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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 : Bars/Lounges | Hotel

For a full story coverage, please visit:
http://www.epinosh.com/2012/10/lobby-court-shangri-la-hotel-singapore.html

The night was made more memorable by a groovy and forceful pipe that filled the air with beautiful tunes. Gillian Margot, the most prominent Toronto-based Jazz vocalist best known for her exquisite deep vocal, has been making her live debut at the hotel for the past 6 months. Her warm charming voice soothes any tiring day and inhibits symptoms like any Amitriptyline did. Catching her performance at the lobby court is quite an unforgettable experience.

The crowd starts to swell by nine while I arrived early that evening. I filled my stomach with a limited range of mains, not complaining since people don't normally eat their dinner at such places. Out of the 7 choices, I picked the first on the list - Penne Artichoke, a vegetarian pasta dish. If you prefer a hearty meal, try either the Club Sandwich or Steak Burger. Alternative, choose Lasagne or some leafy salads available.

Astonishing a good Italian basic. I have eaten quite a fair bit of pasta dishes at The Line but none of them impressed me. Though I figure it came from the same buffet kitchen at the basement, it was cooked perfect this time round. The Penne was boiled al dente, retaining its full prime character - springy. I gave a quick toss to coat each pasta with the rich and tangy tomato sauce. The rest of the staple ingredients includes briny Gaeta black olives, sweet baby onions but the bright spot lies in the artichoke! Plentiful of marinated artichoke hearts are found swirling the parsley filled tomato sauce, very vinegary and more flavourful than any of its companion found in the plate - so blissful.

To honour my greed, I had a plateful of golden browned potato wedges. I tempered them with some sweet onion dip which fair better than the sour cream accompanied. Additionally, I poked them into mini jar of Australian imported ketchup for a more down-to-earth flavour.

By this time, I am half way with the cuban highball. Packed in fresh mint and lime wedges, the rum is more potent than the one I had at Salt tapas & bar. The latter was slightly virgin in nature, almost zeroizing its alcohol content. Lobby Court's punch was a lot more impactful. The Long Island iced tea was still too complex to win me over.

Strangely, I enjoyed the Indo nibbles that night. Most of the time, I am into nuts and peas but here, they served savory peanut crackers - rempeyek, Muruku and chilli tapioca chips. A mixture of something not quite commonly seen in bars.

 

 

 
 
Date of Visit: Oct 02, 2012 

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

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Categories : French | European | Hotel | Restaurant

For a full story coverage and pictures, please visit:
http://www.epinosh.com/2012/10/amuse-by-armin-leitgeb-singapore.html

I enter the restaurant with the eye-catchy signage above me - the thought of a handwriting font against a grey background, printed on a "sponge art board" looks very cool. I am attracted by the clever combination of colour scheme that dressed this 3-weeks old.

The pessimistic grey blends well with the optimistic red, the combo radiates a cool and warmth persona. This led me to a more closed up examination as I stepped into the main dining hall. Keeping its sexy hue, the red now married a darker pigmentation - Black.

Truly, the red reminds me of the triband of the Austria flag and the 2 bull paintings on the wall are most impressive. I can't help but wonder if the Austrians behind the Esmirada Group are fans of the FC Red Bull Salzburg, can my guess be any close? The sturdy caesar-stone bar counter joined the alley of the opened-kitchen where the chef could bewitched his diners with his kitchen weapons.

With a nice view of the passerby strolling down the street of Orchard, Katharina unveiled the Restuarant Week menu gracefully. The menu came with a surprise that the 3 small plates will be featuring dishes that includes fish, sausages and poultry. Like many others, 3-courses during the Restaurant Week would mean a starter; commonly a soup/vegetarian salad, a main meat course and a dessert. For a lunch menu like this, a $25++ is a steal at Amuse.

Today, I am greeted by a spectrum of light and hearty small plates. I enjoyed tapas fare a great deal these days, especially when I get to savour fine ingredients. By virtue of fine, I am saying it has to be fresh produces which needn't whipped up by Michelin-starred chef but one who needs uphold his/her ethicalness in the profession. All that glitters is not gold, likewise, not all prized-delicacy like caviar pleases every palate. Fresh produces are key to a successful dish than one tries hard to appeal diners with culinary physics.

Fish and Chips? What's comes to mind? Of course, the popular English dish that serves up crisp battered fish fillets with golden chunky fries. But not Amuse. The ingredients are named but not using the same preparation method you once know. The Norwegian salmon was sweet and oceanic on its own, but flavoured your taste buds a mile further with a touch of black pepper and herbs. The painstakingly sliced (the machine did the handwork but I thought they do feel the chore as well) potato replaces the usual straight-cut fries. These crisp paper-thin potato chips are fried till deep brown but without that annoying burnt or bitter after-taste. My palate is then cleansed with a mouthful of mixed French mesclum greens tossed in light vinaigrette.

Next came the most memorable Austrian home-cooked dish. Any Austrian will know the recipe to this humble "left-over" dish just as the Chinese will do the same on Day 2 of Chinese New Year. The pan-fried Charlotte potatoes were small but all very buttery. They help averaging out the robust and flavourful chorizo sausages with a tinge of sweetness from the aromatic leaves - Marjoram. Groest'l which is synonymous with Roast, is a nice dish that lingers with happiness especially when one forked the runny egg yolk - a gooey mixture.

The final dish was more criminal! It was a dish that soothes my entire soul within a quick 15 seconds. The most mesmerising moment blazes, the minute I bite into this youthful French bird. I hardly come by such a tender substance, I tasted freshness in the meat. This baby chicken was well-roasted, the yellowish hue on the skin says it all - corn-fed. I don't usually gnaw at bird skin, but its crispness accelerated my intense desire for more calories-laden layers if given in excess. So isn't it criminal?

Go wild by the range of global tastes and be sure to pick a few Austria-influenced humble but tasty dishes that are mostly affordable. With more than 300 types of Austrian wines available, you will be spoilt for choice. Even if eating and drinking form part of one's objective here, I believed you will equally get charmed by the luxurious Gaggenau showroom in Amuse kitchen - a collection of both quality & beauty that helps perfecting the menu to create a greater bonding opportunity with all diners - the philosophy of Chef CK, Lee. I hold the same belief on what a meal means to me - a plate of fresh elements with a great host is all I needed. Thanks to the team and CK.
Fish & Chips

Fish & Chips

 

 
Baby Chicken

Baby Chicken

 

 
 
Date of Visit: Oct 07, 2012 

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

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Fabulous fluffy breads Smile Aug 01, 2012   
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Categories : Bakery

I love these Hong Kong style bread; most were unpretentious with a taste very close to what the Cantonese in Hong Kong are capable to offer. For more valid reasons, their ingredients are fresh and they are very reasonably priced.

The highly sought after bread in the store; Hong Kong style BBQ Pork (or char siew) Polo Bun (more commonly known as Pineapple Bun), is to die-for. Something you definitely wouldn't want to miss out every time. The crumbly sugary top - always so divine. Every crumble bits resemble a jewel that you would carefully gather all of them to reload into your mouth, savoring them preciously. The bun, filled with caramelized barbecued bite-sized pork; was soft in texture and very buttery. The meat was tender, moisturized with thick tantalizing barbecue sauce - a taste totally undebatable. As little as S$1.50 each, this polo bun is hard to pass up.
Sweet potato bun

Sweet potato bun

 
Another all-time favorite of mine - Sweet Potato Bun. I admit being a sucker for root vegetables of any kind, as long as it is in its original taste without artificially being modified. The bakery bakes very hearty version, was generous in their sweet potato mash filling. I have tried the same from other bakeries, they were either rolled up with half of what My Bread offers (sometimes the filling was hardly noticeable) or the mash was too cloying. None were tasty to mark any impression until this Chinese bakery came into picture and I am sold. I am stuck to theirs, since. The bun was thinly dust in cinnamon powder, not over powering (I am disgusted by some baker who cosmetically coated their bun with thick cinnamon). The mash was not fibrous but very smooth and naturally sweet - hitting the right spot consistently.
 
Date of Visit: Jun 17, 2012 

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

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Categories : Japanese

Flavouring aside, perhaps one has a greater desire for a tantalising texture in pursuit of attaining an exceptional meal experience. Any good piece of meat is capable of cropping up a challenging time, from the moment of selection, preparation to cooking. But all things cannot be achieved without a sophisticated rearing process in the case of swine production, especially when the legendary Iberian pig becomes the spotlight and well sought after by the culinary kitchen. If there are 2 things I should encode in my memory for 2012, it will be “Tapas” and “Iberico pork”. The two are often spotted on the dance floor, if not seen on the stove top. Almost synonymous, they are nearly everywhere you see in the dining room.

 

 
You probably have sank your teeth upteem times, tearing the meat effortlessly that follows by a lardy smooth melty sensation in the mouth with this prized meat - bathed in hot oil. While others had them at some popular Japanese eateries, I tried mine at Tonkichi – a Tonkatsu specialty chain – under the Pokka Food Corp.

 

 
In the month of December, the breaded Iberico tenderloin makes it to the menu for the first time –
[VDO:7]
. Priced at $32, I received 3 fillet cuts, each half the size of my palm. Given a choice of hire (tenderloin) and rōsu (loin) cut, I often opt for the former as it came with lesser amount of fats and most delicate. In fact, the meat runs along the central spine of the pig, with the loin muscle making a larger part for locomotion and a much smaller segment merely for posture then becomes less fibrous – tenderloin, found near the end of this loin. Make your choice over hire or rōsu, either part of this Iberian pig will serve alongside with some refillable shredded cabbage & rice, tsukemono (pickles), chawanmushi, miso and fruits.

 

 

 
I fought hard to resist its buttery texture, these golden crisp fillets weren’t floury. I am always amazed by the Japanese batter, so well formulated that it shatters every time. Aren’t you tempted by the craggy exterior when confronted? I succumbed to this swine tyrant uncontrollably, too weak to defend. Although the crumbs can be edgy and caused some discomfort when met with parts of my soft oral linings, the moisture kept in the fillet under the crisp sheath soothed the pricks I had. What makes it marvellous was the less greasy and ultra-tender composition. This acorn-fed Spanish black pork is definitely worth trying. The additional 10bucks is the price to pay for the premium specimen, 50% for that regular hire katsu set going for $20.90. Be sure to dabble the meat in Worcestershire sauce, better yet, coat them in the powdered sesame seeds you crushed earlier on. The caramelised condiment adds a fruity punch to the meat. Unless you wanted more heat, the yellow karashi (Japanese mustard-paste) will be helpful. For simplicity, squeeze the lemon wedge for that extra zest and to fuse any additional oily secretion – if any – but wasn’t present in my case.

I guess the meat is the only item I have greatly enjoyed, other than the good mannered service and a timber wood layout. Although I questioned on the quality of the rice which was mushy, the worst being the fruits – watermelon – all time syrupy in its unnatural form.
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Iberico Pork Hire/Rōsu Katsu Set
 
Spending per head: Approximately $32(Dinner)

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

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Categories : Japanese | Café | Desserts and Cakes | Ramen

For a complete story coverage, please visit:
http://www.epinosh.com/hoshino-coffee-singapore/

Clear your doubts! Savory Souffle can be as achieving as its sweet cousins. Never had one, neither dream of one but this unusual main course held me spellbound. Now, I am in awe of it. Want to get one too? Yes, Hoshino Coffee has it.

 
This was my 3rd time near Hoshino - passing by twice when it first opened on 6 November, and the 3rd time being today when I finally set foot in the cafe. Absolutely no regrets.

 
Seriously impressive! You wouldn't believe that the queue speaks for itself. I'd thought, well, it could be that people are simply curious about what this 2 week's old is capable of. And when the line starts to form, more people just keep queuing without a single complain. It was a late lunch thingy after a movie show - making my way there like a supersonic. This is like crazy, the snaking line - almost a L-shaped by now is forming right before me. I have seen the same earlier in the morning at 11.10m (the outlet only opens at 11.30am, mind you!) when I drop by to ask if I could make a reservation for 3pm but was turned down politely which I clearly understand why, now. I know this is what I have to eat despite that nagging throat discomfort & joined the queue - determined to find out if they are as good as they claimed.

Never mind about the long wait as it is moving rapidly. I am no.12 in line and it took me slightly more than half an hour's time to get a table. Not sure if that sounds reasonable to you but at least it didn't irk me - surprisingly. Why was the line moving fast unlike the one seen at Ipuddo @Ion or Tonkotsu King @Orchid Hotel, in case you asked. This is because most of the diners came for a quick bite at this hour - tea/coffee & pancake/souffle or parfait and leave after they have been satiated and so, they seldom hoard the table. Anyway, I was told that they do not accept bookings on weekends and only allow 3-6pm reservation on weekdays. I guess this is fair.

 
The interior is not entirely small but having a 3 separate dining space. The main hall sits most of the diners with wooden table and leather padded seats. It emits a brighter and casual feel, probably the area is not constraint by a stiff ceiling but an architectural glass rooftop in the mall that illuminates the stretch with a natural glow of sunlight. There are 4 booth seats which is most ideal for a gals-get-together session, I figured. Another hall appeared slightly smaller, is a little cramp I find (praying hard my table wasn't gonna be there). Facing the open-kitchen, diners will be able to see the cook behind the stoves and barista making cups & cups of that aromatic Hoshino brew. There are a couple of table seats and long couch seats as well - the surrounding is a little dim. I'd prefer the smallest dining corner that comes with leather long couches - thick pocketed seats kind. A place that call up every sleeping bugs in you - warm, dim and laid back. It will be a disaster to place me there, I think I can glued for hours.

The menu was straight forward, without fanciful hard to understand dishes. Zoom right into my orders and wave for the staff, the lady clad in chef suit came to me (gosh, even one works in the kitchen has to take time to manage the hall during peak hours?).. aw.. but she was very well-mannered and patient when confronted with inquiries. In fact, no one was seen idling - all the wait person served with pride, promptly and in an unhurried manner. A remarkable service team (so much better than Paul when it first opened but heh they have improved too - I will speak separately in another post).

Totally famished but the food arrived in 20mins, saves me from antacid. Reasonably time I thought.

 

 
I admit I felt a little uneasy when I picked that unfamiliar dish - Fuwa Fuwa. But the truth tells me that feeling has been unwarranted. I was rewarded handsomely and much more than I could imagine for all those wait time I have spent an hour ago. The most raved about "fluffy savory soufflé" seriously did not put to shame. Not only that it enticed me with its huge golden puffy bonnet but I was completely sold by its astonishing delicate flavors This is one dish I wish I had on my last - cottony & airy, formidable without a trace of deflating. It is no wonder that people called it the "cloud", but I think it's me that's on Cloud 9 at every bite. Instead of baking it like an Italian classic with white sauce, this one has a tomato version in it. It was filled with incredible moments - spooning the whites like a mass destruction into that light feathery foam, trespassing to get to the bed of the baking dish. The gems hidden under these soft foams have never been so right. Tomato sauce infused - each grain was plump, tangy-sweet, not soggy. Its flavor was enhanced by strips of middle eye bacon and mushroom bits. Together with that eggy, Parmesan cheese soufflé, a divine marriage left unchallenged by the sweet version. Impossible not to eat, I think I can have 1 on every other day. A one to die-for dish at Hoshino Coffee.

 
A couple of spaghetti dishes if you like, other than "Omu" rice (omelette rice) or sandwiches. Of the 7, I had the Lobster Bisque Soup Spaghetti. A french dish but cooked the Japanese way for a lighter taste. Instead of highly seasoned, this one prepared with tomato and finely chopped mushrooms comes with a milder liquidized cream but rich crustaceans flavor. I find the soup a little offensive (even while its still steaming hot) while my dining partner finds it delicious, so I guess it's a mixed conclusion. It was not entirely bad - at least the spaghetti is cooked the correct way, I guess I just didn't have the mood for such a sophisticated seafood thing today.

 
String along with others, I ordered a pancake soufflé, this time a more familiar sweet version! Not the plain ones but a more elaborate classic with a tropical touch - mango. A second ultimate comfort of the day, the first being the savory soufflé! Almost every table goes for the plain; either a single or doubling up while very few had the more fanciful. Mine - dressed up with mango fruits and handmade whipped cream was a pure decadent! It was pity that the softee machine has broken down and I was told to change to a whipped cream instead. Can you imagine how well-received they are. I have been advised to remind the kitchen to start preparing the soufflé when I was half way into my main course. It was like taking a number queue to a soufflé! I was asked to wait for another 15mins by the apologetic service staff. Not an issue at all, I said to myself because the end result was a light and airy inflated sponge that was unforgettable. The only negative I had was the fruits. Upon checking, I learnt that frozen mango fruits are used while the kiwi are fresh produces. I'd prefer ripened fruits atop my dessert, not raw and crunchy. Worst, the mango has a weird over-frozen texture makes them taste rubbery. However, the homemade whipped cream was smooth and not cloying. Undeniably, these fluffy treats really know how to please anyone, including a group of Japanese ladies who are spotted beaming away at their Matcha soufflé. Well, in my case, I would opt for a plain pancake without toppings, else a softee if anything. But do not leave the place without a cup of Hoshino blend.

 
Whaff that strong Hoshino caffeine scent right in front of me - that was one of the distinct characteristic while waiting in line. Carefully selected coffee beans were roasted over direct flame and then hand drip to a good-bodied brew. The blend has got a rather pale flavor less rich as compared to Oriole's. Milder acidity but has a lingering smell. I guess the Japanese adores this light perfumery beverage, much than any of us. I am good for that 10g but if anyone wanted an extra brew, there is a 50% off for a refill.

I will back for another round of guilty pleasures! It is unquestionable that these notorious soufflé-style selections are truly to die-for. And you will be most glad to know that dining at Hoshino Coffee was never an aggressive experience but a slow and enjoyable process.
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Fuwa Fuwa Fluffy Souffle,pancake souffle
 
Spending per head: Approximately $35(Lunch)

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

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