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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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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)

Other Ratings:
Taste
 3  |  
Environment
 4  |  
Service
 3  |  
Clean
 3  |  
Price
 3

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Categories : Japanese | Sushi/Sashimi

With highly accessible outlets throughout Singapore, I wouldn't be at the least surprised if Ichiban Sushi comes straight to your mind when someone mentions Japanese cuisine. At Ichiban Sushi, one might opt for a wide range of conveyor belt sushi and sashimi, a la carte, as well as various promotional platters, udon and rice sets.

It was quite some time I visited Ichiban, and I thought why not have a good dinner before my wisdom teeth surgery? And so I did. I am sure that those who had their's plucked out would understand the agony of not being to savour any kinds of food. Before the dishes and hot ocha had even arrived, the waiter(esse)s had already scored high, impressing us with their amiable and pleasant services.

 
We ordered the Ishiyaki Jyu Set (S$18.90) - a value set consisting a portion of oyako-don, pan-fried prawns and salmon, chawanmushi, miso soup, as well as a serving of fresh fruits. While the seafood was nothing to rave about (and a tad dry too), the Oyako-don (below) was spectacular. The chicken was tender and juicy, constantly tempting one to take the second bite. You know what's better? Pairing it with the roughly-mixed eggs, which complements the chicken so well, brings the Japanese classic up, yet to another level.

 
Sukiyaki Wafu Set (S$18.90) caught my attention the moment I looked at the menu. As a beef connoisseur, I do have a certain expectation of my steak. The Wafu steak was pre-cut to mouth-sized slices, enabling easier consumption and what's expected on your part is to control the doneness. Although the broth was slightly heavy on the salt, the succulent beef slices which I had it done medium-well, was nothing less than satisfying with a dip of egg yolk. It comes complete with a side dish of baked cheese and tuna, Japanese steamed rice, miso soup and fresh fruits.

What's better than having a good, hot sukiyaki in the winters? Oh God, I nearly forgot that Singapore is on summer-mode all year round.

 
All in all, Ichiban Sushi proves to be a great place for casual, yet quality Japanese comfort food in a friendly atmosphere.
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Ishiyaki Jyu Set,Chawanmushi,Sushi
 
Spending per head: Approximately $20(Dinner)

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Taste
 4  |  
Environment
 3  |  
Service
 4  |  
Clean
 3  |  
Price
 4

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Haven amidst luxury Smile May 25, 2013   
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Categories : Desserts and Cakes | Brunch

Nestled within the premises of downtown Orchard, TheBigIdea Group's Marmalade Pantry integrates well into Ion's concept with its beautiful open-dining atrium - an enticing haven for diners, filled with chic furnitures and luxury comfort food, such as their legendary cupcakes, weekend brunches and dinner mains such as favourites Truffle Field Mushroom Risotto and Oriental Grilled King Salmon (S$26).

 
The latter was an innovating fusion of Japanese and Western with a slab of good ol grilled salmon and cucumber-paired soba noodles. For non-soba eaters like myself (partially because of the heavy wheat taste), fret not, for the "wheaty" flavour was toned down heavily in this smooth and crunchy delight.

 
One year has passed since my previous birthday, and lo and behold, I am back once again at Marmalade and had ordered the same dish - coincidentally. Seemingly fated to Seared Scallop Linguini (S$24), this tantalising signature was my first choice for the two occasions. The pasta was cooked slightly less than al dente this time round, but the succulent seafood and robust flavour of the dried shrimps were definitely a thumbs-up.

Pork and Fennel Seed Sausage Lasagna (S$24) was another favourite of myself (and "Dad-in-law" who literally wolfed it down in minutes), with all the parmesan goodness which is complemented by a good load of minced pork and mushroom slices. It comes complete with refreshing garden salad.

 
Out of the four, Classic Snapper Pie ($26.00) did not hit the mark. Hidden beneath the crispy crust was quite a miserable amount of snapper, piled together with fennel and mash. The snapper flesh was too dry and flaky for my liking, which gave me another reason not to order this in the future.

 
All in all, Marmalade Pantry is an ideal place to have a weekend brunch/dinner, or perhaps a relaxing afternoon high tea after a day of strolling in the world-class shopping district.

*Marmalade Pantry is having a 1 to 1 promotion for all mains (Mon-Fri, up to 2 mains) for all NTUC cardholders till 30 June 2013*
^^Oh well. Another reason to visit.
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Seared Scallop Linguine,Lasagna,Cupcakes
 
Spending per head: Approximately $25(Dinner)

Other Ratings:
Taste
 4  |  
Environment
 4  |  
Service
 4  |  
Clean
 4  |  
Price
 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:
Taste
 3  |  
Environment
 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)

Other Ratings:
Taste
 3  |  
Environment
 4  |  
Service
 3  |  
Clean
 3  |  
Price
 4

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