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What do you do when you have two hours in Tokyo?

Go to only ONE place. Don’t be greedy and think you can conquer half of Tokyo. Focus on one place. In a recent work trip, I have about two hours to walk around Tokyo before my flight home. The place I chose was Isetan at Shinjuku.

Isetan food hall is legendary. Each time I step into the food hall, I am always overwhelmed by the numbers of stalls, the food choices, and so many new things to see which send my head spinning. And the folks at the food hall are super friendly and generous. There was a lady giving out S$80 melon sample. I rejected the sample as I have no intention to buy but she insisted that I try. The melon was of course delicious, and she didn’t push me to buy it. She just continued giving out sample to the rest of the shoppers.

And the fruit lady was not the last to shove samples in my face. There were so many things to see and so many people asking you to try their food. There were crackers, Japanese sweets and chocolates that you can buy, and they were all beautifully package–great as gifts. There were cooked food–croquettes (totally regret not buying one before I left), bento sets, tempura and I can go on and on.

While I was in Tokyo, it was summer and momo (peach) season. I was told one momo would cost around ¥400-¥800 (S$4.50-S$9). I was luck out–Isetan was having sales and I managed to get a tray of four peaches at ¥1,000 (S$12)! I also grabbed a tray of figs (S$8) which looked plump and irresistible. The cashier at Isetan was really thoughtful–he bubble-wrapped the peaches and figs, and placed them carefully in the paper bag (and I did not even tell him I am bringing them on a flight).

After the mini fruity shopping spree, I hopped off to my last stop – Sadaharu Aoki to pick up some pastries. With all the deliciousness in my bag, I very reluctantly left the food hall and made my way to the airport.

Isetan Shinjuku (website is in Japanese)
3-14-1, Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku,

Kimchi tofu gyoza

I have this obsession with freezing food–as long as it can be frozen, I will freeze it. So in my tiny freezer, it is cramped with soup stock, duck fat, ramen, meyer lemon cream and a giant bag of homemade gyoza. The possibility of me starving to death is rather low.

Among my frozen (food) stock, one of my favourites is gyoza. They are great as late night snacks, and help to pimp up lacklustre meals. I only started making my own gyoza a few months ago, and I obsessed in getting the pleat right for the dumplings (at this stage, you might detect my OCD nature). Wrapping gyoza was easier than I expected–as long as you do not mind a few deformed looking ones.

Kimchi and tofu are my favourite fillings for gyoza. My homemade kimchi is slightly spicy and tangy and its flavours are absorbed by the firm tofu. There is a certain lightness in the kimchi tofu gyoza–you do not get too filled up as compared to meat-filled gyoza. So you do not feel guilty from eating them as supper.

Kimchi tofu gyoza
If you have fears in getting the pleat right for the gyoza, you don’t have to fret about it. You can keep things simple by just folding them. As long as they are delicious, no one will care how they look. But if you are really determined to make the pleat right, go to YouTube and do a search–there are many videos demonstrating the folding of gyoza.

Makes about 24 gyoza

1 packet of dumpling skin (round shaped)
300g kimchi, drain any excess liquid and roughly chop
200g firm tofu (tau kwa) (this is about one piece of tofu)
15g corn flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
1 egg, lightly beaten

–            Cut the tau kwa into small pieces and place them on a cheese cloth or a clean tea towel. Take the ends of the cloth/ towel and squeeze out all the liquid in the tau kwa. Once done, put the tau kwa in a large bowl.
–            In the large bowl, add in the rest of the ingredients and mix well. You can pan fried a bit of the filling to check on the seasoning. You might need more sugar as store bought kimchi tend to be on the sour side.
–            Once the filling is ready, it is time to wrap (at this point, prepare a bowl of water and set aside)! Place one dumpling skin onto the palm of your hand, using a teaspoon, scoop the filling and place it in the middle. Don’t go overzealous with the filling–when you wrap, the filling might leak out. Spread the filling, leaving the edge of the skin alone. Dip one of your fingers in the bowl of water, and wet the edge of the dumpling skin. At the lower half of the dumpling, hold the middle and fold. Press the middle of the skin and hold it with your thumb (the thumb is from the hand that is holding the gyoza). Start folding one side of the gyoza. Repeat for the other side.
–            To cook, place a large frying pan (make sure the pan comes with a lid) over medium heat and add one tablespoon of vegetable oil. Once the pan is heat, place the gyoza in the pan. As the gyoza began to cook, add in half a cup of water (if you are using a smaller pan, you might not need so much water) and cover. Let the gyoza cook for around 5-7 minutes and remove lid. If there is still water in the pan, just the gyoza continue to cook until the water evaporated. Once all the water is gone, check the bottom of the gyoza, it should be browned and crisp. If not, leave them in the pan for a few more minutes.
–            Once the gyoza are cooked, remove and eat!
–            If you intend to freeze your gyoza, flour a baking tray and place the gyoza onto the tray. Once done, stick the tray in the freezer. Once the gyoza are frozen, remove from the tray and place them into a freezer bag. They can be kept for up to 3 months.

Back in time: Yet Con Chicken Rice (逸群鸡饭)

A couple weeks ago, my Australian buddy Cyn (best known as The Food Pornographer) and her partner Jac were in town. Thanks to the wonderful world wide web, Cyn and I connected via Twitter (I think). A few years ago, I made a trip to Perth, and I had such a fun time eating and chatting with her. So I was super dope when both Cyn and Jac were in Singapore–this means lots of eating (duh) and catching up.

The one great thing about having overseas guests is you get to be a tourist again–going to places that you rarely visit–Yet Con is one of them. Located along Purvis Street, Yet Con is an icon. Founded in 1940, stepping into Yet Con, I felt as if I have been transported into another world. The furnishing is old school coffeshop. The owner sits behind the counter, directing customers to their seats. And the place does smell a bit funky.

Among the three of us, we ordered chicken, Hainanese pork chop and mixed chop suey. At Yet Con, they only serve steamed chicken (白鸡) and you do not get to choose your preferred part. So we got half a chicken to share. The chicken itself was quite lean, like kampong chicken. The skin was not fatty and the meat was very flavourful. To me, the rice was equally important too. Yet Con’s version was savoury and tasty. As we have a second eating session, I showed restraint and did not order another bowl of rice.

The oriental-style Hainanese pork chop is one of Yet Con’s signature dishes. Jac found the sauce too sweet while Cyn quite enjoyed the chop. The mixed chop suey that we ordered was pretty good too–the dish had cabbage, baby corn, sotong, prawns and pork. It was refreshing and helped to cut the richness of the chicken.

Chicken rice is a dish I feel that is often taken for granted. It is readily available everywhere in Singapore. Yet Con’s version is quite unlike the ones we find at hawker centres. Most importantly, eating at Yet Con transports one into another era. I personally think everyone should give this institution a try.

Yet Con Chicken Rice (逸群鸡饭)
25 Purvis Street, Singapore
Opening hours: 11.00am – 9.30pm (daily)


I am a bread snob. It all started when I made my first loaf of bread. I realised that making bread can be really easy or really tough. Whatever techniques that I choose to use, the result is (almost) the same–I got myself a beautifully baked, chewy and delicious loaf of bread.

Bread, when made without preservative, goes stale really fast–the next day to be exact. And this also means how much preservatives are added to our supermarket’s bread to extend its shelf life. I do admit that to make a good loaf of bread takes time, effort and perhaps techniques. However once you have tasted your fruit of labour, you will not go back (I think, I hope).

Maneesh is currently my favourite bread to make. You do not have to knead for a long time and it uses one of my favourite condiments–za’atar. Za’atar is a type of herb that is related to the oregano and thyme family. It is also the name for a blend of herb and spice which made up of thyme, sumac, sesame seeds and so on. In my case, I am using the latter. Maneesh is a great accompaniment to dips such as baba ganoush, labneh, and hummus. Of course, it is delicious on its own.

(Adapted from Paul Hollywood’s How to Bake)
If you are not making maneesh for a big group, you can easily half the recipe. Like most bread, this is best eaten on the day it is made.

1)       500g strong white bread flour
2)       10g salt
3)       25g caster sugar
4)       10g instant yeast
5)       320ml tepid water (room temperature)
6)       3 tablespoons za’atar
7)       Olive oil

–            In a large-sized bowl or stand mixer bowl, add in the flour. Place salt and sugar at one end of the bowl and the yeast at the other end. If the yeast comes in contact with the salt, it will lose its ability to be “activated”.
–            Add in ¾ of the water, and using either your hands or stand mixer (dough hook, medium speed) and start mixing. What you want to achieve is a soft dough. Hence you may or may not need to use all the water. The side of the bowl should be clean and the dough should be soft and not shaggy.
–            If you are using a stand mixer, lightly coat the side of the bowl with olive oil. On medium speed (dough hook), work the dough for about 10 minutes until you get a soft and smooth skin. If you are using your hands, oil your work surface and knead the dough for around 10-15 minutes until you get a soft and smooth skin. Once you achieve the right texture, place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, and cover and let it proof for at least 1 hour.
–            Line 3-4 baking trays with parchment paper or silicone pat.
–            Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a lightly oiled work surface. Knead the dough for a minute to knock all the air. Once done, divide the dough into 3 equal pieces, and roll each into a large circle around 30cm in diameter. You can also divide the dough into 10 equal pieces and roll each piece into a circle. If you are not good at dividing the dough, use a scale (I do! Oh I also standby a calculator too.).
–            Place the rolled flat dough onto the baking trays, and cover them with cling wrap and proof for about 20 minutes. While the dough is proofing, preheat you oven to 230oC and make the topping for the bread. In a small bowl, mix the za’atar with enough olive oil to make a thick paste.
–            Once the dough is proofed, lightly brush each piece with olive oil. Using your hands, lightly spread the za’atar topping on each piece. Bake for 20-25 minutes minutes (For smaller pieces, bake for 15 minutes) or until golden brown.
–            Cool on a wire rack.

An overdue lunch at Violet Oon’s Kitchen

I have a bunch of girlfriends that I have known for years. They are uber talented, smart and “crafty”. We communicate mostly via social media, and we rarely meet up for lunch. Even if we do, there is always one or two missing in the picture. So FINALLY we managed to sit down and have a meal together at Violet Oon’s Kitchen.

All of us ordered a different main and some starters to share. I have heard so much about the dry laksa that I had to get it. It definitely lived up to the expectation. It is not exactly a fried noodle dish – it has enough sauce to coat the noodles without being sloppy. The rempah was beautifully done and they have added the right amount of coconut milk so you would not be sick of the laksa. And there were so much “liao”(translate: ingredients)–beancurd puff, fish cake and prawns. Everyone (including myself) loves this dry laksa.

My friend, R got the dry mee siam. Unlike the dry laksa, you don’t think you are eating dry mee siam. Perhaps it was the choice of noodles which was thick noodles. When I think of mee siam, I always relate to thin vermicelli. However the spices were well done, it was still a good dish.

At our table, another friend, R was brave enough to try the buah keluak pasta. The pasta was a tad too spicy for me but the buah keluak tapenade was strangely nice and addictive. I could not describe the flavour but it was rich and savoury. If the spice level was slightly lowered, I think I can polish off the entire plate

We also ordered the kueh pie tee and ayam goreng to share. The ayam goreng aka fried chicken was crispy and the flavour was pretty good. But the chicken was over-fried, it was a bit dry for me. The kueh pie tee fared so much better. The filling which was made up of bamboo shoots and turnips that were beautifully cooked in a rich prawn broth, making the entire dish super tasty.

We ended our meal with the bread and butter pudding with whisky and custard sauce. The pudding itself was moist and not too sweet. The whisky and custard sauce was the bomb (though some of the alcoholics at the table felt that the sauce can do with more whisky). This is one dessert that I would strongly recommend.

Though I am not sure when we will gather for another meal, this was sure a lot of fun. We filled the restaurant with our laughter and loud chatter. And it was made even better with delicious food in our tummies.

Violet Oon’s Kitchen
881 Bukit Timah Road

Roast chicken with sumac, za’atar and lemon (and yes, a new website. FINALLY!)

Welcome to my new site, oink! I have been planning for this website since the beginning of last year. Obviously efficiency is not in my blood. After almost two years, I finally got the site published. And I couldn’t have done it without some help. Big thanks to Amy (aka Pikaland) for helping me with ideas for the site and editing my profile. And big hugs to Serene, the genius developer behind the site whose efficiency never failed to impress me and so very patient to answer all my idiotic questions on data migration, hosting and blah blah (for your information, she is still entertaining my not very clever questions).

There is still one more thing that I am adding to the site *cough, online store* which will take me a while (read: a very long time) to get that going. In the meantime, I am going to celebrate the launch of the site with a roast chicken recipe. I am a huge fan of Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi – this dynamic duo’s recipes are easy to follow, and most importantly their food is delicious.

For this particular recipe, it is unlike the usual roast chicken that we are familiar with, this one is lemony, fragrant and really addictive. It is really great over a plate of rice or have it with some warm bread (I made maneesh, and I will share the recipe in the next post). I also made some sort of rice porridge with the leftover and it was strangely comforting.

Roast chicken with sumac, za’atar and lemon
(Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s Ottolenghi, The Cookbook)
I made quite a far bit of changes to the recipe. Originally it is suggested to use a whole chicken–me being Asian, I favour chicken legs and thighs. Za’atar is not a common mixed herbs that you can find in the supermarket (I got mine from Overdoughs). However you can easily make it at home. And sumac is readily available in good supermarkets like Jason’s and Marketplace (Overdoughs also stocks sumac).

Serves 4

1) 8 pieces of chicken legs and thighs
2) 2 red onion, thinly sliced
3) 2 cloves of garlic, crush
4) 4 tablespoon olive oil
5) 1½ teaspoon ground allspice*
6) 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
7) 1 tablespoon sumac
8) 1 lemon, thinly sliced
9) 200ml of water
10) 1½ teaspoon (kosher) salt
11) 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12) 2 tablespoon za’atar

–            In a large bowl, add in the red onion, garlic, olive oil, allspice, cinnamon, sumac, lemon, salt, pepper and water, and mix well. Place the marinade in a ziplock bag, add in the chicken and seal the bag. Move the chicken pieces around to ensure every piece is well coated. Place the bag in the fridge and leave it overnight.
–            Preheat the oven to 200oC. Using a large tray, place the chicken pieces and marinade. Space the chicken pieces apart and skin side up. Before putting the tray in the oven, sprinkle the za’atar over the chicken. Bake the chicken for around 30-40 minutes.
–            Once the chicken is done, finish with a drizzle of olive oil, and sprinkle a bit more za’atar and sumac.

*Allspice is a spice (a type of pepper). Allspice is often mistaken as mixed spice.

A different kind of curry – Burmese’s traveller’s eggplant curry

When we think about curry, we are dreaming of this thick, golden brown liquid that embodies a lot of spices and heat. Burmese’s curry is the exact opposite–it is usually quite thin (and at times, hardly any liquid), and contained very little spices. However it does not mean Burmese’s curry ain’t tasty.

The traveller’s eggplant curry is quite easy to prepare. And it doesn’t take too long to cook. I was rather surprised when I first tasted this curry. When I looked at the gravy, I thought it will taste boring. No! You get the fragrance from the shallot and anchovies, and all the flavours are soaked up by the eggplants. This dish is actually quite rich but the acid from the tomatoes help to tone it down.

Because the curry is not chock-full of spices and chillies, you can still taste the flavours of the core ingredient. And for those who fear of heat in their food, Burmese’s curry is a good place to start. It is now a staple at my dinner table.

Traveller’s Eggplant Curry
(Adapted from Naomi Dugid’s Burma: Rivers of Flavor)
I love eggplants but I always fear of eating really bitter ones. Initially I was thinking of salting the eggplants before cooking (to get rid of any bitter liquid). It was not necessary at all. As long as the eggplants are well-cooked, the sweetness from the anchovies will penetrate into them.

Serves 2 as a main course, 4 as a side

1)      250g eggplants, cut into ¾” cubes (lengthwise)
2)      ¼ cup minced shallots (around 6-8 cloves of baby shallots)
3)      ½ teaspoon minced ginger (around one small thumb size)
4)      ¼ cup minced tomatoes (1 medium size tomato)
5)      1½ tablespoons dried anchovies, soak in warm water for 5 minutes, drained and minced
6)      1½ tablespoons vegetable oil
7)      A good pinch of turmeric (I used half of 1/8 teaspoon)
8)      ½ cup of warm water
9)      Salt
10)   Fish sauce (optional)
11)   Chilli oil (optional)

–        Place a medium-sized saucepan or wok over medium low heat, and add in the oil and turmeric. Once the turmeric starts to sizzle, throw in the minced shallots. Do a quick stir and ensure the shallots are all coated in the turmeric oil mixture.
–        Stir shallots occasionally for around 3 minutes. Once soften, add in the minced ginger and tomatoes, and cook for another 3-4 minutes. If the mixture looks a bit dry, you can in a few tablespoons of water.
–        Once the ginger softens, add in the eggplants. Stir and make sure that the eggplants are well coated in the tomato mixture.
–        Once the eggplants are coated, add in the minced anchovies and water. At this stage, increase the heat to medium high, and let the curry comes to a boil. Once boiled, lower the heat to low and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
–        After 5 minutes, season the curry with salt, fish sauce and chilli oil (if using) accordingly to taste.
–        Once seasoned, let the curry cooks for another 15 minutes. If you like your eggplants to be very soft, let the curry cooks for a further 15 minutes. I prefer mine to retain a bite.
–        At this stage, you can adjust the seasoning accordingly to taste. I usually just add a bit more water so that I can have more gravy. Once seasoned, serve warm with rice.

A delayed birthday treat at Nirai Kanai Okinawan

The birthday was in November. The treat was in January. And now I am finally writing about it.

For the past few years, my friend, S will give me a birthday treat (together with another friend, G whose birthday is quite close to mine). Last year, I selected Nirai Kanai Okinawan. It was quite a feat finding the right place. S is allergic to seafood, and G doesn’t fancy fried food (yah I wondered why I am friends with her). After some good old googling, I found Nirai Kanai.

Located at the basement corner of Liang Court, Nirai Kanai Okinawan is an old school styled restaurant. The décor, in my opinion, is charming and adorable. The moment you step in, it is as if you have entered into a Japanese restaurant in the 1980s. And they are very considerate too. There are hooks and hangers for you to hang your jacket, and they built shelves underneath each table where you can place your bags.

We ordered quite a lot of food as we were hungry and greedy. I wanted the crispy river shrimps as they were my favourite beer snack. Though I did not drink that night, this little titbit is salty and crunchy, and best eaten when warm. The waiter placed the plate of fried shrimps in front of me, I had to push it aside as I cannot stop eating them.

One of Okinawa’s signature dishes is goya chanpuru. It is essentially thinly sliced bitter gourd with tofu, egg and pork. Nirai Kanai version was clean and well-seasoned. I would be quite content if you give me a bowl of rice and a plate of goya chanpuru.

Another favourite of mine was cubed beef steak. There was nothing fancy about this dish – good quality beef topped with garlic chips and stir-fried beansprouts. The beef was cooked to medium which was how I like it. This dish needed to be eaten fast as it was served on a hot plate which cooked the beef.

With all these food, we needed rice to accompany them. I ordered the onigiri. Unlike the conventional rice ball where the core ingredient is stuffed in the middle, the onigiri was made up of mixed rice with mushroom, pork belly and seaweed. The rice was well-cooked and flavourful. We also ordered a pork belly dish (which I never tried but my friends said it was good), and fried chicken (which was also pretty decent but nothing extraordinary). We were pretty stuffed after this meal.

Okinawan cuisine is said to be influenced by the Chinese and South East Asian. More importantly, this particular cuisine is low in fat and salt, contributing to the longevity of the Okinawans. Though I am unsure if the dishes we ordered were low fat and low salt, they were simple and delicious.

Nirai Kanai Okinawan
177 River Valley Road, #B1-01/02,
Liang Court Shopping Centre
Opening hours: 12.00pm-3.00pm, 6.00pm-11.00pm (Mon-Fri), 12.00pm-11.00pm (Sat-Sun)

Chicken soup for the soul

For those who came to this blog, and found there is no update, I AM SORRY! After the Chinese New Year, work and school just start to pile. But I finally completed my course and got my certificate. Hooray! Hopefully this also means my schedule will be back to normal soon.

For the past three months, I barely cook. Even if I do, it is simple, fill-up-the-tummy kind of grub. I was craving for chicken soup for a very long time. My friend, C and B, insisted that homemade chicken soup is the best. Me, being a lazy bugger and a supporter of instant stock, just couldn’t get my act together. But miracles do happen. I went to the supermarket and bought a chicken.

There are many ways to prepare chicken stock. My method is a combination of eastern and western style. The big difference between homemade and instant is that the latter has a stronger, more intense flavour. The former is lighter and very drinkable. The portion I made is quite small, you can double the recipe and freeze any leftover.

Chicken stock

Makes 1.5 litres of stock

1)      1 whole (cleaned) chicken carcass* (I like to use Sakura chicken which is available via NTUC)
2)      1 piece of chicken breast (optional)
3)      1 small onion, thinly slice
4)      1 small carrot, ¼” thick dice (½ cup of diced carrots)
5)      1 small leek, ¼” thick slice (¼ cup of sliced leeks)
6)      200g enoki mushrooms, trim the ends off and separate (optional)
7)      2 litres of hot (filtered) water
8)      2 dried bay leaves
9)      1 sprig of thyme
10)   ½ lemon (optional)
11)   2 teaspoons vegetable oil
12)   Salt and black pepper

–        Place the chicken carcass and chicken breast (if using) in a large pot and cover it with cold water (you can use normal tap water for this stage). Place the pot over medium-high heat. Once the water starts to boil, and scum begins to form at the edge of the pot, remove the pot from heat.
–        Remove the chicken carcass and chicken breast (if using) and place it on a plate. Set aside. Drain the water from the pot.
–        Shred the chicken breast into small pieces and place it on a plate (where the chicken carcass is) and set aside.
–        Using the same pot, add in the vegetable oil and place it over low-medium heat. Once the oil is heated, add in the onion, bay leaves and thyme, and gently sweat the onion. Stir the pot occasionally. This is to gently soften the onion. If you notice that the onions are starting to brown, you can add in a few teaspoons of water to stop the browning.
–        Once the onion is soften, add in the carrots and leeks and continue to cook them for 5 minutes. At this stage, you can season the vegetables with a good sprinkle of salt.
–        As the vegetables start to soften, add in the chicken carcass and the hot water, and reduce the heat to low. Let the stock simmer for at least 30 minutes.
–        While the stock is simmering, remove any excess scum and oil with a ladle or a skimming spoon.
–        Taste the stock and add in salt and pepper.
–        At the last 15 minutes of cooking, add in the lemon if using.
–        Before turning the heat off, using a pair of tongs or chopsticks, squeeze the lemon. Remove the chicken carcass, bay leaves and thyme. Taste and season accordingly.
–        If you are using the stock for risotto or any dishes, there is no need to add in enoki mushroom and chicken breast. Pass the stock through a sieve to remove the vegetables and use the stock accordingly. Any leftover stock can be kept in the freezer for up to 1 month
–        To transform the stock to chicken soup, add in the enoki mushroom and shredded chicken breast at the last 15 minutes of cooking. To bulk up the chicken soup, you can add in cooked lentils or pasta.

*If you do not want to buy a whole chicken, you can keep the bones from leftover roast chicken. You can also buy chicken carcass from both wet market and supermarket.

Afternoon tea at Pollen

Hello! This slacker here finally woken up from her food coma and resumes her writing. It has been a filling and delicious few months, and I cannot believe it’s 2014! I ate so much and I am amazed that my stomach has yet to explode.

My friend, Evie was back for her year-end holidays, and I suggested tea at Pollen for some catching-up. Unlike the hotels, Pollen’s afternoon tea menu was rather small. However every item that is served to you is well planned and paired beautifully. We were given a platter savoury and sweet treats.

Evie and I started with the bread basket of toasted sourdough and cod branade. At a glance, the cod branade looked tasteless – it was not fishy, and it was creamy with a slight hint of saltiness. We finished our bread and cod branade in rapid speed and were horrified when we discovered the table next to us did not finish theirs.

For the savoury items, we had Scotch eggs with piccalilli relish, and seared beef with zucchini relish and onion brioche. Though the Scotch eggs did not have the traditional minced meat encasing the egg, the latter was cooked perfectly with a runny yolk. Paired with the cauliflower piccalilli relish which was pungent and sharp, it was a delight to put this small bite in my mouth (and this coming from someone who don’t like eggs).

For the seared beef, it was cooked to medium rare hence the meat was not chewy. I prised open the onion brioche, and filled it with slices of beef and zucchini relish, and ate it like a sandwich. It was awesome. I definitely have no making of a dainty tai-tai. The tartness from the relish cut through the richness of the beef and brioche. And I almost did an “Oliver Twist” and ask for more.

Personally, I think the sweet did not fare as well as the savoury. There were some hits and misses. My favourite on the platter was the éclair with fresh strawberry and cream. Though Evie found the strawberry to be rather sour, I quite liked it as it was refreshing amongst the thick, luscious cream. The choux pastry was crisp without being dry.

On the platter, we also had an orange and cranberry scone, macarons and a banana tea cake. The scone was beautifully scented with orange but it was way too big. I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish it. The banana tea cake was not too bad but I don’t fancy the buttercream on top which was a tad heavy. And the cake itself was also a bit stodgy. The macarons we had that day was raspberry and chocolate, and lime and coconut. They were quite well made and the flavours complemented each other.

Pollen’s afternoon tea looked little, but seriously how much can one eat. It is not a competition to see how many open sandwiches you can eat. It is about a comfortable space, where one can chat with friends and enjoy some delicious afternoon delights.

Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay,
18 Marina Gardens Drive, #01-09
Afternoon tea starts from 3.00pm – 5.00pm (daily)
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