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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

[Media Invite] Saturdays with Portico Cafe / Restaurant @ Labrador area

991B Alexandra Road #01-10 Singapore 119970
Tel: 6276 7337

Being an avid cafe-hopper and food-hunter lately, I was still amazed to discover this hidden gem of a Portico Singapore located at Alexandra office area - along the rows of  commercial offices, sitting quaintly between the cross of Telok Blangah and Alexandra area.

Thanks to Openrice SG for the invite, allowing me to experience Saturdays with Portico, a fun-filled day that gives new meaning to weekend cafe-hopping.  Through interactive free activities Portico endeavours to foster a closer bond between us and our food / coffee as we understand the preparation processes. This sounded so fun, and I was excited to get my hands dirty for the planned itineraries.

Portico Singapore is a restaurant, cafe and pub all in one, perfect for diners looking for Western fusion dishes, perfect for coffee lovers to hang around on lazy afternoons, as well as perfect for those looking to unwind and chill over drinks.  The exterior boosts of a garden setting exuding tranquility while the interior sets off a charm of its own, with well-spaced tables and well-chosen paintings.

While waiting for the enticing activities to kickstart, we had a plate of Portico Chicken Wings with chilli lime dip. The chicken wings were crackling delicious on the outside, opening up to tender flesh and extremely well-marinated so one could eat these on their own.

We were divided into 2 teams, and I was with the team that tried Plating of Signature Salad of Vine-ripened Tomatoes (SGD$17.00) , demonstrated by Chef Nixon himself.  The salad looked so deceptively simple, so pretty in bright colours, and Chef Nixon prepared it so effortlessly.

Photosource: http://ivanteh-runningman.blogspot.sg/2015/06/portico-tasting-session.html

When I tried my hands at it - with fresh ingredients of jamon serrano slices, organic quinoa and honey melon dressing -  slowly arranging them methodically while trying to recollect Chef Nixon's detailed instructions, and constantly referring to the display set.  Not bad for a first try, though not the prettiest of them all - but hey, it tasted so good because we added ingredients of our efforts, time and passion into it.

Don't you wish you were here to plate your own salad too? They have different items / dishes for you to try every week!

Next, there was a Latte Art Demonstration and Hands-On Session, where we got to watch and get amazed at how it was to prepare a hot, aromatic cup of latte. The steps of preparation looked simple, but the degree of preparation plays a part on whether the coffee would taste good or come with a sour aftertaste.

Photo credit goes to Wenxi aka umakemehungry - thank you!

I got to try out making my own Latte, complete with art, thanks to the helpful barista who ensured smooth and safe completion. During the pouring of the warm milk into the espresso, the flow had to be smooth and in the same direction, so as ensure distinctive lines for the latte art to form.  The taste was good as well, aromatic and bittersweet.

Want to try your hands at creating your own latte art? Contact Portico Singapore now.

Finally, Honey Tasting with Carl Baptista from Pollen Nation - exclusive bees protectors and honey-makers. Carl explained to us how the business got started, what it was all about, and let us try various types of honey. They also conduct education training and talks for schools etc - what a meaningful business.

The first drop was Wild Flowers Honey, instantly finding its way into many of our hearts.

Next, it was Bittergourd Flower Honey, tinged with a delicious bitterness amongst the saccharine taste - I loved bittersweet stuff so this one was for me.

Following that was Cinnamon Honey, every drop was pleasant.

Then we tried Longan Flower Honey, another drop of sweetness that made its way into our mind and soul.

Trigona Honey was next, made from stingless bees.

We also had the special Sentosa Cove Honey, luscious and fragrant.

Finally, Bee Pollen, little sand-drops of sweetness, reminding me of rock sugar grains.

I was fortunate enough to win myself a jar of exclusive Longan Flower Honey, so lovely, and one could still see the honeycomb within. I cannot wait to start consuming this precious honey.

A fellow taster bought this jar of honey for SGD$19.00.  Feel free to contact Pollen Nation for queries and purchases. Thank you Carl, for the explanation, demonstration and tasting session.

It was all in all a very well-spent Saturday, and yes, through plating of my own salad and creating my own latte art, I do feel closer with my food and drinks, and appreciate them more. Thanks for bringing that out in me, Portico Singapore as well as thank you Openrice SG for the invite!

Monday, 29 June 2015

Dinner at 1933 Cafe Restaurant @ Capitol Galleria

15 Stamford Road #01-83, Singapore 178906
Tel: 6384 3660

Out of all the new restaurants and cafes that opened up on Level 1 of Capitol Piazza, and my bucket list to visit the top 3 herein, well, just to say that 1933's turn wasn't supposed to have been up yet. But, through another beautiful mistake, I decided to venture into the elegant vintage cafe restaurant and got hooked enough to stay put.

The array of delectable-looking pastries in assortment of interesting flavours ought to have invoked familarity in me - that this was yet another creative, brilliant themed restaurant by the renowned Breadtalk group.

Anyway, *Charmaine and I decided to have dinner at 1933 Cafe, charmed by the nostalgic art-deco settings as well as friendly, warm hospitality of the service crew here.

Oh, and how I love the black-and-gold menu against pearl-white cool, marble table top. The inside of the menu was equally appealing, we took a while to decide on what to eat because everything seemed palatable. There were Thai salads to Vietnamese rolls, to curry chicken and miso cod; it was a lovely Asian-fusion selection.

I started with a Cappuccino (SGD$6.00) because I wanted to see the name of the restaurant engraved on my foam, taking me back in time. It was a Friday night but I needed the caffeine boost for late night work projects actually- but never did I expect my beautiful cup of coffee to jolt me awake simply with its tastiness - sweet, chocolately, foamy, aromatic, all tossed into one black mug to bring me happiness in the night.

We shared some Wings Today (SGD$8.90) - crispy chicken wings that were well-marinated, suitably moistened and tender. The special chilli sauce by the side added zing to the chicken wings; making this dish a good selection.

The Sawadee Greens (SGD$14.90) - seafood salad tossed with Thai dressings, made up of fresh plump shrimps, minced meat, cherry tomatoes, nuts and greens. The citrusy dressing (not due to the squeezing of the lime juice in) was both refreshing and a palate teaser, bringing the salad up to another level altogether. The freshness here was very distinctive, marking this to be yet another good selection by us.

Next, Nanyang Curry Chicken in a Bread Bowl (SGD$14.90), comprising of two of our favoritest things - thick, spicy curry with aromatic coconut notes, served piping hot in very crispy bread bowl. If you love bread with good curry, and if you love succulent, soft chicken meat in your curry - then this was probably created specially just for you.

Finally, we managed to squeeze in a slice of Pineapple Tart (SGD$8.90) with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. No, this is not your Chinese New Year pineapple tarts, but a slice of crusty tart filled with sweet pieces of pineapple fruits and a solid, fluffy centre.  I love this tart, love how the taut texture caved in upon contact with the teeth and melting into beautiful buttery pastry dust on the tongue - the effect was almost mesmerising.  Add tingle to the sensation with the ice-cream, and we are all set for perfection.

Well, other than the fact that the pineapple tart was being served before we finished our mains (without being informed), and we were seated next to a group of noisy people who sat with a bare foot sole facing me (gross, I know) - the dining experience and quality of food here was absolutely worth every single penny.