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Archive for November, 2011

Peyton and Byrne.. Another lovely bakery found in London!

Conveniently located near King’s Cross station, we came here for a light morning tea before boarding the train to Cambridge.

Unit 11, The Undercroft, St. Pancras International

Their signature fig rolls are already in my to-eat list from the moment I stepped in!

Apple and blackberry cake, anyone?

Or how about these cute little individual sponge cakes?

Our unanimous favourite: the traditional Victoria Sponge! Really gorgeous, so light and moist!

As you can probably guess from its name, this is named after Queen Victoria, who loved having this for her afternoon tea. I don’t think you can find this English classic in Singapore~

Welsh honey + brown sugar + lots of luscious fig filling = deliciously gooey fig rolls, yummy!

Bakewell tart, one of Britain’s famous teatime treats that can be traced back to medieval times. Soft frangipane layered with 60% fruit raspberry jam and sprinkled with almonds.

Poppy seed cake.. Triple layered sponge, homemade lemon curd centre, citrus fondant topping.

Lemon zing cake, as good as it looks above (4th pic)! So tangy that it’s not hard to believe that it’s made from fresh whole lemon.

Ok, tried and tested. This is the place to go for a taste of true British baking!

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Ochre

With the 1-for-1 coupon from last week’s Sunday Times, our 4-course dinner ($68+) at Ochre was great value for money!

Excellent service as well; we were well pampered from start to end.

Started with the complimentary amuse bouche, mini seared tuna.

Marinated salmon with anchovies.

The spaghetti aglio olio with prawns and mussels was nicely al dente. Ravioli and tortellini are the only type of pasta I really like so it’s a surprise that I actually finished the whole dish!

Default fish dish on the menu: barramundi.

My request to change it to cod was approved, yay me and the chef!

It may be hard to believe, but I haven’t had a tiramisu for weeks! Craving finally satisfied here.

So-so vanilla panna cotta.. More firm than melt-in-the-mouth soft.

Admittedly, the food was just alright, nothing especially memorable. I was very calm throughout; no squeals of excitement at any one time, haha. But really, for that kind of pricing, one could do much worse!

Ochre
#11-03 Orchard Central
6634-0423

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The New Rakuzen

2 years ago, Rakuzen at Millenia Walk was where I met other fellow food bloggers for the first time. I remember liking the food but somehow, I didn’t go back again. Fast forward 2 years, if not for an invitation to lunch at the new branch in the heart of Tampines, I wouldn’t have “rekindled” my relationship with Rakuzen!

As you can see from the photos, the restaurant is very bright and spacious, suitable for both corporate and family dining. Browsing through the menu, I spotted some familiar items and best of all, the prices are still as wallet-friendly as before!

My first starter, grilled corn with butter ($5++), arrived sizzling at the table. This may be a simple dish, but watching the butter melt, caramelise and coat each kernel of corn heightens the anticipation before eating! The corn is imported from Japan so you can be assured that it’s gonna be sweet.

The himatsubishi ($5++) or fried burdock makes a really addictive snack. My mom cooks burdock regularly at home so I know how difficult it is to cut the woody and hard root into smaller pieces. Kudos to the chef who’s able to slice it so thinly! The julienned root vegetables are coated with potato floor, then deep-fried until golden and crispy.

Fugu mirin boshi (dried puffer fish) I’ve had plenty before, but ehire or grilled stingray fin ($8++) is a first for me! Love the cuttlefish-like texture and how sweet and savoury this is. Another great appetiser before the mains arrive!

Most people I know are not a fan of mackerel because of its distinctive strong fishy flavour. Give mame aji tsumami ($8++) a try if you fall into that category too! Served with a wedge of lemon, these deep-fried small horse mackerels are well-seasoned and wonderfully meaty. Just pop the whole mini fish in, bones included!

The sushiya salad ($8++ small, $15++ large) with generous chunks of fresh scallop, salmon and tuna sashimi can be a meal in itself for the ladies who diet. There’s 3 types of sauces to choose from: Rakuzen special (I honestly don’t know what’s that), sesame and wafu. The biased me will tell you to go for the sesame dressing! Absolutely delish.

A key highlight of Rakuzen’s new menu is the special broiled section which features a selection of items that are blow-torched at the table to give the dish a distinctive charred flavour.

And it’s such an awesome visual gimmick! I love it.

A must-try is the fire mackerel ($16++), the signature item! The saba fish is marinated for at least 2 hours with rice wine vinegar and wrapped in konbu before being torched at the table. It’s so tangy and appetising, I can finish the whole thing by myself!

My favourite dish of the day? Hands down, the moeyo unagi roll ($18++)! So fatty and soft, this is one dish I’ll keep going back for.

After tasting so many fantastic okonomiyaki in Osaka, I have to say that Rakuzen’s homemade rendition ($10++) didn’t impress me. The whole pancake came across as too soft without a crisp exterior.

Out of the 4 sushi I tried, only the aburi toro was love. It melted in my mouth! Thin cut with a lot of rice as fillers, the rest (i.e. salmon, roe and sea bass) was pretty forgettable. I’m still missing the sushi I had in Tokyo earlier this month, ahhh.

Like most Japanese restaurants in Singapore, the dessert section is secondary and rather limited. Ice cream seems to be the best bet as Rakuzen brings them in from Japan.

Black sesame and yuzu ice cream.. Always a pleasure!

Many thanks to Noelle from Sixth Sense Consultancy for the kind invitation, and Shauna for hosting lunch!

Rakuzen
300 Tampines Avenue 5
#01-01 NTUC Income Building
6786 8484

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I’m bringing Pierre Hermé’s macarons again, from Paris this time!

 The last time I brought these back with minimal damage (look at the pic below), it was summer and the new flavours include licorice & violetmint & sweet peas, asaparagus & hazelnut oil and the not-so-new ones were olive oil & vanilla, jasmine flower & tea, pistachio and carrot, orange & cinnamon.

Since it’s fall-turning-winter this time, I think there are going to be a few seasonal flavours different from the ones stated above. I’m praying for the killer white truffle flavour! Anyway, I’m pretty sure the regulars will still be around, i.e. milk chocolate & passion fruit, pure Venezuela dark chocolate, salted-butter caramel and rose.

So, if you are interested in getting a box or two (or anything else from Paris), email me now! I’m only taking limited orders so this is on a first-come, first-served basis.

***

Note: This is a re-post as the spree was cancelled the other time (last minute decision had me heading for Istanbul instead of Paris). Hopefully, my trip there next week will go on as planned and I can bring these goodies back!

Price: $75 for a box of 12, fixed flavours depending on availability, one of each.

What’s included: whatever is given upon purchase, i.e. paper bag, original box, catalogue and whatnot.

Date of macarons’ arrival: 2nd December 2011. I do not wish to further compromise the taste and freshness of the macarons so if you can’t collect them on 2nd, please do not order.

Mode of collection: Mass meetup at central area, venue/time to be confirmed later.

Payment mode: POSB/DBS Internet Banking or ATM Transfer. No interbank transfer.

Deadline: All orders and payments have to be made by 28th November 2011, 7pm.

Send in your order(s) with subject “Paris Macarons – Confirmed” to qiuyi_ong@hotmail.com using the format below:

Full Name (real name):
Contact number:
Bank/Acct no:
Quantity:

Terms and conditions (read carefully!)
– Only paid orders will be taken.
– No cancellation of order is allowed once payment is made.
– Full refund will be given if spree is cancelled or I can’t buy the macarons for whatever reason.
– If GST is incurred, all participants will share the cost.
– For enquiries, please email me at qiuyi_ong@hotmail.com

Lastly, please do not join if you’re uncomfortable with the T&Cs. Thank you!

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Markets, be it open farmers’ market or wet markets or even supermarkets, are my favourite places to explore while overseas. The smells, the sights, and the tastes are food for the my soul~

Nishiki Market (錦市場) in central Kyoto is so colourful and vibrant; I just love it! This may not be a must-go for the regular tourist, but for a foodie traveller, Nishiki Market ranks pretty high on my itinerary!

Because there’s so many stalls and restaurants, it pays to do a little research prior to the trip. Below are my top 3 eats at the market!

#1: Savory dashimaki tamago and umaki (unagi + tamago) at Miki Keiran (三木鸡卵).

Initially, we only bought the umaki to try but omg, the omelette is so fluffy and soft that we headed back immediately for another box of the plain one this time. This is the best tamago ever! So so sooo delicious that my sis and I still reminisce about it sometimes, sigh.

#2: Soymilk donuts at Konnyamonja (こんなもんじゃ), a little shop specialising in all things tofu and soy.

Wait for the latest batch of donuts to be freshly scooped out of the hot oil and eat them while they’re still piping hot. We love the plain ones sprinkled with soybean flour and served with brown sugar syrup!

#3: Purple yam soft serve ice cream at a random vegetable stall.

Purple yam is the only flavour available so I imagine they use fresh yam to make the soft serve. Creamy and light, this is very sweet potato-ish, I likey!

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Los Angeles: Pinkberry

Frozen pumpkin yogurt from Pinkberry ❤ I loaded mine with blackberries, raspberries, almonds and pomegranate seeds!

21157 Hawthorne Boulevard, Torrance

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Tokyo: Midori Sushi

Love the morning rush scene at Shinjuku station! Especially when I don’t need to rush like them, hahaha.

First meal in Tokyo started with sushi, last meal also had to end with sushi. I swear, the rice I consumed in Japan for a few days is much more than the amount I eat in Singapore for a year!

Though it was barely noon, Midori Sushi ( 美登利寿司) was packed to the brim! We managed to snag the last table, yay!

 Shibuya Mark City East 4F, Dogenzaka 1-12-3, Shibuya-ku

I looked around and everyone seems to be having a platter of sushi in front of them so each of us ordered a set too!

Suddenly felt like eating more so we also had the unagi-cucumber-tamago roll from the ala carte menu! Niceeee.

Our “Ultimate Sushi Assortment” set came with chawanmushi and crab liver salad~ Incredibly value for money at ¥2,100!

Omg, I LOVE the crab liver salad!! The menu says “crab liver” but I think they mean crab roe. No matter, it’s freaking good though the grey mess looks unappetising, haha.

Moving on to the sushi! All my favourites were present: anago (saltwater eel), ebi (prawn), hotate (scallop), kani (crab leg), otoro (tuna belly), tamago (omelette), uni (sea urchin) etc.

There was minimal talking at our table cuz we were too busy savouring the sushi! Every piece had me sighing and wishing I can have this type of quality yet inexpensive sushi in Singapore!

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