Friday, October 31, 2014

Curbside Cafe and Wine Bar @ Biopolis

I am not too famliar with the cafe culture but I was here due to an event party. However, the overall experience once again convinced me of the extremely slim hopes of finding good food in café.
Corn Beef Hash
One can spare Spam Chips ($9) the accusation of being too salty since it's churned from the can (blame the manufacturer) but not for the Corn Beef Hash ($12), a brunch item that consists of salt-cured minced beef with two poached eggs. Even the accompanying sourdough were unable to divert the attention away from the sodium. The half-hearted Cheesy Fried Chicken ($18) which resembled the standard chicken cutlet set from the western stall at hawker centers, failed to impress with an awkward cheese blanket. The chilli powder did not impart any spice to lift up the fried fries in any way. The Cheeseburger ($18), an 180g beef patty on bun, remained dry and lifeless even though there was some melted cheese concealed within the meat. The homemade buffalo sauce for the Buffalo Wings ($12) had a lingering aftertaste of spice but made the wings too cloying to encourage a second piece. 
Cheesy Fried Chicken
Cheeseburger

I sometimes wonder if I should abstain from trying the cakes in Singapore as the more I try, the more  pessimistic I become. Same goes for the desserts here. The Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownie ($8) could not command any feelings of awe, but at least they were fared better than the version from Seasons Bistro.

As for the lemon tart ($9), the shell hasn't attain the full technical excellence of a classic French rendition. Fortunately, the coffee, be it cappuccino or mocha, had gained the thumbs of approval from many coffee aficionados that I knew. Though I can't tell much about coffee, I took a sip. And I quite enjoyed it.
Curbside Cafe & Wine Bar
21 Biopolis Drive, Nucleos
#01-21 Singapore 138567
Tel: 81811805
daily from 8am-10pm 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

AMEX 30-licious: Awesome Dining Deals at SPRUCE@Phoenix Park

Looking for some value-for-money dinners deals in town? Dine with American Express Card at any of the 30 restaurants under the AMEX 30-licious promotion and enjoy scrumptious feast at only $30 for 30 days!
Spruce's Specialty Drink
One of the highly recommended restaurants on the list is Spruce, a 6-year old modern American restaurant that is surrounded with lush greenery in Phoenix Park. The #30liciousAmex here features a House Salad, a Main and choice of beverage (coffee/tea/soft drink/in-house lemondade above) The House Salad is a class of its own , relished with truly sweet juicy tomatoes and unique champagne dressing that has a nice vinegrette tang to perk up our appetites. 
House Salad with choice of Champagne/Honey Djon or Ranch Dressing
For the mains, the pastas are really the showstoppers, because they were so confidently delivered that you thought you were dining in an authentic Italian trattorias. The Signature Prawn Pasta looked like anything, but a prawn pasta. This inventive dish born out of Spruce's first-generation American head chef to mark its opening, has been a popular mainstayer on the menu. 

Luxuriously coated with spinach and zuchinni puree, the orecchiette (cat-ear) pasta is tossed with chopped sea prawns and savoury zucchini bits. Brilliantly peppered with grana padano cheese, the flavours are superior than an average basil pesto pasta; strong, garlicky without letting your fork paused for any moment. This is probably the tastiest prawn pasta I've ever had. 
The Squid Ink Pasta Carbonara is also too good to share. Being a carbonara fan, there have been many scary encounters of bad cabonaras being either too watered-down or too dry. This achieved the right consistency, though it could be less salty since there were already rewarding amounts of smoky bacon in the creamy swimming pool. 
The oven-roasted Chicken Pullet might not eclipsed the pastas in terms of richness in taste but it does have the power to win on its natural flavour. Served with rosemary velouté sauce, the effect is of simplicity rather than showiness.
Desserts are not available as part of #30liciousAmex but if you like to have a sweet ending like me, there is a simple yet achingly fragrant Pandan Creme Brûlée. The Baked Ginger Date Pudding (below) is not too intimidatingly dense as the classic American sticky date pudding. Fluffy with undertones of ginger, the cake itself was, in fact, not sweet unless you lap it up recklessly with the Kapiti Ice Cream and chocolate toffee sauce. 
Alternatively if you prefer a course that has a dessert, head to the Firestation Outlet where its lunch promotion features a choice of drink, side salad with different menu for mains (roasted chicken/vegetarian pasta in Aglio Olio or Tomato base) and a dessert of chocolate cake. This double layer chocolate sponge inter-layered with a winning salted caramel sauce and crunchy chocolate pearls was served chilled, a pity because the smooth texture was locked up a solidified form and the sponge lost its moisture. 
Besides the food, the Phoenix Park outlet actually houses a playground, a courtyard and an alfresco area that can total accommodate nearly 200 pax. No wonder it has been a popular location for families and events such as garden theme weddings or solemnization. But all these plus points will not distract me from the fact that Spruce dishes up solidly good mains. This reality alone, is sufficient to bring me back for more. 

Book your seats now at HUNGRYGOWHERE from 2nd Nov to 3rd Dec 2014

SPRUCE@Phoenix Park
#30liciousAmex valid daily 5-10pm
320 Tanglin Road Singapore 247980 
Access from Orchard Station or Red Hill Station

SPRUCE@Firestation 
#30liciousAmex valid Mon-Fri 11.30am-3pm 
260 Upper Bukit Timah Road, #01-01, Singapore 588213

This post is brought to you by Amex and Hungrygowhere
Special thanks to DerrickMaggie and Spruce
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