yomeishu, the asian nightcap


an alcoholic drink taken before bedtime.

yomeishu is one of those things that only adults would want to partake of, as with chicken’s essence (how is that name even appealing?) and eggplant.

my dad has a bit o’ the amber liquid every night before bed – and it’s really as asian as it gets: brewed with a hodgepodge of medicinal herbs, the japanese liqueur is meant as an everyday panacea.

I’ve seen that red box and dark bottle at home for the longest time – and it’s only recently that I got curious enough to have a taste.

it’s a pretty astonishing one – the liqueur is sweet and incredibly herbally – if you’ve ever been to an asian household and seen and SMELLED herbs brewing in a claypot over fire (usually done by the matriachs of the household), you’d recognise the intensity.

the dark bottle is topped with a distinctive red cap and comes with a plastic cup embossed with the same majestic bird atop. that cup should portion out the recommended 20ml serving – but I’d start slow, and go at it in sips until you take to the taste.

its appeal is likely that of a good amaretto or whiskey – beginners don’t usually take to its specific flavors, but connoisseurs wouldn’t see the fuss.

I’ve had three middling cups of it now, and it makes for that something-sweet I like after a meal. an acquired taste, but a pretty sophisticated one that deserves savoring – and even better that it comes with those health benefits, eh?

my point here, though, is that you should never diss your parents for their weird drinking and eating habits – you’ll grow up into them someday (and ain’t that the thing that really bites?)

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ps.cafe, orchard paragon

I’m going to cap off this year with what must be my favorite cafe chain in singapore – it’s an oldie, but a goodie. the cakes are consistent, the places are modern-cool and casual, and you never have to deal with too many teenagers at the joints.

last one of the cartoony shots! (until I change my mind, that is).

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fantasia by escriba, the real look

I gave you guys a peek a couple days ago at fantasia – or what was described as more than charlie’s chocolate factory – and kept it cursory on purpose.

I didn’t want to spoil it for you if you were going – or create too much pre-judgment – but I think enough time has passed, to tell you the truth: it totally wasn’t worth it.

this photo looks almost accusatory.

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fantasia by escriba, a first look

if you’re heading to the festival this weekend, the best must-do item: chocolate shaped and colored like parma, shaved like parma, drizzled with olive oil and speckled with sea salt on melba toast (like parma).

delicious, and rather revelatory. very photographable, too.

have a good weekend!


p.s. giveaways going on!

all things n’ice, suntec city

unfussy, but also unspectacular dishing up of local desserts at this food-court-like store by the fountain of wealth in suntec city. it’ll do in a pinch – but its rather unimpressive mien is a double-edged sword for people new to local desserts: you won’t know how bad it is much better it could be, but forming a first impression of localness in this place probably wouldn’t encourage you to eat any more.

this ain’t bashing, because this place isn’t gourmet (and it knows it), but really – it’s only good if you want something sweet and really can’t care about what you have (because if you did, you’d head to patisserie g, just barely five minutes away).

it’s a food-court-like store that looks like it morphed out the food republic just next to it – an open-air cafe lining the edge of the atrium and manned by harried staff dressed in cute, rather kitschy retro-type aprons. the name rather indicates its offering of desserts only, cheap plates/ bowls of things like grass jelly, ice jelly (a generic name for a lime-ish clear jelly), chewy tapioca balls and sweet-cooked beans on ice – all local, pretty authentic, but none really that interesting.

perhaps the best thing was the osmanthus jelly: two a serving, these were fragrant (and perhaps almost suspiciously so) tender, scallop-edged jellies with plump wolfberries.

according to me* – it doesn’t really bear coming back (it makes me wonder if the dessert store in the actual food court might do better) – its biggest recommendation is the big, airy space by the wealth fountain, and as a relative escape from the manic crowds. but its cheap, the desserts are cold, service is prompt and the space is pretty kitschy – you could certainly do much worse.

p.s. according to me was a phrase I heard this week from a rather opinionated, egoistic individual – and I’ve wanted to repeat it since just to relive that outrage I felt upon first hearing it. and where better to do it than my own blog? 🙊

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first love patisserie, raffles city

not to be overtly pedantic, but have you ever seen those notebooks with the rather strange english phrases? like “little bear love tea and you happy day”, or something that sounds like it’s been composed with little (or an awkward) grasp of grammatical understanding.

the name of this place rather threw me off in the way those phrases too do – it’s a little too cutesy, and too strange to countenance seriously, and certainly doesn’t breed expectations for high standards.

but, I am always happy to be proved wrong (well, sometimes) – and that’s exactly what happened here: the cakes are properly good, with thin layers of crepe sandwiching subtly-flavored fillings. very delicious.

I’m not entirely certain yet how I feel about these mille crepe cakes (as a genre), which were pretty much under the radar until Lady M decided to turn up on our shores. essentially thin crepes sandwiched with whipped cream or creme patisserie (or any thing, really), the skill lies in making substantial but ethereal, whole crepes that gain structure and moisture from its filling, without any excessive dampness (which renders the crepes mushy).

so it’s not really a cake – though it depends on how scrupulous you are with definitions. done right though, it does admittedly look and behave cake-like – when the crepes are moistened just enough to be pliable, and the filling adhesive and structured enough, you should be able to cut right down without the entire thing crumbling.

we bought these at the raffles city basement, at a store with no kitchens in sight – the cake slices/ whole cakes come out a deep chest freezer, in a decent variety of flavors (we got all that day: original, matcha, oreo, coffee and chocolate). rather like a semifreddo, these guys need expert defrosting – too little and it’ll be too hard or icy to cut neatly through, too much and it might get a little too slide-y and wet.

about an hour and a half in air-conditioned room temperature did them good. the cakes were lovely – incredibly thin crepes but nicely elastic (which gave it that sense of substance), the cream fillings only mildly sweetened and with all the glorious hold and give reminiscent of a good buttercream.

the flavors are pretty quiet and sophisticated – but my favorites were probably the coffee and matcha (though all the slices were finished rather quickly). not cheap, but the quality’s there – and it makes for a not-cloying or not-too-rich finish to a meal.

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chewy junior, serangoon

since I’ve never had a piece of this myself, I’m leaving you the words of my rather manic sister (upon finding out that I had bought her a couple) – if it isn’t clear, the words in green are mine:

for the rest of you who aren’t quite in-the-know (so to speak), this chain of bakeries churns out mochi-type-chewy choux puffs stuffed and topped excessively with permutations of cream, custard and various glazes. it looks far too sweet for me – so I suspect it’s going for a younger demographic – but it’s inexpensive, and comes in sufficiently large variety should you wish to give it a try.

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loola’s by awfully chocolate, town

disappointing desserts at this offshoot of the famed awfully chocolate brand at the esplanade theatres. looks good, tastes not-so-good is happening alarmingly frequent nowadays – and it’s even sadder when desserts are the object of discussion. when you have chocolate and sugar and butter floating about in a little baked good, it’s depressing when they don’t end up being good. how can that even happen!

these were lackluster – very, very unimpressive. they weren’t too terrible to eat, but most certainly not worth the price nor the wait. it’s a pity, because the cafe itself is lovely – conducive for intimate conversation, spacious enough for comfortable seating.

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la nonna, holland village

decent-enough desserts at this well-known trattoria along lorong mambong. this is a quick one for today – it’s bright and sunny and I have a bit of baking up my sleeve! – but in case you’re out on your sunday errand-run and would like a spot for a sweet, this might do you well enough.

this place is known more for their well-reasonable set lunches – but that’s paltry. sweets! we came here for desserts-only after lunch at al hamra; and it did us well enough, even if it was nothing too special.

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