Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Old Town White Coffee: A Unique Blend!

Honestly, coffee isn't my type of beverage. If not for its keep-me-awake (or so the mind perceived) ability for 8:30am lessons, coffee really won't be part of my morning routine. That however, may be largely due to the fact that what I drank were pre-processed satchets which didn't taste good anyway. Still, I learnt that even those have better variations, like Old Town's White Coffee!

Brought in by celebrity Mark Lee a couple of years back, Malaysia's Old Town has been growing with numerous outlets islandwide. Besides your usual kopi, eggs and toast, they also have a decent food menu for a quick meal. The one I went was at Suntec City, pretty spacious but still packed with the hungry lunch crowd. You can self-tick your orders or get the friendly waitresses to do it for you.

Hot White Coffee (~$2.00), Pineapple Bun with Sliced Butter ($2.50)

With a creamy foam, it was nicely sweetened, less acidic and with no sour aftertaste. Emitting a nutty fragrance, this is one coffee that I liked! Not sure if the mind is playing tricks again, but a fresh cup here always beat their own pre-packs. Still, I'm quite sure its a notch over the other instant satchets, with only its higher price to stop me from making it my daily dosage.

The bun was just alright with its flaky sweet skin and soft interior, though they really could have been a lot more generous with that slab of butter!

Fried Wanton Noodles (~$6.00), Curry Mee ($6.20)

Noodles had a good springy texture and was served with decent, crispy wanton, while I'm quite sure the accompanying soup was MSG-flavoured but slurp it up all the same. Curry sauce for the other bowl was thick and robust, filled with chicken shreds, beancurd skin and french beans, though I'm not exactly a fan of thick yellow noodles.

Prices here are higher than your usual kopitiam at about $8 per person, portions were a little small for me but probably alright if looking for a light meal. If you are getting bored of your usual kopi, give the white one a try!

Old Town White Coffee
#03-105 Jurong Point
Tel: 6794 4404
Outlets Islandwide

Taken with Nikon D70
Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mid Autumn Festival 2010: Feast with Friends!

Lovely fruit and mooncake basket from Hong Kong! Thanks Basanna!

Sorry for the slow pace of updates these days, hardly alive with schoolwork piling. But I know I must squeeze out this pictorial by today for it to be meaningful: Mid-Autumn Festival!

As some of you may have already read from other food blogs, we held a mooncake party over at my place last Saturday, and it was such a fun blast! 4 hours of tea, mooncakes and plenty of laughter. So while you enjoy the moon and nibble on your own box of mooncake tonight, take a look at what we had and perhaps be tempted to get it next year!

Meritus Mandarin, Courtesy of Si Yuan

Baked Mooncake with Single Yolk and White Lotus Paste - Didn't exactly wow, slightly dry for my liking
Baked Mooncake with Macadamia Nuts and Low Sugar White Lotus Paste - Loved its light and nutty taste!

It came in a cool transformer-like box too!

Xin Cuisine, Courtesy of Phoebe

Special Egg Custard Snowskin Mooncake with Egg Yolk - A first for me! Liked its creamy, chewy texture.

Shangri-la, Courtesy of Charlene

Baked Double Yolk and Lotus Paste - Huge, well-oiled yolks with smooth paste. Enough said!

Goods Of Desire, Hong Kong

Buttock-Shaped Mooncake - Cheeky marketing by trendy store G.O.D., taste-wise was pretty standard by 奇华 Bakery

Intercontinental Hotel, Courtesy of Chloe

(Clockwise from top) Black Sesame Paste with White Sesame Seeds,
Green Tea Paste with Almond Flakes, Pumpkin Paste with Chocolate Pearls and Red Bean Paste with Melon Seeds
- Good fillings with failed, hardened skin

Ritz Carlton, Courtesy of Yu Fen

Mini Bing Pi Green Tea Paste - Fragrant and tasty, but could be just a little bit more smooth for the throat.

Jewels Artisan Chocolate, Courtesy of Elaine

(From left) Chocolate Pearls Snowskin - Just alright for me
Salted Caramel - Really nice blend, Chewy Charles was loving this!
Champagne Truffle - Delightful alcohol taste

Raffles Hotel - Courtesy of Glenn

Champagne Truffle & Ganache - Rather good, but pulled down by its artificial smell of banana-like essence

Tung Lok, Courtesy of Chewy Charles

Low Sugar Red Beans with Champagne Truffle, Mocha with Bailey’s Truffle - Healthier options that was still nice without being as sweet.

珍味, Peony Jade

Teochew Crispy Mooncakes with Yam Double Yolk - Very fragrant out of the oven with smooth yam paste and oily yolk. Skin was outstanding, something I will expect from its parent company of 1A Curry Puff. Underdog of the year!

The Original Ex-Crown Prince Flaky Teochew “Oor Nee” Mooncake with Single Egg Yolk and Golden Japanese Pumpkin - Long and famous name but somewhat over-rated I think. The triple ingredient was very interesting, but I somehow prefer 珍味's simplicity over this.

荣华 and Maxim, Hong Kong

Double Yolk with Lotus Paste - Surprised that I can still eat this one day after the party. Maxim's seductive yolk wins hands down.

Check out the lovely company's thoughts:
Charlene and Chewy Charles, Foodoshoot
Chloe and Phoebe, TheFoodChapter
Elaine, Divine Essentials
Fen and Yuan, SGDesserts
Glenn, HungryEpicurean

Glad you guys liked the savoury snacks!

中秋节快乐 everyone!

Taken with Nikon D70
Saturday, September 18, 2010

Food Opera: $4.50 Deals!

As the school workload gets heavier over the weeks, weekends become really precious for tutorials catchup (sad I know) and sleep replenishment. Orchard Road seems to be really far from me now, but if you are heading to Orchard Ion for retail therapy and looking for a cheaper place to eat, Food Opera does have some pretty good deals!

In conjunction with National Day celebration, all Food Opera stores (Food Republic food courts as well) will offer a particular dish at only $4.50, with the option of topping up a regular cup of Pepsi at $1.00 upon showing of receipt. That's about the most affordable complete meal you can get in the building!

I rather like the tables here as they are larger and don't make you feel as cramped. The place is pretty big too, so you probably don't need to wait too long even during peak hours.

Fishball Noodles

This turned out better than I had expected! Noodles texture was just right, mixed with a tasty blend of chilli sauce and vinegar. Fishballs were also huge and bouncy, satisfying to chew on an entire one!

Chicken Briyani

Call me a Scrooge, but I tried this because it had the highest discount from its usual price! But I learnt that price didn't mean everything as it was just very average tasting, served with curry, salad and keropok. I think I was even more unlucky to have a whole lump of undercooked rice for my serving, as I enviously saw the person before me having a plate of fluffy one.

Ngor Hiang Set

Why not order something to share? Deep-fried upon order, we thought it was pretty sumptuous with items like beancurd, meat rolls, fish cakes and prawn crackers. Chilli sauce with peanut bits was pretty good, though we didn't really like the other thick, starchy dip.

Offer ends on 30th September, so grab the opportunity to try all the different stores!

Taken with Nikon D70
Monday, September 13, 2010

Beach Road Scissors Cut Curry Rice: Snip it up!

Lavender is seriously a fantastic place for food, with the girlfriend bringing me to most of them as she stays in the vicinity. To name a few, you got Golden Mile food centre and Lao Huang YTF on one side, and Northern Thai and Swee Choon Dim Sum at the Jalan Besar end.

I’m barely done exploring half of all that’s interesting, but when craving for some Chinese curry rice the other night, I knew just the place to go!

Situated at the junction of Kitchener Road and Jalan Besar Road, BRSCCR (Too long to spell lah) is well-known for their old-school snipping, gooey sauces and late opening hours. Hainanese curry rice for supper? You bet!

I was told that it used to be so small that you usually end up sitting at tables along the roadside (bad with all the car exhaust fumes floating about), but they have since taken over the adjacent shopfront for cleaner, healthier indoor seatings. To order, simply queue up, tell the uncle (busy with scissors) what you want and they will deliver it to your table!

Daily Soup

They served a different type of Cantonese soup everyday, and mine happened to be boiled with pork ribs, carrot and radish. Warm and hearty, it was just the type that my mom will make at home, MSG-free and naturally flavoured by wholesome ingredients. Slurp it all up!

Curry and Chilli Sauce

I know how some people like to drench their rice in the curry and black sauce for a delicious mess, but it’s just not me to do that. The curry was indeed very appetizing, easily making you polish off bowls of rice, while the chilli sauce was sweet-tasting but not quite like the thai ones.

Stewed Cabbage, Ngor Hiang Rolls

Since they ran out of sambal long beans, soft cabbage will be the next best obligatory greens then! I was lucky that the ngor hiang rolls came straight out of the wok moments ago, as it had a crunchy skin and juicy, flavourful meat.

Deep-fried Pork Cutlet, Braised Pork

Unfortunately, the cutlet has been left in the open for quite awhile, giving a cold and hardened taste. The braised pork, on the other hand, was oh-so-good and sinful with its sticky skin (Collagen ladies!), melting fats and tender lean meat. The sticky dark sauce was tasty as well, creating a wonderful blend with the curry sauce. Rice, more rice!

I can’t remember the exact prices, but it was really cheap with only $1 to $3 dollars for each dish, as both of us ended up paying only $10 odd for the meal. Put it simply, BRSCCR is the place to go for excellent, wallet-friendly curry rice with a nostalgic feel. Once is not enough!

Beach Road Scissors Cut Curry Rice
229 Jalan Besar Road
Tel: 6296 0069

Taken with Nikon D70
Friday, September 10, 2010

Flor Patisserie: Pretty Little Cakes!

This article will also appear in the September issue of Tribune, supplementary publication of NTU Student Union

School has barely started after a prolonged holiday but the workload is piling up already. Amidst all the deadlines to meet and presentations to make, a favourite way to keep myself sane is to spend a quiet afternoon with tea and cakes. Yes, mugger me still bring lecture notes along to read, but at least they seemed to make more sense after a sugar rush!

Located at Duxton Hill, Flor Patisserie specialized in French pastries with a Japanese touch. Helmed by Chef Yamashita, who was previously at Patisserie Glace, the little bakery mainly has customers doing takeaways, though there are several tables and a bar top counter available if you can’t wait to get home to savour the cakes! Service was sincerely friendly, as staffs made prompt recommendations when asked. I also overheard them chatting enthusiastically in Japanese with their other customers!

As with all things Japanese, aesthetic presentation plays a very important role as my Napoleon ($6.20) was looking oh-so-pretty with its different layers. In between flaky pastry skin, the sponge cake and whipped cream were light and airy, while a thin spread of sweet custard was nicely balanced with a tinge of sourness from the strawberry. Tempted to have seconds!

I tried their new creation of Mont Blanc ($6.30), which uses French chestnut cream as topping on a sponge cake. Again, it went easy on the palate with the little chocolate balls adding an interesting crunch, though I wished the cream could be a little richer in flavour and with more chunks of chestnuts!

They also have a small drink list available, as I chose a Hot Strawberry Tea ($4.00) to go with my cakes. Served with a mini butter cookie, the natural fragrance was a nice change from the usual teabags.

Though the location might be slightly inconvenient for non-drivers, Flor Patisserie is one of those little places with a cheerful atmosphere that will easily make an afternoon fly by, indulging in tasty little sweets and girly Japanese pop songs in the background. With so many other attractive choices (Mango Pie, anyone?), return trips are in the making already!

Flor Patisserie
#01-01, 2 Duxton Hill, Singapore 089588
Tel: 6223 8628
Business hours:
Monday to Saturday: 11am- 7pm
Sunday: 11am- 6pm

Taken with Nikon D70
Tuesday, September 07, 2010

L'ancora: Cosy Italian Dining!

Its good to have food blogger friends. No I'm not talking about free food (enough of that already), but when I need a quick recommendation on places to go, I can always count on their words and experiences! A couple of weeks ago, I was looking for a Italian restaurant to treat my mom, a text message to Kaelyn then introduced me to L'ancora!

Situated in a shophouse, L'ancora is one of the many restaurants that I will love to explore along Bukit Timah Road (rawr to the lengthy bus rides from my house). Without much formality, settings was relaxed and home-like with the usage of wooden furnishings and brick walls. Service crew seemed to be slightly short-handed, but not to difficult to get their attention on a semi-filled Sunday night dinner.

Complimentary Bread

Arriving in two types, the loaf slices was warm but a tad too rubbery for my liking, though I really liked the thin crackers for its crunchy texture and herb flavourings.

Crabmeat with Spinach Pasta ($24), Carnaroli Rice With Prawns and Asparagus ($24)

Served in a sweet beetroot pesto sauce, the fresh chunks of crabmeat was a joy to eat for lazy ones like me. I always find flavoured pasta more gimmicky than enhancing overall taste, though it was really well done to an al-dente texture.

Initially, mom and I thought that the cheese within the rice was too overwhelming, but a dash of salt balanced the flavours surprisingly well and made the creamy dish alot more enjoyable. The chopped prawns and asparagus meant that we could easily blend them in with each mouthful of the coarse, hardened rice. Polished it clean after all!

L'ancora Pizza ($20), Baby Octopus with Squid Ink Linguine (Half Portion)

Pizza with parma ham? Plenty. Pizza with beef carpaccio? That's something different! Thin slices of salted raw beef with plenty of refreshing rocket salad and juicy baby tomatoes, on top of a nicely browned thin crust that had a resounding crunch and cheese shreds at every bite. Excellent!

Now this was what I really had in mind prior to visiting! Unfortunately, a miscommunication (not that word again) with the new staff resulted in her saying that the squid ink linguine has been sold out, thus I had to replaced it with the crabmeat pasta above. A casual chat with the manager afterwards revealed otherwise, and he kindly offered me a half portion so that I wouldn't go home disappointed!

Alas, this still wasn't quite what I was looking for. They added quite an amount of vinegar to the pasta, masking the squid ink taste with a strong, sourish flavour. The slightly diluted sauce also didn't give the sticky texture of squid ink. Yes it was rather unique and still tasty in its own way, but still some distance away from my memories of a perfect squid ink pasta!

Tiramisu ($10), Cappuccino ($5)

My other craving in a Italian meal! I really liked how it was moist and creamy, though I'm not sure if they were trying to be kids-friendly, as it was slightly lacking in that light alcohol rush. Still, I'm satisfied already!

Mom loves to pair her desserts with a nice hot cup of cappuccino, her way to round off a good meal!

Bill for two was $91.30 with service charge only. Filled to the brim that we even had to takeaway half of our pizza, L'ancora is a really nice place to have some comforting Italian food without being overconscious of how you dress or look. Still hunting for that dreamy squid ink pasta!

789 Bukit Timah Road, Before 6th Avenue
Tel: 6467 3778
Taken with Nikon D70