Mooncakes from Peony Jade 2014

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With less than a month to go to the Mid Autumn Festival, everyone’s off scurrying to mooncake fests to source for that good box of mooncakes. This year round, I’m glad to have tried both traditional and snowskin mooncakes from Peony Jade Restaurant. Led by Peony Jade’s dim sum master chef Chef Wong, the culinary team has brought back old classics as well as new flavours, all of which are made with no artificial flavourings, stabilisers or preservatives.

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One of the most renowned items from Peony Jade is no doubt their signature Flaky Teochew Orh Ni Mooncake with Premium Fragrant Golden Pumpkin & Single Egg Yolk ($33 for 2 pieces, $59 for 4 pieces). Peony Jade’s version of the teochew mooncake is even crowned to be the best in Singapore by some. The yam filling is smooth and is enhanced by a thin layer of pumpkin which gives a more distinct flavour. The skin is also adequately flaky for that extra crunch.

The other traditional piecce I had is the Low Sugar Baked Mooncake with Premium Mother of Pearl White Lotus Paste & Single Yolk ($33 for 2 pieces, $59 for 4 pieces). Good thing’s that you can’t even feel it’s baked with less sugar! There are 2 other renditions to this traditional baked mooncake – one with jin hua ham and assorted nuts and the other with macadamia and double yolk.

 

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Just like previous years, Peony Jade’s 4 Heavenly Flavours ($64 for 4 pieces) is back again this year. Among the 4, my favorite is definitely the durian mooncake. This Top Grade Pure Mao Shan Wang Durian Mooncake in Organic Pandan Snowskin has a core of 100% pure mao shan wang – if that’s not self-explanatory enough already. The rich filling also complements its organic pandan snowskin, which has a less subtle fragrant of pandan but refreshing nonetheless. Another interesting contender is the Snowskin Kochi Yuzu & Apple Cream Cheese Mooncake. The filling is a creamy concoction with the yuzu flavour dominating that of apple cream cheese. I found that pretty unique. And for those who lust for exotic fruits, the Snowskin Soursop Mooncake and Snowskin Premium Cempedak Mooncake would suit you.

What I’ve tried are only the large snowskin mooncakes. The small ones come in a variety of new flavours, including Valrhona chocolate, coconut truffle and apricot. The only issue to consider is that the snowskin mooncakes degrade quite rapidly after 3 days. Otherwise, Peony Jade’s mooncakes should be on your shopping list this year. Grab them at either their 2 restaurant branches (location stated below) or at on-going roadshows, one of which is the mid autumn fest at Takashimaya. The fest at Takashimaya will run from now till 8 September.

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Special thanks to Peony Jade and 37 Communications for the mooncakes.

Peony Jade @ Clarke Quay

Blk 3A Clarke Quay

#02-02

Singapore 179020

 

Peony Jade @ Keppel Club

Bukit Chermin Road

Keppel Club (Level M)

Singapore 109918

Tiong Bahru Bakery launches new tea set

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I’m sure  Tiong Bahru Bakery is no unfamiliar household name  representing the the gourmet and artisanal bakeries we have here. By now, you might have known about their third, latest outlet at Tangs Orchard but there are still more exciting news for all the lovers of Tiong Bahru Bakery out there. This time, they are dishing out a new lunch set, afternoon tea set and several new pastries as complements. Read on:

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For those who’ve always wanted a proper meal even at a bakery, the Panini Lunch set ($9.90) might just be calling you. Choose from either the smoked salmon and cream cheese or bacon and mushroom curry which comes with freshly tossed Caesar salad as well. Available daily from 11.30am – 3pm.

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Of course, emphasis is placed on the highlight – Cafe Gourmand set ($16). This is inspired from  the petit four which the French have for tea. The four items – a mixed berry tart, mini pear vanilla verrine, canele and brownie are specially picked by celebrity chef Gontran Cherrier (another namethat we are all familiar with) and served on this beautiful tile. Among the four, the canele and pear verrine were my favorite: the former had a tender custard center while the latter felt like an insanely sweet crumble atop mousse. The brownie was a tad too dry for me.  Get these tea sets from 3pm – 6pm daily!
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Finally… gourmet hot dog buns from Tiong Bahru Bakery! Sausage buns should never go out of trend so I’m glad they came up with not just one but two creations – the Spicy Pork Hotdog with Black Sesame Vienna ($5.30), which I felt was more interesting, and the Chicken Hotdog with Pepper Vienna ($5.30).

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You might remember the chocolate and apple kouign amann editions that Tiong Bahru Bakery came up with. This time, they’re launching a new Pistachio Apricot Kouign Amann ($4.50).  As a regular kouign amann consumer I was pretty dang excited to try out this delectable looking pastry with hints of green from pistachio and spots of orange apricot. I love how the pistachio was subtle and not overpowering the original flavor. Surprisingly the combination in this pastry did not make it too sweet.

Two new brioche creations are here too: the Green Tea Brioche with Almond and White Chocolate ($4.20) and Cranberry, Orange and White Chocolate Brioche ($4). Sadly the green tea brioche (not pictured here) was lacklustre as I could hardly taste neither the green tea nor white chocolate. It also gets somewhat mushy after some time. But the cranberry, orange and white chocolate brioche (pictured below) fared quite well. The texture was firm unlike the green tea version and the cranberry and orange enhanced the sweetness of the white chocolate with touches of citrus.

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Similar to the mixed berry tart in the gourmand set is the Raspberry and Pistachio Cream Tart ($7.3). The main difference is of course the swap of strawberries with pistachio cream which I, somehow, preferred.

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Overall, some creations were delightful while some paled in comparison, but one thing’s for sure: Tiong Bahru Bakery is still a favorite which I’ll never tire of.

#B1-11/12

Raffles City Shopping Centre

Singapore 179103

9am – 10pm daily

Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King Matsuri

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Easties can now rejoice. New on the list of restaurants in Singapore is one week old Tonkotsu King Matsuri – the sixth (wow) outlet of Ramen Keisuke. Instead of the usual, more centralized locations, Matsuri is settled at the basement of Parkway Parade. Matsuris are essentially Japanese festivals which the Japanese hold close to their hearts. Represented by elaborate parades, fireworks and floats, these festivals will now serve as inspiration behind  Tonkotsu King Matsuri. I realized soon afterwards that the different ramen here are named after different festivals!

Keisuke Takeda w ramen

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We started out with some side dishes that evening. If you haven’t visited Keisuke’s fifth outlet Gyoza King at Orchid Hotel, fret not. Gyoza ($3 for 3 pieces) is available here as a side dish (they are main courses at Gyoza King) and is made with the same recipe as that from Gyoza King. They are folded by hand over here! At the same time I was also introduced to the two carbonated drinks found only at Keisuke outlets – wasabi ginger ale and green tea cola. Soft drinks will never be the same again.

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Another side dish highly recommended to me was the Chicken Nanban with Tartar Sauce ($9), so I certainly had that. Slathered on pieces of crispy fried chicken is Keisuke’s own version of tartar sauce – or so I prefer to describe it as a delectable egg mayo concoct which complemented the fried chicken pretty well. This should be the mandatory side dish to order. I didn’t have the capacity to taste another side dish, but the Matsuri Meshi rice bowl ($7), topped with a sunny-side-up, chashu cubes and tobiko roe dressed with a specially blended shoyu sounds promising too.

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Tonkotsu Ramen Nebuta ($18.9 for special combo) is inspired by the Nebuta Matsuri festival held every August, which stages a parade of giant Nebuta lantern floats through the city’s main streets. The highlight for this ramen is the broth – made from a fusion of Tonkotsu and Niboshi broth. The Niboshi broth is special in that the stock is made of Japanese sardines which are particularly well known in Aomori. This gave rise to a rather pleasant savory broth with a touch of seafood flavors.

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The Tonkotsu Ramen Sanjya ($18.9 for special combo) is probably my favorite bowl among the 4(!) we had that night. This one is especially for the spice lovers out there. Inspired by the Sanjya Matsuri – a festival held every May in Asakusa, the ramen features three different spices – red chili, green chili and the black one consisting of minced pork. Before devouring the ramen and spices all at once, taste each one with a spoonful of broth – each one gives a different spice profile. Then mix all of them together and taste the powerful punch packed in by all of the spices. I love how each spoonful tasted slightly different from the previous, thus the element of surprise.

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Taking center stage in this bowl of Tonkotsu Ramen Awaodori ($18.9 for special combo) is Chef Keisuke’s secret recipe pork sukiyaki and a raw egg topped on tonkotsu ramen. As a result of the sukiyaki, the broth turned out sweeter than expected as well. The Awaodori Ramen pays homage to the Awaodori festival held in the Tokushima Prefecture every August, well-known for the dancing that thousands of people take part in on the streets.

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Having tried a similar version from Tonkotsu Four Seasons, I was pretty excited to try the Tonkotsu Ramen Yukimatsuri ($18.9 for special combo), whose name came from the Yuki Matsuri held every February in Sapporo in Hokkaido, during which snow and ice sculptures adorn the wintry city streets. The broth combines a tonkotsu broth with miso stock and is topped by a dollop of parmesan cheese powder. This might be a tad heavy on the palate for some but I reckon if you like cheese and a slightly creamier broth, it would be great.

Keisuke Takeda at entrance

As a fan of Ramen Keisuke, I never fail to shower each branch with praises. From the first to the sixth, every outlet has its own concept and I like how even the ramen is unique to each outlet. Quickly head down to Matsuri before the queues start to snake just like those at a typical Ramen Keisuke restaurant.

This was a media invitation – thanks Tecks!

 

80 Marine Parade Road

#B1-18A

Parkway Parade

Singapore 449269

11.30am – 10pm daily

The Lokal

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So, so so many new cafes in Singapore. (too many?) There came to a point in time where I was coming to know about a new cafe each day without fail,  be it through Instagram, blogger friends or the world wide web in general. Pretty sure this influx of new cafes started in June or so, leaving us bloggers in a frenzy where we scurry off to as many of those hideouts as possible.

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Brought to you by Sarnies, The Lokal is Australian-inspired and has so far gotten the nod from food bloggers and cafe hoppers alike. The space is dim, with some light filtering in through a few windows by some tables. Indie vibes checked. Good thing’s that the layout is well-suited to pack people in groups of 4-5 without compromising much on spatial assets. We checked this place out just this Friday for lunch when the lunch menu was served from 11am onwards. Served from 8am to 11am is the breakfast menu which looked promising and fulfilling as well.

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Coffee here was such a delight. I had the cappuccino ($5.50) – smooth, aromatic, right acidity, no bitter aftertaste. Even the latte art’s on point! On the drinks menu there are also smoothies, freshly squeezed juices, teas and sodas so fret not, non-caffeine takers.

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My dish consists of smashed avocado, homemade ricotta cheese, pomelo and toasted almonds on sourdough ($18). A tad pricey though considering the small portion. It’s plain but it makes for something light and healthy on the palate. I’m especially recommending this to all the avocado lovers out there. And P.S. they do place some emphasis on the fact that they make the ricotta from scratch.

Another refreshing and light choice would be the Pita sabich sandwich filled with grilled aubergine, tomato, cucumber, boiled egg and hummus ($16). My friend thinks that the hummus makes this colorful dish tastes less simple as a vegetarian option.

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We also tried the Roast chicken panini with crispy pancetta, tomato, avocado cos and aioli ($15) – coming in a surprisingly bigger portion than the avocado dish. Those with larger stomachs should therefore opt for their sandwiches/burger. The Roast beef on rye, caramelized onions, watercress & grain mustard creme fraiche ($17) and Schnitzel burger, red slaw, grilled pineapple, Emmenthal cheese, lettuce, anchovy mayo on a sesame seed bun served with chunky chips ($28) are yet two other tantalizing alternatives.

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Do not leave without satisfying your sweet tooth. Both the Sticky date pudding with caramelized sauce & vanilla ice cream ($12) and Banana cake with caramelized bananas & hokey pokey ice cream ($12) called out to us so we had both. Between the two, our favorite was the banana cake which felt somewhat like a french toast. The cake was soft but substantial enough to be soaked in syrup that didn’t make it too soggy. I loved how it’s not too cloyingly sweet. Meanwhile, the sticky date pudding, though decent, was pretty average. I would prefer a spongier pudding which would soak up some butterscotch sauce instead of their version which was too dense for my liking.

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Overall verdict? I’m giving the nod too. This is one promising establishment amongst the whole new lot of them – friendly service, quality grub. They so deserve another trip down.

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136 Neil Road

Singapore 088865

Mon – Fri 8am to 6pm

Sat & Sun 9am to 4pm

Tagged , , ,

Best Waffles in Singapore

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Long gone were the days of breakfast where the simplicity of toasts take the center of attention on the dining table. Things have evolved from those olden days of traditional goodness to bring about something bigger (quite literally) than before. Despite its long, lingering presence from medieval times, this quintessential dessert is back to please both young and old. Presenting to you – the fab waffle. Here is my guide to the city’s best, in no particular order whatsoever.

wimbly lu

Predominantly a chocolate and desserts cafe, Wimbly Lu serves up waffles that are indisputably one of the best on the island. The X factor? Their waffles are crisp on the exterior and fluffy interior-wise. Accompanied with them are their homemade ice cream with flavors including chocolate truffle, honey cinnamon (must-try!) and salted caramel. Though Wimbly Lu boasts an interesting array of cakes (try the root beer cake), pies and tarts, the conventional waffle remains as the crowd’s favorite. Don’t miss this quaint spot. The waffles with a scoop of ice cream are priced at $8.50 and $3 for an additional scoop.

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The newly renovated Strangers’ Reunion may cause a controversy on the spatial arrangement but one thing’s for sure, the waffles are still as crispy and popular as ever. Choose your buttermilk waffles with either berry compote and ice cream ($13.90), artisan greek yogurt ($12.90), strawberry maceration and ice cream ($13.90) or maple syrup and fresh fruits ($11.90). Tip: Go for the artisan greek yogurt, which is also my favorite. Recently, Strangers’ Reunion has opened Waffle Slayer just next door, featuring gourmet waffles of exotic flavors. If you’re bold enough, pop by next door and get that squid ink waffle as well.

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New kid on the block Assembly Coffee is a “third wave coffee movement” which is getting busier by the day, what with the good coffee paired with scrumptious waffles you can get at this small cafe. The Salted caramel buttermilk waffles ($11.50) packs a powerful punch with the thick salted caramel (oh so good) drizzled all over vanilla ice cream atop crispy yet fluffy waffles. Indeed, this new cafe with a thriving business can give old favorites like Strangers’ Reunion and Wimbly Lu a run for their money. An alternative to the salted caramel version is the Chocolate and strawberries ($11.50).

 

creamier
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Catered to the joy of heartland folks is Creamier, an ice cream parlor under a block of flats in old residential estate Toa Payoh. I’ve been a proud fan of Creamier since their early days of establishment and even though the space is getting less spacious and quiet, it doesn’t stop me from setting up ice cream dates with friends here. Creamier’s waffles come in fun-sized squares and are extremely crispy, thick and airy. Some of the more crowd-pleasing ice cream flavors include the signature sea salt gula melaka, the seasonal orange milk chocolate, and the limited edition satsuma imo. The possibilities are endlessly interesting. Waffles with a scoop of ice cream are priced at $8.50 and $2.50 for an additional scoop.

 

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Department of Caffeine, or D.O.C. in short, has served up waffles which rose to fame almost instantaneously for their quality. The result is the hefty price tag put on each of them. Despite that, cafe-hoppers come and go without complaints and instead, relish the all-time favorite Buttermilk waffles with ice cream and rum bananas ($15, $4 for additional scoop of ice cream). Those rum-soaked bananas on that thick waffle are sure to make you crave for more. Other waffles include the waffles with peanut butter jelly ($14), the savory sundried tomato and herbs waffle ($17) and the limited edition valrhona chocolate waffles ($20).

 

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salted

Yet another ice cream parlor, Salted Caramel has gained the delights of both school kids and working adults alike with their quality ice cream and waffles at pocket-friendly prices. Try their recommended flavors, which include salted caramel (…obviously), horlicks tim tam, and espresso & caramel biscuits. The only gripe I have is with it’s ill consistency at times. Waffle with a scoop of ice cream is priced at $6.50 and $2 for an additional scoop.

 

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