Shane working his mojo

Co-owners of MOJO, Shane and Sean posed for a picture with their celebrity supporters at the launch party. CREDIT: MOJO SINGAPORE

Local Celebrity Shane Pow wanders into the magic of Japanese fusion cuisine

Mediacorp artiste Shane Pow ventures into the restaurant scene with the opening of his first restaurant, MOJO. Partnering Sean Lim, the owner of an established hipster cafe Sin Lee Foods, and with the help of a little magic – the 26-year-old actor opened MOJO in Telok Ayer Street two days after Valentine’s Day.

Riding on the Japanese-style donburi trend, MOJO serves grilled protein rice bowls in the day and transforms into an izakaya at night, with a menu featuring yakitori, small plates, and beverages infused with Japanese alcohol. Local food writer Daniel Ang who blogs at Daniel Food Diary was delighted with the oriental flavour and variety of ingredients and toppings in MOJO’s day menu. The Japanese Furikake topping, which is a traditional Japanese condiment made of seaweed, dried seafood and spices, was also highly recommended by local food writer Toh Mu Qin – more affectionately known as Miss Tam Chiak, who finds that it accentuates the flavours of the rice bowl.

According to MOJO’s website, the restaurant serves food for the best folks and urges its patrons to drink sake and stay soba. Being the soba lover and dinner time alcoholic that I am, I could not wait to check out the restaurant.

I was delighted to find a wide variety of food items on the night menu which includes a selection of twelve traditional yakitori dishes and nine creative fusion style items for sharing. What really impressed me was its cocktails and spirits menu which consists of Japanese cocktails, whiskey, sake and craft beers. The restaurant also serves wine and champagne for those who are not into Japanese beverages. I was surprised by the length of the list, definitely not what one would expect from a place that sells protein and carb bowls.

The vibe at MOJO is very unlike the nostalgic Sin Lee Foods or any other restaurants along Telok Ayer Street. The modern Japanese decor is outstanding with cool pink neon lights arranged to spell ‘MOJO’ at the shop front, for a brief moment I was transported to the vibrant streets of Tokyo. The restaurant is airy and spacious with a substantial bar and counter seats in the front, and standard dining tables and chairs at the back. The kitchen can be observed through a glass wall lined with cute fresh alfalfa sprouts in pots on the ledge.

 

Stalks of cotton flowers hung from a glass ceiling creating a trendy and relaxed vibe. 

 

The restaurant’s choice of electronic ambient music creates a youthful and relaxed atmosphere without being too noisy. Unlike many other hipster places where having a conversation can be more tiring than work, my friend and I had no problem hearing each other as the place filled up. The soft and adequate lighting also enabled my pre-dining Instagram ritual. Snap-snap!

Like other restaurants in that area, prices at MOJO is reasonable but not exactly value-for-money. For example, a serving of three cubes of pork jowl yakitori costs $6. The cubes were small, about the size of a dollar coin, which made me feel slightly ripped off.

The Pork Jowl yakitori has the most delightful mouthfeel I’ve ever experienced with a piece of meat. It was served without any sauce or condiments, but the smell of roasted lard was so captivating that the dish felt rich instead of plain. The meat got juicier and tastier as I chewed at it mindfully, and I felt a tinge of sadness immediately after I swallowed it. Bye-bye, buttery goodness. If it didn’t cost that much, it would have been the perfect companion for my ice-cold Asahi beer.

 

Delightfully buttery and chewy Pork Jowl yakitori priced at $6 a stick.

 

Another noteworthy dish is the Uni Soba, a cold soba lightly coated with mayo and shrimp seasoning then topped with fresh sea urchin, scallops, and salmon roe. Having paid $38 for it, I found the presentation of the dish underwhelming. Can’t it be more uni, less soba? However, the sweet freshness of seafood could do no wrong. The soba was springy and each strand of noodle was evenly coated, it was very flavourful but it did not overpower the subtle complex flavours of the seafood.

 

Refreshingly cold Uni Soba priced at $38. 

 

The Aburi Broccoli ($12) arrested my nose with fragrances of parmesan cheese, mixed chili pepper, and citrus zest. The vegetable dish which is popular at Sin Lee Foods was well liked by various food reviewers, I was, however, unimpressed. Unlike blanched or stir-fried broccoli, the deep fried version at MOJO was overcooked and lacks crunch. The wonderful fragrance was not reflected in its taste and the typical sweetness of broccoli was missing.

Towards the end of my dinner, a friendly waitress came asking if we would like more to drink because she was taking the last order of their Happy Hour. MOJO’s Happy Hour begins at 12 pm and stretches all the way to 9 pm with 1-for-1 draught beer ($15) and wines ($22). I had enough of beer by then so I gave in to the temptation of their signature cocktail and ordered the Niwatoko-Ume – a blend of elderflower essence, Japanese plum liqueur, and Italian herb and fruit liqueur, served with a round ice ball ($18). I savored my delicate fancy drink sip by sip and enjoyed every moment of it. To my untrained palate, it tasted like very much like apricot jam with the oomph of good booze.

 

Fruity and delicate Niwatoko-Ume served with a round ice ball. 

 

MOJO’s signature cocktails were crafted by their head bartender Noreen Ong who previously held the fort at renowned Singaporean cocktail locales Maison Ikkoku and Operation Dagger. Bespoke cocktails crafted to diners’ specifications are also available upon request at $25.

The food may have been a hit and miss affair, but the vibe at MOJO is alluring and I find myself making plans to go back.

Quick update

There’s a lot going on lately! You already know about mother’s day, so let’s not talk about that.

May has been so busy! I wrote an experimental research proposal and film a video news report for the first time, both are school End of Course Assignment(s). Then straight after it’s exams. I have two papers, did one today, one more to go tomorrow.

But I’m already losing steam and starting to mentally unwind!

Partially because I just (a few days ago) received the birthday present I bought for myself! My birthday was on mother’s day, awks.

Anyway, it’s a manual juicer! I.e. a hand crank slow juicer at a fraction of the price of normal slow juicers from electronics shops. I am not sure what happened in the last twenty-six years of my life, I never knew such a thing exist!? It’s fantastic, makes juice with minimal pulp, environmentally friendly and extremely quiet to operate.

*Squeals*

I’ve been juicing for the last two days and this is my current favorite recipe:

Unnamed green juice that’s mostly sour, but also sweet and very thirst quenching

  • 1 green apple
  • 1 orange
  • half a cucumber (of course this depends on how big is your cucumber, my halves are around 10 cm long)

Makes around 350 ml, depends on how juicy your fruits are.

 

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Tastes better than it looks. Can someone name my juice recipe, please? I’m very uncreative now.
Manual juicer ezbuy
The awesome (and cheap!) machine from Taobao, less than $30 SGD with shipping.
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My birthday cake with heart shape strawberries and hidden blueberries, no-baked by my boyfriend <3.

Shall blog more on my birthday and turning 27 another day. Now I gotta get back to studying for tomorrow’s Managerial Economics paper.

Don’t forget to have a life

When it comes to managing your money, regardless of how much you earn, there is nothing more important than the 50/30/20 rule. I wish I came across this in my younger years, but I didn’t see this until after I was married with two kids. The 50/30/20 rule all began with the amazing Elizabeth […]

via The 50-30-20 Rule — Joker to King

I’ve always haphazardly stash aside some money for unexpected lifestyle expenses, such as having an urge to buy new clothes, adopting a pet, and attending a wedding dinner etc. Since I don’t work full-time anymore, I often find myself really broke after I pay a bill etc. and I’ve been digging into my ‘lifestyle budget’ for essentials. So having hard figures helps, hope sticking to it wouldn’t be too difficult!

 

90s vibes and celebrating Mother’s Day

I just discovered The Cranberries’ 2017 album on Spotify!

Her voice is so soothing and familiar (and haunting in a good way). Just the perfect sound to accompany my long bus ride to the other side of Singapore.

I’m meeting my family for Mother’s Day dinner tonight, it happens less than once a month so it’s precious. ❤

And I’m wearing a preloved dress from a dear friend. The floral skater dress is completely off trend now but I’m enjoying the throwback vibe today, now complete with a tune that lingers.

 

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It was really dark by the time I got to the venue, close to half-an-hour late.
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SPRUCE @ Firestation from across the road.
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We had two starters, four main courses, and two desserts in all.
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6/7 of my beautiful family, missing our eldest who has child-care duties.

In my family, conversations are mostly rapid and random, and often at least one person gets excessively agitated. Tonight, we talked about how Long John Silver’s (the fast-food chain) in Singapore used to be awesome with fish fillet bigger than an average plate. It led to the discovery that one of my sisters couldn’t afford LJS because Mom gave her too little pocket money.

She shared that she felt inferior back then when she compared herself with friends who have much more pocket money. But she is now the wealthiest and highest achieving one among us, so I guess Mom must be proud of her parenting.

 

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Mom and I in matching outfit ❤

 

In conclusion…

  • Al fresco dining for 6: $300 SGD
  • Quality time with family: Priceless

So, how are you gonna celebrate Mother’s Day this year?

 

What did it mean when she closed her eyes?

I adopted two fancy mice last week! I call them the Mousey-Sisters. I’m hoping to tame them into enjoying human affection, but I know that’s not always possible.

I was updating my boyfriend about my mice-taming progress. It has been pretty nice, and one of them kinda closed her eyes somewhat blissfully when I stroke her behind the ears. I think she’s learning to enjoy human touch!

In response, my boyfriend said…

“Maybe she was really scared? When she closed her eyes her whole life flashed by.”

I appreciate his humor but seriously, thanks-but-no-thanks for bursting my bubble.

Oh well, who knows? Only time will tell.

 

Poker in the bottle
Mouse in question: Poker

 

Fierce, twisted eagle made me falter

This is week 2 of my yoga fails. The pose that challenged me the most was literally called the Fierce Pose (I thought I heard it wrong, Google confirmed it’s the more intimidating name of the more commonly seen Chair Pose). Then there was this Eagle Pose that turned me into Humpty-Dumpty.

Yoga Chair pose
Beginner Yoga for Leg Strength with Melissa taken from Doyogawithme.com

Getting into this position felt quite comfortable, initially. For the first five seconds, I was marveling about the strength of my legs and how they can support such a shift in the center of gravity. But things get out of control quickly as acid builds up, my thighs were burning.

For the first five seconds, I was marveling about the strength of my legs and how they can support such a shift in the center of gravity. But things get out of control quickly as acid builds up, my thighs were burning.

I was supposed to hold it for over one minute, but no way. I begin to fail soon after the five-second mark.

Yoga Eagle
Beginner’s Yoga for Leg Strength with Melissa taken from Doyogawithme.com

Then I had to get into this Eagle Pose… I felt more like a drunkard goose than anything. I was swaying from side-to-side constantly. I tried to balance myself by stretching my arms out. That worked. But once I get my arms back into this twisted position, my whole body starts swaying again!

Separately (as in upper / lower body), the positions are quite easy to get into. The challenge lies in combining both twisted arms and legs in one pose.

I guess it requires a lot of concentration – which I have none today. It feels like 33-degree celsius here in my bedroom and I’m very sure there’s a lurking mosquito somewhere. But then the yoga ashrams in India must be a lot hotter than here and yogis there got to deal with houseflies… so my excuses are shit. I have a monkey brain.

By the way, I like this IKEA chair commercial from some time ago, it’s kind of relevant!

And if you’re wondering what happened, or should I say, how I failed in week 1. Perhaps I’d go through these blog posts and create some kind of challenge for myself after I’m done with this Yoga For Absolute Beginners course.

 

How should I deal with spinach?

I just bought a lot of spinach (ordered from Redmart, my preferred online grocer in Singapore) and was wondering what’s the best way to deal with them to extend their shelf life. Please help yourself to my Google findings, advice gathered from various websites (1, 2, 3) of unverified credibility…

  • Fresh spinach:
    • Pick leaves and eat them first
    • Keep spinach dry
    • Refrigerate and store in an airtight container
    • Keeps well for about 5 to 7 days
  • Cooked spinach:
    • Refrigerate within two hours
    • Refrigerate in airtight containers or resealable plastic bags
    • Lasts 3 to 5 days
  • Frozen spinach:
    • Maintains its best quality for 10 to 12 months, remains safe beyond that time
    • Keeps for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator (if thawed in the fridge)
    • Has to be consumed immediately (if thawed in water or microwave)
  • How to freeze spinach?
    • Wash spinach thoroughly and cut off woody stems
    • Blanch (plunge into boiling water) for two minutes and chill quickly in cold water
    • Drain off excess moisture, package in airtight containers or freezer bags and freeze immediately

 

I’m off to pick some spinach leaves and feed my dog, Twiggy, a carrot. She’s taking a break from her usual kibbles and had chicken sashimi for breakfast today, to cure her Itchy Demon.

*Fingers crossed*

She should by hungry by now.

spinach

 

 

 

My yoga fails, week 1

I’m currently following the Yoga For Absolute Beginners program on Doyogawithme.com, and I’ll be blogging about the times when I question the functionality of my body in this series. If you have ever felt embarrassed for not being able to do simple things, like touching your toes, or any other poses that everyone else seems to be able to do – know that you’re not alone.

Week 1 has been easy enough. I managed to get on the mat about four times, mostly doing neck stretches… a lot of neck stretches. I started to feel challenged when I tried following the fourth class.

The move I have the most trouble with is the Superman, lifting opposite arm and leg, alternating from side to side. I somehow just cannot coordinate!

I tend to put my non-working arm down on the mat while both arms are supposed to be off the mat at all times. By right, the non-working leg can rest on the mat for support, but I can’t seem to do that… if I have both arms off the mat, both legs tend to come up?

I was wobbling around like a boat in choppy water, can you imagine?

*Cringes*

 

Yoga Superman
Beginners’ Yoga for Shoulder Strength with Melissa taken from Doyogawithme.com

 

It has been a year!

*Coughs*

This blog is dustier than my grandma’s sewing machine.

It took me one year to find my way back here, wow. I didn’t realize i’ve been gone this long till i was showing my new boyfriend that i have a blog!

Yes, much has changed since the last time i told you about sticky bras.

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Confirming the previous point… I have a new boyfriend, and today we are celebrating our fifth month together. We met through a dating app and i’m pretty sure we’re in love. I’ll tell you more about him one day, maybe.

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About grandmother. My 92-year-old grandmother has become extremely frail. She’s bed-ridden and ‘eats’ through a nasal tube. Some days she remembers me, some days she doesn’t. She used to ask, ‘when are you visiting me again?’ without every time. She no longer does that. Seems like her days with us are numbered… but i haven’t been visiting as much because it feels like it doesn’t matter anymore.

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I’ve become a private tutor and i have 3 students. Spending time with children is making me feel young, not. I’ve become more motherly than ever. But i’ve already decided (with my new boyfriend) that i’m not gonna have a baby until 35…. so yea.

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I’ve been suffering a sickening backache for a few months now. At one point, thanks to google and Webmd, i thought my spine bones were gonna fuse together! *Shudders*

Friends think i’m ridiculous for thinking that. But anyway. It caused me to abandon my kettlebell home workouts and reacquainted me to the yoga mat. This website has been keeping me motivated for a lil over one week, i’ll let you know how it goes… I’ve also been diligently taking fish oil supplement which seems to help with the pain!

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One of my girlfriends, Gem, recently inspired me to adopt the 11-steps Korean skincare routine. She looks younger than she did about a year ago, and the products she bought from Qo10 are like $20 a bottle. I’m sold.

I went to find my long forgotten botanical skin serum etc (over a hundred bucks from the dermatologist *pissed*) so now my skincare routine looks like this:

  1. Jojoba oil (night only)
  2. Natural soap bar
  3. Retinol A. Gel bought cheaply from Bangkok
  4. Botanical skin serum from the dermatologist
  5. Green tea seed serum sample from Innisfree
  6. Clay mask bought cheaply from Little India or Volcanic ash mask sample from Innisfree (weekly)
  7. Sheet mask from Innisfree (weekly)

I’m really looking forward to getting the Cosrx brand Korean snail serum (highly recommended by baby-skin Gem) in my mail, that’s gonna replace my Innisfree sample.

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I’ve gone braless in public more than a few times now. I consider that an achievement unlocked… It has been one year and my issue against bras is getting more intense. I spent about one hour googling about the society’s issue against female nipples prior to writing this blog.

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Okay, that’s all i have for now. Sincerely hope the next entry wouldn’t have to wait for this loooong.