Monday, November 30, 2015

Coffee Jammin! - Three Cups Coffee @ One Raffles Place

Coffee Jammin!? What's that? Was asked by Kris if I'd wanted to follow her to a coffee jamming session. Images of people downing copious amount of coffee surfaced in my mind... haha! No, I think it'd be a session where coffee lovers come together to learn more about their favourite beans. So, we signed up for the session organized by Three Cups Coffee at Level 4 of One Raffles Place.

The session starts from 11am, and by the time I reached, most were already seated with a cuppa in their hands. Ooh, what do I do next? As payment had been made prior, just needed to sign-in at their registration booth, and get a sticker plus a coffee sleeve to redeem your cup of coffee (latte or cappucino). Nice.

aww, cute little hearts for the cappucino

Friendly people at Three Cups Coffee, and the session starts with Michael, the boss introducing the event line-up. Next, was Darren from The Necessary Provision Roasters, talking about coffee beans and demonstrated coffee roasting. Learnt about wet and dry method of removing coffee seeds from its fruit and its impact on coffee acidity.

Darren, on the finer points of roasting coffee beans
Had the opportunity to taste the "Project Y" blend in espresso form. Bitter and strong, but still less caffeinated than our local kopitiam kopi.

Project Y espresso

Next, was a demonstration on coffee flavour extraction via aeropress. This segment was conducted by Evonne. The aeropress is a modern contraption that looks like an oversized syringe.

Zack and Evonne
completing the extraction with exertion of some strength

Hmm, after trying the coffee extracted through the aeropress, am of the opinion that hand-brewed coffee tasted nicer as iced-coffee.

The finger food provided during the jamming session were all good, and can be found in their menu. We tried the egg mayo chicken sandwich, smoked salmon wrap and roast beef sandwich. Yums.

yes to food, was starving!
beef sandwich with caramelized onions and Gruyère cheese

Refreshed by the food (and yes, some shots of espressos), we were ready for the final segment. Siphon Brewing by Zack, the head barista at Three Cups Coffee.

The syphon has been around since the 1830's and while it may look old-fashioned, it is currently still popular in specialty coffee places and there is even a "World Siphonist Championship" event.

let's grind some beans
second stir

A much informative session and for finale, all participants adjourned to the barista counters to learn and to try their hands on latte art. Woohoo!

hey, everyone's here - Sue, Evonne, Zack and Michael

And, it so happened that Zack was our teacher for the latte art. Yay!

this is how you do it
ta-dah, made by the expert

It was an informative session with sampling of coffee and hands-on opportunity. A place where common love for coffee brings people closer.

Three Cups Coffee

Location: #04-31, 1 Raffles Place Shopping Mall
Instagram: threecupscoffeeco
Contact: 6438 4108
Business Hours:
Monday to Friday : 8.00am-9.00pm 
Saturday: 10.00am-6.00pm
Sunday & Public holidays : Closed

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Kko Kko Nara 꼬꼬나라 @ 68 Tanjong Pagar Road

Finally has gotten around to try the Korean Fried Chicken by Kko Kko Nara. Our motive was clear. Korean fried chicken and watermelon soju. Let's go!


Went up to Level 2, and we sat near the faux fireplace. The fake fire has a kind of semi-hypnotic effect. No wonder we ordered so much food!

The booth seat was quite cool too.

booth seats
faux fireplace

Was very convenient to send the orders via iPad provided on each table.

let's order
water and bowls for bones

Finally tried watermelon soju. Refreshing like a watermelon juice. Easy to drink.

watermelon soju - good for 3 pax @$38++

Ordeed quite a bit food such as japchae, oden, steamed egg and of course, fried chicken.

japchae @$15++

The japchae tasted primarily of sesame oil. Interesting but not quite what I had expected. The oden has peppery broth and tasted alright. Probably the dish to eat if you had too much to drink. The steamed egg was au-natural and very lightly seasoned. But eat it with some of the oden broth and it was a whole new world of familiarity.

oden @$25++
gyeranjjim @$12++
steamed egg

Finally, the fried chicken. Got ourselves the combo chicken set. The chicken tasted like the ones I tried back in Seoul last autumn. The meat was slightly tougher and good for people who likes to chew a tad more. Liked the garlic soy and the yangnyeom (양념 치킨). Spicy level for the yangnyeom was still quite low.

yangnyeom chicken , soy garlic and original (8 pieces) @$25++

pickled radish

Can't believe we had another order of the combo chicken again. The four of us, ate so much! Wow.
Expect to spend about $40 per pax.

Location: 68 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088489
Contact: +(65) 6224-8186
Business Hours:
Lunch. 12pm ~ 3pm / Dinner. 6pm ~ 3am (Closed: Sunday Lunch)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Hyde & Co - Jekyll's Hyde Out @ 785 North Bridge Road

"Dinner is served." This may sound trivial but it was not until recently that Hyde started their dinner service. Available on every Wednesdays to Saturdays from 6.30pm to 10.30pm. Read on if you would like to find out more on what's on the dinner menu. Linger around a while longer and you'll get a glimpse of the Christmas Waffle. Meanwhile, Hyde is running their 1st Anniversary Dinner this week on 27 to 28 November, so their dinner menu will resume on the 1st week of December.


If you are driving, I heard that the nearest parking would be Textile Centre. For me, it was bus #851 and it stops at Parkview Square (the one that looks like Gotham City). Alight from bus and turn left and walk straight for the longest time. Walked past a mosque and once you spot The Ramen Stall, that's a good sign as Hyde is next to it.

in the middle

Let's go easy and start slowly

Out of the four available starters, we tried the Buffalo Wings. The sauce was sweetish and smoky. A beer kind of dish. Good starter and it whets the appetite. Maybe more crudités to dip into the garlic aioli? The four starters cover the Greens (Beetroot Salad), the Meat (Buffalo Wings), the Carb (Truffle Fries) and the Soup (Tomato Bisque).

Buffalo Wings - Chipotle BBQ Sauce, Garlic Aioli @$10

Bring out the mains and bring it out in full force! 

Well, almost. Sampled four out of the seven mains. More than half of the mains are actually Asian dishes, executed with modern European techniques. Chef Nazz is trained in Italian cooking and came from a family who owns a catering business. We tried the interesting Assam Halibut, Beef Cheek Rendang, Nasi Lemak Risotto and Truffle Mac and Cheese. Make a guess on which one was the most 'westernized' dish of the night?

Assam Halibut @$21

The Assam Halibut was served with burnt cauliflower, french beans, soba sitting atop of homemade assam sauce. Halibut and cod are pretty similar in the same whitefish grouping. Halibut is often described as lean, flaky white flesh that is mild in flavour. A good try from Chef but somehow, this dish was more of a miss for me. The soba was unfortunately a tad overcooked and while the halibut was of a good texture, this combination was just not something that I'd preferred.

Next, we had the Nasi Lemak Risotto. All too familiar and expertly cooked and plated. No surprises here.

Nasi Lemak Risotto @$22

Break the poached egg (be careful, it squirts!) and mixed everything together. Tasty.

Homemade sambal (more of this please!) was less spicy than expected but has deep flavours. The prawns were plump, firm and good. The risotto was cooked with coconut water and finished with coconut cream. Tasted like a good fragrant plate of nasi lemak with extra creaminess and moistness. The ikan bilis (anchovies) were perfect. Crispy and crunchy.

let it flow and mix well

For meatatarians, try the Beef Cheek Rendang. It has a well balanced taste and the texture of the meat was still firm yet tender enough. No surprise, since the meat was cooked for 4 hours. The sweet potato mash, the slaw and the crispy 'homemade from scatch' crostini all made wonderful partners to the beef cheeks. This dish was good and satisfying.

Beef Cheek Rendang @$25

The last main dish that we sampled was the Truffle Mac & Cheese. Now, isn't this a purely westernized dish? But who cares!?  This was one of favourite dishes for the night. Classic comfort food. Bacon with its fats rendered, torched crumbs (panko) and roasted mushroom topped with cheese and baked. For best taste, use a spoon to scoop up a mouthful of pasta, bacon, mushrooms and sauce. So good!

Truffle Mac & Cheese @$22

The other mains in the Jekyll's Hyde Out menu included the Chili Crab Pasta, Chicken Confit and Coffee Rub Lamb Rack. The lamb sounds interesting.

Feeling thirsty? Have some refreshing cold tea. We tried the Addams Family and Into the Woods. Addams Family is made of Moroccan Apple Tea and crushed apples while Into the Woods are Iced Berries Tea based with Hibiscus and Rose Hip. Both are refreshing and not very sweet. Perfect cooler for our warm and humid weather.

Addams Family (front) and Into the Woods (back) @$7.50 each

Not forgetting the desserts. We were introduced to the All-Star Tea Affogato. Say what again? Isn't affogato a coffee-based dessert? Usually, yes. But hey, if Hyde wants to do affogato with tea, who is to say can't?

All-Star Tea Affogato (@$7.50 each) - Millie, Matilda, Charlie and Hamilton

Each of the All-Star Tea Affogato was named after a Broadway show. Pictured above, is "Millie", a concoction of Vintage Earl Grey, Orange Zest and mint. The next one was "Matilda" based on Roald Dahl's novel about a five year old girl. Matilda the affogato, tasted of Strawberry Ceylon and Berry Compote.
Followed by "Charlie" as in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, where we get Chocolate Meringue Tea, Salted Chocolate Drizzle. Lovely. Finally, the manly "Hamilton" - based on the biography of Alexander Hamilton, one of the Founding Father of the United States. Hamilton affogato has the Spiced Lapsang Souchong and Sesame Segments. I'd imagine cigar lovers would love this as this dessert has a heavy, smokey taste to it. 

Each of the affogato has its own uniqueness, so it depends on your preference or mood for that day. That night, I liked the lighter flavoured ones but the crowd was going for Hamilton. Try and see which one of Damien's (Hyde's head barista) creation you like best.

And something special for Christmas, Hyde's Christmas Waffle! A delicious gingerbread buttermilk waffle (contains cinnamon), caramelized apple, wine poached raisins, vanilla bean ice-cream and salted caramel drizzle. Waffle was crisp on the outerside and soft-fluffy-chewy on its inside that's sweet and salty at the same time. Yummeh! Available from first week of December and will be taken off the menu after Christmas, boo hoo! 

Christmas Waffle @$14

For the coffee lovers, try Hyde's Anniversary "Magic" blend with beans from Brazil, Sumatra and Ethiopia. Slightly stronger acidity from previous blend, and tasted of hazelnut and chocolate.

Ordered a latte, and snapped a photo of Damien. The latte art this time was too cute and with a Chrismas-sy feel too. Thanks Damien!

The man and his machine
Merry Christmas Mr Snowman

Thank you to Derrick for hosting the tasting session, Chef Nazz for creating the flavourful menu and Damien for the good teas and coffees. Special thanks to Kris for the invite.

Here's a link to the first visit.

Hyde & Co

Location: 785 North Bridge Road, 198753 
Contact: +65 6636 5785
Business Hours:
Sunday to Monday - 11am till 6pm 
Wednesday to Saturday - 11am till 10:30pm
Closed on Tuesdays  

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Spicy Thai - Thai Cafe @ Blk 115 Aljunied Avenue 2

This place could be a bit tricky to find, especially if you aren't familiar with that neighbourhood. From Aljunied Crescent, turn into Aljunied Avenue 2 and walk towards the hawker centre. Blk 115 is behind the hawker centre and somewhere round the corner of Blk 114. Or, ask the residents or nearby shopkeeper and tell them you'd like to go to the Thai restaurant.

shop front

Opened by our local businessman, Ron Poh, whom loves Thai cuisine. Spicy Thai Thai Cafe prides itself in serving northeastern Thai cuisine in a casual setting. The condiments and chilies in the restaurant are imported from Thailand, and he has chefs from Thailand and Malaysia working the kitchen. While some of the condiments, ingredients, and serving style remained authentic, Spicy Thai Thai Cafe menu also included a few original or fusion items that owner, Ron had came up with together with his chefs. Well, as long as it taste good, the more the merrier as that means more options for us, diners!

Was invited for a tasting and we got a chance to try northeastern Thai cuisine which are stronger in flavour.

"when in Thai restaurant, drink Thai iced tea" - purpletaste

The Thai iced (milk) tea here was decent and not overly sweetened. Just the drink to quench the thirst. The dishes came our fairly quickly after ordering. A myriad of dishes with meat ratio overpowered the vegetables by ... plenty? Haha!

dinner is served

One of the usual orders for side dishes when in Thai restaurant would be either the fish cake or the prawn cake. We tried the prawn cake. Flattened mound of prawn paste, coated and deep fried to a nice light brown colour. The texture was bouncy. Enjoyable with the chili dip. In the menu, one can find "Larb Moo Tok" aka pork meatballs. Nice dish to go with beer.

Prawn Cake @$2 per piece (min. order of 2 pieces)
Prawn Cake - cross section view

For families, usually I'd see them ordering omelettes. We had the restaurant recommended Dill Pattie (Cha Om) Omelette. Thai dills are wrapped inside the omelette and pan-fried. The cha om did not have a strong  herby taste and thus, can be easily eaten along with the egg. Interesting but the egg was a tad oily though.

Dill Pattie (Cha Om) Omelette @$12

From the grills and barbeque pit, we had the BBQ chicken wings and BBQ pork neck. The advise is to quickly eat these once it is served. Had mine after quite a long while, and unfortunately, the meat tasted a tad tough.

BBQ Chicken Wings @$9 for 6 pieces
BBQ Pork Neck @$10

Loved their deep fried items. The Deep Fried Pork Belly with Garlic and the Deep Fried Kang Kong with Special Thai sauce were both excellent! Pork belly was well marinated and flavourful, and with good texture. The kang kong remained crispy for quite a long while and it paired so well with the special sauce. Will gladly eat this vegetable. Memorable.

Deep Fried Pork Belly with Garlic @$12
Deep Fried Kang Kong with Special Thai Sauce (sauce not in photo) @$10

Spicy Thai Thai has a special otah that is called Hommok. Presented in a coconut and has a rich coconut cream and curry taste. Good to be eaten with rice.

Hommok Thai Style Otah @$16

For seafood options, we had the Thai Basil Black Pepper Crab and the Walking Catfish with Spicy Lemon Soup. The Basil Pepper Crab had watery sauce but boy, it was spicy! The flesh of the crab was so good. Sweet flesh that was firm and stringy.

Thai Basil Black Pepper Crab @ seasonal price
Thai Walking Catfish with Spicy Lemon Soup @$28

The Walking Catfish sounds weird and scary but this dish ought to be on the table of every diner. A good sized catfish that was served warm over the charcoal fire. If you worry that catfish may have that muddy taste? Fret not. The version served here was devoid of any mud taste. The charcoal fire actually continues cooking the fish and even so, the flesh remained tender. The soup was so good. Tangy, spicy and very appetising. Be careful of the tiny fiery chilies though.

For supper, perhaps the La-La Bee Hoon may tickle your fancy. Stir well and try to get those bee hoon to soak up the sauce. Savoury, sweet with a tinge of spicy kick.

La La (Clams) Bee Hoon @$18

For desserts, get the Tapioca in coconut milk. Super good.

Tapioca in coconut milk (warm) @$3.50

The Sticky Rice with Mango was let down by the too compact/dense glutinous rice.

Sticky Glutinous Rice with Mango @$6

The Red Ruby and Lemongrass Jelly with Aloe Vera and Calamansi had very much lighter sweetness and taste than accustomed to.

Special thanks to Christina and Ron for hosting the dinner and for sharing more about northeastern Thai cuisine with us. Thank you Shauniee for the invite.

Spicy Thai - Thai Cafe

Location: Blk 115, Aljunied Avenue 2, #01-35, Singapore 380115
Contact : +65 6747 8558
Business Hours:
Opens Daily from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.
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