Brunch @ The Book Cafe

March 11, 2015 in European (cafe)

My brother had recommended me The Book Cafe for their wonderful ambience. He enjoys heading over for his ‘me time’ where he will read his book.

Thus, when my girlfriend and I were to be in the area to catch a theatrical performance, we decided to head over. And the cafe was packed with people! There’s basically 3 seating areas. 1, the alfresco seats. 2, indoors with normal chairs where most of the eating occurred. And 3, indoors with sofa seats where most were working on their laptops. I observed it will be odd to take the sofa seats to eat and disperse the aroma of food when most in that area were ‘working’. Ha!

The Book Cafe don’t take reservation on weekends. But since my girlfriend and I were (only) there for a quick lunch, we were glad there were indoors seats for us to escape from the heat (outside). In fact, I loved the ambience so much that I got another friend to head back for brunch on another weekend!

And from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12), we ordered:-

1) Smoked salmon, $14.95 (above) – Two eggs any style, has brown, toast, grilled cherry tomatoes & smoked salmon.

2) Bangers & mash, $15.95 (above) – Chicken or bratwurst sausages with mashed potatoes, topped with brown sauce.

3) Carbonara, $15.75 (above) – Bacon, mushroom in cream sauce.

4) Wing zing, $10.95 (above)

5) Natsu beri shibuya toast, $10.50 (above) – Strawberries, chocolate sauce, pistachio nuts & ice cream.

6) Traditional apple pie, $5.95 (above)

7) Cafe latte, $5.50 (above)

Food wise, it was pretty mediocre. However, it was the ambience of the cafe that I really liked. So while the decor of the place was very simple, I liked its coziness. I am already thinking of joining the ‘sofa group’ by bringing my laptop on weekends when I brought work home. Ha. But cause there’s limited sofa seats, one may also consider alfresco seats which some were also working on their laptops at! Of course, one need not be working on one’s laptop. One could also borrow their books and magazines!

20 Martin Road, Seng Kee Building, #01-02, Singapore
6887 5430, Website, Facebook
Overall: 6
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 6
Mon – Thur, Sun : 08:30 – 22:30
Ambience: 7
Fri – Sat : 08:30 – 00:30
Value: 6
Service: 6

Dinner @ Tsukune Ichigo

June 25, 2014 in Japanese

I have been to Tsukune Ichigo at least twice now. The second trip was made because I din get to try their signature chicken meatball sticks to my satisfaction. Uh huh, when I reached at 9pm on my first visit, there were only 2 sticks left. 1 stick each for my friend and I =( I wanted more!!! Keke.

Reservation is advised, although we managed to secure a table upon arrival without prior reservation on both trips.

And from the menu, we ordered:-

1) Tsukune set, $14 (above) – Under the 1st page of their menu (charcoal grilled chicken balls), it’s a set comprised of 5 sticks of assorted chicken balls. The 5 flavours are (from left to right) cheese, avimayo (avocado & mayo), tare (original sauce), okonomiyaki (okonomiyaki sauce with mayo & bonito flake) and kosho (black pepper). For first-timers, I will really recommend going with this. We loved how tender and juicy the meatballs were. So much so that we ordered 2 sets! Of course, one can choose not to go with the set and order the flavours individually which comes in 2 sticks per flavour. Our least favourite of the set is the black pepper which was really an overload of the pepper.

2) Reba pate, $5 (above) – Homemade chicken liver paste.

3) Mozuku, $4 (above) – Mozuku seaweed in vinegary sauce.

4) Nankotsu age, $8 (above) – Deep fried chicken soft bone.

5) Potato salad, $7 (above) – Japanese style potato salad.

6) Char siew, $10 (above) – This is almost like our Chinese dish. But it’s really good!

7) Buta shabu salad, $16 (above) – Pork shabu shabu & pot herb mustard salad with creamy sesame dressing. A must order. It’s a very refreshing dish.

8) Hokke hiraki, $23 (above) – Grilled hokke mackerel.

9) Tori karaage, $10 (above) – Japanese famous fried chicken.

10) Bukkake udon, $12 (above) – Cold udon noodle topped with radish, egg yolk and bonito flake. This unfortunately din quite make the cut. As stated in their menu, it’s really an overload of radish, radish and more radish.

11) Fondant chocolate, $8 (above) – Warm chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream. Let’s just say fondant cake is really not a Japanese dish. So we should stick to ordering Japanese desserts when we are at a Japanese eatery. It’s very much a chocolate cake without the lava chocolate. A dry chocolate cake too.

12) Kurogoma pudding, $6 (above) – Black sesame & soymilk pudding. A must try! It actually says something when almost all the dishes on their dessert menu are different types of pudding. So good. The pudding was so smooth. Had we not been full, we would have ordered a different flavour to try.

Tsukune Ichigo is not your typical Japanese restaurant type of restaurant. With the dim lights, it’s leaning more towards a pub feel where Japanese business men gather after work for drinks and food. Although it may be a little difficult to get the staff’s attention at times, I say the ambience is totally befitting of yakitori. Informal and convivial.

399 River Valley Road, Singapore
6736 1340
Overall: 6.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 6
Mon – Sun : 18:00 – 23:30
Ambience: 7
Value: 7
Service: 6

Brunch @ Five & Dime // CLOSED

November 5, 2013 in European (cafe)

Every time I make my way towards Clarke Quay (along River Valley Road), Five & Dime stands out from the row of shop houses with its white painted walls. And thus, I decided to check the place out with my family. And it’s because my parents are with me that, even though we were to reach Five & Dime at 10.20am, I made a reservation just 30 minutes before arrival through WhatsApp (Yes! It’s amazing they accept reservation through WhatsApp).

We drove and it’s good to know that there’s a small, open-air carpark for Five & Dime patrons. Enter through the red metal gate which is just beside Five & Dime.

And at 10.20am, the place was almost full! There were 4 empty tables left. Of which 1 was reserved for us. Keke. And I must say, the place gives out a very relaxed and comfortable vibe despite all the (scary) Halloween decorations. Ha.

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

1) Fruit salad, $8 (above) – This would be our biggest mistake in ordering. In fact, for the good for everyone else, this simple dish should considered to be removed from the menu. If not, at least a little more effort in dressing the dish up? We’ll then be more willingly to part with our money.

2) Waffles, $15 (above) – I was a little surprised to see only 1 piece of waffle. I expected at least 2 pieces for the price we were paying, but one may argue that the 1 piece served is longer than the typical size. But that aside, the waffle did not disappoint, though not the best.

3) Spinach Tamago, $16 (above) – Had it not been for Dad, I’ll have missed out on this delicious dish. Five & Dime’s Japanese-inspired take on eggs florentine with sautéed spinach wrapped within. I like that they wrapped the spinach within so that the bread which the egg is sitting on does not become soggy. The omlette was spongy and sweet. Nice.

4) Big Brekkie, $22 (above) – Scrambled egg was the option on how the egg was to be done, and it was moist and yummy. Thumbs up for the generous portion.

5) Fish & Chips, $20 (above) – A must try! The batter was thin and crispy, while the fish within was fresh and juicy. And the battered fish being medium sized made it easy to eat with hands! Applause for ketchup being served too (I prefer ketchup over chill sauce. Haha). But the hand cut fries did not impress. The batter did not wrap the fries as ‘tightly’ as it did with the fish.

6) Café latte, $6 (above)

Overall, I enjoyed our brunch. The café was bustling with people, yet it was not too noisy for us to have our own conversations. Food was good, but it was the good service that left a deeper impression.

We were in a half-awake half-asleep state when we stepped into the eatery (cause I mistakeningly got my family to get ready by 8.30am. Haha), and it was the energy of the staff that ‘woke’ us up. The staff are polite and approachable, but it is the energy within them that is really contagious. In a good way of course! And they are really efficient too. I noticed every time someone steps in, a staff will almost immediately go up to them. Cups which were only half full were topped up efficiently while our empty plates were cleared promptly. Thumbs up for good service!

297 River Valley Road, Singapore
9236 5002, Website
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Thur : 12:00 – 22:00
Ambience: 6
Fri : 12:00 – 00:00
Value: 6
Sat : 10:00 – 00:00
Service: 8
Sun : 10:00 – 22:00
* Serving time differs from opening hours