Saturday, June 27, 2009

More from Purple Rose Café

C says:

A’s aunt was raving to us about the chicken pies and strawberry shortcake from Purple Rose Café, so we went there again on Saturday to try our luck. It was only about 4 pm, but they had run out of their regular-sized chicken pies, and only had the minis left. We had 2 of the minis ($1.20 each), and got a quarter portion of the strawberry shortcake ($11) to go, because again they didn’t have the single slices available.

The pies were surprisingly good. The filling was potato, carrot and shredded chicken – no peas! It wasn’t too creamy either, just good old-fashioned filling. The full size is $4.50, and they said if we order in advance they can even bake a giant size. Chicken pie birthday ‘cake’, anyone?

The strawberry shortcake was absolutely divine. This is also no-frills; no fresh strawberry slices or anything. Just sponge cake that literally melts in your mouth, layers of strawberry jam and sweetened whipped cream. I anticipate going back quite regularly to get my fix of this.

To avoid disappointment, I would suggest calling ahead to reserve anything that you like, because the display cases were quite forlornly half empty by 4 pm.

A says:

Very good. But not cheap. Unless you want to be really cheapskate and drink loads of free flow coffee there.

Purple Rose Cafe
Block 42, Holland Drive
Tel: 6775-9101
Monday to Saturday: 11 am to 6 pm
Public Holidays: 11 am to 3 pm
Closed Sundays

Thursday, June 25, 2009

One on the Bund

C says:

I know atetoomuch usually only reviews places that A and I go to together, but I had a company lunch at One on the Bund today and we figured since it’s highly unlikely that the two of us will ever go there on our own, this might be the only chance for atetoomuch to do a review on it.

One on the Bund is located at the newly refurbished Clifford Pier building. I must say the architects and interior designers did a wonderful job restoring the interior of the previously crummy building. The entire building is now the restaurant, and they’ve fitted it out beautifully. It would be a fabulous place to entertain foreign visitors, especially when the IR is completed. Right now you do get a view – just of the IR construction site. The restaurant itself is quite well designed, with many different semi-private dining areas rather than just one big dining room.

Our group of 20 had 2 tables of 10, and we had one of their set menus. I think ordinarily the food is served family style, but if you request like we did, they can serve individually plated portions. I’m quite impressed that they took the trouble to present the individual servings properly plated. They could just as easily have shown us the whole dish, then dumped individual portions onto standard china plates.

The first course was a trio of asparagus dipped in sesame seeds, scallop with pomelo and yuzu sauce, and a vegetable roll with beancurd skin. I found everything a little tasteless, and the scallops tasted slightly fishy too.

Next up was a fish broth with sliced fish, chives and mushroom. Again, the first mouthful was a bit bland, and it benefited greatly from some pepper and black vinegar. The portion was huge – no matter how much we ate, there was still more in the bowl. It was good but it really filled us up.

The set actually comes with a choice of beef tenderloin or their signature crispy lamb ribs. I was looking forward to the latter, but because it was a company do, we had to change the meat dish to a more universally accepted option, i.e. the soya sauce chicken. Everyone got the same portion – shredded meat, and a perfunctory chicken wing. I have a weakness for any kind of soya sauce chicken, so no complaints here.

Next up was the chilli and fennel prawns, and the fried fish fillet with salted egg yolk. I like anything that’s prepared with salted egg yolk so the fish was right up my alley. The prawn wasn’t too bad but general consensus was that it was pretty spicy. I, however, chomped on some of the dried chilli for more heat…

By the time the tofu and vegetable dish arrived we were quite full, which was a pity because I thought the vegetables were done very well. The stock was subtle yet tasty, and the broccoli was cooked perfectly.

Being a Shanghainese restaurant, I had high hopes for both their xiao long baos and their home-made noodles. Both were unfortunately a let-down. The skin for the xiao long bao was really thick, and there wasn’t enough soup in each of them. The meat inside was well seasoned, though. As for the noodles, maybe we were just too full by then, but I found them way too thick and starchy. For most of us at the table, one mouthful was all we could handle.

The meal ended on a high note with dessert. We were presented with 2 platters containing 5 different desserts each, ranging from a red bean and green tea panna cotta-esque pudding, a chocolate orange mousse, chocolate cake with lemon curd, vanilla mousse with crème brulee, and blueberry cheese cake. No one at our side of the table wanted the red bean one, so I selflessly chose it and to my surprise it was actually pretty good. It was a nice, clean, subtle flavour to end the meal.

Having finally tried the food, I must admit that it hasn’t convinced me to bring A here separately. The set menu we had was $888++ for 10 persons, and at almost $100 per person, I expect the food to wow me. Well, the ambience certainly did, but the food itself was at best above average.

If A were there, he’d say:

I don’t do none of that Chinese food. Give me Subway any day.

A really says:

C never brings me anywhere nice anymore. The magic is gone...

One on the Bund
80 Collyer Quay
Clifford Pier
Tel: 6221-0044
Lunch: 12pm - 3pm
Dinner: 6pm - 11pm

Sunday, June 21, 2009


C says:

Finally! An ice cream joint that keeps their durian ice cream segregated from the rest of the flavours! Udders gets my support purely for this reason alone. They have 3 display units in total – 1 for the durian flavours (2 different types of durian), 1 for the regular flavours, and 1 for the alcohol-spiked ‘adult’ flavours.

Udders first opened near United Square, and recently opened right next door to Don Quijote at Lorong Kilat. Despite being totally stuffed on Sunday afternoon after the Don Quijote buffet, we dropped in just to see what flavours they had to offer. The server was really friendly, offering us tastes of almost all the flavours even though we said we were too full and promised to return.

The alcohol flavours pack a serious punch; definitely not for kids, or even folks like A with a low alcohol tolerance. The rum and raisin I tried was more rum than anything, and A tried a seriously spiked Baileys & Bourbon too.

The one flavour I’m definitely going back for is the Kick S Salt Caramel (or something like that). Come on, with a name like that, how can I resist?! It’s essentially a burnt caramel with a hint of salt, and I was sold by just one taste. A ended up getting a rather interesting flavour combining vanilla ice cream, honeycomb pieces and chocolate chips. The richness and texture of the ice cream is somewhat in between gelato and Island Creamery, and certainly better than Daily Scoop. We’re definitely going pop by after our next visit to Don Quijote.

A says:

I’d recommend this place just cause they keep their durian in a separate kelvinator so the horrid taint of durian doesn’t spread to the other flavours. Having said that, I really didn’t find any of the other flavours to my taste, not even the Vanilla Beanz. The very friendly staff kept offering samples to me and out of shear paiseh-ness, I went with the Snickers Bar with Honey flavour.

17 Lorong Kilat
#01-08 Kilat Court
Tel: 6466-1055
Sunday to Thursday: 12 noon – 11 pm
Fri, Sat and eve of Pub Hol: 12 noon to 12 midnight

Don Quijote (Sunday brunch buffet)

C says:

We decided to try Don Quijote’s a la carte Sunday brunch buffet - $33 for unlimited orders from a selection of 20 tapas; $48 with free-flow sangria. I decided to treat myself with the sangria option, but A had the standard.

The selection for the buffet is definitely much more limited than the a la carte menu. It may be good value for money, but I can safely say that with the exception of the chicken wings, I wouldn’t order any of the dishes on the buffet menu on a regular visit. The 2 best dishes from our last visit – the long beans with Serrano ham and the squid ink pasta – both didn’t feature in the brunch menu.

Anyway, I can’t deny that it’s a pretty good deal nonetheless. Some of the better options include the garlic mushrooms, the prawns wrapped with eggplant and the asparagus wrapped with bacon. I only managed 2 glasses of sangria, one red and one white, and while they were slightly watered down, that’s actually how I like my sangria – like a glorified fruit punch, heh.

Rather than stuffing ourselves for less than spectacular dishes, knowing full well what the restaurant is capable of, next time we’ll just come back for the regular a la carte, and just order more selectively. Then at least we won’t be too full for some Udders ice cream from next door.

A says:

Good value for money. I’d recommend it if you’re hungry and don’t want the usual boring buffet spread. The place was fully booked when we went so it might be best if you call the night before to get a seat.

Don Quijote
17 Lorong Kilat #01-09
Tel: 6465-1811
Open Tuesday to Sunday
Lunch: 11.30am to 2.30pm
Dinner: 6.00pm to 10.30pm
Sunday Brunch: 11.30am to 2.30pm

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Purple Rose Cafe

C says:

We read about this cafe in Urban a few weeks ago, and happened to have some time to kill at Holland Village this afternoon. Unfortunately I’d forgotten both the name and exact address of the place, so we were wandering around the various blocks desperately trying to find it. We were almost ready to give up when we finally saw a cafe that looked a bit more posh than the surrounding shops. We walked in to see a blown-up version of the Urban article so we knew we were in the right place.

They sell 500g portions of their cakes for around $11, and they halve those portions into triangular slices for individual orders at around $5.80. We tried the classic Chocolate Fudge Cake, and I wanted the Strawberry Shortcake as well but they didn't have individual slices of that.

In my opinion, most places don’t serve their cakes at an optimum temperature. With the exception of mousse cakes or really light Chantilly cream cakes, most cakes benefit from being thawed at room temperature for at least 10 to 15 minutes before eating. That way, the cake has had a chance to regain its moistness, and the frosting reaches a nice creamy consistency.

This place is no different. The cake came straight from the fridge so it was a little hard and therefore, slightly dry. It got a bit better towards the end. I liked the fudge – it was slightly salty which was perfect for a lover of all things sweet-salty like me.

The good thing about the cafe is that for $3.80, you get free flow coffee. And not just a weak percolated brew either. They use a pretty decent coffee machine where you can select latte, cappuccino etc. I just hope this isn’t abused by customers who plonk themselves there all day with a book, and drink endless cups of coffee.

A says:

Not bad. Think it would be a nice place to chill over a cup of coffee and some cake.

Purple Rose Cafe
Block 42, Holland Drive
Tel: 6775-9101
Monday to Saturday: 11 am to 6 pm
Public Holidays: 11 am to 3 pm
Closed Sundays

Monday, June 15, 2009


C says:

A was pretty psyched to find out that American sandwich chain Quiznos was going to open here, but it still took us quite a while before we finally made our way there on Monday to give it a try. The chain was brought to Singapore by the same folks that brought in Tully’s coffee, so both joints share the same premises at Far East Square.

We both ordered combo meals – I had a Turkey Ranch and Swiss with the chicken noodle soup, and A had a Classic Club with a chocolate chip cookie. Both combos also come with a soft drink.

I suppose a comparison to Subway is inevitable. Here are a few pros and cons of each:

Subway – variety of breads to choose from.
Quiznos – only white and whole wheat.

Subway – you can custom design your sub with various dressings, veges etc.
Quiznos – toppings and dressings are predetermined. However what I really liked about Quiznos is the free flow of various types of peppers, like Jalapeno and banana peppers, which added a great kick to the sandwich.

Subway – quality of ingredients themselves isn’t great.
Quiznos – prides itself on serving proper cuts of meat, no ‘mystery meats’. It shows, because the turkey in my sub was a lot tastier than at Subway.

The chicken noodle soup and chocolate chip cookie were both passable, but nothing to shout about. I have a feeling A still prefers Subway, but I think Quiznos has my vote based purely on taste.

And by the way, the latte at Tully’s sucks. Can you say weak?!

A says:

I had high hopes but was let down. I still prefer Subway. Funny story is that my ex-colleagues and I all swore off Subway when we were working on the account. (They were not very good clients.)

Erm, I guess all I can say is Cold Cut Trio on Parmesan Oregano with Lettuce, Tomatoes, Onions, Mustard and Mayo.

49 Pekin Street, #01-01 Far East Square
Mon - Fri 8am - 8pm
Saturday 8am - 3pm
Closed on Sundays

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Tierney’s Cafe

C says:

Tierney’s, our trusty ‘neighbourhood’ grocer because of our weekend visits to Comics Mart, has just carved out a section of their shop space and turned it into a cosy little cafe. This is very no frills – they sell drinks, pastries like danishes, sausage rolls and chicken pies, and simple sandwiches that are either pre-made or can be made to order, using their existing array of cold cuts.

They also have a limited variety of hot food items, like fish and chips, all day breakfast and a daily special. When we went on Sunday the daily special was a pan fried soya sauce pork served with rice. The portion was quite small but it was right up my alley – pork belly drizzled with dark soy sauce and plain white rice. It was simple but surprisingly tasty.

A went with the all day breakfast – fried egg, chipolata sausages, baked beans, ham and bacon, served with 2 slices of white toast and butter. Again this was quite basic and old school but not bad if you’re looking for simple, hawker centre Western food-type breakfasts. And at least here you know the meats and sausages are Tierney’s quality.

In terms of variety and taste, this will never replace La Petite Cuisine downstairs, but on days when you just want a light bite and the offerings at La Petite are just too rich and heavy, Tierney’s Cafe isn’t a bad alternative.

A says:

I wouldn’t recommend the cooked-to-order stuff really. The portions are small for the price and taste average. The pastries at Tierney’s however have always been excellent. And overall, we’ll still probably add this to our viable dining options when we come to Serene Centre.

Also, as part of our austerity drive, I’m trying to convince C to do reviews of instant noodles (yes, after 7 months of unemployment, it has come to that). Leave a comment if you’re interested in reading that.

Tierney’s Cafe
#02-20 Serene Centre
Mon to Sat: 9 am to 8 pm
Sun: 9 am to 5 pm