Friday, February 28, 2014

The WoodShed at Rangoon Road

The lioness is used to catching up on emails and work on the go between meetings and such. The two essential things that she can't do without while on the rove are - wifi and a power outlet. And they are few and far between on this island. Can't blame cafes for doing away with these to discourage those kiam siap bench warmers though.  Her favourite spot has always been the homely L'etoile at Owen Road. So, when she ventured into Woodshed, a new cafe along the Rangoon Stretch that is home to more well-established names like Jewel and Liberty, she was pleasantly pleased to find yup just about the two necessities to stay connected.

WoodShed is nestled in the nondescript building along
Rangoon Road that is home also to Ng Ah Sio Bak Kut Teh
of the 50's peppery Teochew-style pork rib broth fame
at a humble corner.
WoodShed is named after the cavern-like entrance
that is made of the said natural material.
Head in for some mood-improving coffee, tea and cakes.
What a sustainable concept man. WoodShed adopted
whatever remained of the ID of previous tenants that
included an upmarket bicycle retail store and an interior
decor firm. 
Grandpa and Grandma would be happy sitting on these
comfy rattan chairs.
Hipsters would give their stamp of approval for these vintage inspired
One of the cafe co-founders quipped that he wants
patrons to feel absolutely at home here.
Feels like home? If only most homes had such huge living areas and
high ceilings in land deficient Singapore.
Barista at work in the background.
Let's check out the menu mounted on - what else - wood.
The lioness was a little disappointed with the cake selection
that afternoon. There was a grand total of 3 bakes to choose
from: carrot cake, chocolate cake and brownie. We hear that
a chef will be coming soon in the month of April so stay tune
for an all day breakfast menu and light bites.
Love the riot of colours here :)
At least the coffee's noteworthy! Beans are sourced from
a local roaster. The cafe's tight-lipped on the exact source
though as the roastery prefers to remain low key. Hmmm...
so indie ah... ...

204 Rangoon Road
Singapore 218451

Monday, February 24, 2014

Mains at 8 at Knuckles

After waiting for almost half an hour past its official opening time at 7pm, the shutters finally rolled up and the crowd rushed in to chope available seats. The chef was late but nobody seemed to care. No disapproving glares or petulant frowns were noted; not a single *%&k was given. Boy, this quasi-German joint is fast becoming as popular as its Thai neighbour, Nakhon. Why the popularity? Prices are as shiok as the quality of grub here. No GST and no service charge at this trendy neighbourhood restaurant-bar with wooden crates doubling up as tables and part of the hip decor.  Mains are priced at $8nett and a pint of draught Erdinger goes for a flat $10. Don't know how the recent 25% hike in alcohol tax is gonna affect f&b businesses around the island though. It's almost blasphemous when this city already has the most exorbitantly priced tipples in the world. Leave the working man's drink alone!

This neighbourhood restaurant-bar in Hougang counts families among
its ardent fans.
Quick set-up as the crowd rushes in.
Hip naked hanging light bulbs are almost ubiquitous in new stripped down,
industrial inspired joints.
Mains at $8. How affordable! No wonder the heartlanders go nutty at
Queue at the counter to place your order and foot the bill at the same time.
Knuckles is known for its signature crispy Pork Knuckles.
This unsweetened homemade ice lemon tea has a nice
foamy head. It's shaken, not stirred in a cocktail mixer.
Speaking of foamy heads, quench your thirst with
the real deal.
Shoe-string truffle fries at $5. A decent portion with a
good douse of the pungent oil. No complains.
Almost everyone at the table went for the dish of German Pork Knuckles.
And it delivered. Moist and tender meat with a good amount of succulent
fats underneath a layer of crisp skin slightly burnt at the edges. Yummy!
The sides of mash spiced with nutmeg and the crunchy sauerkraut were
also executed well.
Only the lion was brave enough to try something different on the menu
and he was duly rewarded. The rather uninspiring looking Pork Schitzel
turned out to be really delish with its golden batter accompanied by a rather
strange tasting but addictive milky sauce.
The sides of fried sotong balls came last with the balls sliced in halves.
8 pieces at $3, go do the maths; overall, a rather mediocre dish. Go for the
other light bites.

The lions soon realised that Knuckles may perhaps be owned by the same people behind the neighbouring Nakhon when a few frazzled wait staff came over to help by clearing tables. The lions give this place their wholehearted paws up. We need more of such neighbourhood joints on the island!

Blk 212 Hougang Street 21
#01-33 Hougang Kovan District
Singapore 530212

Sunny Side Up Pineapple Delights at SunnyHills

A rigorous meeting in town saw the lioness and Mr & Miss Monster Cat settling down for some peace and quiet at SunnyHills after the brain-teasing session. Nestled in the serene upper floors of the iconic grand dame - Raffles Hotel - SunnyHills, with her elegant au naturel wood-based furnishings and minimalist Japanese inspired decor, exudes a placid Zen-like calm. This is complemented by the warm and endearing Taiwanese hospitality as every guest is served a complimentary cup of organic oolong tea and a SunnyHills' signature oblong pineapple pastry. There is no obligation to buy but most people would gladly do so after sampling the buttery, brick-like pastry with 100% pulpy pineapple filling.

Premium Taiwanese oolong tea (none of the harsh, astringent
mouthfeel of inferior ones usually served at local restaurants here)
is served in a dainty ceramic cup on a wooden tray alongside the cult
pastry that has fans queuing up before opening at the Taipei store.
Shreds of tangy pineapple not too cloyingly sachaarine
from the red clay fields of the Ba Gua Mountain in Nantou. There
are at least 20 different pineapple varietals in grown Taiwan and
a particular varietal is used here whose flavour is more intense
and whose texture is more fibrous to withstand oven baking
temperatures. The crust is made from creamy New Zealand butter
and high grade yolks from a neighbouring antibiotic-free farm.
It's no bonsai but this plant grown in a coconut husk is so
elegantly beautiful.
Admire the delicate (ahem expensive) teapot glassware.
We hear that some unfortunate guests occasionally
break these fragile pieces whose value is a healthy three
figure sum.
Pineapple juice, a by-product when pineapple gets
processed, is bottled and sold at SunnyHills.
Each batch of juice taste different and comes with a tag
of recommended recipes. Pineapple cocktails, anyone? 
Cuchi is a huge fan of S&W's sublimely delicious
canned pineapple juice but this takes the cake for
its subtle sweetness and refreshing tartness.
Checking out where the handmade ceramic cups are birthed.
Take away a box of ten scrumptious pineapple pastry for $25.

Thanks to Mr Monster Cat, the architectural photographer by day, for taking
the superb main interior shots by crummy iphone.

SunnyHills currently has four showcase and retail stores in four countries namely Taiwan, Japan, Shanghai and Singapore. Each store is a destination unto itself and only one exists in every country. 

SunnyHills @ Raffles Hotel
Raffles Hotel Arcade
328 North Bridge Road
Singapore 188719

The Made in SG Market

The lions made their way down one Saturday afternoon to the National Design Centre at Middle Road for a one of a kind marketplace that featured local makers and the craftsmanship that goes into every product that is handcrafted for the discerning consumer. The two felines gained a greater appreciation of the time, patience, dedication and skill involved in actualising a well-made and well thought-out product right here in the Lion City. This goes against the grain of fast-paced, mass-produced consumerism so rampant in today's world that places an emphasis on the quickest possible way to produce a shoddy item in the cheapest manner. A maker quipped in a video about the seemingly insatiable need that people have to buy so many items when they just need one well-made product. And it's a good thing to support the aspirations of our local artisans, if not, who will?

The organisers bring together a curated list of participants
from varying fields.
Catch independent artisans like GSH Conserves, Weekend
Worker, Liberty Coffee, Forest Child, etc as they showcase
their range of handcrafted wares proudly made in Singapore.
From leather products
to 3D-printed products. This one belonged more to the tech realm rather
than er the handcrafted category for us. But Tinkr brings an interesting and
sophisticated slant to the showcase.
The bot at the Tinkr booth that prints out customised designs
such as  fashion accessories and figurines in 3D. Material is limited
currently to plastic for this machine of the future.
The Gentlemen's Press at a live demonstration session of
the age-old letterpress technique that is seeing a resurgence.
Bespoke wedding invites or name cards, anyone?
Applying the ink carefully by hand. The intimate session
attracted quite a good number of interested folks that
cut across demographics. Parents with kids in tow,
the more respectable silver-haired onlooker and of course
the young hipsters were spotted. 
Colourful Stickers.
Screening of short interviews featuring some of the
independent craftsmen.
Other live demos include 3D printing, leather-crafting,
ceramic and stamp making.
Motto of the Day: I don't want to die without any scars.
Carpe Diem!
Thirsty camels can grab a cup of Citizen Pop's homemade
coolers of fresh fruit sodas. No icky syrups & artificial tasting
concentrates used.
Love this poster.
Ht me with a bubbly cuppa right now!
Coffee aficionados will head instead for Liberty Coffee's booth.
Quite a queue for the brew made with locally roasted beans.
Liberty Coffee's Speakeasy Blend on retail.
Tables littered with cups tsk tsk.
Mini garden in a vintage rooster bowl.
The lions headed also for Public Garden's flea market located
just beside The Made in SG Market at the National Library.
Nice! Cuchi grabbed a pretty handmade necklace made with raffia from
Freckled Daisy.
They came back to handmade goodness in the kitchen the next day as well :) courtesy of the lion's mommy dearest.

The Made in SG Market

22 & 23 February 2014