Gudetama Singapore – Decent food with a higher tag

Gudetama Singapore

Suntec City near Esplanade or City Hall MRT

img_0773I can’t stop myself from joining the 1.5h queue for a dinner at Gudetama Singapore; I wonder why as it strictly isn’t the cutest anime character to me (snorlax, totoro or pompompurin are the favourite still), maybe due to its slimmer figure. But the fact that the entire cafe is just so vibrant and cute, there is this inexplicable allure exuberating from it. You could see a very well thought through system running in the cafe already as gudetama gimmicky props are laid even along the queue for her customers to have fun snapping away while waiting in the otherwise tiring line; menus are given out as you are approaching the end and before being seated, your orders would have been promptly taken. Quick, courteous yet systematic service, that is indeed efficient.

img_0770A general take on the food, they were decently good, and for some might be well over expectation as we usually push our expectations to the lowest of the lowest when it comes to themed cafes like these. For example, this “Are you Busy?” Burger has two fat juicy beef patties underneath that perfectly runny sunny side up, while the fluffy brioche buns are beautifully buttered. But to an objective foodie like myself, taste wise, they were on point while you still get your instagramable gimmicks on your pan. I so wanted to nick that egg and pan home! But at $27.50, we know it is slightly overpriced for a reason.

img_0775img_0765Rib-“I” don’t care – The steak over here caught me by surprise when the service crew asked the doneness we prefer as that is usually done in more upmarket restaurants, not so much for a cafe I reckon. Medium rare we got, slightly pinkish and still tender in the middle topped with that gudetama mash and thick creamy peppered mushrooms. Definitely robust flavours in this pan! $28.50.

img_0767The Mash-Cha was however quite a let down at its price as the matcha flavour was flat, and couldn’t wake the tastebuds up. $11.90.

img_0766img_0771What we thought was very innovative was this TA-MA-GO dessert that is made in the form of a sushi. Matcha cream by the side, what lies underneath the yellow sponge are actually cheese cakes coated with rice crackers. Extra points for this as it shows that the owners are not just out to leverage on the Gudetama wave with haphazard dishes as the dishes have all been thoughtfully curated. $17.90.

img_0768It was undeniably fun and cute but the cost at $100.99 for these 4 items, hmmm…, I am not too sure if the craze will die down like pompompurin cafe.

Verdict: A good cafe. 3.8/5.

 

Birds of a Feather – Sichuan made addictive

Birds of a Feather

Near Telok Ayer Station

img_0141Never a fan of Sichuan cuisine, and always as much as I could, avoid that relentless numbing and spicy mala sauce. Birds of a Feather is however, an amazing restaurant that is able to identify that addictive essence of Sichuan cuisine by simply separating the numb and the spice, and use it deftly in its food with some Western touches to it. We were, especially myself, awed at how good the mala sauce could actually be as it essentially embolden the flavours, giving a kick to her diners. Nice interior definitely with loads of luscious greens hanging around (that seems to be the current concept that most restaurants are working towards to), it was a slight pity we didn’t get to sit just below the ‘tree’ as the place was fully booked out, from 8pm onwards though.

img_0143img_0145Having had some intel already before we got to the restaurant, we kinda know what we wanted and got this Spicy Oriental Bolognaise that is a powerful combination of perfect consistency and robust flavours. Al dente angel hair over there that is beautifully coated with a light mala infused sauce, and because the proportion was just right, that subtle numbness only kicks in like an aftertaste. That was indeed a brilliant choreography. $22.

img_0147The Bruschetta though was a slight letdown as the braised beef shank promised was almost non existent. It was just a pretty good slab of savoury bread. Skip this we reckon and perhaps go for that infamous chilli chicken. $9.

img_0149Very innocuous looking bowl of chazuke as that pot of pickled mustard broth was so spicy but only kicks in at the back of the throat no matter how careful you try to drink it. It is clever though that no numbing elements were added here as that would have muted the exciting flavours greatly, the huge reason why I am so averse to Sichuan food. That soup, though was really spicy, was actually moreish with its piquant, refreshing flavour and that dollop of mentaigo added a little more complexity to the already delicious grilled barramundi. Great Chazuke here with a huge spicy twist to it. $28.

img_0150Could I call it the Burger of the night if I may. No foie gras (not a fan), no huge meaty juicy patty but a very creative Mapo Tofu burger! This fusion burger is gonna make a scene again with the dense bao bun used while the tofu patty is made highly dense too with cheese mixed into it. It has a consistency resembling my favourite paneer actually, and the entire burger flavour is lifted greatly with the mildly numbing mapo pork ragout. That light numbness is actually quite addictive. $22.

img_0151If you are local, it is really not hard to identify this Poached Pear with cheng teng as it is flavoured up with longans, white fungus and orange peel that are the common ingredients we get in a bowl of that local delicacy. What sets this apart from it is not just that poached pear but also the creamy body added to it by that citrus caramel ice cream. At the end of it, we reckon we want more of that soup! $12.

img_0152And the chocolate cake popsicle isn’t an ice cream if you are wondering over the heavy condensation over it. Sweet, creamy, caramel flavours all in one plate and cut through beautifully by that sour passionfruit scramble. We loved this too.

Apparently not the normal Sichuan restaurant, Birds of a Feather cleverly makes use of its essence to create much bolder flavours that we could really appreciate.

Verdict: An excellent restaurant. 4.2/5.

 

 

Pompompurin Cafe – Enjoyed thoroughly at the themed cafe

Pompompurin Cafe 

Orchard Central near Somerset MRT

img_9928Not a fan of above average cafe food, but the overflowing cuteness at this Pompompurin cafe managed to elevate greatly the relatively decent food served over here, making it so compelling for a review post on the blog. For families with kids, this is always a heaven to be in but for adults like us, it would be the perfect hangout when you just need that stupid cuteness to relieve all that stress in you after a long week of work. Having zero expectation for the food (as long as it isn’t revolting), we gladly hopped into it for a fine stupid, cute experience. And the best part? The mad rush to pompom seems to have died down and there wasn’t a queue in sight which made it double sweet.

img_9936The moment we stepped in, we were immediately greeted by the lusciously coloured maple leaves and smiley pompom with his friends. And the different areas you can sit at have all been thoughtfully designed to render different experiences. My favourite of all, is the naturally lit garden table by the window as it somehow has a calming effect, just in time for the invasion of Pompompurin.

img_9933And indeed, we got the silly character plushie sitting next to us and it’s tough not to take some memories home with it!

img_9942Totally star struck, that huge ball of rice just looks so endearing with that beef cap on his head. Cuteness aside, this plate was pretty decently flavoured as the tomato cream stew had the punch but perhaps lacking in substantial ingredients. And the scrambled fell short of the buttery fragrant ones that we always crave for. $19.

img_9950Pompompurin’s coconut milk chicken curry was the preferred savoury main as the thick curry sauce was filled generously with tender chicken cubes. A very normal and palatable dish otherwise, this was made so much more enjoyable with all the stenciled ingredients and that huge smiley face. $18.

img_9955The drinks section though, is just a page of overpriced thirst quenchers as this Love Love Hot Marshmallow Latte costs us $13. Fortunately, mediated by the lunch set promotion, this exorbitant pricing has $3 taken off as long as you get a main and drink, that makes it more bearable. Unable to forgo the cuteness like most tables, we still ordered them!

img_9948And Pompom is feeling all too tired at the huge amount of food for himself. $12 for the Mango juice.

img_9956Quite impossible to not feel less unhappy after having that silly meal with Pompompurin!

img_9945And that’s the final selfie with him.

Objectively, the food here is really pretty decent and wouldn’t make you so dissatisfied that you would grudgingly walk away, feeling that it is just a cute cafe with an utter lack of content in it. A return visit is actually on the cards, till then when we feel we need to relieve that pent up stress again!

Verdict: A good restaurant. 3.6/5. 

Ninja Cut – A rare post for a cafe

Ninja Cut

Near City Hall MRT

IMG_9871.JPGRarely a post on cafe, and usually a personal preference not do so as most cafes are usually more often than not just trying to hop on the cafe bandwagon with their mediocre but unapologetic food served; and most importantly they don’t come cheap. Ninja Cut, though, is one of the few that I think has executed the savoury immaculately; not overdoing the plating whatsoever, the focus is more on the robustness of the flavours and how hearty they taste, which got the nods from both of us. Compared to far prettier and spacious cafes like the newer ones at Millenia Walk, this might be bluntly termed as another ‘cluttered’ cafe. Yes, it is quite challenging to weave through those narrowly spaced tables and despite doing my my cardio weekly, I still kicked someone’s bag accidentally while trying to get my water refilled.

img_9867We see why their bowls are slightly more unique than the usual cafe food as the main ingredients used aren’t just our favourite and usual avocado, salmon etc but a full slab of wholesome squid there that has gotten its consistency right. And made unmistakably fusion with the crunchy miso cucumbers, onsen egg and honey glazed carrots with some sauteed mushrooms at the side, this Squid Fix tasted not only refreshing yet delicious as well! $18.

img_9870Then we move on to the hearty mains, this Cheeky Cheese is one that I highly recommend. The star in that plate – the grilled cheese sandwich that has a messy mesh of melted and semi-melted cheese in it which gave it that coveted stretchy consistency and savoury punch. The 24h braised Japanese curry beef cheek was tender and heavier tasting but shouldn’t be eaten together with the cheese sandwich as both do not share the same platform. That said, this was still a very hearty grub. $18.

img_9869The buddy yearns for something healthier and thought he could get away with the Salmon Confit but exactly the opposite as these poached eggs were drenched with the ever fattening hollandaise sauce and the toast has been spread with butter. Not my kind of brunch plate, however, the salmon was commendably prepared well to medium cooked. $18.

img_9868img_9875And just as we were about to finish this matcha cake, I realised the marbled outer layer looks more tantalising that the green sponge. Cream cheese used to turn it into a more English overall, this was a hearty slice that I could get used to. $8.

img_9865And that’s my favourite bowl of all. Ninja Cut does have the cut to be marketed as a brunch place without serving run-of-the-mill brunches as the fusion plates served are straightforward, hearty and delish. The service crew is energetic here and the only improvement I could think of is to lower the air conditioning by 2 degrees.

Verdict: A good cafe. 3.8/5.

Fat Lulu – Small but focused menu with a very polished service!

Fat Lulu

297 River Valley Rd, 238338

Obscured, far from any MRT station, definitely not suitable to trek to in the middle of the dry spell but well served by a bus stop just sitting opposite it, Fat Lulu has been making the rounds in social media and this casual restaurant not only serves up delicious grilled mains, but also electrifying traditional desserts, all perfected with a polished service rendered even during the peak hours! It was small and we were fitted at the table near the kitchen initially; not being able to bear the occasional hot draft from the kitchen, and as foodies love to see the preparation in action, we opted for the bar counter instead and that was fun!

img_9847What makes Fat Lulu’s small but delicious menu less boring, is also the daily specials that are written on the huge chalkboard. That perhaps is the advantage of a smaller menu, that it gives the chefs space to wield their creativity, duly expressed in the specials! We got the fried curried cauliflower to start off with; made heavier tasting with the creamy madras curry yogurt while condiments like grapes, dill and mint were added to give a refreshing cut. $12.

img_9849That Iberico pork Satay is one of those on that special board and when it was served with its lightly sweet savoury aroma wafting towards me, I could immediately associate them to the likes of bak kwa. Well complemented with the sweet honey glaze and we felt the evenly marbled fats gave it a very fragrant savoury edge. $12.

img_9850This heavy tasting Spicy BBQ Pork Ribs main was ordered at almost every table; I guess that’s what customers do when we see the previous table getting such a humongous treat at just $28. It would be daft if this wasn’t ordered. Beautifully marinated with the smokey kichap manis sauce coming through strongly and well permeated through that block of protein, the meat was also perfectly grilled to a coveted tender consistency. We loved how robust the flavour of that fermented soy sauce has come through and how it is deftly cut through by the lime drizzle. This was the star.

img_9851I wanted some good fish and the Ikan Bakar was actually a pretty exciting fusion. The parrot fish may have tasted drier but this could be the nature of such fishes as they are perhaps less juicier than a cod. The only wish I had, was for them to be less heavy handed on their garlic chilli butter as they tasted really quite spicy to me and intermittent rests were necessary. I have to say though that the yellow tumeric coating did make them look very appetising. $28.

img_9852On that creative board again, we plucked off the very modern Ice Kacang which was slightly theatrical with the liquid nitrogen used but it was for a better purpose. What this Ice Kacang is about – Gula melaka shaved ice, topped with the chendol noodles, chewy atap cubes, furiously cooled coconut bits (by that lq N2) and that really smooth tasty coconut ice cream, all eaten to give you that seamless burst of flavours in your mouth, as they do away with the more traditional red bean and sweet corn that could have simply clashed.

What we really like about it here is the bold flavours that we get, the very substantial portions that were served and definitely the very thoughtful service that we get from such a small restaurant. My napkin was quietly replaced when I accidentally dropped it on the floor, but I noticed that. How attentive could it be! And needless to say, I drank a lot of refilled water without having to keep asking for it. Great day out indeed!

Verdict: A good restaurant 3.9/5.