Monday, July 29, 2013

El Marino Blanc

Adding on to the list of my sponsors is a collagen drink - El Marino Blanc. With so many collagen drinks in the market, i wouldn't blame you if you told me you were spoilt for choice. El Marino Blanc is a berry-flavored collagen drink that supposedly promises to give you fairer, firmer, radiant and smoother skin.

Consisting of Ads-Viqua and Collective, two very important components that will effectively break down your skin collagen and elastine structure, the collagen in the drink breaks down in your skin instead of your stomach unlike most collagen drinks in the market. This also allows you to get faster results from drinking the drink.

Of course, the one big question one would want to know is what is inside the drink. Truth be told, i was skeptical about consuming it after knowing there was marine collagen in the drink and that is is made in Malaysia (i was expecting Japan or France). Ironic as it may sound, it made me feel as if i was drinking a cup of dead sea creatures.

Where does the taste from the drink come from then? Pomegranate and Red Orange Fruit. Foremost, pomegranates are known to be high in antioxidants and vitamins. Apart from that, they have also been proven to have many other health benefits. The red orange fruit on the other hand, is high in UVP resistance, which keeps you 30% protected from the harmful UV rays that we encounter daily. Yes, that means sunblock isn't very much necessary anymore since it protects your entire body (not only your face).

And if you are worried about how it taste like, you don't need to. My favorite ratio of this drink is 2 sachets to half a cup of cold water and half a cup of cranberry juice (yes, more antioxidants won't do any harm). You will end up with a fruity drink which you are bound to finish in seconds.

The El Marino Blanc comes in a box of 30 sachets, which will last you about 15 days since the recommended dosage is at least 2 sachets daily. Honestly, the prices are steeper than i would expect and are not as wallet-friendly (if you are intending to take them long term for sustainability), but for all that benefits one could get from drinking it, the price may be just a fraction of the results you will see. This product may have different effects on people so results may vary from one to another.

This is a sponsored product review.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


One of my favorite Japanese places to go for ramen is Tampopo. Their Black Pig Ramen is out of the world amazing with thick milky flavorful soup base and tender pork served on top. For many years, i have repeatedly went back to Tampopo just for their ramen. But having tried the rest of the dishes they have to offer, i must say the next time round i am back at Tampopo, it wouldn't just be ramen alone.

Starting off with a platter of assorted sushi, which honestly made the mark even though i was a bit doubtful at the start if they do them well. The slices of sashimi were the right thickness and cut, and the rice had a right amount of rice vinegar. My pick would have to be the Uni (Sea Urchin), Salmon Belly and Tuna Belly.

One of the must-try dishes at Tampopo is the Black Pig Truffle Fried Rice which has bits of pork in it, as well as mushrooms. Fried with truffle oil, this is a no brainer for truffle lovers. The rice was fried and charred nicely, and the whole dish will only leave you wishing there was more.

Just like the ramen, they do their soba pretty well too. The Etanbetsu Soba was cooked just right with a springy texture and the dipping sauce complimented it well. This soba was specially flown in from Japan due to its uniqueness compared to our ordinary mainstream green soba noodles.

Of course, one shouldn't leave Tampopo without having tried their Black Pig dishes. We had the Top Grade BP (Black Pig) Tonkatsu which had a deep fried golden crispy exterior and juicy middle. Really, once you try Black Pig, you wouldn't want to go back to your ordinary pork.

For me, i wouldn't leave without a bowl of ramen. We tried the Tampopo BP (Black Pig) Koumi Fry Ramen which had fried pork ribs served separately. Just like all their other ramen, this one impressed as well. The thick flavorful soup base with nicely cooked noodles was good enough on its own, what more with the fried pork ribs.

For dessert, we tried the Aloe Vera Orange Jelly which had orange jelly in a fresh orange - refreshing. Also, the Scoop Cake (my favorite dessert at Tampopo), had slices of peaches and lightly whipped cream on a fluffy cake - no better way to end off such a heavy meal.

Tampopo still is my favorite place to go for ramen till date, but from now on i will need a bigger appetite when i am there because of all the other dishes. And if you are feeling Japanese enough after your meal, you will be glad that there's a Japanese supermarket on the basement of the same mall.

177 River Valley Road
#01-23/24, Liang Court
Singapore 179030
+65 6338 3186

This was an invited media tasting.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The King Louis

Located at a slightly secluded corner of Vivocity, The King Louis is not often known by shoppers of the mall. This restaurant emphasizes a majestic ambience, reflected through the rustic decorations of the place. The television screens films such as The Chronicles of Narnia to complete the medieval feel. The back of the restaurant also faces the sea, which certainly is quite a sight. All these said, the food at King Louis is also served in epic proportions.

One of the must-try at King Louis has to be the banquets - an original concept by the owner of the restaurant. A 'banquet' is a platter of delight, ranging from solely meat, seafood, or a combination of both. We tried Queen Victoria banquet which was a meat and seafood platter. The platter was served with cheese-baked prawns, pan fried snapper, scallops, beef and pork ribs, and one side of the tray is buried with mixed vegetables, the other with baked potatoes. There are also two skewers of caramelized apples and pineapple and salad in the middle. Talk about a meal fit for a king!

The baked scallop was served up in generous garlic cream sauce. The scallops were tangy to chew and the cream was not too overpowering. It still captures the seafood goodness of the scallops.

The fried snapper and prawns were however, were a little overdone. The fish meat came off flaky and quite dry, making it a little hard to swallow and the prawns were rough in texture with too much cheese, which potentially killed the freshness of the prawns.

Between the beef steak and pork ribs, i would pick the latter. The meat of the ribs fell off the done easily and were cooked with the right doneness. The steak however, wasn't as impressive as i expected it to be. It was good, but not fantastic.

The Teriyaki salad is quite special - for starter, it is served hot. The sweetness of the teriyaki sauce effectively eliminates some of the bitter-tasting purple lettuces, and the chicken is also in bits and chunks, adding to chewing comfort of the salad.

We also had Mushroom Soup and Pumpkin Soup which were pretty huge servings for soup. I preferred the pumpkin as it had a smoother and creamier texture compared to the mushroom that had a chunky texture with bits of mushrooms in it. The partner however, preferred the mushroom.

The view at The King Louis is pretty spectacular - overlooking Sentosa Island. The only downside will be the prices, which i thought were a bit on the high side (for the banquets) as compared to most restaurants there. My recommendation however is to go in a big group, as the banquets feed at least 3 - 4 people easily.

The King Louis
1 Harbourfront Walk
#03-07A, Vivocity
Singapore 098585
+65 6276 0862

This was an invited media tasting.

Monday, July 15, 2013


Beanstro - from the name itself, you can pretty much guess that it is a witty pun on the term 'bistro'. Indeed, this is a bistro concept by Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, a definite name well known amongst coffee and tea lovers alike. Beanstro serves up restaurant dishes from all day breakfast to lunch, as well as dinner.

Starting off with the Egg Beef Patty which had two juicy and well-seasoned patties topped off with a poached eggs, cheese and hollandaise sauce. It was similar to eating a open-faced burger - simple, yet delectable. I however, felt that the beef patties could have been a tad bigger.

Egg Florentine is one of my personal favourite. The poached egg was sprinkled with fried shallots, which goes very well (quite surprisingly) with the cheese. The serving of the chicken ham was generous, of the right texture and flavor - not too salty to turn you off, and keeps you wanting more. The hollandaise sauce was very fresh, and all these made the toast underneath very rich in flavor and soft to the bite.

The Egg Salmon and Asparagus is a must-try brunch idea for salmon lovers. The salmon is wrapped around the sticks of asparagus, and with the flowing yolk from the poached egg and the melted cheese, this dish is sure to impress. The smoked salmon was fresh yet not overly done, just the right amount of flavor.

The Egg Royale is an alternative to the Salmon and Asparagus but with the Dill Mornay sauce. This special sauce has a herbal tinge to it, and with its creamier taste, it gave the toast a whole lot richer texture when eaten with melted cheese and flowing yolk.

All these brunch sets came with the salad, which i thought was commendable. They used lemon for the salad dressing where the zesty flavor accentuates the fresh produce and i felt it tasted quite unique.

We also tried out the smoothies - Banana Chocolate, Sunrise, and Berry'd Treasure. Really, if you are a regular at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, these drinks need no further introduction. Being a not so chocolate-ly person, i'd pick the Sunrise (cream and orange juice) over the Banana Chocolate any day.

Prices aren't sky-rocket high and this new bistro located the the basement of Ngee Ann City (Takashimaya) falls in the list of affordable brunch dates and a good hang-out for tea/coffee lovers alike in town. And in case you were wondering, they are also certified halal.

391 Orchard Road
#B1-37, Ngee Ann City
Singapore 238872
+65 6235 1610

This was an invited media tasting.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


On the top of my list as one of my favorite places now is Grub. In all honesty, i have only visited them once, but once is good enough for me to know that the food at Grub is worth coming back for. Located at Bishan Park, Grub is the newest addition to their food and beverage outlets - a perfect place to hang out after work over beer and food.

We started off with the Truffled Egg Cocotte topped off with crispy parma ham and toasted focaccia. The perfectly cooked eggs had a runny center which went well with the crispy bits of parma ham and hint of truffle oil.

The best thing to go with beer - burgers. Freshly made on the spot when you place an order, Grub has quite a selection on their menu for you to choose from. We tried the Pork Steak Burger which has apples and cashew chimichurri layered on a grilled pork steak. The pork was extremely juicy and the chimichurri sauce was absolutely delish, so much so i finished half the burger to myself. 

Also on the burger list is the Grub Cheeseburger - a classic. Melted cheese over a moist juicy and 100% freshly minced thick beef patty. What else could one ask for? Not forgetting that all their burgers come with piping hot crispy fries on the side. Ultimately, topping the burger list for me was the Crispy Fish Burger. It was simple, yet good enough to make you wanting more. The crumbed Monkfish was extremely fresh and minimally seasoned to bring out the freshness of it. 

We moved on to the mains which further impressed us. The Pan-seared King Salmon on a bed of risotto definitely got the green light. Besides the generous serving of salmon, both the salmon and risotto were cooked perfectly. 

My favorite dish at Grub has to be the Slow Roasted Pork Belly which has been cooked for 24 hours. The pork falls apart once you push your knife right through it and literally melts in your mouth despite having a crispy outer. Served with creamy mash and mango sauce (which i really liked), this in my opinion, is a must-order when you are at Grub. 

If you are a steak person, the Grilled Steak and Fries is bound to do the trick. Using only grass-fed ribeye, the steak was cooked nicely and had a medium center. Topped off with fresh watercress and mustard sauce and served with fries separately, all you will need is a beer. 

Another main which we really liked (truth is, we liked them all) was the Grilled Chicken Leg, which was served stuffed with honeyed feta, roasted peppers wrapped in the boneless chicken leg. Accompanied by the creamy mash, rocket and corn, i liked the fact that the chicken retained its moisture and that the corns gave the mash an extra crunch. 

For desserts, we had the Chocolate Pot which was a very rich dark chocolate pudding served with spicy cashew praline crumble which paired well with the bitterness from the dark chocolate. We also tried the Panna Cotta with mango sauce and basil seeds which was creamy and tangy at the same time and had bits of fresh mango in it. 

Since everything was ridiculously good, we also ended up with the Churros served with dark chocolate and creme anglaise sauce. The handmade churros were highly addictive as they were coated with quite a generous amount of sugar. The Belgium Waffle with grilled banana, salty caramel and dark chocolate sauce on the other hand was fluffy and thick. 

While i was writing this review, i was a little half-hearted if i wanted to post this so quickly. Firstly, the seating capacity at Grub is pretty exclusive. Secondly, the prices are very affordable for the price you would expect to pay for food with such high quality standards. Yes, you may think i am exaggerating, but why would i jeopardize the risk of me having to queue (they don't take reservations) the next time i pop by?

510 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1
Bishan Park
Singapore 569983
+65 6459 5743

This was an invited media tasting.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Ju Chun Yuan

I've eaten enough Dim Sum in my life to realize what is good and what is bad. When i first stepped into Ju Chun Yuan (located at Far East Sqaure), i had high hopes for the Dim Sum being served. I wasn't expecting it to be out of this world great, but neither did i expect it to be served sloppily.

First on the disappointment list was the Deep Fried Yam Dumpling which was served cold. This made the yam inside extremely starchy and it clearly wasn't crispy enough like how it should have been since it was cold. 

Next up was the Pan Fried Crabcake which wasn't as disappointing as the first as there was aplenty of crabmeat in it. Again, it wasn't served warm and that i found the pricing for the serving (two pieces) a tad too pricy. 

One of my favorite things to order during Dim Sum is the Century Egg & Pork Congee, which was a complete letdown once again like most of the items they serve. The porridge had a very uneven consistency - no where near silky smooth or even smooth. 

Another item which really didn't make the mark at all was the Steamed Rice Noodle Roll. The rice rolls were too thick despite having quite a generous amount of filling in it.

Moving on to some things they did better, the Pan Fried Carrot Cake came in quite a generous portion. The only downside was that they were sliced a bit too thinly for my liking (which was also probably why they gave more slices than normal restaurants would). The taste however, was good and it was served hot.

The Deep Fried Beancurd Spring Roll however, was not as bad as compared to the other dishes. It had the right crunch from bits of chestnuts in it and the meat inside was juicy. 

A staple at Dim Sum places, the Steamed Shrimp Dumplings were not spectacularly great either. There was nothing much to rave about it as i found the skin a bit too flour-ly for my liking and the prawns were tasteless and bland.

The savior of the meal was the Salted Egg Custard Bun which i must agree was well done despite not liking the rest of the dishes they serve. The picture says it all - flowing custard within a soft bun. 

Controversial as it may sound, Ju Chun Yuan ranks one of the worst restaurants in Singapore that serves Dim Sum on my list so far. Like i mentioned, most dishes were below mediocre and were not even served at the right temperature. Service was especially slow as well, which really did not make up for the food they serve. They serve buffet on weekends, which probably explains why their food spells quantity instead of quality. But if you enjoy Dim Sum that taste like they came out from a factory in the masses, no one is really going to stop you from eating your fill. 

Ju Chun Yuan 
130 Amoy Street
Far East Square, #01-01
Singapore 049959
+65 6546 2655