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jiaksimipng
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Coffee lovers assemble! Smile Dec 21, 2013   
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Categories : Café | Desserts and Cakes | Brunch

Joining the likes of Hatched and The Wine Company at Evans Lodge is Assembly Coffee, a cafe that strives to support the Third Wave Coffee Movement that aims to bring coffee enthusiasts together. The menu is simple and straightforward, featuring usual suspects such as waffles, poached eggs and sandwiches. There are however more types of coffee served here rather than the standard few, and different brews are available as well. Non coffee drinkers also have juices and teas to choose from.

 
We reached Assembly Coffee in the morning with empty stomachs, which was why we ordered a Eggs Benedict ($14.90). The eggs were cooked to perfection being runny with liquid yolks, which complimented well with the lightly toasted English Muffin buns that were fluffy without being too crusty. Hollandaise sauce was generous though mild, but was able to bring enough flavour to the dish without being overpowering. Salad came with Vinegarette dressing and felt fresh. My dining partner whom shared the dish despite not liking poached eggs seemed fairly impressed with the Eggs Benedict served here as well.

 
After reading reviews online and seeing pictures on Instagram, I just had to order the Salted Caramel Buttermilk Waffles ($11.50) which was widely raved by the patrons. Indeed, the waffles were airy and fluffy with a distinct flavour of orange zest which made it feel different from other waffles we had tried. The salted caramel drizzled on the waffles was rather sufficient as well and well-balanced in flavour. The ice-cream gave it the hot-and-cold contrast, giving the dish yet another dimension. If anything could have been better, it could have been toastier, though we are not complaining yet.

 
Tea Cakes had been getting onto me lately, and I must say that the Honey Chamomile Cake ($5.00) did satisfy me. The cake just felt adequately dense though could have been a wee bit more moist, but the flavours were well brought out. A suggestion could be to go lighter on the honey drizzle so as to make the Chamomile stand out more.

 
Assembly Coffee uses blends from Liberty Coffee (Speakeasy Blend) and Geisha Specialty Coffee (Proud Mary Blend), which ensures the quality of their coffee. For those who enjoy milder blends, the Liberty Coffee blend would be more suitable for you just like what we did for our Flat White ($4.50) and Cappuccino ($4.50).

While Assembly Coffee is not located at a convenient spot (it takes a while to walk in from the main road) and the space is pretty small, it is really comfortable to spend a lazy morning at. The interior fittings felt pretty homely and despite its size, it does not feel claustrophobic. The people have a passion for their coffee, and it shows when they are at work. Efforts are also made to ensure a unique take on the usual cafe offerings to avoid being too mainstream, and the staff also takes food quality seriously by not offering certain dishes due to lack of fresh ingredients. This is definitely an up and coming spot you are looking at now, and a must-visit for any coffee-hopper who loves a serious cuppa.

 
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Salted Caramel Buttermilk Waffles,Eggs Benedict
 
Spending per head: Approximately $14(Breakfast)

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

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New place, same good old quality Smile Nov 16, 2013   
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Categories : Café | Burgers and Sandwiches

Much like The Bravery which opened a few months ago, RONIN, which is also from the good folk of The Plain opened to much hype a week ago at Hong Kong Street and has already attracted many cafehoppers to make a trip down.

RONIN’s design theme supposedly seems to be of a feudal Japanese style with old rustic wheelbarrow-like tables and weathered wooden cabinets, though seemed a tad confused with industrial elements included as well. Currently it runs without a proper menu, but most items offered are sandwiches ranging from the sweet to the savoury. Also alike The Bravery, there is no obvious signage for the cafe. Coupled with the darkness within the cafe itself, it can be quite an easy to miss the place if you are not looking hard enough for it.

 
Dirty Ronin ($12.00) is one of the specialties of RONIN. A sandwich packed with vegetables, cheese, spicy chorizo and egg with creamy miso dressing, it is definitely a sheer enjoyment for one who loves savoury sandwiches. The spicy chorizo though slightly dry and a wee bit thin, gives the dish a good degree of fiery kick that would be much appreciated by those who fancies spicy food. The crispness of the toasted bread just adds on to the overall goodness.

 
A quirky twist from the usual French Toast ($14.00), caramelized apples and bacon are also added to the dish. The bread was fluffy and accompanied by the maple syrup it was drenched in makes a combination that does not even come close to sickening though it may seem sweet. Large chunks of caramelized apples are included, and gave it a great chew with its sweetness and juiciness. The inclusion of Caramelized Bacon may not hit with some people, but I thought it gave the dish a interesting dimension of taste where sweet meets savoury.

 

 
No different from The Bravery and The Plain, RONIN uses the same Genovese blends as the affiliated cafes. Do expect the same quality coffee served at The Bravery and The Plain, as per the Flat White ($4.20) and Mocha ($4.20) we have ordered.

For more photos and the full review, please visit: http://jiaksimipng.wordpress.com/2013/11/16/ronin-17-hongkong-street/
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Dirty Ronin,French Toast
 
Spending per head: Approximately $18(Tea)

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

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Still standing strong. Smile Oct 27, 2013   
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Categories : Cantonese/Hong Kong | Dim Sum | Seafood

Bosses, also better known as 黑社会 for our chinese-speaking counterparts had been a mainstay in Vivocity for a very long time, being located at Vivocity ever since the mall’s opening in 2006. Much of the restaurant stayed the same over the 7 years that had past; the iconic black hallway in between the reception area and the dining area, the black-themed restaurant that is uniquely theirs. It’s just that familiar, even if it was 7 good years from then.

 
Most Chinese restaurants would present an appetiser item once you are seated. Most places offer braised peanuts, but Bosses always serve up the Crispy Fish Skin ($3.80) with it’s special chili sauce. The Crispy Fish Skin is just crispy and salted moderately. While it definitely does not taste fishy, it’s light salty flavour definitely aids in opening up the appetites of one before the actual food comes.

 
Crispy Sesame Mango Prawn Salad Roll ($7.00) was the first item to be served. It was definitely crispy but was not greasy. The sesame also made it pretty fragrant with the fried batter. The prawns were succulent and fresh, while the Mango puree was also sufficiently sweet. The mayonnaise that came with it was a unique blend of Wasabi Mayo that came with the sharp taste of the numbing paste in sushi restaurants, but does not induce that intense numbness that will run through from the tongue to the nose due to the heavier mayo ratio in it.

 
Signature Fried Noodles with Superior Soya Sauce ($6.80) was definitely chewy and indeed very flavourful. A great dish to have alongside the Dim Sum as a main if you are one who likes to order a serving of rice/noodles/porridge to share to accompany the Dim Sum.

 
Prawn with Kai Lan Rice Roll ($6.50) was a dish that did not really impress as it was served to us lukewarm. The Soy Sauce did boost the flavour of the dish, and while the prawns are big the kai lan was a bit too stiff for my liking.

 
Shanghai “Xiao Long Bao” ($6.50) came in sixes, as opposed to the rest of the items that came in either threes or fours in steamers. The dough was rather inconsistent on the top, with a few too thick, a few too thin and a few just right. It did not really help when one of it was also already broken when served. The ones that were fine had a very tasty broth that pretty much filled up the entire Xiao Long Bao, and the meat was just chewy and just nice in texture without any rough bits in between.

 
Superior Minor Char Siu Bao ($4.50) was definitely not a minor in terms of taste, but more so in it’s size (which is why it is named as such). These may look small in size, but there is a reasonable amount of meat packed inside in all the empty spaces. The pork was also definitely well marinated in the BBQ Honey sauce which made it nice and sweet. There were also no traces of fatty meat found inside the bun, a detail that was much appreciated by everyone on the table.

 
Har Gow ($5.00) was also a pretty well executed dish. The prawns were fresh and succulent, though the skin can be a little too thick to some. Loved the fact that it came off from the piece of paper without any bits of the skin sticking onto the bottom.

 
While there is no regular Shumai ($6.00) dish here, the closest one would be the Queen of Shumai. The prawn sits on the top of the Shumai, presumably trying to be the crown for the Shumai which is why it bears such a royal name. While we did enjoy the Shumai at the bottom that contains much of the taste of prawn, the prawn that sits on top of the Shumai was a bit too stiff for our liking, and we just did not like it that they had included the shell of the tail on top, which makes it a hassle to eat.

 
For dessert, Ace Durian Mochi ($6.50) is one of the items that had look been on the menu ever since the restaurants inception. D24 Durian is used here, and the snow skin of the Mochi is just ice-cold and chewy, with the strong flavours of durian and the texture of the fibres being the filling of the Mochi. Definitely something not for the people who cannot take the taste of durian!

 
The final star of the meal had to be the Signature Custard Lava Bun ($6.50), which was full of flowy salted egg custard goodness. The bun was not too thick and a bite of the bun brings you straight into the custard that fills up most of the insides. A dish not to be missed while here!

For more photos and the full review, please visit: http://jiaksimipng.wordpress.com/2013/10/26/bosses-%E9%BB%91%E7%A4%BE%E4%BC%9A-vivocity/
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Signature Custard Lava Bun,Ace Durian Mochi,Superior Minor Char Siu Bao,Crispy Sesame Mango Prawn Salad Roll,Crispy Fish Skin
 
Spending per head: Approximately $22(Lunch)

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

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Stepping out of the comfort zone Smile Oct 13, 2013   
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Categories : Vietnamese

Having more than 10 outlets spanned across three countries worldwide, Wrap & Roll have recently just opened their latest outlet at ION Orchard. The first outlet in Singapore which is in The Star Vista however still lacks the typical hustle and bustle given its location, which is why I decided to visit that outlet instead.

 
Grilled Pork in Steamed Rice Paper Rolls ($7.90) is just one of the various dishes offered that uses steamed rice paper rolls, which is often used in Vietnamese cuisine. While the Steamed Rice Paper Rolls essentially replicates our Chee Cheong Fun in taste, the texture is more stiffer but chewy as compared to the slippery and wetter variation that we are more used to locally. The grilled pork also surprised us as we were expecting just something that would be served in a restaurant without the T-bone, but we would have never thought that it was marinated and grilled to the point that it was similar to satay. Coupled with a leafy vegetable which provided a crunchy and fresh taste, this dish felt so similar and close to us yet different at the same time.

 
Taste of Saigon ($9.90) is a dish that actually incorporated two fried items together as a platter. The Prawn Pancakes might look normal but they were rather crispy and was quite chewy from the prawns inside, which seemed rather fresh. The Traditional Deep Fried Spring Rolls were rather decent according to my dining partners, though people whom are allergic to peanuts should just stay away because it contains peanuts.

 
A trip to any Vietnamese restaurant cannot be considered done if one does not have Vietnamese Drip Coffee ($4.90). A real treat for the patient, one would have to wait while the coffee drips into the cup. Servers would assist once it is ready for consumption. The coffee definitely would appeal to those whom love strong coffee that is mildly acidic. Interestingly, there was also a flowery scent that came through from within that made it different from the usual coffees elsewhere too. Also available cold with an option to have milk added as well
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Vietnamese Drip Coffee,Grilled Pork in Steamed Rice Paper Rolls
 
Spending per head: Approximately $23

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

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Fun dining with quality food! Smile Oct 13, 2013   
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Categories : Japanese | Sushi/Sashimi

Having found out about Genki Sushi ever since the days I found out about them at Orchard Central, it had made its way to the top of my to-go places for sushi so much so I had managed to ditch my past favourites and go directly there for my sushi fix.

 
The Fried Chicken ($1.80) is just one of the many creative sushis that appears in Genki Sushi’s menu. Unique to its own, it takes a fried piece of bite-sized chicken and places on top of sushi rice wrapped in seaweed with mayo squeezed on the top. The chicken remains to be particularly fragrant though lacks crispiness. The rice is just nicely sweet and seemed pretty tightly packed as it held on firmly. While not the most delectable sushi served here, it holds as one that gives a stronger impression and a kind of novelty to have.

 
The Salmon Triple Flavour ($3.80) is one of the sushis that I will always go for. It is essentially the mix of three different flavours of Salmon sushi that are all served in the menu. The plain jane Salmon sushi remains as the simplest of the lot, with a fresh piece of Salmon sitting on the firmly packed rice that melts on the mouth. The one in the middle is Salmon with Black Pepper, which comes with mayonnaise and cracked black pepper. The crunch of the black pepper is distinct, with its smoky taste but surprisingly not spicy nor choking, though heavy on the taste of Japanese Mayo. The last one is Salmon with Pollock Roe which is like a mentaiko sort of taste and remains to be one of my favourites in the trio of flavours.

 
I don’t recall having Smoked Duck ($2.30) in the outlet at Orchard Central; could have been one of the menu items that is exclusively sold in the Chinatown Point outlet. The Smoked Duck is pretty savoury but a bit tough compared to the ones I had in other places though still pretty decent. We just did not like how it felt like the duck was just thrown on the top of the rice because it came off from the sushi rather easily.

 
Edo Style Egg ($2.30) was a sushi with rice stuffed in between a huge slab of tamago. Do not mistake the tamago here to be from the regular Tamago Sushi. The tamago here is cooked and served warm, and despite it having the usual sweetness in tamago, it also was pretty custardy inside.

 
Fried Gyoza ($2.30) is available in both sushi form and ala-carte form where it is being served in threes alone. The sushi version is depicted here where it sits on top of sushi rice and drizzled in mayonnaise. The Gyoza seemed to be fried upon order which is the reason why it takes a bit more time for this sushi to arrive. The Gyoza is served piping hot and is crispy on the skin yet filled with firm meaty goodness inside. Normally we end up dissecting the Gyoza from the rice while we eat the sushi because we would not want to risk our gums getting hurt by the sharp edges on the skin of the Gyoza. Besides that, it is also seemingly too tall to fit inside the mouth in whole. While this is another one of those sushi that has a novelty factor to it, it is seemingly better executed than the Fried Chicken sushi.

 
Grilled River Eel ($3.80) is also the name of the Unagi Sushi sold here. The usual sauce that comes with Unagi Sushis elsewhere is being served separately in a packet where you can opt to drizzle the sauce on top of the Unagi if you wish. The sauce in the packet is salty yet sweet which fits with the grilled eel perfectly, while the grilled eel is a bit scaly that night, though it seemed rather reasonable.

 
To end the meal, we have decided to order dessert. The Brownie ($5.80) itself blew us off with its quality. The crusty exterior that leads into the slightly sticky interior. A fact that I like about this Brownie also is that it does not contain nuts which meant that the texture was consistent. The Brownie also held itself quite well without crumbling down and that it was served warm; the way we liked it. It was definitely something we did not expect a sushi restaurant to offer.

For more photos and the full review, please visit: http://jiaksimipng.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/genki-sushi-chinatown-point/
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Salmon Triple Flavour,Grilled River Eel
 
Spending per head: Approximately $20(Dinner)

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

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