Ph.Ds of FOOD

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Posts Tagged ‘desserts

Coffee and Crust – Part II

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During our 1st visit to the Chocolate Buffet at Coffee and Crust, Mandarin Orchard, we missed out on their signature Chocolate Bomb. This explained for this follow up visit – solely to be blown away by Chocolate Bomb!

The Chocolate Bomb was served in front of each guest by the chefs and every customer is entitled to 1 serving.

Chocolate Bomb

Chocolate Bomb

Chocolate Bomb

Chocolate Bomb

Chocolate Bomb

Chocolate Bomb

The Chocolate Bomb, arrived in front of us, looking like a nondescript chocolate ball. However, when the chef poured the hot chocolate sauce over the ball, all magic and mayhem broke loose! The thin outer chocolate shell melted immediately, revealing a milk chocolate mousse with hazelnut crumble! From a nice quaint chocolate ball, what is left now is an absolutely drop dead gorgeous and tantalizing chocolate mess. The chocolate sauce brings both the mousse and the hazelnut crumbles together and really increased the stickiness of the dessert. The nutty aroma and crunchiness of the hazelnut crumble cut through the richness of the chocolate, such that the entire dessert wasn’t too sweet. Every mouth was just rich chocolately goodness, with the hazelnut crumbles flirting in the background.

Every chocolate lover’s dream.

Coffee and Crust
Level 5, Mandarin Orchard
333 Orchard Road

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Written by foodphd

September 27, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Posted in Buffet, Chocolates, Desserts

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Nine-thirty by Awfully Chocolate

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The now-defunct Loola’s at Esplanade Mall has revamped and transformed into the current Nine-thirty, also by the folks from Awfully Chocolate. On top of the usual sweet offerings from Awfully Chocolate, Nine-thirty offers the usual western fare, including pastas, salads and some small bites.

Tandoori Chicken Salad

Tandoori Chicken Salad

There wasn’t sufficient dressing in the Tandoori Chicken Salad ($12) to tie the entire salad together. The salad was pretty boring and uninteresting. The slices of tandoori chicken tasted purely like grilled chicken, with no tinge of tandoori flavours.

Pink Salmon

Pink Salmon

The pink sauce in the Pink Salmon ($18) was rather imbalanced as the sour, acidic tanginess of the tomatoes greatly overpowered any creamy milkiness. This resulted in the pink sauce tasting like any red tomato based sauce. There wasn’t any depth in this sauce, as all we could taste is the sour acidity from the tomatoes. The salmon was lightly seared, very lightly as there was hardly any charred crust or caramelization on the surface. When we cut apart the salmon, the centre of the salmon was only half cooked, resulting in a pink, rubbery texture – almost like salmon sashimi. Typically, for fresh salmon sashimi, upon contact with our body heat, will melt and soften in our mouth cavities. In this case, the centre of this seared salmon wasn’t that delicate, yet wasn’t tender and flaky like a fully-cooked salmon. This was just a very awkward, neither here nor there, piece of salmon fillet. In our opinion, we will never try this again.

(clockwise from top left) White Chocolate Butterscotch Block, Hei Ice Cream and Hazelnut Crumble

(clockwise from top left) White Chocolate Butterscotch Block, Hei Ice Cream and Hazelnut Crumble

At the end of the day, the best offerings that Nine-thirty can offer remains to be the signature desserts from Awfully Chocolate. Our favourite dessert of the night was the Hazelnut Crumble ($7), with its thick rich hazelnut chocolate layer and the crunchy bittersweet dark chocolate cookie base. The crumble combined the sticky and dense hazelnut fudge together with the crumbly and crunchy cookie base, great combination. We didn’t enjoy the White Chocolate Butterscotch Block ($7.50 per 100g) as the white chocolate coating the entire cake was a bit too creamy and had gotten slightly too cloyingly sweet. We did enjoy the salted butterscotch drizzle. It was thick, gooey and sticky, with a balance between saltiness and sweetness. And finally, Awfully Chocolate’s signature Hei ice cream – the rich, dark chocolate ice cream was very strong in flavours, dense in texture and simply finger licking good.

Nine-thirty by Awfully Chocolate
#02-14, Esplanade Mall
8 Raffles Avenue

Written by foodphd

September 27, 2013 at 3:01 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

北京美食之旅 – 嘉和一品 Porridge Jiahe

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On a hot sunny day in Beijing, the best dessert to cool us down is porridge. You’ve heard it right – dessert porridge, otherwise known as 冰粥. And one of the more popular stores in Beijing famous for their dessert porridge is 嘉和一品 Porridge Jiahe.

(anti-clockwise from foreground) 香甜芒果冰粥, 荷叶绿豆冰粥, 酸甜乌梅冰粥, 山楂银耳冰粥

(anti-clockwise from foreground) 香甜芒果冰粥, 荷叶绿豆冰粥, 酸甜乌梅冰粥, 山楂银耳冰粥

嘉和一品 Porridge Jiahe doesn’t just offer 冰粥, they do offer an array of savoury porridge. However, we were definitely more intrigued and drawn to the idea of cold porridge and ordered all 4 available 冰粥.

The 冰粥 wasn’t exactly like its direct translation of “iced porridge”. It was more like a cold porridge. 冰粥 consisted of mushy, soft rice grains, every bit like our normal savoury porridge, except for the fact that it was cold, sweet and refreshing.

One can imagine that the 香甜芒果冰粥 (mango porridge) would taste similar to the typical mango desserts in Singapore. The icy cold mango flavoured porridge was basically made up of rice grains and small mango cubes. The 荷叶绿豆冰 (green bean) was nothing too special as it tasted almost like the green bean soup found in Singapore.

The more interesting and unique 冰粥 were the 酸甜乌梅冰粥 (sour plums) and 山楂银耳冰粥 (hawthorne fruit and fungus). The sweet and sour plums added a more complicated flavour profile to the porridge. The 山楂银耳冰粥 tended towards a more herbal type of porridge. In terms of flavour profile, both were more multi-dimensional and unique.

Cold dessert porridge – what can get better than that on a hot, sunny day in Beijing?

嘉和一品 Porridge Jiahe
海淀区成府路29号(华联对面)

Written by foodphd

August 23, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Posted in Beijing, Chinese, Desserts

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北京美食之旅 – 仿膳饭庄

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Helmed by the same consortium behind the 全聚德烤鸭 is 仿膳饭庄, where the restaurant’s specialty is in palace cuisine. This is the ideal place to experience and emulate the dining culture of the Qing dynasty royalties.

仿膳饭庄

仿膳饭庄

仿膳饭庄

仿膳饭庄

仿膳饭庄

仿膳饭庄

There were different dining areas in 仿膳饭庄, and each dining area was somewhat like a mini palace. Not only was the food meant to imitate that of palace cuisine, the entire dining setting was also created to evoke a sense of palace royalty. Even the menu was a thick and super heavy black book  – the weight of the book seemingly to further emphasize on the serious palace setting.

(from left to right) 芸豆卷, 豌豆黄

(from left to right) 芸豆卷, 豌豆黄

小窝头

小窝头

The 芸豆卷 (kidney bean rolls) and 豌豆黄 (mashed pea paste puddings) were traditional palace small bites. They were served cold, and were on the sweeter side, hence could be thought of as desserts as well. Both had a soft, mushy texture – reminiscent of mochi, which melted easily in our mouths. The 小窝头 (mini wotou) was akin to mini fried mantous, just like small pockets of buns.

圆梦烧饼

圆梦烧饼

The 圆梦烧饼 (sesame cake with minced meat) was similar to the pork belly bun in Singapore. We have to slice apart the sesame bun and stuff the minced meat into the bun to make a little burger. The bun was very fragrant, thanks to the generous amount of sesame seeds. The minced meat was decent – tasty and juicy enough to complement the dry bun. Can’t really imagine royalties having this for a meal though, since the dish seemed rather crude and unsophisticated.

燕尾樱花虾

燕尾樱花虾

The 燕尾樱花虾 (sauteed prawns with spicy garlic sauce) was the dish that baffled us the entire trip. 2 medium sized peeled prawns cost a whopping 56 RMB! The plate of 圆梦烧饼 was only 36 RMB! It was just too over-priced and expensive. We have to admit that the prawns were very succulent and fresh, with a chewy bite. The sauce was very appetizing and pleasing, but ultimately, it was just a typical sweet and sour sauce commonly found in Singapore. There is absolutely no justification for this exorbitant price!

抓炒里脊

抓炒里脊

Summing up the meal was a dish of 抓炒里脊 (stir fried pork loin). A very rustic and unpretentious stir fry dish. The pork loin was tender and the caramelization gave the meat a nice sticky coating.

Overall, it was a decent experience to appreciate the food enjoyed by royalties of the past.

仿膳饭庄
Beijing Fangshan Restaurant
北京市西城区景山西街北海公园东门内

Written by foodphd

August 22, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Posted in Beijing, Chinese

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The Fullerton Cake Boutique

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(from right to left) Hazelnut Choux and Chocolate Caramel Tart

(from right to left) Hazelnut Choux and Chocolate Caramel Tart

The Fullerton Cake Boutique’s cakes were finger-licking down, right down to the last bite. The Hazelnut Choux ($9) pastry was light and fluffy. Within the pastry encompassed a generous filling of soft hazelnut custard. And outside of the choux was a dollop of hazelnut custard which was slightly harder. The hazelnut custard was very rich in hazelnut – you could actually tell that the pastry chef didn’t stinge on any ingredients, where the hazelnut custard was just pure hazelnut goodness.

And for chocolate lovers, satisfy your chocolate fix in the Chocolate Caramel Tart ($9). Every bite was premium chocolately flavours. The twirl of chocolate atop the tart wasn’t cream, it was dense chocolate fudge. Cutting apart the tart revealed a layer of caramel within the chocolate fudge filling. The caramel wasn’t too sweet nor overpowering, just the right amount to cut through the bitter-sweetness of the chocolate.

The Fullerton Cake Boutique
Lobby, The Fullerton Hotel
1 Fullerton Square

Written by foodphd

August 18, 2013 at 9:35 pm