Sunday, January 27, 2013

La Ristrettos

Caffeine fix
La Ristrettos opens really early - 8am to be precise so you can get your high class caffeine fix here instead of the usual Starbucks. They use Caffe Agust beans (supposed to be some special beans, as you can tell by now I'm very uninitiated about coffee). Prices are about $5-6 ($5.50 for a caffe latte, $3 for an expresso). It's hidden inside Novena Medical Centre - at the place where Garden cafe (which was there eons ago) used to be. 
Molten chocolate, ham and cheese croissant 
They also serve an all day breakfast menu - though I wasn't particularly impressed by my ham and swiss cheese croissant which was over toasted and dry. The ciocolata calda ($5.50) is an extremely thick and goopy chocolate - a bit like drinking molten chocolate pudding. For the hard core chocolate fans - I think I prefer to stick to my normal hot chocolate.

It does have a really nice view of the bamboo garden and when I was there at about 5pm it was pretty much empty (perhaps cos it was closing time soon). I'll still be heading over to Kitchenette for food but according to my coffee drinking friends and colleagues, La Ristrettos coffee is really good

La Ristrettos
#08-37 Novena Medical Centre
(Take the lifts from near Quiznos/Old town to level 8)

Friday, January 25, 2013


Awesome chillax bunch on a rainy weekend - I think it's even better for destressing than a massage ^v^ Though it's a pain driving through all those one way streets and hunting for a lot. Thankfully no CBD! It's going to be CNY soon and I'll be avoiding the Chinatown area like plague!

Smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, toasted biroche ($16)
Stole some of Julie's breakfast - the scrambled eggs are pretty good - creamy, fluffy and well seasoned. Smoked salmon is always good. Brioche was nicely toasted.
Eggs benedict ($14)
I'm one of the worlds most boring person when it comes to breakfast sets - either eggs benedict or the usual all-in breakfast sets, depending on how many hours I have been awake for (exponential increase for every hour after the first 2 hours). 
That day was a eggs benedict day - as far as eggs ben go these were slightly above average, with the poached eggs a bit runnier, yolks golden and oozing with not a trace hard boiled yolk around the periphery. And with just enough hollandaise sauce to cover, but not drown the eggs. 
The base was crumpets instead of muffins - but not that I really noticed while scoffing down the whole thing.
I also added on a Kurobuta sausage ($4) - no photos cos it looks exactly like how a gourmet sausage does - plus it was sitting by its lonesome self on a plate. It wasn't as fatty as I expected, but rather very meaty and a bit on the firm side. 
French Toast ($10)
The French Toast a letdown after the 2 delicious dishes. Very normal white sliced bread with more butter than egg. I did like the side salad though - they made an effort to incorporate fruits with different colours and textures to make a simple yet interesting salad. Comes with maple syrup, butter and whipped cream. Then again, it's at a very affordable $10 so I guess I shouldn't diss it too much.

Overall it's a really nice place for a slow weekend breakfast though it's pretty far for me and carpark's a pain. I'll be back if I'm in the area. Plus it has a really relaxing vibe - and feels not as pretentious as Jones/Dean and Deluca/Culina.

The joys of instagram - not only do I save lots of time on shrinking my photos and editing the colour, it also downsizes my photos for me :D I've been a lazy bum - nearly all the photos on my blog now have been taken with my iphone + some tweaking. I'm looking at a new camera to replace my trusty old S95 - but the EOS M hasn't got very good reviews (need to use all my lenses which have been happily sitting in the dry cabinet). Guess I'll have to wait until a newer one comes out...

Something random - I'm really happy cos now my locker doesn't smell of 50 years of musty-ness cos I've bought a $2 bamboo charcoal desiccator from Daiso. My musty locker has been giving me alot of grief and despite swabbing every single surface possible it still smelt the same. I'm pleased as punch since I've had to put up with the musty smell for nearly 2 months already! :D

2 McCallum Street
Telephone 62212105

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Crust - Australian pizzas

Crust is this Australian pizza joint in Holland Village which I've been wanting to try for quite some time - their website is pretty impressive - see here.  The last time I wanted to order delivery from Crust, there was a massive downpour and hence their delivery riders weren't allowed to ride out - great for the employees and for minimizing the number of motorcycle accidents.

Tried their award winning Moroccan lamb pizza ($23) which was not bad - if you like lamb in all its lamb smell and taste (which I do!) and it's refreshing cos there's mint yogurt, baby spinach - just that there wasn't enough cheese. The crust didn't disappoint - thick enough so that you actually feel satisfied after the meal (not like the chapati thin kind from skinny pizza).

The seafood pizza wasn't anything to shout about - won't be ordering this again next time cos it's very ordinary.

I found that their pizzas were rather dry - probably because of the minimal cheese toppings. We were asked for feedback on the food - and apparently having less cheese seems to be in fashion down under.

34B Lorong Mambong (near everything with fries/walawala)
Singapore 277691

Monday, January 21, 2013

The French Ladle

 The French Ladle is a small unassuming restaurant located inside Pandan Valley Condominium. If my colleague didn't tell me about it, I wouldn't have known of its existence. The food here is surprisingly good - I was very impressed by the pork belly (and I don't usually like pork belly).

For starters, we shared the escargots with herb garlic butter - the snails were succulent though not very out of the ordinary, though I did like dipping my bread into the garlicky sauce.
The foie gras (about $17) was well done - crispy on the outside, and the innards soft, oozy and oily. I liked how the diced apple and salad went with the foie gras but I think that this was divided into 3 portions - and 1/3rd was just not as satisfying.
Mains - my main was the cassoulet ($28) which had a duck leg, pork belly and pork sausage cooked in a ramekin with cannoli beans. Acc to wikipedia - a cassoulet is a rich slow cooked dish originating from France. The duck leg wasn't gamey or too oily, and it was tender and the meat fell off the bone (no need to dissect with fork + knife!). The pork belly was a bit too salty for my liking, and I didn't particularly like the sausage. The sauce was robust, meaty and went really well with the cannoli beans - it was just like eating a high level baked bean (but much nicer texture, and richer flavour). 

The star dish of the day was the very impressive pork belly. Wrapped in crispy bacon, the pork belly was luxuriously soft, bursting with flavour and literally melt in the mouth. The sweet and vinegary tomato sauce that accompanied it was a refreshing change from the usual savory brown sauces. 
Paired with a lightly dressed side salad and super smooth mashed potato (I'm sure there's loads of butter hidden in this) it was the favourite dish of the night.

The duck confit was not bad as far as duck confits go, but I'm not a great fan of duck confit now after watching how it's made on one of the food channels... I suppose that if you're curious to know, you can always go and search 'how to make duck confit' and find out how they get the skin so deliciously crispy! Perhaps you'll be like me and try to avoid it after. 

We shared the lavander infused creme brulee which tasted great (I'm a fan of all these floral infused desserts) but the texture was more of a pudding rather than proper creme brulee texture - if they could get the texture right this would be perfect. I liked how they dressed up the dessert with some fresh grapes and berries on the side - rather than the plain old boring creme brulee presentation at most restaurants. 
It isn't extremely cheap, slightly more expensive that I expected actually - since it's not located in town and I suppose rent is cheaper... The food here is really good and I won't mind coming back (even better since it's quite near my house) but I think if you don't drive, it's a pain getting to Pandan Valley condo.
I think it's a great place to have a casual, laid back weekend dinner - the place is really small so make a booking. They have very few staff - so service was markedly slower once the place filled up. Though I must commend them on placing a jug of cold water at every table so you don't have to keep calling them to top up your water. Overall, I really liked the French Ladle and would be back - perhaps for the pork belly :)

The French Ladle
Pandan Valley Condominium
2 Pandan Valley #01-206 Clementi
Tel 64677505

Saturday, January 19, 2013


I feel that I have to blog about Doodle cos I've been patronizing it lots in the last few months (before starting my new posting where I'm cooped up for lunch) and I really like the place. The last time I was able to roam free for lunch I went over and got myself some comforting pasta.  
From the same people who started Salad Stop, Doodle is a cafe which specializes in pastas with a twist.
They have many different types of pastas - ranging from locally inspired laksa, Thai tom yum, Indian tandoori chicken pasta etc. But if you're feeling unadventurous, there's always the old staples like carbonara, Bolognese or arrabbiata sauce.

My favourite (not that I have been trying many different kinds since once I find something I like I tend to stick with) is the Sweet spot, which has tender pulled pork with a sweet wine based sauce. Very homely, comforting and filling (usually I will be very satiated and sleepy after this meal).

Paired with a small Caesar salad and iced lemon tea, the set is a very affordable $15 nett.

8 Sinaran Road
#02-01 Oasia Hotel, Singapore 307470

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Nanbantei Lunch

Revisited Nanbantei after going to Kazu. The Nanbantei set lunch is still a very affordable sub $20 set lunch. It hasn't changed since I first discovered it in 2008 - the picture looks exactly the same! Comes with miso soup and a small red bean mochi dessert and free flow of tea.

For the unintiated, there's 5 sticks - usually it's a standard quail egg, chicken meatball, chicken with leek, pork belly and shisho leaf and pork belly and asparagus. They're pretty obliging and will substitute the pork with a chicken alternative if you ask. The rice comes with marinated minced chicken, sweet mushrooms and seaweed,and hidden under the quails eggs are some vegetable sticks and sauce for dipping (I don't like the sauce so I never use it).
The Japanese sweet corn - which I thought tasted better the last time I went  and chicken heart (at the side). I think perhaps I should just stick to the main Obento lunch set.
Dinner here is pretty ex - around Kazu's prices - I'd strongly suggest to have the set lunch - much more affordable...

Nanbantei Japanese Restaurant
14 Scotts Road
#05-132 Far East Plaza
Tel: 6733 5666

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Menya Musashi - The Star VIsta

Short post on Menya Musashi - from Japan, and specializing in 3 different broths - white, black and miso based. I had to try the black cos it looked interesting - other than the black colour, it wasn't very impressive - noodles were ok, broth was not too salty (was expecting saltier broth cos it hails from Japan) but not anything to rave about.

They specialize in the tsukemen - where the ramen noodles and broth are serve separate - but I didn't choose that because the soup was more salty and concentrated - and I think that most of the Japanese ramen stores have rather salty broth already.

I felt that Nansuttei's was much much better - especially if you're looking for a black garlicky ramen. Looks like its time for a repeat visit to Nansuttei!
Nice print at the side of the bowl - reminds me of Ruroni Kenshin (sadly, I've missed the movie)/ Samurai Champloo drawings...

Looks like the Ramen market in Singapore is getting pretty saturated - but sad to say that my favourite ramen store has closed down :'( I'm still looking for my next favourite ramen...

1 Vista Green Exchange
#B1-08 The Star Vista

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Ramen Keisuke Tori King

Another chicken based ramen - apparently they do a pork broth based version in their other branch (which has an insanely looooong queue so I haven't tried). The chicken is really good, a whole thigh with meat that falls off the bone, 2 slices of pork charshu (not very remarkable), a huge piece of seaweed, soft boiled egg. I wasn't very impressed by the chicken based broth (I think that the Tsukada Nojo does a way better job - more on that in a later post). Anyway, to me a least, chicken broth ramen can't come close to the pork ones - they lack the fattiness and fullness of the milky pork broths.

I suppose that if you're really hungry, you could munch through the whole container of marinated bean sprouts - or go through a the mountain of eggs on the table. I wonder if they are going to loose money (especially on their free flow eggs).

Ramen Keisuke Tori King
100 Tras Street, 100 am mall
Tel 66046862

Monday, January 7, 2013

Valentinos - Grandstand

So this is my first visit to Valentinos since they shifted from Rifle Range road to the Grandstand (aka the old turf city). If you're hoping to go on a shopping spree in the Grandstand, hold your horses cos they're still renovating +++ and the whole place smells of drying paint and cement. The few things alive there are some kiddy center, Giant, Omakase burger and Valentinos.
It's so much larger than it was - great for claustrophobic people like me - so that I can eat an extremely filling dinner and yet feel as if I have space to stretch out and accommodate my expanding waistline and not be wedged in a corner against the wall, sofa and table. (This sounds just like a growing plant in a small pot...)

Anyway, this was before Christmas (yes I'm a slow tortoise but I was really busy and tired the last 2 weeks) so I'm not sure if they have some of the things we had.
Obligatory shot of the bread basket - I love their green herb dip - I always eat 2 breads and request for more herb dip.
Mushroom soup (can't remember how this tasted, wasn't mine but I stole some)
Some seafood soup - didnt try this
My favouritest burrata in Singapore - I can't find a burrata tastier than Valentinos - perhaps I'm biased? but their tomatoes are so sweet they taste like grapes, and the burrata is so creamy and light.

There's another appetizer that my family is crazy over - the pork loin and tonnato. It's a silky smooth tuna puree, dotted with capers and layered over thinly sliced pork loin. It's salty, briney flavour goes well with the pork loin and the dish is literally wiped clean with the bread.
Freshly shaved truffles with scrambled eggs - I prefer Otto's version but this is really a mountain of truffles (but with a hefty price tag too!)
 The lobster linguine that's worth dying for ($42++) - pink sauce infused with the clean tasting crustacean, al dente linguine and lots of fresh lobster. Still my favourite dish from Valentinos.
The above 2 dishs are some beefy things which I didn't eat and I don't know what is is... I think it might be beef short ribs? The one below is more expensive and has foie gras (which I didn't eat cos it was on top of the beef hence it is contaminated with beef juices).
Roast rosemary pork with wholegrain mustard - not bad but pork isnt' my most favourite meat. Found it a bit hard and dry for my liking.
Truffle ice cream ($25++) - got this just for the sake of trying - it is much nicer than the truffle panna cotta (below) but I think Ottos Truffle Creme Brulee trumps all!
Looks like its high time to visit Otto for truffle menu again... I'm sure their truffle season menu is over :'(

200 Turf Club Road #01-19
Tel: 6462-0555

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Years!

Happy New Years everyone!

From top - stuffed eunuch chicken (no kidding, it's reared in Malaysia and bought from Cold Storage), Champagne with raspberry (can't remember the fancy name), amazing brownies, massive amounts of cheese fondue 

Hope everyone had a great new years eve countdown! I just spent my NYE sleeping on my bed.
I'm growing old - the thought of having to jostle with crowds, queue up in the humidity, and the traffic jams (shudder+++!!!) makes me retreat to my comfortable bed! 

Will blog about my stuffed chicken recipe soon (actually maybe just the stuffing since the roasted chicken recipe isn't very special) - I think I'm really getting old - my hobby is sleeping, when I think about planning a holiday with a proper sightseeing/touristy itinerary I feel tired and my ideal holiday is one where I can lie in the hotel room, not move and watch lots of movies from the comfort of my bed and order room service. Perhaps unless it's Japan? 

I think that perhaps I'm becoming stingier but going out to restaurants, having to book and then to trudge down and find parking is so troublesome. A few of us got together for a Christmas dinner (or two) and we had a potluck dinner party. 

Not to mention the $$$ saved! I think the fondue could have easily cost $50++ in a restaurant with much less ingredients. (Lol just like steamboat, which is my pet peeve - notice how there aren't any steamboat posts on my blog!)