Monday, December 15, 2008

LerkThai@NUS, Golden Mile-Sweet Stone Paradise+Zhao An Granny Grass Jelly+SLII Muffins,Almunch Bakery@Haji Lane,Bugis-Yella Fellas+Otac Inc+CrepeHouse

Again all in one day! Finally got down to eat our must trys of Yella Fellas and Sweet Stone Paradise. Of cos along the way there were many many gastronomic distractions we couldnt resist nor ignore and due to this our Twilight movie date is postponed till later this week =)
Green Curry Lunch Set - with Tom Yam Soup and Papaya salad $6.90

when Kelly and I were zapping stuff at Science Bookshop and eventually when I was on the way to the YIH post office, our CG mates called (i must say they were fast to take off to Arts) beckoning us to join them for lunch at Burger King and with great team spirit (esp Kelly hehe) we ditched our initial plans to screw afternoon lects and lunch out. Hence the Lerk Thai set meal at NUS Arts Canteen I had as above (and the boring CXR lecture i totally regret, sorry kels!).

this green curry is really creamy - probably alot of coconut inside. Even the tomatoes were green! The unripen tomatoes were crunchy and must be the first time I had such tomatoes cos usually they are soggy and soft and just melt away into soups. Chicken was tender but as you can see there's not that much meat. This is a shallow plate by the way, not an entire bowl.
This papaya salad was actually nice to eat on its own, minus the prawn paste sauce or any chilli added. I suppose the tanginess of the lime they added and the crunchiness of the fresh raw papaya was tasty enough.

Oh won't talk much about the Tom Yum Soup (which Im supposed to avoid cos of the seafood but of cos i forgot about my casualty) cos it was really bland.

Tom Yam Fried Rice,$4.90

Stamp of approval from Kelly the fried rice connosieur cos her mom is such an expert at fried rice. I couldnt really detect the tom yam flavour in the fried rice but the rice was really tasty and not oil logged. Wok hei also made it particularly fragrant.

Returned back for a value-un-added lecture (and a better value Mr Bean Soya ice-cream =P) before escaping to Queestown Lib and KK Library then finally arrived at Golden Mile Hawker Centre, our first stop. The rest of the CG stayed on at the amazingly boring lecture, with the guys planning to watch The day earth stood still, later on- but Kels and I wanted to catch Twilight too, at possibly the same cinema as them -which we did not have time in the end for, cos we were busy eating but it was so much more interesting that way.

Hey kels, maybe if we did lunch outside and all, we might not have done this particular route today cos it'd be too hot to hang around Haji Lane. We'd have escaped to the movie. Whatever it is, spontaenity is the rule of the game for Jules and Kels eating adventures. Things just happen according to circumstance.

Like how we couldnt find parking within Golden Mile and had to park across the road (and pay 6 over bucks for parking a few hours!!!!!) at the Golden Mile Complex where buses bound to KL leave from. We didnt even go at lunch time! It was around 3 plus already and the hawker centre was not crowded too. But anyway, if we didnt park at the opposite complex, We wouldnt have stayed so long at the hawker centre nor explore the seedy Golden Mile Complex's Thai supermarket (though we regretted not having enough stomachs to try Diandin Luk) .

This is what we came to Golden Mile for: Sweet Stone Paradise ! Actually wanted to try ROC pizza and Ice Queen as well but they were both closed, with the latter being closed for good, or so we heard.
This stall is started by an Ang Moh and another Singaporean partner and now has expanded to Old Airport Road and a cafe at Hong Lim Park. There was alot of hype about it when it first opened and it closed on me (and Matt and Chiara) once when i came too late after dinner, so i was quite excited to try it this time round cos i really like Belgian Waffles. Looks like they're banging on the 'Angmoh desserts' buck - blatantly labelling their stall's specialties in that manner!

But of cos the owners werent there and in place of them is this very very very sweet old, mild mannered and pleasant English speaking couple ran this stall. Oh its really endearing, watching how they run the stall as if its their own, and being so gentle to each other and friendly towards the customers. Its such a good concept to have grandparently figures run this place cos it appeals to the family side of people (unlike those icecream/yoghurt icecream chains hiring those young nubile innocent babes - no guesses who they appeal to).The service was so good, the uncle actually brought us to the ROC pizza stall when we were wondering where it was. Real friendly chap, unlike those dao i-am-hot-and-i-know-it icecream hawking bimbos

Set D - 2 Waffles, 1 scoop of Gelato, 1 Dip $6

With extra Single scoop $1.80

we requested for our waffles to be freshly made and they kindly obliged. Actually we were thinking of ordering the Royal Fondue set, which comes with additional fruits and marshmallows but we figured what we ordered were what we REALLY wanna try ie the waffles and fondue - so we should save stomach space for the many many other good food there - which we surveyed first as usual before deciding.

Ice cream choices included the fruity flavours of strawberry and Hawaiian sunrise (pineapple and orange), coffee, white mint, green tea and hazelnut. We chose Hawaiian sunrise (for Kelly) and hazelnut (for me)

The waffles were rather bread-like, with a crisp caramelised sugar crisp exterior. It was rather chunky and perfect for dunking into the chocolate dip (which we wished they gave more - it was under half filled!).

The ice cream came in a whole scoop, making it hard to eat fondue style - we needed a metal stick and small mini scoops of ice cream a la Haagan Daz style. The ice cream was slightly icy and not dense, rather watery actually. Mixing the dark chocolate sauce and hazelnut icecream should be nutella heaven but it didnt taste much like nutella, possibly because the chocolate was really really dark. If you leave the chocolate on the ice cream for a while, it'd solidify to form a rather fragile hard shell. Good warm dark chocolate though, we devoured the entire bowl.

Kelly really enjoyed her Hawaiian Sunrise cos she really likes sour sweet bright coloured fruits and she said it was tangy and sweet enough.

Of cos with that rich thick chocolate fondue, we had to follow up with something icy. And the next was what I found on ieatishootipost...really smooth grass jelly and it sure didnt disappoint..its called Zhao An Granny Grass Jelly. Makansutra endorsement of Die Die Must try.

The auntie was rather dao haha though she obliged our extra sugar syrup and extra ice request.

I don't really eat Cold grass jelly ($1.20) much cos I had allergic reactions to it now but i had to try this. The chin chow was really smooth - it just glides down your throat. But the strange thing is that it is so smooth it is difficult to break cos it just slips away when you try to cut it. Thats how smooth it was. Its unlike the smoothness of tau huay where you can destroy it by mushing it all up.

Can you imagine how smooth it is? Fantastic for cooling down on a hot day. Needs more sugar syrup though, with the extra ice on top. Kels who grew up on this said this was one of the smoothest she has had.

Then of cos, we couldnt ignore this SL II muffin stall as recommended by Michelle. I was eyeing the durian muffin when we first explored the place. Do you know there was also a Japanese review on the stall?! It was displayed on the counter..cant help but think about the namesake of a skin product also from Japan ..

They have many many flavours - apple, coffee nut, chocolate chip - with the most popular being Banana Walnut.

Its buy 5 get 1 free.

These tarts look like those that are sold in the neighbourhood bakeries. Not the coconut tart though, havent seen the likes of them around. Didnt try these this time around - cos we had 4 muffins! - so maybe the next time round.

The muffin mix before they get baked in the oven. The left is the orange cranberry and the right is the oatmeal. Looks like its alot of oatmeal right? But when we eventually ordered the oatmeal one from this particular batch - we couldnt find the oatmeal!! Did they all dissolve into the batter?

The auntie was super friendly, even posing by the oven with her muffins. She called all her customers dear, and even took out the containers to show us the fresh durian paste when we went back a second time to buy more and commented that the durian muffin was good, asking whether they use real durians.

We bought 2 muffins first - Durian and Cream cheese, and we went back fo9r seconds cos we couldnt resist the newly freshly out of the oven muffins so we got warm and hot Banana Walnut and Oatmeal muffins.
It is better that you be patient and wait for a new batch to pop out of the oven. The difference in freshness and crisp is worth waiting for! Not to mention the lovely aroma as well.
Durian Muffin $1.50

All their muffins have this crisp outer crust on the top, even the ones that are sitting on display. The inside is really moist, but not too dense or cake like. Its really light, possible to eat many at one go.
This durian one has a prominent aroma the moment you eat it, and check out the real durian paste in the middle.

Cream Cheese Muffin, $1.50
On the other hand, we couldnt really taste any cheese anywhere. When we went back to ask the auntie, she say she uses chopped up bits of cheese in the middle - which probably dissolved during the baking? Kels is too used to her Mr Bean cheese pancake with that thick chunk of central cheese core! Amusing thing was, the drinks stall auntie next door is a fan of this cream cheese muffin, she thinks its the best amongst all the muffins.

Banana Walnut Muffin, $1.50

This was fresh off the oven. Fantastic!! Especially with the many slices of caramelised bananas inside the muffin. Bananas were nicely melted from the heat and its like a banana crumble, with the crispy top layer (made even more crunchy from the walnuts). Wished Ice Queen was open so we could have ice cream with our many many muffins.
Oatmeal muffin $1.50

On the other hand, the oatmeal muffin turned out to be a ordinary (but still good) plain muffin cos we couldnt search for any trace of oatmeal besides the slight sprinkle right on top. But we did see the auntie put more than a table spoon of oatmeal onto the batter before chucking it into the oven. We thought that the oatmeal will be like a cornflake adding much crunch to the muffin but oh no it didnt happen that way.
On our way back to Golden Mile Complex, to the car park, we passed by this traditional cake shop which has been around for 50 over years, called Sze Thye Cake Shop. What a matronly establishment, and Kelly heard about this place from the press before, and she thinks her relatives did order those traditional Chinese pastries from this shop before.
Really traditional - Check out those Chinese New year decorations. Many old school pastries like lao por bing, tau sar piah, and those goodies that the Chinese give during weddings, month old birthday celebrations. Will you give these traditional goodies or those Western dainty chocolates and cakes? the former just seems so traditional its coolbeans lar, unlike the cliche western ones

sweet and salty tau sar piahs join the league of other flavours such as the lotus paste, yam paste, almond paste, durian. I bought 2 sweet, durian and a lotus paste one.

my loot. its 80 cents per piece - no free give away!

They actually tell the flavours apart by the red stamp on top of the pastry. the durian one (below) has a flower stamp to mimic its thorns.

Durian Tau Sar Piah
When i reached home i tried the durian one, and the flavour doesnt hit you until you reach the central core. Its not the fresh soft kind you eat in the durian puffs and rolls and ice desserts - but more of the dense consistency of the paste you find in mooncakes. The pastry was very good though, not too flaky nor too buttery. It was actually faultless. My grandma liked it too, and considering she only likes traditional flavours, it must really be quite good.

Then we decided to walk around the Thai supermarket on the second floor of Golden Mile Complex before going down to the carpark
Many many snacks from Thailand and Vietnam, and of cos their produce and food products. There were fresh fruits and prepacked Thai salads even.

many savoury snacks - jackfruit and durian chips, taro root chips, potato stick snacks.

the cup noodle containers were in such an odd shape they looked like urinals.

these japanese snacks were everywhere in the chocolate section - this chocolate biscuit burger is really cute.

I havent seen these glico chocolates elsewhere either. I bought the middle one.

and I also bought the strawberry Caplico sticks. Looks really old school.
then we drove to Arab Street and with MUCH difficulty in parallel parking (and a whole lot of cars waiting for me cos its a one way street =P) we happily strolled around the Haji Lane shops. Plenty of Middle eastern food - Allaturka Restaurant, Sanmar - but for another day to try cos we were planning something else at Shaw towers and Bugis (read on)

The crowd here is truly different - the ages vary and so do their sense of fashion. They look and dress differently - albeit with more individuality. Poeple watching area man.

interesting christmas tree we spotted in a clothes shop, Salad. If you remove all the christmas accessories you actually get a really gigantic accessory rack to hang your ear-rings and dingdangs.

This bag is coolbeans. Newspaper in a bag. Idea for kels..8 days page in a bag to satisfy her Monday craving haha=P

really whacky phones. Check out the Donald duck one behind. and the plastic one next to the paino reminds me of epic pinball. If i had that on my cord phone the land line will forever be engaged. It was here where we found the Harry potter black roundish specs and kelly made me pose with it cos of my pseudo lightning feature so it was all really apt. haha.

the nissin character is insanely cute. i feel like a chu qian yi ding noodles now, the noodles are really Q! Shane introduced this instant noodles to me in RJ and i still like it till now.

I actually wanted to try the Kaya Sundae at Pluck as recommended by Michelle but unfortunately it was closed. Another shop with a similar clothes+ coffeeshop concept was this place called MONO+ (66-64 Haji lane), with concoctions of icecreams and toppings to go. But we didnt try cos we had Mr Bean ice cream at NUH, then the 2 ice creams at Sweet Stone Paradise, and we were intending to try Tom's Palette. Another hang out place to consider, the owner was really friendly. She says she'd be introducing more food in time to come cos she just moved here from another unit.

its a small and cosy place. Looks like many shops in this area are going into the clothes-F&B concept like Project shop Blood bros and their highly successful PS Cafe.

Next, we decided to walk to Bugis instead of driving there through town madness and ERP and parking horror. It was just a street away, passing by Raffles Hotel. However we got distracted by this bakery along the same stretch as Coffee Nations and Blujazz Cafe.

This bakery, Al Munch Bakery (28 Bali Lane) is into its fifth week now and I havent heard about them yet so i was half suspicious yet half being adventurous but I couldnt resist some good brownies and cookies so I tried some samples of each - and with the enthusiastic owner baker treating us to complimentary macarons cos we looked truly interested in food ie GREEDY faced haha.

okay im the kind who likes chocolate loaded cookies so their samples were a little to dry for me. its the crisp cookie type.

their brownies werent sufficiently chewy and fudgy for me as well. I guess i cant really appreciate brownies without dark warm chocolate sauce and good old vanilla ice cream no?

Raspberry Macaroon with Chocolate Ganache (Complimentary)

But what blew us away were the macarons. This is actually the first time we were eating macarons. Somehow eating crisp sweet mini sandwiches dont appeal much to me (unless its free, of cos, like in this case =P) and i think a large part of this is because of its petit size. I love large cakes and pastries so I cant bring myself to pay for mini stuff when I can be eating huge slices of cakes.

Biting into the outermost crisp layer and into the dense sugary raspberry interior of the macaron, the slightly frozen layer of dense dark chocolate made it really perfect. The baker recommended that the macaron be thawed slightly so the chocolate would melt slightly.

If you look carefully, the true hallmark of a macaroon is that the macaron shell must have a flat smooth top with an associated ‘foot’ (a risen outer edge of the macaron). A macaron is essentially a delicate baked biscuit comprised of whipped egg whites mixed with sugar, almond powder, and some form of flavoring, coloring, or stabilising agent. That’s it. The list of components is simple but the execution of making macarons is where the confusion starts cos there are countless interpretations to making this unique pastry. Im so not into baking, but I realise making a perfect macaron is not simple because there're many layers of textures and density to achieve in that macaron shell - not forgetting complementing the flavours of the filling and the shell. Im so glad im not an OCD baker ( a la the baker wannabes we eavesdropped upon at Jones the Grocer). Im sure I wont have much of a life if I were to obsess over achieving that level of sweetness, that intensity of chocolate, a particular crispiness. As it is already, I am busy enough obsessing over all the food that I wanna try.

Anyway, Im so gonna try the macarons at Gobi, Canale, and Amande once I start developing a taste for macarons (and their cakes don't distract me) so I can discern between the good ones and their opposites.

the other green one was the chocolate mint. They ran out of the passionfruit flavoured ones. They're having a promotion now and its 4 pieces for 5 bucks.

Christmas logcakes! I bought a slice of the Belgian chocolate Chiffon Roll logcake ($1.25 per slice, $15 for 375 g whole cake) cos they had the same chocolate ganache layer like in the macaron. But I found the cake too spongy for me - i need more of the dense fudgy ganache layer!

ok can finally finally move onto Bugis. After trying Yella Fellas we planned to go to Shaw Towers for Tom's Palette but that was not meant to be because Tom's closes early and there were too many things to try at the Bugis Basement.. the opening of the new extension does make it feel like the basement of Plaza Singapura cos it has a similar concept of many takeaway stalls.
We've been wanting to try Yella Fellas (Bugis Junction) since it first started more than a year back , but never got down to trying cos it was too far away and it was a takeout stall, no space to sit. We had to find our own corner near the water fountain near macs where many many other people were eating takeaways too. We read about Poutine - fries in cheese and beef gravy in our favourite section of Urban - Posh Nosh lady is so cool lar - and we really wanted to try that.

But guess what we tried in the end?
Preparing our fries...they're only fried upon order so its super fresh. they actually weigh the potatoes for each serving.

yup we didnt try THE poutine but the spicy chilli crab one because we thought it'd be more unique. (and this lady in front of us who confirmed that it was good)

And we were rewarded for being adventurous.

The many other sauces you can add to your normal fries or twister fries - garlic yoghurt, herb mayo, malt vinegar (i think this you add to fish and chips which they have) , salsa sauce and the more off-the-beaten-track kind of sauces. Right down my alley.

Spicy Chilli Crab $4.90

Yella Fellas with real crab in every bite!

This was AWESOME. Got to be the best fries I've had in my life. The fries were thick and made of real potatoes - do you see the potato skins on some of them? And they were right off the deep fryer. And there were generous crab meat in the sauce as well, and it was really thick and flavourful. A genius combination, up one level from fried mantou and chilli crab sauce.

I guess fries wont taste the same again. We will be back to try the Poutine.

Then we drifted to Otah Inc.(Bugis Junction) It is back to back with Yella Fellas, I realise with this photo. The Otah Taquito - which is essentially Tortilla Roll with different otah flavours - looked really good!
They serve the taquito, nonya otah toast, and crispy thin crust - a otah wrap in short.

Taquitos come in the flavours of crab otah, chicken otah, and mushroom cheese otah. The latter was calling out to Kelly so we tried that, especially since a fresh batch just came out freshly baked from the oven! They also make to order, and I am sure fresh ones will always taste better. It does make a difference we realise, whether is it waffles or muffins. or fries. Very important lesson of the day haha

the fresh mushroom cheese otah taquitos..

packaged in a cute long plastic bag

Mushroom Cheese Otah Taquito, $2

the innards..the otah is not the meaty kind but i think it is an otah paste, with mushroom slices inside. I couldnt detect the taste of cheese but i could see the stringy connections of the cheese in the paste. Tasty nonetheless, the crispy tortilla layer was perfect with the savoury warm mushy curry interior.

Of cos to round off the evening, we needed something sweet again so we were off to try crepes. I believe Crepes House(Bugis Junction) is a franchise from Japan, cos i saw this programme before where this place is hugely popular in Japan, with an insane list of flavours in the fake glass display outside the shop (like the ones below displayed on the counter)

the top 3 flavours.. it seems that strawbrerry flavoured crepes are really popular, even offered at Saybons too.

there seems to be alot of whipped cream for each crepe

i always look forward to a good show of the food preparation before i eat..its so interesting to realise what goes into making your food - when all the tastes of the different ingredients come together sometimes it can get quite confusing which is THE flavour that stands out the most or which gives that dish the X factor.

maybe thats why place with open kitchen concepts like Tatsuya and Iggy's really appeal to me cos food is an experience for me, and i think a gastronomic experience should move more senses than one. Watching how the chefs work their magic makes me appreciate my food even more. It adds character to the food.

Even watching a hawker whip up his routine plate of noodles - or one half of the very sweet old couple making our Belgian waffle can be such a heartwarming experience. I mean, some of these hawkers who have been around and been passing down the trade for generations - they do the same thing day in and out everyday, but they are content in doing so and they do it with much passion. They work their time for long hours everyday but we see them only one meal that day - yet it could potentially be a memorable tasty meal that warrants a repeat visit and truly passionate hawkers strive for this positive feedback...just like how the plastics see plenty of gashes and injuries and sew up plenty- but a particular laceration for a particular patient - the permanent scar stays for the patient for the rest of their life - whether they stitch up a good job or not, they really make a difference, if they realise.

okay i don't know why i was so longwinded with that very long train of thought but this crepe making was really fast! after she poured the fluid batter onto the pan and spreaded it around with a flattener it was only minutes before she checked the beneath for brown-ness before she whipped up the entire crepe to the board to add in the rest of the ingredients.

red bean at the bottom most

followed by red bean, a sprinkle of finely crushed peanut, fresh cream and a scoop of green tea icecream.

Managed to catch the action just before she wraps up and closes. Real swift!

Crepe with green tea icecream, fresh cream, red bean $5.50
oh this crepe was really soft and collapsible...without the support of the paper it'd so totally sag with the heaviness of the icecream and the other toppings of red beans and whipped cream. The green tea icecream was really creamy and milky, it was good on its own too! This crepe is really soft. For this crepe, there's no layer of crisp at all, unlike the more crispy and chewy crepe from Saybons which also has more structure as well - didnt threaten to crumble at all, being upright all the way =P this crepe you can pull apart the crepe quite easily.
There was plenty of whipped cream and real red beans as well in its own paste. If you like soft, melt in your mouth kind of crepes, then you will like this japanese crepe. However, for people like kels and i who like crispy, chewy crepes - then go for Saybons. We chose a japanese icecream- red bean combination because it'd probably more unique and we wont be able to try this anywhere else. And by the way, for ONE japanese dessert crepe here you can get almost TWO of Saybons. So try Saybons first before here!
And of cos we couldnt miss JCO Donuts (Bugis) on our way home so i da-paoed a dozen home..i must say the colours are really pretty!
Strawberry, Tiramisu and Alcapone.
No plastic bag this time round cos there's a special holder for Christmas. Thumbs up for being more environmentally friendly..
We'll be back to the basement again for more FRIES! and also to try out Pink Yoghurt, which I believe is the popular yoghurt ice cream chain from US.. and there's a Korean takeaway stall too which sells our favourite Korean rice cakes...we couldnt take any more carbo after todays overdose. Finally a date where we don't have to stress over work. Well, at least for a while! Thanks again for being great company, kels...till our next makan madness!


brad said...

omg! all in one day again. and you guys skip lecture to go eating, so thrilling! ahha. i had the waffles before too, but too little leh not enough. its kind of strange to see two ladies walking and shopping around golden mile complex yes? haha

Alaturka was not bad, quite special if you want to try something diff. btw the shops at haji lane let u know take photos? or secretly take one? eh.. if i'm not wrong, the ice cream in Mono right, its not their own, they took it from somewhere else. Its either ice cream chef or ice3. can't remember.

your first time eating macaron and you are able to describe it so well? i tried a few times already still find it hard to describe the taste. lol! anyway the bakery looks interesting, will go soon

the yella fella and otah inc i also try for the longest time, but no luck so far. but seriously how can two of you eat so much in one day?

opps, my comment seems a bit long. so many things to say. anyway how much time it took u to write the whole thing? hours eh? : )

julie said...

yeah it took me very long to upload the photos, blogger is quite a bummer! but its always a joy to pen the entries cos reliving those happy moments is always so enjoyable..must quickly write it all down before i forget!

haha. the macarons are really crispy and dense centred. i tried the ones at Choupinette today and they're very light and air-y. it just crumbled on me.

no leh, i blatantly took those photos at haji lane.

oh that new bakery almunch. ONLY try their macarons, their cake and brownie and cookies....rather dry =P

you must eat yella fellas!! the chilli crab one, really better than fried mantou and chilli crab combi.