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.

 

Red Pan – Fusion with a local twist, but did it actually work?

Red Pan

Marina Square near Esplanade or City Hall MRT

IMG_6439It is really rare that I would be at restaurant that is just a few weeks old as I usually like to browse more reviews lest the precious calories get wasted. But this time round, H and I decided to try our luck at the newly opened, chic-looking restaurant, Red Pan, at the newly refurbished part of Marina Square. Another fusion bistro, following closely behind the opening of East Bureau (that merges seamlessly different cuisines from around the world) at Marina Square, this on the other hand assimilates local elements into the more familiar western dishes. Things like hae bee hiam, char siew etc has been used and it may look radiant and sound fun, but the appeal wasn’t there after trying some of the more interesting mains and we reckon it might be perhaps worthy only a single visit. Service on the other hand is great, friendly but… yeah I guess we place a higher emphasis on the food.

IMG_6438Char Siew Chilli Fries with sour cream. It really tasted more like minced meat with fries as the char siew fragrance was really faint, a far cry from the umaminess that we get from the really good ones at the more established Cantonese restaurants. $7.

IMG_6440IMG_6442Prawn Hae Bi Hiam Pasta, Tagliatelle tossed with housemade spicy shrimp paste and sauteed prawns. Very strong pungent Hae Bi Hiam fragrance over here, but fell flat in its actual taste that got us bewildered. A pity though as the Tagliatelle was cooked to the coveted al dente texture. And I reckon that familiar crunchiness in the prawns reminds me of the brine solution that had been used to render such a texture. Authentic, fresh prawns would have been much preferred instead! $15.

IMG_6443IMG_6444Grilled Sirloin Steak 250g with housemade spicy chinchalok, pickled onions and smashed potatoes. Ordered at medium rare, the sirloin served somehow was slightly tougher than what was expected but that tangy sauce there was spot on with the right level of citrusy acidity in it, balanced perfectly with the lightly spicy chilli. Refreshing yet still highly savoury, a pity the sirloin did not perform.

Stopped at the mains as we decided that the desserts could be better enjoyed at Haagen Daz. Well, this beautiful restaurant does have the potential in transforming into an excellent one, if more effort is placed in perfecting and elevating the tastes of the dishes. As for now,

Verdict: An above average restaurant. 3.1/5.

Mad for Garlic – What a good random choice

Mad for Garlic

Suntec City level 2 near Esplanade MRT or Cityhall MRT

IMG_9110It was a very last minute and random choice when C and I chose to dine at Mad for Garlic as the original place we intended to go to closes at 6pm. My bad for not checking that but this random choice (not exactly random as the entertainer app became the next thing to scroll through) was an excellent one we felt after the meal. Cheap, very flavourful, this garlic themed restaurant is certainly bang for the buck! Only few tables were left already when we were there at 6 even, how popular can this get when it isn’t exactly the most conspicuous restaurant along that belt.

IMG_9100Fresh Spinach Salad – An overdose of fried garlic toppings on these luscious leaves that have been flavoured up by the balsamic vinegar underneath. Not exactly the usual balsamic vinegar you get at an Italian restaurant as it has been infused with fried garlic oil that makes it even more fragrant! $15.50.

IMG_9103IMG_9106Garlic Snowing Pizza – Thinly crusted, slathered with a layer of sweet garlic sauce that gives it an addictive edge, made more substantial with the juicy diced pineapple and shrimp, and of course finished yet again by some fried garlic sprinkles! We loved this so much that C said he could actually have the whole thing on his own! $22.50.

IMG_9108Grilled Chicken & Mushroom Risotto – Beautifully cooked risotto with spinach and mushrooms that have been uniquely spiced up with some chilli seeds. Very flavourful main over here while the texture of its risotto isn’t as starchy as most other restaurants (Just saying, as this in the strictest sense didn’t undermine this dish). $22.50. We had wanted to get their signature Garliholic fried rice which we reckon will be full of wok hei, but that third main would have to be forced down our throat.

IMG_9109Ice cream with some garlicky accompaniment. Subtle in taste the garlic is, and largely just a ball of vanilla ice cream that tasted nestle-like, this fell into the O.K. category. $8.50.

Highly impressive savouries as every dish was a spot on; the garlicky menu could have already been perfected. It usually is a general conception that an overuse of garlic could tilt the balance of an otherwise multi-elemented dish, but Mad for Garlic seemed to have gone for the extreme and pushed the taste of almost every dish into the heavier-tasting region; as they became very creative with their use of garlic turning them into sweet and savoury condiments. Very astounding indeed that such a themed restaurant actually sells!

Verdict: An excellent restaurant.

Colony – Perfect ambiance, food-wise just like all buffets with hits and misses

Colony at Ritz Carlton

Near Cityhall or Esplanade MRT

C1Beautiful, plush, modern and well-lit, yet still looking smart without going overboard into the opulence extreme, Colony does indeed have one of the most comfortable ambiance for a relaxing lunch. Tip-top service rendered, rightfully deemed as one of the best in Sg, friendly and kind without being intrusive at all. The food though, had some misses here and there just like any other buffets, but taking everything into consideration and making a brisk comparison across the island, a $58 lunch buffet is actually, acceptable.

IMG_9086IMG_9089IMG_9090Compartmentalised into many different sections sprawling across a few rooms, the dessert section was the one that caught my attention the most. Vibrant in colours, large in variety, especially the chocolate stacks that is a rarity in most buffets (This actually added some Swiss character to it), it was the second station I visited after the first round of savouries. One of the misses I heard from the other colleagues – the peanut mochi which was unchewable with its already hardened skin; somehow I got away lucky with the sesame flavoured one beside it. IMG_9088IMG_9096My favourite out of all – the petite lemon tart topped with a rotund lemon meringue. Zesty peels added to the curd, all set nicely on top of a crumbly tart! The chocolate balls were on point too with a huge variety of them at the ice cream section, and I say the matcha one was intense!

IMG_9080The cold section, together with the Japanese sushi at the side, both well presented, had all the flavours and texture that you would have expected for.IMG_9071IMG_9085
Adjacent to the cold section and there we get the fluffy looking baguettes that have a huge range of upmarket cheese and chacuterie sitting in front of them for you to pick!

IMG_9072IMG_9079Moving on to the darker room that showcases these cooked food, the lamb rump was surprisingly executed to the perfect consistency, not tough at all with a well balanced marbling within the huge slab! That is actually quite a feat for an international buffet when loads have to be cooked and precision could have been overlooked at.

IMG_9091At the Cantonese wok station, lay these tantalising chow mien and fried rice, and the option was made easier (you know you have limited carbs space) when the fried rice is embellished with huge succulent prawns! Indeed, wok hei was tasted, and the shrimps were naturally crunchy. Good pick for the carbs!

The roast section was quite a big miss though when the ducks were served up with a tougher and slightly powdery texture. The siu yok however, was splendid with its super crispy skin.

IMG_9083IMG_9097I actually love the salad section that comes with the huge, juicy mushrooms and bouncy mozzarella with cherry tomatoes. Turned this into an Asian one by lashing it over with the Japanese sesame sauce!

12637308_10154037431783714_2039026897_oA fun interaction day out with the colleagues!

Like most buffets, I would advise against expecting really exceptional food lest the disappointment, even if their interior decor appears super plush. It really is just to enjoy the variety, and then repeatedly get the dishes that you have identified you like best! Then, you could enjoy the relaxing buffet, but of course it needs to have a sizeable number of hits first!

Verdict: An above average – good restaurant. 3.2/5.

 

Pasarbella Suntec – Officially open!

Pasarbella @ Suntec City

Near Esplanade or Cityhall MRT

IMG_9040While Parsarbella at the Grandstand models more closely after a Farmer’s Market that consists of a balanced number of grocery stalls and gourmet traders, the recent one at Suntec City functions more like a, if you would pardon me using the most layman term, a ‘food court’, albeit a more upmarket and hipsterish one. With 14 different stalls available all under one roof, you get a chance to taste a wide range of cuisines, spanning right across the globe as we start off from the hearty Eastern Korean Choo Choo Chicken followed by the Mediterranean Pita and Olives, then ending the journey at the States as you land yourself at Wolf Burgers or Cajun on Wheels. Which makes this a perfect dining place if the group couldn’t come to a consensus on a restaurant to hang out at. That, is the strongest point I reckon which Pasarbella is armed with – the epitome for an eclectic range of food.

  1. Choo Choo Chicken IMG_9041IMG_9050Riding on the current craze for Korean Food, Choo Choo Chicken managed to up the game with its Korean Seaweed rice that has the tangy, not overly-fermented kimchi sandwiched between which gave it a refreshing touch. All day sets available with fried chicken over here served in various flavours like soy, sweet, spicy, garlic, honey soy and sweet & sour. $12.90 for a set. This was apparently, the unanimous champion amongst all the other stalls that we have tasted, not because we are in for the craze (you know Korean isn’t my favourite).
  2. Mad Dogs Bar & GrillIMG_9067IMG_9069Beautifully braised that the meat falls off the bone effortlessly. However, the only gripe could be the oilier base it is served in which could potentially stop me from having another piece. Angus Ribeye ($25, 200g); Grain-fed sirloin ($18, 200g) and Pork Chop ($18).
  3. Squeezed! IMG_9053At Squeezed!, not only do they serve cold-pressed juices that have all the vitamins retained, lovely toasted brioche buns filled with the tasty savouries could also be found here. $4 for the toast.
  4. Wolf BurgersIMG_9062

    Soft fluffy bun, with thick patties sandwiched between. This could be a popular grub for the hungry CBD people.

  5. Cajun on WheelsIMG_9059Louisiana-style seafood cuisine served here presented in buckets of fresh crabs, mussels, clams and prawns, along with a serving of fries and cajun sauce of your choice.
  6. Rollie OlieIMG_9042A more playful Japanese place it claims with the more vibrant colours that don’t adhere strictly to the rules for a Japanese presentation; looking and tasting more fusion with American inspired sauces. Their highlights: Sunkissed Salmon roll (from $16.95) and Dos Amigos (from $14.95).
  7. Pita & OlivesIMG_9039The only mediterranean stall in the premise, Pita & Olives does indeed serve up freshly baked pita bread; fresh ingredients such as olives, tahini, chickpeas to create the wholesome Kebabs, Falafels etc. And we love that smooth hummus there in the centre.
  8. An AnIMG_9047IMG_9045For some Vietnamese Street Food, An An serves quite a spread, such as the Beef Pho, Spring Rolls and Salad. And they will be launching their Soft Shell Crab Pho soon which isn’t on the menu yet. Beef Pho set ($12.90).
  9. GrilloIMG_9063With the concept of donburi in mind, Grillo has decided to incorporate grilled seafood and seasoned meats on top of their rice bowls for a fuller meal. Menu highlight: The yuzu salmon Bowl with a house made slaw at $12.90.
  10. SarniesIMG_9070The spot for your caffeine fix which also serves up pastries and sweet treats.

IMG_90554 other stalls not tried, but that 10 was enough to send us home with a stuffed tummy. As for the quality of the food, hits and misses were as expectedly, prevalent which, given the benefit of doubt, may not be representative of the actual standard as some of the dishes were already pre-prepared to cater to the large crowd that night. Reviews equally split on their first principal branch at the Grandstand, it would be interesting to see how this second one fares as the traders over here seem to be serving up better quality food at an O.K. price.

Thank you Tessa for the invitation!