Sunday, April 20, 2014

Kat & Alfie's @ International Plaza

Kat and Alfie have been around for too long, from a single shop space to now a double, I finally paid them a visit - all clueless about what to order or how to order even. All they have is a menu - self explanatory to some extent and everyone seems to know how to go about. I joined the queue and then made my order only to deviate from the rest by asking "Can I have my panini in wraps?" Kat flatly refused. "It's Kat's Carnivore so you eat what I decide."

So yes, the stories of the nazi chef come ringing true. Kat is brutally honest, cracks a joke or two with her regulars, does not mince her words - take it or leave it attitude mostly. But hey, it is a respite from the cafes that go all out to please.

I get served my panini on a plate at a corner - there is a bench reserved for dine in customers and we get the privilege of eating with our backs facing the other customers.




Kat's Carnivore ($8.50) is a toasted sandwich grilled with cheese, shredded chicken and bacon bits. In all simplicity, I was expecting alot more for a carnivore but I was thankful halfway through the sandwich that was all to it. One hearty sandwich that came together like ham and cheese, loved the combination and the crispiness of the bread.

While I was finishing my last morsel, I hear Kat nudging her regulars to make space for others "Guys, just move. You want to sit a woman between you is it?"

Love or hate it, I happen to love this place to bits.

The second visit came shortly after when I was still obsessing over the wrap I did not get to try.



Chicken and Bacon ($9) in tortilla wrap did not take too long to arrive. The moment it went on instagram, there were questions on where this hearty number came from. Yes, very wholesome wrap with enough meats to make this look more like a carnivore's dream than a balanced meal. It was Kat's Carnivore returning in a wrap without the cheese. Loved it.

Once again, I witnessed Kat's raw humour as she berated customers for taking too long to eat or give out hugs to old time customers. It was such joy sitting there watching all of these roll by - a huge rarity in CBD. And I am so loving it.

Be back soon!

Kat and Alfie's 
International Plaza

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Llao Llao @ Marina Square

Groupon was the main reason why I headed to Llao Llao at long last. 2 greedy vouchers and 4 tubs of medium original frozen yogurt, I found my favourite toppings. Normally priced at $5.50 for a medium tub with 3 toppings,

llao llao

Caramelized sunflower seeds, chocolate chip cookies, blueberries

llao llao

Coconut flakes, kiwi, blueberries

seconds

Llaotitos (otherwise also known as chocolate with candy shells), muesli clusters, white chocolate sauce topping

crumbles

Caramelised biscuits, chocolate sauce, muesli clusters



cute spoons 

Their too cute spoons that come in such shocking green shades - I'm loving the functionality of it and best of all, how loud they look.

The frozen yogurt packs alot more milky punch than some of the other froyo brands but that being said, I found the sourish milky taste and smell an over load. I loved the variety of toppings which made every froyo eat different. My favourite combination has to be caramelized sunflower seeds, muesli and blueberries.

Llao Llao 
Marina Square

Friday, April 18, 2014

Hanare @ Tanjong Pagar

hanare

Hanare, a casual eatery by Teppei has opened at Tanjong Pagar. With just two choices on the menu, it aims to alleviate the lunch crowd at Teppei and for those with just one purpose over lunch – eat. I was surprised it is hardly as crowded as expected, maybe word has not gotten out yet or the crowds still remain faithful to the flagship.

menu

Very limited menu options. 

more

The main buffet spread.

buffet spread

More of it - a very haphazard presentation somewhat. 

slurp

Bara Chirashi ($17.90)

bara chirashi

A wholesome colourful bowl of sea gems – salmon, tuna, yellowtail and a crunchy conch-like shellfish on a bed of warm rice and freshly grated wasabi. I hardly fall so in love with chirashi dons and I did, this time. The textures were amazing and at this price, is a major steal.


chirashi sides

The freeflow of 4 side dishes were limited to a corner, away from the main buffet – a very homemade selection of preserved vegetable, edamame, stewed daikon and chicken and salad with dressing.

pumpkin miso

I’ll specially mention the miso soup that is made with pumpkin – a more neutralized flavor than the usual saltiness.

appetizers

Buffet ($19.90)

The buffet came with a single portion of mains and freeflow of those at the buffet table.

hamburg steak

That day’s special was Japanese hamburg, a microwaved plate that was almost scorching to touch and the gravy starchy. The buffet selection was a decent selection of meats, rice and salad.

ham cheese spring roll

Ham and Cheese spring roll

This was a different kind of spring roll but nothing too special - tastes better dunked in curry. 

Chicken Kariage

Impressed by the light and almost none existent batter, this fried number is hardly soaking in oil.

chicken cutlet

Pork Katsu

Another beautifully fried item.

dimsum

Steamed siewmai and dumpling

These were kept separately in a steamer and I deem them too pasty to even consider a second bite.

curry

Teppei’s Curry

Laced with spices that made this somewhat Indian, but then again the curries we had in Sapporo tasted like Indian curries too.

udon

Store bought udon, very plasticky. 

An affordable buffet with decent fare at just $19.90, no surcharges. For the real Teppei experience head down to the main restaurant otherwise, Hanare does fine.

Hanare
99B Tanjong Pagar Road

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Platitos @ Tras Link

eat drink socialize

Platitos is a tapas place, manned by mainly Filipinos which made us question if the tapas were more Spanish or Filipino. A quaint place with enough tall tables to accomodate the growing happy hour crowd.

hugs

In any case, I found amusement in their menu listing - hugs for free. I wonder if anyone tried to order that out of cheekiness.

tuna

Tuna Ceviche ($7.90)
Fresh raw tuna marinated in lemon juice, light soya sauce, sesame oil, mixed herbs topped with toasted sesame seeds, served with two crackers

tuna ceviche

Only available on Fridays and Saturdays, we were in luck I suppose. I like the zesty condiments that made this a really appetizing starter. Great that the tuna was also served cold - bon appetit!

pork belly

Pork Belly ($6.90)
bite size crispy pork belly served with garlic mayo dip

Sio bak, fried. The greasiness of this made Friday really happy and who can ever resist sio bak?

calamari

Calamari Frito ($7.90)
Crispy breaded squid rings served with wasabi aioli dip

Very crisp squid rings, I found greater joy in the batter than squid. 

prawns

Gambas ($7.90)
Tiger prawns pan fried in garlic, chilli flakes and white wine

We lost the tiger in the prawns, just normal prawns if anything. The mild spiciness made this an enjoyable one. 

iced americano

They do a really good coffee too, for those interested. 

It is not difficult to complete trying all their small plates since the focus after work is happy hour than dinner proper. I am interested in their lunchboxes though - sometime soon!

Platitos
1 Tras Link #01-08

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mariko's @ Jiak Chuan Road

marikos

The first Japanese friend that I made was called Mariko. With no relation to this post actually, until I found out that the restaurant was christianed after a prostitute - Mariko.

photos

There are traces throughout the restaurant that hints of the historic past with photos of prostitutes plastered all over the dining area.

wall

While everyone else was there for the happy hour or just drinks, we were there for food.

happy hour

Tempting happy hour offers. 

teriyaki chicken burger


Teriyaki Chicken Burger ($22)
Wasabi fries

Truth be told, it was because the wasabi fries were sold separately at $8 that piqued the interest for this dish. Nothing bigger than my palm, the burger was at first glance small and packed with lukewarm teriyaki chicken slices. I found greater pleasure in the crunch that the purple cabbage relish provided for the burger.

wasabi mayo

Fries, and what wasabi? The waiter was first confused there was such a condiment and then returned with a chilled curd-like dipping sauce. Even then, no wasabi in sight nor taste.

miso cod

Miso Cod ($26)
Snow peas, asparagus

The portions were laughable - tiny as can be and less than a fistful. Slices of cod on vegetable strips - the horrifying bit had to be this was mush in texture. We highlighted to the kitchen but all it took was almost forever before they allowed us to exchange another item on the menu. 

pork cutlet

Breaded Pork Cutlet ($20)
Japanese curry dipping sauce

Okay, this was mountains and valleys way better than the cod.  Surprisingly very palatable and decent.

Their food is outsourced from Bartini, which we found out later - Mariko is just a place a drink. If we knew any earlier, perhaps heading to Bartini would have been a wiser choice. 

Mariko's
4 Jiak Chuan Road

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Foodtrail @ Westgate

Special thanks to the Food and Travel team for the invite!

Think Jurong East and the noob me thinks IMM and a wee bit more - JEM, Westgate and of course JCube. Unless very necessary, heading to Jurong East for food is quite out of the question. Food and Travel magazine teamed up with Westgate to bring us round on a culinary tour.

cafe crema

Cafe Crema
#01-06

An Italian-inspired cafe providing fine espresso-based drinks made from 100% Arabica beans. Each cup is roasted daily and skillyfully handcrafted.

coffee listing

Coffee menu.

coffee cookies

These speckaloos are sold individually too! A different kind of caramelised biscuit with more bite. 

almond latte


Roasted Almond Latte

piccolo latte

Piccolo Latte

mocha

Mocha 

sandwich

Classic Ham Cheese Sandwich
Smoked ham, mozzarella, red cheddar, butter brioche

ham cheese

Their selection of gourmet sandwiches range from classics like ham and cheese to more audacious pairings like pork cutlet in steak sauce or an italian charcuterie selection with steak sauce.

zaffron kitchen

Zaffron Kitchen
#01-20

No stranger to Indian food, I paid their main shop a visit before and am glad they decided to spread the love island wide with a second outlet in Jurong. I had a lovely time at the East Coast outlet and have been wanting to return to savour more of their delicious offerings. The outlet at Westgate is alot more chill - complete with a bar counter and design taking a more industrial look.

photos

A spicy wall. 

curry it up

They already promise a spicy ride.

ipads

Very techy place!

DSC_0140

Goodies straight off the kitchen. 

potato naan

Aloo Paratha ($5)
Whole wheat flatbread stuffed with spiced potatoes and grilled

This oily number is easy to love and goes well with the other greasy heavyweights that would make its way to the table.

vegetarian platter

Tandoori Mixed Grill (Vegetarian) ($22)
Panner Tikka, tandoori gobi, tandoori mushroom

The vegetarian platter was gratifying even without the meats - I made a go at the cottage cheese chunk that reminded me of beancurd.

meat platter

Tandoor Mixed Grill (Non-Vegetarian) ($29)
Chicken Tikka, Malai Tikka, Fish Tikka, Seekh Mutton Kebab

I call this the fiery one with the meats dyed a perfect red. I particularly love the mutton and chicken tikka best.

ladies fingers

Okra Masala ($10.50)
Lady finger, coriander, turmeric, cumin seeds, cayenne

I usually do not favour ladys finger as a favourite vegetable dish but this was an exception - the starchiness of the vegetable was bearable and went really well with the spices. One dry vegetable curry that is on my favourite list!

cottage cheese

Palak Paneer ($13)
Indian cottage cheese, rich spinach gravy

Almost like the vegetarian platter, this non spicy curry dish is likeable and really good with naan!

Chicken Chettinad ($13.50)
Chicken curry

Indian curry unlike peranakan curry is less tangy, peppered with the indian spices that results in the powdery aftertaste but it is precisely that which makes it both fragrant and so addictive. The meats used were incredibly tender too.

mutton

Mutton Rogan Josh ($5.50)
Lamb curry, hot rogan

Lamb on the otherhand had a lot more bite and flavour in the meat, love the game and love this curry.

butter chicken

Butter Chicken ($6)
Chicken Tikka, yogurt, spice mixture, tomato, cashew nuts, butter flavoured gravy accented with dry fenugreek

naan

Hands and toes down for awesome butter chicken, I never quite understood how butter and curry can go so merrily and wonderfully together - as if they belonged together. Hardly spicy but terribly addictive, butter curry has to take the crown for best accompaniment with rice and naan.

basmati rice

Basmati Briyani Rice ($5)

Perfumed with enough herbs to make one giddy with happiness, this aromatic number was dry and easy to eat.

basket

Plain Naan ($3)

The reason why naan should be consumed plain is because the accompanying second and third fiddles are too flavourful. And yes, Zaffron does very wicked naans and parathas.

heyo

Vincent turned his back on us to whip us his speciality of teh tarik. He claimed facing us to pull a teh tarik was nervewrecking.

whisk 

A perfect 10 for no spillages and shaky hands.

teh tarik

Managing a cheery smile despite the tons of cameras flashing in his face.


tek tarik

No visit to Zaffron is ever complete without their teh tariks, frothy rich milk tea delight.

tea set

Interested diners can check out their really value for money high tea sets!


Eggs and Berries
#02-06

For those with a stomach for all day brunch, you can consider dropping by Eggs and Berries for hearty American classics at pocket friendly prices.

creme brulee

Home made creme brulee ($4.90)

One eaten, twice familiar. It is a decent creme brulee, a little more wobble would make this more creme brulee than custard pudding.

somewhere over the rainbow

Over the rainbow ($17.90)

Imagine a stack of waffles bathed in sprinkles, tropical fruits, a scoop of rum and raisin icecream and whipped cream. If it meant to bring our appetites over the rainbow,  it only served to raise the sugar rush.

The malls at Jurong East are fast getting too popular - I found it too crowded at times.