Dinner @ Concetto

October 19, 2014 in Italian

An outing with my soon-to-be-married couple friend was due and the female (also my girlfriend) wanted somewhere affordable and at a restaurant that’s not too shabby. As such, I thought of Concetto.

Taken from their website, Concetto is the brainchild of two people who discovered the need to provide quality fare at affordable prices. After Saveur, Concette was their second restaurant but offering Italian cuisine. And I must say, they have succeeded in their branding. When one wants quality yet affordable cuisine, one would think of either Saveur and Concetto. Which also explained why the dinner venue was settled as Concetto.

And from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4), we ordered:-

1) Seafood soup, $8.90 (above) – A rich shellfish broth with a selection of luscious seafood. The presentation did not look too impressive, but this was not too bad. The groom-to-be was worried the soup would tasty fishy, but this was no where near that. Instead, it was rich and flavourful.

2) Concetto pasta, $6.90 (above) – Chilled capellini tossed in lobster oil & seaweed; served with crab & shrimp tartare, finished with lobster foam & ikura. It did not exactly impress but this was okie for its price tag.

3) Pork ravioli, $11.90 (above) – Sphere-shaped pasta filled with minced pork belly & smoked scarmozza cheese; served with pernod fennel cream sauce, aged parma ham & onion confit. The filling within was marinated very well. Very tasty. However, the dough was a little thick. And at the corners where the dough was pressed together, it was a little uncooked.

4) Squid ink risotto, $11.90 (above) – Arborio rice cooked in shellfish broth, butter & squid ink; served with squid brunoise, pan-seared squid & crispy rice cracker.

5) Cod, $22.90 (above) – Pan-seared cod; served with clams & white wine broth; fennel salad & puff pastry. Did not really like this. The various elements (cod, puff pasty and salad) did not manage to come together as a dish. And the broth somehow tasted like our Chinese’s salted vegetable soup instead.

6) Pistachio panna cotta, $6.90 (above) – Pistachio-flavoured cooked cream served with pistachio crumble & salted pistachio.

7) Grapefruit dome, $7.90 (above) – A dome of orange and grapefruit; served with lemon meringue, grapefruit confit, honey mint sorbet and grand marnier. This was a little bitter since grapefruit was the main object for this dish.

8) Tiramisu, $10.90 (above) – A la-minute composed; homemade sponge, mascarpone cream, tanariva chocolate mousse. Looked impressive on the plate, but I did not really like Concette’s deconstructed rendition of tiramisu. That taste of coffee was missing.

Generally, Concetto makes a good place for an almost-there-fine-dining experience. The dishes offered at Concetto are what one would most likely see in fine-dining restaurants. But offered at wallet-friendly prices at Concetto. Which also explained why reservation is a must.

My friends reached at 6.15pm on a weekend evening without knowing that I had made reservation for 7pm. And he was told the next available slot for walk-in was at 9pm! So yes, thankfully I made a reservation on their website (which beeds to be done at least 3 hours in advance). And it was great that we were promptly allocated a table even though we were almost 30 minutes early.

However, it’ll be good to request for a table on the upper tier. The restaurant has two levels, and we smelled after our dinner as we say at the lower tier which wS just beside the open-concept kitchen.

But it’s a personal preference that I rather dine elsewhere as I do not mind paying slightly more for better executed food. While Concetto gives a good deal where one need not dig too deep into their wallets / purses, some of the dishes seem to be misses because Concetto is restricted by the budget in order to keep their dishes affordable.

So it’s really a personal choice. Good deal or value for money. Good deal is where one scores something at a very good price (that’s known in advance) while value for money is where one can gets more than what one expect. While, at least that’s how I define the two terms. =)

2 Handy Road, The Cathay, #01-11/12, Singapore
6735 1141, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Sun : 12:00 – 21:30
Ambience: 7
Value: 7
Service: 7

Sweets @ Kki Sweets

October 16, 2014 in European (cafe)

I have long heard about Kki sweets, but I missed my chance when they moved out from Ann Siang before I could visit. So when they reopened at School Of The Arts (SOTA), I made sure I was quick in making a visit. Well, many visits. Keke.

SOTA is just beside The Cathay which means Kki Sweets is within walking distance from Dhoby Ghaut MRT station. Walk up the long flight of stairs to reach level 2 where Kki is located at. They are at the end nearer to PoMo.

Upon entering the beautiful space, do wait in line for one’s turn to order the cake. After which, the staff will assign a table. My favorite got to be table no. 4!

And from the display shelf, I ordered:-

1) Nao, $9.80 (above) – Strawberry mousse with pistachio.

2) Onigiri, $9 (above) – Basil milk mousse with blood orange.

3) Antoinette, $8.80 (above) – White chocolate mousse with mango.

4) Cafe dumo, $9.80 (above) – Milk chocolate coffee mousse.

5) Fromage melon, $8.80 (above) – Cheese mousse with rock melon.

6) Tiramisu, $9.80 (above) – Mascarpone cheese mousse with kahlua. Contains alcohol.

7) L.R.R.H, $9.80 (above) – Dark chocolate mousse with raspberry.

8) Mont blanc, $9.80 (above) – Chestnut paste with fresh crème on almond tart base.

9) Kinabaru, $8.80 (above) – Coconut mousse with passionfruit.

10) Latte, $4.80 (above)

11) Green tea (Tsugaru), $4.80 (above) – Apple flavored. Asked for a recommendation for their hot tea and was recommended this from their drinks menu. Let the tea leaves soak for 1-2 minutes before enjoying.

And as one can see, I went a little crazy. Haha. When I learnt that they have a total of 12 flavours, I made a pact with myself to conquer all. Ahhh… The things I do to myself my thick waist. Haha. But the quest was sweet as their cakes were delectable, though slightly costly. One small cake set me back by at least $10 after including GST and service charge. But it’s quality over quantity. =)

And in an attempt to complete my quest, I have made 5 trips altogether. Alone and with friends. Of which 1 was take away. Although an ice pack was put within the box, lady boss said the cakes should be consumed as soon as possible.

If one is really interested in trying the cakes and wants to be able to choose from a variety (although the most I saw was 9 flavours at one time), one got to come early. If one is in luck, there may be 1 to 2 flavours left in very limited quantity on a weekday late afternoon (5.30pm). Whereas the cakes sell out by 5pm on weekends even though they do bring out more at around 3pm. Saw them doing that on my most recent visit on Saturday. If not I wouldn’t have been able to buy the ‘mont blanc’. Keke.

I will recommend the cakes at Kki Sweets. Not just for the cakes, but for the ambience. Got to chat a little with the friendly lady boss and learnt a little about the Japanese culture where Japanese would eat their cakes with a cup of tea/coffee. And she advised not to eat more than 2 cakes per visit. If not by the 3rd cake, one can’t taste or appreciate the flavour. This is not a cake buffet, kie! Ha.

Stopped at 9 flavours cause I don’t seem to have much fate with the other 3. I know the 10th flavour is a cheesecake. Do let me know what’s the 11th and 12th flavour! =)

1 Zubir Said Drive, SOTA, #02-01, Singapore
6225 6650, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Tues – Sun : 12:00 – 20:00
Ambience: 7
Value: 7
* Closed on Mon
Service: 7

Brunch @ Whale & Cloud

June 29, 2014 in European (cafe)

“Many will seek but not all shall find.” That is exactly what’s written on their instagram profile. And I must say, it’s true. For one, they have no website. Just an instagram account. It was by sheer chance that I learnt of them while I did my usual instagram-profile-hopping.

Two, it’s not easy locating their entrance! Their entrance is in fact the back door of unit 48. If you managed to park along Niven Road, please walk towards Rex Cinema (Merchant Road) to get to the back alley. We took off in the wrong direction and ended up taking a big detour. Alternatively, if you are taking the public transport (bus / cab), you can alight in front of Hotel 81 Selegie, cut across Hotel 81 (Oh yes, go through Hotel 81) and enter the (shared) back alley to see the blue door of Whale & Cloud immediately.

Uh huh, my friend and I cleverly thought of cutting through Hotel 81. It was by luck that Whale & Cloud is just behind Hotel 81. Keke.

Trying to enter Whale & Cloud is an experience in itself too. Their door is kept locked. Upon reaching, we had to knock, wait for a while before the door was opened for us. Thinking back, it was kinda funny cause when the staff opened the door for my friend and I, she had a surprised look. Well… A hidden gem like Whale & Cloud wouldn be kept long as a secret.

And the whole secrecy of their existence, together with their address having a ¾ , I couldn help but think of Harry Potter and the Platform 9¾.

There’s no menu. Instead, smacked in the centre of the space is a table where baked goodies offered for the day are placed. There was only one staff on duty, who was also the barista that took our coffee orders.

And we ordered:-

1) Carrot cake, $4 (above) – Cake was moist, not overly dense with generous amount of chopped walnuts. My friend felt the cake was a little sweet, but I liked it as it is.

2) Latte (above) – Comes with complimentary old school biscuits!

Our carrot cake was priced at $4, while payment for coffee is by tipping.

I will definitely recommend checking out Whale & Cloud for the experience of trying to locate them, ambience of the cafe and yummy baked goodies. I liked how it felt like we were entering a green house which effect was achieved with the exposed red bricks for the earth-soil feel (haha), potted plants hanging from the ceiling and most importantly, the place being lit with natural light entering through the glass ceiling.

Whale & Cloud makes an ideal place to sip coffee, enjoy a slice of cake while reading a book. Do come with a friend, although I wont encourage coming in a big group as the layout does not allow big groups to huddle. And with word getting round (fast), I am expecting them to get pretty crowded soon (we were told they are into their 2nd month of operation) which would not be a good thing because the very small cafe’s charm lies in its serenity.

I am hoping in the near future, Whale & Cloud will consider opening during weekdays.

48¾ Niven Road, Singapore
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Selected weekends
Ambience: 7
Value: 7
* Follow their instagram for updates
Service: 6