Friday, April 30

Cafe Beviamo

I can't wait for evening to come because I can finally revisit Cafe Beviamo with nice people! (:

Cafe Beviamo is my new favourite place because it is, to me, the western version of Xin Wang HK Cafe! (: The dishes served at Cafe Beviamo are satisfyingly delicious and they are extremely affordable! (: I would likely recommend this place to anyone and everyone who likes breakfasty food, desserts or just a simple warm cup of latte or hot chocolate. Trust me, you will not regret paying Beviamo a visit!

So far, I've been to the Cafe Beviamo outlets at Tanglin Mall as well Paragon. The Tanglin Mall outlet tends to get very crowded, especially on weekends, due to the expat crowd. In comparison, the outlet at Paragon seems less packed but business is still good (: The ambience at Tanglin Mall's outlet is definitely nicer but if you like sitting in an open area for a meal, then Paragon's outlet will do you fine as well. Personally, I don't have a preference for either outlet but I just hope that I won't have to wait too long for my food to arrive!

Somehow I felt compelled to order a cup of freshly squeezed orange juice ($6) when I visited Cafe Beviamo for lunch because I didn't think that Sprite would go very well with the type of food that I've ordered.

We also tried their organic hot choclate ($4) which was an absolute delight. It was neither too milky nor too thin so the texture was perfect (: It tasted quite light and you'll definitely not feel sick of it! It's the perfect drink to order on a cold day or if you feel like having something warm.

For starters, we ordered a bowl of muesli with yoghurt ($6.50) which turned out to be quite filling. I've never tried this dish prior to my visit to Beviamo so I was pleasantly surprised that this combination tasted so good (: To me, it is a healthy snack which anyone should try at least once in his/ her life just so you know how wholesomeness tastes like (:

We also ordered scrambled eggs with bread and cheese ($7.50) to share. We especially loved the softness of the bread despite its rather hard looking exterior. The eggs and cheese were wonderful complements to the thick slices of bread =) All that was missing was a little jam and this dish would have been complete.

We were pretty surprised that their smoked salmon salad ($14) came in such a huge plate! It can stand as a main course on its own, especially with the two pieces of toasted baugette at the side. The most unique feature of this salad is undoubtedly the mashed up and liquid-y eggs! It helped to flavour the leaves and gave the entire dish some flavoured moisture.

If you aren't the breakfasty type, you can always go for Beviamo's pastas/ pizzas! (: Their spaghetti bolognaise($12) was pretty up to standard but the portion size was quite small! Don't order this if you are feeling ravenous because it will probably not fill you up.

Now comes the best part of every meal: DESSERTS! (: Beviamo's chocolate brownie ($3.50) isn't one of those ultra sinful chocolate thingys that you may have tasted before. The brownie that we had was warm and it contained a small amount of melted chocolate lava behind its chcolate sponge walls. It's a plain, simple and it will satisfy those who do not wish to be overwhelmed by anything too potent.

This slice of cake - The Hummingbird ($3.50) - is Beviamo's signature dessert. It tastes like a mixture of the conventional carrot cake except that it has slices of zesty pineapples in it as well as nuts sprinkled over the top of the cake. As I am a fan of carrot cake, I thoroughly enjoyed the hummingbird and I would love to have it again in future. It is a healthy tasting dessert so it should suit those who dislike chocolatey or sinful desserts.

Last but not least, I must introduce Beviamo's sticky date pudding ($7.50). When this pudding arrived, I was glad that I followed the waiter's suggestion to hold my order for another dessert because he said that the sticky date pudding may be too much for us to handle. Not only was the portion big, the entire sticky date pudding (including its sauce) was bursting with flavours! Sandwiching the high quality vanilla icecream between two slices of sponge sticky date pudding proved to be quite a good idea because the vanilla icecream melted into the sponge cake and caused the slices of cake to have an added sweetness and softness. I would recommend this to people who have high tolerance for sweet stuff but not to those who cannot take ultra rich tasting desserts.

On the whole, I really enjoyed my visits to Cafe Beviamo and I certainly will return in future for more good and affordable food! (: Can't wait for tonight, TGIF! Have a great long weekend everyone (:

Wednesday, April 28

Cova @Paragon

I first noticed Cova about a month ago when my friend, Jieqi, showed me a list of places at Paragon that serves breakfast food. At that time, we felt that this placed looked a little too 'atas' for our liking so we gave it a miss.. which on hindsight seems like a good thing because Cova would have disappointed the three of us because we have relatively high standards for breakfasty/ cafe food!

Cova is situated at the far end of the first floor at Paragon. It is separated into two parts: the outer area for semi ala carte buffet and the indoor area for ala carte.

Because we didn't feel like having a savoury-side-dishes-cum-salad buffet on top of our mains, we opted to have plain simple ala carte and got ourselves a table indoors (:

There are many rows of nicely wrapped up chocolates that people may wish to get as presents if they feel extremely rich.

Rows of petite desserts which, in my opinion, are THE things to go for if you ever eat at Cova.

As it was a pretty cold day, we decided to order a cup of hot chocolate ($7) to share. Personally, I was quite taken aback when I saw that the size of the cup which our hot chocolate came in... it was shockingly small! I thought $7 would have gotten me a larger cup of hot chocolate but I should have known that food & beverages come in small portions at such an 'atas' place. Objectively speaking, I felt that the hot chocolate lacked thickness and richness and it tasted too milky for my liking.

We ordered their grilled vegetables sandwich on milk bread ($14), which was pathetically small and slightly below average. Apart from the softness of the bread, the entire dish was a complete let down. The grilled vegetables and almost non-existent pesto sauce made me wish I hadn't suggested ordering this dish. It is, to date, the worst grilled vegetable sandwich I have ever tasted.

Thankfully, their parma ham pizza ($20) was much better than expected. The pizza base was thin but slightly doughy at the sides, which was perfect in my opinion because I dislike biscuit-y bases. The tomato sauce and cheese were a delight to have (: Really glad that we decided to go for the pizza because it made up a little for the grilled vegetable sandwich.

In contrast to the mediocre savory food, Cova's mini pastries were TO DIE FOR! (: We ordered a platter of 6 mini pastries ($13) (all recommended by the lady at the counter) and we enjoyed every single one of them. If i'm not wrong, the pastries are (from left in clockwise direction): chocolate mousse tart, chocolate brownie, cream puff, pistachio and something tart, cream cheese and cream tart and custart puff. Initially, I didn't want to order the pistachio tart because I've heard nasty stuff about pistachio flavoured things in general but Cova's pistachio tart wasn't bad at all! In fact, the entire platter was mouthwateringly good! At that moment, I wish I didn't order any of their savouries so that I could try every single dessert that they have! I'm such a dessert monster!

I'll definitely go back to Cova in future to try more heavenly desserts but I'll probably give their savoury food a miss. It's a great place to catch up with friends or just to satisfy your craving for something small yet decadently delicious.

Sunday, April 25

Pierside Weekend Brunch

The weather during the past few Sunday mornings has been nothing short of cheery (: I really love seeing the sun shine especially when I don't have to go to school. Perhaps my biggest grudge is that I tend to spend the second half of Sunday doing work because Saturday is technically my 'break' day (break from work but not from other things!). Increasingly, I find myself feeling very high strung because I constantly feel like there's too much to do and too little time. Thankfully, I've supportive family and friends who never fail to take me out for a much needed cheer-up-meal whenever things get a little too down.

A few sundays ago, Jeffrey decided to bring me to Pierside for their weekend brunch! (: I've never had an ala-carte Western buffet before so I was thrilled when he told me that he wanted to bring me there! (: We checked out the menu before we made our reservation just to make sure that we would have a wide range of yummy food to satisfy our tummies.

Because we were slightly later than the regular lunch crowd (we reached Pierside around 1), we were given an outdoor table, which we were fine with until the scorching sun decided to be merciless!

I guess if you really can't stand the heat, you should try to beat the weekend lunch crowd by making a reservation or heading down to Pierside around noon.

Because beverages and fruit juices aren't included in the ala carte buffet menu, I tried my best to resist ordering my favourite drink. However, the heat proved too much to bear so Jeffrey and I decided to order a glass of (overpriced) freshly squeezed orange juice ($10) to share.

Piereside's ala carte buffet is unique in that it mixes both ala carte buffet and traditional buffet styles. To my knowledge, ala carte buffet means ordering dishes off the menu and waiting for these dishes to magically appear on your table when the waiters/ waitresses deliver them. Pierside adopts this particular ordering style for their 'short orders', which are mini portions of 'main dishes'. Apart from that, you have to visit their bread corner, salad bar, pasta and risotto station, egg station and dessert corner inside the restaurant itself to get the other kinds of food on their menu.

After placing our 'short orders', Jeffrey and I wandered indoors to check out their various counters. We managed to get a plate of lettuce with caesar sauce, some tomatoes and some rosti from their salad counter.

We also visited their bread corner and got ourselves two slices of bread each with strawberry jam and marmalade! I love marmalade (:

Grilled pork sausages with mashed potato & onion gravy. Jeffrey LOVED this dish! He said that the pork sausages tasted very different from the others that he had tried. I liked how soft and well-blended their mash potato was. The sauce definitely gave this dish a boost as well! It's a must-try!

Pierside classic fish & chips! The fried fish fillet was pretty normal but the fries were awesome! (: Really love straight cut flavoured fries.

Chicken dukkah with mesclun & orange dressing. Okay I've no idea why this dish has such a fancy name but essentially, it's fried chicken pieces that were slightly above average.

My favourite dish that day: Eggs benedict with smoked hollandaise! (: I loved it so much that I refused to share it with Jeffrey so each of us had our own eggs benedict! haha I'm such a greedy and selfish person when it comes to dishes that I like. This reminds me of Joey from Friends, heh.

Another must-try dish would be the smoked salmon frittata with cream cheese. This tasted like smoked salmon on top of scrambled eggs with cheese. It has a very rich but satisfying taste (:

Snapper pie with fennel with white wine cream. This was a tad too tiny for my liking because I didn't have enough mouthfuls to decide if I like it or not but in general, it's quite creamy so if you're looking for clear soup, avoid this.

One warning about the dessert counter: the food runs out VERY QUICKLY! It's scary! Whenever a waiter/ waitress brings out new desserts, you can literally see people rising from their seats and heading towards the dessert corner IN A PACK! EEKS. Anyhow, Jeffrey and I got ourselves a platter of fruits while waiting for the dessert corner to be 'refilled' with food.

After waiting for so long, we managed to get a little shooter containing mango & lemon grass crumble each. I felt that the crumble was the thing that gave the entire shooter the extra kick! Love it =)

Finally, I proudly present our much awaited dessert platter: chocolate ganache tart, lemon meringue tart and mango sponge cake. Let me give you a little advice: whatever it is, GO FOR THE TARTS. They are REALLY good! No wonder they always deplete so quickly! The chocolate ganache packed a punch and the lemon meringue helped to offset the choco-blast. I love the tarts! (:

If you're feeling in the mood for some western 'fine-dining', you can consider going down to Pierside for their weekend brunch. It costs $40++/ pax, which is relatively alright considering the quality of food and ambience of restaurant (:

Have a great weekend! (:

Monday, April 19

Haagen Dazs

Everyday is a good day for some chocolate fondue ($43.90) and good quality icecream from Haagen Dazs. Somehow, the people at Haagen Dazs have decided that serving hot chocolate sauce is toxic to the body so they now only serve room temparature chocolate sauce, which in my opinion isn't as nice as warm chocolate sauce. How strange. Nevertheless, this is definitely a good pick me up for a mundane Monday (:

Saturday, April 17

Ramen Santouka

When my friend told me that Ramen Santouka at Central serves THE best charsiew ramen in Singapore, I thought that she was overexaggerating but it turns out that their charsiew ramen is really, in my friend's words, 'DA BOMB'.

Ever since my virgin trip to Ramen Santouka a couple of years ago, I've only returned there a few more times but each visit just reinforces my opinion that this restaurant IS the place to go for good quality ramen.

If you are really hungry, you may wish to order their gyozas ($5.50). Although this dish certainly pales in comparison to their charsiew ramen, it definitely qualifies as a decent starter (:

Toro Niku Shio Ramen ($19.50). This premium charsiew ramen dish is one that you MUST try if you're seeking THE best charsiew ramen in town. It's different from the other charsiew ramen where the slices of charsiew are thrown into the same bowl with the noodles.

Jeffrey opted for the Toro Niku Shoyu Ramen ($19.50). Everything is the same as the above except for his soup base. Personally, I prefer shio soup base but Jeffrey seems to like shoyu. Jeffrey swore that Santouka serves the most refined charsiew slices that he has ever tasted! =)

If you are a corn lover like me, you can request for a little petri-dish of corn ($2) to go with your charsiew shio ramen ($17). Frankly speaking, I think having this bowl of charsiew shio ramen is pure indulgence because your tastebuds just get overwhelmed by the richness and exquisite taste of the soup base and everything else that comes with it. You really should try it.

Perhaps my only gripe is that Santouka does not serve dessert )= However, this little dessert problem can be easily fixed since there're quite a few ice cream stalls located around that area. Till I find another restaurant that can rival Santouka's charsiew ramen, Santouka will remain the place that serves 'DA BOMB'.

Tuesday, April 13

Ikoi Japanese Restaurant

A couple of weeks ago, my family went to Ikoi Japanese Restaurant at Miramar Hotel to celebrate LPP's birthday (: We have heard our family friends and good friends rave one too many times about this place so we knew we HAD to try it!

Apparently, IKOI's business is so good that you have to make reservations at least a week in advance if you want to secure a table reservation (as opposed to getting counter seats). I was lucky to be able to get us one of the two tables in their VIP room despite calling them up only a few days prior to our visit.

The VIP room is well-decorated with little Japanese dingdongs (that look like those that are sold in Daiso). Initially, I was a little concerned that we've to sit on the floor for dinner but thankfully there was more than sufficient legroom because the area underneath the tabletop was empty and hence we could sit normally.

That night, we sampled a wide range of dishes from their pink ala carte buffet menu. It's a pity that there are no pictures so we didn't order some of the dubious sounding dishes.

Simple table setting. One little complaint that I have is that the table is too small for all our dishes! We had to make some effort to clear certain dishes quickly so that more dishes can be placed on our table.

Pink ginger. Gumtoo absolutely ADORES pink Japanese ginger slices. She would have eaten the entire jar of ginger slices if she could!

Steamed peas in pods. I was first introduced to this nibbler a few years ago and I fell in love with it (: However, I don't get to eat this often because neither my family members nor Jeffrey likes eating this =( I was pleased that Ikoi served this as a complimentary dish. I happily finished an entire bowl!

Cucumber and carrot sticks. GT seemed to be the only one who likes this extremely awkward looking dish. Don't you think it's strange to see crushed ice stuck in the middle of a few sticks of vegetables?

2 plates of thick, juicy slices of fresh sashimi. Those people who told us that Ikoi's sashimi slices are SUPERB didn't exaggerate the quality of the sashimi afterall.. their sashimi was REALLY good! (: They were so good that even my brother, who's an ultra fussy eater, tried, tasted and fell in love with the fish slices! =)

This was one of the hot favourites of the night too: salmon slices with some kind of (magical) sauce. The combination was nothing short of perfect, seriously. Unfortunately, this is a complimentary dish that cannot be found on the menu so I doubt we can ask for more.

Their pretty average chawanmushi.

I never knew that these little teapots contain Japanese soup till my previous visit to Kuishinbo with my godparents and family! The soup is light and clear and it's a good substitute for green tea.
A tiny and very average bowl of ramen.
Another tiny bowl of udon that's plain enough to rival the ramen.
The smallest bowl of chicken katsu don that Jeffrey has even eaten in his life! It was so-so.
California maki - this was really good! Its quality definitely made up for its lack of aesthetic properties!
Salmon sushi with many mayo strips lined over it. Don't order this unless you're a mayo lover.

Fried tofu! It came in the smallest Japanese-looking bowl that we have ever seen! (: Thankfully we ordered one cube for each person because one cube was just enough for each person.

Mackerel and salmon fish. These were pretty well done - the meat was still soft and tender and the fish slices weren't lacking in flavour.

Chicken wings! Everyone loved these chicken wings! We were glad that we agreed to place an order for it when the waitress recommended this dish to us.

The yakitori/ Japanese "satay" was good too! (: The sauce gave the meat an extra kick.

Fried vegetable tempura - it was pretty normal.

Fried prawn tempura & fried mushrooms - these were amazingly well done. The prawns are pretty small so if you are a prawn lover, please double your order!

Potato croquettes - they were only average.

Crabmeat wrapped with bacon! What an interesting combination (: My sister thinks that anything with bacon tastes good.. well, what can I say!

Jeff decided to try their curry rice and found it less spicy than expected so he ate quite a bit of it. Like all the other 'main courses', the portion of this curry rice dish was unusually small.

Last but not least, we couldn't help but order this steamboat-ish thing. If you don't already know, I really dislike having steamboats so agreeing to share this was quite a big thing to me. Thankfully the soup base was deliciously tasty =)

Like my family friends and close friends, I will also recommend Ikoi to people who are keen on having (unlimited) good quality Japanese food for just $40/ pax on a weekend. I hope to return to Ikoi again soon for more good Japanese food! (: