October 30, 2010

Salted egg yolk ice cream & more @ Tom's Palette

 Most will conjure of glorious images of salted caramel in their minds when sweet-salty flavor pairings are mentioned. Salted egg yolk in mooncakes and even macarons are some other such combinations I’ve tried. But salted egg yolk ice cream is something that I've never heard of, at least until lately.

And where else but Tom’s Palette could we expect to find such a novel concoction? While this flavour may not suit everyone’s tastebuds, I personally felt that the salted egg yolk was pretty well-incorporated into the ice cream, making for a cheesy and intriguing taste experience.
 Sarsi Float and Salted Egg Yolk

It’s a pity that there aren’t any A&W outlets in Singapore anymore, but why not try the Sarsi float ice cream at Tom’s instead? Fizzy yet creamy, this refreshing flavour was like an ice cream float in reverse. I'd have Sarsi float ice cream over the actual drink anytime!

There's been an explosion of ice cream parlors in town, and while the flavors they offer may be just as numerous and well-executed, the key reason why I've been going back to Tom's Palette is because few manage to hit the spot in terms of texture like they do. Quality ingredients  are key to good ice cream (read: NO addition of stabilizers), and at $2.80/$3.60/$4.50 for a small/medium/large cup, you get a really good deal for the price you pay. Go on and be envious (as if it actually helps?!), but I'll readily declare that Tom's Palette is one of the few ice cream outlets in my book which truly deserve a revisit.

 Pistachio and Sabayon
 
I've also sampled Black Sesame, which I found to be too intense for my liking. I’m sure those who like 芝麻糊 will love it though! Fans of the malted milk drink should give Horlicks a try, and the refreshing sabayon- marsala wine ice cream with berries- is bound to please too.

  
Durian and Hazelnut

Tom's Durian ice cream is available only twice a year, in Tom’s anniversary month of September. That's such a pity, 'cos their durian ice cream was really good- I simply had to have more after devoring a medium cup of it! Non-durian fans need not worry about the aroma of the pungent fruit possibly affecting the taste of the other ice cream flavors as the tub of durian ice cream is thoughtfully covered up. Hazelnut is decent too, and really reminded me of Ferrero Rocher!

 
Buttered Pecan and Banana Honey Roasted Nuts

 
Melt 'n' Sizzle and Apple Pie

With a generous amount of roasted pecans embedded in an especially smooth and creamy ice cream, Buttered Pecan and Banana Honey Roasted Nuts will definitely please those who love nuts. Fans of cinammon should go for the Apple Pie, studded with apple chunks and bites of speculoos.

What was, however, more memorable for me was the Melt ‘n’ Sizzle, brown sugar ice cream mixed with berries and chocolate chunks. I had a blast enjoying how the popping candy embedded in the chocolate fizzled away in my mouth- you've got to try it for yourself!
 
Longan red date and Pistachio

I like my cheng tng, so it was no surprise that I loved Tom’s Longan Red Date, a silky cold creation concentrated with the natural goodnesss of dried longans. And their Pistachio ice cream will always remain a perennial favorite of mine, ‘nuff said (:

 You can read about my previous visits to Tom's Palette here, here and here.


100 Beach Road
#01-25 Shaw Leisure Gallery

October 25, 2010

The Pancake War: The Marmalade Pantry

 
I was hoping to try Marmalade Pantry's Banana pancakes with blueberries & crème fraiche, but learnt that they had been replaced by Lemon Ricotta Hotcakes ($16++) with honeycomb butter. Citrus fans will take to the mildly zesty pancakes, which were teamed up with stewed apricot and peach chunks, a sprinkling of icing sugar and a generous drizzle of delicious maple syrup to counter the tartness of the lemon.
 
While their citrusy flavor profile pleased, I can't say so for the texture of the hotcakes. Ricotta is a well-liked addition to pancake batter for the light and fluffy result it achieves, but these hotcakes stopped short of my expectations. Though they were tender and well-risen, my pancakes were a tad heavy and made for a rather filling lunch, despite them being rather small in size.


Marmalade Pantry
#03-22 ION Orchard

October 20, 2010

Restaurant Chako

Patrons of Restaurant Chako will probably remember it as a place not to visit with a growling stomach or when pressed for time, as much as for the delicious and authentic Japanese homestyle food it serves. 

All the cooking in this restaurant is done solely by the Japanese proprietress, who will only prepare your order when you arrive at the restaurant, even if you pre-order your meal. Having been warned about the long wait-ranging from 45 minutes to as long as 3 hours- I brought something along to read while waiting for my food to arrive. It's also best to visit Chako during a weekday, when it is less crowded- the only other customers at the small 22-seater resturant during my visit at 7pm on a Tuesday night was a family of five.
Fragrant and smoky roasted barley tea to feed your thirst during the wait.
My Unatamaju ($22+) arrived only 40 minutes after I had placed my order, but it was certainly worth the wait. Save for those who dislike fatty fish, it'll be difficult to find someone who wouldn't love the delectably tender broiled eel! Matched with a bed of soft and sweet egg, as well as fluffy rice ladled with just the right amount of tasty (and not overly sweet) kabayaki sauce, the Unatamaju was so comforting, I mopped up every last grain of rice.

The cold tofu, cockle-laden miso soup and pickles which were part of the set were decent but not outstanding.
Thankfully, dessert only took five minutes to arrive. While it was a tad icy, I enjoyed how the low cream and sugar content of Chako's homemade Green Tea ice cream ($6.50 per scoop) allowed its intense matcha flavor to shine through. Other flavors include black sesame, blueberry, mango yogurt and vanilla soya bean.

A return visit for their Katsudon, Salmon Zosui, and of course- the Unatamaju- is a must!


Restaurant Chako
134 West Coast Way
Hong Leong Shopping Centre
Located in the middle of side of the building facing the expressway

October 16, 2010

Coccogelo

Located along the eatery-lined stretch of East Coast Road, Coccogelo is yet another new addition to the local gelato scene. 

The flavors served here lean towards the more adventurous side. Out of the 10 different flavors available that day, I had already spotted Black Sesame, Lychee Yogurt, Banana Rum and Sweetcorn with Nutmeg. 

A Piccolo (single scoop), Medio (double scoop) and Grande (triple scoop) go for $3.80, $4.80 and $6.80 respectively.

 
Coincidentally a top pick amongst customers, Coccogelo's pistachio definitely pleased with its delightfully deep and nutty flavor! The refreshing Strawberry flavor, though decent, could have been more intense. I also sampled the exotic Spiced Apple Curry, a surprisingly harmonious combination which I wouldn't mind having more of.

The rich and satisfying dense texture of the gelato was also commendable. I'm sure Coccogelo's spacious and lovely mural-adorned interior will soon attract many Katong residents seeking a tasty respite from the heat!

89 East Coast Road
Tel: 6345-3646
Opening hours:
Tues-Fri: 12pm-9pm
Sat: 12 pm-10.30pm
Sun: 12pm-8pm

October 12, 2010

Fredo Galaxy

Fredo Galaxy is not just any other neighborhood bakery. Helmed by Alfred Chan, a former pastry chef with 20 years of experience working at hotels such as Shangri-La and Intercontinental, this gourmet bakery seems to have been transported from Orchard Road to the sleepy realms of Tanglin Halt. The good thing is, prices have been adjusted accordingly too.
The Chocolate Brownie Vanilla Cheesecake ($4), as its name suggests, comprised a layer of dense brownie topped with light and moist Japanese cheesecake. While both components were decently executed, their textures did not quite meld together. Perhaps, the Japanese cheesecake could be replaced by its creamy American counterpart for a more cohesive combination.

The Pistachio De Chocolate Cake ($4), featuring light chocolate mousse, chocolate sponge and pistachio mousse on a light almond cake base, was a disappointment though. I was unable to discern any hint of pistachio in the cake, even when I tasted the pistachio mousse on its own. Another small complaint about both cakes would be the layer of gelatin on top.
Savory pastries such as Rosemary and Potato Pie are available at Fredo Galaxy, but my sweet tooth settled on the Freshly Baked Cinnamon Banana with Puff Pastry ($2.80). Heated up to a beautiful golden brown in the toaster, the pairing of the crisp pastry purse with the generous portion of soft, caramelized banana hidden within was definitely an enjoyable one.
The Cinammon Apple Tart ($2.80) could have definitely done with a stronger dose of cinammon and a more buttery pastry. Nevertheless, I liked the fact that a thin layer of fresh cream was used to sandwich the well-cooked apple slices and the tart base.
Made daily, the sandwiches at Fredo Galaxy ($5.50) are healthsome, yet tasty. My Portobello Chicken sandwich had lean chicken breast meat, two juicy mushrooms and crisp greens on dense and hearty multigrain bread. Drizzled with a light and refreshing mustard mayonnaise dressing, it certainly filled me up with its whole-grain goodness! The bakery also stocks freshly baked loves of European bread in flavors such as Alpine Cranberry.
The cookies are, however, clearly the star amongst Fredo Galaxy's varied offerings. I knew I was in for a treat when I was greeted with an irresistibly nutty aroma upon opening the pack of macadamia nut cookies ($3.50 for a pack of eight), and they certainly did not disappoint. Crunchy and superbly fragrant, these delectable bites of heaven are surely not to be missed.
The crunchy chocolate chip ($4 for a pack of eight) ones are decent too, but it is the bakery's macadamia nut cookies that will keep me going back again and again!
Aside from those aforementioned, the bakery also stocks soft, cake-like cookies. However, do call to to check if they are available as they sometimes sell out.
My favorite find from Fredo Galaxy would be the rich and moist Devil Chocolate Cookies ($3.30 for 100g). These bites of chocolatey goodness are enlivened by the addition of a touch of salt, making them all the more delicious! The delicate and buttery Raspberry Vanilla cookies ($3.30 for 100g) are definitely worth a try too.
Being constantly on a lookout for good macarons, I had to try those sold here as well (80 cents each). Unfortunately, these small confections failed to make the mark. While the chocolate and orange liqueur ganache was alright, the meringue shells were too poofy.
I liked the crunchy macadamia nut and chocolate devil cookies so much, I finished them on the day I bought them. Do try them sometime!

Fredo Galaxy
Blk 46-3 Commonwealth Drive, #01-388

Opening hours:
Monday, Wednesday to Saturday: 8.30am-8pm
Sunday: 8.30am-6pm

October 5, 2010

Muffin Man

We've all heard of molten chocolate cakes. But chocolate lava muffins? Maybe not. 

A few weeks ago, I learnt of Muffin Man, the brainchild of a former art director who traded his career in the advertising industry for muffin baking. Unlike many of its compatriots which proffer the same old banana/blueberry/chocolate offerings, Muffin Man ups the ante with its creative Luscious Chocolate and Hidden Treasure muffins, which enclose a heart of chocolate lava and custard respectively.

To think about it, Muffin Man's offerings resemble sponge cakes more than muffins, which are more bread-like. Nevertheless, I enjoyed their soft and airy texture and the fact that they were not at all greasy.


The Mint Chocolate ($2.70) was my favorite of the three. Every bite yielded luscious yet refreshing chocolate mint sauce oozing out of the soft chocolate sponge. While the muffin could have done with more of the filling, I enjoyed it anyhow!

The Cheese Custard muffins ($2.10) are one of the bestsellers at Muffin Man, along with the Mango Custard and Rum and Raisin muffins which were unfortunately still in the oven when I dropped by in the late morning.  Sprinkled with grated cheese on top and filled with lush cheese custard, the Cheese Custard muffin definitely pleased with its harmonious balance of sweet and savory.

The Green Tea and Red Bean Custard muffin ($2.70) did not disappoint either. Unlike many similar confections, both the sponge and the custard were sufficiently infused with the essence of matcha.

 The Mango Custard, Passionfruit Streusel and Rum and Raisin Custard muffins sound scrumptious too. Do tell me how they fare if you try them!

FYI: This week, every third muffin purchased at Muffin Man is going at a discounted price of $1!
You can check out the range of flavors at Muffin Man's website.



Muffin Man 
China Square Central  #01-07
Mon to Fri: 9:30 am - 8:00 pm
Sun: 10:30 am - 5:00 pm 

October 4, 2010

Microwave Chocolate Cake

A fabulous five-minute chocolate cake sounds too good to be true, but I decided to give it a try to satisfy my curiosity. Seeking something more decadent, I decided to give a microwave flourless chocolate cake recipe a go. 
 

Directions: Beat 1 egg in a bowl or cup. Mix in 1 tbsp milk, 1 tsp flour, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp baking powder, 2 1/2 tbsp hot chocolate powder and 1 tbsp sugar. Microwave for 2 minutes.


(A trimmed and dressed-up version of the result)
  
Unfortunately, the cake failed to deliver instant gratificiation. Probably due to it being overcooked, the cake was dry and solid. I ate the ice cream and threw the rest of the cake away. I might try whipping up a chocolate cake in the microwave again... but surely, nothing beats one slowly baked in an oven for an hour.

October 1, 2010

The Pancake War: Strictly Pancakes

I love pancakes. Naturally, I was very excited when I learnt of Strictly Pancakes (SP), Singapore’s first dedicated pancake café! Located at 44A Prinsep Street, SP is open from morning till night so customers can have their pancake fix anytime during the day.

In addition to the traditional butter-and-maple-syrup combination, SP also offers six sweet and six savory options, ranging from Chicken A La King (chicken chunks, sweet onion slices, cream sauce and asparagus) to Strawberries & Co (mixed berries, vanilla ice cream, strawberry coulis and cream).

I had set my eyes on the Black Forest Pancakes while browsing through their online menu, which was coincidentally recommended by the staff.

Black Forest ($12+): Chocolate pancakes topped with brandied cherries, a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, chocolate shavings, homemade chocolate sauce and cream

These were supposed to come with three chocolate pancakes but I accidentally served plain ones instead. However, I didn’t get receive any reimbursement for the error (chocolate pancakes cost $1 more than plain ones on the a la carte menu) but I was not charged for the rum and raisin butter (U.P. $0.50) which I had requested to try.

The pancakes were decently soft, and were in fact very much like a slightly thicker version of Mac’s hotcakes. While I enjoyed the combination of cold vanilla ice cream with warm pancakes, I might think twice about ordering the dessert pancakes here again as I found the Black Forest pancakes too sweet for my liking. Those with a sweet tooth will probably enjoy this though.
Iced Blended Mocha ($5+)

The Iced Blended Mocha was decent- light, frothy and not too sweet. However, it was a tad icy.
Cedele’s superbly soft pancakes still remain as my favorite pancakes attempted thus far. However, having heard positive reviews about SP’s savory choices and milkshakes, I will not rule out the possibility of a re-visit if I happen to be around the area. Oh, and students (like me) get 10% off the bill!
 
Strictly Pancakes
44A Prinsep Street
Opening Hours:
Mon: 1800 - 2300
Tues-Thu:1130-2200
Fri: 1130 - 0000
Sat: 1000 - 0000
Sun: 1000 - 2200