Roosevelt's Diner & Bar: Harvest my Heart


Housed in the lobby of Dorsett Residences just parked outside the maze of entrances to Outram MRT station is Roosevelts diner and bar.  Many would turn a blind eye to its transparent glass window facade and trudge down towards the more rambunctious Keong Saik Street in search of grub.

But who would know that Roosevelt's is home to one of my favourite burgers in town? Sshh.. let's keep that a secret between you and I alright?

Inside, the feeling is almost "ironic suburban" , expansive family tables with odd fashioned light bulbs dangling overhead, a table top of severely outdated magazines is given the death stares by the illustrious bathroom from across the hallway, pimped up by its fashionable array of luxe lotions and hand creams.

Our first visit was strictly a burger run, to mollify those crummy emotional out bursts. I had the Teddy's 100% US Beef Burger ($22) whilst S zoned in on the Mushroom Cheddar Burger ($22). At Roosevelts', the burger is kept simple, with just smears of mayo on the pillowy soft brioche buns that don't crowd your palate with an exuberance of flavor, allowing the story of the beef patty to be told in full glory; with its doneness cooked to order (plus points immediately!), it constituted an explosion of natural sweet beefy juices when you chomp down. It's architecture was slightly compromised by the inclusion of onions in the patty, but the overall flavors received a major boosting with that poignant addition. The Mushroom Cheddar burger made its appearance, fashioned with all manner of good things (especially those tender and delightfully seasoned mushrooms) and naturally went down with no complaints at the other end of the table. The fries are the only debacle in this fairytale, not that they were nasty or cold or anything drastically negative; they were just.. uninspired.

Revisits occurred a few day afters when I started feeling the burger cravings creeping up on me again. That's when the cracks started to appear. 

We fell in love with the Southern Fried Chicken ($18), the gorgeously sun-kissed crispy skinned chicken exposing flavorful and extremely tender plump flesh below. Benefits of day long soaks in buttermilk before taking to the fryers paying off immensely. The multitude of spices used in the coating unravelling gradually with every bite. 

That was done. The rest of the dinner presented a plethora of disappointments. Starting with the burgers.  Point to note is that if you plan to eliminate diners' choice to select the doneness of the patty then you had better ensure consistency all around. That can't be said about my experience that night whereby 3 of the burgers at the table emerged in different shades. An over zealously grilled patty set our friend to work, sadly picking around the dried beef. 

This insipidity extrapolated itself to our dessert, the Churros Waflles ($12) with cinnamon sugar, butter and mocha sauce on side, which was a let down by a tell-tale low grade ice cream threatening to abrade our tongues with the shards of ice crystals within its false creamy innards. 

Roosevelts started on an amazing foot with its inspired rift on the ubiquitous burger and crested in an uneven showing of the same dish a few days after. I find it hard to believe the discrepancies involved and despite having my heart broken the same time around, I promise I"ll be back to indulge in the burgers very soon.

Roosevelt's Diner & Bar
331 New Bridge Road
#01-02 Dorsett Residences
Singapore 088764

{Wordless Wednesdays}: Sunday Folks


The word is out. Sunday folks is packing in the queues. So have a whole load of patience and brace yourselves for some pretty mean soft serve gelato. 

Roasted Pistachio, Sea salt Gula Melaka, Earl Grey Lavender and Madagascan Vanilla ($6.90 for a basic cone and $10.90 for the waffle, $1.90 for additional trimmings) ... There's something to tickle everyones' fancy. My personal favourite, the Earl Grey Lavender.

Matcha Roll ($6.90) for those itching for a little cake action.

Don't want your soft serve at MacDonald's anymore? You've got Sunday Folks at ten-fold the price; but much prettier of course. Think about it...

Sunday Folks
44 Jalan Merah Saga, #01-52
Chip Bee Gardens

Seasons Bistro: Seasonal based Cuisine in the heart of Orchard


Seasons Bistro located at Triple One has given residents a new neighbourhood place where they can have a really simple meal, or, when they feel like it, something more extravagant.

It's name conveniently convenes it's principals, "seasons" touting it's homage to a seasonally driven menu with constantly changing fare showcasing the freshest ingredients; "bistro"  speaking volumes about the affordability of it's offerings. Executive Chef Benjamin Fong is the man responsible for flicking the dust off traditionally dearly priced seasonal menus, focusing mainly on the multifaceted American cuisine, with influences from Canada, New England, Mexico and the cosmopolitan New York City. 

The menu is sprinkled with strange and contemporary choices geared for the curious diner. Lunch time sees a value-for-money set menu priced at the affable $12.99 for a choice of soup, main and coffee/soft drink (add $5 for a choice of desserts), a penny pinchers dream come true. With dark wood finishes and sleek varnished counter tops, bringing a company function to its midst now seems like a viable and slightly classier option. 

I went ahead with the set lunch. Opting for the soup of the day for starters. The potato and leek soup probably doesn't sound like a bell ringer, however its deliverance was stellar. Clean flavors without the distracting chunks of potatoes nor irrelevant carrots, as most cafe renditions are, you would expect to taste a tinge of raw starch from the mindless cooking; that wasn't the case at Seasons Bistro.  A technically sound bowl of soup that saw my spoon clanging the bottom of the dish eagerly.

My main came in the form of a Cobb Salad; an uncomplicated marriage that is signified on the menu by sans-serif lists of ingredients, with no capital letters, verbs, articles or hint of how one relates to the next; yet miraculously it does... and all to well. The main-dish classic American salad isn't as straightforward as it seems. It has some rock and roll in its trousers. Cajun spiced chicken grilled till spot on, boiled eggs with a slightly soft center, crisp bacon bits, black olives, corn, watercress and tomatoes strewn the plate. While the salty blue cheese marries mixed greens and creamy avocado, the result conceived is a perfect combination that presents different flavor dimensions and textures with each bite. My only gripe would have to be the beans which I have uncanny biasness towards.

Not everything is fine and dandy; the service needs improvement and the sprawling space doesn't ultimately work in its favour during a busy lunch service as our plea for desserts to be brought out was lost in translation. 

Mishap aside, Seasons Bistro does have the capacity to titillate its guests, by not dishing out over complicated cuisine but tastes good enough to leave you rubbing your belly at the end of the meal. I pray that with the constant reminder of the establishment's name overhed, the chef never loses sight of the bistro's identity. 

Season's Bistro
#01-11/12, TripleOne Somerset
111 Somerset Road
Singapore 238164

Ramen Champion: Next better player.


Nothing works better for quality control than the existance of competition. Here at Ramen Champion, this concept is pushed to the extreme with the congregation of 6 ramen stores under one roof. Residency is determined by a competitive and friendly customer voting system, and diners' votes contribute to seeing who stays and who leaves the arena.

Sounds epic doesn't it?

With 2 new contenders arriving in Singapore, tensions were high as the current residents amped up their game in preparation for the conflict of interests. Would the newcomers pose a threat? We put the freshies to the test.

Kick starting the night, we indulged in a bit of pre-game appetisers. The Mentaiko Gyoza ($7) from Menya Ryu was perfectly delicious, the suppleness of the filling and the racy creaminess of the sauce squiggled over the top made it a perfect snack for the peckish. The Tako Age ($8.80) was okay, slightly overcooked but overcomeable with a generous dip in the mayonnaise.

The Tebasaki with Spicy Sauce ($6.90) appeals to me, the lightness of it's sesame crusted golden amber batter satisfying most of us around the table. Avoid the Deep Fried Gyoza ($5), greasy with an overly thick crust filled with the most pathetic amount of fillings I've ever bared witness to in a gyoza, it adds weak lines to Buta God's stellar repertoire as the front runner in the Ramen arena. 

Returning back to the main agenda of Ramen, my favourite of the night amongst Riki, Shodai Koji and Menya Ryu (the last 2 being the new kids on the block) would definitely have to be the Sapporo Miso Special Ramen ($15.80) from Menya Ryu; the flavorful tonkotsu and chicken soup base with 3 kinds of miso, red, white and black dances cross the tongue with such intensity that I was completely smitten. Texturists would relish in the Chef's varied use of garnish ranging from bamboo shoots to corn to spring onions and a generous mound of greens to further enhance the experience. Refreshing the palate with something crunchy, or something sweet with every alternate bite. This rendition uses curly medium thickness yellow noodles which were perfect vehicles for the aromatic broth.

Coming in second  for today's tasting was the Triple Chashu Ramen ( $16.80) from Shodai Koji.  Where it falls short of victory comes in the form of an overcooked egg and a slightly lighter and less flavorful broth than I'm usually accustomed to. Chef Koji Takano lavishes care on the meat selection (specially imported from Spain), offering an impressive spread of 3 kind of meats, chicken thigh, pork belly and pork collar in this dish, his efforts pay off as the Chashu is meltingly pliable. 

Special Power Ramen ($16.50)  from Riki slips into the back lane with its overly garlicky soup base. Proudly declared to have a broth that is simmered for over 8 hours, it's milky white nature is ravaged by the heavy hand of garlic that totally discredits its true potential. The overuse of beansprouts in this dish proves to be a bit distracting as it reveals a rather woeful amount of thick noodles. The beansprouts having been blanched for too long acquiring a rather limp texture that does nothing for the architecture of the dish. All is not lost though as the small detail of blow torching the pieces of charshu before plating imbues the pork with a heady smoky sensation that gives the dish depth. 

With all that ramen digested and commentaries passed, I shall leave you guys to make your own judgement should you be making a trip down to any of Ramen Champion's three locations dotting the island. And till then... may the next better player win.

Ramen Champion
Bugis +
201 Victoria Street #04-08/09/10
Singapore 188607
T: 6238 1011

GRUB at Bishan Park: Messing with expectations


Are you looking for the best burger in Singapore? Because, if you're turning to GRUB for the solution, you're at a dead end, my friend. 

Having heard notorious news about the snaking queues that build as a result of the no-reservations policy implemented at this place, we arrived a few minutes after 6pm, got cosy on our outdoor benches; only to be greeted by the wide eyed doggy stares from other pairs attempting to saunter in, followed by larger rowdier groups praying for a dash of luck in the waiting game.

GRUB is a high volume joint set in a luscious neighbourhood of draping willows over greenish lakes and the panting joggers that come along with that sacred bit of nature in our concrete jungle. Manage the heat with some thirst quenchers, the BrewDog Dead Pony Club ($10) and Thatcher's Gold Cider ($13) are good options for respite against the humidity.

Get past the contemplation stage and follow your gut. It's the burger that you want. But the real question is.. does it deliver? 

A suspiciously short 5minutes later, the juicy raucous mess arrives on a wooden slab. There is the GRUB double cheeseburger ($18) all ready for its Instagram close up, it is handsomely arranged. fashionably austere in its expertly crafted layers and towering construction. A twist of the stabbing pick reveals a nasty squish of bread; the bottom bun not holding up to the juiciness of the patties. And that situation arising despite the overall dryness of the buns from perhaps doing overtime on the grill sans a protective layer of buttering. Discrepancies were highly evident, the lower patty showing a ticklish pink shade whereas the top starring in 50 shades of grey. At this point, I had my qualms about the burgers being cooked to order. A slight mineral taste accompanied the patties as though they have been frozen a good long time and thawed speedily. Needless to say, this didn't quite make my top 10 list.

The other most Instagrammable offering from GRUB is the Crispy Fish Burger ($14) hake fish and an accompanying remoulade (tar-tar sauce).  The lemon like bite in the sauce acting as a welcome ray of sunlight breaking into this rather mundane one noted dish. I was so disenchanted by this uninspired plate that I doubt it could even challenge a 13 year old's palate. Did I mention the soggy fries we got?

Despite it's poor performance, GRUB exacerbates the feeling that it is loved by all, especially since the restaurant was packing in the crowds early in the evening on a Thursday night. Perhaps the other mains served at dinner hold higher promises; but for now, I can only exhibit a certain level of enthusiasm for the energy, vibes and fantastic service standards at the restaurant. Not sure whether a repeat visit is in the works.

GRUB at Bishan Park
510 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1
Singapore 569983