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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 : Italian | Hotel | Restaurant | Fine Dining

For a complete write up, please visit:
http://www.epinosh.com/waterfall-cafe-shangri-la-hotel-singapore/

 
Getting my facts right has been quite a task over the weekend. I delayed in sharing my experience with the newly launched cafe as I didn’t want to fall trap into delivering unjust statement which I feel bad when I wronged someone. It sounds solemn but nothing catastrophic if this makes you wonder. Instead, I become able to recognize the reality; the fact that the culinary world has changed to evolve into something out of this world.

Not necessarily a bad thing, it just shows how our economy has globalized & flourish and people has changed their eating habits thereby allowing for a more refined agriculture - a chain reaction celebrated by some.

I clearly remember the defunct Garden Cafe a decade ago that offers buffet, of which its role has been taken over by The Line. It was a space no bigger than Waterfall Cafe and donned a dim and casual dining atmosphere. Today, the well-established hotel transformed its water-cave (formerly the Waterfall Terrace) into a new dining shell and named ~ Waterfall Cafe.

Presenting what has been seen increasingly popular – Mediterranean cuisines; yet emphasized greatly on a range of healthier dishes with the clever use of herbs & spices. I, like most nutritionally-informed individuals, can’t wait to chow on at the outlet; evidently mark the trending towards a more health conscious society.

 
The interior is reminiscent of the English home – a communal table that stands unfaltering in the roomy dinning space, surrounded by woody furnishing such as wall-mounted shelving that housed bottles of oil, spices etc. With close examination, one could see the minutiae of the designer - a mosaic motif flooring which brings about a contemporary interpretation of a traditional home.

Service has been gracious from the moment I approached the entrance and was shown to my seat briskly with water and menu handed to me without delay. The menu is brief but holds substance. It is worded in green and black fonts; I figured the former suits anyone with a vegetarian lifestyle while the latter satiate a carnivore appetite.

 
Instantly, I know I wouldn’t want to miss out on my greens which I added Prosciutto to it for a more flavorful touch. A sophisticated combination of oversize sundried tomatoes, sauteed juicy mushrooms, plumply figs encircled a heap of fresh & crisp baby spinach – the good olive bathe was so therapeutic to one’s mind.

 
But I was drive to frenzy by what’s coming next – fresh dinner rolls. These petite buns were delightfully pillowy and they came with varied choices of rye, wholemeal, plain that topped with black sesame, pumpkin seeds & multigrain cereals. The urge to eat them just got greater each time with a dab of spiced butter but I have to refrain myself cruelly.

 
The most anticipated comes the main courses – the grilled chicken dish appeared to have fought well with its rival; Iberico pork dish. The former was totally unbelievable. I could see meat juices oozing out from its incision and each portion was baby tender; given that it was a chicken breast which often taste dense & fibrous. Chef Kelvin Cha did a marvelous job to the meat, undeniably. More satisfying, I get to nibble some crispy broiled skin along with the well-marinated meat. While the spinach, mushrooms & figs buddy well with the chicken, I find them a little excessive. The fault was neither in the dish nor the chef, but the fact that I had them in my starter and it becomes repetitive.

 
When the Japanese take pride in Wagyu beef, the Russian did the same for Caviar and the French having the prestigous Foie Gras; so what about the Spanish? The new kids on the block – Iberian breed that makes a typical cured ham ~ Jamón ibérico and other cuts as dishes. This finest meat on earth was becoming a hit since AVA approved its import last year (the defunct Santi was among the first to offer and lately I have seen it on Bedrock’s menu) . Its beef-like, marbled texture emits a hint of sweetness. Although I am alarmed to see my chop being seared medium rare as I sliced, I must praised its silky-tender feel though not as buttery as Wagyu beef. In brief, this black Iberico pigs are reared to roam freely in the oak woods of Spain thereby having fats build into the muscles and they are on acorn diet being most desirable. Perhaps due to its breeding method, I find the meat having a wild aroma. Thankfully, the searing process has helped to breakdown the connective tissues & fats, making it melt-in-the-mouth. It also charmed me with a bed of sauteed corn kernels, carrots, zucchini and a few aromatic grilled pineapple wedges – soaking up the cinnamon seasoned sauce.

Until now, I still hesitate to give in to pork that is cooked PINK. I acknowledged the fact that Iberico pigs are carefully reared and are believed to carry no parasites. With chefs abide by the lawful cooking standard of 160 degree Celsius to conclude all harmful organisms have been wiped out, I am still skeptical but Kelvin’s clear explanation reassured me, eliminating the fear I had. But, if food safety is your concern, it wouldn't hurt by asking for a thoroughly cooked pork chop - after all, you must feel good about what you eat.

 
I am totally smitten by the strawberry flavored dessert. I felt weak at the knees every time these strawberry fruits appear before me (a big fan of American Greetings – first/second edition Strawberry Shortcake dolls since tender age). As such, it wasn’t a tough decision in picking my sweets here. At a glance, the chilly Coconut Cream Panna Cotta fits me perfectly. Not disappointing, the cream was gorgeously set and layered between the thick strawberry confit – not too wobbly or gelish; a big effort. I am mesmerized by the nice tropical aroma stemming from the coconut fruit. It didn’t taste heavy and not over-sweet. It was a challenge not to lick clean the confit but neither can I hide it in my coat nor bring it to the washroom, can I? Watching the thinly coated leftover in the shot glass was such an agony!

 
If you are wild about a glass of thick and creamy coffee, do ask for a Coffee Monster that dispensed a luxurious taste. The monstrous double espresso is sweetened with vanilla ice-cream with a touch of chocolate and hazelnut liqueur. Very addictive. You will be pleased to know as well that the cafe serves digestifs. It has become a growing trend among discerning diners to sip either aperitifs and digestifs before and after their meals. Digestifs are often sweet & sugary and it claimed to aid digestion after a full meal, hence they are more potent. Try zesty Limoncello Bottega or herbal Amaro Averna – S$16, grape-based Grappa – S$22 or Brandy – S$22; to name a few.

I applaud the increasing number of experimental and skillful chef, similarly to the many artisan producers of today. For without, we will never get to taste ingenious culinary creations that draw from the purest ingredients. The new age eating which includes but not limited to organic food, would allow this group of farmers to prosper and ironically, it could also mean inflating their prices due to demand & supply (although I hope it would be cheaper if it follows the notion on economies of scale). Pricing aside, these pesticide/GMO free produces are packed with more nutrients and more health friendly. With the introduction of spices and herbs piling with antioxidant properties, the dishes get enliven apart from eating healthily. It is a myth that a healthier fare equates a meal that seems dreary (unless you are referring to Gluten-free products – yes, they are awful. I had a strict GF diet 3 years ago) While I don’t see eating healthily would mean giving up marbled meat since Iberico pork has been considered healthy without genetically altered or hormones induced. And by spicing up your diet, you get a lot more vitamins and minerals. So, there is more than just meeting the tastebuds and surely, you have got nothing to loose!

I hope the opening of this organic cafe brings on a domino effect, feeding more needy souls with healthier range of food that excites the palate in conjunction with the introduction to new ways of eating our gradually lifeless cuisine.
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Grilled Chicken Breast,Baby Spinach salad + Parma Ham,Coconut Panna Cotta/Strawberry Confit,Coffee Monster
 
Spending per head: Approximately $50(Lunch)

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

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Categories : Japanese | Sukiyaki/Shabu Shabu

For a complete story coverage & pictures; please visit:

http://www.epinosh.com/tsukada-nojo-singapore/

 
I am not obsessed with birds but one of my sisters often get bewitched by their meaty leg – weak! Oops…lol. (she better not read this..) Yes, I very much wanted to introduce this pot of fabulous collagen-based soup to her, they called it the “Beauty-Pan” or more formally Bijin Nabe ($25/head, min 2 to order & available only at dinner time). Never heard of it? Fret not, I’m here. Tsukada Nojo, pride itself in using the highest quality breed of free-range chicken which they titled; “Lord of the manor Miyazaki chicken” – cultivated from their own poultry farm. Sounds prestigious, doesn’t it? So, what’s the hype about? The first flagship outlet brought in by AP Company (Japan), has more than 120 outlets under its 13 brands. Particularly, Tsukada Nojo – under AP Company makes debut in Singapore on 31st Oct, 2012. I spotted the new restaurant – its name was first mentioned in the papers while announcing the opening of the upcoming Atrium@Orchard mall. Then the inquisitive me, just have to comb the world-wide-web hungrily and be rewarded with a stream of new discovery.

 
Having their own farm-house in Japan, AP Company raised its own Jidori at 4 locations in Miyazaki Prefecture. Farming process is difficult, especially when it was first achieved with a 3-way mating system in 2004. Carefully groomed without the use of hormones, the species are called “chicken estate steward” with good reputation for its chewy texture and rich flavour.

Unfortunately, Singapore has banned poultry imports from Japan. More directly, these prized Miyazaki chickens will never make it through the port gantry under AVA’s radar. Its a shame. So, where were these replacement from? Upon checking with the wait staff, these chickens parts are from our neighboring country – Malaysia. But the collagen puddings are imported from Japan – made from Jidori (chicken) bones that have been boiled for more than 8 hours to extract the pool of collagen.

 
Carrying the pot, the wait staff slowly lowered it on the table, onto the induction pad. Here, I saw a pot of silky “bean curd” stacked up like a mole hill which miraculously liquefied within a minute under high heat. I witnessed the melting process, unveiling chicken chunks hidden within the wobbling curd, bubbling by now.

 
One needn’t do anything, the friendly staff will introduce the plate of ingredients (mostly Malaysian produces) and placed them in the pot, sequentially (they claimed that the soup will somewhat taste different if the sequence wasn’t followed). Once the collagen pudding has dissolved, it will be served in a small cup for the guest to take a sip. Whoohoo – instant gratification! Seasoned only with salt, this soup’s the Real McCoy! Intensely rich in flavour & full of chicken aromas, very concentrated. The chicken parts (NOT Miyazaki) were good, despite the constant boiling and swirling in the broth – the meat still exhibit a springy texture, not dull and non-gamey. Then, the staff went on to add Tori Tsukuni – a combination of fresh pork & chicken minced meat into the soup, followed by yellow zucchini, winter melon slices, winter melon radish, black & white fungus. Next, add the yuzu peel to freshen up the soup (I didn’t taste the difference) before throwing in the deep fried beancurd pockets and loads of leafy vegetables.

 
To end the meal, choose between 3 types of ramen; of which I had the semi-cooked Thick mochi-mochi noodles. After a short swirl in the broth, the noodles turned springy and chewy in texture.

 
What could be more enjoyable when you have a sublime dinner and a great interior. A classic twist to a typical Japanese-style, the space emits the impression of natural and calm with the interaction of stones and wood frames. Photographs of their poultry farms backdrop the small dining room, interestingly.

 
This is the best quality chicken soup I ever had for a long time, especially soothing on a rainy season like now. It’s so comforting, sparing you from extreme thirst even after the pot has been scoop cleaned.

 
Alternatively, one can opt for a la carte small dishes like the popular sweet Tamagoyaki that tasted moist and custardy, or try various Nikumaki, salmon spring roll, grilled chicken wings, steamed meatball dumplings and perhaps coupled with ebi fried rice for a fuller meal. They even served Zosui (porridge) for those who prefer a bowl of soupy rice. Desserts such as puddings, sorbet and ice-creams are available as well. So, even if you are not out to have the Bijin Nabe, there is always a couple of something to choose from. For lunch, an array of ramen dishes will be offered but not the pot.
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Bijin Nabe
 
Spending per head: Approximately $35(Dinner)

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

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Categories : English | Café | Desserts and Cakes | Burgers and Sandwiches | Brunch

For a more story coverage and pictures; follow me on

http://www.epinosh.com/penny-university-singapore/

 
Peculiar name it has. A coffee shop - deck out interestingly in modern lighting fixtures, serving you in its customized bar and counter table tops using recycled railroad ties (by THE RAIL LIFE CO.), with a raw finishing – polished cement flooring. I walked in and find myself a table seat, adjacent to the communal table. I wish I had a chance to the booth seat for a more enclosed space or that little couch corner for a homely feel, still I had a wonderful time just people watching in the open area. I returned to the counter for my orders. The menu is not long, making your choice is a lot more easier. Serving a small range of breakfast and a few selection of tea/coffee, the friendly young lady took the orders on her electronic portable tablet. While I am charmed by the catchy wood-cut coffee menu pinned on the wall, I find the old rustic-looking cash register very striking. I don’t seem to spot any functioning one (no receipts-paperless & they accept only Cash), how cool.

 
Seconds after I made payment, I find myself honing after some treats. The see-through display shelved some mouth-watering cakes, pies, tarts (supplied by other home-grown bakeries, by Fluff Bakery, Windowsillpies) Surely I have missed the pop-up cookies store – my lovebites on their Salted caramel butter biscuits but still managed to try a piece of that crunchy earl grey tea almond ones.

Wanna know why named Penny University and not others? It's too long to spell it out here, so visit me at http://www.epinosh.com/penny-university-singapore/ to get a clearer picture.

 
I learn to appreciate how things fall into place, how each new start-up was conceptualized & established. The process was lengthy but each baby steps were taken painstakingly with great passion. Likewise, the 7-ounce of simply coffee and water bond together brilliantly with careful brewing method – a clean & creamy mouth-feel, less harsh. Honestly, I’d prefer this to the one using Papa Palheta roast.

 
The breakfast toasties definitely amp up my lazy morning. I opted for a single toast instead of two but regretted as the marmite spreading the toast was marvelous. I used to make myself a slice at home but hardly these days, so when I saw them on the menu, I just know this it it! A deliberate amount is used so no worries about being overly-salted. The taste was made even more paramount when paired with cheese, supremely good! Then comes the poached eggs and a handful of rocket leaves salad to wrap up your morning – what an awakening!

 
If you find the marmite extract too acquiring, they offer sourough toast with butter, marmalade & fig condiments. I like the amount of heat that browned each round slices but I didn’t seem to be able to locate its tangy taste. It needed a greater dose of levain. Of course, they have a few more options available.

 
The Rock Cake makes a fabulous teatime treat. The Great Britain first had them during the WWII as one of the rationed food item. Quintessentially, a fruit cake with a jagged contour but minute-sized. Scone-alike, this fruit bun is somewhat moist and crumbly. The candied jumbo-sized dried cranberry & raisin fruits complement the cake which has been baked universally less sweet. Accompanied by a cup of brew – unmistakable. Enjoying this classics of British food, I can now claim to be part of the Harry Potter’s gang.
 
Date of Visit: Nov 04, 2012 

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

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Categories : French | Hotel | High Tea | Brunch

For a complete review, please visit: http://www.epinosh.com/brasserie-les-saveurs-reload-singapore/ chopstick

I have reviewed a few times since and yes, they are consistent with top-notch service - almost unbeatable. Let me share with you their dinner menu which I think it has been less covered here.

 
All my meal attempts at Brasserie Les Saveurs were pleasant – nothing screwed up – but not utterly out of this world. Believe it or not, this is the only restaurant proved to be a cut above the rest in the 6-star rated tavern, with Yan Ting being the runner up. But it makes me wonder what infallible strategies the business have employed to make it sustainable in the long run when I see a fading crowd, the dining room barely filled with 15 guests on a Saturday evening. Strong bottom line or just keeping afloat, either way, it should least worry me, as long as they still served me quality food with exceptional service. Yes, their Maître d‘ is expecting my arrival and receives me cordially.

 
I was here for a round of dinner, a birthday celebration sort with a group. The idea of sitting right in front of the Live band sounds groovy but turned out ill-considered. I will relate why as it goes along.

 
The opening ceremony wasn’t at full blast but one that’s solemn. Arrived in pairs, the wait staff sent messages from the Chef of Cuisine – Alexandre Lozachmeur, who aims to amuse us and that was why it has been called the “Amuse Bouche“. I didn’t need this to understand his culinary intention, obviously this is French classics with a modern touch. Lovely duck confit, slowed cooked to yield a tender (not meltingly) texture and then meticulously tear into humble strips to feed the guests. Sits atop a bed of lentils evenly dressed in light vinaigrette, the duck meat shines in the dark and becomes a bit more stimulating with chives decor.

 
Well, the messengers have left us quite a while, giving us room to handle the mouth amuser and avoid eavesdropping behind the partition. But I know we were been observed from a distance, that was how they were described as “discreet & attentive”! I hope our laughter didn’t radiate the whole dining room and thanks to the Live music, our serious conversation turned into a few moments of chuckle, then ventured into some senseless jokes when we interpret each other wrongly – because we were muffling away as the band plays in the background. So, my end-of-day conclusion was right – I made a bad judgement, I chose the wrong table but it was fun, anyway. We turned silent when we noticed the messengers were back in the hall. Marching towards us, this time, they delivered the Terrine de Foie Gras.

Being popular and well-liked, this duck foie gras came to me in a terrine form. I took a few twinkles before slather a part of it on my brioche toast. Undeniably good, very rich and buttery. I am not a fan of this “fat-liver” species, as I find the force-feeding breeding technique disturbing and so I could only consumed a portion of it. I know most people cannot resist its delicate taste and although this is a duck version, it was less gamey and melting, not losing its shine when placed side by side with those goose cousins. The braised figs are not to be missed. They were cushy, naturally sweet with a sharp sourish note fathered by the balsamic vinegar decked within the salad, very refreshing.

 
Then the soup arrived. It seems the chef is getting a little impatient, sending us his new message more quickly by now. Never mind about the pace, I could stop them when appropriate. Watching them drowning the pancetta in my plate with that creamy Chestnut Veloute was so tantalizing. The engagement was rhythmic with chestnut bits, then bacon fragments, followed by the smooth and velvety chestnut creme whirling in my mouth – sensational. I have always loved the veloute here, either the pumpkins or spinach, they were all good. The volume was kept reasonable, hence it wouldn’t weigh you down. But some in my group did find it slightly too creamy, so its up to one’s tolerance.

 
This braised short rib is prime! Every one agreed that this is the key catalyst to the night’s event. Unbelievably dissolved in the mouth, I have changed my mind to like this over the Coq au vin at db Bistro (I know its a different breed but the french classic way). The beef burgundy at Antoinette was considered good by the group until they were greeted by this esteemed Plat de Côte. The well-marbled beef cut has been braised in red wine, producing an ultra-tender; barely visible texture that rewards me with mouthful of rich winery flavour. The potato purée smeared in part with tapenade sauce was buttery and smooth, not too complex but very heart-warming. The modern beef cube was truly a refined piece, I was completed sold.

 

 
At last, the chef has send us his love note. His 2-piece poetry appears romantic and impressive. The Hazenut ice-cream was chocolatey, not overly sweet though I’d prefer some good bitter ones. It’s tactical and trying hard to pair up the two, but none was psychoactive. Not entirely weak, at least that slab of milk chocolate mass was worth remembering for its caramel taste highlighted with a hint of salt that average out the otherwise cloying feel. And the lusty segment was gently carpeted by a praline sable which was made sandy and mimics the taste of a shortbread but faint. This masterpiece was striving hard to win me over but I was not attracted by it, sadly. Not complaining but this Chocolat au Lait et Noisettes was anemic among the rest.
 
Other Ratings:
Taste
 4  |  
Environment
 5  |  
Service
 5  |  
Clean
 5  |  
Price
 4

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Categories : Cantonese/Hong Kong | Hotel | Seafood

See full story here: www.epinosh.com

Returning umpteen times, Shang Palace or more commonly known as 香宫, has been one of my favourite dining place. The Chinese restaurant resides on the ground floor at The Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore (adjacent to the main lobby lifts), serves authentic Cantonese cuisines with provincial specialties. Chef Steven Ng is at present, the master behind the stove. (after Chef Peter Tsang has left)

Chan Kee favorite Roast Goose has not been a let down, I am glad. The skin was crisp thin and it taste as good as their popular Peking Duck. The meat was moist and tender but not right to the bones. I'd wish I have requested for a deboned portion as it can be messy when I need to teeth the meat. The meat contained fair amount of fats but not too greasy. The flavour was good enough on its own without any helping on the plum sauce accompanied. Even though I'd prefer Yung Kee's for its juicier texture and meatiness, Shang Palace's was a close match.

As for the Croaker Omelet, it went further to rouse my taste buds. I have never had a croaker omelet and by its Chinese name, I have thought it was a crab dish! Calvin explained that it was the scrambled egg white that imitates the crab meat. According to the legend, the omelet was Dowager Empress CiXi's (Qing Dynasty) favourite. The dish came about when she wanted to have crab one day but due to the lack in immediate supply, the chef decided to use egg white as a replacement and the Empress was won over. The dish becomes popular and flourish. What interests me was the tad vinegar taste in the dish and it brings out the freshness of the croaker fish. The egg white was cottony and not chunky. I am very impressed with the modest-looking egg dish.

Dessert was an assortment of Crisp green tea dumpling filled with black sesame, Baked walnut pastry and Salted egg custard bun.

For more information on the current 1-for-1 deal, please read www.epinosh.com
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Chan Kee favorite Roast Goose,Croaker Omelet,Crisp green tea dumpling filled with black sesame,Salted egg custard bun
 
Date of Visit: Apr 26, 2012 

Spending per head: Approximately $170(Dinner)

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

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