January 24, 2011

Cream Dowa @ Isetan Hokkaido Fair

Although I was unable to get my hands on Crema Dowa's Yubari ice cream, their milk gelato made for a more than decent substitute. Simple, yes, but there's just something magical about superbly fragrant and creamy Hokkaido milk swirled into a lusciously textured gelato! I really should have gotten two scoops of the former instead; the chocolate gelato (left) was just ordinary
As strange as it sounds, the wasabi made a surprisingly harmonious pair with ice cream. While enjoyably potent, the wasabi gelato (left) was thankfully not so fiery to the extent of burning my nose. On the other hand, the cheese gelato (right) was especially creamy but was too mild in flavor.

Winter Hokkaido Fair @ Isetan Scotts Supermarket
Ends today

January 22, 2011

Tarts galore @ LE Cafe Confectionery & Pastry

LE Cafe's famed pineapple tarts ($15.50 for a tub of 20 *before CNY price hike*), each sized as large as a golf ball, have proven so popular that they've been completely sold out two and half weeks before the start of Chinese New Year. Don't fret if you've missed the chance to get your hands on this festive treat though as it's available all-year round!
I loved the way the crisp, rich yet light pastry melted in my mouth. There's nothing to fault about the moist and well-textured jam as well. My sole complaint would be that the buttery fragrance of the tart crust was somewhat muted by the pineapple jam due to the low pastry to jam ratio.
The crumblier texture of the pastry in LE Cafe's pineapple tarts gives them an edge over those from Mirana Cake House. Nevertheless, those from the latter make an excellent alternative. 
LE Cafe is also well-known for its bean curd tarts, a refreshing alternative to the traditional egg tart. The silky smooth tau-huay-like filling that accompanied the buttery and crunchy tart crusts was even similar to egg custard in consistency.
Although these bean curd tarts are only sold in boxes of 8, they keep well overnight and are best served chilled. They retail at $8 for a box of eight original bean curd tarts and $9 for a box of eight assorted bean curd tarts.
Bits of gingko nut & white fungus, slivers of grass jelly and longan chunks all made pleasant additions to the bean curd filling. My favorite was the version with egg white. I was, however, not particularly impressed by the tarts studded with peanuts and red beans. There's also a durian version too which I must definitely try sometime!

LE Cafe Confectionery & Pastry
264 Middle Road
Elias Building
Opening hours: 10.30am-7pm (Mon-Fri), 10.30am-3pm (Sat-Sun)

January 15, 2011

Komagatake Gyunyu & Cream Dowa

What a fortunate coincidence it is that Komagatake Gyunyu gelato is available at Takashimaya's Hokkaido Fair while Tom's Palette is temporarily closed for renovation. And there's not doubt that it has proven to be an excellent alternative to my default ice cream fix.
I like a slightly icy consistency when it comes to Japanese gelato, and Komagatake Gyunyu's rendition satisfies this criteria. Although not quite as awesome as Malga's, its lusciously thick and smooth texture definitely left me raring for more! 

The green tea gelato pleased with its intense, bittersweet flavor. But I liked the slightly tangy and refreshing yogurt gelato even better- if only I had the time to make a return visit before the fair ends on Sunday! Flavors vary on a daily basis, and other flavors include milk, pumpkin, strawberry sorbet and vanilla.
 Isetan Scotts Supermarket is also currently hosting a Winter Hokkaido Fair, which will end on 24 January. And there's no doubt that'll be where I'm heading to for my ice cream fix next week! The much raved-about Yubari melon gelato from Mashuko Dowa was unfortunately sold out for the day, so I treated myself to a tall cone of soft milk ice cream ($5) instead. Made from the rich and fragrant milk of Hokkaido cows, this light and creamy soft serve is definitely something I'd love to have again!

January 8, 2011

First ice cream of 2011! @ Tom's Palette

My first ice cream of 2011 was a cup of White Forest and Pear & Brandied Dates from my usual ice cream haunt, Tom's Palette. I really liked the former, which featured a twist on the traditional Black Forest flavor by incorporating sweet Amarena cherry chunks into a smooth cream cheese and almond base. Though it was on the sweeter side, Pear & Brandied Dates was fruity and refreshing.

Easily one of the popular flavors here, Granny's favorite (left) was a pleasing combination of chocolate malt ice cream and cookie dough. Although I'm not a fan of savory desserts, I knew I had to try the truffle ice cream (right) for novelty's sake. And boy, the truffle infusion was strong- I was literally eating mushroom ice cream! This flavor is, however, now out of production due to the cost of its ingredients.
I'm a sucker for peanut butter, but PB ice cream a little boring on it's own in my opinion. Naturally, I was delighted to stumble upon Nuts 'n' Such (left). Mixing swirls of mocha brownie batter into PB ice cream made for a flavor that was oh-so-fabulously sweet, salty, nutty and creamy all at once! And no fan of the classic Italian dessert should skip on Tom's Tiramisu ice cream (right), which is spiked with three different types of alcohol. It's seriously divine!
Nuts 'n' Such (right) isn't always available, so I just had to have it again when I spotted the flavor during another visit. Easily one of my favorite flavors at Tom's, Longan Red Date (left) marries the natural sweetness of red dates- usually found in traditional Chinese desserts- into a silky cream. There're juicy bits of longan embedded inside as well!
You may still be able to catch the Christmas flavors now if you're lucky, or you'll have to wait till this December. Crunchy candy cane bits made an interesting addition to the minty White Christmas (right), but the flavor that stood out to me was Chestnut Brandy, a lightly boozy and lusciously textured ice cream imparted with an intense chestnut flavor.
Another Christmas flavor would be Chocolate pudding (right), a rich chocolate ice cream mixed with chewy marshmallows. Those looking for a healthier ice cream treat should definitely give the light and very refreshing Chrysanthemum (left) ice cream a try. The fragrant infusion of dried chrysanthemum flowers proved so intense, I'm suspect this flavor might well be packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants!

Do note that Tom's Palette will be closed for renovation for the next two weeks, from 10 January to 25 January. There'll be an expanded range of offerings and seating space for 30 customers when it reopens!

Tom's Palette
100 Beach Road
#01-25 Shaw Leisure Gallery
Opening hours: 12pm-9.30pm (Mon-Thu), 12pm-10pm (Fri-Sat), closed on Sundays

January 4, 2011

Bloggers' dinner @ Shashlik Restaurant

I recently had a lovely meetup with Daniel and Lay Sian, Fen and Yuan, Frances, Harris and Xinli at Shashlik Resturant, located at Far East Shopping Centre. As the dim interior of the restaurant limited the performance of my point and shoot camera, I have only uploaded pictures of the food I ordered. 
Although the food took quite a while to arrive, I liked the fact that all the diners at each table are served at the same time.
I love the soft and fluffy bread rolls here, served warm with a pat of SCS butter. As I had a late lunch that day, I regrettably skipped the lovely Borsch soup in order to save space for desserts (which I unfortunately had to pass on).
My order of Chicken A La Kiev "Imperial" ($19++) comprised lightly breaded chicken served with a piece of toast, crisp fries and boiled mixed vegetables. The chicken breast meat was satisfying tender, and was, interestingly, stuffed with butter. However, the toast was too stiff for my liking, though it was deep-fried to a golden crisp.

Harris's Pepper Steak ($26++) was done to a medium as requested, but it was a pity that the pepper overwhelmed the flavor of the meat. Contrary to its name, Frances' Chicken A La King ($19++) would probably fail to satisfy the palate of royalty. This comprised chicken stewed in an overly thick sauce reminiscent of canned mushroom soup, accompanied by rice and mixed vegetables.

Although most of the food we had that night was rather average, the charming old-school ambience of the restaurant, complete with waiters docked in maroon vests bringing food around on wooden trolleys, is good enough a reason to visit Shashlik in my opinion. Food-wise, stick to the Borsch, Oxtail Stew, Shashlik of Beef, Spring Chicken, Baked Alaska and Cherries Jubilee to avoid disappointment.

Shashlik Restaurant
Far East Shopping Centre #06-19
Opening hours: 12pm-2.15pm (last order), 6.30pm-9.15pm daily

January 3, 2011

Durian delights all year round @ Goodwood Park Hotel

Although most of Goodwood Park Hotel's renowned durian creations are only available during its annual Durian Fiesta, fans of the King of fruits can now get their durian fix all year round (even when the fruit is out of season!), for the hotel’s famed durian puffs are permanently offered for takeaway at at the hotel's Deli! Two other delectable durian treats- namely durian ice cream and durian crêpes- are also available on an ongoing basis at Coffee Lounge and L'Espresso.
Launched only this year, Goodwood’s durian ice cream ($6.50++ a scoop) is made on the hotel's premises and comes studded with chunks of D24 durian. While the durian aroma and taste in the ice cream were distinctive, being a fanatic of the spiky fruit, I wouldn't have minded if it was more pungent. Nevertheless, the durian ice cream was delightfully smooth, creamy and well-balanced in flavor. It is also available for takeaway from the Deli at S$14.80 for a 16oz tub until 7 January.
Crowned with a scoop of Mövenpick vanilla ice cream, the Durian crêpes ($15++) are easily my favorite durian creation from the hotel. Durian ice cream would have made a more befitting accompaniment, but anyhow, I was won over by the fabulously creamy and intense D24 durian pulp encased in the thin crêpes! Don't be fooled by the seemingly manageable portion size in the above picture though- this will feed two for dessert, or one greedy person for tea.

Read my review of Goodwood Park's durian-cum-dessert buffet here.

Coffee Lounge @ Goodwood Park Hotel
Opening hours: 6am – 10.30am (Breakfast), 12noon – 2.30pm (Lunch), 3pm-5.30pm (Local High Tea), 6pm – 10.30pm (Dinner)