Monday, March 30, 2009

Bakerzin Lunch

The Sunday Times (Lifestyle) yesterday had 2 full pages of set lunches that are around $15, with some even breaking the $10 barrier! This is certainly good news.

Though Bakerzin was not featured in those 2 pages, I had a set lunch ($13.80) there that offered very good value. In fact, it's an all-day set menu so you could even have this for dinner!

Part 1 of Set Lunch: Unlimited servings of home-made bread! I like the fact that the breads were pre-sliced (so no fear of unhygienic, grubby, ungloved hands of the previous customer) and that there was a toaster to inject some love and warmth into the slices.

Part 2 of Set Lunch: Soup of the Day, which was corn soup on my visit. Grainy and sweet with just a swirl of cream, it was enjoyable though a little one dimensional.

Part 3 of Set Lunch: Main Course choices included Tomato & Cheese Bruschetta, Curry Linguini, Ham, Bacon & Mushroom Flaky Pizza etc. I opted for the Spaghetti Bolognaise which was a generous portion. The pasta could have been just a wee bit firmer but compared to many other mid-priced restaurants and cafes, their doneness was really commendable.

The sauce tasted mild with tomato sauce and a faint beefy flavour. Personally, I would have preferred a more robust sauce. The fresh basil a nice refreshing touch when shredded and mixed into the pasta. Overall, not bad.

Part 4 of Set Lunch (no picure): Choice of Iced Tea (lemon, peach, mango etc) or Iced Italian Soda (blood orange, passion fruit, blueberry, strawberry etc). Sis likes their soda so so opted for the passion fruit flavour. I didn't try this though.

For ala carte items, the Summer Salad ($10.80) was delicious! A mesculun salad featuring rocket, romaine lettuce, cucumbers, asparagus and corn kernels was tossed in an olive oil dressing and sprinkled with chopped almonds for added texture. The whole mix was crunchy, fresh and well-balanced.

Otah on bread is not a new thing and Bakerzin's Otah Bruschetta ($9.80) rides on this proven combination. Crusty ciabatta was used as the base and topped with a spicy otah paste. The otah tasted fresh, aromatic and had bits of fish embedded within.

Surprisingly, we didn't order dessert! Maybe it's my IPPT that is just in a few days. Eeks.

Suntec City Mall (various other branches)
Tel: 6338 4656

Chew On This: For the month of March (which is ending), Bakerzin is offering a 50% discount off their Cookies & Cream Cheesecake! Look out and do enquire for the April promotion.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour: Dinner in Darkness

Okay okay, I admit I was almost 30 mins late for Earth Hour which was from 8.30-9.30pm. But I had to cook my dinner... and I wasn't confident of doing it in the dark.

So with just one minimal light switched on, I hurriedly cooked dinner as The Fast & The Furious on Channel 5 Earth Hour was ending.

And I ate alone quietly in the dark with only the soft glow from my laptop providing some illumination. Oh yes, how I took electricity for granted. It's always available at the flick of a switch right?

Being a food blog, here's a peak at my dinner- Prawn Aglio Olio. With the lights still switched off of course. That's when I appreciated another light source. Thank God for flash!

Else my dinner would have appeared to you guys like so:

This is the same shot without flash. No joke.

Earth Hour was a good time for retrospection. One hour in darkness could actually be therapeutic too. Hmm... so if it's so beneficial to Earth, Earth Hour should be observed at least once a month instead of just once a year. That way, it'll be a sustained movement with increased benefits rather than a one-shot publicity blitz.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Classy, Comfortable Chinese Lunch

As church is in Suntec City, we normally settle lunch there as well. Having had many many many Sunday lunches there, we were happy to see a few new places sprout up.

One was Tang Dian Wang. The orange-lit balls hanging from the ceiling first caught our attention. Very oriental but also modern chic. And the music they played was like Chinese High Society. Pretty cool.

How about the food?

The Crispy Skin Duck in Hangzhou Style ($11.80) could be a little meatier and tender but was delicious with the tasty sauce drizzled over the slightly crispy skin. The duck meat was flavourful and all these beckoned for a bowl of rice.

We also ordered the Pork Dumplings in Szechuan Chilli Oil ($4.50). Overall, it was decent though I would have preferred more heat from the chilli oil and a greater Szechuan peppercorns influence over the garlicky sauce.

Crunchy Golden Mushrooms ($7.80) were a delightful snack! Crisp, light and lightly salted. Tiger anyone?

There was a congee dish but I can't recall it's exact name. I think it was sweet potato congee. Rather bland actually except for the sweet cubes of sweet potato and crispy keropok.

Time for more meat which arrived in the form of Chicken with Fragrant Chives and Onions ($9.80). I suspect the chef must have poured very hot oil over the chives and onions shreds. Some chefs do this to release the aromatics from shreds of ginger, spring onions etc. However, the version here seemed to lack that aromatic lift that I was looking for. Maybe I should have tried their drunken chicken dish.

What was the best dish for me that lunch was the Shanghai-Style Grilled Eggplant ($8.80). The whole eggplant was grilled (fried?) till soft and sweet before being topped with minced pork and chilli sauce. The combination of sweet, spicy and salty was great. Two bowls of rice please!

And speaking about rice. They also do a decent Lotus Leaf-Wrapped Rice (can't remember the price :/) which was fragrant with the lovely scent of the lotus leaf. The two main gripes are the less-than-well-marinated chicken pieces and the slightly wet rice.

For desserts, the above is the Young Coconut & Lily Bulb in Almond Cream ($3.80). I enjoyed the texture of the coconut. A little like a firm sea coconut.

Silky Egg White and Milk Custard ($4.80) I did not try but my sis who loves steamed egg/milk custard desserts polished this off without a word. That should say something...I think.

To sum up my visit at Tang Dian Wang, the place is nicely set-up, music is loungy/soulful Chinese, food is generally good but as with all new places, they probably need a bit of time to iron out the kinks.

Tang Dian Wang
Suntec City Mall (other branches at Bukit Panjang Plaza & The Heeren)
Tel: 6334 3007
Opens: Monday to Thursday- 11am to 10pm
Friday to Sunday- 11am to 10.30pm

Chew On This: The double-boiled soups at Tang Dian Wang look promising but a pity they were sold out when I visited for lunch. Do check them out!

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Sun Shines Again....For Now

A big thanks to everyone for your concern and encouragement. Praise the Lord that as sudden as the dark clouds loomed, the sun quickly begins to shine again. Though scars are left, I'm trusting Him to handle the situation.

Moving along, moving ahead. Life should be that way.

My fingers are itching to blog. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The darkest days...

I've been hit with something that I've not faced before. Sad. Lost. Frustrated. Complex. Sensitive (so I shan't share much). Seems like the darkest days of my entire life so far.

Makankakis dinner is tomorrow but I'm not the least excited. No food or wine is gonna taste good with a sour mood.

The cow is going for a night jog now. Looking to Jesus as my solid rock. My solution.

Cya all soon. No one stays down forever...

Monday, March 09, 2009

Prawn Noodles of Love?

Sixth Avenue has many small interesting eateries and is also home to many kopitiams which are a great source of affordable food.

Ai Prawn Noodles is one such place. Ai in Mandarin means love. So would this be a prawn noodles of love? With the recent spate of dark news coming out from NTU, perhaps this would be the kind of food to share around.

The Prawn Kway Teow Mee Soup ($3) consisted of about four medium-sized prawns, thin slices of lean pork, beans sprout and a few strands of kang kong. The stock was satisfyingly cheng (light-tasting), with a prominent taste of pork bones at the forefront and the prawny flavour hitting the back. Throw in a few slices of fresh chilli for a kick!

As with my Standard Operating Procedure when eating prawn noodles, I decided to try the dry version too. The Pork Rib Prawn Noodles Dry ($4) came with the same ingredients with the addition of meltingly soft pork ribs. I would have preferred more meat and less fat on the pork ribs though.

What really got me hooked was the darkish sauce used. It was spicy, savoury and a perfect coating for the prawns, veggies, lean pork slices and thick egg noodles! Think it was a quality dark soy sauce that did the trick. The whole thing was in harmony and the crispy fried shallots added extra fragrance and crunch.

I love the fact the they serve their noodles in a porcelain bowl with the old-school cockerel imprint. Does having this enhance your noodle experience somehow?

Ai Prawn Noodles
Sixth Cafelink (Across the road from Cold Storage @ Guthrie House)
Off Anamalai and Sixth Avenue
Opens: 8am to 8pm

Chew On This: Interestingly (and shockingly), this kopitiam does not have a drink stall! But don't panic, the neighbouring kopitiam does and the uncle will come by your table.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Ben & Jerry's Chunk Fest 2008!

Wee!! We're approaching the end of the first quarter of 2009 but I still have something in 2008 to shout about!

I was delighted to get an invitation to Ben & Jerry's Chunk Fest. Yes, an ice cream festival in the park. And it was at Fort Canning Park, no joke.

While the venue wasn't the best unfortunately due to the rain which made it slightly muddy and humid, the atmosphere was carnival-like with hordes of people streaming in!

I watched in amusement as teams raced to finish off the Vermonster. What monster? *Hold your breath* The Vermonster features 20 scoops of ice cream (Ben & Jerry's of course) with 20 scoops of toppings such as whipped cream, chocolate chip cookies, hot fudge, walnuts etc on top of a giant brownie!! Somehow the photo above looked more serene that the actual mayhem. Lol.

Proud winners and runner-up teams from the Vermonster competition. I think they're ready for a full marathon now.

Ice cream there was a plenty and people queuing for them were even more numerous. A single scoop went for $4.50, double at $8 and triple at $11. Imagine 34 flavours of Ben & Jerry's! A scoop of each and I think I would surely be in heaven.

Exclusive to Chunk Fest were a dozen of new flavours that were made available just for that day. I managed to try one of them, the Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl, courtesy of the PR folks at Bates 141. All I am gonna say is that chocolate and peanut butter make best friends.

Being a festival, it wasn't just about good ice cream. There were beers from 6 Drunk Men, air-brush tattoo artists, gypsies and caricaturists among others. Come evening, local bands take the stage to inject mooore moosic. It's all about fun.

Lastly, the slogan behind the Ben & Jerry's T-shirt says it all in a hippie fashion. Peace, Love and Ice Cream.

Indeed. So here's to world peace and moore ice cream!

Special thanks to Moe Moe, Wwei Lim and Malvina of Bates 141 for the invitation and hospitality, and Ben & Jerry's for Singapore's first ever ice cream festival.

Ben & Jerry's Chunk Fest
19th Nov 2008

Chew On This: Ben & Jerry's was founded in an old gas station in Vermont, USA, by two childhood friends and activists who today still insist on using milk and cream from cows free from hormone treatment. With other perks, life must be good as a Ben & Jerry's cow!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Katong Laksa

There seems to be a certain pattern in some areas here in Singapore, whereby a particular locale is associated with a particular food. Balestier-Bak Kut Teh/Tau Sar Piah? Geylang-Durians/Frog Porridge?

Katong? Laksa would probably come to mind.

There are more than one stall selling Katong Laksa around the vicinity but I decided on 328 Katong Laksa as I had heard good things about them. And besides, they seem to have attracted a lot of local and foreign celebrities including Anthony Bourdain, KF Seetoh, Jacky Wu and gang etc. This cow is no celebrity but no hum harm seeing what the fuss is about yea.

The Laksa ($3) here was good. Short strands of thick bee hoon soaked happily in the creamy gravy that oozed a gentle mixture of spices and coconut sweetness. Now, add and stir in a dollop of the chilli paste and the Laksa transforms into a spicier creature with more depth. I opted to leave out the cockles so the rest of the accompanying items were bean sprouts, fish cake and smallish prawns.

Another good thing to try here is the Otah (~$1). The spicy fish paste had firm slivers of fish meat embedded within the paste and was nicely spicy!

To cool things off, order the Iced Barley ($1).

Now, if only there were plenty of tau pok (fried tofu puffs) to soak up that beautiful gravy...

328 Katong Laksa
53 East Coast Road (other various branches)

Chew On It: Katong Laksa is usually served and eaten with just a spoon. Chopsticks are not needed as the bee hoon strands have already been snipped short.