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.). Do check out the January and February edition of the jiaksimipng Foodnotes if you have missed them as well. We have also posted a full-length article for Rabbit Owl Depot at The Woodgrove for this month; do check it out!
(PS: Sorry for the lack of updates for the entire month; have been rather busy getting around assignments and deadlines for the last lap for school. We do have a few posts planned in the pipeline, however; hopefully, we can get to that around May!)
Spring ’17 Collection from Mad About Sucre
Mad About Sucre releases a new collection of their intricate desserts every season, and the new Spring ’17 collection was unveiled on 1st March 2017. The current season’s selection is said to be on the subtle side of flavours; a little different from those served in past seasons which often sees stronger and bolder flavours. This well describes the Anemone that we had tried; a cake that sees elements such as Light Tropical Mousse, Confit of Pineapple, Milk Chocolate Disc, Hazelnut Chantilly and Vanilla Choux Sponge coming together. The result is a rather soothing flavour; it doesn’t embody complexity in terms of flavour combination but carries several multitudes of similar flavours all in varying degrees; the Milk Chocolate Disc and Hazelnut Chantilly is pretty much testament to this statement where one would be able to taste differing layers of chocolatey and nutty flavours when going through the cake. Add that up with the lightly sweet yet zesty Light Tropical Mousse and Confit of Pineapple, and it is a luxurious combination that is pretty much going to please most taste buds. It comes topped off with a piece of candied ginger which adds a rather intense spiced flavour in contrast to the light flavours of the cake; that’s where we would recommend going for the tea pairing where Mint Tea is served alongside with the cake to complete the experience. What’s most intriguing however is the Light Tropical Mousse; there is no guarantee to what tropical ingredient is being used here daily and is simply made from what they could get fresh daily so it is always a surprise flavour here. Other interesting cakes that are part of their Spring ’17 collection includes the Castile and even an updated version of the Saint Dominique; all of which we had yet to try (and would really want to try!), and we shall leave it to you guys to find out what are they about.
(Read our review of the Anemone via Burpple.)
27 Teo Hong Road
Web Page: http://madaboutsucre.com/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mad-About-Sucre/1515959831984590
Menu revamp at South Union Park
Back from their short break, South Union Park had since revised their menu yet again, taking out some of the hot favourites and introducing new items to their latest menu. While we are sad to see some of our own favourites like the Chicken Roulade and the Gnocchi go off, the current menu of South Union Park could perhaps well be the most adventurous and daring attempt yet. We have tried a number of dishes, and from the appetisers to the mains and even down to the desserts, the new items did not disappoint, upholding the quality that is now synonymous with their name well. While everything was satisfying, our top favourite was the Kurobuta Pork Cheek with elements such as Tamarind Glaze, Coconut Polenta and Garlic Sprouts; a dish that seemed to have its basis spun off from Beef Cheeks with Peranakan fusion especially with Garlic Sprouts, an element that is found in the preparation of a classic Nyonya dish. The pork cheeks while tender did carry a bite, while the meat came off nicely without fighting back. The tamarind glaze was able to cut through the meaty flavours of the pork cheeks, while the most interesting part had to be the Coconut Polenta; think of it as a mash/puree version of Nasi Lemak for it exudes of coconut-y aroma. New desserts include the Passionfruit Carrot Fondant (a dessert with a daring approach of repackaging the all-familiar Carrot Cake that creates a unique identity to the dish; works very well for those who love spiced desserts) and the Roasted Pineapple & Coconut Parfait which is a safer, fool-proof but still satisfying dessert with tropical ingredients (e.g. pineapples and coconut ice-cream). Mark it down on your planner to check them out even if you did try them out before; it is definitely a place we would see ourselves returning for more!
101 Jalan Kembangan
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/southunionpark
The Buttercake Shop
Situated not too far from Hainanese Village Market & Food Centre is The Buttercake Shop, which is pretty much a hole-in-the-wall neighbourhood bakery that only deals with takeaways selling both sliced and whole loaves of butter cakes. What is pretty worth mentioning here is the sheer variety of butter cakes they have on offer here for both sliced and full loaves; some flavours are also pretty exotic as well (e.g. Cempedak, Lemongrass and Rum & Raisin) apart from the usual Vanilla and Marble flavours. While the Cempedak Butter Cake was a little weak on the sweetness of the fruit, there was a chunk of chempedak in the slice that we bought that helped to ante up the flavours quite a bit. That being said, the Cempedak Butter Cake was a good butter cake; think of the crumbly cake that is wafting of buttery aroma that we used to love as a kid. Each slice costs only $1.50, and serves as a pretty good after-meal treat at the hawker centre; if that is too little, the entire loaves costs only $6.50 which seems pretty affordable.
(Read our review of the Cempedak Butter Cake via Burpple.)
Blk 108 Hougang Avenue 1
Kowloon Bay HK Cafe
A new mall’s opening is usually pretty interesting as it also means that there are more F&B outlets to explore. Kowloon Bay HK Cafe is an entirely new F&B concept in the industry that opened its doors on the very same day that Hillion Mall is also open for business. While we had made a visit on the day of opening ordering the Crispy Pork Belly and the Butter Polo Bun, we were actually more impressed when we went for our second visit where we went for the Signature Fei Po Char Siew Noodles that was recommended by some friends. Sure enough, the Char Siew was beautifully caramalised; glistening, tender and juicy but we would prefer it to be chunkier, though it is noted that its the portion size served in a noodle dish; perhaps it would be sliced thicker in the single portion size instead. The meat went well with the decently springy noodles tossed in a savoury sauce as well. The Crispy Pork Belly we had during our first visit was also decent; crisp, crackling skin and was rather meaty in flavour though we would have preferred it to be fattier. A pretty decent option to go for at Hillion Mall for those who are looking for somewhere unique to dine at in Bukit Panjang.
17 Petir Road
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/kowloonbaysg
Leng Leng Ice Cream
One of those hole-in-the-wall ice-cream spots in a rather newly-developed building in Eunos along Changi Road (the same one that houses a row of cafes including Baker’s 13). What stands out here is its nostalgic theme and character; the name itself being the Chinese pronunciation for what is translated into English as “Cold Cold Ice Cream), while the design of its menu and posters transports one back to simpler days of the past with pretty Singaporean terminologies used. It’s also worth noting that there are no normal waffles being served here; one can choose their ice-cream to go in between bread, have it with a Pandan Waffle or even a Sugee Waffle. There are also a couple of old-school biscuits available as toppings as well. The Sugee Waffle with Coconut Ice-Cream was comforting; the waffle more of the cakey sort but comes with a whiff of almond to replicate Sugee Cake (apparently almond powder is added to the waffle batter), while the coconut ice-cream was refreshing, creamy and soothing on a hot day. What’s more worth of the mention is the service here however; we ordered a Pandan Waffle only to be told that they had ran out of the batter, and was offered an upgrade to the Sugee Waffle at no extra cost by the staff at her own will (the Sugee Waffle is more expensive than the Pandan Waffle). Whilst serving the Sugee Waffle, the lady asked if we could take peanuts on her own accord (one of us is, unfortunately, allergic to peanuts), and she immediately offered to redo another waffle on her own accord even though we could have easily scraped the peanuts off the waffle on our own. She also checked with us if we were allergic to almonds in the process. It’s pretty hard to find places with such a human touch, where the staff goes the extra mile on her own will to take care of her customers. A sincere, heartfelt spot that would definitely suit the neighbourhood it is in very well.
(Read our review of the Sugee Waffle with Coconut Ice-Cream via Burpple.)
116 Changi Road
By the folks behind Group Therapy Cafe which also runs quite a few spots in the Katong neighbourhood (e.g. Group Therapy Cafe @ Katong V and Scoop Therapy @ The Odeon Katong, Strong Flour is their latest concept situated just a few steps away from Group Therapy Cafe @ Katong V at where Azzura Gelato Bar was located in the mall and focuses on handmade pasta and pizza. We went for quite a number of items, and there seem to be some room for improvement with most of them. That being said, if we were to recommend an item, the Truffle Pizza would be the item we preferred. Twice-baked in the oven; once with all the toppings less the egg and once after the egg is placed in the centre, the Truffle Pizza came with a crisp, thin crust (all pizzas share the same crust here) while it comes with real truffle shavings over the top for flavour and texture; all with that cheesy, savoury goodness that mozzarella is known to provide and a flowy egg. A spot to try out perhaps if Group Therapy Cafe @ Katong V is packed during weekend brunch hours?
30 East Coast Road
Henri Charpentier @ Tanjong Pagar Centre
Henri Charpentier is not exactly a new brand; the brand had already made its existence in Singapore back in 2014 when they had first started with an outlet in Dempsey. They had since done a few pop-ups around Takashimaya (remember that legendary Pudding Chou Matcha?) and various Isetan branches and even opened an outlet at Orchard Central that retails their intricate cakes, but this new outlet at Tanjong Pagar Centre is worth a mention as it features a dine-in concept with a chef’s table in the middle of the store to showcase their plated desserts that are known to involve theatrics and interaction between chef and customer. For now, the only dessert available at the chef’s table is the Crepe Suzette; it comes with or without Vanilla ice-cream and costs a whopping $21.40 for the former. We had ours done by a young Japanese chef; plenty of interaction and the lights were dimmed in the cafe with a cue to showcase all that flambe action. Pricey it may be, but it is not just the food (which was really good) that one is paying for here; it is also about the theatrics, the interaction between the chef and customer and the entire experience that comes along which is great for a special occasion or just to spoil yourself once in a while. For those who still feel that the entire idea of the Crepe Suzette is over the top, they also stock a wide variety of cakes just like the Orchard Central outlet that one can enjoy at the cafe as well.
(Read our review of the Crepe Suzette with Ice-Cream via Burpple.)
Tanjong Pagar Centre
7 Wallich Street
Spring Medley from Sunday Folks
Mention Sunday Folks and two things would usually come to mind; great soft-serves and well-executed waffles. That’s the impression that Sunday Folks had left on our minds, and the Spring Medley came as a surprise to us so much that we decided to go for one instead of sticking to our initial plan of ordering the new Adzuki and Hazelnut Milk Chocolate soft-serve that they have. The plated dessert features Adzuki ice-cream gateau, Kuromitsu sago, Hazelnut Milk Chocolate ice-cream, Black Sesame Financier, Orange Marmalade, Coconut Milk Foam, Matcha Soil and Edible Flowers; a rather bright combination of rather Japanese-y elements that seemed fuss-free and complimented one another well. The only qualm was with the Black Sesame Financier which we felt could be a little bit more intense in flavour, but all’s still pretty good. A rather impressive take on plated desserts; definitely a dish that showcases the brains and skill of the people behind Sunday Folks which is more than just simply soft-serve and waffles.
(Read our review of the Spring Medley via Burpple.)
44 Jalan Merah Saga
Dot & Dash
Probably one of the new openings that would excite the office workers in the area rather than cafe-hoppers. Situated in Hill Street Centre, Dot & Dash is a spot primarily for office folks to grab takeaway sandwiches, pastries and even tarts along with speciality coffee. That being said, Dot & Dash does have a small seating area indoors within the space they occupy, as well as an al-fresco just across the stairs that leads to it. We got ourselves the Ham & Cheese Sandwich which was pre-prepared and heated upon order; decent for what it was though the bread was a little too sharp and stiff around which cut the gums. Our Flat White was pretty well pulled, using the Throwback blend roasted by Papa Pahelta which was pretty creamy with a light body and an earthy finish.
Hill Street Centre
1 North Bridge Road
O Mamma Mia
Those living in Woodlands; rejoice! It’s pretty rare to see new commercial F&B brands starting out in Causeway Point, so this deserves a mention. While they do have a few outlets in the works (there seems to be one opening soon at The Clementi Mall), their first outlet in Woodlands takes over Casa Italia’s former space along the aisle on the first floor. Serving fast to prepare and simple pasta and pizza, expect sliced pizza in a display cabinet heated up upon order and very simple DIY pasta dishes served here (i.e. choose the type of pasta and thereafter a sauce alongside). We tried the Salmon Piccante, a pretty decent pizza considering the category of eatery that this is; crisp and generally thin but still slightly bready crust with mozzarella, tangy tomato sauce and savoury slices of spicy salami. Nothing much to shout about, but pretty faultless during our visit (we noticed an Italian chef within the premises). A good place for residents around Woodlands to grab a fast bite to settle those cravings for pizza/pasta.
(Read our review of the Salami Piccante via Burpple.)
1 Woodlands Square
Toa Payoh has no lack in dessert spots (just look at the sheer amount of ice-cream places that they have in the neighbourhood; it’s crazy!), and Black Mamba adds to the list. Situated in Toa Payoh Central around the library, Black Mamba is more of a kiosk that serves charcoal-infused yoghurt either in cups or even paired with molten lava cakes on the side. There are several sizes to choose from for those served in cups; the Fun size allows for a sauce and a topping; works pretty well as a random grab-and-go sweet treat. While our choice of sauce and topping may not be the most aesthetically appealing, the Crocro Milk sauce (milk chocolate with chocolate pearls) and dried cranberries gave it a hint of tartness and a little chocolatey flavour to the smooth, creamy yoghurt that carries a light hint of sourness while providing the yoghurt with a bite as well. Not a bad idea for something soothing on a hot day.
(Read our review of the Fun Size via Burpple.)
600@Toa Payoh North
600 Lorong 4 Toa Payoh
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/blackmambayogurt
Baker’s Brew Studio @ Paragon Shopping Centre
Those who had been reading this blog for a while would have found the name familiar. Yes, the baking studio in Sembawang along Jalan Tampang and has another outlet at Upper Thomson Road had opened a new outlet at the heart of Orchard Road. The new outlet at Paragon Shopping Centre not only houses a baking studio, but it also finally brings back the dine-in concept which they had removed from the Jalan Tampang branch a while after our visit. There are a few cakes on display, and one of the newer items they offer here at Paragon Shopping Centre is the Dual Fromage; essentially a double cheesecake (conceptually similar to LeTao’s Double Fromage) featuring smooth cream cheese mousse as well as a light hint of saltiness from the cheesy crumbles over the top that gives it a dimension of flavour otherwise not found in a typical cheesecake (it may sound gross here, but rest assured it’s pretty appealing and is definitely worth trying). Also offered here is the Non-Alcoholic Tiramisu, as well as coffee brewed with a blend roasted by Papa Pahelta; finally putting the “brew” into its name as it was always in their plan to serve coffee. Yet another spot for Tai Tais in Paragon Shopping Centre to have high-tea over some cakes perhaps?
(Read our review of the Dual Fromage via Burpple.)
Paragon Shopping Centre
290 Orchard Road
Charcoal Salt Baked Chicken – Chinatown Complex Food Centre
There are quite a number of brands of salt-baked chicken around in Singapore, despite the dish itself being not quite commonly found. Perhaps the most popularised version would be by Lam’s, which could be found in a few Food Republic food courts (e.g. the ones at Causeway Point and Parkway Parade). Not sure when this stall was first opened, though it seems like a rather newly-established stall at Chinatown Complex Food Centre situated right beside 115 Tang Shui. We were pretty intrigued as its pretty rare to find hawker stalls run by individuals serving up this dish, and they seemed to be doing all their cooking over charcoal stoves at one side of the stall. They only have three items on their menu; a full Charcoal Salt Baked Chicken, a half Charcoal Salt Baked Chicken and one that comes with a portion of meat with rice; we went for the last of the three options. While we had not tried many versions to begin with, the one here was surprisingly succulent, tender and juicy much like our Hainanese Chicken Rice, though coming with just a light hint of saltiness that was a far cry from the ones we have had that are dry with salt crystals stuck to the skin; the difference in saltiness was much akin to ham vs salami in retrospect. While the rice served is simply plain rice, the salty juices from the chicken did make the rice rather flavorful and palatable, and a bowl of herbal soup accompanies it as a palate cleanser. We are not quite sure which version of the salt baked chicken is more authentic, but this is definitely quite a rare find these days.
(Read our review of the Charcoal Salt Baked Chicken via Burpple.)
Chinatown Complex Market
335 Smith Street
Bonus: 2 interesting retail-cum-cafe concepts (that serve surprisingly good coffee)!
Situated along Duxton Road, one would probably not expect to find a cafe within a shop that seemed to be selling lifestyle goods such as clothing, accessories and other stuff. Tucked at the end of the shop, the cafe serves up pretty good cuppas pulled from a blend by Four Barrel Coffee in San Francisco that carries a light body and carries a nutty and earthy flavour profile; all creamy with an emphasis on the presentation served with pretty cups atop a wooden board. Those looking for filter coffee can also go for the pour-over coffee that is done by the Poursteady machine; possibly the only other cafe that uses this automated machine apart from DW Workshop. Those looking for something to bite have a choice to go for the various pastries and cakes available at the counter or go for the artisanal toasts that they have on their menu for something more substantial. A pretty chill place to hang out alone or even to get some work done especially with its summertime theme which is bound to set one into the relaxation mode.
75 Duxton Road
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/monumentlifestyle/
Yet another retail-cum-cafe concept, but Groundstory’s retail concept carries homeware and decor sourced from different parts of Asia. Occupying half of the minimalist chic space on the left side is the cafe which serves coffee as well as other beverages with a display chiller of cakes being sourced from a home baker. Coffee is being pulled from a blend of beans; 50% Ethiopian and 50% Brazilian. The result is a very well-pulled cup of Flat White which carries a medium body with nutty and earthy flavours which is great to have if you are intending to have it as a perk-me-up while completing some work in its calm and peaceful environment. They have quite a few interesting bakes offered, including a giant egg tart that is served in single slices just like the pies/tarts we often see in cafes. We went for the Banana Cake; a gluten-free, dairy-free and nut-free cake which was reminiscent of our local neighbourhood banana cake that we grew up and are very familiar with. Interestingly, the cake was covered in desiccated coconut and even has a layer of desiccated coconut in between; a twist to the usual cream or icing that usual cakes come with that compliments the banana perfectly. It comes topped with dried berries over the top which gives it a hint of sour tang just to provide a little flavour contrast in between bites that keep things interesting here. One of the spots we would find ourselves returning to especially for some productive work to be done while relaxing in a calm, peaceful surrounding!
(Read our review of the Banana Cake + Flat White via Burpple.)
756/758 North Bridge Road
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Groundstory-156254278197791