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Drips Bakery Cafe

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Drips Bakery Cafe

Drips Bakery Cafe

As the print on the window goes, Drips Bakery Cafe specializes in tarts – tarts which are freshly made every day!

Chocolate de Tart

Chocolate de Tart

The Chocolate de Tart was pretty decent. The inner chocolate filling was decadent, rich and very smooth. Taste wise, it maintained a mellow bitter-sweetness. This simple tart hit all the right notes but perhaps the fact that it was too predictable, this tart seemed a tad boring.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia Nuts

We just couldn’t resist the sight of these large macadamia nuts! The nuts were basically the limelight of this tart. They were extremely fresh, crunchy and fragrant – every nut lover’s Achilles’s heel! The macadamia nuts were held together by a sticky caramel glue, which wasn’t too sweet. The cake beneath was pretty bland as well. And in all, it seemed that every thing else was just a sidekick, while the star of the tart was solely the huge tantalizing macadamia nuts!

Drips Bakery Cafe
#01-05, 82 Tiong Poh Road

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Written by foodphd

November 2, 2013 at 9:53 pm

Tim Ho Wan 添好運

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Widely touted as Hong Kong’s most famous dim sum, Tim Ho Wan has never failed to draw long crowds outside their 2 branches since the first outlet opening in March 2013 and its second outlet in September 2013. We are definitely attracted to the Michelin-backed good food, but with mixed reviews about the Singapore outlets not matching up to the Hong Kong’s standards, we stopped short of joining the horrendously long queues during the 1st couple of months of opening. And another way to escape the long queues is to visit the 2nd, off-town outlet outside of peak lunch and dinner times.

Tim Ho Wan

Tim Ho Wan

The menu isn’t very extensive and was presented simply on a single page. There aren’t many fanciful offerings, most of them were traditional dim sum fare.

Baked Bun with BBQ Pork 酥皮焗叉烧包

Baked Bun with BBQ Pork 酥皮焗叉烧包

As we observed trays and trays of freshly baked BBQ pork buns being dished out from the ovens and almost every table having at least 1 serving of this, there was no doubt that the most popular dish was the Baked Bun with BBQ Pork 酥皮焗叉烧包 ($4.50 for 3). The buns were unique, and unlike any served in other dim sum restaurants. The crust was crumbly with a tinge of sweetness. The aroma of the freshly baked crumbly crust was irresistible. It wasn’t overly thick and doughy. The inner fillings of the BBQ pork wasn’t as likeable as the outer crust. The quantity of fillings wasn’t to our expectations. It was a bit too sweet as well. Texture wise, the proportion of meat seemed to be lacking, and there just wasn’t enough bite and meaty tenderness to it.

Pan Fried Carrot Cake 香煎萝卜糕

Pan Fried Carrot Cake 香煎萝卜糕

Another one of Tim Ho Wan’s Big 4 Heavenly Kings is the Pan Fried Carrot Cake 香煎萝卜糕 ($4.50 for 3). The searing on the carrot cake was adequately done – just enough to give it that extra crisp and charred flavours, without being overly burnt. The carrot cake seemed pretty soft though, as it was on the verge of disintegrating just be the mere pick up using chopsticks. And there wasn’t any dried shrimps or Chinese sausages embedded in the carrot cake – that was pretty disappointing as it made the carrot cake seemed one-dimensional and boring.

Vermicelli Roll with Pig's Liver 黄沙猪润肠

Vermicelli Roll with Pig’s Liver 黄沙猪润肠

One of the more unique items was the Vermicelli Roll with Pig’s Liver 黄沙猪润肠 ($5.50), since in Singapore, pig’s liver is not typically found in vermicelli rolls. The vermicelli roll was thin, semi-translucent, smooth and when immersed in the sauce, it was very fragrant and savoury. The fillings of pig’s liver wasn’t really our favourite, mainly due to the fact that we aren’t fans of pig’s livers to start off with. It had a queer texture and the characteristic taste of pig’s liver just didn’t go well with us.

Steam Spinach Dumpling with Shrimp 鲜虾菠菜饺

Steam Spinach Dumpling with Shrimp 鲜虾菠菜饺

The Steam Spinach Dumpling with Shrimp 鲜虾菠菜饺 ($3.80 for 3) was pretty mediocre. The proportion of spinach was overwhelming and completely masked out any taste of prawns. It was just too much spinach and every mouth was just spinach leaves and stalks, which was just not appetizing given that the spinach was under-flavoured and the prawns were just non-existent.

Beancurd Skin Roll with Pork and Shrimp 美味燜鲜竹卷

Beancurd Skin Roll with Pork and Shrimp 美味燜鲜竹卷

The Beancurd Skin Roll with Pork and Shrimp 美味燜鲜竹卷 ($4 for 3) was a simple and comforting dish. The sauce was very thick and savoury. There was a good balance of pork and shrimp, with neither outshining the other. Fresh crunchy prawns with the sweet minced pork, tied together with a thin layer of beancurd skin, and drenched in a viscous thick sauce – nicely done.

Tonic Medlar and Osmanthus Cake 杞子桂花糕

Tonic Medlar and Osmanthus Cake 杞子桂花糕

The meal ended on a perfect note with a sweet and refreshing Tonic Medlar and Osmanthus Cake 杞子桂花糕 ($3.50 for 3). The jelly wasn’t too soft, was still bouncy and chewy. The wolfberries were almost like raisins, they added burst of sweetness to the jelly. The osmanthus fragrance and flavour formed the backdrop of this jelly. This cold dessert drew a perfect closure to an otherwise porky dim sum feast.

Tim Ho Wan
#02-02, ERA Centre Toa Payoh
450 Toa Payoh Lorong 6

Written by foodphd

October 24, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Posted in Brunch, Chinese, High-tea

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St. Marc Cafe

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(from left to right) Green Tea Latte and Hot Chocolate

(from left to right) Green Tea Latte and Hot Chocolate

Nothing like a cup of Green Tea Latte and Hot Chocolate to end a day. And St. Marc Cafe offers a decent version of both beverages.

The Green Tea Latte displayed a well balance between the characteristic bitterness of green tea and the richness from milk. The sweetness level also hit the right note and overall, a very likeable and addictive cup of green tea latte.

The Hot Chocolate, though not overwhelming strong compared to Laurent’s and Max Brenner, still carried a decent chocolately fragrance and taste. The Hot Chocolate was very comforting, in the sense that it wasn’t too heavy on the palate, yet the chocolately goodness was enough to satisfy any chocolate lover.

St. Marc Cafe
#02-105/184/185, Marina Square
6 Raffles Boulevard

Written by foodphd

October 19, 2013 at 9:10 am

Toby’s Estate

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Brunch at Toby’s Estate!

Toby's Estate

Toby’s Estate

Situated amongst the private condos at Roberston quay is Toby’s Estate – a name synonymous with good coffee and all-day-breakfast.

Toby's Breakfast

Toby’s Breakfast

We went for the crowd favourite’s Toby’s Breakfast ($18) – bard laid eggs (poached), espresso maple bacon, roasted cherry tomatoes, sauteed mixed mushrooms, brioche toast and classic hollandaise sauce (+$2). It was a pretty sight – a hearty breakfast full of colours and flavours. The espresso maple bacon was pretty unique – on 1st bite, the saltiness was pretty mild but there was a strong charred fragrance. With each gradual chew, the saltiness started to intensify. Complementing the bacon and mushrooms together with the bread  significantly reduced the saltiness. The hollandaise sauce was smooth, creamy and buttery, but not overly rich. The poached eggs were perhaps the most disappointing element of the breakfast. It was overcooked and the egg yolk had already tended towards a slightly solid curd, rather than it being an oozy liquid. And sadly, the lettuce which was placed beneath all the elements had turned into a soggy mess after absorbed all the oil from the bacon and mushrooms.

On the whole, it was still a delightful fulfilling breakfast set from Toby’s Estate.

Toby’s Estate
#01-03/04, 8 Rodyk Street

Written by foodphd

September 29, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Posted in American, Brunch, High-tea

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Strangers’ Reunion

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Baked Eggs in Shakshuka

Baked Eggs in Shakshuka

Brunch session at Strangers’ Reunion saw us trying the Baked Eggs in Shakshuka ($17). Shakshuka is a Tunisian/Moroccan dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, onions, and various spices. This dish was more soupy than we thought, as we had expected a thicker and more gooey gravy. The middle-easten origins were quite evident as the shakshuka was accentuated with lots of spices, with the sour tomato-based sauce forming the backdrop. The eggs were pretty raw – on the surface, the egg white seemed cooked, but within the soup, the egg white were still in its original raw colourless form. It seemed like the egg was only cracked and added onto the shakshuka after the dish was removed from the oven. Still, the soupy shakshuka did make an interesting middle-eastern flavoured dip for the accompanying bread.

Matcha Azuki

Matcha Azuki

Be it brunch, lunch or dinner, we can never escape the temptations of having a cake to end our meal. The Matcha Azuki ($7.50) wasn’t too sweet though, as it exhibited the characteristic bitter green tea flavours. This cake consisted of alternating layers of matcha sponge and matcha cream. It was rather light, typical of a Japanese-inspired cake. The red beans embedded in the matcha cream provided that slight additional crunch and sweetness to the cake. Overall, there wasn’t much surprises to the cake – a straightforward matcha cake, everything that you can expect.

Strangers’ Reunion
33/35/37 Kampong Bahru Road

Written by foodphd

September 27, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Coffee and Crust – Mandarin Orchard

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Speaking about chocolate buffet and the restaurants that come immediately to mind include The Courtyard Fullerton Hotel as well as The Chocolate Bar at Marina Bay Sands. These 2 places are synonymous with “Chocolate Buffet”, with The Courtyard @ Fullerton Hotel being the longstanding, all-famous Chocolate Buffet destination.

Thus, imagine our delight and surprise when we spotted this poster at the lift lobby of Mandarin Orchard Gallery:

Chocolate Buffet @ Coffee and Crust, Mandarin Orchard

Chocolate Buffet @ Coffee and Crust, Mandarin Orchard

Available daily from 4.30 to 6.30pm at $20++ per pax, Coffee and Crust’s Chocolate Buffet promises an array of chocolate cakes, tarts, macarons, pralines, not forgetting the iconic chocolate fondue. The chocolate buffet is also available to diners of the Triple Three’s dinner buffet from 6.30 to 10.00pm.

Chocolate Buffet @ Coffee and Crust, Mandarin Orchard

Chocolate Buffet @ Coffee and Crust, Mandarin Orchard

Chocolate Buffet @ Coffee and Crust, Mandarin Orchard

Chocolate Buffet @ Coffee and Crust, Mandarin Orchard

The Chocolate Buffet at Coffee and Crust probably wasn’t as grand and extensive as the one at Fullerton Hotel. In fact, the buffet spread was only set up 10 minutes before the starting time of 4.30pm, on 5 square tables in the centre of the cafe. The chefs took quite a while to arrange the display of chocolate desserts and by the time the buffet spread was ready, it was already slightly past 5pm. Late service – not a great reflection of the resident cafe of a five-star hotel at Orchard Road.

A cup of coffee or tea was provided along with the buffet. However, do note that the tea/coffee isn’t refillable. 1 glass is all that you are going to get. And by the time the buffet spread was ready for consumption, our teas were already half drunk. No more tea to help to wash down the chocolate. Another minus point.

Chocolate Buffet @ Coffee and Crust, Mandarin Orchard

Chocolate Buffet @ Coffee and Crust, Mandarin Orchard

The buffet spread included 5 different kinds of chocolate pralines – white chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, sea salt chocolate as well as chocolate mint. The pralines were of decent premium quality, and according to the serving staff, the pralines are of French origin. Decent quality, rich and decadent, perfect mouth poppers.

There were also various chocolate cakes like the triple chocolate mousse cake and a brownie-like chocolate cake. The only tart available was a chocolate caramel tart. Breaking apart the chocolate tart revealed a caramel layer within the tart. There were also other chocolate based desserts like macarons, tuile, wafer sticks and our favourite was a nut-crusted chocolate cone containing a caramel custard centre. The 4 main mini glass desserts were: tiramisu (which was sorely lacking in liqueur and tasted predominantly of cream), a passionfruit chocolate mousse (the refreshing sourness of the passionfruit cut through the rich chocolate, allowing our palates to deter away from the heaviness of the chocolate), a white chocolate mousse (with an evident taste of coconut) and a milk chocolate mousse.

On the whole, if you have the appetite and the stomach for chocolate, Coffee and Crust’s Chocolate Buffet is a value for money option.

Coffee and Crust
Level 5, Mandarin Orchard
333 Orchard Road

Written by foodphd

September 2, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Artisan Boulangerie Compagnie

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With that many artisan bakeries and patisseries flooding the shores of Singapore, every new outlet definitely has to have an outstanding selling point. And for Artisan Boulangerie Compagnie, which just opened for a week, its main selling point is its consultant pastry chef Eran Mayer – a two-time recipient of the prestigious Grand Prix de la Baguette (Best Baguette of Paris) competition in France!

Artisan Boulangerie Compagnie

Artisan Boulangerie Compagnie

Artisan Boulangerie Compagnie

Artisan Boulangerie Compagnie

The layout setting of Artisan Boulangerie Compagnie resembled that of Tiong Bahru Bakery, with the long glass display of tarts, sandwiches, pastries and various kinds of artisan breads in the back shelves. Not really knowing the specialty offering of Artisan Boulangerie Compagnie, we went for the 2 items that appealed to us most.

(from right to left) Caramel Pecan Tart and Chocolate Lava Cake

(from right to left) Caramel Pecan Tart and Chocolate Lava Cake

The Chocolate Lava Cake ($6.80) wasn’t heated prior to serving, hence we immediately knew that there was a high chance that the centre wasn’t a molten and viscous core. True enough, the core of the cake wasn’t molten and fluidy, though it was still a tad softer and more moist than the surrounding cake. Putting aside all expectations of a lava cake, this Chocolate Lava Cake was actually pretty impressive. The outer surrounding cake was very dense, moist and rich. It was every bit like a fudge cake, albeit a slightly softer kind. It wasn’t too sweet and the chocolate taste was very strong and decadent.

The Caramel Pecan Tart ($6) was equally impressive. The caramel wasn’t too cloyingly sweet hence we didn’t get too sick from eating it. The caramel was gooey and sticky, simply fork licking good. The tart crust was very fresh and crunchy. It had a slight buttery fragrance, which lingered in the background, without overpowering the fillings of the tart. The best part of the tart has to be the nuts. Besides the whole nuts which were visible atop the tart, there were crushed nuts within the caramel filling. The nuts were very fragrant, very crunchy – evident of their freshness. The nuts weren’t salted nor sweetened, they were just simply exuding their intrinsic nutty aroma and flavours. And they were so crunchy and fresh that it was almost like the nuts were just harvested prior to baking the tart. This has got to be one of the best nut-based tarts we have ever tried.

Artisan Boulangerie Compagnie
#01-01, 118 Killiney Road

Written by foodphd

September 2, 2013 at 2:20 pm