Friday, February 29, 2008
Obolo is a boutique dessert shop specialising in gourmet cheesecakes and patisseries. They started with an online presence, and now have a retail outlet at Joo Chiat. The decor is sleek and contemporary but the space is tiny, probably seating no more than 10 persons at a time. We picked two desserts and a macaron to try.
The Dome Exotique is essentially "mango mousse, crunchy almond nougatine, mango gelee and pineapple chiboust with rum on a pistachio biscuit base". However it looks and sounds better than it tastes. Too much of a sponge cake texture. Still enjoyable, and tastes better in larger bites. Truly a fru-fru and fruity dessert. S$6.20.
I had to choose the "Noisette" (which basically means made or flavoured with hazelnuts). The official description reads rather decadently - "dark chocolate mousse, caramelised toasted hazelnuts, crunchy praline feullitine, chocolate genoise enrobed in a shiny chocolate glaem" - I suppose they mean gleaming chocolate coat. S$6.50.
Fortunately, that a mouthful of a description also translates into a treat of deep, rich chocolate and hazelnut flavours. Because it's dense and intense, it's best savoured in small and langurous bites.
See how neatly they slice their cakes? There's a tip on their website that says to use a hot, thin-bladed knife. Aha...must try that out some time.
Oh, this was delicious. It makes you close your eyes and go "mmmmh..." and this coming from a person who doesn't even like macarons. Cocoa nibs adorn the top of this delicate confection. I think I need to come back for more of these. S$1.60 each.
Obolo also serves gourmet coffee and tea. There's currently a promotion - 80 cents for coffee/tea on weekdays with every purchase of a dessert or three macarons. See website for more details.
452 Joo Chiat Road
Weekdays from 12.30pm-9.30pm (Fridays til 10.00pm)
Weekends from 11.30am-10.00pm (Sundays til 9.30pm)
Closed Mondays and public holidays
Thursday, February 28, 2008
I have been drooling! Over the past few days, I discovered a new source of food porn. Tastespotting.com is a website where you can share food-related photos that you totally dig. Oh and there are so many!
The NotCot.org site is also very cool - lots of aesthetically stunning examples of design.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Ayam penyet - that Indonesian flattened fried chicken that seems to have taken Singapore by storm. Personally, I'm not a big fan, even though the concept appeals to me. My few encounters with it so far have been disappointing. From Ayam Penyet Ria in Lucky Plaza which left a grease-laden anchor in my belly to hawker stall renditions that were no different from dried out versions of Malay fried chicken.
So it's taken me a year to check out Waroeng Penyet, just opposite the Marine Parade polyclinic. I was skeptical when they first opened but hey, they're still in business, so they must be good to some extent.
I must say I was quite happy with my first bite of their Ayam Penyet (S$5.50, rice not included). The chicken is a generous portion with an interesting and flavoursome crunchy batter. You also get a piece of fried tempe and fried tofu along with the token cabbage and cucumber pieces.
The real highlight is their delicious sambal chili that is an explosion of flavours beyond just spicy hot. Oh, they have two versions - go for the HOT one. The mild one is a wimpy, tomato-ey shadow of it. The only downside of the hot version is...your tongue is numbed after a while and you can barely taste your food thereafter. Ah sigh. Food joy for only a few minutes.
Their gado-gado (S$4.50) comes recommended but honestly, it was a wash-out. The sauce was meek and vegetables overboiled. Perhaps this bland style is more authentic Indonesian, I'm not sure, but it's not my thing. I only liked the belinjo crackers on top.
I'm a sucker for cute branding. Can't resist the little chick with the scattered chilies. Apparently Waroeng Penyet is so successful, it's expanding. There's a new outlet at Changi and a stall at Jurong East within a food court. They've even set up in Malaysia too!
Blk 81, #01-638
Marine Parade Central
Blk 5, #01-2011
Changi Village Road
Jurong Cafe Foodcourt
Blk 134, #01-309
Jurong East St 13
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Baked oysters Kirkpatrick, chicken cordon bleu, panna cotta and profiteroles. Items I never thought I'd see in my little hometown, where even basic Western fare is rare enough. My brother took us to this little cafe/diner on Sunday. It is air-conditioned and sparsely decorated but welcoming enough. I was surprised at the fairly extensive menu, which included the items above. While intrigued, I went in with very forgiving standards.
Presentation is not tops on the chef's list here but the food is fairly decent for its price. Crispy fish and chips here (RM7.90 or S$3.50 or US$2.50) a generous portion. My brother's chicken cordon bleu (grilled chicken stuffed with ham and stringy cheese) was delicious. Sorry I forgot to take a picture. They have good chicken chop here too.
I had the ribeye steak for a steal (RM12 or S$5.20 or US$3.70). Surprisingly tender and juicy! The black pepper sauce was also potent and spicy. So even though I normally prefer steaks without sauces, I didn't mind this pairing at all. The only "let-down" is the vegetable side - standard CPC (carrots, peas, corn) doused with a strange pinkish orange sauce.
The burger was not good though. Meat patty too mushy and bland for my liking. Not worth its price (RM6.50 or S$2.85 or US$2) this time. Fries still great though. Crispy.
Soups here are pretty basic with small slice of garlic toast. The tomato one was intense, smoky and tart - good as an appetiser, I suppose. Prices around RM3 (omigod, only S$1.30 or US$0.90).
I liked the desserts. The ice cream has a simple, homemade taste to it. Profiterole (first pic above) was yummy, even if the choux pastry was a little dry. Only RM4 (S$1.75 or US$1.25). Next time I'm having one all to myself, no sharing!
The chef has had some training in hotels and restaurants before striking out on his own. He started small at a coffeeshop stall in a residential neighbourhood and now has this cafe. While seasoned palates will deem this canteen fare, I think it's competent enough for a town that seriously could do with more Western food for variety.
Oh, and no service charge or taxes to inflate the final bill. Nice.
D'ORIGIN WESTERN CUISINE & CAFE
No.57 Jalan Flora Utama 3
Tel: 012-7243388 (a cellphone number?)
Open Tues-Sun, 11am to 10pm (closed Mondays)
Monday, February 25, 2008
I'm sure you've come across times when you've had to wait at the side for your order of fast food to be prepared and sent to you. Such was the case at a KFC outlet in Batu Pahat. But we were pleasantly surprised when a staff came out bearing Coke in little cups for us. Complimentary while we waited for our one sandwich. Wow! Now I'm sure this was a rare gesture. I wouldn't start expecting this level of service at every KFC branch. But kudos to this one for surprising and delighting the customer.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Just back from visiting the folks in Malaysia. I finally got to eat what I long regarded as "best kway chap ever" in Batu Pahat. My dad and I loooove kway chap! They also serve braised duck, which you can have with rice or noodles.
Piggy parts and innards are braised for a long time until the flavour completely permeates the meat. Hearty, robust and full-flavoured, it tastes slightly different from what you often get in Singapore. I think they use more dark sauce in braising too.
There is a limited number of side dishes (even chicken curry, I think) but most of these are a bit cold and greasy.
I did not know they had braised pork trotters in vinegar until today. A little too sweet and rich for my liking.
This stall is apparently run by a Christian couple and they rest on Sundays. They only open for breakfast and lunch. Probably the rest of the day is spent cleaning and preparing the piggy entrails (it is a lot of work!).
10 Jalan Setiajaya (parallel to Jalan Bakau Chondong)
Taman Setiajaya (near Carrefour)
Batu Pahat, Johor
p.s. It's nomination day today in Malaysia (elections are coming!) and there are cars fitted with political party flags and banners (the way wedding cars are decorated) zipping around town! So funny when you see one chasing another.
Friday, February 22, 2008
We brought my mother-in-law and both kids to The Mango Tree on Sunday after discovering it the previous week. Here's what we had. From the starters - vegetable pakora. Nice little medley of vegetables given the fry of death. One of the few ways Nadine will eat her vegetables.
Also from the starters, this was probably the most delicious dish of them all. Well, for me anyway. Hubby thought them "too seafoody" (hey, it's called "umami"). And mother-in-law who does not like shellfish would not even touch them. Oh I'm not complaining, it means more for me! Beautiful, intense flavours all coming together. Every morsel was a delight.
We had this the last time too. Even though I wanted to try something different, hubby who liked this dish so much, was adamant on having this again. Normally he won't even touch mutton!
Sambar - mom-in-law loves her dhal curries, so she had to have this lentil concoction. Smoky and spicy but not chili hot. Not my favourite though.
The machli naan basically has a chili-seafood paste smeared on the inside. It's interesting on its own but the fish-like taste may interfere with the flavours of the dishes you are having. The cheese naan is light, fluffy and a great base for all the curries.
Wow, this one is a salty assault on the tongue. Grows on you though. Nice fish too, definitely better than mullet in the Allepey fish curry. Not as spicy as it looks, not to worry!
Strangely, I prefer their plain basmati rice over the lemon version. Although it has more ingredients, the latter seemed a tad bitter and more soggy (maybe due to the lemon's acidity). The plain one had a natural basmati fragrance.
They kindly cut the kulfi into three pieces (on their own initiative) for the diners sharing. It was thick, rich, creamy with visible mango pieces. Having tried both, I think we prefer the coconut kulfi. But for lassi, the mango version rules. The strawberry one is too sweet. Salty one is refreshing according to mom-in-law.
Overall, another satisfying meal. Nadine polished off most of the complimentary papadum and half a cheese naan. Can't wait to get her to eat spicy stuff!
THE MANGO TREE
1000 East Coast Parkway
B23 Marine Cove
Tel: 6442-8655 / 6442-1655
Mon-Thurs: 11.30am - 2.30pm, 6.30pm - 10.30pm
Fri: 11.30am - 2.30pm, 6.30pm - 11pm
Sat: 11.30am - 11pm
Sun: 11.30am - 10.30pm
Thursday, February 21, 2008
You know, Penang style char kway teow kinda sometimes seems a more savoury and less sweet cousin of pad thai. I like the use of thinner rice noodles, which seem to have more surface area for absorbing flavour. The dish is even better when they use lots of chye poh (preserved turnip/radish), fried pork lard pieces, juicy prawns and of course, a good dash of sambal chili.
This is a branch outlet. The main stall at Geylang East serves a better Penang fried kway teow. Teo Pau Lin likened its subtle appeal to Norah Jones compared to the Singapore version which is more in-your-face like Christina Aguilera. But I feel this may not be representative. A good Penang char kway teow can be just as savoury and powerful from the first bite.
Here at the Marine Parade branch, the noodles could do with stronger seasoning. They are also a wee bit too soggy and oil-laden. I have been told the other dishes are better - e.g. the lor mee. Yet to try those (not a big fan of lor mee or Penang laksa).
Kim Tat Seng Eating House
82 Marine Parade Central
Geylang East Food Centre
Blk 117 Aljunied Ave 2 #01-60
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Yes, I went to Melt again, sometime in Nov last year. Hubby loves that place. Generally good food, lovely service and pleasant ambiance. Since I've already covered it previously, I'll mainly let the pictures do the talking this time.
Pretty rich, most of it.
A favourite of mine, done very well here.
As usual, limited stuff from Chinese section.
The Indian section is one of the best here, but I didn't take much this time. Can be too filling.
Desserts galore for you to choose from, but my favourite remains the simple, crisp, delicious waffle and ice-cream. They do it so well at Melt. Actually I didn't have enough room to try others!
It was nice to see that they vary some of the buffet items and even the layout. Makes repeat visits interesting.
MELT - THE WORLD CAFE
4th floor, The Oriental Singapore
5 Raffles Avenue, Marina Square
Weekend High Tea: 3pm-5:30pm
Does anyone know how the name "century eggs" or "thousand-year eggs" came about? The Chinese name 皮蛋 just means "skin/leather egg". Perhaps the wait for the curing process of these delicious eggs feels like a century! Or perhaps these eggs look so different after curing (literally going to the other end of the colour spectrum), they give the impression they've been buried a thousand years!
The crystallization patterns also led to the eggs being called 松花蛋 or pine-patterned egg. They are almost too pretty to be eaten. Yeah, some of you may be wondering if it's safe enough to be eaten! I read that lead oxide is sometimes used to speed up the curing process, so just look for lead-free versions when you buy.
It seems the eggs are not just pretty, they might even have therapeutic effects, such as lowering blood cholesterol and ß-lipoprotein in certain experiments. In addition, consumption of pidan will purportedly improve appetite, clear vision, and protect the liver. All yet to be scientifically confirmed though.
Century eggs are an adventure in both taste and texture. They may be an acquired taste for some, as the yolk can be pungent like certain cheeses. However, the white (or is it black now?) is generally bland. Texture-wise, the creamy yolk contrasts with the dark amber egg white, which is firm, bouncy and jelly-like. I love them, whether raw with pickled ginger or cubed in porridge or cooked with other eggs and vegetables. Yum.
Oh, and the tales about these eggs being cured in horse urine? That's just a myth, so relax and enjoy this eggs-cellent delicacy (if you can get past the ammonia scent that probably gave rise to the myth)!
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
I've been looking curiously at the Google ads on my blog. Since they're based on keywords found here, they should turn up some related and interesting links. Yes, there have been the usual food/drink/restaurant related links. Yes, the "Lose Your Belly Fat!" ads too. Occasionally some odd ones like Suzumo sushi robots (whoa), Nepalese Tibetan Buddhism schools and a fish spa (oh look, their website features a video showing Xiaxue and her mom trying out the fish-nibbling exfoliation)!
But this one - bad breath in Singapore? Huh? Which one of my posts and text generated this?? Oh and yesterday I saw an ad for sweaty palms treatment. LOL
I hope you find some fun ones to click on too. That will also contribute a few cents towards my baby girl Nadine's milk powder fund!
Monday, February 18, 2008
The Simple Life is where you'd head if you're yearning for hawker fare in a comfy, air-conditioned environment with table service. Or stuck at Wheelock Place and don't want to fight the crowds elsewhere for food. Most people would agree the food here isn't fantastic but isn't disastrous either. The kueh pie tee (S$5.90) is not too shabby (juicy and sweet with good chili). Pity the garnishing had started wilting (it was around teatime that we ate).
Ah they have the Malaysian-style dark Hokkien mee (S$10.90) here. I could not resist for nostalgia's sake. Sadly, it comes nowhere near the real deal. Perhaps the other dishes like nasi lemak and rendang are better. All mains come with a drink, so that makes it a wee bit more worthwhile.
THE SIMPLE LIFE (no, stop thinking about Paris and Nicole!)
#02-18 Wheelock Place,
502 Orchard Road. Tel: 6738-3212
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Oyster omelette ("or-luak" or "or-chien") has got to rank amongst the greasiest of all hawker foods (right up there with char kway teow and fried carrot cake). It is also one of the most delicious. I like mine with crispy egg and enough gooey starch which soaks up the seafood flavour. But given that it should be a rare treat, we must find really tasty oyster omelette. Otherwise it won't be worth the calories and cholesterol. One day I must try those from Ah Hock (Whampoa) and Ah Chuan (Toa Payoh).
Out of curiosity, I tried this stall at Old Airport Road food centre which sells nothing but oyster omelette. However, it is not terribly good. So I really don't know how long it will survive there.
"To sum it up, while a person might appear to be a dragon because they were born in the year of the dragon, they might also be a snake internally and an ox
secretively. In total, this makes for 8,640 possible combinations (five elements x 12 animals in the 60 year cycle (12 x 5 = 60) , 12 months, 12 times of day) that a person might be."
So despite being a gluttonous Pig with a food blog, my inner animal is a Dragon and secretly I'm a Tiger! Who knew?
Friday, February 15, 2008
There is this trio of famous wantan noodles stalls at Old Airport Road. This is from the one with the yellow signboard, sorry I forgot to take note of the name or unit number. But honestly, it's not particularly outstanding. Like the girl next door...wearing too much makeup. Dang, what kind of colouring did they use on the charsiew? Photo shows it as it is - garish bright red under the flash. Portions start from S$2, I think.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
It's tough to eat at Ngee Ann City without contending with either crowds or exhorbitant prices. But we had some Kinokuniya vouchers to burn (hurrah!) and we really missed Katsukura, the great katsu experience we had in Japan, so we chose to try Tonkichi, which is a similar tonkatsu specialist. Of course, we went with dialed down expectations.
Surprisingly, they didn't give us the mortar and pestle bowl with sesame seeds to grind. Oh well, I had my hands full with baby Jolie anyway. My seafood fry (S$24) consisted of prawns, fish and crab croquette. Normally it includes a fried oyster too, but they ran out, so it was replaced with prawn (you can pick fish too, if you want). Not a bad array but the prawns were a little bit tough and the crab croquette too wet and sludgy inside. The fish was sweet though.
Hubby took a jumbo katsu (S$21) which comes with three sauces - salsa, oroshi ponzu and miso which on their own would be S$1 each. All the meals come with rice, pickles, miso soup and dessert (fruit).
Alas, I fear Katsukura has spoiled us for all tonkatsu. Tonkichi's jumbo katsu was huge but the meat quality paled in comparison to Katsukura's. I really don't know how the Japanese do such an excellent job and keep it so affordable still! Their tonkatsu was only about S$13! Tonkichi's batter/breadcrumb exterior was also tougher and less delicate. Even the cabbage tasted different (it's also less crisp and shredded more coarsely here).
A nice touch here in the land of increasingly "no water served" - Tonkichi gives you free-flow houji-cha (roasted green tea) which purportedly has many health benefits, including helping to lower your blood pressure and blood sugar.
Even though it's not the best tonkatsu we've had, it's a fairly enjoyable meal. You could make the same tonkatsu at home quite easily but you'd have a greasy kitchen to clean up afterwards. Meanwhile, I'll just keep dreaming that Katsukura will bring itself here someday.
Outlets at Ngee Ann City, Suntec City and Isetan Scotts
(click link for address, contact details and full menu)