Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Moomba Tuckshop, Overeasy, Caramel Cafe, Tom's Palette, Ah Chiang's Porridge

I hung out around the Raffles Place a few days back and promised a post at a few places around here and The Moomba Tuckshop (Bank of China Building) was the first of the places to conquer so off I went with Nat to test the waters..or rather the sandwiches.. we realise that the Moomba is actually another restaurant at Circular Road but that shall be for another day..

its actually a basement deli with its entrance on the ground level...the counter seats faces the river and it is a gorgeous place to hang out even if you are a lonely dude having your lunch break here (it can get quite lonely up there..heh)

a bright and cheery place (cant say so for the sullen looking staff and service though) with the natural daylight streaming in..

i wish i can have one everyday of the week!

Sugar Cured Salmon - on Olive bread $8.50
Avocado Mayo, Tomato Pesto, Fresh Tomatoes, Caramelised Onions, & Onion Sprouts

Fatty streaks of salmon with creamy (fatty) avocado spread on flavourful olive bread, we enjoyed every bit of this. This was rather special because the salmon is not smoked but instead sugar cured - hence the fresh salmon was naturally sweet and together with the caramelised onions, made this a rather healthily sweet sandwich.
Tea-smoked chicken - on Walnut bread $9
Mustard Mayo,fresh tomatoes, mesclun

The meat was rather fragrant and had a very unique smokey taste. Again, it was a very flavourful combination. The walnut bread tastes very good on its own, and different with the chicken meat because the smokey taste is quite overwhelming.

The sandwich was best with onion and sage bread but the popular bread ran out so we had to choose the walnut bread..we felt that the salmon with olive bread was a better combination than this..
The desserts display (the lemon pound cake was tempting my friend though honestly none of them really did to me)- which didnt have a high turnover rate so we didnt dare to try cos our next intended place was this chinese dessert place at market place car park- opened by two ladies - but we couldnt find it..does anyone know if its still open?

we wanted to try out Superfamous at Chulia Street but it no longer had its cocktail hour where free wagyu burgers came with every order of a cocktail a la Morton's bar..looks like its time to return to Morton's for its yummy steak sandwiches..

So we were on our way to City Hall (we had 3 choices at that point of time: Cafe Caramel, Overeasy or Superfamous) and we decided to rest at Tom N Toms Coffee along Boat Quay first while waiting for the third friend, Dom..partly cos i was drawn in by the poster of interesting pretzel flavours..and my friend was drawn in by the sexy jazz music..and not forgetting....
the korean dudes.. she and her Korean dramas..

She ordered a chocolate mint mochachino which was really minty indeed.. when i saw how sadly neglected the bagels were in the display counter i decided not to try the pretzels..i miss auntie anne's..

yeah i didnt dare to order a coffee because I had an Americano at Starbucks in the morning already..I had insomnia the night before thats why I could make it to lunch so I needed that dose of caffeine but do you know more than 6 cups of coffee a day could give you hallucinations?

This cute queue number lights up rhythmically when your drink is ready..

Chilling by the river side (damn that stupid chinese new year jingles blaring out of the seafood place)..doesnt this loook like a scene of those coolie days ? Check out the hot indian mama at the head of the pack
And check out the cool speedboat junkie dude

We wanted to check out SuperFamous after coffee but it was eerily EMPTY the second time we came back (the first visit was to recee but we were horrified to find out the demise of the cocktail hour). Yeah we were even more horrified at its emptiness so we ran away...

.. to Overeasy (1 Fullerton Road #01-06 One Fullerton Tel 6423-0701 ) for an early dinner at around 5 pm..yeah we eat almost all the time so our meals are always at the weirdest times its kinda pointless to label meals when you eat with me..heh...lunch just overflows into tea into dinner..with countless desserts in between..
Overeasy is the latest venture to come from the Lo & Behold Group – the folks behind rooftop bar Loof and high-concept destination The White Rabbit. We tried Rabbit Hole (the sister bar of White Rabbit) just a week ago and here we are again at another joint of the group.

Overeasy serves traditional American food. Consultant chef Travis Masiero, whose authentic brunches and American-style cuisine won him a loyal following at The Wine Garage, is in charge of developing the menus at OverEasy along with owners Wee and He. I heard the Wine Garage burgers are really good so I decided to come and try the burgers here for myself..
feels very House/Barracks with its candid expressions and cheesy tag lines..

gorgeous water views (if you don't mind the eye sore of the integrated resorts for now..)

I must say that this is an interesting place to people watch cos of the continuous stream of tourists streaming by to see the nearby Merlion..even the patrons here are an interesting mix as well..from young families to group of ladies (they look like they're having a reading club), some young hippie dudes, overflow of suit clad men lounging at the al fresco sofa seats..

The bar..drinks are 1-for-1 from 5-8pm..

a great deal for the people intending to party upstairs when Butter Factory opens in Feb.. but by then the alcohol would have already worn out..heh.

our sad view from where we were sitting..some young punks were having mini burgers by the counter but our seats were too comfortable..

Don't the retro-style booths with red leather banquettes remind you of Billy Bombers? well those seats were comfy =) Add that to simple dining tables and chairs throughout, a large al fresco area, a showcase bar counter and a lounge section.. voila you have a nice hangout place made even prettier if the crowd streaming in is as whacky.
But it is an F&B establishment after all and you cant depend on eye candy alone.

The restaurant features an all-day menu that will appeal especially to clubbers in search of a late-night culinary perk..I suspect they are still easing into the business - they have opted to kick off by only opening in the evenings. Lunch will be served from February onwards and there will also be an expanded dinner menu.

Things are still very raw and unpolished. Service is spotty and the mac and cheese which we really wanted (hangover from Rabbit Hole's Mac and Cheese =P) was not available.

Philly Cheesesteak sliders, $16
So a case of the misinformed waitress when she told us that there were 3 sliders..but magically an extra one appeared and we were wondering whether its the mistake of the waitress or they decided to be generous..

and she told us we could choose the doneness of the burger( referring to the To Die For Burger) but was unsure whether we could do so for the sliders so she was again quite blur when we asked..

nonetheless we asked for the steak to be done Medium, and this was our favourite because the steak was absolutely tender, with the cheese oozing out! perfect between buttery toasted buns..

and when we were eating this (it was about $4 a pop) we were thinking if we had walked to the Morton's bar, we could have free flow of these with our droolicious martinis...

'To die for' Burger $18
Homemade bun, freshly ground chick sauce

The skinny haystack fries with parmesan cheese and rosemary was absolutely delicious! It didn't need any extra sauces cos it was bursting with flavour with every bite.
And... the burger. After the Philly Cheesesteak Sliders...we were in a steak sandwich mood. The burger... has a tender meat patty but was not as beefy as Epicurious' burger.. plus the ground chickpea was rather bland as compared to the juices of the meat patty.. And there wasn't any cheese spilling out. Heh. It did feel like a Big Mac rather than a gourmet burger.

To date, I must say my favourite burgers are still at Foo House, Epicurious, Brewerkz(King Brew Burger, if you have the stamina for it), Wild Rocket. All their signature burgers are really quite good. But like Chong, I vow to vigorously expand the list of must try burgers. Got burger, will travel.

Truffled egg toast $15

The owners first experienced this in an East Village eatery in New York and decided to introduce it here.. I'm glad he did cos it was FANTASTIC! but possibly the most expensive piece of toast I've eaten..
Absolute carbo-truffle-potato-cheese-egg-crispy bread goodness..
Check out that bursting egg yolk..there were in fact, 2 of such runny yolk treasures waiting to be burst within the toast..
I loved the edges of the bread cos they were so crisp and went very well with the dense salty cheesey egg layer which was really quite heavy... very very good!

We didn't try the desserts (because we were intending to check out another new dessert place) but I guess desserts can be for another day (when that elusive mac and cheese is available!). Yummy sounding desserts include a cheescake creme brulee ($12) and a chocolate fudge brownie ($12).

Overeasy still has many raw edges. In fact, Dom just sent me the Facebook ad for its Launch Party..details as gotten from that page..

Friday, January 30, 2009 at 8:00pm-3am
1 Free Cocktail Before 10pm
20% Off Food All Night!

For now, the target market is the after-work crowd but I guess over time this will be the next hangout for the clubbers pre or post partying...rather than the ubiquitious St James Station for supper..

Yeah it was bright just now around 5pm...we ate till about sunset and decided to stroll off the calories walking along the Fullerton Merlion area.. pretending to look as touristy as possible..especially with dom's weekend backpack..
Spot the friends.. and the God of Fortune..I wonder if its cos the Wheel of Fortune malfunctioned and they needed to summon back the luck...who ask them to listen to the Fengshui master and reverse the direction of the Wheel..which is now rebelling..

We then walked to Shaw Towers (thanks girls for tolerating the walk heh) to try out this new dessert place.. We walked past Tom's Palette and you have no idea how hard it was to resist eating the ice cream first - we eventually came back for 6 scoops tho - we wanted to save stomach space for the new place, Caramel Cafe (100 Beach Road #01-50/52 Shaw Towers Tel: 6295-2188)
Caramel Cafe is really new - barely a month old and is opened by four partners from the creative industry - Three of them quit their jobs to devote more time to the cafe. Bold move, given the current economic gloom.
Their business includes an adjoining hair salon called Hairloom .. I had reservations about this concept because I really hate the smell of ammonia and hair dyes and sprays and products but not to worry, we hardly smelled anything during our desserts..
As you noticed from the first few pictures, the cafe has an eccentric-kitsch decor – funky retro printed sofa seats, unique lampshades, cacti plants in paint cans. The owners didn’t want any sort of order to the decor or the menu- spontaneity was the order of the day.
inspired to do your room yet?
Dom loved the photoframe and the pencil drawings..
The decor gave us the same vibe as Cafe Domus though..rather...homofriendly hippish it seems..
Don't quote me on that..
At present, the cafe is focusing on sweet treats, although there’s a daily lunchtime special of a savoury dish that could be anything from smoked salmon quiche or ham-and-pea gratin to sesame chicken salad, depending on what the owner-chef feels like making that day

Banananutella, Chocolate Mint Cupcakes, $3.50 each
I chose the former whilst Dom chose the latter while nat just....let us go with our free rein (heh she was lazy lar make us choose all the time).
The hot favourite was the banannanutella - although im not a particular fan of bananas, i think it went rather well with the chocolatey hazelnut spread on the top of the cupcake - it was rather moist too, with sufficient banana aroma permeating the central core of the cupcake. Almost as good as Marmalade Pantry's Elvis cupcake.
On the other hand the chocolate mint - which the chef said was rather popular - reminded me and nat of the days in SCGS where the annual girl guides cookies went on sale - there was this particular flavour - the chocolate mint one that tasted similar to this. My other 2 friends didnt like this much, but I thought this was something more unique - the moist chocolate cupcake went well with the chocolate mint icing. Just that chocolate mint is...not really found in cupcakes (or at least, not in the ones i eat)
Tiramisu $6.50
This paper cup contained generously-soaked-in-Baileys tiramisu with a double layer of fluffy sponge and Italian mascarpone cream. There was a strong alcoholic aroma and every spoonful of cream (there was quite alot of it) we could taste the Baileys. Very creamy.
Creme Brulee with whisky-soaked cheeries $5.90
There were a few variations of creme brulee here - the normal sized one, the giant sized one , and the one we eventually chose - the creme brulee with whisky soaked cherries. The cream brulee was smooth and custard like, with a crisp layer of caramelised sugar. A strong vanilla scent also permeated the creme brulee. Nat said she preferred the one at Fres(n)ch though. The cherries at the bottom was rather nondescript - we couldnt really taste much of the whisky.
Vita Plum Ice Blended $4.50
Caramel Cafe offers a few creative concoctions which include home-made hot lemongrass tea and Vitagen-and-sour-plum mix. You should know from my previous post that I absolutely detest plum, but this drink sounded so interesting I felt like giving it a chance. Boy I was glad I did because I really liked it! It was not too salty nor sour - the sweetness of the vitagen complemented the saltish plum taste - and there were real bits of plum in the drink as well. Anything sweet works for me. Or anything with Vitagen! Tis quite amazing how they got the ratio of the vitagen to plum juice right.
Check out those bits of plum! It was delicious scooping up the melted sweet vitagen fluid and drinking it together with some of the iceblended..

Cream Soda $5.50
This was Dom's - it tasted like a milder version of a float. Very light and refreshing.
I wished the cups for the cold drinks were as nice as the one used for the hot teas (check out Nat's drink at the bottom) - these cups really looked like the ones from my RJC days where we drank the 30 cents soya bean drink from!
Camomile Tea, $4.50
Check out the pretty teacup set ! Actually, I read in the article that over here, no two crockery is the same for all of them are specially souced by the cafe's owners. The saucer looks really retro indeed and check out that funky spoon. Such attention to detail marks the pride towards the business - but I still cant get over the 30 cents cups used to serve the cold drinks!!
I snapped a picture of those bar seats as soon as this bunch of guys left- it is really VERY STRANGE to see such a big group of guys hanging out at such a pretty place - esp since they booked theat long table for a private function....hmmm...doesnt the wallpaper behind remind you of Cafe Domus?

Anyway, these cafe owners have ambitious plans. Now, its a cafe-hairdresser concept. Soon, the bistro plans to offer homeware and accessories of the owners’ own design, along with items made in collaboration with other designers. Cant wait for that, given how interesting the decor already is.
My friends were very comfortable in their seats - and very full too - but I really wanted to go and try all the Chinese New Year flavours at Tom's Palette (Shaw Leisure Gallery) so I dragged them down...This is my second visit to Tom's.
The new year flavours included Mung Bean (Tausarpiah), Pineapple Tart, Pumpkin and wintermelon, Longan Red Date, and Tangerine. I didnt try the last one(cos I hate oranges), but my favourite of the chinese new year flavours has got to be the Pumpkin and wintermelon. I prefer the Pineapple Tart from Island Cremery (because it is sweeter). The Longan Red Date was unique and sweet and tasted like a Chinese soup in an ice cream.

The new flavours which I havent tried before were the black sesame - very good and very dense!! like a sesame paste in an icecream, banana with roasted almonds, blueberry cheesecake, butter pecans, and pistachio. We eventually chose to have a scoop of the last 4 flavours - I was rather sick of sesame paste after having so much of it with Kelly.
Butter Pecan, Pumpkin with Wintermelon
This was my favourite 2 flavours of all the new flavours! I thought I should eat more of those limited edition flavours instead of indulging in my timeless favourite (salty caramel cheesecake). I do wish these flavours were here to stay though..
I used to love the butter pecan from Gelare but here it is so much better! The pecan taste is rather strong and Eunice is rather generous with the pecans -plenty in the icecream. It is not too buttery neither.
The pumpkin with wintermelon was delicious! The bits of wintermelon dotting the icecream was an ingenous idea.
Banana with Roasted Almonds, Pistachio
This was Dom's favourite - banana with roasted almonds (must be influenced from the Banananutella cupcake just now) and pistachio. As I said, I don't particularly like banana but I don't hate it as much as orange so I was okay with the banana flavour, but I must say the roasted almonds gave a very nice smokey aroma to the icecream - really quite different from Chunky Monkey from Ben and Jerrys which is just banana icecream laden with dark chocolate bits.
The pistachio was rather flavourful too. I like nutty icecreams in general - hazelnuts, gianduja, them all.
Blueberry Cheesecake, Mung Bean
I cant believe I was so greedy and forgetful that I forgot to take a shot of our last cup...I only took a shot of her scooping it for us =(
Anyway, I was really too greedy choosing 3 Large Cups ($4.40 each) and in the end I had to finish most of it..this last cup was the least popular - I should have stuck with the first 2 cups and not be too greedy.
When Eunice spoke to us last year about how she was experimenting with the Chinese New year flavours, Kelly and I were really excited about the Mung Bean - Tau sar Piah flavour. The tau sar piahs are actually from 611 Tau Sa Piah Shop. But I didnt quite taste much of it in the icecream itself - the icecream was rather bland, except for the chunks of tau sar pia pastry inside the icecream. Maybe because the first 2 cups had flavours that were too strong and our tastebuds have become totally overwhelmed?
The blueberry cheesecake was rather pleasant - slightly sourish, fruity, with a hint of the saltiness from the cheesecake - but I think the salty caramel cheesecake definitely packs more punch!
After that we were deliberating for the longest time ever where to hang out after dinner - movie??bar?? - we were just people watching at the Raffles City fountain at level one, waiting for this young couple to reappear, making sense of Robinsons and Marks and Spencer, wondering if we were reliving our childhood rebellion dreams of staying out late for the sake of it. In the end we decided to run for the last bus to my house where we had more options - the car, the house etc. The last bus collected the most interesting mixture of people that night, we agreed.
In the end, we summoned more people - Kenrick and my neighbour Elisa came over and we had overnight Mahjong and Poker at my verendah.
I was a total noob at Poker - this was my earnings (which eventually grew, thank god for beginners luck). I made a profit of 90 cents at poker and one buck at mahkong. hehe.

We battled a night of cryptic mahjong and mercenary Poker with Petit Bunch Biscuits, Crunch Icecream, peanut Bars ,Hersheys Chocolate..and..

courtesy of Elisa, Madeleine Rose Floral cookies from Cookie Musuem!
These were rose flavoured and were very good! The whiff of bandung hit us before we even bit into the cookie. I didnt realise that it is actually very healthy! No eggs and supposedly not so fattening..heh they really know how to market their products to those discerning ladies.
Beyonce's wiggly dance on Kenrick's phone, our Hersheys used as gambling tokens, mini hard-to-shuffle Poker cards with Mahjong chips.
We battled each other, the early cold morning gusts and never-seen-before insects (surprisingly no mosquito bites) to make it to breakfast at Ah Chiang's Porridge (Block 65 Tiong Poh Road, 01-36)
I never ever thought I would make it to Ah Chiangs at 730am..never in my broadest wildest daylight dreams..

Elisa and I chose the fish porridge whilst the others chose a mixture of century egg and minced meat porridge..
Plenty of chilli lapped up by Kenrick...who also needed that dose of this morning I'd have gone 2 nights without sleep so I dare not drink more coffee if not I'd really start hallucinating..
the others needed to hydrate with Liang-Teh and grass jelly..
Fish Head Porridge $4.50
I guess all porridge looks the same so I just took a shot of mine...The fish head porridge was really very good..very smooth congee, and each mouthful was really flavourful - the fish head meat was also very smooth and tasty. But there was ALOT of bones and you have to be really patient and careful when you are eating this. I guess that is what gives the porridge so much flavour and robustness.
The porridge here is famous because each bowl is prepared using the charcoal stove method and this gives the porridge a smokey taste. Indeed all my friends enjoyed the porridge very much - comfort food after a hard night!
Check out the thick piece of fish meat..yummy!

Raw Fish Salad $3
Dominique and I shared this - the others don't take raw fish. The yu sheng here is quite fresh - although we were slightly appalled that they laid the plates of raw fish in the open, while others were in the fridge. The fish does not have a fishy smell at all, and it is very light. Dom didnt like the seasoning though. I on the other hand, prefer the yusheng over at Zhen Zhen's Porridge, that yusheng was alot more flavourful with all the condiments and sesame seeds. Porridge wise, I prefer the porridge at Ah Chiangs as it is more flavourful than the one at Zhen Zhen's.
The traffic in Tiong Bahru is crazy even in the wee hours of the morning!! We thought we were early at 730 am but the coffee shop was already quite packed - we snagged a table right next to our cars (above) cos the cars were in the red season lots, all the white ones were taken! Even the audi r8 driver also illegally parked so he could have his porridge here. Elisa and I wanted to go to the Tiong Bahru Market to buy yusheng home for Chinese New year but the idea was abandoned when we circled around that crazy multi-storey carpark which was completely full and tight. Terrible! The next time I come here someone will have to drive me! Thanks Elisa and Kenrick for braving the traffic!
All of my guests missed this cos the next day My mom redeemed 9 pints of Swensens with her points - there is Sticky Chewy Chocolate, Cookies and Cream, and Macademia Nut.. I don't endorse Swensens (cos I think for that amount of money you pay you can get better ones elsewere) but its free so no complaints there. My favourite is Sticky Chewy Chocolate - it is almost as dense as the Awfully Chocolate's Hei icecream. Cookies and Cream reminds me of the one from Venezia and Macademia Nut is a little too milkey for my liking - the one from Haagan Daz still rocks. These were redeemed from the Swensens at Holland Village..
Very happy! Kueh Lapis and Chinese New Year goodies galore, along with ice cream =) I hope everyone is having a good time feasting out there! Happy new year!


Bobby said...

Hey, Happy Niu Year!!! Wow, can see that you had lotsa foodie...haha!!!!! When are we meeting/./

julie said...

haha we shall meet on that exact date on mr busy's calender! i shall plan our menu carefully!

brad said...

oh man. you went to overeasy already! i was going to check out the place. thanks for the review man. lol! i agree with you on the epicurious burger. haha. overeasy dont serve lunch eh?

and yeah i heard about caramel and hairloom too. new concept. nice

julie said...

hi brad,
i think Overeasy serves lunch later this month...that time i went, everything was still new and raw and they only served dinner and supper..

I don't think the desserts at Caramel are great but the drinks are interesting esp my Vitagen-plum drink - very yummy!