Saturday, June 28, 2008

Donuts @ Raffles City Basement

Singapore has long been swept with a donut craze..we've progressed from brand to brand, in the All american's favourite snack first foray into sunny Singapore it was Dunkin' Donuts (I still remember it at Far East Plaza!)..things kind of died down with bakeries like Swiss Bake/Q Bread/BreadTalk/Bengawan Solo offering the sweet dessert dusted with icing sugar..then there was Pop-Doh! at Takashimaya (The Japanese version which I don't hugely fancy...okay, just the packaging) and somewhere in 2006/7 I vaguely remember Donut Factory creating a huge craze (it's Dec 2006 according to its webbie), people were creating waves and history by queuing up to 2 hours for these prized fried bread with icing. It was almost like the "Hello Kitty" of the 21st century. Nearly everyone emerged from the queue with that victorious smirk and never just one box. (I pride my sis buying just ONE donut when she queued for it then. And I didn't get a bite of Donut Factory till MUCH later..tsk) Copycats sprouted all over. Ok, not copycats...but like-minded companies to the tune of Munchy Donuts (Now Donut Empire), Little Red Dot (At Jurong Point), E-Donuts (At Le Meridien tha imo didn't quite take off), Chewy Junior (one of the interesting 'donuts' that keeps shrinking)..and nearly every bakery including neighbourhood ones included donuts in every conceivable colour and flavour.

I usually get my fix of donuts in Bkk/M'sia...having my all time favourite Dunkin' Donuts! =P And thankfully for me, J&Co won my heart. Totally.

Now it's the reign of J&Co, very unfortunately having Donut Factory bear the brunt of the switch in popularity stakes. Once belonging to the "Ace of Donuts" where no-queues at Donut Factory was an unheard and unseen phenomenon. I guess that's the fate of two rival companies situated in the same building. Should Krispy Kreme/Dunkin' Donuts decide to setfoot on our shores...trust them to garner all if not most of the support...leaving all of the above wondering "what happened?"

Without further ado...the showdown of the donuts at Raffles City!


No queues today. At all. The worker was sweeping the area at an ungodly hour of past 12..tried Peanut Butter Glaze a while ago..well it's a glazed donut with creamy peanut butter filling. It's alright...delicious...overdosage of sugar. But that's what donuts are about! Bread's normal...was already sinking by the time I sunk my teeth into it.

New items are mini donuts. Cute!

$11/box of 12


Now..for J&Co...I succumbed to getting a box (finally!) after all these while. :P

(L-R)
Chocolate Caviar (I think...)

JCrown Alcapone (White belgian chocolate)
JCrown Oreo
The JCrowns taste uncannily like Mister Donut, not as chewy though.

Why Nut? (White Chocolate topping with peanut butter filling)
The ultimate decadence. It used to be Green Putting from Munchy Donuts (Green Tea topping with custard) till they decided to stupidly remove it from the menu! Anyway, very delicious, very sinful..the bad thing about it...after it's left too long..the oil kinda seeps into the donut, making it somewhat soggy.

Sugar glazed with blueberry

$7/box of 6 assorted

New items are savoury. Hmm...donuts should be sweet imo.

As the war continues, the consumer always wins. :)

J&Co
Raffles City Basement (Near Shokudo)
http://www.jcodonuts.com/

Donut Factory
Raffles City Basement (Near Aerin's)
http://donutfactory.com.sg/

Bishamon Sapporo Ramen @ Great World City

Noodles are a staple in every cuisine...For chinese we've got mee sua/jade noodles/kuay teow..yada...for japanese it's soba/ramen/udon...korean...ramyeon/buckwheat...decided to give ramen a go at GWC, after passing it by so many times.

Previous encounters with Japanese noodles were above satisfactory; ramen at Kyo Nichi, curry udon at Waraku, Soba at Sakae, so I was pretty hyped up for this, given its specialty is the ramen. Even the name of the shop seems to suggest so as well.


Pretty menus...like the pencil drawn buildings.

Zero-ed in on the "Mini Sapporo Ramen", a mini version of what their signature dish.

Shoyu Mini Sapporo Ramen it was! Hesitated over adding an egg, which on second thoughts I should have.

Noodles are tangy, soup's delicious but an overkill with the MSG and sodium. Found it too salty to my liking. The meat pieces are far and few. However, that being said..it's not too bad. The portion's just right for me, the usual portions are huge!

The rest of what I tried, gyoza that was normal, sashimi that looked and tasted unfresh...and tempura vegetables that wasn't extraordinary. I'd say Sakae's taste better!

Seconds anytime soon...? I'll pass for Waraku anyday.

Bishamon Sapporo Ramen

1 Kim Seng Promenade

Great World City #01-21B

Tel: 6235 2890

Kim Peng Hiang @ Chinatown


Bak Kwa or Barbequed Pork is a hot favourite during Chinese New Year for most, but for my family..it's a snack we eat nearly all year round! I can eat it as it is, or in sandwiches..or better still, with rice.

Apart from the usual crowd pleasers of Lim Chee Guan or Bee Cheng Hiang, I discovered Kim Peng Hiang early this year during CNY. Had a bite of their ever famous pineapple bak kwa, I'd say yummilicious. It's got juicy pineapples sandwiched in each piece.

What makes KPH stand out from the rest? The flowery packaging...and a flowery shop to boot! The one near Kembangan grabs your attention literally with an entire shophouse painted red with flowery designs all over.
This time, I tried it in its original flavour, surprisingly good and arguably better than the Royalty of Bak Kwa. I've never eaten Bak Kwa in such thick slices (double the thickness of usual bak kwas), giving it better bite and taste. Not that fatty as compared to some I've eaten as well!

You bet I'll be converting to KPH next cny!

$38/kg

Kim Peng Hiang

465 Changi Road (near Kembangan MRT station)
People's Park Complex #01-1036

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tau Kwa Pau (Mary's Corner) @ East Coast

Tau Kwa Pau's another of my favourite snacks or dishes at the dinner table I welcome hugely!

First of all, it's healthy with all the cucumber, egg slices, crunchy meat bits, fish cake and fried beancurd!

Secondly, it's got a nice sauce and chilli to go with it, making it extra appetizing.

Thirdly, it tastes as good on its own and being doused in sauce.

Forthly, it's just a dollar a piece, it's easy on the pocket!

I've found this at Mary's corner, just a stone's throw away from Aston's Specialties along East Coast Road. She sells laksa as well amidst the list of chinese snacks.

The only grouse I've got about it, there's a tendency for these tau kwa paus to go bad if you don't chill them properly. Well, that's the downside of beancurd for you. Other than that, it makes a delightful snack.

Mary's Corner
East Coast Road
(Near Aston's)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Royal Copenhagen Tea Lounge @ Takashimaya


Tea: –noun. British. any meal, whether a light snack or one consisting of several courses, eaten in the late afternoon or in the evening; any meal other than dinner, eaten after the middle of the afternoon.

My fascination with tea began with scones and whipped cream years back. It's all so British come to think of it, scones are British...as with Earl Gray..and I've been wanting for the longest time to check out Royal Copenhagen Tea Lounge at Takashimaya. Simply because it's neatly tucked in a corner and it's been there for so long...something must be magical enough to keep the crowds returning.

Reviews haven't been to forthcoming with the service level...however the place wasn't quite packed today, considering it is the weekend plus the sale season. I managed to get window seats! Quite a visual treat...overlooking orchard road...cars buzzing below..quite a blissful experience! In fact, the place is largely occupied by tourists and tai-tais. I should think Royal Copenhagen Tea Lounge is second in line to Marmalade Pantry for spotting the rich and bored.

I was looking forward to their famous Honey Date Pudding...of which I was promptly disappointed with "It's sold out." I'll be back for that someday! Settled on two of their desserts; cake of the month (Hazelnut cake) and Blueberry cheese that almost every other table had one slice of. Should have gone with scones though...on second thought.

Ice water was served promptly...bearing a whiff of fruity fragrance...;) It was initially mistaken to be unclean glasses...:P thankfully, I caught sight of the strawberries and berries soaking in the jugs, that set my and my company's mind at ease! :P (Sounds country bumpkin-ish here..) It's funny how water can be so sweet-smelling and had traces of berries in it!! Impressive.

The cakes came in gorgeous porcelain plates...of which the mere thought of smashing either sent shudders down the spine.

Hazelnut cake (cake of the month) was a pleasant surprise! A pretty dense cake which definitely should not be judged by its mere appearance. Nutty bits infuse each mouthful...fragrant and delicious. Traces of oil could be found after I polished the cake, but well worth it.

Blueberry cheesecake on the other hand was a tad too moist, and soft? Missed my Hilton cheesecake at this point.

Both cakes were filling, which was a plus point.

Overall, the cakes are good, just not wow enough for the location...the ambience more than makes up for it actually, for a leisurely afternoon. Royal Copenhagen's one of those places that I'd pay for ambience. Perfect for reading your magazine, soaking in the luxurious settings and just enjoying life.

Bon appetit! To...the much awaited Honey Date Pudding and probably set lunch, seconds soon!

Royal Copenhagen Tea Lounge
Takashimaya Level 2
391 Orchard Road
Operating Hours: Mondays to Sundays: 10.00 am to 9.00pm.

Out Of The Pan @ Raffles City


Tea highly attracts me, because I avoid the lunch crowd and I get my food much faster. :P AND...you really get to soak in the ambience of the place without much fuss; having the waiters watch you intently and their non-verbal language basically screaming "get out, next seating!".

Out Of The Pan's been at Raffles City for the longest time ever, even before all the renovations and extensions of the new wings were done. I've been there for lunches before...earning itself the name "crepe place". Their savoury crepes don't appeal to me that much, decided to give their sweet ones a go this time!

I managed to get a good seat (such good luck!) by the fountain, watching the water splash up and down...with the open kitchen a stone's throw away, sun rays shining down on you...pretty addictive way of spending an afternoon.

Ordered just one dessert; Caramelized apples and custard with rum and raisin ice-cream. ($12) The portion was just nice for two. Presentation was pleasing, like a piece of artwork.
And, the beautiful part kinda ended there. It certainly looks better than it tastes. The apples were bitter for a start, the generous servings of apples kinda made it worse with every bite. Rum and raisin ice-cream? I couldn't taste much of the rum or raisin, or even both. The only saving grace, the paper thin crepe went really well with the custard. At 12 dollars, it is pricey and not at all worth it.

Rather disappointed I must add. Not sure if I'd be back for any of the savoury ones. Yes, it's one of those places where you really pay for ambience not food.

Out Of The Pan
Raffles City Basement

Thursday, June 19, 2008

All things healthy - Cereal



The earliest introduction to cereals came about with Kelloggs, breakfast cereal. I don't think any of us wld've missed the white box with a rooster and commercials on the telly every now and then. I literally grew up with this morning must-have. Gone were the days were cereals were just cereals, what's infiltrated the consumer market is cereals of all sorts of flavours, shapes, designs...! A couple of favourites along the way!

Cereal + Fresh Milk = A good way to start your morning!

Post

I'm still loving the post range of cereals after so long. It's been quite a while since I've been introduced to their delectable range. I can eat this for breakfast, as a snack...anytime!

Banana Nut Crunch

The first introduction to Post cereal. Cereal never quite tasted the same after I tried Banana Nut Crunch. You really taste banana muffins in this! I wonder if banana muffins are made with these. ;)


Great Grains-Raisins Dates Pecans

My current love. It's not as cloying sweet as the banana nut crunch, I love the pecan bites and dates in them!



Blueberry Morning

The dried blueberries in these make cereal more wholesome this way. I always thought strawberries were given in the packet when the commercials showed the fresh strawberries being dropped into the bowl. Naive on my part I admit, but hey! Post made it possible with these sweet dried blueberries and almond flakes!

Cranberry Almond Crunch

I love cranberries, so this made cereal all the yummier. Another yummy one.

Maple Pecan Crunch.

The sweetest of the bunch.

All these are zero in transfat! <-- Now then I realise that! :) Makes eating it all the better.

Honey Bunches: Honey/Almond/Strawberry

Another delicious offering from Kraft. Crunchy cornflakes with a hint of honey/almond flakes. I prefer the honey one better. The strawberry's on the sour side.

Oreo O's

I don't mind these oreo-flavoured cereal at all! At least reduces the guilt of chomping down the all time favourite american snack. I guess what makes this less enjoyable is...the open, lick, dunk action you'd do with oreos. Other than that, a good enough option.

Kelloggs

Coco pops, frosties...froot loops...apple jacks...rice krispies and the list of childhood cereals just goes on and on with this family favourite. Of the lot, my favourite is undeniably frosties! Sugar-coated cornflakes brings back just so much of the past. :)


Alpen

Like their muesli bars, this is the closest to rabbit food that one can ever find! Pardon the rudeness but I'll give them props for being the healthiest as well. On the sweet side with all the raisins that go into it but it's very healthy given most of the goodness that goes into it is in the raw form. PLUS, it fills the tummy really well...you wouldn't feel a least bit hungry for quite a while after eating it!

Weetbix Crunch - Honey

This has none of the nuts or dried fruit but stands good on its own! Weetabix in bite size portions, uber yummy! I can snack on this on its own without the milk, reminds of Gardenia's tagline "So good you can even eat it on its own."


Honey Graham Oh's

Delicious! Crunchy corn and oat rings, filled with graham cracker bits, crispy rice and honey. Makes a perfect snack more so than cereal...tastes really good too! I can crunch on this all day long.

=) I hope your cereal favourite is somewhere in my list as well! If not, share yours!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

All things healthy - Snacks

The sad fact about food (that tastes good and bad) is the calories that plague you, most in a guilty way and some in guiltless. I'll admit in engaging in healthy snacks once a while to diffuse any dissonance after gorging a really sinful meal...or basically keep my calorie intake in check.

I kind of introduced muesli bars to the office...Alpen's been the choice for a couple of weeks now...and my colleagues have been cute and generous enough to pass me new brands to try every few days.

Here's the lowdown of rabbit food land! It fills your stomach, but definitely does not satisfy the cravings.

Alpen

Under the famous healthfood, Weetabix...Alpen Bars range is delectably yummy.

I've tried...

Alpen Bars

Alpen muesli bars are better than the cereal they've got but, they're equally good if not better! Imagine cereal packed in a bar, but better.

Alpen bar Apple & Blackberry

Love the yoghurt topping, makes this health food yummier than it already is, I can eat bar after bar. The crunchy muesli isn't dry like most are..neither does it have wheat flakes which makes swallowing extra dry. Highly recommended, I've converted quite a few lovers already.

Standing at 117 calories per bar, light!

Alpen bar Strawberry & Yoghurt

Another of the yoghurty goodness, between the two, I prefer Apple & Blackberry better. Still a delight though!
Sanitarium Fruity Bix Bars (Wild Berry)

I've eaten this for years, until I got so sick of it. :P It's one of the healthier but not so palatable ones around because the yoghurt coating is thin and it's basically a wheat-flake bar. Hence makes eating it extra messy.


F&N Yoghurt Renewal (Yoghurt Fruit & Nut Bar)

Of the lot, found this to be the softest in bite, probably due to the composition of this healthbar, just nuts and fruit. Not cloying sweet, just right...the rawness of the nuts made this delicious. Felt more like a nut bar more than your usual muesli.


Uncle Toby's

Yoghurt Topps Strawberry/Apricot

The strawberry one's another favourite, extra tasty and almost like a real fruit bar! Strawberry bits aren' too artificial...the only grouse, it gets sticky. Between strawberry and apricot, I'm leaning towards strawberry, the taste isn't too artificial. Nonetheless, a treat!


Soyjoy, Fruit Soy Bar (Apple)

Soyjoy, Fruit Soy Bar comes in a really handy bar, the type you can slot into your handbag really nicely.

At 137 calories a bar, it's very much like your muesli bar. Opening it reveals a cake bar! Was quite surprised, was anticipating your normal peanut/wheat bar peering out.

Taste-wise, it is cake, the taste needs some getting used to. Leaves this aftertaste in your mouth though. Reminded me of a guiltless christmas cake with the generous chockfuls of raisins you can find in the small bar.

Overall, I didn't mind it that much...a new twist to healthy eating!

Conclusion

Calories and good food never goes hand in hand, be honest...the more nicer tasting stuff the health food has, chances are it will pile on the calories! Yoghurt's a better alternative to cream, muesli's a better alternative to junk food...in a nutshell, healthy snacks.

EDIT**


At the slight nudging of a bestie who claims these are sizzling hawt in the US of A, I totally forgot about Nature's Valley Granola Bars! These are arguably the best tasting ones (a tie with alpen's!) around. The bars are heavy on wheat and oat but still very tasty with the other goodness that goes into it.

Oats & Honey/Peanut Butter/Cinnamon

These are sold in a mixed box or as individual flavours. I love peanut butter best! Tastes exactly like the real thing, it's almost like eating peanut butter in its health-ier form. Crunchy and yummy. =)

Credits: All graphics except soyjoy and yoghurt renewal aren't taken by me.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Pepperoni Pizzeria @ Greenwood Ave


A first at Pepperoni Pizzeria at Greenwood Avenue, nicely tucked behind NJC and Raffles Girls' Primary School...a stark reminder of a mini Holland V, only much quieter and less crowded. Lining the stretch are the ever famous Lana Cake Shop, Sebastien's...Raku Japanese Restaurant...

The place is rather casual...with drawings lining the wall...the inside of the eatery resembles a courtyard for some reason...felt somewhat like a courtyard in a foreign land (think brickwalls and climbing wall plants). They do provide crayons for random scribbling on the paper table cloths...think Out of The Pan...not sure if they still allow that there.

Had a go at a couple of appetizers though very unfortunately not all were captured on camera!


Typical must have at any restaurant..Calamari which I had none of. Pretty good, from the response of the rest of the eaters.

RUCOLA SALAD - rucola with tomato, parmesan cheese and balsamico dressing

Rucola's a typical vegetable seen in most Italian dishes...not your normal raw vegetable, it's got a acquired taste to it. I liked it, refreshing.

PARMIGIANA - baked eggplant and tomato

Nothing spectacular about this dish, just eggplant and tomato.

This particular dish which I failed to catch its name, a sparkling one of grilled portobello mushrooms with chicken slices. Awesome one, I loved how the focus of the dish is the portobello mushroom and not the chicken. Flavours were nicely executed.


The mains of 22 inch (it's GIGANTIC, fills the whole table or nearly...) pizza...half of which was seafood (squid, scallops, fish) and the other half was sausages and portebello. The crust is paper thin, crunchy infact.

Main grouse about the pizza is, the gravy and cheese gets to the crust really easily, rendering it soggy after a shortwhile. Between the two flavours, preferred the sausage/portebello one better!
22 inches is good enough for 6 people, actually more than that. I'm pleasantly surprised, they actually do cater for the big eaters and deliveries of 22 inch pizzas are done too!

Overall, quite a satisfying meal but I'm not that high on the pizzas or the appetizers...have tasted better I reckon. But for portions and value, Peperroni wins handsdown. Service wasn't too bad either...

Pepperoni Pizzeria
6 Greenwood Avenue
Singapore 289195

First Thai @ Purvis Street


Purvis Street's one of those that has many food gems...Chin Chin Eating House, Yet Con, Miss Clarity's belonging to the cheaper options...Garibaldi and YhingThai belonging to the classier and First Thai sits in between. I'm a huge fan of Bangkok, not just for retail therapy but also their cuisine!!! What makes travelling so enticing is, you can hardly find authentic food anywhere else but the country of origin, I was quite interested in First Thai all along...given the crowd-syndrome and the good reviews from fellow netizens.

Armed with two fellow foodies, off we went to First Thai!

A couple of rigidities of First Thai
  • Cash payment only
  • You're only given seats when everyone is here, short of one person? You jolly well wait.
  • Queues!

The waiting time was relatively short, from the ticking of menu items to the serving of the first dish..all in maybe 10 minutes?

The place has got a rather nice feel to it, minus the heavily mis-decorated place..imagine Keanu Reeves, all the monarchs in the world..elvis presley on the walls..chinese paintings!

Oh, and your cutlery's found under the table proper.

First dish, tom yum soup small! Packs a mighty punch...sour-spicy goodness. *shiok* The prawns aren't the best I've eaten, neither are they the big head prawns Thailand is famous for..but the soup more than made up for it.

Second, Pineapple rice..also small. Handfulls of pineapples were strewn all over the dish with pork floss. A very fragrant rice dish, rice was fluffy, made eating it so easy...you just can't stop eating this...mouth after mouth. On hindsight, maybe that was the cause of my indigestion later that night, I ate too much. :P

Thirdly, Minced pork and chicken with basil leaves. This dish came after much confusion. We initially wanted Green Curry but alas, it was sold out by 745pm. It took three different waiters to convey the message before we finally got the dish right. The service aside, I lovvvvve this! Very spicy with chilli padi peppering this meaty dish...the meat bits were yummy as well.

At this point, we should have stopped ordering but we didn't and went on with Pad Thai. The thing about good food is you don't want to end up not having enough to eat or still hungry, so that's the rationale behind the last order. This was a tad too sweet, imo. It's quite different from those I've eaten in Bangkok...the vegetables servings at least! First Thai serves chopped cabbages...

Drinks!

My coconut juice, refreshing drink. Wldn't have minded if they had more coconut flesh in it!
Yoghurt drink..on the sour side but equally good.

Lime juice was somewhat over the top with the sour taste. Didn't fancy this.

By the time we left the place, we were soooo full, no space left for any thai dessert. :(

All in, $47 for 3 pax. No GST, anytime I'd choose this over Thai Express/TukTuk/Siam Kitchen/Thai Accent!

A pretty good experience at First Thai, trust me to be back soon. All three of us felt it was good. I've found my answer to Authentic Thai food! (They've got a cert that certifies their serving "authentic thai food"! How true is that!) I've already got in mind what I'd wanna try next! (Papaya salad...Soft shell crab, Green Curry, Mango with glutinous rice...!)

23 Purvis Street
(Opp Chin Chin's)
Closed on Mondays