If you have any comments/suggestions/places you think serve great food, do share with us! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment in the tag board. Thanks and cheers to future gastronomical adventures!
MY TO-GO LIST
Au Jardin (Eaten!)
Au Petit Salut
Buko Nero (Eaten!)
Pasta Brava (Eaten!)
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
30 Lorong Mamong
What better way to spend a hot afternoon than eating ice cream? After lunch, we popped over to NYDC for their famed desserts. I haven’t been to NYDC for quite a long time and the price has certainly increased. I remember my 1st mudpie with Jasmine costs much cheaper then.
The Tiramisu Mudpie ($10.95++) is a threesome of mocha almond fudge, French vanilla and double chocolate chip ice cream with Kahlua-soaked biscuits, topped with chocolate sauce and a cherry. I think that this would be even nicer if the biscuits are thicker. Otherwise, it just feels like eating vanilla and chocolate ice cream.
Irish Cream Mudpie ($10.95++) supposedly has a raving review from Elle magazine. And I understand why this is such a hit. The mudpie comes with French vanilla and double chocolate chip ice cream with Baileys in an oreo crust, topped with chocolate sauce. It sounds similar to the tiramisu mudpie but tastes better—probably due to the sweet Baileys and slightly coarse texture of the crust.
That Boney Cake ($9.80++) is made for pure chocoholics. We chose French vanilla (or double chocolate) ice cream which is served with the Elmer Fudge (a.k.a. Ugly Cake) and topped with all chocolate accessories. The cake is really good, very moist and dense. Eaten together with the cold ice cream, this dessert hits all the right notes.
Service was very good and prompt. Our waiter was a trainee and he fumbled a little when we asked for some recommendations. In the end, we chose all the desserts he didn’t recommend. Nevertheless, we gave him a good rating in the feedback form.
Amici Authentic Italian Restaurant
275 Holland Avenue
After a whole semester of postponement, my FM group (Clara, Wei Yuan and Zhi Peng) finally met up for lunch at Holland Village. We were considering Hog’s Breath Café but the lack of strong air conditioning made us decide on Amici instead. It’s such a relief to get out of the sweltering heat!
Come during lunch time and you can enjoy their affordable set lunches. You get to choose either a soup or salad, main course and a cup tea/coffee.
The complimentary bread is quite good—a little crispy yet soft inside.
I like to dip the bread in the vegetable soup of the day, making it slightly soggy yet retaining a nice chewy texture. The soup is creamy and similar to the usual soups found in bistros.
Clara’s and my salads are a mix of fresh romaine and iceberg lettuces, tossed in a homemade vinaigrette dressing. I like the taste of vinaigrette which is made with olive oil and wine vinegar. It has a tangy flavor which makes it very appetizing.
My Salmon Steak ($14.80++) is well-done and not overcooked. I know that I’ve just eaten salmon the day before but I just love salmon! Especially when the flesh is tender and moist. It’s served with a small portion of sautéed potatoes and florets of broccoli. The potatoes are fried quickly in a little olive oil so that the water content is retained and the olive oil lends a nice aroma to the otherwise bland potatoes.
The guys requested for the Rib Eyed Steak ($15.90++) to be medium done. I tried a little and it’s quite good. It’s not tough and chewy. The peppery sauce is savory and goes well with the red meat. But it was not grilled consistently as part of Wei Yuan’s steak is fully cooked while the other part is medium done.
Clara had the Italian Beef Meatballs with Spaghetti ($10.90++) in tomato sauce. The pasta is cooked al dente so no complains there. The meatballs are nice but a little too salty. I think that Ikea’s meatballs are better.
For the price we are paying, this is quite a good value for money set lunch. Even though there were not many diners, the service was quite poor, probably because there were only 2 waitresses. We had to try many times to catch their attention when we wanted a refill or the bill.
This little Italian restaurant is quite small and narrow. I love the beautifully painted wall murals which depict angels. It adds a nice touch to an otherwise bland space. The ambience is very nice with a dim lighting.
I'll be back again to try their other items and award-winning tiramisu!
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
TCC, the coffee connoisseur #1
182 Peranakan Place
Lunch was at TCC with Hui Yi. It’s been quite sometime since I last stepped into TCC. I always think that this is a rather cool place to chill out with friends and perhaps have some coffee and desserts. Looking at their menu, I’m surprised that they have a large selection of starters and bistro fare like the usual pasta, mains and sandwiches.
TCC Kahlua Salmon ($16.80++) has been featured in quite a number of reviews before. The fresh salmon is pan-seared and baked until tender. I like that the salmon is not overcooked and still retains its juiciness. It’s served with mashed potato and TCC’s own concoction of coffee sauce, garnished with asparagus and rose petals. The mashed potato helps to fill you up real fast but we feel that too much butter is used. Also, the asparagus is too salty. I tried eating the rose petals but they were too hard and had a weird taste. Are they even edible in the 1st place?
For desserts, we had the Warm Vanilla Bread Pudding ($7.20++). 2 slices of warm bread puddings are served with a small scoop of cappuccino ice cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce. This is the 1st time I’m trying bread pudding and I can’t say that I like it very much. It just tastes like very soft and moist bread. The creamy texture comes from the milk used to soak the bread before it’s baked. This may be an ideal comfort food for those who like bread but not for me.
Service was good since we were there during off-peak hours. The refilling of water was prompt and the waiters were attentive. One bad point is that if you need the washroom, you have to walk all the way to Centrepoint.
There are many outlets of TCC around Singapore and this is a good place for a meal if you have no idea where to eat.
Cedele by Bakery Depot #2
#03-28A Raffles City Shopping Centre
Since we were in Raffles City for the free cone day, Hui Yi and I decided to use the Cedele vouchers given to me the previous day. To celebrate the opening of the new outlet, they are offering free cupcakes, mini sandwiches or a cup of coffee/tea.
This is the chocolate cupcake with orange frosting. It's very soft and moist and has studs of melted chocolate chips in it.
I like the combination of orange and chocolate, even though the frosting can get overwhelmingly sweet after a few more bites. Nevertheless, this will score with those who like sweet chocolaty cupcakes with an intense flavor.
The mini chicken sandwich is nothing spectacular and tastes ordinary. The filling of shredded chicken, celery and carrot in mayonnaise reminds me of coleslaw. Since it’s free, I guess I can’t expect too much.
While we were sitting on the bench, a couple came over and asked us for directions to Cedele. It seems that few people know that there’s a new outlet which explains why they are having this freebie promotion. You can get the limited vouchers from the café in the basement. I think the promotion ends at the end of this month.
Ben & Jerry’s #1
#B1-80 Raffles Place Shopping Centre
“Love is…giving!”—it’s Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day 2008. This is a tradition celebrated worldwide where Ben & Jerry’s gives back to the community and salutes staff for their continuing support.
Wanting to be the 1st in line, Hui Yi and I reached Raffles City almost 30 minutes before noon. But alas, Singaporeans being Singaporeans, a line was already forming by then. While queuing, we were asked to complete a crossword puzzle to “familiarize” ourselves with all the different quirky flavors.
Promptly at noon, the staff cheered and started scooping out ice cream. The line moved quite fast and we didn’t have to wait long for our turn.
I chose the Chocolate Therapy in a cup since I don’t like to eat the cone. It’s delicious! The ice cream is dark, rich and intense, with chocolate cookies and swirls of chocolate pudding in it.
All chocoholics will surely fall in love with this! I think this is my favourite flavor after Dublin Mudslide.
Hui Yi had the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough which is vanilla ice cream with gobs of chocolate chip cookie dough.
This is the one of the all time most popular flavors among Ben & Jerry’s fans from all over the world. But I don’t really fancy vanilla ice cream because more often than not, the taste is too milky and creamy to make it enjoyable.
Not surprisingly, we saw some people who queued again for a second cone. In fact, if you are free the whole day, you can queue as many times as you like to enjoy all the flavors. But please be sure to donate to the Singapore Children's Society which is the beneficiary this year.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Cedele by Bakery Depot #1
#03-28A Raffles City Shopping Centre
“Our Food, Goodness You can Trust”, so proclaimed Cedele.
Zhi Peng and I met up for lunch at the newly opened Cedele outlet at Raffles City. Opened in a secluded corner of the shopping mall, the café was quite deserted when we made our way there. Having been to other outlets of Cedele several times, I noticed that the menu has some new additions, especially in the desserts section.
The Grilled Chicken Avocado Brie Sandwich ($14.80++) is served with lettuce and tomato on fresh oat bran bread and with a side salad. Instead of brie, I requested for the homemade coriander pesto as a replacement.
Traditionally, pesto is made with pine nuts, basil and olive oil. This homemade pesto is equally good made with coriander and I like the finely minced garlic as they provide a bite and enhance the aroma. The chicken is also succulent and juicy as it is not over-grilled.
The Sea Bass Lovers Sandwich ($15.80++) comes on wholemeal bread and a side salad. Even though the sea bass is grilled on the spot, both of us agreed that it is either not very fresh or not made to order as there is a fishy smell.
Nevertheless, I still enjoy the sandwich as I’m not overly bothered by the fishiness. Like the previous sandwich, I replaced the mayonnaise with the homemade pesto which tastes great with the sea bass. To some extent, it also helps to mask the fishy smell.
The Blueberry Maple Cake ($6++) is a moist whole wheat cake that is baked with layers of maple syrup frosting and topped with fresh blueberries. Organic unrefined sugar is used. Both of us find that the frosting tastes suspiciously like cream cheese frosting but the manager assured us that there is no cheese. I’m still quite skeptical as it really tastes like cheese and not maple syrup.
Made with whole wheat flour, this cake is also denser than regular sponge cake. Overall, I think it’s quite nice if not for the cheese-like frosting.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Ristorante Da Valentino #1
11 Jalan Bingka
I love Italian food! And I think I’ve just had the best Italian meal of my life.
Kim, Jon and I decided to recce the restaurant chosen for Yoke Yee’s birthday celebration. Reaching shortly after noon, we were lucky to get a table without reservation as they are apparently fully booked during the weekends.
Complimentary bread was served with an olive oil dip. I only tried the olive oil which is really good. The herbs make it very aromatic and fresh.
Our starter of Combo Salad ($24.90++) was today’s special. Mixed fresh greens are served with a generous sprinkling of pine nuts, olives, walnuts, shredded apples and parmesan cheese. I love it! This is the highlight of the whole meal for me. Even though I don’t like cheese, the savory and delicate taste of the parmesan cheese goes so well with the sweet apple slices.
The nuts and olives also give a nice crunch and aroma to the otherwise bland salad. Since it’s made with skimmed milk, parmesan cheese has a low fat content so this is a really healthy yet delicious dish. I have to admit though, this is the priciest salad I’ve ever eaten but it’s really worth it!
This is easily the best but not the perfect ravioli I’ve eaten so far. The pasta is silkily smooth but the edges are still a little too hard for my liking. The parma ham filling is rather generous and has a nice texture. Anyone know where has the perfect ravioli?
I like the sauce the most as it tastes really fresh and rich, unlike those watery sauces found in some Italian restaurants. Like the ravioli, the pasta is cooked just nicely al dente. The pieces of chicken are not so thinly sliced as to be indiscernible.
You won’t find any desserts in the menu because all they differ everyday. The desserts are displayed in a trolley which the waiter will push to your table and then he will introduce the various sweets.
I was really very disappointed when told that my favourite Italian dessert, tiramisu, is sold out. Apparently, Jon and Kim found this amusing. Since we will be coming back next week, I specially reserved 2 tiramisu for our next visit.
The Chantilly al Cioccolato Bianco ($8.80++) is a sponge cake with custard and chocolate cream fillings topped with Chantilly cream and white chocolate shavings. Chantilly cream is sweetened, vanilla-flavored whipped cream and it gets its name from the French market town (Chantilly!) just north of Paris which is famous for its whipped cream. There is a subtle hint of alcohol as the sponge cake is soaked in Jamaican rum. This cake looks very pretty and is very light. Somehow though, I feel that this cake will appeal more to sophisticated adults.
The Profiteroles ($8.80++) are the Italian version of English cream puffs covered in creamy chocolate sauce. They are said to have originated from Renaissance France and Italy.
The puffs are incredibly soft and the combination of fresh cream and luscious chocolate sauce does not render it overly sweet. But since I don’t like cream, this doesn’t really catch my fancy.
My favourite dessert today is the Chocolate Salami ($8.80++) which is very interesting. As its name implies, these soft baked cookies look like salami—only that they are made of dark and white chocolate. Eaten together with the vanilla bean ice cream, these little morsels have an intense chocolate flavor that is enhanced by the ice cream.
Valentino is opened by an Italian family and provides authentic Italian cuisine in the most homely Italian ambience you can find in Singapore. The red-bricked walls are decorated with the family’s memorabilia and I like the cozy ambience. Even though it may seem like a fine dining restaurant, no one care if you just wear shorts and slippers.
Word of warning: Be prepared to pay more as you are paying for high quality food. We didn’t know how much the items cost until we asked for the bill. Food portions are dainty but sufficient. Located along Jalan Bingka, this establishment is not easy to find without a street directory. But for the truly great food here, I don’t even mind the inaccessible location.
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