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

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Marutama Ramen (Best Tamago Egg) @ The Central

Marutama Ramen

Address: The Central, 8 Eu Tong Sen Street #03-90

Opening hours: 11.00 am to 10.00 pm daily

Introduction

I still remember the first time I visited this place, I am not exactly a fan of their chicken broth ramen. The noodle taste like Wanton Noodle texture and unlike most ramen, their ramen is moderately light and simple but unique in it’s own way. I only learnt to appreciate Marutama after having many other pork broth soup base ramen.

Click to see enlarged menu

I once went for a Ramen hunt in Singapore some time back that includes ramen like Ippuddo, Mentei, Santouka, Baikohken, Yoshimaru, Tampopo, Noodle Ken. I thought the taste of Marutama Ramen is refreshing and one of it’s own kind in Singapore. Marutama claimed that their soup has zero msg and every pot of soup is cooked over low fire for at last 24 hours to bring out the chicken broth’s natural sweetness.

Hakata Style Ramen

The so-call Wanton Mee texture ramen is actually a kind of ramen style which is known as the Hakata-styled Ramen. The taste of the noodle is very distinct. It’s firm in texture and ultra thin and straight. The noodle are boiled very quickly and served.

Nama Karashi Ramen (Spicy Chicken Soup) – $12.00++

I always order the spicy version as I prefer the soup to has a stronger taste instead of the original flavor. To be frank, the non spicy version is a little bland for my taste. Adding the fried garlic slices and sesame is strongly recommended to bring out the flavor of their soup. The ramen comes with two thin slices of Char Siu, seaweed and fresh spring onion.

I know they have never slice their egg and will serve a whole egg, but for the purpose a nicer photo for my blog post, i requested the person to slice the egg for me and he looked a little shocked. LOL.

Ajitsuke Tamago – $1.50++

At $1.50, the soft-boil egg is a must-order. In my opinion, even till date, their egg is arguably one of the best in Singapore. I don’t know how Marutama did it but apparently the flavor of the stock had infused into the egg white and yolk as well. I never fail to order their egg for every visit.

Char Siu Rice (Char Siu Gohan) – S5.00++

Additional noodle refill (Kadama) can be done by topping up of S$2.00 but do leave some soup for that. Else. if i am feeling a little hungry that day, i will order their Char Siu Rice. I thought this is also one of the better Char Siu Rice around and i love the braised Char Siu. The rice is so-so, but i love the taste and texture of the braised meat.

Conclusion

I have friends who feedback that Marutama’s soup is rather bland. Perhaps like myself initially, I’m too comparing this chicken-base soup with pork-base ramen soup in mind, which this two kind of soup bases are rather different altogether. It’s like saying a Bak Kut Teh (Pork Rib Soup) has more flavor than this Fishball soup so this Fishball soup is bad.

I think Marutama Ramen is likely a “either you love it or hate it” kind of ramen but i do learnt to appreciate this for it’s unique soup broth and a different style of noodle, and definitely loving the egg.

L’Atelier Tiramisu (The Tiramisu Workshop)

L’Atelier Tiramisu

Address: The Central, 6 Eu Tong Sen Street #B1-09

Operating hours: 1:00 pm – 9:30 pm

Introduction

Happen to chance upon this cafe at Clarke Quay The Central. The first thing that caught my attention was their signage that reads “L’Atelier Tiramisu” and the small seating capacity of the cafe. My first thought was “If a cafe can survive just by selling Tiramisu, it must be really good”.  That’s when i decided to try it out, and i am not disappointed. This is my second visit to L’Atelier Tiramisu.

The Tiramisu comes in four flavors – Classico, Lychee, Dark Cherry and Matcha, or you can try the Sampler Set at $15.00 to try out all four flavors.

Tiramisu – Classico

Among the flavors, the Classico is my favourite. Their Tiramisu is briefly divided into five layers, with the top layer as the cocoa powder, the cheese cream, the coffee soaked biscuit (or the sponge cake), another layer of cheese cream and the bottom layer of biscuit. The biscuit at the bottom layer taste a little sweeter and is not as wet as the top layer.

The most distinguish taste of this Tiramisu is it’s really moist biscuit center that is soaking wet with coffee and i can taste the sweet coffee aroma from every bite.

I also like the moderately sweetened Mascarpone cheese cream very much. The proportion of the cheese spread over the two layers are just good enough to complement the bitter taste of the coffee. A piece of Tiramisu cost me $6.80 which i thought that it’s well worth it.

Tiramisu – Dark Cherry

I tried the Matcha flavor in my first visit and i am having the Dark Cherry this time round. The layering of the cake is similar to the Classico just that they swap the coffee to cherry juice with some very fine fruit pulp, i think.

L’Atelier also added a thin layer of icing sugar on the top of the cake before ending off with the layer of cocoa powder. I personally prefer something a little bitter than a tinge of sour taste so my vote goes to the Classico.

Pandan Tiramisu *Update as of 01 October 2013*

L’atelier had launched a new flavor today – The Pandan flavor. This time, it does not comes in slices but in a cup. The price is $7.80, a dollar more than their normal range.

To be honest, this cake surprised me. As always, their Tiramisu is really moist, with added coconut rum, and they are rather generous with the mascarpone cheese. For this new creation, there is an additional layer of crispy chocolate center well hidden within this cake and i was surprised by this. I thought i tasted Milo powder, though the lady boss said that this is a layer of Chocolate Biscuit. L’atelier then  finished the cake with a layer of coconut flakes.

The two cake layers is infused with the sweet aroma of Pandan which goes really well with the mascarpone cheese. The layer of coconut flakes add an extra crunch to the overall texture. I thought the best way to eat this cake is to eat all the layers in one mouthful to savor the flavors and different texture all at once. If you are someone who like Pandan Kway or coconut, i think this will be a hit for you.

I was asking the lady boss why was Pandan selected among all the available flavors and her reply was that she hoped to come up with a very localised flavor. She elaborated that she took three months to perfect this recipe and i think she did a pretty good job.

Lychee Tiramisu *Update as of 01 October 2013*

I also finally tried their Lychee Tiramisu and completed the full set of flavors! After having the Pandan Tiramisu, the Lychee Tiramisu appears as slightly less impressive, thought it’s still rather good. There are some lychee meat and juice mixed into the cream layers between the sweetened sponge layers and finish with chocolate sprinkle and cinnamon powder. If you ask me my order of preference, it will be – Classico, Pandan, Lychee, Dark Cherry, Green Tea (sorry!).

Conclusion

I am quite sure that this second visit will not be my last visit to L’Atelier cus i have yet to try out the Lychee Flavor. The portion of L’Atelier’s Tiramisu Cake is just nice, not too big, and not too small, which makes it the ideal dessert after a meal. No matter how full i am, i think i should be able to squeeze out a little stomach space for a L’Atelier Tiramisu.