Bukit Timah

brunch the cute way.

my dad loves eggs benedict. i dont know if its the runniness of the egg yolk or just the combination of the hollandaise sauce, yolk and english muffin but well, he always tries to get eggs benedict at brunch places. so yeah, i decided to bring him to hatched @ evans lodge to give him his fill of eggs benedict one weekend.

hatched is this cute cartoonish and cosy brunch establishment located near to the nus city campus confines near botanic gardens (guess it’s geared toward hip university students?). the interior is warmly lit, utilizing their egg-characters sketched on large blackboards on walls to create a fun, pleasant and very homely feel. service is pretty good – maybe a little tad too attentive when i was there (i wonder if that’s possible) – in a sense, the server kept returning to fill my water and the likes, interrupting my conversation with my dad. anyways, as per their namesake, hatched basically serves all sorts of egg dishes. let’s get to it.

burly benedict – half a muffin, topped with corned wagyu beef, poached egg and Mornay sauce, served with sauteed potatoes and caramelised onions – $12 for one (egg), $18 for two

yay for creativity! i guess my dad’s order might have disappointed him initially since he had been expecting the traditional eggs benedict, but well, i think he enjoyed it since i wasn’t allowed to even taste a morsel of it to judge. -_-. nvm next time. this being said, i like the fact that the food combination is creative, and that this place actually lists down the ingredients of the dish so you can kinda guess and anticipate a certain flavor profile. yay!

papillote – smoked salmon over scrambled eggs with chive cream on toast, with sauteed potatoes and tomato with pesto -$14

mm.. the MVP of this dish turned out to be the humble chive cream which brought together the flavors of the smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, creating a delicious and unique dish. the smoked salmon wasn’t too overly salty and hence did not overpower the other ingredients. yummy. i avoid the potatoes (carbs) for vanity reasons. lol. but wow, this place is nice!

overall, a kitschy, creative and food-loving place perfect for food lovers and early risers. do reserve your table during the weekends cos it might get crowded. but imo, this place is best enjoyed on a lazy weekday morning when you wake up late, saunter to botanic gardens for a walk before settling down in the cool, air-conditioned confines of hatched for a comfortable meal. yummy. oh! and this place has standard chartered 10% discount!  7.5/10

hatched | 26 evans road, #01-06 evans lodge, s259367 | contemporary, creative, brunch, comfort food


horsey french Saturday afternoon.

Picotin, tucked nicely away amidst the verdant surroundings of turf club/eng neo avenue, is a french-inspired (loosely horse-theme) bistro, bar and epicerie. and boy, its a pretty chill place with a great ambience imho. you can choose to sit indoors for a comparatively quieter, more chillax environment next to the pizza oven stove, or to sit outside and enjoy a more communal feel. (we choose indoors cos it was raining cats and dogs that day and outdoors wasn’t too appealing)

chill times.

anyways, design-wise, Picotin uses dark, masculine hues to match the horse theme (i suppose) and has a certain rustic elegant charm to it. this is complemented with a gratuitous use of large blackboards chalked with specials of the day that complement the decor well, as well as other simplistic touches such as bottles of empty wine bottles stacked on shelves near the ceiling. ambience wise, this place really transports you to another world far from singapore. let’s get to the food.

palourdes a la mariniere – steam clams, white wine, aromatic vegetables, fresh parsley, $15

one major gripe i have with some restaurants is their refusal to tell patrons what exactly went into the dish, aside from saying “grilled chicken” or the likes. its annoying because i would like to somewhat know and have a certain mental preparation of the flavors I can somewhat expect and well get a sense of anticipation happiness instead of a sense of anxiety. i like that picotin gives a general sense of what went into the dish, but hmm.. perhaps a little in depth description might be tad better? (like what sort of aromatic vegetables?) haha.. it also enhances the food profile imho. anyways, this dish was really delicious – subtle but yet tasty and the wine wasn’t any bit the overpowering and nicely balanced the flavors from the clams. the residual wine sauce made for a great pairing with bread (ahhh) until my friend simon reminded me how much butter/fats was in that sauce. -_-. killjoy. but yeah, great stuff. i was impressed. *a tiny gripe? some of our clams were closed shut. =(

steak de thon, salade nicoise – seared tuna with nicoise salad – $29

mind you, here’s where yet again i wish they told me that salade nicoise is a mixed salad with lettuce, tomato, half boiled tomatoes, green beans, half boiled eggs, topped with tuna and olives and garnished with anchovies. (sorry lah i’m noob, i don’t really go research what goes into what salad) anyways, i don’t like anchovies in general after a too-close encounter with too many anchovies in my pizza in italy, so i was kinda gingerly trying to avoid them. that being said, the flavors within the dish were sublime – the seared tuna was perfectly done (medium) and tasted great, and surprisingly went well with the vinagrette infused salad. i was also impressed that instead of just merely plopping down some plainly cut tomatoes and boiled eggs, these were substituted for more-thoughtful versions of sundried tomatoes and perfectly done soft-boiled eggs that reminded me of the japanese classic – onsen tamago (literally translates to water-bath egg). yummy, and well, acceptably priced I would say.

my friend ordered the beef bourguignon which seemed like a sentimental favorite at the restaurant. and upon a slight sampling, i was impressed – the beef was tender and melted in your mouth, with a strong yet not-overpowering flavor of the red wine. delicious. i’ll be back for that, and perhaps for the steak frittes as well. 8/10     

picotin |  100 Turf Club Road, Singapore 287992 | french, contemporary, wines

in a far flung, forgotten, horse strewn place in singapore.

so members of my cell decided to head down to riders cafe on a smotheringly hot sunday afternoon for an alfresco brunch. mind you, riders cafe isn’t what i would recommend on a smotheringly hot sunday afternoon if one does not own a car or isnt willing to fork out for a cab ride into 51 fairways drive, tucked deep in eng neo avenue. i guess the idea of citing of kitschy restaurant at relatively far flung places is also for customer self-selection since the clientele is mainly expats and 30+ year old fresh looking and preppy-attired singaporeans. oh yah, and us, whom upon ladyironchef‘s recommendations, headed to place after golf (not me, my friends). ahh.. the wonders of internet and social media.

[grabbed from the riders cafe blog]

the general design of the place exudes a typical colonial styled charm that aptly suits the serene surroundings — the interior similarly uses largely black and white as the design base to subtly complement the colonial architecture. i particularly liked the feel of the bar area, with large coffee cups hanging from hooks and with simple boards chalked with today’s specials. and despite the smotheringly hot afternoon surroundings, the interior was sufficiently cooled with black ceiling fans. though i might have appreciated aircon more.. and rest assured, despite the fact that horses do trot by, their smell doesn’t intrude into the establishment.

the riders cafe burger – beef patty with brie, bacon, beet relish, caramelized onion, served with a side of seasoned fries – $17

the usual (big breakfast) – sausage, basil sprinkled tomato, mushrooms, bacon and scrambled eggs on sourdough -$16

the savory mains – now the food is pretty good and yes, the portions are certainly generous but.. to me, there’s just something lacking that doesn’t elevate the dish (mine was the usual) to one that doesn’t look as though the chef merely dumped in grilled sausages, plated a grilled tomato and dumped simple eggs on top of a pre-bought sourdough. i dunno, maybe its just me being irritatingly atas, but the dishes lacked a certain nuance and distinct flavor profile and creativity that vaunts it past other similar brunch establishments. and well, i think amanda (my housemate in Cornell) makes better butter mushrooms.

its like how there isn’t much thought gone into thinking of how to pair the various foods on the plate or some playful creativity in mixing and matching unique ingredients and herbs — something i got used to in brunch establishments overseas. all in all, decent, hearty food, but for the effort to come to this place, i kinda expected something better.

something sweet to share – broiche french toast with caramelized bananas, strawberries and bacon – $14

ahhh… i miss my french experience of the pan brioche =(. this dish similarly tastes good – there’s some interest in flavor in pairing bacon with all the sweet components of the bananas, strawberries and french toast but to me, it didn’t really conjure up any magic. the french toast was good stuff but i think caramelizing the bananas kinda made the dish a little jelak. and no.. none of these dishes satisfies the “feels like i am eating healthy food” happiness criteria =(. (i even checked the bread for the usual to see if it was wholewheat or rye bread but was dismayed to see simple sourdough… lol actually i don’t really know my bread types.. someone needs to tell me whether sourdough is healthy)

so.. all in all, a decent, comfort-food styled contemporary brunch place that’s a little too far flung to justify a trip there unless you are nearby. 6/10

[back view of house at tiong bahru, shot during CNY]

something about this shot creates the nostalgic, semi-neglect mood that intrigues me. haha. (or maybe it’s just me) such scenes are fast becoming a thing of the past in singapore, and unsurprisingly, it is only during chinese new year where one reflects on his/her roots and familial ties that one somewhat takes stock of the past and wonders whether his/her future will be a mere retread of some ancestor’s footsteps.

im quickly realizing my blog is getting dominated by food posts, instead of having a balanced mix but honestly, it kinda reflects what Singaporeans in general prefer to do  and well, it really is much easier to write about. =) anyways, went to Peperoni Pizzeria @ Greenview today for lunch with old frens since the recommendations on hungrygowhere gave it a resounding 95% thumbs up based on 62 reviews. its kinda a bitch to get to since it is tucked away behind NJC but i guess the hassle provides for a quieter, more classy ambience.

[aglio olio pasta, $18.90?]

as per the recommendations, we grabbed the aglio olio pasta (erm kinda slightly overpriced imo). my first impressions went something like “hmm.. decent, but probably not fantastic for people to be decrying this as the second coming of.. i dunno.. french laundry or smth. but well, i think the pasta (which was already good) grew on me and just.. well was every bit the tasty and delicious and well.. i guess encapsulated the notion of hearty, wholesome delicious italian food, which is what i pretty much felt about the food here. it’s food that makes you go.. “mm pretty good..” initially, then upon the next few bites, makes you exclaim “actually, this is really pretty darn good”.

[large pizza, frutti di mare (seafood) & ham and mushrooms, $23]

the pizza elicited similar reactions, where the base flavoring and ingredients created a harmonious and delicious dish leaving us craving for more (crust and all). i had a certain issue with the ham & mushroom selection because there was an overpowering taste of mushrooms (which my other frens agreed), but the frutti di mare was a winner, with the base tasting like a delicious seafood/tomato concoction.

[pizza #2, pancetta & parma ham with rocket, $23]

i was skeptical about the parma ham/rocket combo but wow-whee.. the mixture of ham/rocket (the veggie) and cheese was yet another winning combination. i still haven’t figured out what pancetta is actually, besides the fact there is a sunny side up embedded within the pizza which doesn’t exactly make for easy sharing but was nice nevertheless.

[panna cotta dessert, $9]

for dessert, i went for the panna cotta, which was refreshing and light, but methinks the one served at chalk still is the best.

overall, if you want hearty, wholesome and delicious italian food, this place is an outright winner. the price point was decent (a lil’ overpriced perhaps) – came down to around $32 bucks that really made everyone happy with pizza/pasta/a drink/dessert. only issue is getting there and getting a carpark lot. 8.5/10

mmm.. i just burped some delicious italian goodness. =)