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Archive for November, 2010

I always manage to find a new flavour I like at Tom’s Palette. This time, it’s Mocha Mac Nuts! Almonds and macadamia nuts are painstakingly roasted, then coated with white chocolate, before adding in the aromatic coffee mixture. I really love how nutty this is!

As usual, I tried all the flavours available for the day! Outstanding flavours include: 

Salty Yuzu (above and below), I like for the tangy-salty flavour tease on the taste buds;

Salted Egg Yolk is literally like eating frozen mooncake; 

Summer Berries tastes ribena-y (below); 

and there’s Truffle Juice and Truffle Oil, which are much too savoury for me. The truffle flavours will be discontinued soon (due to high cost involved!) so head on down to Tom’s Palette before it’s too late!

I hear Chestnut Brandy will be one of the Christmas flavours launching next month!! *excited*

 

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

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Lucerne is such a culinary gem! Not only did I found my favourite chocolatier there, I’ve tasted the best-ever-in-my-life humble iconic Swiss rösti at Wirtshaus Galliker, a charming old-style tavern passionately run by the Galliker family since 1856.

Schützenstrasse 1 (on the corner of Hirschengraben and Schützenstrasse, near the Kasernenplatz)

All eyes were on us the moment we stepped into the homely rustic restaurant. I’m guessing that’s cuz we were the only Asians there and perhaps, they don’t get that many Asian diners. Whatever the case, service was excellent, very warm and friendly! The motherly waitresses made sure we were well-fed and the owner regaled us with tales of his trip to Singapore many years ago. These people (and the food, of course) made our meal here incredibly enjoyable!

Now, this is what I came for.

10/10, this rösti is that good! Perfectly fried to a deep golden-brown hue, and so crisp on the outside with a soft airy texture inside. Love this to the max! 

Another Swiss soul food is the veal bratwurst. With more rösti, yay!

We also had a hearty risotto with chicken breast cooked in white wine sauce and for some decorative greens on the table, a huge helping of tuna salad too.

If you ever go to Lucerne, do make a point to drop by this place. All the food we ordered was well-prepared, unpretentious and served in such traditionally generous portions! Happy =)

As if our meal at Wirtshaus Galliker was not roll-me-out-the-door filling, I had to have ice cream after that too! Gosh, my stomach capacity does amaze myself sometimes haha. Here’s introducing Heini, a popular confectionery chain serving Feine Torten (fine cakes)!

Löwenplatz 9

I didn’t want cakes, just something light and sweet to make the sweet tooth happy. So ice cream it is!

While the citrus flavour (above) was too sweet, the sorbet-like strawberry buried under the big scoop of creamy old-school chocolate ice cream was great, very clean and natural-tasting!

Hidden in the pretty backyard of a boutique hotel is the Hofgarten Restaurant. The food here is good, rather light but no less delicious. And it’s a welcome change from all the heavy and unhealthy food we’ve been having lately haha.

Stadthofstrasse 14

I love the tempura-fried Atlantic scallops with curry on quinoa-cereal, watercress and pineapple chutney! I’ve never had anything like this in Singapore before. The combination, I mean. Every bite was bursting with different flavours and textures, and ingredients used were so fresh!

And the red Thai-coconut curry with a medley of colourful vegetables, shiitake mushroom and fresh mango? Simply gorgeous.

The Swiss adventure continues.. To Interlaken next! =)

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First meal at Nogawa left me ambiguous, second visit didn’t change that impression (still a shame about the lackadaisical service), maybe third time’s the charm?

Sushi is Nogawa’s specialty so you can never go wrong with it. I didn’t feel like having any initially though, but the sight (and subsequent taste) of soft buttery uni (sea urchin) tempted me like no other!

Ginkgo nuts ($12++), my love! More bitter, less sweet, these are definitely not as well done as the version from Ooi~

I thought I’m a fan of all eels but apparently not. Chef was right when he warned that the seasonal conger eel ($30++) is literally tasteless.. Even the plum sauce on the side couldn’t save the day.

Guess I’ll just be safe and boring and stick to my beloved anago (salt water eel) next time! =)

Biggest disappointment of the day goes to the grilled ayu fish ($30++) with salt.. The river trout was so dry and didn’t have that unique sweet flavour the fish is known for.

Love these choya jelly ($6++)! Easy to make, and easy to please.

Nogawa Japanese Restaurant
#03-25 Concorde Hotel
6732 2911

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And so the love affair began when I saw the signboard below. This was purely by chance; no prior planning or research involved. It was fate that led me here, LOL. 

“The Most Expensive Chocolates in Switzerland
Max Chocolatier 
Experience Chocolate for the First Time

I entered with part excitement, part trepidation. After all, I’ve never even heard of this chocolate boutique before. And the most expensive chocolates in Switzerland? That’s quite scary, considering how expensive the country is already.

Elegant and refined, that’s the feeling I had upon stepping in. The small store is decked out in warm brown wood tones, with lots of oak fittings and more importantly, chocolates laid out tastefully.

I browsed, I asked, I tasted, and much deliberation later, I bought 2 boxes of exquisite edible gems handmade daily on the second level by the master himself — Fabian Rimann. And they are indeed expensive! I was $100 poorer when I left the store, haha.

These 6 Griottes Kirschen are mind-blowingly awesome! Pop a whole kirsch-soaked cherry enrobed in dark chocolate into the mouth and wow, the flavours of sweet brandy and red berry flavours just burst out~

And these darlings are unable to withstand cabin pressure in the air (they’ll explode!!) so there’s absolutely no way I can have these again without flying to Lucerne. Sad case =(

Miniature works of art are these assorted truffles.

Each one is unique and distinctive in its own right. I particularly love how smooth it melts down the throat and the taste lingers in the mouth long after the chocolate is gone!

My favourite is the Sencha green tea, followed closely by gianduja and raspberry jelly filling, Marc de Champagne, and the brilliant combination of caramel and mango~

I didn’t like all though. These’s a couple that I wouldn’t want to try again, namely the marzipan (never really like that stuff before) and eggnog, which has a weird medicinal taste haha.

Whatever it is, Max makes me happy. My only regret is not buying more!

To compete in the land of chocolate (big names include Nestle, Lindt and Toblerone) and be able to garner a dedicated following among Swiss chocophiles without much fanfare, Fabian Rimann must be doing something right! If you are going to Lucerne, grab a pen and note down this address: Schweizerhofquai 2. I promise you that it’s gonna be an awakening of the taste buds! =)

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Hi! Today is all about my experience in Lucerne, the postcard perfect Swiss city and gateway to central Switzerland.

While crossing the Seebrücke bridge and lugging our heavy luggage from Bahnhofplatz (the train station) to our hotel, the view already took our breath away!

Look! Do you see what I see?

A full rainbow! It appeared just after we emerged from our hotel.

I’ve always loved rainbows cuz I really believe that anything this beautiful must be a prelude to something good to come =)

A stroll along the lakeside promenade brought us right to the most recognised symbol of Lucerne: Kapellbrücke, a.k.a. Chapel Bridge.

It’s quite dull and gloomy inside the covered wooden footbridge. Most of the original paintings depicting the daily activities of the people then were destroyed by a fire many years ago but have since been reproduced. 

Picturesque view of the north bank of the Reuss River from the Chapel Bridge~

Absolutely G.O.R.G.E.O.U.S.

We stayed for quite awhile here, watching kids toss bread crumbs to feed the ever-present swans, and basically just enjoying the scenic beauty~

This is my favourite picture of the Chapel Bridge!

Lucerne is definitely not all about bridges or rivers or mountains. It’s small enough to be easily explored on foot and we didn’t use the public transport at all. Yup, we walked everywhere, from Kapellplatz, Kornmarkt (Old Town Hall Altes Rathaus) and Mühlenplatz (Mills Square), to the Weinmarkt (Wine Market), Hirschenplatz (Stag Square), and Löwenplatz. It’s fun to just wander around the charming streets and alleys!

About a block north of Löwenplatz, we came to this nondescript gate..

Here is the Lion Monument, the resting place of the Dying Lion of Lucerne, carved out of natural rock as an allegorical reference to the heroic Swiss guards who were massacred during the French Revolution.

“The saddest and most moving piece of rock in the world.”

– Mark Twain

Sad poignant lion aside, the shopping scene around Löwenplatz is worth checking out. As is the case for Schwanenplatz, where the famous jeweler Bucherer is located. It was an eye-opener, I’ve never seen watches so expensive! Nearby Bucherer is Confiseur Bachmann, where the chocolates and sweets won’t cost a bomb. But I gave them a miss cuz they look so commercialised and somehow unappealing.

What? Me giving up Swiss chocolates and not having any?! Of course not, this is not the end.. I’ve found my all-time favourite-est chocolatier in Lucerne!

Stay tuned =)

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Vanilla Bar & Cafe

Vanilla Bar & Cafe is one of those cozy places where you can just sit back and relax for hours with friends. That’s exactly what we did. And it helps that the cafe smells so nice! The sweet heavenly scent of vanilla in the air makes me wanna stay, haha~

The menu is a medley of simple Japanese fusion comfort food, like the gyoza ($5.90++)..

.. and the pumpkin croquette ($5.90++). I like these a lot, though they are not homemade (I asked) but outsourced (from where, I do not know cuz I stopped asking, LOL). Super thin batter (meaning more pumpkin, yay!), crispy on the outside and so gooey soft on the inside~

I thought that the Norwegian smoked salmon and egg mayo sandwich ($8.90++) was just so-so. Still loving the one from Freshly Baked!

There’s an option to add $2.50++ for soup of the day to “complete your meal”. I was surprised that all the friends in attendance didn’t like the French onion soup! They thought it was weird, I thought it was ok -shrug-

It’s a good thing that the creamy parmesan prawn linguine ($12.90++) came in a small portion. Otherwise, it’s bound to get too heavy and filling after some time. I found it on the dry side but the prawns were incredibly fresh and crunchy!

Fans of the signature vanilla dirt cake ($8.50++), don’t stone me when I say I didn’t like it at all. Sure, it’s creative (layers of crumbled Oreo “soil” and mascarpone cheese, complete with gummy worms for the visual effect) and it makes such a pretty birthday cake (happy birthday again, Ms Noo!) to pose with, but it’s too creamy and monotonous, so much so that I wish there’s some real sponge cake in it to spice things up haha.

Now this, I like. Molten chocolate cake with French vanilla ice cream ($11.50++). It’s not a lava cake (no flow of molten choc detected), more like an upsized version of the mini cakes from 3 Inch Sin with a pudding-like center that’s so rich, dense and moist! Lovely.

Coincidentally, another table was celebrating a birthday like us and they generously shared their birthday cake from Awfully Chocolate with us =)

This is my first time trying AC’s original whole All Chocolate cake and well, the sponge cake is disappointingly dry. AC’s hei ice cream I still love lots, but not the cakes!

 

Vanilla Bar & Cafe
3 Boon Tat Street 
6423 0366

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Clifford Restaurant

Slightly disappointed.. That’s what I felt upon leaving the newly opened Clifford Restaurant in Fullerton Bay Hotel. I was expecting lunch to be better than good but well, it left me rather underwhelmed. The setting is top-notch though. High ceiling, modern grandeur decor and a great waterfront view~

My starter of compressed watermelon with lobster tail and basil tomato-avocado salad ($22++) turned out to be my favourite dish that day. So clean tasting and refreshing, I love the simplicity of this!

The duo Hokkaido sea scallop and Boston lobster carpaccio with black truffles vinaigrette ($28++) was normal-nice, just nothing to write home about.

The truffled mash potatoes ($9++) arrived in a cute little cast-iron copper pot~ Again, nice but not outstanding. And it did get heavy after a few spoonfuls.

Sigh, I had high hopes for the roasted cod with saffron risotto and parmesan emulsion ($36++) but alas, it was not meant to be. I can handle light dishes but this was far too bland and under-seasoned.

Cakes and pastries, step aside. I’m so in the mood for ice cream these days! Made in house daily, 8 flavours were available that day and insanely enough, I tested all 8~

Ice cream: vanilla, creme fraiche, mascapone and chocolate.

Sorbet: yogurt, coconut, mango lime and apricot.

 A couple of unfortunate ice crystals detected, and while there’s none that I didn’t like, no particular flavour stood out from the pack either. But if I’ve really got to choose, I’d pick the coconut sorbet again cuz I like its tropical intensity =)

At $14++ for 4 small scoops of icy delights, these are not exactly cheap. Then again, premium ambience can be pretty pricey these days.

Clifford Restaurant
Fullerton Bay Hotel
80 Collyer Quay
6597 5288

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