An Introduction

An Introduction
The Simplest Aphrodisiac

Flavours of the Month

Flavours of the Month
Rocks Urban Grill & Bar

Overseas Trips

Overseas Trips
The Reason to Travel

The A List

The A List
Featuring the Best

One Love Bite

12 April 2011

Hey all, hope everyone's doing good and has been eating well.

I know I have taken longer than expected but I'm glad to announce that it's finally here! The new blog is now up at onelovebite.tumblr.com.

See you there! :)

Yours Always,
Harris Chai

The Simplest Aphrodisiac: Epilogue

14 February 2011


After three amazing years of food blogging on the The Simplest Aphrodisiac, the time has come for this blog to bid you adieu. I know this announcement may come as a surprise to many of you, but I assure you that a lot of thought had been put into this and I'm ready to take this important step.

The biggest reason behind this decision is a happy one. I'm proud to tell you that someone very dear and special to me recently said "Yes", not just to me but really to us, and it was a memorable moment that was filled with the purest of bliss. We're now two people very much in love, and we share something that I know I would cherish with all my heart.

The question you would probably be asking now is: what does this have to do with the blog? The answer really is related to how this blog had come about, for it was started because of someone else in the distant past. That I would expect my loved one now to share this same space (and memory) would be insensitive, if not unfair as well. No doubt this blog had also seen me through the emptiest of days as it had given me purpose in otherwise silent and unforgiving moments; this is something that I would always remember and be truly grateful for. But the story now is no longer about me alone. A new chapter in life has begun and it is time to start anew.

Understandably, this blog has more than three years' worth of painstakingly written food posts, all of which were so meticulously organised from the title down to the individual blog labels. I would be lying if I said I couldn't be bothered or don't feel anything at all at this point; indeed many hours and sleepless nights had been poured into trying to take that perfect picture as well as trying to find the perfect words to illustrate and describe each meal, each spoon or forkful, and each bite. Moreover, I have made many friends through this blog and was also thrilled to have received so many emails and notes from individuals who would have been complete strangers to me if not for our common love and interest in food.

I should let you know however that this is not really goodbye, as far as my love for eating and sharing the love for it goes. Perhaps you would be able to find my words and pictures on food elsewhere, but in a space and style that you would not normally associate with a food blog. I must admit though that I have lost some of that eagerness to snap away at my food with my cameras, having returned to enjoying food as it is as well as in the company of others. When I do take pictures it's often with my iPhone, and only because I've been quite fascinated with the artistic effects created by some of the apps that I have.

Just so I do not ramble on any further, I would just like to thank everyone for all the support and encouragement that you've shown towards me and my blog these past years. It was a fantastic ride and I enjoyed every single moment of it. Last but not least, here's wishing everyone a most loving and happy Valentine's Day :)

Hanoi, Vietnam: Green Tangerine

11 February 2011


The remnants of French influences in Vietnam can probably be best felt in the numerous French eateries that have continued to stay on in this part of the world, with most concentrated in the cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The Green Tangerine is a fine example, being located within a restored colonial French villa complete with an open courtyard and garden terrace. In many ways this charming sanctuary exudes a rustic, homely feeling, and one which is particularly accentuated by the unpretentious and hearty food that you can find here.

Australian Imported Steak


The "Australian Imported Steak" was alright, though pretty much on the fattier (and therefore, chewier) side of things. The three different types of potato served on the side were an interesting trio, with the plain and truffle ones delighting me much. The third, infused with some type of cheese which I can't quite remember, didn't appeal to me one bit because of its smell and sourness. Of course I have to admit that I'm not one who appreciate cheeses other than the typical cheddar or mozzarella, so others may fancy this much more than I did.

Lamb Shank


One of the bosses had the Lamb Shank, which he kindly presented to me (for me to take a picture) upon hearing that I have a food blog. Somehow I thought his dish looked a tad more appetising than that thick slab of meat on mine.

Mousse Cake


My dessert of a chocolate and blackcurrent Mousse Cake was quite uninspiring, and the flavours seemed to compete rather than blend with each other.

Service
Very good.

Price
About US$35 for a main and a dessert. Certainly not cheap by Vietnamese standards.

Place
48 Hang Be Street, Hoan Kiem District,
Hanoi, Vietnam.

Pictures taken with the Apple iPhone 4.

Hanoi, Vietnam: Foodshop 45

09 February 2011


Who would have thought that you could find good Indian food in the middle of Hanoi? I certainly didn't, and so was quite impressed by what was on offer at Foodshop 45. This restaurant is located along the peaceful Ho Tay (West Lake) and is one of the cleaner and more attractive options available on the stretch of eateries and drinking holes. It's also one of the Top 20 restaurants in Hanoi, according to my trusty Tripadvisor.com.


Choose to sit at proper tables and chairs on the first floor, or on tatami mats on the second. I did feel a little uncomfortable sitting cross-legged on the cushions (more so because the pants was tight!) and if given a choice would have preferred the usual tables.


The Plain and Garlic Naans were pretty good, albeit on a slightly more doughy side. What I liked more actually were the Vegetarian Samosas, which arrived crisp and piping hot. Surrounded by an appetising aroma, it was packed tight with delicious curried potatoes.


The Curries and Mutton Keema were decent, nothing much to fault on. The Beef Dum Briyani meanwhile was the highlight of the night for a number of us, as the soft and tender well-cooked beef chunks added much oomph and flavour to the fragrant rice.

Service
Very good. Menus are in English.

Price
It was a treat from one of the bosses. I think it shouldn't cost more than SGD10 per person. We ordered much more (particularly in quantity) than what you see above, with an assortment of curries to boot as well.

Place
59 Truc Bach Street, Ba Dinh District,
Hanoi, Vietnam.

Pictures taken with the Apple iPhone 4.

Hanoi, Vietnam: Cafe Tivoli

07 February 2011


Cafe Tivoli at Hanoi Club is a simple, down-to-earth coffee house offering both Western and Singaporean fare. It's one of the places where you can get a ready stash of The Straits Times as you enjoy your hor fun or chicken curry at a leisurely pace. My Ribeye Steak, as it was so called, was quite decent, with an average mushroom sauce and extra crisp (or perhaps, more than twice fried?) shoestring fries on the side. The colleague's Seafood Hor Fun was not too bad as well, but I suppose it was only because we were missing Singaporean food after countless "regional-themed" buffets at the meetings.


Hanoi Club is just a 5 minute walk away from Sofitel Plaza Hotel, which if you hadn't known was my "home" for almost a month when many of the major ASEAN meetings were being convened in Hanoi. Aside from its Chinese restaurant Ming Palace, it also has a Western restaurant in Brasserie Westlake. I only found time to try their Spicy Seafood Fettucine, which I have to admit was pretty good stuff because of how spicy it was. Not your usual mild pasta surely, but this is a good Asian rendition.

Two popular restaurants from Hanoi coming up for the rest of the week - one French, one Indian. I'm slowly going through my backlogs, and there's still a small load of posts left to be written on Malacca. Akan datang! :)

Place
The Hanoi Club
76 Yen Phu Street, Tay Ho District,
Hanoi, Vietnam.

Pictures taken with the Apple iPhone 4.

Quiznos

02 February 2011


We all know I'm not very much a sandwich eater, but when the time calls for it I would love mine plain and simple - lots of beef, melted cheese, and maybe some onions or mushrooms. It's not surprising then that I loved my belated but first bite of Quiznos' Zesty Steak sandwich, which had tender slices of beef, soft cheese and crunchy onions. And oh, let's not forget that delectable barbecue sauce and perfectly toasted buns. Amazin'! (*Move aside Subway*)

Place
Orchard Central, #03-31.

Picture taken with the Apple iPhone 4, with some help from Instagram.

Trattoria L'Ancora

31 January 2011


When the travel buddy got me to choose a lunch place, I turned up with only two options ten minutes later - pizza or pasta? With a raised eyebrow (he didn't have much of a choice on the cuisine clearly) he chose the latter, and we were off to Trattoria L'Ancora along Bukit Timah Road.

Complimentary Bread


L'Ancora's bread were simple but good. No one can really go wrong with warmly toasted focaccia bread, while the lightly flavoured and thin pizza-like slices were just as welcomed.

Calamari Fritti


At $24.90++, the lunch set (available on weekends as well) was quite a steal. My pick of the Calamari Fritti from the small range of appetisers on the set menu was just the way I wanted it to be - crisp, light batter and slightly chewy. The calamari went well with the mildly spicy Arrabiata sauce served on the side too.

Zuppa di Funghi


The travel buddy crossed out the bruschetta, garden salad and sautéed clams and went for the simple mushroom soup, the Zuppa di Funghi. I think he found it a tad too diluted and would have preferred it thicker.

Spaghetti Ai Frutte Di Mare


No surprises, I went for my all-time favourite. The Spaghetti Ai Frutte Di Mare was delicious, and what really stood out was the flavourful and adequately thick homemade tomato sauce. The fresh seafood ingredients - prawns, squids and clams - are also worthy of mention. Note that the portion for the set menu is slightly smaller than if you were to order this dish à la carte, but to be honest I thought the portion was just about right given that you've already got an appetiser and dessert to accompany it.

Branzino Al Lemone


The travel buddy had the Branzino Al Lemone, an oven-baked fillet of sea bass with lemon dressing. Not a frequent fish eater (but he do swear by Nobu's miso cod), he found the sea bass a little too "fishy" in taste and smell. He was thankful for the lemon sauce that helped to make it more manageable.

Tiramisu


The waitress (and chef) so politely allowed me to make a swap on the dessert menu with the Tiramisu, and moreover at no additional cost. I liked the tiramisu, it wasn't overwhelming and had a good balance of the holy trinity of flavours - coffee, liquer and chocolate. While not mind-blowingly impressive, this was still decently good.

Panna Cotta


I used to see this as an Italian tau huay, but that surely would be trivialising one of Italy's iconic desserts, the Panna Cotta. L'Ancora's rendition of this dessert was executed well.

Coffee


And with all that enjoyed, sit back for a bit longer and enjoy that cuppa :)

Service
Very good.

Price
$24.90++ for the set lunch.

Place
789 Bukit Timah Road.
After HCI, just before the turn to Sixth Avenue.

Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 500D.

Le Chocolat Cafe

28 January 2011


Le Chocolat Cafe is a new sandwich & pastry café within the new boutique hotel The Club, and is situated along Ann Siang Hill, right where you can find my favourite K-Ki as well. The café here is small and still finding a foothold in this seemingly sleepy but charmingly peaceful part of Singapore, and I noticed that service can be quite slow as well. Nevertheless, it is new after all, so some baby steps are understandable.

Chocolate Tart


I love the Chocolate Tart, I really do. The crust pastry was neither too hard nor was it too crumbly or flaky, and when cut right with the side of a fork it comes away cleanly with the chocolate intact. Wonder what I mean? Next picture please :)


Lovers of dark chocolate may be a little disappointed with the thin layer of dark chocolate, but I myself really liked the thick and smooth milk chocolate middle. It was what kept me going fork after fork at this simple yet greatly satisfying tart.

Nutty Chocolate


The Nutty Chocolate on the other hand was facing an identity crisis of sorts; it was neither nutty (extremely fine traces of nuts) nor was it exactly chocolatey (too light hazelnut choc mousse/sponge). The flavours were not distinct and neither did they blend very well.

Tell you what, I'll have another one of that chocolate tart please :)

Service
Very friendly and polite.

Price
$7 each.

Place
The Club Hotel
28 Ann Siang Road

Pictures taken with the Canon Ixus 80 IS.

Alfresco Gusto

26 January 2011


Facing Wheelock Place along Scotts Road is Ion Orchard's new Alfresco Gusto, previously known as Gusttimo di Roma and now back with a revamped menu. On the side Gusttimo's gelato bar is still up and running, but I was here for one reason alone and that was to satisfy that crazy, fortnightly craving of mine - pizza.

Bolognese-fresca Mozzarella, Salsa di Ragù


While Alfresco Gusto prides itself for wood-fired grills for its steaks, pizzas on the other hand are not from a wood-fired oven but electric oven-baked. Nevertheless, the Bolognese-fresca Mozzarella, Salsa di Ragù was quite good, especially the melted cheese and minced beef parts.


The pizza here is on the thinner side and would satisfy those who like their pizzas much less fluffy (but certainly not wafer-thin like those from Skinny Pizza). Good enough for lunch :)

Tiramisu


The classic Tiramisu was a hit and a miss. The soaked saviordi, topped with cocoa powder, was worthy of praise as it had the good balance of sweet and bitter.


The coffee gelato on the top however was too icy and bland. Perhaps a purer scoop of vanilla gelato would have sealed the deal perfectly.

Service
Excellent. Friendly and helpful.

Price
$20 for the Bolognese-fresca Mozzarella, Salsa di Ragù pizza
$14 for the Tiramisu

* Prices subject to the usual 7% GST and 10% service charge.

Place
Ion Orchard, #01-15.

Pictures taken with the Canon Ixus 80 IS.

Morton's Steakhouse

24 January 2011


Morton's The Steakhouse at the Mandarin Oriental is an institution in itself. Despite the likes of all those celebrity chef restaurants and what have you across the river at Marina Bay Sands, this legendary steakhouse has still held its own - and I'm sure will continue to do so for a long time. From the impeccable service to the thorough show-and-tell of the steak cuts, seafood and vegetables on offer for the night, Morton's is the place to be in Singapore for that perfect steak dinner.

Onion Loaf


Morton's mythical Onion Loaf is as huge as many have described it to be, and in all seriousness should be shared else you won't even get to appetisers. This soft, fragrant and considerably light bread is extremely addictive. With this baby on the table, you can't quite keep your hands to yourself in between all the courses - have it your way with olive oil, butter or soup. Oh, soup. Now, let's talk about soup.

Lobster Bisque


The Lobster Bisque was absolutely delicious. I couldn't have imagined that such a seemingly plain-looking soup could be this flavourful and rich. The generous serving of (what I believe to be) at least a third of a lobster was firm, fresh and sweet. Perfect.

Onion Soup


The travel buddy loves his Onion Soup, and if he couldn't get enough of it in Italy (or anywhere else) you can expect him to have another go at this as well. It was good meeting up with him after so long because we're already planning our next big trip to *___________* at the end of the year. It's still far away but I'm so excited! :D

Jumbo Lump Crab Cake


Morton's signature Jumbo Lump Crab Cake may be pricey, but such indulgences are more than justified with delectable fresh crab meat packed so tightly and neatly together. I liked the light hint of herbs that went into this as well.

Steak Fries


The Steak Fries were very much the wedges-type of "fries" compared to the shoestring or medium-cut ones, and would please those who love their fries more "potatoey" than crispy. It wasn't anything exciting, but the serving was impressive - even the two of us couldn't finish this.

Sautéed Button Mushrooms


The desperate attempt to balance an otherwise meat and carb-filled meal resulted in the (half-hearted) side order of Sautéed Button Mushrooms. In retrospect I'm glad we ordered this, because the mushrooms were moist and juicy and accompanied my steak well.

Did I say steak? :)

Presenting to you, the star of the evening!

New York Strip


When at Morton's, don't go kiddy and order a burger at the bar, or pretend to be shy and get the "smaller steaks". Go all the way and have that New York Strip! It's a big cut no doubt, but this was just amazing. Tender at every slice, and bursting with beefy goodness at every bite - I loved it from start to end. For those who like a little bit of bone, you're strongly recommended to try the porterhouse steak.

Filet Mignon


The travel buddy had his done the more moderate way, a Filet Mignon that is as good (but I'm sure, not necessarily as satisfying as mine haha!) as steak can get. As you can see, his is accompanied by the classic French Béarnaise sauce.

Crème Brûlée


Just too filled with bread, soup, crab cakes, fries, mushrooms and those awesome steaks, we shared a Crème Brûlée for that mandatory sweet round-up to the meal. While the vanilla-bean speckled custard was really good, the caramel crust was a little too thick and overwhelmed it quite a bit. Still, a decent attempt.

Service
Excellent.

Price
Newsflash! Morton's $95++ "Seafood and Steak Menu" set is back by popular demand, and will only be around till 31 March 2011.

* Take your pick and change your appetisers, sides and even steaks as you please!
1) No extra charge for change of Morton's salad (eek!) to Onion Soup; $5++ supplement for upgrade to Lobster Bisque.
2) No extra charge for change of "Signature Potato" to Steak Fries or Sautéed Mushrooms.
3) $22++ supplement for change of single cut Filet Mignon to the New York Strip.

$20++ for the Crème Brûlée.

Place
Mandarin Oriental Singapore, Fourth Storey.

Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 500D;
Pictures are blur because of low-light conditions.
 

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