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The A List

The A List
Featuring the Best

Off to Italy!

28 April 2010

Hello Everybody! :)

The holidays are here for me! It's been quite a wait but the day has finally arrived, yes finally! I'm off to Italy tonight and I'm so so so excited (especially the tastebuds and tummy, that's for sure)! I haven't got time to schedule my food posts ahead of time so there wouldn't be any new entries in the couple of weeks to come, but if I manage to find some wifi spot in Italy I might just upload a few pictures of what I'm indulging in there - gelato, pizza, pasta, tiramisu, risotto, you name it. Till then, thank you everyone for supporting this blog and I'll be back soon!

And oh, if you're interested to know, I'm also heading to Kuala Lumpur just a few days after I return from Italy! This KL trip would be the first ever overseas food bloggers' outing that I'm organising (even if it has a very modest attendance of just three bloggers haha!) and I'm sure we would be doing a lot of good eats there as well. Yum Yum!

Everything is looking bright and good! To good eats and to a good life! :)

Harris Chai
Author | The Simplest Aphrodisiac

Verve Gelato @ Clarke Quay

27 April 2010

Verve @ Clarke Quay is a small pizza and gelato bar that comes from the original Verve Bar & Bistro at Gillman Heights. Come to think of it, I wouldn't really think of it as a bar even, since it's all pretty much al fresco with a few tables and high stools along one of the busier lanes of Clarke Quay. I would have tried the pizzas if I had room for it, but after after a good dinner at Borgata me and Ms Sugar wanted something sweet to wrap up the night. Gelato it is :)

Tiramisu and Coconut Gelato

The Coconut gelato was pretty alright, but I would have preferred it to have an even stronger flavour. Comparatively, the awesome White Choconut (white chocolate and coconut!) from Galta Gelato at Parca Marina Bay is much creamier and richer. Still, the Tiramisu gelato from Verve was quite impressive, since not only was the coffee flavour discernible enough, but it also had generous little pieces of liquer-soaked savoiardi within it.

Vanilla Cognac and Pistachio & Green Tea Gelato

The cup at the back belonged to Ms Sugar, who gave in to her fondness for vanilla and chose the Vanilla Cognac. The hint of cognac was too light though, with negligible after-taste dryness that many alcohol ice-creams or gelato would usually have. At least Ms Sugar seemed to enjoy her Pistachio & Green Tea gelato much more!

Excellent. Very patient and friendly as we took our time sampling the variety of flavours.

$8 for double scoop,
$5 for single scoop.

Clarke Quay, Blk 3D #01-10.

Pictures taken with the Canon Ixus 80 IS.

The Line Shop @ Shangri-La Hotel

26 April 2010

I've always wanted to try the cakes at The Line Shop at Shangri-La Hotel, but seemed to have kept putting that off because of its inaccessibility (I know, I'm lazy to walk sometimes). It was a really good thing then that I had to attend a seminar at Shangri-La last week, since the opportunity finally came for me to indulge in some sweet treats for the afternoon. The Line Shop is located close to The Line, Shangri-La's international cuisine restaurant, and has a few seats for dine-in.


I know that the chocolate truffle cake is one of the highly recommended cakes at The Line Shop, but this interesting addition to its array of cakes was something that got my attention. The Maronnier is a really "nutty" cake, chockful of nuts especially along its crunchy base, while the rest of it is made up of layers of caramel, slivers of chocolate and thin portions of sponge. Pretty good, something I personally like.


I like the design of this Tiramisu cake, and it's certainly not too bad in my opinion. It's really moist with the strong flavour of chocolate and coffee, though the hint of liquer was just too light, if it could be tasted at all.

Very good.

$6.75 each

* Prices subject to 7% GST and 10% service charge for dine-in.

Shangri-La Hotel. Lower Lobby, Tower Wing.

Pictures taken with the Canon Ixus 80 IS.

Sugar Granny Cafe

24 April 2010

Sugar Granny Cafe along Teo Hong Road was one of the "pit-stops" during my recent tour around Chinatown. After a good pasta at Cugini and a warm cuppa at Shots, I wandered around the area and eventually found myself at this new snack hideout close to the Outram Park NEL station. I did have my doubts about this place actually, especially after having read extremely rave reviews by people who have only posted once or twice on the Hungrygowhere forum - and all of those were on Sugar Granny Cafe. Hmm.

Still, it was a blazing hot afternoon and I was desperately in need of something cold to cool me off. Besides, I was already at the tail-end of Chinatown and there were few other options, and places like Absinthe nearby seemed to be closed for the mid-afternoon.

I like the cosy and charming interior of Sugar Granny Cafe. It had an interesting mix of the old and new, with the walls decked in old-school Chinese posters as well as LCD television screens. Pleasant English oldies were also being played softly in the background. Interestingly, there were also a couple of pretty Vespa scooters lying around for sale and rent.

The place was quiet for a Tuesday mid-afternoon, but quite a few people did come and go with takeaways. Service here is very good, with two middle-aged men (whom I gather are the owners) who were eager to help and please their customers. I chatted with them for a bit and learnt that this humble little cafe was opened just a couple of months ago, right after the Chinese New Year holidays. On weekends, it's open till 1am, so if you're in the area and you're hungry for some light snacks (but eager for air-conditioned comfort as well), you might consider dropping by.

Lychee Icy Swirl

This cooled me down real good. It's really sweet I have to admit, but it had nice little chunks of lychee (probably from the can) and nata de coco jellies. Slurp.

Sticky Muah Chee

It's something different to me, having muah chee (a glutinous rice snack) on a stick instead of on a bed of grated peanuts. Curious (and greedy) me went for the red bean, chocolate and peanut ones, and all-in-all I think they were quite alright. I do prefer the peanut muah chee as compared to its sweeter counterparts, and I took the time to roll the bits around the peanuts to make sure it has a tight peanut coat. Simple snack to wile away the afternoon.

Deboned Chicken Wings

Oooh, I quite like this a lot. Deboned, deep-fried (and a tad oily) chicken wings - comfort food material for sure. The harmless looking chilli sauce was maddeningly spicy... but like many Singaporean eaters, it just made it all the more addictive. Since many food stalls price their fried chicken wings at $1-$1.20 these days, I think the extra 30cents is quite reasonable since extra work has to be done to debone the chicken wings anyway.

I was walking around the area snapping away with my camera when I noticed this huge abomination building sticking out like a sore thumb. This is the Pinnacle @ Duxton by the way, where I hear that some people actually pay money ($5) to get a good view of Chinatown, Tanjong Pagar and the City. It sounds nice, all and good, but having this amidst the old, conserved buildings is just... odd. Oh well, guess that's what happens when you have limited land space.

Very good.

$2.50 for the lychee icy swirl
$1.50 for each stick of muah chee
$3.00 for two deboned chicken wings

Also: $4.80 for durian/mango on coconut sticky rice.

5 Teo Hong Road,
Near Outram Park NEL Station.

Additional Comment
1. No GST and service charge.
2. No main courses on the menu.
3. Opening hours: Sun–Thu 1pm – 11pm, Fri–Sat 1pm – 1am.

Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 500D.

The Garden Slug

23 April 2010

It's another one of those days when I'm eating out alone again, but at least there's still that element of adventure to the day as I sought out a hidden gem in the eastern side of Singapore. This is The Garden Slug, a modest but admirable eatery that has been around in the Telok Kurau area for quite some time now. If "comfortable food", reasonable prices, excellent service and a peaceful setting is what you are looking out for, this is one place that you may be interested in.

The warm, humble and cheery feel to The Garden Slug would probably remind you of other cafes like Food for Thought, Kith Cafe, Kichn and Vanilla Bar, and for good reason too. I really like how unpretentious and sincere The Garden Slug appears to me and it's definitely my kind of place for a simple and hearty meal. Thank goodness I was in the vicinity today and it was a perfect reason to give it a visit.

Roast Beef Sandwich
Ciabatta bread topped with mozzarella and mushrooms

Truth be told, I was not in the bestest of moods so a cheer-me-up was called for. Naturally, I was well prepared for something deliciously sweet (read on...) but I realised I should have something warm and savoury too. The Roast Beef Sandwich looked like a simple and safe enough choice, inasmuch as part of me was eyeing the seafood pizza and pasta but there was only a certain amount of space that my jeans and belt could hold for the afternoon.

And delightfully, it was simple and safe enough to satiate my lunchtime hunger. Hearty slices of beef that went very well with the cheese, bits of mushrooms and most importantly of all, well-toasted ciabatta bread. It was typical of me to push aside the side salad (because I'm sooo on a diet) and in its place I got a small pack of Doritos nacho cheese chips. Neat.

Apple Cranberry Streusel

What reallyyy got me all the way here in the first place, was the dessert of the month: the Apple Cranberry Streusel. This looked so good on The Garden Slug's blog that I knew I had to brave the scorching heat and additional bus ride just for a taste of this little heaven. Thankfully, it did not disappoint at all.

Add this: thankfully too that I only had a sandwich before this, because the portion of this streusel was huge and it would definitely be better shared. It's pretty, no doubt about it, and the "scoop" of vanilla ice-cream (with notable specks of the all revered vanilla beans) was more like a packed snowball worth at least two standard-size ice-cream scoops. Generosity: check. Admittedly, it was a tad "icy" but this also meant that it managed to stay harder longer as I went through the dessert slowly. The hot streusel (very much a crumble to me) had fresh slices of apples and was uniquely good because of the pleasant hint of spices, which is more than just cinnamon. Sugar rush: check. Satisfaction: check that as well!

From what I gather from its blog, The Garden Slug is also offering photography courses for DSLR users. A pity that I live all the way in the west. I was a little "stressed" as well while posting this blog entry because I know my amateurish pictures can't possibly match up to their photography skills! Nevertheless, all that aside, it was a decent lunch indeed and I'm definitely looking at my calendar to plan a return visit here. The seafood pizza beckons.

Excellent. Polite and friendly. All for no service charge as well!

$9.50 for the roast beef sandwich
$9.50 for the apple cranberry streusel

* Note: The Apple Cranberry Streusel is only available till the end of the month!

55 Lorong L Telok Kurau,
#01-59/61 Bright Centre.
Take Bus 155 from Eunos MRT, and get off at the fourth stop. Bright Centre is across the road, to your left.

Additional Comments
1. GST and service charge are both waived.
2. Opening Hours:
Mon - Tues 6pm-10pm
Wed - Thur 10am-10pm
Fri - Sun 9am-10pm or late
Public Hol 9am-10pm or late

Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 500D.

K Ki @ Ann Siang Hill II

22 April 2010

Cakes cakes cakes. K Ki at Ann Siang Hill is to me the undisputed Queen of Cakes. Queen because of the gentle yet regal lightness of its simply divine cakes, and queen too because of how pretty these little, delicate creations look. Sweet dreams, my friends, are made of these :)

Ever since my first visit to K Ki a long while back, I've always been wanting to return for more of its heavenly cakes. And if you're interested, K Ki also shares the space with The Little Dröm Store, an artistic and dream-like shop that has an attractive range of vintage and quaint knick-knacks that are bound to grab your interest. A good place for a meaningful gift surely.

Well I've said it before, but I'd say it again: if there is one word that I have to describe K Ki, it's love. You can feel it from the warmth and coziness of the place, you can see it from the way oweners Kenneth and Delphine attend to their customers, and boy, can you taste it from their cakes. It's all about love and passion weaved in all forms, and you get to enjoy it in more ways than one with every visit to K Ki. For all of that, this long and sincere post is especially dedicated to Kenneth and Delphine.

In this entry, I've decided to post the rest of the cakes that I had before just so you don't have to keep switching back and forth with my older entry on K Ki. As such, I'm doing all the work for you readers; all you need to do then is to feast your eyes on the cakes, and then do yourself a favour, give yourself a treat, and make your way to K Ki at Ann Siang Hill as soon as possible.

Nespresso Coffee and Latte

Nothing like a rich cup of quality Nespresso Coffee to perk you up. People who like their coffee sweeter though would probably have to add more milk or sugar, but it suits just fine for me this way. At first I was concerned that the full flavour of the coffee would affect the taste of the cakes, but it turned out to be a good complement. Do try their Gryphon Camomile Tea too, it's really good if you prefer your teas. And oh, delicious coconut sablé cookie to accompany the drink, which you could buy in the pack too!

Pumpkin Pudding

Before we start on the cakes, let us begin with the Pumpkin Pudding. This is actually not sold regularly because of the strictest standards that Kenneth has set for the grade of pumpkins he gets every week, so you can say I was very lucky indeed to have this. I'm not very much a fan of pumpkins, but after this smooth, moist and rich delight, I'm a convert. It's so sweet and so good, even if you may think for a while that this could be awesome baby food too. That's how soft it is. If that's all not enough, why not a generous pool of caramel sauce too. Lovely.

Souffle Cheese

The Souffle Cheese is something you may want to try (there's a richer Cheese Tart variant available here at K Ki too) if you like your cheesecakes. "Soft and fluffy" was how my friends described it, and they were definitely spot-on. Nothing fancy to it, just beauty in simplicity.

Little Red Riding Hood

One of the latest creations from K Ki, the Little Red Riding Hood impresses not only with its sexy, bold look but also with the intricacies (passion, passion) involved in its creation. The real hardcore chocolate lovers would say "aye!" to this - 70% pure Guanaja dark chocolate - went into the LRRH for that addictive bitter chocolate taste. If the silky exterior doesn't charm you enough (trust me, it all looks so delicate you wouldn't want to put your fork through at the start), wait till you get to the middle - raspberry puree for that interesting mix of sweet and sour. It does seem like there's almost too many things put together here, but somehow, it just works. And it works wonderfully well too.

Mona: Nip-Tucked

The revamped and improved Mona was such a joy, to behold and to eat. Kenneth wanted more balance to the cake and went on to create a simple, dual layer, teardrop delight. The top layer was a perfect harmony of banana and milk chocolate mousse, while the bottom was a thick but delicious sablé-based crust. I love this so much more than the previous Mona.


So this was what the Mona looked like before the revamp. It was slightly richer (and thus slightly "heavier") then, but I remembered that I especially adored the light and sweet macaron at the top. By the way, this cake also happens to be named after one of Delphine and Kenneth's friends!


The owner of The Little Dröm Store loves this cake so much that Delphine and Kenneth decided to name it after her. The Antoinette is undoubtedly one of K Ki's bestsellers, and it's not hard to see why it is. Light and delicate white chocolate mousse wrapped around a sweet mango purée centre. This is a personal favourite.

Mont Blanc

Another one of K Ki's bestsellers, the Mont Blanc is a chestnut-flavoured cake (see the brown swirls) with soft sponge and sweet cream underneath. Always thought Mont Blanc as the snow-capped French Alps, but hey I love this even more because I get to eat it. Yums.


Coconut mousse, passionfruit crème and chocolate daquoise, the Kinabaru is another one of my favourites. Kenneth was saying that since there's already a "Mont Blanc" why not one after Kota Kinabalu, but with a hint of something refreshing in "baru" (Malay word for "new"). While the coconut flavour could be just a little bit stronger, it still fits with the "light" theme of the cake and I like it a lot. You can probably have slice after slice of this cake and not go full at all!

Strawberry Tart

I'm not the biggest fan of fruit tarts, but at least K Ki's Strawberry Tart base made from its sablé cookies was a simple delight to munch on. The ladies adore this to bits.

Cafe Dumo

The name Cafe Dumo somehow reminded me about this adorable Japanese mascot Domo-kun, which happens to be of a similar brown shade as well. This cake is perfect for guys who want something of a stronger (maybe even manly?) flavour as it's a good, delicious mix of coffee and chocolate. While I'm not sure if non-coffee lovers would take to this easily, Delphine assures that the touch of coffee is light enough to not put them off.

Lovely cakes, lovely service and lovely company. There's certainly a nice charm to this place and I'm missing K Ki already, as always. It's not just about the good cakes, but also about the "spirit of joy and love" (as quoted from Delphine) that draws me so much to this little sanctuary along Ann Siang Hill.

Share the simple things in life. Come to K Ki, you know you want to :)


$4.50 for a teapot of Gryphon chamomile tea
$4.00 for the Nespresso latte
$3.50 for the Nespresso regular coffee
$7.00 for the Pumpkin Pudding
$5.50 for the Souffle Cheese
$8.50 for the Little Red Riding Hood
$7.50 for the Mona [Nip-Tucked]
$8.00 for the Mona
$8.00 for the Antoinette
$8.00 for the Kinabaru
$6.50 for the Strawberry Tart
$8.50 for the Mont Blanc
$7.50 for the Cafe Dumo

* Prices subject to 10% service charge.

No.7 Ann Siang Hill.

Additional Comments
1. At the moment there's only seating room for six (more room on the way), so either come early or be prepared to take-away.
2. Opening Hours:
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday: 11am - 9:30pm
Thursday Closed at 7pm
Saturday Closed at 4pm
Closed on Mondays.

Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 500D.

No Signboard Seafood @ Robertson Quay

21 April 2010

The new No Signboard Seafood: The Kelong at Robertson Quay is barely four months old but it is already one of my favourite places for (up-market) seafood. As you can probably tell from the picture above (see those red paper lanterns?), this post is long overdue, but there's always a time for a delicious post right? :)

One of the things I like about this Robertson Quay branch of No Signboard is the ambience. While it isn't anywhere near the canal or river, it is still in a fairly peaceful vicinity with less crowds, if not, less boisterous crowds for that matter. There's also semi-private areas for families to dine in, though these can be somewhat warmer because of the lighting. Service here is tops as well, with the wait staff and manager being very accommodative with special requests and with any other help with the menu. We were definitely off to a good start.

Deep-Fried Chicken Wings

There were a few children at the table, so these were meant for them and their simple diets. I can only say that these were wonderfully delicious, just look at how they (the chicken wings, not the children) were fried to a crisp, golden-brown. Juicy, tender insides too, if I may add.

Deep Fried Honey Marinated Chicken Wings

You must be thinking, chicken wings again? But yes, because the previous dish was so good, we ordered another one, albeit with a slight difference this time round with a honey marinate. These turned out to be too sweet for my liking though, so I still preferred the original crispy deep-fried chicken wings.

Sauté Scallop with Peppered Black Bean Sauce

The scallops were fresh and thankfully, not overdone. The peppered black bean sauce was not too overwhelming and added a balanced overall flavour to the dish.

Claypot Beancurd

This is a typical dish, again for the children (yawn...). Nothing overly impressive, but at least I like the way that the beancurd was prepared - slightly hard coating but so soft, silky and smooth on the inside.

Steamed Seasonal Fish

Fish fans would love this for sure. A whole large and fresh slab of (deboned) steamed fish that's adequately firm and tender. Simple, but delicious indeed.

Chilli Crab

Ahh, at every seafood dinner, this has to be what everyone waits eagerly for. The chilli crab from No Signboard certainly did not disappoint, and I dare say it's even better than the one I had from Jumbo Seafood last year. People who like their chilli crabs spicy with a thick gravy base would definitely love this. While not in the premium league as the Australian snow crab or Alaskan king crab, this Sri Lankan crab still impresses in size and has a lot of fresh meat to it. Full marks.

Other Dishes

We also ordered a couple of other dishes which I did not take pictures of. The Mushrooms with Vegetable was a simple and decent dish, while the Crispy Cereal Prawns were quite well-done - but as always, I find myself enjoying the cereals more than the prawns! Meanwhile, the White Pepper Crab was actually even better than the chilli crabs in terms of taste, but it's a pity that there wasn't much gravy to soak in the addictive spiciness of it all.


$10.00 for the deep-fried chicken wings
$12.00 for the deep-fried honey marinated chicken wings
$20.00 for the sauté scallop with peppered black bean sauce
$10.00 for the claypot beancurd
$40.00 for the steamed (seasonal) fish
$52.00 for the chilli crab
$52.00 for the white pepper crab
$20.00 for the crispy cereal prawns
$18.00 for the mushrooms with vegetables
$3.00 for a dozen of mini mantou buns
$1.00 for each serving of steamed rice

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

11 Unity Street, #01-18/29 Robertson Walk.

Additional Comment
Game for dessert? Laurent Bernard is a MUST-TRY! :)

Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 500D.

JTown Cafe

20 April 2010

I first learnt about JTown Cafe from, who followed me on Twitter and told me about this new, humble little Indonesian eatery near 313 @ Somerset. To be precise, it's located at the basement of Midpoint Orchard, which actually is opposite 313 @ Somerset and where people would be more familiar with it as Orchard Emerald.

Black Pepper Chicken with Rice

Me and the best friend arrived here right at noon, and we were pleased to see that JTown had just opened for the day. I tried their lunch special (which changes everyday) and found it decent and simple enough. The black pepper sauce was quite addictive actually, with a good mix of sweet and spicy. I added on the side of a meatball soup for only a dollar, but alas I wished it was a bit more flavourful and not just doused in pepper.

Bakmie Ayam Bakso

A traditional Indonesian chicken noodle dish, the Bakmie Ayam Bakso was just about alright without drawing any animated reaction from the best friend, be it for better or for worse. She did like the texture of the noodles, inasmuch as it may appear to be like any other instant noodle.

Martabak: Peanut & Chocolate

I had little idea that the Indonesians have their own version of the Chinese "min jiang kueh", up till now that is, but having seen the favourable responses on JTown's Facebook (by fellow Indonesians too!) I thought I should give it a try. In comparison to the "min jiang kueh", the martabak here is slightly thicker with a crispier outer crust. And since you can't go wrong with the holy pairing of peanuts and chocolate, this turned out to be a pleasant sweet treat indeed.

Very good, warm and friendly.

$4.50 for the black pepper chicken with rice
+$1.00 for a bowl of beefball soup
$4.80 for the bakmie ayam bakso (comes with beefball soup)
$2.90 for the chocolate & peanut martabak
$1.20 for a cup of homemade green tea

* Say "CheapNGoodFood" and get 10% off!

#B1-04/05 Midpoint Orchard
Opposite 313 @ Somerset.

Additional Comments
Opening Hours: Daily 12 – 9pm

Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 500D.

Cugini Trattoria Pizzeria

19 April 2010

Cugini Trattoria at Club Street is an authentic-looking Italian trattoria that I've been meaning to go for quite some time now, and I hear that some of its pastas are close to the real deal that you can get at Italy. Speaking of which, I'm filled with so much worry now over my upcoming Italy trip (volcano volcano argh!) and I'm already forced to look into alternatives if this thing doesn't blow over and away. Keeping my fingers crossed!

Back to Cugini. Contrary to the bad reviews on the Hungrygowhere forum about its poor service standards, I have to insist that service here was very good actually, as the Filipino waitresses were very polite and friendly. Of course, I have to admit that it was terribly quiet over the lunch hour, with only me and another couple there for them to attend to. Without even looking at the menu, I went on to place my order.

Frutti di Mare

The Seafood Pasta can actually be called a Cugini Signature, if not, it is still an "open secret" (it's not on the menu!) that has already been nicely reviewed by Elaine and Leslie. This is excellent homemade pasta mind you, prepared perfectly al dente and marvellously firm to the bite. I also loved the thick and rich tomato sauce that just made me go forkful after forkful of oh-so-delicious pasta.

Alas, the amount of ingredients were severely little, just two small prawns and a couple of fish slices. This has shrunk from Leslie's time (with mussels and squids) to Elaine's visit (no mussels, but there's squids). Still, if there's any consolation at all, I've read several overseas food blogs on Italy and it seems that the Italians are so awesomely proud of their homemade pasta that there's relatively less emphasis on the extra ingredients. Kinda explains why they would just throw in some ham slices rather than adorn it with loads of seafood.

All-in-all, fantastic pasta, especially if you like it al dente.

Very good, helpful and friendly.


87 Club Street,
Near Ann Siang Hill and just a few steps away from my favourite K Ki!

Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 500D.

2009 ·*the simplest aphrodisiac by TNB | Official Singapore Food Blog.