Department of Caffeine, Singapore

despite the myriad of cafes in the duxton hill area, DOC has managed to stand out from the crowd instead of going unnoticed amidst the sea of eateries in the area. since its opening early this year, it has gleaned rave reviews and recommendations from many of its patrons for both its food and coffee offerings, and in my opinion, rightly so! a friend who was interning around tanjong pagar had the opportunity to try most of the cafes there during her lunch hours and DOC came out tops on her list of favourites. i can definitely see why after trying it for myself!

everything about DOC exudes a cool vibe – from the extremely understated exterior (i nearly walked right past the shop and its nondescript frosted glass windows with black frames) to the use of wood and black as the interior colour scheme to the young and seemingly hipster service staff. the shop, which is not big but seats a decent number of people at any one time, is designed in a modern and stylish manner while managing to remain cosy and inviting. the atmosphere is casual and rather buzzing when it gets crowded, especially because it is the kind of cafe where you place your order and pay at the counter before the food gets brought to your table shortly after.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

the menu is simple and concise yet sufficiently extensive to get you excited about what you should pick:
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we didn’t have a very hard time making our decision that day though, as we already had our minds (and stomachs) set on the waffles which looked too good to pass on. moreover, we were planning on heading to tsujiri tea house after for what i think is the best green tea soft serve ice cream in singapore (see here) so we agreed to exercise some self-control and not overdo the ordering. we did pretty well on that, i must say, opting to share a waffle and a salad between us.
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first up, the waffle:
(omg, just look at that picture and salivate now please!!!)
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sundried tomato & herb waffles with bacon, scrambled eggs & maple bacon jam – $16.50

they have both sweet and savoury waffles at DOC, but it was the savoury one that we settled for, in anticipation of dessert after. this was definitely the highlight of our meal (not that there was very stiff competition for the coveted title with only one other dish in the running hahaha)! we could not stop spazzing over how good it was; even when we were 3/4 done with it, we were still repeating “omg. this is soooooo. good.” over and over. the waffle was amazingly crisp on the outside but fluffy on the inside, and the batter itself was infused with herbs which made it quite special. truly a savoury waffle through and through, and not just a waffle with savoury toppings! the scrambled eggs and bacon were also nicely done – the scrambled eggs were creamy and fluffy and the bacon would have been perfect if fried just a little crispier (but that’s a personal preference). topped with maple syrup, the waffles here at DOC are definitely one of the best buttermilk waffles ever (i hear wimbly lu ones put up a good fight)! my only complaint is that towards the end of our waffle-devouring adventure, the waffle soaked up some of the moisture from the scrambled eggs and became slightly soggy but i suppose that can’t be helped!

we also had a salad to share:
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regular salad – $13 (roasted butternut squash with semidried tomatoes, baby spinach & feta/chargrilled broccoli with chilli, garlic & lemon)

they have 3 different salads displayed at the counter daily for your picking pleasure, and i love how you can pick 2 salads to mix in a bowl, regardless of the salad size that you opt for!  we chose the spinach + butternut squash salad and the broccoli salad, and were pleasantly surprised that despite it being a small serving, the quantity was quite sufficient for us to share. the greens were extremely fresh and the butternut squash and spinach salad came with a lovely dressing which we couldn’t quite place but was very yummy nonetheless. as for the broccoli salad, the broccoli was perfectly cooked (ie not too soft, crunchy but not too hard) and cut (big, chunky pieces) for salads, and we loved how it was so nicely char-grilled, giving it a subtle smokey taste.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA there was also some lemon zest added to it which gave the salad a very refreshing lift. fyi, the menu also offers an option of combining the salads with a main – they had a choice of either a roasted chicken leg or some poached salmon for the main while we were there.

i will definitely be back at DOC! this is the place to go if you’re looking for some great buttermilk waffles (another hot favourite is wimbly lu), and i’m looking forward to the next opportunity i get to return to try their sweet waffle with ice cream offerings and possibly their churros with kahlua-spiked chocolate sauce! besides their sweet treats (they also have freshly baked goodies on a daily basis), i hear their sandwiches are good too! the pulled pork one is especially popular.

another great thing about DOC is that they are happy to take reservations. this makes it the perfect place to visit on weekends especially after having a nice lie-in; no worries about long queues or waiting time that could ruin the pleasure of a relaxing weekend brunch!

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Department of Caffeine

15 Duxton Rd
Singapore 089481

ps. dessert was as mentioned earlier, a shiratama parfait at tsujiri:
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MATCHA HEAVEN IN A CUP!!!

pps. the domestic doyleys also got to work in the kitchen that afternoon, and successfully baked an earl grey chiffon cake! it was so yummy and we were pleased as punch heehee. a day full of fabulous food yay!
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The Lawn, Singapore

been eating non-stop since summer started, and finally decided that it was getting out of hand; i was in need of some serious detoxing! The Lawn was thus the obvious choice for a light lunch with friends last week, especially since i had inhaled an entire apple cinnamon prata with vanilla ice cream at 4am earlier that morning (it was SO. GOOD.)

eating clean doesn’t mean eating food that’s anything less than yummy, and The Lawn is the perfect place to do just that! located at biopolis, it caters mostly to the working crowd in the area but given the ample parking available in the basement and its relative proximity to buona vista mrt station, i think its a pretty good spot for a satisfying salad fix. the cafe is clean and bright with a few tables inside, and a synthetic turf outside (an attempt to stay true to their name) for outdoor seating on a cool day. the atmosphere is relaxed, almost like you’re just sitting in your backyard having a barbeque 🙂

we arrived a little past 1pm on a weekday to a thinning lunch crowd, and wasted no time in heading to the counter to place our orders:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

the lawn is all about fresh greens topped with grilled meat/seafood, and finished with tasty dressings. everything is your choice and you get a huge personalised bowl of salad for just $9.90! at the counter, you start by choosing between a salad (1 grill + 5 toppings + dressing) and olive rice (1 grill + rice + side salad). the 3 of us all went with salad and we were really spoilt for choice. being the extremely indecisive person i am, ordering was stressful (picking the right combination of salad toppings is a life-changing decision, seriously :P) but i suppose it was a happy problem…

there are about 12 different grills to choose from, with some premium ones that cost an additional $1/$2. Sorry I didn’t take a picture of the blackboard behind the counter, but I do have a picture of the grills available (taken from a board outside the cafe) and you can check out the entire range of choices available at their website here: http://thelawn.com.sg/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=85&Itemid=53 !OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
grill choices at the lawn

i went with the chargrilled prawns while both my friends went with the herb-infused chicken which came highly recommended by the staff behind the counter. after choosing your grill, you proceed to pick your toppings from the huge range available; they have everything from granola to green apples to seeds to chesnuts to beetroot to assorted nuts to eggs to tomatoes to pasta to cous cous to broccoli – you name it and they probably have it! after picking toppings, the final step is to pick a dressing and unsurprisingly, there is once again a headache-inducing (because i am ridiculously indecisive) selection. i went with the honeyball which was a safe choice in my opinion; the last thing i wanted was to leave less-than-satisfied because of a wrong dressing choice, especially after racking my brains to achieve what i deemed the perfect salad combination! hahaha. for the adventurous, you can go for something like maple peanut (maple syrup + peanut butter?!) or perky sesame ginger (one of my friends got this and it tasted very much like chicken rice) or even one of the premium ones!

they grill your choice of seafood or meat on the spot after you place your order, so its nice and warm when the salad is served to your table. the prawns i had were juicy and crunchy, while the greens were very fresh. my friends enjoyed their chicken, though i felt it was a tad dry when i took a bite. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
$9.90 for my very generous portion of greens. a very satisfying bowl!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAM looking pleased as punch with her giant bowl of salad

none of us ordered the olive rice, but it seemed to be quite a popular choice with the rest of the patrons. it looked moist and hearty, and is done teochew style, instead of the thai-style olive rice that many of us would probably imagine it to be. given the huge range of exciting toppings and dressings to choose from when creating your own salad however, i think i’ll be sticking with the salad when i return. (also because my maid cooks an amazing teochew style olive rice ;))

they also have a coffee + cake counter selling rather reasonably priced coffees:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

the lawn is a great place for a relaxing, casual and most importantly, healthy yet tasty lunch away from the hustle and bustle of the city. i will definitely be back when i eventually decide that its time for detox round 2… bets on when that’s going to happen are welcome 😉

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The Lawn Grill & Salad Cafe

31 Biopolis Way,
Nanos #01-07,
Singapore 138669

Al-Azhar Eating Restaurant, Singapore

(a long overdue post that i started writing during easter break but only got round to finishing after exams :/)

killing many birds with one stone is key with every meal given the limited time i have back home over easter. this time, the birds i had in mind were roti prata and butter chicken and this search took me to al-azhar, the stone of the day, which if i may say, rocked 😉 wahahahaha.

al-azhar is located along the stretch of eating houses in upper bukit timah, opposite beauty world and the whole series of similar-looking malls which i remember as the go-to places for huan zhu ge ge collector’s cards when my sister and i were little:i202415487_86414_3
LOL.

okay, enough random digression, back to the food. (but i have to say, that picture of the hzgg cast really cracks me up and i’m sure it brings back memories for all of us who grew up watching it in primary school at 7pm as we ate our dinner. ah, those were the days~)

that upper bukit timah stretch (aka 7 mile) is known to have a few 24 hour eating places serving up a whole range of supper foods, and 2 joints – al-ameen and al-azhar (the one i went to)- are particularly well-known for their roti prata, roti john, mee goreng, murtabak etc offerings; basically everything greasy, good and guilt-inducing when eaten at 3am in the wee hours of the morning.

headed there on a friday night, and walked past al-ameen while making our way to al-azhar. i had always thought the 2 were pretty similar in standard but realised i was wrong after checking out other online reviews – seems like al-azhar is the more popular one while al-ameen had a noticeably thinner crowd and smaller shop space.

the menu at al-azhar is probably one of the most extensive ones you will ever find in singapore, ranging from thai food to prata to fried ice cream to red velvet cupcakes (yes i’m completely serious; we were thoroughly amused)?!

we had butter chicken, prata, roti john and murtabak!

I LOVEEE BUTTER CHICKEN. LOVE IT. could eat it all day every day, and so i was extremely pleased when the butter chicken here turned out to be some really good stuff. even my friend whose mum makes a mean butter chicken agreed!!! it was tasty and extremely satisfying – the gravy was of just the right creaminess and consistency and the chicken pieces were tender. i was eating spoonfuls of the gravy after i ran out of stuff to have the remaining gravy with!!!

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the cheese & mushroom prata was not bad. it was fluffy, not too greasy, and was of a good size. comparable to the one at prata house along upper thomson road, i would say!20130412_204019

my friends had the mutton murtabak and chicken & cheese roti john, which they were both happy with as well! the servings are pretty big and really fill you up (even for ravenous, growing boys):20130412_20395020130412_203958

for dessert, we shared a chocolate tissue prata (though we were tempted to try the red velvet cupcakes just to see how they tasted HAHA) and it was good stuff!!! thin and crispy – perfectly done tissue prata with a good dose of chocolate and sugar heehee.20130412_214657
we attacked it very happily and it was gone in no time, but not before taking a picture with it as a prata party hat first 😉
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so unhealthy, but so good. really reasonably priced too! will definitely come back here to satisfy random midnight cravings in future. and for the butter chicken! shall try it with the naan next time – i hear the naan is good, and it did look good! i was eyeing the naan that the people at the next table ordered throughout dinner 😛

oh yes, and we had drinks:
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this is really belated since i only just got round to completing this post (an entire month late) but to deep and curlz: thanks for taking me out that night and saving me from drowning in case law, guys 🙂 will see you again for more exciting times really soon!!! 🙂2013041222110956020130412221417112
bahahahahaahahahhahah.

good 24h supper spot discovered!!! (y)

Al-Azhar Eating Restaurant
11 Cheong Chin Nam Rd
Singapore 59973620130412_22113220130412_220900