"Gourmandism is an act of judgement, by which we prefer things which have a pleasant taste to those which lack this quality." – Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Archive for May, 2010

Oriole Cafe & Bar

“Diners can also expect a quality and concise selection of global favourites on the food menu. Try the Chicken tikka – chicken cubes marinated in aromatic spices and served with cucumber-mint raita, or the Garlic prawn bruschetta. Other comforting bistro-style choices include the range of gourmet sandwiches and hearty salads like the Portobello mushroom, parmesan, rocket, pinenut and the latest addition of potted Black Pepper Crab.

For main courses, must-tries are Oriole’s signature battered Fish & Chips, Oriole Burger, Bangers & mash with caramelised onions, and the fork-tender Beef cheek tagliatelle pasta. There are also delicious desserts like Eton mess featuring meringue with fresh cream, berries and almond flakes, and Bread & butter pudding with warm vanilla sauce to go with the great coffee.

Don’t miss the new Grilled lemon cake topped with mascarpone cheese and vanilla poached apricot – great with a cuppa of tea or coffee!

Don’t miss the happy hour offer of $6.50++ for house pours, draft beers and wines from 5pm to 8pm from Sunday to Thursday. There are also many unique cocktails including the ultimate Oriole Submarine featuring a shot of espresso in a pint of draft beer, and Ristretto Martini laced with double ristretto coffee, vodka,butterscotch schnapps & tia maria!”

— Quoted from Oriole’s website.

The ambience was great! Once you stepped in, you can smell the strong aroma of coffee beans. I was glad that I had made a reservation as the tables had a “RESERVED” sign on them. It was dimly-lit, and the air-conditioned was not too cold. The seats were comfortable and the interior designs made you feel cosy.

We ordered beer and wine ($6.50++) as it was still Happy Hour, and our food – those recommended by their website.

Our food came a little slower than expected. However the portions were quite substantial.

Spicy Calamari

Appetizers first! Spicy Calamari. It had a refreshing and spicy flavour that I’ve never tasted before. The calamari rings were not too chewy, and you could quite easily bite them into half. The spiciness of the calamari rings “opened” up your stomach for your main course later. An appetizer indeed.

Oriole Burger

I had Oriole Burger with Pierre Jean Colombard Chardonnay (white wine) which really went well together. The wine was smooth.  The 100% angus beef patty was chosen to be well-done, and it came out quite nice. Not dry at all. They could have grilled it to give it more “smoky” or the “chao-da” taste. The cheese melted on top of the patty went well with the crispy burger. Instead of french fries, the side dish was wedges – my favourite!

Fish and Chips

The fish and chips came in a basket, which my friends mistaken them for a basket of wedges. My friend let me try a little of his fish, and I must say that the snapper was quite flavourful! The batter was well deep-fried and not too thick.

Chix Casserole

The Chix Casserole was chicken meat in smoked paprika and grilled baguette. It tasted like it was a fusion of chinese flavours cooked westernly. The gravy was good.

Chocolate Fudge Cake

Our desserts: Chocolate fudge cake – a small brownie coated with a thick layer of smooth dark chocolate and honeyed almonds on the top. Yummy.

Fresh Bake Warm Brownie

The prices:

Spicy Calamari – $13

Fish & Chips – $17

Oriole Burger – $24

Chix Casserole – $20

Chocolate Fudge Cake – $6

Fresh Bake Warm Brownie – $5.50

All prices are subject to 10% service charge and 7% government GST.

Our total bill came up to $174.20.

Many thanks to my friend, Mic, for his treat for his promotion. ^^

Definitely a good place for food and to chill and wind-down with your friends.

Updated 23rd June 2010:

On another occasion, I visited this cafe with a friend. We had the Garlic Prawn Bruschetta ($10), Beef Cheek Tagliatelle ($16) and Tagliatelle Salmon Escalope ($19). My friend finished the beef cheek tagliatelle, and I supposed it was good. Should have tried a little of that when he offered. Haha. The salmon I had was good, but the tagliatelle I had was a little too creamy and it got quite “gelat” after a while.

Cafe: Oriole Cafe & Bar
Address: 96 Somerset Road, #01-01, Pan Pacific Serviced Suites, Singapore 238163
Tel: 6238 8348
Opening Hours: Mon to Sat – 11 am to 11 pm; Sun – 1030 am to 11 pm
Website: http://www.oriole.com.sg/

Do You Know?

Tagliatelle [tah-lyuh-TEHL-ee]
Are long, thin, flat strips of
PASTA about 1/4 inch wide. “Tagliatelle” is the name used in northern Italy for FETTUCCINE.

Bruschetta [broo-SKEH-tah, broo-SHEH-tah]
From the Italian
bruscare meaning “to roast over coals,” this traditional garlic bread is made by rubbing slices of toasted bread with garlic cloves, then drizzling the bread with extra-virgin olive oil. The bread is salted and peppered, then heated and served warm.


Sunset Grill and Pub (Seletar)

The four of us reached Picadilly a little after 8 pm. We followed our Google maps and found ourselves facing the main gate of Seletar Camp. The place is still a little further in but we’re stucked outside!! We took a few turns around the place, and my youngest brother suddenly noted a small short sign hammered into the soil writing “SUNSET” with an arrow direction. Under the dim street lights and drizzling rain, we drove around slowly looking out for more signs.

So here’s telling you foodies, at the junction facing the main gate to Seletar Camp, take the left turn and follow the windy road. Look out for more similar directional signs saying “SUNSET”.

Upon reaching Singapore Youth Flying Club, the bar is on the left hand side. That is the only food place. Park your car and get off for some flaming buffalo wings!

It was quite a lovely place. You can smell the strong scent mosquito coils just before stepping into the restaurant, as if the mosquitoes there were humongous. There were the al fresco and air-conditioned areas. We were lucky to sit in the air-conditioned area. Otherwise I would anticipate lots of mosquito bites.

There wasn’t much to choose from in the menu. And the food was a little on the pricey side. So here’s what we ordered:

Caesars Salad - $13.50

Deep Fried Button Mushrooms - $14.50

These mushrooms are big and juicy. Never eaten such big button mushrooms before! They are really nice!

fish and chips - $15.50

The fish was so-so. Can’t really taste the fish. The fries were soggy. Coleslaw was not bad. A pass-able food in a school canteen.

BBQ half-chicken - $19.80

Similarly, the fries were soggy. The chicken was sweet. The meat was very soft and not dry. A pass-able food in a school canteen.

Level 5 Buffalo Wings - $32.50

We ordered a full dozen of an overly-ambitious Level 5 hotness of buffalo wings. My brother ordered a $3 chilled milk to prepare for this spiciness. As all of us took our first bites, we were all not prepared for this – fragrant buffalo sauce on ULTRA hot wings. My youngest brother took the first bite and went numb in his mouth. My younger brother was crying for his milk, and I was also gulping down the iced-water like my youngest brother. Only my cousin was saying the level of hotness was acceptable, and she wanted to try Level 10!! OMG. Frankly speaking, we are all chilli lovers. We eat chilli padi, sambal belacan, etc. And the Level 5 hotness was really almost the maximum we could withstand.

After the first wing, we “rested” by eating the fish and bbq chicken. Then we took the second attempt on the second piece. We all agreed that it wasn’t as hot as the first. Probably our mouths were already numb. My cousin was saying my face was even redder than when I drink alcoholics. Yes, I felt a bit high after finishing 4 wings. Both my brothers were super full, not because of the food, but because they drank too much water.

Really love these wings. Really really delicious. Never eaten such nice buffalo wings before. The next time, I would probably order Level 3 only. Why torture myself? HAHA!

“The degree of spiciness for Buffalo wings ranges from Level 1 to 35. Anyone who finishes at least one wing of Level 30 or 35 spiciness will have his name on its wall of fame and receive a certificate.

Price: From $17.50 for six wings and $28.50 for twelve wings at Level 1 spiciness, to $32.50 for six wings and $55 for twelve wings at level 35.”

Adapted from The Straits Times. Lifestyle section, 14th February 2010.

All prices include 7% GST. No service charges. Free flow of iced-water. Our total bill of 4 came up to $114.30.

The service was good. Our cups were never left empty, and there was top-up of serviettes before they were finished. ^^

BEWARE of flaming stomachs later and multiple toilet visits the next day.

Restaurant: Sunset Grill and Pub (Seletar)
Address: 140B Piccadilly Road, Seletar Airbase (Republic of  Singapore Flying Club), East Camp, Singapore 797754
Opening Hours: 4pm – 11pm (Closed on Tuesday) [Last order at 930 pm]
Tel: 6482 0244

Braised Pork Bao 扣肉包

My mum can make quite good kou rou bao! The bao is bought frozen from supermarket. But she makes the braised pork herself.

1. 1 kg pork belly (花肉)
2. 3 pieces of black garlic (黑花蒜)
3. 3 tbsp light soya sauce
4. 1 tbsp oyster sauce
5. some black soya sauce for colouring
6. 1 tbsp rock sugar (冰糖)
7. 4-5 tbsp rice wine with rose essence (玫瑰露)

1. Cut up the pork into appropriate slices.
2. Fragrant the work with garlic and throw in the pork. Fry till they change colour.
3. Add Ingredients (3) to (7).
4. Using medium fire, braise the pork till cooked and soft.
5. Serve with cut chillies and coriander.

*What is 玫瑰露?
It is a colourless, sweet, rice wine with rose essence. Its ingredients are water, sorghum, sugar and rose. It contains 28% alcohol. The brand we used is “Boon Quee Loh”, distributed by Ang Leong Huat (Pte) Ltd. A Double Dog Brand.

It is used to make the nutty type of mooncake, soup, chicken or drink on its own.

Assam Fish Curry

1. 1 kg Selar fish / Kempong / Fish Fillet
2. 3 tbsp tamarid assam java (mixed with 400 ml water. Discard seeds)
3. 10 belimbing buloh (optional)
4. 5 branches of laksa leaves
5. 1/2 stalk rojak flower (flower to middle stalk section)
6. 200g ladies fingers
7. 1 tomato
8. cooking oil

1. 1/2 tsp salt
2. 1/2 tsp sugar

Pounded Ingredients:
1.  10 shallots
2. 8 fresh chillies
3. 8 dried red chillies (soaked)
4. a small knob of fresh tumeric (thumb size)
5. 4 slices golangol
6. 1/2″ toasted belacan

1. Heat up wok, add oil and fry the pounded ingredients until fragrant. Add in belimbing and continue frying.
2. Add in assam and cook for 3-4 minutes.
3. Add in fish, laksa leaves and cook for 8 minutes. Add in seasonings and stir well.
4. Cook the ladies fingers in boiling water, and add into Step (3).
5. Serve hot.

*You can steam the fish and pour the curry gravy over the fish before serving, instead of cooking the fish in the curry.

Home-made Crispy Onion (Shallot) Garnish

My colleagues and I were talking about eating the onion flakes that we usually top onto our soup. The ready-made ones that are selling outside doesn’t taste good and fresh. We still prefer homemade ones. I was sharing with them how to make them. So here’s the method!

1. Slice up the small onions/shallots into thin and fine pieces. You need quite alot of shallots to make a reasonable amount. They will shrink when they’re done.

2. Heat up some oil in your wok to just enough cover the shallots. When the oil is hot, lower to medium fire and then throw in the shallots. Make sure you turn them and be careful not to burn them! When the shallots start to turn yellow, flip and stir more often. Just before it turns brown, off the fire and take them out (without the oil). Place them onto kitchen tissue to soak up the excess oil. If you wait till the colour turns brown, it will be too late, and you will get burnt shallots.

3. The done shallots! Sprinkle on top of your dishes as garnish!! Yummmmy!

Purple Sweet Potato Chiffon Cake

Look at this pretty chiffon cake!! We usually have them in pandan flavour, but what my mum made was a lovely purple sweet potato one! I expected it to be hard and heavy cos’ of the sweet potato. But it was cottony, and doesn’t really taste of potato.

My mum got this recipe from kokken69 blog but she does some improvisation to the recipe. She is now very into food blog and reads them daily. She is even considering getting a computer. But poor us have to keep teaching and re-teaching her how to post, links, tag…etc. I guess she is just not apt at it.

So here’s the improvised method:

Ingredient A
– 220 g egg white (about 6 large eggs)
– 100 g caster sugar
– 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Ingredient B
– egg yolk 80 g (about 5 large eggs)
– water 100 g
– corn oil 80 g
– lemon juice 15 ml/cc
– sweet potato 100 g (steamed and mashed)
– plain flour 100 g
– 1/2 tsp baking powder
– caster sugar 20 g
– sweet potato 140 g ( cut into cubes and steam)

1. Whisk egg yolk with the mashed potato. Add in water, sugar and lemon juice. Then add in oil. Whisk well to emulsify the oil.
2. Fold in sifted flour. Fold until flour is well incorporated into the egg yolk mixture.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk egg white till stiff but not dry. Fold into the yolk mixture carefully, then add in the potato cubes using a spatula.
4. Pour batter into a 23 cm/9″ chiffon cake tin.
5. Bake the cake at 165°C for 45 minutes or until cooked.
6. Remove cake from oven and invert the pan to cool.

Steamed Glutinous Rice

This is super tasty and addictive,  but be careful not to eat too much of glutinous rice as they are not easy to digest.

Ingredients A:
~ 1 kg glutinous rice (soaked in water for 4 hours, drained) [serves about 8 persons]
~ 1 1/2 tablespoon chopped garlic and shallots (equal amount of each)
~ cooking oil 5 tablespoon

Ingredient B:
~ 1 1/2 tablespoon chopped garlic and shallots (equal amount of each)
~ 5 tablespoon dried shrimps (soaked untill soft)
~ 300 g chicken meat (cut into small cubes)
~ 1-2 chinese sausages ( cut into small cubes)
~ 6 chinese mushrooms; (soaked and cut into cubes )
~ 4 tablespoon cooking oil
~ 100 g roast pork (cut into small cubes)

~ 1 tablespoon maggi stock
~ 1 tablespoon dark soya sauce
~ 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
~ 1-2 teaspoon salt
~ 1 teaspoon sesame oil
~ 2 teaspoon sugar
~3/4-1 cup water
~ pepper to taste

fried shallots; red chillies; roasted peanuts; fresh coriander leaves; and chopped spring onions

1) Heat up 5 tbsp oil to fragrant the chopped garlic and shallots, add in the glutinous rice, stir fry until aromatic. Transfer the rice into a big dish. Steam at high heat for 45 minutes or until cooked.
2) Heat the oil in a wok over medium high heat. When hot, add dried shrimps and fry until fragrant. Add chopped garlic and shallots, fry till soft, add in the remaining ingredient of (B). Stir fry till the chicken is cooked.
3) Add in the cooked glutinous rice, stir fry until all mix in well.
4) Scoop rice into a serving dish or a baking tray. Steam for 15 minutes.
5) Garnish and serve.

Barracks Cafe @ Dempsey Hill

Have been wanting to go to this place for very very long!! And finally got the chance to go today! It will be my first time up onto Dempsey Hill!

Online recommendations were to try out their skinny pizza – thinnovation of the crackiest kind, corn and crab soup, American Sliders, squid ink Paella and House Proud Bay Prawn Capellini. Their online menu: http://www.dempseyhouse.com/pdfs/Barracks/Menu/Barracks%20Main.pdf already made me drool. The prices are also affordable considering that this cafe is located at Dempsey Hill.

Their desserts menu: http://www.dempseyhouse.com/pdfs/Barracks/Menu/Dessert&Drinks%20Menu.pdf. Me will try their Mango Marshmellow Melt – mini Mango Pavlova. ^^

CP picked us from Buona Vista MRT. We reached the place at around 7:15pm and the place was still quite empty. There was already a hen party going on. We sat down and ordered the recommendations I read online.

Corn Crab Soup - $9

A very rich and thick soup. Not very corn-y. Pepper is freshly-grounded by the waiter. See that little bit of crab meat? Generally, the corn soup lacked the “seafood” taste. It was really filling after finishing the soup.

Bay Prawn Capellini - $22

The texture of the capellini was quite good. Luckily it wasn’t too dry. The prawns were fresh and succulent.

Fish and Chips - $27

Fish and Chips! This, I must say, was the best out of what we ordered. The Fish and Chips were cod fish, which made them good. It wasn’t dry and their batter was thin and crispy. Their salty fries had a funny taste to it. Upon reading the menu, I realised the fries were truffled. No wonder. And see the two dips? The red one is malt vinegar, which tasted something like satay sauce to us, and the white one is their homemade tartar sauce. I really like this dish.

Wild Truffled Mushrooms Skinny Pizza - $22

This roasted mushrooms were way too salty. It was a generous serving of mushrooms topped on REALLY thin and crispy pizza crust. It’s like eating biscuits! The crust was really delicious.

What amazed us was also the 1-metre long sausage under the Appetizers menu. We didn’t order that, as it was suggested to be shared amongst 4 people. We saw the groups around us ordering. It came in an aluminium tray just the size for the 1-metre long sausage. It seemed pretty fun to be cutting the sausage and eating it along the length of the dining tables.

When we were finished with the mains, we asked for the desserts menu. It was not the same as what I read online. There wasn’t the Mango Marshmellow Melt. They had a variety of cakes from bitter chocolate to coconut pudding cake. However, none of them interests us.  We called for the bill and left the place for Island Creamery at Serene Centre for ice-cream.

We decided that we won’t re-visit this place. The salty food just didn’t suit our palates.

Reservations are recommended. It was full house!

Prices exclude 10% service charge and 7% GST. UOB credit card holders will get a 10% return visit voucher for a minimum of $50 spent. (fully redeemed)

Our total bill of 3 came up to $115.35.

Restaurant: Barracks Cafe
Address: 8D Dempsey Road #01-01 to 06 Tanglin Village (Dempsey Road) Singapore 249672
Tel: 6475 7787
Opening Hours: Lunch (Mon–Fri) – 12pm – 3pm; Dinner (Mon–Sun) – 6pm – 10.30pm; Tea (Mon–Fri) – 3pm – 6pm; Tea (Sat–Sun) – 4pm – 6pm; Brunch (Sat–Sun) – 11am – 4pm
Website: http://www.dempseyhouse.com/