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Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Tea time at Bloomsbury Bakers Cafe @ Boon Keng

Blk 30 Bendemeer Road #01-889 Singapore 330030
Tel: 6299 3450

I had been thinking if I wanted to visit Bloomsbury Bakers, fractions of hesitation because it is a cafe situated in a HDB block. Then I saw photographs of the vintage black-white tiled floors and lovely decor leaning heavily on French flavors, and made up my mind instantly. I just love the sleek furnishing - dark toned, mirrored and mysterious all in one. With settings like that, who could still remember they are in a cafe hidden in a neighborhood estate?

We took one of the tables in the back, and loved the lovely knick-knacks adorning the tiny tabletop - nice touch.

And a shelf selling some books and baking etc, with some cards and jars of butter etc.

We checked out the shelves of cakes, tarts and brownies - lovely baked goods, one looking more mouthwatering than the other. It was hard to decide on which to have, seriously, and we took some time to debate and make up our minds. Passion fruit meringue tarts or lemon meringue tarts? Red velvet cake or brownies?

Most importantly, the pastries all looked fresh. The most difficult choice was choosing between the Strawberry Shortcake and Lychee Martini cake - we intended to have one pastry from each category, and there was no way we could take both. The Strawberry Shortcake had been reviewed as "the best" a prominent food blogger had ever had, whereas I love Lychee Martini Cakes.

In the end, we made our choices and I sat back with a cup of Cuppuccino (SGD$4.50) - a hot soother for a cool rainy day. The coffee was aromatic enough.

The Lemon Meringue Tart (SGD$5.00) had a lovely crust - golden, crunchy and yet subtly sweet, balancing the sweet- sour lemon curd very well. The lemon curd was in turn gossamer smooth, hittng just the right note of tart, giving it a refreshing hint. Again, the word "fresh" came to mind.

Next, our Lychee Martini Cake (SGD$7.50) was served - the cake was so pretty, especially with the tiny rose bud sitting atop the cream. The cake was light, almost cottony, with sweet cream and real lychee flesh tucked between layers of this fluffy light cake. While the sweet flavor of lychee was distinctive, the slosh of martini was gentle - I enjoyed this, but still prefer Pine Gardens' more.

Finally, the third shared pastry of Sea Salt Caramel Brownies (SGD$4.50) - we chose the one with nuts. At first bite, we enjoyed the rich darkness of the smooth chocolatey slab, paired with the lovely taste and texture of walnuts. Even the caramel sauce was not overly sweet - something that changed my mind about the usual too-sweet flavor. Then we started biting into large grains of sea salt, and it was scaldingly salty - no joke. After three dainty bites each, we left the brownie alone because the saltiness was too much to bear, and eventually obliterated all the other lovely flavors.

Overall, the variety and taste of pastries make this place well worth a visit or two.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Lancome Christmas Wonderland - makeover and shopping event @ Paragon Atrium

The registration was done and the event came just in time - I was going to top up my Lancome skincare products. It was held at the Atrium @ Paragon, a hosted effort by Her World and Metro Paragon in conjunction with Lancome.

I selected the facial session and the makeover session, and for this I am writing about the makeover session. The booth was set up very fancifully and in a festive manner - all glittery, red and one could spot the large Snow Globe from afar.   I took some photos on level two, hence could capture the overall views.

This is a view taken from the escalator down, trying to capture the front / back view of the event, hence pardon the shaken movement.

Here is a "Christmas Tree" constructed out of Lancome gift boxes, and then a close up shot of the Snow Globe with twinkling lights and more Lancome goodies. I love Lancome products, from the skincare and foundation.

This is the front area where some of the participants came to take photos at, after their makeovers.

Upon reaching, we registered at this booth and were handed vouchers and then brought to our makeup artists.

This lovely lady was in charge of taking care of beautifying me for the day. They had three looks to choose from - Glamor, Sophisticated and one more I cannot recall. I went for Sophisticated.

There was that huge array of skincare products and makeup, all by Lancome. And these were used on us - from the serum to moisturizer to primer, etc. It was a treat.

She began to work on my face, brushing, sweeping, dusting etc, constantly asking me to open and close my eyes, look up, look down, etc. This is a sneak preview of her doing my eyes.

This is another snapshot of her doing the lips - the face and eyes makeup were all finished. Oh, yes, my hair was clipped up to keep the sides from falling over my face.

Finally, all was done, and it was time to head over to the section where they did our hair for us. We went around taking photographs, with each other and also our stylists / makeup artists.

Then it was time for the shopping. One could choose to buy those sets with really good prices - as gifts or for personal use (they came wrapped in gorgeous silver and red). If one chose to buy individual items instead of the promotional gift sets, there was a nice percentage discount, like, 20%.

Some of my loot after the event - as well my lovely 4-piece Lancome gift set (contained in the nice Lancome clutch).

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Lunch at L'etoile Cafe @ Owen Road

160 Owen Road, Singapore 218953
Tel: 6298 2872
Website: http://letoile.com.sg
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/letoilesg

This is another cafe which I have heard of for years, since a cabin crew friend introduced it... but somehow I never got to visit till recently, with a buddy *Kirk.

L'etoile Cafe is a French cafe all right, and set in style amongst a row of shophouses, complete with ceiling fans, an alfresco seating area and French doors / windows. I love all things French, so I would say this was right up my alley.

An eclectic mix of modern and vintage pieces, this cafe is decorated in a most pretty fashion boosting of looks, comfort and books all the way.  They serve good food, desserts and the best part is the French music playing!

There are also trinkets and some ornaments / accessories for sale, as well as an upstairs area that we did not get to explore.

I was earlier than *Kirk, so some sneak peeks while waiting for him, lol the desserts counter boosting of interesting artisanal pastries that were beckoning out to my tastebuds.

But first things first, I had a cup of Cuppucino (SGD$4.50) to kickstart the lunch cum catching up session. I am rather proud to announce that for this coffee, I could literally taste the fruity (prunes?) and slight hints of flowery notes in it... but its a .. feel, lol. As usual, I would prefer my cuppucino with cocoa sprinkles atop.

*Kirk finally reached and he chose the Iced Mocha (SGD6.20) as his beverage of the afternoon. He mentioned that it was nice even though we did not see any chocolate sauce at all.

For food, we started with desserts! Finally I discovered that I have a friend who accommodates my odd eating habit lol.

This was the Mud-Oozzzz aka Chocolate Lava Cake (SGD$8.90) - rich, delicious and chocolatey, topped with a large scoop of vanilla ice-cream. Okay, to be fair we loved the flavor of the chocolate pastry aplenty because it was really good and the chocolate flavor was distinctive, however there were two things to note. Firstly, the cake being served in a cup like this, one couldnt really tell if there was "lava" oozing out from the cake or was it a ganache all the way; secondly the scoop of ice cream is too huge it obliterated the taste of the lava cake upon melting.

*Kirk selected the Seasalt Caramel Chocolate Chiffon cake (SGD$6.80) - a soft, fluffy slice of delicacy encompassing the darker flavor of chocolate with the lighter tones of seasalt, a very subtle combination of savoury-sweet clashes. It was delicious in texture and taste.

For mains, I had the Sirloin Steak (SGD$26.90). I wanted medium rare but it felt more like medium to me. Nonetheless, the red wine sauce was good - tangy hints but nothing too strong, and against the rather tender steak's chewiness, I'd say it was a good complement. The fries were crispy and salad fresh. My craving for red meat was satiated in a lovely manner.

*Kirk settled for Fish & Chips (SGD$18.90) for his mains. The fish filet was crispy on the inside and soft on the inside, like how good fish and chips should be. One could taste the fish within the flour and battered flesh, and the fries were crispy. It was a hearty dish to be reckoned with.

All in all, we enjoyed the dining experience at the discreetly-hidden L'etoile Cafe - everything from the ambience to food.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Lunch at Jimmy Monkey Cafe @ One-North

9 One-North Gateway, Singapore 138643
Tel: 6777 8470

After an appointment in the West,  the same colleague who went The LoKal with me were generating ideas on what to have for lunch. Then he suggested this place that I've also heard of before - Jimmy Monkeys Cafe, right smack in the heart of a condominium estate.

A lovely little Australian cafe with "raw and deconstructed elegance", this cafe is constantly filled up with people enjoying its lovely coffee and food as well as chilling out over drinks. We were fortunate to snag a table. I do like the very "chill" and relaxed ambience, and the cafe was surprisingly quiet despite the crowd (who were also chattering away over meals).

I checked out the array of cakes and pastries on display but nothing caught my eye. It was lunchtime anyway, and the start of my severe "cut-down-on-food" regime, hence I decided to do without desserts.

A peek at the menu as I alternated between the Muffins or Muesli set.

I started off with a Cuppucino (SGD$5.50) served in its signature blue cup. Not bad, the coffee held slight hints of fruits, if my detection skills served me well. What would have made it more perfect would be some cocoa powder sprinkled atop the foam.

The colleague had a Latte (SGD$5.50) served in the same blue cup. He likes the coffee here apparently that was why he suggested to come here for lunch. The coffee here is brewed using the Slayer machine by experienced baristas anyway.

For mains, the colleague had the JM's Breakfast Sandwich (SGD$16.00) - with rocket salad, bacon, egg, roma tomato, avocado and kay's relish. It was a very hearty breakfast that was surprisingly not greasy, and tasted good - comfort food at its best.

I succumbed and selected the JM Breaky Muffin (SGD$14.00) - sunny eggs, leg ham, Hollandaise sauce, roma tomato and rocket salad. The muffins were exactly the way I like it - sandy textured, slightly sweet and not too soft. The combination with the eggs, ham and tomato made a simple home-styled meal awesome. The potato salad on the side was commendable as well - tender potato chunks with egg mayo dressing.

All in all I enjoyed the dining experience at this secluded and serene area, and the food was very satisfying. Never mind the inaccessibility - one wouldnt want their new favorite haunts to be over-crowded with too many people.