Food Hunter

MEDZ @ Millenia Walk

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If you have been to Marche, MEDZ offers a similar concept with a wider range of cuisines. Not only do you get Western food, there is French, Italian, Greek, Mediterranean, Moroccan and Spanish. A dessert bar and a selection of beer and cider is also included in the menu. Among the things my friends and I had, we had the rosti, moroccan chicken with couscous, carbonara and the octopus squid ink paella.

Having travelled to Spain and Italy, I had certain expectations of squid ink and paella as separate entities. But I was being too adventurous that day and chose from their menu the squid ink paella with octopus and pork. My paella came with lots off round blops in my plate and I soon realised that it was small octopus the size of fishballs. Honestly, I freaked out a bit at the sight of the “little creatures” because you could make out the whole body with its mantle and tenticles  still intact.

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So with my game face on, I ate the octopus as a whole. The texture was rather chewy and my thoughts went into a bit of an overdrive of whether something will burst out of its mantle. They were quite generous in their servings that I had to give away some the octopus (or rather I did not want to see anymore blops). I felt that the combination of the pork belly, octopus and paella was too much for one seating especially when the squid ink also added on to the rich flavours (I had to have some salsa to neutralise the taste).

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Moving along from that octopus encounter, I had rave reviews for the other food. The carbonara tasted like any regular ones you can find elsewhere. The rosti (according to my friend) was pretty good and thicker than Marche’s. While the Moroccan chicken was quite a refreshing change from the other food that I see commonly. Served in an earthen pot, the chicken was done well and the couscous was a refreshing change from eating plain white rice. My cider loving friends also found their bottles to be rusty and ended up returning the drinks even after a new bottle was given. 

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I do think that this is a place to bring friends if you cannot decide on a single cuisine or type of food to have as a group. At least your friends have the choice of choosing what they want and saving you the hassle. The atmosphere is also pretty decent to have friends sit around, linger and just talk while eating. But if I ever return, I think I should stay clear of the octopus and squid ink paella.  

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Coffee Connoisseur

Library Cafe @ Sukhumvit 24, Bangkok, Thailand

IMG02147-20130919-1433Recently, a certain idea popped into my head: visiting a foreign country would not be complete without visiting one of its cafes. I could not pass on the chance to visit one of the several cafes there when I hit the streets of the City of Angels. In my opinion, there is a chance that cafes may display certain aspects of the city in which it is located through its architecture and the clientèle it attracts. Good food and coffee is a plus, of course, but given how countless cafes now have the typical brunch/western fare, I decide to give it a miss here at the Library Cafe. Afterall, Bangkok’s street food has so much more to offer at much lower prices.IMG02128-20130919-1333Library Cafe is located along one of the small, quiet sois, or streets in Thai, in the Phrom Phong locale. It wasn’t quite that easy to find, but that didn’t come as a surprise, given how even the cafes back home can be a pain to locate sometimes.IMG02125-20130919-1330Full length vertical window panels front the cafe, letting sunlight stream in, illuminating the cafe with natural light. Both its interior and exterior is kept simple with a combination of white walls and light wood furniture, shelves and decorative pieces. The layout isn’t cluttered and the place doesn’t try too hard, which makes it a great place to take a break from the dusty and crowded city streets.IMG02126-20130919-1331

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Cafe Latte

The coffee wasn’t too bad. Although not perfect, it was good enough to rejuvenate the weary traveller in me. The little savoury biscuits didn’t quite match the coffee but it was still a nice thought!IMG02135-20130919-1340

IMG02136-20130919-1346The guests at the table beside mine were a group of Japanese ladies doing some sort of embroidery or cross-stitch. It seemed like they had spent a good part of their day there, just chatting and doing what ladies were made to do back in the past – afternoon tea, scones and a spot of thread-work come to mind, anybody? The leisurely way they spent their time perfectly reflects the vibes the Library Cafe exudes: calm and peaceful, drawing you away from the city and almost seeming too reluctant to release you back into the clutches of the whirlwind of shopping and eating. IMG02145-20130919-1430

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IMG02142-20130919-1419The best part? Free wi-fi. Spoken like a true member of this overly-wired generation. But, hey, what’s wrong with using it to plan the fastest route to the next shopping destination while kicking back with a coffee? Nothing, I say.

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Food Hunter

Nyonya & Baba Peranakan Cuisine @ Vivocity

peranakanAyam Buah Keluah | Sambal Kang Kong | Nyonya Chap chye | Hu Piao Soup

Many years back, I used to be hooked on a drama titled “Little Nyonya”. There were scenes where the Nyonyas would prepare delicious Peranakan meals and desserts and it always looked so good! Their food is all about fresh ingredients, good preparation, spices and the riches of flavours. But TV show aside, my family decided to head to Nyonya & Baba Peranakan cuisine to celebrate my mum’s birthday.

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peranakan2Achar | Keropok | Belachan chili

peranakan4Nyonya Chap Chye

peranakan5 peranakan7Ayam Buah Keluah

Needless to say, the food for the dinner set was good and it was refreshing to have  achar and keropok as a standard appetizer. The set came with vegetables, meats and soup. On an interesting note, the rice was served by the waiter who would scoop from a pandan infused tub of rice so you can inform them on how much you want and not be eating too much carbs!

One of the highlights was the buah keluah, which I usually look forward to in a Peranakan meal. The buah keluah is actually a poisonous fruit with hydrogen cyanide, and it is quite deadly if consumed without prior preparation. The way to eat it is to scrape out the flesh from the inside of the fruit and eat it either on its own or by mixing it with some rice. It usually is served in a thick curry sauce and it has a nutty taste.

peranakan8Sambal Pomfret

peranakan9Babi Pongteh

peranakan10Puloh Hitam | Chendol

The dinner set ended off with a choice of puloh hitam or chendol and that in itself was quite a task for the stomach. It was quite decent price-wise, but what is more important was the time for my family to eat together, and that’s what matters. (:

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I am the baker boy

Paul Hollywood’s Chelsea Buns recipe

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I am not putting the recipe for these here since you can find them here and here. I simply followed everything Paul instructed in the video for these. (I think I am becoming a really big fanboy!) The only difference is the lack of dried cranberries which I substituted for with more raisins and apricots.

The basic idea is to make an enriched dough, prove it, roll it out, put the filling, roll up like you would for a cinnamon roll, cut, second proving, make icing, bake, spread jam, drizzle icing and serve.

The results are mouth-watering. Simply mouth-watering. I mean just look at that apricot jam glaze. So tempting.

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Coffee Connoisseur

Cups and Canvas @ Selegie Road

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Although I really wanted to order the Sweet Potato Latte, I resisted because I knew I needed the caffeine for the overnight prayer I was about to attend. Oh my. Where are my manners. Welcome to Cups and Canvas.

The cafe consists of an art studio and a cafe area thus it boasts new artwork almost every other day! Beyond that, the cafe’s ambience is really quite cosy with a wide array of seating options. It’s even laptop-friendly! Wifi and plugs and all. Cups and Canvas also offer set menus, which is totally awesome since you buy into the illusion that you are spending lesser since you are getting a set. They even host art classes there.

Everything in the cafe is baked by the people behind the cafe so that’s really impressive. However that being said,  I was pretty disappointed at the Banana Walnut Muffin they served. The texture was too dry and far too dense. It wasn’t the moist, slightly dense and tender consistency I was looking for. Sadly, it was also lacking in flavor. Maybe I am just being harsh as my baker myself. Maybe. Just maybe. The coffee is fairly good though.

They aren’t known for their Banana Walnut Muffins so just don’t order them if you go there! Haha I only ordered it since I am just a sucker for everything Banana and Nut.  Well! Cups and Canvas is definitely worth visiting, whether if it’s with a group of friends or  you are there to mug. Who knows? I might bump into you there.

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I am the baker boy

Paul Hollywood’s Bloomer

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Okay like the bloomer above, I haven’t been in the best of shape. Honestly, a bloomer isn’t that difficult to do. The only reason why it’s burnt and weird-shaped is because I was in a foul mood that day and what I really wanted to do was to vent my frustration by kneading some dough. Really, the recipe is dead simple.

I don’t know about you but I guess my mood just translates into my baking. The saddest part about this bloomer is that no one ended up eating it and it just went stale after a couple of days.

I managed to salvage it by preparing bostock though. Sigh.

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Food Hunter

Thai Smile Cafe @ Lorong Telok

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I first visited this coffee shop style Thai eatery after work. It was late and my colleague and I had not had dinner. She suggested Thai Smile Cafe, one of her favourite post clubbing food haunts open late into the night. Perfect for supper or a late dinner. She recommended the Tom Kha Gai (Chicken Galangal Soup). I tried it and have never looked back since.

A few weeks later, I was back for my second visit. I needed to satisfy that Tom Kha Gai craving and try more of their dishes! Thai Smile serves up a variety of Thai food and Thai-Chinese food. It is popular with the expatriate crowd but don’t let that put you off! Contrary to expectation, the Thai food is pretty authentic and, better yet, affordable.

 

 

IMG02457-20131018-2013Yam Woon Sen (Thai Glass Noodle Salad)

The salad was refreshing and delightfully spicy! The mix of lime juice, lemongrass, fish sauce, chillies and herbs created a light and piquant salad. It was tangy, savoury, spicy and sweet all at once. The glass noodles were smooth; the crunchy shredded carrot and sliced onions and fresh squid and shrimp thrown into the mix added a good contrast in textures. A beautiful salad I enjoyed down to the last noodle!IMG02459-20131018-2014Basil Chicken with rice

The Basil Chicken was decent but not spectacular. The seasoning could have been more flavourful and the minced chicken was a tad dry and lacking a strong basil taste. However, this would do good for those who do not quite like the strong taste of  basil!IMG02460-20131018-2014Tom Kha Gai (Chicken Galangal Soup)

And finally, the Tom Kha Gai! This is a spicy soup thickened with coconut cream and is a rich, sinful delight to indulge in with a bowl of rice. The chicken chunks were tender and there was little else inside the soup, letting its flavours shine through. The bad cousin of tom yam soup, the Tom Kha Gai is one unhealthy option and sharing the calories always helps.

Thai Smile Cafe is a great place for Thai food when a late night craving hits and is good enough to satisfy huge Thai food lovers. I would definitely recommend this place if you happen to be having some drinks in the Circular Road/Clake Quay area this public holiday. Happy deepavali to all our hindu readers! (:

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