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Archive for September, 2013

Au Chocolat

Dinner at Au Chocolat was an afterthought since our first choice was fully booked on a TGIF night, sigh. That said, our meal at this French-inspired-but-made-in-Singapore bistro was satisfying!

Truffle fries seem to be one of the signatures; almost every table had a faux newspaper cone of synthetically perfumed fried carbs (such a wet blanket description I know haha). Not a fan of truffle fries in the first place so I’m far from qualified to rave or diss it. Friends polished off the chicken tenders and duck confit (read between the lines); K ordered his usual big breakfast (or king’s breakfast, as Au Chocolat put it) and I had a really wonderful handmade shellfish crêpe! Succulent fresh tiger prawns, stewed crab meat, and the chef was kind to agree replacing the flower clams with smoked salmon for me. So that’s essentially all my favourites on a plate (plus, K let me have the avocado from his brekkie dish, score!) –> no wonder I like it : )

Dessert was blah though. We had two orders of the famous frozen hot chocolate without whipped cream (I hate whipped cream!) so it looked less than magnificent. And it was weird, the friends asked for some whipped cream on the side to taste and were rejected. Something either the line of “either you want it or you don’t”, sheesh. Whatever~ Anyway, what made the frozen hot chocolate a “fail” imo are the very obvious bits of ice in it. Amateur blending skills, nothing special, overpriced, skip.

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Truffle Fries ($15++)
strips of crispy potatoes, white truffle oil, truffle sea salt, mayonnaise & BBQ sauce

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Corn-Fed Chicken Tenders ($16++)
strips of chicken breast, bread crumb batter, BBQ sauce

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Au Chocolat King Breakfast ($26++)
pan-fried chicken chipolata sausages, bacon, smoked salmon, black truffle scrambled eggs, grilled tomato, tater tots, sliced avocado, brioche bread with butter

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Savoury Shellfish Fiesta Crêpe ($22++)
tiger prawns, flower clams (not for me!), stewed pacific crab meat, white wine & red shallots cream sauce, homemade garlic pesto, salad with chocolate balsamic vinaigrette

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Duck Confit ($27++)
pan-roasted duck thigh, potato mash, white wine poached pear, tangy chocolate orange sauce

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Au Chocolat Frozen Hot Chocolate ($12++)
chocolate fudge sans whipped cream and chocolate shavings

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Au Chocolat
#01-03, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
2 Bayfront Avenue
6688 7227

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I’m very particular when it comes to Indian cuisine.

It can’t be too oily, too heavy, too sweet, and if you feed me with just curry and prata, I think we can’t be friends.

And because I seldom go for Indian food (an understatement), I like it when the menu has items that’s not so ordinary, such as the broccoli patties and walnut stuffed cottage cheese from Yantra! The latter is a surprise since I dislike anything blatantly cheese-cheese; this is more like a semi-firm piece of tofu filled with crunchy walnuts. +++ points for nice contrasting texture~

If that’s not compelling, how about this outlandish combination: raw oysters with… chilli ice cream?! I love the queer greenish ice cream; it’s like having desserts halfway through a very savoury meal!

I’m easy when it comes to fish — fresh and soft are all I want so my favourite main is definitely the tangy sweet orange marinated cod!

Then of course, with every like there’s a dislike: soft shell crab is too oily; stir fried cheese is too heavy after a few bites; and apricot tart is too sweet –> see what I mean about the three “too something” mentioned above?

Although the solid dessert is awfuldisappointing (sorry chef, I really don’t like your creation), my perfect ending comes in the form of an awesome mango lassi! It may be 5x the price of my usual fix from Tekka Market, but it’s wonderfully thick, creamy and fragrant… I had to stop myself from ordering a third glass haha.

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broccoli fused with cheese and bell peppers with in-house pineapple dip ($29++)

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cottage cheese stuffed with walnut and cooked in tandoor ($29++)

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stir fried paneer cheese with onion rings and black pepper ($25++)

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oysters tossed in tandoori marinade with…

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chilli ice cream!! ($49++)

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garlic, dried tomato and olive naan ($9-14++ each)

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okra dum bhindi, bell peppers($27++)

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fresh cod steeped in orange marinade ($45++)

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black pepper masala soft shell crab ($38++)

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“jammy” apricot tart with fresh cream ($18++)

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Special thanks to Sheryl for inviting and hosting my first (omg!) Indian meal of 2013!

Yantra
#01-28/29 Tanglin Mall
163 Tanglin Road
6836 3088

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Brunching Privé

Last Saturday, K and I had the brilliant idea of poaching eggs for dinner. We started out with an ambitious five, gradually threw away three, and finally ended up with two decent ones. That really made me appreciate the beauty of poached eggs… Such as these lovely ones I had at Privé Cafe awhile back! Super love my choice, basically everything I like on a plate!

Black Beans & Eggs ($18++)
2 sunny-side up poached eggs (I’m not me if I don’t attempt to change at least one of the items eh?), black bean ragout, jalapeños, crispy baby squid, smoked salmon (additional $4++)

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Both guys chose the predictable…

Privé’s Ultimate Brekkie ($20++)
2 scrambled eggs, 6-inch chicken Frankfurter (they ran out of this so double servings of bacon instead!), maple-roasted bacon, roasted Roma tomato, sautéed button mushrooms, potato rosti & homemade wholemeal toast

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2010 was my first visit to Privé with BFF. Feels good that my second visit 3 years later is still with her, cheers! I’m sure we will come back together again 3 more years later~

Homestyle Pancakes ($13++)
fluffy pancake stack, strawberries, bananas, maple syrup, honeycomb & whipped cream

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Have a happy weekend! : )

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Privé Café
2 Keppel Bay Vista
GF Marina at Keppel Bay
6776 0777

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It’s a good thing that we ain’t hungry when we had our breakfast (yes, for the first time we were up so early that it’s still breakfast and not brunch!!) at Anthesis, a brand new café along the river at Robertson Quay. If we didn’t already had our first breakfast at home before this second one (we have healthy appetites haha), I’d be one really unhappy and hungry girl…

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It’s a sign when even the water tin cups (imprinted with Anthesis logo, nice!) are smaller than my palms (I have small hands, by the way)…

Macchiato ($4)

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When this came, we had a moment of silence. Then K’s candid “waaa I don’t know what I’m paying for. Décor and toilet?” made me burst out laughing. The serving was pathetic.. Maybe snacking portion? Pale scrambled eggs which needed a lot of black pepper, one slice of smoked salmon, two mini toast soldiers, and I don’t understand what are the cheapo crispy noodles doing there, weird.

Smoked Salmon Scrambled Eggs ($16)
avocado, toast

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I wish Anthesis can get their menu right. It’s a sandwich. It’s an open-faced sandwich. There’s a difference. Obviously my tuna tataki sandwich is the latter, when I was actually expecting the former. I’ve got nothing to fault on its taste, but to top up $2 for one thin slice of dark rye (which was delicious) because it’s supposedly “premium”? Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice? Won’t happen!

Tuna Tataki Sandwich ($18)
avocado salsa, dark rye (additional $2)

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Anthesis Boulangerie, Bistro & Café
86 Roberson Quay
6737 9873

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2 years ago, I found Onaka and made it a 2012 resolution to try everything on its menu. But as you know, resolutions never work (well done for you if you do keep them!) and anyway, Onaka shut its Rochester doors. So I was real happy when a brand new Onaka opened at ARC! And even happier when an invitation came my way, haha.

Short for Optimum Nutrition and Kitchen Arts (such a mouthful), Onaka serves wholesome food without compromising on taste. I rarely leave a tasting session feeling “wow, I MUST go back there again!” but that’s exactly what I felt when lunch ended. It helps too, that I’m somewhat of a health freak who gets excited over chia seeds, quinoa and tempeh so Onaka’s food is right up my alley. Almost everything we tried was above average; especially after learning how much effort it takes to produce every single dish!

For a unique starter, the creative blood red maguro-lookalike watermelon sashimi is a must! Trust me, you will be in for a surprise. Healthy meal means greens are involved and the tofu avocado salad may seem boring but guess what, the tofu is made to mimic feta cheese! Interesting right! Seafood barley risotto has a wonderfully potent crustacean stock, almost like a rich lobster bisque. Got to admit though, replacing arborio rice with chewy barley is not for everyone since the texture is totally different. Either you love it or hate it : ) Meat eaters will love the slow cooked beef and duck crepes; the rest of us can enjoy the pear & salmon, a dish which has to be mixed and tossed into an ugly but delicious mess. Pumpkin sea bass is the most underwhelming; pretty normal imo. Desserts are hit and miss; I will go for the avocado chocolate mousse over banana pastillas (I just don’t fancy bananas) any day. My photo of coconut in coconut v2.0 is quite useless since it only shows a coconut husk haha. Just imagine mango pomelo sago 杨枝甘露 okie?

It’s quite unlike me to write such a long post these days (yes, even for invited tastings) but I really really really like Onaka! I’ve been back with K for brunch (tofu scramble, anyone?) and he’s hooked too so I’m pretty sure we will be back regularly, yay!

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Watermelon Sashimi ($10++)
sous vide watermelon, kombu, agar wasabi “tobiko”, daikon-tamari dip

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Tofu Avocado Salad ($14++)
soy brined tofu, avocado, mesclun, walnut, sprouts, hazelnut-tamari dressing

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Maritime Barley Risotto ($23++)
mussels, prawns, conpoy, crustacean broth, lime foam

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48 Hour Beef ($33++)
48-hour slow cooked, grass fed tasmanian “cape grim” flat iron steak, asian greens, spiced wine reduction, baked sweet potato fries

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Pear & Salmon ($22++)
seared 47°C salmon, asian pear julienne, soft boiled egg, spring onions, pine nuts, sesame-soy dressing

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Duck Pancake ($26++)
duck confit, turmeric crepes, five spices, orange caramel, asian herbs

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Pumpkin Sea Bass ($25++)
roasted pumpkin seed crusted sea bass, haricot vert salad, smoked tomato puree

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Banana Pastillas ($10++)
phyllo pastry, cinnamon roasted bananas, berries, maple syrup, walnuts, banana and cardamom ice cream

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Coconut in Coconut v2.0 ($10++)
coconut jelly, pomegranate sago, mango puree, adzuki beans, lime granita

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Avo-Choco Emotion ($12++)
eggless, dairy free, avocado and valrhona chocolate mousse layers, dehydrated banana chips

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Special thanks to Dawn for the invitation and Chef Jason for hosting such a delicious lunch! I’ll be back again and again!!

Onaka Restaurant & Wine Bar
#01-32, Alexandra Retail Centre
460 Alexandra Road
6270 2012

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Mellben Seafood

If you ask me whether is it worth queuing almost 2 hours for a table at Mellben Seafood, my answer is a resounding “NO!!!”!

Yet I’ve done it.

Twice.

First visit was when K’s family wanted to celebrate a birthday there so I tagged along. Second time was last Sunday when my dear mom wanted to satisfy her “I want to see what Mellben is all about” craving/curiosity. My strategy of “okie, we can go but go early cuz I don’t want to queue” was a flop — the line was already way too long when we arrived at 5.30pm… 5.30pm! Who eats dinner so early nowadays?! Anyway, I got into the queue obediently, psycho-ed the family to give up (“let’s go to Putien instead!”) but failed, was seated after 7pm, and finally dinner was served at a quarter to eight, phew. Food usually tastes pretty darn good when you are hungry, and this was no exception. Our orders of deep fried tofu, rojak chicken, king pork ribs, yam ring and salted egg yolk prawns were wiped out fast, and then came the highlights — two fatty meaty crabs! One drenched with butter, and the other was the famed claypot crab bee hoon~ Both were excellent, especially the latter though I reckon the soup is MSG laden. To summarize my long and whiny story above in three words?

GO VERY EARLY.

P.S. I changed my mind. Highlight of the meal was K peeling all the crabs/prawns for me. My hands were clean from start to end =D

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Mellben Seafood
#01-1222, 232 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3
6285 6762

I took awhile to decide which category to place Mellben… It’s definitely “Once is (more than) Enough” if I have to queue more than 30mins; but if someone is doing the queuing and all I have to do is show up and dig in (dream on haha), then it’s “Don’t Mind Going Back”. So… “Still on the Fence” it is!

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Grub

Much has been written about the horrendous unbelievable waiting time at Grub. It’s all true; we tried our luck thrice and the waiting time was always more than an hour every. freaking. time. arghhh. On our fourth time there, we left our names, got the obligatory “the wait is X hour, we will call you when your table is ready”, drove to Pasar Bella for a quick stroll (I’m not lying, I swear), and made it back to Grub for dinner at 9.10pm. Yay?

Because we were ravenous by then, two things left an impression on me: 1. portions seemed sadly small and 2. the food was pretty good! The slow roasted pork belly looked like a nice juicy piece of meat any carnivore would enjoy (it even appealed to a pescetarian haha); both the grilled chicken thigh (blur photo, not gonna post it, sorry BFF) and crispy fish burgers were devoured without any complaints; and my pan-seared salmon appeared overcooked but turned out to be pinkish raw in the middle, LIKE!

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Slow Roasted Pork Belly ($15++)
mango sauce, mash, cherry tomatoes salsa

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Crispy Fish Burger ($12++)
crumbed fish fillet, remoulade

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Pan-seared King Salmon ($15++)
salad (supposed to be risotto but they ran out of it yay!), cashew chimichurri (why can’t they just say “cashew sauce”?!)

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Grub
510 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1
6459 5743

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