Friday, May 31, 2013

Grub Bistro at Bishan Park!


It's not very often that I get to do brunch on Sundays, but who doesn't enjoy a long meal over delicious food and great companionship? Especially when you're surrounded by greenery and lovely garden landscapes, right smack in the middle of Bishan Park.. With the idyllic and beautiful surroundings, it almost feels like you've left the hustle and bustle of Singapore, which is a much-needed escape.


Welcome to GRUB, the newest kid on the block in my neighborhood.. It's at times like this that I feel exceptionally blessed to live just a short 7 minute drive away from Bishan Park! Yay.

I am ashamed to admit that despite staying so near to Bishan Park, I still got lost on my way to Grub =_= Oh and apparently it's Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.. and it's divided by Marymount Road into two plots of land.

To get to GRUB, you need to get to Marymount Road, and then make a right turn to Sin Ming Avenue! It is not located at the same area as Canopy/McDonalds/Aramsa Spa, so please don't park your car at the wrong car park by mistake. It's quite a long way off!

I don't know about you, but when I see the word "grub", I immediately think of Timon and Pumba from The Lion King! HAHA. This is what childhood cartoons do to you.

(Image from FindingMickey, ©Walt Disney Animation)

Bwahahahha. So cute.

Back to GRUB the bistro/restaurant... We arrived there at around 11-ish on a Sunday morning, and the place was already packed full!! Had to wait around 15-20 minutes for a table.. I arrived late because of the getting lost bit, so my awesome friends CJM and SF had to do the waiting hahaha oops. Sorry guys!!

Anyway, they don't take reservations at GRUB, so you should probably go earlier to grab a table before the brunch crowd starts streaming in!
We got seated right in front of the feature wall, quite a lovely spot!

Brunch partners.. It was a double date! :D I'm very guilty of neglecting my friends because I have so many other commitments.. :( Thank God for the wonderful friends that still bother to bug me to go out with them. Hehe. So I was glad that we managed to make time this Sunday morning for a meal together! Plus I've been telling YZ he needs to get out more often instead of just work/family/me.

“At GRUB, we believe in eating responsibly. This means cooking with as natural ingredients as possible, without the addition of MSG, artificial preservatives, additives or flavourings. We also believe that responsible eating starts with good practices by the farmers, fishermen and artisanal producers that we work with.”

GRUB's motto: food that you'd serve your own family! Sounded very promising already, and I was rather excited after reading the many rave reviews on their food!

You can take a look at the full menu on Grub's website here.


The food took another 15-20 minutes to start arriving, and then of course we had to spend the next 10-15 minutes taking pictures. Hahahah. We ordered four different courses for everyone, so that we could try more items on the menu!


GRUB Breakfast Set $15
with a coffee/tea/homemade or canned drink
- grilled focaccia, scrambled eggs, mushrooms, side salad
- choice of breakfast beef patty or pork sausage

To be frank, I was quite disappointed with the Grub Breakfast Set.. :( We had asked for the pork sausage, but was later told that the pork sausage was OOS so we had to settle for the beef patty instead.

The flavour and texture of the patty was actually pretty good, but someone must have been extremely heavy-handed with the salt shaker that day, because the beef patty was super ultra salty :( And that's coming from ME, the sodium addict.

Added to that, the scrambled eggs were bland and nothing impressive, while the portebello mushroom was too oily to suit my taste.


Crispy Fish Burger $11
- crumbled hake fish, remoulade

Thankfully, the other three dishes made up for my initial disappointment.. The Crispy Fish Burger was really cute, it was basically a Fish & Chips masquerading as a burger hehe! Look at that funny sight!

The fish fillet was delicious, it was crisp on the outside and flaky soft on the inside! Well-seasoned and went perfectly with the sauces provided. The accompanying fries, however, must have suffered the same fate as the beef patty, because they were exceedingly salty ;( They would have tasted great if not for that!


Beef & Guinness Pie $12
- mash, side salad

For myself, I struggled and deliberated between all the choices on the menu for a really long time, before finally deciding on the Beef & Guinness Pie, which was initally my top choice! Happy to say, this pie did not fail me at all and I loved it so much!

It does not quite look like a regular pie, and is more of a thick beefy stew laden atop a flaky pie crust, and I thought it was utterly delicious! The pie crust soaked up the thick savory sauces, and the chunks of soft beef, onions and baby carrots were ultra flavorful and oh-so-good! On top of that, it came with a smooth buttery mash that was super yummy. Instant addiction. Giving it two thumbs up!!


GRUB Cheeseburger $11
- 100% freshly minced beef patty
- Monterey Jack cheese

YZ's GRUB Cheeseburger fortunately did not suffer the same fate as the beef patty from the breakfast set, the beef patty in this was well-seasoned, juicy and tender, without that unappetizing dry/crumbly taste you get with badly done beef patties. It wasn't huge, but the patty was thick and firm, so that was great :D With the fresh crunchy lettuce and melted Monterey Jack cheese, I thought it was one of the better cheeseburgers I've had!

The fries too, were apparently from the same (sodium-overladen) batch though.. Too salty again. Meh.

Despite my grievances over the over-saltiness and rather disappointing breakfast set, I still enjoyed the other dishes very much! Especially that Beef & Guinness Pie... *drools*

Ordered a Churros to share after we finished our main courses, because we were all surprisingly stuffed.. I wasn't expecting to be so full! D:


Churros $8
- dark chocolate, tangy creme anglaise

The churros came piping hot and fresh, and they was soft and fluffy on the inside, with a crisp outer layer. We demolished it in minutes!! I personally prefer the churros at Max Brenner's because they somehow feel firmer and more substantial, but I think it's a matter of personal preference because some people like it fluffier! Nonetheless, not many places in Singapore serve churros, which is a pity, cos I really like yummy churros!


Dipped in dark chocolate sauce. Om nom nom.

Random selfie! :D I was honestly more interested in the food than taking pictures ahaha.


YZ and myself.. Proper date-time has been few and far between lately because we're so comfortable with each other, we hardly bother! I suppose that's a good thing! But well, I do appreciate him taking the effort to spend time outside with me, and with my friends too! It's little efforts like this that count. 

And with CJM! Conversations with this straight-forward and no-nonsense girl are always a joy, I know I don't have to mince my words around her. That's probably why we get along so well: because we are so alike? Hehe. Plus, CJM is a good influence on YZ *winks* Thanks for sticking around, my dear!

The beautiful view from right outside GRUB! Bishan Park is indeed a gorgeous place! And the next time, maybe I'll bring my dogs along to GRUB too :D They allow pets in their outdoor sitting area! Pretty awesome.

All in all, it was a pleasant experience at GRUB and I'm sure I'll be back again!

***

GRUB @ Bishan Park

510 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 (car park along Sin Ming Ave, opposite Blk 408)
Singapore 569983

Opening Hours
Tue - Fri: 5:30 pm - 10:30 pm
Sat - Sun: 9:00 am - 2:30 pm, 5:30 pm - 10:30 pm

Visit Grub's website here and Grub's Facebook Page here.

***


My outfit: Baroque Cut-Out Dress in White Florals from TheVelvetDolls!

This is a fresh-in piece and I love it to pieces already. Ultra-flattering cut with peek-a-boo cut-outs at the waist that's mad nice!


Here's a close-up of the cut-out details!

PS. There's also a pinstripes version that's already available on our Kissjane racks at CityLink and Bugis! Lots of other new stocks in the weekend too, go check em out if you're in the area, kay? ;D

***
Looking forward to the weekend.. cos I'll be at  ELLE Girls’ Day Out with Darlie Expert White: my favourite toothpaste! I never used to have a preference for toothpaste, but ever since I started using Darlie Expert White, it's the only toothpaste I use! And many of my friends agree with me too ever since I recommended them to use Darlie Expert White! Heheh.

ELLE Girls’ Day Out will be happening at Loola's, #02-14 Esplanade, 8 Raffles Avenue, from 2pm – 4.30pm! (Event is pre-registered, so if you are one of the registered workshop participants, see ya there!!) :D

Awesome weekend ahead to all! Love y'all!

xoxo

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Maple & Market Bakery: Hidden Gem at Cassia Crescent

People always tell me they admire my entrepreneurship and ambition as an online store owner, but really, I know that I am nothing compared to the sheer brilliance and talent of so many passionate ones around me, those who are truly chasing after their dreams and pursuing what they love.

In our tiny and immensely competitive society that's so tightly governed by propriety, so driven by elite education, paper certificates and high salaries as a measure of success, breaking out of the mould is almost unthinkable.

I feel rather sad about this.. Because I've never been one to follow the conventional route: I love Music, I love Art. (Guess what I found out via this website: The Great Singapore Rat Race? Apparently, art and music earns you the lowest salaries across the board, and with the lowest employment rate. :( How lamentable..)

I detest Mathematics and Science, pursuing a diploma in Design despite an O Level results with five distinctions and a L1R5 of 10 points. I am one of few amongst my peers without a university degree and proper day job, but I know that I've never been happier, doing what I love, and being surrounded by like-minded people. There has never been any regret on my part, dropping out of the "rat race", unfettered by the so-called society norms.

That is why I was uttered delighted to know that a friend of mine, Sarah, has finally (and very recently) set up her very own bakery: Maple & Market! Sarah is an absolutely talented young lady, with a huge passion for baking, teaching and all things beautiful! She has been baking and conducting lessons from home previously, as well as selling her bakes at pop-up stores and providing beautiful dessert/sweets table set-ups for her friends and acquaintances.

Maple & Market just opened its doors two weeks ago, and what's more, it's just a short drive away from my office, teehee. I foresee that I'll be dropping in for yummy bakes and cakes on a regular basis! :D

Maple & Market Cassia Crescent
Maple & Market Bakery
Maple & Market is located under a HDB block, but don't let that faze you.. It must be one of the prettiest bakeries I've seen on our little island! :) And parking wasn't an issue with the open space HDB car park lots just behind the block.

I know how much of a perfectionist Sarah is, so I wasn't surprised to see how every tiny little nook and cranny had been designed with so much love, down to the minute details like the letter box, and a hand-made "Opening Hours" signage board.
Maple & Market Bakery
The bakery is pretty tiny, so I wouldn't suggest coming down in a huge group of more than 4, you might have difficulty locating seats! There are only two sitting spots, and both sit maybe 4-6 people, maximum.

Despite it being a weekday afternoon, Maple & Market was bustling with customers, with the deliciously inviting aroma of baking wafting out from the open concept kitchen! Very friendly and personable staff who attended to us with smiles on their faces! :D I always love places with great service. Makes me feel happier immediately!

Maple & Market Oh Happy Day
There is a little shelf display of quirky designer party ware, by Oh Happy Day! as well! Really cute products for sale. I didn't look too closely.. Because I was more interested in the food!

Maple & Market Bakery Cakes
Cake display! Every single cake looked so gorgeous and delicious, I had trouble deciding which to shortlist.. :( By the way, Sarah actually spent months in Japan, attending Japanese baking classes, and I think the influence shows up in her bakes. They are very rustic and simply put together, yet absolutely beautiful.

Maple & Market Bakery Cupcake
Curry Pumpkin Cupcakes

Maple & Market Bakery Cake
Cassia Cake (Apple and Cinnamon if I remember right)

Maple & Market Bakery Cake
Victorian Sponge Cake

Maple & Market Bakery Scones
Scones

Maple & Market Bakery Cake
Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake

Maple & Market Bakery Loaf
Lemon Loaf and Banana Walnut Loaf

The above are just a few of the available bakes, there was a modest but well-varied selection which had us spoilt for choice.

We got ourselves seated next to the window, and the food on our table drew the stares of many curious passer-bys. (So maybe opt for a seat at the other table, if you prefer to eat in peace without people staring at you just a few inches away. Ahaha) Anyone looking into this bakery would be tempted to step in!

Maple & Market Bakery
On our table, a sprig of dried lavender flowers, self-service water station and other condiments.

Maple & Market Bakery Food
Alright.. We kind of over-ordered. But doesn't the spread of food look amazing?

Maple & Market Bakery
The obligatory pose-with-the-food picture. (And I look kind of weird here because I tried changing my hair parting =.=)

Maple & Market Bakery
My ever-so-sultry and sexy tea companion, otherwise known as MinPoh :D (You can find her on Instagram, hahahaha)

Maple & Market Bakery Mocha
Hot Mocha $4.50

Here's Min's hot mocha. No amazing latte art on this one, but it tasted great, apparently!

As I've mentioned, I am a tea drinker, and also I forgot to try the mocha for myself (oops) so I can't give you the verdict on this. Sarah is quite the avid coffee drinker, and I do know that the coffee beans are from Nylon Coffee!

Maple & Market Bakery Croissant
Butter Croissant $2.20

Recently tried Tiong Bahru Bakery's croissant and have been overwhelmed with croissant cravings. Had to order this one and I thought it was really delicious too! It's not as flaky or as crisp as TB's version, but is softer and more doughy on the inside, which I like as well :D And that yummy buttery taste.. Was so good on its own without any additional jam/butter on it!

Maple & Market Bakery Victorian Sponge Cake
Victorian Sponge Cake $5.50

This cake looked so pretty, we ordered it straight away! And I really really liked it, the sponge cake was dense but light at the same time (how is that possible??) and slightly crumbly, with fresh fruit fillings, that complemented the cake so well! You know those fruit cakes from the neighborhood bakery you used to get for your birthday as a kid? This kind of brings back memories of that well-loved fruit cake, except that it tastes better! :D

Maple & Market Bakery Tea
Earl Grey Lavender Tea $3.80

I got this tea on recommendation by the staff. Don't like my teas too floral nor fruity, so this Earl Grey with just a hint of lavender went great with the sweet food that we ordered! Sipping hot tea is the life.. :D (YZ would say I am becoming a Tai-Tai but I beg to disagree)

Maple & Market Bakery Banana Loaf
Banana Walnut Loaf $3

Don't you just adore the presentation of this simple slice of banana walnut loaf, on a paper dollie and old-fashioned metal plate? This was actually one of the items we left untouched because we ordered tooooo much, but I brought it home, warmed it up a little in my toaster, and had it for breakfast the following day! Not too sweet, with huge chunks of walnuts and the bread was coarse and flavorful.

Maple & Market Bakery Cake
Another shot of our food spread. (Look at the cutlery. Mismatched but still oh-so-charming!)

I actually forgot to take an individual shot of the Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake ($6) because we were so eager to tuck into the food, I completely missed it out! That rarely happens, so you can tell how damn excited I was. HAHAHA.

The Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake was incredibly tall, with dense chocolate layers sandwiched by a rich and smooth peanut butter ganache! I think I might like the Red Velvet better (I will definitely order that on my next visit) because this one was richness overload, what with the chocolate sponge cake and peanut butter cream. Delicious in small amounts, though!

Maple & Market Bakery Yina Goh
One last one of me looking all happy with the food! :D

Maple & Market Bakery

Maple & Market Bakery Sarah
And here's the amazing baker/cook behind Maple & Market.. Sarah! Who was busy churning out customized cake orders, because she is super popular like that :D

This open space is also where Sarah conducts baking classes (on the weekends!) and which I have been dying to attend, but haven't yet found a chance ;(

Maple & Market Bakery Sarah
Congratulations again, my dear! :D And thank you for having us! 

I love this paragraph from Sarah's blog:

For everyone who is pursuing their dream… believe in yourself, work hard and somehow, the universe will aid you in fulfilling your dream. Do not lose faith nor doubt your convictions, be the best that you can be, but at the same time, don’t forget to reflect, learn from mistakes and be a better person.

- Sarah's Loft

Maple & Market is a wonderful testimony that dreams do come true, as well as a reminder and encouragement to each and every one of us that passion, love and creativity are still very much alive :)

***

Just one last thing: You really need to try this Bacon Maple Cupcake ($3.50)! Bought this to bring back home and it was so yummy! The caramelized bacon tasted like bak kwa, and was a surprisingly good combination with the sweet cupcake base which had a light cinnamon taste to it. YZ loved it :)
Maple & Market Bakery Bacon Cupcake
Effort is when you hand stamp your logo on the paper bags used. Yes?
Maple & Market Bakery Bacon Cupcake
Maple & Market Bakery Bacon Cupcake

Please do pay Maple & Market a visit, especially if you're an Eastie: there's no excuse! (PS. It's located super near the famous Old Airport Road Hawker Centre!) Affordable prices, so much love put into the beautiful presentation and delicious bakes. I know I'd definitely be back.

***

Maple & Market Bakery

34 Cassia Crescent, #01-82
Singapore, Singapore 390034

Opening Hours
Tues - Fri: 12:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Sat - Sun: 10:00 am - 10:00 pm


***

On a separate note, I hope the long weekend has been treating everyone well! Can't believe it is Sunday already, that was too quick for me :( I had a great week at work and also spending lots of time with my loved ones, my family, boyfriend, and friends! Life is good like this :)

My hardworking minions spent the entire week organizing and packing our stocks for the Kissjane Sale (that happened today) and also in preparing for the new dot com website.. It is coming along really soon and I couldn't be more excited about it! Ahhhhhhh. Also confirmed lots of new manufactured designs that are just so pretty I can't wait for them to arrive! 

Enjoy the last week of May, everyone! :)

xoxo

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