After a long day at school, Ben and Dar were back in Toa Payoh looking for something good to eat. Situated at the food court located at the basement of HDB Hub, With a Pinch of Salt caught Dar’s eye because of its cute interior. Ben has heard of the quaint little cafe at Tanjong Katong before, but we didn’t know there was a branch at Toa Payoh.
While waiting for our dishes, Ben couldn’t resist taking photos of their decor.
Ben ordered the Marinara Tom Yam ($9.90) and the Pan-Seared Dory ($8.90) for us to share. Ben loved the fiery tom yam pasta (breathes fire) while Dar couldn’t take the spiciness of the dish and stick to her grilled dory which was decently executed.
The mushroom soup was too watery and the croutons weren’t crispy. Far from our usual standard.
On a second occasion, we went back there to try out new dishes.
We had their Creamy Fish Pasta ($8.90) and Fish and Chips ($8.90). The spaghetti wasn’t al dente enough, and the sauce wasn’t thick and creamy enough. On the other hand, the batter for the fish and chips was light and it wasn’t too oily!
The quaint decor and unique dishes are strong reasons for us to go back again, but we’ll probably try the flagship store in Tg Katong instead next time round.
With a Pinch of Salt
480 Lor 6 Toa Payoh
Gourmet Paradise HDB Hub #B1-01
Opening hours: 11am to 9pm
Ben saw a Groupon deal selling a $40 voucher at Confused Cooks and decided to buy it and bring Dar there to try the food on their 13th month-sary. Located along the shophouses along Arab Street, it may be a chore trying to find the place! However, if you have patronized Fika before, its just opposite Fika!
The bistro was really small and cramped, and as it was a weekday dinner, we were the only 2 patrons! The friendly owner welcomed us warmly and she even recommended some of their signature dishes!
Thanks to the owner’s recommendation, we tried their Gnocchi & Mushrooms ($16). In case you’re wondering, gnocchi is actually potato dumplings and the owner told us it was a love-hate affair with gnocchi - you either love it or you don’t like its texture! Apparently, Ben likes the texture of the gnocchi, especially with the parmesan cheese sauce accompanied with truffle oil and the shitake mushrooms, but Dar thinks the gnocchi has a flour-like and chewy texture and prefers sticking to her linguine!
In addition, we ordered the Seafood Carbonara ($14). Usually, carbonara is served with bacon or ham, but the carbonara version here is suitable for Dar who is strongly against meat! Ben loves the poached egg which is served atop the carbonara.
Ben was intrigued by the array of imported beers available, and based on the owner’s recommendation, he decided to order Lindemans Pecheresse ($10), which had a sweet peachy tinge! Though different from the usual beers, he liked the peach infusion!
We decided to order their signature Smurfy’s Souffle ($12) which would actually take 25 minutes to cook so we ordered while we were having our main courses! Ben loves the unique blueberry flavored souffle. The souffle was of the right texture and went well with the vanilla ice cream!
Though the pasta dishes weren’t exactly fantastic, their unique range of imported beers and the Smurfy’s Souffle are enticing enough to make us return!
25 Arab Street
Ben and Dar was feeling hungry after our meeting and we were looking for a snack at Nex. We spotted this new little snack shop when we passed by previously and we decided to try it out today.
at 1 Point sells fusion snacks which is essentially their home-made patties served with steamed buns. Dar loves fluffy steamed buns, so she was really looking forward to it!
We ordered a Pan-fried Chicky-fish Steamed Bun ($4.50) which comes with two servings of the steamed bun and you can customize any two flavours of your choice which includes sweet sauce, spicy thai sauce, black pepper sauce and garlic mayo sauce.
Their student promotion gets you a free beverage or sweet potato fries to go along with your choice of the mains. We decided on the Sunrise Cooler.
The patty tasted rather meaty despite the fact that it was supposed to be made of chicken and fish. The taste and texture was great though. We ordered the spicy thai sauce and black pepper sauce which turned out to be rather spicy.
We think that the choices they offer are too limited and we think that they can improve by offering other products such as Dar’s favourite Otah Steamed Bun!
at 1 Point
23 Serangoon Central
#B2-48b NEX Mall
Opening hours: 10.30 am to 10.30 pm
Ben had chosen this venue for a post-Valentine’s Day celebration as he wanted somewhere preferably quiet and romantic. This new cosy abode that marries hearty international fare with the local flavours of Asian comfort food is hidden in the lobby of Scarlet Hotel, which is just behind the all-time-famous Maxwell Road Food Centre.
The cosy and intimate ambiance makes it really suitable for a romantic, sweet date for two. The service was also great - the staff greeted us upon entering, and was quite attentive to our needs.
The first dish to arrive was the Laksa Clam Chowder ($14). Almost every food blog seemed to feature this dish, so we decided to order one to try. Served in a foccacia bread bowl and a drizzle of truffle oil, they did a good job in marrying the seafood chowder and the laksa aftertaste. A word of caution: Do share this dish as it is simply too cloying for one.
Considered to be the highlight of the meal, this Chili Crab Sliders ($22) really wowed us. Ben thought the crab meat patties were well-executed, with water chestnuts giving the added crunch! Dar was really pleased with the chili crab sauce that accompanied the dish - though she had to down a few glasses of iced water as it was really spicy! A MUST-ORDER if you are there!
Our final main course was Curry Chicken Pizza ($12 for 7-inch, $18 for 10-inch). In fact when this dish arrived, we were almost full! A unique combination of cheesy curry goodness atop a thin crust, with chicken chunks and french fries!
Now for the drinks.. Dar ordered the Orchid Vanilla tea ($7) to wash down the oily food and owing to the hot weather, we requested for a glass of ice to make our own iced tea! Ben chose to order their House Red Wine ($10).
This restaurant certainly resonates with us, given its contemporary yet cosy ambiance and awesome fusion food that suits our palate. Will definitely be back!
Our Korner @ The Scarlet
33 Erskine Road
Opening hours: 11.30am to 11.30pm daily
Ben and Dar decided to bring E to Our Korner to thank her for her help in our FYP, especially after our enjoyable visit during Valentine’s Day. It was close to empty on a weekday afternoon, so we practically had the restaurant to ourselves.
The service staff were really attentive to our needs, constantly refilling water and checking on us. Since we were the “hosts” and having been there before, we recommended some dishes for ordering (which E agreed to).
To start the ball rolling, we kicked off the meal with a Laksa Clam Chowder ($14). The chowder was a good harmony of the western chowder and the Asian local delight. Perhaps this time round cos there were more of us sharing, the chowder didn’t seem so cloying and we weren’t too full after having the soup.
We wanted to order our favourite Chili Crab Sliders but to our greatest disappointment, the dish was not available. Hence we opted for the Crispy Chicken Wantons ($14) instead. Although there was an added crunch from the water chestnuts and the wasabi mayonnaise dip also served as a great accompaniment, this was a far cry from the crab cakes, which tasted exceptionally juicy and full of crabby goodness!
Oriental Wings($16). As promoted in the menu, the wings (supposedly to be marinated with 14 spices) were very well-marinated and crispy on the outside. Not too dry and went well with the homemade Thai Chili sauce.
As Dar and E were small eaters, we chose the 7-inch Curry Chicken Pizza ($12). E commented that the pizza was quite unique and something she has never tried before elsewhere, especially the curry taste, which had this homemade, nostalgic feel to it!
We also had the Chili Crab Linguine ($25) which Ben and Dar did not try the last time round. Ben had the poached egg, and he said it was not very well done, compared to those he had at Krish or Hatched. However, all of us loved the spicy tomato sauce (not exactly very spicy compared to the chili crab sauce) that went very well with the al dente linguine. The soft shell crab was also quite well done - not too oily nor dry. Dar even commented that they do their pastas quite well!
Cafe Latte ($7). Of course, considering that E and Ben are coffee lovers, how could they not end their meal with a cuppa coffee? E even checked with the service staff the origin of their coffee before ordering.
Despite the hits and misses, we concluded that Our Korner offers a good cosy ambience to chill and for people looking to have nice fusion food!
33 Erskine Road
Ben came across this little cafe along Nankin Row China Square, and decided to bring Dar there for lunch. Aimed at the working crowd, this humble little eatery offers homecooked meals in rice boxes (bento sets)!
Dar opted for the Thai Green Curry Chicken Set ($5.90) while Ben chose the Grilled Fish with Italian Sauce Set ($5.90). We even topped up $1 each for additional Iced Tea. Obviously, Dar complained about the fact that we had to add our own sugar syrup and she felt that the iced tea tasted a bit weird!
The green curry was not spicy enough but according to Ben, the chicken chunks were generous and tender! The fresh greens tasted too bland, could have come with a light dressing instead.
The tangy Pronto sauce (tomato-based) that accompanied the fish did tantalize our palette, but was too sweet for Ben’s liking. The fish should have been pan-fried beforehand to give it a much crispier batter and texture.
Overall, still a nice concept that fits the busy lunch crowd in the CBD area. Moreover, they serve really fast and the servings are quite adequate for a nice lunch. Will probably go back to try their other dishes.
3 Pickering Street
#01-42 Nankin Row China Square