The weather has been fluctuating quite a fair bit these days – mostly rainy but at times sunny and scorchingly hot. If you are in the mood for something that caters to both rainy and sunny weathers, such as gelato and warm chowder soups, why not check out Giovanni L at Fort Canning? Or if it’s Korean fast food that you seek, one that isn’t just snacks and Korean fried chicken but has noodles and rice options too, Jinjja!! Chicken may be what you are looking for!
To find out more, read on!
If you grew up earlier than the 90s, you would most probably roll your eyes at the word ‘gelato’ when it first came up in the Y2K. After all, why can’t people simply call it ‘ice cream’? Yet, as time goes by, you’ll soon come to realise why such a difference had to be made – after all, gelato is much denser than ice cream!
Seen as a more upscale European cousin of the ubiquitous American ice-cream, it is no surprise than that the gelato has garnered quite a fair bit of popularity here in Singapore over the last decade, with speciality shops popping up in Singapore solely selling this, it makes the common ice cream peddler being a rarity instead. Nonetheless, a cold sweet treat is hard to refuse, particularly so in this punishing tropical heat that we have nearly 365 days a year, and thus, we have become discerning along the way with so many choices that we face – until we found a rather reliable gelato haven near our office called Giovanni L.
Brought to you by the same people behind Seattle Pike Chowder in which we featured a couple of week back, Giovanni L shares the same premise, which makes it a great place to visit and settle both your mains and desserts together all at one go!
A fridge-full of flavours greets you as you stand at the doorway to the shop, though they are not the most extensive nor do they offer too crazy a creation as per elsewhere (they do have quite a number of unique ones nonetheless!). Here, they have taken great effort to ensure the quality of each gelato instead, and each and every flavour has their own unique texture, density as well as flavour. In general, they are delightfully smooth and with the right level of richness and sweetness (it’s not too sweet like many gelato out there), so much so that the individual flavours are all brought out nicely that your tongue won’t be shrivelling from the overdose of flavours (or cold). Interestingly too, even if you have different flavours of gelato one after another, you’ll be sure that no one single flavour will dominate your tastebuds to the point such that you can’t enjoy other flavours from the other gelato.
– Black Vanilla
– Sicilian Pistachio
– Strawberry (it is not as simple as you think!)
– Black Vanilla: With an aroma that is as intense as the colour that you see, it surprised us as you could truly get a sense of how much of the vanilla pod goes into the making of this gelato. Infused with glutinous rice as well, it gives the gelato a nice chewy texture that is interesting to bite.Bella Straciatella: A traditional flavour, this was very well cone, and is slightly less dense as compared to the Black Vanilla. Made of vanilla topped with thin flakes of rich, bitter chocolate, the balance in taste leaves you wanting more.Sicilian Pistachio: The best seller of Giovanni L, we could see exactly why this was so. Rich and with a slightly nutty flavour to it, this is a great choice for those who love nuts in their desserts.Strawberry: Another classic option, this was a unique composition in our option, as it had a nice smoothness and felt very much like a chewy jam if you eat it immediately out of the fridge. Not artificially sweet or rough due to strawberry seeds, we would recommend this flavour to those who like fruits, and in this case, especially strawberries!For a scoop here, prices start from $4.90 – $5.90 for a single scoop, $7.90 – $8.90 for double scoop, and $9.90 – $10,90 for triple scoops. Takeaway tubs are also available, and you can choose up to 4 flavours no less!Besides the standard scoops of gelato served here, sundaes and a relatively unique creation known as the gelato spaghetti are also featured on their menu too. Before you squirm at the idea of literal spaghetti perhaps topped with gelato, it isn’t so – rather it is vanilla ice cream squeezed into strands akin to that of spaghetti noodles instead. Relatively common across Europe, it isn’t the case here in Singapore, and the only place you can find this would perhaps be here. As it is squeezed into strands, what you get is a less dense version of the gelato that allows you get layers of texture, and at the same time, not have to battle with your spoon as you stab your container to eat your gelato. There are 3 variations offered here, and they are namely the Classic, Baileys and Exotic.
Topped with dark and white chocolate shavings, a waffle piece, and drizzled with raspberry syrup, the classic choice is a safe combination on the menu for those who would like something unsophisticated. The chocolate shavings provide a sweet and slightly bitter spectrum to the tastebuds, while the seeds in the syrup gave it an additional bite. However, we felt that the raspberry sauce might have made the overall taste a tad too sweet, although it still fills the craving for any fan of traditional sweet stuff.
Our favourite out of the 3, this is an excellent choice if you are nuts about nuts and in the mood for alcohol as well. Liberally topped with crunchy whole walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts and coarse peanuts, the mix of bitterness from the skins and the medley of roasted flavours comes together really well against the creaminess of the gelato. Topped with a shot of Baileys, the mild alcoholic tinge helps to balance the flavours delicately and at the same time, allows various dimensions of taste to be experienced with each spoonful that you take.
An explosion of colours greet you upon it being presented on the table, and true to its name, it is filled with a whole load of exotic fruits and is as flamboyant as it can be. The chunks of the fruits that stick out had us worried for a moment as to how we are going to tackle eating this – do we take a slice of the pairs in one hand and pair it with a spoonful of gelato, or do we eat the fruits after we are done with the gelato just to enjoy fruits and gelato at the same time? Thankfully, fret not because how you want to do it is entirely up to you. The fruits used are highly dependent on what’s available in the market that morning, so you can ensure what you get is definitely fresh, and at the same time, as unique as it can be on each visit. We noticed that on the day we visited, most of the fruits were not quite ripe enough, but the gelato made up for any lack of sweetness from the fruits – a good mix on a hot, humid weather day.
The interior is pretty small but regal, with each table uniquely crafted like a piece of art. The digital signboards flash what they have on offer – gelato, chowder, and a line of coffee (which they’ll be launching soon). Tucked in a quiet corner in the Fort Canning Arts Centre, it’s a great place to chill away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Given how the gelato each has a different feel and taste, this is something we are pretty amazed with as you would normally think that all gelato have the same consistency if it’s offered by the same company. As such, the price for the quality is definitely justifiable, as you would be sure that you do not simply get one flat texture throughout for your experience on the various scoops. A whole bowl of gelato spaghetti is also sharable amongst 2 – 3 people, which averages out nicely to about the price of a scoop of gelato too if that’s what you are looking at!
Singapore Pinacothèque de Paris
Fort Canning Arts Centre
Monday to Sunday
10.00am to 8.00pm
Jinjja!! Chicken Review
By Kirstin Sow
Located in the former premise of Pie Face at Bugis Village, “Jinjja” means “Really(?)” in Korean, and though it seems odd, to be called “Really? Chicken”, it stems from the brand’s vision, which is to provide real, authentic and affordable Korean fast food to the masses that goes beyond fried chicken and burgers. Here at Jinjja, rice, noodles, and dumplings are some of the staples you can find on the menu, along with traditional Korean beverages. As much as possible, most of the ingredients, which includes the sauces, soup and recipes even, are all sourced from Korea.
A mixture of soy garlic and yang nyeon flavours of Jinjja chicken wings were what we had first, and although this is very much similar to the wings served by other joints, this came albeit with a twist – drenched in nacho cheese sauce. The coating of the wings were crisp and very flavourful, with the soy garlic being sweet and a hint of saltiness, while the yang nyeom sauce was slightly more intense and spicy. Paired with the cheese sauce, the fieriness and saltiness gets toned down by a notch, which is great as you won’t be overwhelmed by any of the flavours.
For those with a larger appetite, prefer a change away from wings or even drumsticks, or would like to share food among your group of friends, you can consider the Jinjja Whole Chicken that also comes in a half version as well. For sharing amongst 2 – 3, we had the half chicken in soy garlic where the flesh was extremely moist, juicy and tender, and sans any oiliness at all. We would really recommend this to those who wants a change away from roast chicken as well!
We have yet to see this sold any where in Singapore – drenched in tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes) sauce and cream, pieces of fried and chewy rice cakes accompanied crispy shoestring fries. The overall combination is a creamy, sweet, and spicy concoction of textures, which will definitely exercise your mouth as you get ready for more food!
Here at Jinjja, you can choose between rice or noodles for your mains, and for those who are undecided on what to have, there’s the option of having Jjajangpong! Jjajangpong, which is an off menu item, is a half and half of Jjajangmyeon and Seafood Jjamppong, which plays on the both the dishes’ names as well. By choosing this, you can get to try both varieties of noodles at the same time – and like the seasoning for the wings, is a pairing of salty and spicy.
The Seafood Jjamppong is a fragrant chilli seafood broth noodle, rich in the taste of cuttlefish, squid and clams imported from Korea. The taste is similar to tom yam goong, minus the sourish taste, and great for those who like spicy food. On the other hand, the Jjajjangmyeon is ladled with black bean sauce mixed with a variety of dice vegetables such as potatoes, peas, carrots, tomatoes and even cucumber slices, thus giving it a natural sweetness. From what we understand, this option is great for Vegans who want to satisfy their Korean food cravings, as there’s no meat in it. Alternatively, the Kimchi Tofu Burger could work as well for them.
Made using fermented rice, the Sikhye is a traditional Korean beverage with a malty flavour, and there are bits of fermented rice inside it too which gives you an added mouthfeel. There’s a flavour akin to bran juice here, and the texture felt similar to that of our local barley drink but smoother. The Yuzu drink, which came with little bits of yuzu fruit in it was a nice palate cleanser to have after all the influx of flavours as it was tart, cooling and uplifting to have especially on a hot day. If we have to choose a drink, the Sikhye would have to be the clear winner for us, as we like the uniqueness of it.
Shaved ice with toppings is not an uncommon sight here in Singapore, since we have our local Ice Kachang. For the Koreans, they have the Bingsu, with various toppings such as red bean paste, Korean rice cake and soy bean powder. The modern variant of patbingsu however include fruits, condensed milk, syrup, ice cream and trendy flavours like chocolate. Jinjja offers both the traditional Patbingsu and Oreo Bingsu – which is good, as depending if you are in the mood for something traditional or something modern, there’s always a choice open. Made using an ice making machine that is imported from Korea, the result of this is that the bingsu created are soft and fluffy which melts in your mouth almost immediately and you will never have the trouble of struggling to chip your way into the centre or base of it. In terms of taste, the Patbingsu had a strong, distinct flavor from the soy bean powder, a nice roasted scent which was accompanied by generous portions of sweet, thick red bean paste and pieces of chewy rice cakes.
The Oreo Bingsu had a single piece of Oreo, crushed Oreo cookies, a chocolate wafer stick and chocolate fudge sauce drizzled all over and while it looked really impressive, the taste was flat when compared to the Patbingsu – bordering dry due to the Oreo bits. Then again, this would be a perfect choice for the younger crowd or chocolate lovers. In the mean time, do look out for more varieties of bingsu which may be hitting the menu soon, as Jinjja is currently experimenting with some new flavours!
Decked in red, yellow and green, the overall atmosphere here is really lively and vibrant, no matter the time of the day or even the weather. With two TV screens playing Korean pop music videos in the background, it makes the consumption of Korean fast food a really enjoyable and fun experience as coupled with their chicken mascot gracing all over the outlet – on their packaging, walls, signboards etc, the cheekiness brings about a nice bout of energy and youthfulness.
The prices here for the wings are pretty in line with that of other Korean fried chicken places, although the option of cheese ontop of anything for $1 is a good option for cheese lovers. Top up $2 to make it a set meal with fries and soft drink, and you could have a filling meal for the day. Students will get to enjoy $3 off for the following meals as well – JINJJA Wings Meal, Chicken Burger Meal and Chicken Bap Meal when they flash their student pass at the counter during specific times only.
Currently, Jinjja Chicken is in the midst of obtaining their Halal certification, and hence, for Muslim customers who love Korean fast food, be sure to check them out soon enough!
249 Victoria Street
Bugis Village, opposite Bugis Junction
Sun – Thu: 11:00AM – 10:00PM
Fri – Sat: 11:00AM – 11:30PM
We are giving away 5 x $10 vouchers from Jinjja!! Chicken today!
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