Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen @ Toa Payoh Entertainment Centre

Inside Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen
Inside Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

Popeyes Chicken opened an outlet at Toa Payoh Entertainment Centre recently. It’s not under the Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits name, but instead, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. The menu looks the same to me though, so I don’t really know why the name is different.

I have eaten Popeyes at Singapore Flyer and Changi Airport. The fried chicken at both outlets were good, definitely better than KFC.

However, this outlet at Toa Payoh disappoints. Rachel and I cannot pinpoint exactly what was wrong, but it just didn’t taste as good as the usual Popeyes. The chicken was hard to chew and dry.

The combo set
The combo set
The fried chicken and signature biscuit
The fried chicken and signature biscuit
Unappetising looking chicken sandwich
Unappetising looking chicken sandwich

Usually, Popeyes outlets are always crowded. This did not seem the case for this outlet at Toa Payoh. I suppose for fried food, they taste better when served immediately, before the oil gets stale. Maybe if business moved faster, the fried chicken will improve.

I haven’t eaten at this outlet since. Drop me a note if you ate there recently. 🙂

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Goodbye Grandpa

My maternal grandparents, back when my grandpa was still healthy
My maternal grandparents, back when my grandpa was still healthy

My maternal grandpa passed away last evening at around 7pm. He had gone quietly in his sleep and no one was by his side. He lived till the ripe old age of 85 and left behind an army of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

I was attending an IPT session then and only got the news from Rachel at around 9pm, after I booked out of Khatib camp. I then drove down to my grandparents’ place in Ang Mo Kio after picking up Rachel.

My parents, sister and the rest of my relatives were already there. Rachel and I were among the last to arrive.

My grandpa was already been bed-ridden a month back. The doctor had told us back then  that he only had around a week more to live. Naively, I had hung on to the hope that my grandpa will be able to last till June to at least witness my wedding.

Goodbye grandpa, thanks for the memories.

I will always remember the fun times I had helping out at my grandpa’s provision shop and staying over during weekends and school holidays with my many cousins.

KŌ Japanese Restaurant @ Intercontinental Hotel

KO Japanese restaurant
KO Japanese restaurant

Usually, Rachel and I would not have dined in a hotel restaurant due to the hefty price tag, but we went to try out Japanese Restaurant at Intercontinental Hotel as I had won some dining vouchers at a lucky draw. 🙂

The place was nearly empty when we reached, with only a couple of other diners. We appreciate the quiet and private ambient.

Inside the restaurant
Inside the restaurant

We ordered a set dinner each, with an additional two side dishes. The total bill came to around S$200, but was mostly covered by our vouchers. The service was great, food was wonderful – one of the best Japanese food we had in Singapore.

Ready to eat
Ready to eat
Hungry me
Hungry me

For our starters, the sashimi was really fresh and the hand-made tofu, silky soft. The elegant presentation probably added to the food’s appeal as well.

My beautiful sashimi platter
My beautiful sashimi platter
Very plain looking, but delicious tofu
Very plain looking, but delicious tofu

My teppanyaki Angus beef cubes were nice, but not memorable. Rachel’s grilled fish was fresh and juicy. The portion could have been more generous though.

Angus beef
Angus beef
Rachel's grilled fish
Rachel's grilled fish

As the servings were moderate, we ordered two more side dishes – barbecued puffer fish and fried squid to round up the meal. This was the first time both of us ate puffer fish. It didn’t taste remarkable lei, pretty much tasteless sans for the seasoning.

Fried squid
Fried squid
Barbecued puffer fish meat that taste like salty bak kwa
Barbecued puffer fish meat that taste like salty bak kwa
Rachel picking up a piece to eat
Rachel picking up a piece to eat

The desserts had nice presentation. Otherwise, they tasted quite normal, but were a nice finishing touch to an enjoyable meal.

Green tea ice cream
Green tea ice cream
Tofu cheesecake
Tofu cheesecake

We are not likely to visit again due to the price lah… except maybe on special occasions. Here’s their address if you are interested:

80 Middle Road
1F Intercontinental Hotel
Tel: +65 6825 1064
Opening hours: Mon–Sat, 12noon – 2.30pm, 6pm – 10pm

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Everything With Fries @ Joo Chiat

Inside the restaurant
Inside the restaurant
Minimalistic decor
Minimalistic decor
Me browsing through a magazine while waiting
Me browsing through a magazine while waiting
Rachel enjoying her Enid Blyton
Rachel enjoying her Enid Blyton

Rachel really wanted to try out the food at Everything with Fries after reading the rave review in Sunday Times. We went down during a weekend night and it was pretty crowded. We had to wait some time for our food to be served.

We like the simple, minimalistic interior decor and the cheery pink uniform the staff dons. Rachel was delighted to find some old Enid Blyton books tucked on their bookshelves. A lot of us grew us reading these.

I ordered a Pork Cutlet Sandwich with Sour Cream and Onion fries while Rachel ordered a Lamb Burger with Garlic and Herbs fries. We also ordered a One Egg Soup to share.

The presentation of the soup was interesting – a deep fried egg white over chicken broth. As strange as the combination seems, the taste goes well together. Both of us like this starter and was looking forward to a sumptuous meal. Alas, we will be left disappointed.

One egg soup
One Egg Soup
The soup is a little thin, but goes well with the fried egg
The soup is a little thin, but goes well with the fried egg

The main courses and fries were unremarkable. It’s really ironic that the fries did not stand out, given that they pitch themselves as a fries specialty restaurant.

Both the two flavours of fries we ordered taste exactly the same – salty and like any normal fries at other restaurants. We seriously cannot taste much of the seasonings. Even McDonald’s shaker fries are more flavourful.

The pork cutlet was dry and tough. My jaws felt sore after laboriously chomping it down with lots of water.

My Pork Cutlet Sandwich with Sour Cream and Onion fries
My Pork Cutlet Sandwich with Sour Cream and Onion fries
Close-up of the very dry pork cutlet
Close-up of the very dry pork cutlet
Rachel's Lamb Burger with Garlic and Herbs fries - the fries look the same as mine don't they?
Rachel's Lamb Burger with Garlic and Herbs fries - the fries look the same as mine don't they?
Lamb burger
Close-up of the lamb patty

Rachel did not have much complain with the lamb burger, but it was not exceptional either and the patty was a little cold.

We concluded the restaurant is good at marketing and positioning itself, but probably just good for a one time visit given the inaccessible location (by public transport) and pretty normal food served.

If you are interested to visit Everything with Fries for the experience, they have two outlets and the addresses are as below:

First Outlet

458 Joo Chiat Road
Tel: +65 6345 5034
Opening hours: Daily, Noon – 10pm (Closed on Mon)

Branch:

40 Lorong Mambong
Holland Village
Tel: +65 6463 3741
Opening hours: Tue–Thu & Sun, 12pm – 11pm, Fri–Sat, 12pm – 1am (Closed on Mon)

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Republic of Steak @ Victoria Street

Inside the restaurant
Inside the restaurant

Republic of Steak is a great alternative to Aston’s for quality western food at a reasonable price and also with better service.

The staff are really friendly and attentive. Maybe it’s because the outlet is new. I do hope they continue to sustain this as the restaurant gets more crowded with better business.

Rachel and I went there to eat twice within a week. It is actually located very conveniently at Victoria Hotel, near to the National Library, but is tucked away in a corner that tend to be easily overlooked.

The first time there, I ordered their signature burger while Rachel ordered their cowgirl sirloin steak. We also ordered their Bruschetta and wild mushroom soup for starters, as well as two glass of lime juice.

Wild mushroom soup
Wild mushroom soup
Bruschetta
Bruschetta
Cowgirl Sirloin
Cowgirl Sirloin
The gigantic Republic Burger which was really filling
The gigantic Republic Burger which was really filling

Everything was fantastic. Service was prompt, food was good, best of all, it did not cost that much. Our total bill came to around S$40. That’s a steal considering how much we ordered. The portion was generous too and we left really bloated during our first visit.

On our second visit, I ordered their pork chop while Rachel had a lamb steak. Again, we were satisfied with our meal. 🙂

Happy Rachel during our second visit
Happy Rachel during our second visit
Lamb steak with mint sauce
Lamb steak with mint sauce
Pork chop
Pork chop

We went a third time recently with our friends, Mark and Meiyen. They liked the food too. We will definitely frequent the restaurant again. Now, there’s one more great place to eat when we are in the Bras Basah Bugis precinct.

Here’s their address if you are interested:

89 Victoria Street
#01-01 Victoria Hotel

Tel: +65 6720 8103
Opening hours

Daily
11.30am – 10pm

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My Old Residence @ Leicester Road

Having lived there since I was 7, my family and I spend more than two decades of my life at my old residence at Leicester Road.

During the period, we saw through the iconic construction of Potong Pasir MRT station, the first MRT station to be open in an opposition ward; the redevelopment of St Andrew’s Junior School and St Andrew’s Secondary School (where I was educated) into St Andrew’s Village, joined by St Andrew’s Junior College; the development of over four condominiums in all four corners of of residential building and many more.

Finally, it was our turn for en-bloc sale late last year.

Here are some pictures I took of my old residence when Rachel and I went back to take some stuff we had missed out while moving out earlier.

The living room
The living room
My room
My room
My parent's room
My parent's room
My sister's room
My sister's room
The kitchen
The kitchen

Bye bye, 12 Leicester Road. Thanks for the memories.

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Chetan Bhagat’s The 3 Mistakes of My Life

Investment bank turned best-selling author, Chetan Bhagat
Investment bank turned best-selling author, Chetan Bhagat

You may not know who Chetan Bhagat is, but this guy is big in India. Via a New York Times article: he is currently the biggest-selling English-language novelist in India’s history, according to his publisher, Rupa & Company, one of India’s oldest and best established publishers. His story of campus life, Five Point Someone, published in 2004, and a later novel, One Night @ the Call Center, sold a combined one million copies.

The 3 Mistakes of My Life is his third novel. I bought the book at the Mumbai airport to read on my flight back to Singapore.

The 3 Mistakes of My Life - book cover
The 3 Mistakes of My Life - book cover

The book was slim, written with simple English. It attracted me because it looks like the kind of book that I can easily finish reading in a day. In addition, I also wanted to find out why this guy’s books sold so well in India – what draws the Indian English readers?

After finishing the book, it is easy to understand why Chetan’s books are popular. He is a writer who writes for his readers, giving them what they want. There’s sex, brotherhood, religion and cricket rolled into the narrative. Everything his countrymen were concerned about, he will weave them into his book.

The narrative is linear and reads like a typical soap opera series. Yet it is strangely endearing, compelling us to read on, just like how most of us have secretly watched a few episodes of cheesy American soaps like “Days of our Lives”.

Here’s the book’s synopsis via wikipedia:

The novel, written as if based on real events, is set in the year 2000, when a young boy in Ahmedabad called Govind dreams of starting a business. To accommodate his friends Ishaan and Omi’s passion, they open a cricket shop. However, each has a different motive: Govind’s goal is to make money; Ishaan desires to nurture Ali, a gifted batsman; Omi just wants to be with his friends. During the story the characters have to deal with religious politics, earthquake, riots, unacceptable love and their own mistakes.

To me, Chetan’s books  are a good reflection of the changing India in today’s world. The struggle faced by the growing middle-class and the topics they are concerned about are all documented in his book.

In fact, I would like to read the rest of his books, especially the first two, not for their literary merits, but because it is by reading popular fiction that you get to understand the masses best. 🙂

I am not sure if Chetan’s books are available at the local bookstores, but you can find out more about Chetan and his books via his official website.

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