Brunch @ Five & Dime // CLOSED

November 5, 2013 in European (cafe) by thywhaleliciousfay

Every time I make my way towards Clarke Quay (along River Valley Road), Five & Dime stands out from the row of shop houses with its white painted walls. And thus, I decided to check the place out with my family. And it’s because my parents are with me that, even though we were to reach Five & Dime at 10.20am, I made a reservation just 30 minutes before arrival through WhatsApp (Yes! It’s amazing they accept reservation through WhatsApp).

We drove and it’s good to know that there’s a small, open-air carpark for Five & Dime patrons. Enter through the red metal gate which is just beside Five & Dime.

And at 10.20am, the place was almost full! There were 4 empty tables left. Of which 1 was reserved for us. Keke. And I must say, the place gives out a very relaxed and comfortable vibe despite all the (scary) Halloween decorations. Ha.

And from the menu, my family and I ordered:-

1) Fruit salad, $8 (above) – This would be our biggest mistake in ordering. In fact, for the good for everyone else, this simple dish should considered to be removed from the menu. If not, at least a little more effort in dressing the dish up? We’ll then be more willingly to part with our money.

2) Waffles, $15 (above) – I was a little surprised to see only 1 piece of waffle. I expected at least 2 pieces for the price we were paying, but one may argue that the 1 piece served is longer than the typical size. But that aside, the waffle did not disappoint, though not the best.

3) Spinach Tamago, $16 (above) – Had it not been for Dad, I’ll have missed out on this delicious dish. Five & Dime’s Japanese-inspired take on eggs florentine with sautéed spinach wrapped within. I like that they wrapped the spinach within so that the bread which the egg is sitting on does not become soggy. The omlette was spongy and sweet. Nice.

4) Big Brekkie, $22 (above) – Scrambled egg was the option on how the egg was to be done, and it was moist and yummy. Thumbs up for the generous portion.

5) Fish & Chips, $20 (above) – A must try! The batter was thin and crispy, while the fish within was fresh and juicy. And the battered fish being medium sized made it easy to eat with hands! Applause for ketchup being served too (I prefer ketchup over chill sauce. Haha). But the hand cut fries did not impress. The batter did not wrap the fries as ‘tightly’ as it did with the fish.

6) Café latte, $6 (above)

Overall, I enjoyed our brunch. The café was bustling with people, yet it was not too noisy for us to have our own conversations. Food was good, but it was the good service that left a deeper impression.

We were in a half-awake half-asleep state when we stepped into the eatery (cause I mistakeningly got my family to get ready by 8.30am. Haha), and it was the energy of the staff that ‘woke’ us up. The staff are polite and approachable, but it is the energy within them that is really contagious. In a good way of course! And they are really efficient too. I noticed every time someone steps in, a staff will almost immediately go up to them. Cups which were only half full were topped up efficiently while our empty plates were cleared promptly. Thumbs up for good service!

FIVE & DIME
297 River Valley Road, Singapore
9236 5002, Website
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Thur : 12:00 – 22:00
Ambience: 6
Fri : 12:00 – 00:00
Value: 6
Sat : 10:00 – 00:00
Service: 8
Sun : 10:00 – 22:00
* Serving time differs from opening hours
  

Dinner @ &Made

November 3, 2013 in American, European by thywhaleliciousfay

&Made opened by Michelin starred Chef Bruno Menard (three stars, for the matter of fact) with Deliciae Hospitality Management at Pacific Plaza has been in the food scene for at least a year now. My friends and I decided to pop by for dinner despite reading / hearing mixed reviews from internet / friends.

We reached on a Saturday night at 7pm and there was no queue. In fact, because there was no queue, it’s unclear if we should be entering &Made from outside of Pacific Plaza or from within Pacific Plaza.

There were empty tables when we arrived, however we were made to stand for 5 minutes. Now, before anyone gets me wrong. Waiting in line is perfectly fine, especially when it’s just a mere five minutes. But I guess it’s not (so acceptable) when staff saw us waiting, and every staff turned a blind eye and continued being busy with what they were doing. I would have appreciated a nod of acknowledgement or even a mouthing of “Please wait”. But it could be a matter of me expecting too much.

The burgers are served with &Made BBQ sauce and fries with four flavours to choose from. The flavours being original, smoked, garlic and vinegar. Those who wish to upgrade and try the truffle fries, it’s a top up of $3.

And from the menu, my friends and I ordered:-


1) The 3 Little Pigs, $23 (+ $8, foie gras) (above) – Thick patty comprised of pork fillet, bacon and chorizo, sandwiched between a (bottom) layer of shibazuke (pickles), shitake mushrooms and a (top) layer of shredded cabbage mixed with yuzu-kosho mayonnaise, was moist and juicy! And I am glad they did not neglect the bun which was lightly toasted with butter. Yummy! And of course, the (greedy) me could not resist adding the foie gras (placed right at the top) which was so good too! I like that they sprinkled a little crunchy sea salt on it too. A must try!

2) The ‘B’ Burger, $19 (above) – A burger comprised of dry aged beef patty with caramelized onion and cheese. However, I cant comment on the taste but my friend finished everything well and was left hungry for more. However, for their signature burger, I expected it to have more of the ‘wow’ factor. Like bigger? But I guess sometimes, it’s the quality and not the quantity.

3) The Gardener, $17 (above) – Perfect for vegetarians, although my friend ordered this not because she’s a vegetarian but because she wants something with vegetable. Portobello mushroom, caramelized onion and lettuce. Likewise, we ladies could not finish our burgers and had to leave partial of the bun behind.

4) Lollipop waffle, $9 (above) – When the waffle was served, there’s the faintly sweet aroma. Very nice. While it was sweet, it left a slight bitter aftertaste in the mouth.

5) Hot caramel lava cake, $15 (above) – A must try! The crispy crumble / flakes which covered the ice cream provided a very nice, contrasting texture to the creamy, smooth salted caramel ice cream. The caramel which oozed out from the cake was a little too sweet and thick. but the dessert was good. Though I did think it was weird that the staff cut the cake upon serving, instead of leaving that honour (of slicing) to us.

6) Sundae – Dark Chocolate, $12 (above) – Of the 3 available flavours, we decided to go with dark chocolate. It was average, but do not forget to stick your spoon right to the bottom for the biscuit layer.

Overall, the burgers which &Made is famed for were good. And although it’s opened by Michelin starred Chef Bruno Menard, do not set expectation too sky high and expect Michelin kind of food. After all, he started &Made with the concept of “Everyday Gourmet”: Everyday food with a gourmet twist. However, the restaurant could use with more waiting staff. There were only 3 and they were sufficiently busy with just serving food and clearing empty plates. It did take a little effort in getting their attention to take our orders.

&MADE
9 Scotts Road, Pacific Plaza, #01-04/05/06, Singapore
6690 7566, Website
Overall: 6
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 6
Sun – Thur : 10:00 – 22:00
Ambience: 7
Fri – Sat : 10:00 – 22:30
Value: 6
Service: 6

UPDATE: Restaurant has moved to 31 Ocean Way, Sentosa Cove, Quayside Isle, #01-03.

Supper @ Hai Di Lao

November 1, 2013 in Chinese by thywhaleliciousfay

I was ashamed not to have heard about Hai Di Lao (海底捞) when my friends were talking about the restaurant’s notorious 2 hours long queue. And not wanting to lose out (Ha!), I quickly arranged with my girlfriend to head down for supper. Yes, we went at 11pm so that we can skip the long queue since the restaurant opens till 3am. Keke.

And at 11pm, there was no queue. However, the restaurant was still busy with customers. And cause we came during the Halloween period, they have also gotten into the mood by putting up Halloween decorations!

And yes, they do provide manicure. But it’s a separate room which can house a maximum of 2 people at one time. So even with a long waiting queue (to eat), one still got to queue seperately to do manicure! A queue within a queue! (^^lll)

And the menu comes in the form of an iPad! One can change the language from Chinese to English at the top right corner.

Simply click on the picture and order the quantity you wish to consume! We ordered our dishes in ‘+1′ which is portion more for 3 people. So for 2, do try ordering with ‘+0.5′ where possible.

And after one is finished with choosing the dishes, click ‘Ok, order’ and a staff will take over from there. Do note that each table has their own iPad. Cause we were table 27, and when we wanted to add in more dishes, we were accidentally given table 26′s iPad. And that’s also how we know each table has its own assigned iPad!

And from the menu, we ordered:-

1) Assortment of meat balls & mashed meat, $22 (above) – The green coloured one is cuttlefish cake with spinach juice. And different from the menu description, the restaurant has since changed the platter to include pork balls instead of beef balls. The balls are good, but don’t leave them too long in the soup. We left the balls boiling in the Si Chuan soup for too long that the balls came out in a dark red colour, with almost no taste.

2) Black pork, $12 (above) – It’s a staple for me when it comes to steamboat. And the reddish pink pork slices with its beautiful marbling were tender and juicy. Yummy! A must order.

3) Fried tofu skin, $6 (above)

4) Golden mushroom, $6 (above)

5) Handmade noodle, $3 – This is very much a performance. The staff came up, took out a small bundle of noodle from his push cart, and started twirling and pulling the noodle into the shape of infinity ∞ in front of us. And because he was doing his act just beside us, we did not dared to move, least take a photograph, as we were afraid we would accidentally move into the path of his twirling noodle. The final product was bouncy and chewy.

The seafood platter was unfortunately unavailable. One of the downside of coming late I guess. Overall, while the food was fresh, I was (more) blown away by their service. The staff was very courteous and smiley. When I requested if I could charge my iPhone (which battery had gone flat), the staff went off to search for a iPhone charger for me. And yes, every table has a power socket. Awesome-ness! Phones were given plastic coverings and our bags were also covered with a Hai Di Lao cloth. And in the toilet, there’s even a poster which says they provide free toothbrush, comb, etc. Amazing!

I will definitely head back to Hai Di Lao for both the food and service. Why spend the same amount of money at a restaurant which cant provide the same level of service standard. Just got to think a way on how to beat the queue, that is! =)

HAI DI LAO 海底捞火锅
3D River Valley Road, #02-04, Singapore
6337 8626, Website
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 6
Mon – Sun : 10:30 – 03:00
Ambience: 6
Value: 7
Service: 8