Roosevelt's Diner & Bar: Harvest my Heart


Housed in the lobby of Dorsett Residences just parked outside the maze of entrances to Outram MRT station is Roosevelts diner and bar.  Many would turn a blind eye to its transparent glass window facade and trudge down towards the more rambunctious Keong Saik Street in search of grub.

But who would know that Roosevelt's is home to one of my favourite burgers in town? Sshh.. let's keep that a secret between you and I alright?

Inside, the feeling is almost "ironic suburban" , expansive family tables with odd fashioned light bulbs dangling overhead, a table top of severely outdated magazines is given the death stares by the illustrious bathroom from across the hallway, pimped up by its fashionable array of luxe lotions and hand creams.

Our first visit was strictly a burger run, to mollify those crummy emotional out bursts. I had the Teddy's 100% US Beef Burger ($22) whilst S zoned in on the Mushroom Cheddar Burger ($22). At Roosevelts', the burger is kept simple, with just smears of mayo on the pillowy soft brioche buns that don't crowd your palate with an exuberance of flavor, allowing the story of the beef patty to be told in full glory; with its doneness cooked to order (plus points immediately!), it constituted an explosion of natural sweet beefy juices when you chomp down. It's architecture was slightly compromised by the inclusion of onions in the patty, but the overall flavors received a major boosting with that poignant addition. The Mushroom Cheddar burger made its appearance, fashioned with all manner of good things (especially those tender and delightfully seasoned mushrooms) and naturally went down with no complaints at the other end of the table. The fries are the only debacle in this fairytale, not that they were nasty or cold or anything drastically negative; they were just.. uninspired.

Revisits occurred a few day afters when I started feeling the burger cravings creeping up on me again. That's when the cracks started to appear. 

We fell in love with the Southern Fried Chicken ($18), the gorgeously sun-kissed crispy skinned chicken exposing flavorful and extremely tender plump flesh below. Benefits of day long soaks in buttermilk before taking to the fryers paying off immensely. The multitude of spices used in the coating unravelling gradually with every bite. 

That was done. The rest of the dinner presented a plethora of disappointments. Starting with the burgers.  Point to note is that if you plan to eliminate diners' choice to select the doneness of the patty then you had better ensure consistency all around. That can't be said about my experience that night whereby 3 of the burgers at the table emerged in different shades. An over zealously grilled patty set our friend to work, sadly picking around the dried beef. 

This insipidity extrapolated itself to our dessert, the Churros Waflles ($12) with cinnamon sugar, butter and mocha sauce on side, which was a let down by a tell-tale low grade ice cream threatening to abrade our tongues with the shards of ice crystals within its false creamy innards. 

Roosevelts started on an amazing foot with its inspired rift on the ubiquitous burger and crested in an uneven showing of the same dish a few days after. I find it hard to believe the discrepancies involved and despite having my heart broken the same time around, I promise I"ll be back to indulge in the burgers very soon.

Roosevelt's Diner & Bar
331 New Bridge Road
#01-02 Dorsett Residences
Singapore 088764

{Wordless Wednesdays}: Sunday Folks


The word is out. Sunday folks is packing in the queues. So have a whole load of patience and brace yourselves for some pretty mean soft serve gelato. 

Roasted Pistachio, Sea salt Gula Melaka, Earl Grey Lavender and Madagascan Vanilla ($6.90 for a basic cone and $10.90 for the waffle, $1.90 for additional trimmings) ... There's something to tickle everyones' fancy. My personal favourite, the Earl Grey Lavender.

Matcha Roll ($6.90) for those itching for a little cake action.

Don't want your soft serve at MacDonald's anymore? You've got Sunday Folks at ten-fold the price; but much prettier of course. Think about it...

Sunday Folks
44 Jalan Merah Saga, #01-52
Chip Bee Gardens

Seasons Bistro: Seasonal based Cuisine in the heart of Orchard


Seasons Bistro located at Triple One has given residents a new neighbourhood place where they can have a really simple meal, or, when they feel like it, something more extravagant.

It's name conveniently convenes it's principals, "seasons" touting it's homage to a seasonally driven menu with constantly changing fare showcasing the freshest ingredients; "bistro"  speaking volumes about the affordability of it's offerings. Executive Chef Benjamin Fong is the man responsible for flicking the dust off traditionally dearly priced seasonal menus, focusing mainly on the multifaceted American cuisine, with influences from Canada, New England, Mexico and the cosmopolitan New York City. 

The menu is sprinkled with strange and contemporary choices geared for the curious diner. Lunch time sees a value-for-money set menu priced at the affable $12.99 for a choice of soup, main and coffee/soft drink (add $5 for a choice of desserts), a penny pinchers dream come true. With dark wood finishes and sleek varnished counter tops, bringing a company function to its midst now seems like a viable and slightly classier option. 

I went ahead with the set lunch. Opting for the soup of the day for starters. The potato and leek soup probably doesn't sound like a bell ringer, however its deliverance was stellar. Clean flavors without the distracting chunks of potatoes nor irrelevant carrots, as most cafe renditions are, you would expect to taste a tinge of raw starch from the mindless cooking; that wasn't the case at Seasons Bistro.  A technically sound bowl of soup that saw my spoon clanging the bottom of the dish eagerly.

My main came in the form of a Cobb Salad; an uncomplicated marriage that is signified on the menu by sans-serif lists of ingredients, with no capital letters, verbs, articles or hint of how one relates to the next; yet miraculously it does... and all to well. The main-dish classic American salad isn't as straightforward as it seems. It has some rock and roll in its trousers. Cajun spiced chicken grilled till spot on, boiled eggs with a slightly soft center, crisp bacon bits, black olives, corn, watercress and tomatoes strewn the plate. While the salty blue cheese marries mixed greens and creamy avocado, the result conceived is a perfect combination that presents different flavor dimensions and textures with each bite. My only gripe would have to be the beans which I have uncanny biasness towards.

Not everything is fine and dandy; the service needs improvement and the sprawling space doesn't ultimately work in its favour during a busy lunch service as our plea for desserts to be brought out was lost in translation. 

Mishap aside, Seasons Bistro does have the capacity to titillate its guests, by not dishing out over complicated cuisine but tastes good enough to leave you rubbing your belly at the end of the meal. I pray that with the constant reminder of the establishment's name overhed, the chef never loses sight of the bistro's identity. 

Season's Bistro
#01-11/12, TripleOne Somerset
111 Somerset Road
Singapore 238164

Ramen Champion: Next better player.


Nothing works better for quality control than the existance of competition. Here at Ramen Champion, this concept is pushed to the extreme with the congregation of 6 ramen stores under one roof. Residency is determined by a competitive and friendly customer voting system, and diners' votes contribute to seeing who stays and who leaves the arena.

Sounds epic doesn't it?

With 2 new contenders arriving in Singapore, tensions were high as the current residents amped up their game in preparation for the conflict of interests. Would the newcomers pose a threat? We put the freshies to the test.

Kick starting the night, we indulged in a bit of pre-game appetisers. The Mentaiko Gyoza ($7) from Menya Ryu was perfectly delicious, the suppleness of the filling and the racy creaminess of the sauce squiggled over the top made it a perfect snack for the peckish. The Tako Age ($8.80) was okay, slightly overcooked but overcomeable with a generous dip in the mayonnaise.

The Tebasaki with Spicy Sauce ($6.90) appeals to me, the lightness of it's sesame crusted golden amber batter satisfying most of us around the table. Avoid the Deep Fried Gyoza ($5), greasy with an overly thick crust filled with the most pathetic amount of fillings I've ever bared witness to in a gyoza, it adds weak lines to Buta God's stellar repertoire as the front runner in the Ramen arena. 

Returning back to the main agenda of Ramen, my favourite of the night amongst Riki, Shodai Koji and Menya Ryu (the last 2 being the new kids on the block) would definitely have to be the Sapporo Miso Special Ramen ($15.80) from Menya Ryu; the flavorful tonkotsu and chicken soup base with 3 kinds of miso, red, white and black dances cross the tongue with such intensity that I was completely smitten. Texturists would relish in the Chef's varied use of garnish ranging from bamboo shoots to corn to spring onions and a generous mound of greens to further enhance the experience. Refreshing the palate with something crunchy, or something sweet with every alternate bite. This rendition uses curly medium thickness yellow noodles which were perfect vehicles for the aromatic broth.

Coming in second  for today's tasting was the Triple Chashu Ramen ( $16.80) from Shodai Koji.  Where it falls short of victory comes in the form of an overcooked egg and a slightly lighter and less flavorful broth than I'm usually accustomed to. Chef Koji Takano lavishes care on the meat selection (specially imported from Spain), offering an impressive spread of 3 kind of meats, chicken thigh, pork belly and pork collar in this dish, his efforts pay off as the Chashu is meltingly pliable. 

Special Power Ramen ($16.50)  from Riki slips into the back lane with its overly garlicky soup base. Proudly declared to have a broth that is simmered for over 8 hours, it's milky white nature is ravaged by the heavy hand of garlic that totally discredits its true potential. The overuse of beansprouts in this dish proves to be a bit distracting as it reveals a rather woeful amount of thick noodles. The beansprouts having been blanched for too long acquiring a rather limp texture that does nothing for the architecture of the dish. All is not lost though as the small detail of blow torching the pieces of charshu before plating imbues the pork with a heady smoky sensation that gives the dish depth. 

With all that ramen digested and commentaries passed, I shall leave you guys to make your own judgement should you be making a trip down to any of Ramen Champion's three locations dotting the island. And till then... may the next better player win.

Ramen Champion
Bugis +
201 Victoria Street #04-08/09/10
Singapore 188607
T: 6238 1011

GRUB at Bishan Park: Messing with expectations


Are you looking for the best burger in Singapore? Because, if you're turning to GRUB for the solution, you're at a dead end, my friend. 

Having heard notorious news about the snaking queues that build as a result of the no-reservations policy implemented at this place, we arrived a few minutes after 6pm, got cosy on our outdoor benches; only to be greeted by the wide eyed doggy stares from other pairs attempting to saunter in, followed by larger rowdier groups praying for a dash of luck in the waiting game.

GRUB is a high volume joint set in a luscious neighbourhood of draping willows over greenish lakes and the panting joggers that come along with that sacred bit of nature in our concrete jungle. Manage the heat with some thirst quenchers, the BrewDog Dead Pony Club ($10) and Thatcher's Gold Cider ($13) are good options for respite against the humidity.

Get past the contemplation stage and follow your gut. It's the burger that you want. But the real question is.. does it deliver? 

A suspiciously short 5minutes later, the juicy raucous mess arrives on a wooden slab. There is the GRUB double cheeseburger ($18) all ready for its Instagram close up, it is handsomely arranged. fashionably austere in its expertly crafted layers and towering construction. A twist of the stabbing pick reveals a nasty squish of bread; the bottom bun not holding up to the juiciness of the patties. And that situation arising despite the overall dryness of the buns from perhaps doing overtime on the grill sans a protective layer of buttering. Discrepancies were highly evident, the lower patty showing a ticklish pink shade whereas the top starring in 50 shades of grey. At this point, I had my qualms about the burgers being cooked to order. A slight mineral taste accompanied the patties as though they have been frozen a good long time and thawed speedily. Needless to say, this didn't quite make my top 10 list.

The other most Instagrammable offering from GRUB is the Crispy Fish Burger ($14) hake fish and an accompanying remoulade (tar-tar sauce).  The lemon like bite in the sauce acting as a welcome ray of sunlight breaking into this rather mundane one noted dish. I was so disenchanted by this uninspired plate that I doubt it could even challenge a 13 year old's palate. Did I mention the soggy fries we got?

Despite it's poor performance, GRUB exacerbates the feeling that it is loved by all, especially since the restaurant was packing in the crowds early in the evening on a Thursday night. Perhaps the other mains served at dinner hold higher promises; but for now, I can only exhibit a certain level of enthusiasm for the energy, vibes and fantastic service standards at the restaurant. Not sure whether a repeat visit is in the works.

GRUB at Bishan Park
510 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1
Singapore 569983

The Reading Room: Honesty is the best policy


dumbfounded, adj

"And still, for all the jealousy, all the doubt, sometimes I will be struck with a kind of awe that we're together. That someone like me could find someone like you --- it renders me wordless. Because surely words could conspire against such luck, would protest the unlikelihood of such a turn of events.

I didn't tell any of my friends about our first date. I waited until after the second, because I wanted to make sure it was real. I wouldn't believe it had happened until it had happened again. Then, later on, I would be overwhelmed by the evidence, by all the lines connecting you to me, and us to love."

David Levithan - The Lover's Dictionary


Today's write-up is about The Reading Room at Bukit Pasoh road, hence the not-so-short quote from one of favourite recent reads. I digress. Such a sublime book to digest though. But if its books you're looking for and a comfy couch to snuggle in with a fresh cup of brewed coffee, then, this place might just be your cup of tea.

Stowed away on the quiet streets of Bukit Pasoh Road, just next to the trendier, more bustling Keong Saik street of parallel characteristics; sits The Reading Room cafe. 

The beaming pride and joy of the cafe lines the establishments from wall to wall. It's shelves packed to the brim with books of different genre and category (some collected by the owner himself while others spawning from generous donations). Each one praying to spill its tales to an unsuspecting cafe go-er at arms length. If you spot plane ticket stubs or name cards jutting out from the top of books, don't be alarmed, and I implore you not to switch the positions of these books; painstakingly tucked away by regulars currently coddling over their specific reads with every return visit.

Here in Singapore, we are no strangers to the concept of cafe by day and bar by night. But we fail to realise that this is no new concept, in fact, it has been adopted by The Reading Room for the last two years now, the transition, flawless, it's laid-back living room settings camouflaging the existence of seams between day and night even. Here, patrons are encouraged to hang one's hat up, dwell and rest within the oasis of books. Reading is optional, one can also exploit the free wifi and enjoy the lackadaisical afternoon.

The lovechild of owner Gino Abate, The Reading Room originated from his passion for entertaining the masses. Down-to-earth with a slight disgruntlement towards the level of respect for food here locally, it was easy to understand his vision for his cafe. "Good, honest food. Nothing fancy, but we do try to make sure that everyone leaves having enjoyed a good hearty meal."

In a nutshell, it was all comfort food, everything made to order, from scratch; a logic that resonated very well with me. 

I had the TRR's Aussie Burger with the Lot ($22.80) -- sans the grilled pineapple cause it reminds me of the Hawaiian pizza which I have hold a great amount of animosity towards. A 180g beef patty is topped with sweet onion chutney, fried egg, lettuce, onion, tomato, tomato sauce, homemade mayo and bacon; a respectable burger with all the expected bits of the formula in there, however the fireworks didn't light up with this rendition. The beef patty needing that little bit more fat ratio injected, it's sticky innards falling a little on the mushy side; egg as binder perhaps? It's evident that TRR lavishes care on the burgers though with evenly melted cheese and a good dash of fresh ground black pepper, the sauces diligently made from scratch.

Desserts are a modest rosters of classics. The Crumble Cheesecake sourced from Gobi Desserts, an absolute pleasure to demolish, it's sweet, slightly savoury crumb topping complimenting the creamy innards of the cheesecake. Shame about the soggy base, otherwise, a real tight effort with the balance of flavors. Another solid discovery is the Homemade Tiramisu, despite it's non-alcoholic nature which I find to be a bore, the final concoction churns out hits of deliciousness percolated by intense hits of coffee and charitable amount of mascarpone cheese unruffled by the distraction of whipped cream. It's no wonder my host was beaming from ear to ear as I tucked in with my spoon unabashedly.

The Reading Room has a facade that is so unassuming, you can mistake the restaurant for a residence, which is exactly the feel the owner is trying to convey. Unlike the usual hipster haunts nowadays, this is the place you would go to stare into space and not to be seen by others. A hidden gem for the socially inept such as I am.

Note that TRR has extended operating hours and is now opening its shutters from 8am onwards on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. On top of that, an all-day-breakfast menu will be on offer on the weekends as well! Stay tuned for more daily specials on their Facebook page. Be warned that this could be severely distracting at work.

Fundamentally flawed dined as a guest of TRR, in the course of which she was absolutely smitten by the place itself. period. A major thanks to Jake for sharing the calories of that yummilicious tiramisu with me.

The Reading Room
19 Bukit Pasoh Road
T: 6220 9019

{Wordless Wednesdays}: Marmalade Pantry & some Mexican Magic


It was off to Marmalade Pantry for a quick weekday lunch. 

{Wordless Wednesdays} means less talk.. so I'll try to curb the inner banter,  here was the mediocre  Spicy Crabmeat Linguine ($25) with pine nuts, tomatoes and chilli followed by a rather uninspired Basque Chicken  ($28) ,with capsicum, tomato and garlic potatoes; the tomatoes could have used a little more time in the blanch before roasting, the starch reducing to a little chalky consistency. Overall good meal for that quick fix but totally not worth its hefty price tag. Thank goodness for the Entertainer app that reduced our bill to a certain easier to swallow fee of $32 for 2.

The Marmalade Pantry
Unit 03-22 ION Orchard
2 Orchard Turn 
T: +65 6734 2700


Following our disappointing meal that day, we adjourned to Cha Cha Cha at Holland Village for some spirit lifting opportunities at dinner time.

Seeking comfort in our Margaritas ($40 for a pitcher), Chimichangas deep fried to a titillating golden brown and saucy sour cream with every cheesy bite of crackin' shredded beef filled Quesadilla ($13.50). This was the Mexican food lover's idea of paradise.

There and then... everything just felt better. Must have been that Mexican grilled cheese sandwich and its magic ways...

Cha Cha Cha Mexican Restaurant
32 Lorong Mambong
Holland Village
Singapore (277690)
T: 64621650

On The Table: Cafe on the Circle


It was a dime in a dozen. The dim light-bulbs straddling the wires knotted over the ceilings, representing the slight glimmer of hope in the eyes of an owner anticipating raging queues and long coffee ticket orders on a weekend morning. Despite it's lack of individualism, it was instant infatuation for me.

Reasons being its space, unclustered tables with roomy spaces for manevuering around (without the awkward shifting and kicking of chair legs involved); simplicity - a stripped down garage look is adopted here with grey walls and concrete floors which prove condusive for a bit of the weekend wind-down. 

On The Table comes by way of the successful folks of Lola's cafe in Kovan who have decided to spread their feathers out just a little further to the sleepy neighborhood of Pasir Panjang. With little, or rather no direct competitors within a 1km radius, the cafe sets out to create a storm (evident from the larger than life space indented) and pack in the crowds who are itching for that hit of caffeine.

Things are kept simple here. Coffee from Dutch Colony is supported by a short and sweet cafe menu with your usual suspects and  few surprising finds here and there. The more substantial mains like the Swimmer Crab Linguine ($16) and the Confit of Duck Leg ($18) catches my attention but my Aussie depraved soul cried out for a bit of brunch fare.

But first, coffee for the soul. My Latte ($5) arrives at the table with picture perfect intention. Finally an outstanding female barista who didn't have to resort to putting heart lattes in my cup to win my favor. *giggles*. However, the coffee recieved lukewarm responses around the table, everyone claiming to lean towards the nuttier, robust roasts over the higher acidity content normally found in Dutch Colony's stash. It's all subjective of course.

The food can't be faulted though. The Big One ($16.00) pulling its weight in quantity yet not compromising on quality as well. Pork sausage, honey glazed bacon, ham, baked portabello, mixed salad and scrambled eggs and toasted brioche. It might sound like a bit of work to get though, but the melange of fresh textures and excellent produce ensures that it all gets polished down rather easily. All in sync with the melodic croonings in the background and the lively chatter of good weekend companionship.

My Ultimte Croissant ($13.00) was yet again a usual calorie suspect done right and was highly culpable this time without signs of cloying richness in the overall composition.. Below its crispy half croissant cap grilled with some sort of herb butter spread, sits honey glazed bacon, ham, mayo, honey, scrambled eggs and melted cheddar cheese.... they don't call it "ultimate' for nothing... Laced with a dash of furikake for the slight savoury crunch, this was a thorough joy to work though and I took to it like a fat kid to cake. 

And then, there were waffles. Deftly executed with a not so dainty scoop of Salted Caramel Ice Cream over the top ($8.00), the crisp honeycombed indented pastry flaunts a texture that is neither cloyingly thick and gummy nor too brittle and crisp and has the right level of egginess. The homemade ice cream building a flutter of anticipation with its smoky note of caramelization, yet beckons to be pushed a little more in the savoury spectrum. Still, a reasonably priced waffle combination with approachable portion sizes that doesn't make one feel piggish prior to placing the orders.

Feeling up for a little game of origami? (or amazing engineering feat as my cousin claims it to be), try folding their paper napkins into heart shapes.

Lesson of the day: "Start what you love"

Nothing quite like a bit of inspiration for the weekends.

On the table is a cafe that offers up a treat of hidden gems. Definitely my new go-to cafe in the region.

[Note: OTT doesn't charge service charge nor GST so do go generous on your tips!]

On the Table
118 Pasir Panjang Road
Singapore 118541

Opening Hours:
Tues - Fri: 11am - 10pm
Sat - Sun: 10am -10pm
(last orders for kitchen is at 9pm, and for bar (drinks and waffles) will be 9 30pm)
Mon: Closed