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Food Review: The Soup Spoon

The Soup Spoon is one of my favourite go-to places for hearty soups served with warm bread, which is the perfect comfort food for the soul. Of course, it helps that there’s a calorie count of each of the soups for the health-conscious and dieting folks. What I love the most about this place is that it introduces new soups as chef’s specials every 2 weeks, besides the regular soups on their menu.

I ordered the set meal, which consisted of any regular soup + half sandwich/wrap + ice lemon tea/apple/chips. It was definitely more than filling, but as I was starved at the moment, I over-ordered. In the end I only managed to finish half the sandwich and my soup. Priced at $12 for the entire set, I wouldn’t call this expensive – the price is almost comparable to fast food.

The soup I ordered was one of this week’s Chef’s Specials, known as Sumo Nabe Hotpot. Check out the yummy description!

** Chef Special ** Sumo Nabe Hotpot (Chicken/Gluten Free/Dairy Free/Egg Free) 213 Cal
Hotpot fit for a sumo wrestler! We have cooked this using soy milk, the first for me, and I was pleasantly surprised by the sweet, rounded delicate flavour of this soup. Soymilk is made from soybeans with high volumes of isoflavin, important in prevention of many cancers, heart disease and osteoporosis. This soup although packed with ingredients is actually very low calorie and is very healthy as it is cooked with lots of marinated chicken pieces, beancurd, Chinese cabbage, mushrooms and finished with soya milk and a little miso. Nutritious to the T.

It was really yummy, albeit slightly too salty, but as I had my sandwich, bread roll and ice lemon tea to go with, it tasted fine to me. I definitely noticed the presence of many enoki and shiitake mushrooms, but was disappointed by the absence of beancurd (my ultimate favourite) and it shockingly didn’t have much of a soy milk taste as I expected.

The Soup Spoon is located at the following areas:

Paragon Shopping Centre
Basement 1 Unit K4/K7
Sun – Thur: 8.30am to 10.00pm
Fri & Sat: 8.30am to 10.30pm
Tel No: 6738 3860

Raffles Xchange, Raffles Place MRT
Basement 1 Unit 62
(Alight at Raffles Place MRT station)
Mon – Fri: 10.30am to 9.00pm
Sat: 11.00am to 4.00pm
Sun & PH: Closed
Tel No: 6438 7305

Market Street Carpark
1st Floor Unit 04
(Diagonally opposite Lau Pa Sat, Robinson Road)
Mon – Fri: 11.00am to 09.00pm
Sat, Sun & PH: Closed
Tel No: 6438 3969

Bugis Junction
Basement 1 Unit 04/26
(Alight at Bugis MRT station)
Sun – Thur: 10.30am to 10.00pm
Fri & Sat: 10.30am to 10.30pm
Tel No: 6238 8601

Tanjong Pagar MRT
Basement 1 Unit 31
(Alight at Tanjong Pagar MRT station)
Mon – Fri: 10.30am to 9.00pm
Sat: 11.00am to 4.00pm
Sun & PH: Closed
Tel No: 6222 0272

Singapore Changi Airport
Terminal 2 Transit South
Open 24 Hours
Tel No: 6546 5886

Fusionopolis
Basement 2 Unit 10
(Situated within Jasons Market Place, One North)
Mon – Sun: 10.30am to 9.00pm
Tel No: 6466 6525

Chevron House
1st Floor Unit 37
(Situated next to Raffles Place MRT)
Mon – Fri: 10.30am to 8.30pm
Sat, Sun & PH: Closed
Tel No: 6557 0771

Raffles City Shopping Centre
Basement 1 Unit 61
(Alight at City Hall MRT Station)
Sun – Thu: 10.30am to 10.00pm
Fri & Sat: 10.30am -10.30pm
Tel No: 6334 3220

ION Orchard
Basement 3 Unit 18
Sun – Thur: 11.00am to 10.00pm
Fri & Sat: 11.00am to 10.30pm
Tel No: 6509 8765

VivoCity
2nd Floor Unit 43
Sun – Thur: 10.30am to 10.00pm
Fri & Sat: 10.30am to 10.30pm
Tel No: 6274 8751

Marina Bay Financial Centre
Basement 2 Unit 41/42/43
Mon – Fri: 10.30am to 9.00pm
Sat – Sun: 11.00am -9.00pm
Tel No: 6634 4250

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Eating my way through the Day

If it’s one thing I’ve never been able to do, it’s been a diet. With all the wondrous food available on our tiny island, it’s quite an impossible feat for one such as me who just loves to eat.

Ever since I came back from Hokkaido, I’ve been hankering for the smooth and silky beancurd we all know and love as tau huay. Though my favourite has always been Rocher Tau huay that’s near Prinsep Street (opposite the old Paradiz Centre, now known as Pomo), we decided to head somewhere closeby to quickly settle my cravings. Since I insisted on having it no matter what, we had it for a light lunch.

Seeing that it was a weekend, we decided against travelling all the way for Rocher Tau Huay and settled on somewhere closer to home. Selegie Tau Huay (Boon Keng Mrt) met our cravings perfectly, and we found it quite comparable to Rocher Tau Huay. Pictured above is my boyfriend’s bowl (cold + tau sar glutinous rice balls) and mine (hot + black sesame glutinous rice balls). I love that this combines my love for glutinous rice balls (ah balling) and tau huay!

The next day, we had dinner at Nex Mall, which is fast becoming my go-to place simply because it’s just a 10 minute walk from my place. This time, we chose to eat at Ichiban Boshi, our favourite place for sushi.

Behold! My horrendous eyebags! I quite liked the decor of the restaurant, unlike its other outlets at Ang Mo Kio Hub and Toa Payoh, I think this Ichiban Boshi was slightly more spacious and afforded more privacy. As usual, we ordered some pretty weird sushi (as Ichiban always comes up with these fascinatingly weird combinations that turn out yummy) and consumed our favourites as well.

As is our usual practice, my boyfriend ordered one of their sets (which is always value for money) and I ordered loads of sushi for us to share. Like Ippudo, Ichiban often has seasonal specials so we love going back regularly to check out what’s new. Compared to the other sushi places I’ve tried, Ichiban definitely ranks as one of the top for value for money bento sets + a menu that never fails to surprise :)

We decided to explore Nex further since we had some time before going off to meet some friends, and it was my first time up on the highest floor of Nex, the rooftop garden. It really looked very pretty at night and I thought that the little LED lights they used suited the place and made it very nice to look at, without being excessively glaring.

Undeniably, the children were well amused by the water-themed playground, as they frolicked in the water while giggling happily. Without their whining and screaming, children can truly be a joy to watch!

Unlike the water theme-playground at vivocity, where very gentle streams of water shoot up from the ground, the one at Nex is slightly more thrilling as it offloads a huge bucketful of water on whoever happens to be nearby. Be prepared to get wet if you walk too near the playground!

To our disappointment, the dog park was really v sad and relatively pathetic. It’s really more of a place for the kids to run about than for dogs to play, as advertised. That said, I like how they’re rejuvenating the traditional playground for kids nowadays. Kids sure are lucky! :)

Food Review: Ippudo Ramen

Have you heard of Ippudo Ramen? Located in the exclusive and atas Mandarin Gallery, the very first Ippudo Ramen in Japan brought the commoner’s food (ramen) to the middle and upper classes of Japan. This noodle dish first originated from China, and in Japan, a bowl of ramen (from any other shop) would be much cheaper than sushi, as Japanese rice is expensive and all households in Japan are strictly rationed to a certain amount of rice each month, depending on how many people in your household there are.

However, as befits the Japanese obsession with perfection, Ippudo Ramen prides itself on ramen cooked to perfection, in a tonkotsu soup that is extremely delicious, having been boiled for over 12 hours. It also has seasonal specials, and the one pictured above is my order, the Bonito Shoyu Tonkotsu Ramen. I generally prefer the tasty pork-flavoured tonkotsu soup to miso soup or shoyu (soya sauce) soup when it comes to my ramen.

My friend ordered her favourite, which she never fails to do so ever since she first discovered Ippudo in Japan itself. Unlike what we expect from overseas franchises, Ippudo Ramen prides itself on replicating the exact taste it created in Japan, and many of the staff, not just the cooks but also the service staff, are from Japan as well.

I can’t recall precisely what she ordered, but it was Ippudo’s speciality. The red mound is miso paste and it’s surrounded by a black garlic oil that flavours the ramen as you lift it up from the bowl. As ramen is traditionally thought to be best consumed when it’s piping hot, feel free to slurp up the noodles noisily (it’s believed to cool down the noodles while signifying your great enjoyment) instead of lingering over the meal – the Japanese believe ramen should be finished in less than 15 minutes. A “top up” of noodles is available at $2, so long as you have enough soup left in your bowl. There is no “top up” of soup, and they don’t give you too much noodles per serving so that they remain al dente.

For dessert we tried out their Yuzu Sherbet, which was probably the best sherbets I’ve had in a long time. Movenpick beware! I loved the taste of their yuzu oranges, and the sherbet brought it across delicately. It wasn’t too sweet either. I’d definitely order again! :)

For Authentic Tokyo-style Japanese Ramen, Ippudo is definitely the place to go. I’d warn the diet-conscious though, as the amount of pork fat swimming around in the ramen soup might be delicious for some, but repellent for others. Nevertheless, it’s definitely an experience and I’d go back again for that unforgettable taste!

Ippudo Ramen is located at Mandarin Gallery #04-02/03/04.

Its sister outlet Ippudo Tao is located at UE Square #01-55/56.

Hippopotamus and new hair!

The other day, I was hanging around Marina Square and spotted a new restaurant and it was none other than…

Hippopotamus Restaurant and Grill

And since I was having a massive steak craving, I decided to try this place out. Hippopotamus is actually a French steak place so they serve many different kinds of sauces and side dishes along with your meal and judging from the menu, prices are quite reasonable. There are different price points starting from $15.90 for a set lunch all the way to $39.90 (if I’m not mistaken) for a more atas meal complete with beverage, appetizer and dessert.

The restaurant was really welcoming. I like the bold reds used in it’s interior design and the napkins too. It makes the place feel more alive. And as with every French tradition, meals start with bread and butter.

Bread was warm and moist and they gave salted butter which is a surprise. Most places give unsalted butter but I’m not fussy so I wasn’t bothered. Then the motherload arrived…

Every main course comes with a choice of 3 sides and 1 sauce. My friend and I deliberately ordered different sides just so we could taste them all. Lol. I’ve personally never tried ratatouille before but this here tastes like pasta sauce with lots of veggies in it. Not bad, I would say, but not quite the sides the I would have chosen. Baked potato tasted like the Jack’s Place one where the potato is baked hard (unlike the fluffy ones of Aston’s) and the sour cream was just nice. Not too overpoweringly sour so I enjoyed that. Long beans were overcooked imo. I would have preferred it to be crunchy instead of flaccid, fries were crisp and nicely salted and potato gratin was alright. Nothing much to whoop about.

Ok, enough with getting sidelined. Let’s focus on the big picture. How was the steak? Well, I thought it was gorgeous. Mouthwateringly so. I’m usually quite a small eater but I finished everything off my plate. First off, they gave us a good cut of steak so it was well marbled, easy to cut and juicy (I eat mine medium rare and they got it just right). And I love the sauce that it’s paired with. Apparently it’s a white wine and butter concoction but I can’t taste the wine at all. Nevertheless, the buttery sauce matched the steak really well. My friend ordered a cheese sauce but it was too overpowering for my liking. I’m pretty sure they used blue cheese in that. But on a whole, I had a wonderful experience and I would definitely go back. Especially since the bill came to about $30 each inclusive of GST and what not. Which is quite reasonable I felt for the amount and quality of food provided. Sides aren’t too spectacular though, the main highlight is really the steak so please try if you are a meat-lover.

Hippopotamus Restaurant and Grill is located at 6 Raffles Boulevard #01-204/205 Marina Square. Tel: 63385352. Opening hours: 11am-10pm daily.

Also, I finally got my hair done! Ruth had some discount coupon for REDS where it’s $195 for cut, colour and highlight and since the coupon was going to expire at the end of the month and I wouldn’t have time to use it once school starts in a week (NOOOOO…..) I decided to just go for it and I must say, I’m quite pleased with the result.

Waiting in trepidation

End product

As you can see, I didn’t make any drastic changes because the stylist said that the previous stylist cut my hair too thin so she told me to grow it out a little. But what I liked, was how she made my hair look voluminous (because I don’t have thick hair) not just with blowdrying, but with the choice of color and highlights. Burgundy was chosen as my base colour and a copper red as my highlight (sorry you can’t see it here, it was a rainy day with little sunshine). But instead of doing streaks on the top part of my hair, which will look awful once my roots grow out, she did the highlights inside. So every time I swish my hair now, there’ll be that little flash of red. So exciting! lol.

I’m loving my new hair colour because it gives me that sense of mysteriousness and now I can use darker shades of lipsticks (I’m using a dark nudish brown here) and blushes to create a Fall look! 

Playing around with instagram. Love photos with that aged look

Umbrella: i-deco (Christmas present from Ruth)

Top: Zara

Culottes: catwalkclose

Open-toe sandals: Bata


Food Review: Men-ichi Ramen Restaurant

Since the bf was booking in to work late, we decided to meet up for lunch at Nex Mall @ Serangoon. I’d only had one bowl of soba during my entire trip in Hokkaido, so I wasn’t adverse to trying out this new Japanese ramen place in the Japanese Restaurant enclave located at Nex, on the same level that has Ding Tai Feng.

I generally liked the decor of the place, with the red tables and black furniture, but my boyfriend was pretty much freaked by the endless rows of fa cai mao lining the walls (he was the one sitting facing them haha). He commented that it was a pretty weird name for a restaurant, Men-ichi, as if they were saying Men are Good/Best (ichi)… I laughed and then looked at the Japanese characters – directly translated it actually means mian (noodle) best (ichi), so perhaps they should’ve named the restaurant Best Noodle or Best Ramen (though it might sound too similar to Best Denki). Or maybe their boss is a very patriarchal man who has fun with wordplay, I wouldn’t know!

Compared to other ramen shops I’ve been to, such as Ippudo and Ajisen, Men-ichi had quite a large variety of soups for you to choose from. There was tonkotsu, shoyu, miso, spicy and even tomato! As neither of us are ardent fans of tomatoes like Caroline is (that girl merrily consumes all our tomatoes on a regular basis when we eat out), we refrained from choosing that option. Instead, I went for tonkotsu char siew ramen, whilst the boyfriend went for a shoyu ramen set that included fried rice and gyoza.

(left) the menu showing what i picked, (right) the actual item

I thought it was pretty clever of them to use the same background for both the menu and the tables they had, it definitely contributed towards making their served items look more similar to the menu! The seaweed was the normal cheap seaweed you buy that comes in long packets (4 each), not the traditional Japanese seaweed. The tonkotsu soup was definitely very good, upon tasting it both the bf and I were definitely pleased. According to the Men-ichi website, they boil the tonkotsu soup over 14 hours, and it truly shows results! Very unlike the processed tasting soup some ramen places have. However, halfway through my meal I began to feel slightly unhealthy, as one can tell that they use a lot of lard in making the soup. The char siew and egg were perfectly done, though I’d note that the char siew was more fatty than I’ve had at other places, which some people prefer. Overall, extremely delicious and I would definitely order it again!

As he was starving, my bf opted for the set, which looked deceptively small, but was extremely filling. His bowl of ramen was slightly smaller than mine, and saltier, but less savoury as it was shoyu (soy sauce) flavour. Both of us loved the fried rice, which had eggs, some meat and a nice kick to it. I didn’t try the gyoza but he said it was pretty good so I’ll trust him on that! His ramen didn’t come with the aji tamago (watery egg / half boiled egg you see in my ramen) so he added it on for $1 (a full egg, not half).

In total we paid about $38 inclusive of GST. Ramen on its own costs anywhere from $12 upwards, and sets are more expensive.

Men-ichi in a nutshell:

  1. Food: Great! We loved it as it was very yummy and good quantity for our $$. We would definitely eat there again. 4.5/5
  2. Ambiance: It’s not too noisy, the seats are comfortable, the only detracting factor would be the endless rows of fa cai mao staring at you while you eat. 7/10
  3. Cost: Moderately expensive, but the food was good. 7/10
  4. Service: The staff were attentive, they were competently bilingual, polite and even asked whether the food was to our satisfaction. Simple things like that made us happy. 9/10

Food Review: The Garden Slug

Impressed by the great recommendations and salivating pictures by ladyironchef and sixpegs, I was set on giving The Garden Slug a visit. Even though I’d previously heard of this place, I was never really keen on visiting because well, the image inspired by the idea of a “garden slug” isn’t too appetizing. However, after perusing what these two bloggers had to say (ladyironchef named it one of his favourite restaurants), I was convinced that it was a place worth visiting! Since I pretty much had the entire day to prep and feel pretty, I curled my hair and went all pink XP

Top: Old Navy-$5, Braided Belt: F21-$12, Floral Skirt with Tulle: F21-$34

I know that it’s patterned with such bright insane florals, but I just love this F21 skirt. It makes me feel happy and bright and cheery whenever I wear it too! :)

Anticipating a huge crowd on a Friday evening, the boyfriend and I booked dinner reservations for two at 7.30pm. To our surprise, when we reached at 7.15pm (we’re early birds, the both of us… or well, just him) it was pretty empty. Apart from one couple sitting outside with their adorable jack russell terrier (they’re dog friendly!), the place was rather deserted.

Despite the sparse decorations (the bf and I thought that the Christmas Tree looked rather… desolate and sad), I quite liked the framed pictures hanging on the wall with typewritten quotes under them. It struck me as a very personal touch to the restaurant, which definitely added to its personality and homely feel.

The service was definitely attentive and even though we were seated at the back of the restaurant the staff frequently popped their heads to the back to check if we needed anything. Unfortunately, if you’re the type of customer who loves flashy menus with huge pictures (e.g. New York New York), The Garden Slug will disappoint as its menu had very few pictures and was heavily worded. No complaints though, as their worded descriptions were coherent and well put, so it didn’t take long for either of us to choose our main courses. I decided to go with the Bangers and Mash since it sounded small so I thought I’d have enough space left over for dessert. Who knew that the mountain of mashed potatoes was so huge! The bratwursts weren’t larger than your average ones, in fact I think I’ve barbecued larger ones, but they were succulent, juicy and not too salty – which some bratwursts tend to lead towards. The mashed potatoes were definitely an interesting experience, I’ve never seen a restaurant so “brave” in using potato skin in its mashed potato. Normally it’d be something people dislike, but I found the texture of the potato skin to be very pleasing in its pairing with the soft mashed potato. I also loved that you could tell that the mashed potato was mashed by hand instead of a blender, as there were chunky bits of potato inside. If I had to compare though, I’d still say that their mashed potato pales in comparison to Jack’s Place and Botak Jones – however, those mashed potatoes taste entirely different, so it’s not really a fair comparison. My only complaint was that the black pepper sauce was cold, so it spoiled my overall enjoyment of the dish.

The bf ordered the Golden Battered Hake – it sounded great on the menu, which described a lightly battered fish with handmade tartare sauce. The tartare sauce was definitely a clear winner for this dish, but the fish was quite a disappointment. It tasted very much like the fish from frozen fish fingers. Well at least we learned that this specific type of fish was called Hake? haha. That said, the salad was very good, my boyfriend finished it all, and considering that he’s very much the veggie-hater, I’d say this was an accomplishment. The fish was served with mashed potatoes (like mine, without the sauce).

Post-dinner, both of us were craving something else besides the large mountain of mash that still sat before both of us (their servings of mash = enormous) and since I had been eyeing the dessert from the “Today’s Specials” menu – a Nutella + Vanilla Gelato topped on a stack ‘o pancakes with pistachios and other great stuff I can’t remember, I turned my pleading eyes to my bf (my food dustbin) but he sternly said no and pointed me towards a smaller, but similar dessert instead, the Warm Bananas with Nutella + Vanilla Gelato topped with almonds and sea salt. Girlfriend eyes fail. Still, it looked totally yummy and close enough for me to be satisfied so I decided to go with his choice. Alpha Male win.

As someone who used to bring an entire bottle of nutella to lectures back in our JC days and eat it in order to stay awake, my bf is a firm fan of Nutella, and the fact that The Garden Slug gave us such generous dollops of it in our dessert was a definite “win”. Unlike my black pepper sauce, the food was pretty hot, which made the bananas gloriously soft and mushy and mmmm! So so delicious. The Vanilla Gelato wasn’t up to my standards, but I can’t say for sure because I’m pretty sure that the sweetness of its friends sitting around it affected my tastebuds. I did enjoy the crunchiness of the nuts with the entire dish, seeing that everything was soft (Nutella, ice cream, bananas), so it was a welcome change from the yummy gooey-ness of it all.

My verdict? The Garden Slug is a great chill-out place to hang out with your friends – it’s not too crowded, has very friendly staff and great service, plus it’s really comfort food. For the price (our bill came up to $39) it’s not bad, but I’ve also eaten cheaper and better… without the service and ambiance. So it really depends on what you’re looking for, and if you’re looking for a dog-friendly place to eat, this place is great as it’s surrounded by pet shops and a vet. Moreover, diners are free to bring along their (small) pets into the restaurant or sit with their larger pets at the outside tables.

The Garden Slug is located at 55 Lorong L Telok Kurau #01-59/60 Bright Centre. You may call 6346 0504 to book reservations.

Ding Tai Feng: Always something New

Of all the Chinese Restaurants in Singapore, Ding Tai Feng has got to be one of my top favourites. Its staples of la mien and xiao long bao are now classics that other restaurants have tried to replicate, but what I love and treasure most is its constant reinvention and re-interpretation of Chinese food, which always brings a surprise and a smile to my face. Today, since the queue at its outlet @ Nex was absent (a rare occurrence!) the bf and I tried out 2 of its hot new favourites, the Chilli Crab + Pork Pau and the Pork wrapped in Fried Beancurd.

The Xiao Long Pau didn’t disappoint – it was as yummy as I’ve tried in other outlets. The skin was thin, yet strong enough to hold in the soup plus it was steamed to perfection. The great difference between a Crystal Jade xiao long pau and a Ding Tai Feng one is that the former is far more saltier and tastier, whereas the latter has a more subtle taste. Personally I like both, but if you’re eating more than two pieces I’d suggest the one from Ding Tai Feng because it’s less salty and won’t make you feel as thirsty. Plus, the soup is definitely less oily.

The Chilli Crab + Pork Bun resembled quite closely, a Char Siew Pau – but its outer layers were less fluffy and thicker (hence, more filling). The amount of filling was moderate, and those looking for a fierce chilli kick will be disappointed by the mild taste of this bun. It was not filled with loads of chilli sauce as the bf and I expected, but I suppose that couldn’t be helped since the sauce did soak slightly into the bun, giving it a slightly soggy texture inside. However, the filling did contain more crab meat than either of us expected, you can see from my half-eaten bun above that the crabmeat and pork are blended together quite uniformly, and we both enjoyed eating it. It comes in sets of 3s for $3.80 per basket.

The Pork wrapped in Fried Beancurd was a joy to eat. It was wonderfully savoury, crunchy and came in convenient strips. I definitely recommend this as a side dish to be paired alongside la mien or rice, we found it slightly too salty after eating a few pieces. That said, it’s definitely a dish I would eat again. It was priced at $6.80 per plate.

Unlike some of its other outlets, Ding Tai Feng @ Nex is definitely more spacious, with very comfortable seats. Normally I eat at its outlet at Wisma, where there’s hardly ever enough arm/chair space. Here however, they’re extremely spacious but almost always packed unless you go at non-peak hours like what the bf and I did today (11am). We actually tried more food but in our excitement ate too quickly so I didn’t get to take more photographs, haha.

Restaurant Review: Wild Fire

Recently, the bf and I have been noticing a new restaurant that has popped up along the stretch of shops leading towards Kovan Mall. We normally just pass by the place when he drives past, but this time we decided to stop and try out the Japanese Western Grill, mostly because it sounded interesting and I love trying out new things :) Previously when we had passed by on weekends it seemed as packed as the famous Thai place next to it (which I have yet to try, but according to the bf it’s very authentic Thai food), but when we dropped by on a weekday evening it was very quiet, with only 2 other patrons inside. That said, the staff were very enthusiastic in their sales and gave us this flyer as we neared the restaurant

As you can see, the prices are really quite reasonable for the food they provide, compared to other Western restaurants serving the same fare. Furthermore, it has zero service charge and there’s currently a 10% off promotion off the total bill. Whilst waiting, the bf and I were pleasantly surprised by the coin chocolates in the red little boot that was the Christmas decoration on our table. Each table had one of a different pattern, and I thought it was a cute, ingenious and nostalgic touch – particularly for those who remember coin chocolates to be a familiar reward during their primary school days.

The bf ordered the Pan Seared Fish, whilst I ordered the Salmon Ramen ($6.80). Admittedly, our servings of fish were a tad small, but were well cooked and came with various sides. Even though the Ramen had a deceiving picture of one chilli next to it, it was really very spicy, I would rate it 3 chillies at least. Then again, my tolerance of spicy food is not extremely high, but it is definitely spicier than Katong Laksa (but this comparison is not a very good one..)

My Ramen, as pictured above, came in a very large, generous bowl: I would put the quantity of ramen in the bowl at one and a half packets of maggi mee. Very filling! I finished about 60% of it and left the rest to the boyfriend :) The Ramen contained two types of seaweed (dry and wet), several slices of naruto and half an egg.

The boyfriend’s Pan Seared Fish came with a generous helping of mushrooms, which were yummy (though he didn’t eat them as he’s allergic so I consumed them happily!), baked beans, fries, onions and coleslaw. It was not bad, but Botak Jones as a better deal.

Despite its small size (I’d estimate a seating capability of just barely 40 people), it was tastefully decorated and we enjoyed the ambiance, the lighting wasn’t too dim either, and it was a place where you could really chill out and enjoy the company of friends. I liked the design concept of sleek, black furniture. You can also watch the chef through the translucent window at the back of the restaurant – which assures you that this isn’t one of those “microwave and serve” places. The only thing that we were slightly put off by was that since there were so few patrons in the restaurant, the enthusiastic staff made up for it by staring intensely at us throughout our meal. It’s not really something I can complain about, since it did guarantee us great service throughout (despite the lack of service charge). However, it’s also quite weird, to be stared at while you eat.

Last but not least, the most memorable item we ordered was the Root Beer Float ($2). Under the impression that it was A&W’s version, we were sorely unimpressed by what we received. Yam + Vanilla + very little Root Beer. The combination was… not what we expected, and slightly disappointing.

They did however, add some rainbow sprinkles and cornflakes to this weird concoction, which varied the texture. However, that didn’t excuse the fact that this was truly, pathetically small. Barely enough for 4 sips at most.

Wild Fire

Food: Relatively good, 5.5/10
Ambiance: 7/10
Cost:6.5/10
Service:8/10

Overall Rating: 7/10

Deepavali

Given that we hadn’t been meeting up often due to school work & whatnot, Deepavali was finally a chance for us to meet up. We decided to dinner at Mad For Garlic at Suntec City, which is one of our favourite restaurants to go for great food, a nice ambiance and great service.

Pardon the low quality pics – the interior of the restaurant was rather dark, which makes for a very cosy and romantic atmosphere… but not very good for photo taking.Our favourites of the night were definitely the Garlic Bread Tower (appetizer), Garlic Snowing Pizza, Garlic Butter Prawns, Seafood Salad and Garlic Steak. Unlike most restaurants, Edeline’s seafood salad was literally overflowing with seafood, whilst my boyfriend’s Garlic Butter Prawns had about 30 prawns (at my estimation). They were definitely generous with the ingredients, making it all the more worthwhile. With the citibank card promotion available, we also had the opportunity to try out their Signature ades (orangeade, yujaade, lemonade and another drink i can’t recall). They were very interesting and not as “fake” tasting as Fish & Co’s Passion & Kola Tonic.

artistic garlic drawing with cocoa powder that came with our tiramisu

Restaurant Rating:
Food: Yummylicious, but strictly for garlic lovers. Loads of garlic in every dish. bring a mint! Deliciousness of every dish is consistent, & since we’ve been there >3 times, standards have not changed 9/10
Service: Very attentive and courteous staff. We didn’t even need to ask for ice water. However, when the place got busier, service was understandably slower. 8.5/10
Ambiance: We love the interior decorations, extremely cosy and most tables are separated by partitions so noise from other tables is less jarring to the conversation. 9.5/10
Cost: We had appetizers, main courses + 1 extra main course to share, dessert (tiramisu) and drinks, about $20-30 per pax, which was quite reasonable for the huge amount of food we ate 9/10

Overall rating: 9/10

We then proceeded to walk on towards the ilightmarinabay exhibits near the Esplanade but because there were many people milling around and the weather wasn’t too friendly, we headed towards Max Brenner’s Chocolate Bar instead. What gluttons we are! Instead, we saw one of the interior exhibits of the Esplanade whilst walking to dessert.
To capture it all, I used my camera’s Stitch-assist function to create a panoramic shot but as one can tell, I wasn’t so good at putting the pieces together. It’s still interesting though how the artist put together so many contorted figures of mixed media together! We couldn’t decide whether they were captured in a moment of dance or pain or contortionist movement.

We especially loved the cups for the chocolate drinks – plus the way they were designed were just so apt with the word descriptions.

Kel declared he was still 60% full so I took a few bites from this double fudge chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream. I love strawberries! They go so well with chocolate. *yums*

Restaurant Rating

Food: yummylicious, though my boyfriend mentioned that our hazelnut milk chocolate drink tasted awfully similar to his protein shake, so he hated it. The dark chocolate drinks were more pleasing to the palate, but extremely rich & could not be drunk quickly. Awesome for a chocolate shock though. I wasn’t very pleased with the cake though, I thought it would be more chocolatey and awesome. 7/10
Service: It was alright, but they were also extremely busy that evening 7/10
Ambiance: We were lucky & got a seat in the far interior of the restaurant, where it was relatively quiet so we could comfortably speak and hear each other quite well. seats were cosy, table & utensils were very clean 8.5/10
Cost: Max Brenner’s definitely isn’t somewhere you go whenever you feel like it, (coz of the calorie count!) but it’s not too expensive either. Price range from $6+ to $40+ (for sharing). Rather pricey compared to say, chocolate milk tea, but the chocolate content is much more, though I wouldn’t say that their milk chocolate is that much better than cadbury, or that their dark chocolate triumphs the quality of Lindt. 6.5/10

Overall Rating: 7/10

In the Deepavali festive spirit, we were quite startled and amused to see a boy running around in his batman costume

Clearly he wasn’t over the Halloween spirit yet! He was running back and forth so I couldn’t get a clear shot of him – plus my hands were shaky because I was laughing at his antics of clinging to walls and swinging around pillars. & if my ears were not fooled, he was humming the Batman theme song to himself whilst engaging in his “stunts”. It only took him about 5 minutes to get an eager audience watching.

& though it didn’t exactly match my outfit, I decided to paint my nails to suit the festive spirit of the night!

Simply because I was in a hurry, I neglected to use a bottom coat and regretted it about a week later, because my nails had turned orange :S Since I’ve never used Sally Hansen without a base coat, I never realised that this would be the result. So now I’m letting my nails rest & recover their original colour. The glitter polishes are of a transparent base with medium sized glitter flecks. I got them for RM1 each when I went to Genting Highlands earlier this year. 2 coats of Gold and 1 coat of Silver glitter was used in my nail look above, because Deepavali privileges a more gold look, but I decided to soften it with Silver as well.

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