Thursday, January 29, 2015

Jewel Cafe + Bar Revisited @ Rangoon Road

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The last time I visited I promised to return for brunch and I finally did. Brunch at 9am is a breezy affair, few customers and the waiters are extra attentive.

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Menu, menu on the wall, which is the most delicious of them all?

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Mocha with a pretty tulip design.

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Lemonade with Soda

Made with freshly squeezed lime juice and infused with soda, this was a perfect morning call.

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Eggs Benedict ($15)
English Muffin with Ham, Back Bacon, Poached Egg, Hollandaise

A brunch staple that usually does not go wrong,  the usual works on the muffin - comfort food on a Sunday morning makes me happy as a lark. I like how they do simple things right, including this eggs benny.

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Croque Madame ($15)
Oven Baked Ham, Creamy Cheese, Toast Topped with Eggs Sunny Side Up, Bechamel Sauce

The brioche is usually key in this dish and I found it too dry. The rest were rather pedestrian.

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Ricotta Pancakes ($14)
Caramelised Banana, Blueberry, Lemon Zested Mascarpone

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Granted a must try by the online reviewers, this was thicker than your usual pancake with a cake consistency. Lemon mascarpone had to be the highlight, light and terribly addictive. 

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Fresh Fruits Granola Yogurt Bowl ($9)
Natural Yogurt, Honey, Homemade Granola, Fresh Berries, Bananas

I was never quite the granola person until the recent obsession and their homemade granola was so delicious! Crunchy and sweet which went really well with the fruity combination.

Rangoon Road looks set to become the next gem studded belt - if only there was an MRT nearby. 

Jewel Cafe + Bar
129 Rangoon Road

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Cafebiz @ Hotel Jen Tanglin

As much as my resolution at the start of the year was not to overeat, I seem to be clocking in ridiculous rounds of buffets. This was consumed sometime in October hence there was a showcase of their festive menu already.

Once known as Trader's Hotel is now known as Hotel Jen, apart from the logo and management change, Cafebiz remained largely the same. 


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The usual local roasts greeted me in full glory - the pork, chicken and duck. A pity we do not have goose around otherwise, it would have been the happiest day of my life.

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Spotting local herbs in stone bowls like these always get me excited.

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Can you guess the local delight they are cooking up a storm on?

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The first signs of christmas usually starts with ham!

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The poor tuna was already mangled by the time I made it to dinner. It is not often that a full tuna gets placed on the buffet table for consumption.

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In its full gore-y.

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I spy more local delights with the national favourite pandan chiffon.

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More of the sweet treats available!

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Fruits for a dose of vitamin c after all the pigging out.

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Make my own miso soup with a ton of ingredients.

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I usually head for potato salad and smoked salmon from the cold cuts bar!

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A reasonably hearty pumpkin soup topped with croutons.

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More and more buffets are adding Indian cuisine into their buffet lines and I am surprised that I can get very decent indian fare. Here's a smorgasboard of a few of the signature indian delights - prata, curries and bismati rice.


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Rockets were available at the salad corner, quite a rare sight since romaine lettuce are the common ingredients.

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Going local with satay, oyster egg and kueh pie tee!

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There was also roast pork complete with condiments.

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If Asian does not appeal to the palette, there are roasts like honey baked ham and roast beef.

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I would recommend saving some space for their laksa made on the spot, my version includes heaps of beancurd skin, fishcake and a ton of belachan for that spicy kick.

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One main feature of their buffet is the machine that seals drinks - perfect for taking away juices! Now, if only they had bubble tea too.

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Slurp!

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Also available at their dessert table is a number of local delights - muah chee, kueh, pandan chiffon and durian penyat.

As a diner who had been to buffets before and after the rebranding, there is not much of a noticeable difference in terms of food quality or service standards. Cafebiz is still a cosy place to hang out over a hearty meal, plus there are attractive credit card promotions ongoing every now and then.

Cafebiz
Hotel Jen

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Kisses Bakery @ Tiong Bahru

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I have lost track of the time I became so obsessed with cupcakes, it may have been Marmalade Pantry that started. And it has been a slippery road since. I am surprised at the concentration of cupcake bakeries within the vacinity of Tiong Bahru - Plain Vanilla, Kisses and The Dispensary. Anymore, it is likely to hinge on oversaturation.

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Proud supporters of SCS butter!

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Red Velvet 

A best seller, it seems that red velvet is the recipe for success these days. The chocolate taste was strong and cream cheese topping a tad thick.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

The chocolate chip muffin was dry and peanut butter frosting was rich enough.

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Salted Caramel

The flavours all got lost in the chocolate cupcake with the salted caramel existing in the drizzle.

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White Chocolate Raspberry

None too memorable, if anything the cream frosting was once again too thick.

The cakes vary in terms of moistness, an inconsistent texture across the flavours attempted. I am unfortunately not a fan of the cream frosting that is on the thick side.

Cupcakes are sold at $3.50 each or $20 for a box of 6.

Kisses Bakery
Tiong Bahru

Monday, January 26, 2015

Sarnies Revisited @ Telok Ayer Street

After my first visit, I declared Sarnies a must for good service and great food. Fast forward a year and the crowds seemingly more on a weekend afternoon and the rest of the entry will address the quality of food and service.

I almost ordered exactly the same items off their limited brunch  menu but made the decision to try their famous Sarnies, otherwise known as sandwiches.

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Bacon and egg weekender Sarnie with fried eggs, loads of bacon cured by us and tomato relish ($15.90)

Crusty sour dough baked to almost perfection with all the crunching sounds I made and slapped on with tomato relish, bacon and a drippy fried egg. No brainer? Here's the juice on it - immensely satisfying with just 3 of the brunch staples in a single sandwich. 

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THE Fry Up: Fried or scrambled eggs, bacon cured by us, a real pork sausage, homemade baked beans, grilled mushrooms, sourdough toast.  ($25.90)

Hangover be gone with this massive fry up - massive enough to shoo the hangover away or so the owners thought. Crispy bacon, a decently "real tasting" pork sausage and delicious toast made this dish rock.

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It's more of brunch place than coffee. 

The lowdown on the bad service came when a particular waiter decided to be particularly nice to a group of foreigners and chose to wave us off when we requested for the table to be cleaned. "Waved off" included the hand gesticulating in a heck care manner - to offer better services to a foreigner versus a local has long been debated to death and this very same waiter came back and forth with wrong orders, haphazardly swiped the cloth over the table and repeated hit the chairs with his knickers. Not cool at all and yes, this service glitch did mar the experience a fair bit - for one, the husband has sworn off the place. I may just return for those awesome sarnies. Takeaway next time.

Sarnies
Telok Ayer Street

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Les Amis @ Shaw Center

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Les Amis is a household name for French dining and I have a story to tell about this visit. Some years back I told someone dear, one day, just one day I will bring you to Les Amis at the end of this stretch for a meal. That year, it was La Strada at the start of the golden stretch. Hence, this visit is particularly close to heart and emotional.

Reservations were made last year since I knew they had limited vacancies and they were sweet enough to allocate a private corner on the second floor overlooking the first.

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Bread basket comprised of cheese buns, dough grain, baguette and a cranberry walnut.

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When in doubt, always go for unsalted butter.

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Teppanyaki seared Japanese scallops with teriayaki sauce

For once it is not described as "Hokkaido" scallops, though Japanese does not sound too far from it. Pedestrian in taste as compared to the other appetisers coming my way. Do not get me wrong, it was delicious just not stellar.

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French smoke salmon from Kaviari with wasabi dressing

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Three slabs of smoked salmon with wasabi cream and served with a duo of toasted dough grain bread. Loved how the chewyness of the bread went with the smoked salmon and mild wasabi dressing. It was not complicated but tasted soooo good!

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Lobster « bisque » in cappuccino with celeriac royale and black truffle

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Served in a cup that made me ridicule the portions - my bad really, in all its foaminess was a broth so substantial I wonder how many crustaceans died for a good and worthy cause. The black truffle strips were a nice touch but delve within for the real magic of this broth - whole chunks of lobster and creamy roe. This single lobster dish made me love the expensive crustacean a whole new world more and then continue to question - why would I even need a lobster roll with such an amazingly executed soup.

Tradition versus Fad, 1-0.

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Pan-fried amadaï with verjus and bell pepper

Amadai is one of those fishes that is considerably expensive because of its limited supply and having it panfried, it had to be the next bestest way of serving it next to sushi. The scales are so crisp, it was like eating keropok, or even better. The portion itself was good enough for me to want seconds.

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Angel hair pasta with lobster, crispy sakura ebi and a touch of parmesan

This dish has appeared at a number of menus in restaurants but is served hot with a dash of lobster stock. It was a case of umami, flavours hit the roof in merriment and the textures had crispy, crunchy, chewy and chalky altogether.

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Charcoal grilled veal with green vegetables and a light touch of Kyoto white miso

While the beef tartare with frites caught the eye, the waitress gently cautioned against its rawness and recommended the veal which I completely enjoyed. Grilled to a medium doneness with enough succulence to last through every bite, the kyoto white miso could be done away with. Perfectly executed with portions only mean for ladies.

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A "café Liegeois" with textures of roasted Colombian coffee

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Served with a beautiful chocolate brittle on top, the coffee icecream and meringues. The coffee hints were strong enough for a wake me up dessert, a good alternative to coffee.


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Ardèche chestnut soufflé with Bourbon vanilla ice cream

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The lightest souffle ever eaten, I loved the chestnut hints and chocolate chunk right at the bottom. Paired with a creamy bourbon vanilla icecream, a tremendously addictive dessert.

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Strawberries and Sicilian pistachio in a « fraisier »

The kind staff helped to replace the usual chocolate tart with a pisachio cake as a birthday cake. Very beautifully put together which reminded me of a delicate Japanese confectionery.

This visit to Les Amis was a good start to 2015, and justified its spot in Asia's Best Restaurant. Even before the time of Andre, Jaan and Iggy's was Les Amis and with the opening and closures of so many restaurants, it is no wonder Les Amis still stands strong.

$95 for set lunch, birthday dessert on the house.

Les Amis
Shaw House