28 September 2014

Shin-Sapporo Ramen

In Japan, it is common to see people eating cold ramen during summer.  Local grown Shin-Sapporo has come up with a summer special to save us all too. 

Ok I know now is more like autumn already. But doesn't matter.. Because Singapore is summer all year round! 

I was at the new orchard gateway outlet. Orchard gateway is just next to somerset MRT and 313. How convenient.

The summer special, which will be available till 31 October, comprises of tenchirashi ramen which is a cold ramen, ebi tofu, and miso steak tofu.

Tenchirashi Ramen ($15.80)

A light taste chilled ramen served with mixture of tempuras, prawn, shitake and shimeji mushrooms, lady fingers, and top off with poached egg.

Destroy the poached egg and mix the flowing egg yolk with the noodles. The noodles used are the Hakata style noodles which are the same used in tonkotsu ramen. These noodles are firm, thin straight and have a high content of egg white, perfect for coating with the egg yolk from our poached egg. The cold ramen was cool, refreshing and savoury with the egg yolk and sauces. The tempura mushroom, prawns and lady fingers were lightly coated and not heavy on the palate. Be sure to eat them asap before they turn soggy. 

Do mix the egg with the noodle thoroughly or else it will be tasteless.

This was an interesting surprise as I was a bit skeptical about cold ramen initially. Turned out I liked it a lot! 

Ebi Tofu ($6.80)

This is a cold appetizer that combines prawn and tofu to enjoy a lighter taste, served with home-made sesame sauce. Very light on the palate and I loved the peanut sauce that accompanied it.

Miso Tofu Steak ($6.80)

Miso is fermented soya beans and I recalled it being salty with a tinge of pungency. Shin Sapporo's miso tofu steak is accompanied with thick miso paste which was really heavy on the palate. Served sizzling on a hot-plate, this would be be ideal for those who really love heavy salty food. Fried potatoes are found hidden at the bottom.

Miso ramen ($14.80)

We also got a miso ramen which is not part of the Summer Special. Miso ramen uses a thicker and curly version of noodle so that the thick miso broth does not slide down the noodles when you lift them up. I am not really a big fan of miso but I think miso lovers would be able to appreciate this ramen which is more flavourful, saltier and intense than tenchirashi ramen. I like the char shu which was lean and thin. The egg could be better and more flavorful.

Chocolate lava cake ($8.80)

Omg this is a must try! The lava cake is ultra nice and I love that it's piping hot, the chocolate is intense and thick and the sponge cake is moist and airy. Mix with cold ice-cream and I'm transported to heaven already! This might be Chocolate Origin's Cuppa Lava Cake's twin brother separated at birth!

Heads up: The lava cake is freshly made only when you order. It takes about 15 min to be prepared, so do manage your time. 

I like that this outlet is not crowded on a weekend afternoon. Especially when we are talking about weekend in Orchard.

While Singapore is an air-conditioned nation and we don't really need cold ramen, it's refreshing to see some restaurants come up with seasonal menus for a change. We all like novelty don't we?

Thanks to Nicolette and Shin Sapporo for the invite!

Address: 277 Orchard Road #B2-04A/05, OrchardGateway, S(238858)

17 September 2014

Kuala Lumpur | Purple Cane Tea Restaurant

Hi! So I went to Kuala Lumpur (KL) for a short two-day work trip recently. Unlike Joanne Peh who has Qi Yuwu visiting her during her recent KL work trip, I hanged out with fellow colleagues to search for my love: good food! 

As it was pretty late when we flew into KL, we decided to settle dinner at Mid Valley Mall where our hotel was located.

Located at the basement of Mid Valley, Purple Cane Tea Restaurant has quite an interesting concept that promotes healthy eating. Its dishes are mainly infused with tea. All kinds of tea that one could imagine. The menu even recommends the tea pairing that goes with the tea-infused food. 

This meal would not be possible without our sponsor Prada... No la just joking. That's my friend's bag. 

Starting off with some hot Pu-er tea. Twin pots are used. Tea leaves are added to the first tea pot for immersion for about 20 seconds. The tea is then poured into second tea pot which is served. This is to ensure that the tea leaves are not over-brewed and the tea is not too strong or bitter when served. 

We had Long Jing green tea rice (RM1.80/~S$0.70) which is just white rice infused with green tea leaves.

Stir fried abalone mushroom with dry chili and tea | Tea used: lychee black tea (RM18/~S$7) 

If you read too fast, you might have thought this is an abalone and mushroom dish. But no, this is abalone mushroom, a mushroom that is abalone-wannabe. Which I learnt from Wikipedia that it is a type of mushroom which the caps are laterally attached. For those who are as sua ku as me, this is abalone mushroom.

via Wikipedia
The amazing thing about it is that it's crunchy! Instead of the usually chewy rubbery texture of mushrooms. The thin sliced mushrooms were coated with flour and stir-fried with sweet fragrant sticky sauce, giving a crispy sweet flavour and texture. The only thing was the law of diminishing returns. The portion was too big and we were a bit overwhelmed towards the end.

Stir fried chicken boxing in tea | Tea used: lychee black tea (RM 16/~S$6)

Chicken was sweet and tasted like home-cooked sweet and soya sauce chicken. Think the sweetness came from lychee tea. It would be better if the dish was served piping hot. 

The accompanying fried dough (you tiao) was the scene stealer. It was crispy on the outside but fluffy on the inside, not oily and there was a yam stick in the middle. Very lovely. Fried dough has won the boxing match. 

Homemade braised beancurd in tea sauce | Tea used: Dong Ding Oolong (RM18/~S$7) 

This is supposedly the signature of Purple Cane. The beancurd was smooth like baby skin, and the outside skin was crisp. Loved the flavorful, spicy and saltish hae bi (dried shrimps) that were generously topped on the beancurd. Drizzling the fragrant tea sauce on the beancurd made it even more appetizing.

Stir fried Chee Cheong Fun with green tea curry | Tea used: Long Jing green tea (RM12.90/~S$5)

The name was so interesting. Green tea + curry.. We were looking forward to this dish. It was not really green tea. The stir fried chee cheong fun was coated with curry spice that was subtle and not very spicy. As for the green tea, I didn't really taste it. 

Burdock chicken tea soup in tea pot | Tea used: Dong Ding Oolong (RM7.90/~S$3)

We got a soup in tea pot. The soup is supposed to have extracted and absorbed the essence and nutrients from the chicken. This burdock chicken soup was very intense, and had a bitter and medicinal taste to it. Must be very nutritious.

Ginseng chicken tea soup in tea pot | Tea used: Dong Ding Oolong (RM6.90/~S$3)

It's amazing how the soup in this small tea pot is able to absorb the flavours and nutrients of the chicken and ginseng herbs. The taste was very intense and bitter. But it suits me very well as I love my ginseng soup to be as intense as possible.

Purple Cane is a classic example of how home-cooked style food can still be tasty and healthy at the same time. The tea blends well with the food and one can't really taste the tea in most dishes. I can foresee this is going to be a permanent fixture in my KL itinerary in the future.

Lingkaran Syed Putra, Mid Valley City, 58000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (at basement near Din Tai Feng)

12 September 2014

Common Man Coffee Roasters

Common Man Coffee Roasters is a cafe located at Martin Road. 

Which is ulu for those without a car. 

Which is a less crowded brunch place for those with a car. #justsaying

Anyway I was here to give a birthday treat to one of my "sisters". The sister who broke the sister code regularly #BoysOverSisters #GaveUp. The sister who had a week-long daily celebration starting from Monday. And the sister who scheduled my turn only six days later on a Sunday.

I could have wished her happy birthday like how someecards did. But I'm nice. Haha.

Common Man Coffee Roasters is the typical popular cafe that does not take reservations on weekends. 

But due to my good karma, we didn't have to queue when we reached at 12pm on Sunday. There was a short queue from 1pm though. 

I couldn't get a picture of the interior of the packed place but here's one from the Common Man Coffee Roasters's website. 

Patrons are mainly ang moh with kids and youngsters, the usual suspects. It can be really noisy so if you are looking for a quiet place, this ain't it.

Seats are mainly bar table style. There was a big common round table in the middle. But we are anti-social Asians so we were given one private corner next to the windows with plenty of natural light. 

Latte/Cappuccino ($5++ each)
I am no expert in coffee. But I love Common Man Coffee Roasters' version of cappuccino very much. Everything about the coffee hit the right notes with me, as if the barista and I had common wavelengths. The coffee doesn't leave a sourish/bitter after taste - my usual concern with most other coffees. It is light-bodied yet does its role well to wake me up on a Sunday. 

Organic eggs benedict ($24++)
My friend had the organic eggs benedict with braised ox cheeks and artisanal sourdough toast. She had nothing but praises for it. If you don't trust 99% of what I crapped on this blog, you can trust my friend who was probably a serious food critic in her previous life. 

I had a small bite of it. The ox cheeks were moist/tender and not overly gamey. And when soaked with the golden egg yolks and hollandaise sauce as well as the accompany toast, it was a wondrous mix. 

Brioche French toast ($18++)

I had my eyes set on the brioche French toast. The brioche French toast was served on a wooden board. Vibrant red raspberries and strawberries compote sat on top of soft warm golden brown brioche that is dusted sparingly yet with the right amount of icing sugar. The compote was not sour but sweet. 

End it off with some really smooth Kapiti vanilla ice cream that was melting slowly into the brioche toast. 

I loved the toast which was served warm, fluffy and crispy at the corners. Haven't had a really good French toast like this for a long time. 

Service speed was amazing for a Sunday crowd. We only had to wait for about 10 minutes for our food to come. 

What can I say?  Common Man Coffee Roasters has exceeded my expectations with its substantial and good quality food and coffee, as well as speedy customer service. It might be a bit expensive, but at least you don't get crappy food or service. This is certainly one of the better brunch places that I would highly recommend. 

22 Martin Road #01-00 Singapore 239058

Tel: 6836 4695

7 September 2014

PS. Cafe (Ann siang hill)

I went to PS Cafe on Ann Siang Road. It's a pretty restaurant located at the end of Ann Siang Road which was on top of Ann Siang Hill. The restaurant was quiet and offered a different vibe from the rowdy watering holes along the road and Club St area. 

Though by the time we trekked up the hill, we were sweating buckets enough to water the plants at PS Cafe. 

Ok I know Ann Siang Hill is not really a high hill.

The Victorian style decor was so pretty and the place smelt of flowers. It would be perfect for a romantic date.

PS Cafe is well known for its brunches. However, we were there for dinner on a Friday evening.

Truffle shoestring fries
When dining at PS Cafe, truffle fries is a must order. PS Cafe's version was probably the best truffle fries I've ever had. And I am not even a big fan of truffle fries to begin with. The fries, infused with truffle oil, were fragrant and light, making me feel less sinful clearing it. The fries were topped with grated parmesan cheese making it more addictive. It was so irresistible that the plate was wiped out quickly.

Crispy calamari 
The deep fried squid rings were accompanied by two sauces - a brown sauce which was sweet, and another white sauce which was honey lemon butter. Typical fried food which was addictive and delicious.

Crab tart ($32++)
For my main course, I chose the crab tart which was served with prawn bisque cream , lemon honey vinaigrette dressed greens & homemade harissa.

The tart was very huge and so was the accompany salad. I was unable to finish it.

It's something like baked mash potatoes, and there was crab meat shreds within. The outer tart was very crispy. However, it was a bit too salty for my palate. A pity it was also not served hot. I was quite disappointed with this as I was really looking forward it. Somehow the dish did not turn out right.. maybe because the taste was lacking in dimensions. The portion was too overwhelming for me to finish by myself. 

Chargrilled cheese burger ($29++)
Chargrilled wagyu & US chuck pattie topped with melting gruyere & mozzarella cheese, tomato, mesclun greens, sauteed mushrooms & crispy onions on a toasted sesame bun with shoestring fries

My fellow diners ordered this.. OMG more fries.. totally fries overload.

The picture doesn't do justice to its actual humongous size. Fellow diner also didn't finished it. And one of them complained that the steak was overcooked. 

Overall, I think I will just come back for truffle fries.

PS: This PS outlet only accepts teenagers and adults. So no yelling babies or children.

PPS: They hold two seatings... we had the 6.30pm to 8.30pm seating. And they were ultra prompt.. we were reminded to leave around 8.15pm.

45 Ann Siang Road, #02-02, S 069719

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