Brunch @ Tolido’s Espresso Nook

November 22, 2014 in European (cafe)

Was in the Lavender area to collect IC for my friend, which of course created the perfect excuse to further check out the cafes in the area. Haha. And by sheer luck, another girlfriend had made plan to collect her IC too.

So with that, we met and walked over from ICA building which was akin to walking over from Lavender MRT station since both (MRT station and ICA building) were just side by side.

Knowing that the cafe was at the building beside Textile Centre and facing the main road (North Bridge Road), my girlfiend and I managed to find our way to the cafe fairly easy by heading in the correct direction.

Upon taking our seats, the staff presented us with the menu and informed us to place our orders at the cashier.

And from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5), we ordered:-

1) Tolido’s truffle fries, $10.50 (above) – Shoestring fries, mixed with premium truffle oil. Topped with shredded parmesan cheese. This was normal although my girlfriend exclaimed upon seeing the fries served in a dimsum basket. She thought it was a little off for Western food to be put in a Chinese basket. Haha.

2) Rosti, $14.90 (above) – Lightly fried, fresh, shredded russet potatoes and egg. The last rosti I had was years back at Marche when Marche was still located at Heeren. Ha. But if my memory did not fail me despite the many years, Tolido’s version was definitely better. The exterior was fried to a beautiful shade of golden brown and was crispy. As they were generous with the ingredients, it was nice to bite into a thick layer of soft shredded potatoes. One may choose to have it with smoked bratwurst ($16.90) or smoked salmon ($20.90) instead of cheesy sausages.

3) Panini-grilled sandwiches, $12.50 (above) – Includes a side of salad & chips. We chose turkey ham over other flavours of pork bacon or tuna, onion & tomato. And this was normal with ham, lettuce, tomato thrown together with some mayonnaise. I did feel a little cheated when I order something that could be put together by myself.

4) Baked turkey ham macaroni cheese, $10 (above) – Creamy macaroni baked with turkey ham, topped with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. An easy dish to execute at home, but I was happy spending my money on this as it tasted great! I like that bigger sizes macaroni was used for more substantial bites.

5) Banana pancakes, $9 (above) – Triple stack of fluffy pancakes with bananas. Not too bad. Banana pieces were also included in the batter. The pancake stuck a little to the (top of my) mouth just like how I personally prefer mine to.

6) Latte, $5.50 (above)

7) Sea salt caramel latte, $6 (above) – Something different. Amidst the sweetness of caramel, there was the faint taste of sea salt.

I say, if one is in Lavender and is looking for more cafes to cafe hop to after having tried the more popular cafes like Artistry and Symmetry, Tolido’s is a good cafe to try next.

And we could tell the staff was a closely knit group from the fun they were having. Which was a good thing cause when staff are happy, service will be better (with smiles) and food will be tastier. There’s a saying of how happy people dish out better tasting food. Although it would have been better if the staff practised a little restraint and not overtreat the cafe as their house. As we tucked into the food, the peaceful atmosphere was often disrupted by the staff’s loud conversations which were thrown from one corner of the cafe to the other.

462 Crawford Lane, #01-63, Singapore
6648 0178, Website, Facebook
Overall: 6
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 6
Tues – Thur : 09:30 – 19:00
Ambience: 6
Fri – Sat : 09:30 – 22:00
Value: 6
Sun : 09:00 – 18:30
Service: 6
* Closed on Mon

Dinner @ Wan He Lou

October 26, 2014 in Chinese

Continuing on with my hairy crab adventure, my friend and I were off to Wan He Lou. Actually, my friend just wanted Chinese cuisine. And the only few Chinese restaurants that I can remember offhand are those which I’ve shortlisted to try their hairy crab. Haha. =p

And with that, we arrived on a Tuesday evening to a packed restaurant. We noticed most were dining in big groups. And we were lucky to be seated promptly as there happened to be an empty table meant for pairs.

And from the menu, we ordered:-

1) Green dragon vegetable with dried shrimps, $9.90 (small) (above) – With 7 options to choose our vegetables to be done, we went with ‘sambal belacan’. Other ways include ‘sauteed with chopped garlic’, ‘anchovies’, ‘oyster sauce’, ‘preserved beancurd’, ‘spicy bean paste’ and ‘black bean’. This was not too bad. Vegetable was crunchy and refreshing, although it was a little spicy for me. I really can’t take spicy food.

2) Signature chicken, $11.90 (small) (above) – This was not bad. The meat was scarped such that it’s a ball at the end which made eating very satisfying. Imagine being able to take one big mouthful of meat easily. And this actually reminded me of coffee pork ribs. The chicken drumlets were fried such that its exterior was crispy before coating them with the sauce. Very nice.

3) Half shell scallop in garlic sauce, $16 (4 pieces) (above)

4) Hairy crab, $26.90 (above) – There’s a promotion of ‘buy 3 get 1 free’, but we decided to share 1 instead. When we were placing our order, we were given an option of male or female, which we went for the former. And upon served, the staff asked if we needed help which we said yes. And with that, the staff dissected the crab very skillfully for us. Amount of roe was not too bad for its price tag. However, the staff forget to give us our cup of ginger tea till we reminded them.

5) Signature lobster porridge, $39.90 (above) – Lobster porridge being their signature dish, we just had to order this. It’s stated on the menu that this costs from $29.90. And upon placing our order, the staff updated us that it would cost us $39.90 for a portion that’s good for 2. And this certainly did not disappoint. Staff assisted to remove the lobster from the bowl before we helped ourselves to the porridge. And the soup was so good. Rich and flavourful.

I certainly recommend Wan He Lou. With their dishes being very affordable, Wan He Lou makes an ideal venue for big group outings. Service was okie although we had a little difficulty initially in trying to get their attention to place our orders. Parking was not an issue aswe parked at Jalan Besar Plaza, with its car park entrance being just opposite Wan He Lou too. Very convenient with affordable parking charge too. We paid only $1.50 for parking (It’s per entry for Monday to Saturday, after 6pm).

And for those interested in their hairy crabs, Wan He Lou is offering them till end of November 14.

65 Maude Road, Singapore
6294 8057, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Sun : 11:00 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 6
Mon – Sun : 17:00 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Service: 7

Brunch @ Windowsill In The Woods

June 23, 2014 in American, European (cafe)

Windowsill in the Woods (also more famously known as Windowsill Pies) stands out with its elaborated shop front. And the place is packed for a café serving just sweet pies. Not even savoury pies.

Upon arrival, we were put on a waiting list, which we managed to be seated within 15 minutes. Unfortunately, the air conditioner was down that day. So warm!

And from the display shelf, we (quickly) ordered:-

1) Strawberry lemon, $7 (above, top most)

2) S’mores, $7 (above)

3) Banana almond brittle, $7 (above, bottom most)

4) Funny apple, $7 (above, top most)

5) Morello cherry, $7 (above)

6) Coconut lime vodka, $7 (above)

7) Grasshopper, $7 (above, bottom most)

Banana almond brittle, s’mores and strawberry lemon were recommended as their best sellers. But frankly, the morello cherry outshone the rest. I liked its robust flavour and how there were cherries (skin included) in between the weaves of sugared shortcrust. The s’mores and coconut lime vodka will be my next favourites.

Our least favourite is grasshopper, where the mint was too overpowering. I say you need to have an acquired taste for this.

While much thought and effort have been put into the café design (both interior and exterior), I will actually recommend popping by for take away only cause it can get quite tricky getting a table for walk-in. Fret not if you are in the long queue and are worrying you may not get that last slice of pie as the pies are replenished on the spot. Oh yes, I think they have a centralised kitchen cause I saw a van replenishing the supply by delivering many boxes of the pies. And if you are planning to take away, one need not travel all the way to Lavender. There’re other cafés which serve Windowsill Pies’s pies. Artistry is one such café.

One may also want to note that alcohol can be found in some of the flavours, namely banana almond brittle, coconut lime vodka and funny apple.

78 Horne Road, Singapore
9004 7827, Website, Facebook
Overall: 6
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 6
Tues – Thur : 11:00 – 21:30
Ambience: 6
Fri : 11:00 – 22:30
Value: 6
Sat : 10:00 – 22:30
Service: 5
Sun : 10:00 – 21:30
* Closed on Mon

UPDATE: Cafe has moved to 95 Soo Chow Walk.