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biba8169
This is biba8169 . I like to hang out in City Hall, Tanglin, Orchard. French, Italian, Japanese, American are my favorite cuisines. I also love Restaurant, Bakery, Café, cakes, muffins, strawberries, coffee.
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Categories : American | Café

For a full coverage and pictures, please visit:
http://www.epinosh.com/2012/07/dean-deluca-singapore.html

Some New Yorkers hot-favorite, no doubt. It rocks the island the day it made its debut here, choosing to open at 8pm in the evening and attracting its fans to queue as early as 7pm for the opening special goodies bags. I wasn't one of 'em but was hoping to pay an opening visit if only they have started their business in the morning.

Didn't had a chance to drop by Orchard Central until lately. I normally wouldn't walked to the far end of Orchard Road unless there's a good reason to. And today, I had a valid one - Brunch at Dean & DeLuca.

The All-day-breakfast selection written on the blackboard was limited. I had The Belgian Stack - was dainty and makes me feel so princessy sweet. The deep waffle pockets were filled with organic maple syrup and a dollop of vanilla ice-cream. The batter cake was baked to light crisp on the outer with a rich buttery center. Served with berries and chocolate sauce - the most conventional way. I could only comment that it was overpriced given its portion. For S$21+, I could get a more hearty breakfast to fill my day.

The other breakfast I have tried - American Country Breakfast for S$22+. This was a lackluster! The most classic dish but the worst I have ever tasted. Nothing lived up to D&D's except for the pork sausage which has a blasting sausage skin and flavorful pork fillings. They failed in their scrambled eggs which was cooked dry and too coagulated. Sautéed mushroom a tad ordinary while the bacon strips were too soft and layers of fats seen 'raw' instead of charred crisp. However, the harsh brown was house-made I presumed. Unlike the mass produced 'McDonald's' version; this big mashed potato ball with bits of ham embedded, was tasteless. I only figured it out at the end of the meal, that this was the harsh brown D&D refers to, in their dish description. Was it me who's slow to find the association? Anyway, I regretted having American Country breakfast, but I wish I could have more choices when the hot-favorite Brioche French Toasts was sold out for the day.
waffle stack

waffle stack

 

 
 
Date of Visit: Jul 15, 2012 

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 2  |  
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 2  |  
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 1  |  
Clean
 3  |  
Price
 1

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Categories : Italian | European | Restaurant | Pasta | Kids-Friendly

For a full story coverage and more pictures, please visit:
http://www.epinosh.com/covelli-italian-bistro-wine-bar-singapore/

When was the last time you set foot in an Italian restaurant – any chance of it recently? I cannot remember mine but quite certain I haven’t had for a good few months. I relished most of the pasta dishes cooked in the kitchen of some fusion restaurant. These days, I cannot stop my counts on the number of new sprung eateries, mostly fusion and almost far from its root of origin. Should we be overjoyed at the trend? Or get upset over the lost authenticity. I don’t know.

Everyone has their inner most to feed – some prefer the traditional cuisines whilst there are those who cannot do without a twist to the original. Whichever group you belong to, a meal is a meal that critically measures the suitability of that moment in time. Do you agree with me that at times, your mood plays a part in deciding your most desired choice, a psyche dish to bring solace.

I accept the culinary creativity of today’s chef – ranging from an independent classic dish or a union between the Japanese & Italian heritage. I applaud at their bold magical stint in the making, their willingness to rediscover things that they have been taught, perhaps during their apprentice days. It is very encouraging to see them breaking away from the norm to please the crowd who is becoming more finicky in today’s world. Though I believe in Italian dishes cooked in its old traditional way, I welcome younger chefs who practice neoclassicism to woo diners with cutting edge menu - Covelli Italian Bistro & Wine Bar, is a pit stop to seek reminisce of true Italian taste (I thought but turned out otherwise) with a contemporary twist.

The restaurant week, a bi-annual event in Singapore (March & October); coax me into dining at Covelli.

Deeply rooted at the basement of Orchard Central, Covelli has cooked for many for the past 1 year. You wouldn’t missed the iconic laddering escalator along the mall’s exterior, very architectural. A direct route access to level 4 and higher level where most restaurants sit. But those who are frightful of heights, please stay away and use the elevator in the mall instead.

I am greeted by a friendly serving staff who led me into the restaurant that comes with an alley, separating the main dining area and a more private meal room joining the bar area. My table sits privately along the stone-featured wall, bathed in mood lighting with a dazzling but modest chandelier above. I rest comfortably on the padded chair, feeling the velvet seat cover on my skin. The male server who attends to my area was alert and ready though I wish having no one staring at me round the clock from a distance. Having said, I still appreciate his presence around me.

He showed me the menu designed for the restaurant week which prior to this, I have seen.

 
I was smitten by the creamed stock with artichoke and eggplant finishing. The spoonful of crab cheese cream inject a delicate touch. The addition of the black truffle oil perfumed the soup with a bit more fragrant while the croutons gave a crusty bites that awakened the jaw muscle cells.

 
The tuna carpaccio was far from my expectation yet the lime sorbet excites me greatly. The kamquat oil creates a light acidity which helps to mask the fishy taste in the paper-thin sliced tuna. The meat taste uniquely different from the usual tuna sashimi I had in any reputable Japanese restaurant – if you get my point. The dish has loads of zing in it, if not for the tuna.

 
With only 2 options in the main, we ordered both for exploration. The pork is braised in root beer until it becomes wobbly. This resulted in a moist and shattered meat. The lean portion is seen clad in between thick jellied fats that allows an almost creamy texture. Excellent eaten in small bites but to wolf down 2 massive slab like that was clearly a challenge – for a lady. The spinach gnocchi (in Pork dish) and calamari ink spatzel (in fish dish) was identical in texture. Both tasted rubbery and sterile. I remember mopping up flavorful gravy of coq au vin with the spaetzel at db Bistro Moderne but not here. The dish didn’t allow me as it was served dry and so, the glutenous morsels remained flavorless except its faint cheesy elements. I guess they exist to fill the empty gastric cavity.

 
If you insist asking what the Pan-seared Nile Perch resembles, it will be a home-cooked dish which my mum used to whip up every dinner. The deep fried fish was the least unusual to any taste buds. The crackling fish skin helps accentuate joy in eating the seemingly humble dish. I liked the fish for its freshness and appreciate the sea-urchin mango flavoured mousse for that gentle shake on my shoulder.

The Italian feast didn’t rock my palate, but it ended with a sweet note.

Pretty to admire, the plating was attractive. It reminds me of the flourishing spring with a touch of petal embellishments. Purple, yellow, pinkish hues whisper melodically, at one time chorusing and inviting me to join in. The cake – pigmented in gutsy red, was a pure enjoyment. Made using highly nutritious beet, I am more than pleased to take on a few more mouthful. I had expected it to taste earthy and raw, but was impressed by its fabulous end result. I loved the natural flavour from the beet and the extremely moist cake texture it yield. It was quite disturbing at first to learn that the cake was made using olive oil as I didn’t like the idea of tasting sharp olive oil in my dessert. I was surprised that there was no traces of it but a subtle sweetness from the garden beet. Chunks of chocolate mascarpone are making the dessert even more addictive and bits of those dark chocolate shavings were not wasted as well. Everything was packed in harmony and deposited in my almost exploded gastric pocket. Though sinful, I would definitely eat more of it for a youthful look if the claim for anti-aging benefit in the beet is valid.

If my maiden attempt at Covelli didn’t convince my palate, its service team won me over. I am prepared to return for a proper selection from its menu and most critically – it is the Dark Chocolate Lava cake that is waving at me!

Let your taste buds decide if you had an enjoyable Italian meal, at least I had a fine dessert to make it up.
 
Date of Visit: Oct 18, 2012 

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 3  |  
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 4  |  
Service
 4  |  
Clean
 4  |  
Price
 3

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Categories : Bakery

For a full story coverage, please visit:
http://www.epinosh.com/2012/10/freshly-baked-singapore.html

For 3 years now, it seems to me that there are new breakfast parlors & coffee joints opening every month. All-day-breakfast and coffee tasting (surpassing wine tasting these days) becomes suddenly fashionable. Many are made to rediscover the art of coffee drinking and cultivate the new societal norm of brunching. No one could be spared.

While some are untroubled by queues, others like myself, gets irk by it. Those that comes with a long line, therefore needs either entice me with real stuff or delude me with some marketing gimmicks which I may fall trap at times. With a bit of luck, one could still find authentic flavourful eatery without having to join the crowd in the bustling street of Orchard - but allow me to echo; "that's when you are in luck." Betting at it, I seek out the less congested spot in downtown.

Nestling along a quieter lane at Killiney road, this 5-year-old deli-bakery shop is a stone away from the signature kaya toast at Killiney Kopitiam. I remembered savoring the optional coconutty kaya jam & that slightly salted slab of butter that cuddle 2 slices of warm French toast and washed down with a cup of old-fashion brewed coffee. And today, I met with Freshly Baked by Le Bijoux for a similar nostalgia experience - no queue absolutely.

I enjoyed its unpretentious makeup with sturdy wooden dining furnitures, withholding some traditional elements. The well-ventilated shophouse is most welcoming. But more inviting is the lady behind the baking countertop who was once the executive pastry chef at Saint Pierre who struck out on her 5 years ago. This baker - Audrey has tempt patrons with her homemade sweet cinnamon loaf, butter cake, walnut raisin bread. Some make their way there for the affordable breakfast sets (nett prices). I hear them, and so I turn up.

I was greeted with a firm but friendly tone, the moment I stepped into the shop. The place was empty at 2pm on a Saturday. I quickly pick up the menu placed in an acrylic holder against the wall. Without delay, I went up to the payment counter to make my order and pay for them. The cake choices in the glass shelving were narrow - forget about having any fanciful slices, Audrey bakes traditional confections.

The burger bap arrived with a loud bang. The sizeable bun came with an authentic softness with an easy to chew texture and airy interior, nothing more. The salt-cured beef slices didn't taste too briny but a little too greasy. Instead of assembling them into a à la mode burger, I forked the sunny side-up and get excited watching the yolk exploding in all direction atop the bap. The result was a moist and eggy bread combo. Unimpressed, the baked bean stood motionless on the plate. Though it didn't wow me greatly, I appreciate the homely bread offered.

2 slices of thick wholemeal bread helped fix one's hunger pangs. I feel the crust crackling apart as it revealed large to medium air pockets in the crumbs. I figured that I tasted too many well-baked European breads these days that the ones I had here failed to surprise me further. The set came with some crisp bacon strips and a pool of scrambled egg - moist but bland disappointment. The stalk of romaine looked out of place on the plate; too little to call it salad, too bulky on its own - I don't understand. Still, I am pleased by the customer-oriented gesture here. I feel good not for the cappuccino but the biding good-bye when you make your exit to the door.

 
 
Date of Visit: Oct 04, 2012 

Other Ratings:
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 3  |  
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 3  |  
Service
 3  |  
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 3  |  
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 3

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A good try! OK Jul 30, 2012   
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Categories : Japanese

For a full story and more pictures, please visit:
http://www.epinosh.com/2012/07/mr-obanyaki-singapore.html

In existence for quite a while, Mr. Obanyaki has been anchoring at the basement of Takashimaya shopping mall as early as 2008. If the name doesn't ring a bell, perhaps "車輪餅" in Mandarin or "Pancake" (think of Mr. Bean's pancake) or "Imagawayaki" (thick round version)/ "Taiyaki" (fish shaped), the way the Japanese named it.

I get to choose over a few fillings; Blueberry Cheese, Chocolate Cheese, Kaya Cheese or merely red beans. And if you know me well, I can be somewhat adventurous when it comes to trying out new flavour plus I am quite a sucker for things that are rare or are made limited. This time, the small cupboard says "limited edition / New opening specials" (new openings - I figured that it has been renovated) for Azuki bean in Green Tea & Mixed dry fruits with Banana - I know I had to have.

Azuki (Red Beans) in Green Tea batter cake - you can't go wrong with the combination, seriously. For those who dislikes the bitterness in green tea, this didn't taste the slightest bit. Instead, it has a faint green tea aroma in each bite. The cake was soft and moist. It balanced up the overly sweetened azuki beans fillings, I am glad.

Limited edition's Mixed fruits with Banana version had been inferior by an inch. I should have scrutinised the display to see what kind of fruit mix they were talking about - yes, you probably have guessed it; those cherries, citrus peel, sultanas mosaic (commonly seen here - Silver Bird brand)! The batter cake had the same texture as the green tea's, of course minus the tea fragrance. Though the candied dried mix fruits were plain ordinary, the fresh banana stuffing did a good job; allowing the cake to taste starchier with that additional moisture. Unfortunately, I didn't quite like the candied mosaic.

Still, these 2 Imagawayaki did ease my mid-day hunger pangs.

 
Date of Visit: Jul 17, 2012 

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

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A bistronomic brunch affair! OK Apr 27, 2012   
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Categories : American | French | Restaurant | Fine Dining

Read full story here: www.epinosh.com

The ambiance was laid back but not on the service. The main courses were served in 25mins after they have been placed. First came the Coq au vin; braised chicken cooked with wine, wild mushrooms, pearl onions, few stripes of pork belly and most notable lardons. The späetzle (a form of egg noodles but small button-shaped) was served alongside in a iron cast dishware. The dish looks attempting and it gives off an exhilarating winy aroma. I immediately helped myself with the chicken thigh (it came with 2 drumsticks and a thigh) and it was all comforting. The thigh was well soaked with the thickened wine juices, leaving the skin jelly-liked. However, the meat was a bit tough and chewy. Unfortunately, the drumsticks taste similar, I'd believe it shouldn't have happened on drumsticks. I am puzzled over the meat texture, even until now. On the brighter side, the thickened gravy was heavenly and you ought to drizzle it over those späetzle to enjoy, it mustn't be wasted. The pearl onions were sweet & so fresh that they were all crunchy at each bite! The barely noticeable stripped pork belly and cubed mushrooms were thoroughly braised and yummy. I smiled at those lardon bits that made the dish taste even better just like seeing a plate of Char Kway Teow sprinkled generously with lardons, full of guilt but gratifying.

While feeling a little upset over the chicken meat, I am so delighted that I am right about Fried Eggs Lyonnaises! The "not-so-popular" egg dish was a surprise. I am amazed that the duck confit was so well done that it was so soft and delicate (the fact that the duck meat was even tender than coq au vin's chicken drumsticks, makes me felt worst over it) and the caramelized onions add an extra sweetness to the meat. It was not gamey at all! The cubed potatoes embedded underneath the layer of cheese were equally delicious. I rate it 4.5/5 if I must and Coq au vin a 3.5/5, for the meat texture was not what I would expect it to be even though the gravy was a star.

Not to be missed, you must try db's desserts! I have a soft spot for desserts and their Warm Madeleines were to die-for! ............
Fried Eggs Lyonnaise

Fried Eggs Lyonnaise

 
Warm Madeleines

Warm Madeleines

 
 
Date of Visit: Apr 24, 2012 

Spending per head: Approximately $100(Lunch)

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

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