Epicurious, Singapore.

Following the childhood classics theme from my post on Le Loir Dans la Théière where the cafe took to the theme of Dormouse in a Teapot from Alice in Wonderland, I bring you closer to home and into the world of one of Dr Seuss’ best works – Green Eggs and Ham. Are you kicking up your legs and knocking your feet together already? Cos I know I am.

“Do you like green eggs and ham?” Note: I am not Sam and I love my eggs, not sure if i’d like them green but I guess I did.

Getting back on track, weekends are perfect for brunch and I’ve long heard of Epicurious but never had the chance or reason to visit it… until that fateful day. Taking a long hike over under the merciless sun, I was famished, non-too-pleased about the heat and in need of something cool. In my head I was thinking – the food better be good or someone’s roadkill. As the company I was with knew someone who worked there, the orders were decided upon fairly quickly and the anticipation mounted. 

The relief from the heat came in the form of a jugful of iced lemon tea. It’s not as great as the one I’ve had at Food for Thought but it did serve its purpose. Its essentially Lipton tea with a couple of slices of lemon, that’s what it tasted like to me but I could be wrong.

Roll-up the dishes, mine was an order of green eggs and ham and this brunch girl was in brunch heaven. I love eggs but I’ve never had them green. Color aside, the flavor was out of the park. Aromatic, creamy, well seasoned and surprisingly fresh tasting, a dash of crushed black pepper and I was rolling my eyes back in delight. The portions were generous, I mean the egg was overflowing on the toast, just the way I like it and every mouthful sent my fork diving back in for more. I was a monster on this dish and I was going at full speed. The toast was crisp and substantial enough to taste under the generous portion of toppings and served its role as a perfect complement to the dish. In my opinion, everyone should try this. Egg lover or not. Dairy lover or not. You know how scrambles can sometimes reek of the cream/ milk, this is nothing like that. Manifique.

We also ordered a choco-nana sandwich to share and all I can say is, if you love chocolate, if you love Nutella in particular and if you love banana, this is another winner. I have a sandwich maker at home and on days where there are bananas at home, I make myself a nutella-banana sandwich pocket as a treat. Now this one takes it to a whole other level. I don’t know if its the bread they use, or the method in which they grill the sandwich but the bread remains fluffy with a light crisp to it. Again, generous filling although I did wish there was a tad more nutella in the sandwich but I know that it’d prove to be too much for most other visitors. Chocolate and banana is one combination that can never go wrong but what I love is the icing sugar on top that gives a cool sweetness to the sandwich and the slight tartness of the strawberries refreshed the palate for the next mouthful. Decadent yet simple, exclusively enjoyable.

Three dishes down between the two of us [didn’t feature the company’s savory main] and our bellies were splitting at its sides. But. Because the company knew someone there, we were offered a complimentary dessert – the red velvet cake. This, this was splendid and despite the risk of splitting the outfit I was in, I was devouring it by the forkful. This is what red velvet cakes should taste like. Dense, moist, light fragrance of beetroot balanced by the icing between the cake layers and tied together with the cream cheese. By God, this cake is beyond stunning and I would be happy to receive this any time, any day. In comparison with the one I had at Ben’s, my Ben’s referral would have melted on first taste of this cake.

What else do I love about Epicurious? I love how they integrate the old school utensils that we’d typically find at our coffee shops into this Western cafe. Its so tongue in cheek, its so fun, it speaks of the owners’ character. I also love the outdoor sitting area, Quayside,  breeze in hair moments [tho it can get really hot out], sunnies on face and adding a couple of new freckles to my bare shoulders with a book in hand as I await my orders. That’s the life right? I can’t wait to revisit this place but please enjoy yourself the next time you find yourself Quayside.

In the words of Dr. Suess –

I like green eggs and ham!
I do!! I like them, Sam-I-am!
And I would eat them in a boat!
And I would eat them with a goat…
And I will eat them in the rain.
And in the dark. And on a train.
And in a car. And in a tree.
They are so good so good you see!

So I will eat them in a box.
And I will eat them with a fox.
And I will eat them in a house.
And I will eat them with a mouse.
And I will eat them here and there.
Say! I will eat them ANYWHERE!

I do so like
green eggs and ham!
Thank you!
Thank you,



Ben’s, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Found myself in the state of Kuala Lumpur for business back in November and it was one of those trips where I had some time on my hands, a free spot in the schedule. Delighted but uncertain of the scene in Kuala Lumpur, I enlisted the help of a friend via BBM and found myself in Pavilion mall, enroute to Ben’s.

Ben’s concept is that “great memories are shared over meals, thus to eat is to love.” Eating and love is a concept I identify with and perhaps that is why I felt immediately at home setting foot into Ben’s. Staring at the frames installed through the cafe, one feels an immediate connection to the space and a wave of relaxation washed over me as I sank into the couch. In fact, the overall aesthetic is something I could see myself applying in my future home – raw whitewashed walls, memories enclosed in frames… You get the drift.

Arriving at tea time, I noticed the lack of a crowd but it suited me all the better as I’m not one for people in my face. Without lunch, I was definitely famished but oddly enough I was craving only the sweets. Didn’t help that the ‘help’ I enlisted via BBM had been raving about the red velvet cake since his return from KL and enlisting his help that day, the rave continued and probably even peaked.
Settling myself along the stretch of sofas, flipping through the handwritten menu which I absolutely adore cos it feels so personal, I envisioned the writer in my mind’s eye whose cursive hand is absolutely sexy. If anyone knows whose hand penned those words on the menu, please share. I’d love to drop that person a note of compliment for that impressive hand.

Back to the orders, I obviously settled on the much raved about Red Velvet Cake although I would typically have selected a Toffee Date Pudding as featured in the menu above and a   piping hot pot of tea. Sadly, the Red Velvet Cake failed to live up to the raves. It was not bad but I guess my expectations were sky high from the raves and it fell flat on its face. The cream cheese had too much of a dairy flavour for my liking and the cake lacked the moistness which I guess was due to the overexposure in the fridge. The icing between the layers however, do get the thumbs up from me.

Unsatisfied, I requested for the menu because, as the card reads and I answer – I live to eat. Still hooked on my tarte au citron addiction post Paris I ordered naturally, the lemon meringue tart, psyching myself out for the flavors I would expect. Wrong move. When you’ve tasted something so divine and the impression has never left you, it sets you up for disappointment. We all know this feeling, we’ve experienced it in our daily lives and here I was, experiencing it on a plate. Not that this particular lemon tart was god awful but it just lacked that x-factor from the one at Le Loir Dans la Théière.

When it first arrived, my heart sang. Beautifully browned meringue, rich looking lemony tart with a gorgeous crust. I was seduced… until I sank my fork in. That’s when the melody stopped and my face crumbled. The meringue immediately separated from the tart revealing a glossy almost wax-like appearance on the surface of the lemon tart. That was the first major turn-off. But not wanting to judge a book by its cover, I pierced into the tart and scooped up the separated components for a taste. The flavors were there. The lemon tart had that citrus flavor and complemented the sweetness of the meringue but it lacked the freshness and vibrancy of a dessert as such. You can say this tongue has been spoilt  by Le Loir Dans la Théière and woe is me for my hunt for the same, or an even better version of the lemon meringue tart in this part of our world.

That said, if you ever find yourself in KL do visit Ben’s for some easy downtime and good treats. I may have been a little too harsh in this particular write-up but its because my expectations were wayyyyyyyy up there and its not a fair judgement in my opinion. So have two pots of tea, two desserts or more, just like I did and enjoy a good read if you are alone or a good conversation if you’re with friends.


A Saturday in the Park

In search of some greenery and away-from-home experience? P.S. Cafe at Ann Siang Hill is one of the top picks for me.

I found myself there this weekend just past and I love the lush greenery that surrounds this little shop house. The fact that its housed in a shop house doesn’t hurt. Entry into the cafe takes you up a flight of stairs through Ann Siang Park and you almost feel like you’re shedding the bustling roads of Singapore, thrown into a peaceful wonderland before you hit the landing and are welcomed by the familiar black and white checked tiles unique to the P.S. Cafe chain.

I’m no stranger to P.S. Cafe, frequenting the outlets at Palais Renaissance and Dempsey but the Ann Siang Hill branch is unique. For one, they bar the entry of children below the age of twelve. I do not have issues with children but the ambiance sans the shrill trills of active children does make a world of a difference.

Chow wise, P.S. Cafe has never failed to satisfy and here’s a low down of the calorie-laden brunch we inhaled.

Starting with a side, the Foutine was crisp, savory comfort food created to satiate most. The shoestring fries were infused with truffle oil and were crisp perfection, good enough on their own if you ask me. Enhanced, the fries were tossed with foie gras, mixed shrooms, red wine jus and swiss cheese. We couldn’t detect the swiss cheese in the final mix but that red wine jus-foie gras-shrooms mix was lip-smacking goodness.

Having had laksa for breakfast and absolutely craving nothing but armed with an insatiable appetite, I decided to let the one with the craves do the final orders and the mains were decided as such – Breakfast Sandwich, House Bolognaise and Big Bacon & Eggs on Toast. The Bolognaise, pictured above turned out to be the charmer for me that noon.

Starting with the breakfast sandwich, it is what I would call a nourishing meal. Simple, everyday ingredients chocked full with nutrients and freshness presented on a plate for consumption. Starting with the base of a well-made croissant, a  layer of well toasted bacon starts the sandwich off. Generous slices of avocado [my favorite buttery indulgence] follows and is topped with beautiful ripe slices of tomatoes, leafy green spinach and perfectly blanched asparagus. Another layer of bacon tops the greens and is followed by one of my favorite proteins – eggs, the yolk still runny. The sandwich is then finished with melted gruyere and the sandwich is toasted before service. A mess on the plate and in the hands but a symphony in the mouth.

The house bolognaise is comfort food plus. We’ve all had our fair share of pseudo-bolognaise where the tomato sauce is weak and bland, leaving little appetite to stomach yet another forkful. Well this tomato sauce is at the opposite end of the league. Rich, flavorful, sweet even with generous chunks of ground beef and bacon, leaving you craving for the next forkful. The spaghetti is well-tossed and every strand of the pasta was well-coated in the bolognaise. The flavor of this comfort dish was further enhanced with generous shavings of parmesan and topped with crispy basil leaves. This is one dish I would definitely return for brunch, lunch or dinner just for a pick-me-up.

Our little savory dig-in is wrapped with the big bacon & eggs on toast combo, your typical breakfast find. The elements I really loved were the smoked bacon and pesto button mushrooms, but again, I’m a HUGE fan of pesto so take my word with a pinch of salt. Every element on the plate gelled seamlessly together and made for what I would call a breakfast of satisfaction.

No meal is complete without dessert where I’m concerned and since my introduction to lemon based desserts in London, courtesy of Gordon Ramsay, I’m on the search for the best lemon desserts in the +65. So with no hesitation, I declared my desire for the steamed lemon cake. This was faced with mixed reviews at our table. I loved the citrus flavor that permeated the lemon custard sauce the steamed cake was bathed in and did not like so much the vanilla bean ice cream that topped the cake as it was a tad too creamy for my liking. My pals on the other hand loved the ice cream that topped the dessert and one of them found the lemon custard a tad too tart for her palette. As with everything, it is subjected to personal preference.

Sorbet was craved at the table but denied due to unavailability and we were sorely disappointed but not disheartened with an order of the burnt peach ice cream, a special on the day of visit. Again, I have issues with anything too creamy so this dessert does not get top marks from me as I found it somewhat cloying and far from refreshing which was what I was craving from that missing sorbet order. What I did love was the infusion of the burnt flavor via the caramel crisp that accompanies this dessert.

So if you’re craving some good chow and a little taste of the great outdoors without actually being outdoors, do head on down to P.S. Cafe at Ann Siang Hill for a retreat you will not regret. I couldn’t help but snap a few pictures under the vines after, I’m sure you would too!

Strictly Pancakes, Singapore

When you put off a craving, it bites back twice as hard. That was me two weeks ago suffering from an undeniable pancake crave so I rustled up a mate, pulled myself out of bed on a Sunday [yes, unbelievable!] to visit a joint that serves nothing but that one thing i crave, PANCAKES.

I’ve long heard about Strictly Pancakes but never had the opportunity to visit and I took it into my own hands to schedule a visit to satisfy that crave. Such was luck, upon arrival, misty eyed from the relatively early wake… there place was filled and there wasn’t a seat for me. With slumped shoulders, I placed myself on the wait list and we decided to stroll over to the mall on the opposite side of the street to catch some cool drafts from the air-conditioning.

Upon return, we watched a table check out and found ourselves placed at a table before the counter and a chalkboard menu [major love right there], devouring the menu with an intensity driven by pure hunger and rapidly made our selections. It was a major bummer that we missed the weekend breakfast menu by a mere fraction of a second but I made up for it with a customised order.

Let’s start with the Chocolate Peanut-Butter Milkshake [SGD5.00], that combination of sweetness and the saltiness perked me up almost immediately. What I really love about a good milkshake is the consistency and this one definitely made the mark for me, keeping that rich creaminess ’till the very last gulp.

As if teasing us, the staff served up the maple syrup and garlic herb butter that I had ordered with my customised short stack. I’m not sure I’m a 100% behind this procedure but I do wish they serve this up just before our orders arrive so as to manage that expectation of the arrival of our food. On a separate note, I love how they offer up butter options to go with your pancakes. Choose from salted, unsalted, garlic herb and rum & raisin.

After about a 20 mins wait, our mains were finally served and tuck in with gusto we did.

Going for the customised order, I picked a short stack [that’s 2 pancakes for SGD5.50] with 3 out of the 5 side dishes available *sheepish grin* – scrambled eggs, sauteed mushrooms and chicken chipolata [at SGD2.50 each]. That brought the total to SGD13.00 for my customised order which I must say ain’t too shabby. Taste wise, I was left less than satisfied. The pancakes were well-flavored and fluffy BUT the entire dish did not tie together. It felt like each component was cooked and popped on a plate and I could not enjoy the combination of the flavors which was a bummer. Expecting gooey, thick, syrupy maple syrup, I was once again left disappointed as the maple syrup served was thin and runny, lacking the fragrance that I was expecting of a good maple syrup. Would I return for this? No.

The mate order a What-A-Spread! which was not quite the spread i expected. This dish is built with a medium stack of peanut butter pancakes [3 pancakes] layered with Nutella and served with a scoop of Vanilla ice cream and two sticks of Kinder Bueno. Perhaps my expectations of the dish were too high but it was a visible letdown upon service as it was not quite the spread I had envision would come with such a name. Taste wise, the peanut butter pancake lacked in peanut butter flavor and actually tasted like salted pancakes to be honest and was not entirely palatable to me. As with the customised order I had, I found that the individual components of the dish were best enjoyed as separate entities and did not work together to enhance the overall flavor. A pity really.

I left Strictly Pancakes with a crave settled but dissatisfied. I would not return again on my suggestion, but that’s just me.

Food for Thought, Singapore

Heard the raves but it never struck my mind to visit the place whenever it came crunch time to decide on a venue for breakfast, brunch, lunch, lun-ner [the meal between lunch and dinner], tea, dinner or supper. Fact is, whenever someone mentions the place, I’m usually stuffed to the brim from a meal and cannot fathom stuffing another morsel down my throat or I retreat to the tried-and-tasted places I’ve visited to satisfy that crave for a familiar flavor.

So on a fateful day, my dear friend declared we have ‘lun-ner’ at Food for Thought [no room for questioning] to talk over a serious matter before we adjourned to catch Transformers 3 [which I happen to think is fantastic and the 1.5 review was totally unjustified] and abide by that decision I did.

Braving the scorching sun, I made my way across to Food for Thought from the Singapore Arts Museum [which happened to be teeming with children that day] expecting available seats as it was not a peak meal hour [3pm] only to find the place packed and to be placed on the waiting list. The grouch in me reared its head as I was still radiating heat from the short walk and the space that is Food for Thought is not the most ventilated nor air-conditioned. Threatening to walk out, I appealed to my better side to keep calm, cool and collected, holding on to the believe that “All good things come to those who wait” and sure enough we were showed to our table in about 15 mins.

Hits – concept, menu, servings

Misses – ventilation, service

Props to the simple yet tempting menu, I was on the verge of placing an order of every dish on it. Another hit are the table place mats which delivered subtle yet powerful messaging. As they say, ‘The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’ and Food for Thought definitely got that memo. I typically get lost in the wafts of smells and the clink of cutlery to pay attention to messages in cafes and the likes [above are the four displayed at our table] so kudos for that.

I know, enough of the blabbering and on to the chow. Let me start with drinks. The Homemade Iced Lemon Tea is simply unbelievable and i encourage every patron to have a go at it. The fragrance of the tea and that lemon twist is the perfect remedy for a scorching blaze of the sun. A cuppa will set you back SGD4.00.

Another drink at our table is the Earl Grey Vanilla Flavored Milkshake at SGD8.50. I did not taste it but according to the folks at my table it is an interesting concoction and i observe what I believe to be blended tea leaves in the milkshake to infuse the flavor. I’m lactose intolerant and when my friend commented that it is a really milky blend, I shunned it like there was no tomorrow.

What i really love about the menu at food for thought is the all-day breakfast menu. It’s something that appeals to the egg-lover in me as I visualise a platter of the golden-yellow glob with a generous sprinkle of ground pepper and the Full Works fit the bill. At SGD18.00, I’m not sure we got the quality the price promised but the portion was generous, including scrambled eggs, bacon, garlic mushrooms, chunky chicken sausage, hash brown, toasted brioche with roasted tomato salad. Not the best scramble I’ve tasted but it does satisfy. Really loved the hash brown balls and the garlic mushrooms – those were the two stars on the entire dish for me.

Suffering a sweet crave on the day of visit, I struggled to land on an order of pancakes as everything sounded delish but landed on one we did and that is the Duo of Pancakes with Milk Chocolate Chunks which is pretty reasonably priced at SGD10.00. The menu reads “All pancakes served with fresh cream & gula melaka syrup” and I am a sucker for the sweet fragrance that is gula melaka and i was let down by the lack of flavor of the gula melaka syrup. The milk chocolate chunks saved the day in redeeming the dish and delivering the sweetness that I crave but i must give props to the pancake batter which is light, fluffy, well-flavored with the right amount of spring. Are you drooling yet ’cause I am writing up this post.

As with every cafe, a good selection of sides is important and between the four of us, we polished off two –  the Rosemary Garlic Fries and the Potato Gratin. I absolutely love the fries, I think it’s one of the best fries I’ve had but I did wish that the Rosemary Garlic salts were of a stronger flavor. I actually had my fries with ground pepper to enhance the flavor but hey, it’s personal preference right? The serving’s huge and at SGD4.00 a platter, it was worth every cent spent.

The Potato Gratin was passable but I did love the pull of the stringy cheese when we first dug into the dish. At SGD5.00, it’s definitely worth an order but I think we had one too many potato dishes which proofed to be more than we could handle.

Being “lun-ner,” a main course was ordered and the person who ordered the dish enjoyed every last grain of the Calamari, Prawn and Salmon Risotto but the rest of the table was less than impressed by the dish at SGD18.00. I’ve got to say though, I’m curious to give the Broccoli & Bacon Risotto a taste when i visit next.

Ending the meal on a sweet note, a dainty serving of what i call The Leftovers [failed to capture the name at the counter] but it is everything you sin and crave – chocolate brownie chunks slathered in chocolate fudge, caramelised banana and topped with peanut butter. Just the thought of it is enough to put a smile on my face.


La Cafeteria De L’usine, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

What better way to start a new day in a brand new city than with a wake-up meal of brunch?

Having arrived in Ho Chi Minh City the night before, we were excited to explore the city and discover the sights, sounds and tastes of the place and our guide had the perfect place to take us. With the promise of sumptuous brunch food we took to the streets and had some doubts as we entered dark alleys..

Upon arrival, we learnt that we were a tad early and the place was not yet operational. Laughing it off we goofed to a couple of shots in the corridor in our bid to ignore the cries from our guts.

5 mins into the wait, we decided to beg the service staff to let us in and explore the place even if the kitchen wasn’t ready.. and they consented. Warm from our walk and the lack of air-conditioning we embraced our entry through the glass doors.

L’Usine marries fashion boutique, cafe and art gallery into a single space, all with a twist of contemporary Vietnamese experience. What i love is the marriage of the old and new – where L’Usine is housed, the French colonial building dates back to the 1800s and has endured the ravages of two wars and yet the interior of L’Usine is extremely modern with touches of modern vintage pieces as if trying to tie the history and the future in a single space.

Fronted by the well-lit, airy cafeteria, the entry is flanked by the dessert counter on its left and spacious seating on its right, leading you straight to the central retail space that serves as a connector to the individual areas – cafe, gallery, retail. The store is well-stocked with exclusive labels from all over the world and exudes a quirky sense of style that really appealed to me. Beyond the racks of wear, the store also offers trinkets and lifestyle accessories for you to dress yourself or your space up.

With the visual treat packed in, we took our seats at the cafeteria section and lost ourselves in the menu. With full faith in our hosts’ choices, we left the decision-making to her and settled to enjoy the view that was presented to us as the kitchen prepared our chow.

Not to be missed anywhere in Vietnam is their iced coffee and order that we did. The rich aroma and flavor of the coffee mixed with sweet milk packs such a lovely kick that it leaves you craving for more and order that we did. A serving of the Vietnamese styled iced coffee at L’Usine will set you back by VND28.000.

Sharing two dishes between the three of us as we had a Vietnamese lunch in mind, we quickly polished off our main orders of Quiche Lorraine and the Breki Burger.

The Breki Burger was an absolute crowd-pleaser with a beautifully poached egg, crisp bacon for an extra bite, topped with spinach for a wholesome crunch and tied together with a perfectly seasoned hollandaise sauce. Lip smackin’ goodness in a single bite and worth every VND75.000.

A fav of mine at every cafe is a good quiche lorraine and boy was i satisfied with the one i found here. Served on a buttery and crumbly pastry crust, the filling was well-flavored with a perfect combination of milk, cheese, spinach and eggs. Shelling out VND90.000 for that, i had no complaints.

As we forked mouthful after mouthful, the satisfaction at our table was an unspoken word of appreciation, clink of utensils in celebration and the drain of a straw in an empty glass.

So if you happen to find yourself in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, do drop in for a break.. I’m sure you’ll love it as much as i did.


The Plain & simple, Singapore

i’m a hopeless egg-head.

head-over-heels addicted to eggs that a friend once suggested i marry the heir to seng choon farm.

the result of this addiction? – a penchant for brunch with the warm promise of an eggy treat. fathom my excitement when a friend suggested we visit a newly-opened cafe – The Plain

Located at Craig Road, The Plain is a Melbourne-styled cafe with an all-day breakfast menu. [Whoopin’ yet you brekker-fans?!]

 can’t say i know for certain if its a conscious touch but the interior/ menu follows through with the theme of ‘plain’ – clean, clear with no room for confusion. Ain’t got a visual but paint this picture – open space, clean lines, raw and absolutely delightful.

Kicking off with the everyone’s favorite day-starter – coffee. Being lactose-intolerant, i typically request for soy milk for my caffeine beverages and it was no different this time around. Presenting the soy latte..

it may have been an off-day for me, or the barista, but this cuppa wasn’t the most satisfying. the fact that i’ve heard many a rave-review from other peers who have been there, it may have been an oft-chance that this one didn’t make the mark. what i really LOVE is the presentation – served on a red dish like our ol’ school kopi-house, it’s a sheer delight when new skool meets ol’ skool  and east meets west. i was tempted to pour it on the dish and slurp up like how my grand-dad use to do it.

presenting the chow..

first up, we have the Darling Eggs [SGD $6.50 for 1/ SGD $11.50 for 2] made up of sourdough toast, roma tomatoes, cheese, ham and poached eggs. I would say that’s all your food groups covered, wouldn’t you? To whet your appetite, keep scrolling..

if like me, you prefer uncomplicated flavors, i’d recommend for you to tuck into the Plain Eggs [SGD $5 for 1/ SGD $8 for 2] – poached eggs on buttered sourdough toast. scatter on some crushed black peppercorns and savor the lovely, rich flavor of the eggs.

venturing into a childhood nightmare, the bunch of us decided to be adventurous and order a portion of the Dean’s Breakfast [SGD $6 for 1/ SGD $10.50 for 2]  – sourdough toast, cheese, poached eggs and VEGEMITE (that’s a real kicker). If you’re a vegemite fan (which i’m not) you might probably enjoy this my the mouthfuls.

so if you’re planning an eggy treat, be sure to ask me along yes?