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

Serenity Spanish Bar & Restaurant

30 March 2010

Birthday dinner with the dinner buddy Glenn was a simple but satisfying affair at Vivocity's Serenity Spanish Bar & Restaurant. To be honest, we meant to head to Don Quijote at Lorong Kilat for its much raved about paella, but we eventually decided against it because of the pouring rain. Not to be deterred on my paella craving, I did a quick online search for something similar and it brought up Serenity with fairly encouraging reviews. The rest, of course, is history.

The interior of the restaurant has a light blue theme that resembles the typical seaside, with peach-white chairs and sofas to add a soft tone to the surroundings. Serenity doubles as both a bar and a restaurant, with live music on most evenings (Monday to Saturday) to accompany your dinner. If you're thinking what I'm thinking, it could be a good way to surprise your date with a song dedication or two ;)

Crema de Mariscos
seafood cream soup with mussel, prawn, dory and squid rings

While full of ingredients with a hearty feel to it, I did find the soup a bit too "starchy" for my liking. Would have been better if it was smoother.

Paella con Mariscos
seafood paella: tiger prawns, squids, mussels, scallops and saffron rice

This was what we were here for and I can say that while it was not exceedingly impressive, it did manage to satisfy that paella craving. Aesthetically, it does look pretty and pleasing.

The serving for two was huge, even for two growing boys, and it was a good thing we were not that trigger-happy to order platters of appetisers, as much as we had the urge to. The best thing about the paella was the rice, because it was nicely moist and sticky without slipping into the wrong ends of being overly wet or dry. The slightly charred parts on the side were especially good because it actually gave a wok hei flavour to this dish.

The ingedients were plentiful enough, with abundant squids in the rice and with four tiger prawns, mussels and scallops to share. I have to point out however that these seafood ingredients either need to be fresher or less overdone, because most were too chewy (rubbery, even) that it turned out to be quite a jaw exercise after a while. Maybe some softer crabmeat would be good.

Very good.

$8.00 for the Crema de Mariscos
$45.00 for the Paella con Mariscos

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

Vivocity, #01-98/99.

Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 500D.

Tampopo Deli

29 March 2010

Here's saying a big thank you once again to a very sweet person who gave me such a thoughtful and lovely surprise birthday gift. I've always wanted to try Tampopo Deli's prized Cream Puffs, and word has it that if you've tried Tampopo's you would never look at Beard Papa's puffs with the same admiration anymore, nor would you buy it as often. Before, I've only been able to stare longingly at Tampopo's cream puffs paraded and raved so extensively on some of the food blogs, and so it is thanks to this sweet friend who braved the heat and long walk for this craving to finally be satiated.

And it's not hard at all to see why these cream puffs are so prized. The pastry is crisp but not as hard as Beard Papa's, and has some lightness under the crust. The winner has to be the awesome vailla custard cream, where you can spot vanilla beans aplenty and can just fall in love smelling the vanilla. The cream is very, very smooth and gushes out with each bite - heaven. Cool it further in the fridge, and even if the custard wouldn't "flow" as much now (like the picture above), it will be delightfully cold like soft-serve ice-cream! Now I know why these puffs are snapped up the minute they are baked every hour. Lucky me, I got not one, not two, not three, but six of these special cream puffs :)

Like a glowing halo amidst the darkness and rain.

Ice-Cream Kingdom II

27 March 2010

Ice-Cream Kingdom at Holland Grove Road is helmed by its CICO (Chief Ice-Cream Officer) Stella, who is very much an ice-cream lover and enthusiast herself. This humble ice-cream parlour is relatively new to the scene, having been around for only about eight months or so in this quiet western corner of Singapore. Nevertheless, following my numerous visits here since January, I'm confident that the homemade feel and taste of the ice-creams have made quite a strong case for this Kingdom to reign supreme over its counterparts, at least on this side of the island. That's quite something especially when there's so many ice-cream places here in the west.

Come to think of it, I actually have personal favourites from all four corners of Singapore - Icekimo (north), Tom's Palette (south), BLIC (east) and Ice-Cream Kingdom (west). While Tom and ICK are known for their good ice-cream textures (something which I've slowly become more cognizant of), Icekimo and BLIC on the other hand have been recognised for their interesting variety of flavours and consistency in ice-cream quality.

Honey Wheat Crunch & Cookie Monster

Ice-Cream Kingdom currently has a one-for-one Facebook deal on scoops that will be ending at the end of the month (eeks! just five more days to go!) so do go on Facebook, be a fan on the Ice-Cream Kingdom page and troop down to Holland Grove as soon as possible! They've also added on other complementaries like waffles so it would be nice to pair your ice-creams with these.

Vanilla Bean & Nespresso

Ice Cream Kingdom admittedly doesn't have the widest of varieties, but it certainly scores on some of its signatures. As I've mentioned before, the Honey Wheat Crunch flavour has a really sweet and refreshing taste to it, and I was told that the sweetness of this ice-cream comes from the honey and not any other artificial sweetener. The Sticky Chewy Chocolate here is "stickier" and a tad darker than the one from Swensen's, while the smooth and familiar Nutella Nutella has gotten itself an ardent following.

I also particularly like the Nespresso ice-cream because of its strong hint of coffee, though Stella has been encouraging me to give the Earl Grey Tea flavour a try soon since it's one of the ice-creams that she spends a lot of time and effort on. I'll leave the rest for you guys to explore, but do give this simple parlour some support. Once again, the deal is just in joining ICK's Facebook page and then identifying yourself on the in-house laptop for your one-for-one scoop. Easy peasy and easy does it.

Cheers and enjoy the weekend! :)

$3.00 for a single scoop
$5.20 for double sccops

40 Holland Grove Road.

Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 500D.


26 March 2010

I have to say I'm really a big fan of Reiz from Sittingwishingeating because she's one of the remaining few bloggers who has kept to exploring (and discovering) hidden gems from around the island and then going on to share it with all of us. After K Ki and Vanilla Cafe, she did it once again with Kichn here, a simple and minimalist eatery tucked so comfortably and out of nowhere in Albert Court. Kichn is a really good find and I really, really like it, and it was the perfect place for my delightful birthday lunch.

Simple, neat and down-to-earth decor, all in al-fresco style with just a few fans around to keep the area ventilated. Judging from the way the food is served in disposable lunchboxes (and with limited seats available as well), I would think that Kichn actually encourages take-aways more than seat-ins.

Speaking of food, Kichn works on a flexible menu basis where you get to choose the "base" (type of noodle), the mains and the accompanying sauce, letting you "cook up a storm" as it were and allowing you to satisfy your inner cravings. Ice-blended drinks similarly follow a mix-and-match scheme where you get to choose from fifteen different flavours and have the option of doing a single, double or triple blend. Drinks are $1.90 cheaper if you get a main dish, so why not, you deserve that sugar rush anyway!

Deep-Fried Calamari

The food at Kichn, I must state very clearly here, is nothing extraordinary. That said, it is comfort food to the max and one of the best around surely. All deep fried to chow on, and all sugary sweet to slurp on, what's there not to like? The Deep-Fried Calamari here for instance was cooked to a crisp, light brown and had the much welcomed addition of salts and herbs to make it a bit more flavourful. An appetising start.

Chicken Cutlet Spaghetti with Chilli Crab Sauce

Interestingly, I ordered exactly the same main dishes as Reiz had in her blog, in part because the best friend's beef patty was not ready as yet and she had to settle for the portobello mushroom (see below). I meanwhile already had my eyes set on this enticing and drool-worthy combination of Chicken Cutlet and Chilli Crab gravy, and it turned out (much to my joy) to be a huge-ass chunk of oily cutlet alongside thick and aromatic gravy.

Comfort food at its best.

Portobello Mushroom Spaghetti with Cream Sauce

While the best friend thought this was alright, I still don't think it was half as decadent and as satisfying as mine. How can you compare crispy and juicy chicken cutlet with plain, boring-looking portobello mushroom? The answer is, you can't, but at least now you know what's more worth indulging in.

Milo-Coffee Blend & Lychee, Oreo and Milo Blend

I love the sugar high that these drinks get me on. I tried Kichn's suggested "wow" triple blend of Lychee, Oreo and Milo (right of picture above) and it was sooooo good. Imagine the typical Oreo and chocolate blend, but this time with the refreshing, fruity addition of lychee. This is really something that you would grow to like more and more with each sip.

Very good. Place your orders at the counter, and the food and drinks will be delivered to you shortly thereafter.

$7.90 for the deep-fried calamari
$6.90 for the chicken cutlet spaghetti with chilli crab sauce
$8.90 for the portobello mushroom spaghetti with cream sauce
$5.00 additional for a triple blend
$4.00 additional for a double blend

For a list of the items on the menu, click here.

180 Albert Street
#01-05, Albert Court

Additional Comment: Opening Hours
Mon–Thu: 9am – 9pm
Fri–Sat: 9am – 11pm
(Closed on Sun)

Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 500D.

Happy Birthday to Me!

25 March 2010

Happy Birthday to ME! Yes, it's that wonderful day of the year again, and this time I'm turning twenty five years old on the twenty fifth. Quarter of a century, how awesome! While I'm at it, Happy Birthday to Mummy (24th March) and lil' sister Serena (26th March)! A trio of Aries babies in the family :)

I'm so looking forward to the mini celebrations lined up for the week ahead. All I can say is, I'm really grateful for having my wonderful family and friends. Thank you for all the love people! :)

Food For Thought @ Queen Street

24 March 2010

Food For Thought has found a new home at 8 Queen Street, which is just beside the Singapore Arts Museum. For those of you who may be familiar, this is the second branch of the original Food For Thought cafe at North Bridge Centre, which has especially been known for its delicious desserts, good service and cosy atmosphere.

It's not difficult to spot the new Food For Thought, though it may be hidden from the main Bras Basah Road. Just walk a couple of minutes behind the NTUC Trade Union House and you'll see this unique stand-alone building soon enough.

And if you need confirmation, this is it: 8 Queen Street.

The interior of the new Food For Thought is certainly brighter with a more refreshing look, and even with the dreary weather outside (pouring rain!) it did feel very cosy and comfortable inside. My little sanctuary for a Friday afternoon lunch alone.

If you can spot in the background, there's also a rack of interesting knick-knacks by independent artistes that you may find interesting or if you're on the lookout for a meaningful gift. Reminds me of The Little Dröm Store at K Ki. Profits from these items, by the way, go to the School of Thought & Love East Timor Orphan's Scholarship Fund. Wow.

Food For Thought isn't just a clever name for a cafe, but it is also reflective of the theme and cause behind this place. Spend some time to read the placemats and you would realise that they're collecting donations for Living Water International and the United Nations World Food Programme. I readily donated $2 to the latter in exchange for my free flow of iced water; it's all for a cause. My favourite phrase has to be this surely: 'Cause apathy is so last millenium.

Breakfast for Lunch

Since I was really here for the dessert, I decided to have something lighter for lunch. I mixed-and-matched a few sides on their brunch menu and voila, this is what I got. The Scrambled Eggs with Cream were so so good, and is one of the few that comes really rich with milk and cream. The portion is unexpectedly large too, and I'm guessing it's from two pretty large eggs haha! This dethroned my favourite scrambled eggs from Spruce.

The Chunky Chicken Sausages are especially good for those who like things fried (me! me!) and crispy. It's still juicy on the inside, though of course not as juicy if you were to have a single sausage. Hints of spices too, which is nice.

The Hashbrowns meanwhile came in cute little balls that were crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. Nothing extraordinary, but just fun to chew on. And oh, if you're curious, all breakfast items are available till 5.30pm.

Butterscotch Apple and Berries Crumble

The much anticipated star of the afternoon impressed, wowed, dazzled... you get the picture. If the Butterscotch Peach Crumble at its older branch was good, this is even better. Sweet apple slices and berries all over with a simple scoop of vanilla ice-cream to send you to sugar-overdose-heaven, not to mention that ooh-aah-mmm moments when you meet hot and cold. This all seems like very juvenile writing but it's only because I'm finding it very hard to describe my experience. My aphrodisiac for the weekend indeed. Yums.


And now, I'm hungry for more.

Excellent, warm and friendly wait staff. All for no service charge.

$4.00 for the scrambled eggs
$4.00 for the crispy chicken sausage
$3.00 for the hashbrowns
$9.00 for the butterscotch apple and berries crumble

* Prices subject to 7% GST.

Food for Thought @ 8 Queen Street.
Next to the Singapore Arts Museum, behind the NTUC Trade Union House.

Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 500D.

No More Invites, Please

23 March 2010

Almost as quickly as this blog had started accepting invitations to food tasting sessions, has it now decided to step away from all these invited sessions for good. In some ways you could say that I feel more relieved now, because I have always been hesitant about doing these invites especially after all that I have been observing in the local food blogging scene. For sure, it has been very flattering at the start to have been invited for these tastings as I thought it was a clear recognition of my blogging efforts, and it was also from these sessions that I found personal favourites in BLIC and Grand Hyatt's Oasis.

Unlike many other bloggers though, I dare say I was not easily buoyed by such flattery, and neither was I that desperate for free food. In fact, many other things came to my mind and it was only a matter of time before I was very sure this was not the direction that this blog should take. Amongst the myriad of considerations, three factors in particular played significant roles in influencing my decision.

Firstly, the notion of integrity in this blog is immensely important to me. While I know that I could defend some of these tastings as innocuous introductions to my readers, nevertheless I am aware that it would not be as easy if I were to start being very critical about some of the things I eat. As some have remarked before, it would be a great disservice to my readers if I cannot bring myself to be completely honest about my experience and if I'm obliged instead to be lenient.

I do know of some bloggers who are conceited enough (perhaps as a result of their "popularity" that they gather prematurely from the number of comments and blog hits that they get) to think that they can attend these tasting sessions and choose not to blog about it if they so choose to do so. Personally, I can't bring myself to do that because it shows disrespect to any chef who had tried to make an effort, and moreover I never believed in having a free lunch. Also, such bloggers are deluded to think that they are gourmets of the highest order (just by having a food blog for heaven's sake!), which is further exacerbated by those who continually dine in the most pretentious of places possible and then scorn everything else.

Which brings me to my second point on pride and fame. You can say that I have been increasingly disillusioned, if not disgusted as well, by some of the food bloggers who continually appear to be competing with one another for food tastings, whether it is by dishing out their namecards like sales pamphlets or by offering to do these tastings openly on their blogs. Even some girls on the night streets are more discreet. I have also heard stories of bloggers calling up the management like spoilt and pampered brats if they have been asked to abide by the restaurant's policy of "no photography", and all I can say is, I don't want to be like these people. This is just a food blog to share with you my own food experiences, and not as a platform for me to earn fame and start acting like a pathetic prima donna. I know I am better than this.

Finally, what has been very important to me is you readers. Since the start of 2010, the readership of this blog has somehow more than doubled and continues to increase by the day (bless you people!), and while I am honestly flattered, it also means that I now feel even more accountable for what I write. Inasmuch as this may be a personal blog and tastes are after all subjective, I do want to try my best to be as honest and as accurate as possible in my entries. This I believe can be helped by paying for my own food (so I can truly assess if it is indeed worth the money) as well as not having to be restrained by any obligations, moral or whatsoever.

I do wish to assert that nothing in this post should be taken as a personal attack on anybody, or neither does it mean that I am looking to severe ties with any of my fellow bloggers who are still very much intent on going for these food tastings. This decision to stop participating in such sessions is mine and mine alone, and has been determined by own principles. I am sure different bloggers must have had their own agendas when they started their food blogs, and thus I do not wish to impose my own values on others.

Essentially, this blog is for me to share my love for food and the joy of eating. It has never been for fame, fortune or free food, and I am very glad that I've finally decided to make a strong stand for what I believe in. Of course, I still do welcome any information from restaurants and eateries about their in-house offers, promotions and specialties, just like everyone else. I don't see why I should be treated any differently just because I have a DSLR camera and a blog.

And so, this is the direction that this blog will take. I can't say this is a "new" direction, because it's just keeping to what this blog believes in and what it has always set out to do: to share the love.

Cheers :)

Invited Session: Oasis @ Grand Hyatt

22 March 2010

This is the very last invited session that you will be reading on this blog. Thereafter, this blog will no longer be taking any more food tasting invites, for reasons that would be explained in further detail very soon. Interestingly though, I'd never meant to go on a tasting session at Oasis. It actually began with an e-mail reservation for an ala carte dinner for two, but it turned out that the Hyatt staff got wind of me and Glenn's Hyatt series posts and we were subsequently invited for Oasis' weekend grill buffet.

Poolside dining here at Grand Hyatt Singapore's Oasis Restaurant, with all the peace and quiet that you can ever ask for. Watch as this place gently descend into the night amidst the backdrop of jazz music, the soft lapping of waves, and the clinking of wine glasses.

And if you're the sort who worries about the rain spoiling your meal, rest assured, there's shelter as well as indoor seating available. Overall, Oasis is another testament to Hyatt's unpretentious dining environment, with only good food and good service to be found here. You can say I was quite impressed already.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, let us begin with dinner :)

Complimentary Garlic Bread, Cold & Hot Appetisers and Sides

There's such a range of appetisers here that I have no idea where to begin. The Toasted Garlic Bread was really good - light, crisp and flavoured as I like it to be, and it went pretty well with the Grilled Skirt Steak with Beansprouts. Glenn particularly adored the Smoked Ocean Trout which was very fresh and delicious indeed, but I stuck to my simple but satisfying Baked Potato with Turkey Bacon Bits.

There's Vegetable Fried Rice and Fried Kway Teow here as well, but seriously, who would want to load up on the carbs when you got grilled seafood and meats in waiting? And yes, there's Fresh Greens too for those who like to pretend that they're on diet.

Grilled Seafood Platter

Oh my, this is like a platter from the heavens, just like the meat platter coming up next. I honestly wanted to pay for this meal because I just want to rave, rave, and rave about it, but to insist on the bill at the end might have seemed rude, especially when it was so nicely arranged by Ms Rina, the marketing manager for Grand Hyatt Singapore.

The Grilled Squids and Prawns were really large and juicy, but the highlight definitely has to be the amazing Grilled Salmon Skewer which was done to perfection - fresh, sweet and oh so tenderly moist. The Grilled Seabass was good stuff too, chunks of delicious white meat that you just want to have more and more.

Grilled Meat Platter

There were undeniably some hits and misses on the meat platter. The Grilled Steak and Grilled Chicken were quite ordinary and in fact were really quite dry on some parts. The Lamb Chops and Chicken Sausage were alright, but the real and main highlights really were the Beef Sausages and most especially the Marinated Beef Ribs. If I'm back here again for dinner, I would just eat the salmon skewers and beef ribs the whole night long I tell you.

The beef ribs were so tender that I constantly amused myself tearing at the meat with the slightest of touches with my fork, while the beef sausages had herbs in them that made each bite bursting with flavours. You can't really see the sausages in the pictures because they're hidden under the thick slabs of meat, but they're definitely worth that precious tummy space.


Speaking of tummy space, there's quite a fair bit of desserts on offer too. The Caramel Custard Pudding and Marble Chocolate Cake though were too simple and should not be allowed to take up even a millimetre of space in you. Try instead either the Blueberry Crumble Tart or the Baked Apple Tart, both of which fared way better on taste, texture and sweetness. Last but definitely not least, treat yourself to some Vanilla Bean Ice-Cream, or better still, my personal favourite Raspberry Sherbet that was so wonderfully light and refreshing.

I don't normally rave in such a manner for an invited tasting session, and you can imagine my dilemma when I was holding on to my wallet eager to take out my card to swipe for this well-deserved $80 meal ($68++). Nevertheless, it was a very satisfying meal indeed, so satisfying in fact that me and Glenn had trouble walking comfortably to Wheelock's Borders nearby because we were just so full. For this one and only exception, I'm going to add Oasis to the hall of fame in my precious A List.

Sincere thanks must definitely go to Ms Rina and Grand Hyatt Singapore once again for the generous invite to Oasis. I'm actually turning down the follow-up invite to Straits Kitchen (no offence Ms Rina!), and this is only because I would like to pay for my own meal as any respectable food blogger would. I know I will enjoy Straits Kitchen's buffet dinner for sure, so it makes it all the more necessary that I pick up the tab and present to you a fresh, non-invited post. If you are keen to know the reasons behind this new direction, stay tuned for that, it's coming up next :)

$68++ for the weekend dinner buffet, inclusive of beer, wines and margaritas.

Grand Hyatt Singapore, Level 5.

Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 500D.

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