Thursday, 30 April 2015

Sum Yi Tai

The private rooftop bar at Sum Yi Tai

It was a Friday and one of my best friends, Shaun, invited me to check out a new restaurant bar along Boon Tat Street. His main intention was to catch up over drinks however he said we could kill two birds with one stone here. Sum Yi Tai is located in the row of shophouses a few doors down from No Menu Italian restaurant. Upon entering Sum Yi Tai, I was transported back to 1980s Hong Kong. The bar has a distinct gangland vibe reminiscent of old Hong Kong gangster movies. The first thing I noticed is a black Chinese dragon hanging from the ceiling and along the wall at the entrance of the Chinese Tapas Bar is a mosaic artwork made up of hundreds of nicely lit mahjong tiles. The main dining room on the second floor is only open mid-May. We were brought up to the private rooftop bar and dining using a lift. The rooftop bar presents a different atmosphere. With rattan furniture, beautiful lamps and lovely Chinese-style screen dividers adorning the surrounding area, and an exceptional view of the urban landscape, it is an exclusive yet cosy setting that is perfect for an intimate evening with close friends. Please note that access to the private rooftop bar is by invitation or reservation only.

salmon skin with salted egg yolk

Chinese mojito served in a tim sum basket

Sum Yi Tai boasts a menu of classic Chinese dishes served as Chinese Tapas. As is the case with all tapas, the food at Sum Yi Tai is easy to eat and great for sharing. We started with the salmon skin with salted egg yolk. I love salted egg yolk but can never get enough of it when served with crab however in this case with every crispy piece of skin, you get a good mouthful of yolk. This was balanced off with some lime zest so the dish never felt too rich. I don’t normally write much about drinks however I felt it was necessary since the cocktails here are worth mentioning. I started with the Chinese mojito which was served in a tim sum basket. It was made using chrysanthemum rum and refreshingly good.

maple honey glaze char siew
Quail seasoned with five spices,
chopped garlic and served with a salt,
pepper and chilli powder

The maple honey glaze char siew was served in even thick slices. The slices of pork neck were well marinated with a good sweetness and because it was sliced thick, you needed to chew a little but to me it was a good kind of bite. Next we had the signature roast duck. Unfortunately even though the duck was tender and moist, it was soaked with a sweet brown sauce that made it a little too sweet and the skin lost its crispiness. The other bird namely the quail fared better. It was seasoned with five spices, chopped garlic and served with a salt, pepper and chilli powder that gave it an extra oomph. The meat of the quail was thankfully not dry like in a lot of other restaurants and more flavourful than chicken. By this time I had moved on to the Dai Lou cocktail which is their take on old fashioned. It was sweeter than other places with elderflower liqueur being added however still strong enough to accompany the bold flavours of the duck and quail. 

Suckling pig served with
Dijon mustard and sweet sauce

Good thing it was a Friday and good thing Shaun who has been here before knew to pre-order the suckling pig. The thin slices of pork came with a thinner slice of skin that was sufficiently crispy and it was served with Dijon mustard and a sweet sauce that was chutney like in consistency.

Carrot cake cooked with XO sauce,
beansprouts and dried shrimp

After having 3 courses of meat, even the butcher was happy to move on and what better way than to his favourite hawker dish, carrot cake! Many friends have asked me why of all dishes carrot cake but somehow I just enjoy the combination of radish, preserved turnip, egg and sambal chilli. The version here is different than what you normally find at hawker stalls, it is bigger pieces of radish and cooked with XO sauce, beansprout and a healthy dose of dried shrimp. The result is an explosion of bold flavours that sends your taste buds into overdrive. This dish is right up my alley. 


We ended the meat with a less flavourful but equally satisfying bowl of wanton noodles in chicken consommé. The wantons were served separately with some chilli oil. Usually you would devour a whole wanton in one mouthful however these king prawn wantons were big and deserved at least two bites so that you can appreciate the gourmet filling. I finished off my meal with a date the gangster. A whisky cocktail that was sweet like the night had been.

Sum Yi Tai is an innovative idea that marries traditional Chinese food with great ambience and good drinks. With more and more Singaporeans dining and drinking at the same time, they may have just hit the nail on the head with this concept. 

Sum Yi Tai
Address: 25 Boon Tat Street Singapore 069622

Click here to make a reservation

~ Andre Huber
Executive Director

Monday, 13 April 2015

Huber's Family - Chin San

It has been more than 6 years since Chin San joined Huber's and he is now fondly known to all of us as San. He lives in the western part of Singapore with his wife while his three school-going children lives in Batu Pahat in the state of Johor, Malaysia with his parents. Weekends are precious to him as it is the only time he gets to spend quality time with his children. Taking on a 90-minutes drive from Malaysia checkpoint to Batu Pahat is a weekly affair for San. As wholesale deliveries are also done on Saturday, it is almost time for dinner when he gets to his children. 

In late 2013, Johor's Sultan declared Friday and Saturday as rest days for the state. Therefore, San gets up at 6am on Sunday so as to send his children to school. He then picks them up after school at about 1.30pm before the family takes lunch together at home. The rest of the day is spent supervising the children while they do their homework. On Monday, San leaves home in the wee hours so as to beat the fast-building traffic at the checkpoint. He is usually at the checkpoint by 4.30am so that he could report for work at Pandan Loop at 8.30am. 

The saying goes " The things you take for granted are the things someone else is wishing for". San is grateful to his mother for taking care of the three kids so that he and his wife can focus on providing for the family. Instead of expressing this gratitude verbally, he goes against the wishes of his fatigued body and makes deliberate efforts to drive his mother out regularly for grocery shopping or to visit some relatives in Singapore during public holidays. His wife also takes over the cooking from his mother each time they travel back to Batu Pahat.

When San joined us in 2009, Alex (whom we featured in our newsletter sometime ago) was the only other driver doing wholesale deliveries. Today, we have 11 drivers. San starts off the day making wholesale deliveries. By about 2pm, he would be done with his share of morning wholesale deliveries. Then he drives to our retail store and picks up all the online retail orders due for afternoon deliveries. After work, San would rather spend time catching up with his wife on the day's happenings than to watch tv programmes. Would you be surprised to hear that San is allergic to alcohol? 

Monday, 30 March 2015

Tess Bar & Kitchen


Away from the busy shoppers and humdrum of the city, nestled amongst the low-rise shophouses along North Bridge Road is Tess Bar & Kitchen, just a stone's throw away from Raffles Hotel and Bugis MRT. Stepping into the bar, we were greeted by edison lightbulbs, rustic walls and wooden table top surfaces, a long shelf of spirits and a window looking into the kitchen.


To start the evening with cocktails and oysters, we had a Achar Mango cocktail in a Cajun-rimmed glass and Whisky Smash garnished with generous sprigs of mint leaves and citrus curl, they were small but definitely packed full of flavour and kick. If you’re game for it, go for their bespoke cocktails, simply request for one and the creative bartenders will create a concoction to suit your mood and taste. They have mouth-watering, huge Canadian Oysters that are going for $3 all night too, briny and sweet. I wished I could have a dozen or two but I’ve gotta save tummy space for more food lined up.

We soaked up the indie music and ambience, and forgotten all the stresses of the work week. The crispy pork belly screams “Eat Me” so we couldn’t resist but to order one to share – it has super crispy crackling skin and fat just bursts with flavour, definitely worth the extra 20 minutes on the treadmill earlier.


It took us quite a while to decide on our mains – shall we have Wagyu Cubes & Bone Marrow or Mushroom Risotto or Braised French Chicken Leg or … we finally settled on the Grilled Duroc Pork Chop, glazed with grapefruit reduction and apple chutney and the Frenched Lamb Rack on a bed of warm braised cabbage and bacon sauerkraut and sautéed brussel sprouts, paired with a bottle of crispy white wine. Our taste buds were spoilt (in a good way), having taste combinations which we didn’t think would work. Portion size was perfect as every plate went back cleaned!

Instead of having something sweet, we opted for Tess’ Cheese Platter. We selected 2 cheeses that you don’t get to see in most places - Swiss Tete de Moine which translates to “Monk’s Head” and has a sweet and delicate flavour that is rare for a hard cheese, and NZ Kapiti Kikorangi, an intense and decadent triple cream cheese with a rich network of blue veins distributed evenly.

The honey comb added a sweet contrast to savoury notes and buttery crackers echoes the milky creaminess of these cheeses, mmmmmmm. We can now sleep tight with a relaxed mind and happy tummy. Definitely coming back!

Tess Bar & Kitchen
38 Seah Street Singapore 188394
For reservations, call 6337 7355

~ Autumn Wee
Sales Executive

Sunday, 15 March 2015


Anthony first came to Singapore with his then-girlfriend-now-wife in early 2012. While she stayed on in Singapore after receiving an offer for the position of an engineer, he returned home back to the Philippines. He came to Singapore again in December the same year and joined Huber's as a butcher.

It seems there was a trend of making friends over Short Message Service (SMS) in the Philippines years ago. Your friend passes your mobile number on to someone of the opposite gender who then texts you on your mobile phone to 'make friends'. This is how Anthony got to know his wife: they texted each other on the phone for about three months before deciding to meet in person. They then dated for about six years and married two years ago in Singapore. 

Anthony's wife works shifts. Due to the nature of her work, both of them take turns to cook: she cooks on her off days and he cooks on his off days. Some time ago, Anthony's favourite food was chicken rice and he claimed to have eaten it almost everyday! Now? His favourite is Thai and Japanese food. Two things Anthony would rather not eat: offals and curry (he likes Thai curry though).

Usually seen behind the butcher's counter at the cold-cuts area, Anthony dreams of leading a simple quiet life with his wife and 2 children in future.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Artisan Boulangerie Co. (ABC)

Chef Albert approached us back in 2013 for some supplies to a new boulangerie he is setting up with a partner. He knew us back in 2012 when he was with Moomba and we were of course thrilled to be the appointed supplier. 

Artisan Boulangerie Co. (ABC)started off with a store at Killiney in 2013. By early 2014, it already had 3 outlets and by late 2014, they had a central kitchen where they produce their own meatballs among other things for all its outlets. 

With seven outlets now serving artisanal breads and gourmet food, I opted to go for the one at Vivo City. Having heard good reviews about it,  I was expecting a long queue (ABC doesn't take reservations) and was delighted to see a vacant table upon arrival

Orders are to be placed at the cashier's and while you make your way there, you see an attractive display of eclairs, tarts, lava cakes and brownies! We were disciplined enough to place orders for the mains instead of having only desserts for dinner. 

The Roast Chicken Sandwich and Beef Pie were served almost immediately after we returned to our seats. Made with roasted chicken breast accompanied with greens, sauce, sandwiched in artisanal baguette made fresh daily, the chicken baguette makes an excellent quick lunch. Considering how lean chicken breasts are, this was decent. 

The beef pie stuffing is made with chuck tender and green peas among other ingredients. Though the beef was flavourful, we wished it had been braised slightly longer. We also imagined that the pie stuffing will come with a little sauce such that it will come oozing out when we poke through the pie with a fork. As you can see from the picture above that the stuffing has been well-drained such that there is little mess. 

Both my partner and I agreed that the linguine in sour cherry tomato sauce stood out that evening. One serving of the linguine comes with five meatballs that are hand-made by ABC in their central kitchen. One could tell that the flavourful meatballs are made with real meat with no fillers. It is apparent from the colour on one side of the meatballs that they are first browned in the pan before the tomato sauce is added. I imagine that the sauce is made with oven roasted cherry tomatoes blended with some olives, herbs and some cheese. It had a tinge of sourness that is uplifting and different from the ones I have made or tasted. The linguine was done al dente and we hungrily devoured everything that was on the plate like hungry children coming home after school. If you happen to have a recipe for sour cherry tomato pasta sauce, will you please share it with us by posting it on our FB wall?

For desserts, I had the Salted Caramel Lava Cake while my partner had the Coffee Eclair. You can guess from the picture above that more caramel sauce had been added to the top of the cake after it came out from the oven. While the inside of the lava cake was almost cooked through, the additional caramel adds another level of sweetness to it. I would have added more sea salt to the caramel. 

The Coffee Eclair was good too except that we would both like it sweeter and with a stronger coffee flavour. 

~ Ariella Lee
Marketing Executive
Huber's Pte Ltd

Monday, 23 February 2015

Huber's Family - Gina

Gina, the one who makes sure that we get our paychecks in time, has been with us since 2009. Staying a stone's throw away from our factory/office at Pandan Loop, she takes a 15-minutes walk to the office every morning and does the same at the end of the day. 

Gina (in the centre) with her family

Though both her children have moved out three years ago to start their own families, they come back very often as they then get to enjoy the premium meats Mummy buys from Huber's! Japanese wagyu, Angus, whatever meats we have, the family has tried them all.

2014 was an eventful year for Gina - she was promoted to grandma. It was also the year when she lost her two dogs who had been with the family for more than 10 years - one was a Westie Highland Terrier and the other a Silky Terrier. 

Gina with her husband

Gina brings with her more than 20 years of experience in human resource administration. She was with an multinational company for 18 years as HR Manager until the company was forced to downsize due to a restructuring exercise. It was then that she joined Huber's. 

Managing all the HR activities, she enjoys working at Huber's for the family-oriented environment and the management's open-door policy. She enjoys a game of mahjong but haven't been able to do so of late due to insufficient players! 

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Huber's Family - Parimel

You may be able to tell that Parimel is one of the youngest in our Dempsey store. Living in Johor Bahru with his family, Parimel crosses the customs everyday on his motorbike to get to work. This is in fact his first job overseas. While studying accountancy in LCCI, he helped out at his uncle's DVD store for two years. At this point, I exclaimed "So you must have watched every blockbuster!" To find out if this is indeed so, ask him personally! 

Parimel and his family

After the two years in the DVD shop, he heard about an opening in Huber's from Vijay. He threw caution to the wind and made his first solo trip to Singapore. In a blink of an eye, Parimel has been with us for coming to two and a half years. I remember him being a man of few words several months into his job. It has been 28 months since he joined us and though he speaks a little bit more today than before, he is still a placid man. 

As his off days are during weekdays, he hardly gets to catch up with his friends. As such, his hobby is playing online games. Sambal is his favourite thing so he eats almost anything cooked in sambal! Having said that, he has reservations if you place a plate of vegetables cooked in sambal before him.