We are back again for 2016 after a 2 weeks break! Did you miss us? Well, for this week’s Munchy Monday, we are going to focus on a sweet treat – milk ice cream covered generously with savoury or sweet popcorns, or even both if that’s what you fancy! Next, we are going back to the root of dining – serving up sumptuous delights such as Eggs Benedict with uniqueness!
Featuring – Sweet Monster & Roots Kitchen and Bar!
By Jethro Wegener and Rin Yeo
The Korean food invasion of Singapore continues, although this time, with a rather unique entry to the large number of them. It isn’t fried chicken nor is it bingsu, but popcorn on ice cream! Featuring to you: Sweet Monster, with the subtitle of ‘American Festival Treats’, this dessert kiosk serves up typical American fairground favourites, like popcorn, ice cream, cheesecakes and sodas, but with an interesting little twist via the combination and colours. In fact, this is probably the only place in Singapore that serves up popcorn on an ice cream!
True to its name, Sweet Monster menu caters exclusively to those of us with a hankering for something sweet. Along with its signature popcorn on ice cream (named Monsters), you can find milkshakes, homemade sodas (which are all made from 100% pure fruit juice), and even tiramisu being served here at Sweet Monster. Everything is rich, decadent, and oh-so-sinful, and even if you aren’t a fan of sweets, the bright colours would most definitely draw you to it. While we were there, we got to try out 4 of the offerings: Cheese & Caramel Monster ($6.80), Strawberry Monster ($6.80), Lemon Ade ($5.80) and Strawberry Cake Milkshake ($7.50)
Starting with the ice cream, which were piled high in the cup and covered by popcorn all around, these treats really do look like monsters. We must admit, we did have a bit of apprehension about combining popcorn and ice cream together, as one has a airy texture while the other is dense and icy. However, upon taking a spoonful of the creamy ice cream and kernels of popcorn, our doubts were proven wrong, as the crunch of the popcorn went incredibly well with the smooth creaminess of the milk ice cream which had its sweetness toned down to the right amount.
The cheese and caramel option here is the best seller, and we could see why – between mouthfuls of sweetness from the ice cream and the caramel, you can have a bit of salty cheese for contrast and together, the flavours meld well together. The caramel had a light and crackly texture to it, but wasn’t a stick-jaw, and you can taste roasted sugary goodness in full.
The strawberry version was a surprise to us, as we felt that it was a good alternative to strawberry syrup which you can normally have on sundaes. Instead of being one-dimensional for its taste, there was a hint of sourness to it and not pure sweetness, thereby making it pretty appetising to have – we recommend this for strawberry lovers really!
In terms of the drinks, the strawberry cheesecake milkshake tasted almost exactly like a cheesecake, completed with bits of chunky digestive biscuits. The lemonade on the other hand, had has raising our eyebrows quite a fair bit because – why is it blue? Nonetheless, the sourish drink helped counterbalance all the sweetness that was present, and wasn’t too fizzy to handle too.
Sweet Monster is located in a kiosk in Bugis Junction, just outside of Nandos. With a bright and colourful exterior of vibrant colours like yellow and blue, its appearance evokes those of fun-filled carnivals which even their food emulates. You can also spot their mascot, Bluemon, along with other monster mascots all over the kiosk – peeking out from behind displays of popcorns and even on the packaging. There are a couple of high-stool seats available, including a table specifically for children, however it is also clear that Sweet Monster is meant primarily as a takeaway joint.
The prices were reasonable across the board at Sweet Monster. The popcorn ice cream cups were large and always piled high with ice cream and popcorn, giving lots of bang for buck. In fact, one cup is more than enough for two people to share. The drinks prices were pretty much in line with the price of milkshakes and homemade sodas elsewhere as well, meaning a trip to Sweet Monster isn’t likely to break the bank.
80 Middle Rd, Singapore 188966
Opening hours: Sunday – Thursday: 10am – 10pm
Friday – Saturday: 10am – 11pm
by Vincent Tan and Jethro Wegener
The roots of a good dining experience begins here at Roots Kitchen and Bar, where attentive staff, freshly sourced quality ingredients, and a charming atmosphere will spell-bind you to a meal that will leave a lasting impression on you for some time!
Led by a waiter past an aromatic Christmas pine tree to our dark wooden table, soft Indie Rock piping playfully plus the rosy glow from electric lightbulbs made for a cozy atmosphere. There were interesting things to look at in the décor, such as a bookshelf (for some title-skimming), a wineshelf (for the curious drinkers), and –rather out of place but extremely cool- metal hilted lightsabers.
Resisting the urge to swing them around, we sat down professionally and began our review.
For starters, we had the Egg and Truffle Mousseline. Its presentation was eye-catching – using an eggshell for a bowl and placed on an ordinary egg carton- it had its very unique style. As we dipped past the caviar and into the white cream, the great taste and smell of truffles came through very clearly; a sign that the chef did not skimp on this expensive ingredient. The cream was light, smooth and very flavoursome. Despite the obvious merit of culinary art and presentation, we note it might be too strong if you’re not used to truffle, but for truffle-lovers, this is something not to be missed!
After our empty eggshells were whisked away, we started on some Baked Camembert and Crackers. To describe the taste…well, everyone knows of Ritz cheese crackers, right? Now imagine that crunch and flavour, but with real camembert (cam-em-bear) cheese. The cheese rind is thin and floury, and cutting past it, you can see a yellow melt-in-your-mouth interior that tastes gooey and luscious. A thick slice of camembert on a cracker with a bit of apple chutney on top is warm, creamy goodness with a hint of sweet; fantastic finger food for sharing.
While we were savouring the camembert, we also started on the Eggs Benedict and Caviar. This was one of our main dishes for the night, and the presentation was pretty innovative – waffle base instead of an English muffin, a layer of fresh vegetables blended with homemade hollandaise sauce, salty parma ham, and two perfectly poached eggs with a sprinkle of caviar top off this dish. The eggs running over the rest of the ingredients looked like melting gold, and tasted wonderfully gooey and rich. The ham with it’s savoury and tenderness, gave the overall dish more texture while the waffle had a zing of sweetness. To combat the richness, the sides of fresh and crunchy vegetables . The hollandaise sauce was the right amount of sweet and sour to bring the flavours of this generous meal together.
The third and most appealing course was the Ocean Crab Pasta. With the spaghetti cooked to perfection and evenly infused with shredded crab and sauce, oozing with delicious sesame oil, and rolled up neatly akin to a sushi roll, a tiny radish coin dressed the topped of it, along with finely chopped chives. Here, they did not skimp on the fantastic quality crab meat, which was fresh and great tasting. The creamy sauce worked well with the meatiness of the crab, and oher than being a bit oily on the palate, this dish left nothing to be desired. We sliced it up like steak and chowed down with relish.
Lastly for dessert, we were treated to the Cacao Mousse. (This is not ice cream, but a rich chocolate flavoured cream). The slender presentation made it stand out from the usual round scoops and served as dollops, each of these were topped with a dab of blackcurrant sherbet. The sharp acidity really brought out the rich creamy taste of the chocolate as well as the mousse, making it simply decadent and delightful.
While steep, Roots makes for a great place to head to for that special date, such as a birthday, anniversary, or a gathering amongst close friends. Nonetheless, quality here is ensured, so you truly get every penny worth in terms of delight for your tastebuds.
The great food was complemented by the attentive and friendly staff, and our used dishes did not linger, but rapidly vanished, and were replaced. The charmingly rustic atmosphere is also suitable for a close and cozy date night, or a simple relaxing dinner with a few friends or your family, given how there seem to many different cozy corners within the establishment itself. We highly commend Roots Kitchen and Bar for going to the “roots” of a restaurant experience and taking them to new heights.