Sunday, September 30, 2012

Chock Full Of Beans, Changi VIllage

 How fast Sundays come around! On this particular one we had the car and were heading east anyway, so decided to do brunch to start our day. Chock Full of Beans is quite positively reviewed, and how can anyone not check out a place named like that? Never mind that it's in Changi Village - as we've been told, it only gets ultra dodgy at night, so we were ok in the light of day :)

 Changi Village is one of those places that you just, cannot get to without a car (unless you're willing to take a 40 minute bus ride from Tampines). First time here, ever, and have to say it wasn't what I expected!

 Was already pretty packed by the time we got there. Luckily we got a table without having to wait at all.

{ Flat White & Long Black ($4.50 & $3.50) }

 Our much needed coffee was nice - smooth, aromatic and robust enough. I'd read somewhere that they do really neat latte art, didn't occur to me then to order one.

{ Omelette w/Three Fillings ($12) }
Smoked Salmon / Swiss Cheese / Mushroom (choose from 6 ingredients). Serves with roasted tomatoes & bread slice

 I don't usually order omelette as it's one of those things I tend to shrug off and go 'why, I can make that myself'. However, without a kitchen of my own these days, this statement no longer applies :( also I just wanted good ole fashioned plate of eggs. And this was what I got exactly. No-nonsense, fluffy omelette with the goodness of cheese, salmon and mushroom (my choice of filling). The thick bread it came with was really good too - I have a weakness for the multi-grainy/seedy/wholemeal kind.

{ Eggs Benedict ($12) }
Poached Eggs / Ham / Hollandaise / Homemade Toast / Parsley

 I kinda missed the line where it said homemade toast instead of English muffin, and was millddllyyy disappointed when it came. After a while though - boy that homemade toast was KICK ASS. Rich in flavour and healthy tasting, supremely generous outer layer of roasted sesame seeds was sweeettt!!! Bread lapped up the lovely, perfectly poached eggs pretty well. Hollandaise done right too. All in all a great rendition, and it's in one of the lower eggs benedict price range as well. My only gripe is give me a bigger plate next time - I struggled a fair bit!

Great place for a simple brunch - if for whatever reason you don't mind driving to Changi Village! And yes, no GST and service charge, wootAaaA! 10 points.

Chock Full Of Beans
4 Changi Village, #01-2090 (Corner)

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

Monday, September 24, 2012

Gourmet Culture Bistro Bar, Hongkong Street

 Boy ... where do we start. So there was a day where we came across a couple of 'good-sounding deals' on StreetDeals (one of which was Colonial Bistro which was less than enjoyable). The other was an all-day brunch set for $12.90. Hey you can't go wrong with brunch right???

 Well the answer was yes! Yes, you can. Given the horrific reviews over brunch at HGW (users of the same voucher), we had intentions to give it a pass altogether. But hey, the thing about coupons is that you've paid for it already yea? So we made a reservation and came by on a Monday night.

Despite the strange table layout, the interior of the place was quite nice. Although the football channel on TV and the strange mild stench at the corner where we were seated didn't quite help things. And yes, the service. Well. There was service, in the sense of people serving you. But none of them quite knew what they were doing, with demeanour and conduct rather unfitting of the decor of the place, and they seemed to be in a constant, distant state of confusion.

{ Iced Green Tea Latte & Regular Latte }

 Anyway, we were roughly instructed on what we can order - I settled for the green tea latte while  had the regular latte. Well ... at the very least mine was indeed blended tea with matcha powder ... I think. It was barely alright - you could still taste the powderi-ness of the powder, but despite how green the tea was the matcha taste wasn't too strong.

{ Curry Chicken Ciabatta / Smoked Salmon with Butter Lettuce? }

 Knowing to steer clear of the breakfast foods, we both ended up ordering sandwiches. But we were  trying very hard not to laugh or give a 'wtf' face we got served this - somebody didn't read the food plating for dummies. In semi-hippie style the sandwich was cut in half, placed at random angles, a small tuft of fries on one side, and a huge empty space on the other. Everything was brown, on a black plate. Not only does it scream boring food, it just BEGGGSSSS the question - what should be in that empty space????? A few leafs of lettuce and cucumbers would have changed the entire plate, and wouldn't have cost more than 10 - 20c. Seriously?

 OK so (lack of) presentation aside, the sandwiches tasted slightly better than how it looks. To be fair, the smoked salmon one came with lots of cheese (although the smoked salmon is now fully-cooked salmon because the sandwich was pressed/toasted! geez) Curry chicken was - thankfully just as what we expected - curry chicken (also with cheese, which was quite interesting). But honestly.. this is literally just stuff between bread and some fries on the side. You're not going to find any semblance of fibre here.

And I'd like to point out that the mustard we requested for was strangely watery. We can only conclude it was diluted with water - really, who does that?!

 Where's the lettuce?

{ Fluffy Pancakes with Banana & Strawberry }

 Oh well. To redeem the drink and the sandwich I had the pancakes - been craving pancakes for a while. No uniformity to the pancakes - did 4 different people make each pancake? Taste wise though they were just alright, just slightly worse than McDonald's hotcakes. The chocolate syrup was almost artificially bitter, and once again, food-plating-101 fail here. Strawberries were missing but I couldn't be bothered at this point.

{ Homemade Carrot Cake }

 Was going for the tiramisu but it wasn't available, so I had the homemade carrot cake. I cannot even begin to describe how woeful this was, so I won't bother! Simply put this is the most inedible things I've ever had.

 It was as dry as sawdust - and they didn't even use cream cheese! Even if they did, it tasted closer to icing sugar.

 We finished our soulless dinner feeling quite sorry for ourselves. I think it's time for us to stop using the philosophy of 'never try, never know' so liberally when it comes to food! (especially with group voucher deals)

Gourmet Culture Bistro Bar
20 Hongkong Street
Map provided so you know where to avoid

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HGW Link (51% recommended at time of posting) :
Rating (out of 4) : 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Yayoiken, Liang Court

 Had a craving for some simple and cheap Japanese food so a quick google later we decided to check out Yayoiken at Liang Court. Lots of Japanese restaurants for the picking at Liang Court (and Central nearby), so this place mustn't be that bad!

 Located in the basement just near the Meidi-Ya supermarket, I was hoping for some place with sashimi / sushi, but turns out it was a don / tonkatsu place instead, kinda like Ootoya. No biggie - either way works!

 Starving and late-ish for dinner (after 8) we made our orders and waited patiently and were sadly reduced to eating pickled vegetables. Fair number of Japanese locals dining here, as well Japanese locals waitering here as well, which is always nice!

{ Miso Katsu Set ($13.90) }
Simmered pork cutlet with miso paste set

 I settled for the Miso Katsu Set (apparently they use some special miso ... forgot what!) - your familiar tonkatsu simmered in miso sauce, with a side of egg, potatoes, and your rice and miso soup. Sadly, no salad or free-flow miso soup / rice like other tonkatsu places! But no matter cos we were pretty stuffed when we were finished. While the miso sauce was great (and really salty of course) the katsu was generous but fatty, definitely the cheaper cut of cutlet but what'd you'd expect for the price.

On retrospect I shouldn't have ordered the miso katsu and should have gone for the regular katsu - while you don't get the oily aftertaste of a regular katsu, the soggy crust kinda takes away the oomph of it as well. Much prefer my katsu crunchy with proper sauce and mustard!

{ Pork mix toji set ($13.90) }
Sliced pork, fried prawn and pork cutlet topped with egg set

 I ordered the mix toji set with pork (you can also opt for beef), simply because I felt like having something sauce-y on rice. Underneath the gravy and egg are slices of pork belly, pork katsu and the prawn-tail fritter things. It was okaaay. I mean everything becomes a soggified mess, which kinda takes away the enjoyment of the deep fried items. The bowl of rice that came with this seemed smaller than other places, but not an issue for me either.

We decided to have dessert elsewhere (the crepe kiosk outside) as the selection was a bit limited here.

Yayoiken is alright.. but won't really go out of our way again to come back - and I suppose there are a lot more options for other 'real' Japanese food in Liang Court.

Liang Court, 177 River Valley Road, #B1-50

Main website :
HGW Link (100% recommended at time of writing) :
Rating (out of 4) : 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Etna Restaurant & Pizzeria, Duxton Road

 Can't quite remember how we decided on Etna but I think our decision-process went something like:

Friday night > need a drink and lots of carbs to comfort ourselves at the end of a hectic work week > mm yes carbs please > pizza to share? > Italian > somewhere near town > Tanjong Pagar > been meaning to try Etna haven't we? > oh hey they have DBS credit card discount > let's go

So to Etna we went.


 I had made a prior reservation through reserveit and would recommend it for an easy-peasy and instant way of getting a table (if, like me, you'd rather use a website than speak to a living being).

 I on the other hand (despite being a technologist) prefer speaking to a living being to make reservations simply because I know such websites can be unreliable, buggy and prone to human synchronization at times. But it worked well this time!

 Bread was served warm and very aromatic with bits of sundried tomato, olives and herbs. It was great by itself, but we dabbed away at the olive oil/balsamic.

 Awesome bread, lightly toasted and crispy.

{ Burrata di Andria con Insalata Rucola e Pomodorini Pachino ($28 + $4 for ham) }
Fresh mozzarella cheese served with rocket salad and Pachino cherry tomatoes
 We saw a tray of this burrata cheese making its way from the kitchen to a table nearby and were so impressed/curious that we called out to a waiter to make sure we got the same :) bit pricey this one - but we were informed that we were getting the freshest batch of air-flown cheese from Italy! The outer mozzarella side was firm, inside was wobbly and milky.. very interesting! The ham was good (nice saltiness), and the tomatoes worthy of praise also (so sweet!).

 Fan-fuckin-tastic, defintiely the best burrata I've had, and in fact we were reassured that this parrticular batch of cheese just arrived that very afternoon! And the pomodorinos were great as well, a sweet, rich taste rather distinct from other cherry tomatoes.

{ Etna ($25) }
Mozzarella cheese, porcini mushrooms, Parma ham, cream cheese, pistachio (from Bronte in Sicily)
 There are a couple of choices for pizzas, but we had to go with the namesake Etna pizza.This was absolutely delicious! I love the crust - it's just the right thinness + doughiness for me. The MUSHROOMS are out of this world.. it puts all other mushrooms to shame really. I question the purported origin of the pistachio but I think it adds a slight albeit interesting depth to the combination of parma ham and cheese.

 My boss did mention that the porcini mushroom pizza was great, and in the back of my head I was thinking ~mushroom pizza?? Where's my double bacon pizza playa?~ But this. THIISSSS. Boy oh boy. The first few bites it was hmm, yea this herb mix with the ham is really good! But when I bite into the mushroom motherload, the earthiness of the supreme-king-juicy porcini with the generous truffle oil (real truffle or no, who cares??) was incredible. At the crust - perfectly thin, crispy yet foldable without breaking.

{ Pistachio and Hazelnut Gelato ($7) }

 At this point, as we were finishing up our glasses of wine and polishing remains of bread, we sheepishly decided on dessert although we were barely managing to breathe :P Chose the gelato instead for something 'non-cake'. These came in smaller-than-usual scoops which was quite disappointing. However flavour-wise, the hazelnut one is really good!

 We would love to try their pastas if we were ever to return, but I don't see how much else in Etna could top the burrata and pizza that we had.

Etna Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria
50 Duxton Road

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Main website :
HGW Link (79% recommended at time of writing) :
Rating (out of 4) :
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