Hashida Garo – The very first refined Japanese dessert place 和菓子 (wagashi) in Sg; def worth the visit!

Hashida Garo

Mandarin Gallery #04-16 near Somerset MRT

Hashida GaroWe may have an uncountable number of Japanese restaurants on this tiny island, but to have one that serves very refined Japanese sweets Hashida Garo should be the very first; aptly plugging the gap in this industry! Contrasting to its sister Hashida Sushi (just two storeys below) that serves the upmarket premium sushi / kaiseki menu, Hashida Garo offers a much lower price point yet still delivers the best quality you would have hoped for. Do not be mistaken that this is just a dessert place, as a pretty good lunch, brunch and dinner menu is available as well!

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DSC_0759The Sanma Set – Fragrantly grilled Saba Mackerel that is glazed with the perfect marination served together with rice, pickles and the slithery chawanmushi! Very interesting Mackerel over here as the bones, as fine as its meat is, proves a little tricky to remove. Patience greatly needed over here if you want to savour its fine meat. $26.80.

DSC_0762The Unagi Ippon set Perfumed with a light peppercorn fragrance, this is by far the most authentic unagi don that we could get in Sg. We may question the utilisation of peppercorn here but this is what you usually get back in Japan. So calming as it cuts through the thick, heavy tasting slices of unagi that are cooked to the perfect mushy texture. Precision indeed. $19.80.

DSC_0779Though served at petite sizes, these desserts or 和菓子 (wagashi) are still priced very reasonably and wouldn’t make the average customer walking off feeling ripped. The Fu Manjyu, definitely a Japanese classic, with a hybrid texture of mochi and jelly, beautifully encapsulates a lightly sweet white bean paste within! $3.80.

DSC_0770And the winner dessert for us was the Yubeshi, that has refreshing yuzu bits entrapped in the gelatinous skin. Of course this dessert doesn’t end there with the meticulous Japanese, as encased within the gelatin skin, is the lightly sweet white bean paste. So memorable! $5.

DSC_0767Hokkaido Cheese Cake – Looking humble, this decadent cheesecake is actually one of the more intense ones that I’ve had. So fluffy within, every bit of the flour is so thoroughly permeated with the fragrant butter, milk and cheese. Sublime. $3.

DSC_0768The Choco Yokan – So dark, decadent and rich this chocolate-infused bean jam has been jellified. Peppered with salt above, this savoury-sweet dessert was definitely a refreshing experience. $5.

DSC_0764The Japanese flavoured Macaroons, Hoji cha and Yuzu, were slightly lighter in flavour than the parisian ones that we have. Less sweet, it may pander to the non-sweet tooth. $3.50 each.

DSC_0773Reminded fondly of Higashiyaman which is hailed as one of the highest echelons in Japanese premium sweets from Japan Times, Hashida Garo unbelievably refined Japanese sweets, has definitely left an indelible impression in me. So, Japanese afficionadoes or not, this is very highly recommended!

Verdict: An excellent restaurant.

Antidote – For the oriental tea set this time!

Antidote

Fairmont Hotel near City Hall MRT

9 8My second time to Antidote and it wasn’t meant to be for a post but just a leisure lunch session with V. However, the Oriental Tea set was just so good along with its many new items that it warrants a second post! My first time there was a year ago and had the Antidote set that came with a truffle egg appetiser instead of the dim sum platter! A year has passed and inflation has been relentless (perhaps due to the great demand over the year), that there was a 15% increase in price from $38 to $45; still this is one of the highly recommended high tea in Sg by me. Getting only into the waiting list despite booking almost 2 weeks ahead is definitely a testament to its popularity!

4 3The super delicious and delicately presented dim sum platter by the Gwei Lou chef was surprisingly delicious. Succulent as it looks, the Siu Mai in the small dainty basket was topped off with a thick slab of fresh scallop while the carrot cake was adequately thick with a more substantial consistency! Maybe due to a heavier tastebud the gwei lou chef usually has, this chilli was just slightly saltier than usual.

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5 1And arriving in a chest of drawers, these elegant petite tea bites looked just so endearing. With most of the items changed, this second visit actually didn’t feel monotonous. The savouries in the first drawer include the coronation chicken open sandwich, salmon roll with ikura, parma quiche, intensely fragrant duck rillette sandwich and the lightly mayonnaised lobster sandwich. And the beautiful desserts at the top of the chest were beaming with glamour with its exquisite arrangement; not overly sweet with a very well-balanced overall taste actually.

2In a bid to meet such a great demand, Antidote has extended its afternoon tea timing to  12pm instead of the usual 3pm! So be sure to book really early if you want to savour this really good afternoon tea!

House – A revamped and brighter menu featuring more polished mains and desserts!

House

8D Dempsey Road

DSC_0323The last visit to House was for the Enid Blyton Themed Tea Party when they introduced their ‘newly’ launched creations – Hearty, English cakes that is. Almost exactly one year on, and they have created new, exciting mains that have all the essential balances that a health-conscious individual would look out for. Fret not for ardent customers as old popular Classics are retained and made even more refined! A huge menu indeed, and lets start from the unexpectedly delectable vegetarian dishes first!

DSC_0304This Macadamia-crusted pumpkin salad was a huge hit among most of us as the fleshy, moist pumpkin has a strong natural sweetness which pairs perfectly with the fragrantly roasted macadamia and sun-dried tomatoes while the light mustard dressing aids to lift the overall taste, rendering it more tangy.

DSC_0305Hoping for some Asian influences and a warmer plate of salad in the new menu? Then the lightly fried tofu with warm soothing sauteed mushrooms, drizzled over with the popular flavourful Japanese Wafu sauce shall answer your question as the tofu serves to make this salad even more substantial.

DSC_0307Wild Rice mushroom risotto – A meat eater I am but this is my favourite out of the lot as it simply has all the right balances that a good risotto should have. Though braised in a flavourful stock together with the mushrooms, the wild rice did not lose its al dante-ness and still preserved the coveted bitty consistency. Topped with grilled zucchini, and sour cream, this is indeed a thoughtful plate of risotto that wasn’t confusing at all. $25. Continue reading

Nunsongyee 눈송이 – Shaved ice desserts with texture like Snow Flakes but priced too premiumly

Nunsongyee 눈송이

45 Burghley Drive #01-04, Singapore 559022

BingSuLocated in perhaps the most unanticipated location near Serangoon, I foresee that this Korean-run Korean dessert cafe would not run out of business as it is cleverly positioned just beside a gym and big tuition centre. Just exactly what a gym-er would need after a sweaty run and kids would definitely pester their parents for these icy desserts in the blazing heat.

IMG_7723Similar to our ice Kachang or Taiwan Cua Bing (Shaved Ice), the koreans have their own rendition called Bingsu 빙수 and this is what Nansongyee is majoring in while they also serve Rice cake desserts and the usual coffee tea. With so many colourful and electrifying flavours to choose from,  we went straight for the Korean favourite Black Sesame BingsuContinue reading

The Peninsula Boutique – Exquisite Vday and CNY treats!

The Peninsula Boutique

Ion Orchard #B1-13

DSC_0462For those who want to impress the partner, relatives or extended family, The Peninsula Boutique (which has recently stepped into Singapore at Ion Orchard) should be an option for you as she offers an eclectic range of  polished food and gifts for this coming Valentine’s and CNY! Sweeping across almost the whole of Asia and even extending to the US, these Peninsula branches are all located in major cities that have a massive obsession with fine-dining such as Tokyo, Shanghai, Seoul, Yokohama, Hong Kong and even Chicago.

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The peninsulaThe Peninsula Boutique Sg is now offering a huge range of lavish CNY goodies such as the Butterfly Puff Pastries ($26), Mini Chocolate Bars ($26), Assorted Coffee & Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chip and Macadamias ($39). The list doesn’t end there and you may really want to take a look for yourself at the boutique. Also not forgetting the delicious traditional Chinese New Year Pudding or Nian gao ($28) that are made from freshly grounded glutinous rice flour, they are even cast in several intriguing flavours such as the refreshing Lychee and Osmanthus flavours. And if you are looking for an even more luxurious gift to impress, then go for the Festive Hamper that starts from $288.

DSC_0466It would definitely be a pity if such a plush boutique does not serve lovely chocolates for your Valentine. These alluring assorted truffles & pralines would doubtlessly seal the deal as it is not only gorgeous to look at, but also taste creamily rich with a slight alcoholic underflavour.

So, if you are still undecided on what to get to impress (it really is just a few days to the festivities), then make a trip down to The Peninsula Boutique and grab a few fashionable gifts back!

Cheers to the Peninsula Boutique for the sweets!