HGW Food Review: Mykii
I need a Spa Retreat and not Spa food...
Have you ever feel a deep overwhelming sense of tranquility wash over you as you step into a retail/food space? This I experienced at Mykii, a 'new-kid-on-the-block' eatery located at Holland Village. Despite being situated at the less visited end of Holland village and placed in a rather 'jinxed' shop location, business seem bustling with activity in the early evening on a Friday. Perhaps it was the white washed walls or the added charm of the warm lighting spilled over the minimalist decor, reminiscent of a Donna Hay magazine that drew the crowds in.
Pronounced as 'M-i-k-a', this restaurant was inspired by the owners many trips to the mediterreneans, I was surprised to find out that the simple layout, comprising mainly of white washed walls and light blue accents on the furniture and cutlery were inspired by the romantic town of Santorini. On top of that, the wonderful jazz music bearing testimony to the well-travelled owners journey. I was especially enthralled by the melodies of course as I myself am a big fan of bossa nova and jazz. With all this layed out before my greedy eyes, the other HGW members and I were eager to taste the cuisines offered.
Beginning with drinks, I picked the Mykii Signature Granita Bee Stung which was essentially a strawberry drink. This was marvellous and so were the other granita drinks that I sampled off the others. Popular in Greece especially in the summers. Granitas, a bit like ice-kachang with larger grains is easily made combining sugared water with liquor and/or fruit purees poured in large pans and then scraped up. The drinks served up was a tad like a strawberry yogurt drink, refreshing and extremely tantalizing. Alright, so its evident that my expectations were once again heightened..
Next up were the appetisers that came fiercely fast to our table. After a bout of photo frenzy (as usual..) we helped ourselves to the food. At this point of time, I was exclaiming that the food served up beared a very light touch to them, almost as if they were spa foods. Pages of Bill Granger's publications popping into mind immediately.
Pissaladiere is an Opened-faced provencale tart dressed with roasted capiscums, anchovies, olives and onion jam. I didn't quite like this one, biasness i guess, once I caught sight of the pesky anchovies peaking out from the mount of greens, I was a goner.
Tamarind Glazed Chicken with Glass Noodles, Green Papaya and Asian Herbs Strange as it is.. this dish was thai inspired with the glass noodles and green papaya additions. The chicken hardly beared any significant flavor of tamarind however was juicy and tender. That was it's saving grace.
Papaya and Avocado Salad papaya and slices of avocado dressed with lemongrass and lime . This dish for me, was just plain weird. For one thing, no one messes with my papaya. haha. and If you ask me, I would frankly answer that this wasn't worth its pricetag. Anyone could do this with a flick of the wrists at home.
Cesear Salad with Fritto Mistro I swiped a bit of the italian breaded seafood off the dish and this was soo good served with the accompanying dip. Aside from that, the salad was another plain jane.
Mezze Platter This dish as it description on the menu claims is 'perfect for sharing'. With lavosh and grissini used to dip into the colorful dips, Garlic, Salmon and Chickpea. It was good finger food and wonderful for the fickle minded tasters...
Next up were the mains, These were served pretty fast after the tables were cleared of appetisers. And soon, everyone around the table were tucking into their warm foods all done in good conversation nonetheless.
I was stunned by the simple yet terribly enticing appearance of the BBQ Baby Back Ribs. Served with roasted pumpkin and cabbage mash. The meat according to my fellow diner ( i didn't pinch any of it) was tender and extremely well seasoned. The roasted pumpkin (which i did manage to get a bit) was sweet and juicy . just the way I liked it. And the addition of cabbage into the mash was slightly interesting and offered excellent textural contrast to the otherwise boring mash. Definitely a must try..
Another dish to look out for upon recommendation from the others is the Seafood Linguine with Laksa Pesto . Done to perfection with a combination of true rich laksa taste with al dente linguine. This is a match made in heaven.
Penne with Ground Pork Sausage Meat I didn't hear much coming from my neighbout about this pasta dish hence I would think that it was just mediocre? Probably very rich and heavy in tomato judging from the looks of it.
And finally my choice Pot Roasted Chicken With Almond and Olive Pilaf. Honestly, I took a few spoonfuls and pushed away the heavy dish. Failing my high hopes, the chicken thigh meat was hardly seasoned despite the flood of tomatos, onions almonds and olives surrounding it. Worst of all, it was extremely dry. The Olive Pilaf again failed to bring it home with an almost unnoticable olive flavor. Thoroughly disappointed, I then shifted my attention to the desserts especially those in the display case that I had been eyeing on since the start of the dinner.
and thank goodness! These were certainly FANTASTIC!!! not all.. but at least most of them.. Starting from the top left (clockwise) is the cassis mousse chocolate cake (which the guys so generously surprised me with a candle and an accompanying birthday song; served up with the most yummilicious boy waiter.. haha. *internal joke*). This was good with the sour flavors melding with the cocoa as you rolled the spoonful of delish in your mouth. The Pistachio Macaron was to die for!!! Of course since I was a big fan of pistachio macarons, Nothing could stand in my way. Almost as good as Canele's, the macaron only lost points for having a not so crisp crust. Otherwise.. perfecto.. The Granny Smith and Aloe Vera Crumble was another interesting concotion. The seperate layers, the crumble, apple and aloe vera were fine eaten seperately, but in a mouthful. This almost has a distasteful finish to it. Next, the nutella squares with salted caramel. This dessert was a tad on the dry side. Like a cake overbaked.. However, the addition of nutella just made it a crowd favourite. Ooohhs and AAhhhs floated throught the air as everyone dug into it, with dreamy faces and dazed expressions. The passion fruit chocolate macaron was again not too bad. As do the other macaron flavors available. (note that each of the petite pastries in the cases go for $2 a pop). And lastly, the Gula Melaka Crème Brulee with Pineapple . This my friends.. you wouldn't want to order. With the gulu melaka taste almost non-existant and the texture of the creme brulee a little bit on the solid side instead of being custardy, this was a major disappointment.
Last but not least.. let's talk about Love.. I swore I fell into a deep pit of love once I sank my fork into the Chocolate salted caramel Macaron. With a deep set chocolate taste against the intriguing salted caramel innards. I was perpetually in heaven for a few fleeting moments as i savoured the tiny pastry. For once, i can say that I'm in love.. take me.. I'm yours...
Address: 17d Lorong Liput, Holland Village
Tel: 6468 2838
With the christmas season just round the corner, life has been pretty undulating. here's a sneak peek into the hustling of my life for the past 2 weeks
Christmas dinner prep-ing. Think Huge turkeys.. homemade stuffing with gravy, cranberry sauce and apple sauce..
Food Tasting sessions with HGW at Mykii ( watch out for my review soon!)
and... the Grand Tuanqi Christmas Dinner Party at my house, with everything made from scratch by my dearest Auntie Nora and yours truly...
the guests during the gift exchange.
Rules of the game are that the budget for the gift is >$10. Yet still many choose to break the rule. DARN.. think my gift was super cheapskate. hehe. It was still a whole load of fun though with many 'jokes' made alone the way. Imagine a bride-wannabe actually recieving a brides cake topper/figurine as a gift. HILARIOUS!!!
Since dinner was over at my house, I had the honor of composing and preparing the christmas meal for around 20 guests (the final count reached 22 though). Here it goes
Crabmeat Cocktail Salad
Roasted Pumpkin and Thyme Soup with Gruyere
Christmas Turkey with Traditional Bacon and Pork Stuffing
served with cranberry sauce, apple sauce and gravy
Chicken Sausages with Spicy Tomato Relish
Christmas Basmati Rice
cooked in a mixture of Warm Spices, Apricots and Cashew Nuts
Glazed Carrots with Thyme and Garlic
Roast Potatoes with Garlic and Rosemary
Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Blueberry Toppings
Warm Chocolate Brownie
served with a scoop of vanilla icecream
and tada!!! personally I thought that the event was a success with satisfactory food! hehe. I was really pleased with all the food especially the pumpkin soup and the chicken sausage with tomato relish. And upon personal discovery.. i realised that I too loved feeding the crowd. haha. interesting..
the vanilla bean cheesecake with blueberry toppings. Yet another birthday cake for all the December babies of the group. Me included...
and finally a group photo before we launched into a never-ending chorus of christmas songs and fellowship tunes. Simply one of those nights which you wished didn't end... Thanks to all for making this occasion possible. And Praise to the Lord for blessing our congregation.
Another fleeting year..
I know what you're thinking. Probably expecting one of those 'emo' posts again in continous rumbling of how time has no mercy and blah blah blah. But neh.. I'll give it a miss this time. Instead, I should be bowing my head humbling, giving thanks to the Lord for allowing me to see this day. 22 years.. alas...
The day began with a slight degree of automation in the work process. Churning out the final products for the corporate order I had recieved. A major thanks going out to Babe who had stayed faithfully by my side the entire night and morning ( he took the day off just for me!) . Needless to say, I would have been more than a little overwhelmed if not for him. After the delivering the order, Babe and I headed for a quick lunch over at Miss Clarity's Cafe before heading back to his place to catch some eye shut. So much for an exciting birthday... But well, for me, birthdays are nothing but a reminder of how you've aged over the years rather than anything worth being happy about. Celebrations seem a bit meaningless.
The day was rounded up by a the movie 'Twilight' at Bishan. This is a MUST watch movie of the year. Featuring an easy-going storyline about a fatal attraction between a human and a vampire. Despite the cliched phrases (which proved to be ultra sexy still when recited by a vampire), the movie succeeded in potraying the characters in full glory with a true emotions; hunger, desperation, lust, confusion and many more to speak of. It's dark and grim settings very alike those in staging such as 'Ghost-whisperer' and 'Charmed' just made it all the more appealing for me.
Last but not least, Babe and I grabbed some pub grub and beer at Smok'Inn Frogz Kitchen. (sorry Brad! I made a move first!) Enjoyed good and affordable food under the surreal surroundings of stringed lights and rotating fans under the stars. Did I mention the German beer was excellent? and so was the beef burger!!! Certainly be heading down there again!
And what's a birthday post without cake? okay.. maybe not exactly cake in it's purist state but a dessert instead. Cherry Clafouti served up warm for the lovely guests, Uncle Jo, Er-yi and Popo after dinner last night. Using the remenants of the rain-damaged cherries brought back by my Brother from Australia, a lovely warm custard cake like dessert was born. Recipe as follows...
Julia Child’s Clafouti
1 1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla (my note: you can substitute, or add 1 Tablespoon of almond extract)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
3 cups cherries, pitted
1/3 cup sugar
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a blender blend the milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt and flour.
- Pour a 1/4 inch layer of the batter in a buttered 7 or 8 cup lightly buttered fireproof baking dish. Place in the oven until a film of batter sets in the pan. Remove from the heat and spread the cherries over the batter. Sprinkle on the 1/3 cup of sugar. Pour on the rest of the batter.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about for about 45 minutes to an hour. The clafouti is done when puffed and brown and and a knife plunged in the center comes out clean.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar, serve warm.
On a final note, I would like to thank all your guys out there for your lovely messages! I'm just thrilled that there are actually people out there who remember my birthday! Jiemin, Melvin, Gaseng, Velda, Xuen, Brad, Yumunah, Min, Weili, Rina, Felix ( from Indonesia even! haha), Chee Siang, Pingting, Hongyu, Regina, Lihui, Lynn and Winnie (all 3 gurls having fun in Peru/ Argentina!) as well as my lovely family members. Thank you all for remembering!!!
Happy Birthday Yi Jie & Kai Xun!
A Birthday Surprise that turned out to be not much of a surprise after all. But still it was worth the effort!!! The Bdae boy and girl, siblings in fact share the exact same birthday, seperated by a solid 2 years! Talk about coincidental.. now this makes the parent's life, a whole lot easier! haha.
The storm troopers rounded the church kitchen waiting for the two unsuspecting victims to enter the hall for their dinner only to be discovered much earlier than planned!?! darn it! But still, It was a wonderful get together us as we huddled amongst the piercing stares of the rest of the youth fellowship campers; mostly at the cake though.
The cake, which I had the honor of baking was a GIANT moist chocolate cake rounded up with chocolate ganache and strawberies ringing the top. This in mind with Kai Xun of course, distinctivly recalling the dinner where he gobbled up 5 chocolate cupcakes of mine and even asked for MORE! Needless to say, I relented to his dream of having a chocolate cake. so Viola! Even throwing in some monogramed oreo cupcakes along the way.so glad I had that extra sugar cookie dough lying ard. With some royal icing flourishes, these were good to go!
So that's 'K' for Kai Xun and 'Y' for Yi Jie! Happy Birthday to the two of you!!!
Cookie Recipe courtesy of TWD: Grandma's All Occasion Sugar Cookie
pls visit the TWD member site for more cookies!
Thank you Ulrike ofKuchenlatein for choosing this recipe!
Lifes' Happy Endings
I have been caught in a sweeping number of weddings and festivities this season. With my weekends all lined up with weddings to attend for the next few weeks. It seems as though, toasting the couple and packing that sacred (yet dammed) ang-pao (red packet) will become second nature to me. Besides having to deal with wardrobe malfunction crisis, there's also the many dinner parties to deal with. Menus to plan, budgets to fix, turkeys to stuff... It's funny how that morbit smile is still sneaking across my face.
Seeing my friend and beloved senior from ODAC wed his girlfriend of 10 years in the church followed by a lovely wedding lunch the next day. It occured to me, the trials and tribulations one has to go through to finally be with mister/mrs perfect. Through the endless days of scrimping and saving. The couple have finally tied the knot, with not only a lavish wedding but a cosy love nest of their own. Yes.. it take that long. Perhaps.. just perhaps its time to tighten the purse strings.. but the dilemma is strong. So many dreams yet to be accomplished, so many things I want to do. Perhaps, someday I will be bestowed with the same gift. only time will tell...
and yes.. the midas cup will make the menu for the book launch event. gorgeous silky chocolate caramel... need i say more?
without much further ado, I shall present my review for the most recent outing to Nectarie. Thank you to Ladyironchef, Vicki and Fen for providing the photos. It gets so much easier when you have all those DSLRs flashing around. I pity the cakes though. All the papparazi action probably contributed a little to its drier than usual textures.. *bah*I'm sure it wasn't pure coincidence when a last minute invite sent to 7 of us, Fen, Vicki, Evan, Brad, Weili, Claire came through. Seeing the throngs of happy faces and gleeful smiles behind the camera lens on a lovely (but HOT) tuesday afternoon sure was nothing short of a miracle. The company was indeed precious as much as the stimulating conversation that flowed between the tastings and the horrible remarks being thrown around. Commends going out to the staff who turned a deaf ear to the racket we were creating at the corner of the elongated shop front. Perhaps silently, they shared the same sentiments regarding their products?
moving on to the 'stars' of the day, first up, we had the fortune of ordering 7 cakes to share amongst us since there was a tea time promotion for all cakes at half price with the purchase of a drink. First up (not in order of merit), the Pistachio White Chocolate (pistachio creme brulee between vanilla sponge and raspberry jam). To be honest, this was VERY VERY disappointing. The pistachio flavor failed to come through. The layers of colors though thoroughly vivid and captivating, was lacklustre in term of taste contrasts. overall, too sweet for my liking.
Next up, the Dark Chocolate Opera. Upon first glance, the parched texture couldn't have fooled anyone. Reluctant to try this, I took a tiny forkful at the tip of the rock-hard slice and nibbling the edges of the dry almond sponge, trust me, i never headed back for any more after. SKIP!
Moving on to the next platter. I was distinctively happy to spot this piece of cake perched beautifully in the middle of the plate drizzled with raspberry sauce (actually all the plates were decorated the same way.. *yawn* ..) The Carmelized Banana and White Chocolate (chunky caramelized bananas in white chocolate on a crunchy base with light banana sponge) was to be the primadonna of the entire cast. Excellent in its combination of flavors and contrasting textures. I fell in love with the slight bitterness of the caramelized bananas together with the sultry sweet flavor of the white chocolate mousse. This as Fen recommended was the star attraction. I say she was probably lucky for having picked the only two good cakes during her last visit. haha.
Shifting my fork across the table after a dreamy bite of the last cake, I attacked the Chocolate Terrine with Coconut Mousse . This had a dubious image entirely with two fudgey layers of chocolate sandwiching a white slice with a bit of agar-agar consistency. But with my first bite, I was sold. The chocolate sponge was incredibly moist, almost bearing resemblence to a cakey brownie and the traces of coconut rum soaked within highlighted the infusion of coconut and chocolate in this harmonious assembly. Many of my companions favored the coconut mousse within but i much preferred digging into the chocolate sponge.
Tiramisu.. bah.. nothing can hold a candle to the one I always have at Galbati. And true as it is, the Nectarie version was a bit odd with the ladyfingers within reduced to mush after being oversoaked in coffee syrup. The mascarpone cheese lacked a little somethin' somethin' and the liquor taste was almost invisible. SKIP!
introducing to you the poor Granny Smith's Apple Crumble that underwent the oven heating up procedure not once but twice.. gosh.. that probably explains why the overall texture of the dessert was a little on the dry side. And please.... be more generous with the apple fillings would you? gosh.. I'm not paying to eat a mouthful of dry crumbles.. Could do better with a scoop of vanilla bean icecream on the side. Give this a miss next time.
Last of all, the Parfait of Dark and White Chocolate. I don't even want to talk about it. This was such a let down. With its shiny and omniscent appearance. I was expecting much more. Only to be stumped by dry innards with an overwhelming taste of whipping cream. *bleah*
Nonetheless, despite the horrible remarks being thrown around. What matters most is the company. For which i can safely say that was the best thing out of the entire afternoon. Looking forward to more meetups!
Hits and Misses
So yes! kudos to myself for being the earliest for the HGW food tasting session at the orange lantern. Well, that's beside the point as soon after i stood around the bend of the restaurant waiting, hoongan appeared! *phew*. And with a click of the fingers we were whisked off to the reserved table (in the middle of the restaurant nonetheless) and provided with drinks. It was the avocado juice for me and warm water for him. Guess all the food tastings had left a toll on him. Well, returning to the point, the avocado juice was excellent! The addition of coconut milk/condensed milk however made it a little too heavy and removed a bit off the freshness of the avocado. Think the drink could have done a little better with just the richness of the fruit alone. Still, it was a refreshing drink and one that was almost non-absent throughout all the other tables.
A pre-warning to you guys, having been to Vietnam twice, I had many a chance to sample the authentic local foods. Even resorting to squatting by the roadsides on cheap plastic chairs slurping on vietnamese pho drenched with fish sauce and other condiments. Washed down with a cup of almost chokingly thick vietnamese coffee. The experience, literally heart pulsating with the high dosage of caffeine thrown in. These memories I hold dearly and thus i arrived for the food tasting with very much an elevated standard of the food served up. It was either make or break. And ruthless I would be with my comments.
So to start off, we were presented a bunch of appetisers to share. The rice paper rolls with shrimp wrapped within was excellent which went well with the sweet chilli sauce provided. The Vietnamese Imperial Rolls were spectacular as well with the usual spiced ngioh hiong like innards deep friend to perfection coated with a cage of crisp skin akin to a yam pastry you would normally find at a dim sum restaurant. The fish sauce complimented its favors perfectly. My only gripe, the fish sauce was a tad sweeter and much less salty (and hence addictive) then the usual one I had back in Vietnam. Perhaps the restaurant had done a bit of modification to it.. hmph.. The mango salad a pomelo salad were standard fare with the latter straying towards being a little strange. Never did quite like the pairing of pomelo and herbed leaves. The shrimp paste on sugarcane, I had extermely high hopes for. BUt this one failed my expectations miserably with the shrimp paste lacking in flavor. The chicken with lemon grass stick however managed to steal the show however with the chicken being succulent and wonderfully marinated. A hint of lemon grass permeating each and every bite as you tore through the stick.
Before I continue on with the description of the food, let's explain the whole scenario here. Imagine 6 people around 4 really small crowded table with a heavy influx of food at an immensely speedy rate. It was like a carnival in there with dishes being passed around the table and excessive replacements of small plates happening concurrently. NOt to mention the flies??! gosh.. wonder where they came from..
Moving on the mains, all of us agreed on getting smaller bowls of pho bo instead of the usual sized ones so that we had enough room for the rest of the food. And that sure was a good move as by the time we recieved our mains, I was already stuffed! Thank god for my personalised order of pho bo without beef brisket. If not I would have definitely pushed that away. And thank goodness for that bowl of noodles once again. With every spoonful of the warm soup, my head splitting migraine (one that i had inherited much earlier in the morning) started to vanish. Now this is what i call true comfort food. Wish the taste and smell of the mint could be stronger though. Maybe a bit of rubbing and heating the mint would do the trick. The soup base was delicious and so was the pho that accompanied it. Specially imported in from Vietnam, it beared witness to the expertise of the vietnamese in their mastery of making these thinly sliced rice noodles. And for once, as everyone tucked into their individual bowls, there was silence throughout the table apart from the soft murmurings of appreciation and pleasant slurping noises...
Last but not least, I would like to bring your attention to the Vietnamese Curry Chicken served up. This was excellent. Bearing a little similarity to its cousin the thai green curry. With an omniscent fiery red tinge and yet a soothing coconut underlying taste. I was taken by the richness of it. Dipping my hot toasted french loaf into the curry, I could have practically licked up the entire pot if I it weren't for my polite dining companions. haha. *giggles*
Well, too bad the party had to end without the usual vietnamese coffee finale as I had to rush off to catch a movie. But I'll sure to be back for more in future!!!
The Orange Lantern
authentic vietnamese cusine
for more tune in to their website here!
Guess who's back from the living dead? no prices for guessing correctly of course. *sniggers* and just in time for TWD the Dec 2nd edition! For this round, Noskos of Living the life has chosen impeccable Linzer Sables. All in time for a little christmas baking spirit i suppose.
For this recipe, I used almond meal as my choice as i figured it would be the best pairing with the jam filling. And for the latter, I used a nice blueberry jam instead of the recommended raspberry of marmalade reason being that I wasn't too entirely into those two. And I added in a tsp of Stroth given to me by my da-yi-ma. The recipe worked especially well and the end result was a dough that was incredibly easy to work with after a bit of chilling in the ole' freezer. I was thrilled once again by the tantalizing aroma of cinammon floating out as the cookies were baking. Trust me, even if i were impeded with a blocked nose, I could have spot that smell from the neighbouring block. HAH!
baking shaped cookies reminds me a time long ago when I used to tip toe over the counter staring at my auntie as she pushed the boy cookie cutter thru the gingered dough during christmas. As i grew a little, I was then given the task of cutting out the gingerbread man and then decorating them with mini chocolate chips and m&ms as buttons. From then, was hooked on the smell of the warm scent of ginger and other spices as they reminded me of a somewhat fairytale childhood. One that I yearned to indulge in everytime i stepped into my auntie's house. If i remember correctly, her kitchen was a little bigger than my present living room. With high marble counter tops and classic wooden stools and china plates and fine cutlery stacked neatly in the corners. It could have looked like a scene straight out of a martha stewert magazine. Ever since then, I was more or less teased by the idea of owning riches and living in the lap of luxury. Even asking my mum ' How do I become as rich as da-yi-ma?' at the age of 7! fancy that!
But thank goodness, now I live content in my little dimly lit kitchen.. with my small oven staffed to the side. Still, that smell never fails to remind me of such a beautiful memory.. of many christmases...