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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Brunches Cafe, The Prettiest Cafe in Singapore

Brunches Cafe, The Prettiest Cafe in Singapore?

Address: 96 Rangoon Road

Opening hours: Weekday 10.30am to 9.00pm, Sat & Sun 9.30am to 9.00pm, Closed on Tuesday

Introduction

In Singapore, we have many cafes that can be described as old-school, rustic, industrial look, but none can pull off the theme “Vintage” as good as Brunches Cafe. It is actually a furniture store cum cafe located near the Farrer Park area. This cafe, which started their operation only in Feb 2015, is extensively decorated with old school / vintage items at all corners of the cafe. If you set your eye on any pieces in the cafe, including the dining furniture and lighting, it is almost certain that you can bring it home at a price.

Brunches Cafe Menu – Click to enlarge

The Exterior

The exterior of the cafe is framed in a black metal window frame, employed from ceiling to floor and corner to corner. These frames, that were deployed in some great factories and warehouses in the 19th century, imparted an industrial aesthetic and also offers a glimpse of what to expect upon stepping into it.

The Interior

The ambiance of the cafe is set in an old factory workshop with each and every corner of the cafe decorated with vintage furnitures and a combination of old school artifacts and an actual antique collection. The lighting are mounted on black wooden beam which is contrasted by the striking orange pipes and metal cable casing against the white-wash ceiling.

The most eye catching, as well as probably the most sort after seat of the cafe is the mini-cooper converted dining table. The car body is cut into two halves and cushioned seats are padded on both sides of the body and complete by a matching table slipped between the seats.

On the left wall of the cafe, modern vintage art pieces are presented over the once-popular Metal Grilled Sliding Gate that was widely used by provision shops in the early 1980s.

My favourite among all the lighting structures in the cafe – the Birdhouse Light Fixture. It hangs over a 10-seater color-stained reclaimed wood top table and it’s a creation by one of Brunches Cafe’s bosses. In my opinion, apart from the mini-cooper seats, this is another one of the vitalities of the cafe which brought it to life.

On the other side of the cafe, it lies a glass-top table made from an old Bullock Cart Wheel and also the once popular item for all grandmothers – the Singer Treadle Sewing Machine, which is ran by a manual foot pedal which connects to the sewing mechanism with a leather belt. The NEC black and white standalone TV is another interesting item in the cafe. Not to mention black and white TV, i’m sure some of us have never seen a non-remote TV before.

On the far right hand corner, there is a good collection of antique players like the Phonograph, Gramophone and the Turntable Record Player and other more familiar items like the Rotary Dial Phone and Vintage Radio, that are all in good working condition.

Their Food

I was like really full after having my meal at a nearby cafe, Jewel Cafe, so I only ordered their dessert and a drink. The waffle is reasonably priced at $12.50 that includes cubes of brownies, a whole banana and a scoop of Chocolate Ice Cream. I like the texture of the waffle, which is crisp and fluffy. However, I feel that it is lacking in taste in term of fragrance from egg and butter.

i have no complain for their caffe latte, which comes with a cute latte art and accompanied by this exquisite tea spoon. Also do try out the pastries in the cafe as they were personally baked and prepared by the lady boss.

Conclusion

From Brunches Cafe’s menu, it seems like they have a good food selections except for their dessert range. Do share with us if there’s any food recommendation. I can’t review much on their food but I’m pawned by the interior design. I have been to many fascinating theme cafe at overseas before and i’m proud to now have Brunches Cafe in Singapore.

No matter which part of the cafe you are seated at, i would say there is none with a boring view. Since i like the dining ambiance so much, I’m gonna be a little bias here and recommend this cafe to my readers and please be my white mice for review of their food. And lastly, pre-wedding photo shoot at this cafe anyone?

Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar

Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar

Address: 150 Tyrwhitt Road Singapore 207563

Opening hours: Tue to Fri: 9.00am – 7:00pm, Sat & Sun: 9.00am – 10.00pm, Mon Closed

Introduction

Chye Seng Huat Hardware Store, or simply CSHH, is currently one of the most hip cafes in Singapore that is very well known for their coffee. It is one of the three cafes owned by the Papa Palheta. Papa Palheta is a independent coffee boutique that specialise in roasting specialty coffee in Singapore and Malaysia. They also conduct Barista training course and coffee appreciation classes.

CSHH – The Interior

From the outside, CSHH looks like an old hardware store, but it’s totally another haven on the inside. It is divided into a few areas – the indoor and outdoor dining area, the roastery, the coffee tasting room and a small area that sells their own merchandise like their blend of coffee beans and equipments for hand-brewed coffee.

CHSS, Chye Seng Huat Coffee

The Outdoor Dining Area

Apart from the food, their drinks are mostly self-service. There is no restaurant treatment here as you need to look for your own seat and place your order and make payment at their counter.

CHSS, Chye Seng Huat Coffee

The Roastery

Large group seating is difficult to get in this crowded cafe as there is only one big table at the indoor area. Visit this cafe in smaller groups if you can.

CHSS, Chye Seng Huat Coffee

The Merchandise Area

Updated Menu as of Oct 2014. Click to enlarge.

Old Menu: Click to Enlarge

Caffe Latte 

CSHH serves their Caffè Latte in regular and small size that cost $4.00 and $5.50. The Barista at CSHH effortlessly pulled a latte art and it’s served to you right away. I thought their caffe latte is nice but dont really differs a lot from the rest. The more interesting coffee are in fact the hand pressed coffee with a different range of coffee beans to choose from.

Hand-Pressed Coffee

If you are sitting near to the counter, you can see their Barista in action and i was quite entertained by seeing how their Barista prepares a seemingly simple coffee that involves numerous sophisticated steps.

I can’t say which brew is better as coffee taste is very subjective. We ordered their Bright and Bold which one is more acidic while the other is fuller bodied but i love the deep, rich aroma roast of both cups.  It’s rather interesting to be able to try out different kinds of coffee beans rather than a typical espresso bean.

There are also a variety of muffins available for food pairing at their counter if you are not in the mood for their main course. I give my vote to this buttery sweet Chocolate Almond muffin.

The Huat Breakfast ($17.00)

At a net price of $17, it’s rather decent. Although the taste does not differ much from a typical “big breakfast” platter, and as a meat lover, i am quite pleased for the inclusion of a whole sausage. The baked potato is also a healthier choice compared to hash brown.

Scrambled Egg is smooth and runny but I wish that it can be more flavourful though. The portion is also quite decent for this price. Overall an “OK” dish.

Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich S$13.00

Among the three main courses, i like this Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich the most. The bread is well toasted, the steak slices is well flavored that is topped with melted cheese and served fresh from the oven. And how bad can a serving of nachos be? Ordering this should be a decent and safe option.

Cod Fillet S$19.00

Their cod fish is rather disappointing. The portion is small. Appearance wise is not appealing and the cod fish is rather dry and tough and doesn’t come cheap. I’m sorry but this is a big thumbs down.

Can a piece of Cod Fish looks any sadder?

Conclusion

I thought sitting indoor is a much better experience as you chill out and just sit around, watching how the Barista enthusiastically prepares every cup of beverage so as to appreciate the effort behind a cup of hand crafted coffee.

As for their food, i am not particularly impress and CSHH’s food is probably not my first choice at the area. While i love the Aero-Pressed Coffee more than their Caffe Latte, their food didn’t exactly score well here. It’s a pity that the food does not excite me as much as their beverages.

Therefore my conclusion is Chye Seng Huat Coffee Bar is a great place to chill out and to grab a cup of coffee after a meal, and maybe plus a cup cake, provided that the crowd is not crazy.

Swee Choon Dim Sum Restaurant 瑞春点心 @ Jalan Besar

Swee Choon Dim Sum Restaurant @ Jalan Besar

Address: 183/185/187/189/191 Jalan Besar

Operating hours:  Mon to Sun 6.00 pm – 6.00 am, close on Tue

Introduction

This place was introduced by a friend a couple of years ago which is one of her favorite supper place. Since then, Swee Choon Dim Sum will always be on my mind if i am looking for a decent Dim Sum in this area.

Apart from offering more than one hundred food and drink items on their menu, Swee Choon’s Dim Sum price is also very reasonable. Typically there is some waiting time needed during dinner time, but i thought the queue was moving quite fast.

Here is the full menu with indicated price:

Click on photo to enlarge

Signature Mee Sua Kueh (x 02 pcs) – S$2.00

Swee Choon’s Mee Sua Kueh is on my must-order list and will order it whenever i visit this place. Instead of normal pan-fried carrot cake, this Kueh was made with Mee Sua (salted chinese noodles) and the surface is pan-fried till crispy. The Mee Sua is not just plain Mee Sua but was flavored and fried with meat pieces in it. Definitely their signature dish!

Steamed Salted Egg Yolk Custard Bun ( x 03 pcs) – S$3.60

This is also my must-order dish from Swee Choon! At S$3.60, the price is rather reasonable for three pieces of Custard Buns. Their molten custard is not ridiculously sweet and the salted egg yolk taste is just right, not too overpowering.

These buns were always served piping hot and be sure not to scald yourself! Some of my friends said “You have never been to Swee Choon until you try their Custard Bun”.

Layer Pancake with Egg and Meat Floss ( one plate) – S$3.50

This is also one of my favorites – A thin layer of pancake wrapped around a layer of egg, crunchy cucumber and crispy pork floss. I thought this is like a poor man’s version of Peking Duck.

Siew Mai ( x 02 pcs) – S$1.80

Their Siew Mai is the coffee-shop old school style Siew Mai (Pork Dumpling) with a bit of minced prawn meat and not those typical Dim Sum Siew Mai that has chunks of prawn meat in it. This Siew Mai, and their Har Kow (Prawn Dumpling) can be found on almost every table in Swee Choon. I cast one vote for this old school style pork Siew Mai over those filled with prawn. If i really want to have prawn, i will just order the Har Kow instead.

Red Bean Paste Pan Cake – S$4.80 | Fan Choy (BBQ Pork Rice) – S$2.50 | Mai Kai (Glutinous Chicken Rice) – S$2.50

Red Bean Paste Pan Cake is slightly pricey at S$4.80. But i rather enjoyed the freshly made, hot and crispy pancake.

Fan Choy’s BBQ Pork is lean and flavorful. Those who love fatty Char Siew may find this dish lack of the fragrance of the oily pork. But this Fan Choy is almost one of the better ones around.

As for their Law Mai Gai, I thought the taste is a little lacking and the chicken is a little dry and i think there is a tinge of rose essence which i don’t really fancy.

Fried Chicken Wing – S$1.50 | Xiao Long Bao (4 pcs – $4.00) | Steamed Chicken with Egg – $2.50

Piping hot chicken wing can never go wrong. But to be frank, the taste of this chicken wing is nothing much to shout about. Not exactly a must-order.

Xiao Long Bao – Very worth it S$4.00 for 4 pieces. Even though the soup in the Xiao Long Bao is lesser than some other Dim Sum places, I like this Xiao Long Bao for it’s flavorful minced meat.

Steam Chicken with Egg is a rather interesting dish which i don’t really know how to appreciate. Hahaha. I think the idea is you get to taste the natural sweetness of the chicken wings with only very limited seasoning. Apparently Swee Choon put it as their “Chef Recommendation”.

Conclusion

In my opinion, Swee Choon Dim Sum is one of the more value-for-money Dim Sum in Singapore with air-con dining. The place is clean and service is reasonably good. For people who are not driving, Swee Choon is still within ten minutes walking distance from Farrer Park MRT.

The only thing to take note is they will only give you a table after all diners have arrived, else priority will be given to others. Swee Choon may not serve exactly the best Dim Sum items but most of their menu items are reasonably good. This makes Swee Choon one of my favourite Dim Sum places in Singapore.

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