Review: Dining In The Garden @ Ang Mo Kio Library

Dining in the garden ang mo kio libraryLocated within the Ang Mo Kio Library is this quaint little cafe called Dining In The Garden. I think it’s a really good place for brunch. And the fact that you can borrow books from the library and head in here for meal is a HUGE plus! Especially since we visited yesterday, when it was raining heavily outside. I believe this place is pretty deserted on weekday mornings, except during the school holidays! πŸ˜›

*Interestingly enough, the lady at the cashier yesterday appeared to be Korean. So don’t speak in Mandarin to her. πŸ˜€

As the two of us were feeling rather peckish, we ordered a third main course to share. Which turned out to be a wise decision. The All-day Breakfast ($10.90 nett) was supposed to be the ‘sharing platter’ and it was the best thing we ordered that day.

dining in the garden all day breakfast

I love that there are fries and sauteed mushrooms! The scrambled egg was creamy but lacked some seasoning. I love, too, how their baked beans came in a plastic cup instead of being dumped onto the plate itself and making the toast damp. The mayonnaise should not be on the salad greens though… ‘cos it makes me not want to eat the tomato and cucumber slices like I usually would.

dining in the garden mushroom tomato baked rice

He ordered the mushroom tomato baked rice ($8.90 nett). It was served rather charred on top but the portion was just right – there’s not too much rice. πŸ˜€ I seriously thought the mushroom nestled among the rice and cheese looked like oysters in an oyster omelette! Got me a little excited. But mushrooms are yummy too, I guess. πŸ˜‰

dining in the garden seafood marinara

The seafood marinara ($9.90 nett) tastes like something I can cook myself at home. The only difference is that they added TWO scallops, which usually isn’t found in this dish. I still think it could do with some chili padi for extra kick. Now I think chili padi should be added to most pasta dishes. I blame Pizza Hut for that – they have a Spicy Seafood Parchment dish that is AMAZING!

Here’s the menu and pricing for Dining in the Garden:

dining in the garden menu

dining in the garden prices

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If you book via Eatigo (<- clickable link), the meal costs just 7 bucks per pax. Yup, there’s no GST and service charge. So it’s as affordable as if you’re dining in JB, without having to endure any traffic jams along the Causeway!

I’ll be back, for sure. πŸ˜€

Recommended: Ah Lim Mee Pok @ Simpang Bedok

ah lim mee pok

I don’t usually pop by Simpang Bedok for meals so I didn’t know what to try when we went there for dinner over the weekend. I spotted a signboard for Ah Lim Mee Pok and decided that the caricature looked cute enough, and the mee pok must be quite good to warrant such a signboard and business name. True enough, it was a more-than-decent meal. For $5, you’d get a small bowl of noodles (if you are a big eater, get the *cough cough* $16 bowl with extra noodles and ingredients). For 5 bucks, there’ll be one prawn, one fishball, one meatball and some fishcake slices. A $5 bowl of mee pok here won’t get you feeling very full, which is great because it means you can have dessert (waffles?!) after. πŸ˜€

The Pork Spare Ribs Rice ($6) was surprisingly good. Very meaty, very tasty, with a generous helping of sesame seeds on top. As for that egg, you’ve already noticed the gooey center, haven’t you? πŸ˜‰ Ask for some green chili and be mindblown. $6? Cheap!

ah lim mee pok review

They don’t serve coffee and tea after 5pm, I think. So we simply drank from our water bottles. Remember, I blogged about Lotus Thai earlier and how they told us we couldn’t drink water we’d brought? No such issue here.

Here’s the menu and pricing for Ah Lim Mee Pok:

ah lim mee pok menu

ah lim mee pok price

Such a cute signboard, no? The decor inside is really pretty too! But who cares about the decor when the food’s so good. No GST and service charge as well! Really worth a visit! πŸ˜€ I’d totally come back here again for meals.

ah lim mee pok simpang bedok

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Ah Lim Mee Pok a.k.a. Thunder Fishball Mee πŸ˜€

Lotus Thai Restaurant @ Paya Lebar Square: Highly Recommended Tom Yam Soup!

lotus thai restaurant stuffed chicken wings

He’d made a reservation for lunch yesterday at Paya Lebar Square’s Lotus Thai Restaurant and right outside the restaurant, I said “Oh no, there’s nobody” and was about to suggest we eat elsewhere because I tend to think that a deserted restaurant at mealtimes would suggest that either the food is not good or it’s just way too pricey. Am I making sense to you? πŸ˜€ Since he had a craving for Thai food, I decided to go along even though I’m not sure if I’ll like this particular restaurant. Service was pleasant enough, but the wait for the food was a little long.

I’d expected the appetizers, the Stuffed Chicken Wings ($9.80++ for 3 pieces) would be served up first but they were the last item sent to our table. πŸ˜€ It’s crispy, yes, but too dry on the inside. They didn’t manage to seal in the juices before cooking the chicken. I appreciate the slicing of the chicken wings in half so it’s easier to eat. But it could also be that the chef wanted to check if it’s cooked through within. Haha! πŸ˜€ I wouldn’t order this dish again.

What I absolutely love here is the Tom Yam Seafood Soup (RED). It’s $10.80++ and tastes heavenly. A good mix of sweet, tangy and spicy. I just need this and rice and I’m happy. There are mushrooms, prawns, fish slices, sotong, etc, inside.

lotus thai restaurant paya lebar square

The dish that was served up first was the Seafood Phad Thai ($8.80++). I’d wisely avoided the chili flakes ‘cos I prefer eating the noodles in sweet sauce only. Plus, there’d be tom yam soup coming up so there’s no point setting my tongue ‘on fire’ first. He thought it’d be harmless chili flakes like those on pizza so he ate way too much and regretted later. πŸ˜€ The phad thai is decent. Nothing to shout about but decent.

lotus thai restaurant review

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I think we would have walked away very satisfied with this place if not for the female cashier’s final parting shot. She said we weren’t supposed to drink from our own water bottles, even though they contained water and nothing else. We HAD TO BUY drinks from them.

I mean, it’s lousy enough if you don’t serve up complimentary water (and tissues!) but to chide your customers for bringing their own water bottles? What rubbish is this?

I think she must either be having a very depressing weekend or the business is really poor for her to resort to telling us off at the cashier’s (why not ask us to get drinks earlier?) instead of asking if we enjoyed the food and if there’s any room for improvement.

Would I be back again? I think not. Would I recommend you visit? Yes! Just tabao the seafood (red) tom yum soup and enjoy your meal at home! πŸ˜€

Waterway Point’s Fans Weekend Carnival 2018

waterway point fans weekend carnival

Waterway Point has a Fans Weekend Carnival happening right now, and I went to check it out earlier this afternoon. πŸ™‚ Folks who had spent a minimum of $60 got to redeem two Carnival tickets which includes free drinks coupons and carousel / train ride coupons. Balloons, candy floss and popcorn were given out free to everyone. I think Waterway Point is a really family friendly mall. It’s one of those rare times I feel like I should have a kid too so I can hop onto the choo choo train or carousel with a kiddo. πŸ˜€

We went ahead and redeemed the free drinks (bandung and teh) and I gave the rides coupons to a Malay guy who was hanging around the area with his little one (the boy’s “one year and ten days” old). πŸ˜€

waterway point carnival 2018

There was a long, long line of people queuing up for the free ‘walking’ animal balloons.

waterway point fans weekend carnival 2018

As I don’t eat popcorn, I went straight for the candy floss. πŸ˜€ Yum!

waterway point family friendly mall

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I think I may be a little biased – I think Waterway Point’s the best mall for people with kids. Also another reason why I tend to avoid WWP on weekends ‘cos there are so many families out and about, and you should count yourself lucky if you manage to avoid any collisions with prams .

And oh, I forgot to add that spending $60 at the mall got me not just the Carnival tickets but also a $20 Home-Fix voucher. It’s a cash voucher with no minimum spending required. So basically you spend $60 and get one-third of your expenditure back to spend over at Home-Fix. Such an awesome promotion, don’t you think? πŸ˜€

I can’t wait for Christmas already. πŸ˜‰

Ice Edge Cafe & Bar: Outlet At Downtown East Sorely Disappoints!

ice edge cafe and bar

After that fantastic meal at Ice Edge Cafe in Kovan not too long ago, I was SO excited we were going to dine at Ice Edge Cafe & Bar in Downtown East today! Alas! It was a major disappointment. Service was slightly better overall, and the decor really made the place look and feel very homely. But the food needs to be better, seriously. And I’m glad I have all the pictures to show you the difference between Ice Edge Cafe & Bar in Downtown East and Ice Edge Cafe in Kovan…

First up,

Tom Yam Seafood Linguine… this ‘soupy’ version is from Downtown East:

ice edge cafe and bar review

Compare that with this absolutely gorgeous presentation at the outlet in Kovan:

ice edge cafe pasta

Same dish! Entirely different presentation and taste! The one in Pasir Ris is a disaster. No other way to describe it. A soupy mess that not only doesn’t look palatable, but simply tastes oily, and little else. The version from Kovan looks delightful and tastes amazing. Ridiculous how different they can be, ya?

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Now for the Prawn Mentaiko Pizza. This one is what we had today at Downtown East:

what to eat at downtown east

Don’t see anything weird about it? How about if I tell you to take a closer look at the prawn toppings, and see how little there is?

Here’s the version at Kovan…

ice edge cafe pizza

I’ll probably need to illustrate so you get a clearer picture. Compare these two slices of pizza from the Downtown East outlet. One slice has FIVE pieces of prawn. The other has ONE miserable piece. Imagine if you’re sharing this pizza with friends, and you suay suay kena that one slice with one tiny piece of prawn. I’d probably want to speak with the manager…

ice edge cafe and bar downtown east

And there’s way more mentaiko in that pizza from Kovan. I’m not sure what’s up with the chef(s) at Downtown East.

The lamb shank penne was O…K. Nothing to shout about. And I won’t order this again either.

ice edge cafe and bar pasir ris

So, long story short: I’m not returning to this outlet at Downtown East. My goodness. There are so many other F&B establishments there that I should spend my money at. My meal here was devastating. Thankfully, no one came by to ask “How’s the food? Did you enjoy the meal?” or I’d have given the person an entire lecture. Haha!

I have to say, though, that their Indian staff (I think his name is Randeep?) was an absolute sweetheart. Very cheery, polite, and friendly. The female wait staff just kept asking us to get a beer. And after clearing my plate when I was done with the linguine, she asked if I wanted dessert. And I had to tell her I’m still waiting for the pizza. Hello? (We were there around 4.30pm so the place wasn’t crowded, and yet she didn’t pay attention to what was and wasn’t served to us).

The gelato selection is also smaller over at Pasir Ris.

To avoid disappointment, just take my advice and visit Ice Edge in Kovan. The outlet at Downtown East is not worth the time and money, unless you want to watch football there – they have 2 screens which, in my humble opinion, are way too small.

Teck Ghee Square Food Centre: Fish Soup Plus Awesome Pastries!

Teck Ghee Square food centre

Makansutra says the gems at Teck Ghee are the mee siam, carrot cake and old school drinks stalls. I think the dude should add Long Xing Fish Soup and Bread Line to his list. Maybe he didn’t get to try everything at the food centre. I haven’t either, but I’m really good at spotting queue lines and joining them. Hahaha! So today, we had the fish soup plus bought pastries (again) from Bread Line.

I’ve always been a fan of one very popular fish soup stall at Amoy but I have to tell you that it’s not the long queues which put me off. It’s the attitude of the hawkers – rude, arrogant and I would even say condescending. It’s clear they don’t need your business at all, ‘cos their business is so damn good. No customer is made to feel special unless you happen to be a “ε°ι²œθ‚‰” (good-looking, young chap), in which case the aunties will be very nice to you indeed.

This Long Xing Fish Soup also draws the crowd. But of course, there aren’t as many office workers at Ang Mo Kio as there are near Amoy. The fish slices are thinner than the ones at Amoy but they are wider slices and taste just as good, if not better! And it’s just $4!

I’ll be back! πŸ˜€

long xing fish soup teck ghee

Comes with some tofu and tomato too! You’ll never get that over at Amoy. I like the sincerity here. πŸ™‚ Add some of that chili padi provided and this is one delicious meal.

And just a few units away on the left is Bread Line, which sells really good buns (3 for $3 only!) and I love the Taiwanese Pineapple pastries they bake. I won’t call them pineapple tarts ‘cos they are big, like mooncakes. Thin flaky crust all round, and SO MUCH pineapple in the middle. Sweet pineapple, not the tart kind which is so off-putting.

bread line teck ghee food centre

I’ve just bought 6 of them today. Calories be damned.

As for drinks, the stall next to Long Xing Fish Soup also sells sugarcane juice (at $1.70 per cup) but I found there’s way too much ice in it. The other stall a few units away on the right (Victory Sugarcane Juice #01-08) has sweeter sugarcane and the dude is friendlier too. Same price though.

If you’re ever in the Ang Mo Kio area, do pop by Teck Ghee Square. The food centre has a number of very popular stalls. And I like that at the market area, there’s this small, makeshift stall that sells vegetables at a very low price (50 cents, $1). I bought some to cook for dinner tonight! πŸ˜€

Har Cheong Gai Chicken Chop @ The Chef’s Place in Punggol

chef's place har cheong kai chicken chop

Sis told me her colleague has been raving about The Chef’s Place, and has been willing to travel from Bukit Panjang to Punggol just to dine here. I think that’s a little crazy. I wouldn’t travel all the way to BP just to eat something, no matter how cheap or how awesome it supposedly is. Would you? Anyway, since it’s in our hood, we had to pop by and see if it lives up to its reputation.

Located within a ‘Food Paradise’ kopitiam along the Waterway, The Chef’s Place was manned by two guys; one wearing a black chef’s uniform. Both looked a little glum but I don’t blame them. The F&B business is a tough one and hanging around a stove all day can be a little depressing, for me at least.

I ordered the Har Cheong Gai Chicken Chop ‘cos it sounds really interesting while Sis went for the Mushroom Grill Chicken.

the chef's place punggol

the chef's place menu singapore

chef's place har cheong kai chicken chop

Verdict: OK, not too bad. Sis LOVED the har cheong gai chicken chop but I thought it’s not something I’d travel across the island for. The zichar stall next door might serve better har cheong gai (with actual chicken wings). πŸ˜€ And you can’t go wrong with the mushrooms and curly fries, obviously.

Sis’s order came with a missing portion of mushrooms. See that pink arrow? That portion of mushrooms was only given when she went back to ask the chef about the empty space on the plate. πŸ˜€ On that slab of chicken was just a miserable portion of mushrooms. She liked the mac n cheese though.

the chef's place punggol review

Overall, I’d say the stall and the chef looks legit. πŸ˜€ Food is OK, but I’d probably not ask you to travel across the island for this. Service could have been a little better. But, of course, it’s tough being a hawker. If you manage to find a kopitiam stall with good food and even better service, well, you must be really lucky, ya? πŸ˜‰

Suage: Hokkaido Soup Curry at Capitol Piazza

suage capitol piazza

Had dinner at Suage in Capitol Piazza with my sis recently, and I have to say that the mall is very quiet after office hours, making this place great for catch-up sessions with pals because business is slow and wait staff won’t be so keen on ushering you out of the restaurant the minute you’re done with your meal. Yes, you can probably stay and chat till they’re about to close for the day. Suage serves “Hokkaido soup curry” and you can choose the level of spiciness on a scale of 1 to 10. I chickened out and chose 3 for mine; so mild you definitely won’t break into a sweat. Try 10, folks, and tell me what you think! πŸ˜€ Also, we went during the 50% discount promo slot booked via Eatigo (click on this link to get directed), so the meal was definitely very worth it.

Sis had the Chicken Leg Honetsuki ($13.80 before discount) that you see in the picture above. Yes, that chicken leg looks so tempting, doesn’t it? πŸ˜€ I would have ordered it too, if there wasn’t this other dish: Pork Kakuni (also $13.80 before discount) which had STEWED PORK BELLY!

The fatty bits just melt in your mouth… oh so good!

suage capitol piazza review

And I also requested for an additional topping of deep-fried avocado (+50cents) because who has ever heard of an avocado getting deep-fried? Avocadoes are usually eaten raw, no? πŸ˜€ But that tiny slice of avocado still tastes very much the same as the regular (raw) avocadoes I eat.

BUT… the carrot (on a stick) that came with my pork belly curry was amazing. It’s cooked to perfection: so soft that I bit into it and went “OMG!” I don’t even like carrots to begin with, but I absolutely love this one.

hokkaido soup curry in singapore

I’ll try the Prawn & Avocado curry set next time. That’ll be slightly more pricey, at $14.50. But I can always pop by when Eatigo’s offering 50% off dining slots. πŸ˜€

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SUAGE is located at B2-53 of Capitol Piazza.

reservation@suageasia.com

Tel: 6242 4722

Lunch: 1130-1500, Dinner: 1730-2200.

DIY Hand-painted Box / Notebook Class @ Afterwit Cafe

acrylic painting classes for adults singapore

It’s funny how the Law of Attraction has been working for me recently. πŸ˜€ Wanted to sign up for a cookie painting class (yes, there’s actually such a thing!) but found the fee a little steep, then won tickets to a box painting class, with the same ‘teacher’ who’s so amused when called a “teacher” by my pal. The lady (above) demonstrating how to paint flowers is Nadzirah from Nara Dsign – her own brand, that sells custom-made wedding stationery, pouches, shawls, etc, which all have her artwork on them. At this class, celebrities Danial Ashriq and his wife Aqaiyah were also present, but they didn’t say anything nor interacted with us all, so I’m not quite sure why they made a “special appearance” either. I’m definitely glad, though, that there weren’t enough wooden boxes for us to paint on so some of us received gold-colored notebooks too. *yay*

That’s acrylic paint, by the way. You can use it on any smooth and flat surface…

acrylic painting classes singapore

After we were done with our masterpieces (hur hur), we had a yummy meal at Afterwit Cafe. This cafe is located at 778 North Bridge Road. It’s actually a little bit difficult to find. So I think the signage needs to be clearer.

I picked their Garlic Chili Shrimp burrito which was SO filling:

afterwit cafe singapore

One thing I absolutely cannot stand about this cafe is the lighting. It’s that kind of dimly-lit cafe you’ll want to hatch a plan in – yes, a plan to take over the world, or something like that. Or for a guy to tell a girl how he had gotten F9s in school. Yes, that actually happened while I was trying to concentrate on painting, but kept getting distracted by the couple seated behind me (diners, not participants in this class). I think the lighting makes people think of depressing issues. πŸ˜€ #yesblamethelighting

Food’s good though, don’t get me wrong.

But an art class needs better lighting.

I thought Nadzirah seemed a little uncomfortable among strangers? Even an ‘auntie’ who commented to Nadzirah that she had attended another one of her classes before received only a “Ya, I remember you.” Usually, with PA trainers, there’s always mention of other upcoming classes like “Ya, you should come for this next class on (whatever topic), sure you’ll like it!” I think the PR aspect is somehow missing. As an entrepreneur, you cannot help but be your own PR and marketing person, photographer, accounts manager, logistics, admin… one-person show.

But I think Nadzirah has found a good niche for her business, with her ‘handpaint printed scarfs’. Hopefully, the business will last a really long time. πŸ™‚

beautiful headscarf singapore

head scarf singapore

You can view more designs over at her website naradsign.com or on IG at @naradsignsg.

The Blavk @ Waterway Point: Stylish Apparel For Men And Boys

father and son matching outfits

I didn’t even know this store had opened in Waterway Point till I read about it in a press release regarding Frasers’ malls! And I am so familiar with Waterway Point that I even give people directions when I see them looking lost and helplessly swiping the mall’s e-directory screens. πŸ˜€ So it was only natural that I had to go check out this place with my pal, Bosco, who found 2 new tshirts that would totally complement his line of work as a professional photographer.

Why is the store called The Blavk? (How do you even pronounce the name?) And what sort of marketing did they even do? How come I didn’t know about the store? Stores like Toys’r’us and Guschlbauer made sure they drummed up interest and gathered long queues of shoppers when they opened for business. πŸ˜‰

It’s important to make people notice your store when you open, especially when it’s not during the mall’s official opening but some years after. People are already used to going to selected stores when they visit. For me, it’s FairPrice Finest, Umisushi, Subway, Daiso, ValuDollar, KOI, Times and occasionally, the foodcourt. I’m probably not going to notice if a new store opens somewhere else within the mall if they don’t make some noise, really.

Anyway, The Blavk is located at the West Wing, #02-33, just opposite Genki Sushi. And it’s open from 10am to 10pm.

The blavk waterway point

unique tshirts singapore

Yup, he picked this top he’s wearing.

singapore father and son matching shirts

Matching father-and-son outfits.

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the blavk waterway point review

The boss, Vincent, helping to fold the sleeves of this tshirt. I got one too! I refuse to believe it’s only for guys. Ha!

You’ve probably already guessed that ‘Blavk’ likely came from the word ‘black’. And it’s because the founder combined his favorite color with the ‘V’ to represent his name, Vincent. It’s pronounced just like the color ‘black’. Unusual name, unconventional designs. Sums up the shop perfectly.

the blavk designs

Every tshirt has its own unique element. Here, this black tee’s made up of 3 different materials. Make a guess as to what they are! πŸ˜‰

Blavk offers non-printed designs for tees made from bamboo cotton. It appears that bamboo wicks away moisture from the skin faster than cotton, so it’s perfect as Singapore’s often hot and humid. Ladies, just go ahead and get some tees here. Who cares if they were designed for men? I don’t. And the boss tells me he’s stocking more tees for ladies ‘cos they insist on shopping here and buying stuff for themselves! πŸ˜€

I do think The Blavk would fill a sizeable gap in the market forΒ father-and-son matching outfits (the owner has a 6-yr-old son, if you were wondering). Now dads can go ‘twinning’ with their sons; it’s no longer a privilege just for mommies and daughters.

the blavk store

I noticed that kids like coming into the store too. Usually drawn by that colorful play area for kids.

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You can check out their online store at http://www.theblavk.com if you’re not sure you want to go all the way to Waterway Point. If there’s something that catches your eye, and you want to have a feel of the material and try on the shirts, then you should definitely drop by.

Their collared shirts are priced at $47.90 and $49.90.

the blavk collared shirts

I think I’m more a fan of their tshirts, which have very quirky designs I like:

the blavk tshirts

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https://www.theblavk.com/

Each design is available in a very small quantity so hurry and get your favorite Blavk tee now. πŸ™‚