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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 : 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 

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 4  |  
Environment
 4  |  
Service
 4  |  
Clean
 5  |  
Price
 4

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Categories : Japanese | Buffet

For a full story coverage, please visit:
http://www.epinosh.com/kiseki-japanese-buffet-restaurant-singapore/

I am not a typical fan of buffet-style meal but I am happy to have it once in a while. And specially when the group is large, I can rest assured that each of them will find something fanciful among the 8 self-help stations. This is achievable, given the mega spread Kiseki is offering. Not sure if its a blessing, but close to 40% of the range are non-Japanese cuisines. While the Japanese dishes still make up the majority, I am one of those weirdo who only eye for that fluffy looking deep pocketed batter cake resting on the iron rack. For all you know, I am dotty about waffles.
waffles

waffles

 
In my view, a buffet feast equates a marathon participation. Just as the gun sounded, I find myself derailed and taking shortcuts to the finishing line – dessert station. There, my eyes are fixed at the lady behind the waffle maker, counting the number of waffle wedges she is dishing out and eye balling frantically for condiments for a switch up. Fresh fruit dices -nope. Candy rice – nope nope. Jellied puddings, mochi and Daifuku – nope nope nope. Until I reached the chilling box with 6-8 flavours of gelato – yes; black sesame, green tea & vanilla checked. Then that chocolate fondue drizzles – again marked! They are invited to join me at my table.

 
Not to worry if waffles didn’t wow you, there are bite-size green tea azuki and cheese cakes to make you smile too.

After the off-track, I joined the rest on the official route – pacing up and down the counters, examined each food items closely. I picked a few sizable tempura from the Agemono sub-section – ebi, kani stick & yasai (broccoli), all tasted fresh and crunchy of which, I liked the vegetable most. Okay, crowned me a vegan if you like.

 
Then slightly to the right, there are Teppanyaki & Robatayaki where you find monstrous grilled salmon fish heads, shishamo, baby tender chicken teriyaki sticks and grilled plumply shitake mushrooms. Towards the end of the row, I ordered some wok fry assorted vegetables, mostly bean sprouts with a few stringy choy sum – not bad though I’d prefer marche’s. My girlfriend ordered a portion of Teppanyaki pork collar in ginger sauce which I thought was pretty delicious, moist and very tender, not fibrous and the seasoning was just right. The cook done it better than the garlic beef steak which tasted leathery. Oh, please bring along those table-numbered mini file clips found on your table when ordering so that the wait staff could send the food when it’s ready.

 
Walk around the bustling see-through kitchen, another row of food items revealed. At the left-hand corner, you could order Italian pasta of 3 choices – Wafu vinaigrette dressing, creamy carbonara or konkase tomato sauce; alternatively, pick up a ready thin-crust pizza with teriyaki chicken, Japanese curry or seafood toppings. Potato-goers could give the Rösti a shot, its shredded surface was pan-roasted to crisp but it lacked that robust buttery flavour I used to know.

Stroll along and you get to reach out to more fried items like potato ebi rolls, cheese crab balls, seafood Croquettes, Haru Maki (spring roll) seafood. Next, I flipped open the steamer cover and help myself to the hearty winter dish – Japanese oden with plentiful of squishy quail eggs, fish cakes with hidden popping fish roe, perfectly stewed daikon, glutenous konjac (greyish starch corms) and the most delightful Kinchaku pouch - deep fried bean curd wrapped with fish cake. I enjoyed the light soy sauce broth that makes everything taste homely.

 
While I skipped the egg plants and roasted chicken, I took a bite on the Japanese curry udon placed along the next counter. I am glad that the udon didn’t taste overly soggy but the curry seasoning was a bit loud, somewhere didn’t fare quite right. I heard the pork shabu ramen did better. Well, I was unlucky then.

You may want to try out Chawanmushi or Tamagoyaki in the bamboo tray plus a bowl of steaming hot seafood soup. Or simply walk to the adjacent counter for some cold seafood selections – chilled prawns & mussels or clams, salads, soba, sushi and sashimi.

With so much to offer, what else could make my people über happy? I don’t know.
 
Date of Visit: Oct 23, 2012 

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

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Still hit the right spot! Smile Oct 15, 2012   
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Categories : Bakery

How can you tell between a baker who live to bake and someone who bake to live? A simple one liner like this sometimes requires a series of complex analysis. But Ms. Mary Chan, 34; didn't complicate matters, her muffin says it all. There is no reason for me not to believe that she loves to bake and making good muffins for everyone forms part of her mantra.

The former pastry cook from Mandarin Oriental and supervisor at The Fullerton, started her first pastry outlet in the heartland - Shunfu Mart a decade ago; Chocolat N' Spice becomes the talk of the town. As the never ending queue grew, the business expanded into CBD and central part of Singapore. It continues to draw crowds that includes executives in office attire, SAHMs and many sweet-tooth. I had my maiden attempt in 2009 and was impressed until today. I do not sing praises for the sake of good readership, neither am I a devotee of muffins; but these small "mushroom" cakes are really good stuff.

Yesterday was my second time, having Chocolat N' Spice muffins - a 3 years gap. Little did I expect they still delight me the same way before. There is consistency in her baking, undoubtedly. These freshly baked muffins were as delicious as 3 years ago, I am glad that I had 6 fuming hot ones to takeaway.

Coffee walnut - S$1.40: The batter was amazingly moist and not overly buttered. It has a spongy texture and you could see very fine tiny air pockets in the cake, the batter must have creamed thoroughly. (unlike huge air pockets in others but not as soft) It has a very captivating mocha scent and flavor, sweet but not cloying. Each mouthful was filled with coarse pieces of walnut - absolutely nutty. In fact, all the muffins have the same texture which was so enticing to all.

 
Banana walnut - S$1.20: the ripe banana mash permeated in my mouth, sweet and longing. The walnut bits heightened the texture with crunches. I liked how she baked the muffins that yields a light crispy shroomy cap.(a brush of syrup in between the bakes?) The cake, again was moist and squashy.

 
Double-Chocolate - S$1.40: one of the popular. Chew on the cake, and you have to agree that she didn't compromised on the quality of the chocolate. For a dollar more, you get to appreciate a moist and intense cocoa scent. The rich and velvety flavor lingers in my mouth, I'd know one was never enough. Look at how the cake bloomed? Who wouldn't yearned over this mushroom cap?

 
Pumpkin - S$1.20: Nothing notable, except for its gratifying cake texture. There were wee pumpkin shreds in the cake, but it didn't have a pronounced taste.

The prices have not been increased dramatically, given the soaring raw food prices over the years. Barely 20cents different (I used to get them at S$1.10 for some), I am more than happy to reward them for their baking effort and making my day a pleasant one.
 
Date of Visit: Oct 15, 2012 

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

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Categories : Hawker Centre | Dim Sum

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


Originating from the Guangdong province of China (my grandfather was from China), these Chinese buns were made from milled rice flour, stuffed with diced BBQ pork tenderloin. They are one of the popular dim sum snacks these days and the nostalgic take-away versions are from Tiong Bahru Pau and Teck Kee. The buns are mostly steamed but there are baked alternatives. I am accustomed to the steamed ones since young.

The sizable chicken bun is always so gratifying. Without a trace of stickiness on the root of your palate, the skin was marvelously soft and not overly thick. You will find chunks of fresh chicken meat with a touch of ginger, soy sauce and a bit of Chinese rice wine. Nope, no egg was stuffed in there unlike other places where Big steamed buns do. Without that extra calories, I could eat them with ease.

The memories of my grandfather starts flowing when the stall-holder pickup that vapouring BBQ buns from the steam tray. It was a complete solace. The act of unfolding the skin to reveal the glazed ingredients was equally heart throbbing. With the roasted pork so well browned and glossy looking, I couldn't wait any longer to taste the sweet oyster seasoning in the meat. The candied mixture add so much flavour to the tender pork, every time with the right consistency. Watching the laving juices wetting my fingers and dripping down my wrist is visually appealing. Did you feel the joy?

I will never stop at the savory even though the sweet ones seem to attract the older crowd more. My grandfather was one of the avid fan of the bean-paste filled buns. The shiny smooth white exterior hides a pool of creamy red bean paste. For a less sugary variation, go for the lotus paste which came with robust lotus seeds flavour that was flowy as well. It was mind rupturing each time I sank my teeth into the fluffy bun to penetrate the fillings. Truly unimaginable.
Char Siew Pau

Char Siew Pau

 
Red bean paste bun

Red bean paste bun

 
Lotus Paste Pau

Lotus Paste Pau

 
Big Chicken Pau

Big Chicken Pau

 
 
Date of Visit: Oct 11, 2012 

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

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High tea among the oasis Smile Oct 10, 2012   
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Categories : Multi-Cuisine | Hotel | High Tea | Buffet

For a full story coverage and pictures; please visit:
http://www.epinosh.com/2012/09/rose-veranda-shangri-la-hotel-singapore.html

While many are crowding the heart of downtown Singapore, I am feverish for some sweet treats in the oasis. What best to rejuvenate your taste buds and give it a thorough cleanse during this blazing period? I figure that tea is the most ideal, given the all year tropical weather especially the microwaving climate these days.

Away from the bustling downtown, I sit myself in the most relax fashion overlooking the tranquil lobby court. I have been reminded umpteen times to accept bills from other high-tea venues, equally crowd-pleasing. I wish I could accede to these superficial requests, each time having tug-of-war deep within. But after a few tries, I just know which one caresses my heart genuinely and makes me sniff my way "home". I could never trade the good feel it brings, not even with a bucket of gold.

Even if one is not emotionally attached to a particular place, I am quite sure some fine offerings here are capable of luring new patrons. I am so used to that "family"-warmth vaporizing the mezzanine floor until recently, I find it missing. New faces replaced those familiar ones, the bonding somehow has broken bits. A newer team has evolved that more often requires a bite more time to shine in their service. I am most willing to excuse the slipped knowledge I encountered (I will not try conceal any service lapse, even for places I love dearly), if extra efforts are put in - this, I shall reassess during my next visit. Likewise, let the food speaks without disguise.

The Rose Veranda sits on the mezzanine floor, above the sedating lobby court. The L-shaped lounge greets its guest in a mellow and unhurried manner, displaying counter-long hot savories, finger foods and salads. For easy reference, I class them into 5 sections. Start off the left; help yourself to the small Japanese station with sushi and fresh sashimi displaying neatly in the enclosed shelving. Moving on to the right, you will meet the East with pleasing dim sum range - baked puffs and mini pies, stuffed with moist and well marinated BBQ meat fillings. Gently lift the steam bamboo tray, you will be delighted by some juicy Siew Mai (pork dumplings) and think starch skin Har Gow (shrimp dumplings).

After a few dim sum snacks, the taste buds become peppy and ready to welcome 2 sections of mouthwatering hot savory, separated by a cold station with salads and finger sandwiches.

There are 8 hot dishes, each waiting to be unleashed by hungry goers. I am pleased by a few most of the time, sometimes the Chinese with the Muslim cooking at other times. This time I find the braised Chinese noodles most enjoyable, each strands is evenly coated in glossy dark sauce with a balanced flavor. I liked its less soggy texture with a bit of bite in it. While the chunky chicken parts clad in a spicy thick coconut curry sauce, the beef rendang is milder and a little chewier in texture. I wish the beef could be more fork-tender and less fibrous. If the noodles is outstanding, the Peking duck is even more marveling. Prepared by Shang Palace, this signature imperial dish is one that I will eat every other day. It is prized with fatty crisp skin covering thick layer of moist and tender duck meat. Choose a drumstick for a juicier meat. Here, it is eaten without pancake wrap and spring onions servings. If seafood is your preference, you will find 1-2 fish varieties in deep fried and steamed cooking method.

Leafy options include salads dressed in different Italian ways and of course, some befriended pasta whilst others hit it off with aromatic smoked duck and light fruity morsels. For stir-fry option, the yellow zucchini and cauliflower combination was a good buddy up except that the chef could be more generous with seasoning for a more flavorful touch. Otherwise the taste is flat, only buttery. There is always a self-serving corner that one would whip up a quick noodle dish. It could be the spicy noodle cooked the Peranakan way - Laksa or the flavorsome Prawn noodle soup. Occasionally, the starchy potato-peanut gravy with yellow noodles - Mee Rebus, will surfaced. Depending on luck, the noodle corner is everyone's peep. Remember to fuel up with some good salmon or turkey finger sandwiches before heading to the far right for your sweet servings.

The stand-alone dessert corner is my hideaway - I called it the dessert-tapas corner. I was bewitched by the varieties and the chocolate fountain centerpiece. It's a tough fight but the rich cocoa cake is my darling, I am obsessed with the smooth and velvety dark chocolate ganache that taste not overly sweet.

The popular Durian cake is cottony and creamed with real durian paste between each sponge. Each mouthful is pleasantly thorny (piquant flavor) but not pricking, of course.

I have a soft spot for strawberry shortcake served at Shang, especially a good slice with spoonful of rich decadent Chantilly cream that won't weigh you down.

Pick a few elegant kuehs from the tray, a traditional Nonya cake have more to tell. I had the Kueh Salat with a bountiful supply of coconut flavor embedded within the wobbly custard layer and a savory-sweet blue pea hued glutinous rice bottom. The Lapis Sagu, my most desired snack since young - is always steamed soft and toothsome, unlike those sugar laden ones in the past.

If these are never enough, there are more to pick from the far right corner. That includes scones, crème brûlée, some flashy dessert in shooter cups, ice-cream & sorbet. Definitely some great summer treats with a sweet lingering ending that one finds it hard to resist.

Unless buffet is not your liking, try the tiered English afternoon tea that comes with a few standard nibbles but refillable. They are identically good and you too get to choose one type of tea out of the 100 selections.

With the human-tide easing, are you ready for some champ treats this weekend? After all, the Red Bull's driver has champ the season and I whiff victory in conquering the stations with a smooth sweet ride. The ride is made sweeter with an online reservation - a 15% discount on any day but with a certain allotment each time! So, do plan ahead and book early.

 

 

 

 
 
Date of Visit: Sep 23, 2012 

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

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