CreatureS, the hipster restaurant at Desker Road

Address: 120 Desker Road

Opening Hours: Tue-Thu 12.00 pm to 10.30 pm, Fri-Sat 12.00 pm to 11.30 pm, Sun 12.00 pm to 10.30 pm, Closed on Mon

Introduction

CreatureS, a restaurant that is just opened 8 July 2015, is a restaurant situated at the most hipster location ever imagined – Desker Road. Desker Road had a little history of being the notorious red light district, but don’t worry, it’s pretty clean and safe nowadays.

From the menu, CreatureS’ dishes appear to be mainly western, but most of them has a local Singapore twist. Their Durian Cake is very reputable on social media and dishes like the 5-Spice Roast Pork and Crabmeat Croissant seem pretty interesting to try too.

This restaurant appears to be rather small from the outside, but it’s another haven upon stepping into it. The dining ambiance is set in a spa-like environment with a well-thought greenery placement at every corner of the restaurant with a lingering fragrance of essential oil. Seems like much thoughts had been put in to engage all our five senses at CreatureS and the relaxing dining environment is something that instantly appeals to me.

CreatureS Menu – Click to enlarge

Crabmeat Croissant ($26.00++)

Among the main courses, this is my favourite – Crab Meat Croissant. It’s actually more of a Crabmeat salad with Croissant though.  The portion of shredded crab meat is served cold in a Japanese Salad Dressing, Sasame Oil and Mayonaise with Coriander bits.

They are rather generous on the portion of the crab meat, however it comes at a price tag of $26.00++. The Croissant is served warm and crisp, baked in melted cheese, and the dish is complete by topping the dish with an egg benedict. As someone that likes coriander, i especially like the hint of coriander fragrance in the mix.

Ah Ma Chicken Ah Gong Noodle ($22.00++)

This dish has a rather interesting name, which suggested the dish to have a simple but homely taste. The noodle has a soft bouncy texture and the flavour comes from the simple shallot oil. It’s not exactly exciting when eaten by itself. As for the fried chicken, the portion is big, however I feel that it doesn’t justify it’s price tag of $22.

It tasted like a typical Taiwan chicken cutlet, crispy, juicy and satisfying, but my friend find that the portion is a little too big and cloying for his liking. It may be better to reduce the size of the cutlet, increase the portion of the noodle, and reduce the price tag by a little.

Zhu Burger ($23.00++)

Zhu actually means pig in mandarin so to put it simply,  this is a pork burger. It comes with a thick minced pork patty, a side salad and a good portion of fries. The salad dressing is too salty for my liking, although i pretty much like the taste of it.

The interesting part is they added Chinese Pickled Vegetable into the burger  patty and it reminded me of the steamed pork patty that we had at the mixed vegetable rice stall, but with a more sophisticated taste. The pork patty is well cooked, moist, however it is not exceptional and doesn’t leave an impression.

Durian Cake ($12.00++)

Although CreatureS has only started their operation a couple of months back, some on the social media had already branded this as the best Durian Cake in Singapore.  To be able to enjoy this highly sort after cake, it’s best to email them to make a reservation (for the cake) before making a trip down.

I can’t decide if this is the best Durian Cake in Singapore but i thought this cake is pretty well done up. Fresh Durian Meat is stacked between layers of lightly sweetened pandan sponge cake topped with a layer of luscious vanilla cream. This cake is not exactly a cake that is packed with nothing but chunks of Durian and Durian but more of a cake that is more balanced in term of cake and Durian ratio so do manage the expectation (although it appears otherwise on photo). If only the cake can be a little more moist.

Conclusion

The price of the dishes here is a little higher than average with their main courses offering from $22.00 to $32.00 before tax. Among the main courses that I tried, my vote goes to the Crab Croissant while the other two doesn’t impress as much. Some names of the dishes are actually more interesting than it taste but the Durian cake does leave an impression. Will i be back? Yes probably, to try out their five-spice roast pork and their Orh Nee Cake, which is unavailable during my visit. *sad*

Actually, the one thing that I like the most is in fact the dining ambiance, without the usual hustle and bustle of a busy and cramped cafe.  I enjoyed the dining ambiance than the food experience itself. My five cents worth of opinion – CreatureS has very good potential and stood out among the existing cafes, but maybe they just need to work on and tweak the menu a little bit to make it even better.

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Tanuki Raw by Standing Sushi Bar and their Truffle Yakiniku Donburi

Tanuki Raw by Standing Sushi Bar and their Truffle Yakiniku Donburi

Address: 181 Orchard Road #02-03 Orchard Central

Opening hours: 11.30am to 10.30pm daily (Lunch set available from 11.30am to 3.00pm daily)

Introduction

Tanuki Raw, a sister restaurant of Standing Sushi Bar, is situated at level 2 of Orchard Central. It occupies a cosy corner just behind the escalator and this restaurant offers an indoor and outdoor seating. It’s actually an oyster bar that also offers a good selection of Japanese-inspired dishes such as Donburi and Sushi Roll. A price of their main course typically ranges from $16 – $20, however Tanuki Raw has a lunch menu which offers the exact item on their menu at a cheaper price. For instance, a Salmon Don that usually cost $18.00++ only cost $12.00++ during lunch.

Tanuki Raw Menu – Click to enlarge

Truffle Yakiniku Don ($14.80 during lunch and $18.00 during non lunch)

The Yakiniku Truffle Don is the signature rice bowl at Tanuki Raw that consist of Angus Short Rib slices, an onsen egg and a portion of seasoned rice drizzled with truffle soy sauce. This bowl scores a very high score in term of presentation and the taste is too able to match up to the expectation. The tender beef goes very well with the rice that is flavoured with Japanese mixed seasoning as well as the truffle oil. Needless to say, anything with an onsen egg with a soft boiled flowing egg yoke can’t really go wrong.

Yakitori Don ($12.00 during lunch and $16.00 during non lunch)

The Yakitori Don doesn’t sounds exactly exciting as it’s commonly found almost everywhere. However, this is actually one of the best that I had. The exterior of the chicken is surprisingly crispy whereas the inside is soft and tender. The rice is doused in a good serving of teriyaki sauce and goes very well with the crunchy vegetable. At $12.00++ (lunch menu) for it’s quality, i am quite pleased with this dish.

Salmon Don ($12.00 during lunch and $18.00 during non lunch)

The Salmon Don is also one of the popular choices here. It comes with three kinds of Salmon – sliced raw, cubes in mayonaise and seared. They are rather generous with the portion of salmon and the rice is flavoured as well. This is not a bad choice for Salmon lovers but I do prefer their Yakiniku Beef and Teriyaki Beef over this.

Chirashi Don ($17.80 during lunch and $20.00 during non lunch)

Chirashi Don is gaining popularity as people nowadays are no longer satisfied with just one kind of Salmon sashimi. The Chirashi don is served with six kinds of Sashimi, two kinds of Roe and a few slices of Tamago. At $17.80++, i wouldn’t say it’s cheap but with ingredients like Scallop, Sea Bream, Tuna, Salmon, Swordfish and Striped Jack, it’s quite a feast for the price that you are paying.

Superstar Roll ($11.00)

This seared salmon sushi roll is drizzled with savoury mentaiko sauce, topped with mozzarella cheese and tempura flakes. The overall texture is pretty good with a mix of creamy and crispy texture. The seared salmon, as expected, has a smoky fragrance and the melty salmon texture is always the best part of dish . If I compare this with Koh Grill’s Shiok Maki, it’s still a little pale in comparison but for the price of $11++, I think it’s pretty not bad.

Instagram This ($13,00)

Yakiniku Steak, Tamago, Bacon, Melted Cheese, Ketchup, Mayo and Chopped Onions all in one roll. Sounds sinfully good isn’t it? Upon taking my first bite, this sushi roll actually tasted like cheese burger. There’s nothing bad to taste like cheese burger actually just that if I like to have cheese burger, likely I will have it at other places. Also the appearance of the roll doesn’t justify the name of “instagram this”. Most of my friends think that it’s ugly. Sad case.

Conclusion
I actually visited Tanuki Raw a couple of times, all during lunch time, before writing about them. Their Donburi is value for money and most of the quality are way above average and my favourite is definitely the Truffle Yakiniku Donburi. I have to highlight that their Yakitori Don is also a worthy mention.

I need to highlight that probably due to the seasoning or sauce in the rice, i was quite thirsty after the meal and was gobbling down water. However, Tanuki Raw is definitely the place to visit if you are looking for a comfortable japanese eatery that offers quality Donburi at a reasonable price.

The famed Wooloomooloo Steak House and their Weekend Brunch

Wooloomooloo Steakhouse and their Weekend Brunch

Address: 2 Stamford Road Level 3 Swissotel The Stamford

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 12.00 pm to 2.30pm and 6.30pm to 10.00 pm, Sat-Sun 11.30am to 2.30pm and 6.30pm to 10.00pm

Introduction

Wooloomooloo is a Hong Kong based, Australian-inspired steakhouse that is situated at level 3 of Raffles City. It has enjoyed quite a good reputation in Singapore and some even branded them as one of the best steakhouses since they opened their door for business in Singapore in Year 2012.

I visited during lunch time on a Saturday (for my birthday meal =D) and they are offering this weekend brunch menu which i find the pricing quite reasonable. At $68++, the diner can enjoy a 5-course lunch that includes a breakfast item, soup/salad, appetizer, a main course with a side, and a dessert.

Weekend Brunch Menu: Click to Enlarge

You can see their ala-carte menu from here 

Their pricing for a steakhouse is considered as mid-range, but they have Wagyu beef on their menu that cost $298.00++.

Egg Benedict & Fried Hen’s Egg (Breakfast dish)

The egg benedict is pretty decent, with a beautifully poached egg that comes with slices of lightly-smoked salmon and with a slice of muffin toasted to crisp. I particularly like their creamy hollandaise sauce.

The Fried Hen’s Egg is actually sunny side up and there’s nothing fancy about it but it’s a bit different for the stack of tomatoes cubes, avocado and crispy potato sticks. It has different layers of texture when eat together, such as the creamy (avacado), cripsy (potatoes) and juicy (tomatoes) and has a balanced taste of sweet, salty and sour. A very interesting dish.

Lobster Bisque & Classic Caesar Salad (Soup and Salad)

At first mouthful, it’s a little salty but it gets better with every mouthful. This dish don’t exactly has a creamy texture but the soup is very rich, and comes with a piece of Lobster pincer. I like the soup for having a pleasant but not overly strong seafood sweetness.

The Classic Caesar Salad is pretty much standard, except the part where there’s sliced Gruyère cheese. This cheese manages to add savouriness without overpowering the entire salad. No complain for the crispy bacon too. Ok, maybe the bacon’s a little too salty.

Wild Mushroom Risotto & Jumbo Lump Crab Cake (Appetizer)

In fact, both appetizers are among my favourites of the day. The wild mushroom risotto is quite well-portioned and the texture is something that i like very much – with a soft exterior and a moderately firm center. There’s also a robust mushroom taste and the already strong-tasting blue Stilton cheese completes this dish.

They are rather generous with the amount of crab meat used in this Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, although it’s not exactly Jumbo in size. The crab meat taste very sweet and fresh, with a little crisp on the exterior.

Beef Wellington and Tasmanian Salmon Fillet (Wooloomooloo Classic)

For those that watched Gordon Ramsay ‘s Hell Kitchen, the dish beef wellington will not be unfamiliar to you. It is a steak, coated with Pâté (Foie Gras for this case) and minced mixture of mushroom and baked in a layer of pastry. Comparing to a typical steak, in has an additional punch of fragrance from the mushrooms and savoury taste from the Foie Gras.

And of course , the steak is quite well done alone. Just look at the succulent texture!  This is my first time trying a beef wellington and i like Wooloomooloo’s pretty much. However, it’s not that I am against anything,  but I swear that the Pastry layer is made of instant roti prata that we got from the supermarket.  Interesting.

For the Tasmanian Salmon Fillet, the salmon is prepared in a Western style while the sauce has a Chinese soy sauce base. i like how the skin of the Salmon is pan fried to crisp but with zero burnt taste and the soft succulent salmon steak goes pretty good with the oriental taste.

Wooloomooloo Cheesecake and Bread and Butter Pudding (Dessert)

Both desserts are quite to my delight and both of them are not overly sweet. The cheesecake is not exactly a cake but more of a cheese cream topped on a layer of cookie base and also comes with a scoop of Yogurt Sorbet. The cheese layer is very light and balanced, which is not overly heavy after a 4-course meal.

As for the butter pudding, it didn’t have the expected egg custard taste so initially i was a little taken aback. However, the cream base made up is able to complement the butter pudding pretty well and the scoop of vanilla ice-cream made me forget about the egg custard. The portion of the pudding is just right to complete the 5-course meal.

Conclusion

Out of all the dishes that i had, the only one complain is that the side dish, Sauteed Mushroom, is too salty and i didn’t exactly finish it. As for the rest, they are all pretty good for my liking considering the price of $80 nett for a five course meal. The portion of the course are also bigger than expected and it’s definitely filling if one of the courses is a pasta.

During my visit on a Saturday afternoon, the place is rather quiet, without the usual hustle and bustle of a crowded restaurant. It has a very inviting ambiance, with a spacious dining area with ample natural light coming in from the full-height glass window.

I very much enjoyed my meal here and i do recommend this place if you are finding a place to celebrate a special occasion with your loved ones (in the afternoon).

 

The Famous Tai Lei Loi Kei Pork Chop Bun from Macau at Serangoon Nex

Macau Tai Lei Loi Kei Pork Chop Bun (大利來記豬扒包)

Address: 23 Serangoon Central, NEX Shopping Mall, #B2-15

Opening hours: 10:30am – 10:30pm

Introduction

If you have never heard of Tai Lei Loi Kei, they originated from an island, Taipa, in Macau and they are very well known for their pork chop bun. They have a humble beginning when they  opened for business at Taipa in year 1960 and started by selling plain Piglet Bun. Back then, business was quite not very ideal, as the ferry is the only mode of transport from the main Macau island. In year 1970, business picked up during and after the construction of the bridge connecting the Taipa to Macau.

During this time, a local chef suggested to the lady boss then, to consider adding in a slice of pork chop into the bun and also imparted some knowledge on preparing pork chop using Portuguese-style cooking method. The lady boss also consulted various chefs on how to improve her recipe. This is the turning point of Tai Lei Loi Kei and many specially travelled from the main island to Taipa just for their pork chop bun. In Dec 2014, Tai Lei Loi Kei opened it’s first brand in Singapore at Serangoon Nex.

Tai Lei Loi Kei Menu – Click to enlarge

It’s situated at B2 of Serangoon Nex and they have adopted a fast food restaurant operating model. They serve a variety of main courses involving pork chop such as pork chop bun, noodle and rice.

Pork Chop Bun

Tai Lei Loi Kei is famous for its pork chop bun and is branded as their must-try dish. I ordered their bun ($6.90) with two add-ons at $1 each for a piece of luncheon meat and an egg. I also topped up $4.00 for a set meal that comes with an ice milk tea and a bowl of curry fish ball. All in all, the meal cost me $12.90.

The portion of the pork chop bun is quite well-sized. The pork chop is rather thick and is sandwiched between two pieces of well toasted crispy bun. I was actually quite surprise because  some reviews online mentioned that the bread is plain average but I thought the bun is pretty good.

The pork chop has an expectedly tender texture and with a light crisp on the outside. At first bite, it doesn’t taste fantastic but it gets better after each bite. The pork chop is moderately marinated and not overly salty so it’s quite enjoyable to the last bite, especially when it’s served with an add slice of luncheon meat. However, I thought the egg add-on didn’t do the pork chop bun much favour. If only they can change the sunny side up to the Chinese Pan-fried Scrambled Egg.

Curry Fish Ball

The curry fish ball actually taste quite different from those that i had in Hong Kong. The curry is definitely sweeter, although it’s not necessary bad. The texture is an in-between of Singapore’s bouncy fish ball and Hong Kong’s chewy version. Overall I think this is not fantastic, but not bad either and i manage to finish the fish ball with no difficulty.

Pork Chop Noodle

The pork chop taste exactly like the one in the pork chop bun so I am not going to write about it again. As for the noodle, it’s quite disappointing. I was expecting the noodle to be more flavourful but it’s quite bland, with only a tinge of fragrance of the spices found in the Chinese Braised Sauce. I didn’t manage to finish the noodle.

Conclusion

$6.90 for a pork chop bun (a pork chop and bun and nothing else) is not exactly affordable considering it’s a fast food dining environment. I could have a full meal in most fast food chains in Singapore. In term of taste, i think this pork chop bun is pretty not bad in term of Singapore standard and indeed it’s one of the better one around. You can pay a visit to Tai Lei Loi Kei If you don’t mind paying abit more for a branded and a rather satisfying pork chop bun.

If you compare this to the some that i had in Hong Kong, Tai Lei Loi Kei’s pork chop bun stood out for it’s size and satisfaction but loses out for it’s value for money and to a certain extend, taste. 

Lastly, I really think that Tai Lei Loi Kei should rethink about their branding because this english name is so difficult to remember (or even pronounce for non cantonese speaking people) and people probably end up calling this place the Macau Pork Chop Bun place at Nex.

Real Food and my favorite Dumpling Soup at Clarke Quay

Real Food and my favorite Dumpling Soup

Address: The Central 6 Eu Tong Sen St The Central #B1-52/53

Opening hours: Daily 9.00am to 9.00pm

Introduction

Real Food, one of the rare vegetarian cafes in Singapore. This cafe is situated at basement one of The Central Clarke Quay. One section of the cafe is for dining, and another section offers a good section of organic / health food. The cafe interior is very spacious, relaxing, with a minimalist design.

Real Food pride themselves as a food-ethical bunch of folks that only use fresh and “recognisable” ingredients (non processed food) for their dishes and everything is prepared from scratch, including their pancake mix and salad dressing. They have a good selection of menu including salad, pasta, noodle, sandwich, burger and brunch menu etc.

Real Food menu – click to enlarge

Dumpling Soup ($9.50)

This is my must-order whenever i visit Real Food. This fat chunky dumpling is made from over ten kinds of ingredients including chopped carrot, mushroom, coriander, turnip, spring onion, celery, tofu, french bean etc.

The filling has the crunchiness of the turnip and french bean, fragrance of spring onion and coriander, chewiness of mushroom and overall it’s a mix of pure goodness.

These dumplings are soaked in a sweet and light mushroom base broth and complete with a portion of green vegetable. In term of taste, these dumplings are not pale in comparison, or in fact better than many meat/prawn dumpling found outside. There is also option to add on noodle at an additional cost of $1.80.

Sour Dough Sandwich with Soft-boiled Egg ($9.80)

For those that don’t like their meal to feel too vegetarian-ny, this is one choice as it resembles the eggy brunch that we had, but a less sinful and less luxurious version. I particularly like the thick layer of melted cheese with it’s fragrance filling the air when it’s served fresh from the oven.

However I feel that the portion definitely can be bigger. I’m quite sure that it won’t fill a meal for a grown man and some of you may be thinking, “$9.80 for one egg, two slices of bread, cheese and salad? Seriously?”. Seems like real food don’t come cheap huh.

Organic Pizza ($16.00)

After having so many years of the unhealthy version of pizza, my curiosity got the better of me and I ordered their organic pizza. The portion is good and it’s freshly baked from the oven. There’s no processed food among the ingredients but only fresh ingredients like tomato, mushroom, pineapple, cucumber, olives, capsicum, cheese, and their homemade tomato paste.

The crust is thin and crispy and the homemade tomato sauce is pretty refreshing. However, I do not fancy this pizza much as i think it lacks the satisfaction that I’m looking for in a pizza. But I have to agree that this is one guilty free pizza.

Conclusion

I like this place for the ample space that they give to their diners. Take your time to grab a book from their book/magazine selection or browse through their organic food section and be amazed by their selection.

Food wise, i give it a good and bad, depending on what you order, and this is from the point of view of a meat lover. I personally love their dumpling soup the most and this is my one and only regular order whenever i visit this place. I am still trying out the other dishes to see what’s worth the money.

I really like the idea of them promising that they only whip up a meal using “real food” as it’s so unhealthy to eat out nowadays. If you are looking for something healthy, a little out of the ordinary and a nice place to chill, Real Food is probably the place for you. Healthy and clean food? Seems like it, but no promise it’s satisfying though

Tuk Tuk Cha, the Thai Milk Tea, Coffee and Golden Toast Specialist

Tuk Tuk Cha, the Thai Milk Tea, Coffee and Golden Toast Specialist

Address: 3 Temasek Boulevard #02-605A Suntec City Tower 3

Opening hours: 10.00 am to 9.00 pm daily

Introduction

Tuk Tuk Cha, a sister F&B business of Thai Boat Noodle at Bedok Point, specialises in Thai milk tea and toasts and they officially opened their door for business on 4 July 2015.

Tuk Tuk Cha is not exactly a sit-down cafe but more of a snack bar situated at Suntec City. Tuk Tuk Cha mainly offers Thai-style beverages like Thai Milk Tea, Thai Coffee and also Thai Green Milk Tea. They also offer savoury and sweet toast, together with Mango Sticky Rice, Papaya Salad. The Tuk Tuk converted dining table is their trademark that can not be missed.

Tuk Tuk Cha’ s Menu – click to enlarge

Golden Toast (Pandan Kaya Dip and Custard and Taro Kaya)

Their Pandan Kaya Golden Toast is definitely my favourite. The butter infused bread cube is quite remarkable, with the edges toasted to crisp while retaining a soft spongy center. Among the two flavours, i very much prefer the home-made pandan kaya over the Yam.

Unlike the pandan kaya, I felt that the Yam flavour is too mild and at first bite, it’s overpowered by the buttery bread. It’s quite a different story for the pandan.

Their pandan kaya is something different from our usual Kaya. It’s more creamy and has a very strong pandan flavour. This dip is not overly sweet and goes very well with the toasted bread cube. This dip is wiped completely clean by the time I finished the toast.

Sticky Rice Mango

At $6.00, it comes with a very reasonable serving of Mango. I have no complain for the Mango – thickly cut, juicy and sweet. I also like the pandan fragrance and a little savoury flavour from the glutinous rice. There’s quite some standard for such a food stand and the only complain is, the rice falls apart a little too easily.

Tom Yum Toast – Chicken Floss $2.50

This tom yum toast taste much better than it looks. It’s abit lacking in term of presentation but definitely not in taste. The sweet chicken floss is infused with a drench of spicy Tom Yum sauce, giving the toast of a mix of sour, spicy and sweet flavours. Note that the spicy level is higher than average, and that is what made it enjoyable.

Ice Thai Milk Coffee / Tea ($3.20 for a large size)

I prefer their Ice Coffee more than their tea. I like to highlight that like a true blue Thai Milk Tea / Coffee, Tuk Tuk Cha’s version is much sweeter than our Singapore version . I ordered a less sweet version during my subsequent visit.

I really like the strong coffee fragrance and the sugar level made this an instant energy booster. As for the tea, i feel it’s a little lacking in term of the richness in the milk taste.

Conclusion

I find that their concept is quite good, instead of doing as cafe style, they do in like a Ya Kun style and enables them to keep the price low. Among all, I like their golden toast the best. In Singapore, many similar bread toast is either too crispy or not cripsy enough but Tuk Tuk Cha’s is just to my liking.

Price wise, it’s very reasonable. $3.20 for a large ice milk coffee and $3.80 for their butter toast and despite the low price, the quality isn’t lacking either. This new addition in the mall gives me one more reason to be excited with the newly renovated Suntec City.