Category Archives: Food

Lola’s Cafe @ Holland Village

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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.

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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. 

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

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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48 Lorong Mambong, Singapore 277699

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

Waga Waga Den

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On an extreme end of South Beach Avenue sits an achromatic glasshouse-like structure with an outdoor seating area adjacent to it. Upon opening the huge doors, I was welcomed by the sight of a sleek coffee bar adorned with marble and wooden details and similar achromatic tones to match the exterior. 

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As the outdoor seating area was not sheltered and it was a typical day in Singapore with hot, equatorial weather, I grabbed one of the few limited seats indoor.   

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I opted for the Cloud ($8), one of Waga Waga Den’s signature drinks that I had set my eyes on prior visiting the café. A take on the iced cappuccino, this Instagram-worthy (or tiktok worthy) beverage is an espresso with milk, topped with frothy cold milk, and further garnished with chocolate powder. To create the “cloud” effect, air was incorporated, and so take your pictures quickly as the “cloud” deflates over time. The frothed milk layer and chocolate powder enhances the creaminess and gives a bittersweet punch to the cappuccino. 

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Since the café is Japanese-inspired, I just also had to savour the Dirty Matcha Latte ($8), made with matcha okumidori – a single-origin, single-estate and single-cultivar matcha cultivated in Uji, Kyoto. Though the umami flavour was distinct, I would like to pick the pure matcha option on my next visit for more distinction.

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On the menu are also several light bites, both sweet and savoury. I had the Charcoal Brioche ($5) stuffed with Hokkaido red bean paste and échiré salted butter (artisanal French butter from the small village of Échiré in western France), which would be more satisfying if the bun could be bigger with more red bean filling. 

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Meanwhile, the Warabi Mochi ($8), made fresh daily with kuromitsu (Japanese dark sugar syrup) and kinako powder was on par with those I’ve tried and loved from other classic Japanese snack stalls in Singapore. 

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Stay for the coffee and tea, and enjoy the brewing and whisking action before you.

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38 Beach Road, #01-14 South Beach Tower, Singapore 189767

Tues to Fri, 8.30am – 3.30pm

Sat 9.30am, – 4.30pm 

Glass Roasters @ Faber Drive

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Tucked along a street in the middle of nowhere somewhere in the west, Glass Roasters was established in the midst of the pandemic, now having 2 outlets. Having wanting to visit the original outlet, I finally overcame the inertia and took the long journey to the secluded Faber Drive.

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With a small floor area, the café interior seats just a few parties along communal benches, while others may bask under the shade outdoors or dine-in under Gelatolabo’s premises, which are connected to the café. The main aesthetic of the café was no doubt the white, square-tiled coffee counter, juxtaposed with the raw concrete ceiling and herringbone flooring. The glass windows permit shafts of sunlight to penetrate into the interiors, casting shadows across the counter. 

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Being there on a weekday morning, we had the café to ourselves, and indulged in our coffee in the absence of loud, echoed conversations. 

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From the friendly barista, I opted for my go-to, a White ($5.50, +$1 for oat/soy milk), which came in a double-walled glass cup. The coffee smooth, not acidic and did not leave an unwanted aftertaste.

We also had a tiny slice of Banana Cake ($4.50), the only food option available. It was a tad dry. Sadly, its next door neighbour Gelatolabo only opens in the afternoon, otherwise I could have waffles and ice cream to pair with coffee.

My long journey in exchange for a respite from hustle was worthwhile. 

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108 Faber Dr, Singapore 129418

9am – 6pm daily, closed on Tues

Chu and Co

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Housed in a narrow and relatively quieter street near Serangoon Gardens, Chū and Co serves as a takeaway bakery (Chū Bakery) and gelato lab (Chūlato Weekend Gelato Bar).

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There was no proper set-up for dine-in – just a couple of benches by the storefront, a kid-sized bench and table along the backyard, and some mats provided if you would like to picnic on the concrete floor. Those less accustomed to alfresco and the slightly cumbersome way of dining might prefer to takeaway from the store entirely. 

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The display counters, lined with a good variety of bread and viennoiseries, posed the biggest dilemma. I wanted to try almost all of them (which explains a second visit I took). Baked freshly on a daily basis, the menu varies weekly and can sometimes be found on their Instagram page. The bakes here were generally smaller sized and it was possible to share 4-5 of them between 2 people.

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Sitting cautiously on the kids bench in the backyard (for fear that it will crumble under our weight), we tucked into our “picnic box”, together with coffee.

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The Ricotta, Lemon, Smoked Sea Salt ($5.50) was filled with a generous portion of savoury ricotta and topped with lemon and smoked sea salt. I would recommend this for ricotta lovers.

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An unexpected favourite, the Carrot Cake ($6) was one of the better carrot cakes out there. I loved that the cake was moist and fluffy and not overly dense. My only wish was that the slice could be bigger.

We also had the Pulled Mushroom, Cauliflower, Mozzarella ($5.50) which was akin to a mini pizza bun, with a tomato sauce base complimented with mozzarella and veggies.

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Though it did not exactly emulate the taste of carbonara, the Carbonara Toast ($6) was satisfying with a good amount of cheese and an oozing yolk.

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The pretty Lemon Lavender Swirl ($4.50) was however, too sweet with a huge amount of sugar piled on the top. We had to dust off a good amount of it. The lemon taste could not be distinguished.

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A better choice for a sweet bun would be the Cardamon Pistachio ($5.50), though the sweetness could again be toned down.

I also wished I could have the House Ricotta, Semi-dried Tomato ($6) for breakfast daily. The combination of basil pesto, semi-dried tomatoes (a great alternative to sundried ones) and ricotta was reminiscent of a fine Italian dish. 

Not pictured here is the Superfood Salad ($13) comprising strawberries, black barley, quinoa, mixed greens, chia dressing, which I would not recommend. The combination was not fitting and the taste of black barley got too overwhelming shortly after.  

Despite the heat, I enjoyed my mini picnic while soaking in the vibes and people and dog watching (the café is pet-friendly).

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15 Lichfield Rd, Singapore 556835

Chu Bakery – Wed – Sun, 8.30am – 4pm 

Chulato Weekend Gelato Bar – Fri – Sun, 1pm – 10.30pm 

Souvenirs de Paris, 2022

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Boarding a plane for the first time in 2.5 years, my first destination had to be Paris – for I needed some form of practical application for the past 3 years of French lessons, and some reassurance that what I’ve learnt was indeed useful. 

I stayed in 2 different 4-star hotels, Hotel États-Uni Opera (2e Arrondissement) and Hotel Paris Bercy Le 209 (12e Arrondissement), both of which I would recommend. The former was brilliantly located at a close proximity to various tourist attractions. By foot, you could easily visit the Louvre, Palais Royal, Jardin des Tuileries and Galeries Lafayette. The latter, though significantly further from central Paris, was a safe area and allowed me to visit less touristy and crowded neighborhoods like Bastille. Both hotels were also right by the metro stations.

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Our first meal was at the patio of Café de Flore, perhaps (one of) the most Instagram famous cafes in Paris. Braving the cold winds (there was a long queue for indoor seating), we tucked into the best onion soup of my life, a hearty duck parmentier and hot chocolate, and an alright smoked salmon sandwich. 

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Nearby the café were 3 quintessential museums I visited – Musée d’Orsay, for its Van Gogh, Manet and Monet paintings (+ a sneaky shot of the Eiffel Tower); Musée du Louvre for Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and the Winged Victory of Samothrace; and Musée Rodin (less touristy), dedicated to Rodin’s sculptures and some paintings by Van Gogh and Monet. Buying all your tickets online prior to your museum visit is a must to avoid even longer queues and disappointment.

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From the Musee d’Orsay which was right next to River Seine, I strolled along the quay of the river, sitting on benches occasionally to people-watch and cruise-watch. Moving east, I passed by Sainte-Chapelle and Notre-Dame, which was still under re-construction works. I also stopped by and queued to enter the most popular bookstore in Paris, Shakespeare and Company. It was one of my best bookstore experiences and well worth the wait.

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Right next to the bookstore was my dinner venue, Le Petit Châtelet, serving classic French cuisine. The main dishes I had (Beef tenderloin, beef cheek, duck confit) were remarkable, but I would advise to skip the desserts which were average.

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One of my favorite neighborhoods in Paris was Montmartre. As much as it was a very touristy area, the cobbled paths and white-washed buildings were nonetheless charming and the view from the Basilica of the Sacre-Coeur was spectacular. Some other spots in this area were The Wall of Love and the Halle Saint-Pierre (less touristy) which held an art exhibition during my time there. 

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Though there were a good selection of bistros and restaurants within Montmartre, I would recommend exploring Pigalle (just below Montmartre) for food as well. Perhaps the most photographed restaurant in the area, I headed over to Pink Mama to join the line for lunch. Thankfully, bar seats are available for those without reservations and I got in for the first round of seating. The food – burrata, ravioli filled with rabbit ragu, octopus, tiramisu – was decently good, and service was impeccable. 

Le Marais was my other favorite neighborhood. It was full of hippy cafes, bistros, restaurants and boutique shops (homeware, flowers, candles, perfumes, vintage clothes, chocolates). For my café-hopping tour in this area, I went to:

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Boot Café – a small and cozy café which only opens on the weekends. Admittedly, the coffee and bakes were not fantastic but the vibes were great.

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I.O Café – good coffee and pretty good bakes.

Dreamin Man – great coffee and exceptional vibes, with lots of regular patrons who were friendly with the baristas. A must visit.

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For food, I would recommend Robert et Louise which serves different meats grilled over a wood fire. Featured above are the rib eye steak and duck breast with honey sauce that we ordered.

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I also had the chance to explore the Bastille neighborhood, where it was home to the Marché Bastille, one of the largest open-air markets selling fresh produce every Thursday and Sunday from 8.30am – 1.30pm. There were also cafes and bistros in the vicinity, out of which I visited Passager – the flat white and French toast I had were very good. The walk along the Coulée Verte René-Dumont, something like the High Line of Paris, also an idyllic activity I did in the area.

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For day trips, I did one from Paris to the Château de Versailles which was about an hour away from central Paris via the RER train line C. Be prepared for half a day of walking in the Palace and the expansive Gardens.

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Last not but the least, my favorite meal in Paris was at Les Papilles (one of David Lebovitz’s recommendations), which I felt was an underrated bistro. The course menu here changes daily, and we had the 4 course menu at only 35 euros per pax (SGD50). Will write a separate post for this. There were also various attractions nearby, like the Pantheon and Le Jardin du Luxembourg where we walked off the calories. 

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Blessed was this trip of fine weather and gastronomy, warm service and… freedom from the stifling pandemic. And from now, le monde t’appartient.

Common Man Coffee Roasters Joo Chiat

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Common Man is no doubt one of the OG cafes for good brunch and coffee. I first visited the first branch at Martin Road way back in 2013, and even wrote a post on it here! Earlier this year, I re-visited the same branch and found it reminiscent of my first visit – the crowd, the consistency of the food, the same vibes.

Since its inception in 2013, 2 other outlets have sprung up, namely Common Man Stan on Stanley Street and the newest Common Man Coffee Roasters Joo Chiat in the East, where I was kindly invited to for a tasting. 

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Joining the enclave of eateries in the East Coast neighbourhood, the third outlet exudes a different kind of vibe from the first two – more spacious, breezy and chill. With bold splashes of dark blue and brass, the interiors are decorated with a contemporary industrial look. 

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We started off the tasting at the dedicated filter coffee brewing bar, the centrepiece of the café. We were served the Slow Brew ($9) by the barista,  with notes of tropical and dried fruits. 

I also could not resist getting myself a coffee from the Espresso Bar. I went for the Hot Mocha ($6.50), one of my regular orders at CMCR. It tasted as consistent as my previous orders. 

A new item on the CMCR menu are the Sourdough Pancakes, available in both sweet and savoury options. 

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The Savoury Sourdough Pancakes ($24) comes with crispy bacon, fried egg, pure maple syrup and seasoned creamy butter while the Sweet Sourdough Pancakes ($24) is topped with chocolate almond ganache, almond praline, vanilla ice cream and zesty citrus marmalade. In contrast to the Common Man Fluffy Pancakes which I have tried at CMCR @ Martin Road, the sourdough pancakes may not be as fluffy in texture but makes for a healthier alternative. We preferred the sweet version.

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A vegetarian option is the Umami Mushroom Avocado Toast ($22), which was indeed umami thanks to the flavourful oyster and maitake mushrooms, red onions and pickle and togarashi. The focaccia toast is also made with sourdough.

As for the Turkish Common Man Breakfast ($28), it is a not so common combination of a phyllo wrapped soft boiled egg, crispy feta, pumpkin hummus, fresh cucumber, pomegranate and fresh herbs, and pita bread on a plate. My favourite was the chewy wholewheat pita bread.

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We also had the Smash Burger ($28) but unfortunately the house made beef patty was rather dry. 

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A spin on the classic Caesar Salad, the beautifully plated Common Man Caesar ($25) is a huge bowl of butterhead lettuce, chicken breast, grilled brussels sprouts, creamy Stracciatella cheese, focaccia croutons and herb salt.

With this latest café addition to the East Coast, the area would surely be livelier, and hippier.

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185 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427456

7.30am – 5pm daily

Asylum Coffeehouse

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Alongside other well-known coffee establishments such as Chye Seng Huat Hardware and Apartment Coffee in Jalan Besar is the (perhaps not so new) Asylum Coffeehouse which opened early this year. 

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Intending to serve as an asylum from home for guests to escape the hustle and bustle of modern world, the space is small and cozy. I am not trained in design, but thought that the combination of straight lines and curves complemented each other. The combination of white, brown and grey in the interior also gave off some Scandinavian vibes.

Unfortunately with the current 1 meter apart safe-distancing measures, it further limits the indoor seating capacity. My heart ached to see duct tapes of crosses and boundaries stuck on the benches. 

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Service was warm and friendly, especially since the staff explained the menu to us thoughtfully. I ordered the White ($5 for 3 oz, $5.50 for 5oz, +$1 for iced/oat milk/macadamia milk) and thought that while it was decent, it could have a stronger, more acidic body. 

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Besides coffee, there are 2 signature sandwiches on the menu, of which I had the Cubano ($16) – comprising mojo pork, gherkins, Emmental and mustard sandwiched between ciabatta slices. The alternative is The Overload ($16) – with smoked barbecue pulled pork, mac and cheese, homemade bbq sauce and slaw.

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The display counter held some cakes and pastries which we skipped to save space for our next café. We came across The Block OG ($6) – a sugee cake made with almond, butter, rum, Italian meringue, edible flower, a Croissant ($5) and Croisini ($6.50).

There is also an alfresco area, which provides a minimalistic background for your OOTDs, but is less ideal in the recent days of sweltering heat.

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311 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208970

8am – 4.30pm daily

Tapas 24 – From Barcelona to Singapore

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Tapas 24 is the first Asian outpost of the Barcelonian concept helmed by Michelin-starred Chef Carles Abellán. Though friends who visited the original concept in Barcelona gave praises, I kept my expectations low prior to my visit to the Robertson Quay outlet, mainly due to the mixed reviews online.

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Entering the vibrantly coloured all-day restaurant bar, I was hosted by a staff who enthusiastically explained to us most of the dishes in the menu. Even considering that this was a media invite, the service was sincere. Spoilt for choice, we went for most of the recommended dishes. 

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Touted as one of the biggest must-try items here, the Tapas 24 Bikini Sandwich ($16) with black truffles, iberico ham and buffalo mozzarella were decently good, but not amazing. I wished the thin fillings were more substantial in amount.

Two types of croquetas (i.e. Spanish croquettes) were on the menu – the Croquetas de Jamon (Spanish ham) ($10) which I would usually pick, and the Croquetas De Pollo ($8) which I decided to go for based on the host’s recommendation. The croquettes are made of slow-braised pulled chicken (yes, hand-pulled) in home-made velouté, then lightly breaded and deep fried. This was a delight as the pollo (chicken) filling was adequately tender and moist, with a crispy batter outer layer. 

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We were told that the Crispy Calamares ($16) is a dish less well-received by Asians due to the saffron mayonnaise that might come off as overly rich. And so we just had to order and try it for ourselves. Turned out that the saffron mayonnaise had an interesting taste profile which we liked together with the huge chunks of deep fried battered squid, but might be “gelak” for 1 or 2 pax. Instead, I recommend sharing it between 3 – 5 pax.

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The Secreto Iberico ($26) is another one of my favorites in Spanish cuisine. I loved the pairing of flavours with chimichurri and creamy mashed potato in Tapas 24’s version of this dish, but wished the portion size could be larger.

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Yet another dish I enjoyed was the Clams “Ajillo” in Sherry ($32) – fresh clams flambeed in sherry wine with garlic, fresh artichoke and iberico ham. Though my partner thought that the clams would go better with white wine than sherry. 

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Probably our favorite dish we had was the Gambas Al Ajillo ($18) featuring plump, juicy garlic prawns in olive oil. Order some bread and dip it in the sauce for that extra carb satisfaction. 

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As though we did not have enough of gambas and carbs, we proceeded to try the Paella De Gambas Al Ajillo ($40), which came with prawns and paella rice cooked with seafood stock in the Josper oven. Disappointingly, the paella did not match my expectations – I’ve had better ones in other Spanish restaurants in Singapore. We didn’t manage to finish most of it.

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Thankfully, there is always a separate stomach for desserts. Between the Chocolate, Sea Salt and Olive Oil ($10) and the Brie Cheesecake ($18), we opted for the former as huge chocolate fans. The 3 dollops of rich and smooth dark chocolate ganache, topped with olive oil roe and sprinkled with sea salt, appealed to and was welcomed very much by our dessert stomachs. 

Though the price point is slightly steep in comparison to the portion sizes, I must admit that most of the dishes we tried were comparable to those of a good Spanish restaurant in Singapore.

Thanks to the Tapas 24 team for the invite and hosting.

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60 Robertson Quay

#01-04

The Quayside

Singapore 238252

Tues – Sat 12pm – 11pm, Sun 11am – 11pm (Closed on Mon)

+65 6513 6810/+65 9821 8471

Little Rogue Coffee

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Right after my previous café visit to Tigerlily Patisserie in the Katong area, I planned my next café trip to the same area again – there is just lots to explore in this enclave.

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Reaching slightly before 11am on a weekday, I had braced myself but still surprised to find most of the seats filled. Luckily, we managed to settle at the communal table where the centrepiece is situated, with adequate social distancing between patrons.

With no proper doors or windows, the café allows much natural light in in the day, casting light and shadows on the concrete floor, wooden upcycled furniture and plants. Interestingly enough, I also spotted parking lots for bicycles, a play area for kids and a community library for café-goers to deposit or borrow books. This fits in the owners’ vision to bring the local community together while serving F&B. 

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There are 2 main sections to the food menu – All Day Breakfast served from 9am onwards, and Mains, served from 11am onwards.

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From the former, I just could not resist but order one of the most photographed dishes here – the Soft Scrambled Eggs & Ikura ($14). Even though I would have preferred the scrambled eggs to be creamier, fluffier and less watery, the combination of ikura, truffle cream, chives, sourdough with the eggs made a hearty and visually appealing breakfast dish. 

While my Oat Latte ($6.50) was alright, but the Okumidori Matcha Latte ($7) left a greater impression. I later found out that Okumidori is a ceremonial grade matcha which is considered rare.

As we reached before 11am, the mains were not available yet but we were allowed to place advance orders for them which arrived promptly on our table at 11am. 

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We thought that our Beef Cheek Linguine ($24) was rather well-executed, especially with the tender braised beef cheek in beef jus. 

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I am not one who would usually go for vegetarian options on the menu, but the Miso Roasted Cauliflower Steak ($18) had caught my eye when I was doing prior research on the café. There was a play of different textures and flavors from its components (i.e. the crispy kale topped with a generous portion of cheese shavings, crunchy nuts and pomegranate seeds, smooth humus, roasted cauliflower, bittersweet espresso vinaigrette). 

The menu also offers a couple of desserts (an affogato, a waffle and ice cream), and daily bakes such as tea cakes are displayed at the counter. We were too stuffed for them. 

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There has been a sprout of cafes recently, and I’m glad to have discovered one that is above average. 

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336 Tanjong Katong Road, Singapore 437109

Wed to Mon 8.30am – 6pm, closed on Tues

+65 8899 1143

Tigerlily Patisserie

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The East is blooming with new cafes, and I’m taking slow and progressive steps to visit them one at a time. My most recent one was at Tigerlily Patisserie, a bakery-café which started as an online bake-box business. 

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Greeted by floral and pastel-themed interiors, I was livened up by the botanical designs and the splash of yellow-orange against a deep forest green along a wall. Surprisingly, the café was fully packed at noon on a weekday, with a line forming in and outside the premises. 

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We had some coffee and realized it was on the mild side – my Oat Mocha ($7.50) tasted more like a hot chocolate. The Oat White ($6) was just as mild.

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Then Maxine, the owner and head chef, brought out 2 sandwiches to start our meal proper. The Salmon Tzatziki ($14), with ingredients of house-cured salmon gravlax, dill tzatziki, avocado slices and citrus segments between homemade ciabatta bun were light on the palate and made a refreshing appetizer. 

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Not just your ordinary homemade grilled kimchi cheese sandwich, the Monsieur Kim ($15) has kimchi and Parma ham sandwiched with a trio of grilled cheeses that made a great combination –  brie, comte and caiocavallo. It felt like an elevation of a simple breakfast dish.

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Moving on to the pastries and desserts which I was most excited about, we first had the savory Tomato & Artichoke Tart ($7) – made with heirloom tomatoes baked atop tomato concasse and with pickled artichoke hearts. 

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As for the Yellow Peach Danish ($8), while I wished that the danish puff pastry would be airier with flakier layers, the seasonal yellow peaches were soft, mildly sweet, and perfect for summer.

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An IG-worthy signature of Tigerlily is the Beehive ($11). Have fun smashing the beehive – within which you can find lemon, thyme and litchi honey jelly, a lemon sponge and honey parfait encased in yuzu mousse. I would recommend to eat the inner layers together with the yellow shell (made of white chocolate) as some may find the combination of ingredients within to be on the sour side. 

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Personally, I preferred the Pink Guava & Pear ($10) to the Beehive. This terrazzo-inspired dessert (matching the terrazzo designs of the tables) has pink guava cream and jelly with cubes of fresh pears encased in elderflower liqueur and pear mousse. Loved the sweet-tart, tropical flavors. 

Overall, I was impressed by the intricately presented pastries and desserts and would love to try the rest on my return visit – the Forest Berry Taco, Mochi Blondie, Garlic Herb and Cream Cheese Babka… which were unfortunately wiped off the display around 1.30pm when I ended my meal.

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Heartfelt thanks to Teresa and Maxine for hosting us.

350 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427598

Tues to Sun, 9am – 5pm

+65 8887 0988

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