For today’s Munchy Monday, we will be featuring Arteastiq Café de Art, located within the old Turf City or otherwise known as The Grandstand these days, as well as Tamoya Udon, a udon speciality shop with branches at 3 locations in Singapore – Liang Court, United Square and Chinatown Point!
Arteastiq Café de Art
by Samantha Lee
Art jamming is increasingly getting popular here in our city. Many see it as a therapeutic form of leisure in which they can exhibit their inner Picasso and explore their creative sides and at Arteastiq. one of the few art jam studios that double as a café, that’s where many people can get their food and art fix. Their first outlet, Boutique Tea House at Mandarin Gallery, was opened in 2010 and since then, they have branched out to the hippie Pasarbella at The Grandstand under a new name called Café de Art.
First off, this is an interesting cup of coffee. Made from the Modena blend – Brazil santos, Colombian supremo and Ethiopian sidamo – this cup of long black is smooth and low in acidity. It also carries notes of chocolate and toffee. With a thick layer of salted cream froth, made from Mediterranean volcanic salt, this helped to reduce the bitterness of the coffee and highlighted its aromatic quality of the beans at the same time.
Over here, they also offer an expansive menu for tea. From the usual fruit and flora teas, to the less common oriental selections and even dessert teas! Naturally, the Mad Hatter in me was bursting in joy and as such, we settled on a pot of Mint Lemongrass to share. It came served with a stalk of lemongrass, a slice of lemon and some mint leaves. It was evident that you’re sipping the real deal, made from real ingredients. However, they pre-added sugar into it which didn’t work for someone like me, who doesn’t fancy her tea with sugar, however, this can be solved by mentioning your preference when ordering.
Serving up a good lava cake is hard to do. Unfortunately, the ones we had here on that day did not manage to ooze out any chocolate lava. Nonetheless, it still tasted of delicious dark chocolate.
Topped with a sprinkle of icing sugar and a swab of salted caramel, likewise, this one didn’t manage to ooze any lava either but the taste of the red velvet cake and salted caramel sauce were still enjoyable on their own.
If you would like some ice cream to go with your desserts, you may also top up another $3 for a scoop of ice cream to go with your cake. The ice creams here come in unique flavours like the Pear Tea and Champagne Vanilla.
However, if you are not a sweet-tooth person nor a big fan of dessert, there are a selection of savoury delights as well, such as their waffles topped with fresh ingredients such as mushrooms and smoked salmon.
Pasarbella itself is an eclectic composition of different cafes and each with their own unique styles. The corner taken up by Arteastiq carries an industrial chic vibe, with metallic frames made of pipelines and old school-feel of wooden tables and chairs. The table tops are also customised such that they can flip up into easels that customers can use to paint their artwork while they enjoy their tea and cake.
We feel that while the prices here are edging on the higher end, items such as their cakes and coffee remains reasonably affordable. Currently, they are also carrying out a 1-for-1 promotion for the Volcanic Salt Coffee with every cake ordered.
Arteastiq Café de Art
200 Turf Club Road, #02-K70/71
Pasarbella @ The Grand Stand
Sun –Thurs: 11am – 6pm
Fri & Sat: 11am – 9pm
by Samantha Lee and Chua Wei Ling
It has been said that Liang Court is probably the closest place resembling Japan’s lifestyle that we can get in Singapore. The conglomeration of numerous authentic Japanese eateries, grocery store Meidi-ya, Uniqlo boutique and Kinokuniya bookstore has made it such that it has become the go-to place for anyone wanting a slice of Japan. It is also a popular Japanese taitai hangout too, thus it comes to also no surprise that some of the best Japanese eateries can be found here.
Long story short from us, if you love Japanese food, do drop by here. And if you love udon, just like us, you should pay Tamoya Udon at Liang Court a visit if you in the vicinity.
Tamoya’s udon originates from Sanuki – an old province on the island of Shikoku in southern Japan. The difference with other udon is that Sanuki udon carries a chewy texture that is seldom found elsewhere, and they are also thicker in size.
The clear looking broth may come off as blend tasting at first sight, however, we were pleasantly surprised at how rich in flavour it was in actuality. The thinly sliced pork were well-seasoned and there was nary a trace of pork odour. As such, the combination of the broth and the seasoned pork was salty with a hint of sweetness, making it pretty appetising and palatable. If you prefer your dish non-greasy though, we suggest you skip the tempura crunch (which are free-flow and up to you to add to your liking)
We thought the broth was solely red miso, but after clarifying, we found out that the broth is a mix of red and white miso. In order to enhance the taste of the stock further too, a mixture of onions, pumpkin and carrots were also used added to create the rich and creamy full-bodied texture of the stock, and to our delight, we found pieces of the above ingredients in our soup too. The vegetables gave the broth the quality of sweetness while absorbing the flavours of the stock all within the bits. There was also a distinctive taste of ginger, even though there were no ginger slices in sight, and we suspect ginger juice was added in. The pork slices tasted similar to those in the previous dish and melt in your mouth, which means that one would not be put-off by the fatty slices. However, the strong taste of ginger present in this dish didn’t work for those of us who dislike ginger.
If you’re not looking for a soup-based dish, there is the option of a drier udon in the form of Curry Udon. Here, you get to enjoy the full texture of the udon prior to mixing with the curry. As with with other bowls, the udon was chewy and springy, but much more firmer as they were not soaked in the soup stock. The stewed chicken bits here were also well-stewed – not tough and dry and could turn into shreds when chewed. However, while it was authentic to curry found in Japan, we found the curry gravy mediocre as it was too sweet for us and lacking in punch. It was a little lacking in serving size in terms of proportion to the udon as well. Nonetheless, the pickled ginger slices atop enhanced the flavour of the dish, making it more savoury.
The tempura variety served here in Tamoya is quite extensive, ranging from vegetables to prawns and fishcakes. They are crispy when freshly served, with the batter coated around being not too thick, and allowing you to enjoy the flavours of the different pieces. Do take note that they will wind down/stop serving freshly fried tempura after lunch hour as the crowd dies down after which. Hence, drop by during the early lunch hours if you want your tempura to be fresher!
Tamoya’s layout is one that is pretty typical of a Japanese eatery – birch furniture with neutral tones as the theme and no frills to it. The inside seating-area is smaller and dimly lit, with Japanese music softly playing over the stereo. In contrast, the open area is more spacious and brighter.
A bowl of regular plain udon starts at $5.90 and the additional tempura pieces ranges from $0.60 to $3. A decent bowl will set you back by about $8. Fortunately, the kind people of Tamoya allow you to go back for more soup and they offer free-flow of toppings.
177 River Valley Road
Liang Court, #01-32
Mon- Sun: 11am – 9.30pm
We are giving away 5 sets of Buta Udon (valid at Liang Court only).
To win, simply tell us: Which were the 3 udon that we had?