Strangers’ Reunion

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So I couldn’t find the door. The large glass door which lead directly to the light wood enclave so appropriately named Strangers’ Reunion. Let… Let me tell you a short story. I leave my house, take the bus to Tiong Bahru, get lost, hail a cab. Typical, normal, I would say. Nothing not very Alex-like. But I think the embarrassment peaked when I found myself floundering about like a complete and utter idiot even when I reached the shophouse. The words were clear, right there in front of me, I even saw my two cute and nice and short friends Celeste and Liz (probably laughing at my incapability as a human being) sitting in the corner. Not finding the door is just not acceptable. The whole time I was there I felt like lashing out at all the sensible people who were capable of opening the right door at the first try. Ha, they’ve probably been here before anyway.

You come in and the first thing which greets you is a jovial crowd, some bespectacled bohemians quietly, nonchalantly sipping away at their flat whites (or the more sophisticated with their espressos) behind the mysterious screens of their macs. Small tables aligned along the sides, all rather close to one another, all wooden and shiny, plastered with the faint drone of orange light. I? I was an SR virgin. I’ve seen pictures and things of course, all of crisp 6-inch wide browned buttermilk waffles with lashings of beautiful toppings accompanied by even more beautiful cups of coffee. We were already past the lunchtime-nigh, so tragically I wanted something savoury. Ordered and waited, the three of us chatting non-stop over various social situations and nonsense like the wonderful nonsensical beings we are.

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cappuccino, $4.90 and iced mocha, $6.50.

Say hello to the long-locked ladies who lunch- Liz (left) and Celeste. Aren’t their smiles gorgeous? Don’t ask me why the camera focus is on the glass bottle because it just so happened to be that momentary mistake and regret. I ordered the cappuccino, seeing it only fit to try their famed milky concoctions, a little startled by the price but this surprise was stunted when I was greeted by the beautifully and intricately decorated image of a swan nestled in a large purple cup on a yellow saucer. Plater certainly knows his complementary colours. One of the best foam art works I’ve seen yet, almost perfectly symmetrical, the swan itself brimming with a delicate life, albeit the fragile wispiness. The coffee itself isn’t robust enough, and I didn’t finish it. Heard a myriad good things about it, though. Perhaps it was one of those one-off circumstances. Despite the (oh-so) tiny letdown, I was highly impressed by the quality of the bean, which I could taste in the first tender sip. Yes, it must be tender, because rushing through a coffee just isn’t very connoisseur-like now, is it.

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Poached eggs on english muffin with a side of honey baked ham, $8.00+$4.00, eggs florentine with spinach, smoked salmon and hollandaise on ciabatta,  $18.00

What I like is how you can choose from all the various sides as well as the type of bread you should like to nicely sop up all the yolk and hollandaise. Their hollandaise was a little on the thicker side, but the flavour was preserved with the right amount of tang, the butter not saying farewell to the well-whipped yolks. The poached eggs fared eggsellently. See what I did there. Yolks and more yolks! It was disgustingly yolk-y heaven. Rich and sodden, yellow and beautiful. One soft slip of the fork caused an outrageous, glorious burst of bright yellow, spilling over onto the sides, buttering the lonely spinach leaves, offering a soft glaze for the lovely salmon beneath. Everything mixed together in perfect harmony. I enjoyed this a little too much, but the one thing I regret not getting for myself was this baby right below.

‘Can I have a bite?’

‘Sure.’

And thank God for that.

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Before you die of a visual orgasm, let me just make it clear that yes, this was both beautiful and delicious. A lot of beautiful things aren’t worth all the praise, but this… This.

Special of the day: Buttermilk waffles with caramel bananas, walnut crunch and vanilla ice cream, $14.90

You’ve heard of buttermilk pancakes, buttermilk scones, buttermilk in your pants. These buttermilk waffles are the lightest, crispest babies in the universe, and when fastened in that ridiculous, flawless, unbeatable, traditional (alright I’ll stop) combination of banana, vanilla and caramel, I warn you, you might cry. Yeah, in public. Everyone will watch you shed buttermilk tears into your perfect circle of yeast and flour and sugar- oh, sugar. Cut into it. Crisp, golden, carnal. It’s dangerous, it implores you to go on, zombie-like, to take your fork and smear a little of that ice cream on top, make it pretty with a sliver of caramel (note I say caramel, not caramelised, because that’s just the way they serve it, perhaps to make you feel a little less guilty over your pre-New Year gluttony, in an effort to kid yourself over your wondrous efforts to nourish that slovenly little body of yours) banana and walnut, go on, go on. I could go on, but that might be a little mean. When I say fluffy and light, I mean it. Too many a time I encounter stodgy, dense rocks with little square holes pricked in the middle to resemble (gasp) waffles.

Please just go and order this. I implore you.

Rating: 4.7/ 5.0

Strangers’ Reunion

37 Kampong Bahru Rd
6222 4869

Pique Nique

Being MIA has instilled within me a rushed urge to pen down (or type out, rather) some sort of spilling from my head, my memory, my any form of past experience or happening. Just anything. A deep urge to merely engage in some good outpouring.

So I thought, why not talk about the book I just finished, or perhaps my first week at school (which was more fun that what I had initially playing out in my head, with a ton of dirt and soap and ruggedness and hearty laughter). Then I thought, hey, there’s that food post I missed out on. So I opted for a missed call rather than something relevant to my own present. I’m absurd and boring that way, yes. Basically, this is the restaurant I went to a few days before I left for France for a food and ski escapade, one which whom everyone probably already knows about.

Pique Nique. Literally pronounced picnic, quite unlike what I had in my head whenever I walked by the new place a few years ago, my uvula ringing from a post French word half horse grunt. It’s in an open area where everyone can admire their collection of whoopie pies and blueberry cheesecakes. A quirky little space which I believe replaced Mcdonalds or something or another, though the genuine quirky factor is dimmed down by the somewhat unprofessional gimmick of service; slow and amateur to say with full politeness.

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The burnt-coloured chairs look heavily inviting. Plush exterior to mislead the eye, for once one sits down, you are brought back to a 1950s red bar booth with a cheap plastic cover. Very homely and chic, though.

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Bacon carbonara with poached egg

I believe there is a mighty correlation between a person’s age and his/her attraction to a dish such as carbonara. I remember as a child I would happily wolf down a full plate of this after school, made lush and complete with lashings of Thai sweet chill sauce, since I believed it cut through the opaqueness of such a thick white swimming pool and made the crisp bacon bits even more distinct. Now I watch my two youngest sisters ordering the stuff whenever available in a restaurant. It’s always the cream pasta and meat which appeals to the palette, though I myself fail to keep up with childhood memories and have stopped ordering it altogether. Call me what you may, but I’m certainly not the sort to order the same thing over and over again at different restaurants, for fear that the lack of variety may one day end up killing the sentience of my taste buds and whatever there may be present to provide me with the ability to distinguish between flavours. It’s mostly fear, and a little boredom.

Stole a bite from my dear cousin’s plate just to be sure that they weren’t serving it for the sake of Western tradition. A good sauce and slightly overcooked pasta. Tasty, albeit predictable. And the predictable stuff is only half worth it, oui?

I actually found the most interesting thing the salad, which was really well dressed, and had the correct components of everything in a delectable ratio. I was guessing that the salmon might be a tad too salty, and indeed it was. I sound incredibly cynical and snarky. To guess and be correct is a satisfying feeling, since it offers peace of mind and less hefty an emotional price. However this case presents a more disappointing sort of correctness, hence the satisfaction is not achieved. The egg was sufficiently poached, but it was the sort of dish which made you wonder if good quality would be maintained time and time again, long after the hype diminishes and the spotted teenage waiters move on.

The thing I was most disappointed about was the terrible lack of drinks available. We perused the menu and ordered iced chocolate and iced lattes, only to find out that ‘none were available’. None. The word cut me up on the inside. We were forced to resort to tea, water and coffee. Oh yes, and a glass of apple juice (the sort which you could taste the carton brand of). Of course it had to be our fault for coming to eat on the wrong day at the wrong time with the wrong expectations. The disappointment almost turned to enragement, but I kept my hat on and merely scowled for a few seconds. It’s not the end of the world.

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Classique Croque Madame

So. My dish. I saw the fried egg of course. That sort of said quite enough once I opened the coffee-dipped menu. I’ve tried Croque Madame a good few times; enough to tell whether something of this profound size would behold enough taste to prove it’s worth.

Plainly saying, it was overwhelmingly bready. I was forced to cut through rounds of dry white bread, with each piece failing to soak up enough eggy goodness. It’s all about the yolk, but the gargantuan portion of cheesy bread was putting me off. Cheese was present; all lovely and crusty and sometimes even gooey between the two-inch thick slices. The only wrong thing was the disproportionate ratio. Portion= utterly westernised. Not entirely a bad thing, but evidently it was perhaps too much of a normal thing. Nothing to blow my (non-existent) socks off. These cases present to me something more unattractive than appetising, even if I was absolutely ravenous.

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Waffles with chocolate ice cream

And here you may admire the luscious serving of crusty Belgian waffles which I recommended to my overwhelmed 5-year old sister, since I am a selfish human being and wanted to have a few bites myself. One of the better waffles out there, which don’t rapidly melt away into a soggy mess with something like ice cream and whipped cream on top. Each bite was wonderful, and the ice cream itself wasn’t full of that artificial, Hersheys-esque aftertaste. A half-real chocolate taste, which was impressive considering the decent price. The ratio in this case was spot on. The ice cream could coat the whole thing with an ample, plump brown blanket, creamy and nourishing. Waffles were simply spectacular, what with the golden edges and crunch throughout its ridged, pressed body. The chocolate was just asking to be sploshed into every square cubby hole, lying there to soften and sweeten a hardy bread texture.

Magnifique.

Rating: 2.6/5

Pique Nique

391A Orchard Road
#B1-01/02 Ngee Ann City
62386705