Carvers and Co.

DSC_3075 DSC_3077 DSC_3088 The look on my face when I was invited to my very first media tasting. Introducing the new meat-lovers go-to hideout, Carvers and Co at East Coast Road. These guys serve coffee at 10am and start brunch service 11am, all the way till 2 30pm. I’ve been meaning (you notice a trend here with all my blog posts now) to visit, specifically for their brunch special of peanut butter and walnut french toast. I’ve seen the pictures. I’ve wiped off the drool. It was all a little too much. So when Sarah, who also opened One Man Coffee at Upper Thomson, invited me that Monday night, you can just imagine my delight. Took the bus all the way to the East Coast, without a care in the world. Without a single care, caressing my coffee-deprived little belly. One of the first things I tried was their iced pour-over, using Brazil beans, served by an all-knowing, clearly coffee-crazed barista. The taste was clean albeit a little weak for my own preference. A refreshing start to this grand experience.

peanut butter and banana french toast, with toasted walnuts and maple syrup– $11.90
peanut butter and banana french toast, with toasted walnuts and maple syrup

DSC_3097

And if you wanna go all-American, pile-on-the-brunch-toppings style, you can add bacon for an extra 3 bucks. This was absolutely, disgustingly, heavenly. I was once again transported to One Man with their fabulous french toast formula, though this time there’s the added pizzaz of gooey peanut butter and warmed banana, a beautiful mess in the middle. They could even try using natural peanut butter, in all its grainy, home-ground and creamy glory, to further enhance the flavours here. The sides are ridiculously crisp, so much so that the crumbs feel like airy polka dots on your tongue. The toasted walnuts were the best touch, offering a earthy roundness to the otherwise purely chimerical and traditional peanut butter and banana pairing. What makes this french toast different is how the brioche is light, soft and crusty, and not overly weighed down by eggy batter, overly-drenched in naked batter. It’s like the delicate rose of all french toasts. Lady of the lambs. Almost untouchable, but boy was I glad to cut into this.

paprika candied bacon chips
paprika candied bacon chips
truffled egg-in-the-hole toast, with whipped grana panado and candied bacon
truffled egg-in-the-hole toast, with whipped grana panado and candied bacon

DSC_3099 DSC_3103

Firstly, those paprika bacon chips go wonderfully with a sharp, creamy beer. The man offered a gorgeous pairing of Palm beer, which made the aftertaste of sweet bakkwa-esque bacon chips linger for longer. The paprika could have been a little sharper to give a little more kick, but overall they’re rather divine, and nicely crisp on the outside.

Secondly, please take a step back to admire that bacon jam, melted cheese and truffled yolk as one golden (literally) entirety. Mostly the bacon jam though, or the single element which brought all traditional eggy behaviour of a brunch dish on its feet. It was much stickier and retained better consistency as a ‘jam’ than what I remembered the last time I tried it at One Man, and one can smear the gooey delight all over the crust of the outer edges, lending both sweet and savoury flavour to the mild, light brioche, plain melted grana panado and truffle oil. Oh, truffle. This really is taking it to the next level. One of the best bits? Sliding your knife into that fried piece of bread, or the ‘hole’, if you will. Dig into that crisp shell of crumby goodness. King of side appeal.

candied carrots and celeriac mash
candied carrots and celeriac mash

The mash was edible velvet, and offered the right savoury kick without feeling too heavy or gluggy on the palate. The candied carrots could have been marinated in a little less syrup to retain more of its bite. I’m honestly quite the sucker for any candied vegetable.

truffle fries with garlic mayo and fried anchovies
truffle fries with garlic mayo and fried anchovies

As I may or may not have said before, I’m not actually the biggest fries person, but the fried anchovies here won me over. The fries were fresh, crisp and warm, just out of the fryer, its edges mellowed by the heavy wallop of garlic mayonnaise on top. You get a bit of everything on one fry, and everything was, frankly, a nice starchy and fatty mess. Reminds me of English pubs, and that in itself says a lot.

wagyu beef with caramelised onions and garlic confit
wagyu beef with caramelised onions and garlic confit

They also serve all sorts of meats, such as this wagyu with caramelised onions, which is absolutely to die for. The meat was nothing short of perfectly medium-rare and tender, yielding a rustic flavour brought out by the garlic confit and delightful mound of sweet, sticky caramelised onions. Just… Yes please. The woody meat paired excellently with the softened onions. Look at the wobbly red belly and bright sear on the outside. Communal. Big families. Full stomachs and passing of plates. This is what Carvers is all about. They also offer other brunch and breakfast specials, as well as meat platters, desserts and the whole range of coffee varieties. Their machine is enough to stump ya. It may be a little out of the way, but make an effort for just one trip. It’ll all be worth it, I promise. Once again, a special thank you to Sarah for inviting me, and I’m definitely bringing the folks over one day to try everything. I’ve got my eye on that vegetarian dish of pumpkin, eggplant and paneer on polenta!

 

Rating: 4.7/5

 

Carvers and Co.

43 East Coast Road

6348 0448

Gaest

Be my Gaest.

Nordic-inspired cuisine? Who would’ve thunk it.

So I went all the way to the Central Business District, walking along McCallum Street just to try out these guys’ sandwiches, and ended up totally going against that. Yes, I should’ve regretted it from the start. But I was just as satisfied. No really! Just listen, or better yet, go there yourself. Now. Tomorrow. Soon. Please.

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 preset IMG_7245

Let’s just say I wasn’t expecting it. I made my order, after a gruelling self-debate session. It’s the worst part every time I go on some solo adventure. Girl and Going Solo, with a large side of Indecision. I swear. But yes, my order: Iced cappuccino, and the poached eggs with goat’s cheese, eggplant, salad and their homemade rye bread. They had brunch specials, to my giddy surprise. And you heard that? Homemade. In house. Made from the heart. You can imagine how excited I was. Because you know bread and I go way back, and I adore the savoury twist of rye; its dense and wholesome flavour, packed with seeds, nuts and glory. I’ll try their sourdough another time, promise.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
Iced Cappuccino- $5.00
Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
Poached eggs on homemade rye bread with eggplant, goat’s cheese and a side salad– $15.00

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

You just have to love time alone.

The drink came first, though the lady got my order wrong and gave me an iced latte at first. Didn’t take too long for them to rectify that, though. Perfect on that numbingly-hot late morning.

Ah, this dish. I poked at the egg’s belly, as per usual, and the flow of yolk almost made me sweat. It was quite beautiful, and I don’t exaggerate when it comes to poached eggs. I watch videos on them to make me feel better. Weird, I know. On top of savoury, moist eggplant and goat’s cheese. God, that cheese. I chose this brunch special in particular because of it. It’s rare that I get to eat something of the sort, you know. Or maybe it’s just because I haven’t chanced upon the right occasion to even try. The pictures above should say enough. I was initially worried that I made the wrong decision–ugh Alex, did you just pass up on the correct decision of sandwiches again??– but no, that right there was brunch-ful beauty, a coming-together of spectacular, simple flavours on a plate. And I kind of want to steal their plates, now that I think of it. My white home varieties are getting a tad boring, to be honest. Eggs and cheese aside, the rye was the best part, with its glorious brown crust, thin but dense texture and hearty flavour.

The salad it came with was all bright, lightly sweet, tangy and perky, with cherry tomatoes, carrots and barley grains. The light crunch of the latter complemented the bed of greens, all dusted with the kiss of a sweet and lemony vinaigrette. The fronds and tails and tendrils all clumped together, but all that did was make me eat it more politely. I’m still improving on the caveman streak. T’was good.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
Varlhona Chocolate Brownie–$4.50

As you can tell by its less-than-perfect corner, I couldn’t help myself by the time I got home, especially after walking all around Singapore (that’s another story). At first glance, I wasn’t expecting much. I bought this square of a dark beauty on total impulse. I was only telling myself that hey, I’m hardly around this part of town, so why the heck not. Can you see the moisture painting a soft glisten on the fudgy belly of that thing? Gorgeous, fudgy, but not too dense. Much more fudgy than chewy, and the chocolate is on the milkier side, despite yielding a mighty rich flavour. They took this brownie seriously, so I did too.

I really like it there, and I was actually able to get some work done. The fact that almost everything is homemade gives it an edge over the sprawling maze of other cafés and restaurants in the area. Highly impressed.

Rating: 4.8/5

Gaest

21 McCallum St. #01-01, The Clift
Singapore, Singapore 069047

Mon-Sat– 0730-1600 (closed Sundays)

Pietrasanta the Italian Restaurant

DSC_1219  DSC_1224

Can I be completely honest here? I’m not one who would willingly live my life on pizza and pasta. Italian food is magnificent; its rustic and hearty authenticity can awaken the dead and magnetise them back to wooden tables by a fire on a cold night, the red-and-white checkered tablecloths abound with bruschetta and coarsely-cut garlic bread and moon-sized pizzas just for extra hearty assurance.

I’ll start off with that tomato sauce starter there. A little cup of salty heaven, looking down on all Ketchup-derived descendants around the world. Dip a little bit of bread in it, or drink it straight. Shot or slow, that’s up to you. I like to dip my finger in every now and again. That’s just me.

DSC_1226 DSC_1232 DSC_1234 DSC_1238 DSC_1236

Margherita (Italian mozzarella with basil leaves in tomato sauce)- $16.90

Prosciutto E Funghi (Italian mozzarella, cooked ham and button mushrooms in tomato sauce)- $18.90

The pomodoro pasta you see at the top was a special request by the kids, otherwise they usually only serve lasagna, a hefty portion of beautiful noodle and melting, sweet meat. The pizzas are all thin-crust but burst with the appropriate flavours with each bite. Tomato comes through like the shining opera singer, but doesn’t crack any windows. I prefer the funghi version, only because less cheese and more fungi (how weird do I sound) is my thing. The whole idea of button mushrooms usually turns me off, but its bouncier, firmer texture as opposed to something like shitake or chanterelle worked superbly with the melting cheese and tomato.

DSC_1239 DSC_1241 DSC_1242 DSC_1247 DSC_1257 DSC_1258

Zappa Di Pesce (Fresh seafood soup) –$15.90

Italian tomato, rocket and parma ham salad– $14.90

Burrata and smoked scamorza– not sure of the price as this was a simple, special request

Squid ink fettuccine with crab meat sauce– $20.90 (In other words, my favourite dish)

Home-made fettuccine with sausage and truffle– $24.90

Now then. Would you LOOK at that burrata? It’s hard to get something produced fresh and seasonal wrong, but God, they never go wrong with the burrata. Cold, pure and oozing like uncontrollable organ spillage. I should seriously reconsider food blogging with my abhorrent descriptions. But honestly, it’s actually one of the most beautiful things in the universe, coupled with good balsamic vinaigrette, olive oil and ripe Italian tomato. Parma ham if you want, but let’s not forget to worship the purity of that bone-white baby burrata.

If it wasn’t for the heady richness the sausage fettuccine offered, I would say that it would be the best of the lot. But the lolling tongues of fettuccine and achingly creamy sauce served to appease much of the obesity resistance movement of my stomach, and it just gets too much after about 5 minutes. The squid ink, on the other hand, is lighter, but darker, if you know what I mean. A decadent smorsgabord of savoury umami flavour, grounded by the honest humility of an experienced pasta maker. Homemade, they say? Homemade it really is.The crab meat is the best part, juicy and chunky, and makes for a nice break when you’re not looking in your lady’s mirror desperately scrubbing away at your blackened teeth.

DSC_1265 DSC_1266

A mash up of my uncle’s Ossobucco con gremolada (four-hour braised veal shank–$32.90) and Risotto Porcini (risotto with porcini, saffron and bone marrow–$23.90)

If you know me well, I prefer the supposedly icky gelatinous bits and bobs of an animal to the meat itself- bone marrow, fish eyes, blubber, cartilage, fat trimmings, you name it, I’ll have it. I’m basically the hopeless bottom feeder. The tender braised meat is absolute divinity, and it paired wonderfully (surprisingly too, for the pairing was spontaneous, I tell you that) with the rich, aromatic risotto, yellow, fat, plump little pearls. Al dente, with an almost smoky air about it.

And lastly, tiramisu. I’m not associating a price with it, because, well, tiramisu. I don’t think this is the best around, for the sponge could have done with a more luxurious and thorough caffeine and rum spa. A little dry, a little too sweet. The cocoa was decadent, but didn’t mask a less-than-rich interior.

Reliable Sunday lunch resort.

Rating: 4.8/5

Pietrasanta

5B Portsdown Road
#01-03 Singapore 139311
Tel: +65 6479 9521

&Made

Burgers (again) with my favourite.

DSC_2334 DSC_2335

I don’t know if I’ve ever told you about my everlasting and overwhelming penchant for black and white. This place had it all done up lego-style, not my style in particular, but they tried and their efforts won’t go unappreciated.

My ‘favourite’? Oh right, that thing in the picture box just above, a little to the left. I hope the organism is visible. We sat down to a table, the waiter looking us up and down before taking away the bottle of red wine. Lix doesn’t drink, but I was more than happy to share in his alcoholic innocence. Virginity, almost. I was more ready for a little meat, some afternoon sustenance.

DSC_2336

The ‘B’ Burger, $19 (this goes out to my ask.fm anon who suggested I actually put down the prices of food. Sorry about that. Perhaps I’m not the most inclined to associate price with final taste? I still love you. Just a note, all prices are in SGD.)

‘a juicy, dry aged beef patty atop with caramelised onions (MAJOR PULL FACTOR HERE), French Comté cheese and amazingly delicious caper and garlic mayonnaise’.

Yes, they said ‘amazing’. Like, really amazing, you know. There’s only so much a dollop of mayo can do, but this did quite the trick, pulling the sharper Comté flavour, like a wild character simmered down to white paste, together with the beef patty. My disappointment lies within the doneness of that patty. A little pink in the mid, but that’s it. Utterly overdone otherwise. The bread didn’t sing with grilled crispness, buttery and hardy, the juices scarcely flowed, the cheese did little but offer a mild flavour, with the mayo furthering the dimmed oomph factor. It didn’t come together, to put it lightly. The one thing I did spend time enjoying, mixing with the fries and provided little saucer of their handmade BBQ sauce, which tasted like dry and overly sweet sambal, if you ask me, were the caramelised onions. Because onions. There, done, said.

Disappointed? I should think so. I should really, really think so, especially after meaning to visit this place since June of this year. June, my friend!

DSC_2339 DSC_2340

NY Bacon, $21

What my favourite had. ‘traditional dry aged beef patty, smoked bacon, tomato, mayonnaise, pickled cucumber and cheddar cheese’.

A little too American for my taste (you can see he went all out with the vanilla milkshake), but I eyed his patty with envy. Both of ours are dry aged, but evidently his was at least twice as tender, as delicately handled. You could tell just from the outside, maybe a little poke. I stole a bite, yes just a bite, and well, first senses don’t lie. Indeed it was on the less done side, much more to my taste, however the flavour couldn’t beat anything, letting myself down the drain just a little more. No impression, no dropping of jaws. No amazeball fries, either.

Mediocrity is pain. And if you’re one of those people who like hanking down on four inches of a well-glued burger, then well, sorry, this place isn’t for you. Well you could try…

&Made

Rating: 2.9/5

#01-04/05/06, Pacific Plaza, 9 Scotts Road

Blu Kouzina

DSC_1344 DSC_1345

To one and all. I am no longer a Greek food virgin. I can now safely say that perhaps all I need to try now is fish sperm and bull’s penis and all shall be well and good. It was all rather hurried, a flash, a stop. Greek food sounded all right, the sort of thing drowned in olive oil and cheese and olives. Very nice. But the experience I encountered was more holy than satisfying, I swear on it. And I now understand the three classes of olive oil- robust, medium and delicate. Not that I need to or anything. But I like to fill my life with useless, pleasurable knick knacks.

At the top we have xoriatiki, a greek salad with olives, a lovely large slab of feta, tomatoes, peppers and cucumber. The zing held its appeal even in the pool of oily dressing which, of course, made it characteristically Greek, however I do think they could’ve reduced the oil factor just a little to let the freshness of the vegetables shine through. It’s never nice to have the taste of naked oil soaking the walls of your throat, nothing to cling to. And then, melitzanosalata. Or in english, smoked eggplant mixed with herbs. Absolutely moreish. The sweetness of the eggplant was mushed together with miniature cheese fragments and fragrant herb, though it wasn’t as dowdy or drab as a plate of mashed ripe banana. It held its own, even with the glugs of oil. The oil, the oil.

DSC_1346

First best dish of the lot award goes to this baby. Saganaki with figs. At 18 bucks, this was full-on gold. Looks are deceiving. The richness cannot be doubted, and was perfect for sharing between the 3 of us. Translation? Alright. Kefalotiri Psito with fig sauce.

Um. Yes. Basically, fried cheese with the sweetest, stickiest, most deliciously cloying fig sauce. I love figs. And so should you. The sharp twang of cheese did well in making you feel better about the sugary bath it was lounging around in. The tender cheese, a ledge of yellow goodness, was really a treat.

DSC_1347 DSC_1349

Grilled sea bream. Squeeze of lemon, squeeze of hope, knowing my wretched, impenetrable love for fish. More specifically, fish head. I took that bit and that bit only. Left the rest to the boys. I can handle the rest. The was a sauce to drizzle everything with, though I didn’t see the need, as the excess olive oil distracted from the fresh grilled flavour and rustic charm of skin, flesh and innards. Naked was the way to go.

DSC_1350

Bougatsa- filo and semolina cream rolls. The pastry was not as sweet as I expected, which was surprisingly pleasant when juxtaposed with the semolina cream, which filled up each nook of the pastry in the most rigid possible way. Firm and sturdy, not frigid and flowing, like how it sort of played out in my head. The cinnamon was a nice touch, but I think a cold inside, no matter how un-traditional, would have been dearly appreciated. Something cold and cream-like in texture would be preferable. Perhaps warm desserts aren’t my groove this time of night, especially after a 5-days dose of olive oil.

Rating: 4.0/5

Blu Kouzina

893 Bukit Timah Road

6875 0872