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jiaksimipng
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Great food with a touch of retro! Smile Jul 25, 2013   
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Categories : Café | Brunch

CAD Cafe is probably one of the newest cafes opening up in the Kampong Glam area that already has numerous fine dining, pubs, bistro and cafes in the area. Located at the narrow Haji Lane, it is probably not the most comfortable experience trying to navigate the way to the cafe in the small lane squeezing with taxis and vans, but nonetheless I still managed to find my way there.

CAD is actually the abbreviation for Coffee Art Design, which is the full name of this cafe. Following what is starting to get popular recently, CAD Cafe adopts a retro style within the interior of its vibrant coloured shophouse, with a vintage TV sitting right in front of the door. CAD has quite small seating area on the inside, with a table of four and another two counter seats. Another four tables of two are also available outdoors beside the narrow road with fans installed to keep patrons cool. It is this sort of details that you know a cafe does care for the customers.

 
The blend used for the coffee here are from Toby’s Estate, which I visited a few days earlier before with my friend who claimed his Flat White there to be perfect. I am not a fan of iced coffees (unless I visit Starbucks or if its cold drip), but I had to order the Iced Latte ($5.50) because I was getting baked at Haji Lane. While some places attempt to sweeten the Latte by adding syrup, the one here is the most original and plain you are going to get. Even with the amount of milk added, the coffee remained strong with a medium body and it was rather aromatic as well without being burnt leaving a bitter aftertaste. If anything, this is one of the best Iced Latte I ever had so far, although I only had Iced Latte from commercial restaurants because I would have hot coffee in cafes like these.

 
I did not really have any expectations for the pastries here because it is a cafe and not a patisserie, but the Pain Au Chocolat ($4.00) wow-ed me completely with its extremely crispy exterior. Flaky on the outside yet warm and buttery on the inside, it definitely was a great pairing with my iced latte. The amount of chocolate was reasonable as it did not overwhelm the pastry but was sweet enough for what it was intended to be.

Being a new kid on the block, CAD Cafe definitely impressed me with its offerings. Great food, great atmosphere and warm service, but the drawback was that it is too small with the amount of seats and the limited menu. While one could conveniently patronise the other cafes located around the Kampong Glam area if it is full, it surely would be dependent on luck if one would find empty seats here once it gets known in the future. Hopefully they would also be able to serve brunch sets as well, just to offer a wider variety, otherwise it makes for a good place to chill and hide from the scorching sun.

For more photos and the full review, please visit: http://jiaksimipng.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/cad-cafe-haji-lane/
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Pain Au Chocolat
 
Date of Visit: Jul 24, 2013 

Spending per head: Approximately $10(Tea)

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

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Better than average Jap fare OK Jun 28, 2013   
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Categories : Japanese | Ramen

Daikokuya Ramen serves up several versions of Ramen; Sapporo, Tokyo and Kyushu styles are all sold here though all of them is just the same to me (I don’t fancy ramen as much). Other than that, they have sashimi, karage, edamame, gyoza and many more side dishes as well as Tonkatsu/Ebi Fry Curry Rice for your non Ramen lover friends like me, as well as desserts.

 
First up on the table was Salmon Carpaccio ($8.80++); a Salmon sashimi dish served with Italian dressing with onions. The salmon sashimi tasted relatively fresh, with the italian dressing providing a bit of a zingy lemon flavour that made the sashimi less fishy in it’s taste; good for people who are not very receptive on the fishy taste of sashimi and made it simply refreshing to have slice after slice.

 
I ordered Tonkatsu Curry Rice ($15.80++). The deep fried Pork has a really crispy fried batter which was just a delight to sink your teeth into, but the pork was slightly stiff and hard to bite off. I literally had to chuck the whole piece of Tonkatsu in my mouth and twirl it in my tongue to try breaking the piece of pork in my mouth before I actually can chew it into tiny bits. While that being said, the curry sauce was just alright and is sweet enough without being spicy at all, with chunks of carrot that are boiled soft to chew.

 
I thought the Shiratama Cream Zenzai ($5.20++) was nothing much, given that it was only red-bean with glutinous rice balls with ice-cream. I was wrong; the vanilla ice-cream really blended well with the red beans which gave it a slight creamy and milky flavour and the glutinous rice balls were very chewy and bouncy.

For more photos and the full review, please visit: http://jiaksimipng.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/daikokuya-ramen-dining-paragon/
 
Other Ratings:
Taste
 3  |  
Environment
 4  |  
Service
 4  |  
Clean
 4  |  
Price
 3

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Choux-lovers, fall in! Smile Jun 13, 2016   
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Categories : Café

Opened in a quiet corner within the myriad of small roads in Jalan Besar is a hole-in-the-wall cafe named Ollella. Given the small size of the unit, the cafe features a single communal table and two counter seats facing the window. Ollella is a collaboration by Choquette and The Pourover Bar, the former offering a range of Choux puffs while the latter offers a wide range of handbrewed filter coffee from various origins as well as tea to compliment the Choux puffs.

 
While there was a Mini Choux Puff tasting platter ($21) that you can try all seven Choux puffs, I was alone and decided to go for the individual and larger Choux Puffs instead. Both the Apple Cinnamon and Lemon Meringue ($4) were done well; the Choux pastry was of the right moistness, not being too wet nor too dry. Lemon Meringue was a filled Choux puff with lemon curd filling and topped with Italian meringue. The Choux puff was well filled, and a single bite into the puff is all it needs for the lemon curd to eagerly burst out of the puff which reveals a pleasantly tart flavour. Italian meringue gives it a subtly sweet touch, adequately balancing out the entire flavour of the puff.

 
Apple Cinnamon Choux ($4) puff somehow surprisingly reminded me of an Apple Crumble Pie. Coming with caramalised apples slices with a light hint of cinnamon, the sugary bits and crunchy nuts helped to provide a texture similar to crumble, while the Vanilla Streusel replicated the flavours of Vanilla ice-cream well. A pretty thoughtful creation indeed.

 
Being a fan of Matcha, the Matcha Azuki Choux puff ($4.50) was one that I found hard to resist ordering. This certainly would hit matcha fans well with the subtly aromatic cream and loads of Azuki red beans hiding within the crusty Choux puff.

 
To compliment the Choux puffs, I had also ordered an Ethopia Tchembe N2 Mixed Heirloom handbrewed filter coffee ($8), which was medium-bodied with chocolatey flavour and light notes of fruit. Each cup of coffee comes with a mini Chouqette, which is pretty identic to the one from the Apple Cinnamon.

For more photos and the full review, head to jiaksimipng in the link below:
https://jiaksimipng.wordpress.com/2016/04/01/ollella-residencessomme/
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Lemon Meringue CHoux,Matcha Azuki Choux
 
Table Wait Time: 5 minute(s)


Spending per head: Approximately $20(Tea)

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

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Categories : Bakery | Café

 
Crown Bakery and Cafe is yet another cafe that had recently opened in the area, though it is located a distance away from where most are situated. Being a bakery, there is an emphasis on breads; Crown Bakery offers a variety of flavoured loaves such as the Hainanese Chicken Bread; bread flavoured with chicken soup boiled from chicken bones and skinless thigh, garlic, ginger, shallots and lemongrass which tastes really identical to chicken rice. Apart from the loaves that are baked in-house, they also do serve a small selection of brunch grub, as well as desserts too.

 
One of my dining partners wanted to try their Brioche, which we settled for the Shizouka Matcha Brioche. Light and fluffy, the Brioche was perfumed with a strong green tea aroma which gave it a fragrant bitter flavour that is signature of green tea. Makes for a good light bite for the tea-time treat, and would definitely be a hit amongst Matcha lovers.

 
Crown Breakfast is a big breakfast platter that consists of bacon, cheese sausage, sauteed mushrooms, mesculun salad, braised oxtail, tomato and a Crown Puff Pastry that features an egg in the middle. Most of them were pretty decent, but the more impressive items would be the tomato; juicy and bursting with tanginess, the sauteed mushrooms which was flavourful yet juicy, braised oxtail that was really tender and came off from the bone and did not taste too gamey and not forgetting the Crown Puff Pastry where the egg was flowy and the puff pastry was flaky and crisp.

 
A rather innovative dish, the Earl Grey Pear Bread Pudding could be however rather controversial to some. Earl Grey fans would definitely love it for it is thoroughly soaked in earl grey aroma, with the bread pudding soft and custardy and a crusty top. In between lies the poached pear; soft yet retained its crunch. The first few mouthfuls can be rather awkward tasting, but this is one dessert that takes a while to get used to. Eventually my shameless self got the better of me as I ended up taking almost the entire portion of it that belongs to my dining partner.

 
For more photos and the full review, please visit: https://jiaksimipng.wordpress.com/2015/05/03/crown-bakery-cafe-crown-centre/
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Earl Grey Pear Bread Pudding,Shizouka Matcha Brioche
 
Table Wait Time: 15 minute(s)


Spending per head: Approximately $12(Breakfast)

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

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Good food, long wait. Smile Mar 10, 2015   (Related Review)
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Categories : Spanish | Fusion | Café

 
Replacing Lim Seng Lee Duck Rice, Paddy Hills opened to much hype bringing cafehoppers in the west yet another option to dine at. Cafe by day and restaurant bar at night, Paddy Hills serves brunch fare as well as a variety of mains in the afternoon, whereas the kitchen would churn out sharing plates and tapas-style offerings at night. Taking inspiration from Australian cafés, the interior takes the industrial approach, but at the same time also pretty homely and relaxing and food items are also plated in a way that’s rarely seen in the local cafe scene.

 
For a side, we decided to go for the Cauliflower Fritters ($12); air-fried Cauliflower florets sprinkled with paprika salt and masala yogurt at the side. A dish that sounds relatively similar to the Aburi Broccoli Salad served at Sin Lee Foods, this is yet another dish that is bound to convert veggie haters to veggie lovers. Fried cauliflower was crisp and well-seasoned in paprika salt for the right amount of saltiness. Dip each floret into the masala yogurt and it gives a sweet tang to the vegetable. Really addictive because I was having it non-stop, while one of my dining partners instantly got converted to a cauliflower fan being one who does not touch cauliflower at all. Despite being a side, this was the last dish to arrive before the Berry Ricotta Hotcake; ain't sides suppose to arrive the table first?

 
I went with two other dining partners, and two of us decided to share a serving of Hash Hash ($24); a baked egg dish served with chorizo, sautéed mushrooms, baby potatoes, beef shank, polenta chips and shaved fennel with two slices of toast at the side. While it looked pretty manageable at first look, we realized there was so many ingredients loaded in it that we eventually found it overwhelming and ditched a few pieces of beef because we could not finish it. Think of it as beef stew, with tender beef that comes with beef which is not too gamey, loaded with an egg yolk to burst, sautéed halved baby potatoes with mushrooms and tiny cubes of chorizo. It gets overwhelming because of the dip gets more savoury over time, but the whole dish feels really well put together with a bit of everything; earthy flavours of mushrooms, the excitement of burst eggs and savouriness from chorizo and beef coming as one. Perhaps mixing the Hash Hash would help as the different condiments felt as though they were on their own respective side of the dish. Toast was also pretty impressive; crusty with enough tension to pull, speckled with walnuts for a crunch.

 
My dining partner ordered the Squid Ink Tagliatelle ($23). While the Squid Ink was really thick and creamy; strong in its savoury flavour, it feels a tad heavy after a while and he had difficulty trying to finish the remaining half off. Seared Scallops were fresh, while the Ikura helped in keeping the dish refreshing by injecting a umami flavour with each bite when it bursts.

 
While we were hanging around the comfortable seats after our meal, one of our friend coincidentally came by to try out the Berry Ricotta Hotcake ($19) which was served only after 45mins after he ordered. Served with blueberry sugar, mascarpone, pine nuts and a myriad of berries, the presentation sort of reminded us of a similar dish served at Stranger’s Reunion and Top Paddock in Australia. It was pretty luxurious; the hotcake was supposedly more cake-like, fluffy in between but surprisingly crisp on the outside; pretty interesting. The batter is also pre-mixed with maple syrup as it seems, so it has its own tinge of sweetness without having to drown it in any syrup. Mascarpone added a dimension of tartness and small hint of saltiness to it, which matched the sweetness well. Again though it gets overwhelming halfway through; perhaps the sweetness was a bit overkill, and the berries were somewhat warmed up by the hotcake so it gave the dish a weird temperature contrast.

 
Paddy Hills uses coffee blends that are specially roasted for them from Tiong Hoe Specialty Coffee; a 99-1 blend which has chocolate and caramel notes and Spark which has berry-like notes. I ordered a 2oz White ($4) which I had initially expected to be really strong but despite its fruity body, did not turn out acidic nor leave an aftertaste.

 
For more photos and the full review, please visit: https://jiaksimipng.wordpress.com/2015/03/06/paddy-hills-south-buona-vista-road/

 
Recommended Dish(es):  Berry Ricotta Hotcake,Cauliflower Fritters,Squid Ink Tagliatelle
 
Table Wait Time: 45 minute(s)


Spending per head: Approximately $32(Lunch)

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

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