Monday, July 30, 2012

Japanese Sweets at Dulcet & Studio

After a fulfilling but exhausting long day serving the Lion of Judah, the 2Cs, together with a hungry bunch of eleven friends decided to recuperate and fellowship over some Sunday sweets. 

At first, they were turned away several times as the cafe of choice - Dulce & Studio - was packed to the brim with other voracious folks and had no room for the tired group. Never disheartened, they headed elsewhere to satiate their hunger pangs before returning with sweet hope.

This time, the group was ushered to a long table where they immediately appointed the two gregarious Sweet Kings of Desserts - Mr RJT and Mr Mark X to fill the table generously with as many sweet treats as they could find.

The two eager kings rolled up their sleeves and got to work: 

Matcha, Chocolate Marble and Cheese Chiffon Cakes;
Chocolate C Cube; Mont Blanc; Cream Puff; Mille Feuille;
Custard, Milk Tea and Coffee Puddings

Dulce & Studio is a new lifestyle cafe by the people behind Tampopo Deli. ''Dulcet'' refers to the sweet treats of delectable Japanese cakes and pastries while "Studio" alludes to cooking classes that can be conducted within the confines of this modern Japanese cafe that seems to be inspired by the "Muji"philosophy of clean minimalism with her white-washed brick walls and warm wooden accents.   

The cafe's logo spots a cute neko silhouette:

Even our furry felines cant resist the sweet treats.

Watch the solemn expressions of pastry chefs in deep concentration
through a narrow glass panel
Clean, bright, minimalist decor

Main courses written in colourful chalk
Learn to bake what you have just eaten ....
Wow! Have you tried such premium ham before?

The guys were soon side-tracked by the extremely competitive beer prices during the stipulated Happy Hour (3pm - 8.30pm daily). They huddled together at the counter for nearly 5 minutes in stunned happiness before giving in to pure malty pleasure.

Happy Delirious Hour!
Japanese beers like Suntory and Sapporo at
extremely competitive prices, easily
one of the lowest on the island!
5 bottles of Suntory beer going for $25.50.

The selection of  pasta dishes made from premium
imported ingredients at reasonable prices (below $15)
calls for repeat visits.

Dulcet & Studio
117 River Valley Road
#01-41/42 Liang Court

The Languid Outback at Cafe Melba

After a tough day at work, Cuchi decided that it was time for an escape to the comforting embrace of the languid outback, Aussie-style, at the month-old Cafe Melba with her "Australasian and European menu". 

Located in the midst of lush greenery fronting a huge field, the lions luxuriated in the serene ambience and opted to sit alfresco-style as night fell. Being close to nature was indeed therapeutic, as the lion couple happily flipped through the extensive menu. They delightfully noted that weekend brunch was available, calling for a re-visit with friends. The long rustic wooden tables and benches could accommodate many sessions of communal dining and bonding.

Breezy, casual and laid-back atmosphere with high ceilings and
alfresco area facing inviting greens.
Rustic long benches for chilling out with family and friends.

Romantic candle-light dinner with a lovely vase of fragrant
fresh greens.
Admiring the vast green  field as night falls.
Cheery colours adorn the interior with rustic vintage

Chef flexing his skills with pizzas made ala minute.

Escape the balmy weather in the cosy
air-conditioned interior.
Savouring Cafe Melba's Flat White
made with a huge heart :)
Cute Cute prefers his coffee unadulterated -
Long Black
is his caffeine of choice.
Straight forward haddock and chips - hmm what could go wrong
you might ask? Well, it was rather bland, only saved
by accompanying the tartar sauce.

Aussie curry puff! Not! It's a seafood pizza calzone stuffed
with generous helpings of prawns, sliced squids and fish.
A real decent rendition of the Italian favourite.
Overall, Cute Cute and Cuchi agreed that the food needed improvement; perhaps it was due to teething issues as the cafe as barely a month old and service was rather patchy. The prices were also a little on the steep side. However, nobody could deny the magical ambience and the lions would return again for the pretty decent coffee and to try out the brunch menu with friends.

Average food aside, Cafe Melba is a good casual hideout to catch up with friends and the vast space makes it very kid-friendly as well. Animal lovers can also rejoice as the place welcomes furry friends.

Here is our rating
Food: 6.5 pawprints out of 10
Coffee: 7 pawprints out of 10
Ambience: 9 pawprints out of 10

For those who are interested in going there, here is the address:

Cafe Melba
90 Goodman Road
#01-56 Goodman Arts Centre Block N
Singapore 439053

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Adventures in Johor Bahru

Cute Cute and Cuchi had the privilege of going into JB (Malaysia) with some of their friends to enjoy some food. In fact, their friends brought them to various fancy places that it pipped their curiosity a lot to blog about the food there and to explore our friendly neighbour across the causeway.
Yes!! We are finally going out right?
First stop that the lions had with a group of friends (Mr Business Times and friends) was this braised duck and beef noodles coffee shop.
Beef noodles
The beef noodles are pretty unique whereby peanuts and shallots are added into the noodles to give it some crunch. The noodles are more like udon and the beef is so tender and full of flavor. Worth a try!
Braised Duck and Tau Kuah
The braised duck and tau kuah is another delight! The duck meat is so tender and the tau kuah is silky smooth.... Mmm... thinking about it, makes Cute Cute want to go back there to eat it again soon.
These two are located at the above coffee shop and once their sampler is done, the lions proceed on to their next destination...

Second stop was at Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, a bohemian looking street to have nasi padang and eggs at a coffee shop named Restoran Kin Hua.
Taste so old school.... Enough kick and filled with charcoal taste to make it a really good cuppa
Nasi Padang
Surprisingly, all the items that Cute Cute took were good! The cabbage, sting ray, quails egg and fried egg were all very good.
Half Boiled Eggs
Now these are gems... Cute Cute followed instructions to swallow each yolk whole... They tasted like jelly in your mouth once you eat them. Cute Cute found out that they are kampong eggs.

Next stop was a place near to the Eden garden called Kafe Enampuluhan. Mee rebus was the main draw there.

Mee Rebus
Looked very simple but the sauce for the mee rebus is really good. Not too sweet with a tinge of citrus, the mee rebus is something that one should try. The crispy fried flour adds to the fun of eating it as it gives your bite in your mee rebus.

The lions then followed another group of friends (Astroboy, JunioR and Peary) into JB once again and this time, they tried a few different things. Again, the lions brought these friends to Kin Hua to try the eggs and nasi padang and to eat the nasi lemak that eluded Cute Cute the first time round.
Nasi Lemak
Apparently, this nasi lemak was sold out the first time Cute Cute came here and he managed to snag one this time round. However, it was a bit of a let down as it tasted ordinary. The coconut rice was fragrant and soft though.
Mee Rebus
The mee rebus fared better in the taste category. Its sauce was flavorful and the crunchy things that came with it was also very savory.

Now across the coffee shop was an old bakery, Hiap Joo Bakery, with a 100 year old wood fired oven. The lions brought their friends over to explore and found that they are famous for their buns and banana cakes!

Banana Cake
Seems like this is one of Hiap Joo Bakery's signature. The banana cake was so moist, warm and flavorful when the lions got it and shared among friends. A definite must buy when here.

Coconut Bun
Another must buy and you can keep the buns slightly longer as the coconut fillings are already cooked.

Need a nap after so much eating....
The lions did have an enjoyable time exploring the in and outs of JB town. More to come soon!

Braised Duck, Tau Kuah and Beef noodles - At Restoran Shang Ji near Jalan Lumba Kuda
Mee Rebus - At Kafe Enampuluhan at Jalan Ibrahim Sultan
Nasi Padang, Coffee, Eggs, Nasi Lemak - At Restoran Kin Hua at Jalan Tan Hiok Nee
Hiap Joo Bakery - At Jalan Tan Hiok Nee

Cooling down like a smurf at Mushroom Cafe

The Lions were thinking of going for a little run and could not really think of a place to run.... The usual running route? Nah... too boring... then Cute Cute had an idea of running at macritchie reservoir which was somewhere that both of them had yet to go for sometime. While getting warmed up, they noticed this little cafe that popped out to serve the visitors there. Mushroom cafe mushroomed out and had a variety of food for sale.
Having a stretch before going for a run
The only cafe there, Mushroom Cafe might be written off as one of those off the mill cafes, the items being sold are also rather similar to the ones that are sold outside. But take a closer look, Mushroom cafe does sell a few unique items.

Cuchi took a few items that her friends recommended which seem normal but they turn out to be rather good. Of course, later Cute Cute also found out that mushroom cafe is actually under the old chang kee group.

After trying out some of their food, the lions gave some reviews on the food that they tried.

Kaya Toast
Toast is nice and fluffy. Not very crispy but the corn flakes inside the bread makes it crispy when you bite into it.

Curry Puff
It's from old chang kee....

Chicken wing
Something that Cuchi likes because she loves the fried food from old chang kee.

Yam Cake
Do not bother with this.... the cake is too hard and not really tasty.

Mushroom cafe is a good place to hang around after your run or just to pop in for a meal. There's scenery abound and unfortunately there are also LOTS of monkeys. However, they do add to the ambience of the place.... just do not feed them!

Here is our review on Mushroom Cafe
Food: 6.5 pawprints out of 10
Ambience: 7 pawprints out of 10

Specials that you should try: Chicken wings, curry puff, kaya toast

For those who are interested in going there, here is the address:

Mushroom Cafe @ MacRitchie
MacRitchie Reservoir Park, Reservoir Road (off Lornie Road), 
MacRitchie Amenities Centre Food Kiosk, S570000