Saturday, July 29, 2006

my birthday @ ember.

Restaurant Ember
Hotel 1929
50 Keong Saik Road
Tel: 6347 1928

I love Julys cos it's birthday month! I never realised that I knew so many people with birthdays in July until this year. As I grow older, I realise that my bday celebrations go on longer. Actually having a bday is just an excuse to go on an eating spree; trying new restaurants, having good food.. So let's see. Bday celebrations kicked off last Friday with colleagues at Black Angus, Sat was at Patara Thai, Sunday was at Imperial Treasure Teochew and the actual day, Monday was at Ember! Well, then last night was at Mee Doo Korean with pals... It was good fun; catching up with friends, sampling the good food.

So I finally managed to try Ember! I remember getting to know about this restaurant through an ex-colleague. We were on our way to 'da pao' some beef horfun and he pointed out that I should try the food at Ember as we drove past. Well, I never got down to doing it cos there were too many new places to try! So this time, I made D book a table there so I could finally find out what the rave reviews were about.

Restaurant Ember is run by Chef Sebastian Ng and his wife Sabrina. Sebastian Ng used to be the chef at Pierside, a restaurant located at One Fullerton which is part of the Marmalade Group. He apparently won Best Rising Chef at the World Gourmet Summit before so of course, you'd expect the food to be pretty good.

Food's somewhat modern Italian with a little Asian influence here and there. Not sure if my classification is correct but see below for the food review and you'll know what I mean. I liked the cosy ambience although D thought otherwise. The restaurant's pretty small actually, just a small extension of Hotel 1929. All in all, it's the kind of place that I'd go back to over and over again for it's fuss free food and affordable prices. D & I had full courses without wine and ended up with a $120 bill which I thought seemed pretty ok. Pictures weren't really taken well but thought I'd share them anyways...

- D's M e n u -

Spiced Crab Cake with Sweet and Spicy Sauce
An American favourite. I'm not sure if it follows the same recipe although I doubt it cos this version was heavily spiced. It had a bit too much spices for my liking. Sauce was nice but it wasn't anything unique. Just tasted like improved Thai chilli sauce. D said that my version of the crabcake was comparable! Made me so happy that night... Here's a peek of the crabcake I made before.

I got the recipe for my crab cake from It's really a good recipe and I should share it sometime. OK but now back to Ember.

Seafood Linguine with Clam Jus
It was a bit funny that night when we ordered this. Supposedly, they used clam jus but ran out of clams for the pasta itself. Not that it did matter anyway. I think D enjoyed this course although he still fondly remembers and likes the seafood pasta we had at the now-defunct Canteen better. It was still good though.

Warm Valrhona Bitter Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream
This was delicous! I think I've mentioned before. I'm not the biggest chocolate fan but this really took the cake (forgive my pun). The chocolate was not too sweet, the cake was soft and the chocolate was rich and oozing out from the sides of the cake. A must-try if you're a chocolate fan.

- S o o k ' s M e n u -

Angel Hair Pasta with Sakura Ebi
This was my favourite! I've never tried Sakura Ebi before and I loved the saltiness of it against the lightness of the pasta. I think D wanted to take the whole share of it cos he loved it so much as well.

Chilean Sea Bass with Porcini Mushrooms & Bacon Ragout
I think this complemented my first course well. I wasn't sure about having fish on a Monday cos you know there's this supposed rule that seafood comes in only on certain days but it turned out ok. The porcini mushrooms with the I-can't-make-out-what's-in-it sauce was salty but delicious!

Warm Banana Tart with Homemade Lavender Ice Cream
Yes. I had lavendar ice cream. A little queer but surprisingly refreshing. A bit like aromatherapy in my mouth. Although I think the banana tart was a overbaked, it was still quite good. Except that if it wasn't so "baked", I would have tasted more of the bananas. Good end to the evening though.

I must commend on their service cos I thought the service staff were very attentive. The food was served at a nice speed too so at least I didn't feel like I had to rush through dinner. I loved the ambience. The food's good although not WOW! But yup... I'm definitely going back again.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

some randomness.

Met up with my oldest pals from school over the weekend. It was nice catching up again. Everytime we meet, we talk about the past and also of course, the present. Ama never fails to surprise me with things that I somehow have left behind in the past. Sometimes I'm glad that I forgot them cos they're super embarassing but at the end, I guess it gives everyone a good laugh so it's all good. So on that "tea" Sunday, I met with a friend whom I haven't seen in 7 years and welcomed home a pal who's back for good. Best part is... she brought home a piece of Perth which I miss dearly.


I remember the old days where my friends and I would sit at Tiamo's to chat. I'll be the one digging into this yummy dessert. Good news now is I have THE recipe thanks to Liz! Thanks babes.. Liz's version was really sweet, yummy and sinful. Maybe after I try making it and I'm successful, I'll post the recipe up.

On another note out of nowhere, the snack corner in the office is growing as more people go for holidays. See.. there's sort of this unspoken practice that people buy food back from wherever they travel to. Since we're either usually too busy to eat or too busy minding our weight, the snack "collection" has been growing exponentially! However, there's this recent addition which I think is a hit with my corner buddies. GREEN TEA KIT KAT! Apparently, it can only be bought in Japan. I don't usually like much chocolate stuff cos it makes my throat feel queasy after eating but this... I like...

So anyways, that's about the randomness I have at the moment. Til next time...

Saturday, July 15, 2006

ice cream overload.

Island Creamery
10 Jalan Serene
Serene Centre #01-05
Tel: 6468 8859

I'm suffering from an overdose on ice cream. I know it seems boring that I'm writing about ice cream again but I thought I have to share the ice cream experience I had over the week.

To cut to the chase, my family were in the area and thus decided to pop by Island Creamery to ease the heat we were feeling under the hot sun. I guess we were going to The Daily Scoop too often so we just wanted a bit of a change. So when we were choosing our flavours, something came over me to be adventurous so I chose the Tiger Beer sorbet. It's supposed to be their specialty or something. If you think it's a novelty already, I think they've outdone themselves by having a Guinness Stout ice cream on their menu.

Tiger Beer Sorbet

So yes, I made my choice and I tell you, it is by far the weirdest sorbet/ice cream I've ever had in my life. I'm not saying that it's not good. In fact, it's not too bad cos you really feel like you're drinking the beer. It's just that it's in a semi-solid form. The smell and the taste is all there but it's still too weird for me. Maybe it's cos I've never been big on alcohol (save for my lychee martini ice cream). Having said that though, I do encourage for those who see it on the menu to try it. In fact, I going to have a go at the Guinness Stout flavour when I see it; just to see if it can top the Tiger Beer flavour.

Other than that, rest of the family had familiar flavours like Soursop, Kahlua Coffee and another of their local specialty, Teh Tarik. It's pretty good cos of the creaminess and the burnt taste from the soaked tea leaves. Again, like drinking the actual thing but only that it's frozen.

All in all, I think it puts out a good fight with The Daily Scoop although I do have my own preference for one over the other. For those who've been to both places, what do you think?

Update: I think I've found a winner. The Pulot Hitam flavour is an absolute must try! Ok. maybe I SHOULD stop now.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

a scoop full of goodness.

The Daily Scoop
41 Sunset Way
#01-04 Clementi Arcade
Tel: 6463 3365

OK. The Daily Scoop isn't helping me out much on the "diet" section but I love their ice cream! I think in the past 2 months or so, I've been there so many times. If you're thinking daily then no, not that often. However, considering that I live in a totally different area on the island and that I'm on a diet (I'll be honest, I've been on a diet since I was 15), 5 to 6 times is often enough I think.

So what do I love at this place? I've tried a couple of flavours like the Ginger Crumble, Durian, Cempedak. I've did tastings of Cha which is a earl grey sherbet and the Peach Bum; a peach yoghurt. Actually I think the Durian flavour is quite good. It tastes like the durian filling from the durian puffs except with less pulp. I just had it last night with their bitter chocolate cone. Very nice...

But...of all the tastings I had, the winner to me is the Lychee Martini flavour! It's a concoction that has Lychee (obviously!) and vodka. Nope. I'm not an alcoholic. In fact, you can hardly taste much of the vodka in it. I just like the light fragrance of the lychee, the creaminess and the bits of canned lychee in it. My mum and sis are big fans too. So... when I was at The Daily Scoop again yesterday, I bought a whole 700g tub home! I don't think it'd last long though. The last time I bought one half the size, I only had like 2 scoops of it. The rest of it was devoured by Mum, sis and her gal pal.

I encourage anyone who's reading this to give this place a try. The waffles are really good too, crisp and light. The serving guys's really helpful with giving tips on what ice cream goes with what. Prices are reasonable too. Only problem though is the location. It's right deep in Sunset Way. So unless you're ok to walk from the main road or take a cab, it's probably neccessary to have a car.

So for now, I just have to reach into my fridge for MY daily scoop. In fact, I'm going to do that rightaway. *lick*

Sunday, July 02, 2006

thai with a twist.

Patara Thai
163 Tanglin Road
#03-14 Tanglin Mall
Tel : 6737 0818

I remember the first time I ate at Patara Thai. That was during my internship almost 3 years ago. I remembered the good food and yummy dessert spread. However, what really stayed deep etched in my mind was the price I had to pay at that time. Think the set lunch set me back $20+ to 30 or something like that. Price doesn't sound that bad right? Wrong. I was only earning a meagre $500 at that time. Eating that $20 lunch and others in the same week almost reduced me to eating kaya toast for lunch! But gladly... I survived. This time, thanks to my gal pal Xin, I managed to taste the good food at Patara again! It turned out to be a great experience. Food's still good and in fact, a little better than I remembered. Company was great and best of all, I get to go back again next time cos D ended up loving the food!

So anyways, I think we ordered something like 9 to 10 dishes or something. Other than the veg dish which I think was pretty normal, I think the rest deserve some credit. The food served is somewhere along the lines of Modern Thai so a lot of emphasis is placed on presentation. Just to share some of my favourites from the dinner below. Although this place is a little on the pricey side, I think Patara Thai is worth a try.

Thai Pomelo Salad with Smoked Salmon
This dish is pretty special cos you don't see smoked salmon served with Pomelo salads in typical Thai restaurants. Despite it being out of the traditional mould of Thai cuisine, the combination was actually applaudable. It looked really good when it arrived at the table and needless to say, tasted good as well.

Thai Stuffed Chicken Wings
I think everyone should be pretty familiar with this dish. It's usually a family favourite I would think. I loved this version cos the meat stuffing was yummy and generous.

Thai Yellow Fish Curry
This dish looked too good to be eaten. The presentation style made the dish look all the more appetising. However, I didn't have much of this so I can't recall how good it tasted. The only thing I remember is that that the curry was quite smooth and lemak.

Thai Olive Rice
This is the dish that is going to bring me back to Patara cos D loved it. After we left the restaurant, he kept going on about how the rice tasted soooo good with the lethal chilli padi. Oh... lucky me...

Afternotes: I forgot to mention the dessert buffet! The dessert buffet at Patara is a must-try! It boasts a huge variety of familiar Thai desserts such as the steamed tapioca, glutinous rice with mangoes, red rubies in coconut, pumpkin kueh and so on. Make sure you leave space in your tummy for the after-meal sweets.