High tea @ Axis Bar and Lounge

August 16, 2017 in European (cafe) by thywhaleliciousfay

It has been a while since I had high tea. So when my girlfriend suggested catching up over high tea, I thought it was a good idea. However, as one would know, high tea usually starts at mid-afternoon. But I was glad Axis Bar offered theirs from 12.30pm cause my girlfriend and I had commitments in late afternoon. Keke. And with that, reservation was made via Chope.

With only 1 menu offered that’s rotates every month, we started our afternoon tea ($42 for 1, $40 each for 2) with:-


1) Dish #1 (above) – Pandan ice jelly with coconut emulsion.

2) Dish #2 (above) – From right to left, we were served i) nasi lemak cornet, anchovies and sambal jam, ii) Singapore chilli crab and mantou bits, and iii) ayam satay with peanut gravy. We didn’t like the chilli crab dish. Because the mantou bits were like crouton instead (really small pieces too), we felt like we were a big shot of spicy chilli crab gravy. .

3) Dish #3 (above) – From right to left, we had i) baker’s red beans pita bao, ii) tomato, sardine and lettuce wrap, iii) mini sub with spicy chicken floss, and iv) pandan kaya and butter toast.


4) Dish #4 (above) – Because I don’t take beef, my kampong style beef rendang pie was replaced with a second piece of nonya potato curry puff. So yes, I had 2 nonya potato curry puff, 1 tahitian vanilla scone and 1 banana scone. Didn’t enjoy the puff as the filling was pretty salty.

5) Dish #5 (above) comprised of:-

(A) 1st tier (above) – Purple yam chiffon cream chantilly (left) and palm sugar masala layer cake (right).


  

(B) 2nd tier (above) – Bandung rosella bavarious (left) and lychee strawberry choux puff (right). I really liked the bandung dessert. It was light on the palate, and not too sweet.


  

(C) 3rd tier (above) – Pineapple coconut sable (left) and chocolate almond kueh pai tee (right).

6) Tea (above) – TWG tea company’s tea was included in menu, and I went with ‘eternal summer’.

What I really like about Axis Bar & Lounge is the space and ambience. It offers a sweeping views over Marina Bay. But what I really liked was that they did not cram the space with many furniture. Oh wait. Axis is a lounge, and not a restaurant. Haha. And mothers would be delighted to know the place is family friendly. The place is equipped with high chairs and children’s plastic plate-ware. Most importantly, because the space was big and spacious, kids could have a ball of time roaming around freely. Just like my girlfriend’s 15-months child!

Would I recommend Axis Bar & Lounge for high tea? Definitely. Afternoon tea is available from 3pm to 5pm on weekdays, and 12.30 to 2.30pm (first seating) and 3pm to 5pm (second seating) on weekends. But do read up their menu before coming. I didn’t really like the August 2017′s menu.

And if one plan to drive and park at The Mandarin Oriental, do note that they do not offer complimentary parking coupon. But because we enquired with the manager who happened to be the one passing us our bill, he gave us a $18 discount instead. Nice. Keke.

AXIS BAR & LOUNGE
5 Raffles Avenue, The Mandarin Oriental, Level 4, Singapore
6885 3500, Website
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Thur, Sun : 11:00 – 00:00
Ambience: 8
Fri – Sat : 11:00 – 01:00
Value: 7
Service: 7

Breakfast @ Bourke Street Bakery (Sydney, Australia)

July 6, 2017 in European (cafe) by thywhaleliciousfay

My colleague, who has been to Sydney a few times, raved about the pies in Australia. “You must try the pies,” she said. Unfortunately, the good ones she had were beef. I can’t eat beef due to religious reason. Thus, the hunt for good (non-beef) pie began.

While researching on-the-go, we got to learn about Bourke Street Bakery. With a few outlets in Sydney, my colleague and I decided on Surry Hill’s because it was within walking distance from our AirBNB apartment. Just perfect for us to drop by for breakfast before we went on with our travel itinerary. And because we had a long day planned ahead of us, my colleague and I reached the cafe at 8.35am. We initially planned to reach at 8am. Gasp.

However, the staff informed the pies were only ready at 9am. Since it was another 25 minutes, my colleague and I decided to wait it out. In fact, after our first visit and a more detailed research on Bourke Street Bakery, I went back again for breakfast on the last day of my trip to try the other items which they were famous for. Keke.

And from the menu and display shelf, we ordered:-

1) Ginger brulee tart, AUD5.50 (above) – So good! It’s interesting how they infused the ginger into the caramelised layer.

2) Lemon curd tart, AUD5.50 (above) – My favourite of the tarts! Be careful when one bite into the thick but crispy buttery crust as the curd within was flowy. I loved how tangy it was too. Just perfect.

3) Passionfruit curd Italian meringue tart, AUD5.50 (above) – And if I didn’t taste wrongly, there was coconut in the meringue. Pretty good!


  

4) Chocolate almond croissant, AUD5 (above)


5) Chicken, sweet potato, pea & lime pickle pie, $6 (above)


6) Pork & fennel sausage roll, AUD5.50 (above) – We made the mistake of not ordering the tomato sauce (AUD0.20) to go with it. I wouldn’t say the fillings within was dry. Rather, it lacked that bouncy texture because the filling was minced. And because it was a little bland, the tomato sauce would have brought out the taste better. As though I’m using their tomato sauce as seasoning instead of salt. Ha.


7) Carrot & walnut cake, AUD5 (above) – This was a such delight! It’s no wonder why this was a favourite among customers too.


8) Bacon & egg frittata sandwich, $6.50 (above) – Frittata, bacon, caramelised onion and homemade BBQ sauce.

9) Latte, $4.50 (regular) (above)

I definitely recommend Bourke Street Bakery! Must tries include the carrot & walnut cake and the tarts. Having tried 3 of their 4 tarts, I probably should have ordered the chocolate ganache tart too then. Keke. I didn’t expect all the 3 tarts to be so good. And I liked that the curd used for the 3 tarts won’t the same.

And if it wasn’t because I was on a short trip to Sydney, I probably would have returned for the other yummy goodies which include the lemon-vanilla ricotta cake, flourless Belgian chocolate cake, croissant, wholemeal sourdough bread… Oh wait, I can go on and on and on. Keke.

BOURKE STREET BAKERY
633 Bourke Street, Sydney, Australia
+61 2 9699 1011, Website, Facebook
Overall: 6.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Fri : 07:00 – 18:00
Ambience: 6
Sat – Sun : 07:00 – 17:00
Value: 7
Service: 6

Sweets @ KOI Dessert Bar (Sydney, Australia)

July 3, 2017 in Australian, European, European (cafe) by thywhaleliciousfay

It was by luck that I chanced upon photographs of MasterChef Australia’s Reynold Poernomo’s desserts on instagram. Located in Sydney? Oh my. There’s no way I was going to allow myself to not visit his shop. And with that, I immediately pinned it on my Google map. Keke.

It was on a weekday that my colleague and I arrived at KOI Dessert Bar at 12.15pm. And we were their first dine-in customers for cakes and coffee. Or maybe there were customers before us, just that they packed the cakes on the go. And from the display shelf, my colleague and I ordered:-


1) Berry cheesecake, AUD9.50 (above) – Vanilla cream cheese mousse, berry coulis and baked lemon cheesecake.


2) Chocolate delight, AUD12 (above) – Almond sable, 55% dark chocolate excellence mousse, passion fruit curd, brownies with dark chocolate ganache and raspbrry.

3) Watermelon, AUD12 (above) – Lychee creme, watermelon, chia seed, strawberry. Honestly, I didn’t like this. I mean… It’s after all just lychee creme layered over chia seed.

And KOI Dessert Bar is divided into 2 sections; Cafe at level 1 and restaurant at level 2. I looked up their website prior to my Sydney trip and learnt that level 2 opens for dining service in the evening. But for that, one would need to make advanced reservation. Wanting to try the plated desserts which was only available during dinner service and at their restaurant on level 2, I did just that. Hee.

I was required to select between set dinner menu and set dessert menu when I was making my reservation on their online booking system. I chose the latter since it’s all about the desserts that I was after. I mean… Chef Reynold is also nicked as the ‘dessert whiz’.

And for my 6pm appointment, I waited by the stairs for the staff to check my reservation and to lead me to my table at level 2. After reconfirming my order for the set dessert from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4), I commenced my meal with:-

1) Set dessert menu, AUD65 comprised of:-


  

(A) Lemongrab (above) – Lemon curd, lemon jam with lemon sorbet, herbal lemon meringue and lemon balm.


(B) Autumn forest (above) – Soft roasted milk chocolate filled log with chocolate soil, yogurt, caramel gel, porcini potato chips, fried shiitake mushrooms and applewood ice cream.

(C) Tea (above) – Soft roasted milk chocolate filled log with chocolate soil, yogurt, caramel gel, porcini potato chips, fried shiitake mushrooms and applewood ice cream.


(D) Coconut (above) – Coconut and yogurt with chocolate, almond sand, passionfruit curd, mango and kaffir lime dust.

2) Moss, AUD20 (above) – Pistachio mousse with caramel gel, dulce cremeux, pistachio sponge, matcha moss, apple blossom jelly, nitro lime yogurt and green apples. Knowing that this was a signature dish of chef Reynold, I (went crazy and) ordered it from the a-la carte menu too.

Unfortunately, the cakes and plated desserts failed to impress. Was it a case of me heading down with too high expectations? Probably. Would I recommend KOI Dessert Bar? Well… The sweets were good, but not to the extent that it blew me away. And these were pretty pricey too. So for their price tags, I would recommend checking out other patisserie instead. In my short trip to Sydney, I ironically had better desserts elsewhere.

But of course, I had my fan-girl moment when my colleague and I visited in the afternoon and we got to see chef Reynold in person.

KOI DESSERT BAR
46 Kensington Street, Chippendale, Sydney, Australia
+61 2 9212 1230, Website, Facebook
Overall: 6.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 6
Tues – Sun : 10:00 – 22:00 (Cakes)
Ambience: 7
Tue – Sun : 18:00 – 21:30 (Dinner)
Value: 6
Service: 7
* Closed on Mon