Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Via Mar

a very expensive 42 bucks Seafood platter we greedily ordered because there was complimentary dessert that came with this order..this can easily be one person's appetiser (although i must say the fish was very nice) and indeed it was listed as an appetiser in the menu to be shared by 4...what, infants??? maybe its called appetiser for a reason cos we were so hungry after that (-but it worked against the restaurant cos we felt so ripped off we decided to have our mains at Shimbaishi soba )
the complimentary Spanish pancakes...these were quite small. The insides were of an egg-curd consistency and is covered by a fried crepe layer..very nice, if it was bigger (same principle applies to the seafood platter)
we should have ordered the paella! dunno why we were blinded by all that mussels and prawns and calamari. if only they didnt rip us off this time we'd be back to try their paella.
and the restaurant was so empty on a weekend (and after a performance)....so there for your puny portions!! go woe all the tourists you want but singaporean big eaters like us will have to adjourn to somewhere else!!

Via Mar Restaurant & Wine Bar
8 Raffles Avenue #01-10/12 Esplanade Mall

Saturday, October 25, 2008


we stumbled into this place when we were checking out the newly renovated Cuppage terrace and we were lured by the bellydancers here (and eventually by the boss' enticing of free drinks) and since our original plan was to check out middle eastern food at bali lane anyway (but didnt go there cos stupid halloween costumes shop at bugis closes at 5pm on sat) we decided to venture into this place instead of Kazu at Cuppage...

everything here is imported from the middle east....from the furninshings to the chef to the portraits to the plates...not sure about the belly dancer (who knocked off early so i couldnt grab a picture of the hottest stuff in the restaurant)

Mixed Mezze Platter $18

Combination of hummus, moutabel, babaganoush, cheese borek & falafel

sounds as greek as can be for the ininitiated, this platter is a mixture of cold dips (to be eaten with the pita bread) and hot starters. For the cold starters, i liked the moutabel most (its a smoked eggplant dip with tahini and lemon juice). i havent tasted babaghanaoush before (which is grilled eggplant, tomato and capsicum salad) but it had a rather tangy taste - and it was the last to finish (ie we werent fans of it) . humus is the usual normal chickpea puree like in other middle eastern restaurants.

the 2 hot starters are the cheese borek (the 4 spring rolls sticking out - they are herbs and feta cheese pastry) and falafel (the 4 balls of chickpeas and beans tossed in spices beneath the spring rolls)

Mixed Grill Platter. $35

lamb chops, shish taouk, shish kebab and kofta kebabs served with 3 sauces

sounds greek to a layman again. okay, shish taouk is char grilled marinated chicken, whilst shish kebab is char grilled lamb cubes. i liked the shish kebab best!! i like lamb alot, but i thought the lamb chop was a little anorexic.

Royal Cous cous $25

cous cous with tender lamb shank, shish taouk and lamb merguez served with vegetable stew( picture below) and harissa sauce

i liked this main the best, simply because the lamb shank was really tender. the lamb merguez is a lamb sausage. the cous cous itself was well fried yet not oily, and very flavourful.

the vegetable stew looked like a curry but nope, its that colour because of the spices and there isnt actually any curry powder inside. the cabbages and capsicum soaked up the spicy stew and was went really well with the cous cous.

Baklawa (complimentary)

Filo pastry with assorted nuts and honey syrup

this is like middle eastern bread and pudding, except that there were pistachio nuts swimming about the layers of milk and cream!! i love the pastry bits as well.

Strawberry fondue (complimentary)

Strawberries and cream to wrap up the evening. It's really sweet of the boss to buy as drinks and desserts (and even an invite to shisha but we turned him down =p) but can see why because cuppage terrace was rather empty for a saturday evening, compared to the nearby emerald hill, perpetually infested by expats. it was only day 10 of opening day for kazbar, so they're still trying to iron things out (like the belly dancer knocks off too early on a saturday night!!!!!) but overall the food and service (the boss was really friendly, chatting with us throughout dinner telling tales of how he started off at Postbar at Fullerton to how he has the best job in the world of dining and wining his guests) is commendable and worth a visit.

I must go and check out Alaturka Turkish restaurant (as recommended by kums) and El Sheikh soon !

Kazbar (Cuppage Terrace)

33 Cuppage Road Cuppage Terrace

Monday, October 20, 2008

Cedele cakes

we were just supposed to order the whole Chocolate truffle cake from Cedele for my sister's birthday but when you have a mother and 2 daughters how are you suppose to resist ordering a round of cakes?

Carrot Cake

Moist carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and generous amount of Californian walnuts

we ordered 2 slices of this tall cake and boy was it good! it was indeed moist and the nuts were plentiful. my mom became a recent carrot cake convert after i convinced her that she'd like it after Cedele's. I think Cedele's is one of the best around, and Food for thought's version is equally good. Apparently, Andrew's sister, Lynda bakes excellent carrot cakes (for the President, i hear) so i must go and try that for myself.

Blueberry Hazelnut cheesecake

The hazelnut taste was very lightly perfused into the cheesecake. This is nice if you like your cheesecake creamy and plain-ish tasting. The blueberry taste is not strong at all but i like it that way because i hate sour cakes (unless its fruit and rum cake yum)

Chocolate Walnut Cheesecake

Usually i don't really like my chocolate and cheese all mixed in one cake ( since my tastebuds cant really decipher the flavours) - i prefer them in separate layers like Missclarity cafe's Twin Divine, or Secret Recipe's Choc Cheez - but i must say that this cake is good if you don't like your dense chocolate cake to be too chocolatey - the cheese actually dilutes out the chocolate lol

we also ordered a slice of the chocolate truffle (but we'll be having the whole cake to ourselves on friday) i cant wait for friday!

these cakes are worth braving the tight and crowded jelita car park for =) that car park was madness!! think its cos of the first hour free so everyyyyonnnneee drops by the cold storage there or rent videos or buy books ahhh so packed!

Cedele (Jelita)

293 Holland Road #01-01 Jelita Shopping Centre

Seoul Yummy Express, Suntec Food republic

Al Dosot Bibimbap, $6.50

i went back to this stall 3 times in the same week till the lady recognised me. (first with the Hongkong students, next with kels and another with my parents) -thats how good it was. this is the no-frills outlet that Seoul Yummy (which i like too!) operates in Food Republic Suntec(im not sure if other Food Republic has this express outlet). I like to ask for extra vegetables cos it really makes a whole lot of difference in terms of colour and crunchiness!instead of a raw egg york, this version has the prawn roe and the miso paste in place of it and it is defintely saltier and more flavourful - thats where the vegetables balances this out. I tried the beef and chicken version but I think the beef is alot better.

It comes with kimchi and soup as well...and it definitely creates a spectacle with the sizzling claypot so you'd definitely get stared at...the fun thing about the claypot is that you can create your own fried rice and mix it all up!

this is the first visit when I was with the Hong kong students and we all shared this - murtabak, chicken rice (a real rip off), nasi briyani and hokkien mee... oh i do miss those hong kong students, i cant wait till my exchange to see them again and by then it'll be my turn to be taken around to feast!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Green+on+Earth Cafe, Frolick

i keep reading about the rave reviews of the vegeterian food here (yeah, you got me right, it doesn't kill to be a herbivore once in awhile- no pun intended) so i dragged one of my healthier-eating frens along to try out the fare in this place...but gasp i realised he doesn't eat raw vegetables so oh well all the interesting avocado mango salads and vegeterian rojaks were kinda out (i don't think i'd wanna finish a whole salad for a dinner)

the modern hip ambience in Green+on+Earth Cafe is a huge contrast to the rest of the Beauty world centre that this cafe is situated in. the building looks very 1970 ish, with the grocery shops and old old family owned shops.. everything looks very old and the building looks like it can crumble...it was so coincidental that the day before michelle actually dined at the peranakan restaurant just next door and she was rather curious about this place also when i was chatting with her that night and i told her i was gonna try this place! michelle blog faster tell me whether if its better than ivins!

2 of us ordered 3 dishes to share - one noodle, one pasta and one soy curry set with brown rice...well even if its just vegetables it won't be all that boring *crosses fingers*

Al Funghi Ramen

(mushroom and fresh vegetables) $5.20

i like mushrooms but i noticed that there weren't exclusive mushroom dishes - they all came with tofu or vegetables and were rather pricey (around 10 bucks) so i decided to just order this carb dish. RAW VEG GALORE! my repulsed friend asked me to clear it before he actually started on it...we forgot to read the words in the parentheses oh well...

the noodle was doused in a gravy and i thought the crunchy vegetables complemented the gravy laden noodles. disappointingly there weren't that many mushrooms!! then don't call it Al Funghi Ramen how very misleading. it was not too salty but was rather unimpressionable. my friend commented it tastes like any other chinese noodles which is quite true..its just that the overall branding as a healthy eatery that led us to pay 5 bucks to eat noodles and vegs..

i prefer the vegeterian soba that secret recipe offers cos the soba is likely tossed in some dressing and there's quite alot of vegetables! now it'd be perfect if they could throw in some mushrooms.

Forest of Fungus

(Fresh assorted mushroom, potato cubes and pasta cooked with milk and mozarella cheese) $9.80

This sounded very promising (yes yes because it has mushrooms too!) and it did smell fabulous (my ramen didn't smell of anything) but overall i feel that the cream didn't permeate through the pasta so it still doesn't have enough flavour in every bite. my friend said that it was probably meant to be light and simple and not heavy like gnocchis. well...i guess this was a healthy place and they definitely cant dish out some super unhealthy fatty cheese and cream laden pasta..

Soy Curry Pot $10
(Soy milk curried vegetables, served with brown rice and mini salad) $10

okay this was rather interesting and it did save our meal somewhat. the bits of mock mutton inside taste uncannily like the true meat, and the curry was actually rather light. Interesting take on curry, since coconut milk is always considered to be indispensible in curries. It went very well with the brown rice, and there were bits of lady fingers in the curry too.

but after that i felt a sudden craving for the cottage cheese curry at krithikaa's dad's vegeterian restaurant Ananda Bhavan..oh i shall return for the naan soon...

we weren't really enticed by the desserts there so we decided to head to holland v for the yoghurt icecream at Frolick because i thought that the zouk card-tie up promotion was still on and i could get some free topping or free upgrade but alas...it was not meant to be..

standing in the place of an ex-newspaper stand, frolick is essentially a bar counter in a hole in the wall with prettily made up girls serving you the ice cream (tsk tsk all these local ice cream chains) in different Cup sizes A, B, C (im sure you can figure which is the biggest) and the cheekiness doesn't stop there with their slapstick slogans as you can see for yourself splashed all over the store and the table tops.. obviously attention grabbing tactics going on over here!

yoghurt icecream comes in 2 flavours - original and peach flavoured., which is slightly more expensive. Toppings like strawberry (they give alot!!!!) and granola and even fruit loops are available at additional cost.

Left: Original flavour with blueberry topping

Right: Peach flavoured

MINE! yup i couldnt resist a fruity flavour. This was sweeter than the sourish original flavour. I prefer my yoghurt icecream sweeter so i prefer this to the original flavour. The peach flavour also tasted similar to the one at yoguru, except the latter was creamier and denser.

Frolick has been rather proliferative, popping up in millenia walk and serangoon gardens...those 3 young entrepreneurs are really aggressive man!

Green On Earth Cafe 144 Upper Bukit Timah Road #04-03 Beauty World Centre
Frolick 241 Holland Avenue #01-02 Holland Village

Prive Bakery Cafe

a drizzly afternoon was a blessing in disguise as fungus and i ditched our tennis plans to take a lesiurely drive to Keppel Island..this must have been my third time there - the first being when it was first open and hence the clubhouse being under renovation and the other time with kums and kels to the tcc upstairs...nonetheless i still enjoy the ride down the mini causeway down to the island (its like a mini sentosa with no cover charge) and the awesome scenery (in more ways than one, interesting people watching as well!)
Prive Bakery Cafe serves fresh breads, quiches, pies, sandwiches, soups, salads, gourmet mik shakes and cakes. I'm eyeing the main Prive restaurant for its steaks which many have raved about..
Smoked Duck Salad. $14
a rather puny portion for the price, with some slivers of duck here and there (yes i know i shouldnt expect too much meat in my salads, i never learn my lesson). The dressing was rather tangy and i love the addition of fresh figs and pine nuts to the salad.

Blue Swimmer Crab and Prawns with Roma Tomatoes Wrap
Again another puny portion, the wraps are even smaller than popiahs and nowhere near the size of subway wraps (by now you should know i love my food portions BIG). The tortilla wrap however, was quite thick and it became quite floury especially at the ends (as michelle agrees). The crab meat was rather little too, the proportion of flour to meat ratio was quite skewed.. it was rather tasty but oh well would be great if it was BIGGER!
Rum and Raisin Cheescake $6.50
This was Rum and Raisin AND cheesecake. Because the cheesecake had no rum at all! it was just the normal new york plain cheesecake (unless im really that immune to alcohol) and there was rum-soaked raisins here and there. i must go and try the peanut butter crunch cake !!
we sat alfresco since the weather was superbly cloudy (i love gloomy weather). fantastic place for watching the interesting mix of clientele here - some obvious business brunches, girl friends (or tai tais =P) for a casual lunch affair, and of cos we were spying at the berth where those richies were disembarking from their GORGEOUS yachts! mothers with their (very lucky happily-fed) kids eating breakfast - all the alfresco tables were 4 seaters and by the corner of our (roving) eyes we saw 2 mothers and their tag along accessories ie prettily clad daughters and we wondered if we would be like that 10 years down the road?
Prive Bakery Cafe
2 Keppel Bay Vista
Marina at Keppel Bay

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Brewerkz, Riverside Point

when 4 hungry girls descend upon Brewerkz post La una search party, this is what happens....

Soba Noodle Salad with Salmon $18.99 + $2.99 for Salmon
generous variety of greens, al dente noodles drizzled in vinnegraitte, a dash of fried wantan skin tops a very good salad. as recommended by kitchencrazydaffy who swears by this salad and im totally sold.

Soba Noodle Salad $18.99
Greens, soba noodles, teriyaki chicken with Asian

As above, but chicken is dry, Salmon wasn't that succulent either, oh well. its called a salad for a reason, meat shouldn't have any business in it in the first place

Nachos $28.99

The cafe iguana one beats this version hands down. Go next door for the nachos.

King Brew Burger $31.99

Don’t tell your cardiologist—two patties (480 grams) of
beef with cheese, sautéed mushrooms and
beer chili

This is a sure monster. Look at all the beer chilli and beans spilling out! But it will really make a carnivore happy with the amount of meat in that thick beef patty drizzled all over by the excellent sauce and chilli. The meat is a little rare though..but still an excellent plus sized burger. if you are very hungry. or you are an american...you can attempt the feat of finishing it by yourself..

Mexican Burger, $22.99

A flavor fiesta with guacamole, sour cream, jalapenos andbeer chili—muy bueno

Of cos, nothing else measures up in size after the king brew burger. but i like guacamole and jalapenos so im quite a fan (actually the only fan amongst the girls who supper) of this burger. The others preferred the King brew burger. definitely more manageable and less jelat than the monster though.

Post Massacre

We were so full but we still caught a late night movie (and a movie is never complete without popcorn) after that...it was a huge effort not to concuss during Wall-e it was incredibly boring!!

a great place if you like heavy suppers.. and beers of cos..they stop serving food after a certain time, certain dishes with the clock sign next to it will be available after another certain time... yeah it gets quite confusing so do call to check first cos there was once we went all the way there to realise the entire row (cafe iguana, brewerkz, wine garage - all under the same company by the way) stopped serving food, and we had to settle for coffee club at clarke quay. the ambience is great, with tvs screening soccer matches (ie random screams at goals) and a pool table provides the needed entertainment...

and oh yeah, we went on a sat night ie CROWDED so we sat at one of the tables along the corridor, ie STARES at our King Brew burger and all the food..all the more reason to come earlier and get an inside table...eating in the sweltering heat is no joke (neither are rude stares nor looks of bemusement from passerbys...)

Brewerkz Restaurant & Microbrewery (Riverside Point)

30 Merchant Road #01-05/06

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Da Paolo Gastronomia

Spinach Lasagne
Stuffed Portabello Mushroom
Mushroom Pizza

basking in the sunshine at the alfresco wooden tables makes a perfect lazy brunch. so sad for the demise of cho-lun, my favourite bookshop! well least a consolation is da paolo's dolci a few doors down....

Da Paolo Gastronomia

43 Jalan Merah Saga #01-74 Chip Bee Garden

Sun-Thu: 9.15am - 9pm Fri-Sat: 9.15am - 9.30pm

Friday, October 3, 2008

Satsuma Shochu Dining Bar, Laurent's Cafe & Chocolate Bar

an early day due to afternoon chemical patho lectures being cancelled (which must be due to the dismal attendance the past few days) and not like it matters anyway since we have been self declaring our holidays, Kelly, Jason and Michelle found ourselves in the lazy area of robertson quay when michelle suggested this place for value lunches... well it could have been super value if one of us had the amex card - its 1-for-1 with a minimum of 4 diners..
satsuma is in this cute circular structure so we sat in the core of this structure in our very own little booth..great for privacy - not like it matters, seeing how we were the only diners around and besides the echo and all that our laughs will still be deafening nontheless..
Salad Bowl, $4
something extremely healthy to keep away the pangs, we liked the brown bean paste dip very very much..the carrot sticks tasted very good with it. This comes when you are seated, so if you hate raw vegetables you better tell them otherwise you'd be charged for nothing..
Spicy Cod Roe Spaghetti, $12
Michelle and i shared this. We didn't think it was that great cos the pasta was a little overdone and hence soggy from all the cream. This dish made me miss the cappelini from Iggy's (a different genre altogether but somehow i thought of that) and michelle was reminded of the version at waruku which she feels is on par with this.. This is the only dish we ordered that wasn't a lunch set, the following few are, and comes with a lime sorbet.

Sashimi Bowl, $18

okay, now this dish makes me miss the chiraishi don at wasabi tei alot! i always have the compulsion to order the chiraishis from the jap restaurants i first try out..the sashimi was acceptably fresh i suppose, though i feel it is not as fresh and firm as the one from wasabi tei..

Oyster Omelette Rice, $13

This was Michelle's. It came piping hot in a hotplate of broth and it tasted as great as it looked! The rice was wrapped in the omelette, and the oyster was huge...the rice was lovely, it was thoroughly flavoured by the oysters and the broth, and the thin layer of omelette was tasty too...

Mixed Grill Rice, $18

This was Kelly's. The very blur waiter got stunned when i asked him what meats were in the mixed grill, and was staring to the high of heavens trying to recall what were the bloody components of this dish. blurr staff in a hotel restaurant!! tsk tsk...he was not only unfamiliar with the menu...he even served our dessert before we were done with our mains! aiyoooh...must send for retraining..

anyway, doesn't this dish look impressive? there's another mixed grill set also but that doesn't have fish, this does. It also has steak, cucumber wrapped in bacon, unagi, chicken ball, and mushrooms. The rice also has some meat floss and mushrooms..i tried abit of the unagi and it was not bad, though abit rubbery. The mushroom i tried was also not bad, reminiscent of Shin Kushiya's mushrooms. She enjoyed her set very much..

Lime Sorbet

This lime sorbet came before we finished eating so we (or rather I) asked to get it served later...so when it finally came (we were damn worried that they'd serve the ever generic watermelon in place of our sorbet cos we were so fussy) we (or rather I) were visibly relieved, and then being even more picky, jason wondered out loud whether the sorbet earlier was of a different colour so again we summoned the waitress who said it was the same flavour just that the other batch melted so they made it again..

okay this was rather refreshing, and leaves the bitter lime taste at the end, something which proves they used the real fruit instead of some flavouring. I'm not a fan of citrus fruits (especially oranges) so I really couldnt tahan the sourness of this sorbet... and yes i do not like watermelons...japanese restaurants should stop serving it at the end of the meals and come up with something more originial like this sorbet! This comes with the lunch set.

I like the architecture of the gallery hotel...oh this place is really really charming, the whole geometrical asymmetry and colour derangements of gallery hotel, the lovely apartments by the river along the pierside, and all the good eats around here...da mario's pizzeria is round the corner, and so is epicurious and brasserie wolf, I shall frequent these eateries more and pop into the cafes and chill out with a cuppa...

and cos of michelle's intense craving for her souffle, we moved onto Laurent's Chocolate cafe..the chocolatey aroma was strong man though we became immune to it after awhile..(when we were arguing which senses were the most important to us - and jason commented 70 % of the pleasure of eating comes from the smell )

the famous no photo taking policy stands, and these photos were the hard work of using magazine covers to shield our very indiscrete photo-taking action...the staff will oblige if you want them to take group photos though..

Chocolate Tart, $6.80

This was really really good! the dark chocolate layer and i suspect the middle layer is milk chocolate with hazelnut, and the base is this hard-flaked biscuit crust which I really really liked. The favourite of us 3 who shared this.

Flourless Chocolate cake

This was quite light, I still prefer dense and fudgey cakes better. Nonetheless, it was good if you like your chocolate cakes not creamy. That's cream next to the cake.

Chocolate Souffle, $15

a 30 minutes for this one (and the run to put extra parking coupons) was well worth it , i think this is the best souffle i've ever ever tried. It was huge (much bigger than iggy's) and the crust was fantastically crispy, and the inside was soft and super chocolatey. There's a mini jug of hot melted chocolate and raspberry sorbet accompanying it. I'm going to try the other souffles in the list, in particular the rum and raisin one.

This place is the perfect place to chill out with a book and just soak in the lovely scent of the chocolate and the lazy ambience...im reminded of the royce chocolates- cookies and cream coffee thing we did at pacific coffee, short =)

and amongst the things we talked about, the dream of creating a stoma where nothing we eat ever gets stored unnecessarily, marriage being slavery thats made to seem civilised, babies being parasites zapping up all our nutrients and money and resources (it doesn't count functioning as a stoma especially with its saliva circulating all around hahahahaha) got us in fits.... we terrorised jason with our cynical ideas and tried to educate him about the reality of relationships...wake up, jason!

we passed by this place and i thought of you, Chiara!

Ice-cream Mochi, $2 each

while the sleepys left for home, kelly and i continued our gastronomic adventure...we popped by Beard Papa at the basement of Takashimaya for their Ice cream Mochi. This time we tried the Chocolate coconut flavour (which taste like frozen Kueh) and the Sakura flavour (which is just like sugar dusted mochi encapsulating the vanilla icecream ie nothing sensational)

we preferred the other 2 flavours we tried previously..the chocolate peanut butter and the white chocolate raspberry ones, which I'd blog about later.

We went to catch Vicy Cristina Barcelona, armed with our usual extra large popcorn ($7) from Cineleisure. The popcorn was quite warm and nicely sugar coated! and the show was not bad as well, the scenery of spain was gorgeous and woody allen did a great job showing how the relationships become more and more entangled and how new relationships do change the dynamics of the existing ones, making you rethink whether you are really contented with what you have...fulfillment and contentment are just both relative states of mind, don't you think? just like discovering new restaurants, you think you might have found the one but no, there's definitely more to try, more to surprise, more to amaze the insatiable taste buds!

Champagne Grapes

We found this at the basement of Takashimaya at the exit point of Cold Storage and oh boy these grapes were fantastic! they are from korea. the skin peels off when you bite into it and the gummy like insides emerge, this was great if not for the irrititaing seeds in the middle...i bought 2 bunches of this for $10, each packet is otherwise $6.50. it doesn't get packaged by weight though, its actually by the bunch, so you'd have to choose carefully.

Satsuma Shochu Dining Bar 1 Nanson Road #01-10 / #02-10 The Gallery Hotel

Laurent's Cafe & Chocolate Bar 80 Mohamed Sultan Road #01-11 The Pier @ Robertson