Thursday, September 30, 2010

Octa Hotel @ Parco Millenia


The first time I heard about Octa Hotel I was very sure it was an accommodation option. Does not help that it was designed to look like one too! Very K Ki - Little Drom Store in terms of concept, this was Japanese-cute and French-country encapsulated in one place.


Cosy enough for a leisurely brunch/lunch.


The country prints that got the to-be-married couple all excited about their country-themed humble abode.


Sugar cubes that appeared cute, too.


Iced tea that was different from all the other iced teas out there. Something about it that did not taste like tea, in short, a refreshing and soothing beverage.


Hashed Beef and Rice ($15.90)

For a bigger portion, you'd have to top up $2. As a gauge, for a guy...bigger portions are definitely recommended. The guys regretted not going for the upsize upon seeing the portions.

This was in short, stewed beef rice. The beef was stewed so soft and loose, there were barely full chunks of beef but mostly shredded beef. Gravy was on the clumpy side.



Fromage Salmon Sandwich ($14.90)
Avocados, Spiced Cheese, Smoked salmon

Think thick and tall sandwiches. The toasted crusty bread held together a multitude of ingredients; creamy avocado, savoury spiced cheese and salty smoked salmon. To top it off, a layer of crunchy lettuce. Wholesome, hearty goodness. Corn chips gave chips a run, literally. Loving this!


French Toast 

A recommended item on the menu, this surprised all of us. Chewy french toast, despite the avalanche of whipped cream, mango sauce and honey drizzled all over. I was completed sold with the frozen berries used. The icy textures of the berries and chewy toast were complentary. How good was this? Slurpworthy good, the plate was licked clean...almost.

We saw the staff preparing goodies for a supposed upcoming party, think cake pops and macaron towers...they should be included in their menu..no? 

Octa Hotel
Parco Millenia

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hue @ Amara Hotel

Hue, pronounced Huay is a Vietnamese restaurant located at a corner of Amara Hotel. I'm admittedly not quite a fan of Vietnamese cuisine largely because of the copious amounts of raw veggies incorporated into their dishes despite being a hardcore veg fan.

I had the set dinner on a whim.



Chicken salad was served up as an appetizer, refreshing shredded chicken on a bed of what tasted like coleslaw without the cream. I liked how the meal began already.


The "appetizer platter" of stewed chicken, panfried fish with mango, shrimp springrolls and grilled prawns. A great pity these were served cold and limp, otherwise I quite liked the flavours put forth.


Saucer of dips to go with the appetizer.


Pho with a choice of beef, chicken or seafood. I had to go Vietnamese for this! Light flavourful broth with overly soaked soggy pho but tender beef slices. I wish this had more punch somehow or another...being such a traditional classic I was expecting far more.


Chempedak Creme Brulee that obviously was not Vietnamese. I seem to be getting a different kind of creme brulee served these days, this had the consistency of Overeasy's...very liquid on the inside though maintaining the custard firmness on top. Chempedak was not difficult to like though acquired.

Hue was barely filled for the night, it would pass off easily as a bar rather than a Vietnamese restaurant.

Hue
Amara Hotel

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

KOI Bubble Tea

It once popped and now is back, with a vengeance so great. Possibly the most famous fad of all time, bubble tea seems to be the must have, must drink, must try beverage.

Jumping onto the bubble-wagon sooooo late, I regret to inform...I am hooked!

Hailing from land of original bubble tea, KOI is as authentic as it can get (or so I associate especially so when it comes direct!) The gf in Hongkong claims the same phenomenon with Gong Cha that also originates from Taiwan. Looks like the bubbles are ready to rule the world.

Place your order - take a queue number - wait.

Before you can even place your order, you have to decide what flavour and how much sugar. 0% for the sugar allergics to 100% for the sugar addicts. I sit on the fence with 50% Honey Milk Tea.

The KOI folks fill the cup with such generous ladle-fulls of pearls, I was already beaming within. It used to annoy me when I finished my pearls before the drink. I rememeber lamenting it would be ideal if every mouth had pearls and there was no end to it. I got my wish; every slurp had QQ pearls..now if only the pearls were slightly bigger in size.



Their milk tea is milkier, stronger on the tea and so very yummy. I call it, the new age slurpee. :)

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=88731477472

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cedele Surprises

 Cloud9 is Cedeles's brand of icecream, made without Trans fat. Cloud9 I wish I would be on after consuming this lil post dinner treat.

Seasalt and Caramel


I took a leap of faith with this rather than Earl Grey and Fig icecream. Ice-cream cones to the amazing team of Cloud9 with different creations, at least they have not be replicated relentlessly across the other ice-cream-eries. (That's how Kaya Lottee's always so close to the heart with Icecream chefs).

This and Asabo Sabo's are the best of their own leagues and both have found a special place in my tum. Cedele's is almost like the evil twin at the extreme end of the other spectrum of deliciosity. Rich, buttery smooth and definitely prohibited on any diet alive. Best of all, the balance of caramel and seasalt is more defined for someone who adores strong flavours. That being said, I have to admit the creaminess does get to you towards the end but I'm still loving it so!

Asabo's is more inclined towards the lighter palettes but otherwise still delightful.

seasalt caramel


Update: I returned for seconds and thirds within a week!

gula melaka cake


Gula Melaka Pandan Cake ($5.80)

High expectations after the colleagues become instant converts after the first bite. My cake looked stiff when served though, as if it were sitting around for a good part of the day. Certainly tasted that way, the gula melaka frosting was coagulated whilst the pandan cake was dry despite the kaya jam spread in between. Not a fan somehow.

Already lusting for a return! I can almost hear Ice chanting "Try Tom's Palette!". ;P

Single scoop $3.50


Available at Great World City, Wheelock Place, Tanglin Mall and VivoCity.

Cedele

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Marble Slab Creamery @ Illuma, Bugis

I am a diehard of cinema food, not because the food is awesome but it is the whole couch potato experience and possibly the only time the calories are the lastest thing on the mind. Yes, the experience certainly does not come cheap..at a premium in fact. Icecreams are perfect comfort food, more so than popcorn and nachos that fills you up to the brim with the guilt. I used to favour the lil tubs of ben and jerry's and Magnum Gold. Film Garde at Illuma somehow does not offer an icecream option and I was peeved.

Marble Slab Creamery offered the perfect option just being an escalotor away from Film Garde.


Apple N Spice icecream mixed in with caramelised biscuit (note the singularity) cost a tidy  $6 or thereabout. It melted way too fast, was too sweet and in the cup there were just 2 apple bites. Best of all? My cup was denied entrance.

Find Happiness Within?

I was totally m.i.f.f.e.d. Either no more Film Garde movies or no more Marble Slab Creamery.

http://www.marbleslab.com/about-us/

Marble Slab Creamery
Illuma
Level 4

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Cafe on the Ridge @ NUSS Kent Ridge Guild House


The cantonese congee comprises of porridge cooked with meats. The teochew way however is just grains or with sweet potato. The visit to Cafe on the Ridge, reaffirmed how much of a Teochew I am in this aspect.  This open declaration of clearly non-cantonese preferences could get me banned from the province if I were back in the olden days.


Hot Pot Corner

Nan Joo Mixed Vegetables
Stewed Pork Trotters
Stewed Mei Cai with Duck
Minced Pork with Pickled Olives

Decent attempt on these must-haves.

Braised Dishes



Duck, Pork, Tau Pok, Egg, Pig's Intestines


I was impressed with the spread of braised meats. The chef would be on standby to chop up the ingredients from the cauldron-like pot. First attempt at pig's intestines and definitely the last, the gameyness was waaaaaaay over the top too much to bear. Otherwise, this braised platter matched up to the hearty hawker fare I am so familiar with.




Fried Silver Fish, Pork Floss







Luncheon Meat, Salted egg


Nothing to shout about, usual teo chew muay fare.



Appetizer





Fish cake, Sour vegetables, Preserved sausage, Black Dace Fish


Fried Clams with Bean in Leek Sauce, Roast Duck



Braised Eggplant in Sichuan Style, Ma Po Beancurd, Cauliflower

Spicy fish, Stewed chicken


Chye Poh Omelette, Ngoh Hiang, Prawn Fritters, Fish cake, 


Food in general was quite tasty and kept piping hot. Notable mentions that deserved repeats were the duck in particular. Loved the firm meat peppered with spices.



Green Bean Soup, a taste of Mom's kitchen. Liked how it was easy on the tum the same way teo chew muay always is. I have a penchant for slurping down bowls of porridge water.


Assorted Jelly

Ice Kachang

The best part about ice kachang it making it yourself. Balancing the bowl and ensuring the shaved ice falls nicely into a mountain, filling in the colour ingredients and lastly drizzling old school syrups all over.



A peek into my bowl of shaved ice.



Dessert

Fruit Selection

Decent fare at decent prices, well worth the trip up in fact. The quality of spread is commendable for the price they are charging. The promotion is purportedly so popular, this is already a return of the original promotion. Prices have been increased by a fair bit or so I have been told.

$12.90
Till Sept

Cafe on the Ridge

Friday, September 24, 2010

Udders @ Siglap



Udders has made its way to the East which came as a pleasant surprise. I no longer have to travel half an island to GoldHill for it..I've been laying off Udders for awhile now after the few encounters with ice crystals that got me jaded. So if you have not heard about it, we've got one in the neighbourhood!



Creamy Caramel

I liked the fullness of the icecream, slight chewy texture and fragrance of the burnt seasalt.  Yet, it did not topple Azabu Sabo from its throne.

Mango Sorbet

Loved the mango hints well woven into the sorbet, would serve as an awesome palette cleanser anytime!

Soooo much better than the Goldhill outlet, strangely. At least there were no ice crystals embedded to mar the experience.

Fierce competition from Ice Cream Chefs which is quite some distance down the road. I find them complementary actually, ICC for the local flavours and light icecreams and Udders for the punch.

Starts from $3.70 per scoop.

Udders

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pronto 2 @ Great World City


Back at Pronto because of "1-for-1" mains special they were having.


Egg Benedict ($7)

Pronto pleases with all day Brunch dining too! Personally felt that was a nice move, hardly is brunch ever in the radar except for weekends and there are just those days that having brunch items after brunch time is so appealing.

Do not belittle Pronto, everything went well from the chewy muffins, tasty ham slices, rockets to the egg which could be runnier (or so the perfect eggs benny is supposed to be but I'm so not complaining). The fullness of the hollandaise sauce was matched with a bearable sour twang, job well done I say. Beats Riders' overhyped Benny hands down. 



Meatball Penne ($14.50)

Yummy attempt at pasta though the meatballs were unfortunately a tad over processed.



Roast Beef Pizza ($16.90)

I miss Al Forno's pizzas even more. Probably was a wrong choice of beef with pizza, normally beef is included in beefballs not slices. The bread base was a tad pasty and bland though overall it was decent.

1-for-1 mains, I totally cannot complain on the value. Brunch could very well be the next return!

Pronto
#02-K2/K3
Great World City

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Of Jade Rabbits and Shooting Suns: Mid Autumn is all about friendship

Traditionally, the basis of Mid Autumn revolved around the idea of "togetherness", having family and friends together to admire the roundness of the moon and of course, indulging in mooncakes. We had a mini gathering at Daniel's house, complete with Shanghainese delights! Many many many thanks to Daniel for his kind gesture and his family's hospitality. It was an outing planned ages ago and truth be told, I'm really glad this materialised.

This post is specially dedicated to the lovely friends I've made through the same passion; food.

shanghai dumplings

Before I start the mooncake rampage that we went on...looking back, it was a massive feat on our part! Daniel's mom so generously spoiled us with home made dumplings! My verdict? She should open a dumpling shop, tasty clear broth with plump meat dumplings...ohhhh soooo slurpworthy!

G.O.D., Wing Wah
Butt Mooncake (HKD 65 each)

A complete sold out every year...pre orders are a must!

G.O.D. Mooncake packaging

G.O.D. tied up with Wing Wah for the most slapstick take on Mid Autumn, mega mega mega adoring the ingenuity of it!

butt-off!

A butt of jokes?

I missed bagging them back from Hongkong last year because of the short time frame for pickup dates. Daniel so kindly got his dad to pre-order and pick it up! You will not know what flavour you get till opening...loving the surprise element here! Makes "collecting the full collection" fun eh?

DSC_0173

For novelty's sake, here's Spread My Cheek mooncake that I've been looking forward to!

G.O.D. Butt moonie

Ordinary tasting but full marks for creativity. Methinks it's the lack of lard that makes this pale in comparison to the rest of the Hongkong mooncakes.

Liu Yuan Restaurant
Shanghai Mooncake

Liu Yuan Restaurant 鮮肉月餅

Liu Yuan's one of the more popular Shanghainese restaurants in Hong Kong. 鮮肉月餅, a savoury version of the usual sweet suspects. Shaped like a crispy teochew mooncake, this was like a chinese version of a sausage pastry. Yummmmmy.

Xin Cuisine, Holiday Inn Atrium
Xin's Mini Special Egg Custard Mooncake with Egg Yolk ($45 for 6)

tiffany blue box

Adore the pretty robin blue box! It connected with the Tiffany in me.

xin cuisine

The only other hotel offering egg custard is Peninsula Hongkong and Xin Cuisine's have been long raved about. Comparing the two, Xin's cuisine does not have the coconut hints which could be a turn off for some, instead the egg custard paste with egg yolk and nuts was drier than Peninsula's though still delish. I like how this isn't overly sweet.

Xin Cuisine Custard eggyolk

Shaped like a tree trunk, we attempted a cross section like the brochures, only to be disappointed by the lackof full yolk as advertised.

Xin Cuisine box

Oh yes, the frivolous gold leaf on top made this extra chi-chi.

Shangrila Hotel
Single Yolk Lotus Paste Baked Mooncake

shang

It took me awhile to realise Shang Palace was endorsed on the mooncake.

Shang double yolk

Meritus Orchard Hotel

Meritus Mandarin box

Treasure chest!

Meritus Mandarin Single Yolk


Single Yolk Lotus Paste Baked Mooncake

Meritus Mandarin Macadamia

Macadamia Nut White Lotus Paste Baked Mooncake

Surprise, surprise here! Chewy paste that caught me off guard, rivals Li Bai from Sheraton's in terms of chewiness. Of the two, the double yolk fared better somehow, the white lotus paste from the macadamia was less chewy.

Zhen Wei
Teochew Crispy Yam Mooncake ($36 for 4)

yammies

Zhen Wei's behind.

When I saw this at Takashimaya's food square, I dissed it as "yet another restaurant made mooncake". Greedygoose me could not resist stealing a bite of their ever generous portions of samples - a proper one eighth at least compared to the measly chopped up bits of the rest. The first bite of the freshly fried and cut mooncake was heavenly. The molten yam paste and crispy skin were made for each other, with a nicely balanced sweetness. I was very sure it'll be a must get next year and definitely an underdog amongst the sea of strong competitors.

Zhen Wei Crispy Yam

When it was presented on the table, I was already grinning inside. Equally deeeeeeeeeeeelish even though it was not consumed immediately. Did I mention the white lotus paste spills over like lava too?

Peony Jade
The Original Ex-Crown Prince Flaky Teochew "Oor Nee" Mooncake with Single Egg Yolk and Golden Japanese Pumpkin ($50 for 4 pcs)

DSC_0300

Completely sold out last year, Peony Jade maintains a "no sampling" policy, priding itself on quality and strong brand name of "Crown Prince" to ring in sales. Yam paste was coarser in texture mainly because it was blended with yam bits and a layer of pumpkin and a full oily egg yolk. The pastry was heavier than Zhen Wei's and yam taste was more evident. Am more of a Zhen Wei than Peony Jade fan here.

Raffles Hotel
Snow-Skin Mooncake with Champagne Truffle and Ganache ($52 for 6 pcs)

raffles hotel...perfect out of the mould snowskin moonies

Once upon a time, it was the lovely shade of robin blue that stole the thunder. Then it was the awesome fragrance that greeted the nose that stole my breath away. And then, I got confused between Fairmont Szechuan Court's equivalent and Raffles Hotel's...thinking they were one and the same.

raffles hotel champagne ganache

Completely sold out online this year, Raffles Hotel's hot favourite is champagne truffle. Years later, I totally understand why. The same welcoming fragrance and irresistibly soft mochi-like skin. Pity the tastebuds have been tamed by Fairmont's mindblowing-tongue numbing potent champagne chocolate so much so Raffles' Hotel was less impressive here.

Jewels Artisan Chocolate

trio of delight

Its metallic box was a mismatch with a traditional outter casing and modern contents.

jewels artisan

Mini Snow-Skin Mooncake with Champagne Ganache Truffle (Low Sugar) ($50 for 8 pcs)

This rivals Raffles Hotel's directly and does not fare too badly against it. The snowskin's is thicker in consistency and less fragrant and soft. Despite that, I am bowled over by the champagne ganache truffle, the alcoholic punch I was looking for though Fairmont still triumphs for the alcoholic in me.

Mini Snow-Skin Mooncake with Dark Chocolate Crunchy Pearl ($48 for 8 pcs)

Simply lotus paste with crunchy pearls and a chewy snowskin with hints of mint. Tasted quite like a refined teochew kueh.

Mini Snow-Skin Mooncake with Salted Caramel Truffle ($48 for 8 pcs)

Designed for the European customers, Jewels attempts an East meets West version and I say they pulled this off so brilliantly. Loved the explosion of surprise that greeted the senses...methinks salted caramel's the new buzz flavour next year! Who'd thought that salted caramel could blend in so awesomely? I wish mooncakes were not seasonal, well just for this salted caramel flavoured one.

Man Fu Yuan, Intercontinental Hotel
Snowskin Selection ($49.80 for 4 pcs)


man fu yuan platter

A colourful snowskin selection.


man fu yuan green tea

Green Tea Paste paired with Nutty Almond Flakes

Pasty green tea with barely discernible almond flakes.

man fu yuan...red bean.

Red Bean Paste with Melon Seeds

Ordinary.

man fu yuan pumpkin paste


Pumpkin Paste with Chocolate Pearls

Tasted and looked most like nonya kueh, not a fan of the coconutty-pumpkin filling.

man fu yuan green tea

Black Sesame Paste with White Sesame

A mooncake version of thick rich black sesame, and that was it.

What annoyed me about Man Fu Yuan's is the thick and dry snowskin that was obviously subpar. These tasted like mooncake versions of dessert paus.

Ritz Carlton
Mini Bing Pi Green Tea Paste ($39 for 6 pcs)

Packaging for this was the most compact of the lot, nice!

ritz goes floral

Utterly Japanese, the well positioned red dot for the flower stamen.

ritz carlton green tea ping bi

Filled with a smooth green tea white lotus paste with light hints of powdered tea aftertaste, I'm no fan of green tea flavoured desserts (largely due to the bitter aftertaste) but Ritz Carlton's made me a convert. A well made mooncake without the fancifuls. A well deserved "signature" title.

Tung Lok

tung lok

Low Sugar Red Beans with Champagne Truffle
Mocha with Baileys Truffle
($44 for 8 pcs)

Shaped like mochi flowers, these were cute beyond comprehension. A pity these did not come in colourful shades.

Both were decent attempts on the famous liquor range.

Thank you my dear friends for yet another enjoyable outing, till the next! Let's see who are the like-minded...

Fen & Yuan, Elaine, Daniel and Lay Sian, Glenn, Charlene and Zhihao.