Brunch @ The Hideout // CLOSED

October 27, 2014 in European (cafe)

It was by sheer chance that I was heading down to the East. And with a quick text, I managed to get my girlfriend (who’s stationed in the East) to join me for a quick tea break! =)

We came on a weekday late afternoon. It being a weekday, it was no surprise that the café was a little quiet. Occupying a corner unit, The Hideout is pretty spacious and has sufficient tables and chairs to sit 20 or more people. And with a clever use of an almost full-height mirror installed along one span, the café looks bigger than it already is.

And from the menu, we ordered:-

1) Cake set (+ $3 for coffee) comprised of:-

(A) Red velvet lava cake (above) – We paid $3 more (on top of the cake price) to get a cup of coffee. If not, cake alone cost $6.50, or $8.90 with ice cream. We chose dark chocolate for our ice cream flavour. This was not too bad. And instead of the usual chocolate within the lava cake, The Hideout used white chocolate ganache.

(B) Latte (above) – Otherwise $4.80 if ordered a-la carte.

2) Salted caramel overload, $12.90 (above) – With salted caramel ice cream, biscuit and sauce. This was indeed an overload. A perfect choice for salted caramel lovers! If not, one can also order buttermilk waffle with choice of flavour for one’s ice cream. Ice cream was thick and smooth while waffle was crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. However, I thought the waffle left a slight weird aftertaste, although my girlfriend did not taste anything funny.

With 2 cafes located just a block away within the Cassia Crescent estate, it’s inevitable that I would compare the two against each other. In terms of waffle, I would prefer the other. However, The Hideout attempts to be a one-stop-for-all by offering ice cream (Read fellow blogger MyFoodSirens‘s review on their ice cream) and savoury food like pasta and pizza.

Thus, if one prefers to have everything at a place, The Hideout will be the answer.

Blk 32 Cassia Crescent, #01-50, Singapore
6440 0971, Facebook
Overall: 6
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 6
Mon, Wed – Sun : 12:00 – 22:00
Ambience: 6
Value: 6
* Closed on Tues
Service: 6

Brunch @ The Tastemaker Store

October 3, 2014 in European (cafe)

My colleague and I decided to have a change from the usual hawker fare for lunch. With that, we ventured (slightly) further out from office by heading to The Tastemaker Store. And I don’t know why but I kept thinking the café was called The Toastmaker instead of The Tastemaker. But I digress. Ha.

It’s an estimated 10 minutes walk from Tiong Bahru MRT. I say, use Google map to navigate one’s way around. Although my colleague and I came by cab. From office, of course! =)

I noted that one can either walk past the cafe unknowingly or one will spot it immediately. With its huge glass shop front and black painted (external) walls, the café stands out from its neighbours. But with only a sticker on the glass, I almost walked past knowing that it’s a café but not realising it’s The Tastemaker Store.

And I really love the space! I like how everything from the lighting, furniture and little introduction of nature (think pots of greenery hung from the ceiling) came together harmoniously. I was so impressed that I told my colleague that if I ever renovate my room, this is what I (will) want to achieve.

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

1) Yam cake, $3.80 (above) – With pieces of sausage and pumpkin within, their take on this local delight belonged more to the smooth category in terms of texture. It’s a personal preference that I prefer my yam cake ‘ugly’. You know… Not in a nice, rectangular shape. And with huge chunks of taro. We liked their homemade chilli paste which spiciness only kicked in after we swallowed. It was somehow addictive.

2) Lemon curd toast, $3 (above) – Served with clotted cream. We chose to go a-la carte instead of ordering the toast set which would have entitled us to additional 2 soft boiled eggs and Americano or tea at $5.80. And I really liked this. Bread was a soft and fluffy muffin, which complimented the tangy lemon curd. A must try, indeed!

3) Glutinous rice $3.80 – Served in a tin, this looked really similar to the yam cake with its similar colour and same topping of deep fried shallots and chilli. This was unfortunately very bland. In fact, we also noticed there was ‘spider web’ with every scoop we took. A sign that it had gone bad. I took our dish and enquired with the lady at the counter, who promptly took it to the kitchen to check. Within minutes, she came and was very apologetic. She asked if we would like to order something else or get a refund. We opted for the latter. Out of curiosity, my colleague further probed if it was normal to have the spider web which the lady replied she too was puzzled as this batch was delivered earlier in the morning. And what made me realised it’s definitely the supplier’s fault and never their intention to sell bad food was when I overheard another table order the glutinous rice (30 minutes after our incident). The young man took their order and returned shortly to inform that the rice was no longer unavailable due to problems with it. That earned my respect. I am glad they are honest owners who rather make a loss than to lose customers.

4) Curry chicken rice, $6.50 (above) – Cooked in-house, this comes with a plate of rice too. Generous portion of chicken thigh with a piece of tau pok (fried beancurd) and pieces of potato. Meat was flavourful and tender. Nice! And I think it’s in the recipe because similar to their homemade chilli sauce, the spiciness of the curry only kicked in after we swallowed.

5) Pizza 8″ (mushroom & cherry tomato), $5.80 (above)

6) Latte, $5 (above) – Slightly bitter.

I will definitely recommend checking The Tastemaker Store for their ambience and lemon curd toast. They also have the lemon curd flavour available for their waffle. So for waffle and lemon curd lovers, you’re in luck!

Service wise, I must say they are very genuine and sincere. The curry chicken rice was our second batch of order (oh yes, I am a glutton), so when we placed our order, we told the young chap (behind the counter) to leave out the rice. I mean, no use asking them to serve the rice and waste it if we knew our stomachs only have sufficient space for the meat right? =) The lady (whom I am presuming is the mother) saw us having our curry chicken without the rice, came up and asked if we would like to have some bread instead.

Blk 22 Havelock Road, #01-705, Singapore
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 6
Mon – Fri : 11:00 – 20:00
Ambience: 7
Sat – Sun : 10:00 – 18:00
Value: 7
Service: 7 

Brunch @ OTG Coffee

August 29, 2014 in European (cafe)

I will admit, I pay a little more attention to cafes that’s nearer to home. Easier for me to make my way over lah. =p

And OTG Coffee is a small unit located at the end of Blk 211. But despite being a corner unit, they have gotten themselves a good spot as they can be easily identified as one crosses the overhead bridge. Oh yes, they are accessible only by bus or cab. Not within walking distance from any MRT stations. OTG Coffee is also a road away from a coffee shop and POSB ATM machine. So yes, if your company is sick of café food, drag them to OTG Coffee before heading to the coffee shop next door. Ha.

OTG Coffee offers limited dishes like spicy cheese toast and pasta (not on the menu) for savoury. Scone, croissant, waffle and cakes for pastries. But a good range of ice cream flavours. Menu came in the form of a white board (behind the counter) and photographs pasted randomly around the counter.

And from the menu, we ordered:-

1) Chicken penne, $9.20 (above) – Served with an egg and shredded cheese, this dish was a special for the day. We gladly went along with pasta cause we wanted something heavy for lunch. And it’s a heart-warming dish. This is actually a simple dish to execute, but together with the friendliness of the lady who took our order, I could taste the sincerity served together with the dish. I kid not.

2) Waffle groupie, $9.50 (+ $0.80, premium flavour) (above) – The waffle groupie was basically waffle with two scoops of ice cream. We went with ‘Mr Tim Tan’ and ‘milk tea’ for our choices of ice cream. As ‘Mr Tim Tam’ was a premium flavour, we topped up $0.80. And I must say they were very generous with their ice cream. The scoops were so huge! And I recommend trying ‘Mr Tim Tam’! It was really good. Waffle wise, it was done to a nice brown. Unfortunately, I was not impressed with its texture. I prefer waffle to have a crispy exterior, although its interior was porous and chewy.

3) Scone, $4.50 (above) – This was bad. It looked hard on the outside, but when my fork sliced through, the entire scone crumbled. I tried picking it up with my hand, and was pretty shocked to realise how soft the entire scone was. Very egg-coloured, flat (good scone rises n height) and left a slight after taste.

4) Banana cake, $5 (above) – What I first noticed was how the cake batter was not homogeneous. Hmm… But that aside, banana cake was moist and not too sweet. I preferred it without the top frosting.

5) Latte, $4.50 (above)

So yes, OTG Coffee is probably a family business. I am guessing the very friendly lady who took my orders was the Mom, with her teenager children helping out with the cleaning and in-house baking. What really stood out for me was their service. Especially the Mom’s. Very sincere. Very genuine. Always smiling and soft spoken. I felt really at ease while brunching at OTG Coffee. So yes, I really wanted to write a glowing review for them, but unfortunately, there’s still much work to be done on their food.

I had come wanting to try their pancakes too, but was told that they have temporarily stopped their pancakes because the waffles were higher in demand. Hmm…

I say, do drop by if you are staying in Serangoon for their ice creams! They are also a florist under the name of ‘OTG Flowers’. Check out their Facebook for postings of their floral arrangements!

Blk 211, Serangoon Ave 4, #01-02, Singapore
6487 4177, Facebook
Overall: 6
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 5
Tues – Sun : 12:00 – 22:00
Ambience: 6
Value: 6
* Closed on Mon
Service: 7