Monday, December 22, 2008

Twelve+One, Pietrasanta, Prive

Woke up at an unearthly hour (of the day =p) and having missed the rj class gathering at Ghim Moh I joined them at Settler's intead and soon after, scuttled off to school to hunt down my makan buddy, Nat aka short, for our long due afternoon tea - this was way overdue, we were supposed to check out Jones the Grocer since the middle of the year all the way till now! So much so that this is probably the first outing we've had together in a very very long time - to think in year one we were hanging out almost everyday of the year. We were supposed to be studying-cum-eating but as usual we chalked up more calories than facts, it was an unbelievably failed study outing but a fantastically successfully interesting makan day. Oh well, we need all the energy we can get to take on pathooooo!
Nat didn't know where we were heading to - I told her to throw me a preference and I'd scroll down my list of to trys and choose one. She was pretty excited and game for it so i really appreciated that. She couldnt really guess my following options but she did hit the right areas - we were heading towards Rochester and Portsdown today.
First up, Twelve+one (6 Rochester Park). This bakery cafe, along with Cassis and Pinchos belong to the same company - and occupy the bungalows all along the same row. This opened not too long ago - I read about it in the papers and there was some talk about it on the food blogs so I decided to go and check it out.

Rochester is actually very driver-unfriendly. We drove down this one way lane and realised the carpark at the base of One Rochester is the only carpark in that whole area. (and it was quite a walk to Twelve+One) So we emerged at Dover and turned back into the carpark. The carpark was quite small too - by the time we finished our tea at around dinner time, it was quite full and it was a Monday night. You'd definitely have to valet during peak hours on weekends.

This place is really girlish - everything was very pretty from the pink wallpaper to the chic chandeliers. The alfresco area especially was a nice place to chill - there were even rocking chairs there. It feels really homely. But guess what - you are looking at a piece of history cos Twelve + One is gonna be CLOSING for good (till it moves in the middle of 2009) on Boxing day so if you're game to try you better hurry!!!!! The manager was saying that it needs to relocate to a place with better human traffic and I totally agree. We were the only patrons dining in and there were only 2 groups of patrons buying takeaway items. What a waste!
The dine in menu. Too bad they don't have breakfast type of food like eggs and toast - they specialise in breads, pastries, cakes, chocolate and macarons.

All the cakes were just very cute and dainty. Check out the huge pink macaron! Even the chocolate pieces too were very daintily placed side to side- there was pistachio, vanilla and rum - We would have tried some if our next destination was not Laurent's Chocolate Cafe.

The descriptions of the cakes.
They were having this offer where you can choose 6 pieces of either mini cakes and tarts and macarons for 7 bucks. Check out the mini eclairs on the bottom left. It is really puny!

I heard that the homemade breads here were really good.

The pastry chef said that the pinkish bread is actually candied almond bread - the almonds are coated in sugar, generously mixed in with the dough. Its a specialty from France. We actually ordered that but because it didn't appear (they served us our loaf of bread first) we ordered the eclair instead.

Walnut Bread, $3.25

This bread came lightly toasted and warm. It is made from rye, and has raisins and walnuts. It was very crusty - we each had half a loaf so you can imagine how light it was.

but the reason why we ordered a loaf of bread (and eventually ate half a loaf each!) was because we wanted to try their homemade jams! This was what they were good at (or at least I thought so) and all their jams are homemade
This is the first time I am sampling so many jams at one sitting. Usually I'd just be boring and just have bread with butter or olive oil but this was such an interesting experience! The baker was so elusive though, at first she said we could try the jams (implying it was complimentary) but later it appeared on our bill as 1 buck per scoop! so 4 scoops = more expensive than our loaf of bread. We didn't mind paying but it'd have been nicer if they had told us the jam was chargeable before that.

Left: Cherry jam (with cherry bits). Right (and below): Cranberry jam
The cherry jam was quite fluid. It was not too sweet either, and when eaten with the cherry pieces and bread, it was quite a fruity sweet combination.
The cranberry jam on the other hand was more viscus. See how thick it is? It is made of pureed fruit - it is almost like an apricot jam though, the cranberry taste wasn't really distinct.

Left: Lemon Mint. Right(and below): Rhubard Jam
The lemon mint jam tasted like handwash soap to me. Pretty much like how a lemony Halls sweet will taste like. Again, it was fluid like in consistency - the mint balanced the sourness of the lemon jam.
The Rhubard jam was our favourite. It tasted like pear jam but it turns out that Rhubard is actually a plant grown in Europe - and the jam is extracted from the stem. This was viscus as well, very thick - and has clumps of sweet extract. Its really like candied pear and is mildly sweet - you have to try this jam because the taste is really unique.

Chocolate Eclair $6
I heard that the eclair is really good as well so of course we had to try.

It was indeed quite good. The top most layer of milk chocolate was quite solid, with the even milkier chocolate mousse spilling out from the middle when we bit into the chewy choux pastry.
The alfresco area outside Twelve+one. It was dark (and empty) when we left and it is really a waste that this quaint bakery was gonna be shutting its doors soon.
I read on Fen's blog that she wasn't too blown away by the cakes here nor that dessert platter so we didnt't risk it and decided to head to Portsdown road instead for Laurent's Chocolate cafe's Chocolate Souffle (cos thats a guranteed excellent dessert place) but it is closed on Mondays!! and on other weekdays they close at 6pm too so oh well, we wouldnt have made it anyway. Only on Fridays and Saturdays they open till really late.
And since my dear short was craving for something salty, it was just as well we landed in Pietrasanta (Blk 5B Portsdown Road), an Italian restaurant next to Laurent's.
I actually came to this area before some months back when Klee first opened at Portsdown. Klee belongs to the Timbre group and they serve cocktails only. It is another great place to chill out because the live jazz music is really sexy. And because I came here before, I know that the parking here is actually at the bus-stop itself, just outside Laurent's and Pietrasanta. We walked around the area and decided that we wanted to try Pietrasantra partly because Colbar is closed (and I forgot that Cicada was also down the road - but it was really empty when we drove by afer our dinner)
On a Monday night, the restaurant was actually quite full and we were lucky to be able to walk in and get seats without reservations (and despite not dressing to the occasion =p). We're glad we stumbled into this place though, because it satisfied our salty craving rightaway with the cheeses!

The interior was really cottage like - and there were many pretty Xmas decorations from the ceilings. The crowd here were well heeled - the couple beside us were dressed to the nines - and there was a mix of locals and expats. An oldish crowd too - not many families. There were 2 alfresco areas - one facing Porstdown Road itself, and another tucked within the premises - the latter being like a private pebble garden. (But it leads to the toilet)

Complimentary bread
The bread was incredibly soft and fluffy. Its got to be the softest bread I've had, very light and not crusty at all. The tomato and herb flavour was quite prominent, and tasted great with olive oil, and vinegar. The butter is not nice, too salty.

They have many daily specials that the waitress will chant to you and these won't be found on the menu. Interesting ones for tonights dinner included smoked cheese, sautered clams for starters, and the squid ink pasta with crabmeat which we eventually chose. It was hilarious how the waitress kept getting the same dish's name wrong - she kept saying home made prawns instead of home made pasta. Cute la.

Melanzane Al Forno $14.90
Baked Layered Eggplant with Parmesan Cheese, Tomato sauce and Mozarella Cheese
Oh this was fantastic. The cheeses didn't overwhelm the eggplant at all. The eggplant taste was still distinct - and the eggplant was firm to bite, and surprisingly, the dish wasn't too soggy - we were worried that the mushiness of the eggplant and the cheese will make the dish really heavy but our worries were unfounded. The cheese was done perfectly. I won't really fancy true blue lasagnas with pastas after this interesting twist to the dish.
Squid ink Pasta with crab meat $24.90
The crab meat and the tomatoes in this dish was fantastic - but the pasta itself was quite disappointing. The crab meat (they were quite generous with the crab) and the tomatoes were bursting with flavour but somehow the sauces didnt permeate through the pasta. The pasta was actually quite rough - I guess it was handmade - but on its own there was not much flavour from the crab, let alone the squid ink. Our teeth were hardly stained after finishing the dish! We preferred the crabmeat linguine from Wild Rocket.
We then adjourned to the next location - Prive Bakery Cafe at Keppel Island. Again short wasnt in the know as to where my next secret location was =) This is my fifth visit to Keppel Island itself, and second time to Prive Bakery Cafe. I tried the food here once during brunch some entries back and found the portions too small and cakes too generic.
But this visit is about to change that!
The long long table was actually full of people in a group who left. This place is buzzling on a Monday night! Prive actually consists of a restaurant (where the steaks are supposed to be really good), a gastrobar (where we sat) and a bakery cafe. Because it was a Monday night, they allowed us to sit at the gastrobar and have the food from the Bakery cafe which was great, because the lounge seats at the gastrobar were really comfortable.
I tried the Rum and Raisin cheesecake here but it wasnt good.

Though the Luscious Chocolate Peanut Butter sounded really good. Sounds really rich.

But luckily we consulted the menu because the ones we ordered from it were fantastic. Luckily we didn't make a mistake like how Chong and I did at Bakerzin because we were so distracted by the cakes at the display we forgot to read the menu!

Sticky Date Pudding with Butterscotch and Vanilla icecream $12

This dessert was really good - though in Nat's opinion, she prefers the version at PS cafe still. She used to rave over the one af Marmalade Pantry but no longer. Usually the Sticky Date Pudding is accompanied with toffee but this one was made all the more sweeter with butterscotch. It is really very rich and the pudding itself chewy, with bits of fruit in it. The bitterness of the walnuts balanced the sugar high, and this dessert was all the more decadent towards the end when we decided to scoop a large scoop of our Bailey's milkshake onto the Pudding - fantastic!

Irish Bailey's Cream Milkshake with Hershey's Chocolate Sauce $15

I was saying (before the milkshake came) that this drink better be awesome because it is more expensive than the sampler menu (of 3 icecream scoops!) over at Seventh Heaven. Well, it is more than awesome!! It has got to be the best milkshake I've had. I like my icecream slightly melty - I don't like frozen icecreams nor icy sorbets. So milkshakes are perfect for folks like me, melted cold cream all in a glass - and that looks like many many scoops of Irish Bailey's icecream - especially since I'm a huge fan of alcoholic icecreams (I hate alcohol on its own)

This tastes exactly like how the Haagan Daz Baileys icecream would taste like all melted down (im still bemoaning the demise of it here in Singapore and resent how its USD$4 per pint even in Hilton hotel rooms in New York!!!). The Bailey's was really strong. There is not much chocolate sauce though - just streaks down the glass like what you see in the picture. And if you let the drink sit for some time, the heavier parts of the cream will actually sink - leaving this foamy alcoholic cream layer. Very very light.

This milkshake was so awesome it makes me wanna order the Pistachio milkshake, the Peanut butter and jelly one, the Kahlau one, and the malted maltesers - all the milkshakes down the list ! And when we were happily indulging in our alcoholic milkshake, we were secretly gloating over how the other patrons were being ripped off by their margaritas cos the alcoholic milkshakes do take alcoholic desserts and drinks to a whole new level lol. I don't think I will order another alcoholic drink again (unless its a milkshake)

I'd wanna hang out at Prive more - even the bakery cafe closes late. They take their last orders at 1130pm. Even when we left at 11 plus (and this was on a Monday evening, mind you) there were still large groups of people inside the cafe - but more sitting at the alfresco area. It was really breezy and we could just spend the whole night at the alfresco area staring out into the stars and enjoying the lounge music. How very idyllic!

We then drove over to Mount Faber when we saw Keppel Island from above - we were intending to check out that stunning blue Christmas tree at Jewel Box which we were admiring at when we were chilling at Prive - but we couldnt find it! Perhaps it was a a lil too late and they shut off the power =P lol my perfect dates these days are always with girls sporting enough to embark on my makan adventure... I doubt guys these days are game for this sort of makan madness man. Today was wonderfully heartwarming with delicious food (I'd never look at lasagnas or alcholic drinks the same way again) and splendid ambiences, but the great company is priceless - thanks nat! Hopefully now we'll be super recharged to contemplate another study-eat-study more date =)


brad said...

oh twelve + one is going to relocate? yeah they need to get into town, or somewhere with more traffic. you know everytime read yr post is like information-overload! so many places u visit one shot! ha

ratatouille said...

do try the peanut butter crunch cake at Prive. It's quite good.

julie said...

yeah twelve +one is gonna relocate but late 2009 - in august or something...

yeah but my overload days consists of mainly snacks =) must continue my great breakfast, macaron, and fries hunt after my exams...

yup i love peanut butter so i wont miss that peanut butter cake - it has a crunchy layer as well? i love those cruncy hazelnut praline layers in cakes..

but i'd wanna try the peanut butter milkshake at prive first!