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!)
Friday, May 30, 2008
Serenity Restaurant & Bistro
Lunch was with Mom at this mere week old Mediterranean restaurant which I discovered on my last visit to VivoCity. Mediterranean food is one of my favourite cuisines since a liberal amount of olives and nuts (both of which I like!) is usually used.
We started with a small Caesar Oriental Salad ($6++) which was really good. This is a twist of the classic caesar salad with achar, salted fish, julienne omelette, wolfberries and cos leaves. If you are wondering, to julienne means to cut into thin and narrow matchstick size. The mixture of flavors was wonderful! The salted fish was cleverly fried together with the egg and the sweet wolfberries gave a nice balance to the savory egg. Note to self: Ask for less dressing on the next visit.
Our next appetizer was Hoi Sin Chicken Quesadillas ($12++)—a tapa which is a kind of hors' d'oeuvres in Spanish cuisine. Chicken juliennes are roasted with the Chinese barbecue sauce, capsicums, onions and mozzarella. These are then baked between flour tortillas and served with tomato salsa.
This is very good too! The sweet sauce balances the tangy salsa very well. I like the salsa so much that the waiter gave me more upon my request. My only complaint is that this is a little pricey for four quesadillas.
The mash potato had small cubes of potatoes embedded in it and the ratatouille was awesome too! This humble farmer’s dish (made famous by the self titled movie) is a kind of French seasoned vegetables stew. The vegetables here were not overly soft and lumpy, but still retaining their original flavors. I almost forgot to mention the little cherry tomatoes! They are brushed with olive oil and grilled—the result being a bursting of sweet flavor when these plump gems are popped into the mouth. Delicious!
Service was excellent here, perhaps due to the lack of customers at this off-peak hour. The waiter always approached with a smile and even volunteered to change our side plates and cutleries. This place is quite huge and has a lovely ambience with floor to ceiling glass paned windows providing a view of the sea.
There is also a stage where I suppose a band will perform when night falls.
The restaurant is very spacious and even houses a well-equipped bar.
Enough said! I will definitely come back here to try their other delectable offerings.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
#01-43 Shaw Leisure Gallery
Jia Ling, Bernard and Eric brought me to Creation for dinner. Even though this little café is tucked away in a corner of Shaw Tower, it does not seem to be wanting of customers. When we reached there, the place was already quite full and we had to sit near the entrance. All of us had the set dinner ($15.20 nett) which is really value for money! Besides a choice of main course, it also includes soup, dessert and drink.
We also ordered some starters to share. The potato wedges ($4.90 nett) arrived piping hot at our table and were quite nice! I seldom eat wedges but these meet my standard. I like that they were in huge fat chunks instead of being long and slim. Despite being fried, these were not oily.
The fried calamari ($5.30 nett) was… weird. But in a good way. These don’t taste like the calamari at all. The usual ones are rather firm and chewy but these have a meaty bite to it. In fact, I don’t see how there can be any squid in it. The strange thing is that I like this more than the usual calamari elsewhere! The golden sun-kissed batter is also very light.
Soup of the day was broccoli soup served with half a slice of bread. It would have been perfect if the soup is thicker and less salty.
I wanted the mushroom ravioli but it was sold out so I had the Salmon Alfredo instead. But I changed the sauce from cream to tomato since I will never eat pasta in cream sauce. The penne was nicely al dente and the portions of salmon and mushrooms were quite generous. I like that there were actually coarsely chopped tomatoes in the sauce which give the pasta a nice bite.
Jia Ling also ordered the Salmon Alfredo but hers was the original version, ie. linguine in cream sauce.
Dessert was either apple crumble or chocolate brownie, both served with vanilla ice cream. All of us chose the apple crumble except Jia Ling who had the brownie.
The chocolate brownie fares much better than the crumble. It’s rich, warm and moist but not too sweet. Paired with the cold ice cream, the taste is simply wonderful.
There is no GST or service charge here. All you need to do is indicate your choices on a form and pass it to the waiters. They will serve the food personally once it’s ready. I have to say though, the service was good. But Jia Ling observed that the waiters were apparently quite inexperienced since their way of collecting our plates was unprofessional. But to be fair, this is just a small eatery and not a high class restaurant so my expectations aren’t high.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
After the pleasant if not outstanding dinner, we made our way over to Bakerzin where we know the desserts won’t fail us. Maybe it’s due to the late hour, but there were not a lot of cakes left on display. Hui Qing and I were disappointed that the cakes we wanted were sold out! (She wanted Opera and I wanted Chocolate Amer.)
Making do with the limited selection, I had my favourite Italian dessert, Tiramisu ($6.20++). Bakerzin’s rendition of the mascarpone cheesecake is quite good. The finger sponge is soaked in an espresso syrup with brandy & white rum. The mousse is flavoured with masala wine. But it would have been better if the liquor taste is stronger.
Elaine had the Ambrosia ($6.50++) which is a crunchy walnut dacquoise with Jivara chocolate ganache and nuggets of caramelised bananas. I like the addition of walnuts which give this a nice bite and texture. This is a little too milky for my liking though.
This is Lavende ($6.90++) which is a simple triangular shaped lavender infused dark chocolate mousse cake.
Hui Qing and I agree that the dark chocolate is not bitter enough and gets a little too sweet after a few bites. But the mousse is very smooth!
Sharon’s Cookies and Cream Cheesecake ($6.50++) is basically cream cheese studded with cookie crumble and sprinkled with crushed cookie bits. I didn’t try this since I don’t eat cheesecake but the rest said that it’s good so take their word for it.
Service was brisk and efficient enough which warrants no complaints. Business appears to be good since people were still streaming in after 9.30pm to grab a late night dessert. Bakerzin is one of the places where I can be sure to find exquisite and high quality desserts.
Daniel Tay, the owner of Bakerzin, has just released a cookbook “Just Desserts” and it was on a display shelf.
When we asked if we could browse through it, the waiter told us that “they only allow people to look through it so it’s not for browsing”. Which leads us to wonder, isn’t "looking through" the same as browsing? Hmm.
Mussel Guys Seafood & Steak Restaurant
It’s been ages since I met up with Elaine, Hui Qing and Sharon as a whole group since we graduated from VJ. Finally, we managed to find a common time after weeks of postponement.
Dinner was at Mussel Guys where their set dinners come with a soup of the day, a choice of several main courses and coffee or tea. Our soup was the ubiquitous cream of mushroom which was nothing outstanding. I suspect that they use the canned Campbell instead of making it from scratch.
Elaine and I had the Oven Honey Baked Salmon ($15.90++). Usually, it’s served with rice but we requested for it to be replaced with more vegetables. The salmon was not overcooked and still retained its fatty juices. The taste reminds me of honey baked ham—just that this is salmon instead of ham. One thing I don’t like is the small pool of oil beneath the fillet. Otherwise, I can’t find any other fault with the dish.
The Grilled Chicken and King Prawn ($15.90++) comes with a side serving of vegetables and mash potato. There was only one prawn but the portion of chicken was quite large. The chicken was tender enough and the marinade made it aromatic.
Wild Mushroom in Cream Sauce Spaghetti ($10.50++) is a simple pasta dish. The mushrooms were quite fresh generous. But Hui Qing said that the cream sauce made it overwhelmingly nauseous after some time. That’s the reason why I always order tomato sauce based pasta since I don’t trust myself to finish a cream sauce one.
Service was slightly below average. The waiter who took our orders was unsmiling while the one who served our meals was shaking visibly as he placed our food in front of us. To be fair, he’s probably a trainee who needs more practice. Overall, the food itself is nothing memorable but value for money, I guess.
P.S. I apologize for the lack of photos for this post as I accidentally deleted them. Do use your imagination in picturing how the food look like!
Sunday, May 18, 2008
PS. Café #2
28B Harding Road
For an after dinner dessert, Hui Yi, Wen Yi and I walked over to PS. Café since Qian Wen had to leave after dinner. Even though I’ve just been here the day before, I’m not complaining as I really like this place.
Not surprisingly, we had to wait for a table since we didn’t make any reservation. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait too long. Even though they prevented me from taking photos yesterday, I still managed to snap a photo of the desserts counter this time.
The PS. Profiteroles ($14.90++) were awesome! Choux pastry puffs are filled with balls of vanilla bean ice cream and drenched in chocolate sauce topped with almond flakes. Even though I generally don’t like pastry puffs, these are great as they are very soft and light. The dark chocolate sauce is another plus since it’s not sweet at all and has a slightly bitter taste—the way I like it. I think the profiteroles are much nicer than the ones at Valentino!
The Sticky Date Cake ($12.90++) is my birthday cake! And clearly a misnomer. It’s actually just a very dense cake with studs of embedded dates. It’s not sticky at all and tastes like a typical raisin cake.
Don’t order this if you are expecting something akin to the sticky date cake from Marmalade Pantry. The vanilla ice cream also tastes a little too milky.
This is Iced Lemon Peach Tea ($7++) which is brewed Ceylonese tea dusted with crushed lime and lemon wedges.
I had the PS. Digestive Tea ($7.50++) which is an original herbal infusion created to aid digestion. Marigold, honeybush, organic lemon myrtle, vervain, ginger and orange peel are used in the concoction of this tea. I like it! This is very herby and fragrant. But Hui Yi doesn’t like the taste.
The tea set comes with a very pretty English tea cup! I think it looks lovely.
Service was again very efficient. The waitress who served me the previous day also remembered me. This time though, the waitress serving us was very tall and handsome! Cute waiters aside, I like the wide space of the café and wall to ceiling glass paned windows.
Karma Kettle & Rhapsody
26B Dempsey Road
Dinner was decided to be at Dempsey Hill with Hui Yi, Qian Wen and Wen Yi. After considering the cluster of cafes and restaurants there, we went to this very homely and quirky decorated establishment.
We started with the Dutch Salad ($9.90++). Mixed greens are tossed with quail eggs, potatoes, beets, chickpeas, bacon bits and honey mustard dressing. I like the tangy dressing a lot! It gives a nice twist and flavor to the salad.
Our next starter was the Kathi Roll ($11.90++) recommended by Hui Yi. These are Indian wraps stuffed with chicken, bell peppers and red onions. The wraps are like the normal prata skin and a little oily but I like the chicken! The marinade makes it very fragrant and the chicken is tender.
The Sole Meuniere ($24++) is a traditional French dish of a New Zealand sole fillet served with brown butter sauce and lemon. This is good! The sole is nicely pan seared and juicy. But I think that the sauce tends more to the oily side, probably because too much butter was used.
The Cottage Pie ($14.90++) is another traditional dish. Prime lean beef mince, onion, carrots and Worcestershire sauce are baked with a mash potato topping. Everyone likes this! The fragrance hits you as it’s delivered to the table. The fillings are not too salty and the ratio of fillings to mash is well balanced.
We were surprised that we were the only diners there throughout our meal even though it’s a Sunday. The waiter told us that the traffic flow is rather erratic; the place can be a full house one day and quiet the next.
Diners can also buy the many pieces of paintings hanging on the walls.
#03-002 Suntec City Tower 1
Lunch was with Yoke Yee, Kim and Jon for a joint birthday celebration. I’ve heard a lot of good comments about Kuishinbo from friends. Finally I have the chance to see for myself if the food is really as good as they say. A queue was already forming by the time we reached there but we didn’t have to wait as Yoke Yee made a reservation in advance.
The lunch buffet spread ($27.80++) has all the typical Japanese fare one would expect to find. There are an assortment of sushi, tempura, sashimi, shabu shabu and desserts.
The salmon sashimi was very fresh and tender. But the raw tuna and sea bream were a disappointment. They were too tough and had a strong unappetizing fishy smell.
I love the edamame! Fresh edamame are so hard to find in supermarkets and generally cost a bomb in Japanese restaurants. These Japanese soy beans are very addictive and I like the nice texture.
Since the only unagi I could find were unagi sushi, I asked the chef whether he could just let me have the unagi without the rice and he nicely agreed! But this is only after I’ve wasted a small mound of rice.
The dobin mushi (seafood soup in a tea pot) is quite nice. But a little too salty, I think.Desserts were not as good as I expected. There were a chocolate fondue, soft serve ice cream, fresh fruits and a variety of cakes.
The tiramisu was a joke. It was just plain mascarpone cheese sprinkle with cocoa powder without the lady biscuits. Sitting on the counter for too long, the mango pudding and grass jelly were not chilled at all. Yoke Yee likes the cream puffs with chocolate cream. The red bean mochi was quite nice but I find that the glutinous rice covering was too thick.
Generally, the buffet is value for money if you eat more of the expensive stuff like sashimi. But I feel that this place is over rated. I think I would rather spend the money on ala carte meal in a good Japanese restaurant.Also, I found out that I’m not suited for buffets since I tend to waste food! Once something is not nice, I won’t eat it. Kushinbo has an affordable lunch buffet and ladies’ night on weekdays and seems to be popular among Singaporeans.
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