Sunday, March 27

Artichoke Cafe & Bar

Hello everyone! (:

I think this weekend's been particularly good because I finally managed to do things that I like such as going for an unexpectedly nice high tea buffet this afternoon (I'll blog more about it in a couple of weeks)!

Life has been pretty hectic since I returned from the UK and I think things are going to stay this way or get even crazier till the end of term so I shall hang in there and brave it all! =)

Today, I shall blog about one of the new cafe/ restaurants that my good friend introduced me to - Artichoke. It's located at 161 Middle Road, which is near the National Library. If you ask me, it's probably one of the best restaurants that I've been to this year as everything seems to be just right: the food is reasonably priced and scrumptious and the layout and ambience of the place is homely and comfortable (:

If you think that Artichoke only serves vegetarian food because of its unique restaurant name, you're wrong because it actually serves a whole variety of dishes that are infused with a taste of homemade goodness.

My dinner companions, who have been to Artichoke before, highly recommended their tapas so we decided to order a few to share.

The first tapas dish we ordered was the moorish dips ($15) and they came with two slices of warm and crispy bread. These dips reminded me of the platter that I thoroughly enjoyed at Original Sin and I would say that the dips at Artichoke are comparable to Original Sin's. I could eat this everyday and not get sick of it! =)

Because the two slices of bread weren't sufficient for the four of us, we decided to order one of their special dishes that day. Unfortunately, I've forgotten what it's called but the dish can be used as an alternative for dips!

Here's a shot of our special 'prata/ crepe - like' alternative for dips. It is neither too oily nor too thin so it's perfect for dipping actually.

Then we shared some grilled haloumi cheese with cherry tomatoes ($15). It was the first time I was eating grilled cheese as a dish and I must say that the taste is something quite exquisite - I didn't think that grilled cheese could taste that light! The cherry tomatoes definitely gave it a little twang and I liked the combination a lot.

Since their garlic mushrooms ($13) are also famed to be good, we placed an order for it and it turned out to be one of the freshest mushroom-rocket leaves salad that I've tasted! If you like rocket leaves with succulent and fresh mushrooms, you have to order this dish!

This tiny basket of shoestring fries ($7) was undoubtedly the most convenient mouth-popper that night! All of us couldn't help but indulge in these skinny strips of truffle-covered potato goodness! Highly addictive, highly sinful but they're just so good!

For our mains, we decided to order their famous lamb kleftiko ($65), which was stunningly done because the meat literally slid off the bone without much trouble! I tried a few gravy soaked bread pieces and I must say that the sauce that came with the lamb was of the right consistency and taste! Everyone loved this dish so I guess it did live up to its reputation after all (:

My dinner mates were extremely considerate and they made it a point to order a huge plate of vegetarian moussaka ($25) to share! It tasted similar to vegetable lagsane but it was more cheesy. I liked this dish a lot and I think I'd a little too much of it because I was feeling a little cheesed out by the end of the meal. This dish is great for sharing and I think it goes pretty well with the lamb dish too.

Although I felt really stuffed after we've cleared our mains, the glutton in me couldn't resist ordering their desserts because I felt that it would be a waste to walk away without tasting their desserts! We placed an order for their very interesting date pudding ($12), which had a tinge of saltiness to complement its sweetness and it had a moat around it! This was by far the most interesting date pudding that I've tasted. I would highly recommend it!

The other dessert we ordered was the pear and almond cake ($10) which was relatively light compared to the date pudding. The cake was neither too hard nor too crumbly and all of us sang praises about it too.

In short, I am extremely thankful to my wonderful dinner partners who introduced me to Artichoke. It's definitely a place that I would return to in the near future! =) Alright that's all for now, take care everyone! (:

Wednesday, March 23

Jones the Grocer and PS Cafe

I think it's inevitable that one eats a lot to stay awake, especially when one has been surviving on three hours of sleep for the past three days! =( My plans to catch up on sleep tonight got thwarted due to an unfortunate incident so it's likely that my sleep debt will inflate in proportion.

A few weeks ago, we decided to go to Dempsey area for lunch at the Disgruntled Chef but we were there after lunch hours so we had to give that a miss. We walked to my favourite back-up Western restaurant in that area, PS Cafe, and to our horror, the waiting time was way too long for our already starved tummies to endure so we walked a stone's throw distance to Jones the Grocer, where we had sufficiently decent but not fabulous food. Somehow my impression of Jones the Grocer has altered for the worse, partly because of their limited menu as well as their mediocre food. Perhaps the best thing I'd at Jones the Grocer that day was the banana and berry smoothie ($6.50). It was thick, fruity and tasted deliciously good! (: Would go back just for this!

Knowing that our food will take eons to arrive given the neverending stream of patrons at Jones, we decided to order a bowl of greens to share. The portion was just nice for one person but it suited us well since we ordered this solely to fulfill our veggie quota for the day!

I'd my default (boring) brunch choice that day and the pretty pathetic looking eggs benedict ($19.50) pretty much closed up all chances of redeeming Jones' reputation in my mind. Not only was the portion small, the poached eggs and hollandaise sauce were a huge disappointment because they tasted like the eggs benedict that I'd on a SQ flight back not too long ago! =S

Jeffrey's Jones English Breakfast ($20) looked a little better compared to my dish but I can't help but think that this isn't hearty or satisfying at all! In fact, Jeffrey commented that the bread slices were too tough and hard to eat! He had trouble chewing and swallowing them =(
On hindsight, I think we should have gone off to Cafe Beviamo or somewhere else for proper breakfast/ brunch food!
And because Jones does not have a wide selection of desserts, we decided to go back to PS Cafe to brave the queue and wait for a table just so we could comfort ourselves with their desserts!

We orderd a PS mojito ($16) out of curiosity, hoping that it would taste like the unforgettably fantastic mojito that we had at Touich in December but alas, it was not to be. The PS mojito carries a much stronger alcoholic taste and since both of us aren't alcohol-lovers, we didn't really like this drink.

The PS Banana Butter Scotch Cake with Vanilla Bean Ice-cream ($12.90) was the redeeming dish of the day! The cake smelled nice and its texture was just right for the both of us (: After trying this new dessert that day, I was convinced that it's quite impossible for PS Cafe to serve bad desserts.

Alright my partner in crime has just popped online and I've to scoot off to get some work done before turning in for the night! Shall end this post here! Happy midweek everyone! (:

Sunday, March 20


Hello everyone! (:

I'm back! I'd a good time in the UK with Mrs Tan and her 22 kids despite the cold and the relatively packed schedule! The bad thing about being away during the short and precious March hols is that I've a HUGE backlog of work right now! Brr. Will work like a slave this coming week so that I can clear my deadlines!

Anyhow, since I just came back from the UK, I thought I'd post some pictures of the lovely English hightea at the much beloved L'espresso which I had with possibly the two most wonderful people in my life before leaving for the UK.

I drank so much hot/ warm drinks in the UK to fight the cold! Am surprised that I could stay off chewing icecubes for a week!

Ice-lemon tea is always a favourite cooler in our hot and humid weather.

I think I've eaten more sandwiches and salads the past week than I've ever had in months! The sandwiches at L'espresso aren't as hearty as the ones in UK but they're great as small bites!

More sandwiches and little savoury tea-bites

Sandwiches and two lonely pieces of smoked salmon! Somehow I can't resist having smoked salmon at buffets!

Oh the warm panini bread with tomato, cheese and salmon (on the extreme left) was surprisingly nice! Had lots of that. The rest were generally okay.

Ate the croissant with crabmeat filling (on the extreme right) and it was yummylicious! It's quite filling though so those with small appetites may want to share.

Some of my favourite L'espresso dishes on the same plate

Although the scone was pretty good, I must say that the scones I'd in UK were much better! Somehow the texture of scones in the UK tastes much nicer - perhaps it's due to the difference in humidity.

Chocolate cake which is nothing short of great! Not too sweet, not too soft.

I liked everything on this plate, especially the fruit tart! I know of friends who love the creme brulee and it's to be fair, L'espresso's creme brulee is one of the nicer ones that I've tasted.

How can I ever go to a buffet without indulging in bread and butter pudding with vanilla sauce? I love it! =P Am still on a quest to find the nicest bread and butter pudding!

More desserts and shooters.

Lone scoop of chocolate icecream, which was thick and rich.

This was possibly the last plate of food I'd that day - as you can tell, I'm obsessed with the warm panini bread! I've also come to realise that I like matcha flavoured cakes (:

Alright I think that's all I've to share for today! Pardon the relatively short entry, I've to do some prep for school tomorrow! Hope that everyone had a good and restful weekend! Have a good week ahead! =)

Friday, March 11

March Holidays

I shall not be updating this space for a while because I'll be going off to revisit these lovely places and to spend time learning with people whom I'm sure I'll come to love (: Am very grateful to the school and the department for giving me an opportunity to travel with these kids to such a culturally rich place. Thank you (: Will update when I'm back!