Dinner @ La Villa // CLOSED

December 1, 2012 in Italian by thywhaleliciousfay

So while surfing for children friendly eateries, I came across La Villa. It’s mentioned that there’s a blow-up castle for children to play during weekends, but as I came on a weekday evening with my girlfriend, I am not able to verify if the castle truly exists. And for someone like myself who dont drive, it can be quite a walk from Somerset MRT.

And the restaurant is very spacious with a huge interior, many al fresco seats and an open concept kitchen where we could watch the chefs preparing the pizza.

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

1) Bread, Complimentary (above)

2) La Villa special burger (lobster), $22 (above) – This was a let down. There were more vegetables than lobster meat in the burger. My friend and I then concluded it’s the lobster fault as there’s not much meat in one lobster. To ensure every mouthful has sufficient meat, restaurants should either put in more lobster meats (which can then justify a higher price tag) or totally not use lobster.

3) Premium meat platter (for 1 person), $38 (above) – Comprised of lamb rack, veal rack, chicken breast, grain-fed Australian beef rib eye, pork belly, lamb, pork and veal sausages, this ‘premium’ platter certainly failed to impress. In fact, we found most of the meat either too dry (like the chicken), or too fatty (like the lamb) and hence very chewy. I strongly believe we can get a better deal elsewhere.

4) Al Formaggi, $24 (above) – Comprised of tomato, mozzarella, mixed Italian cheese and rucola salad, this is probably the only main that saved our dining experience. Though the crust was slightly oily, it’s a personal preference that I love my pizzas with cheeses! One can hardly go wrong with cheese.

5) Tiramisu, $14 (above) – The tiramisu was served with the strawberry fallen from the top of the cake to the plate (Strawberry was put back by self for picture taking). It could have happened when the staff was taking it out from the kitchen, but for me, I think the restaurant (staff included) should take pride in the food they serve. If something has fallen, it takes no more than 1 minute to reposition it. Or even replace the entire dish if needed. Presentation aside, the tiramisu was decent.

6) Orange tartlet “creme brûlée, $15 (above) – Despite its name, we tasted no trace of the orange. Instead, it tasted as though too much vanilla essence was used.

We could have gone wrong with our choices of food despite their extensive menu, but I doubt I will be back anytime soon. After we were seated, it was difficult to get the attention of the staff to take our orders. Which was weird as we were sat smacked in the centre, in front of the kitchen. The only occupied table in that section too. If you must check out La Villa, do let me know how their pastas fare.

341 River Valley Road, #01-03, Singapore
6836 5286, Website, Facebook
Overall: 6.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 6
Mon – Sat : 12:00 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Sat : 18:00 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 6
Sun : 11:30 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Service: 7
Sun : 18:00 – 22:30 (Dinner)

Dinner @ Esquina Tapas Bar

November 28, 2012 in Spanish by thywhaleliciousfay

I forgot how I came to learn about Esquina, but my girlfriend seconded that Esquina is a good place to check out from how packed it always is. Thus, we decided to head down for dinner. However, to our dismay, while checking their website for a number to call, I learned that they do not accept reservation. Crowded place with no reservation = Long waiting time? Nooooo! Haha.

We arrived on a Tuesday evening at 7.40pm to find the restaurant (expectedly) full. However, we were told we could be put on a waiting list. Though the Malay male staff accidentally called the waiting list as the reservation list which earned me a dirty stare from my girlfriend as I was telling her earlier that they dont accept reservation. Haha.

But what I really appreciate about this Malay male staff is… We came a little after a couple. He must have realised his senior who attended to the couple first (by bringing them to the waiting corner to order drinks first) had forgotten about us when he saw us still standing at the entrance. He came up to us and said he’ll get his senior. I truly appreciate his initiative and his sense of responsibility even though he has in a way handed us over to his senior.

We chose to wait at a coffee cafe a few units down the road after leaving our contact number. And while we were advised the waiting time is estimated to be 30 minutes, we ended up waiting for 1.5 hours.

There’re some outdoor seats but we were ushered into a round (tall) table placed at the corner. And in the centre of the rectangular interior, are stools around the L-shaped counter. And for a restaurant which could house no more than twenty customers, they sure have a lot of chef! I was pretty amazed at the sight.

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

1) Daily Special, $24 (above) – Topped with a poached egg, we were told to mix it with the fragrant rice. I especially like the contrasting texture between the moist but firm rice and the soft and runny egg. So nice!!!

2) Scallop ceviche, radish salsa, soya & yuzu ponzu, $24 (above) – A must try! The scallops were fresh and succulent. Again, I love the contrasting texture between the soft scallop and the crunchy radish. I’m so glad there were only 2 of us such that we got 2 scallops each. Hee!

3) Raw tuna, mushroom & jamon salad, aubergine miso, sherry sesame, $22 (above) – When I read raw tuna and salad, I thought it will be served as minced (raw) tuna on a bed of boring greens. But I was wrong. Firstly, the tuna were presented cut in pieces and not sliced the Japanese way. And there were hardly any big greens. I love this dish. The irregularly cut tuna pieces were big enough to have satisfying bites. Yum!

4) Iberico pork & foie gras burger $28 (above) – Sadly, this dish was salty. The meat comprised of pulled pork and (what I am assuming to be) minced pork patty. And it’s this patty that’s salty. I think I know my foie gras quite well too but I saw none here, unless it was minced into the patty. But the bun was tasty on its own!

5) Roast pork belly, bacon & onion dashi broth, coriandar seaweed salad, $27 (above) – I’m a fan! Upon presentation, the staff poured the sauce into the dish containing the 2 pieces of pork belly that’s placed on top of the seaweed salad. The pork belly, which were not too fatty, were so tender!

6) Pigeon escabeche, confit leg croquette, carrot & cumin, $28 (above) – Of all the dishes, this came across as okie. The pigeon which is done medium well can be a little dry depending on the part (Like the wing). The croquette which had a nice crispy exterior, was unfortunately dry inside.

7) Seville orange & rosemary ice cream, burnt meringue, citrus curd, marmalade toast, $13 (above) – The rosemary ice cream was creamy and addictive.

8) Grilled pineapple, coconut lime jelly, basil sorbet, $13 (above) – The grilled pineapple funnily did not taste like pineapple while the green sorbet proved to be a little too herby for us.

9) Manchego custard, black olive brioche crumb, apricot jam, $13 (above) – This being cheese is more of a savoury dessert. For ladies (like us) who have a sweet tooth for desserts, this dish failed to impress although we cant deny the smooth consistency of the cheese custard.

I seriously love this place. Although it can get a little frustrating to wait when one is hungry, but the delicious food and warm service is definitely worth the wait. And while the serving is more of a starter’s portion, one should really have anticipated it from their restaurant bar name – Tapas. And because it’s set up for a bar’s vibe, I enjoyed the intimacy feel of the small place.

I really must emphasize on the warm service. The Chinese female who took our orders was always smiling and very friendly as she gave us her recommendations. Not forgetting the chef. We had wanted to order the kingfish sashimi. However, one of the waiter came up to inform that they had finished the last plate of it and asked if we wanted the raw tuna. When the staff suggested tuna, I thought they were giving us alternatives. So when we were presented with the raw tuna and informed that it’s complimentary by the chef, we were genuinely surprised!

Note : I am including the race of the staff as I recount my dining experience so that should Esquina’s management one day read this review, I hope they can use the information to better identify the staff and give them a pat on the back. Cause frankly, the service we experienced was really good!

16 Jiak Chuan Lane, Singapore
6222 1616, Website, Facebook
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Mon – Fri : 12:00 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Sat : 18:00 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 8
* Closed on Sun
Service: 8

Brunch @ Chock Full Of Beans

November 16, 2012 in European (cafe) by thywhaleliciousfay

It was an accidental find to learn about Chock Full Of Beans as I was surfing the net. Having read raves by fellow HungryGoWhere-ers, I was excited to check the place out even though it meant travelling all the way to Changi.

And I have to add, to arrive by public transport sure isn easy. From Pasir Ris MRT, one has to take the only bus; bus 89. Had it not been for GPS, I will have thought I missed the bus stop because it was so far in.

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

1) Latte – My girlfriend had ordered this as a takeaway while waiting for an empty table. She, being a true coffee person, said that the coffee was bad as stale beans were used.

2) Cubano (ham & cheese) sandwich, $13 (above) – Of the 7 options under the section ‘Sandwiches/Wraps’, we decided to go with this. We were presented with a plate of just the sandwich and a little salad at the side. The slices of bread used were so thick that they were very out of proportion compared to the thin meat fillings of parma ham and roasted pork. We ended up not touching the top layer of bread. It’ll have been good if more slices of pickled cucumber were put, instead of just 1 (pathetic one), such that there’ll be the contrasting texture in every mouthful too.

3) Eggs atlantic, $13 (above) – The difference between this and eggs benedict is that the former comprises of poached egg and smoked salmon while the latter is of poached egg and ham. The eggs, which were poached well, went well with their homemade toast.

4) Brulee french toast, $9 (above) – This was like the dessert of our brunch as it’s a sweet dish. I thought it’s not too bad except it was a little egg-y. Worth a try if you’ve a sweet tooth!

My girlfriend and I concluded it’s not worth to make a special trip down to Changi for the bad coffee and average standard food. Instead, we were left pondering as to why there did not seem to be a quiet moment at the cafe. To which, we concluded it’s because if one is looking for a cafe to chill at, this is the only place in Changi. Till someone else opens a cafe in the vicinity, that is.

4 Changi Village Road, #01-2090, Singapore
6214 8839, Facebook
Overall: 6
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 6
Tues – Fri : 11:00 – 22:00
Ambience: 6
Sat – Sun : 09:00 – 22:00
Value: 6
* Closed on Mon
Service: 6