Ion Shopping Mall
Orchard MRT station
As the name suggests, the gargantuan Ion would have her own personal blog to introduce her own specialties, ranging from fashion to lifestyle to food. Briefly, they are things that are exclusive to Ion herself. I got really excited when I was shortlisted for the Ion Insider Workshop (food) that I readily took half a day off to join the lovely hosts for
an three afternoon teas that would give you a unique experience you couldn’t find elsewhere. They indeed are, as far as I know, Sg’s first or unique few. Am really thankful to Sweta, Coleen and Chermaine for this invite!
Salt Grill & Sky Bar – My first afternoon tea with a bird’s eye view
Wondering where to go to for a sky high afternoon tea? Frustrated with a limited number of choices? Finally, Salt Grill & Sky Bar has capitalised on its awesome location and launched an afternoon tea menu. From Ion level four, You would be whisked by a pretty cool lift straight to the gorgeous Salt grill & Sky Bar. At 55th storey, you get an unparalleled panoramic view and everything below you really seems much slower which is a perfect setting for one to indulge in a relaxing afternoon tea. They have just recently launched their afternoon tea menu for $30++ from 2pm to 6pm which also includes a cup of tea or coffee.
And there we go, the familiar three-tiered afternoon tea. The savouries are in the middle while the sweets on the other two tiers. Lets start with my most favourite tier – the bottom chocolate tier which consists of chocolate delice, chocolate & jam lamington and Almond & cranberry florentines. Chocolate delice is super thick and rich while the contrasting lamington is soft and more refreshing. I like the florentine best as there were lots of nuts embedded in the candied biscuit that gives it a good crunch. As for the savouries, we got ham and turkey croque madame (ham and cheese sandwich), smoked salmon with cream cheese and coronation chicken sandwich. While the smoked salmon was fresh and tasted pretty good, the sandwiches tasted slightly dry and that could be improved.
The raspberry macaron is my favourite for the topmost tier as it is light, not overly sweet and has a pretty chewy crust though I thought that the crust could have been more chewy and thicker for a better consistency. The other two snacks are pate de fruits which tasted quite sour while I like the nicely flamed meringue on top of the mini orange tart as it is smooth and creamy. Somehow, this tier is less memorable for me and could have been more polished.
On the whole, I thought Salt Grill could have been more flavourful in its savouries (perhaps having a petite lip-smacking beef burger instead) and daring in its sweets on the topmost tier. That, would definitely make the whole experience perfect with its awesome view.
Nara Thai – My first ever Thai afternoon tea
So we made our way to Nara Thai at B3 for a Thai afternoon tea! This is really my first time having a Thai afternoon tea; even knowing that such a thing exists is also my very first (I bet it is for you too)! Nara Thai has just recently launched an Erawan afternoon tea that comes in three tiers and a cup of coffee or tea for $12.99++ which is available from 2.30pm to 5.30pm daily. Three tiers for $12.99; the price is definitely a steal.
There you go, the three tiers of Thai snacks. Just like its English counterpart, the Thai afternoon tea consists of savouries and sweets and of course our familier kueh kueh.
Starting from the bottom most tier, we have the savouries: tapioca dumpling with chicken filling, chicken satay, minced pork and peanuts on fresh pineapple and Toong Tong (Golden Bag). The chicken satay is slightly dry. And on the whole, this would have been a much better savoury plate if the flavour for everything is more intense. Afterall, Thai food is all about extreme, intense and flavourful tastes.
Well never mind about the bottom tier as the middle tier sets to impress. Over here, we have the sweets or more kueh kueh stuff: Thong Muan (Coconut Wafer Rolls), Kanom Bueng (Thai Crispy Pancakes), Look Choop (Sweet Bean Paste in Fruit Shapes), Tha Koh (Thai Coconut Pudding), Woon Ma Praow (Agar and Coconut Jelly). Everything tasted pretty good here but the memorable ones were the cute Look Choop and fragrant agar coconut jelly. The agar and coconut jelly is thick and has a good consistency. I would have finished it all if I was not too full then.
And definitely, these cute little petite Look Choop did impress. It’s my first time having it actually. Wrapped inside this slightly chewy jelly skin is some not overly sweet bean paste that makes it light and refreshing.
And finally for the topmost tier, we had the standard sweet mango sticky rice with fruit skewer. There were fried yellow bits added to the glutinous rice too that gives it an extra fragrant crunch. This is a pretty good dessert to end the meal I thought, as how I would usually end mine.
For $12.99++, this Thai afternoon tea set is really worth the price. It would have been more satisfying if the savoury plate was more flavourful but on the whole, this is a steal I felt.
Uncle Tetsu Cheese Cake
And finally, our last stop was spent at Uncle Tetsu Cheesecake located at B4 of Ion Orchard. This shop has its origin in Hakata Japan and only does takeaways. To be honest, I was most impressed by this eatery for the day. Small bakery that is able to deliver high quality cheesecakes. Now, Uncle Tetsu has only recently (2014) opened its first Singapore branch in nowhere else, but Ion Orchard. They also have branches in Taipei and Shanghai which have created the ‘tim hou wan’ craze. By that, I meant really long snaking queues. Luckily, the Singapore branch has not experienced such a phenomenon yet, so I urge you to get it soon before a queue forms someday.
They have two types of cheesecake, the original flat cheesecake and the dome-shape cheesecake. All the Japanese cheesecakes made over here are moist and not overly cheesy unlike the classic American cheese cakes. In contrast to the orginal cheesecake, these dome shape cheesecakes are slightly heavier in their cheese and have a denser consistency while they also come in different flavours such as mango (shown above), strawberry and chocolate. $13.90 for the dome cheesecakes.
Freshly baked srawberry cheesecake that looks so fluffy and ethereal! Looks inviting, doesn’t it! They had to make a new batch of strawberry cheesecakes when we arrived as the last one was sold couple of hours ago. That attests to how fresh it is!
And the best part – we were each given a lovely original cheesecake to bring home and share with our family. The original cheesecake tasted so heavenly and only costs $9.90. You can have it hot or chilled. We tried the freshly baked hot ones there and it was so delicious. While the hot one has a much stronger dairy flavour to it, the chilled ones accentuate the cheesy flavour. Simply put it in the microwave if you would like to have it hot.
As for the last stop at Uncle Tetsu, the experience was perfect. Oh, and just to add, famous Gindako from Japan that sells delicious satisfying takoyaki is just stationed opposite Uncle Tetsu. Ion Orchard food hall is indeed an exciting place for Japanese street food lovers.
So after having been to all three restuarants, Ion has indeed strived to be unique or the first in many things. From the more upmarket sky-high afternoon tea to the intriguing Thai high tea set and the delicious Uncle Tetsu cheesecake, Ion indeed has an electrifying food scene. Once again, am very thankful to Ion insider for this lovely invitation!