Saturday, May 26, 2012

Group Therapy Cafe, Duxton Road

We decided to hunt down a brunch place near Outram, partly as a form of rewarding Bear's (increasingly regular) blood donation. After prior Googling, we settled on checking out this un-cafe-sounding place at Tanjong Pagar.

It is located up the stairs just next to Etna - you might miss the entrance if you blink!

 Located in the mysterious Duxton Road / Hill, housing other interesting eats like Buyan as well!

 This place was bustling when we reached around 1pm, but managed to get a seat quite quickly.

 While waiting for a table, I took a quick glance through the interesting menu on a rocking chair. I like how they didn't name it "Eggs Royale" because using thick toast would warrant yet another name change!

 Tables were packed close to each other, I guess this is 'cozy' in a way? Although, as we found out, this means having to listen to conversations of other diners at your elbow.

 Tables were indeed packed a little too close for my liking, but it's ok as long as you don't stretch your arms out too far you won't hit the next table :)

 Flat white was okay, wished it packed more punch though.

 Roasted almond latte was a little sweet and mild on the coffee taste - think so far my favouritest coffee is still at Jimmy Monkey! I'd stick to a regular black coffee for a good post-lunch drink.

{ Flat White ($5.50) and Roasted Almond Latte ($6.50) }

 As we were eyeing dessert, we opted to share a ham and cheese panini.

{ Grilled Ham and Cheese Panini ($16) }
Swiss button mushrooms, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese

 Boy were we glad we were sharing mains! This was a mother of a sandwich and even came with a generous side of crisps and a small couscous salad.

 Holy smokeadoodle! Fairly generous portion at just $16, a rather voluminous sandwich containing  thick thick slices of (proper) ham and generous portions of melty cheese. Good spread of chips too (though they taste ... familiar) and the couscous salad was nice - not drenched in dressing.

 Perfect for sharing as there were two halves and plenty of sides to go around (I didn't finish my crisps).

 Was fairly impressed with the flavourful panini, since ham and cheese is usually right there at the bottom of my sandwich wish list (because of the amount of 'ham' and 'cheese' crap I've been served before). My only gripe was that it was not grilled / pressed enough as the bread was still fairly thick - I like mine condensed which also makes it easier to fit in your mouth!

{ Extra eggs - poached, fried or scrambled - 2 for $3 }

 For extra protein, we ordered additional poached eggs to go with our sandwich. I highly recommend doing this! It went superbly well together. And look at that runny yolk cascading down and pooling on the plate mmmm.

 A surprising combination, poached eggs ON a panini is actually, not good. It's awesome.

 How can we resist carrot cake, let alone this 4-layer rendition?! Please note that the above fork is a regular man-sized fork, so that slice of cake is approximately the size of my face! While humongous, I was a bit disappointed with the texture of this. Taste-wise this was perfect, but the cake was just waaay too soft/moist. You could eat this without chewing and I do want to chew through because it tastes really gooood.

 I did actually exclaim "oh ok--holy crap" as the waitress placed the plate on my table. Can't say I was expecting a carrot cake of this magnitude in a place like this. Taste wise was great but texture was a little wrong for me. It's overly moist and mushy - personally a good mix between the dry crumbly cake bits and the sweet moist cream cheese is what makes a great carrot cake.

 It was a very memorable lunch and we left with extremely full tummies. If we do come back, we'll try the pies next! 

Group Therapy Cafe
49 Duxton Road

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HGW Link (80% recommended at time of posting) :
Main website :
Rating (out of 4) : 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Let's Toss, Tiong Bahru Plaza

 While not your regular choice for dinner, this interesting spot for Szechaun "salad" - cold appetizers eaten with man tou is located at Tiong Bahru just near McDonald's. Honestly the only other time I've had something similar was in NTU Can B, which I thought tasted, well, I wouldn't say it tasted good.

If tripe, pig's ears, intestines, and chillied kelp is right up your alley (like me), then you'd love the selection here. If it's not - fear not,   also could not quite muster the appetite when greeted with 12 trays varying between black, orange and red.

They do sets of either 300g of vegies, or 200g of vegies and 50g of meat - both at $6.80 with a bottled drink and man tou if I was not mistaken! And they quite literally weigh it on a weighing scale. Woe to be, I totally missed a side area with the tripe and pig's ears (which I love), so I ended up getting a nice tossed-mix of glass noodles, tou fu skin, kelp, black fungus and nice serving of chopped intestines.

Bad thing however, was the lack of seating space. Most (if not all) people are actually mainland Chinese who pack them home - no surprise there. We convened at the food court upstairs where   can get some regular, normal looking food.

Everything tasted unsurprisingly similar regardless of what you order. Everything contains that distinct Szechuan peppercorn - a dry, stark piquance - which I do enjoy with the plain bun, which was really quite plain. Have to say, however, the taste overall was actually pretty enjoyable, the spicy salty mix really does just eat like a salad. So pack it home, or convene at the food court, and try some pig's ears today!

Let's Toss! 拌吧!
Tiong Bahru Plaza
#01-02 (just out the MRT)

HGW Link (100% at time of posting) :
Rating (out of 4) : 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Steak Land, Sannomiya, Kobe

 We've been itching with the idea to try genuine Tajima beef while we were in Japan. While we were originally eyeing Steak Ron, we decided to go for a short trip to Kobe instead and check out the options available to us.

 While traveling in the Kansai region, it was almost a blasphemy if we did not go to Kobe for hunks of steak! 

 Just outside the Sannomiya station we were pretty spoilt for choice, but we opted for the pre-researched Steak Land. It's a pretty big spot with two separate dining areas, so you're pretty much guaranteed a seat even without a booking. The place was packed with people (mostly local businessmen and families) on a late Tuesday afternoon.

 I quite liked the Euopean-esque setting/feel of the restaurant. You may need to share a table with other people, which can be quite a pain if they smoke (and you don't)! (By the way my biggest gripe about Japanese cafes/restaurants is the indoor smoking.) Anyway, I digress... 

 Being pocket-conscious we knew we were not prepared to dish out >$100 for a meal (even if it is Kobe beef), so we triple confirmed that the lunch set was valid and that it was indeed genuine Tajima beef. The 150g steak set runs at just 2.980 yen ($48) and comes with rice, soup and salad. Their dinner sets goes up to ~$120, and at some other joints be prepared to fork out upwards of $300!

 Do take note that if the menu doesn't say "set", then it really does not come with anything else. As my sis didn't take beef, she ended up ordering 2 grilled prawns at 2,000 yen ($32) and it didn't even come with rice!

 The show began after he fried up some large garlic chips. Beef above is ~450g so it's enough for 3!

 I was already salivating at this point! We asked for our steak to be done medium rare.

 Thanks to it's awesome marbling, you don't really need much more than salt and pepper when teppan-ing it.

 At this point the aroma got a little heady @.@ the steak is sliced up into uniform slices and grilled on both sides.

 Sharp knife and soft Kobe beef, it's like a hot knife through butter.

 Look at that lovely colour! Good lord. Bite-sized pieces too, how convenient lol.

 And it's done!

 Served with bean sprouts and garlic chips, and a fantastic steak sauce for dipping, my first taste of genuine Tajima Kobe beef done teppanyaki ... fell a little short on my first bite. But the more you lather the sauce, the more pieces you shove in your mouth, you get that faint little tear in your eye ... at how soft, juicy and sweet the melting marbly goodness it gets. T_T

 Meat was tender and soooo juicy and adequately fatty. So damn good! It went incredibly well with the steak sauce and fragrant giant garlic chips. Initially I thought I wouldn't be full from the meal, but I was already very satisfied without really touching my bowl of rice! I thought this set was very worth it.

 Lunch set gets you all that for just $48! While it clearly wasn't the tip top grade of Kobe beef, for the price you can't get any better than that :)

Lunch hours : 11am - 2pm daily
Rating (out of 4) : 
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