Saturday, February 28, 2009

Villa Bali



Chilled at Villa Bali over the weekend with a group of my favourite people. I visited Villa Bali once and was mersmerized by the ambience but somehow this second visit...I didn't fancy it much. Too crowded perhaps. Lacks the "shangrila" feel about that place this time.

Drinks were kinda bad...I had the baileys shooter ($12) that came across as nothing but a burning drink without any hint of cream. The pals had bloodymary that was anything but nice.

Popcorn chicken that was ordered...tasted quite bad when left to cool.

Doubt I'd be back...again.

Villa Bali
9a Lock Road (Next to St Andrew's JC)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Modesto's @ Vivocity



A flurry of birthday treating..and it's my turn to treat two very precious gfs in my life. :) Modesto's for the first time for all of us. What was initially thought to be a small outlet turned out to be a huge one! With al fresco outside too!



The surroundings with brick walls, exuding a charm about the place...short of a fireplace!



Printed plates...gives this place a safari feel...somehow.



A really queer warm water with lemon...shouldn't it be for chilled water? All the same anyway, couldn't quite taste the lemon either!



Complimentary bread cubes done the Italian way. Soft, fluffy and warm...



Antipasto Italiano (A selection of appetizers consisting of bruschetta, caprese, grilled button mushrooms, rock melon with italian pork parma ham, grilled vegetables and assorted fresh greens), $24.50

I had no idea this portion of starters is for one person...at least everything came in 1 person portions...

Bruschetta was...somewhat hard, like it was left in the open for a while..the diced tomatoes atop was just ordinary.

Caprese..goat cheese and tomato, one of my favourite italian appetisers though they're pretty much bland!

Grilled button mushrooms and vegetables...tasty.

Rock melon and parma ham...our favourite of the lot. The melon's saccharine sweet, paired with the slightly salty wafer thin ham..uber yummy.

Assorted fresh greens...rockets! My favourite veggies.



Quattro Stagioni (Tomato, Cheese, Mixed Seafood, Cooked Pork Ham, Mushrooms and Black Kalamanta Olives), $24.50

It came in 4 quarts, a different flavour each on a thin crust. I liked the pork ham best...the rest were just...alright. In fact, most came out tasting the same, just cheese and crust.



Panna Cotta Alle Nocie E Miele, $11 served with walnuts and honey sauce. One word; boring. The panna cotta's on the "solid" side, it doesn't wobble or shiver like custard or jelly should...it's got the texture of a tofu...I prefered picking off the sour blueberries and walnuts.



Tiramisu Modesto's $12

Another dessert that disappointed...it didn't melt into a mush, tasted more like coffee cake with cream than a tiramisu.

All in, I'm just pleasantly surprised with their pizzas. The rest were just...o-k-a-y. Service is decent and it just ends there. Modesto's comes across as an Italian joint specializing in wood fired pizzas (selected flavours only). Period.

Modesto's
Vivocity

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Greenwood Fish Market & Bistro @ HillCrest Park

Still on the birthday treat streak, Greenwood Fish Market & Bistro it is! Nicely tucked in a row of gastromical gems like Pepperoni, Cafe Iguana, Swiss Butchery and Lana Cakeshop...there's this place called Greenwood. With a seafood store as a front, go in further and there's a quiet, warmly decorated restaurant for dining in. With curtains draping the entrance, you can't quite tell if it's day or night by being in the restaurant, I like that!



Complimentary bread with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Warm bread's becoming a staple at most of the dining places. It's slightly crumbly and oily though.



Oysters, min 2 per order. Starts from $3/pc

The waiter stood there rattling off their oyster selection for the day and even went on with the vivid descriptions of each other. I, very unabashedly went for something that's easy to pronounce. I already forgot the names of the oysters we ordered. Basically very fresh they are, freshly shucked! Paired with the tabasco sauce, the oysters are extra delicious!




Black Mussels with White wine and garlic

They're fat, juicy and very fresh. I love the white wine and garlic sauce that comes with it. An explosion of the sea in your mouth as I'd put it very figuratively. A must try!



Fish & Chips

Honestly find it ordinary and don't get the fuss about it. Comes either battered or breaded. The batter's light and crunchy, meat's fresh..fries are well, fried. It stops there. I wouldn't call it the star dish of the restaurant. Both the breaded and battered tasted quite the same..maybe the breaded one has more crunch and that's about it.

Portebello Mushroom salad

Disappointing it is with one tough mushroom smothered with cheese and plenty of root vegetables to go with it.

Service is refined yet with a hint of pretence. I dig the glass bottles that are refilled with icewater every now and then, totally completing the "sea" experience...feels quite like a fisherman pouring from a glass bottle! The freshness of the seafood and the cooking doesn't quite agree, would've expected something better from seafood so fresh.

Pricey it is, overhyped it also is..for ambience alone..I doubt I'll be back.

Greenwood Fish Market & Bistro
34 Greenwood Ave
HillCrest Park (Near Lana Cakeshop)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Les Bouchons @ Ann Siang Hill

Another birthday treat! Les Bouchons it is as suggested by a gf who walked past once. A very small place that sits a max of 20 people inside and maybe 6 outside. Reservations are highly recommended. When the group of gfs and I made our way there at a prompt 7, it was already 50% filled!

A google before visiting the place revealed that they're known for their "Parisan Steak Frites". All along my perception of French food is all things creamy, think foie gras, escargots, duck in bite sized portions..and not forgetting all things foamy that they so love to serve! I could never quite get a dish made partially with foam.

Ann Siang Hill's a gem, not as overrated as dempsey nor as secluded as villa bali..there's an artistic aura about this whole place.



The very limited menu and cutlery that looks somewhat different! *points to the knife*



Cosy interior...reminds me of a bar. The walls are adorned with paintings and corks.



Sitted right next to the door!



First up, complimentary and freeflow basket of bread with President butter. The magic I say lies with the butter! Oh soooo good with the hard on the outside, warm and soft on the inside butter roll. I had two servings of that alone!



Burgundy Escargots with Garlic Herb Butter (9pcs) , $16. Escargots that came in a hot plate and sizzling too. I'm a huge fan of escargots that taste much like shellfish. The garlic herb butter's the main star, so very appetizing..I couldn't help dipping my bread and polishing it off greedily.



Grilled Ribeye Steak with "Vigneron" Butter (Served with salad and freeflow of Home made French Fries, $32.80

Boy oh boy...this took quite awhile to arrive but it's certainly well worth the wait! A thick slab of beef...tender and juicy. Done to a perfection, medium. A very simple dish but they made it a star. The fries are definitely part of the reason behind all the raving reviews, there's just something about them that isn't soggy nor oily...you can't really stop eating them honestly. We loved it so much we had seconds for the fries alone!



Grilled Fillet of Salmon, $32.80

The very thoughtful chef actually asked one of my gfs if she's "pregnant"...*thumbs up!* They cooked the salmon more thoroughly. Meaty chunk of fish that wasn't fishy, very fresh and meaty.



The salad that's refreshing and divine.



The sauces that I had a bit of everything. Love the horse radish and this other creamy sauce I forgot what...

Creme Brulee of a birthdaycake that I accidentally deleted! :( I had the quaint restaurant singing a birthday song for me. Nonetheless, it came with the sugar burnt to a right brown, a jab into the dessert and spooning the wobbly custard into our mouths..the rest I say...absolute heaven! The best creme brulee ever, the custard's totally smooth and melt in your mouth, none the tofu texture that some places have.. I wanna be back already!

Service is delightful..not intrusive and thoughtful. The food is definitely worth coming back for, for the value and quality. No doubt the limited dishes they have to offer but they are all stellar dishes. Les Bouchons is one of those places that does amazingly in what they offer, indeed quality over quantity. A brilliant start to French food!

With so many reasons backing my second visit...I shall go find some khakis to materialise that!

Les Bouchons
Ann Siang Hill (Opp The screening room)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Casa Verde @ Botanic Gardens

The time for birthdays is a time for feasting and expanding that waistline by a couple of inches...ironic isn't it..to celebrate the coming of age with more food! And then you get depressed with the jumping of figures on that weight sensitive weighing machine. Ok, I shall cut the story short...one of the meals I've been looking forward to..the sis' treat at Botanical Gardens, Casa Verde, under the Les Amis group.

A note of forewarning...be careful where you drop off! We alighted at the entrance of Botanic Gardens and walked past the forlorn mute swans, oogled at a dozen other funny looking yet beautiful plants, took a number too many pictures with the gorgeous backdrop...and a good 45 minutes later, we found the place!? Au Jardin really looks awesome in the evening, just to sidetrack.



Casa Verde first strikes you as a bustling family cafe, unlike its Les Amis roots. There's an open concept kitchen for you to peer into the "making of your food". Pretty much packed on a weekend evening at slightly before 7pm, we even walked past a table with a dog!



We requested for a table inside..the thin menu with few options, either a set dinner or an array of thin crusted pizzas that nearly everyone else had.



Totally green setting for dinner!



Glasses of warm water that weren't lukewarm, to say the least. They were filled consistently however.



The cosy interior...the whole place was filled with people by the time it struck 7.

The menu is planned by Chef Oscar Pasinato of Buko Nero fame, menu changes every month! I was quite excited by that introduction..buko nero...a highly famous place.



Leeks and Sea scallops soup with white truffle oil. The sis' lovely soup starter. I found it quite nice, not overpowering in leek taste, the scallops were juicy and lightly pan-fried. It lacked the warm bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to round it off nicely..I thought most dinner places would have complimentary bread!



My choice of Chilled slices of roasted veal loin, served with a tuna dressing capers and parsley. I loved the same starter at Garibaldi, and was most happy to see it on the menu. Doesn't disappoint! The paper thin slices of veal and salty tuna dressing..yummy! It's almost like a main on its own with the portion. The pinkish hue in the extra tender sliver of meat.



The sis' Home made spinach straccetti pasta with red chilly, anchovies and prawns, was originally squid but we replaced it with prawns that were diced quite small! The pasta's much like our hand made noodle, looks a weebit like kelp but I like the sauce that went with it. The prawns were a tad too sweet for this savoury dish.



My Ragatoni pasta tossed with braised leg of duck ragu and parmesan cheese, started off on a delicious note in the first few bites but after a while, it got a little too much. The dish is somewhat too sweet, the duck's mostly shredded so you don't get to taste the bite of the meat. No cheese nor chilli flakes were offered either. I prefer the sis' spinach pasta, though she prefered mine.



Fresh orange, mango and mint salad with dark chocolate ice-cream. The dark chocolate ice-cream had chocolatey bites in it! A fruity dessert it is.



Hazelnut and white chocolate cake with vanilla ice-cream, sweet it is! The cake's dense...not much of a white chocolate hint...I was looking out for black specks in my vanilla...but none, so I figure it's just the ordinary vanilla. The warm and cold tones of this dessert were well played.



The birthday cake on the house! Carrot cake with cream cheese. The waiter was really cute about it, giving me a plastic knife to "knife" the cake! Their carrot cake blew us away, not sweet at all, my first carrot cake without raisins and I'm so loving it!

Overall food wise...some hits and misses. I adore how this place is without GST and service charge, the servers are your happy and cheery bunch who's most delighted to attend to you promptly. The waiting time in between dishes were somewhat too long and the dishes didn't arrive together..which is a glitch in service I feel.

I'd wanna be back for their pizzas that look so delicious..provided I have transport the next time.

Casa Verde
1 Cluny Road
Botanical Gardens

Monday, February 23, 2009

Icecream Chefs @ East Coast Road



A colleague told me about this place very excitedly listing this as one of her favourite dessert places and went on to tell me about the various flavours available and insisted I had to try it. So I did, with another ice-cream lover in tow!



I've driven past this place tons of times and wondered out loud if it's really so good, over years it's still there!

Tuesday - Free Mix-In Day! I've seen this concept quite abit before at the Takashimaya food square, the "chefs" blend in the ice-cream with your choice of mix in with swift moves, like "frying" your ice-cream but on a cold plate..in total teppanyaki style.

We sampled the Beanie Vanilla, Chippy Mint, Nutty Peanut Butter and Chocolate Hersheys before settling on...



The two indulgent!



Nutty Peanut Butter with Gummy Bears! I would've gone for their rum & raisin had I seen the sign earlier! The NPB's nutty with nuts in every bite..a slight hint of peanut butter..it's one creamy dessert! Could've been stronger on the peanut butter though. Somehow with the gummy bears, it didn't quite go that fabulously together. But one thing's for sure, the portion of gummy bears thrown in is generous! Every bite had at least 2 gummies.



Chocolate Hersheys with Mars bar and chocolate sauce, I stole a bite..on the bitter side but definitely very chocolatey. The chefs were rather cute about the chocolate sauce, they asked whether you want it mix-ed in or on top or both. Not quite the ultimate chocolate dessert (think Awfully Chocolate's chocolate ice-cream) but decent.

They've got a variety of mix-ins like gummy bears, granolo, crispies, oreos, maltezers, waffle crisps, kinder bueno, raisins...Their service is friendly..and a thing to note, the ice-cream melts quite quickly! Once out of the shop, it starts its meltdown. Oh, their serving of icecream is quite a big portion..~

I'd be back...for Mrs Smith, Watermelony, Creme Brulee..Kaya Lotee and Rum The Raisin!

$3.10 per scoop. $4.80 for 2 scoops. $0.9o per mix-in.
$9.50 per pint.

icecreamchefs.blogspot.com

Icecream Chefs
520 East Coast Road #01-06 (Ocean Park Apartments)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Shazah Confectionery @ Joo Chiat



The Dad's caught the snacking bug of late and came home with these goodies! A shop tucked away in Joo Chiat offering delights like cakes, fried snacks and kuehs.

Curry Puff, $0.80

It's one big chunk of a curry puff at that size with potato filling.

Chicken Pie, $1.20

Massive is the word, the flaky chewy buttery pastry with the same potato filling and shredded chicken along the way.

Of the two, I prefer the chicken pie. Somehow the pastry of the puff doesn't quite agree with me..on the pasty side.
I like how the chicken pie skin has enough bite and doesn't fall apart easily. Both are really decent snacks to have, with a cup of teh terik...it's one jolly good afternoon!

Shazah Confectionery

105 Joo Chiat Road

Friday, February 20, 2009

Kenny Rogers @ Great World City

Valentine's is one day where the retailers gang up to rob the consumers, yes, in a very crude manner. Why should the same sliver of meat cost two times more and still taste the same? Anyhow, Fish&Co had a really ridiculous take on Valentine's..only couple set menus, no ala carte. That's pretty much dunzo for that kinda rigid policy..that explains their less than stellar occupancy on 14th feb as well.

No fancy dinner..just as well to match the economic situation! So we opted for Kenny Rogers, very pro-family as seen from the family crowds that the outlet at Great World boasted of.



R had the Valentine's Day Set Menu ($18) that came with a vegetable soup, 1/4 grilled chicken, 2 sides, a corn muffin and a drink. The vegetable soup's highly flavoured..with celery and carrot chunks.



The sides we shared..cheesy macaroni, coleslaw, potato salad and pasta salad. I had no idea the pasta salad I ordered was creamy as well! An overload of carbs and all things creamy.



My grilled chicken pita ($13.90). The pita's very dry and crusty...far from the soft fluffy pita I had in mind. It's filled with crunchy vegetables and shredded chicken...and in fact, I was more attracted to the mozarella cheese they claimed they had. It's quite a huge portion...and I had a field time picking at the chicken and veggies.



There! The famous corn muffin that I'd wolf down regardless.

I only head there for their sides and corn muffins..I don't quite agree with their chicken dishes, in all honesty.

Kenny Rogers
Great World City

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Apple Dippers @ McDonalds



Apple Dippers ($2.55) was introduced a super duper uper long time ago under "fresh sidekicks" for the guilty after indulging in their fastfood options. It's a paradox in all honesty, like healthy fast food? I remember scoffing at them..because unprocessed food's always the best, yes...raw fruits included. They come in a packet of approx 8 slices, all sliced so thin..makes eating apples...queer. I prefer chomping down the fruit in between juicy bites. Then comes the killer caramel sauce which baffles me even further, it's supposedly a healthier choice..but with caramel? Surely a hit with kids and all sweet-toothed adults who shun fruits, like R who offered me his share of apple dippers whilst tucking into a hearty burger, fries and soft drink meal.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

C Nai Cafe @ East Coast Road

Many years back it was Hongkong Cafe..and somewhere in between this year and last, it changed its name to C Nai/Macau Cafe. Geographically Macau and Hongkong are apart..and the cuisine served in both places are variantly different..with Macau having more portugese influence..how I miss the portugese food! The famous cathedral that got burnt down, the weekly dog races...ok, enough of digressing..dropped by for dessert one night.



Almond Cream Mix with Black Glutinous Rice, an authentic top seller it claimed. It arrived looking uncannily like one of the religious symbols. The almond cream's so thin, there's barely a hint of almond. The black glutinous rice too, was too watered down and the rice was undercooked..so I ended up eating the grains hard and not fluffy and sticky.

One huge disappointment, I couldn't even finish it.

www.hkcafe.com.sg/
www.cnai.com.sg

C Nai Cafe
378/380 East Coast Road
(Opposite Caltex Petrol Station)