Brunswick Mess Hall...where do I start? I booked to have dinner at Brunswick Mess Hall after hearing great reviews from friends and colleagues and after seeing all the amazing reviews on Dimmi, Google reviews, Facebook and Zomato. The interior aesthetics of the place was probably what drew me to the restaurant, followed by seeing there was soft shell crab bao on the menu online. Upon arriving at Brunswick Mess Hall, I was excited. The place was beautiful with high exposed timber support ceilings, light hangings, plenty of green foliage on the walls and ceilings and of course the characteristics of the arched cathedral-like windows. It was absolutely beautiful! I can just imagine a beautiful wedding taking place in the space. That was probably where the evening started going downhill.
Service was non-existent. It was incredibly hard to get a waiter's attention to place orders for drinks, and when we were finally served, there was a lack of warmth and friendliness. It was probably due to the fully packed restaurant and lack of service staff. After placing our food order, we had to wait close to 30 minutes to receive our food. From getting seated for our booking around 7:50, we only got our first dish at around 8:35pm. When the bill came, it was around what I expected considering we did order quite a few dished. Definitely more than we needed to. However, the quality was definitely not worth the price. If the food had been good, it would have been justifyable but unfortunately was let down by the food.
We ordered plenty of snack-sized dishes from the menu along with a green curry to share. This is a brief run down of the dishes we ordered:
Food & Drinks: 1.5/5
Slow service, bad food. Would not recommend.
Highly rated across all review sites such as Zomato, TripAdvisor, Yelp and Facebook, Calia is a unique 'restaurant-meets-retail' experience. It is located on the 3rd level of Emporium in the Melbourne CBD. Calia brings Japanese fusion to Melbourne with the menu created by Michelin Star Chef, Francisco Javier Araya. Surprisingly, the price point is reasonable- an average of $20 for a main. The restaurant thrives on a stellar line up of suppliers including Robbins Island Wagyu beef, Yarra Valley Truffles and Red Hill Truffles, Coffee by Seven Seeds, as well as pastries and bread by Chez Dre and sweet treats by Bibelot.
The front of Calia made me go wow. It reminds me of a Kate Spade store with pretty greenery, golds and bright colours. The retail part of Calia was beyond beautiful. Being in a 40 minute long waitlist, I had a good browse of all the different products. There were food products, gluten free foods, specialty international products, stunning 'traditional-meets-modern' cutlery, dinnerware and teapots. It was a very aesthetic experience. After a long wait, we were seated and served promptly. The food came out quickly and it definitely didn't disappoint. For starters, we ordered some umami fries and crispy prawns with mayonnaise. I highly recommend both dishes as it was delicious and got the juices going, just in time for our mains. We ordered the Crispy Roast Pork Bowl and the O' Bara Bara. The ginger sauce that came with the Crispy Roast Pork Bowl was amazing. Probably the best thing about the dish. I personally have had better Roast Pork before as I thought the crackle was not crispy enough. Still delicious but I would have to say it was the sauce that held the dish together. The O' Bara Bara on the other hand was visually appealing and tasty. It is a mix of diced tuna, salmon, kingfish, tamago and ikura. It was light, healthy and very fresh.
I have also previously had the chance to taste some desserts from Calia- The Matcha Lava Lava a rich enticing chocolate lava cake oozing warm matcha ganache. If you are a chocolate fan, you will absolutely love it! Although for $15, I wouldn't be rushing to get it without an occasion. The Hokkaido Chizukeki is a take on the Hokkaido cheesecake with Yuzu jelly. This was delicious and my favourite, I would highly recommend this. After a meal, the light flavours and cheesecake combined with the tangy Yuzu jelly was just divine.
Food & Drinks: 4.5/5
Delicious! Have been back a couple of times since.
After a day of walking around Singapore, sweating in the heat and spending all my money, there is only one thing left to do. Find a good cafe with air conditioning, have a drink and rest my feet. Tiong Bahru is home to many fantastic brunch restaurants, hipster cafes and small boutiques and bookstores. Walking through the streets from Tiong Bahru MRT, I came to a corner cafe which is highly rated. I haven't actually heard of this place before but it was busy and the interior was what I would call instagram-able. Also weird side note, the toilet space was pretty. Very pretty. Meeting a few friends there, we had some drinks and tried some sweet treats. The prices on the menu is nett; always a bonus! I didn't have any foods so I can't comment or recommend the food but I'm sure with such high ratings, their foods would be equally as good as their drinks and pastries.
Food & Drinks: 3.5/5
Would recommend if you are around the Tiong Bahru area
I've been meaning to try out Picnic, located on level 3 of Wisma Atria for several weeks. The outside is decorated with faux plant walls and hanging greenery. It was far too charming and enticing for the girly girl in me to resist eating here. I had not read any reviews on this new eatery in the Orchard area, so I was excited to eat here without any expectations. Every patron gets a buzzer on their way in. It is an individual tab that you pay on your way out. Upon entering Picnic, I was wowed by the interior. It was decorated like a garden with hanging greenery, pink cherry blossom flowers and faux grass with picnic style tables and chairs. It was like entering into another world.
I am completely in love with food truck themed restaurants. They are so fun and is a modern take on food centres. I loved the selection of food truck stalls. There are cuisines to cater for all cravings - Mexican, Korean, Taiwanese, Japanese, American Diner, Salad Bar, Italian and a Dessert Bar. The prices are fairly reasonable and because it is self-service, it is only an additional 7% GST charge. It is self-service ordering using an interactive, technological menu through the buzzer.
If you are looking to take a girl on a date, or even have a night out with the girls, I would definitely recommend coming to Picnic for a meal. Not only is it absolutely beautiful and Instagram worthy, it has many cuisines to suit everyone's liking. The best part? Not having to worry about split billing. It is a self-service payment service where you can pay using cash or card. So if you are on a Tinder date, you won't have to worry about that awkward moment at the till where you and the girl fight over going dutch. This way, it's obligatory to pay your own meal. Just saying.
I ordered a Korean style taco with spicy BBQ pork belly. The portion size was good and the taste was pretty decent too. To be honest I've probably had better Korean tacos at Vatos Tacos. But I was still happy with my meal. We also ordered a Chicken parmesan hotdog which was delicious. If you are a big eater, you would probably need to order more as it was half a hot dog bun. The French Onion soup with a cheesy crouton was yummy. Overall food wise, we were happy with it and would come back to try some other dishes on another weekend.
Food & Drinks: 3.5/5
Would highly recommend for girls nights out
'FOC' means 'fire' in Catalan, the language spoken in Barcelona’s region, North East of Spain. Founded by a Spanish Michelin-starred chef, Nandu Jubany, FOC is a must try located along Hong Kong Street. FOC serves up Catalonian tapas dishes and a selection of handcrafted cocktails. It is a collaboration between Michelin-Starred Chef Nandu Jubany, Chef Jordi Noguera and award-winning mixologist Dario Knox. There is a minimum spend of $78++ per pax which may seem pricey, however for a special occasion or just to indulge in exquisite food, the price is justified. I was lucky to try out FOC for the first time with a large group of friends. This meant that we were able to order many dishes on the menu to share and taste. Oh and of course, the cocktails and bottles of french wine. Honestly, I am not a huge seafood fan but I was still scoffing down the scallops, scampi, clams and prawns.
We were seated in the back room of the restaurant which featured 3 large hanging head lamp shades which I assume are the founder, chef and mixologist. I could be completely wrong. As we were a large group, we were sat on bar type seats around a large high wodden square table. In my opinion, my favourite dishes or the 'must try' dishes are the croquettes (mushroom and ham variety- I can't decide which I liked more), lamp chops, beef steak and the prawns. Everything was delicious, but those were my favourite tapas dishes. Most of the dishes we had are pictured below. However, there are some that are not pictured due to the slow-ness of reaching for my camera with food in my mouth before someone dug into it.
Food & Drinks: 4/5
Would recommend for special occasions
An unexpected turn took us around the Lavender area. Having previously come across a food blog review of Oberstrasse, we decided to check it out for some lunch and coffee. Just a 5 minute walk from Lavender MRT, it is convenient and quiet. Upon entering the cafe, we were greeted with simple decor, featuring lightbulbs in large jars. There were lots of people in the cafe on laptops, working or studying away. The menu was simple and featured all day breakfasts, pastas and a mains. The price was exceptional, pastas for under $15, and most items in the menu around $12-$20 nett. We were craving pastas today so we ordered the carbonara and a mushroom pasta. Personally, I prefer my carbonara sauce more cheesy and creamy whereas the sauce in my opinion was fairly thin. It wasn't bad, it just was not to my preference. Nonetheless, the dish was finished within minutes. I would definitely return one day to try other items on their menu as the price was amazing and the food was decent. It will not be on my immediate 'go to' list of cafes to go to as Singapore has plenty of beautiful, wonderful brunch places but definitely check it out if you are around the area or looking for a place to hang out with friends without breaking the bank.
Food & Drinks: 3.5/5
Would recommend if you are in the area
Searching for new bars and places to go on Saturday nights is my Friday night hobby. Upon googling 'new bars in Singapore' I clicked on thehoneycombers.com and Teepee Bar and Restaurant popped up. It intrigued me as it compared itself to the likes of 28 Hong Kong Street which in my humble opinion, was a long shot. 'There's a new hidden bar on Hong Kong Street that's easy on the wallet and completely unpretentious.' was the sub heading. Interesting. Reviews on Facebook was also amazing so I just had to go check it out. If it was anything like its neighbour, and easy on the wallet, I'm sold.
Pulling up to Hong Kong Street in a cab, I was expecting a hidden bar, with only a delightfully 'rabak' cardboard sign that gives away the bar's presence (apparently. quoted from the site). However, it wasn't obscure at all. The corridor door that led to the bar was open, the bar door was open and I could see right through to the back of the bar from the main street. Lame. I was expecting a completely unexpected door that opened up to a bar that made me enter into another world (Ok, so I might have just binge watched the entire season of The OA). I digress. Walking into the bar, it was cosy, small, relatively empty considering it was a Saturday night. I wasn't too fussed about the crowd as I was happy to get a seat. It honestly didn't give a very 'bar' atmosphere because it was quite bright. I guess if you were there for dinner, you'd appreciate being able to see where your chicken is on your plate.
As a bar/restaurant, they served food there but we had already eaten so we went straight to the drinks menu. As thehoneycombers.com had mention the prices were easy on the wallet, I was expecting prices to begin around $16-$22++ (or around $25 nett max) however, the cocktail list started from $20 for a basic and ranged up to the top end of $26++. The drinks menu was decent but a fairly small cocktail list. As a fruity cocktail girl, there wasn't much of an option. There was however a 'Make your own' option. I asked for the bartender to fix me something fruity with either gin or vodka. We also asked for an Espresso Martini but they didn't do it. They did however do an alternative coffee cocktail (Espresso shot, cacao and whiskey). If they have espresso shot at a bar, why can't they make an espresso martini? I mean, surely a bar will have the basic alcohol of Kahlua and Vodka. The drinks we ordered were decent, nothing to rave about, nothing to complain about. Price-wise, I would say it was almost the same price as 28 Hong Kong Street. Honestly, I'd give this bar a miss and head over next door.
Food & Drinks: 3.5/5
Glad I checked it out but will not be back
The first thing that comes to mind when introducing Singapore to anyone is good food, plenty of shopping and lots of sweat. Having grown up in beautiful Australia, 'the beach' and 'Singapore' do not come to mind naturally. However on weekends when I'm in need of some Vit D, I don't mind paying $7 entry into Sentosa for sun, sand and water. We used to head to Tanjong Beach Club quite often for chilled Sundays but this time, we decided to try out one of the bars along Silosa Beach on Saturday. Situated along Siloso Beach next to Sand Bar and Coastes, is Bikini Bar. That name kind of reminds me of Hawaii. The bar area of Bikini Bar is stunning, I love, love, love the hanging bintang bottles feature. And did I mention- old school tunes. None of that mainstream radio music. Thank the Lord.
They serve delicious food too along side their comprehensive drinks menu which features 2 for $18 Bintang. We ordered tacos, $14++ (2 huge soft shell tacos with generous amount of fillings) and Nachos (big plate, mountain-sized nacho plate with guac, sour cream, tomatoes and meat). Delish!
Food & Drinks: 4/5
Would strongly recommend
To continue on Christmas Eve traditions of getting pissed at a pub, we headed to Lepark last night to ring in Christmas. I was expecting a rooftop bar like The Projector at Golden Mile Complex with outdoor spaces and indie vibes. However Lepark was so much better! As it was raining last night, moods were slightly dampened by the weather as we thought it was outdoor seating. Lepark is located on the 6th floor of People's Park Complex, right next to Chinatown MRT station. To be honest I struggled to find the way up to the 6th floor by once I managed to, I was greeted with a graffitied warehouse door and neon signs. I was instantly impressed.
Walking through the warehouse doors, there were benches of tables with a bar and kitchen along the left side. We were seated at the back area with live music playing. They took turns to entertain the crowd with acoustic music before doing a duo performance of Christmas songs to end of the night. It was great! They involved the crowd and got us all singing along, clapping along and laughing along with them. I cannot stress how much I love the unpretentiousness vibes of Lepark.
We ordered some snack foods and mixed cocktails ($12-$14 nett), ciders and buckets of beer (any 5 bottles for $50 nett). It is not the cheapest place for drinks but they are prices you would be paying at any other bar. I order the Lepark Cocktail was was absolutely delicious! It was a mix of vodka, lychee, cranberry juice and lemonade fizz. There were a few other cocktail mixes but I can't get past lychee flavoured anything. The bar was stocked with a good selection of beers and ciders too.
Before going to Lepark, I did read other reviews raving about their Spam fries with truffle mayonnaise. Being a spam and truffle lover, I definitely was not going to miss out on trying it at Lepark. We ordered a serve of spam fries ($8 nett) and a serve of Nachos with salted egg yolk cheese ($9 nett). It was delicious, sinful but it was Christmas Eve so calories don't count. The salted egg yolk cheese was so good and a must try if you're into salted egg.
There was not a thing my friends and I did not like about Lepark. The atmosphere was so chill- perfect for an after work drink, prices were reasonable, cocktails are delicious and the live music really topped it off for us. I had an amazing night and I am so glad we decided to come to Lepark instead of a fancy bar in the CBD area. We will definitely be back really soon!
Food & Drinks: 4/5
Would strongly recommend