Tuesday, September 30, 2008

111. Sweet Indulgence

Today's food hunt was over at Stanley Street, 2 streets away from Huat Kee and Beng Hiang. A turn at the 7-11, it is Sweet Indulgence. There were only 2 customers when me and my makan kakis arrived at the place. We were quickly approached by the friendly waitress. It is pretty small, approximately 30 seats. I like the bar counter. Though it occupied almost half of the area of the restaurant, I couldn't resist taking a few more glances at the mosaic floral designs. The chandelier wasn't lit and it did made the bar counter pretty dull.

Complimentary bread. Bread that contained herbs. I was attracted to the black sauce added to the olive oil because usually only olive oil was served. It was vinegar. It went well with the bread.
Chicken and mushroom pizza @$15.80
It had chunks of chicken marinated with herbs, mushrooms, onions and roasted peppers. The pizza base was home-made as stated in their menu. It was light. The ingredients weren't too strongly flavoured. A careful mastication of the pizza will your taste buds detect the taste of it. Compared it to the home brand, Pizza Hut, you will realise the former goes heavy in their marinating of the ingredients because their pizza is always so full-flavoured. Or maybe they added a lot of vestin aka MSG. If you are more of the original taste person, go for Sweet Indulgence. I like the roasted peppers. The thin pizza crust wasn't very much to my liking as I find it a bit hard.

Spaghetti with spicy prawns @$17.90

More than the aglio olio. Added asparagus and mushrooms. Aglio Olio is a dish that is easy to cook, difficult to perfect. Apart from the important ingredient garlic, I tasted a tinge of sourness. Vinegar or white wine added? I'm not too sure. I think it made the spaghetti more appetizing and not just the usual garlic + olive oil taste.

Spaghetti Carbonara @$14.90

Speaking in general, I will not order a carbonara unless I crave for a creamy plate of spaghetti. I personally felt that carbonara should not be eaten in big portions. A small portion to satisfy the crave will leave a good encounter. It is always good when you have your first mouth of it but as you continue, you will start to grow sick of it and in the end, you can't finish the plate of carbonara. This was my experience with carbonara.

The carbonara was creamy rich. And like what I have experienced, my makan kaki couldn't finish her plate of carbonara. It was not that the carbonara wasn't good but just you know....like the abovementioned.

Spaghetti Marinara @$19.90

The marinara was slightly better than mediocre. An assortment of seafood such as mussels, clams and prawns. No squids for Sweet Indulgence's rendition but it didn't make the spaghetti any less appealing. It was slightly spicy. A generous amount of clams were added but the clams were mostly baby clams and it was a bit of a hassle to just pick out a tiny piece of meat.

Tiramisu @$11.80

The tiramisu...many huhas about it. So I die die also must try it. It was like what the others raved about. It was good. Must-try! I have tried a lot of tiramisus so I'm a bit particular when it comes to trying out the tiramisu. I felt the base of the tiramisu (the ladyfingers) was slightly too moist. Other than this, there was nothing much to pick on.

The bill totalled up to $88.30 for 3 pax. Reasonably priced. They do offer other main courses which are slightly more expensive than pizza/pastas. I didn't really like the dining experience because the waitresses were always looking at us. Later on, the chefs stood near the bar counter and were like gawking at us when we were having our tiramisu. It made us uneasy and I think it was a bit rude. If I were to visit it again, it is definitely for the tiramisu.

Sweet Indulgence

2 Stanley Street

Singapore 068721

Tel: 6223 7707

Saturday, September 27, 2008

110. Peaberry & Pretzel

I have long heard of P&P and have been wanting to visit it. Even though it is quite near my house, I have not been there before. After the lunch affair at Bistro Petit Salut, my makan kaki and I were already on the bus, ready to proceed back home. Our bus happened to be passing by this place so at the very last minute, we hopped off the bus. On this sweltering weather, I suggested to my makan kaki that we have a cuppa of iced coffee at P&P before we make our way home.
It is quite small in the air-conditioned seating. They have nice cushioned chairs outdoor. I think it makes a good chill out place on weekends.
I was instantly attracted to the cakes in the cabinet when I entered P&P. They looked so delicious. But my stomach didn't have room for them. Still full from lunch at Bistro Petit Salut.

Souffle @$13
Their souffle was the lauded item. So, I ordered one with rum between the choice of rum and chocolate. It was good. Must-try! The souffle wasn't too sweet and the rum covered the pungent smell of the egg white. It simply melts in your mouth. Served with a shot of melted vanilla ice-cream and a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the strawberry macaron. The vanilla ice-cream was made from real vanilla pods. Rich in taste. I like the macaron. Though it wasn't as good as the ones my friend bought all the way from Europe, it was a consolation that with technology, we get to enjoy nice food learnt from places around the world.

Ice version coffee - mocha @$5 +$1.50

An addition of $1.50 for the ice version. Ice cubes were added. Such ice version was very popular in korea. The koreans like to have ice version coffee whereby they have coffee with ice cubes.

I had the decaffeinated mocha (swiss water method) @$5 which was with no extra cost. It was nice to see my cuppa of mocha infused with such nice coffee art. Their mocha was very aromatic and smooth to the throat. But I couldn't really make out the difference between the decaffeinated and caffeine mocha or coffee.

One reason I wanted to visit P&P was because of their specially created premium Peaberry coffee blend which I had read from their website. Peaberries are coffee beans that are grown alone in a single cherry. This aroused my curiousity.

No service charge at P&P, all food are of nett prices and GST chargeable. I have realised a few good eating places next door and will be returning soon to try out. Haha....

Peaberry & Pretzel

106 Clementi Street 12

#01-52 Singapore 120106

Tel: 6777 3477


109. Bistro Petit Salut

Bistro Petit Salut offers authentic French fare. My loyal makan kaki has helped to rope in a new makan kaki who went with us for lunch at the Bistro Petit Salut to laze the hot saturday afternoon away. It is pretty easy to locate. Just directly behind the MRT station which is still building in progress. With the new MRT station, it will be easier to reach. It has another sister restaurant, Au Petit Salut at Harding Road.

The ambience was cosy and the waiters were all pretty approachable. I realised that the drinks and wine list had more pages than their food list. Get your booze with the french food. The food list consists of 1 page for the set lunch, 1 page for their set dinner and 1 page for their ala-carte.
One of the waiters later came forward with another ala-carte menu and recommended their oysters. My makan kakis are amiable people. 1 of them a raw food-resistant diner. So, the waiter's recommendation was not considered. Besides, none of us seemed keen on the ala-carte menu. All of us decided on the set lunch which consists of 1 appetizer, 1 main course, 1 dessert and a cuppa tea/coffee for $25 and it's strictly no sharing.

Complimentary bread
Seared baby bay scallops with cocktail potatoes, shallot vinaigrette

I didn't have this but took a bite of the baby bay scallops. They were cold and soft.
Cured Norwegian salmon tartare with fresh avocado, olive oil and lemon juice
The salmon tartare was very compatible with the avocado. Though both are unctuous food, the fatty salmon and the buttery avocado was washed away by the refreshing lemon juice. It was a good appetizer. A light appetizer. Very suitable for the ladies.

1/2 dozen baked escargots with cherry tomatoes and garlic butter

I was keen on trying out the baked escargots though my previous experiences with baked escargots didn't leave me any nice impressions. My makan kaki annoyed me with the disgust of snails crawling all over the floor but that didn't put the idea off of having them. I had thought the escargots would be pretty big but I would say I had baby escargots. The garlic butter made the escargots garlicky and aromatic. The cherry tomatoes used lighten the greasy feel of the garlic butter. Must-try! It was delicious.

It went well with the bread.

Oven-roasted chicken leg confit with wild mushroom cream sauce and gratin potato

When this dish was served, I felt it looked pathetic. A chicken leg and some potatoes. My makan kaki does not eat beef nor raw food so he opted for the chicken dish. A very simple dish. But the wild mushroom cream sauce was very fragrant. I could smell the creamy rich sauce when it was served to him seated opposite to me.

Seared onglet beef “CafĂ© de Paris” with French fries

I had this. I was initially more keen on the Provencal-styled slow braised pork ribs in tomato and white wine, gratinated in mixed herbs but my other makan kaki is another non-beef eater. So, I tried out the onglet beef instead. Applause to this dish. Must-try! The french fries were crispy and pretty different from those we had at the fast food chains. The exterior crispy hard and the interior was like mashed potato. 1 thing I didn't like about the onglet beef was it was charred on the surface. I'm not sure if it was supposed to be like this or overcooked. The sauce was good. I think some herbs (maybe basil? parsley?) were added. I like the sauteed onions which made the beef sweet.

Provencal-styled slow braised pork ribs in tomato and white wine, gratinated in mixed herbs

The braised pork ribs were soft and the bones could be easily removed. The white wine and mixed herbs was not too strong.

Choux buns with vanilla ice cream, warm chocolate sauce and sliced almonds

Must-try! I like the choux buns. The warm chocolate sauce was slightly too sweet for me. If dark chocolate sauce was used, I will like it more. When it was served, the choux buns were covered by the melted ice-cream, chocolate sauce and the sliced almonds. I felt the choux buns can be presented in a more obvious way. Frankly speaking, it was more like 2 scoops of ice-cream with almonds flakes.

Mixed tropical fruits crumble infused with vanilla beans

I did not manage to taste the vanilla beans in the crumble but the crust of the crumble was good. The crust was flaky and not too dry. It was a hot dessert. The filling was piping hot. I felt the filling of mixed tropical fruits in the crumble was slightly too sweet. I think there were apple and pineapple in it.

Passionfruit Blanc Manger

The passionfruit blanc manger is a must-try! The blanc manger was very much made like our Italian dessert-panna cotta. Slight sweetness. It was very smooth. The passionfruit was sour and I think the sweet and sour combination was very palatable. My makan kaki didn't like it because the passionfruit was too sour for her.

Tea/coffee. My makan kakis joked about enquiring on the production place of the milk provided.

Each of us paid about $30 with the addition of service charge and GST. I think the lunch was pretty worthwhile and the ambience was good. They are currently having a citibank promotion. Check out their website for more details.

Bistro Petit Salut
Blk 44 Jln Merah Saga
Tel: 64749788

Friday, September 26, 2008

108. Realm Court Vegetarian Restaurant

I was invited to this vegetarian meal at Realm Court Vegetarian Restaurant. I have never eaten a full course vegetarian meal so it really interests me when I knew I was going to have one. Usually, the idea of vegetarian meal gives people the idea of eating the greens. Well, it may have been so a few decades ago but not now anymore. The vegetarian meal has grown to become an imitation of the non-vegetarian meals, in the sense that mock meat are being introduced to replace the meat and that's why you'll get to eat 'duck', 'chicken', 'prawn' and etc. The mock meat are made of flour and they are very much alike to the real meat.

Realm Court Vegetarian Restaurant has 2 other sister restaurants as seen above. Didn't know it is a halal restaurant until I saw the logo on the wet tissue wrapper. It's another great place for our muslim friends to join us for a vegetarian meal cooked the chinese way.

The first dish as usual, was the cold dish. Handmade longevity peaches were placed at the edge of the plate. It was smaller and the filling was made red bean paste instead of the usual lotus paste. There was the chicken karage, sotong balls, ham with mayonnaise, fried samosas and the marinated chicken gizzards. The cold dish was good. The marinated chicken gizzards was very good. The mock meat did wonders.
This is the most unpalatable dish of all. An imitation of the shark fins soup. Beancurd strips replaced the shark fins. Ham replaced the crab meat. Very bland and there were undissolved starch clots in the soup.

Mock duck with preserved vegetables (mui choy) and beancurd skin. Though mock meat was used and supposely to contain much lesser oil, it is unctuous. The fried beancurd skin was accountable for this. I like the mui choy laid underneath of the dish.

Sea cucumber with mixed vegetables. We were all instantly attracted to how would the sea cucumber taste like. We were all amazed at the art of turning flour and maybe gelatine into the artificial sea cucumber. The texture and taste of the artificial sea cucumber was almost identical to the real sea cucumber. It was tangy like a real one would be. Other than the momentary draw to the artificial sea cucumber, the dish was just so-so.

This is the lotus wrapped rice. It was a huge ball of rice. What was wrapped in the lotus wasn't glutinous rice. It was the normal type of rice we ate. Despite not using glutinous rice, the rice was still quite sticky and yet every grain of rice so succulent. Bits of mock meat were added. There weren't any other ingredients. I felt the topping of mixed peas destroyed the dish. It somehow made the lotus wrapped rice not so delectable.

The yam ring with 'kung bao pork'. I must comment on the yam ring. It was very good. Must-try! The exterior was fried crispy and the interior so scrumptious. The yam was very soft and rich.

I like the 'kung bao pork'. Slight sweet and sour and a tinge of spiciness from the dried chillies.

Another dish that surprised the table of people. Steamed mock fish, the teochew style. Ar har....see, the fish was without head and tail. Just a slab of fish like steamed ikan kurau. The mock fish meat's edge had seaweed which is like the fish's skin. It tasted a bit like fish cake.

Dessert was orh nee with pumkin added. It was good. Not too sweet but I didn't see any ginkos. Ginkos ain't a vegetarian food?

Since it was a treat, I have no idea how much does the meal cost. Overall, the food was pretty good and not oil-laden. It was quite a fulfilling meal. The mock meat were made of flour, too much of them will make one fat. This type of vegetarian meal ain't a good choice as diet meals. They are made so savoury. I will doubt the determination of the dieter. Haha.

Realm Court Vegetarian Restaurant

Orchard Shopping Centre

321 Orchard Road #05-00

Singapore 238806

Tel: 62352102

Thursday, September 25, 2008

107. Steamboat Inn (Lu Zhi Guan)

I was at International Road yesterday and other than Tung Lok Seafood Restaurant (in The Arena Club), there aren't any other restaurants in the vicinity. So, dinner was settled at this tze char stall at the kopitiam next to Tung Lok. It is called the Steamboat Inn.
This is the fish steamboat that we ordered. Small portion @$25. The teochew style steamboat. It was quite good. The broth was milky and dark. Usually the broth used in such steamboats is clear. Not much ingredients other than the fish meat, white cabbage, fried yam sticks and seaweed. I still prefer the fish steamboat from Tian Wai Tian at Serangoon. Their fish steamboat is very popular and on weekend dinners, there is always a huge crowd.
Fried tofu in Thai Style @$8. I was almost deceived by the fried tofu's appearance. It looked so unappetizing. But I was wrong. The tofu was the kind of tofu that is used for cooking soup, the soft and silky kind instead of the harder kind which are used for frying. The exterior was deep fried till crispy and the interior was so smooth and the runny tofu just melt away in your mouth.

Steamboat Inn
Address details to be updated later.