PEr FYI

July 25, 2020

Mosanco Enchanted café, Singapore…a welcome surprise

Singapore’s obsession with cafés is showing no signs of slowing. Across the island, cafés and tiny, hole-in-the-wall joints are constantly popping up.

Mosanco is an exceptionally enjoyable place to drink, eat and while away the hours. The truffled mushroom with scrambled egg toast. Served with mixed salad, it’s a classic that’s done without fault. Gooey, creamy curds of scrambled egg, a nicely-toasted sourdough with homemade garlic spread, torched mayo topped with bonito flakes and smoked salmon. Yes, it’s got the calories of more than two Big Macs, but it’s certainly more than twice as tasty. Avocado toast with hummus (vegan) – toasted sourdough with hummus spread, topped with avocado, pumpkin seeds, chopped almonds. Served with mixed salad, sliced lemon is such a delightful treat. The mashed avocado and hummus provide an excellent textural contrast to the toast.

And the coffee? Well, if you like cold brew, you’ll love this place – heaven in a tiny bottle. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 14, 2020

Merci Marcel, Singapore…look good but needs to taste better

Merci Marcel brings a bit of Paris to this corner of Singapore. The space is light and airy; plants give it a ‘conservatory’ feel. Staff are on point, but equally laid back; diners are immediately disarmed and relaxed.

When it comes to eating, though, the French toast fails to excite with its plain and dry slices of brioche. There is none of the France-iness of real French toast. Still, I’m having a good time. The eggs benedict is thankfully a saving grace.

Style clearly reigns over substance. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 6, 2020

Tropique, Johor Bahru…Don’t thank me, just don’t go there

I’m often a little nervous when visiting fashionable restaurants, but Tropique didn’t disappoint. The whole lunch was a complete fiasco. Which is why it’s my job, no, it’s my duty, to tell you this is where you shouldn’t be wasting your money or special occasion on.

You’d better have something in the fridge at home, because the likelihood of your food not being served at all is very high. Of our three orders, only two were served. To compound our annoyance, none of the staff were apologetic about it. The less said about the food, the better. Without labouring about price, it was extortionate.

Don’t thank me, just don’t go there. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 30, 2020

Kinotoya Bake, Sapporo…what’s not to like?

Kinotoya Bake cheese tarts ranks among Hokkaido’s most iconic foods, on par with Sapporo Beer, soup curry and milk and ice cream.

Kinotoya Bake cheese tart is what makes it “Hokkaido-style,” specifically, instead of, any one of the thousands of cheese tarts eaten all over the world. The tried-and-true recipe calls for a firm, crunchy, buttery tart shell to nestle the sweet, salty, cheese mousse-like cream cheese core. It  tastes more like an angel food than a traditional cheese tart (despite its use of cream cheese). Nevertheless, it’s one of the better dessert options in Hokkaido.

And — if you eat too much of it — it’s a pretty satisfying way to get a tummy ache. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 23, 2020

Gram café and pancake, Singapore…the wait can be compared to purgatory

Who doesn’t love a pancake?

Gram’s Japanese soufflé pancakes are a fast-growing food trend on Instagram. In addition to their attractive, springy texture and sweet toppings, there seems to be a third factor in their social media success: a long line. If purgatory for foodies exists, then this is what it feels like. The food-obsessed want to taste what’s at the end of it, and posting a photo of the experience is proof that they did. It’s easy to see why: the buttermilk beauties served here are light and lovely, yet satisfyingly eggy. In short: flipping perfect.

And be warned: whether you have waited hours, weeks or months to try these pancakes, they  are unlikely to stay on your plate for more than a minute. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 22, 2020

Kiki Yococho, Sapporo…yummy as heck and beautifully flavoured.

There is a belief amongst crepe-lovers: if you could catch the crepe with a frying pan after tossing it in the air (with your left hand), while holding a piece of gold (on your right) you’d become rich that year. True or not, this I personally know: whatever filling or topping you choose to accompany a crepe, it’s always a delight – whether for a meal or dessert!

When pondering Japanese food, crepe isn’t the first thing that comes to mind but tucked away in Daimaru Sapporo, Kiki Yococho is a little local gem. The crepes are – and I’m only slightly exaggerating – a firm favourite which was sweet-but-not-too-sweet in that dangerous way that means you could eat it all day. The seating area is small in a typically Japanese bustling way.

You can’t really go wrong with the crepe. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 17, 2020

Calanthe Art Café, Melaka…merely so-so experience

Malaysia has a thriving specialty coffee scene that rivals that of other well known U.S. coffee-crazy cities like Seattle and San Francisco.

With the tagline ‘The First and Only One’, Calanthe is unique, serving specialty coffee drinks from all the 13 states of the country, some Malaysian states have unique blends of coffee mixed with margarine, salt or even wheat flour. With expectations raised sky-high, I was let down by the coffee I cupped which seemed relatively subdued and muted aromatics.

Calanthe is also called an “art cafe”, and therefore you can immerse in the artistic ambience, decorations and wall paintings. Food-wise the Calanthe Laksa – in-house recipe -the gravy consists of coconut milk, lemon grass, turmeric, dried prawn paste, shallots, etc. served with tofu puffs, fish balls, fried bean curd skin, portion of hard boiled egg, fishcake slices, bean sprouts and grated cucumber is nothing to write home to mother about.

The merely so-so vibes don’t quite last until the very end the week. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 15, 2020

So Asean Café & Restaurant, Bangkok…master of none

My reaction to the Jack of all trade menu is that there was no way this casual cafe could excel at preparing each different ethnic dish well. They were obviously casting a wide net, trying to appeal to the largest number of diners.

The familiar dishes – Puffy shrimp omelette, Grilled pork neck with spicy jaew dip, stir-fried squid with salted egg yolk sauce are all there but you also get slow-cooked chicken and pork adobo from the Philippines, Indonesian-style chicken satay or Singapore chicken rice.

This is just another one of those typical, charmless cafes in Bangkok. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 2, 2020

Eggs ‘n Things, Singapore…boy, it is a pancake to contend with.

If you go crazy for pancakes and crêpes then you’re in good company at Eggs ‘n Things. As you might guess from its name, this lovely cafe specializes in omelets too, perfectly prepared with a wide variety of ingredients.

Calories not a concern? Go for it and order the Singapore exclusive special, the Panedict – emmental cheese sandwiched between a stack of pancakes, topped with poached egg, Eggs & Things special hollandaise sauce & candied bacon. Pancake lovers will go bananas for the Hawaiian pancake sampler – 4 kinds of pancakes – banana, pineapple, macadamia & chocolate chip, served with whipped cream. Equally tempting are the Kalua pork and cabbage – a classic Hawaiian burger, Homemade kalua pork with smokey BBQ sauce and cabbage served on brioche bun which is worth a little extra time on the treadmill.

The atmosphere is quaint and cozy with delicious, reasonably priced food. Service is friendly too. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…eggs and things sin4

 

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April 11, 2020

Fruitscake Factory, Sapporo… gratuitously enjoyable strawberry tart

If you’re sweet-toothed in Sapporo, you’re in luck – Fruitscake Factory is the creme de la creme of bakeries in the city.

The array of cakes displayed is jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring. You can’t really go wrong with the tarts,  but if you can get it go for their gratuitously enjoyable creation, the strawberry  tart which is – and I’m only slightly exaggerating – divine.

On your marks, get set… eat! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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