Brownice, Singapore

i was skeptical when i heard about the vegan ice cream that brownice serves – what could ice cream possibly be without any cream/milk/eggs?!?! but i’m glad i gave this shop along sin ming road (they have another branch in balestier) a chance and paid it a visit, because the ice cream they serve is a great alternative that’s healthier and more guilt-free than regular ice cream.

you’re probably wondering how exactly vegan ice cream works. i was equally baffled because i just could not imagine how ice cream could be made without any dairy products! at brownice though, they prove that it can not just be done, but be done well. they do not use any animal products in their ice cream at all – they pride themselves on making all-natural foods without any artificial flavours or colouring, and use organic brown rice milk, fruits and nuts instead. this makes the ice cream perfect for the lactose-intolerant or the super health-conscious!20131220_172430

i visited on a friday afternoon, and it was really quiet which made it a great spot for great conversation with great friends 🙂 service was very good and i loved how they are so willing to let you try as many flavours as you want. (this is despite the fact that they don’t use disposal spoons, and have to wash each spoon that you use to sample the different flavours!) there were 12 flavours available when i went, but they have many more flavours than that. the full range of flavours can be found on their website: http://www.brownice.com/flavour.html . the shop is spacious and bright, giving off a nice casual vibe with simple furniture and cute little handwritten signs like these:
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here’s the menu with what you can order:20131220_145824a single scoop costs $3.80, but it gets much cheaper if you order more (the more the merrier!). toppings can be added at $1 each, while brownies and waffles are available at $4 and $3.50 respectively. there are options for specials such as the sundae (2 scoops + 1 topping served sundae-style) and the ice cream bowl (4 scoops + 4 toppings).

since the ice-cream was less unhealthy/calorific/fattening, we decided that we could have heaps more than we normally would, and that is how 2 girls ended up with an ice cream bowl to share between us:
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ice cream bowl (clockwise from white scoop: banana oats, cranberry hazelnut, black sesame, green tea with caramelised almonds x2, roasted walnuts, roasted almonds) – $12.50

my favourite out of the 4 flavours was without a doubt, the black sesame. the green tea and cranberry hazelnut were both also really good, and my least favourite was the banana oats. the black sesame was so wonderfully fragrant and thick and smooth and bursting with amazing black sesame flavour!!! i am a complete black sesame fan so this was heaven for me. the texture of the ice cream is a little different from regular ice cream – i would say its a bit less creamy and more sorbet-like almost? – but its not very noticeable, especially with the black sesame and green tea flavours, i felt! the green tea was equally fragrant and smooth, while i thought the cranberry hazelnut was an interesting combination that actually worked. as for the banana oats, i didn’t quite enjoy it as i thought the oats made the texture of the ice cream rather odd and kind of icy/rough? but its one of their most popular flavours, so don’t let this deter you from ordering it; it might just be a case of personal taste that i didn’t really enjoy it. the caramelised almonds were amazing and came highly recommended by our server, hence the double portion 😀

we enjoyed the black sesame and hazelnut so much that this is what happened next:
20131220_1549262 scoops (black sesame, cranberry hazelnut) – $5.90

some other flavours that were available that day and i think are worth mentioning are chendol and coffee hazelnut. i really felt like i was having chendol when i sampled the chendol-flavoured ice cream – its texture was very sorbet-like but i think it works well that way because it really resembles the dessert! as for coffee hazelnut, i have to say that i’m not a fan. it sounded really enticing so i very excitedly gave it a try, but was very disappointed to find that it tasted like the snow skin of mooncake?! to me, at least! but once again, its a popular flavour, so to each his own!

the great part about brownice is that they understand that their ice creams might taste a little different from the equivalent flavour of regular ice cream and are therefore extremely willing to let you sample all the flavours before ordering. and i really think this is important to make sure that you really love what you are getting! because in my case for example, i didn’t like banana oats or coffee hazelnut as much as i thought i would! oh and interestingly, i thought the ice cream tasted better in scoops than in the little bits i sampled of the flavours. i thought its texture resembled that of regular ice cream more when it was had in scoops.

besides ice cream, they also serve some hot vegan food:
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oh and i heard the mudpie is worth trying too! and they also do ice cream cakes, and ice cream tub deliveries.

healthy low(er)-fat ice cream that tastes just as good as regular ice cream? what’s there not to love? 🙂

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Brownice 

8 Sin Ming Road
Sin Ming Centre #01-03
Singapore 575628

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Lady M, Singapore

lady m and its amazing sweet treats have finally come to singapore!!! once we read in the papers that they were opening today, the sister and i marked it down in our calendars and headed to marina square as planned this afternoon!

the sister fell in love with their cakes when she tried them in new york last year, and very kindly carried a whole cake across the pond from new york to london so the cousins and i could get a taste of their super yummy handmade signature mille crepe. we were really impressed that the cake survived the flight just fine and still tasted as good as ever!

which explains the immense excitement that we can now get our hands on such goodness in our home sweet home:
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lady m at marina square 

besides their signature mille crepe cakes, lady m also serves a range of other cakes, tarts and pastries that are laid out at the counter for you to take your pick! they adopt a minimalist look/approach to the cake display which is very much like that of the outlets in new york, according to the sister.
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they also have a range of drinks on the menu, all of which my family thought were really reasonably priced, making this a great place to relax with a slice of cake and a coffee. they even have champagne if you’re in an exceptionally celebratory mood 😉20130908_141150

we ordered a slice of their signature mille crepe as well as a slice of their green tea mille crepe at the counter, and they were served to our table rather promptly. considering it was their first day in operation, their service was pretty good and efficient!

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mille crepe – $7

this is lady m’s signature cake which consists of 20 layers of crepe stacked on top of each other, with layers of cream in between. the crepes are handmade and the layers are very thin, which i feel is what sets lady m’s version of the crepe cake apart from others who have tried to make the same thing. the cream is light and layered in just the right amount such that they do not overwhelm the taste and texture of the crepe layers. the top layer is caramelised which gives it a melt-in-your-mouth effect – super yummm. the sister and i agreed that the cream tasted a little different from the new york version though! it seemed to have a cheesecake-type taste while the one we had from the big apple had a more ‘neutral’ taste if you get what i mean – over in the US, it was more like just very light fresh pastry cream.

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green tea mille crepe – $7

the green tea version of the mille crepe cake – i actually enjoyed this more than the original mille crepe! loved the generous serving of green tea powder that topped the slice and the infusion of green tea into every bit of the cake  – the taste of matcha was strong yet not overpowering, and the cake was light yet very satisfying. highly recommended to all green tea lovers out there!

one problem with the cakes today was that they became very soft and melty within a few minutes of being served to our table. check that out:20130908_141844
it being their first day in operation, i suppose unforeseen problems like these are bound to arise. we gave some feedback to the (very friendly and approachable) owner about this, and he told us that they would work on getting the cakes to remain firm for a longer time by leaving them refrigerated overnight and keeping the temperature in the cake display lower.

its good to know that they are working on this and hopefully this helps to “acclimatise” the cakes because the sister and i are definitely going to be back for more! the cakes still tasted great and this more than made up for the fact that they lost their shape very quickly. we also like the fact that the cakes and drinks aren’t priced exhorbitantly at all, and the service was good.

thumbs up for a first day and here’s hoping that they stick around for a long time to come!

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Lady M

Marina Square Shopping Mall, 6 Raffles Boulevard #02-103
Singapore 039594

Tsujiri Tea House, Singapore

just a quick post to share another exciting green tea find i stumbled upon last weekend – Tsujiri Tea House, yet another place to get a matcha fix on our sunny island!

occupying a small shop space on the first floor of 100AM mall (never knew this place existed) in tanjong pagar (had some problems finding this rather nondescript mall but do persevere if you face the same problem; tsujiri will make it worth the search!!! heehee), Tsujiri is a 150-year-old tea house originating from kyoto that serves a range of yummy matcha drinks and desserts.20130810_194024

here’s the menu:20130810_193602its a simple shop with a small seating area, but the matcha goodies they serve are really rather yummy. having just come from a really filling dinner in the vicinity, myfamily and i only had enough stomach space to order one drink and one dessert to share:20130810_194145shiratama parfait (o-maccha) – $7.80 / o-maccha latte – $5.2

i would say they were definitely some of the best green tea goodies i’ve had in singapore. we could really taste the quality of the green tea powder used, and though slightly pricey for the serving size, i thought it was worth every penny!

the o-maccha latte had a distinct but very natural green tea flavour. it was fragrant and light – a really nice way to wash down dinner!

as for the shiratama parfait, i initially thought it was a little expensive for the serving size but once i took a bite of it, i decided that it was definitely worth its price!!! 😉 unlike the parfait at Nana’s Green Tea, this one does not have any vanilla ice cream/whipped cream/corn flakes, just green tea soft serve ice cream, mochis with crushed peanuts, red bean, and jelly. the green tea soft serve ice cream is quite possibly the BEST green tea soft serve ice cream i’ve had in singapore. it is unbelievably smooth, thick and creamy, and is the green tea flavour is just amazinggg. the next time i’m here i’m definitely going to get just the green tea soft serve ice cream in a cone, on top of whatever else i’m having 😛 it really is very very good; its been a week and i still remember just how impressed i was by it!!! the mochis were nice and so was the jelly; even the non-maccha lovers in the group (how is that even possible i do not understand…) thought it was good! though since they’re not huge fans of maccha, they also said they probably wouldn’t fork out that sum just for a not-particularly-large dessert, but i feel that the ingredients they use are of a good quality that warrants the pricing.

i was so sad when i finished the last bit of the parfait (even though i was super duper full; definitely a sign of good stuff) and promptly decided that i really needed to go back when my stomach wasn’t already 99% stuffed, so that i could try more of what they have to offer!!!20130810_193856

Tsujiri Tea House

100AM Mall
100 Tras Street, #01-14
Singapore 079027

Nana’s Green Tea Cafe, Singapore

my trip to Nana’s was a total spur-of-the-moment decision at 9pm on a sunday night. having just stuffed ourselves silly on crab bee hoon, we were craving something sweet to end off the night’s feasting and my cousin’s innocent suggestion of Nana’s and its matcha treats became something that was just too good to pass on. every time we discussed another dessert possibility in the car, the conversation would just be diverted back to Nana’s and that’s when we decided we had to make the drive to plaza singapura or it’d be on our minds for the next few days till we got to have it. (evidently, the love of food runs in my family ;))

located in the plaza singapura extension, Nana’s is a modern, open concept-type of cafe, surrounded by a few other japanese outlets like Hoshino Coffee, Tsukada Nojo (a place that serves collagen steamboat) etc. it is a popular chain in Japan with such a sizeable number of outlets that it is said to be the Starbucks of the land of sushi! however unlike Starbucks, the focus is not just on the drinks – Nana’s serves both proper food (by proper i mean typical japanese mains such as dons, udons & sushi rolls) and sweet treats like matcha drinks and a range of desserts.

we went all out with the matcha (what else would you do in a green tea cafe) and ordered a matcha latte, a matcha parfait and another matcha dessert to share. thank goodness the service was prompt and i didn’t have to wait in anticipation of matcha heaven for too long. the desserts appeared at our table looking almost identical to what was shown on the menu and i was so excited to dig in that i only have 1 picture (and its a picture of all the desserts together) from that night. sorry! here it is in all its green glory:

20130721_204748L to R: matcha latte ($7.00), matcha parfait ($11.80), matcha anmitsu ($8.80)

let’s start with the latte – it was thick and fragrant and the taste of the matcha was strong, but not overwhelmingly so. definitely one of the best matcha lattes i have had in singapore and beats Starbucks’ green tea offerings hands down in my opinion. i would come here on a rainy day for a warm matcha latte in a heartbeat! they have a range of other matcha drinks with toppings like mochi/red bean/ice cream – i imagine them all to be good especially when they seem to have a really good recipe for matcha-based drinks that are made using what appears to be good quality matcha stuff.

as for the matcha parfait, it was layers of yummy goodness. my favourite part about it was the cornflakes – despite being packed between dense layers of ice cream/red bean/cream/jelly/syrup, they retained their crispiness and added a very nice bite to the dessert. the mochis were also delightfully chewy, just as perfect mochis should be! the cup is huge and this dessert can definitely be shared.

the third item we ordered was the matcha anmitsu. the ingredients were largely very similar (minus the creamy milky layers in the parfait) to the parfait, except they were served in a bowl and drizzled with sauce (caramel, if i’m not wrong?). the azuki red bean paste was very smooth and satisfying, and the matcha ice cream was nice and creamy while the matcha jelly was yummy! but there was an addition of black beans which i could have done without. the black beans added saltiness to the dessert, probably an attempt at striking some kind of balance between sweet and savoury. it wasn’t bad at all; just a little odd in my opinion.

if i had to choose between the 2 desserts though (both are recommended in the menu), i would undoubtedly pick the parfait. there’s something very exciting about digging into a tall glass filled to the brim with layers of green tea goodness with a long spoon 😀 i’m already thinking of going back as i type this post!

we also ordered this drink (i can’t remember exactly what its called), and it was yummy since it came with mochis and a generous scoop of matcha ice cream!20130721_205241

for all matcha lovers out there, this is your mecca. for non-matcha lovers, this might just be the place that will make you jump on the bandwagon and convert you into someone who is greedy for green tea. i’m not sure how the main dishes at Nana’s are, but the desserts are certainly worth trying!

Nana’s Green Tea Cafe

68 Orchard Road
#03-80/82, Plaza Singapura