Sunday, January 31, 2010

Manpuku - Tampines One

Visited Manpuku at Tampines One for lunch when I was in the Far East (because, while trying to find Simpang Bedok, we turned the wrong way and ended up there instead). My very insipid Udon from Toku Toku Udon stall, which serves handmade udon. Had a much better chilled udon set here the last time. Didn't feel like eating tempura or cold udon that day. It's essentially something like oyako don (cooked chicken with egg on top of rice), just that it's served in udon soup. The egg was okay, cos it was flavoured with some sauce, but the pieces of chicken breast were quite hard and tasteless. Then again, it's $6.50 so I shouldn't be complaining too much. Saving grace for my lunch - $1 green tea ice cream cone. Not as creamy as I would have liked it, but the green tea taste was distinct. For $1, it's a nice way to end off my meal, since I don't like the fruit tarts at Manpuku.

Also had a $1 cup of Gryphon tea cos my friend got a fruit tart from Fruit Paradise. Of course, being the boring person that I am, I went with my usual Pearl of the Orient, which has rose petals.

Shall have Aoba ramen instead if I ever go back to Manpuku.

Manpuku Japanese Gourmet Town
10 Tampines Central 1
#03-16/19Tel: 6789 6810

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tampopo - Liang Court

Tampopo has to got to be one of my more favourite ramen stalls in Singapore. I stupidly picked the Hokkaido style ramen (pork bone and seafood broth), because the waiter told me that it was creamier than the kyushu stype (which is what I usually have), but I think I'm going to stick to my good old kyushu style ramen. With the black pig of course.The Ramen ($14.80 0r $13.80, can't remember)I had was the hokkaido style ramen, partly also because I felt like having the yellow noodles. However, the broth was too salty for my liking, and I left most of my soup, which is a big no no for me whenever I have good ramen.
You have the option of topping up $2 to change the 'normal' charsiew to a black pig charsiew, which is what Tampopo is famous for, but I was feeling too stingy to do it. Anyway, just as well since I didn't particularly enjoy my broth.The egg was delightfully runny - see how a corner of my yolk's hard already - I actually poked my chopstick into that corner and had the sinking feeling in my heart because I thought that my egg was overcooked. But I was relieved to find that my egg yolk was nice and runny inside. I haven't had a good stewed egg in a long time. Ippudo's disappointed me. The Deep Fried Salmon Skin was suprisingly nice, cos it was seasoned and drizzled with some mayo-like and teriyaki sauce. The Fish Set ($21++) was totally worth it - cod, skewered scallops (too salty) sashimi (2 pieces each of tuna, white fish and toro, not pictured here), appetiser, soup and flavoured rice was very filling and well worth the price. I totally envy that pig. Tampopo has a new fangled appliance which served your food via a conveyer belt system, with magnetically labeled plates. Pretty fun watching the plates travel past on the belt.

177 River Valley Road
#01-23/24 Liang Court Shopping Centre
Tel: +65 6338 3186

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Coffee Bean Breakfast Promo at Ion Orchard

I took the mrt down to town one morning and took the wrong exit in Ion. Happened to walk past coffee bean and saw their 1-for-1 breakfast set promotion (on weekdays {I think} till 11am).Fortunately, my cg mate is as greedy as me, so we happily rushed back to ion once we were done at paragon.
I like Coffee Bean's breakfast, and I personally think it's more value for money tha Macdonald's. Better quality stuff for just about a dollar or two more. Plus, it tastes much better, and you'll get gourmet coffee to go along with it.
My breakfast set (I'm not sure what it's called but it's either break-o-day or big breakfast or something like that) which comes with 2 sausages, scrambled eggs sprinkled with herbs (could be creamier, but not bad), 2 deliciously toasted pieces of bread, and a refreshing salad with zesty dressing, romaine lettuce (no cheapo iceberg lettuce :D), cherry tomatoes, cranberies and sliced almonds. I really like Coffee Bean's Caesear salad, but this one was so nicely dressed. Coffee bean used to serve these sweetened stewed fruits (apricot, prune, pear and peach) as a side with their breakfast sets, but this salad is really much nicer cos it's fresh.
The Eggs Benedict, with hollandaise sauce which was curdled because it was over cooked. Tastewise, the sauce is creamy with a slight sourness, and the poached egg under the sauce was nice and runny.*overcooked, the yolk was like that of a hard boiled egg (got confused with another ramen post, and this wasn't my set :/) I think my breakfast set was nicer ;).
The breakfast sets come with either coffee or tea, and we picked the latter. I had Japanese Sakura tea (or something like that) which was pretty bitter (probably left the tea bag in for too long), and my friend had the pomegrate with blueberry, which smelt really sweet and nice.
Because of the 1for1 promotion, the breakfast cost each of us a mere $3.70 nett. Fantastic offer isn't it? :)
Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf
Ion Orchard B-12

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Daily Scoop Chip Bee

This is one of my very outdated posts - around christmas and it's been over for nearly a month already! But the avocado ice cream is a worthy mention so I shall just blog about this...Ice cream & Fish's scrawny arm
I've never tried The Daily Scoop till very recently, even though it's in rather close proximity to my house. My very blurry photo of my Udderly Avocado Ice cream with chocolate cone ($3.40)

The Avocado Ice cream tasted like how the avocado milkshake at Alexander village tastes like, with a hint of gula melaka (I think?). Though I don't think the ice cream is really creamy, the natural oiliness of the avocado made the ice cream taste really smooth and delicious. I found the waffle cone rather hard and not very fresh tasting as it was slightly soggy and lacked the delicious freshly made smell. Perhaps it had been sitting around a bit too long. Some Christmassey flavours to put you in a festive mood - Christmas Pudding, Bourbon Berry and Citrus&Spice. There's also Gingerbread ice cream, which has the warm and spicy gingery flavour. Christmas Pudding didn't quite agree with me, cos it has lots of bits inside, but I did like Salted Mr Brown (or is it mr caramel??) but decided I had ingested enough oils and fats for the day in the form of my Cheese Fondue and Raclette Cheese for lunch and didn't want to stress my gallbladder and pancreas anymore.
Waffle with Vanilla Bean ice cream
Love the waffles here cos it's freshly baked on their waffle iron, and has the nice gooey kueh-ish texture, rather than the overly cakey/fluffy kind that you get from gelare (and most other places). I suppose I have low-class taste for waffles - give me the bakery kind (especially the artificial 'pandan green' ones!) anytime!

The Daily Scoop
Blk 43 Jalan Merah Saga
#01-78 Chip Bee Gardens
Tel: +65 6475 3128

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pandan Waffles

I'm a huge fan of those green coloured bakery waffles - the semi-circular ones that are most often found at neighborhood bakeries. I've recently gotten a dual function sandwich maker/toaster and waffle maker/griller.
So I decided to try making some pandan waffles for myself. It's pretty easy, once you've gotten down to getting all the ingredients, including pandan paste, which I never knew existed till I tried hunting for it. It can be easily bought from NTUC, from the baking section with all the little glass bottles of artificial flavourings. Of course, pandan paste gives the pandan waffles their distinct green colour. Mine are pretty green cos I like the pandan flavour and add double the amount of pandan paste recommended;)

Recipe from House of Annie
Pandan Waffles
1 cup bleached, all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda + 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (OR 1 tsp baking powder + 1/4 tsp baking soda)
1 egg, whites separated from the yolk
1 cup coconut milk (or substitute with milk)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted (I prefer to omit this step, the waffle just isn't as buttery. Can substitute with oil)
1/2 tsp pandan extract / pandan paste
*If you double the recipe, most cans of coconut milk will be less than 2 cups, just add water to get correct liquid amount.
*Sugar can be halved for less sweet waffles.
*Self-raising flour can be used in place of flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
1. Put dry ingredients into mixing bowl.
2. Mix all wet ingredients except egg whites in another bowl.
3. Mix 1 and 2 together, but don't stir too much because the waffles will become hard and chewy (which is partly the reason why I ended up with badly mixed waffles the first time).
3. Beat egg whites in a completely dry bowl until stiff white peaks form. (make sure the bowl's dry or it won't become foamy)
4. Gently fold the egg whites into the mixture.
5. Turn on waffle iron. When hot, grease the waffle iron well.
6. Scoop waffle mixture over waffle iron. Wait till lots of steam appears, and keep checking to see if they're cooked. Takes about 5 minutes for my waffle iron. I like mine less brown, so I tend to undercook them.

It was my first time making waffles, so the mistakes I made were not mixing the dry ingredients well in the mixing bowl. Please make sure you stir them well because I didn't and ended up with horribly salty waffles (at certain parts only) because the salt was all concentrated in some places. Also, I realized that you have to put enough sugar or the waffles just won't taste like the bakery ones. Scary how much sugar's in there!

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Oriole's this nice little restaurant/pub hidden in Pan Pacific apartments, just a stones throw away from Cineleisure/Youth Park (aka Scape). I came here once in July last year, but I wasn't very impressed with their food. Furthermore, my photos were incredibly lousy because of the very dim lighting and I was using my handphone camera. So I came prepared this time, and brought a better camera for my dinner. (Though I did have many many blurred photos, here's the few that are blog-worthy). 
I tried their daily risotto special, which had seared hokkaido scallops, and came with a gorgonzola cheese sauce and kenyan beans (the green stuff).
However, I was rather disappointed with the sauce because other than the very faint smell of cheese, the sauce tasted more like thickened cream rather than a cheese.
The scallops were tender, but rather small, and I could detect a hint of lemon - perhaps they weren't that fresh hence the lemon? I particularly dislike lemon in my food, more so if it's seafood, because it can only mean that the seafood's not fresh as lemon is used to mask the fishiness. Fishy seafood isn't worth eating since it's not fresh anyway.
The beans tasted like a crispier version of french beans, were sweet and the crunchy texture went really well with the risotto and scallops. For $25++, I think I'd pass on this, and have a sandwich or pasta instead.
One of Oriole's best sellers - the Fish and Chips came with 3 battered fish fillets and thick cut fries. Yesterday's fish and chips were good - which is a pleasant surprise since the last time I came, I really disliked this as I found the batter overwhelmingly salty, and could barely taste the herbs. For around $15, the portion was really good and it makes a satisfying meal.
The Spaghetti with Prawns (around $15++), aglio olio style was rather spicy, and came with quite a few prawns. 
The beef cheek tagliatelle is also another of Oriole's signature dishes. For $15++, there seems to be quite a generous portion of beef cheeks, though I can't comment much on this dish since I don't take beef. The Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (around $15?)My favorite dessert, which I also had the last time is the Affogato with Honeycomb ($7.50++). 2 large scoops of vanilla ice cream, with shards of honeycomb and chocolate doused with a shot of coffee. Oriole's coffee is supposed to be very good. But since it was evening time, I didn't want to spend the rest of the night an insomniac, so I didn't get myself a coffee. Eyeing the iced coffee the next time I'm here for lunch.  
Giant banana eclair with peanut butter and honeycomb fudge ($14++ for 2 people)
The giant banana eclair was pretty good, considering I don't particularly like whipped cream based desserts. The eclair base was passable, but I really liked how the top was coated with sticky, dark chocolate and speckled with honeycomb bits. 
Inside, there's a thick layer of freshly whipped cream (unsweetened!) and some more dark chocolate. A layer of sliced bananas. And another layer of sticky, sweet and crunchy peanut butter and honeycomb. Totally delicious when eaten all together. Hope they'll keep this on their menu since it's rather original (haven't seen it anywhere else, yet!)
Size wise, it's slightly bigger than a 6 inch sandwich from subway. This dessert is definitely for sharing.
The Chocolate Cake ($6) was rather disappointing because although it was extremely chocolaty, it didn't completely blow me away. They did  attempt to frost it, but taste wise, it wasn't very spectacular though the good points were that it was moist and had an intense chocolaty flavor. 

The cake's a birthday cake cos it was Jessie Tan's 24th bday - happy 24th birthday Jessie!

My conclusion? Oriole's just not for everyone, but the desserts here are great, perhaps the next time I'm here, I'll just get a coffee and try more of their desserts. And stick to their cheaper dishes...

3.5/5 stars (till I find the time to transfer my star pictures to my newer comp :/

Oriole Cafe and Bar
#01-10 Pan Pacific Serviced Suites

They provide a valet service, though I'm not sure how much it is. Didn't know they had valet till yesterday.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I'm blogging from my not so new comp - and just edited my photos using the photoshop (instead of paint shop, which is tonnes easier cos I'm really used to using it - been using it for >7 yrs!) The screen's really nice but I'm still learning how to use it cos it's really different from my old laptop. Pre Christmas lunch at Otto - and their totally delish bread tray - four different kinds of freshly baked restaurant bread. I think I ate waaaay too much bread cos it was so fragrant and soft. My fave is the onion bread ,which has some cheese and lots of sliced tasty onions. They also had walnut bread (too plain for my liking), raisin and the plain version of the onion bread (onion bread was much nicer). Pretty swirly butter, though I'm more partial to the extra virgin olive oil.
Salmon and Ricotta Mousse Amuse Bouche - delicate flakey pastry with creamy and salty salmon mousse.
Pumpkin soup with turkey dumplings - for the festive season. I didn't quite like the dumplings cos they had a very paste-y texture, and reminded me of pureed food.Pan Roasted Foie Gras with poached pear
The foie gras was excellent - crisped on the outside, but still wobbly and smooth on the inside. If anything was wrong with it, the portion was pretty small and it was gone before I knew it. 
I've never realized how they actually measure out white truffles, until I came to Otto. Up to now, I've never seen them serving white truffle shavings by the gram (very sua ku, I know). Above, is the bowl of white truffles sitting happily in a dish of (?) rice (? or is it salt?? maybe it's some desiccating thing in that case it will be rice?) and the electronic weighing scale.
First, the waiter would weigh the very expensive white truffle. He then shave what he thinks is 1 gram (or 2 or how ever many grams you so wish to have) over the dish - in this case, it's Uovo Strapazzato con Granchi, which is scrambled egg with blue swimmer crab. 
He then reweighs the truffle, and checks if he has given the full 1g. Yums.
The finished product, with freshly shaved truffles. The scrambled eggs are very creamy, and also very soft and tastes quite mushy and pureed. But the truffles and make the dish smell heavenly.
My main of Spaghetti with sea urchin and grey mullet bottarga. I found the grey mullet bottarga (which is some kind of roe, I think it's fried or something because it's crispy) very interesting, but I couldn't really taste much apart from the intense briny roe. It got a bit too much after a while, and I couldn't taste my sea urchin, which was the reason why I ordered this dish. Probably because I ate too much bread. Heh. Must stop eating so much restaurant bread, even though it's good...
The other main was absolutely delicious - homemade tagliolini with half Boston lobster in spicy light tomato gravy. It was served steaming hot, with the firey red crustacean curled up like a nautilus. The sauce was infused with the sweetness of the lobster. 
My dessert - the king of all creme brulees - creme brulee with white truffle oil ($16++). I never could imagine how white truffle oil would taste like with desserts, especially since I've always attributed truffle oil with savory dishes instead of sweets and desserts. The dessert completely blew me away - I think vanilla bean creme brulees will never taste as good as this one. 

For the more in depth review on Otto, go here.

Otto Ristorante
28 Maxwell Road
#01-02 Red Dot Traffic Building
Tel 62276819
Closed on Sundays

The carpark attendant here is really on the ball, just as I walked out after lunch, I saw her peering into the car parked next to mine.

Don't have any stars on my new comp, but it gets 4/5 stars. Delicious. Can't wait to try their very affordable and yummy looking set lunch at $35++.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Big D's Grill

Tried Big D's grill quite a while back, but I dropped my trusty handphone and sent it in for repair before transferring the pictures. And after that, had great intertia to blog about it. The photos for this post was taken using my Sony Ericsson C902 hp, which is the best camera hp I've had. If only the iphone had a camera function similar to sony ericsson, I'd buy it in a flash.

Big D's grill used to be located somewhere in Bedok, and I've been wanting to try it after reading about it eons ago. I was really happy when I heard that they were shifting to Holland Grove in Feb this year. They serve premium cuts of meat (like kurobuta pork for about $30, Wagyu beef etc) at prices cheaper than restaurants, but I can't bear to part with 30 bucks in a coffeeshop, and tried the normal and (much more) affordable food.
The Crabmeat Linguine ($10.40)
I'm a big fan of crabmeat linguine, especially the one from Marmalade Pantry which is $22++ and makes me very sad whenever I eat it because I know that I'll definitely want to rush back to have more. Big D does a great version of the dish, but at a pocket friendly price.
The tomato sauce is sweet and delicious, with some bits of crab meat (not as much as I hoped for), and a bit of chilli padi for the spicy kick. The sauce is supposed to be fairly spicy, but you can request for less spicy, and they will omit the chillies.
I've eaten this 3x already, and the linguine was al dente every time.
Though I must say, I still prefer MP's version more, because at that price, they pack much more crabmeat in it, and what is crabmeat linguine with so little crab meat? But then again, with MP's service standard going down the drain, perhaps I'll just satisfy my craving here...
Grilled Pork Chop (around $10) with apple sauce, mashed potatoes and baked beans
The first time I ate this (went back within the next 2 weeks and had the same dishes again, cos I'm very boring), I thought that it was fantastic. The pork chop was juicy and tender, with a slightly char-grilled taste. However, when I went back the second time, the pork chop just wasn't as juicy and didn't hit the spot like how my first one did.
The mashed potatoes tasted great -extremely creamy but very runny, so it has the texture more like sauce rather than mashed potato.Their baked beans were delicious - they are unlike the canned baked beans which are rather mushy. I'm not sure if they make the baked beans themselves, but these beans are firm and chunky.Fish and Chips
I think I was too impressed with the other 3 dishes that I really don't have much to say about the fish and chips. It's not bad since the fish is coated in a tasty batter, and the fries are thick cut, so they're really shiok to eat.
Sambal Buah Keluak (around $10)
The sambal buah keluak is a simple dish consisting of a thick, tarry bowl of sauce, piping hot white rice and tomato salsa. Of course, the buah keluak sauce is the main draw here - the buah keluak packs a punch - very spicy, with the smokey gritty taste of buah keluak. It's like eating essence of buah keluak, and not needing to get your hands dirty in the process.
I've got to get down to trying their anchovy pasta, but then when I went back the second time, I got waylaid by their fantastic crabmeat spaghetti instead...

Personally, I don't think I'll ever try their premium cuts of meat, because I really feel like I can't part with my $30 for a premium kurobuta pork chop in a sweltering hot coffeeshop. Perhaps it's just a mental barrier but their simple crabmeat linguine and normal pork loin is good enough for me :)

When I was there, I was wondering why there were so many tourists there - found out that Big D's grill was featured in Time Out recently.

Big D's Grill
Blk 46 Holland Drive #01-359 (Near Swimming Pool/Community Center. Same place as XO Fish Head Bee Hoon)
Tel: +65 9662 7040
Lunch 12pm – 2.30pm
Dinner 6.30pm – 9.30pm
(Closed for Lunch on Thu)