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!)
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Sofra Turkish Cafe and Restaurant
#02-42, Shaw Towers
I've fallen in love with Middle Eastern cuisine ever since I first tried it at one of the ubiquitous Middle East cafes while studying in New Zealand. It's considered as an "exotic" cuisine to most Singaporeans as there are not many such cafes or restaurants in the main shopping and dining areas such as Orchard Road. A pity, as the food is really delicious!
The Salad Plate ($11.50++) is meant as a starter for 2 persons but I chose to have it as my main as I'm hankering for hummus. There's a combination of Sofra salad, eggplant salad and hummus. This was really great, especially the well-marinated fried eggplant with peppers, tomatoes and onions. I also liked the hummus which had a smooth texture and rich, creamy consistency. The plate was supposed to come with vine leaves rolls but the kitchen ran out of them so this was on the house.
The Chicken Baked Rice ($13.50++) looked quite good with its cheesy topping.
Now, this is truly a feast for carnivores. The Jumbo Kebab Combo ($34.50++) consists of beef, lamb and chicken kebabs, using swords as skewers. There were also bread and salad on the side. I liked the grilled eggplants but some of the outer skin was too charred to be consumed.
The portions are very generous and prices are kept within a reasonable range. Even though the restaurant does not serve any meals in between lunch and dinner, the chefs were kind enough to cook for 2 ladies who arrived late with their babies in tow. Now, this is what I call good service! All in all, I really enjoyed my meal here.
Labels: Middle East
Friday, April 24, 2009
Purple Rose Confectionery cafe
Blk 42, Holland Drive #01-91
Located off the main road leading to Holland Village, this little cafe was a surprisingly pleasant find. Lured by the luscious cakes on display, I couldn't resist the temptation of further indulgence.
The simply named Chocolate Layer Cake ($9) would be a hit for chocolate lovers. 3 rich layers of chocolate cake are sandwiched between chocolate buttercream. What I liked about this was that the sponge was very moist and light. Now, I'm usually put off by buttercream of any sort but this surprised me with its silky smooth texture which complemented the cake very nicely.
There are many other droolworthy cakes such as shortcakes, brownies and fudge cakes that may be worth a try. This is a great place to chill out with friends if you want to avoid the crowds at Holland Village!
48A Lorong Mambong, Holland Village
It's been a long while since I've had a good sandwich. The Omega-3 Bomb ($14.50++) sounded delicious with its description of seared tuna, eggs, olive and basil pesto. But I was rather disappointed with it as the tuna was much too tough and overcooked despite being red in the middle.
The signature dessert, Muddy Mudpie ($8.90++), didn't satisfy my sweet tooth this time. The cappuccino and chocolate ice cream was too frozen with embedded crystals, an unforgivable sin for a good ice cream. Personally, I prefer desserts with a contrasting texture so this was too monotonous to me.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Ben and Jerry's #2
#B1-80, Raffles City Shopping Centre
It's B&J's annual Free Cone Day! This year, there were 5 flavours to choose from, albeit not too exciting ones like chocolate and vanilla. But hey, I can't complain since it's such a nice gesture from B&J's. When we got there, the queue was long (not surprising) but the wait was surprisingly short as we only queued for about 15 mins.
I chose the Chocolate Fudge Brownie since I haven't had it for such a long time. Still as good as ever with generous fudgey bits of brownie chunks. In fact, I think I had this on the Free Cone Day last year! Did I, Ms Noo?
The Coffee Coffee Buzzbuzzbuzz was the underdog as we didn't expect to be wowed by it. It turned out to be quite good as the coffee taste was strong enough but I still prefer the one from Tom's Palette anytime. The studded chocolate pieces were a little annoyingly too much and too large.
Chocolate Macadamia is the latest flavour rolled out by B&J. I found it to be too creamy and more like vanilla rather than chocolate. The only thing I like is the huge chocolate coated sweet macadamia. Oops, by the time this had its turn in front of the camera, the ice cream was melting!
Till next year!
Rive Gauche #1
#B1-13, Tampines 1
Even though I have passed by the Orchard outlet numerous times, somehow I've never tried any cakes from this patisserie before. The pretty cakes sitting in the display shelves were calling out to me and I couldn't resist them!
Athough I've been roasting chestnuts regularly at home, this was my virgin Mont Blanc ($4.50) as the cream always put me off. 2 layers of soft sponge cake are spiked with beandy syrup, sandwiched with French and Japanese chestnuts and finally topped with a lavish amount of chestnut puree. I wasn't expecting to like this as I don't like cream but boy, I've fallen in love with this! The puree was extremely smooth and not too cloyingly sweet and the candied chestnuts were a bonus! By the way, if you are wondering, the name "Mont Blanc" belongs to a mountain in the French Alps and the cake is named after it due to its shape.
The chocoholic in me craved for the Guanaja ($6) the moment I laid eyes on this lovely cake. This is the No. 1 bestseller of Rive Gauche and rightly so. The chocolate mousse and ganache were bittersweet, the 2 alternating layers of chocolate sponge were soft and moist, and the bottom layer of crispy biscuits gave a nice bite to the whole dessert. If you like ferrero rocher, you will love this as the hazelnut flavour is really outstanding. In retrospect, I think I would be happily satisfied with the Coco Exotic from Four Leaves since they are rather similar.
Manpuku Japanese Gourmet Town
#03-16/19, Tampines 1
There was much hype in the media about this Japanese food hall when the new mall at Tampines opened recently. The food stalls are pretty comprehensive, ranging from ramen, sushi to desserts such as mochi and parfaits.
The Moonlight Special Okonomiyaki ($12.80+) was nothing special at all. I requested for no pork so there were only squid and prawns in it, topped with a sunny side up egg. The squid was overcooked as it was too tough.
I really don't understand the hype over this "gourmet town" as the food is quite mediocre. One grouse I have is that there are many misleading displays of the food items at each individual stall. I actually wanted to order one of the items but was told that it's not on the menu. Why display them if they are not even on the menu? This culture is common in Japan but at least when I was there, I can be assured that the restaurant does serve all the displayed dishes.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Ristorante De Parma
14B Kensington Park Road
Serangoon Garden Estate
6281 3380 / 6280 1096
Wanting to satisfy my sudden craving for a good tiramisu, I made my way to this small family-run restaurant after reading rave reviews about its homemade tiramisu.
We ordered two set lunches ($15.90+ each) which came with a starter of either a salad or soup of the day, choice of the pasta or pizza of the day as the main, and a drink. The complimentary foccacia was so good and fragrant with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar dip that Sis ate my share of it!
The soup of the day was the cream of potato and leek. I liked it as it's thick and not too creamy. The tiny chunks of potato gave a good bite and texture to the wholesome soup. One thing that bothered me was that the waiter asked "Would you like black pepper in it?" immediately after serving the soup even though we had not even taste it yet!
The colourful salad was a pleasure for the eyes but ordinary tasting for the mouth.
The pasta of the day was tuna pasta in a spicy tomato sauce. This was wonderful! The smell made my mouth water even before the waiter set it down on our table. Perfectly al dente spaghetti was tossed with tuna chunks in homemade tomato sauce. The degree of spiciness was perfect too as it's hot enough to excite the taste buds but not fiery enough to leave me gulping water.
The pizza of the day was the garden pizza. Mixed greens are topped on a tomato based thin crust pizza. It didn't sound very exciting but all of us enjoyed it! Whatever the style, the crust is undeniably a major factor in good pizza. This rendition is one of the best pizza crust I've ever eaten--perfectly balanced with an outstanding slightly chewy texture and a crispy nature. One word of warning though: Forget using the fork and knife as it's very difficult to cut through the crust. Tuck in with your hands!
Now now, it's the highlight of the entire meal. I was so looking forward to the tiramisu ($12.90+) as previous reviews have rated it as one of the best (and even the best) tiramisu in Singapore. But it fell short of my expectations. Not that it wasn't nice, it was just not mind blowing enough to knock my socks off. I prefer tiramisu with a more generous splash of alcohol but this leaned towards the sweet side with a distinct espresso taste. This was not an issue as I understand that there are people who prefer it this way. However, I have a bone to pick with the bottom layer of lady fingers. It was definitely over soaked as the sponge was too soggy and limpy. See the pool of liquid at the base? That's how wet it was. I did raise this issue with the owner but she said that their version is the wetter type. But it was TOO wet (in the extreme) to me.
Overall, this is a very good value restaurant with more hits than misses. Service was great and portions were generous enough to feed the 3 of us happily. My disappointment with the dessert was more than made up for by the delicious thin crust pizza. Oh, I just found the perfect excuse to come back here again! The only way to finding out whether the tiramisu is a slight inconsistency on their chef's part or it's truly the way it's served is to order it again on my next visit!
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Tom's Palette #4
#01-25, Shaw Tower
There's just something about Tom's Palette that keeps making me go back. Maybe it's the great service, or maybe it's just the fantastic ice cream that's keeping the magic alive? Whatever it is, I always enjoy the treats here. As usual, I had the chocolate stout with tiramisu which is only available once a month ($2.50 for a small cup). This time round, the tiramisu lacked that alcoholic taste that I was looking for but the chocolate stout more than made up for it!
Sis paired tiramisu with lychee and rose. The latter was a sorbet-like ice cream with a very refreshing taste.
I'll definitely be back!
Blk 3A Clarke Quay, #02-02
6338 0305 / 6538 3849
The family celebrated Sis's 25th birthday at this restaurant recommended by Wendy Auntie. All 8 of us had the ala carte buffet ($30++) which gave us unlimited orders of 50 dishes. The advantage to dining with such a large group is that we can try many different varieties without overstuffing ourselves.
This was another dish I liked: Pan-Seared Prawn Mousse in Sugar Cane. It's interesting as the prawn mixture was wrapped around a sugar cane and the flavour of sugar cane compliemented the prawn mousse well, giving it a slightly sweet instead of savoury taste.
We had two orders of the Braised Sea Cucumber and Fish Maw, both of which are said to have collagen. Collagen is very good for the skin! A perfect excuse to eat more of it.
The Stir-fried ‘Kung Po’ Eel was different from what I had in mind. I thought that the eel would be similar to the unagi I always have in japanese restaurants. This eel was much more tough and lacked the tenderness and softness I was looking for.
I didn't like the Stir-fried String Beans with Dried Shrimps as it was too bland, too oily and the dried shrimps were almost nonexistent.
This was another hot favourite which warranted a second order. The Steamed Seabass with Lemon Jus was very fresh and flavourful. We had to wait for 30 mins as the seabass was steamed upon order but it was definitely worth the wait.
We were very disappointed with the Wok-fried Egg Omelette with Prawns and Chives as it was way too salty. The only saving grace was the prawns which were very plump and juicy!
I didn't like the Stewed Bean curd & Fish Fillet in Claypot as frozen fish fillets were used instead of fresh ones.
Here are 2 more dishes which I didn't try. The general consensus among the family was that the Marinated Egg-Plant topped with Chicken Floss was interesting and delicious.
This is the Stir-fried Almond Cappuccino Pork Spare Ribs.
We definitely ordered more than the above dishes but I didn't take any photographs of them as I was too busy eating and chatting. Moving on to the desserts, I didn't like the Hot Sweetened Peanut Paste and Sago. The sago was in an unappetising clump while the peanut paste was more savoury than sweet. Other desserts on the menu included the seasonal fruit platter, longan with sea coconut and ice cream, all of which were unremarkable.
Generally, this was a pleasant enough meal that lasted for more than 3 hours. Speaking from a non chinese food lover's point of view, the food was only average. I had a few qualms about the service though. When I told the waitress that the omelette was very salty, her only response was "shi ma?"("is it?" in chinese). We were quite irritated with that. To her credit, she did come back again to ask if we wanted another serving of it. But the 1st bad impression had already been created and not likely to be forgotten. On the whole, service was prompt but the waitresses looked unfriendly with no smiles at all. I'd rather have a forced smile than no smile at all, thank you very much.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
#01-10/12, Esplanade Mall
Having read many reviews about this new kid on the block, I wanted to see for myself how good or bad this place really was. For unlimited lunch ($37++), diners are at the complete mercy of its chef as there is no menu so elements of anticipation and surprise are incorporated into the whole dining experience.
The first dish seemed to portend a bad meal to come. The stuffed pasta salad did not impress me at all as the pasta was undercooked and the flavours were quite bland.
The tomato tartine was beautifully presented but nothing spectacular tastewise.
The celery soup was totally unappetising. I'm strongly inclined to use the word "disgusting" to describe it. At first sip, I thought it would be an acquired taste for most of us. But subsequently, the weird taste was more than I could bear.
Finally, there came a dish that was decent enough to warrant a second order. Although the salmon tartare was simply executed, I enjoyed the raw and natural taste of the roughly chopped salmon. However, this did not fare well with Yong Huat as it was too fishy tasting.
Next, the mushroom tempura was relatively good too. The batter was light and not oily but the real star was the button mushroom which was very juicy. The accompanying mushroom shot was simply mushroom soup in disguise.
After the starters, the mains started arriving. The pan seared sea bass with the wakame salad was my favourite. Don't get me wrong, this was nothing exceptional. It's just that compared to the rest of the dishes, this stood out as one of the best with its freshness and well-balanced flavour. Our second order of this was better as the fish was more tender. This seems to question the consistency of the food served.
I quite like the potato gnocchi with shrimps as the latter was very fresh. However, the tomato base was way too oily!
The corn risotto was a culinary disaster: overcooked, mushy and gooey. We sent it back virtually untouched.
I didn't try any of the meat dishes but according to my dining companion, they are nothing to shout about.
See the layer of salt crystals on the roasted chicken? Yes, it's that salty!
This is the roasted beef slices sitting on top of a bed of mashed potato.
I was hoping that the desserts would be better but alas, my hope was dashed. The strawberry milkshake was good but milkshakes are not classified as a "dessert" in my dictionary.
The apple crumble was not even the traditional type of baked crumble. This rendition was simply assembling stewed apple cubes with pieces of biscuits, topped with a minute scoop of vanilla ice cream.
The grand finale was the dessert platter which consisted of tarts and macarons. The chocolate macaron was seriously a sugar overdose. It was much too sweet for my liking.
The whole meal was disappointing, to say the least. Nothing stood out with a "wow" factor. Most of the dishes are misses rather than hits. Service was also lacking. The waitresses who served us the dishes mumbled the names and I had to ask them twice on more than one occasion. There also seems to be a lack of coordination among the servers as we were asked twice "Are you ready to move on desserts?" despite the fact that we were still waiting for our second orders. Much have to be improved before I'm willing to step into this restaurant again. Fantastic presentation without substance just doesn't cut it for me.
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