Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pepes - Flavour of Indonesia

**I would like to apologise beforehand, for the poor picture quality. The lighting in the restaurant was pretty dim.**

My bosses brought us to Ngee Ann City Shopping Centre for a 'mission'. However, right before that, we'll be having lunch first.

We were pondering about where to lunch, before eventually settling on Sanur Indonesian Restaurant. My boss remarked about how she's not been been dining there for a long while. Myself meanwhile, wondered just how much the restaurant chain have changed; since my stint there as a waitress, during the period between post O-levels and pre-poly.

After all those conversations about the food there and all, imagine how crestfallen I was; to discover another restaurant occupying that space. Incidentally, it's also an Indonesian restaurant. Hmmm…

Then I recalled a jingle being played on local radio sometime back, advertising this very restaurant and how my boss was keen to try it out but never really got down to it.

We duly informed her of the change and she told us to go ahead anyway and place the orders. Here's where the fun starts…

There are only 2 pages on the menu. Less than 30 items. Some say- it's limited choices. I say- it makes choosing easier!

Nasi Kuning

Taste and texture-wise, it's very similar to Nasi Lemak, just that they added tumeric for colour. Sanur serve this too.

Sup Buntut

My colleague just can't resist ordering this favourite of his. Since 1 bowl is a single portion, we ordered 3 bowls to be shared amongst us 6.

Very light-tasting soup, with bite-sized carrots & potatoes plus similar-sized oxtail pieces for added consistency.


When we ordered this, we were informed beforehand by the server, that the gado-gado here is prepared differently than the norm. We ordered it anyway. I mean, how differently can one prepare gado-gado, right?

Wrong. The gado-gado here remind me more of Chinese fruit rojak. Sweet, spicy and TANGY. I recall the server mentioning, "...pineapples are also added.." I guess that's why.

It's not that this dish isn't nice. Just that we were so looking forward to a particular taste and when served differently, we were kinda' deterred. Just too bad. I like those crispy lotus chips served on the side, though.

Tahu Telur

The ubiquitous tahu telur. I had thought that this reminded me a lot like the ones from Sanur, save for the fact that this egg-tofu tower is slightly smaller and is squarish instead of cylindrical.

They were a tad stingy with the sauce, though. I expect there to be more of it served on the side but there was none. Pfft.

The tahu telur does feel and taste somewhat like the ones from Sanur. Hmmm…

Pepes Udang

Since we were dining at a restaurant called 'pepes', we can't help feeling obliged to order their namesake.

Generally 'pepes' is a type of food where stuff like veggie or meat (most commonly, fish) are covered with spicy sauce and wrapped in banana leaf. There are various methods of cooking- like steaming, grillling or even boiling.

We ordered the prawn version, since one of my boss is a slight Ichthoyophobic.

I don't know if the pepes here is grilled or what. The banana leaf that it's served on seemed too... clean. And there was hardly any of that smoky aroma that usually accompany a grilled dish. Could be that they prepare the food separately and simply serve on the banana leaf. And then topped with boiled tapioca shoots (this part is pretty authentic) and fresh lemon basil leaves .

I like the sauce. Slightly spicy and I can easily detect the various spices used to prepare it, like lemongrass, garlic etc.

I remember the only 'pepes' available at Sanur is made of fish and reminded me a lot like bigger, chunkier and pretty spicy 'otah'. Just who can forget the whole cili padi embedded inside?!

Ayam Goreng

My colleague chose this.

There were like 3-4 types of chicken dishes and he picked this, basically because it's fried. I'm curious about another chicken dish on the menu, 'Ayam Pop', supposedly chicken that's simmered in something nicely-spiced and topped with with cut chillies and chopped onions.

This fried chicken however, is so… meh. Not comparable to those crispy ayam penyet one can get right across the road at Lucky Plaza and also not as delish as the Ayam Goreng Istimewa from Desa Kartika. But it's decent.

Cumi Bakar

A perennial favourite with the folks at our company, somehow. We always order this whenever we detect it on the restaurant's menu.

I remember that the first time we had this grilled squid together was at Jimbaran, Bali. That famed, touristy stretch of seafood restaurants by the beach.

The cumi bakar here is prepared simply. Somewhat slathered with sweet soy sauce when grilled. And cooked just nice, with the meat staying tender to the bite.

We also ordered both their beef & chicken satay. While the beef one was so-so, the chicken satay were delicious! The peanut sauce however, seemed a little too thick and chunky for my liking.

Es Avocado

Now this tastes A LOT like the ones from Sanur. Seriously.

Chilled, thick avocado puree topped with mocha syrup. Not chocolate, not gula melaka but the bittersweet mocha syrup. Taste as mind-blowing as ever. Love it!


My colleague did suggest, that this restaurant could be under the same management as Sanur but I was apprehensive about the idea.

Despite the same concept, the food here is slightly different. Seems a lil' on the healthier side, if you ask me. Plus, the casual attire worn by the staff wasn't even reminiscent of the kebaya-clad waitress of Sanur's heydays.

As it turns out, yeah, this restaurant is owned by the wife of one of the brothers behind Sanur; so I heard. The brother who interviewed my good pal and me during our job interview that time; without us knowing that he's THE boss. We even had a pretty casual chat with him during that question & answer session. Imagine our horror when the ACTUAL manager told us, who he really is. *gulp*

The 'Mission'

Anyway, remember the 'mission' that brought our company down to Takashimaya? It's got to do with the above picture…

That was last week's news, of course. This week, well… lets just say that the mission has been 'accomplished'. :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

More from Charco's

Lamb ribs + (L-R) Caesar salad, Greek salad & tuna pasta

The wide array of salads here are the greatest draw for
me. I love my greens and these easily justify my cravings since there's a variety of them available.

I've tried almost all in their list and those above are my favourites. The chicken avocado & egg salads are pretty good too.

Rack of (lamb) ribs + 3 salads - $15.50

I don't know why but the lamb ribs that day seem a little different. Juicy and tender, yes. But bigger, too. And there's also a very apparent (read: pretty thick) fatty layer in between the meat and bone.

I don't remember the fatty layer being so thick the previous time. Maybe I got a different part from the whole rack of ribs?

Hmmm... I wonder if I can request for the smaller parts, next time?

It's such a chore, having to scrape these off when using the fork and knife, so I used my hands. My bro looked at me with much disgust (plus he hates lamb meat). He must think that I seemed pretty barbaric.

(Thankfully, my son sat between my hubby & me)...

1/4 Roast Meal - $8.80

My hubby's order. He chose the regular Charco's chicken (instead of the spicier, Portugese version), with the intention of sharing some with his son. Too bad the kiddo' had other ideas... Heh.

As always, the job of making the orders never fail to fall on my shoulders and he had no idea what set to choose so I randomly pick this. Besides, this seem like something different.

I dare say, those roasted potato cubes taste pretty good! Better than the fries. In my opinion, that is.

Beef ribs creme meal

When this plate arrived at the table, I was like, "Whoa! Flintstones…!"

I can't help it. Those hunks of meat just seem soo... Brontosaurus. Ok, I don't know why that particular dinosaur name came to mind but yeah, you get the idea.

My mum had wanted these ribs with fries but that set doesn't exist, actually. So I chose this Creme Potato side instead. The friendly guy at the counter (looks like the proprietor) suggested that I switch the peas with fries.

I was like, "Can, ah?" And he replied, "Why not?"


Creme potato is basically baked scallop potato with cream sauce (sans the cheese topping, though).

I would like to advice those not-so-carnivorous people out there to simply share these humungous ribs. Doesn't help that the beef meat is pretty lean. It gets a little tiring to chew and this is just so... beefy. Well, enough said.

When I first had a bite, my thought flew to: Biryani. I tell you, these ribs would have gone sooo well with some biryani rice (also available at Charco's, apparently)!

Schnitzel Creme Meal - $9.60

My bro dislikes roast chicken and red meat. But deep fried chicken? Why not? When I knew that they serve Chicken Schnitzel ( a pretty popular German fare), I know he will love it.

And I'm glad that I can finally have a bite of this.

Tender chicken fillet, coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried. Tell me, what's there not to like?

Creme Fries - $4.30

When my bro chose the Creme Meal, I told him that he can opt to change the peas to fries, if he want to. But he remarked that he wanna eat them peas and chose to order fries separately instead, for he was hungry. He just knocked-off from work, after all.

We saw a picture of the Creme Fries and spontaneously placed an order for that.

They simply drizzled the regular chips with cream sauce similar to that from the Creme Potato. Soon after this pic was taken, my bro got a small bottle of paprika from the condiments counter and sprinkled some on this.

That seemed like a pretty hearty-meaty meal, no?

Oh, another thing worth mentioning. It seemed that Charco's has taken over the total management of the coffee shop it's located at.

There's another stall under their management; serving 'zhi char' items like char kway teow etc. There seem to be an 'ayam penyet' stall, yet unopened. And the drinks stall is handled by their staff.

They seem to be doing well, ya? At the rate that families throng to this place, esp. on weekends - I sure am not surprised.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Attack of the Ice-Cream Sundaes

... Continued from the previous Swensen's post.

Now it's time for D-E-S-S-E-R-T-S to help ease our tension.
Helps relieve our S-T-R-E-S-S-E-D selves since it's the end of our work week, after all.

Sticky Chewy Chocolate

My cousins's order. A hot favourite, huh? Swensen's trademark Sticky Chewy Chocolate Ice-cream with hot fudge.

I back out from ordering this cos' I deem it too chocolate-y.

O_o ..? Did I just say that...?

Coit Tower

My choice.

I'm in the mood for some variety, that night. And this one here was amongst those with the most variety within their sundae glasses.

I chose to replace the vanilla & chocolate ice-cream with chocolate malt & strawberry instead. There's also strawberry & choc. fudge toppings, fresh banana slices & almonds. I just love how the strawberry fudge have pretty sizable strawberry chunks and having them burst in my mouth with every bite... Nice!

Frosted Chocolate Malt

Chocolate Malt ice-cream that come with marshmallow topping, hot fudge & choco balls (must be Maltesers).

Cookie Summit

Another cousin's order. Hmm.. The previous time I dined with her at Swensen's, she ordered this too.

Cookies & cream ice-cream + butterscotch & cold choc. fudge + choco balls

Chocolate Crunch

Chocolate ice-cream + hot fudge & crispy choc morsels (cocoa pops?).


OMG, I'm seriously hankering for one of these right now. I wanttt..!

PS: Apologies, if the pics look kinda messy; what with the cluttered background. The staff at the restaurant were so busy that night that they didn't clear our tables when desserts were served.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Swensen's with cousins - Food

T'was a real mad-cap night!

My female paternal cousins planned a gathering over dinner that Friday night. Someone needed some cheering up so we all planned to help her out. It's been a long while since I last had a 'real' girls meet-up after work.

Time to let our hair down (not literally) and have fun!

Fried mushrooms

Some of us arrived later than others and seeing that all of us just knock-off from work, we urgently made our orders cos' we were just so famished.

We ordered sides to fill us up while waiting for the mains to arrive.

Somehow, a couple of my cousins don't eat mushrooms. The rest of us were more than happy to gobble these down, especially when they were served piping hot.

Prawn dippers

Deep fried prawn dumplings. Reminds me a lot like the one I had at Tang Teahouse.

Grilled Fish Sambal

My order.

The whole ensemble would have been kinda' bland, if not for that slightly fiery sambal sauce on the side. Well, considering that I had a pretty heavy lunch that day and the fact that I'm gonna end this meal with pretty sinful desserts, I don't mind having something a wee bit 'healthy'.

This was the very first dish to arrive. I was taken aback at their efficiency, actually. Seeing that it was Friday night and the restaurant was pretty much full-house.

The fact that this arrived wayyy before my other cousins' orders make it seem almost dubious... And true enough. Almost all my cousins' orders arrived together and they wanted to serve us YET another plate of Grilled Fish Sambal (I was already 1/2way through with mine). It's obvious that they mixed up our table's order with another one who ordered earlier.

I wonder about the poor soul who had been waiting soooo long for that plate of food to arrive....

Swensen's combo

Fried fish bites, butterfly shrimps, calamari rings & breaded chicken. Whoa.

Seafood grease bomb, this one.

Chicken in a Basket

3 pieces of deep-fried chicken. Wah, even more indulging than the 2-piece chicken set from KFC. I have to admit that the battered skin looks good...

Chilli Fish Pasta

Fried fish fillet with spaghetti in spicy oriental sauce. Fusion..? I like!

My cousin's order. One of them 'non-shroom-eaters'. And the cook seem to go easy with the mushrooms that night. As she transferred the mushrooms pieces onto my cousin's plate, us 'shrooms-eaters' eagerly divided them amongst ourselves.

Fried Fish w/ Apricot Mayo

Seeing this battered fish fillet, I can't help thinking how my bro would have loved this one. The batter taste pretty good. Very, very crispy.

They seriously could squirt more of that apricot mayo on the fish. Too measly!

Mega Burger

I was contemplating to order this. Luckily I backed out when my cousin chose this too. I would have been seriously overwhelmed. Is that burger hee-yuge or what?!

Check this out:
Juicy beef patty, chicken ham, beef bacon, grilled veggies, onions, melted cheese & fried egg. Whoa!

She was given a fork and knife. But is there really a way to attempt eating the burger - WHOLE...?

(Wo)Man vs. Food

The female version of Adam Richman? Go figure.

Just too bad that we ran out of time what with a couple of us having to rush home to our kid(s), some with curfews(??) and some who live far, far away in the west. Wish we could chat longer...

It's been really fun, girls. Till' April 29th! USS, you'd better be ready for us (and our antics)!

Coming up next... Ice-cream galore!

PS: I must be pretty high on caffeine when I type this. All that exclamation marks!

PS: We cracked so many jokes at the table and our crazed laughters created such a din that everyone there must have been relieved to see us exiting. We also kinda' scare-off some male waiters, at that. Ooops!

Monday, April 11, 2011


Been quite some time since my last random food post, eh?

Chicken Fried Rice

... Or Fried Chicken Rice?

Cos' this Malay zhi char stall also sell chicken rice. And they literally use the ACTUAL chicken rice for this and added chopped chicken meat. Imagine how fragrant it is. Besides, using chicken rice give this fried rice the right texture - where the rice comes in individual grains.

Should I order Nasi Ayam Goreng elsewhere, I might just get a plate of simple fried rice with a large piece of chicken.

Mutton Chop

I can't say enough, just how much I love half-cooked eggs. Especially those runny ones! Mmmm....!

This Indian Muslim foodstall near my workplace has changed hands goodness-know-how-many-times. How I figure out? By ordering this favourite dish of mine.

The latest proprietor here seem quite veggie-happy and serve the mutton chops with many, many slices of tomatoes & cucumbers. The mutton was hidden below the sunny-side-up egg. And the sauce with its reddish tint was all too familiar, until I have a taste.

I can say that a good amount of chili powder, not just colouring; contributed to that reddish hue. Boy, was that spicy or what?!

I wish that should there be another person taking over, they serve mutton chops like the old 'Shenton Way' style. With canned peas and homemade fried potatoes. Not just some processed french fries... :P

Ayam Penyet

Bought this from the stall at the now-not-so-new foodcourt at Starhub Green.

The chicken above looks crispy, eh? They re-fry the chicken quarter prior to serving. They then proceed to 'smash' the piping hot meat with a steel meat-tenderiser before topping it with some pre-fried crumbs.

Imagine all that crunch!

The chili was pretty alright. Now If only they serve this with a piece of fried tofu and tempe...

One afternoon, during lunch-hour; my colleagues and I happily strut towards Broadway Eating House at Geylang Serai Market, only to find it.... CLOSED. For good.

Waargh! My vadai! Duck porridge/noodles! Whyyy...?!!!

And so we went up to the hawker centre...

Lontong Kering set - $4.50

I don't know when I saw someone having this (most likely on a tv program). I told myself (and others around me) to get this for myself, should I happen to dine at Geylang Serai Hawker Centre.

While I was pondering about my choice for lunch (still sore that Broadway's closed), my alert colleague (thanks, Roza!) was quick to remind me of this dish. Thus, the mad scramble to find my the stall selling it.

Took me almost 3 rounds of pacing up and down the hawker centre before I saw and old lady carrying a plate that looks all-too-familiar. Ahh... yess!!!

While in the queue, I was unsure if the 'set' is pre-fixed or I have to choose the dishes. So I got myself mentally ready. In all honesty, I was very much tempted by the Sambal Telur Burung (quail eggs in chili paste) on display.

As soon as I ordered this, the stall-hand proceed to cut thick slabs of lontong (Malay rice cake), then scoop some sambal goreng, sambal sotong (my fave!!), beef rendang and serunding. I decided against getting the sambal telur burung, seeing that there'll be sambal 'overload' on my plate.

Needless to say, I was a happy camper, that afternoon.

My boss had asked us to get her lunch so my colleague (also her bro) called her and asked what she wanted. He went on to rattle off the list of foodstuff available at the hawker centre, "... chicken rice, nasi padang, LONTONG (yes, that one was louder than the others)...."

After he put down the phone, he told me, "She wants lontong."

"But she don't want this version! She surely wants the one with the gravy!"

"Nevermind! Just get her this one." Pfft. I seriously think that he's up to something...

I was nervous when she opened up her styrafoam box. "Wah, what's this?" She then tucked in. Later on I heard her saying, "Wah, why this lontong so different, one?"

I went on to explain to her that this is how we eat lontong during Hari Raya etc...

"This one so 'shiok', man! I can't stop!" :)))

Phew! I looked at my colleague, who's gone all quiet. I thought that maybe, he wanted to pull a fast one on his sister. Well, too bad it didn't work!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

More from 89.7 Supper Club

Hubby and I eagerly brought my family here.

Crispy Sotong Ring

Ordered by my SIL the previous time. Hubby must have like it and so we ordered this.

The squid rings were cut considerably thinner this time, hence, it's not surprising that they end up being over-cooked (tough). They forgot they mayo and we need to request for it.

Shanghai Steamed Dumplings

Compare these Xiaolong Baos with the ones I had at Tang Teahouse. Any difference?

What kind of Xiao Long Bao have no soup inside, you tell me? Such a disappointment, this one.

Best part was that there was a group Shanghai tourists at the next table and they ordered some dim sums. Hope they won't be too disappointed.... Pfft.

Beef Horfun

So far their zhi char items seem to fare pretty well. My hubby didn't have any issues with these.

Fish & Chips

My bro's order. I don't think he's too pleased to see that the fish fillet is bread-crumbed instead of simply battered.

Seafood Carbonara

My order.

A bit of warning: They were pretty generous with the pasta. Possibly this can be a sharing portion (unless you are very, very hungry).

The cream sauce was very creamy (thick and can be a tad cloying). The prawn was fried separately and placed on top. Inside the sauce are mussels, fish fillets and some squid rings.

Not bad, lar. Pretty decent stuff.

As we made our way home, I asked my mum's opinion on the place. Her verdict?

"Don't like. Everything not nice." Sigh. We only ordered so much yet she talked like she's sampled everything.

Guess there'll be no 2nd time with her around. Too bad.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Dad's birthday: Secret Recipe re-visited

I'm most ashamed to admit this but I actually forgot my dad's birthday. huhu.

Best part was that my mum called me on the day itself, to discuss about my son's latest antics. And I can hear my dad in the background (because he was on leave duh!) and it still didn't cross my mind.

Bad daughter! :P

Even better. His sister's birthday was on the day before his and in the past years, I've never failed to call her on her birthday to give her my well-wishes. Needless to say, I forgot hers too. Uwahhh!!!

I figured out only in the late afternoon, THE DAY AFTER. I let out a yelp in the office when I discovered that it's already 25th March. I was like, "Omg, omg, OMG!!!"

Called my bro up and reprimanded him for not reminding me. He was like, "I thought you know...?!" Drats. Well, my mum eventually let loose that even my bro got the dates mixed-up with hers. My cousin had called to wish my dad Happy Birthday and that fella got the cheek to say out loud, "Eh, I thought it's on the 27th??!" (my mum's was on 27th Dec).

Some children we are.

Well, I eventually called my dad to apologise and tried to make amends by promising him a treat over the weekend. Then again, we had a wedding invite that Sunday and ended up being pretty full, that afternoon. Sheesh.

Anyway, my bro insisted we go to Changi Airport T3 on that rainy afternoon. He had wanted to bring my toddler to play at the playground in B2.

…Only to find it under renovation. Pfft.

Thankfully there's an itsy-bitsy playground in the corner where he played for a bit. Wait, not really a bit, actually. He never stopped playing (and running all over the place) till my mum's tired legs eventually drove her to head to the nearby Secret Recipe and plonked herself at one of the tables there.

I guess it's Secret Recipe, then. I had intended to head for Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf but that'll mean heading to Level 3. Too far up.

My dad soon followed suit and they both got for themselves the Green Apple Kasturi (calamansi) drinks and my mum got curious about the Pumpkin Soup (supposedly spicy) and ordered 1 for herself. I also ordered a Cream of Broccoli Soup for my lil' one as it's already his meal time (to be eaten with the rice and threadfin fillets I packed from home).

The uncle finally caught hold of my toddler and swung him up to straddle his shoulders just so he won't run off again. My bro really worked up a sweat chasing that precocious kiddo. Good workout (although I'm the one in need of an exercise)!

My bro saw the next table ordering a Frosty Lemon Tea and got that for himself. Myself meanwhile, eventually settled for his all-time fave - Strawberry Milkshake (to spite him, I guess). Both beverages were awesome!

My mum was tempted to order the cakes after seeing those beautiful ones in the display fridge. I told her not to bother with the menu and point out to the available cakes on display, instead (lesson learnt from past experience, here).

My bro must have sweated out much while chasing after my kiddo'. Despite eating quite a fair bit (a lot, actually) at his friend's wedding reception prior to this, he seem to have some belly room for this:

Grilled Chicken baked rice

"...Secret recipe's very own grilled chicken marinades on tender chicken thigh, topped with home-made bechamel sauce and a rich serving of cheese, baked till golden brown.."

Despite the bechamel sauce and cheese or even the 'marinated/ chicken pieces, this still come off as a little... bland. My bro didn't hesitate to pour dollops of chilli sauce over this before finishing it up.

Strawberry Marshmallow Cheesecake

"...As beautiful as it tastes, this is the cake for cheese and strawberry lovers! With intricate strawberry glazing on top, marshmallow sandwiched in between layers of cold cheese and baked cheese with a biscuit base, this cake is truly a feast for the sense!.."

More indulgent than the regular blueberry or strawberry cheesecakes. In terms of both taste and texture. I had mistakenly thought the white top layer to be fresh cream. Imagine my surprise when I discover that it's also cheese. And the fluffy marshmallow layer in between…


Classic Cheese cake

"...A traditional blend of mascarpone cheese and cream cheese with chocolate sponge and finished with classic touch of lady fingers biscuit..."

This is currently my favouritest most favourite cheesecake ever! Looks like a tiramisu, taste (almost) like a tiramisu yet it's very much a cheesecake.

Then again, I've very much impartial towards mascarpone cheese. :)

Seems like I love these two cakes above because each of them had 2 different cheese. Varieties… I like! Hmmm...

I really have no time to get around getting my dad a gift or something. My bad.
Then again, I know that I've given him one of the best gift ever…

In the form of my baby boy. His grandson. The first grandchild.
You should see how inseparable they are when together.