Tag Archives: Carrot cake

The Fabulous Baker Boy

The Fabulous Baker Boy is not news to brunch junkies. Most famous for it’s cakes, this quaint little bakery cafe has been garnering a steady crowd and following in its 2 years of operation. It recently went through a renovation, refitting the cafe with air conditioners. In the sweltering hot Singapore, who can say no to a good brunch and yummy cakes in an air conditioned area?

The usual problem with popular brunch venues though is, well, its popularity. There are so many people it takes ages for the food to arrive. That’s where desserts come in.

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Valrhona Chocolate (S$8++/slice)

Using chocolate of 70% cocoa, the Valrhona Chocolate cake was fudgy, chewy, yet moist and light at the same time. We loved this an polished it off in less than a minute.

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Carrot Cake (S$8.50++/slice)

Touted to be one of the best carrot cakes in Singapore, it certainly tasted so on the first bite. It was fluffy and lightly sweetened, and the shredded coconut was a wonderful addition. However it fell flat after a few mouthfuls. The cream cheese frosting lacked the tang, the walnuts and raisins weren’t significant enough, and the carrot laden sponge tasted like any normal vanilla sponge. It was quite the disappointment.

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Salted Caramel (S$8++/slice)

I loved how luscious salted caramel is generously slathered between the layers of valrhona chocolate torte. It gave the otherwise dense chocolate cake a welcomed salty balance. It’s my favourite out of the 3 we tried. It is quite a big slice though so it might be good to share it with a friend, to prevent it from getting too jelak.

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Corned Beef Hash (S$17++)

Chunks of corned beef, with onions, potatoes, and a little bacon, this is an absolutely hearty dish. I’m far from being English, but a spoonful of this sent me straight home. Simple fare, cooked with passion and love. This unconventional brunch dish is a definite must-try when visiting TFBB.

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Wild Mushroom Salad (S$14++)

Anything with an egg looks awfully awesome. Sadly the only other commendable part of the dish is the reduced balsamic dressing. Not many F&B establishments use reduced balsamic, which definitely kicks any salad up a notch. The mushrooms though are mediocre, simply sautéed with garlic. The salad didn’t taste like a properly composed dish, but more like a handful of veggies with a side of mushrooms.

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Towkay Ng’s Eggs Ben(S$12.50++)

TFBB’s eggs ben stand out from the others because of the way their eggs are made. Most eggs ben come with the average poached egg – a harder exterior of egg white encasing liquid yolk. TFBB’s eggs are similar to that of Symmetry’s, like a soft-boiled egg, with a softer egg white exterior encasing the yolk and semi-cooked whites. The hollandaise sauce was very well executed. It is a pity the brioche slices used were not distinct, so much that swapping it with the normal muffins would be preferable.

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Guinness Beef Pot Pie (S$18++)

A perfect pot pie, if not a tad too salty. It takes 15 minutes to make a pot pie, so you are assured it’ll come fresh out of the oven, steaming hot to your table. Crisp buttery pastry and delicious tender stewed beef, it’s absolutely worth the wait.

Several hits and misses, but the hits do explain why TFBB is such a popular spot. They don’t merely sell your usual brunch fare, including their interpretation of many local dishes. While their cakes have been slightly disappointing, the savoury dishes were executed pretty well. In the highly saturated ‘hippy’ cafe scene, TFBB is definitely one to look out for.

The Fabulous Baker Boy
The Foothills
70 River Valley Road
#01-15
Singapore
S(179037)

Closed on Mondays
Closed from 4:30pm-6pm daily

Tue-Thurs: 11am-10pm
Fri: 11am-11pm
Sat: 11am-11pm
Sun: 10am-5pm

Brunch/Lunch till 2:30pm
Tea till 4:30pm
Dinner till 9pm

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Mouth Restaurant: possibly the best Dim Sum in Singapore

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Ever since I saw their new squid ink-based dishes featured on several blogs, Mouth Restaurant’s been pushed up to the top of my to-try dim sum places. Mouth Restaurant is not a new player on the block. A household name among the older generation, Mouth Restaurant had established itself as one of the very first Cantonese teahouses in Singapore. Amazingly this restaurant has been thriving for the past 25 years, and seeing its willingness to evolve with times and latch on to food trends, I’m sure it will secure itself a spot in the hearts of dim sum lovers generations to come.

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Century Egg and Shredded Pork Porridge ($4.50++)

Thr porridge was nice and decent, nothing that deserves a special mention. Yan Ting makes a better century egg porridge.

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Steamed Har Gao in 6 Flavours($9.80++)

Colourful xiao long baos have been trending in the local dim sum scene for quite awhile, but colourful har gaos? Mouth Restaurant’s unique take on har gaos is a bold move that definitely paid off. Using only natural ingredients of spinach, pumpkin, carrot, sweet potato and squid ink to colour and flavour the translucent skins, these har gaos are hands down one of the best I’ve tasted. Encased in a thin skin that remained so even after the dish cooled were huge succulent prawns and some ingredients of the flavour it’s skin took on. I tried the squid ink, spinach, carrot and pumpkin. What I loved was that though subtle, the distinct flavours were definitely detectable, and complemented the prawns in a way that was unique yet not overpowering. Definitely a must-try if you visit.

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Squid Ink Char Siew Bao ($5++)

Though I can’t taste any form of squid ink, as a char siew bao this is definitely one of the best I’ve tasted. The lean pork pieces were extremely tender and not overly sweet, and the bun was fluffy, yet retaining a kind of denseness and bite to it. I don’t know if the squid ink contributed to a more substantial bun texture. The greyish hue of the bun scared my sisters quite a bit, but I must say I enjoyed the visual contrast!

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Steamed Dumpling with Mushrooms($3.60++)

Veggie-haters would be missing out. A fully vegetarian dish, this dumpling was absolutely delicious. The generous portions of enoki mushrooms and carrots gave the dumplings a natural sweetness. Most importantly, the translucent skin was not overly thick.

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Steamed Squid Ink Gyoza ($4.50++)

Another innovative steamed dim sum, these dumplings were stuffed full with sweet crunchy prawns, pork and spinach. Probably the best spinach prawn dumpling I’ve tried, these stood out because of the fresh ingredients and the light seasoning. Compared to its counterparts like those at Victor’s Kitchen, they weren’t overly salty. A pity the dumpling skins were a tad too thick and did not have a discernible squid ink fragrance.

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Rojak Fried Carrot Cake($6.80++)

I read about this amazing dish but oddly couldn’t find it on the menu, so I ended up requesting for it. Crisp on the outside, the soft radish cake is pan fried with a sweet and spicy peanut sauce. The topping of crisp yam shreds added a nice crunch and rounded up what was a wonderfully novel dish.

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Squid Ink Seafood Soup & Egg White ($6.80++)

Mouth Restaurant’s new menu features 3 new individual-portioned soups: the spinach, squid ink, and lobster bisque. This squid ink soup was my favourite. A light and clear broth, the soup was packed full with seafood goodness, with chunks of scallops and fish in every spoonful.

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Spinach Crab Meat Soup with Egg White ($6.80++)

Slightly more starchy than the previous, there was a pleasant spinach flavour in the soup, coupled with equally generous amounts of seafood. The superb seafood definitely makes these soups worth the money.

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Lobster Bisque with Egg White Soup ($9.80++)

The Seafood Bisque tasted more like a soup version of your chili crab gravy, just less sweet. Not bad, but not something I’d pay the premium for.

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Char Siew Sou ($4.30++)

I’ve begun to develop a love-hate relationship for this delectable pastry. Mouth Restaurant’s char siew sou has a wonderfully flaky, layered pastry, with a lean char siew filling. While I maintain that Yan Ting and Royal China has the best char siew sou, Mouth Restaurant’s is definitely among the top few. It would be best if it was served hot out of the oven.

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Egg Tart ($4.30++)

The waiting staff highly recommended their egg tarts saying it was one of their best selling items. Sure enough the lightly sweetened eggy custard tasted wonderful paired with the buttery pastry. It was not too oily and was the perfect size for a small treat. For the quality and price, it beats the one I had at Yan Ting.

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Squid Ink Rice Roll ($6.80++)

I like the idea of serving rice rolls the hawker way, with the sweet sauce and sesame seeds. Elevated by a fragrant peanut butter sauce and pork floss, the squid ink rice rolls were extremely soft and delicious. However the squid ink component failed to stand out, and that made the steep price a little unjustified. This dish is definitely worth a try, but I’d probably not order it on my second visit.

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Cream of Salted Egg Yolk Bun ($5++ for 3)

What is a dim sum brunch without custard buns? I’d go as far to say that Mouth Restaurant serves the best custard buns in Singapore.

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Burning hot, savoury and sweet, slightly sandy texture – this custard buns ticked every box on my checklist. When I bit into my very first bun, I was so shocked by the burning custard that burst out, spilling all over my fingers, cheeks, and spoons. It was very yummy messy affair. What’s different here is the traditional fluffy steamed buns are replaced with a thin dough casing, which allows for there to be more custard fillings. While I love the white fluffy buns, I love this perfect molten custard more.

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Dessert Prawn Sashimi ($18++)

We don’t really order savoury dishes with our dim sum, but this dish looked to interesting to give a miss. Essentially ama ebi sashimi with a different prawn, the raw prawns were fresh, soft and really sweet. Brownie points to the ebiko for added textures and flavours. Unfortunately this dish did not resonate with our palettes because of the wasabi-infused soy sauce. We’re not wasabi fans, so we didn’t really enjoy this. I’d prefer if they served the sauce on the side for us to dip at our own liking.

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Purple Potato Sago with Vanilla Ice Cream; and Avocado with Beancurd ($5++ and $5.80++)

I never expected to say this, but Mouth Restaurant dishes out wonderful Chinese desserts. The sweet potato paste was smooth, not excessively sweet, and surprisingly the sweet potato was discernible. A pity the sago was frozen when served, which is both slightly unprofessional and disrupted the creamy dessert. The avocado beancurd was another unexpected pleaser. Smooth, creamy and light, it is the perfect ending to the meal.

The ambience might not be amongst the best, but Mouth Restaurant’s dim sum is in no way inferior to the steeply-priced ones in hotels. For the quality, creativity, and comparatively value-for-money items, Mouth Restaurant is definitely one of my favourite dim sum restaurants up to date. I can’t wait to go back for the custard buns!

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Pontini

Nestled at a quiet corner in Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, Pontini is considered a fine dining restaurant in Singapore that serves authentic and rustic Italian cuisine. My first visit to Pontini was half a decade or so ago, back when I got my first taste of Italian and European cuisine. I left with a good impression of it then, but I’ve heard that their standards have declined since. So I was secretly glad that a new chef, Domenico Piras, had taken over the reins at Pontini and brought with him a new menu. That gave me an excuse to visit them once again with my parents.

Lightly dimmed and tinged orange, the restaurant emanates a very homely and warm feeling. I especially liked that the waiting staff were friendly, polite, and treated me with equal respect as to other customers. You know how some would give you a condescending look just because they think you’re a kid and don’t have the financial ability to afford their food? Hurmph. Oh and I have to apologise in advance, cause it slipped my mind to jot down the names and prices of the dishes we ordered!

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Complimentary bread: focaccia

This was no doubt one of the nicest focaccia I’ve eaten with regards to complimentary breads. The bread was extremely soft, fluffy, hot, and what I liked most was that the herbs really shone in the bread. It tasted wonderfully delish of rosemary. The staff were very attentive and quick to refill the bread, which as a bonus always came hot. Perhaps what is most impressive was that they served the breads with a variety of dips – olive tapenade dip, tomato salsa and olive balsamic emulsion – alongside the usual french butter.

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Pontini Pizza – with parma ham, mushroom, artichokes

Their pizza was as good as I remembered. Crisp crusts with a thin yet firm base, the pizza dough was a winner in itself. The combinations of ingredients were wonderful, with the saltiness of the ham standing in stark contrast to the earthy button mushrooms. I love how I could actually taste the smokiness of the wood-fired pizza.

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This scallop dish was one of the entrées we had that evening. Perfectly seared and accompanied by an olive tapenade, tomato salsa and fried basil, it was a wonderfully composed dish. The sweet, plump and succulent scallops were very much the star of the dish, and rightfully so.

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I still haven’t changed my mind about foie gras so I opted out from tasting this, but my parents and sisters loved it. Nicely seared and crisp on the outside, and Pontini made a good apple compote to go with it they said.

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When it comes to carpaccio, the one I’ve tasted at Waterfall Cafe easily tops the list. I must say that Pontini’s salmon carpaccio has superceded my expectations. The marinade was refreshing and delectable without overwhelming the natural sweetness of the salmon, and I love the addition of the shrimp roes.

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A classic you can almost never go wrong with, the success of this dish really falls back to the quality of ingredients used. It seems that quality is the one thing Pontini would not skimp on. The rock melon was huge and extremely sweet, and the parma ham was very fresh. What stood out was that Pontini’s rendition was elevated with the addition of some fig compote, which gave the dish a mellow and earthy dimension. Together with this unique presentation, this definitely outshines many of its competitors.

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It’s really hard for me not to gravitate towards any dish that has the words “seafood” and “stew” in it. Naturally this bouillabaisse shouted out to me from the mains menu. Served piping hot in that pot, the stew was warming, hearty, homely and comforting in every sense. It’s the kind of soup that you’d want to drink on a cold day, sitting around the fireplace with your family.

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I can’t really remember what this dish was all about, but it was a decent fish dish. My family loves fish, so as long as it is a change from the usual baked cod with mashed potatoes or purées we’d generally love it. What was interesting was the ratatouille it was served with. It really brings out that rustic Italian authenticity the restaurant boasts.

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Dad, the carb guy, likes the pasta. It was pretty well executed, but given the numerous wonderful pasta dishes I’ve eaten, there’s nothing much worth mentioning about this.

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Who ever said simple isn’t outstanding? This simple seared tuna steak with a lightly dressed salad was arguably the best main that we had that night. It was the juiciest tuna steak I’ve ever had in a contemporary european restaurant, and I must confess to loving every bite of it.

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We were much too full then to have any more space for dessert. So dad decided to order himself just one dessert for everyone to taste. A pretty decent moist and earthy carrot cake, with a wonderful sorbet and mango gelee accompanying it. It was more cake than carrot though, and I’d like to see more carrots in it to bring out the essence of a carrot cake.

We left with a wonderful impression of Pontini that night. Definitely not amongst the top players like Garibaldi, Otto or Oso, but Pontini has its charms and we’ll definitely be back for more.

Pontini
392 Havelock Road
Level 2 Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel
6233 1133

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A Carrot Cake, but which one?

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The problem with foodsurfing every day is that I end up bookmarking almost every wonderful recipe, or copy it down crazily like some mad woman. That kinda explains my 3 notebooks worth of recipes. The problem with having so many recipes is I have to make a note on which of the recipes I tried and which I hadn’t. The problem with cooking at a pace that far exceeds that of blogging is that I forgot which pictures refer to which particular recipe in which particular notebook.

That’s the problem I’m facing with this carrot cake that I made way back earlier this year. I forgot which of the sea of carrot cake recipes it follows!! So I have to go through the hazardous task of looking through my recipe repertoire to search for the recipe that looks and sounds most alike this one I made. It ain’t fun I can tell you that.

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If this is the correct recipe though – and I do believe it is – I remember that it was a good one indeed! After some adaptations, this recipe turned out to be the healthiest and most successful carrot cake that I’ve attempted thus far. Not that I’ve tried many that is! The very first carrot cake I made was an extremely healthy one that consisted of 5 ingredients, whose recipe I just realised I have not posted either, but was a tad too moist. My sister loved it that way though. I prefer my carrot cake soft, moist, yet fluffy like a normal cake. This cake hit the spot. It was a perfect balance of moistness and fluff! I’ll still be trying out other carrot cake recipes to see if they are as good, but as of now this is my favourite carrot cake (: assuming it’s the right recipe.

Carrot Cake (makes 1 loaf pan)
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 cups honey
1 cup olive oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups grated peeled carrots
1/2 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts (optional)
1/4 cup mix of cranberries and chopped dates (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 180C.

2. Grease a loaf pan with olive oil and flour them.

3. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in medium bowl to blend.

4. Whisk honey and oil in large bowl until well blended. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time.

5. Add flour mixture and stir until blended. Stir in carrots, macadamia, cranberries and dates, if using them. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Let cool in pans for five minutes or so, then transfer cakes to a cooling rack.

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