Posts Tagged ‘bread’

BreadSociety – You can get hot meals here too!

You may be familiar with Bread Society as a bakery selling pretty breads and pastries, but did you know that you can also get hot meals at BreadSociety? The latest BreadSociety branch at the newly renovated Suntec City presents a refreshing cafe and boulangerie concept that allows customers to dine in and enjoy the European-inspired freshly baked treats  as well as a menu selection of all-day brunch specials, soups, sandwiches and desserts. I’m not sure about you but for me, the idea of eating a few buns to fill me up as a meal doesn’t cut it. I am a traditionalist and if it’s not a main meal type of dish, I just feel unsatisfied.

I was invited to sample some of their cafe menu dishes. There were some hits and misses but I would definitely recommend the Katsu Sandwich if you’re looking for a filling lunch/dinner option.

Bread Society - Katsu Sandwich $13.80 (Tonkatsu pork loin, shredded cabbage, tonkatsu sauce between dark rye multi-grain toast)

Bread Society – Katsu Sandwich $13.80 (Tonkatsu pork loin, shredded cabbage, tonkatsu sauce between dark rye multi-grain toast)

Everyone agreed that the Katsu sandwich was indeed worth trying out. I love how the whole sandwich tastes so well put together. The lovely tonkatsu sauce with a light mayonnaise base went perfectly with the tonkatsu pork loin, helped along with the nicely crisp thinly shredded  cabbage. I could finish a whole sandwich by myself! There aren’t all that many katsu sandwiches available in Singapore. The only other time I’ve tried some was at Ginza Bairin at JCube. I think I like BreadSociety’s Katsu sandwich even more than the Ginza Bairin one! The meat more or less tastes the same, but it’s the special tonkatsu mayonnaise sauce and the better tasting bread that makes Bread Society’s version a winner. Smile

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Marina Bay Sands Rise Restaurant

Rise Restaurant at Marina Bay Sands has been open for a couple of years now. I’m sure most buffet fanatics out there would have tried this buffet by now. I’ve dined at Rise Restaurant on a couple of occasions but they were always ala carte orders. So I decided the time was ripe to take my parents for a nice lunch at Rise Restaurant. I was pleasantly surprised by the pricing. $49++ for weekend lunch buffet makes Rise Restaurant a very value-for-money buffet, don’t you think? This is especially when you consider the size of the spread.

Even though I look like I’ve been gorging on buffets quite often these past few months, the truth is that I haven’t actually gone for a lunch or dinner buffet in about a year! All the previous buffets you’ve read about on this blog this year were Afternoon Tea buffets, which ahem, is quite different from a lunch/dinner buffet!

Rise Restaurant Marina Bay Sands - Dessert Station

I’m a sucker for pretty desserts. The dessert display at Rise Restaurant is definitely worthy of being part of an Afternoon Tea buffet. My idea of a good afternoon tea dessert display is that it has to be whimsical and eye-popping.

Rise Restaurant Marina Bay Sands - Decadent Chocolate Cake (1)

Decadent and regal looking 3 layer chocolate cake

I am not one to eat desserts before mains, but when it comes to posting pictures, who’s to say we can’t post pictures of cakes and sweet treats first?

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Oenotheque by Wine Universe

It so happened that I managed to lay my hands on some vouchers to enjoy a business set lunch for 2 at Oenotheque Wine Universe. I’d heard of Oenotheque before when I was browsing through the Restaurant Week participating restaurants, but I’d never tried it before. I have the feeling that not many people know about Oenotheque Wine Universe, so do drop me a note should you visit Oenotheque after reading my post! I’d love to know that my review came in useful!

Well, as with any other vouchers that I have, it seems like I only remember its existence when it’s a few days to its expiry! I had planned to take my parents with me to enjoy the set lunches. We’d have 2 complimentary and 1 paid one for $44++ (3 course) or $36++ (2 course). Divide the price amongst 3 people and it would be a great meal out at a very low cost Smile.

And so….at the height of the HAZE, on the faithful day that it topped 400 PSI in Singapore, we made our way to Oenotheque. Okay it was about 300 PSI during lunch time to be exact, but I recall us taking deep breaths, hopping out of the car as quickly as possible and dashing into to the restaurant just in front of the Millenia Walk car park. It felt like being part of some apocalypse movie scene! And because the whole restaurant is glass-walled, we felt like we were dining in the depths of an abandoned misty city, with no one else spotted on the roads. God forbid that we should have to endure another period of Haze like we did back in June!

I have to say, the business set lunch was the highlight of that hazy day. Totally don’t regret driving all the way from the office to enjoy it!

Wine Universe Oenotheque - Beef Tartare with potato puree (2)

Beef Tartare with potato puree

I chose the beef tartare as my starter. It was one of the most fantastic beef tartares I have ever eaten! Probably the best one was the time I had it in Luxembourg, but this comes a close second! The sesame oil dressing on the tender diced beef complemented the meat so well! It was just pure enjoyment at it’s best and the even better part was that the portion was very generous too! The potato puree placed atop the beef tartare was equally delectable, helping to enhance the flavours of the beef tartare due to its more subdued flavour.

Wine Universe Oenotheque - Hotaru  with apple and celery iberico ham stock

Hotaru  with apple and celery iberico ham stock

A very interesting broth using a combination of squid and iberico ham, don’t see that often do you? The broth was refreshingly light yet savoury. The squids were unexpectedly a little bland and actually quite nondescript. I love how the wasabi has 3 uses in this dish. First, the bright colour just draws you to the plate, next it is placed in an alternating fashion with the squids, giving the dish a balanced look. And lastly, it is meant as a dip.

Wine Universe Oenotheque - Duck with orange and pea and pumpkin puree

Duck with orange and pea and pumpkin puree

With my expectations set really high thanks to the incredible beef tartare, I was overjoyed to find my duck selection as mains another winner. Really, I think you can almost from the picture how tender the duck was. The rosy hue was still retained on the flesh. The duck was also cut in to numerous slices, which probably helped the meat to soak up more of the sauce. Putting each sliver of the duck into my mouth was sheer pleasure. It didn’t taste heavy or oily either, unlike most restaurants that cook or fry the duck to death! I thought the addition of orange slices and pea and pumpkin puree helped to lighten and brighten the dish even more. This duck is probably the most tender and most delicious duck I have ever eaten in a restaurant!

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Nassim Hill Bakery Bistro Bar

Experts say that a catchy name for a business is a marketing tool in itself. I’ve no doubt about this piece of advice and I’m sure many an astute businessman have put it to good use. Just think about all the cafes that have opened recently with names that make you do a double take. SPRMKT, Carpenter & Cook, Henry Congressional, Nylon Coffee Roasters and lots more.

But of all these names, none made me jump off my seat in a bid to rush there, than Nassim Hill Bakery. For those of you who aren’t aware, Nassim Hill is one of the most expensive residential areas in Singapore. If you own an apartment there, well you’ve kind of made it in life already haven’t you. So, for a  cafe that chooses to associate itself with such a distinguished address, it surely mustn’t be any ole run of the mill establishment right?

Nassim Hill - Sunny-side up eggs with choice of beerbeiser sausage, center cut bacon or honey baked ham $15 (1)

Nassim Hill Bakery Bistro Bar is located at the Tanglin Post Office building, which is opposite Tanglin Mall. It’s not visible from the main road. You have to turn into the side road as the main entrance of Nassim Hill Bakery is facing the back! The good news is that if you manage to snag a parking spot in front of the bakery, parking is free. The bad news is that there are very limited slots, say 20? And the lots have to be shared with those visiting the post office too. If you can’t find a spot, you will have to use the paid basement parking.

Prior to visiting, I was told that the chief baker at Nassim Hill is the owner of Freshly Baked along Killiney Road. So it was no surprise that baskets of fine smelling artisanal bread greeted us when we entered the spacious bakery bistro. Even the bread ovens are in full view as their kitchen is somewhat of an open-concept. Speaking of space, there is such a vast amount of it compared to other establishments, that you feel you could do a dance amongst the tables and not be an obstruction.

Nassim Hill - (5)

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Focaccia Bread Loaf Style

Who would have known that I would enjoy bread baking so much? I know I might have once mentioned that Bread was not sexy. Well I’ll have to eat my words, haven’t I. Or can I substitute the words with bread?

It’s not that easy to make perfect bread at home. I know lots of people do it to great success. What I’m saying is that it is far easier to make bread in a commercial setting, where the ovens are huge and come with steam injection functions. Then there’s the stand up proofer or the large tables for you to knead to your heart’s content. Nevertheless, you make do and it’s definitely worth the effort.

Over the last 2 weeks, I’ve been baking loaves of baguettes. I don’t have a Pullman tin yet so I can’t make sandwich bread and actually, I much prefer the taste of a well-made baguette! Absolutely love the crispy crust and the soft insides. Smear a little salted butter and you’re instantly in heaven. I henceforth proclaim Bread as simple yet seductive!

A few months back, a colleague from work gave me this wonderful cookbook Dinner with The Baker. At that time, I marvelled at the pictures but privately lamented the difficulty in making the sweet treats. I’m glad to say that after 3 months of intensive baking classes, when I flipped the book a few days ago, I could say “yep, I know how to do this, and this as well, and that”. Perfecting them is another story, but at least they don’t seem so daunting!

In any case, the 1st recipe I tried out was the Focaccia Bread. Interestingly, we never did cover Focaccia Bread in Baking School. I wonder why, considering it’s so popular in Singapore! The dough was ultra sticky for me, thanks to the amount of oil used. I don’t know if it ought to be this sticky, but the Focaccia turned out fine.

Focaccia Bread Loaf Style

If this doesn’t look like Focaccia to you, that’s because it’s in a loaf shape and not flat and rectangular like it usually is. The recipe book calls for putting the dough in a flat pan, but it being 12 midnight the 1st time I did it, I absentmindedly put it into a loaf tin like how I usually do at school! Anyway nobody ever said that Focaccia cannot be loaf shape right????

Speaking of shape, I think there’s much to be improved. The edges are rounded, instead of the angular look of a sandwich bread. I guess it’s due to the amount of oil used. Also, the break and shred is totally uneven. Most importantly, and the bane of all my breads so far, are the idiotic tiny round spots on the crust! I think they’re tiny pockets of air but what can I do to get rid of them? They don’t seem to affect the taste though, and the crust is still crisp.

Anyway, if you want the recipe for the Focaccia loaf style, just scroll down….

Focaccia Bread Loaf Style Sliced Focaccia bread disguised as open-top bread. Tee hee hee….

Recipe (Adapted from Dinner with The Baker cookbook by Pino Locantro. OMG the book even has a Facebook page)

500g    Bread Flour

6g        Dry Yeast

Pinch Oregano (if desired)

10g      Salt

300g    Cold Water

50g      Olive Oil

1          Egg

 

Work Process :

1. Using an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix flour, yeast, oregano and salt.

2. Slowly add oil, egg and water and continue mixing until well combined. Increase speed of your mixer and mix the dough until it looks smooth. The book says to mix until shiny and smooth, but I never did mix it till the shiny stage.

3. The dough may be sticky so dust some flour on your hands and board to help you.

4. Rest the dough for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size. Keep it covered and in a cool area.

5. After 1 hour, heavily oil a baking tray. Deflate the dough to remove air bubbles and roll the dough to fit the tray. Or you could cut the dough into 4 pieces and make 4 small loaves of Focaccia, just like I did.

6. Proof in a warm area for about 1 hr or until it has doubled in size again.

7. Brush the top with olive oil and sprinkle with salt if desired. I omitted this step totally.

8. Bake for 20 minutes at 200 degrees celcius for the flat Focaccia, and 30 minutes at 200 degrees celcius for the loaf Focaccia.

9. Remove from tray/tin immediately and let cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!!!

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