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Categories : French | Singaporean Western | Fusion

Full review http://herpenandfork.blogspot.sg/2016/04/pardon-my-french-review-affordable.html 
Excusez moi. It may occupy a pretty small space at Icon Village, but don't overlook it. Opened by 2 At-Sunrice Global Academy graduates, Pardon My French serves up French cuisine without frills.

 

 
What differentiates this casual French bistro-cafe is that the 2 chefs make a lot of their things from scratch and inject their own interpretations to the dishes. Homecured duck confit; homemade shoestring fries, homemade baileys ice cream...you get the idea.

 
Full Menu - Food

 
Drinks Menu

Their lunch sets are priced at $8.90 (main + soft drink) and $12.90 (main + dessert). Dinner mains range from $12 for pastas to a just a little over $20 for others. They change up their lunch menu from time to time and these changes are updated on their Facebook page.

Mains

 
Poulet Roti with pasta ($12.90 lunch set with dessert)The roasted poulet roti of chicken thigh was flavourfully marinated and moist . Together with the al dente pasta tossed in caramelised onions sauce, this was on pointe.

 
Mushroom Pasta ($8.90 lunch set with soft drink)

The mushroom pasta was also tossed in the same caramelised onions base sauce. Similar to the poulet roti, just without the chicken and with juicy mushrooms.

Dessert

 
Homemade Baileys Ice Cream (eggless) with Ruby Poached Pear ($6)We had the Ruby Poached Pear, which came with homemade Baileys Ice Cream (eggless). The red poached texture of the pear was tender yet still supple, without being mushy. I am not much of a fan of red wine in food, but the red wine aftertaste of the poached pear was a likeable thick-velvety without being overpowering. The star though was the homemade Baileys Ice cream. It was the right balance of sweet and Baileys alcoholic flavour and creaminess. This made one of my favourite, if not my most favourite, versions of this ice cream.

The menu creations have been tweaked for local palates, so it may not be for those who are looking for authenticity, but it certainly might be better for your waistline (less salty homecured duck confit anyone?) and definitely suitable those who aren't fans of the creaminess and richness of French flavours. Go during lunch time, when the sets are even more value for money. It's good for small groups/dates, especially given the quiet ambience since it is as yet a secret.

Now the secret's out. Oh no. Bon appetit.

 
Other Ratings:
Taste
 4  |  
Environment
 4  |  
Service
 4  |  
Clean
 4  |  
Price
 5

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Categories : Thai | Mookata

Review on http://herpenandfork.blogspot.sg/2016/04/chokchai-mookata-review-thai-mookata-in.html 

Unlike the many Thai Mookata eateries that have sprung up as standalone eateries in the recent years, Chokchai Mookata has chosen its location within a heartland coffeeshop. Thai Mookata is traditional Thai Steamboat BBQ. Opened by local owner Len and his friend, the stall is located within a coffeeshop that is a 10-15 minutes walk from Ang Mo Kio train station.

 
The distinctive point of the mookata here lies in their homemade clear soup base made from radish. It has a light sweetness and is good on its own, yet also makes a good canvas for the seafood/meat to enrich.Chokchai offers sets of $28++ (2-3 pax)/$45 (for 5-6 pax). Each set comes with an assortment of meat such as black pepper chicken and soy garlic lean meat, scallop, prawns and vegetables. We had the set for 6, but still found that we had some leftover meat left. If you like, you can add on additional preferred ingredients too.

 
They make their own seafood sauce and chili dips. Try both, and decide which one you like better. My preferred was the seafood (green) one. Warning: the chili packs a punch, but it is worth the heat (with the squid especially).

 

 
Apart from the Mookata, they also have Som Tam (Thai green papaya salad). For the uninitiated, this is among Thailand's national dishes.The salad is made by Thai hands - one of the staff here. It packs fieriness, so be warned those who can't take spiciness. Yet, it is refreshingly appetising (if you can get past the heat).

 
For those doing mookata for the first time like I was, you start off your mookata by heating up the iron dome. Then take the chunks of lard (ooo) and grease it before laying your meat on it.

 
Afterwards, it is pretty much whatever floats your boat in the cooking. Don't neglect the side soup 'river' too. Apart from having it the usual steamboat-ish style, try putting the maggi noodles to cook inside and then have it dry-style by tossing your noodles in the green seafood sauce dip.

 
For the meat, I preferred the black pepper chicken to the other soy garlic lean meat which was sweeter.

 
This may not be the most 'authentic' experience of Mookata, if you insist upon charcoal for your experience. There's also the non air-conditioned setting that may be harder to bear with, though we did not have much problems with that as the fans within did a pretty good job. Otherwise, Chokchai is a very affordable option to consider for a Mookata experience ($8-$10 per pax really?) and the quality.

 
Other Ratings:
Taste
 4  |  
Environment
 3  |  
Service
 4  |  
Clean
 4  |  
Price
 5

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Categories : Japanese | Hotel | Sushi/Sashimi | Omakase

Full review on herpenandfork.blogspot.sg

If you have ever passed Orchid Hotel during lunchtime, you would not miss the queues. Apart from the queue for the ramen, there's also the other queue - for Teppei Syokudo.

It is known for its Chirashi Kaisen Don, $17.80 during lunch. There's no GST charge, making it one of the lower-end priced sashimi bowls in town. For those who can't trudge to Tanjong Pagar or don't want to brave the lunch time queue, they have takeaway outlets available at Takashimaya and Raffles City basement. Some say that it is better (fresher fish, not overly-marinated etc) to have it here on the spot, prepared by the chef in action himself. I have never tried, but I think you can hardly go wrong coming to the actual place where it first started.

In the small space at Orchid Hotel, diners sit by the bar, and you can get a pretty good view of the chefs and the kitchen action because of the open-concept kitchen. The perk of eating in Teppei is that you get to see chef in action: cutting, marinating and portioning the chunks of raw sashimi fish into each bowl. Once you sit down, you are given a menu and asked for your order. They also have other lunch sets (comes with hot/cold green tea and miso soup) ranging from $16.80-$19.90. The Gyu (wagyu beef) Don nearly tempted me with the delicious grilled smells. Nearly. I had to try the Kaisendon.

It was indeed as heard, generous with the sashimi. There is chunks, and I mean REALLY chunky and meaty, pieces of tuna, salmon, white fish, plump scallops and of course, the little orange balls of ikura (salmon roe) that go 'pop' in the mouth.

 
This is not a don for people who want the pure unadulterated taste of sashimi. For those who like a little flavour along with the freshness of fish in their bowl, this is good. In fact, it is by far my favourite in town, perhaps because the previous bowls I have tried are not/little marinated. The Teppei Special Sauce marinate gives it the flavour needed that doesn't make one tire of the sashimi so easily. I would have liked the rice more sour with vinegar though. For those who are lucky without restriction of lunch hours, come early (11.55am) or at the later end (2pm) to steer clear of the queues. This is one of those places that definitely lives up to raves.
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Chirashi Kaisen Don
 
Other Ratings:
Taste
 4  |  
Environment
 4  |  
Service
 4  |  
Clean
 4  |  
Price
 4

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Categories : Latin American/South American | Steaks and Grills | BBQ | Buffet

For the full review, visit http://herpenandfork.blogspot.sg/2016/03/carne-caipirinha-brazilian-grilled.html 

Carne & Caipirinha is a welcome change from the 'same' CBD and dining options in town. It is located in the heartlands, but offers the serenity and ambience with its largely alfresco setting.

 
This is different from other buffets. Here, what is really unique is that the waiters will bring the charcoal-grilled skewers of meat piping hot from the kitchen right to your seat, and carve it onto your plate. It is pretty fun and definitely ups the visual appeal to your meal experience. Apparently, this serving style is known as rodizio and popular in Brazil. Churrascaria refers to a restaurant serving free-flow grilled meats. That makes two interesting facts, especially for meat-lovers.

To start off the meal, we were served these warm cheese bread (Pao de Queijo). These were chewy little round pieces with a slightly crisp crusty outside, but chewy-like-mochi cheese inside. Very very addictive. Don't stop yourself from having more than one. We couldn't.

 
Pao de Queijo

Depending on your choice, the drink may come at an additional cost to the buffet.

The buffet includes a free-flow salad bar that has a good variety of salads, rice, and some cooked dishes like the Brazilian Feijoada (black bean stew with pork trimmings). I tried the black bean stew, and took a piece of the pork trimming. A bite of it and...I think it's better if you take the meat in the stew, if you really want to try the stew, instead.

 

 
Brazilian Feijoada, Chicken Salpicao.

Finally onto the grilled items.

Meat List: They have (get ready) pork sausage, pork belly, pork rib, pork ham, lamb leg, chicken thigh, chicken fillet, chicken heart, beef rump, beef hump, beef rib, fish (escolar) and grilled pineapple.

 
The Passador (Chef-cum-meat server) in action.

 
Pork Sausage, Chicken Fillet Wrapped in Bacon.

Our first items of pork sausage and chicken fillet wrapped in bacon were pretty good, just a little bit salty. It did have that smoky flavour from the grill.

 

 
Chicken Thigh

The Chicken Thigh was one of my favourite meats. It was tender and not dry with enough flavour.

 
Pork Belly

The Pork Belly is similar to our chinese roasted meat. A pity the skin was not crispy. Perhaps it's meant to be this way, but I would prefer a crispy skin like our Chinese roast pork. The meat itself was good.

 
Beef Rump

Between the beef rump, and the beef hump which is apparently a rare cut to eat, a good majority preferred the juicier beef hump. For me, both cuts were dry, so I guess you must get the beef hump part with fats so that it isn't as dry. The lamb cut was decent.

 
Fish (Escolar)

The grilled fish, would have been among my preferred items, if not for the fact that it was slightly too salty and had this sour-ish aftertaste that I didn't quite appreciate. I liked the firm texture of the fish. However, we were told we shouldn't have more than 4 or 5 pieces of the fish because its fats cannot be digested. In other words, if we did, we would spend our next day in the toilet.

 
Chicken Heart

It might sound exotic and off-putting. This was ironically, my favourite for the night, though I only had one piece because the idea of it just stopped me from having another one. The chicken heart, was well-seasoned, grilled and had this supple, bouncy texture to it. If you didn't tell me, I would not be so chicken and would have more.

 
Pork Ribs - a good-to-have too!

They also served a juicy grilled pineapple, which is a must.

As it is a buffet, you can simply just have as much of what you like. The must-haves are in bold above in the 'meat list'.

The "FireBomb"

This dish has been making waves on Instagram, and really, who won't be fascinated by carbonara pasta cooked in a live fire in a Parmesan-Reggiano cheese wheel?

 

 
We had both versions, one with the alcohol tinge(cooked with the fire showcase), and one without. We preferred the one without. Do not expect the carbonara to be very italian-style though. This comes at an additional $10, but since it's a buffet, just get one serving to share and for the experience of seeing the 'firebomb'.

It may get a little bit warm for those who can't take SG's heat that well, so make sure to pick the spot with a fan. Overall, the food is acceptable, my main pick being the beef being too dry. However, the other meats are alright, if not above average and the dining experience is different. Carne is a good option to consider for a change in cuisine.

For the best value, you should catch the Happy Hour, from 5.30-7pm Mondays to Saturdays ($39,90 for adults, $18 for children and free for children < 5 years). As long as you are seated before 7pm, you get to enjoy the price, which is $10 lesser per pax, (yes you don't have to leave by 7pm) and stay as long as you desire.

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

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Categories : American | Coffee

For the full review, visit http://herpenandfork.blogspot.sg/2016/03/the-new-starbucks-breakfast-menu-items.html 

I am not a Starbucks stalwart, but the recent new introductions to their breakfast sparked my interest. At $6.90 for a breakfast set - one breakfast menu item with brewed coffee/tea (free upgrade to latte/cappuccino going on now till end March), it is pretty reasonable for Starbucks. Especially when you think McDonald's big breakfast set comes in around that price (a BBF with cappuccino costs $8.10, though the quantity is more).

Rosemary, Emmental Cheese and Chicken Croissant

 
The Rosemary chicken, onion and celery filling resembled the minced texture of tuna filling in sandwiches. Mine came with the croissant nearly flattened - most likely the tongs used clasped the croissant too hard. ):

The croissant itself was a bit soggy, like how a microwaved croissant is. Ok this is microwaved, but still there are microwaved croissants which turn out good ain't? Those who aren't into onion and celery can skip this, like me, because the presence of these in the filling is quite distinct.

To be fair, the presentation may differ across branches, depending on your barista's mood and strength.

Turkey Ham, Egg White and Cheddar sandwich

 
The cheese melted nicely after they heated it up, and it comes with a slice of turkey ham. The egg white needed a sprinkling more of salt though. This will fall under healthy tasting to normal people because it is a little too bland. The wholemeal bun(bread person here) fared good. It retained its structured exterior with little crumbs atop while fluffy inside, with an aroma. Add your own salt, but otherwise this will cut it for a healthy option.

Grilled Chicken, Mushroom, Spinach and Egg Sandwich

 
I liked that the spinach is embedded inside the egg, but the grilled chicken has this rubbery consistency. If you need meat and vegetable balance among their breakfast offerings, your best bet would be this. Again, you may need to add your own salt. If it matters, the buns are not wholemeal for this.

Egg White, Roasted Pepper, Mushroom & Cheddar Wrap

 



The egg white wrap is probably the most well-seasoned out of the rest. In terms of taste, this has an edge in terms of in taste as it is not dragged down by blandness. If you don't mind that it is meatless, this is good to pick.

Egg Omelette Croque Monsieur

 
This is a panini bread with a layer of omelette, and another layer of melted cheese with turkey ham pieces and some herbs sprinkled on top. Similar to the ham and cheese bread you can get from bakeries, with the exception being the added omelette layer. Erm, the other choices are more unique.

As for the egg mayo sandwich, I didn't venture to try as a barista warned us against it. Hmm. The last two untried items are the pancakes and croque madame.

Starbucks has managed to keep its consistent theme of healthy in these breakfast sets. It is also a boost for calorie-counters given that these sets are lesser of a calorie bomb. They can make for a pretty lasting breakfast (till about 2pm) if you get it along with a drink (cappucino/latte).

The new breakfast offerings are offered till 11.30am on weekdays and till 2.30pm on the weekends. Do not go after this cut-off times.The items are also available after breakfast hours, going at $5.90 for just the item and are subject to availability at each different store.

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

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