To-Gather Cafe

I like chilling out in a cafe, especially when I am in one that has a cozy ambience and that their coffee and food are good. It would be even better if the cafe allocates a small area for the kids to play in. Recently, I came across one that we, as a family, are delighted with and I believe we will go back for more. It is located in our neighbourhood and that also translates to reasonable pricing for the items on their menu.

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To-gather cafe is located next to the famous Fengshan Market (more commonly known as the Blk 85 market). The exterior decor has a Japanese feel to it and the cafe stands out among the shops in that block. Once inside, I couldn’t help but feel welcomed. The interior is simple, clean and exudes a warm, homely feel to the diners.

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Before we could be seated, our little one automatically went towards a small area and helped herself to the ‘kitchen’. Yes, you’ve guessed it right, it’s a play area for the little ones and this is so thoughtful of the owner and a brilliant use of space. Normally, this space (under the stairway) is used as a storeroom for cafes that have the same layout. The owner obviously know that kids can be a handful and designed this space for them so that the parents can have an (almost) undisturbed meal time. 😉

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The prices for most of the food items on the menu are below $10 and you order and pay before going back to your table. There is no service charge as such. I ordered the Teriyaki Chicken Kinoko Pasta (the photo above does not do justice) and the hubs had Pork Cordon Bleu. The dishes do not impress but they do not disappoint either. On the whole, I feel that the food is worth the price we pay for. You feel good paying for them actually.

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I also appreciate that there are different kinds of seating/table arrangement. If you prefer a little privacy, there are those tables that are separated by a low false wall -benches and booths. If you have a big group, there is a long wooden table that you can be seated. There are also those normal 2 or 4 seaters (I hope you know what I mean. This is the best I can describe with my limited vocabulary). Outdoor seating is available too. Oh, I do love the wall decals that bear some meaningful quotes.

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Normally, I don’t visit a cafe more than once (or twice) unless we find it real good. And we probably will come back to To-gather cafe for more since it is within walking distance from our apartment and it serves good food with reasonable pricing. I heard that this cafe has expanded (to the current 2 units) within a few months of operation.

It must be good.

To-gather cafe

Blk 84, Bedok North St 4 #01-25/27
Tue – Thu: 11:00 – 22:00
Fri – Sat: 11:00 – 23:00
Sun: 11:00 – 22:00
Closed on Monday
http://www.togathercafe.com.sg

The Swiss Bäcker

If you stay in the eastern part of Singapore and are looking for a decent breakfast place, consider this eatery at Frankel Ave – The Swiss Backer.

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Da man and I stumbled upon this cafe while I was pregnant and craving for a good morning meal. We were are early risers (normally around 5am) and definitely would appreciate cafes that operate early in the day. This, opens at 7.30am. Woohoo!

This time round, when we visited The Swiss Backer, we were pleasantly surprised that they have just undergone renovation and I must say, this is an awesome move. The whole place looks brighter with the full glass windows and the service, still as good. There is a corner with kids’ stuff which we used to entertain Faith and I do sense a family-friendly environment.

A raised platform space to accommodate big crowd.

A raised platform space to accommodate big crowd.

Aromatic artisan bread

Aromatic pastries

Desserts

Desserts

There is now more selection in terms of food though I still prefer their aromatic bread to their desserts.

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So these are what we have ordered, not much different from what we used to order. We are just hmm…creatures of habits I guess. ;p

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Faith was getting quite restless after having her fill and her ‘music-making’ session using sachets of sugar. So da man took a book from the children’s corner and read to her. That lasted for about 2 minutes only. ;p

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We did have a good breakfast and I thought this place is worth recommending!

The Swiss Backer
97 Frankel Avenue
Singapore 458222
Open: 7.30am – 7.30pm

Linking up with

Kith @ Robertson Quay

We have heard good stuff about Kith so da man and I decided to visit the cafe for ourselves. There are three branches – Robertson Quay, Park Mall and Sentosa Cove – and we chose the first because we saw from a website beautiful pictures of this branch. There is even a play area for kids and Faith would like it!

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The seemingly ‘big’ play space that we saw from the picture turns out to be just a space outside the shop. The cafe itself is small and cannot accommodate any tables; you can only take your orders. The tables and chairs are found along the corridor and the space outside the shop, giving it an alfresco setting which is nice.

Thankfully, the service and coffee were good. The breakfast that we had was okay, not excellent, but all right. I was expecting more but I guess I have pitched my expectations to be a tad high. Come to think of it, maybe I ordered the wrong stuff?

Another plus point about Kith is that they open very early – 7am – and perhaps this is the reason why there were so many families around when we reached. It’s a nice place to chill despite the limited seating. We were just wondering what would happen if it rains.

Kith cafe

Kith cafe

Play area for kids

Play area for kids

Alfresco setting

Alfresco setting

Ham & cheese croissant & latte

Ham & cheese croissant & latte

Da man's big breakfast. Not too exciting, I regret to say.

Da man’s big breakfast. Not too exciting, I regret to say.

Faith got to play for a while. Hello, my friend!

Faith got to play for a while. Hello, my friend!

This is a family-friendly cafe indeed. There are boxes of toys and books for kids to get busy with. If you are not too concerned about cleanliness, the kids can just play by themselves as you sip a cup of coffee with your pals.

Kith @ Watermark
Robertson Quay
7 Rodyk Street
#01-33
7am – 7pm

Linking up with

@ 35 weeks

I’m into my 35th week! The tummy has ballooned and I hope Faith is putting all the fats that she needs (I look like a whale). These days, it has been increasingly difficult to sleep well. The back aches, the left shoulder gets numb and my left inner thigh hurts a lot. At times, I have to resort to sleeping on the armchair and then realising that it is still not the best position. Perhaps, such limited sleep is a training ground for the days to come when Faith comes out? I think I need to be positive instead of wallowing in self-pity. As long as she is fine, I’m prepared to endure all these ( I believe all mothers would say that!).

Otherwise, pregnancy has been smooth and I’m forever grateful for the Lord for that. Everyone kept telling me to eat what I can now before the confinement period commences and they make it sound as if it were D-day. So, every Saturday morning (not many left), da man and I would scout for good breakfast places to go (at the request of me actually…kekekekek). This time round, it’s at Botanic Gardens’ Food For Thought. This place used to be a food court and I remember going there with my STB colleagues. Now, it has been transformed and attracted many families to dine there. Big spacious place and child-friendly!

   
Ken’s and my lot. The portions are big and we should be sharing! Find the food nothing spectacular but love the brioche though. The breakfast filled our tummy so much that we skipped lunch. Not bad…quite worth it. Hah!

3 more days

We were treated to lunch by J at Bon Chon. The last Saturday, we had wanted to visit this eatery but it was already full when we got there and had to wait for 40 minutes for a table. This time round, we decided that lunch would be less crowded and indeed it is!

Bon Chon didn’t disappoint us. We had their famous chicken in both soy garlic and hot sauce, crispy salmon salad and spicy pork bibimbap and all these for about US$30. Decent prices.

Bon Chon
123 Brighton Ave
(between Linden St & Harvard Ave)
Boston, MA 02134

In the evening before we headed for the Christmas must-do in Boston, we had Japanese at Toro Japanese and Korean Grill. We wouldn’t have gone for it if not for the fact that I had purchased some vouchers from restaurant.com and had chosen this restaurant to redeem one of the vouchers. I must remind myself that I shouldn’t go for such offers especially when there is a catch – you need to spend a certain amount before you can use the discount coupon. It didn’t help us save in the end. =( Food was average. Sashimi wasn’t excellent. Bleh.

Toro Sushi and Grill
1245 Commonwealth Ave
Allston, MA 02134

And it’s off to Boston Ballet Company‘s Nutcracker next @ the Boston Opera House!! Love the grand interior design. This completes our holiday season in Boston. =p

Bamboo Thai Restaurant

Tucked along 1616 Commonwealth Ave, you would miss the restaurant if you are not observant enough. I passed by this eatery many times on my way to Whole Foods but realised its presence only until I bought a voucher from Restaurant.com. 

We invited N Chan along since she is a Thai and would be able to determine if the food is authentically Thai and delicious. I must say we were not disappointed! We were served by very friendly waitresses and having N Chan with us is an advantage since she could use her native language to communicate with them and to recommend some of the local food to us. I especially like tod mun and crispy tamarind duck. Worth visiting!

Thai Ice Tea. Very sweet!

Tod Mun

krathong thong

All the starters and soup

Crispy Tamarind Duck and the happy gals

Fried ice-cream. Coconut and Vanilla.

Bamboo Thai Restaurant
1616 Commonwealth Ave, Brighton, MA

Boston Restaurant Week: Rialto

It’s Jody Adam’s Rialto we went for a 3-course dinner. Anticipating that it would be much food – at times more than we could handle – we decided to have a light lunch so that we had space for this US$33.11 meal.

Situated on the 2nd floor of Charles Hotel, we were 20 minutes early but the waitress graciously sat us by a 2-seater table. The decor was cosy and the atmosphere light. Jazzy music was playing in the background and I hummed along to Norah Jones’ number.

Overall, the hubs and I enjoyed the dinner. Our server was attentive to us and the food tastefully decorated. Fish was fresh, as with the vegs too. Ken loved the popover with the tangy touch to it. I…just love everything about the food. The amount was just nice and didn’t leave us with a bloated stomach.

  

Charred beef carpaccio...bean salad, tomatoes, pickles

Ceviche of local fish... sea salt, mint oil, pickled watermelon

Grilled bluefish... grilled razor clam, bacon, garlic potatoes, cucumber sauce

Grilled pork sausage...chic peas, grilled romaine, Aleppo, feta

Sweet cinnamon popover with blueberry peach compote and lemon mascarpone mousse

Chocolate torta with sweet corn ice cream, cornmeal crisp, chili crème anglaise and corn nut croquant

Pardon the grainy pictures. Forgot to bring my camera along! Sigh!

Union Oyster House

I’m back to Apple School again to learn to use iMovie. I was early – 10 minutes before 10am – and there was already a crowd outside the store. Seems like there will always be a steady number of customers = potential $$$.

iMovie is really easy to use, much more idiot-proof than Windows Movie Maker. I should be practising using it soon!

Went to Union Oyster House for our first Restaurant Week Boston. Established in 1826, it is supposedly America’s oldest restaurant and is found along the Freedom Trail. We had the 3-course meal for $20.11 per person and we came out, feeling bloated.

We were seated on the second floor and it was rather dim, giving it an old feel to the atmosphere. We were each served cornbread before our appetizers which were Clam Chowder and Buffalo Fried Calamari. By then, we were already half-filled.

 

Entrees: Oysters lightly fried and pan-fried halibut. We could not finished our share. I prefer the Halibut but it was a tad plain if eaten without the sauteed yellow and red tomatoes. The mashed potatoes could have been more flavourful while the fries on the plate of oysters could be served warmer.

For desserts, we had Homemade Apple Clobber and Indian Pudding and a cup of coffee each. And yes, we couldn’t finish again. We are just small-eaters by nature. What a waste!

Both of us concurred that the appetizers are the better dishes we had tasted and that we need to exercise more. =)

An Atas Experience

“So, this is professional kitchen for you. What do you think?”

Sze Wei asked me after we have completed our 3-course meal (which expanded into a 6-8 course meal, courtesy of this friend of Ken).

We were at Journeyman, a restaurant opened by Ken’s friend and his wife. It was a much-anticipated visit as Sze Wei has corresponded with Ken before our move here. It was he who advised me (through Ken) that I would not really need a culinary education to cook well; I can learn the ropes myself. Besides, I could definitely go to his restaurant to take a look and have a go at it, just for the experience. 

Journeyman finally opened their doors for business about three months ago. It was delayed due to some operations issues but we were glad that we made it yesterday.

We were seated at the serving counter, in full view of what the chefs were doing (a trio of Tse Wei, his wife and another chef). It was a nice concept since I could see the chefs in action and what went into the creation of my food. Contrary to what I saw from TV, these chefs here did not shout at one another. They were whispering and politeness was in the air (obviously since you have diners looking at you cook).

Sze Wei and the other chef were in charge of the main course while the wife, Diana, dealt with savoury dishes and desserts.

Ken and I selected the three-course meal at US$40/pax but the server soon came up to us and said, “I must warn you that the kitchen has intended to ignore your order and will serve you with copius amount of food. Sze Wei has plans for you.”

And yes, we had tastings of several savoury dishes before the entree was served. By that time, I was already full, not forgetting the dessert. It was an ‘atas’ (collquial term for high-class)/fine-dining experience nonetheless.

    

Stressful was my answer to Sze Wei but as he explained, that night was really quite smooth since the kitchen had only made one mistake compared to the other nights. It was not filled to the maximum capacity (3/4 full) too so it was generally all right.

  

He went on to explain that he starts work at around 10am every day (depending on what time he can wake up) and go back home at 2am in the morning. The first order starts at 6.30pm and last order of the day is 9.30pm and as we had experienced, dinner takes about 3 hours to complete and by the time the restaurant closes for the day, it would be 12.30am. Cleaning up needs to be done and thereafter a short staff meeting will be in place and the cycle goes on.

He hopes to have a day of rest eventually since right now he could only afford an evening. Business has been good and they are enjoying themselves (obviously, there are also a lot of stress and challenges).

“You can come in anytime and play.”

PLAY? I had better not. Meanwhile, I would use my time to hone my skills and learn as much as possible. Hopefully, when I’m confident enough, I could try out at his kitchen…FOR A DAY.

Cajun cooking

I absolutely must have my fair share of cajun food whenever I’m at South Station. The hubs knew that and suggested I popped over to have it.

I do not know what Cajun cooking is and obviously the type of food related to it. But I will seek to find out one day! I promise!

I had the honey chicken today!