Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The V Tea Room

I've walked past this place a few times and always thought that this was a perfect place to have tea so I suggested this place to S when we were arranging to meet up one Saturday afternoon.

This is such a girly place! The decor is Victorian-style decadence with an eclectic collection of antiques... and the waitresses are dressed in weird maid-like outfits with very pouf-y sleeves - I thought they were quite hideous!

The day we were there, there was a table of girls women playing with dolls - they were dressing up the dolls, seating them on the chairs and having tea with them. Really cute, or incredibly creepy - depending how you look at it...

After ploughing through the menu and finally deciding on one of their Signature Liquer Cakes, we were told that they only had the cakes that were on display. Sigh... so we settled on the Blueberry Yoghurt Cake $13.50+++.

It was a pretty moist cake but then I expected it being a yoghurt cake and all. A bit too sweet for S's taste but I thought it was ok (me and my sweet tooth :) so I ended up eating most of it. In any case, I didn't feel it was worth $13.50+++ - it really wasn't all that great and I've had way better cakes for much less!

Of course we had to order tea since we were at a tea room, so I had the Peach Melba Tea $7.50+++ (with Ice). Was quite impressed with the service - the waitress offered a much appreciated re-fill of hot water for my pot of tea. S had the Chai Latte $6.00+++ and proclaimed the one at Coffee Bean was better!

Don't think I'll be headed back here anytime soon - unless for some bizarre reason I'm stuck here at the Esplanade and have time to kill.

The V Tea Room
8 Raffles Avenue
#01-02/04 Esplanade Mall
Tel : 6333 1965

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Gorkha Grill

I've had Nepalese food before, in a restaurant in Little India - but K & M swear that the food here is much better... but never brought me here to eat! Finally got M to bring me here recently :)

And the Momos here are really as good as K & M raved about! Momos are the Nepalese version of fried gyoza - dumplings with minced meat and vegetables. An order gets you 8 pieces - it's so good that I had 4 :) It's a blend of so many amazing flavours in one tiny little package... yummy!

We also ordered some of K & M's all-time favourites dishes from here.

Starting with the bowl on the left : Palak Paneer $8 - spinach and cottage cheese cooked in Indian spices. Reading that description on the menu, I somehow imagined the spinach to be creamed, but it turned out to be ao mashed up till there was no sign of spinach left except for the colour and slight taste. Didn't think I would like it, but it went really well with the cottage cheese.

The pot of curry at the top of the picture is Murgh Makhni $10.90+ - boneless chicken cooked in tandoor in creamy sauce - another classic North Indian dish. Not surprisingly, half the menu here is made up of North Indian food. Besides North Indian, Thai influence also makes up a big part of Nepalese cooking - which I noticed at the other Nepalese restaurant that I went to.

The plate in the front is a Nepalese dish, Piro Khasi Ko Masu $11+ - mutton cooked with capsicum, onions and tomatoes. This was a recommendation from the waiter... it wasn't too bad, but not good enough for me to want to order it the next time I'm here.

And of course Naan $2.50+ to mop up all the yummy sauces with :)

I have no idea how this gem survives when it's blocked by the row of hawker stalls along Smith Street... but it's been here for a while so I think it's going to be fine. Come here if you're looking to try a different cuisine!

Gorkha Grill
21 Smith Street
Tel : 6227 0806

Friday, November 24, 2006

Day Trip to JB

The first time I drove to Johor Bahru was about 5 months ago... Then I had friends in the car who knew exactly where to go, so all I had to do was follow instructions. Last Sunday, we ventured to JB on our own... armed with just a Singapore street directory that had a section on JB, and some excellent directions from Daphne - Thanks Daphne! :)

We left Singapore at around 10am and after getting just very slightly lost, we made it to Jusco Terbrau City Mall at about 11am. It was getting pretty hot outside so we were quite happy to have breakfast/lunch here in cool air-conditioned comfort. Settled on a Cha Chan Teng type cafe called 'Food & Tea Hong Kong'.

I had the Wanton Noodles RM5.90++ (S$2.80). Sorry about the photo, it was a piping hot bowl of noodles and the steam made it all blurry. The soup was kinda bland and the wantons were only so-so... but at that price, it's a bit hard to complain.

What totally made up for it was the toast that we ordered to share. The normal French Toast RM3.60++ (S$1.80) was already pretty sinful with all the butter and syrup...

but that was nothing compared to the Toast with Condensed Milk & Peanut Butter RM2.60++ (S$1.30). It was sweet like you would not believe... and it was as if peanut butter was free - there was at least an inch of peanut butter slathered on top of it. It was so gooey that I could barely talk after taking a bite. Yes, my peanut butter obsession continues...

Terbrau City Mall has most of the same shops as the malls in Singapore so we decided to head to City Square instead. The shops were quite similar to those in Far East Plaza so I had a pretty good time shopping here... With some time to kill before dinner, we then headed to the very dodgy Holiday Plaza. Quite pointless buying any pirated DVDs coz these guys have downloaded more movies and tv shows than we can ever try to smuggle into Singapore :)

Despite the drizzle, we were quite intent on having some hawker food so we headed to Taman Sri Terbau Hawker Centre just 2 mins away from Holiday Plaza. After exploring the hawker centre, we settled on Stall No. 59 where we ordered...

Cereal Prawns for just RM24 (S$10) - impossible to get for that price back in Singapore and the four prawns were just ginormous!

Grilled Sambal Sting Ray for RM16 (S$7). The reason for the smaller picture is because I totally forgot to take a picture until we had started eating... but I just had to have a picture to show how big the sting ray was.

Hot Plate Tofu RM8 (S$3.50) - one of my favourite cze cha dishes of all time...

And we also ordered this vegetable that I've never heard of in my life - Si Jiao Cai (Four Sided Vegetable) RM8 (S$3.50). It was interesting... crunchy, like ladies' finger. Any one know what it's called in English?

Tried the Penang Char Kuay Teow from a stall nearby that was pretty good too. Yes, it was as spicy as it looks...

After stuffing ourselves silly for just about S$6 per person, we decided to head back to Singapore. Would you believe that we made it from the Malaysian side (near the petrol station) to Singapore (after clearing immigration) in just 40 mins? We noticed that the right lane was moving really quickly so I grabbed the chance to get into lane when I saw one and it was so much faster!

Definitely feel more confident about driving in JB now... now thinking of venturing a little further - maybe Malacca soon? :P

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Johnnie Walker - F1 Team Mclaren Mercedes Event

My friend asked me to go for a Johnnie Walker event on Friday night... and despite the fact that there was going to be free-flow of alcohol, I was still a bit hesitant - until I heard they were going to show off the F1 Team Mclaren Mercedes car for 2007.

No way I was going to say no to that! After all, how often do you get to see an F1 car in Singapore?? Much less one that my fav driver Fernando Alonso will be driving for Team Mclaren Mercedes next year!

Also thought it would be a great opportunity to check out the newly-opened St James Power Station... but I didn't really get to coz it turned out the event was held in a tent just outside the club. It was quite a sight though, as the tent was in the shape of a gigantic Johnnie Walker bottle... Extremely weird mix of people turned up - your requisite expats, some girls who looked suspiciously like badly-dressed hookers, so-called celebrities... and not much eye candy.

The only person I was really excited to see was Jade Cole from America's Next Top Model (the season that just ended its run on Ch5 last nite). Didn't really like her on the show but she makes for really good TV. Read recently that she was modelling in Singapore for a few months and was a bit of a star-struck fan when I saw her that night... not star-struck enough to ask for a photo or anything though. She's surprisingly short in person - she was not that much taller than me, and she was in heels!

Anyway, here's a picture of the car with the models draping themselves over it and Jade's on the right in the slinky black dress...

And here's a close-up picture that I'm currently using as the wallpaper on my phone...

Pretty decent pictures considering I had three drinks by this time :)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Tim Tam Creamy Truffle Temptation

I've always loved Tim Tams so when I saw the different varieties they had at Candy Empire, I just had to try at least one. So I ended up picking this one...

Finally caved and opened the packet yesterday... and I had to use all the willpower I had not to have more than one. It tastes exactly like my favourite chocolate candy, Twix, just a bigger version of it - chocolate biscuit with a layer of caramel, wrapped in a layer of milk chocolate.

Have to really hold back on eating this as I don't know if I want to go back to Candy Empire again... not to mention how many calories there is in just one little Tim Tam...

Additional note : I was told last nite that it's humanly impossible to eat more than three Tim Tams in a minute... anyone want to test that out? :)

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup

This is something I keep hearing about in movies and TV shows but never had the chance to try it. My sister got her friend to bring back some from the US so we finally got to try it :)

Talk about a sugar rush! Even for someone with a sweet tooth, this was mind-numbingly sweet... it's basically a milk chocolate cup with a peanut butter filling. It's not as good as the Peanut Butter Kit Kat, but definitely hits the spot when you have a sugar craving... for some reason, the peanut butter smell is really strong even though it's inside the chocolate.

Have a few more at home if anyone wants to try, but once my stash is gone, the only way to get more is to bug people travelling to the US to buy some back :)

Kit Kat Chunky Peanut Butter

Went to the Candy Empire at Vivo City recently and I was literally like a kid in a candy store. My sister could not resist buying this...

There's a layer of peanut butter in the Kit Kat and it's really good! I cannot get over how amazingly well peanut butter goes with chocolate. That's my new obsession... as you can tell from this and my next post :)

It costs $2.50 a bar at Candy Empire, but I suspect it's much cheaper when you buy it overseas.

I'm still undecided about patronising Candy Empire - they banned wheelchairs at their new outlet at Vivo City (read about it here). They have since apologised and now allow wheelchairs in their stall but I'm not quite ready to patronise them again...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Chicken Murtabak at Food Republic (Wisma)

Was in town when I had a craving for prata, and heard that the prata stall at Food Republic was pretty good so decided to try it out.

I ordered the Chicken Murtabak... watching the guy cook your prata is probably not the best idea especially when you see how much lard goes into it. Depressing, but not enough to stop me from eating it :)

Such a huge serving for just $5! Comparable to other prata stalls - I remember paying $5 for the one at Jalan Kayu.

Stuffed with chicken and onions, it's impossible to finish it on your own. Even for a big eater like me :)

That's why I love going to Food Republic... for a food court, it's got pretty good food at very reasonable prices. Have a post on the newly open Food Republic at Vivo City coming up... erm... soon!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Mezza9 Sunday Champagne Brunch

Every once in a while, my group of girlfriends will find a reason to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon indulging in the Champagne Brunch at Mezza9 - this time the flimsy excuse was a farewell party for J who is moving to HK.

This is my favourite place to go for Champagne Brunch... ok, so I've only gone for two - the other being the one at Four Seasons where we were pretty much chased out of our seats as soon as the next seating started (FYI - There are two seatings for the Champagne Brunch at Four Seasons : 11am and 1pm).

Here at Mezza9, you can start your Champagne Brunch from 11am... take your time to eat until 2pm... enjoy some coffee or tea at your table or adjourn to the Martini Bar and chill out till 4pm. Now that's the way to enjoy a Champagne Brunch!

I had a feeling they wouldn't allow people to photos of the buffet spread so I decided to just take pictures of the food instead... and I was right - saw a guy taking a photo of the food on display and he was told by the staff that photography was not allowed.

So for this post, and the upcoming posts on buffets I've gone for the past few weeks, you will have to bear with photos of poorly plated food - what do I know about food styling?!?

Any self-respecting Champagne Brunch would have the requisite seafood spread of Freshly Shucked Oysters, Lobster, Prawns, Mussels - I always start off my buffet here...

The oysters here are really fresh - shucked right in front of your eyes... but that also means that a queue always forms here as the guy can only shuck that fast. The lobster is really good too! Had about two servings of seafood :)

On to the next course!

Had the Roast Lamb with Mint Sauce, Sausages, Devilled Eggs, Codfish, Smoked Salmon and another serving of Lobster.

The Japanese section here is one of the best I've had at hotel buffets...

I had the Tuna and Salmon Sashimi, a few sticks of Yakitori, and some random Dim Sum from the Chinese section just to fill up the plate.

After a few rounds of food, I finally made it to dessert and I was so happy to see so many desserts that I seldom get to eat!

Meringues, Pavlovas, Chocolate Macaroons, Brownies, Cherries and Strawberries... I was so stuffed I didn't even manage to try the Chocolate Fountain!

All that gorgeous food and free-flow of Taittinger champagne (I had 4 glasses :) makes this brunch at $108+++ one of the best Champagne Brunches in town... and one of my favourite ways to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Grand Hyatt Singapore
10 Scotts Road
Tel : 6732 1234

Friday, November 10, 2006

Muddy Murphy's Irish Pub

Read about the Sunday Roast Lunch here many times and finally had the chance to try it during one of the F1 races... actually, this post is a culmination of two separate visits here. Once was in the evening and we only had bar food, and another time was for the Sunday Roast Lunch.

The Sunday Roast Lunch $20++ consists of 3 courses:

A Starter which you get a choice between a soup and a salad...

Your choice of a Main Course - either Lamb...

Or Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding...

And your choice of Dessert - a Brownie...

Or Apple Crumble.

The soup and starter were ok... as you can see from the pictures of the Roast Beef and Lamb, they both had the same non-descript brown sauce. The Lamb was a bit fatty though... The brownie was HOR-RI-BLE. It kinda tasted like particle board... either the cook had an off-day or they have a very different idea of what brownies should taste like. Didn't think the Sunday Roast Lunch was that great, but the price is pretty reasonable.

The two things we tried from the Barfood Menu were really good! The Whitebait $11++ was sprinkled with a spicy Cajun-type seasoning. Just could not stop popping them into our mouths and before we knew it the bowl was empty! We tried to order another serving but was told it was sold out :( And on the day we had Sunday Roast Lunch, we were told Barfood is only served after lunch and by that time we were just way too full...

The Lamb with Mint Sauce was also really yummy... dunk the huge chunks of lamb in the mint sauce - perfect bar food! The couple sitting next to us were eyeing our food and asked us about the lamb and we gave such rave reviews that they proceeded to order it too!

This place was mentioned in last Sunday's LIFE! as a place to have authentic English (or should it be Irish?!) pub grub... which would explain the preponderance of English men hanging out here. One of the better places to watch F1 so I'll probably be back here once the season starts up again next year...

Muddy Murphy's Irish Pub
Orchard Hotel Shopping Arcade
Tel : 6735 0400

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Lor Mee

Yes yes, yet another thing that I've never eaten... and it's for the same reason why I've never had Dry Beef Noodles - the thick gooey sauce just does not look appealing... also, it's really not all that common nowadays, you can't find it in most food courts.

Happened to see a stall selling Lor Mee (only $2.50!) at the Maxwell Food Market so I decided to give it a try.

Took a photo before I started eating...

Then realised it looks much better after the noodles are all mixed up so here's another photo...

Didn't taste quite like what I expected... for some reason I thought there would be vinegar and it would be sour-ish. I think there are a few versions of Lor Mee and this one is without vinegar. My sister bought a packet of Lor Mee recently and I could smell the vinegar from like a mile away!

There were pieces of unidentifiable meat in the sauce - think it was probably ngoh hiang and some fish cake. I was forewarned about the garlicky taste from the minced garlic garnish but it wasn't strong at all.

Didn't love it and didn't hate it. Maybe there are better versions of this out there that I have to try... What I really don't understand is how this is a breakfast food!

Zhong Xing Fu Zhou Fish Ball Noodles
Stall 62
Maxwell Food Market

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Menotti - The Original Italian Cafe

This place has been open for a quite while now but I heard some bad things about this place (slow service, not serving ice water etc.) so I wasn't in a real hurry to check it out. But my girlfriends and I were in the area and it seemed like a nice place for a weekend brunch...

I ordered the Eggs Benedict $12.50+++ just because it's another one of those "Things that Esther hasn't had before"...

Since I've have never tasted Eggs Benedict before, I can't quite say how good it is... but it's got eggs and ham so I was quite the happy camper :) I did expect the Hollandaise sauce to be a bit tastier though...

Dorothy of The Dotted Line Shop raves about the Seafood Risotto $18.90+++ here and insisted that I try some from her bowl... which I gladly did, of course :)

According to the menu, the Seafood Risotto is done in a seafood and lobter bisque. Would explain why it's really tasty and it's chock-full of seafood too! I'll probably have this the next time I'm here.

What I also have to try the next time I'm here is the desserts - they all looked really good!

Don't forget to use your UOB card to pay as there's a 15% discount :)

Menotti - The Original Italian Cafe
252 North Bridge Road
#01-17 Raffles City Shopping Centre
Tel : 6333 9366

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Majestic Restaurant

The Majestic Restaurant has been one of the most talked about restaurants since it opened about a year ago. So I was more than happy to have the chance to check this place out for myself when MP the birthday girl requested that we have lunch here.

We were there specially for the Lobster Noodle Lunch Set at $40+++ (usual price $55+++) which is a special promotion by OCBC and Chubby Hubby.

First couse was the Majestic Trio Appetiser which consists of a serving of soft-shell crab, shrimp wanton and charsiew. The wanton and charsiew were pretty normal, but I haven't had soft-shell crab in a while so I quite enjoyed it. I just loved the plate that it was served in - hmm, can you really call that a plate?...

Second course was Double Boiled Soup of the Day, which turned out to be Lotus and Pork Rib Soup.

It doesn't get more traditional than that. For me, this soup evokes plenty of childhood memories...

And the whole reason why we came here for lunch - Braised Live Boston Lobster Noodle with Spring Onion and Ginger. Was pleasantly surprised by the size of the lobster served... it more than justified the cost of the lunch.

Expected the noodles to be a bit drier but it was still good, with a pretty strong ginger taste.

For Dessert, you get to pick from a list so we got a few to share. Durian lovers HAVE to try this - it's Deep Fried Durian Ice-cream!

Doesn't it look exquisite? And it tastes amazing too!

Also had boring old Mango and Pomelo Sago... another thing that photographs badly. Notice I'm blaming the food and not my bad styling skills :)

By the way, if you feel that the photos for this post are better than usual, it's because MP took them using her brand new Canon EOS Digital SLR. Next to the professional-looking camera, my dinky little camera looked really sad :)

It had a great ambience for a long leisurely lunch. The restaurant is pretty small so make sure you make reservations, even for a weekday lunch. Would definitely consider coming back to try the ala carte menu.

The Majestic Restaurant
Majestic Hotel
31-37 Bukit Pasoh Road
Tel : 6511 4718