Saturday, May 18, 2013

Chocolate Origin @ 313

Chocolate Origin
313 Orchard Road
#B3-10A Singapore 238895

Opening Hours: 
1000 to 2130 daily

If you haven't tried this, PLEASE DO. My sister ordered the 6-inch dark chocolate cake for $36. All I can say is: if you're a chocolate lover, you can't give this a miss. We went for the dark chocolate one because my parents prefer that. It was chocolatey rich, it was moist, it was nice. 

The branch at 313 also served chocolate lava cake with ice-cream for $5 (or $6, i can't remember!). I have yet to try it, but it is on my agenda and I'll let you guys know how it turns out! 

I loved how the 'Happy Birthday to You" label is so colorful and is just a simple cardboard: a lot more environmentally friendly than the plastic ones they usually give and are disposed off. 

The sponge cake was alternated with the generous chocolate mousse which was rich but not heavy because it was less sweet. The sponge cake itself was very soft (but not too airy) and moist, while the mousse was light on the stomach although not lacking in its richness and taste. 

The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Beanstro @ Takashimaya

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf - Beanstro
391 Orchard Road
Ngee Ann City #B1-37
Singapore 238872

Opening Hours: 
0800 to 2300 Daily

The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf has recently set up its first bistro restaurants in Takashimaya and Marina Bay Sands! On a side note, I absolutely love how the place has been aptly named 'Beanstro'.

More importantly, it is one of the rare places which served Eggs Benedict and is halal-certified! I have been dying to let the Malay boyfriend try how my all-time favourite tastes like and I was thrilled to find out that Beanstro served its Classic Eggs Benedict for $17++.

The establishment actually serves a wide range of food including salads, sandwiches, all-day breakfasts, mains, desserts and of course, all of The Coffee Bean's signature drinks. We went on a weekday evening when it was almost full. Service was relatively fast, but the waiters/waitresses were slightly unfriendly and were not at all apologetic for serving us a wrong drink.

At $17++, the Classic Eggs Benedict has been served with salad tossed in citrus dressing. The generous serving of turkey ham  was really fragrant without being overly salty which usually comes with having too much ham. The broad was toasted with butter to a perfect crisp and taste. The only downside was that the hollandaise sauce seemed to be lacking in its lemon juice which made the whole dish very heavy. Overall, it was still one of the better Eggs Benedicts i've ever tried. 

For $18++, the serving of the lasagna was enormous. The bolognaise sauce itself was light and taste, with sweetness from both the beef and tomato that made the dish very delightful initially. While the dish was hot, the cheese (perhaps a bit too much of it) and the pasta complemented the sauce well. However, as the meal went on, the pasta sheet began to harden and it felt more like eating a raw potato instead, making it progressively hard to down. Finish it fast if you want the meal to be nice throughout. 
  Overall, it was a pleasant dining experience and we would love to return to try mains like the steak which have been reviewed to be delicious. For the two dishes above and a Frozen Lemonade drink, we paid around $50.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Project Hello Stranger

A couple of months back there has been this article on Straits Times which reported that Singaporeans are emotionless and unhappy. And afterwards there was a debate that was sparked off, featuring different initiatives by Singaporeans which shows that Singaporeans are not emotionless.

One of these initiatives included Project Hello Stranger. They launched off their campaign with guerilla tactics, and I think the video would tell you more about what they did: 

Basically, this group of Singaporeans hope that they are able to spread a simple message: that Singaporeans could be friendlier to one another, even among strangers. For example, greeting fellow joggers, complimenting someone's dress along the streets, or simply striking a conversation with a stranger!

They even took the effort to wake up on a weekday morning to cheer people up!

Well, why am I telling you all these??

Because, they are launching a new project and are recruiting volunteers for it!! It is definitely heartwarming to see them blasting emails on a Sunday afternoon, when most of us (including myself) are lazing away. 

To find out more about them, you could visit their facebook page. and if you're REALLY excited about joining them on their upcoming project (see screenshot below for details), do email them at

I'm sure they'll be more than glad to meet new friends, and so will you!! 

Food For Thought @ Botanical Gardens

Food for Thought
1 Cluny Road, Singapore Botanic Gardens,
Tanglin Gate, #B1-00, S259569
F: +65 6479 1080

Opening Hours (WEF 1st January 2013):
Mon - Sun
8am to 9pm
(Last orders at 8.30pm)

Food for Thought is well known as a social enterprise in Singapore, and honestly that is quite rare. They have 5 missions which they stand by:

Customers are encouraged to donate $2 for a free flow of plain water to which they can help themselves to during the meal, and proceeds go to Living Water International

A proportion of Food For Thought's profits proceed to support the  United Nations World Food Programme. For $20, Food For Thought helps to support one child for a month.

In support of World Vision, Food For Thought supports their sponsored children by improving overall development of their community's access to water, basic healthcare, education, nutrition and financial independence.

So curiosity drove our visit to the Food For Thought restaurant at Botanical Gardens. It is a really short walk in from Tanglin Gate and there are buses to the nearest bus stop from Dhoby Ghaut MRT, opposite Park Mall.

You might want to look at the menu, which the enterprise has on their webpage as well. My friends and I visited the place on a weekday lunch time and it was close to Christmas (yes, this is a VERY delayed post). It was relatively crowded and we had some difficulty getting seats for a group of 7 of us. 

Ladies, if you're planning to visit this place, perhaps you might want to consider leaving out the tight dresses/skirts and heels. A large portion of the seating are canteen-styled with long tables and benches. Since you would have to help yourself to ordering the food from the counter and the plain water, cutlery, sauces, etc, you'll have to leave your seats quite a number of a time through the meal. 

They did have a couple of Christmas specials served during the period of time, but we went for the regular items they served. 

The Garlic Prawn and Red Capsicum Linguine was served at $16. While the pasta was cooked to al dente and the prawns served were fresh and succulent, we had to down quite a lot of water while having this dish because it was too salty for our liking. 

For $14, the Basil Almond Chicken Pesto Linguine carried the fragrance of Basil extremely well. The chicken bits were on the dry side and it felt like they were just boiled and tossed into the pasta, without absorbing any of the Pesto's essence.  The dish almost tasted like there was no salt in it at all and we had to 're-do' the dish by adding salt and tossing it ourselves. 

They serve all-day breakfast, which definitely attracted our attention given the  recent  'brunch fever' going around. We went for Full Works. For $18, this set includes Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Garlic Mushrooms, Chunky Chicken Sausage, Hash Brown, Toasted Brioche with Thyme Tomato Salad.  The scrambled eggs was made to perfection, and the mushrooms were filled with the fragrance of garlic. Tossed in butter, it laid slightly on the oily side, which made the meal even heavier than it already was. The hashbrowns (round balls on the right) were the best I've ever eaten. Deep fried, it was extremely crispy on the outside and perfectly soft and smooth on the inside. Again, the amount of oil in this meal makes it a lot heavier than one would imagine, so it might be a good idea to share the meal if you're not confident of downing this alone. 

This was one of the desserts featured in their Christmas Menu. Honestly I can't remember the name of this tart, but it was Mixed berries with some liquor in it. The tart was extremely well-made. The berries were slightly sweet and tangy at the same time, but not too much of both. The taste of the liquor made the dessert stand out because it felt like the fragrance of the berries spread in your palate and stayed on as an after taste. I hope they'd serve it again this Christmas!

The red velvet cake served was quite a disappointment. The cake lacked moisture, and the cream frosting did not seem to contain enough lemon to balance off the chocolatey flavour of the cake. 

The Bread pudding was served hot, and it looked extremely yummy. However, we were deceived by its looks. The pudding sat on the tough side, so beyond the top layer, it still took us a bit of effort to scoop from the dish. It lacked the milky fragrance that characterizes most bread puddings as well.

Overall, our dining experience at the restaurant wasn't as good as we expected it to be. However, reviews on websites like were decently positive, so we thought it might be due to the lunch crowd that we ran into on our visit. Perhaps another visit would be made. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Kooka Cafe

Kooka Cafe

18 Purvis Street
Tel: 64670288

Tues-Thurs: 1030 - 1900
Fri - Sat: 1030 - 2200
Sun: 1030 - 1800

Kooka cafe sits Purvis Street, along the same side as Savour (a French dining place which I promise I'll try and write about!). The interior of the cafe is perfect for a chill with a pot of tea or coffee, especially on a lazy afternoon. 

They serve specialty menus everyday, so you would have to drop by to see what they are serving for the day! The last time I visited, they had omelettes on their menu and I went for the goat's cheese and mushrooms one. The omelette was perfectly cooked, with a little juiciness left on the inside, together with fresh mushrooms, tomato, parmesan and goat's cheese. It was supposed to include bacon but I'm not a fan so I asked for a vegetarian version of it! I can't exactly remember how much this cost but it should be approximately $7. 

So I visited the place at lunchtime yesterday. It was slightly crowded because of the lunchtime crowd around town. For a cafe as such, we were pleasantly surprised to find that they were serving set lunch meals for an affordable $9.90++.

The set includes:
A drink (tea/coffee/coke/sprite/iced lemone tea),
Soup of the day (which was carrot & onion broth for yesterday),
A Main (pasta/ sandwich)

My friend and I decided to jump at it! And we ordered: 

Focaccia with Vegetables and Goat's Cheese. The Foccacia was nicely toasted to be a little crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, thought it was a tad too sweet for my liking. There was grilled zuccini, eggplants, pepper within with melted goat's cheese, making it a light and flavourful sandwich at the same time. I loved it! If you're not a fan of the strong, milky taste carried with goat's cheese, perhaps you could request for an omission of the cheese/ask for an alternative. 
My friend went for the ham and cheese sandwich.  The sandwiches came with salad tossed in balsamic vinegar and fries, both of which were made to an excellent taste and texture. The iced lemon tea served was also homemade, which rich black tea and leaned towards the  sour side. 
After lunch we decided on a pot of tea: Pearl of the orient. It was jasmine tea with rose oil. If you're a fan of floral tea, this would be perfect for you. I loved the fragrant brew! And the cookie: don't look down on it. We were served with something like orange-peel cookies and it was crispy, light and fragrant. They do sell their cookies in jars at the cafe itself, making perfect gifts for others and they are home-made by the owners of the cafe!

My verdict: I'm definitely going back to check out what they have for the day, and for a chill with a pot of fragrantly brewed tea! 

Wild Birthday at the Singapore Zoo!

Exams are finally over, and I've finally gotten round to uploading photos on to the computer and start blogging. For a start, did you know that the Wildlife Reserves (Singapore) has birthday specials?! Within your birthday month, you can simply present your identification at the Zoo, Night Safari, River Safari or Jurong Birdpark for free entry! I'm not exactly sure about the rest, but for the zoo, a free scoop of ice cream can be claimed from the Ah Meng Restaurant and upon presentation of your birthday badge, you are entitled to a 10% discount at food outlets (including KFC) within the zoo!

A screenshot from the Zoo's Webpage

The badge they issued me at the ticketing counter. The staff at KFC were observant enough to spot me wearing my badge and give me a 10% discount although I totally forgot about it!
The ice cream that was claimed from the drinks' stall at Ah Meng Restaurant. There's Ben and Jerry's there, but  don't get your hopes high. Also, in case you'd think that eating at  a food court-alike place would be the cheapest option within the zoo, it would be more worth it to dine at KFC instead because food items at Ah Meng Restaurant were exorbitantly overpriced.  

Before you start scrolling on to view the photos, perhaps I should make a mention: although the Singapore Zoo has been prided for bring the best zoo in the world because of its convenience, facilities, range of animals and maintenance of the animals and compounds, it perhaps lacks the 'safari' feel because almost all the animals are in natural enclosures. This means that you'll feel very far from the animals and you would have to wait for a couple of minutes before the animals decide to show themselves from a corner of their enclosure. There are some animals which are free-ranging (mostly the apes, monkeys, racoons and such), and the fragile rainforest gives you a close-up with the animals. The australian outback also gives you a close-up with kangaroos. 

If you'd prefer being closer to the animals, the Night Safari is a good alternative because the tram rides bring you really close to the animals, and it saves you all the walking!

Be greeted by this (free-roaming) animal walking up and down the vine as you pass the first section of the zoo. Just be sure you don't stand right beneath it because I do recall some liquid dripping down from it.  
In the earlier part of the day, the otters were comfortably cuddled up under the logs and none of them were out. Later in the afternoon, close to their feeding time, these cutie pies were out eagerly waiting for their food and ran after whoever they deemed as a zookeeper (and they were awesome at recognising theem!)

At the animal show (12.30pm), a member of the audience was challenged against an Orang Utan to de-husk a coconut. No cookies for guessing who owned at it. 
The last time I visited the zoo I didn't recall these black-and-white monkeys around, they have really long fur and are a beauty to look at.
Our friend decided to cat walk and pose for the camera!
Friendly chimps

These antelopes were seated randomly within a family of baboons, which made them a little hard to spot, so keep a lookout!

The kangaroos were all relaxing under the cool weather, and it was rare that we finally spotted one of them roaming around!
This picture of the pygmy hippos never fails to make me go 'awww'!
Mr. White Tiger has been pacing the same area for YEARS and for once, Ms. White Tiger is taking a bath!
Babiruse (Pig-deer), which looks more like a warthog.
I've always found the malayan tepir one of the cutest animals ever! look at the cute little tail. 

I LOVE ZEBRAS. They never fail to amaze me with the contrast their shiny coat present!  
Caught these tall fellas during lunch time.

King of the Jungle.
The fragile rainforest is a part of the zoo you can visit to get a close-up with the animals: mousedeers, parrots, butterflies, and even friendly lemurs that don't mind you patting/massaging them (refer to picture below)! If you love butterflies and want to have them fluttering around you, take the stairs up to the viewing deck where you'll get to see bats hanging from branches and LOTS of butterflies too.

Meerkats! I have an obsession for meerkats. Isn't this guy so adorable?