Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Penny University

 Penny University is one of the many brunch cafes popping up like mushrooms. It was pretty darn crowded on a weekend morning, and we had to wait about 20min for  a seat. It's a self service counter, so you have to secure a table first, then queue up to order your food, which will then be served to you.
Their brunch menu - pretty simple, and prices are reasonable. 
 I had the Turkish Eggs ($8) which comes with whipped yogurt, 2 poached eggs, olive oil, and harissa sauce. There was some confusion over the harissa sauce when I asked the cashier what exactly it was. It's this very strong smelling spice (ah the wonders of Wikipedia). Topped up $3.50 for the smoked salmon.

 I also had the lemon strawberry tart. It was really good, especially the tart base. I found the lemon filling a little bit too tart and not as creamy as I would have liked, but the strawberries and the flamed cream made it a bit more interesting. I still like Marmalade Pantry's heavier Lemon Brûlée tart more than this one.
It's places like these which make me wonder why I should pay so much (like $20++) for brunch elsewhere. And the standard is still pretty okay.

Btw the Snickers tart tastes exactly like Group Therapy's! I wonder if they share the same supplier??

Needless to say, the food was not bad (considering the prices). But I couldn't enjoy it cos of my unfortunate luck of being seated opposite some 6-7 year old kid and his grotty parents. The kid was sick and vomited over the saucer and the table and the floor (it was chunky and brown btw). His parents stopped eating, moved the kid away (who said he was feeling fine!). The waitress then brought some paper towels over.And the parents just cleaned the kid up. And left the chunky brown vomit festering on the table for the next 15 minutes. Waiting for the waitress to clean it up! If your dog poops in the park don't you clean it up? (Poor unfortunate waitress - you could see the disgust on her face - I don't blame her - she came back wearing disposable gloves).

Plus I thought it was damn inconsiderate cos it was a communal table and EVERYONE had to smell and stare at his chunky vomit. They didn't even have the decency to at least use a napkin to cover up the vomitus. Gross max. The kid was perfectly fine after vomitting, and the parents could even finish up their meal. So it wasn't as if the kid was so septic and sick and lolling around that they were 'busy'.

Note to self - to try to avoid communal tables next time! Btw the communal table is this very rustic woody looking table with lots of ridges (like a tree trunk). I'm sure some of the vomit is still embedded in some of the ridges there. Yucks.

Penny University
402 East Coast Road Singaproe 428997
Tel 9008 9314

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Basilico Lunch

Awesome end of posting lunch at Basilico. The last time I came here was for my eopd a few years back (and we sat in the same place too!)
It's a full buffet lunch and even though it was a few days after Christmas, they had a roasted turkey, along with chestnut stuffing. I didn't eat the turkey but the roast lamb was in a league of its own. Pink, tender and juicy. There was even feesh mint sauce to go with it.
The cold appetiser section was superb as usual - lots of fresh cheeses (including fresh mozzarella and smoked mozzarella, and an assortment of tomatoes), salad bar, and a very extensive cheese selection with a variety of honeys. And lots of parma ham and melon too.
There's also a variety of hot foods including lobster bisque, salmon and cod, a variety of pastas (which were pretty average, probably cos they were pre-cooked), and a pretty good four cheese pizza.
I was pretty stuffed by the time it came to desserts, and the counters were closing cos it was 230pm, so I only managed to get myself some gelato (not bad, not spectacular).

I was in post-food coma for the whole day after.
(I read online that there's a foie gras counter? But I didn't see it at all. I hope I didn't miss out on the foie gras cos that will be the best thing ever!)

Regent Hotel
1 Cuscaden Road, Singaproe 249715
Tel 67253232

Friday, December 27, 2013

Belated Christmas Post

Merry belated Christmas everyone! Christmas is barely over and there's CNY goodies everywhere! I just had bak kwa after a slice of fruit cake. Must start saving calories cos CNY is round the corner and there'll be even more festive feasting.
The very festive Cold Storage turkey. Actually, I must say that this surpassed my (very low) expectations cos I was expecting some horrible dry bird that would be near inedible (and wondering where else I could get dinner from on a Christmas evening). It's probably one of the cheapest birds available in Singapore (the hotel ones go up to >$100) but you'll have to warm it up in the oven yourself. Comes with stuffing (we had the apple chestnut one I think? - didn't quite like it cos it was soggy) and gravy (not too bad when it's nice and warm). I think it tastes the closest to the Subway Turkey ham without gravy or cranberry sauce.
My Christmas Dinner, complete with festive disposable red cutlery, plastic champagne flutes and crackers (it's the first time I ever pulled a cracker). And roasted root vegetables including a very tough old parsnip (which is apparently, a quintessential ang-moh dish for Christmas). Btw did you know that Shepherd's pie wasn't a Christmassey dish? I didn't know till this year. Best call dinner of the year.
Awesomest log cake from Awfully Chocolate - it's even nicer than their normal chocolate cake cos there's more surface to volume ratio thus there's more chocolate fudge per slice. Who says log cakes are just glorified swiss rolls??/

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


I read about Platypus Kitchen online quite a while ago, but since I don't frequent the Bugis area (full of young kids now, I'm such an old hag) I didn't really keep it on my (food) radar.

However, the opportunity came up when we decided to have some fun and play the escape room game at Bugis + (the ex Illuma). Sad to say, we failed miserably (even the staff who came in to show us how to solve the puzzle was shocked by our dismal progress :/) Anyway, if you haven't tried it before, you should totally consider playing the escape room game. It's pretty interesting (but involves quite a bit of brainwork, and hunting around in the dark) and there's aircon. I mean seriously, how many other things is there to do (in aircon comfort) in Singapore, that doesn't include eating/movies/shopping? Maybe minature golf... You'll need a group of between 4-8 people, who can reach on time, willing to pay about $30 (but I used a groupon offer, so it was much cheaper) and spend 45 min trying to solve puzzles.
Truffle fries were sold out by the time we went for dinner. It's $6.90 and there's real pieces of truffle in it!
Soup of the day - mushroom and pumpkin. I had the pumpkin - not bad, not too creamy and warm and satisfying.

 My black and white crab pasta ($24 with the starter and drink) - It's a mixture of squid ink pasta with the normal egg pasta.
I quite liked my dish - I thought it was very worth the price, especially with that generous lump of crab meat on top.
The sauce was light and tasty, I think it's a white wine based sauce with garlic. My friend found her pasta to be too undercooked though I didn't have any issues with mine.Then again, I like my pasta slightly hard and really dislike soggy pasta.
Crabmeat squid ink pasta with tomato cream sauce - this was a special request, and tasted quite good ($24). 
Dessert menu was pretty interesting so save space for it.
The icy cheesecake was very refreshing - like a super gao cheese ice cream with some crunchy bits. It was very affordable too - sub $10

I really think that this place is worth trying, especially if you're on a budget. The ambience and setting makes you feel like you're dining at somewhere slightly more upmarket, but the food prices are very very reasonable.

Platypus Kitchen
03-29 Bugis Junction 200 Victoria Street
Tel 63334434
Monday to Sunday 12pm to 10pm

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Pardon my super off coloured photos. It was so dark inside my camera couldn't take decent shots of the food. I read quite a few good reviews online so I went to try it. Plus it was a weekday night in the Maxwell area and I hadn't made any dinner reservations.

I'm not partial to Mexican food cos it's super heavy and oily (usually) and I feel like I'm clogging all my arteries after eating a meal. Sour cream, refried beans, pork belly, cheese etc etc. Same reason why I don't really eat Indian food except for the once in the long while chicken briyani (the real kind, not the fakey pseudo healthy kind) or butter chicken. Sad to say, I think the only other Mexican food I've tried (or can recall) is Taco Bell. Lol. Not a very good comparison.
The soft taco with pork carnita ($12), served with pickles and sour cream. Pork belly and beans. Super oily and fatty. There was a whole layer of oil at the bottom of the box. I think I'll stick with chicken the next time. Taste wise I really liked the slaw - well marinated, crunchy and helped to neutralize the heaviness from the pork.
Quesadillas with chicken tikka and cheese filling ($12)
It's not bad, tastes like a sandwich/pizza. added the guacamole for $2. The guacamole was really delicious, I can imagine dipping tortilla chips in it and finishing a whole bowl of this myself.

I think this place is more crowded during lunch time. Then again, there's Maxwell market just around the corner, where food's less than half the price. The meal was super heavy. Stayed in my stomach and made me feel full till about lunchtime the next day.
Their scaled down menu. I did my research before coming, and lots of people like the cup corn and asian slaw, and they used to have a fish option. I suppose it's a nice place to get something different, especially if you work around the area and you're looking for a quick lunch. It's mostly self service here, and there's minimal seating in this small cafe.

93 Club Street
Singapore 069461

Monday, December 9, 2013

Kith - Quayside Isle Sentosa

Postcall brunch at Kith at Quayside Isle - I wanted to go to Coastes initially, but it rained and the sand would have been soggy. Main aim was to get a bit of fresh air and relax a bit before concussing on my bed. 

Smoked salmon paired with caviar sounded way too good to pass up for breakfast, so it was the obvious choice (for me, at least). The beans were pretty good considering I'm not a baked beans fan. Poached egg was so so - one of mine had a perfect yolk, the other was overcooked. It's not bad, I think it was around $18 or $20.

Of course, after spending the last 24h in aircon, it's always good to get a bit of fresh air, but along with the nice fresh air, there were annoying flies and random insects (one of which got stuck in my avocado mayo - gross). 

I quite like the strawberry smoothie here - not too sweet, and the yogurt taste is pretty strong too. 

#01-08 QUayside Isle
31 Ocean Way
Tel 67349007
Daily 8am to 10pm

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Sweet Potato Cupcake from Marmalade Pantry

 Did anyone manage to try the Sweet Potato Cupcake from Marmalade Pantry last month? It looked so nice in the picture I had to get it. I think it was a November special, so I'm not sure if they still have it. (And yes, that's a take away container cos I was too full after my dinner there, but couldn't resist trying it)
Well, if you didn't, you didn't miss much.
It looks much better than it tastes. I don't like marshmallows, and the whole top part was melted marshmallow. I dislike the foamy texture and the sweetness. I thought the cross section looked very pretty, especially the purple potato layer, but that layer tasted weirdly sour. The base was also too dry and crumbly.

I suppose they're never going to bring back their awesome pandan and coconut cupcake :'(
And they've raised their prices again! Sadness. The sticky date pudding still tastes as good. Super love it and the Kapiti ice cream it comes with.

Marmalade Pantry
#03-22 Ion Orchard

Friday, December 6, 2013

Sumire Yakitori

I don't particularly like the Bugis area and other than for Ramen Champion, I have hardly ventured there. But I've just realized that there's plenty of food there, and they have pretty good stuff at very affordable prices. Just that I feel like 10 years older than most of the people there :X
healthy cabbage starter
Somehow I don't like the name Sumire - I attributed this to Haruki Murakami's Sputnick Sweetheart (one of my favourite authors but far from my my favourite book). Speaking of which, I haven't read a good book in ages - I feel that my grammar and writing skills regressing exponentially . 
Awesome cheese and mentaiko (cod roe, absolutely one of the best dishes ever) with tamago. It's like cholesterol embedded in more cholesterol. Totally worth it though.
The grilled avocado was satisfyingly smooth and creamy, and is something I could easily replicate at home. I'm a huge fan of avocados - makes everything taste delicious.
 A variety of chicken balls, of which the one in front was covered with cheesy goodness.
 This looks like a bowl with foam, but is actually udon with egg white. Not bad for a carb side dish (shared amongst 4 people).
 Lovely grilled eggplant with minced meat and minced spring onion.
 Potato croquette ball - deep fried goodness slathered with teriyaki sauce, mayo, and on a bed of obligatory vegetables. It's rather large and has a egg inside.
 Won't be ordering this again - it's some dried tofu skin (like tau kee) with bonito flakes, not very interesting and rather dry.
 Chicken karaage - not bad but not the best that I've eaten.
 Pseudo-healthy chicken breast, with unhealthy mentaiko sauce. Mentaiko sauce really makes everything taste good.
 One of the minced chicken rice bowls - with a nice glossy egg yolk.
These look really yucky but they're some smoked quails egg or something. I can't really remember what it tasted like so it can't be too bad (or good).

The restaurant uses ipad menus, which can be a bit icky cos there's thousands of other fingerprints and smudges over the screen. Not sure if anyone is as ocd as me but I think it's gross to run my fingers over the screen and touch something that so many other people have touched, then eat my food :(

Service is cheerful and pretty efficient, and most of the seating are in booths. The place was rather crowded when we were there, so be sure to make reservations. The bill for us came to about 35 per person - not exceptionally cheap, I still prefer Kazu to this place but it's a good alternative if you have a bigger group.

This good recommendation is from wanderingwontons - head over to check out her blog.

Sumire Yakitori
#01-88/89 Bugis Junction
80 Middle Road
Tel 63389963
(Located outside facing Bugis + / the previous Illuma)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Sunny Choice

Bunny says hi!
 I've been living in my current house for nearly 15 years and I'm sad to say that I have never realized the existence of Sunny Choice until a few months ago, when my veggiephobic friend told me her mother wanted to drag her down to try the food. One day when I was free-er than usual, I decided to  go check it out.
Veggie Sushi Roll ($6)
It's a riceless sushi roll, stuffed with crunchy finely shredded beetroot, alfafa, radish, carrots and lettuce. There's a sweet, creamy dressing, which is free from dairy and eggs. It's a really refreshing and light starter, or if you order 2 portions of this, it's enough to make it a satisfying main course.
I don't even feel like I'm missing out on the rice when I eat this dish, and best thing is that there's no post-meal carb coma. However, this dish doesn't keep well cos the nori will get soggy. This comes with a wasabi-soy dip but I'm not a fan of wasabi so I just eat it plain.
The Abacus balls - a healthy rendition of the traditional Hakka dish. This one is purely vegetarian. Actually, I'm not even sure what the real thing tastes like (since I haven't eaten it for a long long time), but this one is packed with mushrooms, nuts, and grated vegetables. It isn't oily, and each of the abacus balls are smooth and soft, and it's not too oily either.
 Thunder Tea Rice (Lei Cha Fan) $7.50
I'm quite a big fan of Lei Cha Fan but then the outlets are all quite far from my place and inconveniently located. (Recently there's a store which opened at the Bukit Timah Market, but it costs $6.50 so I don't feel like eating it when I'm there).
Instead of ikan billis, it comes with this twig-look-alike fried bits, I suppose it's a kind of mushroom. It's slightly sweet very crispy, but I'm not a fan of ikan billis or this twig-like mushroom. I'll ask them to omit this the next time. The other veggies are really nice, crisp and fresh. I particularly liked the angled gourd (cos I don't get to eat it often).
Sunny Choice also sells quite a wide range of health foods and organic produce, at pretty reasonable prices. I managed to buy their home made banana bread which was really good - full of banana and not too sweet.
Like I mentioned in my post before, the pumpkin cassava chips are really good (though I don't think they're very healthy cos they're deep fried).

There's no service charge or GST, so prices are nett. I'll definitely be back for more sushi rolls and the pumpkin keropok.

Sunny Choice
Rail Mall
434 Upper Bukit Timah Road
Singaproe 678060
Tel 6892 2383

Friday, November 29, 2013

Vegetarian Friendly Places

I've been trying to increase my fruit and vegetable intake after going for a lecture by one of the KTPH dietitians. She asked how many of us ate our 3-4 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, and the whole auditorium was filled with guilty mumblings.

I can't remember her name, but I loved it when she said that the blue colour Gardenia bread (the high fibre white bread) has the same amount of fibre as the green colour (wholemeal) one (seriously it's so white and soft I've always been a skeptic). How can this soft white bread have the same amount of fibre as the brown wholesome wholemeal bread? The answer is that it's because it's soluble fibre. Which has the additional benefits of delaying gastric emptying, slowing glucose absorption from the small intestines and decreasing LDL cholesterol (aka the bad cholesterol) - and mind you, all these benefits is on top of the benefits of fibre (soluble and insoluble in general).

This post will review some of the vegetarian cafes/health(ier) cafes that I've tried over the year (which is not many, so it's combined into one post). I quite like the taste of vegetarian food and find it really interesting how the dishes are cooked with just vegetables. However, one thing I cannot accept for vegeterain food is all the mock meats - I really dislike them alot. Perhaps it's cos I'm not vegetarian so I can always eat the real thing anytime.

Real Food (Square 2, The Central - Eu Tong Seng Street, Killiney Road, West Coast Plaza)
10 Sinaran Drive Square 2
Singarpoe 307506 Tel 63972289
 The Real Food dumplings are really impressive - it's encased in a silky smooth wanton skin, with lots of chopped veggies to give it a chewy texture. From studying the chopped bits of veggies, I can see mushrooms, carrots and tofu, and according to their website, chestnuts, french beans etc etc and each are hand made so they have limited stocks daily.
I really liked the dumpling soup, and decided to try the dumpling noodles  ($8.80) for lunch one day. I didn't particularly like the noodles and the sauce (tasted very vegetarian and a bit mushroom-ey) but the dumplings, the crisp vegetables and the lone cherry tomato were pretty good.

I think I'll get a dumpling soup and their salad the next time I'm there. Or maybe the banana strawberry pancakes. Apparently their beetroot burger is really good, and so is their signature salad.

Btw, if you takeaway, and you're intending to take away a large portion, please remember to bring a bag. Or some form of carrier. Cos they only give you the boxed food and no carrier as they are very environmentally friendly.

I'm not a fan of their cold pressed juices - and I think that $6-8 is way too much to pay for fruit juice. I usually get my daily fix of ABC juice from the juice store right outside Real food in Square 2 for $2.80.

Service is quite slow, as they make everything fresh, so it might not be the best place to grab your food from if you're in a rush. It's much better to have a slow, sit down meal here. (The place is really nice, wooden tables and chairs, and has a really relaxing vibe).

The Living Cafe (near Sixth Avenue)
779 Bukit Timah Road, Singaproe 269758 
Tel 67628039

Sadly, none of my friends shared the same enthusiasm as me for the Living Cafe's menu. Even my only friend who sort of likes to eat healthily cannot accept the food there. Perhaps we were a bit too hard core and ate the mushroom with 'cheese' and 'taco meat' (which I didn't really mind but my friend did).  Another thing I couldn't accept was the raw foods. The raw soup is really an acquired taste - obviously I don't have the palate for it. It tastes like cold savoury vegetable juice.

They used to have these really awesome salmon sashimi rice rolls with mango, capers and veggies rolled into a smooth rice paper wrap, served with balsamic vinegar and a side salad. If it was cheaper, I'd buy it alot more often. However, they have revamped the menu and this dish has been taken off.

I'm enamoured by the Revive Smoothie, which has golgi berries, dates, banana, coconut, flax seed and bee pollen. I could do without the last 2. It's very tasty, with the sweetness coming from the dates and a subtle banana taste (which makes it creamy too).

We didn't quite like the raw desserts - we tried the raspberry cheesecake which has a mousse like texture and the layers kept sliding off each other.

Novena Square, Various Outlets
I'm extremely happy that I found that one of my friends has the same sentiments as me over an impromptu breakfast at Cedele.
They do a pretty good beetroot burger ($8.50) - I think would be better if they didn't put so many chickpeas in it (I'm not partial to chickpeas). The beetroot patty has a nice intense shade of purple and it looks vaguely like a medium-rare steak. I also like the avocado that comes with it. I think it tastes best with pumpkin bread (cos the bread is round and is about the same size as the beetroot patty). In fact, I like it so much and ate it for my birthday lunch (thankfully - I would have been depressed otherwise).

Cedele also does a really good salad - they have a salad bar where you choose
1. Either romaine lettuce or spinach (+$1)
2. 2 protein - choice of sausage, grilled chicken breast, fritatta, smoked salmon, egg, various forms of pasta etc etc
3. 4 toppings including edamame, beetroot, chickpeas, quinoa, wasabi sprouts etc etc
And top it off with a dressing of your choice. I've only tried the Caesar salad dressing and honey mustard. Go for the honey mustard - it's very chunky and sweet.
They also have combo meals with the salad - $11.50 will get you a salad + hot drink, $12.50 gets you a salad + soup.

I had mine with romaine lettuce, chicken breast and pasta, corn, edamame, beetroot and wasabi sprouts. I really like the wasabi sprouts - it has a mild spicy wasabi smell and taste.

I'd suggest that you don't take the pasta cos Cedele provides free flow bread. I completely forgot about the breads and was dying for some carbs at that time. Their clam chowder is awesome.

Too bad that their service at the Square 2 branch is so excruciatingly slow during lunch time, so I'll usually give this place a miss if I'm pressed for time.

Sunny Choice (The Rail Mall)
434 Upper Bukit Timah Road
Singaproe 678060
Tel 68922383
 I have been a mountain tortoise and even though I live really nearby, and had some vague knowledge that there was a vegetarian restaurant there, I have never ventured in until a few weeks ago (after reading some positive reviews of it online). I've been kicking myself every since, cos the food there is so fresh and good - I should really have gone there sooner!
I'll do a full post on this at a later date (need to trawl out photos from my camera card) but their vege sushi rolls are really good! There's no rice inside, so you won't go into carb coma and yet it's really refreshing. Definitely don't feel like you're missing the rice.
Their noodle salad is also delicious - vibrant mixture of vegetables, nuts, with chewy noodles and crispy rice crackers. 

They also have these really addictive pumpkin cassava chips, which really tastes of pumpkin and have the texture of keropok. I really doubt that these are healthy, but I really like pumpkin so this is currently one of my favourite snacks. It's $3.80 per packet (if I'm not wrong). 

Ok - that's the end to my post. I am still going around happily eating and trying out new food places. I definitely won't be able to give up my foie gras, wanton mee and charsiewpau or bak kwa.
Some more which I'm dying to try - Pidgin (look at their kaya bread and butter pudding! and bak kua macaroni and cheese. I'm a massive fan of bak kua and mac & cheese)