Hararu Izakaya at Bussorah St

Hararu Izakaya
16 Bussorah St
Singapore 199437
Tel: +65 62915373
Online reservations: Click here
Online menu (no prices tho): Click here

Operating Hours
Mon-Sun: 12pm to 11pm (Last Order @ 10pm)

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 8/10
Average spend per pax: S$44 (omg why do we spend like kings)
Recommended dishes: Hotate Turkey Bacon (Scallop) (S$6), Gyuniku Nitsuke (Stewed Beef Ribs) (S$18), Negima (Chicken & Spring Onion) (S$5)

OK you guys I finally tried Hararu Izakaya at Bussorah St a couple of weeks ago! (edited to add: ok it’s now become a couple of months ago because I am just the worst and I sat on this review with about 20% to go and it just remained in drafts FOREVER).

Some of you might know I went to Tokyo on holiday in May this year, and came back literally 2 days before Ramadan began. I had an amazing time there eating my absolute weight in sashimi, sushi and even life-changing lobster rolls from Dominique Ansel Bakery (OK lah I’m not so strict which is why I *need* to keep a halal blog to encourage myself to find halal options). Unfortunately I only had time to visit one halal ramen place called Naritaya near the Asakusa shrine, prior to attending the Sanja Matsuri festival. (P.s. it’s not great, but it’ll do if you’re looking for halal food in the area!)

So you can imagine how happy I was at the opening of Hararu Izakaya in late April 2017, the first halal izakaya in Singapore! We’re still some ways away from like, a halal Shinji or even a halal Teppei for that matter, but still this is a welcome step in the right direction! You can read more about the restaurant founders in this article I found online here.

So hilarious fact: Hararu is how the Japanese would pronounce the term “halal”, just like how in Southpark, the (Japanese) people at Sony had a meeting to discuss their “serusu report” (sales report) for the new PlayStation and the launch of their Brack Friday Bunduru (Black Friday Bundle) LOL I died. Loved this episode.

Also, in case you guys didn’t know, the term izakaya refers to a Japanese gastropub, and has its origins in sake shops that allowed its customers to stay and drink on-site (‘”i” means to stay, and “sakaya” refers to sake shop.) So okay lah not super halal origins, but why should seekers of halal food be denied those delicious grilled skewers, right?

Hararu_Izakaya_Foreword

Hararu_Izakaya_Mural

Located on Bussorah St right next to Kampong Glam Cafe and opposite the now-defunct Vintage Delicafe, Hararu Izakaya occupies 2 floors of the shophouse. I made reservations about 5 days in advance and was ushered to the more pleasant upstairs seating – sweet! We were asked to remove our shoes to sit on the tatami mats (don’t worry there’s a depression “moat” in the floor around the table so you sit on the edge and put your legs in, so you’re effectively sitting on a bench instead of cross-legged and risking accidental indecency if you’re wearing a skirt lol). I was so thankful I wore sandals that could be slipped off and on with ease instead of, say, shoes with buckles UGH. Or like sneakers with ratty sockettes lol. Y’all have been warned.

Hararu_Izakaya_Decor

You sit on the floor and put your legs in the “moat”!

Hararu_Izakaya_Wall

I assume all mountains in Japanese drawings are Mount Fuji because I don’t know any other names help omg let me read up more so I don’t stay ignorant ugh

We ordered from a digital menu on an ipad attached to the table – I can’t tell you how much I love this. This iPad ordering system is prevalent in Japanese izakayas as it facilitates ordering skewers gradually and incrementally. Love it. Plus you don’t have to keep calling the waitress over to take your order. It’s great, 10/10.

So anyway we started off with the Hotate Turkey Bacon (S$6 for 2 skewers), which features grilled scallop wrapped in turkey bacon. You can choose the version with shio salt dressing or teriyaki sauce dressing, and we tried both:

Hararu_Izakaya_Scallop_Turkey_Bacon

Hotate Turkey Bacon on Teriyaki sauce (S$6) – 9/10

Hararu_Izakaya_Scallop_Turkey_Bacon2

Hotate Turkey Bacon in shio salt (S$6) – 9/10

YUM I really liked these! The scallop tasted fresh and was flavourful, while the turkey bacon really helped raise the umami quotient. I’m a little torn with regards to which dressing is better than the other; it’ll really depend on your mood as the teriyaki dressing can be a little sweet for some but also more juicy than the salt. I’d say a solid 9/10 for both of these.

We were deciding between udon or soba noodles, and eventually decided on the Zaru Soba (S$8). Here’s a definition for you guys taken from Just One Cookbook:

Zaru Soba is a chilled noodle dish made from buckwheat flour and served with soy sauce based dipping sauce called tsuyu (つゆ). The word zaru means “a strainer” in Japanese and the name of the dish was derived from the way the noodles are served over a bamboo strainer during Edo Period.

So I always thought I was more of an udon girl; I find the chewy texture of the thick noodles in hot broth very satisfying and comforting. However, in the past year I’ve been dipping my toes in the proverbial cold soba waters (this metaphor does not work but go with me on it) and I’ve come to really like cold soba as a refreshing, light dish.

Hararu_Izakaya_Zaru_Soba

The ones at Hararu, unfortunately, were not great. The soba was too starchy, while the good-quality ones were more refined with a springier, lighter texture. The dipping sauce was just fine, but the noodles are really the star of the show, and to have them be mediocre is a little disappointing. I hope they tweak the texture next time! 5/10

We also had the Negima chicken thigh and leek skewers (S$5 for 2 skewers):

Hararu_Izakaya_Chicken_Thigh_Leek

Negima Chicken Thigh and Leek Skewers (S$5)

YUM. Happy to report these chicken thighs were juicy and well-seasoned, yum! I even ate the leek which had a slightly charred taste yum and wasn’t super oniony YES. Definitely a staple skewer for me. 9/10

We tried to be all healthy and included the Shiitake Negi (S$4 for 2 skewers) in our order so we can say alright we had some vegetables:

Hararu_Izakaya_Shitake_Negi

Shiitake Skewer (S$4) – 6.5/10

I confess I am not usually the biggest fan of shiitake, especially in stir fries, but I don’t mind them grilled! That being said, I still found these were pretty average – a little dry and rubbery, although I honestly don’t know if they would’ve been better elsewhere. 6.5/10 I guess!

We also had to try the Gyu Kushi Ponzu (S$10) which were the beef skewers in a citrus + soy sauce glaze (bonus: click here for ponzu recipe):

Hararu_Izakaya_Beef_Ponzu

Gyu Kushi Ponzu beef skewer (S$10) – 8/10

You will not believe how many times I accidentally typed Ponzi (as in Ponzi scheme) instead of Ponzu in this review lol. Anyway these skewers were just a smidge tougher than I would have liked, but I did enjoy the citrusy-umami flavour of the ponzu dressing. A little steep at S$10 but worth a try if you like your red meats like I do. 8/10

Moving on from the skewers, we tried the Yuzu Miso Tebasaki Chicken Wings (S$12 for 6 pieces):

Hararu_Izakaya_Chicken_Wings

Yuzu Miso Tebasaki Chicken Wings (S$12) – 7.5/10

These grilled chicken wings (tebasaki literally means wing tips) were not bad – they were savoury and lightly sour, with additional flavour from the sesame seeds and seaweed garnish! While the meat was succulent, I thought the skin could have been either a little juicier, or crisper instead of in-between. 7.5/10

Finally the pièce-de-résistance was the Gyu Nitsuke (S$18) featuring stewed tender beef ribs in some sweet-savoury sauce.

Hararu_Izakaya_Beef_Ribs1

Gyu Nitsuke beef rib (S$18) – 10/10

OMG GUYSSSSSS this was really good!!! The beef was really so, so tender, and juicy, and packed with flavour!! I swear, it was super succulent and the meat slid right off the bone and onto my chopsticks UNFFFF YASSSSS.

Hararu_Izakaya_Beef_Ribs2

HNGGGGGGGG gasm.

OK full disclosure – towards the end, it did get just a little bit jelak because the sauce was a little sweet, but thankfully the dish came with some sort of dip on the side which had a hint of wasabi, helping de-cloy the flavour. I’d still rate it 10/10 though!

All in all I had a good time at Hararu Izakaya, although I do think there is room for improvement in the quality of the dishes. Nothing some tweaks and continuous fine-tuning wouldn’t fix. I LOVE the ambience of the 2nd floor seating, and I love the ipad ordering system. I do however wish they would serve more like sashimi stuff (OKAY I KNOW this is a yakitori place ugh I’m sorry but I love sashimi help please send me some).

Also I hate that they do not serve water, and a drink costs you like S$3-6 at this place. I def got a sore throat the next day because of all the skewers and not enough water (my fault for being too cheap to buy mineral water) so either come with a water bottle of your own or be prepared to pay for water (mmmm I just do not agree with paying for water ugh).

Still, looking forward to going back and trying that amazing Gyu Nitsuke beef ribs ugh.

Hararu Izakaya
16 Bussorah St
Singapore 199437
Tel: +65 62915373
Online reservations: Click here
Online menu (no prices tho): Click here

Operating Hours
Mon-Sun: 12pm to 11pm (Last Order @ 10pm)

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 8/10
Average spend per pax: S$44 (omg why do we spending like kings)
Recommended dishes: Hotate Turkey Bacon (Scallop) (S$6), Gyuniku Nitsuke (Stewed Beef Ribs) (S$18), Negima (Chicken & Spring Onion) (S$5)

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The Dim Sum Place on North Bridge Road

The Dim Sum Place
791 North Bridge Road
Singapore 198759

Opening Hours: Daily 11am to 230pm; 530pm to 11pm
Reservations: +65 6655 8787

Halal status: Halal-certified! (Only just! Check out the MUIS list on my main menu!)
Halalicious rating: 9.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$37 (because we were fools and over-ordered, but it could’ve easily been S$25)
Recommended dishes: Pan-Fried Carrot Cake (S$2.90), Beef Brisket Noodle (S$12.90) Vermicelli Roll with Beef Rendang (S$8.90), Boxing Chicken (S$8.90)

Hey guys! Guess what – there’s a new halal dim sum spot in town YASSSS. We already have a couple in the west (Tang Tea House, Kowloon Express), some in the east at Simpang Bedok (Tang Tea House again, Enak Enak) and finally we have one in a more central area!

The Dim Sum Place was opened by the folks behind The Ramen Stall (click here to read my review of The Ramen Stall!), which is why they are right next to each other, on opposite sides of Jalan Klapa on North Bridge Road. The generic names of both joints are in turns hilarious and confusing (“Hey Liza let’s have dinner at The Dim Sum Place next week I’m jonesing for some halal dim sum.” “OK, what’s the name of the place?” “The Dim Sum Place, literally, hence the caps.” “Oh lol okay.”) but I guess that’s their trademark.

I actually went for the first time last week, and enjoyed the food SO much that I went back again last night, determined to try more things and re-order the stuff I liked. Full disclosure – I went with just one friend and we SPECTACULARLY over-ordered (#ramadanstomach), and ended up packing like a third of the stuff to go 😦

Anyway here is a look at the current menu, which is still in the process of being finalized and edited by TDSP!

 

 

The Dim Sum Place - Entrance

The front of the house, concealing the seating areas behind!

Upon entering The Dim Sum Place, you will be given a copy of the menu and the order sheets to fill up:

The Dim Sum Place - Order Sheet 1

I think because they’re still playing around with the menu, quite a lot of items were crossed out in red and unavailable

The Dim Sum Place - Order Sheet 2

Curious about the congee and herbal duck but haven’t tried!

We started with the Pan Fried Carrot Cake (S$2.90), which came in 3 squares with a crisp fried top garnished with some spring onions and fried shallots, as well as the sambal dip:

The Dim Sum Place - Pan Fried Carrot Cake

Pan-fried Carrot Cake (S$2.90) – 10/10

The Dim Sum Place - Carrot Cake Close-up

A closer look

Ooh! I really, really liked this! The carrot cake was savoury and tasty without being too salty. It had a soft flavourful body with a crisp top which provided a good bite. Loved the textures. Plus it’s only S$2.90?! It’s basically free. 10/10

Next we had the Deep Fried Beancurd Skin with Prawn and Fish Paste (S$4.90) which came with a side of mayonnaise and chilli dip:

The Dim Sum Place - Fried Beancurd Skin with Prawn and Fish Paste

Deep Fried Beancurd Skin with Prawn and Fish Paste (S$4.90) – 8.5/10

The Dim Sum Place - Fried Beancurd Skin with Prawn and Fish Paste 2

Mm POV shot lol.

Deep fried beancurd skin, prawns and fish paste are definitely winning ingredients for me so I was bound to like this enough. The fried rolls were moderately crispy, and the prawns within tasted fresh. However, I thought that the skin was just the slightest bit soggy and thick – I would’ve preferred a more crispy and delicate skin. I couldn’t help comparing it to the ones I had at Kowloon Express which were more flavourful and also had a better texture. 8.5/10

Next up was the very promising Smoked Peking Duck Wrap (S$11.90) which came with some hoisin sauce as well as a trio of dipping condiments comprising sugar, peanuts and mustard sauce:

The Dim Sum Place - Smoked Peking Duck Wrap

Smoked Peking Duck Wrap (S$11.90) – 8.5/10

The Dim Sum Place - Smoked Peking Duck Wrap

Yummm duck skinnnnnnn

Mmmm so I’m kind of a sucker for halal duck of any kind, because I love duck, but YUM to find halal Peking duck with the skin on is truly a bonus and a privilege! Personally I would’ve liked for the sauces to be inside the wrap, but that’s just me being lazy to take that added step of dipping (how lazy can you get?). Also I found that the skin was a little tough – I’d bite into half of the wrap and then basically be unable to bite through the skin, therefore pulling out the whole skin with my one bite. Not that big of a deal but yes I’d prefer a crispier skin. 8.5/10

We also tried the Crystal Shrimp Dumpling (S$4.90):

The Dim Sum Place - Crystal Shrimp Dumpling

Crystal Shrimp Dumpling (S$4.90) – 8/10

Well this was alright – the skin wasn’t tough which is a bonus, and the prawn tasted fresh, although I felt there was something missing because it was overall slightly bland. Give this a miss unless you’re absolutely craving prawns. 8/10

OK so one of my favourite things here is the Vermicelli Roll with Beef Rendang (S$8.90):

The Dim Sum Place - Vermicelli Roll with Beef Rendang

Vermicelli Roll with Beef Rendang (S$8.90) – 9.5/10

OOF guys this was really, really good. Maybe chee cheong fun traditionalists would hate this – one of my Chinese friends said she would’ve preferred the rendang with rice rather than the vermicelli roll, and commented that the strong rendang flavours would overpower the other dishes’ flavours. BUT! Food is subjective and I reeeeally liked the fragrant rendang gravy coating the tender beef cubes. The rendang gravy was just so, so aromatic and tasty. The vermicelli roll is a lot softer and breaks more easily than traditional cheong fun texture, but I don’t mind that here with the rendang. 9.5/10 because last week’s version tasted better somehow than this week’s!

For chicken lovers, they also offer Boxing Chicken (S$8.90), named for the shape of the chicken drumlets which resemble boxing gloves after the meat is scraped off the lower side of the drum:

The Dim Sum Place - Boxing Chicken

Boxing Chicken (S$8.90) – 9/10

The Dim Sum Place - Boxing Chicken 2

Unfffff chickennnnn

I rather liked this! The sauce is a sweet and spicy combo, further enhanced by sesame seeds which I loved. The chicken is pre-fried before being coated in the sauce, although I did wish the chicken skin had been crispier. One of the ‘safe’ items on the menu, coming in at 9/10.

And finally (omg why did we order so much food?! We’re FOOLS.), we had the Beef Brisket Noodle (S$12.90). You can choose between dry or soup; I got mine dry with the soup on the side so you can customize just how wet you want your noodles to be. We could also choose between original, spicy, and very spicy flavours, so like Goldilocks I went for the middle one (spicy).

The Dim Sum Place - Beef Brisket Noodle

Beef Brisket Noodle (Dry/Spicy) (S$12.90) – 10/10

The Dim Sum Place - Beef Brisket Noodles 2

OK I MEAN THIS WAS DELICIOUS

UGHHHH I wasn’t expecting to super like this but I did!! The noodle taste and texture were on point! Flavourful, and with good bite! The star of the show though was the beef brisket which had equal parts tender-as-heck meat and soft tendon! I loved it! So simple yet hearty. Please give this a try you guys!! 10/10

All in all I had a terrific time at The Dim Sum Place and am DEFINITELY planning to come back again! The food is so yummy!! And I would like to try the congee argh. Service is prompt and well-meaning. Some of the staff speak halting English, but it’s no big matter if you just fill up your order sheet and pass it to them. Last week we pulled a ” (*while pointing to a table across the room*) hey waiter could you tell us what is that thing on that table over there?”. He kind of got a little flustered and ran away to pull another staff to address our question haha ugh.

OH omg also, you know how you get SO thirsty during Ramadan, and like during iftar you literally have to take drink breaks after every 3 bites of food because you’re just so thirsty you could die? (No? Just me?) I ordered 2 glasses of Green Apple Juice (S$3.80 each) and OH BOY IT WAS SO DELICIOUS AND REFRESHING. Please try it next time! Call them now for a reservation as the tables fill up super quickly, and nothing beats that peace of mind when you know your table is secured at the dining establishment 🙂

The Dim Sum Place
791 North Bridge Road
Singapore 198759

Opening Hours: Daily 11am to 230pm; 530pm to 11pm
Reservations: +65 6655 8787

Halal status: Halal-certified! (Only just! Check out the MUIS list on my main menu!
Halalicious rating: 9.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$37 (because we were fools and over-ordered, but it could’ve easily been S$25)
Recommended dishes: Pan-Fried Carrot Cake (S$2.90), Beef Brisket Noodle (S$12.90) Vermicelli Roll with Beef Rendang (S$8.90), Boxing Chicken (S$8.90)

Krave on Bali Lane II

Krave
28 Bali Lane
Singapore
Reservations: +65 9856 4249
Remarks: Cash-only, no gst, no service charge

Opening Hours
Tue-Thu & Sun: 1130am to 10pm
Fri-Sat: 1130am-11pm
Closed Mondays
Kitchen is closed between 5-6pm

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious Rating: 9.5/10
Average spend per pax:~S$23
Recommended dishes: Steak ‘n’ Chips (S$25), Kraving Ayam Bakar ($18), Kurry Kremoso (S$18)

Hey guys! I know, I have been SO absent. Life has been a little crazy, with year-end holidays, tying up loose ends at work prior to said holidays, and of course, the horror of the impending inauguration of Trump as POTUS on 20 Jan 2017.

I’m not sure about you guys but I’ve been reading probably way too many commentaries and articles about Trump and his family, with their attendant conflicts of interests (business vs government). I came across this ABSOLUTELY ABSORBING feature on his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is married to Ivanka Trump.  I can’t even begin to summarize its extensive breadth of coverage, so please go read it!! It’s really insightful and fascinating. (A little bit of trivia – Jared is the older brother of Josh Kushner, a venture capitalist who also happens to be dating supermodel Karlie Kloss, lol.)

Aaaanyway, I digress. Back to the matter at hand – I recently went back to Krave cafe on Bali Lane for a catch-up dinner with one of my friends who lives in New York came back to Singapore for a quick visit.

The menu has changed a little since the last time I was there, so here is a look:

 

As usual, I got the Steak ‘n’ Chips (S$25) in medium:

Krave - Steak and Chips

Steak ‘n’ Chips (S$25) – 10/10

img_4763

Comes with steak-cut fries, grated cheese, a side salad, a cup of jus and a cup of chilli sauce.

Krave - Steak cut

PERRRRFECTLY DONE – LOOK AT THAT PINK! SO JUICY UGH

I don’t know how they do it but the steak is always so juicy, and so tender. I never ever encounter any tendons or tough bits, they must use super-quality meat. The jus is as usual super tasty and great for dipping chunks of meat/fries into. 10/10

As an aside, I know some of you like your steak well-done, but you’re missing out on the juiciness of a perfect medium steak!! Trust me, it is life-changing. A well-done steak is an overcooked steak, so the juices are all dried up and the meat will invariably be tough. Give medium it a try one day. Maybe you start with baby steps; from well-done you go to medium-well, and then you transition to medium. See how you feel about it, who knows you might be won over by the change!

Anyway so one of us got the Kurry Kremoso (S$16) which is curry chicken pasta, essentially:

Krave - Kurry Kremoso

Kurry Kremoso ($16) – 9.5/10

Yum, we all had a taste of this and I really liked it – the curry was rich but not overly heavy. It was adequately spicy (as forewarned by the one chilli icon next to the listing on the menu) and they were generous with the chunks of chicken breast meat. A solid pasta dish at 9.5/10.

Another one of us was craving laksa, so she ordered the Laksa Sayang Eh! (S$18), a terrible but hilarious play on the Malay folk song Rasa Sayang Eh:

Krave - Laksa Sayang Eh!

Laksa Sayang Eh! (S$18) – 7.5/10

While they were generous in topping this dish with plump prawns, this was not well-rated by my friend – primarily because she found that the tough, al dente penne did not go well with the laksa sauce. I’m not sure if this is due to her overwhelming craving for real laksa, but she did not like the texture so much. (To which I say, hey friend, maybe just stick to actual laksa next time? LOL). So yes if you think you wouldn’t mind this fusion of pasta with laksa sauce, feel free to give it a go. For my friend though, this was a firm 7.5/10.

Finally we also got the Kraving Ayam Bakar (S$18):

Krave - Steak n Chips

Kraving Ayam Bakar (S$18) – 9.5/10

So it was our friend from New York who got this, and I’m happy to say she loved it. As with my previous experience chronicled in my former review of Krave, she found the chicken really tender and well-flavoured thanks to the sweet and spicy kicap marinade, along with the tasty peanut sauce. The lontong cubes were also still on point – soft and perfectly-paired with the sauce. 9.5/10 

All in all, we had a terrific time, although I would really counsel you guys make a reservation in advance. They allocate some seats for walk-ins, but these fill up way quicker than you think.

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious Rating: 9.5/10
Average spend per pax:~S$23
Recommended dishes: Steak ‘n’ Chips (S$25), Kraving Ayam Bakar ($18), Kurry Kremoso (S$18)

Wilder Cafe on North Bridge Road

Wilder Cafe
749 North Bridge Road
Singapore 198717
Online reservations (only for 4 pax and above): Click here
Online Menu: Click here

Opening Hours
Tue-Sat: 1230pm to 10pm
Sun: 1230pm to 9pm
Closed on Mondays

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 7.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$22
Recommended dishes: Eggs and Salted Egg Crab Croissant (S$17)

Happy weekend guys! It’s been a while since my last post. As always, I have been eating and eating, but just have not found the time to upload photos and start writing! Worse stilll I’ve been OBSESSED with this book I’m reading called Shades of Grey by Jasper FForde – NOT, I repeat, NOT, to be confused with the horrible 50 Shades franchise. I borrowed mine from the National Library, it’s SO GOOD!!!

Shades of Grey is about this dystopian world where social hierarchy is dictated by the colours one can perceive, and so the Greys are the lowest on the scale, whereas the purples are considered high up because they can see red, blue and purple – that sort of thing. The dialogue between the characters are usually really funny in a dry humour way. Such great writing, like a modern day Evelyn Waugh, and more accessible.

Aaanyway, unlike the Rihanna and Calvin Harris collab, this book talk is not what you came for. I’m really here to talk about my recent lunch at Wilder Cafe on North Bridge Road before heading over the the National Library for Rent the Musical! (My first time watching Rent, great set design.)

Wilder Cafe - Table Decor

Cantiknya ya Allah (lol melebih)

Wilder Cafe - Interior Decor

Industrial chic like the former Rouse

Wilder Cafe - Interior

I’m not supposed to pixelate his face right?

Wilder Cafe - Table Flowers

As you can see from the photos above, Wilder is beautiful! I love what they’ve done with the space, it feels very welcoming.

Here’s a look at the brunch menu:

Wilder Cafe - Brunch Menu

Ignore my friend’s RIDICULOUS reflection

Wilder Cafe - Brunch Menu 2

Dranks and stuff

We ordered the Pulled Beef Fries (S$15), which was described in the menu as having 12-hour braised beef and 3 types of melted cheese over fries:

Pulled Beef Cheese Fries

Pulled Beef Fries ($15) – 6/10

So my friend and I were deciding between either these Pulled Beef Fries or the Old Fashioned Truffle Fries (S$11), and in the end the Pulled Beef Fries won out because it was more unique. Plus, we were curious about how the pulled beef would taste after having been braised for 12 hours.

Wilder Cafe - Pulled Beef Fries

Unffff – if only it tasted as good as it looked

Alas, these were a letdown. Off the bat I thought the presentation in this blue-grey bowl was not really appetizing (maybe try a platter?!), and I wish they’d used thicker-cut fries. These thin fries were frankly soggy and a little hard. I like my fries crispy on the outside and mushy on the inside. These were neither.

The pulled beef was also not the most tender, and fairly dry. I don’t know what happened in the preparation process, but I would have much preferred if the pulled beef were more saucy and tender, so that the fries could have soaked up the gravy and the flavour that comes with it. I feel like it’s a great concept, but maybe the execution/preparation was not the best. I hope they can improve on this! In the meantime, 6/10 unfortunately.

For my mains I got the Eggs and Salted Egg Crab (S$17), consisting of two poached eggs, and crabmeat with salted egg sauce on a croissant:

Wilder Cafe - Eggs & Salted Egg Creb

Eggs and Salted Egg Crab (S$17) – 9/10

Wilder Cafe - Salted Egg Crab Eggs Benedict

UGHHH look at that frothy creamy goodness and them CURRY LEAVES UGH YUM

OK so let’s start with the negatives – check out the sad few rocket leaves on the tomato (which thankfully was pretty yummy). It couldn’t hurt to add a handful more leaves to make up a decent side salad. Secondly the poached egg was not very presentable, and could’ve been slightly runnier. Thankfully, the salted egg sauce made up for this so that each bite was juicy and not dry.

On to the plusses – i liked the croissant. It lent a slight sweetness and also some crunch to the dish. I can imagine it would also save time for the kitchen staff who wouldn’t have to bother themselves with fresh toast or muffins.The crabmeat portion was generous, and went well with the salted egg taste! A pretty solid dish, although for S$17 I really would expect at least a little more salad, or better looking poached eggs. 9/10

My friend (who guest-starred in the menu reflection) got the Baked Spinach and Cheese (S$8) and topped up S$3.50 for some smoked salmon:

Wilder Cafe - Baked Spinach and Cheese Smoked Salmon

Baked Spinach and Cheese with added smoked salmon (S$11.50) – 7.5/10

Wilder Cafe - Baked Spinach and Cheese with Smoked Salmon

MMMM CHEEESYYYYYYYY

I liked this dish – it was really creamy and cheesy, and annoyingly had more rocket leaves than my croissant LOL. There was an adequate amount of spinach in it, and the smoked salmon added extra texture. It was quite comforting. I only have 2 gripes about this – the cheese/cream base was a little too liquidy, almost like chunky soup. Maybe they could have done something to make it a little more solid, like add some ingredient to bind the cream and cheese together. My second bone to pick was that they made the cream base a little too spicy. We found bits of chilli padi in it. Go easy on the chilli, and I think we’d be 9/10. For now though, 7.5/10!

We didn’t get any dessert since we were pressed for time, but all in all we had a pretty good time at Wilder. I think it’ll be a nice place to go for coffee or just a casual hang with some friends. It was fairly quiet when I was there, and like I said, the decor felt really welcoming.

It’s worth noting this place does not charge GST or service charge, since you order and pay at the counter. Cutleries and water are available at the self-service station. It’s very no-frills. Oh they also sell random paraphernalia like this Salted Egg Fries Tote Bag for S$28:

Wilder Cafe - Salted Egg Fries Tote Bag

Pretty cute eh? If only I carried tote bags more. I have 4 right now at home I hardly use.

Wilder Cafe - Openig Hours

Lol I took a photo of this so I could put up the Opening Hours info here.

Wilder Cafe
749 North Bridge Road
Singapore 198717
Online reservations (only for 4 pax and above): Click here
Online Menu: Click here

Opening Hours
Tue-Sat: 1230pm to 10pm
Sun: 1230pm to 9pm
Closed on Mondays

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 7.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$22
Recommended dishes: Eggs and Salted Egg Crab Croissant (S$17)

Hyde & Co on North Bridge Road II

Hyde & Co
785 North Bridge Road
Singapore 198753
Reservations: +65 6635 5785
Online brunch/lunch menu: Click here
Online dinner menu: Click here
Remarks: No gst/service charge

Opening Hours
Sun-Mon: 11am to 6pm
Wed-Sat: 11am to 1030pm
Closed on Tuesdays

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating (for this visit): 8.5/10
Average spend per pax: ~S$33 for a shared starter and dessert, and one main
Recommended dishes: New Zealand Little Neck Clams (S$12), Nasi Lemak Risotto (S$21)

Hey guys! Day 5 Ramadan, and I’m feeling good about this holy month so far! Sure, I’m severely sleep deprived since I’ve been waking up to sahur (have my pre-dawn meal), and then praying subuh prayers before getting ready for work. Previously I would go back to sleep for 1-2 hours but last year when I did that it was SO hard for me to wake up! I inevitably overslept and had to Uber to work a total of 9 times 😦 #neveragain

So anyway, a couple of weeks ago I tried out Hyde & Co’s dinner menu for the first time, after having brunched there twice before. You can read my previous review of brunch at Hyde & Co here.

As a reminder, here’s a look at both the Brunch and Dinner menus:

Hyde & Co - Brunch Menu

The Brunch Menu

Hyde & Co - Drinks Menu

The Drinks Menu

Hyde & Co - Dinner Menu

The Dinner Menu

I was dyingggg to try the New Zealand Little Neck Clams (S$12) in red sauce, which is made with tomato cream, roasted mushroom, garlic, lemon juice, and topped with cilantro. (Obviously the cilantro did it for me. Who cares about the white sauce!!)

Hyde & Co - New Zealand Little Neck Clams

New Zealand Little Neck Clams (S$12) – My beautiful plump little babies!! 10/10

YUMMMM you guys. You know how much I love clams right? (Do you? Read my Penang Culture reviews if you ain’t convinced. I was worried I was going to be disappointed, but my word, the clams here blew me away!!! Guyssss. They were so plump and juicy and fresh!! The sauce was also perfect – a little tangy, a little savoury, a little earthy. Super delish. I do not even understand why other places cannot make clams THIS good. 10/10 but let it be said I almost docked a half-point because I wished the portion was bigger.

For my main dish I had, haaaad, to try the Nasi Lemak Risotto (S$21), a daring modern take on good old nasi lemak. The background of this story, as told by Chef Nazz himself, was that he was issued a challenge to come up with a new dish for the menu. Coincidentally his mum, who runs a catering business, was preparing nasi lemak one evening as he was waiting for inspiration and lo, there it was.

Hyde & Co - Nasi Lemak Risotto

Nasi Lemak Risotto (S$21) – 9/10

I must say, I really loved it, both in taste and concept. The fresh prawns were coated in delicious sambal that was a mix of sweet and spicy, just how nasi lemak sambal should be. The risotto had really good bite, and had a coconutty taste with a hint of lemongrass. I know some people would be anathema to paying $21 for what amounts to an ‘atas nasi lemak’ which they could’ve otherwise gotten for $5, but I delight in the creativity of this dish. There is a mix of both irreverence and respect for the revered Nasi Lemak. Go try it soon guys! 9/10

For dessert, since I’d had the Ondeh-ondeh French Toast during my last couple of brunch visits, we went for the Butterscotch Popcorn Waffle (S$14):

Hyde & Co - Butterscotch Popcorn Waffle

Butterscotch Popcorn Waffle (S$14) – 6.5/10

As much as I think Chef Nazz is super talented, I have to admit this dessert fell flat for me. The popcorn was a net negative, generally quite dry and flavourless. I thought the banana was not terribly special either, perhaps they could have flambéed it or something to bring the flavour out and make the texture more mushy? I’m def not a culinary expert by any measure, but I know I did not enjoy this dish as it came.  Also: more butterscotch please! 6.5/10, with deepest regrets.

Disappointing though the dessert was, I thoroughly enjoyed the clams and the nasi lemak risotto. I will definitely keep going back to Hyde & Co to try more of the menu (The Steak Frites!!). I think every menu is bound to have one or two duds, but the rest of the stuff are just really so, so good. OK I have to stop talking about food now because it’s torturous (currently 1.40pm on a Friday afternoon boohoo!) Have a good weekend you guys!

Hyde & Co
785 North Bridge Road
Singapore 198753
Reservations: +65 6635 5785
Online brunch/lunch menu: Click here
Online dinner menu: Click here
Remarks: No gst/service charge

Opening Hours
Sun-Mon: 11am to 6pm
Wed-Sat: 11am to 1030pm
Closed on Tuesdays

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating (for this visit): 8.5/10
Average spend per pax: ~S$33 for a shared starter and dessert, and one main
Recommended dishes: New Zealand Little Neck Clams (S$12), Nasi Lemak Risotto (S$21)

Kaw Kaw SG II

Kaw Kaw SG
28 Aliwal St
Singapore 199918
Reservations (only on Mon-Thu): call  +65 6444 8349 or email makanstate@gmail.com
Remarks: Only cash/credit cards, no NETS. No service charge or GST!

Opening Hours
Mon-Thu: 12pm to 11pm
Fri-Sun: 3pm to 11pm

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 7.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$31 including drinks!
Recommended dishes: Smokey Beef Bacon burger (S$16.30)

Hey guys! So who is obsessed with Game of Thrones right now? Are you guys up to date? Please go watch if you haven’t, it’s really one of the best things on TV right now (in addition to Veep, It’s Always Sunny and so many others!) Anyway GoT is consuming my life and it’s the only thing that makes me look forward to Mondays LOL.

On to the matter at hand – I’d been jonesing for a good burger lately so I decided to go back to Kaw Kaw SG and give them a second try. If you guys haven’t already read it, click here for my first review of this burger joint from when I first went in Dec 2015!

So I’m glad I went back because the menu had been updated so much, and had so many more items compared to the old menu! Here’s a look at the new menu:

 

The ambience and interior still look mostly the same, although I imagine some pieces of furniture have been updated here and there, since all the furniture in the restaurant is up for sale!

Kaw Kaw SG - Ambience

I love the high ceilings for real

Kaw Kaw SG - Decor

Check out the giant Surat Yasin there on the left lol

Kaw Kaw SG has more starters on the menu now so my 2 friends and I opted to share two of them. The first was the Chilli Cheese Fries (S$11.90), featuring fries drizzled in mildly spicy beef bolognaise and grated parmesan:

Kaw Kaw SG - Chilli Cheese Fries 1

Chilli Cheese Fries (S$11.90) – 7.5/10

Kaw Kaw SG - Chilli Cheese Fries

Mmmm fries meat and cheeeeese the trifecta of a good meal

My first reaction to this starter was to exclaim “Omg why so little sauce?!” to my friends.I think that was the crux of the problem I had with this dish. I’m not looking for *fries* with a meat dip. I want my fries to be bathed in beef bolognaise sauce, I want the whole thing to be sloppy and I want each fry to be coated in sauce. Is that too much to ask?

We ate the fries with our hands, and it was SO difficult to get the bolognaise sauce and cheese onto the fries so what happened was we would just use our fingers to scoop up the beef bolognaise together with the fries and shovel it into our mouths. So as an executive summary, the bolognaise sauce was tasty enough, but there needed to be more of it, and it should have been runnier. The dryness of the sauce was a big part of the problem. 7/10

OK now that you guys know I’m a crazy Chilli Cheese Fries Nazi, let’s take you to the next starter that we had, the Castro Chicken Wings (S$10.90). I’m SO SORRY but the wings came late (after all our burgers!!) so I totally forgot to take a photo and anyway my hands were totally messy from the burger I was having. So here is a photo from their instagram page (@KawKawSG):

Kaw Kaw SG - Castro Wings

Castro Chicken WIngs (S$10.90) – 7.5/10 (photo credit: @KawKawSG’s instagram page)

So these bad boys have been baked in Castro Sauce, which to this day remains a mystery to me. A google search for “Castro Sauce” yields mixed results, none of which come even close to actual sauce (except Carbonara Sauce recipe from someone named Castro). All I can say is it tastes like honey-lemon sauce. My reaction after a couple of bites was “oh ok I think I prefer Pizza Hut’s Sweet and Spicy Drumlets” haha so rude. It’s true though – as far as baked chicken wings go, I think the flavours really need to come through to make up for the nothing-texture. In the case of these Castro wings, I thought the flavour was a little insipid. I can’t resist chicken wings in general though so I think I’d still order them the next time I’m here. 7.5/10  

On to mains! I decided to revisit the Smokey Beef Bacon Burger (S$16.30) which consists of their standard beef burger with slices of beef bacon and their signature smokey sauce:

Kaw Kaw SG - Snokey Beef Bacon Burger 1

Smokey Beef Bacon Burger (S$16.30) – 8/10

Remember in my first review how shocked I was by the absence of fries? Well it’s still viscerally upsetting to me that they would force us to eat these nacho chips with salsa that is served in a tiny cup that would not fit the actual chip unless you broke it in two. Thankfully though we had the chilli cheese fries as our starter so that helped satisfy my fundamental need to have my burgers with a side of fries.

This time around I thought the burger was slightly juicier than the first time, and the beef bacon slices were generous and had good bite, imparting a salty deliciousness to the burger. The patty was thick and generous. Could be a little juicier, but it’s still fairly juicy on its own. I thought the burger could have used more of the smokey sauce too, but oh well. The jalapeños were delightful and refreshing, adding crunch and tang to the mouthful. 8/10

One of my friends had the Permaisuri Burger (S$16.30), which is the classic chicken burger upgraded to include turkey ham, chicken floss and the permaisuri sauce which is basically some sort of yellow gingery sauce.

Kaw Kaw SG - The Permaisuri Burger

The Permaisuri Burger (S$16.30) – 7/10

Once again I thought this was exceedingly dry – if the burger was going to have a fried chicken patty with no sauce on it, then they have to make sure the patty is really juicy. To be fair they did have a small cup of sauce accompanying the burger, but I didn’t really understand if we were supposed to dip the burger into the sauce (logistically impossible, because of size mismatch) or if we were supposed to spread the sauce onto the burger ourselves (too much work, and the sauce is too potent to spread too much of it onto the burger, which then does not help with the dryness issue.) Still disappointing. 7/10

My other friend opted for the Spicy Bolo Burger (S$15.50) which consists of spicy beef bolognese topped with an egg à la McMuffin:

Kaw Kaw SG - Spicy Bolo Burger 1

Spicy Bolo Burger (S$15.50) – 7.10

Kaw Kaw SG - Spicy Bolo Burger

Mmmmm bolognaisssseeee

OK so my friend ordered it fully expecting it to come with a patty, sort of like a regular burger but doused with a healthy ladleful of beef bolognaise sauce, you know? We thought they didn’t mention beef patty in the decription on the menu because it was already going to be on it by default. But NOOOO ~~~, so it’s on us for assuming. (You know what they say when you assume. You make an ass out of u & me LOL that never gets old. So cheesy I love it!)

Anyway so we ordered a S$5 beef patty as an add-on, because we just could not understand how to eat burger with only bolognaise sauce and no real patty. With the additional patty it was ok, especially since the bolognaise sauce was tasty enough. The egg was ok for me – not entirely necessary, but not terrible to have. 7/10

So there you go, my burger ended up being the best of the 3 – I felt so bad for polishing off half of it before offering it to my friends :/ I still think they could majorly majorly improve the burgers by (a) making the patties juicier and more succulent (b) serving actual fries instead of that nacho chips substitute, and lastly (c) having better buns, that are softer and chewier. That being said, I think I would probably still come back and try to stack both the chicken and beef patties together next time and see how THAT goes LOL. I love the build-a-burger concept 🙂 Service is warm and friendly, they accept only cash and credit cards; no NETS. OOH also the prices are nett all-in prices, so no GST and no service charge!

Kaw Kaw SG
28 Aliwal St
Singapore 199918
Reservations (only on Mon-Thu): call  +65 6444 8349 or email makanstate@gmail.com
Remarks: Only cash/credit cards, no NETS. No service charge or GST!

Opening Hours
Mon-Thu: 12pm to 11pm
Fri-Sun: 3pm to 11pm

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 7.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$31 including drinks!
Recommended dishes: Smokey Beef Bacon burger (S$16.30)

Afterwit SG at North Bridge Road

Afterwit SG
778 North Bridge Road
Singapore 198746
Online reservations (only for Mon-Thu): Click here

Opening Hours
Mon-Thu: 11am to 10pm
Fri: 11am to 11pm
Sat-Sun: 12pm to 11pm

Halal status: Halal Certified! (as of 8 Dec 2016)
Halalicious rating: 9/10
Average spend per pax: S$28
Recommended dishes: Jalapeño mid-wings (S$10), Dendeng Tacos (S$17)

Hey guys! So last weekend I went to watch the new X-Men movie, X-Men: Apocalypse. Have you guys watched it? I really enjoyed it even though it got terrible reviews online. I mean, 47% on Rotten Tomatoes?! That’s way harsh dude. Even Sacha Baron Cohen movies get higher than that. Except for Brothers Grimsby, which got a 38% so I guess it’s not entirely indiscriminate.

Also I  think it helps that I’m not too fussed about the disjointed timelines (how is Jean Grey so young when Wolverine is basically entering middle age? Et cetera.)

Anyway after the matinée showing of the movie, my friend and I went to the new Mexican taquería joint on North Bridge Road, Afterwit SG, which was opened by the same folks behind Working Title on Arab St! (You can read my review of Working Title here)

Afterwit SG - Ambience

The Afterwit SG interior. So hipster aiyoh

Afterwit SG - Sauces

They sell the sauces that come with the food! CHIPOTLE SAUCE OMG

You can have a look at the menu online in high res and perfect lighting, but just in case you’re too lazy to click onto another website, here are photos I personally took of the menu, in terrible lighting and questionable camera focus:


One side of the wall at Afterwit SG also has a gigantic periodic table of beverages, complete with color coding!

Afterwit SG - Periodic Table of Beverages

Hilarious but also really paralysing when you need to pick just one.

The red and blue boxes are for hot beverages coffee/alternatives and tea, while the rest are for cold beverages. Brown is for iced coffee, grey is for canned drinks, orange is for iced tea and juices, gold  is mocktails, purple is for dessert smoothies and green is for fruit smoothies! Phew.

Anyway for starters we shared the Jalapeño Mid-Wings (S$10), which were seasoned in garlic, honey, lime, and salsa picante:

Afterwit SG - Jalapeño Mid-Wings

Jalapeño mid-wings (S$10) – 9/10

These were really good! The sweetness from the honey went well with the heat from the salsa picante. I did think it could stand to be just the slightest bit spicier, and I really wish they hadn’t garnished it with raw onions, but that’s on me. Otherwise, a solid chicken wings starter. 9/10

For my mains, I decided to get the beef Dendeng Tacos (S$17) even though soooo many other flavours were jostling for top spot like the Lime Butter Crab (S$17) or the Sriracha Tuna (S$15) ugh. But I figured let’s try the most Malay (and perhaps most dissonant?) taco first and get that out of the way:

Afterwit SG - Beef Dendeng Tacos

Beef Dendeng Taco (S$17) for three soft tacos and some tortilla chips with salsa and guac – 9/10

So I’m not naturally a fan of vegetables, like I will eat it because I know it’s good for me, but if I had to choose between a veggie burger and a regular cheeseburger, it’s not even a contest, know what I’m sayin’? So when these tacos first came, I was like, oh no where is the meat?! What be all these crunchy veggie stuff on top? But then I rolled the soft taco shut like a popiah and had a bite — my word, it was delicious.

Afterwit SG - Beef Dendeng Taco Closeup

Yummmm

It was a winning combo of tastes and textures – the soft taco contrasted with the crunch of the vegetables, while the sweetness of the beef dendeng (yes, there was some dendeng meat buried underneath all that veggie) balanced out the sour-spicy flavour of the jalapeños and the tang of the tomatoes. I loved it, it made me feel quite virtuous and healthy eating it. My only gripe is I really wish they had more of that good dendeng. Just like another strip or two, please! I love my meat! 9/10

My friend had the Cranberry Turkey Bacon Burrito (S$15), which consisted of turkey bacon and cranberry sauce, rolled in with some guacamole, refried beans, Mexican-style rice, mozzarella, pico de gallo, whole black beans and assorted sauces:

Afterwit SG - Cranberry Turkey Burrito

Cranberry Turkey Bacon Burrito (S$15) – unrated because I didn’t try it, but the presentation is so pretty!

I can’t really rate this because I didn’t taste any of it, but my friend said it was pretty good, but also really starchy and filling, so I guess you know what to order when you’re hungry! Anyway I’m putting the photo up here anyway so you can see what it looks like 🙂

Also because I’m a terrible blogger, I didn’t take photos of this amazing Sabai Sabai Smoothie (S$8) that I had, which was a blend of Thai iced tea, fresh milk, and vanilla, but dear Lord it was DELICIOUS! It was thick and icy (I need some ice guys, I can’t deal with a thick iceless sludge, gimme some slush), and tasted heavenly. Who doesn’t love Thai iced tea?! My friend got one of the mojitos which to be frank came off rather weak in comparison with my amazing smoothie, which is getting a 10/10 in this review 😀

So I am definitely jonesing for another round of tacos at Afterwit now. I had a great time, service was pleasant (although cutlery and iced water are self-service, and you order at the counter) and I’m really excited we have another halal mexican joint in addition to Fix cafe! I’ll def update you guys again when I go back for the other flavours of tacos!

Afterwit SG
778 North Bridge Road
Singapore 198746
Online reservations (only for Mon-Thu): Click here

Opening Hours
Mon-Thu: 11am to 10pm
Fri: 11am to 11pm
Sat-Sun: 12pm to 11pm

Halal status: Halal status: Halal Certified! (as of 8 Dec 2016)
Halalicious rating: 9/10
Average spend per pax: S$28
Recommended dishes: Jalapeño mid-wings (S$10), Dendeng Tacos (S$17)