Category: Tiong Bahru / Redhill / Commonwealth / Queenstown

Singapore’s Old School Cake Shops from the 60s – Tiong Bahru Galicier Pastry

By , June 18, 2013

When asked the year Tiong Bahru Galicier was founded, owner Jenny Soh looked a little stunned (as if nobody ever asked that question before), “Before the world war, before I was born!” and laughed. She still had a photo dated 1975 of her old shop located at Orchard Road, and said she would have been a very rich woman had her shop not made way for the shopping centres.

Fans of nonya cakes have to be careful stepping into Tiong Bahru Galicier. It sells so many old-fashioned kueh you would feel like buying the entire shop! Getting to know their products is an excellent food history lesson! Their variety include the orange Pandan Tapioca Cake (60 cents), Ondeh Ondeh (60 cents), Kueh Kosoi (70 cents), Kueh Ambon honeycomb cake ($1.20) and Kueh Salat (90 cents). I must confess that I had never seen or tried a Lemper Udang ($1.20) until recently – a glutinous rice roll filled with spicy dried shrimp wrapped in a banana leaf. This is like nonya sushi meets bak zhang, and is so yummy being savoury and sweet at the same time.

Tiong Bahru Galicier Pastry
55 Tiong Bahru Road #01-39 Singapore 160055 (5 min walk from Tiong Bahru Market) Tel: +65 6324 1686
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 9am-9pm, Closed Mon

Full Entry – Singapore’s Old School Cake Shops from the 60s

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Bomba Paella Bar – Delicioso Spanish Favourites at Martin Road

By , March 20, 2013

Hola! The Singapore food culture is definitely getting very Spanish of late, with many sexy Spanish tapas bar sprouting up and it is all fashionable to have your chorizo with Sangria. I relate Spanish food to a beauty like Penelope Cruz – colourful, hot and passionate.

But, but, but… I never really found good Spanish paella here, with my most exceptional one tried in MoVida Melbourne. So I had to make my way to 38 Martin Road to try Bomba Paella Bar (which replaced Graze, with Baker & Cook
as its neighbour). Since the restaurant is named ‘Bomba’, its paella has to be good. (Read: Review of Baker & Cook)

Many non-Spaniards view paella as Spain’s national dish, its like how Singaporeans would view their chicken rice. And they use the Bomba rice, considered the highest quality of all Spanish rice varieties. I hear that Chef Jean-Philippe Patruno achieves paella greatness with golden caramelized crust forming at the bottom layer of the rice.

The Arroz Negro ($40 for small serving that serves two), a wet paella of squid ink, squid, dry sherry and black mushrooms cooked with fish stock is already impressive. The paella was really fragrant, with its smell arriving at our noses while the pan was still 3 metres away.

This is when I really took note of eating every bit of rice, each enveloped with a strong and dense flavours, with an intense flavour that would likely leave you feeling satisfied. The portion’s generous too. While the serving is meant for two, my take is four light eaters can easily share this.

Full Post RS Deli – Sedap Chicken Satay and Beef Rendang Burgers

BOMBA Paella Bar
Martin No. 38, 38 Martin Road, Singapore 239059 (near Robertson Quay). Tel: +65 6509 1680
Opening Hours: 6:00pm – 12:00am Mon-Sat (Closed Sun)

Other Related Entries
Salt Tapas & Bar (Raffles City)
Amuse (Orchard Hotel)
Lucky 13 (TripleOne Somerset)
Singapore Sling Boutique (Clarke Quay)
OverTime (Dempsey)

Poulet – New Cranberry Chicken and New Outlet at Great World City

By , December 24, 2012

Poulet, the popular French casual dining restaurant at Bugis Plus, needs little introduction after it debuted with both positive reviews and customer attendance. Just look at the queues at Bugis+! (Read: Poulet at Bugis+)

It is not surprisingly that Poulet’s second branch came fast and furious, at Great World City which has much support from the expatriates and the upper-middle class.

Poulet just launched a new chicken flavour, right in time for the Christmas festive meals though it is likely to be here to stay. Roast chicken with cranberry sauce and double pommery and Dijon mustard, simply called Poulet de Cranberry ($17.80 for half, $30.80 for whole).

The luscious cranberry sauce works pretty well with the fragrantly roasted chicken too, somewhat jam-mish in texture which gives it a sweetish-sour-delightful lift. Can just so feel Christmas coming.

Full Post Poulet – New Cranberry Chicken and New Outlet at Great World City

Great World City, Level 2 #02-K2/K3 (Shuttlebus or bus from Orchard MRT), Tel: +65 6733 495
Bugis+ (Illuma), Level 4 #04-12 (Bugis MRT), Tel: +65 6509 9411
Opening Hours: 11:30am- 10:00pm Daily

Other Chicken Entries
Poulet (Bugis+)
The Rotisserie (China Square Food Centre)
Charly T’s (Nomu Building)
Nandos (Plaza Singapura)
Charly Ts (Katong 112)

Big Mama Korean Restaurant – Not ‘Gangnam Style’, but Home Style Cooking

By , November 7, 2012

It is very seldom that a woman in apron would come to your table to teach you how you should eat your food. Well, maybe at home, but we are talking about a Korean restaurant here.

Big Mama Korean Restaurant is not exactly ‘Gangnam Style’ (I know the song is hot, and it is Korean language colloquialism that actually refers to a luxurious lifestyle), but offers comfort ‘Home Style’ cooking.

And this new restaurant is also at Tiong Bahru. (Read: 5 Best Places For Cakes At Tiong Bahru, new food places IKYU and PoTeaTo)

Former tutor and caretaker, Ji-young Nam Gung nick-named as “Big Mama” (looks like “Cooking Mama” in the Nintendo game), has set up a homely Korean eatery at Tiong Bahru after cooking for Korean students in Singapore for years. Her Korean dishes are in between authentic and creative, because half are inspired by her own mama’s recipes while others have been fine tuned to suit Singaporean taste-buds.

It was quite funny because my friends were all trying to guess who Big Mama was, then realised it was not difficult to point out. The one behind the cashier loh.

The restaurant looks quite minimal in terms of decor, but has groups of Koreans dining, an indication that this is worth your try.

There are two big pictures of the Dakgalbi (spicy grilled chicken) and Suyuk (steam pork belly) on the wall, which suggests that these are the two must-try dishes.

Big Mama or one of her staff would help you prepare the Dakgalbi ($15 per pax, min 2 pax), where marinated chicken chunks, Korean rice cake and vegetables are fried with a special homemade chilli sauce right in front of you on a grill.

Surprisingly, this is very delicious with the saucy chicken going extremely well with plain rice. Maybe it is also Big Mama is talking while preparing, which makes us feel right at home. Yes, she would tell us how to eat Korean food the right way. A tip is to NOT finish the ingredients, because Big Mama would fry it with rice (additional $3.00) if requested.

Full Post Big Mama Korean Restaurant – Not ‘Gangnam Style’, but Home Style Cooking

Big Mama Korean Restaurant
2 Kim Tian Road, Singapore 169244 (10 min walk from Tiong Bahru MRT) Tel: +65 6270 7704
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 2:30pm, 5:30pm – 11:0pm (closed on most Mondays)

Other Tiong Bahru Entries
5 Best Places For Cakes At Tiong Bahru
IKYU (Tiong Bahru)
PoTeaTo (Tiong Bahru)
The Orange Thimble (Tiong Bahru)
Social Haus (Tiong Bahru)

Alexandra Village Claypot Laksa – Best Sizzling Hot Laksa Ever

By , November 6, 2012

Alexandra Village Food Centre is one of those hawker centre gems that is not so populated, underrated, and filled with above-average hawker stalls. Interesting, I noticed many customers ordering various claypot dishes of bak kut teh, sausage rice, mushroom chicken, prawn noodles and pork trotters.

You can almost call Alexandra Village Food Centre a “claypot heaven”. (Read: Alexandra’s Village Soon Lee Fire-Pot Stew Beef)

Of course, its most famous claypot stall is the Claypot Laksa? Never had it before? Then you are missing a huge deal.

This stall originated form the Depot Road Zhen Shan Mei Claypot Laksa near CMPB, and word has it that the old couple sold their recipe to its present owners. While the present version is said to be less sizzling hot, loyal customers would still say it is more or less than same.

Alexandra Village’s Claypot Laksa ($4.50) is really the best laksa I ever had – the gravy is spicy, lemak and so so tasty. Warning though: a bowl of lemak laksa is 696 calories according to HPB, so go easy on the gravy.

Full Post Alexandra Village Claypot Laksa – Best Sizzling Hot Laksa Ever

Depot Road Zhen Shan Mei Claypot Laksa (Bukit Merah Lane)
Blk 119 Bukit Merah Lane 1 #01-75, Alexandra Village, Singapore 150119 (nearest MRT Queenstown, but need to take a bus from there), Tel: +65 9088 9203
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 3:30 pm (Closed Mondays)

Other Related Entries
Soon Lee Fire-Pot Stew Beef (Alexandra Food Village)
Golden Mile Claypot Rice (Golden Mile)
Hock Leng Satay Beehoon Lok Lok (Old Airport Road)
Kidney Mee Sua (Kaki Bukit)
Nam Seng Noodles (Far East Square)

Ikyu – High-end Japanese Restaurant Joins the Pack at Tiong Bahru

By , November 5, 2012

High-ended Japanese restaurant Ikyu (pronounced E-Q) has opened at Yong Siak Street in the Tiong Bahru ‘old estate’. You may be surprised – another one? There are already more than 20 F&B places there.

Since 40 Hands opened across the road just 2 years back in 2010, F&B outlets Open Door Policy ODP, SocialHaus, PoTeaTo, independent bookstore Books Actually and boutique Strangelets and Nana & Bird all set its foot on this short street. This is not counting PS Café opening at Guan Chuan Street, and Japanese bistro Abe’s Diner at Eng Hoon – just minutes walk away. (Read 5 Best Places For Cakes At Tiong Bahru)

Too many?

Ikyu which means “take a break” and with a tagline “is the new sexy”, sells the usual Japanese basics such as sushi and sashimi, but with a contemporary fusion twist.

The 54-seater diner seems promising – décor is modern and service friendly, sometimes too friendly as different service staff came over to ask “Is everything okay, do you want to eat more?”

Executive Chef Takuma Seki (former chef-de Cuisine of Hide Yamamoto at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands) does not disappoint, from the aesthetically pleasing plating, to the use of fresh ingredients to create Japanese cuisines with French and Western influences.

Expect food to be pricey though.

I was urged by the service staff to order the Omakase ($128), which I was reluctant for the untried and untested. Instead I went for several of the starters such as Soft Shell Crab with Mexican Salsa Sauce ($12.50) and Assorted Wrapped Pork ($15.50) and Yuba Uni ($10.00) which were delicate, definitely above average and creative.

Full Post Ikyu – High-end Japanese Restaurant Joins the Pack at Tiong Bahru

IKYU (Tiong Bahru)
5 Yong Siak Street, Singapore 168650 (15 min walk from Tiong Bahru MRT), Tel: +65 6223 9003
Opening Hour: 11:330am – 3pm, 6pm – 10:30pm

Other Tiong Bahru Entries
5 Best Places For Cakes At Tiong Bahru
PoTeaTo (Tiong Bahru)
40 Hands (Tiong Bahru)
The Orange Thimble (Tiong Bahru)
Social Haus (Tiong Bahru)

PoTeaTo – New Café at Tiong Bahru to Jiak Kantang and Lim Teh

By , November 2, 2012

Another café, PoTeaTo opens at the very hip Yong Siak Street at Tiong Bahru, just two shops away from the famous 40 Hands. And there is already Open Door Policy ODP, drinking bar SocialHaus and Japanese restaurant IKYU opposite.

But they are not fighting for the same pie. (Read: 5 Best Places For Cakes At Tiong Bahru)

“PoTeaTo”, which is a combination of the words ‘potato’ and ‘tea’, sells mainly potato-made dishes and tea. So you can jia kantang and lim teh (eat potatoes and drink tea).

Owner Debra Chan say she is often called potato for her ‘jiak kantang’ nature (Asian with Western outlook), and she wants to appear as friendly neighbours to 40 Hands. So they don’t publicise so much on their coffee.

This potato-tea shop is not as well-known as the other Tiong Bahru eateries, because they are not under Spa Esprit and Debra says she does not have deep pockets. “My neighbours all drive bigger cars than I do!” Their shop is also partly covered and I had some trouble finding. (It’s okay Debra, the food blogger will help you publicise.)

The premium tea selections ($7.80 for a pot) such as Persian Apple & Ginger, Sunrise Sunshine, Raspberry Mint, Peach Peach and Oolong Berry are ordered from a local supplier. Though PoTeato is not TWG or Gryphon, its selections and mixture are pretty unique and refreshing, with the Oolong Berry as my particular favourite.

For the potato bites, the selection includes PoTeaTo Chips, shoestring fries, sweet potato fries and wedges ($5-$6). No, they don’t sell the usual potato chips from the packet. Instead, their chips are made from US Russet potatoes, hand-sliced and deep-fried fresh right in the kitchen. When you thought you had enough of those salty packet snacks, this is SO GOOD.

Full Post PoTeaTo – New Café at Tiong Bahru to Jiak Kantang and Lim Teh

78 Yong Siak Street #01-018 Singapore (10 mins walk from Tiong Bahru MRT), Tel: +65 6221 2488
Opening Hours: 11am – 10 pm Tue to Sun (closed Mon)

Other Tiong Bahru Entries
40 Hands (Tiong Bahru)
The Orange Thimble (Tiong Bahru)
Social Haus (Tiong Bahru)
Drips Bakery Café (Tiong Poh Road)
Centre Ps (Tiong Bahru)

Tong Shui Café (Zion Road)

By , August 1, 2008

54 Zion Road S(247779) Tel: 67376946

Shocking pink and lime green walls – if ‘clash’ is the word, then clashed it shall be. With interiors said to be inspired by the Shanghai-French experience, Tong Shui is all out to make that difference.

Raymond Khoo, Managing Director of Tong Shui says, “Whilst the recipes are all something that you can fix in your own kitchen, few would dream up the fun concoctions that we have”.

Continue reading 'Tong Shui Café (Zion Road)'»

Grand Shanghai 大上海 (Havelock)

By , June 27, 2008

390 Havelock Rd Level 1 Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel S(169662) Tel: 68366866

Enter the world of Grand Shanghai and you will be transported back into the olden city in the 1960s. Red cloth, dark wood, green lanterns, and black and white photos are central to the thematic decor. Immerse in a musical journey as the live jazz band plays the evergreens of Teresa Tseng and Cai Qin, belted by a songstress with a mesmeric voice and beehive hair.

You can choose to come with your family of ten, or strike a business deal at the cosy cushioned corner suitable for four to five. The serving staff is dressed in a uniform of maroon top and black bottoms, and ensures that your jasmine tea is always filled.

The Food
The elaborate decor and price is an indication that this is a dining place for businessmen to sign deals or for that special family celebration. The specialty dishes include Crispy Duck ($48 for whole), Baked Rice with Crab ($38 per portion), Deep Fried Prawn with Special Sauce ($8 per 100gm), Braised Superior Sharks Fin in Brown Sauce ($45), and Wuxi Spare Ribs ($7 per piece). You can opt for the set menus which range from $48 to $88 per person.

Shanghai dishes are usually characterized by the use of heavy and highly flavored sauce. Although the chefs hail from Shanghai, the food is modified to suit local taste, and thus not typically ‘Shanghainese’.  They also serve specialty dishes from Yunnan, Beijing to Wuxi.  

Despite the rather hefty prices to the dishes, the food here was slightly disappointing. The Crispy Duck, which is a cross between ‘kong bak pau’ (pork in dark soya sauce) and Beijing Duck, was not crispy and too bony for my liking.

The Wuxi Spare Ribs could have been a lot softer, and still had a slight lingering smell of pork.  Although there were bean sprouts which added some crunch to the sharks fin soup, the taste was not exquisite enough and the stock was bland enough to need more flavours. 

The consolation was the Deep Fried Prawn with Special Sauce, lightly fried with a unique salty taste of hot sauce within the shell. I suspect that the restaurant is also better at their cold dishes such as Crispy Eel ($14) which was sweet and light to the crunch, and smooth and tender Drunken Chicken ($12).

The Ambience
If you want to spend the night ala Wong Kar Wai’s “In the Mood for Love” style, you would appreciate the setting which looks transported from his movie set. The nostalgic atmosphere will be suitable for mothers who sing along to Teresa Tseng’s Xiao Cheng Gu Shi . This is a place you pay for the lovely ambience and experience, but not for the food.

The Verdict
Only if you are in the mood of Old Shanghai. 3.25*

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