Thursday, December 31, 2015

Pierre Herme 2015 @ Shin Qs Shibuya Hikarie


I've lost count of the number of visits to Pierre Herme boutiques already. 

A random stroll past its Shibuya Hikarie outlet led me to discover a few items which I have not tried before. One of the items from the "Fetish Inifinimente Vanille" theme this season (Fetish is a seasonally rotating theme that revolves around a fixed flavor/s) is the Inifiniment Vanille (¥756), a pristine white slice of vanilla heaven than is built on vanilla beurre, vanilla 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Rituel Par Christophe Vasseur リチュエル 自由が丘 : World's Best Baker in Tokyo

The first thing I saw when I stepped into the chic modern boutique....er no, bakery, was snails. Many many snails. 

Not the slow-moving creatures but golden escargots croissants lined up beautifully on the display rack. 

Yes, I have finally arrived at Rituel by Christophe Vasseur who is considered to be the Best Bread Baker in the Paris, needless to say in France or even in the World. After successfully opening his first neighbourhood Parisian bakery named Du Pain et Des Idees (Bread and Ideas) in 2002, Christophe Vasseur finally opened his first overseas shop in Tokyo only recently in Oct 2015. The warm wooden panels against the sleek contemporary white space were remarkably different from a typical bakery. It feels like a cafe to me but there are no tables, only benches on the first and terrace floor. 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Brothers Rojak @ Clementi Ave 3



It's a shame that I hadn't tried out this Rojak throughout my schooling years in Clementi. But it's never too late to do so. 

Brothers Rojak has been run singlehandedly by this uncle who never stops his hands at cutting and mixing the ingredients for the long queue of customers waiting to get his rojak. His working space is cramped, fitted with a small fan to improve the ventilation and provide some form of respite. 

What I loved most about his rojak is the sauce which is bright and zesty, due perhaps to the addition of lime. Despite watching him tossing several spoonfuls of sugar into the big mixing bowl, the rojak did not turned out too sweet, though I wish he had grilled the tau pok and Yu tiao beforehand. If you choose to takeaway, the uncle will separate the ingredients and the sauce to prevent sogginess. Such is a thoughtful and convenient move which I think more rojak stalls should introduce. 

And I can't wait to "dabao" some back for my parents next time and hear what they say about the rojak.


Brothers Rojak
Blk 449 Clementi Avenue 3 #01-211 Singapore 120449
Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 11am - 930pm
(Closed on Sun)

Friday, December 25, 2015

National Kitchen by Violet Oon @ National Gallery

"Curry Fish Head, Beef Rendang, Cod Fish in Creamy Laksa Sauce, Idly with Tomato Chutney and Coconut, Sambal Kimchang Udang...." Wait a minute. 

All these are too much for sharing between 3 pax, especially when the Curry Fish Head is recommended for 5-6 pax. However, there were simply too many items that we wished to try on the menu. After a long deliberation, we finally settled on the Baked Cod Fish in Creamy Laksa Sauce ($34++) instead of the curry fish head. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Nishiki Ichiha 錦一葉 : Secret Matcha Heaven in Kyoto Nishiki Market


The moment I stepped in, I stood in awe when I discovered an elegant garden hidden inside this tiny shop. It just felt too surreal. I asked if I could take the seats next to transparent window but was told that the table, designed specially by some famous Japanese artist, is only opened to groups of 4 and more. Any number smaller than that will have to be charged ¥500 per head. 

I gave up that thought naturally as I would rather spend the money on the food. After all, I was the only customer (together with my 2 family members) so we still enjoy the scene from my table without any obstruction. In fact, this is a new kid on the block as it barely open for more than a year. Compared to the highly-revered tea house, the concept at Nisiki ichi ha is a fusion of both old and new. 

Before stepping into the cafe area,  there is a small retail section selling all kinds of Japanese tea and popcorns. Yes assorted popcorns in matcha, houjicha and genmaicha flavor which you can top with soft serve (matcha/houjicha/mixed) of your choice (scroll to bottom pic). It's innovative but the soft serve is simply too sweet. Fortunately, this wasn't the case for the dine-in menu.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Ichi Hana いち花 : Uni Ramen 雲丹らあめん

They say one is a changed person when one travels. I think I am. More precisely, it's my appetite. 

After eating about 10 cakes, I marched towards Takadanobaba, the neighborhood where I used to live, just for a bowl of hot savoury ramen. In fact, the streets along both sides extending from the JR station is repleted with so many ramen ya that Takadanobaba could well become a touristy ramen hotspot like the Ramen Museum in Yokohama or the Ramen street at Tokyo station. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Artisan Alfero Gelato : Christmas Superstars Flavors

Ho! Ho! Ho! What's could be better than indulging in yummy festive PISTACHIO MARSCAPONE gelato from Alfero Gelato? YES, this award winning Italian gelato has combined their signature Pistachio gelato with Mascarpone Cheese, making it extra rich, dense smooth and delicious 👅

Made with free-range fresh milk, egg yolk and other fresh quality ingredients, Alfero Gelato serves as the perfect guilt-free indulgence as it is 96% FAT FREE. If you visit his outlets, you will notice that all the ice cream covered, unlike practically every single ice cream parlour out there which showcases their flavors in full view. His insistence on such "weird" counter-marketing practice is in fact, the RIGHT way as it ensures minimal exposure to cream and air, keeping the gelato smooth and fresh. Famous Italian Gelato GROM and Japanese ice cream parlour store their ice cream the exact same way as well. 
Other special superstars Strawberry Cheesecake (strawberries blended into the creamy Marscapone base), Cookies & Cream (kids will love this as it is very sweet) and Salted Caramel (everyone's favourite because it is rich and round, with a toasty depth and lingering taste that bypassed mere sweetness) 

Get some to share with your family and loved ones this festive season or bring them to the outlets for a sweet respite. But my best advice is to stock up the 400g, 500g or 1kg pints in your fridge before they are gone by 31st Dec 2015! 

One taste of it, you'll never want to keep the lids covered again. 


Prices:
Mascarpone Pistachio (Premium flavour)
$5~ per scoop (in a cup) / $17 for 400g tub /$21 for 500g tub / $39 for 1kg tub
Other 3 flavors
$4.50~ per scoop (in a cup) / $15 for 400g tub/ $18 for 500g tub/ $35 for 1kg tub
Available at Alfero Gelato outlets from 19th Dec to 31st Dec, while stocks last.
#alferogelato

Artisan Alfero Gelato Outlets

81 MacPherson Lane #01-37
Tue-Sun 1200-2100
Closed on Mon
277 Orchard Road #B2-06 orchardgateway
Daily 1200-2200

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Artemis Grill @ CapitaGreen : Rooftop Mediterranean Dining

I have a friend who once told me that she would always have a couple of servings of the bread from a French restaurant that she used to frequent because the bread was heavenly good, not to mention the memorable multi-course dinner. 

I think the same logic/concept applies to Artemis which offers complimentary bread, ranging from sourdough to some exotic Spanish bread, all served warm from the the bread basket. What made it hard to stop nibbling is the Dukkah spice and olive oil dip. I could detect some dominating aroma of Cumin, even though dukkah is a Arabic dry-roasted mixture of assorted spice, herbs and nuts. 


In fact, the use of spice and herbs is commonly seen across the dishes on its Mediterranean-centric menu which is simultaneously influenced by the flavors of coastal Spain, Southern France, Italy and Greece. Unlike most grill restaurants that focus on meats, Artemis Grill also offers large range of vegetarian and gluten-free dishes. One example is the Beetroot Tortellini ($20/30), a gorgeous plate of ring-shaped pasta filled with ricotta and feta. The intensely tangy flavors were neutralized by the sweetness of carrot purée mixed with apple juice and cinnamon. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Dominique Ansel Tokyo Part 2: More than just CRONUTS

While the savoury dine-in menu at DAB did not left quite a deep impression on me, the sweets, especially the gateaus from DAB generally left me gushing like a little kid. In short, I find that the forte of DAB lies in their petit gateaus instead of their breads ironically, even though they are famous as a bakery and not a patisserie. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Corine and Cake : Turning Dream into Online Cake Boutique

Ex-magazine editor Corine Yeoh quit her full-time job to pursue her passion in baking after receiving an oven as Christmas present from her then-boyfriend and current husband. Online demand increased rapidly and Corine soon moved out from a shared kitchen space to a full-fledged kitchen in Tai Seng in September 2015.

Having travelled to Taiwan to pick up the skills from Taiwanese and Japanese instructors, Corine creates beautifully stacked cakes that are fit for any occasion with a confident hand.

Friday, December 11, 2015

SPRIGS @ Purvis Street : Contemporary European Fare

Contemporary European restaurant Sprigs has recently revamped its menu under the helm of Chef de Cuisine Subri, who was formerly formed top-rated establishment Gunther. While the direction of the cuisine steers towards the new and adventurous, the food doesn't suffer from the heavy sauces and overly rich flavors that can at times beleaguer western cuisine. 

With the price starting from $40 for dinner mains, this place seems more positioned as a place for special occasions and dinner dates. But there is always the set lunch if you like to give this place a shot. 


For starters, we had the rustic plate of Roasted Veal Carpaccio ($22), which are cold roasted veal cuts drenched in Tonnato sauce (tuna mayonnaise), egg confit and capers. The layerings of flavors with gherkins and tomatoes helped to breakthrough the monotony, making this a pretty appetizing dish to begin with. 
The Baby Squids A la Plancha ($22++) looked and tasted like a fantastic breakfast with the crunchy croutons but I thought there were too many elements that distract us from the main ingredient--the squid. 

Pork is something which I won't order usually but I may reconsider if it is the Black Berkshire Pork (300g/$45++) here. Known for the superior marbling and tenderness, the slab of pork sliced off so easily with a knife. The sweet sherry glaze enhanced the natural flavors of the pork but the lime butter seemed to have the opposite effect of making this dish slightly more greasy.

The New Zealand Lamb of Rack ($38++) was in a healthy pink, indicating a tender cook without any gamey smell. While the caviar eggplant and yoghurt are a safe match with the lamb, the eggplant was bland and could touch up with a little seasoning. 

The taste of the Chilean Seabass ($40) was elevated with a sweet and tangy sauce vierge that is made of olive oil, tomatoes and herbs. But here the wild card was the thin slices of Lomo Iberico, something which is seldom found in seafood dishes, that imparted a highly appealing smokiness to the fish. 

As for desserts, the Frozen Mandarin Souffle with citrus compote ($12++) is a pleasant change from the usual puffy baked soufflé as the creamy meringue-like texture is pretty appealing. 

The base is a sponge that is soaked with mandarin liqueur and evoked memories of nauseatingly sweet-smelling rum baba. A stricter control on the sugar and a sharper taste of acidity would add some sparkle to this dessert. 

The Chocolate Mi Cuit ($12++) was another refreshing interpretation of the classic molten chocolate cake as one can taste subtleties of bitter tangy Yuzu in the gooey lava center, together with the crispy praline shards for a nice textural contrast. However, I thought it was good on its own without the pomelo


Lastly, there is the unique Tete De Moine Cheese ($12++), which can be considered a savoury treat as much as it is deemed a dessert. These semi-hard Swiss cheese turned soft and delicate once they are shaved into rosettes, gradually melting away on the tastebuds as you savour it with the brioche and the sweet quince paste. 

It's quite a mouthful, I must say, but a pretty sensational one. 


SPRIGS
12 Purvis St, 188591
Lunch 12pm-2.30pm
Dinner 6pm-10pm
Closed on Sundays including Eve of and PH that fall on a Sunday

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Cafe Karirenge 火裏蓮花 : Best Matcha Milk Cake?

There is some places that I would like to keep it a secret. This is one of them. 

That said, the location is quite hidden so it doesn't really matter if I share them here. If you can find it, good for you. If not, then better luck next time :P
Tucked somewhere near Oike-dori is a tiny cafe which is renovated from a machiya. Hence, you feel as if you are stepping into someone's house with a garden in the backyard, except that there is a small counter that serves as a station for making coffee and cashier, as well as tables that are cramped side by side. Trust that the Japanese are clever at utilizing the space. 

The menu isn't extensive but there are two reasons why I came here. First, the quirky blue cheese cheesecake (¥700). Blue Cheese? Yes, the thought of blue cheese into a cake perked my curiosity and I would not leave Kyoto without trying this. Served cold from the chiller with some funky sake-spiked orange peel sauce, this is not icy at all but extremely dense. 
Yet it isn't as rich as a New York Cheesecake because I didn't taste as creaminess of that sort. It feels like eating cheese, a very pungent one, but its unique character is what makes me fall in love with it. With a walnut base and chewy figs mixed into the batter, this cheesecake oozed so much charm and left me speechless. 
In fact, most people come here for another signature item; the Matcha Milk Cake (¥650). Aesthetically, it reminded me of a half baked castella cake that contains a semi-liquid center. As such the taste turned out predictably similar to the one from Zen Kashoin with respect to the honey-like sweetness. 
It was good but did not have any impressive element that left me dazzled. I like the idea of mopping the cake with the bitter matcha sauce and the crunchy rice cracker balls that lent a savoury touch to this dessert. 

Be prepared to wait for your food but it's a good opportunity to put away your phones, admire the beauty of the architecture and rest your weary minds.

Cafe Karirenge 火裏蓮花
Japan, 〒604-8101 京都府京都市 中京区柳八幡町74-3
Kyoto-shi, Nakagyo-ku, Yanagihachimancho 74-3
Mon-Fri 10am-6pm
Sat/Sun/PH 11.30am-6pm
No fixed holiday

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Fei Fei Roasted Noodle @ Yuhua Village : Wanton Mee Star from the West

Why would I wake up so early on a Saturday morning and travel all the way to Jurong?

For food, comforting good food.  

Thanks to Derrick @ SgFoodonFoot who initiated and organized this West Side Food Trail, I finally had the opportunity to explore the good hawker eats from the West together with Miss Tam Chiak. One of them is Fei Fei Wanton Mee, which has been around for more than 40 years since the early days in Ghim Moh.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

PARKROYAL on Pickering : Christmas Naturally 2015

These days, just about every restaurant in town offers a Christmas menu — in just about any cuisine you want. But if you are looking for a place with unrivaled city scape views that matches up with the cuisine, it's got to be PARKROYAL on Pickering. From now to 3rd January 2016, this award winning hotel-in-a-garden offers a specially crafted Christmas menu that is inspired by Asian and Western flavors. 


Start off with a warm bowl of Butternut Pumpkin that are spiced with cinnamon. This lovely heartwarming bowl of will set your belly on the right note for the essential Christmas meats such as the Roasted Whole Turkey with Chestnut Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce Giblet Sauce ($168+ for takeaway/approx. 6kg) or Honey Baked Ham with Apple Sauce ($88++ for takeaway/2.5kg). 

If turkey is not the thing for you, there are plenty of choices including my favourite Pan-Roasted Medallion of Salmon and Spicy Caponata with Goat Cheese Sauce. The excellent peppery kick from the bed of vegetable stew made this a standout since western dishes are usually very mildly-spiced. 
While some dishes change every season, I'm glad that my all-time favourite Nyonya Chap Chye and other Peranakan delights still run strong in the buffet. It might not make monetary sense for people to try the hawker delights here but trust me, the Asian Wok-fried Noodles here are truly worth your stomach space. The Penang Char Kway Teow is full of wok hei while the Cantonese Hor Fun tastes as good or even better than the zi char stalls outside. 

For a sweet finish, there are classic treats such as Caramelized Hazelnut Yule Log and Orange Buttercream Yule Log. I was amazed how the festive drink, Eggnog, has been worked into this luscious, creamy Cheesecake as the taste is not elusive at all. 

But parents will not have to worry about the little kids as there are plenty of other Christmassy treats such as the Christmas cupcakes, Trio Chocolate Mousse Cups and even a colorful Lolly Buffet (Of course, it's opened to adults) 
The Matcha Fondue previously is superseded by a new flavour, Orange Chocolate. It is nonetheless sweet but tastes lighter, with a more balanced consistency than its predecessor. 

All these is just part of the elaborate spread that will expand on 24th, 25th, New Year  to include Chawanmushi with Sliced Abalone, Maine Lobster Nyonya Laksa, Foie Gras Torchon flambeed with Cognac and many more! 
For those who prefer to host a gathering or party at home, the festive takeaway booth at Lime Patisserie also offers Roast Turkey, Honey Baked Ham and assorted festive including the Ivory White Chocolate Logcake with Raspberry and Pistachio Crumble or the Dark Chocolate LogcakeWith such an extensive repertoire of food awaiting you, it's time to put your diet plans on hold and indulge. 

Festive Dining Prices 
Festive Buffet (4 Dec 2015- 3 Jan 2016) Lunch Adult $68++ / Child $44++
Dinner  Adult $78+ / Child $49++

Christmas Eve Buffet 
Lunch  Adult $68++ / Child $44++
Dinner  Adult $128++ Child $74++
*$158++ for free flow of champagne, beer, housewine and beverages 

Christmas Day Buffet
Brunch Adult $108++ / Child $64++
*$128++ for free flow of champagne, beer, housewine and beverages 
Dinner  Adult $128++ Child $74++

*$158++ for free flow of champagne, beer, housewine and beverages 

Festive Takeaway Booth runs now to 25 December 2015, 10am to 10pm. Enjoy 10% savings on festive goodies for orders confirmed and pre-paid before 13 December 2015 


Lime Restaurant at PARKROYAL on Pickering
 Daily Dinner 18:30 – 22:30
 Tel: +65 6809 8899 
e-mail: lime.prsps@parkroyalhotels.com 

PARKROYAL on Pickering 
a PARKROYAL Collection Hotel
3 Upper Pickering Street, Singapore 058289
Nearest MRT:  Clarke Quay, Raffles Place, Chinatown
Facebook : www.facebook.com/parkroyal.pickering

Instagram @parkroyalpickering

Friday, December 4, 2015

Grand Hyatt Singapore: Epicurean Festive Dining 2015

Christmas at Grand Hyatt has always been a very intimate cosy affair. Nothing as grandiose as the past #livinggrand events but would surely connect to the guests who are looking for a subtle lavish dining experience this festive season. 
Slow-roasted whole christmas tom turkey
(approx. 5kg), turkey gravy, cranberry chutney ($158 for takeaway/approx. 5kg)

With so many different choices across its 4 restaurants, let me recommend some of the items that are worth enjoying with your friends and families. Over at Mezza9 where the repertoire of dishes are heavily influenced by the flavors of Europe, there are mouth-watering roasts such as Slow Roasted Turkey Breast with Apple and Chestnut Stuffing as well as the succulent and flavorful Ham that has set very high standards for Christmas meats this year. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Dominique Ansel Tokyo Part 1: Smores Craze and Petit Park Menu



Unexpectedly, I think I have tried at least 60% of the menu this time round.

I was all too excited when I heard that Dominique Ansel Bakery was entering Tokyo in early 2015. This famous NY bakery shot to fame with its hybrid invention "Cronuts", rated one of the top 25 world's best inventions by TIMES in 2013. 
The original inventions of Chef-owner Dominique Ansel including the Magic Souffle or Milk and Cookie are so popular that they have earned him names such as "Willy Wonka of NYC" and "culinary Van Gogh". Of all places, DAB (short form for Dominique Ansel Bakery) invaded the chic and classy Omotesando, which is the home to several international brands such as Clinton Bakery, Bills, Max Brenner, Sunny Hills Pineapple, Taiwan's Ice Monster and 春水堂. 
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