Thursday, 22 August 2013

rolling like a steamed bun: a day of eating in singapore

If you're around this blog for more than five seconds, you'll know how much I love sharing meals I ate at places you can't go because they're not in Melbourne, so here is a recent day of Singapore noms and fun times had by me and my darling friend Em of Sugarspoons, who you may remember from previous adventures on Vegmel when she lived in Melbourne.

We started our day at Jones the Grocer at the Mandarin Gallery. Jones the Grocer is an Australian chain that does groceries and has a few cafes across Australia and into Singapore. The centre was mostly closed but Jones the Grocer was bustling - so bustling it took forever for us to be seated and served! However the service was an aside, because the Very Important reason for our visit was that Jones the Grocer, as an Australian chain, can actually provide us with soy flat whites! (Unlike the Dome at the Singapore Art Museum, which, despite being Western Australian, cannot) We shared a perfectly serviceable tomatoes and avocado and jam on toast (and I had a second soy flattie), before we meandered off to buy presents for babies and also on secret Azn Girls Business. 

After ogling the totally expensive teas at TWC (you know it's expensive because their waitstaff are tall white anglo boys! and also their tea is like $100SGD for 100gm) and visiting the masking tape exhibition at the top of Ion (totally amazing, Em had to be physically restrained from touching and buying things), we were met by G and headed off to the Living Cafe, a rawish cafe that has lots of delicious vegan, raw and gluten-free treats.

At the Living Cafe we were overwhelmed by choices, and went for the time honoured tradition of sharing a whole lot of things. We ordered the raw zucchini lasagna and the veggie bowl with brown rice as our mains to share. The zucchini lasagna was lovely, however it had to deal with the unfortunate competition of yong's in my heart, and it couldn't compare. The lasagna was placed together as we watched (rather than pre-prepared and stored for delicious cashew cheese compression as at yong's), and while the tomato and red capsicum sauce (and the cashew mayonnaise) was extremely tasty, the slightly under-ripe-ness of the tomato was off putting. Fortunately the veggie bowl was a nice thing to alternate with it, and we were able to cap off our savouries by stealing some of G's sweet potato wedges.

Dessert caused us some consternation. There was a whole cabinet full of amazing looking delicious raw cheesecakes - most of them containing honey! We were devastated, but fortunately and to our delights we were informed by the chef (a vegan!) that the recipe on the chocolate cheesecake had recently changed, and so we were able to sample these two raw vegan cheesecake delights. They were amazing, a++ would eat again.

I was so happy with these desserts that I took back to my hotel raw cookies for the fam, and a piece of banana cake for myself for my plane ride back to Australia the next day.

I would sample the delights of the Living Cafe again, but I probably wouldn't try the same savoury dishes.

After some meandering (and purchasing of Crumpler products - by the Singaporeans, not by me, obviously) we headed over to JOY OF JOYS Haidilao, which you may remember from such adventures as that time Stephanie lived in Beijing and ate nothing but hotpot. Haidilao has recently opened up its first Singaporean branch and I loved it so much I took the fam back the next day! Totally worth it. My Chinese tutor (from Beijing) joined us, and it was lots of fun catching up with her, gossiping in Mandarin and stuffing my face with all my favourite things. We ordered the spicy/mushroom double pot, because it is always the perfect choice, and I got to use my old friend the Haidilao ipad and we got dancing noodles and lots of mushrooms and it was just the best.

And then I went back to my hotel, had a cup of tea with the fam and fell into bed, my belly stuffed until I was a steamed bun! Perfect.

Jones the Grocer is located in the maze that is the Mandarin Gallery. There's no steps but the tables are close together. It is cafe and cafe-goods only (though I love the supermarket located in Ion near the H+M). Get to either of these places on the MRT.

The Living Cafe is located at 779 Bukit Timah Rd. I can't remember if there's a step for entry. There is a little bit of free parking (though not much).

Haidilao of joys and delights is located at River Valley Road in Clarke Quay, near the Japanese Centre. Get there on the MRT.

No idea of prices as my noms were sponsored by Em, in exchange for my love and a giant bag of vegan goodies from Melbourne.

Friday, 9 August 2013

carlton noms: crafternoon + the beaufort

Ms Hayley recently gave herself blog amnesty and I've been feeling all blocked vis food blogging (not vis media and social justice blogging at no award though) so I'm gonna do a similar thing. 

Crafternoon: Emma and I went to Crafternoon a few Sundays back as a way of getting out of the house when we'd both been having lazy Sundays. We took the Sooty Monster and meandered down to Crafternoon in the hopes that it was still open, and it was! Crafternoon is open seven days a week, and it's a small, lovely cafe that offers crafts with your coffee and cake and brekkie and lunch. Vegan items are clearly marked on the menu, as are GF options, so I was delighted to order the lemon and almond tart with berry compote and coconut icecream. I am not usually a huge fan of tarts (on the grounds that I am not a huge fan of tart flavours) but this one was beautiful, and combined with the compote and the icecream made a lovely flavour sensation that I was sad to finish. I enjoyed the presentation of the tart, and I appreciated the paper and crayons already on the table so I could start designing the Mecha Penguin Jaegar that Danni and I are gonna be piloting when the apocalypse comes.

Crafternoon is located at 531 Nicholson Street, North Carlton. There is street seating, and a step up into the venue (plus what seemed like a narrow door). Ordering happens at the table. Reasonable prices ($4 for my tart). $0.5 soy surcharge.

The Beaufort: Hayley's blog amnesty includes a review of her first visit to the Beaufort. My visit two Fridays past was also my first, I went with my Beijing Ren for our usual monthly catchup (we're trying to move beyond Chinese restaurants). I had thought it would be more Gaso/EBC in its vegan opportunities, which I was sadly incorrect about: there were only two vegan options, the Philly Cheese Fake and the vegan Bahn Mi. I went the Philly Cheese Fake with vegan cheese, which was delicious containing a million mushrooms and wrapped by some lovely bread. The Fake comes with some fries which were sadly the saltiest fries I've ever tasted, but I was also delighted by my Granny Smith with alcohol (freshly juiced in front of me and served with Gin). Music was hilariously nineties.

The Beaufort is located at 421 Rathdowne Street in Carlton. Its interior is way too dark, but they let your puppy inside and the service is prompt and friendly. It has also been reviewed by Cindy and Michael.