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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Dinner at Owl Cafe @ Star Vista

1 Vista Exchange Green #02-10 - 11, The Star Vista, Singapore 138617
Tel: 6694 3537

It was my first time going to Star Vista, and I was excited because there were many restaurants there that I haven't tried. What's more, I was finally catching up with *Edwin and *Gerald again after so long.... anyway, *Gerald suggested we try Owl Cafe, so we met up there.

It is the first Straits Asian Cafe in Singapore, this tiny little cafe with a cosy setting and minimalistic designs sprinkled with tiny lights, artwork and colorful cubes on the walls.

We sat at the vast outdoors, where we could chat more freely and dine in the semi-darkness, under natural + artificial breezes from the air and fans.

I didn't even realize it was the same OWL coffee brand that opened this cafe until the guys mentioned it. Ok.. neat. If it wasn't late I might have ordered the coffee but I did not want to risk insomnia as it was.

The Soursop Freeze (SGD$4.20) was a chilly delight - sweet with soursop's flavor, and there were a fair bit of soursop flesh within the drink itself.

Then there were Mango Soda with Pearls (SGD$3.80) and Sour Plum Juice (SGD$2.80). The latter drink was fine but *Gerald mentioned that the Mango Soda with Pearls tasted kind of funny and did not have the mango flavor at all (we even wondered for a while if they served the correct order).

Appetiser to share was a Crispy Duck Spring Onion Prata Roll (SGD$5.80) that was like a Popiah stuffed with duck and a little spring onion and veggies chopped into tiny pieces. The slices of duck were thin and there was not a hint of crispy anywhere - not the duck nor the skin itself. Don't get me wrong, the taste itself was rather good, but not if you were expecting a dish of crispy duck-wrapped rolls.

*Edwin had the Double Boiled Black Chicken Soup (SGD$6.80) which he said was rather fragrant and tasty, and the black chicken meat was not touch.

*Gerald had the Peranakan Laksa Lemak (SGD$5.80) that seemed to contain the essential ingredients of a good bowl of laksa - hard boiled eggs, taupok etc, but it was not spicy like the usual Chinese laksa we are accustomed to. He said it was quite nice anyway.

As for me, I had the Soft Shell Chilli Crab Spaghetti (SGD$9.80) which was quite a generous portion. The pasta was fine - not too springy but not soggy so I had no complaints. The chilli gravy was not spicy but added flavor to the dish, and I kept chasing the egg white stirred into the sauce. The soft shell crab was coated too heavily with flour that it obliterated the naturally sweet flavor of the crab. I still prefer the Soft Shell Crab Spaghetti at Joe's Corner Cafe / Bar.

Overall this was a nice, casual cafe similar to Toast Box and Ya Kun Toast, I feel (since now their menu includes more savoury dishes too), but the service could have been better. Half the time our table was ignored because no one bothered to come outside - the servers who brought food outdoors did not bother to look around even though we waved a few times to place more drinks order etc.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Poetry - Portraiture

Photosource: http://maureentillman.blogspot.sg/2013_06_01_archive.html

It was that kind of a day -
Discouraged, exhausted and hectic;
The kind of day that bore hopes,
Yet not harbored on too highly.
Yes, it was that kind of a day,
Just another day in the Wheel of the Year.

But you appeared, stealth and sudden,
Like a dangerous cat ever so silent, so sure,
Standing beside me and I did not see;
Did not sense, the hushed announcement,
Of your presence, sending elation through
My being - delighted that you really arrived.

But it was the kind of day -
That faded into the seams of another;
Another waking moment, the day
That leaves its imprints in the night,
In my dreams, another night in my arms,
In my dreams, away from the reality.

And I've spoken to you a million times,
Spoken about never-ending subjects;
Spoken by the very same soft lips,
That I have tasted many times in dreams;
And I've lain in your arms a million times,
The arms I know would keep all danger at bay.

And I've made love to you a million times,
Out of Morpheus' ever-watching eyes,
Yes I have touched your bare skin in my mind;
Heard your laughter even as the sun set,
Slowly upon emptiness without your shadow,
Wishing to see your poised form -

Silently, stealthily, in your sophistication,
Slowly standing beside me once again, steering
away the aloneness, stealing your way slowly
into my dreams, like you do every night.
Sitting beside me, as we smile upon the stars
Shining back down in the surreal surroundings.

Step out of the dreams, and come to me.

copyright © ArcticStar 2014. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Brunch at Cedele Bakery Cafe @ HillV2 Mall

4 Hillview Rise, #01-12 / 13 Hill V2, Singapore 667979
Tel: 6534 9581

I have dined at Cedele many times at different outlets, but decided to write about this brand new outlet at this very novel mall HillV2.

A lovely cafe serving healthy, wholesome artisan food that is essential organic, the buddy *Gareth suggested having brunch there and I happily acceded.   The tantalizing array of pastries and cakes are mouthwatering to say the least, but we decided to check out the warm food.

This is not unlike any other cafe that serves gourmet coffee and deliciously-prepared cuisine, and there was already a crowd on this late weekend morning. We took in the spacious, relaxing setting and settled down for some catching up.

After placing orders at the counter, *Gareth snagged some Free Flow Bread with olive oil. I passed, even though Cedele's bread is good.

His Red Rooibos Tea (SGD$4.00) was served first, a soothingly hot mug of perk-me-up.

I didn't know what to order so to play safe, ordered something I'd drank before - the Iced Rooibos Lemon Tea (SGD4.50) - a refreshing and cooling slightly-acidic concoction.

For brunch, *Gareth had the Basil Pesto Chicken Thins (SGD$9.50) - wraps with tortilla skins with a smooth grated / floury texture and tender chicken meat. The distinctive "grassy" flavor of basil and pesto complemented the chicken well, making this a simple yet delicious meal.

I had the Egg Tofu set (SGD14.50) - comprising of two melt-in-your-mouth crispy toasts, sunny eggs, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and fried tofu strips. I piled the eggs onto the toast so that the egg yolk could be absorbed by the bread to maximise tasty factor, but what I didn't expect was how crispy and soft the toast was - almost like molasses, truly delicious. The tofu was another interesting element in this otherwise-normal brunch set, and I love the bland soy flavor to beancurds... so this made for a rather nutritious breakfast that came along with sumptuous taste.

Thanks for the suggestion, *Gareth!

On a sidenote, I am rather disappointed that two of my favorite items from Celede has been removed from the menu, one being the Avocado and Shrimps Sandwich (SGD$10.90) which I would usually order with wholemeal bread, and also the Cod Fish Sandwich (SGD$13.90). Some good things that don't last, and old things always have to make room with new innovations I guess.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Review: SK-II Facial Treatment Repair C

SK-II's Skin Treatment Repair C is a nutrient-rich serum containing Hydraulic Acid and Pitera, hence working closely together with skin to reduce wrinkles and imperfections, as well as keeping skin hydrated, as though wearing a treatment mask on the entire day.

Not only does this product forms resilence against wrinkles and offers other anti-aging functions, it makes one's skin appear radiant and smoother too, it also refines the pores and plumps up the skin, giving it elasticity. My skin felt perked up when I apply this rich serum after patting on my Facial Treatment Essence.

The smooth, gel-type serum is not greasy, and comes in an easy-to-use pump. It is compact for bringing out for travelling as well. A small drop works miraculously well to keep skin feeling rejuvenated and the results show almost immediately.

Skin Treatment Repair C costs about SGD$165.00 for 30ml, so pop by to give it a try if you have tired skin, or would like to improve on the texture and firmness' factor of your face.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Poetry : Frosty

Frosty, the ice that doused the flames,
Like the glacial trappings around Earth's rotund form;
Frosty, the eyes that snuffed the flames,
Like coldest stones set into gold buried under ice.

And frosted over are the panes of the windows,
Emulating the soft cascade of drapes falling over;
Casting out those who had tried to look within,
Tossed back into the crusty grounds of solid snow.

And frosted over are the last words laced with rime,
Spoken by tongues that tasted the saltiness of tears,
Leaving behind their watermarks like hints of grime,
Unmistakeably the softly cluttering of teeth, in fear.

And frosted over are the last shards of memories,
Shap-edged, chilly to the bones, yet gently soothing;
The debris that used to contain beautiful jewels,
Of hopes, dreams and promises are now melting.

Frosty, the beginnings of time has copulated with
The soft strains of songs unsung by frozen lips;
Its melody stabbing into the mind as if to engrave,
Etching within it the final crack of dawn they would see.

Copyright © ArcticStar 2014. All Rights Reserved

Lunch at Supply and Demand Cafe

277 Orchard Road #02-14 Orchard Gateway, Singapore 238858
Tel: 6702 6218

It was lunch hour by the time I finished an appointment in town, so I had some time to kill before the next one. Trying to find a non-crowded spot in town is no easy feat, and I was in the mood for some quiet "me" time.

I chanced upon Supply and Demand Cafe, located in a secluded corner of Orchard Gateway, and decided to give it a shot, remembering good reviews I'd heard about this cafe with interesting menu comprising of a marriage between Italian and South-east Asian cuisine.

The ambience is dimly-lit, with a spacious interior and faux grass patches. The trees caught my eyes, as did the double Bs strewn around (books and bottles). The best part was that it was rather empty, so I stepped in and grabbed a table.

They have many different menus - food, drinks, set lunch etc, all separated. I find that a little cumbersome and messy - why couldn't they just consolidate them all one one or two booklets will do?

Though they are well known to serve good coffee, I was in a tea mood that day. Hence I was glad to see that they do serve an assortment of interesting teas as well.

In the end I started with a S&D Italian Style Tiramisu (SGD$12.00) - made with egg, French cream, Mascarphone Cheese, Espresso Soaked Savioardi, Cocoa Powder and 2 kinds of Liquer.  Mind you, usually I don't like desserts served in jars, but this one won me over. The tiramisu was smooth and distinctive in flavor, probably because infused with two kinds of liquer!

The beauty when dining alone is that one gets to enjoy desserts first without weird looks or objections from dining companions. Haha.

Okay, I decided to try the Aglio Olio with Shrimps (SGD$14.00) - classic dressing of hot olive oil, garlic and dried chilli pepper. It was the Tasting Portion that I'd chosen, and I really appreciate how they have the Tasting Portion and Full Portion here.

The noodle was springy and the prawns were bouncy, so texture was good. The spiciness level was just about right. I enjoyed this small serving of delicacy.

For drinks, I ordered a pot of Chocolate Rose Tea (SGD$9.90) , a decidedly dessert-sounding tea, that was infused with the sweetness of chocolate and rose fragrance, a combination of two of my favoritest things.

The tea also comes with a lovely gingernut tasting biscotti and a rich dark chocolate muffin. The muffin was not hard and dry - it was soft and slightly moistened, so it went down the throat easily and was a perfect nibble alongside the hot pot of tea.

Not bad, really not bad - the only lackluster was the service. I would be back to try more - maybe the Asian dishes as well, some items do seem interesting.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

[Media Invite] Dinner at Shi Li Fang (食立方) @ Orchard Central

181 Orchard Road #07-10 / 11 Orchard Central, Singapore 238896
Tel: 6238 0800

This is a media invite attended by several seasoned reviewers of Hungrygowhere, representatives from Hungrygowhere, Alvin (Epicureanscan) and myself. It was good to catch up with a couple of familiar faces once more, and meet up with new people.

Anyway, Shi Li Fang is a lovely Chinese Hot Pot / Steamboat restaurant with an open bar counter dining concept, as well as private tables by the side.  When we entered the brightly-lit restaurant, the friendly Lady Boss greeted us warmly and we spotted something interesting as well - this "Yu Xi" basin in which you rub the side hard enough and water rises up to wash your face.

I liked the relaxing, non-pretentious and welcoming settings, as though beckoning one to come in for a simmering pot of comfort food. The place was neat and well-kept, uncluttered.

There were 15 types of sauces and dips for our food, out of which there were two special sauces prepared by Shi Li Fang itself. I took a couple of them to try even though I am usually not a sauce / dips person.

This was my seat, with the cheery, colorful utensils laid thoughtfully at my place.

This is a glimpse of the menu, in which one orders their meat, vegetables and other ingredients using. The menu consisted of a huge variety of food items, in fact, ranging from different types of beef to many types of vegetables and seafood etc; everything looked tantalising and very reasonably-priced.

There were many soup base to choose from- they even have it in single soup, double soup and triple soup options. I selected the double soup option - their famous Chicken Soup and Ma La (spicy) soup. For the latter, they even have different levels of spiciness, how thoughtful again.

Most of us started with this basketful of egg, vegetables, fishball, beancurd and crabsticks - the must have ingredients for any good, homely steamboat / hotpot.

There was an assortment of meat - ramen, beef, fish paste and marinated chicken etc.

See how we donned the plastic gloves served alongside the Ramen paste and stretched / pulled / flipped our own la mien (ramen). It was a fun experience, and the la mien strips were actually springy in texture.

Some of the dips we had taken or concocted - including their special Sesame sauce, Seafood sauce and Chilli sauce. The sauce tasted good - thick and rich with flavors.

The Eel that was tender and soft and lovely.

Then we tried some very succulent Beef that nearly melted in our mouths and White Mushrooms, which went well with both the spicy and non-spicy soup bases.

I had this plate of Shanghai Greens - I must have lots of vegetables when it comes to hotpot / steamboat. The veggie was fresh and crisp and refreshing.

Then I squeezed some of these tubed Fish Paste into my steamy hot pot. The fish paste was not bad - bouncy in texture.

We thought that perhaps the Fish Skin would be crispy to eat on its own, but it tasted a lot better immersed in soup - chewy and butter smooth. The Beancurd is always a warm welcome for most of my soups.

This platter of Beef did not look and taste as enticing as the platter of paper thin Beef earlier on.

Now check this Marinated Chicken out - it was well marinated and tasted of spices and a slight tad of sweetness - I kept thinking that the flavor was familiar and akin to something I had tasted recently, but could not find the right word to describe to my dining neighbor. Now I recall - I thought it tasted like Tandoori Chicken. Anyway, despite having been soaked (and forgotten) in my soup for a long time, the chicken still managed to taste good, flavor intact, and meat tender - we were all amazed.

These springy and fresh-looking Fishballs needed no further introduction.

The Black Pork were cut into fine pieces as well, making it easy to cook and chew on. They weren't as tender or luscious as the black pork I eat at some Japanese restaurants, but still a delight to have nonetheless.

A sinful indulgence it was - this plate of Pork Liver - bouncy, juicy and soft, oh what a treat.

Finally, the Wanton Noodles - which was said to be nice because it was "soft"?? Not sure if that was a good thing or apt description, but it looked rather crispy to me. I did not taste it though.

All in all, Shi Li Fang is a lovely place to enjoy a healthy and wholesome meal complete with warm hospitality. The ingredients are fresh, affordable and the variety is rather complete.  Thank you Hungrygowhere and Shi Li Fang for the wonderful meal cum great discovery.