Thursday, September 29, 2016

Twenty Grammes Cafe : Yuan Yang Waffles and Salty Salted Egg Yolk

Waffles, soft serve, ice cream. 

The cafe menu here bears a striking resemblance to the Sunday Folks or Creamier but I say it's a combination of both. Probably one of the most popular items here is the Yuan Yang Waffles that come with Milk Soft Serve, Cookie Sticks, Granola and Chocolate Hazelnut Sauce ($15)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Negi Ya Heikichi Kyoto 葱や平吉 : BEST Tendon EVER



Call me a snob hehe but after having THIS tendon, I dare say that I can't give a damn about the tendons in Singapore. For one, since we always say first impression counts, the presentation of this tendon would have left anyone speechless. 

Just look at that tall Anago strutting an amazing pose like a big boss with the rest of its delegates. Taste wise, it was perfectly flavorful and tender. The tempura batter was golden, thin and crisp without any trace of greasiness, unlike previous ones which may still have remnants of heat lingering in the bowl. I can safely vouch for this because I always end up with an uncomfortable throat after any tendon meal but I was surprised that I didn't feel it this time. 

Even the rice had soaked up just the right amount of sauce such that it wasn't too dry nor bland. But the problem is it became too delicious and hard to resist finishing up everything. So at the end of the meal, I was super full but very satisfied. 
That said, I forgot to introduce a little about this place. It is a shop that specialize in negi dishes (spring onions) and not tendons, thus explaining why every set lunch order comes with free-flow negi. Adding some negi does help to provide some refreshing crunch but I think it didn't play quite an important role for the tendon. If my post-research is accurate, this is the only outlet that serves this crazily tall tendon. So good that it makes me want to take back my praises for the tendons I had in Tokyo. 



葱や平吉 高瀬川店
京都府京都市下京区西木屋町通り仏光寺上ル三丁目市之町260-4
Daily 11.30am-3pm, 6pm-11pm
http://kiwa-group.co.jp/restaurant/162/
Access: 3 minutes walk from Hankyu line Kawaramachi Station

Monday, September 26, 2016

菓子・茶房チェカ Kashi Chabou Cheka in Kyoto : Pudding Kakigori for Summer

Summer is all about KAKIGORI!!! 

But I was getting a bit bored of the usual matcha or fruit kakigori. So when I heard of the pudding kakigori from Cheka, I knew I got to try it. Kashi . Chabou Cheka is a patisserie cum tea house in Okazaki (near Hei-an Jingu) that sells simple cakes and cookies made freshly in their small kitchen. It is easy to miss the place as the space is actually renovated from a private house. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Snoopy Tea House in Kyoto : NEW OPEN on 31st August 2016


Snoopy fans can rejoice with the opening of the third Snoopy Tea House right in the heart of Kyoto. Unlike the Snoopy Cafe and Museum in Tokyo, the menu of Snoopy Tea House is visually more representative of the characters and leans towards Japanese cuisine. In fact, the concept is not different from the first two outlets which are located near historically strategic spots Ise Jingu and Yufuin.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Coffee Hive : Surprising Good Chicken Wanton Mee 

Never knew Coffee Hive existed since 2012 until I became an office slave in CBD area. There are 6 outlets and the latest outlet replaced a salad shop opposite Far East Square. According to their website, this place was opened by four men in a bid to provide affordable kopi and local food to the working crowds in the area. 

I am usually quite skeptical about such cafes, especially after quite a disappointing experience at Xu Le Straits Coffee House in Far East Square. Fortunately my visit wasn't all too bad, thanks to the wanton Mee that saved the day. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Marukyu Koyamaen: Most Instagram-Ed Matcha Roll Cake of Japan

It's not a new cafe.

Marukyu Koyamaen has been around since 1964 and it began as a tea producer in Uji City. Recently I noticed that it had shot to fame on social media with its iconic matcha roll cake and decided to check out if it lived up to the hype. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

SONGBIRD COFFEE Kyoto: Egg Sandwich is da Bomb!

OMG!! I had imagined this to be good but never did I expect it to be SO GOOD. 

While tamago-sando (egg sandwich) might exist in every city of Japan, Kyoto might probably be the place that is best known for this comfort sandwich. I am surprised by the quality of the egg sandwich here because it is part of the design store produced by Masaki Tokuda. Located just opposite Nijou Castle, this café occupies the 2nd level and serves  French toasts, curry rice and coffee that are made with beans specially roasted for the café by several famous roasters including 六曜社 Rokuyosha in Kyoto.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Sunday Champagne Brunch @ Bar & Billard Room : Western-centric BrunchMenu

I had been looking forward to the Sunday Champagne Brunch at Bar & Billiard for various reasons. One, I haven't been to any restaurants here except for Royal China many years ago. Two, the standards of buffet at the most iconic hotel in Singapore would be at least above average and I was curious to find out for myself.

Scottish Smoked Salmon with Blinis & Kristal Caviar
Scrambled Egg with Sea Urchin & Crab, Seaweed Butter Bread Finger
Eggs Mimosa with Avocado

Sure enough, I was blown away at the spread of dishes. Right at the entrance is the antipasti, cold cuts, salads that are done in finesse. There's also the popular seafood on ice where there are at least three different sources of oysters, Maine Lobsters and Prawns. Cheese lovers could literally park themselves at the cheese station where there are more than 40 artisanal cheeses with assorted dried fruits, confits and chutneys.

Not sure if it is due to the clientele but I noticed that the dishes are very much western-centric. This is of course not a bad thing as the team truly paid a lot of attention to quality and presentation. 

From the foie gras to pasta to the whole stretch of meat carvings (I still missed the delicious BBQ Pork Ribs), most of the dishes would satisfy the palates and you might want to go back for second servings. Plenty of exquisite ingredients such as sea urchin, caviar, white asparagus, ham (and that super sweet rock melon) will make you feel that you are eating your money worth. 
That said, this might not be very ideal for those looking for a more Asian spread as there isn't any Indian, Malay, Peranakan or Chinese cuisine to be found here; a different focus from brunch spots like Parkroyal on Pickering.

Callisons Composition, Yuzu Mint Jelly, Salted Caramel Choux, Apricot Mascarpone

I was very happy to discover my favourite Echire butter at the bread station where there is a good variety of ready sliced artisanal loaves (you don't have to cut it by yourself). However, the desserts, though attractive to the eye, have potential to rise a notch higher in terms of texture and flavour. 

For instance, the lemon meringue tarts were too sweet while the Tokyo Chocolate mousse was slightly watery. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the fine selection of chocolate pralines and the excellent Vanilla Rum Canele.

Sunday Brunch 12 noon to 3.00pm, includes a full beverage selection including the iconic Singapore Sling, selected cocktails, wines, beers, freshly squeezed juices and soft drinks.
With complimentary flow of Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve $198++ Adult / $98++ Child
With complimentary flow of Billecart-Salmon Rosé $218++ Adult / $98++ Child


Bar & Billiard Room
Raffles Hotel Singapore
Advance reservations are highly recommended.
Tel: (65) 64121816

http://www.raffles.com/singapore/offers/dining-offers/sunday-champagne-brunch/
Email: dining.singapore@raffles.com


Monday, September 12, 2016

Antoinette : Fetish Chocolate 2016

September, my favourite and probably my happiest month of the year. Not only is this my annual month of aging, it's also the month of CHOCOLATE!!! *toasts with a cup of hot chocolate earl grey with croissants croutons* 

Following the successful launch of Fetish Matcha, Chef Pang from Antoinette has curated yet another series of 23 delicious sweets and savouries around the insane theme-Chocolate, made with luxury-grade chocolate from French premium brand Valrhona.

Like Pokemon, chocolate is not an easy ingredient to capture in every dish; some are more obscured while some are straightforward to tell you "I'm Chocolate!!! Eat Me!". In any case, it's all about feeding your mind and body with happy chemicals and you don't have to be a chocolate lover to enjoy this.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Lau Phua Chay Authentic Roasted Delicacies : So Black I Can't See my Meat


Ever see a plate of roasted meat drenched in such a dark caramelized gravy that you can't identify your char siew and siew yoke? This is exactly what you get when you order the meat at Lau Phua Chay, a popular stall the sell roasted duck, char siew and roasted pork--typically all drenched in the almost black char-like marinade which are a result of caramelizing bean paste and malt sugar. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Costa 269 @ Holland Village : All Day Brunch with Croffles

Say sayonara to croissants or waffles--the defining icons of our modern breakfast or brunch these days. 

But there is no need to weep because there is something better called "Croffles", a croissant-waffles mash up that can be traced back to the era of cronuts. This is available exclusively as part of the all-day brunch menu, together with toasts, egg bens or muesli, at Costa Coffee's first outlet which is equipped with a kitchen for preparing fresh hot food. 

A quick research showed that this food hybrid had already made its debut at The Waterfall in Shangri La Singapore back in 2013. I didn't try that version but I found myself liking the Croffles very much. As much as it tasted like a croissant-slightly crisp, flaky on the outside, it also tastes like a waffle with its airy tender pockets on the inside. It's moulded into waffle but arranged like a crescent-shaped croissant. So hard to put it into words so the best way is to try it for yourself. 
I could hear the delightful "crunch" sound as my partner sawed her knife across The Great Croffle Fry Up ($17), a croffle topped with sunny side egg and served with mushrooms and beef sausage. The croffle itself was good; fragrant and in fact, lighter than a waffle and croissant to me. But I am not sure if it was really meant to be put on the same plate with the sausage and egg as they seemed like separate entities. 
Nonetheless, the Croffle truly shone out in the Very Berry Croffle ($11) which came with very BIG blueberries indeed. We went with the safe and popular choice of Salted Caramel Ice cream but I figured Chocolate or Vanilla Ice Cream would be no less delicious. 
Avocados tend to give me a healthy impression and so did this Avocado on Toast ($11) which was constructed of the freshly smashed fruit on wholemeal toast with two poached eggs. While this scored high on the healthy scale, the seasoning-a dash of salt or squirt of lemon-could be afforded to make this more assertive in flavors. 
Probably because this Salmon and Scrambled Eggs Bagel ($14) followed right after the avocado toast, I find myself liking it very easily simply because it wasn't that bland but neither was it overly salty. The bagel was firm but not dry, encouraging some good muscle workout on the mouth as the flavors of the eggs and salmon are gradually released on the tastebuds.
As the term "all-day brunch" implying that one can have them anytime of the day, I didn't miss the sunny character of the brunch despite my visit late at night. But I thought the ambience after sunset was more conducive towards casual bistro food. Perhaps it would be better to just serve brunch during brunch hours and bistro fare all-day.

Of course, with its heritage deeply rooted in the coffee soil, the coffee will go hand in hand with the meals. Be it the Flat White (that comes with a bonus latte art) or the Frostinos (unique ice blended drinks that are predictably sweet with lots of cream), I think it isn't too difficult to find a drink that suits your preference, even if you aren't a coffee drinker like me. The Matcha Frostino did and worked amazingly well like a dessert, saving me the hassle to look elsewhere for a sweet closure to my meal.

Costa269 @ Holland Village
269 Holland Ave, Singapore 278990
Daily 7am-11pm 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

YUJI AJIKI : THE Patissier that CHANGED MY LIFE

You should be glad that you have clicked the article and read this post. And you will be super happy if you really eat the cakes from this place.

I've been to countless patisseries in Tokyo but it's the first time that I encounter a cake that touch my heart so much that I nearly cried. It might sound silly to many but true feelings never lie. And the cake that stunned me was a simple Ichigo Shortcake. So what's a big deal for a shortcake?

Most shortcakes in Japan are already above average in taste but this one by Yuji Aijiki is the best ever shortcake I've had. I think it must be the use of premium eggs from Nasu Highlands as the sponge appeared light orange in color. 


Fraise フレーズ (¥520) 
那須高原の指定養鶏所から届く産みたの卵で作ったスポンジと上質な生クリーム
The texture is utterly delicate and melts effortlessly on the tongue. Yes, I'm talking about a sponge that literally "melts" or disintegrates if that is a better word to describe it. Everything was just perfect; the cream, the sweetness and I felt so happy as if I just met an angel that descended from heaven. 

I got to know this place all thanks to Chef Pang who highly recommended this. Did further research through Japanese reviews and realized this place is actually ranked highly on tabelog. Chef Yuji Ajiki is a highly well-known chef who used to head the famous Patisserie Deferret in Shinagawa. Before that, he was the Sous Chef of Mont. St Clair run by Chef-owner Tsujiguchi. In fact, Chef Tsujiguchi was his sempai (senior) in pastry school and both of them continue to be good friends after graduation.

Chef Ajiki finally opened Sweets Garden in 2010 and he chose a relatively unheard of Kitayamata (北山田) along the green line because he simply wanted to be the neighbourhood cake shop that everyone can identity with. Not any of those high-end pastry boutique that you will probably step in once or never in your lifetime. In a magazine interview, he mentioned that it is this motto to bring happiness to everyone through cakes that drives him to work hard everyday. You have my full respect chef!!! 
There are around 20 variety of petit entremets and 15 kinds of baked sweets (焼き菓子) and that is considered a wide spread by patisserie standards. Standing first in the queue did not help as I was absolutely clueless at what to choose. After a long struggle, I left proudly with a box of 8 cakes all for myself and happy that I don't have to share them with anyone else....haha.

They are mostly mousse cakes but what distinguishes his cakes from the rest is the incorporation of sauces in those cylindrical-shaped mousse cakes. Get your camera or videocam ready as these cakes flow even more sexily than any molten lava cake or lava croissant. What's more, prices are very reasonable at an average of ¥520. 
Let me briefly run through the rest of the cakes : 

1) Noisette Banana et Cafe ノワゼット バナーヌ エ カフェ (¥520) 塩を効かせたヘーゼルナッツとバナナを焼きこんだスポンジにチョコレートムースとコーヒームース
Salted hazelnut banana sponge, chocolate mousse, coffee sauce

2) Milanese ミラネーゼ (¥520)
ピスタチオムースとミルクチョコムースに3種類のベーリームース Pistachio mousse, Milk chocolate mousse, berry mousse
3) Miwa 美和
バニラムース、大納言入り抹茶クリーム、チョコレートムース、黒糖のシロップをしみこませたビスキュイ。Vanilla mousse, red bean matcha cream, chocolate mousse, sponge soaked with black sugar syrup 
4) Delice デリス (¥490)
Framboise cream, white chocolate, pistachio sponge, crunchy chocolate nut base フランボワーズクリーム、ホイとチョコレムース、酸味のあるチョコレートムースをピスタチオスポンジに重ねました
5) Honey Hunt ハニーハント (¥460)
プロヴァンス産はちみつのムース、タヒチ産バニラのクレームブリュレ、ピュアメープルシロップのスポンジ Provence honey mousse, tahiti vanilla creme beurre, pure maple syrup sponge
6) Choux a la Cremeシュー・ア・ラ・クレーム (¥290) シェフにこだわりのクレームパティシエールとしっかり焼きこんだ生地
7) Saotobo Rouge (¥620) サオトボルージュ
フランボワーズの酸味の効いたチョコケーキ、中心のピスタチオがナッシュがトロリとして美味!Dense, fudgy chocolate cake with molten pistachio chocolate ganache and loads of crunchy flakes and nuts on top. Recommended to be reheated for 2 minutes using the microwave. I didn't reheat but it still tasted crazily good 

Everything you see here was deeply satisfying and I felt that I have attained cake nirvana after eating them. There are so many more items I have yet to try, including the famous Ajiki Roll Cake and the other choux cream puff called "I want to eat a Chou Cream!~". Yes, that's the name. A return is a must. 

Yuji Ajiki 
SWEETS garden YUJI AJIKI(スイーツ ガーデン ユウジ アジキ)
神奈川県横浜市都筑区北山田2-1-112-1-11 Kitayamata, Tsuzuki Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture 224-0021, Japan
Tel.045-592-9093
10:00~19:00 Closed Wed (夏季休業あり)
横浜市営地下鉄「北山田」駅より徒歩2分

Access: 2 min walk from Yokohama City Subway Kitayamata Station










Friday, September 2, 2016

Summer Palace @ Regent Hotel : NEW Gluten-free menu

Gluten-free, dairy-free, nuts-free...menus that cater to special diets or allergic groups these days aren't that rare these days. However, to have a gluten-free menu in a Chinese restaurant is still quite uncommon and Summer Palace is probably the first Chinese restaurant to have a full-page menu dedicated to gluten-free diners. 
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