Friday, September 30, 2011

Axis Bar Revisited @ Mandarin Oriental

Axis Bar is another of the favourite places to hangout...maybe it's the soothing jazz tunes that the musicians play with one on the cello, another on the keyboard accompanying the singer.

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Cushy lounge.

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The night view that was robbed of.

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Nori-wrapped snacks and olives to go with the drinks.

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They thoughtfully got me a dish of chips after I requested for them. They used to serve really good wasabi chips and beef rendang!

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Icecream drinks that was different from the usual. We made a go for the Iced Apple.  I thought it was an alright version of a milkshake but just lacked a certain oomph in it.

I have to give Axis bar top marks for service. It wasn't even a case of rejection but the alcoholic did not fancy the drink and left it mostly untouched so the thoughtful waitress came by and offered to change the proportions of drink or even a replacement. Best and most surprisingly of all, she kindly waived it.

Two thumbs and ten toes up for such service! What annoys me most in pubs is the drinks are usually concocted by throwing in odd proportions which is why vodka orange or cranberry or ribena never ever tastes consistent. That being said, Axis Bar wowed me here.

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Pina Colada with a pretty starfruit balancing on top.

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Martini

It's usually Morton's or none for me after trying and testing with martinis across the various watering holes. Pleasant drink but Morton's still reigns tops for a mighty one.

Jazzy tunes made the night roll by rather quickly...or maybe the comfy sofas did. I would return for the service..and that's a first!


Axis Bar
Mandarin Oriental

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Strictly Pancakes @ Princep Street

The pancake fever seemed to have nosedived after the initial bubbling excitement. That did not stop pancake lovers of the companion and I from heading down to Strictly Pancakes one evening. I was in for a surprise. By 730pm, the place was completely filled out - if I knew they took reservations, I would have done so! 20 minute wait after being put on the waiting list. Waiting list is such an irony - you are put on the list to wait..and the wait seemed endless.

So after 20 minutes of catching up and eavesdropping on the other conversations to getting the nose immune to the strange smells coming from French Creperie just next door...we finally got our table located upstairs on the 2nd storey.

menu

Menus get placed readily.

"Are you alright with a 15-20 minute wait for the pancakes?" The girl cherrily asked.

You mean I can say no? After waiting 20 minutes for my table? Leaves you with no option, really.

In fact, the 20 minute morphed into something that was in actual fact close to 45 minutes - double the time. All in, it took us 1 freaking hour to get to our pancakes. Any form of hunger would have been translated to boredom, frustration and lastly, annoyance.

maple syrup x garlic butter

These get served up very early into the wait - almost cheering you on "soon, soon the pancakes will be here!". How soon? Relative, I say.

There's a choice of salted, unsalted, herb and garlic as well as rum and raisin butter. Maple Syrup comes with it.

beef me up

Beef Me Up ($14)

Super thick juicy homemade beef patty, two extra thick pancakes, sautéed mushrooms and a side of arugula salad.


Patty is served well done and the menu already prompts a "10-15" minute wait on normal days. The extra thick pancakes reminded me of the pancakes that Jollibean and Mr Bean specialise in. Loved the beef patty, very surprisingly. Instead of the expected dry texture, this was juicy and charred at the sides. Despite a drap outlook, the arugula salad was pretty good!

bananas 
 
Bananas Scotched ($11)
 
Delicious, I have to say with a nice balance of rum, bananas and caramel.
 
We had them delivered together -saved us another crazy wait. Yet, the sweet still arrived before savoury.
 
Their pancakes have a bite as compared to the usual fluffy soft ones, which I actually like. Yet with a wait so insanely long - I expected far better. Food For Thought any day - at least the wait does not kill. The management could look into a better way to manage the waiting time. 
 
Strictly Pancakes
44A Prinsep Street

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Royal Tien Siang Restaurant @ Robertson Walk

“Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us.”
Boris Pasternak, Russian poet.
I love being surprised, getting surprised and dropping surprises.


royal tien siang

The most unlikely place ever to land up for happy hour.
But I guess that what makes it surprising.
The gang plonked themselves comfortably on the cushy sofas while I looked most bewildered.


happy hr

To boost human traffic and sales, Royal Tien Siang Restaurant goes Happy Hour too!

beer

And so we all ended up with a 3 liters worth of Tiger.
(Though I have to sheepishly admit, Tiger was never quite my choice of drink under any circumstances
50% off, sweet!

One of the many ways to end off a rather mundane weekday.

Royal Tien Siang Restaurant
Robertson Walk

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

JAMS @ Prologue

cookie tower

I'm into this whole craze about cafes - concept or not, just somewhere nice and cozy to shy away from the buzzing activity that everywhere central seems to boast of. It's just one of those modes that I want to be out on the street but not amongst hordes of people.

{Prologue} is Popular gone high class. JAMS is a cafe nested within {Prologue} overseeing Orchard..not the bestest view at 7th floor but perfect little place to rest the tired feet!

strawberry milkshake

Strawberry Milkshake ($8.50)

The portion of this has to be tiny and watered down as compared to Billy Bomber's potent milkshakes. Great for those who want their milkshakes and drink them without the calories.

carrot walnut

Apple Walnut Cake ($8)

Supposedly, signature. Fork-licking yummy Maple syrup frosting with apple walnut cake. Organic as it sounds, apple was mild..infact limited to the apple skins embedded. Would have passed off as Cedele's famous walnut carrot cake but slightly dry-er.

There is a cookie tin corner - so very Cookie Museum in that aspect. A couple of flavours that caught the eye (Gula Melaka Shortbread Gems, Nigella Cheddar Seasalt and Ruby Cranberry Orange...) The shortbread was a tad too crumbly and much like suggee cookie. Priced at $19 for small tins and $32 for large, it's a lifestyle yo! Samples satiate me for now.

Methinks cedele is supplying their icecreams and tea or even cakes..the presentation
looks uncannily similar. Till I try their seasalt caramel icecream...that should set things into perspective better! Liking this place...if only with a book in hand.

The second visit followed soon after and reaffirmed my suspicions on Cedele being the source of pastries and cakes - their loyalty card ads were plastered around the counter!

apple cobbler

Apple Cobbler ($9.50)
Apple Crumble, Seasalt Caramel Icecream

The crumble had the complete top marks look of a crumble, encrusted with crunchy crumbles all over...a jab of the fork released a cloud of smoke - hot fillings ahead!

apple crumble innards

Yet one bite was all I needed to seal the fate. The only traces of apple are limited to apple skins while the rest was pastry.

Seasalt caramel was slightly different from those attempted at Cedele - still delish but not as rich somehow.

iced latte

Every tea is not complete without a beverage.

Would love to be back...soon!

JAMS
Prologue, Ion Orchard

Monday, September 26, 2011

Vanilla Bean....Yogurt!


Vanilla Bean anything gets me excited. Icecream and sauces are so very common but yogurt? Served on Cathay (so many moons ago...Europe memories are still deeply etched), I greedily swiped it off the Dad's and the rest is but a beautiful history.


There were black specks, in the most girlie excitement ever. Rich. Creamy. Smooth. Just like icecream, only waaaaay healthier.


Unfazed, I was determined to track the deeeeelish yogurt down. Similarly by Yoplait, I found supposedly the equivalent in our supermarts. I eyeballed it for the black specks...check! It just tastes different though it was still creamy and rich, the local version has a yogurt-taste about it with the slight sourish finish.

I suppose, this is what they mean by keeping the memories beautiful...I'd not forget that lil tub of yum.

Ice Cold Beer @ Emerald Hill

Emerald Hill and I have quite a few connections...or simply put, the place is somewhat close to heart.

Emily on Emerald Hill is one of the first few plays I ever read and fell so in love with. Even at eight years old, I thought it was one that I would want to watch on stage someday...and I did! A soliloquy so well written by Stella Kon...the first introduction to peranakan culture and food was done then!

Emerald Hill...the alma mater was once there, though I never quite had the chance to study on premise when it was still there, hearing it brought tinkles to the skin.


Strange connection but that's how Emerald Hill and I were acquainted.

So yes, me and my tale of Emerald Hill. Now, it's littered with watering holes and lovely bars. Off to Ice Cold Beer for bar food and drinks on separate occasions and if I may add, I sprained my ankle for the first time along Emerald Hill too!

Talk about life's coincidences...you bet, I will not forget Emerald Hill...for all the reasons. :)

ice cold beer

Beer at ICB, it's almost wrong to head there without a beer in hand.

pipsqueak cider

Decided to go with cider instead! The moniker certainly stole the thunder and had to be my choice. Zesty and refreshing...cider is acidic. Still prefer this to beer anytime.

one of those sweet cocktails

None too great a cocktail called Sex on the Beach.Hardly do I get surprised with bar cocktails..the hotels do them better.

tabasco

Tabasco with bar food tastes exceptionally better.

topshell


Topshell

Really just topshell off the can with tangy sauce. I've always been a fan of topshell so this went down well with me.

sliders

Mini Beef Burgers

Beef patty was too loose, lacked the bite. The bottom sesame buns were already soaked through with juices before I could start consuming them. Not the best eaten, even at such minature sizes I did not fully enjoy them..can't imagine if they were the full works.

Salted thick cut fries were the only things that made the cut, sans the pun!

pizza

QB Pizza

Thin biscuit crust pizzas with tasty toppings, methinks they fare better with pizza than burgers.

Bar food has hardly wowed but it was above average.Still, I'm adoring Emerald Hill.


Ice Cold Beer
Emerald Hill

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Different Taste Café & Restaurant @ Frankel Ave

Along the stretch of bars along Frankel Avenue lies this eatery, Taste Matters. They serve regular tze char fare.

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Seafood Soup

Laden with so much MSG, I could really give this a miss.

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Penang Kuay Teow

Surprise, surprise! Enough wok hei and spice to pull off a really decent penang kuay teow. Oodles of flavourful noodles and fresh seafood to complete the works.

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Honeyed Pork Ribs

One can hardly go wrong with this, honeyed well charred tender pork ribs. Lip smacking good!

Families flock to this tzechar place for a more comfy alternative to roadside eateries.

Different Taste Cafe and Restaurant
11 Frankel Ave

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Xin Yuan Ji Steamboat @ Bugis

xin yuan ji

I barely take notice of the lanes opposite Bugis Junction that seems to be a great discovery ground for foodie gems. Perpetually crowded from the time I started queuing for a table, to getting one and finally leaving the place. It's never quite short of hungry patrons. For a start, Xin Yuan Ji once from the humble beginnings of a hawker center.

xin yuan ji interior

fish soup

Fried Fish Meat Soup ($5.50)

This was what made them famous in the first place. Milk or clear broth and you have a choice of fish used. They ran out of the more premium cuts and left with only dory. Thought it was ordinary though, nothing extraordinary not overly fragrant.

stir fried veggies

Baby Kailan ($8.80)

A tad too oily.

ribs

Fragrant Spicy Pork Ribs ($13.80)

Well marinated with crispy edges and meaty cuts. Appetizing enough with just plain rice though spicy was missing.

Affordable hawkerfare in the comfort of airconditioned surroundings.

Xin Yuan Ji Steamboat
31 Tan Quee Lan Street

Friday, September 23, 2011

Group Therapy Cafe Revisited @ Duxton Hill

Group Therapy's always been on the mind ever since the last two visits - surreptiously addictive I deem. It is heartening to bring friends there and we all leave happy and satisfied. Once again, with a bunch of newbies...I hoped to repeat the hat trick. Was happy to know there were new additions on the menu and previously out of stock items were back on the menu!

buckets

Storing cutlery like this - nice!

side wall

Still charmed by the simplicity of the design.

juice

Fruit Juice

Forgot what exactly but it was freshly squeezed.

toast

Beef Shank Stew ($15)
carrots, potatoes, served with a side of crust toast

I'm no fan of braised meat - meat without bite irks me a great deal. I was apprehensive about beef shank having tendon but this was braised really nicely.

beef skank stew

Flavourful beefy chunks soaking in a broth so tasty and wholesome. It is a no wonder this was sold out the couple of visits before. Crust toast made this more hearty.

burger sliders

Mini Burger Sliders ($18)

Made of two portions of larger than usual sliders, these are great to hold to munch. Yet, that was all to it. Not too huge a fan of its crumbly texture and lack of beefyness to it - actually thought this was pork than beef. Once again, cous cous confuses me. Not being familiar nor a huge fan of cous cous has resulted in my lack of appreciation of their compulsory side.

paninis

Grilled smoked ham, mushrooms and mozarella cheese panini ($14)

The companions were actually all eager to take on my highly raved about Poached Egg on Toast but a pity that they ran out of smoked salmon, hence most of the table swopped their choices for paninis.

ham and egg pie


Chicken Ham and Egg Pie ($11)

carrot cake


4 Layer Carrot Cake ($8.50)

I cannot believe we nearly cleaned out their supply of carrot cake for the day - 3 servings, one after another. Facebook says GT ran out of carrot cake for the weekend - OOPS! I converted the rest to deem this - scrumptiously addictive. Whether it is the incredibly moist carrot cake or irresistible white chocolate cream cheese frosting - we all threw whatever diet plans out of the window. Only for you, Group Therapy.

waffles

Homemade Belgian-style Waffles ($11.50) 
vanilla icecream, caramel sauce, chopped walnuts, fruits
It's not waffle from Belgium but, I'm hoping onto the bandwagon of like! Every bite is crispy and fragrant, paired with icecream and sticky maple syrup...did I say I am already completely sold?


apple crumble

Granny Smith Apple Crumble ($10.50)
Packed layers of tart, fresh, crisp Granny Smith apples tucked in cinnamon apple sauce and loaded with crunchy granola crumbs.

apple crumble apples!

Trans fat free, for whatever it means...I actually loved it. From the crunchy crumble to the tart which could do with a bit more bite but the apple chunks were enough to redeem this completely. An apple a day keeps the doctor away? I say, I had enough apples for the week.

orange poppy cake

Orange Poppy Seed Pullman Slice ($4.50)


Deemed interesting by the owners themselves, I thought the poppy seeds were a tad overload - every bite had poppy seed, crunchy bits which I did not entirely fancy. Liked the lemon curd though in this dense cake.


There is something still so alluring about Group Therapy...therapeutic infact. It is great that the ladies behind GT are still so passionate about their work. Whether it is unwinding after a week's of work or stealing time over lunch away from the office, GT is the answer. I left happy and recharged - ready to take on the world. Be sure, I will be back!

Once charmed, twice allured, thrice bewitched.

Group Therapy Cafe
Duxton Road