Sunday, April 29, 2007

Royal Copenhagen Tea House (2)

Went to Takashimaya on Friday night to get a few things done, and by the time we finished it was about 830pm and I hadn't eaten dinner yet. We actually wanted to go and try Toast, but then it closes at 8pm (so early :( ) so we went to Royal Copenhagen Tea House. By the time we got there, it was past 9 already and the kitchen was closed - ie no more food! and warm desserts, but they still served cakes. So we tried the cakes and ice cream.

We got 3 cakes - from top to bottom - Sour Cherry, Blueberry Cheese Cake and Green Tea Cake.

The sour cherry and green tea cakes have more or less the same texture - quite grainy. I actually prefer the mixed fruit cake that I tried on my first visit here. The blueberry cheese cake is not as heavy as the coffee bean one, but then it's not the light kind either.
The green tea taste is quite strong and all the cakes only cost $4.50 per slice. (Quite cheap compared to Coffee Bean and Starbucks, and the ambience here is much better).

We ordered the ice cream, which comes in 3 scoops for $7 with nuts, almonds, chocolate sauce and fruit cocktail. Ice cream comes in three flavours - chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. My favourite one is the strawberry.

Island Cafe - Vivocity

I've been to Vivocity quite a few times now, and it's really full of restaurants, cafes etc. I want to try so many places including that cafe that sells Eu Yuan Seng chocolates (chocolates with red dates, green tea, wolfberries etc etc) and that dianxin place called Hei Se Hui.

I was at Vivocity with the main intention of shopping cos I was going to have a buffet dinner with my relatives, but then I was in Tangs when I chanced upon the Island Cafe. (So much for fasting before a buffet).
Initially, I thought it was some display set for the cooking ware, but then there were people inside.

Its actually quite a small cafe, located at the Island Shop section in Tangs. It serves fusion food (which I'm not usually keen for, but then I don't mind trying new stuff) and there is a promotion for Secataries week. However, we couldn't try the promotion cos we went at about 3pm.We tried the Island Soup ($6), which is actually Crab Bisque with coconut milk and lemongrass. It came served with 2 crispy and warm pieces of you tiao. I actually ordered it because I like the smell and taste of lemongrass (like the Bodyshop Lemongrass foot lotion - smells really good :D). The soup was good - a nice strong lemongrass taste and with just enough crab meat and I think a tomato base.

Next came the Spaghetti with Pomelo and Smoked Salmon, in Pink Sauce (Tomato and Cream sauce). Its a generous portion, and tastes quite good overall, even though I would have liked the sauce a bit thicker. Next, we ate the Seafood Avocado Pizza, which comes with prawns and crab meat. ($13)

The prawns were fresh and juicy, but the major letdown was that there was no avocado, which I was looking forward to. I had ordered the dish for the avocado. When I asked the waiter if it was because the cook accidentally left out the avocado, I was told that they did not have avocado.
Anyway, if you don't think about the avocado, the pizza is not bad - the tomato sauce is chunky and not too salty, and the cheese is nicely melted. Island Cafe is inside Tangs, near the Island Shop (Ladies Department)

Sidenote: My sis's friends are hilarious - there was once their bus passed Novena Square and the new wing Velocity. Then her friend said: "Veeelo-city is such a rip-off copycat of Vivocity"

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Chomp Chomp - Serangoon Hawker Centre

Went to Chomp Chomp Hawker Centre at Serangoon Gardens. The last time I went was super super super long ago. Lots of stalls have change I really don't know which one is the best stall for satay, but the goreng pisang stall is still there.

Anyway, I went there cos I wanted to eat the egg beancurd. It's not like the ordinary bean curd cos there is egg inside. I think it originated from Taiwan. The beancurd is more gelatineous and doesn't break as easily as the normal one. It doesn't really taste like the normal bean curd, and is more milky and jelly like. There are many different types of toppings, including tang yuan (glutinous rice balls with seaseme), nata de coco, ginko nuts, red bean, yam paste, honey sea coconut, aloe vera, QQ balls etc etc. If you have it plain, it costs $1.50 and with toppings, $1.80.
It's yellow in colour cos of the egg I suppose.

Next, I ate the satay bee hoon, which is on my must-eat list whenever i go to chompchomp. I like it alot cos it isn't overly spicy so that you can taste the sweetness of the satay sauce. I don't believe in adding chilli to my food, and especially when the dish is too hot and drowning in chilli taste that you can't taste anything else. Might as well eat just plain rice and chilli since you can't even taste anything.
This one comes with lots of cuttlefish (which I like), cockles (even better) and lean pork, fried bean curd and kangkong and prawns. That's my mother dividing out the noodles cos we were sharing.And this is her eating while i'm trying to get a good picture of it. -_-"

Then, we ate satay. 5 sticks of mutton, 5 sticks of chicken. It was a chinese satay stall but then I didn't order pork cos I usually prefer chicken and mutton :D It's usually softer than the pork.

Satay with cucumbers and no onions (cos I don't like raw onions). I usually ask them to give me more cucumbers in place of the onions, and I like dipping them in the satay sauce. I don't eat the kutupat (rice in coconut leaves) cos I rather spend my stomach space on other foods.

Next I decided to try the popiah cos the stall had sooo many signs saying that it was voted Life!'s Top 8 Popiah. So must try. There is an option to add chicken/pork floss, seafood (like prawn, crab stick etc etc) but I decided to try the plain one cos that is the best way to see if the fillings taste good. It's $1.30 for the normal popiah, and about $1.80 for the ones with floss. For $1.30 I guess it's not too bad - the lettuce is thinly sliced (unlike most stalls which put a whole lettuce leaf inside) and the turnip filling is slightly crunchy and not soggy. But my favourite popiah is at Queenstown, in Mei Ling Street Hawker Centre - however I may be biased cos I've been eating it since I remembered (it's only $1 per roll, but can't really compare price cos that place is really really old and thus much cheaper rent).

Then we decided we wanted to eat the char kway teow but then not enough space (getting full already) so we decided on the zero carb option of cockles with bean sprouts.

Good for iron so you won't become anaemic. Its stir fried in a bit of egg, so it's essentially Char Kway Teow without the Kway Teow. Yum! I still don't know why people eat char kway teow without the cockles - It's the defining ingredient of the whole dish...

But then again, it's really dirty - I've heard that they feed the cockles chicken shit or something like that but I don't know how true that is.

Then, my pizza from Devon's Daddy's Pizza arrived. It takes about 10-15min to bake. It's a thin crust pizza, and a one person portion costs $5. There is a choice of any 4 ingredients from chicken sausage, ham, bacon, pineapple, grilled peppers, button mushroom, onion, corn etcNot bad for a $5 pizza - it's really unique cos i think this is the first pizza store to be set up in a hawker centre?

Another place to get $5 pizzas is Anchor Point Food Junction. There is this pizza store which gives lots and lots of toppings for $5 and the pizza comes with any amount of topping you want from a list, and no extra charge if you want ALL the toppings.

To end the meal, we had Goreng Pisang (Deep Fried Banana), which I haven't eaten since the Somerset Goreng Pisang renovated.
There were 2 choices of goreng pisang, one was 60cents the other was 80cents. According to the lady boss, the 80cents Raja banana was sweeter and thus better. So since 20 cents wasn't an issue, and because of my firm belief that if you want to eat something lardy, don't waste calories on inferior stuff. (ie don't eat those cheapskate oily chocolates which don't taste good when you can eat Royce - it's prob the same amount of calories, but more satisfaction).

The bananas were freshly fried and very sweet as the lady promised, and with the melt in the mouth texture of good Goreng Pisang.

Too bad Chomp Chomp isn't near my house or not I'm sure to visit it more often.

Shimbashi Soba - Paragon

Shimbashi Soba is a tiny restaurant in Paragon. Its speciality is none other than soba - if you go past you will sometimes see the soba chef making none other than soba in the little glass container (it must be very hard cos everyone keeps peering in and taking photos of him, a bit like an animal display). But this shows that the soba here is really freshly made and hand made.

I usually eat here when I am too lazy, tired or hungry to think of where to go since it's
not so heavy or pricey.

The lunch menu is much cheaper and has quite a few sets to choose from. For dinner, it's about $23++ for the Set C, which you see below.

You can either have the soba warm or cold, and i think you have the option to change it to udon too. I like the soba (especially the idea that it's fresh and hand made, without all the preservatives).

Set C consists of soba served with sashimi, tempura and grilled fish and sweet egg.
Nice, light and un-oily noodles. I don't usually drink the soup cos I find it quite salty. Most authentic japanese soups are anyway. I guess it's a different taste from ours.
Grilled fish and egg.
Salmon sashimi. Yum :D

This place gets pretty crowded during weekends dinnertime, and sometimes you may be seated on a table facing outside with very little privacy. Other than that, the food is refreshing and I usually come here if i can't think of anywhere to go.


Went to Shashlik at Far East Shopping Centre yesterday. It's like a step back in time (the whole far east shopping centre is...) and the whole restaurant is really old school. The lighting is old school, the tables are old school, even the waiters and waitresses have old school uniforms. It reminded me of the Jacks Place restaurants (before they changed) that i used to go to, where everything was dark and the table was lit by 2 small flickering candles.

(It's a bit like Troika (sp?) which is now called Borsch Restaurant i think?)

Anyway, Shashlik serves Russian food and it's speciality is supposed to be the bosch soup but I didn't have that since I don't eat beef. (Yes I don't eat beef, I haven't eaten it for 7 years and the only thing I miss is Mushroom Swiss and Double Cheese Burgers.)

Caviar ($12)
Sorry I can't really appreciate it - reminds me of the roe I eat in japanese restaurants. But it was nice to try something I don't usually eat. I tried the Shashlik of Lamb ($18). They also have it in Chicken and Beef - which is supposed to be really good) and it came skewered on this long stick. And they bring out all the meals on a trolley (so retro) and then the waiter de-skewered it and put it onto my hot plate. The portions are generous, and it comes with a side plate of russian salad (it's like coleslaw, and has a sweet-sour taste)
The beef is supposed to be better - they have many variations for the beef dishes, including Carpetbag steak, Garlic Steak, Sirloin, Shashlik etc etc. The beef looked tender and juicy, and the portions are good for the price.

They had a set lunch for $11++ and it comes with the Soup of the Day (Cream of Corn), Fried Fish Fillet, Dessert of the Day (Peaches and Cream - Canned peaches with whipped cream) and Coffee/Tea.
The set lunch changes every day and I think they have Oxtail Soup on one of the days and that is supposed to be very good.

Onto desserts!

We tried the Baked Alaska ($16 for 2 people) and the Bliney something I-cant-recall-the-name but it's Crepes with orange butter sauce. The desserts came on a trolley, and a stove (to cook the crepe in).

The Baked Alaska is a towering heap of lots of whipped cream, and icecream. The impressive part was the flaming - the waitress poured the flaming liquer over the baked alaska and a bit spilt out, so we had a partially flaming table too.

Burnt whipped cream
The crepes are cooked at the table side, on the trusty trolley, with the portable stove. But I didn't try it cos there was orange juice inside, which i do not eat.

Shashlik Restaurant is on Level 6 Far East Shopping Centre (Not Far East Plaza)

Lunch time ends at 2.30pm and last orders are at 2.15pm.

After that, I went to Chinatown Yum Cha Restaurant (somewhere near Pagoda/Trengannu Street) but then i didn't manage to get many photos cos dian xin tastes best when hot.

They have a high tea buffet from 3-6pm mondays to fridays and it costs $16.80++ for adults, and $12.80 for children (less than 12 years old)

If you visit their website, you can print out a voucher which will let you enjoy it for $15 nett. This promotion will be on till 31st May so don't wait go eat Yum Cha Buffet - it's really good!!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Peach Garden (Novena) - UOB 1-1 promotion

UOB has a 1 - for - 1 special at Peach Garden, so we decided to have dinner there. I've been there twice before, and the food was good, even though i don't really like chinese food. I particularly liked the venison.

We had the UOB special set menu, which had 6 courses including dessert.

The starter was Roast Sliced Duck accompanied with Fried Crispy Silver Bait, which, unfortunately, in my hungry state, I forgot to take a photo of :( It was 2 pieces of roast duck and a nice little pile of silver bait. I quite liked the duck but the portion was too small :(

Next, there was Double Boiled Seafood Soup and Bamboo Pith in Golden melon (this is old cucumber). The soup was very tasty and I ate my whole melon cos I was very hungry. I made a hole and a bit of my soup leaked out :S
Then the dish I was waiting for in eager anticipation was the Wok Fried Diced Venision with Black Peppercon.
Sadly, it was a mere THREE pieces of meat, though it was tender and juicy, I was pretty sure by this time the set wasn't going to be filling enough for me. Then again, it was the 1-for-1 menu...

Next was Poached Baby Cabbage in Honshimeji Mushrooms in Sharks Bone Cartilage Soup. The soup was a nice creamy emulsion and I really liked this dish, and it came garnished with wolfberries too. Stewed Noodle with Live Prawn and Scallop in X.O. Sauce. Reminded me a bit of good quality wanton mee. The noodles were fine and tangy, the sauce a bit spicy for my liking (I'm v pathetic with chillies and spicy food) and the live prawn had the live-prawn freshness - the juices exploding in your mouth when you bite down :) yum! (i like crystal jade prawn hor fun and egg cos the prawns are all bursting in juices)
Dessert is Chilled Jelly Royale with Julienne of Coconut. It's just a fancy name for Wu Tao Long (Ice Jelly Cocktail) with strips of coconut, and there was the cheng teng brown things inside too.
Since I had been fasting the whole day to eat at Peach Garden, I was still hungry by the end of my 1-for-1 dinner. So I compensated by eating more dessert! :D

Almond Paste with Seaseme Glutinous Rice Balls (Tang Yuan) - $3.50
I thought the tang yuan skin was a bit hard though.

Pulut Hitam (sp??) with Coconut Icecream in Young Coconut ($6)
The coconut ice cream is really good, but thought the pulut hitam was a bit too sweet. Anyways, it's an interesting dessert.

Mango Pomelo Sago - A definate MUST TRY the mango is really sweet and fragrant, and the dessert is thick and milky and the pomelo is slightly tart to balance out the flavours. It's only $3.50 (before tax) and about the same standard as Ah Chew Dessert at Bugis there. But Peach Garden is soooo much nearer my house. Ah Chew charges $3.80 for the mango pomelo sago.

The UOB Set Menu promotion costs $68++ for 2 person (min. 2 people). It's valid till 31st May and not valid for eve of and public holidays, and Mother's Day. Prior booking has to be made.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Royal Copenhagen Tea Lounge

Royal Copenhagen is a brand of porcelain from Denmark has a new tea lounge in Takashimaya. It's tucked into a corner in Takashimaya Shopping Centre, on level 2, and is camouflaging amongst the bags and Burberry - i've actually missed this v nice eating/lounging place many many times. The interior is quite nice, not to cramped like majority of the restaurants now, and one end of the restaurant faces the large cross junction between Paragon and Ngee Ann City.It caters to more of the tai-tai crowd, when we went in at about 2pm, there were lots of perfectly coiffered women with gravity defying hair and manicured nails, along with outfits to match. There were only 2 men in the entire restaurant (excluding the staff) but more came in a while later.
Of course they cater to a crowd with deeper pockets - you won't really expect anything less from something named Royal.

Each table is nicely decorated with a flower arrangement and a sugarbowl, along with a container to put your bill in. Of course, everything is from Royal Copenhagen pocelain. Don't drop your plate!!Ah don't you like the little CURL of butter! :D
Each piece is marked with a NUMBER (it's a bit dirty though but that's the base and it's not the sugar bowl, just the other one that they put your bill in. Don't worry everything is impeccably clean, just the way I like it.

The Lunch Set menu (ends at 2.30pm, $20++- altogether about $23) has soup of the day, 2 choices for the main course (baked salmon with mashed potatoes and homemade sauce or mushroom linguine aglio olio) or 3 open faced sandwiches, dessert of the day and coffee or tea.

There is also a daily high tea set which ends later and has 2 open faced sandwiches, 2 cakes and coffee/tea.

Soup of the day was broccoli soup which had bits of meat inside and it was not too creamy.

Baked Salmon3 open faced sandwiches - Beef, shrimp and smoked salmon stufed with scrambled eggs. They are very generous on the meat portions. I think this was the best choice, only that it seemed a bit puny. But no compromise on the taste - it tastes really good, and i liked the shrimp one. Jane has struck lottery cos she choose the better dish.

Highlight of the meal - Fruit Cake with Nuts served with strawberry icecream, which the restaurant makes itself. The icecream is really creamy and has chunks of strawberry inside! Delicious.

The cake is really good too!
I would like to go back to try their other cakes, including Baked Cheesecake, Blueberry Cheesecake, Green Tea Cake, Cranberry and Almond Cake, Selmonila Cake, Coconut Cake etc etc! the display there is really tempting!

You can just get a cake and tea if you just want something light. They have an interesting range of tea, which also includes Assam tea which I would like to try the next time i go there. It's about $6 per pot.

Overall, I think it's a much nicer place to go to than my usual Coffee Club, where I take a rest from my shopping. If I'm taka, I usally go there to eat their cakes which are on offer during tea time, since it's so simple to think of and they have so many branches anyway.

Verdict: Worth spending your calories on! Share the food so you can try more cakes, and skip the salmon if you're not dying for something savoury.

Royal Copenhagen Tea Lounge
391A Orchard Road
Takashimaya Shoping Cenre level 2
Tel 67356833