Friday, 14 October 2016

Pollen @ Gardens By The Bay

Pollen at Gardens By The Bay... Needless to say, you're probably already thinking how posh this restaurant must be, or how exciting it must be to dine in a garden setting, or even how delicious the flower-infused food must be.

Well, that might happen, only if you're gonna dine on the Main Dining Room - Level 1. As for the contents of this post, we're focusing on the Pollen Terrace - Level 2.

If you're thinking of coming here for a romantic date, all I wanna say is... for some weird reason, it just feels really exposed on the 2nd floor and well, perhaps saving up to dine on the 1st level might be way cooler. Also, the Terrace Menu is super limited and standard, as compared to the Gourmet Menu on the 1st floor.

So, which mysterious wind blew my family and I here to dine at the Pollen Terrace? 1-for-1 Entertainer App (Duh!).

Pollen Terrace - Level 2, screengrabbed from Pollen.com.sg

Now, here's the highlight of any foodie blog post.


Linguini Puttanesca - $26
First up, Linguini Puttanesca. Looks-wise, pretty appetizing right? The tomato sauce was light yet flavourful, so that's commendable. Additionally, the pasta was cooked al dente, the way I like it to be.

However, what's disappointing is the amount of topping that accompanied. I mean...for the price that I'm paying and to get that teeny portion...humphf!

Chicken “Tandoori”, ciabatta, grilled onions, paprika aioli - $28
Next up, Chicken "Tandoori" with wrap? I think the reason why the inverted commas were added to Tandoori, was definitely because "you don't even know what the hell that is". It doesn't even taste close to the usual Indian Tandoori that I've eaten from food centres. I wouldn't recommend this dish at all, partially because there were only a few tiny chicken pieces in the tandoori dip, which definitely doesn't have the ability to qualify as a main dish. 


Fish and chips with tartar sauce - $34
Looks good huh? One sure thing about this fish and chips is the quality of the batter. Not too thick, not too thin, plus the fillet inside is pretty fresh - this definitely won some praises from me. BUT. For the price, I could easily get 2 portions of fish and chips from Fish n Co. 

Though for sure, there's no way the quality of the fish and chips there can be compared to this one here, from Pollen. Even the fries were great, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Consistency is always key for good fries.

200-day grain-fed Black Angus beef inside skirt, fries, salad & piccalilli sauce - $35
Last but not least, the star of this meal - BLACK ANGUS BEEF. MEDIUM RARE. AWESOMEeee! Well, the piccalilli sauce was definitely not favoured by me, kinda extra actually. Who cares...all we have to care about is the unbelievable tenderness of the steak, almost "melt-in-the-mouth" standard. There wasn't any special marinate for the beef, but why would a good piece of steak even require that?

What's funny though, is how the fries with this steak was super salty...the one with the fish and chips was fine. Definitely an avoidable mistake made by the cook.

Just a side thought, would a 199-day grain-fed Black Angus beef taste any different?

What are you exactly?!

One privilege from dining at Pollen - Complimentary access to the Flower Dome. For me, actually I'm pretty indifferent to this privilege, simply because flowers just aren't appealing to me at all. On the other hand, my mum just got so excited, she literally almost wanted a photo with all of the plants in the Flower Dome (errmahgad...). Oh yeah, coming here after the sun sets would be a better idea, otherwise the sun just shines on you directly.

Another privilege, FREE buggy ride from the arrival plaza at Garden's By The Bay. The buggy will drop you off right at the doorstep of Pollen.

Anyway, to conclude, considering that I could use the Entertainer 1-for-1 coupon, it was pretty worth it for 4 diners. I can't say for sure that I ruled out the thought of having supper later. For 2 diners using the Entertainer App, I would suggest just ordering Fish and Chips and the Black Angus Steak, kinda because both of them are similarly priced.

My honest opinion, I would probably not return if I don't have any coupons to dine here. The food is pretty good, but I'm sure there are other places out there which offers food of similar quality for a slightly lower price. Also, it wasn't a mind-blowing atmosphere to dine in, but it's still quite nice for a change.


Main Dining Room – Level 1
Lunch: 12pm to 3pm (last order 2.30pm)
Dinner: 6pm to 10pm (last order 9.30pm)
CLOSED ON TUESDAYS
Pollen Terrace - Level 2
9.30am to 9pm daily
Muffins and Coffee/Tea 9.30am to 11.30am
Terrace Menu 11.30am to 9pm
Afternoon Tea 3pm to 5pm 
CLOSED ON TUESDAYS
Address
Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay
18 Marina Gardens Drive, #01-09
Singapore 018953
Contact No.+65 6604 9988

For more information, visit http://www.pollen.com.sg/.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Mao Shan Wang Durian Macarons by Macarons.sg

Macarons, again? I'm pretty sure in the recent years that these circular sweet treats has taken the dessert industry by storm, you would have at least tried them once right? 

Well, here's the problem however. How do we know which brand and outlet to buy from? Usually, by basic human instincts, we would go for the cheapest or the luxury-branded ones, but for this post, I'm sharing about neither. 

Instead, allow me to share with you about Macarons.sg's premium flavoured - Mao Shan Wang Durian macarons. I bet you've seen Macarons.sg's macarons around, whether as events' door gifts etc., but have you really given their macarons a shot?


Mao Shan Wang Durian Macarons

Made from real durian pulps and sandwiched between 2 pieces of beautiful light green macaron shells, the delicious durian meringue is one that you'll be surprised with. Very often, one word pops into my mind when tasting fruity-flavoured macarons..."artificial". 

However, Macarons.sg's durian macarons are seriously different. One bite and you'll know already, "artificial" would not be a word you would associate these macarons with. It's so real that from a distance away, you'll even be able to smell the heavenly durian fragrance wavering your way. With that said, it doesn't exactly taste as strong as real durians do, so for those who don't fancy the real pungent-smelling durians, it doesn't mean that you will automatically dislike these macarons!

In addition, you'll be surprised yet again, at how these macarons are not overly sweet. I must say, they are truly the most balanced macarons ever. The flavour is real and adequate, without compromising on the macaron shells' appropriate crispiness and proportionality. Try it for yourself and you'll know what I mean!

Unlike many outlets out there, Macarons.sg is determined to make this a flavour to stay, instead of a seasonal one. For durian lovers like me, that's definitely good news during the "non-Mao Shan Wang" period.


12 pieces packaging

Guess what? For a limited time period only, Macarons.sg is offering a Groupon discount and click the link here to see how you can enjoy these delightful treats at half price ( http://www.groupon.sg/deals/singapore/macarons-sg/720527288 )! As you know, good things don't last, so hurry while you still can! These exotic macarons are so awesome, you could share them over tea time or dessert time with your loved ones.


Here, have a closer look!
But, if durians are really not your thing, be sure to check out the other flavours that Macarons.sg offers. I'm sure you wouldn't be disappointed!


Check out the full menu list for more delicious flavours and their prices at http://macarons.sg/macarons-menu/ .

Special thanks to Kevin (Head Chef at Macarons.sg) for the yummy durian treats!

Macarons.sg outlet in Sultan Plaza

Macaron.sg

Email: macaronssg@gmail.com

Opening hours:
Mon - Fri: 10am to 7pm
Sat, Sun, Public Hol: Closed

Address:
Bakerz Lab
100 Jalan Sultan, Sultan Plaza,
#04-40/41, Singapore 199001

Friday, 7 August 2015

JPOT @ Parkway Parade by JUMBO Group of Restaurants



Since 2009, JPOT started as a dining concept by JUMBO Group of Restaurants, to celebrate the hotpot dining culture among fellow Singaporeans. Here at JPOT, choose from an exciting variety of 10 local-style soup bases (such as Bak Kut Teh and Laksa) for your own individual hotpot, ensuring a unique and hygienic dining experience over a casual gathering between family and friends.

Also, enjoy an affordable and fresh range of vegetables, mushrooms, air-flown or locally produced poultry, as well as 'live' seafood, which were still alive and swimming before arriving on your table!

Opened in late 2014, JPOT at Parkway Parade offers a contemporary style of hotpot dining, just as the other outlets do. Without further ado, here's my experience dining at JPOT Parkway Parade:

Adequately provided utensils
With tongs to handle raw meat, you will not have to worry about mixing up the 2 chopsticks for handling raw and cooked food, which happens sometimes at other hotpot restaurants. Hence, everything that you will need to enter your own hotpot world is adequately provided for you already.

Also, instead of using a gas stove, JPOT utilises induction stoves which are adapted into the table top, so that diners can enjoy hotpot dining without worrying about getting burnt by the stoves.

Moreover, with your own hotpot stove just an arm's width away, you can save the hassle of having to stand up to grab food for yourself from the hotpot. 

User-friendly iPad menu
Possibly the easiest iPad menu that I have ever used, choose from a selection of 'live' seafood to dim sum specialties, that are prepared on the spot by the chefs in the kitchen. You can easily top up your order if you ever find that you haven't ordered to your fill yet, but do remember to send the orders in, or you would spend the rest of your time wondering why your items are taking forever to arrive, just like I did.

Meanwhile, while waiting for your items to arrive, head over to the drinks and condiments bar first, to prepare for the awesome meal that's about to arrive.

Free flow of drinks
For only $3.80++ per pax, help yourself to all the drinks that are available here, including different types of soft drinks, Luo Han Guo, Barley and Chinese tea.

Or even create your own concoction of soft drinks

Enjoy free flow of condiments

With 16 condiments to choose from, you're spoilt for choices on how you want to create your dip for the best flavour, that will spike up the taste of your food. My favourite dip must always include the fried garlic, as I feel that it makes any type of food more delicious.

Taadaa, mix it all up to savour

However, if you really can't decide how you want to go about with the condiments, simply follow JPOT's condiments recipe closely (provided at the condiments bar) and you won't go wrong with the taste that you're looking for.

Herbal soup base

One of the most popular soup bases here at JPOT is the Herbal soup base. Another would be the Bak Kut Teh one, which is actually the same Bak Kut Teh that you can find at the famed NG AH SIO Bak Kut Teh outlets, which are also managed under JUMBO Group of Restaurants.

Salted vegetable with duck soup base

As for the duck soup base, you may find it more rich in flavour, so if you're the type that prefers a milder broth for your hotpot, you could consider having another one instead.

Silky Porridge soup base

If you prefer a broth that is lighter, how about this Silky Porridge soup base, which tastes somewhat like porridge water,but as soon as you cook more ingredients in it, it will become more tasty and yummy.

Do note that such a soup base burns easily under high heat, so once it boils, that's the time to turn down the heat.

Fish Head soup base
For me, I preferred the Fish Head soup base, as I found the flavour richer! Moving on to the ingredients now...

What a feast to the eyes!
As you can see from above, all of the items are really fresh and neatly arranged, definitely a delightful start to the meal.

Freshly made Yong Tau Foo

Adding some yong tau foo into your delectable hotpot can easily brighten up the visual of it. Don't you agree?

Crispy Fish Skin Crackers
Being the top on my recommendation list, these freshly fried Fish Skin Crackers are unlike those that we buy from supermarkets, in terms of being less oily, less salty and much more crispy. Definitely a must try!

Or you could dip into your soup to add more flavour

Seriously, it is just that fresh, you could hear it crisping after dipping into the hot boiling soup. Still, I prefer consuming it like a tidbit.

The inevitable Fried Beancurd Skin

As the staple of almost every hotpot meal, the fried Beancurd Skin's quality is just like the others, sealed and guaranteed with freshness, without much oiliness.

Crack a quail egg over the chicken slices
Mix it around evenly
Now it's ready for cooking
Just like how JPOT advertises their poultry, the chicken pieces are very fresh and tender after they are fully cooked. Plus having added some quail egg to enhance the chicken's flavour, not only will it be tastier, you will also get the essential Vitamin A that your body requires! Hence, killing a bird (literally) with 2 stones!

Same goes for the fish slices, so silky and smooth that you'll wish to have more.

DIY hand squeezed fish noodles

Although JPOT isn't the only place that offers hand squeezed noodles, it's quality is definitely one of the top in Singapore's hotpot industry. One that is easy to squeeze and chewy after cooking, makes it one of the nicest that I've had.

Pho noodles

Another thing that's not to be missed, is this glossy Pho noodles that are easy to slurp and hard to stop. Maybe from now on, I'll have Pho noodles instead of rice during hotpot.

Chinese Donut aka Sotong Dough stick 

Finally, it's time for me to share with you my new and current favourite dim sum! Stuffed with some sotong paste and covered with a layer of sesame seed, the firm yet crispy dough stick is a new blend of flavour that I've yet to try previously. With a little addition of lightly sweet mayonnaise, it gives the fried dough stick a little moisture, making it easier to chew and more appetising. 

Watch the Live seafood moving in front of you
Of course, Live entertainment for the children

For children under 10 years old and below, they are entitled to share the hot pot with any accompanying paying adult and if you're worried that they will be bored at the dining table, fear not, for the seafood tanks will bring them into a world of curiousity! ^

Ziplock bags for Mobile Phones

At JPOT, all the finest details are taken care of, so that you can enjoy your meal without all the unnecessary worries. With seat covers for your personal belongings and ziplog bags for your mobile phones, stay connected to the world outside with the free Wifi connection in-house while enjoying your meal. Don't forget to upload some foodporn or happy dining moments onto your social media accounts!

Manager introducing the First Aid kit
Not only so, at every JPOT outlet, there is at least one First Aid trained staff and a First Aid box with all the essential treatment creams (at least 2 months away from expiry date), such as the cream for burns, which is definitely a must-have for hotpot restaurants. With your well-being so well taken care of, why hesitate to come down to JPOT for your hotpot experience?

Spacious dining area

Although dining in a confined space retains the heat produced from all the hotpots, the spacious dining area here plus the strong air conditioner units will surely prevent you from breaking out in sweat.




At JPOT Vivocity, diners can choose to sit either in the air-conditioned comfort or dine outdoors while enjoying the view of the harbour. You can even opt for a round-table to share a huge hotpot. As JPOT Vivocity and Tampines outlets can get really crowded during the lunch and dinner hours, you may want to consider coming to Parkway Parade instead, if you're just around the area.

With affordable high quality ingredients and a fresh approach to hotpot dining, I don't see why anyone should hesitate to come to JPOT at all!



*From now till 30th September 2015, receive a free $50 voucher with every $200 JPOT cash voucher purchased! T&C apply ^ .

Special thanks to Kat and Rocky for hosting! :)

For more information and online reservation, visit http://www.jpot.com.sg/ .

JPOT Parkway Parade

Tel: 

Address: 
80 Marine Parade Road
#B-17 (Beside Watsons)
Parkway Parade
Singapore 449269

Opening hours: 
Mondays to Fridays 
Lunch: 11.30am to 3pm
Dinner: 5.30pm to 10.30pm

Weekends and Public Holidays
11.30am to 10.30pm

* Last order to be placed 45mins before the closing time.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Cali Café & Bar @ Rochester Mall


Situated inside Park Avenue Hotel at Rochester, just a few minutes walk away from Buona Vista MRT station, is a Californian concept cafe -- Cali Cafe, which aims to be the place for you to relax and unwind over a good meal. With chefs from Malaysia, Philippines and India, Cali Cafe offers a variety of  different cuisines, namely Asian, European and Italian, to cater to different groups of customers.

So what does Cali Cafe recommend for us to have here? Well, let's have a look.

Cream of Wild Mushroom - $8

First up, is the truffle-infused Cream of Wild Mushroom, with tiny bits of finely blended mushroom evenly distributed throughout the soup. When the slice of light Walnut toast is dipped into the soup, the creamy texture complements the toast and the fragrant truffle aroma surrounds it well, making it a great starter to have.

Clam Chowder Soup - $8

Or if you're not really into truffles and mushroom, how about this Clam Chowder soup with small pieces of clams and potatoes, which is so flavourful and smooth, making it a comforting soup to have before the heavy meal.

Cali Wings - $12

Another item that must be recommended is the Cali wings, as the crispy marinated skin and tender meat are such an enjoyment to have when consumed immediately. Decorated with some delicate salad, the presentation of the Cali wings is pleasant to the eyes and an awesome finger food to have while waiting for the main course.


Honey Glazed Grilled Chicken - $20

Beautifully arranged to look like a piece of artwork, the Honey Glazed Grilled Chicken is made of lean chicken meat, coupled with house-made mushroom sauce. Accompanied by some mashed potato which is firm and pure, it is definitely unlike some other places where I'd encountered bad mashed potato, that are not just mashed, but also mushy and gross. 

However, if you're the type that is more adventurous in seeking main courses that can provide that burst of flavour which you're looking for, you may want to consider having some steak with fries, or even some pizza to share with your group of friends.


Cucumber Mint by Tea Forté - $6

To mark the end of my meal, I enjoyed a cup of Cucumber Mint tea by Tea Forte, which is a fine organic tea that is made only from the best tea leaves.



Serve and Enjoy

The whiff of cucumber fragrance really helped to calm my mind and the light mint just perked up my spirit, after a busy day and a heavy meal. Seriously, I loved this so much that I must recommend you to try it too!

Caffe Latte

Or if you're the type that prefers coffee over tea, how about this beautiful cup of latte with a small bite of crispy peanut biscuit (texture interestingly similar to Tau Sar Piah... "Peanut Piah?"). The effective blend of coffee beans from Boon Cafe gave this latte a slight coffee bitterness, tinged with some fruity sweetness as well. This is the type of mild coffee for those who enjoy light coffee fragrance, just like I do.

Outdoor dining area
Warm western interior design
Bar area
Wanna find a relaxing place to catch up with your friends after dinner? Come to Cali Bar as it's open all the way till 1am, plus the best part? There's FREE WiFi connection here!

* Hey students, did you know that if you flash your student ID here, you can enjoy 25% off your total bill anytime of the week?

** Join the loyalty programme and stand to enjoy up to 30% off your meal.
i.e. If you top up $30 into the card, you'll receive a value of $36, so you'll receive 20% off your meal.
Or top up $100 to receive $125 (25% off), $200 to receive $263 (30% off).
The accumulated points from the card will entitle you to redeem free soup and drinks, so what are you waiting for?

Also, if you're looking for a part time job, you could consider coming to Cali Cafe and receive about $8 per hour. Located closely to Buona Vista MRT station, it would be a convenient location to travel to for work.

To end off, I am really satisfied with the well presented items, because I can tell that the chef and staff do put in effort to prepare the meal. If you're ordering ala carte items, do allow a waiting time of 10-15 minutes, as the chefs whip up the food individually to ensure quality and freshness. So just chillax and grab a drink while waiting for your food to arrive!

Special thanks to Neelendra and Cali Cafe staff for hosting!

For more info, visit http://www.cali.sg/ .

Tel: 6684  9897
Email: enquiries@cali.sg
Address: 31 Rochester Drive, #01-01, Park Avenue Hotel, 138637
Opening hours: 6.30 am to 10.00 pm, Bar open till 1.00 am
* Breakfast time will be packed with hotel guests, so do visit only from the lunch hour onward.