Assembly Coffee, Singapore

evans lodge just got more exciting with this (relatively) new kid on the block. opened some time late last year/ at the start of this year, assembly prides itself on good coffee and is the perfect place to stop and get a cuppa if you’re in the dunearn road / bukit timah area. i’m not big on coffee but am still very pleased with this addition to the area’s offerings because the food is good too!

i visited on national day with three friends; we were looking for somewhere convenient to have a spot (or more) of tea, and assembly coffee fit the bill with its waffle and cake offerings, its location and ample parking right within evans lodge itself. it was packed when we arrived at 2.30pm but we were lucky enough to snag a table for four just as a couple was leaving. assembly occupies a rather small shop unit in evans lodge – when its not too packed i can imagine it making a really nice and cosy place to chill with a book and while the afternoon away, but when it was packed like how it was when we visited, it can get rather cramp and stuffy.
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where we were seated (by the window on the left, semi-hidden in the pic) was bordering on uncomfortably hot and i think it can probably be attributed to the lack of sufficient air-conditioning and the strong sunlight coming in through the windows that day.

besides the coffees they are known for, assembly offers simple breakfast/light brunch or lunch-type food items. here’s the food menu:
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and the drinks menu:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

we were all really full having just come from respective lunches, so we passed on the mains and headed straight for the sweet dessert offerings. wasn’t difficult to agree on what we wanted – the four of us ordered a waffle and brick toast to share. i was so tempted by the cakes on display in the counter (i wonder if they’re outsourced?) which included exciting things like horlicks tarts and dark chocolate-pistachio-cranberry cake (mmmm…) but was reminded by my teatime companions to exercise some self-control and rein the omnipresent greediness in me in.
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cake display mmm…

considering the crowd, the food was served in a relatively decent amount of time. first up, the famous earl grey caramel waffle:
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earl grey caramel waffle – waffle with homemade earl grey caramel sauce topped with new zealand natural vanilla ice cream and strawberries ($11.50)

i wasn’t disappointed by this waffle! it was wonderfully crispy on the outside (which made eating the edges delightful) but moist and fluffy inside. the vanilla ice cream that topped it went very well with the caramel sauce. the first of my only 2 qualms is that the earl grey taste could have been a little stronger! till now, i can’t tell if the earl grey is just in the sauce or if it is infused in the waffle batter; i only tasted it fleetingly in some bites so can’t quite figure out where the subtle earl grey flavour was coming from. secondly, i thought that the waffles could have been lighter within as i felt that the inside of the waffle was a little on the dense side; you can tell from the picture below that they are very moist inside which is great but at the same time i think they could be a little lighter and airier (for lack of a better word).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
but of course i’m comparing the waffles here to my favourite waffles at creamier, so the benchmark is set pretty high 😛 this still made for a highly satisfying waffle mmm yes…

we also had the brick toast:
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assembly’s brick toast – “shibuya” inspired honey brick toast topped with vanilla ice cream, artisan honey greek yoghurt and fruits ($12)

back view:
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this plate of toast was a real show-stopper; its the kind of thing other patrons stare at curiously (aka enviously) when they see it being served to your table and wish they had ordered too. the centre of a super thick slice of toast is cut out and into little blocks, while a scoop of ice cream sits pretty within the now empty core of the thick toast. i quite liked this but the general consensus among the four of us was that it was bordering on being too sweet and we all preferred the waffle. its basically really thick toast that’s fried (i think?) till its nice and crunchy on the outside, but that remains soft inside. it was coated in sugar and honey which made it very sweet, but we realised that was probably what the greek yoghurt was for – to balance out the sweetness of the ice cream + sugar-coated toast combi. taken with the yoghurt and fruit, it became much more enjoyable and was actually quite addictive; crunchy outsides and fluffy insides paired with ice cream and finally dipped in yoghurt. sounds rather odd i know, but actually tasted quite interesting. the greek yoghurt was a refreshing addition. 

we also ordered an iced latte but i only had a sip of it so i can’t say much about it:
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iced latte: $5

they are extremely serious about their coffees here though (look at the number of people working hard behind the counter), so i’m sure it was very good, and much needed in the heat!!!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

i’d definitely return to assembly coffee again if i’m looking for somewhere to have a light meal around the area; what we had that day satisfied me enough for me to want to try their savoury offerings as well as some of that yummy-looking cake! a (very) belated welcome to the ‘hood, you guys! 😉

Assembly Coffee
26 Evans Lodge
Singapore 259367

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my teatime companions – old and very dear friends :’)

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clearly i am the only / the most patriotic one among the 4 of us… (#happybelatedbirthdaysingapore #loveyoulongtime) all decked out in red & white to show my love for this amazing city that has given me so much, and has always kept the foodie in me 129843094829304% satisfied!!!

Extra Virgin Pizza, Singapore

the boy loves pizza. and when i say loves pizza, i really mean loves pizza. to better illustrate my point – he has birthday pizza on his birthday instead of birthday cake. yes, birthday pizza.

so it was only right that we pay a long-overdue visit to extra virgin pizza, after we got wind of some people dubbing it the best pizza in singapore. they have 2 outlets on our island, one catering to throngs of cbd workers on weekdays at asia square, while the other serves more families and young folk at united square.

at united square, they occupy a large shop unit with high ceilings and big glass panels which makes for a very nice dining setting, casual yet giving off quite a hip and happening vibe.20140729_183310they have a long open kitchen counter where you can observe the chefs at work, and the tables are well-spaced out so that everyone is comfortable and can speak to each other without having to strain any ears or voices. also, i would imagine this would make a great place for dining in large groups because their spacious restaurant space afford them the ability to very easily join smaller tables together to form one long table. this picture was taken at 6+ on a weekday evening before the crowd came in; it got a lot more crowded after!
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their menu offers sides, starters, pastas, pizzas, drinks and desserts, though of course they are most well-known for their artisanal neapolitan-style pizzas.
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we opted for 2 of their most popular pizzas – the spotted pig and the pistachio pesto. the spotted pig was served first:
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spotted pig pizza – tomato, mozzarella, pepperoni, pork sausage, applewood smoked bacon, parmigiano reggiano ($26)

for the size of the pizza, we thought it was priced rather steeply at $26. i suppose the high price comes from the fact that they use only the best all-natural ingredients without any preservatives or additives at all – extra virgin olive oil (of course, given its name), pizza flour that is said to be the best in the world, and imported cheese and assorted toppings. after taking my first bite, i was struck by how the quality of the ingredients really shone through. the toppings did not taste processed at all like many of the more mass-market pizzas, and they were not overly-seasoned or piled onto the pizza such that it remained light and allowed for appreciation of the amazing crust. the boy on the other hand, initially wasn’t as pleased as i was (i suppose boys still prefer things in large quantities, things that are hearty juicy saucy tasty artery-clogging) but later came to really enjoy it too!
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the tomato sauce was fresh and light, slathered onto the pizza in just the right amount. it went very well with the toppings and cheese, and brought everything together to make for a very tasty pizza. i thought the mix of bacon, pork sausage and pepperoni was a little too salty at times, but otherwise it was all great.

as for the crust, it was perfect!!! i absolutely loved the crust!!! thin and crispy on the outside with a subtle smokey yet lightly sweet taste, but so wonderfully fluffy and chewy inside. apparently the pizza dough is left to age for 3 days with live yeast, before being hand-stretched and baked to order in extremely high heat ovens. so light that i could go on eating the crust forever, but yet tasty. i think its pretty hard to achieve a thin pizza crust that retains some kind of chewiness (think the ultra crispy crispbread-like crusts at skinny pizza), but the crust at extra virgin pizza really hits the mark and is completely on point at doing that. the little charred bits (characteristic of authentic neapolitan pizzas) on the crust adds to its yumminess. you won’t be seeing any bits of crust left on people’s plates here, that’s for sure!

next up, we had the pistachio pesto pizza, a vegetarian option. the boy wasn’t too pleased with my choice of something meatless but given the rave reviews we’d heard about this pizza, we couldn’t leave without trying it! turns out he didn’t find it so bad after all; he quite enjoyed it in fact, though i suspect he might have said that just to make me feel less guilty about ordering something herbivorous. such is the power of love 😉
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pistachio pesto – pistachio pesto, mozzarella, baby arugula, lemon vinaigrette, pecorino, provolone ($24)

this was a really clever concoction which i thoroughly enjoyed. the pistachio pesto was super yummy; i imagine it would also go amazingly with some pasta/spaghetti! it made the pistachio nut lover in me extremely happy.
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the nutty fragrance of the pistachios really came through, and added a great texture and crunch to the pizza. all the toppings came together perfectly and the pizza was so tasty that it didn’t feel like we were eating something completely meat-free at all. the addition of the lemon vinaigrette was also wonderful, it balanced out the slight bitterness of the argula, and went perfectly with the pistachio that seemed to have caramelised from the high heat of the oven – so good!
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not-so-perfect picture featuring perfect pizza crust with huge delicious charred spot and perfect amazing pistachio pesto topping

though pricey, extra virgin pizza does serve some very good pizzas made with top quality ingredients. definitely worth trying if you’re craving pizza and looking for someplace different from your usual pizza haunts to check out! service is also friendly and efficient, which makes for a very pleasant dining experience.

NB: despite the good food at extra virgin, pepperoni’s still remains a firm favourite of the boy’s and mine for pizza! its more reasonably-priced and also offers my all-time favourite heavenly extra large breaded portobello mushroom with chicken and a range of very good pastas!!! yum.
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Extra Virgin Pizza
101 Thomson Road #01-14
United Square Shopping Centre
Singapore 307591

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PS. headed to black ball in the basement of united square to have some grass jelly dessert – yumz. #1 rule in eating/of life: no meal is ever complete without dessert.
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My Little Spanish Place, Singapore

don’t know what took us so long to check this charming place in our neighbourhood out, but last night (i liked it so much that i decided i had to write about it pronto!) the tan family finally did tapas! and boy were our tummies glad that we finally got round to giving this cosy spanish restaurant at the row of shops after coronation plaza a try.

when we called to make a reservation that morning, we were told that they were fully booked and they could only offer us a table outside. but we went ahead with the booking anyway, and went prepared in our absolute sunday best (shorts) to keep cool in the heat. turns out we were given a table inside when we arrived instead, so that was already a great start to the night 🙂 and given that its a cosy family-friendly neighbourhood set-up, we didn’t feel particularly awkward or underdressed for the meal.
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this picture was taken at 630pm when we just arrived and the crowd had yet to come. by 7ish, the place was full and people without reservations were either turned away or given tables outside.

i was pleasantly surprised by the restaurant’s interior. it is tastefully decorated and the warm yellow lighting and cushioned seats with large pillows that line the side of the wall give it a nice homely feel, like you’re dining in someone’s traditional spanish home. not sure how clearly you can see it in this picture, but they also have a range of hams on display which is quite a feast for the (greedy) eyes. the menu is simple, but with a good range of dishes to cater to a myriad of preferences:
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for our party of 5 (grandma tan was over for the weekend), we ordered a few tapas to start, followed by 2 small pans of paella. the first tapas that was served to the table was the tortilla:
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tortla de patata con alioli – traditional spanish egg omelette with potatoes and onions, served with homemade aioli (4 pieces for $8)

said to be the national dish of spain, this was a good rendition of the traditional spanish tortilla. the omelette was fluffy and tasty with a thin crusty layer, and the potatoes were added to the mix in just the right amount such that it wasn’t too heavy. the onions also added a nice lift to the omelette and the aioli complemented the simplicity of the egg very well. my only qualm was that it could have been served warm/hot; not sure if its meant to be served completely lukewarm (it was bordering on room temperature).

next, we were served 2 tapas on a board – the garlic prawns (left) and fried chorizo (right):
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chorizo frito – fried chorizo (spicy spanish sausage) $16

the chorizo frito is what you see to the right of the serving board. we actually didn’t order this but were given it on the house when we informed the manager that this was not what we had ordered (we had ordered the clams with chorizo – see below) – A+++ for service (although the waitress who took our orders seemed a little unsure and we had to repeat things many times to her – to not much avail, it seems, given the wrong order?) didn’t find anything exceptional about this dish; the chorizo was extremely salty but good when taken with the accompanying bread (which was very good – crusty on the outside but soft inside, and served warm). considering it was fried, it was not too oily! but i don’t think i’d order this when i return unless i am a huge chorizo fan…

the garlic prawns on the other hand, are certainly worth mentioning: 
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gambas al ajillo (garlic prawns) – fresh shrimp cooked in boiling olive oil with garlic and chilli pepper $16

i wasn’t too impressed with this dish when i first tried it, but soon came to appreciate it much more when i dipped the bread into the delicious sauce, which to me was the highlight of this tapas. the prawns themselves were fresh and cooked to perfect crunchiness. they were naturally sweet, but i felt that the sauce could have been infused into the prawns more; i felt like i was eating plain prawns with just some sauce coating it, a real waste because the sauce was very yummy! it was super fragrant and had a strong taste of prawns; best savoured when bread is dipped into and completely soaked in it. we ended up asking for more bread so that we could lap up every drop of this prawn-y sauce. it was a tad on the heavy/oily side, but that didn’t bother me much.

next, we had the croquettes:
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croquetas – lightly-fried jamon-stuffed creamy croquettes $10

these little croquettes were little nuggets of happiness. i was all excited when i saw their perfectly golden-brown exterior, and was not in the least bit disappointed upon biting into it. the croquette filling was smooth and creamy, and oozed out once you bit through the light and crispy ‘skin’.
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the generous chunks of juicy jamon added texture and depth to the croquette and despite the cream, it remained light and made for a satisfying treat.

finally, we had the clams with chorizo:
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almejas con chorizo – fresh clams cooked in a chorizo-based broth $15

we thoroughly enjoyed this dish! it was a generous serving of clams (more than enough to go around for 5), and the sauce was extremely tasty while remaining light. it was tomato-based with small bits of chorizo that added texture and bite, and went very nicely with the fresh, plump and sweet clams. this was another sauce that we happily soaked up with bread.
moving on from the tapas to even greater things, we also ordered a serving of grilled squid:
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calamares rellenos a la plancha con cebolla y pimientos – whole grilled squid stuffed with caramelised onions and red peppers, grilled and drizzled with a sherry wine reduction $21
close-up of the stuffing:
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i really enjoyed this dish. it was a generous serving that is great for sharing, and the squid was fresh and grilled wonderfully. it retained the right amount of crunchiness and had a perfect subtly charred taste that was balanced by the sweetness of the caramelised onions and red peppers. the sherry wine reduction was very tasty and squeezing some lemon juice to go along with it lifted its taste, and kept it light and refreshing.
finally we were on to the paellas, which take 40-45 minutes to cook because they are made to order. we were told that each small pan serves 2-3 people, but upon seeing the serving size, i think its pretty generous and can probably serve 3-4 people especially if you have other food. for the 5 of us, we decided to go with ordering 2 different small paellas rather than 1 medium-sized paella. the first paella that we ordered was the house paella:

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paella de la casa – house paella $49 (small)

this was one amazing paella, definitely one of the better (if not the best) ones that i’ve tried in singapore. it was so wonderfully robust and full in its flavour, and the range of ingredients including mussels, chorizo, prawns, squid and chicken were generously added. it was extremely fragrant and the rice was cooked perfectly – not too dry and certainly not too wet. a little steeply priced, but i thought it was worth every penny for the ingredients added and its great taste; every grain of rice was infused with the fragrance of saffron and seafood. i would definitely order this the next time i visit. paella perfection in a pan! i daresay this was my favourite dish of the night.
the 2nd small pan of paella that we ordered was the squid ink paella:
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arroz negara – blank ink paella $44 (small)
this paella was very different from the house paella. it was good as well, but the hot favourite at the table that night was definitely the house paella. flavoured with black squid ink broth, and served with prawns and squid and a side of aioli, this was an interesting change from the usual paella. as with the house paella, the rice was moist and every grain was flavourful. the prawns had a wonderfully lightly-charred taste and a squeeze of some lemon lifted the taste of the dish such that it was easy to polish off yum yum. the aioli was an interesting addition that was nice but not particularly necessary. if slathered on too generously, the paella was at risk of becoming too heavy.
the paellas were certainly worth the 40-45 minute wait, which didn’t feel that long anyway, because we were kept more than happy and satisfied with the steady stream of well-timed tapas. they have a small but adequate selection of yummy-sounding spanish desserts including a chocolate tart, custard cream-type thing and of course churros! we were too stuffed for dessert, but i will definitely try some on my next visit.
i’m so glad that we finally tried this place out and my only regret is that we did not do so earlier! its so difficult to find good spanish food in singapore (and it tends to be quite overpriced), but for now this seems like its going to be one of my go-to places for delicious tapas and paella. they also do brunch on weekends and that is something that i really want to try too. churros for breakfast/lunch/brunch? mmmm definitely…
My Little Spanish Place
619 Bukit Timah Road

Singapore 269720
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Shimbashi Soba, Singapore

today i shall write about my newfound love for this soba place in paragon’s basement: shimbashi soba!!!
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i remember having tried it once with my parents when it first opened; it was quite a long time ago and we didn’t like it enough to pay it any return visits in the following years. it was only about 3 weeks ago when it was suggested as the venue for a dinner with some friends that i returned for them oodles of noodles. and i am glad i did!

shimbashi soba is a casual family-friendly set up with pleasant and efficient service and an extensive menu. besides a range of hot sobas and cold sobas, they also have set meals, some sushi rolls and assorted japanese sides, along with a decent array of desserts (which i hear are worth a try). we were there at half past seven on a weekday evening, and the place was full, with a queue forming outside the shop a while after we were seated. they have quite a few tables though, and food is served quickly so the turnaround time for tables is pretty quick.
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some info about their soba which is handmade on site daily:
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on my first visit there, i ordered the tenchirashi soba which is soba topped with mixed tempura fritters and a poached egg. this is the bukkake style of serving, where the soba is served chilled, with sauce poured over it. my eyes lit up when the plate of soba was laid before me, and i was not disappointed when i took my first bite!
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it is a generous serving of soba and there is seriously a mountain of tempura on that plate, so much so that its hard to mix everything together without having pieces of tempura falling off the plate, and you can barely see the noodles hidden below when the dish is served. the mixed tempura consists of prawn and assorted mushrooms and veggies like ladies fingers – just my cup of tea! the tempura wasn’t oily which kept the dish light, and the amount of batter coating each piece was just nice. the ingredients were fresh and the oil used to fry the tempura was definitely fresh (always a plus point! nobody likes the taste of reused oil…). together with the sauce, egg, and topped with spring onions, everything came together very well to make a super yummy and refreshing cold soba dish. i loved this so much when i had it the first time that i ordered the same thing when i returned yesterday night! i contemplated others but figured the probability of not being as satisfied and leaving disappointed were too high…

as for the soba itself, the noodles are delicious – they are of perfect consistency, springy with just the right amount of bite. the texture is spot-on and the best part is that the noodles are really light and you don’t feel overly full even after having a whole plate of noodles! the very yummy noodles are made fresh daily and are cooked and served only upon each order; this shines through in the taste and texture of the noodles. no preservatives or additives are added, and the soba is said to contain a range of nutrients not only beneficial to one’s health but also having anti-ageing and beautifying properties.

if you want to really appreciate the noodles in a completely unadulterated form, i would suggest going for the options on the menu with less toppings to distract from the noodles themselves (they have plenty). other things my dining companions have ordered at our meals:
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cold soba with kimchi

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cold soba with sesame dipping sauce

this is the best way to really savour the noodles as they are – just plain noodles dipped into a delicious cold and creamy sesame sauce. despite being thick, the sesame sauce is not heavy and goes very well with the noodles.

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cold soba with clams broth

the broth here is a warm broth and we were pleasantly surprised at the clams in it. they were rather big and plump compared to clams used at other places which tend to be small and completely unsubstantial. the broth was yummy when taken with the soba, but was too salty for my liking when taken alone.

sorry i don’t have the exact prices for the different dishes above but they all range from about $16-$20! for the quality of the soba i’d say its worth it, but it is a little on the pricey side for the plain sobas which just come with dipping sauce (like the sesame one).

i’ve gone twice since i rediscovered this place, and i’m sure i’ll be going back pretty often, especially when i’m looking for a light, refreshing and quick meal. they also have an extensive vegetarian menu with a range of vegetarian sets that include vegetable tempura, vegetarian soba, vegetarian sushi etc. they all look good and seem to be a draw for vegetarians looking to enjoy some japanese food. oishi!!! soba so good 😉

Shimbashi Soba
#B1-41 Paragon, 290 Orchard Road
Singapore 238859
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PS. if none of the desserts on the shimbashi soba menu catch your eye, there’s always honeymoon desserts right opposite to satisfy those cravings for some yummy chinese desserts:20140717_211325
green tea x durian x vanilla x watermelon: weird but (very) wonderful

Cocotte, Singapore

an old and dear friend recently celebrated her 21st (we are all getting old) birthday at cocotte, a casual and unpretentious french restaurant on the ground floor of wanderlust hotel located along dickson road. the sunday crowd in little india left me a little frazzled but thankfully i found a lot and parked without much difficulty and more importantly, without knocking any random jaywalker over.

the wanderlust hotel exudes a quirky, eclectic and yuppy vibe, and cocotte is no different – it is country-style decor with modern touches at its very charming best. i’m not sure what the restaurant layout is like on a regular day, but this is how it looked for my friend’s very nice do 🙂
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we had the whole place to ourselves, and a special menu was put together for the event:
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cocotte believes in communal dining where large servings of yummy food are shared across the table, so that’s how the lunch that day rolled as well. before any of the proper food came, we were served a basket of warm bread – yum yum love me some carbs. the bread was crusty on the outside but soft inside, nothing to shout about but was a promising indicator of the good food that was to come 🙂
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the first dish to be served was the french onion sandwich!
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french onion “soup” sandwich – walnut rye bread, onion confit, veal jus, melted gruyere cheese

picture of its cross-section so you can see how its constructed:
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we all really liked this sandwich! i haven’t had anything like it before, and it was an interesting take on the classic french onion soup. taste-wise i have to say that it was really quite on point, tasting very nearly like a non-liquid form of french onion soup. and because my utmost favourite part of a piping hot bowl of french onion soup is the sinful layer of gooey cheese on the top, this was just my cup of tea. wonderfully-flavoured onions and a layer of melted gruyere cheese are generously layered onto a slice of (freshly-baked?) walnut rye bread and it makes for a really tasty open-faced sandwich with a range of textures. yum yum, though i can imagine it getting a bit heavy if you have too much of it. best to share, especially if you’re planning on trying lots of other food! i’d certainly order this again when i return.

the next starter that was served to the table was a salad:
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poached egg & lardon salad – frisee with french lardons, barn-raised poached egg & smoked bacon-infused sherry vinaigrette

this was a good second starter to follow the french onion sandwich as it was much lighter and cleansed our palettes for more food to come! the salad was alright, nothing to shout about although i did, as always, appreciate the very well-poached *barn-raised* (whatever that means hahaha) egg! the greens were quite fresh and the dressing was pleasant with a hint of bacon infusion. for the health-conscious, the addition of lardon (pork lard, basically) turned this into a not-so-healthy salad though.

now on to the mains, the first thing we had was the duck confit crepe:
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duck confit crepes – homemade duck confit wrapped in a warm crepe with roasted shallots, red cabbage, & fresh herbs with citrus jus

i was most excited for this wonderful-sounding dish but have to say i was a little let down! here’s a picture of the crepe cut up so you can see the inside a little better:
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i thought the crepe was too thick and for some reason the components of the filling didn’t come together as well as i imagined they would. the duck was moist but was unlike the usual duck confit-type meat i was expecting – maybe because my favourite part of a duck confit is the thin layer of crispy melt-in-your-mouth skin but that was nowhere to be found here; it tasted almost like braised duck..? so that was quite disappointing. the red cabbage was also a little too raw for my liking; i think the filling of the crepe might have been more harmonious if the cabbage was cooked a little softer but maybe its crunchiness was intended to be maintained to add some crunch to the crepe. i probably would give this a miss when i return.

thankfully things looked up for the mains after we were done with the confit crepe! the next main we were served was a whole fish:
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whole roasted seabass – tomatoes provencal, slow roasted garlic, fine beans, grilled eggplant, peppers and courgettes and saffron aioli

i really liked this dish! it was a big plate meant for sharing, and reminded me of home-style chinese cooking 🙂 hidden under the fish (sorry i didn’t take a picture of what lay beneath) and accompanied by the beans was a bed of wonderfully roasted aubergines, peppers and courgettes – i love my roasted veggies; so yummy! as for the fish itself, it was very lightly seasoned and perfectly roasted such that the skin outside was mildly crisp while the meat within was extremely fresh and moist. i really should have taken a picture of the inside.. we were all impressed by how it was extremely fresh and very tasty yet light and moist. it was also accompanied by a saffron aioli dipping sauce which was a great accompaniment for those who wanted a more flavourful fish. i thought the aioli was not particularly necessary because the fish itself was tasty enough and i didn’t want to overpower the freshness of the fish. i was much more willing to slather the yummy aioli over my roasted vegetables instead. a great dish for sharing!

last but certainly not least, we had cocotte’s signature roast chicken:
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signature poulet roti – whole roasted antibiotic and hormone-free chicken served with pan gravy, spring vegetables and creamy potato gratin

my dining companions and i thought this was the star dish of the lunch that day. we concluded that it is their signature dish with good reason! a whole chicken is roasted to perfection and served on a big wooden board to the table, accompanied by some yummy vegetables and potato gratin mmm. the chicken was definitely one of the better roast chickens i’ve tasted in singapore. the meat is tender, moist and juicy while the skin outside is crispy and super tasty. we hardly touched the gravy at all because we didn’t need it at all! the natural sweetness and juiciness of the fragrant and flavourful chicken was more than enough to make our tummies very happy. 
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the accompanying potato gratin and beans were also well-received and by the time we were done with the chicken, most of us were at the brink of falling into food comas.

so we took a break and headed to the quirky and super trendy hotel lobby to play some foosball in preparation for dessert…
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and also a spot of retail therapy:
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alas it turned out to be the most unoptimal decision of the afternoon because when we returned to our table, we found to our great horror that we had missed our chance to be served a dessert platter 😥 had to settle for taking a picture of a half-eaten platter that the people at the other end of our table were tucking into:
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our crestfallen faces were spotted a mile away by the birthday girl’s mother, and she very kindly arranged for some cherry chocolate cake for our dessert:
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its worth saving some space for cocotte’s chocolate cake. it is a chocolate lover’s dream – moist, dense and extremely chocolate-y, the non-chocolate fan in me was a little scared by how heavy and chocolatey it looked but i ended up really enjoying it! have it in small quantities and you won’t be overwhelmed by its richness. the dark chocolate ganache that topped the cake was really really good, and the little crunchy balls added a different texture to the cake. the cherries within made it into something like a blackforest cake without the cream, and everything came together very nicely in the little foil loaf tins to make a yummy little treat. the cake is definitely way too much for one person to finish alone; it’s perfect for sharing, and i can imagine how delicious it would be when accompanied by some ice cream!
as for the cupcake, it was a banana cupcake if i remember correctly, topped with the same oh-so-good dark chocolate ganache. i thought the cupcake was a tad dry though, and it definitely paled in comparison to the chocolate cake.

finally, we had their ice cream sandwiches! snagged a portion of the burnt caramel ice cream sandwich to try:20140720_151345
i thoroughly enjoyed this burnt caramel ice cream sandwich – burnt caramel ice cream sandwiched between two thin speculoos biscuits. i absolutely adore spiced speculoos (!!!) biscuits, so this was quite a hit with me. the taste of the burnt caramel was rather strong, but i thought the speculoos biscuits balanced the potency of the homemade ice cream out rather well.

all in all, it was a good meal at cocotte and if you are a fan of roast chicken, you should definitely check this place out. on weekends, they do brunch in a really cute way – apparently they bring around a trolley of food for you to pick things off, instead of the boring old ordering off a menu. sounds like fun!

Cocotte
2 Dickson Road, Wanderlust Hotel
Singapore 209494
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PS. happy birthday sarah ❤ (birthday girl in the centre)
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i’d like to think we’ve come a long way from our 12-year-old selves who were tyrants doing bridges at the back of the classroom during higher chinese lessons… from 12 to 21 :’)

Ah Loy Thai, Singapore

if not for the fact that i used to have math tuition (oh, those were the days) in the area and spent quite some time exploring random parts of bugis, i probably would never have stepped into or even thought of stepping into shaw towers along beach road. it is old with a facade which is in need of an uplift, and is definitely not a building that catches your attention at all – even if you say you have no idea which building i’m talking about, i’d place bets on the fact that you’ve probably gone by it several times without realising it!

located on the ground floor of the aforementioned nondescript building, ah loy thai is one of a handful of food outlets there. it occupies 2 shop units (1 of which seems nicer than the other), and is almost always fully packed at meal times. they have the hallmark of a popular joint right outside their shop – a barricade is put up in anticipation of a queue. decor in the shop is fuss-free and far from being fancy – its the kind of place people turn up at in shorts and slippers, with good and affordable food being their sole purpose of visiting. 20140719_183553

we were there close to 7pm on a saturday night, and were surprised to find that there was a table for us available immediately, albeit in the unit we later discovered seemed to be the “poorer cousin” of the 2 units they occupy there…
compare where we were seated (ft. my excited dining companion):20140719_183609with their 2nd unit further down the corridor:20140719_191959see what i mean? the chairs and lighting really make all the difference…

didn’t bother us much though, since we were there for the food and not the ambience, but if you’re celebrating a special occasion for example, then i’d definitely recommended opting for a table at the unit that’s further down the hallway if possible, for that little bit of improvement in the setting.

you place your order by indicating what you want on an order form and taking it to the cashier to pay. the food will then be served to your table when ready. here’s the menu:
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between the 2 of us (big-eaters), we ordered 3 dishes to share, beginning with the green mango salad:20140719_184210thai green mango salad – $6.90
for some reason the serving looks pretty small in the picture above, but it wasn’t actually that small at all; it was very sufficient for 2 people to share. we really enjoyed this refreshing salad, particularly with the peanuts and little dried shrimps which added additional crunch. the sauce was of just the right sourness and the green mango was fresh. i’d order this again when i return!

no thai meal is every complete without some tom yum soup, so we ordered a bowl of that to share too:20140719_184347tom yum seafood soup – $7.90
i thought this was an extremely reasonably priced bowl of soup! you probably can’t tell from the way i’ve taken the picture that it came in a large claypot-like thing which really held a substantial amount of spicy soupy goodness. (you’ll probably be better able to see its size in relation to other things in picture of everything placed together below) we ordered the one with seafood, and were pleasantly surprised that they were generous with the squid, prawns and mushrooms (oyster mushrooms, not the lousy canned button mushroom substitute) that they added. all the ingredients were very fresh too! the soup packed a real punch and we were super satisfied, happily ladling and slurping up bowl after bowl.  if you can’t take spicy food, this is probably a no-go though; the soup is rather spicy and we quite quickly developed runny noses and red faces. i thought this dish was testament to the fact that quality does not always have to be compromised on when something is priced relatively affordably. this is again something i would order on a return visit!

another thing i will never leave satisfied from a thai meal without having is none other than pad thai:20140719_185353pad thai – $7.50
this dish took the longest to be served, but it was worth the wait! it was another very generous serving with prawns and chicken as toppings, and my friend and i both thought it was one of the better pad thais we’ve had. there was just the right amount of wok hei for the noodles and mixed with lime squeezed over it and plenty of peanuts, it made for an excellent dish. we especially loved the noodles they used; they were thin and retained bite, almost like the texture of tang hoon but in thin kway teow form. two thumbs up! the prawns were also fresh and crunchy, as was the tow gay. we also liked how it wasn’t too greasy, so wiping the plate clean was no problem at all 😉 (we were actually getting really full about 3/4 through the pad thai but it was so yummy that we just kept going…)

ah loy thai is a great place to have authentic and homely thai food at affordable prices. i definitely prefer it to the other cheap thai eateries in the bugis area like jai thai and first thai. plus, tom’s palette is right across the corridor so its ultra convenient for having dessert after 😛 (which is exactly what we did, despite us being really full from dinner.) i will certainly be back for more!

Ah Loy Thai
100 Beach Road
#01-39/40 Shaw Tower
Singapore 18970220140719_192118
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PS. as i mentioned earlier, tom’s palette right across the corridor from ah loy thai is the perfect spot for some ice cream for dessert. they are known for their salted egg yolk flavoured ice cream (tastes pretty much like frozen liu sha), but i thoroughly enjoy other flavours from their wide range like banana and roasted nuts, black sesame, lavender, honey and cinnamon etc.
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with my favourite partner-in-crime/partner-in-many-non-stop-eating-and-feasting-adventures/fellow bottomless pit

GRUB, Singapore

this place has been on my list of to-try places for the longest time, and i finally got the chance to check it out two weekends ago, yay!!! located smack in the middle of bishan park, grub is a real crowd magnet for its family-friendly environment and fun food offerings; the long wait on weekends is testament to its ever-growing popularity.

visited on a saturday afternoon around 1pm, and the place was packed! do not be deceived by the lack of a line in front of its doors (i eagerly quickened my pace thinking we’d gotten lucky and somehow evaded the crowds, but quickly learnt that that was pure wishful thinking), they run a system where you leave your number and they send you a text message when your table is ready.20140705_140513

there were about 15 groups in line ahead of us and the estimated waiting time was about 45 minutes, but hey, they say good things come to those who wait right? we did consider giving up and heading off to somewhere else, but i’m glad we ultimately chose to wait – it wasn’t so bad with good company in the air-conditioned comfort of the car, armed with many photo-taking devices 😉
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approximately 45 minutes later, we were sent a text and very excitedly leapt out of the car; good food awaited! it was a hot day (what’s new) and thankfully we were lucky enough to snag a table indoors:
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clearly excited

grub is surrounded by greenery and bathed in natural light coming through the huge glass panels that surround the building on 3 sides. the indoor area is pretty spacious, and i like how the tables aren’t cramped together such that you can hear entire conversations going on at the table next to yours without even trying.20140705_140957

as for the outdoor area however, i imagine it getting really really hot especially if you’re sitting there for an extended period of time on a typically muggy afternoon in sunny singapore. didn’t seem to deter these folks though:20140705_150510

they have an extensive food and drink menu and as you’ll see proudly proclaimed on it, at grub, they believe in i quote them, “eating responsibly”. this means cooking with ingredients which are as natural as possible, without adding any msg or artificial preservatives and flavourings. the meats they use come from pigs, cows and chickens which have been naturally fed and responsibly farmed, while their fish are caught in waters free from contamination and water-borne diseases. given the quality of the ingredients going into their food, i would say the dishes are very reasonably priced!
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among the 4 of us, we ordered the mentaiko fries, truffled egg cocotte, GRUB double cheeseburger, crispy fish burger and churros to share. service was pretty brisk given the crowd that day, and soon we had this yummy array of food before us:
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the first appetiser we ordered was the mentaiko fries.    20140705_141923
mentaiko fries – $9
don’t let the simplicity of its look fool you, these were some wonderfully cooked chips, and the mentaiko aioli and nori seaweed that topped them made them pretty perfect! this was a nice change from the usual truffle or cheese fries options you get at most cafes these days. the mentaiko aioli was very tasty but remained light, and the nori seaweed added another dimension of texture to the mix. everything came together very nicely and we had every last bit of the mentaiko dip, using the other plain fries that came with the burgers to wipe the saucer of additional dip clean. almost every table at grub had at least one plate of this on the table, and we could see why.

the second item we chose from the appetiser menu was the truffled egg cocotte:20140705_141947
truffled egg cocotte with crispy parma ham & toasted foccacia – $7
this was a decent dish, but i probably wouldn’t order it again when i return because it was not particularly outstanding. it actually reminded me of the half-boiled eggs you get with your kaya toast sets at ya kun, just with truffle added and topped with a few slivers of crispy parma ham. let me show you a picture of what it looked like after mixing and you’ll get what i mean:20140705_143320sorry for the rather unappetising picture, but see what i mean now? ya kun eggs!!! (which are delicious, don’t get me wrong.) i liked how the truffle taste was prominent and the combination of egg, ham and truffle was really good stuff. our only qualm was that the toasted foccacia provided was far from enough to be eaten with all the egg. we had at least half the ramekin of egg left after finishing all the focaccia, and ended up having to dunk our plain fries in it again.

as for the mains, we opted for the extremely popular crispy fish burger:20140705_141835
crispy fish burger: crumbed fish fillet, remoulade – $14
this was definitely one of the better fish burgers i’ve had in singapore, and we could all see why it is so popular among grub’s patrons. firstly the fish fillet was a very generous portion and secondly, it was crumbed and fried to perfection! the tasty batter coated the fish in just the right amount (nobody likes overly thick batter), keeping it light and allowing us to appreciate the freshness of the fish within. i would probably order this again when i return; it reminded me of my younger days (i make myself sound so old) where i would get the filet-o-fish at mcdonalds though of course this tastes far, far, far better. i guess you can say grub’s crispy fish burger is like filet-o-fish on serious steroids hahaha 😉

a picture of the yummy fish that the glorious golden batter encased:
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we also ordered the double cheeseburger:
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GRUB double cheeseburger – double patty, double cheese, bacon – $18
for just $5 more than the regular cheeseburger, you get an additional patty, more cheese (mmmm…), and some bacon – why not make the upgrade? check out the cross-section:20140705_142905
this is the perfect burger for those of you with voracious appetites to feed. the cheeseburger was pretty good, but we all preferred the crispy fish burger. the patty was moist and tasty, remaining pink in the middle which i really appreciated. topped with bacon and coated in cheese, everything went well with the burger bun. i felt that it was a tad dry though, not in terms of the meat, but in terms of some kind of sauce that would bring everything together. perhaps if the cheese was meltier and hadn’t hardened as such, it would have played that role of tying everything together perfectly. besides that however, it is a really generous portion for its price, and i am sure it is a hot favourite with hungry men (stereotypes, i know…). also loved the addition of a gherkin!

oh and as you can see in the pictures, fries are served as a side with the burgers. like the mentaiko fries, they are cooked to perfection – crisp on the outside while fluffy inside and not overly oily, best eaten when first served as they are all warm and toasty and delicious.

finally, we ordered churros from the dessert portion of the menu, but had them served with all the rest of the food because we simply couldn’t wait to sink our teeth into them. 20140705_142117
churros with dark chocolate and tangy creme anglaise- $9
its not often that you find churros in singapore, and even more rare to find decent, let alone good churros! these though, were definitely the best churros i’ve had in singapore. they were of a thickness that i love (i have never been a fan of skinny churros), coated in just the right amount of sugar, crisp on the outside but amazingly soft and fluffy inside. alternating between dipping them in the dark chocolate and cream, i was very very pleased. if you’ve never had churros, grub is definitely the place to give them a shot 🙂
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we left grub full on food and friendship, happy from the satisfying meal and a great catch-up with fab friends we’ve known for 14 years! i’d definitely return to grub if i’m looking for a place with a different environment from the usual cafe in the middle of the urban jungle that is singapore. the only thing that would make me think twice about returning is the fact that they don’t take reservations and the almost 100% certainty (especially on weekends, maybe weekdays are better?) of having to queue/hang around bishan park aimlessly is a turn-off. not sure how long i’ll be able to stay away from those churros though… 😛

GRUB
510, Ang Mo Kio Ave 1 (Bishan Park 1)
Singapore 569983

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sisters tan x sisters yeong finally together again!

PS. if you’re wondering where to park, parking is available at 2 carparks right by bishan park – note that 1 which is slightly further from grub has free parking, while the other which is right where grub is operates on a coupon parking system.

 

Hanare Japanese Cafe, Singapore

finally got to try the much raved about teppei barachirashi one night after work last week; it was the perfect way to reward myself after a whole day of being cooped up in the office! we didn’t have it at teppei itself because teppei only does omakase at night (and i hear they are fully booked for their attractively affordable omakase dinners for months); neither did we have it at hana hana (also opened by teppei and located right next to it) which serves teppei’s lunch menu in the day, but focuses on yakitori at night. that left us with hanare, another off-shoot by teppei (that makes them a trio of restaurants) which offers a japanese buffet as well as some simple set meals in a really fuss-free and family-friendly environment. hanare is located a stone’s throw away from teppei and hana hana, at the top floor of a shophouse along tanjong pagar road. look out for the signs they place along the walkway so you don’t miss the doorway with this staircase that will take you right up to the cafe: 20140710_183435 helps in working up an appetite 😉 we were there right when they opened at 630pm, and were among the first few to arrive. i was really pleasantly surprised because i imagined we’d have to queue after hearing horror stories about the snaking queues at all 3 teppei outlets during lunchtime that start forming at least half an hour before they open (do these people not need to work?!)! since the prices at hanare are the same both at lunch and dinner, i would say it definitely makes heaps more sense to go for dinner; avoiding lunch crowds is always the way to go! as the word “cafe” in its name suggests, hanare is meant to offer a very simple no-frills experience. decor is really simple and doesn’t feel much like a japanese restaurant at all; in fact the whole set-up seems a little makeshift, with basic tables and chairs and bare walls.20140710_183901 you place your order and pay at the cashier before taking a seat. there are a few options to choose from – the japanese buffet (at a really affordable price of $19.90), the bara set (equally affordable $17.60), and the hanare special (just $12)!20140710_183551 we were there to try the famed teppei barachirashi, so we went for 2 bara sets. the bara set comes with a bowl of the barachirashi as well as a free flow of 4 side dishes. the side dishes available as part of this set change on a daily basis if i’m not wrong, and on that particular day, this was what was available: 20140710_183636i do think the presentation of the dishes can be improved on but for the price we paid, i really didn’t think there was any reason to complain. the 4 sides available that day were (from left to right in the above picture) salad, a stew, edamame, and something that tasted like a cross between a fishcake and potato cake in some kind of sweet sauce (clearly i wasn’t really a fan of this… hahaha). as part of the bara set, you can also help yourself to the white rice, miso soup and japanese tea available at the buffet table. 20140710_184158took a mix of the side dishes to snack on while waiting for our barachirashi to be served. the salad greens (tomatoes, cucumber and lettuce) were actually very fresh and made for a refreshing side dish when paired with the sesame dressing that was provided. the edamame seemed slightly overcooked to the point of being a little soggy, but the beans within weren’t affected so no complaints about this either (gotta love edamame!). as for the stew, i think it was meant to be something like oden although there was no fishcake in it (if i’m not wrong, japanese fishcake is usually a key ingredient in oden); instead it was a mix of carrots, radish, lotus root and chicken. i really enjoyed it, especially because i am a huge fan of daikon and lotus root!!! the broth was light and tasty, and i had quite a few servings of this. finally we come to the unidentifiable fishcake-type thing which i really did not fancy, especially because it was cold after being left at the buffet table for quite a while. had half of a piece and left the rest… service is efficient and our barachirashi arrived really soon after we placed our order. it was all quite exciting finally seeing the bowl of chirashi that i had seen countless pictures of sitting very very pretty right before me: 20140710_184259 the first thing that struck me about the bowl of chirashi was that i could barely see the rice hidden below the chunks of fish. definitely a good sign! as evidenced by the picture above, they were really generous with the fish for the price, and i have to say that the fish was really quite fresh. there was a mixture of tuna, salmon, scallop, ikura, yellowtail etc, and all of it was thoroughly seasoned with a soy-based marinade (if my tastebuds did not fail me). topped with some seaweed, spring onions and sesame seeds, it made for am extremely tasty bowl of chirashi. my only qualm was that the sashimi could have been better chilled while the rice could have been cooled down a little more before serving. it was as if they just scooped straight out from the rice cooker (in fact, they probably did?) and piled seasoned fish on top of the rice; i felt the rice was seriously lacking in rice vinegar and everything else that makes sushi rice sushi rice, it felt like i was basically eating a bowl of white rice. also, the rice was so hot that some pieces of sashimi appeared to have cooked a little after mixing it all together?! definitely not how i like my chirashi… all that said, can’t deny that this was still a great bowl of sashimi goodness, especially for the extremely affordable price. so how does teppei’s chirashi compare with its counterparts at my other favourite haunts (ie aoki and sushi bar)? i actually think they’re all different so it depends on what you’re looking for! at the sushi bar, the chirashi is basically very fresh and delicious pieces of sashimi very generously laid atop a bed of rice; it is completely unseasoned, just good, sweet, thick slabs of unadulterated sashimi. at aoki on the other hand, there’s just something amazing about how everything is put together and some magical aoki touch is added to it, making quite possibly the most perfect bowl of mazechirashi ever. the fish pieces at aoki are small but provided extremely generously (still has the highest fish to rice ratio, in my opinion) and yes, quite clearly, aoki still has my vote for the best bowl of chirashi in singapore; even if not the best, definitely my favourite. at teppei, the seasoning is soy sauce-based which makes it tasty, but i think i prefer a lighter seasoning so that the flavours and freshness of the fish isn’t lost. took a quick look at what they offered as part of the buffet spread, and found that the food was very simple and home-style. don’t expect any fancy or fine japanese cooking or foods; what they had available as part of the buffet spread consisted of a lot of japanese curries, katsudon, gyoza, siew mais, soba etc:20140710_183744 20140710_194046 i’d probably give the buffet a miss, but the chirashi is something i am likely to return for if i’m looking for a cheap japanese meal in the tanjong pagar area. if i’m pining for chirashi and desperately need to satisfy a dire craving though, i’d probably be more content if i head to the sushi bar or aoki. don’t get me wrong – it was definitely a good bowl of chirashi and i will return for it, but for some reason (perhaps the strange temperatures of the rice and fish?) i probably wouldn’t constantly miss it as i do with aoki’s… have to acknowledge the fact that the former is definitely much much more wallet-friendly than the latter though!

Hanare Japanese Cafe
99B Tanjong Pagar Rd
Singapore 088520

20140710_183508Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset another pic of the chirashi for good measure PS. perfect place for dessert after the meal, keeping with the japanese theme, tsujiri tea house at 100am mall for the best matcha soft serve ever!!! IMG_20140710_234908 best best best

75 Ah Balling Peanut Soup, Singapore

tang yuan in peanut soup is one of my all-time favourite desserts (i cannot emphasise “all-time” more!!!).  while in london, the freezer almost always has some frozen tang yuans (definitely go for springhome brand; they’re the best by far) to satisfy those random late-night tang yuan cravings my (crazy) housemates and i have; that’s what you get in a house of 5 (greedy) asian girls 😉 . sometimes we have it with canned peanut soup, other times we just have it in ginger soup – perfect for a cold winter’s night.

its hard to find good ah balling in singapore these days; its the kind of thing i avoid ordering at dessert stalls which serve a whole range of desserts, because i’m always convinced those stalls just use frozen tang yuans anyway, so why should i pay a premium just to have them at a hawker centre and not at home? am thankful that stalls like this remain, stalls that still make their ah balling from scratch (you can see an aunty hard at work in the stall)!

75 ah balling is located on the 2nd floor of the golden mile hawker centre and its hard to miss given that there’s almost always a line of people in front of the stall (with good reason, i think!).

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 presetthe peanut soup is definitely the star of this dessert. the soup is fragrant and sweet (but not overly or artificially so) while the softness of the peanuts is a sign of how long they’ve been boiled for. they also serve the tang yuans in ginger soup at this stall, but i’d say definitely go for the peanut soup because it really is one of the better and yummier ones around.

as for the homemade tang yuans, they come in 5 different flavours – black sesame, peanut, red bean, yam and green tea! i like my tang yuan filling to have a little crunch/graininess so i normally head straight for the peanut or black sesame instead of the pasty red bean and yam types. couldn’t pass on the green tea though, so i ended up going for 4 tang yuans, a mixture of green tea, peanut and sesame:20140706_125621 20140706_125855 20140706_125413

i felt that the skin of the tang yuans was a bit thick, as you can probably see from the pictures. but the saving grace was its texture; despite being thick, the skin was very smooth and soft and i think that made all the difference between the tang yuans here and the store-bought ones. the green tea one was decent but i probably wouldn’t order it again when i return. it was good that the matcha flavour wasn’t too artificial, but i did think its skin was exceptionally thick, at least thicker than the rest. favourite was the peanut – i love it when the peanut filling has white sesame seeds mixed in; so yummy!!! plus check out its explosive goodness… bite into it with caution, you have been warned heh.

already craving another bowl of this just looking at these pics; if only good ah balling in peanut soup was more readily available! i also like the one at maxwell hawker centre, but that stall always runs out by lunchtime and i do prefer the peanut soup at this golden mile stall. they charge $1.70 for 4 tang yuans in peanut soup/$2 for 5, while plain peanut soup goes for $1.20. it doesn’t get much cheaper (and better) than this, folks!

to me, this is serious comfort food. simple is always good 🙂

75 Ah Balling Peanut Soup
505 Beach Road
Golden Mile Food Centre #01-7520140706_124727

My Cosy Corner, Singapore

my cosy corner has been occupying a cosy corner (sorry, i just had to… bahaha) on the second floor of coronation plaza for as long as i can remember. its certainly not the newest/snazziest/hippest/trendiest eatery out there, but it is definitely an all-time favourite of mine (and many residents in the area), and is worth sharing about!

they are a small family-run (i’m assuming) set-up that sells a range of affordable one-dish meals including japanese fare like udon and katsu rice, but what they are really famous for are their yummy local dishes ie mee siam, mee rebus, popiah, kueh pie tee etc. there is limited seating space within the shop so its always quite full no matter what time of the day you visit; there are always customers popping in for a quick bite or taking away food!
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when i’m there, my order is standard – a serving of mee siam, accompanied by their super popular popiah! 20140626_132853
was also feelin’ a chendol (it was yummy) to beat the heat that day
the food at cosy corner never ever disappoints. it is one of my all-time favourite places to have a bowl of mee siam; i know i will always leave happy. the secret to its smashing success is definitely in its gravy – not too thick or too thin, very very tasty and far from being diluted. squeeze some lime into it before eating, and it really packs a super satisfying punch! the tau pok is also worth mentioning – fried to ultra crispy perfection while remaining soft and airy within. the tow gay is also fresh and well-cooked, not at all overdone to the point of being soggy as it tends to be at many places. my only qualm is that they seriously overcharge for the addition of 2 measly prawns to the dish – if i’m not wrong, they charge an additional $1 for just 2 prawns! i hadn’t realised this but now that i’ve taken note, i might just go with the mee siam without prawns the next time round. admittedly though, the prawns do add more texture to the dish. and despite the fact that mee siam is probably available more cheaply at any regular hawker stall, i keep coming back for more. #addictive!

look around cosy corner while you’re there and you’ll notice that some people order mee rebus, some mee siam, some laksa, and others even japanese (always a ?!?!?! kind-of-moment for me). but what almost every table will have a serving of is their famous popiah! 20140626_133011
popiah – $2.20 per roll
popiah aficionados will know this – cosy corner’s popiah consistently appears in lists of the best popiah in singapore, and i wholeheartedly agree that it is certainly a worthy contender! the rolls are freshly made-to-order and you can watch the aunty behind the corner at work as she gets rollin’. let’s start with the skin – it is thin and moist and is wrapped around the filling so skillfully that nothing ever falls out when you eat it/when it is cut. the filling is added generously and is extremely juicy and tasty in a very nice homecooked and not msg-laden kind of way. the chilli sauce (homemade) adds a great spiciness and my favourite part of these decadent rolls is probably the crispy fried garlic bits that are well-mixed and hidden in the glorious turnip filling that also contains beansprouts, cucumber and egg.20140626_133339once again, though pricey, i never stay away from their popiah for long. forever a favourite!

definitely pop by if you’re in the vicinity and are looking for a quick bite in a no-frills fuss-free eatery. it might just leave you constantly looking for reasons to return to coronation plaza to have more of their yummy homemade comfort food! (there’s a ntuc there so grocery shopping can always be the reason for regular visits :P)

My Cosy Corner
587 Bukit Timah Road #02-02
Coronation Shopping Plaza
Singapore 269707
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