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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 : Restaurant | Pasta | Kids-Friendly

For a full story coverage and pictures; please drop by:
http://www.epinosh.com/podi-the-food-orchard-singapore/

 
The new "bold" eatery; PODI - the brainchild of Cedele, unveiled a spread of high-end dishes. One pointed that PODI bares the meaning for Bold, the Germans call it. To me, while the name represents the new restaurant's philosophy for being dauntless, creative and being exclusive, they deliver more towards International cuisines. A few on the Westerns - Grilled sea bass, seared NZ beef steaks; then the Italian range with pasta & risotto; Turkish range - Stone-baked Pide Pies, all of which without the influenced from the Germans. In my opinion, PODI epitomizes the beauty of healthy eating, taking care of those with strict gluten-free diet in exciting form with quinoa, millet and brown rice being featured in the dish. They are serving breakfast/Brunch from 10:00am - 12noon (not 8:00am per their webpage upon clarifying) with a varied pancake range and herb omelettes. Those who yearn for a light alcoholic kick, may go for Mojitos, Sangrias, Martinis and many more under the cocktail listing, wines are available too. Seriously a wider pick from a food orchard.

 
Paying close attention in the preparation of food, PODI delights customers with fresh and healthier choices. Here, you will be able to begin with small plates, ideal if you have a larger dining group. I wouldn't mind having a small plate as a teaser. Small plates, not exactly bite-sized that comes with meat, seafood and salad options. Particularly, I am attracted to the Mini Burgers.

 
A huge fan of Cedele's bread, I get to savour slices of wholemeal bread with balsamic & olive oil dips, here at PODI serves complimentary. At Cedele, one requires to pay $1 for a free-flow of bread unless a regular bowl of soup is ordered. So, it's a inexpensive deal.

 
Adorable puny burgers arrived in pair. This is one of the delicious burgers I had under the Cedele's Group. The size makes a perfect starter, and 2s can be quite filling if you ordered a salad small plate along with. The buns, glazed with a touch of rosemary accentuate a louder note than one without herbs. Each mouthful was met with a bit of that crunchy Italian bacon strip, it's saltiness intertwined the moisture in tiny slab of tender, juicy beef patty; creating a different layer of robust flavor and mouth-feel. I love that tangy with a light garlic scent mayonnaise spreading underneath the bun, tingling softly to keep your taste buds awake.

 
While waiting for my treats, I sit back to observe things around me. Its not uncommon to find people willing to swing here for a caffeine fix, their table having a slice of cake. Most of them are attracted to this bright casual spot for a quick get together - in pairs - in small group - young and old. The new restaurant (open-concept space in the mall) has a pleasing ambiance - spontaneously like the All-Day-Dining outlets at Wheelock Place & Raffles City.

 

 
The Cinnamon honey cake fared slightly better than the Whoopie pie. The cream frosting here is soft & smooth but overly sweet. While the crushed walnut in the cream enlivened the cake with a bit of crunch, the nutty flavour becomes the spotlight. I find the cinnamon spice a bit faint, though the cake texture is moist and fluffy. Not knowing exactly what was covering the cake, it tasted like some sort of a spiced almond meal. I chose to do away with the almond cuppaccino ice cream and have a solo cake instead, paying for $12 instead of $15. That is to say, you saved $3 for that scoop of ice-cream, $0.80 less than what would cost you at Cedele for a scoop of Cloud 9 version - Eggless & No trans fat! Alternatively, they offer 2 scoops that plate with roasted nuts, mixed fruits with a dollop of chocolate sauce at $10. Didn't like things look complicated, I'd prefer getting a 2 scoops from Cedele's counter. I only liked ice-cream in its simplest form.

You will be delighted if you hold a Cedele member card, from 15th November till 02 Jan, 2013, you will get a 20% off on all food items. And if you are looking to order some cookies this Christmas, they are having this Chocolate Crinkles Cookies - a dark chocolate fudge-like soft cookie, capped with confectionery sugar, available from 15th November onwards.
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Mini Burgers
 
Spending per head: Approximately $35(Lunch)

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

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Categories : Belgian | Bars/Lounges | Kids-Friendly

For a full story coverage and picture, please join me at the dining table: http://www.epinosh.com/brussels-sprouts-singapore/

 
Not that teeny edible buds that everyone’s knowing, but possibly associate with the capital of Belgium when one talks about Brussels – its largest city. I remember seeing that naked boy peeing into the fountain’s basin, if you can guess who I was referring to. Of course, one has to walked quite a fair bit from the Grand Place (side lane from Brussels Town Hall) to meet this famous bronze statue, wasn’t tall, about your 24″ LCD monitor, measured diagonally. Yes, it’s the famous Brussels landmark of today - Manneken Pis. During my trip to Brussels, I couldn’t recall eating these miniature cabbages which are seemingly popular and may have originated here since early 13th Century. I have no chance to validate if naming this eatery “Brussels Sprouts” has anything to do with its origin since it offers Belgian cuisine, unless Emmanuel Stroobant stands before me.

 
If you are familiar with cable channels, then this “Chef in Black” is no stranger to you. This blond-haired punker who is obsessed with bikes has a long list of achievements under his belt. Started off as a humble dishwasher at 16, this young man worked his way through to his first restaurant - Le Bal in Liege where he lives. He was barely 23. Then he came to the Asia Pacific and won himself several respectable titles/awards and founded Saint Pierre (2000) – his first restaurant in Singapore. A few other awards followed through; Most Innovative Menu 2002, 2004 and 2007, the World Gourmet Summit – Award of Excellence. Today, this ambitious 44-year old manages and provide consultancy to 7 restaurants under The Emmanuel Stroobant Group (with his no. 8th – Brussels Sprouts 3rd outlet coming up at Sentosa Cove); took time starring in the latest AFC Original Production - 36 Ways to Live; and kept himself busy with cookbooks writing. The avid yogi and a believer in eating Organic produces has turned vegetarianism for some health reasons. I don’t know, but I think it’s painful for a chef to abstain from meat eating. Again, with superior culinary skills, a chef will circumvent any restriction in ingredients. Besides, all the 7 restaurants cook with living organisms, each serving its niche cuisines.

Brussels Sprouts at Big Splash is the 2nd outlet following its first at The Pier@ Robertson. It was a distance away from my usual arrival point – the defunct East Coast Park McDonald’s. I missed the area so much that I decided to stroll my way to the Big Splash. It was not effortless. I could feel that blow torch blistering my scalp after that 5 minutes’ walk but I continued.

 
The blazing heat was unbearable! The sun was beaming right into the restaurant - a greenhouse I am entering. Packed with families and couples, dining at Brussels Sprouts on a Sunday afternoon was full of elation. Didn’t want to sprout like a mung bean, I begged for high-table seats next to the bar. It was so much cooler without that see-through glass roofing and well-ventilated with sliding glass doors being pull apart. I would definitely appreciate its architecture during the night, not on a sunny day. It took a while before I no longer feel the heat. With more than 120 varieties of Belgian beer available, it is a common sight to see everyone gulping down a glass of icy cold Hoegaarden – mostly foreigners, while I am with my bubbling cola.

Without delaying, I gave my orders to one of the wait staff who looks so peppy. Not knowing what to do and didn’t want to toy with my phone, I turn to watch the kids running around with their colorful balloons. I enjoyed the causal atmosphere it brings with laughter and cutlery orchestrating in the background. What a lighthearted moment.

 
The food arrives. I had one of the Belgian classics - Moules Frites. The portion was larger than I expected, given a starter at 350 gram (S$20.00). The pot was filled with wedge-shaped, blackish shells, half-drowning in the broth. Each valves split opened fully, revealing its meat body soaking in that savory veal stock made peppery with paprika. The mussels taste fresh, a light ocean scent. Smaller breed, they are slightly chewy but easy to swallow. Perfect. It goes well with the diced chorizo in the broth. Overall, the pot of moules was good, though I find something lacking in the broth – more briny and requires a balanced flavour. Maybe I should just opt for the classic Brussels Sprouts version.

 
What is Moules-Frites when mussels comes without fries? That basket of chunky cut fries is so dominating! Crisp on the exterior, meaty and soft in the middle – my weakness ever. To make it more evil, it was made refillable! Argh… put them to jail, stat!! It reminds me of that tantalizing scent wafting from those thick & fluffy chips served in paper cone, which I happily eating away on the street of Amsterdam!

 
The Fish & Chips (Vis En Frites) going for S$24.00 was monstrous, just as they named it – “Big Eat”. Who hasn’t eaten Fish & Chips in their life!!? I have a few tries in London which I find one that I didn’t quite enjoyed, with skin on. Then some in Europe and then in the United States, mediocre at best. But, this one I find it hard to resist though not at their prime. The batter covering the white fish was deep fried to golden crisp and I wonder if beer has been added to do the trick. When you forked into the nice crisp crust, what you get is a layer of soft, moist and fresh piece of fish meat. Not overly greasy is what I am attracted to. Don’t neglect the lemon wedge, give it a hard squeeze – it makes a different. A handful of hot fluffy chips were laid underneath the big slab of fried fish – dancing with gusto! Dip into any 3 condiment that comes along – hunter sauce, curry tomato, garlic saffron mayonnaise, each steak turned even more globby. A hearty late-night supper treat & you can forget about your next day’s breakfast!

 
To complete the Belgian fare, I thought the Belgian Waffle is not to be missed. I am especially looking for a crispy outside and a creamier interior. I swear this is the first I had. Unlike other ice-cream parlor that serves the American style, this Gauffre evolves between a Brussels and Liège version. Lightly crisp on its top crust, the cake is eggy than anywhere I have tried. It tastes sweeter, has a moist and dense structure. If you were to ask what it resembles, I have to say, very close to a muffin but less rich in taste. Even though the dough is sweet, it complements well with the accompanying vanilla ice-cream which is surprisingly less sugary. If you enjoy sweet and soft masses, then this S$12.00 high grid cake may be your best pick.

If you are keen for a weekend breakfast at the same time watching the coast, Brussels Sprouts at Big Splash serves Sunday Breakfast menu. Only at this outlet, you get to choose between sandwiches, tartines, sausage platter or simply just go with a Brussels Sprouts Breakfast to save your agony in decision making. What a way to sit back and appreciate that short Sunday moment.
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Fish & Chips,Belgian waffle
 
Date of Visit: Nov 08, 2012 

Spending per head: Approximately $40(Lunch)

Other Ratings:
Taste
 4  |  
Environment
 3  |  
Service
 4  |  
Clean
 4  |  
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 : European | Desserts and Cakes | Pasta | Seafood | Salads

For a full story coverage, please visit:
http://www.epinosh.com/table-manners-singapore/

Table Manners - abbreviates TM, is one of the interesting bistro in the newly opened – Changi City Point, a mall sits directly opposite the Singapore Expo MRT station which can be conveniently reached. Cafe Fables and Bar Stories, a cafe-cum-furniture store venture out into a full-fledged restaurant; TM to serve a more varied contemporary Western dishes.

 
I almost lost my way in the mall while trying to locate TM. Without any visible signage and especially difficult when the mall has quite a number of small exits around. I don’t seem to be able to spot the restaurant until I reached the open space – a small garden-like area. There, I saw a black outdoor gazebo dining area with an open counter featuring a prominent “pigeon-hole” backdrop. I knew I have found it and walk right up. I was greeted by a zealous wait staff at the door, who explained the ordering instructions patiently and thereafter showed me to the indoor seats.

 
Entering the dining hall, it is the democratic design that I saw. I could imagine how the people behind TM conceptualized the area, decking out in modernistic Scandinavia-inspired furniture characterized by simplicity and practicality. The “piecemeal” communal table stood out from the space, without looking cluttered. The area was highlighted by the wall shelving with potted plants, retail pieces stuffed in each pigeon holes. Fitted mostly in pressed wood, the room was made less formal with a sense of nature integration. The first thing that comes to mind is Ikea, this group of Swedish makes really sensible tools with a small price tag.

If sirloin steaks, Cajun- style marinated chicken thigh, sauteed mussels, and baked salmon are something that you are after; TM is the place. Lunch is served in a mix-and-match manner, where it comes with 4 main categories; “fibers” – Staples & Vegetables, “protein” – Seafood & Meat. You can choose to have the lightest meal with 3 fibers for $9.50 or the hearty combination of 2 fiber and 2 protein for $19.00. of course, if these ain’t going to fill you, get some add-ons and pay additional $3.50 – $7.50. I customized my plate with a mid-sized combo plus 1 add-on & a dessert to end the meal.

 
The lightly salted Truffle fries are so addictive that I can’t stop but emptied the bowl within a short 10 minutes. Each string was deep fried to crisp and I liked the fact that they are cut fatter than any shoe-strings yet sliced slimmer than the regular straight fries. Smell of comfort, less gasoline taste – a great snack packed in umami-rich aromas. Go for potato wedges if truffle fries seem less idolizing.

 
The Chopped Pumpkin Salad came with a decent portion of fresh greens. Never mind if the diced pumpkin looks miserable, a generous toss of that tangy salad dressing add scores to the boring greens. I was looking for a sweet flavour in the pumpkin but the morsels were too tiny to taste.
Cajun-style chicken thigh

Cajun-style chicken thigh

 
The Cajun seasoning lends a sweet and spicy scent to the sizable chicken thigh. One incision and you witnessed how moist and tender the meat was roasted, with the bursting juices oozing out onto the plate. It was quite close to what I have eaten at Amuse, a delicious piece of bird meat. Other “protein” like beef stroganoff, pork cutlet, pesto fish fillet and burger steak, are available as well. There’s nothing you won’t choose.

 
That additional fiber I had – Spaghetti Pomodoro akin tomato sauce was equally tasty. The pasta had a good boil, yielding a springy bit but it will be perfect if it was cooked Al dente. Every strand was coated in the mildly acidic tomato sauce, fair amount of concentrate yet not overly seasoned. Sometimes when I am really unlucky, I get some bad tasting pasta that either comes with a chunk of soggy noodles or a pool of unpalatable watery sauce. Here, no slipshod piece of work seen.

 
What is a complete meal without a sweet ending? You’ve guess it! A chocolate-caramel war. Undoubtedly, the sweet course didn’t come cheap, ranging from $6.50 – $7.50. But I am willing to foot the price if it tastes divine. I am split between a Strawberry Shortcake and the chocolate tart. In the end, the latter succeeded in talking me over. Fabulous piece of tart. The shortcrust crumbles neatly on my plate each time I forked right through. The highlight was that chilled chocolate fillings – soft and chewy. The cocoa flavour was explosive, so intense. Each mouthful was gooey when the chocolate fused with that sticky caramel substance in the middle. Flavour becomes good when it has a lot of layering and this Sea Salt Chocolate Caramel Tart depicts that – speechless.

 
Coffee addict will not leave TM without a good Papa Palheta dose. The potion was rich, aromatic, not acrid – truly a stimulant. Not a fan on coffee? How about a cup of tea from Tea Forte? And if you are in the mood for some cocktails, they have the so-called popular drinks from Bar Stories presented in 5 groupings, that is, sweet, spicy, sour, bitter, and intriguingly to chill you.

Though lesser known by diners, you could pick up anything from this retail-cum-cafe that fits a housewarming gift. Browse the pigeon holes and check with the friendly wait staff if something caught your eyes.
 
Date of Visit: Oct 28, 2012 

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

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Categories : Middle Eastern/Mediterranean | European | Pasta | Seafood | Fine Dining

For a full story review, please visit: http://www.epinosh.com/pollen-singapore/

Welcome to the Gardens! The long awaited Gardens By The Bay is finally attracting swarm of bees to pollinate its new lush. However, I am the pollen today; at my sweetest front.

 
My meals took place in the upper deck; some called it “sunny patio”, where the bar sits. Why chose the bar area? I prefer the roomy hemispheric roofing – the glass dome ceiling shelters me instead of the concrete pillars downstairs. I get to enjoy a more magnificent view of the Singapore Flyer and MBS, along with the sun setting afar. Less of seeing people footing on the walk path outside the restaurant. More, I was surrounded by Pollen’s very own mini herbs garden – thyme, lavender and even the 1000-year old olive tree! The temperature is cooler than the ground’s, a regulated climate which can dip to 17-20 degree Celsius in the evening. It can be chilly; so ladies, a shawl will helps when you are dining at the bar. But the coolness will not dampen your dining spirit as your visual gets warmed by the bright looking tiles, informal table settings and without plush carpets -full of Mediterranean vibe.

 
To ease our hunger, warm dinner rolls were served. I loved the sliced sourdough for the tangy rye and its crusty texture while the portioned wholemeal baguette was a lot more chewy. We enjoyed the slab of butter served on the small ridged board – pale looking but was silky-smooth and mild-mannered. The Sicilian olives were a little raw & hard while the cod potato dip compliments the bread with a briny taste. Side note: As the upper deck temperature is cooler, the bread turns cold at an amazing rate, so do not hesitate to ask for a reheat. Anyway, the wait staff was diligent enough to have done so without prompts. Very attentive).

 
We started off with Salad of buttered lobster, pasta, seaweed (of which I opted out), maple dressing. A very refreshing salad with unpretentious sweet tangy seasoning, less of a maple flavour. The homemade pasta has an unusual texture of its own – flabby and soft noodles not the regular al dente that one would expect, nonetheless very gratifying. Then comes the sweet & succulent lobster meat, so fresh that you could smell the ocean breeze. Fighting against it, the baby Romanine was crisp to the core, served in total freshness.

 
Scallop carpaccio, cucumber, apple, horseradish snow – much-hyped dish @London’s Pollen street Social. What makes it such a hit? The modern culinary technique employed to make it stunning and pleasurable looking, along with the lingering taste it brought about. At one point, I’d thought that I am eating it alive – the raw scallop slices were meaty and tasted sweet which further accentuated by the vinaigrette dressing. Floral-inpired; the teaser was dressed up in colorful petals and dills, accompanied with the semi-frozen cucumber slices – as beautiful as its name sounds. I am so captivated by the horseradish ‘snow’ – using new culinary technique; where the buttermilk was added to horseradish juice & thickened with cornstarch, thereafter frozen and pacotized, and later grated microscopically when served. This dish is as pleasing to the palate as to the eyes, I am hoping for some headphones to come along soon. A total bliss out.

 
Roasted monkfish, creamed olive oil potatoes, lemon conserve, orange grenobloise – everyone thought it was an uninteresting dish but they were wrong, it was a truly comforting one! The ponderous fillet sits atop the silky creamed mash potato which was rich and gratifying. The fish tasted oceanic; fresh and moist despite being roasted. You get to savor the sweetness in the meat which brought about by the lemon dressing. The orange flavored croutons further intensified the dish with more flavors and crunch.

 
Roasted pork belly, broad beans, slow-cooked squid, chorizo – do not make comparison with the Asian Siew Bak that you would eat at your favorite stall. This dish has its own uniqueness; the pork was well-roasted and the meat wasn’t tough. Somewhat moist, thanks to that thin layer of fats under the crackling pork skin. The chorizo sauce enhanced the overall faintly seasoned meat, making it wholesome. Cannellini beans were cooked to tender to fill the loose space in your gastric.

Nothing could hide my excitement when it comes to dessert moments. I can’t wait to announce that I am done with my courses and need badly to head to the subterranean. The wait staff got me right away and gave signal. Christophe appeared instantly and offered to escort us to the ground level via the side lift behind the bar. The main dining room – clad in dim lightings, dark wooden tables & rattan chairs; casual in a classical manner.

We were placed at the center of the 9m long dessert counter with Chef Andres Lara standing right in front. He greeted us somewhat shyly and handed us the menu. Jokingly, he said we could have everything here or as much as we wanted; I wished too if I haven’t had my meals.

 
“PB&J” – Peanut butter and cherry yuzu sorbet; topped the dessert list in London’s flagship which I certainly wouldn’t want to pass it up. Dreamy as it looked but serious in its taste! Sounds like a big diversion between the sweet peanut butter parfait & sour yuzu cherry sorbet, they duo did harmonize when eaten together. The after taste of yuzu has always been unique which I don’t know what to make of it. Lara has been very creative when comes to plating – pomegranates, black raspberry & floral petals, everything looks so whimsical.

 
For a more witty whip up; Bitter chocolate banana, white sesame ice cream, caramel nitro, definitely wow you with Lara’s witty modern technique. I was inspired by the print “nitro” which lured me into trying (I am such a follower of molecular culinary these days that I went crazy after it). The bitterness in the chocolate crumbles amid the ice-cream of its own kind, interfused with the sweetness found in the white sesame ice-cream. Although the sesame flavor was less prominent, its smooth and creamy texture made good. The banana bits add crunch to the otherwise velvety sweets. For all you know, I’d love that “vaporing effect” from caramel; accordingly it has been dipped in liquid nitrogen for a quick freeze. I hope the mist did somehow veil my blushes.

For a sweet ending, Lara gave each of us a passion-fruit milk chocolate popsicle. The passion-fruit - a tad too tart but was average out by the sweetness of the milk chocolate shell. (My friend had a similar pop ice on the next day, but with
yoghurt fillings instead)
 
Date of Visit: Jul 03, 2012 

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

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