Tag Archives: food

Carpenter and Cook

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Carpenter & Cook became a hit late last year as an artisanal cafe with one of the coolest decors and food. Despite the far off and rather inaccessible location at Lorong Kilat (a remote corner in Bukit Timah), foodies and cafe goers in Singapore are hardly deterred from exploring this food enclave.

The vintage layout of the entire cafe from the exteriors to the interiors were meticulously handled with all sorts of quirky little things that matched. Somehow it reminded me of a fairytale setting where rabbits hopped among green, dreamy grass… Anyway, every piece of furniture and decor was handpicked by the founders of C & C from all over Europe. The best part is, most of them are for sale so you may wish to enquire about them.

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Moving on to the food, the treats from C & C are baked at limited numbers and in irregular intervals so new items may be put on the display while you’re eating. The Passionfruit meringue ($6.20) is one of their signatures (especially on Instagram). This tart, even though similar in appearance, is different from the lemon meringue. Instead, I liked it a lot more than lemon meringue as I thought that the passionfruit was a better, more suitable ingredient than the odd, sour lemon. I guess it’s a matter of personal preference.

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Sadly, the only savory item we had that day was The Picnic Sandwich ($8). It was a simple affair with ham and cheese and side salads but (not kidding) it was one of the best sandwiches I’ve had in Singapore compared to plain, boring other ones. Truly a savory piece. My only regret was not trying their quiches (which I heard were good too).

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Both the Lemon Drizzle Loaf ($5) and Frangipane fruit tart ($6.20) served as light bites for me. The former was somewhat like a lemon sponge cake only denser and more condensed with lemon. I felt like it was a better alternative to replace a lemon tart.

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Moving on, the Valrhona Sea Salt Caramel Tart ($6.20) was a much “heavier” dessert with its thick chocolate accompanied by sea salt caramel throughout the entire tart. Perhaps it may prove to be too much for some people to take it but I found it alright.

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We ended our hearty meal with the Caramel Walnut Cheesecake ($7). It was a good ol’ cheesecake made more outstanding with of course its caramel and walnuts. Though I’ve had memories of better cheesecakes, this one is still rather nicely done with some parts to rave about.

Put good food with a cosy atmosphere and you get one of my favorite cafes in my food list. Carpenter and Cook has just the right thing for me and that is quality. On your way out, don’t forget to get their homemade jams at $12.50 a bottle or even their tiny treats of biscuits, marshmallow and granola.

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19 Lorong Kilat

#01-06

Tuesdays to Fridays 1200 – 2200

Saturdays 1000 – 2200

Sundays 1000 – 1900

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Hoshino Coffee

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As what I said on my previous post on Hifumi, I’d be exploring the new extension at Plaza Singapura – this time at yet another Japanese cafe cum restaurant enjoying long queues. Seems like the new restaurants at PS are doing quite well with the crowd especially on weekends. The food models displayed at Hoshino’s entrance can already make me drool, but are they the real deal?

I ordered what seemed to look like the signature dish/most appetising dish on the menu, the “Fuwa-fuwa” Hoshino Souffle ($15.80). The entire layer on top is actually cheesy fluff which sad to say, came nothing close to what I expected it to be. It may seem to be a big portion but everything above the bowl was merely their cheese soufflé which proved too much for me to finish them (but you had to finish it to get to the bottom). At the bottom is a bowl of cheese baked rice which was not that bad but nothing to rave about either.

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The other dish we ordered was the Hoshino Spaghetti w/ Eggplant, Bacon, Shrimp and Sausage ($14). I have to admit it was a good Japanese twist to the Italian Aglio Olio. Quite big a dish too. My only complaint is that they scrimped on a sauce which could’ve made the spaghetti better well-balanced.

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If you’re still doubtful about Hoshino, have their souffle pancakes – truly the signature. There are souffle pancakes with different toppings ranging from maccha to vanilla to mango but my friend and I decided to go plain with their Double Pancake Souffle Style ($12) which came with vanilla ice cream. We were unhappy that they took so long to arrive despite the early order – another patron which came later even had her pancakes already. But nevertheless, we were impressed with the thick, fluffy, spongy and warm pancakes. Definitely a first for me. Have them together with ice cream and maple syrup and you’re good to go on a satisfied tummy.

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I admire their food presentation a lot, but soon after I realized that they may seem to be better looking than they taste. Service-wise, there was an inconsistency with how their staff handles matters so I may think twice about coming back. Maybe I’ll try another pancake soufflé. My only regret is that I didn’t try their drip coffee. Still, Hoshino Coffee is rather popular in that new area so do make reservations to avoid queuing for long.

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68 Orchard Road

#03-84

Plaza Singapura

Daily 1130 – 2200

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The Merry Men’s Kitchen + Bar

Pre note: Blogging speed’s been slow these days but I’m still very thankful to all viewers out there. Currently trying to clear as many overdue posts as possible from my previous short break 🙂

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Robertson Quay remains as one of my favorite food enclaves in Singapore. And so I had yet another great ladies night out there over the festive season. The Merry Men was chosen and I could see why it is easily one of a popular choice for a more casual yet ambient restaurant and watering hole.
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To my surprise, it’s interior is rather small with a couple of communal tables very suitable for large groups and just another couple of tables for smaller groups. Yet, a cosy, light-hearted mood seemed to befall on the place especially at night. (Definitely in love with their window panel.) But don’t worry, outdoor seating is available and not that bad too.

As we dined in a large group that night we had the luxury of trying bits of pieces from every section of the menu. We started off with my all-time favorite Truffle Shoestring Fries ($10) which I always try to order whenever I spot it on a menu. I felt that the truffle oil wasn’t intense enough but there was an attempt to cover up by truffle-scented mayonnaise. Still, better ones out there!

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From their “Nibbles & Gobbles” we also had the Sausage Platter ($26) which mixed pork, beef and chicken sausages all together. We all agreed all of them were pretty good with some consistency.

Moving on to their pastas, we had Penne Carbonara ($18) and Spaghetti Crabmeat Aglio Olio ($20). I preferred the later because it was more special in terms of its taste. It’s shredded crabmeat went rather well with the aglio olio. My only complain is the lack of garlic of chilli in the dish which could have turned tables around.
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The Bolognese Pizza ($20) felt plain and dry especially with the too generous heap of greens and tomato sauce which was light while the Roast Duck and Lychee Pizza ($20) won me over. I’ve always marveled over the pairing of roast duck on crust and their rendition has surely not disappoint me.
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Hold on, we still have the mains to go. The Fish and Truffle Fries ($16) brought us back to another truffle state of mind except now with battered fish fillet and 3 sauces to dip and go along with. Not anything special but not any less disappointing as well. Same goes for the Yorkshire Pork Rack ($28), which had pretty tender char grilled pork meat, probably one of the better ones I’ve had. Yet it’s portion size really left me hungry for more.
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Of course, we can never call it a night till we have a proper ending with desserts. We opted for the Waffles ($12) and Chocolate Lava Cake ($14). The former was thick and good but a pity that it’s toppings were too creamy. Basically there were more whipped cream than chocolate, bananas and and ice-cream they were supposed to have. However the latter was a lot more satisfying with it’s thick, flowy chocolate popped molten hot into our mouths, accompanied by vanilla ice-cream afterwards.

I guess I have mostly uncovered the ups and downs; hits and misses of The Merry Men. Quality of food is quite well done considering they function very much as a bar as well, but don’t be setting high standards. They do serve western food pretty well despite the several lacking points. Indeed, you leave as a merry man.

86 Robertson Quay

#01-02

Mondays to Thursdays 1700 – 0000
Fridays 1500 – 0100
Saturdays 1500 – 0200
Sundays 1100 – 0000

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Hokkaido Sushi Restaurant M Hotel

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A few months ago I had the opportunity to go for Canon’s Food Photography Workshop by Dr. Leslie Tay (of Singapore’s best known food/hawker blog  ieatishootipost.sg) which they hold once or twice a year. I’ve missed a few of these workshops previously so I was pretty excited to get some tips and meet some food and camera addicts. The location was at Hokkaido Sushi Restaurant at M Hotel off a street of Tanjong Pagar, which I’ve never heard of before. Now I’m here to tell you that Hokkaido Sushi Restaurant has got to be one of the most underrated Japanese places in Singapore.

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The restaurant is a rather cozy one with a bar counter. Definitely the place to go in Tanjong Pagar if you need a quiet hideout. All of us attendees had a hands-on session with our cameras before enjoying our 9 course Kaiseki meal (valued at $65 per person).

We started with the very refreshing Wafu Salad and Homemade Pitan Tofu.

Then came the assorted 5 pieces of Sashimi. I was never a fan of sashimi (not even when I went to Japan) but that day felt like a life-changing moment when I finally came to like it. I didn’t really fancy their maguro though.

The Hokkaido Ginkarei Shio (Grilled Hokkaido Halibut Fish) was my first halibut ever and except for the irritating number of small bones in a small portion of fish, it ranks high on my list of favorite type of fishes. Soft and tender; not Shio but Shiok.

To restate my stand from a previous blogpost, everyone loves chawanmushi. The Hokkaido Ikura Chawan Mushi (Steamed Custard Egg with Hokkaido Beni Salmon Roe) came with a generous serving of salmon roe which was interesting.

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Signature Hokkaido Mai sushi: truly a signature. In the middle is a roll of cooked salmon wrapped with crispy seaweed which you can hear crunching in your mouth. The sushi was also rolled in sesame, then topped with salmon roe (again!) and a sauce that added flavor. Unlike the usual sushi, this had a unique texture with a good blend of ingredients which made me hungry for more.

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Another highlight of the menu was the Hokkaido Taraba Udon (Hokkaido King Crab Leg Udon). The crab’s leg meat was very tender and unfortunately we couldn’t get more than one crab’s leg in the udon… So we could only capture this massive Hokkaido King Crab below on our cameras.

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Every meal deserves a sweet ending and we polished off our green tea ice cream before saying goodbyes. It surprises me that Hokkaido Sushi Restaurant is less known in the food context of Singapore. Furthermore it’s kaiseki menus are fairly less pricey than some other kaisekis in Singapore, so I don’t see how it is so underrated.

M Hotel Singapore

Level 9

81 Anson Road

Mon: 11:30 – 14:30, 18:00 – 22:30
Tue: 23:30 – 14:30, 18:00 – 22:30
Wed – Thu: 11:30 – 14:30, 18:00 – 22:30
Fri: 23:30 – 14:30, 18:00 – 22:30
Sat – Sun: 11:30 – 14:30, 18:00 – 22:30
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The Square Novotel Clarke Quay: Are you hot enough?

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With Valentine’s Day cum Chinese New Year round the corner, I can imagine lots of Singaporeans scrambling around for the most suitable restaurants for a celebration. Look no further than The Square at Novotel Hotel Clarke Quay. In conjunction with the 2 upcoming seasons, The Square has a special, new concept buffet spread titled “Are You Hot Enough?“. New dishes cooked with none other than spices, spices and more spices are the main highlights. For just $98++ per couple on Valentine’s Day, this is the one place to consider. A few bloggers and I had their luxurious spread for buffet dinner that evening. 

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One of my favorite counters there was the salad counter. This surprised me a lot as I wasn’t a salad or cold cuts type of foodie.   What made them interesting was the good use of spices which made them unlike the usual, plain old ones. The beef salad and chicken salad were memorable. Next to them was a huge parma ham which had me drooling.

Cold cuts/Mini tapas counter
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Seafood lovers will be happy to find that their quality of seafood is rather high. Right at the front of the buffet line is the tantalizing fresh seafood counter of prawns, clams, oysters, mussels and salmon. Further on there are black pepper mussels and prawns with mayonnaise sauce which are worth the try as well.
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The cod fish with laksa and baby kailan served to our table was a good rendition of cod. The laksa was not spicy but brought upon a rather light feel on the cod fish which I thought was the right taste for me.

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At the end of the buffet line for the main dishes were three dishes with three levels of spiciness tagged on their lids. They are the spicy pork (one level), fish with cream sauce (two levels) and chicken with brown sauce (three levels). I wasn’t too sure if I could handle that much of spiciness initially but after trying them, they were really not that spicy. There wasn’t a distinct difference in their level of spiciness too. Still, the dishes were enjoyable.
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Another one of my favorite counters would be their risotto corner. There is a “grinder” sort of cookware in which they mix the risotto with parmesan cheese. We tried both renditions of risotto they offered that day: the normal risotto with cheese (left) and risotto with laksa mix.(right) Both were good risottos which can sink well into your tastebuds but I preferred the risotto with cheese for its more authentic taste.

The meats were also worth a mention. Their roast pork, roast beef and ham were juicy enough for the thumbs up. Other than that, expect to find dim sum, laksa, fried rice, noodles, sushi, breads, cheese and more.
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Moving on to the desserts, some of them are infused with spices as well: Fruit spicy syrup (fruits sunk in chocolate syrup with spices) and chili chocolate mousse (chocolate mousse with ground red chili) are the main ones. A while after tasting them came the sharp spicy taste so be careful not to gobble them too quickly. Interesting creations though.
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And of course, everyone loves chocolate fondue!
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There was a spread of desserts which are pretty normal so I won’t elaborate much. From L-R top to bottom: Fruit spicy syrup, carrot cake (infused with spices as well), strawberry butter cake, assortment of glass shooters, orange tarts, green tea cheese cake.

I guess the bloggers and I should have this pretty same verdict about The Square at Novotel. With dinner buffets at other hotels costing at least $50 and over, it’s really hard to find somewhere more affordable with a decent spread these days. I’ve found the answer and The Square at Novotel is the answer. It scores high for variety and quality. For it’s price, the buffet would be absolutely value for money and worth it.

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Thank you John and Jean-Philippe for the kind invitation and warm hospitality.

177A River Valley Road

Novotel Clarke Quay (Level 7)

0600 – 1030 Buffet breakfast

1200 – 1430 Buffet lunch

1800 – 2200 Buffet dinner

Are you HOT enough buffet (only for dinner):

$58++ per pax for adults on Fridays & Saturdays 

$48++ per pax for adults from Sundays – Thursdays

$38++ per pax for child on Fridays & Saturdays

$30++ per pax for child from Sundays – Thursdays

$98++ per couple on Valentine’s Day

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Nassim Hill Bakery Bistro Bar

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After a festive walkathon and carnival in Orchard with the loved ones, I thought of Nassim Hill Bakery Bistro Bar for a late afternoon after-lunch because I’ve hardly ventured into Tanglin. Nassim Hill is located within Tanglin Post Office itself. The place was rather quiet on a weekend mid-afternoon and we had almost the entire place to ourselves. A good spot to get away from the bustling Orchard, I reckon. As quoted from Nassim Hill, “It is a bakery by dawn, bistro by day and a charming bar by dusk, with DJs spinning their latest groove.”
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I wanted to try some sandwiches in the lunch menu such as their Hot Reuben ($18), Smoked Salmon ($16) and Grilled Cajun Chicken ($15) but the Eggs section was too hard to ignore. In the end, both of us succumbed yet to eggs again after having them earlier in the day. I had the Hearty Scrambled Eggs ($20) with cheese and salami which looked beautiful. They were indeed good scrambled eggs. It also comes with Nassim Hill’s signature Grimbergen Ambree beer bread basket with jams which was one of the better and interesting bread in bread baskets I’ve had. Great to go with their eggs too!

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W had the Salmon Omelette ($20) which had smoked salmon atop it and cream cheese in it. Definitely a better taste contrast and flavor compared to the scrambled eggs but also depends whether you like the eggs plain or “heavy”. For me, cheese and salmon are among my favorites on the list, so I really liked it a lot.

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There are only a few choices for desserts in the cake jars so we opted for the Apple Crumble Cake ($8) which looked the most appetizing among all. Sure enough its texture reflected the quality of the apple crumble. The scoop of vanilla bean ice cream came as a bonus. Just be cautious of its huge portion – sharing between two should be good.
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I should think Nassim Hill is a hidden find for eating in Orchard Road. It’s location further down from the main district may put you off but come to think of it, it wasn’t that bad at all.

56 Tanglin Road

Tanglin Post Office #01-03

Tuesdays to Sundays 0800 – 0000

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Hifumi Japanese Restaurant

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The new extension of Plaza Singapura is here with many new F&B outlets including new branches of old favorites and totally new restaurants unheard and unseen of. They are a fusion of Western, Malaysian, Thai and especially Japanese eateries. Of those, Hifumi is one that is enjoying long queues for lunch and dinner.

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One of the main reasons why shoppers are attracted Hifumi would be their all-you-can-eat Japanese sides served in a mini buffet style in the center of the restaurant. If you opt for the set meal when you order the mains instead of a la carte (about $2 more) you will be entitled to it (with additional rice and miso soup with your main course). My favorites from all the sides were: Japanese curry, tofu, potato salad and chawanmushi. A definite thumbs up for this concept of theirs. I am not sure if they rotate these sides on a daily/weekly basis though.

Moving on to the mains, the prices are very well affordable, just that their standards were soso, or just right. I had the Tonkatsu set ($13.99) by myself which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was a tad too dry and it could be a little crispier for a more authentic feel.

Another main course my friend had: Bara Chirashi sushi set ($17.99)
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The Hamburg set ($15.99)’s beef was not that bad either considering it’s price. I guess the fact that Hifumi’s food is just nice with value-for-money prices are keeping it’s customers, with more to come. Everyone likes simple and comfort Japanese food right? That said, I will be trying more restaurants at the new PS extension so look out for them!
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#04-68 Plaza Singapura

68 Orchard Road

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Salted Caramel Artisanal Ice Cream

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There’s nothing like having artisanal ice cream on sweltering days recording 35 degrees Celsius in Singapore. Salted Caramel resides among the food district of Upper Thomson together with a few other ice cream parlours, providing a chill corner for residents nearby.

Salted Caramel goes for the simple do on their furnishings but definitely not on their ice cream.

We had the three recommended flavors: Horlicks Tim Tam, Salted Caramel, Espresso & Caramel Biscuits. Somehow I feel that the ice cream here was not as good as I expected despite their dainty names. Salted Caramel was too salty for my liking and the caramel was lacking in flavor. Fortunately, the other two flavors were better. Espresso & Caramel Biscuits deserves a shoutout for a vivid espresso taste which still lingers in my mind. A single, double and triple scoop costs $3, $5 and $7 respectively.
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I came back on a second occasion because I didn’t get a taste of their Waffles (which I’ve heard is a must-try) the other time. Their waffles are $3.5 without the ice-cream and you get to choose chocolate or maple syrup. The first thing that caught my attention was the thickness of the waffles. Then the generous drizzling of chocolate syrup. My conclusion: most suitable for two to share, but I like it all for myself.

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Salted Caramel has its hits and misses but one thing’s for sure, I’m raising both hands up for their waffles.

 

246F Upper Thomson Road

Sundays to Thursdays 1200 – 2300

Fridays, Saturdays, Eve of PH 1200 – 0200

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Au Chocolat

Au Chocolat is the new hype at Marina Bay Sands after opening mid last year. As it’s name goes, Au Chocolat features chocolate – comfort western food with some having a twist of chocolate in them, chocolate drinks, chocolate tarts, cakes and macarons and gelato. The classy, modern retro designs of the restaurant makes it a very cool casual place. I absolutely adore the the cute toy train circling on its tracks at the Victorian ceiling.

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To my surprise, Au Chocolat’s Hot Chocolate Fudge ($9) was one of the best hot chocolates I have ever had. Most of the time they would be too bitter, bland or even taste like milo but their rendition was far from those adjectives. It comes with a hefty price tag but trust me, it is worth it for it’s thick, chocolatey taste at a rather sweet level.

Eggs benedict has always been one of my favorite dishes to have for lunch. Au Chocolat actually serves three types of eggs benedict which I thought I had to try. The Au Chocolat Benedict ($18) is the usual benedict done in the Au Chocolat way – two poached eggs atop bacon, spinach and tomatoes on an English muffin and instead of normal hollandaise sauce they are covered by hollandaise infused with red wine and dark chocolate. It takes a few bites to get accustomed to it’s taste which I quite like. Definitely one of the better ones I have had.

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My friend went for the Ultimate Benedict ($22) which looks like a delicious mess of the same items from the au chocolat benedict with extra pancakes, steak and chicken. Sounds like a myriad of popular main courses – not for the ones who can’t take in the heavy and messy.
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The Bubblegum Cheesecake ($7) seemed special enough to catch my attention with it’s light blue appearance for a cake. With fusion of bubblegum flavor, the cheesecake was quite light and finished easily.

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The Chocolate Tart ($7) – sweet chocolate cream on a crust. It appeared to be a chocolate overload but it is the perfect tart for chocolate lovers.

Their Lemon Meringue Tart ($8) was one of the biggest meringue tarts I have ever seen, a perfect dessert to share between two people.
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I like that the food here is more casual with a magic touch to it – probably from the chocolate. This is definitely a place to dine at if you are on a budget, for the celebrity restaurants may be too “high end” when you just need a cafe cum restaurant to chill at.

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#01-03/04/05

The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

Mondays to Thursdays 1000 – 2300

Fridays and Saturdays 1000 – 0000

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Marché Restaurant Vivocity

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Marche Restaurant used to be my favorite place that I frequent with the family but we kind of stopped going there after I found my love for exploring foodie places. After at least 2 years from my last visit, I thought I should return to test their standards. I guess people more or less know about Marche but I see no harm in writing a post.

Over the years, new outlets have opened at Somerset and Raffles City, but my favorite remains as the Vivocity outlet. It is so much more comfortable there especially with it’s location at the sky deck. In terms of layout, it gets first place.

The Smoked Salmon Crepe was filled with chopped lettuce, red cabbage and smoked salmon and it was super savory. At times you taste the crunchiness of veggies, otherwise you get the softer, savory taste of the salmon.
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Pork Knuckles with Mashed Potato is one of the main courses to order at Marche, except that the quality is not that good anymore.

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Everyone’s favorite at Marche is no doubt the Swiss Rosti. I added on a chicken cheese sausage which was rather juicy. It is no doubt for me too that the rosti is my favorite dish from Marche, but I wish they could go easy on the oil content.

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For desserts, there is the Movenpick ice cream which I have always loved. Otherwise, they have sweet crepes, cakes and tarts.  The Brownie looked good but unfortunately it was a tad too dry for my liking. If not, the chocolate taste would come out good and strong. On the other hand, the Mousse was mainly a good dollop of dark chocolate which surprised yet amazed me.

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This Christmas Fruit Cake did not fail to impress me. It is not a norm for me to order fruit cakes so I was glad I did not make the wrong choice. The taste of cinnamon together with dried fruits and icing sugar was great, I would not mind a second serving.
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The conclusion: Will I continue to patronise Marche? Probably. The food here have their hits and misses but ultimately they have comfort food and ambience which makes everything about them seem homely – perfect for family outings.

 

1 HarbourFront Walk

#03-14

Vivocity

Weekdays 1100 – 2300

Weekends 1000 – 2300

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