27 December, 2007

HV Special 4 of 4 - Foster The English Rose Cafe

Nestled in the midst of Holland Village, Foster – The English Rose Café is the place you would love to spend a lazy afternoon having a heart-to-heart talk with your friends over a cup of piping hot tea. Served from 3pm to 6pm daily, they are famous for its Devonshire Cream Tea that consisted of its signature oven hot Scones, coupled with cake and finger sandwiches and a choice of coffee or tea of your choice.

The good vibe about it lies in the Butter, Homemade Strawberry Preserve and Fresh Cream spread for the scones. Sinful yet delightful, I love the fresh cream with the scones best. The décor and ambience of the place also gets top marks from me, as the old English cottage-styled setting charms one.

But with the pros comes the minuses –the Fruitcake and Sandwiches that come with the set are simply laughable. The cake is similar to those night snack rations the army dishes out and the sandwiches are plain tuna and cheese between two pieces of dry bread.

Where we were seated, the air was also stuffy to the extent warm, and we suspected that they are tight-fisted on their electric bills. Level of service was also found wanting as the waitress did not seem to enthusiastic to serve us.


Food: 2.5/5 (Yummy Scones but the rest disappoint)
Service: 2/5 (Uninterested)
Ambience: 4.5/5 (Cosy setting)
Price: 2.5/5 (Not value for money for the tea set)
Total: 11.5/20
277 Holland Ave
Holland Village
Singapore 278994

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21 December, 2007

HV Special 3 of 4 - Marmalade Pantry


Small Talk: Peeps!! Sorry for the lack of updates as I have just returned from Morocco for a business meeting, and will be heading to Hong Kong for holidays in a few hours. The scenery is amazing in Morocco and I will be posting pix of the trips real soon... so stay tuned after Christmas!

Labelled as the chic, elegant bistro-dining place essential for ladies (or Tai Tais) to meet, the Marmalade Group opens its 3rd branch (after Palais Renaissance & Hitachi Tower) of Marmalade Pantry at Holland Village.

Located right next to Aburiya along Lorong Liput, this outlet features the same modern interior design (in white furnishing this time) as the rest of the other two outlets.

We were there for their dessert after our brunch and we promptly decided on the Chocolate Deluxe Cupcake and Cherry Crumble Tart.

As I wanted something sweet and chocolaty that day, the cupcake certainly lives up to its tag of “The Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake”. However, perhaps it is an inexperienced me eating a cupcake for the first time, but I do find the cupcake slightly hard – perhaps someone can educate me on it’s supposedly texture.

The Cherry Crumble Tart however is a fine piece of art. Full of cherry flavour and soft in its texture, the taste did not come off to sweet either.

Service was prompt and staff were pretty friendly, but it does comes off a bit noisy to be called a perfect Sunday brunch experience.


Food: 4/5 (Good desserts)
Service: 4/5 (Service staffs were friendly)
Ambience: 3.5/5 (Chic modern design, but slightly noisy)
Price: 3/5
Total: 14.5/20
17D Lorong Liput
Singapore 277731 [CLOSED]

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12 December, 2007

HV Special 2 of 4 - Yi Bao

What used to be called Yee Cheong Yuen Noodle Restaurant in a coffeeshop, is now air-conditioned and renamed as Yi Bao. The used-to-be queue and order system has also been upgraded to a serviced system restaurant.

I remembered hordes of people used to queue up at the counter before the revamp on a Sunday afternoon, as families would gather there for lunches. However, when I visited them on a late Sunday morning, the crowd was not to be seen. Being a noodle stall, people would not usually associate it with the authentic chicken it served.

However, as it dishes out its famous Ipoh Hor Fun, you will come to realise it produces a mean piece of chicken (Remember to order the Chopped Chicken version instead of the Chicken Slices version usually served in hawker centre). The chicken is always served cool so that the skin is firm and there is that layer of gelatin just under the skin. I assumed it was dipped into a bucket of cold water before served, just like how Tian Tian Chicken Rice @ Maxwell Food Centre does it. What I also like about the Hor Fun is that it comes in thin version – similar to those I had when I was in Ipoh earlier this year.

However, I did find the oyster gravy too starchy for my liking. So if you happen to be around the corner do give the chicken a try! I’ll bet you anything that it tastes better than Wee Nam Kee’s.


Food: 3.5/5 (Chicken is very good but gravy failed)
Service: 2.5/5 (The PRC service staffs are pretty rude)
Ambience: 3/5 (Preferred the old nostalgic coffeeshop setting)
Price: 3/5
Total: 12/20
31 Lorong Liput
Singapore 277742

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09 December, 2007

HV Special 1 of 4 - Aburiya

Aww… just like my second home, Holland Village has always been my favourite hangout place. From the posh restaurants, to nice chill-out coffee joints, hawker food to pubs for a drink or two, this little bohemian enclave is the perfect setting to catch up with your friends and spend a day away. Tucked away at Lorong Liput, the quiet corner of HV is Aburiya – a Japanese Charcoal BBQ restaurant.

If you happen to grace past their other branch at Robertson Quay, you would notice how pack that outlet is and the tantalising smell of grilled meat.

But over at HV, you would observe the immediate difference – and that’s what I love this place for – we went there on a Friday, and it was not packed at 7pm. We opted for the tables outside the restaurant (open-air under a canvas shelter) for obvious reasons – as we do not wish to end up smelling like the meat by sitting inside. We ordered the set that consisting of Beef, Chicken and Prawns.

In addition, the set also comes with a Shitake Mushrooms, Kimchi, Salad in Japanese Sesame Dressing, as well as Stewed Beef with Carrots and Potatoes.

Special mention to the Stewed Beef, as the meat is so tender and so flavoursome, a perfect complement to the Sticky Japanese Steam Rice.

Oh, I also loved the Wasamayo dipping sauce for the chicken so much that I was dipping the rest of my items into it.

Sensing that the set is not enough for 5 people, we also ordered everyone’s favourite – Salmon. A pity that the serving was pretty small because it was snatch up the moment the fish was done cooking.

We also ordered the Assorted Vegetables that consist of Capsicum, Leeks, Mushrooms, Onions, Corn and Garlic.

But the highlight of the night definitely belongs to the Beef Tongue.

We tried both the normal and premium versions and definitely the Jo Tan Shio, or the Premium Beef Tongue justifies its price tag. It was served in much bigger slice and the texture is much chewier. The marbling bite is just so juicy and heavenly and that alone would justify the reason why I would come back to this place.

I really have to say that all the ingredients were fresh and delightful that night, perfect BBQ food to wash down with Asahi Draft Beer.

The night was wrapped up with servings of Black Sesame and Green Tea Ice Cream – not the best I have tasted but nevertheless a fitting ending.


Food: 5/5 (Fresh!)
Service: 4/5 (Service staffs were friendly and accomodating)
Ambience: 3/5
Price: 4/5 (Reasonable considering the quality and freshness of food)
Total: 16/20
17E Lorong Liput
Singapore 277731

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04 December, 2007

Fiery like Wasabi

Wasabi, known as Japanese Horseradish, must be very finely grated before use and has an extremely strong flavour. Its hotness is more akin to that of Hot English Mustard.

However, on the 5th floor of Far East Plaza, lies a small cosy Japanese restaurant run by a couple of Food Nazis – the chef with the lady boss are notorious for their temperament – said to be fierier than the wasabi they dished out, we soon experienced it when she told us in a not so friendly tone, “Don’t bend the laminated menu or else it would spoil”. However, like the short-lived spiciness of the wasabi, the bad attitude and service is soon forgotten the moment the food arrived.

Seated in a small U-shaped counter for 16 pax, the Salmon Belly Sashimi is to die for – it is the most generous serving I had ever seen! The fish was very thick and the fatty meat was very smooth and fresh (It so happened that we visited on a Friday – an insider source mentioned that most Japanese restaurants get their supplies of sashimi on a Tuesday, or a Friday – so now you know).

The Uni Sushi, or the Sea Urchin, is not the Roe, but rather the Gonads, or organs that produce the roe. The serving was once again very liberal and I must say it was very satisfying. The Seaweed was crisply fresh and the gonads were equally faultless.

The California Roll was also very well presented with Ebi Roe nicely coated all over the Mat Sushi, and the Avocado and Crabsticks were plentiful with each mouthful.

The Unagi-Don was also expectedly filled with chunks of Grilled Eel and the wait was worthwhile. Nicely grilled to produce the charred tang, this dish comes seemingly close to the one I had when I was in Japan.

In fact, the food was so good that we wanted to go for a 2nd round of sashimi, but we were promptly refuted by the lady boss who commented, “The chef is too busy and you probably need to wait very long.” Wasabi, they definitely possessed, but I seriously questioned where the “Tei” part comes in? Oh, and do go early because of the limited space, and be expected to queue after 6.30pm. For what you know, you might be standing right behind me, for I would definitely be back!


Food: 5/5 (Fantastic!)
Service: 1.5/5 (Long queue, long wait for food, grouchy service)
Ambience: 4.5/5 (Cosy family-styled restaurant, but smokey)
Price: 4.5/5 (Value for money for the standard of food)
Total: 15.5/20
14 Scotts Road
#05-70 Far East Plaza
Singapore 228213

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28 November, 2007

Ulu Paradise

Just a week after the bad experience with Kenny and the rest @ Mellben Seafood, he suggested another place to satisfy our craving for crabs. We set off for the North Eastern side of Singapore to a deserted ulu part of Defu Lane.

After some good navigation skills, we finally located Seafood Paradise, right smack among the factory buildings.

And be prepared to make a reservation when you wish to visit this place as Singaporeans really travel for their food - the place was fully packed on a weekend, and some even had to wait for a table even though they make a booking.

To satisfy our hunger, we started with the Salted Fish with Fried Rice and what a great start it was! Each grain was coated evenly with eggs and fried thoroughly, such that no grain sticks to another. The flavour of the salted fish also brings out the best in this dish. My only fuss is that the rice was pretty oily and a bigger serving would probably kill the appetite for what is to come.

The only dish that we wished we did not order that night was the Frog Legs with Chicken Essence. It was a pretty straightforward steamed frog legs with the chicken essence poured over it – plain and pretty tasteless. This is the only dish we did not finish that night.

One of the original dishes we tried that night was the Broccoli with Scallops topped with Sunny-side-up. At first I have doubts about this combination but the twist of the egg white really did bring out a totally different savoury experience to this normal dish.

A must have dish for every visit has to be the Homemade Tofu with Assorted Seafood. The tofu is so smooth and silky and the pork floss combination heightens the dish. You will also be wooed by the prawns and diced sea cucumber found in the pool of sticky gravy with every dip of your tablespoon!

The Fried Beef was pretty flavoursome but I am not a big fan of tenderised beef. My take is that all good food should come in natural texture and “fake” tender beef is just taking the easy way out to achieve a standard.

The Cereal Prawns definitely beat those served from Mellben – it did not come as dry and each delightful spoon of cereal was scrumptious. The prawns are also not over-fried as the shell peel off cleanly – a sign that the prawns are fresh!

Saving the best for last is the signature Creamy Butter Crabs, served with delectable deep-fried man tous to mop up the gravy. The man tous in itself is another winner - so good that you can eat it on its own.

The gravy was richer and not as sweet compared to Mellben, and topped with fried coconut bits, another original rendition from them (although some disputed that it is topped with fried crab roe, or crunchy oat bits instead), this dish was definitely the highlight for the night.

The crab is also fresh and its flesh does not stick to the shell – another sign of a well workout crustacean.

Other signature dishes that you might indulged in are the Crab in Superior Stock with Vermicelli, as well as the Baby-back Ribs in Honey-pepper Sauce. This place is highly recommended!


Food: 4.5/5
Service: 3/5 (45mins before the food was served)
Ambience: 4/5 (Nicely renovated in the midst of a industrial park)
Price: 4/5
Total: 15.5/20
91 Defu Lane
10 Swee Hin Building

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20 November, 2007

"My Home"

Ma Maison, which means “My Home” in French serves Japanese-style Western food, is done up to look like an English cottage

– the quaint ambience is coupled with weathered wooden beams and panels, with racks of plates and crockery.

The windows are curtained with floral curtains giving it a charming vintage look. On a personal note, I love the look and feel of the menu - which what feels like leather.

We specifically came for its famed Hamburger Steak, which sits on a sauce that is simmered for 28 days – fully flavoured and very enriching. Topped with a Fried Egg and Moreish Potato, the beef patty is grounded nicely and finely grilled.

Sink your teeth into a thick cut and you will marvel how tender the meat is. The Potatoes also came with a bite – a nice contrast to the soft beef. The other celebrated dish is the Cuttlefish Ink Pasta, a dish that is shunned by many girls as the squid ink stained lips, teeth and tongue.

The pasta was done al dente, but I find the Cuttlefish pronounced flavour a tad too “fishy” for me. I also find the ink roughly coated – a touch of butter might enhance the dish better – and the serving of thinly sliced Cuttlefish and Mushrooms were pretty pathetic in my opinion.

When it was time to ask for the bill, you get a heavy brass key and key ring – a fitting end to make you feel at home.


Food: 3.5/5 (The hamburger steak was good but pasta was disappointing)
Service: 3.5/5 (Staff were very friendly but we waited 45 mins for a table)
Ambience: 4.5/5 (Perfect for first date and Valentine's Day)
Price: 3/5
Total: 14.5/20
200 Victoria Street #02-51
Parco Bugis Junction
Singapore 188021

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