Baking and cooking used to be my stress relievers back in school and the supermarket was my go-to place whenever I needed a break from things. Most girls do retail therapy, I do grocery shopping. But since work started to get busy, I lost sight of that love for actually making food in the kitchen. I got too caught up with chasing the latest cafe opening and trying the new it-dish of the moment, my oven got neglected.
Recently, in light of a few things that happened, I returned to the kitchen and the supermarket again. Boy, did it feel good and nostalgic. Making batter and dough from scratch and watching it rise in the oven as the timer counted down, all those feelings came back again.
One morning after driving my brother and mother to church, I dropped by the supermarket spontaneously and basked in the shelves and rows of ingredients, finding my inner peace from that one trip. I ended up leaving with way too many bags that I could carry and devoted the whole day after just slaving away in the kitchen over these Ricotta Hotcakes and Honey Almond Quinoa Granola. My sister walked into the kitchen and commented that I was like a pet animal- so domesticated. Perhaps she was right, but it was my happy place and I relished every moment of it.
That morning was probably the best I have had in the past 4 weeks. Maybe a few more of these would help me find myself again and the good place that I used to be in. Till then, I hope these hotcakes would cheer you up the way it did for me. Enjoy!
Bread people need to mark their calendars because there is a brand new bakery concept being launched on our little island on 29 April 15. A collaboration between Far East Flora Holdings (yes that wholesaler of plants and flowers) and famed Japanese bakery Signifiant Signifié, Crown Bakery & Cake opening in Crown Centre along Bukit Timah Road, is an artisanal bakery dedicated to the craft of sourdough. So if like me, you are a fan of this hard crust bread with its moist and stretchy crumb, and notes of pleasant sourness, this is one bakery you do not want to miss.
Offering up to 45 varieties of bread, viennoiseries and snacks from the bakery side of the house, and all-day-breakfast, salads, sandwiches and desserts at the cafe, Crown Bakery & Cafe is certainly pulling all stops with their first foray into our local bakery scene. The categories seem almost endless, with sourdoughs, baguettes, wholemeal, ciabattas, ekmeks, brioches, croissants amongst many others, listed on the menu.
Words by Yasmine Ng
Photography by GNineThree
Q: How do you know you have entered a Korean food establishment?
A: First thing you spot is an LCD screen showing Korean music videos on loop; so entertaining yet so distracting.
Chir Chir opened in February this year, to further fuel the already burgeoning Chimaek (치맥) craze. The signature Chir Cream Beer consists of draught beer and freshly whipped cream. I was slightly disappointed initially when I found out that they were using Carlsberg beer. But last I heard, they are still experimenting with different beers and sugar levels in the whipped cream to serve up the perfect pint!
So, if you have not already guessed, the inspiration for the Chir Cream Beer came from the widely popular Korean drama, Secret Garden. Recall the scene where actress Ha Ji Won takes a sip of her foamy coffee and the handsome lead, Hyun Bin, leans across to kiss away the foam moustache. [cue ladies swooning] Gentlemen, order a half pint for your ladies and you may use it as an excuse to re-create that romantic scene.
Dinner officially started with a Honey Grape Salad $18.90 featuring sweet, seedless grapes, an assortment of nuts and generous dollops of ricotta and whipped cream. Served on the side, baked triangle tortilla shards drizzled with honey and minced garlic. This was interesting but not outstanding though I really liked the crispy tortilla.
Next was a more tropical Mango Salad $11.90 with mixed greens, blueberries and yoghurt as a dressing. I liked that they offered salads, possibly to balance out the savoury-skewed menu.
Moving onto the Chicken flavours…
It is hard not to fall in love with this place once you step through the modest, unassuming white doors of May May restaurant along Tras Street. Beyond that inconspicuous entrance that most would almost simply just walk past, this 40 seater space inside boasts of marbled black and white table tops, wooden accents and a glass roof that allows natural light to flood the place so beautifully. Not forgetting too that floor-to-ceiling vertical garden plot anchored against the wall, making quite a statement by adding some pop of colour and touch of nature to an otherwise sleek and modern interior design.
Lunch here is all about Asian-inspired rice bowls with varying choices of protein, complimented by an onsen egg, oven roasted tomatoes, amongst other healthy toppings of veggies such as mushrooms and wasabi sprouts. Between the four of us, we had the Red Chilli Chicken $15, Beef Rendang $16, Braised Pork Belly $16, Butter Poached Cod $18 and Cold Somen $15. You can also choose to add $2 for a change of rice to quinoa.
Dinner on the other hand is a whole different menu featuring sharing plates- big and small, like Fried Cauliflower $14, Confit Potatoes $14, Chilean Sea Bass $32 and Lobster Rice Noodles $28.
Tea is from Tea Bone Zen Mind while the coffee beans are from Nylon Coffee Roasters. They actually do do decent latte art here as well. Cocktails and bottled craft beers are also available.
Monochrome Fusion Bistro is the newest entry to South Bridge Road and probably also the Chinatown area. As its name suggests, the main theme running though the interior decor, plates and yes even some of the dishes and cakes, is monochromatic- black and white. Simple, classy and timeless, the devil is in the details with the amount of thought put into designing this place with just two colours. The result? A contemporary blend of yin and yang that is somewhat appealing and inviting.
Food wise, we started with some sides of Monochrome B&W Chorizo Meatballs $9.80, Thai Sauce Coated Chicken Wings $9.80 and Smoked Truffle Fries $11. The former was an interesting mix of minced meat and bits of chorizo, coated with black and white sesame seeds- as in alignment with the monochromatic theme. By itself, the meatballs were a tad dry but a dip of mayo on the side easily eradicated the problem. The wings were savoury, juicy and enjoyable while the fries were sufficiently truffle-scented. But if I was being particularly picky, chef may have been a bit heavy-handed with the salt shaker in preparing all three dishes.