A discussion with my colleague over good eats brought my attention back to the flood of photos stored in my phone. Had taken the food photos with the intention of reviewing them but never go round to it, then got busy, then forgot, blah blah…

anyway here’s my backlogged review post of various foods I’ve eaten over the last quarter of 2013 and the first 2 months of 2014, by alphabetical order (do a quick Control + F to find the relevant bit you're interested in as this will be a long post....)

  • 930 (by awfully chocolate)
  • Botan Japanese food 
  • Cupsncanvas 
  • Flying squirrel
  • La petit cuisine (serene centre)
  • Melben seafood (potong pasir branch)
  • Menya Musashi (Westgate)
  • Poulet (raffles city)
  • Tiong Bahru Bakery (raffles city)
  • Tonkichi (Orchard Central)
  • Veganburg
Nine thirty 930 is a brunch joint that's by the people behind awfully chocolate. On a weekend afternoon, the boyfriend and I visited their katong branch, which is just across the junction from I12 Katong mall. The setting is casual, and can get quite noisy due to the loud music they play and the fairly ‘open’ way their seats are arranged. We were lead to a table overlooking the drinks counter to our right and given menus to make our order. 

image credit to openrice

The boyfriend was craving eggs Benedict so he went with the safe option whilst I ordered a set that consist of fried egg on brioche with salad and olives. We also ordered a side of potatoes with mushrooms to share. 

Our side of mushrooms came quickly, within 10-15 minutes of us being seated, followed by the boyfriend's eggs Benedict. Though the mushrooms were very tender and juicy, we both felt that it was somewhat still lacking in flavour- it felt as though it wasn't ‘sauteed’ quite enough. As for the potatoes they were alright.

The eggs Benedict on muffins was a little on the sour side, which isn't my preference but the boyfriend found it alright. Serving portion for the price was appropriate i guess ($9) but looked a little petty.

mushroons with toast, eggs benedict- average to say the least

It took more than 20 minutes for my order of Brioche to come, so when it arrived i was ravenous- not the best state to review any food item... nevertheless it at least satisfied my hunger. Was nothing compared to the brioche i had previously at other brunch joints like Wild Honey though. 

Egg on Brioche nicely presented, fair taste 
A couple of colleagues and i went to Botan Japanese for a colleague's birthday lunch during a weekday afternoon. We made reservations for 130pm, arrived at 120pm and were seated by 125pm. That place is busy busy busy i must say! It's jam-packed with people during lunch hour and impossible to get a seat if you walk in. Luckily we made reservations and thus had a semi-private room to ourselves.

Almost all of us had the ladies set, which consisted of a side salad, salmon sashimi, makizushi sushi rolls, chawamushi (<3), choice of soba/udon, tempura and an ice cream mochi dessert that comes after. If i recall correctly it cost about $30-35++, which is a great deal.

great value for money ladies set

In terms of taste i'm not a connoisseur of sushi but I would say the standard at least matches that of Sushi Tei; above other more low-end brand such as Ichiban sushi, Sakae Sushi etc. The generous serving of salmon sashimi (no photos as we were so hungry i forgot) made us very happy indeed. 
A colleague doesn't take raw fish so she ordered unagi sushi instead, which also looked great: 

yums unagi 

By the time dessert (mochi ice cream with red bean paste and orange slice) we were so stuffed we literally had to force ourselves to finish the dessert, not wanting to waste it... 
Overall it's a fantastic value-for-money place to go to for company lunches. 


We should have made it our hideout earlier, but it's only recently that i've been to Cups n' canvas, which is situated along selegie road, only a minute away from a friend's place. It's a cafe and art studio rolled into one, with a relaxed vibe. 

The setting is fairly casual- you can walk in in t-shirt, shorts and flip flops and not feel out of place. As our party was large (more than 6), we choose to sit on the side near the art pieces, which judging by the random paint blots on the chairs, might also be where their painting classes or workshops sometimes take place. 

On a sunday afternoon the cafe was about half empty, with most guests choosing to sit on the side near where the cakes and coffee would be served. 

Their menu is simple with the regular suspects like fries, wedges etc. Drinks looked a bit more interesting as our friend W told us he had tried the sweet potato latte before and found it rather tasty. Feeling a bit adventurous, i decided to give it a try: 

friend's unexciting ice blended coffee, my 'signature' sweet potato latte

The sweet potato latte turned out to be pretty good- it has a certain consistency to it, with very small bits of what i guess must be sweet potato floating around in the drink. The taste was warm, comforting and just the right bit of sweetness; not too cloying. The serving size is just a little smaller than a the standard 'tall' starbucks latte, but feels just enough for you to sip through slowly while chatting with your friends. 
It must seem that my colleagues and i love Japanese food but really, we seldom eat it. Another time we had a team lunch at the hole-in-the-wall eatery, the Flying Squirrel, which serves Japanese food. The entrance of the restaurant is along a small alley, not facing the main road, making it rather difficult to spot. For more pictures of what the place looks like, refer here.

Initially we were really impressed by the quirky location and cool deco. I was really looking forward to the food and thinking that we were so lucky we found a hidden gem.
However the kitchen had seemed to be unstaffed as our orders took about 40 minutes to arrive, and only upon repeated reminders. No attempts were made by the staff to suggest appetizers to us for us to nibble on before our main course.
When asked what sides would come quickly, the staff suggested we order chicken kakiage as that could be fried relatively quickly and so we went with their suggestion. In the end our mains came before the side, and our set menus included the exact same kakiage! Definitely room for improvement in terms of service...

Most of us either had the sushi set, or the sashimi set. I decided to go with the latter, hoping that it would impress me in terms of it's freshness and taste. Though i wouldn't say i was disappointed, neither was i pleasantly surprised.
The sashimie set (more than $26++) seemed very lacklustre in both taste and quantity - though the sashimi tasted rather sweet and fresh, the salad was very sparse, kakiage very average. After finishing these, with only small slices of fruit left, i felt hungry and a little cheated.

Our colleague who doesn't eat raw fish had the unagi don/rice. Though it looked rather good, the serving size was rather inadequate as well, and she didn't look quite so full or happy after the meal.

Overall our experience dining there was a mixed bag. Though i'm reluctant to return again, i wouldn't put down this place as i do see some potential. I would just like to see some improvement in terms of the service and the waiting time. And we'll know to order more next time (maybe just because we're gluttons!)
My favourite french food place in the whole of Singapore is none other than La Petite Cuisine (Serene centre). As ladyironchef puts it, it's 'unpretentious french fare'- the decor is cosy and home-like, you have to self-service and order and pay at the counter and water is free flow, you help yourself to it through a cooler using plastic cups. It's no frills french dining at it's best. 

But i love the place. The food is really great, and prices unbelievably reasonable- you can get a reasonable meal for less than $20! 

They have 2 outlets, one at serene centre, just nearby botanic gardens MRT, and one along thomson road. I often visit the one at serene centre as it's great to have lunch there, then pop by the lovely Island creamery afterwards for dessert. I visited 2 weekends ago and found they shifted to a larger space right next to MacDonalds now (previously they were at the other end of serene centre). 
the same old 

The decor is still the same- those red or blue checkered tablecloths, very country-like laidback atmosphere, relaxed looking staff who are friendly and helpful without being overbearing. 
The boyfriend and i were still rather full from breakfast and thus decided to share a starter and a main between ourselves. We went with the goat cheese salad and my favourite confit de canan (marinated duck leg). 

Goat cheese with salad; boyfriend enjoying his meal 

The goat cheese is the real stuff! I'm not a huge fan of cheese (aside from mozerella and haloumi), but this cheese is really good- it reminds me of the kind of cheese they have at some restaurants and pubs in London, typically served with olive oil. It's very rich and creamy on the inside while still retaining it's shape and slight crispiness on the outside. It does however get a bit cloying after a few mouths so best to order to share amongst 3 or more if not huge fans of cheese. The salad is really refreshing- they use some kind of vinegar-based dressing that is light, slightly sour, but brings out the taste in the veggies. 

Confit de canan

The confit de canan, as always, is amazing. I love the duck leg- it's always done so well; crispy on the outside and tender and moist on the inside. The meat so easily just separates from the bone with a light tug from your fork! And the sauce is really rich and tasty as well. The potato gratin is creamy and came just lukewarm this time (previous time i had it it was very hot) but went very with the the duck sauce. 

Overall La Petite Cusine definitely tops my list of french restaurants and is my go-to place for an affordable weekend lunch date spot. 
I purchased a $35 for $50 deal on Groupon for Melben Legend seafood (Potong Pasir)  and visited it on a weekend for dinner. We made reservations (for 4) just to make sure we could get a seat, but when we arrived there were quite a few empty tables. I was thinking very highly of this place since i had heard amazing things about the outlet at Toapayoh, and really looking forward to the meal. 

Our party of four ordered a dish of tofu/fish/seafood with broccoli, watercress soup with scallops and two crabs- a chili one, with side order of fried mantou and a 'flowing sand' or custard with egg yolk one. 
The vegetables were quite tasty, but the star of the night was really the crabs. 

Tofu, seafood with broccoli

watercress with scallops

The sauce of the chili crab was really tasty and went very well with the crab and mantou. We could tell however that the crab itself wasn't quite as fresh or tender compared to the flowing sand one. The sauce for the flowing sand crab was creamy and very rich and tasty but got a bit cloying after a few mouths.  

The bill came up to more than $180, which was a bit pricey. However given that i had purchased Groupons, it wasn't too bad a deal; we paid less than $130 in total. They seem to have been marking up their prices with customers who had been using Groupons though, so i would be interested to know what their regular prices or serving portions are like. 
A weekend during which two colleagues and i were window shopping for a farewell gift for our manager, we were draw by the rather fierce-looking decor and authentic Japanese vibes Menya Mushashi (Westgate) gave us. We were led to booth seats near the door and the staff instructed us how to make our order using the ipad ordering devices that were on the table.

We each had the ramen set, which came with an order of ramen and a side such as sushi, fried squid or kakiage. We all unanimously decided to get the black Tora ramen, which is their signature, and each a different side to share.

Black tora ramen

The soup was really rich- you could taste that they had cooked it for quite some time with pork bones etc. as the flavour was very thick. It was also however rather salty- i found myself reaching for my glass of water multiple times during the meal. The noodles are rather unique- the shape is something like the regular ramen, but with 2 strands of ramen stuck together. It was chewy and springy, but a little thick for my liking. 

sides - chicken, sushi and squid

The sushi, kakiage and fried squid were very average. Nothing much to complain or shout about. 
Overall for about $17 per person the ramen set is a rather good deal. 
Poulet is a chain of restaurants offering relatively affordable french food with outlets at various locations. This time my friends and i dined at their raffles city outlet, which is located in the basement level. It was a friday evening and it was very busy. we managed to secure a table for four as two of us arrived earlier and queued for about 20 minutes. 

I was feeling conservative that day, so decided to go with the safe bet of their signature half chicken in creamy sauce. I'd tasted it before so i knew the taste, and it was as expected. Delicious but the sauce got dry and coagulated towards the end of the meal. Chicken was also a little tough in some parts but overall nothing much to complain about, it was a good meal. 

their signature poulet

Q had the chicken stew and also ordered a side of egg with mushrooms to share. The chicken meat in the stew was very tender but somewhat lacking in taste. The taste had all gone into the soup, which was full of flavour. It's the clear kind of soup which is great- you don't get too sick of it near the end and can easily finish one helping yourself. 

The egg was really tasty- egg white was firm on the outside but slightly soft on the inside and the yolk was flowy, and tasted really great with the mushrooms. The serving portion of mushrooms was also very generous. 

QP also had chicken, but with cranberry sauce and mustard on the side, which was slightly more tangy and might appeal to those who prefer more punch in their sauce.

Not much service to speak of as we were seated at a table near the end and left to our own devices aside from when ordering and when serving us our meal. Overall a pleasant dining experience. 
I've long tasted pastries from the legendary Tiong Bahru Bakery but never actually dined in at any of their cafes/outlets. My first time was with a couple of friends at their Raffles city store. I ordered a cafe latte, which was very good, and a couple of pastries to share among us. 

The first pastry, something that looked like a flattened croissant with almond flakes and icing over it, was alarmingly hard. I'm not quite sure if it's supposed to taste like this, but assuming it is, then by personal preference i wouldn't order this again. 

very hard pastry, very good coffee

The second pastry was a flat rectangular brownie-like pastry that tasted of banana, chocolate and... prunes? I'm not quite so sure what went into it, and as it's some time back so i can't quite remember, but i do remember it being very crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle, and of just the right sweetness, so i liked it.

The last we had was the pandan flan or cake. I was really looking forward to eating this as looking at it over the counter Q and i both found it very exotic and appealing. When we actually tasted it however, it was disappointing. The pandan portion is very custard-like, which is alright, but the pandan taste itself is very flat, not at all like the aromatic kind of pandan taste you get from eating bengawan solo's pandan sponge cake. The crust is also very odd- neither crispy nor cake-like. A strange flaky-on-the-outside, hard on the side kind of texture which didn't appeal to me.

Overall, given the really good coffee and wide variety of pastries available, i wouldn't hesitate to return to Tiong Bahru bakery but i would definitely try some of their other pastries next time instead. 
I still remember during my university days, Tonkichi at Suntec was one of those restaurants your friends would love go to for authentic Japanese Tonkatsu. The queues were crazily long and the dining experience was slightly upmarket and classy. Nowadays dining at Tonkichi is a less formal affair- they have multiple branches at various locations and the vibe they have is no longer that of yesteryear. It's become a laidback casual japanese eatery, catering to families and even teens. 

A friend and i visited their orchard central branch on a saturday afternoon during their off-peak hour (3pm). The restaurant was virtually empty save for us, the staff and a nearby table of 4 who were chatting after finishing their meal. 

We weren't particularly hungry so we decided on sharing. We had a mixed katsu set consisting of prawns, koroke, oyster, salad, and rice, and also chawamushi as well as a side order of curry to go with the katsu. The chawamushi was really nicely done- very smooth and rich in flavour, but the curry was quite average tasting. Overall the meal portions were adequate, though i imagine if we were hungry as we usually are we might have needed to order a set each. The bill came to about less than $20 each for 2 of us. 

chawamushi and katsu curry sauce

our katsu set 
Had the fortune of tasting Veganburg's latest seasonal creation, their Avocado beetroot burger. The patty is similar to tat of their other regular burgers (soy patty), with a generous helping of avocado sauce and minced beetroot and veggies slathered over the top. I'm not a huge fan of beetroot but it's mildly sweet taste went very well with the smooth texture of the avocado and the soy patty. For less than $9, the burger is a little pricey but the set, which comes with fries or other sides is good for sharing between 2.