Ran out of lunch ideas so thought why not do with McDonald’s for the day — after all they did launch yet another one of those limited-time items that sounded to be all the rage; Chick ‘N’ Cheese, Pizza McShaker Fries and Ha! Chicken Drumlets.

Sadly the Chick ‘N’ Cheese felt more like a glorified McChicken — don’t get me wrong; I am that boring guy who often find myself ordering that McChicken for something more predictable when visiting McDonalds (which is something I don’t do often), but the Chick ‘N’ Cheese is something that one would order for the sheer novelty of the item rather than the overall composition of the item. More of a glorified version of the McChicken, the Chick ‘N’ Cheese features the same sesame seed buns and the same chicken patty, though comes with a special sweet tomato chili jam and a cheesy mozzarella “patty” that sits above the chicken patty. Best to be had whilst hot, the mozzarella comes melty and gooey with its stringy texture; rather soft and fluffy, but the savoury touch seems to feel rather standalone from the entire burger, whilst overpowering the slice of processed cheese that sits between it and the fried chicken patty. The sweet tomato chili jam was almost akin to a sweeter, more tomato-y version of a Thai chili sauce, though its spiciness was also seemingly overwhelmed by the fried mozzarella patty itself too.

The Pizza McShaker was probably more disappointing than the other items introduced this round; whilst the slight hint of tangy tomato does hint so ever lightly within the seasoning when coated with the fries, there wasn’t otherwise much correlation with an actual pizza. The Ha! Chicken Drumlets fared better though; some may lament on how there isn’t much umami punch for the chicken drumlets but it’s probably already a commendable attempt by a fast food chain on a locally-inspired offering — not to mention that the ones I had were still crisp and freshly-fried without being dry.

  • 1 Like

Heard about their Cheese Prata quite a fair bit — after all, Niqqi’s The Cheese Prata Shop is quite the place to around Kent Ridge, but only came by because I hadn’t checked out the opening times of another spot that I was intending to visit in the area.

Kinda understood why there is such a clear split of opinion when it comes to Niqqi’s pratas. It is pretty apparent how Niqqi’s style seems to veer towards very thinly-stretched pratas — this style seemingly fits their signature cheese pratas very well, though its not quite the same for their plain prata. Found the Garlic Cheese Prata to be exceptionally enjoyable with its soft and fluffy texture that accommodates the stretchy cheese beneath; the garlic being my own must-have for that extra contrast of flavour. Liked how they seemed to have used a more premium cheese than the usual processed cheese that most stalls of its type chooses to use — makes for a more alluring savoury note and better texture overall as one can actually do a proper “cheese-pull” while the prata is piping hot. The Plain Prata was lacklustre however; the Prata having been stretched overly thin with gaping holes found in the middle — something I hadn’t quite expected to see and to be really honest, never seen after all these years having Prata. Given how the dough was stretched so thin, the Prata undoubtedly turn rather stodgy and slightly tough to pull apart and lacks crispness after being left there while I devoured the Garlic Cheese Prata in delight. The accompanying curry was actually pretty decent — sufficiently rich and surprisingly not too oily; comes with a distinct tanginess without being particularly spicy for those with a lower tolerance of spiciness.

Given how it is located at the far end of Kent Ridge closer to Kent Ridge Bus Terminal rather than the MRT Station, I can see the reason why some wouldn’t really make their way for Niqqi’s for how it does require a bit of effort to get to. That being said, if one does want to give them a go, the Cheese Prata (along with any variant of it) is the one to go for — probably the item that brings those NUS students back yearning for more.

There has been much talk about Threepointtwo at Kampong Bahru over the past week — most having mentioned their waffles and ice-cream given how they are the new ice-cream parlour which had recently opened in the neighbourhood, which has interestingly seen a rising of cafes of the late (think at3, Kream & Kensho etc. along the same stretch).

Opened by the same folks behind Pangzi Durian in Jurong West, the Durian Mousse is one of the items I would actually recommend one to go for as well. Having tried Pangzi Durian on one of the rare trips I had made to Jurong West, I liked how their Durian Mousse is pretty rich with pungent with the distinct notes of the king of fruits. The mousse itself is sufficiently creamy, but it’s the additional shots of D24 here that takes the cake — a generous scoop of fibrous D24 flesh that is not to be missed by durian lovers that gives the mousse that buttery sweetness amidst the pungent notes. And if a single shot isn’t enough, one can also request for a double shot to be added — just like how one can do the same to their cuppa at a specialty coffee joint.

While the ice-creams are decent in flavour here and that the waffle is actually pretty plush and wafts of an alluring hint of buttermilk fragrance, I am more inclined to give the durian desserts and cream puff items a go instead — the Earl Grey Puffs reminds me of the good ol days of Neato.100 and Shuu Choux; the combination of crisp and light choux pastries of the latter and that aptly creamy filling carrying an intense tea aroma of the former during its prime at Burlington Square. And did I mention one can also try Butternut’s thin-crust pizzas here without making the trek to the far West of Taman Jurong? A destination worth considering for hipsters who want a little bit of everything all under one roof; from hot (snack) food, to ice-cream, specialty coffee and durian desserts — and one that is relatively centralised as well.

  • 3 Likes

Visited the new Abundance at Lengkok Bahru over the weekend — the fun, Asian fusion neighbourhood bar is situated just a couple of units away from Maison Sucree at a HDB block just a short walking distance from Redhill MRT Station.

A bit bummed by how the buns weren’t out when we went for lunch service (was told that they were only available for dinner during our visit), but found ourselves going for the Niu Yolk Fried Rice which was recommended to us by the staff. Featuring elements such as Beef Short Rib, Onsen Egg and Beef Fat over the Din Tai Fung-style egg fried rice that they attempt to serve over here.

Digging into the bowl of rice; the portion of which works great for two to share, and especially so for those who are looking to share at least a side, we noticed how the rice here seems a tad too moist for our liking — perhaps an attempt to achieve that fluffy texture of egg fried rice that was slightly overdone in this case. But otherwise, the rice was actually rather flavourful; wafts of an eggy fragrance that perfumes throughout the entire bowl. We were actually more impressed with the beef short ribs — the portioning of which may be a little small if one is attempting to share the item with two others just like how we did here, but we loved how the beef was absolutely tender and cooked in its own fat; not particularly gamey, but so melt-in-the-mouth good and savoury especially considering how marbled the meat was. The Onsen Egg is the crowd pleaser here — runny egg with a molten egg yolk that bursts of a creamy, golden goodness that provides for a silkier touch when one mixes it into the fried rice; talk about all the egg that is going on in here. Folks who prefer not to have beef can also opt for the “Classic” variant, and then go for the various add-ons here — think Crispy Chicken Cutlet, Pork Chop, Prawns, Crab Meat, Fried Beancurd Skin (aka 斋鹅)(!) and Tobiko.

Abundance doesn’t attempt to hide about its identity and character — it is exactly that fun Asian fusion gastrobar and the void deck it sets itself to be; the food here seemingly being of a Chinese/Taiwanese influence. Don’t come by looking for exceptional artisan fare; instead, just something more light-hearted with a playful touch. Whilst the location may seem a tad odd, we do reckon this is a spot that young families around the newer areas of Queenstown and Redhill may love having around — somewhere casual and hip with drinks with the convenience of being in their neighbourhood.

If Bedok is the “ice-cream” town of the East, then Yishun would probably be the same when it comes to the North — the town already boasts quite a number of ice-cream parlours as compared to the other regions in the north such as Woodlands and Sembawang; No Horse Run being the latest situated slightly deeper within the heartlands pretty near where Coba Coba is located.

Going for the Pandan Gula Melaka Waffles, the waffles required a bit of a waiting time considering how everyone that had made their visit to No Horse Run had seemingly ordered a waffle or two — with them only having one waffle machine to satisfy all the orders. We have also opted for our waffles to come with two scoops of ice-cream; one being the Lemongrass Pandan, and the other was the Smoked Milk with Cacao Nibs. Patrons can also opt for a sauce to go along with the waffles, which we went for the Childhood Milo — their signature sauce.

The waffles were actually pretty well-executed; liked how crisp and cakey these were whilst it comes perfuming of a light Pandan fragrance with a slight earthiness of Gula Melaka detected in its finish — provides slightly more contrast in flavours when compared to the average Pandan waffle. The Lemongrass Pandan ice-cream did come with a distinct hint of lemongrass, though probably not a flavour I would recommend to go for with the Pandan Gula Melaka Waffles given their common element featured in both — still pretty refreshing amidst the creaminess nonetheless. The Smoked Milk with Cacao Nibs was my personal preferred choice between the two — no doubt something not too surprising for those who have tried “smoked” ice-cream flavours which features a common hint of smokiness form the smoking liquid used, but was creamy and smooth while the cacao nibs provided a good contrast of texture with flavours replicating that of the bitterness of chocolate; great for those who love smoked ice-cream flavours, or yet to have tried such flavours. The Childhood Milo sauce was absolutely on-point; looking more like a thick chocolate ganache on first look, but it’s that intensely rich and thick malty, chocolatey goodness that makes it so alluring — maybe even better than Milo Dinosuar.

Despite its limited offerings when it comes to accompaniments to pair with their ice-creams, No Horse Run is a promising, new venture in the heartlands — innovative ice-cream flavours with well-executed waffles with a local touch, served with unique house-made sauces that makes it a real gem to have in the neighbourhood. Despite being pretty much early days for this establishments, it seems that they have already garnered quite a fair bit of attention from both cafehoppers and residents given how buzzy they were on a weekend afternoon. Dine-in seats are fairly limited, though they do have a few seats located around the aisles of the HDB void deck of one doesn’t mind. Probably a spot that I would love to check out again for the other interesting flavours that they carry, though would only likely to make the return once the crowd dies down a little — or would that ever happen ...

  • 1 Like

Have seen some posts on Instagram lately about Egglette & Dessert — one of the new additions to the Rochor area near the office which serves up Hong Kong-style egglettes, desserts, and beverages, and thought that it was something that I would not mind checking out since it was an area which I was pretty familiar with anyway.

Offering egglettes served in four different flavours (i.e. original, chocolate, brown sugar or dark choco bits), Egglette & Dessert also offers patrons with the choice of adding a scoop of ice-cream to their order of the egglettes. Given how we have already had ice-cream prior to making the visit to Egglette & Dessert, we found ourselves ordering the Egglette with Dark Choco Bits as-is. Whilst we have tried quite a number of egglettes previously, the one from Egglette & Dessert was pretty well-executed — the bubbles here are plush and fluffy, whilst the flatter areas surrounding the bubbles were crisp. The bits of melted chocolate chips made for a slightly gooey, chocolatey sweetness that were actually good on its own, but also could have went well with the milkier ice-cream flavours which they have in-stock such as the Vanilla Bean ice-cream flavour.

Having tried the egglette here, this is probably the best one could get when it comes to having egglettes and Hong Kong-style milk tea; the pandemic has pretty much made us appreciate how we can travel around the world using our tongues instead of being physically there. Liked how Egglette & Dessert also attempts to bring those Hong Kong vibes into the shop space it occupies; the walls being adorned by wallpapers that features the various signages one can find in Hong Kong, including replicas of the signages found in MTR and KCR train stations in Hong Kong. A spot worth checking out for those who are looking for a slice of Hong Kong to be experienced in Singapore; also somewhere that would work well as a casual dessert hangout in this area of town.

  • 1 Like

Have seen some posts on Instagram lately about Egglette & Dessert — one of the new additions to the Rochor area near the office which serves up Hong Kong-style egglettes, desserts, and beverages, and thought that it was something that I would not mind checking out since it was an area which I was pretty familiar with anyway.

Offering egglettes served in four different flavours (i.e. original, chocolate, brown sugar or dark choco bits), Egglette & Dessert also offers patrons with the choice of adding a scoop of ice-cream to their order of the egglettes. Given how we have already had ice-cream prior to making the visit to Egglette & Dessert, we found ourselves ordering the Egglette with Dark Choco Bits as-is. Whilst we have tried quite a number of egglettes previously, the one from Egglette & Dessert was pretty well-executed — the bubbles here are plush and fluffy, whilst the flatter areas surrounding the bubbles were crisp. The bits of melted chocolate chips made for a slightly gooey, chocolatey sweetness that were actually good on its own, but also could have went well with the milkier ice-cream flavours which they have in-stock such as the Vanilla Bean ice-cream flavour.

Having tried the egglette here, this is probably the best one could get when it comes to having egglettes and Hong Kong-style milk tea; the pandemic has pretty much made us appreciate how we can travel around the world using our tongues instead of being physically there. Liked how Egglette & Dessert also attempts to bring those Hong Kong vibes into the shop space it occupies; the walls being adorned by wallpapers that features the various signages one can find in Hong Kong, including replicas of the signages found in MTR and KCR train stations in Hong Kong. A spot worth checking out for those who are looking for a slice of Hong Kong to be experienced in Singapore; also somewhere that would work well as a casual dessert hangout in this area of town.

  • 1 Like

Wanton Seng Noodle Bar was a spot that I remembered visiting during its early days at Amoy Street — also somewhere that I had the chance to revisit recently just a couple of months ago when I left my friend’s partner to decide on a dinner location because I was just too tired to be the one making the decision almost all the time. Thus, I was rather intrigued by the opening of their new outlet at Millenia Walk, which turned out to be more of a move considering that they were also closing down the Amoy Street outlet at the same time.

While the Signature Char Siew Wanton Noodles is the one most would go for at Wanton Seng, the Millenia Walk outlet sees the introduction of several new items that is exclusive to this location (they also run an Express outlet at Guoco Tower). Using the same noodles usually used for their Signature Char Siew Wanton Noodles, the Mala Bah Chor Noodles features minced pork, pork wantons, soft-boiled egg, black vinegar, chili pepper oil, coriander, spring onion, roasted peanuts and roasted sesame seeds.

Tossing everything up and slurping the noodles, the first impression was how the noodles seemed to be a tad over-cooked; less “QQ” and was a little bit on the soft side, lacking the bite somewhat. However, it is well noted that the Mala minced pork did pretty much laced up with the noodles and provided the entire bowl of noodles with quite an umami burst of spiciness that would tickle the tastebuds of even those who are tolerant to moderate levels of spiciness. We also found the Mala flavours here to be a bit more savoury than usual, though the fragrance of the chili peppers do feel a little less pronounced than that of the Mala Spicy Pork Noodle from Gimee Face — perhaps muted by the addition of black vinegar. The half-boiled egg was a crowd-pleaser however; comes with a somewhat molten egg yolk than comes with a creamy texture. All noodles are also accompanied with a jug of soup on the side — patrons can freely add the soup into the bowl of noodles, or have them separately ; thought the soup here was actually pretty tasty yet clean in flavour, as opposed to the usual ones accompanying the standard wanton noodles often found at hawker centres, and one that I would gladly drink despite me usually leaving the soups out from my meals. The so called “Shiok” and “Fury” chili sauce options are available on the table for patrons to add to their bowls of noodles at their own discretion, though we found that the chili sauces provided were nowhere as spicy as that of the likes of Eng’s or any of their derivatives (including Wanton Fu) has to offer.

Kinda glad to see Wanton Seng Noodle Bar expand their concept into what it is today — all that from being a standard wanton noodle stall at Dunman Food Centre to a hipster wanton noodle bar in town. Some may lament on the fact of how their rendition is seen as a “glorified” variant with a unjustified premium in terms of price, but I am glad that they do provide patrons with a wider variety of options at this new outlet to cater to a bigger audience. That being said, while Wanton Seng’s Eating House’s version of the noodles still have some room for improvement, it does serve as a simpler option that is almost fuss-free which I would not mind dining at in the area — and one that I would visit still if I ever crave for a cocktail to go along with my wanton noodles; just like how I did with this one.

  • 1 Like

If Bedok is the “ice-cream” town of the East, then Yishun would probably be the same when it comes to the North — the town already boasts quite a number of ice-cream parlours as compared to the other regions in the north such as Woodlands and Sembawang; No Horse Run being the latest situated slightly deeper within the heartlands pretty near where Coba Coba is located.

Going for the Pandan Gula Melaka Waffles, the waffles required a bit of a waiting time considering how everyone that had made their visit to No Horse Run had seemingly ordered a waffle or two — with them only having one waffle machine to satisfy all the orders. We have also opted for our waffles to come with two scoops of ice-cream; one being the Lemongrass Pandan, and the other was the Smoked Milk with Cacao Nibs. Patrons can also opt for a sauce to go along with the waffles, which we went for the Childhood Milo — their signature sauce.

The waffles were actually pretty well-executed; liked how crisp and cakey these were whilst it comes perfuming of a light Pandan fragrance with a slight earthiness of Gula Melaka detected in its finish — provides slightly more contrast in flavours when compared to the average Pandan waffle. The Lemongrass Pandan ice-cream did come with a distinct hint of lemongrass, though probably not a flavour I would recommend to go for with the Pandan Gula Melaka Waffles given their common element featured in both — still pretty refreshing amidst the creaminess nonetheless. The Smoked Milk with Cacao Nibs was my personal preferred choice between the two — no doubt something not too surprising for those who have tried “smoked” ice-cream flavours which features a common hint of smokiness form the smoking liquid used, but was creamy and smooth while the cacao nibs provided a good contrast of texture with flavours replicating that of the bitterness of chocolate; great for those who love smoked ice-cream flavours, or yet to have tried such flavours. The Childhood Milo sauce was absolutely on-point; looking more like a thick chocolate ganache on first look, but it’s that intensely rich and thick malty, chocolatey goodness that makes it so alluring — maybe even better than Milo Dinosuar.

Despite its limited offerings when it comes to accompaniments to pair with their ice-creams, No Horse Run is a promising, new venture in the heartlands — innovative ice-cream flavours with well-executed waffles with a local touch, served with unique house-made sauces that makes it a real gem to have in the neighbourhood. Despite being pretty much early days for this establishments, it seems that they have already garnered quite a fair bit of attention from both cafehoppers and residents given how buzzy they were on a weekend afternoon. Dine-in seats are fairly limited, though they do have a few seats located around the aisles of the HDB void deck of one doesn’t mind. Probably a spot that I would love to check out again for the other interesting flavours that they carry, though would only likely to make the return once the crowd dies down a little — or would that ever happen ...

  • 1 Like

Being the Woodlander than I am, I was pretty excited for Chic-A-Boo’s opening at Woods Square — whilst my initial impressions of their food a couple of years ago at their now-defunct Ang Mo Kio (yes, there was one in a coffeeshop near Djitsun Mall) and HillV2 outlets were less than impressive, we were pleasantly surprised by their fried chicken after one visit to their Sembawang Shopping Centre outlet, which we have been returning to ever since.

The Set 1 comes with two pieces of fried chicken, a choice of two sides and a drink — the fried chicken at Chic-A-Boo is available in two flavours; the Favourite, and the Hot & Spicy, which was sold out during our visit made on a weekday night at approximately 8:00pm. The fried chicken was a little off from what we were expecting — perhaps being prepared in batches and that we visited at a rather odd timing (though people were still queueing up for seats); the batter felt a little limp and lacked the crispness that I would have thought it will carry, though the spices used in the batter such as the slight hint of pepper was still pretty prominent, and that the chicken was still considerably juicy and tender. Sides were pretty much the usual; the Onion Rings being the same ones that one would find at Andes by Aston’s or Aston’s Specialties outlets (yes, Chic-A-Boo is a brand under the Aston’s umbrella), while the Curly Fries seemed more like short arches of fried potato that is lacking on the “springy” aesthetic — almost the same as what we have experienced in our recent visit to A&W at Canberra Plaza.

To be fair, the quality of the food served at Chic-A-Boo at Woods Square falls a bit short of the Sembawang Shopping Centre location — perhaps one of the few teething issues for a newly-opened outlet. Also noted that there were quite a number of items unavailable (or at least, some of the items which we wanted to order were); a little surprising considering their scale of operations. The outlet at Woods Square is also considerably smaller than most of its other locations, with all seats being outdoor with the ordering counter and kitchen being situated indoors. Also wished that their staff were more alert to the surroundings, such as to inform queueing patrons to occupy the vacant tables considering how this is a self-service establishment; perhaps an addition of a sign would help. Otherwise, Chic-A-Boo is a great addition for the residents of Woodlands — a spot that I am likely to return to if improvements were to be made to the standard of their food to be consistent as their other locations.

  • 2 Likes

Had the chance to dine alone whilst working from the office; wanted to drop by other places but found myself hitting Curious Palette instead — one of the spots that is rarely exercised even when eating alone around the office.

Wanted to go for something more substantial, but found myself eventually going for the Kaya, Coffee Butter — the very same item which I had went for when I first made my return to the cafe when dine-in was just re-instated after moving into Phase Two of the Circuit Breaker. The aesthetics of the dish had since changed — gone were the days of the square sliced toast stacked up with the soy sauce bottle one would often find in coffeeshops that contains their Espresso Shoyu; now the items come with toasts sliced in triangles, and the Espresso Shoyu comes in a saucer instead.

The Kaya, Coffee Butter Toast was what I remembered it to be — the crisp, old-school toast that it came with resembles that of Ya Kun’s Kaya Butter Toast; just sliced slightly different and comes slathered with ample portions of Kaya and Coffee Butter for a balance note. Perhaps of the way the toasts are being sliced now, the flavours of the Kaya and Coffee Butter are also a bit more pronounced this time — the Kaya being all smooth and carried a distinct note of the caramalised coconut jam; all that without being overly sweet nor grainy as the commercial variants available in supermarkets, while the coffee butter carries an alluring bitter undertone that cuts through the usual saltishness of butter which is an interesting flavour profile that brings the usual pairing of coffee with Kaya Butter Toast straight into the toast itself. The sous vide eggs that accompanies the Kaya, Coffee Butter Toast comes wobbly with molten egg yolks — the best sort of eggs with Kaya Butter Toast that we so much enjoy in the traditional Hainanese breakfast, and comes accompanied with Espresso-infused Shoyu; do go easy with the dousing of the Shoyu considering how the Espresso Shoyu comes with a rather deep, earthy and saltish note that is more intense than the usual light soya sauce that some will enjoy their eggs to go together with.

The Kaya, Coffee Butter is probably one of those items that is rarely seen being ordered at Curious Palette — after all, the other items on the menu would probably appeal to the cafe-goers a lot more and are also more substantial in terms of portion size. I do enjoy their twist to the usual Kaya Butter Toast though — one that can only be pulled of by an establishment that specialises in specialty coffee; and is something I would consider having again for a light lunch/brunch at Curious Palette.

  • 3 Likes

Had the chance to dine alone whilst working from the office; wanted to drop by other places but found myself hitting Curious Palette instead — one of the spots that is rarely exercised even when eating alone around the office.

Wanted to go for something more substantial, but found myself eventually going for the Kaya, Coffee Butter — the very same item which I had went for when I first made my return to the cafe when dine-in was just re-instated after moving into Phase Two of the Circuit Breaker. The aesthetics of the dish had since changed — gone were the days of the square sliced toast stacked up with the soy sauce bottle one would often find in coffeeshops that contains their Espresso Shoyu; now the items come with toasts sliced in triangles, and the Espresso Shoyu comes in a saucer instead.

The Kaya, Coffee Butter Toast was what I remembered it to be — the crisp, old-school toast that it came with resembles that of Ya Kun’s Kaya Butter Toast; just sliced slightly different and comes slathered with ample portions of Kaya and Coffee Butter for a balance note. Perhaps of the way the toasts are being sliced now, the flavours of the Kaya and Coffee Butter are also a bit more pronounced this time — the Kaya being all smooth and carried a distinct note of the caramalised coconut jam; all that without being overly sweet nor grainy as the commercial variants available in supermarkets, while the coffee butter carries an alluring bitter undertone that cuts through the usual saltishness of butter which is an interesting flavour profile that brings the usual pairing of coffee with Kaya Butter Toast straight into the toast itself. The sous vide eggs that accompanies the Kaya, Coffee Butter Toast comes wobbly with molten egg yolks — the best sort of eggs with Kaya Butter Toast that we so much enjoy in the traditional Hainanese breakfast, and comes accompanied with Espresso-infused Shoyu; do go easy with the dousing of the Shoyu considering how the Espresso Shoyu comes with a rather deep, earthy and saltish note that is more intense than the usual light soya sauce that some will enjoy their eggs to go together with.

The Kaya, Coffee Butter is probably one of those items that is rarely seen being ordered at Curious Palette — after all, the other items on the menu would probably appeal to the cafe-goers a lot more and are also more substantial in terms of portion size. I do enjoy their twist to the usual Kaya Butter Toast though — one that can only be pulled of by an establishment that specialises in specialty coffee; and is something I would consider having again for a light lunch/brunch at Curious Palette.

  • 4 Likes