Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

I love my cocktails and i'm glad that bespoke cocktails are really starting to take off in Singapore. Guys often make fun of ladies and their cocktail drinks but with the flourishing of the scene, i guess that kinda shut their mouths about it. They are simply to delicious to resist.
That said, we still haven't gotten into the habit of getting a drink before or after our meals and hence i've been missing out on many a cocktail bars e.g. Maison Ikkoku, Nektar, Barkode, 5 Hong Kong etc. I was really psyched to see that Table Manners by One Thousand Tales (who also runs Cafe Fables and Bar Stories) is introducing their cocktails with hearty Western dishes in the East.
We chanced upon this new venture in Changi City Point, one of our lazy weekend hangouts. Table Manners is a full-fledged restaurant revolving around the communal dining concept. There is this huge snaking N-shaped table in the middle of the restaurant. What's really cool is the tongue-in-cheek table mats that highlights the various eating quirks in Singapore. There is one on 1h power lunches and another on the rules of dating at the dining table. I was nagging at S about using his phone during our meals and that was also covered on the chic black mats. They act as good conversation starters for dates (or NOT).
Bespoke Cocktails are served by sister Bar Stories. Drinks are standard price cooler (S$12/16). Drinks are categorized under the different tastes as per their original cocktail joint- Sweet, Sour, Spicy, Bitter and Gentlemen. It's really a lot more convenient to order drinks by my mood. I'm usually Sweet. ;)
I had the Rosemary cooler while S had the Mai Thai. The presentation of the Rosemary cooler couldn't be more spectacular with the flaming diesel poured onto the rosemary. According to the bartender of the night, the scent of the herb contributes to the overall drinking experience as well. These are some strong drinks and extremely tasty. It is easy to get high on these without knowing.
I wanted the signature Angus Ribeye Steak (S$20) but they ran out of steaks! Darn me and my indecisiveness. I spent the night spying on the lady who placed her order before me. It was like she was taunting me as she slowly enjoyed her juicy and nicely grilled steak. :(

I ordered the Three Little Pigs (S$15) in the end. I was worried that the breaded pork cutlet would be too dry but it was juicy and succulent and very substantial. I also like the combination of the different flavors on my plate- a tangy and slightly spicy garlic aioli, creamy and buttery mash potato and the refreshing citrus sauce on the salad instead of the usual vinaigrette. Very satisfying dish i must say.
S had the healthier Norwegian Baked Salmon (S$20) which was lightly flavored in miso cream sauce. The salmon was nicely done though i would prefer it to be a little more moist. This buttered mash potato is creamier than the one served with the pork cutlet. 

Other western staples include Fish&Chips, burgers and other meat dishes. Table Manners also does some seafood items like Kebabs and Mussels. Would certainly be hanging out here more often to escape the Town crowd on weekends. With great food and great drinks, life can't get better than this.

Table Manners
5 Changi Business Park Central 1
The Oasis #01-68/69, Changi City Point
Singapore 486038
Daily: 11.30am - 12am
The Father of the Third Wave Coffee Movement, Papa Palheta, has started a new cafe called Chye Seng Huat Hardware. This cooler than thou coffee joint has only been opened for a month or so and has been drawing in coffee affectionados, yuppies and indie wannabes despite its rather inaccessible location. Then again, it's a smart way of picking their target audience as seen by the number of Golfs, Minis and Audis scrambling for lots, looking a little out of place in the traditionally cheena estate of Jalan Besar.
True to its Papa Palheta beginnings, this coffee bar could be easily missed by the untrained hippie eyes (the entrance is not by the store-front but through the tow-away sign by the side). The owners have kept the decor true to the heritage of the site and area with with the traditional facade that is in line with the rest of the shophouses. The Art Deco facility is touched up with modern and sleek lines while embracing the use of the industrious steel bars, grills and sheets. Thank god for this. I'm getting sick of all that "Scandinavian brick walls" already.
CSHH is their flagship store of Papa Palheta, the largest of the 3 outlets. This 8000sqft compound houses not only the coffee bar, it is practically a school for coffee education. Other than serving novices the flawless coffee, CSHH aims to enlighten your taste buds and open your eyes to a world of aromatic beans through 3 levels: The Roastery, the Annex and the C-Platform. Watch the magic begins with the transformation of the fresh beans to roasted brown seeds at the Roastery.
Be treated to an exclusive tasting at the Annex (three-course session which includes coffee and light bites for $23). Satisfy your inner chemist geek at the C-Platform, where you learn more about the state-of-the-art coffee gadgets, apparatus and machines. 
For the DIY nut in you, grab the V60 filters, Chemex sets, espresso machines, beans and all by Papa (single origins and blends) off the grill and wood racks. If that is not your cup of coffee, sit back and relax as you hang out around the first 360-degree coffee bar in Singapore while the barristers grind and steam it for your cuppa. The signature Terra Firma blend is used in espresso based drinks (S$4 onwards), as well as single origin ones. Or go for the cold brew coffee(not iced)(S$7), served in a cough syrup bottle (really cool) or a coffee beer (S$7.50+), a special concoction by Jungle Beer and Papa.
What really excited me was the food. I'm really more of a cafe than a coffee person and the food really kinda makes or breaks a place for me. The 10 item menu which includes a mix of sweets and savories (not inclusive of the desserts rack at the counter), is carefully conceptualized. Extensive thought and effort has gone into planning this as compared to the pathetic offerings at Loysel's Toy.
The Patrick's Platter (S$16) is lovingly presented on a wooden board and has all my favorite meats: Pork rillette, duck terrine and parma ham. Everything works, down to the sweet-ish pickles and zesty tomato bruschetta sides. The pate is a smooth butter that glides onto the airy and slightly salty muffin like panini? bread. I tasted a hint of salted egg yolk. Don't ask me how but it's awesome. 
The Smoked Salmon Sandwich with cream cheese, onion and capers (S$11) was also a delight. Love the succulent smoked slices of pink meat that is contrasted by spurts of citrus from the capers. Or if you want something more substantial, go for the beef or chicken patties. They look like a carnivore's dream. 
Do save some space for the tea cakes on display. The Hazelnut ginger tea cake (S$3) is an interesting combination which surprisingly worked well together. The salty buttery crumble top gives way to a moist and sweet bottom with a hint of spice in the ginger chunks. Gotta have this really. The chocolate cake is also a hot favorite, along with the madeleines.

There really isn't a better place to be educated on coffee in Singapore right now. Even if you are not that into coffee, this is still the place to flaunt your pretentious self while you enjoy the food on offer. Chye Seng Huat Hardware is the place to see and be seen and it's at the top of my cafe list right now. Peace.

Chye Seng Huat Hardware
150 Tyrwhitt Road
Singapore 207563
Tel : +65 6396 0609
Tue-Thu: 9am-7pm
Fri-Sun: 9am-10pm
It's the weekends again and the problem with waking up late is that all the popular brunch places would be packed. Especially so in the coveted Tiong Bahru cafe enclave. You can forget about getting a seat unless you have 1. a reservation 2. you are willing to wait. If you are unwilling to do either of the above and still want to bask in the indie ambience of Tiong Bahru, PoTeaTo may be able to satisfy your hunger pangs.
Opened 2 months ago, this minimalistic chic Tiong Bahru eatery specialises in potato-based dishes and brewed teas, hence the name PoTeaTo. Pick from a selection of hand-cut chips (made from US Russet potatoesto sweet potato fries that are freshly cut and deep fried and then wash the oiliness down with a pot of freshly brewed tea. Well, at least that's what owner Debra Chan wants you to do a la cheena style.
Call me a stick in a mud but my stomach and taste buds are traditionalist when it comes to certain meals and food types. English tea with cakes and scones; Brunch with latte. The comforting combination is my food security blanket and i wouldn't wanna mess with that. Hail the tummy god. 

But if you're really concerned about the 'heatiness' from the brown paper bag full of yummy chips served with nacho cheese and salsa; 'Cool' yourself down with the tea (S$7.80/pot). Locally sourced, there are several interesting blends like Raspberry mint, Peach, Oolong Berry and Persian Apple & Ginger. The Genmai Cha blended with popcorn and roasted sesame sounds like a dessert in itself.
I would have the Sweet Potato fries if i were there for a tea time snack or lunch but eggs are my brunch staple and i have to make space for that. The Brekkie Platter (S$16.80) for the greedy me. Pork sausages with sauteed spinach and mushrooms, scrambled eggs and hash. 

The eggs were sufficiently moist and flavored (just a dash of cracked pepper, no need for salt) but it could do with a lil more butter or cream. The first taste of the sausages was quite satisfying with the herbs blend in the mix but it had a rather powdery texture to it. I thought the sauteed mushrooms and spinach were too oily. I was expecting the English kinda spinach to be tossed with a light vinaigrette but this is the overcooked Chinese sort. NOOOOO! I left that untouched obviously. The hash was a deep fried crunchiness and i surprised myself by finishing most of it. 
The healthy conscious could go for the Baked All American B'fast (S$14.80) which is a mix of hash, bacon, baked beans, eggs and cubed fluffy toast all in a ramekin. It's not a fantastic dish for it is simply a mix of the regular items. The baked bean sauce is simply not the thing to gel the separate ingredients for it is too weak and diluted in taste and obviously too commercial. Well, at least it's not oily. 
There are 4 weekend brunch sets in all (S$14.80 - 16.80) and each is served with brewed coffee/tea and juice. W was amused at the use of the cocoa powder to create the coffee art. Well.. not everyone can do latte designs. The coffee was adequate but not comparable to FortyHands. It is not PoTeaTo's intention to compete with their next door neighbors on Yong Siak. Perhaps they should do what Open Door Policy does, get their coffee from them.
PoTeaTo was awfully quiet during the Sunday brunch hour whereas the other cafes were packed. I suppose publicity hasn't been drummed up yet. Average food but at least it's well priced and very relaxing in fact (thanks to the lack of customers). However, i think they need to up the ante with the potato based dishes. It does seem like the brown fellas are still sides dishes rather than main courses. That said, I'll be back to give the fries a shot after my brunch at Tiong Bahru Bakery perhaps.

78 Yong Siak Street
#01-18 Tiong Bahru Estate
Tel: +65 6221 2488
Tue-Fri: 11am-10pm
Sat: 10am-10pm
Sun: 10am-9pm
There is simply too much to love about Tiong Bahru: the restored walk up apartments, mix of old and new, traditions and modern styles, indie boutiques and cafes. With the opening of Tiong Bahru Bakery by Monsieur Gontran Cherrier, i'm finding it hard to spread my lovin because this one has won my heart. 

Tiong Bahru Bakery is the first overseas tie up for Gontran, one of the top baker in Paris, celebrity chef and published author, with the Spa Esprit Group to provide artisan bakes in Singapore. How they managed to convince him, i don't know, but as long as i'm getting my buttery croissants, i honestly don't care.
The 40-seater bakery churns out freshly baked breads, pastries and sandwiches by the minute. They have to, or they wouldn't be able to feed the hungry human chain that snakes around the shop. No worries, the queue moves extremely fast but you will have a problem getting a seat with people chilling out with their croissant and coffee by Forty Hands.
If you are there to have brunch, i would suggest you order a sandwich or pick from the selection of open-face focaccia as a main. An interesting sandwich would be the Squid Ink Bun with Smoked Salmon and Ham (S$6.50). I sampled the bread but there wasn't any hint of the smoky ink but the presentation of the black buns with generous slices of meat is definitely appealing.
People have been raving about the croissant at TBB, claiming it to be the best in town. But this skinnyfat girl says the hidden gem is the Kouign Amann (S$3.50). If you like salted butter, caramel and pastry, you would love this! Eating this is like unwrapping a present. The exterior is flaky and crisp with the caramelized sugar bits. I thought i was eating Garrett's Caramel popcorn. As you unravel the buttery swirls, the delicate insides is moist, pillowy and a little salty. It's everything i want in a dish and more.
Being my greedy self, i ordered the Chocolate Almond Croissant (S$3.50) instead of the plain one. Duh! It has all my favorite fillings even though that compromised on the classic croissant texture. I have no issues with the taste of the minced up almond nut paste and chocolate bits but there isn't enough chocolate and it's not spread around evenly. If you have a sweet tooth, this is it for you. Should have tried the plain or chocolate croissant though.

Will be back for more bakes and the Kouign Amann is definitely on my must eat list. If Tiong Bahru is a little out of the way for you, they also have a centrally located branch at Raffles City Shopping Center. It may not be as fresh but it's still a good option for lazy folks out there. Enjoy your afternoon tea!

Tiong Bahru Bakery
56 Eng Hoon Street, #01-70
Tel: +65 6220 3430

Hours: 8am-8pm (Closed Tue)
After a long yoga session(s), i often crave for light and clean tasting food. My all time favorite? Cold udon or cha soba (if the former is unavailable). I suppose it's due to the fact there isn't too much seasoning or oil used in preparing them. It's kinda bland if you only have the noodles and i do wish for a little more flavors in them. And that's when i discovered Wheat Baumkuchen
Tucked away in the hot and humid neighborhood of Toa Payoh, this cafe is a cool breath of air serving cold tossed Japanese style noodles amidst all that hawker food. It is easy to miss this because you wouldn't be expecting it next to all the duck rice and nasi lemak stalls. I wouldn't say that it's the best place to dine at because it's really stuffy. Thank god for the air conditioned interior. 

The dishes are cutely named after artic animals. Thank god they are not serving us whale or penguin meat. We had a whale of a time trying to figure out if the Whale set serves pork or chicken. 
We started with the Ice Cube (S$3), a huge chunk of Silkened tofu with a Thai Chili Sweet Sauce. It came with very simple garnishes like shredded Japanese cucumber and crab sticks. This dish is very appetizing and we kept going back to this in between bites of our noodles. Highly recommended. 

The Whale Set (S$6.20)- White noodles in roasted sesame sauce with black pepper chicken and mushrooms. The white noodles are actually Yang Chun noodles, a flat white chinese noodles. This dish packs a peppery punch that is quite fiery but oh so addictive. I love the crunch of the al dente noodles of this one. 
The Penguin Set (S$6)- Green soba noodles in roasted sesame sauce with shredded chicken, lettuce and quail eggs. Love the presentation of all their noodles dishes. They are really very particular about how the dishes are served. Each is like a piece of art. I like the fragrant sesame taste though i wish for a little more flavoring. Not a fan of the soba noodles here because it feels kinda overcooked. You can request to change the type of noodles that come with the set. 
The Dolphin set (S$6)- Ramen noodles in miso sauce with prawns, lettuce and quail eggs. I was half expecting my beloved prawn pasta salad from Fish & Co. but other than the similarity in the noodles, the taste was very different. The miso taste is very subtle in this one. I do prefer the bite of the ramen noodles.

For a pastry store that accidentally ventured into selling Japanese cold noodles, i have to say that Wheat Baumkuchen does it well, surprisingly. I believe that the noodles are more popular than the traditional European layered cake made famous in Japan. These cakes are like kueh lapis but the healthier version of it. The taste is also 'healthier' ie. dry and bland.
The Almond Nutella cake has the aromatic smokiness of the nuts which we love. The Valrhona Chocolate was not rich enough and tasted too dry. Go for something with a little cream e.g. Tiramisu. I find that this was more moist and had a nice creamy cheese flavor to it as well. The Coffee flavored one sat well with my family too.

This would be where i'd head to if i want a twist to my regular soba. It's healthy but extremely satisfying. Thanks Lilian for introducing me a new pre/post yoga meal. And you lucky CBD folks can also enjoy the noodles at One Raffles Place. I'd pick this over salads anytime. ;)

Wheat Baumkuchen
190 Toa Payoh Lorong 6
#01-530 HDB Hub
Tel: +65 6356 5529
Daily: 10am - 9pm
(Closed PH)

1 Raffles Place, #B1-15 One Raffles Place (OUB Centre)
Tel: +65 6535 0277
Weekdays: 8am – 8pm
I have a love hate relationship with Dempsey. I like that it's near town but secluded, and i also love the quaint and sophisticated vibe. Of course the flip side of the coin is that it's pretty inaccessible (i've only walked there once and i died) and it could be quite pretentious (i don't feel quite comfortable at certain restaurants. They practise certain sort of colour discrimination). 
It was with much delight when Backyard@Dempsey opened its doors. I feel perfectly at home here, wandering the open grounds and lounging on the wooden deck, enjoying a drink (or 2) with friends, laughing loudly making noise without being judged by anyone. You don't even need to dress up. Shorts and slippers are welcomed too (stamp of approval from the boss). Perfect isn't it?

I was a little concerned about the alfresco dining concept here as Singapore nights can be pretty humid. However, the lush greenery and the cool dewy air together with the constant movement of air from the strategically placed fans kept us cool all night.
Under the encouragement of Val, W & i ordered the Backyard Jungle Juice (S$11/14) and Longan Mojito (S$10/13) to kick start our weekend (thurs is the new fri. heh). The Jungle juice was a Pomegranate, Mango and Gin mix which was a refreshing and exotic tropical blend. It tasted innocuous due to the sweetness but i was quite the happy and vivacious camper after a few sips. Alcohol is such the social lubricant. Spirits, shots, beer, wines and cocktails are available and happy hour is till 7.30pm. Now hit me with the cheap drinks! Whoo!
We had 2 soups. The Cream of Shitake Mushroom (S$6.30) was a creamy and peppery start to dinner. Nice slices of shitake mushrooms in this one too. The Lobster Bisque (S$7.30) was adequate but kinda lacks in the umami flavor of a rich seafood broth. There is some smokiness in the soup but just a little diluted for my liking.
Seriously who can resist Spam Fries (S$9.80)! I'll have this over french fries anytime. This is a lightly battered juicy chunk of Ma Ling luncheon meat. The wasabi mayo dip is not too pungent or sharp and goes very well with the artery clogging fries. Excuse me, where is my instant noodles?
The BBQ wings (S$2.10ea min 3/order) are nicely grilled and smoky. I'm not a BBQ sauce fan as it could be quite overpowering sometimes. Even though i'm into strong flavors, i don't like my food to be overseasoned as well. This was just right for me. Great for sharing too.
Meat lovers would really rejoice at Backyard because it's packed with meat. If you hate your vege, you should should still give the Chargrilled Vegetables with Truffle Oil (S$13.80) a shot. Love the smoky flavors from the grill and the sweet juices from the aubergine and zucchini. This has got to be the least vegee veg dish.
Not a big fan of the pastas. I thought it to be a little over creamy and overcooked. It's quite the dry and sticky sort. The Grilled Chicken Spaghetti (S$12.80) was quite bland even with the cajun spices, till i bit into the jalapenos. It really does give the dish the much needed vinegar kick. Tom Yum (S$15.30) was a little dull though. 

Now on to the other mains.
The Kroenbourg Beer Battered Fish & Chips (S$14.30) is one of my favorite. Moist and fresh bassa fillet is battered (there's the breaded version too) and fried. The meat is slightly sweet and very succulent. This is equilvalent to the top Pacific Dory grade.
The mains come with fries and coleslaw. You can change it to other sides like sauteed mushrooms, cheese baked potato (highly recommended), mash (pretty awesome too). I would top my fries with the Chili Con Carne, which is a flavorful mix of beef, tomatoes, onion, jalapenos. You can add this to corn chips, hot dog etc. I'll so order the chips with salsa, melted cheese dip and on top of that the chili con carne. That'll only set me back by S$12.80. Say wert?!
If you love your steaks, pick from the selection or ribeye here. The US Black Angus Prime Ribeye 250g (S$45.80) was nicely grilled and tender. It comes with a thick mushroom gravy but it tastes quite perfect on its own. The truffle salt topping (S$2.80) is also quite interesting and there are others like blue cheese to choose from.Wagyu Ribeye with a 4-5 Marbling is also available for S$52.80. What's awesome is that Backyard has a Tuesday Steak Night and that's a 20% off all steaks. Awesome! The carnivore in me is doing a rodeo dance right now.
Backyard Sunrise Burger with Baked Cheese Potato (S$13.30) is made with NZ Beef patties, served medium well, and topped with streaky bacon, cheddar cheese and a sunny side up. Very hearty and satisfying. It's massive but not as ginormous as the Dressed up Dog (S$13.80)
Now, this fella is wrapped with the same toppings as the burger. We had the slightly spiced pork sausage which was uber satisfying. Get your hands dirty and grab hold of that dawg. I would not let anyone steal mine.  
We were thoroughly stuffed by the time desserts were gonna be served but well, women do have a separate stomach for sweets. The Affogato (S$7.30) is served with a smooth scoop of Devonshire Clotted Ice Cream instead of regular vanilla. This has a much smoother texture and it's also less sweet. Not too sure about the calorie count though.
I'm not a Panna Cotta fan so i can't judge what's the perfect PC. It's smooth but a little firm. I would prefer it to be a little more milky and gelatinous.The Blueberry and Honey Walnut Panna Cotta (S$7.30) were alright though I would rather save the space for their savory sides.

This tasting is one of the most comfortable and relaxed one that i've been. The combination of hearty and affordable food, chillaxing atmosphere, drinks (lots of it), great conversations and awesome hosts really made for a wonderful night out. Thank you Han, Val and Jerome for the invitation! I will definitely be back. They have bands playing on Friday nights. Definitely the perfect way to unwind after a week at work. Cheers! 
i'm not that short i'm just making space for Val at the back. :P

130E Minden Road
Singapore 248819
Tel: +65 6479 0388
Daily 11.00am - 12.00am