Fatcat Ice Cream Bar

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The infiltration of cafes into HDB estates never stops. This time, an ice cream bar serving up exquisite flavors of ice cream, waffles and plated desserts has opened under a block of flats in Bedok. They dedicate themselves to using fresh ingredients and creating their own unique flavors with modern cooking techniques – the concept turned out quite refreshing indeed.

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You might gasp at the small serving of the Lime Mojito Sphere ($4.5) as it is only a mouthful but you probably won’t regret it. Put it entirely in your mouth and let the liquid mojito burst out completely. A moment of silence, please.

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And here I present to you the most beautifully plated dessert here, the Deconstructed Strawberry Cheesecake ($15) – comprising cinnamon shortbread crumble, strawberries, cinnamon cream cheese mousse and a scoop of raspberry sorbet. Every component came in together nicely, in terms of both visual appeal and taste. We were literally trying to scrape every inch of the plate for more. There’s also a pre-dessert for this –  carbonated strawberries and amuse-gueule.

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Of course, any dessert cafe now can’t do without the staple of cafe goers- the waffle.

Their Gourmet Waffles ($6), aka charcoal waffles, are slowly becoming the talk of the town. Not just because they are black and different from the usual buttermilk waffles, but also because they come with salted egg yolk custard sauce for you to drizzle on the waffles.  The first bite taken of the waffles together with the egg yolk sauce may seem strange since it’s savory but as you continue on it becomes oddly addictive. I have been very compelled to request for more sauce each time. They also come with salted caramel sauce drizzled round the dish, and the bits of lavender in the caramel sauce gives it a refreshing edge. The original buttermilk waffles drizzled with chocolate sauce are also served here, but those are just so passé.

I had two scoops of ice cream on top of the waffles – Banana Hazelnut Sorbet ($3.9) and Butterscotch ($3.9). The former contained traces of mashed bananas (which explains the heavy taste) which kind of overpowered the hazelnut but I’m not complaining. The texture of the sorbet was surprisingly smooth to my liking. The latter, on the other hand, was mildly sweet.

On another occasion, I had Cherry Brandy Sorbet ($4.5) and Butter Beer ice cream ($4.5) to go along with my waffles. The cherry brandy was refreshing while the butter beer was sweet with a bitter beer aftertaste. Something interesting to note – they make all their ice cream from scratch.

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My least favorite was the Banana Nutella ($9) which came with Hay & Honey ice cream and Nutella soil on caramelized bananas. Could be better if the bananas were more caramelized and the nutella soil didn’t make the dish seem dry.

As for their drinks here, the coffee is pretty decent and I’ve yet to order their signature hot chocolate but I heard it’s worth the try. I really like that they have my favorite Moscato as well since you can hardly find any cafes offering them.

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If you’re planning on visiting (and you should), I suggest you to head down quick. There was only a one week gap between my first and second visit yet the number of patrons have gone up by a fair bit. Another piece of advice – go early. There are limited quantities of the desserts and generally their plated desserts (excluding waffles) are only limited to 20 servings a day! The plated desserts are also rotated on a daily basis so it’s not a guarantee that all that you want to try is there. Hipster enough, eh?

Blk 416 Bedok North Avenue 2

#01-25

Mon, Wed, Thu, Sun 12pm – 10pm

Fri, Sat 12pm – 11pm

Sin Lee Foods

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Another (not so new) addition to the Tiong Bahru cafe scene has got to be Sin Lee Foods. Unlike the other hipster cafes in Tiong Bahru, Sin Lee Foods is located at a much quieter, less well-known area underneath a HDB flat at Jalan Bukit Ho Swee. Yet you will be surprised to find a crowd of people almost filling all the tables indoors, each table bearing their signature items that keep the hipsters visiting.

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Not a fan of broccoli at all (I know I know…), so I skipped the Aburi Broccoli Salad ($12) that my friend had. So I’m relating her words over here: “Best broccoli I’ve ever eaten.” With their unique way of preparing this dish – the florets are smoky torched and tossed with white balsamic and papadum – I can somewhat imagine how good it must be for a broccoli lover. It smells nothing like the usual broccoli too.

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You might notice that they offer truffle fries on the menu… skip that, and opt for the Salted Egg Sweet Potato Fries ($12) instead. As if sweet potato fries aren’t tasty enough on their own already, these are served with their house made salted duck’s egg sauce. The sauce tends to be heavy and on the salty side, but the combination of it with the sweet from the potato fries is fantastic. This is equally, if not more addictive than truffle fries. If only I can have a second helping.

As for my own main course, I had the beautifully plated Beef & Grains ($24) after fighting the dilemma between it and the fried chicken on waffles. Accompanied by a fried and runny sunny side up was no doubt the star of the dish – the 180gm marbled striploin. I was amazed at how it was seared to a nice pink. Texture-wise, it may be a little touch to chew it completely. Underneath the beef and egg was wet orzo “rice”, which is actually a type of pasta shaped like large rice grains. On top of it all is furikake, a dry Japanese seasoning, which is sprinkled all over the dish. I just thought that they may have used too much sauce for the orzo which made it soggy and overly salty.

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Overall, the food served here is not without room for improvement but it’s impressive how they handle the fusion of ingredients from various sources such that the dish turns out unique and palatable at the same time. I also liked how the cafe has retained a nostalgic feel – you’ll know it when you see it.

Blk 4 Jalan Bukit Ho Swee

#01-164

Tues to Fri 10am – 9pm

 

Hong Kong 2014

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As one of the top travel destinations for us Singaporeans this year, Hong Kong needs no introduction, I presume. Memories of my last time here (when I was still a child) are already a blur so I was determined to come up with a good itinerary. On hindsight, Hong Kong may seem like a bore to some since all you can do is eat and shop. Indeed, those were all I did. And I was enjoying them so much that returning home was absolutely dreadful…

This time round, I’ve taken less photos compared to my other trips but I still included a guide to nearly all the places I’ve been to dine at! Hope they’ll be of help to anyone at all. I also headed up to the overrated-but-still-amazing Victoria Peak via the Peak Tram. I was actually more fascinated by the sunset over the trees on the other side of the observatory deck than the urban density.

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Kau Kee Restaurant – according to reviews, this place serves the best beef brisket noodles. I had the Beef Brisket in Oyster Sauce with Flat noodles served with broth (HKD$50) and the beef brisket sure did not disappoint. Portion sizes are huge as well. At 10pm, half an hour to their closing time, there was still a line of people queuing to get a seat in the house!

21 Gough Street

Daily 12.30pm – 10.30pm

Sheung Wan MTR Exit A2

 

Little Bao – essentially an American diner in Asian style. This was perhaps the most memorable meal for me. I really wanted to do a separate post for this place initially but I was rather hungry from waiting half an hour to get seats so I just went ahead and dug in. Plus, the food here was so good, I could barely stop to snap some crappy photos on my iPhone. Over here, I ate the best Truffle Fries (HKD$98) I’ve ever had. Instead of simply frying the fries in truffle oil and salt, the ones here come with a unique truffle mayo with shitake tempeh and pickled daikon. Who knew a mushroom-infused truffle mayo sauce can make truffle fries taste so damn good?! The Orange Chicken (HKD$98) is more of an acquired taste because of its salted egg yolk though. Their baos take the center stage here. We tried the Pork Belly (HKD$78) and Chicken (HKD$78), both were superbly tasty. Don’t leave without trying the LB Ice Cream Sandwich (HKD$48), which comes in flavors like green tea and vanilla.

66 Staunton St

Mon to Sat 6pm – 11pm

Sheung Wan MTR Exit A2

 

Lof 10 – this one’s for the hipsters who are in need of some caffeine intake. I am absolutely in love with the small, minimal space of the cafe.

Flat B

1 U Lam Terrace

Daily 10am – 7pm

Sheung Wan MTR Exit A2

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Mido Cafe – this two storey cha chaan teng is full of nostalgia, it’s like you’re transported back in time. Sitting next to an open window with a cool breeze flowing in while having their Iced Milk Tea (HKD$17), Pineapple Bun with Butter (HKD$12), Condensed Milk and Butter Toast (HKD$10) and Ham and Macaroni in Broth (HKD$30)… I don’t ever want to move an inch from my seat. Unlike the more touristy cha chaan tengs, there is no need to share a table with others, be squeezed to discomfort in a small corner or be pressured to finish up your meal and go.

63 Temple Street

Daily 8.30am – 9.30pm

Yau Ma Tei MTR Exit C

 

One Harbour Road – getting into an “atas” Chinese restaurant is also a must in HK. Originally, I wanted the all-time famous 3 star michelin Lung King Heen, but since there were only the two of us I thought it might be better to go with a bigger group another time. Dining at merely the 7th floor of the Grand Hyatt hotel may not sound as impressive, but we had a great view overlooking Victoria Harbour by the floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Service is impeccable, and I was surprised that they have an attendant in the toilets to greet you and hand you paper towels to dry your hands. Some memorable items from the dim sum menu we tried include the Steamed Honey Roasted Barbecued Pork Buns (HKD$66) and the Baked Turnip, Minced Pork and Pepper Puff Pastries (HKD$66). We also had a mouthgasmic Minced Beef and Egg Fried Rice with Black Truffles (HKD$218). Best fried rice I’ve had.

Grand Hyatt Hong Kong

7-8/F

1 Harbour Rd

Mon to Sat 12.30pm – 2.30pm, 6.30pm – 10pm

Sun 11.30am – 2.30pm, 6.30pm – 10pm

Wan Chai MTR Exit C

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Pierre Herme – I got the box of 12 at an astounding HKD$350. Well, it was worth every cent. You have to get the White Truffle with Piedmont Hazelnut macaron and the Chocolat and Foie Gras macaron. Nuff said.

IFC Mall

Podium Level 1, Shop  1019C

8 Finance Street

Daily 10am – 9pm

Hong Kong MTR Exit F

 

Syut by Tfvsjs 談風: vs :再說 – the most “concealed” place I went on the trip. This restaurant set up by their local band is hidden in one of the several nondescript factory buildings, you would think that nobody would ever find their way here. Fact is that this modern industrial themed restaurant was nearly full for lunch. The Chicken Risotto with Walnut Oil (HKD$86) was not overly cheesy while the Veal Sausage Cassoulet (HKD$98) came with a special 64°C egg and balsamic shallot chutney.

Gee Luen Factory Building

Unit B, 10/F

316-318 Kwun Tong Road

Mon 6.30pm – 10pm

Tue to Sat 12pm – 3pm, 6.30pm – 10pm

Ngau Tau Kok MTR Exit B6
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Tai Cheong Bakery – Egg tarts!! The custard is smooth, eggy and comes with a tinge of sweetness, and the crust is flaky and light. HKD$6 each.

35 Lyndhurst Terrace

Mon to Sat 7.30am – 9pm

Central MTR Exit D2

 

The Coffee Academics – the original, larger flagship store is in Causeway Bay, but I went to the newer branch at Wan Chai instead. Coffee was pretty smooth, and you have to get their Mile High Blueberry Pancake Dessert (HKD$78) for sure. They don’t look as aesthetically pleasing as the ones we have in Singapore but trust me, they beat most places hands down.

35-45 Johnston Road

Mon to Thu 8am – 10pm

Fri 8am – 11pm

Sat 9am – 11pm

Sun 9am – 9pm

Wan Chai MTR Exit B1

 

Tim Ho Wan – the cheapest Michelin-starred dim sum restaurant. It’s also much cheaper over here than our local branches. Their variation of the signature Baked BBQ Pork Buns (HKD$66) are slightly different from ours – we boast a sweeter version while HK does it salty. Singaporeans like me may prefer our local ones though. However, the Steamed Egg Cake (HKD$12) (another one of my personal favorites) here is more flavorful and fluffier.

9-11 Fuk Wing Street

Daily 8am – 9.30pm

Sham Shui Po MTR Exit B2

 

Tsui Wah Restaurant – the many branches they have show us how a simple breakfast of Satay Beef Instant Noodles with Scrambled Eggs and Butter Buns (HKD$27) can be so satisfying.

Hong Kong Intl Airport Terminal 1

Departures Check-in Hall Mezzanine, Level 8

Daily 7am – 12am

 

Yee Shun Milk Company – supposedly the best milk pudding you can find on Hong Kong island. The red bean on steamed milk (HKD$29) I had was smooth, silky and not overly sweet. We so need more of such stores specializing in milk puddings in Singapore.

506 Lockhart Road

Daily 12pm – 12am

Causeway Bay MTR Exit C

 

That’s all for now folks. Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!

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Hyde & Co.

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This year, we have seen a fair share of New York and Aussie inspired cafes opening every now and then. It’s finally time for a England inspired cafe, or a tea room. Hyde and Co. lies in the vibrant Kampong Glam which is no longer housing merely traditional or Malay restaurants. Take the stroll down from Bugis along North Bridge Road and you’ll understand. Setting foot into this English style cafe almost makes you feel like you’ve been transported to another setting. The aesthetic won me over with the white, clean and minimalistic look.
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My advice – skip the coffee, go for the tea. You can always get your daily dose of caffeine at every other cafe. The tea selection here is huge, with each pot of tea at $6.50 each. Choose from a total of 45 tea flavors under the categories of black tea, flavored black tea, green tea, white tea, herb blend, fruit tea and rooibos. I tried both the Sencha Honey and Rooibos Vanilla and I enjoyed the lingering, light aftertaste of honey and vanilla respectively.
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Food wise, Hyde & Co. is best known for their crumpets, which originate from the United Kingdom. They seem like mini pancakes but are griddle cakes to be exact. Unlike pancakes, they are rather thick and chewy. There are two options for either savory or sweet crumpets and I decided to go for the staff’s recommendation, the Gula Gula ($10.90). I liked how the Singaporean twist on the original crumpets which are usually eaten with butter or jam spread worked out well. The stack of 3 crumpets topped with gula melaka and coconut flakes was not overly sweet, making it a pleasant delight.

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We also checked out some mains such as Lady Hyde ($12.90) – a twist on the classic Croque Madame featuring brioche with honey baked ham, pineapple, cheddar, hebi hiam sandwiched in between and ultimately topped with a sunny side up. Good Morning Glory’s ($14.90) highlight is the very creamy scrambled eggs, which is paired with Norwegian smoked salmon on sourdough rye bread. Sadly I didn’t get to try this other popular item on the menu – Hyde’s S’more Toast ($11.90), a brioche french toast with melted marshmallows, dark chocolate, biscuit crumbs and berries.
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Overall, I felt that the theme of this cafe should be applauded for. It’s not cliche, overrated or tacky at all. I can also feel the sincerity of the staff in providing warm service to welcome you. Unlike some other overcrowded cafes, there is no pressure to eat and leave quickly. It almost feels like a leisurely afternoon tea in Britain.
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785 North Bridge Road

Mondays, Wednesdays – Sundays 10am to 6pm

Sunday Folks

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Everyone around me probably knows how much procrastination I’ve done for this post. After countless of visits with and without my camera, I think it is finally time for me to get down amd launch wordpress for the first time in 3 weeks. So two years ago I reviewed the then go-to place for ice cream and waffles, Creamier. It grew in popularity over the years and still remains packed as hell especially throughout the weekends (Read more about Creamier here). Two years later, a sister outlet of Creamier is born. Welcome Sunday Folks, into the more “atas” Chip Bee Gardens.
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Compared to that of Creamier, the space taken over by Sunday Folks is easily 2 to 3 times as large. Though more tables have been lined side by side over time, it still feels more spacious and comfortable to have your ice cream and waffles here. My very first visit was actually just a short while after they’ve just opened. Then, the place was barely filled with patrons. It only took about a couple of weeks for people to find out about them, despite the little effort in publicity by the owners. Instagram pretty much became their PR.
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The largest difference between Creamier and Sunday Folks lies in the ice cream which goes on top of their signature, Belgian waffles. Instead of the usual scooped ice cream, they have started the trend of serving soft serve ice cream on waffles. Initially, the sight of a tall and slim soft serve was odd, but after all my visits to Sunday Folks this year, the other version of ice cream on waffles now looks weird to me (sigh). Choose from 6 standard flavors: Summer Strawberries, Roasted Pistachio, Earl Grey Lavender, Madagascar Vanilla, Sea Salt Gula Melaka, Dark Chocolate. Having a soft serve stacked on two square waffles costs $11.80 and recently the option to have just one waffle beneath the soft serve ($8.80) is made available as well. Note: the waffles also come with strawberries, blueberries, maple syrup and hazelnut sauce.
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Who knew that soft serve on waffles can be that satisfying? The only complaint that I have is that it melts way too quickly. Among all the flavors, my favorite has got to be the sea salt gula melaka which has a brilliant combination of sweet and salty. The dark chocolate was overpowering and somehow didn’t quite go well with waffles. A safe choice would be the madagascar vanilla, which is truly made with vanilla beans. Otherwise, the refreshing pistachio flavor is good too.
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Another highlight of Sunday Folks is the option of customization by choosing from a variety of toppings to decorate your waffles with. I’m fond of getting the Nama Chocolate ($1.90) and Nama Green Tea ($1.90), both coming from Royce Chocolate, simply because they are quality. And perhaps because you can’t just get a few pieces from a Royce store.
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Between the Lemon Cheesecake ($1.90) and Souffle Cheesecake ($1.90), I can’t decide which is better. The former has a stronger taste while the latter is light on the tastebuds. I also love going for the White Chocolate Coconut Mikado ($1.90) and Popping Candy Chocolate Mikado ($1.90) since I don’t see these pocky sticks elsewhere. Some toppings like the Sea Salt Chocolate Honeycomb ($1.90) and Caramel Popcorn ($1.50) were too sweet to go along with the waffles though.
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If you’re feeling less contentious, or just want something to take away with, go for the cone or cup ($7.20). The display counter also boasts a selection of cakes, with the most popular one being the Japanese Matcha Cake ($7.90). Surprisingly, it’s a rather good slice of matcha cake – soft and creamy while having a substantial taste of matcha.
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My advice – go for the regular soft serve on two waffles. Yes, it can be that satisfying.
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44 Jalan Merah Saga

#01-52

Chip Bee Gardens

Tuesdays to Fridays 4pm – 9.30pm

Saturdays & Sundays 12pm – 10pm

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