Keijometo

673A9262-2

Probably one of the most visited cafés by Singaporeans in JB in the past year or so, Keijometo is an industrial-themed café and gallery serving Japanese dishes and drinks. The Grab ride from JB Sentral took just about 15 mins.

673A9242 673A9236

Surrounded with stone and gravel landscaping details and concrete tile-paved paths, the tall concrete café is designed like an art exhibition space with mismatched furniture. Though we did not manage to get to the café when it opened at 11am, we were lucky enough to score the empty seats by the window around 11.30am. Shortly after we were seated, a queue started to form.

673A9243 673A9255-2

Ordering is done via a QR code while payment can be made by cash or card. In view of the weather, we wanted a refreshing drink and tried the Watermelon Matcha Iced Latte (RM14, SGD4.10).  A pity that the watermelon overpowered the matcha – it felt like watermelon juice for the most part of it, despite the even pink-green visuals.

673A9299-2

As a side, we had one of the most popular items here, the Mentaiko Tamago Sando (RM20, SGD5.90). Three huge chunks of deep-fried tamago were each sandwiched between 2 pieces of fluffy white toast and topped off with a generous serving of aburi mentaiko sauce. This was sinfully tasty, but I recommend sharing it between 2 pax so it does not get overwhelming.

673A9266 673A9290

The Salmon Ochazuke (RM30, SGD8.80) was quite a steal for its price, featuring 2 pieces of grilled onigiri with a slab of pan-fried salmon and hot green tea on the side to steep the rice in. The salmon was not the most tender or moist I’ve had, but it was overall a comforting dish and I loved that the tea helped to ease the greasiness of the sando.

673A9319

We ordered the Hojicha Burnt Cheesecake (RM21, SGD6.20) as it sounded promising. Though it was not quite burnt on the exterior, the interior was rich and not overly sweet. A decent end to our brunch.

673A9300

Before coming, I heard mixed reviews and did not expect much but I left pretty satisfied from the ambience, service and food.

673A9239

3, Jalan Chengai, Taman Melodies, 80250 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia

Tues – Sun 11am to 7pm

Advertisement

Yeonhui Espresso Bar 연희에스프레소바

673A9506

My first café visit during my Korea spring trip was to Yeonhui Espresso Bar (opened September 2022), which as its name suggests, is situated in the Yeonhui-dong neighbourhood. Ever since covid eased out, this area has flourished with several cafes and started gaining traction – but it remains pretty much unvisited by tourists which is why I love hanging out here.

673A9507

Perched on the second floor of a small shophouse, the café features a curved espresso bar counter in a pretty shade of nude pink with windows lined on all sides permitting the space to be bathed in sunlight. With a very limited indoor area, the seats are all outdoors, perfect for the moderate spring weather.

673A9509

Here’s how to order: pick up a piece of order sheet at the counter and indicate your order with a crayon, then pass it to the barista. You may also add in special requests if you would like. The menu is divided into 2 parts – the first featuring various coffee drinks innovated by the café, such as their Yeonhui Espresso (KRW3600, SGD3.60) which features homemade orange jam and syrup with espresso and cream. The second part is a list of the conventional types of coffee such as Americano and Flat White. There is also an option to substitute to oat milk at KRW1000 (SGD$1).

673A9522

On my first visit, I had the Oat Espresso (KRW3000, SGD3.06) which had a shot of espresso, sugar, oat milk and cocoa powder added to it. This was a small glass of coffee which explains the price. I liked the oat + espresso ratio and combination but would request for no sugar if I ordered it again.

673A0017

As I was staying in the area, I conveniently made a second trip down where I had the Crunky Gege (pronounced je-je) (KRW4000, SGD4.08), which was a relatively new creation added to the menu. It is a small cup of Strapazzato, which is a type of coffee originating from Naples, featuring espresso with sugar, cocoa powder and cream stirred together. Of course, the bar of crunky chocolate topped on the cup is a Korean addition. This was akin to a sweet, smooth and creamy espresso-flavoured emulsion. Side note that I loved their cute coffee cup design.

673A9514

There was just something very healing from sipping coffee while chasing light and shadows, watching the neighbourhood in action, unintentionally eavesdropping on conversations unfolding and thinking about nothing from my seat in the outdoor terrace.

673A9511

Weekdays 8.30am – 5pm, Weekends 9am – 5pm

128-10 Yeonhui-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul

The Chinoiseries – My First Private Dining Experience

IMG_3514

Recently, I had my very first private dining experience in Singapore, at The Chinoiseries. Chinoiserie is a French word for a Western style that has influences from China or East Asia in its design, and this style is also the main inspiration for the menu served at this cosy apartment where chef-owners Lionel and Karyn reside and receive diners.

IMG_3526

The menu is a 5-course dinner tasting menu at $168 per pax, with a minimum of 6 and maximum of 12 pax per booking. However, due to demand from smaller groups, sharing of table with others is also allowed based on availability so do check in with them.

IMG_3528 IMG_3530

There were 2 options for the first course – Oysters 3-ways or the Brouillade. The former was 3 oysters done in different ways: en nage glacee, grilled with persillade, and poached with celery cream. Meanwhile, the Brouillade featured soft and creamy scrambled eggs with smoked king salmon, topped with dill and sturia vintage caviar.

IMG_3540 IMG_3536

The second course was a choice between Legumes – white asparagus, morels, morel forma, parmesan crisp or Scallops – Hokkaido jumbo scallop, tarragon beurre blanc, prosciutto chips. I personally preferred the Legumes because of the sweet and tender white asparagus (unlike the green asparagus) and the savoury morels which is one of my favourite shrooms.

IMG_3541

We then had a pasta course, which was Capellini topped with uni, Alaskan king crab and tobiko.

IMG_3548 IMG_3550

For the main course, we had the Lamb rack with a pistachio herb crust and red pepper coulis, and Tournedos – which featured Australian black angus tenderloin, Sarawak black and white peppercorn and red wine jus. The meat was tender to my liking and paired well with the spices.

Both mains were served with vitelotte potatoes, which were petite and had purple flesh. It was my first time trying and I was surprised by the nutty flavour which I really liked instead of the starchy taste I was expecting.

IMG_3554 IMG_3558

Our dessert, the Parfait Glace, had a good balance of sweet and nutty flavours and a mixture of soft and crunchy textures. We also had a scoop of their homemade praline paste and it was divine.

IMG_3556

A gem that was not found on the menu, but for preorders only, was their Canelé which I got to try before leaving. The ones here were befitting of how a canelé should be – crisp and crusty on the outside (while not being too hard) and moist with a slight chewiness on the inside. That ended the meal on an extremely high note.

Though I could not compare what I had at The Chinoiseries to other private dining restaurants for my lack of experience, it was overall a classy yet homely experience. I was impressed with the wide range of quality and rare ingredients in the dishes and how everything could be made so timely in a kitchen of a HDB flat. The service from and conversations with Lionel and Karyn added a personal touch which made us feel comfortable and at ease, without that pressure to be formal in a fine dining setting.

289 Bukit Batok Street 25, Singapore 651289

Thu to Sat 7pm – 10pm

WhatsApp: 9272 7180 to enquire or reserve

Photos shot with iPhone 14 Pro Max

Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival 2023 (진해군항제)

673A9668-3

After years of waiting for the COVID storm to calm and restrictions to lift, I finally had the chance to return to Korea, mask-free, to experience my first spring and cherry blossom viewing. Jinhae was on high priority for me since the cherry blossom festival there is one of the largest and most popular in South Korea, but its location was not the easiest to get to by public transport.

673A9605-2

Eventually I booked a one-day tour from Busan to Jinhae on Klook and it turned out to be a hassle-free and good experience. There were also other solo travelers like me on the tour of different nationalities. There was also an option for a day tour from Seoul to Jinhae but I would not recommend that since a one-way trip would take about 4-5 hours.

673A9604

Departing from Busan Station, we arrived slightly ahead of time at Gyeonghwa Station (경화역 벚꽃길), which was an actual railway station up till 2006. The entire length of the station was not long, it probably took only 5-10 minutes to walk from one end to the other.

673A9658-2

The crowd was huge considering it was a Friday morning, but it could be worse over the weekend. It was already past the blooming peak (as of 31 Mar 2023) and with the occasional strong breeze, I caught many moments of the falling petals which were simply magical.

673A9637-2 673A9620-2 673A9628-2 673A9631-2

At noon, we left to have lunch nearby the next destination, Yeojwacheon Stream (여좌천), which was only 10 mins away by bus. Compared to Gyeonghwa Station, the cherry blossom tree-lined streets along the stream were much longer and it was a pity we didn’t manage to walk till the end and back to the starting point even after 2 hours.

673A9672-3 =673A9677-2 673A9660-3 673A9669-3

There were also more stalls (think cherry blossom ice cream, cherry blossom latte, cherry blossom hairpins…) and restaurant/café options for a break. Again, huge crowds showed up though it was still comfortable enough to walk freely without bumping into others much.

673A9653-3 673A9675-3 673A9647-2 673A9659-3

Heading back to Busan, we encountered a considerable amount of traffic so it took close to 2 hours to reach – still a pretty comfortable ride thanks to the coach. And if you’re still wondering, yes I would recommend this day tour to Jinhae, though I would love to complete it with a night tour!

Origin Grill at Shangri-La Singapore

673A9366

A while back, I had the opportunity to discover Origin Grill and their new seasonal menu. Located in the luxurious Shangri-La Hotel at Orchard Road, the restaurant shares the same premises and name as the popular Origin Bar which comes alive in the evening. The vast expanses of the hotel lobby were bustling on a Sunday afternoon with both locals and foreigners alike and I was soaking in the vibes.  

673A9339

At the restaurant, I received very attentive and warm service from the service crew who knew the menu well and provided true recommendations. For a start, we had the Mushroom Soup ($14) topped with toasted hazelnuts, BBQ mushrooms and chives. It was a smooth emulsion that could be easily slurped up at a go.

673A9347 673A9348

The appetisers which arrived next, were as huge as main courses that I panicked a little. Wrapped in layers of pancetta, the Hudson Valley Duck Terrine ($34) was made with slow cooked duck leg and terrine from the Hudson Valley duck and was served with pickled onions, apricots, pear and apple chutney, warm brioche. I recommend stacking the terrine atop a layer of brioche and chutney and have it in a bite. Wished there were more slices of brioche!

673A9358

Yet another appetiser we had was the Charred Octopus ($30), which featured the Abrolhos octopus caught off the coast of Western Australia. We were surprised how the octopus leg was plump and thick yet remained very tender. Swipe it with the aubergine caviar and tomato jam along the plate for an extra tasty finish.

673A9356

Then came the main course which I was highly anticipating, as Origin Grill is known for offering notable bespoke beef cuts. I went for the recommended Yukimuro Striploin ($175) which is the most popular steak on the menu. This was my first time learning about the technique of yukimuro, where the beef is snow-aged for 30 days in a snow-covered room in Niigata. One of the richest and fattiest cuts of steak I’ve had, this is not for the faint-hearted.

673A9378

The other main course that was recommended to us was the Lumina Lamb Rack ($62), served with honey glazed carrots, salsa verde, pistachio crumbs, rosemary jus. There was no gaminess.

673A9368 673A9379

We had 2 beautifully plated desserts to end. An Asian take on the Ile Flotante, the Floating Island ($18) featured mangoes from Thailand and a meringue with passion fruit crème anglaise and compote. The Milky Origin ($18), as its name suggests, is a vanilla milk pudding dessert with crispy milk foam, fromage blanc mousse, almond paper and manuka honey. We preferred the Floating Island!

673A9408 673A9400

Be it for date nights or a relaxing family meal, the food and experience at Origin Grill was suitable for any occasion and I personally have been recommending it to friends as well.

673A9340

12pm – 2.30pm, 6pm – 10.30pm (Closed on Mon)

Lobby Level, Tower Wing, Shangri-la Singapore, 22 Orange Grove Rd, 258350

Art di Daniele Sperindio – 1 Star Michelin Restaurant at National Gallery

673A9121

Situated at the top of National Gallery, Art di Daniele Sperindio (previously Art Restaurant) helmed by newly minted chef-owner Daniele Sperindio is an Italian fine dining restaurant with 1 Michelin star under its belt. The panoramic view of Marina Bay Sands from the spacious restaurant is just the cherry on the cake. Recently, I was there to experience Art 4.0, the fourth iteration of the chef’s menu of conversation cuisine.

673A9178

Before getting into the 7 course degustation menu proper, we started with 2 cocktails recommended by the team – a rum cocktail, and the Beeswax which are available on a separate drinks menu. Both were sweet cocktails which suited my palate.

673A9085 673A9096

Our first course, the Aperitivo, 4 Amici al Bar, was a series of 3 apetizers – swordfish ham, stracchino cheese tart, and chutoro – which whet our appetites. The chutoro made a lasting impression.

673A9094 673A9092

The next course, Cappon Magro, was topped with Siberian sturgeon caviar and easily made the most prized dish of the tasting menu.

673A9100

For the bread course, Pane e Poesia, we were served two types of bread, pagnotta rustica sourdough and toasted malt ciabatta. We also got to pick from 3 types of EVOO originating from different regions.

673A9107

Then it was Tea Time, featuring glazed hen-of-the-wood, an edible wild mushroom, with cardo tea poured into the dish. Surprisingly, it was tender and delicate, almost as though we were tucking into a hearty meat dish. On the side, we had a giarratana onion tart for pairing.

673A9114

The pasta course, La Superba, was my favorite – taglierini made with 32 yolks for every kilogram of flour served in an infusion of clams and stock fish. The sauce was very savory but not overbearing, while the texture of the pasta was chewy and firm.

673A9123

As an accompaniment, we had a spoon of colorful pasta topped with a slice of winter truffle, and artisanal focaccia to be dipped in a Genoa meat sauce – the focaccia was so fluffy like a brioche!

673A9129 673A9125

We had two mains, the first being Estate ad Albenga, featuring sardinian seabass, mozambique scampi, baby artichoke and royal oscietra caviar (yet another prized item).

673A9133 673A9131

The second main, Winter is Coming, was a honey-ed quail dish. We found the quail wing to be slightly gamey while the quail breast had a cleaner taste.

673A9142

For dessert, we had the Tourists on Mount Vesuvio, featuring buffalo milk gelato topped with a deconstructed classic Napolitan biscotto all’amarena made from glazed amarena cherries and chocolate. As a finishing touch, 3 drops of 40 years old aged balsamic vinegar was added – this had a really thick and deep flavour. Yet another one of my favorite courses!

673A9158

Lastly, the petit fours, Piccola Pasticceria, was served. It was a galore of traditional Italian pastries – the baci di dama (Northern Italian sandwich cookie), amaretti morbidi (soft amaretti cookie), occhi di bue (Italian shortbread cookie filled with apricot jam), mini cavolino espresso tarts, gianduiotto chocolate, grape tart, sfogliatelle (Italian pastry) and almond cake. Not the easiest to finish since it was full of dough and butter.

673A9176

The 7-course degustation menu is served during dinner at $298++/pax, while the lunch degustation menu (choice of 4 or 5 courses) is priced at $138++ and $158++/pax respectively.

1 St Andrew’s Road, #06-02, National Gallery Singapore 178957

Tues to Sun 12pm – 2pm, 6pm – 10pm (closed on Mon)

Anna’s Sourdough – new cafe in Oasis Terraces

673A8920

Knowing that a new café had opened at Oasis Terraces which was close to my hood, and one that features sourdough no less, I was patiently waiting till that sunkissed Sunday morning where I headed down as early as possible.

673A8839

Streaming in at 9am to secure a good spot in the alfresco area, I was surprised to see the café about 70% occupied. In fact, a queue started to form outside shortly after I was seated, and it only got longer when I left. 

673A8925-2

The staff at the counter were kind to offer a few pieces of their Chocolate Rye Sourdough ($24) for me to try – it was a loaf made with a rye base, lusciously rich with chocolate and cold retarded for a minimum of 16 hours. I would have bought it on the spot if not for the pretty hefty price tag.

We then started our brunch proper with the Flat White ($5 for reg, $6 for large) and Mocha ($6, +$1 for oat). I had the latter and thoroughly enjoyed it thanks to the smoothness and distinct notes of Callebaut chocolate. Non-coffee drinkers might want to try the variety of Fizzes and Smoothies made with sourdough starter.

673A8851

All of the choices in the food menu features sourdough as a key ingredient and for the sourdough lover in me, it was hard picking what I can stomach. Eventually, I went for the the Grilled Kimcheese Toastie ($17), which was a hearty dish but unfortunately the kimchi-cheddar & parmesan cheese combination turned out to be very salty. The saltiness was even enhanced with the accompaniment of the tomato bisque. I felt like I had maxed out the RDA of 2000mg of sodium that day with it. Skip this and go for the other toasties. 

673A8890

The Anna’s Steak and Eggs ($28) was the other dish I tried – essentially a ribeye steak cooked medium with sunny side eggs and sourdough toast. Though I wished I could get the steak medium rare to my preference, it was still decent with smokey flavours and the chimichurri made a good pairing. The chili and black garlic butter served on the side weren’t so much as complementing. 

673A8911

Out of the desserts on the stand, I picked the Carrot Walnut Sourdough ($8) which unlike what I was expecting, the cake was on the denser side and lacking a sweetness. It felt like an overly healthy cake baked by the health-conscious aunt I never had. 

673A8856

Though there were some hit and misses with the food, the sourdough here is undoubtedly the highlight and still worth a try. Just be prepared to come early or queue. There is also the option to takeaway the loaves. 

673A8842

681 Punggol Drive, Oasis Terraces #01-06, Singapore 820681

Mon – Thu 8.30am to 5pm, Fri – Sun 8.30am – 6pm

Anagram Coffee Singapore

673A8830-3

Despite the long trip, I decided to make the 1.5hour journey to Anagram Coffee last week when it was just a few days’ old, determined not to hustle with other cafe hoppers when the cafe gets more widely recognised overtime.

673A8804 673A8829-3

Located in an outdoor wing of Anchorpoint Shopping Centre (opposite IKEA Alexandra), the cafe is a small nook between other tenants yet to set up store. It features a minimal interior with a coffee bar and a bench fitting a few patrons, and an outdoor patio with 2 tables and tree stump stools.

673A8819 673A8812-2

The menu was lean and dedicated mainly to coffee from Tad Coffee Company, so I ordered just the White ($6 for hot, +$1 for oat milk) for dine in. There were also other espresso based drinks like Mocha ($6 for hot), a Guest Filter Brew ($8 for hot), and Chai Tea ($7 for hot) for tea drinkers. My White had a smooth mouthfeel with notes of acidity. I heard that pastries will be rolling in at a later stage, so I will keep a look out for that!

673A8800

I believe this is the most interesting addition to Anchorpoint so far.

673A8821

370 Alexandra Rd, #01-13A Anchorpoint Shopping Centre, Singapore 159953

8am – 6pm daily

Apartment Coffee – New space at Selegie Road

673A8651

One of my favorite coffee haunts in Singapore, Apartment Coffee, has moved to a new and bigger space along Selegie Road. 

673A8657 673A8644

While I missed the odd shape of the old premises, I do love that the new location is more central and accessible and has more floor space and seats to accommodate a larger crowd. Much to my delight, the theme of the interiors is still minimalistic with the same white coffee bar dominating the aesthetics.

673A8633 >673A8619

On both occasions, I had the Coffee with Milk ($5.50, Oat Milk + $0.50) with origins from the Costa Rica Aquiares Estate. I am a huge fan of the light roast, with a smooth and creamy texture and a clean aftertaste. 

673A8656

The Hand Brews are the signature, among which I believe the Myanmar Amayar Black Honey is a popular choice and which I may get on my next visit. 

673A8702

For the non-coffee drinkers, there is always the option for a Hot Chocolate ($7.50, Oat Milk + $0.50) or tea (there are options for green tea, oolong tea or kombucha) – though I highly recommend coffee here.

673A8690 673A8677

Apartment Coffee remains one of my top spots for coffee, ambience, conversations and me time.

>673A8710

139 Selegie Road, #01-01, Singapore 188309

10am – 6pm daily

Lola’s Cafe @ Holland Village

673A8587

Having resided in the north east area all my life, I have visited first Lola’s café in Kovan on a few occasions. I even have a post here dating back to 2013 (!) when it was newly opened. Since then, the café has been serving crowds (mostly living nearby) eager to have affordable brunch options without traveling out.

673A8572

This time round, I was at the 2 months’ old 2nd outpost of Lola’s at Holland Village, where the structure and interior were vastly different from the Kovan outlet. While the 1st outlet had darker, simple furnishings reminiscent of a neighborhood hangout, the new outpost appealed with the clean and bright space, natural lighting and an emphasis on smooth and rounded edges. 

673A8580

Thankfully we made reservations in advance, as the place started to get buzzing with families and groups of friends shortly after 9am.

673A8585 673A8582

I mentioned I was not a big fan of their coffee in my first Lola’s post, and sadly I had the same sentiments here. Pictured is the Oat White ($5.5 + $1.2 for oat) with the house blend which tasted flat, and then there was my Soy White ($5.5 + $1.2 for soy) that was not featured here because it looked like a botched job. 

673A8608

From the brunch menu, which was largely similar to the Kovan outlet’s, I opted for the Pulled Pork & Avocado Eggs Benedict ($18). This was a saucy dish with a heavy taste from the generous serving of hollandaise sauce and the 6-hr smoked chipotle pulled pork. The 2 eggs were poached well with oozing yolks. 

673A8606

On the other hand, the Grilled Cheese Sandwich ($16), featuring sourdough, cheddar, mozzarella, halloumi, honey mustard, and housemade smoked ketchup, was simple enough, like a dish that can be easily put together at home. Perhaps other cheeses like comté or even a blue cheese could be used for a more complex flavour.

We did not get desserts as we were café-hopping, though I was happy to see that my favorite ones from Lola’s @ Kovan were on the menu (ie the Seasalt Chocolate Tart ($7) and Black Sesame Tart ($7)). One thing to note though (I only realized this much later) – some of the dishes here are pricier than the same ones you get at Kovan, so I would recommend to get the outlet exclusive items such as the pastas.

673A8597-2

48 Lorong Mambong, Singapore 277699

Open 9am – 10pm daily (except Mon, closed)

%d bloggers like this: