Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Miss Me, Miss U

Miss me? I certainly did miss you. The busy transition from the army to university hindered the earlier release of this post and as unsettling as transition is, I have to move on to greener pastures. A busy schedule means only one thing...more food! I subscribe to my own scientific theory that the body utilises more resources when one is busy and thus one tends to consume more. Logical? Or maybe just another excuse to get another plate of prata or a bar of chocolate.

Miss U Cafe is another one of those small eateries tucked away in some quiet stretch of road. Like gems, these eateries can be quite a prized find. Such is the case with this reviewed cafe.

Small yet cosy with a warm, friendly feel, Miss U Cafe is ideal for a romantic date or a relaxed meal. One side of the cafe has racks of wine bottles arranged according to the countries which they were produced in, while a few bottles containing chilli and herbs in oil adorned a rack on the opposite wall. Seating is a little cramped but thankfully not till you knock the teeth out of the person sitting next to you. Al fresco dining is also available at two or three tables outside but personally, I prefer the indoor seating. The inviting sofas and two free-of-charge internet terminals are good enough reasons.

Photographs of wine-makers at Miss U Cafe, racks and racks of wine, a tall wine chiller, labels describing each bottle of wine, decanters and the rows of cork that line up on a shelf below the cashier all indicates the cafe's inclination to wine. Come on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and Philip will be on hand to recommend and guide you through their selection of wines. Philip, the wine consultant, certainly possesses great PR skills and with it, is able to reach out to wine babies and connoisseurs alike. I later found out that Philip imports some of the labels which explains why they are exclusively available at Miss U Cafe. During my visit, I found Philip to be knowledgeable, open and honest. Unlike some others, he does not over-aggressively shove pricey bottles of wine to customers. I suggest you ask him for recommendations with your order, and do inform him of your budget.

I had an Australian Cabernet Sauvignon ($39) with my ribeye ($16.90). Both complemented each other well, with the red wine being strong enough to hold against the steak and yet not overpowering such that I couldn't taste the beef. Smooth, medium-bodied with an ample bouquet of currants, this wine is valued-for-money. The ribeye was tender and thankfully, not over-done. I like my steaks to be cooked medium-rare. My companion had the roasted lamb chops with rosemary($17.90). No complaints from him either. The chef was formerly from The Canteen of the Le Amis Group which has since closed.

The first time I visited Miss U Cafe was with a group of six. We each ordered a main course of either lamb, beef, salmon or chicken and a few of the pastas and finger food. The crayfish pasta in a tomato cream sauce was a hit and the fried breaded calamari and cod nuggets were both worth ordering. We opened four bottles of wine, with three Australian bottles costing $39 each and the last one from Italy at $68. Philip even threw in a basket of nachos and a plate of carrot and celery sticks on the house. Each person ended up paying just $40. For the quality of food, wine and time I had there, $40 was definitely a good bargain. Who needs the Great Singapore Sale?

I should be able to put up pictures of some of the other main courses and pastas the next time I visit.

Miss U Cafe
No. 14
Jalan Pari Burong
Singapore 488680
Tel: 62436266

Chew On This: I heard Miss U Cafe has a regular wine buffet on Thursdays. For about $25, one gets to drink from a selection of three reds and one white. Please call to enquire.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Chips More!

Potato chips are one of those snacks one finds hard to resist. This is especially if it comes in a big, brightly-coloured packet with unusual flavours such as the two I sampled above.

The Red Rock Deli's Dijon Mustard & Honey flavour remains one of my favourites. It has a tangy, savoury and slightly sweet taste which was what one will expect from mixing mustard with honey. Heavenly on its own, it will also be the perfect companion to sandwiches.

Kettle's Lime & Roasted Chilli was a let-down, proof that looks can indeed be deceiving. The packaging was the only attractive attribute. But alas, I can't eat the packaging can I? The chips tasted like ordinary barbeque-flavoured ones without the spicy and sourish hints from the chilli and lime that I was so expecting. Might as well get a pack of Tai Sun barbeque-flavoured potato chips. Not that Tai Sun is no good but I was expecting more from Kettle, supposedly one of Australia's best chips.

Chew On This: Candy Empire has special promotions from time to time. Check the store to see what awaits. The above two bags had a 'buy one get one free' promotion.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Cocoa Cocoa Nut

Ever wondered why some people describe two certain foods as a match made in heaven? My guess would be that these food pairing combinations are so good that God himself could be their creator, but of course.

One such pairing is nuts with chocolate. Up the ante a little by selecting the King of Nuts, Macadamia, with rich milk chocolate and it is enough to bring happiness to the most bitter of souls. I managed to get my hands on two boxes of milk chocolate-coated Macadamias from Perth. The difference between the two was that one box had the chocolate nuts dusted with cocoa powder.

The ones dusted with cocoa powder were less sweet as the slight bitterness of the cocoa powder balanced the milk chocolate well. Given a choice, I would prefer the cocoa powder-dusted ones. But who's to complain when you have another box of milk chocolate-coated Macadamias even without the cocoa powder dusting? Cetainly not me.

Chew On this: It is important that the Macadamias do not taste rancid as this could be an indication that the nuts have gone bad. Macadamias should taste buttery and nutty instead.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

German Fare-well

With Germany out of the World Cup finals, grieving fans could find comfort in some hearty German fare at Werner's Oven. Beginning in 1988, the Werners couple set up shop at Parkway before shifting to Simpang Bedok and then again to its current location at Upper East Coast Road.

The cosy family restaurant has a very jovial Bavarian feel. Patrons happily tucked into their food and chattered away over desserts and beer. I had the Green Pea Soup ($6.50) and found it thick and flavourful. Small bits of potatoes, carrots, peas and pork contributed to the texture and taste of the delicious, concentrated liquid.

I would highly recommend the Roasted Pork Knuckle ($18.50). It came with mashed potato and sauerkraut on the side. Sauerkraut, for those who may not be German fans or at least fans of German cuisine, is a pickled cabbage dish which commonly accompanies sausages. The humongous pork knuckle has an extremely crispy skin with soft succulent flesh underneath. Kudos to the chef who scored in this dish.

The Schmorbraten or beef pot roast ($19.50) also demanded praise for its tender stewed beef smothered with brown sauce. Accompanying the beef was a heap of shredded red cabbage, boiled potatoes and a German dumpling. The red cabbage went well with the beef. But I felt that the dumpling was a tad too starchy. On its own, the dumpling was rather bland but like a solid defender, the rich brown sauce with mushrooms saved it from definite defeat.

With German food this good, I'm sure German fans will nurse their wounds and get on with the beautiful life.

Werner's Oven
6 Upper East Coast Road
Singapore 455200

Chew On This: Werner's Oven also has a German bakery churning out cakes, breads, muffins and gingerbread cookies among others. Check it out while waiting for your food to arrive!