Tai Cheung – So fun without the queue

Tai Cheung

Near Holland Village MRT

img_0290That’s it, we finally got the the famous Tai Cheung Bakery cafe that has attracted a huge beeline when they first open few months ago. Not anywhere else, but here in Sg the first cafe is opened in, is perhaps something we have already heard for the nth time. But this is somehow the reason that this bakery is getting all the attention! Got there at 12pm and was a little peeved as I was afraid that it might be a grueling 30min wait in the hot weather but were lucky to just have one patron in front, that makes it a very fast 10min wait to get an air conditioned seat. Beautiful egg tart counter outside that are selling exactly like hot tarts and I could hear quite a few different languages from the queue (Japanese definitely who are by birth foodies), that’s how international this awesome egg tart has gone!

img_0327Two of us indeed, but three mains were ordered! Started off with the scrambled egg toast stack with chicken chop and that chop seemed to be panting with a bulky mash of scrambled above it. Of the right consistency but could be slightly light handed on the butter for some, this was adequate for me as I am for a healthier scrambled toast anytime! And that chicken chop was fried to that beautiful crisp! $9.50.

img_0325This Beef Brisket Curry Rice may seem a little stingy, with a meagre amount of beef cubes in it only. While the plating might have done injustices to it, the curry was definitely impeccable with its thicker sauce that tasted so fragrant and intense. Fried wedges added and the shallots added helped to lift the flavour further. It could be served in a smaller bowl for a fuller look I thought. $10.++.

img_0329And the final savoury – Three coloured silky eggs with rice and char siew and crispy pork belly. Three different kinds of egg used here to yield that eggy experience, I felt this a hearty main actually while the colours and textures seemed to have been worked on by the kitchen team!

img_0332img_0333And what other way to end the meal perfectly but with the Tai Cheung egg tarts! So buttery, eggy and fragrant, they are indeed worthy of the calories! $1.90 for one.

A quick lunch over here, as you also start to notice it operating it in a Cantonese way, with dap teui (sharing of tables) becoming prevalent but service is still Singaporean, not as rushed! Then again, this is what that gives it a more Hong Kong-ish experience that we love that!

 

Paradise Classic – Very impressive chain, at least for this branch!

Paradise Classic

Suntec City near Promenade MRT

img_0154Rarely do I blog about chains, but this Paradise one, did impress us by a substantial margin, that beckons a review on the blog. Firstly, the price point over here at Paradise Classic is very reasonable, with hearty servings mostly priced under $15 but most importantly, a reason that makes the foodie gives the thumbs up is that this did not translate into greasy cooking just so that the excessive oil can lift the flavour of the dishes (though not exactly in a desirable manner always). And that spread above for both of us, it only costs us $36 each!

img_0146What a vibrant red dish! The fragrance of this dish, tomato scrambled egg, was etched in my memory ever since I tried the rendition prepared by the Hong Kong friend in London few years ago. Beautifully done scrambled with a lightly creamy consistency, they are coated with a sweet sour tomato-ish body that greatly lifted its fragrance. Really enjoyed this a lot! $8.80.

img_0148It wasn’t an expensive soup of the day, but at $6.80, this was really a steal as the flavourful broth was made tasty with a generous amount of ingredients in it; pork, fish maw, cabbage; and it actually tasted a little like a small bowl of the typical CNY steamboat!

img_0150And as we waited with much anticipation for the espresso chicken, this became the most favourite dish of the day. Fried first before coating each chunk with the coffee sauce, that crispy skin tasted so awesome that today became a cheat day for me. This is beautifully glazed with a light layer of caramel while that sharp bitterness of the espresso came through strongly. Delish! $13.80.

img_0151Prepared with a large amount of dried shrimp, chilli and spices, the gan xiang fish collar was heavy tasting, packed with lots of wok hei but unfortunately a tad greasy. Still as yummy in its own right though! $16.80.

img_0147And we ended with this refined plate of seafood fried rice as every rice grain has been coated heavenly with an eggy seafoody fragrance which both of us love. More importantly, there wasn’t a layer of visible grease after the entire plate was emptied. $13.80.

A small lunch over here at Paradise Classic, but a big statement it has already made with just a few dishes – that this is definitely a worthy restaurant to visit for a hearty Cantonese meal.

Verdict: An excellent restaurant. 4.5/5.

On Yasai – Buffet but quality is there

On Yasai

Chijmes near Cityhall MRT

img_0121There is always this motivation to write for a restaurant when there is something really outstanding (not necessarily something good) about her. On Yasai, its remarkable bit is that the quality isn’t compromised at all despite it being a buffet restaurant. With three different options to choose from starting from $33.90, we got the 2nd tier at $39.90 that serves 5 different kinds of meat – pork, beef and chicken, together with a healthy variety of seafood! Take note that the cheapest one has got the seafood section omitted, which I couldn’t bear to forgo! 6 soup bases to choose from, we got the truffle mushroom and Hokkaido miso. Ingredients were on point as they felt reasonably refined while the broths undeniably flavourful. And that’s what you essentially need for a good hotpot – fresh, succulent ingredients, and a delicious pot to dip your stuff in, not forgetting a strong air conditioning on top of you for a cooler experience which unfortunately, was slightly lacking in On Yasai when it gets packed. The temperature was bearable however.

img_0124My favourite platter actually, with those fresh prawns made sweeter by the broth and not feeling sinful at all as we gobbled down two rounds of fish. The sliced squids were commendable with its slightly chewy consistency that doesn’t get cast into stone even when they were forgotten in the pot.

img_0125img_0132Thinly sliced pieces of pork, that allows a quick dip in the pot!

img_0126And I just had to have two rounds of the vegetable and mushroom platters as the leek, carrot, vegetables and mushrooms served were really fresh and luscious looking, which further ameliorated the flavours of the broth.

img_0133Balls are one of my favourite items in a hotpot setting. Out of the chicken and cheese ball and lobster balls, the lobster was the clear winner for me with its bouncier consistency and more generous fillings. The cheese I could have imagined it melted and tasting like the ones I had in Hong Kong but somehow was a little lacklustre as it didn’t feel as cheesy and was a little salty.

img_0127img_0136And a beautiful healthy pot after every single bit has been dumped in and it’s ready for the first round of eating!

img_0137And everyone gets a choice of an ice cream flavour which were not to be taken lightly and the flavours were intense surprisingly. The sesame was the favourite as over 90% is made of black sesame (OK, that might be exaggerated but we know what that means to its flavour) while still having its creaminess retained!

img_0131This could be classified as the first CNY meal I guess, with so much to eat and dishes abound! Huat ah!

 

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.