Posts Tagged ‘Tiong Bahru’

IKYU Niigata Food and Sake pairing menu

At first glance, 4 year old IKYU might strike you as a modern Japanese bar, thanks to its heavy use of metallic furnishings, and even heavier metal chairs. However, the traditional basics of serving quality fresh food exquisitely plated still runs supreme here. IKYU is helmed by the affable Executive Chef Takuma Seki or Seki-San, who at age 41, has had more than 20 years of culinary experience, most recently being Chef de Cuisine of Hide Yamamoto at Marina Bay Sands.

I was glad to be invited to partake in their $98 per pax 5 course Niigata Food and Sake Pairing menu that will be available until 14 June 2015. The menu pays homage to various techniques that have originated from the Niigata Prefecture, such as the use of Wappa-meshi, Hegi Soba and the Le Lectier pear of Niigata. Interesting to note that Niigata boasts 96 sake breweries, as compared to say 30 plus in Kyoto. I am told it is due to the water.

I have been to a number of wine pairing dinners, but never before a sake one, hence I had to bring my alcohol(ic) expert along.

IKYU - Chef Takuma Seki (2)

Seki-San was born in Niigata, hence the lovingly curated menu. Here, Chef Seki is preparing our first course for the day, the sashimi in 3 forms. If you can, grab the seats by the sushi counter. Chef Seki is a hilarious guy and very approachable!

IKYU - Nihonkai sansyu sashimi (1)

Nihonkai sansyu sashimi aka 3 types of Sashimi

We started off with the octopus sucker on the right, which is possibly my 1st time eating octopus sucker of this size. You would think that it would be of a slimy and somewhat soft texture as most small octopuses tend to be, but this was actually bouncy, bordering on crunchy. A very interesting texture that I may not have yet encountered. Above it is the ice plant, which also has a very firm texture. Think black fungus but maybe firmer.

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The Orange Thimble

The Orange Thimble - (22)

Over the Chinese New Year period, my parents, the Partner and I decided to stop off at a cafe to have a cuppa. We aren’t coffee addicts, but somehow, the idea of having a cuppa just puts a smile on our faces. The only thing is, where on earth to find a cafe that’s open during Chinese New Year? I was stubbornly hopeful and drove past the Everton and Tanjong Pagar/Bukit Pasoh area hoping to spy some welcoming light from the otherwise darkened shophouses. No such luck.

Of course I wasn’t so stupid as to drive around aimlessly, because I already knew that The Orange Thimble in Tiong Bahru was open on the 2nd day of Chinese New Year. It’s just that I couldn’t believe that The Orange Thimble would be the ONLY 3rd Wave cafe that would prove to be open on the 2nd day of Chinese New Year. After also scouring Tiong Bahru, we finally settled for The Orange Thimble. Don’t get me wrong though, the only reason why I didn’t head straight for it is because I’ve already tried The Orange Thimble once, on the 3rd day of Chinese New Year 2012 in fact! Now I’m beginning to wonder if Orange has anything to do with it…

The Orange Thimble - Hot Chocolate

Although I always set off thinking that I will have a coffee, very often, I suddenly switch to hot chocolate instead. I’m not a coffee addict, but I AM a hot chocolate/ice chocolate addict. It’s what I really want to drink, even if I think a hot chocolate is easily replicatable at home. Complicating huh.

The hot chocolate from The Orange Thimble is FANTASTIC! It’s one of the best hot chocolates I’ve had in a very long time! The hot chocolate is extremely rich, thick and yet not overly sweet. There a bit of a fluffy texture, like little chocolate clouds floating in the drink. I really love this hot chocolate. If anything, it’s a bit on the pricey side at $7.

The Orange Thimble - Chocolate Dacquoise (4)

I don’t think I’ve ever had a chocolate dacquoise before. It looks like a huge wad of chocolate sandwiched between two thin slices of biscuit. A dacquoise is traditionally a cake with layers of almond and hazelnut meringue but in this case, the dacquoise refers to the baked crispy nut meringue that now looks like a biscuit.

Obviously, the chocolate just drew me to this cake. But I was a little disappointed that it didn’t taste as nice as I expected. I suppose I was expecting a sort of Nutella flavour, but it wasn’t Nutella-like at all. And it isn’t as chocolately as it looks either, although it is rather chocolatey. I mean it’s definitely not like eating chocolate out of a jar. Interestingly, my mother liked it very much. As it was not so sweet, my mother enjoyed it a lot. I do wonder if a more bready or cakey base and top would have been a better match. There was just too little biscuit to go with the huge amount of chocolate.

The Orange Thimble - Kaya Butter Toast (3)

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Books Actually

Aha! I knew it. The minute I realised that 40Hands Cafe had opened in Yong Siak street, I had a sneaking suspicion more would follow suit. Where the hell is Yong Siak street you may ask? That’s precisely the point. Unless you live in the Tiong Bahru area, you most probably have never heard of Yong Siak street in your life! Or for that matter, Chay Yan street, Guan Chuan street and Kim Pong street!

I know of people who were laughing at where 40Hands Cafe had located themselves, and were betting on the number of months that 40Hands can last. Who is this stupid idiot who decided to open in such an ulu location? Want to die is it? Well, from the looks of it, they are thriving really well. So your best bet would be to keep in mind this Yong Siak street. I’m sure there will be more “hip and young” type establishments setting up here soon. It could very well turn into the next Holland Village!

Yong Siak Street

You see, Books Actually has also recently opened in Yong Siak street, after relocating from Club Street. I had a quick look through the store after my cuppa at 40Hands. If you’ve never heard of Books Actually, the Partner has a good description of the place. Books Actually sells books that make you go Hmmm? It’s definitely not the usual type of bookstore. You will fine tomes here that you never knew existed. There are also lots of books on Singapore itself. I have to come back again soon to thoroughly browse through.

I didn’t leave the store empty handed though. I bought a $1.50 pencil with Sigmund Freud inscribed on it. I feel smarter already. Smile

Books Actually

Books Actually Interior of Shop

Books Actually Old Cash RegisterBooks Actually - Do not touch the typewriters!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Books Actually - Cactus in glass

I see a hand reaching up…Books, feed me books!

Books Actually

No. 9 Yong Siak Street, Tiong Bahru, Singapore 168645

Operating Hours : Weekdays  11am – 9pm   Saturday  10am – 9pm   Sunday  10am – 6pm

http://hellobooksactually.blogspot.com/

Books Actually Facebook

How to get to Books Actually

40Hands revisited!

Ever since our first visit to 40Hands back in October soon after it opened, I’ve been thinking about those delicious sandwiches we had there. We had no luck last week when we drove through the Tiong Bahru area. 40Hands was jammed packed to the gills. On Friday, we tried again and got lucky. We were there just after 1pm so some of the early lunch hour people were just leaving. Interesting that there were quite a few office types there. The nearest offices must be at least 10 minutes walk away?

Anyway, 40Hands now boasts extra seating capacity. What was once a window, has now turned into a glass door leading into a recessed area with more seats. Foodwise, there are more sandwich choices, such as Salt Cod Fish Mash sandwich and Curry Chicken sandwich. Can you believe it, they even have Tau Sar Pau! This is quite funny considering the fact that the owner of the cafe is Australian! Better still, Xin MSN votes this Tau Sar Pau as the best pau in Singapore! Doesn’t come cheap though, each costs $2.50. Alas, I didn’t realise they had Pau when I was there on Friday or I would have tried it just for the novelty of it.

These are what we had at 40Hands. We chose different sandwiches from those we tried the last time. I have to admit, the sandwiches were not as great tasting as those from our 1st visit. Maybe the staff are rushed due to the lunch hour crowd. Or maybe it was easier to have everything perfect last time when only a few sandwich choices were offered. Thankfully, the coffee was as great tasting as the 1st time.

All sandwiches are around $9 and coffees are about $5. 40Hands does not charge service charge and GST. And if you have a HSBC card, you get a 10% discount! Yippeeee!

40Hands - Order Here

There’s the owner Harry Grover mulling over whether the Rosetta Art has just the right amount of leaves in it.

40Hands - Cafe Latte

There’s 2 rosettas, or ferns, or whatever the name is as we ordered a double shot.

40Hands - Iced Chocolate

Iced Chocolate

40Hands - Salt Cod Mash

Salt Cod Fish Mash – The fish is literally mashed up into a pureed texture. I couldn’t really taste the cod flavour and in fact if you’d asked me to guess, I wouldn’t have realised it was fish.

40Hands - Thai Chicken

Thai Chicken – For some reason, the sandwich was served cold. There was also a puddle of water oozing out from the sandwich onto the plate, which made me wonder if the sandwich was previously in the freezer and had not been properly warmed. Nevertheless, the Partner doesn’t like hot sandwiches so he enjoyed the sandwich.

40Hands - Truffle Mushroom

Truffle Mushroom – This sandwich would be perfect for mushroom lovers. There’s loads and loads of them stuffed into the sandwich. I didn’t quite appreciate the texture of the mushrooms though as they were mixed together with a mushy sauce thing. It’s like eating really thick and chunky mushroom soup, which I love, but just not in a sandwich format.

40Hands - Vegetable Stack

Vegetable Stack – This has got to be the healthiest sandwich there. It’s chock full of vegetables! You have to like rocket leaves/arugula cuz there’s lots of it in here.

See my previous review of 40Hands

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)

 


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)

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