Monday, 7 September 2015

Singa-eats 4: Curious Palette (Review)

Curious Palette just opened along Prinsep Street a few months ago. Having seen a few lovely photos of their waffles and upon knowing of the fact that they stock truffle sweet potato fries, I decided to visit this curious establishment to check out their food and catch up with some friends.

64 Prinsep Street

We ordered some mains & sides to share but ufortunately, their waffles seems to be the best part of the menu despite spending more than $30 per pax there today. Pricey, definitely. I also ordered a glass of Gewurztraminer ($9), usually a lovely wine with an addictively fragrant bouquet but the one they had was only meh. On the bright side, $9 for wine is relatively cheap, but unfortunately not the most value-for-money.

 Waffles with Poached Pears & Walnut Crumble ($13.90)
If I ever wanted to visit Curious Palette, it would definitely be for their buttermilk waffles. The waffle was well cooked (not dry nor too moist) and this combination of vanilla ice cream, sweet poached pears and walnuts went really well together. Definitely very enjoyable especially after a lacklustre dinner. I heard the coffee is not too bad too however, so maybe the next time I'll drop by for teatime waffles and a drink instead.

 Truffle Sweet Potato Fries with Truffle Aioli Sauce ($14.90)
This was what made me want to visit Curious Palette but unfortunately even though the fries were well cooked, there was not even a hint of the truffle detected :(

(left) Truffle Risotto & (right) Ochazuke Konbu Spaghetti (~$20)
 (Sorry for the blurred photos) The risotto actually tasted quite pleasant, but again I really couldn't taste no truffle oil in the bowl. The Ochazuke Konbu spaghetti featured shimeji mushrooms and prawns. Unfortunately the prawns were quite small in our portion as compared to some of the photos I've seen online, so not sure if it's just today. Other than that, nothing spectacular to rave about in this Japanese inspired dish.

 Squid Ink Tagliatelli with 'inferno' Sauce, Calamari & Asparagus
Very lovely presentation - was pleasantly surprised by that streak of black ink across the plate - that's actually the squid ink sauce. On first look I thought it was the plate design hahahaha. Unfortunately another average tasting dish that tasted pretty much like squid ink, calamari and pasta tossed together. There were also clumps of sea salt in my sauce that surprise attacked me. :X

Well, unfortunately I must say curiousity killed the cat in this one. The food here is very overpriced, with mains costing well above $20 but not really tasting like it deserved its price tag. Stick to the waffles the next time you're here. The ambience in the cafe isn't bad either - white industrial interior with the occasional plant and some really pretty lighting!

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Singa-eats 3: FYR Cycene Ond Drinc (Review)

Hello! Having started work in the East of Singapore, I now rarely have the time to explore new food places in town. So every weekend now I have a mission to try as many out-of-the-way food places as possible. Last Saturday brought me to FYR Cycene Ond Drinc (old english for Fire Kitchen & Drink) along Boon Tat Street around Telok Ayer/Raffles Place.

19 Boon Tat Street, Singapore (069619)
Reserve here

This establishment serves a wide range of modern European dishes infused with the herbs and spices of South East Asia. The interior is spacious and rustic with a touch of the prehistoric - cute stone-age style murals on the back walls and walls lined with wooden logs. Mains here are grilled over a Josper grill - an indoor grill with a door to ensure that moisture/flavour doesn't escape - with lychee wood that makes the meat so very fragrant and succulent. Here's what we tried:

 Grain-fed US Holstein Cow Ribeye 365 Days with Black Truffle Sauce - $32
This is easily one of the best slabs of ribeye I've eaten in a while. The ribeye is aged for a more concentrated flavour and it was fat, juicy and heavenly with the black truffle sauce that was given on the side.

Whole Maine Lobster with Shallot Lemongrass Bechamel - $39
I'm not a seafood fan, but le bf enjoyed this very much. From the little I've tried, I was pleasantly suprised by the indulgent buttery-ness of the bechamel that the lobster was filled with, but did wish the lemongrass flavour came through a bit more. Nonetheless, this plate was quickly polished off by the happy bf who was singing praises about the lobster even long after we've left the restaurant.

 Buttered Cassava & Mashed Potato
These sides came with the main. I'm a big butter fan so I loved how the cassava and the potato were steaming with fragrant butter goodness but unfortuantely the cassava didn't do it for me... Cassava (tapoica) is slightly sweet by nature so I thought it didn't go very well with the butter sauce.

 Baked Pistachio Melt with Pandan Ice Cream - $10
This is honestly a very affordable and value for money dessert. Also the most commonly seen on Instagram - it look so pretty! It was leaning towards the sweeter side but after the heavy and flavourful mains my tastebuds were craving for a little sugar to end off the meal anyway. The lava cake was oozing goodness and I'm loving the Asian inspired flavours here. The grilled marshmellow on top of the lava cake was a good touch too!

All in all we definitely had a good time here. I'd go back in a heartbeat to try their other dishes. That lamb rack sounds so delicious! Hope my review helped! Do give this place a visit if you're in the area and are craving a good meal to unwind over the weekend or after work ;)

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Singa-eats 2: Tian Kee & Co (Review)

Tian Kee & Co
48 Dakota Crescent, #01-48

No trip to the Dakota/Mountbatten area is complete without visiting 1) Dakota Crescent with its vintage playground and 1950s flats - best looking HDBs in Singapore in my opinion, 2) Old Airport Road Food Court. Fortunately, nestled within the charming old estates in Dakota Crescent is a once provision shop turned artisan cafe - Tian Kee & Co.

This retro styled cafe is filled with vintage memorabilia and exudes a nostalgic quaint ambience perfect for catching up with friends. No air-con though, only whirling ceiling fans that work tirelessly against the weather... That aside, this cafe is known for its cheesecakes, especially this photogenic cheesecake in the loveliest pastel shades (think Walls rainbow ice cream!). This cheesecake was surprisingly light and fluffy in texture and tasted like a blend between yoghurt and whipped cream. Not unpleasant, but it is a well known fact that rainbow cakes tend to look better than they taste...

The star of this cafe for me though was the yuan yang cheesecake as pictured below. This is much heavier in texture and taste, and I have such the weakness for teh & kopi (& of course both together).
Unfortunately I didn't try the coffee here, but I had the salted caramel drink (1st picture) that looked really charming in that retro glass mug. Unfortunately again, though not unpleasant, it too looked better than it tasted...

Verdict? 6/10
Lots of thought has been put into the look and feel of the cafe and the food/drink, but unfortunately the food/drink didn't wow me taste-wise. That being said, this cafe at the corner of Dakota Crescent wins for its nostalgic ambience and chill-out, almost kampung, vibes. I'm devastated they're demolishing the estate there for redevelopment! :( I would have loved to stay there despite the apparently deteriorating conditions. (also, what is going to happen to the families of cats there!) Moral of the story, pay this neighbourhood & Tian Kee & Co a visit before end 2016, after which this plot of land will only become boring looking BTOs/ condos. Meh.

Friday, 14 August 2015

#shuutravels 5 Places to Eat in Santorini (+Athens)

Greece was undoubtedly the star of my 2015 summer vacation - Santorini mesmerised with its insane Mediterranean views while Athens fascinated with its endless stories. Unsurprisingly however, being the piggy I am, the amazing food I had over my week stay in Greece is going to be number 1 reason why I would definitely want to revisit Greece again.

Everyday, I pretty much ate with wanton disregard for the fact that I'd be spending the rest of the day at the beach in a skimpy bikini. I don't think I would be exaggerating if I had the most value-for-money dishes ever in Greece. However, I did find that my best experiences were at restaurants in Imerovigli and other smaller towns like Perissa and Kamari - I would avoid eating at Oia and Fira if I were to visit Santorini again. Food is more expensive, service is less courteous and these two towns are too crowded for you to experience Greek Island bliss. So, here's my top 5 places you definitely need to try eating the next time you visit Santorini and Athens.

1 MEZZO Imeroviglii, +30 22860 21874
Top choice for a lovely caldera view and innovative hearty food - I've heard the sunset view from Mezzo's terrace is pretty amazing too. I loved the complimentary bread basket (olives and tirokafteri - spicy cheese dip ftw!) and the linguine with rock gruyere cheese, beef and wild mushrooms. The tenderloin with vinsanto sauce atop sweet potato mash (last photo) was also noteworthy :)

2 ANOGI Imerovigli, +30 2286 021285
This restaurant wins the award for serving me the best meal I've had in Santorini. I'm very much in love with their fried feta cheese with honey and sesame (craving it right now...), and the pork shoulder (3rd photo) was juicy, soft and cooked to perfection. I also had the grilled sea bass and vinsanto poached pears, both of which were yummeh.
P.S. This restaurant is packed every night - please book in advance!
P.P.S. You have to try vinsanto, the local dessert wine when you're here, I think it can rival ice wine hehe.

 3 KAPARI WINE RESTAURANT Imerovigli, +30 22860 21120
The most expensive restaurant on this list, but the views of the sea are breathtaking and the food was (Y). I don't know how Greek food manages taste so fresh and clean yet indulgent at the same time. The ice chocolate also surprised us by being very thick (I think they must have used chocolate ice cream!) and yummy. We didn't manage to make a reservation in time for dinner so we only managed to dine from a less extensive lunch menu, but their dinner menu looks really good so do give it a try! 

4 HELLAS RESTAURANT Perissa, +30 22860 81658
How can calamari rings taste so fresh and good??? This restaurant wins for friendliest service and most affordable prices.   

Okay, this isn't really a restaurant recommendation, but Santorini's beaches are lined with bars that offer free usage of their sunbeds and even free wifi at the beach! Fabulous deal, and we spent a couple of hours chilling at Kamari beach (very picturesque set against the imposing hill!) with cold drinks in our hands. Bliss.

5 MELILOTOS Kalamiotou 19, Monastiraki, Athens
 And we're finally in Athens. We went to this tiny restaurant on the recommendation of our super hip AirBNB host and I had one of the best pork steaks I've ever had in my life. Hear this: smoked Cretan pork steak in rosemary oil served with spicy feta and marjoram potatoes. Need to eat this again!! The best part - only EUR12! Seriously affordable. Also enjoyed their beef steak with lemon flavoured baby rocket salad, but the pork steak still steals the show for me...

That's it from me! Hope this guide was of some help and I am seriously salivating after writing this post. Unfortunately, I'm starting work for real next week so I won't be able to do that much galivanting anymore. Still, I'm looking forward to my next vacation - somewhere in South East Asia please! Till next time! xx

(^ a glass of Vinsanto - if you love your dessert wines, you need to try that)

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Singa-eats 1: Wen Dao Shi/ Wen Dou Sek Dimsum

Helloo! I've finally graduated and back in Singapore for good (or for food...) and I thought I should continue my MILF (London Food list) but in SG! I can't think of a cute acronym for this though (help, anyone?) so Singa-eats shall do for now ;)

So I shall kick of this series with a review of a cosy little dimsum stall a few roads down Aljunied MRT - Wen Dou Sek, also known as 搵到食 (it rhymes with their unit number 126! I see what you did there...)
Wen Dou Sek
126 Sims Ave

It's a busy, no-frills, 24h establishment but regulars will swear by their wide variety and amazing value for money. We ordered 8 plates and 4 drinks, and only paid about $12 per person.

Must try dishes: 
Fried banana and mango
King Siew Mai
Kimchi Pork
Crispy Yam
Honey Lemon Tea

Left: Fried Banana with Mango/ Right: King Siew Mai and Roast Pork Chee Cheong Fun
The fried banana was delish and reminded me of goreng pisang which I really like! I don't eat prawns, so I can't comment on the siew mai but my friends really liked it. The roast pork CCF is not inedible, but not memorable either. I heard the crab CCF is better though, so give that a try!

Background: Kimchi Pork; Foreground: Pork belly buns aka kong bak paus
The kimchi pork was surprisingly yummy, though I did question what kimchi was doing in a dimsum restaurant... But Wen Dao Shi's menu seems to feature a lot of random additions, like curry chicken and chilli crab for example haha! The pork belly buns, on the other hand, were only alright.

 Clockwise from left: Crispy yam, Guo Tie (Dumplings) and Fried Frog Legs/ Background: Honey Lemon Tea
I loved the crispy yam - so soft and fragrant on the inside but a satisfying crunch on the outside. The dumplings were far too doughy for my liking so I would say give this a miss... WRT the frog legs, my friend recommended it but I think it's quite the acquired taste :X I would highly recommend the honey lemon tea though! It even comes with jelly bits in the tea which was very refreshing to slurp up.

Wen Dao Shi's dishes can be quite hit and miss sometimes, but the dishes are at worst,mediocre but definitely not inedible. We still had an enjoyable time, given how dimsum is such comforting and satisfying food, so I'd definitely go back here for an affordable dimsum fix.

Till next time! xx

Monday, 3 August 2015

#shuuootd Blues & Whites

My Santorini vacay provided me the perfect excuse to unabashedly wear blues and whites together all day - my dream, considering how half my wardrobe is surely white, and another quarter is probably blue. So here I showcase some ways in which I tried to blend in with the (very spectacular) blue and white Greek landscape hahaha

Lace Kimono X The Tinsel Rack 
Bikini X Seafolly on ASOS
I'm such a big fan of Seafolly swimwear but they are so expensive so I always snag them when they're on sale - ASOS is definitely the best place for such treasures. Also managed to sneak in a trip to the Seafolly outlet store when I was in Sydney!! :D Now just waiting for my next holiday...

Crochet Bralet & Straw hat X Primark (for5 quid each!!)
Denim culottes X ASOS

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Shu's Sydney Food Guide

I've recently concluded my second ever trip to Australia, and this time my wanderlust has brought me to Sydney, one of Australia's biggest cities. There are, honestly, very few 'tourist-y' things to do in downtown Sydney besides hanging out at the bay areas, but I would seriously rank spending time exploring Sydney's amazing food high up in 'things you must do in Sydney' list. Quaint cafes, posh restaurants and busy Asian food joints stand side by side all over Sydney, which made for an exhilarating food trail.

So, I'll try to keep this short... but here's my guide (in no order of preference) on food you should NOT miss if you ever find yourself down under... in Sydney :)


1. The Grounds of Alexandria
7A, 2 Huntley St, Alexandria NSW 2015

You must have heard of this one by now. Set in a former industrial ground, this massive premise packs a cafe, restaurant, florist, dry food market all in one. While this is a 20min bus ride from downtown, trust me when I say the travel is worth it.

Featuring brick walls, sunny outdoor seating, a lush kitchen garden and even a farm (hello piggy), this cafe boasts an unbeatable ambience. I spent a good 3 hours wandering around the premise and helped myself to some delicious brunch - the rose inflused lemonade (while pricey at $5) is lovely, and the Picnic set I ordered at the cafe (grilled veg and feta sandwich, gruyere cheese, hummus, smoked salmon) tasted all fresh and yummy. Also, do not miss the pastry stand - just look at the display!!! #drool

The florist tucked inside the Grounds of Alexandria was also seriously breathtaking. Look! Marbled roses and rainbow roses! They're real!!!! Boyfriends and husbands, beware...

I also spent a significant amount of time exploring the Salts Meat Cheese dried food market. The truffled mushroom sauce pictured below is heavenly. I wish I bought more than a bottle. They also stock a huge variety of flavoured pasta - I got the basil one, but honestly it looks better than it tastes (it pretty much tastes like normal wheat pasta to me...)

2. Hurricane Grill @ Darling Harbour
Harbourside Shopping Centre, 433-436 Darling Drive, Sydney NSW 2000

Everyone was raving about this steak and ribs house in Sydney, so I had to give this a shot. Honestly (and probably because I went in with such high expectations), I don't think the ribs are the best I've ever had, but perhaps it was just a bad (and very busy) restaurant night, and since everyone raves about this place you should give it a try too. I also ordered their crackling pork belly, but meh, give it a miss. The crackling is rock hard. Anyway, make sure to reserve, or go before 6.30pm or there will be a looonnnnggg queue.

 3. Reuben Hills
61 Albion Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010

Reuben Hills sure knows how to stand out from the mass of generic brunch serving cafes by offering South American inspired breakfast food. This must be one of the cutest and yummiest brunch cafes I've ever visited. We tried the Albondingas bowl (Mexican meatballs, fried egg, jalapeno mojo atop a tortilla) and the scrambled eggs on rye with bacon and lime & cumin salt, both of which were amazing. The people beside us kept raving about the porridge (with raisin syrup and banana milo crumbs) too, so I guess that too is worth a try!

4. The Little Kitchen
275 Arden St, Coogee NSW 2034

This isn't really in Sydney, but who goes to Sydney without hitting the beach! We stopped by the Little Kitchen for lunch on the way to Bondi (we did the very lovely Coogee-Bondi hike) and had a great time. It is a tiny rustic cafe serving modern Australian food, and while the buckwheat pancakes with raspberries and pistachio shavings didn't quite do it for me (it was a little on the dry side), the kedgeree with smoked cod and a soft boiled egg (bottom picture) was marvelous.

5. Chur Burger
48 Albion Street, Surry Hills

A funky burger chain serving AMAZING sweet potato fries with garlic and lime,  AMAZING milkshakes (I tried the salted caramel, YUMMEH), mindblowingly loud retro indie music, and decent burgers. But I would go back in a heartbeat for their SALTED POTATO FRIES AND SALTED CARAMEL MILKSHAKE. #dreaming #mademypoint

389 Crown Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010

What better way to top off all the binging by indulging in a cup of gelato. They say Gelato Messina scoops the best gelato in Australia, and I fully agree. Try their salted caramel with white chocolate (crowd fave), and their rosewater and pistachio (ice cream flavour OTP). Mmmmm.

That's it from me folks! Hope you enjoyed my take on the best places to eat in Sydney in my humble opinion. Of course this list is not exhaustive and I'm hoping I get a chance to revisit Sydney and add on to this list hehe (and go back for my sweet potato fries and milkshake. Oh Chur Burger, you have my heart...)

Till the next update xx