Archive for October, 2010

Awfully Chocolate

Never really understood the hype about Awfully Chocolate’s chocolate cake.

It all started when the owner of the brand got tired of chocolate cakes that were less cake and more mousse and cream instead. I too hate the frivolous use of mousse and cream, where’s the bite in that? She had a vision of a chocolate cake that was substantially cake, one with a rich chocolate taste, yet not so sweet as to be offputting. This cake was to be an object of desire. And so, she came up with what is now Awfully Chocolate’s signature chocolate cake. Layers of chocolate fudge between layers of chocolate sponge.

Awfully Chocolate chocolate cake

Admittedly, the cake does have more substance than a chocolate mousse and cream cake. I performed the Squish test on it, a very scientific method where I used my spoon to squash the cake down. The cake yielded a few mm. PASS.

And yes I would also have to agree that it is a cake that is not so sweet, so you do not run the risk of getting sick of it after a few mouthfuls. PASS

HOWEVER, and here’s the clincher, the cake just doesn’t taste THAT great to me. Frankly speaking, it tastes like chocolate kueh rather than chocolate cake. It definitely looks chocolatey enough, but to me, it didn’t feel like I’d had my daily dose of chocolate after eating the cake. I’m still hankering after a chocolate drink at this point in time. Maybe the sweet tooth in me just can’t process the idea of a chocolate cake that isn’t sweet.

Maybe I have to start my own business selling rich dense chocolatey chocolate cakes for sweet tooths. In the meantime, if you’re craving for a rich, sweet and dense chocolate cake, these are my all time favourite chocolate cakes in Singapore:-

1. Coffee Club – Viennese Chocolate Cake $5

2. Canele – Le Royale $7

3. Cafe Epicurious – Devil’s Chocolate cake (flourless and has mascarpone cream in it!)

The Highlander

Realise that I didn’t manage to post about The Highlander at Clarke Quay even though I went there several months ago during the World Cup.

Food-wise, I think the Highlander can sometimes suffer from inconsistency. The 1st time we went there and had their ribeye steak, it was so delicious and tender we swore to go back again soon. When we were there during the World Cup, the steak was just so so.

Highlander

 Highlander (2)

They were supposed to give a blob of herbed butter, but they forgot.

What I do like about Highlander is that you can get some interesting Scottish side dishes like tattie scones, scotched eggs and haggis. Also, it’s nice to sit at their al-fresco dining area. Because the Clarke Quay central walkways are air-conditioned, we get to enjoy al-fresco dining minus the heat! Not many places to do that in Singapore and Clarke Quay is one such place to do it!

Highlander

Block 3B The Foundry #01-11 Clarke Quay River Valley Road Singapore 179021

Tel: 6235 9528

http://www.highlanderasia.com/main.php

Highlander Facebook

Angry Birds AttackkKKK!

Sorry for the lack of posts this last week. I was busy trying out new places so that I can blog about them! Shall endeavour to write about them in the next few posts. Also, I have been particularly busy this week tending to my new arrival…….my new toy…..the IPhone4!

So far, the Iphone has been pretty good. I can now entertain myself while on the MRT or while waiting for a bus with all the free games and applications. Just the other day I downloaded the free version of Angry Birds, which is like the cutest game ever! As the story goes, a group of evil pigs stole the birds’ eggs. And these birds are the super protective type. You should have seen what they did to the fly that landed on one of their eggs for a rest. So now the birds (rounded little tufts of feathers and chirps) are on a quest to bomb out the pigs (rounded piggy faces). How you play it is to launch the birds as projectiles onto the pigs, who have covered themselves with wood, ice and concrete structures. It’s physics and brute force. Damn cute and damn fun! Even when you lose it is cute because the pigs snigger and grin!!!!

The Iphone has not been as life-changing as I thought. While I can read news and go online as I please now, today, just when I needed it the most, it did not work. I did not get a signal at all while on the train. I was left to play Angry Birds again instead of catching up with the latest financial happenings. I suppose I have to blame Singtel for this rather than the Iphone?

I also hate the actual calling and SMS functions. I think by now, it should be a god given right that basic functions such as these should be a breeze to use. As is widely known, typing is a pain in the neck because it is so easy to mistype the letter you want for the neighbouring letters. No matter how fast I eventually get with this, there’s just no beating a real live keyboard with real keys.

Despite the negatives, I suppose I’d still rather be stuck on a desert island with an Iphone rather than my old phone. Meanwhile, have a good weekend everyone. I’m going to snuggle up in bed now and pummel some pigs before I sleep.

Forty Hands Coffee

After reading a plug by Papa Palheta only 3 days ago on this new cafe called Forty Hands, we paid it a visit today. I just love discovering new cafes in Singapore so please email me or leave me a comment if you know of any cafes worth visiting!

40Hands Bar Counter40Hands Shop Front

We were highly impressed with Forty Hands today. Having opened only 1 week ago, I must say they have really got their act together already! The staff and owners look like they have been managing the place for a long time! It was full save for the table at the front door when we arrived. This is certainly laudable for a cafe that is only 1 week old, and located in a very secluded area. I don’t know how they will accommodate big groups as it is a pretty small place. They did have some chairs outside if you don’t mind not having tables.

Coffee is obviously one of the highlights here. Their name 40 Hands emphasises the fact that each cup of java requires an average of 40 people in the production chain from plant to cup. The coffee they use here is “fair trade” as they want to support and promote a sustainable coffee economy where growers are paid a fair and decent price for their coffee. I certainly support the idea of not letting the mega coffee chains proliferate anymore!

In addition to the all-week breakfasts and pastries that they serve, the other highlight is their gourmet sandwiches. We ordered almost all of them, reviews if you scroll down further. They also use retro plates like Epicurious!

 

40Hands - Truffle Mushroom

Truffle Mushroom Sandwich $8.50 – This was really good. The mushrooms had such a strong flavour they made this vegetarian sandwich stand out amongst the rest.

40Hands - Tomato & Cheese

Tomato & Cheese Sandwich $8.00 – Cheesy and packed with fresh greens and tomatoes

40Hands - Jamaican Pork

Jamaican Jerk Pork Sandwich $9.50  – The flavour of pork and the mango together was a wonderful combination, however texture wise, the pork did taste too stringy. Yes that yellow thing there is mango not butter.

40Hands - Meditteranean Lamb

Mediterranean Lamb Sandwich $9.50 – This was also a very flavourful sandwich with a deliciously appetising sauce. The taste of the lamb was strong, which is how I like my meat, but I think the lamb was a little hard from overcooking.

I have to say all of the sandwiches were really good! I would definitely come back again for their gourmet sandwiches. When you first walk in and you see the display counter, the sandwiches look small and wilted. They shouldn’t have put those there, but luckily the freshly made sandwiches looked much larger and succulent. The sandwiches come wrapped in greaseproof paper but I removed them for the photos.

40Hands - Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate $5 – Pretty good

40Hands - Flat White

Flat White $5 – This was better than the hot chocolate. Strong and with a good flavour.

Their coffees seem a little on the expensive side, considering that they are located in such a secluded area (I presume this means the rent must be lower). However, they don’t charge GST and service charge at all, so effectively this means $4.30 per cup.

Do give Forty Hands a try everybody! After your cuppa, you can also stroll along the historic Tiong Bahru area where you can still see some really old shop houses and old style coffee shops. After my love affair with Tanjong Pagar, I think I’m going to explore Tiong Bahru next!

Read about my 2nd visit to 40Hands on 25 March 2011!

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Forty Hands (40 Hands)

78, Yong Siak Street (Tiong Bahru) #01-12

Tel: 6225-4623

Hours:

Tuesdays: 8:30am to 6:30pm Wednesdays and Thursdays: 8:30am to 10pm Fridays and Saturdays: 8:30am to 11pm Sundays 8:30am to 6:30pm CLOSED MONDAYS

Email: info@40handscoffee.com

Website: http://www.40handscoffee.com Facebook

Directions on how to get to Forty Hands (It is about 10 minutes walk from Tiong Bahru MRT station but unless you’re familiar with this area it is easy to get lost. Definitely check the map before you go there)

Otto Ristorante

Last Friday, we decided to try out Otto Ristorante. Otto Ristorante is one of those restaurants where it is highly recommended that you make reservations as the seating area is quite small. It was a bit confusing as to where Otto Ristorante was. If you look at the photo, you would think that this is the front of the restaurant. It is, but if you walk straight in, you end up in an unrelated bar. You have to actually turn left, after the circular fountain. There is a side door which leads into Otto Ristorante proper.

Otto RistoranteThe very polite manager greeted us and gave us a delightful table in a corner. Otto Ristorante is currently having a truffle promotion. You order from the special menu and pay $10 per gram of truffle shavings desired.

Bread and Olive oil

Otto Ristorante has 5 different types of breads to choose from. We were torn between wanting to try all 5 without getting too full before the mains arrived! They had this onion one which I regret not getting! The breads were still warm, which is the best way to enjoy them.

Amuse Bouche The amuse bouche of beef with thousand island sauce. The beef was nice, tender and flavourful, but the thousand island sauce tasted like something out of a supermarket bottle. It’s good, but not amazing. Surely the chef can produce something with a higher “wow” factor considering it’s the amuse bouche?

Wagyu Beef Carpaccio

Wagyu Beef Carpaccio with arugula salad and Black “Norcia” Truffle – $26 Wow this was really tasty. Just couldn’t get enough of it. Arugula can sometimes be bitter, but it paired so well with the beef! Didn’t detect a hint of the truffle though.

IMG_5210

Closer shot of the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio. See how tender and juicy it looks??? Mmmmmm! This is on the starter menu but very light eaters can just consider this as their main dish.

Veal Ravioli

Slow braised veal ravioli with morel mushrooms and thyme sauce – $28. The creamy sauce was not too heavy but still had a cheesy bite to it. The veal ravioli was good especially since it’s more common to get cheese or vegetarian ravioli. The morel mushrooms on the other hand looked good but lacked flavour which is such a waste since they are supposed to be very tasty but rare to find in Singapore. Did you know that Morel mushrooms are toxic if eaten raw?

Squid Ink Pasta with minced cod

Squid Ink Tagliatelle Baked Cod – $28. Yes I have to admit the photo doesn’t look too appetising. These were our first thoughts when we saw the dish. I was expecting an intact portion of cod, but they’d had it minced up with some other ingredients. I don’t know what those ingredients were, but it caused the flavours of the cod to be dulled. Even the diced tomatoes had a stronger taste than the minced cod. Also, it felt like there wasn’t very much cod to begin with. I was quite frankly very disappointed with the dish.

If I lower my expectations and assume that there was never meant to be any cod in this dish, then it’s not so bad. The squid ink pasta was nice and al-dente and filled the gap.

Otto Ristorante - Seating Area

Otto Ristorante has a nice cosy interior. The waiters are extremely friendly and do not hesitate to help you with your selections by offering their recommendations. They are also very attentive and will be at your table instantly the moment you beckon to them. Their attitude cannot be faulted, but because it is such a tiny restaurant, you kind of feel like they are always hovering nearby. The Partner had no issues with this, but I guess I am one who needs lots of personal space!

Despite the cod fiasco, I would come to Otto Ristorante again to try out some of their other dishes including their signature crispy suckling pig ($48)! Crispy suckling pig Italian style, that’s got to be really interesting.

Otto Ristorante

28, Maxwell Road, #01-02 , Red Dot Traffic Building, Singapore 069120

Tel: 6227 6819     Fax: 6227 8350

Monday – Friday: 12pm – 2.30pm, 6.30pm – 10.30pm

Saturday: 6.30pm –10.30pm

Closed on Sundays

info@ottoristorante.com.sg

http://www.ottoristorante.com.sg/

Click here for directions
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