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Loysel’s Toy

August 31, 2011 Leave a comment

I have a thing for monikers, nomenclature and its likes. Some places, they have names that are pretty self-explanatory, like Go!Go!Curry! – obviously a place that serves curry as their main fare. Others, however, have obscure names that just prod me to turn to my best friend, Google, to unravel the mystery behind them. Well, Loysel’s Toy, like their sister joint, Papa Palheta, is one of those names that got me Googling, even though I realised later on that there is a brief write-up on their website. Some things, you just gotta find out yourself!

So the story goes like this; this man called Edward Loysel de Santais, invented the first espresso machine that took the world by storm during its introduction at the Paris Expo in 1855. No surprise that this man is an engineer who happens to have a penchant for coffee (either that, or he has a need for speed because his invention could brew coffee at a much faster rate), and he devised a way to use steam pressure to bring hot water up to a certain height, and the weight of the water, as it descends through an elaborate tubing system, applies the brewing pressure. Hmmm, I am not sure how the intricate network of tubes serves to augment the pressure that is already generated by the height factor, but perhaps Bernoulli could enlighten us? :p So yup, after understanding the name, I then came to appreciate the presence of the hugeass vintage coffee machine that sits in the corner of Loysel’s Toy.

Back to the coffee at Loysel’s Toy. From the same awesome people who brought you Papa Palheta, the people at Loysel’s Toy are committed to making every cuppa a perfect brew.

Loysel's Toy

What sets Loysel’s Toy apart from the other coffee joints is it doesn’t need to be at a prime location to garner business. Before this, I haven’t even ventured to Kg Bugis before. All I knew of Kg Bugis was that it was by the river (or is that a canal?!), and there are a few obscure warehouses there. But on any weekend, this place is abuzz with people, who have flocked down to this little warehouse by the river/canal, for a nice cuppa and an escape from the mundane. Even if you are not a coffee junkie, this is a hip place to be seen, in a not so hip location. If you are a coffee junkie, then you will be duly impressed by the coffee at Loysel’s Toy. There is nothing to not like about a coffee joint that sells fantastic coffee, with an idyllic lifestyle to boot.

Loysel’s Toy
66 Kampong Bugis, Ture, #01-01, Singapore, Singapore 338987
Tue – Fri 9:00 am- 6:00 pm
Sat – Sun 9:00 am – 7:30 pm
Mon Closed
Tel +65 62922306
Email brew@loyselstoy.com

Shots @ Ann Siang Hill

August 25, 2011 2 comments

Just across the road from Kki, is Shots, a cafe on Ann Siang Hill. The exterior of the shophouse is a crimson red colour that is hard to go unnoticed, but somehow, when I was at Kki a few weeks back, it did not occur to me that this red shophouse is where Shots is. I kept reading about this place, without knowing that I had actually gone past it a few times. Was bored one Sunday afternoon after lunch, and not to mention, had the strong urge to just park somewhere and nap. A shot of caffeine was definitely in order, so we decided to give Shots a shot. I could go on with the puns, but I shall not!

I ordered a cappuccino, as usual, and Ter ordered a hazelnut iced latte, citing the sweltering weather as a reason to get something cold (he doesn’t really take hot drinks to begin with). When the cappuccino came, I was disappointed that it did not come with any artwork, so we went to ask the barista which of the drinks came with artwork. We then ordered another cafe latte, just so we could get a nice picture of the coffee. So in the end we had 3 cups of coffee, to finish between the 2 of us. The barista took pains to create a really nice artwork for us; a face of a man. We were duly impressed.

Shots

a shot of Shots cafe latte

I liked that the cup and the saucer were personalized with the words. It goes to show that the owner pays attention to details. And to augment this truth, was the washroom; it was very well designed, with cute round floor tiles. Someone once told me that the design of a washroom says alot about the effort put into the concept of the entire place. Can’t help but agree. The coffee was good. Did its job in waking us up, that’s for sure. Shots also features a gallery of works by photographers (hence the punny name i guess), and also a corner dedicated to magazines (mainly on photography). It is not a crowded place, so it’s gd to chill there. But I felt the music was a bit too loud that day, but the place kinda traps sound, if you get what I mean. There are seats outside the cafe, along the five-foot walkway, where you can have a nice cuppa and people watch. That’s provided you and Singapore’s heat and humidity don’t repel each other. Give Shots a shot, and don’t forget to take some nice shots of the coffee.

Shots
a cafe on 8 ann siang hill, singapore 069788
Opening Hours: 
Sun-Thurs 8am-11pm
Fri-Sat 8am-1am
Tel: +65 6224 8502

Eddie (Cafe & Restaurant Manager)
Email: eddie@shots.com.sg
Direct: +65 9696 6695

Go! Go! Curry!

August 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Inspired by the “Cook a pot of curry” day, I decided to have curry for dinner last Sunday. But I had a craving for Jap curry, which is not so in line with the theme I suppose, but it is still curry, no? Heh. I thought hard about places with good Jap curry in Singapore, but my mind drew a blank. Scoured the net for good recommendations, but that did not yield substantial results.

My sporadic love for Jap curry started after a long tiring day at Tokyo Disneysea about 2 years back, when Ter and I were on our way back to our hotel for the night. Those who have been to Disneysea, or Disneyland will know that running around the place to catch the best rides is like some sort of physically demanding amazing race. Coupled with the exorbitantly priced F&B inside, it is suffice to say that we were both damn hungry and spent at the end of the excursion. So at a particular JR station where we changed trains, we popped into one of those eat-by-the-counter eatery, where you purchase food coupons via a vending machine, in exchange for the food. So as you might have already guessed, it was a curry shop, and when the order came, we scarfed down the curry rice like we had been starved for a long time. And that is when I started to appreciate Jap curry. Something about the mix of sweet, spicy and savory that drew me in. Especially love the red pickled veg that comes with it (think it’s called fukujinzuke)! Funnily enough, the other yummy Jap curries I’ve had was in LA, at Hurry Curry, Sawtelle. So I find it odd that I can’t find any good recommended Jap curry in SG.

One name stood out though, from all the scouring on the web, and it was Go! Go! Curry! Located at the ION Orchard food basement, I vaguely remember seeing it, when its name appeared in the searches. All the reviews seemed favourable, so headed there for a nice Jap curry dinner. We settled for the Grand Slam because we could nt decide which katsu to get, and the grand slam had a bit of everything. We even added shrimp because there was only 1 miserly shrimp in the Grand Slam. When our order came, we sized up the situation pretty quickly (this would be called appreciation of situation in my line of work) and opined that we needed more curry, so we topped up $3 for additional curry.

Go! Go! Curry!

Grand slam with shrimp topping

Between the chicken katsu and the pork katsu, I preferred the chicken; thought that the pork was a bit tough, but maybe I have just been spoilt by Tonkichi or Tetsu, lol. Other than that, the curry was creamy and tasty! Not too spicy, and was a seamless blend of sweet and savoury. My only gripe was that there wasn’t any of the red pickled vege that I so love. Alas! I would have loved to finish the entire container of it, like what we did in Tokyo. Then again, who does that right? :p Go! Go! Hurry! is ideal for a satisfying Jap curry meal that is also value for money. Worth a try if you are into Jap curry. Oh, and they also have various serving sizes (with inventive names) for the rice, ranging from economy class to first class. So for those folks who are carbo loading, or love to eat rice, it’s first class for the win; else economy class should do the trick! So go, go, go to Go! Go! Curry!

Go! Go! Curry!
ION Orchard Outlet
2 Orchard Turn
#B4-55 ION Orchard
Singapore 238801
Tel: +65 6509 4555

313@somerset
#05-01 Stall 24 Food Republic
313 Orchard Road
Singapore 238895
Tel: +65 6836 6855

40 hands

August 21, 2011 Leave a comment

If I could put 40 hands together for 40 hands coffee, I would; But I don’t have so many hands. Hah.

Tucked away in a corner of Yong Siak Street, 40 hands is a respite from the bustle of heartland and downtown malls. My grandparents used to live in the charming Art Deco themed Tiong Bahru estate, and whenever we visited, one could feel the stoicism and tranquility that sets it apart from the rest. So when I went to this cafe for the first time, it brought back some good memories.

Anyways, was introduced this place by Q (he is my trusty source of makan joints and whatnot), and we actually went there on the 3rd day of CNY, but it was closed when we got there. Unwilling to give up, the same group of us went again weeks later, and finally got to try their much publicized kopi! We sat at the little courtyard behind, which was seriously a tad too warm if you ask me. However, the aircon inside the main part of the cafe doesn’t justify sitting inside, because it felt a bit stuffy there, so basically, I conclude that sitting at the seats outside (facing Books Actually) is the best. I know this to be true because recently, I went back again, this time with Ter, and we sat outside, right below a ceiling fan. Shiok.

40 hands, like PPP and Loysel’s Toy, is a champion of fair trade and sustainability in the coffee industry, so every cup of coffee that you enjoy, has gone through (in very civil service terms) the proper channels to get to you. There is nothing to complain about their coffee, though the second time when I went, I thought the acidic aftertaste of my cappuccino was a wee bit strong. But other than that, my friends and I have only good things to say about their coffee. Read from their website that their baristas undergo months of intensive training, so no blind button-pressing (that would be me and my Nespresso!). They have divine truffle fries btw! Much better than PS Cafe’s, in my opinion.

f0rty h4nds

I usually only drink cappuccinos, but the occasional espresso is nice too. 

f0rty h4nds

Truffle fries!

Even if you are not big on coffee, 40 hands is good for brunch and truffle fries as well. After a nice cuppa, you can take a stroll in the surrounding estate and infuse yourself in its nostalgic charm, or swing by Books Actually opposite; they have vintage knick knacks and classic Penguin paperbacks. And oh, remember to display sufficient parking coupon if you are driving. Apparently the parking aunties usually come out after 6pm, as advised by a resident of the estate. Caveat emptor wrt the advice!

f0rty h4nds
78 Yong Siak St, #01-12 Tiong Bahru
round the other side of the block, facing the new Regency condos
Tuesdays, Sundays 8.30am to 6.30pm
Wednesdays, Thursdays 8.30am to 10pm
Friday, Saturdays 8.30am to 11pm
Closed Mondays
Email: info@40handscoffee.com
Tel: +65 6225 8545

Kki

August 16, 2011 2 comments

On our country’s birthday, we went to Kki Cafe at Ann Siang Hill for afternoon tea (or coffee, for that matter). Gd pal of mine, Q, had gotten me their divine cakes for my promotion celebration last yr, and needless to say, I took an instant liking to them. I never got a chance to visit the cafe until recently, but had read about it online, so was kinda prepared to not get a seat, given its limited seats. In e end we managed to get a seat outside (yay), and the ceiling fan was the only saving grace from the sweltering afternoon heat.

Kki is co-located with The Little Drom Store, a store selling quirky knick knacks that kinda reminded us of a certain Mr. Friendly Cafe at Daikanyama, Tokyo.

When we were there at Kki, most of the cakes were gone already, so I didn’t have much choice, but I was quite sure whichever cake i chose, it would be gd. Had the Antoinette, which is basically a white chocolate mousse cake. The name of e cake intrigued me for a while; presumably named after Marie Antoinette. But why? Was she fair like white choc? Perhaps. Was white choc from France? Nope, it was from Switzerland I think. Oh well, shall spare you my lame musings.

Kki

Shaped like a water droplet, the cake had mango bits on the top. It was not too sweet and was creamy and smooth. Love how the little cardboard sits so nicely on the cake.

Kki

Topped off the cake with a cappuccino. They use Nespresso capsules, so nth out of the ordinary to me, because I am fortunate enough to own the Nespresso Pixie.

You can tell how simple they set out to be by checking their minimalistic website out. No fanciful pictures or superfluous write ups. Just one page with the bare essentials. Very neat.

If you are looking for exquisite cakes, then this is the place to get them. You won’t regret it. Or if you are just looking for an out-of-Singapore experience, swing by and you will get what I mean.

Kki
7 Ann Siang Hill, Singapore 069791
Baking Hours:
Tues-Sat 12pm-7pm
Sun 1pm-7pm
Mon Closed
For whole cake’s order, they need at least 5 working days of notice in advance
Email: hello@kki-sweets.com
Tel: +65 6225 6650

 

Wild Honey

August 15, 2011 Leave a comment

I have always been a fan of breakfast (eggs n ham) since young. Dennys @ Holland V used to be one of my fav weekends breakfast place with my fam before it closed. Macs became the only convenient place to go to. However, Macs only serves breakfast till 11am daily and that’s abt the time I wake up on weekends.

The idea of an all day brunch restaurant sounds totally awesome. Even tho J had visited the place once and didn’t think much of it, I had to try it for my own judgment. Thus my bro and I headed to Wild Honey located in Mandarin Gallery on a weekday afternoon. There was a queue and the wait came up to about 40 mins before we got a table right in the corner. The waitress greeted us and asked if it was our first time here.

The menu is written on black chalkboards at the counter near the entrance. They have an order and pay at the counter before the food is served concept. The counter had 2 iPads where u could browse pictures of the extensive menu from all ard including Swiss, Japanese, Yemen, European, Italian, Californian, Mexican, Tunisian, English, I Love New York, Belgian, Canadian, Scandinavian and Barsque (new). I had the English breakfast and my brother got the Belgian waffles.

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English – The classic full breakfast; creamy scrambled eggs, pork sausage, sauteed mushrooms, dad’s baked beans, bacon and vine ripened tomato with toasted brioche

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Belgian – Thick fluffy waffles served with coconut cream, grilled mango, blueberries and toasted coconut

Food portions were generous and presentation looked great! The English breakfast felt buttery in general. There was a strong butter taste in the eggs. The Belgian was pretty good. Service was good and the waiter constantly refilled our ice water. I didn’t really like the “order and pay at counter first” concept. Was a pretty good experience but there are plenty of other brunch locations in Singapore that will have a nicer and chill atmosphere as compared to the crowded Orchard Rd on the weekends.

Wild Honey Singapore
333A Orchard Road #03-02
Mandarin Gallery Singapore
Tel: +65 6235 3900
Opening Hours
Mon-Fri 9.30am-9.30pm
Sat-Sun 7.30am-9.30pm

La Braceria Pizza & Grill

August 11, 2011 Leave a comment

I am sure Italian food is a fave to many, but I for one, especially love Italian food, and Italy, for that matter. Was there many years back and there is nothing to not love about Rome & Florence, with their lazy cobblestone streets, glorious food, wine, gelato and careless attitude. In a way, Italian food reflects everything that Italy is about: indulging. I am a big fan of pizzas especially, and I can never get enough of pizzas, except maybe Pizza Hut’s pizzas.. those are not really counted because they’re mass produced.

So I was delighted when Ter brought me to La Braceria Pizza & Grill. Delighted because it is far away from the crowd in the Greenwood enclave, it is well known for its yummy pizzas, and of course, it was a Friday evening when I went there. I love good dinners on Friday evenings!

La Braceria is along Greendale Ave, which is essentially behind the main Greenwood stretch of eateries. Blink and miss kind, really. But a hidden gem. We made reservations, but were assigned to a dingy corner near the entrance to the washroom. I enjoyed the dinner nonetheless, because the food was as good as some of the rave reviews I had read.

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Insalata di Rucola
Fresh rocket, parmesan cheese, cherry tomatoes in extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar

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Alla Braceria
Mozzarella, beef tenderloin, porcini mushrooms and parmesan cheese 

The beef slices were nicely done, though a little overwhelming (read: too much). I only eat thin crust pizzas, so this was perfect in that aspect. The cheese and beef went well together, both packs a punch when you take a bite.

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Merluzzo “Ubriaco” al forno
Oven baked cod fish with cherry tomato and olive sauce

Like I said, Ter is more health conscious, so he normally doesn’t order much carbs. He went for the baked cod, with prawns and clams. The cod was very good! I always love it when the cod fish is fresh, and doesn’t need much effort to eat, meaning you can use a fork to slice it easily, with no flaking of the fish. Though pizza was my main dish, I think I ate a big portion of the fish. Maybe that’s why I could not finish the pizza? Heh.

I want to try their other pizzas! 🙂

La Braceria Pizza & Grill
5 Greendale Ave
Tel: +65 6465 5918
Opening Hours
Lunch: 12.30pm – 2.30pm
Dinner: 6.30pm – 10.30pm