Brunch @ Bee’s Knees at The Garage

February 14, 2017 in European (cafe) by thywhaleliciousfay

Having heard of a new cafe opening at Botanical Garden, my ex-colleagues and I decided to head over for breakfast. And we decided to meet early at 10am since the cafe doesn’t take reservation, and mainly because I had to rush off by 12.30pm. Keke.

The building which houses Bee’s Knee at level 1 (cafe during the day) and Botanico at level 2 (restaurant by night) is called The Garage. And The Garage is located at the end nearer to Bukit Timah (Botanic Gardens MRT station) rather than Tanglin (Orchard MRT station). No surprise we ladies all arrived by cabs. Haha.

And we chose to sit in the air-conditioned unit instead of alfresco area. However, when we were placing our orders at the cashier, we realised the pasta and pizza were only available at 11.30am. We were slightly disappointed to hear that. It was not mentioned anywhere on their menu.

But thankfully, we had lots to catch up. And from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4), we ordered:-

1) Waffle, $14 (above) – Caramelised apples, greek yoghurt, cranberries. A pure disappointment. I didn’t like anything about it.

2) Smokey salmon focaccia, $14 (above) – Smoked salmon, cream cheese, herbs, beetroot, marinated Japanese cucumber. It would be better if they were more generous with the ingredients. But the accompanying chips were addictive.

3) Truffle carbonara la pasta, $18 (above) – Spaghetti, truffle, bacon, parmesan, rocket, confit onion. It’s probably the air-conditioner that’s pretty strong. Cause by the time we portioned the pasta into quarters (which I did pretty quick), the pasta was cold. Cold pasta? That’s a big no, no. My ex-colleagues also agreed the taste was just normal. Nothing impressive.


4) Carnivore la pizza, $25 (above) – Tomato, mozzarella, Italian sausage, smoked chicken breast, salami. For non-beef eaters like me, do note the salami contains beef. That said, the first few bites were salty. But it got better as we ate towards the crust…

5) Chai latte, $5 (above) – My ex-colleague was disappointed with the lack of latte art.

6) Strawberry milkshake, $8 (above) – Nice.

I won’t say Bee’s Knees is a cafe worth making that special trip down just for their food or ambience. Instead, Bee’s Knees is a nice place to rest and grab a quick bite if one is (already) at Botanical Gardens.

BEE’S KNEES AT THE GARAGE
50 Cluny Park Road, Singapore Botanic Gardens, Singapore
6264 7978, Website, Facebook
Overall: 6
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 6
Mon – Sun : 08:00 – 18:00
Ambience: 7
Value: 6
Service: 6

Dinner @ Hyde & Co.

February 10, 2017 in European (cafe) by thywhaleliciousfay

It was a Muslim colleague’s birthday, and we decided to celebrate by having dinner at Hyde & Co. together. Am totally blessed to find friends among my colleagues. =) Reservation was not necessary for weekday evenings, but we still went ahead to make one because we were a big group of 7.

Parking was limited to the parking lots in front of the shop houses. But we managed to find one without much difficulty, probably because it was a weekday evening.

And from the menu (pages 1, 2), we ordered:-

1) Truffle fries, $15 (above) – Premium truffle infusion with parmesan.

2) Flash fried calamari, $12 (above) – Served with homemade kaffir like aioli.


3) Popcorn chicken, $10 (above) – Chipotle maple drizzle with buttered popcorn. We certainly didn’t expect a very literal take on the dish name. Popcorns with chicken? Now, that’s a really weird combination that didn’t work at all.

4) Truffle crawfish mac & cheese, $22 (above) – Chef Nazz’s truffle mac & cheese with Norwegian crawfish and roasted nushrooms.

5) Miso salmon, $23 (above) – Norwegian salmon marinated in miso, hericot vert served with crushed potato.

6) Curried tempura cod fish & chips, $25 (above) – Cod fillet, Belgian fries, wasabi slaw served with homemade tartar. Batter was weird, and texture of fish was too flaky. This didn’t work for us.

7) Half roasted chicken, $21 (above) – Cajun rubbed half chicken with laksa cream sauce, served with homemade truffle silken mash and roasted vegetables.


8) Ondeh ondeh roasties, $10 (above) – Brioche toast, grated pandan coconut, gula melaka drizzle, vanilla ice cream.

9) Gingerbread Christmas waffle, $15 (above) – Caramelised apples, poached raisins, vanilla bean ice cream with salted caramel drizzle on a cinnamon waffle.

10) Butterscotch popcorn waffle, $15 (above) – Homemade butterscotch sauce, popcorn, bananas, vanilla bean ice cream.

11) Latte, $5.50 (above)

12) Mocha, $6 (above)

13) Into the woods, $7.50 (above) – Iced berries hibiscus tea.

Based on the raves of Hyde & Co. when they newly joined the cafe scene, I honestly expected more from them. So it was disappointing that I left the cafe unimpressed. Would I recommend? No. Not even when one is in the area since there are many other cafes in the vicinity. But for our Muslim counterparts where choices could be limited since not many cafes are Halal-certified, one just need to order the right dishes.

HYDE & CO.
785 North Bridge Road, Singapore
6635 5785, Website, Facebook
Overall: 6
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 5
Mon : 12:00 – 18:00
Ambience: 6
Wed – Fri : 12:00 – 22:00
Value: 6
Sat : 11:00 – 22:00
Service: 6
Sun : 11:00 – 18:00
* Closed on Tues
  

Dinner @ Sushi Kimura

February 5, 2017 in Japanese by thywhaleliciousfay

It was through my IGGF (InstaGram GirlFriend) that I got to know about Sushi Kimura in November 2016. They were still in the midst of renovation then, but we were already excited much. It has been a while since we last heard of a promising sushi restaurant opening on our island. So yes, we couldn’t wait for them to open for business.

And our patience paid off when Sushi Kimura opened shortly after in late December 2016. As taken from their Facebook, Sushi Kimura is helmed by owner-chef Tomoo Kimura who has more than 15 years of experience working in sushi restaurants in both Japan and Singapore.

I didn’t manage to head down with my IGGF though. She was concerned over Sushi Kimura’s pricey menu. I was, too. There was only 1 menu for lunch and dinner, priced at $180 and $390 respectively. However, when they announced on their Facebook that Sushi Kimura was having a 20% promotion for the 2 weeks prior to Chinese New Year, I contacted the restaurant to make reservation for dinner. And yes, to dine with another friend cause the promotion wasn’t good enough to tempt my IGGF.

Located in Palais Renaissance, parking wasn’t an issue since one could park at the basement carpark. Alternatively, one could also take the train to Orchard MRT Station before walking 5 to 8 minutes to the building.

When my friend and I walked through the entrance at 7.45pm, we were surprised to see we were the first. And for being early, we got the best seats; Right in front of head chef Kimura san. Teehee.

However, after I ran out of topics to make small talk with chef Kimura san, the atmosphere got a little awkward. With no background music and an intimate setting, my friend and I were dining in piercing silence. So we were thankful when the crowd streamed in at 8.15pm to fill up the remaining 9 counter seats. Keke.

So yes, we started our $390 dinner menu with:-

1) Starter (above) – Slightly seared (aburi) yellow tail and firefly squid drizzled with a yolk sauce. Served alongside grated spicy radish & wasabi. And I fell in love with the yellow tail. It melted in my mouth. Really good. We were off to a good start.


2) Chawanmushi (above) – With hairy crab from Hokkaido. And we were told the steamed egg was prepared with soup stock made with water from Hokkaido too.

3) Premium sashimi platter (above) – Spanish mackerel, octopus that’s steamed till tender with sake, spotted prawn (botan-ebi), akagai (ark shell clam) and its muscle, ice plant which chef Kimura san explained is a type of cactus, tomato and pink pickled radish. My friend spied the later groups had additional striped jack (shima-aji) and was feeling slightly bitter. I don’t blame my friend. Haha.

4) Cooked dish #1 (above) – Abalone.



5) Seasonal premium uni platter with premium nori (above) – Served with what chef Kimura san said was the number 1 seaweed in Japan, we had 3 types of sea urchin from Kyushu and Hokkaido. And I really liked the sea urchin from Kyushu which had a slight chestnut aroma. And honestly, this was my first in seeing a sushi chef being so generous. Most would only serve such sea urchin platter to regulars.


6) Cooked dish #2 (above) – Smoked salted king salmon belly. I don’t fancy being served salmon during my pricier dinners cause it’s a cheap fish (as shared by other Japanese sushi chefs). But this was done beautifully. We could smell a strong smokey aroma when it was served. And I appreciated this dish more when I learnt about its 500 years history; A traditional delicacy from Hokkaido, it originated by Ainu (an indigenous people who inhabited the northern part of Japan and part of Russia).

  
  
  
  

7) Sushi (8 pieces) (above) – Sea bass, shark skin helibut, marinated tuna (from a 200kg blue-fin tuna), premium fatty tuna (otoro), white sweet shrimp (shiro-ebi), arctic surf clam (hokkigai), striped jack (shima-aji) belly and egg omelette (tamago) in Tokyo and Kyoto styles. When my friend and I started on our sushi course (seventh dish), other customers were only on their fourth or fifth dish. With chef Kimura san being the sole person running the show, he was under (much) pressure to make our sushi quickly. He kept apologizing for making us wait. And for the sushi rice (shari), ‘Tsuya-hime’ rice from Yamagata prefecture and vinegar from Iio-Jozo premium vinegar brewery in Kyoto were used. However, I guess it was from the rush that the sushi rice was kneaded a little loosely. And chef Kimura would customize the amount of sushi rice accordingly; Males get size L while females get size M.

  

8) Signature (premium) rice bowl – and we were treated to a luxurious sight of chef Kimura san pouring beaten onsen egg over minced tuna, sea urchin and salmon roe. This was done before he mixed the ingredients and served it on top of sushi rice. Such a treat!

9) Soup (above) – Prawn soup.

10) Dessert (above) – Melon and strawberry jelly.

Chef Kimura san was pretty fluent in English. He shared “My wife is from Hong Kong. She can’t speak Japanese. I can’t speak Cantonese. So we learn English.” So sweet!

And I was very impressed by chef Kimura san’s multi-tasking skill. Although 4 groups of customers (for that night) came in at very different timings, he managed to juggle our courses well, which included instructing the kitchen to prepare the cooked dishes.

It’s also from Facebook that I learnt the traditional Japanese fabric dividers hung at Sushi Kimura’s doorway (noren) are made with kimono cloth passed down from chef Kimura san’s great-grandmother. That’s over 200 years old!

Our dinner stretched over 4 hours. Though in all honesty, it didn’t feel that long. I guess time just slipped by in front of good food and wonderful company. =) Though out of the 4 hours, 45 minutes were spent taking pictures of food and when my friend went out to make phone calls. Keke.

Do I recommend Sushi Kimura? Honestly… $390 is pricey. But for the ambience which felt as authentic as one would get in Japan and friendly chef and staff, I would say it’s money well spent. And one would be glad to know Sushi Kimura has introduced more options on the menu (pages 1, 2) with prices that’re friendlier on the purse.

SUSHI KIMURA 鮨来村
390 Orchard Road, Palais Renaissance, #01-07, Singapore
6734 3520, Website, Facebook
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Tue – Sun : 12:00 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Tue – Sun : 18:00 – 22:00 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Service: 8
* Closed on Mon