Saturday, May 25, 2013

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Story began as far as 1895 where a fisherman named Hong migrated to Fucheng from Hangzhou. Because of the rough seas between the Tomb-sweeping Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival, there was a long lull period. In order to make ends meet, Hong began selling noodles. Soon, his Tan Tsi noodles became popular and he took up the business full time.


Friday, May 24, 2013

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Address: No. 1, Section 1, Chéngdé Rd, Datong District, Taipei City, Taiwan 103  
台北市大同區承德路一段一號2F
Price: $
Rating: 3.5/5
URL: https://www.facebook.com/arielcafe

Located at the second floor in Q Square,  Ariel Le Cafe (艾莉兒咖啡) is a great place to chill out with friends and enjoy the sweet desserts. The cafe serves divinely delicious cakes, waffles and beverages. Each table is allowed to dine in for 100 minutes.

Whilst searching on good food around Taipei Main Station, we found many food blog posts on Ariel Le Cafe for its delicious waffles and cakes. When we visited Taipei, we decided to check out the cafe. 

We were there around 4-ish on a Sunday afternoon and the cafe was already crowded. We left our names and waited at least 30 minutes before getting a table. The staff were extremely friendly and attentive. The ambiance was cozy and comfortable. The wait was surprising great as we were looking at the cake display fridges. The cakes looked superbly delicious!! It was beyond description. Do make sure you make allowance to wait for a table. 

When I thought of Ariel Le Cafe, I personally recommend this over the Hello Kitty Cafe. All in all, we spent TWD 924 and it was worth it.

Have you dine at Ariel Le Cafe in Taipei? Share your reviews and experiences with us. If you think that there is a better place to recommend, do drop us a note in the comments box.

Contact details:
Tel: +886 2 2552 5269
Hours:
Mon - Thu: 11:00 am - 9:30 pm
Fri - Sat: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Sun: 11:00 am - 9:30 pm




Passion Fruit Mousse (白香芙蕾), which was made of aromatic cheese mousse and passionfruit jam, gave a tint of summer. The passionfruit mousse cake had a unique taste - a slight sour and sweet at the same time. I loved it. (Food Rating: 3.5/5)

Lemon Cheese (檸檬起司) was equally delicious. Using self made yogurt and Italian cheese, a tint of lemon zest, the cake was very refreshing. The richness of cheese was heavenly. Do remember to order a slice. (Food Rating: 4/5)

The tiramisu (提拉米蘇) was made from espresso and Kahlua (coffee liquor), cocoa powder and macarpone cheese. The rich taste of coffee, liquour and cheese was absolutely delicious. The texture was velvety. (Food Rating: 3.5/5)

Special Milk Tea (艾莉兒貴婦奶茶) was just a normal milk tea topped with milk foam. I could not taste anything that was special. However, the tea aroma was nice. (Food Rating: 2.5/5)

Rose Cafe Latte (玫瑰拿鐵) was delightful. A blend of coffee and rose aroma was indeed a great beverage to enjoy. The beverage was topped with rose petal bits that enhanced the sweet aroma. (Food Rating: 3.5/5)

Ice cream waffles (冰淇凌鬆餅) was a superb choice for afternoon tea, especially at Ariel Le Cafe. The waffles had a nice aroma. Spreading the ice cream on the waffles heightened our sense of taste. Highly recommended to try. (Food Rating: 4.5/5)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

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Address: No. 90, Section 1, Dà'ān Rd, Daan District  Taipei City, Taiwan 106
台北市大安區大安路一段90號
Price: $$
Rating: 2/5
URL: http://www.hellokittysweets.com/index.html

If you are a Hello Kitty fan and in Taipei, you must make a trip to Hello Kitty Sweets Cafe. A Hello Kitty themed cafe was every woman's fantasy. As a Sanrio fan, I could not resist the temptation to visit the themed cafe.

The cafe opens at 11.30am daily. When we arrived at 11.35am, the cafe was already crowded. We had to wait for a while before we were ushered to a table at the second floor. At the restaurant, each table were given 100 minutes for dine in and must have a minimum spending of TWD 300.00.

The cafe was an interesting experience. The experience was excellent with cute Hello Kitty servers, cutlery, food and beverages. Even the rest rooms were Hello Kitty-themed. One shortcoming was that the food and beverages were pricey despite the food was normal. The high prices were attributed to the Hello Kitty themed experience.

Have you visit the cafe? Why not share your experience in the comments box. 

Contact details:
Tel: 02-2711-1132







We ordered a lunch set and the starter was served. It was Cream soup with Hello Kitty stamped bread bun. The bun was very cute. I was very reluctant to break the bread into bits. The bread was just a regular bread with a cute Hello Kitty stamp. As for the soup, it was very normal. Nothing to go ga ga about. (Food Rating: 2.5/5)


Beef stew in Kitty Bread Pot in Italian Style (義式燉牛肉Kitty麵包盅)was another cute dish that would be reluctant to take a bite on the bread. Served with fresh beef slices, carrots, and simmered with red wine, the bread with the stew was nice. However, there were only a few beef slices. The stewed tasted a little like French Onion Soup. The bread was too big with little amount of stew. (Food Rating: 2.5/5)


Strawberry Shake (草梅雪泡) and Chocolate Smoothie (可可雪泡) were very cute beverages. I loved the strawberry shake as it tasted of fresh blended strawberries. On the other hand, the chocolate smoothie was inferior. The chocolate tasted weak. (Food Rating: 2/5)


Cheese Tart (乳塔) was the best food I ate at Hello Kitty. The rich mix of imported butter and aromatic cheese made the cheese tart delicious. The use of fresh eggs and sugar baked with the cheese brought out the salivating dessert. (Food Rating: 3/5)


The gold coated chocolate tart (金磚巧克塔) was made from handmade chocolate tart crust, 75% of chocolate mousse inside and topped with chocolate coating. Compared with the Cheese Tart, the chocolate tart was a little inferior. However, the decorations were cute. (Food Rating: 2.5/5)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

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I was back at Hide Yamamoto again. This was my third time and each time, I had a gastronomical dining experience that was unforgettable. Hide Yamamoto never fails to surprise me with its excellent culinary skills and consistency. 

Opened by the renowned chef himself, Chef Yamamoto is the man behind his namesake - Hide Yamamoto. He had served three generations of US Presidents: Reagan, Bush and Clinton. He has a chain of restaurants under his belt. The fine-dining restaurant - Hide Yamamoto offers five concepts, Sushi, Teppanyaki, Robata, Ramen & Dining and Sake Bar.

Once again, I was swooned over the heavenly food fare that the restaurant had prepared for me. The total dining experience was SGD300.


Seasonal Vegetables with Italian Truffle Aroma used petrified wood grill to cook the vegetables. Adding truffle slices and a tint of salt brought out the sweet aroma of the vegetables. It was delightful. Although I was very selective of the vegetables I can eat, I ate all of it till the plate was empty. Must Try!! (Food Rating: 4/5)
Black truffle Flan with Fresh Sea Urchin Chawan Mushi was served with truffle flans at the bottom and topped with sea urchin. We were told to mix the egg, mushroom and urchin from top to bottom. I was my first to try the sea urchin and I had a nice experience. The truffle aroma was soothing and delightful. I loved the egg and truffle best. The urchin blended with the egg very well. (Food Rating: 3.5/5)


The tender, juicy chicken meat with mouthwatering seasoning was another superb dish. This was the first time we ordered the Skewered Chicken with Lemongrass and Red Chilli and Ginger Sauce. The chicken meat was divinely delicious. We could not stop complimenting how tender and delicious the meat was. The charred corners made it even more delicious. (Food Rating: 4/5)

I was not an avid fan for foie gras but the way the goose liver was cooked made me change my views. Unlike the foie gras I ate at other restaurants, this liver was tender. When I put into my mouth, the liver dispersed/ disintegrated. It was so soft and more importantly, it did not leave a bitter after taste. The miso sauce when dipped with the liver, brought out the nice aroma. I enjoyed this dish - Foie Gras Marinated with Saikyo Miso Hint of Yuzu immensely. (Food Rating: 4/5)


The Rack of Lamb with Black Pepper and Cassis Sauce blew me away. I personally afraid of eating lamb because of its smell and bitter after taste. However, the way the chefs cooked the lamb, I could hardly taste or smell it. Instead, I could taste the tender, sweet lamb. Drizzled with pomegranate sauce, the lamb was gastronomically palatable. The whipped potato, accompanied with the lamb, was equally delicious. The superb mix of potato and butter and with a tint of pepper made the simple dish so wonderful. (Food Rating: 4/5)


Snow Crab and Mushroom Clay Pot Rice with Ankake Sauce, Truffle Flavour is a must try. It was served in a small pot just enough for two persons. When the rice was eaten hot, we thought that the rice was just normal. When the rice cooled down, we were once again blown away. The granular rice gave that nice chewing feeling. The sauce coupled with truffle flavour gave out a seductive aroma. The crab meat and mushroom were absolutely delicious when eaten with the rice. We could just eat the rice on its own. It was marvellicious! (Food Rating: 4.5/5)
Finally, the long awaited dish arrived. This dish, Whole Young Chicken stuffed with Truffle Rice, Butter and Soy Flavour was the climax of the entire gastronomical experience. This dish took about 20 minutes to be served. We ordered this upon our arrival and then slowly ordered the rest of the dishes you have seen above. The chicken meat was tender, moist and juicy. The skin on the other hand was crispy. It required a skill to cook the breast as it usually become tough. As for the rice in the chicken, it was mind blowing. It must be eaten when it cooled down. When it was hot, the nice rice aroma was not detectable. When cooled, you could taste the nice truffle aroma with a tint of butter and soy flavour. (Food Rating: 4.5/5) 
Address: Marina Bay Sands, The Shoppes, 8 Bayfront Avenue, #02-05, Singapore 018956
Price: $$$
Rating: 4.5/5
Stuffness Level (How full you are): 5/5

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

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Address: 74 Boulevard de Strasbourg, 75010 Paris, France
Price: EURO: $
Rating: 3.5/5


A La Ville De Provins was a nice place located near Hotel Ibis Gare Du L'est, Paris. We were there over the weekend and stumbled upon this cafe/bar for breakfast.

The breakfast meal - petit dejeuner usually served a roll and a hot beverage, coffee or tea. At A La Ville De Provins, we pointed to the chalkboard and ordered two sets of  breakfast meal. The breakfast included a croissant, bread with butter and jam, coffee or tea, and a glass of orange juice.

The butter aroma from the croissants was therapeutic. The warm croissants felt very nicely in my hands.The warm butter croissants were excellent too and it could be eaten on its own. Then, I spread the marmalade and butter on the toast bread and took a bite. I was amazed that the marmalade tasted so good. It tasted especially excellent with the toast bread.  I hope to have this french breakfast again when I visit Paris again.






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Today, I met a friend who just came to Singapore to work. While hosting a welcome party, I took her to one of my favourite restaurants, Jin De Lai Zhong Hua La Mian [金得来中华拉面] at Boat Quay. This restaurant was not only located in the touristy belt along Boat Quay and served but also served authentic Chinese Shaanxi (陕西菜) cuisine. I felt that the authentic food might make her feel more at home and she might miss the Chinese food back home.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

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Address: 68 Orchard Road, #03-84, Plaza Singapura, Singapore 238839
Price: $$
Rating: 3.5/5

Under the umbrella of the Nippon Restaurant System, Inc, Hoshino Coffee opened its first international outlet in Singapore at the New Plaza Singapura. Renowned for its hand dripped coffee, the restaurant also served desserts and entrees. Most blogs I read recommended the Specialty Souffle Pancakes. However, I had tried  to dine at the cafe many times but the queue lines were always long.

After watching a movie at Plaza Singapura, we decided to check out Hoshino Cafe again. This time, there were fewer people queuing. Since there were only the two of us, getting a table was much faster.

When we looked at the menu, we wanted to try everything. On the table, there was a mechanism which we could press for service. So, we pressed the button on the table for service. We waited for a couple of minutes but no one came. I pressed again and again. After three tries, I was still not served. So, I raised my hand to attract any staff's attention. Finally, I was served by a staff. We made our orders. Suddenly, food were served very quickly. First was the beverages - Ice Cafe Latte and Royal Milk Tea, followed by the Toast with Special Ogura Bean Paste, and then Fuwa - Fuwa. By this time, our table was already crowded with the two beverages and the red bean paste toast. Afraid that we might not be able to place another dish when served, we ate very fast.

While waiting for the food to be served, I made an observation on its service quality.  Several bloggers praised Hoshino Cafe for its high service quality. One even shared how the staff remembered their orders and asked if they would like to have their dessert served after they finished their mains. However, I did not experience that. Now that the cafe was doing very extremely well with neverending lines, they might not cope with the multiple orders and high customer turnover. Overall, the service was still generally good. However, I was expecting better after reading from the various bloggers.



Hoshino Coffee was apparently popular for its hand drip coffee and we ordered a mug of Iced Cafe Latte. We looked forward to taste any difference between a regular iced cafe latte and a hand dripped iced cafe latte. When the beverage arrived, we put the coffee to a test. I took the first sip. Somehow, I could not taste the difference. Either I was not a coffee connoisseur or the hand dripping method was just technique, I surely could not taste any difference between a hand dripped coffee and a regular coffee. Nevertheless, the coffee still tasted nice. Actually, I was looking forward for the barista to perform the hand dripping technique behind the counter. But I could not see him prepare from my seat. What a pity. (Food Rating: 2.5/5)

I also ordered a Royal Milk Tea. Interestingly, the cup of tea did not have a handle. I felt as if I was drinking from a bowl. As for the beverage, I thought I tasted a tint of green tea with milk. It was light and nice. (Food Rating: 3/5)

Toast with Specialty Ogura Bean Paste was intriguing. The presentation looked ordinary, yet delicious. At one glance, one should just shrug his shoulders, saying he could also make this simple toast. The nicely toasted bread topped with red bean paste and a little margarine brought out the sweetness and yet some saltiness of the food. I took another bite and this time, I topped it with whipped cream. I could taste sweetness and saltiness too. Really interesting. (Food Rating: 4/5)

The Lobster Bisque Spaghetti was served in a smooth, creamy and seasoned lobster broth. Though there was no lobster meat in my dish, I presume that the lobster bisque was it. The pasta was perfectly cooked in al dente way. The prawns were crisp and fresh. It tasted great. After multiple mouthfuls, I felt queasy and the dish become increasingly salty. The pasta would be best shared with at least two persons. Overall, it was normal and nothing to rave about. (Food Rating: 3/5)


"Fuwa-Fuwa" (fluffy) Hoshino Souffle came with a huge fluff of cheese souffle on the top of the ramekin. The fluff of cloud was huge that it became a little too much. Both of us felt queasy very quickly. Once again, the dish became increasingly salty after many mouthfuls. At the bottom of the ramekin, was cheese baked rice. The rice was nice but nothing to rave about. (Food Rating: 2.5/5)

Demi-Glace Omu Rice, served with tomato rice wrapped with egg and sauce on the side, looked rather simple. At first few bites, it tasted good. But after some time, the queasiness set in again. It became increasingly salty after many mouthfuls. All the above dishes tasted great and we enjoyed it. However, was it because of our lightly salted lifestyle that made us feel the dishes were salty? I could not make out of it. Overall, it was nothing to rave about. (Food Rating: 3/5)

Always end with a sweet tone. Because the Pancake Styled Souffle was highly recommended by many food bloggers, we decided to give it a try. The dessert took 15-20 minutes to prepare. We drizzled the souffle with maple syrup. We took a bite on the plain pancake and we thought of sponge cake immediately. The pancake was fluffy. The outer crust was crispy whilst the inner part of the cake was soft and smooth. Then, we cut a slice topped with whipped cream and syrup. It complemented well. (Food Rating: 3/5)


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Mother's Day is a celebration honouring mothers, motherhood, single fathers wearing double hats as mothers, and maternal bonds. In Singapore, we celebrate Mother's Day on the second Sunday of the month of May. This year, Mother's Day falls on 12 May 2013.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

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Address: The St. Regis Singapore, Level 1U, 29 Tanglin Road, Singapore 247911
Price: $$$$
Rating: 3.5/5

Inspired by the Ming Dynasty, Yan Ting(宴庭)served authentic Cantonese cuisine at The St. Regis Singapore. The Ming Dynasty was the period when authentic Chinese culinary art flourished.

I read quite a number of posts from other food blogs sharing the delicious Cantonese cuisine served by Yan TIng. I have been wanting to try the food many times. Finally, I had the opportunity to celebrate Mother's Day at the restaurant.

I made a last minute reservation and added two extra dishes - the longevity peach buns and longevity noodles. That day was also my grandmother's birthday. So we had a Mother's Day Celebration Set Menu. Each person for the set menu, excluding the extra dishes and dim sum, and taxes, costs $138++.

Overall, we enjoyed the food immensely. Although the service might be a little slow and inconsistent, the entire experience was great. The service staff were attentive and friendly. My mum dropped her napkin and could not find it under the table. Without asking, the service staff went to get her a new piece.  That little attention touched me.





Longevity Peach Buns were Chinese steamed buns in a shape of a peach with lotus paste filling. It was then topped with pink colour. Peaches were Chinese symbols of longevity and were eaten during birthday celebrations of the elderly. It was my first time I ate a peach bun. I loved the bun and its filling. The paste was just nice. I enjoyed it and ate two pieces. (Food Rating: 3.5/5)




For appetizers, we were served with Deep-fried Yam Croquette with Diced Chicken, steamed Abalone and Pork Dumpling, and Steamed Spinach with Scallop Dumpling. I started from the left - Steamed Spinach with Scallop Dumpling, The dumpling skin was like the Shrimp Dumpling (Ha Gau) translucent. When I chewed on the dumpling, I could not taste the sweetness of the fresh scallop. Then, I tasted the Steamed Abalone and Pork Dumpling. The pork dumpling or Shao Mai was heavenly. I could see my guests' eyes dilated. It was definitely delicious. I could feel my taste buds exploding. Deep-fried Yam Croquette with Diced Chicken was savoury. I could taste the chicken chunks embedded in the yam croquette. Amongst the three appetizers, the Steamed Abalone and Pork Dumpling was the best, followed by the Steamed Spinach with Scallop Dumpling. (Food Rating: 3.5/5)


Yan Ting served Dim Sum on weekends. We ordered a couple of dim sum to try. We ordered the egg custard bun and pan-fried carrot cake. The mini egg custard buns were delicious. I wondered how they made the bun and the egg custard mixture. The soft spongy bun was filled with egg custard and salted duck egg yolk. Yummy!



The Pan-fried Carrot Cake was equally nice. I could taste the chinese waxed sausage. It was perfectly cooked and I loved it. However, it lacked something else somehow. Immediately, I thought of Pan-fried Carrot Cake I had at Zi Yean Restaurant which tasted better. (Food Rating: 3/5)



Chicken Consomme with Ginseng and Fish Maw was marvelicious! I enjoyed the soup immensely. The broth was delicious and full of collagen. The chicken meat was very tender. The soup reminded me of another similar soup. It tasted like drinking a home-made soup. (Food Rating: 4/5)


Steamed Sea Perch Fillet in Traditional Style surprised all of us. The fish fillet was tender, delicate and sweet. The sauce was subtle yet rich in flavour. All of us were full of praise of the fillet. The timing, sauce and dedication to make this dish was commendable. This was one of the best steamed fish fillet I had ever eaten. (Food Rating: 4.5/5)


The Braised Sea Cucumber with 'Bai Ling' Mushroom in Golden Sauce looked very simple yet very palatable. The sea cucumber was very cooked and jelly-like. The richness in flavour of the sauce enhanced the taste of the seafood. (Food Rating: 3.5/5)


Another delicious dish I loved at Yan Ting, Plain Noodles in XO Sauce with Lobster. The noodles were perfectly cooked in al dente style. The lobster was well cooked too. It was crispy and fresh. The noodles cooked with bean sprouts and in XO sauce. None of us put down our chopsticks. Instead, all of us were eating the yummy noodles despite of the fact that we were bloated. Our stomachs were showing at the end of this meal. (Food Rating: 4.5/5)


When the dessert came, my grandmother and mother was discussing how the Silky Mango Roll was made. The richness in flavour, which we believed was made of glutinous rice, coconut milk and perhaps pandan leaves, was addictive. The sweetness of the mango complemented the white skin roll. Super Duper Yummy!!! Then, the Crispy Water Chestnut Cake was swept us off our feet. The chestnut was crunchy. Another serious discussion on how the cake was done started once more. The cake was pan-fried where we could see a little charred at each side of the cube. (Food Rating: 3.5/5)

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