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Koko Coconut Ice Cream At Amoy Food Centre

 photo IMG_3301-150708-v2__zps1bsrdur5.jpg

Coconut ice cream is my new favorite ice cream. This one, by Koko Coconut Ice Cream located on the second floor of Amoy Food Centre, is very good. I like the texture of the ice cream. It is smooth and creamy. I don’t like the sorbet-y version.

At $4 for 2 big scoops, served in a coconut shell, this is pretty good value for money. It also comes with a free cup of coconut water, and two toppings of your choice (ground peanut, sweet corn, gula melaka sauce, cornflakes) are free. I always pick the sweet corn and/or ground peanut!

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Dstllry At 21 Media Circle

I have been to Dstllry thrice in the last couple of months, and have been meaning to blog about the place for a while.  The name is kind of weird, like where are the vowels?

Photos of Dstllry have been making its rounds on my Facebook feed and Instagram feed for a while. But I couldn’t quite figure out what sort of F&B place Dstllry was.  The only impression that I had of the place from these photos are ‘why so dark…?’   Looks hip and edgy, and I wondered if I could see what I was eating.    It was only when a friend raved about their bespoke cocktails and value-for-money omakase that I was compelled to check it out one Saturday afternoon.

Located at 21 Media Circle, Portsdown Road, Dstllry sounds like a perfect place to escape from the crowds on a Saturday afternoon. I had a bit of difficulty locating the restaurant, which is housed in a scruffy-looking building  called Infinite Studios, in the middle-of-nowhere, near Portsdown Road.  One thing for sure, the building has plenty of parking space.

 photo IMG_1727-150411-v2__zps5u2rrgqw.jpgWalking into the restaurant for the first time, I was impressed by the cool vibe and uncluttered feel of the space, largely due to the high ceilings and a dark interior.  Unlike most restaurants who feel a need to pack as many tables as possible into the space, the owner of Dstllry did not try to maximize the seating space.  Just a simple U-shape bar counter and a narrow ledge lining each of the two walls. I did not feel boxed in by the close proximity of diners huddling around the counter. 

I like the funky industrial lamps lighting up the space, and the sound system was excellent.  Wholly-appropriate background music that didn’t bounce back from the walls, creating an echoey and noisy effect.  Not surprising, given the owner’s music background.

 photo IMG_1761-150411-v2__zpssa2w82bg.jpg photo IMG_1938-150418-v2__zpsyljpoacm.jpgDstllry has a fairly small lunch menu. A couple of donburis and no cocktails.  During dinner, they serve a 10-course omakase for $100, or you can order ala-carte from the menu.  From what I gather, the omakase menu is different every month, and changes are announced on their Facebook page.   

 photo IMG_1759-150411-v2__zps05lxy0sm.jpgTheir bara-chirashi is quite popular. At $18 a bowl, it came with a generous pile of salmon and tuna, dressed in a yummy sauce, topped with ikura and dried seaweed, on top of a warm bowl of rice.  Delicious.  Love how the pearly globules of roe pops in my mouth.  I like that they give fresh wasabi, and not the stuff that comes out of a tube.  

 photo IMG_2810-150604-v2__zps9gp2v904.jpgI have also tried their bara-ramen which, as the name suggests, is raw fish in a bowl of ramen, instead of rice.  Interesting twist to the rice version.  I cannot decide which version I like better, but I think the bara-ramen may have a slight edge over the bara-chirashi, simply because I like noodles and theirs have a nice bite.

 photo IMG_1753-150411-v2__zps61tbht3x.jpgTBH tried the wagyu beef don (higher price point at $38) and thought it was quite good. Besides the rice bowls, we also tried some of their bar food – cockles and ika mentaiko – and they were great. All washed down with a number of excellent bespoke cocktails which seem pricey but are worth every penny if you are love cocktails.

 photo IMG_2099-150418-v2__zps7czu9zfr.jpgLove these fresh and tasty cockles.  May not yet be able to rival the ones at Putien and Two Chefs, but still very good, especially so when you can sip a cocktail while eating the shellfish.

 photo IMG_2806-150604-v2__zps707uh2jb.jpgGrilled ika with some mentaiko.  Good combination and the ika was grilled to perfection.

 photo IMG_2101-150418-v2__zpszxes8tye.jpgBeautiful yuzu-laced with gin concoction.  I have tried quite a number of cocktails served up by their bartender, but my favorite is still their G&T, which is one of the best that I have ever had.  Unlike the watered-down versions served in many places, this one had plenty of gin.  Be sure to order that if you are a G&T fan.  

 photo IMG_2100-150418-v2__zpsnx7k8eof.jpgAnother exotic concoction made with beer and coffee. 

We also tried their omakase.  I like that their chefs give their own creative spin to some classic Japanese dishes using local ingredients.  It has been some time since we ate the omakase, and I cannot remember what we ate now, but each dish was quite interesting.  Just do not order the omakase and expect the standard to be what you would get in a traditional Japanese restaurant.  

We will probably drop by some time soon to try their July omakase menu – some items on the menu sound very good.  

 photo IMG_2102-150418-v2__zpsrf3gquq0.jpg photo IMG_1932-150418-v2__zpsfsjtzaf5.jpgDstllry is really a fun place to chill out either with your other half, or with a group of friends, without having to dress up and watch your table manners.  It is comfortable, easy and unpretentious, and I like the communal dining concept that you get at the bar counter.  You get to see the chefs up close and personal, prepping the food that they are going to be serving you.  

I am hoping to see more of such interesting indie dining concepts sprouting up in Singapore.  

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FatCat Ice Cream Bar In Bedok North

I have been eating waffles for breakfast almost every weekend this month.  From time to time, I get these intense cravings for a specific type of food and spend my weekends seeking out different places to satisfy these cravings.   

So far, I rate the waffles at Creamier and Assembly Cafe to be my favorites.  I thought the ones at Wimbly Lu were quite good on their own, but the entire ice-cream-and-waffles package still lacks the oomph-factor (present in Assembly Cafe’s waffles) that would make me want to go back again, unless I am in the vicinity.  

My waffle craving brought me to the latest cafe called FatCat Ice Cream Bar in a HDB block in Bedok North.  I saw a photograph of their charcoal waffles in a friend’s Instagram, and have been wanting to check it out for a while.  I was told that there is a limited number of charcoal waffles each day, so I should get there as early as possible.  Not sure why there should be a daily limit (surely, it cannot be too difficult to get hold of charcoal powder in Singapore?) but it certainly is a good marketing move.  

 photo IMG_2068-150425-v2__zpsbvfevf3v.jpgBesides the charcoal waffles, the other option is brown butter waffles which sounded just as appealing. I decided on the charcoal waffles and two scoops of ice cream: pistachio and vanilla. I also gave in to temptation and ordered the salted egg yolk sauce.

The texture of the waffles were good – moist and fluffy, but I wished that it was crispier and could do with a bit more flavor.  I liked the pistachio ice cream and the lavender- salted caramel sauce.  The fragrance from the lavender buds lent a lovely touch to the caramel sauce.  Unfortunately, the luscious looking salted egg yolk sauce was underwhelmed by all that ice cream and salted caramel sweetness, so I wouldn’t order it again the next time.  It is like consuming all the calories in the salted egg yolk sauce but without having the pleasure of tasting it.  

Would I go back to FatCat again?  Yes, I would, whenever I have a craving for waffles and do not want to drive to Assembly Cafe.  It is a huge bonus to have a good waffle place close to home which comes with plenty of parking space.

Next, I have Little Wimbly Lu and a couple of new joints in Changi Village that I want to check out.

FatCat Ice Cream Bar
Address:  416 Bedok North Avenue 2, #01-25, Singapore 460416
Check here for opening hours.

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Mr and Mrs Moghan’s Super Crispy Prata

 photo L1000792-150322-v2__zpsg11uscrp.jpgWe came to this coffee shop at 7 Crane Road for roti prata last Sunday.  Increasingly, it is getting harder to find these traditional coffee-shops in Singapore.  You still see them around, but the numbers are dwindling.  Many have closed down, or have been converted into restaurants, or  modern, air-conditioned food courts.  

When I was a kid, I shunned these coffeeshops.  I wanted to go to air-conditioned places like KFC or MacDonalds. I was quite a snooty little brat. I found these coffee-shops unhygienic, especially in those days when every table had a spittoon (containing all sorts of unmentionables) underneath.  I always felt extremely uncomfortable in these places.  I was worried that a lizard or cockroach would find its way up my legs, so much so that I would sit with both feet on the chair, much to my mom’s displeasure.  And I made sure that I have no reason to visit the lavatory in the coffeeshops by refusing to drink water or soup.  I would rather die that use those dirty lavatories!  

Dark and warm, mosaic tiled floors and walls, marble-top tables, crickety wooden chairs, (yes) the spittoon under the tables, huge ceiling fans.  This is how the coffeeshops of my generation looked like.  

 photo L1000794-150322-v2__zpsrzir63pc.jpgThe roti prata man – I am always fascinated by how he manages to work the dough into a thin round shape by swinging it in a circular motion in mid-air, then folds the sides to make a square, before placing it on the hot girdle.

I drop by Joo Chiat quite frequently for meals, but never knew there was an incredibly popular roti prata stall – Mr & Mrs Moghan’s Super Crispy Prata – in that area.  We waited close to an hour on a Sunday morning.  Very good prata, crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.  But…I cannot repeat the one-hour wait again.

 photo L1000787-150322-v2__zps5gcvzjx4.jpg photo L1000786-150322-v2__zpswvwo5vak.jpgOld-school wantan noodles.  Simple and delicious.  We ate a plate to tide us over the hunger pangs while waiting for our roti prata to arrive.

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S$10 Headshots For Charity

I decided to run a simple photo project for charity this year that involves me taking a photo of you, in return for a donation of $10 (people are free to give more if they wish) to any of the four charities that this project currently supports.  The four charities are: SPD, Bone Marrow Donor Program, the APEX Rehabilitation Centre For The Elderly and the Children’s Cancer Foundation.  I am thinking about adding a fifth charity – the Cat Welfare Society.  (I like cats, that’s why.)

This is not a new idea.  I read about this project on ShootTokyo a while ago and have been toying with the idea of doing something similar, but I have always been caught up with dealing with various work and personal issues so the idea stayed as an idea.  It is only recently that I decided to do something about it.  Perhaps the thought of entering  mid-life spurred me on as I suddenly feel that more of my life is behind me than it is in front of me.  There is no time to hem-and-haw about the things that I have always thought about doing.  Let’s just do it.  

This charity project is fairly to kick-start.  It does not require much planning or financial resources, just a camera and Lightroom!  Since I like taking photographs, this will be fun, and I get to do it all at my own time and pace.  It also forces me to reach out to friends to meet up.  It is also fun for them,  since they get to pose for a photo and chip in a small token for charity.  

How does one donate? Donations can be made on the GiveAsia website here, using your credit card.  The photo is basically a headshot of you – a photo of your upper body and face, and a copy will be emailed to you.   I have also set up a Facebook page to share these photos; if you want to contribute to this project, please reach out to me on the Facebook page!  

Not sure how this will turn out, but at the very least, I know I am gonna have fun doing it.

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Black&Ink Cafe In Changi Road

 photo IMG_0419-150208-v2__zpsc3e6a0c3.jpgEvery weekend, we find ourselves looking for a place to have breakfast or brunch.  Inevitably, we end up at the usual tried-and-tested places – Starbucks, Assembly Cafe, Beach Road Prawn Noodles or roti prata at Jalan Kayu.  Once in a while, we check out a new cafe for brunch and most of the time, we walk out feeling ripped off.

Last Sunday morning, I came across Black&INK in one of the local food blogs that I visit whenever I need some new ideas of where to go for breakfast or brunch.  It mentioned Black&INK as one of the latest cafes to set up shop here.  I was drawn to its address in Changi Road, which means that I do not have to drive very far to visit the cafe, and I would feel less ripped off should it turn out to be a dud.

 photo IMG_0413-150208-v2__zps9be73cd9.jpgThe cafe is quite tiny, styled in black and white tones, with only one barista holding the fort.  Very affable chap – turns out that he is a food blogger known as Eat With Roy.

 photo IMG_0414-150208-v2__zpscc358864.jpgI ordered a flat white, which came in a Bodum glass.  It was very good.   Full-bodied and very balanced (in my dictionary, that means that the coffee was not too bitter or too acidic).  Yummy.  I am probably too used to drinking flat whites which are all milk and hardly any hint of coffee, so this came as a pleasant surprise.   Roy tells me that he uses his own roasters.

 photo IMG_0416-150208-v2__zps974a1f7a.jpgWe were very hungry, and wanted some food.  Black&INK does not serve cooked food, only cakes.  We ordered three slices of cake – carrot cake, cheesecake and orange poppy seed cake.  I was not expecting much from the cakes, except a sugar rush to kick-start the morning.  Another pleasant surprise – all the cakes were very very good.  The barista tells us that the cakes were baked by a friend of his, who graduated from Le Cordon Bleu.  Some people may begrudge the small portions but they were just nice for middle-aged folks like us.  

I walked out of the cafe feeling satiated, and more importantly, with a happy husband who was not scowling at me for giving him a less than satisfactory breakfast experience because of my poor choices.

This place, if they keep to their current standards, merits weekly visits.  Finding parking may be a little of a problem though.

168 Changi Road
(Located in the Fragrance Building)

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Starting All Over Again With the Rangefinder

I bought a rangefinder manual focus camera recently, and I am learning how to use it.  I am starting from scratch with this camera – learning how to compose, focus and click the shutter at the right moment.  I took it out with me for some practice shots this weekend.  As I am still practising how to focus manually, I place less focus on composition. So my photos with this camera have so far turned out badly framed and some even look lopsided.

 photo L1000118-150206-v2__zps611cd3e5.jpgStarbucks, Parklane@ECP.  The store was very crowded on a Saturday morning.  Plenty of cyclists and joggers streaming in after their morning exercise for air-conditioning and breakfast.   In spite of the crowds, I love going there on weekends.  The store is located in a huge open space with plenty of free parking.  

 photo L1000157-150207-v2__zps2a876a79.jpgRepetto, ION Orchard.  I like wearing their ballet flats.  An the Repetto stores look so inviting with their warm colors and chandeliers.  I have this thing for chandeliers, and I wish I could have one in my home; pity, the ceiling at home is too low to hang one.

 photo L1000145-150207-v2__zpsa31e168d.jpgHeadline Seoul, Wheelock Place.  One of my favorite places to shop for dresses.  I like most things Korean, with the exception of their electronics and cars.

 photo L1000142-150207-v2__zpse3dda30b.jpgMelissa Shoes Singapore, Wheelock Place.  I like the quirky decor of Melissa.  Whoever did the visual merchandising for them, I like what you have done.  Even though I wear mostly flats from Repetto or open-toed Saltwater sandals, I cannot resist popping into the shop to check out their shoes whenever I walk past the shop to get to Isetan.  I bought a pair of the Melissa x Jason Wu jelly ballet flats in a pretty shade of blush pink, but pity, the shoes did not fit me so well and I sold them on Carousell after a few wears.  I was surprised to receive so many offers for the shoes shortly after listing them for sale.  I did not realize that the brand is so popular.

 photo L1000158-150207-v2__zps6d89fed5.jpgLeica, ION Orchard.  The famous red dot. Every photographer’s dream to own a Leica, no?  

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Nunsongyee: A Korean Dessert Cafe In Burghley Drive

 photo IMG_0198-150124-v2__zpsd7e8d7b5.jpgToday, I visited this Korean dessert cafe called Nunsongyee tucked away in a corner of the Serangoon Gardens residential estate at 45 Burghley Drive.  From the vibe of the cafe, to the trendy Kpop music playing in the background, to the Korean lady manning the cafe, I felt as though I had been transported back to Seoul.  All that was missing were the loud voices of Korean girls speaking in Korean. 

 photo IMG_0216-150124-v2__zps29305854.jpgSpacious, high-ceilinged and fairly empty at noon, it was a comfortable space  for me.  I don’t like crowded places – they give me a headache.   

The focus of Nunsongyee seems to be a large variety of bingsu (I call this the Korean ice kachang) and toast.  They also have a drinks menu that includes coffee, smoothies and soft drinks.  I have tried bingsu several times in Seoul, and I always walk away feeling disappointed.  I like the texture of the ice shavings – powdery soft and smooth – but I find that the dessert doesn’t have much taste.  But since I was at the cafe, I decided to order a bingsu.

 photo IMG_0206-150124-v2__zpsc68fca54.jpgAfter dithering between the black sesame bingsu and the injeolmi (a type of Korean rice cake – not the same as tteokbokki) bingsu, I ordered the former (about $19.00 – quite pricey!).  Better to go with the familiar.  In Korea, bingsus are usually served in fairly sizable portions.  I guess that’s because the dessert is meant for sharing, and not eaten alone.

The black sesame bingsu at Nunsongyee came in a big bowl, accompanied by almond flakes, black sesame pounded into a powder, a generous helping of red bean paste, topped with several pieces of injeolmi (this has a texture similar to that of muah chee).  The cafe also gave us a small serving of a milky syrup to pour over the bingsu.  

I liked Nunsongyee’s bingsu much better than the ones that I have eaten in Seoul.  The texture of the cafe’s ice shavings was as good as the ones in Korea, and it was very tasty without being syrupy sweet.   Who knows, I may just become a bingsu convert. I want to go back and try their toast!  

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My Blog Is Still Alive!

This blog was down for more than 3 days since early Saturday morning.  I couldn’t get any response from my web hosting company about what was going on (very bad customer service, really), and I was wondering if the company had decided to call it a day without giving customers any advance notice.  That would probably be the end of this blog since I didn’t have a backup of the files in my computer.

I am glad to see that is back online again.  The reason given by the web hosting company was that they were doing some maintenance over the weekend.  I don’t buy that excuse one bit; but we shall see.  Crossing fingers that this blog does not go down again, something which has been happening a little too frequently lately.

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Black Forest Cake Baking Class With Dulcet & Studio

I like Black Forest cake very much. Unfortunately, it is hard to find a good one in the local bakeries. Most places do not use enough alcohol, if they even use any in the first place, so it feels as though I am eating a dry chocolate sponge cake stuffed with cherries and cream.  A cake cannot be called a Black Forest cake if it does not contain kirsch, can it?  At least in Germany, I suppose.

When my friend – she goes to Dulcet & Studio every month for baking classes – told me that the studio is having a class on Black Forest cake, I decided to sign up for it. The last time I attended a class at Dulcet & Studio was a year ago. Time really flies, doesn’t it?

 photo IMG_1228-150104-v2__zps22e4af2a.jpgI enjoyed the class a little more this time, compared to my previous experience.  This time, the teacher, Mayumi-san, taught two items (instead of three), so the pace was slower and there was more hands-on time.  She taught us how to bake, assemble and decorate a heart-shaped (you can’t really tell from the photograph) Black Forest cake using chocolate sponge cake, chocolate cream, fresh cream, kirsch, black cherries soaked in syrup and alcohol, and chocolate shavings.  

 photo IMG_1336-150109-v2__zps9bc9d51d.jpgThe cake was good.  The kirsh-soaked sponge cake was moist and not too sweet.  The alcohol-soaked black cherries were tinged with bitterness (luvre!).  Mmmmm, I am eating a slice of the cake as I type out this post.

 photo IMG_1233-150104-v2__zpsb450b34f.jpgMayumi-san also showed us how to bake creme caramel.  So easy to make! Her recipe is very good but having said that, creme caramel is not a dessert that I am ordinarily fond of eating.  Too sweet for my tastebuds.

 photo IMG_1334-150104-v2__zpsd5f9d75b.jpgThe very pretty sensei.  She is teaching Japanese Strawberry Shortcake and lamingtons in February.     

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