The White Rabbit – Church Altar to Bar Counter, where Wine still flows

4 01 2015

Much is to be expected at The White Rabbit, the dishes are competently executed and flavorful, the ambience classic yet not overly sombre despite being housed in a conserved military chapel. It’s also hard not to notice the establishment’s efforts to include whimsical minute details that play to the theme of Alice in Wonderland.

At night, the restaurant is relatively dim, providing an intimate setting and this strongly contrasts with how the restaurant looks in the daytime, where sunlight seeps through the stained glass windows, brightening the entire atmosphere.

The fresh and toasty complimentary bread served was swiftly decimated, a relatively rare occurrence since I usually try to save more stomach space. Instead of getting appetizers, we decided to get some sides to accompany our mains instead but really, the sides were nothing to shout about.

Truffled Mac and Cheese with Mushrooms ($16++)

When Iris mentioned she wanted to get the Grilled Asparagus with Truffled Hollandaise ($18++), groans echoed about the table. $20 for 6-7 strips of vegetables would surely tug at most guys’ heartstrings. Ironically enough, these same guys would probably not bat an eyelid forking out $200 for a bottle of Moet at a club in an attempt to look cool. The absurdity of guy and girl logic…

For mains, we started with the Dorper Lamb Rack ($48++), served with spiced cous-cous, ratatouille, lemongrass basil jus. The Dorper lamb is a common domestic South African breed, very resilient to arid climates. The lamb was executed to faultless perfection, moist and tender with a slight sear on the surface.

Another signature main worth getting is the 36-hour Brandt Short Ribs ($48++), more so if you are a fan of pork ribs and have not tried beef ribs before. You will surely be in for a treat. An interesting touch is the truffle miso glaze that adds a slight crisp to the surface of the rib, providing some texture to the dish. Instead of the usual heavy potato mash, a light smooth parsnip purée and a side of field mushrooms are served on the side instead, a much welcome change that provides some balance.

Prepare also to be mindblown by the 60-hour Braised Magalica Pork Belly ($42++), served with spiced purple cabbage, white beans and miso broth. Just the previous week, I had the 12-hour cooked Pork Belly at Restaurant Ember, which to me sets the yardstick for western-style 烧肉. I wouldn’t say that the White Rabbit does it better but it does come pretty close, in terms of gastronomic enjoyment.

Think of the Tagliatelle ($45++) as a Alaskan King Crab mee pok doused in pork broth and kombu. While it was good, it paled in comparison to the meat mains we had earlier and came across as slightly pricey for a relatively simple pasta dish. Perhaps I would think differently if we had it before the meats, given that the flavours of this dish was lighter and doubles up as a possible appetizer.

The Baked Alaska ($18++) seemed to be one of the signature dishes here, where flaming liqueur is poured over a meringue encased vanilla ice cream cake. My first encounter with it was during national service days, when one of my fellow air force cadets brought us to Xiyan Private Dining along Craig Road, where his parents are shareholders. It has never been one of my favourite desserts taste-wise but as you can imagine, a flaming dessert never fails to excite the crowd.

On a side note, Xiyan has now opened a casual dining outlet at Shaw Centre. Some dishes such as the Salivating Chicken (also available at the Private Dining outlet) were excellent but most of the other dishes came across as fairly mediocre, dashing my high hopes.

If you have preference for a lighter dessert, especially after waves of meat-based mains, do go for the the White Chocolate Mille-Feuille ($18++), a three layered filo-pastry with alternating layers of white chocolate cream. The side of rhubarb sorbet does well to cleanse the palate too!

For chocolate aficionados, you won’t go wrong with the Chocolate Fondant ($18++). I thought that the fondant was more buttery and savory than usual, which was a plus in my view, probably due to its caramel core. Without the menu, it would be almost impossible to guess the flavor of the accompanying ice cream; banana and rum, a splendid combination. In the dim lighting, some might miss out the cute intricacies of this dessert but try looking for the little bunnies made using gold foil, scampering about in the garden-themed plating.

Overall, two thumbs up for our experience at The White Rabbit. The food was near faultless during our visit but there were small hiccups in the service. Given that the restaurant was operating at full house, it took quite some time before anyone attended to me while I stood at the reception. Furthermore, the staff informed me that our reserved table was not ready yet and asked me to proceed to the waiting area, when the rest of my friends were already seated at that table. It’s not that I’m “niao” but these should not be happening in any restaurant that considers itself a fine-dining establishment.

On a side note, The White Rabbit is one of the participating restaurants for The Entertainer App Singapore, that gives 1-for-1 discounts off main courses here.

Last but not least, Happy New Year to all and have a blessed and peaceful 2015!

The White Rabbit

Address: 39C Harding Rd, Singapore 249541

Tel: +65 9721 0536





Spathe Public House – Weekend Brunch at Robertson Quay

26 02 2014

Spathe Public House is best known for its communal dining concept, featuring items such as a metre long currywurst on their menu. On weekends however, the communal menu is replaced by a separate weekend brunch menu during the earlier part of the day (before 5pm).

While diners are left spoilt for choice in the number of brunch places around Robertson Quay, with the likes of Kith Cafe, Hummerstons, Toby’s Estate, Five & Dime and Epicurious all within walking distance, Spathe is my top pick. There just aren’t that many places that consistently serves up perfectly poached eggs with a decent Hollandaise sauce to boot. The spacious interior makes for perfect catch up sessions too!

Eggs Royale ($18++)

Eggs Mushroom ($16++)

Spathe Public House

8 Mohamed Sultan Road #01-01, Singapore 238958

Tel: +65 6735 1035 

Website: http://www.spathepublichouse.com/





Cafe Fables and Bar Stories – A Cocktail Adventure

22 04 2011

On occasion I get the question of why I’m such a foodie and the impetus in setting up a food blog. Normally I’d brush it off with a truncated answer for simplicity’s sake, of how I gained an epiphany; that despite living in a multicultural society, my food knowledge was severely lacking and like many other Singaporeans, I found difficulty in throwing out names of 3 authentic French restaurants in Singapore. 2 years down, French is now my cuisine of choice.

However, the unabridged version of my story starts off slightly different, beginning more than 2 years ago at a bar called Klee (which sadly closed sometime ago) with ex-JC classmate CW. CW had suggested visiting Klee for drinks and it was there that we coincidentally met one of the co-founders of Hungrygowhere and his fiancee. I never learnt of the reason why they sent over a couple of drinks on his tab, and I was really quite perplexed because this almost never happens in Singapore. Of course, we returned their hospitality with our company and chatted with them for a couple of hours till closing time, never seeing them ever again. Hungrygowhere was still rather new at that time and a week later, I opened an account and used it as my primary food hunting resource, occasionally contributing some reviews to this food community myself. And this was how I got started in food writing.

So while some travel to Mecca, and others do community service in 3rd-world poverty stricken areas, there’s this small group of us who indulge in a life-long food trail. The similarity between the 3 are almost indistinguishable, but the fact is that everybody’s actually embarking on the same journey…paths of self-discovery. 

Cafe Fables by day, Bar Stories by night. Housed on the 2nd level of furniture shop “A Thousand Tales”, what I found here was a sense of homeliness, somewhere to go to after work to unwind, somewhere to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

A venture pursued by one of the partners of the now defunct Klee, Bar Stories too, functions without a drinks menu with fresh cocktails specially mixed to individual tastes. How apt it is for CW to be the one bringing me here, after introducing Klee to me as well. The cocktail culture here allows me to reminisce the good old times at Klee, the concept of having friendly mixologists interacting with guests, the concept of being able to chat with random friendly strangers across the bar, the concept of being just so un-Singaporean. Say goodbye to the dark dodgy pubs that we are so used to, Bar Stories has an open concept with a soft tune playing in the backdrop, making it easy for catching up with old friends whilst sipping the night away.

Jeff, one of the two mixologists for the night, whipped up a sweet Honeydew Mango Sake ($22++) for CW. Really awesome stuff, and it reminds me of a drink called “Nothing” which is available in Zouk and made with Melon Liquor. But then again, comparing cocktails from Bar Stories with Zouk’s is like comparing steak from Morton’s with Jack’s Place. The difference is simple yet evident. Bar Stories makes its cocktails fresh from scratch, meaning no fruit syrups or concentrates are used. This gives a fresher feel to the cocktails and lends a taste that isn’t too sharp and artificial.

For myself, I was presented with a Pomegranate Passionfruit Martini ($22++) which appeals more to those who prefer their drinks sour rather than sweet. I’m more of a sweet cocktail person but it’d still be my pleasure getting high on this.

Bar Stories, a cocktail adventure? Definitely.

Bon Appetit!

CAFE FABLES & BAR STORIES

55-57 HAJI LANE, 2ND FLOOR

TEL: +65 6298 0838





Prive Bakery Cafe – Dates and Sticky Dates

5 03 2011

When one of my friends asked me to suggest a place to celebrate his birthday cum 1 month anniversary (with his gf), Prive immediately popped into mind. Located at Keppel Bay, it’s an idyllic getaway to spend the weekend afternoon brunch. You would definitely love the setting with the numerous private yachts berthed within the marina, and the surroundings are great for cam-whoring! To complete the experience, do come in your summer frocks and colourful summer hats! I’m sure you’d have a blast taking marvelous pictures worthy of making it into your highly exclusive album of facebook profile pics.

On the other side of the same coin, the ambience for dinner is totally different. The diminishing natural lighting makes the area seemingly more private and romantic. A short stroll from the restaurant and you will arrive at a small pier, a place best for whispering your sweet nothings to your dear beloved, maybe to even pop an important question or two.

Anyway I have been digressing.

Sitting side by side, Prive Bakery Cafe is the less costly alternative to Prive Restaurant, which I find much more appropriate for a casual dinner.

I had the N.Y Burger ($26++) which I thought was fantastic. A nicely charred 200g Wagyu Patty, Melted English Cheddar, Crispy Onions, Aioli and Fries, this is definitely one of the best burgers I have had in Singapore (way better than the overhyped Original DB Burger I had recently at DB Bistro Moderne). It’s reminiscent of The Hand Burger’s The Works, though I much prefer Prive’s version as the patty was thicker yet more succulent. Bonus marks for the well toasted buns and yummy crisp onion ring too. They should seriously consider offering these onion rings are sides on the menu, I’m sure it would be an instant hit!

Prive Cafe serves a pretty decent Fish and Chips ($19++) as well. Battered, not breaded, is just the way I like it.

On the other hand Prive and its sister restaurant Cafe Hacienda @ Dempsey have not left me with any positive feelings about their pastas so my advice is best to avoid it. The Spaghetti with Meatballs ($22) was boringly simple and mediocre at best.

For Desserts, I would suggest the cakes, be it the Luscious Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Cake (Reese’s lovers will probably be fond of this!) or the Hazelnut Praline Royale.

The Tiramisu ($7++) is pretty good too.

While Sticky Date Pudding ($10++) is my all time favourite dessert, Prive’s rendition (served with Butterscotch and Vanilla Ice Cream) is left wanting. It’s a bit too high on the “datey” taste and the core of my pudding was utterly dry. So far, sticky date puddings in Singapore are served with caramel or butterscotch sauces, but the best sticky date pudding I have eaten by far was in Adelaide where a chocolate dip was used instead.

While driving to Keppel Bay is highly encouraged, the walk into Keppel Bay from Harbourfront can be rather pleasant as well.

Few places in Singapore boasts the charm and allure that Keppel Bay possesses. It’s definitely a great place to bring dates where the atmosphere is light and casual, rather than the rigidity inherent in most fine dining restaurants.

Bon Appetit!

PRIVE BAKERY CAFE

2 KEPPEL BAY VISTA, GF MARINA @ KEPPEL BAY

TEL: +65 6776 0777





Royal Copenhagen Tea Lounge – Royal Feasting without the Princely Sum

9 01 2011

The life of a Tai Tai really rocks. I can just imagine myself waking up at 10am, with no work commitments apart from personal financial investments, having my nails and hair done after a yoga or gym session, then driving down to town for a facial and spa, followed by High Tea with my fellow Tai Tais at Royal Copenhagen Tea Lounge, while waiting for Hubby to finish work and bring me out for an extravagant dinner. I just can’t think of any better way to spend the day…

Sadly I’m no tai tai, so I guess I will just have to make do with being that Hubby who slogs at work all day while my tai tai wife squanders away all my hard earned money…

At the risk of sounding gay, I have to confess that I did a basic manicure recently while waiting for some friends as they did theirs. Of course, I didn’t colour my nails, just the basic filing and varnishing and it felt oddly liberating! I totally couldn’t take my eyes off my shiny nails for the whole day (or was it weeks?)! If there are any guys reading this post, don’t be too quick to judge. Seriously, go for a manicure yourself and then come back and chastise me if you feel I’m talking nonsense. There are really some nail care activities that are difficult to accomplish at home such as trimming off the excess skin btw the nails and the flesh. Other than that, I think there’s also the allure of being pampered, even if it’s for the most trivial of activities…


My first encounter with Royal Copenhagen was in Sydney, a shop selling homemade ice cream but apparently there’s no affiliation with the one found here in Singapore. I was astounded to discover that the main branches in Denmark (where Royal Copenhagen originates) are actually porcelain shops integrated with a cafe. So, it’s no surprise that Taka’s Royal Copenhagen Tea Lounge utilizes porcelain plates for their dishes and desserts, and customers can even buy these porcelain pieces home should they catch their fancy.

Most of the awards won by Royal Copenhagen comes from Women’s Weekly which isn’t much of a surprise, considering such Tea Lounges are primarily meant for tai tais.

Even on a weekday afternoon, friends K, CJ and myself were almost denied of a seat, though the crowd thinned as it approached evening. Having come from a heavy brunch, we decided to share Her Majesty Tea Set  ($29.90), comprising of 2 Mini-open Face House Sandwich, 2 Pieces of Homemade Scones, 1 Slice of Cake, 1 Slice of Homemade Baked Quiche, and 2 Cups of Tea.

For the Open Face Sandwiches, we got the Prawns topped with Tobiko and Tuna topped with Caviar. Nothing special, it actually kind of reminds me of what you would get in the appetizer dish in an airplane meal.

Although I’m not a Green Tea fan, I hid any misgivings I had and ordered the Green Tea Tiramisu, which K had his eye on since stepping into the shop. It turned out surprisingly better than expected though it still has lots of room for improvement. The Mascarpone was thick and creamy, but the moistness of the cake layers was inconsistent.

If you like pies, you would definitely like the concept of a Quiche. Basically an open face pie, meaning there’s no pastry shell covering the fillings, it’s somewhat like a hybrid pizza pie and it’s French so I guess its kind of sexy.

The Homemade Scones was definitely our favourite dish for the day. Leonardo da Vinci once said “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. Eaten together with Strawberry Jam which I suspect to be homemade as well, whipped cream and butter, the sophistication lies in Royal Copenhagen’s ability to transform a commonly eaten simple Scone to a remarkable tea time snack. In addition, the jam was so good we asked for seconds at no extra charge!

Instead of having the plain old tea, we requested to change our 2 cups of tea to the Fruit Tea of the Month which was mildly fragrant.

We also order a pot of Flora Tea($8.90). I preferred this to the Fruit Tea because it had a more distinct scent. I would definitely recommend this.

With a strong signal of wireleess@sg being detected by my laptop, I really wouldn’t mind just dropping by after school for some light reading and tea.

Bon Appetit!

ROYAL COPENHAGEN TEA LOUNGE

391 ORCHARD ROAD, #02-391A NGEE ANN CITY TOWER A

TEL: +65 6735 6833





Kith Cafe @ Robertson Quay – Makings of a Lazy Afternoon

31 12 2010

Compared to countries such as UK and Australia, I find Singapore to be severely lacking in breakfast and brunch places and for the few reputable brunch places such as Riders Café, Spruce, Café Epicurious and Jones the Grocer, they get so packed on weekends that it’s impossible to lay back for a couple of hours to read a book without getting distracted or be on the receiving end of the hungry stares of people queuing to get seats.

Situated along the Singapore River near Robertson Quay, Kith Café does not pose any such problems. It’s a quaint café which opens at 7am daily, where the atmosphere is tranquil and serene. Free wifi is provided and I imagine it would be an ideal place to just drop by after school to do your course readings and whatnot. If you are driving down, do park at Watermark and get Kith Cafe to stamp on the parking coupon to waive parking charges!

Serving a variety of drinks beyond just the usual Latte and Tea, I had the Watermelon and Lychee Ice Blended($4.80) which I found pleasant. Nick had the Earl Grey Lavender with Citrus($4.80) which was my favourite of the 4 drinks we ordered because it was really soothing and refreshing amidst Singapore’s sweltering weather and makes you just want to go “ahhhhhh” after taking a sip. Wan Swen had the Vanilla Maple Banana Milkshake($6.50) which was thick and frothy, a sure way to please banana lovers.

Marcus had their signature Kith Macchiato($4), which comes in a puny cup compared to the Macchiato at Starbucks.

For food, I ordered the Big Breakfast($14), comprising of Toast, a Pork Sausage which my friends found awesome but I instantly recognized it as a brand I have been frequently getting from the supermarket(I think it’s called Tatsumoto) but I have to agree, it’s pretty good and has been my guilty pleasure for many a supper. There was also Fried Bacon and a Grilled Tomato, alongside Scrambled Eggs which I requested to change to Poached Eggs instead. I felt that the eggs were slightly overpoached and it tasted really bland with no accompanying Hollandaise Sauce. I did like their homemade Strawberry Jam, pretty watery but surprisingly the flavour was not diluted.

Wan Swen ordered the Spaghetti Chicken Pesto($14). It was damn awesome! The flavours were robust and chicken well marinated and tender. Will definitely order it on my next visit.

Nick had the Crispy Bacon, Poached Eggs, Avocado and Tomato Foccacia Sandwich($10). He loved it, probably because the flavours are well-balanced here.

Marcus had the Roast Beef, Cheddar, Rocket Salad and Caramelized Onion Multigrain Sandwich($10). He commented it was nothing very spectacular, just usual café nosh.

I also tried some of their cookies which were $0.50 for 2 pieces. I didn’t really like it because it was rather bitter and starchy but Wan Swen was really taken by it. Guess cookie love lies in the eyes of the beholder.

Is it a lazy afternoon? If yes, Kith Cafe is the place to be. If no, drop by Kith Cafe and the afternoon just got lazier.

Bon Appetit!

 

 

KITH CAFE

7 RODYK STREET, #01-33 WATERMARK @ ROBERTSON QUAY

TEL: +65 6341 9407





Strictly Pancakes – All Day Pancake Cafe

24 09 2010

I really wanted to be there to support it’s opening day on 19th September where owners Joanne and Eunice decided on their pay-as-you-wish opening day promotion for Strictly Pancakes. Alas work caught up with me again, so I had to settle heading over a few days later than initially planned.

The crowd hasn’t seemed to have diminished one bit since it’s opening day. Indeed, the concept of an all day brunch cafe isn’t new to Singapore with the likes of Wild Honey, as well as Prive and Cafe Hacienda with brunch menus extending till 5pm. But an all day specialist Pancake cafes? This is definitely a first! Pancakes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper (Strictly Pancakes opens till 1am on Fri/Sat, and 11pm on other days), that’s the concept behind Strictly Pancakes.

This is probably the few times I’m uploading pictures with actual people on it. Yep, I brought some friends over to Strictly Pancakes, not purely for the extrinsic reason of introducing them to a new eatery, but also because of intrinsic self interest so that I could get to try a larger variety of pancakes!

Strictly Pancakes occupies 3 floors, the first and second for dining purposes and the third functioning as a small office for their paperwork I presume. To accommodate my large group, we sat at the second level whose setting reminded me a lot of The Coffee Nations @ Bali Lane.

My favourite Milkshake is probably the one at Billy Bombers (ironically it’s also the only thing I find worth ordering there) but the Chocolate-Peanut Butter Milkshake($5) found here cuts it really close. My friend Jing Cong found this much better than the milkshakes @ Once Upon A Milkshake but since I haven’t visited the latter (but I’m so going to very soon), I shall refrain from making any further comment that might draw flak.

If you feel a bit uneasy and guilty loading up on all that maple syrup, butter and high carbo pancakes, take comfort in the fact that maple syrup is actually healthy! Or so says the staff of Strictly Pancakes haha.

Apart from the regular stacks, savoury and sweet pancakes are also available, with savoury pancakes coming with a side of Butter(choice of salted, unsalted, garlic & herb, rum & raisin) and Maple Syrup.

My favourite item here is the Savoury Garlic Butter Prawns($12). It’s description reads “Medium Stack served with Prawns buttered generously with garlic and Cherry Tomato Salad on the side for an aromatic, mouth-watering treat”. The prawns are really fresh and and crunchy, with a flavourful garlic butter sauce. My friends were commenting on how the use of such tasty prawns would have contributed in the creation of a delectable Prawn Aglio Olio.

Another crowd favourite, the Chicken A La King($11). Think of it as Chicken Chop with Cream Sauce with Pancakes. I found the chicken to be a little on the salty side when eaten on it’s own but just nice when eaten together with the pancakes. Not sure if Strictly Pancakes read Vanilla & Breakfast’s post where she ranted about the small chicken serving size and 1 lonely looking piece of asparagus but my Chicken A La King didn’t have such problems. I really loved the cream sauce with onions too!

I wouldn’t have thought pancakes would have gone so well with Smoked Salmon before having a taste of the Salmon Run($12). The side of sour cream with dill ensured that things didn’t get out of hand to an overly salty level.

They call this the Druggie($11) because it’s so addictive. Who can ever dislike a “Chocolate Pancake served with Chocolate Ice Cream sprinkled with Chocolate Flakes and sliced Strawberries topped off with Strictly Pancakes’s own Homemade Chocolate Sauce”. Definitely a chocoholic’s fantasy!

My love for Butterscotch drove me to order the Bananas-Scotched($11). Should have read the description more carefully though, there isn’t a trace of butterscotch, just Caramelized Bananas, a dash of Rum and a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream (with visible vanilla beans). Great for Dessert!

Joanne and Eunice are in the best position to recognize the needs of students being students themselves, so don’t be surprised to see a 10% discount off the final bill! Awesome, finally a perk of being in school!

Love Pancakes Remember! I will.

Bon Appetit!

STRICTLY PANCAKES

44A PRINSEP STREET

TEL: +65 6333 4202








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