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Thursday 30 April 2015

Blackforest Cake at Hanis Cafe & Bakery

100 Victoria Street #01-01 National Library Building, Singapore 188064
Tel: 6333 0377

Hanis Cafe & Bakery, the sister of Han's Cafe, a casual dining concept well known over the years for its Asian and Western dishes.  I decided to write about them today because I want to rave about their blackforest cake.

Being a lover of blackforest cakes, it is not easy to find the "authentically-flavored", childhood type blackforest cake in local context - fluffy and full of whipped cream, with dark cherries within the cake layers.  If there is one thing Hanis / Hans is consistent about, it is the Blackforest Cake (SGD$4.20), something I would always order when I am at Hans. 

Yeah, eat your heart out, but I have always enjoyed their blackforest cake - very affordable and retaining the originality of my childhood memories. You know, those blackforest cakes sold at your estate bakeries, the kind your parents would order and collect three days later or buy over the counter? 

The blackforest cake here tastes like that exactly - spongy and fluffy in its thick chocolatey layers,  loaded sinfully with loads of cream on top and in between layers, filled with juicy tarty black cherries, topped with chocolate shavings and bright red maraschino cherries.   I could probably eat the entire cake (the small one) but I know I won't. 

Ok, here is a Cuppaccino to wash down the sweet creaminess of my tea time dessert.

The other blackforest cake I absolutely love is at Stuttgart Boutique S Cafe (review here) - well textured, richly creamed, generous infusion of juicy cherries and best of all, it contains dashes of alcohol to make it a very authentic slice of blackforest cake.

Wednesday 29 April 2015

Review of Cyber Colours Aqua-based Gemstone Minerals Pudding Foundation

Been busy trying out one foundation after another, tossing out one brand after another, I finally decided to come back to Cyber Colors Aqua-based Pudding Gemstone Foundation, formulated with valuable gemstone powders and SPF20.

What prompted me to try it a couple of years back was because of the raves about its minerals contents, as well as being a "pudding foundation" - something very different from the usual liquid or cream foundation. The stated minerals here comprise of pearl powder, ruby powder, diamond powder, coral powder, tourmaline powder, amethyst powder and jade powder - a combination of all the beauty benefits every woman loves.

At a mere SGD$36.90 for this 30ml glass jar of pudding foundation, I'd say it is very affordable. One may find this product easily at any Sasa outlets around the island, recognised by its reflecting silver box. The packaging comes with a scoop for hygiene purpose as well.

Texture-wise, this pudding foundation is not light enough to quiver in a jelly-like form, but it is certainly fluffier than cream. It feels like gel upon application - a little harder to apply as compared to liquid foundation, but nonetheless still lightweight enough.to smoothen over the face for even-ness.

It feels natural on the face, offering a sheen of radiance but not oily. Coverage is light to medium and with a light brush of loose powder, one is ready to step out. This pudding foundation is long-lasting as well, keeping the face well-nourished and the user looking good. 

I would recommend it because it is easy to apply, gives a natural coverage, fuss-free, affordable and offers all the goodness of minerals.

Tuesday 28 April 2015

Dinner at The Disgruntled Chef @ Dempsey Hill

26B Dempsey Road, Singapore 
Tel: 6476 5305

The dinner venue tonight was The Disgruntled Chef, located at the trendy Dempsey Hill.  An interesting modern-European restaurant and bar concept hidden beneath a flight of wooden steps - how lovely and secluded.

Consisting of a contemporary and vintage-glamor design, the restaurant offered good service as well. But what ultimately attracted us was the interesting menu, consisting of Big Plates and Small Plates, with some rather exotic-sounding fusion dishes such as Snowcrab Pasta, Grilled French Quail and Curry Mussels etc.

We started with the "Salt of the Sea" - crispy fish skin and potato chips (SGD$8.00) dish, a surprise seeing it because this was a Western / European restaurant, and we always associated the fried fish skin as an Asian dish.  It did not disappoint at all - lightly battered and very crispy true to its name, with the gentle fishy flavor. The pairing with the black vinegar was very brilliant, instantly bringing the taste to another level altogether - we kept munching at it and I had thoughts to order another serving.

Next, we shared the Crab & Lobster Sliders (SGD$14.00) was another delicacy that we were glad to have ordered - small lobster and crab rolls topped with thin slivers of Granny Smith apples. The bread roll had a lovely fluffy, fresh texture to it, going very well with the luscious flavor of the minced seafood meat and crunchiness of apple slivers. 

Then we took something from the big plate to share - Grilled French Quail (SGD$32.00), served with Frisee Salad, Crispy Bacon and Poached Egg. If you love quail - well, its taste is very similar to duck meat, only smoother and more tender. This one had a bonus hint of smokiness to enhance the flavor, and was incredibly scrumptious.

*Helen had a Sea Salt & Chilli Margarita (SGD$18.00) for drinks - Don Julio Reposado, calamansi, Honey, Sea Salt Air. This drink was a major WOW to the tastebuds - refreshing, yet spicy, getting the palate all tangy in its exotic flavor.

I went for a glass of Riesling Icewine (SGD$18.00) - my favorite sparkling sweet wine, mild and cooling, perfect for chilling out.

We enjoyed dinner here very much, and I would love to come back for the gorgeous ambience and to try more of the food items.

Monday 27 April 2015

Yogurt at Yoguru

21 Choa Chu Kang North 6, #01-48 Yew Tee Point, Singapore 689578
Tel: 6634 0375

After my post about Berry Lite Yogurt (see post here), I decided to do another one, this time on Yoguru Yogurt because of their interesting flavors.  They have several branches as well so I shall just write about the one I visited.

They serve frozen yogurt in refreshing flavors with slgiht tartness. The yogurt comes in cone or cup. I ordered the Small serving with fresh blueberries toppings, and it cost me only SGD$4.70 each.

The first flavor we had was the Sjora Yogurt - tropical flavor, supposedly mango, peach and pineapple all in one. The soft-served yogurt was tasty - the citrusy and sweet flavors were beautifully balanced, making every bite a delight.

The next flavor we tried was the Salted Caramel Yogurt - a more "multed" flavor with a lighter flavor. There was a very slight hint of saltiness detected, and the caramel tones were not overwhelming (i.e. too sweet). 

Bliss was a mixture of passionfruit and dragonfruit - a tropical delight, touches of zesty amongst sweetness, hitting straight to the soul beautifully. Toppings were blueberries and strawberries.

All in all, these healthy delicacies were worth every single cent, and I would love to have them again. 

Saturday 25 April 2015

Dinner at Beirut Grill (Middle Eastern) Restaurant

72 Bussorah Street, Singapore 199485
Tel: 6341 7728

It was the usual Saturday evening meetup with The Beau, and we decided to go for something exotic and different this evening - Middle Eastern / Lebanese cuisine. After browsing through the rows of restaurants along Arab Street / Haji Lane, we decided on Beurut Grill located at Bussorah Street.

This charming two-storey restaurant boosts of an enchanting setting upstairs, which was where we were seated. It was named "Magic Carpet Lounge" and was complete with drapes and mirrors to give the place a rather romantic appeal. If I ever had any doubts on the phrase "dark sultry Arabian nights", tonight my doubts were cleared.

We got the low seats because the restaurant was full house on this weekend evening, so we got to dine in a really traditional manner, sitting cross-legged on the low cushioned platforms around the square table. I was comfortable with that posture, but The Beau, who's relatively taller, felt exhausted from that sitting arrangement after a while.

Anyway, we browsed the menu and debated on a few items before settling on the final choices. There were so many dishes that looked enticing, but too bad there were only two of us so what we could order was restricted. For Lebanese cuisine, most of the essential flavorings / ingredients comprised of herbs and garlic.

I started with an Beirut Cold Mint Tea (SGD$6.00) - a refreshing and delicious iced tea with a cooling taste. This one was prettily adorned with real mint tea leaves within the drink itself, giving it a stronger aroma that I loved.

The Beau went with a Salted Labhan (SGD$6.00), a Yogurt drink available salted or sweet. I would have preferred the sweet version as the salted version tasted like salt water with a milky base, that's all.

For food, we shared the Mixed Grilled Kebab (SGD$36.00), consisting of lamb chops, lamb kebab kofta, tikka kebab, shish taouk served with grilled vegetables and Oriental Arabic rice.  Needless to say, the meat were all grilled to a delicious, nearly-crispy state, so that in their tenderness or chewiness, there was that lovely, consistent smokey hint giving the assorted meat an extra enhancer. The rice was a flavors burst with the fragrance of herbs / spices.

Time to wolf down an exotic dessert now. We chose the Oum Ali (SGD$12.00) to share - fresh cream pudding with yellow raisins, nuts, coconut and crispy flakes served with honey and pistachio. It was a hot dessert, The texture was noticeably smooth and the taste was a lovely, sweet creaminess with lots of crunch in between bites.

And as though the sensual settings and scrumptious food were not enough, we were also treated to a sensational performance by a beautiful female dancer during the meal itself.  It was truly an entertaining evening to be had.

Thursday 23 April 2015

Dinner at Boufe Cafe @ Phoenix Park

308 Tanglin Road, Phoenix Park, Singapore 247974
Tel: 6734 7656

Boufe Cafe - simply "boutique" and "cafe" made into an original name for this pretty little cafe hidden away in the outskirts of Orchard Road, sitting famously at the secluded Phoenix Park - I'd been wanting to come here because I keep seeing photographs of the famous white swings against pebbled grounds.

The first time trying to get here failed, because they had an event; so we called ahead this time round. After taking some photographs of the lovely, clean-cut cafe with a lovely garden settings, we went in.

The interior was done in sleek white as well, with a bar counter and lots of white tables and chairs (sounds like a good substitute for "Diner en Blanc" eh? lol).

To the left of the main entrance is where the clothes retailer is located, with an array of dresses, rompers and blouses in different hues and styles for one to shop from.  It is interesting to encompass shopping and dining together in one space together, and it seems that many cafes are practicing this nowadays.

The alfresco area is utterly beautiful, almost in a fairytale-like manner, complete with vines of plants hanging from the top and sides of the white-themed cafe. It would be lovely to dine without the nature greenery, but an oversight by me caused us to make do with the indoors (not that there is anything wrong with the indoors, but the outdoors is more relaxing and quiet).

To the right of the main entrance is where the cafe is, and a tantalising array of cakes and desserts flaunting themselves proudly for our pick.

The table settings is delicately pretty with white utensils bucket and a transparent vase with fresh white flowers - I thought that little gesture was so endearing.  We browsed through the rather limited menu but managed to order everything we wanted.

The Beau started with an Iced Caramel Latte (SGD$6.50), a rather diluted mug of iced milk coffee in my opinion - with just coffee flavour but none of caramel detected.

I had the Iced Lychee Tea (SGD$5.50) which was a little sweet but got better when ice cubes melted (and I added a little iced water to it); other than that, the tea was fragrant and infused nicely with lychee's taste.

For mains, The Beau had the Spicy Crab Pasta (SGD$22.00), pasta cooked in spicy tomato sauce topped with white crab meat and arugula. The sauce was a thick spicy-tarty paste filled with very tiny slivers of crab meat - a disappointment because you could hardly see nor taste the crab. The only consolation was the springy spaghetti (one could also opt for penne) and the strong, spicy flavor of the paste which boosted the dainty-portioned dish.

I chose the Duck Confit with Mashed Potato (SGD$22.00) - a well-matured piece of duck leg confit coupled with mashed potato and orange demi-glaze. The sauce was a little too much, drenching the potato and melting them into pulp; pity, because the flavour of the gravy is rather nice, playing upon the hints of sweet onions. The duck was tender in texture but the skin was not crispy, disappointingly. Other than that, I enjoyed this dish.

For dessert, we had a Citron Tart (SGD$5.50), a pretty little darling with frozen cream heaped into a nice shape on top of the lemon curd. Taste was not bad - refreshing and sour-sweet as anticipated; but texture did not make the cut unfortunately. What might have been a fluffy, crispy crust was hardened as well as the lemon curd which might have been silken on the tongue - did they chill it for too long? Everything was hardened and it made cutting the tart a challenge, a pity for the good taste of this beauty.

Finally, service was a little slow (ok, so they don't charge service charge), but we waited close to 40 minutes to see any hint of our food at all, and then our mains were served at least 10 minutes apart. There was no warning on waiting time during ordering, and when we ordered it was merely around 7pm with about 3 tables in all.