Ah Teng's Bakery, Raffles Hotel

It's the BF's birthday today. Unfortunately, I've got a trial on Monday and work has just been crazy, so we decided to celebrate his birthday after the trial's over. But, there's always time for cake! We got this chocolate sponge cake from Ah Teng's Bakery at Raffles Hotel. I loved it. The raspberry jelly layer balanced out the rich and semi-sweet chocolate mousse and sponge with its tart overtones. We ate up the entire cake in one sitting. YUMS.

Ah Teng's Bakery
Raffles Hotel
1 Beach Road
Singapore 189673
Tel: 6412 1100
Opening Hours:
Sundays to Thursdays and Public Holidays from 7.30am to 10pm
Fridays, Saturdays and eve of Public Holidays from 7.30am to 11pm


Crystal Jade Kitchen, Suntec City Mall

In line with my resolution to meet with my best friends at least once a month, I met up with Cho for lunch over the weekend. Maintaining a friendship is like a maintaining a bank account, you need to deposit time to get returns on the friendship. So even if I'm in a relationship, I try to make time for my friends and maintain a strong network of support and love in my life. The BF is one (major) part of my life, and my friends make up another part of my life. Besides, they were there before the BF was even a part of my life. I wouldn't be the person I am today if not for them.

From 2.30pm to 5pm, Crystal Jade Kitchen is currently having a Hi-Tea Promotion where dim sum, noodles and congee go at 20% off. This was a really good deal, seeing that Cho and I could chat, eat, and chill at a leisurely pace, all at a pretty little discount. I mean, our lunch cost only about $24!

We started off with the Deep-fried Yam Puff ($3.60 usual price, $2.88 discounted price), sweet mashed yam with a savoury minced chicken filling and fluffy puff.

The Steamed BBQ Pork Buns ($3.20 usual price, $2.56 discounted price) were nice and fluffy, filled with sticky sweet smoky roasted pork.

I like the Steamed Glutinous Rice with Chicken ($4.20 usual price, $3.36 discounted price) here. It's moist, flavoursome and chock full of mushroom bits, half a salted egg yolk, and tender juicy chicken cubes.

The Pan-fried Carrot Cake ($3.40 usual price, $2.72 discounted price), while a tad oily, is really delectable. Soft flour cake with strips of crunchy radish and preserved Chinese sausage was pan fried to a caramelised crust.

I got a hankering for Wanton Noodles in Soup ($6.80 usual price, $5.44 discounted price), chewy thin egg noodles in a comforting prawn-based broth, and juicy wantons.

Crystal Jade Kitchen
3 Temasek Boulevard,
B1-013, Suntec City Mall
Tel: 6338 3511
Open daily, 11am to 10.30pm
Website: www.crystaljade.com


Starbucks Coffee, DBS Tower II

I went for a quickie lunch with Ms PR and Mr Harvest-The-Crops. All of us were having a pretty bad week and it was nice to vent over lunch, and go back to the office refreshed and ready to tackle the world.

The Turkey Bacon Sandwich ($4.90) was great breakfast food eaten over lunch, with a spinach omelette layered over crisp turkey bacon and accented by a tomato slice and melted cheese between a muffin. 

The Apple Tuna Sandwich ($5.80) was a surprising combination of tart crunchy apples and mayonnaise tuna, on a perfectly toasted oatmeal bagel.

Starbucks Coffee
DBS Tower II
6 Shenton Way
Tel: 6223 1657
Open from Mondays to Fridays from 7am to 9pm
Saturdays from 7.30am to 5pm
Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays
Website: www.starbucks.com.sg


Secret Recipe, CPF Building

Instead of eating the usual packed food in the cold, dank and dreary office, Mr Harvest-The-Crops and I decided to go out for lunch and enjoy the sunshine. We went out a little late so one of the few dining places without a long queue and was able to serve up food quickly was Secret Recipe at CPF Building.

I got the Grilled Chicken Baked Rice ($11.80), which surprised me with its standard. This could have been served at Coffee Club or TCC, both coffee joints which serve pretty good food. The rice was moist and evenly coated with a lovely bechamel sauce and they were very generous with well-marinated chicken chunks. Of course, the golden melted mozzarella cheese topping also made the dish a hit.

The Caesar Salad ($5.50) with Additional Turkey Ham ($2.50) that Mr Harvest-The-Crops ordered was awful. Really awful. I admit I'm not a proponent of mayonnaise, but even I could tell that the dressing smelled off and rancid. The menu called it a "special blend of parmesan cheese and mayonnaise with a touch of anchovy". Seriously, I don't know why would anyone would put anchovies with mayonnaise. This was discarded after a few bites.

He got a Kid's Meal Fish & Chips ($6.90) instead, which was tonnes better. Fish was battered well, even if it was a tad too thick. I thought the star-shaped potato nuggets were a cute whimsical touch.

I liked that the Prawn Crackers appetizer was complimentary at no extra charge.

Secret Recipe
79 Robinson Road
CPF Building
Tel: 6220 1511
Open Mondays to Fridays from 8am to 8pm
Website: www.secretrecipe.com.sg


Hong Kong Street Chun Kee, Katong

We were in the East area so we decided to go to Hong Kong Street Chun Kee for some good ol' fashioned cze char fare. The Katong branch is more spiffy than the usual bare essentials-only, primary-coloured plastic chairs and simple air-conditioned coffeeshop style. Walls are white-washed, furniture is colour-coordinated, gleaming white floor tiles are correspondingly matching, lights are dimmed for a warm glow in contrast with the stark white interior. The design is decidedly clean cut, modern and fresh.

We started off with the Sliced Fish with Spring Onion & Ginger ($11 for small). Too bad it wasn't just spring onions, the distinctive taste and scent of coriander was present throughout the dish. Otherwise, the thick slices of fried fish were meaty and fairly fresh. Not the best version I've tried but definitely above average.

I liked the Fried Tofu with Seafood and Vegetable in Claypot ($9 for small), it was chock full of ingredients, sliced fish, prawns, squid, snow peas, baby corn, peppers, snow peas, and of course, smooth and soft egg beancurd cubes. But what made this dish standout was the luscious slurpworthy gravy, infused with garlic and oyster sauce.

A meal here wouldn't be complete without the signature "Chun Kee" Hor Fan ($11 for medium), flat rice sheets flash fried with beansprouts and sliced fish in a light gravy. The standard here has dropped, the noodles were clumping together and the gravy was a little too starchy, but this is still one of the better ones around.

Hong Kong Street Chun Kee
240 Tanjong Katong Road
Tel: 6342 1981
Open daily from 11.30am to 2.15pm for lunch and from 5.30pm to 11pm for dinner


Seah Street Deli, Raffles Hotel

We had a quickie dinner here one night on our way back home from work.

The From Long Island ($24) was a thick slab of grilled salmon set atop a poached vegetables and crispy potato wedges, with a drizzle of lemon cream sauce.

We also got the Original Deli Omelette with Corned Beef ($16). I'm not a fan of corned beef, but this was surprisingly palatable. The characteristic briny taste that I so dislike in corned beef wasn't present in the tender beef strips.

P.S. Photos are taken with the iPhone 3G

Seah Street Deli
Raffles Hotel
1 Beach Road
Tel: 6337 1886
Open Sundays to Thursdays and Public Holidays from 11am to 10pm, Fridays, Saturdays and eve of Public Holidays from 11am to 11pm


Domino's Pizza Delivery

I've been so swamped at work that mealtimes now involve sitting in front of a laptop, buried under mounds of documentation while absent-mindedly eating takeaway or delivered food. The BF decided to treat me one night and ordered from Domino's. The good thing about them is that they really only take about half an hour to deliver a fairly hot meal.

Browsing through the online menu, we realise that Domino's is really more Pizza Hut (in its heyday) than La Strada or Ricciotti. We got the Value Meal 2 ($49.80 net), with 1 regular pizza, 1 large pizza, 4 chicken wings, 1 onion rings and a choice of breadstix, twisty bread or cinnastix.

The Meatzza Thin Crust Pizza, with ground beef, turkey ham, smoked chicken breast, chicken sausage, cabanossi, beef pepperoni was strictly for meat-lovers. I like the chicken breast here, Domino's manages to make theirs tasty and moist.

I preferred the Classy Chic Thin Crust Pizza with smoked chicken breast and chicken sausage. The olives, green peppers and onions cut through the meat of the pizza.

The Breadstix, fluffy breadsticks coated with garlic seasoning and served with salsa, was surprisingly more sweet than savoury.We didn't expect this to be so hugely portioned, this alone would make for a full meal.

The BF didn't take to the hot sauce liberally brushed onto the Hot & Spicy Chicken Wings (4 pcs). Hot sauce is really an American thing, with the use of fermented vinegar and cayenne pepper in addition to jalapeno peppers for heat, which explains the sour and sweet overtones in the not-very-spicy sauce. That said, I liked it. It wasn't great, it wasn't piping hot and it wasn't super juicy, but it was nice enough.

The Onion Rings, though a little soggy, was uniquely coated with garlic cheese sprinkles which lent a fragrant twist to the classic appetizer.

Domino's Pizza
Tel: 6222 6333
Open daily from 11am to 11pm
Website: www.dominos.com.sg


Deepavali Buffet Lunch

I love it that my firm will find any occasion to celebrate. For Deepavali, some of my Indian colleagues organised a catered buffet lunch in the office.

In comparison to the Hari Raya Lunch a few months back, the Festive Deepavali Buffet Menu ($10 per pax) fared tonnes better, especially since both lunches cost the same. That said, as with most buffets, there were hits and there were misses.

The Tandoori Boneless Chicken was snapped up in an instant, and it was easy to see why. The chicken was aromatic and flavoursome, albeit a teensy weensy dry.

The Masala Fish Fillet was another popular dish, dory fillets were coated in a mild spice rub, lending a robust yet delicate flavour to the mild creamy fish.

The Stir Fried Kunyit Squid was pleasantly tender and not chewy. I wasn't a fan of the watery, mild, yellow stock seasoning though. I would have preferred something more sambal.

I didn't try the Mysore Mutton. Not a fan of mutton. The curry was pretty good though, rich, thick, heady and spicy.

I really liked the Aloo Pea, potato and green peas curry which was very yummy. This is a perfect example of how the Indians use a combination of spices to season the simplest of ingredients, creating complex flavours with the plainest of raw materials.

The Gobi Manchurian was a dish that nobody went for seconds. The starchy gooey gravy was way way WAY too sweet for the cauliflower florets.

The Califlower Pakora had too thick a batter. This was also a little tasteless.

The Mamak Mee Goreng with Potatoes and Minced Meat was really not bad, lightly spiced but very tasty, even if it was a little soggy.

The Tomato Fried Rice fared terribly in comparison to the Mee Goreng. This was a little tasteless and too mild. However, this was great when curry gravy was liberally ladled onto the rice.

The Pulut Hitam was also very commendable. Thick, rich and just the right consistency.

ISS Catering Services Pte Ltd
21 Second Chin Bee Road
Tel: 6758 3393
Website: www.iss-catering.com


Hong Yuen, SICC

We had dinner here one night while house-sitting for Pops. The restaurant that night was almost empty so it was very quiet, very peaceful, just the way we love it. We didn't really expect much out of the dinner because the dim sum brunch we had here previously was so lackluster. As it turned out, we were wrong. We were very pleasantly surprised that the dishes on the ala carte menu fared tonnes better than the dim sum offerings.

We started off with some Sauteed Scallops with Macadamia Nuts in XO Sauce served in Vietnamese Pastry ($20). They'd obviously ran out of macadamia nuts, which explains the cashew nuts replacement. This was nuanced, the typically bold XO sauce was used sparingly, so it delicately coated the succulent scallops, letting the natural mild taste of scallops shine through.

The Braised Noodles with Dried Scallops and Golden Mushrooms ($14) was pretty good as well, the oyster-based braising sauce was fairly light, with chives and beansprouts adding a refreshing crunch to the soft chewy noodles. 

The Sauteed Baby White Cabbage with Garlic ($12) was cooked through, without being limp or too salty. This was still crunchy, lightly seasoned and not oily.

Apart from the scallops dish, we really loved the Braised Beancurd with Vegetables and Mushrooms in Claypot ($12). Beancurd was silky smooth and soft, gravy was luscious without being too heavy, and lettuce lent a nice crunch and freshness to the dish.

Hong Yuen
180 Island Club Road
Singapore Island Country Club
Island location
Tel: 6450 1426
Lunch:Tuesdays to Fridays from 12noon to 3pm; Saturdays, Sundays & Public Holidays from 11.30am to 3pm
Dinner:Tuesdays to Sundays & Public Holidays from 6pm to 10.30pm
Fridays & eve of Public Holidays from 6pm to 11pm


Warung Lele Restaurant

The Professor, Mr Harvest-The-Crops and I went out for lunch at Warung Lele. The Professor loves the satay here. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived for lunch at 1.10pm, many of their popular dishes had run out, like the curry chicken (ayam kalio) and fried beancurd with egg (tahu telor). Ah well, we learnt that day that you really need to get to the restaurant before 12.50pm for lunch.

We started off with Sate Ayam ($7.50 for 6 sticks), Jakarta skewered marinated chicken served with homemade peanut sauce. This was very good, thick chunky pieces of juicy chicken meat that was tender, and coated with a sticky sweet sauce that was caramelised and smoky from the grill. 

The Ayam Bakar Bumbu Santan ($7.50) cilandak homemade marinated BBQ chicken, drenched in a thick, paste-like sambal, was another great dish. Chicken was char-grilled so it had that smoky texture and flavour, but retained its juices.

The Sayur Lodeh ($7) with cabbage, long beans, carrot, firm beancurd and young jackfruit in a coconut gravy was rich, creamy and full-bodied. Perfect for ladling oodles of it onto steaming hot white rice.

No meal is complete with The Professor without an order of red meat, so we ordered the Sapi Lapis Surabaya ($8), Jawa Timur style sliced dry beef rendang. This was just alright, not as fork-tender as I'd like, and a little dry on the inside. But the chili gravy was fantastic.

The Onde Onde ($2) homemade pandan ball with gula melaka filling and grated coconut flakes was an aromatic, chewy ball that exploded with the smoky and intensely sweet flavours of gula melaka. I'm not a fan of coconut or kuehs, but this was fantastic.

The Emping ($1) Belinjo nut crackers were great for whetting our appetites.

When combined with Sambal Belacan, the crackers were brilliant as a pre-meal appetizer. 

Warung Lele Restaurant Pte Ltd
8 Shenton Way
#01-16 & #01-19
Tel: 6423 1552
Open Mondays to Saturdays from 11.30am to 2.30pm and from 6pm to 10pm
Closed on Sun and Public Holidays


Seah Street Deli, Raffles Hotel

We were craving American food when we woke up on Sunday and decided to go to Seah Street Deli for brunch. Save for a couple of occupied tables, the retro diner was empty, which meant a fairly private and peaceful brunch. This is definitely more of a dinner place than a brunch place. 

The BF wanted meat and got the Beef Pot Roast ($25) in rich brown gravy with mashed potato and root vegetables like parsnips and carrots. The thinly sliced was tender and quite robust, simply seasoned so its natural beefy flavours were the focus. The gravy was the flavouring agent here, with its rich thick and heady flavours.

I got the Original Deli Omelette with Ham ($16) served alongside toasted white bread and baked beans. The omelette was moist and fluffy, just the way I like it. The BF, who's still on his quest to a board-short ready body, gobbled up the protein-rich baked beans, which didn't taste straight out of a can. The tart tomato flavours were more pronounced, with fresh, little tomato chunks mixed into the fray.

I liked that the salty shaved ham balanced the relatively plain omelette.

We also got the Mac and Cheese ($13.50) with extra cheese ($2), and roasted chicken ($4) and pork sausage ($4). The roasted chicken was a lot nicer than the pork sausage, which tasted a little one-dimensional and tasteless.

No visit to Seah Street Deli is complete without an order of their Root Beer Float ($10) a cool concoction of frosty delight. 

Seah Street Deli
Raffles Hotel
1 Beach Road
Tel: 6337 1886
Open Sundays to Thursdays and Public Holidays from 11am to 10pm, Fridays, Saturdays and eve of Public Holidays from 11am to 11pm


Wah Lok Cantonese Restaurant

Even though Ernie is based in Hongkong, I probably see him more than I see some of my other friends who live in Singapore. I mean, just last week, we went to Seoul together. And this weekend, Ernie came back for a quick visit. Obviously, we met up for our usual Saturday lunch date. We were supposed to go have Japanese food for lunch, but he suddenly felt like dim sum instead. It's funny that although he's currently based in Hongkong, the land of dim sum, he still wants to have dim sum when he comes back to visit.

We headed to Wah Lok, which isn't as packed on Saturdays as it is on Sundays. Although we didn't have reservations, we got a table almost immediately.

We started off with some "Siew Mai" Steamed Crab Roe with Shrimp Dumplings ($5.60), juicy and succulent.

We also had the ubiquitous "Har Gow" Steamed Prawn Dumplings ($6.80), a sweet crunchy prawn enveloped in a thin translucent slightly chewy skin.

The Steamed Roasted Pork Meat Bun ($4.80) was fluffy and soft, filled with sticky and sweet barbecued pork cubes.

The Steamed Carrot Cake ($4 per bowl) is their specialty here, soft and fragrant with rehydrated dried shrimp and cubed Chinese sausage adding texture.

The Steamed BBQ Pork "Cheong Fen" ($6.50) was a little thick skinned than I'd preferred, but otherwise palatable.

I love the Steamed Dough Fritters "Cheong Fen" ($6.50) here, thin flour skin lightly wrapped around a crisp dough fritter, with a sprinkling of dried shrimp for flavour.

The Appetizer of Cashew Nuts ($3), served warm, was obviously freshly roasted. This was unsalted so the natural nutty flavour came through every crunch.

Wah Lok Cantonese Restaurant
Carlton Hotel Singapore
76 Bras Basah Road
Singapore 189558
Tel: 6311 8188/9
Email: restaurants@carltonhotel.sg
Open from 11.30am to 2.30pm for lunch (Mondays to Saturdays);
11am to 2.30pm (Sundays and Public Holidays); and
6.30pm to 10pm for dinner daily
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