Sunday, 27 April 2014

Mia's Review: Sinpopo Brand

I first visited Sinpopo Brand for desserts with DS, Sa and T after our peranakan dinner at Guan Hoe Soon as it was located along the walk back to Katong V Hotel (our staycation hotel). And immediately the day after we checked out, I dragged T over for lunch again. Wanna know why I'm so intrigued by this restaurant? 




 
Having reused the name of a nightspot in the olden days, Sinpopo Brand, however, has retained none of the sleaziness. Instead, this old-school nostalgic restaurant has injected a 'new' feeling of the past 1950s of Singapore, which I believe will be so familiar with the generations of our parents and grandparents.
Other than serving some traditional local food that are close to our hearts, we can also expect to find some 'lost' or 'rare' local delights like the attap chee ice cream (where else can you find this, really?) and Ais Bor, which is the common Ice Kacang served in the form of an ice ball with all the fillings wrapped within. Been hearing about this Ais Bor from my mummy since I was a child, but I've never got to see (or try) it until now. Food prices are also pretty affordable (for a cafe/restaurant) at pretty much nothing above $10.


Even the menu give out such a retro feel. I really fell in love with this seemingly humble looking restaurant, yet actually was pretty much painstakingly decorated, even before I tried out their food. 

 Our Ais Kacang...

In comparison to DS and Sa's Ais Bor.

The ais kacang tasted just like any ice kacang and I wouldn't say that they're exceptionally generous with the fillings/ingredients either... But for the ice shavings, obviously it's a yes. 
One disappointing point to note is about the brown syrup, which I thought is the gula melaka syrup. It was totally salty (like brand's essence of chicken kind of salty) on our ice kacang, and very unappealing to our tastebuds. However, it was less salty and much sweeter on the Ais Bor. So, different syrup or what? 

While we were waiting for desserts to be served, we were wondering just what is a Sng Muay Pop (as shown on the wall decor). 
And I found out for myself the very next day...

 Served in this very old-school, retro metal cups...

Sng Muay Pop is really just sour plum with calamansi soda water, filled with bite sized ice ball with a piece of  sour plum flesh inside. A really refreshing and 'fun' drink, for we can suck on the ice ball until we get to the sour plum flesh.

 My lunch for the day was Chicken Curry with Fried Chinese Buns. 
Stated as an authentic Hainanese Curry, I can't be sure of the authenticity even though being a Hainanese myself. *guilty* But it definitely is similar to the chicken curry my grandma used to cook for us when she's still around. The resemblance is hard to miss, with the curry being very much more watery and 'washed down' yet still flavourful but less spicy than the average curry we find elsewhere. 
The fried chinese buns were awesome, for they were served freshly fried, crispy on the outside yet soft and slightly sweet on the inside. I mean, who can ever resist a well fried, piping hot mantou? The fact that this curry is more watery as compared to the other curries also means it's much more easier for the mantou to absorb all the curry gravy as you dip it in. With the correct dipping time, the outer portion remains relatively crisp while the insides of the bun is thoroughly soaked with the curry gravy that oozes out as you bite into it. 
Tell me, even if you're a fan of rich and thick curries, how can you not like a crispy, curry gravy soaked fried mantou? 
Unfortunately, the actual content of the curry pales in comparison. I only managed to dig out a tiny piece of potato from my bowl (I love curry potatoes!) and the 4 pieces of chicken wings inside didn't feel to be thoroughly cooked through in the curry. Don't get me wrong, the meat is well cooked and still relatively tender, but lacking the oomph of the curry flavour that I'll expect to be inside the meat.

T's Scissors Cut Rice.
This popular Singapore street dish is actually an 'economical rice' served with the fixed ingredients of some crispy scissors-cut pork cutlet, curry chicken, and flavourful stewed cabbage, topped up with a fried egg with runny yolk and drizzled with a combination of braised pork flavoured lor chup (braised sauce gravy) and curry gravy. 
T's said it's not bad.... But I have to say that this boy loves everything edible. 

Lastly, our dessert for the day was these Rainbow Soft Bread with Attap Chee Ice cream. Somehow, the soft bread wasn't really soft at some areas, which I reckon that they were frozen from being in close contact with the ice cream. And after one bite of the bread with ice cream, I was reminded of why I always go for wafer whenever I buy some ice cream from those uncle street vendor with the mobile push cart. My mum has always raved about these rainbow soft bread ice cream and will always get one for herself whenever she sees them, but this combination of bread with ice cream is really not my cup of tea. 
The Attap Chee ice cream, on the other hand, was pretty good. A creamy, refreshing sweet taste that slowly turns light as the ice cream melts on our tongue, with whole attap chee stuff within, albeit too sparingly. It's probably the first time I've tried an attap chee flavoured ice cream, and even though the ice cream itself didn't really taste much like attap chee, I still really liked it. 

Sinpopo is located at 458 Joo Chiat Road.
For more information, visit their FaceBook HERE

Till then,
Mia



Thursday, 24 April 2014

Mia's Review: Guan Hoe Soon Peranakan Restaurant

Very recently, I had an extremely nuah staycation at Katong V Hotel with DS, Sa and T. And for dinner, DS and Sa treated us to Peranakan food! 


According to Sa's recommendation, we visited Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant located a 20 to 25 minutes walk away from the hotel. We've made a reservation and when we reached promptly at almost 8pm, most of the tables were occupied and only that one table at the innermost corner was empty (though not yet cleared). So if you're intending to drop by on a weekend for dinner, do make reservations.


Nothing much to show about the restaurant's decor, actually. It's really a very typical, and humble-looking restaurant. 

But looking at the number of awards they hung on their wall, it's really not that humble at all. 

Nonya Chap Chye

This dish has the total homecooked food feel to it. I guess it partly because chap chye is one of the dishes my mum and grandma loves to cook for us. A good mix of cabbage (which is a mixture of being still slightly crunchy yet soft enough to have absorbed all the flavour of the gravy), beancurd skin (dao kee), vermicelli, mushroom, black fungus (my favourite!) and bits and pieces of fatty pork here and there, all drenched in goodness of the braised gravy. 
This is just plain awesome if you're craving for some 'homecooked' food.

Ngoh Hiang

A thin layer of the beancurd skin fried till golden brown and crispy, holding on to some densely packed minced meat that's flavourful yet subtly sweet.
Need I say more?

Otak Otak

This has got to be my favourite dish of the night. 
They're soft yet not mushy, spicy yet not tastebud hurting hot, flavourful yet not overwhelming salty.
I could have easily ate 4 plates of this with just one bowl of rice and I'll be done. Truly satisfied. :)

Ayam Buah Keluak

This is my first time trying out Buah Keluak and I'm sorry to say it's really not my cup of tea. I felt like I was eating some black (rotten) innards or.... brains. Never eaten either, but the mushy texture and weird acquired taste that even the spiciness of the dish couldn't mask it at all was just.... unappealing. 
The chicken, on the other hand, was great in comparison. Though cooked till no longer juicy and tender, it wasn't tough on the teeth at all and has the yummy flavour of the spices packed in every bite of the meat. A really good (chicken) dish to go with a bowl of piping hot white rice. 

Ikan Kepala Assam Curry

Lastly, this dish has caught me in a dilemma. I'm a huge fan of fish (and this is a white promfet, omg!) but hardly a lover of assam. And it just has to be so well done that the flesh is totally dripping with the sourish flavour of assam curry. Mehhh.... 
A must try if you're a huge fan of fish and assam curry, if not.... 

Guan Hoe Soon has been dedicated to serving us Peranakan food since 1953 and is one of our oldest Peranakan Restaurant (or so they say). 
They're located at 38/40 Joo Chiat Place, which is of a walking distance of approximately 20 minutes from Katong i12.
For more information, visit their website HERE.

Till then,
Mia

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Sponsored Review: Trimton (強效瘦)

Just 2 weeks ago, I was really excited to receive this in the mail.

 It's two boxes of Trimton sponsored for a trial period of 20 days.

I've long heard about Trimton (and subsequently about Trimton 2), first from P, and then from all the raves on forums like CozyCot and the now defunct FlowerPod. I was truly amazed by how effective it seems to be, promising of obvious weight loss just by popping the pills. No exercise required! 
Trimton is a great hit in Singapore and Hong Kong over 8 years and use totally natural ingredients with different international certification. It helps to trim our belly and it was reported to have successfully help a lady slim down more than 77 pounds. Sounds like some miracle slimming pill, huh! Let's get on with the product description first. 

Trimton 1 is focused on the aspect of [Trim Belly], and in natural way. 
 It mainly has 3 functions:

1.      Blocking
Neutralize excessive absorption or suppress appetite

2.      Fat Burning
Boost metabolism to burn excess fat

3.      Detoxification
Cleanse and eliminate body toxins

One treatment of trimton will require 3 boxes of 60 pills per box, with the recommended dosage being 2 capsules 30 minutes before breakfast and lunch, and 3 capsules for dinner.
 It contain with natural ingredients like white kidney bean, Gacinia cambogia (HCA) to burn your fat, especially on your tummy area, with no side effect and perfectly safe to use.

Now let's get on to my thoughts on this product. 
First up, the packaging. I feel that the packaging is a little too much. The bottle is really barely taking up 1/4 of the entire box size and I'll love to have their packaging downsizing into a more bag friendly purchase. 

And finally, on to the results. After going through many reviews and raves all over the internet, I conclude that this product will not only just trim down your belly miraculously, but also gives symptoms such as increased heart rate and increased bowel movements. 
But sad to say, nothing happened on me. 
Throughout the trial period of 8th to 21st April, I've lost 0g and 0mm. And I was truly disappointed. 

But then it got to me that I've probably been fed too much miraculous raves on the internet that I've developed an unreasonable expectation for this product. It's only right that we see results at least after 1 treatment is completed, if not more. Moreover, usually in our excitement of hoping to see that darned number on the scale dropping day by day, we tend to forget that such (miraculously) good results will vary in individuals. To subject A (perhaps more overweight and with more to lose), results may come a lot quicker as compared to subject B (perhaps already at a healthy weight but just wishes to lose that pesky 1 or 2kg to hit her own 'ideal' weight).

Hence, I personally deemed this trial period way too short for me to conclude whether Trimton does deliver what it claims to. However, I reckon the 2 weeks is a safe gauge to believe that Trimton will not bring about any short term side effects, like how some slimming medication are known to give. Meanwhile I shall finish up my 1 treatment of Trimton before deciding if this popular product is really for me. 

Are you also a user of Trimton? Do drop me a comment and share with me your experiences. 

Till then,
Mia

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Mia's Review: Costa Coffee

This is a super duper overdue post. When A was still back in town during her vacations, we decided to drop by Costa Coffee for a cuppa along with R. Always wanted to give this new coffee franchise a try ever since they enter Singapore's market, but couldn't find any coffee kaki to go with.

We dropped by the branch at Somerset 313, a really big and open branch that's usually empty. 

Like so. Haha!


And other than pastry desserts and beverages, Costa also sells chocolate bars! Didn't get any to try though. Might just try one some day. 

Iced Mocha (Medium) - $6.90

The coffee is pretty strong, no doubt. But I do feel that the barista has overdone on the chocolate. It tasted more like milo with strong coffee added rather than mocha. Nevertheless, it's still of a coffee standard whereby I will revisit, unlike *cough cough* CB...TL *cough cough*...

 Chocolate Muffin - $3.90

Comparing to Starbuck's chocolate muffin, Costa's is slightly (?) cheaper, but also much smaller. I remembered I almost died on Starbuck's chocolate muffin back then when I ate it along with a cuppa, and towards the last few bites I just gave up on it because I just felt so sickened with the taste.
For Costa's muffin, no such issue. The serving size is good. Might stretch my small (yet active) stomach a little pass the usual 40 ~ 50% full limit (for desserts), but won't get so full that I get sickened by the taste.

The muffin is pretty dense and rather moist, however, dependent on the 'location' of the muffin. The outer sides tend to be drier while the insides are moist. It's also generously packed full of chocolate chips, which guarantees you a rich chocolatey taste in every single bite.

I mean, look that at gooey chocolate centre. Need I say more?

If I didn't remember wrongly, A ordered some almond croissant or something along that line. However, it was pretty disappointing as it's soft, not crisp at all, and hardly has any buttery fragrance to it.
Big, flat, and pretty badly done.

R's half eaten Cinnamon Raisin Swirl - $4.10

Tried a bite of this and was quite overwhelmed by the strong cinnamon taste. A decent choice, only for the cinnamon lovers.

For more information, visit Costa's website HERE

Till then,
Mia

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Mia's Review: Blue Bali

Was searching around for some interesting restaurant to celebrate a colleague's birthday when I chanced upon Blue Bali and was immediately attracted to how pretty it looked, the Balinese Garden Villa theme.

Tucked away from the bustling city at a pretty secluded corner of the Botanics Garden (1D Cluny Road), it was a pretty long way (some parts uphill) up from the carpark near the swimming complex.


Upon reaching the entrance, I was instantly wowed by the Balinese decor of the place. The short hike uphill (in the dark) earlier was simply forgotten.



The indoor area at/near the bar counter. Really cozy and pretty, like a Bali resort reception area.




And here is the outdoor Balinese Garden themed dining area, with normal table seats, couch seats, or floor "tatami" seating.

A couple date here will be pretty romantically awesome, too. :)

A shot of the menu. Simple, yet with pretty Balinese art prints.

My drink of the day: Bali Cooler - $15
This is a cocktail containing Vodka, Watermelon Liquer, Cranberry and Pineapple Juice.Very refreshing and light. I tasted a lot of watermelon (which I thought was just watermelon juice) and a hint of pineapple in it. Hardly any effects of liquor at all. I would have thought this is a mocktail if not for the slight bitter aftertaste from the Vodka. 
 
My colleague's Mocktail, which I have no idea what she ordered. I just took a photo of it because it's in my favourite colour. :)
 
Blue Bali Crispy Roasted Chicken - $25
This well marinated chicken is roasted till crispy with aromatic Chinese spices and served with prawn crackers and lettuce. Although claiming to be crispy and juicy, I'm sorry to say that it's not juicy at all. I can't deny that it's flavourful and tasty, but the meat were kind of dry, though still tender enough for a healthy set of teeth. 
 
Thai Vegetable Green Curry - $16
And this is good! We all loved the curry to bits. It's creamy and flavourful with generous servings of cauliflower, broccoli, brinjals, carrots and baby asparagus. After this curry was served, you basically see all our plates tinged green, regardless of which dish we were really eating. It was like a mad rush snatching up the ladle and pouring the awesome curry gravy over EVERYTHING we're eating. 
 
Jimbaran BBQ Seafood Platter - $90
This platter comes with grilled snapper, sambal cumi, grilled mussels, sambal king prawn, bali rice and garden salad. It should safely serves between 2 to 4, depending on individuals and how many dishes you order. 
I personally find it slightly overpriced, but then again there's not only a generous serving of snapper (the entire fish) but also king prawns so I guess it's the money you have to part with given the raw ingredients. Execution wise (of the cooking), it's really just decent. It's not as if I'm going to expect anything less for a platter that may only serve up to 2 pax (for large eaters). The seafood ranges from being okay to slightly overdone, especially the squids and mussels. I had to swallow a chunk of squid almost whole, after chewing it for a while and realising it's not breaking down at all. The prawn was pretty well done though, the meat thick, chewy and juicy, not forgetting the tasty sambal that coated it generously. Not exactly a prawn person, but I personally find these prawns the best in the platter. 

Homemade tofu served with Thai Chilli Sauce - $9
We wanted to try Gado Gado but it was sold out that day, so the waiter recommended that we take this tofu dish instead.
Not a bad recommendation at all. The tofu was fried till crispy and fragrant on the outside, piping hot and soft on the inside.

A dessert platter I have no idea what they are nor how much exactly it cost.
Now here comes the story, I sneakily went up to one of their staff and asked what can be done for a birthday surprise for my colleague, as they do not serve cakes. So this was what she recommended, saying that they can put on a candle somewhere.
Now, do you see any candles? And as if this disappointment is not enough, a group of their staff, one holding onto a guitar, popped up at the large table of Caucasians beside us, and started serenading one of them a birthday song.
Okay.... so.... you only do that for large group of patrons... or... what?
Alright, nevermind now. The staff then quickly pointed at each dish on the platter and blabbered about what they are before leaving our table promptly. Leaving us totally baffled and still trying to figure out what is what.
Nevertheless, we all put our tastebuds to the test and managed to figure out roughly which is which. There's namely 2 scoops of ice cream (one coconut and one vanilla), a creme brulee (or something similar), a lemon grass pudding, some glutinous rice roll with mango filling, and chocolate banana springroll.
 Out of which I have to say the springroll is the best. You can't go wrong with soft mushy banana coupled with yummy chocolate sauce and then wrapped in crispy springroll skin.
As for the least popular dish, it has to be the lemon grass pudding. All of us gave the exact same cringe upon trying it and the poor pudding was pretty much left as it is after that. The lemon grass flavour was so overpowering it reminded me of toothpaste. Well, it makes a good breath refresher after all the food, I guess?

Blue Bali is located at 1D Cluny Road.
For more information, visit their website HERE

Till then,
Mia
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