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, February, March, April, May and June edition of the jiaksimipng Foodnotes if you have missed them. For the month of July, we have also posted full-length articles for Brawn & Brains Coffee Run, Kurasu Specialty Coffee, The Dark Gallery, Ramen Hitoyoshi, Tiew Mai Thai Boat Noodles, Akimitsu, 1.30 Dim Sum, Nom Nom, Panko, Hustle Co, Song Kee Fishball Noodles and Sumo Bar Happy.
(Do note that we only include places that we have made anonymous visits to and paid for our meals in the jiaksimipng Foodnotes series.)
Necessary Provisions‘ menu revamp
Being one of the few places we visit rather regularly, Necessary Provisions had recently revised their operating hours as well as their menu. While the new menu is a rather scaled-down one as compared to their previous menu, the new menu now features quite a number of old favourites from their past menus whilst offering a few new items for small bites as well as retaining a small number of items from their previous menu. We could not resist ourselves from ordering the Sambal Fried Rice which was one of our favourites way back in the day; one that comes with wok-hei and an unforgiving spicy kick, the fried rice also comes fried with condiments such as Luncheon Meat, Potatoes, Okra and Ikan Bilis which all gives a crunch or a bite with a hint of meaty and savouriness in between. A pretty good rendition of a well-loved local dish served in a café setting.
(Read our review of the Sambal Fried Rice via Burpple.)
21 Eng Kong Terrace
Plates @ Essen at The Pinnacle
Opened by the same folks behind Horizon Bistronomy which currently has outlets at both Alexandra and Punggol, Plates is their newest F&B concept situated at Essen at The Pinnacle; the hipster food court that sits at the foot of The Pinnacle at Duxton, which is also the home to other stalls such as La Stalla, Two Wings, VieThai, Garcons and Burger Buddies (check out our February edition for Burger Buddies). Plates serve up restaurant-esque fare in the hipster food court setting; the prices are a little bit on the steep side as compared to the other stalls at Essen at The Pinnacle considering all the mains at Plates are priced above $15. We had the Grilled Octopus Gnocchi; a dish we somehow felt was palatable but felt like it could have been presented with more finesse. The overall flavours were pretty decent with tomato & chorizo sauce providing a tangy yet savoury flavour to the gnocchi, but we though the gnocchi could have been better if crusted at the bottom while the octopus, though decent, was a bit mushy and soft down in the middle if one were to nitpick. It is interesting to see the concepts that are being put on the table by Plates, though the execution does seem to need some improvement to match its slightly steep price point.
(Read our review of the Grilled Octopus Gnocchi via Burpple.)
The Pinnacle at Duxton
Essen @ The Pinnacle
1 Cantonment Road
Crabmeat Wanton Mee, reopened
We have been missing this particular stall that serves up Crabmeat Wanton Mee in a coffeeshop along MacPherson Road ever since they were replaced by a Vietnamese stall; we are glad that it finally made its comeback at the original spot where it used to be located. Probably one of the more memorable Wanton Mee that we have had last year, the standards are pretty consistent here as what they had used to serve up before their closure; the noodles here are a little bit on the softer side, but still providing a bit of bite while being tossed in a savoury black sauce that carries just a short hint of spiciness for those who opt for chili to be added. Both the soup wantons and fried wantons were on point; sure, they do not seem to carry particular strong crustacean flavours, but the crabmeat seems to be added in for texture rather than for flavour. For both wantons, the fillings are noticeably more tender; not as firm as the usual wantons, while also well-packed and even comes with water chestnuts for a bit of crunch. The soup wantons were slurpy, while the fried wantons were crisp; both carry a meaty bite and the latter was also not greasy. Pretty sure this would be one of the places we would hit if we are looking for a good, solid bowl of Wanton Mee that is done well!
(Read our review of the Crabmeat Wanton Mee via Burpple.)
560 MacPherson Road
Summer ’17 collection at Mad About Sucre
With summer now setting in, Mad About Sucre releases their new range of desserts as well as a new food menu for Summer ’17. Being a place that always has a running theme behind their offerings, the Summer ’17 collection is inspired by their memories of summer in the year 1982. The new collection features dainty and intricate cakes such as the E.Ti and 1982 White Lime, while their signature San Dominique is still being offered alongside. Being inspired by the blockbuster movie E.T. which was launched in 1982, the E.Ti comes shaped in a form to the UFO that E.T. travelled in; a cake that is bound to be a favourite with those who love the orange-chocolate flavour combination. Done with such passion, thought and care, expect the same sort of detail to textures and flavours that Mad About Sucre is known to deliver; smooth mousse, a suitably sour-ish tang amidst the chocolatey bottom that features elements such as chopped organic almonds for a crunch. The 1982 White Lime comes with the aesthetic of a white lime; an item that comes with citrus, lime and lemon elements with mint, white rum and white chocolate, the cake features a sour core that somehow fades out with the refreshing burst of cooling mint before hitting the white rum and white chocolate that rounds up the dessert so cleanly and perfectly. It is noted that the prices had gone up slightly for this season, but every single pastry comes default with the tea pairing for a more value-for-money deal for their patrons.
27 Teo Hong Road
Web Page: http://www.madaboutsucre.com/
Donya Japanese Cuisine
Being a Japanese stall situated within a coffeeshop, Donya Japanese Cuisine strives to serve up “near restaurant” style Japanese dishes at coffeeshop prices; items on the menu include various Donburi and even Maki which is pretty rare to be included in the menu of a coffeeshop stall. We tried the Donya Maki which is also one of their signature items on the menu; essentially a California Roll topped with salmon instead of Ebiko and drizzled with their house-made Donya sauce (a Tama Miso sauce) before being blown-torched. It is very much like an Aburi Salmon Roll with their own twist; the sauce seemed to replicate a really mild crossover between mayonnaise and salted egg yolk sauce being more on the creamy side with a very subtle hint of savoury flavour, while the salmon was blown-torched to bring out a smoky flavour. The California Roll itself was packed decently tight without any loose bits falling off, while encased with crab stick and cucumber that gives it a crunch. It’s actually pretty decent considering that it is something served out of a coffeeshop stall, and at a price of $5.80 per serving of four pieces, it does seem like a good place for residents around the area to solve their Maki cravings.
(Read our review of the Donya Maki via Burpple.)
Blk 126 Toa Payoh Lorong 1
To commemorate their third anniversary ever since the opening of Old Hen Coffee Bar at Rangoon Road, the folks from Old Hen launched their new bottled concoction, the Cold Mocha, which is available at both Old Hen Coffee Bar at Rangoon Road and Old Hen Kitchen at Owen Road. Something that might probably work well for those who are torn between having the Cold Brew (White) and Valrhona Dark Cocoa when they are here, the Cold Mocha felt a little heavier on chocolate than coffee; the overall feel was. A bit on the sweeter side that would probably work well as a dessert beverage alongside their food as a leisurely drink. Congratulations to the folks at Old Hen for their third anniversary!
(Read our review of the Cold Mocha via Burpple.)
Old Hen Kitchen
127 Owen Road
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/oldhenkitchen/
The Midtown had recently started to get bustling, especially with more tenants moving into the building such AM Bakery which bakes their own breads fresh daily. Unlike most other F&B tenants at The Midtown, AM Bakery is strictly a takeaway-only bakery with no dine-in seats. That being said, the bakery churns out a variety of breads that seem pretty promising, such as their signature Banana & Pecan Bread which we honestly quite liked when we tried a sample. We went for the Pain Au Chocolat however, which we found to be really well-executed especially for in the lamination; we certainly enjoyed the crisp, flaky and buttery pastry with the soft, melted chocolate that adds an appropriately sweet contrast to the stellar pastry. Very worth the $2.50 spent, and we are definitely looking forward to try their Croissant/Almond Croissant which they claim to be their best sellers.
(Read our review of the Pain Au Chocolat via Burpple.)
The Midtown Residences
1187 Upper Serangoon Road
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ambakerysg/
Ramen Taisho reopens at Maxwell Food Centre
Taking a short hiatus after closing their first stall at NTUC Foodfare The Clementi Mall, Ramen Taisho is back serving affordable bowls of ramen below $10 at Maxwell Food Centre. Serving only three types of ramen on their menu here, we went for the Cha Shu Ramen and found the overall quality rather consistent to the time when they were situated at Clementi; from the broth which was thick yet not too overwhelming to the thin ramen noodles that provided a good bite and the Cha Shu which carries a good proportion of fatty to lean meat ratio. Probably one of the most value-for-money Japanese ramen served in a hawker centre.
(Read our review of the Cha Shu Ramen via Burpple.)
Maxwell Food Centre
1 Kadayanallur Street
The Providore @ Downtown Gallery; Kki Sweets makes a return
Opened in the basement of Downtown Gallery, The Providore is a grocer-cum-cafe concept that also has other stores around Singapore; the first of which being the outlet at Mandarin Gallery while others include their Raffles Place branch as well. This outlet occupies the entire basement area that stocks up on produce with a large dine-in area for the cafe. The cafe menu features grub such as pasta, sandwiches and salads; pretty much similar to the grub they had been serving all this while at their other branches, while a separate kiosk is being set up for the bakery where one could purchase freshly-baked bread from. The opening of this branch also marks the return of Kki Sweets formerly situated at School Of The Arts (SOTA) which had since closed from January 2017, best known for their dainty and intricate Japanese mousse done with an eye for detail — the folks at Kki Sweets have partnered up with The Providore to serve up their cakes at dedicated counter just outside the main entrance of the cafe. Expect some familiar items such as the Nao, Yogi and Mont Blanc; some of which had their recipes tweaked while there are also a few new items to try as well such as the Caramelised Chestnut Mousse cake with Caramelised Figs and Caramelised Apples which was still unnamed during our visit. A place we would probably find ourselves revisiting very often to treat ourselves to some fine Japanese mousse cakes, just like what Kki Sweets meant for us back then.
(Read our review of the Caramelised Chestnut Mousse, Caramelised Apples and Caramelised Figs and Flat White via Burpple.)
The Downtown Gallery
6A Shenton Way
Kokoro Ramen @ The Bedok Marketplace
Yet another new tenant at The Bedok Marketplace, Kokoro Ramen serves up Japanese ramen in two broths — a Tonkatsu broth or a Spicy Miso broth. We tried the latter and thought we actually quite liked the richness of the broth that came with a hint of sweetness amidst the spiciness that would work well for those who can take moderately spicy food. It comes with plenty of condiments such as corn, black fungus, flavoured egg and Cha Shu with thin ramen noodles, the noodles pretty chewy while the Cha Shu is more on the lean side. The only gripe was the flavoured egg which lacked a gooey yolk. Overall still not a bad option to go for at The Bedok Marketplace though.
(Read our review of the Spicy Miso Ramen via Burpple.)
The Bedok Marketplace
348 Bedok Road
Firebake opens for weekday brunch
Previously only open for dinner, Firebake had since extended its operating hours to serve brunch on Thursday and Friday from 11.30am to 2.30pm on top of weekend brunch on Saturday and Sunday at the same hours. Known for their fire-baked sourdough bread, we decided to go for their Asparagus, Grilled Chorizo and Scrambled Eggs on Wave; the Wave being their signature organic white sourdough bread. While the entire item was delicious with the flavoursome grilled chorizo, crunchy asparagus, creamy and runny eggs as well as the light, fluffy and crusted, slightly tangy sourdough toast, we felt that we would have expected more out of it for how much it cost. We also found it a little heavy on pepper which occasionally masks the other elements on the plate. The Poached Peach, Sourdough Ice-Cream and Rye Chips was, however, a good way to end the meal; a dessert with flavour and textural contrast from the soft poached peach with a light flavour that comes with a bite, smooth and creamy ice-cream that comes reasonably sweet and the crisp sourdough rye chips. Skip the Flat White here and head elsewhere for coffee, however; the coffee was weak and tasted bland — probably one of the worst cuppa we have had in a while.
(Read our review of the Asparagus, Grilled Chorizo, Scrambled Eggs on Wave, Poached Peach, Sourdough Ice-Cream, Rye Chip and Flat White via Burpple.)
237 East Coast Road
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/firebakesg/
Beach Road Scissors Cut Curry Rice @ Upper Thomson Road
Residents at Upper Thomson may have lost the quaint and rustic Hwa Nam Restaurant which serves up dimsum and roasted meats that had been operating since the 1950s; in its place, however, is the second outlet of Beach Road Scissors Cut Curry Rice — the main outlet being the Jalan Besar branch which had been popular with both the daytime and nighttime crowd in the area. Expect similar quality at this new branch for those who had patronized the main branch — it’s filled with many imperfections but it carries all the traits and personalities that had become the hallmark of their brand name; examples include that overdone fried egg with crisp edges that are fried in large batches, the Lor Bak that is coated with a thick, sticky braised sauce that is pretty lean and the soft-to-the-bite cabbage that would always go well with their thick braised and curry sauces that they drizzle atop everything. And of course, all that mess is served in that iconic red plate that screams of their branding, not to mention the never ending snipping sounds that fill up the background when one dines there — a somewhat gimmicky move but yet fits into the vibes so well it’s music to the ears.
(Read our review of the Curry Rice via Burpple.)
244F Upper Thomson Road
Summer menu update at Sunday Folks
Also refreshing their menu seasonally is Sunday Folks which introduces their latest series of desserts such as the Plum Galette and Tropical Mango Sherbet soft-serve (available in cone, cup and with waffles) alongside their usual offerings. Serving up a new plated dessert every season, the dessert for Summer 2017 is “A Summer Picnic” which features elements such as watermelon cubes, balsamic jelly, pistachio sponge and mango petals in a 55% Dark Chocolate Couverture while drizzled with Kuromitsu sauce and mango coulis, sprinkled with raspberry chips and Kogiku Chrysanthemum petals over the top. The whole plated dessert comes with a full-on theatrical affair — the show starts as the staff lines up a piece of paper on the table and shows up again thereafter with all the elements of the dessert placed on a tray. Subsequently, the sphere gets smashed right at the table to reveal all the elements within, while the sauces and dry ingredients get sprinkled/drizzled one by one. A dessert that is certainly something that is pretty Instagram-worthy.
(Read our review of the A Summer Picnic via Burpple.)
44 Jalan Merah Saga
Replacing the former space the Picnic Cafe had left behind, Soshinsen is also one of the few new tenants of The Midtown. The menu comprises of mostly Japanese fare ranging from sushi to Donburi, though it is also noted that there is a small selection of slightly more Westernised dishes such as pasta as well as chops and grill. We gave the Barachirashi Don a try; something which we found to be pretty safe and a decent order here especially with its sizable chunks of raw salmon, tuna and white fish (served as-is; the variant served here is not marinated) that sits atop a bed of subtly sweet sushi rice. A place for those living around the area for some decent Japanese fare without heading for the more commercial options that the heartlands usually only have.
(Read our review of the Barachirashi Don via Burpple.)
The Midtown Residences
1187 Upper Serangoon Road