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All posts for the month September, 2017

Rive Gauche Patisserie

Published September 26, 2017 by piggie

Yuzu Cheese Cake, $8

I used to have very good impression on Rive Gauche Patisserie, and thought they are making premium cakes. Well, I found out in pricing and presentation maybe, but sadly, the quality betrayed its image drastically. Before I had my first try, I actually bought them for the old folks at home, and when they told me the taste was at best average, I found it unbelievable. When I eventually tried it for the first time, I regret ever walked in.

I actually got this offer of any sliced cake with tea for only $7 at Rive Gauche Patisserie. Otherwise selling for $8 alone, their Yuzu Cheese Cake certainly looks tantalising. However, the white chocolate and the glazed Yuzu mousse are perhaps the only plus point that this cake has to offer. I like the fresh citrus zest it brings, but when it comes to the texture of the cake… umm… can’t make it. The texture of the cake taste like as if it had been left overnight (maybe it did, but I was there in the afternoon, not morning), and at such price, this is not what I would expect of a Japanese or French Patisserie. In fact, cakes I bought from neighbourhood confectioneries taste better, but appearing less fancy and cost merely a fraction of its price.

Black Velvet Cake, $7

My friend ordered their Black Velvet Cake, likewise in their $7 sliced cake + tea deal. Even worse. The Oreo on top was no longer crisp, likewise for cake texture, which hinted it had been left overnight. I won’t say it’s terrible, just that the quality wasn’t there, and definitely not worth that price tag.

Was it just me? No. So far, of all the 4 associates I asked, 100% responded it’s forgettable. That is the comment they would normally reserve for neighbourhood confectioneries. Then what on earth was I paying a premium for? Maybe I should have tried their Guanaja instead, which is what they are famous for. But I probably ain’t likely getting their cake again.

As for the tea, it’s TWG tea. I had an Earl Grey, I think there are about 4 variation to choose from. No milk or creamer was given, only sugar.

Hokkaido Ice Cream Short Bread, $7.80

Over at their CityLink Mall franchise, their only one to date that sells ice cream, offered all Yotsuba Hokkaido Milk Ice Cream at $5 each during a promotion sometime back in August. Naturally, I got the most expensive one, Short Bread.

Their Short Bread ice cream is actually soft serve made with premium Hokkaido milk, along with their soft sponge softcake, corn flakes, mini eclairon and jelly. Though it may just look like a giant McDonald’s sundae with extra condiments, this one tastes a lot more fragrant, notably from the richer taste of Hokkaido milk, we found it thoroughly enjoyable! Though the plastic container looks a bit cheapskate, but saved the staff’s hassle from cleaning.

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Bake Cheese Tart

Published September 9, 2017 by piggie

After 1 year, the cheese tart craze from Hokkaido’s Bake Cheese Tart has finally subsided, no more lengthy queue outside their ION Orchard franchise, and it’s definitely a good time to try!

When a friend accompanied me in acquiring these cheese tarts, she briefed me on their procedure, that the staffs will show me they really pack in 6 pieces per box before wrapping, and they would also share various way in appreciating these pastries. They would repeat these procedures each time she purchased, without fail. Hence, partly the reason for long queue then. In fact, it’s so popular that they now have 4 outlets in Singapore! My friend used to queue 2 hours for these, some even queued for 3 hours. Holy God! Ain’t these people having better thing to do? The price for one cheese tart ain’t cheap though, @ $3.50, or 6 for $19.50, at these prices, it has better taste good. And it sure does!

Bake Cheese Tart only comes in one variant, their standard cheese tart, yet that was enough to summon a craze to queue for hours. In fact, I like it so much I’m worry once the fanfare is over, they may diminish from our shore. However, they do offer 4 different ways to appreciate their cheese tarts, they even include a printed card in my packaging to remind me of it! I’m impressed, I almost had the impression as if I’m getting it in Japan:

  1. Eat fresh upon purchase.
  2. Fridge it before consumption.
  3. Freeze it and eat it like ice cream.
  4. Reheat it in a toaster over and eat it as if fresh.

Well, three ways actually. The forth is actually a replication of the first.

From the fridge

I tried one as soon as I got out from their shop, freshly baked! I love that semi molten cheese, so flavourful and typical of Hokkaido’s aroma. I later tried eating it straight from the fridge, the cheese flavour is still there, but the texture is like cheese cake, its taste less exquisite. After this, I don’t wanna try it from the freezer. My conclusion, as well as my friend’s, we prefer it freshly baked.

Many thanks to Bake Cheese Tarts for the free cheese tarts! ~ <(^@^)> ~

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka らーめん山頭火

Published September 9, 2017 by piggie

It is not my first visit to Santouka, but since this is a new menu tasting invitation by JPassport, I would like to start a new post and segregate it from my previous visits. Nevertheless, like I always did, I reiterate my desire to faithfully express my opinion regardless whether it’s sponsored or not.

According to my correspondence with JPassport, my understanding is that me and my dining partner can each choose one main from their new menu. So we decided we would each order a different item and share among ourselves just so we can taste both.

But Santouka’s manager at their Clarke Quay Central branch was very generous and threw in their Toroniku Ramen as well. That means two of us gonna share 3 portion of ramen! I stare at my dining partner bewilderingly, but alas, I thought if their Roast Beef Ae Soba is just what it seems to be, then probably we can finish them all. No and Yes, allow me to elaborate shortly.

Special Iberico Tokusen Toroniku Ramen in Shio broth, $21++ (S)

Special Iberico Tokusen Toroniku Ramen was first served. Regular patrons to Santouka would already have known, that this is one of Santouka’s signature ramen, nothing new really. It features premium roasted pork cheek from Iberico pig, both attributes are considered premium in their respective categories, and hence reflected in the ramen’s price. Before I go on further on the charshu, let me briefly touch on the noodle first.

Santouka claimed to have tested many different types of noodles before settling on medium sized round noodles, which they found to have good flavour and aroma, most importantly blend well with their soup. The broth comes in 4 flavour options, namely Shoyu, Miso, Kara-Miso, and Shio. Santouka hails from Hokkaido, Asahikawa to be exact, from where Shoyu ramen is typical. However, it’s Shio ramen where Santouka really prowess. While typical Shio ramen presents a clear appearance, Santouka’s came a little creamy, and their broth is rich enough to infuse flavourful taste to the noodle as they claimed.

Japan ain’t really known for Iberico pork, but Kurobuta. The former are usually found in Iberian Peninsula (literally Spain and Portugal), and is considered rare in Japan. It’s worth noting that Iberico pork are usually cured for years and sold as ham (read Jamón ibérico), hence its hefty price tag, but these days you can probably get frozen Iberico pork from upmarket supermarkets or gourmet stores. Even if it’s not cured, its prices are still a few notches expensive than the Kurobuta, which is itself already considered a premium type of pork. And for every pig, regardless Iberico or any species, there’s only about 200-300g of pork cheek, which is relatively rare and probably the most tender meat you can get, that’s why even Santouka can only afford to serve them in limited quantity each day.

Santouka’s roasted Iberico pork cheek offers an adequate proportion of saltiness and sweetness, and to avoid its flavour being wash away by the broth, it was presented on a separate plate, allowing patrons to savour it in its best glamour.

Santouka Tantan Men, $15++

Santouka Tantan Men is a new addition on their revised menu launching soon on 18 Sep 2017 in collaboration with their anniversary here. Served in a Tonkotsu broth, and with respect to the amount of chilli oil present, it only offers a slight hint of spiciness reminiscing conventional Sichuan Tantan noodle. Santouka is obviously distancing themselves from replicating a direct Sichuan version, this makes sense, they aren’t a Chinese restaurant after all. They infused their broth with a strong sesame presence, which created a somewhat nutty flavour. And then instead of using charshu in a conventional ramen, they replaced it with minced meat in Miso paste, along with pickled veggie. Overall, this is rather appetising!

Roast Beef Ae-Soba, $17++

Hold on a second, did I just mention appetising? Wait till I try this!

For a start, I wonder what does Ae mean? I mean, I have tried Maze Soba, Yaki Soba… But Ae Soba (和え蕎麦)?? I couldn’t find an answer, but I guess it either means dry soba or self-made soba.

Anyway, the soba was presented somewhat like Yaki Soba (fried soba), except that the noodle wasn’t fried at all. I believe it was lightly rinsed and drained from the broth, and served dry along with veggies, poached egg, and of course, roast beef as its name suggests. The overall taste of this is somewhat like salad + noodle.

I understand that Santouka uses the same noodle they would use on their ramen, so actually, it’s not really soba noodle they are using. But they ain’t the only one, many other ramen restaurants here did likewise. Personally, I prefer that, because I don’t quite like the strong buckwheat texture in soba noodles to be honest, although I still eat them somewhat.

Looking at the picture alone, you would naturally guess the beef takes centre stage huh? In our humble opinion, no. The wonder of this noodle lies in the little jug in the background, or rather the dressing inside. It’s an interesting cohesion of sweetness, sourness, saltiness, and mild pungency all roll into one, exuding a brilliant taste that makes this noodle totally wonderful!

Unable to subdue our curiousity, we summon the manager for an ‘explanation’. She would proudly reveal the use of onion, Kikkoman sauce, wasabi paste, but that’s as far as she would go, the rest, I suppose, are ‘trade secret’. 😛

It has to be that good, that my dining companion, who usually hates onion, finished all the dressing onto the noodle.
The beef was served medium raw, and was quite tender. But I was wondering, why limit this noodle with beef? I think they could have gone with chicken, pork, and seafood as option too. Having said that, I must confess, the noodle was rather generous compare to what I saw from their menu. We struggled, but finish it because we already ate a bowl of ramen each before this, prompting the manager to comment we must have been very satisfied with our meal. True indeed!

Green Tea Ice Cream, $3++

After our meal, we felt as if we had buffet. But we top up with a Green Tea ice cream each so as not to leave the restaurant without paying anything. Their Green Tea Ice Cream although lack fragrance, offers a strong and pleasant Green Tea taste. I know the presentation looks bland, but guess that’s why Santouka will be repackaging this into something more eye-catching comes 18 Sep 2017.

Not available as yet, but definitely more appealing huh?

That concludes my visit on 07 Sep 2017, but do follow Santouka on JPassport for any forthcoming promotion!

Special thanks to JPassport for this tasting invitation.