Meet my Fellow Gingerbread Girl!

Weeks ago, it seemed like Christmas was just around the corner. Today it's finally here, brought some joy among us. Though I don't celebrate Christmas religiously, I do love the holiday. Bakeries everywhere are selling the festive's goodies, which makes me more excited. Sugar loaded cookies and baked goods are the best stuffs to boost happiness, am I right? This gingerbread girl that I've got from my bestfriend had passed away by now, rest in peace in my stomach. Don't blame her for being scrumptious, it's me who couldn't wait til the 25th to eat her. Anyway, have a wonderful Christmas!! =)

What's Cookin'?

Yeah, you heard me right, I cooked this for dinner: grilled salmon with warm spinach salads. What's more surprising is that it was so easy to be made. Maple glazed salmons are great when they're grilled and topped with some lemon-pepper sauce. I have used no recipe for it, just relying on my knowledge and some information I've read somewhere about grilling fish. For the warm spinach salad, I mixed some baby spinach, feta cheese and caramelized onions with olive oil and lemon dressings. When putted together, the pair was actually great!

Gusttimo di Roma

Hmm..Who doesn't love gelato? I do love 'em very much. If you think that this gelato has come from Italy, you're wrong. The concept itself came from there but this gelatteria is owned by a Korean guy who has mastered the art of making gelato. Picolo, the menu says, enable us to pick three different flavours to be served in a cup. Choosing them itself is a pretty hard decision to be made, for the double fridges displayed the most wonderful arrays of eye-catching gelatos. I had the combination of walnut, fruit of the forest and green tea yoghurt. Every cups are crowned with a cute little cone, standing adorably on top of the gelato mountain. I fell in love with every scoop of them: nutty walnuts, refreshing green tea yoghurt and sweet and sour berries. Each has gave different combinations that had me smiling. They're soo good. Go on and have some, and prove me right.

Gusttimo di Roma
Level 1 ION Orchard
2 Orchard Turn #01-15/17
Tel: 6509-9380

Bakerzin- not a dessert post

Who says this place is just great at desserts? Our visit last night had proven that the claim isn't quite right. A and I wanted something quick before we met with his cousin that night. Every other places have people queuing up infront of the entrances, leaving us to choices of snacks or coffee shops. We've seen some changes in Bakerzin's menu and decided to give it a try.

A picked his favourite: Braised Pork Belly.  Aren't the addition of flavoured hard boiled eggs just cute? Best of all is the sauce; sweet, not too runny nor jelly-like, absorbed well by the tender pork. Nevertheless, according to A, he had a better version in his previous visit.

The long, extended pasta menu has drawn up my curiosity. Whether pastas are their specialties, I was not sure when I chose that seafood marinara. The taste was, surprisingly good. They were mixing white wine with the tomato based sauce and gave some pretty generous portion of seafoods.

I didn't expected at all that the kitchen could do some other cooking besides baking. I mean, their baked stuffs are just fabulous, but this mains gave them another applause. I've seen other tables having the pizza flakes, which I ought to try next time, which is coming soon.

290 Orchard Road
#02-09 The Paragon
Tel: +65 6333 6647

Max Brenner Chocolate Bar

After the concert ended, we decided to have some drinks before we headed home. I've been wanted to try Max Brenner's famous chocolate creations, so off we went to his cafe. It was kind of late, but still the very small group of staffs were kept busy by the crowds. We had to wait for around 10 mins to be allowed to sit at one of the remaining empty tables. The menu was equally disappointing, lots of items were not available anymore so we were left with less choices.

I had to pick the one with the least milk products in it, as I've just discovered that I'm lactose intolerant (unlucky me). I didn't really take notes of the names, I think I was having the Belgian dark chocolate drink. It was in between dark chocolate fondue and hot chocolate milk, with a little foam on top. Warm and soothing, suits well with this rainy season.

T decided to be more adventurous. She had the Mexican hot chocolate, a blend of chocolate, cinnamon and, wait for it..chilies. The first taste was a little tickling in the tongue and hot at the throat. I found it very unique, the taste was stronger than the chili chocolate bar I had before. Halfway through it, T had a difficulty in gulping the rest down. She said the spices gave an uneasy feelings to the stomach, a common case if you're not familiar with the combination of cocoa and spices.

We ordered some churros from their special threats promotion to be dipped in our chocolates. Spanish (or is it Mexican too?) style! The churros are great here, not too much sugar coatings, crispy on the outside but soft inside. They absorbed liquids well; we were having good dunks and bites (hehe).

On top of everything, we really enjoy the mugs. They are cleverly designed for us to comfortably hold our drinks, really something that we enjoy. Besides chocolate drinks, there are other sweets made from chocolates too: crepes, pancakes, cakes, ice creams, and so on. But as I said before, lots of them were not available anymore.We'll try our luck another day.

Max Brenner
8 Raffles Avenue
#01-06/08 Esplanade Mall
Singapore 039802
Tel: 6235 9556

Al Dente Trattoria

Today Maxim is giving his fans in Singapore a chance to hear him in Esplanade concert hall. It was a two-day concert but I thought the first day is better as the playing is fresh. It was just an excuse, I know, cus he played perfectly each time. It was starting around 8 so we were having some dinner before that. There are not much that you could choose in Esplanade, but at least some of them are really decent.

We settled for Italians at Al Dente Trattoria. A month before Christmas, the decor was holiday-ish already. It was raining a little, so we sat indoor at the lower floor. The service was very curtious and attentive, reminded that this is a pretty fine restaurant. We shared some bruschettas (or at least I thought there would be some of them), which came in a single toasted foccacia square, topped with some tomatoes, arugula and pesto. I love the combination of arugula and pesto but I think they could do more with the presentation. Everything scattered as we tried to cut it and the pesto weren't distributed evenly.

For the mains, we all had the pastas. A friend of mine had this Wagyu Bolognese Parpadelle. The look was very tempting and he said it was good too. Using wagyu as a substitute for the usual ground beef is genious, I think, as it will bring more flavour to the dish. As the name promised us, the pasta is cooked al dente; meaning it's not too soft nor hard. In other words, cooked til perfection.

The Aglio Olio Linguini appeared differently from what we normally had. It has some kind of watery sauce despite the usual dry combination of chili, garlic and oil. The taste, however was undeniably delicious. Though it was weird to be having it wet, the sauce actually brought an additional goodness to it. The buttery flavor mended well with the garlic and chili, making the dish more aromatic and tasty.

The last dish on the table was Penne Arrabbiata, which is what I was having. It sounds simple: penne and tomato sauces, but came suprisingly rich in flavor. Red crushed tomatoes are mixed with some aubergine, onions, mushroom and parsley, producing the most scrumptious arrabbiata I've ever eaten. All dishes are served hot, which gave them an additional score.

I would definitely visit this place again if my pocket allows me. It was a little expensive for pastas, but are still affordable compared to those high-end Italian dining places. They are currently having this promotion for the wood fired pizzas, priced at $10 each. I'll definitely checking them out.

Al Dente Trattoria
Colors by the Bay #01-13
Singapore 039802
Tel: 6341 9188

Royal Copenhagen Tea Lounge

Due to the slightly unsatisfied feeling left from TWG, me and T went for another tea time, in the hope that this time it would be perfect. We were hanging out in Orchard road, which was extremely busy as it always does on every weekend. The idea popped as we wanted to escape from the crowds and give our legs some rests. Despite the fact that we've never been to Royal Copenhagen Tea Lounge before, we decided to give it a shot since I read a couple of astonishing blog posts about them.

Smoked salmon and prawn open sandwich
We were served by an old lady who was very attentive inspite of the long queue waiting behind us. The place is rather small remembering that it's the only cafe in Takashimaya department, but we quite enjoy the vibe. It's casual enough for us to be comfortably chatting over teas. The only downside was the way they arranged the tables in some areas, so close with one another that I even overheard other's conversations clearly.

The tea in a cute porcelain mug
On to the foods.. We had the afternoon tea set for two, comprises of mini open faced sandwiches, scones, a quiche, a selection of cake and coffee/tea. What were first served to our table really did surprise me. The bread in the open sandiches were buried under huge stacks of seafoods. We had prawns and scrambled eggs rolled in smoked salmon, both are mildly seasoned, just as we wanted them to be. This is tea time, not lunch right? Oh and they're just simply photogenic too!

Fresh creams, raspberry jam and butter

Next up were the scones, served with butter, raspberry jam and fresh cream. These were the plain version of scones, resembled a bread rather than cake. They were lack of that crumbly texture, but they didn't have to be. The dough was so aromatic, with the right amount of butter that they're not dry nor too oily. My favourite item from the condiments was the raspberry preserves. I think scones are best eaten with jam and a little bit of butter.

Quiche filled with spinach and pine nuts.

The set came with a selection of cake that we could choose from the display fridge. I was spoiled by the wide array of scrumptious cakes. If I weren't having my huge brunch earlier that afternoon, I'd be going for some rich chocolate cakes, which are the types they had the most. The green tea cake, however, seemed to be a best seller here since it was what most people ordered. Plus, it just sounds fit to have something lighter than a creamy cake after our encounter with those treats. This cake was marvelous; generous amount of matcha powder was used to produce the bitter-sweet taste in this cake and the pickled plum added some unique overall flavour.

Two thumbs up! I would definitely go back for the matcha cake. This place is surely on my list of visit now. I just need to come at the right time, avoiding Sunday if possible.

Royal Copenhagen Tea Lounge
391 Orchard Road
2F Ngee Ann City
Tel: +65 6735 6833


Here's what my friend had said last Saturday: "Lets go for a girls tea timee!", which I definitely agreed on. She's so into TWG, in fact she's been coming back for 4 days in a row before that day. Seeing the long queue, I supposed that it must be that popular among ION's shoppers. As I read the tea menu, I understood why. The extensive list of tea has thoughtfully written; some of them with names resembled those fancy mocktails.

Tea time would never be completed without some snacks. Sweet or savory, both will do. We had 2 tea-time set named "Chic", each will get you to choose 3 out of 6 sandwiches, 2 muffins/ 2 scones/ a pastry and a selection of tea. Since we ordered 2 sets, we decided to go for 6 different sandwiches plus 2 muffins and 2 scones. The tea, worth mentioned, came in a cute and rather huge golden pot. There are sencha, rose and creme brulee tea in our table, all of them are delectably aromatic as well as refreshing.

The first tier came shortly after we got our teas, or at least I thought there will be another one except that there wasn't. Honestly speaking, I was quite surprised by that. The sandwiches are smaller than I thought they would be and there are hardly anything special about the muffins and scones. I was expecting for some banana or blueberry muffins, or at least something fancier than plain-boring chocolate chip muffins. The boldest highlight would be on the tea-infused jelly accompanied the scones, which are half gone even before we finished the scones. 

As for the sandwiches, I really think that they could have done better. Sure, foie gras and salmon might be a bit pricey but pairing them with some plain condiments didn't make them appear sophisticated at all. I do understand that they might be more specialized in teas, but 50 bucks on those items was a robber for our pocket. The teas and services, however are wonderful. Maybe I'll come back for some of them but this time, no more tea sets.

ION Orchard
2 Orchard Turn #02-21,
Singapore 238801
Tel: 6735 1837

Jalan Kayu Prata

Jalan Kayu Prata, one of the most famous prata place in Singapore has opened it's newest branch in Plaza Singapura. The title might contains the word "prata" but you'll see no prata in this post. The ambience is pretty cool, it's nestled outside the main mall building, near the atrium.

For lunch, I'd prefer to have something light, as opposed to what Indian food normally offers. Naan has been a better choice compared to prata as it was baked and therefore it's less oily. I like the smell of the flour when it was hot and freshly baked. Crispy outers like this one will help too.

This is what I ordered to dip the breads in: fish curry. The numerous spices used in this dish made it incredibly rich in flavour. Though I wouldn't say that this is the best fish curry, the huge fish chunks are cooked well, tender and not too flaky in texture.

Another dish that we had; chicken murtabak, which is an indian bread filled with seasoned chicken meats. They served some curry dip to go along with this as well.

Overall it was worth trying, as they are reasonably priced. This kind of eateries can easily be found in Singapore, some of which I believed has better quality, but cost you more of course. =)

Jalan Kayu Prata
Plaza Singapura

Double Bay's Desserts

I've finally found another place that has sticky date pudding and banoffee pie. The two of them are the desserts we always ordered at Marmalade Pantry. I shoud've known that I could find them in any other Australian restaurant. Anyway, my first visit to Double bay was at the correct time: afternoon tea!

Though the appearance was a little far from what I've expected (lighter toffee sauce, spongier cake and sorbet like vanilla ice cream), the sticky date pudding was actually tasted good. I would still preferred Marmalade Pantry's version but this one is a lot less heavier, perfect for a dessert for one. The innards of the cake was a little bit dry, which explains the runnier and milkier toffee sauce.

The banoffee pie, too, presented differently. They were using flaky pastry shells instead of the crumbled tart base, which again, made the dessert lighter to be eaten individually. The warm chopped bananas was sweetly paired with toffee sauce and some fresh cream on top.

These desserts were served warm and they're best to be eaten before they turned cold. Combining them with the ice cream was really delectable and I love that they gave some berries for all the desserts. Yum!

Double Bay
252 North Bridge Road
#01-22A Raffles City Shopping Centre
Tel: +65 6334 6530

Brunch at home

There's no better thing than waking up late in a weekend and having some huge, huge breakfast (it's your lunch too!). Finding those places for brunch in Singapore might be an easy job to do, but paying them will not be easy for my pocket. Sometimes you just want to enjoy your brunch serenely as well, away from the crowds and loud chattering. I was then came up with this idea to cook my own brekkie at home. They costed less and tasted more, as they were all home-made. The best part was that I could do them in any way I want. How fun was that! So what I did was some simple sauté and grilling, put some garlic spread on the rosemary ciabatta before toasting them. The key was on the sausages though; make sure you'll get those yummy flavoured sausages instead of the plain ones. There was only one down side that you'll find: washing all the dishes. Bon appetit!

The Handburger

The Handburger, the newly opened burger chain has differentiated itself among the other competitors through it's uniqueness. As a modern casual restaurant appeared these days, the place is nicely decorated with wooden furniture, dominated by light brown and white, to make the diners feel cozy. Flipping the browned papers in a clipboard, I found myself reading through the vast amount of creative burger creations. They've got unsual stuffs such as duck confit burger, tandoor chicken burger, vegetarian kakiage burger, to name a few.

My favourite part of the burgers lies in the bun. While the recommended bun flavour for the patties was written in the menu, we can also choose the bun we preffered. I had the stuffed portobello burger with spinach and ricotta bun and chilled tomatoes. I would say that it was incredibly good. There were bread crumbs on top of the veggie stuffings which went along greatly with the grilled portobello.

I wasn't satisfied with the chilled tomatoes that came with my burger. Stuffed with coleslaw, it has failed to impress me. Then I saw my favourite thing in the menu: sweet potato fries! For the price, it was really worth it, since the portion can feed 2-3 people.

Another additional side, onion rings. It was pretty ordinary but I should mention that they have great dips. I think it was mixed with some garlic or onions, scruptious!

The works burger, as the name suggested, will make you work harder to eat it. It was a tall stack of beef patty, sunny side up, onion rings, sauteed mushrooms and bacon. I don't really fancy a burger with any eggs on it but this one was quite ok.

Every table seemed to be having this drink: lychee mint crush. The blended fresh mint leaves gave that fresh combination to the lychee, making it a perfect companion to the heavy meal.

Though we were full, we couldn't resist for some desserts. The list might be short, but the prices aren't more than 5 bucks. I was too curious of how they'd be and had the warm sticky banana pudding and it was surprisingly good. Despite the price, it came in a pretty huge slice and accompanied by vanilla ice cream and strawberry compote.

The handburger has a fresh idea about foods but I think they could do better with the services. Value for money, it was definitely up. I left with 98% full stomach that I skipped my dinner for that day.

The Handburger
252 North Bridge Road
#B1-77/78 Raffles City Shopping Centre
Tel: +65 6334 4577

El Patio: Mexican Feast

Foods in Holland village never get so boring. One time I could came for the Italian or Thai or westerns, but most of all, I favoured the Mexican. There are two that you can find: Cha Cha Cha and El Patio. The latter, being the chosen one for that night, has successfully delivered its authentic Mexican image.

We sat in the open air area, enjoying the good weather despite the rainy season we are now experiencing. As we sat, they served some complimentary tortilla chips which are refillable as soon as we finished the previous basket. The salsa is a perfect complement to it, the tangy tomato flavours gave that fresh tickle to your tongue.

Being curious, I tried their tequila coffee; served with some whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon powders on top. The tequila was strongly dominant in the drink, it was like drinking a shot of it with a hint of coffee.

Greedy as we are, the three of us opted for the combination platter. We picked two tapas from the selection of burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas and tacos, which will came in single plate.

Burrito grande and chicken quesadillas

Soft texas taco and chicken quesadillas

Beef enchiladas and turkey burrito

I know, they all looked pretty similar and though they used tomatoes as the main ingredients, they are actually different in taste. The quesadillas are crispily toasted with warm and tender chicken fillings. The burritos are just as nice as the enchiladas, perfectly cooked with the right amount of spices. According to your liking, you can choose the meat fillings; beef or chicken. Notice that all foods are drizzled with some sour creams and they came with a side of fresh mixed salad to balance the meals.

Last but not least, my favourite part: dessert! We shared some churros among us and I have to admit, their's are so good. Now, it was until recently that I started to like churros, as I didn't see them regularly in normal bakeries. I love the cinnamon taste that it brought and being not overly sweet, the batter are light, just right to end the heavy meal.

El Patio
34 Lorong Mambong
Holland Village
Tel: +65 6468 1520

Seoul Yummy

I finally found a good Korean restaurant worth mentioned in this blog. From which I can remember, I was never into Korean foods. The very first introduction to it was ages ago and it's none other than kimchi. Maybe I wasn't in the right restaurant after all that my first impression to it was horrible. So there went the stereotype; the little me thought that all Korean foods are typically sour. Some time later, Korean dramas seemed to have saved me; the continuous exposions of those foods on most episodes had raised my curiousity. I saw more than pickled cabbage and sooner than I realised, I've been endavour in much of those goods..

Clockwise from top: kimchi, cold tofu, anchovies

Friday afternoon used to be a liberated day for me. Those minutes near the end of my last class for the week, my head was full of good places I might be coming for lunch. Not mentioning I was hungry as well. Choosing a place with less crowds seemed to be a wise decision, so I took my friend to the Central, intended to try something new.

From top to bottom: broiled peanuts, fruit salad and cucumber kimchi

After a little walk, I spotted Seoul Yummy and was greeted by some yummy pictures. My stomach immediately decided to end the search here. Soon as we settled with the orders, we were served the typical side dishes, consisted of about 6 different sides in mini portions. I personally love the peanuts; they're somehow sweeter from the usual broiled nuts.

For mains, we had two bulgogies: beef and chicken. The two items are surprisingly among the best that I've ever had. Served in a hot skillet, the meats sizzle when they first arrived.

Though they might have similar names, the two meats are cooked with different sauces. The beef has darker sauce which taste more like teriyaki sauce, while the chicken has a spicier red sauce. Both are utterly divine and that's why you can't have a single type on your table.

In addition, we ordered rice cake to be shared. Soft and chewy without being hard, they're great with the sweet and sour sauce.

After all, this Seoul is really yummy. The place is pretty nice to welcome the weekends after the hectic week. Price wise are definitely worthed. From the name card, I found that they have another branch in Novena Square, just steps away from my home. How wonderful is that?

Seoul Yummy
6 Eu Tong Sen Street
#03-92/95 The Central @ Clarke Quay
Tel: +65 6227 8802

Orange Cake for Breakfast

I've been coming back to Toast a lot lately, as I always found something new that I'd like to try from there. My sweet tooth are always telling me to eat sweet foods all the time; even for breakfast. Loaf cakes are often on my top choices, since they resembled a bread (they're quick bread, remember?).

Look at how pretty this slice is, don't you just want to eat it?

Without going too far away from lemon, this time I had this orange cake from Toast. It came in two slices which it's totally up to you if you want to gobble both of them altogether. I saved one for later. This thing is gooood. They're not overly loaded with sugar and I can see some orange skin bits in it. Most importantly, the crusts are perfectly done and locked all the flavours from the cake.

391 Orchard road
#02-11 Ngee Ann city
Tel: 6733 8489


The chef and the Kebab work-station
Sofra; the name stands for "dining" in Turkish. After doing some research, Sofra seemed to be a suitable place for our lunch this weekend. Away from the crowded Arab Street, it provided a serene environment for a weekend lunch (or brunch? hehe). Anyway, we were there last weekend; all of us with empty stomaches..

Sesame Bread

While we wait, we had some Sesame Bread and Hummus dip. Made from a cream mixture of chickpeas, tahini and lemon juice, the hummus is a very refreshing companion for the warm bread. They gave a considerable portion too, for those who dip a lot, like me. Consisted of mainly tomatoes and bell peppers, the Sofra Salad is too plain I would say. The dressing was ok but there are hardly any walnuts in there, despite what was written in the menu.

Chef Plate is a combination of Doner Kebap, Izgara Kofte (grilled flat meatball) and a skewer of Shish Kebap. The best item on the plate would be the Izgara Kofte, cooked perfectly with smoky taste, crisp outer but tender meat. It was served with some turkish bread-warm and fluffy; just came out from the oven, I reckon. They combine chicken, beef and lamb here, but I can't tell you which one is which, except the white one (it must be chicken).

Beyti Kebab is spiced meat patties rolled in their homemade bread, served with some tomato sauce. There are three choices of meat: chicken, beef or lamb. I find this very unique; they roll it together and cut them into smaller pieces. This one would be the chicken, but I think it doesn't matter- everything there will taste great with any meat fillings.

Golden Jacket Cream Dory
I didn't have a stomach for any heavy meats and opted for some fish instead. I thought it would just be in a perfectly fit portion and obviously not this extremely huge. Mine came out really, really late and I immediately understood why when it finally came. There are lots of stuffs in the plate (or is it tray?haha), can almost be shared for 3. They put lots of tomatoes, diced beet-roots, flavoured rice and of course, the dory with cheese fillings. I like the tomato sauce that was midly spiced and it goes well with the whole thing. 

For dessert (Yes, I can't skip this thing), we opted for something small: Baklava. I was being careful this time and asked the waiter about the portion. It came in two tiny pieces and I'm glad it did. The flaky pastry would deliciously paired with the istachio fillings, if only the syrup wasn't too sweet. Even a sweeth-toothed person like me can't even finish one whole pastry. But I did my research, and found out that Baklava are traditionally sweet; so maybe that's the way it is?

To tackle down the sweetness, some bitter Turkish coffee or tea are recommended. Small cups are enough for you, I tried them. By the end of the meal, we were fully filled. Even after it past the lunch time, most of the seatings are remained empty. Some diners kept the kitchen busy though, making it a perfect place to go for a laidback weekend.

Sofra - Turkish Cafe & Restaurant
100 Beach Road #02-42/43/44
Shaw Tower (Shaw Leisure Gallery)
Singapore 189702
Tel: (65) 6291 1433