July 28, 2012

The Pancake War: Brunching at PS Café

With brunch places popping up all over the place, I would find it difficult to justify a visit to the overpriced PS. Cafe if not for their ginger pudding ($12.90++)Gently spiced with the rhizome, the steamy, spongy pudding floats in a sea of dreamily aromatic earl grey crème anglaise and is crowned with a towering scoop of cold vanilla bean ice cream. Awesome sauce!
steamed ginger pudding with earl grey creme anglaise and vanilla ice cream @ ps cafe
 To fellow foodies who are fussy about pancakes as much as I am, I suggest that you give the blueberry pancakes ($19++) here a miss. They're decently soft and fluffy, but I'll rather have McDonald's Hotcakes for one-fifth the price. 
blueberry pancakes @ ps cafe
D opted for his protein-packed favorite, the PS. Brunch Burger ($29++): homemade grilled wagyu and US chuck patty topped with camembert cheese, wilted spinach, crispy bacon, tomtato, crispy onions, herby mayo & fried egg on a toasted sesame bun. (What a mouthful!) Of course, I couldn't help stealing some of those fat, fluffy steak fries and tasty aioli!
ps brunch burger @ ps cafe
On the contrary, my other friend went vegetarian with her Green Garden Lasagne ($26++): garden vegetables tossed with mozzarella cheese, bechamel and portobello mushrrom duxelle, layered with herb ricotta, spinach pasta, served with shaved fennel and almond salad.
green garden lasagna @ ps cafe
The laid-back ambience at PS. Cafe's Harding outlet certainly draws a crowd, so be sure to head out of the house early if you intend to brunch there- our food took almost half an hour to arrive if I remember correctly!

28B Harding Road
Tel: +65 6479 3343
Brunch hours: 9.30am-5pm (Sat & Sun), last food/tea orders at 4pm/5pm

July 24, 2012

In-N-Out Burger in Singapore

"Will someone deliver a Protein-style burger and Animal fries to my workplace tomorrow please?!!" begged a friend who had attended an exchange program in California on Facebook. From just 11am-3pm today, the beloved West Coast fast food chain In-N-Out Burger set up a pop-up store at Golden Grill at Circular Quay.

Keen to check out how good fast food burgers could get, I parked myself in front of a line of twenty or so people at 10am. It pays to be kiasu sometimes- I hear that all 300 burgers were sold out by 11.05am, merely five minutes after opening time!
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Only three burgers were on offer: the hamburger ($4), cheeseburger ($5) and the Double-Double ($6), with a side of chips and a drink for $2. Naturally, I chose the version with double patties and double cheese, animal style (with mustard-grilled beef patties with pickles, grilled onions and extra spread). There's also an option of having your burgers protein style- aka Atkins style, with lettuce replacing the bun.

What sets In-N-Out burgers apart from other fast food chains' would be the care put into the details, from grinding the beef to just the right coarseness to ensuring that cheese slices are well-melted. Orders are cooked à la minute, and are packed with fresh and crisp tomatoes and lettuce (not tasteless shreds of fiber). The chain insists on using 100 percent chilled beef and never frozen beef, and the freshness of the meat was evident: the patties emerged moist and gently charred from the grill, without any trace of gristle.

If I had one complaint, it would be that the burger was so juicy that its sauces seeped through the paper wrap. What a pity that they didn't bring their fries and shakes to Singapore!
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A smart means of keeping queue-cutters at bay!

I do not profess to be particularly fond of cheeseburgers and wouldn't fly to the States just for In-N-Out. But there is no doubt that the chain serves the best bang-for-buck burger I've had so far, and will certainly give other fast food restaurants a run for their money if they set up store here.

July 20, 2012

London: Four Seasons

Chinese food was never on my initial list of things to eat in London. Why squander a meal on Chinese food in the city when when the best of Oriental cuisine is to be found in the Far East? But after hearing numerous praises about the Four Seasons' roast duck, and having had my fix of pub food in England over the past few days, I decided to give it a go...and what an excellent decision it turned out to be.
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I've had some great roast goose in Hong Kong, but oh my- nothing comes close to this. The Four Seasons' roast duck was incredibly succulent and tender, with lightly crisped skin and a juicy layer of fat that melted in my mouth. And the meat was astoundingly flavorful- perhaps it's the provenance of the poultry that sets their roast duck apart from the rest. My friend proclaimed it to be far tastier than the duck at the established Da Dong restaurant in Beijing, which has been said to serve the best Peking duck in China.

Needless to say, we were sent to poultry heaven. As exercise-phobic as I am, I must declare that all that fat is skin was worth the extra minutes on the treadmill.
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The five of us also ordered a plate of lobster noodles to share, which was good as well. But it paled in comparison to the marvelous roast duck that we just had.
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The bill worked out to a reasonable £15 per person. A revisit to the Four Seasons is definitely on my agenda during my next visit to London.

Four Seasons
12 Gerrard Street, Chinatown
W1D 5PRW1D 5PR
Near the Leicester Square/Piccadilly Circus Tube
Opening hours: 12pm-12am (Mon-Sat), 11am-12am (Sun)
Tel: (+44) 020 7494 0870

July 16, 2012

Nomming around London

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The Tower Bridge, dressed up for the Olympics
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Conquering London in a day with a Travelcard.
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The London Underground, breakdowns are a daily occurrence here.
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My first Krispy Kreme, an original glazed donut purchased from a stopover at Oxford on the bus ride to London. A pity that it was cold.

I had a wonderful lunch and dinner in the city but let's leave the details till another time!
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 Pierre Hermé, I've missed you. His macaron shells are simply perfect- tender with a thin, crispy exterior- and come in the most magical flavor combinations. My old favorites- infiniment caramel (salted butter caramel) and rose- still wowed. But the flavor of the month, Jardin d' Eden (bottom left), was quite a revelation as well. Who knew that vanilla and basil would go so beautifully together? 


Of course I couldn't resist lugging back boxes of assorted macarons back home. These gems are priced at £1.85 a piece, £15 for a box of seven, £25 for a box of twelve. Pricey, but I'll rather fork out for quality macarons instead of the sugary morsels ubiquitous in Singapore.

I was hoping that the Belgravia boutique would stock Pierre Hermé's pastries but alas, there was only an array of chocolates, jams, pates de fruits and pound cakes alongside the macarons. Looks like I'll have to visit Paris to try his Ispahan and Infiniment Vanille tart someday!
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Buckingham Palace
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Can anyone resist Ottolenghi's heart-stopping window displays of pastries? The heart was willing but tummy space was limited, so I settled on a passion fruit meringue tart (£3.60). (Thanks Kaelyn for the recommendation!) Cuddled inside a buttery tart crust, the zesty punch of the luscious passion fruit curd was perfectly offset by the airy peaks of sweet meringue.
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Hot chocolate from Patisserie Valerie. This was only alright- the chocolate flavors could have been much richer.
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The Caffé Concerto tempted with its vast display of cakes but they were unfortunately mediocre, so was the gelato.
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As long as the queues for the lift at Covent Garden station may seem, do not attempt to climb up the stairs unless you are a Vertical Marathon champion. I failed to heed the advice of the warning sign at the bottom of the spiral staircase and was tugging myself up the steps with my arms after after 70 steps.

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He may resemble a statue but this busker at Covent Garden will wave to you if you drop him a coin.

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   Home to the infamous breast milk ice cream that made international news.

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Thankfully they have more conventional flavors. There was one which contained guarana which I skipped. And if I remember correctly, there was chilli and lemongrass...
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I was contemplating if I should give it a try until a saw the price. £19.95 for three scoops of ice cream, anyone? 
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The other flavors weren't cheap either, starting from £4.95 for a double scoop. The apple vodka sorbetto was pleasantly icy, and I liked how smooth and velvety the Jubilee strawberry ice cream was. I wasn't particularly impressed though- do visit The Icecreamists if you're keen on their unusual concoctions, but I would rather head elsewhere for my fix of conventional ice cream flavors.
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