Too Much Ado about Mykii

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Mykii is one of those places that got my attention as I surfed hungrygowhere. It was so much in the collective food lovers’ consciousness that my foodie friend and I both had the place in mind when we agreed on a lunch place. Plus, it had taken over the space formerly occupied by the Holland Village branch of Marmalade Pantry. Had to be good, right?

We went for the set lunch at $16.80++ that included soup of the day, choice of main and coffee/tea. First up was the soup. The odd thing was that the server told us that the soup was pumpkin soup but later served us mushroom instead. She told us that there was still mushroom soup left (!) as she set down our soup dishes. How bizarre.

No matter, there was nothing to fault with the soup. It was earthy and thickened with lots of mushroom bits. The drizzle of cream on top was a nice touch. I liked it.


I chose the seafood linguine with laksa pesto and was a tad surprised to see it coming in a sizzling Korean-style stone pot. It was stupendously disappointing. First, the sizzling pot burnt the bottom bits of the pasta. Yes, burnt, as in charred to a (not-nice) crisp. Next, the pasta was certainly not al dente; it was the localised soft version. The prawns and squid were alright, overcooked in parts from contact with the sizzling pot. The worst thing about it was the “pesto” that certainly wasn’t. It was simply non-spicy laksa paste, nothing special. The only reason why this dish just about qualifies as fusion is that they used linguine and presented it in a Korean pot.


This is a prime example of having my food messed about with in name and conception. First, I can’t imagine why the restaurant thought to name it as pesto as there really isn’t much pesto-nature to this dish. It was particularly jarring because I’d only just been doing a series on pesto and had been musing about what pesto was and wasn’t. The name should be changed to something along the lines of “sizzling laksa linguine.” Next, the stone pot was such a bad idea causing so much to go wrong with the dish. (Note also how it made the coriander garnish wilt. Ugh.)  I can’t fathom what the chef was thinking.

Even though the dish was blah and OK rather than inedible, this was an unqualified FAIL because it hit exactly on my pet peeve that food should not be messed about with. I didn’t finish it, plenty shocking because in some circles I’m also known as The Hoover.

My friend had the panini with beef bulgogi but I was too despondent about my food to take a photo or ask her how it was. The saving grace was that we ended the meal with good strong un-wimpy coffee.

Conclusion? I might possibly be enticed back to try out other stuff if you pay me for it.

17d Lorong Liput
Holland Village
Tel: 6468 2838


Pesto Variations: Laksa

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Today’s instalment in Pesto Variations is inspired by the many laksa pesto dishes I’ve tried at various places around Singapore, some decent and some utterly FAIL.

By the way, laksa is also known as daun kesom and Vietnamese mint.


If you look more closely at pesto and laksa, you’ll find that laksa is remarkably easy to adapt to a pesto style. Both have some kind of root aromatic, herb and nut. Pesto: garlic, basil, pine nut vs laksa: shallot, laksa leaves, candle nut. The remaining ingredient in pesto is cheese, which adds umami to complete the flavour profile. For laksa, dried shrimp and belachan do the trick. I’ve used only belachan in this recipe, you could add or substitute dried shrimp.


½ tbsp belachan
½ tsp salt
2 cloves garlic
2 good handfuls laksa leaves
2 red or green chillis, or to taste
½ tbsp sunflower oil
handful cashew nuts
1 cake tau kwa, cut into small rectangles


  1. Toast the belachan in a pan until smoky.
  2. Combine belachan, salt, garlic, laksa leaves and chilli in a food processor and pulse till smooth, adding the oil after a few pulses to help the mixture along. You should get a fine-ish paste. The pesto is done.
  3. Cook the linguine to taste.
  4. Toast the cashews in a hot pan and roughly chop once cool enough to handle.
  5. Sear the tau kwa on all sides in the same hot pan.
  6. When the pasta is done, toss it in the pesto, adding a drop or two more oil or cooking liquid to loosen. Top with cashews and tau kwa.

Serves 2.

P.S. In case you’re wondering, the picture and recipe have been previously posted on my now-defunct account.

Pesto Variations: Rocket (Deconstructed)

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I like the strong, bitter, almost meaty flavour of rocket. It seems to be a love it or hate it affair with this leaf and I’m firmly in the love-it camp. Rocket works not just as a salad leaf to perk up an otherwise boring lettuce salad, it also comes into its own used as a herb in pesto. The fact that it’s priced like a salad leaf, not a herb, also boosts its popularity in eatdrinkcooktravel land.

I’m normally quite lazy when it comes to pesto, so lazy that I don’t even want to break out the food processor for it. That’s why my favourite way to make pasta in pesto is a sort of deconstructed version.



handful pine nuts
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 handfuls of rocket, chopped
parmesan cheese, optional


  1. Cook the linguine in plenty of boiling salted water till al dente.
  2. Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan, tossing often till golden brown. Set aside and chop coarsely if you can be bothered.
  3. When the linguine is about done, heat the oil in the frying pan and gently cook the garlic for a few seconds.
  4. Add the pasta, a spoonful of its cooking liquid and the rocket and toss till the linguine is well-coated.
  5. Toss in the pine nuts and season to taste.
  6. Grate over the parmesan cheese if you’re using and serve.

Serves 2.

Pesto Variations: Classic

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This recipe is the first of a loose series of pesto-inspired experiments. Pesto is a typical Italian pasta dressing. It’s associated with Genoa in the Liguria region, an area famous for olive oil and apparently perfect basil with the most ideal balance of flavours. Italian mamas make it by pounding garlic, basil leaves, pine nuts in a mortar and pestle, hence the name. Grated pecorino cheese is then stirred in to complete the pesto.

I’ve only made pesto using a mortar and pestle once and learned my lesson after that: it is long, hard work. Some people swear by using a mezzaluna for the job but purists just laugh. Now I use a food processor like the average sensible modern cook.

In this recipe I use parmesan cheese simply because it’s the easiest to find. Please use pecorino if you can find or afford it.


1 handful pine nuts
pinch coarse sea salt
2 cloves garlic
50-100 g (one supermarket pack) basil leaves, stems discarded
1 handful parmesan cheese, finely grated
3 tbsp best extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Toast the pine nuts in a hot frying pan. No need to add oil, just toss frequently till golden brown.
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse, scraping down frequently, till just smooth.
  3. Use to dress pasta or drizzle over minestrone soup. It can keep in the fridge for a while. Make sure the top is covered with oil.

Makes about ½ cup pesto.