Posts Tagged ‘Singapore Botanic Gardens’

Assembly Coffee 2016–Closed

It’s been 2 years since Assembly Coffee opened at Evans Road. How time flies! I remember I was so happy to have a 3rd wave cafe opening near my work place, and since then, Singapore has been inundated, with cafes galore. What a difference 2 years makes.

Despite my love for coffee, I’m not one of those who needs a fix every day. I don’t get a buzz from drinking coffee, and I can have it even at night. It’s more of the idea of relaxing over a cup of beverage that perks me up, so I’ve only visited Assembly Coffee once in a while, when my colleagues have time during lunch to sit down for a cuppa, which is not all that often. I actually dislike doing takeaways as it just defeats the purpose for me.

Anyway, last weekend I was back in the office to do some clearing up and decided to indulge a bit by getting their waffles. Assembly Coffee is not just known for its coffee, they do a mean waffle too. There are currently 5 waffle options on the menu and the 3 of us decided to share the mixed berry compote with vanilla ice cream one.

Mixed Berry Compote Buttermilk Waffles (1)

Mixed Berry Compote Buttermilk Waffles $12.50

I must say the 3 of us unanimously agreed that the waffle was fantastic. The waffle was crispy on the outside, but still fluffy on the inside. We don’t really like waffles that are just crispy throughout, then it feels like we’re just eating crust or something. The generous dollop of vanilla ice cream and mixed berries went really well with the waffle, softening the crispy exterior. Being the sweet toothed me, I wouldn’t mind if it were just a little bit sweeter though. Even the taste of the waffle itself was slightly different from the more one dimensional versions that you get from average cafes. I guess it’s the buttermilk at work.

Mixed Berry Compote Buttermilk Waffles (2)

Another waffle picture just for the fun of it. Scroll down if you want to see Assembly Coffee’s 2016 menu.

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Di Wei Teochew Restaurant at the Singapore Botanic Gardens

Did you know that there is a food court / coffee shop at the Singapore Botanic Gardens? No I’m not talking about the underground one at the front of the Botanic Gardens near Gleneagles Hospital (that closed down several years ago!), I’m talking about the one that’s nearer to the Nassim Gate.

I’ve written about Food Canopy foodcourt before. Since then, a couple of stalls have changed hands. The Thai stall has moved out and in its place is a new cze char/ zi char stall called Di Wei Teochew Restaurant. Although you might be wondering if it is too lofty for a cze char stall to be calling themselves a restaurant, but that’s because I was told the chef, Chef Chew was formerly head chef at Guan Hin Teochew Restaurant where he worked for 30 years! This is Chef Chew’s first venture out on his own. His signature dishes include cold crab, yam ring, yam paste, braised duck and hor fun. Speaking of the cold crab, if memory serves me right, it costs only $15, and a couple of my colleagues have even ordered this as takeaway to enjoy at home.

Di Wei Teochew Restaurant (1)

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Corner House at the Singapore Botanic Gardens

Corner House, the restaurant that has taken over the previous Au Jardin’s location, is finally open! As much as I was sad to see Les Amis’ Au Jardin go, I am happy to report that the colonial building that sites Corner House will once again be bustling with diners.

I was fortunate to be able to partake in Corner House’s grand opening due to a last minute turn of events. Hadn’t even brought my bag along with me actually! Nor my usual trusty DSLR. These pictures are all taken with my iPhone 4!!

Corner House at Singapore Botanic Gardens

This conservation building, the residence of the former assistant director E.J.H. Corner of the Singapore Botanic Gardens now houses the Corner House restaurant. While we won’t have the luxury of living in this building like E.J.H Corner, wouldn’t you agree that dining in this history steeped building amidst lush greenery might be the next best thing? You will be able to see some black and white photos of this former residence hung around the restaurant.

Corner House serves fine-dining French cuisine with strong elements of gastro-botanica. You will see that the the herbs and vegetables that make up your meal are given equal emphasis as with the meats and seafood.

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Goodbye Au Jardin Restaurant!

Did you know that Au Jardin at the Singapore Botanic Gardens will be closing soon? You probably have less than a month to dine there and bid it adieu! I was so glad to be able to dine at Au Jardin one last time, for my birthday celebration last week. Au Jardin has a special place in my heart for many reasons. The most obvious reason is that it’s such a beautiful restaurant, sited in EJH Corner House, a conservation status black and white colonial building formerly occupied by the Assistant Director of the Singapore Botanic Gardens. And of course, the Singapore Botanic Gardens, Singapore’s most illustrious garden park, may soon receive the UNESCO world heritage site status!

I have been to Au Jardin countless times for business, but only once previously for a leisurely meal. Visiting Au Jardin again this time round for my birthday was bittersweet. Even though I have been here many times, the feeling of stepping into this time capsule once again was no less magical. The food here is great, service exemplary, and the ambience is hard to beat. I dare say no other place in Singapore quite exudes such a unique character and history as this restaurant. I will be sad to see Au Jardin go, and I’m sure many who have experienced the hospitality of Au Jardin will feel the same. If it’s any consolation, EJH Corner House will still remain the same though, at least facade wise, as this is a conservation status building. A new restaurant will take over the space, so watch out for my review in time to come.

Au Jardin at Singapore Botanic Gardens (2)

The E.J.H Corner House where Au Jardin Restaurant is located

Au Jardin - Prawn a la plancha, egg confit, shell pasta and seasonal vegetables in shellfish glaze (1)

We were there for the set lunch. Compared to the dinner ala carte menu, the set lunch is much more wallet friendly at $45++. It’s a 3 course meal plus petit fours and coffee or tea. I would have loved to savour the meal over 3 hours, like I always do when it comes to fine-dining, but alas the Partner had to go back to work!

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Assembly Cafe opposite Botanic Gardens

I was really delighted to find that a 3rd wave cafe had opened along Evans Road just a stone’s throw away from the Singapore Botanic Gardens. I frequent the gardens really often so it’s great to have another cafe so nearby. I hadn’t even realised that a cafe was going to open. One fine day, I just happened to see this huge alphabet A on the whitewashed walls of Evans Lodge, with the message saying “Assembly – A Third Wave Coffee Movement”, and the next minute, it had already opened, early November apparently. It was enough to call out to me and as of last count, I’ve already visited Assembly 3 times!

Assembly Cafe (12)

By the way, just in case you were wondering what on earth is Third Wave? Well Starbucks, Gloria Jeans and other chain cafes are all considered 2nd wave coffee beverage purveyors. 1st wave being the crap coffee that we used to get at hotel coffee lounges and restaurants if you bring your memories back 10 – 20 years. If you can get coffee at the push of a button, run far away! Third Wave coffee refers to cafes that pay close attention to the origins and quality of the coffee beans as well as the methods used in brewing the coffee. Very likely, the cafe may offer you a choice of coffee using single origin beans. Single origin is better than a blend in terms of quality in most cases, be it for coffee or tea. If there is only one type of bean used, it had better be damn good beans, whereas in blends, lousy beans can be masked with better quality ones. But blends are often found and not necessarily a bad thing, because the flavours produced may be desirable. At Assembly, they use beans from Geisha and Liberty.

Assembly Cafe (10)

Anyway, I heard that the co-owner of Assembly Cafe cut her chops at Strangers Reunion for 1.5 years, and decided to set up her own cafe. Assembly Cafe is pretty small, and can accommodate about 25 people I estimate? There is ample parking here, you can either park at Evan’s Lodge or opposite at the Singapore Botanic Gardens and take a 5 minute walk here.

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