Aug 14, 2011

Chocolateria San Churro, Subiaco

The traditional churros con chocolate was my poison of the day in this chocolateria known to most as San Churro. I settled on Churros for One ($7.90) which was served with one dipping sauce of your choice and 3 churros. Dipping sauce choices include: White, Milk, Dark Chocolate or Argentinian caramel (dulce de leche).

I picked Cinnamon dusted Churros with Dark Chocolate - makes me feel slightly less guilty for indulging since Dark Chocolate  contains flavonoids and are full of antioxidants that lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

The rain was literally falling in sheets as I sat all snug and warm in this small cafe in Subiaco... perfect chocolate weather, if I say so! The churros arrived relatively quickly (it was an empty time of the day), and I was transported to heaven as this was set before me. Hot air rose from the pastry and I could almost smell the chocolate, it was THAT rich.

I personally felt the churros were a little overcooked. They were crunchy, more biscuit like than fluffy.  Maybe the Spains like their donuts this way! Still, it was a positive that there wasn't any leftover oil from  the flour being deep fried and they didn't employ a heavy hand with the cinnamon sugar.

Good grief, the chocolate dipping sauce. I'm not sure what to say, besides the fact that it was warm, rich, decadent and everything one needs a chocolate dipping sauce to be. There was more sauce than churro (to my dismay), but this was definitely a very satisfying treat while cozied up with a novel in the rain. Probably not a regular on my list - it's not cheap(!), but worth the detour for a guilty treat.

Recommended for cozy meetings, romantic encounters, girl's gatherings

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Chocolateria San Churro, Subiaco * ACROSS SUBIACO TRAIN STATION
1 Rokeby Road
Subiaco WA 6008
Tel: (08) 9388 2288

Opening Hours
Mon: 12 NN - 10 PM
Tue to Thurs & Sun: 10 AM - 10 PM
Fri & Sat: 10 AM - 11 PM

Note: San Churro also has stores in Fremantle, Hillarys Boat Harbour, Leederville, Rockingham and Northbridge.

Chocolateria San Churro on Urbanspoon

Aug 10, 2011

Jean Pierre Sancho, Hay Street Perth

Pain au chocolat

I used to live down the road from a really good french pâtisserie along Nedlands. Of course, I fell in love with it - and since I now live in Perth city, I figure why not give Jean Pierre Sancho a try? It was after all, recently named Australia's best bakery on Sunrise News. So I took a 1.6km walk there (hey, it was a beautiful Saturday morning). 

Tucked in the corner of Hay Street and Shafto Lane,  I almost missed this unassuming cafe. 

I had to deliberate what to order... everything looked so good! I ended up settling for their famous Pain au chocolat with a soy latte set ($8.00). Since it was somewhat nice and empty, I settled into a sofa chair with my Kindle while waiting for my brunch to arrive. Joy! :D

To the amusement of the table next to me, I spent the next couple of minutes snapping photos of my food when it arrived. But look at that croissant! It deserves to be immortalized in pictures, if not in memory. Cos we all know the ultimate fate of food in one's tummies... anyway.

A minor gripe I had was that I wasn't offered the choice of having it toasted. And I was pretty sure the staff didn't toast it before bringing it to my table.

Buttery pain au chocolat
As you can see, the pastry is circled by a buttery shell that literally 'cracked' off the croissant with a nudge from my fork. In one intact piece too! Reminded me of a snake shedding its' skin. I found the pastry to be rather doughy. Could be quite bit heavy later in the day, in fact. The chocolate wasn't bad at all, but it just lacked a slight 'wow' factor.

Soy Latte

La! The coffee! When I took a sip of the coffee I just... sat there. And quivered. And sat there. And quivered some more. So smooth! So delightful! Just like silk! I can conclusively claim that Jean Pierre Sancho serves possibly the best coffee in Perth that I've had in a long while. The blending of flavors are very subtle as well, and OH YOU JUST HAVE TO GO TASTE THIS YOURSELF. I didn't care very much for the biscuit accompanying the coffee - it tastes like shortbread of some sort but it was much too chewy... I just left it uneaten.

Either way: GO THERE FOR THE COFFEE. Oh, and they sell macarons for $2, which is the cheapest I've seen in Perth so far. Not that I tried the macarons there, but probably worth going there for tea some day!

Recommended for Cozy tête à têtes, Work Lunches, Brunch, Lazy weekends

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Jean Pierre Sancho
878 Hay Street
(Cnr Hay Street & Shafto Lane)
Perth, WA 6000
Tel: (08) 9226 2434

Opening Hours
Monday - Friday: 7 AM - 6 PM
Saturday - Sunday: 8 AM  - 5 PM *** Now open Sundays!

NB. A second branch exists at 111 St George's Terrace and that has a higher rating than the one at Hay Street

Jean Pierre Sancho on Urbanspoon

Aug 7, 2011

Dessert Art

I seriously envy those who can create really pretty things in the oven. My artistic talents (what there is of them) is limited to Photoshop, creation of banners or whatnot and on occasion, wax figurines. Some people I know of are seriously culinary/ artistically blessed and I literally get a rush (pun unintended) going through their albums! Here are some of their masterpieces.

"Cookie Monster" cupcakes by Christine Tai
Honestly, how adorable! Featuring Cookie Monster from Sesame Street, these cupcakes were iced with much painstaking care.

Orange Poppyseed Cupcake by Christine Tai
Another one of Christine's amazing creations. This picture makes the cupcake look very refreshing and it definitely takes some incredible piping skillz to get that leaf as perfect as it is. 

Fudgy Chocolate Mud Cake by Weng Yee Khoo
That looks professional, doesn't it?! I think that my blood sugar level just went on overdrive looking at this picture. Honestly - chocolate mud cake and macarons. Extremely sinful! 

Chocolate Raspberry Friands by Su Lin
Chocolate and berries. Two of my absolutely favorite things to have for dessert. Just look at how the raspberries stud the chocolate friand quite uniformly... I think I've gone to heaven.

Croquembouche by Su Lin
A Croquembouche is a french piece of art (because honestly, who would want to destroy this by heaven forbid... eating it!?). It is often seen at weddings, baptisms and first communions (so says Wikipedia). 

An assortment of cupcakes
Anatasha is another one who is brilliant with them cupcakes. I daresay all toppings are handmade.

Tiramisu by Anatasha
Quite an interesting presentation of Tiramisu I might add. But it looks so pretty, who's complaining?!

Cappuccino Cupcakes topped with Marshmallows by Christine Tai
Honestly... phwoar. THESE CUPCAKES LOOK EXACTLY LIKE A CUP OF COFFEE WITH MARSHMALLOWS. I am totally blown away by Christine's handiwork. Aren't you?

Note: All images used here are copyright property of their owners!

About the Culinary Artists:
Anatasha is a full time student and an undercover culinary artist. What more can I say?

Christine Tai (Cupcake Decorator extraordinaire) is the proud owner of Little Cupcake Delights. You can see even more of her work in the gallery and support her by purchasing her cupcakes!

Su Lin (of the lovely friand and Croquembouche) has just graduated from her university education this year (2011). 

Weng Yee (creator of Mudcake with French Macarons) is the writer of I Heart My Bakes. She is a psychology student and lives in Perth, Western Australia. Follow her: Facebook

Aug 4, 2011

Ayam Penyet Ria, Bedok Point

Ayam Penyet, 'Smashed Chicken'

During the last few days I was in Singapore, my mum and I went to Bedok Point for a stroll since I hadn't been to the shopping mall at all. We came across Ayam Penyet Ria, which my mum said we should try since this place tends to be packed (How to tell the good places apart: There are always long lines waiting to get in!).  

Ayam Penyet Ria styles itself as a cafe (I suppose), but it resembles a fast food joint. That said, I have no issues against fast food ("Alas!", cries my thighs) - I do love a good McSpicy. When we entered the cafe it was rather empty, yet we were directed to a small two people table, barely 20cm away from two school boys (who were all sweaty and were starting to smell... although that isn't really the fault of the cafe I guess, but why on earth couldn't they have given us any one of the other 15 available seating places? OH YES because they had placed a reserved sign on all of them). Who on earth would have reservations for a cafe at 3pm, anyway? 

After some deliberation, we ordered their famous Ayam Penyet ($6.50), translated as smashed chicken. Now, now - If you're envisioning some arcade style game where people go around smashing chickens that pop out from the ground, STOP! The name is derived from the fact that the slain chicken (after marinating in their secret herbs and spices and whatnot) is smashed with a mallet before being deep fried. This dislodges the meat from the bones and make them literally 'peel' off the chicken with a few nudges from your fork.

As you can see, the chicken is served with deep fried beancurd, soybean cake (a Javanese delicacy known as tempe) and some vegetables. The whole dish is also topped with fried crumbs and served with a side of blacan-chilli relish.

The food: 
What can I say? Maybe it's because we arrived during a dead time that our food seemed to be of poor quality. The rice we were served was NOT HOT. Furthermore, it was clumpy yet dry, like rice that was cooked some time ago and just left in a huge bucket of rice with all the condensation and water vapour inside the bucket. Honestly, how hard can it be to serve proper rice in ASIA? :(

The chicken was very tender indeed - and each bite was full of flavor. The meat was very soft - but after I progressed past the first layer, I found it hard to swallow. The chicken meat on the inside was extremely dry and reminded me of the dry shredded chicken strips our old canteen lady used to put in Macaroni Soup. Although the cooking DID remind me of authentic Indonesian cooking (it was very similar to the crispy duck I got in Bali), I am pretty sure that this dish is a lot drier than what was served to me in Bali.

HOWEVER. The meal was not a loss. THE CHILLI. OHMYGOD THE CHILLI. I cannot say enough about it. My mother found it too spicy (and it was). But the combination of the spiciness and the sour taste was practically addictive. I found tears coming out the corners of my eyes and my drink went *poof* in a jiffy. But damn, it was worth it.

Perhaps the stall at Lucky Plaza serves food of better quality (since that seems to be the one people rave about). But having read some reviews, I think not. (P.S. I might still go back for the chilli!)

Recommended for: Students, Budget eats, People with lots of saliva, People who like to kill their tastebuds

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Ayam Penyet Ria
Lucky Plaza #01-45, 11 AM - 10 PM
Lucky Plaza #04-25, 12 PM - 9 PM
Tampines Mall #04-27, 11 AM - 9.30 PM
Jurong Point #B1-06, 11.30 AM - 9.30 PM
Bedok Point #B1-05, 11.30 AM - 1 AM

Aug 2, 2011

Ku Dé Ta, Marina Bay Sands

A banana towers over the Singapore skyline - "The Floating Banana" is what I call it. After all, it does look like a banana half suspended in mid air. Marina Bay Sands is one of the two integrated resorts in Singapore and was the most expensive integrated resort developed in the world as of last year.


Unfortunately, the food at Ku Dé Ta Restaurant takes a backseat in this place to see and be seen.

The environment was vibrant and noisy; if you're seated in the inside I hear it can be somewhat stifling (if you call to make a reservation, be sure to request for outdoor patio seating!). Then again, I'd even suggest you go there to knock back a few cocktails and enjoy the view - and just forget about the food.

We ordered a couple of their dishes that had been featured in the Sunday Times as pictured below.

Spicy 'Bo ssam' Pork Belly Salad
Spicy 'Bo ssam' Pork Belly Salad ($13): This was a delightful dish to start the night off. As its name implies, this salad is rather spicy. House made pickles and cucumber vinaigrette lend this salad a tang as well, which is a delight to the palate. The offerings of pork was rather pathetic. Then again, I'm not normally a salad person! 2.5/5

Crispy Skin Bamboo Steamed Duck
Crispy Skin Bamboo Steamed Duck ($58): I don't recall this dish being very 'crispy'. Slices of steamed duck decorated this dish, garnished with kaffir lime and blood plum sauce. Not Impressed :( 1/5

Wok-Charred Cherry Tomatoes & Tofu
Wok-charred Cherry Tomatoes & Tofu ($10): I genuinely enjoyed this dish. Each bite produces a burst of savory flavor in your mouth, and the texture of the wok charred cherry tomatoes (cooked till they were quite soft and bursting with juice) goes very well with the tofu. 4/5

Minced Muscovy Duck
Minced Muscovy Duck (No Longer on the Menu): I think the description says it all. Imagine your mini sang choy bao but at an exorbidant price - voila, you have minced muscovy duck. 

House-Cured Scottish Salmon Tartare
House-Cured Scottish Salmon Tartare (No Longer on Menu): NOOOOOOOOO why did they retire this dish :( The salmon simply melted in the mouth and went perfectly with the Avocado. Pickled seasoning gave the dish more of a kick and saved it from being bland. Simply lovely, and my favorite dish that night. 5/5.

Jumbo Softshell Crab
Crunchy Jumbo Softshell crab ($18): This was fried with green chilli mayonnaise to make it more tender and spice up the dish. By the time it arrived at our table however, the crabs were soggy. Go to Geylang or a good seafood place to get your fix for softshell crabs in my opinion. 2/5

Ku De Ta 40 Flavor Fried Rice
'forty flavor' fried rice ($18): Baked in lotus leaf, this offering tastes exactly like... *drumroll* the sticky peanut glutinous rice you can get at dim sum places. So not worth it. :( 1.5/5

We didn't stay for dessert, having been disappointed by most of their dishes so far. The view was great - but you have to pay extra if you're not a guest and you wish to go down to the boardwalk. 
Final Verdict: Having been to Ku De Ta, I think I shall stick to Equinox or Loof in the future.

Recommended for: Yuppies & Tourists

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Ku Dé Ta Restaurant, Singapore
1 Bayfront Avenue
SkyPark at Marina Bay Sands, North Tower
Singapore 018971
Tel (reservations generally required): 6688 7688

Opening Hours
Breakfast: 7 AM - 11 AM
Lunch: 12 PM - 3 PM
Dinner: 6 PM - 11 PM
(SkyBar, Club Lounge & SkyDeck open till late)


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