Brunch @ The Daily Press

June 12, 2015 in European (cafe)

A friend was back in town. And since our mutual friend was working in Toa Payoh and I had to be in Toa Payoh, the 3 of us decided to catch up over (a quick) lunch at Toa Payoh. Oh my, so many ‘Toa Payoh’ in one sentence. Haha!

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

1) Mozzarella, $10 (above) – Roasted tomatoes, basil, infused honey, multigrain. I was on a week-long vegetarian diet when we came for lunch. And it was a pleasant find to see that The Daily Press had items available for vegetarians! And this was really good. The entire ensemble came together really well. I was raving non-stop to my friends about it. The savouriness of the roasted tomato and cheese was balanced by the sweetness of the bread which had absorbed the honey. I intended to have 1 triangle (cause I was also counting my calories intake) but I ended up finishing 3/4 of the entire sandwich. The 1/4 was for my friend to try. A must order!

2) Korean “fried” chicken, $12 (above) – Spicy crust, house-made kimchi, ciabatta. My friend said this was just average although it would have been better if paired with a different type of bread.

3) Beef, $15 (above) – Garlic, arugula, sesame, rye sourdough.

4) Cafe latte, $5 (above)

Sandwiches dominate the menu at The Daily Press. So… I won’t say The Daily Press is a cafe one should make a special trip for. Instead, if one is in Toa Payoh, one may consider dropping by. Else, I would suggest having mains (sandwiches) at The Daily Press if one plans to have desserts (waffles and/or ice creams) at Creamier which is a mere 2 to 3 minutes walk away.

But probably because of their limited offerings on the menu, the cafe was not very crowded. Which made it a conducive to chill. You know, to do some work on one’s laptop with a cup of coffee and yes… Sandwich.

126 Toa Payoh Lorong 1, #01-561, Singapore
6258 0167, Facebook
Overall: 6
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 6
Tues – Sun : 10:30 – 21:30
Ambience: 6
Value: 6
* Closed on Mon
Service: 6

Brunch @ Les Patisseries

February 1, 2015 in European (cafe)

My colleagues and I managed to come for lunch at Les Patisseries twice, although our 2 visits were a few months apart. The first in November 2014, and the second in January 2015.

And comparing (between) our 2 visits, the cafe was noticeably busier during our first visit. We also realised it could be a little difficult to house big groups as the unit was narrow and long. The group of 3 of us changed seats to allow a group of 6 to sit together. As for the interior decor, Les Patisseries’s was very simple and straight forward with red painted walls, dark brown furniture and some posters on the walls.

And from the menu which was in the form of chalkboard hung behind the counter, we ordered:-

1) Truffle fries with grated cheese, $8.50 (above) – We ordered this during our first visit. This was pretty normal, with the truffle scent from truffle oil.

2) Garlic fries, $7.50 (above) – And we ordered this during our second visit. Oh yes, 1 of my colleagues love her fries. And I preferred this over the truffle fries if one must choose.

3) Truffle baked mushroom pasta, $9.90 (above) – I won’t recommend ordering this. My colleague was disappointed with her choice of main. Penne pasta, minced mushroom, truffle oil and melted cheese.

4) Mushroom aglio olio, $10.90 (above) – This was pretty average.

5) Carbonara, $11.90 (above) – Good comfort food.

6) LP big breakfast set, $13.90 (above) – One of the items from their brunch menu (10am to 3pm), this was normal. Except for the sausage which was chicken but looked and tasted like beef.

7) Waffle ispahan, $12.90 (above) – And this was interesting. Rose waffle with two scoops of raspberry sorbet. We could smell the rose aroma once the waffled was served. They even put in lychee, raspberry and (edible) rose petals. Although it was a little deflated (n terms of texture), the waffle was tasty. Good to try.

8) Tarte au citron, $6 (above)

9) Chestnut & pear, $8.50 (above)

10) Cafe latte, $4.50 (above)

We felt Les Patisseries fared better for their non-savoury items, although service was so so. We were a little taken aback when we ordered dessert after finishing our mains and our order was forgotten just like that. Hmm… Well, maybe they were overwhelmed by the sudden surge in customers? Hmm…

If one is in Toa Poyah central, do drop by for their waffles and desserts. I read from other bloggers that the daily baked croissants at Les Patisseries are good and buttery. So if I am in the area, I will definitely buy some for take away to try. But of course, to try the other cakes at the same time too. Keke.

Blk 186 Toa Payoh Central, #01-428, Singapore
9744 0504 / 9383 8214, Website, Facebook
Overall: 6
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 6
Sun – Thur : 10:00 – 22:00
Ambience: 6
Fri – Sat : 10:00 – 23:00
Value: 6
Service: 6

UPDATE: Restaurant has moved to 222 Upper Thomson Road.

Dim sum @ Swa Tow Restaurant

October 5, 2014 in Chinese

My brother was lamenting of how we have been eating all cuisines but Chinese. So, I suggested heading off to Swa Tow Restaurant. I had their dim sum last year and still can’t quite get over their liu sha bao (流沙包). So I felt it was a good place to bring my family to.

We reached at 11.30am on a Saturday afternoon to a busy restaurant. But we were promptly led to our table and were lucky to be given a table located at the side / perimeter as it meant we had easy and direct access to the push carts. For customers sitting in the centre, the staff would go up to them and say what they have in their push carts instead of being able to show the dishes.

There was no menu for the dim sum. Thus, we relied very much on the staff whom we noted were mostly aunties and uncles. Friendly aunties and uncles. =) One of the push cart aunties would unload the different types of dim sum for us to look and choose while others would say what they have.

And from the push carts, we ordered:-

1) Pork dumpling (siew mai) with fish roe, $4.50 (above) – One of the items I will always order for dim sum, and these were so good. An entire prawn was packed within the siew mai. Such a delight to bite into it!

2) Mini pork dumpling (小笼包), $4 (above) – These were average. Would have been better if there was soup within the dumpling.

3) Pumpkin dumpling, $4 (above) – A vegetarian dish, I did not really like this. I would think one needs to have an acquired taste.

4) Szechuan wanton, $4.50 (above) – Surprisingly, this was pretty good. Skin was thin and smooth. But it was the spicy-sour sauce that brought out the flavour of the meat within.

5) Chicken feet, $3.80 (above)

6) Pan-fried carrot cake, $3.50 (above)

7) Malay cake, $2 (above) – I was quite surprised when the staff presented the dish and introduced it as “Malay cake” when it looked like our fa gao (发糕). But this was light in texture and slightly sweet. Not as dense and sticky as compared to our Chinese steamed cake.

8) Molten salted egg yolk bun (金碧流沙包), $3 (above) – This was the bomb! The filling of custard and egg yolk just burst as we sunk our teeth into the bun or tore it apart. So good. My brother is now a convert! Keke.

9) Paper-wrapped chicken (纸包鸡), $4.50 (above) – Meat was tender and flavourful. The only drawback was that the dish was really oily. My brother did not like that the paper stuck to the chicken skin.

10) Porridge (fish), $4.50 (above)

11) Rice noodle roll (chee cheong fun) with pork, $3.50 (above) – Skin was thick while they could have been more generous with portion of char siew. I remembered this was better on my previous visit.

12) Deep fried pig trotter (脆皮元蹄), $28 (above) – We had wanted roast meat but were informed that they did not have that. Instead, the manager recommended their signature dish. And it was indeed not too bad. Skin was thin and crispy while meat was fork tender.

13) Man tou (馒头), $2 (above) – With a minimum order of 4 pieces, we ordered these plain Chinese steamed buns to go with the pig trotter dish. And I am glad my Mom suggested getting these because the buns were surprisingly good!

14) Herbal jelly (龟苓膏), $3.50 (above, left)

15) Mango pudding (芒果布丁) with milk, $3.50 (above, right)

16) Almond jelly with lychee, $3,50, (above)

17) Chinese tea, $1.50 per person – We were given a pot which we could ask for refill of hot water.

We were happy with our dim sum experience. Food was good and affordable. Although one may want to go for their dim sum buffet that’s available from 3pm to 5pm daily, priced at $19.80 per person on weekdays and $22.80 on weekends.

Because there’s no menu to specifically mention what’s offered for dim sum, one may want to refer to their website too. It’s mentioned some of their other signatures which we did not manage to try include gold fish dumpling, crispy durian and shrimp roll, crystal dumpling in Teochew style. But service was good. When we asked for a particular dish, the staff wouldn’t mind leaving their push cart to go to the correct push cart and take the dish which we requested.

Parking wise, there’s a big gantry carpark (behind Toa Payoh Public Library) where one can get a parking lot. And as the restaurant is located on 2nd level, one will need to climb up and down a long flight of stairs. I forgot about it and had to go slow in my high heels. Ha. But there’s a (small) lift for handicap and elderly although one will need to call the restaurant to operate the lift.

That aside, Swa Tow Restaurant also has a Teochew opera performances by actor Nick Shen and his team on Friday from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.

Blk 181 Toa Payoh Lorong 4, #02-602, Singapore
6363 1717, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Sun : 08:00 – 11:00 (Dim sum)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Sun : 11:00 – 15:00 (Lunch & dim sum)
Value: 7
Mon – Sun : 15:00 – 17:00 (Hi-tea buffet)
Service: 7
Mon – Sun : 18:00 – 22:30 (Dinner)