Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Toby's Estate: More Coffee, More Brunch

I don't usually like to travel far or long on Sundays. Its either sleeping past lunchtime or just a trip to the nearby market. But when I do wake up a little earlier for brunch, I love to wake up to coffee aroma and runny egg bens. And that's exactly what we got at Toby's Estate.

Located at the far end of Robertson Quay, the cafe welcomes you with bursts of fresh coffee fragrance as they roast their beans in house. Full house on a Sunday late morning, the girlfriend and I only managed to get counter seats.

Latte, Cappucino ($5.00)

I'm no coffee connoisseur, but I did like my cuppa here more than many other places, as the latte's wonderful smell and rich taste was very enjoyable.

Egg Benedict ($14.00), Smoked Salmon Croissant with Mushroom ($15.00)

Oh yes, the brunch essentials. Runny eggs, parma ham and toast made a very good trio indeed. The girlfriend deconstructed her sandwich to turn it into a big breakfast set, preferring to savour the individual components that way.

Total bill for two was $39.00 nett. With GST and service charge absorbed, Toby's Estate seemed a tad more affordable than other branch places. But even without the absorption, I will want to return just for a good cup of coffee!

Toby's Estate
8 Rodyk Street
Singapore 238216
Tel: 6636 7629

Taken with HTC Sensation
Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Forlino: Birthday Lunching

It was my birthday about a month after joining the company, and so the lovely ladies in my department asked me to pick a place for a lunch celebration. After weighing a few options and with Ember fully booked, off we went to Forlino instead!

Located at One Fullerton, the Italian restaurant took a little twist and turn to find. After going through the walkway which branches off to several private dining rooms, we arrived at the main dining hall that was a lot smaller than I have imagined. View, nonetheless, was splendid with Marina Bay and MBS in full sight.

Complimentary Bread

Going for the 38++ 3-course set lunch, our meal started off with a warm bun served with a platter of shaved cheese. The combination worked well enough for us to ask for a second round of bread!

Vegetarian Strudel

Decked in pretty colours, the starter unfortunately looked better than it tasted. Not that it was bad, but we all thought it felt like angmo popiah which lose out to our oriental ones.

Shredded Duck Pasta

Served with al-dente tagliolini, my mains was pretty tasty as the meat clanged onto the noodle strands and blended well with the duck gravy. A pity about the portion though, as it was gone in a matter of forkfuls.

Chocolate Dome

A very chocolately dessert, the thick texture and sweetness was mildly balanced by the raspberry sauce. Better shared than attempted on your own me think.

Complimentary Birthday Cake

And yes, the staff were nice enough to sing me a song with the cake. While I wasn't very impressed with the food itself, service was top-notch and I would imagine the ambience to be excellent at night. Return for dinner? Let me think about it!

1 Fullerton Road
Singapore 049213
Tel: 6877 6995

Taken with HTC Sensation
Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tiong Bahru Bakery: The Age of Artisanal Bread

As the hype for egg-ben brunches tones down (a little), another wave has been brewing for the past few months in the form of artisanal bread. Somehow, my mum caught onto the trend much earlier than I did and brought me to Tiong Bahru Bakery way back in June.

Although they now have their second outlet at Raffles City, I still find the original shop at Tiong Bahru more charming, due to the neighbourhood's slow, nostalgic feel. The Sunday brunch crowd, however, was booming as the queue never ended. Thankfully, we got a table fairly fast.

Cappuccino ($5.50), Latte ($5.50)

Pretty coffee art to perk you up in the morning. Why not?

Croissant ($2.50), Complimentary Spreads

The signature croissant was by far one of the best that I have eaten, though I have heard people written it down. The buttery taste was oh-so-good as you could feel the distinct layers of dough. Eaten warm on its own or with the homemade jams, I would easily down a couple of these with joy.

Salmon Bun ($8.50), Mozzarella & Ham Focaccia ($8.00)

While the other signature squid ink bun wasn't available that day (had it subsequently!), our choices were nonetheless very enjoyable. Sandwiches that are assembled with fresh ingredients will never go wrong.

Bill for two was $28.04 after taxes. While the quality was thumbs-up and the portions weren't exactly small, I did find it slightly costly for what was essentially bread and coffee for breakfast. But an occasional indulgence in wonderful croissants? Why not!

Tiong Bahru Bakery
No. 56 Eng Hoon Street #01-70
Singapore 160056
Tel: 6220 3430

Taken with HTC Sensation
Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Travel: A Lazy Phuket Getaway

The girlfriend and I aren't exactly the most energetic people around. Chill is the keyword for our holidays as we take our time visiting two, at most three places in a day.

While Phuket is probably known for its sandy beaches and pockets of islands, we played no watersports and visited none of them. The above picture was probably the closest shot we got to the water, preferring to just stroll along and look for a cafe instead. Told ya we were chill.

Nightlife is aplenty at Patong Beach, as you can opt to catch a match at the boxing stadium or drink till gone at Soi Bangla. Erm, we'll pass. A cocktail at the resort's lounge followed by a movie marathon sounds challenging already.

Call us spoilt city-dwellers, but mega malls do have their draw. Jungceylon is the biggest mall at Patong side (Old Phuket side has Central Festival Phuket) where you could easily spend an entire afternoon window shopping, going for cheap facials/massage and just have a cuppa to see the world goes by.

Foodies at heart, we did take the effort to locate Banzaan Fresh Market which was right behind Jungceylon. Flowers, fruits and poultry, this organised fresh market has plenty to see, smell and hear.

In a foreign market where you can't pronounce or recognize the produces, buying fruits will be your best bet. The mangoes looked so good (and tasted really sweet as we later found out) that we carried several kilos back home!

Oh yes, while we were generally reserved over the hygiene of street hawkers, we concluded that this group of pancake vendors should be pretty safe. The smell of freshly made pancakes were too hard to resist anyway!

Going for the simple mix of cinnamon and sugar, it was a really neat snack as we held the plate in hands and strolled down the Patong beach.

Well to be honest, we spent a hell lot of time eating while in Phuket, as you can probably tell from my previous blog posts. But that's exactly how we like to do on a short getaway. Chill la!

Taken with Nikon D70
Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Holiday Inn Resort: Room Service!

Unless you have a uber limited menu or a really bad chef in the house, I can't imagine how could anyone dislike room service. Make a call and have freshly made meals delivered straight to your bed side? I can live with that kind of luxury for a lifetime! So for our very-chill Phuket trip, we had not one, but two in-room meals in Holiday Inn Resort!

The American Breakfast

At 10 sharp in the morning, our doorbell rang and the hotel staff brought in our very large tray of breakfast. Plentiful to share between the two of us.

Our pastry basket were served warm and flaky, which I supposed were baked just hour ago. The fruit platter was really abundant too, though I wasn't quite sure what to do with the lime.

A casual splash of milk for the cereal and a playful jab at the poached egg, excellent to start the day!

Phad Thai, Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich

Admittedly, we toned down at Trattoria Capri da Rico just so that we can explore more of the in-room menu. With options from the four in-house restaurants, there's sure to be something for everyone. I opted for the classic noodles which should be from Charm Thai, served similarly in a cracker bowl and full of wok flavours. The girlfriend's simple choice of sandwich and fries made good munchies in front of the TV.

And like all Thai meals, they sure weren't sloppy with the condiments!

Holiday Inn Phuket
52 Thaweewong Road, Patong Beach
Phuket, 83150

Taken with Nikon D70