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mycc
This is mycc living in Central. I work in Central. I like to hang out in Chinatown, Raffles Place, Orchard. Japanese, Singaporean, Multi-Cuisine are my favorite cuisines. I also love Hawker Centre, Bakery and Roasted Meat, Desserts and Cakes, Dim Sum.
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Hardly a pal in service Cry May 15, 2014   
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Categories : Thai

Please refer to http://www.makeyourcaloriescount.com/2014/02/sg-cafe-pal-at-bugis-hardly-pal-in.html for full review.

Along the area of Bugis, this inconspicuous restaurant might be easily overlooked. Drawing attention for its bottled milk tea/bubble tea, this was our second visit as the first was a mere takeaway order of their beverages.

Thai iced tea | S$3/-, Moo Moo Island | S$4.80/-

 
What we realised was that there was a rather large price discrepancy for the drinks between the dine-in and takeaway menu. The bottled white-coloured drink shown above is the Moo Moo Island, which comprise green tea, young coconut and milk. We found that while the serving size was generous for the takeaway price (note the price difference as we compare against the dine-in prices later on in this review), it lacked green tea taste and was predominantly a coconut-based drink. What we particularly liked about this were the slices of young coconut flesh within the drink. The sweetness was also appropriate and suited our liking, without being overly saccharine.

 
Stepping in to the restaurant, there was an awkward moment of silence as the staffs looked at us. One of the ladies then walked over to us and ushered us to a table at the back of the restaurant.

 

 
There was a distinctly strong fragrance of curry as we walked to our table and we realised that the staffs were preparing curry over the portable electric stove and toasting fish strips. However, it does not quite offer an open concept kitchen as the ordered dishes were brought in from the back of the restaurant before some plating work was carried out at the counter before being served.

Lime juice and iced lemongrass drink
Lime juice and iced lemongrass drink

Lime juice and iced lemongrass drink

 
We ordered two set dinners whereby we had the option to choose one main (either rice or noodle dish) and one beverage. With a limited choice of lime juice, lemongrass, coffee and tea, we went for the former two. The lime juice and lemongrass drink on the ala carte menu would have cost S$4.80/+ each. While the lime juice tasted refreshing, the lemongrass was slightly too strong for my liking.

Thai iced tea | S$5.80/+
Thai iced tea

Thai iced tea

 
At a S$2.80 premium or essentially double the takeaway price, expect to be rewarded with a choice of two toppings, of which we went for the aloe vera and pearls. While there were large chunks of fresh aloe vera, the pearls were a large disappointment as it tasted limp and squishy though this could be largely subjective as the texture could be favoured by some. The saving grace was the richness of the Thai milk tea which was sweet but not overly done so it was still pleasing on my palate.
This was not available as part of the set menu even if we wanted to top-up and had to order it ala carte. Separately, it was stated on the menu that at just S$1 extra, you could have the toasted fish strips to go along as a complementing snack. We checked with the lady taking our orders and she reaffirmed and we decided to give it a shot.
Toasted fish strips | S$5/+

 
While this was one of the most enjoyable starters with the crispness and slight savouriness to tease one's palate, it was poor communication between the staffs and us that led to some dismay. The bill came out to be S$5 instead of the stipulated S$1. When I tried to verify the discrepancy, I was told that I did not make it clear to the lady taking the order that I wanted the S$1 add on. Not at any point was the gentleman apologetic but rather, the tonality made me felt as if it was my fault for not making my orders clear. As a result, I was given the ala carte portion which had a more generous serving.
Quite frankly, the ala carte portion was worth the five dollars. However, if pointing to the menu and articulating clearly that I wanted the add on was not obvious, I rest my case. I decided that the food is innocent and decided to deliver our fair verdict score.

Pad Thai noodle set (includes one drink) | S$12/+

 

Pad Thai is almost my comfort food when it comes to Thai cuisine and is the staple dish that I always order. A simple stir-fry dish that had the right level of sweetness for me balanced by the acidity of the lime. The beansprouts also added a nice texture but while the tiger prawns were large and juicy, it had a stale after-taste which dragged on the palate. Possibly, fresher prawns could be used and arguably the portion size of the dish was rather meagre.

Pineapple fried rice set (includes one drink) | S$15/+

 
The pineapple fried rice with eggs and pineapples tasted rather pedestrian but it had quite a fair amount of peeled prawns within the rice. The two wedge of pineapple slices were completely bland and dry. On hindsight, I have no idea why or how such fruits could be served to diners, considering the dish is pineapple fried rice. While the pork floss saved the dish, I honestly cannot see how this dish justified the S$12 price tag when available as ala carte.

Phad See-Eu Fried Rice (ala carte) | S$12/+

 
With a choice of pork or beef to go along with this fried rice with dark sauce, we went for the former. While the diced mushrooms and sunny side-up were good complementing ingredients to the stir-fry, it was a touch too savoury for my palate. For those with a higher tolerance to salinity, this might appeal.

 
I struggled to distinguish the lure of the restaurant for the plain interior decorations and accessories such as table lamp seemed to convey a more cafe impression to customers. With its core offering of Thai cuisine and milk teas, I suppose it seems to fit into the category of restaurants more.

 
Overall, I felt that the service was rather cold and lacked a more personal touch such as providing recommendations, etc. The prices stated are inclusive of 7% GST but it excludes the 10% service charge. For us, a dining experience is more than just food but rather a combination of customer service, ambience and the company. With any of these elements out of alignment, the meal cannot be a satisfactory one and in this case, I am pretty sure Cafe Pal disappointed us largely.

For the pedestrian quality in food which comes at a premium and the poor dine-in experience, it would be highly unlikely that we would drop by again.

 
 
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Reunion of art & food OK May 15, 2014   
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Categories : Cantonese/Hong Kong | Shanghainese | Dim Sum

Our previous visit to Arteastiq Boutique at Mandarin Gallery was a memorable experience as it was somewhat a sanctuary haven to retreat to in the midst of the busy city life. A relaxing trip to the Millenia Walk area brought us to its affiliated boutique, the Arteastiq Tea Bone China.

Priding itself for serving a range of speciality tea, this branch is more known for its offering of all-day Shanghainese and Cantonese dim sum, all handmade using Arteastiq very own special recipes. The concept of Tea Bone China is inspired by the luxurious experiences of olden-day Chinese merchants who used to lounge in the garden and sip tea while watching birds sing.

Salted egg yolk bun | S$4.90/++

 

 
When this was first served to us, we were dumbfounded as this was quite unlike the usual presentation of the popular salted egg yolk bun or more commonly known as "liu sha bao". The clever use of bamboo charcoal powder to the bun gave a sharp contrast in colour when you pry open the bun, revealing the rich salted egg yolk on the inside. Apart from winning points at a presentation level and novelty's sake, we felt that it was a decent version whereby the buns were not too thick but the intensity and flavours of the salted egg yolk lacked strength. It was good but not the best when I draw comparison from more dim-sum focused Chinese restaurants such as Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck.

Crab egg pork siew mai | S$4.90/++

 
Carefully wrapped into bite-sized portions, this would be gone in one mouthful even for the ladies. We enjoyed the juiciness of the siew mai but the crab eggs atop failed to shine through. Overall, I felt that it was rather pedestrian and okay-tasting, do not expect to be wow'ed, that is for sure.

Xiao Long Bao | S$7.90/++

 
We are generally spoilt by the vast offering of xiao long bao places in Singapore such Din Tai Fung, so it is no surprise that our palate have been sharpened to taste a good rendition when one comes along. Once again, like the other dim sum dishes tried, this was good but not impressive. The broth within the xiao long bao was not as full as expected and the skin of the wrapping was slightly thicker than desired. We however enjoyed the moistness and juiciness of the minced pork but that was not enough to win us over.

BBQ pork puffs | S$4.90/++

 
While most of the dim sum dishes seemed to fare just about average, this managed to be quite a surprisingly good rendition. The flaky pastry was done beautifully and the minced bbq pork on the inside was also delectable to our palate without tasting overly sweet. The drawbacks were that the pork filling was insufficient and it was served cold, which might have been due to it being exposed for a while and personally, I would settle for nothing less than freshly baked pastries when it comes to dim sum.

Pan-fried pork dumplings | S$5.90/++

 
I actually enjoyed this dish though I have always been quite a fan of pan-fried dumplings or 'wo tie'. It does not involve rocket science to perfect this dish but it is important to ensure that the surface is pan-fried to a nice golden-brown crispness which was done so on this occasion. The chives and minced pork filling on the inside was moist and juicy and it was also not overly greasy which appealed.

 

 

 
Like its sister branch Arteastiq Boutique, this place has a nice decor which was thoughtfully designed. Offering art jamming sessions in an attached partitioned room next door, I find the focus to be leaned towards art rather than on food.

 

 
The service staffs were courteous, friendly and approachable. It was always easy to try and fetch their attention. While the customer service, setting and the offering of art jamming remain crowd-drawing factors, the dim sum dishes failed to justify the calories and it might be a while yet for us to return for their food.

 


Please refer to http://www.makeyourcaloriescount.com/2014/02/sg-arteastiq-tea-bone-china-reunion-of.html for full review.
 
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 4  |  
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 3

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Categories : Fast Food | Burgers and Sandwiches

It was only months after returning to work in Singapore did I realise that Triple O's actually have a presence here. One of my favourite fast food chains while working in Hong Kong, this Canadian brand deserves much more recognition than it does at present.

It all started in 1924 when founder Nat Bailey transformed his truck into a travelling lunch counter in Vancouver, Canada. It is very much like our travelling food truck today though this started some nine decades ago! With a passion for baseball, Nat began selling hotdogs as a youngster on the rickety grandstands of old Athletic Park in Vancouver. Customers would shout out to Nat to bring the burgers to them and Nat hired three 'hustlers' who would dress provocatively to take orders from customers in their parked cars. For the simple fact that the ladies hopped to the cars, they became known as Carhops! More importantly, this inspired him to start the first fast food restaurant in Canada that offers drive-in services. It has been coined the 'Carhop Story'.

The name Triple O's originated from the shorthand language of the carhops who took the orders. Customers could choose specially made mayonnaise and relish for their burgers. On the order pads, 'X' meant 'hold' while 'O' meant extra and Triple O simply meant 'plenty of everything'. It was then, a legend was born.

Original burger
| S$6.90/nett (burger only price)

 
All burgers at Triple O's are made-to-order, so that every customer is guaranteed quality and fresh food. The signature classic burger comes with a dill pickle atop, separated by the wrapper. The artisan-styled buns are made using Nat's original recipe and the key that draws customers coming back was the Triple 'O' Sauce which was so good that they named the restaurant after it! It was almost like mayonnaise but blended with various other elements to give it that ultimate kick of richness and savouriness that would almost certainly please everyone's palate.

The Hickory smoked bacon delivered the savouriness which was paired with four ounces of fresh beef patty! This is not your usual processed beef patty usually found at fast food chains but rather fresh minced beef is used. There was your usual fresh crisp lettuce and vine-ripened tomato beautifully topped by a slice of melting cheddar cheese. Of course, we are talking about sinful calories-laden food here but heck, there are cheat days even for the health-conscious!

2 piece crispy fish burger | S$10.90/nett + S$1.50 for fries

 
Thoughtfully set aside, the wedge of lemon slice was separated allowing customers to squeeze in as much tang to their burgers as desired. The crispy beer battered cod was seasoned and deep-fried to give a nice golden brown coating to that tender and soft fish fillet. It was fresh and the softness of the cod fish was nicely complemented by the layer of batter and crust on the outside.

What made this irresistible was that to-die-for homemade tartar sauce and ranch dressing which would have you coming back for a second bite almost right away!

Buffalo chicken club | S$9.90/- ; S$12.90/- for combo set meal which includes fries and drink

 
I would usually share my burger around but not on this occasion. The large deep-fried chicken breast was drizzled in hot sauce and topped with Hickory smoked bacon and a cool ranch dressing, not forgetting the cheddar cheese and greens of course. The chicken breast was tender and moist and the coating batter had that desired golden brown crust. The freshly toasted soft buns complemented the sinful indulgence with the light fluffiness and it was so good that I was deciding if I should have an encore!

French and sweet potato fries | part of the combo set

 
I was expecting this to shine like the ones I had in Hong Kong but the fries were quite a disappointment. It was not freshly deep-fried so both the usual french fries and sweet potato fries were a little on the soft, soggy side.

The sweet potato fries would be a worthy try as one would expect to taste the natural sweetness of the sweet potato and you know you are not eating processed food when you are able to spot unpeeled skin of the potatoes and sweet potatoes on the fries! It is also worth mentioning that their signature chipotle mayo is a must-try dip!

It is not common for me to award a must-try label for any restaurant, bistro or eatery for that matter but this burger chain has never failed me. Well, technically speaking, the fries were a large disappointment on this visit but the burgers were more than enough to make up for it.

 

 
In terms of ambience, expect some casual fast-food dining sort of setting and everything would be self-service. You will be issued one of those UFO saucers which would buzz when your order is ready and you would need to head over to the counter to self-collect.

 
As all burgers are made-to-order, do expect a five minute or so wait. The staff which took our orders was patient while we decided on our choice of burgers and was friendly in his demeanour. Now that I learnt that Triple O's exist in Singapore, they have won themselves a regular customer.

Please visit http://www.makeyourcaloriescount.com/2014/02/sg-triple-os-canadian-burgers-with.html for full review.
 
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 4  |  
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 4

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Categories : Bakery | Desserts and Cakes

Looking for some sweet treats after dinner at Old Airport Road Food Centre, we decided to pop by this cake shop just a street across, hidden at the bottom of a HDB block.
Cafe with a whimsical touch, it was a small cosy space with less than 10 pax seating. Thankfully during our visit on a Friday night, there was just a corner seat left, though I must say it was quite a cramped place in general.

Gula Melaka Cake ($5.50)
with kaya cream cheese frosting and almonds

 

 
Their signature cake that was recommended, we like how the combination went perfectly well. Just lightly sweet with the fragrance of the coconut and gula melaka coming through, it was nicely paired, reminding me the lighter flavoured version of the ondeh ondeh cupcakes I've had at the now-defunct Preparazzi.
The flavours went well, though I found the cake too dense for my liking. I would have preferred a finer texture for the sponge, for that sharper contrast with the almond flakes and the gritty sweet bits in the middle.

Blossom ($5.50)
rose cake with raspberry cream cheese and caramelised pistachio

 
Second bestseller, go for this if you're looking for a light flavour. I like how the rose was just subtle that it didn't taste overpoweringly artificial, well complemented with a sharper raspberry. The pistachio bits also added a nice contrasting texture, though there wasn't much of a roasted pistachio taste I was expecting.

 

 

 
Decent cakes with good combinations, though I personally felt that the sponge bases were too dense for my liking. If you're planning on a visit, do note their closing hours too as they adhere strictly to that, turning off the music and turning away customers. We were also reminded of their closing hours when we placed our orders at about 8.40pm.
 
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 3  |  
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 3  |  
Clean
 4  |  
Price
 3

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Categories : Shanghainese | Dim Sum

This has been around for the longest time at Bugis yet it took us only now to finally drop in with the variety of choices available around the area. Feeling like having Chinese food, we were left with only Crystal Jade or Nanxiang within Bugis Junction, this drew us in with their all-day dim sum!

Famished by the time we reached, we certainly ended up over-ordering for two pax. Starting off well was an adventurous dish that I was glad we took the risk for.

Sauteed Carrot Cake in Blended Rojak Sauce ($8)

 
Reading the menu, I’d expected 3 pieces of pan-fried carrot cake and this came as a surprise. I was dreading the greasiness from the fried cubes initially, but my first bite revealed a soft core made of carrot cake cube, and the crisp layer outside was fresh and didn’t have the oily greasy touch to it.
Best part of this had to be the sauce that had the shrimp paste as base for that slight fragrance, then a spice that gradually kicked in. It was a nice blend of spicy rojak that had retained a slightly sour tinge for that refreshing touch.

Steamed Prawn Dumpling/Har Gao ($5.50)

 
This is usually my test for dim sum and this turned out well with a good skin, though the dumpling could have been wrapped in a more tightly so there's a nice texture while chewing. I liked that the skin was of the right thickness and wasn't too sticky, and that the prawns were fresh as well.

Crab Roe & Pork Filling Steamed Bun ($13.80)

 
Considering that this is a place that has 小笼包 as its signature, this was quite a disappointing one. The broth was too thick that it was what the whole dumpling basically tasted of, and lacked the refreshing satisfaction you'd typically get from downing some clear soup to go with the meat filling. The crab roe was almost non-existent, or perhaps blended in too well with the broth.

Salted Egg Yolk Prawn Balls ($16.80)

 
This caught our eye almost immediately when we glanced through the menu, with us being fans of salted egg yolk sauce that's so savoury it goes with almost anything! This, however was just lacking in flavour and was too dry that it was just like any normal fried prawn balls.

Golden Fried Rice ($10)

 

This was recommended by their service staff and wow, we were indeed impressed by this seemingly simple combination! With small shrimps finely chopped to add the subtle aroma, golden raisins and crispy pork floss, the savouriness mixed with the bursts of sweetness was just perfect with a crunch in every bite. We were bursting with so much food, but this was one that we'd swept clean pretty promptly!

We would probably be back for some good old classic food, like the fried rice that won us over, and possibly to avoid the crowded eateries in Bugis. They have quite a fair bit of variety if you'd just be craving for more than just the usual!
 
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 3  |  
Environment
 4  |  
Service
 3  |  
Clean
 4  |  
Price
 3

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