brewerkz, dempsey

good, quick-and-dirty american food at this chain of restaurants across singapore. mostly popular with the drinking crowd (unsurprising given the name of this place, and their booze-making status), I’ve recently rediscovered this place, as well as my love for comforting, gut-filling american dining.

there’s a certain impatience that comes with age – it’s got to be age or disposition, and I prefer to blame the first – and a meal of ribs and burgers is exactly the thing when you’re not into a foamy, decorated plate.

I had the pulled pork burger – a mass of meat bound with barbecue sauce and topped with thick slices of pickled jalapeno. the chillis pack a mild heat that creeps up on you, and the sauce could be a little cloying if you’re going bun-less (so don’t). it’s quite a generous mound of meat, so eat whatever doesn’t fit between the buns with the crisp salad on the side.

you get a choice of sides – and I usually go for just a salad, but the onion rings are thick and pretty decent, even if it came slightly greasy this time. and if you’re into beer – their daily specials are usually a tad cheaper than the other menu options.

the dempsey hill outlet is a little dark and small – basically a porch with a couple indoor seats – and doesn’t have the character of the one at riverside point. but it’s still a decent place to get a meal (without overpaying, as the locale would typically require), and relax at the end of a long day.

Brewerkz Microbrewery
18 Dempsey Road
Singapore 249677
tel +65 6634 1229
$$: easily under thirty a person, which is almost a steal

binomio spanish restaurant, craig road

very good spanish food at this well-known restaurant along craig road – it’s a cosy, intimate space that’s packed at night, with waiters that are just the right mix of personal and professional, and dishes that both taste good and feel authentic.

it’s more napkin-ed fine dining than small-plate tapas, with prices that tread the high side for dishes well-worth the expense.

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cedele, orchard paragon

I recently had a delicious salad at cedele – which I think is an overlooked stalwart of our cafe scene. the food is pretty consistently good, and so are the drinks – and truly, the prices are more than reasonable for the portions that you get.

and the best part of its mellowed-after-the-hype maturity is the relaxing, family atmosphere you get at most of its cafes – none of that frantic, frenetic too-coolness of new places.

back to the salad – it’s really a modern rift on our traditional tauhu salads, with generous triangles of firm tofu deep-fried, topped with golden garlic chips and a pleasing bit of coriander to provide some interest with the sweet-sour dressing.

it’s a good metaphor for singapore too – a modern take on our heritage, with elements of other countries thrown in, tossed with a sauce that ties everything together.

here’s to being philosophical (and well-fed) on a sunday morning!

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garden kadhai north indian fine dining, serangoon gardens

delicious indian food at this small restaurant along maju avenue – I live just ten-ish minutes away and never knew this restaurant existed until this visit, and what a pity. for the food was very good and authentic (as much as I can reasonably gauge), and the cosy bistro-like atmosphere of the place lends itself to easy eating, with a casual-but-not-of-the-flip-flop intimacy that I appreciate very much.

it’s a tad on the pricy side, but it’s pretty worth it – I reiterate, the food was delicious.

I’ve been having quite a bit of indian food these days (I gravitate toward the northern styles), and have come to the conclusion that I am most of us are still pretty biased about the prices we’re charged at indian places such as this. despite the amount of work that clearly goes into the cooking, we still grumble about overpaying for what should be a cheap cuisine, when we’re willing to spend the equivalent in our fancy chinese restaurants.

strange eh, these human quirks.

I did conclude this place a little on the high side when we left, but hindsight is both enlightening and moderating, and so I will say – it’s certainly not cheap, but you leave with a belly stuffed with tasty curries and leavened breads that do a great job scooping those incredibly flavors into your mouth. I don’t have the skill (or the patience) to cook proper indian, and I submit myself to these chefs that do a great job at it – especially when I get to eat in air-conditioned comfort.

make a visit, pronto!

Garden Kadhai North Indian Fine Dining
24 Maju Ave
Singapore 556696
tel +65 6283 9688
$$$ (or should it be $$.5?): 30-40 a person

ethan’s gourmet, tagore lane

tiny little gourmet supermarket in this industrial area – an odd spot for a place quite as cute and consumer-friendly as this, but the space is welcoming and the goods are worth the drive.

and also, as an aside, my favorite indonesian restaurant has an outlet just above this space – so you can get your (gourmet) marketing done and fill your belly at (almost) the same time!

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328 katong laksa, katong

surprisingly fantastic laksa in katong, one of a couple famous places serving this dish. I have eaten laksa less times than the fingers on one hand, and its very attributes are the reasons why I typically eschew local food: too-much-richness as with the coconutty soup and chilli oil, too-much-carbness as with the large bowl of noodles with nominal pieces of protein, and too-much-stress from the heaviness that calls for a post-eat run.

but, this was delicious.

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flowers for sunday

I thought I’d share this set of photos from a visit to the gardens by the bay, and its two beautiful conservatories.

I’m totally taking this weekend to show you the beauty of singapore – and celebrating our man-made (but wonderfully¬†so) garden city.

back to food programming tomorrow (or more realistically, sometime next week)!

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gorgeous singapore

it seems the right time to say thank you, to the extraordinary man that transformed our island.

we had a three-hour bicycle ride on the past weekend, during which I burnt a million shades of brown, riding from east coast park to satay by the bay. it’s a beautiful ride, mostly bike track and a little bit off-road, and I pedaled along in my rented BMX (because I’m cool like that), marveling at our tiny island.

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temper by anjali chocolate, loewen road

this is a tale of chocolate, and of chocolate-making in a kitchen that isn’t mine, but that I dearly wished was.

let’s start off with a confession: my favoritest, bestest, most comfortest chocolate to eat is the kit kat, original. now quiet down, you all – the story starts with an a love for dark chocolate, climaxes with an epiphanic (in a bad way) bar of 99%, and finishes with an ever-ongoing love for sugar milk chocolate and bonbons.

it’s weird that I’ve never thought of making chocolate now that I’ve done it – it’s almost as instant gratification as it gets, the flavor combinations are endless, and good chocolate gets expensive very quickly.

so it took an invite from anjali, a lovely, lovely second-careerist chocolatier to wipe these chocolatey finger smudges off my blinkered vision and show me the way of the chocolate.

set in a hard-to-find-but-totally-worth-it space in loewen road (if you thought dempsey was secluded, you don’t know this place), this beautiful black+white building has been refurbed to an air-conditioned chocolate-making palace complete with white walls and marble countertops (but of’cuz).

it was a brilliant time, but could it not be? the space is large enough for a dozen to putter about, sneaking bites of quality chocolate buttons and glasses of a decent chilean wine.

and anjali is like the cool aunt you’ve always wanted – she watches you to make sure you’re keeping safe and guides you along, but there’s no stressful mum-like hawk-eye-on-you.

the class was a truffle-making one, but anjali gave me the chance to make my dreamt-up bonbon – and so I set off to boil up a salted caramel (deliciously browned, even if u do say so myself) to fill a tempered, dark chocolate shell.

the three teams chocolate-ing that day came up with a delicious white-chocolate-and-coconut bonbon in a beautiful white shell, a mouth-cleaning oh-so-minty chocolate mint truffle, and our imperfect first batch of salted caramel treats.

honestly, it’s really difficult to go wrong with chocolate – it’s all about balance and quality, so the base of lovely belgian chocolate and the array of ingredients we had that day were just the icing on the cake.

plus, I loved the casual, homely vibe anjali had going (the wine helped, too) – and the education: she can go deep into the technicalities if you like, and keep it layman otherwise.

she’s marketing the place for events and bonding classes – and while they might cost a pretty penny (not unexpected, given the quality of chocolate and the beautiful space), I can see why she would. the place is intimate and cosy, a little sanctuary in the city full of chocolate and sweets, and wonderful for an adult day out.

Temper by Anjali Chocolate
73 Loewen Road #01-16
Singapore 248843
tel +65 9853 9663

p.s. Anjali makes her own chocolates too, and they are both tasty and gorgeous (and so perfect in their handmadeness) – you can totally skip the makin’ and go straight to the eatin’.

thanks, anjali, for the visit and the lovely lesson!