Kyushu Pancake – Those pancakes are legit!

Kyushu Pancake Cafe

#01-08, Novena Regency, 275 Thomson Road, Novena Regency near Novena MRT

img_9349When it comes to authentic Japanese cafes, I have never been disappointed by any so far and Kyushu Pancake Cafe, hailing from Kyushu, is delightfully delectable and completely satisfying. They may not have a huge range of savoury items which are also pancake / waffle centric, the sweets though are the ones to look out for I reckon. Their forte, if their name has already not suggested, is obviously the pancakes that has the perfected texture, soft, fluffy yet contains a lower quotient of butter as compared to those from the famous Clinton Street Bakery, making it less queasy than the usual American style.

img_9334Classic Salad with Chicken – Refreshing luscious greens, made savoury with that thick sesame flavoured wafu sauce. $9.50.

img_9338Karaage Chicken waffle with Special sauce and honey – Unlike its American counterpart, the Texas Chicken Waffle, the Japanese savoury coating over this huge slab of chicken gave it a huge Asian twist and definitely didn’t clash with that slightly sweeter tasting thick solid waffle that is evidently prepared from some quality batter. $19.

img_9344img_9343Managed to convince the buddy for a Matcha Tiramisu instead of a toast as one could have imagined how perfect that combination of creamy brown sugar Mascarpone cheese would have been with those fluffy pancakes underneath. Smothered by that thick creamy layer, just like what I have hoped for, sprinkled with the matcha powder, this dessert is completed beautifully with the creamy Vanilla ice cream and Matcha sauce. Around $18.

I earnestly felt credits have to be given to them as these pancakes were not made just from any wheat flour, instead it is a combination of specially selected wheat from the different prefectures in Japan, as what is described in their website; a mix which is totally befitting as “one that brings you the natural taste, free of emulsifier, artificial fragrance, additives or processed starch”.

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Verdict: An excellent cafe. 4.3/5.

 

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Clinton Street Baking Company and Restaurant – Very American, delicious pancakes!

Clinton Street Baking Company and Restaurant

31 Purvis Street near Bugis MRT

IMG_8363Finally after so long, I managed to get a table here, or rather the queue was good at least. Visited Clinton Street Baking many months ago and the moment I was told that the wait would take roughly 2 hours, we skipped and this time round, though it is still busy it was just a comfortable 10 min wait, which makes its highly raved about pancake stack even more delicious and satisfying.

IMG_8350The good thing about the wait over here is that you get to go to the nearby air conditioned National Library and once there’s a table available, you will be notified with an automatic call. Very convenient, fast and most importantly you don’t need to wait along the torrid corridors. Settled down, took a look at the big menu and not really into an eggy brunch that day, C and I both went straight for the burgers.

IMG_8347Salmon Burger – House made, with avocado, tomato, baby arugula and tartar sauce, house slaw and gherkin. Yearning for something healthier, I went straight for the salmon burger which came as a surprise as I initially thought it would be a slab of pan fried salmon in it. Fried salmon patty used instead, this was made creamier and heartier by the blob of tartar sauce on top. I like this hearty burger dish. $23.

IMG_8349Black Angus cheeseburger – Swiss and cameralised onions on a toasted French artisanal roll, with hand cut fries and slaw. Big juicy patty, slathered over with the wet caramelised onions, rounded up nicely by fluffy buns and I like how those fried chips still have the skin untouched. $23.

IMG_8348IMG_8361There we go, Pancakes with Warm Maple Butter with wild blueberries. Almost every other table ordered this fluffy pancake stacks and everyone, at least on that day, chose the blueberry topping over the walnut and chocolate options. That’s quite straightforward for us, as logically the blueberries are needed to cut through that thick doughy pancakes and sweet Maple butter; but if you like to have an even sweeter or richer rendition, then get the chocolate as your topping. $18.

Hearty, delicious and good in serving sizes, and also not forgetting the frequent refilling of your water even when the restaurant is packed, this is one of the cafes that I like!

Verdict: A good cafe. 3.8/5.

 

 

+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

Cha Thai – So good without getting your lips burnt!

Cha Thai

Near Telok Ayer Station

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Baked Tiger Prawns Glass Noodle Claypot

IMG_8796Befitting the versatile Cha Thai restautant greatly, this spectacular Baked Tiger Prawns Glass Noodle Claypot could easily sum up the quality of Thai food served over here – simply on point! Despite being its signature, one would, like myself, skip this on the menu, firstly due to its whopping $159 tag and secondly the injustice that the picture in the menu could have done to this dish, as the tiger prawns shown on the menu were utterly disproportionate to the actual gigantic size served! Literally, the head itself is already longer than my index finger (my palm isn’t petite by the way); this is by far, the largest prawns that I’ve ever encountered.

So I say, drop the usual crab vermicelli and go for this exclusive one if you have a soft spot for lobsters as the succulent, springy meat of these large tiger prawns, perfumed throughout with the aromatic spices and ginger would blow you off with its freshness while the umami coming through strongly from the bouncy vermicelli underneath would see you going for umpteenth servings. So flavoursome and with such high quality, this pot is definitely worthy of the $159 tag. Please note that only 3 prawns will be served, good to share among 4 and as these unconventionally huge tiger prawns are rare, it is advisable to place your orders first before visiting the restaurant in order to avoid disappointment.

IMG_8762Saute Pork with Basil Leaf – One of the huge favourite dishes that night! My love for Char Siu has given me a soft spot towards any beautifully grilled pork that comes together with a perfect light caramelisation. And with these two fundamentals done right over here, the tenderer pork cheeks utilised were made even more umami-tasting and lip-smacking with a stir fry. $18.

IMG_8779IMG_8788The Crispy Prawn Cake appetiser could have turned into a filling main on its own already with so much crunchy prawn stuffing encased within each huge patty. Perfectly fried on its outside to an impeccable crisp, we reckon that this is a must-order dish. $15.

IMG_8765Signature Tiger Prawn Panang Curry – A highly recommended bowl as it differs greatly from the usual ones in most restaurants.  So thick, creamy and made homogeneous with no sign of splitting at all, this largely savoury Panang Curry with the mildest spiciness is made unique by complementing it with the lightly sweet lychee toppings. Loving the extremely low level of spiciness in it, it forms the perfect slather for your rice! $28.

IMG_8782Nam Prik Khai pu – Raw it may seem, the star lies in the creative dip that has been prepared from the heavy tasting crab roe, while at the same time, cleverly cut through by hints of acidity as well, rendering a flavoursome yet still refreshing dip for the greens! As you may have noticed, we have tasted quite a number of heavier tasting dishes and this came perfectly to add a refreshing element to the meal. $12.90. 

IMG_8776Saute Kai Lan with Roasted Pork – The crackling crisp in those chunky pork pieces was the highlight of this dish, with its taste further accentuated by the crunchy Kai Lan stir fried in Oyster Sauce. $18.

IMG_8781Baked Pineapple rice – Overflowing with the curry spiced baked rice, this was a pretty delicious bowl of traditional pineapple rice. $18.

IMG_8773Thai Train Fried Rice – This plate of train fried rice perhaps has a deeper meaning to the Thais who usually have it on their long train journeys to the other regions of Thailand, just like the beautiful bento sets the Japanese are accustomed to. Though meant to taste more ordinary, the taste of this plate of fried rice has been lifted by the perfectly roasted pork pieces. $18.

IMG_8764Tom Yum Soup – Such clear soup usually fills me with trepidation as its deceivingly clearness usually bodes a swollen lips thereafter, worsened further by the acidity of the soup. But you could request for the bird eye’s chillis to be served separately. $28.

IMG_8767IMG_8770Cha Thai Toast – The moment this was served, I was overwhelmed by the fragrance emanating from these huge golden cubes. Pillowy and fluffy on the inside yet toasted to a perfect crisp on the outside with a fragrant butter overcoat, these cubes tasted best when soaked in the creamy, highly concentrated thai tea sauce. Special mention to the dip as its unique thickness hardly allows a droplet to drop; richness checked. $8.

IMG_8786If you have noticed, I have avoided Thai restaurants recently as the tastier ones are usually ridiculously spicy which may not help in the digestion for some. Cha Thai, however, serves Thai cuisine from the central region, that is culturally much less spicier than the other regions and thankfully, suits my palates perfectly. And I say with its high quality and hearty portions served over here, the slightly higher price tags are all justified.

Thank you Leah for the lovely invitation!

Verdict: An excellent restaurant.

 

 

Cafe 2000 – Celebrating Christmas at M Hotel with a slight oriental twist!

Cafe 2000

M Hotel near Tanjong Pagar MRT Exit D

DSC_0795We are not even halfway into November yet and are already starting to hear bells jingle at M Hotel. Yes, Cafe 2000 has just rolled out its splendid Christmas menu for its buffet spread and this year, there is an additional exciting oriental twist to the otherwise more predictable Christmas take-away!

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DSC_0811SPECIAL TAKEAWAYS: Like with most fusion cuisines, they run into a potential risk of being rejected by the majority of the diner’s palates but I am glad to say that those over here at Cafe 2000 worked for me. A more South East Aisan influenced  dessert yet not deviating from the festive mood – the signature Chempedak Log Cake and the Oriental Roast Char Siew Turkey accompanied with Chestnut stuffing and Barbeque Taiwanese Pork sausage are the three main takeaways that you could get for your house parties this Christmas. Moist, perfectly baked and thoroughly penetrated through by the char siew marinade, the umami definitely came through from the otherwise typically dry and bland turkey while the Log Cake has been subtly and elegantly perfumed by the aromatic Chempedak. So, I say these are worth a go!

DSC_0763 DSC_0765Trio Mushroom Salad with Wine Vinaigrette; Smoked duck with Magoes and Honey mustard

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DSC_0766Pasta Salad with Seafood Pesto Sauce

PROMOTIONS: And next up, lets take a tour round the eclectic buffet range for this Christmas! Heads up for Diners on Christmas Eve as you will get the chance to bask in the live music and caroling while sipping away on your complimentary glasses of champagne during the buffet. What a way to usher Christmas in indeed!

A long waiting list could have been expected due to the overwhelming response received last year, thus Cafe 2000 is extending a similar festive buffet menu past Christmas Eve and Day this year, to New Year Eve and Day itself, so you know when else to reserve when the festive holidays have been totally booked out. And if you were to reserve and pay fully before 15 December 2015, you get to enjoy as much as a whopping 20% discount off the usual price of $72.

DSC_0798FESTIVE BUFFET: Atop of the usual buffet spread, the main attention would be the carvery and seafood sections for the festive buffet this year. What could you expect? The never monotonous Roasted Beef Prime Ribs served with Port Wine Truffle Sauce; Cajun Spiced Whole lamb served with Mint Sauce; Alfresco Barbecue with Wagyu Beef, Slipper Lobster and Chef’s selection of Seafood; the absolutely fresh Poached Boston Lobster, Alaskan Snow Crabs and crisp USA oysters.

c2I fell in love with the roasted Beef Prime Ribs the moment I set my knife on this extremely tender, warm juicy slice of beef which beckoned for a second helping. Brilliantly given a quick initial roast which keeps the interior relatively rare still, this could then be made warm just before serving by torching it on the grill briefly to give it the extra aroma without overdoing the beef at all. Very meticulous of the chef indeed to have this carefully thought through.

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DSC_0821Despite being a relatively smaller buffet restaurant, the spread wasn’t compromised as a seafood barbeque section was set at the other end of the restaurant. Take your pick and send it over to the chef who will grill it up for you.

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DSC_0791Not forgetting the refreshing seafood section with the luscious poached prawns, cute-looking spanner crabs and freshly shucked oysters.

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c4 DSC_0826And please do not forget to take a peek at the exciting pots at the warm food section as they are very easily missed! What we had that night: the flavourful oxtail stew, colourful and cheery butter fried festive vegetables, Seafood Paella, Braised Duck and many more that I have forgotten to take a picture of.

DSC_0824Chili Crab Pasta. Sidle over to the pasta section if you need to have an interesting carbohydrate fix as you get to customise your own pasta with your favourite ingredients and sauce. Sweet and Spicy, that was a pretty good bowl.

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DSC_0820 DSC_0810Huge dessert section that will tickle all kids and adults alike.

DSC_0805And we ended the meal beautifully with this humble bowl of mulled wine. Absolutely well done over here as the fragrance of the mulling spices and raisins managed to pull through and gave a refreshing cut to this warm alcoholic drink. This is something that I haven’t drunk in a really long time ever since we left the UK. Memories indeed.

And so if you are already hunting for a huge feast this Christmas, Cafe 2000 at M Hotel could be one of the places in your consideration list with its huge spread. My personal take? While the usual buffet spread is decent, the festive delights were definitely a cut above the rest!

Thank you Malcolm for hosting the lovely Christmasy dinner!