The jiaksimipng Foodnotes series is essentially a monthly review of selected places that we have dined at which are worth a mention but skipped on the blog for various reasons (e.g. personal commitments, lack of coverage for a full-length post etc.). We have already posted a similar post for the month of January 2017 here. For the month of February 2017, we have also posted full-length articles about Mrs Pho House, 20grams Specialty Coffee and Roastery, Yi Dian Xin Hong Kong Dim Sum (Jalan Leban) and Thrive Kitchen; do check those out as well!
(Do note that we only include places that we have made anonymous visits to and paid for our meals in the jiaksimipng Foodnotes series.)
House of AnLi Bistro
Hidden at the back of House of AnLi (a homeware shop) at Tanglin Mall is House of AnLi Bistro, a café/bistro which serves both brunch as well as more substantial mains ranging from the eggy, breakfast fare to risotto and moussaka; the menu may look a tad limited but the focus is all on fresh produce done well. We had the Scrambled Eggs on Sourdough; the original dish only coming with scrambled eggs atop sourdough toast but they do offer a list of options that is available as add-ons which we opted for Farmer’s Bacon and Mixed Mushrooms. It was well-executed, from the lightly creamy yet runny scrambled eggs to the thinly-sliced but oh-so-flavourful bacon and the juicy, earthy sautéed mushrooms that come with a bite. Apparently, a spot seemingly popular with Caucasian tai-tais who are looking for a spot to catch-up over lunch, House of AnLi carries a vibe that sets it apart from the local cafe scene from the high ceiling-to-floor windows to the sincere, heartfelt and friendly service of the staff, this is a spot that one should visit at least once to experience the true café vibe that is missing all these while.
163 Tanglin Road
We have seen quite a number of Poke bars opening in town for the previous months (e.g. Sweetfish, Alakai, Loloku etc.), but Poke Doke probably stands out from with a select few from the lot for the overall quality especially when it comes to the marination of the fish and the level of customisation that they offer for each bowl. During our visit, we opted for the medium bowl where we had a choice of two scoops of fish and four toppings; there are also premium toppings available at a top-up such as an onsen egg that we added in our bowl. The Wasabi Salmon, despite being a little creamy, still carries enough kick to create a rather balanced numbing sensation while the Spicy Tuna, though on the mild side of spiciness still is pretty tasty. We added fried shallots, flying fish roe, carrots and seaweed nori and opted for the mixed rice option; the latter that weirdly came as a 50:50 brown rice and white rice that sits in their respective corners in the bowl. That being said, Poke Doke does have the potential and is definitely one of the places that would be really popular with the health-conscious office folks especially once they have settled down after the initial post-opening phase with the teething issues all resolved.
(Read our review of the Medium Bowl via Burpple.)
9 Raffles Boulevard
Kueh Dadar Mille Crepe at Revolution Coffee
With Chef Shen Tan back at helm in the kitchen at Revolution Coffee, not only are her signature Buah Keluak Pasta and Nasi Lemak are back on the menu (the Shendol was also mentioned in our Honourable Mentions 2016 post), she had also very recently created the Kueh Dadar Mille Crepe which is a genius fusion of local elements into the Mille Crepe. Think Mille Crepes that are made with Pandan crepes with alternate layers of fresh cream and desiccated coconut drenched in Gula Melaka in between. While we thought the Pandan crepes were a tad on the thick side, it successfully replicates the familiar flavours of the Kueh without venturing anywhere near being overly sweet. A clever fusion of flavours and elements that simply works in harmony.
(Read our review of the Kueh Dadar Mille Crepe via Burpple.)
21 Media Circle
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/RevolutionCoffeeSG
Essen@The Pinnacle sees a new tenant move into its premises, taking the place of El Jefe Corner that is beside Garcons in the hipster food court. As the name suggests, Burger Buddies serves burgers; and pretty good ones in fact. While most of the burgers listed are more classic in terms of the combination of ingredients used, the Duck Burger stands out for being a duck confit served in a form of a burger; whole shredded confit duck thigh with cheddar cheese, arugula and mandarin orange wedges served in between two toasted sesame-seed buns, the duck flesh was pretty moist and crisp and the smart addition of mandarin orange wedges help cut both the meatiness of the duck as well as the natural bitterness of the arugula. What makes the burger so good in our opinion was the buns; toasted consistently on the surface, the buns carry a crisp texture on the first bite, but still maintaining a fluffy and light texture within with a lightly buttery flavour; so good we actually finished the top bun alone while working through the entire burger. Even the fries are well taken care of here; fried only upon order as they were served piping hot. Would try their Beef Burger if I were to be back at Essen@The Pinnacle another time; seems like a promising start for a new stall in the ‘hood!
(Read our review of the Duck Burger via Burpple.)
1 Cantonment Road
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/burgerbuddies.sg
Sushiro, Takumi by Sushiro
Sushiro is a name that should be familiar to many by now — a name synonymous to value-for-money Barachirashi Don that doesn’t break the bank yet delivers a reasonable quality for the price paid. Also known for the long queues and a small shop space situated just at a small corner adjacent to the food court, Sushiro has since moved to a shop space of their own still within Thomson Plaza. The new space boasts a larger seating capacity and has much more emphasis on its decor to provide for an even more conducive dining experience; all that at the same price that it used to be at the corner stall. The Barachirashi Don is still what we remembered it to be; generously portioned for the price with marinated cubes of raw fish atop sushi rice; a balance of sweet-savoury affair that simple works.
So what about the shop space that Sushiro had vacated? Now home to Takumi by Sushiro, it now has an emphasis on beef bowls (gyu-don) instead, though there are few items such as a Shizuoka Unajyu Don as well as Chicken Katsu Curry Udon amongst others. The Tokyo Gyuniku Don replicates the success of Sushiro’s Barachirashi Don, bringing good quality to good price. At $12nett, the bowl comes with a good portion of tender, thinly sliced beef that isn’t noticeably gamey and comes pretty lightly flavoured, all atop seaweed nori (helps to add some contrast in taste), rice and an onsen egg atop. The bowl was surprisingly pretty manageable without feeling too dry even towards the end and is adequately filling as well. For those looking for the upsized version similar to Sushiro’s Premium Barachirashi Don, the Mount Gyuniku Don comes with more beef at $22 nett.
301 Upper Thomson Road
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Sushiro-Singapore-970518079675008
Takumi by Sushiro
301 Upper Thomson Rd
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Takumi-by-Sushiro-1864877453770871
Dofu @ JCube
Previously only located at Yishun Temporary Bus Interchange, Dofu had opened their second outlet in Basement 1 of JCube earlier this month. Everything offered here at the JCube outlet is the same as the original; the kiosk serves black soya bean desserts with toppings. Patrons first choose either base; Black Soya Bean soft-serve or a mix of Black Soya Bean Soft-Serve and Black Soya Bean Pudding, and picking the option of either having two, three or four toppings; do note that the sizes of the cups for all three sizes are the same so you would still end up with the same portion of base for all three options. We had visited the original outlet at Yishun Temporary Bus Interchange when they were new and liked both their soft-serve and pudding; for those who are unfamiliar with black soya bean, it tastes largely similar to the usual soya bean but way more pronounced in flavour. The soft-serve was smooth and creamy with a very light hint of sweetness, while the pudding was immensely smooth that is clean-tasting; pretty much feeling as though it came without sugar added. The JCube branch’s quality is pretty consistent to what we have had at Yishun Temporary Bus Interchange, though the presentation seemed to have improved over time with more defined and higher swirls as compared to when they have first started out in Yishun Temporary Bus Interchange; something that is definitely worth commending. If you are one who likes soya bean-based desserts, Dofu is one place you might want to check out, be it the one at JCube or Yishun Temporary Bus Interchange.
(Read our review of the Black Soya Bean Pudding + Black Soya Bean Soft-Serve via Burpple.)
2 Jurong East Central 1
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/dofu.sg
Kajiken @ Square2
Yet another second outlet entry here that made it to the jiaksimipng Foodnotes post for this month; Kajiken was one of the places we had always wanted to visit back in the day when they had opened their first outlet at Tanjong Pagar (the branch is still in operations as of the time of writing) especially after hearing a few raving reviews about their dry ramen. Having now visited their new outlet at Square2, we were actually pretty impressed with the Mazesoba Nagoya Style which we got; think of it as a Japanese-style Bak Chor Mee as the bowl of noodles come with spring onions, seaweed nori and spicy minced pork along with that wobbly onsen egg plopped in the middle. We also opted for an add-on of the Cod Roe with Mayo which eventually turned the entire bowl of noodles into a huge umami flavour bomb; very savoury with chewy and springy noodles. They do offer white rice if one ever needs something to mop up the remaining sauce in the bowl after finishing the noodles, and the service staff were very attentive here; asking those who are finishing their noodles if they wanted rice and topping up water/tea pretty promptly. Prices are also pretty affordable; a bowl of noodles cost $12.80 here with no additional charges if you opt for an upsize of 1.5 times more noodles, not to mention tea (there is a choice of water and soft drinks as well) comes complimentary here. Very, very value-for-money deal here!
(Read our review of the Mazesoba Nagoya Style via Burpple.)
10 Sinaran Drive
Village Nasi Lemak
The CBD seems to have no lack of hipster spots for local food, namely Nasi Lemak. Village Nasi Lemak is back from a short hiatus, having moved out of the former location at Simpang Bedok to Circular Road. They serve their Nasi Lemak in sets, while there is a Tapas section in the menu featuring small plates; orders are taken through an ordering machine which is also where the payment is made before collecting a buzzer which would ring when the food is ready for collection. We went for the Chicken Wing Set which comes with rice, fried chicken wing, chilli, peanuts, ikan bilis, sous-vide egg and pickled cucumbers. While we enjoyed the rice which was sufficiently moist, light and fluffy, carrying a hint of coconut aroma which makes the Nasi Lemak so satisfying, we were lesser of a fan when it came to the fried chicken wing and sous-vide egg. The former, despite being crisp and tender was served lukewarm (we would prefer the wings to be served hot) while the sous-vide egg carried a hint of truffle (?) which seemed a little unnecessary and also was served pretty cold while not exactly flowy or runny but on the verge of solidifying. The other components were fine; ikan bilis were crispy, the chilli carrying a good balance of sweet and spicy. Portions may be a little small, considering the amount of rice seemed a little lesser than the usual, but Village Nasi Lemak seems to have some potential especially if they are able to fix the serving temperatures of the various components, considering the prices despite on a markup, are pretty decent and even fitting to the dining environment of the space.
(Read our review of the Chicken Wing Set via Burpple.)
57 Circular Road
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Vnasilemak
Homemade Pasta at Fynn’s
We had not posted about Fynn’s on the blog, but if you had been following us on social media for a while you would probably know that we had visited Fynn’s a couple of times to try out what they have to offer. The menu has since changed a little from the very first time we had visited them; since then they no longer serve sliced cakes (desserts are available in the ala-carte menu instead), and the menu had been categorised in a way that is easier to understand. Homemade pasta is offered in their menu from early February, with a small variety featuring different pasta types (e.g. cavatelli, orecchiette) only available for weekday lunch at the point of writing. We gave the Gnocchi a try; potato gnocchi with mixed mushrooms, Mushroom Veloute and parmesan. Despite being a vegetarian option, it carries a variety of textures so much that meat-eaters might not even notice that the entire dish lacks meat. The smart move of using Mushroom Veloute as the “sauce” allows the light, crusty pillows of gnocchi to be laced in an earthy sauce, yet compensated in terms of texture where the mixed mushrooms give the dish a little bite. The parmesan adds a light, savoury touch that was not overbearing making the entire dish pretty light and easy to finish. The Gnocchi is indeed one dish that I truly enjoyed, and is something I would really recommend to those who are into homemade pasta, done well.
(Read our review of the Gnocchi via Burpple.)
South Beach Avenue
26 Beach Road
This is pretty much of a new yet hidden spot in the Tanjong Katong neighbourhood that is worth a mention; a bistro-cum-grocer concept, Bottega retails Italian wine, cheese, bread etc. while also serving up a rather decently sized and affordable menu of antipasti, pasta and pizza in the tiny space it occupies (there are only two counter-table seats within the store, and there are only five high tables situated outside at the common corridor). The Ravioli Porcini Tartufo was delicious; buttery, cheesy, rich and carries a light hint of truffle with pasta filled with porcini mushroom; the pasta not too thick nor floury, while the Tagliatelle al Tocco was simple and delightful with a tangy, chunky beef sauce that was a good balance of meatiness while the Tagliatelle was al-dente and fresh. We also had the Chocolato Bianco & Zucca con Gelato alla Nocciola which was the dessert of the day; a rather innovative dessert that sees white chocolate and squash done as a mousse with a scoop of hazelnut gelato served with a piece of meringue at the side. The flavours were simply on point; rich, nutty and chocolatey flavours over the lightly-flavoured, smooth yet rich mousse that exudes of a light pumpkin sweetness with the meringue that provides a neutral flavour and crunch to the dessert. A spot that we would definitely find ourselves returning to some day for their amazing and affordable pasta, as well as the pizza (it looked pretty good and well-sized as it arrived the table seated across from us); great for a laidback weekend lunch in the neighbourhood even in just T-Shirt, shorts and slippers for a satiating Italian meal.
263 Tanjong Katong Road