Saturday, June 29, 2013

Charco's Lamb Chops

Went down to my new flat in Sengkang to check on things and thought of bringing hubby and kiddo out for lunch.

Truth is, Sengkang seem very much nearer to Ang Mo Kio where Charcos's only branch is currently located. And I've been reading and seeing too much of the new item on their menu.

Namely this:

The lamb chops

Looks impressive, doesn't it…?

This might be prepared only upon order for it took quite sometime to arrive, during a non-busy period. When the plate was placed before me, I was like, "Goodness, just how am I going to finish this??!"

Bet Hubby was like, "Didn't know my wife was such a glutton…"

I read a comment in FB, where someone griped about not being about not having much choice for the side dishes when ordering this. Just too bad, I can't opt for my 'default' set whenever I'm here: any mains with the 3 salads. I'm all for variety and I love salads, so there.

The lamb chop platter ($15) comes with 2 separate slabs of lamb chops, alongside the creme potato and a choice of 1 salad (I chose Caesar). But I felt that merely 1 salad option don't justify for me, so I opt to add-on a regular salad ($5.70). Chose the Greek one.

Best. choice. ever. The Greek salad with its refreshing diced tri-coloured capsicums, cucumbers, olives, feta cheese and most importantly, that tangy vinaigrette; helps to cut through all that meat and grease of the lamb chops.

And apparently, there's a valid reason why they gave 2 huge slabs of the lamb chops. They weren't 100% meat. Each piece has some 40-45% taken up by bits of bone, sinewy tendon/gristle and … yeah, fats.

And because of that also, I put down my cutleries towards the end and proceed to pick up the lamb chops to find meat around the bone area. The black pepper-infused brown sauce was sorta' ho-hum so I dipped my meat in the BBQ sauce provided at the condiment counter.

The creme potato got pretty cloying after a while so I abandoned it in favour of my chosen salads, instead.

1/2 Hrb Chicken with 3 salads

Hubby settled for a safe choice. Got him the 3 salads: Chicken Avocado pasta, coleslaw & egg salad.

Gave him a chunk of my lamb chop and he said that it was, "Alright."

I can see why Charco's chose to move here. The environment is much more relaxed and the whole premise serve halal food. Customers bringing others who don't fancy their fare may just get something else from other stalls. Hey, you can always order your lamb rack and complete the meal with a bowl of fishball soup, a plate of 'rojak' and down it all with a glass of mean 'teh tarik'.

…Sounds good to me.

You can view the menu HERE.

Charco's "the flaming chicken"
Blk 608 Ang Mo Kio Ave 5
(at Mr Teh Tarik Eating Hse)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Olivye Cafe.Gelato ~ Food

It was supposedly Father's Day weekend (we don't really celebrate it) and my bro got his mid-year bonus so he was excited about giving his family a treat. I initially chose Charco's but lazy him refused to drive all the way to AMK. Pfft.

He then recalled this place, where we had wanted to go to previously but it was closed.

Internal dining area

Pictoral menu

In case you need to visualise what the food will look like…

Beverages 01

All of us had the fruit-flavoured Italian soda. My dad and I both ordered the Green Apple (foreground). My mum chose Pomegranate. She claimed that it was very sour. 

Beverages 02

My hubby had the mango flavoured Italian soda while my bro ordered the passion fruit.

Cream of Mushroom soups

Both my parents wanted some soup and we enquired about the soup of the day. They're serving Cream of Mushroom soup so I decide to order one for kiddo, too.

They added squiggles of cream on the soup, making them appear pretty fancy. The also serve a whole piece of toasted garlic bread. Nice touch, actually.

Savoury rice

Thinking that the soup may not suffice for kiddo, I ordered a plate of savoury rice as well. It's dinner time after all.

I totally did not expect the soup to come with garlic toasts so this rice was left almost untouched. I took some of it. Savoury, alright. Taste like chicken rice yet it had this deeper, almost robust taste. I can't quite put my finger to it.


Simple, fried stuff to fill the belly while we waited for the mains to arrive. I have to admit that the food took some time to show up. Maybe they have a small kitchen?

Seafood in tomato sauce

My dad chose this. This reminds me a lot like a marinara. He loved it. Portions of seafood appeared to be pretty generous. 

Chicken cream mushroom pasta

Comes as no surprise that my bro ordered this. Every time we dine at a place serving Western food, cream pasta will be his default order. Especially those with chicken. Or mushrooms.

This happen to be one of the better cream-sauce pastas around. I like it. Pretty nice, actually. 

Mushroom Chicken

Hubby chose the humble Mushroom Chicken (also popularly known as 'Chicken Chop'). He was so hungry (just knock off work) that he didn't let me have the chance to snap a pic.

The mains comes with our choice of 2 side dishes. Here, he chose mash potato and fries (carbo overload!).

Rib-eye beef steak

My portion. I have been thinking of beef steaks the whole week, somehow. About time I get it for myself. I admit that I love my red meat (blood type 'O'). Then again, I always try to eat in moderation.

Anyway, I wasn't around when thefood order was placed. Only realised much later that I forgot to specify my choice of meat done-ness. Heaved a sigh of relief when my bro mentioned that he specified 'medium' on my behalf. Phew.

But the meat came a little more done that I would like. Then again, I should only get my meat really medium or medium rare when I'm sure of the meat quality & freshness. 

Rib-eye beef steak (another angle)

For my 2 sides, I chose the House & potato salad. Enjoyed both thoroughly.

I really like the presentation for the steak (hence the 2 pics). I guess it's true, what they say about plating & presentation. How it can actually make the food seem more appealing. 

Assortment of Gelato 01

And how can we come here without having their famous Halal gelato?

Assortment of Gelato 02

My bro had initially offered to share a cup of gelato with me but I flatly refused, thinking that I felt way too full for any desserts. So he went in and gleefully came out with a medium-sized cup with 2 flavours - Peanut Butter and Hazelnut (Nutella). Oh, so nutty!

Kiddo tucking in

I didn't allow kiddo to have any gelato because he was nursing a cough. Oh well, who was I kidding…?!

Of course he wanted to have a go and we let him have a taste. Yeah right, 'a taste'… What we knew, the cup of gelato never come back. So my bro went back in to order another cup. This time I caved in and joined him.

Gelato - 2nd batch

I can't make up my mind so I got my bro to choose. He picked Mint for me while he had Melon. This wasn't the 1st time he had melon but I guess he can't resist his favourite flavour. I have to admit that the fruit flavours are the bomb! Be it durian, strawberries or melon… All are refreshingly fantastic!

I was crestfallen when my bro chose Mint right before I saw Salted Caramel (SC). However, after sampling the SC, I realise that something was amiss about that flavour, somehow. Oh well…

Anyway, it was a great night, trying out food from a new place. But I do wish that the prices weren't too steep. You can check out the prices at my previous entry on this place.

Olivye Cafe.Gelato
Blk 5 Changi Village Road
Singapore 500005
Tel: 6543 9518

Opening hours: 11.30am - 9.30pm

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Swensen's with my kiddo

Updated about dining at Swensen's with kiddo, on a hot afternoon right after I had to starve since the night before; for a medical check-up.

Posted it on my motherhood blog. You can read it HERE.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Siamese Cat Restaurant

**Right this moment I want to kick myself for discarding the receipt for our meal here. Pardon me if I can't give the actual name of the item. Not to mention the price.

We were heading out for dinner for my bro's belated birthday celebration and were planning on a new eating place to try out. My bro remarked that he saw this restaurant along Changi Road called something along the line of 'Siam Cat' when he drove past. He said that the 'Halal' symbol was quite prominent, making him really curious.

I knew right then, what he was talking about. I always came by this area for lunch with my colleagues. We usually frequent 'Bagus' Yong Tau Foo, located at the very end on the same row. Ever since I knew of their 'Halal' certification, I got pretty curious, too.

With a name like 'Siamese Cat', I naturally assumed that they serve Thai food (you really can't fault me for that). Imagine my surprise to know that they also serve Cantonese food (my mind immediately flew to Razack's Kitchen, located 2 doors down).

Even more interesting, they actually use organic tofu, vegetable and rice. There's also freshly squeezed organic fruit juice, even organic tea and coffee.


Upon entering, you can't help but be taken in by the use of psychedelic colours and vivid slants (even the picture frames) to jazz up the pretty stark interior.

Also can't help noticing how every table's furnishing sets are different from one another. Very quirky in that sense.

And also how they play mellow music that makes you feel like in a spa (or something to that extent).

Long table

For big group reservation, perhaps?

Towards the kitchen and washrooms

There are a couple of clean toilet cubicles with wash hand basin inside. There's another basin for washing hands outside.

Refreshment counter & storeroom cum mussolah

My dad casually asked the person manning the dining floor, if they have a 'corner' for us to pray at at since it's already Maghrib.

He pointed towards the store room located behind the refreshment counter. Their teeny-tiny store room (behind that door with the Quranic verses) can only accommodate 1 person at a time. There's a prayer mat inside but no 'telekung' (female prayer garb), though.

The said staff is also very friendly. He patiently stood by as we kept changing our minds on what to order, he made helpful recommendations and enquired back with us about the food. Best of all, he tolerated my toddler's antics. :P

Refreshing drink

I remember my brother ordering ice-lemon tea (or something like that). My dad and I chose a hot, ginger drink.

The ginger drink was not really for everyone. It had this 'herbal' kind of taste, akin to Chinese medicine (to me, that is). And it's not sweetened. I enjoyed it though, for I'm the kind who don't mind her medication. really warm the belly and help to ease indigestion.

And that drink above, two glasses of those came to our table (we only ordered one). In my thirst, I drank it anyway. Oh gosh. That drink was tasty or what? Was that really lemon tea?? Maybe it's honey-lemon tea, I don't know (I threw out the receipt, remember?).

Another thing was that I asked for plain water for my kiddo and I also drank it (I was really thirsty). The plain water tasted somewhat different (in a nice way). When I was heading to the storeroom to pray, I saw that they have this water dispenser (the hot/cold type). I actually wondered if they serve water from that. And they really did.

They call it 'anti-oxidant alkaline' water'. Whoa, the extent that they go to serve healthier things… Even water isn't excluded. 

Sour and Spicy soup

As we scan through the 'soup' section of the menu, my eyes lit up when I saw that they serve Sour and Spicy soup (Szechuan style).

I informed my parents about this and we agreed in unison that we shall have this, despite the server informing us that the Fish Maw & Crabmeat soup is really popular.

When this came and the soup was scooped into individual bowls, I was excited to see it filled with a chock full of ingredients. I really love the organic tofu that they use and this type of stringy fungus that's crunchy to the bite.

The soup itself was a nice balance of savoury hot & sour and I don't see the need to pour in more of that black vinegar. I really like their version. Even my parents agree. We've tried this dish at many places and this one is definitely one of the better ones.

We used to enjoy the one from the neighbouring Razack's Kichen but the one we had the previous time somewhat disappoint us. Too bad.

I was apprehensive about my bro trying this dish out. He's quite the picky eater and weird or strange foods definitely don't appeal to him. Surprisingly, he finished his bowl and even remarked that it's nice. Whoa!

Chicken & seafood fried rice

Before frying this, I saw that the cook (who is also the manager) scoop some white rice into a plate before heading back into the kitchen.

I also noticed that the rice wasn't THAT white. It looked like chicken rice, actually. I pointed it out to my mum and she told me that they used organic, unpolished rice. Ahh… why didn't I think of that!

I like this fried rice. A lot. Very savoury. Full of flavour and they are generous with the fillers.

We also realise that the medium portion doesn't suffice for us all. We really should have ordered the large one. We end up ordering a second portion of this.

Sambal Imperial Shoot

This vegetable is also called 'Di Huang Miao' by the Chinese. Another name is 'Ceylon Spinach'.

I always chose this when I had lunch at the nearby 'Bagus' Yong Tau Foo but my parents had no idea what it really is like. I'm glad that they were game enough to try something new because they end up really liking this veggie.

The thing about this is that it has got a taste that's stronger than regular spinach (that explains its deep green colour) and when cooked, it can be a tad slimy.

Even my brother don't mind eating this. Whoa. Someone's definitely starting to eat healthy…!

Honey Glazed chicken 
(a hungry someone already took 1 pc)

This. is. awesome! Maybe it's my Javanese tastebuds- my penchant for savoury foods with hints of sweetness. But I really love this dish, no matter where I have it, actually. However, different places have different wayS of preparing it.

Ah Nam prepared their's similarly to 'har cheong kai'. Crispy, battered winglets coated with honey sauce.
Fisher's Tavern use boneless chicken meat.

The ones served here is prepared almost similarly to that at Fisher's Tavern. Save that they used winglets that's been butterflied. That way, the marinade or flavour can be absorbed nicely into the chicken meat. And it'll be be crispy throughout. Plus, it's just so easy to eat. Especially for my kiddo.

Butter Squid

Every crispy morsel is coated with a dusting of lightly-seasoned flour, carrying a nice buttery scent. Very simple dish that's really fun to eat. 

Black-pepper beef

My first impression when I bite into this was, "Why is the beef so tender?" So tender that I got suspicious. Tenderiser, maybe?

I made my mum have a bite and asked for her opinion. She was ok with it and gave me 2 words. Corn flour. Okayyy.

But I like the sauce. Very 'umami'. I gotta learn how to cook this, the proper way.

Butter cereal prawns

We made this order as we got a second round of their Chicken & Seafood fried rice.

When this arrived, I was like, "Wow!" Just look at the size of that prawns! And the way they're so straight like those tempura prawns, makes you pick one up and just bite the head off (that's what I did anyway). Mmmm…

So fresh, so crispy… So nice! I gotta' say that their rendition is different from those 'Nestum'-covered plates that we get from other 'zhi char' places. Apparently, here they also use organic oats. Talk about making an unhealthy dish 'healthier'…

Ala-carte buffet menu

A good way to try the various dishes they have on the menu. Although I really wonder if the price makes it worthwhile. I mean, can you really eat $36 worth of food? I honestly don't mind paying as I'm one to go for variety and try a little bit of everything (I'm sure the portions will be smaller). 

Having tasted some of their food items, I can say that their food is well-prepared and they do meet my expectations.

For once, I'm really just glad that I didn't do any 'homework' to find out more about a restaurant before dining there. That way, I won't heighten my personal expectations. I'll just let myself be surprised with what they have to offer.

I appreciate that they are slightly different from other 'zhi char' eating places, the fact that they serve organic food items. Definitely my first time eating organic food outside of home and I can say that I like it! You end up feeling good about yourself, having eaten well. Besides, the prices are still kept affordable, despite the known fact as to how organic stuff are just… well, more expensive.

I don't mind coming back here. Although I should try other stuff, I find myself hoping to slurp on their Spicy & Sour soup again. Plus that Honey-Glazed chicken. And the prawns. Also found out that they serve 'Orh Nee' (yam paste dessert). Gotta' try that too.

Siamese Cat Restaurant
324 Changi Road
Singapore 419799
Tel: +65 8161 1518

Opening hours: 
12pm - 3pm, 6pm - 10pm (closed on Mondays)

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Fish & Co with kids

Strictly for sharing


My favourite drink order whenever I'm here. Basically whenever I see this in the menu, it's a must-have.

Fresh mint leaves and lime juice (sans the Rum, of course). A very refreshing drink to have on a hot day.

Lychee Mojito, Pink Lady, Orange Rainbow, Kola Tonic, Mojito

Beverages, that day ~

At the very top is the Lychee Mojito, similar to the one I had, save for the couple of skewered tinned lychees, above.
Below It is the 'Pink Lady' that's ordered by my cousin's daughter. Taste's a lot like the 'Happy Soda' found at those Ayam Penyet shops. Sweet, fizzy & creamy.
To its left is the Orange Rainbow - Mango 'granadilla' with cranberry juice. Tangy & fizzy.
Beside it is the Kola Tonic ordered by her son.

Grilled Peri-Peri Chicken with Arctic Fish

My cousin's son ordered these. Such a generous portion! Plus that double carbo combo of mash potato & fries… A growing boy, indeed (he's 13, btw).

There's grilled chicken topped with peri-peri sauce. Looked like some fiery 'sambal' to us but it turn out to be more mellow. That, coupled with a large piece of battered 'Arctic fish' (wonder what fish that really is).

Erm… there surely can be more of that lemon-butter sauce on the fish, right?

Seafood Platter for 2

4 of us shared this. Okay, so it's 3 adults and 2 kids. And we still end up pretty full. I still remember years back, me sharing this same platter with my bro only and we actually manage to polish it off.

Grilled prawns, white fish, fried calamari and blue mussels in garlic lemon butter sauce served with paella rice and chips.

Their fried calamari is still da bomb!

(F) Kid's utensils (B) Seafood Pizza

Thankfully, the staff came by with these kids utensils when my kiddo was about to tuck in. I was wondering just how kiddo is going to cope with the heavy and huge tablespoon. I can just imagine the rice going all over the place, as he shovel them into his mouth.

Their service for kids was a tad shoddy that day. The previous time I came here, they had been pretty attentive to kiddo's presence. While waiting for our seats, kiddo already received the 'shark' headgear and by the time we're seated, there was a small basket of colour pencils, and activity sheet (graphics for colouring, join-the-dots, quizzes etc) and a full-colour activity book for my kiddo.

This time, I had to ask for it but there was only the activity sheet (the table mat) but no other stationery for that. The shark headgear only came towards the end.

Now, about that seafood pizza… I'm sorry but if all pizzas there are prepared in the same manner, then I won't recommend it. The base was a tad under-cooked plus soggy and the cheese… Seriously, what was that, really??

It's wasn't really actual cheese for it looked and tasted somewhat starchy/doughy. It even reminded me of BĂ©chamel sauce, that white sauce layer found on lasagne. I had a feeling they used a type of 'cheese-sauce', to minimise the amount of cheese used.

Another 'starchy' food item was the 'soup of the day'. So much so that I can't figure out what soup it really was. Maybe it's potato soup? For that was what it really taste like!

My cousin's son had it as part of his set meal while I ordered it specially for kiddo cos' I remembered just how kiddo relish the soup the last time he was here (he still do, btw).

That paper 'shark' headgear lasted for all of… 5 mins

Now, whose kid is this???! Tsk.

By the time we came here, lunch hour was almost over so by the time we were done with our meal, the restaurant was pretty much cleared out.

So kiddo was more than happy to goof around with his cousin.

Cleaned out

…Whoever love those mint candies that they put into the bill folder after you make payment - raise up your hands!