Birthday celebrations with the in-laws are done over a meal and usually, the birthday girl or guy would suggest the restaurant to dine in. It can be stressful (to me) because you want everyone to enjoy the meal and that means choosing a place that offers good food. Besides, my Peranakan aunt-in-law is an excellent cook and I didn’t want to disappoint her with any wrong choice of eatery or food! For Daniel’s birthday, a friend suggested Blend It Up, an Italian Fusion Casual Dining restaurant along Upper Paya Lebar Road. It took me a while to decide on this place because we have never had Italian cuisine all these years and I’m not sure if the older folks like them? In the end, I decided to go for this since I was told that the chef, Chef Peter Neo, has 35 years of culinary experience and the restaurant offers original handcrafted sauces, soups, pizzas and pastas made fresh from scratch and free from preservatives; they are created from the finest ingredients, authentic flavours. I thought about my two children and okay, the food is definitely suitable and good enough for them!
Quaint and cosy restaurant, I must say. We went on a Sunday for lunch and if you are driving, you might want to be patient with finding a carpark lot since there are many churches in the vicinity (Sunday service = many cars).
We were greeted by the affable Chef Peter Neo and after settling us, he asked if Faith wanted to have some authentic experience with making a pizza while waiting for two more guests to arrive. Why, of course! Okay, I have to clarify that my friend has helped to arrange for this. 😉
So yes, this uncle seemed nice enough and Faith warmed up to him rather quickly and before we knew it, she was having fun with making the pizza.
I’m not sure if such a one-to-one pizza making session is always available but you can always call up to inquire! What I know is that he is able to provide cooking demonstration if needed and private dining, cooking lessons and pizza classes for groups are available for customers.
The girl was obviously very excited about her attempt on pizza making in a professional kitchen under the guidance of a celebrity chef!
Minutes later, the Blend It Up pizza was ready! Absolutely love it and it served itself well as a delicious appetizer. How not to love this classic pizza with its crispy thin crust that is topped with feta and mozzarella cheese, mushroom, honey baked ham and completed with a sunny side up on top? The fact that Faith had a hand in it just made it delectable. I’m biased, I know but honestly, this is good.
Next up were wild mushroom soup and chef’s specialty chicken wings. I love mushroom soup that contains chunks of mushroom in every mouthful. This one had them and it was thick, rich and creamy the way I like it. Faith shares my love for this soup and we could tell which are the good ones because we always, always order mushroom soup when it is available in the restaurant. Pairing the soup are the chicken wings which were all snapped up rather quickly.
Chef then presented us with the whole grilled squid which is not found in the menu. But I was glad that I heeded his advice to have this served because everyone at the able raved about this seafood item. Granted that we don’t usually order this when we dine out but this whole squid was cooked well; it’s tender and juicy and I just love the seasoning.
Another winner is the roasted pork belly with porcini sauce. This is a request from my father-in-law since he loves roasted pork belly and after he had his first bite, we could hear his praise for this dish. Phew! The slow-roasted pork belly was tender and evenly marbled with fat. Love the top layer of perfect crispy crackling and the homemade Porcini sauce and the side of pineapple sauce make this dish truly delightful for all.
My auntie-in-law ordered the grilled salmon with butter sauce and loved it. Throughout the meal, I heard her commmenting, “This is good, this is good!” for the various dishes. It’s a high compliment coming from this seasoned cook. She further told me that she saw Chef Neo on TV before and updated me that the restaurant was featured on that day’s papers. I think I have chosen the right place to celebrate Dan’s birthday! *Happy mom*
Is every dish so perfect? I wish I could say that but there are a few dishes which we thought could fare better. Since we were in an Italian restaurant, I thought we should order risotto to try. We had the mushroom one and my sister-in-law and I found something missing from the dish. She found it too ‘jelat’ (rich) while I thought it was a tad light. The bountiful amount of mushroom didn’t impress the mushroom lover in me. It’s decent enough as a dish but not stellar.
In the end, Daniel helped to finish the remaining portion for this dish.
By dessert time, most of us were already full but who could pass with gelato and waffles? So we had two scoops of chocolate and avocado gelato on freshly baked waffle. The gelato was good but I couldn’t say the same for the waffle. I would have preferred the waffle to be more on the crispy side and the dessert would have been awesome. Nonetheless, the girl liked this sweet treat.
We had an intimate lunch in this quaint restaurant that seats about 45 people. Chef Neo, though busy in the kitchen, took time off once in a while to mingle with his customers. Many of the patrons seemed like old-time customers by the way they related to each other.
After the lunch, I posted the pics on my FB and was told that my friend was a regular customer and recommended this place too. Go for the 1-for-1 promotion that is only available on weekdays from 11.30am to 3pm (excluding public holidays) to get your money’s worth! 😉 Expect to fork out about $30/pax without the promotion.
The next time I visit this restaurant, I would be trying out some of the dishes that have a local spin on them. After all, this is an Italian-fusion cuisine!
This is a good place for a casual meal with friends and family. We recommend this place!
A little about the chef:
Chef Peter Neo is no stranger in the culinary and media industry. He has 35 years of culinary experience and was the former Chef di Partie at Raffles Hotel. His passion for the culinary arts brought him to Italy where he learnt to cook authentic Italian cuisine from some of the best Italian chefs. Upon his return to Singapore, he joined an established local Italian restaurant chain.He also began experimenting with fusion Italian food, creating witty and innovative dishes to appeal to local tastes.He is the man behind local Italian restaurant Pietro Ristorante Italiano, formerly from Raffles Hotel and Bruno, and his latest venture into Italian fusion food is represented through Blend It Up.
325 Upper Paya Lebar Road, Quemoy Building S(534946)
Telephone Number: 6281 2688
Facebook : www.facebook.com/blenditupsg
Operating hours (daily):
Lunch: 11.30am to 3pm
Dinner: 6pm to 10:30pm
Thank you, Chef Neo and team for giving us a wonderful experience at Blend It Up. The girl was thrilled with the pizza making session and the folks were really happy with the food that was prepared with much love. Good job! Thanks also for giving us a discount on the meal. Will be back for more.