L’eto Caffe, London

i have never once walked past this cafe along wardour street without stopping to admire the cakes on display in the shop window. i never ventured in however, until the queue at breakfast club (see review here) proved to be way too long on a sunday morning, and this seemed to be a decent substitute that was round the corner. it was busy when we visited but not overly so, enough to have a nice lively atmosphere but yet not too crowded and noisy. we were pleasantly surprised by the pretty good range of breakfast/brunch items that were all reasonably-priced.

there was a steady stream of customers the entire time we were there, and when we left slightly before noon, there was a crowd at the door waiting to be seated so its definitely quite a popular choice in soho for good food! here’s the menu:20131020_104228

having seen the amazing cakes in the window, we seriously contemplated just having a massive breakfast of sweet cake treats, but since we had woken up that morning with our minds set on breakfast club pancakes, we decided that we would not be happy if we didn’t get our pancake fix, and ended up ordering the pumpkin and honey pancakes, 3 poached eggs served with tomatoes and avocado, as well as l’etos famous honey cake:20131020_110208

the servings were actually pretty small (or maybe they just seemed small in comparison to what we would have gotten if we had braved the breakfast club queue) but given the price we were paying, we were satisfied. service was brisk and extremely attentive, so we were happy customers!

20131020_105801pumpkin and honey pancakes with fresh berries and honey buttery sauce – £7.90

the pancakes were good! we both loved how they were really rather pumpkin-y, both in terms of texture and taste. they were light but i thought they could have been a little fluffier (they seemed to be more of the dense type of pancakes, possibly because of the pumpkin?) and maybe prettier too if they were more regularly-shaped (but this of course, is rather irrelevant because taste is what is most important, right?) 😛 i would also have preferred a more generous serving of berries, but was satisfied otherwise with the yummy honey drizzled all over as well as the nutty bits sprinkled on top that really added bite to the otherwise rather “soft” dish. i would say our pancake craving was successfully satisfied after this, so thats’s a good sign!

20131020_1102483 poached eggs served on warm artisan bread toast with tomato and avocado – £7.90

on hindsight, this is actually a really simple dish that can be put together at home for a fraction of the price, but i can never resist perfectly poached eggs and some avocados of perfect ripeness! the star of this dish was definitely the toast – the artisan sourdough bread they used was really yummy that it made me consider buying home an entire loaf. the eggs were poached to perfection (just look at that golden yolk just dying to burst and ooze out onto the bread!!! sorry i know my yolk fanatic tendencies are emerging once again…) and though simple, it was a satisfying dish of a trusty combination of ingredients that can never really go far wrong.

20131020_105550honey cake (about £4 for the slice if i’m not wrong!)

this cake is something i will return to l’eto for. we were spoilt for choice when it came to picking something sweet to end off our meal and were very tempted by other fancier looking tarts and amazingly prettily decorated cakes (check out pics at the end of the post), but this was the one cake that was highly recommended by the staff as their specialty and one of their most popular. i can definitely see why! despite the alternating layers of cream and cake, it was amazingly light and had a lovely honey flavour without being overly sweet as one would imagine. in fact, it was rather subtle (there was actually a stronger taste of caramelised biscuits than honey, i thought? not sure why though!), the cream was wonderfully fresh and i thought the cake had an interesting texture which i cannot quite describe. its definitely something that is rather unique and won’t find often at other cafes, so i’d recommend ordering this if you pay l’eto a visit!

besides cakes and things on the menu, they also have a counter for you to pick from a good range of salads and quiches if that’s what you prefer:
20131020_104058i certainly wouldn’t mind returning to give these a try!

l’eto is a good place in soho to have a light and affordable meal, and it seems that those cakes do taste as good as they look. so the next time you stop in your tracks to admire the amazing display of cakes in the shop window, why not allow yourself to succumb to temptation and have a cup of tea and some cake? i highly doubt you’ll regret it 🙂

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L’eto Caffe

155 Wardour St
London W1F 8WG

Llao Llao, Singapore

llao llao is one of the newest kids on the frozen yogurt block in singapore, and is probably my family’s current favourite place to get our froyo fix! since discovering it about a month ago, we go by whenever we’re in the marina square/city hall area.

llao llao is a spanish frozen yogurt chain, and chose singapore as the place to open their first store in asia! thank goodness they did because they have brought some amazing frozen yogurt to our sunny island that i felt was lacking really good pinkberry standard froyo. before discovering llao llao, red mango and yoguru were my go to places for froyo (especially the green tea flavour that yoguru has at their lucky plaza and great world outlets!!!). now however, llao llao is definitely the one to beat!

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walk through marina link and their bright green signboard as well as the brightly-lit shop are hard to miss! besides the froyo itself tasting really good, i love how there are seats in the shop for you to have the option of chillin’ and properly enjoying your froyo while seated instead of buying a cup and having to eat it while walking around.

they have the usual range of toppings available – a good mix of healthy fruit toppings (on the left in the picture below) and the unhealthier option of the normal chocolate/biscuit dry toppings (on the right):20130908_144240

besides toppings, llao llao also has a range of sauces to be drizzled on top of your froyo! i thought this was quite interesting as most other yogurt places just have the usual hershey’s chocolate/strawberry sauce etc. i didn’t try any because i prefer my yogurt sauce-less but will consider getting some next time, especially the more unusual ones like the raffaello and chococrock; they sound pretty interesting! they also only have original-flavoured yogurt, so i suppose the sauce is a way to “flavour” your own yogurt?20130908_144233

here’s the medium cup + 3 toppings that we got for $5.50:20130908_144405

the froyo here at llao llao is definitely the creamiest and smoothest i have had in singapore. i LOVE pinkberry and snog froyo in london, and to me, this comes pretty close! their frozen yogurt has not a hint a of iciness and is perfect froyo in my opinion! it is thick but not heavy, and besides having a really great consistency, it tastes good too – not too sweet but not too sour like plain yogurt can sometimes be. they were also generous with the toppings which were fresh, and the medium cup contained a very substantial serving of yogurt so i felt it was really worth the price we paid! all of us had nothing but praise for it.

oh and they also have really cute spoons that are very long and made of very sturdy plastic! i love how they’re so streamlined in shape such that when you dig deep into your cup of yogurty goodness, no yogurt gets stuck like in the groove on the back of regular spoons!

even more extra points for a super cute and delicious-looking menu:20130908_145547

the sanums looked very good and seemed to be a popular choice among the steady stream of customers that patronised the shop while we were there, so that’s definitely what i’m going to try next time. (they are the layered cups shown in the bottom row of the leftmost panel of the menu below)20130908_145412

llao llao is currently my pick for the best frozen yogurt in singapore. if you are a froyo fan, this is the place for you!!! and even if you’re not, this is still the place for you to possibly become a froyo convert 😉

UPDATE: i have since returned to try their sanum and it was really a case of love at first bite. craving for more and really need to pay llao llao another visit soon! i know i have a ready companion in my mother, who is as hooked to the froyo there as i am. (i really hope they open another branch somewhere closer to me soon; having to make a trek to the marina area whenever i’m craving some amazing froyo is very unoptimal! 😦 )20130923_150310
sanum: froyo + 2 crunch toppings + 3 fruit toppings + more froyo + 1 sauce – $5.90

i tried my best but just could not get a good picture that showed all the layered toppings. i picked crushed walnuts and oreo crumbs for my 2 crunchy toppings, and blueberries, strawberries & kiwis for my fruit toppings. absolutely love how 5 toppings + 1 sauce allows you to pick a wide variety of stuff to have your froyo with – this is customisation at its very best! the serving was huge and i very happily lapped up every bit of it. i thought it was really value-for-money especially since a medium-sized cup with 3 toppings is $5.50. just $0.40 more for 2 additional toppings and a sauce!

for my sauce, i picked the raffaello which the girl at the counter described to me as white chocolate with coconut and cookie crumbs. i am normally not a huge fan of coconut but decided to give it a try anyway, and i was really pleasantly surprised to find that it was really really delicious. definitely going to get this the next time i go; there’s no question about it 😉

here’s a picture of my half-demolished sanum:20130923_150745sorry i know its not a particularly appetising picture but trust me, it was seriously YUM. you can also see how generous they are with the serving size from the picture; the cup is so deep and it isn’t just filled full but way beyond the rim of the cup! the toppings are all very fresh too; my only qualm is that i wish i they had granola as a crunchy topping. but that’s most definitely not going to stop me from returning to llao llao again and again. and again.

and more sanum pictures from a 3rd visit with my momma just before i left for london:
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YUMZZZZZZ

open a branch in orchard/somewhere i frequent more than the marina square area soon please??? 🙂

Llao Llao
Marina Link # B1-04
(Marina Square Basement link to Esplanade MRT)

UPDATE: really exciting news – llao llao has since opened a 2nd branch at somerset 313! its been quite a while (nearly a year!) since i first wrote this post about llao llao and today (28/6/14), i am proud to say that i still love it as much as i did then 😉 i can never pass on the opportunity to get a sanum whenever i’m in the vicinity, and it still never disappoints though i have to say the serving sizes have decreased quite significantly of late, and the range of toppings has also been more limited the past few times i visited! also, for sanums, you are also now only allowed 1 crunch (which is added twice – i honestly do not really understand the logic; what is the difference between getting 1 crunch as opposed to 2 different ones if the same total quantity added is maintained?) 😦 nevertheless, i am still addicted to this creamy goodness and as the following pictures will show, still take pictures of the towers of goodness every single time i’m there… #somethingsdon’tchange
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check out how they’ve really shrunk in size from the early days 😥

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