Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sunday Folks

So much hype about the new hipster soft serve ice cream store from the same people behind Creamier. Was really tempted by the numerous posts and feeds that I just had to get myself some soft serve ice cream. The Earl Grey lavender soft serve comes dressed with lavender infused konnyaku jelly cubes, blueberries, some almond brittle, and soft cubes of cheese cake under all that ice cream. Not bad at $7.50.
Salted Gula Melaka Waffles ($11.50)
Creamier is well known for their waffles, and the waffles here met my high expectations. They were fluffy, soft and eggy, and their buttery fragrance wafted out of the kitchen. However, my soft serve gula melaka ice cream melted too quickly into a soggy puddle and I felt stressed trying to slurp everything up before it melted. I don't know why this isn't the case with A&W ice cream waffles.

This place is so hipster that I was probably at least 10 years older than everyone around me. Le sighhhhh.

Sunday Folks
44 Jalan Merah Saga
#01-52 Chip Bee Gardens

Monday, August 25, 2014

Alkaff Mansion High Tea

 Went to Alkaff Mansion for a lazy brunch on a Saturday afternoon. I was glad that I was seated indoors, and not in one of those outdoor tents.
 Starter of iced tea (apparently English breakfast, though it was too sweet for me to taste anything else) and bruschetta. The pasta was from the semi-buffet station - cream and bacon penne with a dash of truffle oil.

 Crepe Suzette
I know that crepe suzette is cooked with orange juice and liqueur , but it was all ready made, and just warmed up in the pan. I don't really have issues with that just as long as they serve it warm. However, when I requested for them to just warm up the crepe alone without all the orange juice, the server refused. Seriously it's not as if it'll be a fire hazard. I don't see why they are so inflexible.
 Condiments - jam and butter
The three tiered tea set (not refillable)
Bottom Tier:
The smoked salmon sandwich was sad and dry - so dry that I knew after eyeballing it that it had been left out for too long.
The other sandwich was a beef loin, with tuna, which I didn't eat.
There was a weird foie gras pate with apple compote and some weird dry bread which was yellow in colour (that no one ate). There was also a filler of a skewered piece of ham with a small chunk of pineapple.
Middle Tier: 
Some cupcake which looked rather plain and sad
Some berry (vague 'berry' - the waitstaff didn't know what kind of berry it was) cupcake
Blackberry-pseudo macaroon - custard- lookalike thingy
Macaroon
Top tier:
Scones (didn't try, the others said it was average)

The high tea includes a small buffet spread of the pasta (seen above), crepes, and some small cakes/bites.

The whole time, it was an amazing challenge to get the waitstaff to explain what was on the tiers. Even the manager didn't know what flavour macaroon it was (probably came out from a box, so can't really blame her). I have never felt such absurd difficulty getting them to explain the dishes to me. Ever. This was the first.

Plus, initially we ordered 3 pots of Gryphon tea (to share amongst 4 people) - one of which was the White Royal Peony (white tea, apricot, English rose), which I really liked. Somehow after about 4-5 pots of the same tea (I did try some of the other teas, but didn't particularly fancy them), they gave me a new pot of White Royal Peony, which was a totally different colour (dark brown instead of a light yellow) and taste. Assuming that they might have made a mistake, I informed the server, who said that he would check to confirm.

He brought back a supposedly new pot of tea, which was the same dismal brown colour, and insisted that this was the white peony tea that I had been drinking the whole afternoon. I didn't touch it after that.

At $47 nett, and with such a wide selection and unlimited changes/refills of tea, I suppose it sort of made it more worth it, though their food selection and service has lots of room for improvement. The dining area is really quaint, there was live music (violin + cello), and there was no worry about expiring carpark coupons and carpark fees. If the food and service was up to par, I would have strongly recommend this place, but it definitely wasn't and I doubt that I would be back anytime soon. Which is a great pity cos the ambience is really nice.

Go at your own risk:
Alkaff Mansion
10 Telok Blangah Green Singaproe 109178
Tel: 65103068

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Nektar

I don't know why I never blogged about Nektar, but its my favourite cocktail bars. It was a fantastic place to chill at - not only was it conveniently located near my workplace, never crowded at around 6pm, and had free parking. Sadly, it's closing down, and doesn't have a new place to relocate to yet.
Anyway, I was really glad to have an opportunity to try some of their drinks - they don't have a menu anymore cos they have a more limited selection of alcohols - just let the bartender know what you like and they'll work their magic.

Nektar
31 Scotts Road
Singapore 228225
Tel 6836 9185

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Naked Finn Revisited

So the last time I went to Naked Finn, I liked it so much that I must have gone back at least 3 times after that. And then after, my goldfish brain conveniently forgot about it! Until recently, when I happened to remember how deliciously mind-blowing their food was. 
 Their simple menu - my recommendation is to go for the set  if it's your first time there so you can get a broad overview of what they have to offer. And don't forget to add on the die-die-must-try kangkong - you'll never view kangkong in the same light again...

If there's 3 pax or 5 pax, I'll go for the 2 or 4 person set respectively, and top up a few other dishes along the way so that everyone will be comfortably full. They're not very flexible with changing dishes in the menu, so you will still have to eat the mesclun salad with oranges (which I really don't like), if you're going for the menu. They should totally change it to the kangkong instead.
Naked Finn - Chilled Kangkong, kalamansi and shallot oil
Their totally awesome chilled blanched kangkong with kalamansi and shallot oil. I must really find out how to recreate this dish at home or my wallet will be weeping. I think it's brilliant how this is chilled like a salad, and yet uses the very humble kangkong.

It's now served with a side of sea salt, I suppose, for people who would like a bit more flavour, but I find it perfect the way it is.
 I must totally find out their secret recipe for this beehoon. I'm really not a fan of beehoon, but this really give me hunger pangs and massive cravings. My wallet bleeds.

The condiments at the side - which I never feel the need to use.

 My peach cocktail - white peach sorbet (made in house, so that the cocktail remains undiluted and yet chilled) with Prosecco. It's always a dilemma for me if I should spend my money on a cocktail, or on their desserts (the coconut sorbet with chendol and gulamelaka looks so delicious, and everyone was eating it!) but cocktails won that day.
 Grilled baby indian squid with sea salt and olive oil. As good as I remembered them to be, but I think they didn't come as blackened as previously. Not that they needed any more help in the flavours department.
 Some people find the squid bone a bit annoying to eat, but it didn't particularly bother me this time - happily crunched the whole thing.
 Little neck clams in soup - light broth sweetened by the clams and a bit of fennel and chives.
 The lightly grilled razor shell clams with shallot oil - decided to try this cos I've tried the Vietnamese style one on the set menu.
It wasn't as impressive as I hoped it to be but nonetheless, it was still tasty.
 I remembered the scallops to be extremely good, but somehow my scallop was a bit too soggy for my liking. I'm not sure why but it was definitely much better the last time I was there. Perhaps it was the scallops off day?
 Decided to splurge $55 on the grilled lingcod cos I didn't want to eat the barramundi again. Basically,  a lingcod is a whitefish with large white flakes. It has the texture of a not-very-oily cod, and I can imagine how delicious it would taste battered in vodka and served with chips (see their lunch menu!)

Simple clean, light flavours, and minimally dressed with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It was really delicious but I don't think I'll pay $55 for this again. Perhaps I'll try it in the fish and chips form for lunch

There's been some debate online regarding the pricing for seafood that's so lightly cooked with minimal flavourings. Some people believe that with ingredients so fresh, every dish should taste good and there's little skill in cooking such fresh seafood.

However, I belong to the camp that thinks otherwise. Firstly, it's so incredibly hard to find seafood this fresh. And secondly, it's really an art cooking with minimal spices/seasoning and I am sure I won't be able to cook it as well at home.

I'm going back real soon for the lunch! Hae mee teng and lobster roll! I cannot wait.

The Naked Finn
Lunch Mon-Friday 12-2pm
Brunch Sat 12-3pm
Dinner Mon-Thurs 6-10pm, Friday- Sat 6-8pm (first seating) and 8.15-10.15pm (second seating)
Closed on Sunday
Please make a reservation - the place is really tiny and you'll likely be disappointed if you don't 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Bakery Chef

Along the same row of shops as Pan Delights, is Bakery Chef
The red velvet cake ($5.80) exceeded my expectations. The texture of the cake is heavier and not so fluffy, which is the kind of cake texture I like (think Plain Vanilla cupcake rather than Twelve cupcake texture). Also, there's a layer of dense cheesecake in between the 2 layers of red velvet, as well as a luscious cream cheese frosting on the top.

We also had the chempadak mousse cake. I'm a big fan of jackfruit (in it's natural form) and chempadak (in any processed form), so this was right up my alley. There were chunks of fragrant chempadak embedded in the mousse cake. Pretty interesting local twist to the usual mousse cakes you get.
Bakery cafe is also famous for their waffles, as well as their rainbow cakes (just need to call 3 days in advance to make a booking).

Do drop by if you're in the area - the cakes are really good, though the dining area is rather small and cramped. If it's too full, you can always hop over to Butterscotch for your dessert fix.

The Bakery Chef
Block 161 Bukit Merah Central 
Singapore 150161
Tel 62739211
Go to their Facebook for more information 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Fordham and Grand

Went to Fordham and Grand as recommended by Ms Type A aka the Pang Sei queen. Which was really not a bad recommendation, especially since she didn't do her last minute PS stunt ;P

So this is the entrance to the restaurant - had to whatsapp a photo of it so that no time would be wasted trudging around finding the entrance of the restaurant.
 Burratina, Cherry Tomatoes, and basil pesto ($20)
Burratina and all these other creamy cheeses are my favourite, so I'm always biased when it comes to these kind of appetisers.
 Corn Risotto, Artichoke and Kenyan Beans ($27)
I really liked the Corn Risotto, even though it costs a whopping twenty seven bucks before taxes, for no meat and just carbs and vegetables. The corn taste was so strong and distinct, the whole thing tasted like a really delicious creamy corn chowder. Wasn't a big fan of the beans though.
 Miso Eggplant, Shimeji mushrooms and jerusalem artichoke chips ($17)
Tastes and sounds better than it looks. I thought the artichoke chips were pretty interesting, but the eggplant was a tad too soggy and salty, probably from all that miso.
 Banana Cake, caramel, chocolate chantilly and vanilla ice cream ($15)
The banana cake wasn't too bad, and everyone enjoyed eating the chocoballs.
 Jivara Parfait, Araguani mousse and hazelnut dacquoise ($14)
I couldn't appreciate this parfait - or any parfaits before this one. Somehow I feel that a parfait is masquerading as an ice cream, but is not. Do correct me if I am wrong, but I just dislike the texture in general.
Velvet blanc - wild berries, lime and cream cheese ($14)
I really enjoyed this dessert, despite the lime (which I left aside) - wild berries granite and luscious cream cheese-cheesecake lookalike in a chilled martini glass. 
It was empty when we started, but packed to the brim when we were done.

43 Craig Road
Singapore 089681
Tel 62213088

Monday, August 11, 2014

Pan Delights

Bukit Merah Central has lots of new cafes and I am aiming to check them out one by one! Just a street away from Bukit Merah Central, nearer the library, there's a really nice little cafe, which has great food at really affordable prices. Actually, I did walk past Pan Delights a few times but each time they were so empty, we didn't feel like walking in to try (typical Singaporean mentality). I'm currently regretting and kicking myself for that, cos the food's really great.  Perhaps I usually go there during the non-peak pre-dinner time, so the whole estate is so sleepy and quiet.
Portobello Fries with Truffled Mayonnaise ($8.90)
The beer battered portobello mushrooms are really awesome and I was happy that we chose it as our starter. I'm not a big french fries fan, and spam fries which are fried too try and thin (in which case, they are spam chips and not fries) are really not my cup of tea. However, the portobello fries from Pan Delights really impressed me.

Thick chunks of juicy mushroom - I really mean chunks - with light beer batter, paired with decadent truffle mayonnaise. Extra juicy, extra crispy beer batter (can definitely taste the beer in this), and super delicious. I would come back again just for this!

MT if you are reading this, we should go and eat the mushrooms ASAP guarantee that you will like it too!
Hot Pigs ($13.90)
I had the Hot Pigs pasta - fusili with bacon and chopped bratwurst, with chilli, fresh basil and chunky tomato sauce. It was a little bit too spicy for me, but the pasta was al dente, sauce was robust and was really satisfying.
The scallop and prawns aglio olio ($14.90) was equally impressive - with lots of prawns (seriously, it's $14.90 and a more upmarket restaurant would have easily charged you over $20 for the same dish, excluding taxes). 

They have lots of other pastas including seafood marinara ($14.90), a very interesting sounding chilli crab pasta ($16.90), squid ink pasta with prawns ($17.50, which is also the most expensive pasta dish on the menu), smoked salmon and caviar cream ($16.90) etc which I would like to try soon. 

They also have mains, which I aim to try another time, but that day just felt like a day for carbs.

It's a really small cafe and I think they're quite crowded on weekday lunches? It's pretty empty at about 5pm (at least, on the 2 occasions I've walked past). They also have some dessert, but we didn't manage to try those.
Mind you, all these are nett prices, so it's really really affordable. Do drop by and give it a try!
Head over to their blog site to check out their menu.

Pan Delights
161 Bukit Merah Central
#01-3725
Singapore 150161
Tel: 9835 1147

Friday, August 8, 2014

Whole Earth

Tried the Whole Earth Thai/Peranakan Resatuarnt at Tanjon Pagar for dinner. 

The dinner started off with a soup, which was pretty unimpressive and unmemorable. A bit too salty for my liking but then again, my salt tolerance is pretty low.

I really liked the olive fried rice (brown rice option), which had a really intense umami taste. Nearly all the other tables around us were having this dish. It was very oily, just like the normal tzechar restaurants. Not sure if they use the whole olives or just the olive vegetable (tastes more like the latter to me), but I really liked the texture of the chewy rice, reminds me of a dry risotto.
Whole Earth - Penang Curry
What was impressive about this was that the 'meat', which is made from mushrooms, actually has the texture of real meat. The curry was very robust - lots of spices and I think there was even banana flower inside? Slightly too spicy for my liking.

I was actually debating between the mushroom kong bak stew (which is one of the highly recommended dishes) or the penang curry, but the server said that the kong bak stew was very oily, so we decided to go for the Penang curry.
Monkey Head Mushroom
My all time favourite dish of the night was the braised monkey head mushrooms with kailan. Though the prices was also astronomical ($25 for a vege dish!). I first tried monkey head mushroom at Li Bai at Sheraton, and I really liked the meatiness and texture of the mushroom. At Whole Earth, the mushroom is braised in a sweet and sour sauce, and has this incredibly interesting texture - which is very similar to meat. I suppose if you're vegetarian and want to eat something that reminds you of meat, then this is the mushroom to eat.

We had the mango pomelo sago for dessert - very underwhelming and I somehow cannot find my photo of this very forgettable dessert. We also tried their enzyme drink (about $10), which actually tastes vaguely like an alcoholic drink (not sure what exactly is inside, but tastes a bit fermented?).

Overall, there were hits and misses - I would definitely come back just for the monkey head mushrooms and the olive fried rice. Generally the prices here are quite steep, and I suppose if you want heavier vegetarian food, this is the place to go  - I found the dishes here to be quite oily, full of spices and chillies. If you're looking for cleaner tasting vegetarian food, I would suggest Real Food or Sunny Choice, where there's lighter, less oiler options. The restaurant was really crowded on a weekday and fortunately, we were early enough to get a seat but it filled up super quickly after. Do make a booking to avoid disappointment.
Tsujiri - Green Tea Desserts that never fail me 
Needed a proper dessert fix after so we hopped over to Tsujiri  at 100am mall for the usual matcha dessert.

Whole Earth
6 Peck Seah Street
Singapore 079331
Tel 6323 3308

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Teppei Lunch



I have finally finally finally made my way down to Teppei - but not for dinner, I think that the wait list of like 3 months is ridiculous. So one fine day when we were walking by and realised that the queue was non-existent (we were quite late for lunch), we decided to go in and try.

What's the difference between Teppei and Hanare? I suppose since they're sister restaurants, they probably share the same supplier. Of course, Teppei's barachirashi was better - perhaps it's prepared with more finesse, the marinate isn't as salty, the chunks of fish somehow tasted better than I remembered it to be at Hanare.

Would I queue for the Barachirashi during lunch? No. I'd rather save time and just go to Hanare, though I think I would really like Hanare much better if they weren't so heavy handed with the soya sauce.

For $17.90, it's really competitively priced and I would definitely be back, just as long as there is no queue.
Free flow of bean sprouts and crispy deep fried fish as appetisers while you're waiting for your food.

The restaurant was small and cramped - I had the most irritating dining neighbour who had super long hair and refused to tie it up. Her hair was blowing all over the place and onto my arm. Hope she washed it. I was fortunate enough that she left before my food came.

Also, I walked out smelling like deep fried food cos it's an open kitchen. Don't come here if you have got to go back to work or for an important meeting immediately after - you'll definitely be reeking of lunch.
As usual, when I'm in the area, we always adjourn to Tsujiri  which is still as good as ever. I really hope they open a full size joint like those in Japan cos I want to eat their savoury dishes and have their full sized parfaits without going to Japan!

Teppei
#01-18 Orchid Hotel
1 Tras Link
Tel 62227383