Monday, May 14, 2012

Nylon Coffee Roasters

Nylon Coffee Roasters is the latest kid on the coffee-block, opened by former partners of Papa Palheta / Loysel's Toy, Dennis Tang & Lee Jia Min. I've known this couple for a long time ever since my school days when I used to visit Papa Palheta and Loysel's, and they are always very passionate about serving only good coffee. Nylon Coffee Roasters is located at a small HDB shophouse at block 4 Everton Park, and is really non-descript, a small area to sit, the majority of the shop being the roastery. The opening hours are from 8.30 to 5.30 on weekdays, and up to 6 on weekends. 


They currently only have one blend available, the El Primero blend (First blend), and I ordered an espresso and a 50z milk drink (they don't do cappuccinos or lattes etc, it's just the amount of milk in the drink). Their blend is a mixture of Peru and Brazil, and upon further enquiries, I discovered that they source the brazil beans farm-direct, i.e. cultivating a relationship with the farm. That is the best way to go in my opinion, since it reduces costs tremendously and you can always ensure that the quality is there if you have relations with a good farm.

The espresso from Nylon Coffee Roasters was simply excellent, outstanding. One of the best in Singapore, I dare say. It had some toffee flavours, a candy-like sweetness, some fruitiness, and some dark chocolate at the back of the palate especially in the aftertaste, a very long finish. In fact, I believe even after 10 minutes, the long dark chocolate aftertaste was still there, even when the candy had long gone. Excellent espresso. (8.5/10) 

With milk, the coffee still retained some interesting flavours - quite chocolatey with that dark chocolate flavour, and still with some toffee notes. In my opinion, the blend is probably more suited to the espresso, but the milk was still good. (8/10)


Go visit Nylon Coffee Roasters soon, give Dennis & Jia min your support. Cheers! 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Club Street Social @ Gemmill Lane


Dinner was at one of the newest, hippest outlets to be seen in or around town, namely, Club Street Social, along Gemmill Lane. We had just finished oysters happy hour at Luke's oyster Bar and Chop house just across the street but the prices at Luke's were rather steep to continue the dinner, so we trooped over to Club Street Social instead.  The place was packed with mainly expats and we felt quite out of place but since expats are cool and everyone's cool and we're cool we decided to CHILL and GRAB A TABLE, which we did. I have posted photos of the layout and the decor which was really nicely done.













We had a crostini of duck rillette, green apple and fig compote, which was just amazing. The duck rillette went perfectly well with the green apple as the latter just paired beautifully with the rilette by giving it a nice 'crunch'; a real contrast in textures. The duck rillette had loads of flavour as well, being nicely robust and gamey without being too overwhelming. Outstanding dish. (8.5/10)

















The star of the night, however, was undoubtedly the Lobster Panini, which came with Pan-Seared Lobster, Avocado, and Yuzu Mayo. It was just outstanding, mind-blowingly delicious. The lobster was first pan-seared with butter which really brought out the smoky flavours of the lobster, similar to what you'd get when you eat grilled lobster with mentaiko roe (?) - which paired beautifully with the yuzu mayo with just a subtle hint of yuzu, and the avocado which gave it a real creamy mouth feel. The combination was just delicious and the chunks of lobster in my mouth were just amazing - the natural taste of lobster being brought out by the pan-searing. I had the thought of ordering another [we shared this], but in the end decided to exercise some self-control. This was just a sublime dish (9/10).






I had a cocktail #7, which came with bacon, cognac, date, and walnut. It wasn't bad, pretty tangy, and with the smokiness of the bacon; almost like whiskey albeit made with cognac. Not bad.



Overall I'd say Club Street Social's a great place to have a really chill evening with drinks and the works, and of course the lovely sandwiches prepared with top notch ingredients and lots of love. Highly recommended. 


Saturday, May 5, 2012

coffee roundup, may 2012

Just an update, here's my May 2012 list of best coffee places in Singapore. Note that the list normally changes from time to time just as my taste preferences [and the quality of the baristas] change. Here goes:
[Note: the list changes from time to time - I will post a new update in August 2012].

New update: I have amended a couple of things, plus I have put in some "taste notes" i.e. to see what you can expect (as of May 2012) in their coffees.


TOP TIER
Stranger's Reunion - by Ryan Tan, barista champion 2011 and 2012, located at Kampong Bahru Road. A new blend is in the works which should prove delicious, if Ryan's good tastes are anything to go by. the milk is always spot on, with incredible microfoam to create a smooth velvety mouthfeel. must order is the "magic", which is a double ristretto with milk. his 'magic' made from the terra firma blend was simply amazing.
Taste Notes: Ryan's "stranger's" blend is interesting, flavourful - bright and lively; the Terra Firma is what it usually is - darker and with a nutty taste.



Nylon Coffee Roasters - new outlet by Dennis & Jiamin. Small outlet, not much seating, more for takeaways. The El Primero blend is excellent - toffee, candy sweetness, dark chocolate aftertaste, long finish.
Taste Notes: see above.


Smitten Coffee - by Darren and Hong Yuan, slightly fruity coffees [on the light side] and delicious desserts. Serves plain vanilla cupcakes here. good if you like fruity, lively coffees.
Taste Notes: The thumper has notes of grapefruit and roasted nuts; the coffees tend to be fruitier and brighter. 

Jewel Coffee - single origin beans, but always done very well. expert baristaing, giving a robust cup that captures the tasting notes of what the coffee "should" taste like.
Taste Notes: depends on the beans that they use; the ethiopian sidamo is very lemony; colombia has alot of chocolatey notes; try the antigua if they have that.


Liberty Coffee - only open sometimes. excellent coffee, very bold and chocolatey. if you see pauline's chocolate cake on the counter, do order it. it is the bomb. 
Taste Notes: The Speakeasy blend is very chocolatey and rich. 


Toby's Estate - bumping it back to its 'top tier' status. Very good when the good beans are in, namely the COE (cup of excellence) coffees. when you are drinking the cup of excellence coffees, they are as good as the best in Singapore. Also of note are the speciality coffees apart from the COE, such as the Yirgacheffe Peaberry which tastes spicy, winey, of roasted nuts and cumin, and sweet. Sadly they don't always have COE or these special beans, which means that you're stuck with the normal coffees. the Rodyk blend is not bad, chocolatey, usual stuff. pretty safe. 
Taste Notes: The Rodyk blend is usually chocolatey and nutty; of interest is the COE coffees when they become available.

MIDDLE TIER

Sarnies - at telok ayer street, one of my regular joints for coffee. very good service, and competent baristas. pav makes an excellent cup of coffee and he is into roasting now, which means you're in for some treats. had an excellent yemen there, a great peru, and so on. when the house blend of costa rica and ethiopian is at its best [i.e. just the right amount of days from roasting], it is exquisite and excellent and goes with milk perfectly. sadly, as the house blend usually comes in 2 week cycles, it is not often as fresh as we would like it to be, hence the 'middle tier' rating. 
Taste Notes: The house blend which is a blend of Costa Rica and Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is excellent when in form - sweet, smooth, chocolatey and nutty with enough acidity to keep things lively.

40 Hands - used to be under 'room for improvement' but a recent experience has pushed it up. always get Harry to make the coffee because when he does it it's excellent. otherwise, it may be extremely bitter and you'll regret it. very very good brunch, though. 
Taste Notes: varies depending on the bean. make sure that they don't over-extract your coffee lest it becomes bitter.

Loysel's Toy / Papa Palheta - once top tier, but now very inconsistent due to the quality of the baristas, as it has expanded greatly. always look for a good barista [i.e. sean, perhaps] to make the coffee. if not, as i've experienced, you'll get quite bitter and overextracted coffee, or else, badly done milk. papa palheta was one of the founders of great coffee in singapore and is a household name in the coffee industry. 
Taste Notes: terra firma is dark, nutty, as mentioned.

Oriole Coffee Roasters - very dedicated roasters serving delicious coffee, usually farm direct. i don't go there enough because the 'feel' of the place is somewhat lacking - the vibe, and all, the service, isn't that 'warm', perhaps because i'm not a regular there. maybe i should go there more often, but as of now, still good. go to the jiak chuan road outlet and not the others. the republic plaza outlet is a fail. 
Taste Notes: the seasonal espresso blend is not bad - quite bright.

The Plain - very very good brunch, i.e. poached eggs and all. the coffee is of the dark kind, i.e. dark roast italian style, so only if you like those kinds of coffee.
Taste Notes: Dark, dark , dark.

Maison Ikkoku - very nice joint at Kandahar Street, with many kinds of coffee and a passion for it. good, rich, coffee, a bit too bitter, but good. They have recently upgraded so it's time for me to go down and check it out again.



ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

Highlander Coffee - used to be the creme de la creme, but sadly overtaken by other more innovative and newer joints. their coffee is very safe, but frankly isn't much to shout about. Note: The barista, Guoli (a friend of mine), is a class act, however - everything done very well including the milk. Just that, unfortunately, he hasn't got that much to work with. 

Artichoke - coffee here is a fail. don't order it.

Spruce - ditto. fail coffee.

Bronte - it's an ok cup. don't expect fireworks.

Orange Thimble - wasn't very impressed with the coffee here. okay only.

Selfish gene cafe - using highlander beans, so don't expect that much.

Jimmy Monkey Cafe and Bar - they really need to improve their roasting, as it is really quite bitter and has unpleasant notes. i'm just not sure what's wrong with it...if they could tweak it, it would be good.