Dim Sum Haus

It has been quite a long while since we ventured out further for new lunch places. Glad Downtown Line 3 is finally in operation and that provided much convenience for us to explore other eateries along that line. We made our way to Dim Sum Haus located within a short walking distance from Jalan Besar MRT station.

I saw an article on the newspaper featuring one of their specialty dish – Crispy Mee Sua Kueh with Chinese Sausage, that prompted me to give them a visit. The ones we had on the day of the visit looked slightly brown instead of golden colour. The “kuehs” were made with strands of mee sua packed together and then fried to form a crispy outer layer. It’s not apparent at first glance but once you take a bite you will soon realised that under the slightly charred brown surface is a firm yet springy body.

The other signature item was Steamed Charcoal Chicken & Shrimp Dumpling. Unlike the conventional yellow coloured skin, their dumplings were made using a charcoal skin. But what I liked about this dish was the juicy and chewy filling, the dollop of shrimp roe topping added more textures to this item.

Tried a few other more classic Hong Kong dim sum dishes such as the Egg Tarts, Steamed Rice Roll and Har Gau.

This place is a great alternative to the other famous Dim Sum place (Swee Choon) in the area for lunch since the other one does not operate in the day.

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The Coffee Academics, Singapore

I’ve always wanted to visit The Coffee Academics at Orchard Road but didn’t have the chance to since I’ve dreaded going out on weekends – the only time whereby I could possibly visit the cafe to try their coffee. However a spoilt iPad was the reason for us to make a trip to town to get it fixed. This turned out to be a rare opportunity for me to drop by the chic cafe for a late lunch.

Once we reached the cafe, I was reminded of why I dreaded going out on weekends… there was a long queue to get into the cafe… Under normal circumstances, I probably wouldn’t be too bothered and would wait patiently for my table…However for someone who hasn’t had her lunch at 4pm, meant that one would likely see a HANGRY (Hungry+Angry) woman in the queue, waiting impatiently for her table and was feeling upset with folks who had finished their drinks but still hang around to catch-up with one another…

It was almost an hour later before I finally get to eat my lunch cum dinner… On hindsight, I should have ate somewhere else and just come here for drinks as having a full meal here added up to be quite costly…

The drinks were the main selling point of this cafe, where we were spoilt for choice on what to order. We went with a Manuka latte and a Piccolo in a Cone. Although one can easily say that the coffee in a cone is just a snazzy gimmick for the instagram fame, I must say the coffee here is really rich and smooth.

For foodwise, we tried the Le Smoked Salmon and Umami Pasta. I liked the crispiness of the rosti at the base topped with a flowy sous vide egg, although the portion was a tad too small.

The pasta had good flavours just like its namesake, but it was way too spicy. I would appreciate the flavours better if not for layer of chilli oil at the base of the plate…

In honesty, after spending about $70 on 2 drinks and 2 mains, we left the place still feeling slightly hungry… I saw that they had some pretty attractive dessert but we decided to go somewhere more value-for-money instead.

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Original Cake 源味本鋪, Singapore

Curiosity struck me as I got attracted to the smell of freshly baked confectionery. As I walked closer I realised that there was a shop – Original Cake, selling the Taiwanese-style castella cake in Westgate.

Having seen reports of snaking long queues for a particular brand of castella cake in Tampines, I was a little surprised to see a relatively short queue at this shop selling similar product – albeit a different brand. Guess the proliferation of similar stores probably drained the hype around this new fad in town.

Since I hadn’t got the chance to try any such cakes before, decided to join the queue to see if I could get one piece from the batch that was coming out from the oven.

The queue moved quickly as the staff started cutting up the freshly baked slab. I was lucky that the customer in front of me ordered more pieces than what was left from the previous batch. I managed to grab the Original and since I reckon that I probably wouldn’t invest more time queuing for the cake in future, I decided to get their Frozen Chocolate cake to try as well.

Boy, little did I realise that the size of the cake was pretty substantial and has to be finished within 3 days!

Try as I might, the two of us only managed to finish 1.5 pieces in 3 days. And I was the one who ate the bulk of it as someone felt that the egg taste was too overwhelming in the original flavour cake. Personally I quite like the original flavour as it reminds me of the traditional cakes that my parents used to buy from old-school confectionery in Telok Ayer area when I was young. The frozen chocolate, on the other hand, is similar to the supermarket Sara Lee cakes but this version is more moist. The chocolate is the rich and slightly bitter kind, not too sweet.

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Oh My Cafe

Arrived at Westgate shopping mall shortly after lunch hour and was exploring the place when I spotted the Oh My Cafe serving Korean-inspired dishes, with colourful drinks served in lightbulb bottles.

The tiffany blue coloured cabinets created a comfy and dreamy ambience at the open dining area.

Although I was initially attracted to the light bulb shaped containers, eventually I chose the larger capacity Yuzu soda drink as I was feeling quite thirsty. BTW, the bottles are free to bring home! Wonderful =)

In need of a proper meal, I chose the BBQ Beef Bibimbap bowl. The beef patty was well-seasoned and bordered on being slight too salty for me but it was juicy and cooked perfectly. The variety of greens was certainly welcomed as with the flowy onsen egg. The other slight discomfort I had was probably the “wood-like prints” which had faded off from the plastic bowl. It had me thinking whether I am at risk of ingesting any of the chemicals.

Nonetheless if I have the chance to, I might try one of their beautiful cakes on display at the counter.

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Pastaria Abate

With several established Italian pasta restaurants in the area, it was interesting to see another pasta place – Pastaria Abate, setting up shop at Craig Road. However unlike the other eateries, this new outfit pride themselves as one that offers freshly handmade pasta at affordable pricing.

We strolled into the eatery on a Saturday afternoon and was greeted by the staff who came forth to explain to us that they are a self-service eating place. After browsing through the menu, guests can place their order at the counter and receive a beeper that would alert us to collect our food when its ready.

The pasta mains are mostly priced between $10-$15 (no GST & service charge)We ordered 2 appetizers: 6pcs hot wingsand handcut fries to go with our mains. The chicken wings were coated with a batter and tossed in homemade spicy butter sauce. I found them slightly too oily but the crispy batter was pretty addictive.

The handcut fries also had a light batter but was less oily and had a nice medium dense texture.

Next were the pastas which we could select the pasta type, followed by the sauce (option of red, cream or white & wine sauce). Both the Carbonara and Marinara sauce were decent and the texture of the pasta were well-controlled. I think if we didn’t add on the appetizers, the pastas would be lacking in ingredients.

So although the pastas alone were reasonably priced, it would still cost about $20 plus to have a fulfilling meal.

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Misato

I grew up as an Orchard kid but have since stopped visiting the shopping belt due to convenience of online shopping and the expansion of shopping mall network island-wide. Centrepoint was a place filled with special memory as I recalled going there every Christmas when I was a kid to take photos of the beautifully decorated building.

Visited Centrepoint’s new food precinct called Gastro+ where Misato is located. Apparently this eatery was previously located in The Cathay, but I guess that’s a mall which I rarely frequent compared to their current location…

When we placed our order, the staff informed us that there would be an approximate waiting time of 30-45 mins for our food. Although it didn’t bother me, I can’t help but wonder if that’s the case wouldn’t it be a challenge to sustain turnover rate in a prime location where rental is probably quite high?

Nonetheless our drinks of Hot Green Tea and Lychee Ice Earl Grey Tea were served quite promptly. Luv the vessel used to serve the green tea, looks exquisite and the tea pot makes it fun to enjoy a cup of freshly brewed tea here. The cold drink was a combination of 2 ingredients that I love, making this a lovely aromatic drink.

We certainly didn’t have to wait that long for the first dish to be served – Cha Soba. What caught my attention was the lacquered box used to plate everything neatly together. Followed by the neatly arranged bundle of soba. The shop seems to pay much attention to presentation and beauty – it’s a Jap culture that is sometimes less pronounced in local Jap establishments.

Next we had eggs cooked in different methods, one Chawanmushi another Tamagoyaki. Usually I find the Tamagoyaki in Singapore a tad too sweet, but the ones served here were just nice.

The Gyoza served here were the hanetsuki gyoza, literally “winged gyoza” where they are served bottom side up and there is a layer of thin crispy base that provide added texture to the gyozas. Once again the unique crescent shaped vessel used for the soy sauce caught my eyes. So pretty.

The specialty for the day was Hoba Miso Beef and the staff explained that its made using A5 Wagyu beef with a special red miso paste, topped with ginkgo nuts, Japanese tofu and konnayaku. It was a unique dish and I really enjoyed the flavours of the miso, the chewy texture of the konnayaku and the tender beef. A standout dish at the eatery.

Last but not least, the finale that we were looking forward to – Shanshoku Warabi Mochiand Matcha Bavarois.

I’m always keen to try warabi mochi whenever I see it on the menu. This dessert seems to be making its way into more Jap eateries nowadays. The ones served here comprised of a platter of 3 flavours, good for someone like me who prefers variety over quantity. Portioning wise its just nice for 1 pax with 6 pieces. It also saves me some space for their popular Matcha Bavarois. The french pudding was jiggly and bouncy at the same time smooth and rich. In fact the 2 ladies who sat at the next table only came in to order their desserts.

I liked that many of their desserts are matcha base and not too sweet. I would really love to try their other Jap desserts such as Matcha Zenzai Mochi.

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TONO Cevicheria

After trying Peruvian dishes in the restaurant venture – LIMA Floral, by Michelin-starred Peruvian chef Virgilio Martinez in London, we wanted to seek out authentic Peruvian eateries in SingaporeTONO is the first-ever authentic Peruvian cevicheria as it’s founded by a Peruvian native Chef/Owner Daniel Chavez.

Although it’s only Monday, a bad day at work meant that I decided to kick off the first of a series of arduous work days for the rest of the week with some Peruvian national spirit – Pisco. I was pretty surprised to find only 2 cocktails on their drinks menu – Pisco Sour Pisco, Fresh Lime, Egg White, Angostura Bitters and Chilcano Pisco, Ginger Ale, Fresh Lime, Amargo Bitter. Perhaps we were too pampered by the large variety offered at the restaurant that we dined in London. Nonetheless, having the signature Pisco Sour was good enough. It was also my preferred choice between the 2 available options.

Warm and fresh bread was served fairly promptly while we waited for our dishes. The eatery has a rather compact 1-page menu but we were pretty satisfied with the range as most dishes were unique and rare in Singapore. One can just randomly pick a few dishes and let it be a surprise adventure to try out a variety of Peruvian cuisines.

For us we ordered the Plancha de Mariscos Mixed Seafood “A La Plancha”. Red Quinoa and Huancaina Sauce. The yellow spicy and creamy sauce brings out the freshness of the seafood and the dash of red quinoa created additional texture to this delightful sharing plate.

Being a Cevicheria meant that their focus is very much on Peru‘s national dish, hence they have 4 types of ceviches to choose from. Of course for the undecided and greedy folks like me, there is an option of going for the Tasting platter comprising of a selection of 3 different ceviches. My favourite amongst the 3 was the one with orange sauce, presumably MIXTO Seafood of the day, Rocoto Chilli, Onions and Plantain Chips. The one in the centre was TONO Market fish, Baby Calamari, Smoked Aji Amarillo, Tiger’s Milk. It was quite special as it included crispy fried baby calamari, although I personally prefer ceviches with purely cured fish. The last one was NIKKEI  Yellowfin Tuna, “Nikkei” Dressing, Cucumber, Avocado. Our NIKKEI did not feature tuna and was replaced with another fish as they had ran out of the tuna.

Lastly we tasted the Lomo Saltado Traditional Stir-Fry Beef with Tomatoes, Onions Coriander and Crispy Potatoes. This dish resembled Chinese dish in terms of the flavours. In fact this dish which is typically served with rice was said to be the result of Chinese influence.

 

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