Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Can I Eat This?

An interesting 'product' from Taiwan!
At first glance, you'll think you know what this is.
It sure looks like what it's supposed to be.
But isn't those cute little mashmallows?!?!?

Loola's by Awfully Chocolate

This was our ad-hoc, unplanned, last-minute attempt to have a post Valentine's Day lunch together, alone. My treat! :)

Ideal venue would be some place with a nice scenic view and not overly crowded with throngs of tourists. And not being the adventurous kind to roam the 'wilderness' of our little island city, we settled for the Esplanade.

We ventured to the restaurant on the second level (facing the escalator) as it offers a great view of the Singapore river and in my umpteen times there, there were already quite some changeover of restaurants in its place. SoI gathered it's either the price or the food. But whatever the case, we just wanted a nice, quiet lunch.

The restaurant is called "Loola's by Awfully Chocolate" and it has a very 'raw' touch to the decor with the exposed pipings on the ceiling and the concrete finished flooring. Even the waiters and cooks look like trainees from Shatec. However, one quick glance at the menu contradicts all that with it's pricing. But honestly, what am I expecting from a restaurant at the Esplanade?

We ordered a bread and salad entrée followed by a whole grilled chicken.

It turned out to be fruit salad which was not our original intention. But it was our fault anyway and it tasted alright so no damaged was done.
The bread entrée was unexpectedly awesome! It was made up of varying kinds of small bread, European style and toasted slightly prior to serving. There really was no need for all the fancy dips. A good bread just needs a spread of butter on it or even nothing at all!
The grilled chicken looked, well, like how it's supposed to look and smell. But I was slightly disappointed to have the waiter serve us both chicken breasts leaving behind the succulent thighs. However, unknown to us, there was a tiny surprise hidden just behind the golden brown skin - slices of ham! This was a bit too much meat for me but nevertheless, it added a slightly different twist to the othewise, predictable grilled chicken. The portion was big enough for four person. So we ended up bringing the remaining of the unfinished grilled chicken home.
Will I be back again? It will be a plain and simple "Yes" - just for the bread entrée! :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Valentine’s Day 2012

A little something from THE husband:

And from me, a self-assembled ice-cream cake – inspired by a home-cooked Valentine’s Day menu from The Sunday Times.

1 pound cake (I used Sara Lee chocolate swirl pound cake)
1 tub of ice-cream (whichever flavor you like – chocolate chip peppermint in this case)
Fruits (canned mandarin orange, diced strawberries and mangoes)

(1) Thaw the pound cake and ice-cream for about 15-30 minutes until they are soft enough for assembling
(2) Cut the pound cake into slices, apportioning some to cover the bottom, side and top of the container. If possible leave some as the inter-layers as well.
(3) Lay the pound cake slices on the bottom and side of the container
(4) Scoop some ice-cream to form a thin base
(5) Decorate the next layer with fruits
(6) Scoop some ice-cream to cover all the fruits
(7) Add some slices of pound cake
(8) Scoop some ice-cream to cover the pound cake
(9) Decorate the next layer with fruits
(10)Scoop some ice-cream to cover all the fruits
(11) You might want to repeat the layering process until the ingredients are used up or the top of the container reached
(12)Lay the remaining pound cake slices on top of the ice-cream as the final layer
(13)Wrap the ice-cream cake with plastic wrap and freeze it for 3-5 hours prior to serving

(-) I would recommend not to add the mandarin orange slices (opposed to the recommendation from The Straits Times) as it does not taste juicy when freeze.
(+) Quick and fun to assemble
(=) It’s assembled, so how bad can it taste? :)

Baker & Cook

This newly opened and incredibly successful bakery is located in one of the shophouses along Hillcrest Road, within the vicinity of the Raffles Girls' Primary School and nestled amongst the private residential houses of Bukit Timah.

I only got to know of this bakery from The Life! section of The Sunday Times newspaper and I was already excited from reading about it. The next instinct was to pull THE husband and baby out of the house and while they were making themselves comfortable in the car, I was already madly jabbing in the address of the bakery on the GPS.

Upon arrival, there was already a short queue forming at the counter. The aroma of the freshly baked goods was simply irresistible and the place was almost fully seated. While I made a beeline dash for the queue, THE huband and baby set upon themselves the mission of securing a table and chairs.

I ordered a couple of mini French baguettes for myself and THE baby while THE husband tried the blueberry tart.

The blueberry tart was OK I guess since THE husband never ordered it the second time we were there.

However, the mini-baguettes were fantastic! Fresh out of the oven, the crust was crispy and the bread soft and warm inside. I like mine with a thin spread of butter and a sprinkle of sugar. The chewy loaf also had THE baby occupied which is definitely a good thing!

Since the first visit, we were back almost on a weekly basis to get our regular supply of baguettes and walnut bread loaf.

However, it should be noted that the baguette might be a little too 'hard' for the local's preference, having been used to soft bread, the likes of Gardenia. And it is best consumed within the same day or at most the very next morning. Good news is, the walnut loaf has proven to be able to last a few days more.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Ellenborough Market Café @ Swissôtel Merchant Court

The Ellenborough market café has long been known for it’s durian pengat dessert.

It might not be an overstatement to say that the customers are booking their lunch buffets there simply for the sake of this Asian dessert.

Despite my numerous visits to the café, the durian pengat continues to maintain it’s standard with it’s thick and bittersweet durian paste. Two thumbs up!