Hougang Six Miles Muah Chee – Toa Payoh

I love to eat muah chee (which sounds a lot like mochi doesn’t it?) for the chewy glutinous rice dough doused with sweet peanuts ever since I was a kid living in HK. We chanced upon this Muah Chee stall eating at the Gourmet Paradise food court at Toa Payoh HDB Hub.

There are two flavours of muah chee, the traditional peanut and black sesame, which comes in 3 sizes – $2.50 (small, one person serve), $3.50 (medium, two people serve) and $5.00 (large, 3 people serve). This plate is the $2.50 portion with peanut. This muah chee is slightly pricier than the regular plate but this is what you get for its heritage of 60 years – more about its history here. The muah chee is hand-made and kept warm in a pot, where the dough is pulled by hand one by one rather than cut with scissors like usual. This made the morsels a bit more of a rustic cute look and rounder edges.

The warm muah chee is soft, slightly chewy and fluffy (the way I like it) with a mild sweetness (no sugar granules in this one) and an aromatic peanut powder. It is flavoured with a fried shallot fragrance, reminiscent of tau sar piah.

Hougang 6 Miles Famous Muah Chee (Stall 21)
Gourmet Paradise Food Court
480 Toa Payoh Lor 6
HDB Hub #B1-01
Opening hours: 12.00pm to 9.30pm daily

Kuvo Restaurant – Orchard, Singapore

KUVO is a new multi-concept restaurant/bar/lounge by TCC located right next to Somerset 313 with a lot less crowd than its neighbour. It was opened recently, with its name KUVO derived from the French term cuvée, which means blended batch of wines. This was clearly evident with the extensive wine chiller at the back of the restaurant and a fusion mix of Asian and Western fare. The ambience of the place is a rather fancy, spacious and sleek look with a sepia colour theme. Even the Athena cutlery exuded elegance. KUVO would be a great date or special events venue.

The KUVO Coffee Hot Wings ($14++) are large, juicy and moist with a sauce that resembled a hybrid of American buffalo wings and Singaporean coffee pork ribs. I actually did not really fancy it much as I thought the chilli kick was too intense and the sauce was too pasty and salty, with not enough of a coffee/sweet essence as I had hoped for, but RX enjoyed this dish and said that “Singaporeans would love this”. They were served with baby carrot crudités and blue cheese dip (which did help to cut the spiciness, but the blue cheese was very pungent; and I ain’t no fan of blue cheese). To be honest I wish I had ordered the new off-menu item Hokkaido scallops instead (make sure you ask for the off-menu items if you’re coming to see if they tickle your interest).

The KUVO Atlantic Cod Meunière ($38++) was the highlight of the evening for me. The cod medallion was succulent and soft, exuding a natural fresh sweetness. It paired so gloriously with the savoury sweet pea crust on top and the relishing sides of the creamy pearl barley and corn fricassee, potato gratin (hands down one of the best ones I’ve tried; how ingenious that they put thin layers of potato and orange sweet potato together?), and a citrus nutty brown butter (and vinegar?) to meld it all together. It was also accompanied with tenderly roasted asparagus, thin green beans, fine green beans, a plump cherry tomato and pickled figs for an extra tang. Props to them for serving on a heated plate too. This is truly one of the better gourmet Western dishes I’ve had in Singapore.

The Croissant Bread Pudding ($14++) is adorably cake-shaped in filo pastry with dried cranberry, salted caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. I loved the juxtaposition of the crunch from the filo and the soft creaminess of the croissant pudding encased within, which went well with the sauce and ice cream combo. You can tell they’re serious about food when they serve good quality vanilla bean gelato and thoughtfully covered the top and base of the saucer with crunchy nutty crumbs so that the ice cream wouldn’t come into direct contact and melt easily with the saucer. Perhaps if the caramel was less salty, and more buttery, it would’ve been perfect.
I also tried their Baileys cheesecake ($7.50++, also available for takeaway from the cheesecake counter if you want to save on the service charge) which was satisfyingly rich in Baileys (actually to my ‘alcoholic’ taste buds, it was lacking a bit, but my ‘non-alcoholic’ boyfriend said it was too much!) but the texture of the cheesecake and biscuit base was a bit too soft and crumbly for my liking (I like my cheesecake firm and cheesy like the NY style baked ones).
Service was friendly and the waiters asked about the meal and topped up water un-intrusively. I enjoyed my time at KUVO and it was surprisingly quiet for a Friday night. I hope that it’ll be a keeper in the brutal F&B scene in Singapore. (I was just looking through my to-do list (which is ever-growing and currently stands at about 100 items) and realised that some of the places are already closed permanently! (Wood Shed Cafe, Parco Cafe, just to name a few)
KUVO Singapore
#02-01, 321 Orchard Road, Orchard Shopping Centre, Singapore 238866
Closest MRT: Somerset (don’t make my mistake and get off at Orchard just because it’s at “Orchard” Shopping Centre!)
Tel: +65 67338272 / email for reservations reservation@KUVO.com.sg
Opening hours:
Sun – Thu: 12:00 – 01:00
Fri – Sat: 12:00 – 02:00
Eve of PH: 12:00 – 02:00
PH: 12:00 – 01:00
Prices are not inclusive of GST and service charge.

Cupplets – Clementi (Ngee Ann Polytechnic)

I first discovered Cupplets when my foodie friend in Singapore posted photos of their gorgeous cakes and pastries on Facebook. I quickly looked up their location and realised it was all the way in Ngee Ann Polytechnic some kilometres away from Clementi MRT. Needless to say I never actually thought about travelling all the way there.

So when I realised they were having a pop-up stall in Aperia Mall at Lavender (12 Kallang, Atrium, Level 1, until 27 September), I rushed there after work to pick up some wet paint cookies. The stall closes at 6+pm but I pre-ordered and there was another customer going there at 7pm so they kindly agreed to wait until I finished work and could pick it up. I followed them on Facebook so I know the latest pop-up stores to get their goodies and have contact info to order.

These wet paint cookies are as pretty as a picture, a moreish, firm, sweet and gooey chocolate choc chip cookie (probably a bit too firm for my liking, but I loved how gooey the chocolate was!). The white chocolate frosting was thick and generous, soft enough to meld the cookie crumbs together as you bite in. The dried flower bits on the top and pastel colours complete the decorations.

I really liked these cookies (especially coz they’re so pretty! Yeah I’m a bit of a sucker for pretty stuff… but it tasted great too; I did need to drink some tea to neutralise the sugar though)! They’re now on offer for $3 each (regular price $5), only during the bake sale at Aperia. You can email them at cuppletsco@gmail.com on the quantity and date/time of collection if you want to do pre-orders.

535 Clementi Road, Blk 16, #01-03 Singapore (Ngee Ann Polytechnic)
Closest MRT: Clementi
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11.00am-6.30pm
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cupplets?fref=ts
Website: http://www.cupplets.com/

Clinton Street Baking Company – Bugis, Singapore

I’m not usually one to want to be the first to queue for newly opened food outlets so that I can let the hype (and queues) die down, but Clinton Street Baking Company with its accolades as the best pancakes in NY from New York Magazine (twice) seriously piqued my interest. The secret is to separate the eggs and gently fold in whipped egg whites (if you have the time and mixer, there’s a recipe here). Chef-husband and wife duo Neil Kleinberg and DeDe Lahman, opened Clinton Street Baking Company in New York City in 2011 to make the best baked goods in the city, hand-mixed in small batches.

Having brought its splendour to outlets in Dubai and Tokyo, Singapore is the lucky second in Asia. It’s within walking distance to City Hall/Bugis MRT. Having just opened yesterday (without much fanfare either), the queue when I arrived on a Sunday morning at ~10.30pm required a 45 minute wait. Luckily their efficient system allowed us to walk around the nearby Bugis malls before they called us when our table was ready. The menu is pricier than standard cafe fare being a world-famous restaurant.

In classic Southwestern American style, Clinton Street uses buttermilk in many of their dishes, like the pancakes, Southern biscuits, and chicken and waffles. It makes the floured foods taste rich, well-aerated and fluffy.

You can’t go to Clinton St. and not order their Warm Maple Butter Pancakes ($18). They have blueberry, banana walnut and chocolate chunk. I got the blueberry rendition as per the waiter’s recommendation; bouncy, thick and fluffy to the core, yet with a firm and crunchy exterior and specks of blueberry embedded within; with a rich buttery fragrance, I can understand what all the hype was about and devoured it happily.

 I reckon the pancake itself was slightly too sweet for my tastebuds though, especially with the pot of the divine warm maple butter (comfort grub at its finest) and blueberry topping. The maple butter was not really enough for me, and each extra pot is $2 more (I suppose it’s a good thing for my waistline!). The blueberry topping was luscious and chock full of tiny blueberries (I believe they are dried blueberries) with in a rich sauce that soaked through the pancakes to create ultimate blueberry goodness. True to its American style, the portion is very large, and I think that this is too filling to share between two people (if you’re ordering another item to share between the two of you) so it’s probably best to gather a few friends to share.

We also tried a not so popular item Smoked Salmon Scramble ($23). I thought this was relatively average and pricey. The scrambled eggs were generous with the house-smoked salmon, but slightly rubbery and not creamy enough (although there were sparse chunks of the scallion cream cheese). The salmon was cooked with the egg so it was not soft, but the eggs were doused nicely with its salmony oil and chopped chives. The salad was fresh and had a mild vinegary taste (luckily not dressed with oil as the meal was already quite heavy!), and the seven-grain toast was wholesome and crunchy. My partner in crime liked this dish more than the pancakes (although expectedly, as he does not have a sweet tooth at all!), as it was a light reprieve from the richness of the pancakes.

We had a Ginger ale ($5) as it was quite hot sitting at the very front of the shop next to the window (they do have an awning but the morning sun was still shining straight at the shop and it got quite warm). This tasted like a canned drink, not particularly gingery, and nothing to shout home about.

The ambience overall is relatively fast-paced and busy with a lot of hustle and bustle/noise, but comfortable seating. Service was overall quite friendly and efficient (although the waiter wanted to clear my plate when I still had a fair bit of food on it and just stopped for a bit of a rest; I suppose there is a long queue?). Going to the toilet may be a bit of an issue though as there’s only one unisex restroom available.

The unbelievably phenomenal pancakes here gives Singaporean cafes a run for their money. I spotted a cute slogan on the staff’s t-shirt “Made with Love and Butter” very apt. I definitely want to return (probably when the crowds die down :P if they ever do…) to try out some of the other brunch items. The eggs benny on Southern biscuits and the crispy potato pancakes look very promising. I’m glad that Singapore seems to be getting quite a lot of worldwide famous restaurants into the ever-changing food scene here (seems more so than Australia too… probably because there are so many homegrown talents in Australia though).

Prices are not inclusive of GST and service charge.

Clinton Street Baking Company 
31 Purvis Street, Singapore 188608
Nearest MRT: Bugis/City Hall
Tel: +65 6684 4845
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clintonstsingapore
Opening Hours: Daily, 8am to 6pm

Seaweed Ebi Burger – McDonald’s Singapore

Disclaimer: I was fed by McDonald’s and Omy Blog who kindly gave me a voucher to try the burger

On a bit of an ebi burger frenzy…

McDonald’s has launched another ebi burger today, the seaweed ebi burger. Here’s my verdict for the one I got at the McDonald’s right opposite AMK Hub:

Just like the Cereal Ebi burger, it comes with a crunchy batter and a succulent patty with a bit more starch and fewer whole prawns than ideal. There was a distinctly sweet and umami seaweed taste on the batter that took me back to the childhood days of the Ginbis animal shaped seaweed biscuits (ahh I loved those..), or Korean seaweed packets, or seaweed shake shake fries. Which unfortunately they don’t have :( The bun was soft like a typical Maccas bun but with a nice sprinkling of powdery corndust flakes. The sauce is similar to the Cereal Ebi burger’s sweet and spicy shrimp mayo; but instead, with a mentaiko flavour; this Seaweed Ebi burger has more of a Japanese influence than the Cereal Ebi which was undoubtedly more of a Singaporean twist.

The Seaweed Ebi Special (the ebi burger, medium sweet potato fries, and a small Coca-Cola) is available at McDonald’s Singapore from $7.45 from 17 September until 1 October. To healthify your meal slightly (and kudos to you if you can really resist those addictive sweet potato fries), opt to swap the fries for a corn cup (no extra charge), or a garden side salad of whole leaf lettuce, red and white cabbage, crunchy carrots, corn, tomato and a Japanese dressing (top-up $1.20).

Group Therapy Cafe – Katong

On a weekend brunch, the cafe was full-house which is strange considering its whoop whoop location. Expect queues on weekend brunch peak period as they don’t take reservations. The ambience of this cafe is a bit dark and dingy in appearance, being inside a mall without outdoor sunlight, but it’s cosy and comfortable nevertheless.

My friend got the Skinny Latte ($5) which, as a coffee connoisseur, said was good; and me being a chai snob, got the Chai latte ($5.50) which I thought was really well done for Singaporean standards. No syrup in sight, it was made with the real spice. It was strong, full-bodied, milky and a substantial foam top too.

Buttermilk pancakes ($12.50) were thick and fluffy, but in my opinion not enough of a buttermilk taste. It’s a very generous serve though :) The honeycomb crumbs and fruits lent a sour/crunchy contrast, and they by default serve syrup on the side which is always a plus.

Pumpkin pancake ($18.00) – doesn’t look super appetising, but by golly it was outstanding! Hints of fresh pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice ( cinnamon, nutmeg and clove) in a soft pancake with smoked salmon that was tender and easy on the sodium, two soft poached eggs topped with a very thick and rich serving of Hollaindaise sauce. We ended up scooping most of it away but if you do get it, ask for it on the side (or maybe most Singaporeans like it that way I guess…lots of sauce in food…)! Eggs were done bouncy with a gooey half-cooked yolk.

I thought the food and drinks at Group Therapy were good and understand why all the expat crowds flock here on the weekends!

Prices are nett (no service charge or GST)

They have another branch at Tanjong Pagar.

Group Therapy Coffee, Katong
30 East Coast Road, Katong V, #01-11, Singapore 428751
Nearest MRT: Dakota
Open daily from 9am to 9pm.

Group Therapy Coffee, Duxton
49 Duxton Road, #02-01, Singapore 089513
Nearest MRT: Outram Park/Tanjong Pagar
Tel: +65 +65 6222 2554
Open from 11am to 6pm on Tuesdays to Thursdays, 11am to 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays and 10am to 6pm on Sundays and public holidays. Closed on Mondays.

Website: http://www.gtcoffee.com/

GastroSmiths – Bugis

GastroSmiths has been getting rave reviews for its Asian fusion cuisine serving globally inspired hearty food (drawing from Chinese, Japanese, French, Italian, Spanish etc cuisines). It is a restaurant opened last year as the chef owner, Dillion, had shut down his original 10-seat bakery in Katong to open up this 20+ seater bistro at Marrison Hotel in Bugis. It’s an unassuming hole-in-the-wall place that you wouldn’t expect to serve such good food, but it definitely impressed. Although it was small with sparse decorations, it was thoughtful with adequate space between each table and the ones we were at even had extra chairs by the side (under the bench) to put our bags.

Our starter was the Scallop Ceviche ($14.50++), with Hokkaido scallop sashimi garnished with cute radish discs. It was simple yet the delightfully fresh and plump scallop paired so well with the sweet orange morsels, tang of the yuzu/olive oil sauce and koji (steamed rice with koji mould spores cultivated in; a crucial ingredient for sake) accentuated the umami taste of the scallop.

Their signature is the Hokubee Ribeye Bowl ($28.00++) with 200g grilled hokubee ribeye, Japanese rice generously seasoned with furikake and sweet vinegar, and an ultra soft sous-vide 63 degree egg (resembling the super squishy eggs served with kaya toast). Hokubee (or meltique) is a non-premium beef cut injected with canola oil/beef fat with starch to mimic the marbling of Wagyu. Hokubee definitely is no match for real wagyu, but it is tender enough to feel like it’s melting in your mouth. It had a good char encasing the perfect shade of medium pink.

I was a bit disappointed when I realised they no longer have the famed Fried Cod Mee Sua, but I was in for something better: Fisherman’s mee sua ($25.50++) is a seafood medley with homemade scampi bisque (with hints of satay?) and mee sua. Velvety mee sua absorbed full of the seafood bisque without becoming soggy, it took in the flavours much more than pasta would. Plump juicy seared scallops, chunks of juicy crabmeat, and fresh crisp prawns, all mixed in a gloriously rich and intoxicating bisque that was absorbed into the mee sua. A shower of coriander, lashings of spring onion, grilled cherry tomatoes, and a hint of chilli padi (optional; the waiter kindly asked whether we wanted it and it was an affirmative from Mr Chilli) all completed the scene for a very enjoyable dish (the only qualm was it’s a tad salty).

I couldn’t resist but order this gorgeous palette of magenta hues, Beet & Cheese ($14++). Patterned on the plate is the beetroot gel (which was more like beetroot puree; and it is quite strong in beetroot!), rustic beetroot sponge (yes those cute sponge-looking balls are actually beetroot flavoured), and two small cheese parfait mounds (which has a nice sticky cream cheesey quality similar to other deconstructed cheesecakes out there) dipped in a shiny beetroot fluid gel; with good-quality vanilla ice cream and crispy cookie crumbs. The beetroot taste is quite overwhelming (especially the sour pickled sliced beetroot at the centre!), but paired with the different components, it was a refreshing change to the usual berry compotes found elsewhere. I loved the luscious cheese parfait and wish they had given a bigger portion!

The menu has evolved and the website reports it will continue to do so as inspired by seasonal produce/latest trends. So your tastebuds will be constantly tantalised with new things and this surely was the case for me.

Service was warm, cosy and attentive. If you’re into interesting gastronomic experiences at reasonable prices, GastroSmiths is one of the favourites I’ve discovered.
Prices above not inclusive of GST and service charge.

103 Beach Road #01-02 Singapore 189704
Nearest MRT: Bugis, near Tan Quee Lan Street
Tel: +65 9772 9511
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 2:30pm, 6:00pm – 9:30pm (Tues – Sat), 11am – 3pm (Sun)