Saturday, March 30, 2013

Qoo10 Birthday Hourly Flash Sale on 23 April 2013

Online Retail Store Qoo10  is celebrating its Birthday on 23 April 2013 with Hourly Flash Sale from 1200hr to 0000hr for its popular top selling brands Longchamp handbags, Casio Edifice watches, OPI products at greatly discounted prices ! 

To enjoy savings of up to 50% on selected items, simply Click on this link Qoo10

Friday, March 29, 2013

Pizza - by Executive Chef Gero DiMaria at Ricciotti, The Star Vista

Pizza Facts
Pizza was not even invented until the 19th century, and it started out as a fast served food in the streets of Naples. 

The classic Pizza Napolatana consists of pizza dough, Pomodoro sauce, oregano, basil, garlic, salt, olive oil. The more famous classic Pizza Margherita was named after Queen Margherita who visited Naples in 1889, and was made by the pizza chef who uses bright red tomatoes, basil, and Mozzarella to signify the national flag of unified Italy. 

Those thick crust pizza traditionally from Naples are called Pizza Alta, whilst those from Rome are generally thin crust called Pizza Bassa

To make an authentic Italian pizza, you have to have authentic fresh ingredients, fresh herbs, freshly made sauces, and the pizza must be baked in a wood fire oven. You can decide to spread Pomodoro sauce on your pizza dough to make a red pizza called Pizza Rossa or you can leave out the Pomodoro sauce to make a Pizza Bianca.

Pizza at Riccioti 
At Ricciotti Pizza Pasta Grill, Executive Chef Gero DiMaria uses authentic Italian style cooking techniques with fresh ingredients, herbs, sauces and pizza baked in wood fire oven to present the best tasting pizza you'd ever wish for. To cater to every different palate, there are a total of 17 types of Pizza  flavours available on Ricciotti's Menu - Pizza Category: 
  1. Salmone 
  2. Quatto Formaggi 
  3. Frutti Di Mare 
  4. Al Crudo  
  5. Golgonzola 
  6. Carnivora 
  7. Asparagi 
  8. Gamberi E Funghi 
  9. Rustica 
  10. Capricciosa 
  11. Pizzotto 
  12. Calzone 
  13. Salame Piccante 
  14. Napoletana 
  15. Prosciutto Cotto E Funghi 
  16. Regina Margherita 
  17. Hawaiian 
For my food tasting session at The Star Vista, Executive Chef Gero specially prepared a thin crust pizza rossa with various fresh ingredients, fresh herbs and fresh sauces made daily : artichokes, tomatoes, asparagus, basil, honey baked ham, spicy salami, pomodoro, white mozzarella.

The pizza crust is freshly prepared daily at the outlet kitchen and made from scratch using key raw ingredients : salt, warm water, extra virgin olive oil, honey, yeast, flour (preferably 00, also known as doppio zero). The dough is allowed to rise till double in size. 

The fresh raw whole ingredients used in this pizza gives a rustic fresh chewy bite to the pizza. You can  taste the asparagus, artichoke, spicy salami, honey baked ham, tomato slices and all these ingredients give the pizza a sweet savory flavor. I prefer the thin crust Executive Chef Gero used as they are easier to bite and really chewable & crisp.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sweet Pizza - Mela, Nutella, Cannella by Executive Chef Gero DiMaria at Ricciotti, The Star Vista

This is the first time I tried out a Sweet Pizza. 

There are currently four flavours under the Sweet Pizza Category of Ricciotti's menu : Nutella, Mela, Cannella, Fragole.

Sweet Pizza Nutella
Executive Chef Gero DiMaria uses Nutella as spread & freshly toasted Hazel nuts as topping for the Sweet Pizza Nutella, one of the best sellers at Ricciotti. The Hazel nuts lends a crunchy texture, when chewed with the rich Nutella spread give a chocolaty nutty taste. This is my second choice dessert flavour of the day.  

Sweet Pizza Mela
Executive Chef Gero uses fresh Fuji apple slices as topping for the Mela, with honey & Cinnamon powder drizzled on top - this lends the Mela a sweet aromatic flavour.

Sweet Pizza Cannella
Executive Chef Gero uses Mascarpone as topping for the Cannella, with  dark raisins & Cinnamon sugar drizzled on top - the Mascarpone  lends a sweet creamy texture that blends with the sweetness of the Cinnamon sugar & raisins to give a winning combination. This is my favourite flavour ! 

Cozze - by Executive Chef Gero DiMaria at Ricciotti, The Star Vista

For the benefit of my readers who are not familiar with Italian Cuisine, Cozze means "mussels" in Italian, whilst Cozza means "mussel" (singular) 

Ricciotti serves Cozze in three different flavours:

  1. Marinara - tomato sauce 
  2. Bianco - white wine sauce
  3. Rosa - tomato & cream sauce 

Chef Gero pointed out that the Cozze (mussels) is 
sourced usually from Belgium. The Cozze in white wine sauce is served in a ceramic pot to ensure the mussels retain their warmth. 

Check out the succulent mussels that are juicy and chewy to the bite, and melts in your mouth. The white wine sauce really brings out the freshness of the mussels, and lends it a savoury fragrant sweet taste, that leeks of freshness from the sea. 

Chef Gero uses a dash of fresh parsley to add a refreshing flavour to the mussels. 

The garlic bread dipped into the white wine sauce absorbs all of the rich savoury flavour of the white wine. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Brief Background of Ricciotti - newly opens at The Star Vista Part 3

Ricciotti  Pizza Pasta Grill 

Background : The holding company for Ricciotti  (pronounced RE-CHOR-TEE) Pizza Pasta Grill is GGR. The restaurant is named after Ricciotti - he is the fourth son of Garibaldi, and used to be a general in the army.  

Owners for Ricciotti include 6 partners based in Singapore, only one Managing Director handles the daily operations of Ricciotti Pizza Pasta Grill - he is Mr Ottavio  Gori. Mr Ottavio is  a businessman who brings with him 40 years' experience from the hospitality industry, with 15 years experience in the company.  

Menu : Under the recent Franchise Re-branding Exercise, to the existing Pizza & Pasta menu was added the Grill Section with effect from September 2012.  The Grill Section was made available at all three Ricciotti Pizza Pasta Grill outlets : The Star Vista, China Square Central and Riverwalk.

The menu for Ricciotti at The Star Vista is the most extensive, with sharing Pasta portion for 3 to 4 pax. The Pizza portion has expanded to include  9 inch, making total two types of sizes : the 12 inch & 9 inch. Currently diners at Ricciotti can order up to two flavours per pizza.

For Ricciotti's menu in full, please go to 
http: //

Menu planning : Ricciotti revamps its menu once a year, with total about 120 items on its menu to date. 

Franchising the Ricciotti brand :  There are plans to develop the brand Ricciotti in future under franchising arrangement to interested franchisees.  

Expansion : Currently with three outlets in Singapore, Ricciotti plans to expand through offering  franchise to   potential franchisees with effect from 2014  onwards. Company has plans to expand its business into SEA countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia,  Thailand, Philippines, Dubai, and later to China as well. 

Operations:  Currently the three Ricciotti outlets are managed by Executive Chef Gero DiMaria who is from an Italian family growing up in the UK.  Chef Gero has total three Sou Chef, one at each outlet assisting him to operate the kitchen. 

Training :  Culinary Training of staff on Ricciotti's menu comes under Executive Chef Gero DiMaria who has been with the restaurant since 2006.  

Payment : Restaurant operates under a post paid concept where diners settled payment after they have finished dining.  

Food source : Ricciotti has a policy  of being true to its emphasis on providing diners with authentic Italian cuisine using authentic Italian ingredients (according to Executive Chef Gero )100% are from Italy. In addition all the sauces at three Ricciotti outlets are made in house at each outlet's kitchen. Ricciotti uses fresh meat:  beef,  chicken. The seafood such as shrimps are freshly frozen and all prepared daily at each kitchen.  

Central Kitchen : Currently Ricciotti does not have a central kitchen, however the three outlets maintain their standards by strict adherence to the recipes as specified by Chef Gero.  

Ordering : Table service is offered at Ricciotti. 

Promotion with Banks & Credit Cards: Ricciotti is running a DBS AMEX Promotion with  10% off food bill 

Catering : In-house catering is available. Email

Takeaways: Ricciotti offers takeaway for busy diners who order dishes on menu for takeaway. 

Booking for functions : Ricciotti provide booking for corporate functions, Birthday celebrations, private functions on ad hoc basis. Ricciotti recently had booking from NTU Alumni, another booking for function at its Riverwalk outlet. 

Ricciotti's Seating Capacity : 35 pax inside, 30 pax al fresco  

Website :   

Ricciotti Branches :  Currently three outlets. 

Signature dishes : 
Ricciotti Salad: Mixed greens, pork bacon, grilled bell pepper, shaved parmesan 

Suppli: Rice balls stuffed with beef ragu and mozzarella cheese 

Parma: Parma ham, mozzarella, rucola 

Spaghetti Marinara: Spaghetti with calamari, clams, sea scallops, prawns, cherry tomatoes in light tomato sauce. 
Linguine Al Granchio: Linguine with crabmeat in creamy tomato sauce 

Pizzotto: Bacon, mushrooms, egg, pomodoro, mozzarella 

1,500G grilled boneless whole chicken with Ricciotti’s spicy marinade 

Cannella: Cinnamon sugar with mascarpone and raisins 

Key points about Ricciotti Pizza Pasta Grill-
  1. Ala minute cooking  upon order taken 
  2. Authentic Italian  cooking  style  
  3. Emphasis on sharing  of food 
  4. Good value for money 
  5. Use of fresh ingredients, fresh (not dried)herbs
  6. No MSG used
Promotions :  One for one beer from 3-6 pm 

Wine promotion $28 per bottle (weekdays),  $19 per bottle ( Sat & Sun)till while stocks last. 

Marketing  activities :  Ricciotti  conducted a Kids Cooking Class on Dough Making  two years ago  

Restaurant is non-halal.

Merchandise on sale at outlets? Currently not available yet.  

Customer Interaction
Chef Gero do make conscious effort to mingle among the diners, spending time face to face interacting with regular customers at Ricciotti's three outlets.  

Target : PMEB, mature diners, families. 

Sambal Chicken - Beer Alley at SAFRA Toa Payoh Lorong 6

The second Signature dish at Beer Alley is their Sambal Chicken. 

The sambal paste is evenly spread atop the chicken chop, adds a spicy sweetness to the meat, made fresh at the outlet level daily from raw ingredients blended evenly : shallots, chilli, garlic, onions, dried chilli. 
The straight cut fries are fried just right and crisp and tastes sweet. The coleslaw is made from raw fresh ingredients prepared daily at the outlet, and tastes lightly sweet as there is fresh milk added to the raw cabbage. 

Laksa Hot Pot - Signature at Beer Alley at SAFRA Toa Payoh

I tried the Signature Dish at Beer Alley : 

Laksa Hot Pot The main ingredients consists of prawns, vermicelli, hard boiled egg, Tau Gay, cabbage, fishcake, Tau Pok, Laksa gravy. 

The fun part about the Laksa Hot Pot at Beer Alley is that diners get to cook the Laksa in the hot pot themselves as the raw fresh ingredients are served on a platter, together with the Laksa gravy in a Hot Pot. 

The chef at Beer Alley took effort to butterfly & devein the fresh large prawns to make for easier cooking.

The Laksa gravy is lemak and full of the core basic ingredients that goes into making a superb stock - lots of shallots, dried  fresh chili, garlic, ginger, galangal, onions, candle nuts, turmeric, coconut milk, etc.  

To really know how to eat the Laksa Hot Pot, check out the video I film with Rudy showing me how to cook the Laksa Hot Pot with the correct sequence for the ingredients. 

After all the ingredients have been added to the Laksa Hot Pot to cook, let them simmer in the Hot Pot for good 5 mins to let the ingredients cook thoroughly. Once cooked, serve the Laksa in a bowl to taste. 
I found the Laksa gravy to be really potent and lemak, but not too spicy, so its great even for children. For those who love a little more spicy, you can add the chili paste into the gravy. The prawn is juicily fresh, and not overly done as the fire in the hot pot seems to cook it evenly.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Beer Alley at SAFRA Toa Payoh Lorong 6 - Part 2

Background : Beer Alley is the third Food and Beverage outlet owned & operated by Culture Group, owned by four Directors - Chef owners Raymond Png, Edmund Lim, Desmond Png (all three trained in culinary school) & former Banker Leslie Khoo .

The group started as Culture Group back in 2002, opened its first outlet - Swiss Culture which was later renamed Atlantic Mixed Grill at Suntec City.

Edmund & Raymond were former Secondary One Classmates, army mates, colleagues, and now business partners. Desmond Png holds Bocuse d'Or in 2003, currently handles the Group's Operations. Leslie Khoo, a former banker, joined the group to helm business at Atlantic Mixed Grill. 

The Culture Group welcome the joining of Revada Food & Services to the Group in 2003 to handle the catering for major events SIBO, IMF, Formula One Grand Prix. The Catering Division under Revada handles Halal fare which includes Western, Local & Asian Cuisine. 

Currently under the Culture Group there are three major outlets : 

  1. Atlantic Mixed Grill - Ops under Sirhan
  2. Beach Culture - Ops under Kerine (Group GM, SHATEC Alumnus) & Fendi (Group PR, SHATEC Alumnus)
  3. Beer Alley - Ops under Rudy (from F&B industry).

Expansion Plans : The Group has plans to further expand into mini beer alley bistro concept this year. In addition the Group is venturing into the fast food sector in Singapore targeting to open four outlets in 2013.  

Training : currently group conducts in house training under Rudy for Beer Alley, under Fendi for  Beach Culture, under Sirhan for Atlantic Mixed Grill. 

Menu Planning : Desmond is the brain behind the menu planning at Beer Alley, and is likely to expand the menu yearly. Edmund handles the menu for Beach Culture, whilst Sirhan manage the menu at Atlantic Mixed Grill. 

Food Ingredients : sourced from local vendors. Fresh meat & seafood are delivered daily from local vendors. The cheese for the chocolate fondue for Atlantic Mixed Grill & Beach Culture comes from Swiss vendor in Switzerland. 

Payment : Beer Alley operates under post paid concept.

Ordering :Table service is offered at Beer Alley. 
There is a 10% discount for SAFRA cad holders.

Catering : the Group has an in-house halal catering arm under Revada for external customers.

Takeaways : The Group offers takeaway service for customers. 

Booking : Culture Group offers booking for functions on ad hoc basis. World Ventures team Asia Group held function for 400 pax at Beach Culture. Birthday bookings for  Beer Alley ranges from $8 per head. 

Seating Capacity : 50 pax inside, 50 pax outside.

Signature Dishes : 

  1. Laksa Hotpot
  2. Sambal Chicken (western food with a local twist)
  3. Pizza

Highlights of Beer Alley Kitchen

  1. Ala Minute Cooking upon taking of orders at table.
  2. Meats are marinated 12 hours before
  3. Brown sauce for the western set are sourced from vendors and to it was added the group's own spices
  4. All other sauces e.g. Teriyaki & Sambal sauces are made using whole ingredients.
  5. Toppings for the pizza are prepared daily. 
  6. Chicken chop for the western set uses frozen chicken whilst the two piece &  three piece chicken set uses fresh chicken. 
  7. There is no central kitchen, currently all meats are cooked at outlets. Beer Alley is currently non - halal. 

Promotions : Culture Group has a Membership Discount Card where members pay only $30 for vouchers worth $60 valid for one year. 
Birthday vouchers apply at Beach Culture - can redeem Birthday Chocolate Fondue on member's Birthday month. 
Groupon Promotion applies throughout the year - Laksa Hotpot at only $6 when Groupon Coupon is presented. 

Target audience : families, PMEB, SAFRA members.

River JOrdan and JOrdan being groovy on the disco floor !

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