Thursday, July 17, 2014

Restaurant Week, 2014 edition: J's

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The 3rd stop for Restaurant Week is J's, a Latin-American restaurant nestled along Purvis street. As I swing open the front door, I was greeted warmly by Joy, the Managing Director of the restaurant. Joy introduced herself, ushered us to our table before excusing herself to attend to another couple who arrived at the front door. 
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With a name like J's, the first thing that popped into my mind was J represents Joy, which is the name of the owner. Later, I realised that not only does J represents the culmination of the many years that Joy dreamt of owning her own restaurant which provides quality food & good service, J also signifies Joy's desire to create a space for her son, friends and community & the Upper Room (located on the 2nd floor) is available for such use.  
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As we sat at the table, I was half waiting for them to provide us with a menu. Well, I was in for a surprise when the scroll of paper placed in the empty glass was the menu.
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Wow ~ I wasn't expecting a personalised menu with my name printed on it :) What a lovely surprise! Leecher was disappointed that he was simply addressed as "Guest", haha! Well, I told Leecher that he can always have the honour of making RW's reservations next time, to get his name printed on it, tsk tsk. 
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Posing with our my very first personalised menu :) It seemed to me that the smaller establishments are making an effort to provide personalised service to differentiate themselves from the big players. I still recalled seeing a personal place-card when we visited Little Diner's last year during Restaurant Week. Sometimes, I think these little gestures go a long way in customers' memories.
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There were only 2 starter to choose from, so we ended up with one of each to try. 
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Popper & Meatball, which consisted of chipotle meatball and jalapeno popper with citrus couscous and mixed greens. Leecher (unwillingly) had mango and avocado salad, consisted of mixed greens with mango, avocado, walnuts, feta cheese, citrus couscous and citrus dressing. I have a special liking towards citrus couscous & I even finished the mixed greens on the platter. What an achievement, haha! 
Break time before the main courses arrived. Take a break, snap a picture, lol! 
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With 3 main courses to choose from, we decided forgo the vegetarian paella and instead, opted for beef & fish. 
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Leecher's order of Barramundi Filet, served with pan roasted fillet of wild caught barramundi with baby vegetables, mushy peas, potato laces and jus reduction. When the plate arrived, it was like a work of art! I had to take a couple of pictures to capture the essence of the plating while ignoring Leecher's dagger-like stares to start eating.
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As for me, I opted for the usual Sirloin Beef, consisted of grilled Australian grain fed 120 days beef sirloin with cabbage, leeks fricassee and saffron rice puree. Joy came over to the table once again and explained that the sirloin beef is one of their signature dishes (the other being Chicken "Adobo" which was not offered as part of RW's menu). As I sank my teeth into the beef, I was surprised to find that it was really juicy and tender!
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The mandatory "main-course" pic before we start dinner proper, heh!
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Moving onto desserts & once again, we tried the 2 options that were available. 
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Chocolate & Lemongrass ice creams. Needless to say, chocolate ice cream worked wonders for me, but somehow lemongrass ice cream tasted really weird. Even though it was refreshing, I couldn't bring myself to take another bite. On the contrary, Leecher loved it and before I knew it, he finished everything, lol! We also had churros layered with salted caramel bananas, fresh mangoes and coconut-infused mascarpone sabayon. I've always paired churros with chocolate sauce, so this new pairing was quite innovative even though I'm not a fan of bananas. Another of their mouth-watering desserts is "Bocas Negras", a flourless chocolate cake that I would to try for the next trip. 
 7 Purvis Street
 #01-01 Singapore 188586
Tel: 6887 4787 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Honeymoon: 15 things to do in Paris

Paris, also known as the City of Love, is a popular honeymoon destination. When it comes to romance, the french people knows it best since French is the language for love. The iconic Eiffel tower is also a symbol of love, as countless proposals took place within its ground. There is something whimsical about Paris, an irresistible charm that makes people yearn for more. Therefore, here is my personal take on how to enjoy Paris with your love :)  
1. The Eiffel Tower
A trip to Paris is never complete without visiting the Eiffel Tower, one of the most recognizable structures in the world. For those looking for a good workout, simply tour the tower on foot by climbing the 704 steps from the bottom to the 2nd floor. Otherwise, purchase the tickets for lifts in person at the ticketing booths or online from their official website.
2. Louvre Museum
Housing more than 35,000 works of arts including the famous Mona Lisa, Louvre Museum is worth a visit for those interested in arts & history. Pace your way through the different exhibits, ranging from Egyptian antiquities to paintings. While you are mesmerized by the painting of Mona Lisa, do be wary of pickpockets loitering around the area. 
Related posts: Louvre, the perfect symmetry I, II, III and IV
3. Dine at a Michelin Star Restaurant
With over 70 Michelin-starred restaurants, Paris is one of the most foodie-friendly capitals in the world. We headed to Lasserre, a 2-star Michelin restaurant for lunch and boy, it was the most enjoyable experience ever! 
 4.  Notre Dame Cathedral
Notre Dame Church always remind me of the movie, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Decorated with exquisite carvings of French Gothic influence, the cathedral is widely considered to be one of the most well-known church buildings in the world. Conquer the 380 steps up the cathedral towers and see the Emmanuel bell.  
 5. Hop on a River Cruise
Hop on a river cruise to enjoy the sights along River Seine. Fuss-free and easy, this saves you from walking the miles. Head to the upper deck and bask in the sunshine, feel the gentle breeze caressing your hair as you sail down the river.
6. Picnic at the Park
Pack some food, head to a nearby park and have an impromptu picnic.   
Related post: Picnic at Tuileries Garden
7. Watch Moulin Rouge
The famous red wind-mill of Paris, birthplace of the can-can dance. Catch a show at Moulin Rouge and be transported into a world of cabarets, can-can dance, elaborate costumes made of feathers, rhinestones and sequins. 
Related post: Moulin Rouge 
 8. Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles, which has been on UNESCO's World Heritage list for 30 years, is definitely worth a day trip out of Paris city. Spanning over 2,014 acres of land, the Chateau is divided into the Palace, the Garden, the Grand Trianon and Marie-Antoniette's Estate. My personal favourites are The Hall of Mirrors (located in the Palace) and the Garden. You can even rent a boat and row in the grand canal. 
9. Chill out at Laduree Tea house
Enjoy a quiet afternoon at Laduree Tea House, sipping tea over a table full of desserts. Desserts always taste sweeter when sharing it with the other half :) Pack a box of their signature macarons for takeaway! 
10. Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris
Designed by Paul Abadie, the Basilica is situated at the summit of Montmatre, which also happens to be the highest point in the city. The Basilica offers a spectacular panoramic view of the Paris skyline, which many visitors flocked to see. 
11. Shopping
Paris is the perfect shopping paradise, with home-grown brands like Chanel, Hermes and many more. Stroll down Champ Elysee, head into the store of your favourite brand and just hand over the credit card!
12. Street Performances
Being a capital of arts and culture, there are plenty of street performances in the city. Hunt for an empty slot at the steps in front of Basilica, grab a bottle of beer and some snacks from the street vendors and enjoy the show.
13. Drink lots of wine
When the price tag of wine is way cheaper than a glass of water, ordering wine is the best way to go!
14. Shop at their local supermart
Have a go at their ready-packed meals - they never tasted so good! Stock up on a few bottles of wine to drink at the comfort of your accommodation. Oh, grab a couple of their desserts to counter late night hunger pangs. 
Related post: Grocery Shopping
15. Stroll along River Seine
Take a slow walk down the river banks with your love, hand-in-hand and enjoy the wonderful sights of Paris. Head to the Eiffel Tower and snap a picture or two, or watch the sun setting in the horizon - this is the perfect way to end the day. 

Psst .... detailed posts will be linked once completed, stay tuned! 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Sunday Brunch: PS Cafe at Dempsey

 If I had to pick one cafe that I will head back, PS Cafe @ Dempsey will be on the top of my list. My first visit here was way back in 2009, where we had our Christmas team lunch together. Fast forward 5 years later, I'm still working with the same company but minus 2 other colleagues who left the company for other pastures. As I'm typing this, I recalled that the pri-school gang celebrated one of my birthdays here as well. So this marked the 3rd time I'm heading back to PS cafe, which is considered an achievement given that I rarely revisit cafes. 
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Heading towards Kaiwei & Yanni's house to pick them up for our double date, but the main agenda was to celebrate Yanni's birthday.
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PS Cafe offer both indoor and alfresco seating options. If not for the sweltering heat, I would gladly jumped at the option of sitting outside to enjoy the scenery. Thus, we joined in the queue and waited for approx 45 min before we got a table indoors. It's a pity that they don't take reservations for weekend brunch at this outlet :(
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Handwritten menus has a certain charm over me, especially when the handwriting is so neat & tidy! Their dessert counter is strategically located at the entrance of the cafe, aimed to attack the dessert bugs in all of us, lol! 
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 Gigantic slices of cakes are displayed on cake stands. With a wide variety of cakes on display, ranging from carrot cake to butterscotch cake, my personal favourite is their signature double chocolate blackout cake served with dark chocolate sauce. It was a pity that we were too full from our brunch that we didn't get to order desserts :( Well, there is always next time!
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We finally got a table and immediately placed our orders.
 Hot Chocolate for me, as usual.
Well, I can't really recall what the rest ordered for their drinks but it looked like Passionfruit French Fizzes and banana milkshake. Leecher had his daily brew of coffee which I concluded it wasn't worthy of a pic, haha.
Kaiwei & Yanni.
We literally over-killed ourselves by ordering 1 main each and 2 side dishes. OK, I admit I ordered 2 mains as I was so famished that I thought I could finish everything. Leecher gave a skeptical look when I ordered but I brushed him aside and insisted on ordering my items, haha. 
Instead of my usual eggs Benedict order, I opted for Blueberry & Banana Pancakes, which was blueberry pancakes topped with caramelised bananas served with fresh whipped butter and maple syrup. I'm definitely not a fan of bananas, so that got distributed out before I started eating. The pancakes were slightly fluffy and chewy, which was how I liked them to be. 
An item from their daily special menu - Eggs Benedict on crab meat patty, served with salad by the side. We spotted this item on their chalkboard menu and Yanni decided to head for this. It was certainly a good choice, for the crab meat patty was really good. The 2nd dish that I ordered, Homemade Toasted Muesli - greek yoghurt and berry compote topped with homemade almond and seed, honey-toasted museli. I wasn't expecting a gigantic bowl of museli, lol! Leecher was literally giving me the how-are-you-going-to-finish-your-orders-stare which I kind of avoided and felt like kicking myself in the ass, haha. 
No visit to PS Cafe is ever completed without a plate of their PS Truffle Shoestring Fries, tossed with truffle oil, grated parmesan and parsley. Best for sharing! 
PS Brunch Burger, served with wagyu beef and US chunk patty topped with gruyere cheese, wilted spinach, crispy smoked bacon, tomato, crispy onions, herby mayo and fried egg on a toasted sesame bun with PS fries and aioli. This is one huge serving of burger that even Kaiwei was struggling to finish. Leecher headed for Corned Beef Hash - homemade corned beef with crispy potato skins, grilled onions, chilli capsicum, cos and toast with a fried egg and homemade tomato relish. Leecher was pleased with his dish apparently for he didn't even leave some for me to try, boohoo! Well, I shall forgive him on that since I was struggling to finish my food, lol!
A trip to PS Cafe never fails my (food) expectation, for I'm sure we all added at least 1cm to our waistline after the meal, haha! A lovely place and quality brunch food options, I'm sure that we will be back again in the near future. 
PS Cafe at Dempsey
28B Harding Road
Singapore 249549
Tel/SMS: 9070 8782
Note: No reservations for weekend brunch
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