Sunday, 29 January 2012

TWG Tea Salon & Boutique - Afternoon Tea

Weekend brunches and afternoon tea get togethers are my favorite things to do with friends.  I spent the Chinese New Year holiday doing just that.  Some girlfriends and I headed over to the much hyped TWG Tea Salon & Boutique at Marina Bay Sands for some chit chat over high tea.  I have been a fan of TWG tea bags for some time now, but I've never actually had the chance to eat in the restaurant til now.

I had the Chic Tea Set worth SGD 32.00.  This comes with a selection of sandwiches, tea, scones, and muffins.

You are given a choice of different sets of sandwiches.  I chose the Imperial Set, which had 3 finger sandwiches of Foie Gras, Cucumber with cream cheese infused with Earl Grey Fortune, and Chicken with Comptoir de Indes Tea infused with crème fraîche.  The Foie Gras sandwich was brilliant.  The buttery smooth texture and rich flavor of the foie gras complemented the bread really well and just melts in your mouth.  I'm glad I saved that sandwich for last amongst the three.

Imperial Sandwich Set
For my tea, I chose something that was chocolate and mint infused.  I forgot the name, but I really loved the aroma and overall flavor of cocoa on my tea.
Chocolate Mint Tea (Forgot the exact name!)
There is also a choice of 2 freshly baked scones or muffins.  And since I couldn't decide between the two, I got one of each.  This is served with TWG tea jelly and whipped cream.  The muffin was an ordinary chocolate muffin-  okay but nothing fantastic.  The scone on the other hand was just heavenly.  The fancy tea jelly was a perfect accompaniment to the scone, and I was savoring each bite of the warm bread spread with this jelly.
Scone & Muffin with TWG Tea Jelly & Whipped Cream
Chocolate Muffin and Scone
I'm glad the tea set I tried at TWG lived up to the hype and did not disappoint.  Service was good and the atmosphere is lovely for high tea.  My only complaint however is that I thought the tables were on the small side, and we therefore had difficulty maneuvering around our tea pots in the crowded table.  I will of course still make a return trip for that foie gras sandwich and more of those scones.

TWG Tea Salon & Boutique
2 Bayfront Avenue
#B2-89 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
Tel #: 6535 1837

For my readers living in the Philippines, TWG Tea is now available in Manila and distributed by Manila Global Brand.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Things I Ate in Bohol, Philippines

This post is long overdue - I took a family vacation last month to the wonderful province of Bohol, Philippines. Apart from the usual tour of the beach and natural wonders of the island, I did not forget my favorite hobby - food!  We were in Bohol for 4 days and had some interesting food finds around the area.  We mostly ate in different resorts and below is a recap of our food finds.

Bohol Bee Farm

This came well recommended by several friends who have been to Bohol previously.  The Bohol Bee Farm specializes in natural and organic food.  The place has a very nice rustic feel.  We enjoyed our meals here and ended up eating here in 2 separate occasions during our stay.

View of the restaurant
They first serve you with complimentary Squash Bread served with 3 different types of spreads- Honey with Cheese, Pesto, and Mango spread.   Each was sweetened with honey to get that perfect salty-sweet combination.  My favorite was the Honey with Cheese and ended up purchasing a bottle for my to take back home to Singapore.
Squash Bread (complimentary)
Choice of spreads - Honey with Cheese, Pesto, and Mango (complimentary)
For appetizers, we had the Vegetarian Chips (Php 160 or SGD 4.70) as well as the Cabcab with Pesto and Green Tomatoes (Php 120 or SGS 3.55).  The Vegetarian chips with pesto dip were surprisingly good.  The chips were lightly seasoned but were very addictive.  The cabcab on the other hand was completely tasteless and the green pesto did nothing to add flavor to it. 
Vegetarian Chips (Php 160 or SGD 4.70)
Cabcab with Pesto and Green Tomatoes (Php 120 or SGD 3.55)
For greens, we had the Fresh Tomato with Arugula salad (Php 380 or SGD 11.20).  Honestly there were too much tomatoes and such minuscule serving of arugula.  I did not enjoy this at all and thought it was too pricey for a bunch of chopped tomatoes.
Fresh Tomato with Arugula salad
For mains, we tried out the Fresh Herb Pasta (Php 190 or SGD 5.60).  The penne was perfectly al dente and the pasa sauce was refreshingly light.  Very nicely executed.
Fresh Herb Pasta (Php 190 or SGD 5.60)
The next pasta we tried was the Seafood Pasta with Coconut Milk (Php 280 or SGD 8.26).  I have never tasted coconut milk on pasta, but this was a nice touch and I really enjoyed the overall flavor.
Seafood Pasta with Coconut Milk (Php 280 or SGD 8.26)
Bohol Bee farm also serves pizzas.  We had the Vegetarian Pizza (Php 280 or SGD 8.26).  This was nothing great to be honest.  The crust was a little soggy and the flavor was nothing note worthy.  The pastas were definitely a much better choice.
Vegetarian Pizza (Php 280 or SGD 8.26)
We also tried out the Steamed Crabs with Garlic (Php 380 or SGD 11.20).  Overall a very pleasing and light seasoning to the crab.  I thought the crabs lacked a little bit of meat.
Steamed Crabs with Garlic (Php 380 or SGD 11.20)
Lastly, we also tried out the Honey Glazed Chicken (Php 160 or SGD 4.70).  The chicken was alright - tasted that of a regular honey roasted chicken.  However I really did enjoy the brown rice which was surprisingly soft.  The garden salad looked beautiful with the edible flowers and went really well with the honey mustard dressing that was served.
Honey Glazed Chicken (Php 160 or SGD 4.70)
Dumaluan Beach Resort

One of our favorite places to eat in Bohol was in Dumuluan Beach Resort.  The place does not have much of an ambience save for the view of the beach.  However their selection of barbecue dishes was impressive.  You get to choose your meat from their mini wet market and have them cook it fresh.  Overall everything we ordered was amazing.  I definitely recommend this place for very good grilled dishes and other Filipino food.

I was not able to take down the price as I lost the receipt somewhere along the way.  The food is very affordable as best I could remember, and you pay per kilogram of marinated meat you purchase.

We had the Kinilaw which is similar to French ceviche where you cook fish in vinegar.  In this case, mackerel (or tanguige in Filipino) was used and coconut milk was used to add more flavor.  Really enjoyed this rendition of kinilaw.
My favorite was also the Grilled Prawns which were gigantic and oh so juicy.  
Grilled Prawns
The Grilled Squid was also extremely enjoyable.  And I love the sweet soy sauce marinade used that just complemented the squid perfectly.
Grilled Squid
My ultimate favorite is the Inihaw na Liempo or Grilled Pork.  The marinade was absolutely delicious.  I could taste a hint of steak sauce in the marinade which made the pork incredibly tasty.  I could not get enough of this and ordered this for dinner twice.  A must try for barbecue and pork lovers!
Grilled Pork
Of course no beach food trip is complete without crabs.  And so we ordered the Crabs in Butter and Garlic.  The sauce was delectable, though I thought the crabs were not as meaty and jam packed as I had hoped.  I guess crabs are not their specialty.
Crabs in Butter and Garlic
Last of our dinner orders was the Sisig which is sizzling pork bits.  This sisig was served with an egg in the middle which cooked on its own in the sizzling hot plate.  The overall flavor was good, but I normally like my sisig very crispy so this was just alright for me.
We really enjoyed our food in Dumuluan Beach Resort.  I enjoyed it so much that I found myself coming back for breakfast the next day.  I had the Twice-Cooked Pork Adobo (Php 140 or SGD 4.12) for breakfast.  Adobo is a Filipino traditional way of boiling meat in vinegar and soy sauce.  In this case, this meat was cooked adobo-style and then deep fried to get an extra crisp.  Definitely a fave!
Twice-Cooked Pork Adobo (Php 140 or SGD 4.12)

Bohol Beach Club

Bohol Beach Club arguably has the best beach front amongst the other resorts around Bohol.  We stayed here for our trip and really enjoyed how beautiful the expansive beach front was.

However my only complaint with Bohol Beach club was the food.  Perhaps out of everything we ordered, only the Roast Pork Belly was worth writing about.  Rest of the food was mediocre bordering bad.  The pork belly however had a beautifully crispy skin which hit the spot for me.  The pickled veggies were not bad either but I thought the peanut sauce on the side was a little odd.
Roast Pork Belly

Bohol is a beautiful place with a lot of activities to choose from such as swimming, snorkeling, dolphin watching, view of the chocolate hills, witness endangered species such as the tarsier (world's smallest monkey), and much more.  You can click on the links I've posted above of the different resorts for more information if you'd like to plan a trip for yourself.  I leave you now with some photos of the different places we went to during our holiday.  
The Chocolate Hills
Beach front at Bohol Beach Club
Dolphin watching
Tarsier (World's Smallest Monkey)
View of the Loboc River during our River Cruise

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Glow Juice Bar & Cafe - Organic Food and Drinks

Over the weekend, my husband and I tried out Glow Juice Bar & Cafe located at Hilton Hotel in Orchard.  They specialize in serving organic food and drinks.  I had my apprehensions as I've never been a fan of organic and healthy cuisine.

For starters we ordered the Caesar Salad (SGD 24.00) which is part of their weekly specials.  It's a pity this is not part of their regular menu since my husband and I really enjoyed this.  The lettuce was very sweet, and I loved that they added strips of sun-dried tomatoes on top which was just delicious.
Caesar Salad (SGD 24.00)
For mains I had the Grilled Lamb Cutlet (SGD 29.00).  This was served with a spiced vinegar sauce on the side which complemented the lamb very well.  The meat was also cooked perfectly medium, just like I had asked.  There were crispy julienne slices of ginger which I thought was a nice touch -- this removed the gamey taste of the lamb.  I enjoyed this dish thoroughly.
Grilled Lamb Cutlet (SGD 29.00)
My husband had the Grilled Alaskan Black Cod (SGD 28.00).  This was also very well executed.  The tandoori spices used was excellent on the cod, and the crispy papadum was scrumptious as well.  The mint yoghurt sauce served on the side however was not our cup of tea, and therefore we did not touch much of it throughout the meal.
Grilled Alaskan Black Cod (SGD 28.00)
Everything we ordered at Glow was commendable and very enjoyable.  The meals did not taste too "organic" at all, and I thought the seasoning of each dish was perfect.  However like all things organic in Singapore, pricing is not cheap.  But I would still recommend this place for a visit for wholesome and delicious food.

Glow Juice Bar & Cafe
581 Orchard Road
2nd Level Hilton Hotel
Tel #: 6730 3397

Friday, 20 January 2012

La Petite Cuisine - Affordable French Grub

I headed over to La Petite Cuisine with my husband over the weekend since we were along the Bukit Timah area.  La Petite Cuisine is a no frills french restaurant that has a very decently priced menu.  And as the term "no frills" suggests, there is no ambience or exceptional service to comment on.  And therefore I will only limit my comments to the quality and pricing of the food.

For starters we had the Panfried Chicken Liver Salad (SGD 10.00).  Being a huge fan of chicken liver, I was extremely delighted with the portions of this dish.  The dressing perfectly complemented the greens and liver.  Absolutely loved this and couldn't stop raving about it while chomping down huge bites of meat and arugula.  However I must warn that you must have an affinity towards chicken liver to order this, else I can see how others may find this overwhelming.
Panfried Chicken Liver Salad (SGD 10.00)
For mains I had the Mignon of Veal Tenderloin with Tarragon & Chanterelle Mushroom with Pasta (SGD 29.00).  I thought the mushroom sauce was nicely done.  The quality of the veal tenderloin was nothing worth shouting about, but overall this dish was fine.
Mignon of Veal Tenderloin (SGD 29.00)
My husband had the Sea Prawns with Wholegrain Mustard served with Butter Rice & Salad (SGD 19.00).  Had a taste of this and I really enjoyed the mustard sauce and thought it had a rich, scrumptious buttery-mustard flavor that went really well with the prawn.  The butter rice was very smooth-- reminded me of my childhood habit of mixing margarine with rice (obviously I had no concept of cholesterol back then!).
Sea prawns with wholegrain mustard (SGD 19.00)
La Petite Cuisine is definitely value for money.  The quality is pretty decent for the affordable pricing.  Of course there are compromises made on the quality of meats used such as the veal tenderloin, but this is forgivable.  I will most definitely be back to have more of the chicken liver salad or perhaps will try out their foie gras as well.  And the good news is that craving for Frech cuisine now means I don't necessarily have to burn a hole in my pocket.

La Petite Cuisine
10 Jalan Serene (Bukit Timah corner Farrer Road)
#01-05 Serene Centre
Tel #: 6314 3173

Thursday, 19 January 2012

HY California - Japanese Fusion

I have been on a Japanese fest these past few weeks.  I guess mostly out of guilt from all the post holiday eating fests, and therefore Japanese cuisine seems most appropriate for something relatively "healthy".  And so to continue our Japanese food streak, my husband and I ate at HY California in Marina Bay Sands.  This is celebrity chef Hide Yamamoto's casual Japanese fusion restaurant.

The place is overlooking the bay at the top floor of the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.  It has an al fresco dining area which is just lovely and has a very relaxed atmosphere.

For starters we had the Wasabi Guacamole (SGD 9.00).  This was a very refreshing combination, and the bruschetta had a pleasing kick from the wasabi spread.
Wasabi Guacamole (SGD 9.00)
For mains, I had the Texas Roll (SGD 18.00) which was made of angus beef, avocado, onions, and steak sauce.  I thought this was an interesting twist to the usual japanese roll.  This was pretty tasty though the angus beef was on the tough side.
Texas Roll (SGD 18.00)
Close up of the Angus Beef
My husband had the Chef's 8 (SGD 48.00) which is an assorted Nigiri.  Nothing creative about this versus the other dishes, though the assortment of seafood was not bad.
Chef's 8 (SGD 48.00)
HY California is a good place for a light meal and great ambience.  Very relaxed and almost romantic vibe to the place.  Dishes were pleasant, but I guess I had not found anything worth raving about.  I don't mind coming back and hopefully try out other more interesting finds in their menu.

HY California
8 Bayfront Avenue
L1-86 (top floor) The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
Tel #: 6688 7426

Saturday, 14 January 2012

High Society - Artsy Cupcakes

Ok so I would have to admit that when I first saw High Society in Marina Bay Sands, I swore never to eat there since the name sounded so pretentious.  The interior was also too ostentatious for my liking.  However after passing by the place several times, the display of their delectable desserts kept calling out to me.  Soon enough I found myself taking home a few cupcakes to try out myself.

The cupcakes in High Society are extremely fabulous - visually and taste-wise.  Below are pictures of what we've tried at the restaurant itself and some we've taken home.  I don't remember the exact names of each cupcake, so these are to the best of my memory.  Though everything we've tried so far has been amazing, the pictures are arranged below according to wow factor (from the first being the most impressive of the lot).

Haute Lemon Cupcake (SGD 5.60)
Classic Vanilla Cupcake (SGD 5.60)
Raspberry Cupcake (SGD 5.60)
Choco Hazelnut Cupcake (SGD 5.60)
Apart from the sinful icing on top, each cupcake has a gooey jelly filling in the middle that is just superb.  Each cupcake is worth SGD 5.60 - pricey dessert, but a must try for those with a serious sweet tooth.

High Society
10 Bayfront Avenue
#B2 43/44 Marina Bay Sands
Tel #: 66887522

Friday, 6 January 2012

Himawari Japanese Restaurant - Hidden Japanese Find

I was very pleased with my new discovery today when a friend took me to Himawari Japanese Restaurant in Alexandra.  I have been working nearby Alexandra for over a year now and did not even realize this restaurant existed!  It is apparently well known for the office lunch crowd, though it is tucked away in one of the office buildings and a bit difficult to spot.

The place serves several set menus which change daily.  I had the Salmon Makajiki Hamachi Don Set Menu (SGD 21.80).  The noodles served were cooked perfectly with just the right amount of chewiness.  The sashimi was really fresh, and the japanese rice served under the fish was excellent.
Salmon Makajiki Hamachi Don (SGD 21.80)
Himawari has other set menus available priced at SGD 12.80 for a fried variety while others priced at SGD 18.80 for teppanyaki dishes.  I was delighted with this new restaurant find and even more pleased that pricing is decent as well.  Definitely will make an effort to walk here for lunch every so often.

Himawari Japanese Restaurant
991B Alexandra Road
Tel #: 6272 1110

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Itacho Sushi - Japanese Sushi Fare

One of my favorites in Ion Orchard is Itacho Sushi which serves great quality sushi.  The place is always packed though so you must practice some patience as you almost always will need to line up to get a seat.  Service and turnover is fast so don't get intimidated by the long queue.

First up for our table were the Super Jumbo Scallops Sushi (SGD 6.90 per piece).  The scallops don't look exactly appetizing in my picture below, but boy were they extremely sweet and juicy.  The taste and freshness were just amazing, so definitely worth the additional cost over regular scallops.
Super Jumbo Scallops (SGD 6.90 per piece)
On the specials/ sale menu that day was the Salmon with Soy Sauce Sushi (SGD 0.40 per piece).  I was a little apprehensive trying out cooked salmon for sushi, but this came out very delicious.  The sweetness of the soy sauce used to marinate this salmon added great flavor to the fish.  And this was definitely a steal at SGD 0.40 per piece!
Salmon with Soy Sauce Sushi (SGD 0.40 per piece)
We also tried out the Fatty Tuna with Spring Onion Roll (SGD 7.00 for 4 pcs).  This was alright, though the portions of fatty tuna were too tiny to really enjoy and savor the taste of the fish.  I thought the cheaper, regular tuna would have been a more pragmatic option.
Fatty Tuna with Spring Onion Roll (SGD 7.00 for 4 pcs)
Last of our sushi orders was the Fatty Yellow Fin Tuna Sushi (SGD 3.00 per piece). This was alright, but I guess I have never really been a fan of yellow fin tuna so the fatty version was just the same for me.
Fatty Yellow Tuna Sushi (SGD 3.00 per piece)
Since we could not really taste the fatty tuna on the sushi roll we ordered, we decided to get Fatty Tuna Sashimi (SGD 22.80 for 3 pcs).  This sashimi was amazing -- really fresh and sweet.  The tuna just absolutely melts in your mouth.  I decided to chew very slowly to savor the taste.  This is definitely a favorite.
Fatty Tuna Sashimi (SGD 22.80 for 3 pcs)
Itacho Sushi is definitely a favorite for me.  I highly recommend this place for sushi lovers such as myself.  Some of the dishes are on the expensive side but definitely worth it for those who appreciate good sushi.

Itacho Sushi
2 Orchard Turn
#B2-18 ION Orchard
Tel #: 65098911