Tag Archives: american

House, Dempsey – The Essential Brunch

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I mean it when I say that House is the essential brunch place. It’s almost been exactly two years since I last stepped foot into this quirky cafe-restaurant. (P.S. you can refer to my 2-year-old review here. Still can’t believe I took those photos though.) Everything felt familiar and it feels as though I’m visiting an old friend of mine. The mismatched furniture, though the same and not replaced, feels irreplaceable instead. How should I describe it? It’s like Alice in Wonderland.  From a homely dining area lined by bookshelves to a cosy tent installment to dining in the outdoors garden, it’s no wonder why some people don’t ever tire of patronizing.

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During my past visit here I tried their legendary truffle fries (my favorite thus far). Since then, they’ve introduced 4 new types of fries to whet your appetite: Pumpkin hazelnut, truffle taro, curry mustard and carrot fennel. So so tough a decision to make on just one since there were only 2 of us.  In the end we went for the Truffle Taro Fries which were straw-cut and a lot thinner than potato fries. As expected, the truffle oil was very aromatic. *inserts relevant emoji*

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House Pancakes used to be a 7-layer pancake stack which I’ve always wanted to try, however after the menu revamp the pancakes are now a more “down-to-earth” version. Inspired by the pavlova, the pancakes are topped with kiwi, passionfruit and strawberries and then drizzled with chocolate sauce. The combination comes across as a tad unsuitable but it turned out well.

I didn’t get to try much of the Black Pepper Prawns with Sweet Corn Salsa and Sunny Side-Up but there’s one thing I’m certain about it: the prawns are really fresh and the sunny side-up is fried with organic eggs.

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The dessert menu at House is even more so recently revamped. On a more accurate note, it is a new dessert menu. Yet again, it’s a dilemma with 10 tantalizing options…

At $15, the Salted Caramel Toastie may not be the most worthy for money dessert considering it just a toast topped with a scoop of ice cream. But it’s more than that. The toasted brioche was as good as brioche can get. Having caramelized walnuts to go along with the toastie upped the level of crunchiness and crispiness. That scoop of caramel biscuit ice cream fared well too, except that it melted all too quickly.

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A petite delight was the Warm Chocolate Toffee Cake, which came out pretty moist and fluffy like a sticky pudding.

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I must say that I was pretty shocked some perennial favorites from the old menu like the strawberry shortcake were removed. Still, the new options all sound promising and if I had the space for more, I’d definitely go for the banana coconut pecan cake.. and possibly a slice of lemon curd cheesecake. Apart from that, I’m grateful for the fact that weekend brunches here remain lovely.

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8D Dempsey Road

Singapore 249672

Monday – Thursday 12pm – 11pm

Friday 12pm – 12am

Saturday 11am – 12am

Sunday 9am – 11pm

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Peels – Breakfast in NYC

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New York City is not a food heaven, but THE food heaven. It’s hard not to find a single restaurant on any street at all and this is backed up by statistics, which says that if you hop to a different eatery in NYC for every meal it would take you 52 years to finish trying every one of them. For the past 2 months prior to my trip I’ve been looking up cafes, bakeries, ice cream shops and restaurants on the net so I pretty much have a long list of places that can’t even be fulfilled on a single trip alone.

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Among these places, Peels is one of the top casual brunch spots in Manhattan ($$$$) where both tourists and locals patron often. It made for a perfect stopover en route to the Brooklyn Bridge (our main attraction of the day), being only a short 5 minute walk away from the nearest subway station. Reaching at 8.45am, we found ourselves stepping into the warmth of an empty, 2-storey restaurant. The brunch crowd comes a few hours later. PS I heard that on busy summer weekends queuing for brunch takes hours. I was amazed at how NYC restaurants take their decor seriously. Not a single piece of furniture is mismatched and the interior is rustic charm at its best. I can imagine how vibey it must be in summer when all the colors come to play. 

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The Cinnamon Sugar Donut (3 USD) comes with a price tag heftier than our local Krispy Kreme outlet but at least the Americans are serious about their donuts.  

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Farmers Breakfast (13.5 USD) was a King’s breakfast – fried eggs, smoked bacon, hash browns and toast.  The best big breakfast yet. If you think you’ve had the best bacon in Singapore, the bacon here puts it to shame. It’s thick, juicy and what a good bacon should be – oozing with goodness. Also – look at that perfectly fried sunny side up. Even the toast was adequately fluffy.

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I ordered Biscuits & Gravy (12.5 USD) for myself because online reviews rave about the biscuits here. This particular dish may not look the most appealing and delectable but based on taste, it says otherwise. Poached eggs here have egg whites which are a lot firmer but still producing a runny yolk which spills out. Instead of the usual English muffin or toast, the North American version of the biscuit, a soft quick bread or aka the biscuit from Popeyes, lies below the 2 poached eggs. And on top of it all is not the usual hollandaise but a much more sinful, flavorful sausage gravy. Filled with bacon bits, it complemented the main dish so well that each bite was as pleasant as eating into warm lava cake. Kudos to the just-right portion which saves the entire dish from being overbearing. For something more flexible there is also the option to Build A Biscuit where you choose from a list of items to be sandwiched between 2 biscuits. 

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I wished we had the opportunity to order from their brunch menu.. It’s one of the reasons why people keep going back. Nonetheless I had one of my best breakfasts on that wintry Saturday morning. There were mixed reviews about the service at Peels but I received warm, attentive service from a male server. A pretty good morning for me indeed. Oh bring me back to NYC.. who cares about the Statue of Liberty or Empire State Building when you can have fabulous brunches in the Big Apple?

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325 Bowery

New York, NY 10003

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Arbite – a hearty brunch

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Arbite is no newcomer to the list of popular brunch places in Singapore. It’s cosy interiors created by wooden furniture in a white space is no doubt a less formal, more chillax place for heartlanders to have gatherings there especially on weekends. The view overlooking Serangoon Gardens may not be posh but it certainly made the place look airy.
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I jumped straight into my order immediately. With such a pretty name, the Sea Salt Banana Pancakes ($14.90) was a definite call. With huge chunks of banana heavily caramelized in between the pancakes, you’ll never have to endure an overload of plain, boring pancakes. What’s more, the plate is rimmed with caramel sauce, berries and nuts.
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In my opinion many brunch places have mediocre breakfast sets with a random mixture of sausages, eggs….. but even till now, the Arbite Breakfast ($12.90) lingers in my cravings  with a note set in my memory. A good spread indeed: veal bratwurst which was tender to my liking, greens, bacon, mushrooms, fried potato balls, a nicely grilled tomato, soft brioche and of course truffle eggs (additional $3). Even though I preferred truffle on fries, I must agree that truffle on anything is still good.
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The Truffle Fries ($10.90) here are of a thicker cut. The hints of truffle salt and oil are barely there on the fries, they’re mostly hidden in the truffle mayonnaise. So don’t forget to dip them in!
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By that time, the both of us were pretty full from such a hearty and filling brunch. Yet, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity for desserts since they sound delicious by descriptions on the menu. Sadly, My Wife’s Chocolate Cake ($8) was quite a disappointment. I would think that a wife has better standards for her chocolate cake. It was undeniably dry and normal with no kick to it. I can imagine a sallow-faced wife.

 

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Lucky for Arbite’s Gula Melaka Tiramisu ($8) which saved the day. Having a gula melaka mascarpone made the dessert extra sweet but I’m not complaining. Because of the well-infused gula melaka into a tiramisu, it has turned out to be a unique rendition which is not too heavy on the stomach.

The number of tables here are limited but you’ll be happy that Arbite has opened another eatery, A for Arbite at Aliwal Street. Both the concept and menu mimics the original outlet except for its funkier location.

66A Serangoon Garden Way

Tuesdays to Fridays 11.30 am – 3.00 pm     6.00pm – 10.30pm
Saturdays & Sundays  9.00 am – 10.30 pm

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Five & Dime Eatery

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This is a long overdue post of my belated birthday dinner. Of course, everything would not have been possible without Amanda, Tricia, Wileen, Angela and B who specially planned the secret trip to Five & Dime. The original intention was to proceed to Valentino’s for an Italian fix but since they were full I was brought here whilst being kept in the dark. Anyway, I loved the theme of the entire place. It’s a little hard to describe, more like a creation of artsy meets kiddy meets classic feel.

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Mocha on Mars ($12) and Decadent Chocolate ($12) in the background. I had the mocha milkshake and how I wished there could be less caffeine and more chocolate in it to balance it out (it tasted rather bitter for a drink called mocha on mars).

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Calamari ($8)
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Unlike the usual thick and cheesy ones out there, the Mac n Cheese ($15) here was based on a lobster sauce together with cheese thus giving it’s pinkish appearance as you delve into it. It was less heavy a dish and certainly a lot less cheesier which I felt was a good thing, unless you prefer an over dosage of cheese.

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The Cajun Chicken ($18) was not that bad, what with its evenly grilled surface.

Next was a surprise. The Mentaiko Pasta ($18) captured in the first picture was a great fusion pasta. I’ve had those at other places served either too creamy or too dry so it was heartening for me to finally find a good one there at Five and Dime. The faint taste of mentaiko was not overpowering, neither was it lackluster in flavor.

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Fish & Chips ($20) which were okay.

The Burger ($23) which I ordered was a tad of a small portion but otherwise enjoyable.

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Something like a Nutella Brownie with ice cream ($12) written on a blackboard would catch my attention immediately. When it first came served to my table I thought it looked divine. Sure enough, not only was the nutella concentration just the right amount for me, it was also just as moist to make a good brownie. Topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, it ended my lovely dinner on a sweet and satisfying note.
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The space here at Five and Dime may be a little small for a full-fledged restaurant but heck that, the dining experience was intimate. Just remember to make a reservation early. Generally the food here was enjoyable with a few outstanding dishes you must try ie mentaiko pasta, mac and cheese, nutella brownie. Now that I’m craving for more from five and dime, I certainly need a date to hop down and grab some of their brunch items. I mean, we’re talking about beef hash, panini, pancakes and waffles over here.
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297 River Valley Road

Mondays to Thursdays 12pm – 10pm
Fridays 12pm – 12am
Saturdays 10am – 12am
Sundays 10am – 10pm

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Swirls Bake Shop: All-American Cupcakes

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A lovely bakery stands in a quaint corner by the Singapore River off Robertson Quay. Hidden behind Toby’s Estate and Bar Bar Black Sheep cafe is a bake shop specializing in American gourmet cupcakes just opened 5 months ago. Ever since then, they have been featured in the media on several occasions.

I was warmly welcomed by the bakers in action. The shop has an open kitchen concept with friendly staff greeting each and every customer. Danish and his wife, Alia, shared with me their story.
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They started off with a road trip in America to search for the best cupcakes, savoring and taking in everything they have tasted. Danish would opt for the red velvet in every cupcakery they visited while Alia would try out different flavors of cupcakes. Then they brought all of their inspirations to Singapore and perfected 101 cupcake flavors that will be brought out as daily specials every month. Alia who was a fashion stylist had incorporated fashion itself into Swirls which I find amazing.

I love the American concept of the bake shop together with its kaleidoscope of colors. Wondering about the special shape of the cream frosting of the cupcakes, I later found out that the frosting is crafted by use of a palette knife instead of the norm. Other than that, the cupcakes are made 3 to 4 times daily to ensure freshness that is kept.

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Red Velvet

Red Velvet is one of their most, if not the most popular item. It stands out the most too. It was the right degree of fluffiness of a cupcake and a pleasant one to sink your teeth into. Other flavors I tried included the Oh So Cocoa, Strawberry Burst, Nutella, and the Sunday special for this month, Tiramisu. The cupcakes come in two sizes, tiny and regular – which I thought is a great idea especially for those with small appetites who want to try as many flavors as possible. The tiny ones are priced $2.50 to $2.95 while the regular ones are $3.95 to $4.10.

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Foreground: Strawberry Burst; Middleground: Red Velvet; Background: Oh So Cocoa

The strawberry flavored cupcake is another one of my favorite as it takes sweetness to a whole new level. Grinning I was to find even more chocolate hidden in the nutella cupcake. A day before my visit, a new cake was put on sale at Swirls. I was lucky enough to have the last slice nicely savaged by them. It was a slice of chocolate cake with salted caramel frosting and I must say it was a good attempt with whole cakes.
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My glutton-in-crime, Amanda, would like to give a shout out for their refreshing iced lavender tea which was a great break from the sweetness before attacking another cupcake.
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Right: Tiramisu

When asked on future plans for Swirls, the reply was: not for the moment, since they are fresh in the F&B. Yet they still receive words from others to open another outlet and that is my sentiment as well. Cupcakeries are sprouting in Singapore but this is one place to head to for unique beings with a sweet tooth. Swirls’ cupcakes get sold out pretty fast so you wouldn’t want to hesitate. They do make island-wide deliveries too.

A huge thank you to Danish & Alia for inviting me to taste their cupcakes!
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Visit their colorful website at www.swirls.com.sg/ to “meet” more of the cupcakes and place orders.

8 Rodyk Street

#01-08 (off Robertson Quay)

Singapore 238216

Operates 11am – 7pm daily

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Billy Bombers American Diner

I’ve always loved the idea of an American meal. It sounds comfortable. This resolves around retro red plushies, milkshakes, burgers and floats. With a casual, chatty background. There are a few outlets of Billy Bombers in Singapore and I’ve always felt that they are sort of underrated, you could have seen it numerous of times but not even heard of it. Comfort food, comfort surroundings and at comfort prices, that’s pretty much everything we would bargain for.

The American hound dog ($11.90) might not look like a big serving here, but actually it’s an American serving. Now that’s legit. The accompanying coleslaw and potato wedges were satisfactory but even I wouldn’t find anything amiss if the dog was to be served on its own.
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American brownie ($7.90) – this one came doubly sweet and chocolaty, the brownie was overflowing of chocolate and chocolate and chocolate. Generous stripes of caramel and chocolate criss-crossed one another on the big dish: a reason why you should not stop until you literally licked off every corner of the plate. Extremely chocolaty brownies are an addiction, their small squares of portion would keep you craving for more.
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The location at The Central for this outlet is great. Besides chilling in the air-conditioned dining area, you can head out for scenery overlooking the Singapore River and the colourful blocks of restaurants on the other end. Go for the burgers, beef, hot dogs and a root beer float to top it off! There’s nothing as good as living the American dream, is there?

The Central @ Clarke Quay

#02-78

Singapore 059817

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