Sunday, December 7, 2008

Search for the best coffee

Singapore has a DEARTH of good coffee. seriously, this is coffee desert. Forget starbucks or coffee bean, those serve really yucky stuff that has no aroma whatsoever and is probably better for their coffee-styled dessert drinks with lots of mocha, caramel, whatever on it, which means it's really sweet and all that. i have yet to try a nice COFFEE that really tastes wonderfully of coffee. the best coffee i had was the one at Monmouth coffee in London (u can search for the london posts at the side) as that was so flavourful, aromatic, rich, and just beautiful, even though it was just a long black.

So on I go to a search of Good Coffee, using blogs to help me. So far, they have told me that the best is probably Highlander Coffee, and maybe Cafe Beviamo; some have suggested scrumptious cafe at Turf City is pretty good, while others have said peaberry and pretzel at sunset way has good coffee. so off I go.

Actually, the really ultimate BEST coffee I have tried is found in Cova, located in Paragon, that esteemed coffee chain from Milan. But it costs a whipping $7-8 bucks for a normal latte. So well I don't really count that because i can't go to paragon all the time (parking, ERP, etc) and pay so much for that, while i have to look pretty good to be sitting in that chic place.

Having mentioned that, I haven't actually reviewed Cova so i might as well do it now.

Cova is a really ATAS (high-class) place. founded in 1821 in Milan, it doesn't pretend to be anything but the most opulent, decadent, tea parlour serving excellent espresso, high tea, cakes, sandwiches, and the like, while even branching out into mains. the first time i went with K, K had the most yummy Panini he has ever tasted in Singapore - he said it himself - and I tried it, and it was so fresh, and full of flavourful ingredients, and even the bread was well done. great sandwich.

The COFFEE is absolutely OUT of this world. Wonderful. Very rich espresso, very fragrant aroma and a balanced taste with no bitter or sour aftertaste. Great. (9/10). If only it weren't so expensive.

Highlander Coffee comes next; located at Neil Road, it touts the perfect espresso, using only quality beans that they roast and grind themselves at their premises, and having knowledgeable barristas to turn those beans into quality coffee. I quite like this place; it is laid back without being pretentious and most importantly not too exorbitant; a coffee only costs $4 bucks compared to SB and CBNTL. mm.
the coffee was not too bad; very fragrant and aromatic (as all good coffee should be). quite a balanced taste, not too overpowering and strong; milky. (latte). (8/10).
i think i like my coffee a bit stronger, though.

Next up is Peaberry and Pretzel. Apparently they use peaberry coffee, which are beans that only have 1 pod rather than two. the coffee here was not too bad. the latte had a strong aroma and a "warmth". however, it wasn't very dark. maybe i prefer a darker roast. oh well. (7/10).

On the right is the Peaberry + Pretzel cuppa.

A few weeks ago, went to Scrumptious Cafe at Turf City. this was quite cheap, about 5 bucks for two shots. Good stuff. very aromatic and fragrant, as all coffee can be. went down pretty fast, though. (7.5/10).

Jones the Grocer was next. In fact, I visited this place twice, one day after another, because I was really impressed by this. Located at Dempsey, this place usually sells all sorts of groceries. but their coffee apparently is freshly roasted in Sydney and shipped back to SGP and served, and the quality and the freshness of the roasted beans really showed. The first time i had the iced latte and even through the straw, the aroma just wafted through, it was so intoxicating. and the taste was spot on - relatively dark roast, slightly bitter, not overpoweringly so, with lots of coffee flavour. good stuff.
i had the Hot latte the next day. This was just as good; still very aromatic, smells of freshly extracted espresso; relatively dark and slightly bitter as well.
Overall: 8.5/10

Having said that though, I have recently come across another great coffee. This one is even better. It's Cafe Beviamo, located at Tanglin Mall. The Cafe Latte i had had this wonderful roasty "roasted coffee" aroma, of dark caramel and intense flavour, of a very deep dark roast....almost chocolately in its dark finish. Great great stuff. There's no point putting a photo since it was a takeaway but this really takes the cake. (9.5/10). I could drink this all day long. Perfect cup. I think i'll drop by tomorrow.

Jo's 21st - Pierside!

Celebrated our good friend Jo's birthday (from L sch) at Pierside Kitchen, located at One Fullerton - by the sea - and apparently its run by the same group as Marmalade Pantry, aka the Marmalade group. The place had very very high ceilings and was done almost white, marmalade pantry style.

We started off with guess what, an Amuse Bouche. When they serve Amuse Bouches you already know that the meal is going to be super expensive. In fact, i can't really recall a place where I've eaten an amuse bouche. u see, this blog tends to focus on the - cheap, whereas in other blogs you might find that almost everything is at sage, or st pierre, or tatsuya's. although i wont go so far to only eat at hawker centres.
balance, it's all about balance.

so yeah the amuse bouche was actually very good. it was tofu with some thai-styled dressing of lemongrass, lime, sugar, to really whet the appetite for what was to come.

JQ ordered half a dozen oysters, and I was to have just one (i paid for one). But seriously these were really pretty darned good. Very fresh (apparently fresh that day), juicy, full of the salty tastes of the sea, and quite 'sweet' as well. nothing fishy. i like. and they were small. i think small oysters are much better. ($3 each, 9/10 - seriously you can't rate oysters)

And for the mains I had their Wagyu Burger ($38), not on their menu, it was a chef's special. it came, a large plate, with heaps of crisp golden fries which were done to perfection, each of them salty, crispy and slightly potatoey inside. The wagyu burger had a very delicate flavour, almost feminine-like, while the buns that the burger was on was also superbly done, each smothered with a nice butter. great, but i think the one at brown sugar still trumps this. hah. (7.5/10) - it's too ex, unfortunately.

And rounded off with such a nice cake from Rive Gauche. NIce. thankyou.

the burger wasn't that big, but there was so much greens. actually i like rocket, so can't complain.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Ice Cream Gallery

Photos: Jeremy (my eating partner) looking gleefully; the outlet at valley point;
On the right: Strawberry cheesecake, Rum and Raisin ice cream

Ice Cream Gallery is probably one of my favourite Ice-Cream shops right now, along with Tom's Palette. Their ice cream is very flavourful and has a nice rich creamy consistency, and makes for yummy eating.
They have two branches - the main branch is at Valley Point, Cold Storage, along River Valley Road opposite the Esso petrol kiosk, where the Jervois Road turning is. The other branch is for the easties at Eastwood Centre, located off Bedok Road.
They are famous for their local flavours - one of my friends is such a regular of their 'soursop' that the auntie always knows what she wants everytime she goes there. But yeah at valley point I really do adore their 'Gula-Melaka with Red Bean'. It is so fragrant with the taste of good gula melaka interspersed with red-bean, it really tastes like Chendol in ice-cream form. Nice. Their durian ice-cream, made with D24 icecream, is superb as well, very rich and fragrant and full of bittersweet durian.

The last time I went I had this super good flavour, Strawberry Cheesecake. Swirls of decadent tangy strawberry and the "biscuity" layers of cheesecake, flavoured with a bit of salty caramel (I think) which lifted the whole palate, and the entire thing was very very deliciously yummy. Creamy too.

And if I can recall, the Rum and Raisin here beats all places flat. Very smooth, with the flavours blending together well, the raisins soaked in nice rum. probably the best rum and raisin in singapore. (don't even think about udders).

Rating: 8.5/10