the little bowl

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As seen on Masterchef: Microplane Zester December 7, 2011

Filed under: Reviews — thelittlebowl @ 3:40 pm

I am truly ashamed to admit that I’ve known the existence of the Microplane Zester, even before Masterchef aired on TV… and I hadn’t brought it back home, where it truly belongs! It wasn’t until after numerous lemons and a few years of slaving over my uncooperative cheap grater, that I finally realised something was missing in my life! *cues dramatic emo music*


My precious....


After harping on the zester to death, my boyfriend and my sister decided to buy this new toy for me (they didn’t communicate beforehand so I have two! *gasp*)! I just tried the zester this evening and am now unabashedly head over heels in love with this new toy.


What’s so good about it?

  • Zests a whole lemon in under a minute (unless you’re zesting really leisurely)
  • Produces fine zest

    A tablespoon of fine zest and a very naked lemon

  • Doesn’t cut so deep that you grate into the white pith, the white part of the lemon peel that is bitter – a.k.a. your cakes are safe!
  • It comes in several tantalizing colours. My favourites are orange and lime green.
  • Best of all – it’s easy to clean! The zest rinses right off and doesn’t get stuck in the grooves. A standing ovation, please!

A thing of beauty

For all these reasons, if you love baking with lemon zest, you’ve got to have it! The price tag may shock you a little but trust me, it’s worth every penny.


Where to get this glorious tool:

Both my zesters were bought at Tools of the Trade along Dunearn Road for S$37.


I haven’t tried other zesters. If you have, let me know if you’ve also found a good one! 🙂


Disclaimer: This review is proudly sponsored by my sister and my boyfriend. 😀


Ippudo – Not Quite My Bowl of Ramen March 16, 2010

Filed under: Reviews — thelittlebowl @ 2:36 pm
Tags: , ,

First VIew at Ippudo

I’ve been told by a journalist friend that I should try Ippudo, a ramen restaurant that opened a few months ago at the newly revamped Mandarin Gallery. Frankly, the prospect of a comforting hot bowl of ramen and a free steam facial along with it seemed too hard to resist, so Nick and I decided to visit Ippudo for a Saturday lunch.


The counter along which I watched Japanese chefs fondle noodles 😛

The local branch of a popular ramen chain in Japan, Ippudo offers only two soup bases – Shiromaru – a white broth that is packed with collagen from boiling pork bones for almost a day – and Akamaru – a savory red soup made with red miso and black garlic oil.

With collagen at stake, I chose Shiromaru ($15, without an additional egg or pork belly).

Delicate Pork Bone Broth

This delightful broth exuded a delicate sweetness from pork bones. Unfortunately, the sharp aftertaste of pickled ginger was too overwhelming on the palate, negating the beautiful broth.
The noodles too were not as good as I had imagined. Having chosen “medium” noodles (instead of hard or soft), I found the strings of flour a little too chewy in the beginning and a little too limp at the end for my liking. Perhaps I wasn’t slurping my noodles fast enough, unlike Nick who wolfed down his noodles in no time and opted for extra noodles (which according to him, cost $2++ for 30 cents worth of mee kia). 😛
Perhaps what led to such disappointment was the anticipation of a new and great ramen haunt. There are many ramen places in Singapore but not many that live up to my food-snobbing ways.
With Santouka at Central still reigning on my list of ramen restaurants and the long queue at Ippudo (I reached at 11.50am on Saturday and the queue was so long, I almost stepped into Lawry’s), this ramen is not filling my bowl anytime soon.
Ippudo is located at:

Mandarin Gallery, 333A Orchard Road, #04-02/03/04

Tel: 6235 2797 (no reservations allowed)


On a trail to The Garden Slug February 3, 2010

Filed under: Reviews — thelittlebowl @ 2:02 pm
Tags: , , , ,

As a hard core west-sider, I’m hardly in the east. Although many of my twitter friends would disagree with me, I think the west side has tonnes of awesome food to offer too!


Nonetheless, upon the invitation of a few tweeps, I went for a tweetup at The Garden Slug at Telok Kurau (Eunos), proudly hosted by @danielchant whose third tweetup that was (the first two were @BrewerkzSG).


The Garden Slug is not quite as sluggish as one would imagined but it does have an admirable laidback atmosphere and casualness that makes it a great place for a relaxing brunch with mates (or as my colleagues keep chirping these days “relak one korner”).


Light fills the cafe as one entire side of the place is covered in floor-to-ceiling windows, giving the food a beckoning glisten and making it much easier for my iPhone to take nicer pictures! 😛 Nonetheless, with all that light and heat coming through the windows, it can get a little warm.


The menu at The Garden Slug can get a little overwhelming. There are 193 dishes to choose from!


Spicy Sausage Gumbo - Yummerz!

Being the meat-lover he is, Nick ordered a bowl of Spicy Sausage Gumbo ($8.90). This hearty stew of tender grilled spicy sausage, sweet carrots, rice, barley and tomato was the “bomb diggity” or truly the dish, I feel, The Garden Slug is worth visiting for. The bowl of tangy goodness was elevated close to Heaven with a kick from just the right amount of the black pepper.


Rustic Bolognese

After tasting the success of a tomato-filled Gumbo, I decided to order one of their recommended pasta dishes, Rustic Bolognese done The Garden Slug Way ($9.90). Unfortunately, with the stew as my benchmark, it seem a little lacklustre. Big eaters will rejoice at The Garden Slug’s pasta portions because they’re massive! I’m all for stuffing people till they can’t move but that was more linguine than sauce. The lightly flavoured tomato sauce with ground beef and carrot chunks was slightly too runny to coat the pasta adequately. After about 1/4 of the plate, I gave up and decided to wait for dessert instead. (A better pasta option that @alkanphel ate within minutes was Buttery Garlic Pasta topped with Grilled Chicken Strips.)


The Man Meal

Then comes, as @inrsoul and @danielchant term it, “The Man Meal”. And of course, ma man had to have it! If you can’t find “The Man Meal” on the menu, it’s really called “The Garden Slug Mixed Grill” ($28). This plate of meat, meat and more meat is enough to give your cardiologist a heart attack. Ribeye steak strips, lamp chops and sausage were all tossed on the grill and sizzled to succulent perfection, accompanied with a very quiet salad in its lonesome corner. The only regret is that the steak ended up tasting like lamb, perhaps because they were cooked together.


With the statement on the menu for you to ask for anything else that’s not on the menu, a very hopeful @danielchant ordered the platter with a hot girl on the side. They couldn’t find the girl but they gave him his food nonetheless.


Ahh finally, dessert! As Nick says, “in desserts, calories don’t count.” That’s why we ordered The Sweet Sweet Slug ($13.90).

The Sweet Sweet Slug

Here’s what’s on the plate: Tiramisu, Brownie Popsicle, Pear William with Gelato and Berries. The way The Garden Slug put the brownie on the stick is so cute! Nonetheless, of all the desserts, only one stuck out to me – Pear William, or Stewed Pears in White Wine & Cinammon. Stewed with its skin on, the pear slices are bursting with saccharine delightfulness. Devoured with vanilla gelato, Pear William was well-balanced and great for the sugar fiend.


The Garden Slug was certainly worth the visit. If not for anything else, go for the Gumbo. Then again, I’ve never been to Louisiana so try it out for yourself. (The Garden Slug is having a Valentine’s promotion that promises a candlelight dinner and a live vocalist/guitarist! Check out the slug on the web! )

The Garden Slug
55 Lorong L Telok Kurau,
#01-59/61 Bright Centre,
Singapore 425500
Tel/ Fax: 6346 0504
Open Daily:
Mon – Tues 6pm-10pm
Wed – Thur 10am-10pm
Fri – Sun 9am-10pm or late
Public Hol 9am-10pm or late


Follow the slug on twitter! @thegardenslug (I like their tweets. They talk about making pineapple tarts and their soups of the day. Nice stuff!)

The afternoon was originally intended to be continued with a pilgrimage to Chin Mee Chin Confectionery but unfortunately, the old school bakery wasn’t likely to be open at that time. So it looks like another trip to the east is in order. Yikes! But till then, I’m staying in my cosy west or in town.