Taste Paradise: Wonder Woman media launch

For F*** Magazine

TASTE PARADISE
F*** samples Wonder Woman-themed dishes at the DC Super Heroes Café
By Jedd Jong

After making her big screen debut in last year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, superheroine Wonder Woman will finally get a movie of her own. Tying in to the highly-anticipated film, a homegrown marketing effort is rolling out Wonder Woman-centric accessories, apparel and food. F*** was at the DC Super Heroes Café in the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, for the product launch on 4th May.

Irwan Sukarman, creative director of JT Network, presented the Wonder Woman product line that will be hitting the shelves of DC Comics Super Heroes fashion and lifestyle stores in late May. JT Network owns the retail stores and the café, under license from Warner Bros. Consumer Products. Sukarman stated that the design principle boiled down to the three elements of “mythology, metal and strength,” to convey the “fierce grace” which is central to the Wonder Woman character. The items include tops for men, women and children, coasters, headphones, iPhone cases and bangles.

The product design competition WeDesign has partnered with DC Comics Super Heroes stores and Vendermac Distribution, theming this year’s contest to Wonder Woman. On 20th May 2017, the atrium at Bugis+ mall will host a design marathon where 120 designers will work on a given Wonder Woman-themed design challenge over a 4-hour period. The top five entries will win cash prizes, movie premiere tickets and limited edition collectibles. The winners will undergo the process of turning their designs into an actual product collection to be launched in the market. Head project manager Lee Kwan Ter unveiled Vendermac’s range of clutches, sling bags, keychains, pouches and laptop sleeves, which feature washed faux-leather and brushed metal details.

Chef Martin Woo explained his inspirations behind the special menu. Last year, the café also had tie-in dishes in the run-up to promote Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad. The Wonder Woman menu card itself is shaped like the titular character’s shield. Chef Woo stated that the governing theme in devising the menu was that of empowerment and vitality, and he wanted to emphasise the organic nature of Wonder Woman’s home, the paradise island of Themyscira.

First up was Themyscira: My Salad Origin ($16.90), which comprises cabbage, purple cabbage, green papaya, beetroot, cherry tomato, baby red radish, sliced carrot, sesame seeds and sweet corn in a creamy sesame dressing. This was largely unremarkable, and not unlike a salad one could whip up at home. The beetroot, cut into star shapes, was the most unique element of the dish. Chef Woo explained that to remove the earthy, astringent taste of the vegetable, the beetroot was wrapped in wet dough and baked before being sliced into shapes.

Our second course was Paradise Island Mac and Cheese ($18.90), inspired by the scene in the trailer in which Wonder Woman dives off a cliff into the ocean. The baked pasta dish comprises Conchiglie Rigate (shell-shaped pasta), a five-cheese and mentaiko (smoked cod roe cream) sauce, with prawns, white button mushrooms, turkey bacon and garlic. While we counted only two prawns in the whole dish, it tasted pleasant enough. Macaroni and Cheese is a go-to comfort food for this reviewer, and he was satisfied.

Then came the Truth and Beauty mini burgers ($22). It’s not sure whether Truth was chicken and Beauty was beef, or the other way around. The beef burger had a filling of ribeye steak, shitake mushroom, purple Spanish onion and cabbage, while the chicken burger had a chicken patty stuffed with cheddar and smoked mozzarella cheese, an onion ring, pineapple salsa, peanut butter, cabbage and a sunny-side up quail egg. The yellow bun was coloured with turmeric, and the pink with beetroot juice. The chicken slider was similar to the Superman-themed burger from the Batman v Superman menu last year, which also used peanut butter. The chicken patty was standard, ho-hum stuff. The beef slider fared significantly better, with the ribeye steak slices being remarkably tender and tasty.

For dessert, we had the Shields of Truth pancakes ($15.90). Each pancake was emblazoned with the Wonder Woman ‘W’ insignia, and they were served with strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, strawberry ice cream and a whipped cream topping. The pancakes themselves were sufficiently moist and dense, but the ice cream seemed awfully cheap, as if it was from a supermarket home brand.

To complement the meal, we had the optimistically-named Wonder Woman’s Box Office Power drink ($10.90), which came in a glass styled to resemble the character’s armoured bustier. An ice-blended salted caramel popcorn-flavoured drink, this was a dessert in a cup – i.e., really sweet.

As a DC fan, this writer always enjoys visiting the café, but just as we’ve said in our previous reviews of their themed menus, the food is akin to what would find in a theme park – in terms of both quality and price. It was a surprise that no Greek-themed dishes were showcased, seeing as Wonder Woman draws heavy inspiration from Greek mythology, and that seemed like an obvious direction to go in.

Wonder Woman opens in cinemas on 1st June 2017.

Wonder Woman custom action figure is the writer’s own

Task Force Snax: Suicide Squad menu tasting at DC Comics Super Heroes Cafe

For F*** Magazine

TASK FORCE SNAX
F*** tucks into Suicide Squad culinary creations at the DC Comics Super Heroes Café
Words and photos by Jedd Jong

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In Suicide Squad, the highly-anticipated third entry in the DC Extended Universe, a team of volatile superheroes are doing what doesn’t come naturally to any of them: saving the day. Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, Enchantress, El Diablo, Slipknot and Killer Croc, wrangled by Rick Flag and his bodyguard Katana, comprise “Task Force X” – assembled by government official Amanda Waller, they are coerced into running errands for, ostensibly, the side of good.

Following the tie-in menu launched to commemorate the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice earlier this year, the DC Comics Super Heroes Café at Marina Bay Sands Singapore is serving up food items inspired by the Suicide Squad movie. F*** was at the restaurant yesterday afternoon, having worked up an appetite for antiheroes.

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First up was the Katana Cut Chicken Miso ($38.90, serves two). The dish of roasted spring chicken with white miso, sake, shaved roasted almonds, sesame dressing, seasoned fries and garden vegetables sounded tasty, but this certainly didn’t make the cut. The miso and sake barely registered, and the chicken lacked the picture-perfect charred edge finish we were expecting.  Your mileage may vary of course, but it didn’t seem like it would be filling enough for two diners to share as a main course. A dish themed after the peerless swordswoman Tatsu Yamashiro should’ve been sharp and crisp rather than bland and dull.

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The other main course available is Harley Quinn: Laugh This Off, Puddin’! ($28.90, serves one) The fun-loving, loopy psychiatrist-turned-supervillainess deserves a kooky dish, and this certainly is eclectic. We’ve got a grilled chicken patty, turkey bacon, a fried egg, guacamole, tomato salsa, mesclun greens and vine tomatoes. Sounds relatively normal, doesn’t it? Here’s the twist: ho-hum burger buns are replaced with cinnamon sugar doughnuts, with crunchy peanut butter as the unexpected topping. The collision of sweet and savoury wasn’t nearly as jarring as we expected, though the surprising components weren’t quite enough to elevate the still pretty pedestrian burger. As Harley herself would put it, “close but no cigar, B-man!”

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The Joker’s Rainbow Freak Shake ($16.90), a combination drink/dessert concoction, is eye-catching. While the Clown Prince of Crime is known for his green hair and bleached skin, we get more than a few extra colours here. The vanilla-based shake is topped with rainbow sprinkles, white chocolate sauce, gummy bears and a chocolate wafer stick. All those wild colours are merely decorative however, and it tastes like your average vanilla ice cream milkshake. It’s visually exciting but boring on the palette – let’s hope Jared Leto’s portrayal of the Joker doesn’t mirror this.

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The caffeinated beverage Sweet-Side Squad ($14.90) emerged as the winner of the day by a country mile. Local flavours influence the drink, which comprises layers of Gula Melaka (coconut palm molasses), milk, black tea and a shot of espresso. It’s reminiscent of Yuanyang, known in Malaysia as Kopi Cham, a mixture of tea and coffee. There’s a great comfort factor in Gula Melaka which this reviewer finds irresistible, especially when drizzled over sago pudding with coconut milk. Mmm. Lest we digress, the Sweet-Side Squad does taste predominantly of coffee, with the black tea registering as a pleasant aftertaste.

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Looking at the colourful cast of characters in the film, we couldn’t help but think the DC Comics Super Heroes Café had missed a few opportunities. How about El Diablo Hot Wings, Captain Boomeringue Lemon Tart, Amanda Waller Waffle Stack or Killer Croc Bayou Gumbo?

DC Comics Super Heroes Café has an ongoing promotion from now till the 29th July: spend a minimum of $200 in a single day and stand a chance to win one of ten pairs of tickets to the film’s Singapore premiere.

Suicide Squad opens in Singapore on 4th August 2016.

Custom action figures are the writer’s own.

 

Post-Battle Bites: Batman v Superman stamps collection and DC Cafe menu press preview

For F*** Magazine

POST-BATTLE BITES

F*** previews the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice MyStamp Collection and chows down on film-themed dishes at the DC Super Heroes Café
By Jedd Jong

In anticipation of the blockbuster film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, F*** was at the DC Super Heroes Café in the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands for a media preview event. At the preview, both the exclusive SingPost MyStamp Collection and the café’s new movie-specific menu were unveiled.

“How can we miss this epic battle?” SingPost’s assistant vice-president of philatelic and stamps, Peggy Teo, asked as she introduced the collection. The Singapore Post has partnered with Warner Bros. Consumer Products in the past to commemorate events such as the 75th anniversary of the Batman character in 2014. This time, SingPost is releasing a limited edition 12-page hard-cover collection that includes three souvenir stamp sheets and a retractable lanyard. In addition to Batman and Superman, the stamps will also showcase Wonder Woman, who is making her big-screen debut in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

From 24 March 2016, The MyStamp Collection will be available for sale at all post offices, the DC Comics Super Heroes Café, the Singapore Philatelic Museum and online. The set retails at $69.90, but those who pre-order the MyStamp Collection from 11 to 23 March 2016 at www.stampdelight.com will be able to purchase it at $55.90, a 20% discount.
SingPost customers who purchase the MyStamp Collection will stand a chance to see the movie for free. The first 50 SingPost customers who post their purchases online and share the contest details or the product launch link with the hashtag #SPBATSUP via SingPost’s Facebook page will win a pair of movie passes.
The DC Super Heroes Café is a popular dining destination for families and is decorated with artwork, autographed posters, life-sized statues and collectible figurines. Consulting chef Martin Woo presented the menu items, which are available for a limited period from 17 March until sometime in April. Chef Woo explained his rationale for the dishes – since “Bruce Wayne can afford everything”, more luxurious ingredients such as foie gras butter, Alba truffle sauce, white prawns from the Sea of Japan and Wagyu beef are incorporated into the Batman-themed dishes. Clark Kent was raised on a farm, so the Superman-themed meals are comprised of “humble ingredients” like free-range chicken, organic eggs, tomatoes and avocado to convey a “sense of familiarity and homeliness”.
We were served tasting portions of the new menu items to sate our appetite for justice. Superman’s Free Range Chicken Burger ($27.90 ++) is made up of free range chicken patty, a sunny-side-up egg with Dukkah spice, guacamole, melted cheddar, smoked jalapeno and scallion pesto, tomato, lettuce and peanut butter on a buttermilk brioche bun, served with arugula salad and balsamic dressing. The chicken patty tasted very ordinary, and there was a piece of gristle in ours. The Dukkah spice and pesto, ingredients that were meant to be flavourful, barely registered and the bun was rather dry. The peanut butter did add an unexpected flavour profile and was effective in evoking a sense of nostalgia.
Superman’s Pasta Crevettes Carbonara ($28.90++) fared better. The dish of fettuccine pasta, a poached organic egg, mentaiko (cod roe) cream, red prawns, ikura (flying fish roe) and shaved Parmigiano cheese was rich and flavourful. The sauce was perhaps a little too thick but the dish had a pleasant smoked flavour to it. The mentaiko cream and ikura added a touch of fusion flair, even though they have nothing to do with the corn-fed Clark Kent’s farmboy background.
Batman’s Wagyu beef Jaw burger ($31.90++) stars Wagyu cheek patty, foie gras butter, cucumber, tomato, lettuce, shaved cabbage, melted Monterey Jack cheese, turkey bacon, apple wood smoked barbeque sauce and sesame dressing on charcoal brioche buns. The Wagyu patty was moist but a little bland; the foie gras butter definitely helped lend the dish a dash of decadence. Unfortunately, the turkey bacon and what tasted like store-bought barbeque sauce cheapened the dish.
Batman’s truffle pasta ($26.90++) was, like the Superman Cabonara dish, sufficiently tasty. In it you’ll find squid ink linguine, Alba truffle sauce, sautéed garlic white shrimp tail, arugula salad and shaved Parmigiano cheese. The nutty truffle sauce did make the dish taste quite classy indeed, with the squid ink linguine befitting of the Dark Knight’s preferred colour scheme. The sautéed shrimp could have done with more garlic though.
A common criticism of the character of Superman is that he’s boring, and alas, the same is true of the Superman burger. In this culinary face-off, Batman certainly emerges triumphant. Suffice it to say that we wouldn’t be the first to point out that the food at the DC Super Heroes Café is not the main reason most people visit it.
In conjunction with the new menu items, the DC Comics Super Heroes Café also have several movie tie-in promotions going on. The first 500 diners who purchase items from the themed menu will each receive a set of two SingPost movie postcards and MyStamp pieces. The café is also giving out a special movie-themed drink with every purchase of the afore-mentioned Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice MyStamp Collection.
In addition, 20 diners at the café will win a pair of preview tickets to catch the film at a preview screening on 23 March 2016, a day ahead of its 24 March release date. Terms and conditions apply.  
Action figures depicted are the writer’s own.