Sacha & Sons – With high expectations, we were awfully satisfied

Sacha & Sons

Mandarin Gallery near Somerset MRT

IMG_6940Like its sister restaurant Wild Honey, the lofty reviews that Sacha & Sons have garnered are absolutely well justified. Slightly bewildered by the menu initially as it’s not the usual brunch menu that you get, this consists of a mix of Mediterranean, Russian etc dishes which appeared quite unfamiliar to us. Blindly ordered, with faith put into the descriptions of each dish, the savouries were all spot on.

IMG_6934Cous Cous – Tossed with chopped cucumber, zesty tomatoes, chick peas and the spicy onion, together with some citrusy drizzle that gives the entire salad a refreshing edge! This wasn’t complicated but a great appetiser to start the meal off with. $6.

IMG_6933Latkes – Potato and Onion fritters piled atop with generous servings of Pastrami (meat that is brined, dried and seasoned with herbs) and slathered with a thick creamy splash of hollandaise sauce, definitely looking very American here with the generous hearty servings, but not at all queasy towards the end. Just like its rich strong colours, the flavour was equally heavy tasting as well. We like. $17.

IMG_6932All Day Eggs – Scrambled with Sturgeon and Caramelized onion, served with a huge fluffy sesame bagel. Adequately buttered, not totally minced and flavoured up with the smoked sturgeon, these scrambled eggs were definitely spot on. Cream cheese by the side that complemented the entire taste with its creaminess and fragrance when spread on that crusty dense bagel. $18. The bagel was so good that we got another for $3.

IMG_6938Blintzes with Sour cream and Homemade Jam – Very smooth and thin mushy crepes, this definitely has reminded me of the travelling days in Russia, where sour cream is largely used for their desserts and pancakes. Maybe not a big fan of an overdose of sour cream, we didn’t really enjoyed the cream intercalated between the multiple layers. Then again, that’s our preference but this dessert definitely felt Russian. $12.

IMG_6935A less familiar menu, but we were still able to enjoy the mains greatly! Very good service rendered and with prices tagged reasonably, it’s a little difficult not to pay another visit.

Verdict: An excellent restaurant. 4.5/5

Wild Honey – Slightly pricier but you know it’s a quality brunch

Wild Honey

Scotts Square near Orchard MRT

IMG_6847It might be slightly pricier than the usual cafe, using the cost of its Egg Benedict as a benchmark which is priced above $20, but I dare say the price at Wild Honey is definitely justified as the quality of its brunch should beat easily almost 80% of the cafes here in Sg (even without the need to try most of them). Slightly more upmarket, you are naturally also given more personal space with its more spacious and classy interior, fitted with plush, comfortable chairs. But most importantly, quality food is served here.

IMG_6849IMG_6850Not having ‘Egg Benedicts’ written on its menu board, it took me quite a while to search for it by skimming through the lengthy descriptions and we managed to decipher ‘European‘ as the one! Just like what was described, Two perfect poached eggs slathered with the thick, lightly spiced hollandaise sauce, with the fragrantly pan fried sauteed mushrooms both served on two thick fluffy signature Brioche, this was made a notch higher by wrapping them beautifully with the beautifully cured Italian prosciutto, that adds a meaty edge to it. $22. Although W loves egg ben, the English breakfast was preferred that day which looked equally delish and hearty with the big portions of luscious scrambled piled atop.

IMG_6851Scandinavian – Grilled fillet of fresh salmon, green asparagus, crisp potato rosti, drizzled with the Hollandaise sauce. It could be one of the few times that I was requested to choose the doneness of my salmon and medium was chosen which is the ‘rawest’ you could get at Wild Honey. Not knowing how it would turn out, this level of doneness was actually perfect for me as the moist was retained without having much of it tasting / looking raw at all. $28.

IMG_6856IMG_6859But the real excitement came when we had this for our very first time. I wasn’t an advocator of sweet-savoury fusion, and I always feel a little peevish when I see strong heavy savouries added to something that has traditionally and rightfully been sweet. Read ‘Canadian‘ too quickly and I got it immediately when I saw my cravings in it – Pancakes! Thick, fluffy stacks of buttermilk pancakes punctuated with the right concentration of air sacs, accompanied with the candied bacon, hibiscus berry compote and Canadian maple syrup. Individually they tasted marvelous but when eaten together especially when the honey is drizzled over the bacon and taken together with berry slathered pancakes, that was actually quite sensational. We loved it and the on-diet-plan W decided to forgo it eventually. $20.

IMG_6854Great Saturday brunch out at the Wild Honey and actually it was quite a binging day for us as Orchard has suddenly seemed to turn into one of the food heavens for us, with Tai Cheung Bakery, Honolulu Cafe, the refurbished Isetan supermarket – it will take some time to check all of them out.

Verdict: An excellent bistro. 4.8 / 5.

Dulcet & Studio – Just like a typical Japanese cafe, quiet, classy and delicious!

Dulcet & Studio

Liang Court near Clarke Quay MRT

IMG_6613How excited we were when we thought this would be a great Japanese cafe, just like all the cafes that I have visited in the many Japan trips, with absolutely no disappointing ones (as yet). And indeed, the constant flow of Japanese patrons on a Sunday afternoon is testament to the quality of food over here at Dulcet & Studio. Italiano-Japanese fusion, just like what most Japanese cafes in Japan are doing, is the style undertaken by Dulcet as well and we love it.

IMG_6614Smoked salmon salad ($10.90) for the regular size – Thick cut salmon slices that give the fresh greens a coat of delicious omega 3 balm while the sesame dressing tossed with it gave it an extra edge.

IMG_6620Scallop Miso Cream Pasta ($16.50) – Miso cream, and we could already imagine how umami and thick the sauce would be while the springy mochi noodle pasta came as an even more exciting element on the plate as never have we encountered such perfectly textured pasta. A definite order for the chewy mochi lovers and we reckon its a huge twist from the usual ones with many exciting Japanese elements thrown into it.

IMG_6615Dulcet’s Beef Stew Rice ($20.40) – Uncannily felt like a Muji concept when this was served, with its super healthy looking multi grain rice neatly compacted by the side while the beef stew tasted wholesome, tender and the sauce reduced to the right thickness and concentration. Then again, I think the pasta is still my favourite out of the two – my weakness for mochi.

IMG_6622And time for the lovely desserts that Dulcet & Studio is really famous for. I bet every cake and patisserie on the shelf is spot on, starting off with the randomly chosen Lemon Yuzu Eclair $5.70. Slathered with a thick yuzu glaze topped with caramelised yuzu strands, this elcair has been piped fully with the decadent creamy yuzu custard, just of the right sourness, acidity yet still satisfying with that thickness and richness.

IMG_6621And the finale belongs to the Matcha swiss roll ($4.40) that has been widely raved by many as perhaps the best one in Sg. And indeed credit should be given to the intense matcha cream while the sponge was indubitably light, fluffy and moist.

IMG_6629That led to the purchase of a whole roll for $35 which intriguingly looks different from what was on the shelf. Both renditions were good, but I preferred the one with more intense cream!

Well, definitely this cafe deserves a revisit and I love the quietness of the cafe and the sizeable number of Japanese patrons around me.

Verdict: An excellent cafe. 4/5.


Bao Makers – Jumping on the bao bandwagon

Bao Makers

Near Lavender MRT

IMG_9327Before we go all gaga over the colourful baos that have been hailed as one of the most interesting fusion restaurants in Singapore by the media, lets do a little more study first. Alright, we first have Bao (London), then Little Bao (Hong kong), then Shackfuyu (London) and now Bao Makers that is the local spin off from these bao concepts. Unfortunately, we felt only 2 out of 4 could make the cut and they were expectedly from their place of origin – London! Reasons unknown but we know the head chef at Bao hails from Taiwan (despite having a Caucasian sous chef) where such baos originated from. Such fusion concepts when used, should be treaded along cautiously as such concepts have to be bold, refreshing, yet simultaneously having the conventions retained, with all seemingly clashing elements coming together beautifully in the dish. Bao and Shackfuyu have shone in that expect indubitably but the Asian spin offs are still slightly confused.

IMG_9331We say it isn’t all that bad at Bao Makers. The thought behind each flavour such as this local chilli crab one was worth commending on. Spicy shredded chilli crab slotted into the fried buns that represent the great love by Singaporeans for mopping up the famous sauce with fried man tou usually. But if they’ve realised, there was sauce for a mop up but this was slightly drier than desired. No sauce for these fried buns to soak in, the kick wasn’t there. $5.80.

IMG_9330Salted egg Shrimp – Crunchy prawns they are but not only was the sauce insufficiently intense, it did not manage to permeate through the prawns and thus their blandness. I somehow felt that the bao they used could be of a higher grade as the ones in London were way fluffier and less dense, thereby giving it an edge in its presentation as well. $5.80.

IMG_9332Bulgogi – A Korean flavoured one even and again, where is that sauce? And if there isn’t a sauce for such dry dishes usually, then create one I feel which is what Bao London did! This is what fusion is really about! $5.30.

IMG_9333IMG_9329Buta Yaki Don and Katsu Teri Don each for $12. The poached eggs were OK, but the presentation just felt insufficient while the umaminess in the sauces needs to be buffed up a little more. And that rice, wasn’t the correct pearl rice used. It was a pity indeed.

It was apparently not an exciting meal for us as much expectations were placed after the great ‘bao’ meals in London previously! The idea is there we felt and the taste of the buns are rightly thought out, but just lacking quite a bit in their execution. To myself I thought sometimes, the Sg cafes just need that little bit more passion!

Verdict: An above average restaurant. 2.7/5

+39 gelato – So smooth these gelato are!

+39 gelato / plus39 gelato

Near Raffles Place MRT

IMG_8868Looking chic with an industrial finish, +39 gelato, just like the reviews online, is the place for a good ball of gelato! Looking at the different traditional flavours available daily, the creed of plus39 gelato doesn’t seem to be striving for the unknown or intriguing flavours, but rather to perform solidly in the basic ones, perfecting each gelato with technique and thought.

IMG_8865Not allowing its gelato to rest in a huge chiller, they were instead individually stored separated from each other, all in the purpose to maintain a precise temperature at which these gelato turn semi-liquid, into a chilled fudgy state. Containing mostly milk unlike ice cream, it is lower in fat and we know we could savour more at the expense of equivalent calories. The glistening texture beckons and we just needed 4 scoops on two waffles.

IMG_8871Looking slightly childish with the rainbow rice, but actually quite a hearty Italian outlook to be honest, we paired the refreshing sweet mango with the signature pistachio. Mango easily scores with Asians while the Pistachio has a fortified nuttiness in it which is brought out beautifully by the light saltiness.

IMG_8870And next we decided to pair the creamy, coconut gelato with the super dark chocolate one. So delightfully bitter its taste is, that it makes the perfect balance with the lightly salted coconut.

IMG_8876Waffle day for us two and we reckon the thick waffle is nicely crisped on the outside and evidently fluffy inside, filled with multiple air sacs across. Slather over it generously with the gelato, and you will get a satisfying bite.

And noticeably, all the gelatos are served slightly above its freezing point, thereby remaining totally moist throughout, without any biting iciness that may mar the overall taste. With so much techniques involved, +39 gelato makes a perfect dessert stop.

Verdict: An excellent parlour