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Friday, 24 October 2014

Lunch at Jimmy Monkey Cafe @ One-North

9 One-North Gateway, Singapore 138643
Tel: 6777 8470

After an appointment in the West,  the same colleague who went The LoKal with me were generating ideas on what to have for lunch. Then he suggested this place that I've also heard of before - Jimmy Monkeys Cafe, right smack in the heart of a condominium estate.

A lovely little Australian cafe with "raw and deconstructed elegance", this cafe is constantly filled up with people enjoying its lovely coffee and food as well as chilling out over drinks. We were fortunate to snag a table. I do like the very "chill" and relaxed ambience, and the cafe was surprisingly quiet despite the crowd (who were also chattering away over meals).

I checked out the array of cakes and pastries on display but nothing caught my eye. It was lunchtime anyway, and the start of my severe "cut-down-on-food" regime, hence I decided to do without desserts.

A peek at the menu as I alternated between the Muffins or Muesli set.

I started off with a Cuppucino (SGD$5.50) served in its signature blue cup. Not bad, the coffee held slight hints of fruits, if my detection skills served me well. What would have made it more perfect would be some cocoa powder sprinkled atop the foam.

The colleague had a Latte (SGD$5.50) served in the same blue cup. He likes the coffee here apparently that was why he suggested to come here for lunch. The coffee here is brewed using the Slayer machine by experienced baristas anyway.

For mains, the colleague had the JM's Breakfast Sandwich (SGD$16.00) - with rocket salad, bacon, egg, roma tomato, avocado and kay's relish. It was a very hearty breakfast that was surprisingly not greasy, and tasted good - comfort food at its best.

I succumbed and selected the JM Breaky Muffin (SGD$14.00) - sunny eggs, leg ham, Hollandaise sauce, roma tomato and rocket salad. The muffins were exactly the way I like it - sandy textured, slightly sweet and not too soft. The combination with the eggs, ham and tomato made a simple home-styled meal awesome. The potato salad on the side was commendable as well - tender potato chunks with egg mayo dressing.

All in all I enjoyed the dining experience at this secluded and serene area, and the food was very satisfying. Never mind the inaccessibility - one wouldnt want their new favorite haunts to be over-crowded with too many people.

Dinner at Two Bakers Cafe

88 Horne Road, Singapore 209083
Tel: 6293 0329

I thought I had pretty much exhausted most of the cafes along Lavendar area, then I heard about Two Bakers Cafe opening. Hence, that was the decided dinner venue for The Beau and I this evening.

Yes, it is so new that it is days' old.  As cafes go, they are not very huge, and the usual setting applies - all rectangular wooden tables, metal chairs and a long pastry / coffee counter . Nonetheless, the ambience was warm and welcoming amidst the chillax vibes.

It was cute to note that the newly-opened cafe was already up donned up for the upcoming Halloween - with cute pumpkins all over the place in all forms - plastic knickknacks, wall decorations and on tabletops. The service was definitely hospitable and amicable.

I was attracted to the pastries counter, as always, and quickly chopped one of the desserts (to be served after our mains) since there was only one piece left.  It was hard to decide on what to select since all the desserts looked unique and delectable.

Drinks came first - I started with a Cornish Orchards Pear Cider (SGD$10.50) - simply because I felt like drinking, and I have never tried pear cider before. Well, there wasn't any hint of pear taste , just a sweet alcoholic fizz I suppose, but refreshing enough.

The Beau had an Iced Mocha (SGD$6.50) - rather potent and bitterish in taste, and chocolate flavor was resplendent. He didn't really like it, but I really enjoyed the bittersweet taste.

For mains, we shared the Bow Tie Napolitan (SGD$13.80), add Grilled Chicken (SGD$2.00) - well, the bow-tie pasta was adorable. The seemingly rich tomato sauce was surprisingly just right in flavor without being too strong or sour - redolent of tomato's flavor, but with just the right note. The mushrooms and rocket leaves were lovely additions, as well as the succulent grilled chicken slices.

I had the Quesadilla (SGD$9.00) for my mains, adding Bacon (SGD$1.50) - a lovely sandy-textured crust enclaving spicy sauce, chilli pepper and melted cheese within -and my added bacon to add on to the flavorful fillings.

We also had the Luncheon Meat Fries (SGD$7.80) added on as an afterthought (no thanks to my inane craving) - slim, crispy strips of deepfried luncheon meat. This was nice because it was not too salty, unlike those we had at other cafes.

For desserts, we shared the Key Lime Tart (SGD$6.80) - lovely crunchy crust with light lime-sour center, topped with cream and a slice of fresh lime for form. While the texture and flavor were lovely enough, I still prefer the more zesty flavor of the Key Lime Tart from Lime @ Parkroyal. The Key Lime Tart at Two Bakers could do with more punch, a stronger dose of sour-ness.

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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Hair Services at Salon Vim @ Somerset 313

313 Orchard Road #04-07 / 08 / 09 Somerset 313, Singapore 238895
Tel: 6884 7757 / 6884 7767

I used to do my hair at the usual suspects - Kimage, Jantzen and more often than not, Reds Salons. Then I started hearing about friends and ex-colleagues talking about Salon Vim, and decided to give them a try.

It was time to do something about my long tresses. My hair grows really fast - let's see, at the beginning of the year I could cut it to chin-length, but by the end of the year my hair would be nearly to the waist! Not sure if it is a good or bad thing...

I booked an appointment for haircut with the director - they assigned Ms Jamie Seah to me. For director's hair cut for my hair - near waist length to the shoulder was about SGD$70.00. While Jamie is not the most friendly or chatty stylist around, she did her work with professionalism and quick efficiency, with rather good recommendations when I asked for opinions.

I believe the lady assisting her and doing my rebonding was Sue. Anyway, yes, I had the hair chopped to shoulder length, and the got it rebonded / straightened. "No soft rebonding" was my instructions - because soft rebonding was of no effect to my naturally straight hair. I wanted the good, old-fashioned rebonding - the straight, smooth kind that one could just wake up with and get out of the house in.

The usual beverages and crackers were offered, and I sat there browsing some issues of Cleo, Women's Weekly and Cosmopolitan magazines.  About three hours later, after a few washes and all, I could finally step out of the salon with my new shortened, straightened and sleek hair. I appreciated that they did not do any hard selling of more services or products. The rebonding cost SGD$250.00 for my hair length.

If you have a friend who is a member, you are entitled to 15% referral discount for first time visit. You can also join their membership with a deposit of SGD$50.00, which entitles you to 15% discount for all subsequent hair visits.  Overall, I rather enjoyed my experience at Salon Vim's.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Lunch at Rokeby Bistro Cafe

15-9 Jalan Riang, Singapore 358987
Tel: 9106 0437
Website: http://www.rokeby.com.sg

It was time for lunch with *Sidney again, and we discovered this neat Australian bistro cafe named Rokeby by chance (the one we'd initially came for was not opened yet).

So we succumbed to the warm hospitality and serene ambience of this laid-back cafe set in an austerely pretty area near Serangoon. The dim and polished interior made it perfect as a cafe by daya and bar by night. Everything looked good on the menu so we didn't know what to order for a while.

I started with a Soy Mocha (SGD$6.70) - the coffee was nutty, with hints of creaminess. The soy milk in this case didn't rise above the flavor of the chocolately coffee to bring out a fragrance of its own, like the soy mocha I had at Black Coffee , Loysels Toys Cafe and Forty Hands Cafe. It tasted more like a good cup of strong-flavored Mocha with a slight dash of milk - the bear art on my beverage was very adorable though.

*Sidney had his usual Skinny Latte (SGD$5.50)- a rich blend of milk, coffee and froth.

For mains, I ordered the Braised Ox Cheek Stew (SGD$20.90), being in the mood for beef cheeks, just nice. The beef cheek was stewed to a soft tenderness, retaining its bouncy texture against the rich juicy broth it was cast in. As it quivered in my mouth, I savoured the delicacy with satisfaction, and even pouring spoonfuls of the sauce over my otherwise-bland mashed potato.

*Sidney happened to choose another item that I was debating between - the Rokeby Chilli Mussels (SGD19.90) - it was awesome that they had different levels of spiciness for us to choose from, so we chose the mild (being a weekday and we had to continue working, so couldn't risk stomach upsets). The musels were pliable in its chewyness, the natural sweetness of mussels succint amongst the spicy coat of the broth. It was definitely a good choice - with or without the crispy toast slices it was served with.

We were glad we discovered this lovely place with its interesting menu.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Review: DHC Acerola Gel

This product caught my eye because a tiny tube of 40g gel claimed to contain 1700mg of Vitamin C, and it it sounded like a delicious treat for the skin. Hence I bought it without hesitation, and have been using it for two years now.

DHC's Acerola Gel is a refreshing, fragrance-free, colorless gel that when applied onto the skin, gives a soothing coolness, and gets absorbed into the skin very easily. As gel goes, it is not greasy at all, so suitable for combination or oily skin types to use. The skin stays rejuvenated throughout the day, and uplifted as well. It gives improvement to the apperance of skin, as well as moisturizes it so it looks radiant and supple even with makeup piled on.

Not to forget - one keeps thinking about the richness of natural Vitamin C nourishing the skin, so it puts one in a happy mood to know that the skin is in good hands too.

But I don't know - I realize that if I don't apply any makeup at all, the gel tends to make my face appear shiny (does not feel oily to the touch, but there is a sheen to the skin). So I usually this as part of skincare regime before bed or before makeup.

The tube form makes for hygienic and easy application, as well as compact enough to bring out. I also use the Vitamin-rich gel for other areas of my body, such as arms or legs at times. One tube of 40g gel costs SGD$53.00 and is easily available in most pharmacies.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Chillout at Wheelers' Yard Cafe (revisit)

28 Lorong Ampas, Singapore 328781
Tel: 6254 9128

Having been to Wheelers' Yard for brunch, tonight I decide to bring the Beau here for drinks. It was a pity we were still full from dinner - if not, I really enjoyed their desserts. Read about my previous brunch visit here.

Anyway, we decided to sit outdoors. I noticed there has been a revamp since my last visit about a month ago - the tables were replaced by some couches, vintage furniture and strange fixtures.

Nonetheless, we picked a seat and got comfortable. Since we were not eating, the lack of tables did not really faze us. Good music and friendly service were still unchanged, mercifully.

I had a glass of Merlot (SGD$10.00) - the price was really cheap, and there was no service charge. This was Queen's Bay from Chile.

So I had another glass of Merlot (SGD$14.00) - and this one went down the throat easier. This was Wild Rock from New Zealand.

The Beau had an Iced Mocha (SGD$7.00), since he was driving. I took a couple of sips - even though there was no visible chocolate / hot fudge sauce in the drink itself, the chocolate flavor was distinctive and the drink was lovely.

The bicycles and scooters on display are not just for display - patrons can ride around the vicinity in them (or purchase, I believe?).

Overall, it was a fun-loving and relaxing place for hanging out at or simply kicking one's heels back. It was a weekend, and there were a lot of young people as well as families and businessmen types all having fun here laughing, drinking and eating; it was a casual but happy environment . I will definitely be back to try more of their desserts.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Dinner at Founder Bak Kut Teh @ New Orchid Hotel, Balestier (发起人肉骨茶餐馆)

347 Balestier Road #01-347 New Orchid Hotel, Singapore 329777
Tel: 6352 6192

I seldom write about bak kut teh, a seemingly common everyday, homely dish.  And I have been to Founder Bak Kut Teh Restaurant so many times! But anyway, since it is one of my favorite bak kut teh restaurants - after the closure of Leong Kee (Klang) Bak Kut Teh at Beach Road, I decided to write about this as a recommendation.

If you wonder why there is a long line at the steps of this restaurant daily and nightly, and if you wonder why so many photographs of celebrities grace the wall of this simple little eatery, well then I suggest you give it a try.

Anyway, the Beau and I waited for about ten minutes, got a table inside, and placed our orders. The drinks of Aloe Vera drink (SGD$1.80) and Fresh Lime Juice (SGD$1.80) came first. The first was rather bland but the latter was refreshing and sour enough to tantalize.

Our Lettuce with Oyster Sauce (SGD$5.00) came first - a fresh dish of greens that acted as a balance for our meaty dish. I always will prefer my lettuce eaten raw in other circumstances.

Then my Braised Egg (SGD$1.00) was served - one of the flavorful must-haves for me in most meals where I could find them. This one did not dispapoint - in flavor but not presentation.

The Doughstick (you tiao) were served next - something that people love eating with Bak Kut Teh soup but I can never understand why. I prefer this with hot black coffee, plain white porridge or thick soy milk.

The Beau took the Founder Bak Kut Teh (SGD$8.00) that came with a bowl of white rice. The meat was tender enough, and the soup was piping hot and very tasteful with strong peppery overhaul - perfect for a rainy evening like the one we were enjoying.

I selected the Pig's Intestine's Soup (SGD$6.50) with no rice. Rest assured that it would also be served with the same delicious and distinctive white pepper stock soup - I rejected the first bowl because it was bloody literally (see the hints of red?)

They served me another bowl after a while, and I accepted this. The innards were all right - some chewy, some tender, some springy in texture, but all were good.

I had also eaten Bak Kut Teh here paired with vermicelli (SGD$2.00) or Salted Vegetables (SGD$3.00) or braised peanuts (SGD$3.00) - the usual ingredients that people eat bak kut teh with. Alternatively, give their Pig's Trotter (SGD$8.00) a try as well - tasty, tender  and sinfully good for a once-in-a-blue-moon indulgence.

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