Friday, May 29, 2015

Cookwerx by Chef Taj

Eversince I joined this FB group: Halal Cafe & Restaurants in Singapore, I've been very much enticed to try at least one of the recommended restaurants/eateries/cafes.

One of the oft-mentioned place is Cookwerx by Chef Taj, located at East Village (also known as the mini Halal food hub). Have you ANY idea, just how many Halal restaurants, cafes, shops there are at East Village?!

First and foremost, I have to warn you that this is more of an eatery and not a full-fledged restaurant. Seats are minimal and can accomodate less than 30pax at most.  But still within air-conditioned setting. You make your order at the counter, choose your drinks and wait for your food to be served.

You can clearly see the chef at work, grilling/ frying away.

The setting

Menu board

Fave soda

With all that meat coming, something tangy will be nice.

Cajun fries - $3.80

Spiced fries, with crispy, herby crumbs. Makes for a great munch while waiting for food to arrive. There are other sides available like fellow spuds: Jacket potato and garlic mash, both $3.80 ea.

Coleslaw is $3.

Seasonal salad

Mixed salad greens, avocado, cherry tomato & 'daily premium topping' with balsamic vinaigrette.

That day, the premium topping are grilled salmon flakes! Whoa! Premium, alright.


The server then came by to serve us the avocado on a separate platter. I think they unintentionally left it out.

Now, this hearty salad looks more complete. One heck of a salad, this is. It's pretty much a meal on its own. And seeing that the 'premium topping' seems to vary daily, I guess, it will be a nice surprise?

Or you can always enquire before ordering. ;-)

Oven-baked Boneless Chicken Leg - $9.90

With homemade sauce and jacket potato. My colleague's order.

Simply put, chicken chop with darn good mushroom sauce. The jacket potato reminds me a lot like the one served at Eatzi Restaurant.

Baked Salmon Fillet - $14.90

With seasonal vegetables and garlic mash potato. 

The 'seasonal vegetables' here was some yummy ratatouille ( a traditional French dish, consisting of mixed cuts of veggies). And the sauce was some tangy cream sauce which paired well with the (nicely seared) salmon.

Beef Short Ribs - $29.90

Lo and behold, my order. The whole time before getting there, I was determined to get the Tender Roast Spare Ribs of Lamb with pineapple sauce ($19.90). I used to love the ones served at Charcos so I wanna see how the one here compares.

However, when I enquire at the counter, I was told that they were not quite ready at that lunch hour. I was recommended the Beef Short Ribs, instead.

It was feeling like a, "I-want-to-eat-lamb' kind of day and I was contemplating another 'Today's Special' instead: the Lamb Shank with Pasta ($26.90).

Then again, the Beef Short Ribs was a chef's recommendation. Chefs should know their stuff better shouldn't they? So I put my trust and ordered just that.

2nd view

So when the plate was served to me, I was like, "Are you kidding me?!

That was a huge chunk of meat! Am I eating this alone?!

The hunk of meat was served with side salad & pineapple slice, ratatouille, french fries and a splash of their homemade BBQ sauce.

I'm a big fan of bbq sauce and this one here is just sooooo delish! Meat was really, really tender. Fall-off-the bone kind. At some parts, I just flake away the meat with my fork.

And I love their ratatouille too. I'm a big veggie fan so having both cooked and raw veggies on my plate can just make me squeal with joy. I would prefer the jacket potato over the fries, here, but then again, that's just my preference.

I enjoyed this so much, my plate was clean in the end.


Yeap. Almost licked it clean. Thankfully my pride held me back.

Le Bone

The chef spotted me posing like this. And this pic end up on their FB page too. Pfft. 

I really enjoy dining there. Service is fast and friendly. And food is REALLY good. Carnivores should enjoy themselves… Non-fans of grilled meat, well you can always try their spring chicken. Was told that is good, too.

Plus, you can easily hunt down for Halal desserts within East Village, post meal. There are A LOT of option for that, there. No joke.

Cookwerx by Chef Taj
430 Upper Changi Rd
#01-60, East Village (Simpang Bedok),
Singapore 487048

Tel: 6702 1360

Their FB HERE.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Tuckshop Express

I want to start by saying that social network (or the Internet, in general) has been pretty awesome for Muslim foodies in SG.

For the longest time, we've been calling for Subway to go Halal and someone finally took the initiative and create a Halal sandwich joint, Subway-style. It start with Which? Sandwich, followed by Toasties and now, Watsub.

And then there's this:

Menu board

Even though I went to Paya Lebar Square like once a week for lunch, I never did discover this shop. Even when I know it exist. Turns out it's tucked away outside. Ish.

This place sells sandwiches, custom salads, chicken franks, malay kuehs and even teh tarik. Too bad it's more of a takeaway food shop.

Sandwich being prepared

Taken from my instagram. Do you see the veggies already piled high?? I watched his assembly of my sandwich with glee.

The person manning the shop at that time sounds and looks like a Malaysian. Friendly chap.

I chose the Turkey sandwich and he asked for my choice of bread. It was already evening and only 2 varieties are left. The French loaf and the sesame loaf. I chose the latter.

He then asked if I want any add-on. I asked if there's cheese in my sandwich. Upon hearing, "No," I asked to add cheese. He asked which cheese I would prefer. There's cheddar and feta.

Cheddar cost $1 (2 slices, mind you) and feta will be additional $1.50. Excited to hear an exotic option, I chose the latter. The menu board also showed blue cheese at $2.50 but I doubt it's available then.

He proceed to take out a tub of feta cheese and literally slathered on a thick layer. Whoa! 

He then ask, "Veggies?" I replied, "ALL."


I asked if there's anything spicy. So mayo and chilli sauce it is. Nothing fancy.

And then, as if on a second thought, he told me that he'll include the black pepper sauce too, since I want it spicy.

More sauces? Bring it on, I say!

The outcome:

Turkey sandwich

Ratio of meat to veggie is like 1:5 but I like it that way. Refreshing and… erm, less guilt?

3 large slices of Turkey bologna is enough for me, thanyouverymuch. And the black pepper sauce works! I love it. That plus chili sauce plus mayo? Like Ramly burger already. Sans egg. And more veggies.

Bread's soft and despite the 1hr journey to home, still not soggy (despite the amount of saucesss).

Ohhh, and that feta cheese. Lovely, creamy but a wee bit salty. Maybe because he was a tad generous with it.

All in all, I enjoy this enough to warrant another visit.

Tuckshop Express
60 Paya Lebar Road
Paya Lebar Square
#01-48 (Near McD)
Singapore 409051

Kookie Krumbz

So much for wanting Famous Amos to be Halal… now someone's opened up something similar. And that someone is a Muslim! Yay, halal handmade cookie shop, finally!

Located in East Village, where halal food is available in abundance; you need to walk in all the way to where Cold storage is. Then you'll spot it (provided you're lucky enough to sniff your way to the shop).

Flavour wall


6 varieties. Not bad…

Top left (clockwise) is the Chocolate3x, The Berry White, Rouge (aka Red Velvet), Nutter Butter, Chip Rockin' On! & Nuts N Maple.

Quirky, fun-sounding names.


Reasonable pricing.

Chosen flavour 01

I just had to! I love ANYTHING peanut butter! Plus, peanut butter and chocolate? Sweet and salty…?

…Just take my money already!

I seriously can't stop nibbling on this.

Chosen flavour 02

It's a flavour similar to the one I always get from Famous Amos. The 'chao tar' cookies.

Not sure if it's the white chocolate chips but this one comes off as a wee bit sweet for my tastebuds... Otherwise, it's nice!

My colleagues also got The Berry White (rolled oats, cranberries, white chocolate cookie dough), Rouge (Red velvet cookie dough, white chocolate chips) & Nuts N Maple (maple-soaked hazelnuts, maple infused cookie dough) and let me have a piece to try.

Berry White has a clean taste. Maybe because of its healthier ingredients? Suitable for oats cookies fans.

Rouge is delish! Simply said, red velvet fans should have a go at this.

As a fan of maple syrup, I also love the taste of Nuts N Maple. It helps that they use real maple syrup and not maple-flavoured ones (like a certain fast-food company).

Their packaging is according to the flavour we get and includes a ziploc feature, which is a HUGE plus. Such a thoughful idea! No need to fumble around to check what flavour is inside and cookies remain fresher for longer!


It seem that they also sell ice-cream. But when we came by that day, the ice-creams have almost run out.

Ice-cream flvours.

Sounds delish! I think they also serve milkshakes.

Check out their WEBSITE to see more flavours.

430 Upper Changi Road
East Village
S'pore 487048

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Blink Burgers

It was a spontaneous meet-up with my old-time pal and her family of four. Her hubby suggested, "…this burger place at Bedok North…"

I knew right away that I'm finally getting my hand on these juicy burgers!

Our order

As they say, "Putting knives thru' burgers on a wooden plate…" Whoa, fierce!

But watch it when you have small kids around. Heh. Useful when you want to split the burgers for sharing, though.

Crispy wings

Glad to see this on the menu. Kids LOVE this! But availability is while stocks last.
I was worried when they asked another, "Are the wings still available…?" when we made our order.

Tasty, crispy batter outside and juicy chicken meat inside. Shiok!

Them burgers (and fries)

Fries are the thick-cut type and lightly seasoned. They have sweet potato fries, too. I heard they're good (should have tried!).

You can also opt for black charcoal bun for your burger, instead of the regular sesame-seed ones.

Angels & Demons

Handmade beef patty, cheddar cheese, sunny-side-up egg, bacon, caramelised onions & chipotle mayo.

Suitable for those with 'manly' tastes. This is sooo much a 'guy' kind of burger!

The Umami 2.0

Handmade beef patty, sauteed mushrooms, cheese, spicy tomato and crispy onion rings.

This burger has many levels of textures and tastes. Totally right up my alley.

Last look

Sampling. We quartered each burger to share (that's why the knife totally come in handy).

You can also check out their menu below:

PS: As a word of caution, I won't recommend that you come on Tuesday as the bustling eating house appeared like a ghost town on that day.


Apparently most of they stall take their break on Tuesdays. The only stalls open are Blink Burgers, Hawa Seafood (the proprietor) and the drinks stall.

Looking forward to try SB Wings and the Green Kebab!

Rojak stall also closed

I heard this stall got pretty good reviews. Too bad we can't try it that day….

Blink Burgers
Block 537, Bedok North Street 3

Opening Hours: From 5pm

Monday, March 30, 2015

Nur Indah Padang Cuisine

Sunday morning and I joined my in-laws for breakfast at Changi Village. We decide to forgo the usual Indian food-Nasi lemak affair and go for something different. That's when we came upon this shop. Maybe we've always overlooked it or maybe it's newly opened but we eventually got curious.

Early in the morning and already soooo many dishes on display!

I saw the 'Mee Rebus Tulang' on the signage outside, so I thought of getting it. Turns out others want to try the 'Nasi Ambeng' (white rice accompanied by various dishes and served on a round tray, meant to be shared). This Nasi Ambeng is the food trend amongst the Malay community, nowadays.

My mum-in-law point out that they are the same people behind the restaurant at level 3 of Joo Chiat Complex, that serve a buffet of  interesting Kampung-style dishes.

I take a look at the array of dishes inside and point out what I might want. Later, do I know that the 'Nasi Ambeng' set already has a fixed array of dishes included in the mix. Aww, shucks…!


Inside, they have this tiny kiosk with a decent variety of salad greens. At $1.50 per plate, it's pretty value-for-money, especially when we make the selection ourself.

Also available are various chilli sauces in jars. Stuff like red & green sambal belado, sambal belacan etc.

Nasi Ambeng for 4 pax

The portion is seriously scary…

Nasi Ambeng for 2 pax

I shared this with my mum-in-law & helper. The amount of dishes drive me crazy! I can't decide which ones I wanna eat at any one bite. Too overwhelming!

And that fried yellow mee, really…?! Reminds me of the Nasi Rames served in an Indonesian eatery here.

Clockwise from top: Mee goreng (Fried yellow noodles), ayam lemak cili api, bagedil, ikan kering (fried dried, salted fish), beef rendang, urap (keluban), terung sambal lado (steamed brinjal w/ belado chilli), stewed beef lungs (paru), sambal ikan bilis & petai), sambal belacan, sambal goreng and serunding in the centre.

The small bowl is the gravy for the Ayam lemak cili api.

All the dishes are ok but the stewed beef lungs, it taste weird. Maybe because I have never eaten it before so I find it strange. The meat was really soft and taste a bit sweet. I can also taste a hint of spices but that's it. Hmm… whatever happened to the gool ol' 'paru goreng kunyit' (lungs fried w/ tumeric)?

All in all, I feel that Nasi Ambeng is way overrated. Why? Because this tray that's meant to serve 2 cost almost $25 or so…? We can always buy dishes of OUR choice, put on a tray/large platter with 2-3 portions of rice and I betcha' it will cost much less. Seriously.

Ok, maybe I'm just miffed that I didn't get my 'siput sedut' (stewed sea snails) because everyone's just too full for anything else…

Nur Indah Padang Cuisine
Blk 5, Changi Village Road #01-2013
Changi, Singapore

Monday, February 16, 2015

Fika Swedish Cafe & Bistro ~ One KM Mall

A spontaneous company lunch trip where we suggest this latest branch of Fika Swedish Cafe & Bistro at the newly opened One KM Mall.

Layout is spacious and it was quiet on weekday lunch.

2 of us opted for the lunch set which includes the soup of the day, Panbiff (home-made beef patties with mashed potato & lingonberry jam) as their mains and dessert of the day.

Svensa crepes

My female boss's order. She wanted to try their crepes and she settled for a hot, savoury one. Grilla kyckling med ost, tomate och krasse, which translates to: 'Grilled chicken with cheese, sesame mayo and tomatoes, topped with alfalfa'.

The crepe on its own is pretty good actually. Crispy outside, soft inside and the savoury filling is really tasty! The other types of hot crepes are roast beef and a vegan version of mushroom with leek and cheese.

Chilled crepes come with seafood fillings like smoked salmon or skagen (shrimps in dill & mayo topped with roe). Sounds good, doesn't it?

Pytt i Panna

Sauteed diced beef, potatoes and onions and topped with a sunny-side-up egg and pickled red beet on the side.

This dish is pretty simple, yet flavourful. But the beef cubes were a tad overcooked, making them slightly dry.

Fiskarens pasta combo med hummer

Another colleague's choice of 'Fisherman's pasta combo with lobster'. Creamy pasta with abundant seafood, including a lobster. Who can resist?

This version is a large portion meant for (at least) 2 persons. There's a single portion version, sans lobster though.


I've always used this name in the context of  'a large mixture of many different things' but this is the first time that I actually encountered a REAL smorgasbord.

And Wow, was that impressive!

Fika's version of smorgasbord include:

Cold items on right (from top) - side salad, crisp rye bread & cheese, turkey ham, Surströmming (pickled herring), skagen and smoked salmon w/ capers.

Hot items on left (from top) - Swedish meatballs w/ lingonberry jam, grilled chicken w/ creamy whole grain mustard sauce, Black Angus sirloin served on a bed of mash and asparagus wrapped w/ bacon and homemade cream sauce.

This really is an awesome way to sample and share their food. Everyone loved the meatballs (wayyy better than Ikea, they say). Grilled chicken was good but the beef was also a tad over-cooked (again).

I personally love the cold portion, especially the pickled herring. It really is an acquired taste because it's pretty fishy (being pickled raw fish and all).

All in all, it's been a satisfying, if not hearty lunch. Will definitely come back for more. This time, I'm gunning for them meatballs!

Fika Swedish Cafe & Bistro
11 Tanjong Katong Road
One KM Mall

Tel: 65  6702 2456
Their website HERE.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Dapur Penyet @ City Plaza

My colleagues and I now have another favourite Ayam Penyet place for lunch. We used to troop down to Ayam Penyet Ria at Bedok Point but we've stopped since they moved to Bedok Mall.

We were planning to have some fried chicken at Arnold's in City Plaza one day, when we saw a poster in the lift, advertising this new restaurant called Dapur Penyet. There were pictures of food items in their menu and needless to say, we were taken in.

Below are a compilation of pictures from our many trips there; from poor quality images to better ones (after I changed phones).

Counter & menuboard

I love it when restaurants have pictures of their food on the menu boards. Sometimes, you just need to see the pictures to decide what to order. Or you want to know how some dishes actually look like. Especially when you're fickle.


Bright, spacious and contemporary.


The ever popular 'Soda Gembira' (Happy soda)-made with Strawberry syrup+condensed milk+carbonated drink (eg. Sprite/7up).

I would advise getting something milky to help ease the spicy heat that might have built-up at the end of the meal.

3-Layer Tea

I got adventurous and tried this new drink on the menu. It didn't cross my mind that this is like tea latte sweetened with… palm sugar (gula melaka).

…It really is an acquired taste.

Keropok & condiments

A bit of warning here: The sambal terasi (prawn-paste chilli) is SPICY…! The kind that makes you hiss and your tongue to sizzle kind of spicy. Apparently, they stick to the original recipe and the folks in Indonesia sure like it hot. In fact, almost all the ingredients are imported from the motherland.

The black sauce in the middle is the dark soy sauce (the thick, sticky kind). Something I like to mix with the sambal terasi because it adds flavour and helps reduce the heat.

The black sauce with things floating in it, is a menace. It's just so fun to dip the keropok in it because they go so well together. But the thing is, those things floating on the surface are actually chilli seeds. And the heat builds up over time when you least expect it; given the deceptively sweet taste of the sauce. Soon after… BUUURRRNNNNN…!

Sup Buntut

Oxtail soup. My male colleague's favourite order. Pretty flavourful with fall-off-the-bone tender meat.

The thing about this place is that they serve a small potion of soup with every order of mains so it's not really essential to order a separate bowl of soup (unlike other restaurants).

Sate Ayam

Finally found another place selling Indonesian-style sate! I miss the ones that I used to get from Waroeng Penyet.

Juicy, skewered chicken meat doused with spicy peanut sauce, then drizzled with dark/sweet soy sauce and sprinkled with fried shallots. If only they use mutton (goat), just like in Indonesia. Shiiiok!

Bakso Penyet

A side order to share. This usually comes with plain rice but we request to omit it.

Ayam Penyet

My colleague, the picky eater; he loves their version. And unlike the usually suspects of tahu-tempe-kangkong-kobis for the sides, here there are 2 generously-sized tofu, a slice of cucumber and blanched cabbage.

I read an ARTICLE (in Malay) on Berita Harian and it was said that the chicken is boiled with spices and tumeric for 2 hours before being deep-fried. Guess that explains why the flavours permeate into the meat so well.

Ayam Sambal Hijau

Fried chicken with green chilli. This and another main- Ayam Balado were dishes that hail from Padang region, in Sumatera. The balado chilli has a salty-tangy flavour and is something common in the Minang cuisine.


Ayam Bakar

This grilled chicken dish has its origins in Solo, Central Java. Tender grilled chicken that has soaked up the sweet and savoury flavours of the sauce.

I guess the chicken has been marinated prior to grilling?

Ikan Bakar

The fish tasted like it's been soaked in the same sauce as the chicken above. I don't know how long it's been marinated but the pomfret taste almost like it's been… pickled.

Ikan Penyet

The fried pomfret's meat also has some flavour too. Maybe it's also been boiled or marinated?

I've also tried their beef options; both the Empal Penyet and Empal Bakar. MAybe I'm someone who loves her red meat but these 2 are my favourite dishes here. The sauce goes REALLY well with the beef.

Next stop: The Iga Bakar (grilled beef ribs).

Sample of their menu (for M'sian market, but it's similar)

Dapur Penyet
810 Geylang Road,
#01-43 City Plaza
Singapore 409286

Other locations are at: 
Baghdad Street, Clementi Mall, Tiong Bahru Plaza, Lot1, City Square dan Hospital Universiti Nasional (NUH) New Medical Wing