Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Into the Blackforest

Guten Tag! With their 10th anniversary approaching, the two lions were pleasantly surprised when they chanced upon a German-themed boutique cafe one rainy day. Serendipity had brought them together 10 years ago at a German language class in school. So imagine their delight when they stumbled upon Stuttgart Blackforest Boutique S-Cafe (mouthful!); it was a walk down memory lane for them (somewhat!) as they reminisced about those happy days.  

Life size wooden soldier guarding food supplies?
A wide range of boutique beers from Stuttgart.
Ask for their list of wines (Rieslings!)
from the Blackforest region.
Ask also to see their huge wine vault
on the second floor.

Expansive space, high ceilings
and cosy wooden furniture makes for
an extremely relaxing Saturday afternoon here.

Window seats to watch the world go by.
Wood-carving, a respected artisan skill in the blackforest region,
has produced intricate, carved ornaments like the famous cuckoo clock.
Indoor pines and conifers, wooden soldiers
and cuckoo clocks. The lions are wishing for winter
in a cosy cottage in the woods already.
Imported blend of Hochland coffee from Stuttgart.
At a steep $12 per cuppa, this Long Black
from an automated coffee machine
was dismal. Go for the beers and wine instead!
Imported Alpine Tea in a bottle was
refreshingly sublime.
The signature Black Forest Cake
did not disappoint. It was fluffy, light and the
dark cherries was infused with a heart-stopping
amount of rum.
Probably the most value for money item in the house.
The Dunkel Acker beer was hoppy, a little dry
and refreshing.
No nuts with beer but a complimentary helping of
stick pretzels instead. Classy and addictive!
Danke Schon!
Wait! The lions are not done yet.
Time to check out the range of imported merchandise.
Cute Cute drooling over the beer again.
Cuchi's current obsession with handmade soups
made her gravitate towards this fragrant
heart-shaped item.
Grab a traditional outfit here? Kinky ... ...

A host of imported food items was also on display. With an extremely limited food menu, this cool cafe is a great hangout for drinks with the buddies. But if you are feeling peckish, try the only two mains of specialty Bratwurst with sauerkraut or Swabian pasta with dumplings. Starters include the ox-tongue and hearty beef bouillon soup with dumplings.  They do have space on the second floor for cocktail events and a private room for intimate dinner or luncheon sessions.

Only complaints are the steep prices and the closing hour (too early for beer!).

This cafe is also open throughout the Chinese New Year holidays. So if you did not make any plans for an overseas getaway, head here for a German Blackforest experience.  

For those who are interested in going, here is the address:

Stuttgart Blackforest Boutique S-Cafe
141 Middle Road
Singapore 188976
(Opens daily from 11.30am to 9.30pm)  

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Importance of being Earnest at Pasta J

The two lions decided to pay their good olde friend, Monster Cat, a visit during his birthday month and found him suitably engaged in session of therapeutic face massage. Like a boss indeed.  

Yes, yes, don't miss that spot ... ...
Aaaaaarrr you please me human.
Mmmmmm... ....
Monster Cat was sharing that such an indulgence had become a necessity after long, hard days at work. With rising inflation and slow growth in the Lion City, even a gentleman's cat like Monster Cat takes pleasure in the small things of life that does not cost him an arm and leg.

Wanting to impress the ginger cat who was, by then, feeling a little peckish, the lions told him of a passionate local boy and his unbelievably good and affordable pasta dishes nestled in a humble coffee shop. The pasta served there was no ordinary pasta; it was so fine that it would not be entirely uncomfortable on the tables of uppity restaurants with posh-er than thou addresses.

The lions first came to know about earnest John and his
signature pesto sauce while he was passionately promoting
his stellar creation at a weekend farmers' market.
This pesto sauce is chockful of impressive ingredients like
carapelli extra virgin olive oil, aeroponic basil leaves,
premium parmesan cheese, fresh cang san old garlic and
a host of other secret ingredients. A definite must-grab item
at Pasta J.
Words fail the lions as they tuck into the
Muddy Mushroom Soup ($3.50) served in a cup.
This has gotta be one of the best mushroom soups in town!
Made with pressure-cooked pork bone stock with
cartilage and marrow, this rich and chunky heck of a soup
is of five-star pedigree. Ingredients include white button
mushrooms, caramelised garlic and onions, and home-made
pork sausage meat. 

Seafood Laksa Pasta ($12.90)
came with a generous slab of fresh squid that was toasted
with sea salt and crushed black pepper.
The piquant laksa sauce was not cloying but
had a unique fusion East-meets-West flavour.
The Bourdain ($7.90) is a tribute to the famous food show host
who loves everything porcine.
This dish comes power packed with the umami richness
of bacon, premium cheese, herbs and home-made pork sausage.
John proudly declares that even those who are not too fond of
tomato-based pastas, will love this!
Lemon Yoghurt Chicken  with Spinach Cream Pasta ($11.90).
This comparatively light and satisfying dish came with a
whole leg of chicken cooked
with Greek-style yoghurt, paprika and lemon.
What truly lifts this dish to ecstatic heights is the
little scoop of chopped zesty black olives at the side.
The lions taking a treasured Soooo Pesto! bottle back
for more home-cooked experiments.
Wow this humble little shop sure pays attention to the
littlest details. Eco-friendly corn bag used for
takeaways. Wow!

The lions were too stuffed for words after the meal. No room for desserts :( They would want to try the creamy creme brulee on another visit. John allows his patrons to torch this dish to caramelise the layer of sugar over the custard. Fun!

For those who are interested in going there, here is the address:

Pasta J Italian & Western Food
Moonstone Coffee House
41 Opal Crescent
Singapore 328428
(for dinner service only. Closed on Saturdays.)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Blast to the Past at Steam Sia

After a long Sunday morning of ushering duties, the two lions, together with Miss Pretty Faith, headed to Hindoo Road to quell their hunger pangs at three in the afternoon. After racking their brains for available dining options that would be open at that odd timing, they settled on the mad for nostalgia, Steam Sia.

Nostalgia reigns with furnishings and memorabilia
that hark back to a bygone era.
Have a cuppa
and reminisce about the good ole days.
Box TV Set, old school telephones
and other 60s to 80s treasures.
Make yourself totally at home
on granny's comfy sofa.
Too bad the jukebox does not churn out
sentimental oldies.
Marble-top kopitiam tables and
wooden chairs.
Indoor Kacang Putih stand.
A helping of childhood snacks and nuts on the house
with every order. Indulge in a game of yore while waiting
for your orders.
Raisin Float
with Movenpick Rum and Raisin ice-cream
in a charming enamel cup.
Tempura Fish and Chips
with an Asian twist.
Very simple but an interesting dish
with a decidedly mamak flavour we tink.
This signature Nyonya Curry Chicken dish
has such an addictive curry
that we lament the lack of piquant gravy for one.
Should have taken the large pot for two :)

"Steam Sia" in the local vernacular describes a hyperbolic state of being extremely satisfied. The lions came away feeling a lot more nostalgic instead. 

Here is our review for Steam Sia:

Food Quality: 7.5 pawprints out of 10
Ambience: 8.0 pawprints out of 10

For those who are interested in going there, here is the address:

Steam Sia
5 Hindoo Road
Singapore 209107

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Heavenly Sweets at Ciel Patisserie

A lazy and rainy Saturday afternoon saw the lions taking refuge at Ciel Patisserie. Ciel means 'heaven' in French. The lions sure could do with a little celestial cheer given the wet dreary weather.

Stunned by the lovely pristine white exterior.
The lions were expecting something a little more humble in
appearance for a heartlands hideout.
This is a rare winning formula:
Comfy place to chill without the hole-in-pocket guilt trip.
To sweeten the deal, an affordable tea-time set special
is available.
Despite the predominant white palette, the interior was cosy
and inviting with simple and tasteful furnishings.
Take your pick: Strawberry Shortcake, Bombe, Scarlet, Ispahan,
Fuji, Tiramisu, fruit tarts and more.
Cuchi was deliberating between the elegant Scarlet
(cream cheese mousse with a hint of lemon
and red fruit gelee in the middle atop a biscuit base)
and the adorable Ispahan with her girly pastel pink
layer of raspberry mouse and rose bavarian cream.
She could not resist picking the Ispahan
that sneakily hid a refreshing lychee fruit and gelee
in the end.
Cuchi was disappointed when Cute Cute decided
to go for the more straightforward Bombe
(blueberries within a rich chocolate mousse atop
a crispy hazelnut feulletine base).
But Smurfy Lion gave it his firm stamp of approval.
Me tinks the orb cake matches his dark, fetching eyes. LOL!

Coffee was not extraordinarily good but
make a decent accompaniment to the bakes.
Homemade scones only available on Saturdays.
The quiche looked so delish with the chockful
of ingredients (ham, basil, oregano).
And at an afforable $3.20, this
is one must-order savoury item.
Spot me under the block of flats!

The lions simply adore this unpretentious bakery and cafe. During their time there, a little girl of around four came in to takeaway madeleines with her daddy in tow. Her eyes glinted in glee when the precious treats were handed over to her.

The baker behind this joint was trained in Le Cordon Bleu in Bangkok and Paris. Granted, the bakes may not have the refined sophistication of those at Patisserie G (be prepared to spend $8 and above for a slice here) but at these easy-on-the-wallet prices, the quality of cakes here is definitely impressive. 

After the short cafe sojourn, the lions took a leisurely walk to Fort Canning Green.

The wet weather and muddy fields at the Handmade Movement -
Singapore's Indie Craft Fair.
Spotted the spotty moo van -
The Travelling Chef on Wheels (C.O.W).

Local designers and their works on display at the
neighbouring National Museum.
Very chic and eco-friendly tapao box.
Quintessential Singapore Breakfast
served on a neat tray.
Handsome contraption for doing up tricky soft-boiled eggs.
Mew! Time to nap after a day of activities.

Here is our review for Ciel Patisserie:

Dessert Quality: 8.0 pawprints out of 10
Coffee Quality: 6.5 pawprints out of 10
Ambience: 7.5 pawprints out of 10

For those who are interested in going there, here is the address:

Ciel Patisserie
Blk 124 Hougang Ave 1
Singapore 530124