One of our favourite date activities is exploring quirky and ‘hole-in-the-wall’ restaurants. If the choice of dining places were left to Jasmine, we would (almost) always be ending up in either MOS Burger or Long John Silvers. Heh. Thankfully, we’ve managed to harness the power of the Web and have uncovered several lovely restaurants over the past few months. Here are some of our recommendations:
1. Naive (Located along 99 East Coast Road)
Andrew: I’ll admit it – sometimes a food places wins you by sheer novelty and decor. Given that I’m a compulsive meat-eater and Dearie doesn’t quite like vegetables, the only reason we checked this vegetarian place out was because it looked and sounded unique (at least to me). And indeed, the experience was unique… I mean, where else would you begin your meal with a Japanese-inspired “bloss” ceremony:
We were both given an individual set of mortar and pestle and asked to grind the fresh toasted sesame seeds so that we could sprinkle it on our food later. The aroma of ground sesame seeds is heavenly, but I have to admit that this was simply novelty for novelty’s sake. Nothing wrong with that – but I did not find that the ground sesame seeds really enhanced the taste of any of the dishes we ordered later. This was purely just for fun and I must admit, I enjoyed it a lot! 🙂
We ordered fried noodles:
I asked for green chilli, which I normally have with such noodles, but they don’t give green chilli because they believe that it will spoil the original flavour. This was too bland for me, without the green chilli.
The waiter recommended that we try their specialties,
We ordered their tofu cake (in the centre of the pic) and their spring rolls (shown below). I can’t remember the title of the spring roll, but I believe it was ‘seasonally’ themed – Spring, Autumn something? (Dearie, if you remember, please help me out).
Tofu-cakes were not bad, but nothing that I would definitely go back again for either.
What was unique about the spring roll was that it had yam inside. However, the presence of yam didn’t significantly enhance the flavour. It made it more starchy and ‘flattened’ the overall flavour. Even the sweet sauce at the side couldn’t lift the flavour from its starchiness.
Well, I went to Naive for the novelty factor and that’s what we had. The ‘newness’ didn’t significantly add to the quality of the food, but it definitely added to the quality of the dining experience. The food is reasonably priced as well and decent enough, but not really outstanding in terms of taste. For the health fanatics/freaks out there, this is the place for you. It prides itself on not using any meat, seafood, eggs, onions, garlic or MSG!
Overall rating: Worth going once just to check it out, but doesn’t warrant second visits.
2. P.S. Cafe (at Palais Renaissance)
We’d been to the one at Dempsey Road for lunch before. This was our second visit and we came for dinner this time.
I’ve always really appreciated the ambience of P.S. Cafe with its tall ceilings, abundance of flowers, a huge chalkboard displaying its daily specials. One can simply sit around and enjoy a magazine – which is what we did:
(Jasmine: I love P.S. Cafe too! I’ve been there twice, both with Dear. To be honest, the food is not out-of-this-world special but the cool, relaxed ambience more than makes up for it. I could sit there all afternoon reading fashion glossies and sipping strawberry-flavoured water.)
Andrew: Both of us weren’t very hungry that day, so we initially only wanted to order a steak sandwich to be shared. After being informed of the minimum order of one dish per person, we added on a lamb salad:
While I really liked the lamb in this salad, there was just too much going on in this salad. So many different exotic flavours intermingling in our taste-buds for me to truly appreciate it. I later realised that this salad had mustard-seeds and pickles in it, which I don’t like. We’ll stick to the Caesar Salad next time.
The lighting in the restaurant was really dim, hence making it difficult for me to take a good shot of the steak sandwich with my flash-impaired camera. I really liked it though. Beef was well-prepared, tender and juicy, the bread was well-toasted and the fries were nice and crispy. Another dish on the menu which I like.
P.S. Steak Burger and the Anchovy Shirasu Aglio Olio. Both available only during lunch. The only cake I’ve tried there is the Carrot Cake, which at 9.90 a slice, is rather disappointing. Jasmine’s mum makes a far superior one, chock full with walnuts and generous cream cheese topping! The banana pudding which I tried a year ago, at the Paragon outlet, is amazing. The combination of whipped cream, ice-cream and bananas really makes it the ultimate guilty pleasure!
Overall rating: I would definitely go back again and again for both the food and ambience. There’s so much on the menu I haven’t tried yet.
My dearie has been experiencing intense wander-lust over the past few weeks, so when I read about this place at ieatishooipost.sg, I thought this place which seems virtually untouched by modernisation would be a great place to go to.
Unfortunately my research wasn’t thorough enough. This restaurant has received food awards for 2008 and 2009, but I believe its more well-known for its Chinese cuisine than its Western cuisine. The food we had was rather average.
They were rather generous with the mushrooms and croutons in this soup. However, the croutons were already soggy by the time the soup was served. The soup itself was also rather bland.
(Jasmine: Unfortunately, the soup looked better than it tasted. It just seemed like it had come out of a can- Campbell’s chicken soup with chunks of bread and mushrooms thrown in.)
Andrew: For main course, we had:
The prices were really reasonable. The Lasagna was only 9.90 and the portion was rather sizeable. You can’t complain much when you’re getting lasagna at that price. It was an extremely meaty lasagna – so I had no complaints about it.
(Jasmine: Yes, the lasagne was pretty decent, but its biggest plus point was that it was extremely filling, thanks to the generous ladlings of minced meat and mashed potato. I could only finish two thirds of it.)
Andrew: My lamb cutlet was poorly marinated, such that the tastiness was only in the sauce, but the meat itself didn’t have much flavour.
As we arrived very late and it was pouring torrentially for the first part of dinner, we didn’t have a chance to take a photo of the scenery surrounding us as we had dinner. With Sembawang Shipyard on your right and JB right in front of you, you really don’t feel like you’re in Singapore at all. My only grouse with the setting is that there’s hardly any space for a romantic stroll after dinner.
(Jasmine: Mr Chong has been so thoughtful, especially over the past couple weeks. He chose the yacht club for our date because he knew that I really wanted a respite from the busy-ness of work, and it was the perfect setting, offering varied vistas of northernmost Singapore rarely accessible elsewhere. When we traipsed out along the beach, we saw a keylong (I think?), islands in the distance and behemoth cargo ships glistening with lights. In addition, I had told him about how my relatives had advised me to consume more carbohydrates and iron-rich foods such as beef and steak, so yesterday while we were dining at Shokudo, he made sure that he ordered a beef hot pot and a Teppanyaki fried rice. He’s so sweet.)
Overall review: I’ll definitely be back again to try out the Chinese food. The locality itself is a big plus for me, because I really like out of the way, quiet, romantic places. Heh.