Hairloom & Caramel is an all-in-one salon cum cafe housed in Shaw Towers. Ben has tried this quaint little cafe before, and decided to bring Dar to try the food there. Having studied at Starbucks in the morning, we decided to reward ourselves with a good lunch!
The hand-decorated walls, cute little furnishings and tableware create a cosy and warm atmosphere. In addition, they offer a set lunch from 12-3pm at reasonable prices. Nice food, nice ambience at reasonable prices, what else can you expect?
We started off the meal by trying their iced specialties - Citron Presse ($6.50) and Yuzu Frost ($6.50). Though a bit pricey, the drinks are quite unique and Dar found them refreshing!
Ben ordered his all time favourite Chicken Spaghetti in Sesame Sauce and Cabbage ($8.50). He likes the sesame sauce which is unique to Hairloom & Caramel, and strongly recommends this dish!
As for Dar, who cannot resist the temptation of pink sauce, decided to order Salmon Spaghetti in House Special Pink Sauce ($9.50). The pink sauce was to Dar’s liking and she insisted on coming back for the dish!
A hidden gem in Shaw Towers, Hairloom & Caramel is a quirky little place to enjoy nice fusion pastas at reasonable prices. Furthermore, you can have fun looking at the vintage furniture and the nice decor of the cafe. A must try if you’re in the area!
Hairloom & Caramel
100 Beach Road
#01-50/52 Shaw Towers
P.S. The cafe is already closed (updated 5 Dec 2011)
Sushi Tei at China Square was crowded as usual, so we chose to go to Kyo-Nichi instead! Dar strongly recommended that place, as she had been there before. The lunch set was reasonably priced at $12.80++ and consisted of a drink, a ramen and an appetizer.
For the appetizers, we decided to order Potato Croquette and Prawn Rolls to share. They were generally quite nice, though a bit oily.
Ben was attracted to the Chicken Karaage which the adjacent table ordered and said that he would definitely order the next time round. As for the drinks, we chose our fave Heaven & Earth Green Tea :)
Look at our yummy ramens! The collagen-laden broth was quite good (especially for our complexion), and most of the ladies around us seemed excited about the broth!
Ben’s choice: Spicy Chicken Ramen
Apparently, this is not spicy enough for Ben. He kept talking about how spicy Beppu’s ramen was.
Dar’s choice: Corn Ramen
Overall, the portions were generous and the set was certainly value-for-money. Although the service staff mostly hailed from China, the service was quite efficient and they were generally quite polite. Certainly worth a try if you’re in the area and if Sushi Tei is too crowded.
Kyo-Nichi Japanese Ramen
China Square Central #01-31/32
Opening hours: 11.00am to 9.30pm
The all-so-famous stewed soup from The Arcade, especially good for rainy days.
Sometimes, the place is so crowded that we have to “chope” seats using tissue papers or our staff passes.
Look at our sumptuous lunch!
Our favourite is their Peanuts and Lotus Root Soup coupled with their tasty Yam or Pumpkin Rice of the day. Though Ben & Dar both agrees that Ben’s Daddy cooks better soup :P
Since Dar doesn’t eat meat, Ben ordered dishes from the economical rice stall to add on to our lunch menu. So sweet of him (:
11 Collyer Quay , #01-32
Opening Hours: Lunch Hours
We’ve tried the food at Ramen Play once, owing to Dar’s recommendation as she likes their unique Umani Ramen, which is essentially ramen cooked in rich and thick shoyu gravy, topped with seafood, pork, quail’s egg and vegetables!
However, we’ve not tried the Bishan outlet, and on a lazy Thursday afternoon, after our project meeting at The Coffee Bean, we decided to try after we were issued a 1-for-1 promotional coupon at Ramen Play!
The Ramen Play at Bishan is a 2-floor building situated next to Junction 8, sharing a common premises with Toast Box. The glass windows coupled with the modern architecture aim to elevate the dining experience for the consumer!
Pick your poison - chili paste or garlic chips? Neither for Dar, too poisonous!
Ebi Katsu Toji Set ($14.80). Dar loves the popcorn prawn and how it is simmered in the light, savoury sauce, especially the texture of the egg!
Chicken Katsu Curry Ramen($14.80). The breaded chicken katsu was a great complement to go along with the spicy-sweet curry. However, the curry tended to be slightly watery, Ben prefers his usual Japanese curry (the thicker version).
We decided to order their Nabemushi Tofu ($6.80) to share. Made from silken tofu, the nabemushi was particularly soft and smooth. Dar’s more of a chawanmushi person, hence she thinks the nabemushi was too soft for her liking. However, Dar likes the cute little timer which comes along with the dish! (you have to wait about 13 minutes for it to cook)
Ramen Play’s new offerings were quite unique and the food was generally decent. Portions were huge, and you should really share! Ben’s keen on trying their other dishes such as Ramen Play Bamboo Chicken hence I foresee that we’ll be back soon!
9 Bishan Place #01-51
Bishan Junction 8
Opening hours: 11am to 10.30pm
This is the second time Ben and Dar has tried out this European casual dining restaurant located in Jurong Point as we were enticed by their $9.90 set lunch menu from 11 am to 5 pm. The set menu comes with a main dish, a soup/chowder of the day and a drink.
Ain’t their menu cute?
For their weekday set lunches, there are a variety of pastas and sausage platters available. To start off, we had a Mushroom Soup which comes along with the set.
Dar ordered a Salmon Thai Basil Sauce for her main dish. The sauce was rather different from the conventional tomato sauce though it looks similar. Dar thought the salmon was nicely done and the portion was huge.
Ben is a fan of german sausages and he ordered a French Chicken Garlic served with Rosti. Of course, it is nothing compared to sausages from Brotzeit!
Overall, we felt that the food was decent and certainly value for money. We wouldn’t mind going back if we are craving for European food at affordable prices.
1 Jurong West Central 2
Opening Hours: Sun–Thu: 11am – 9.30pm
Fri–Sat: 11am – 10pm
Ben, Dar and Ben’s mummy were looking for a lunch place around Nex and they decided to settle for Ministry of Food since Ben’s mummy was craving for stone rice!
Dar was spoilt for choice after looking at the variety of the menu! :P
The air-conditioning at MOF@Nex was particularly strong and hot green tea would be the best drink to order! Dar forewarns that you should bring a sweater along if you’re afraid of the cold!
Stubborn Ben still insisted on ordering an Iced Green Tea
Kani Mayo Inari ($3.20). Ben loves the sweet beancurd (inari) and how you can choose the fillings according to your preferences.
Tori karaage ($4.00 for 3 pieces). Ben had high expectations especially after having Sushi Tei’s, and he was really disappointed.
Ebi tempura ($13.80). Ben felt that the batter could have been lighter, and raved about the ones he had at Ikoi.
Cod fish stone rice ($12.00). Ben’s mummy’s favourite. The stone rice was superbly fragrant, especially with the sauce given. We love the do-it-yourself concept where you can add more sauce to make it more flavorful and constantly stir the rice to prevent it from charring.
Salmon sukiyaki set ($19.80). The soup tasted rich and flavorful, and was filled with various ingredients such as enoki, beancurd, carrot, leak, cabbage, mushrooms. However, the pan was slightly shallow such that the soup may overflow when it is boiling!
Mango Dragon Roll ($13.80). The dragon roll was decent, but nowhere compared to Sushi Tei’s. The mango slices were very thin and weren’t very fresh, plus the layer of rice was too thick!
Finally dessert time! Ben decided to order a Sesame Sundae ($6.80) and Dar loved the black sesame ice cream and the accompanying black sesame sauce!
Macha Imo ($6.80). Once again, how can Ben do without his matcha imo? The smooth soft serve, coupled with the green tea sauce and red bean paste was a heavenly combination! Not forgetting the deep fried imo (sweet potatoes) which went excellently well with the cold soft serve!
Some hits and misses, but the variety at MOF is undoubtedly better than its other competitors! To be on the safe side, you’d probably want to stick to stone rice and its desserts!
Ministry of Food Nex
23 Serangoon Central
Opening hours: 11.30am to 10.30pm
A popular choice with families, Pu Tien has expanded and located in various malls in Singapore, and is often crowded during weekends. Ben and Dar has tried other Pu Tien outlets such as Marina Square, Tampines Mall, but Dar has yet to try the flagship store outlet at Kitchener Road. Hence, Ben decided to bring Dar there for lunch! They even have complimentary valet parking. Kudos to their excellent service!
Pu Tien’s specially concocted Spice Mum Chili Sauce. Not to be missed! If you like it so much, you can even purchase a bottle at $6.80!
One of their Autumn Menu specialties - Fried Cabbage Pancake. Ben’s mummy loved this dish as it tasted like fried vegetable fritter, and was not too oily! She almost wanted to order another serving!
One of the dishes that we usually order - Deep Fried Squirrel Fish with Gravy ($35.90). The fish was crispy yet tender on the inside, and the tangy sauce was excellent, especially with the added crunch from the pine nuts.
Spinach with Salted Egg & Century Egg in Supreme Stock ($12.90/$19.90/$25.90). Ben likes how the three eggs are combined to form the silky texture of the gravy, that goes well with the parboiled spinach.
Homemade Beancurd ($8.90/$13.90/$17.90). Dar’s favourite dish. There’s only one word to describe the silky home-made beancurd - divine! It’s amazing to see how they could make a simple dish taste so good!
How can Ben do without his little yam cubes? Stir-fried Yam ($10.90/$16.90/$21.90). Crisp on the outside and coated with a honey glaze, these little cubes are really addictive! Once you start, you simply can’t stop!
Pu Tien’s signature Fried “Hing Wa” Bee Hoon ($7.90/$15.90/$23.90). Though Ben finds it slightly dry, the beehoon is fried with various condiments such as mushroom, vegetables, pork and peanuts, which adds to the flavorful taste!
We were worried that Ben’s parents may not be full, so we ordered another dish Pu Tien Shrimp Roll ($12.90/$19.90/$25.90). Dar didn’t really like the batter, as it was slightly oily and the shrimp roll pieces weren’t exactly bite-sized. Ben prefers his shrimp roll from the other Hokkien restaurants that he has tried!
Other must-try dishes include their Deep Fried Chicken with Garlic ($12.90 for half, $24.90 for whole) as well as their Deep Fried Duck with Yam ($15.90).
The prices are really affordable, and suitable if you’re looking for a cosy Chinese restaurant for a simple family dinner! Ben recommends going to their Kitchener Road store!
Pu Tien Restaurant
127 Kitchener Road
Opening hours: 11.30am - 3pm and 5.30pm - 10pm
Imperial Treasure Nan Bei Ngee Ann City is an extremely popular place for dimsum, especially judging from the crowd on weekends. Ben decided to bring Dar and Ben’s mummy for dimsum on a Saturday afternoon, and they had to wait for half an hour.
Both Dar and Ben’s mummy prefer prawns to meat, so we had Steamed Prawn Dumpling, Deep Fried Prawn Dumpling, Rice flour roll with Scallops, their signature Spinach Beancurd with Mushrooms, and their Braised Thick Noodle with Dried Shrimp. Shall let the pictures do the talking…
While everything was well-executed, the clear winner would be the beancurd! Ben insists that the standard has slipped since the last time he came, and the dimsum there didn’t wow him enough to make him return! Would drop by Royal China or Wah Lok if we wanted better choices next time round. Nonetheless, if you’re interested on going, do remember to make reservations as the queue can be really long!
Imperial Treasure Nan Bei Ngee Ann City
391 Orchard Road
Ngee Ann City #05-12/13
Opening hours: 11.30am to 10.30pm
Once again, Ben and Dar was out hunting for a good meal after studying hard at Starbucks! So this time round Ben brought Dar to Ah Loy Thai located in Shaw Towers (which Ben has been raving about) to try out their Thai food. As it was a weekday and Ben knew that it would be usually packed with the office crowd during lunch hour, we went there early to get seats.
As they usually start serving only at 12 sharp and we were one of the earliest, we had the time to slowly decide what we wanted to have and meanwhile capture pictures of the place before the crowds come in. The newly expanded premises was decorated with Thai furnishing and the use of deep, vibrant colours seeked to create a cosy ambience.
We ordered a Thai Red Tea ($2.00) and a Icey Rose ($1.90). Ben thought the milk tea was good but Dar found the rose drink extremely sweet.
As Dar is a fan of pineapple rice, Ben ordered a Pineapple Rice ($5.90) for us to share. This is nothing like what Dar had expected for a pineapple rice as she is more used to the yellowy kind (Now Dar wonders which is the authentic pineapple rice! xD). This tastes more like the zhi char fried rice. Yummy nonetheless!
We wanted to try something uniquely thai and so we ordered a Chu Chi Fish ($14.00) which is essentially fried fish with green curry. One noteworthy point about the dish would be the fruits used in the dish such as green apples, green grapes and rambutans. Ben savoured every bit of the gravy while Dar couldn’t stop eating the fruits. What more do we have to say :)
Last but not least, Ben ordered his all-time favourite the Mango Crispy Chicken ($7.50). Fried to crispiness on the outside, the chicken went extremely well with the green mango slices and the tangy sweet and sour sauce!
The food is certainly tasty and great value for money. We’ll be back again!
Ah Loy Thai
100 Beach Road
#01-39/40 Shaw Towers
Opening Hours: Mon–Fri: 12pm – 8.15pm
Sat–Sun: 1pm – 7.15pm
(Closed on PH)
Dar and Ben had finally finished their examinations and was too bored staying at home! Craving for some Swedish food, we decided to go to IKEA to do some shopping and have lunch at its cafe.
Surprisingly, we went on a Tuesday afternoon, and the place was filled with families. Probably cos it was the school holidays!
Ben loves the concept of pushing your own cart and filling the cart with trays of yummy-licious food! Check out our cart :)
We ordered their signature Swedish meatballs (5 for $2.70), chicken wings (2 for $2.80, 6 for $7.50); halal fish nuggets with fries ($2.90). Furthermore, in line with the festive Christmas season, we had cheese baked saithe with Christmas log cake ($9.50). Ben raved about the chicken wings and related about how he used to finish 6 chicken wings by himself! Dar felt that the saithe (a kind of deep water fish) was slightly overcooked and a tad too dry, but she liked the cheese baked crust!
The concept is great, and suitable for families with kids, especially given the kid-friendly dining environment. Don’t expect too much for food quality, though! And Dar reminds you to not forget to clear your own table after eating!
60 Tampines North Drive 2
Opening hours: 9.30am to 10.30pm (store opens from 10am to 11pm)