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The flower doesn’t dream of the bee. It blossoms and the bee comes – Mark Nepo

Hustlin’ with Sunday Posies (@sundayposies)

Having a job these days, is never a bad idea. Having a job you love? Even better! However it’s not something that you can snap your fingers and a genie appears magically to grant you that wish. So having a side hustle or hobby does help keep your sanity in check amidst the bustle of the day job.

Sunday Posies (@sundayposies) was the brainchild of @gigglemenot (as she prefers) as she #somekindofeatpraylove for a while, away from a hectic job. Strolling among the florists in markets of Melbourne, she found therapy in floral arrangements and decided to make some money at the same time. Check out her social media profiles (Facebook & Instagram) and if you need a bespoke florist with some pretty good vision and skillz, you know who to look for!

Loyal elf assistant Jeslyn (L) with the talent behind Sunday Posies, @gigglemenot (R)

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Wheeler’s Estate

From the people that brought you one of Singapore’s top 10 Instagram-ed cafe (Wheeler’s Yard), is another to-be highly Instagram-ed cafe with the name updated to specify a bigger space (estate). It’s so big, that it’s classified into 6 7 different sections: Restaurant, Alfresco, Bar, Events, Entertainment, Picnic and Cycling! Can’t buy bicycles here though, so I guess this is their side hustle in a way?

Situated in what used to be part of Selatar Airbase, Wheeler’s Estate is part of the wave of rejuvenation of the area now known as Seletar Aerospace Park. Traverse down the relatively ulu road and you’ll be greeted by one highly Instagram-ed icon; the silver caravan/camper van endearingly named “Bambi”:

Facing a modestly-sized but lush green field, it’s one of those fewer places where you can fit right in, whether you’re there on a date, a family Sunday brunch, or a high school reunion. Or you really just want to escape the F1 buzz in town for the weekend. There’s even the playground nearby at The Oval (that is well, literally an oval-shaped street) where you can bring your kids, or act like one (don’t we all?).The seating space is also generously spacious, although if you really look at it there’s not that many sheltered options available at the first floor. There are however several long benches for big groups and a indoor dining hall at the second level, which has a stairwell, and a corridor that is also (another) highly Instagram-ed spot.
Wheelers Estate Wheelers Estate

Wheeler’s Estate serves up some casual Australian cuisine good ol’ alfresco style (of course you may choose the comfort of the air-conditioned veranda but it gets echo-ey. There seems to be a rotating menu so you may not get the same food every time you come here. When we were there, we had a very unique twist of the Philadelphia Steak (philly steak) where instead of it being in a sandwich, it was a marinated beef steak on a tortilla wrap and garnished with chili and caramelised onion. Very different from tradition, but without compromising on taste and complexity!

Other usual favourites that we were recommended were the fish and chips, and the chicken cordon bleu that was served in a similar deconstructed fashion. Seems like these guys don’t just take apart bicycles!

When the sun goes down at Wheeler’s, things are different too. Under the dim fairy lights and slightly blaring live music, the weather also becomes more tolerable as the alfresco seating becomes more filled with people who want to revel but also prefer the chill vibes. You can also take a stroll in the park which is adjacent to Seletar Airport’s airstrip, and get some *ahem* quiet time if you need.

Verdict

hole-in-the-wall-ness:
Rather challenging to get to unless you drive or take a taxi, it’s definitely out of the way by Singaporean standards.

Price:
It is quite expensive at the average range of $30-40 per head including drinks but not dessert, and portions were not THAT bad either.

Quality:
While expensive, they do try to be innovative with their menu and presentation. At least the food is fresh!

Overall:
My only gripe was that despite having an army of part timer youngsters I felt pretty neglected during my visit there. For example we wanted some cutlery and water, and were told by no less than 3 different servers that they’ll get it for us, but conveniently forgotten after (I wanted to get it myself in the first place, had to do it anyway). I guess some organisation will help, which is evident in some of their ratings on social media as well. It’ll be a waste if disorganised service spoilt an otherwise nice ambience and honest, casual cuisine!

More Information

Sunday Posies
Enquire more on bespoke floral services
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Wheeler’s Estate
2 Park Lane
Seletar Aerospace Park
Singapore 798386
Reservations:  6262 0001 (recommended if you’re going on a weekend)
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The way you make an omelet reveals your character. – Anthony Bourdain

Pecori

UPDATE JUL 2020: Pecori, along with the entire Liang Court, has closed. The mall is undergoing redevelopment.

Liang Court to many *cough* youths of my age used to be associated with the 24hrs MacDonald’s at the first floor (which has since been replaced with a food court instead) that you go to for cheap calories before a night of parties. But relatively unbeknownst to many, there is actually a Japanese enclave with a wide selection of F&B options. From premium nigiri sushi to croquettes and curries, there’s something for everyone and their wallets.

Natalie Wang

Poet. Debate specialist & coach. Makeup artist & beauty blogger. Natalie (@natwangthecat , and @natziwang) keeps herself busy with many activities. You should check out her adventures and short-lived love affairs with cats she encounters! But tonight, she brings me to her favourite spot to recharge with some of her comfort food: omu rice.

Pecori

 

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Pecori Japanese Egg Restaurant

Placed at a cosy corner of the cooked food section of Medi-Ya supermarket, Pecori specialises in, amongst other minor ones, Japanese omelette rice. While many are familiar (thanks to social media) the dramatic service style of Kyoto’s Kichi Kichi, they (Pecori) do it quietly and without much fanfare. Designed like a cutesy countryside cottage, the interior has very limited seating; most customers, including us) sit at the common tables in the area right in front.

PecoriPecoriPecori

With any purchase you get access to the all-you-can-eat salad and soup bar. Perfect for warming your poor soul, but why would you overeat and miss out on the star of the night? (edit: free access is only for dinner; a small top-up is applicable during lunch)

Pecori
PecoriPecori

 

 

Picture from PecoriSG facebook
No automatic alt text available.
Picture from PecoriSG facebook

The mainstay of Pecori, the Japanese omu rice, is served with a variety of sauces and toppings (e.g. like a huge piece of tonkatsu, which I got). There’s no real favourite here, although the classic thing to order here is the demi-glace sauce with the beef stew. If you’re feeling for something a bit lighter, there’s the mushroom ankake sauce (kind of like a light clear soy sauced-based gravy). Underneath the fluffy omelettes lay an equally fluffy bed of stir-fried rice, and the generous portion will make sure you get your full $12++ worth of comfort! They also have other non-omu rice items on offer… but really?

Usually they also have a selection of dessert(s) to finish of the meal, such as this jiggly piece of Japanese pudding. According to Natalie, if you’re lucky you may even get their elusive chocolate cake!

Pecori

Verdict

hole-in-the-wall-ness:
It is pretty hidden from most mall visitors, but nonetheless it is a shopping mall. Natalie would disagree as virtually none of her friends even know this corner of the mall existed.

Price:
Japanese food have always commanded a premium here. With prices starting from about $12, it is indeed quite dear. But in exchange you will get quality and freshness where it matters.

Quality:
Portions are big and ingredients clearly look and taste fresh. Mmm those eggs…

Overall:
Fancy some eggs, monsieur? Maybe come here before a long night ahead at Clarke Quay next time!

More Information

Pecori Japanese Egg Restaurant
177 River Valley Road
#B1-31
Liang Court
Singapore 179030
(Go down the ramp escalator to basement 1, and walk towards Medi-Ya supermarket and all the way across the cashier rows, not into the supermarket)
Tel: 8277 0959 (but you don’t really need it, they are open rain or shine)
Opening Hours: 11:00am to 10:00pm daily
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“Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide.” -Napoleon Bonaparte

Burgers. Originally just served as a meat patty in Germany (Hamburg, hence the name to hamburger and then burger), the modern burger was debatably developed by a few different sources in early USA history, but one thing in common was the mobility and ease of mass production it brought. Especially to a fast-paced metropolis like the big apple: New York City (cue nasal voice), the land of opportunity.

Jolie Hwee

When not learning how to scalp (literally, guys) people on surgical tables, Dr. Jolie turns to looking for new places to dine at. Check out her Instagram!

So when told of a burger joint that’s so obscure it literally doesn’t even have a front display and entrance, she had to come take a look.

Burger Joint Singapore

Of Le Parker Meridien down 56th St, NYC fame, Burger Joint opened their first outlet in Southeast Asia down in the Telok Ayer/Amoy Street area. Why am I being so vague? That’s because instead of a prominent front display, it is actually situated in what could have been a kitchen/pantry/worker’s quarters in the early 20th century. To access it, you would have to go round the back, along Gemill Lane before you spot the ubiquitous neon burger sign plastered next to a inconspicuous door… only to go in and be greeted by a dark corridor lined with curtains, and yet another neon burger sign.

Once you (finally) reach the restaurant, you’ll be greeted with a familiar sight (if you’ve ever been to the one in NYC; I haven’t though): the worn-looking wooden furniture and walls in a dimly lit room. If you come in a group you can try your luck at one of the booth seats, but most are happy at the standing tables or even to chill at the bar, where they serve a decent spread of cold beer and good ol’ American whiskies.

Ordering a burger here isn’t… too many layers of work. You are free to choose whether you want a plain hamburger or load it up with cheese, bacon, jalapeno peppers, or all of the above! For best results, go for ‘the works’ when asked for your vegetables. But of course in a capitalist free world, more will cost you.

The burgers come wrapped in paper bags and perfectly grilled to your liking (medium rare’s great), and piping hot. Now chomp on to that freedom and opportunity all the way from the East coast!

Yes, the burgers are quite expensive. Yes, the servings are not exactly very big. But does it matter? Not really, when you have the freedom of choice. If you like what you’re getting, feel free to scribble your words of praise or greetings on literally any surface you can find (most people choose the walls though) too! Verdict

hole-in-the-wall-ness:
The only giveaway of any semblance of a restaurant is the neon sign in the door so yes, hole in the wall.

Price:
For prices starting at $17 excluding taxes, it is definitely on the steep side when it comes to burgers. You do get quality meat that is grilled to your liking though. BUT I only found out after that they actually are on the entertainer app, so you can bring a friend along, or simply take two burgers!

Quality:
I give credit that they make it up in quality, that their meat, vegetables and even buns are freshly made (buns are made in-house).

Overall:
A good concept with no-nonsense and no-frills food, but I probably will only come here once in a while if I were on a budget. I mean, we’re free to choose right?

Wishing all readers from the USofA a happy 4th July!

More Information

Burger Joint Singapore
115 Amoy Street
#01-03
Singapore 069935
(Entrance at back on Gemmill Lane)
Tel: +65 6221 8648
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“I am a coffee fanatic. Once you go to proper coffee, you can’t go back. You cannot go back.”

Hugh Laurie

UPDATE: VXX has closed.

As recent as 2010, Singapore was hit by a wave of artisan coffee houses, stemming from the Melbourne café scene that has pretty much took over the whole world. It’s no doubt that Singaporeans will always crave for better quality, and will jump on the first available choice AND be more than willing to shell out a premium. However it still remains a cut-throat arena; out of the 391 cafes that opened in 2014, at least a quarter of them didn’t make the cut since. That’s a lot of coffee going both ways!

Also, I personally observe that a lot of these cafés popping up like rabbits aren’t really that serious about the literal meaning of a café; well, the coffee.

Stephanie Phua (Duo Studio)

VXX Cooperative

Stephanie of Duo Studio sought out to disprove that by bringing me to a relatively new coffeehouse in the vicinity of her agency, in Jalan Besar. Speaking of the area, it’s a really under-the-radar and eclectic enclave of coffeehouses and small restaurants!

Creative & advertising agencies similarly have a tough life over here, and she’s glad that she can find such a place just round the corner that not only is a good place to tune out/do work in peace, but also has a satisfying dining experience.

VXX Cooperative

Started by coffee connoisseurs and professionals Joy and Aslam, VXX Cooperative takes pride in their coffee-centric nature, which is evident in the curation of available roasted brews. With a mix of local favourites Nylon Coffee Roasters, Cloud Catcher Roastery (Malaysia), Koppi (Sweden) and Tim Wendelboe (Norway), it’s a special kind of heaven for serious coffee enthusiasts. Coupled with the strong experience of both former baristas themselves, Joy and Aslam are able to bring out the best of what are already among the best roasts in town.

If you wanted to know, “VXX” is something of sentimental value to Aslam, as it is the area code (520) of the district.

I’m a relatively technical person myself, and I love it when being explained to the facts and technical aspects of just about anything, especially food. This was exactly the experience I got; Joy was really patient and enthusiastic to introduce the profiles of the special brews on sale that day and I made an informed choice to get the Nacimiento by Tim Wendelboe. Served in a metal flask, it’s meant to be enjoyed slowly to allow the aromatics time to vaporise and give you an olfactory treat.

If any, their logo is a good representation of their culture: sharp but multi-directional curation. Located at 20 Foch Road, the interior is nicely spaced, minimalistic yet comfortable. The flowery floor tiles were probably because it used to be a dispensary back in the days. It’s not somewhere you’d want to have a 50 seats birthday party at, but like Stephanie, it’s a pretty good place if you want some peace and quiet. When you enter the shop’s front hall you’ll be greeted with a really large flat wooden table, possible with some coffee drips running on it. Take your pick with the merchandise just next to it too, when I was there, I saw some really good chocolate!

In fact, she got so comfy with the place that her coffee choices are simply picked for her and she does not have to worry about not enjoying whatever is served! Joy does not disappoint.

VXX Cooperative VXX Cooperative VXX Cooperative VXX Cooperative

The food menu is something that constantly evolves, but keeps to their principle of serving simple food to a T. I do agree to not over-complicating your food as a café owner as it will rob the attention from the beverages, and turn you into one of those red-velvet-cake-eggs-benedict-please hipster cafés.

Opting for something balanced and light I’ve opted for the banana-walnut french toast, topped up with mascarpone cheese, berries and coffee custard. Stephanie (aka stooffi) got basically what she always orders: a beef chorizo bowl with shaved potatos and tomatoes, topped with a perfectly wobbly *jiggle* onsen egg. According to her this is the third iteration of the same dish, and it is rather different in terms of presentation and preparation style from the predecessors.

There are also several other interesting creations from breakfast items to full lunch menus. I heard the dessert is also to die for, so get them before they change the menu (yet again)!

VXX Cooperative VXX Cooperative VXX Cooperative

At the time of writing both Rudi and Joy are taking part in the Singapore National Brewers Cup 2017, happening at Cafe Asia 2017 over at MBS this weekend! All the best!

Verdict

hole-in-the-wall-ness:
Nondescript shopfront, minimalistic furniture, artisan food and beverages? Check!

Price:
While you have to be prepared for some premium in prices, care is taken to prepare the food and (especially) coffee. You won’t feel shortchanged at all!

Quality:
See above. Portions are just right regardless if you want a midday snack, or a hearty lunch.

Overall:
Definitely a good local effort to bring quality coffee to the scene (a refreshing change in my opinion). They change up every 3-4 months to keep things fresh too, so you won’t get bored.

More Information

VXX Cooperative
20 Foch Road
Singapore 209261
Tel: 8720 0093
Opens daily 9:00am to 6:00pm
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UPDATE JUL 2020: Guac & Go has closed.

The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.

Audrey Hepburn

Beauty queens certainly don’t get it easy; from advocating various good causes, to maintaining their pristine image, it takes tenacity and confidence to perform their best and gun for a top spot in their respective pageants.

Stella Kae

Stella (Instagram) is no stranger to the world of beauty pageants, with 2 (TWO!) titles (Miss Singapore International 2011, Miss Singapore Chinatown 2012) to show for. Always game for an adventure whether its strutting down the runway or food-hunting, I brought her to another old haunt of mine when I used working in town, Guac & Go. Stella’s currently on the way to a brand new career, here’s wishing her a good 2017 and may her new year resolutions all come true!

Guac & Go

Guac & Go

Started in 2014 by 2 young people with a serious guacamole addiction who were getting bored with the limited and otherwise bland avocado scene (cue cringe-worthy Christmas avocado jingle). To which, they decided to shake things up by adding a myriad of tasty ingredients such as cilantro, lemon, honey, chilli peppers and even mango. In their words, they managed to make guacamole taste AMAZING! Not only that, they also have many dishes jam packed with other superfoods such as kale and quinoa.

It’s a little tricky to find them for first timers, as they are situated at the back side of Maxwell Chambers; you will need to traverse through a short corridor just to get to their shopfront, or go through the back if you’re coming from the newly completed Tanjong Pagar Centre. Looking in beyond the tinted glass windows without much (unnecessary) fanfare, take a seat in the spacious and sparsely furnished interior as you decide whether you want to make your own bowl, or try one of their several creations. Their menu has been updated considerably since when I first visited but I feel that it has much more variety right now. For me, I ordered the Guac & Hummus bowl while Stella chose to DIY a salad (guacamole included of course) instead.

Guac & Go Guac & Go

Happy New Year!!! Get started on the right foot – health up with the Guacamonster 🎉

A photo posted by Guac & Go Cafe (@guacngo) on

Guac & Go is also known for their smoothies; although we didn’t get to try them out, you should check out their interesting creations such as the Tropikale, berry, and (you guessed it!) avocado smoothies!

Never ending summer with our Tie Dye Peachberry Smoothie! We love the swirls of pink and yellow 💕

A photo posted by Guac & Go Cafe (@guacngo) on

Verdict

hole-in-the-wall-ness:
When they first opened, the on-going construction of the now-completed Tanjong Pagar Centre make their location inconspicuous. Now that the road has opened up again, hopefully more people will have an easier time finding them!

Price:
Health food in Singapore unfortunately face a bit more premium than they’re supposed to, given that you mainly serve fresh produce in a comfortable setting which commands a higher rent by itself.

Quality:
Food looks and taste fresh, and their guacamole is definitely worth its weight in (I would say avocado but) gold!

Overall:
A decent find after all; some people may be put off by the over-saturation of ‘hipster’ health food-serving cafes, but who knows? You may deck your halls with their avocados one day.

More Information

Guac & Go
32 Maxwell Road #01-08
Maxwell Chambers
Singapore 069115
Tel: 6221 2117
Opening Hours: 7:30am to 5:00pm, Mondays to Fridays. Closed on weekends and public holidays.
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