Tanjong Pagar

Tanjong Pagar was a historic centre for Singapore's Chinese community. It is now a cosmopolitan area within walking distance of the CDB with a wide range of old and new shops. It is a good place for a lunch time meal with office workers, a post work hangout area for pubs and fine dining and a pleasant place to explore cafes and eclectic shops on a lazy weekend afternoon.

Friday, January 27, 2012

L'Angolo Ristorante Italiano

I went to lunch with my brother to L'Angolo. This place has been opened for a couple of months replacing the Osvaldo. I had no expectation of it and that can be a good thing.

I had my baby in a pram and there were a couple of steps to the restaurant. As my brother had no arrived yet, this made things a bit harder. Fortunately, the wait staff was observant and came to help me to carry the pram up the steps.  Thumbs up for good service.

When we were given the menus, the waiter advised us that because of Chinese New Year, some dishes were not available as the suppliers were on holidays. This is a good sign as it probably means that food freshness means something to this restaurant.

Taleggio Cheese spread

We were served bread with a taleggio cheese spread. This was quite unique compared to the normal accompaniment of olive oil. I think the spread had anchovies in it and added another salty dimension to the cheese. Tasty.

Beef Carpaccio with truffles and celeriac salad

The salad had celeriac, rocket and walnuts. The walnuts went well with the earthy flavor of the truffles. I think that the ingredients complemented each other well. The beef could have done with a bit more salt and olive oil.

Homemade ink spaghetti with black cod, green asparagus and lemon flavor

This was my brother's dish. The dish taste like a spring/ summer dish with the green asparagus and lemon flavor. Cod fish is quite a robust fish and is a tougher texture fish like a piece of meat. There is a lovely freshness to this dish. My brother wanted more garlic in the dish. I was alright with it though.

Homemade Spaghetti with crystal bay prawns and fresh tomato

I love the homemade spaghetti. The pasta is freshly "homemade" by the chefs here but it is nothing like amateur stuff. The pasta is springy in texture and picks up the sauce well. The olive oil has a rich orange tone to it, picking up the tomato taste and maybe prawn shells fried in the oil then drained? The cooking technique is just my guess. The olive oil feels thicker and more viscous than normal almost like a reduction. I could lick the plate. Prawns were sweet and flavorful.
Crystal Bay prawns are from Australia (see http://www.crystalbayprawns.com.au/). I have eaten them a few times and always enjoy their sweet flavor. Australia prawns in my opnion are some of the best in the world. When I was in Sydney, even the supermarket cooked prawns would be full of flavor of the sea, both sweet and salty. The prawns here somehow lack the burst of flavor. I think the clean waters in Australia play a difference to the taste. It's like clean air make healthy people.

Cherry Gelati

I was the only one who had dessert. Italian desserts don't really wow me. I was craving for something to end the good meal so decided on gelati. I liked the flavor being cherry but not tasting artificial like cherry can be. It wasn't too sweet or sour and was well balanced. However, the gelati was a bit icy. This dish has a texture problem rather than a flavor one.

I really liked this place. Italian food is done as it should be. Simple flavors with good quality produce that shines. The produce helps the food speak for itself. When produce is good, you need less to prop your dish up.

Plus the service is quite good with the staff noticing when glasses need to be filled and help with the pram. The atmosphere relaxed as its not too fancy.

This place will give the other Italian places in the area a run for their money.

I'm salivating just thinking of eating here again, getting hungry.

Website: http://www.langolo.com.sg/
Location: 32 Maxwell Road #01-03 Maxwell Chambers
Opening Hours: Mon- Sat 1130am-230pm; 630pm- 9pm
Contact Number: 62240978

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I needed lunch and the hawker centre queues were too long so I went for this new joint instead.

This place serves Japanese, sandwich rolls and bubble tea.

The sandwich rolls looked really unappetizing so I went for a bento box.

Curry chicken bento box

This is eatable but isn't great. If you want Japanese, I suggest the Japanese store in the hawker centre above the wet market in Tanjong Pagar Plaza. I can't remember the store name but will blog it when I get a chance to buy from there when the queues aren't too long.

However, if you want a quick meal without queues like me, I had no choice but to buy from here.

The slogan on the cash machine is really strange it says 

Even Michelin star restaurants don't claim that. I suggest that they take it off, its a bit misleading…

Location: 1 Tanjong Pagar Plaza #01-53, Tanjong Pagar
Opening Hours: Mon - Fri 8am- 5pm
Prices: About $10 per meal

Massage Culture

This place does massage. I used them for my baby shower. A friend of mine said they weren't very good after they massaged her.

However, I felt like some pampering and they are so close to my house.

I did foot reflexology of 30 mins for $24. This was their January special

After I did it, I have to concur that I didn't think that they were good. I didn't feel any different from when I walked in...

Location: 1 Tras Link 01-05 Orchid Hotel, Tanjong Pagar

Friday, January 20, 2012

Praelum Wine Bistro

This new place has a Enoteca wine machine that allows the wine to keep fresh for a longer period of time.

Enoteca Wine Machine

We were given a card upon arrival to use this machine. Using the card, we could chose different wines  in amounts 25ml, 75ml and 150ml and be billed for it. However, it was quite expensive so we ended up ordering a bottle of Pinot Noir from Burgundy instead. The bottle was about $90.

The wine was recommended by the sommelier.  We requested for a wine that was between $50-$100 to drink. All of us have different wine palates but settled for the Pinot Noir.

The Pinot Noir tasted of dry leaves and sour cherries on first taste. It was drinkable but not complex. We left it out for a few minutes more to see if it would evolve. Leaving it out did not improve its complexity, instead it actually dulled the wine. This is really disappointing for a wine recommended by the sommelier.

The food was extremely ordinary.

Pizza with shrimp, squid and tamarind sauce

 I like the pizza at Magma better. This wasn't bad though

Brie covered with nuts and garlic

I liked this. The garlic was tasty with the brie.

Mushroom with blue cheese

The blue cheese was far too strong for me. A friend of mine who does not like blue cheese kept covering her nose. I think the smell is pungent even for blue cheese.

Foie Gras with pineapple and candied walnut

This is in my opinion wrong. Foie Gras is prized for its rich texture that melts in the mouth. The pineapple breaksdown that richness and defeats the purpose of having foie gras.


This is just cooked scallops to me...

Fried Chicken

This was ok but not for the price. My husband said that it reminded him of Old Chang Kee.

Gnocchi with seafood about $24

The gnocchi was ok but it lacked the spring. Also, the sauce tasted Asian and didn't go well with the gnocchi. I think the pieces of capsicum reminded me of a stir fry. Also, presentation was messy and we eat with our eyes. The pieces of bread were a bit redundant.

Steak with Bearnaise Sauce about $30

The steak may have looked pink but it was dry. The juices have run out of the steak as it was not well rested. Also, the steak was tasteless. I have to give credit to the manager who asked us for feedback. 4 people on our table had steak and all said it was tasteless. I said maybe it was the supplier and the cooking method. The manager said it was NZ angus beef. Can I say that even Macdonalds has Angus beef. This is a very common breed and does not ensure quality. For beef, it is as important to know how the cow is bred- What does the cow eat, is it grain or grass, is the beef aged. Breed does matter but it is not the sole element to good meat.

The manager apologised for the food and gave us a 10% discount for the beef. 

Service here is good and attentive. Even though I did not like the wine recommended by the sommelier, he spent time asking about our needs and explaining the wine. This is much better than most places in Singapore. However, the quality of food and wine is not good enough for me to come back. Well, perhaps if I just want a small drink pre dinner.

Location: 4 Duxton Hill
Pricing: We spent about $75 per person (1 bottle of wine, 7 appeitizers, 6 mains)
Contact Number: 62385287

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Open Door Policy- Tiong Bahru

Another neighbourhood I frequent a lot is Tiong Bahru simply because my parents live there.
I have been to Open Door Policy twice. I was surprised as it was quite good.

 Some dishes to tease your taste buds

I liked the starters the best of the three courses in this place.

Tuna Carpaccio

 The Tuna Carpaccio is refreshing and zesty. Perfect for Singapore weather. I think it came with a Yuzu type dressing if my memory serves me well.

Beef Tartare

The beef tartare was marinated in truffle oil. Very tasty.

 Crispy chicken wings with curry, yogurt and cucumber salad

This is a pretty plate. I think the chicken wings had a sort of tempura like batter to it.


While the mains were decent, they were honestly forgettable. Well done but not spectacular.

Beef cheek

The portion for this was a bit small. I don't recommend it unless you are going for a small meal.
Pan seared sea bass with articokes and potatoes

Slow cooked bolognese

Pork Belly with parsnip puree


Dessert was the let down in the three courses.

Lime pannacotta with coconut sago, cashew nuts and mint

I don't know if the flavors and textures work on this one.

 Chocolate and pistachio souffle

I think this was the best dessert in this place. It came with a warm creme anglaise if I remember. 

Ice cream with brownies

This is a bit too simple and hence a bit of a let down.

This place is really packed so reservations are necessary just in case.

Location: 19 Yong Siak Street, Tiong Bahru

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I stayed in Sydney for 9 years and over there coffee culture was part of work culture. Every morning, there would be queues in the CDB lining up for hot cups of coffee. Even the ordinary shop in Sydney would serve coffee that was better than some places that call themselves gourmet coffee cafes here. The coffee culture is just prevalent in most parts of the country.

Generous sized latte

Dimbulah is marketed as fine Australian coffee. It is one of the early serious gourmet coffee entrants in Singapore.. They have another store in Raffles Place also targeting office crowds. Having coffee in the CDB does bring back some memories of working in Sydney. Although, I have to admit that it is quite different. The mad rush for coffee isn't here in Singapore and the weather is not really coffee weather.

Dimbulah does serve a decent cup of coffee. I had a latte for about $5 and it was a large size. Taste wise was decent as well although again the forth was too light. I saw the barrista using Green Fields milk at the corner of my eye which explains why.

I previously blogged about Green Fields milk in Selfish Gene and Oriole. A lot of barristas here like to use Green Fields compared to in Australia where I have seen most of them use Pura. The result is a thinner forth which is not to my taste.

I also had a croissant and a cake slice.

Croissant with ham and cheese

The croissant was heated for me which was nice. At about $4.50 it was extremely ordinary. If you see from the picture, it was rather sad.

Espresso macadamia slice

The espresso macadamia cake slice was a sugar shocker. When I chose it, I thought it had a chocolate top. However, upon closer inspection and eating it, I realised that it was like a marzipan type of sugar top. I actually really dislike marzipan. So I am definitely not a fan plus the fact that the lower macadamia base was dry. But if you like marzipan and very sweet, this may be for you.

My take on Dimbulah. If you want coffee, its good. Anything else, you are better off going somewhere else.

Location: 72 Anson House, Anson Road, Tanjong Pagar
Opening Hours: 7am -7pm
Contact Number: 65362949

Antoinette (Scarlet Hotel)

A friend of mine passed by this place and suggested that we try this new spot for lunch.

This little cafe sits about 15-20 people at the most. The kitchen is small and can be seen through a small window from the cafe. I could smell oil in the air from the kitchen.

The cafe has a nice French style feel to it with beautiful wall paper.

Club Antoinette sandwich

I ordered a club antoinette sandwich which is a sandwich with crab meat and egg omelette.
This was really plain and unimpressive for $18. I felt quite cheated. The bread was plain white bread and the crab meat had dressing that tasted similar to the Delifrance tuna sandwich except that the crab meat is better. The crab meat would have shone better with a simpler dressing. I think what they were trying to achieve here was a high tea style hence the white bread. However, I always think that good bread is the base of a good sandwich. Other elements of a good sandwich are good fresh ingredients that classically go well together. Egg and crab is like a Chinese meal but I won't have considered it a classical combination.

My friend had the blinis with mushroom sauce and a sausage. Hers was about $16.50. I forgot to take a picture of the meal. The menu had a couple of blini dishes which is a good idea as it means that you can cut down on ingredients and do variations of the same dish. The problem with the dish was execution. The blini wasn't too badly done. But the sausage was ordinary (better than the normal Ntuc sort though) and the mushroom sauce was too watery and too milky. The mushroom flavor was not the dominant rich flavour of the sauce and did not meld together with the blini. I think something like a duck sausage would have gone better with mushroom sauce.

I think instead of a sauce, they should have done the mushrooms more like a topping like in this website.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/22/health/nutrition/22recipehealth.html. I haven't tried the recipe in the website before but it was what i imagined a mushroom blini should be. I think blinis are best used as a base to make it work like a bruschetta.

Nougatine Ice Cream
I had a nougatine for my ice cream. It looked impressive. This was praline ice cream with hazelnut nougatine, salty caramel and caramelized filo pastry. However, it was too sweet for me and also the ice cream was a bit grainy.

Other Cakes

My friend had a mont blanc which she mentioned as well was too sweet and did not have the predominant chestnut flavor. Fortunately we had ordered tea that could wash the sweetness down.

We spent about $40 per pax for lunch, dessert and tea. The setting of the place is quite pretty but for that sort of price, we could have had a weekday set menu at a nice restaurant somewhere in the area.

I was quite surprised to find out behind the menu that this was part of a chain which had 4 outlets in all. I'm not sure why it is so popular.

Website: http://www.antoinette.com.sg/
Location: 33 Erskine Road #01-02/03 The Scarlet Hotel, Tanjong Pagar
Opening Hours: 11am- 9pm
Contact Number: 64386455
Prices: We spent about $40 per pax.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Brasserie Gavroche

Another new French place in Tanjong Pagar. I think this place and La Maison Fatien opened in the same month!

Profiteroles with cheese

Other than bread, the restaurant provided little profiteroles with cheese. This was quite yummy as it was still hot and was a bit like large popcorn in your mouth due to the saltiness.

Our Group mostly ordered only mains and no wine. The staff seemed to be unhappy with this. The wine was too overpriced according to my brother. It seemed to be 400% above retail price in France. 

Escargots in garlic butter

This classic french dish was good but nothing special. The cooking technique to do this is quite easy.

Lamb Chops

My brother ordered the lamb chops above. It was nicely cooked to a pink perfection in it. But there was something about the lamb that I did not like the taste. Also, this method of cooking is pretty basic for something that costs over $30.


I didn't try it but the person eating it said it was good and transported her back to Belgium where she lived for a while. Mussels are hard to cook wrong in my view. These came with the traditional helping of fries.

Beef Tartare

This was quite a decent helping. Beef was tender and nicely seasoned with condiments. Came with fries. I liked this. However, while I have always liked beef tartare, I have never eaten a single beef tartare and been wowed by it. This one doesn't wow me either. 

Crisp fries

Fish Quenelles with crayfish sauce

This was fish mousse that i think was poached then panfried or grilled to give a brown charring on the outside. The crayfish sauce was tasty with pieces of crayfish but I would have liked the sauce to be thicker.  It was a good dish though and also not as common as the other dishes. However, after a few bites, the eggy taste gets a bit too strong and the sauce too salty.

This place serves good food. However, in my view it is too expensive and comes across as snobbish. The wait staff didn't really explain the dishes to us and seemed to be unhappy that most of us ordered only mains. Also when we asked if there were any specials, the wait staff had to ask the kitchen which indicated to me that they were not very well prepared. 
Would I go again? To be honest I'm not sure considering I prefer 2 other french places Bistrot Taratata and La Maison Fatien for lunch which are better priced in both wine and food.

I like the food. I don't like the service and the prices. Plus, I think the wait staff need to wipe their snot off their nose.

Oh well, maybe I will go back for the steak tartare…

Location: 66 Tras St, Tanjong Pagar
Opening Hours: Mon- Fri 1130am - 3pm, 6pm- 11pm; Sat 6pm- 11pm
Contact Number: 62258266

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Homebaked Dough

Shop Front

This little ramen shop is situated in a food centre in Blk 5 of Tanjong Pagar Plaza.
The name sounds unusual for a ramen place but it is because they sell cookies as well. Ramen and cookies is a bit of a strange combination.


Menu is pretty simple. Pretty affordable for ramen as it is in a food centre where costs are lower. Most ramen outside costs at least $10 or more.

Corn Ramen

I ordered the corn ramen for $6. This isn't bad at all. If you are not looking for a excellent ramen, then this will feel your tummy and satisfy you for $6. The broth is too light for me as you can see from the color. There is seaweed, sufficient corn and pork to make one happy for $6.
But for fussy oh me, I will go back to Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King. The ramen there is at least twice the price but more than twice as good.

Website: http://www.homebakeddough.com/
Location: Level 2 Blk 5 Tanjong Pagar Plaza Teck Kee Coffee Shop, Tanjong Pagar
Price: About $4- $7 per serve

La Maison Fatien

This french restaurant has only been open for about a week when we walked through its doors.
My brother and I were led to the second level and seated in a comfortable section that had a cosy high tea feel.

The dishes on the menu are traditional French. Wine list was not bad according to my brother.

Apparently the owner comes from Burgundy and owns a vineyard there with the name of La Maison Fatien (this wine is on the wine list) hence the name of the restaurant. The director that runs the restaurant is French and came by to speak to us. He requested for honest feedback for the food after the meal. It was nice to see the person running the place take interest in the customer.

Beef Bourguignon

I ordered beef bourguignon- beef in red wine. The dish came in a nice small casserole dish that looked like a le creuset dish. I always like beef bourguignon in this presentation as it is simple and reflects the rustic dish.
The sauce of the bourguignon was rich and flavourful. However, the meat was not tender enough and the red wine alcohol taste lingered in my tongue. This indicated that the alcohol had not been completely boiled off. The mash potatoes that were served with it were nice but a bit chunkier than my brother's preference. When we spoke to the director, he pointed out that they did that deliberately in that style. So I think it comes down to what you prefer. I would say this is one of the better beef bourguignon I have had in Singapore as a lot of the stuff I have tasted here is too watery.
I would have also liked more of a bay leaf flavor in this dish and some parsley sprinkled on top.

Lamb Shanks

My brother had the lamb shanks. The sauce was delicious. But similar to the beef bourguignon, the lamb shank was not tender enough and did not fall off the bone. My brother and I felt like this dish needed more rosemary to lift it up.

My little baby started crying for a feed during lunch so we had to run off back to my place. This was unfortunate as the place was relaxing and service was good and I would have liked to stay there longer. I guess I would just have to go back again.

Food wise, I would say it's reasonable for the Tanjong Pagar restaurant area from about $20-$30 for the mains. This is one more good restaurant for the area that is close to me. I am pleased.

Website: http://www.facebook.com/pages/La-Maison-Fatien/134362506663280
Location: 76 Duxton Road, Tanjong Pagar
Opening Hours: Mon- Fri 1030am- 12pm, Sat 6pm-1030pm
Contact Number: 62203822