But you swallowed my streusel bits and I hate you. I remember watching dumbfoundedly as the rising cake batter enveloped the chunks of buttery goodness I had laid nicely over the top.
Sometimes in life, things just unwind in the unruly manner. And when you do not reap the efforts that you've painstakingly sowed, you develop a tinge of bitterness. It may not reflect in such a pronounced manner on your behavior, but infects a subtler portion of your emotive response to future challenges. For me, I just heave a sigh of disappointment and tuck into a slice of warm cake.
Interestingly, the streusel had sunk to the bottom of the cake, building a crispy base like structure to it. It tasted ten times better 2 days later, by the end of 3 days, the cake was wiped off the platter.
Kudos to failed experiments turned brilliant moments.
Like a fairy tale unfolding, a magic carpet ride awaited me at the top of the stairs.
Plush mismatched chairs and sofas (all for sale). A pyramid like high roof protruding overhead. An octopus sprawled menacingly on the walls. Overturned glasses held by the base over wooden countertops. Despite the strange glances that greeted me upon my arrival, I held my own. I wanted to be here. This place drawing me in. Cafe fables and Bar stories, even its name spoke in such mysterious tones.
I settled for an iced cappuccino ($6.80) despite the place being known for its molecular gastronomy inspired cocktails. It lacked depth, the tall rod glass displacing the shot of espresso in its milky depths. Upon a simple reflection to the waiter, he offered me an additional shot of espresso on the side. Impeccable service.
After settling in with a good read (naked economics) on the most luxe mahogany sofa, people slowly began filing into the small cozy space. In couples, then in singles, all raving for a piece of cocktail action after a tiresome day at work. It was like being in the midst of a crazy Arabian market place in the cartoon Aladdin only to stumble upon a secluded alley which leads to a hidden cafe.
I embraced the fleeting moment of solitude, as the sun casts its golden rays through the white banisters. With a last slurp, I headed back onto the streets.
Cafe fables and Bar stories, definitely a place worth visiting for spell-bounding adventures.
I had an hour, props to my collection of my passport at the ICA building, a rough guesstimate that I conjured after watching the numbers crawl on the screens over head. My queue ticket, a mere 300 after the present count.
I declared it lunchtime and scuttled off like the wind to meet the cousin troupers.
The venue, Ma Maison, a Japanese inspired western café in Bugis Junction.
You may have read my previous account here. If you haven’t, then now you should.
Lunch was a magnificent spectacle of peacock like dishes fanned across the traditionally lined floral table cloths. The steak lunch set ($12.90++) that I ordered complimented with a shallow bowl of clam chowder, salad and a basket of bread. The salad was good, albeit, a bit ordinary; I did appreciate the selective choice of fresh lettuce slices. The clam chowder on the other hand was a major letdown with a gradually coagulating phenomenon, clumps of fat laden flour balls drifting through the broth. The steak platter on the other hand came with extraordinary sides, specifically the mashed potato with bits of crunchy Japanese cucumber and baby carrots scattered throughout. The steak was mediocre, it’s thin cut resulting in an overall well-done finish, chewy and unsatisfactory, save for the brown sauce generously poured over the top. I devoured that with the spaghetti.
My cousins’ meals include the hamburger steak lunch set ($15.90) and the Beef Stroganov with egg wrapped butter rice. The former was enjoyable, though a bit small in portion size for a growing boy. The ominous dark sauce (reminiscent of Tonkatsu sauce) dribbling over the steak patty, not too well received given it’s sweet notes that conflict with the concept of a savory lunch. The Beef stroganov was a bitch to capture on film, as the beef was severely mangled in sights whilst the golden egg wrap, offering an over contrasting challenge with its luxuriant colors. Still, it was apparently quite good as my cousin (other one) proceeded to devour the dish in record time. My comments were that the beef slices were too hard and dry. But then again, Ma Maison does a killer job of covering up its mediocre meats with to-die-for sauces. Clever move.
The story ends with a sweet note as I rushed back to the ICA building with 5 minutes to spare before proceeding straight to the counter for my collection. All in good timing.
ma maison (bugis)
200 victoria street
#02-51 bugis junction
tel: +65 6338 4819
Like the little kid in the backseat who blurts out "are we there yet?" for the umpteeneth time on his way to disneyland.
So here's unveiling the new addition to the family. Howe ( I took the liberty of naming it after the owner whom I purchased this beauty from), a QL 17 Canonet Rangefinder.
So here's in the introduction. Short and blunt. That's just the way it is since he renders me breathless with every gentle squeeze of the shutter (i need to get one of those soft release bugs!). With a banging 40mm/f1.7 lens and the sharpest viewfinder I've heard people compliment me on, (considering it's a 30year old camera now), this tugs at every heart string left in my heart.
And it works so well... Here are some photos from my recent walk-about (as Nullah from Australia would put it).
I don't want to go to jail Ma!
and around Haji Lane/Arab street area.
below are some thumbnails as well. Feel free to click on them for the full image! Hope you guys enjoy the shots. Promise to bring you more photos from my darling soon so stay tuned. Looking into the possibility of a tumblr or lomography account as a avenue to share my film photography endeavors. What do you guys reckon?
Now my heart beats with a resounding yearning for the fatty cuisine. A cruel addiction.
The pork slices, there was something magical in the confluence of fats and lean meat in each silver. The dip, providing an alchemy of myriad textures and flavors, the pinch of garlic, the nutty flavors surfacing from the addition of sesame oil and the spiciness of chili oil. It take a whole lot of man to resist slurping up the gravy, held back only by the fear of early onset of arteriolosclerosis.
Where were we again? My brain encountering a resurgence on its neuron endings. Boy, was I tired. The middle of little India, that’s where we were placed, yet uncannily in a Beijing restaurant, a shrine to the porky animal with an equally provocative name. Hand in hand. Shucks.. what am I thinking. It was 9 15pm and the crowd in the restaurant had faded to a glimmer of its former glory. Now there was only you and I left in the restaurant, tucking into the food as though a famine had strike.
Next up, the chive pastry arrived, a good sized 8 inch pizza like entremets with a generous slathering of chopped chives and marinated pork. I adored the pastry, the inner portions yielding to the juiciness of its contents, displaying a more chewy texture whilst the outer crust, retaining its crisp curry puff like appeal. Opening up it’s jaw and with a swipe of oh-so-good chilli sauce, this was a terrific rendition of ‘Chinese pie’.
Then the xiao long bao came along. Earlier on, I had witnessed the immediate activation of a squad of craftsman as they got down to making the little pillows of ecstasy once our order was placed. With it’s translucent skin and hot soup within, I took a bite off the top before drawing in the soup with a gentle clasp of the lips. Yum. It was good, though not as sweet and flavourful, still good. The meat inside crumbled to bits with the gentle prodding of the chopsticks. I’m not sure whether it was a good sign or not, but I relished in anyhow.
The restaurant closed shortly after we left. The waitresses bidding a sweet farewell. I had dreams about xiao long baos that night. The next morning, my breath yielded to the might of the garlic stench. I was head over heels in love.
Hand in Hand Beijing Restaurant
141-143 Jalan Besar
Just for a pre-warning, if you had painstakingly washed your hair before this meal, please don’t make a fuss about the lingering smell after that. Let’s just enjoy the meal shall we?
SoHo 7 cafe and bistro located at Armenian street, just a stone’s throw away from SMU is a delightful addition to the growing amount of cafes in the region. Featuring their very own hand-roasted coffee with a variety of blends and single origin types, I was well impressed with the lovely red roaster cum grinder placed lovingly within the restaurant’s small space. Not so impressive was the heavy stench of grilled patties circulating the still air. So much for grilled beef flavoured perfume...
We set about ordering the SoHo Best ever burger ($9.70) and the Bacon Burger (alas, i forgot it’s exact price and name even). Whilst my partner in crime, a.k.a burger assassin had a latte to go along, in active role as his willing accomplice. First of all, let’s just admit that the coffee was delicious, albeit a little common in base notes but still excellent in composition and temperature. The signature SoHo burger looked fantastic in my opinion, it’s moist and tantalizing split of components held down by the edge of a knife. Though my boyfriend partner in crime had some grips about the sloppy mess he created whilst attempting to eat it with his hands; I found its sauciness extremely attractive. Mainly because I was used to consuming this dish in a weirdly civilised manner (fork and knife). He did make a point though that a burger should always have buns firm and large enough to contain its contents without a major spill over occurring. Well, to each his own. I was well satisfied with the ethereally soft buns smothered in a mixture of barbeque sauce and mayo. The beef patty could have used a bit more seasoning and its innards giving tell tale signs of over-handling in the mix. Still, I dived in with gusto and finished the entire dish with a gregarious swipe of the plate. Darn that was good.
the burger assassin taking delight in his recent kill.
Photos courtesy of Howe (my newly acquired rangefinder, Canonet QL17. love it to bits!)
SoHo 7 Cafe and Bistro
36 Armenian Street, #01-08
Tel: +65 6634 5779
It's a good thing you're not here tonight. Especially YOU. You know who you are.
If you were here, you would bear witness to some really painful and juvenile night wear choices. My glistening face, from the sweat that peeled from my pores. Humidity... such a drag. The glamorous piling of dishes in the sink. You would have seen my dorky dance moves as the song 'give me everything tonight' blasted through the headphones. I have bras all over my bed. My table... let's not even go there.It's a good thing you're not here.
But after the emergence of the this beauty from the oven. I wish you were here to share it with me.
Frozen blueberries from way way back and sour cream from a recent baking endeavor. I just had to get down to clearing the fridge before my eventual move.
So a 'Wake-up-cake' was what it called for. A magnanimous and down-to-earth butter cake with flakes of vanilla beans sprinkled through. Like fairy dust. Did I tell you that I love polka dots. Those blueberry patterns certainly made my night.
Berry blasts, spurts of rich purple. A crunchy crust.
Having you here is better of course. I'm thankful.
Sour Cream Butter Cake recipe inspired by Bourke Street Bakery cookbook
1) preheat the oven to 200 degree celsius
2) Grease and line an 8 inch removable base tin.
3) Whisk the room temperature butter, caster sugar and vanilla bean till it is creamy and pale
4) Add one egg at a time, whisking for 20 seconds after each addition.
5) Add the flour and sour cream alternately in 2 batches. Starting and ending with flour.
6) Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the blueberries over the top.
7) Bake for 45 mins and remove from the oven onto a cooling rack once the cake is golden brown.
8) Cool completely and flip the cake over to serve!
Dinner tonight was at Hummerstons. A lovely joint tucked away in the hushed corners of Robertson Walk. Set on the second floor of the vicinity, away from the prying eyes of passerbys, my boyfriend and I were guaranteed of a private and ultimately intimate dining experience. Needless to say, being the resturant’s 8th day of operation (as revealed by our lovely waitress), crowds were sparse and mainly close friends and family of the owners.
Upon our entry into the somber and livid lounge area of the restaurant, i noticed a drastic difference in the separate design notions in the space, a light and airy, almost Japanese inspired dining area, a darker more intense feel for the front of house tied together by the most gorgeous long wooden table riding the center of the restaurant. Personally, i much preferred the spacious feel of the former, the gentle lighting exuding a warm glow upon our electrifying interactions.
my lovely dinner companion for the evening. Hope you liked the flowers.. hehe.
The menu was simple, featuring cafe classics with a twist. With a bit of peeking, my eyes shifted to the dessert menu, wildly ‘colorful’ bits of words popping out before me. Neh, I digress. So back to dinner, we feasted on the Hummerstons Burger and Smoked Duck Quesadilla for her and him respectively.
The Hummerstons burger ($24) was mildly introspective in some ways. The grilled beef patty(requested to be done medium rare) done perfectly, my heart whispered for a wee bit more flavourings and spices. Well, the spiced tomato-chllli aioli served on the side did help. Sweet and spicy at the same time, this condiment was a delightful touch, adding dimesion to the caramelized signature Hummerston fries (I adored these!). Overall, a mild mannered dish, with some playful extra touches such as the caramelized onions and applewood smoked bacon.
His smoked duck quesadilla ($26) was a hodgepodge or flavours and textures. However, upon first taste, it was slightly disappointing, the different components melding into a swirl of unrecognisable flavours under the thick flour tortilla. I suppose we were supposed to eat it when it’s hot, but my boy’s ‘leave the best for last’ concept kind of backfired on him as he grazed on the lush greens on his plate before proceeding to the main. Still, the smoked duck chunks within were delightfully pink and tender, complimented by the slight kick of the chipotle coriander pesto and the sweetness of roasted pears, it was an inventive approach with an interesting casing, but it just didn’t work for me.
We complimented our main courses with a bottle of Argentinean Malbec ($45), which tasted slight fruity almost akin to black currents. Full-bodied yet not over surging in tannins. Perfect for a bit of over the table flirting.
Dessert came as a surprise from the kitchen. A gift. That probably made it all the more sweeter.
Another twist on the usual tarte tartin, stewed raisins and apples on a seemingly chewy bed, could it be.. a giant macaron. I nibbled and chewed through it’s moist almond center. Swoons.
To all the brave souls out there who ventured out from their comfort zones to find themselves. Here’s a toast to the freedom fighters.
fyi, the outlet only opens for dinner now. Hopefully they will expand on to branches and lunches soon cause I reckon it would certainly cause a stir in the neighborhood.
11 Unity Street #02-14
Baker & Cook
DB Bistro Moderne
Wild Honey 2
Tarafuku Japanese buffet
Verve Bar and Bistro
Max Brenner's Chocolate Bar
Hansang Korean Charcoal BBQ
Jaan par André
Universal Bar and Restaurant
Little Part 1 Cafe
Belgian Beer Cafe
Rostang at the Atlantis
Almaz by Momo
Le Pain Quotidien
Lime Tree Cafe
Fundamentally-flawed is Lee Sihan. 25 going on 26, she is a dessert enthusiast,
food nomad, wanderer of lands and a pastry chef.
Fueled by a lifelong addiction to all things sweet, and a burning desire to travel the globe
follow her as she embarks on delicious escapades both in and out of the kitchen