Monday, July 22, 2013

Coocci Contemporary Japanese @ Commonwealth Crescent Market

Hawker Food has slowly been evolving even without Gordon Ramsay visiting and challenging our hawkers. Newer hawkers or more like chef with training are encroaching into traditional hawker territory.

Coocci Contemporary Japanese @ Commonwealth Crescent Market

Last week, one of my colleagues suggested we go try for ourselves the Japanese stall at Commonwealth Crescent Market. Said to be opened by a chef that had worked in a Japanese restaurant. We wanted to see for ourselves, the beautifully presented dishes with a low low price.

Coocci Contemporary Japanese @ Commonwealth Crescent Market

A very simple looking stall with menu of the dishes they sell covering most of the front of the stall. The 6 of us joined 3 other customers in the queue. We ordered different things and we were rather impressed by the food and the presentation.

3 colleagues ordered the Smoked Chicken which is a half a deboned spring chicken that has been smoked with Apple Wood. Oh it does look very good. Presentation wise, it was served on a wooden board with cherry tomatoes and lotus root chips. The chicken was sprinkled with balsamic teriyaki sauce. The 3 colleagues had already devoured half of it when I finally got my order. It comes with a bowl of rice and a daikon tofu salad.  Only $7.50. A note from one of the colleague who had it, it’s smoked chicken so some folks might think it's not cooked. (It's safe to eat, it's cooked. Think Smoked Salmon. If you can’t' swallow smoked food, order something else).

Coocci Contemporary Japanese @ Commonwealth Crescent Market
I did not take photos of the other dishes that colleague ate, they already ate half of it. Too good to wait. ;-) This was the shredded daikon and tofu salad that comes with all the sets. Light, cold and appetizing!

Another colleague ordered the Tori Nanban. Boneless chicken thigh that had been coated with flour and egg and deep fried. Dunked into Nanban sauce. Nanban sauce is a spicy, vinegarish, sweetish sauce. Makes you hungrier as you eat it kind of sauce? Also served with lotus root chips, daikon tofu and rice. Cheaper at $6.00. The colleague said it had a very satisfying feeling after eating it. Something crispy and yet tasty and visually appealing.

Coocci Contemporary Japanese @ Commonwealth Crescent Market

Another colleague and I had Chicken Roulade. Roulade is French for roll. It's flattened Chicken thigh meat that is rolled with a centre of minced chicken thigh meat that has been mixed with leek, sisho and egg yolk. It's then steamed so that it looks like a roulade. I was observing the chef as he was preparing my dish.

Coocci Contemporary Japanese @ Commonwealth Crescent Market

He took off the chicken roulade off the wrapper and then he took out his blow torch. He fired the chicken roll till it looks so nice and brown and crispy looking. The torched roll is then put above a bowl of somen that's inside a wooden bowl filled with chicken broth that has been double boiled with pumpkin. Took the photo above with my phone.

Coocci Contemporary Japanese @ Commonwealth Crescent Market

Another view to show you the stuffing. It was very tender because it was steamed first. The torching of the outer chicken skin does makes it look so good!

Coocci Contemporary Japanese @ Commonwealth Crescent Market

You got to eat the somen quite immediately if you don't want noodles that are too soft. It is a slighty sweetish broth, so if you don't like sweetish broth you will complain it's too sweet. I like it though. It's not like pumpkin soup, but more like chicken soup with a hint of pumpkin fragrance and sweetness. I love how it comes in a nice round wooden bowl. It also comes with a daikon tofu salad. The price $5!

Coocci Contemporary Japanese @ Commonwealth Crescent Market

It's food that you would expect from a Japanese restaurant and not a hawker centre. Probably because it's in a hawker centre that the price is so good. Worth a try!

There are many hawkers that serve non traditional hawker food with the hawker kind of price but without the 'wow' presentation. This stall sells food at 'hawker' prices plus 'wow' presentation as well.

The chef does take his own time to nicely plate his dishes, so be prepared to wait for your food. If a few person behind you orders the same dish as the person in front of you, he prepares the orders together, so yours order might come later.

Coocci Contemporary Japanese
Commonwealth Crescent Market
Stall 92
118 Commonwealth Crescent ‎  
Singapore  140118

Hours: 12-3 pm, 6-9 pm
Closed on Mondays.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Limited Edition Perrier Andy Warhol Collectible Bottles.

My wife and I were in Paris in March this year and we were buying up all sorts of still and gaseous water from the local supermarkets. She loves carbonated unflavoured water, and I prefer the still kind. We had a good time comparing the different brands and taste and even pH! (Perrier is 5.46 pH if you are wondering) Of course since we were in France, we bought Perrier! Ahem, it's considerably much cheaper than in Singapore.

Since we like walking the aisles of supermarkets, we spotted the special Andy Warhol design bottles at Cold Storage around 3 weeks ago here in Singapore. I had a Instagram of it here.

Are you a Perrier fan or an Andy Warhol fan?
If you are both, you will be most glad of this special design bottles.

Perrier X Andy Warhol

Perrier seems to know we love Perrier! I got a pack of 4 330ml bottles (seen above) delivered to me courtesy of Perrier through their PR agency. (The Perrier glasses are from my own collection)

I got to read about what's the design is all about too.

Perrier is celebrating it's 150th anniversary and they are 'warholising' their bottles!
In the 1980s, Andy Warhol featured Perrier in his art. Now Perrier is paying tribute to Andy Warhol by redoing its label and featuring Andy's signature Pop Art style. These are limited edition bottles.

Perrier X Andy Warhol

In Singapore, the 330ml and 750ml bottles will be available for sale.
330ml bottles for $2.35 per bottle and 750 ml bottles for $3.30 per bottle.

Someone asked me on Instagram (@keropokman) if they are special design glass bottles. No, only the sticker on the neck of the bottles are.

A bit out of topic, but the missus and I started collecting Perrier glasses and bottles because it has our initials on it! SP! These glasses were also limited edition and the white Perrier words turn green when cold water is poured in. Very cool eh?

Perrier X Andy Warhol

The 750ml bottles will be on sale in Singapore from August. That's my 2 bottles from the fridge that I happen to have and took them out to join these 4 Warhol bottles.

If you are into contests, here's one by Perrier. I do hope I can win tickets to Paris!

Perrier Lucky Draw Promotion from August ‐ September 2013
To celebrate its 150 anniversary, Perrier holding a lucky draw for loyal fans! Stand to win a pair of tickets to Paris (worth $5,000), a staycation at Marina Bay Sands, iPads and many other attractive prizes!

For contest details, it's available from the neck tags of the Andy Warhol bottles from August.

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Monday, July 15, 2013

The Cronut variation in Singapore: Gnut and Crodos

With the world so connected, food craze in other countries reach Singapore quite fast. A few weeks ago, I saw the instagram photos of the real Cronut from a friend who have traveled to New York to try it. Another friend who lives in NYC says it's worth the queue to try.

Just the other day, I was scrolling my Instagram feed and had the urge for Cronut. I think it was also when the Lady of Substance from our local papers wrote a piece about cronuts too. OK, no way I can fly to New York to try it, so I had the following for breakfast!

Keropokman the Nut! :

The NY Donut Craze in Singapore
Croissant from DeliFrance and a colourful donut from Four Leaves.
The most laughable version I know, but at least I did not think about it anymore.

There are I think 3 places that sells their own interpretation of Cronuts in Singapore. Since Cronut is a trademark, everyone else is giving their version their own name.


The NY Donut Craze in Singapore

Patisserie G, which is near KopiKosongGirl's office started selling their version today. They call it Gnut. She knew I was a bit crazy about it and when she walked pass it during lunch today, she walked in and saw 3 chocolate Gnut and 8 lemon Gnut left. It's the first day selling Gnut today!

When KopiKosongGirl said it was to pack away, the staff there had a mini horror face. Then they gave her strict instructions: Please eat it within the hour and do not refrigerate! I think they would wanted her to have it straight away!

The wife called and say told me: Hey, taking a cab down to her office is cheaper than flying to NYC. Come now if you want to try it! I took a cab and met her to eat it!

The NY Donut Craze in Singapore

The Chocolate Cream Gnut. ($5)

Looks really fragile and it's quite small. Nicely blistered too!
The Gnut is quite crispy and when you hold it harder, you hear the cracks.

The NY Donut Craze in Singapore

Moved the wrapper off a bit to show you how it looks. If you compare it to the lemon version, the chocolate one is a bit flat.

The NY Donut Craze in Singapore

This was taken outdoors very quickly so that I can bite it as fresh. Smaller than the size of my palm.

The NY Donut Craze in Singapore

After two bites, I remembered, I have not taken photo of the inside!
This, the Chocolate cream filled version. The cold chocolate cream oozes out as you bite into it.

The NY Donut Craze in Singapore
The Lemon Cream Gnut. ($5)
You can see that it's much taller than the chocolate one.

The NY Donut Craze in Singapore

The lemon cream is sour enough and it goes well with the fried croissant / donut like texture of the Gnut. It's like how my sis makes her very lemony lemon squares. I prefer this lemon version of it. So did KopiKosongGirl. It's quite a nice treat that I had!


The NY Donut Craze in Singapore

The last time I was at Da Paolo, I was told come around 10 am, it would be sold out around 11 am or earlier. The above was taken at the Pasarbella branch a few days ago.

I thought I will try my luck by detouring to Holland Village's Da Paolo Gastronomia to see if I can get myself some Crodos to compare. It was almost 2 pm, and they still had a tray of Crodos!

Bought 2 of it and hop on a cab back to office!

The NY Donut Craze in Singapore
The Choc Crodo ($4.90)

The layers can be seen and it's filled with a different kind of chocolate cream.

The NY Donut Craze in Singapore

They are slightly bigger than Pat G's version. The chocolate layer on top reminds me of Chocolate Eclairs. Taste about the same like the chocolate on top eclairs too.

The NY Donut Craze in Singapore

If you still like your donuts that still taste like donuts but more of a layered feel, Crodos taste like that. It's not as flaky and crispy like the Gnut.

The chocolate filling in Crodos is nicer than Gnut's though for me.

The NY Donut Craze in Singapore
The Cream Crodo ($4.90)

The cream version has a slight sugar coating over it.

The NY Donut Craze in Singapore

From the side view, you can see the layers as well. Nicely risen and puffed.  I wish I could try the NYC version of it!

The NY Donut Craze in Singapore

The cream had been 'injected' with custard cream. Cream was not too sweet.
Looks tempting to you?

So people who saw my photos on Instragram and Facebook asked, which is nicer? It depends on your taste!

  • If you like crispy thinner layers, a bit like how croissants taste in Paris (Singapore croissants are usually very limp) then you would like Gnut's texture.
  • If you like donuts to taste more like donuts with the softer feel, you would like Crodos.
Both are a little oily, because they are deep fried. (duh!) Both Crodos and Gnuts taste very different.

Personally, of the 4 that is above, I like the Lemon Gnut because of the lemon tart/refreshing taste of it with a crispy of the dough. I like the chocolate of crodos more though, because I like dark chocolate.

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Monday, July 08, 2013

Necessary Provisions @ Eng Kong Terrace (Upper Bukit Timah)

It was the morning that we finally did what we said we would do since we got married. Wake up early and view the sunrise regularly! Still can't believe we actually woke up so early and went over the other side of the island so early in the morning! We did and took a lot of photos. I only posted one on the other blog here.

It's also an extremely hungry affair when you get up early. Especially so after the sun rises and the beautiful rays shines on your skin. Only the rays of Vitamin D is not enough!

The wife needs some Vitamin C too. C for Caffeine. We drove to the Marina Bay Public Golf Course because there was an excellent view and someone told us there were nice food too. We were too early it seems, no food in the mornings! We had two cans of soft drink admired the city skyline and checked our Instagram accounts (@keropokman and @kopikosonggirl), FB etc and then decided to leave.....

We remembered Necessary Provisions which is not too far from our home. If you remember Henry's Congressional, they are the same folks behind Necessary Provisions.

Necessary Provisions

If you are familiar with this area, this same shop lot was occupied by Al Ameen. It seems that Al Ameen has been closing down at least 2 of the outlets. Hmm....

Anyway, if you like old rugged places that has been very minimally done up to look chic and sleek, this is one of those places to check out. 

Necessary Provisions

When you enter, a big huge communal table is at the centre. A huge vase with flowers that regularly rearranged is the centre piece. Lilies always give out a nice scent, so it was pleasant as we walked in.

A sizeable collection of food and other magazines are placed on the table. So you can sit and read slowly. Reminds me of Bill's Sydney, a similar concept but still different. A nice adaptation I would say.

Necessary Provisions

Since we were there early, all the cakes and savouries we wanted to try were not available yet. Still being made in the kitchen. You can see on the nice cool rock solid table near the window that it's all empty.

Necessary Provisions

Please just ignore the derrière of the person on the left.
Look at that piece of furniture with a pot of orchid on it instead. Nice ya?

That's where they keep the cutlery. It was the first few days when we visited, so they were still getting the hang of it. I am not sure if we are to self service.

Necessary Provisions

That's the Coffee Machine. The Spirit model by Kees van der Westen. The designer that was designing motorbikes before he started designing coffee machines. Nice piece eh?

I am not a coffee person, but I always think that machines rules, if you get good coffee beans and a trained person to use the machine, you can get good coffee. A techie's view? Don't slam me! OK, you do need a real person who is artistic to do the coffee art. ;-)

They have a monthly menu. With Sambal Fried Rice, Pasta, etc from 6 pm onwards, it's does look delicious on someone's Instagram that I follow.

Necessary Provisions

For that morning, we had French Toast ($5) which was 3 huge and thick slices.
Quite filling to eat all three for a lady, so I had some of the wife's order.

Necessary Provisions

The wife's Vitamin C. A Flat White (8 oz) - $5.

It's her kind of a coffee. She says it's balance mix of coffee and milk. She doesn't like too milky that overwhelms the coffee, not too strong a coffee that overwhelms the milk. She says it's the same coffee that she likes from Henry's Congressional.

Necessary Provisions

I had a Banana Nutella Panini. $5.

Nicely toasted and a fair amount of nutella and bananas inside. Guys should have no problem finishing it. If you are super hungry, you might need another one. But it's carbo, so better not eat too much.

Necessary Provisions

Oh, my hot chocolate $6 also have 'chocolate art'.

A nice cosy place to hang around and grab a quick drink and bite. They have various craft beers here too. I think that's what most folks will have when the sun sets.

An alternative place to go other than Carpenter and Cook (at Lorong Kilat) that has been closed the past week to move their kitchen downstairs. They should be reopening soon, spotted from our walks around this neighbourhood. The Udders at Lorong Kilat has recently been renovated too, to create more seating spaces too.

Necessary Provisions
21 Eng Kong Terrace
Singapore 598993

Tel: +65 9231 7920
Hours: Tue-Thu 10 am - 10 pm / Fri 10 am - 12 am / Sat 9 am - 12 am /Sun 9 am - 6 pm

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Friday, July 05, 2013

Gordon Ramsay in Singapore for Singtel Hawker Heroes Challenge

You have heard it on radio, see it reported in various blogs, seen it in the newspapers. It's true!

Gordon Ramsay accepted the challenge by Singapore Food Bloggers: Catherine Ling (Camemberu), Daniel Ang (Daniel’s Food Diary), Leslie Tay (iEatiShootiPost), Philip Lim (KeropokMan), Karen Wee (SuperFineFeline), Melissa Koh (Melicacy) and Rayner Ng (HisFoodBlog) fully supported by Singtel to have a cook-off against Singapore Hawker Heroes.

After eight days of intensive voting and over 2.5 million votes, Singapore has chosen Mr Ang Kiam Meng from Jumbo Seafood (319,922 votes), Mdm Foo Kui Lian from Tian Tian Chicken Rice (318,151 votes), and Mr Ryan Koh from 328 Katong Laksa (316,611 votes), as their most popular hawkers to challenge Gordon Ramsay at the SingTel Hawker Heroes Challenge. 

News sure spread quick and fast! This afternoon at the Maxwell Road Food Centre, hundreds of Gordon Ramsay fans crowded around the Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice because the crowd  heard that Ramsay is going to 'learn' from Mdm Foo Kui Lian.

Gordon Ramsay for #hawkerheroes

Here's Mdm Foo and Mr Ramsay. So, a friendly chat between the two of them. So... who shall reign supreme? (oops, phrase from the wrong show.....)

It's my working day today, after debugging some codes (yes, I am an IT guy), doing some data analysis, fraud investigation etc, it was lunch time. I thought maybe I should see the guy in person! I was just watching his shows on TV two nights ago! Off I went to Maxwell FC in a taxi.

Gordon Ramsay for #hawkerheroes

I see Mdm Foo and hundreds of people all around. So many fans around!
Half were fans of Tian Tian Chicken Rice who were queuing to buy chicken rice. (It was business as usual!)
Half were fans of Gordon Ramsay waiting for him to appear!

Gordon Ramsay for #hawkerheroes

It's my lunch time after all, so I queued up and got myself some chicken rice!
The photo above was someone else's food. My chicken rice is the next photo. I was trigger happy taking photos! I am sure those who follow me on Instagram saw live pictures of what was happening.

Gordon Ramsay for #hawkerheroes

I saw Catherine of Camemberu there and we shared some chicken rice! Somehow the chicken rice today was nicer than what I had before. I guess it's full force / flavour out today for the hungry crowds!

Gordon Ramsay for #hawkerheroes

While eating, I looked around. You can spot a fan of Gordon Ramsay in an instant! His book and a marker all ready! He's very patient, I hope he gets the autograph he wants!

We were sharing a table with 2 Gordon Ramsay fans! The two ladies were there since 10:30 am! One of them later got to take photo with Ramsay himself! A real fan who had flown to London and eaten at Gordon Ramsay's restaurant.

Gordon Ramsay for #hawkerheroes

There's nothing the main stream reporters won't do! Look! Up high there! We witness the shoving and pushing of TV crew and newspaper reporters. A reporter's camera actually dropped and his lens totally (chui!) gone! Ouch! Is it true that TV and print media folk 'buay ngam' one?

Gordon Ramsay for #hawkerheroes

When Ramsay appeared, the crowd went mad! Yes, you can view the videos that's floating around now. I wonder how many were there today!

Gordon Ramsay for #hawkerheroes

The daring ones rush forward to take photos. Yes, happy folks!
Folks tweeted, facebooked and were chatting on their mobiles excitedly!

Gordon Ramsay for #hawkerheroes

Another photo of Gordon.
I noticed it was mostly ladies that rush forward to take photos with him!

Gordon Ramsay for #hawkerheroes

The 'practice' session that was suppose to be finally started. Gordon has already gone inside the stall! Mdm Foo must be thinking, what are you doing in my territory!

Gordon Ramsay for #hawkerheroes

That's Gordon chopping chicken. Can't get clear photos, because there were nasty security guys who were rude! I took photos of the rude guys instead and 'ahem' they became polite!

Who do you think will win? Mdm Foo or Gordon?

Gordon Ramsay for #hawkerheroes

While the rest (i.e. the fans and media people) were shoving and pushing outside, I quietly moved to the other side of the stall. Remember, Tian Tian is a double stall?  :-) The lady serving me chicken rice earlier took out her camera too!

Here's a short clip of the ending of the practice session. After this I took a cab and went back to work!

By the way, if you want to meet Mr Gordon Ramsay in person and taste the food of our 3 Hawker Heroes and Gordon Ramsay, head down to Newton Food Centre this Sunday. The first 1000 people will get to taste the food for free!

Newton Food Centre
500 Clemenceau Avenue North,
Singapore 229495

Sunday, 7 July 2013
From 6:00 pm!

See you there! I want to know who will win!

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