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Thomaschan
This is Thomaschan living in West Coast. I am a StudentI like to hang out in Orchard, Yishun, Clementi. Japanese, Singaporean, Cantonese/Hong Kong are my favorite cuisines. I also love Restaurant, Café and Dim Sum, Steaks and Grills, Sushi/Sashimi.
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Thomaschan  Level 3
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Decent Tze Char OK May 25, 2013   
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Categories : Singaporean | Chinese | Coffeeshop | Zi Char

Immersed with tranquility in the early hours, Sunset Way becomes an area like no other place in Singapore. In some ways, you might find similarities in the bustling night areas such as Holland Village or Dempsey Hill, however the uniqueness of Sunset Way lies in its al-fresco dining within the residential area of Clementi. Just imagine the privilege of finer dining just below your flat. Convenient eh?

 
Tze Char restaurant, Tian Jia Fu is among one of the few tenants which was opened for business on the third day of Lunar New Year, so we decided to walk in to see what they have in-store for us. Hotplate Beancurd (S$12.00) was a delight for sure. Filled with big chunks of beancurd, crunchy vegetables and fresh shrimps, but somehow I thought that the omelette was pathetic, in terms of quantity.

 
Crabs cooked with savoury salted yolk sauce, yes, but to be honest, it was my virgin experience with eating Salted Egg Prawns (S$27.00). Quantity for the pricey tag was a minus as well, but I liked how they infused the salted yolk flavour into the juicy prawn meat.

 
If you prefer Indian curry over the Chinese's version, you would probably love their Curry Fish Head (S$20.00), which has a higher curry powder to coconut milk ratio than normal. Tantalizing enough.

 
Their signature Golden Dragon Chicken (S$28.00 for whole) was over-rated. One, the price was too hefty for what was served. Two, we felt cheated when we saw that the chicken was in thin slices (like how roasted suckling pig is served). Three, there is nothing to rave about this dish, except the incorporation of shrimp meat in it, or so it tasted.

The total bill was S$138.60 for 6 persons. Affordable? Might be, but definitely a no-no for value. Looking at the vast dining area with lots of tables, it would've attracted more of the dinner crowd. Perhaps the chef wasn't in a good mood previously. But looking at the current state, it would be a long climb before we visit it again.

 
 
Spending per head: Approximately $25(Lunch)

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Good Mains, Average Brunch OK May 25, 2013   
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Categories : Café | Desserts and Cakes | Pasta | Burgers and Sandwiches | Kids-Friendly

Amidst the lush greeneries of Botanic Gardens lies Food for Thought (FFT), a brunch-dinner place big enough to sit at least two-hundred hungry diners. As most of you all might know, the FFT outlet at North-Bridge has closed down and currently, the other outlet is at Queen Street's 8QSAM. Different from the latter, Botanic Garden's is mostly self-serviced - you order directly from the cashier and the service staff delivers to you. Oh, and you get the water yourself from the water-station as well. The result is the waiver of 10% service charge, or as they put it nicely - it is their pleasure to serve you.

 
Helmed by Singapore born and bred executive chef David Heng, hecontinually aspires to serve every individual guest with sincerity, and share his appreciation for the blessing of good food for a good cause. I like it how FFT has meaningful missions such as making poverty history, giving clean water and inspiring kind acts. No matter to what extent, knowing and most importantly, practicing what you preached by giving back to the society, especially the lesser privileged is what makes me impressed.

 
Having your favourite dose of caffeine, be it a frothy Cuppucinno (S$4.50) served with lemon biscuit or a calming tea of Chamomile (S$3.50) would be lovely before the mains, although to be honest, the drinks didn't pack much of an oomph.

 
Classic Works, which comes in different sets - Basic (S$8), House (S$14) and Full (S$20) is one of their more popular dish. Moreover, it comes with customizable individual sides, such as everyone's favourite smoked bacon and scrambled eggs, hash brown, chicken sausage and ciabatta. The basic set plus garlic mushrooms (S$12.50) was fairly satisfying, but nothing to rave about. But what could you expect for the price? For one, the scrambled eggs were done up nicely with the consistency like MacDonald's, while the smoked bacon was a tad too greasy.

 
If you prefer something lighter, why not have the delightful Smoked Salmon & Broccoli Plate (S$18) - a salad of of generous amount of flaked hot smoked salmon, roasted beetroot, chargrilled broccoli and aioli? One of the best salad dish I had so far I would say. Love the salmon by the way.

 
Other food items include pancakes, burgers, pasta and fillets, as well as desserts, featuring their signature Semifreddo Parfaits and cakes. All in all, FFT makes an ideal place for a short escape from the bustling urban lifestyle, have a lazy weekend brunch and perhaps a nice stroll in the beautiful gardens.
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Salad
 
Spending per head: Approximately $20(Breakfast)

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 3  |  
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 4  |  
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 3  |  
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 3  |  
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Laid-back with Casual Viet Dishes OK May 03, 2013   
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Categories : Vietnamese

To be honest, Vietnamese cuisine is not really what attracts me the most. In fact, when someone mentioned international food, the more "mainstream" ones usually comes into mind, such as Japanese, Korean and Thai, but never Vietnamese cuisine. I, myself is guilty of that. Hence, when Openrice invited me to another food tasting and summer-roll making session at Pho Stop (pronounced "fhur"), I had an initial feeling that I would not enjoy as much.

 
This dainty, casual Vietnamese eatery located at Tanjong Pagar Road near Maxwell Market officially opened doors slightly less than a year ago, offering a variety of fusion cuisine and pho, a Vietnamese speciality made of noodles with rice paired with herbs and meat in broth, as their specialty. The ambience was warm and welcoming as well, completed with rustic wood panels, chalkboard-menus, huge paper lanterns, and Vietnamese artwork lining the walls.

Bryan Wong, the owner of Pho Stop, as well as Va Va Voom cafe is knowledgeable about the cuisine he is up against. With excitement and much enthusiasm, this cheerful host gladly shared his experience on not only the food, and even gave us a brief history lesson on Vietnam itself, keeping the food tasters deeply intrigued while enjoying the summer-roll making and makan session.

Vietnamese cuisine focuses much on balancing the four taste - sweet, sour, fragrance and spice in their dishes, and my favorite dish - Grilled Pork Cutlet Noodles (out in menu soon) demonstrated it well, with a combination of crunchy greens and carrots, lean pork and noodles. However, the dish is incomplete without the sauce, which is made of fish sauce, garlic and chilli. You would be amazed how well it complements the overall taste. The only downside to me is the beansprouts, which brings a displeasing "raw" taste to my mouth. Personal preference though!

 
Although nothing to rave about, the starters - Vietnamese fish cakes and spring rolls, are generally pleasing to the palate. Great for sharing. Just have in mind that Vietnamese cuisine is highly dependent on their dipping sauces. But again, that is what makes Vietnamese cuisine unique in its own right.

 
Mini glass bottles containing homemade ice cream is a must-have after the meal. With several assorted flavours such as Vietnamese coffee, Chai tea and coconut, one would be spoilt for choice. For a coffee-maniac like myself, it is a nice blend of smooth ice cream filled with the aroma of true blue Vietnamese coffee beans.

 
According to Bryan and further research, there is NO Starbucks in Vietnam. Surprising eh? Instead, French drip coffee (like below) that uses local brand can be found almost everywhere cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. Bryan added, that tea is almost free-of-charge (kiasu alert), as tea is massively produced locally. In a laid-back country like Vietnam, why not grab a cuppa of your favourite brew, lay back for a bit and watch the world passes by.

Just a friendly warning to non-sweet-tooth, they give condensed milk real generous as well.

 
All in all, Pho Stop makes a good option if you're finding decent Vietnamese cuisine, yet satisfying, and at the same time, get a bang for your buck. So why not stop by someday, be it in-between lunch hours or during the lazy weekends, drop by, enjoy the laid-back atmosphere and drown your worries away with some beer, just kidding - pho. Pho is good.
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Grilled Pork Cutlet Noodles,Fish cakes
 
Other Ratings:
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 3  |  
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 4  |  
Service
 5  |  
Clean
 4  |  
Price
 3

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Nam on OK May 03, 2013   
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Categories : Vietnamese

Opened by well-known Les Amis Group of restaurants, Nam Nam Noodle Bar (probably derived from Vietnam) features iconic, tantalising Vietnamese favourites, including signature Banh Mi (baguette sandwiches) and delicious rice flour pho, paired with traditional beef/chicken broth or more sophisticated options, such as Flower Crab Noodle Soup or Dry Yellow Curry Duck Noodles.

Similar to Pho Stop's concept of bringing authentic Vietnamese cuisine to our doorsteps, it is not difficult to see why Nam Nam attracts snaking long queues, especially when their weekday lunch set meals (includes fresh southern rolls, a bowl of pho chicken/beef and a cuppa classic Vietnamese iced coffee or lotus tea - S$9.90) is up. Singaporeans, like me would be glad to know that is absolutely no service charge and that GST is already included in prices listed.

Quang Style Egg Noodle (S$10.90) is an interesting combination of pork rib, prawn, fish cake and rice crackers. It has an acquired taste of Chinese mee-pok (yellow flat noodle) mixed with herby leaves among other greens. The crackers look interesting with lots of sesame seeds, but tasted too bland for my liking. On the other hand, Dry Stewed Beef Noodles (S$8.90) resembles Cantonese Beef Hor Fun with savoury beef chunks.

 

 
Toasted baguettes stuffed with assorted ingredients, are recommended if you prefer a ligher meal or snack. We had the Fish cake and Tofu version (S$5.90), and it tastes surprisingly refreshing. Definitely for the health-conscious as well. Oh, and did I mention that they do not add MSG in their food?

 
Not particularly "wow-inducing", however if you adore Vietnamese cuisine, drop by Nam Nam Noodle Bar and enjoy a delicious bowl of pho.
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Quang Style Egg Noodle
 
Spending per head: Approximately $15(Lunch)

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 3  |  
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 4  |  
Service
 3  |  
Clean
 3  |  
Price
 4

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Good Cakes, Bad Breakfast OK May 03, 2013   
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Categories : American | Café

Following the huge success of its first American casual dining outlet at Marina Bay Sands, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has recently opened another Beanstro amidst the bustling streets of Orchard. I used to drop by Cedele (which was later replaced by Beanstro) quite a bit for its aromatic coffee and lovely red velvet cakes, hence I was torn down in tears (exaggerating a far bit here) when news of Cedele will be replaced by this weird-sounding cafe reached me. But since what done has been done, I decided to visit Beanstro for a light brunch to see whether it lives up to Cedele's standards.

 
Egg Benedict is no stranger to breakfast/brunch lovers who swore by its runny egg yolks set upon a bed of bacon and English muffins, topped with a good deal of creamy hollandaise sauce. Beanstro's version (S$17.00) was disappointing. The hollandaise is extremely dry to start with - maybe it's their own version, but some things are not meant to be changed especially when it has served its good purpose all this while. Hollandaise sauce equals creamy, rich texture. Anything that falls short of that standart fails.

The salad was overpowering with balsamic vinegar, turning the lovely greens and cherry tomatoes into a pile of sour waste. Well, not every aspect of this Egg Benedict is bad, I liked how the runny egg yolks and melted cheese complement the slightly toasted bread. But again, this proves little to salvage the entire dish.

 

Carrot cake was quite the slice of goodness I was looking for as a pairing to their awesome Double Chocolate (S$6.50). It is much denser than Cedele's rendition, with the cream layer being sweeter (and frostier harder). As much as a sweet tooth I am, I still prefer Cedele's as it packed more carrot slices and nuts.

But trust me when I say that their Double Chocolate is awesome, it is thick, creamy, icy, chocolatey and what's not. Topped with a wallop of whipped cream, this IS the beverage for warm, sunny days. I guarantee that all of you (chocolate lovers out there) will drink till its last drop, plus chop if you want.

Will I be back? Yeah sure, probably. But I would rather try out their pastas, burgers or sandwiches the next time round. And cakes. Yeah, cakes too, with a good ol hazelnut latte probably.
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Carrot Cake and Double Choc
 
Spending per head: Approximately $20(Lunch)

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 3  |  
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 3  |  
Service
 4  |  
Clean
 4  |  
Price
 3

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