Tuesday, July 30, 2013


It was by chance when we crossed path with this particular curry puff stall. The banner displayed right outside the coffee shop caught my attention. It said, 'Original AMK Curry Puff'. 

I was greeted by the friendly Auntie. I asked her, 'This stall used to be from Ang Mo Kio?' She nodded her head. I asked further. 'I stay in Ang Mo Kio for decade long but never did come across a stall by the name of AMK Curry Puff.'

Auntie said, 'Yeah. We used to be at Ang Mo Kio.'

I asked again, 'Which part of Ang Mo Kio?'

She said, 'We used to be Tip Top Curry Puff.'

I was so taken aback. 

My immediate reaction was 'OH!'

Auntie said, 'Couldn't you tell the difference when you eat it now? The taste is no longer the same.'

Honestly, i did not quite realise. I have not been patronising as much after they increased their price to $1.30. 

The Uncle said, 'The business was not as good so we decided to sell away the brand name and shop.'

I guess their business is not as good as before. Only a handful of curry puffs were on the display. It tasted quite the same. It is rather moist with an aromatic curry taste and full of ingredients like cubes of potatoes and bits of chicken together with a slice of hard boiled egg.

The crust was rather flaky with a slight buttery taste and fried well to give it the rather crispy texture, not too oily though.

Auntie said, 'Next time, when want to eat Curry Puff, remember to come to this stall!'

It seemed the Auntie and Uncle started this staff from scratch. They do not have any assistant now just both of them. The Auntie was sitting down, hand making the curry puffs one by one and the Uncle was right behind, preparing the filling.

It is still one of the better Curry Puffs that i ever tasted.

Block 184 Toa Payoh Central
#01-372 Super 28 Coffee Shop

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A MUST TRY Chicken Katsu Cheese Curry Rice.

Just had a casual conversation with a friend other day about this particular stall. Friend was saying their Japanese Curry Rice put those Japanese Restaurants to shame. 

Sebastian Ho is the Chef cum Owner of Sebastian Ho graduated from SHATEC and he has worked for hotels like Ritz Carlton and Grand Hyatt for a period. His passion in cooking urged him to start this hawker stall to offer affordable Italian and Japanese cuisine. 

His most proud dish is Chicken Katsu Cheese Curry Rice as mentioned in his recent interview with the media.

His Chicken Katsu Cheese Curry Rice is indeed a good choice. It is unbelievably priced at $6.50. The Japanese Curry Rice is easily at $13 and above in most of the Japanese Restaurants.

I was there on a weekday during lunch. The coffee shop was rather packed at that time till it required a certain effort to locate an empty table for 2.

Chef Sebastian was busy cooking by himself in the kitchen. He has got an elderly Uncle as his assistant. The Uncle was busy delivering the ready foods. I stood in front of the stall and waited for the Uncle to be back. Chef Sebastian spotted me. He asked me for my order while busy cooking. I raised my voice slightly and ordered a portion of his signature Chicken Katsu Cheese Curry Rice and given my table. He told me the waiting time would be around 15 minutes.

Honestly, i did not expect him to remember my order as i was telling my lunch partner. I waited. About 15 minutes or so, i saw the elderly Uncle approached my table with my order. The presentation scored a full mark. The chicken cutlet was served with a good portion of rice on a squarish black plate together with generous serving of Japanese curry sauce.

The chicken is supposed to be marinated for 24 hours to give it the flavor. It was then coated with bread crumbs and fried to perfection to achieve the desired crispiness and texture.

It was served with the Japanese style short grain rice. It was firmly moulded into an oval shape then topped with black sesame seeds. The rice was cooked well to give it the likable softness and slightly sticky in texture.

The tasty chicken katsu has got cheese embedded within. The Japanese curry complemented it rather well. It was served with lettuce and 2 pieces of cucumber, too.

The first mouthful was delightful. I had eaten at a few places that supposedly served the best curry rice when i was in Japan for vacation. Thought not an expert but i felt there was a certain degree of authenticity in it.

Though it might not be as good as those in Japan but i still somewhat enjoyed the comforting homely taste nonetheless. 

There are others like Spicy Salmon Aglio Olio, Spicy Prawn Aglio Olio, Spicy Crab Meat Linguini, Spicy Tom Yam Baked Rice, Beef Strognaff Rice and more. 

Amongst others on the menu board, the Chicken Katsu Chesse Curry Rice is definitely the must try. 

Good food at really good price. So, what are you waiting for? This is a definite must try for Japanese Curry lovers. For less than half of the price charged by those proper Japanese restaurants, you have the equally or better standard Japanese Curry Rice with tasty Chicken Katsu with Cheese. 

Block 7 Everton Park

Friday, July 26, 2013

Grin Affair

I love dessert. I love it so much that i will travel to anywhere for it. I have heard and read about this particular place that served cake in the bottle. 

 I was there on a weekday afternoon at about 2 pm. I was at their front door. I simply love the rustic feel.

There are a wide range of selection of different types of bottled cake : Strawberry Cheese, Cookies & Cream, Hazelnut, Matcha Azuki, Honey Lavender, Avocado, Caramel, Kiwi Cheese, Dark Chocolate, Durian, Banoffee, Peanut Fudge, Mango Cheese and Banana Dark Chocolate. Not all flavors are available at all times though as some are seasonal.

The interior is simply decorated. There was only a nice Auntie manning the shop. I decided to have a Hazelnut bottled cake at $5.50 to go. The prices of these chilled cake served in the jars range from $4.80 to $6.50.

I asked her for permission to take some pictures. The Auntie waited for me to done taking pictures then took out a jar from the fridge behind her. She asked whether i need a bag though it stated the minimum purchase has to be 4 jars to get a carrier. She offered a normal plastic bag and a disposable spoon is given too. I appreciate the thoughtfulness of this friendly Auntie.

I was given the option of dining in. There are limited seating capacity in this humble looking shop.

I was the only customer there at that time.

To enter from the front door, please lift the door up slightly while pushing it.

The bottled cake is nicely presented. The jar is covered by a paper cap with string tied to it. You might be wondering what is the purpose of the string. The string is served as handle to carry the jar.

I could taste the distinctive hazelnut taste in the mousse served with crunchy nut praline. It has got bits of freshly grated hazelnuts in it. The hazelnut mousse nicely rested on moist Coffee and Chocolate sponge cake to give it the layer effect with well-balanced sweetness.

 It is quite a small jar to be priced at $5.50. .

It is a delightful choice for dessert though.

Once you start, you cannot stop. And, 1 of such bottle is never enough.

When you started to enjoy it then you realised you left the last mouthful to go and leaving you craving for more.

The bottle can be returned for a ticket. The collected tickets can be used to exchange for Apple Brew (10 tickets), Jar of Dried Fruit (12 tickets) and Jar of Cake (20 tickets).

3 Everton Park

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Attentive Service but Average Foods.

We were there for an early dinner before attending the movie preview of 'Before Midnight' invited by OMY.SG. 

I waited at the entrance.  

I was quickly ushered to a table for 3 quickly and presented with menu right after.

 We ordered The Ultimate ($7.60) and Cafe Caramel ($6.40).

The Ultimate has got bits of coffee bean in it. Though it was served with the whipped cream but the level of sweetness was still well-balanced.

The hot Cafe Caramel was another good choice. I enjoyed the comforting sweetness though could not taste much of the caramel.

Then, decided to order a portion of Deep Fried Calamari Rings with Garlic Dip ($9.00). Surprisingly, this was the best dish. The batter was not too thick but amazingly crispy.

It still tasted nicely crispy even after left it for a bit.

It tasted nice when had it with the garlic sauce though the supposedly garlic sauce has got little garlic taste. It was served with a portion of salad.

Another side order was Classic Quiche Lorraine ($7.50). The eggy and the cheese taste were not too strong. It served with a portion of salad too with a vinegar based dressing. Part of the quiche tasted of this dressing too. I thought it might be the worst dish of the night but got surprised later.

The main was the 200 grams Ribeye Steak ($25.00). I wanted the doneness to be at Medium. It served a bit too soon and too fast, right after the Fried Calamari Rings. The appearance of the steak did not look charred. It did not have a bit of smoky taste too. 

When i cut the steak, it was too raw to be done at Medium. It was likely to be at Medium-Rare instead. It was served with mushroom sauce but the mushroom sauce has got no distinctive taste.

This was the worst steak that i ever eaten.

Another main was Lamb Shank ($24.00). It was a decent dish. The texture of lamb shank was soft and not overly mushy. It was cooked well to omit the strange taste of lamb. 

It was seated on a pile of mashed potato but this pile of mashed potato tasted a bit too dry with no taste of butter.

Dessert was Tiramisu ($10.00) to be  shared. This ended up to be another disappointment. The texture of Tiramisu was too dry and ended up tasting like cake. There was a slight liquor-coffee taste but this was concentrated only right in the centre

Though the standard of food was disappointing but the customer service though a bit laid back initially but was pretty attentive later. 

The speed of serving the foods was a bit too fast as well. The Fried Calamari Rings, the Classic Quiche Lorraine, the Ribeye Steak and the Lamb Shank were served almost at the same time only difference in minutes. Though they are not fine dining restaurant but they should be mindful as it would not be likely for us to eat the main and the starter at the same time. It would be appropriate for them to wait for us to finish the starter first before serving the main. If they really must do so perhaps it would be better to prepare the customers first. 

We were seated at a small square table meant for 2 with an additional chair added. The table was a bit too small for all the foods mentioned earlier with 2 drinks.

On a side note, Steven Dason - the Restaurant Manager approached my table 3 times through the dining session. He came to check on the food when it was just served. He came again to offer to get us some plain water to dilute the sweet aftertaste of the coffee. He came again after we done eating. I told him the steak was rather raw when it supposed to be done at Medium. 

The total bill is $105.30. An expensive and not so memorable dinner. I had read many good reviews about Beanstro and these were the invited reviews for food tasting. That somewhat explained why there is such a difference in the standard of food?

391 Orchard Road #B1-37
Ngee Ann City

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

MOVIE REVIEW: Before Midnight.

Thanks to OMY.SG for the invitation to the preview of Before Midnight held at the Preview Theatre at Shaw Centre.

'Before Midnight' is the third firm in Richard Linklater's 'Before' trilology. He started with Before Sunrise in 1995 and Before Sunset in 2004.

How many of us remember that Jesse and Celine first met two decades ago on that train bound for Vienna in Before Sunrise

I am a big fan of the series. I expected the movie to be rather similar to the earlier 2 series but it turned out to be quite different but i am falling in love with Ethan Hawk and Julie Delpy all over again.

In Before Sunrise (1995), Jesse met and woo Celine during that meeting on the train and spent a magical day together in Vienna awaiting the sunrise. Both went the separate way after the sun risen. In Before Sunset, both of them came together again after 9 long years,  they met and they walked through the streets and they talked.

I remember this well.

Jesse: 'What do you think were the chances of us ever meeting again?'
Celine: 'After that December, I'd say almost zero. But we're not real anyway, right? we're just, uh, characters in that old lady's dream. She's on her deathbed, fantasizing about her youth. So of course we had to meet again.'

The ending of Before Sunset.

Celine: 'Baby, you are gonna miss that plane.'
Jesse: 'I know'. 

Things happened since then.

In 2013, another 9 years after the last film, Before Midnight.

As anticipated, Before Midnight is one of the greatest movies of 2013.

The feel is about the same like before though unless the earlier 2 films focused more on idolizing the love. The third is pretty down-to-earth, when the focus shifted from the fairy tale type of love to the reality. The love is definitely not quite the same after being together for 9 years. How much love is left after all these years? Though they are not officially married but they have a pair of adorable twin daughters. It is no longer about the two of them but a family to take care, and not forgetting the son from the ex-wife.

The movie started when Jesse is sending the boy off to be with ex-wife in US. Jesse has gone through a bitter divorce to be with Celine. He is guilty of not being there to be a part of the growing up of his boy. The departing of the boy somewhat awaken his bit of fatherly love. This prompted Jesse to consider moving his current family to be with the boy in US.

The main focus of the movie is the domesticated love between Jesse and Celine particularly the deep frustration of Celine. She felt the amount of sacrifices made to the extent she is forced to give up her interests in writing and singing songs as well as the little involvement of her partner, leaving her feeling kind of helpless during certain phases of the life. She maxed out on the level of her endurance till she felt there is no more love for her man. The 'I don't love you anymore' is a powerful word before she walked out of that door.

There is no such thing as perfect partner. Though Jesse and Celine are intellectually comparable but not quite a perfect match in terms of the different outlook on life.

Celine asked Jesse, what would be the one thing he wanted to change in her. Jesse simply wanted her to stop changing him. No one is perfect so just find the right person. That person that you can love with all your heart. That person you will feel comfortable with. That person that accepts the complete you.

Jesse told Celine, he accepted her as a whole package, the brilliance and also the craziness.

A happy ending is expected so little surprises when Jesse decided to reconcile. The little love left in the hearts of both decided to give in and to try harder to stay together. 

Life is hard but having a partner to share it somewhat sweeten it.

To achieve true happiness is a common goal in life. Many a time, the biggest factor preventing it in achieving it, simply and sadly, ourselves. Somehow, we should stop to further complicate it and just live it well. It would so much simpler and enjoyable that way.