Monday, September 28

Crystal Jade Restaurant

Last weekend, my family and I decided to avoid town area because of F1 and went to Crystal Jade Restaurant at Changi Airport Terminal 2 for dinner.Upon reaching the restaurant, we were told to wait for 5-10minutes despite making a reservation because the person in charge of table seating actually gave our table away to another family because she got our names mixed up =S Thankfully, the wait wasn't too painful and we were quickly ushered to table once it was ready.

This particular Crystal Jade restaurant specialises in Hong Kong cuisine if I'm not wrong. I like the fact that I get to sample slightly different kinds of Chinese food at different Crystal Jade restaurants.
Our pot of sweetened chrysanthemum tea. It was agreed among us that this was probably one of the most aromatic pots of tea that we've had. The right amonunt of sugar was added as well so it wasn't too sweet nor completely bland.

Complimentary dish of mixed peanuts ($2). We had this when we visited the Crystal Jade restaurant at IMM so I'm guessing that this is their standard complimentary dish.

Stirfried long beans with minced pork and baby shrimps ($19.20). The vegetables were a bit over-fried because they weren't crunchy but the other condiments helped to 'save' this dish because it still managed to carry off a rather flavourful taste.

BBQ Twin meat - Slices of roast duck and roast pork (hidden from view) ($28.20). These yummy slices of goodness were quickly ingested by my family members so I suppose they are pretty goood (: Gumtoo commented that the duck tasted very nice so I guess it'll be wise and nice to order this again in future.

Deep-fried fish fillet slices sprinkled with salt and spices ($29.25). I loved this dish a lot because I thought the dish was very well done. The soft, juicy and white fish meat was a contrast to the crispy and savory fried batter. It was a great change from the usual sweet & sour fish slices! We'd no regrets ordering this.

Crispy Beancurd Roll ($12) . This was probably the most unappetizing dish. Not only were the beancurd rolls over-fried, the insides were completely dry too =(

Prawn covered with salted eggyolk and pine seed ($39). In Papa's words, the salted eggyolk paste is the "in" sauce right now. It's creamy, slightly salty and it delivers a very strong punch to your gustatory sense. I'm not too sure how to describe the taste of this wonderful concoction, you just have to try it for yourself =)

Deep fried prawn dumpling with salad sauce ($14.85). This dish was pretty alright. The prawns were big and succulent but I felt that the dumpling skin were a bit too hard (probably because they were overfried?). Perhaps the cooks used high heat to cook most of their dishes that night so as to overcome the high traffic of food orders, which explains why most of our dishes were over-fried that night.

Gluttinous balls with sesame filling ($4.50). It was a pity that they couldn't serve these gluttinous balls in the ah-boh-ling/ tangyuan style. Thankfully, these little balls were warm and tasty (: I especially liked how the sesame filling oozes out after I sink my teeth into the soft gluttinous covering. Yumyum.

Last but not least, a cup of cold and refreshing Chestnut creame with pomelo ($4). If you want something light and sweet to end off your meal, this dessert is your answer. It's not as filling as the usual durian or mango pudding so you don't have to worry about not being able to finish it.

Apart from the relatively slow service (due to the restaurant being extremely packed that night) and the overfried food, I think our dining experience there was generally alright. It's definitely doesn't have the wow-factor but it's a decent place nevertheless (:

Saturday, September 26


Because two of my sisters are having their midsem break and because we wanted to have some sister-bonding time together, the three of us made a lunch date on Friday! =) One of my sisters heard about a new all-day-breakfast place that just opened on 20th September and we decided to give it a try!Hatched is located at 26 Evans Road, which is just opposite MOE's CCAB/ the track that's next to NUS Law faculty.

Hatched is a cosy little place that sits about 2o-30 people at most. I was quite thankful that I called to make a reservation (despite my sister saying that it's not necessary) because the place was half filled when we reached there around 12ish on Friday.

There's a huge blackboard-wall which the people at Hatched use to write their promotional & special items.

A bar counter for customers who prefer sitting on high stools or who can't get a table.

My sisters were extremely intrigued by their black aircons! (: I think installing black aircons is quite a good idea because white aircons tend to look dirty after a while.

Their Menu aka Catalogue of Eggs. I'm sorry I don't know why the photo is tilted this way though I've already changed the alignment. Hopefully you can still see it without much trouble!

Croque Madame ($14). Panini bread with ham and cheese covered with a sunshine egg, greens by the side and mashed potato with mushroom sauce. My sister chose this probably because it was (to her at least) the most "worth it" since it contains some meat. I think this is probably the most filling dish out of the four that we ordered so if you're really hungry, please order this otherwise you may not be full!

My sister commented that this particular forkful of her sandwich looks extremely yummy so we took a shot of it (:

The (Veggie) Melt ($8). Caramelised onions, capsicum slices, avocado and melted cheese sitting on top of half a muffin, greens on the side and a clump of mashed potato with mushroom sauce. It was an extremely interesting experience eating so much avocado at one go! Miraculously, the entire veggie melt tasted pretty wholesome because of a mix&match of different flavours. I think they should provide a full muffin instead of half a muffin so that there will be more muffin to eat with the mixed "patty".

Papillote ($12). A slice of plain toast, eggs wrapped with smoked salmon, tomato with pesto sauce and olive oil, caramelised onions and potatoes. My sister liked her potatoes but claimed that the rest of the dish was "okay only".

Pancake Party ($10). We chose to have caramelised apples with our pancakes instead of bananas or strawberries. The pancakes were fluffy but they were pretty starchy. Personally, I'm alright with non-light&fluffy pancakes so these tasted pretty okay to me. My sister, who prefers light & fluffy pancakes, didn't take a liking to them. The most interesting aspect of this dish is the white vanilla/ cream sauce thingy in the little cup. I guess that's their replacement for butter and it tastes pretty nice. The vanilla/ cream sauce and maple syrup give the pancakes just enough sweetness and it's perfect for those who don't like overly sweet stuff.

On the whole, Hatched serves pretty decent breakfast sets at reasonable prices (: Although none of the dishes that we tried is particularly spectacular, I think they're definitely good enough to satisfy one's craving for an eggy breakfast set as well as perk one up for the day ahead! Please remember to make a reservation if you're afraid of not getting a table!
Alright that's all for now (: have a great Sunday everyone!

Thursday, September 24

Instant Noodles

I've always felt somewhat uneasy about the fact that I can't cook proper food. "Proper", to me, means anything that's non-instant. Unlike my parents who are reasonably good cooks, I am a complete novice in the kitchen (okay, even novice is stretching it a bit because I hardly ever cook anything). Like one of my sisters, I can only cook instant food but unlike her, I don't dare to claim that I'm good at cooking instant food!

One thing that I know I can cook pretty well though, is instant noodles. I know instant noodles are unhealthy and should not be eaten too often but somehow I seem to find pleasure in being able to indulge in a bowl of instant noodles once in a while. My siblings and I have tried quite a number of brands of instant noodles and I think we've come to an agreement that Myojo's Chicken Abalone instant mee is one of the nicer tasting flavours around. In fact, it's so nice that I seem to only eat this flavour!

Anyhow, here are some photos of my instant noodles:

I love to add mixed vegetables to my noodles because I like my food to be colourful =) The mixed vegetables go well with the soup too so there's no clash of flavour. I always add pepper to my noodles because I like the peppery taste (even though too much pepper makes my face perspire a little at times).

In contrast, Jeffrey likes his noodles plain. He hates mixing anything (apart from an egg) with his instant noodles so I cooked him a less colourful version of my instant noodles! (: I usually don't add any pepper to his because I know that he'll probably not be able to take the spiciness. Heh.

Apart from instant noodles, I can only cook/ prepare simple dishes such as sandwiches! I really should start learning how to cook some day... but till that day comes, I will make do with my yummy instant food.

Monday, September 21

Ellenborough Market Cafe

Hello! (:

Jeffrey & I had a great and eventful long weekend! =) We did quite a lot of things including watching the first two episodes of Boys Over Flowers! I hope that we'll manage to find time to continue watching this korean series because it supposedly gets better after the first part.

Anyway, we kicked start our weekend with a visit to Ellenborough Market Cafe! =) I can't help but associate the name of this cafe to Borough Market in London. Whenever I think of Borough Market, I think of the glorious amount of food that's available there (: Thankfully, Ellenborough Market serves quite a good spread of food so we weren't disappointed! :)
The seating capacity at Ellenborough was unexpectedly large. There were two food sections and we happened to sit at the intersection so we didn't have to walk too far to get to either food section.

The interior decoration was very 1960s-coffeeshop-ish. There were 'marble' tables with wooden/ rattan-looking chairs and rattan blinds. The atmosphere was relaxed and it was as if everyone was dining in a place that is infused with a slight and subtle nostalgia for the past.

A typical table setting as well as other diners indulging in good local cuisine.

I've come to realise that people generally eat in the 'standard' order, i.e. appetizers first followed by mains then desserts, even at buffets! Of course there's definitely more room for mix&match at buffets and our eating order gets considerably jumbled up after the first dish but in general, most people still start their meals with some sort of appetizer (or at least we do) and end it with something sweet (:

Here are some photos of the dishes that we tried:

Pasta salad and fresh romaine lettuce

Fresh romaine lettuce, tomatoes, different types of beans, pasta sald, fruit salad (mixed with some kinda rojak sauce, very yummy)

Kueh pie tee and prawns (Jeffrey said that the prawns were 'above average', which explains why we saw some guy carrying a plate full of prawns to his table)

Salmon sashimi and sushi (Their sushi was very disappointing. We tried quite a few different ones and concluded that they tasted below average.)

More sushi and some kinda fried dumpling (thankfully the fried dumpling was GOOD!)

More salmon sashimi, sushi and fried sweet potato roll! (The fried sweet potato roll was extremely tasty! You should definitely try it, especially if it's freshly cooked!)

Spring rolls, sushi, and char kway teow. (Jeffrey and I were amazed that they served delicious char kway teow! This is the first buffet that serves char kway teow as an alternative carbohydrate. We loved it!)

How can I resist trying their traditional laksa? (: It definitely isn't as good as katong laksa but it's enough to satisfy my laksa curiousity for that day.

More char kway teow and other kinds of meat (which can't be seen)

Broccoli, spring roll, steamed fish and a small clump of char kway teow (we could only take a small clump here because the cook was busy cooking a new batch as the old one had been fully consumed by char kway teow lovers like us)

Jeffrey's favourite three-layered pork! (:

Durian Pengyat i.e. smashed durian paste. Along with char kway teow, this was another rare dish that was on the buffet spread! =) This was the first time I was having durian pengyat and it was mindblowingly awesome! =) I had three bowls of this yummy gooey dish!

Bread and butter pudding and apple crumble covered in vanilla sauce. (Unfortunately, both were merely average so there's nothing to rave about.)

More durian pengyat, chocolate hazelnut cake and mango cheese cake. The cakes were pretty alright. Jeffrey refused to try the durian pengyat even though I kept urging him to. Heh.

Chocolate covered marshmellows and more bread & butter pudding!

There were 4 kinds of Chinese desserts: burbur hitam, some yellow cereal paste thingy, cheng teng and bobochacha. I opted for bobochacha cos I didn't feel like eating the rest. It tasted surprisingly good! I should have tried the others as well but unfortunately I didn't have enough stomach room for them!

Four chocolate covered yummy things to end off our meal! (:

We paid $31/person (before GST & service charge), which is roughly $36/ person after GST & service charge. There wasn't any discount because it was the day before a public holiday (Hari Raya). The quality of food definitely justifies the price paid and we'll definitely go back there again in future (:

Friday, September 18

Da Paolo Il Giardino

Hello! I'm really glad that it's finally Friday because it means that the long weekend is here! =) Although there's tonnes of work to be done over these few days, I'm just thankful that I can take a break from travelling to & from school. Travelling long distances via public transport can be quite tiring!

Speaking of distances and proximity, Jeffrey and I went to Da Paolo Il Giardino, which isn't too far from where we live, for some Italian food last week. Da Paolo Il Giardino is situated near Serene Centre, directly opposite Botanic Gardens

The Entrance. We loved the nice garden-ish pathway that lead us to the restaurant. It was as if we were being transported away from the hustle and bustle of city life into this secluded, serene place for lunch.

Wooden tables & benches. The entire restaurant was, in my opinion, decorated with a garden concept in mind and it exudes a "bring italian dining into your backyard" feeling.

A roll of cushion on the wooden benches for added comfort. Walls with a fireplace/ brick-ish design.

A snapshot of the outdoor seating from inside.

The kitchen area. I liked how the seating and kitchen areas are separated by a glass partition. It allows us to see how the chefs prepare our food and it enables us to gauge when our food is coming!

Shirley Temple ($8.50). Because they do not serve sprite (they only serve 7-up and I don't really like 7-up, I prefer sprite), I opted for a glass of Shirley Temple! I found it refreshing but Jeffrey found it too sour! haha I think he has an extremely low tolerance for sour/ bitter things.

A basket of complimentary bread and a dish of olive oil. The bread was really warm and soft =)

Pizza with ham and mushroom ($19). Jeffrey says that the pizza is similar to Modesto's in terms of thickness and the way it's cooked but I think he prefers Modesto's because of the kind of mushrooms that they use. The pizza tasted pretty normal so there's nothing much to rave about.

Ravioli Ricotta ($24). One reason why I chose this was because the ravioli slices have spinach in them! I'm not really a big fan of spinach but I try to eat iron-rich food because they help to increase my miserable blood count. I think they could have added a few more ravioli slices because I doubt I would have eaten my fill if I'd been a tad hungrier. The sauce was a bit too runny and it wasn't as tomato-ey as I thought it would be.

The inside of a ravioli - the spinach wasn't very fresh either. It felt quite dry and it didn't have much flavour.

Chocolate lava cake with vanilla icecream ($16). This was probably the best dish that we had that day but the portion was way too small! =( I wish everything was double in size! Heh. Perhaps you can try another dessert if you go to Il Giardino because this wasn't exactly fabulous.

In short, I wouldn't recommend Il Giardino if you want to satisfy your craving for good Italian food. I don't think the quality of food justified the amount of money paid. However, if you don't mind having average Italian food at a place with nice ambience, this place will suit you just fine (: We don't regret dining at Il Giardino because we feel that it's good to explore new places (even if they aren't as good as we hope for them to be) so that we've a better idea of where to find yummy food.

Alright, that's all for now. Selamat Hari Raya Adilfitri and have a good long weekend everyone! (: