Beyond Pancakes at Marina Square

Beyond Pancakes
03-131A Marina Square
6 Raffles Blvd
Singapore 039594
Online reservations: click here
Phone reservations: +65 6884 6884

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

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 7.5/10
Recommended dishes: Pannenkoek Nachos Set (S$10.90), Le Poulet savoury pancake (S$14.90)

Hey guys!! Can you believe it’s a week to Christmas? So many things to get done, so little time. I usually look forward to some down time towards the end of the year but things aren’t looking like they’ll let up, ugh. Also, I just read about the food crisis in Venezuela where babies are dying from malnutrition because the oil-rich country’s been severely impacted by economic mismanagement coupled with declining oil prices. To make things worse, the government isn’t accepting foreign aid because it’s adamant on maintaining that the country is just fine. I DON’T EVEN UNDERSTAND. UGH. You guys can read all about it here.

Anyway a couple of weeks ago I was invited to try out the menu at Beyond Pancakes, a halal-certified joint at Marina Square serving up (you guessed it) pancakes! It’s pretty special though – they don’t just have regular breakfast/dessert pancakes but also Dutch and French-style savoury pancakes, respectively called pannenkoek and galette.

The restaurant was the brainchild of Tiru, who brings with him 10 years’ experience of working in European restaurants in Singapore. After honing his expertise in these establishments, he set out to open his own joint and decided to make it halal-certified to be more inclusive. I 100% approve. (Next up, please make a halal version of Morton’s thanks.)

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#Alhamdulillah

I’ll leave photos of the menu towards the end of the post but for now let’s dive into the dining experience!

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The entrance

I first ordered the Avocado Juice (S$8.90) since my mum is a huge fan off avocado drinks and I wanted to QC it for her:

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Avocado Juice (S$8.90) – 8/10

The consistency is quite light and not too thick, unlike say the Es Alpukat from Ayam Penyet Ria. It was also lightly flavoured with honey so the drink isn’t too sweet. I quite enjoyed it, although there was some graininess almost like it was a chiku drink. Also I may have been tripping but I thought the taste was a little reminiscent of persimmon, so that could be a draw/drawback depending on the individual. I would consider ordering next time although the price point is rather high. 8/10

For starters we got a tasting portion of the Pannenkoek Nachos Set (S$10.90), featuring nachos, mozarella cheese, avocado, sunny side up egg, onions, olives and capsicum served with various dips. there was the cheese sauce dip, the spring onion dip, cheesy sundried tomary dip, and tangy tomato salsa.

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Pannenkoek Nachos Set (S$10.90) – 8/10

OK so this was interesting. I was expecting the nachos to be a little lemau (stale) but surprisingly they retained their crispiness. The mozzarella wasn’t as melty as I would have liked (which is maybe why the nachos remained crispy) but the DIPS! OMG.

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Clockwise from left: cheesy sundried tomato, spring onion and sour cream, cheese, and tangy tomato salsa.

OKAY I could not get enough of the sundried tomato dip!! It was super tasty and went really well with the nacho. The spring onion and sour cream dip was also really refreshing and light, while the cheesy sauce is a safe and predictable choice. The tangy tomato salsa was the weakest link for me though – it was a little too like raw tomatoes. Def worshipping the cheesy sundried tomato dip. 8/10 for this starter.

We moved on to the savoury pancake section and went for the Le Poulet (S$14.90), featuring grilled chicken strips with capsucum, onion, cherry tomatoes and homemade honey mustard sauce, served with mushroom/spring onion pancakes.

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Le Poulet (S$14.90) – 8.5/10

I didn’t expect to like this so much but this was my favourite of the night. The pancakes were fluffy and savoury, and the grilled chicken strips were quite tender and flavourful. Hated the onions but it was nbd I pushed them aside. I wish they had drizzled more honey mustard sauce on the chicken/pancakes because the dish did feel quite dry. I suggested to Tiru maybe like some honey sriracha sauce to go along with it – that would’ve been the bombzzzz dot com. 8.5/10

For our second main we tried the Saumon Fumé galette (S$16.90) comprising smoked salmon, zucchini strips, mozzarella cheese, sunny side up on a bed of pesto sauce and served with crème fraîche:

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Saumon Fumé (S$16.90) – 7/10

The first thing I noticed was that the crêpe-like base of this Galette was a little too thin. It def didn’t hold up under the weight of the ingredients, so we cut them into slices and roll them up before eating. We initially forgot about the crème fraîche so we found it a little dry and lacking in taste, but after the crème fraîche it did taste a little more refreshing and balanced. I also liked the zucchini strips adding crunch to the otherwise all-soft texture of this dish. I wish the strips were a little more substantial though. Not my favourite dish. 7/10

Just as we thought we were done, Tiru whipped us up a tasting portion of the dessert pancake comprising one Original Pancake (S$5.90 for 2 pieces) and one Chocolate Chip Pancake (S$7.90 for 2 pieces).

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The Original Pancakes is $5.90 for 2 pieces, and the Chocolate Chip Pancakes are $7.90 for 2 pieces.

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Original ($5.90 for 2) and Chocolate Chip (S$7.90 for 2) Pancakes – 7.5/10

Yum, I’ll say that Beyond Pancakes does a good, fluffy pancake! There isn’t an annoying baking soda taste, and the texture is really good! The chocolate chips were a little burnt, which is not the worst I guess, but not great. As for the original, it would’ve been good if it had been served with better butter, but the butter we got was unsalted and really very plain. I would’ve preferred salted butter or cultured butter to add more taste, as unsalted butter feels like you’re just eating tasteless slick. 7.5/10

All in all, I had a good time at Beyond Pancakes. I feel like service is a little casual and could use some polish, and the menu could use some refining. It’s a WAYYYY extensive menu with like pancakes and burgers and pasta and pizza – how will the kitchen manage that on a busy day? Plus if they focused on some key items and make that their specialty, I think it could do them some good. (OMG am I a restaurateur now?!)  I haven’t tried the more pedestrian items like the pasta etc but personally I would focus on the pancakes in future. I can definitely see myself coming here if I’m hankering for some fluffy pancakes, or just to have a taste of their dessert pancakes after dinner somewhere.

As promised, here are photos of the menu!

Beyond Pancakes
03-131A Marina Square
6 Raffles Blvd
Singapore 039594
Online reservations: click here
Phone reservations: +65 6884 6884

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

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 7.5/10
Recommended dishes: Pannenkoek Nachos Set (S$10.90), Le Poulet savoury pancake (S$14.90)

 

 

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Saltwater Cafe Buffet at Changi Village Hotel

Saltwater Cafe
1 Netheravon Road
Changi Village Hotel Level 1
Singapore 508502
Phone Reservations: +65 6379 7017
Online Reservations: click here

Opening Hours
630pm to 10pm daily for buffet dinner

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 9.5/10
Buffet price: S$39++ per pax for Mon-Thu (without the Chill & Grill), or S$48++ per pax for Fri-Sun (with the Chill & Grill)

Recommended dishes: Snow crab legs, fresh oysters, salmon sashimi, nyonya stingray, salted egg crab, pengat durian, bread pudding

GUYSSSS why has work (and life in general) been so stressful this month?! I swear I legit had several of those moments where I wish I were 5 again with barely any responsibilities. Except for attending K1 classes I guess. I remember once in class we were supposed to draw a bus based on this cartoon picture the teacher gave us. It was a shot of the bus from the front – but at a slight angle – so you could see part of the body off to the side. I absolutely could NOT deal with the spatial aspects of drawing a 3-D bus, so I just drew a 2D bus – a bus profile, if you will. It was the saddest thing ever 😦

Also, this past week has seen the release of six extracts from Malaysian-born billionaire Robert Kuok’s memoirs on South China Morning Post! They’re fascinating – you guys should check it out here.

Finally on to food – have you guys heard of halal-certified Saltwater Cafe at Changi Village Hotel? I hadn’t heard of it but I was recently invited to try out their dinner buffet so off I went!

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I was there to try the Weekend Chill & Grill dinner buffet featuring an international spread as well as a live grill station outside the cafe!

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Chill & Grill Options

So let me take you through the spread that evening.

I) COLD STARTERS

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Mussels and fresh prawns omg look how plump!!

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Giant snow crab legs!!

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A super blurry photo of the oysters because I was way too excited!!

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They have these nifty crab scissors for you to cut through the snow crab legs!! And a bowl of lemon water for you to rinse your hand with – you can get them replaced every time it gets dirty, but also there’s a bathroom right after the entrance of the cafe, on the inside! One needn’t worry about switching from hand-food to cutlery-food and back!

OK so this was my first plate:

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Plump prawns, ONE mussel, fresh oysters, snow crab leg and some pickled ginger peeking out from the bottom of the picture.

Cold starters verdict: I died and went to seafood heaven, basically. The prawns were super plump and juicy, I couldn’t get enough of them. I tried one mussel which was a bit of a non-event. The oysters were a little thin, i.e. not as plump as I would’ve preferred but they were still decent!! I LOVED the snow crab legs – the flesh was slightly salty and really succulent.  9.5/10

II) Salads, Sushi & Sashimi

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So much carrot on the beef salad ugh no. Octopus salad looked interesting though.

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Mozzarella looks enticing!

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Assorted sushi! There was also salmon sashimi but I forgot to take an individual picture of the sashimi 😦 You guys can check out pictures of my first plate tho where there are a few slices of sash.

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Essentials. Also I LOVE pickled ginger!!!

Salads and sushi verdict: OK first of all I’m SO sorry I forgot to take a photo of the salmon sashimi 😭 I was too excited to eat them!! Secondly, I mean, I literally skipped all the salads and even the sushi. I straight up just had like 10 slices of salmon sashimi 😩👅💦 DEF loved the salmon sashimi which were fresh and pretty good!

III) Mains

I found myself quite impressed with how the buffet had a variety of main dishes to cater to different tastes. Literally, there was every kind of protein – mutton, beef, chicken, fish, duck, and of course, CRAB.

OK this is where I confess I ignored absolutely everything else in the mains line up and zeroed in on the crab like it was a Walmart TV set on Black Friday.

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Salted egg crab omg!! DELISHUSSSSSSSS.

It was worth it. The salted egg crab sauce was creamy, salty, and sweet all at once. It’s got bits of curry leaves which of course are the magic ingredient in every salted egg sauce worth… its… salt. (OK you can call the pun police on me for this offence.)

Towards the end of my meal, when I’d had my fill of seafood, I also tried the oxtail stew:

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Oxtail stew yum yum

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Mmmm glistening

The oxtail stew was pretty good!! The carrots were soft and juicy, and the oxtail meat was rather succulent. I did think the stew would’ve been better if it had been more heated up, but that’s me. I love piping hot soup. The higher your chances of going to the A&E with a semi-cooked oesophagus, the better. (Please don’t report me I swear I’m not crazy).

Here’s all the other dishes:

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Oof mutton curry looks legit. It’s like midnight right now as I’m typing this, fully regretting not eating it during the buffet 😭😭

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Baked cajun chicken! I did not realise cajun cooking looked like this.

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This looks crazy tasty.

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Teriyaki fish with so, so many cherry tomatoes

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Wow these braised ducks look so taut and shiny

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A closer look at that sheen on them braised ducks

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Why are the broccolis so underrepresented here? I so much prefer them to cauliflower fr.

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Wok-fried bee hoon, but seriously, who can spare the stomach space for this?

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OK this looked more appetizing than the bee hoon so I tried literally a spoonful of it. It was aiiight.

Mains Verdict: Great variety for everyone, although the highlight for me definitely was the salted egg crab!!! They really got the sauce right for this one.

IV) The Chill & Grill Station

So every Fri-Sun, the buffet includes a Chill & Grill station outside where fresh meats, seafood, and vegetables are grilled on-site by the restaurant chefs. I LOVE that you get to pick whatever food you want to be grilled at the counter, leave your table number with the staff, and then have the food delivered to your table once they’re cooked. It’s a great system and it’s just the best.

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Items available for grilling

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A truly terrible photo of the beef tomahawk steak, I’m so sorry

Here’s what I had from the Chill & Grill section:

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Clockwise from left: Tomahawk steak, scallops, tiger prawns, lamb chop

So for me, the tiger prawns were the star of the grill station. And okay I think all the non-seafood lovers have long since given up on this review lol. SORRY GUYS. I love seafood so much 😭. For real though the prawns were just really fresh so it doesn’t take much beyond some simple grilling to make them taste good.

The lamb chops were also really juicy and flavourful even without any additional sauce. Special mention also goes to the grilled asparagus (not pictured lol) which still had decent snap while being really tasty.

Although I looked forward to trying the tomahawk steak, I was a little let down. The steak was quite dry! I had ordered it in medium, and while I thought it looked pink enough (ref picture below), it just was not juicy :/ I also couldn’t find mustard anywhere to go with the beef – when I asked one of the staff near the grill, he said “all the sauces are inside.” I couldn’t find it though, which was sad.

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The tomahawk steak – even from here you can see it’s a little dry, no?

The scallops here take a major L for tasting as insipid as they looked. Boy they really should’ve grilled them with some butter or something. Butter hotate is for real my fave. To be fair, there are plenty of condiments available for you to flavour your food, but I don’t know I prefer natural jus with basic salt/pepper/butter when it comes to grilling. (Unless you’re talking about satay because that’s a whole other thing).

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Sambal belacan, asian BBQ sauce, Thai chilli sauce and belacan cincalok!

Speaking of cincalok, it’s usually really good with SAMBAL STINGRAY, and guess what at the al fresco Chill & Grill station there was also a platter of nyonya stingray:

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The picture is ugly but the stingray is DELICIOUS trust me.

Guys, I mean. The portion was just phenomenal and I took as much as I could while trying not to ruin my appetite for everything else. The sauce wasn’t exactly like the kind you have in sambal stingray – this one was rather spicy and lightly sour thanks to the pineapples. Very, very yummy. The stingray flesh itself was plump, fresh and delightful to bite into.

Chill & Grill Station Verdict: Hits and misses. DEF go for the tiger prawns, lamb chops, grilled asparagus, and the nyonya stingray. Maybe give the scallops a miss.

V) DIY Food Stations

So they had a laksa station, a rojak station, as well as a kueh pie tee station where you can DIY your own serving and put in as much of each ingredient as you want! Out of these three, I only tried the laksa:

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I LOVE QUAIL EGGS IN EVERYTHING UGHHHHHH

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LAKSAAAAA

Okay I was a little disappointed with this laksa – the gravy was too thick and not tasty enough. It fell a little flat for me. However I did still enjoy it because I love all laksa and fishcake and quail’s eggs and taupok lol.

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Nodding while doing this 🤔

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That jar cover was really the one thing standing in the way of making my own kueh pie tee. It’s one effort too many to lift that up and try to put it aside somewhere.

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Rojak Station! Also efforttttttt.

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Ingredients for the rojak

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I actually really love rojak sauce ugh but idk the ingredients did not look too inspiring so I strategically left this out.

DIY Stations verdict: Fun for those who like to feel like they’re cooking, or like they’re in control of whatever they’re eating. Otherwise, I’d give them a miss in favour of other more delicious food! (Like a second helping of the cold seafood dishes, which I totally went for).

VI) Dessert Selection

The dessert selection was quite extensive!! They had lots of mini cakes, nyonya kuehs, asian desserts as well as western offerings like bread pudding! There was also some ice cream but I also did not remember to take a photo :/ I was too distracted and excited by the other desserts!

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Pengat Durian – truly the jewel in the dessert crown at Saltwater

LOVEDDDD the pengat durian so so much!! In case you guys didn’t know, pengat durian is made from simmering durian pulp in coconut milk and fresh milk, together with some pandan leaves and gula melaka thrown in. I’m not usually a big fan of durian derivatives (like durian ice cream eww bye) but thisssss was sooooo so good. WHY AM I TYPING THIS AT MIDNIGHT UGH NOW THIS IS ALL I WANT. It was sweet, a little bitter, and oh so so creamy.

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Assorted mini cakes that I didn’t get to try 😦

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Steamed cake and ang ku kueh which had a great peanutty filling but whose skin was a little tough

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Fruits!! I had a couple of slices just because. Even though I was bursting at the seams by this point.

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Clockwise from left: Caramel cheesecake YUMMMM, pengat durian (SUPER YUMMMM), assorted nyonya kuehs (I love peeling off the kueh lapis layer by layer unffff), and BREAD PUDDING that was really yummy!

Desserts verdict: LOVED IT. Loved the variety (I don’t need a chocolate fondue and other fancy stuff), and I was VERY happy with the pengat durian, the caramel cheesecake, and the bread pudding. Textures and tastes were on point.

Overall Saltwater Cafe buffet verdict: This restaurant is about as far east of Singapore as I am far west, but I had a really good time overall!! The spread is quite extensive, and all my basic buffet needs are met! – terrific cold seafood starters WITH OYSTERS – yassss. Crab of some sort – yasssss. Grilled red meat of some sort – yassss. A variety of dessert options – yassss. Done and done. In fact, I’ve already made plans to go eat with my friends when one of us comes back from London for winter break 😀

Service is good; we had a particularly helpful wait staff who replaced our handwash bowls, got us more napkins, and gave us extra cutlery etc. The place is not too crowded and can be pretty peaceful! It’s def not one of those places where the crab tray is left with only empty claws lol, h8 those.

I’ll leave you guys with pictures of my plates as a summary of my experience at Saltwater Cafe:

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Plate 1: COLD SEAFOOD STARTERS YASSSS

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Plate 2: Shrimp fried rice, nyonya stingray, grilled asparagus & salted egg crab. The latter three were TERRIF.

 

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Plate 3: Grilled stuff!

Plate 4 (not pictured): MORE COLD SEAFOOD STARTERS AND SASHIMI.

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Plate 5: Dessert!

 

Saltwater Cafe
1 Netheravon Road
Changi Village Hotel Level 1
Singapore 508502
Phone Reservations: +65 6379 7017
Online Reservations: click here

Opening Hours
630pm to 10pm daily for buffet dinner

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 9.5/10
Buffet price: S$39++ per pax for Mon-Thu (without the Chill & Grill), or S$48++ per pax for Fri-Sun (with the Chill & Grill)

Recommended dishes: Snow crab legs, fresh oysters, salmon sashimi, nyonya stingray, salted egg crab, pengat durian, bread pudding

The Halia at Botanic Gardens’ Weekday Easy Breakfast

The Halia
1 Cluny Road, Ginger Garden (enter via Tyersall Avenue)
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Singapore 259569
Reservations: +65 8444 1148 or general.hsbg@halia.com.sg
Note: Reservations not accepted for brunch and tea
Weekday Easy Breakfast Menu: Click here
Ala Carte Menus: Click here

Opening Hours
Weekday Easy Breakfast: 9am to 11am Mon-Fri except PH
Mon-Thu: 12pm to 930pm (Last seating)
Fri & PH eve: 12pm to 10pm
Weekends & PH Dinner: 4pm to 10pm (Last seating)
Weekends & PH Brunch: 10am to 4pm
Weekends & PH Afternoon Tea: 3pm to 5pm

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 8/10
Favourite Dishes: Chilli Crab Eggs (S$14), 62.5deg Poached Eggs (S$18), The Banana & Almond Drink (S$7) 

Okay so in my last post I totally forgot to ask – did you guys go for the Backstreet Boys concert two Saturdays ago?!?!?! I diddddd and it was great, although I truly preferred the one from 2015 because I felt they were fresher then. Plus the venue was the Star Performing Arts Centre at the Star Vista, which was smaller and much more intimate! They just seemed more tired this time, and Brian was struggling to get his voice out – it was kind of heartbreaking actually ugh. I think it’s their Vegas residency tiring them out! Did you guys know they’ll have to perform 26 shows within 1 year from Mar 2017 to Feb 2018? Pretty intense huh.

Anyway, they still managed to put up a good show and I had a memorable night with my girls! I hope it was just as fun for those of you who went, sauna feels notwithstanding.

Sooooooo I was invited to try the new Weekday Easy Breakfast menu at The Halia at Singapore Botanic Gardens a couple of weeks ago. It was pretty tragic that I had to take AM leave for this menu that would only be accessible to folks living the dream and able to have leisurely breakfast outside in the morning, but ok no whining.

Again, you guys can check out the menu here.

We dove right in to the Chilli Crab & Eggs (S$14) which consisted of chilli crab dip with two 62.5 deg poached eggs and some crostinis for dipping:

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Chilli Crab & Eggs (S$14) – 9.5/10

OMG guys this was actually my favourite item on their Weekday Easy Breakfast menu for real. The chilli crab dip was tangy, mildly spicy and came with a generous portion of crab meat. The sauce with the runny eggs and the crispy crostini made for a dream combination. I liked that because it was crostini rather than bread, it made the dish lighter and more suitable for breakfast. They probably should do a mantou option though for those more accustomed to heavier breakfasts!! UNFFF I love a good fluffy mantou bun. 9.5/10

On a side note, did you guys know that for their regular menu Chilli Crab Pasta, it is a little sweeter by default to cater to international tastebuds, but you can inform your waiter to make it a little spicier to suit your preference? I think I would def do that next time as I don’t like it quite as sweet.

Anyway we moved on to the 62.5 Deg Poached Eggs (S$18), feauring sautéed spinach, smoked capsicum & truffle salsa, and two perfectly poached eggs on top of a thick slice of toast:

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62.5 deg Poached Eggs (S$18) – 9/10

So 62.5deg is the precise temperature at which time the whites of the egg cooks, but not the yolk, so you get the runniest of eggs yummmmmm. And my friend is going to call me a basic brunch bish for liking this (you know who you are, Z) but I dooooo!! I loved the whole combination of runny eggs with the savoury sautéed spinach and the smokey salsa. It was balanced, nutritious, and delicious. A little bit steep for what it is though. 9/10

Next up was the Smashed Avocado on Toasted Sourdough (S$12 per slice/ $22 for 2 slices), consisting of avocado, tomatoes and feta cheese on a bed of sourdough:

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Smashed Avocado on Toasted Sourdough (S$12 per slice or $22 per 2 slices) – 6/10

Yet another millennial brunch staple, the avocado toast has gotten a pretty bad rep among the older folks of a more… crotchety disposition. Like the Australian millionaire who implied earlier this year that the younger generation can’t afford to buy property because they’re frittering their money away on fancy toasts and overpriced coffee (eyeroll). You guys can read all about it here lol.

BUT I LOVE AVOCADO TOAST! When done right, that is, and unfortunately I didn’t quite like The Halia’s version. The smashed avocado combined with the juices from the diced tomato to make the bread pretty soggy. Plus who wants that much tomato on their avocado toast, and in such giant chunks?! Please, no. The cut chilli with the feta cheese thankfully salvaged this dish from becoming a total mess. 6/10

Some side comments – the best avocado toast I’ve had was from Sydney – the avocados (and generally most produce) are just so, so fresh in Australia, and sliced rather than mashed. This version had some lime, chilli and coriander (my fave omg) so altogether it was pretty friggin delishussss.

We then had a selection of yet more Toast with a Trio of Spreads (S$12), consisting of  sourdough, baguette, brioche & focaccia, served with pineapple ginger jam, homemade kaya & honeycomb butter:

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Toast with Trio of Spreads (S$12) – 6/10

OK I love toast, but I think we were so busy trying to take photos of the food that by the time I got around to eating it, the toast was pretty stale and not great. I can imagine though if they were still freshly toasted, crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside, they would taste pretty good.

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L-R: Honeycomb butter, pineapple ginger jam, and homemade kaya

My favourite spread was for sure the pineapple ginger jam, which tasted a little like the pineapple tart jam, yum! Plus the hint of ginger spice prevented the spread from becoming too cloying. Not a big fan of the kaya which, while being fragrant, also possessed a slick texture not unlike mayo (which I really do not like). Pass on the kaya. The honeycomb butter was also not really to my liking. The texture felt like butter lite, or like whipped cream plus butter, and the taste wasn’t buttery enough to balance the sweetness from the honeycomb. Pass. 6/10

Another side note – my favourite butter ever is Pepe Saya butter which I tasted for the first time in Sydney a couple of years ago. UGH THE BEST. I always buy a couple of wheels back home with me when I go over for work.

Finally to close our savoury mains, we tried the Braised Wagyu Masala Beef (S$22), which is a playful rendition of Nasi Lemak, using wagyu beef for the ‘rendang’ and paprika hazelnuts instead of anchovies, served alongside coconut pandan rice and topped with a sunny side up!

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Braised Wagyu Masala Beef – 6.5/10

Oh boy I had high hopes for this dish, particularly for the beef, but I found it quite a letdown. I thought the beef was a little dry and not as tender – I was really expecting some melt-in-your-mouth savoury deliciousness exploding in my mouth for real, but this was a little underwhelming. I really liked the sambal, thankfully – it’s made with gingerflower and was really light and tangy with just enough heat. I also dug the pickles on the side, those were really yummy too. I think once you get everything together in one spoonful, it’ll taste great, but the beef remains disappointing. 6.5/10

We moved on to the sweeter dishes starting with the Superfood Granola (S$12) with Greek yoghurt, poached blueberries, kiwis and honey:

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Superfood Granola (S$12) – 9/10

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Mmmm i liked this a lot! The yoghurt wasn’t overly tart, and there were bits of chewy dried fruit within the granola for added texture/sweetness. You can sweeten the granola to suit your taste, so that’s good. Super delicious and nutritious. One thing though is that I thought S$12 for granola is a little steep, but I guess you can indulge once in a while. 9/10

Finally we tried the Organic Chia Seed Porridge (S$13) with strawberry and mango smoothie, fresh fruits, dried papaya and kiwi:

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Organic Chia Seed Porridge (S$13) – 5/10

Oof as a matter of personal taste I truly did not like this. It was just like mouthfuls of mush, and everything tasted like candy, so maybe both kids and their grandparents would have enjoyed this more haha. Jokes aside, this was def one of the weak points in their breakfast offerings to me. 5/10

ANYWAY the drinks were so good!!! My absolute fave was the Banana & Almond Drink (S$7) with vanilla extract, yoghurt and honey. It’s so delicious without being too thick or sweet, and comes with dehydrated yoghurt around the rim of the cup for that refreshing tang.

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Banana & Almond Drink (S$7) – 10/10

I also tried the exceedingly pretty Lychee & Thyme drink (S$8) which came deconstructed with a side of thyme syrup and two lychees:
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Lychee & Thyme Drink (S$8) – 8/10

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Gorge.

So that was my take on the Halia’s Easy Breakfast menu; I’d say this would be a terrific breakfast option for a business meeting, or for people who an work remotely. For me though if I had the morning off I’d much rather stay in or get like kaya toast (steamed versh) from downstairs or something haha. The 2 items that would draw me back would probably be the Chilli Crab Eggs (S$14), and the 62.5 deg Poached Eggs (S$18).

The Halia
1 Cluny Road, Ginger Garden (enter via Tyersall Avenue)
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Singapore 259569
Reservations: +65 8444 1148 or general.hsbg@halia.com.sg
Note: Reservations not accepted for brunch and tea
Weekday Easy Breakfast Menu: Click here
Ala Carte Menus: Click here

Opening Hours
Weekday Easy Breakfast: 9am to 11am Mon-Fri except PH
Mon-Thu: 12pm to 930pm (Last seating)
Fri & PH eve: 12pm to 10pm
Weekends & PH Dinner: 4pm to 10pm (Last seating)
Weekends & PH Brunch: 10am to 4pm
Weekends & PH Afternoon Tea: 3pm to 5pm

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 8/10
Favourite Dishes: Chilli Crab Eggs (S$14), 62.5deg Poached Eggs (S$18), The Banana & Almond Drink (S$7) 

Blue Jasmine at Park Hotel Farrer Park

Blue Jasmine
5th Floor, Park Hotel Farrer Park
10 Farrer Park Station Road
Singapore 217564
Tel: +65 6824 8851
Online Reservations: Click here
Nearest MRT Station: Farrer Park (NE8) Exit A

Opening Hours: 1130am to 10pm daily
Anchan Buffet Dinner Hours: 630pm to 10pm on Thu-Sat

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 9.5/10
Recommended dishes: Tiger Cry Beef Salad (S$20), Prawn Tom Yum Soup (S$20), Larb Chicken Balls (S$12), Glass Noodles (S$16), Crab Meat Yellow Curry (S$26)

Hey guys! As we speak I’m sitting in a hotel room at the Ritz, where my friends and I are having a staycay for a joint bachelorette party and a farewell party for our friend who’s leaving for London to do her masters! 😭 We’re having some down time now so I thought it would be the perfect time to catch up on my reviews 🙂

Last week I had the privilege of trying out the halal-certified Thai restaurant at Park Hotel Farrer Park called Blue Jasmine. It was my first time going to the hotel, which is situated at Farrer Park MRT station on the Northeast Line (exit A I think?).

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Located on the 5th floor of Park Hotel Farrer Park, Blue Jasmine has both indoor and outdoor seating – indoors is of course comfortable and air conditioned, although in the evenings the al fresco area is also really lovely and romantic!

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Beautiful shadows on the ceiling!

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Super romantic outdoor seating

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Blue Jasmine is helmed by the Malaysian Chef Bright, who spent 8 years cooking in Thailand before coming to Singapore. He brings his pedigree and regional experience to the kitchen, together with his 2 chefs Khun Nipaporn and Khun Donnapa, both of whom hail from Chiang Mai.

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Chef Bright, pictured here with his sous chef Khun Nipaporn (they are so cute together!)

Here’s a look at the menu:

So as you can see, we had a choice of either going for the semi-buffet, in which case we would be served a main and still get to help ourselves to the buffet spread – or, we could go for the à la carte menu. Naturally we tried both options to get a more complete experience.

To kick off the à la carte menu tasting, we first tried the Tiger Cry Beef Salad (S$20), consisting of grilled beef slices in thai herbs and smoked chilli dressing:

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Tiger Cry Beef Salad (S$20) – 10/10

OK no kidding, this Tiger Cry Beef Salad was SO, so delicious and life-changing. The Australian beef strips were perfectly cooked and totally tender,  filling our mouths with a sweet/spicy/tangy taste with every bite. I could def taste a hint of lime and coriander, which i loved. I can’t emphasize enough how good this dish was ugh please go try it. I was so tempted to finish the whole plate but had to stop myself lest I got way too full to try the other dishes. 10/10

Chef Bright also recommended the Prawn Tom Yum Soup (S$20) which we tried with the red paste option (as opposed to clear option):

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Prawn Tom Yum Soup (S$20) – 10/10

Wow guys, this soup was really robust, rich and bursting with flavour! To top things off, it was chockfull of plump prawns and oyster mushrooms. I had no complaints about this soup. 10/10

Next up on the starter list was the Larb Chicken Balls (S$12), featuring minced chicken balls coated in crispy ground rice, roasted with chilli and kaffir lime leaves, and served with a nam jim jeow dip made from Thai crushed red peppers and tamarind:

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Larb Chicken Balls (S$12) – 9/10

Yassss the chicken balls were also really yummy! Underneath the crunchy toasted rice coating, the minced chicken was real juicy and when you dip it in the spicy dip, it just adds more punch. We asked Chef Bright what larb meant (because it sounds frighteningly like lard lol) and he says larb dishes usually comprise some sort of minced meat chopped together with fish sauce, chilli flakes and crispy ground rice. Anyway, loved these chicken balls. 9/10

Blue_Jasmine_Chicken_Larb_Ball

Mmm look how juicy

To round off the appetizers we tried the Larb Salmon Salad (S$18) consisting of cured salmon with crushed tomatoes, lemongrass and red shallots tossed in a spicy tamarind dressing and served with puffed rice crackers:

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Larb Salmon (S$18) – 7/10

I really love salmon anything (cured, smoked, raw, grilled, pan-seared, breaded) and while I liked the cured salmon taste, I was not a fan of the shallots because I hate onions and that raw onion taste argh. I like the idea of using the rice crackers as a bed for the salmon, so you eat it like a canapé, but I found these ones a little too thick and unwieldy. Honestly I’d much rather like regular fish keropok or at least a thinner version of these rice crackers. 7/10

From the Rice & Noodles section of the menu, we tried the Glass Noodles (S$16) which came with prawns, asparagus, sea acacia (called cha-om in Thai!) and black fungus mushrooms cooked in fish sauce:

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Glass Noodles (S$16) – 9/10

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Another angle of the Glass Noodles

Ooh the glass noodles have a very good wok hei charred taste and were super flavourful. I loved the different components of the dish – the prawns, which were really fresh and juicy, the noodles themselves, which had a great springy texture, and even the asparagus which lent some crunch and pared down the richness of the noodles. The only thing I didn’t super like was the black fungus, which wasn’t the dried kind and hence were a little jelly-like and tasted strongly of shiitake (not my fave). 9/10

We then tried two different types of curry, the first of which was the Green Curry Chicken (S$24):

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Green Curry Chicken (S$24) – 8/10 (pictured here with the Blue Jasmine rice at the back!)

Hmmm the first thing I noticed was that the curry was not green, but Chef says it’s because he adds a dollop of red curry paste to it so it changes color. Idk, I feel like if you want to call it green curry it should be green, but ok. The second thing I noticed was that the chicken was not de-boned, which was a little disappointing. I know some people like to gnaw on bony chicken but I would rather just like chicken meat in a curry (this is why I love hospital food lol they’re always deboned and balanced and healthy). Apart from these two nitpicks (issa word, trust), I thought the curry was quite good – a little sweet, a little spicy, and not too thick so you don’t get jelak. Also Chef says they use free-range chicken for the green curry, so hurray! 8/10

The second curry we tried was the Crab Meat Yellow Curry (S$26) served with Blue Jasmine vermicelli:

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Crab Meat Yellow Curry (S$26) – 9/10

Omg guys I LOVE the blue colour of the vermicelli it’s just so delightful. It could’ve come across as quite gimmicky, but naw man for me it was just really pretty. It helped that the noodles had good bite and springy texture – all too often you get those that are wayyyy too soft and overcooked. The curry itself was thick and rather sweet, with betel leaves adding a nice counterbalance. They were also pretty generous with the portion of crab meat, hidden from plain view underneath all that yellow curry. My friend didn’t like that the curry was almost too sweet, but I didn’t mind it. I suppose you can add some chilli to the soup to your taste. 9/10

Finally we tried the Half Roast Chicken (S$16), which features a North-eastern Thai chicken marinated in spices and served with a smoked chilli dressing:

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Half Roast Chicken (S$16) – 8/10

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Another shot of the chicken with glutinous rice!

Surprisingly I found the chicken to be quite tender and not dry. Paired with the nam jim jeow sauce – which is a little like the black sauce in rojak petis but more spicy and less pungent – the chicken was a delight with every bite. The crispy charred bits of skin around the edges were super yummy and complement the sweet taste of the glazed chicken skin. I have to say though, although it was a good chicken dish, I probably would come back next time and order the more unique dishes like the Tiger Cry Beef Salad or the Crab Meat Yellow Curry. 8/10

By the time we finished the chicken, we were basically dying and bursting at the seams, but still curious to try the Red Ruby (S$12) that was recommended by Chef Bright:

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Red Ruby (S$12) – 9/10

Oh boy, as far as Red Ruby desserts go, this was really quite luxurious. It came with not just red rubies (chestnuts), but also green emeralds and blue topazes lol. I loved crunching on those chestnut gems. There was also some strawberries, blueberries, strips of jackfruit to go with the coconut ice cream, UNFFFFFF. A very decadent dessert that should be shared. 9/10

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YUMMMMMM

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Phew, so we went through all of these dishes from the à la carte menu. Here’s a look at some of the offerings from the buffet, if you’re keen on the semi-buffet deal:

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I love green mango salad omg.

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LOL miang kan? (miang usually means like hum sup in Malay)

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Mmmm ceviche! Super refreshing.

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The mushroom tom yum soup and taro chips from the buffet! Omg the tom yum soup was real tasty with a super spicy kick! And the taro chips in thai tom yum dressing was SO addictive omg I loved them and really had to stop myself from eating so much and spoiling my actual dinner.

Blue_Jasmine_Outdoor_Semi_Buffet

Great for families of 4! (or 8! OR 12?!) I want to bring my family here but my sister-in-law makes 5. I don’t love her that much so I guess I can tell her to wait downstairs HAHA JK ATIQ I KNOW YOU’RE READING THIS.

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The live station which I only noticed on the way out after my meal lol ugh.

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So many desserts omg where got space

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Peep the DIY coconut ice cream section at the top right. Also check out the blue rice in the mango sticky rice! Cute.

All in all I’d say I had a VERY satisfying time at Blue Jasmine, and I will definitely be back here with family and friends to have the delicious Thai food again. Because of the quality of the food and the comfortable ambience, I would also highly recommend it for business lunches or dinner for clients with halal requirements.

Blue Jasmine
5th Floor, Park Hotel Farrer Park
10 Farrer Park Station Road
Singapore 217564
Tel: +65 6824 8851
Online Reservations: Click here
Nearest MRT Station: Farrer Park (NE8) Exit A

Opening Hours: 1130am to 10pm daily
Anchan Buffet Dinner Hours: 630pm to 10pm on Thu-Sat

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 9.5/10
Recommended dishes: Tiger Cry Beef Salad (S$20), Prawn Tom Yum Soup (S$20), Larb Chicken Balls (S$12), Glass Noodles (S$16), Crab Meat Yellow Curry (S$26)

OmoOmoDon at The Star Vista

OmoOmoDon
The Star Vista #02-14/15
1 Vista Exchange Green
Singapore 138617

Opening Hours
1130am to 930pm daily

Halal status: Halal-certified!
Halalicious Rating: 9/10
Recommended dishes: Bird’s Nest Don (S$10), Takoyaki (S$5)

Guys oh my god. Game of Thrones season 7 is over :”'( NO SPOILERS I PROMISE! I’m just sad it’s over – I totally rushed over to my friend’s place near my office at lunchtime, watched all 1h20m of the episode while scarfing down a plate of spaghetti bolognaise in the first 10 minutes (I mean I inhaled it fr), rushed back to the office and breezed past the doors into my seat like it was nbd. I guess now is a good time to get caught up on all the books! Luckily GRRM has been taking his own sweet time with The Winds of Winter so I can finish the first five books in A Song of Ice and Fire.

Anyway for those of you who don’t watch GoT, sorry! You guys must be SO sick and tired of hearing all these Throne-heads constantly talking about the latest episode etc and making countless GoT references in their daily conversations haha. Seriously though go get caught up on seasons 1-7 before season 8 comes out. OR you can bear with it for just one more season and then it’ll be over forever (but then you’ll miss out).

OKAY so now that’s out of the way, let me tell you guys about this place I recently got to try at the Star Vista called OmoOmoDon! It’s a fusion Korean-Japanese place in Star Vista serving up 18 customized signature “dons”, which are like essentially bowls of rice/noodles/grains with various toppings such as beef, chicken, chicken, and veggies!

Here’s a look at the extensive menu:

 

So the unique thing about OmoOmoDon is that you order from a self-service kiosk, wait for your number to be flashed on a screen, collect your order from the counter, and after you finish eating you put the tray away at the tray return area. MINIMAL HUMAN CONTACT YASSS. Perfect for those days when you just can’t deal with people, you know? It’s like when you get an Uber, step in, driver confirms your name and location, and proceeds to drive in silence for the rest of the ride before saying “thank you, have a good day!” FIVE STARS BABY. Please don’t try and talk to me while I’m trying to put on my makeup at 8am (who am I kidding? More like 9am) in the morning I’m just not a morning person it’s not you it’s me don’t take it personally.

So anyway the first thing we tried while waiting for our dons to arrive was the Takoyaki (S$5):

OmoOmoDon_Takoyaki

Takoyaki (S$5) – 9/10

Ooh this was pretty satisfyin! It’s got a thick chunk of octopus inside and was pretty mushy. It was like a party in the mouth with the not-too-strong BBQ sauce and the not-too-overpowering mayo. I’m not a huge fan of mayo but thankfully they didn’t drown the balls in them. 9/10

On to the Dons! (LOL remember Don Omar with that horrible song Dale Don Dale? RATCHET.) I love my steak so we just HAD to try the Yes Sir! Yes Sir! (S$12), which features sirloin steak on a bed of kimchi omelette-covered multi-grain rice, drizzled in teriyaki sauce:

OmoOmoDon_Sirloin

Yes Sir! Yes Sir! Don (S$12) – 8.5/10

OmoOmoDon_Sirloin_Closeup

UNFFFF medium-cooked steak ugh so good

Yum guys, the New Zealand chilled sirloin was pretty decent! The meat was tender, juicy and only sightly sinewy in some parts. I mean for $12, this was a downright steal. I learned that the machine that cooks the steak goes on timer, and that’s how they achieve consistency in the quality of the meat and the doneness – so brillz. The teriyaki sauce made every mouthful of the rice and omelette so moist, and the kimchi slices were so flavourful! A really good combination, although I’m not really sold on the multigrain rice as the base. Of course, this is easily remedied by building your own Don and selecting a different base! 8.5/10

Next up was the Bird’s Nest (S$10), comprising spicy chicken and onsen egg on a bed of Korean glass noodle, topped off with some tobiko (flying fish roe) and some Korean BBQ sauce:

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Bird’s Nest (S$10) – 10/10

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HNGGGGGGG MY FAVE DEAD OMG HELP

OMG THIS WAS SO YUMMY?!?!? What is this magical sweet-savoury Korean BBQ sauce that makes this thing so, so juicy?! I was all over this don like white on rice for real – this was straight up delicious and I even felt guilty for liking this so much compared to the previous don I had to tone down my enthusiasm. The sweet-savoury sauce flavour was balanced out pretty well by the spicy chicken, yum. Texture-wise this was also a home-run as the glass noodles were slightly thicker than regular vermicelli and had great bite! Plus the tobiko (flying fish roe) helped add more crunch to the texture and some umami to the flavour palette. Just, perfect. Also did I mention this was only S$10?! So crazy. 10/10

A little hard to live up to a perfect 10, but the Ji-Ji Don (S$10) makes a valiant attempt with not one, not two, but THREE different types of chicken – spicy chicken, teriyaki chicken, and soy garlic winglets, served on a bed of Korean white rice with onsen egg and bibimbap sauce.

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Ji-Ji Don (S$10) – 8/10

 

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3 types of chicken for all you chicken-heads lol (Remember Fatman Scoop being all “All you chicken heads! Be quiet!” in that massive club banger Be Faithful? Lol nonsense.

OK real though, I can’t deal with 3 types of chicken in one don, it felt way too heavy for me. I really liked the spicy chicken and the teriyaki chicken, but was pretty ambivalent about the soy garlic winglets. Even when I’m at 4 Fingers I get the hot flavour of drumettes instead of the soy garlic, so I guess it’s just a personal preference. A pretty safe-choice type of don otherwise! 8/10

Phew, so that was my first experience of OmoOmoDon, and boy was I impressed! You seriously do not get too many halal Jap-Korean fusion place, especially those that do healthier options with multigrain rice and grilled salmon as one of the proteins! YUM. The Management are planning to make OmoOmo Food Concepts at Kallang Wave Mall halal sometime in future, so watch out for that! For now though, only OmoOmoDon remains halal-certified. I really wish I had an OmoOmoDon where I work, but I guess since I’m a westie I could def pop by on the way home after work for dinner. And I DEFINITELY intend to come back here!

I’ll leave you guys with some pictures of the food and place here:

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Aside from being really hearty and delicious they’re also really photogenic ugh

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Notice that the mouth of the icon is also a rice bowl OMGGG GENIUSS

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More beauty

OmoOmoDon
The Star Vista #02-14/15
1 Vista Exchange Green
Singapore 138617

Opening Hours
1130am to 930pm daily

Halal status: Halal-certified!
Halalicious Rating: 9/10
Recommended dishes: Bird’s Nest Don (S$10), Takoyaki (S$5)

Take Hyde Out (Formerly Hyde & Co) on North Bridge Road (Closed)

**Edited on 8 Jan 2018 to add: Hyde & Co have officially closed their outlet 😦 ***

Take Hyde Out
785 North Bridge Road
Singapore 198753
Tel: +65 6635 5785
Online menu: Click here

Opening Hours
Sun-Mon: 12pm to 6pm
Wed-Sat: 12pm to 1030pm
Closed on Tuesdays

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 9.5/10
Average spend per pax: ~$31 
Recommended dishes: Xiao Jiji/Chicken Little ($16.90), Hyde’s Chilli Crab Pasta (S$22.90)

Hey guys! How’s everyone doing? Hope you guys enjoyed your weekend and the week has been going okay so far.

I went to check out the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the National Gallery again on Sunday and thankfully it was a lot more pleasant than my first experience during opening weekend. Don’t get me wrong; there were still loads of Instagram boyfriends taking photos of their girlfriends’ backs as these girlfriends pretended to admire the paintings (UGHHH I feel like a crotchety old woman saying this but I can’t even deal with those photos.) BUT at least one didn’t encounter them at every turn; maybe 2-3 of those per gallery, instead of literally everywhere.

Pumpkin – 1981

There’s just something so profoundly satisfying about her pumpkins in all their overripe poofiness, and I really liked some of her paintings too! You guys should check out the exhibition if you haven’t already – tickets for Singaporeans run at $15, and I highly recommend buying online and then collecting at the much-shorter priority/pre-booking line at the National Gallery. The exhibition runs till 3 Sep 2017!

So that was my Sunday, but on Saturday I was running some errands with my mum at Arab St and we decided to have lunch at Hyde & Co, except that now they’re calling themselves Take Hyde Out after some rebranding. The decor has also changed a little bit – now the walls are grey instead of creamy white, and the vibe is a little more modern than country.

Take Hyde Out - Decor 2

More industrial, less “pretty”

Take Hyde Out - Decor

You can check out their online menu here, but also I took pictures of it here:

Take Hyde Out - Menu 2

Main menu

Take Hyde Out - Menu 2

Brunch Menu

So they added more pastas and pizzas to the menu, compared with the old one which you can check out in my previous review here.

Thankfully old favourites are still around, such as the prawn paste chicken and waffles, renamed to Xiao Jiji / Chicken Little (S$16.90), which my friend told me informally meant small dick 😦 Anyway it came with 3 strips of prawn paste chicken, 3 waffles, a sunny side up and shoestring fries:

Take Hyde Out - Chicken and Waffles

Xiao Jiji / Chicken Little (S$16.90) – 9.5/10

OK you guys. I just loved this so, so much. I LOVE CHICKEN AND WAFFLES! I think I only know Take Hyde Out and Citrus By The Pool for having it, but perhaps there are more I do not know of. Anyway, Take Hyde Out’s version is the bomb dot com. The chicken is pungent (needs to be, or it’s not prawn paste), flavourful, savoury, juicy and delightfully crispy on the outside. I think they must use thigh meat because it’s just so juicy and tender. The waffles were also perfect – crisp with some chewiness within, and perfectly complemented by the maple syrup.

The fries were a little desiccated, and I wish the egg had been a proper runny sunny side up, but honestly I’m happy with just the chicken, waffles and maple syrup. The egg and fries are just a bonus. And all this for $16.90 with no added GST or service charge?! WHAT A STEAL. 9.5/10

My mum had the Hyde’s Chilli Crab Pasta (S$22.90) which featured linguine in spicy arrabiata sauce with blue swimmer crab, topped with herbed panko:

Take Hyde Out - Hyde's Chilli Crab Pasta

Hyde’s Chili Crab Pasta (S$22.90) – 9.5/10 (sorry for the over-exposure also lol)

Mmmm I had a couple of forkfuls of this pasta and it is still delectable. I found that the colour wasn’t as vibrant and red as the version that The Halia makes, but what it lacks in looks, it more than makes up for in taste! I found the sauce perfectly balanced – spicy, savoury and sweet all at once. The serving of crab meat was also pretty generous, and the linguine was perfectly al dente, so that was great. 9.5/10

On top of the two mains, we also ordered the Pulled Beef Mantou (S$8.90 for 3 pieces) as my mum was curious to try after reading my earlier review of it:

Take Hyde Out - Pulled Beef Mantou

Pulled Beef Mantou sliders (S$8.90 for 3) – unreviewed because I didn’t have it

I’m afraid I do not have an updated review of these pulled beef mantou sliders because I was really working hard on my prawn paste chicken and waffles – you saw how big the serving was!! I couldn’t even finish the whole thing and had to ask to take the remainder to go. By the way, it costs you an additional 50cts to pack your food. A little unusual but I guess I understand the rationale behind it.

Anyway so no review of the pulled beef mantou; just the photo, although my mum liked it enough (“the bun’s a little oily though”).

Oh one thing to highlight – they changed the presentation of the Cold Brew Teas from this:

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The old Into The Woods tea – so pretty, but so little

…to this!

Take Hyde Out - Cold Brew Teas

The new Into The Woods and Alice in Wonderland teas (S$6.50) each.

As you can see, the presentation is a little less “precious” and a little more practical – my one gripe was that we got so little actual tea in the previous incarnation, so this new version with a regular big glass was welcome.

So that was my review of the new Take Hyde Out – still madly in love with the prawn paste chicken and waffles and still loving the Chilli Crab pasta. I kind of latch on to one thing on the menu after I find myself liking it a lot, so I’m not sure if I’ll have the pizza when I’m back next, but we shall see!

Also good to note that this place does not have GST or service charge! You place your order at the counter and make a payment before eating (NETS or cash-only please!), and water/cutlery is self-service, but it’s a small-enough cafe for that not to be a problem. The staff are also great and will patiently take you through the menu and make some recommendations if you need.

Take Hyde Out
785 North Bridge Road
Singapore 198753
Tel: +65 6635 5785
Online menu: Click here

Opening Hours
Sun-Mon: 12pm to 6pm
Wed-Sat: 12pm to 1030pm
Closed on Tuesdays

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 9.5/10
Average spend per pax: ~$31 
Recommended dishes: Xiao Jiji/Chicken Little ($16.90), Hyde’s Chilli Crab Pasta (S$22.90)

**Edited on 8 Jan 2018 to add: Hyde & Co have officially closed their outlet 😦 ***

Citrus By The Pool at Woodlands Swimming Complex

Citrus By The Pool
3 Woodlands Street 12
3-3A Woodlands Swimming Complex
Singapore 738600
Tel: +65 6366 6581

Opening Hours
Mon-Fri: 11am to 11pm
Sat-Sun: 9am to 11pm

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 8/10
Recommended dishes: Molten Chocolate Lava Cake (S$10.90), Sweet Potato Fries (S$7.50), Homemade mushroom soup (S$5.50), Da Burger Bomb (S$11.90)

Hey guys! First of all a belated SELAMAT HARI RAYA TO ALLS YALL!!! How was your Raya!! I guess by last weekend everyone was pretty much done with major open houses and visiting (I know I was so done by end of last weekend). My first couple of weeks were pretty tiring because we hosted so much more this year compared to last year, and my hands were pretty chapped from constant dishwashing lol (I hate washing dishes with gloves on eww). I also doubled down on the baking this year – I made honey cornflakes, chocolate chip cookies, and choc chip + cornflake meringue. Not gonna lie, it’s so tiring but I’m also super kembang (lol like puffed up, or self-congratulatory) when my relatives say they’re good! (Also my horrible brothers finishing them off is a good sign I suppose).

So are you guys excited about Game of Thrones Season 7?!?!? I’m so excited I could die. I’ve been watching all kinds of YouTube videos as a primer lol here are some of my favourites:

Basically just check out ALL Alt Shift X’s videos and subscribe to their channel omg.

OK ANYWAY so a couple of weeks ago I was invited to a tasting at Citrus By The Pool, to try out their new menu. Some of you might know that this was the first outlet, followed by the second one called Citrus Bistro located at Sengkang Sports Complex.

Citrus_By_The_Pool_Woodlands_Sports_Hall

The entrance of Citrus By The Pool is exactly opposite the Woodlands Sports Hall!

The decor of the place is great! Warm lights lend a cosy feel to the interior:

Citrus_By_The_Pool_Interior

Here is a look at the menu, which included the new items we were going to try:

 

 

So first of all we tried the Homemade Pumpkin Soup (S$5.50):

Citrus_By_The_Pool_Pumpkin_Soup

Homemade Pumpkin Soup (S$5.50) – 6.5/10

Citrus_By_The_Pool_Homemade_Pumpkin_Soup

I LOVE pumpkin soup, and the Royals Steakhouse does a pretty good job. This one was not terrible, but I thought the soup was a little bland. I would’ve preferred it slightly tastier, and with a thicker consistency. 6.5/10

The Homemade Mushroom Soup (S$5.50) though was great!

Citrus_By_The_Pool_Homemade_Mushroom_Soup

Homemade Mushroom Soup (S$5.50) – 9/10

Definitely in no danger of wading into Campbell Mushroom Soup territory, this homemade soup is creamy, savoury and wholesome. I nothing croutons, like if they’re there I’ll eat them; if they’re not I never ever miss them, but that was a nice touch. 9/10

We moved on to the Sweet Potato Fries (S$7.50), which comes with a choice of two dips from a selection of Salted Egg, Wasabi Mayo, Spicy Mayo, or Curry Mayo:

Citrus_By_The_Pool_Sweet_Potato_Fries

Sweet Potato Fries (S$7.50) – 9.5/10

OK so some of you might know, I’m not the biggest fan of sweet potato fries; like I’m not going to scan a menu and look past the regular fries, or the truffle fries, or the chilli con carne fries and be all “omg sweet potato fries let’s get those!” BUT. These were really great. Maybe they air-fried these or whatever but the fries were really crisp and light on the outside and super fluffy on the inside!!

For the purpose of this tasting we were given all 4 sauces to try, although on a regular order guests can choose 2. I’d definitely recommend the wasabi mayo and the curry mayo, yum! The salted egg mayo was really prohibitively salty, like I LOVE salt egg yolk but this straight up tasted like the white parts of a salted egg. Which I always leave untouched lol. The spicy mayo also had this strange aftertaste; can’t quite describe it but let’s just say my 2 favourites were wasabi and curry. The thing to note though is that these fries were already so good I’d be totally fine eating them on their own! You know like regular fries can be a little bland and require sauce to jazz em up? Well sweet potato fries are already slightly sweet so they’re def ok to eat on their own. 9.5/10

We moved on to Da Burger Bomb (S$11.90) featuring teriyaki chicken burger with cheese, a sunny side up egg, lettuce, and tomatoes served with a side of (regular) fries:

Citrus_By_The_Pool_Da_Burger_Bomb2

Da Burger Bomb (S$11.90) – 8.5/10

Citrus_By_The_Pool_Da_Burger_Bomb_Cross-Section

UNFF I love burger cross-sections

My first thoughts were “Ooh I love this the burger is so juicy!” followed rapidly by “did McDonalds also have a teriyaki burger last time because I feel like this is low-key invoking memories of said burger?!” So yes as promised on the menu, the teriyaki chicken was indeed succulent, so bravo, Citrus chefs. I liked the teriyaki flavour which was slightly sweet, slightly savoury, without overpowering the burger. My friend said she would’ve preferred if they had seared the buns a little in butter. I agree, but the burger’s still good with plain buns! A solid 8.5/10.

I was mad excited to try the next dish that came – the Fried Chicken and Waffle (S$10.90) featuring boneless fried chicken on a waffle, served with butter and a shot of maple syrup:

Citrus_By_The_Pool_Fried_Chicken_Waffles

Fried Chicken & Waffle (S$10.90) – 8/10

Citrus_By_The_Pool_Chicken_Waffle

Look how appetising this issssss 

 

OK so I LOVE fried chicken and waffles, what a bomb-ass combo (ok but as a Muslim should I really be throwing around the B-word without a care in the world 🤔). The chicken was really perfectly fried – super good crunch without tasting too oily. However, I did find that it was a little bland and could have been better-seasoned. Having prawn paste chicken could remedy that, although the price might have to increase! Another solution would be to serve with some sort of spicy-sweet combo, like sriracha maple syrup or something. That would be delishhhh. Still though the main thing is the chicken should’ve been more flavourful.

The waffle was chewy and sweet, and I liked it a lot with the chicken. My friend commented it was like waffles made from Kueh Keria LOL and you know what? Once he mentioned that I realised he was kind of right! It was pretty cool and different from plain old tasteless waffle. 8/10

Next up we tried the Salted Egg Seafood Pasta (S$12.90) featuring linguine in creamy salted egg sauce with scallops and shrimp:

Citrus_By_The_Pool_Salted_Egg_Seafood_Pasta

Salted Egg Seafood Pasta (S$12.90) – 8/10

Ooh we were a little apprehensive about this especially as the sweet potato fries salted egg dip was not our favourite, but this was pretty good! The salted egg flavour was solid thanks to the curry leaves and chilli padi. The scallops were a wee bit lacking in taste, but the shrimp were good. A decent offering at 8/10.

Finally for the main dishes, we tried out the Seafood Risotto (S$16.90) which came with loads of seafood such as squid, prawns, scallops and mussels:

 

Citrus_By_The_Pool_Seafood_Risotto

Seafood Risotto (S$16.90) – 6/10

Ok guys I was actually super excited to try this, because YUM I love risotto. However, I have to say I was really disappointed in this version for a few reasons. Firstly, it tasted like regular rice with some gravy on it. Nooooooo 😦 If you look at the picture, the rice looks pretty skinny like long-grain, whereas risotto rice is usually of the rounder, short-grain variety, allowing for better absorption of liquids and flavours. Secondly, the scallops and squid were really rather tasteless. Perhaps a bit more of a char on them would’ve made them better or just better seasoning maybe. I also find the prawn head twin towers a little imposing; some of the best risottos I’ve had have been served in the simplest of presentations, without fancy accoutrements like this. Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE sucking on prawn heads (YA I KNOW OMG don’t be like my doctor), but maybe just lay ’em down. 6/10

Phew, so after all that food we finally moved on to dessert, which was the Molten Chocolate Lava Cake (S$10.90):

Citrus_By_The_Pool_Chocolate_Lava_Cake

Molten Chocolate Lava Cake (S$10.90) – 10/10

 

Yes this is delicious, just like the one at Citrus Bistro. I mean, what else can I say – the cake is moist and warm, the molten chocolate lava within is like liquid ecstasy (the feeling, NOT the pills.)

 

Citrus_By_The_Pool_Molten_Chocolate_Lava_Cake

UNFFFFFF SO GOOOOOOOOODDDDD

Yes this is delicious, just like the one at Citrus Bistro. I mean, what else can I say – the cake is moist and warm, the molten chocolate lava within is like liquid ecstasy (the feeling! NOT the pills.) and tastes so, so good. It’s thick and sweet but not too sweet. The vanilla ice cream and strawberries are there to refresh the palette with something cool and tangy if you need a break from all that chocolatey goodness. 10/10 for sure. No question.

Phew so that was our meal at Citrus By The Pool! Overall I had a good time and really enjoyed most of the new menu items that we had. We were very comfortable in our corner by the window, and also super grateful for the air-conditioning as the evening started off pretty warm and humid. How great is it that more and more swimming pools/sports complex are having decent halal options these days! I remember back in the day having to eat like soggy nuggets and super salty fishball sticks lol. I mean I was a kid with no broad base for comparison so those were fine back then, but dayummmm the youth these days are lucky. Plus the price points are very reasonable at Citrus By The Pool, so I think it’s a great option for decent food without breaking the bank.

Citrus By The Pool
3 Woodlands Street 12
3-3A Woodlands Swimming Complex
Singapore 738600
Tel: +65 6366 6581

Opening Hours
Mon-Fri: 11am to 11pm
Sat-Sun: 9am to 11pm

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 8/10
Recommended dishes: Molten Chocolate Lava Cake (S$10.90), Sweet Potato Fries (S$7.50), Homemade mushroom soup (S$5.50), Da Burger Bomb (S$11.90)