Saturday, September 29, 2012

Barracks @ House

Brunch is just a nicer term for lazy people who cannot wake up in time for breakfast. There are too many brunch hangouts in Singapore we were spoilt for choice, so we went for something virgin to the three of us - Barracks @ House, located in a corner of Dempsey Hill, where you can also find several good places that serve up good food. Best part of dining at Dempsey - free parking.

We started off with the Truffles Fries, which wasn't as legendary as it was raved to be. I've heard so much about the truffle fries there but despite being extremely crisp and fried to a perfect tone of golden brown, i felt they lacked the key ingredient - truffle oil. If you really have the craving for truffle fries, i would suggest P.S Cafe, which is actually just down the hill from where Barracks @ House is.

Next raved on the menu was the One-meter long Sausage, which i was at first a bit apprehensive about ordering. I mean who can actually imagine a meter long sausage being served in a table? We were actually guessing that a meter long was before the sausage would have been cooked, you know like how some places make it a point to emphasize that the weight of the steak is actually before it is being cooked. But no, the waiter told us it was a meter long, and a meter long was what we were going to get. There's a choice of beef, chicken and pork. We picked chicken after they specifically highlighted it to be recommended (when in doubt, always trust the chef's recommendation).

Despite being served in six separate pieces, on what looks like a meter long serving tray, and not a plate, we didn't really care about how long it was eventually. The sausage was surprisingly juicy and not dry, despite it being thin. It tasted a bit like an Italian sausage, except that it was chicken instead of pork.

The skinny pizza however, was mediocre. I won't deny that the crust was good - thin and perfectly done. We picked the Bolognese with Mozzarella, which looked and tasted like just bolognese sauce was poured on it, topped with mozzarella slices and rocket leaves. It was good, but not out of the world fantastic.

We decided that desserts were the most important, and dived in to order three but was told that the Pandan Jelly Sponge was not available. The Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake was refreshing but not as good as i thought it would have been and the Salted Caramel Cake was a bit of a disappointment as well. I couldn't figure out the reason behind the pop corns on the side of the cake, but we all agreed it didn't live up to our expectations despite having caramelized bananas and a toffee centre.

With the right company, Barracks @ House is undeniably a good hangout place with the right company. As for the food, it isn't as good as how people rave about them online and on food review sites. Either that or we went there with too much expectations.

Barracks @ House
80 Dempsey Road
Singapore 249672
+65 6475 4487

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Eater Palace

A few weeks back, the folks from Eater Palace sent me a few boxes of their signature yam mooncakes. Whoever said mooncakes have to be baked to taste good, or have to be in the perfect textured snowskin chilled to perfection? Eater Palace does theirs a different way - fried.

If you must wonder what lies underneath that deceiving looking ball, which is as flaky and crispy as it actually looks, what you are getting will be pure creamy yam, either plain, accompanied with yolk if you like it a bit savory or pumpkin for that extra natural tinge of sweetness. 

There's one thing i particularly like about these golden puffs - that they are not as sweet as i imagined them to be. And alongside the golden packaging, which is actually the box, you see the "no preservative" words, which will also means a thumbs up with the more health conscious people. 

They comes in boxes of one, two or four. I personally think four looks the most presentable if you're going to bring it for a gathering, but if you are out to just enjoy them yourself without feeling the guilt then you have the option of purchasing less. 

If you are still skeptical about how they actually taste like, Eater Palace has a booth at most mooncake fairs happening so you can always pop by and try them with no obligations. And if you happen to be my follower or reader, you get 10% off any purchase at their booths located at Junction 8, Bugis Junction, J Cube, Ion or Tampines Mall just by quoting "Nichology". There's really no excuse to not get your 10% since the malls are spread out island-wide from now till 30 September. Forget the calories, Mid Autumn Festival only happens once a year. 

This was an invited media tasting.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Stiches and Scars

If you follow me on Twitter, you would have realized the hiatus from my blog for the past three months. The thing about being only on Twitter/Facebook is that people have the tendency to ask "do you blog?" and i always end up giving the same answer, either a straight no or "probably soon".

And also if you follow me close enough on Twitter, you'll probably know by now I'm covered in stitches and scars after an accident in Bintan, where i went off course on an ATV, also known as an All Terrain Vehicle. The vehicle, which also looks a bit like a motorbike, except that it has four wheels instead of two, took a plunge about 3 meters from ground level, causing me to be flung off it and crashing into a villager's house (or hut for the matter), shattering a window pane that left deep gush on my left arm. Good thing is, I'm still alive.

The whole story goes like this, Jessica and i were sponsored by an online hotel booking company for this trip. We chose Bintan because it was the nearest possible destination from Singapore and i'm currently serving national service, which also means i have a limited amount of block leave. We decided to stay at Angsana Hotels & Resorts so we tied up with them and they offered to sponsor us activities since the room nights were already paid for. They suggested that we did the ATV, kayaking, minicar and jet ski, which i agreed to. In return for those, their PR person wanted us to outline the a few points about the activities :

1 . New, fun and exciting range of quality equipment. 

2. Informative, professional and friendly staff with high safety standards.

May i please remind you that i had 40 stitches to my left arm after taking a plunge on their terrain. So before you malign me and say i am pushing all the blame to them when i could possibly be at fault, i would like to specifically point out you to a few conspicuous points.

The ATV was the first activity Jessica and i were scheduled to do at 3pm, we had lunch till 2.15pm and it started to rain, we decided that we would skip ATV if it continued to pour. At 3.15pm, i rang their PR person up to ask if we could go for a spa instead since the weather didn't look too good but she told us the rain had stopped and we could proceed with it. Anyone with common sense would know water and soil equates muddy but because i believed they had "new, fun and exciting range of quality equipment", i went for it.

Before going on the actual terrain, i told their instructor it was my first time on an ATV, he briefly showed me the brake, accelerate and start up functions before allowing me to go on a practice course for about four rounds, which in short also means five minutes of warming up. I'll give them a benefit of a doubt that there was no communication breakdown as the instructor conversed in understandable english. And yes, he was friendly. In fact, he was also smart enough to take off his shirt to tie my bleeding arm when i was lying there bleeding like a cow at a slaughter house, which could have possibly saved me

What i want to emphasize on was how the terrain, or rather the route taken was really dangerous. First of all, it was muddy due to the rain, why would they want to take that route knowing there could be a possible tendency any vehicle could have went off course and potentially plunge off the slope? May i also point out how they wanted me to emphasize "high safety standards"?

At their lobby, a big poster of their ATV activity was seen, with a model fully covered up from top to toe, including gloves.

If you were wondering what we got - a helmet and a vest. Which also brings me to my point about me probably not needing to take those stitches if i was actually covered like how they advertised it to be.

Basically the next scenario would be me lying down, looking as if i was bathing in blood. I estimated i lost at least eight bags of blood throughout the whole accident. I still remember the one of the first few things i told Jess when i was lying on the ground, bleeding. "Jess, take a photo!" - social media people will always be social media people. There was a photo with my flesh hanging out, which looks exactly like a scene in a zombie show, but i thought i'll spare everyone that.  

Those were the photos with the least gore from the whole accident. For your info, they took about fifteen minutes to get a rescue vehicle to get me from where the accident happened. Then they sent me to a clinic, where a doctor said she could not stitch me up properly after attempting for an hour, and told me to go to the nearby hospital, which was an hour away by car. She insisted for the ambulance to take me there, which i waited for almost another hour. You can already imagine how much blood i was losing. I ended up spending another two hours at the hospital and they stitched me up pretty nicely despite me annoying them by shouting "GIVE ME MORE LOCAL ANESTHETIC!!" every fifteen minutes or so.

It's been a week and I've got eight more stitches scheduled to come off tomorrow. I've been spamming a whole load of zinc, vitamin c and vitamin e in hope for a quicker recovery. There are bound to be scars but I'm pretty sure some cream will do the trick and since it's on the inner side of the arm, I'm praying it won't be that visible.

Till date, Angsana has not given me a proper explanation of the whole accident, even though they promised to. Also, to be fair to them, they haven't billed me for all the medical charges. But for now, if you're going on an ATV, whether or not at Bintan, think twice, thrice, and at least four times. For me, i don't think there's going to be a second time at it.