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Archive for the ‘brunch’ Category

The Missing Pan

I had a little time to kill before picking the boys for their swimming class.  It was a hot day and I just wanted to retreat into somewhere air-conditioned.  I passed by a new cafe and decided to pop in to take a look.

The Missing Pan is a smallish 2-level cafe located along the same row as Choupinette. I remember seeing the place under renovation a few months back and hadn’t realised the place was open already.

The Missing Pan

The Missing Pan

I was happy to see there was a tea time offer of a free coffee with every cake purchased, so I got me an apricot crumble and a cappuccino.  The crumble was decent and comforting, the texture was firm though a touch too moist for some I suspect.  I’m no coffee expert, so to me the cappuccino was average.

Apricot crumble & cappuccino

Apricot crumble & cappuccino

This place has a brunch menu that looks interesting.  If I’m in the area I wouldn’t mind popping in to try their eggs benedict and over hangover, which is a chicken schnitzel with bacon and a sunny-side up on sourdough bread.  The parking isn’t the best though, with just the short row of parking lots out front.

I approve the music though.  They were playing some music that sounded a bit like Kings of Convenience.  With the greenery outside the large glass windows, it made for a nice quiet place to pass the time.

Calming greenery outside

Calming greenery outside


The Missing Pan is found at:
619D Bukit Timah Road,
Bukit Timah District, 269724
Tel: 6221 7022

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It was a rare chance we had a free Saturday afternoon, so we decided to go for dim sum as that seemed a very Saturday thing to do.  We had seen some really cute dim sum offerings at East Ocean Teochew Restaurant many months back and had been meaning to bring the boys there.

East Ocean has a menu specially created to appeal to children.  There are dim sum dishes in the shape of rabbits, dinosaurs, birds, turtles and more.  The boys loved it!  I had to restrict the number of items they ordered because we still wanted to order some regular dim sum dishes.  In the end they chose the penguin, dinosaur and sparrow.

Kid-friendly dim sum
(picture taken from East Ocean website)

The best part is, it actually tastes really good!  Mr Penguin is actually a lian rong bao (lotus paste bun) with salted egg thrown in for that extra oomph.  Sparrow Fly was moist and juicy with enough bite.  But my favourite is definitely Little Big Feet.  It is just so yummy!  When you first bite in you can straightaway taste the savoury goodness of the pork, shrimp and chye poh filling, and it’s all complemented by the crunch from the almonds embedded in the back of the little dinosaur.

Sparrow Fly

Sparrow Fly

Mr Penguin

Mr Penguin

Little Big Feet

Little Big Feet

It’s certainly kid food with adult sensibilities.  Very tasty, and you kind of hope the kids can’t finish their food :)

As for the regular stuff, they have the best char siew cheong fun (rice noodle roll) I’ve had so far in Singapore.  It’s smooth and is sufficiently thin but does not break easily.  The flavours in the sauce were perfectly balanced, and every mouthful was just delish.  Most other dim sum places tend to get the skin wrong.  It’s usually too thick, or too rough.  This was just nice.  I’m going to try to zha leong (rice noodle roll wrapped around a dough fritter) next time for sure!

We’ll be back!

East Ocean Teochew Restaurant is located at:
391 Orchard Road #05-08/09 Ngee Ann City
Mon-Fri, 1130-3pm & 6-11pm
Sat, Sun, Public Holiday, 10-3pm & 6-11pm

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I had heard so much about this place that I was very keen to try it.  I’m always game for a good, hearty breakfast.  But when we finally made it there, I’m sorry to say I was disappointed.  I know this is contrary to many reviews made of the place, and I tried to see what was good, but at the end of the day, I’d rather spend my money elsewhere.

My main grouses are that their dishes are sparesly presented, portions small, and the prices huge for what they serve up.

We tried the corned beef hash which looked so good on all the blogs I’ve read.  I was happy with how it tasted, I just wished there was more for the price I was paying ($14.90).  Mind you, this is at NUS.  Perhaps I had my expectations driven up by all the hype, but I really think I won’t call what they serve a hearty portion.

Corned Beef Hash

We also had the eggs benedict with lamb prosciutto served on a scone.  At $18, I again felt it was expensive for what I got.  While the lamb was tasty, I didn’t appreciate the texture of the scone which was a bit too crumbly for my liking.  I’d also have liked a salad to go with it to beautify the presentation (and to eat of course, I always eat up my greens!).  I thought the presentation looked sparse, stilted, and unappealing with just a slice of fruit at each corner.  Definitely, without a hint of hesitation, I’d say Prive still wins in the eggs ben department, as it has so far compared to all the other places we’ve been.  Just see how great it looks!  Tastes wonderful, and you know what?  Costs less!

Eggs Benedict with Lamb Prosciutto

Ellery was sleeping during our meal so when he woke I ordered a carrot cake for him.  I was so so disappointed when I saw it.  It was smaller than my palm but cost $6.  The strawberry sauce liberally squirted over the huge plate only served to accentuate how small the cake was.   I can get a much bigger piece at almost every other cafe at that price!  And it didn’t even taste good – too spongy and dry.

Carrot Cake

If the food was fantastic and totally floored me, I might have been more willing to say the prices were ok.  By upping the price factor, I expected more, and I was disappointed.  Bottom line, even if components of some of their dishes taste alright, I’d bring my wallet elsewhere that has better tasting food, has better ambience, and offers more value.

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Replay

We had a playdate with the Sngs, Cais, Esther and Roy three days after Ellery’s birthday.  This bunch of friends hadn’t been able to make it for Ellery’s birthday celebration a few days earlier since most of them were overseas, so it was a good chance to catch up with one another.

To keep prep to a minimum we just got tons of breakfast hawker fare from our trusty Redhill Market.  Everything from waffles, to pao, to chai tau kueh, to prata.  It was a bit of a deja vu feeling when the house got completely messed up with toys and filled with the chatter and laughter of children.  But I like it :)  Our cardboard mansion was much better utilised at this playdate too.  Ironically, the roof collapsed not because of the kids though, but because of an adult haha :)  The children brought in toys, more crayons and colouring sheets, and had a blast hiding in there.

The 3-roomer was well utilised too, to the point the doorways were starting to cave in.  Good.  That was the point of it all.  Build, use, throw.  The garang guni man was more than happy to take our stuff the next day.

A huge milestone took place that day too.  Ellery started walking!  He suddenly got up and did 5 steps at one go.  This was witnessed by all the Uncles and Aunties, and the little kids, so he got lots of applause for his efforts :)  But more on his walking in another post.

It was good fun to see the kids gettings along and playing well with one another.  We’re planning a trip out to Bandung to visit Joce and family in June.  Hopefully the holiday plans all work out!

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Brunetti

After my cousin raved about the place, I thought I had to go down and try it.  So I went down once with my aunts to try their dessert, and again today to try their breakfast.

On the previous occasion we were already quite stuffed from lunch at Nandos, so we only tried their gelato (thick and creamy, I liked it a lot), cannoli (the pastry was light and flakey and the filling was not too sweet, but the cannoli was a little empty in the middle), and a cheesecake (rich, not too sweet).  These were just a small selection of their wide range of desserts on offer.  We actually spent quite long deciding which items to order.

Today I ordered the Sicilian Eggs Benedict (poached eggs on Sicilian ham, served with bacon rashers, mushrooms and a side salad).  At $12.50 I thought it was quite reasonably priced given the price of eggs ben elsewhere, and the slice of ham they served up was a nice big piece that covered a long piece of toast large enough to sit both eggs on top with bacon in the middle.  I liked the mushrooms very much.  They had an earthy taste which I enjoy, and it felt like they had just picked the mushrooms from the forest and tossed them into a buttered pan there and then.  As for the eggs ben, I think the eggs were just a little bit overdone such that the whites were a little rubbery and tasteless.  But the ham and bacon were good.  I mean, how often does bacon go wrong?

My verdict, I think the Prive Cafe eggs ben still edges out!

As for the desserts, I eyed the Baci Rings greedily (imagine a biscuit base in the shape of a ring entirely topped with whole hazelnuts touching one another and coated in chocolate!), but didn’t get any in the end cos I was quite stuffed already and Ellery was getting antsy.  Next time!

He was sleeping for half of my meal

Then he woke up and was happily tapping his head to a song

A little sam seng

 

Sam seng on mobile phone - "HAR-LOW???"

 

Over worked sam seng

 

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Asher’s birthday was preceeded by a lot of activity, in particular a lot of baking.  We baked cookies for the gift pack, made chocolates, and baked a cake too.  A couple of weeks before I was chatting with my cousin, Del, over coffee about Asher’s birthday and she mentioned a cake she read about where someone had buried toy dinosaurs inside, and I thought that was a great idea!  A dino dig cake!  Asher would love that!  I spent the next few weeks dreaming up the ideal cake.  I love baking, so it was a lot of fun for me to think about what kind of cake would be yummy and then to go find recipes to try.

Initially I thought of making meringue dinosaurs fossils to dig up, since those would be edible.  But my meringues got so soft and sticky in our hot and humid weather they simply would not do.  So decided to just stuff dinosaur toys inside, nevermind that they weren’t fossil toys (since you can only dig up fossils, right? Not dinosaurs all fleshed out.  It’s a technicality I think most people will overlook heh).  In the end I settled on a 2-layer chocolate sponge cake (each layer made with slightly different ingredients, like adding crushed biscuits, and altering the type of sugar used), and chocolate-oreo icing, topped with crushed oreo biscuit ‘soil’, and baked some stegasaurous cookie ‘fossils’ and a number 3 for decoration.

Helping to stuff dinosaurs into the cake

Grid pattern so I remember where to cut!

Besides the baking, the lead up to the birthday was actually quite uncertain.  Asher suddenly fell quite ill two days before his party and we found out it was a stomach flu bug.  We contemplated cancelling his party.  On Thursday, the first day of his illness, his condition was quite severe and we brought him to the doctor who said he’d probably be well in two days and would be ok for the event.  On Friday his condition had greatly improved and were thankful he was better.  He was still a little lethargic at times, and he himself knew he needed to rest more, so he took extra naps and slept earlier at night.

He was ok for the party on Saturday and we assessed he was well enough to be with his friends since Ellery, who was in close proximity with him throughout, was still fine.  We certainly didn’t want him passing anything on!  He has good memories of his party (he talks about his cake and about playing with his friends), though I think he would have enjoyed it even more had he been in tip top condition.  He was still a little lethargic that morning, and took a nap during his party!  But think that nap was what he needed, because after that he was more lively.  A week later when we went to Turf City again, he remembered his party, talked about it and wanted to play at the playground again :)

I was telling Jon how unfortunate it was that he caught a bad bug so close to his birthday.  He hasn’t been so ill in more than a year!

Anyway about his party proper.

We decided to hold it at Sol Playground Cafe at Turf City since there was a sheltered outdoor playground as well as an indoor play area for younger kids.  Many of our guests have two kids now, so the facilities at Sol suited us well.  Plus, there’s free parking!  Jon was mighty pleased when it started to drizzle because it vindicated his insistence on the venue as it allowed the children to play even in wet weather.  I duly gave him all the necessary praise on his foresight ;)

The indoor play area

We also decided to go with a dinosaur theme because Asher is in love with them.  Really.  Totally in love with them.  If he could, he would be at dinosaur.  His ambition used to be a paleontologist.  Now, if you ask him what his ambition is, he’ll say its to be a dinosaur – “I actually want to be a dinosaur” (emphasis all his).  So dino we went.  Everything was dino related – from the party packs to the decor to the cake.  And he couldn’t be more pleased!

Christmas and dinosaurs

Dino pack - cookies, chocolates, stamps, tattoos and toys

Diving into his unwrapped present from Del, and telling us about one of the sauropods

Happy birthday Asher! Several days before his birthday I asked which was his favourite dinosaur, and he said stegasaurus, so I decided to go with that for the fossil :) But I realise that his favourite dino actually changes from day to day!

Asher! Whenever he plays with his blocks he always says this is him because he has a red hat too.

Eating up the fossils!

He used the toy shovel to eat the cake!

I must say that the staff there were very attentive and accomodating.  They allowed our guests flexible ordering, meaning they could mix-and-match items on the menu, order other things not on the menu, or make special requests for whatever reason (dietary or taste preferences).  The food was quite good and apparently, according to one of my friends who had been there before, the standard has improved a lot.  It was actually our first time eating there!

Kaizer and Titus stamping away on the colouring sheets

Adrian, Adam, Del & Anya

Joanne & Jo Claire

Hello?

The kids, even the older ones, enjoyed the indoor play area, and after finishing their food everyone ventured outside to play at the playground.  For a while the boys hogged the playhouse, and we dubbed it the boys club.  They didn’t allow any girls to go in at all.  Later on it morphed into a juice stall, and eventually that business closed down and the girls could go inside again :)

Standing guard at the boys club

No girls! Poor JC left outside

Playing with the windows - open, close, open, close...

Roof Party with Josiah

I was happy to see the kids getting along, refering to each other their friends.  Some of them see each other only once a year at Asher’s birthday.  I’m grateful that there’s a bunch of close friends and family who have kids around the same age as us.  It’s really nice to have people in the same life stage as you.  And in particular, some of them have a very similar outlook on parenting so we’re quite on the same wavelength.  I hope that this bunch will continue to be close, and that our kids will be close as they grow up!

Ellery likes slides!

Peeking in with Joanie

Heather scooting about

Family huddle

My cheeky dinosaur

After the party, we headed home and Asher thoroughly enjoyed his treat of being allowed to watch and entire DVD worth of Tractor Tom!  We came to know of this series when Asher received the video as a gift from his Aunts from UK.  Aunty Radha, Sheela – he loves it!

Being a couch potato at home

To end on a funny note, when I about to bathe Ellery in the evening I was surprised to see he had a dino tattoo on his arm!  I had no idea it was there at all because it had been hiding under this sleeves the entire afternoon.  I felt like a mother discovering her son’s little secret :)  Wonder who put it on him?

Joined a dino gang and didn't tell Mummy

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