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Decent Churros & Dips  OK Mar 05, 2016   
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Categories : Spanish | Café

Opened by celebrity Singaporean couple Syarif Sleeq and Malaque Mahdaly in May 2015, Chulop By The Syarifs in the sleepy East Village mall offers home made churros and artisinal dipping sauces. Everything is freshly made daily, according to recipes developed by the talented couple, and Chulop By The Syarifs used to draw long queues, selling out quickly when they first opened.

Ambience at Chulop By The Syarifs is limited, as it's primarily a takeaway kiosk, with no seating at all. That said, the decor outside the store is really pretty, like a cheerful garden. The inside of the store has bright colours, but still manages to look uninspired, plain, and dull. Stay here too long and the smell of churros frying might stick to your clothing!

Service at Chulop By The Syarifs is decent. What I like are the short waiting times, usually not more than 5 minutes. The staff are friendly, able to engage you in conversation if you're waiting, as well as offer recommendations. Otherwise, everything is mostly self-service here, as Chulop By The Syarifs is a takeaway kiosk.

Food at Chulop By The Syarifs is focused on 2 areas; home made artisinal churros with dipping sauces, and crafted beverages such as coffee or milkshakes. I find taste to be pretty good, their version of churros has a crisp exterior, with a soft, slightly doughy interior. Portions are standard, usually 3 churros and 1 dipping sauce. Prices are on the high side, an order usually costs about SGD $4 - $5, expensive for this dessert!

The Churros With Spanish Caramel Dip (SGD $3.90) was outstanding. The churros are long, with a crisp exterior that crunches satisfiyingly, and is coated with a decent dusting of cinnamon sugar. The interior is slightly soft and doughy, with a light chew, yet isn't too thick in texture, being just right. The best though, is the dip, similar in taste to a salted caramel, being a nice balance of sweet salty, yet manages to remain light, not overpowering. Good!
Churros With Spanish Caramel Dip

Churros With Spanish Caramel Dip

 
Full Chulop By The Syarifs review: http://ivanteh-runningman.blogspot.sg/2016/03/chulop-by-syarifs.html

 
Takeaway Wait Time: 3 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Mar 04, 2016 

Spending per head: Approximately $5(Other)

Other Ratings:
Taste
 3  |  
Environment
 1  |  
Service
 3  |  
Clean
 4  |  
Price
 3

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Categories : French | Middle Eastern/Mediterranean | European | Brunch

Located within the Wanderlust Hotel, a quirky, inspired design boutique hotel, the Cocotte restaurant opened alongside it in 2010. Basically the in-house dining option for the Wanderlust Hotel, Cocotte restaurant serves unpretentious, rustic French countryside food, in a casual, comfortable, setting that encourages communal dining. Cocotte restaurant is known for their free-flow weekend brunch trolley, which features a variety of ala-carte dishes at only SGD $69 ++ per person, from 12noon - 3pm only on Saturdays and Sundays.
Cocotte Facade

Cocotte Facade

 
Ambience at Cocotte is designed to resemble the farmhouses along the countryside of France. Think ample amounts of wooden tables, flanked by brightly coloured metal chairs, decorative lighting, rustic windowsills, and retro decor. While small, the area is well laid-out, allowing seating of many diners, and still having space to push the brunch trolley around! I also like the open bar, where you can watch the bartenders at work. When crowded, Cocotte restaurant can get rather noisy.

Service at Cocotte is good, with staff displaying a level of professionalism reserved for premium, fine dining restaurants. Was very pleased with the attentive, courteous service shown. Staff demonstrate good product knowledge, describing in detail each dish, and the ingredients within, and they willing accede when asked to repeat, or to elaborate further. I also like that staff pour a wine sampling, wait for your approval, then pour the actual glass of wine. However, you have to request for empty dishes to be cleared, or a change of plates, as these are not done proactively.
Cocotte Dining Room

Cocotte Dining Room

 
Food at Cocotte is rustic, hearty, French countryside fare. Each dish is crafted around 1 or 2 star ingredients, well executed and presented simply, with tasty, bold flavours. Very fresh too! The free-flow weekend brunch trolley has no fixed menu, instead, Head Chef Anthony Yeoh creates a wide variety of ala-carte small plates and sharing plates which suit his fancy, with 5 appetizers, 3 main courses, and 5 desserts. Guests can request for as many portions as they want. Very reasonable for a price of SGD $69 ++ per person, and a 3 hour dining time. You're encouraged to reach on time at 12noon, to maximise the full brunch!
Banana Walnut Cake With Salted Caramel And Chantilly Cream

Banana Walnut Cake With Salted Caramel And Chantilly Cream

 
Loved the Ham, Brie Cheese, Cherry Jam Sandwich, with its crisp, crusty baguette bread slice, and the savoury salty, thickly stacked slices of ham within. The cherry jam was unique, lending a sour sweet flavour and a slight tartness. But I couldn't detect the taste of the brie cheese amongst the much stronger flavours here. Still loved this dish though!
Ham, Brie Cheese, Cherry Jam Sandwich

Ham, Brie Cheese, Cherry Jam Sandwich

 
The Pan-Seared Seabass With Dill And Salsa features a lovely thick fillet of fresh, clean tasting seabass fish, with a savoury salty, crisp skin. The fish meat is slightly more firm than I like, I would have preferred it to be more tender, but my fellow diners seemed to like it. The tomato and onion coulis / salsa lends a floral, juicy, crunchy texture, while the herbs lift the overall flavour. Pretty good dish!
Pan-Seared Seabass With Dill And Salsa

Pan-Seared Seabass With Dill And Salsa

 
A house speciality, the Fried Honeycomb Tripe With Home Made Pickles & Wholegrain Mustard features tender strips of beef stomach / tripe, lightly breaded and coated with a dusting of smoked paprika. Chewy with a light crunch, and a savoury smoky, meaty flavour. The home made pickles (carrot, radish, fennel) stood out for us, just the right balance of tart sourness and crunch. So good that my fellow diners specifically asked for a whole serving of it on its own! Glad the staff were able to fulfill this special request!
Fried Honeycomb Tripe With Home Made Pickles & Wholegrain Mustard

Fried Honeycomb Tripe With Home Made Pickles & Wholegrain Mustard

 
Absolutely loved the Pot-Roast Pork Collar With Pumpkin Puree, I think it's the best dish I had here! The pork meat is fresh, incredibly tender, with a melt in your mouth texture. Good enough to stand on its own, as I felt the creamy smooth pumpkin puree didn't really pair well with it, despite also being executed well. Unstoppable, I had piece after piece of this flavourful, succulent pork. Highly recommended!
Pot-Roast Pork Collar With Pumpkin Puree

Pot-Roast Pork Collar With Pumpkin Puree

 
Full Cocotte review here: http://ivanteh-runningman.blogspot.sg/2016/03/cocotte.html

 
Table Wait Time: 1 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Feb 21, 2016 

Spending per head: Approximately $90(Breakfast)

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

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Categories : Middle Eastern/Mediterranean

Originally opening in 100AM mall in Tanjong Pagar in 2013, Pita & Olives has since relocated to PasarBella in Suntec City as of 2015. Known for their use of fresh ingredients and hearty, rustic, home made dishes, Pita & Olives offers a healthy, mostly vegetarian / vegan menu, with few meat options. Their Israeli cuisine is very similar to that of other Mediterranean cuisines, such as Turkish cuisine or Lebanese cuisine.
Pita & Olives Signage

Pita & Olives Signage

 
Ambience at Pita & Olives is minimal, really just a storefront at most. Located within PasarBella at Suntec City, it shares its seating space, furniture, and atmosphere with all the other stalls located here. The place is incredibly noisy, I nearly lost my voice several times speaking over the din. The furniture is also not too comfortable, being functional at best. What stands out for Pita & Olives is that they're located in a corner, so standing at the shopfront means you won't be blocking any people walking pass.

Service at Pita & Olives is partial self-service, with ordering and payment over the counter. However, if you sit around the store, staff will bring orders to your table. But if you sit further away, it's completely self-service. The menu at Pita & Olives is small, without any dish descriptions, but this is an opportunity for the staff to display their knowledge. They are able to describe the ingredients in dishes, as well as state how it's made. You can tell they're passionate about the food they serve. Good!
Chicken Shawarma

Chicken Shawarma

 
Food at Pita & Olives is Israeli cuisine, which is almost similar to other Mediterranean cuisines, like Turkish cuisine or Lebanese cuisine. Food is simple, rustic, healthy, and wallet-friendly. Mostly vegetarian / vegan options, with very little choice of meat, I find eating here to be clean and healthy for the body. Dishes are tasty, and portion sizes can be finished by an individual, though sharing / communal dining of at least 2 people is recommended. Prices are affordable, possibly the cheapest store in the entire PasarBella, budget about SGD $13 per person for a full meal here.

Chef is very proud of his Pita Bread (SGD $4), baking it fresh on-site daily. The difference is obvious, the texture of the bread is soft, warm, and fluffy, quite light with a slight chew. The small pocket is perfect for picking up food, and eating with your hands here isn't a problem. We ate so much pita bread during our visit!
Pita Bread

Pita Bread

 
The signature dish here, their Hummus (SGD $4) is extremely tasty, among the best versions I've had! Texture of the mashed chickpeas paste is smooth and creamy, with rich chickpea flavour, yet isn't heavy or cloying. I wish I could spread it over everything! Highly recommended!
Hummus

Hummus

 
Yes, the traditional name is really Fresh Jerusalem Salad (SGD $4), and this clean, bright salad bowl features diced tomatoes, zucchini, black olives, mint leaves, lemon juice, vinegar, sea salt, pepper, and parsley. Fresh and healthy, it can be eaten on its own, or stuffed into the pita bread!
Fresh Jerusalem Salad

Fresh Jerusalem Salad

 
Full Pita & Olives review here: http://ivanteh-runningman.blogspot.sg/2016/02/pita-olives-tasting-session.html

 
Table Wait Time: 1 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Feb 27, 2016 

Spending per head: Approximately $13(Dinner)

Other Ratings:
Taste
 4  |  
Environment
 1  |  
Service
 3  |  
Clean
 3  |  
Price
 4

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Categories : Filipino

While Cafe Calle Real has only been in their current location for about 1 year, their history actually stretches back to July 2006, having moved from Lucky Plaza, to Joo Chiat, before finally settling here in UE BizHub East. Cafe Calle Real is known for its modern Filipino cuisine; while predominantly Filipino, it also incorporates elements of Spanish and Chinese cuisine.
Art

Art

 
Ambience at Cafe Calle Real is colourful and cheerful. Sturdy wooden and metal furnishings, laid out in communal dining style, are in vibrant summer colours, without being garish or tacky. The ample natural light makes the place brightly lit, and the atmosphere can be noisy and bustling with laughter during peak periods. Cafe Calle Real can even set up a buffet line to accomodate events!
Seating

Seating

 
Service at Cafe Calle Real is good. Staff are friendly, polite, and welcoming, greetings diners and having them quickly seated. They display good product knowledge, able to describe how dishes are created. Food is served incredibly quickly, and looking at a full table packed with delicious food is just delightful. I like that staff come around occasionally to check if they're able to clear empty / dirty plates, and will also accede to requests for a change of serving plates.

Food at Cafe Calle Real is modern Filipino cuisine. Having previously visited the Philippines, and tasted the cuisines of both Manila and Cebu, I notice Filipinos prefer strong flavours, centered around savoury, sweet, salty, and sour, with an emphasis on contrast of flavours and counterpoints. At Cafe Calle Real, dishes taste less intense in flavour than normal, making it enjoyable for a wider variety of people. In terms of execution, small elements of Chinese, Indian, or Spanish cuisine have been incorporated into the traditional Filipino dishes. Portions are designed for communal dining, much too large for an individual, and sharing between at least 2 or 3 people is best. Prices are comparable to other cafes, budget about SGD $19 per person for a meal here.

Loved the Lechon De Carajay (SGD $14.80), more commonly known as Lechon Kawali, with its extremely crispy skin and moist, tender meat! Chef says the pork is air-dried for 3 hours, smoked for 1 hour, then roasted for another 2 hours. This results in the skin being taunt, cracking beautifully, yet retains moisture in the meat, making it soft and succulent. Paired with a robust sweet liver sauce, this was easily among the best dishes I tried here. Highly recommended!
Lechon De Carajay

Lechon De Carajay

 
The Kare-Kare (SGD $18.80) is a type of Filipino stew, made of oxtail and beef stomach, along with eggplant / aubergine, string beans, and kai-lan / Chinese kale / Chinese broccoli (a modern ingredient). A thick, savoury sweet peanut sauce is liberally poured over the top, making this dish rich and flavourful! I find the peanut sauce to be milder in flavour than the traditional versions I've tasted, yet the lightness is rather appealing, making it easy to eat. Paired with an intense dried shrimp paste, which you mix in yourself, this creates a new depth of flavour for the dish. Excellent!
Kare-Kare

Kare-Kare

 
It's said, "Sell the sizzle", and that's completely true with the Sizzling Pork Sisig (SGD $12.80). A noisy, sizzling hot plate, filled with egg, minced pork, minced beef, onions, bell peppers / capsicums, coated in pineapple juice, is mixed at the table, releasing a fragrant aroma of meat. Totally appetizing, this savoury salty sweet dish is best paired with rice, and eaten when piping hot. Pure comfort food at its best. Good!
Sizzling Pork Sisig

Sizzling Pork Sisig

 
Full Cafe Calle Real review here: http://ivanteh-runningman.blogspot.sg/2016/02/cafe-calle-real-tasting-session.html

 
Table Wait Time: 1 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Feb 20, 2016 

Spending per head: Approximately $19(Lunch)

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

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Categories : Thai | Buffet

There aren't many Thai fine dining restaurants in Singapore, but I'm happy to say that Jim Thompson Restaurant is among them. Operated as part of the famous Thailand silk company and museum headquartered in Bangkok, the Jim Thompson Restaurant in Singapore Dempsey Hill is only 1 of 4 such fine dining establishments worldwide. Opening its doors in 2009, the strong brand name of the Jim Thompson Restaurant has drawn many.
Jim Thompson Restaurant Exterior

Jim Thompson Restaurant Exterior

 
Ambience at Jim Thompson Restaurant is their highlight, elegant, exotic, tasteful, and stunningly beautiful. Housed in a refurbished colonial building, a beautiful yard with al-fresco wooden dining furniture set admist lush greenery with a small reflecting pool greet diners upon arrival. Step within, and be awed by the high ceiling and long spacious dining hall, carefully laid out for privacy with elegant carved gilded tableware, comfortable large booths lovingly covered in fine hand loomed silk, Siamese glass wall mosaics, and touches of Thai decor, such as spirit houses and ornate candle holders. At regular intervals, dancers in traditional Thai costumes from Bangkok weave through the dining hall, while non-intrusive instrumental music plays in the background. Incredibly lovely atmosphere, I understand most guests return because of this!
Jim Thompson Restaurant Interior

Jim Thompson Restaurant Interior

 
Service at Jim Thompson Restaurant is excellent, befitting a fine dining restaurant. Staff are mainly from Thailand and the Philippines, and can converse well in English. They offer greetings when you arrive, and are quick to seat guests. In particular, the filipino staff do most of the engagement with diners, offering recommendations, describing dishes when served, and how to eat them. Very good product knowledge! Plates are changed in between courses, and staff are also quick to fulfill requests. The attention shown by staff here is personal and courteous, along with being efficient. Really good!
Ltim Kati / Coconut Ice Cream

Ltim Kati / Coconut Ice Cream

 
Food at Jim Thompson Restaurant is above average in quality and taste, and while not the best examples of Thai food around, it's still pretty tasty. Cuisine is distinctly Thai and Thai Chinese, though the spicy heat of most dishes can be toned down on request. With Executive Chef Mr. Jarutus Aumpha heading up the kitchen, Jim Thompson Restaurant offers an extensive menu, with over 80 classic Thai dishes, a mind-boggling variety. The pork-free menu here even features limited time special dishes, created by in-house chefs from monthly cooking competitions! Dishes are plated and presented beautifully, with most being well-executed and decent in taste. Portions are large and substantial, even the serving size for individuals is usually large enough to be shared with 2 people! Prices naturally befit its fine dining status, expect to pay between SGD $18 - $70 per dish. This is the biggest hurdle to dining here. Budget about SGD $85 per person for a meal here.
Sukhothai Set

Sukhothai Set

 
Surprised that I liked the Lemongrass Infusion Mocktail (SGD $16) quite a bit, with its mix of fresh lemongrass, apple juice, ginger, and lemonade. I found this fruity, floral beverage with a refreshing light sweetness to be quite a good thirst quencher, and it pairs well with savoury or spicy foods.
Lemongrass Infusion Mocktail

Lemongrass Infusion Mocktail

 
The Tom Yum Goong / Tom Yum Soup With Chili Paste (SGD $24 / $46) is a hour and sour broth / soup, fragrant with lemongrass, ginger, galangal, shallots, and chili. Within are tender straw mushrooms and meaty sweet fresh prawns. Topped off with carnation milk, I understand that the level of spicy heat within can be adjusted to suit the diner's palate upon request. Among the better dishes we had here!
Tom Yum Goong / Tom Yum Soup With Chili Paste

Tom Yum Goong / Tom Yum Soup With Chili Paste

 
Felt the Khao Pad Sapparot Goong Sod / Pineapple Fried Rice (SGD $22 / $60) was outstanding! Beautifully presented in a halved hollowed pineapple, this savoury smoky fried rice with onions is made sweet and fruity with pineapple chunks, black raisins, and cashew nuts, then topped with fresh, plump, meaty prawns. Easily the best dish of the evening, I couldn't stop eating this! Highly recommended!
Khao Pad Sapparot Goong Sod / Pineapple Fried Rice

Khao Pad Sapparot Goong Sod / Pineapple Fried Rice

 
Full Jim Thompson Restaurant review: http://ivanteh-runningman.blogspot.sg/2016/02/jim-thompson-restaurant-tasting-session.html

 
Table Wait Time: 1 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Feb 11, 2016 

Spending per head: Approximately $85(Dinner)

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

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