Monday, 30 June 2014

Mia's Review: The Black Sheep Cafe

Recently, Y has a craving for her favourite Duck Confit and yet she's pretty sick of the usual long queue at Saveur and so, D did her thorough research and decided to set the gathering at The Black Sheep Cafe! Touted to have the best Duck Confit in town, the girls (Y, D, and R) were pretty excited as we finally found the simple, yet cute looking cafe nestled at the basement of Thomson V Two.

All thanks to the banner, if not we wouldn't have known this building is the legendary Thomson V Two.

Even though they're The Black Sheep Cafe, there's also a fair share of white sheeps around to accompany this black sheep! 

And all the news covers about their Duck Confit....



The cafe interior is pretty spacious, yet big enough to house a considerable number of patrons at one time. 

And pretty cute too! See little meeh meeh looking over all the patrons from the ceiling. :)

Really happy to be able to sit right below the black sheep and his sheep friends. Heehee... :)

And now, let's get started on the food. 

Rose Raspberry Cider, Belgium - $9
 
Didn't manage to get a picture of the bottle for the staff took it away after serving it at the table. Actually I can't really decide if it's really a cider or just an extremely sweet and fruity beer. For the bitter beer after taste is too much of a beer thing, but the fragrant sweetness is too much of a cider. 
Nevertheless, a good refreshing drink. A recommended choice for ladies who feels ciders are too sweet, yet dislike the bitterness of beers. 

Chicken in Red Wine,Stuffed Field Mushrooms, Pureed Potato - $26.50

Couldn't put a word to the gravy taste. A mixture of both savoury, sweet and a slight indescribable fragrance. There isn't really much of a red wine or alcohol taste, but I guess it helped to tenderize this big fat chicken drumstick really well. The meat was really soft and tender, yet lacking a bit of flavour for my tastebuds. The stuffed mushroom, on the other hand, was really flavourful. I couldn't make out the ingredient used for the stuffing, but it was slightly chewy yet pretty tender and juicy. I really enjoyed every single bite of it. As for the pureed potato, was a huge let down. Didn't like the taste of it at all, for the potato fragrance was overpowered by a strong cream/milk taste. Plus, the serving was so meagre I kept thinking that the dish name should have ended with Asparagus instead. 

The Duck Confit on Apple Roesti, Mango Relish - $26.50

Didn't get to try both the fruit side dishes, but did get a bite of the duck confit. It's really flavourful and tasty, but I guess it's already obvious enough from the picture that it's slightly charred and hence, dry. Reviews boast of a crispy surface yet juicy tender meat. But sadly, I didn't taste that. It was dry (and almost tough) throughout the entire chunk of meat I've tried. 
Maybe it was a one-off miss by the chef, I don't know. But this definitely wasn't worth the rave I've read of.

Homemade Tiramisu with Espresso Tuilles - $9.50

This wasn't very well received at the table but I really enjoyed it. I'm not sure if the mascarpone cheese mixture was just totally frozen or the chef substitute part of the cream with ice cream, but the entire dessert was just really refreshing and pretty light. 

Kahlua Souffle, Double Chocolate Ice Cream - $14

This souffle is really worth every bit of the $14, in terms of serving size. Creamy, fluffy and very moist, infused with a shot of kahlua upon serving at the table, this dessert should be a must try for every souffle lover. 

Now back to the cafe, if you're not very familiar with The Black Sheep cafe, one of the main 'attraction' will be that they only have one chef. Yes, ONE CHEF. And that simply equates to long waiting time for order to be served. 
Our mains basically took a minimum of 25 minutes to be served, and the souffle took so long that we lost track of the waiting time, I'm estimating a 45 minutes or so. Pretty exasperating if you're on the brink of fainting from hunger, so I strongly recommend that you take into account of the extent of your hunger when dropping by for a visit. 

For more information, visit their website HERE

Till then,
Mia

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Mia's Review: MUCOTA Rebonding @ Focus Hairdressing

I didn't have the intention of giving a blog review on my MUCOTA Rebonding experience at Focus Hairdressing when I went for the appointment. But the ever so indecisive me decided that I'm going to give a short review of it, almost 3 weeks after the rebonding session, hence the serious lack of proper pictures for this post. 
Just, bear with me yeah? :)

-picture credits to Focus Hairdressing-

 Focus Hairdressing is conveniently located at Cuppage Plaza level 1 (opposite Cuppage Terrace), within comfortable walking distance from Somerset MRT. I've did some quick research and decided to give Focus a try, based on almost NO bad reviews for their Mucota Rebonding, albeit a few criticisms do exist for some of their stylists who might be lacking in some haircutting skills as compared to Marcus (lead stylist). 

I did a pretty last minute appointment booking (2 days in advance for a weekend) and managed to get a slot (with no preference of stylists) for 11am (right when they open) on a Saturday. I didn't want to request for Marcus, because who knows how long will the next available appointment date be. I reached the salon promptly at 11:05am, and was tended to by KC, their senior stylist.

This is not my first rebonding experience (I started rebonding my hair 10 yrs back) and I'm sure that even if you haven't done rebonding before, you should know what's it all about. So I shall skip all the procedures and what not.

One of my pet peeve while having my hair rebonded is that I'm always passed from stylist to stylist, and even to trainees (yikes!) as the session progresses, and there MUST always be at least 2 stylists/trainees blow drying and/or flat ironing my hair. 
Yes, I know my hair is friggin thick and long, but do you really have to pass me on like a baton and subsequently share me like a piece of meat?
And the sad thing is, I wasn't spared from this over at Focus. Initially KC was really nice and attentive as he blew dried my hair alone after giving it an initial wash, and cut away 3.5" of my horribly dried ends. 
But barely 1/4 into application of the straightener cream, he turned to the guy, who's in charge of sweeping the floor, for help. 

Err, okay lor....

After that, I pretty much got stuck with the sweep apprentice, even for hair wash, flat ironing, application of neutraliser, and the pear shine treatment. KC left me in his hands midway through flat-ironing to tend to another walk-in customer and only came back for a brief moment to tell him what to do with the neutraliser. 

Oh well, at least the apprentice didn't cut my hair, eh? 

I've tried Loreal Rebonding and Shideido Crystallizing Straight Rebonding before. And if you think Shiseido gives you soft and smooth enough rebonded hair, wait till you try Mucota Rebonding. Loreal obviously was the worst of the lot, giving me wiry straight wig-like hair.

Here's how my hair look, 1 day after the rebonding session. 
My hair obviously was pretty flat and straight, soft and flowy (because there was wind in my hair, duh!). 

 And here's how my hair look 2 to 3 weeks after the rebonding session. It has gained some volume after my daily washes (expected as my hair is stubbornly curly), and developed some natural waves (especially at the fringe area) to frame my face/glasses.
I really like how it turns out to give me naturally bouncy, straight looking hair, rather than an obviously rebonded one.

Giving you an idea of how unnaturally straight my hair was after Loreal rebonding. See that turf of wire-straight fringe that extended (as a structurally trained engineer, I'm really tempted to describe it as cantilever but I don't think this joke will be well received here) over my glasses frame and basically just went on sticking out from the side of my face because it's not soft enough to droop down?
*rofl*

For more details on Focus Hairdressing, visit their FB page HERE
For my review of their latest Mucota Omega Oil Therapy, click HERE

Till then,
Mia

Monday, 23 June 2014

Headless Pimple Tips: Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque and Hiruscar Post Acne!

I've always suffered from constant clogged pores that requires monthly (or if I really can't squeeze out time, it'll be bi-monthly) visits to Tiffany (my trusty home facial therapist!), and blemishes during the time of the month. But recently, perhaps due to the crazy weather, I've been developing these friggin' annoyingly big headless pimples on my cheeks, consecutively. 
Yeah, FML. They stay as this huge hideous bump on my face for weeks, and no amount of concealer can ever cover them up.
URGH!

But then, I found a way to get rid of them quick!

Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque!

Now, you must already be familiar with this wash off mask, no? If not, do search for it on youtube and you can find videos after videos of raves about this product. I'll use this on my entire face once in a while and it always leave my skin feeling thoroughly cleanse and smoother to the touch.
But of course, we're not using it as a 15 minutes wash off mask for those pesky headless pimples.
We'll leave a generously glob (I'll usually apply using a cotten swab but you can use cleansed finger too) of this product directly over the headless pimple (do not rub them in, I doubt you can get your skin to absorb in anyway) and leave them on overnight while you sleep.
I'll usually apply this over my usual toner, serum, night cream routine, and excluding the acne treatment on these pimples whereby the mask is supposed to go on. And by the next morning, I'll usually find the pimple(s) visibly smaller.
And I'll repeat the same routine the same night, and it will take an average of 3 nights consecutively (but also depends on the size of the pimple) to reduce the once hideously 3D pimple into a dried up scab.

Now comes the gross part.
 You break/tear the scab.

Yeah, I know. Disgusting crap. But what to do? We have to get the pus out in order for this annoying bugger to heal and go away. So go ahead and break the scab (if you're worried over scarring then perhaps, just do a minute opening for the pus to come out) and extract out all the disgusting pus inside.
Do take note that how you tear the scab and how you extract/squeeze out the pus will contribute to permanent scarring if you're not careful, so proceed with care and caution!

And upon draining out all the pus, I usually do a quick cleaning of the wound and apply on a generous blob of aloe vera gel. I've used Fruit of the Earth's, Nature Republic's and also Jorubi's and they all pretty much work the same. As long as it's AVG, it'll do the trick.
At this time whereby the extracted pimple is very much an open wound, I wouldn't recommend applying acne treatment (I'm using BP, that's why) directly over it because:
1. It'll hurt like a b*tch
2. I read somewhere that applying BP on popped pimple promote scarring

And by the next morning after the AVG treatment, the pimple should have healed into an angry red (but totally flatten, for the pus should be thoroughly extracted) pimple mark.

And here's where my other life saviour comes into the picture, literally. :)

Yes, it's the (still pretty) new product launched by Hiruscar, specially formulated to target pimple scars (depressions) and marks (discolourations).
It works like a miracle for me in terms of marks, but not so well for scars.
I'll apply this directly over the closed wound of the extracted headless pimple, after toner, serum and BP treatment but before my night cream.
The product smells like pounded chili padi and leaves a sticky film that takes a while to be fully absorbed, so I wouldn't recommend that you use it underneath your make up in the morning, even though the product information states that you can.
And after 3 of my headless pimple 'treatment sessions', I can roughly estimate that it'll take 3 days to lighten the angry deep red marks into a lighter red that's easily concealed by concealer, and subequently up to 7 days to reduce it to just a faint discolouration or even revert your skin condition to pre-pimple state.
Previously, without Hiruscar, it'll take me weeks to bade goodbye to these pimple marks, no joke.

And of course, our skin are all different and we react different to products. Do note that this method might work like a miracle cure for me, but it might not go down the same way for you.
But if you're really at your wits end with endless headless pimples issue, why not give this method a go?

Till then,
Mia

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Mia's Review: Lady M

It was a pretty impromptu visit as I was craving sweet treats after my gym session, and I basically googled up cafes & bakeries in Marina Square (since I'm heading there with T) and Lady M just caught my attention. I love how the cafe is so bright and white (clean) and very spacious.

My usual favourite of Cafe Mocha.
As you can see at the bottom of the mug, there is a generous amount of chocolate added in so the chocolate taste is pretty rich and gave the mocha a very sweet taste. Too sweet for me.

 Banana Mille Feuille
A gorgeous composition of flaky, golden puff pastry, whipped cream kissed with just a touch of triple sec, layers of vanilla sponge cake and perfectly ripe bananas.
-credits to Lady M-

And of course, it tasted just as delicious as it sounds. However, too much whipped cream for my liking. Like, way too much! Compare the thickness of the yellow (vanilla sponge cake) to the white (whipped cream)! There's even times I ate nothing but just whipped cream with flakes of puff pastry. The generous topping of puff pastry flakes also made this yummy cake a pretty messy eat. Oh well, the taste is pretty awesome but the overall texture is kind of lacking IMO.
I'll prefer more sponge, less cream.

Checkers Board
(photo bombed by a partially eaten BMF)
Striking black and white in appearance, our popular Checkers Cake weaves together a precise and tender checkerboard of vanilla and chocolate sponge cake. The lightest fresh whipped cream comes tucked between the squares, all outfitted in a silky dark chocolate ganache.
-credits to Lady M-

And obviously it wouldn't be that striking a black and white when served on your plate. First impression and I was pretty disappointed because the cake really looked kind of ruined. I had the picture of this in my mind as I ordered this cake.

But what came to my table was far from it. Even the outer layer of chocolate ganache wasn't evenly coated. Mehhhhh....
But taste wise, it was really good! The sponge cake was soft and fluffy, the whipped cream within kept to bare minimum in order to stick the checkers together, and the chocolate ganache was so rich, it was simply decadent.

And with merely 2 cakes out of the so many tried, I'll definitely be returning to Lady M some other time for more yummy sweet treats.

Miroir Caramel and Cateau au Chocolat, I'm watching you. :)

Till then,
Mia

Friday, 6 June 2014

Mia's Review: Keisuke Tonkotsu King Ramen

Once again, it's my favourite food. Japanese Ramen! :) 
This shall be a review of my... 2nd visit to Keisuke Tonkotsu Ramen located at Orchid Hotel, which is within walking distance from Tanjong Pagar MRT station exit A. They do have a mid-day break time, which I'm guessing is between 3-ish pm to 6pm. But you may start queuing as early as 5:30pm, for when we got there at about 5:45pm on a weekday, we were 3rd in line. 
One reason why the queue is (almost) everlasting is because the ramen shop is really, truly, extremely small.


The interior is decorated with poster-plastered walls like so and that's the entire width of the shop, really. Just enough to place 3 sets of tables across. There's another line of table right behind us, and then another 1 or 2 near the entrance and that's it. But fret not, for the queue does move moderately quickly as patrons will never hog the table to chit-chat, it's really the last place one will ever want to chillax over a bowl of ramen. So everyone is basically a eat and go. 

Right in queue, you will be handed the order sheet to make your order first before giving it to the greeter/server located at the entrance. My advice, go for NO oil and light. Less oil is not good enough, remember, NO oil. :)

Upon seated, you shall find 3 items set on your table. One grinder filled with white and black sesame seeds for every seat, one whole basket of hard boiled eggs (they're free flow, yes!), one tub of marinated bean sprouts. The marinated bean sprouts is really good! I'm never a fan of bean sprouts, but for these, I'll gladly go for seconds! 
As for the sesame seeds, you grind them down as fine as you'll like them to be and later on add them to your ramen for extra fragrance. :)


 And here's my red ramen, before and after mixing. In case you're wondering, the 'red' refers to rayu (chilli oil). There's also a black ramen option, which I believe is pepper. 

I first tried Keisuke last year and I checked less oil and light flavour then, it was served with a thick layer of oil over the broth and I was pretty grossed out even before I started eating. Needless to say, I didn't enjoy it at all. But this time, no oil seem to have done the trick. I actually found my ramen pretty yummy. :)
However, as I'm still a sapporo miso ramen lover, it still failed to top my list of favourite ramen in SG.

Even though Keisuke Tonkotsu is a famous Tokyo ramen chain, I find that their noodles resembles more of a Hakata/Kyushu ramen instead of the typical Tokyo style ramen with thin curly noodles and shoyu based broth. The broth is obviously a milky white pork bone broth, and the noodles relatively thin, straight and hard.

Lastly, the most important factor of a ramen. The ajitama (flavoured egg). As you can see, their egg somehow pales in comparison to other chains like Santouka, Ippudo and Marutama, which serves ajitama with yummy runny yolk and whites just done it jiggles.
For Keisuke, the egg is indeed well flavoured, but obviously overcooked.

For more information, visit their FB page HERE

Till then,
Mia

Monday, 2 June 2014

Mia's Travel Log: Final Day in Bali - Sang Spa 2, Babi Guling, and Oleh Oleh

As brought up in my Day 3 post, we didn't get to enjoy our spa as everywhere in Kuta was fully booked. Fortunately, when we're back at Matahari Cottages, the staff helped to booked slots for 3 of us at Sang Spa at 930am, which is located just a 5 to 10 minutes walk from our accommodation.



Haha, I can't resist snapping pictures of doggies! 

And here it is! Sang Spa 2! I'm guessing the '2' meant there's other Sang Spa branches, for a google search on Sang Spa generated even a Sang Spa 3 in the result.



 And it's actually a pretty long walk in from the street, surrounded by lush greenery...

To their main reception area, which is pretty well done up! We were given a booklet to read through, which states all of their packages and what it comprises of, and to choose our treatment for the day. KK and ZH both chose the same sets of massage packages and hence got a couple room, while I opted for a 2 hr 45 mins Balinese Massage plus Full Body Scrub (I chose green tea scrub out of the many scrub flavours) but requested that they cut the massage time from 1 hr to 30 minutes. Extremely ticklish and wishes to cut the torture. Heh!
I couldn't really remember the original price of the full package, probably RP 240, 000 or more, but I was charged RP 200, 000 due to the decrease in massage time.

And here's my single room, equipped with a side table and rack (to place all my belongings), a shower area and a pretty big (but short) bath tub. I was then handed a pair of disposable underwear and spa gown and asked to change into them.
The masseur soon came in after I've changed and started the 30 minutes massage, which was much better than I expected it to be. For those 'hardcore' massage-lovers, I bet you'll find it too soft and 'no kick'. But for me, who's both ticklish and with body made of tofu, the massage turned out surprisingly well. The masseur also constantly checked by asking if everything was okay. :)
After the massage, she left me in the room for a while before returning with the scrub, which was pretty different from those body scrubs I've tried elsewhere (which has pretty long scrubbing time). The scrub was really liquidy and she slathered them all over my body in one shot and left me lying in the bed for a while before 'scrubbing' them down in a minute or two.
Come to think of it, it resembles those facial exfoliating product whereby we apply it onto our faces and wait for 30 seconds or so, before rubbing our face in circles to rub off the dead skin cells and such.
I guess this was how it works, for when ZH and KK saw me after the spa, they both commented that I've turned visibly fairer and my skin was really smoother to the touch.
Anyhow, after the scrub, the masseur asked that I proceed to the shower area to wash away the bits and scraps of the scrub with the shower gel and then use the yoghurt to 'wash down' the skin (which she helped me with the back) before entering the flower bath. The yoghurt smelt just like, well... soured milk. Not pleasant at all, but it did its job by giving me fair and smooth skin, so heck about that smell for it'll be masked by the flower bath anyway.
And after the yoghurt shower, I was asked to enter the flower bath, filled with many rose petals and smelling like a rose garden, and relax for 20 minutes while she served me a plate of fruits and hot tea.
And after all that, I was done! Had to wait about 15 minutes for ZH and KK, for they only had 1 shower facility in the couple room and had to 'queue up'.
After we bid the friendly staff of Sang Spa 2 goodbye, we met up with Made back at Matahari Cottages, checked out and headed off for lunch. And our final meal in Bali? I'm guessing you already have an idea, how can you not have Babi Guling in Bali, right?
However, instead of bringing us to Ibu Oka, Made decided to bring us to their local road side stall to try out the true local taste, for according to him, Ibu Oka has tweaked the taste to suit foreigners more.

And so here we are, at a very local Babi Guling eating place nestled by the road in Ubud.


And you can't really say that the interior is humble looking, for it's covered by awesomely pretty Balinese paintings!
BTW, cheap thrill for the day. The 'antique' glass bottle soft drinks!

We were served the soup first, which was cooked with pork ribs and banana tree trunk. The soup is very salty (no go without rice, people!) and rather peppery. Very tasty when coupled with big mouthful of plain rice, but on its own. I prefer not go. Really, really too salty. The banana trunk (or stem) is pretty much tasteless on its own, but with a little bit of bitter after taste and very crunchy. Kind of reminded me of lotus root in a way...


The dish came in the form of a form of our local 'chye prng', served not only with Babi Guling, but also other dishes like the long beans, fried pig skin, and chicken satay.
And we couldn't get enough of the Babi Guling! The skin was indeed roasted till crispy (you will sound like you're biting through a cracker) and very flavourful and the meat was so tender we all thought we're served chicken!

And after lunch, we hopped onto Made's car again and headed to Oleh Oleh, which is just 5 minutes away from the airport.
My verdict, get ALL your apparels at the market places once you see them, people! Do not wait till Oleh Oleh just to avoid haggling prices. The choices of apparels (all those pretty sun dresses we say at the market places T.T) were truly disappointing, and all 3 of us just couldn't find any dress we are okay with buying. Other than that, Oleh Oleh will be a good place to get snacks (the dried banana chips were so good, omg!), those wood carving ornaments, footwears (sandals for SGD $2!), bags, clutches, scented candles, soaps, body scrubs and lotions, hair and other accessories and etc. Just NOT the clothings, yes.

And yup, after getting our bags of purchase, we got onto Made's car one last time and headed for the airport.
Time to say goodbye to both Made and Bali. :(
Made was really nice to give us a discount (shan't say how much) for the last day, but we still gave him an extra amount for the awesome service he has rendered us for the past 4D3N in Bali. For Made's contacts, please visit my Day 1 post.

And just a small rant plus a small scare at the airport. After checking in our luggage, we were told that the boarding gate hasn't been confirmed and it shall be broadcasted once confirmed, at least 30 minutes before boarding time. And so, we conveniently forgot that we still had to clear the Bali customs, and started chillaxing at the benches located at the side of the check in counter and started surfing net and etc while on the airport wifi.
Then came the big big frown. It's barely 1 hr to our flight and our boarding gate is still a big question mark. And then someone said, "We should go in first."
And so we gathered our hand luggage and trudged in, to find this horrible queue that goes 2 way at the custom! Shucks!
And guess what, we decided to make a left turn at the split and obviously, it wasn't the right turn. No puns intended.
I really have no idea how they work, but these 2 queues obviously were equally long, yet the right queue led to 3 open counters yet our left queue was tended by just 1 counter, with custom officers coming by to the closed counter to flip the papers around and then leave, giving us false hope of having more counters opened to ease up the queue.
The people in our line were sooooooo frustrated and this Asian lady in the zigzag line behind us (meaning 1 turn of the line away from us) was so annoyed she just yelled at her Caucasian partner, who obviously had cleared custom via the right queue, "THEY ONLY OPEN UP 1 FUCKING COUNTER FOR THIS LINE. THIS IS SO FUCKING RETARDED!"
And of course, she got her partner to go ahead to the boarding gate and I really hope she made it in the end.
Anyway, while in queue and just 30 minutes away from our flight and 10 minutes before boarding gate closes, our boarding gate is announced. And at 5 minutes before gate closes, the 3 of us finally cleared custom and off we sprinted (me with a heavy backpack and a heavy hand luggage T.T) to our boarding gate, which was so friggin far away.
And as if our insect-attack at Matahari Cottages wasn't enough, we had a fluttering dragonfly on board the airplane shuttle with us! *sigh*

Nevertheless, these 4D3N was still made extremely fun and enjoyable with Made and Bali has definitely made my re-visit list. Well, not a beach person but I guess I should give Kuta and Seminyak a shot, yeah? :)

Till then,
Mia
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