December 27, 2010

The Pancake War: Canelé Pâtisserie Chocolaterie

Canelé Pâtisserie Chocolaterie is better known as a dessert haunt. But, like any other brunch  lover, I was excited to discover out that its Paragon outlet serves breakfast too. There were other tempting options like Eggs Florentine and French Toast, but I expectedly headed straight for the Blueberry Pancakes ($7.50++).
To my dismay, Canelé's pancakes were not of the fluffy American variety I was expecting. While I still like the latter version better, the thin and crêpe-like European-style pancakes served were faultlessly light and soft. Even better when studded with sweet blueberries and accompanied by a sprinkling of powdered sugar, a generous drizzle of maple syrup and clouds of light crème chantilly!

My search for the best (American) hotcakes in Singapore continues, but in the meantime, I'd recommend heading to Food For Thought, Cedele and KFC for your pancake fix!

#B1-25 Paragon
Breakfast is served from 8.30am-11am daily

December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

As you indulge in festive goodies and relish the get-togethers, here's wishing everyone a great Christmas and happy feasting!
On a random note, the wreath shape of my Christmas fruitcake reminds me of donuts- my new addiction! More about them another time.

December 23, 2010

A new way of enjoying chocolate: THE CoCospoon

It's difficult to go wrong with a food gifts for Christmas. And chocolate is almost always a safe option. For a twist on tradition, why not present your friends and colleagues with a CoCoSpoon instead?
Comprising a 50g block of chocolate molded to a spoon, this makes a mean cup of hot chocolate when stirred into a cup of hot milk. The smooth and rich drink fared much better than those concocted from powdered hot chocolate mixes. Plus, the wooden spoon can be kept as a keepsake! (Oops, I just broke mine while washing it...) Those who prefer their hot chocolate on the thicker side should add less than the recommended amount of milk though.
For chocolate addicts saving their calories for festive feasting, there's also a smaller version of the CoCospoon called THE CoCospoonies.

THE CoCospoon Milk/Dark (sold out) ($4/pc or $22 for a bundle of 6)
THE CoCospoonies Milk/Dark ($3/pc or $16 for a bundle of 6)
THE CoCospoon Almond (dark chocolate embedded with an almond) ($4.20/pc or $23 for a bundle of 6)

Hot milk is also available at the stand for an additional dollar for customers to try out the drink on the spot!

Currently only available at THE CoCo Grocer @ The Cacao Show
The Heeren
Till 24 Dec 2010

December 16, 2010

The Daily Scoop II, Island Creamery & Ice Cream Frenzy

Out of the numerous local ice cream parlors I have visited, the Daily Scoop is probably second only to Tom's Palette. Utterly avocado contained a fair amount of creamy pulp was lusciously smooth and rich. The intense matcha flavor in the green tea and red beans ice cream left me equally satisfied. As the ice cream portions here are pretty generous, I would advise one not to go for more than two scoops ($5.20) at a go after a meal.

41 Sunset Way
Clementi Arcade #01-04
Opening hours: 11am-9pm (Mon-Thu), 11am-10pm (Fri & Sat), 2pm-9pm (Sun); closed on selected PH

41 Jalan Merah Saga
Chip Bee Gardens #01-78
Opening hours: 11am-10pm (Mon-Thu), 11am-10.30pm (Fri & Sat), 2pm-10pm (Sun); closed on selected PH

While it has its devotees, Island Creamery left me disappointed. I was initially excited about their range of local ice cream flavors, but I was so disatisfied with the flavors I had sampled (namely chendol, papaya sorbet, pulut hitam and teh tarik) that I was tempted to leave without getting any ice cream.

For courtesy's sake, I ordered a scoop of Black Forest ($3) as it had been honored in the Straits Times' 2009 compilation of the 100 Best Dishes in Singapore. Comprising dark chocolate ice cream spiked up with rum- and brandy-soaked cherries, this flavor fared better than those that I had tried but still failed the texture test.

Island Creamery
10 Jalan Serene
Serene Centre #01-03
Opening hours: 11am-10pm daily
 Located near Ayer Rajah Food Centre, Ice Cream Frenzy is a convenient spot for a cool dessert fix after a meal. While the Green Tea flavor was nicely bittersweet, Cheese Biscuit was rather ambiguous in flavor. Again, the texture of the ice cream here did not live up to expectations as it was a tad too hard.

Price: $5.50 for two scoops

Blk 501 West Coast Drive #01-250
Opening hours: 11am-11pm (Sun-Thu), 11am-12am (Fri-Sat)

December 10, 2010

Shashlik Restaurant

Shashlik Restaurant is like a time capsule. Set up in 1986 by 9 Hainanse migrants in 1986 after being laid off at Russian restaurant Troika, the menu remained the same for the past twenty years. The old-school decor is, too, as dated as the stern and efficient staff who roll out the dishes on wooden trolleys around the restaurant.
Shashlik is famous for their borsch soup ($7++ for an a la carte portion; the soup of the day can be upgraded to the borsch for $1++), and it's not difficult to see why. Ladled out at the table from a tureen sitting on a creaky wooden trolley, this tangy tomato-based soup came with a generous portion of soft cabbage shreds, as well as chunks of beef, carrot and potato. An optional dollop of sour cream added a delightfully creamy edge to the beefy borsch!
Instead of the crusty loaves found in authentic Russian restaurants, soft and fluffy bread rolls are served here. Dished out piping hot from the steamer, these sweet buns are perfect on their own, spread with butter, or for mopping up the remains of a delicious stew.
One of the favorites here is the oxtail stew- only available on Wednesdays as part of the set lunch ($14++), which also comes with the soup of the day, dessert and a cup of coffee or tea. Though inexpensive, oxtail is no less worthy than other cuts of beef if prepared well, as with the case at Shashlik. Flavorsome and gelatinous, the deliciously tender oxtail was served in a rich and hearty sauce along with boiled frozen mixed vegetables and potato chunks.

The restaurant is also known for its namesake, shashlik. Available in beef, chicken, lamb, pork and even prawns, the version here consists of grilled skewered meat served on a sizzling cast iron plate, and accompanied by Russian salad or boiled frozen mixed vegetables and fries. While tender and succulent, the Shashlik of Chicken ($18.50++) should be eaten quickly as it continues to cook on the hotplate. I also felt that the meat could also have done with more flavor as it was served without a sauce.
The Spring Chicken (Whole) ($17++) was another well-executed main course. Though it was not as juicy as some other fried chicken dishes I've had, this was barely greasy. And there's no faulting the crisp and fragrant golden-brown skin or the moist and tender meat!

Though the fries were of the frozen variety, they were properly crispy outside and fluffy inside. To my relief, the accompanying coleslaw was not soaked in mayonnaise, but was instead lightly crunchy and brined in a vinegar mix.
The set lunch includes a boring wedge of watermelon to end off the meal, which you may replace with a scoop of vanilla ice cream upon request. But do order one of the restaurant's specialty flambéed desserts anyway.

I simply could not help but look on with interest as my order of Cherries Jubilee ($16++) was prepared right in front of my eyes.  Firstly, a pat of butter was melted in the pan, followed by the addition of dark sweet cherries and a splash of kirsch that ignited in flames. A dollop of cream was stirred into the sauce before the whole fiery concoction was ladled over icy vanilla ice cream. While the menu states that the dessert is meant for two, the Cherries Jubilee was so delicious, I regretted not ordering whole serving for myself!
Shashlik Restaurant 
Far East Shopping Centre #06-19
Opening hours: 12pm-2.15pm (last order), 6.30pm-9.15pm daily

December 7, 2010

Bringing out the booze @ K ki ケーキ

Finally, a return visit to my favorite cake haunt ♥

The dreamy Tiramisu ($9+) featured feather-light mascarpone mousse ensconding a well-soaked ladyfinger. This boozy creation certainly got me raring for more!

Just as light and refreshing as its look-alike Kinabaru, Emily ($9) featured smooth champagne mousse sandwiching a delightfully intense wild strawberry gelee. Being a fan of passionfruit, I still prefer the Kinabaru to Emily, but give me either and I'll be one happy girl!

7 Ann Siang Hill
Tues-Fri, Sun: 12pm-7pm, Sat: 12-4pm

December 4, 2010

Freshness Burger

Freshness Burger, a fast food chain hailing from Japan, has recently opened its first outlet in Singapore at the newly opened Nex mall at Seragoon Central. 
 With no frozen ingredients used and burger buns baked in-store, Freshness Burger aims to provide fresher and more nutritious food than the average fast food chain. The homely ambience, ideal for chilling out after a bout of shopping, is also a stark contrast to the gaudy decor of fast food restaurants.
Freshness Burger's Spam burger epitomizes comfort food at best: soft buns sandwiching tender, salty luncheon meat with runny egg oozing out with every bite. Oh boy. I would gladly return for many, many rounds of this.

The onion rings were fabulous as well. Unlike those from a familiar fast food chain, Freshness Burger's version of this dish are prepared from fresh, sweet onions, which are then encased in a light and crisp batter. Worth every calorie, I say. If only the serving was more generous!
Freshness Burger

True to its claim to fame, the joint's namesake Freshness Burger ($4.50) was lighter than a typical burger. Aside from it being less greasy and the sausage patty less salty, the mandatory tomato slice in the hamburger was also unusually thick and provided a refreshing crunch. The pumpkin bun was satisfying tasty and soft, but overall I found this nothing out of the ordinary.
Popover & Matcha Latte

Light and slightly chewy, Freshness Burger's spectacularly high popovers ($3.30 each) went well with the cream cheese dip provided.
Fried Potatoes

Slab-cut from spuds sourced from the famed Hokkaido Farm, the delightfully puffy Fried Potatoes($2.80) were barely greasy but could have been more crisp.
Matcha Latte

Though decent, at $5.80 for a small cup half-filled with ice, the Matcha Latte was the most expensive drink I've ever purchased at a fast food outlet. Many of the other beverages on the menu also cost as much as those from joints like Coffee Bean and Starbucks. But again, the prices of the drinks may be justified by the comfortable ambience at Freshness Burger that matches up to that of premium coffee shops.

Freshness Burger
 Nex (this outlet is now closed)
Opening hours: 10.30am-10.30pm daily