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Saturday, 25 June 2016

Lunch at Delicacy by Food and Wine Merchants @ Gemmill Lane

Photosource: http://www.fnwmerchants.com

10 Gemmill Lane, Singapore 069251
Tel: 9830 0908

Looking for a lunch place during lunch hour, somewhere exciting yet allows for conducive for business discussion, we stumbled upon Delicacy by Food and Wine Merchants, at Gemmill Lane. One of the many restaurants amongst the vibrant shophouse area, Delicacy brings a slice of Europe right to the fringe of CBD area.

With warm greetings and a cosy interior, this little bistro cafe is also ideal as a drinking spot during nighttime. Cuisine centers largely around Mediterranean and European fare, and there are some weekday lunch specials for the working crowd around here (SGD$12.00 for any 3 items from the salad, sandwich, soup or drinks categories).

Soup of the day was Pumpkin Soup (SGD$8.00) served with croutons to give the creamy concoction a crunchy touch. The soup was surprisingly tasty, sweet but not cloying, with the right amount of saltiness to tweak.

The Smoked Salmon Salad (SGD$13.00), with Honey Mustard and Shallots was a delicate portion with prettily rolled-up salmon slices, sitting on a bed of cucumber, cherry tomatoes and greens. Flavourful citrusy dressing gave the crisp greens a touch of zest.

The Spiced Pan-seared Tuna Fillet Salad (SGD$12.00) consisted of five square-cut slices of tender seared-tuna, and a bed of greens, cucumber and cherry tomatoes. I detected a heavy note of something piquant, like the lemongrass stalk I tried sometime ago... didn't like the particular veggie but the rest was fine; however tuna slices were not spicy nor aromatic with spice at all. Nonetheless, as s typical seared tuna, it was great.

Roast Chicken Breast Sandwich (SGD$8.00) on Baguette - yes for your sandwiches you can choose between croissant, baguette or sourdough as well as your choice of fillings (price would vary depending on what you choose) was a slight portion as well. The chicken was creamy and succulent, gently-flavoured.

Orange Juice (SGD$6.00) was served in a pretty tulip glass- fresh indeed, but serving was really small. I could probably down that in three gulps.

Matcha Latte (SGD$6.00) came with some sort of latte art, and was devoid was sugar - it was creamy but not sweet, so the aroma of green tea powder broke through marvelously.

Overall, this was a lovely dining place and ideal for those who seek smaller portions. Service was professional and polite right till we left, so I guess for that alone, I would definitely like to return for more meals.

Eyebrow Embroidery with Sharon @ Sengkang

Hidden in the depths of Sengkang is an eyebrow artist, Sharon Hu, whom I came to know of. She is a home-based eyebrow artist operating from a comfortable, cosy apartment, sometimes enlisting the help of her teenaged daughter when days get busy. With 17 years of experience in the field, it is undoubted that Sharon knows exactly what brow-shapes suit our facial features.

I was having lunch with a good friend *Mel, the other day, and noted her beautiful brows. She recommended Sharon to me, and mentioned that two other friends (one of whom is also a good friend of mine) also used this eyebrow therapist. That piqued my interest. Note that these ladies are all holding good careers and can well afford expensive eyebrow parlours such as Erabelle or Browtisan, etc.

My original not-so-good brow shape (which also requires drawing since I don't bother with retouching)

So I went to browse Sharon's Instagram account (you can view on your Instagram by searching @sharonbrowartist) and was amazed at the beauties who'd used her services before.

Still skeptical, since I have never really trusted home-based beautiful services  before (I mean, if they are that good, surely they could afford a shopfront?), I contacted her. She was friendly and personable, and fitted me into her very-full schedule. And she sent me her scheduling chart - she is so popular that appointments should preferably be fixed 3 months in advance.

My usual brow shape - the outdated fine arches

Her prices are very reasonable, SGD$480 for eyebrow embroidery (inclusive of one complimentary touchup within a month and anti-inflammatory gel) and SGD$280 for eyeliner embroidery. She also does eyelash perming etc, feel free to ask her.

After applying numbing cream, my brows were taped (for absorption?)

Still uncertain, I decided to turn up for my appointment.  As I have done eyebrow embroidery with other salons before, Sharon would need to "wash off" my existing embroidery for me using laser.  The cleaning off brows would be additional charges of course, you'll need to check with Sharon how much she would charge you for it.

So all in all I have visited her place thrice, and each time, there would be many other customers waiting.

Brows bleeding and congealing after laser-ing off original brow shape

I decided to place my faith in her. So the first two sessions were mainly to laser off my existing embroidery, spaced a month apart. It started with numbing cream, followed by the laser itself. The latter was kind of painful (in jolts) and there would be some flesh burnt coupled with bleeding. The recovery process was about a week, and I had to constantly apply the anti-inflammatory cream to affected areas.

Anti-inflammatory gel for the brows

Finally, about 2 and a half months later, I had my brows embroidered. Sharon was very, very precise and meticulous in designing my brows for me, drawing and re-drawing to ensure that every line was symmetrical and perfect. Then when I finally lay down on the daybed for the procedure, I was surprised I dozed off.  No joke,  I was expecting the usual pricking pain, or at least the sneezing-inducing stings, but none came - it was so painless, I woke only when she roused me up to check out my new brow shape.

Sharon  designing my brows for me

She has designed for me the now-trending, thicker Korean brows as opposed to my usual finer arches. It took me a little getting used to, but I like it, and have received compliments from friends and colleagues on the new brows.

Sharon has also sent detailed instructions on how to take care of the brows after embroidery, showing that she cares about her customers.

Thank you Sharon! I am definitely pleased at her service and artwork, and am considering eyeliner tattoo with her. For an appointment with the talented Sharon now, contact her at 8200 6891. She speaks Mandarin mostly but understands English and her daughter can help translate too.

For review on my eyebrow embroidery session with Prestige, click here.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Dinner at Diandin Leluk Thai Restaurant @ Golden Mile Complex

5001 Beach Road #01-67/ 68/ 69 Golden Mile Complex, Singapore 199588
Tel: 6293 5101

Diandin Leluk is an authentic Thai restaurant located in Golden Mile Complex since 1985, with its history of food peddling by lorries, selling lunches to Thai construction workers around construction sites in Singapore.  The same restaurant also started another concept, Tuk Tuk Thai Kitchen in the 1990s, another amazing award-winning concept.

The decor of the restaurant is casual and non-fussy, with lovely painted-on walls depicting the King of Thailand as well as the lush rice padi fields in Thailand. Service was professional but do not expect chatters or smiles. Menu is very extensive - under each category, there are many, many items to choose from, and pricing is very reasonable.

We started with beverages of Thai Iced Milk Tea (SGD$1.80) and Iced Lemongrass (SGD$1.80) - the former being a tad too sweet and the latter is an acquired taste, so have your pick.

We began the meal with Papaya Salad (SGD$6.00 small / SGD$10.00 medium / SGD$12.00 big) was colorful and a burst of flavours, made up of stripes of julienne green papaya, tomatoes, lettuce, peanuts in a pool of spicy, sour sauce. Crunchy texture against sharp zesty touch - this made for a very appetite-whetting appetiser.

Another veggie dish would be Sambal Kang Kong (SGD$10.00 small / SGD$15.00 medium / SGD$20.00 big) - aka water morning glory or water spinach - crisp and fresh, redolent of the aromatic sambal flavour that brought about a hint of spiciness.

Stir-fried Minced Pork with Basil Leaves and Chilli (SGD$10.00 small / SGD$15.00 medium / SGD$20.00 big) comprised of minced lean pork, savoury in taste infused with the spicy touch of chilli and aromatic flavour of basil leaves.

Next, Green Curry Chicken (SGD$12.00 small / SGD$18.00  medium / SGD$22.00 big) - a little too diluted for my liking, coconut milk obliterated green cirry flavour as well, so took the spicier element out. Chicken pieces were either little, or all made up of skin, disappointingly.

The Clear Tom Yum Soup (SGD$12.00 small / SGD$22.00 medium / SGD$32.00 big) was served in a hotpot that kept the soup warm throughout, and generously filled with squid, sliced white fish, prawns, mushrooms, tomaroes, onions, spring onions and ginger slices. While bursting with flavour - it tasted more like a spicy version of seafood soup rather than tom yum - I wish it were more spicy and tangy.

Following that, Tom Yum Seafood Fried Rice (SGD$6.00 small / SGD$12.00 medium / SGD$22.00 big / SGD$32.00 extra big) - the best dish of tonight, in my humble opinion - made up of tasty fried rice sapid of tom yum's distinctive spicy and sour flavour. The dish is also laden with squids, mushrooms and onions - I wish there were prawns and / or fish as well, since it is called a "seafood" fried rice.

Time for desserts - we started with Mixed Thai Chendol (SGD$3.00), made up of coconut milk, water, gula melaka, pandan jelly, sweet potato cubes and ice cubes - a sweet, milky dessert that was great for soothing spiced-up tongues.

Finally, Red Ruby (SGD$3.00) - crunchy water chestnuts in a sweet syrupy broth that was refreshing and fun to eat.

Overall, dining here was a pretty nice expereince and satiated our craving for Thai food.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Poem : Complicate

Why does something between two people
Have to implicate
Those who are out of the picture,
And to further complicate
Things, is the feeling of hate,
Slowly magnifying over time.

Copyright © 2016 thearcticstar

[Invited Tasting] World Oyster Festival 2016 @ Greenwood Fish Market & Bistro (Bukit Timah)

No. 34 Greenwood Avenue, Singapore 289236
Tel: 6467 4950 / 9185 1420

Last year was the first time I was invited for the World Oyster Festival held by Greenwood Fish Market & Bistro @ Bukit Timah area (review here).   Time has flown by, and another year has traversed, leading us forward to World Oyster Festival 2016, happening between 1st to 31st July 2016.

Photosource: http://www.blueduna.com/news/33-25-greenwood

Besides the outlets at Greenwood Avenue, the restaurant has also proudly opened another brand new outlet at 31 Ocean Way #01-04 / 05 Quayside Isle Sentosa Cove, Singapore 098375 - we didn't get to go there as our preferred tasting session was on a Monday evening and that outlet is closed on Mondays.

Also helmed by Chef Alan Lee, Greenwood Fish Market restaurants, as the name suggests, is primarily a fresh seafood haven offering a huge variety of fish and shellfish alike. Recently, they have also ventured into woodfire-smoked delicacies, such as Salmon, Pizza etc, which shall be detailed at the later part of this review. A more casual dining concept, Little Fish Shop, can also be found in Serangoon Nex, serving hearty seafood meals at affordable rates - review can be found here.

Here's a little lowdown on the World Oyster Festival - an annual month-long event with more than 20 types of oysters flown in from around the globe, with unique characteristics, cultivation methods, water conditions, all resulting in different flavours! The Tasting Platter is available at SGD$99.00++ with a total of 14 oysters (variety of 7 types of oysters).  Of course, you can also ask for ala carte per-piece order (minimum of 2 pieces per type) if you desire.  This year, Greenwood hosts its 4th Oyster Festival.

Toasted Brioche with butter made the rounds as we waited for tasting session to start. Service was excellent and crew was knowledgeable about their items, which aided the enjoyment of the meal in this spacious, tastefully-furnished Western seafood restaurant.

The Oysters were served to us on trays of ice or more interestingly, tray of applewood chips, and always with freshly-sliced lemon wedges. We tried around 15 types of Oysters in all, before moving on to the cooked food items.

New Zealand Pacific Rock - delicate oysters with light creamy texture, clean briny flavour with a sweet finish, and is perfect for starters in the Oyster realm.

Fine De Claire - delicate white flesh, briny flavour; salty taste resembling that of soy sauce, with a mild hazelnut finishing - I enjoyed the texture of this, but the general consensus of the group was that this was a tad too salty - probably more suitable for those who prefer heavier flavours.

I liked the Golden Mantle - plump flesh with a slightly mild mineral, sweet ivory meat with a deep cup and melon finish. In short, it tasted like the hint of rain and had a crunch - utterly delicious.

The Mary Points - massive flesh, soft textured, low salt level with musky flavour.

Next, a gigantic Barrow Points - massive flesh size, soft-textured, sweet, mildly salty and musky-flavoured - perfect for those those love fleshy shellfish.

Kumamotos is also another of my favorites - mild brininess, sweet flavour with honeydew finish, another favorite of beginning oyster eaters and connoisseurs.

Kusshi (SGD$5.00 each)  is not on the tasting list, can be ordered separately on a la carte basis. It is small but saccharine, pleasing the palates immensely.

Village Bay (SGD$5.00) is also not on the tasting list, and can be ordered separately. I enjoyed the crunchy texture and mildly sweet flavour of this oyster.

The Sentineles Speciale - meat rate between 12% to 15%, with semi saltiness in taste and a springy texture to its silky flesh.

Following that, my favoritest - Fine De Claire No. 3 Specials - crunchy texture, with good-sized nectarous flesh.

Ostra Regal - formed in Bannow Bay, with slightly iodine and mineral taste, leaving a strong algal and sweet flavour that lingered.

I also loved the Speciales Utah Beach - generously-fleshed, mild and sweet. There was a lightness to the texture of this oyster that was especially delightful to chew on.

St. Vaast Specials - famous for its nutty taste, with iodized notes and fleshy capacity.

Gillardeau No. 3 - juicy, sweet and salty with hazelnut aroma; the flesh is meaty, tender and crunchy all at once.

Finally, Brittany Specials - lovely with the aroma of the sea, smooth and meaty, tart tang of steel followed by a sweet aftertaste.

Greenwood Fish Market's signature Fish and Chips came next,  saccharine dory flesh with crumbly batter that emanated a lovely taste.

On the tasting plate was also Cold Smoked Salmon, heavily-infused with the smokey and heady aroma of applewood-flamed dish. The interior was very tender, soft and melted beautifully across the tongue.

Finally, another specialty from their wood fire oven - Pulled Pork Pizza (SGD$15.95 small / SGD$32.95 large) - smoked for 10 hours and then cooked for another 20, made with Turkish bread base, mozzarella, parmesan and tender pork in Sobayaki sauce. The result was a chewy pizza base with tender pork and a mild umami flavour.

Food items are of high quality here and freshness is evident; coupled with impressive service and a chillax ambience, Greenwood Fish Market is definitely the choice restaurant for a nice meal or two. Most importantly, don't miss out on the World Oyster Festival 2016 where you get to enjoy an eye-opening range of worldwide oysters - call 6467 4950 (Greenwood Avenue) or 6262 0450 (Sentosa Quayside Isle) now to book a table for yourself now!