Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Rainbow cake

Got this light bulb moment when I was browsing through an 8 days eat article on 20 yummiest desserts in Singapore. Everything looked so yummy and I hadn't even tried one of them! Shows how much I've been missing out on the dessert scene in Singapore. 

Henceforth begins my (mis)adventure to try each and every one of these desserts mentioned in the article. And I hope to do so with 20 different friends so I have 20 different stories to tell.

(1) adventure one: rainbow cake at nom paterisserie

Rainbow connection?
Notes: a dreary working Monday made less dreary by thought of a generous slice of salted caramel rainbow cake. 
Company: 2 ex schoolmates whom I have been trying to matchmake for the longest time

Verdict: a little awkward but definitely a match. Besides ordering 2 slices of rainbow cake (1 with choc cream and the other with salted caramel) we also ordered a bevy of other dishes like chicken skin, smoked duck pizza and fish n chips. My vote goes to the beer battered fish n chips- super yummy and in generous portions too. Not too oily, yet retaining its crispiness after 1 hour.  Rainbow cake (6.90 a piece) was definitely a cut above the other versions I've tried, boasting a rich buttery crumb. Definitely a crowd pleaser. Almost every table ordered a slice. I personally preferred the chocolate to the salted caramel but my dining companions begged to differ. 

Adventure quotient: 7. It's in a nondescript community club in the middle of rows of hdb flats. Not v accessible. We had to take a train to Mac pherson, hail a bus from there and walk a little. Restaurant comes across a little sparse and the background music can get a little stifling at times especially if u sit near the speakers. Check out the retro dragon playground slide (for kids under 3 only)

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

How to save on meals in a Singaporean restaurant

There are 2 things about me which has become quite apparent over the years. One, I love to eat and two, I tend to overorder. After some self reflection, here are some tips I've come up with to rein in the fats and spare the wallet.

(1) Look for restaurant friendly promotions
You can find them randomly everywhere. Just to name a few: Peach Garden is shaving 50% off its dim sum prices on weekdays. 

Morganfield's has an opening 1 for 1 ribs promotion in the month of Sept 2014. Ah Loy Thai is selling food vouchers at Deal.Com at a steal. Off peak discounts can be quite sizeable too. Keep your eyes wide open but only go for tried and tested restaurants. I dined at Agrobazaar's restaurant a few days ago and was deeply disappointed with their "opening specials".

(2) Skips the frills
I went for a dim sum buffet at a 5 star hotel once. The price of the buffet was reasonable at SGD$45+++  per head but I almost fell out of my chair when I got the bill. Pickles, nuts and wet towels were charged as well as a hefty SGD8 surcharge for tea. Next time, I'll just politely decline these frills and skip to plain water instead, thank you very much.

(3) Don't be shy. Ask for credit card discounts
We went to Chili's last Sunday and the bill came up to almost SGD200. When the server came with the bill, I had to ask her for applicable credit card promotions before she told me Citibank offered 15% off. That's a SGD25 saving! Imagine if I had not proactively opened my mouth. Recently I also signed up for the Amex card, which comes with Feed at Raffles and Palate dining privileges. These privileges allow me to partake in hotel dining at a yummy 50% discount if the dining group comprises of 2 pax. Jaan here I come!

(4) Look for set meals
Once in awhile, set meals offer better value than ala carte, especially if you are dining in a group. I find this especially true for big Chinese dinners.

(5) Cut down on appetizers/drinks and share dessert 
Appetizers and drinks are great as an ice breaker while waiting for the mains but tend to be overpriced and costly at many places. Exercise some restraint and the bill can be substantially reduced. Order dessert last after polishing off the mains to avoid unnecessary wastage. Food that is shared tastes yummier in most cases.

(6) Make friends with the owner
A little love never hurts. After regularly patronizing a coffee shop for its finger licking black pepper crabs, the owner automatically gives me a 10% discount when it is time to foot the bill.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Lunch at the newly opened Wild Rocket

Mod sin.. A cuisine best epitomized by Wild Rocket. Many a fan heaved a sigh of relief when the restaurant recently reopened it doors after a short hiatus.

I've always enjoyed dining at wild rocket. But the location is really off putting. It's housed in a non descript hotel called hang out @ Mount Emily with little signage. Cabbies get lost a lot!

After a massive overhaul, the interiors look like a birds nest with bits of random wood pieces sporadically plying the wall. Atop the chef's counter rest origami crane shaped chopstick holders, hinting at some Japanese influences. 

Service is great. Staff know their stuff and are highly attentive. They also all happen to be male. 

At sgd33 for an appetizer, main and dessert, one really can't complain. I spotted chef owner willin low high fiving quite a number of well heeled executives in the surrounding tables, presumably his regulars? To survive in the finicky f&b business I guess keeping your regulars close is de rigeur. Too bad I'm not one of them. 

For starters I opted for a promising sounding swimmer crab congee. Turned out very ordinary but kudos for the cute presentation.

Really enjoyed my main even though it wasn't visually appealing. I opted for grilled snapper which boasted flavorful and tender flesh. The accompanying  liquid otah reduction was truly lip smacking and didn't overwhelm. Totally worth the additional top up of 4 bucks.

My khaki opted for the other main course available -Mee tai mak dish with minced pork and Onsen egg. Definitely more mod sin looking.

Dessert took the form of an old favorite- deconstructed strawberry cheesecake which I didn't mind topping up an additional 2 bucks for. Reminiscence is a powerful flavor and thankfully it didn't disappoint.

Coffee's not bad too! V fragrant.

Will I be back soon? I can't be sure. It felt like a visit to an old but distant friend.The warmth of the handshake lingers but the smile is forced. 

This is the menu in case u are interested:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Paying it forward at Menya Musahi Tampines Mall

We eat at the neighborhood mall quite often.. It's a convenient place to quickly grab a bite after a long day at work.

Neighbourhood malls are known for their standard template of franchised food and retail outlets. We had dinner at menya musahi ramen outlet last night, a relatively new brand which recently opened in numerous malls.

Ramen was mediocre for the price. At 16 bucks I had a portion of weak ramen broth with a measly portion of noodles. Topped up 3 bucks for some battered sting ray which was spiked with small bones. This is definitely my first and last visit. 

What made up for it was a heartwarming sight as I was settling the bill at the counter. Snuggled up at one of the tables, I spotted my neighbourhood provision shop uncle having dinner with his wife and 2 grown kids. They looked weary but happy. Indeed, a family that eats together stays together. Wanted to do something special for them so hubby and I made an impulse decision to secretly foot their bill. 

Best decision of the day. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Steak Alert at La Barca at Goodman Art Centre

If u are looking for a super private place to enjoy a yummy steak dinner, this is it!

Even on the eve of a public holiday, the restaurant was 30% filled, which is excellent for recluses like me. Ambience is dapper with airy white interiors studded with dark wood undertones, shiny cutlery, funky water glasses and freshly pressed napkins. 

To start the evening, we were served with a warm bread basket filled with interesting creations. My favorite is an glazed orangy tau sar piah looking one (sorry u can't see it.. It's hidden behind) which goes really well with lashings of butter. 

Steak (1.2kg) is juicy and comes medium rare from the onset. Served with a flourish after being meticulously sliced by the chef himself. The potato wedges tucked at the side of the dish are good! We also ordered spinach and mashed potato, which, on hindsight were totally redundant. 

Steak was tender and juicy, charred in all the right areas. We were also given a hot stone to sizzle the beef if additional "doneness" was desired. 

As I'm not a meat fanatic we also ordered other dishes to share, comprising 3 other starters (pumpkin asparagus salad, baked eggplant, lobster bisque) and 2 mains (squid ink risotto and beef lasagne). 

All the dishes were well executed and more-ish in portion. After awhile, the risotto started to resemble and taste like  buah keluak rice. My Peranakan alter ego must have been hallucinating. 

Desserts look interesting. A good friend ordered orange creme brûlée for dessert. She really likes the version here and gave two thumbs up. I wanted to steal a bite but was really too stuffed. Maybe next time. 

Some expat kids were playing with the soccer machine outside the restaurant. As we were making our exit, we spotted the cutest little 10 week old pug in town with a baffling name- "Darth Vadar". 

This is not some random cze char place to bring Tom dick or Harry. Prices are toppish but quality is guaranteed. Strictly reserved for special occasions with special people.  ;) 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Hoshino coffee @ plaza singapura

Always wanted to try Hoshino, having read superb reviews on their pancake toasts.

Having been forewarned of bad service, I thought I was mentally prepared but this was really worse than expected. 

There was only 1 waiter serving our whole section of 10 tables. He was a sour faced bespectacled old man immaculately decked in smart western waiter outfit.  While his English was impeccable, he was also prone to impatient outbursts especially when we clarified on credit card promotions and took too long to make our order. Water took ages to refill and we had to help ourselves in the end. 

What really irked me was how attentive the other staff suddenly became from the time our food arrived right up till the time we settled the bill. They were probably eager to close and couldn't wait to shoo us out. All our food arrived in a quick succession even though I had ordered a starter (soup), main (pasta) and dessert. It was a miserable sight watching my ice cream melt and my pancake toast turn soggy as I tried to quickly gulp down my soup and pasta. 

To add salt to the wound, multiple persons kept checking our order chit, repeatedly informing us that our orders had arrived.

For the record, the hoshino pasta (with bacon, soft boiled egg and shimejj mushroom) was nice but nothing to rave about. Miam miam serves an identical version, if not better.

Dessert was a hit and miss. The chocolate banana pancake toast (with vanilla softee) turned out to be disappointing with a strange bitterness within the batter. 

Faring better was the French toast whose  pillowy soft bread was well complemented by a dollop of whipped cream and lashings of maple syrup.

Don't recommend visiting this place unless u are into Japanese food photography and maybe, coffee. 

Basil @ Kallang Wave

wanted to name this post "the day Mee Siam Mai hum" coz this dining experience involves a chance encounter with our PM who happened to be walking past (with his entourage). But since food takes centre stage in this blog, let's move on to the yummy stuff instead.

First and and foremost, if u are reading this post and haven't yet made a trip to the retail wing of Singapore sports hub (love the name- "Kallang Wave"), get your butt cracking and do so now while it is still relatively uncrowded. Once word gets out, there's no way you can enjoy the beautiful and pristine surroundings in peace, much less take a contemplative evening walk along the glistening promenade.  

Local fare features prominently here with a slew hawker style offerings ranging from porridge (Aone) to bryani ( Bryani house), bak kut teh and kopi/kata toast (Old Town coffee). 

Fresh from collecting our World Cup winnings from Singapore pools, hubby and I decided to give ourselves a treat and settled on a chic looking Thai restaurant for dinner (Basil by Thai express). 

It was their first day of opening and there was a nervous anticipation in the air. Thankfully the staff pulled it together and made this one hawt dining experience I will not forget. 

The stage was set with this harmless looking Thai beef salad that contained more beef than leaves. Not a bad thing and v tasty too- except that the beef was waaay too spicy for our threshold. Our eyes watered, we croaked for more ice water and our tongues were so stung with spice that we couldn't really savor the subsequent dishes. Which was quite a pity. 

Drinks: I had a delicious lime Mojito (80% ice and 20% water.. Help! I need more water) while hubby had yummy Thai ice tea.

Since the restaurant is called basil, the interior was appropriately decorated with.. basil (naturally)

This is their logo.. I think it's quite well done.

When the other appetizers starting making an appearance, we prayed for some respite. Unfortunately this rice cracker dish with prawn and lemon grass proved similarly spicy. Thank God for the chilled vegetable sticks (wing bean, carrot, long beans, cucumber and cabbage) which provided momentary relief. 

Chicken wings were nice and crispy but nothing more. Or perhaps it was because we had partially lost our sense of taste by then. 

Green curry chicken for 2. For once this wasn't too spicy. The gravy is watery but palatable nonetheless. Order rotis for dipping. Kids will love it.

Pineapple rice was scrumptious. In fact, one of the best versions I've tried so far. Piping hot and perfectly speckled with bits of pineapple, cashews, prawn and raisins. Heaven. 

There's so much to see and do after dinner. We did a spot of grocery shopping at fair price/ guardian and gawked at rock climbers dangling precariously on walls housed within the mall's premises. Before leaving, we took a quick walk along the stunning promenade ("paktor" alert!) and snapped some shots of the main sports stadium.

Isn't the view beautiful?

For a comprehensive listing of shops pls click the link below: 

Overall a great place for all ages to hang out. Getting there with public transport may be quite troublesome though. 

Friday, May 02, 2014

Patisserie G at millennia walk

In a nutshell: Lovely cakes at exorbitant prices.

The tiramisu cake left me slightly tickled with wobbly coffee gelee exterior that tasted like a konnkayu bubble. Still prefer Da Paolo Gastonomia's version though. 

Signature G Spot chocolate cake was well executed with punchy notes of rich dark chocolate mousse and crunchy hazelnut. However the hefty $10 price tag left me a little wanting.

Pity I don't drink coffee. Heard they serve mean javas with fanciful froths.

All in all.. A costly experience to be savoured occasionally.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Shiok maki

Located as a standalone restaurant within food republic wisma atria. It's hard to miss this place given the perpetually snaky queue. Some refer to this dish as the Singapore bastardization of the Japanese maki- hence it's title "shiok maki". I couldn't agree more. Japanese food purists will be crying murder.

That said.. This maki really packs a punch like no other. Order shiok maki 1 which comes with an unagi filling and give shiok maki 2 (prawn filling) a miss. Smothered with fish roe and a highly creamy cheesy sauce, the sheer richness of the dish overwhelms. A generous dollop of wasabi perched at the side offers some piquant respite. 

Enjoy but don't go too often lest u suffer a heart attack.

Other good stuff to order: a pork wrapped asparagus roll drenched in crispy garlic and black sauce

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Shabu sai at changi city point

Alas! I seem to have caught the shabu shabu and sukiyaki bug. The dining experience here was much better than sukiya. Food is generally of better quality although the price is also slightly costlier. We paid under $30 for 90 mins of unadulterated gorging. The beef slices are definitely of higher grade than sukiya. Also thoroughly enjoyed the assortment of fish balls, mushrooms and somen. Of special mention is the sukiyaki soup base which was v flavorful. I'll definitely be back for more.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Sukiya @ Tampines Mall

Went there for dinner on a Tues night. Service was brisk and a little rough around the edges, with waiters jostling alongside diners for space. Food is buffet style with a good range of thinly sliced meat (beef is best) and assorted vegetables.  We opted for sukiyaki and shabu Shabu. Much preferred the latter. Dips are mediocre but palatable. For dessert,  Hubby particularly enjoyed the free flow soft serve ice cream sprinkled with peanuts. Overall a no frills dining experience for casual gatherings.  Damage: $55 for 2 pax


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