified under standard & gluten free, vegetarian and paleo. With four dishes in each package, the cuisine ranges from Spanish to Italian, Indian, Chinese and everything in between!

Given the chance to choose a diet, I decided to go experimental with the Paleo menu for the week. The menu sounded pleasantly varied:

  1. Deconstructed eggplant lasagna
  2. Italian chicken fingers on zucchini pasta
  3. Ginger & lemongrass poached white fish
  4. Cauliflower & sweet potato curry

The website did not give the recipe to these dishes, but provided a list of standard (and quite common) items I should pick up from my kitchen cupboard– black pepper, cinnamon, coconut/olive oil, dried basil, dried oregano, garlic powder, ground coriander & cumin, paprika, salt and turmeric. Everything else required to make the paleo dishes were supposed to arrive at my doorstep on Sunday morning in a big DinnerTime package.

The package was just about an hour late, but it arrived looking loaded and promising! Opening it, I found neatly packed vegetables, meats and powders. Most of the items seemed to have been picked up at Choithram’s, with the eggs sealed and labeled “organic” from GoOrganicMe. Arabic courgettes, broccoli, yellow pepper, onions, lemon, eggplant, sweet potato, mushrooms- all were fresh and already seemed clean. Chicken was branded Al Rawdah, Beef mince was low fat, there was Savoy coconut cream, Goodness Foods Almond powder and Natco’s tinned chopped tomatoes. I could already sense a week of no food wastage – what with everything seemingly in exact required quantities and weights!

So, proving the husband’s constant wise words that “one should always keep one’s fridge with some empty space”, I began storing the dismantled DinnerTime ingredients into my fridge. The recipe card showcased 4 recipes with details instructions and I recommend reading the FULL recipe before you start your ingredient preparation. Failure to do that had me dicing my eggplants and courgettes differently and then wait for realization to dawn when I finally reach the specific point in the recipe card. There is advice on how to keep the supplies fresh, how to store the greens and herbs and an index categorizing the ingredients to its respective dish.

What I Liked About DinnerTime:

  1. Variety – All four dishes had great variety in terms of flavors and there was absolutely no repetition in techniques or taste.
  2. Quality – The ingredients were of good quality, whether it was greens, meat, herbs or tinned products. This ensured the meals to be super fresh, vibrant and delicious.
  3. Quantity – The meals were supposed to be for 2 pax. However, with each dish we had leftovers that could feed us for another night. So in our case, the package splendidly lasted for more than a week!
  4. Zero wastage –The ingredients were provided in ration, ensuring zero excess and wastage. There was no scope for vegetables getting spoilt, leaves wilting or meat turning old.
  5. Time saving – For a not-so-creative home cook as myself, I saved incredible amount of time by NOT having to plan the meals for the week and NOT having to do my grocery shopping. That further meant my impulse purchases were nil and excess spend was at an all time low!

What could be better about DinnerTime:

  1. Chopping – Almost all the recipes called for the vegetables to be diced or chopped. With my inexpert knife skills, too much time was spent on chopping and peeling, and perhaps a chopped pack of sweet potatoes or spinach could have been more efficient and helpful.
  2. Incomplete – While 3 dishes from my paleo package were meals in itself- the lasagna, the chicken fingers and the poached fish- the fourth dish of cauliflower and sweet potato curry felt incomplete due to the absence of a rice or roti to go with it. It does not make sense to include a curry in the package without something to serve it with. Perhaps, something that missed their attention?

So, that’s DinnerTime for you. A service that is a definite life-saver for those too tired to hunt down recipes, drive and do the dreaded grocery shopping, yet crave for home-made meals cooked with own hands! With a service like DinnerTime, the ground work is laid for you, all you have to do is dance and cook and make merry. Speaking of merry, here’s wishing everyone a very merry Christmas folks!!

DinnerTime – The Pricing Story:
Standard Box – Aed 320
Gluten free – Aed 400
Vegetarian – Aed 320
Paleo – Aed 420
Standard startup box – Aed 350

DinnerTime can be contacted via +971 55 7908733 or their website www.dinnertime.me. FoodKissed was approached by DinnerTime to experience the service and the quality of the ingredients. All the opinions written above are 100% honest and from personal experience. If you have anything to add/counter/question, please feel free to leave a comment on this post. Thank you for reading! 🙂