Strangers’ Reunion, Singapore

this cafe has already gained such a following since its opening that before reading this, you’ve probably already decided that you’re going to give it a try no matter what reviews say about it! well, i’m going to be joining the majority with a relatively positive review (about their famous buttermilk waffles at least!), so this will probably serve to egg you on and reaffirm your decision to go forth and pay it a visit 🙂

it having been around and being talked about (especially their buttermilk waffles) for quite some time now (if i’m not wrong, it was one of the pioneers in the latest wave of new cafes popping up all over the island; its been around long enough to warrant a refurbishment of the cafe recently), i cannot believe it was only this christmas break that i managed to check this super popular place out!

visited on a thursday around noon, and it was already nearly full when we arrived. we were lucky to snag a seat! the cafe has quite a large seating capacity compared to some other places though, and service is quite efficient so even if you need to queue, it shouldn’t be too bad!
20131219_145240

here’s the menu:
20131219_141035
gotta love all-day breakfast places

the menu is pretty large, but not so extensive that you have a hard time picking what to eat – very optimal for those like me who love having a range of things to choose from but are promptly wracked indecision and fail miserably at picking something, the kind of person who has a panicked expression on their face when they realise the waiter has taken everyone else’s orders and is now just waiting on yours; also the kind of person known to regret his order right after placing it. but i digress… back to the point now; we opted for the corn & zucchini fritters and a serving of their famous buttermilk waffles (how could we not) to share between the two of us.

20131219_130237 corn and zucchini fritters with avocado, poached egg and spicy tomato relish – $18

not sure if you’re thinking what we thought when this dish was placed before us –  we both agreed that it looked rather messy, unappetising and very homemade! like somebody just heaped everything onto a plate just before it was served, with little finesse or care. i was quite disappointed when i saw it but luckily it tasted pretty good, so that kind of made up for the poor presentation. the fritters were very light, not oily at all, and had bits of yummy corn and zucchini in them. the avocado was very fresh and perfectly ripe, while the egg was poached to perfection. the spicy tomato relish was important in bringing all the different components of the dish together, but i wish they had dished it out more generously. the serving was small – 2 corn & zucchini fritters topped with a few slices of avocado and just 1 poached egg.

i didn’t really think this was worth the $18 we paid, especially because $18 (and maybe a little bit more) can get you something much better presented, bigger and possibly even tastier elsewhere (at most of the other brunch places i’ve reviewed – maison ikkoku, nassim hill bakery, artichoke etc)

they had a waffle special (so exciting – i love specials!!!) that day, and that’s what we had:20131219_130247
buttermilk waffles with passionfruit, white chocolate, coconut zest & vanilla ice cream – $14.90

now this, unlike the fritters, was something worth writing home about. being ever present on the list of contenders for the best waffle in singapore, i ordered these with high expectations and am happy to say that they did indeed live up to them! the waffles were perfectly crisp on the outside but soft and fluffy inside. they remained this way for quite some time, and did not turn soggy rapidly like many others tend to, especially when served with ice cream! i loved the combination for this waffle special – the passionfruit added a nice zesty twist while the white chocolate balanced that out with its sweetness. the vanilla ice cream with coconut zest was also rather delicious! it was a very nice and light change from the usual chocolate-doused waffles with bananas (a good combination no doubt, but this was a good change!).

it was overall a pretty good experience at strangers’ reunion in a nice environment with good service. i would return to strangers’ reunion for their buttermilk waffles (though there are other amazing waffle options at creamier (belgian waffles) or DOC, but probably not for any proper food (though they do serve some more substantial lunch/dinner options) – i thought the food wasn’t anything to shout about at all (besides the waffle) though; even the eggs that several other diners were ordering didn’t look great but i’m not sure how they tasted – i do think they need to work on their presentation! we weren’t particularly full after what we had since the servings were rather small, but nothing was calling out to us from the desserts menu or cake display so we passed on that too (shocking, i know :O hahaha).  i’m happy that i finally checked this place out, but it was all a little overrated, i feel! 20131219_125627

Strangers’ Reunion

37 Kampong Bahru Rd
Singapore 16935620131219_145300
hi lou!
Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Advertisements

Yalla Yalla, London

when i told my housemate that i was going to yalla yalla for lunch, she asked me if it was a singaporean restaurant. i said no and was slightly puzzled why she jumped to that conclusion, but it all made sense on my walk to the restaurant – she thought it was “ya lah, ya lah” (for the non-singaporean readers out there, this basically means “yes”, with some singlish (singaporean slang) thrown in in the form of the word “lah”.) … i was thoroughly amused hahaha!

contrary to what she thought though, yalla yalla is actually a lebanese restaurant that serves beirut street food. i love how flavourful middle eastern food is, so i went to yalla yalla with pretty high hopes, and am happy to say that i was not disappointed 🙂

they have several branches around london, but the winsley street one is where i visited for a late lunch on a thursday. it was nearly full when i arrived around 145pm, but we were nonetheless shown to a nice corner table very promptly. the restaurant is modern, tastefully decorated, open, bright and gives off a casual yet sophisticated vibe. service is friendly and prompt. its a great place for a casual lunch!20131128_134515

the menu has a huge selection and i’m pretty sure everyone will manage to find something they fancy:
20131128_133654prices are reasonable and servings are big, so that’s already a huge draw in my opinion!

some complimentary olives and pickled things to keep us company while dealing with the challenge that picking what to order from an extensive menu always proves to be (happy problem, happy problem i know):20131128_134028we were pretty hungry (or maybe just greedy) so between the 2 of us, we ordered 2 starters plus a main each.

the first starter we ordered was the makalé samak, which we were eyeing once we saw it served to the table next to us. it was basically a plate of deep-fried seafood – so sinful but so good!
20131128_140056
makalé samak: deep fried tiger prawns, calamari, and white bait with spring onions, crispy aubergine and chilli minted greek yoghurt – £6

don’t think there’s much scale for you to judge the size of the plate from the photo, but it was BIG. we basically had a mountain of lebanese-style tempura placed before us, and we were certainly not complaining 😉 the batter was very light, not too greasy and definitely not too thick. i could tell that they used fresh oil to fry it, and the prawns, calamari and fish were all nice and fresh! served with some spring onions, pomegranate seeds and topped with a generous squeezing of lime, we really enjoyed this dish. although it was a really generous serving, it was completely polished off and we could see the reflection of our (fatter) faces in the clean bottom of the plate by the end of our meal. it also came with a minted yoghurt dressing but it remained relatively untouched, not because it was bad, but because the seafood tasted good enough on its own.

the next starter we chose was named by time out as one of the 100 best dishes in london – my friend was not a fan of liver at all but we decided that we had to try it given its accolade! 20131128_140111
sawda djej: sauteed chicken liver with garlic and pomegranate molases – £4

i LOVED this – in my opinion, its a must-try if you’re at yalla yalla! make sure you do like liver though, because my friend didn’t and so this plate ended up being all mine. definitely wasn’t a problem for me though; i gladly accepted the challenge of finishing it all wahahahah 😛 the sauce was amazingly tasty and the liver was cooked to perfection – not overcooked till it was hard, and retaining some crunchiness (nothing beats my mum’s homecooked liver dish still though ;)). something different, and definitely worth trying if you enjoy liver/feel like being adventurous and having some.

for our mains, my friend got the seabass fillet, while i got a mixed platter.20131128_140205
lokoz meshoué: charcoal grilled sea bass fillet with citrus scented rice and spicy tomato and coriander sauce – £12.50

i didn’t have much of this, but i had enough to conclude that the fish was extremely fresh and well-grilled – crispy skin, while the meat was firm and naturally sweet. you can’t see the 2nd piece of fish very clearly in this picture, but the serving was extremely generous with 2 big pieces of fillet atop a bed of rice and some accompanying sauce, which was tasty and was a nice tangy lift to the fish and rice. i would say 2 people could share this if they don’t want to overdo the mains and want to save room in their stomach to enjoy a greater range of appetizers!

as for me, i was excited to try as much of what yalla yalla had to offer as possible, so i opted for a platter:20131128_141349
street platter: hommos, tabboule, warak enab, kibbe lahme, chicken rakakat and chicken wings – £7.75

the hommos (chickpea puree, tahini and fresh lemon juice) was delicious and i loved not just slathering it on nearly everything that entered my mouth but also just licking it off my cutlery and having it plain.
the tabboulé (salad-like thing in the front – chopped parsley, mint, spring onion, tomato, olive oil, lemon juice & cracked wheat salad) was very light and refreshing – the myriad of ingredients came together very well to provide a good palette cleanser in between having the different items on the platter!
the grilled chicken wing was good but nothing to shout about; in fact i don’t remember much about it at all…
to the right of the chicken wing is the kibbeé lahmé, a deep fried lamb and cracked wheat parcel filled with onions comfit, minced meat and roasted pine nuts. this was a bit like a lamb falafel and i really enjoyed it! for the worried, the taste of the lamb was not overpowering at all (which is what many fear when having lamb).
the next item to the right is the chicken rakakat – a deep fried pastry filled with marinated chicken, garlic, shallots and harissa. i really enjoyed this as well! the flavours were strong and the skin of the pastry that enclosed the yummy chicken filling was thin and crunchy. it was like a yummy chicken spring roll! 20131128_141609
the insides of the rakakat and the kibeé
the last item on the platter was the warak enab which is traditionally lebanese – stuffed grape leaves! this was really interesting and unlike anything i’ve ever had before. the grape leaves were extremely moist as if they had been soaked in something for quite a while. the texture was almost like seaweed – wet but not soggy or mushy, almost kind of slimy? which sounds quite gross i know, but i didn’t find it so at all! it was actually very interesting!20131128_142252
the inside of the warak enab
if i’m not wrong, the stuffing was a vegetarian (i don’t remember tasting meat) mix of onions, tomatoes, parsley, mint and other yummy things, and the entire roll was probably soaked in something lemon-y. it was good but definitely something that i see people either loving or hating.

we were also given naan as an accompaniment to our mains. the naan was light, soft and fluffy. yummy, but i didn’t manage to have as much as i would have liked to because of all the other amazing food we had before us!

and finally, on to dessert! we were really stuffed by the time we had finished (yes, we finished it all!!!) our starters and mains, but thank goodness we decided to go ahead and share a dessert because what we had was really out of this world:
20131128_150548
yalla jou jou: vanilla mousse speculoos, velvety dark chocolate coating and dark chocolate sauce with a very vanilla ice cream – £5.25

if you’re going to have dessert at yalla yalla, this is what you need to get. SERIOUSLY. my friend and i agreed that even though we were really very full, we would have ordered another if we didn’t have to rush off to our jurisprudence lecture… we also agreed that if there’s one thing we’d return to yalla yalla for, it’d be this amazing dessert. it’s not like anything i’ve had i think, and i normally dislike mousse but this wasn’t typically mousse-y at all (i actually think its misleading to call it a mousse!); it was much more firm than a regular mousse, almost like vanilla ice cream covered in this amazing speculoos crumb coating and topped with chocolate sauce. they were also right in describing the ice cream as “very vanilla” – it was extremely fragrant and the bits of vanilla bean spotted in the ice cream were testament to how good it tasted! oh my, i’m craving this just looking at the picture… it was a really really yummy and unique dessert (not something run-of-the-mill that you can get anywhere and everywhere) to end off a great meal.

given the reasonable prices, generous portions and great taste of the food, i will certainly be back. you should check it out too – yalla yalla (“hurry up” in Arabic :P)! 20131128_14084420131128_153457

Yalla Yalla

12 Winsley Street
London W1W 8HQ

Marylebone Hotel Afternoon Tea, London

no london experience is ever complete without some traditional afternoon tea, and the fact that i study and live here doesn’t stop me from doing “tourist-y” things like this once in a while 😉

having gotten a good afternoon tea deal at kingsway hall hotel via afternoontea.co.uk last year, it was that trusty website that i headed back to when a friend and i decided we were going to treat ourselves to an indulgent afternoon before the madness that school can become sets in.

this time, we got an amazing deal at the marylebone hotel – traditional afternoon tea at just £12.50 per person!!! considering how plush the hotel was, the impeccable service, and the quality of the food we were served, i would say this is the perfect deal if you’re looking for an affordable tea-time treat.

we arrived to a beautifully laid out table, and i loved the fact that we were seated on a huge cushy sofa in a lounge rather than stiff chairs around a table in a coffee house:
20131011_184803afternoon tea is served both in the lounge and the drawing room, and despite the very nice set-up, the staff are informal and unfussy, making you feel comfortable and right at home!

tea began with the waitress bringing us a selection of teas on a tray, explaining each one and letting us sniff them all before making our decision on what to get. they serve a selection of wonderfully fragrant “jing” tea there (which i found random packets of in my kitchen at home over summer and proceeded to make earl grey chiffon cake with – it tasted amazing and even better than when made with twinings tea!), and you’re allowed to have as much and as many kinds as you want throughout the afternoon. the selection of teas isn’t oustandingly extensive (i think we had 6 choices if i remember correctly), but is definitely enough to satisfy your tea desires, from black teas to fruit teas!

here’s the menu for afternoon tea:
20131011_183737

the sandwiches and scones were served first, and everything was plated really prettily (as it should be at afternoon tea!):
2013-10-11-18-12-47_deco

these were the sandwiches we had:
20131011_160542though simple, they were a case of classic afternoon tea sandwiches being done really nicely. the proportion of ingredients to bread was just right, and fillings for the sandwiches were fresh and tasty while the bread was nice and soft. fortunately, they didn’t really fill me up as much as i had expected – they remained light despite all that butter, cream cheese and mayo in them – , because more good things were to come! 😉

next, on to the quintessential part of afternoon tea – freshly-baked scones with clotted cream and jam!20131011_160551i love scones. and when they are really good ones which are freshly toasted and warm, that’s just icing on the cake (what an apt expression to use :P)! the clotted cream was good stuff – thick, smooth and not too sweet, while the homemade jam was very nice too, with whole bits of strawberries! we had a raisin scone and a plain scone each, both of which were delicious – they had risen very nicely and the slight crunch on the outside (which i love) gave way to a perfect airy, soft and moist inside. such a plain-looking thing in comparison to the other fancy tea-time offerings, but so yummy.

and finally for the sweet end to the tea, we got to choose cakes and pastries from a wide range on display which was rather exciting:
20131011_165702they had macaroons, tarts, cakes and biscuits – more than enough to keep that sweet tooth in you happy and satisfied!

our selections were later served to our table:2013-10-11-18-14-25_decowe were actually pretty full by the time we moved on to dessert, but still soldiered on anyway because they all looked too good to resist!

my favourites were the carrot cake and the dark chocolate + caramel tart!20131011_171146
the carrot cake was really dense, moist and had a good amount of nuts, raisins and carrot strips in it. the icing on top was also very light, nice and not overly sweet at all – it went super well with the cinnamon-y cake. yummm.

20131011_171716
(sorry for all these pictures of half-eaten food; we were clearly too excited to tuck in)

my other favourite was the dark chocolate & caramel tart (seen at the front of this picture) – the dark chocolate was so amazingly rich and lovely and the caramel and hint of sea salt prevented it from becoming overly chocolate-y. the tart base was nice and crisp and wasn’t too thick!

the macaroons however, were quite a let-down – they were quite dry and didn’t quite crumble in the way i like them to; we didn’t touch any of the other 3 after having the first one :/ they weren’t exceedingly terrible, but we’ve certainly had better and wanted to save our stomach space for the other treats! (pierre herme macaroons forever!!!)

we also tried a slice of the traditional victoria sponge cake!
20131011_171630the sponge was nice, airy and fluffy while the cream was super fresh and light! we did find the jam a tad too sweet, but all was good otherwise. i wouldn’t exactly rave or shout about this cake, but it was definitely another simple classic done well!

all in all, we had a great experience at the marylebone hotel at a truly unbeatable price. good conversation with a great friend was made even better with such nice surroundings and yummy food, and at no point in time did we feel obliged to leave (in fact they kept asking us if we wanted fresh pots of tea) at all – we sat there from 330pm to close to 7pm without realising how much time had passed! will definitely be booking this offer again if its still available the next time i’m looking to pamper myself by indulging in some traditional british luxury 😉

The Marylebone Hotel

47 Welbeck St
London W1G 8DN

Fat Cow, Singapore

located pretty randomly on the ground floor of camden medical centre, fat cow is the perfect place to go to satisfy a donburi craving! i had always thought it was rather pricey but after spotting their set lunch menu on display outside the restaurant while i was at camden for an eye appointment one day, i decided that i had to give the decently-priced set lunches a try.

went on a saturday afternoon (yes, they offer the set lunch on saturdays too – YAY!) with the mother and the sister to check out if it was worth the hype. the conclusion: the signature fat cow donburi definitely was, but the other things we tried weren’t mind-blowing though still above average i would say.

we were seated at the counter which i really liked because unlike some counters that tend to be cramped and result in you elbowing your neighbours when you eat, this counter was big and spacious, with a great view of the chefs doin’ their thing to boot!20130907_133020

here’s the set lunch menu:20130907_133150

the sister and i had a fat cow donburi each, while the mother decided to go for the fat foa-gura don. besides that, we ordered a medley of mushrooms in a garlic, butter & yuzu sauce (if i remember correctly) from the a-la-carte menu to share.

despite them being pretty crowded, service was prompt and the meal started with us being served a salad, chawanmushi and miso soup:
20130907_134058
the salad was nothing out of the ordinary; the greens were fresh but i would have preferred the salad to be more chilled. as for the miso soup, it was tasty but very normal, without any additional ingredients besides the usual tofu and seaweed that would have made it that bit more exciting. the chawanmushi was pretty good though! there was this strange gooey layer of sauce on the top but it was fine once we dug into it and it got mixed with the rest of the chawanmushi. it was very smooth and contained some whole ingredients like prawn and scallop etc so that was nice, but i think it could have been a tad lighter and less dense!

as mentioned earlier, we also ordered a mushroom medley from the a-la-carte menu. i LOVE mushrooms so this was my cup of tea! the mix of mushrooms was nice and they were very well-fried, retaining a nice bite but without a hint of any raw crunchiness. the sauce was very yummy – i think it was garlic, butter and yuzu (if i’m not wrong; sorry my memory fails me!). it was added in just the right amount to the mushrooms, resulting in them being coated in it but not swimming or being drenched. the serving was also just nice to be shared among the 3 of us as a nice accompaniment to our sets.20130907_134401

the fat foa-gura don that the mother dearest ordered:20130907_134904
glazed foie gras and wagyu beef over rice

the mother decided to be (kinda) adventurous and go for the foie gras donburi instead of the classic fat cow donburi. we were disappointed though! they were really generous with the foie gras which was cooked to perfection (melt-in-your-mouth goodness) and absolutely delicious, but what marred the perfection of the dish was the sauce! we all felt that the sauce was much too sweet and was added a little too generously, so much so that i felt the dish became quite blandly sweet (if you know what i mean)! it was a real pity because the beef and foie gras were actually really delicious. don’t get me wrong though – this donburi wasn’t terrible at all, in fact i would still say it was above average, but just not what i’d go for or what i’m looking for in a donburi. it also seemed like we were just eating plain rice with the beef and foie gras on top; i felt there wasn’t anything that brought everything together (like the egg yolk in the fat cow donburi). i think its safe to say that we’re all going to opt for the trusty fat cow donburi when we return.

and now, saving the best for last, presenting to you… *drumroll please* the famous fat cow donburi!!!

various fat cow donburi-eating stages:
stage one – shamelessly snap a pic (or as many as it takes to get a good shot) of it in all its glory. won’t be too hard to get a good pic cuz its one of those foods that’s so good it’s photogenic from all angles wahahaha.20130907_135259charcoal-grilled wagyu beef with onsen egg and shiro negi

stage two – break your egg yolk (if you are a fellow runny yolk lover, i understand your pain; this is the hardest part HAHA), mix it all in and EAT!!!20130907_135344

stage three – when you reach your last spoonful, stop to snap another pic and try not to feel too sad that such an amazing bowl of food is now close to empty.20130907_140840

stage four – observe a moment of silence for the loss of the food in the bowl but trust that it has gone to a better place.20130907_140852

the fatcow donburi was amazingly yummy (as you can probably infer from my bowl that was wiped completely clean); i’d go back and order this in a heartbeat! we ordered the beef done medium rare and it came in the perfect shade of pink. mixed together with the onsen egg that was spot-on with its runny yolk factor, this bowl of rice was worth every bit of carbs (for the weight watchers among you) and definitely worth getting fat on 😉 my only complaint is that the beef we had that day wasn’t as juicy and tender as i had hoped. i’ve had other wagyu beef that’s tasted better – more marbled, tender and naturally sweet (i felt the beef in the beef with truffle donburi i had at tamashii robataya was better than fat cow’s though fat cow’s is certainly better value for money. read about tamashii’s donburi here!). despite this, the donburi still proved itself to be one of the best i’ve had; i think it was the general mix of everything in the bowl that made it taste so so good.

ended the meal with ice cream that was also included in the set lunch:
20130907_141642the ice cream we had that day was honeycomb ice cream, and it was a very nice end to the meal. it surprised us all by being not too sweet at all, and was smooth and creamy with crunchy honeycomb bits within. i could have done with a bigger scoop though 😉 hahaha!

all in all, we had a great lunch experience at fat cow. be sure to make a reservation if you’re going though! we didn’t expect them to be so popular especially because of its sightly odd location but were surprised that we were only offered the late seating (1.30pm) when we called to make a reservation and even had to wait for a while before being seated when we arrived at 130pm. this is definitely somewhere that i’m adding to my ever-growing list of must-eat places when i’m back home for the holidays 🙂

20130907_14284520130907_142909

Fat Cow

1 Orchard Boulevard, Camden Medical Centre #01-01
Singapore 248649

Tamashii Robataya, Singapore (Omakase)

i previously posted about the great value-for-money set lunch that tamashii robataya offers (read about it here), and this time my family returned to try the omakase menu for my sister’s birthday! at a hundred and fifty eight per person (it was actually 128 but we requested for the beef & truffle rice bowl which they charged an additional 30 for), we were served 8 delicious courses (including dessert), and it was a very good night.

for the uninitiated, omakase is a bit like the japanese version of a degustation menu, except without a fixed menu. what the chef serves his customers is entirely up to him, and it normally consists of multiple courses starting from the lightest to the heaviest ones, usually using seasonal ingredients. omakase is actually a japanese phrase that means “i’ll leave it to you”; so you’re basically leaving everything in the hands of the chef and hoping for the best 😉

at tamashii, they have omakase menus going for $88, $128 and $168 but according to my dad, you can just state your budget (if its in between their fixed prices eg $140) and they’ll serve you something according to what you’re willing to pay.

our meal started with a platter of raw vegetables – corn, tomatoes and eggplant.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAit was a very nice and light start to the meal that cleansed our palettes for the rest of the dishes to come! the vegetables were extremely fresh and both the corn and the tomato were wonderfully sweet and juicy. despite being raw, none of them had any hint of bitterness or tartness or anything negative associated with eating raw veggies; they all had a nice crunch to them and definitely did not make us feel like grazing cows hahaha.

our next dish was a sashimi platter:
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
every single piece of sashimi on the platter was to die for – of a really high quality and so amazingly fresh! there was salmon belly, tuna, swordfish, abalone and roe (that looked like a candied orange at first glance hahaha). the slices were thick, well-chilled, and extremely smooth. my favourites were the roe and the tuna:
20130815_201758
i think it was my first time having roe in a sashimi platter. i loved the texture of it – it had a nice bite with the little eggs popping in your mouth, and was so fresh without any fishy taste that people sometimes complain of when eating fish roe at all!
the tuna was AMAZING. best sashimi ever. just look at that:
20130815_201920tuna in all its amazing melt-in-your-mouth glory. I SALIVATE and this picture has made me crave more of it omg. it was not fibrous or fishy at all, like some people complain of when having tuna that isn’t of such a great quality.

our third dish was clams cooked in broth:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
this dish was enjoyable, but i didn’t think it was anything exceptional or outstanding. the clams were fresh and the meat was sweet and juicy, while the broth was light, garlicky and tasty (i finished every drop of it). they were also cleaned well ie did not have any random grains of sand in them which is what you sometimes get when having shellfish like that – hate it when that happens! it was a bit like a japanese version of vongole – my dad’s cup of tea!

after the clams, we had this amazing grilled pork cheek:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
i know it looks super nondescript, ordinary and plain but it was one of the BEST porks i have ever eaten. pork is my favourite meat (along with duck) and here it was done so simply yet tasted so good. the meat was so tender, juicy and naturally sweet. it was lightly grilled (to perfection) and was slightly crispy on the outside while remaining moist on the inside. the cut of pork they used was really good and had just the right amount of fat in it to give it the perfect texture when bitten into.20130815_203402

next, we had a whole grilled fish (sorry i can’t remember the exact type of fish this was!):OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
it was only slightly seasoned with a little salt but still tasted very good because fish that is fresh doesn’t require much seasoning at all anyway. crispy on the outside but nice and fleshy inside, it was a nice and light course that followed the pork.
beware of the bones when having the fish though:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
halfway through the fish, i started lamenting the fact that i was being made to work too hard to enjoy my food (there were loads of bones to avoid and pick out) but i think it was worth it in the end 😉 hahaha.

we then had some tempura (but not the regular prawn/vegetable tempura) – shishamo and zucchini flower with cheese:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
the batter was light and fresh, and the ingredients were coated in just the right amount of it. i liked how the ingredients they chose for the tempura were quite novel and the addition of cheese to some of the pieces surprisingly did not taste odd at all! the cheese added a nice twist to the tempura and made each piece have a very interesting mix of textures – crispy batter, sweet juicy zucchini and soft melty cheese.
20130815_210721
i also really enjoyed the shishamo. it was big and bursting with roe:20130815_210855
so yummy!!!

last but DEFINITELY not least, we had the saga beef donburi! this wasn’t part of the omakase menu actually, and costs $55 per bowl if you order it from the a-la-carte menu, but because we added it on to the omakase, we were charged $30 per bowl.
tender and perfectly grilled saga beef sits atop a bowl of rice that is mixed with truffle, and finished off with a perfectly cooked onsen egg:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
break the egg yolk (i did this very very reluctantly – i am a total sucker for runny eggs and having wet yolks whole so that they can explode in your mouth) and mix everything together in the bowl; you will promptly realise that heaven is a place on earth 😉OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
the beef was tender, juicy, sweet and so marbled that it made it seem like it was melting in my mouth. the truffle was also generously added and everything came together to make a bowl of really good stuff 😉 at $55 i do think its a bit pricey especially since the serving isn’t big and they only give about 5 pieces of beef. but if you’re willing to spend a little more, then i think its worth the slight splurge.

and then there was dessert! matcha cheesecake, mochi and grape sorbet:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
i loved the matcha cheesecake and mochi that was coated in soy bean powder, but wasn’t a fan of the grape sorbet. the matcha cheesecake was light and fragrant with the quintessential biscuit base while the mochi was very yummy and nailed what the texture of japanese mochi should be like. as for the grape sorbet, i think tamashii definitely has better ice cream to offer (see my previous post where we had the yuzu sorbet and black sesame ice cream on our last visit – they were both very good). my parents and sister didn’t mind it, but i thought it was rather sweet and made the grape flavour quite artificial.

once again, tamashii did not disappoint! apparently it rarely ever does, given that my dad is now their loyal customer who goes for lunch at least once a week; he is seriously addicted to their truffle chawanmushi. they’re getting very popular though, so be sure to make a reservation especially at lunchtime on weekdays!

it was a great meal overall fit for a great sister who was turning 22 whooooo! -cue taylor swift’s “22”-
IMG-20130815-WA0011

ps. i just have to say – i adore cedele’s black sesame cake. i am a huge fan of black sesame and if you are too, its definitely worth trying!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
sesame tahini cake from Cedele

Tamashii Robataya

12 North Canal Road #02-01
Singapore 048825

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

photo (13)a

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 😉

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Lawn Grill & Salad Cafe

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