Thursday, January 27

Paradise Dynasty

Hello everyone! (:

It's almost the end of the week and I honestly can't wait for the weekend to arrive! It'll probably be packed with last minute CNY shopping and some spring cleaning but since it's a once a year affair, might as well get into the spirit of things!

Truth be told, I like Chinese New Year (CNY) because of the goodies and angbaos! =) My favourite CNY goodie has got to be YUMMY pineapple tarts! My mum makes it a point to order many boxes of pineapple tarts from her usual source because she knows that we love them! My favourite 'savoury' CNY dish is yusheng! I can't wait to eat it next Monday and Tuesday!

Since we're all getting ready to celebrate CNY, I'll do a post on a Chinese restaurant that Jeffrey and I visited recently! This restaurant has become extremely popular amongst diners and it's especially crowded on weekends!

Jeffrey and I took our chances one Sunday afternoon and headed to Ion to visit Paradise Dynasty. I guess people tend to eat brunch/ lunch slightly earlier on Sunday so we didn't see the infamous long queue when we arrived slightly before 2pm. After waiting for about 10minutes, we were ushered to our table in the fully-packed restaurant!

Actually, I dined at Paradise Dynasty with a good friend just a week before Jeffrey and I visited this place together. Because my first dining experience was unexpectedly pleasant, I told Jeffrey that we had to visit this place together so that he could indulge in some gourmet Chinese dishes!

One side dish that I would highly recommend is the radish pastry ($3.60). The pastry is crispy and light and the radish inside the pastry-shell is aromatic and flavourful! Even Jeffrey who usually doesn't eat this kind of radish pastry commented that it was very nice! =) I'll definitely order this again when I return in future.

Vegetable lovers will be pleased to know that the sauteed spinach ($10) is extremely tasty! The spinach is soft but not soggy and the dish is neither too salty nor too oily. It's a perfect complement to the other dishes as well as a great source of fibre!

Since we don't foresee ourselves coming back very regularly because we have neither the patience nor the time to queue, we decided that it would be wise to order the dish that Paradise Dynasty is most famous for - the mixed xiaolongbaos ($13.80). For those who don't already know, the xiaolongbaos are not colour-coded for mere aesthetic appreciation. Each colour actually indicates a different type of skin so all the xiaolongbaos here tasted slightly different from each other. They look so pretty that I couldn't help eating a few (sans the meat inside) and I honestly think that the soup inside the xiaolongbaos is one of the better soups that I've tasted! Everyone should make an effort to try this dish when visiting Paradise Dynasty!

Last but not least, we also ordered la mian with braised pork loin ($10.80) and it was pretty good too! Jeffrey said that the pork slices were tender and delectable! I'm glad he liked it so much (: The soup broth is also thick and tasty so I drank quite a bit of it!

In all, our trip to Paradise Dynasty was fulfilling and enjoyable (: I would certainly love to go back to dine more often if possible because I feel that the standard of the dishes there is much higher than other popular chain Chinese restaurants like Ding Tai Feng for instance. Having said that, I know that tastes and preferences are subjective so you may not love the food at Paradise Dynasty but it's definitely worth a try!

Okay that's all for today! Have a great rest of the week! =)

Saturday, January 22

Da Paolo Bistro Bar

Hello! (:

I'm glad the weekend's here because I get a little more time to catch up on rest! Last night, I decided to watch Greys because I was feeling too tired from the long day at work to do anything but after an episode or so, I crashed and fell asleep on the couch, where I remained for the rest of the night till this morning! I woke up feeling like I could still continue sleeping more but because the sun was shining so brightly, I decided to drag myself out of bed instead of being a lazy couch potato.

Now that I just came back home from my late lunch and am feeling a bit of post-lunch-sleepiness, I'll attempt to blog about my visit to Da Paolo Bistro Bar at Rochester on New Year's Day to keep myself awake! =)

We decided to head to Da Paolo at Rochester partly because it is pretty nearby and also because I remember one student telling me that the Da Paolo at Rochester serves good Italian food. The restaurant was not difficult to locate because there're only that many restaurants at the Rochester area.

As it was New Year's Day, the streets and restaurants were pretty quiet, presumably because many people stayed up to count down and thus weren't awake at noon. We didn't make a reservation because it was quite an impromptu decision to have lunch there but thankfully there were plenty of seats left for us that day! The seating area is actually not very big but thanks to a floor-to-ceiling mirror standing at one end of the floor, the space looks much larger than usual.

Surprisingly, we weren't served any complimentary bread or buns, which I took for granted would be the case in Italian restaurants. So instead we relied on our large bottle of San Pellegrino sparkling mineral water ($8) to keep us company while waiting for our food to arrive. I'm really starting to like drinking sparkling mineral water but I'm painfully aware that they are overpriced in restaurants and that I should perhaps just stick to normal still tapwater so that I can save some money!

For our first main, we decided to order a dish called Tagliatelle Granchio ($26), which is flat pasta with crabmeat in creamsauce. It was one of the best crabmeat pasta that the both of us have tasted to date! I loved how the cream sauce wasn't too overpowering and that they were extremely generous with the crab meat! =) I felt so happy after eating this that I decided that I'll make it a point to consider ordering crabmeat/ lobster pasta whenever I eat at a Western/ Italian restaurant.

The other main dish that we had was nothing new - Pizza Prosciutto ($19) - ham and mushroom pizza. We tried it before when we ate at the other Da Paolo outlet in Holland Village and it tasted pretty similar. Nothing particularly spectacular about this pizza but it's something safe and it won't taste bad.

For desserts, I would highly recommend Crespelle ($12) - thin crepe wih custard and one scoop of vanilla icecream. It's a perfect dish for two to share and you'll not feel terribly bloated after having this. I actually liked this dish because I felt that the crepe was very well-cooked - it retained its slight pancake-texture instead of being crispy at the edges and I liked it that way (:

In contrast, the Torta Al Cioccolato ($12) - chocolate cake with vanilla icecream - was a complete let down. The sponge layers were hard and the chocolate fudge didn't do much to help it =( The best thing about this dessert was the scoop of vanilla icecream! It's something that I would highly encourage you to pass even if you're a chocolate lover like myself.

In short, I don't think that the food at Da Paolo Bistro Bar is any better or worse than its other Da Paolo outlets and I think it's a good thing because it means that we can get quality Italian food at the Da Paolo outlets! (: I'm sure that I'll go back to Da Paolo from time to time for some Italian food but I wouldn't go so far to say that it's the best Italian restaurant in Singapore.

Okay that's all for now! Happy weekend everyone! (:

Wednesday, January 19

Le Bon Marche

Hello everyone (:

Life's been pretty busy of late and I suspect it's going to get even busier from now on! As such, I apologise if I don't update this space as often but I promise I'll make an effort to keep this blog alive!

As most of you know, Au Petit Salut is one of my favourite French restuarants (maybe it's because I haven't been to many French restaurants in the first place) and I highly recommend their value-for-money set meals! Not too long ago, I found a French restaurant that's situated not too far from where I live and decided to give it a go! (:

Le Bon Marche is located opposite Singapore Chinese Girls' School and is pretty accessible by public transport. I first noticed this restaurant when I was travelling home last year and since then, had very much wanted to visit this place.

The interior of Le Bon Marche is much larger than it looks from the outside. Compared to Au Petit Salut, Le Bon Marche exudes a much homelier feel and it is definitely a place you can go to for casual dining, which is exactly what Jeffrey and I did! (:

Complimentary warm mini-baughette with olive oil and butter (not in picture). The mini-baughettes were crispy on the outside and warm and soft on the inside - it was the perfect teaser for what was going to be a fantastically gastronomical meal!

We ordered a caesar salad ($15) for starters. I know it's not exactly the most French of starters to order but we didn't want to have anything too Frenchy and were in the mood for some veggie so that's why we went with this. The caesar dressing tasted very unique! It was not as creamy as the usual caesar sauces and it had a little twang to it.

Because we were feeling a tad greedy that day, we decided to order a huge bowl of truffle french fries ($10). I'm not too sure about you but I love salty fries! =) There was only a hint of truffle but the fries were crisp, warm, salty and YUMMY! I loved them so much that I ate 3/4 of the batch, leaving poor Jeffrey with only 1/4 to eat! If you like fries, please order this! You won't regret it!

For my mains, I ordered mushroom risotto with something which I forgot ($23), sorry! It was one of the heartiest risottos that I've eaten because not only is the risotto stock flavourful, the portion was big enough to fill my gigantic tummy! =P The best part is that the risotto grains didn't get too soggy near the end of my meal so there was hardly any pressure to eat it fast.
Jeffrey decided to go for the croque madame ($13), which is essentially toasted bread with ham and egg. When his croque madame first arrived, I immediately thought of Royal Copenhagen Tea Lounge's open-faced sandwiches! Perhaps the main difference between the two types of sandwiches is that this croque madame is warm and the bread was extremely well-baked! It makes a good light meal!

Even though we were near bursting point, we couldn't help but order one dessert to share! After asking the waitress for her opinion on what's good to have, we decided to go for hot souffle with grand marnier ($15). Frankly, I'm not a big fan of souffles because I feel that they're just air that's trapped with a thin layer of flavoured poofy fluff! This souffle was slightly more interesting than the usual because it had a little 'jug' of alcohol accompanying it. If you were to pour the contents of the jug into/ onto the souffle, you'll get bitter-sweet souffle! Personally, I think souffles are not for me and I should not order this again in future no matter how good they are because they just don't satisfy me! I'll stick to having desserts with more body. Heh.

Alright that's all for now (: Will get back to work! Hope all of you will have a good week ahead!

Friday, January 14


Hello! (:

It's finally time to take a short little breather from work and rest for the night! The first week back at school was definitely not a walk in the park; in fact, it was everything that I expected it to be - rushed, packed & busy - and more. I didn't expect to stay till quite late every day of the week so the days felt longer than usual.

Earlier this evening, I joined a number of my colleagues for a rare (or at least it's rare to me at this point in time) dinner in school. It was pretty fun listening to them talk and eating with them =) I realise I prefer listening to people talk when I'm in large groups because I get to learn more things/ hear others' perspectives. Also, I was glad that we'd a feast made up of unhealthy local food that one kind colleague specially drove out to get for us instead of having the usual takeaway pizza.

Speaking of pizzas, I finally made a trip to the famous Picotin not too long ago! I went with some members of my family and we had quite a good meal there!
Picotin was relatively crowded on the night that we went but there were still empty seats, which from a patron's point of view is good because it means that we won't have to wait too long for our food to arrive!

We were served a basket of mixed bread slices while waiting for our food to arrive. I actually like that they served us black bread because we hardly see it around. The black bread tasted pretty normal despite its dubious appearance.

For starters, we ordered a plate of chicken caesar salad ($22) to share. For $22, I felt that the portion was a little too small but since we knew that there were more substantial dishes to be served, we weren't too upset about the portion size. The salad tasted pretty normal and there was nothing spectacular about it.

One of us ordered cabonara spaghetti ($20), which was average - the sauce was pretty thin and there wasn't much body in the dish. I guess they could have added slightly more cream to the sauce to give it a fuller flavour.

The vongole ($20) on the other hand was very well done. The sauce was kept light and the little clams were fresh - it was an excellent pre-pizza dish because it helped to whet the appetite but not keep one too full.

The highlight of our meal: a 21" 'hawaiian' and chicken pizza ($48). I'm terribly sorry I forgot the names of the flavours that we ordered but the pizza was pretty good! I realise that many pizzerias prefer serving thin-crust pizzas these days but some taste slightly better than others. Picotin's was slightly similar to Modestos in terms of thinness but I felt that Picotin's was slightly more biscuit-y. Surprisingly, we managed to finish most of it! I would highly recommend ordering this if you're dining with a group of four because the portion would be just right (: Alternatively, you can explore other options such as looking at their 'specials' board and order something from there.

Last but not least, we decided to order a chocolate fondant ($14) which was slightly below average. The lava wasn't flowy and the outer casing was slightly hard =S I guess it's safer to go with their icecream, which my brother had and enjoyed (:

I think all of us enjoyed our time there but I think I'll try to request for indoor seating in future if possible because it got slightly warm towards the end of the meal. If you ever feel like stuffing your face with pizza at a relatively affordable price, you can always drop by Picotin for a meal! You can go for a stroll at Turf City after the meal to help your food digest better (:

Okay that's all for today. Have a good and restful weekend!

Saturday, January 8

Ootoya Japanese Restaurant


I think the weather's a little cranky today because it has rained twice in the last 6hours or so! I'm feeling pretty okay because I managed to rest a little more this morning. Truth be told, I'm still feeling slightly unsettled about my decision to give up my usual Saturday morning lesson but I guess I need to let some things go if I want to keep afloat this year.

Since we'll be celebrating my brother's birthday in advance at a Japanese restaurant tonight, I thought it'll be apt to do an entry Ootoya because that's where we last had a Japanese meal together as a family!

We went to the Ootoya outlet at Suntec City on a Saturday night, which turned out to be a good choice because it wasn't fully packed and we could get a table almost instantly. The interior decor of Ootoya was simple and it had a light Japanese feel to it. There're low 'modern' tables with legroom for those who don't wish to sit/ kneel in the traditional Japanese position throughout the entire meal.

As we were feeling pretty experimental (and perhaps greedy) that day, we decided to order a spread of appetisers, main courses and desserts so that we can try different dishes that Ootoya serves.

Our first appetiser was the small potato salad ($4), which was pretty normal. It's definitely a safe appetiser to choose because most people I know are okay with potato salads.

The second and more interesting appetiser we shared that day was something called NebaNeba ($6), which is cold tofu salad! Truth be told, this dish tasted pretty strange to me at first because it was cold and gooey but I grew to like the taste so I ate quite a lot of it.

The first main course that one of us ordered was the tori salad ($16.50), which is salad with chicken strips. The chicken strips were pretty well-marinated and they helped to give the veggies some taste. It's definitely less filling than the sets that come with rice but it's sufficient for those with small appetites or those who want something a little lighter.

My brother ordered the mini maguro udon (cold) ($17) and it came in a really big and rectangular tray! I could tell that he was fascinated by the way the dish was presented and he ate every strand of udon with glee! I think we may have to order a larger portion in future because this wasn't sufficient to fill my growing brother's tummy! He thoroughly enjoyed playing with the pestel and insisted on grinding the semsame seeds even though he wasn't going to eat them!

The salmon set ($20) was pretty decent but I wish the salmon fillet didn't come with bones. The salmon was slightly dry and I felt that there could have been slightly more flavour but on the whole, it was above average. Each set comes with a vegetable side dish, a bowl of REFILLABLE rice and a bowl of miso soup. I think Ootoya's THE place to go for people who love eating rice/ eat a lot of rice!

This photograph shows the fried chicken fillet set ($16) (okay I'm sorry I forgot it's swanky name) which consists of a fried chicken fillet with a sunny-side up on it! This is an excellent alternative for those who want to have katsu don without having sauce or egg on your rice. My sister commented that this dish was good so you may want to order this if you're in the mood for chicken.

The Tori Sauce Don ($14), which is similar to chicken katsu don, was above average as well. Our in-house katsu don veteran commented that it's not fantastic but it's definitely better than expected! In my opinion, this is possibly the most value-for-money set that we had that evening (:
Finally, we also had the rosu katsu set ($16), which consists of strips of fried pork loin. My sister read that it's supposed to be good so she ordered it and thankfully, she wasn't disappointed. The only qualm we'd about this particular dish was that it took ages to arrive! I guess the kitchen may have forgotten her order so perhaps you'll not have to wait as long for this dish if you were to order it in future.

We had four different desserts that night as well:

the tamago pudding ($7), which my brother devoured after we ate the fruits and red bean at the side,
the anitsu maccha ($6), which is green tea icecream with redbean,

the banana pafe ($8) - green tea icecream with redbean, banana and some cornflakes,

and the bramanje ($6), which is milk pudding with fruits and redbean if I'm not wrong. All our desserts were nice but I would usually go for green tea icecream with fruits and cornflakes when I'm dining at a Japanese restaurant (:

I think Ootoya's a family-friendly restaurant and we had a great time dining there (: We'll not be revisiting this place tonight but I'm sure we'll make a trip down again some time in the near future!

Alright it's time for me to rest my eyes before going out for my brother's birthday dinner! Have a good weekend!

Friday, January 7

Royal Copenhagen Tea Lounge

Hello! (:

The fact that a brand new academic year has begun is quickly sinking in! Right now I feel slightly overwhelmed by the barrage of information that has been communicated to me over the past few days. It was great seeing everyone back in school again =) I won't deny that I'm feeling slightly apprehensive about how this year will turn out but I know that I'll be okay once I find my footing so all I've to do is to take a deep breath and plunge right into the heart of things.

One good thing about attending long meetings/ seminars/ courses/ training sessions in school is that our welfare is always well-taken care of: not only is lunch provided, there're often two tea breaks (one in the morning and one in the afternoon). While the quality of food varies from day to day (and sometimes within a day itself), it's pretty heartwarming to know that a certain wonderful group of people has taken steps to make sure that we'll not go hungry and that we can count on the next break to silence our growling tummies or to fulfil our desire to munch on a little something.

Since I'm on the topic of having tea breaks, I'd like to introduce Royal Copenhagen Tea Lounge to you! Not too long ago, Jeffrey and I went there for a late lunch cum high tea and we were pretty pleased with the food we tried as well as the service that we received. Despite the restaurant being pretty packed, the staff still served us with politeness and smiles and they did their best to serve customers their orders quickly.

As we were feeling ravenous, we placed an order for their signature beef open-face sandwich ($16.90), which was of average standard. The egg on top of the patty was, in Jeffrey's opinion, the best thing about the sandwich so if you aren't too hungry, please do not get this particular sandwich!
In contrast, we would highly recommend ordering the high tea set! We went for the more expensive high tea set ($38.90) because we/ I wanted TWO cakes instead of one! Each high tea set comes with 2 quiches, 2 mini open-face sandwiches, 2 scones and 2 slices of cake.

The quiche-of-the-day was turkey and spinach quiche which I didn't want to eat so the very kind waitress allowed me to trade one quiche for a slice of cake! =P I was over the moon when she told me that I could do this trade because I was having such a difficult time choosing two cakes out of the many delicious looking cakes that were on display! It was a gift to be able to choose one more! The quiche was pretty good according to Jeffrey so it's a pretty 'safe' option.
For once, I was thankful for the presence of these two open-face sandwiches: tuna sandwich and fresh shrimp sandwich because they provided an excellent complement to the overpowering sweetness from the three slices of cake (seen below). The sandwiches were fresh and they have a 'light' quality that makes them perfect for an afternoon snack.

Another delight which I enjoyed pretty much that day was the scones. There was a plain scone and a raison scone if I don't remember wrongly. Although they weren't as buttery or as well-baked as the scones that I'd at Rose Veranda, these scones were certainly not bad! I love having my scones with lots of jam and that's how I ate mine that day!

Last but not least, this a shot of our three cakes resting on a small, overcrowded plate. I ordered a slice of their famous chocolate cake, a slice of orange cake as well as a slice of cheesecake! I must say that the chocolate cake was extremely dense so unless you are prepared for a chocolatey finish, try not to order two chocolate cakes because this one is enough to satisfy your chocolate craving. The cheesecake was just okay but I liked the orange cake quite a bit! I realise that the cakes served at Royal Copenhagen are pretty dense so you'll probably feel quite full after indulging in your tea set!
Oh and just in case you were wondering where the drinks were, we kind of forgot to take a photograph of our tea cups and tea pot! We'd a pot of warm English Breakfast to share
and it certainly helped to wash down our food!
Unfortunately, we were told that Royal Copenhagen Tea Lounge is going to be closed really soon so I don't think we've the opportunity to go back for more high teas! Well at least I can console myself that I've been to this nice little restaurant ONCE before it closed! Will keep looking out for more (high) tea places to visit!
Okay it's time for bed. Have a good weekend everyone! =)