Flesh and Buns, London

i’d been wanting to try flesh & buns since i heard that it was owned by the same people behind one of my favourite bowls of ramen in london at bone daddies. the thought of roasting your own green tea s’mores was also too good to resist, so it was flesh & buns that we headed to to celebrate one of my housemate’s birthdays!

occupying a pretty large space in the basement of a building at seven dials, it is an izakaya restaurant (drinks accompanied by food) that made its debut quite recently in the london dining scene. decor is simple and modern, with large tables that make it a good venue to meet up with larger groups of friends. it was rather quiet when we visited on a sunday night:
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its a really dimly lit place so unfortunately the photos aren’t going to be great because all i was armed with was my s3 camera 😦

as their name suggests, they pride themselves on their handmade buns, which are to be eaten with their mains. their buns are basically kong bak pau buns (for those who have absolutely no idea what i am going on about, kong bak pau are chinese braised pork “burgers”) – delicious steamed buns that are eaten with different fillings:
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the menu seemed to be going in the direction of fusion, with a mix of interesting asian and western dishes. they do things tapas-style, the idea being for you to order a number of dishes that the whole dining party can sample.
here’s the menu:20131208_203234

the first dish to arrive at our table was the beef tataki:
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beef tataki with onion ponzu & enoki mushrooms – £10.50
this was probably my favourite starter of the night. the sauce was delicious and the beef was fresh and sliced to just the right thickness – not as thin as beef carpaccio but not thick to the point of chewiness. neither was it stringy, which is another huge plus point! eaten with the condiments that topped it, it was a really yummy burst of flavours in the mouth.

the second appetiser we had was the fried squid aka calamari:
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fried squid with japanese pepper and lime – £8
there was nothing very outstanding about this starter, in my opinion. we really wanted to try the grilled beef skewers (with kimchi & yoghurt) but they had run out by the time we placed our orders 😦 it was good calamari and the batter was light and tasty, but nothing exceptional at all.

we also ordered the eel cucumber roll and the softshell crab roll:
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eel cucumber roll (grilled eel, sweet soy) – £10/ softshell crab roll (jalapeno mayo, chives) – £9
we all thought the rolls were rather pricey for the serving size (5 pieces each?!). they weren’t anything to shout about; i think you can easily get better rolls elsewhere. the jalapeno mayo was an interesting addition i suppose, but again it can be recreated pretty easily at other joints, i feel.

the last starter we ordered was the grilled corn:
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grilled corn with lime spice butter – £4
i loved this starter, especially because i adore corn!!! the corn was grilled to perfection and slathered in butter, naturally sweet but yet made even yummier by the extremely tasty butter. i. love. corn.

now on to the mains, which definitely impressed me more than the appetisers (thankfully!). we ordered 4 to share among the 6 of us.
first up, the crispy piglet belly:20131208_210208
crispy piglet belly with mustard miso & pickled apple – £14.50
the crispy piglet belly was basically like chinese roast pork. but it was a pretty good rendition of it! the meat was tender and juicy, and the skin was thin and crispy. the layer of fat wasn’t too thick and it wasn’t too oily too! it went well with the mustard miso, and we all really enjoyed the amazingly thin slices of pickled apple that were a very refreshing twist to the meat!

we also had the crispy duck leg:
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crispy duck leg with sour plum soy and beetroot pickles – £13.50
the duck was also really enjoyed by all of us – it was like duck confit with a slight asian twist. the skin had that yummy melt-in-your-mouth texture, while the meat within was moist and tasty! if i return, i would probably order this if i’m looking for a meat to go with the steamed buns.

our third choice of main was fish; we got the grilled sea bass:
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grilled sea bass with coriander miso and kimchi pickle – £16.50
i remember this to be very yummy, probably something i’d order if i return! the fish was extremely fresh and grilled to perfection. the skin was crispy and coated in just the right amount of coriander miso, while the meat was firm, moist and naturally sweet. our only gripe was the small serving, given the price we were paying.

the above 3 mains are meant to be eaten with the steamed buns or vegetables (which come together with the buns):
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i thought it was good that they had lettuce and other vegetables to eat with the mains – too many buns would fill you up really quickly, and veggies are always a healthier and lighter accompaniment.

finally, we went for the spicy beef hot stone rice aka flesh & bun’s take on bibimbap:
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spicy beef hot stone rice with mushrooms and sesame butter – £8.50
i think this was probably the most reasonably priced out of all the mains we ordered – the serving was definitely the biggest of everything we had ordered! i really enjoyed this dish and how the many ingredients and sauces added culminated in a big bowl of goodness. i felt that there was something different about it when compared to what you get in regular korean restaurants, but couldn’t quite place it. it was really tasty and the veggies added were fresh and retained their crunch. this dish had me scraping at the burnt bits at the bottom of the pot when we were done (not the healthiest thing to do, i know).

and finally, definitely last but not least, we had our dessert – one of our main motives for going to flesh & buns. out of the 4 we ordered though, i felt that only 2 were worth the hype and out of those 2, only one was something i’d return for.
the dessert menu:
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first, we had the bone daddies sundae:
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bone daddies sundae: matcha ice cream, blueberries, jelly, honeycomb, cream – £7
i felt there was too much going on with this sundae – it was nice and exciting to have a huge range of toppings added to the sundae, but the (major) downside is that i thought the matcha taste of the ice cream was almost completely masked. there was also something in it that we could not identify, but that made the whole thing kinda sour..? i’d probably give this a miss if i visit again.

we also had the yuzu meringue pie:
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yuzu meringue pie with raspberry yuzu sorbet – £7
this was very refreshing! the combination of yuzu and raspberry made for a very tart but yet not too sour dessert, and was a good break from the sweetness of all our other dessert choices. i thought the yuzu pie was delicious, as was the raspberry sorbet. i’m not really a fan of meringue so can’t say much about it! if you’re into sour things, this is definitely for you!

we also had what flesh & buns has become pretty famous for (how could we not) – the green tea s’mores!
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s’mores: marshmallows, biscuits, green tea chocolate – £8
we were beyond excited when the charcoal stove was brought to our table for us to roast the s’mores. there was definitely a major novelty factor there – the idea of DIY roasting not just regular s’mores, but green tea s’mores at your table. it was a really fun experience (though the marshmallows ended up being kinda burnt), but i wouldn’t rave abut the taste. we all agreed that the green tea chocolate was pretty lightly flavoured, but teamed with the biscuits and melty marshmallows, still made for something rather satisfying. given that we were only given 2 s’mores though, i would again say this isn’t really value-for-money though it might be worth paying for the fun experience.
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birthday girl with the completed s’more

and finally, on to my favourite dessert and quite possibly my favourite dish of the night:
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kinako donuts with black sugar custard – £8
these. were. amazing. DELICIOUS. amazing. they were like giant sugar-coated exploding donuts. pictures to illustrate my point:
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just look at that!!! the outside of the donuts were as good as the inside – they were light and fluffy, of just the right thickness to hold the amazing oozy custard, and coated in sugar. so sinful but so good, especially because they were served warm. the black sugar custard actually tasted quite like normal custard, but it was extremely smooth and creamy and not too sweet at all! if there’s only one dessert you have space for after dinner, its these amazing balls of goodness that you must go for!!!

all in all, we had a pretty good experience at flesh & buns but i’m not sure how soon i’ll be returning just because i thought it was rather pricey (though looking at the pictures of the donuts again, i now realise that they are indeed quite hard to resist :P)! some of their dishes are rather novel though, so i suppose its worth trying at  least once. they also have a lunch set-type thing, which seems quite reasonable!
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Flesh and Buns

41 Earlham St
London WC2H 9LXProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 presetIMG_20131209_101906
night out with my chicas bonitas aka best housemates ever 😉 ❤

BRGR.CO, London

brgr is yet another place that has added itself to the already long list of choices we have for burgers here in london. being the first outlet outside of lebanon where it originated, i was initially apprehensive of how it’d fare but it came highly recommended from friends so this is where i ended up on a thursday night when i was craving some manfood! hahaha.

you’ll find it at the end of wardour street that’s closer to oxford street, and this location was extremely welcome since it shortened the trek from school after a torturous jurisprudence lecture (am sure it’ll be as welcome if you’re heading over with aching legs after intense christmas shopping too)! the interior of the shop was not quite what i was expecting – in contrast to other burger joints like patty and bun (possibly still my favourite burger in london; see review here), the decor in brgr is not what you’d expect from a typical burger joint – it seemed to be going for a more smart & sophisticated vibe with its dark colour scheme, and staff were dressed in crisp white shirts.
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at brgr, you can construct your own burger, choosing the kind of patty, followed by any sauces or cheeses that you want to add to it. here’s the menu:20131205_183229

they pride themselves on the beef they use (premium beef sourced only from the duke of buccleuch’s estate in scotland), and the signature burgers are supposed to contain only the best cuts, more so than the standard patties in their regular burgers. my friend and i both decided to go for the 6oz “butcher’s cut” plain, without any distractions from the fancy cheeses or sauces, and could not resist getting a serving of the parmesan truffle fries to share (it was calling out to us once we spotted it on the menu).

service was prompt (though it was hard to get the staff’s attention as it got later and the place filled up) and we were served our food rather quickly! the burger came deconstructed, with the veggie left out by the side – still not sure what the idea behind that is…
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6 oz “the butcher’s cut” – £7.95

lifted up the top half of the burger bun to reveal the AMAZING slab of beef patty within:20131205_184845

i don’t think the picture does how good it looked justice at all – it looked absolutely tasty and juicy and perfectly-cooked and made me want to dig right in. but alas, i had to snap a few shorts of it to share so i had to resist that urge for a bit. my friend on the other hand, promptly attacked hahaha.

all put together now:
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the beef patty certainly did not disappoint – the quality of the beef lived up to what it was made out to be. it was tender, juicy, sweet, wonderfully seasoned, and perfectly chargrilled to a pink medium rare. tasted like a gourmet beef patty, and even had that melt-in-your-mouth goodness at some points. the veggies in the burger were simple but very fresh, and the brioche burger bun was yummy – super soft and light and fluffy in all its glazed goodness.

what struck us most about the burger was its simplicity – no fuss in the form of dripping sauces or melty cheese; it was simple and very clean, and that is what makes the brgr burger special in my opinion. after finishing the whole burger (which i thought was a pretty good size), i didn’t feel like i had just eaten something unhealthy (which burgers that are heavier tend to result in) at all! in fact, it was not at all unthinkable to order a second one; it was that light! so it really depends on what you like in a burger – if you’re looking for something hearty and heavy and bursting with flavour, then i think brgr is not for you. (try patty & bun instead!)

we were also extremely impressed with the parmesan truffle fries:
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parmesan truffle fries – £3.85

these were calling out to us once we saw them on the menu, and we were not disappointed! the fries were thin and crunchy like what you’d get at macs, but a hundred times better with all that cheese and the fragrance of truffles! i loved how the parmesan was melted over the fries instead of just having shaved parmesan sprinkled on the top, and both the cheese and truffle were well-spread throughout the pile of fries such that each fry had the taste of both. (the worst thing is when you have to eat fries plain because all the toppings are just heaped in the centre and at the top – hate when that happens!!!)

finally, we had a dessert special (they have specials written on a blackboard) – the DESSURGER:
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dessurger – brioche bun, lemon custard, chantilly cream, vanilla parfait crusted in pistachio and blackberry jam

SIDE VIEW:
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my jaw literally dropped when it arrived at our table – it looked amazing and i had never had a dessert burger before so this was all very novel and exciting!!! luckily it tasted as amazing as it looked or i would have been sorely disappointed.

the brioche was lovely and light and fluffy, and though i was worried that it would just be a giant cream puff-like thing, i was pleasantly surprised that it was not the case at all! all the different components of the “burger” came together wonderfully – the chantilly cream was unbelievably fresh and light, the pistachio bits added crunch, the lemon custard was firm (a little like the texture of ice cream, just not as cold!) so that it didn’t get lost along with the cream, and added a nice and refreshing (slightly tart) lift to the dessert.

at some point we realised that maybe we should really be eating it as a burger so this is what we did:20131205_191944it was like a massive jam donut, only much much better.

we agreed that it was definitely worth trying but its a special item on the blackboard menu that changes, so i’m not sure how often they have it! just means that if you’re there and they happen to have it, you should definitely order it then 😉

all in all, we enjoyed our experience at brgr and concluded that its a great place if you’re looking for a light and clean-tasting burger. if you’re looking for something greasy or heart-attack inducing however, then this is probably not the place for you.

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BRGR.CO

87 Wardour St
London W1F 8ZD

Hummerstons, Singapore

Hummerstons has been around in the casual dining scene for quite some time now, but it was only very recently that i finally decided to pay it a visit. located at robertson quay, its not the easiest place to get to via public transport, which is probably why it was never top on my list of places to check out, until i got more independently mobile lately with my ability to drive myself places! Oh the sweet freedom (and food choices :P) it brings!

the very kind sister decided that she would take leave from work to bring me for a birthday treat last monday, and hummerstons was our choice (not our first choice but there are unfortunately a limited number of places open on mondays) for the day! thankfully it did not disappoint or i would have been a sad birthday girl; after all, what are birthdays without good food???

they only open at noon on weekdays so our plan to have brunch turned into one to have an early lunch. we arrived at quarter past twelve and managed to find a parking space along the street right outside the robertson walk building very easily so that was nice! hummerstons is tucked away in a corner of the 2nd floor of robertson walk and requires a bit of exploring to find. they have both indoor and outdoor seating, and i can imagine it getting quite busy on weekends, especially with the residents who live in the apartments in the area.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

the inside is quite nice and spacious, with ample space between tables to have good conversation without worrying about neighbouring tables being close enough to eavesdrop:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAas you can see, we clearly did not have any problems at all getting a table that monday afternoon; there were only about 4 occupied tables the entire time we were there!

now on to the food, the sister isn’t into feasting till her stomach hurts (unlike me ;)) so we decided to go easy with our choices – we ordered their brunch burger and a salad to share!

the famous hummerstons brunch burger has been dubbed the best burger in singapore by many reviewers and i was very excited to see if it lived up to the hype! i wouldn’t be so quick to say that it is truly the best you can get in singapore since i’m not someone who has tried many gourmet-type burgers here, but it was certainly one of the better ones i have tasted, and probably one of the best that our little island has to offer. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
hummerstons brunch burger – grilled beef burger topped with applewood smoked bacon, caramelised onions, tomato, fried egg, greens. 

it looks huge in the picture, and it was really rather big and certainly very filling; definitely suitable for sharing unless you are a ravenous growing boy. i loved how the burger was full of ingredients and not just the standard beef topped with melty cheese and pickles etc (think yupi gummy burgers hahaha!). each component by itself was delicious, and together they tasted even better! the beef was grilled to a perfect medium-rare (which we chose) – it was tender, juicy and retained the taste of something that has been grilled well. the bacon is also something worth mentioning – they were quite generous with the amount they topped the beef with, and it was crispy and sinfully yummy, as were the caramelised onions! the greens were fresh and i loved the fried egg that topped it all off, though i would have preferred a runny yolk (i am the #1 fan of runny egg yolks/soft-boiled eggs) . imagine the yolk running down over all the ingredients especially the beef and bacon – yummmmmmmm.

besides all the yummy components of the burger, another part of it that was my favourite was definitely the bread. here’s a picture that’ll give you a good look at the burger bun:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

it reminded me of brioche and was really moist and buttery. topped with sesame seeds, it was definitely one of the parts of the burger that stood out to me, especially in comparison to other run-of-the-mill macdonalds-type burger breads that you get elsewhere.

the fries that accompanied the burger were pretty well done but nothing outstanding. we really enjoyed the dip that came with the fries though – spiced tomato chilli aioli! yummy.

the staff very kindly halved the burger for us when they realised we were sharing:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

look at that cross-section!!! I SALIVATE.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAif you’re craving a hearty burger, this will provide guaranteed satisfaction in my opinion 😉

we also ordered the super salad bowl in a bid to have a balanced meal and to negate the sinfulness of the serious dood food that came in the form of the burger hahaha. it was a very refreshing accompaniment to the burger and even though we only ordered a half portion, it was definitely big enough for sharing:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
super salad bowl

the super salad bowl consisted of blueberries, pomegranate, flax seeds, peppers, cherry tomatoes, avocado, spinach, chick peas and almonds. all the components of a delicious salad in my opinion, and what made it even better was the spiced avocado herb & yoghurt dressing. the amount of dressing was just nice so the salad wasn’t too dry or too wet, and all the ingredients used were really fresh and added in generous amounts. i loved this salad and its interesting and wide range of toppings mixed in. if you’re looking for something healthy but still very satisfying, i highly recommend this! this was the half-portion and we shared it very very comfortably; the full portion must be a really huge serving!!! it’ll probably be hard for someone to finish the full portion alone, even as a main.

we had a really satisfying lunch at hummerstons! i would certainly like to return one day to try their breakfast offerings (pancakes, truffle eggs etc) and desserts but it will definitely be difficult to steer myself clear of the burger and towards the brunch menu hahaha. i find the prices reasonable for the large serving sizes that you get, and the robertson quay area is really chill and pleasant so after your meal you can take a stroll by the river. i’m sure you’ll be very satisfied 🙂OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hummerstons

11 Unity Street #02-14 Robertson Walk,
Singapore 237995

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Saveur, Singapore

i first patronised Saveur about a year ago at their bugis branch and remember being quite satisfied with the lunch i had there, so i was quite excited when they opened another outlet at far east plaza a few months ago!

the crowd at far east plaza seems to be a bit more manageable; i remember having to go to the bugis branch right at opening time so that we were guaranteed a seat at their first seating. once the restaurant filled up, you’d be sent away and told to come back later. i’m not sure if thats still the case there, or if the crowd was merely due to the initial hype that came with an ex-coffee shop stall serving up affordable french cuisine moving to their own restaurant-style premises. whatever the case, i was pleasantly surprised when we did not have to queue at all when i visited the far east plaza branch at 1230pm on a wednesday afternoon. the restaurant gradually filled up though, and a queue soon formed outside the door. service is rather efficient and quick however, and so the queue moves relatively quickly.

the decor at both branches is modern (albeit simple), and very pleasant for a good meal. i think i prefer the ambience at the bugis branch to that in the far east branch though! if my memory serves me well, the bugis outlet has a white colour scheme, making the restaurant appear quite nice and bright. but food-wise, i think they are pretty much the same – as good as each other!

we ordered Saveur’s signature pasta to share as a starter. at an extremely affordable price of $4.90 for a regular-sized portion (we paid an extra $2 for a bigger sharing portion), its hard to go wrong with this order.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASaveur’s pasta tossed with chilli oil, japanese konbu & sakura ebi with minced pork sauce – $4.90

i thought this was a very well-presented dish (given the price – equivalent or even less than a bowl of bak chor mee!). the angel hair pasta was cooked just right; it was moist and retained a bite while not being too hard. i liked how each strand of noodle was infused with subtle tastiness and this was achieved without having them swimming in a dish full of sauce (in fact as you can see from the picture, there is no excess sauce on the plate at all), keeping the dish light, as a starter should be! the ebi contributed to the texture of the dish, adding a nice crunch to the pasta.

for mains, the first thing we ordered was the duck confit:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
duck confit – $10.90

i don’t think there’s anywhere else in singapore where you can get duck confit of this quality at $10.90! of course its not the quality of duck you’d get at a fancy french fine-dining restaurant, but for the price you are paying, there is really nothing at all to complain about. the duck was well-cooked as duck confit should be – the skin was crispy while the meat within was tender and moist. the mashed potato was smooth and creamy, and the mushrooms were juicy and well-cooked (if only they gave a few more!), this is definitely an extremely popular item on their menu; nearly every table in the restaurant had at least one serving of this main.

the second main we ordered was the beef:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
beef short ribs braised in red wine – $14.90

being beef, it is one of the more expensive mains on the menu (along with the fish) at $14.90. the beef was very tender and juicy and the sauce it was braised in was nice. however i think if we hadn’t shared all our mains and i had ordered this dish just for myself, it might have bordered on being “jelat” towards the end, because the sauce tends towards being heavy. the potatoes (potato au gratin) that accompanied it were delicious! despite the creamy sauce, they were not heavy at all and were a nice balance to the beef’s sauce.

our final main was the pork:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
pork belly with lentils and soft-boiled egg – $10.90

i love pork, i would say its probably my favourite meat along with duck! the skin of this pork belly slab was divine – it was crispy and very much like the skin of the best chinese roast porks. the meat was also very good – it was tender, juicy and moist. my only qualm is that the serving size was really small. 2 mouthfuls each and it was gone! i like lentils, and am also the hugest fan ever of soft boiled eggs (the one here was cooked to perfection) so this dish was really just my cup of tea 🙂

we skipped dessert as they were not that cheap (unlike the rest of their dishes) and we figured we’d probably be more satisfied with a huge cup of bubble tea or froyo each 😛

i would say my expectations for my visit to the far east plaza branch of Saveur were definitely met. the quality of the food was as good as i remembered it to be, though the serving sizes were also as small as i remembered them to be hahaha. ordering a main each is definitely insufficient (unless you have a tiny appetite). ordering starters thus becomes quite necessary and i suppose this might make you spend more than you initially planned on. but then again, for the price you are paying, i think its a very decent meal that you get.

saveur is known for providing quality french food inexpensively to the masses, and i think they are doing a pretty good job at living up to this reputation.

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Saveur

14 Scotts Road
Far East Plaza #01-07B
Singapore 228213

Oriole Cafe & Bar, Singapore

had been hearing pretty positive things about this place since it started gaining popularity in recent years but never got the chance to try it, so i was more than happy to have lunch here when my friend suggested it.

oriole cafe is a nice spot to rest your tired legs after indulging in retail therapy along orchard road. its at somerset, so if you start your shopping at far east plaza and make your way up along orchard road, i think somerset is around the point where a good cup of coffee or waffles for tea will be a welcome break!

we went on a wednesday afternoon and it was easy to get a table. the restaurant is rather spacious and i felt that the tables were nicely spaced out so its a really nice and comfortable setting for lengthy conversations over a meal. the huge glass panels and high ceilings also add to the relaxed vibe of the place!

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they serve breakfast till 5pm daily, but we decided to go for the lunch menu as there wasn’t anything that seemed out of the ordinary among their breakfast offerings – they have standard brunch fare like eggs benny, french toast etc. we weren’t particularly ravenous (i had a breakfast feast at tiong bahru market that morning hahaha) so we settled on the spicy calamari and the beef cheek tagliatelle to share! here is nikki looking excited that the food has arrived heh:20130710_131935

spicy calamari: it was recommended by the waiter as one of their most popular starters. the chilli was very much like belachan and i thought it added a nice twist to regular calamari, with its spiciness and tinge of sourness. the batter of the calamari was very well done – it was light, crispy, and neither too oily nor thick. we could tell that the oil used was fresh and i loved the fact that it was delightfully fluffy which gave it a really nice bite. i think i would have been happy eating just the batter without the squid within (though the squid within was nice and fresh too)! i would have preferred thicker and crunchier squid slices though, so that the taste of the squid didn’t get lost in the batter.
not sure if it shows in the picture but the serving was big! there were probably 15-20 calamari rings there and given that they were rather big pieces individually, its a wonder we didn’t start sprouting tentacles after eating it all hahaha.

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spicy calamari, $15

as for the beef cheek tagliatelle: we enjoyed this very much! the beef cheek pieces were very nicely braised in red wine (according to the menu, though i didn’t taste a hint of it!), making them deliciously tender. the mushrooms were also very yummy, and the tagliatelle had a nice bite to it (it was very much like western mee pok). nikki and i agreed that we’d gladly come back to have this tagliatelle again!
the serving was very generous once again; we shared this and were both very satisfied when we were finished with it. needless to say, the sauce in this dish is heavier than tomato-based sauce for example, and so given its consistency, i think i might have found it hard to finish if i had ordered this alone. its quite a thick stew-like sauce, but i didn’t find it overly heavy – i’d take this over a creamy carbonara-type sauce any day!

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beef cheek tagliatelle, $22

oriole cafe and bar is well-known for its coffees but since we didn’t order any with our meal we decided to go with a coffee-based dessert! and luckily we did, because the honey crumble affogato (vanilla ice cream, espresso and crunchy honeycomb bits) was  really really good. the giant scoop of vanilla ice cream was thick and creamy, the espresso was very good and everything came together to give us a very enjoyable end to our meal! i can imagine myself coming back to oriole to have this as a mid-afternoon snack/break from shopping 🙂OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhoney crumble affogato, $9.50

i hadn’t seen this girl in the flesh for 9 months and so you can imagine how much we had to catch up on… we spent a good 3.5 hours at oriole and never felt like we were overstaying our welcome at any point in time. the staff were polite and friendly and i think if we had continued sitting there for another hour, they wouldn’t have minded at all! given the size of the portions, i feel the food is reasonably priced, and definitely above average as far as cafe/bistro-style food goes. a good place for all-day dining options!20130710153040919reunited in completely unintentionally & unplanned colour-coordinated outfits heehee. still telepathic even after 9 months apart 😉

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOriole Cafe & Bar

#01-01, Pan Pacific Serviced Suites
96 Somerset Road
Singapore 238163

Flat Iron, London

what better way to celebrate release from the evil clutches of exams than feasting on some good food? my friend suggested trying flat iron right after our criminal law paper and we were all so happy that she did, because it was really really good stuff.

got a little lost walking to beak street from school (our brains were fried from the mad rush that writing – or should i say scribbling – 4 essays in 3 hours is) so by the time we reached flat iron at 2pm, we were all super starving. but our hunger pangs were very quickly satiated by what they put on the table once we arrived:Image

POPCORN!!! we all thought it was such a cute/novel touch! along with the mini choppers for knives hahaha.

anyway, the menu at flat iron is really simple and straightforward. there’s steak for £10, and a range of sides and sauces to choose from to have with your steak.

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we planned to save space for dessert so we didn’t order much – just a steak each, and a side of roast aubergine to share!

the steak. was. SO. GOOD.

(sorry these are bad pics i know 😦 the lighting wasn’t very optimal for good pictures with my phone camera!)Image

the meat was perfectly done – every bite was amazingly juicy, flavourful, moist and tender and even though i had mine done medium, it was not AT ALL dry or tough. so so so good. i’m  nearly salivating just thinking of it. srsly. really really good steak. my friend who normally doesn’t take meat was saying she probably wouldn’t be able to finish her beef but once she took the first bite, all such thoughts were banished and her plate was as squeaky clean as all of ours were at the end 😉

we found the portion just nice though i think some might find it on the small side, especially hungry boys! the greens that came with the steak were really fresh and had a nice, light dressing, and the aubergine was a hit among the 4 of us. it was simple but very delicious! apparently the creamed spinach is something thats very popular there as well, but i only found this out after we had our meal so that’s something i will have to try next time!Image

we also tried fred’s sauce, but it was nothing to shout about. personally i think you can give the sauces a miss because the meat by itself is super delicious and really doesn’t need much to make it even better. in fact, the sauces might even mask the natural sweetness of the meat?

the restaurant isn’t very big and i think the only reason why we didn’t have to queue is because we had a late lunch (2pm). they don’t take reservations and the queues are apparently snaking at dinnertime so if you’re planning on going, either go early or go late!

there’s no service charge too, so its really just £10 for a really good steak.

will definitely be heading back when i’m feeling carnivorous…

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Flat Iron
17 Beak St
London W1F 9RW

Koba, London

so lecture was cancelled on thursday, which gave me the chance to head out for lunch with 2 of my homiez, followed by a trip to the natural history museum! yay!

why it was an amazing afternoon:
1. the sun was SHINING
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2. nothing beats traipsing around a relatively empty museum on a weekday afternoon with not a care in the world
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3. lunch was YUM:

despite having been to charlotte street on multiple occasions, i never noticed koba which is located just off charlotte street on rathbone street. we had planned to have korean food for lunch and had kim chee at holborn in mind, but it was my korean hallmate who suggested that we try koba instead. i am so happy we had that conversation about good korean restaurants over hall breakfast that morning, because it was YUMMY.

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we were all excited when we got seated at our table and checked out the lunch menu because it was really extensive – many places tend to have fewer items on their “set lunch” menus, but koba is different. they seem to have nearly everything korean that you would possibly want to eat (at least for me) and it was the kind of menu where there was something for everyone, which is great!

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their specialty seems to be their barbequed meats and so it was the “beef lunch barbeque” that I opted for. it came with a side dish with the usual mixed korean appetisers, soup, salad, a baby bowl of bibimbap (it was REALLY baby-sized; more on this later) and meat to be barbequed; there was plenty to eat and i was a very happy bunny.Image
i’ll start with the bibimbap – it was delicious and the ingredients were fresh and generously heaped on top of the rice. the amount of chilli sauce that the waiter added was also perfect – it was very tasty and satisfying. my only qualm was that when they described the bibimbap in the menu as a “small pot bibimbap”, they really meant it – it was TINY and if not for the fact that i was taking small mouthfuls to savour it, it would probably have been gone in 2-3 mouthfuls! but i’m not complaining;the star of the set is probably meant to be the meat anyway.

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moving on to the beef, they gave a very generous 12 slices with the set. they were sliced thinly so if you are looking for something thick, its probably better to order it off the a la carte menu. they bring it to the table raw, and the waiter helps you cook the slices on the stove in front of you. Image
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the slices were tender, juicy, marinated well, and had a slight taste of the barbeque, just as they should have! seemed like good quality stuff and so my fears of quality of the meat being compromised since it was a set lunch were unfounded. the salad provided a good balance to the “heat” of the barbeque – the vegetables were fresh and crisp with a light japanese-type (though in this case, i should probably say it was korean) dressing.
i felt that what i ordered was really quite value-for-money, which is always important for students attempting to keep to a budget 😉

my friend ordered the bulgogi (she was dying to get the barbeque set too, but was recovering from a funky stomach illness from eating oysters at brighton – DO NOT EAT RAW OYSTERS BY THE BRIGHTON PIER; you have been warned. In fact I am heading there tomorrow and will be staying far away from them wahahaha but okay, I digress. Back to the korean food.) and she was really satisfied with it too! the serving was generous, and it came with appetisers and soup as well.
here is a picture of her taking a picture of her food before tucking in. #ASIANALERT

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my other friend ordered bibimbap and got a nice full-sized bowl (unlike my tiny one – but at least they did mention that it was a “small pot” in the menu), which she was pleased with.

total bill: £28.70 for 3

ambience: neat, clean, modern, bright, airy, generally very pleasant. OH YES and very importantly for korean restaurants that have hot plates/barbeques – there is surprisingly NO heavy smell of barbeque hanging in the air; we walked out of the restaurant smelling as lovely as ever 😉

who i would recommend this to: anyone looking for a place that serves reasonably priced korean food, with an extensive special lunch menu. the tables are well-spaced out and the restaurant does not feel cramped at all. a possible venue for larger groups and a relaxing lunch. there was a steady stream of customers and the tables were filled throughout the time we were there, but it seems like getting a table shouldn’t really be too much of a problem since they are efficient with their service and turnaround time is not long, at least when we were there.

will i return? YES. my new go-to korean place for now. compared to assa (where i used to go for my korean fix), i felt that the environment was nicer: bright, airy, nice-smelling (one does not walk out of assa without the smell of food lingering on your clothes for the rest of the day – best to visit it on a day you’re planning on doing laundry hahaha). if you’re craving some hotpot goodness then assa might still be the place for you though!

PS. the koreans at the table next to us were making loud, satisfied noises (accompanied by satisfied stomach-rubbing – or maybe i was imagining this part) and that is always a sign of good food right? natives giving their stamp of approval!

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Koba
11 Rathbone St  London, Greater London W1T 1NA
020 7580 8825
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rach 😀