High Tea @ Sofitel Singapore City Centre

Taking a break from work and went for an impromptu high tea indulgence at Sofitel Singapore City Centre’s 1864 Lobby Bar.

The whole relaxing experience starts when I step into the lift lobby filled with a floral scent.  While the hotel is nestled within a high-rise mixed commercial building, the check-in lobby is situated in a discreet upper level – offering more privacy for guests. 1864 Lobby Bar located on the same reception level, keeping general public eyes out of sight.

We settled down on one of the sofa lounge and I felt like reclining on the cosy cushions. Our high tea started with choice of freshly squeezed juice with either TWG Tea or Nespresso Coffee while we waiting for the set menu to be served.

Presented in a 4-tier stand were a variety of savoury and sweet finger food, from sandwiches, scones, puffs to desserts.

Looking back, it has been closed to 2 years since I last enjoyed a High Tea afternoon break. While the lobby bar in Sofitel City Centre doesn’t boast of any notable views nor sights, this break is a chance for me to recharge. It’s the escaping from the hectic work load that matters, hope to be back at work with a rejuvenated mind to tide me over the rest of the work week.

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Da Shi Jia 大食家大大大虾面

It has been a while since I dropped by Killiney area as Orchard road has lost much of her retail charm with the popularisation of online shopping platforms. The news of a good prawn noodle shop lured me there. This shop is a few units away from Killiney Kopitiam – used to be one of my fav supper spots.

They are famous for their Signature Prawn Noodles with rich broth and huge prawns.

No doubt the prawns were fresh and succulent but the broth was a tad too thick for my personal liking. P.S I typically don’t eat Lor Mee. Although the consistency of this prawn broth is not as dense as Lor Mee, it was a tad too much for me.

After my visit, I heard that the Wok-fried Big Prawn White Beehoon is the real dark horse.

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Haikee Brothers

There are no lack of famous Soy Sauce Chicken stalls in the Chinatown area, including those christened with 1-Michelin Star, the sister outlet with Michelin Bib Gourmand and a few others eateries which locals are happy to keep it out of the inspectors’ radar.

Haikee Brothers set up an outlet in Chinatown Point as if to put their version of Soy Sauce Chicken to the test. This new kid on the block is in fact not new to the game. They had their roots set in the east side of Singapore from humble beginnings of a hawker stall.

We ordered the Tri Platter Soy Sauce Chicken, BBQ Pork and Roasted Pork to share.

While everything was acceptable, it didn’t leave any deep impression in me. Afterall I could easily name other stalls in Chinatown area that has good offerings of roasted meat and char-siu.

Nonetheless if you are looking for a nice comfortable air-conditioned place for a casual meal, this place would fit the bill.

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A Noodle Story

Finally got the chance to visit the Amoy Hawker Centre again – after several years gap. I used to enjoy the convenience of good food just a stone’s throw away from my office during weekday lunch hours. It didn’t cross my mind to visit them on weekends as I had the impression that it was quite a ghost town on weekends with most stalls closed.

For the longest time I’ve wanted to try A Noodle Story – a stall that made its name selling Singapore-style ramen in a hawker centre. There were times where I managed to leave work early only to realise that they had sold out by early evening (despite opening hours till 7.30pm). I typically can’t wake up early enough to drag myself out of the house on Saturdays to queue for this…

On this fateful day somehow there was enough energy left in me to dash over to Amoy.

As expected, almost half the stalls were closed. So it’s pretty easy to find A Noodle Story on level 1 of the sprawling hawker centre. Not surprisingly there was a queue for this Michelin Bib Gourmand listed stall. We finally got our lunch after about 20-30 mins wait.

The noodles are available in $8/$11/$15.  The shot below features the $15 set.

The $11 set is said to comprise of the same ingredients in the bowl of noodle except for the side braised pork belly dish.

The Singapore-style ramen included wantons, cha-suajitsuke tamago and potato-wrapped prawn (fried fritter) topped with some saffron and truffle paste as finishing touches.

I must say each of the ingredients were well-prepared. The cha-su was tender, the wantons juicy, the tamago had the right texture and the fritter was crispy. The quality of this ramen was indeed equivalent to that of those served in ramen restaurants.

Comparatively I wasn’t that impressed by the braised pork belly side filled with mushrooms and pacific clams. Not that it wasn’t good, the ingredients used were of certain quality, just that the taste was predictably ordinary.

Nonetheless I wouldn’t mind queuing 20-30 mins for the noodles next time, but the $11 one will do.

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Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory, Singapore

While cracking my head on what little treat to enjoy over the weekend, we passed by Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory. They specialises in confectionery made from milk and cheese, such as cakes, cookies, and soft serves from Japan.

The most popular item was the the Milk Cheese Cookies with a variety of cheese fillings such as Camembert Cheese and even Blue Cheese.

I decided to buy a Milk Cheesecake to be enjoyed over the weekend instead. Boy I was so wrong, as this cake was gone in half a day by two of us.

The cheesecake was light and creamy, wrapped with a crepe at the base.

I’ve bought another famous Japanese confectionery – LeTao‘s Matcha Fromage cheesecake in Singapore before, comparatively I would prefer the Matcha version from Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory.  To enjoy the richness of LeTao’s double layer cheesecake (one layer of baked and one layer of no-bake mousse), it would be better to enjoy it in the classic Double Fromage flavour.

Each has it’s own characteristics and both are equally good.

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Kazo Bakery, Singapore

Chanced upon Kazo Bakery, Singapore while sourcing for breakfast options for the next day.

While there are already a few bakeries specialising in cream puffs, what caught my attention here was their longish looking Kazu Kazu.

The  crunchy crust puff can be piped with Hokkaido cream, Chocolate or Matcha filling had an edge over usual fluffy round cream puffs due to its added texture. I liked that crunchiness along with the added aroma of the well-roasted bits.

It’s tube shape also made it easier to eat without having to deal with oozing cream fillings leaking everywhere from a round shaped bun.

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Tokachi Tontaro, Singapore

I first came across Tokachi Tontaro at their Downtown Gallery outlet but they had closed for the day and we ended up at Sama Curry & Cafe. Little did I know that the two concepts are under the same company and they now offer both cuisines under 1 roof at their Plaza Singapura outlet.

The discovery of Tokachi Tontaro was a blessing for me as I couldn’t find an alternative offering Buta Don since the closure of Butahage at Liang Court. Before I introduce the main dish, I must highlight the Hokkaido Imomochi Cheese side dish that I fell in love with at first bite!  The mochi made of potato with cheese filling was fried to a nice light golden skin and the inside remains chewy like mochi (sticky rice cake) with flowy cheese filling. Somehow I didn’t get to eat this dish when I visited Hokkaido.

Now for the Buta Don – Grilled Pork Rice Bowl. All rice bowl comes with Miso Soup and Pickles but can also top-up for a full set that includes Onsen Egg, Tofu Salad, Fruits and Tea.

We ordered a Premium Butadon (uses Japanese Kagoshima Pork) and a Regular Butadon (US Pork) to taste the difference between the two. Sad to say the difference isn’t that noticeable and for my subsequent visits I just went with the Regular Butadon.

I felt that the US Pork was not as well-handled as the ones I had previously at Butahage. The regular one was perhaps not as char-grilled as I would like it to be but is a pretty decent effort. Given that we don’t have much eateries offering Butadon in Singapore, this is quite acceptable to me. The Jap rice underneath the grilled pork gets slightly flavoured with the mildly sweet sauce mixed with a tiny bit of oil from the pork slices, but rest assured that it doesn’t make the dish feel overly greasy.

This has become my go-to place when I have craving for affordable Japanese don. I would rather have this over the supposedly famous Y-name Japanese gyūdon chain whose standard has sadly gone downhill over the years.

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