Lunch @ Cafe Melba

June 18, 2017 in European (cafe)

It’s one of those rare days where my colleagues and I could go for extended lunch. Since such moments don’t come by often these days, we were fast in deciding to head out. And head out? It had to be at somewhere fancier. Haha. And Cafe Melba popped up in our search result when we Google-ed up ‘cafes in the East’.


The good thing about going to cafes during weekday was that we need not worry about the crowd. As compared to the weekend crowd. So yes, we easily got a table for 6 people. We chose to sit within the air-conditioned space instead of taking the alfresco seats. And from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12), we ordered:-

1) Fries, $8 (above)


2) Mozzarella stuffed potato rosti, $16 (above)

3) Lamb vindaloo, $26 (above)


4) Chicken parmigiana, $22 (above)

5) Catch of the day, $30 (above)

6) Smoked carbonara, $21 (above)

7) Three little pigs pizza, $18 (above)


8) Granny apple crumble, $12 (above)

9) Latte, $6 (above)

My colleagues and I had a good lunch at Cafe Melba. We were pleased with our choices of savoury dish, although we couldn’t say the same for our (one and only) dessert. So while the dishes were slightly pricier, I would recommend Cafe Melba. It has a good capacity for big groups too.

But if one is hoping to nail a instagram worthy shot of the food… Don’t expect anything hipster. Which is a compliment. A good cafe should keep patrons’ stomachs happy and not the eyes. o_O

CAFE MELBA
90 Goodman Road, Goodman Arts Centre, Blk N, #01-56, Singapore
6440 6068, Website, Facebook
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Fri : 10:00 – 22:00
Ambience: 7
Sat – Sun : 08:30 – 22:00
Value: 7
Service: 7

Dinner @ Etna Italian Restaurant

April 8, 2017 in Italian

I was impressed much by the food served at Etna when I last dined in… 2010. Gasp. I remember packing the unfinished pizza which my younger brother (who’s not easily impressed by food) gave his nod of approval.

My team mates would regularly head out for after-work dinner and drinks. And since our office was in the East and me wanting proper food instead of bar food, I suggested heading to Etna. Actually, I wanted to thank my colleagues for covering me when I was away for my holiday in Japan, and I felt it was only right that I treated them at a proper restaurant. Ie, one that I know won’t disappoint us with the food.

Reservation is a must. We went on a Friday evening and the restaurant was running at full capacity. At least 2 groups of walks-in were turned away.

And from the dinner menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7), we ordered:-

1) Bread platter, Complimentary (above)

2) Antipasto Etna, $38 (above) – Italian cold cuts, marinated vegetables and baked ricotta cheese. And they actually meant pickled when the menu stated ‘marinated vegetables’.

3) Calamari e ceci, $18 (above) – Grilled fresh squids with chickpeas puree, caper powder and seasoned breadcrumb.

4) Parmigiana di melanzane, $18 (above) – Baked eggplant parmigiana layered with fresh basil and mozzarella cheese. This must be eaten once served to the table. We enjoyed it better when it was warm. So good.

5) Ciriole alla norcina, $28 (above) – Homemade semolina pasta with mushrooms, homemade sausage and truffle paste. A colleague and I wanted to order this, but I decided to get something else cause I was told the homemade sausage contained bits of beef. I don’t eat beef lah. But it was interesting that the homemade pasta reminded us of udon. Hmm…


6) Ravioli all’ aragosta, $36 (above) – Homemade lobster ravioli with butter pistachio cream and prawns. My dish! I thought the ravioli could be thinner at the rim. You know, where the 2 pieces of pasta sheet were pressed together. But my Irish colleague gave this dish the thumbs up.

7) Filetto di maiale al marsala, $34 (above) – Glazed pork tenderloin with marsala sauce, roasted potatoes and gremolata.

8) Tonno scottato alle erbe, $36 (above) – Seared fresh yellowfin tuna loin breaded with herbs, erved with broccoli flan and red onion.

9) Burrata pizza rosse, $32 (above) – Tomato, fresh burrata cheese, parma ham and rocket salad. And Etna didn’t disappoint with their pizza. =) Decided to go with another flavour (from what I tried in 2010) because my taste has since evolved and I almost always had to have burrata cheese when I am having Italian. Thankfully my colleagues love burrata cheese too. Keke.

  

10) Biancomangiare, $16 (above) – Almond panna cotta with white chocolate. A colleague loves her panna cotta. She never fails to order it when it’s available on the menu. And I was glad she ordered the panna cotta cause we didn’t expect an elaborate presentation to come with it. “I need to pour this quickly when the chocolate is hot”, the waiter said. And he followed to pour dark chocolate over the dome that’s made with white chocolate. But the dark chocolate wasn’t as hot as it should be because the dome only melted in small areas. And when the waiter realised it wasn’t going to melt any further, he flipped the dome to reveal the panna cotta beneath.

11) Tiramisu al pistacchio di bronte, $14 (above) – Classic tiramisu with authentic pistachio paste (from Bronte, Sicily). Unfortunately, I remembered Etna’s tiramisu use to be better. Unless my standard went up over the years? This was too creamy for my liking.

Dinner at Etna must be good because my colleagues and I left the restaurant happy and inspired to have Italian for our next after-work dinner. Keke. Will I recommend Etna? It’s a big “yes” from me if one is in the East and craving for Italian cuisine.

That said, one event still bothers me to date. The group of ladies seated beside us apparently ordered more than what they could eat. One of their leftover was the pizza where they left 4 slices untouched. Our assigned table was just beside the area where food was served from the kitchen and where waiting staff would return finished plates (for washing). I witnessed the staff transferring the ladies’ remaining pizza to a container. Clearly for their consumption. Some may argue it’s acceptable since it’s the same logic as me packing my unfinished pizza home. But I just felt it was wrong for hygiene reason. So I guess… If they wanted to do it, they should have at least ensured it was done out of any customers’ sight.

ETNA ITALIAN RESTAURANT
110 Upper East Coast Road, Singapore
6444 9530, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Sun : 12:00 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Sun : 18:00 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 8
Service: 7

Dinner @ Beauty In The Pot

September 16, 2016 in Chinese

I was asked about my steamboat experience at Ma Fu Yuan when my friends exclaimed “But you need to try Beauty In The Pot. You haven’t tried the best if you haven’t gone there.”

Frankly, I think I did hear about Beauty In The Pot. But the restaurant name didn’t sound interesting enough to get me interested. I didn’t quite get the hype over collagen soup too.

However, my friends highly recommended Beauty In The Pot. And since it was located very near to my work place, I decided to get my colleagues to head over for dinner one day. And the opportunity came when I arranged my own birthday gathering with my colleagues. Hahaha. Yes, that was back in August.

And for my birthday celebrating at Beauty In The Pot, my colleagues and I had decided on the dinner date at least 3 weeks in advance. But I was a little slow in making reservation. When I tried to make reservation on Chope 10 days before our dinner date, I was not able to as Chope required reservation to be made at least 14 days in advance. And when I phoned the restaurant, I was told by the staff that they only had 5.30pm and 9pm time slots.

It was coincidental that we had a work event on the Friday my colleagues and I planned to have our steamboat dinner. And so, I confirmed reservation for 5.30pm for 8 people since we would be able to leave work earlier. Keke.

Upon arrival at the restaurant, I was pleasantly surprised to see that we were allocated a big square table where we could sit around with 2 on each side. That certainly allowed the big group of us to talk properly as compared to being seated at a long rectangular table where people would break off into smaller groups. I certainly gave it to the restaurant for taking note of such detail during their design development stage.

And we were given ziplock bags to contain our hand phones and aprons to wear! The latter was definitely much appreciated since I can be pretty clumsy. I always stain my white clothes. Ha. And my colleagues were amazed that they could use their (touch screen) mobiles even though it was enclosed within the (thin) ziplock.

And from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8), we ordered:-

1) Twin flavours broth, $25 (above) – Beauty collagen soup, spicy nourishing soup.


  

2) Condiment, $2.80 (per person) (above) – Condiments and free flow of rice was chargeable at $2.80. This was keyed in by the staff when she assisted to set up our table-assigned iPad which was to be used to place our orders.

3) Soft bone pork meat ball, $8 (full portion) (above, top)

4) Black pepper mushroom ball, $8 (full portion) (above)

5) Fish ball, $8 (full portion) (above, top)

6) Cuttlefish ball, $12 (full portion) (above)

7) Ebiko and prawn paste, $16 (above) – Golden mushroom rolled with pork. Do let the staff handle this. The staff knew I wanted to take photograph, and was kind to wait for me before proceeding to mix the paste thoroughly before putting it into the soup as small(er) paste balls.

8) Fish tofu, $1.80 per piece (above) – And one would need to order at least 2 pieces as a minimum. And this was pretty interesting. It’s a fish (meat)-tofu paste but shaped as a fish.

9) White and hon shimeiji, $8 (full portion) (above)

10) Enoki mushroom, $7 (full portion) (above)

11) Chinese cabbage, $6 (full portion) (above)

12) Baby chinese spinach, $6 (full portion) (above)

13) Fried fish skin, $11 (full portion) (above) – I love this stuff. And it’s not necessary to put it into the soup.

14) Fried beancurd skin, $9 (full portion) (above) – Another of my favourite. To eat this, one should dip it into the soup for only 3 seconds such that it’s still slightly crunchy. Any longer (in the soup) and the fried beancurd skin will be too soggy.

15) Prawn dumpling, $10 (full portion) (above)

16) Pork roll dumpling, $6 (full portion) (above)

17) Fresh sea prawn, $26 (full portion) (above) – The staff asked if we wanted assistance in deshelling the prawn. To which we said “yes!” So the staff took the plate back and returned with shelled prawns. Nice!

18) US kurobuta pork, $19 (full portion) (above)

19) Sliced pork belly, $14 (full portion) (above)

20) Handmade la mian, $2.70 (above)


21) Potato wide vermicelli, $6 (full portion) (above) – This was interesting. Thick and chewy (cause it’s pretty starchy).

22) Yuzu drink, Complimentary (above) – And at the end of our dinner, we were served a jug of yuzu drink which allowed the 8 of us to have at least 2 shot glasses each.

23) Birthday dessert, Complimentary (above) – And during the course of our dinner, we heard at least 4 rounds of birthday song. 1 of my collegaue went “Wah, I didn’t know you brought so many people to celebrate your birthday!” Haha. Lame. =p But of course, my colleague wasted no time in informing the staff that we were there to celebrate my birthday. So yes… The staff came with a dessert which tasted very similar to Taiwanese shaved ice (vanilla flavoured), a bunch of balloons, and crowded round to sing me a birthday song in English, Chinese and Cantonese. I think it’s Cantonese. Am not too well versed with my dialects lah. Ha!

So was my friends right with their raves of Beauty In The Pot? They certainly are! Service was great. Jugs of soup were placed on standby on a side tray beside every table which the staff would very often come over to top up our soup. Nice.

Steamboat is always enjoyable in big groups, and I really liked that the restaurant put in much thought in the seating arrangement. In a way, it felt very much like a reunion dinner. Haha. And coming in 8 was certainly the optimum number cause for the full portion, the restaurant gave 8 pieces. Just nice. 1 piece for each of us. Ha.

So really, with their professional service and good quality of ingredients, it explains why one need to make reservation at least 2 weeks in advance. Will definitely be back for more team dinners since Beauty In The Pot is just 2 streets away from my work place! Just got to make advanced planning. Else, I am sure my colleagues and I can hop by when we work late and need a late dinner venue since Beauty In The Pot opens till after midnight too. =)

BEAUTY IN THE POT
11 Tanjong Katong Road, OneKM, #02-21, Singapore
6702 2542, Website
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Mon – Thur : 11:00 – 15:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Mon – Thur : 17:30 – 01:00 (Dinner)
Value: 8
Fri – Sat : 11:00 – 03:00
Service: 7
Sun : 11:00 – 01:00