"Freshly baked treats"
This bakery has a small seating area where you can choose some pastries to indulge in or there’s a chalkboard with the specials of the day for a more substantial meal. All the treats here are baked fresh daily with no added preservatives or artificial substances and on Wednesdays and Saturdays organic bread is available. They even have a specialty known as the broom bread. This is filled with grains that sweeps through your digestive system and cleans it. What a fun name for a loaf of bread!
We decided to sample a few of the sandwich specials; the smoked chicken, roast beef, and beef pastrami. The smoked chicken is served on thick grain bread slices with a chunky basil tomato salsa. This is very tasty as the smokiness of the chicken slices pairs well with the fragrant salsa. My favourite is the roast beef sandwich that is served on a ciabatta with relish. The beef slices are tender and moist and I enjoy the crusty bread. I wish that they would use a grain or spicy mustard though instead of the bright yellow American mustard. The most interesting of the sandwiches however is the beef pastrami on a croissant as this is topped with mango slices. The sweetness of the mango offsets the salty pastrami and the buttery flaky croissant finishes it off perfectly.
While Gula Melaka is traditionally used in desserts we wondered if it would work just as well in savoury dishes. After all there are many meals that require the use of molasses or brown sugar and the structure of Gula Melaka is not too different in comparison. So as usual we narrowed down some recipes and played around in our kitchen. These turned out… More »
The rich dark golden liquid that is Gula Melaka is a popular sweetener in most parts of South East Asia. While it's hard to work with (as in you literally have to pound the huge chunks with a mortar and pestle) we couldn’t fathom a world without it. We love it for its molasses like qualities and the additional sweetness it brings to our favourite… More »
"Stop a while, grab a bowl of something soupy..."
I am a late riser aspiring to be an early bird. For sleepyheads like me nothing is more gut-wrenching then to crawl out of bed (thinking it's early) and only to see the last fishball go to the person in front of me. A lot of great breakfast places run out before the sun's first yawn. Sometimes I figure the only way to be up early enough is to stay up all night.
Markets too are a whole lot more fun at daybreak. By 10, what's a charming morning gambol becomes rather smelly. Wet markets are always more tolerable in the cool dawn hours. Pudu is one such market. A classic wet market with all sorts of food. The earlier you come, the fresher the products. They open extremely early in the morning, around 3 AM, and at 7 AM most of the action is over. This market is very `local` in flavour, it is predominantly Chinese but you can find Malay and Indian traders here as well. It can get noisy as the street vendors fight for the attention of shoppers by shouting out their bargains. Besides food and clothes, you can find the most unusual items: pet fish, scorpions, frogs and terrapins.
The market is long, intense and most people start loosing their appetites at the frog butcher. I know many of you out there enjoy a kermit or two in your diets but for us who rather watch him on the Muppets, the frog butcher here is the apex of squirminess. Especially when you see him skin those croakers while the poor creature is still gasping it's last breath watched by his buddies awaiting the same fate. It's an amphibian Apocalypto. I'm all for knowing where your food comes from, but this is too early and too real even for me.
But I digress, before you even venture into the depths of the market, right at the front are the eating shops. Take a seat, have a sniff. Fresh noodles await. Everything here is pretty good. You order drinks at the kopitiam in front and just grab whatever you wish for breakfast. There's very good prawn noodles here in a spicy, briny broth and a fragrant lam mee.
Generally when you come for tea at a Malay household, chances are there will be a pengat or a bubur of somekind. While bubur can encompass most things in a gravy from sweet soups to savoury congee, pengat is exclusively sweet. Generally we use pengat for something, a fruit that's been simmered in santan (coconut milk) and gula melaka (palm sugar).
Shiva from Indian Kitchen teaches us a few simple kitchen tricks to get rid of that pesky cough and clear up that phlegm.
"Perfectly executed macarons"
Nathalie is not a trained chef, but rather a talented Frenchwoman who knows her way around the kitchen. The caliber of her dishes show years of experience coupled with a sense of culinary intuition and passion. The menu changes monthly to showcase her range of delightful creations and everything is made fresh in house.
The décor here is very industrial with a lot of greys and steel. The inside houses high tables with bar stools and cool hanging features such as a whisk chandelier. Macarons seem to be a prominent theme here with the service staff donning a print of macarons on their aprons.
Once we’ve placed our orders a little basket of mini baguette rolls are set down on our table. They are fresh and absolutely delicious with the homemade salted butter. We also ordered a few of their drink concoctions, a vegetable cocktail, fresh pineapple juice and a virgin apple mojito. The vegetable cocktail is bright purple and I can see immediately that it’s a mix of beetroot and once I tasted it I also detect celery and maybe a hint of carrot. It’s refreshing and I love knowing that it’s good for me too! I didn’t get a taste of the mojito but it looked good sparkling with flecks of bright green mint floating around.
For appetizers we decided to go with the beef Carpaccio and the eggplant three ways. The beef is a lovely bright red and it is topped with a gorgeous salad of shaved fennel and Parmesan and edible flowers. Almost too pretty to eat. The beef is melt in the mouth tender and the greens give it freshness.
The eggplant dish is really interesting as it is prepared in three ways showcasing this earthy vegetable at its best. The first is chopped eggplant mixed with sundried tomato on a slice of toast with a thin piece of tuna sashimi on top. This is tangy and full of flavour. The second preparation is out of this world with an eggplant sorbet. At first bite it’s a little confusing as you’d expect a sorbet to be sweet but after a few more tastes you warm up to the idea and it’s really very good. The third is a jelly topped with a mousse, both containing eggplant. This was my favourite with the bouncy jelly and the earthy creamy mousse.