June 27, 2010

At K Ki with Foodoshoot!

Foodoshot has been wanting to try out the delicious cakes at K Ki, so we decided to go there together. Though it was only about 1.40pm when we reached the shop, there were only about ten cakes left on the display. And they open at 12pm!

We ordered a pot of Gryphon camomile tea to share, which made a light and soothing accompanment to the cakes we were having.

Kinabaru

Kinabaru still remains as my favorite creation at K Ki. (By the way I'm glad to say that I finally managed to try the Strawberry Tart and Flourless Chocolate Cake, will blog about them soon!) The lightness of the smooth coconut mousse, zinged up with the tanginess passionfruit creme, makes it a great choice for post-lunch sweets.

Antionette

As I tucked into Antionette, I was again amazed by how such the light and just sufficiently sweet mousse could have been concocted from white chocolate. I'll expect that even those who dislike white chocolate for its overly sweet and milky taste won't mind having this.

And judging the surprise that Charlene expressed, those who've never read or heard about the Antionette will never have guessed that it contained a heart of gold. A heart of mango puree, I mean, oops. FYI, the mysterious golden and green bits that ornament the cake are crystallized ginger and pistachio shards.
LRRH
This glamorous princess has decided to bring out the bling. Though it's now decorated with chocolate bits, LRRH remains the same dark horse that it has always been. The raspberry which tops this cake is a clue warning you of the tart but refreshing sensation that will greet you when you're halfway through polishing off the dark chocolate mousse.


Cafe Dumo
Sometimes appearances deceive. Outwardly, Cafe Dumo is the plainer sister of the beautiful cakes at K Ki. (It's still a very pretty dome though! Its matte apperance is created by an even layer of chocolate spray, as with the Kinabaru and Antionette.)
The first forkful of this left me surprised with multitude of textures which lie within. I was expecting Cafe Dumo to be, like the previous three K Ki creations mentioned, another mousse cake atop a thin layer of sponge or dacquoise. Naturally, I was pleased to discover crunchy chocolate praline feuillitene beaneath the intense coffee chocolate mousse! Four textures- mousse, ganache, praline feuillitene and dacquiose- are enough to please me, I don't need seven.

Thanks to Charlene for your company, and for being the special first food blogger that I've personally met (; *Sorry Charlene your photo refuses to upload, will try again tomorrow (:* Haha her presence and equally snapshot-happy fingers gave me the assurance to take as many pictures I wanted... this was the first time I took so many food photos at a go! You can read her review here.

June 24, 2010

Hokkaido Fair @ Isetan again

The novelty of the Japanese fairs at Isetan is slowly eroding. But I always come for the gelato.

#1 Mashuko Dowa's gelato is probably the best gelato amongst the numerous offerings that surface at these fairs throughout the year.

Pumpkin + Green tea + Strawberry
Of course I had to have three flavors ($7). One flavor goes for $5 and two for $6. Pricey...
Out of all the flavors I've tried, my favorite flavor is still the strawberry. Green tea is mandatory, of course, while the pumpkin flavor I had today was okay. I would not recommened the blueberry flavor which I tried last year, as it tasted a bit artificial. (You might want to take note of this 'cos there's no sampling :/)
Oh and you've got to try the Yubari melon soft serve!
#2 Pumpkin flakes. Whips up a simply comforting soup!

#3 I missed out on the goodies from Pullman Bakery last year, so I was naturally delighted when I spotted them giving out samples that day! The sea salt crosssaints and the chocolate pie were good, but it was the Danshuku potato curry bun which got me hooked~


Giant UFO Cheese Kare-Pan!

Hearty and tasty Japanese curry encased in a deep-fried bun that's crisp on the outside with a slightly chewy texture. And not to forget, the oozy creamy cheese which makes the whole combination even more oishiii.

Worth every calorie. I want to try the scallop gratin bun too!
#4 Spotted Shin Yubari Queen Melon Jelly at the counter selling caramels too, which I got as a free gift for spending more than $50 at the fair last year. It's worth trying if you don't mind forking out about $12 for a pack.
#5 The wonderful cookies from Shiroi Koibito are also available, but in limited quantities. The dark chocolate ones were already sold out when I was there on Tuesday.
#6 I'd recommend the cheesecakes too, but I didn't get any this time round as I was annoyed with the promoter for ignoring me and not handing me a sample.
#7 The last must-try here would be the wasabi furikake, which I loyally stock up every time the fair comes.
Mildly spicy, it really livens up a bowl of Japanese short-grain rice!


Summer Hokkaido Fair
18-28 June Isetan Scotts Basement
2-11 July Isetan Tampines Atrium Level 1

June 22, 2010

The latest scoop at Tom's Palette

Not only do Tom's Palette's flavors hit the spot, I really like the smooth and dense texture of their ice-cream too. Actually a hybrid between ice-cream and gelato actually (with a lower fat content like the latter!), the proof of of its softer consistency can be observed from how it can be spaded into a tightly packed cup.
And again, I must mention that at $2.80 for a (not-so-)small cup with a choice of two flavors, Tom's Palette offers wonderful value for wonderful ice-cream.

Pistachio + Vanilla (Madagascar)

Granny's Favorite was beckoning to me but I'm glad I chose my favorite flavor, pistachio, anyway. Awesomly aromatic and nutty, the version I had was made from Iranian pistachios instead of Italian ones. I was given a sample of the original version of the pistachio ice-cream for a taste test, and I must say that the new and improved version is much more fragrant!
Vanilla ice-cream fans must try the version here- it's very fragrant and leaves a trail of bliss melting down your throat. If only all apple pies and brownies were served with this...

Ed's Tea + Chocolate Sorbet

I'm sure those who have never visited Tom's Palette must have heard of matcha and Earl Grey ice-creams, but never Ed's Tea! Well, I don't know who Ed is, but Ed's Tea is essentially teh tarik, brewed to the perfect intensity. Those who like teh tarik should go for this!
Chocolate sorbet is the new flavor for the month of June, and has replaced the chocolate ice-cream for now. Plain chocolate ice-creams have never made it to my list of favorites (even the great chocolate ice-cream here at Tom's!) because I feel that the taste of the chocolate ain't intense enough due to the presence of milk and cream. That's why my first encounter with the dark and pure chocolate sorbet here was a dream-come-true experience!

Even without the cream, the chocolate sorbet's lusciously smooth as there are already cocoa fats present in the dark chocolate. This is potent stuff, made even more dangerously addictive because it ain't heavy like its cousin.

Upon sharing with Chronos and Eunice how much I liked the chocolate sorbet, I found out that there were many folks who shared the sentiments as me. So, after this month, they're considering alternating the two flavors- hooray!
I'm going for longan red dates on my next visit. It's really very good...

June 19, 2010

Tatsuya

I'm happy to say that I dined at Tatsuya, at last! and it certainly didn't disappoint.


Sitting at the counter leaves you a bit cramped for space, however it's worth the squeeze as you'll get to see the chefs in action. Watching the itamae in front of me hard at work- skillfully slicing sashimi, lovingly molding rice into beautifully-formed shari, brushing citrus zest over his sushi masterpieces (interesting!)- served as wonderful entertainment while I waited for my order to arrive.

Sushi Bento ($30.90++)

After photographing the bento, I looked up to see the itamae with a bemused expression on his
face. Jovially, he said "I'll help you to take a photo!" Never thought I'll hear that from a chef lol!

I got a photo of Chef Watanabe too haha (:

The Sushi Bento is one of the several value-for-money lunch sets available, perfect for folks with shallow(er) pockets. It included tempura (two pieces of okra, a piece of eggplant and two prawns), miso soup, and a cup of superbly smooth chawanmushi with a refreshing twist of yuzu. While the batter of the tempura wasn't greasy, I found the them to be just alright.

But it doesn't matter, because the reason why I came here was for sushi.

As raved, Tatsuya's sushi was impeccably delicious. Gently placing a piece of nigri sushi into my mouth- of the right pop-into-your-mouth size, I was greeted with a most delectable experience. First I tasted the freshness and the sweetness of the raw fish, followed by a slight invigorating uplift from the nama wasabi, then the perfectly seasoned rice. Sublime! (especially the rice :D )

The toro and kappa makizushi here were the most delightful ones that I've ever had. (I'm a secret fan of kappamaki). Equally good was the sweetish and spongy tamogoyaki, as well as
the California roll, sprinkled with fresh tobiko which happily popped away in my mouth.

Aburi otoro sushi

But everything pales in comparison to the exotically-decorated aburi otoro sushi which I ordered in addition to the set lunch. Superbly tender, rich and smooth are the adjectives I'd use to describe this absolutely ambrosial piece of torched flesh. If only it didn't cost $18++ per piece (minimum order of two pieces)...

I'm convinced. I'll be going for the Tokusen sushi set, or even omakase during my next visit to Tatsuya!!

June 17, 2010

A yummy free find!

I was heading out for lunch and grocery shopping with my family one weekend when we spotted snaking queues at an ongoing community event. People were lining up for free goodie bags which included some food items like fruits and Potong ice-cream, the latter obviously being a hotseller amongst the kids and the main reason for the long queue. Imo King's Potong ice-cream s***s with the exception of the yam flavor, so naturally I didn't join in.

On our way back home, several helpers from the event were giving out leftovers to passerbys. Freebies, without having to queue! An auntie stuffed a few handfuls of buns and fruit into a large plastic bag. I overhead one of the helpers mentioning that the rose bun was very nice, and that these buns were unavailable for sale outside.

Rose bun

Greedy for something sweet after lunch, I immediately unwrapped a rose bun and took a bite. While I was expecting it to be decent, I never thought that it would be so good! Why the surprise? Well, that's because the bun was filled with yummy cream cheese!
I always eat the raisin cream cheese buns from Barcook Bakery within minutes of them coming out of the oven 'cos they wonderfully soft when so. Gee I really wonder how these buns will taste when they're freshly baked!

What makes these buns special is how well the flavor of the cream cheese complemented the mild rose fragrance of the bread. Although the amount of cream cheese in this bun was considerably less than that from Barcook's, having too much of it would overwhelm the delicate rose flavor of the bun. I would have liked it even more if the rose fragrance was stronger. The texture of the bun can't beat its pillowy soft cousin at Barcook's, but nevertheless, it was still soft and fluffy, and remained so even the day after.

More bakeries should seriously consider making rose cream cheese buns instead of churning out substandard raisin cream cheese buns.

Coffee Red Bean Bun (i.e. the red bean filling is coffee-flavored). Not too bad but I'll readily swap these for another Rose Cream Cheese Bun.

Roar, all for me.

You can purchase the above mentioned buns at the following location. They won't be complimentary here though haha!

Delijoy Bakery
HDB Hub (Gourmet Paradise Food Court)
B1-01

June 13, 2010

Gelato on a rainy day

In Singapore's tropical climate, piping hot sweet soups are best consumed on rainy days if you hate perspiring, like me. Cold desserts are a must during hot days. Cold desserts are too very enjoyable on rainy days.

I happened to be in the Raffles Place area. It had been drizzling for the past two and a half hours... a downer for most establishments' businesses.

Emerging from Koufu at As I walked past Frigidarium, I stopped and gazed at the beautiful mountains of gelato inside. It's not a hot day. You shouldn't keep feeing the sugar habit... I walked on. Then I paused, and turned back, into Frigidarium.

Italian pistachio + Rum crunch & raisin

I selected two flavors and correspondingly handed a five dollar note and a twenty cent coin to the lady manning the cash register- exact change, to save the shopkeeper some trouble. To my surprise, I was told that Frigidarium's gelato goes for half-price when it's raining so as to perk up customer traffic! $2.60 for a double scoop of gelato- what a great deal!

Regardless of whether it's rainy or sunny, spooning up Frigidarium's silky soft and dense gelato is bound to put a smile on your face. I'm glad to say that another awesome pistachio cream can be found at Frigidarium! Fragrant, nutty goodness... pistachio is quickly becoming one of my favorite flavors. Rum crunch & raisin was good too. I'm kind of puzzled by its name though, because there were no raisins (phew!) or crunchy bits inside. Adults may prefer to have more rum in this gelato, but the intensity of the alcohol was just right for me.

I will visit Frigidarium on rainy days. (Actually, not only on rainy days.) Oh! I must too mention that from 5pm-7pm on Fridays, two flavors of gelato go for the price of one!

Ice-cream/gelato is something I must have... all the time ;)

Frigidarium
146 Market Street
#01-40 Market Street Car Park
Mon-Thu: 11am-7.30pm
Fri: 11am-8pm

June 10, 2010

Royce' Chocolate

I finally got around to trying Royce's famed nama chocolate sometimes last year. According to Royce's website, this is made from "25% fresh cream from the lovingly tended cattle of Hokkaido". Awww... I love these cows from letting me enjoy such deliciously creamy chocolate!

Royce' nama chocolate is manufactured under the strictest hygiene conditions in their factory in Japan. You'll have to get through five "barriers" before you get get your hands on the chocs:
(i) the thoughtful thick silver packaging, accompanied by an ice pack, which preserves the integrity of the nama chocolate during your journey back home from the store
(ii) a paper wrapper
(iii) the box
(iv) a plastic wrapper
(v) the plastic cover of the container in which the chocolates sit in

I've tried three flavors of Royce's nama chocolates so far- bitter, grand marnier and cherry marnier. The last was a gift from someone who had just visited Bangkok and I don't think the cherry marnier flavor is available locally.



Each box of 20 retails for $15. A spoon is included to facilitate (compulsive!) eating.


Carefully picking a square up and placing it in your mouth, you sense the mild bitterness of the cocoa powder. As the chocolate starts to melt in your mouth, you delight upon tasting the cold fresh cream. Very quickly, you're greeted by a silky smooth sensation... and within a few seconds, the piece of chocolate is gone.
What do you do next? Pop another square into your mouth, of course!

I found the Bitter nama chocolate a tad too (errr...) bitter for me. Intensely dark, this flavor will please chocoholics who live on >75% cacao chocolate. As for the Grand Marnier and Cherry Marnier flavors, I liked how the mild alcoholic tinge complemented the chocolate. Subtle, that's the way I like alcohol in my chocolate (oops is this underage alcohol consumption?!?), unlike in liqeur chocolates where the booze hits you strong.

I find that the nama chocolate tastes even better after it's been left outside for a while (~1 hour) to soften. That way, it melts even faster in your mouth. Instant gratification!

Knowing that I was a foodie, two of my friends gave me Royce' truffle pralines for my 16th birthday! These are made of "rich praline cream mixed with milk chocolate and almonds".


Royce' Chocolate
B4-10 Ion Orchard
01-142 Suntec City Mall
B2 Food Hall, Takashimaya

June 7, 2010

Ansari Briyani Restaurant

I had planned to have lunch at Abak Briyani Dam, which was awarded full marks in InSing.com's chicken briyani review. Unfortunately the biryani was sold out, so my mom and I wandered along North Bridge Road looking for a good place for lunch when we stumbled upon Ansari Briyani Restaurant.

The friendly lady in the shop explained that the biryani here is distinctive as it is prepared Dubai-style. Upon enquiry about the specifics of what a Dubai-style biryani is like, I was told that the meat and the rice were prepared separately before being baked together with spices. Wait...isn't this just a description of what dum biryani is- cooking the meat, rice and spices together in a pot? Oh well, I'll leave it to my tastebuds to suss it out.

My mom and I usually stay away from mutton as when it is ill-prepared, it will have a strong gamey flavor. Naturally, we chose to have the chicken biryani . It was a pity that the cool-sounding drink concoctions such as "The Habibi" (iced apple mint tea) and "The Malabar" were unavailable that day, so we settled for a good ol' cup of teh ($1) instead.

Chicken Briyani ($6)

Where's the chicken? Don't fret, it's buried under the rice. Or rather, just covered by a thin layer of rice 'cos it's a heartily sized piece of fowl.
Zoom into the picture and you'll be able to see how long those rice grains are. Yup, that's real basmati rice, not the nasty fake basmati you get in nasi briyani, the wannabe cousin of biryani. The word dum is actually redundant here, but Mr Biryani had to give himself a first name to distinguish himself from nasi briyani.

To my satisfaction, the biryani (briyani?) rice here was prepared beautifully. The grains were well-flavored, with a light and fluffy texture. And oh!- another thing that I like about Ansari's briyani rice is that it's prepared with just enough ghee so that it's not dry, while being not at all oily.

Smeared with a tasty and spicy paste, the chicken meat was moist and tender. It could have been more flavorful though. Note that the achar provided is oily and rather spicy, so those who cannot take much spice (like me) should steer clear of it. Vinegared pickles would have helped to alleviate the pespiration that was dripping down my forehead.

The only letdown in this meal was the dhalca, which was redolent of *gasps* the offensive odour of gamey mutton. I picked out the veggies instead and left the curry untouched, while my mom didn't dare to take any of it.


Ansari Briyani Restaurant
753 North Bridge Road

June 4, 2010

Tom's Palette

Tom's Palette is the kind of place which everyone will leave beaming and will visit again (many times!) if given the chance. This ice-cream parlor is definitely a hidden gem, located in a corner of Shaw Leisure Gallery. Lol I had to ask the security guard for directions- it's on the right side of the building, opposite Ah Loy Thai.

Here you'll be greeted by a range of innovative flavors, some of which I'll never have imagined seeing in Singapore. Balsamic vanilla? Oolong tea? Rosemary and apple? And even... Pineapple Tart?

Flavors rotate, but their ice-creams are so delicious, I'm sure everyone will find a flavor they like (a lot) everyday. Tom's Palette also accepts customer flavor requests. The flavor calender is available here.

The friendly scoopers here encourage you to sample different flavors so that you'll like what you order and be happy with your purchase. What a rare, kind gesture! Looking at how much I fancied every single flavor I tried, I think this gesture is, rather, meant for one to find the flavors that one likes the most (:

Prices here are reasonable too. A small, medium and large cup go for $2.80, $3.70 and $4.70 respectively, and one can choose to have up to two flavors. The scoopers pack in the ice-cream very tightly too! Look at the pictures below and you'll get what I mean. It's like they're trying to give you as much ice-cream as they can fit into the cup!

The small cup here outsizes serving sizes at many ice-cream joints, and considering the price a single scoop is going at at those places, you'll paying only half the price for your ice-cream at Tom's Palette. (And the ice-creams here beat them in the taste department too.)
I can easily foresee myself paying much fewer visits to those places.

On my first visit to Tom's Palette, I had Lychee Rose and Chocolate. Honestly I'm not a fan of most plain chocolate ice-creams (i.e. that come without mix-ins), but the version here was the best I've ever tried. It was deep and dark, with just the right amount of air mixed in for the perfect thickness and density (unlike this one, meh).

Lychee Rose was a light and refreshing break to the rich chocolate. Really reminds me of lychee tea, except that this has faint but invigorating floral hints. The perfect cool-down for the blazing hot weather!

I have been on the search for a good Pulut Hitam, but I have yet to find one that really hits the spot. Not having tried The Black Swirl- inspired by Pulut Hitam- which was flavor of the month of May, I knew that I had to head back to give it a try before before the month ended. However, I spotted this at the shop yesterday so I guess it might still be available randomly.

And yup, it was like Pulut Hitam- only in reverse! Featuring black glutinous rice bits in coconut-based ice-cream, The Black Swirl is much lighter than the thick and filling dessert it was inspired by. An interesting twist on tradition! Try this if you like coconut.

At Tom's Palette, cheesecake ice-cream is given a twist by the addition of the ever-popular combination, salt and caramel. There's also blueberry cheesecake ice-cream! This is obviously a very well-liked flavor, for it was the tub that was most empty. Plain cheesecake ice-cream can get boring after a while, but the dreamy salt and caramel blend really livened up the creamy base.

A second post on Tom's Palette is coming up soon!


100 Beach Road
01-25 Shaw Leisure Gallery
Mon-Thu: 12pm-9.30pm
Fri & Sat: 12pm-10pm
Closed Sun & PH

June 1, 2010

Frigidarium

Frigidarium has a 9.1 food and beverage rating on Hungrygowhere, and has consistenly garnered excellent (and credible) reviews. Naturally, stargirl the gelato fanatic had to make her way down to Market Street to try out their creams!

As usual, outfitted in my school uniform, I felt out of place mingling with the suit-wearing executives while making my way to the shop at Market Street Car Park (near Lau Pa Sat). I could feel the eyes on me as I stepped into the cozy shop... but after walking up to the counter, I soon found myself at ease. Nothing beats friendly, smiley staff who're willing to let you try many flavors as you like! In fact, while handing me the samples of the flavors I had requested to try, the lady at the counter actually gave me samples of several other recommended flavors as well.

Nut Chocolate + Yogurt ($5.20)
I sampled many flavors before eventually settling on nut chocolate and yogurt. It was a tough deicison cos all the flavors were so fabulous, delivering an intense and robust sensation to the tastebuds! Nut chocolate was aromatic of hazelnuts, complemented by a gentle chocolate flavor. Yogurt was equally good, and had a creamier mouthfeel. I liked the strawberry flavor that I sampled a lot too, which packed a punch of the characteristic flavor of the summery vine fruit.

The consistency of Frigidarium's gelato really hit the spot. As you may be able to see from the picture above, it's silky smooth and soft, with a light, velvet-like mouthfeel! Lovely stuff. Perhaps it's also due to the fact that the gelati here is made fresh daily. You also be able to see that the gelato here has little air incorporated into it, giving rise to a dense and creamy texture.

Frigidarium is unmistaketably a great place to check out for very good authentic gelato. Being the supplier of gelato to Ristorante da Valentino and Capricci, you are bound to be satisfied with the delicious creams at Frigidarium! That being said, I still like the richer and somewhat ice-cream-like texture from the gelato(?) at Galta very much.

Fabulous flavors + excellent texture (+great service) makes a fantastic pair. I'll surely drop by Frigidarium again! Boy, I'm sure jealous of the people who work in the vicinity of the this marvelous find..

Frigidarium
146 Market Street
#01-40 Market Street Car Park
Mon-Thu: 11am-7.30pm
Fri: 11am-8pm