Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Little Loco - New Farm


Belated post, but met up with the ever delightful Mandy Bernadette and charismatic MB at Little Loco for a long overdue catch up brunch. Arriving at 10am, it was definitely packed, with customers, both inside and out. Lucky for me, I managed to grab the last empty table.

 

Menus were provided, with an all day breakfast selection, a lunch selection and some drinks. Ordering was done at the counter, as usual in cafes.




Our coffees came very quickly after. My skinny cappuccino was quite strong, and I really enjoyed the shaved chocolate on top, but found that the milk could have been a bit creamier for my liking. Nevertheless, the coffee was fruity and had a strong aroma to it, which was quite satisfying. 




Our food came quite quickly after our coffees. MB had the Breakfast Poke Bowl, and Mandy had the Eggs and Waffle Benedict whilst I had the Smashed Avocado with eggs and salmon. I really enjoyed my smashed avocado, which was ripe and well seasoned with dukkah and lemon to give it texture and tang. The eggs were done with a delightfully runny centre and the haloumi was wonderfully caramelised with a toasty exterior. The salmon was a little lacking in freshness though, and the colour wasn't as vibrant as usual, but the sourdough was still quite crusty on the outside with a soft but dense interior, which I found quite enjoyable regardless.


Price Range: $20 - $30pp

Taste: 7.5/10
Value: 7/10
Service: 7/10
Environment: 7/10

Little Loco Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Bread For You - Sunnybank


Had heard of the very popular Initial Tea, and took the chance to leave work earlier one Friday to try it out, but it turned out to be closed that day. Still hoping to indulge in some afternoon tea, I wandered around and found myself standing outside of Bread For You, so I went in to give it a try.


Like most Asian bakeries, the breads and cakes were available on a self serve basis. As usual, most of the varieties were sweet, with only a few savoury options. There were also a few individual sized cakes.


Paying at the counter, there were also a selection of cafe style drinks to be ordered, so in the absence of bubble tea, I settled on a matcha latte and a slice of honey chiffon instead.


Both were served up reasonably quickly. I was a little surprised that the honey chiffon was served still wrapped in plastic, despite my indications that I would be eating in the cafe.


The matcha latte came filled to the brim. The green had a little more yellow hue than other matcha latte's I've had in the past. Taste wise, it was surprisingly sweet for my palate, although very fragrant, it lacked the usual taste of matcha, making for a milky and rich, but somewhat flawed cup.


The honey chiffon, like the matcha, was also very sweet, but somewhat light on the honey flavour, rather being quite sugary instead. Having said that, it was sufficiently moist and fluffy with a good texture, which I did quite enjoy.


Price Range: Under $10pp

Taste: 6/10
Value: 7/10
Service: 7/10
Environment: 7/10

Bread for You Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Margo Restaurant - Paddington


Second day back from my whirlwind trip across Japan, and it was time for a long overdue catch up with my two besties, and what better opportunity than over a scrumptious French dinner. Which is what we did when I received a gracious invite from Chef Americo, to try out the recently opened Margo Restaurant in Paddington. We were especially pleased to get to try out the new French menu, which had only been released and was already quite popular according to the reviews online. Arriving at the time of our reservation, I was surprised to realise that Margo had actually taken up the shopfront that used to house the legendary Montrachet. It had big shoes to fill indeed.


Furnishings inside retrained the classic French rustic charm of painted brick walls and the red leather seats. I found it very inviting.



We had a seat near the window, next to the bar, allowing us a good view of the interior and exterior.

 

Menus were soon provided, and the food menu comprised of two pages, spanning a large selection of entrees, mains, sides and desserts, which were all very captivating, so we ordered a few to share.


Complimentary bread was provided for the table, served with smoked butter. The bread was fresh, very hot, with a nice crusty exterior and a dense but versatile interior. Coupled with the smoked butter, it made for a very delicious appetiser to our meal.

 

Our drinks for the night included the Ginger glow and the French Martini. My companion really enjoyed the bitter tanginess of the ginger glow, and I liked the sweetness of the French Martini which was also very refreshing and crisp.


Very quickly after ordering, our entrees were served. Between the three of us, we had four items to share, and it was definitely a sight to behold.


First was the classical Soufflé au bleu, poire et noix - Twice baked blue cheese soufflé with pear and walnut. Unlike other souffles we have had previously, it was served out of the ramekin, garnished with some greens along with the aforementioned pear and walnut. The souffle was smooth and fluffy in texture, and definitely cheesy. The walnut gave it some added texture, whilst the pear's sweetness gave the dish a lot more dimension.


Our second entree was the Poitrine de porc croustillante et pomme fruit - Crispy skin pork belly with apple two ways. The pork belly had a deliciously crispy skin, and tender meat which erred on the side of salty. This was alleviated by the delicious cooked apples, which were caramelised wonderfully to give the pork a sweet tang which was well received around the table.


Third, and my favourite of the entrees was the St Jacques poelée, carottes au gingembre, riz soufflé et ponzu vinaigrette - Seared scallops, carrot and ginger puree, puffed rice and ponzu dressing. Whilst the seared scallops were doubtlessly delicious with their crispy top and bottom, we found the dukkah scallop mousse to be very innovative and tasty, with its light fluffy texture, strong scallop taste and crispy exterior, coupled with the carrot and ginger puree, we loved it.


Last of the entrees, was the Assiette de charcuterie et parfait de canard avec condiments - Charcuterie, liver parfait + pickles. The meats were quite salty and went well with the bread, but for me, the highlight was without a doubt the parfait, which was rich, smooth and creamy.



Very quickly after our entrees, mains and sides were then served. Whilst the entrees were somewhat petite, the mains were definitely substantial in size, much to our enjoyment.


My first companion ordered the Longe d’agneau, gratin dauphinoise, beignet d’ail et jus au thym - Lamb saddle with gratin dauphinois, garlic beignet and thyme jus. Of course, I got to try some. The lamb was very tender and the meat had a wonderful pink hue to it, soaking up a considerable amount of thyme jus. I found the skin a little chewy though. The gratin dauphinoise also went quite well with the thyme jus, and the layering of the potato provided a good contrast in texture to the silky lamb.


My other companion ordered the Cassoulet de Julia - White bean and tomato stew with pork belly, confit duck leg and chorizo. The pork belly in this dish turned out to be quite small, and the main attraction was without a doubt the confit duck leg, which had a deliciously crispy skin, although a little salty. More crunch was added through the delectable chorizo shavings, which was then contrasted by the white bean stew.


Readers will have guessed by now that my order is always the classical Steak Frites, with bearnaise sauce. Tonight's cut was the fillet, and it was delightfully soft whilst retaining a strong beefy flavour. Upon ordering, I found it curious that I was not asked how I would like my steak cooked, but it was still served rare. The frites were more chips than fries, and being a fan of shoestring fries, I definitely would have liked a thinner cut, but they were definitely very crispy on the outside with a fluffy interior which soaked up the meat juices and leftover sauce wonderfully. 



The two sides we shared were the mixed salad and greens, to balance out our meaty mains. Both were executed very well, and whilst my companions enjoyed the greens, I definitely preferred the salad, with its impeccable presentation and light french dressing, it was thoroughly appreciated. 


Despite being as full as we were from our mains, we didn't want to miss the opportunity to try out the desserts, so we settled on two to share. Like the other courses, they were served remarkably quickly (which is great, cos I don't like to wait).


Readers may have realised by now that my bestie loves her apple pie, so of course we had the Tarte tatin, prune macérée a l’armagnac, crème a la vanilla - Apple tarte tatin and cognac prunes with vanilla cream. Caramelised apple is always a wonderfully warm and sweet way to round off any meal, and this was no different. I would have preferred a little more pastry to cover the top of the pie, but I did really relish the very rich vanilla creme, giving the apple a smooth buttery texture.


Our last dessert was the Profiterole facon éclair. It was an interesting mix between an eclair and a profiterole. The eclair was fresh and had a good crunch to it, and again, we loved the vanilla creme with its remarkable texture. Topped with rich dark chocolate, it made for a wonderful dessert to finish off a delightful meal.

Espresso and Matcha were invited guests of Margo Restaurant, but as always, our opinions are solely our own.

Price Range: $50 - $70pp

Taste: 8.5/10
Value: 8.5/10
Service: 8.5/10
Environment: 8.5/10

Margo Restaurant & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 9 April 2018

Vietnam Pho 168 - Sunnybank Hills


After reading Joe K's review of Vietnam Pho 168 which is a quick drive from my house, so when others were busy last Saturday, I grabbed a companion and we headed out to have a simple lunch at the little shopping strip next to the spot which used to hold Taste of Penang (another restaurant that was on my list but didnt survive long enough for me to try it out).


Midday on Saturday proved to still be relatively quiet, with less than half the restaurant filled. I did like the cute vibrant setup with the alternating orange and yellow chairs. 

 

 

Being quickly seated by the efficient and friendly waitress, we were surprised to receive not one, but two sets of menus, one for Vietnam Pho 168 and one for HK Malaysia. Apparently the setup is akin to the one at Quan Thanh, whereby the two sister stores offer both fares at either restaurant, which made it quite convenient for customers to have their pick from a wider variety of choices.

 

Water and cutlery came quickly, sauces arrived shortly after. 


My drink arrived before the food. That day I ordered a Vietnamese Iced White Coffee with less sugar. It was considerably darker than the other ones I've had before, so I assume they cut down on the condensed milk. The coffee was definitely less sweet, with a strong coffee taste that I appreciated. Unfortunately though, there was more ice than there was coffee, and despite the large cup, it was finished after a couple of mouthfuls.


My companion ordered the combination chow mein. Whilst the portion looked quite generous, this was largely attributed to the noodles having been deep fried to a crisp, although it was still quite an ample serve even after absorbing the delicious sauces. Comparatively, the toppings weren't as generous, and their ratio to noodles were slightly disappointing. My companion enjoyed the crispiness of the noodles, but told me that it didn't really stand out to him as anything particularly special.


I on the other hand, opted for a bowl of rare beef pho. For the price of $13, this is on the more expensive side of the price spectrum for pho, especially given the portion size wasn't particularly big. The beef and noodles were quite soft and tender. I would have preferred a little more beef though. The herbs on top were quite generous and gave it quite a bit of added flavour, which was definitely required, as the soup was definitely light and a little bland and lacked dimension. Overall it was a pretty average bowl, but given the convenience of how close it is to home, I can't rule out coming here again if I get really lazy.


Price Range: $10 - $20pp

Taste: 6/10
Value: 6/10
Service: 8/10
Environment: 7/10
Vietnam Pho 168 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato