Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Cafe Expedition

We all look forward to the weekend for various reasons.

Though it might only be two days, and technically (that is, if we want to be specific) only a mere 48 hours, it feels as if time does stop. For two whole days, your time is stretched, you are a bit more calm and you naturally have more time to do the things you've been planning to do all week.

Of course that's only a given if you do not have to work overtime or rush a deadline on a Saturday or Sunday. To sum it up - weekends are a luxury of many who are working and I am well aware of that especially since I relinquished my undergraduate status about 8 months ago.

Most of the time, I spend my weekends at home, relaxing with a cup of tea and a book. Mornings are spent reading the newspapers with soothing tunes chiming out of my speakers. At times there's work to be completed so I immediately switch on my laptop and busy myself for the rest of the day.

Then there are lovely weekends where my friends and I plan outings together and those, ah those are another thing altogether. Especially when it concerns the taste buds.

For some reason, I'm totally sold on the idea of weekend brunch. I would however admit that it's only a recent occurence to me. I never understood the idea because I like having my three meals and the anticipation that builds up as I think of what to eat for those three meals. I know it does sound really stupid but brunch just shortens my choices. Or at least that was what I used to think.

I won't deny it - I can be quite the greedy girl. I enjoy my meals thoroughly (delicious and tasty ones of course). Eating to me can never be a chore simply because I not only enjoy the process of consuming food that's carefully prepared, but also the excitement that comes with each bite or each new dish that I'm trying for the first time. This then leads me to another reason why I'm so eager to explore new eating grounds and if you love food as much as I do, I'm sure I don't need to explain further.

Also, other than the quality of the food and the ambience of the place, another major factor is of course the company.

Trust me, nothing dampens a bright perky sunny-side up (complete with crisp toasty bread!) than a companion who pushes his/her food around with a fork without ever intending to let that piece of food see the insides of his/her tightly sealed mouth. It might sound harsh but I see no joy in dining with someone who cannot understand why God created food. Believe me, I will cry if I ever have to eat pellets in place of food.

On a happier note, I will say that I have no lack of friends who share the same joy as I. The joy that is instantly recognisable from the tone of voice, a gleaming pair of eyes radiating with anticipation of what is to come from the kitchen, or a ready tummy all revved up to go. I really am thankful for these friends. You hear me (or rather read) mention them once in a while in this little space on cyberworld and alot of times, I wish I could share more with you, like the smells we smelled or the savoury, sweet, salty, spicy, sour tastes that we experienced and so on. But alas a simple blog can only do so much.

I know what I can do is to continue to supply you with photos (taken with the best of my ability, hopefully meeting your expectations) and wax lyrical with descriptive language. I try my best to make you salivate as do I, when I await for the food to arrive on my table, after a torturing time lounging in the well permeated smells of deliciousness.

Today is no different. Here's a peek into one of those planned weekends I have, and one filled with tasty things.

But first, let me introduce to you someone you most probably already know (since I mention her so often) especially if you had ordered cupcakes/cookies from me last year.

This is Butterscotch:

One half of Cocoa & Butterscotch which we created last year, this perky girl is a great friend of mine. She requested to remain anonymous, so you shall not get to see who she is. But yes, she is none other than my best friend Dot. Dot's a designer, and a very talented one at that. She's cool, quirky, cheerful, and upbeat and the best thing is that she loves food about as much as I do. And oh, she also has great fashion sense (in my opinion) and I always consult her whenever I face a style dilemma.

So anyway, she called me up two weeks ago asking me if we could go explore cafes for a project she's working on. So after discussing a bit on where we were going to go, it was set. The date, time and place of what was to be the first official documented Adventures of Cocoa & Butterscotch was born.

This first adventure was to be named The Cafe Expedition.

And so on a bright sunny Saturday last weekend, we set foot into town and proceeded to roam cafes, with a hungry vengence...

Yes we completed this expedition on foot. We are quite the energetic pair and love putting our sturdy feet to good use. :)

We went to three cafes located at two different places.

There was Dempsey Hill:

It was clearly touted as a paradise of which we have no violent objections. It is quite the charmer. I've been here before so it was nice to be back.

The two places we visited there was Barracks:

and of course (unsurprisingly!) PS. Cafe:

The other location was at Tanglin Shopping Centre. You should be careful not to judge this nondescript location because trust me, it will astound you with a gem such as this:

It claims to be the first deli in Singapore and although I do not have any evidence, I might as well believe it to be true. What gives, you ask?

Plenty it seems. From the chocolate peanut butter milkshake to their hearty sandwiches that come with a tame mound of coleslaw - everything here at Steeple's is authentic; authentically quaint and worthy of its 'first deli in Singapore' status.

A quick scan of their interiors send me back into the time machine. I would dare say that if I were to assume what a deli in the 80's would look like, this would be it. Afterall, they supposedly opened in 1981. Again, though I might not be able to prove that, I have photos to show:

Check out the chalkboard menu design and the ceiling-hung lamps. What about the wood furnishing and counter seats.

I loved every nook and cranny of this deli. I would describe it as a mild establishment with good food worthy of praise that need not be trumpeted out loud in order to lure steady customers. I do believe this place has a reputation for its sandwiches, burgers and milkshakes (yes I did google).

We had the BLT:

We chose rye bread and ordered a serving of sauerkraut to go with it:

It was memorable. Not so much 'knock your socks off' kind of memorable but more so in a home-style warm and fuzzy way. It's the place you would go to if you just want to down a sandwich with a good milkshake to go. In any case, the seating here will not allow you to lounge or chill-out long, unless you want to be the bane of other customers waiting for their turn at a delectable Steeple's Deli burger.

Of course it will not be fair to compare Steeple's Deli to PS. cafe, so I shall not. Instead, I will ramble on about the merits of the latter, on its own, as a gorgeous place to spend your entire Saturday afternoon at:

Don't ask me why but this area was closed when we were there. I forgot to take photos of the other section where we sat, but well, you can imagine yes :) Although you would forget that I even mentioned the decor when you see this baby:

The PS. burger is a sin worth commiting. It might very well be that apple in the garden of Eden that ever dieter craves they could chow on without having it affect their waistlines.

Indeed it is huge and it does look like it contains 5000 calories (or maybe more!). But you see, the cool thing about dining with someone who's game enough to eat bacon (fats and all) is that they are up for anything you offer, including a humongous burger that comes with crazy-good fries.

So the burger is a combination of juicy wagyu beef, crisp and smoky bacon, cheese, egg, spinach and tomato all packed in a big sesame seed bun. The buns are spread with a garlicky butter of sorts (if I remember correctly!) and act sas a neutral foil to the chockful of fillings.

The burger was shared among us and I was so excited that I happily announced to Dot that the burger was arriving as soon as I spotted the waitress carrying it and walking in our direction. Such is the extent of my greed - I have to spot my food because I cannot wait to have it.

That burger lived up to every ounce of our expectations. The meat was perfect, the bacon oh-so-good (i think it speaks for itself, really. bacon is bacon is bacon is divine) and the whole marriage of spinach with the rest of the ingredients is worthy of a silent W-O-W, mouthed with great effect.

Before I move on to the next eating venue, let me fawn over this elegant piece of china:

I had the digestive tea in this pretty little tea cup. I really like it. Then again, I love everything English don't I? I looked at the bottom of the cup and it said Queen Anne, Made in England. So hey, it's legit. Perfect prim and proper teacup ideal of those English afternoon teas. Hmmm..

Okay, you would think that after that burger, there was no way we could fit dessert into our satisfied tummies eh?

We did indeed feel full and therefore skip dessert at PS. Cafe, we couldn't help but order a strawberry shortcake when we sat down at Barracks after roaming round Dempsey for an hour or two. In that short time, I bought myself a bottle of Tetsuya Truffle Salt from Culina, while Dot bought some pistachio fairy floss from Jones the Grocer. Pretty efficient girls we are, aren't we? I do think we managed to squeeze out alot out of that Saturday last week.

Here's the strawberry shortcake with a shot of vanilla bean cream at the side for us to eat with the cake:

It was a relatively nice cake. No fireworks there although we did like that they presented it in a mess tin, which coincided with the Barracks theme. The two plump strawberries on top were appealing too.

We hung out at Barracks for quite a while because it started to pour, very heavily. We explored the place, we sat down a the sofa and looked out at the rain, patiently waiting for it to lighten up. When it finally did, it was about 5pm and we headed back to Orchard for some window shopping before going to Changi Village for somemore sinful food:

Fried oysters. Gosh, this oil-laden dish is heart-stopping (both sense of the word I'm afraid and happy to report). It is true how the tastiest foods are the most unhealthiest but when it comes to me and Dot, I don't think we care too much about it. Remember, moderation is the magic word. Don't worry, we don't have this everyday.

After dinner at Changi Village, we headed home with a big smile and a satiated tummy coupled with that occasional satisfying burp of course :)

P.S. We hope to have more food expeditions and will share them with you as we go along. For more photos, see our Cocoa & Butterscotch site. Have a great week!


Steeple Deli
#02-25, Tanglin Shopping Centre
19 Tanglin Road
Tel: +65 6737 0701

PS. Cafe
28B Harding Road
Tel: +65 6479 3343

8D Dempsey Road
Tanglin Village
Tel: +65 6475 7787


Lolly said...

such a delicious site!

Anonymous said...

steeple's deli looks like a scene out of archie's and betty&veronica's comics!!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Wow - what an expedition! The juxtaposition of that burger with the elegant cup makes me laugh, though...

Miss Tam Chiak said...

wah! so many good food! and the teacup is pretty! *loves*

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