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GeekCafe.SG: Review Smile Dec 28, 2014   
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Categories : Café | Desserts and Cakes


I was invited to the second branch of the GeekCafe Singapore about 2 weeks back for tasting of their coffee by one of the owners, Jeremiah, who also owns and designs and produces sellout watches under the brand, Ancien Soleil (Ancient Sun).

 
While the general idea of the second branch will be a replica of the first cafe, much effort have gone into the styling and designing of the cafe to give it a rustic, hipster look that will offer a good place to chill and socialise.

 

 
I had especially loved the lightings, which were picked with much care from their owners, who came from designing backgrounds.

 

 

 

 

 

 
Posters hung in their cafe, which is designed by the GeekCafe team themselves.

 

 
During his introduction of their coffee, I was pleased to know that their cafe roasts their own beans. Their coffee uses a combination of Columbia and Brazil beans, and added with their coffee bean roasting and coffee making skills, the end result is a deliciously smooth and easy-to-drink cup of coffee latte!

 

 

 
Not only they are good at their coffee, but extended effort also goes into other drinks as well. I tried the Milk Hot Chocolate ($6) and the Green Tea Latte ($6), which is really good as well.

Usually, I dislike how hot chocolates make you feel very bloated at the end of the drink, and how it is usually very thick. But not for the Milk Hot Chocolate here, which is of the right consistency! They sourced one of the best chocolate powders from France and the rest is their own secret recipe, which uses only 33% cocoa powder, hence resulting in a drink that is light but does not lose the chocolaty taste.

 
I liked how the Green Tea latte used the right amount of green tea powder, hence the taste wasn't overbearing as well. There was a slight saltiness in it and wasn't too sweet, which works just well for me! They have added a little brown rice mix in it as well for a unique touch of extra goodness.

All cakes are supplied from their partner, the Cat and Fiddle cheesecake store, which is well-known amongst cheesecake lovers. So be sure to order a cheesecake along with the coffee too!

The Spicy Arrabiata Pasta ($7.90) was very homely as well, and tasty for good value!

 
A warm, homemade mushroom soup with huge chunks of mushroom in it ($6.50) to comfort the stomach~

 
Another thing which is interesting to me, is that they also offer various classes, for example, a barista workshop, leather making workshops where people can learn to make crafts, or wait with a cuppa while their computer is being repaired!

 

 
They also sell various items in their store, which includes the regular digital items, coffee making machines, drips, and more!

 
They have officially opened doors to their second branch last week! So, for good coffee and if you need to repair your computer (ouch!), visit them and stay tune on their website or facebook for available workshops as well!

This was an invited media tasting session.
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Coffee
 
Date of Visit: Dec 17, 2014 

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

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Tim Ho Wan (添好运): Review Cry Dec 24, 2014   
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Categories : Cantonese/Hong Kong | Restaurant | Dim Sum | Noodles | Kids-Friendly

Tim Ho Wan 添好运 has been open in Plaza Singapura for a while now, and the fad has kind of died down a little. Riding on their success, they recently opened at another location - Bedok Point - an addition to the 4 other outlets scattered around Singapore.

Reading this on their website makes me very excited.

Tim Ho Wan, the hole-in-the-wall eatery in Hong Kong that defied all odds to gain an entry in the Michelin guide, has finally arrived in Singapore. Its dim sum have won the plaudits of food critics and the hearts of epicureans around the world.
Is it really worth the queue? I'm going to find out.

First, the surroundings:

 

 

 
Baked Bun with BBQ Pork 酥皮炬叉烧包 ($5)

 
The first dish, and one of their dishes in the 'Big 4 Heavenly Kings' series. 'Big 4 Heavenly' series consists of 4 dishes which they call their best of the best, recommended signature dishes to try at Tim Ho Wan.

 
And boy, this one did not disappoint. The meat was juicy and tender, well flavoured and goes exceptionally well with the puffed pastry exterior. Loved this one, and thumbs up!

Pan Fried Carrot Cake 香煎萝卜糕 ($4.80)

 
I did not like this dish. The carrot cake was served at room temperature, and was lacking in texture. I was scratching my head to understand how this is one of their 'Big 4 Heavenly Kings' dish.

Steamed Egg Cake 香花马来糕 ($3.80)

 
Honestly, I have no major gripe with this dish, but I would have liked it to be more fluffy. This is another one of their 'Big 4' dishes. Overall, this was just so-so, but one of the better dishes in the assembly of food I've ordered here.

Vermicelli Roll with Shrimp 鲜虾肠 ($6)

 
The prawn fillings were succulent and fresh, the skin was smooth as well. But be sure to eat it with the accompanying sauce to have it at its best!

Prawn Dumpling 晶莹鲜虾饺 ($6)

 
Dim Sum should be served piping hot. While this one was, the dumpling skin sure didn't taste like it. It was a little too thick for me but the prawn ingredients were nice and fresh.

Pork Dumpling with Shrimp 鲜虾烧卖皇 ($5.50)

 
I love Siew Mai, a.k.a Pork Dumplings with Shrimps. A lovely dash of colour as they used wolfberries to decorate the top of the dumpling. But no taste of the wolfberries were apparent during tasting. But overall, this dish was pretty alright.

Pork Rib with Black Bean Sauce 豉汁蒸肉排 ($4.50)

 
This is also one of my dim sum meal staples. This dish is meant to be oily, and the oily sauce was lacking! I'm a sad girl. But the meat was tender and I would order it again if I'm here, if just to satisfy my cravings.

Wasabi Salad Prawn Dumpling 青芥末明虾角 ($6)

 
A typical dish for me, and I felt that the wasabi mayonnaise was quite light - too light, in fact.

Yam Dumpling with Chilli Crab Meat 辣椒蚧芋角 ($5.50)

 
This was a really interesting dish, so I was quick to order it. Not many people like yam, but I do. The yam was nicely done, with a lovely crisp exterior.

 
The chilli crab paste was, however, slightly lacking in terms of flavour. As the yam paste can be a little too rich, a well flavoured chilli crab paste might be the answer to balancing that out.

It's a personal preference, but I do like my sauces a little more flavourful and stronger, so I can taste the essence. For this dish, that was what's lacking for me.

Congee with Pork, Century&Salted Egg 金银蛋瘦肉粥 ($4.20)

 
I was looking forward to tasting this dish because it was one of my dim sum staples. But I was disappointed. The porridge was not fine enough, and the flavour of the salted and century egg is not strong enough. This is called century & salted egg porridge for a reason, and I believe the hints of these ingredients should present itself well enough to satisfy lovers of this standard dim sum dish.

Rice with Chicken, Sausage & Mushroom 腊肠北菇鸡饭 ($6)

 
While the ingredients tasted just as it should be, I would have liked that the flavour of the ingredients could have better merged with the sauced rice to give it the unique flavour that this dish has. What I understand is that this dish is cooked together with the ingredients, and the sauce in the rice soaks in the merged flavours and fragrance of these ingredients - chicken, chinese sausage and mushrooms. Unfortunately, it tasted like it was cooked separately and the rice was not fragrant enough in that sense. I did like that the chicken was tender and had good texture.

Glutinous Rice with Lotus Leaf 古法糯米鸡 ($6)

 
Nicely wrapped, this oily dim sum dish is not easy to make. Here's how it looks once opened.

 
I did like how the dumpling was cooked just nice, and the meat used with the rice had retained its juiciness.

Crystal Shrimp Roll with Century Egg 水晶松花虾卷 ($5.50)

 
Seeing this dish under the Chef's recommendation, I really wanted to try it. I took this photo right after it was served and the sauce was almost to the point of coagulation. After 5 minutes, the sauce did coagulate, so I wasn't imagining things. sad Thus proving the dish was served to us too late!

Anyway, I didn't really enjoy this dish as I felt that the entire dish would be better off with the century egg sliced thinner and the dish being served warmer. Or hotter!

Mango Sago Pomelo 杨枝甘露($5)

 
One of my favourite desserts to have, but not at this restaurant. I love sago, so one gripe is that the sago was not soft enough, felt like it wasn't cooked enough.

Tonic Medlar & Osmanthus Cake 杞子桂花糕 ($3.50)

 
Light and refreshing. I liked this dish, but I felt it should be served slightly more chilled. When served, it was close to room temperature and I didn't enjoy it as much as I should have if chilled.

So my conclusion?

No. It really wasn't worth the queue.

Sadly, it is widely raved for, but I'm not feeling it and it definitely did nothing to wow me at all. Their wait staff were not so friendly and most were concerned about clearing the queue, and because it's so packed and so many orders had to be served out - some slower than the others, some important aspects (like the temperature of the food to be served, etc) were compromised, thus affecting overall food taste and enjoyment.

But I'm sure of one thing: If I do return, I will order takeaway with the baked buns with BBQ pork for their claim of this 'heavenly king' dish was the only one I felt was worth the mention and did not disappoint.

Average spending per pax: $20 - $30

 

 
Recommended Dish(es):  Baked Bun with BBQ Pork
 
Table Wait Time: 30 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Nov 29, 2014 

Other Ratings:
Taste
 2  |  
Environment
 2  |  
Service
 2  |  
Clean
 2  |  
Price
 2

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Honey Creme: Review OK Nov 29, 2014   
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Categories : Ice Cream and Gelato

 
I'm sure you would have seen alot of Honey Creme photos sprout on instagram (@jankliciouz) nowadays (Search #honeycremesg on instagram for most Honey Creme photos!)

 
Long queue!

Well, what's the rave about for this icecream? Here's an introduction taken from their website.

"Honey Creme” joint ventures branding between South Korea and Taiwan, with soft serve ice-cream specialty boutiques selling imported South Korea famous “Comb Honey Soft serve ice-cream.” Honey Creme Taiwan officially launched the first boutique on 21st March 2014, at Taipei City well known “Ice Cream War Zone”; Taipei Zhongxiao East Road.

Honey Creme uses South Korea top organic milk ice-cream recipes, integrating with fresh milk and cream; a new formulated soft serve ice-cream with deep and savory milk flavor base and various toppings. The premium ingredients are in conjunction with healthy organic food, which intertwined with agriculture products!

They use top organic milk ice-cream recipes? Sounds great!

 
There are some seats in Honey Creme, but far and few between. Very narrow and small inside too, so you're really better sitting outside or having this during a stroll.

 
While the soft serve doesn't taste that milky, as it usually tastes with the normal ice-cream you get from supermarkets, it is really smooth and still creamy. But one gripe for me is the lack of sufficient and inconsistent drizzle, like the comb honey and honey comb.

Here's the drizzle for mine. Looks substantial.

 
Here's my friend's order. Exactly the same, we both ordered Comb Honey, but her honey drizzle portion looks much less than mine.

 
It is confusing, but not to be confused with another order called Honey Comb, which the topping is actually a direct cut of the honey comb.

A cut out from this honey comb! It's just a mini piece and I am unable to post the photo because it turned out blur on my phone! *Sigh*

 
But my friend didn't like her Honey Comb as it was just 2 cubes direct from the Honey Comb. So, nope, it did not make the grade for her.

Here's one of their staff making my friend's Comb Honey Ice-cream. Literally a drizzle.

 
Another friend got the Dark Chocolate ice-cream, and this was surprisingly good. smile The dark chocolate drizzle was a really nice combination and I thought it was better than the signature Honey Comb & Comb Honey ice-creams.

The Dark Chocolate Ice-Cream (left, $5.50) and my Comb Honey ice-cream (right, $5.50)

 
My friends and the normal size serving of the Honey Creme Ice-Creams.Honestly, I do think the price is really expensive for soft serve with a light drizzle of dark chocolate or honey or honeycomb or even organic cotton candy. With prices starting from $5.50 per order of an ice-cream, you might think that you'll be getting something more intricate than just drizzle + soft serve. But that's all it is, folks.

And as with all new fancy things that hit us then leave speedily with a trail of dust behind, I do expect this hype to die down soon. Thereafter, it's really up to Honey Creme to live up to the hype, or be just one of the many fad stores which don't survive the dynamic tastebuds of us Singaporeans.

Ratings: 5.5 / 10
 
Date of Visit: Nov 29, 2014 

Other Ratings:
Taste
 2  |  
Environment
 3  |  
Service
 3  |  
Clean
 3  |  
Price
 2

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Categories : Food Court

A newly set up western food stall lays inconspicuously in the corner of a popular eating mini food centre at Harbourfront Centre.

No prizes, but are you able to spot their shop?

 
What really caught my eye at first was the unusual display of their condiments for customers: Jamie Oliver branded black pepper, red hot chilli pepper and mediterranean sea salt grinds! Oh my oh my. How very special of a western food food stall to use these condiments.

 
That spiked my interest and I asked one of the staffs why they decided to use these condiments. He shared that it is used only for pastas and for some, on their salmon dishes. He stressed, however, that his dishes focus on having the right flavour in the gravy used, I agreed. And I love gravy, what more for chicken chop dishes, which are its main highlight, at least for me.

 
So, I decided to try out one of their signature dishes today, the honey garlic chicken chop ($6.50)! I didn't have to wait too long. The dish was served in less than 4 minutes. Each dish also has 2 complimentary sides, and the portion looked substantial too.

I got the french fries and a cold pasta salad.

 
Looking at the dish, it was interesting how they used cajun spices for the flavouring of the fries too. It was a creative touch overall, but I was slightly disappointed when part of the fries already became soggy. I just wished that they had paid more attention to their fries, which would have added more points to their ratings.

 
The pasta salad tasted light and delectable, and I did not have any gripe over it.

 
The chicken was tender and there were not much fat on the skin. I liked the honey garlic sauce as it was well done, and a light hint of garlic is apparent, without it overpowering the senses.

I do think they have earned their stripes for a well cooked gravy, and the tender meat. But the side dishes play an important part and I would recommend that they also pay more attention to it, and it'll exceed expectations even more.

Lunch menus are available here too:

 
Their menu:

 

 
Date of Visit: Nov 20, 2014 

Other Ratings:
Taste
 3  |  
Environment
 2  |  
Service
 3  |  
Clean
 3  |  
Price
 4

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Marché Movenpick: Review OK Nov 29, 2014   
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Categories : European | Bars/Lounges | Seafood | Steaks and Grills | Burgers and Sandwiches

I dropped by Marche Movenpick for a quick dinner after visiting the Bank Art Fair at Pan Pacific Hotel nearby. Just to sidetrack, the art fair was very cool, and I got to see alot of interesting works! Most are very thought inspiring, and some with very deep roots in culture. smile

Now, back to the review for Marche Movenpick.

Ta-dah! Here we are! This is the best shot I could get of the restrobar, unfortunately, you'll have to keep your eyes open as their signboard is nowhere obvious to be found.

 
Marché Mövenpick is the urban, innovative concept von Marché International, the leading gastronomy company for highest quality gastronomy ideas at highly-frequented and carefully selected city center locations. With its worldwide brand names Marché® Restaurants, Marché®Natural Bakery, Mövenpick Restaurants, Cindy’s Diner and, added only recently, Marché Mövenpick Restaurants, the company offers a complementary and premium quality total offering at highway rest stops, airports, train stations and other selected city locations.

Surroundings:

 

 
"Save water, drink wine." Cute!

 
Condiments are placed out on the table for easy use.

 
With the positioning of itself as a restrobar, you would assume that its drinks would be up to par.

Both my friend and I ordered one of my favourite drinks - the Mojito ($13.90) - which was served to us too bland. There were too much mint leaves in the drink, no hint of lime and diluted rum. There seemed to be some problem with the concoction as I gave some feedback to the waitress, who got it changed for me.

When it came back to us, the drink was too strong, there was too much rum. I gave up trying and just completed the rest of the meal with warm water instead. At least for me and my friend, we both felt the same about the mojito, which leaves much to be desired.

 
And then the food came.

We had the roasted beef savoury crepe ($16.50). In it was roasted capsicum spread and roasted beef chunks. My friend didn't really like the beef as she kept chomping down on beef chunks with thick tendons. I didn't really have the problem though, so I shall not comment on that! But I did like the taste of the beef chunks with the crepe. It is not as savoury as I would like, but just nice for most people.

 
Served with some salad.

 
The view of within.

 
Next up, we had the smoked duck breast gourmet pizza ($22.90). Although their specialty was the white pizza, I didn't order that as I was craving for smoked duck pizza, actually. haha!

I was told that the difference between the gourmet pizza and the white pizza is that one's savoury, and the other's sweeter. I believe it also has to do the condiments and seasonings used. Well, I will return for the white pizza another time, because I did love their smoked duck pizza!

It's a 12-inch pizza, standard serving! In fact, it's the only serving they have.

 
It was filled with hoisin sauce, spring onions, red chilli, sliced tomatoes and topped with celery. I loved the thin crust, and the duck breast with hoisin sauce was really well done.

 
When I tear out the pizza, it's close to having no cheese trail. So neat! It's not too overloaded with cheese.

 
Delicious toppings~

 
Seriously, both of us weren't able to finish the pizza, so I had half of it taken away. The next day, I heated it up for breakfast, and it was still super nice! (Yay!)

Now, DESSERT. Under recommendation, I tried the Crepe Suzette ($12.90), which uses sliced oranges cooked with liqueur, put over a scoop of Movenpick Vanilla icecream and thin crepe.

I would have been super pleasantly surprised if it were served with flambé, but it wasn't. hahaha.

 
Their crepes remain well done. And although the mixture of the crepe suzette had followed the cookbooks, but it wasn't anything to shout about. I did like the Movenpick vanilla ice cream. Although it wasn't overly impressive, but I did enjoy ending the meal with this dessert.

Another thing for sure, I left knowing that their wait staff all had pretty good customer service standards. Kudos to the great service there, which helped save the performance of the poorly mixed Mojito.
 
Date of Visit: Nov 26, 2014 

Other Ratings:
Taste
 3  |  
Environment
 4  |  
Service
 4  |  
Clean
 3  |  
Price
 2

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