Picking the right stuff.

By , July 1, 2011 9:06 am

I have a confession. It kills me to admit this….. but everytime I go to a new restaurant, I usually pick the duds on the menu. *hangs head* 

Daniel on the other hand usually picks the winners. He will then finish whatever (bad) food I ordered and give me half of his (good) food so I don’t starve. Then I”m doubly trumped because he is right again, and he is gracious about it although he’s wearing a smirk on his face. (I may be imagining that tho…. *hangs head again)

The reason why I am making this confession, is cos we went to Soup Broth Asia at Raffles City last week. Soups are supposed to be my domain. I’m the one who can drink soup everyday of the week and Dan is the one who says he’ll faint from hunger an hour after lunch if he takes just soup and rice.

Anyhow, I walked in all confident that I will order the ‘right’ stuff even tho it was our first visit.

Dan picked the Peranakan Itemtim(9.6 with 3 sides and a drink) which is essentially a duck soup with salted vegetables.

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I liked the rich flavour of the soup, the evidently boiled-for-a-long-time duck cos the meat was falling off the bones, and that there was so many ingredients in there.

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He picked the mango salad, sweet and sour pork and some mixed veges for his side dishes. They were alright =)

He then chose the Canton Lotus Pork(8.20) for my mom and she loved it. I thought it a tad sweet cos there was sliced apple in the soup and I generally don’t like my soups to have a fruity sorta sweet in them… but it was really tasty and again, it was a generous portion of soup and ingredients.

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I ordered a Tom Yam Talay (10.20 with 2 sides and a drink) soup. It’s of the clear variety that packs a punch – very spicy and sour the way I like it. I happily took a bite of a juicy looking piece of squid. It was soft and springy which I took to be good news because nothing spoils a Tom Yam soup more than overcooked ingredients. Then the aftertaste hit me – a rather strong fishy smell. I guess I was wrong – nothing spoils a Tom Yam soup more than not so fresh ingredients =( In fact, all of the seafood inside had that strong fishyness and seriously, if a Tom Yam soup can’t mask it, it must be quite bad =(

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One of my sides saved the day(c’mon, surely I can pick ONE winner!) – the sambal egg was Excellent. I loved the sambal – very authentic and super spicy. The wasabi prawns didn’t fare so well tho – same strong ‘fishyness’ as the seafood in my soup.

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I picked the Java Opor Ayam(7.2) for my helper – a chicken soup with vegetables and a coconuty gravy.

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It was interesting, but according to her not exactly authentic. I wasn’t a fan =P

Sad right, I think I had more of Dan and my mom’s soup than my own… The next time we go to a new restaurant, I think I’ll let Dan the man order. Or I could go back to Soup Broth Asia and order the stuff he’s ordered before….. At least I made the right choice of food, right? =P

Olive Tree Restaurant

By , June 24, 2011 10:03 am

I’ll admit this meal I had was quite a while back. Dan and I were at Bugis and decided to eat here because it was quieter in comparison to the rest of Bugis – have you been there on a weekend?? Anyhow, I prepared the pictures for uploading and then…. had other stuff to eat that were better so those got to cut the blog queue. It’s been a few days of eating at the same restaurants I’ve blogged about before(creature of habit I am) and of packed dinners (economical rice rocks) so I was wondering what eats to share. Then I saw these pictures and my mouth could almost taste the food – must be good to have remained so fresh in my mind, so here’s sharing :

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When I saw this picture, I was reminded about how we were trying not to finish the buns before our food arrived. Warm and toasty buns with nice dips are so hard to resist, especially when you’re hungry and your main course takes some time to arrive. Maybe mediterranean restaurants have to stay true to their theme of being relaxed and unhurried – even for drinks and (baby)cutlery =p It could also be that sitting at a table with a screaming fussy child makes you hope that your food arrives quickly so you can eat and disappear.

Then the appetizer arrived – Dan ordered a chicken tikka :

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Doesn’t look like much right? But every piece of chicken was well marinated and tasted tender, juicy and flavorful! The pita bread on the side was warm, fluffy and chewy. We weren’t so antsy once this dish came. Not sure if it’s cos it was so good, or cos we were hungry. Or cos our helper brought our screaming baby for a walk outside so we could chill and eat.

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Then my main course arrived and all was forgiven. This is one REALLY good Barramundi. It’s a generous portion of tender, salted just right and pan fried just right barrumundi, on a bed of soft mashed and crunchy greens.

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Dan was all silent when he ate his lamb(sorry, Dan told me it’s not lamb!) pork chop with mint sauce, sauteed asparagus and poached pear/peach (sorry – I can’t remember as well what I didn’t eat and I’m not so good at identifying cooked fruit. )… Suffices to say he really enjoyed it because I could see that he was savouring every bite.

We also ordered a pizza but that doesn’t warrant photo space because it tasted a little like frozen pizza but better. ie: not woodfired pizza which is the only type I really like =p If I don’t remember wrongly, main courses are about 28++ – the regular hotel restaurant type price….

It was a really nice evening after that – baby came back happy(cos she got to go ‘walk walk’), and parents satisfied with dinner. It’s all about finding something for everybody, right? =)

I hear this place is good for buffets and desserts as well. Let me know if you try it!

On Waterloo Street…..

By , June 15, 2011 12:01 pm

Waterloo Steet wasn’t this colourful in the past :photo

And I would know because I was in a school(St Anthony’s Convent) opposite that street for ten years. The coffeeshop along Waterloo street would always be our ‘last resort’ when we had CCA breaks (we called it ECA then) because Bugis, Cityhall and Bras Basah always appealed to us more. It might have been a different story if the place looked as hip as it does now – with colourful buildings that makes this street look like one for the arts. =) I mean there is the Stamford Arts Centre, Action THeatre, Dance Ensemble and other artsy buildings on it. This picture isnt quite representative (or the best), but I wanted to show you 51 Waterloo St. The building with the poster of the face on it.

We met a friend at Campus Corner in that building – a sprawling store for camping equipment with friendly owners and this unique piece of furniture :

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This bench is made entirely of recyled cardboard and according to the owner, can seat 18 people when stretched out to its full length. It’s like an accordion! You can wrap it around a pillar and it’ll look like a round bench. You can also put it straight, or curved like in the picture. I’m rather in awe of this bench although talking about it is more fun than buying it – it costs an entire Grand! =p The most used part of the bench is most comfy (where its dented in the shape of a butt), and I suppose coffee spills wouldn’t be the most convenient thing to clean off of it.

But I digress. I wanted to talk about this other restaurant inside beside Campus Corner. It’s called Fine Palate. Their seating area is small in comparison to the huge kitchen, but classy and cosy :

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(Grabbed the above pic off their website)

Then we realised that’s cos they cater. You can tell they mean business when the bread plate is served like this :

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The dip on the side (when I asked) is their unique blend. No explanations or elaborations. It tasted of peppers and some cream. Yummy.

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The simple Tomato Mozarella Pizza (16) was a really good woodfired pizza. Cracker-ish edges with a slighly chewy centre. I really like this. And if a restaurant can do a simple pizza well, their food cannot go too far wrong =)

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The Chicken Quesidillas (8) was lightly crispy on the outside and a little gooey from the melted cheese inside. Quite a lethal combo. Dip that in the salsa sauce and you’ve got a recipe for a really good starter. The bed of lettuce bits added some crunch, colour and lightness to this plate.

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Dan enjoyed their cheeseburger (20) because it was done very medium (ie: too rare for my liking). I liked the steak cut fries with the wasabi mayo dip. Plus the presentation looked pretty darn fine =)

Nice place to try out if you’re in town and want some old school charm – the outdoor seating is in a covered courtyard. Beautiful when the weather isn’t sweltering. But be warned – many restaurants along that stretch will be vying for your attention!

Guess who’s upped their food standard?

By , June 7, 2011 11:11 am

Bakerz Inn that’s who! It’s not to say that they used to serve lousy food, just that their food didn’t really wow me before.

Then yesterday, we headed to myVillage (again!) and decided to go to the only restaurant there we haven’t patronised. I’ve always been a fan of their Linguine Vongole(14.5) and haven’t had it in awhile. So I revisited my old favourite:

IMG_5815 It was as good as I remembered it to be – a rich white wine sauce with chilli padi, some tomatoes (that’s a new ingredient), and plenty of fresh clams. Yumz!

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The Bacon and Ham Penne in a Cream Sauce(10.9 with a soft drink for lunch) really surprised me. I like the taste of this very much and I’m not one for cream sauces because they tend to be too rich for my liking. But this one was lighter than most, flavourful and I loved how the sauce oozed out of the penne when I bit into it.

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This is the Bakerz Inn CheeseBurger(16.9). Cheddar cheese, mushrooms, juicy beef patty, fresh vegetables, and a ranch dressing made this a messy, yummy, indulgent eat that I think we will be going back for very soon.

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This is a Mushroom Truffle Pizza that is topped with an egg cooked sunny side up and fresh arugula leaves. The pizza base was lightly crispy and chewy. I liked that they cut the pizza up into a few irregular shapes before putting on the leaves (it can get so messy) and I Loved dipping the pizza dough into the egg. So good!

I’m not sure if all their outlets are serving up this fabulous standard of food, but you can be sure I’ll be quite happy to head there later soon =)

It’s Tea Time!!

By , May 31, 2011 3:46 pm

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Need I say more? Fabulous tea time food…. although some may say it’s fabulous anytime food. I personally prefer toasted bread of the thinner variety (ie: ya kun type toast), but there’s been times a nice crusty toasted thick bread has changed my mind (ie: chin mee chin type toast). The above is obviously neither (Killiney), but right now the bread is secondary because I’m craving any good ol’ half boiled egg =)

Enjoy your teatime!

Going the distance for food

By , May 18, 2011 10:36 am

I think Singaporeans are generally quite ‘well travelled’ when it comes to food. We’ll travel our little island to an unfamiliar part if there is good food!

We went to Punggol Marina Club for a wakeboarding session sometime back and discovered a seafood place called Atlantis. What was in their tanks impressed us :

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Quite tourist worthy right? (say hello to Marcus the tourist on the left!)

We ordered alot of food, so in order of goodness here they are :

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This Butter Sotong(12) is crazy good! It is deep fried in a light batter and has a fragrant buttery taste to it. What was more impressive, was that even though it was deep friend, it was still juicy and you can taste the freshness in every bite. I would go back just for this =)

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Fresh clams(13) with garlic and chilli cooked to perfection, without a single grain of sand! You gotta love that =)

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Crab meat fried rice(15) with chunks of fresh crab meat is obviously going to be good right? It even had that taste of a fired up wok. Yummy. Even better with chilli padi but that’s just me =)

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Champagne and Stout Pork Ribs(15). I couldn’t taste the champagne or the stout, but it was tender and well flavoured (I couldn’t really tell what flavour :P). I liked that it was of the boneless variety and not too fatty =)

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This is one of my favourite dishes when we have Chinese food : Spinach with 3 types of eggs(10) – Century eggs, salted eggs and regular eggs. You’d think it’s hard to go wrong with this dish, but some places have the gravy too watery or salty. This one was just right in texture and taste. *thumbs up*

We also ordered a Tomyam Soup(10) which wasn’t fantastic in taste but had really fresh seafood inside and a Fried Chicken Indonesian Style(12), which really is Fried Chicken on a bed of belachan – only for the true belachan fan (ie: alot of belachan).

In fact, we came back here again with the family and ordered all the same dishes for them to try (that’s why I didn’t bring my cam!!), and we ordered a new dish – ‘Sauna Prawn’. Fresh prawns on top of hot stones, cooked in a wooden bucket. I thought the way they served the dish was quite novel plus you really cannot go wrong with fresh prawns so long as it isn’t overcooked.

You might’ve noticed I almost ODed on the word “Fresh” and that really is the essence of good food. Fresh food, well cooked at reasonable prices – always a winner. We’re planning our next trip ‘out’ soon!!

PS: Great Atlantis Seafood Restaurant is at 600 Ponggol 17th Ave Marina Country Club. Tel : 6386 0600

Officially the Best Sliced Roast Pork.

By , May 10, 2011 8:34 am

Does this look appetizing?

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It’s even better in real life because they serve it still sizzling from the grill and it smells heavenly. I’m not one to take fatty bits of a roast pork (Dan always tells me I’m missing out), but I couldn’t resist taking a big bite of this, fat and all. The burst of flavour and the contrast between the tender meat, the melt-in-my-mouth fat and the crisy sides made this taste like a bite of heaven =p

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Dan ordered this braised pork – It was very well seasoned with a distinctive taste of spices…. Good but I’d have preferred a second order of the roast pork =)

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The chicken broth ramen also gets a thumbs up – thin ramen (almost like the wanton mee variety) in this yummy chicken soup which I prefer over a pork bone soup sealed the deal for me.

The (very efficient) server also recommended a crispy chicken katsu – Tasted almost like chicken popcorn served as a cutlet. Ie: very crisy to the bite but also a tad salty.

Many people must love Marutama too because they are now at The Central, United Square, and Liang Court. You have to try it!

Authentic Vietnamese Fare

By , May 4, 2011 10:49 am

I was craving Vietnamese food and a coupla places in Joo Chiat turned up when I googled researched it. We decided to take our chances and just drive there to see where we can find parking (I know, so well thought out right? =p)

We stopped at 233 Joo Chiat Road cos there was a parking lot right opposite this Vietamese place. It looked rather commonplace but we had an inkling we’d get authentic Vietnamese fare when we spotted these on the tables.

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Drinks first : A cold Vietnamese coffee as a perk me up! I thought they gave me someone else’s unfinished coffee when this arrived :IMG_5633

Then I stirred it and it became a full glass of rich coffee with a strong taste of chocolate and that distinctive aftertaste of Vietnamese coffee. *thumbs up!* 

Their lime juice was served the same way too :

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And this lime juice was amazing – even though it started with so little lime juice at the bottom of all that ice, it stirred up to a refreshing glass of strong lime juice.

This next dish is Dan’s pick. (Cooked) Cockles with a strange hoi sin like sauce. He polished off the entire plate by himself and declared it the reason why we will be back soon while licking his fingers.

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This deep fried pigeon was also Dan’s pick (you can tell he is very adventurous when it comes to food) and it sounded extremely crispy. There was very little left of it afterwards cos Dan said it was very tasty too.

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I wanted a good bowl of chicken pho and was rather dismayed that they don’t serve chicken. So I went with the next safe thing on my list which was Beef Pho. This totally satifisfied my tastebuds – it could be the good chilli, or that the meat isn’t tough or fatty, or that the stock was not too salty or too much (you know how Vietnamese places drown their pho in soup?), but I was glad that they had no chicken or I wouldn’t have had this. This is the reason I’ll be going back soon.

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For 3 bowls of beef pho (5.5 ea) and all the featured pictures above, lunch cost under 40. I thought it very reasonable! This is Quan An Vietnam at 233 Joo Chiat Road.

Relish and Relish

By , April 25, 2011 11:02 am

For the uninitiated (like myself), first there was Wild Rocket, then Wild Oats, then Burger Bench & Bar, then Relish and now Relish 2. It is obvious from their expansion that the food must be in demand because I trust that Singaporeans are very discerning foodies =)

My first visit to Relish @ Cluny Court was only earlier this month (I know – so late on this wagon!) where I had their classic burger :

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It lived up to its hype – Lightly toasted sesame bun with a juicy beef patty cooked a just right medium. And you know you’re having a gourmet burger when rocket leaves replace the regular lettuce. The thick cut fries on the side were also really good (fried foods are NOT created equal).

Dan had the braised beef :

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He declared it the BEST braised beef he’s had in terms of flavour and texture.

 My mom had the tofu burger with portobello mushrooms :

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She loved the presentation of the dish but said she could have so many more portobellos and tofus for $20 (it was 17++ i think). I can almost hear my grandmother saying the same thing =) Our family was raised on being thrifty and that has kept me grounded more than anything else. Try it if you don’t believe me :p

I loved the ambience of the restaurant – classy but casual, a combo not many places can pull off. But I didn’t think that Dan and I would frequent Cluny Court because it’s just not our area…. THEN we discovered that a new Relish has opened up at where else but MyVillage! 

What greeted us was an eye catching cosy corner with a vintage set of furniture. Very inviting and we were to later find out that they are all for sale too. 

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Their set lunch looked particularly appetising to two starving people. It included a soup :

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This mushroom soup is not the usual creamy and thick sort that I rave about, but it was delightfully flavorful because of the truffle oil and diced mushroom bits.   

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A crabmeat pasta cooked al dente with bits of crab meat, garlic and chilli. Everything about this was just right. The portion, the flavors and the ‘doneness’.  

The set lunch also included a cuppa tea/coffee and was very attractively priced at 11.90++!

In addition, we also had the onion rings with curry mayonnaise :

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Although I’m not a fan of onion rings, I liked this one with the amazing curry mayo. It’s hard to describe how this unlikely couple makes such a good pair. In fact, I could have eaten fried flour with it and found it yummy :p

Dan also ordered this chocolate cointreau shake :

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And the Cointreau wasn’t just for taste – I took a yummy sip and felt the buzz but that doesn’t count for much cos I’m a terrible drinker…. What does count is that Dan felt the buzz too and he can drink. I can only imagine how much Cointreau went in there.

In short, I relished Relish totally (so cheesy right? That line was in my head from the beginning of this post haha)

You might wanna try it too=)

Cake decorating classes by the maker of THIS cake!

By , April 14, 2011 2:55 pm

Yes, this is a cake, and everyone on it is edible. It is made by my friend who isn’t a professional baker. Some days when I’m in need of a dose of humility, I go to Facebook and look at the cakes she bakes. It’s hard not to feel jealousy admiration for someone who can teach herself to create such pieces of art =p

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So anyhow, I was tweeting for help on cupcakes last week and this friend replied to say that she is starting a little class on how to make and decorate cupcakes. I was immediately intrigued – you mean I can actually try to make the stuff she does? Of course I’m going!

She sent me a class brief and yesterday, I turned up at her doorstep at 9am. Together with 3 other ladies, we had a blast of a morning icing little cupcakes and making fondant figurines.IMG_5514

The above was a sample of things to come – we would be making garden themed cupcakes (Even I didn’t think we’d be starting with an Angry Birds cake) She first demonstrated how to make the cupcakes, and while they were in the oven, showed us how to make a batch of buttercream. We then divided the buttercream and everyone coloured a batch.

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Then we learnt how to pipe icing onto our cupcakes (This is the grass version) :

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Afterward, we learnt how to make figurines with fondant/gumpaste. That was really an eye opener for me because I have NEVER worked with fondant/gumpaste before.

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That’s the caterpillar in making =)

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An edible arts and craft session!!

I was skiving documenting the class, and thinking to myself it’s crazy the amount of work that goes into making these things. By the end of the class, we each got a box to bring our cupcakes home in so that we can show off  share how fabulous our cupcakes looked.

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What I really liked about the class was that it was very hands on, and that it was an intimate class of 4 – everybody got to ask many questions. What’s more, she was very generous in sharing everything she knew, and no question was too basic or irrelevant. I think when passionate bakers teach, they really dish out on invaluable tips and advice instead of hoarding it.

Her name is Audrey Leung and if you feel like admiring beautiful cakes, you can check out her facebook page here. As these classes are a hobby for her, she is flexible with class plans and size. Get a few friends and go for a lesson together – either learn everything in a day, or spread them out! You can write her at audrey@smartsensecovers.com 

I’m not sure I am cut out for fondant modelling, but maybe one day, I can do this :

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One can hope right? =)

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