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Archive for September, 2010

Awfully Chocolate

Awfully Chocolate has already been around for 12 long years and it’s apparently still going strong, bravo to that! I’ve never tried any of their desserts before, mainly cuz it used to merely sell takeaway whole cakes which I’m not interested in. Recently, the concept boutiques offer more choices with a couple of tables for in-house dining so this time, I went all out for chocolate chocolate chocolate~

First on agenda: the awfully hei 黑 ice cream ! $3.80++ for a single scoop of premium sugar rush, packed in a cute paper holder.

This is a blend of their house chocolate with Belgian 70% dark chocolate and the low air content makes this rich enough to please me. And thanks to the pure cream, eggs and milk in the ingredient list, the creamy texture is <3! I wish I have a pint (or two) with me now…

Second on agenda: Super Stacked Chocolate Cake. This is sold by weight ($6.50 per 100g) and you can tell how “professional” the staff’s skill of cutting cake is by looking at the photo below -___-

Though the presentation fails in my book, the taste makes up for it. The cake itself is pretty normal, just soft sponge sandwiching too-thin layers of fudge. Simplicity is the word here and the best part to me is the moist outer fudgy fudge coating!

Third on agenda: Cold Poached Chocolate ($7.10).

I find that the texture is a cross between a soft mousse and ice cream. Whatever it is, it’s sure to send you into chocolate coma cuz it’s so dense and intensely rich.

Note that the liqueur cream on top is optional. I didn’t know that till I received the bill. Mine was with honey malt whiskey cream and given a choice, I would just order the plain poached chocolate ($5.60) cuz the cream was well, just not my kind of thing. I actually scrapped it all off to better enjoy the chocolate buried underneath =)

Fourth and last on agenda: Hand cut Chocolate truffles!

Dark chocolate truffles ($13 per 100g) and kahlua bars ($15 per 100g) are sold by weight. Just to give you a gauge, the two small pieces below cost $4.80.

These didn’t elicit any excited response from me after I popped them into my mouth. Just normal truffles and sadly, they didn’t have that melt-in-the-mouth effect. Sigh, I’m spoilt by the truffles from Europe~

With that, my monthly weekly quota for chocolate has been filled, phew. While I’m not exactly a big fan of the cakes and truffles, that fabulous hei ice cream is going to keep me going back for more!

 

Awfully Chocolate
#01-156 VivoCity 
6410 9725

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Macarune’s Macarons

Danielle from Macarune organised a bake sale last Sunday and though I submitted my name a second too late after all the orders were filled, the kind lady managed to assemble a box for me, yay~ A box of 15 handmade gems cost $30 and flavours differ for each round of Macarune Variety Pack Sales (MVPS).

Flavours of the day:

Caramel fleur de sel

Coconut passion fruit

Cafe avec Bailey’s

Cookies + cream

Cranberry white chocolate

The delicate shells are fluffy enough, though I won’t go so far and call them “light as air”. Taste-wise, the salted caramel flavour is our favourite cuz the fleur de sel (French for “Flower of Salt”) helps to cut down the sweetness, followed closely by the refreshing combination of coconut passion fruit. The coffee macarons would be more outstanding if the hint of Bailey’s is stronger and the other 2 flavours are just so-so since I’ve never liked cookies & cream and white chocolate in the first place.

Of course, Pierre Hermé has spoilt me for all others so naturally, my expectations are higher. While these are good, I still prefer Jewels’ macarons just that slightly more, since PH is still very much a dream in Singapore~

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Gattopardo

Joining sister restaurants Garidbaldi and Gunther’s, Gattopardo is the latest baby of the Garibaldi Group of restaurants. Nestled within Fort Canning Park, it specialises in southern Italian cuisine and seafood that’s freshly air-flown almost daily from Italy.

I love the stuffed sardines ($24++)! A thin slice of boneless sardine is brilliantly wrapped around a mixture of pine nuts, baked black olives, bread crumbs and raisins. That said, this may turn off those who don’t have a high tolerance of sardines’ natural fishiness.

Mood really does play a big role in eating! Somehow, I didn’t care much for pasta that day so the angel hair pasta with grey mullet “bottarga” roe and sea urchin ($30++) was just average to me.

The house signature seafood stew ($38++) came in a steaming hot terracotta pot that’s bigger than my face, haha. This was very tomatoey and flavourful, and hearty without being overwhelmingly so. I can imagine how comforting this will be on a cold winter night!

My usual tiramisu was forsaken for the Cannolo Siciliano ($14++) cuz I’ve read plenty of raves about this traditional Sicilian dessert. Though I’m not a fan of the sweet ricotta cheese, this was surprisingly not too heavy and the crispy espresso-infused wafer and creamy pistachio gelato won me over.

Initially, I thought the crumbled vanilla shortbread with chocolate sorbet ($12++) was a tad boring. But the potent combination of tangy citrus cream and rich dark chocolate proved to be a winner~

Though still in her infancy, Gattopardo is already a keeper!

 

Gattopardo
The Legends Fort Canning Park
11 Canning Walk 
6338 5498

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Tom’s Palette

Tom’s Palette is still one of the most (if not the most) affordable ice cream parlors in Singapore. Typical small, medium and large cups ($2.80, $3.70 and $4.70 respectively), choose 2 flavours per cup, and NTU, SMU students get 10% off, awesome~ There’s a mind-boggling number of flavours (cuz a new one is introduced every month) and though I’ve been there numerous times in the past, I still haven’t manage to try all of them!

I always get the coffee, chocolate stout, rum & raisin if I can. This time I had the latter two cuz coffee wasn’t available ($3.70, medium cup). Rum & raisin is still one of the best ones I’ve ever tried but that day’s particular batch of chocolate stout seemed somewhat watered down and not as potent as I remember it to be.

Granny’s Favourite (chocolate, malt and cookie dough) is one of the bestsellers and I think there’s gonna be a protest if the good people at Tom’s Palette ever take it off the menu, lol. Melt & Sizzle invokes memory of childhood cuz of the huge chunks of “popping candy” chocolate in it. Very old school and retro~

Somehow, I wasn’t satisfied after licking the cups clean… So no choice but to get another cup =)

Chocolate sorbet is decent but doesn’t taste as dark as it looks. And look, I’ve found another new favourite: Black Swirl — a lovely concoction of black glutinous rice in rich coconut, nice!

Happy as can be!

 

Tom’s Palette
100 Beach Road
#01-25 Shaw Leisure Gallery 
6296 5239 / 9070 7701

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Dezato Dessert Bar

I was doing a “spring cleaning” of my photo folders when I came across these photos taken a long long time ago at Dezato Dessert Bar. I think I went there in January this year so this is a review 9 months too late~ My memory of the food there is hazy at best, but I remember clearly that I left the place feeling sort of underwhelmed. Not that the food is not good; it’s just average to me and somehow, authenticity is lacking. Pricing is ultra affordable though, no GST or service charge so value for money is what you get here.

The kaiseki set meal changes monthly and I was most interested in the sesame mousse (!!!) from the Hana Kaiseki ($60) menu so I ordered it ala carte. Somewhat like the soybean milk-sesame mousse from Nadaman, this was just as smooth and had a more intense sesame flavour.

Another item I had from the kaiseki menu was the simmered yam manjyu which was bland, to which the staff responded with a lame “oh, it’s for vegetarians” -__-

Lots of bento sets are available. I picked the Unagi & Ebi Furai Set ($16.90) cuz I wanted eeeeeeeeeel~ I’ve said it before, I’ve got a low standard for grilled eel so it’s usually delicious to me. This came with deep fried breaded shrimp (tasted suspiciously like frozen food), chawanmushi, salmon rice, pickles and miso soup.

Wateishoku ($18.90): assorted tempura, sashimi, salmon teriyaki and deep fried chicken served with rice, pickles and miso soup.

Ironically, I didn’t get desserts even though Dezato is a dessert bar cuz the savoury ain’t encouraging enough to tempt me to stay for the sweets…

 

Dezato Dessert Bar
20 Lorong Telok
6532 1284

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Wild Rocket at Mount Emily

After a two-year hiatus, a sudden whim brought me back to Wild Rocket at Mount Emily. The cuisine is coined “Mod Sin” (modern Singaporean) by chef-owner Willin Low and most of the dishes are inspired by the flavours of hawker food or what’s familiar to our taste buds since young. I remember having a delicious meal here once when the fusion hype was going on. But this time, though the ideas sound great and really yummy on paper (you’ll see as you read on), the execution fell short of expectations sadly.

My starter of stir-fried shiitake “noodles” on grilled polenta ($13.80++) was pretty bland and heavy cuz of the creamy gorgonzola truffle sauce. And the truffle fragrance was totally masked by the strong cheesy seasoning.

The savoury tang yuan consommé ($12.80++) was über salty and the stuffed rice ball with mixed seafood had a very thick and chewy skin.

Without trying too hard, the chilean seabass with winged bean and chin cha lok fermented shrimp salsa ($33.80++) was the best dish of the night. The hint of heat was just right and the fish was roasted nicely. 

On the other hand, the duck confit with mom’s yam cake and plum mustard sauce ($35++) didn’t pass muster. Too dry and the skin ain’t crispy. I like yam cakes that have solid and dense texture rather than soft and sticky ones, and these are good! Nothing unlike the ones found in hawker centres though.

Another creation that appears like a must-get from the menu: salted caramel kaya banofee pie ($12++). Doesn’t that sound like a dream?

I love the combi but alas, less than midway through, the whole concoction got too creamy and left a nauseating oily mouthfeel. But that’s just me, I have a low tolerance for cream! If only the cream is replaced with ice cream.. Now, that would be a dream dessert~

The trio of flowers: osmanthus, chrysanthemum and elderflower granita and jello ($10++) is a more “atas” form of ice jelly. Frankly, I like the $2.50 version in hawker centres better cuz: 1. there’s more jelly; 2. the ice crystals are not as coarse; and 3. it’s four times cheaper! =)

Wild Rocket at Mount Emily
10A Upper Wilkie Road
6339 9448

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Holland: Ode to Keukenhof

Keukenhof in The Netherlands is a flower wonderland and it’s definitely the crown jewel in Holland’s tulip crown. This is the largest flower garden park and perhaps, the most famous and photographed place in the world. This spring garden is only open for 6 to 8 weeks every year, attracting almost 1 million visitors during this short span of time.

My Europe trip was planned with Keukenhof in mind and I was determined to see the Dutch tulips in their blooming glory, even if it meant flying off on the day of my very last paper (yay!) in university. As it is, after spending much beloved days in London, Paris and Belgium, I barely made it in time as I was there only on the second last day before it closed for the year.

There’s different themes every year and for 2010, it’s “From Russia with Love”. 7 million bulbs of tulips, crocuses, hyacinths, daffodils and other spring flowers have been planted in the 32 hectare park. To give you an idea how huge the garden is, I spent almost 7 hours there and still didn’t manage to see everything!

No words are adequate to describe the beauty of Keukenhof. Colours, colours, colours… It’s a riot of vibrant colours and a photographer’s dream. No photoshop was applied to these lovely photos, what you see is exactly what you get. Enjoy! 

Disclaimer: I’m not into flowers, never has been and never will be. They are pretty things that I can do without but I feel that Keukenhof is one of those places you ought to go at least once in your life =)

So… why not next year? In 2011, “Germany: Land of Poets and Philosophers” has been chosen as the theme and the park will be opened from 24 March to 20 May daily.

Directions from Amsterdam: take the train to Schiphol and from there, board the bus to Keukenhof using the Connexxion’s all-in Combi-ticket. It’s an entrance/return bus ticket to Keukenhof which I think is great cuz it brings you directly to the main gate and you can just enter directly without queuing.

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