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Archive for October, 2009

TWG Tea Salon & Boutique

I have a confession to make: I’m a tai-tai wannabe. And there’s no better way to commence my tai-tai-in-training session by lazing the afternoon away while sipping tea (a requisite of a true tai-tai?) amid the well-heeled crowd in this beautiful “to see and be seen” glass enclosure.

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Want tea? Then be prepared to spend more than a few mins poring through the extensive menu showcasing an amazing variety of tea: darjeeling, decaffinated, single estates etc. Whatever you want, it’s likely to be on the menu. The Red of African ($10.50++) was recommended and it had a unique fragrance, the essence of which is beyond my ability to capture in words. Give me tea over coffee any day! (And the teapot is so shiny that you can see my reflection!)

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The Raspberry Tart ($8.50++) looked so pretty sitting in the pastry counter that it’s impossible to ignore it. I’m usually not a tart person (no pun intended) but this scored big time with me. Forget thick and buttery crust; it’s thin and not too rich with the natural sweetness and tanginess of fresh raspberries. I’m officially a convert.

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Finally! Macarons ($2++) that aren’t sickeningly sweet. Admittedly, I’m no macaron connoisseur but I hereby declare these delicate tea-infused French cookies to be the BEST I’ve ever tried. Clockwise from the black: Napoleon Tea & Caramel; Camelot Tea & Praline (the combination of tea and chocolate works wonders!); Bain de Rose Tea; and Grand Wedding Tea, Passion Fruit & Coconut.

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My reluctance to leave was evident when the last drop of the tea had been poured but sadly, it’s time to return to reality. I just can’t wait till my next “training session”!

 

TWG
#02-21, ION Orchard
6735 1837

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Cedele

Whenever I’m at a loss of where to eat, Cedele always comes to the rescue if a branch happens to be in the vicinity. Hooked on their sandwiches and cakes, I’ve been a regular since my early JC days! The menu has been given plenty of makeover ever since with additional mains and new sandwiches.

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Really, it’s hard to go wrong with the Sea Bass Tomato Coulis ($24++) stacked upon a bed of grilled eggplants. Very unexciting simple yet didn’t fail to make the health nut in me happy.

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Sausage Bubble & Squeak ($22.80++) served with onion sauerkraut: What’s “Bubble & Squeak”? Turned out to be a potato & vegetable pancake which looked similar to the Chinese carrot cake. Personally, I like the carrot cake more than this pancake which was a tad too bland.

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I felt like dancing with victory when I got the LAST slice of the Black Sesame Cake with Tahini Frosting ($5.30++). It’s fate, really. I just can’t control myself when it comes to anything black sesame. Perhaps due to the whole wheat flour used, the sponge cake was very crumbly and fell apart very easily. But who cares (ok, I’m just biased)! I particularly love the buttercream frosting which was so light and smooth.

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Never, I repeat, NEVER miss out on Cedele’s cakes! Many have raved about the Carrot Walnut Cake but as you can likely tell, it’s not my favourite since I’m not that into the cream cheese frosting. Anyway, this is one of the few guilt-free places where you can have your cake and eat it too!

 

Cedele
#B1-37, Ngee Ann City
6235 2380

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Mont Calzone

What’s a girls’ night out without a leisurely dinner and lots of carbs/sugar thrown in for good measure? The waitress advised us to get a pasta and pizza to share but no thanks, we just needed pasta desperately to satisfy our craving. Anyway, clear photos had to take a backseat to ambience here as the place was so dim.

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Polpa di Granchio ($16.90++): A heaping portion of spaghetti tossed with sauteed crab meat, tomato sauce, garlic and fresh cherry tomatoes. Need I say more? I can taste see why this is one of the house specials!

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All’ Arrabbiata ($12.90++) with Porcini Mushroom Tortellini (additional $3++): A little kick is always welcome so I requested for an extra dose of fresh chilli just to up the heat a notch. And it turned out awesome with those adorable stuffed dumplings which were firm but not too hard. Plenty of chopped garlic though so if you are on a date, you may want to take a rain check on this to avoid garlic breath!

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Maybe it was the waitress’s raves about the pizza dough. Or maybe it was the title of “signature dessert”. Whatever it was that prompted us to order the Calzone al Nocciola ($9.50++), I sorely regretted the choice. Outer shell was hard and the calzone was sparingly filled with hazelnut flavoured chocolate (think Nutella). Far from the oozing scenario I had in mind. Vanilla gelato don’t merit a mention as well. Overpriced, over-rated and underperformed?

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All is not lost though. Determined to give desserts another chance, we went for the Tiramisu ($8.50++) which was relatively so much better! I was delighted with the smooth mascarpone mousse infused with spirit and thick layer of cocoa powder (be careful, my friend almost choked on it!). Only grouse was that the savioardi biscuits were so dry that I suspect that they were not soaked with espresso at all.

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Next time, I’ll just splurge all my calories on the great pasta and forsake the desserts, though the tiramisu may tempt me yet again. Of course, with such affordable price tags, don’t go expecting the best but you can be assured it won’t be the worst either!

 

Mont Calzone
38, Pekin Street
#01-01, Far East Square
6557 2304

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Tampopo Deli

Who can resist a bakery helmed by Japanese? For just a few minutes, I felt like I was in Japan as the Japanese staff introduced some of the cakes to me. Hah, cheap thrill, I know.

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Without hesitation, I picked out Mont Blanc ($6) since I’m a fan of chestnuts. This version is not bad! Generous amount of sweet chestnut puree, very light fresh cream and a chocolate coated chestnut at its core. The only fault I could find was the tart which was so hard that I almost broke the  disposable fork in my attempt to cut it! So don’t be overeager like me! Better to let it sit in room temperature for awhile. Anyway, just for the record, my favourite is still the one from Rive K ki (updated: K ki wins. Hands down!).

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The Cream Puff ($2.60) is so popular that it gets sold out almost instantly when a fresh batch is baked every hour! Personally, I don’t see what the fuss is all about. Granted, the pastry did look very appealing with its crisp golden exterior.

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I know people who love the puff for its custard cream but I didn’t take to it for that very same reason (fans of the puff will probably think I’m crazy!). The custard cream was a tad too strong and milky for me.

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This is a delightful no frills delicatessen with many more cakes and pastries to try! Note to self: get the Matcha Chiffon SOON.

 

Tampopo Deli
#B1-16, Liang Court Shopping Centre
6338 7386

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To say that I was surprised when I received an interview request from The New Paper is a mild understatement. No offense, but I thought TNP was a little slow in jumping on the “Obolo fiasco” bandwagon as the whole issue was so last week. Nevertheless, this is a more in-depth piece compared to the Straits Times article. Worth taking a look if you have a copy of it.

What I find more interesting is that the owner of Obolo said that “The words I used were based on facts” and “her choice of words was emotional” when asked about the difference between my choice of words and his. FYI, I used “sickeningly sweet” and he used “deformed” and “very pathetic quality. He also added that “Ms Ong’s comment was misleading” regarding my likening of the filling in his macarons to jam.

Well, I beg to differ.

1. How can “pathetic quality” or “deformed” be factual? What is deformed to you may be perfect to me. It’s a matter of perception.

2. Personally, I find “pathetic” to be more emotional than “sickeningly”. Doesn’t it seem more insulting? Hmm. Imagine someone says the cake you bake is pathetic. Ouch.

3. Like I said earlier, of course I know that no jam was used. I didn’t write “the filling in the macarons IS jam”. Readers won’t be so easily misled by the word “jam”, please.

Sometimes, I really really love English. It’s all a play on words. Fascinating!

P/S: Below are just excerpts, not the full report.

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Umami #3

Wait wait, before you go “What? Umami again?!”, let me say that it’s rare for me to go to the same place for lunch for 2 consecutive days. I just like the vibe of the restaurant; classy yet casual.  Plus, the good service is a draw too. The staff remember us and let us have the same comfy booth for all 3 visits (of course, it helps that the place is not crowded during lunch time!).

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As part of the Gindara Fish & Eel Rice Set ($18nett), I get a small side dish of Braised Black Cod with boiled seasonal veg. This was tasty! The fish was braised till extremely soft and flavourful.

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The Eel Rice with Half Boiled Egg was very average. Nothing to write home about. I liked the presentation though!

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Compared to the wagyu set ordered on our 1st visit,  the Wagyu with Mozzarella Set ($18nett) was certainly found wanting in terms of portion size. Maybe the management realized how overgenerous they were with the set lunch previously!

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Somehow, Umami is starting to lose its magic for me. Don’t get me wrong, the food is still good, just nothing memorable. Oh well. Ok I promise, this will be my last post on Umami (for a few months, at least!).

Take a look at my 1st and 2nd visit!

 

 

Umami
#01-26, Liang Court Shopping Centre
6333 1166

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Umami #2

Umami has been at the back of my mind ever since the very nice lunch the other day. This time, we went for the $25++ Special Lunch Menu as I wanted to try the desserts. There’s a few choices available for appetizer, main and dessert.

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I know I can’t expect too much since this is a set lunch but the portion of Assorted Sashimi Umami Style was so small, it was laughable. I mean really tiny portion, like miniscule. The salmon and tuna were fresh but I didn’t like the ika (squid). It was too rubbery and hard to chew.

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The Salmon & Vegetables fared slightly better but then, it’s hard to screw up steamed salmon right? 3 pieces of salmon paired with cabbage, tofu and mushroom stacked in a wooden box made this lovely to look at.

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For mains, it’s Assorted Tempura with Udon. The former wasn’t oily at all but variety was sorely lacking: only 1 prawn, mushroom, onion and seaweed. That’s all. I suppose the bowl of udon is there to fill the stomach up but it got boring eating plain udon after awhile.

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Finally, something to rave about: the Grilled Sanma! What really impressed me (besides the taste, of course) is that the chef was so thoughtful to separate the meat from the bones. So, all I have to do is to pop the fresh saury into the mouth without worrying about any embedded bones.

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I was pleasantly surprised when the captain came over and thanked me for my review on HGW. Turned out that she remembers me as I’m the only customer who requests for the rice to be replaced with Fresh Salad everytime I dine here. The power of salad!

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Luckily, the desserts didn’t disappoint! Otherwise, I’d have regretted ordering the set lunch today. I’m naturally biased towards anything black sesame but the Homemade Kurogoma Brulee won our approval fair and square with its light texture and not-as-intense-as-I’d-have-liked sesame fragrance.

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I wasn’t expecting to like the Homemade Custard Pudding (not really a fan) but this was good! It wasn’t too rich or milky; just nice for a light dessert after lunch.

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Service was still as attentive as usual. Though some of the items were disappointing in terms of portions and variety, it’s still a value for money lunch with the DBS 1-for-1 deal!

 

Umami
#01-26, Liang Court Shopping Centre
6333 1166

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