Au Petit Salut

It’s a French affair. Let’s pretend I’m saying this entire post in an amateur and incredibly annoying French accent. Just. Pretend.

My 16th birthday was approximately 3 weeks and 4 days ago, yet the memory of my Frenchie Penchie dinner at this dimly lit restaurant on Harding Road is still fresh in my head; a throbbing memory retracting images of glowing candles and brick and rich post-dinner sugar rushes and the colours burgundy and gold all round. Oh yes, and wads of cash slammed down on the bill collector after the happy feasting subsides.

My goodness there were quite a few hits and misses, though more of the former may I happily say. It was my first time after a long time, and so I prayed for my expectations not to override my vague memory of the dishes there. Crossed my fingers and hopped along the ride with an empty belly.

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The most fantastic pan seared duck foie gras

I ordered this as an entree because I am infatuated with liver of any sort, so foie gras would be a natural choice to warm up and seduce the palate. Soft, not overly greasy, mildly robust and shamelessly rich. The tang of the balsamic reduction coated each tender bite and bathed it with a sharp contrast in flavour. Dark yet light, rich yet not overwhelming and overly glorified. Shall praise this dish till my death. Beautiful simplicity. I could have had just this and been duly satisfied.

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Baked black cod, quinoa, mussels & chorizo, saffron aioli and crustacean froth

The purity of cod can never be mistaken or masked in a good dish. This would have been slightly monotone if the cod wasn’t accompanied by the quinoa, aioli and froth. They are all best friends; the pompous group which would almost outshine the sophisticated intellects in school. The quinoa is necessary to provide some differing texture, whilst the aioli was gorgeous and buttery on its own. A good cod is always a smidgen translucent, buttery and beautifully flaky, and this ticked all the right boxes (though more mild sweetness would have sent me straight to cod heaven).

Cuts like butter, looks like it too.

Tragically, dishes such as the polenta (my poor mother) suffered grainy dullness, looking like lonely cuboids thrust pretentiously on a plate.

We proceeded to dive straight into the Orange and Grand Marnier soufflé with chocolate truffle for dessert, as well as the choux buns filled with vanilla ice cream, warm chocolate sauce and slivered almonds. That souffle was the king and the buns, the queen. It’s a tragic picture I have photos of neither, but just imagine a bulging, hole-bitten souffle and gorgeous choux buns drizzled in molten chocolate. Absolutely nothing is complete without ice cream. Nothing nothing nothing.

The finale went along as such:

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The best cheesecake in Singapore, if one is willing to indulge in the richest, cheesiest splendor around. Dense, heavy, strong, proud.

No denying the genuine chocolate flavour swirled within as well. There’s the plastic, overly sweet sort you’d get on an unfortunate occasion, and then there’s… This. Perfect cheesy ridges and crisp crust. Shards of chocolate and glossy glaze. Oh.

Just looking at that slice now… ugh I just can’t.

That concludes my one night stand with this restaurant. They also like to shimmy seemingly knowledgable blond French people around. perhaps to show just how French they are. But a huge thumbs up to the comforting auburn ambience during the soft night, lit by a sad moon.

Rating: 3.7/5

Au Petit Salut

40C Harding Road

6475 1976

Killiney Kopitiam

Curse my atrocious sense of direction.

I only learnt that Orchard and Killiney are neighbours sometime earlier this year (yes cue the curses). It came as a sudden and embarrassing discovery, considering how close by I stay. So painfully close. I should find a way to conquer and eventually squash this oblivion of mine in one way or another. Honestly, how do I even live in this world. If one wishes to lose him/herself whilst travelling, come pick me up. I’d be happy to help strand you on some faraway island.

I swear I can’t even walk in a straight line.

Back to the actual point. For my father and I, Killiney Kopitiam is one of those quaint and good old-fashioned eateries which will always have that nostalgic effect on us. It’s memory and patriotism rolled into one square, white-tiled nook down the street. Constantly, I am reminded of my local roots, and what I really am made of, no matter how ginormous my ego sometimes.

All with some good kopi, crisp and creamy kaya toast and half boiled eggs. That’s all that’s needed to really wake me up.

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The right marriage of local flavour. Those eggs are the most divine things in the world.

This is where we started with breakfast. Us. Singaporeans. Slurp down those eggs like a hooligan without a care in the world, with great streams of light soy and white pepper. Feel it slide down your throat and relish the purity of a couple of unfertilised eggs (oh I make it sound so appealing). The kaya toast is, without a doubt, the best out there. I remember first trying it, thinking it absurdly simple and nothing much to care for. It’s grilled white toast and plain old kaya. Stodge upon sugar and back again. Then I tried other coffee chains such as Toast Box and Ya Kun, before coming to the stark conclusion that yes, this retains the most local flavour and bang for the buck. The curds in that homemade kaya meld beautifully with those cold alabaster slabs of butter, brought together harmoniously by that crusty, ridged rectangles of toast. Not too thick or thin. It basically screams the love emanating from some apron-bound Chinese grandmother. And do NOT skimp on the butter. Won’t be exploding with goodness if you resort to that.

Nothing like freshly grilled toast. Grilled, I say. Beats my traditional burnt toast anytime, with the perfect proportions of green, ivory and toast. Green, ivory, crunch and crunch. Yum.

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I could pass on the french toast though, for it’s rather blah and well, predictable. Though I must say there are always those mornings when all I crave is some charred eggy bread with blobs of syrup.

Cheap flavours, everlasting memories.

Rating: 4.7/5

Killiney Kopitiam

67 Killiney Road

Don’t call, just go.

I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas

It’s.

ALMOST.

That specific time of year again. And now, since getting my Nikon D3200, I’ve gone on a nonsensical happy-snapping spree.

Absolutely shameless, but I shall attempt to maintain some level of modesty here.

The thought of another big year, starting the IB with more fresh (sometimes acne-crusted) faces and a myriad of projects is mind numbingly intimidating. To celebrate the wonder of Christmas is humble annual tradition in the Lim house~

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I’ve gotta son now, and his name is Connor. I suppose my habit of naming inanimate possessions is normal. I have a 6-year old anatomy model called Toby. Yes, very normal.

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Oh the fluttery butterflies I get when I see a crisp fake tree. But yes, anyway.

This is just one of those excuses whereby I get to put my nose into the sweaty kitchen work and activate some elbow grease. I am a most pathetic cook and I only just learnt how to chop a bleeping garlic yesterday. Smash, chop off ends, snip snap snop. Mince, pivot, repeat and repeat. Total novice would be a famed title, to say the least.

The buffet spread really was magnificent. Divine, rich, glorious. All other suitable adjectives.

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A slightly burnt sticky toffee date pudding, minus the treacle-like, thick toffee sauce

My mother’s signature dessert is her absurdly moist, dense and almost heavy sticky toffee date pudding. Nicely chewy. I enjoy things which aren’t particularly easy to nosh. This is it. Splendor within the process of eating it. Never a one-bite-and-it’s-gone sort of thing.

It’s a squashed brown tin with those wonderful burnt ridges which one would happily pick off the side of a plate. This was trial one and not the actual thing, since we happily starting shrinking mushrooms in pans whilst leaving the oven on a tad too long. It’s a beautiful thing really, to perfect this tart. And it can only ever be glorious when drenched in a rich and blindingly sweet toffee sauce, coupled with a scoop of good vanilla bean ice cream.

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spinach and mushroom quiche at Goodwood Park Hotel
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Durian puffs. Freshly piped and looking mighty pregnant…
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It’s an ordeal
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Chicken liver pate. Best in the world.

Traditionally made in a food processor in this household. A good swig of each ingredient in the perfect ratio to make the perfect, decadent pate. Luscious, milky and almost sombre-looking (though entirely sophisticated). My favourite appetiser of all time. Needless to announce, I do love liver a hell lot.

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Blue cheese stuffed dates, a surprisingly workable combination
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Wild rice and edamame salad
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What’s Christmas without a great hulking roast?
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Get closer and you can even smell the bubbles in this mac and cheese made with gruyere and parmesan

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Booze

NOTE: I’m flying off to Mougins, Southeastern France this Wednesday on the 12th. Family will be staying in the blooming countryside near Cannes, before we go to the Italian Alps for some serious skiing business (ah yes, did I mention my very first time?). It’s all fires and starry sweaters and hot chocolates with roasted, melting marshmallows. Dandelions and Michelin-starred restaurants and prosecco and psychedelic fields. Coming back from all the wintery goodness the day before Christmas!

The very notion of simply being at Terminal 3, before sitting on an airplane with best friends Dan Brown and Stephen King, is quite simply warm nostalgia flooding all the senses. I’ll be singing Strawberry Fields Forever on the way, whilst looking down at the ant-sized world beneath. Will also be attempting to finally finish my other reading pressies, including Vanity Fair given to me by my dear (and awfully crazy) lady friend Ruru(: Books are just the most priceless gifts out there, no?

I call it a diamond feeling. Prepping myself for movie marathons and deep stretches in between hours of being confined to a single, neckache-inducing seat. I shall return with a cornucopia of pictures, for no journey may have existed without prized evidence. Love adventures; to escape from routine and familiarity.

“Memory is the basis of every journey.”- Stephen King

Awfully Chocolate- titillating chocolate supremacy

Zooming in on my inherent ice cream addiction here.

There comes a time where it must must must be combined with something so supremely luscious it should be an atrocity. A grim streak in the face of white innocence.

Yes, chocolate.

Chocolate+ice cream= Not chocolate ice cream but something heavenly in the works; so ethereal it doesn’t deserve to be given a peasant-like name.

Chocolate ice cream. I mean, pfft. It should be feathersgolddustdarkdreamslovelysofaswissbelgianbeauty. Or, something of the sort.

There are the good ones from Haagen Dazs.

There are the mediocre, overly sweet chemical concoctions from Ben and Jerry’s (may I say I believe they have lost fans from the ice cream purists, with all the bits and bobs they mix in, in their endeavours to please the entire population. Not that I complain. Some are really rather lovely).

Then, there’s the painful one. Yes, just one. Whoever hasn’t heard of Awfully Chocolate by now should go and jump into a big, beautiful pool of green acid.

And it’s painful due to its painful irresistibility. In my opinion, the best chocolate ice cream I have tried so far. I remember being introduced to it the first time the signature flavour came out (though of course, many years after 1998, when the entire brand burst into life).

HEI. This is what I love. HEI.

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At $11 a pint, this is at least $4 cheaper than your typical Haagen Dazs tub. And since so little air is incorporated into this rich chocolate pack, it is absolutely worth every single cent in that figure. Chockfull of flavour in 473ml; a nice prism of luscious, frigid temptation. The thing about this is that it’s simply spoon, mouth, spoon, mouth (or fork, if you’re nice and weird that way). Out of the tub, straight to chocolate-drenched utopia. Good chocolate always has a lower melting point, and you can gauge the quality of such by how fast this melts. It doesn’t do so too rapidly, but it does so at an exquisitely even rate, with a glossy undertone to prove its golden worth.

Success comes in the form of perfect chocolate churn with at least 70% cocoa solids. A bittersweet indulgence, to say the least.

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Yes, that’s straight off the Internet haha. Just look at that wonderful, ridged sphere.

No white streaks here.

Perfect or?

The Pelican Seafood Bar and Grill

My uncle Keith Loh is the joint owner of many restaurants here in Singapore, some of which include Oriole, Bedrock Bar and Grill, Marmalade Pantry, and now the latest addition to his string of accomplishments is The Pelican Seafood Bar and Grill at One Fullerton by the bay. This talented barista doesn’t stop at coffee, oh no. His hands work some magic both at the counter and on the barbie.

The waters snake past the dimly lit nook right next to Jing (the chinese restaurant), and one is clearly able to spot the three towering bananas of towers in the wobbly distance:

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Light show, anyone?

Food exceeded expectations, and the spread is limited but inviting. I’ve never been a heavy bread person, but you can’t help but at least try a heartwarming skinny loaf of fresh seaweed sourdough:

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Seaweed sourdough with butter cylinder

Warming, appetising. The addition of seaweed was not magnificently obvious, though it gave a unique flavour to an otherwise mediocre basket.

There’s always something a tad more special about dining by placid indigo waters; a totally rejuvenating and sophisticated air rings heavy all around. We dined indoors, and could still revel in the luscious aura of the waters (sat outside for desserts later). The decor was all dressed in wines and greys, I still remember the fantastic hovering lights which beckoned us to dine under its sultry glow. Red curved chairs faced skinny, vast mirrors.

Glitter.

We ordered quite a few things, only because a meeting with my maternal grandparents almost always demands a waist-busting spread of rich and homely goods.

No one is spared.

Lime soda
Lime soda
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Raspberry mojito

Lime soda was terrible whilst the icy mojito concoction was splendid, sweet and refreshing. I only ever enjoy drinks which would serve me to the very end, else i end up neglecting them entirely, leaving them fully abandoned in one miserable corner. No surprise on how much of that soda was left, the poor gassy thing.

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Cornflake-crusted scallops with onion, vinaigrette, currants and mildly sweet, grainy mash

These scallops were large, not too chewy and retained that sweet hint of the sea. I savoured each bite as pretentiously as a dog eating with a fork. The cornflakes helped these out quite a fair bit, as well as the perfect reduction of sauces. The richness of the entire thing was nicely cut through with the creamy, grainy bed of mash; a bed to spoil the already robust scallops and accompanying flavours. Each is more jewel than delicate morsel. Take rests between bites, for flavours can become too opaque after a while.

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Oysters

These babies aren’t complete without sweet and tangy dressing, tobasco and the confidence to slip the whole thing down your throat, like a string of flavourful, coagulated, chewy egg whites. And that was meant to sound pleasing, not salmonella-inducing.

I sometimes can’t decide which holds the truer taste of the ocean: oysters or uni. For each holds such a potent and punchy piquancy representing ocean’s edible gold. These are the real deal; pregnant, alabaster cups resting on ice. Totally chilled until consumption.

Ordered the lemon meringue ‘mess’ afterwards for dessert, and this truly was quite spectacular presentation, fitted nicely with comforting flavours.

Lemon meringue mess
Lemon meringue mess

I warn you, serious lemon meringue fans will not be satisfied with this petite jar (of heaven) if sharing’s involved.

They make it more formal and less round-the-bonfire casual with the addition of strewn lavender. No worries, graham crumbles and cosy lemony warmth all in tact. I love the melody which a lemon-flavoured dessert sings. Anything lemony wins me over instantly.

Lemon meringue pie.

Lemon tart.

Lemon chewy juniors.

Lemon curd.

Lemon ice cream or frozen yoghurt (yoghurt with an ‘h’ my friend). Lemon lemon lemon Lemony Snicket yes that’s it I blame this innocent pseudonym which kick started this unhealthy obsession. With lemon.

Rating: 4/5

The Pelican Seafood Bar and Grill

1 Fullerton Road, One Fullerton

6438 0400