All posts in the Western category

Kyushu Pancake Cafe

Published January 4, 2021 by piggie

This is the pancake cafe I have always wanted to try, long before I visited Belle-Ville Pancake Cafe, and even during my trip to Kyushu almost 1 year ago. I am sold by their idea of using genuine Kyushu ingredients, and I tend to have the belief that, going by such selling point, it seldom fails. Well, having written that, I need to elaborate a little more at the end of this post in order not to take the spotlight off the pancakes.

It was quite crowded on a Saturday mid noon, and even though we came in a party of two, we could only find seats at the far corner, which is less desirable, because even the waiters struggle to serve us without asking the next table diners to move. I guess that spells their popularity here, although if otherwise, it may spell trouble for any businesses during such peak hours if patrons are far and few.

Kyushu Pancake Cafe claims that they are using wheat from Oita, millet from Unzen (Nagasaki), pressed barley from Saga, purple rice and red glutinuous rice from Kumamoto and Fukuoka, non-glutinuous rice from Kagoshima, raw brown sugar from Kagoshima and Okinawa, last but not least, Aigoma-farmed (合鴨農法) sprouted rice from Aya (綾町)(Miyazaki), basically all Kyushu prefectures are involved, hence their name. Actually, Kyushu Pancake Cafe originates from Miyazaki, a Kyushu prefecture least known to Singaporeans, and also the most difficult to reach (unless you transfer a domestic flight there), it takes at least 4 hours from Hakata via a combination of Shinkansen and local express train. But in my opinion, it’s also the most attractive, and serves some of the best cuisines in Kyushu.

Let me touch on a little about Aigoma farming technique.

Most farmers these days use pesticide and chemical fertiliser in their farm, this is by far the most productive and economical method. Aigoma farming is about as organic as it can get, by raising wheats along with ducks. These ducks prey on insects for food, while their waste act as fertiliser for the wheats. Hence, you can imagine prices in Kyushu Pancake Cafe won’t come cheap, not with Japanese import ingredients anyway, but it remains reasonable if you consider all these factors.

Matcha Tiramisu, $16.00++

I ordered their Matcha Tiramisu pancakes, which was served with matcha powder, Mascarpone cheese, Hoji-cha sauce, and a scoop of ice cream. It’s worth noting that the pancake texture itself was a little sticky and savoury to my liking, but the Mascarpone cheese and matcha powder are excellent complement to the pancakes. In addition, the vanilla ice cream is top notch, as rich as the milk from Japan. Those who love Japanese milk will know what I meant, it fully justifies its price in supermarket, though I can find it a lot cheaper in Japan. That little cup of syrup is what I believe to be Hoji-cha sauce, I was instructed to pour it over the pancakes before consuming, but my suggestion is to try the pancakes on its own first before doing so, then you can compare the diversification in taste.

BLT Burger, $11.90++

BLT Burger is a savoury type pancakes, with crisp fried hash brown, thick slice honey baked ham, lettuce, and tomato. I actually find their pancake goes better with such savoury ingredients though and my dining partner even claims this is the best pancakes she had ever tried.

High Ball Coffee Bomber, $8++

Well, you certainly expect a cafe to serve nice coffee, and this is particularly interesting, High Ball Coffee Bomber. What it actually is, concentrated coffee is frozen into ice ball, then gradually melts under room temperature, while milk is pour over it to experience a different concentration level of coffee. Kyushu Pancake Cafe is using Costa Rica beans from an altitude of 1,200m for this, which have undergone a certain Tarrazu honey process, and resulted with a sweet fruity note, good acidity with velvety body, as well as a smooth finish.

Kyushu Pancake Cafe have recently launched 3 types of premium artisan coffee, at time of my visit, they are having a promotion. And although I have just mentioned Costa Rica coffee beans been used in their High Ball Coffee Bomber, it is also served as drip coffee here, along with two other types of coffee, with the left most being the most concentrated, and Costa Rica the least.

El Salvador Drip Coffee, $9++

Ignore the High Ball Coffee Bomb in the backdrop, my El Salvador coffee was served without sugar nor milk. It came with a tin pot of hot water, plus a glass of coffee powder, which the waiter helped pour them into the dripper sitting on top of a cup. I think in this region, we regularly heard about Costa Rica and Ethiopia coffee, not so much on El Salvador coffee though, and I wonder how many have heard about this tiny Central American country? Anyway, this coffee is said to be having a deep, intricate note, with hints of plum, chocolate, hazelnuts, and a smooth finish. I’ve got to confess I’m not a coffee person, more of a tea fan actually. I do find its acidity moderate, with a rich body, certainly can make a good grade of coffee. Even the waiter jokingly mentioned, this coffee thoroughly complement the sweet pancake that I ordered!

OK, so much for the food & beverages.

Perhaps due to shortage of manpower (or whatever the reason), order and payment is made in advance at the cashier counter, while food are later served to the table. Good thing the service of the waiters was pleasant, and I didn’t have to dispute the service charge I paid upfront.

In addition, I remember this isn’t their first venture here in Singapore. Their previous premise is at Novena Regency, that exact same unit now occupying by Menya Kanae, which I patronise 2 months earlier. I remember mentioning something like ‘unless you have something truly exceptional, else you won’t succeed there’ in that review. That statement, although mentioned in somewhat similar aura, ironically holds truth for Kyushu Pancake Cafe. And I must confess, before my visit today, I didn’t know Kyushu Pancake Cafe was its previous tenant. What I am trying to stress is, unless you are offering something genuinely exceptional, the location of your outlet is predominant to your success.

Oh, and for those who are thinking of visiting their franchise while traveling in Kyushu, they currently have 3 outlets in Miyazaki, and 1 inside Takeo Library, Saga. None of them is easily accessible, nor are they within popular tourist spots. They do have oversea franchise in Taiwan though.

Kyushu Pancake Cafe
25 Lorong Liput
(Behind Holland Road Shopping Centre)
Singapore 277735
Tel: +65 63526265
Website: http://www.kyushu-pancake.sg/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kyushupancake.sg/

Opening Hours:
Tue – Sun: 11:00 – 21:00
Close on Mon

Pink Fish

Published December 28, 2019 by piggie

To be honest, when I first visited Jewel Changi Airport, I have mediocre impression about Pink Fish. My first take was, it’s just another restaurant. But when I later learned of their motto, I’m sold.

It’s about sustainability… and MORE!

Firstly, Pink Fish uses biodegradable packaging and utensils, including the disposable bowls used. From business point of view, they eliminated washing and save on manpower, quite similar to what major fast food restaurants are doing. After all, Pink Fish’s concept is modelled after fast food restaurants, and with all items on their menu central around Norwegian Salmon. Pink Fish’s sustainability also applies to the food on the table, they claim that their salmon are ASC-certified, and sourced from suppliers committed to responsible farming from within Norwegian fjords. It is also stated that the carbon footprint per kilo farmed salmon consumed is considerably lower than all comparable meats.

Pink Fish at Jewel Changi Airport is their first oversea venture, and their menu are designed by one of the founders cum award-winning Chef Geir Skeie (Bocuse d’Or World 2009 winner). Bocuse d’Or World is akin to the Olympics of culinary skill (mainly dedicated to French cuisines) for chefs, while Michelin awards are focus on restaurants.

Chef Skeie drew inspiration from his many oversea trips, and developed his menu into 4 major categories, namely Burgers, Salad & Wraps, Raw, and Soups. Each of them are further laid out into Asian, European, and American. In a way, this is very similar to their menu in Norway. And their pricing mainly relates to the quantity of salmon (by weight) you desire in your bowl.

I meant to share my meals with a dining partner, so as to try as many dishes as possible in one visit, so we do away with the burger which is difficult to share, and order one each from the other categories. Similar to fast food restaurants, you order your food via the counter, or otherwise, you can also scan their QR code to download an app to pre-order. I did it at the counter, but perhaps because they took quite long to prepare my order (despite relatively dense customers), the food are served to our table.

Salad & Wraps European, 50g, $10.90

Our food are served all at once, but let me begin with the European Salad, which comprises grilled salmon, Tzatziki, Feta cheese, olives, and Quinoa. The Tzatziki sauce is quite appetising, it goes well with the grilled salmon as well as the accompanying veggies. The salmon are quite thick though, so the internal are still semi-raw, giving a contrasting texture upon every bite. The Feta cheese is salty, so overall, the taste is rather salty and sour, which brings out a great balance with the grilled salmon.

Raw Asian, 50g, $10.90

This is akin to Japanese donburi, comprising Japanese sashimi salad with raw salmon, Yuzu, Miso, Edamame, and rice. Frankly speaking, this may struggle to compete among the best of Japanese donburi, but I can see the Edamame and salmon sparkling with glamour of freshness, overall it really gave me a very Japanese homely feeling.

Soups American, 50g, $10.90

Their American soup is made of chili bowl with salmon, beans, coriander, and tortilla chips. While I confess the chili soup is spicy, and I do like it, but I feel there are few underwhelming points. Firstly, the tortilla chips should not be dipped inside the soup upon serving, because the crispiness is long gone before we can finish them, and the rest of the chips really do not taste great being soaky. Though the salmon taste good, but the coriander leaf is reduced to mere decorative purpose, its aroma is overpowered by the strong chili presence. I have to admit I was somewhat influenced by other reviewers prior to our visit, and if I haven’t read those, I’ll probably go with the other versions, which really sound better just by looking at their ingredients. Don’t get me wrong, like I said, the chili soup still taste good, but other ingredients apart from the salmon are a bit mediocre, or at least, done the wrong way. I guess there are probably some constraint because the idea of the restaurant is for a fast turn around, so the food have to be pre-prepared in a compromised manner to ease efficiency.

As a parting shot, I find Pink Fish’s pricing reasonable given its overall quality, its premium location, and Chef Skeie’s accolades. While I personally feel there is room for improvement, I suspect some of those are limited by operational constraints that I cannot foresee. I will be back to try their other items on the menu.

2nd Visit

I returned to Pink Fish in Jan 2020, barely one month after my first visit, and they had already changed their menu. Gone are the continental segregation, and now simply classified into Burgers, Poke Bowl, Salad & Wrap, Kids, and Sides. Price wise, likewise, depending on the quantity of the salmon you order, but this time, they do away with the weight, and simply classify them as small, medium, and large. As for the burgers, they are charged at $9.90 each, because the patty size is fixed.

I brought along old folks and kid this time, what I’m trying to say is, there’s a variety in age group, and some of them can be pretty fussy. We ordered a wide range of items, most of them combo deal, which cost $4 more and comes with standard soft drink or mineral water plus one of the listed sides (Chips, Soba noodles, Broccoli & Edamame Salad, Rice, Quinoa). My aunt wanted plain rice as side, which tempted me to ask, “You serious? I’m letting you try something unconventional, and you are asking for plain rice?” Anyway, she would insist with that, very well then.

Hot Massaman Curry

This is the Hot Massaman Curry that one of the old folks ordered, which comprises mushroom, potato, coriander, and cooked salmon. Actually, the term ‘hot’ does invite some discrepancy here, this is an European (chef) take on a Thai cuisine, how hot (spicy) can it get? Same thing, don’t expect the soup to be piping hot (here I mean temperature), it’s warm enough, better than lukewarm, and the fussy old folks ain’t complaining. I am not saying it’s excellent, but it certainly didn’t fail. I only managed to steal a gulp late into the meal, and I find it quite appetising, and the chunky salmon nowhere near raw as some diners described online. Ok, it may be a hit or miss, and there may be a different chef in-charge, fair enough.

Tangy Black Pepper Burger, $9.90

This was what my aunt ordered. I suspect she was just fancied by the name ‘black pepper’ (she probably loves black pepper crab, LOL!). Nonetheless, it comes with black pepper sauce, mango salsa, lettuce, and of course, salmon patty. She loves it! The salmon patty was grilled to a crisp exterior, while the interior retains its chewiness, and together with the other ingredients, the combination was rather flavourful for an otherwise bland-tasting salmon. And that’s coming from a fussy person, not me.

Rich Caesar Salad

This was what I ordered for myself. From their menu, I thought they have a wrap version, but I could be wrong. And why adding ‘Wrap’ in the header and showing a picture of it when it’s not available? Nevermind. The Caesar Salad is nice, with ample portion of sliced onions, Parmesan cheese and croutons to supply the savoury and crunchiness, although I personally feel the grilled salmon chunk comes better in the form of raw Salmon cube for a salad instead, but after all, they only use salmon fillet for their salad & wrap, whereas salmon cubes are use for their Poke Bowl and Stew.

Quinoa, $2.90

I asked for Quinoa as my side, it’s the healthier choice, and I certainly feel it’s the best to complement most of the items on their menu. I let the old folks tried mine, and they sort of agree too. As for my niece, she had soba noodles with her parents’ Massaman Curry and said it was nice. It certainly looks tasty comparing to conventional Japanese soba, and although I couldn’t help suspecting she could have been courteous, if so, for a 10-years-old, she must be pretty mature.

I came to aware that some diners complained online Pink Fish is a tad too pricey, while I can’t deny that and the restaurant was meant to be some sort of fast food after all, but bear in mind the location, its rental, and the chef’s accolades, it’s unfair to peg the price with McDonald’s or Subway in Singapore. Notably, Pink Fish emphasise on responsible farming, it’s akin to comparison between organic and non-organic ingredients price tags, you will find massive difference in price even in supermarkets, one simply can’t expect restaurateurs to absorb the difference. Don’t get me wrong, I ain’t defending for the restaurant, and there may be cheaper and/or tastier ones out there, and criticism on the food quality is fair, but if one wants to compare, make sure it’s apple to apple.

Pink Fish
78 Airport Boulevard #B1-261/262
Jewel Changi Airport
Email: SG@salmoncompany.com
Website: https://www.pinkfish.sg/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pinkfishSG/

Opening Hours ~
Daily: 10:00 hr – 22:00 hr

Mellower Coffee

Published September 25, 2019 by piggie

Mellower Coffee @ Bugis

OK, I confess I’m not truly a coffee lover, and wasn’t actively following Singapore’s cafe scene. I didn’t even know Mellower Coffee’s existence until now, some two years after it set foot Singapore shore from Shanghai. It’s hard to associate the coffee chain with China initially, noting that its name did little to suggest that, but then again, coffee is not a China thing, it’s a western influence that’s fast gaining popularity all over the world, including China (I can rationale part of the reasons being Chinese are more receptive of anything foreign, on the other hand, with such name, it’s much easier to venture oversea). But end of the day, be it Starbucks, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, or even Mellower Coffee, none of their own country produces coffee beans, at best they roasted the imported beans, and in principle, it’s this process they are selling.

I probably won’t have set foot into this cafe if it wasn’t firstly a free treat. They are still relatively new, and their locations, apart from the one at Somerset, are quite out of the way for me, with their Robinson branch almost exclusively serving CBD patrons, and their Bugis flagship store more associated with National Library, I mean, there are so many cafes inside Bugis Junction and Bugis +, why would I walk further up the road for Mellower Coffee especially if I have to expose myself under the sun? Well, I shall explain shortly.

This review is a compilation of several visit, but for convenience sake, I will just document it under one post.

Let’s compare my favourite Starbucks beverage and Mellower Coffee’s, sense the difference? Yes, the coffee art. And it wasn’t just limited to Latte, Mellower Coffee applies that to most all of their hot beverages that contain milk, not to mention their pricing is competitive. But of course, if the taste isn’t great, no matter how much gimmicks you input makes little significance. Well, if you are asking about the taste, I’ll have to say it’s a matter of hit and miss.

Oh, by the way, the Latte art is not fixed, it is not a mean to identify your order and is actually random.

Cafe Latte, $6.20

Generally, whenever I first try a new cafe, I started with their Latte. I have heard rave review on how great it is prior to visiting, but actually, what they did was merely adding cinnamon powder into it, giving off an additional aroma to the usual Latte. So, for those who don’t mind cinnamon, it’s just a little surprise, nothing spectacular really. In any case, cafe like Starbucks do provide optional cinnamon, vanilla powder etc, patrons can add to their desire amount to create a personalise flavour. Unfortunately, my cuppa partner isn’t a big fan of cinnamon, no prize guessing her dislike for this. In any case, I am more of a vanilla person, I would have prefer a richer vanilla flavour. So for this aspect, I think it’s wise to keep it basic, and let patrons determine the portion of spices they desire.

Cappuccino, $6.20

Their Cappuccino is decent, rich, but otherwise very disappointing, because mine was served lukewarm. That happened to my cuppa partner’s Latte too. It may be that the barista is new, but for this price, there is absolutely no reason why the hot beverage can get lukewarm almost as soon as I fetched it to the table. I’m not expecting it to be pipping hot, it can’t, but it certainly cannot be lukewarm at the other extreme as if it had been brew and left cool for more than 15 minutes.

Matcha Latte, $6.00

Those who’s gunning for a genuine Matcha treat may be slightly disappointed with this, though this one was served at an adequate temperature, the Matcha powder just ain’t rich enough. I understand Mellower Coffee attempts to be a little special, but being outstanding doesn’t mean having to (in fact it’s wrong) reduce the characteristic of a Matcha Latte. Only mild Matcha aroma was presence, which led me to wonder whether it’s because of their more competitive prices. I do believe the proprietor must have tried Starbucks’ version before, in addition, I can share even McDonald’s in China serves better Matcha Latte than this.

Matcha Frappe, $7.00

I actually like this perhaps for the whipped cream on top. I could be wrong (then again, there ain’t right or wrong answer on this aspect actually, just personal preference), but I found myself more acceptant to their cold beverages despite this also has less Matcha aroma than I anticipated. I like the sweetness it brings as well as the chilling factor in a hot afternoon. Who knows? Maybe if I visited in the evening, I may have generated different perspective, but I’m more likely going for their hot beverages if I did anyway. But yeah, I like its richness nonetheless.

Sweet Little Rain, $9.80

This is Mellower Coffee’s signature item, and as they put it, it’s actually hot American coffee coupled with sweet little sugar rain dripped from candy floss cloud. One thing for sure, it’s gimmicks, perhaps one for the Instagram. Nonetheless, kudos to Mellower Coffee’s creativity in bringing fun to a cuppa, and if you pay close attention, you can really see a drizzle of candy rain flying all over the table, melted by the heat from the coffee underneath, you gotta be careful don’t let the candy drizzle stick to your belongings! However, when it comes to the taste… erm, once again, let’s be very clear, if you are getting this, you are in fact paying for the gimmicks, not the coffee. The coffee itself is very acidic, great for those coffee addict perhaps, but a little too strong for my preference. Personally, I find myself needing some sugar even after the entire candy floss was dipped into the coffee, yes after a while, my patience runs thin, and I simply dip it in. LOL!

Ondeh X Latte, $9.80

Ondeh X Latte is Mellower Coffee’s exclusive creation for Singapore, although not as flamboyant as Sweet Little Rain, but cost just as much, but is actually more than just a shot of expresso plus a glass of coconut milk with gula melaka. You can probably notice coconut flakes intentionally sticking to the glass rim to create an Instagram-savvy impression, most importantly, it has a marvellous taste to match!

To be honest, when it was served, I had to ask the barista how am I suppose to appreciate this. She told me to adjust the quantity of the coconut milk into the coffee to create my favourite proportion. I ended up pouring them all in anyway! 😀 But really, come to think of it, it really should be the other way round, that the coffee to be poured into the coconut milk, cos that’s more of a drinking glass after all.

Alright, I think for the time being, that’s all I have to say about their beverages, let’s go on the the pastries.

Grilled Chicken Pesto, $7.90

At $7.90, I’m expecting their Grilled Chicken Pesto to be more flavourful. Unfortunately, it gave a stale bland taste which left me pondering whether we should have eaten our dinner at Delifrance or Subway earlier.

Salted Caramel Cheesecake, $7.00

We were frequent patrons of Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and absolutely love their cakes, but this Salted Caramel Cheesecake was another disappointment. The taste is OK, but the texture, erm… slumpish. Once sliced, it crumbled like semi-molten lava, which I suspect was due to not been fridged long enough.

New York Cheesecake, $7.00

This is really how a decent cake should look and taste like, the cheesey taste is moderate, and in perfect firm cake shape, unlike our previous experience with their Salted Caramel Cheesecake. But in truth, it’s just average, nothing spectacular, and nothing to grumble about.

Matcha Mousse, $6.80

Their Matcha Mousse is at least refreshing, notably on its design. The macaron is interesting, along with the pyramid cube on the other end. Its appearance easily outsell the taste, which wasn’t bad really!

Earl Grey Lavender Cake, $7.00

I’m not sure whether Mellower Coffee’s cakes are seasonal, but when I wanna try their Matcha Mousse again, it was nowhere to be found, I saw their new Earl Grey Lavender Cake, and ordered this instead. As a big fan of Earl Grey Tea, I am having big expectation for this, and it certainly didn’t fail. I find the Lavender and Earl Grey aroma blending very coherently, and simply love the nutty texture of the cake.

I think I will visit again, I guess that tells I’m still satisfied with this cafe.

Hattendo 八天堂

Published August 4, 2017 by piggie

I came to know Hattendo during a Japan Rail Cafe event late last year, when they were still under renovation (they actually started business here in Jan 2017), but I didn’t try it until recently. Hailing from Hiroshima with a history dating back to 1933, I really regret didn’t hear of it during my my three visit to Hiroshima since 2008, but actually their main outlet in Hiroshima prefecture is based in Mihara, some 70km away from downtown Hiroshima. I thought it was just another ordinary pastry when they ventured into Singapore, and how wrong I was!

Prior to trying Hattendo, I thought what wrapped underneath was some type of biscuit. I was wrong. It’s more like soft bun. They do offer more than just these cream buns of course, but undeniably, cream buns are their forte. Hence naturally, I’m trying their cream buns for a start.

Not sure if there’s any minimum quantity for a box purchase, but they included two ice pack in mine to keep the bun cooled. If you haven’t guessed by now, that gives you a strong hint what its content is like. I was told the ice pack can last for 2 hours, then you will have to keep them in fridge, and the buns have to be finished by the next day.

Each of these cream bun cost S$2.50, but 5 of these in a box cost S$12.00 nett. Their pricing here is surprisingly cheaper than what you will be getting in Japan, at ¥250 (before tax) each. I suspect they may be localising some of the ingredients here, anyway since it tastes this great, I won’t have mind. In general, Hattendo has 5 basic flavours, including Azuki Sweet Bun (Red Bean, clockwise from top left), Custard, Whipped Cream, Chocolate, and Matcha. Recently, they also launched a Melon bun for a slightly higher price, the filling will still be the same, just that the soft bun is replaced by Hong Kong styled melon bun.

The cream bun is indeed a bun, at least on the exterior. Be warned (and I hinted you on ice packs, remember?), don’t leave it in the open for too long before you consume it. Inside, was something with texture like molten ice cream, probably because I ate it as soon as I brought them home, which was still not as bad. It’s actually best to fridge them for some time before consumption, otherwise, you will find that the content melted and before you knew it, you may need to clean yourself and/or mop the floor. Now I understand why my friend told me it’s best to consume from their store (So that’s why they have seats in their outlet! Just kidding, it’s a café really, with their coffee created by Itsuki Coffee from Miyajima in Hiroshima Prefecture).

As for the taste, it’s rich, creamy, and flavourful, miles better than the ice cream produced in this region, and quite unlike those world renowned premium ice cream, if you know how Japanese ice cream tastes like, you will know what I mean. Among them, only the Azuki Sweet Bun contains beans, the rest are very much just cream.

Notice the packaging indicates ‘Singapore’, which makes me wonder whether if it tastes much better in Japan. Mihara, where Hattendo originated from, is not a place where tourists normally stop by, unless you are going to/fro Hiroshima Airport, and that’s where you will find the nearest Shinkansen station. Anyway, they have an outlet right at Hiroshima Airport too (Oh, the airport is hidden deep inside the mountain by the way, very far from city center)! Come late October, SilkAir will fly Hiroshima, and if you fly there, do try out Hattendo there and let me know the difference! By the way, Chugoku (where Hiroshima prefecture is) is really a nice place to visit, I would say right after Kanto, Kansai, and Kyushu, ahead of Hokkaido because the latter is only wonderful over summer. Chugoku is a gateway to many hidden gems in Japan that many Singaporeans have yet to uncover! Oh, before you get the wrong idea that this article is sponsored, I assured you it’s not, and certainly not from SilkAir, LOL! I just got excited whenever the topic involves travelling in Japan, not just Japanese cuisines, and I actually write a lot better on travelling than food review! 😛

Subsequent Visits (2019)

OK, I have got some Tanjong Pagar Center vouchers to spend, and eventually decided on Hattendo, I was surprise to find that apart from cream bun, they actually offer a lot more!

Hattendo do not have an extensive menu besides their cream bun, but they do serve burgers and hot dogs set that come with a side of either truffle fries or mini salad, as well as a beverage of your choice. I came to understand that these are somewhat similar to what they are currently offering in their Cafelie in Japan near Hiroshima Airport, not something that you can find in their other pop-up stores all over Japan.

Pork and Kimchi Burger Set with Caramel Latte, $16

I ordered their Pork and Kimchi Burger Set, and paid another dollar more for their premium beverage Caramel Latte. To be honest, I expected it to be mediocre, but how wrong I was!

The truffle fries have every signatures of how good fries should taste, adequate crunchiness, mild aroma, and perhaps a healthier choice than my favourite McDonald’s fries. But the spotlight certainly has to on their burger, which comes with extremely fluffy bun to begin with, generous vegetable salads inside, and most significantly, delicious bacon with Kimchi! The pork are marinated to an extent that it’s sufficient to ensure the Kimchi ain’t overshadowing it. And I have to add, my chosen Caramel Coffee is an absolute delight, way better than most beverages found on Starbuck’s menu! It’s rich and flavourful, exemplifying how a cup of satisfying coffee should taste.

Chicken Nanban Burger Set with Hazelnut Mocha, $16

My dining partner had their Chicken Nanban Burger Set, pairing with a Mini Salad instead, as well as a Hazelnut Mocha. She had some reservation about the Chicken Nanban Burger, and certainly felt the salad ain’t as fresh as what we would have found in Japan. As for the Hazelnut Mocha, it was simply excellent! I can smell the tempting aroma from across the table, and she said it was the best coffee she had for quite a while, which I presume apart from the fragrance, possess a remarkable depth for her to say that.

Upon our return from Japan, ironically Hiroshima, we returned to Hattendo for lunch. This time, we spotted something new, Chicken Nanban Set Lunch and Ginger Fried Pork Set Lunch. I was tempted to order one of each, but was told they only serve the latter on the day. Well then.

Ginger Fried Pork Set Lunch, $13

The set comprise of the main course along with a bowl of rice, miso soup, and a mini version of their signature cream bun. Having tried their Pork and Kimchi burger not long ago, I know how great their pork can taste. And this certainly carries on the feel good factors ever since I first visited them. It seems to me that Japanese ginger doesn’t get as spicy as what we normally had in the region, as me and my dining partner couldn’t really feel the gingerly taste. But that ain’t important, what’s essential is its overall taste, which was rather flavourful, and well supplemented by generous vegetable salad and a very juicy slice of tomato. Pity it didn’t come with any beverage, but the mini chocolate cream bun somewhat made up for that.

Hattendo 八天堂
7 Wallich Street #01-05
Tanjong Pagar Centre
Singapore 078884

Opening Hours:
10:00hr – 21:00hr (Mon~Fri)
11:00hr – 20:00hr (Sat~Sun, PH)

Ginza Lion (formerly Ginza Lion Beer Hall)

Published October 25, 2016 by piggie

I have walked pass Ginza Lion Beer Hall in Suntec City many times, and everytime I thought it was a place for drinking and perhaps fingers food, much like a pub. Not until one day when I saw them put out a billboard of their lunch time special, that I realised they do serve proper meal! So one fine afternoon, I picked a friend to join me for a quick meal before a show.

Pan Seared Fish, $12++

Pan Seared Fish (with tartar sauce), $12++

We tried out two offer items from their lunch promotion and I had a Pan Seared Fish, served with french fries, broccoli, and carrot. I was also given an option to choose between a Salsa sauce, a Tartar sauce, or a Japanese Shoyu sauce. The fish was rather soft, in fact too soft for my liking, but at least the fries were nice, close to my favourite McDonald’s, but less salty.

Grilled Chicken (Oroshi Ponzu), $12++

Grilled Chicken (Oroshi Ponzu), $12++

My friend had a Grilled Chicken, served with thyme, french fries, broccoli, and carrot. She chose the Oroshi Ponzu sauce out of 4 options (along with Demi Glace, Hot Spicy, Teriyaki). While I didn’t taste obvious citrus from the Ponzu sauce, I have to confess the grilled chicken tasted great, with a thinly crisp skin and tender texture. Guess I will have this if I return.

And perhaps you would like to order a pint of Sapporo beer to go with your meal if you are visiting too!

2nd Visit

My 2nd Visit came after quite a while, this time bringing the old folks. The last time round, I went to what (I believe to be just Ginza Lion, well, this time I realise they are actually also integrating with Tonkichi, another house brand under Sapporo Lion group in Singapore. That explains their Japanese cuisine option in their menu.

Seafood Salad, $20++

Their Seafood Salad comprises salmon, squid, clam, mussels, shrimp, tobiko, and rocket. Naturally, the salmon is served raw, and the accompanied tobiko as well as lemon added a very appetising flavour to the salad. The rest of the seafood are well cooked.

Mixed Seafood Katsu Set, $22++

I didn’t have a try on their Mixed Seafood Katsu Set, but it was served along with Miso soup and fragrant rice. The seafood comprises prawns, salmon, and I believe, fried oysters.

Shoyu Ramen? $14++

Much as I was tempted to order their signatures, I was recovering from cough and sore throat, and had to avoid fried food, I settled for their Shoyu Ramen instead. They served Tonkotsu Ramen and Shoyu Ramen (both $14++). After a while, I didn’t see my order coming, it was then the waitress came over to inform me spontaneously that the kitchen cooked a wrong order and had to redo it. We weren’t in a hurry anyway, and had no problem with that. Eventually, I believe I was still served the wrong order, my noodle tasted more like Tonkotsu Ramen rather than Shoyu Ramen. Well, I’m still fine with that. BUT, not when I found out my noodles still stick together. This is certainly amateurish! Seriously, I ain’t a real cook, and I can come out something better. I hardly had such noodle in Singapore, and definitely not in Japan. That alone is not worth the $14++ restaurant price. Though taste wise, I will only use the word decent, nothing spectacular. The ramen has almost everything standard in a Japanese ramen except seaweed, which means it comprises charshu (2 thin slices), half a tamago which still retain some runny touch, bamboo shoot, and scallion, but no naruto fish cake.

Brunches Cafe

Published September 12, 2016 by piggie


I rarely post a restaurant decor, but I really have to make an exception this time. For, I feel this is a restaurant that deserves a special mentioning. And I believe if you bring along the old folks, they will have a wonderful time here. Those magazines on the shelf are very old magazines, probably older than many reading this post, and maybe published while your parents were still dating.

Mixed Berries

Mixed Berries and Buttery Crumbles Waffle with Vanilla Ice Cream, $10.50++

We only have one order, that is, Mixed Berries and Buttery Crumbles with Vanilla Ice Cream. While the dessert looks presentable, the taste is good too. Personally, I love the crunchy crumbles, which really brings up the ice cream taste up a notch. But if you still have not yet notice, take another look at the plate. Vintage huh?

Yup, right, that’s exactly what the cafe is trying to sell, that vintage feeling. Which is why I deliberately post its decor here. Still not impressed? You’re probably right, I ain’t too, not until you see the pictures below.


This is a vintage Mini Cooper. Don’t get it wrong, the car is INSIDE the restaurant! And it’s not here to woo babes, it has now become a table, a seat! We were offered this seat upon entering the restaurant, but I don’t really like the limelight. Thanks, but no thanks. Besides, the seats are somewhat compact, both me and my dining companion have long legs, though technically we can still push it back, it used to be a real car, but it’s heavy.

The Mini Cooper seat

The Mini Cooper seat


This is the seat we eventually chose, converted from oil barrels. Truth be told, it’s a bit low for diners, avoid it if you are having proper meals here. OK, these two seats are the most eye-catching in the restaurant. That’s not all, here’s another one.



This restaurant isn’t all about vintage decor and fancy seatings. They have plenty of nostalgic items such as magazines, toys, stationery, and many other collectibles. Most of them are actually for sale! Coming here is very much like taking a walk down memory lane, especially for the older generations. In fact, we were so impressed that we couldn’t help taking pictures all over, disregarding any probing glances from other diners in the cafe.

As for food wise, they do serve main courses, all day breakfast etc. It’s worth a visit, even just for that vintage ambience alone.

2nd Visit

Didn’t quite expect, that my subsequent visit would take a long 2 years later. And because it happened to be Halloween, their decor has some seasonal spooky makeover.

Eggs Royale, $17.90++

Brunches Cafe’s Eggs Royale, consists of poached eggs with smoked salmon and rocket, covered with house made Hollandaise sauce. The look is rather appealing, reminding me of Gudetama. While I feel their salmon can do with a little more seasoning, I do find their salad adequately appetising.

Plain Waffle with Butter, Maple Syrup, with choice of Ice Cream (Grande), $9.90++

While the waffle may looks plain, it is at least crisp, the plus point has to be the pistachio ice cream. They have 2 size for Plain Waffle, the single size available for $7.90++

3rd Visit

Though there was a 2 year span between my first two visit, my 3rd came a lot sooner. This time, merely 2 months later, and coinciding with Christmas.

8″ Heavenly Bake Thin-crust Gourmet Pizza (Hawaiian), $16.50++

My dining partner didn’t feel too hungry, so we decided to order something that we can easily share. Now, the word ‘Heavenly’ is overwhelmingly misleading here, not only the look and taste are far from heavenly, it’s outright terrible. I seldom use such extreme words, but to begin with, the crust is too hard. Secondly, the description put the ingredients as tomato sauce, cheese, button mushroom, bell peppers, onion, topped with aragula (sic) and BBQ sauce, and the topping to be chosen from Portobello, Hawaiian, Roasted Chicken, Shrimp & Squid, Smoked Salmon & Feta. Honestly, we only saw cheese, pineapples, and chicken ham. Not only that, the taste just doesn’t blend, it’s rather bland as if the respective ingredients cannot work with one another. By far, this is the worst pizza I ever had, even $1 plain cheese pizza from New York tasted so much better. It’s a waste of ingredients really. Epic failure, period.

Molten Lava Cake with choice of Ice Cream, $11.50++

Good thing their Molten Lava Cake and Ice Cream made up our Christmas mood to some extent. The molten chocolate is quite generous, and as usual, our chosen Pistachio ice cream is remarkable. If there’s anything negative, then I have to say the strawberry is not as fresh. But you’ll have to pardon me for my stringent gauge on strawberries, for I have just returned from Japan, and the strawberries I tasted there easily outshine any you can find on our shore.

Brunches Cafe
96 Rangoon Road
Singapore 218381
Tel: 86858488

Opening Hours:
Weekdays 10:30hr – 21:00hr,
Weedends 09:30hr – 21:00hr

The Burger Bar by fatboy’s concepts

Published January 9, 2015 by piggie

Burger_Bar_DSC00045I got some The Burger Bar vouchers from Marina Square, and happily brought my friend to try it out (at their Marina Square branch of course), and as a summary, this customise burger chain certainly did not disappoint.

This is how the order is carried out:

  • First, from their iPad order station, select a burger (hamburger, cheeseburger etc)
  • Next, select your choice of bread (honey oak, sesame etc)
  • Then, the meat patty (grilled chicken, pork, beef etc)
  • Subsequently, the range of free and chargable add-on such as lettuce, tomato, various sauces etc
  • Done. Note the order number from the iPad, and inform the counter staff of it. You will then be given an electronic coaster pager which will alert you to collect your order when it’s ready.

The whole procedure are quite self-centered, and no worry, they ain’t charging any service charge.


Hamburger ($6.50)

Their Honey Oak bun is lovely, in my opinion better than those I would normally find at Subway. Right here, I selected grilled chicken patty, with all the free add-on available, which include shredded lettuce, tomato slice, pickles, and mayonnaise. The chicken was grilled to a good degree, giving a great proportion of tenderness and aroma.

Cheese Burger ($7.50)

Cheese Burger ($7.50)

Their cheeseburger cost $1 more. Over here, I had the honey oat bun too, with Monterey Jack cheese, shredded lettuce, tomato slice, pickles, truffle mayonnaise (additional $1), along with a pork patty. However, I have to confess, even with the truffle mayonnaise and extra cheese added, I still find myself preferring their grilled chicken burger upon comparison.

Parmesan Truffle Fries ($5.50)

Parmesan Truffle Fries ($5.50)

Having tried their burgers, I was keen to try out their fries too. Their Parmesan Truffle Fries came in larger size as well as portion in comparison to those from the big three fast food chain here. It was relatively crisp, with a tint of cheesy flavour and a little salty. Note, I didn’t say the fries itself taste better than McDonald’s, I still prefer the later.

Cheese Fries ($4.50)

Cheese Fries ($4.50)

Their Cheese Fries have molten cheese generously coated on top, that ratio makes the fries more tantalising than their cheaper counterparts at other conventional fast food chain, not to mention proportion too!

Before signing this off, I have to warn, don’t over estimate your appetite. Their fries are good enough for two persons if you also order a burger each at the same time. We ended up having to wrap up some fries and smuggled them into the cinema. So, unless you are potential big eater, be warned! 😛


Boulangerie Asanoya

Published December 29, 2014 by piggie

Asanoya_DSC00328I wonder how many heard of Boulangerie Asanoya before they launched their first oversea franchise here? I did. And it was back in 2010 when I researched on Karuizawa, Japan. But I did not patronise them while I was there, putting off by their exorbitant pricing amidst an exponentially inflated Japanese Yen exchange rate of ¥100:S$1.50, 2 breads almost equivalent to a bowl of filling ramen.

But my friend has a knack for confectionery, so I decided to bring her here, in part also to make up for that little regret skipping over it during my previous Karuizawa trip.

As expected, the price here ain’t cheap either. We bought 4 breads, and chose to eat on site, they do have tables for patrons along with supplied cutlery and plain water, and they serve salad and meals beside the confectionery too. It was not too crowded over a Sunday afternoon, we didn’t have much problem getting empty seats.


Peanut Butter Danish with Mixed Nuts ($3.60) & Maple Walnut Pretzel ($3.20), prices included GST

First, the Maple Walnut Pretzel. I am not a fan of pretzel and I was a little bewildered when my friend chose this (She probably did her homework, I didn’t :P). However, I must confess my prejudice was overruled once I took a bite. Missing was the usual stiffness of a typical New York pretzel which I hate to the core, it’s more like a crunchy bread with walnut fragment, and baked with maple cream applied. Though I won’t call it fantastic, but it’s probably the best pretzel I ever tried.

I love their mixed nuts Danish. I’m nut over nuts, and the addition of peanut butter simply made this Danish an absolute joy to try, it certainly didn’t fail to please!

Yuzu Cheesecake ($4.50)

Yuzu Cheesecake ($4.50)

I’m a cheesecake lover, but afraid I couldn’t say so for this Yuzu Cheesecake (or cheese cube whatever). This is the most expensive among my order, and also the most disappointing. I didn’t realise they applied sourcream in it, somehow, I felt the sourness had overpowered the rich cheese taste for a cheesecake. It’s probably more sour than any lemon cheesecake I ever tried (including those I tried in New York City), definitely too sour for a Yuzu in my opinion, I was going after a refreshing taste, and I didn’t expect one more sour than a lemon. Or was it just my personal preference?

Cranberry Cheese Campagne ($3.20)

Cranberry Cheese Campagne ($3.20)

I like the blend of cheese and cranberries in this bread. Though in the shadow of the mixed nut danish and pretzel, I found this a little bland in comparison.

I’d say, Asanoya charges a premium price, but my overall experience was quite enjoyable, and I look forward to trying their other confectionery!

The Soup Spoon Union

Published April 28, 2014 by piggie

TSSUNION_MAINMENU_mainI am a little embarrassed to confess that although I had walked pass The Soup Spoon many times, but I never had the idea of patronising them ever. I probably still won’t had I not obtained some of their vouchers on the cheap.

On a Sunday evening, I decided to visit The Soup Spoon Union at Raffles City because it’s probably their biggest outlet, with a fusion of food variety which includes their trademark soup, as well as noodles and burgers.

Despite coming on a bustling Sunday evening, The Soup Spoon Union only had a moderate crowd as compare to many of their other restaurant peers around the vicinity. I thought we could have a seat first and casually browse through the menu, but that wasn’t the case. Patrons have to grab a copy of their menu (prices indicated are already inclusive of GST) at the queue entry and make payment (either by cash or NETS) before seating. That can be quite congested if there are more than 5 parties queuing as their holding area is rather small. After payment, patrons would be given a electronic beeper and free to select any seats inside the restaurant (yes, the waiters won’t be leading you, but you ain’t paying any service charge anyway).

The food was served surprisingly fast, within a couple of minutes upon seating. That only means one thing, they are super efficient, but most significantly, the food were prepared well in advance and merely rinse through with broth (if any) before serving.

Pulled Pork Burger, $10.80

Pulled Pork Burger, $10.80

I had a Pulled Pork Burger from their ala-carte menu, and surprisingly, the pulled pork was very well marinated, probably the best I ever tried, retaining that right balance of sweetness, and topped with lettuce, tomato, and vegetable salad. Though I feel at such price, it seems a little ex, but pulled pork is a lot of work, involving hand-pulled before marinating (probably that’s why they called it Handburger?), and to obtain an optimum taste is not easy, however, they did it.

Tokyo Chicken Stew, $7.50

Tokyo Chicken Stew, $7.50

The bread that came along with this order was very different from that on their menu, which was suppose to be a small French baguette. Instead, we were given a ciabatta, though personally, I would have preferred the later anyway. The actual soup was also looked entirely different as well. It is understood that The Soup Spoon had simmered the marinated chicken into a broth of sake and mirin, and served together with ingredients such as lotus roots, shiitake, enoki mushroom, white radish, and bamboo shoots. The overall flavour was moderate, expected that of the mushrooms and chicken soup, but done with a Japanese touch.

Indonesian Soto Ayam, $10.80

Indonesian Soto Ayam, $10.80

The next order we had was Indonesian Soto Ayam, basically glass noodle with grilled chicken leg, in chicken broth spiced with galanga, lemongrass, candlenuts, egg, served with chili, Indonesian soy sauce, crispy fried shallots, potato crisps, and a slice of lemon. Apparently, the drumstick was pre-grilled, but it made little difference as it was soaked into the broth anyway, the meat was tender nevertheless. The broth tasted light, lacking strong characteristic, at best moderate in my opinion. After all, I got to admit I am never a fan of Mee Soto in the first place.

In general, I had difficulty identifying the genre of the food they serve, I suppose I can call it a fusion, with a trail of all things Asian.

The Soup Spoon Union
Raffles City Shopping Centre
252 North Bridge Road #B1-61
Singapore 179103
Open daily: 10.30am – 10.00pm
Tel: 63343220

Fish & Co

Published July 25, 2013 by piggie

It was a long time since I last visited Fish & Co, and this seems like a refresher course for me. Admittedly, I quite forgotten how I found it few years back 😛 And since I have a few vouchers to spare, I decided to bring my parents for a little food adventure!

Grilled Salmon Cajun Fingerlings ($10.95++)

Grilled Salmon Cajun Fingerlings ($10.95++)

The old folks always seem to have synchronisation issue, somehow, dad already had his lunch before we came here for lunch, so he settled for the fingerlings portion of Grilled Salmon Cajun. Dad was offered one side, he chosen Chips, which would have otherwise cost $2.95. According to the menu, sashimi-grade salmon was grilled with unique blend of Cajun spice and topped with lemon butter sauce. The fries tasted quite normal though, nothing sensational. It lacked the crispiness of McDonald’s fries, but good thing it wasn’t too salty. I didn’t try the salmon, can’t comment on that.

Seafood for 1 Platter ($20.95++)

Seafood for 1 Platter ($20.95++)

I love seafood! I thought it’s time to pamper myself a little by indulging in a platter, which apparently, was dominated by the prawns. Grilled prawns, white fish, and grilled calamari was served with paella rice and chips in this platter. There’s nothing much to talk about the fries really, and the white fish was actually lightly grilled cod fish. While the taste of the fish was nothing exceptional, I appreciate they kept it light for a healthy flavour, though not so for the calamari, which really had to be well grilled to bring out the taste. The prawns were fresh, butter-grilled, and obviously the star of the dish. Not to forget the paella rice, which was cooked with raisins, offered a sweet taste and served as a good compliment to the seafood. For this order, I was not asked for any side, it came as offered. And as can be seen, the quantity of the grilled items was abundance enough to cover the paella rice with a great help from the chips, imagine how filling can it be! And indeed, after finishing the paella rice, it’s like taken two meals for me. The portion was so generous that for once, I almost thought I was back in Europe or States.

Grilled Peri-Peri Chicken with Scallops ($18.95)

Grilled Peri-Peri Chicken with Scallops ($18.95++)

Mum ordered the Grilled Peri-Peri Chicken with Scallops, she had the paella rice and homemade coleslaw as sides (otherwise $2.95 each), but I guess she probably regret having the rice, because she found the rice too oily, with the oil dripped from the Peri-Peri Chicken apparently. While there was nothing worth mentioning about the coleslaw, the chicken was tastefully done, the thick gravy indeed spiced it up, and if you asked for some garlic chili which they kept inside a closet, you’d probably find the taste up another level like we did. The scallops were tastefully coated with cheese, much to my delight, that really compliment the chicken well. This would be a dish I’d love to try on my subsequent visit, but I won’t take the paella 😛


On 26 Jan 2014, I re-visited Fish & Co, this time their Vivocity outlet, and again, with my parents. I read that not all Fish & Co are equal, especially their Ang Mo Kio outlet, notorious for their service standard, but at least for Vivocity, they are earning rave reviews.

Sneak Preview, $16.95

Sneak Preview ($16.95++)

The old folks were rather flicker-minded over their selection, but eventually decided to try different order from the menu from what we had at their 313@Somerset branch. Mum ordered this, but when this platter was served, for a moment, we thought they had served us a wrong order. It was quite a large serving for $16.95, certainly in contrary to its name Sneak Preview, which I expected to be of finger portion. As it turned out, it was big enough for two person. This order comprises nachos, fried calamari, fish nuggets, and prawn fritters. While there was nothing worth mentioning about the nachos, we absolutely love the calamari, which didn’t give us the usual rubber-liked texture we’d tried elsewhere. For the prawn, they had crusted it with just the right amount of coating, retaining the freshness of the prawns as the main draw without over emphasising on the flour. Overall, this will be a good order for sharing!

Soft Shell Crab Salad ($11.95++)

Soft Shell Crab Salad ($11.95++)

Dad ordered this Soft Shell Crab Salad, which looked petite, but he doesn’t eat much usually. In any case, we shared all our orders, and good thing this one ain’t that filling, or else we would have struggled with the Sneak Preview. The green’s definitely the mainstay of this order, but I was surprise salad sauce was not given separately. Their soft shell crab is nice, but I would not want to brag excessively beyond that.

The Best Fish & Chips in Town! ($15.95++)

The Best Fish & Chips in Town! ($15.95++)

Fish & Co must be very proud of this order from how they named it huh (or was it their gimmick??)? I like Fish & Chips, and Fish & Co has quite a number of different styles over how it’s made, from New York, to London, to our sunny Singapore, wonder what they would come out next? The cod fish fillet was tender and juicy, but I guess the magic must be on the sauce, or rather the cheese spread over the fillet. Overall, it was tasty, but I certainly won’t claim it to be the best I ever tried. Fries were well fried, though anytime I’d still prefer those from McDonald’s.

All in all, we were very pleased with Fish & Co’s service at Vivocity. The quality of the food was good, and the serving time reasonable, despite almost a full house on a Sunday evening.

I’ll be visiting again, though not sure which outlet 😛