Saturday, August 31, 2013

Now on Facebook!

Hi everyone!

Thank you so much for your support thus far :) Am really really grateful to you guys for reading my blog and making me feel like my reviews are appreciated/noted by people :)

I've just set up a Facebook page so y'all can keep tract of when I update my blog (I know I don't do it as often as I like to) and I'd prolly do some giveaways soonish to thank y'all! :) Sorry the "logo" thingy on Fb is so lousy #computernoob here hahaha so I just used microsoft word.

Here's the link! Facebook! Would really really appreciate it if y'all could like the page for me and perhaps share it with your friends! Thank you in advance!!!

Thanks guys and have a wonderful weekend! :)

Friday, August 30, 2013

New Bakery: Artisan Boulangerie Co.

I've been seeing some photos of tarts & pastries from this new bakery on Instagram and a quick google made me head down to this new bakery the next day!

The baker here is an established experienced baker from France named Eran Mayer (note all info henceforth in this para is taken from their website) who spent 20+ years in prestigious French culinary institutes and is a member of the Paris Chamber of Commerce for Professional Artisan Bakers (woah). He sold his successful bakery business in Paris and moved to Singapore! Woah woah.

This is the facade of the restaurant and the decor as you can probably tell is minimalistic with clean lines & brown/yellow colour scheme. When you open the doors, you're greeted with a big square/rectangular table that looks like someone's home haha.

The layout of the pastries + bread is exactly the same as Tiong Bahru Bakery (upcoming trend?) as you can see for yourself below:

From L-R
Eclairs - chocolate, vanilla, coffee flavours
Rhubarb tart (looks like a giant scone!)
Fruit tart
Caramel hazelnut tart (or sth like that. Looks damn sinful, sweet and yummy!)
(forgot what tart this was)
Nectarine tart
Pear & almond tart
Lemon tart

Breads for sale!

The croissant looks damn good!

Array of breads for sale! Brioches are available in many flavours here! They also sell pretzels and give quite a few samples of their bread! Oh there's also quiches :)

Breads for sale! Lotsa sourdough!

Seating space further in

Seating space opp the bread/pastry counter

They also serve coffee, tea, juice and have a sandwich/salad menu though quite limited!

Pear & Almond Tart

Omg SO SO glad I ordered this in the end tgt with the lemon tart! My sights were initially set on lemon tart and was pondering if I should order a 2nd tart. LUCKILY I ordered this! It was so damn good! The boy and I both agreed that this was vvvvv good. We loved the crispy but sturdy and not crumbly tart shell which tasted freshly baked cos it was still crispy! The slight sweetness + nuttiness + crunchyness from the almond meal just brought this tart to a whole new level. Much better than Sophie Bakery's

And the pear, it was so sweet in a pear-fragrance kind of way, not like over the top sweet kind. It was poached (I assume) till it was so soft but still retaining a little bit of crunchyness. Omg the pear... SO GOOD. 

What'd you get when you put a super good tart crust, base, and topping together? A DAMN GOOD TART. So yup I was so glad I chose this :) Little slice of heaven imo :) 5/5

Lemon Tart

This paled slightly in comparison in terms of the tart crust! I dont know if the crust of both are made of diff ingredients but there is a diff in texture between the two. Lemon tart's crust is less crunchy and "fresh" compared to pear tart's. It was also more heavy vs the lighter feel you get from pear tart. The ratio of the tart crust to lemon curd was imbalanced too imo, a tad too much crust for me! Would be better if thinner crust + more curd! The curd was v good though! Not too buttery/eggy/sweet, just the right amount of citrusy sour goodness perfumed with some herb? 

All in all, it was a joy to eat but would be damn good if there was a better crust:curd ratio!!! And well paled in comparison to the awesome pear tart but this was GOOD too! 4.4/5

Cross section

On the table!

The bakery is relatively quiet for now as it opened its doors on 26 Aug and I visited it on 29 Aug. But I guess its only a matter of time before the lines go crazy here! Will likely be back for bread/more pastries!

Till then!

Artisan Boulangerie Co.
118 Killiney Road #01-01 Singapore 239555 
(its opp the row of shophouses and is on the same side as Comcentre. Do note that parking is A BITCH and we saw the summon people there today at about 2ishpm so do take note!!)
Opens everyday 8am-10pm

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Pasarbella: Oceans of Seafood

So I heard there was a sushi restaurant in Pasarbella with fresh shipment from Japan, but sadly the food failed my expectations and I wouldnt go back for sushi anymore but I would go back to try their seafood!

Avocado Salmon Maki

For 4 pieces, I thought this was a bit on the expensive side since this is hard to go wrong and well tastes like how all the other makis taste, not bad! 4.3/5

Toku Jyou Jyuisshu Sushi Mori
11 kinds of special sushi item

I expected lots from this plate of sushi since there were my favs of otoro, uni, ebi & scallop but I'm sad to report that all of the sashimi wasnt cold enough! It was lukewarm which made it q gross to eat imo. We were seated at the counter in front of where the sashimi was kept and the boy and I both thought that the chiller holding the sashimi wasnt cold enough. Somehow when its lukewarm, I can barely taste the sweetness or what I am eating, just the texture which I thought was not what I paid for.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Pasarbella: Le Patio Paella

Seafood paella

After much hype about how good this paella (btw its pronounced pie-ya) is, I had high high hopes for it but a pity that it didnt live up to my expectations!! It was TOO wet/mushy/soggy and the fragrance of the rice/spices didnt shine through at all. At $11.90 a box, I thought it was not worth it for the lacklustre rice that I was getting. Though the amt of seafood is reasonable for the price.

I think the main draw it the hugeass paella pan in the window which really is a feast for the eyes, but pity not the stomach.

Le Patio

Monday, August 19, 2013

New Restaurant: Nox Dining in the Dark

Hi everyone!

I've been itching to go for a Dine in the Dark experience ever since I heard of it in my JC a few years ago so when a chance presented itself on Saturday 17 Aug, I quickly made a reservation and went down with the boy to try it out! So this is my experience:

When making reservations: 
Make sure you remember to state your dietary requirements because it is a prie fixe menu decided by the chef and you cannot choose any parts of your meal + since its dining in the dark you cannot see what you're eating so you cannot pick & choose what to eat! I was very happy to leave my food in the hands of the chef who was previously from Ember (love the food!) and Private Affairs.

On the day itself:
You'll receive a call from the restaurant confirming your reservation and your dietary requirements. I was a little put off because I stated pescatarian and the lady said "so you're vegetarian but you eat fish?" then I said "No, I eat all seafood." well please bother to at least google/ the word before asking! Then again, I'm glad they at least clarified it with me.

Upon arrival:
You're shown to the bar/lounge area for pre-dinner drinks and your amuse bouche is also served here. A lady will also explain how the night will proceed and you typically have to wait about 15mins in the lounge for your table to be ready. She will also inform you that your server for the night is visually impaired and that you will be served 3 courses but 4 dishes per course, so technically you're having 12 dishes! (But dont worry about not being able to finish, cos each dish is served in a small square bowl! On hindsight, this is to aid you in eating!)

You will also be presented the drinks menu and their bespoke cocktails cost $20 each! I like that they have bars to depict how sweet/sour/strong/bitter etc each cocktail is so you can really choose one with a taste you're looking for!

Amuse bouche
Prawns, balsamic, feta, and something else but I cant remember

I ate it in a mouthful and I remember really liking the sweetness + crunchyness from the prawn, the slight tanginess from the balsamic & slight creamy taste from the feta. In short, I liked this amuse bouche! 4.3/5

Ignite My Passion
Rum, passionfruit, lime, lemon, mint, spice (cant rmb if there's anything else!)

It came flaming and I thought the name was apt! The boy said it tastes like passionfruit coke haha and it does a little! On the sour scale, this is well okay considered quite sour but not as sour as I thought/wanted it to be! 4/5

The Concubine
Strawberry, kwai fei, and I cant rmb the last ingredient!

This was a bit sweet but was refreshing nonetheless! 4/5

When your table is ready:
A lady will inform you of that and suggest that you finish your pre-dinner drinks as you cannot bring them upstairs. She will also ask if you would like still/sparkling water or wine upstairs, they DO NOT serve tap water because according to her, the thing you're drinking needs to be in a bottle so that its easier for you to pour (then again if its tap water, you can just put it in a bottle and let us pour it ourselves since for still/sparkling water we are also pouring it ourselves!). 

You will be advised to go to the washroom, and I suggest you do so that you dont have to walk up & down the stairs when you wanna go to the toilet halfway through the meal. 

Then you will have to put all your belongings including your phone + watch into lockers and then your visually impaired server will be at the stairs ready to bring you up! 

Walking up the stairs into the dining area:
Your guide will ask one of you to put your hands on his/her shoulders and your dining partner(s) to put theirs on yours so you form a human train (reminds me of my childhood!) and you walk up the stairs into the dining area like that because its pitch dark inside! Your guide will call out your name to check that you're there and not lost. 

You're brought to your table and your guide will show you to your chair by placing your hand on the back of your chair. Then he will tell you what's on your table and how they're arranged. You're then given the bottle of wtv you ordered and given a tip on how to pour it yourself so you wouldnt pour too much such that it spills. Then your very friendly guide will say he'll come back with the appetiser.

He also encourages you to discuss what you have eaten in the meal and try to guess + remember what you ate.

The 3 course meal:
Each course comes with 4 dishes displayed in a cross shape and you're advised to start w the dish in front of you and work your way clockwise. My menu was slightly different from the boy's, his was the standard one that everyone gets but mine was customised for my dietary requirement! So I'll be reviewing the boy's + mine. Although I do have the menu of what was served, I was asked not to spread it otherwise I will spoil the experience for others and I agree hence I wont be telling you what was served!

We had 2 of the same dishes here! I'll review the boy's first.

Dish #1: I felt that the truffle oil taste could be stronger and maybe a bit colder! (same but this was my dish 2 + guessed correctly)
Dish #2: we thought the fruit served was something else but in the end we were wrong! (guessed the main ingredient correctly!)
Dish #3: this was slurpilicious! (guessed it correctly!) And his fav appetiser dish! I really liked this too!
Dish #4: this was chewy and we couldnt tell what it was (same but this was my dish 3)

Dish #1: couldnt tell what this was and the texture was a little weird
Dish #4: I honestly couldnt tell what this was haha didnt really know what I was eating!

Only 1 dish here was the same

The boy's:
Dish #1: he could tell straight away what he was eating and he q liked it!
Dish #2: this dish was his favourite, its a stew-like dish! (same as mine)
Dish #3: he couldnt really tell what this was and this had a chewy component to it
Dish #4: he thought this was this meat but in actual fact, it was another type of meat! He really liked the grilled fruit in this dish

Dish 1: I thought I knew what this was when I ate it, but in the end I was wrong! It was cut into really small pieces and it tastes totally like what I thought it was sigh
Dish 3: I could tell right away the type of fish in this dish and what accompanied this dish! Yay!
Dish 4: I guessed this dish correctly too! Including the marinade. This was executed really well

We both had the same desserts!

Dish 1: Refreshing but would be better if it were more sour!
Dish 2: Mmmm love me some of these as dessert but would be better if it flowed more~
Dish 3: we totally guessed this wrongly!!! Totally didnt taste like what its supposed to be! (the boy liked this the most!)
Dish 4: we were kinda surprised cos we didnt expect ____ to be a component of this dish, we thought it was just the usual dessert! (I liked this the most)

During the meal
After you've finished one course, your guide will ask if you're done and then he'll take it away and be back with your next course after awhile. He'll also check on how you're doing and ask if you can guess your food. Our server, Halimi (not sure about spelling!) is super SUPER SUPER friendly and nice!!!! Totally open to talking about himself and his experience :) was really humbled by him, his take of life and what happened to him. I also dropped my fork, but was warned not to try and retrieve it and was given a new one by Halimi!

I advise you not to wear an expensive dress + spread your napkin really wide on your lap because you'll likely drop some food on your lap and you dont want it on your clothes!

After you've finished
We were left there at the table, desserts werent cleared, we werent approached to ask if we were done and we would like to leave. Not sure if we were supposed to be the ones saying it since after the previous 2 courses our food was cleared and there was always a "debrief". Okay so anyway we called our guide and told him we wanted the bill and we were led downstairs!

You're then seated at the bar and after awhile a lady will present you with a form (we werent given this but were supposed to! Then when the lady realised we didnt have it, I told her its ok cos we're rushing for time). The form is for you to pen down what you think you ate! It can be like some sorta competition between/amongst you and your dining companion(s).

After that you'll be given the actual menu and photos of the food so that you can check your answers and appreciate what you've eaten!

The bill
It was $216 or something along those lines for 2 prix fixe menus (each is $78++), 2 cocktails ($20++ each) and a bottle of still water (not sure how much this is!) So be prepared to spend a minimum of 78++ per pax if you're not ordering any drinks!

The menu
Generally the food is rather well thought out and execution is rather good too. Nice novel idea to try out 12 small dishes in one night. And the idea of eating totally in the dark is not that daunting either! Its actually q fun and you get used to it pretty quickly. You'll also realise that your "6th sense" (ok proprioception) is actually very acute and you can really "feel" where things are. You'll feel that your sense of sound, esp where the sound is coming from.

Very good friendly service by your guide! The dining room upstairs is divided into 4 rooms and each server is in charge of 1 room I think! Not too sure if there's more. But downstairs at the lounge, its just 2 ladies and I think they can afford more staff there! Because they juggle quite a few things. But overall, it was good service with nice friendly smiles always and v polite :)

Overall: its a nice & unique but expensive experience! The lady said that the menu will probably change monthly after awhile since its only their 3rd week into operations.

Nox Dining in the Dark
269 Beach Road (parking is a bitch!!)
Tues-Sun 6pm till late
You can make instant reservations + find out more about the experience + FAQs at their website

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Rather New Restaurant: Sushi Kou

A new Japanese gem just opened rather recently near the famous Teppei and is equally affordable! T and I went there for lunch one day to find out how good it is.

Here is their lunch menu! Sorry some parts are blurry.

T and I both got the lunch sets, she got the Unagi Set with Sashimi ($30) and I got Special Kaisen Don Set ($26)

We sat at the sushi counter and to me, it is always a good experience watching the chefs in action. The chefs here are Japanese and a pair of Japanese ladies sat next to us (authentic came to mind). The jar to the left contains marinated seaweed which is complimentary and I thought was a great & nice touch! I ate quite a lot of it, its sourish which was good as a palette cleanser.

Complimentary seaweed

Salmon sashimi 
(T's set)

She was amazed at the thickness of the sashimi + freshness + kept exclaiming how yummy it is! So I'm assuming it was really good :)

Unagi Set with Sashimi

I felt that the unagi could have been a little bigger for the price. Though it looks kinda charred from this photo, it didnt have the burnt taste at all! I prefer mine to be a bit more fatty but T didnt say anything about that so its really up to personal taste! She said the unagi was good and overall she thought the set was really worth it!

Special Kaisen Don Set

There was quite a spread of sashimi for the price. Ebi, tamago, scallop, ikura, the smaller roe, salmon, tuna, diff pickles, sorry I cant rmb what other sashimi slices were inside but its more than this! I felt that the sashimi could have been a tad colder but otherwise it was q good a variety for the price!! 

Chawanmushi - was smooth and all like how a yummy satisfying chawanmushi should be like
Miso soup - was good too! Hard to go wrong la haha
Dessert: it was this sugary jelly thing that tasted q artificial, I didnt finish it, I'd rather they give fruits or sth!

Overall rating for the set: 4.2/5

Service was v friendly, constantly refilling our tea, not too intrusive. Sushi chef smiles at you when there's eye contact. Would prolly consider going back for Jap if I'm nearby but probably wont make it trip down specially for it! May be going back soon to try their dinner omakase!

Sushi Kou
1 Tras Link Orchid Hotel
64448433 (they take reservations)
11.30-3pm (Last order 2.30pm)
6-10.30pm (LO 10pm)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Oca Grassa

Have heard some good stuff about this restaurant so I made a reservation for the boy and I but we got a rather bad reception at the door. We went into the restaurant and were just left standing there not knowing whether to go upstairs or just stay downstairs. There were 2 people behind the bar (which you see immediately when you enter) but they just went about their own business, not even bothering to tell us to wait or say hello or wtv. 

Complimentary bread that was toasted till it was super crispy! I love the balsamic they use because its the thick kind that has a sweet after taste! But I dont like it that its in that cup-like thing because all you get is the olive oil and just a bit of the balsamic.

Selection of fresh market seafood with cherry tomatoes, vegetables & seafood stock
(Serves 2)

Honestly, this WILL NOT fill up 2 people. Unless the 2 have freaking small appetite. The variety of seafood was quite good - scallops, fish, mussels, prawns, squid. Generally tasted ok. The soup was v good though! 4.3/5

And they give you this small le creuset bowl for you to ladle your food into :) 

Slow braised beef short ribs w Garganelli pasta & glazed vegetables

The boy had this and he says:

"It was bad, prolly because I have tasted combat ration (what they give out during field camp in NS) before and it was the exact same flavour as the teriyaki beef one. Pasta was a bit hard and the sauce is sweet so if you're not into sweet meals, dont try this! Got a little sick of the sauce but luckily the cherry tomatoes were there to offset it a bit. But I wouldn't recommend it" 

From what I saw, the short ribs were significantly smaller than your usual beef short ribs! 

Pink guava creme with pomegranate granite & avocado pudding

The avocado pudding isnt like a strong overpowering avocado taste so dont worry about ordering this dish if you hate avocado! I loved the pomegranate granite + the guava creme! I think it goes super well w the pudding and hope that they'd give more of those 2 next time cos the boy and I finished them before our pudding finished! 4.4/5

Oca's Tiramisu
Espresso foam w mascarpone, masala sorbet & cocoa sel sponge

Well honestly this didnt taste like tiramisu! There's the lady finger in the white layer but when its broken up like that it doesnt taste like tiramisu and it wasnt that pleasant to eat either cos that white layer (i'm assuming the mascarpone) was a little to overwhelming. The sorbet was nice though and the foam too. 3.4/5

Overall I think the restaurant did not live up to my expectations! Well maybe I've tried the wrong dishes or something but ohwell the dishes didnt impress me or the boy so I dont think we'd be back soon. Service was adequate and quite smiley! Ambience was minimalistic!

Oca Grassa
6 Bukit Pasoh Road
Mon-Fri 12-2.30pm, 6-11pm
Sat 6-11pm
I went on a weekday and there were only 2 other tables so it may get a bit quiet so take note if you like/dont like this kinda ambience!

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