Hoshino Coffee at Capitol Piazza

 
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Hoshino Coffee. How time flies. It has been two years since my last visit to their then one and only branch in Plaza Singapura. Since then, they’ve expanded over to Suntec City with their second branch and now they’re running a third branch over at Capitol Piazza.

Located in the basement, the new branch occupies a space just as large as the first. The décor here, however, seems a notch classier. The ambience is more laid-back, making the dining space feel somewhat like a post-retail therapy zone to chill. I later also found out that you can make a private room reservation here as well.

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The items exclusive to this newly opened branch include their pie pizzas and mille feuilles. Out of the Mushroom and Chicken Pie Pizza and Mixed Pie Pizza (both $15), I tried the former. The base of the pizza, being crispy and puff pastry-like, does make the pizza less heavy on the palate. The pizza also comes with some minestrone soup at the side to keep you going.

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They call this the Mille Feuille ($15), but it’s actually more of a mille feuille inspired pastry. We guessed that the strawberry version would be better than the banana version (as with most Japanese desserts) so we went for it. Sandwiched in between two thick and flaky puff pastries are strawberries with cream surrounding a scoop of ice cream right in the middle. Unfortunately there was way too much cream compared to the ice cream and strawberries and the cream was too thick to be enjoyed with the pastry.

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If there are less satisfactory dishes, you can always look forward to their soufflé pancakes which have always been raved about. From now till September, you can get their Soufflé Pancake with Peach ($17.80 for two pancakes, $14.50 for one pancake), part of the seasonal menu. I’m glad the standard of their pancakes have not dropped – it’s of the same consistency as 2 years ago and it was not too dry. This seasonal version is definitely more refreshing than having the pancakes plain.

My advice: Skip the mains, go straight into their soufflés and soufflé pancakes. You may also have to rush the service staff a little for your orders.

13 Stamford Road

Capitol Piazza

#B2-55

10.30am – 10.30pm daily

This is a Crystal Wee X WAttention collaboration.

Paddy Hills

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This is kind of a late post since my first visit to Paddy Hills was about 6 weeks ago but I thought I should visit a couple more times since I was pretty impressed by the initial dining experience here. I was getting bored of the other new cafes that opened so much so that I started to appreciate the old places I frequent a lot, but this new café that opened this year was surprisingly very promising.

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The café occupies a relatively huge space with a bar counter dividing the place into two halves. There are blue walls, wooden tables, green tiles and gold counter tops which seem like a mismatch of colors and textures but eventually gave rise to a pleasant aesthetic and ambiance. Stellar effort put into the décor for sure.

The menu splits into Daytime Eats (9.30am to 5pm) and Nightime Nosh (6pm onwards) and is packed with a variety of interesting eats. You’ll probably take some time to browse through the entire menu and pick the items. Word of advice: Order your items quickly as waiting times can be pretty long especially on the weekends.

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I’ve skipped the coffee here since reviews were not too impressed with it, and went ahead with their more popular fruit-based drinks. Taste like purple ($7) is made from cold pressed grapes. Albeit a little sweet, the basil taste kept the drink refreshing enough to go with the heavy main courses and sides here. It’s probably a wise choice to skip the caffeine here and go for their truly thirst-quenching drinks. Others include the Yuzu effervescence ($7), Rise and Grind ($7) and Pinkish Lemonade ($7). Otherwise there are also milkshakes like the Hawaii ($11) – a smooth coconut milkshake but came with an acquired taste.

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The fluffiest pancakes award definitely goes to the Orange ricotta pillows ($18). The stack of 3 came with a generous pool of orange caramel sauce along with a scoop of coconut ice cream. The caramel sauce which came with a mix of citrus, coconut and custard is possibly the X factor of this dish as well.

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Though not as soft and chewy as the traditional Korean version, the Toasted spicy rice cakes ($15) was oddly addictive as well, especially with the gochujang mayo which came on the side and added some spice to it.

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Who knew that mantou could be used for sliders? The Golden man tou sliders ($23) features beef patties with a great consistency in between sliced mantous. They came with an equally good sweet potato fries on the side. Well I’ve had a couple of versions of sweet potato fries recently and I must say that their thin, crispy purple sweet potato fries is one to beat. They tasted even better when dipped in their homemade BBQ sauce.

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Possibly the most popular item on the menu would be the Berry ricotta hotcake ($19), what with its rave reviews and photogenic aesthetic. I like how the edges of the hotcake come with a slight crisp to it, while the insides are fluffy as ever. Strangers’ Reunion has a similar hotcake which I happened to try as well but this alternative seems a lot better. Some has even compared it to the famous ones from Top Paddock in Melbourne. I just wish they could give extra maple syrup on the side to pour over it.

Some other items I’ve tried:

Small breakfast ($12) – toasted bread, truffle polenta mash, sous vide egg, double roasted mushrooms. I thought that the truffle-infused polenta, or cornmeal, was pretty good. This dish is good for small eaters.

Salmon carpaccio ($18) – the portion was a tad small but I was impressed by the freshness of the house cured salmon.

Kimchi fried rice ($20) – the addition of a salted hangar steak and sous vide egg made this simple Korean dish a lot more exquisite, hearty and flavourful. I wish that there could be more traces of kimchi in the fried rice though.

Chicken in a bag ($15) – these pieces of fried chicken came in a paper bag on a plate. “So does fried chicken tastes better in a paper bag?” I asked. These came with the homemade bbq sauce which comes along with the golden man tou sliders as well. The fried chicken was decent but nothing to shout about.

Unlike other cafes, Paddy Hills whips up dishes with each dish having its own uniqueness. This is one place you should never tire of. Its location in an ulu area near Haw Par Villa means that it might not be the most accessible café around, but I assure you that the venture will be worth it.

38 South Buona Vista Road
9.30am – 10pm daily

Mille Crepes from The Udder Pancake

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The original plan was to head to Carpenter and Cook (haven’t been to the main store at Lorong Kilat for ages), or to the newly-opened Revelry which seems to serve up some decent waffles. Alas, both were closed. You would think that after years of food hunting I’ll do my research beforehand all the time…

Next to Udders along Lorong Kilat is its new born sister, The Udder Pancake. Udders does have some pancake dishes on their menu but now this outpost which is directly connected to Udders instore has larger range of pancakes on the menu, from sweet to savoury. Oh, there’s truffle fries too. You can also get ice cream and waffles from Udders next door and chill at this larger space. The cushion seats are a lot more comfortable than those wooden stools at Udders.

Sadly and oddly enough, we didn’t get their pancakes. I’ve been eyeing their mille crepes and I was previously disappointed by Udders’ pancakes. Between the two of us, we shared a Geisha Matcha ($7.90), Brandied Chocolate ($11.90) and a Baileys Tiramisu ($11.90).

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They tasted as good as they looked. My personal favourite is the Baileys Tiramisu, which came with a shot of baileys in a syringe. It’s pretty therapeutic to inject it in and watch the liquid flow in between and out of the layers of the crepe. Tiramisus were made to be a lighter, fluffier, mousse-like cake but I thought this denser crepe version could give the original a run for its money. The cream might put off some people though.

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Green tea lovers would be a fan of the matcha crepe. It is hardly (artificially) sweet at all and the essence of green tea is great. On the other hand for the brandied chocolate crepe I felt that the brandy was overpowering the chocolate crepe. Wouldn’t recommend it if you’re not accustomed to alcohol.

The mille crepes are a tad pricey but I say go for it if you’re looking to try something different. Maybe I should’ve got some ice cream next door to go along with the cakes…

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17 Lorong Kilat

#01-09

Kilat Court

Mon – Thurs 12pm – 11pm

Fri 12pm – 12am

Sat 11am – 12am

Sun 11am – 11pm

Tiong Bahru Bakery: CNY treats

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A Sunday morning spent at my favorite bakery with the bestie is always precious. This time, I realised that the back of the bakery has undergone a slight change and all I can say is that I’m loving it. The tables at this area at the back (near the toilets) used to be in partial darkness but now it seems that the area has brightened up. This shelf which used to be next to the entrance was also removed, allowing more light to enter. It feels as if the entire cafe has been livened up.

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This is a little late, but Tiong Bahru Bakery has launched some new festive treats in lieu of the Chinese New Year – the Chocolate and Hazelnut Kouign Amann ($4.5), Pineapple and Coconut Tart ($8.5) and Orange and Chocolate Marble Cake ($4.5 per slice/$18 whole cake). We only tried the former 2 though and they were great. The newly flavored kouign amann in particular was very memorable. Instead of the usual, fully caramelized signature pastry, this one’s fully chocolate flavored with traces of nuts on the inner layers. A little less crunchy than the original kouign amann’s caramelized layers, but the dense chocolate flavor more than made up for that. If only this could be a permanent item… Meanwhile, the pineapple and coconut tart was lighter on the palate. It featured a pineapple mousse on a sugar biscuit crust topped with coconut cream and then a white chocolate disc. This was not too sweet at all, perfect for all to enjoy.
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This is not part of the new items, but rather an old favorite – the Vanilla Millefeuille ($8). Apart from the kouign amann, this is a must-have for me whenever I’m here. The vanilla cream in between the flaky layers may be a tad too sweet for some to handle, but I love how it is thick and substantial. Watching the cream spill out whenever you attempt to cut into this pastry has also gotten fun for me. The Chocolate Brownie ($5.5) left the least impression on us though it was decent.

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You can head down and get the special festive items which are available till 3rd march (not much time left!)

P.S. Thanks F for the lovely day out and for the advanced birthday “surprise”!
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56 Eng Hoon Street

#01-70

Sun to Thurs 8am – 8pm

Fri to Sat 8am – 10pm

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

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