Saturday, July 20, 2013

Going Peranakan at Dulu Kala

Owing to the country's rich culture and history, Peranakan cuisine is one of the most popular and well-loved cuisines in Singapore. The inter-marriage of Chinese and Malays and to some extent Indonesians, brought one of the most respected cuisines in Asia. This union gave us the melding of Chinese ingredients with Malays' use of aromatic spices, herbs and genuine cooking techniques. And then we all know, it resulted to dishes that are something to be had.
There are a number of Peranakan or Nonya Restaurants in Singapore. I've already tried a few and I must admit that most really do not disappoint. A Malaysian colleague recommended Dulu Kala as another must try Peranakan restaurant. So off, I went to see it for myself.  
Perusing the menu of Dulu Kala, one is promised with "authentic, home cooked Peranakan dishes". And in all fairness, they did try to adhere to this claim.
Asam Fish Head -  this is really good! The sour and spicy notes are well balanced in the dish. It has a very nice cooked tamarind taste.
 Spicy Shrimps - nothing extraordinary but it's also acceptable
Stir-fried Lady Fingers - a good accompaniment to spicy dishes. It helps wash out some carry-over hotness from the chili.
 Sambal Belacan - the fiery chili sauce that goes with any dish
Ayam Buah Keluak - this is the main star for me. I won't mind coming back to this restaurant just for this. It's creamy, with just the right hotness and mild sour after taste. Apparently, preparing this dish is no easy task. In fact, it's one of the most labour intensive to cook among popular Peranakan foods (find out here). So, for that alone, I am truly in awe how Peranakans concocted their heritage recipes. It's simply amazing!
Bubur Cha Cha - a creamy, sweet, satisfying dessert to end this Nonya food fare.

Dulu Kala
#04-04, Beauty World Centre
144 Upper Bukit Timah Road

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Our Taste of Life now in an Online Magazine Platform!

Hear ye, hear ye! Finally, after several restless days and sleepless nights, the first ever Our Taste of Life Online Magazine is out now! I couldn't be happier that it's already finished and published. This is another endeavour that's worth taking, knowing that there are people who will be inspired by it. Just a few days after publishing the magazine, I was overwhelmed with kind words and good feedbacks from friends, colleagues, acquaintances and even from my publisher - Glossi. Your sweet words definitely keep me going. I hope to be able to bring in more interesting reads and more glorious food sights in the next editions. For now, enjoy the premier edition and have a fun read!" target="_blank"> Click to view Our Taste Of Life on GLOSSI.COM

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Mini Cheese Cakes

I still have a hang over from making a Cherry Oreo Cheese Cake for a colleague who just recently celebrated her birthday. Since the kids didn't have their share on that piece of indulgence, I promised them that I would make a separate one just for their own consumption. So I fulfilled that promise last night by making these truly scrumptious mini cheese cakes! I've been wanting for so long to have my hands on these heavenly goodies and the right timing just came in perfectly. I was in the mood to de-stress and celebrate for the coming of the weekend. As soon as I finished decorating these miniature cheese cakes, I can imagine another colleague exclaiming - "this is a moment in your lips, a lifetime in your hips" kind of taste. But, I would say a mini serving won't hurt a bit. So it's just right to occasionally reward ourselves with sinful yet more than satisfying sweet treats like this one.

I'm beginning to like cheese cake preparation more than the usual cakes. I realized that it's much simpler and more straight forward to prepare than the later. There are also less ingredients to weigh and mix. These mini cheese cakes are perfect for parties and gatherings. I'm sure kids and adults alike won't be able to resist its goodness. Just look how cute they are! Isn't it enough to entice a hungry appetite?  

Yield : 6 mini cheese cakes

What you need:
1 pack Philadelphia cream cheese, softened at room temp
1 tbsp butter, melted
1/3 cup Crushed graham crackers
1/4 cup plus 1/2 tsp caster sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg

For toppings:
Smuckers strawberry jam
fresh blue berries
fresh cherries
Nutella chocolate spread
chopped cashew nuts

How to make:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 325F.
2. Mix graham crackers with butter and 1/2 tsp sugar. Press onto paper lined muffin cups.
2. Beat cream cheese, remaining sugar and vanilla until blended well.
3. Add eggs just until blended. Do not over mix.
4. Pour over prepared crust.
5. Bake for 25 mins or until centers are almost set. Cool completely.
6. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
7. Decorate or top with whipped cream, chocolate spreads like nutella, fruit jams and jellies, nuts and fresh fruits.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Lime @ Park Royal On Pickering Hotel

Relaxing, calming and definitely nature inspired - this is the overall ambiance of the new Park Royal on Pickering. It's an absolute breather from a typical busy vibe of a city hotel. There's no doubt why this hotel is increasingly becoming popular around Singapore since its opening in January 2013. Beyond its fa├žade and architecture which is pretty impressive, I can feel that there's something more to like about in this hotel. The moment you enter the lobby, you will be welcomed with a refreshing atmosphere. You will know in an instant that this is a perfect respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.

I love these wooden chairs. The design complements the movement of the water fountain outside.
The elements of nature are visible everywhere.
Even the door leading to the toilet is so attuned to the garden theme.

The lovely infinity pool overlooking the city.

True to its claim, it's really a hotel in a garden. And what better way to complement this beauty than  having a place to experience gastronomical delights? As we often times said, good food and good ambiance make a perfect combination. The Lime restaurant offers just that. Located at the ground level of the hotel (near the lobby area), the resto-bar provides a wide array of culinary choices. It generally showcases French cuisine, some popular Asian dishes and selected local favourites. Chef Alex Siah (Chef de Cuisine) who leads the cordial team of the restaurant, shared that some of the dishes he concocted for the buffet spread are heirloom recipes. This is something worth noting for diners! Primarily because heritage dishes coupled with personal touch are usually more interesting than industrial ones.
A very enticing entrance to the buffet! This was a star setting.

Bread section
Starters and cold cuts
Some cheeses
Dried fruits and nuts
Green Tea Chocolate Fountain - I guess this is to adhere to the green theme as well hence, that explains why it's not your typical brown chocolate fountain (such a nice idea!). 
Dessert repertoire

Mini Rum Baba

They serve Piper Heidsieck champagne for the alcohol brunch..

Here are some of the dishes that captured my wandering taste buds:
One of the best pan seared Foie Gras I've had. Succulent, creamy and rich yet not satiating at all.
Braised Beef Cheek in Red Wine - the beef is so tender and juicy. It's a must try for me.
Herb-Crusted Cod with Thyme Sauce and Tiger Prawn Meuniere (3rd photo clockwise) are also among my favourites. They are best paired with Ratatouille.
Cold Station and Sushis

Salads and appetizers
Truly scrumptious desserts - this section undoubtedly won me over. It's one of the most extensive dessert selections I've seen in a buffet. Sweet lovers will have a real feast! So make sure, you leave ample room for the sweet treats.

Generally, the Lime's sunday champagne brunch is not about quantity. The food selection is not massive but is neither too few. Having said that though, it's quite certain that there are food stuffs that will be pleasing to the palate even to the most discerning ones. Anyhow, it's but high time that the concept of buffet be transformed into a more worthwhile experience. It's not just about filling your hunger to the brim but rather enjoying the gustatory taste that the food brings. Thus, so long as there are dishes that are worth coming back for more, it's a buffet worth queuing. 

Lime's showcase of food is not grand nor fancy. Foods are presented in their utter simplicity. Depending on one's preference it can be perceived as just right or something that calls for an improvement. Personally, dining at Lime is a different experience in its entirety. There were dishes that registered in my palate's memory, that's for sure. But what I particularly appreciated was being able to savour good food in a truly sublime atmosphere which; not too many can offer. 

Lime Restaurant Bar
Park Royal on Pickering
3 Upper Pickering Street, Singapore
Reservations: e-mail or call +65 6809 8899