Two Blur Guys, Tras Link, Tanjong Pagar

Filed Under (food, western) by rinnah on 23-08-2013

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More gourmet burgers on the blog, courtesy of joining my burger-loving friend who is on a personal quest to try out all the burger joints in Singapore.

There have been a couple of rave reviews online about this gourmet burger joint called Two Blur Guys located in Tanjong Pagar. I was ready to be impressed, but came away feeling rather meh about the whole experience.

two blur guys

I had the grilled chicken ‘blurger’ with asian spices (curry powder) (SGD 12.50) and it comes with sides of salad greens and potato salad. It is a decent sized burger and they are not stingy with the portions for the sides. I found the chicken a tad dry and was not a fan of the fact that the grilled chicken skin was part of the burger’s filling. The salad greens and potato salad were quite normal by my standards although my friend did like the potato salad.

Adding on SGD 5.50 to make it a set meal will get you a drink (ice lemon tea / coffee / tea) and a dessert. However, I found the policies regarding the top-up menu a bit inflexible. I asked if I could change the selected drink to a Coke and mentioned that I was also willing to add-on an additional sum to the top-up amount to change the drink. This was not permitted, even though on the menu, the price of an ice lemon tea drink (SGD 3.50) is more expensive than a Coke (SGD 2.80). The ice lemon tea which I had in the end was watery and I would definitely not order it if given a choice. It is also worth noting that Two Blur Guys does not offer water on the house either.

Another incident that irked me slightly was that it is also not informed up front that your selection of dessert for the top-up menu is limited. When I selected the top-up menu, I was told that I could select my dessert later. After the main meal, when I made my selection of the chocolate lava cake with ice cream as my dessert, only then did the waitstaff tell me, “Oh, the dessert is limited to only the brownie, slice of pie, or lamingtons.” Had I been informed of this up front, I would have been fine with this, but being informed at such a late stage made me feel somewhat shortchanged.

I found the waitstaff to be curt in speech and mildly irritating in that within 30 seconds from the moment you sit down, they are hovering at your shoulder asking you to place your order. Granted that the menu is not extensive with only two pages, but surely you should give customers more than 30 seconds to look at the menu and only come over when signaled?

Perhaps it was an off-day for the waitstaff but at the end of it all, I most probably wouldn’t return to Two Blur Guys on my own accord. The food was not fantastic enough to make me overlook the service shortcomings (especially when you are paying 10% service charge).

Two Blur Guys
1 Tras Link
#01-13 Orchid Hotel
Singapore 078867
T : +65-6636 4183


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&Made by Bruno Menard, Pacific Plaza

Filed Under (dessert, food, michelin starred, western) by rinnah on 12-06-2013

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nMade 01
Quotable quotes on the ceiling at &Made – I’m so gonna live by that last one “sleep ‘til you’re hungry, eat ‘til you’re sleepy”…

A 3-star Michelin chef (Bruno Menard) opens a burger joint. If that doesn’t pique your (foodie) interest, I don’t know what else will. I only knew about this place when my self-confessed burger lover friend chanced upon reviews of &Made online and suggested that we check it out for dinner after work.

nMade 02

I opted to craft my own burger – this here is my creation of a ground chicken patty, topped off with yuzu-kosho mayonnaise, caramelized onions and mozzarella cheese in a brioche bun with tomatoes, lettuce, onions and dill pickle (which worked out to around SGD 18 in total?). The ingredients were fresh and the burger was a decent size for me. I liked the combination of flavours I chose for my burger (duh!) although I would’ve liked it even better if the kitchen was a tad more generous with the caramelized onions.

We also ordered fries (both garlic & vinegar fries (SGD 3.00) and truffle fries (SGD 6.00)) to share. The fries come with a small serving of &Made’s BBQ sauce, which I found nice but I preferred my fries as they were. My friend commented that the garlic & vinegar fries did not have enough vinegar ‘kick’ to it and I thought that Charlie + Co did a better, more truffle-y version of the truffle fries.

nMade 03

What really blew me away, however, was not the burger or the fries, but the seasonal desserts. (Do bear in mind that the menu changes from month to month so you will get some variety in the choices on offer.) We shared profiteroles (SGD 14.00) and a half-baked chocolate cake (SGD 14.00), both of which were simply decadent and left me wanting more. If I had known just how yummy the desserts would turn out to be, I would’ve just skipped my burger and gotten desserts for my dinner. In particular, the half-baked chocolate cake was just oozing with chocolate-y goodness and perfectly moist. Paired with ice-cream, it was worth every calorie-laden mouthful.

nMade 04

Service was relatively fast and friendly. Water is free and the waitstaff attentively top it up at regular intervals. Your table is promptly but unobtrusively cleared as you finish your meal and the waitstaff are smart enough to provide extra napkins, plates and cutlery for sharing without being prompted for it.

This is not a ‘cheap’ place to dine at – on average we paid about SGD 36.00 per person without drinks, but I reckon you get quality (food and service) that you pay for and I would be willing to return.

&Made
9 Scotts Road
Pacific Plaza
#01-04-06
Singapore 228210
T : +65-6690 7566
W : http://andmade.sg/


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Tiong Bahru Bakery

Filed Under (cafe, food, snacks, western) by rinnah on 26-04-2013

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It was back in February when I was told that I absolutely *had* to visit Tiong Bahru Bakery for their lemon tart. Lucky for me that they had opened an outlet that was conveniently located in the basement of Raffles City Shopping Centre. So up bright and early on a Saturday morning I went off to meet my girlfriends at Tiong Bahru Bakery.

I’m not always the hungriest person in the mornings (unless roused with the knowledge that a yummy hotel buffet breakfast awaits me) so I decided to play it safe and try out just two of their pastries.

Tiong Bahru Bakery Almond Brioche

My first choice was the Almond Brioche (SGD 3.00). This was nice and crisp on the outside with fluffy brioche innards. The sprinkling of almonds on the top was because it was an Almond Brioche after all. I decided it was relatively nice, but not something so memorable that I would need to eat it again.

Tiong Bahru Bakery Lemon Tart

Now, the Lemon Tart (SGD 6.00) on the other hand, this is the stuff you dream of and drool over. Think lemony custard with that perfect lemon tang, not too sour but with just enough zest, and a firm biscuit-ty crust. I had one whole lemon tart to myself and it was just about right. Enough to satiate until the next visit but not so little as to leave you wanting more. Possibly one of the best lemon flavoured pastries I have had. Ever.

Tiong Bahru Bakery Gryphon Chamomile Tea

I washed it down with a cup of Gryphon Chamomile Tea (SGD 4.30) and found myself full from brunch that I didn’t eat until later in the evening.

I am reliably informed by my brunch partners that the Kouign Amann and Croque Monsieur are also must-tries at Tiong Bahru Bakery.

Would I go back again? For that lemon tart, anytime.

Tiong Bahru Bakery
252 North Bridge Road #B1-11/12
Raffles City Shopping Centre
Singapore 179103
T : +65-6333 4160
Opens daily from 9am to 10pm

Savvy Consumer Tips : Your Daily Coffee

Filed Under (coffee, food, tips and tricks) by rinnah on 27-08-2012

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Hello folks! Happy Monday! :D

It’s been quite a while since I last posted a “savvy consumer tip” – the last one was over a year ago! So as I was sipping on my morning cuppa, I thought it would be fun to share with you a simple savings tip I practice. :)

If you’re like me and most other people, you’ll probably have a regular dose (hit!) of caffeine in the morning. You might have it at home, or on the way to work or at the office. Maybe you might have even more than 1 cup a day.

KT's Grill Cafe Mocha
Cafe mocha at KT’s Grill, Universal Studios Singapore

When I first came to Singapore, I no longer had the luxury of preparing and eating breakfast at home as I rent a room with no access to a kitchen. So, out of necessity, I began to buy my coffee (or tea, depending on how alert I felt in the mornings) from the local bakery downstairs near my office. No doubt it wasn’t Starbucks or Coffee Bean where the smallest/cheapest size goes for an average of SGD 6.00 or more but I was still spending SGD 1.20 a day on my coffee.

Doesn’t seem like much, but it did add up when I did my math. My cup a day habit cost me between SGD 35.00 – 40.00 every month. That’s like the cost of one lipstick every month (or in my case, one skincare product a month).

I told myself that all I really wanted was a cup of coffee in the morning. It didn’t have to be premium coffee as long as it woke me up. So, the next time I dropped by the local supermarket, I picked up a multi-pack of 3-in-1 coffee premix. 30 sachets for just SGD 6.90, which is more than the number of working days in any given month. The bonus was that the brand was throwing in an additional 5 sachets for free.

Cost of switch? Just the initial cost of buying my 3-in-1 mix = SGD 6.90
Savings? SGD 1.20 (weekdays) x 35 = SGD 42.00 – SGD 6.90 (initial cost) = SGD 35.10
In the long run? Assuming 1 year duration on average = SGD 420.00 (SGD 35 x 12)

Now, I’m only advocating that you do this if it makes you happy. If you need your daily Starbucks shot, or cannot stand the taste of premix, by all means go ahead and keep on doing what you’re doing. :) I’m happiest when I get to save money and still get what I want to make me (relatively) happy without feeling deprived.

Vanilla Cafe

Filed Under (coffee, dessert, food, western) by rinnah on 06-08-2012

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I had no idea about the existence of Vanilla Cafe until my colleague told me about this “must-try” cafe that was pretty near our office. As it turns out, I’d been going to the coffeeshop just 2 doors away to pack my economy rice lunch every week without knowing it!

So on a humid and rainy Friday afternoon, we made our way to Boon Tat Street to check out Vanilla Cafe.

vanilla 01

Vanilla Cafe is tucked away in a small row of shophouses, facing the green lung area just behind the mosque at the intersection of Boon Tat Street and Telok Ayer Street (see the Google map below for exact location). No wonder then that I’d passed by it before without really noticing it.

The cafe is popular with the working people in the area, if the crowd I saw throughout my meal there is anything to go by. Both the indoor and outdoor dining areas (an open space in the middle of the shophouse) were packed from about 12.20pm onwards and if you arrived later than that you wouldn’t be able to get a seat without reservation in advance.

vanilla 02

I decided to go with the Norwegian Smoked Salmon Egg Mayo sandwich (SGD 9.90) which was recommended on the menu and on several online reviews of the cafe. The ciabatta bread was nice, not too thick and lightly grilled. The smoked salmon overpowered the egg mayo filling though and overall, the result was a good, but not fantastic sandwich. It was served with a side of salad leaves and a light dressing of oil and vinegar.

For SGD 1.80, you can top-up and get a choice of house-blend coffee or tea or soft drink. For SGD 2.80, you can top-up for the soup of the day.

vanilla 03

Since it was raining quite heavily by the time I finished my sandwich, I decided an order of dessert wouldn’t hurt and tried the mini brownies with french vanilla ice cream (SGD 9.50). The ice cream you get is originally rum and raisin, but since that’s not really my favourite flavour, I asked them to switch it to french vanilla. The brownie and ice cream combination was again nothing new, except that Vanilla Cafe’s brownie had a rather crisp edge – as if it had maybe been left in the oven a tad too long.

Overall, foodwise Vanilla Cafe is pretty average for me. Maybe I’d set my hopes up too high after reading some good reviews online. The other thing that was a bit of a downer for me as well was the space/layout of the cafe as well. In order to maximise space, the tables toward the front of the shophouse were quite packed together and it got rather distracting every time a server walked up and down the narrow aisle with drinks and food for other tables.

I might go back for a return visit, but not anytime soon and definitely not during the lunch hour rush.

Vanilla Cafe
3 Boon Tat Street #01-01
Singapore 069612
Tel : +65-6423 0366
Web : www.vanillacafe.com.sg
There is a 10% service charge.


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World Gourmet Summit 2012

Filed Under (chinese, dessert, events, food, ice cream, local, western) by rinnah on 18-06-2012

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It looks like I am making small forays into the world of gourmet dining this year, first with the Savour festival (which I have yet to blog about!) and now with the World Gourmet Summit 2012 edition.

World Gourmet Summit at Universal Studios Singapore

I was lucky enough to get to tag along with Beetrice for the Opening Reception back in April, held at Universal Studios in Resorts World Sentosa.

To put it in layman’s terms, the World Gourmet Summit is like your local food tasting fair, except maybe the people are more dressed up, you’re eating gourmet food and you’ll find copious amounts of champagne and wine available on tap.

san pellegrino
(I just stuck to San Pellegrino. Heheh.)

There are more pictures of food after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Tokyo Rusk Company’s Premium Almond Rusk

Filed Under (coffee, food, japanese, snacks) by rinnah on 13-04-2012

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Rusks. When I hear of rusks, I think of Farley’s Baby Rusks that my mother fed me as a child. Today, I rekindle my affection for rusks with the Tokyo Rusk Company’s Premium Almond Rusk.

As I work in a Japanese company, my Japanese expatriate colleagues frequently travel back to Japan either for work or to visit their respective hometowns. And one of them (who sits nearby) was nice enough to buy some to share in the office.

How do I begin to describe a rusk? Firstly, the cute slogan on the packaging caught my attention :

“Hand made delicious and beautiful rusks comfort our hearts and wrap us in sweet dreams.”

Cute, no? :)

tokyo rusk company premium almond rusk

The rusk I got was in the Premium Almond flavor and it tastes like a chunkier, sweeter version of almond biscotti with the delightful crunch of toasted bread with sugar sprinkled on top. Fear not if you think that the rusk will be too sweet – it is a bit on the sweet side, but not overly so. This would be perfect paired with your favorite coffee for the perfect tea-time snack or light breakfast.

Now, who’s going to Japan anytime soon and can bring back a box of this for me? ;)

Tokyo Rusk Company website (only in Japanese)

Read other blogger reviews here :
Laura Thompson
Yukari

Bubble tea taste-off : All the contenders

Filed Under (coffee, food, local) by rinnah on 10-02-2012

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When I first came to Singapore, I observed a strange phenomenon at the place where I stay. There are many shops all selling bubble teas within the same vicinity. In fact, on a routine walk to/from the MRT station, I pass no fewer than five different shops specializing in bubble tea drinks (not counting the drink stalls at the food court).

There are many contenders for the title of best bubble tea and in the name of blog research (and pure curiosity) I tested a few of the more popular/well-known brands – Koi Cafe, Gong Cha, Chatime and Ochado. The irony is that I seldom think of buying bubble tea back home in Malaysia, but yet in Singapore, here I was, standing patiently in queue with 15 other people for bubble tea. To ensure fairness of my taste test, I ordered the same drink from all franchises – no fancy schmancy specialty teas, just plain straight up milk tea with pearls and less sugar.

koi bubble milk tea
(Erm, I have no photo for Gong Cha, Chatime and Ochado simply because I forgot to take one. #bloggerfail)

What did my not-so-epicurean tastebuds think?

Chatime’s tea seemed to be least refined (tasted like they used cheaper tea leaves to brew) of the four contenders. Ochado’s roasted tea version was the smoothest and most to my liking. Koi and Gong Cha were better than Chatime, but ultimately forgettable. Despite my order of half-sugar, Chatime was also the sweetest mix (maybe to hide the taste of cheaper tea?) and therefore got booted down to the bottom of my bubble tea list.

I can safely say that I prefer the quality and texture of Koi’s pearls (tapioca balls) overall. Gong Cha’s pearls were a wee bit rubbery, as were Chatime’s. Ochado fared slightly better due to the smaller size of their pearls and I even tried their famous pop-egg pearls (which contain coffee syrup). While I liked the concept of the pop-eggs, it was way too sweet for my liking – like taking swigs of syrup straight from the bottle.

Now, if only I could merge Ochado’s roasted milk tea with Koi’s pearls I would be one very happy bubble tea drinker. :P

Red Flame Bistro

Filed Under (food, western) by rinnah on 05-01-2012

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Red Flame Bistro was a chance discovery on a rainy, drizzly Friday afternoon when my colleague and I were looking for a lunch place that was reasonably near the office. It was oh-so-conveniently located just across the road from my office building.

Red Flame logo

We both had the 3 course set lunch which costs SGD 12.90. You have a choice of salad or soup of the day for your starter, grilled chicken chop or fish and chips for mains (there is also beef sirloin offered, but with an additional top-up of SGD 3.00), and finish off with dessert of the day. You can also top-up SGD 1.00 for 3 pieces of garlic toast or top-up SGD 1.50 for a soft drink or tea or coffee. There is no charge for water.

Red Flame appetizers and desserts

The salad is nice and fresh with a bit of crisp to it and the dressing is made a little bit more interesting with the addition of pineapple pieces that lend their distinctive sweet yet acidic taste to the salad and a sprinkling of sunflower seeds.

If the soup of the day is mushroom soup, you’re in for a treat. It was the best mushroom soup I have ever tasted this far – creamy and smooth with a mushroomy taste that is not too strong (too much mushroom can be a bad thing sometimes) and not oily at all. On other occasions we’ve been there, the soup of day was corn and clear vegetable soup. The mushroom soup is far and away the cream of the crop though and is always available on the ala carte menu for SGD 4.95.

My colleague absolutely raves about the garlic bread (add on SGD 1.00 with the set menu or SGD 1.50 off the ala carte menu). I find it better than your usual bakery garlic toast, as it is crispy without being burnt and generously slathered with garlic butter. I would prefer it much more if the toast slices were sliced a wee bit thicker for a heftier crunch when you chomp down, but hey, you can’t have everything your way, right?

Red Flame main courses

The grilled chicken chop is nicely done without being dried out. I would have loved it more if they had given more of the grilled potatoes and I could do without the corn-on-the-cob slice.

My favorite has to be the fish and chips. Coated in a golden batter and fried, the fish fillets were fresh and yummy. The best part was that it was not too oily. Accompanied with a serve of fries and a scoop of salad, this was possibly one of the better fish and chips I have had in a long while.

The first time I went there, I had the Mushroom pasta (which is no longer on the set lunch menu). If you like your pasta al dente, then Red Flame’s chef does it quite well. The cream sauce that accompanied the linguine was just right, not to heavy nor was it runny and it was not so overpowering that you feel stuffed after. Over a series of visits, I’ve tried variations of their vegetarian pasta (SGD 9.90) in cream sauce and aglio olio and find that it’s pretty good with a medium sized portion.

As of now the bistro has a steady trickle of customers during lunch hour so it is still nice and cozy and doing quite well. I understand from the manager, Guna (really friendly and helpful guy) that they plan to rotate their lunch menu every month for some variety so the dishes I have reviewed may no longer be on the set lunch menu but are still available on the ala carte menu.

Note: As of June 2011, Red Flame has increased the price of their set menu from SGD 12.90 to SGD 14.90.

Red Flame Bistro
2 Stanley Street

Village Park Nasi Lemak @ Damansara Uptown

Filed Under (food, halal, local) by rinnah on 25-11-2011

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Ever since I’ve moved to Singapore for work, I find myself craving for all sorts of Malaysian food. Like proper roti canai (I don’t like the word prata), curries, banana leaf, briyani, laksa, chicken rice, etc.

At the very top of my cravings list has to be nasi lemak.

So each time I come back to Malaysia, I drag my folks to Village Park in Damansara Uptown for breakfast on Sunday mornings before I have to take the bus back to Singapore and a diet of glorified bread and pasta. LOL.

A lot of people complain about how crowded the place usually is and how hard it is to get a table and parking but it’s never bothered me. Because I never park that close to the restaurant (walking is good for your health, people!) and the timing usually is such that I go before peak hours.

village park collage 01

My all-time favorite here is the Nasi Lemak Ayam Goreng. Oh my, that crispy fried chicken is calling to me from my computer screen now! LOL. Sometimes I might get a slightly dry piece of chicken, but putting the fried chicken and the yummy nasi lemak together is a killer combo.

village park collage 02

Sometimes my mom will order the Nasi Lemak Ayam Rendang as she prefers it. I find the rendang to be a tad on the watery side, but the taste is still there. Good for those who prefer not to take too much fried stuff.

village park 03

This here, is a drink concoction known as Milo Dinosaur. It happens to be Beetrice’s favorite as she never fails to order it each time we meet at Village Park. Heh.

All in all, you can expect to spend about MYR 12.00 to 15.00 per person for an order of nasi lemak (with one meat dish) and a drink. Specialty drinks will cost you a bit more. While it’s not exactly the cheapest fare in town, I still visit Village Park when I get hit with nasi lemak cravings. I may reduce on the frequency of my visits there though, as the management has recently decided to increase the prices further (what used to cost MYR 6.00 back in 2006 has slowly and gradually been increased to MYR 9.00).

Village Park Restaurant
5, Jalan SS21/37
Damansara Utama
47400 Petaling Jaya
Selangor Darul Ehsan
Malaysia

Tel : +60 3-7710 7860

Click here for the Google Maps link.

Read other blogger reviews here :
KampungBoyCityGal
KY
Timothy
VKeong

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