Alfero Artisan Gelato

We discovered Alfero Artisan Gelato quite sometime ago – it’s a gem of a place, quiet and conducive for having a cuppa or enjoying gelato. Housed at one corner of Marina Square, the gelato is quite simply, the best gelato I’ve eaten in Singapore – creamy, delish and consistent. I know some people like Gelateria Italia (now at Plaza Singapura and Bugis +) but the texture of the gelato is so chewy that it doesn’t even taste like gelato.

Pause

Pause (Oxford Dictionaries Online): interrupt action or speech briefly , a temporary stop in action or speech

Pause (Merriam Webster Online): a break in a verse; temporary inaction especially as caused by uncertainty

Pause (Foodsmiths @thewordfood): Cool new coffee place at Bukit Merah (also both definitions from Oxford and Merriam-Webster, in relation to my writing on this site)

So Singapore is building up a cool little coffee culture (not to the extent of Melbourne of course), and we are beginning to have quite a few little indie coffee joints popping up at the most random of places. Amongst others, Papa Pahleta at Bt Timah Road, Forty Hands at Tiong Bahru, and the newest find we picked up this weekend, Pause, at Jalan Kilang.

Pause is housed in a very cool townhouse-like building in the midst of a whole bunch of commercial warehouses. It shares the 4000-odd square feet space, known as Dominic Khoo 28 Fevrier, with not just Dominic Khoo’s photo gallery, but also Kelvin Seah, a bespoke tailor, and Ed. Et. Al., a bespoke shoe maker run by Edwin Neo.

At the counter, where you order your wonderful coffee, a little handout reads “Let’s Pause, for a little special something”. And that’s true. We paused, and took in the special little gallery cum retail space, cum cafe, and were sold.

The coffee at Pause is great (although perhaps not the greatest). The effort the barista took, however, in painstakingly putting together a bunny (squeal go the foodsmiths) motif on the foam, was worth the visit.

We didn’t get to try any food on our little afternoon sojourn, but the owner (or manager – sorry didn’t get his name this afternoon), said that they do do food items, just not today. Ah well. But no matter, because we’ll be back!

For people who don’t drink coffee, there are a number of iced teas available (and they even sell aged ginger tea, which apparently helps a windy tummy, if you get the, ahem, drift).

And for those who just want to see a little interesting something, head down to Dominic Khoo 28 Fevrier (yes it’s a mouthful), just to see the chairs (from flexible love) and partitions (from molo design), which are totally made of recycled cardboard. The pictures below give you a sense of the place, and we’re sure you’ll be sold once you visit it. So Pause, and take in a little special something.

Dominic Khoo’s 28th Février

Add: 5 Jalan Kilang,

Tel: +65 63664642

Mon – Sun:9:00 am-10:00 pm

7 November 2011

So, the year has come and gone – it’s less than two months to Christmas. I was in Marks & Sparks the other day and shocked to see that Xmas cards were for sale. Christmas seems to get earlier every year! That said, Christmas is my favourite festival of the year, I think it has something to do with the fact that I see it as the close to a year.

This year seems to have gone by very quickly- I’ve changed jobs, visited new places, tried many new food places (this is something that will be the subject of many blog posts) and had some significant milestones in my personal life.

Am I happier this year? Not really – in fact, this year has been middling. Middling in that in spite of good food and some great company, I haven’t felt as happy inside as I wished I could be. Some days in fact are spent feeling empty and dreading the life that I have come to know. And now, sitting at some great cafes having great company and enjoying the coffee, I’ve come to wish I led a more creative life – one that allows me to really exercise creative sensibilities and have more fun(and more flexibility in my routine). The irony of course, is that as a child, I never really wanted a creative life, although I had been constantly told that I was artistic. Naturally and intuitively, I have a fascination with fashion, and beautiful aesthetics.So if I could find a job that combines both these loves, it would be fabulous. Making the jump takes courage, and I am not sure I am ready for that, but somedays you wake up wondering why am I wasting all my glorious time (and life) in what may be a short life, doing all this for nought? Sure, I may enjoy portions of it, but if I feel constantly quite unhappy within, this can’t be healthy.

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Foodsmithtwo has been very busy as well, hence the radio silence on our end. But we’ve been trying new places and endeavour to post on from henceforth. The great thing about food I have come to realise is that when it’s good, it never lets you down. Comfort food, for one, you always feel instantly good while eating. New cuisines, when it’s good, can be surprising. Food well done, always make you happy.

If only Life were as good food is- never disappointing, always satisfying, always liberating – but then it wouldn’t be called Life would it?

You are not yet gone

..but I already feel that it’s raining in my heart.

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Love the ads below- if only girls looked like that all the time.

Perfect weather for a public holiday- I tried the food at Hummerstons, a stone’s throw away from Canele in Robertson Quay. Good food and atmosphere. Review for that as well as Pique Nique in Ngee Ann City coming up.

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Mooncakes- Peninsula’s Egg custard mooncakes and their golden lotus paste with egg yolk are divine.Perfect pick me up for a slouchy day.

Who are you, mysterious stranger?

We’re keen on finding out:

  1. who you are,
  2. where you are from,
  3. why you read our blog,
  4. what you like or do not like about it.

Cos we are such coffee lovers, one lucky winner who emails us at thewordfood@gmail.com with the most interesting response stands to win a $20 Starbucks pre-paid card, for use in Singapore.

Chanel accessories

Someone very near and dear to me presented me with a lovely gift last week – and it reminded me of why I love Chanel so much. Simple effortless elegance. That resulted in me googling on Ebay for a mass array of accessories – pity that there are so many counterfeits in the market that I don’t dare to put down any money for them. For the time being, I am left with drooling over these lovely accessories- iPad and iPhone case included. In Beijing this summer, I came across the faux patent iPad case in fire engine red. HELLO. Baby never looked so fine.

Isn’t it gorgeous? So exquisite, the ice blue is all frosty and lovely. Now to continue googling….

A fun Saturday out

Today, we kicked off our day drinking coffee at Papa Palheta (yet again)- it’s turning out to be a ritual. The coffee is so good, and the atmosphere so relaxed you can’t help smiling lounging in the tasting room sipping good coffee and listening to Lush 99.5FM. I hope most of the patrons do pay them a decent amount for the cuppa, the baristas are just lovely.

After lunch, I nearly wanted to do a bit of shopping but instead we decided not to shop or watch Brighton Rock/Wu Xia, but to head down to Singapore Tyler Print Institute for the David Hockney exhibition.David Hockney is one of this century’s most important pop artists- the colours of his work are dominant, the brushstrokes most definitive. In one particular series, he paints a hotel and places in the hotel, from different perspectives. We loved the recent works painted on an iPhone or iPad. Looking at the paintings, it made me miss the museums in Paris, particularly the Lucian Freud exhibition which we had gone to, before he passed on earlier this year.

We also had sashimi for Lunch at old favourite Tampopo and finished off one Wagyu Beef ball, and creme puff at its deli for dessert. Yummlicious – and a perfect start to the weekend.

Antoinette

“Chef Pang WE LOVE YOU!!!!” (or so go the giggly girls who crowd around him go). At Chef Pang Kok Keong’s new pastry cafe, Antoinette, you’ll have an opportunity to say that to him if you’re lucky. We did (have the opportunity that is, not tell him we love him!) – the affable Chef Pang was stationed at the cake counter painstakingly and lovingly explaining each and every cake to us.

So it’s been a while since we’d seen Chef Pang (he left Canele Patisserie last October), and it was with great anticipation that we headed down to Antoinette for breakfast last Saturday (we didn’t manage to get a reservation but reached the cafe at 1015am and crossed our fingers, hoped and got lucky). To start, we had the Antoinette’s Breakfast (eggs / bacon / sausage / grilled tomatoes / pain de mie, and a choice of juice / coffee / hot chocolate and some mini viennoiseries). While I know of people who would scorn at paying close to S$20 for a breakfast, I thought this was really nice and good value. Sausage was succulent, bacon well fried, and the only thing we had to complain about the fry-up was that the egg yolks were broken (probably in the transfer to the plate?). The mini vinnoiseries came with a most delicious tasting clotted cream (or whipped butter – not sure), and together with the croissant (yes i know – heart attack heaven) was just to die for.We also had the Savoury Blinis with Bacon and Mushroom Ragout. Again, the bacon was great (by great, I mean lean-ish, but crisped up and not quite so salty), and the mushroom ragout was flavourful and had a slight sweetness (sherry or martini perhaps?). I didnt quite like the blini texture – slightly on the dry side, and I’d envisaged smaller blinis (though to be fair they never said “minis”). Overall still a nice dish with well-executed accompaniments.

The piece de la resistance (or pieces de la resistance) at Antoinette, however, must be the cakes and macarons. After all, Chef Pang IS the sugar (and macaron) daddy of the Singapore pastry industry. The macarons reminded us of (gasp!) Pierre Hermes in Paris – we had the Antoinette and the Grand Cru. The Antoinette revealed a berry centre, and married the tanginess of the berry well with the sweetness of the macaron shell.We also tried the Antoinette, which was an earl grey infused mousse with a (very interesting) raspberry coulis wrapped in a gelatin pouch on the top. This was a very nice balanced cake, with earl grey permeating each mouthful. It was not heavy on the palette and each bite reminded us of why we’d missed Chef Pang so much in the past few months!In the name of blogging (hurhur), we made a special trip down again this evening after work just to try more of Chef Pang’s new creations. We ordered the Chocolicieux and the Cafe Caramel Tarte. Unfortunately, we didn’t get pictures of either, but the Chocolicieux is a chocolate lover’s delight. A dense chocolate cake enveloping chunky hazelnuts and covered with a chocolate and nut coating, this looks exactly like a magnum icecream bar, and the taste of it will linger in your senses for some time (yes, it’s THAT dense). The tarte was equally delicious, with the caramel having a delicious burnt flavour with a hint of coffee that drags the caramel-ly flavours just oh-so-much-longer.

So that’s our review of Antoinette. A small little place with plenty of heart, and a great affable owner to boot. What more can you ask for? Suffice to say we’re COMING BACK! Chef Pang, WE LOVE YOU(R CAKES)!

 

Antoinette
30 Penhas Road (off Lavender Street)
6293-3121

Opening Hours

Mon–Fri: 11am – 10pm
Sat: 10am – 11pm
Sun: 10am – 10pm

Memories of Beijing

I just came back from Beijing nearly two weeks ago – it feels however, like a month ago. Beijing is not exactly the most ideal tourist spot to many people, but being a Chinese-historyphile (in my youth), I figured I should at least make a trip there at least once in my life. During the trip though, I remembered sitting in MacDonalds marvelling at how far the Chinese have come.

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I am not from my father’s or grandfather’s generation – I did not see the progress the Chinese made in the 1990s post-industrialization, and I am both ashamed and embarrassed to say that I know so little of its past. It also made me feel like a fraudster in my Chinese skin- though Chinese on the outside, I can’t say I know as much of Chinese culture as I would like to. The Chinese experience is that unique and complex.  But I can only imagine it as I looked at the subway, the newly paved walkways, the bridges on Tiananmen Square, gloriously organised and orderly barricades outside the National Museum of China as we stood there testing time. There was something to be proud of- for a moment, it felt like Chinese all over the world congregated and could feel proud, to trace their ancestry (how small, how distant, how foreign) to this center of the world (or once aupon a time, as they proclaimed, the center of the universe). If the Chinese could just get their social graces down pat, this is a city worth remembering and revisiting- the richness of Chinese history, the complexity of the Chinese migrant experience, the difficulties in transition to the future and often paradoxical beliefs and sociopolitical changes all make for a truly intriguing cultural experience, and something that no seasoned traveller should bypass in favour of something more European or Western. Rome wasn’t built in a day — but neither was China. And just think, if it hadn’t closed its doors to the world many centuries ago, it might be the America we now fly half the world over just to see.

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The city itself is beautiful — even as there is admittedly great poverty in the alleys, on the side streets where naked children run about, catching insects, lying in the sand, sitting on tiny wooden stools peeling lychees, oblivious to strangers averting their gazes, even as their shorts have a tiny hole (little boys can conveniently pee), even as a man lies prostrate on the ground of the subway missing an arm, this is juxtaposed alongside the intoxicating smell of fast moving traffic – the daredevil taxis zipping through corners and racing in the face of oncoming traffic all just to earn that 2 yuan taxi fare for each km traversed, the rickshaw carts being pulled by diminutive women with their straw hats. Coupled with great poverty, there is also the decadence of the noveau riche, an almost embarrassingly unabashed splashing of new money, new wealth in places you least expect- in a former colonial outpost, in an art district, in carved out expat living quarters. Beijing is a wonderful wonderful place- if you keep your heart and mind open, you will find that the city like any other, has an amazing textured richness to it: from old folks looking at varieties of plants in the park, to line dancing and taiji early in the morning, to a man quietly practising water calligraphy in the pavements and surreptitiously stopping upon discovering tourists interrupting his peace and solitude, it is so full of character and flavour.

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I love Singapore- but sometimes, confronted with cities like Beijing, you can’t help but ask yourself: am I missing out too much on living in a real city? After all, these are not man made cities, marked by the presence of a foreign merchant from ashore.

Beijing is lovely- if you will let it be.

 

Sidenote: In the park at the Temple of Heaven, a man squatted on the floor doing his water calligraphy quietly. In that moment, I looked at him and felt sad for myself. Here was a man who took delight in something so pure and simple- something so ephemeral it would evaporate into thin air, or be washed over.

Antoinette

If you’ve been trying to get a place at Antoinette and have been unable to, let me just say that the wait is worth it.

We’ve been fans of Chef Pang’s creations when Canele was a young outfit, with only one branch at Robertson Quay. I used to frequent it post/pre-theatre, for a coffee or cake and not many people knew what Canele was. It did not also have such an extensive collection of cakes as it does today. Chef Pang however was a mainstay, and I remember thinking that it was quite rare that cakes of this quality were being produced right here in Singapore.

Now that Canele has blossomed and Chef Pang has gone onto, imho, better things, I am very proud to say that Chef Pang is entirely home grown, and in my opinion, someone that warrants the credit and accolades that have come his way. Recently, work has got me thinking that it is not necessarily the most glamorous of work, or the most well paying job that deserves respect- but sometimes if you have this raw talent in an industry that is small, and your work is stellar or really stands out, then you already have my respect. The cakes at Antoinette are lovely, and sitting there eating cake today, I thought to myself – if I could have one-fifth of his talent in my line of work, that would be just..well, frankly fabulous.

And so here we come again

I guess we’re not the best of people at keeping our promises – i shudder to think how many times we have posted to say WE’RE BACK!!!! so i make no promises this time, except that we’ll *TRY* our best to keep at this. since april, i’ve made 2 separate trips – one to the great outback (the food’s pretty decent), and another to beijing. i’ll try to do up some food reviews on those places (and maybe, do up a couple of those for the places we visited last year too (hurhur)), so please keep visiting our site (or sign up for the rss feeds so you dont have to wonder when we’re back and when we’re not). thanks for all the support guys, and we’ll continue posting (x fingers)!

Hide Yamamoto

With the Japanese nuclear / radiation situation as it is right now, I’m guessing many of you out there are going to be hesitant about having Japanese food that comes from Japan. While I agree we have to be cautious about what we eat that originates from Japan, I hope that good Japanese restaurants (such as the subject of this review) don’t suffer during this period. To our Japanese readers our there (if any), ganbatte kudasai!!!
Now, on Hide Yamamoto, I guess amongst the foreign culinary stars that have opened shop at Marina Bay Sands, Yamamoto-san is probably (for want of a better word) the least “famous” of them all. After all, it’s hard to stand tall in the midst of giants such as Guy Savoy, Tetsuya Wakuda or the late Santi Santamaria. But I must say, the food at Hide Yamamoto is still very much up to par, and best of all, value for money.

At Hide Yamamoto, there are several seating areas, and are divided into the robata grill section, the ramen section and the sushi section. Greedy as we could be, foodsmithone and myself picked to sit at the ramen section because that was the way we could try food from all the various sections. We each ordered a set lunch, and supplemented the very ample portions with additional a la carte orders.

First up, the set lunches:

1) Special Set Lunch (S$38+++)

This came with an appetiser of Marinated Octopus and Salad, Tempura Moriawase, Char Siu Rice and dessert of Berry and Lychee Sorbet.

All the dishes (yes, including the sorbet dessert) were very well executed pieces of Japanese cuisine. Our particular favourite was the tempura, where the batter was crisp and crunchy, yet light and non-oily. It was easily one of the better tempuras we’d had in Singapore in a long, long time (Inagiku could learn something here).

2) Special Chirashi Set (S$38++)

This also was a good rendition of a Chirashi Sushi. The rice was topped with chunks of sashimi so fresh and smooth that they just glided down our throats. I’m afraid there just isn’t much to describe the dish by – it was overall satisfying.

As part of our attempt to sample the food since we’d come so far into MBS (I know it’s a sorry excuse), we ordered the foie gras skewer (from the robata section) and some sashimi to sample (it’s just not enough to try sashimi chopped up in your chirashi sushi unfortunately).

The sashimi, as expected, was fresh and simply put, YUMMY. I did however, wish they hadn’t served salmon in the sampler plate (not when the plate costs close to S$60). After all, you hardly see salmon sashimi served in a good Japanese restaurant in Tokyo for an omakase plate. But still, it was decent, and the tuna belly (chutoro) and the yellowtail / hamachi had just the right amount of fattiness. Paired with freshly grated wasabi (i’m a sucker for restaurants that use fresh wasabi), the fish was elevated to a higher level altogether. As for the foie gras skewer, the charring was just what we were looking for on the outside, but I guess the coals were too hot for the foie gras as the interior was way overdone – it lost the silky smoothness that one usually expects with well-cooked (!!! i.e. slightly wobbly) foie gras.

Overall, this was a meal that was perfectly value for money, and at S$38 per person for set lunch, I’d go back there in a heartbeat. Do recommend this place to your friends as well, Hide Yamamoto is really a gem in the mammoth building that is MBS. Don’t get frightened off by the fact that it’s on the 2nd floor of MBS amongst the other restaurants that will only warrant a visit on the most special of occasions, you should hopefully be able to find something that meets your budget (the ramen goes for under S$20) at the restaurant. If you do try this place out, let us know what you think, and whether you agree with our views!

 

Hide Yamamoto

10 Bayfront Avenue, L2-05 Casino Level 2, Marina Bay Sands
Tel: +65 6688 7098

Opening Hours

Mon–Wed: 12pm–3pm, 6pm–11pm
Thu–Sun: 12pm–3pm, 6pm–3am


The Disgruntled Chef

Ironically, a meal here yesterday did not leave me disgruntled. More photos to come soon- suffice to say that the food was excellent, and very similar in concept to Artichoke tapas style menu. I have to say though that surprisingly, I may prefer it even to Artichoke. The food was delish, and as I remarked, showed a remarkable amount of restraint – just the right pairing and seasoning, and alot of maturity by the chef (Daniel Sia, formerly of the White Rabbit).