Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ivins @ Binjai Park, Bukit Timah

It has been some time since we stepped foot at Ivins. Long long ago, it was one of the place to go for peranakan food that had the comfort of air-conditioning. We have not been back for some time because there are so many newer ones coming out everywhere.

The other day, our Aunt asked us out for lunch and she said let's go to Ivins. It has been a long time!
It's still like how we remembered it to be, the portions still a lil small, the food's nice, not spectacular, but it has it's own followers. This place has been around for such a long time!

Ivins @ Binjai Park
Otak-Otak Panggang ($1.80 each)

Remember to order 1 for each person or everyone will not feel satisfied eating only a bit of it. It comes with some sambal and a cucumber. Look at the sambal, tempting isn't it?

Ivins @ Binjai Park
Babi Pongteh. ($5.40)

Still as small as ever. If you are a fan of bean based sauce, you might like it. There's only a few pieces of pork and that's it. The sauce is addictive though. It makes you finish your rice rather quickly!

The wife who has peranakan blood gave me a look and gesture the X with her fingers, meaning no no no. No bamboo shoots, no mushrooms, no this and that inside, how can it be Babi Ponteh she said?

Ivins @ Binjai Park
Nonya Chap Chye $4.60

The Chap Chye. So so lah.... Every peranakan grandma has their own version. We noticed our cousin loved it though. She loved the light and thin broth, which can be quite addictive.

We think other veggies are nicer... See below..

Ivins @ Binjai Park
Beef Rendang. ($5.40)

You see bubble because it was bubbling in a very hot claypot. The beef was tender and the taste, quite good. Their version here is one of the nicer ones around. Their version is not so dry as in it has some gravy to it.

Ivins @ Binjai Park
Ikan Masak Assam Pedas ($4.90)

The Fish Assam Pedas somehow was rather appetizing. The spicy-sourish appetizing tamarind sauce somehow makes your hands go into auto-reflex mode to scoop more sauce into your mouth. I was like 'drinking' it straight from the claypot. They use red snapper.

Ivins @ Binjai Park
Lady Fingers Sambal ($3.50)

We think this will be a better choice for fiber than the Chap Chye, that's if you eat okra / lady's fingers. The blanched lady's fingers topped with sambal was so delicious. It was an extra bonus that young lady's fingers were used. The photo of it looks so good right?

(Talking about this dish, we discovered another nicer version at Violet Oon's Kitchen which is nearby too, Voilet Oon's sambal is top notch!)

Ivins @ Binjai Park
Terong Goreng Chilli ($3.50)

If you like brinjals (or egg plant), this was also a nice dish to try. The brinjals were deep fried until it's brown and topped with the same sambal used for the lady's fingers. The brinjals were so soft and delicious. 

Ivins @ Binjai Park
Tauhu Goreng $3.50

A very home style dish, Tauhu Goreng. Just like how mum and grandma will cook. Deep fry the tofu and then served it with boiled bean sprouts and cucumber slices and delicious spicy peanut sauce.

It's a nice revisit place if you haven't been there for a long time. The prices looks cheap because the portions are small, it works out about the same prices elsewhere. 

IVINS @ Binjai Park
19/21 Binjai Park
Off Dunearn Road
Singapore 589827

Tel: 6468 3060
Hours: 11am to 3pm (Lunch), 5pm to 9pm (Dinner), Closed on Thursdays

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

"DBS Indulge" Mobile Application on iOS / Andriod devices now includes instant restaurant reservation.

Most of us would have downloaded the bank Apps of the various banks on your mobile phones. My phone is full of Apps and I always wished these Apps could do more!

DBS Indulge
DBS over the weekend has launched an instant restaurant reservation service which allows their cardmembers to make booking at the restaurant that they see on the App.

DBS Indulge

Take a look at the App and see if your favourite restaurant is listed.

What I find interesting is that DBS/POSB cardmembers also enjoy up to 50% off their dining bills at more than 25 restaurants in Singapore. These include Le Saint Julien, My Humble House, Lawry’s The Prime Rib, Si Chuan Dou Hua and more. I am sure you will be glad to have discounts at these places.

Now, that's tempting doesn't it?

DBS Indulge

I was told DBS is the first bank in Singapore to launch this service. Not bad for our local bank in Singapore.

The DBS Indulge mobile app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sunny Hills Pineapple Cakes for Mid Autumn Festival

About a week or two ago, I got a package from SunnyHills. Yes, the SunnyHills that has quite a following now in Singapore for their gourmet pineapple cakes.

Sunny Hills
Ain't it an interesting bag? For the Mid-Autumn Festival, they have designed something specially for the festivities, a linen carrier with the Moon Rabbit design on it. It does look very cute doesn't it?

Sunny Hills
You may ask: "What has Pineapple cakes that we in Singapore mostly associate with Chinese New Year got to do with Mid-Autumn Festival?"

I just found out that other than mooncakes many Taiwanese give pineapple cakes as gifts too during the Mid-Autumn Festivities. So would this also catch up in Singapore?

Sunny Hills
I think our ladies readers will like the box design! Other than the carrier bag, the box has the same Moon Rabbit design as well.

Sunny Hills
This box was a box of 10 pineapple cakes and it costs $25.
There are also the 15 pieces box set at $37.50 and 20 pieces box set at $50.

Sunny Hills
Here's a piece of it to Sunny Hills pineapple cake to tempt you.

Oh, they are also Halal-certified, if you have Muslim relatives of friends, you can give them a box as gifts too!

If you are interested, you can get them at the Takashimaya Mid-Autumn Fair from 30 Aug - 30 Sept, 10.30am - 9.30pm daily.

If you prefer, you can also order them via phone at: 8522 9605.
If you order via phone, they can deliver it to you for a $8 delivery fee. If you order $100 or more, the delivery is free and if you order more than $200, you can choose a 10% or free delivery.

If you don't like the crowds at the Takashimaya Fair, uou can also go to their store at:
Raffles Hotel Arcade
328 North Bridge Road#03-05 (next to Raffles Hotel Museum)
Singapore 188719

Hours: Sun to Mon - 11am to 6pm / Tue to Sat - 11am to 8pm.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Spruce@Firestation - Upper Bukit Timah

A few months ago, Spruce opened in Upper Bukit Timah. It's located at the iconic old Bukit Timah Fire Station. They have done a good job with the renovation and the old fire station without any pillars in the middle looks really nice for a cafe.

Spruce - Upper Bukit Timah
That's what you see from the front. You enter via the back of the building.

Spruce - Upper Bukit Timah
The entrance from the back where there are lots of parking spaces available if you are driving there.

I went there recently with friends visiting from Kuala Lumpur. It was a public holiday and a Monday and we did not expect it to be so packed. Even the service staff said, Sundays isn't that packed too! We got seated around 15 mins later.

Here's what we ate that morning:

Spruce - Upper Bukit Timah
Spruce Signature Steak Benny ($31)
Poached Egg, Ciabatta with Black Pepper Hollandaise.

Who says you can't have steak earlier in the day? Brunch is a good time for steak!
I had a bite of Jon's food and I wanted to have more. Too shy to eat all of it! I read before that they use USDA Beef here, this was probably the same?

Spruce - Upper Bukit Timah
Spruce Big Breakkie ($19)
Eggs (Scrambled, Poached or Sunny Side Up), Bacon, German Sausage, Roasted Tomato, Roasted Potato, Mushrooms and Focaccia Toast.

Eric had the big breakfast. The Sunny Side up looks so good right? Eric said the sausage was nice too. Makes we want to come back and order everything over again!

Spruce - Upper Bukit Timah
Crab Cake Benny ($25)
Ciabatta, Crabcake, Poached Egg, Back Bacon and Hollandaise.

Nic had the crabcake. Doesn't the plate looks as if there's a crab on it?

Spruce - Upper Bukit Timah
Spruce Signature Ahi Tuna Tartar ($22)
Toasted Ciabatta and Avocado.

I liked the Ahi Tuna Tartar. Everything has been mixed and I could just eat it just like that. The ciabatta was toasted and really crispy. The avocado spread over each crispy piece of ciabatta with some tartar was delicious.

Spruce - Upper Bukit Timah
Banana Hotcakes ($14)
Honeycomb Butter and Blueberry Syrup.

Why did we order this? We were seated where the food that comes out of the kitchen had to pass us. We keep seeing hotcakes after hotcakes coming out and we were tempted!

Spruce - Upper Bukit Timah
If you are a hotcakes person, try this. the honeycomb butter and blueberry syrup replaces the usual maple syrup. It can be quite sweet for some people though.

Spruce's brunches (which was introduced to me by the brunch loving wife) is available on weekends and public holidays only. 

The ingredients were very fresh and the food delicious. We love how the old building around Singapore has been transformed by the owners of Spruce who has also done up other old buildings like Alkaff Mansion.


260 Upper Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 588190

Tel: +65 6466 5582
Hours: Mon- Fri: 11.30am – 12.30am / Sat-Sun: 9.30am – 12.30am
(closes late because of the bar, call to ask when dinner service ends)

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Sunday, September 02, 2012

db Bistro Moderne - Mondays in Provence

Forget Monday Blues! If you haven't heard about it, on Mondays when you visit db Bistro Moderne, you can ask for the Mondays in Provence menu!

(Provence is a region of south eastern France on the Mediterranean adjacent to Italy. If you want to read more about it, head to Wikipedia)
It's interesting how they come up with the Provence menu. It's a three-course meal that's inspired by dishes from the gastronomic regions in France. Dishes that originated from Nice to Marseille, it was traveling southern France on our tastebuds! For the full menu, you can refer to the db Bistro Moderne's website.

Thanks to Marina Bay Sands and db Bistro Moderne, a few of us bloggers were invited on a Monday (of course) to sample the Provence Menu.

Mondays in Provence is offered at $68 per person.
(For an additional $32, pair the menu with regional wines.)

Here's what we sampled:

Le Pain

DB Bistro Moderne - Provence Menu
If you have been to db bistro moderne, you would have love their breads. I particularly liked the one that has a slightly salty crust. It's very good!

I did not ask, but I wonder if the bread here is from the work of Mark Fiorentino (or rather the recipe and methods, since he's obviously not in Singapore), the great bread man that takes charge of all the bread at the various Daniel establishment. 

Hors D'oeuvres - Provençal canapés

DB Bistro Moderne - Provence Menu
There was 3 different canapés that we were served. It's something very different and excites your taste buds for more.

- Tomato compote, basil pesto and smoked mozzarella crostini
- Eggplant and goat cheese crostini.

DB Bistro Moderne - Provence Menu
The 'Caramelized onion and rosemary tart' above, was my favourite, yes, I am an onions person and the caramelizing onions is not an easy job.

DB Bistro Moderne - Provence Menu
For an additional $32, you can pair your meal with regional wines.

You starter will be paired with 2011 Chateau d'Ollieres, Coteaux de Varois, Rosé
and your mains will be paired with either 2011 Chateau d'Ollieres, Coteaux de Varois, Blanc or 2010 Chateau d'Ollieres, Coteaux de Varois, Rouge


DB Bistro Moderne - Provence Menu

Executive Sous Chef Nicholas Tang describing to us the dishes that was served to us.

You can choose 1 of the following 3 for your entrée.

DB Bistro Moderne - Provence Menu
Soupe Au Pistou (Provençal Vegetable Soup with Pistou) 

For those who likes to start their meal with a light vegetable soup. This was made with coco beans, summer squash in a vegetable broth with basil. It's like a minestrone without the tomato paste.

Tasting squash in soup makes me think of the my Year 12 days. All of us used to hate squash because the kitchen lady prepared it in a way that all students hated it. If only the chefs learned how to cook it!

DB Bistro Moderne - Provence Menu
Petits Farcis Provençaux - Provencal Stuffed Minis

If you are a meat person, try theses stuffed zucchini, eggplant and cippolini onion. Yes, they are all petit!

DB Bistro Moderne - Provence Menu
I like the stuffing that was made from minced lamb and beef. It had been seasoned with grilled peppers, onion, zucchini, rosemary, thyme, garlic and rice and topped with breadcrumbs. The stuffing was really moist and it's something that you would 'steal' from your neighbour who still has it on their plates!

DB Bistro Moderne - Provence Menu
Salad Niçoise
The original salad originated from Nice. This is how db has made it more delicious.

 If you like tuna confit and seared tuna, opt for this salad. It's Tuna done two ways, julienned bell peppers, olives, potatoes, green beans with anchovy dressing. The quail eggs that had really soft yolks were a nice touch to it.


You can choose 1 of the following 3 dishes for your main plate.

DB Bistro Moderne - Provence Menu
Bouillabaisse. A traditional Provençal shellfish and fish stew from Marseille.

It's a seafood stew that will really make you not waste a drop of the precious broth. The seafood used was John Dory, Red Snapper, Pernod and Tiger Prawns. Together with it was fennel and tomato confit and potatoes that had been cut the size of the chunks of seafood.

Chef Nicholas said that for that night, he was being a bit generous and added scallops too. So if you are having this dish here, see if the Chef is generous to you too. 

DB Bistro Moderne - Provence Menu
The Saffron Rouille that was accompanying the delicious Bouillabaisse. It's made from roasted capsicum, egg yolks, parsley, potato, garlic and olive oil.

DB Bistro Moderne - Provence Menu
Raviolis A La Daube D'Agneau - Lamb Stew Ravioli.

Oh, probably the most luxurious ravioli I have tasted. Braised Lamb that's pulled and delicately made into a ravioli. The lamb jus, rosemary and red wine that is so delightful rich accompanies it. I believe it has been reduced so it's a tad salty. Perfect who will be pairing it with the wine.

DB Bistro Moderne - Provence Menu
Ratatouille De Legumes & Panisse

It's not Remy preparing this dish behind Chef Nicholas' hat!
It's a delicious vegetarian stew that's made from tomato, zucchini, eggplant, onion and bell pepper. The crispy chickpea cake was a nice touch on top.

le dessert

DB Bistro Moderne - Provence Menu
The pastry and dessert chef describing to us the dessert that made us salivate even before we have it!
There are 2 desserts to choose from, but sometimes, they might just present something different if they have fresh ingredients that just arrived. That night, the pastry chef decided on Apricot Clafoutis instead of Tarte Tropezienne. 

DB Bistro Moderne - Provence Menu
Apricot Clafoutis

We had this delightful warm apricot clafoutis with an almond tuile disc on top, honey marinated apricots and bourbon foam. It was served with a scoop of almond ice cream on the side.

Not the usual black cherries versions. It comes out very nice. The clafoutis batter was made from roasted hazelnut powder.

DB Bistro Moderne - Provence Menu
Mousse Au Chocolat Au Lait.

DB Bistro Moderne - Provence Menu
Oh, what I like was the lemon-hazelnut ice-cream.
The dessert was made with chocolate hazelnut biscuit, praline gelee, milk chocolate mousse, praline glacage. On the side was cherry gel. Does it sound like it has a million calories? Try it!

DB Bistro Moderne - Provence Menu
We ended the meal with the signature warm Madeleines. This little things, you can pop it non-stop!

Mondays in Provence is offered at $68 per person. For an additional $32, pair the menu with regional wines.

db Bistro Moderne
B1-48 Galleria Level
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands (across from the theater)
2 Bayfront Avenue
Singapore 018972

Tel: +65 6688 8525
Lunch: Monday to Friday: Noon to 5pm
Weekend Brunch :  Saturday – Sunday: 11AM – 5PM
Dinner : Sunday & Monday: 5:30pm to 10PM, Tuesday – Saturday: 5:30PM – 11PM

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