We hope you are starved for dining places today, because we are reviewing a buffet and a pizzeria today! First up, featuring House on Dempsey hill, featuring a interesting array of sweet and savoury food, as well Alt. Pizza, with two branches at Katong and Suntec City, they are opening their third outlet soon at Roberston Quay!
Situated up on Demsey hill, and far away from all the traffic of Orchard Road area lies House – a sprawling location that serves tea, cakes and such, a proprietary under the Spa Espirt group which are better known for food establishments such as Skinny Pizzas and Skinny Salads. Having newly launched their new Hi-Tea buffet for Thursday and Friday only, the spread in which they offer include a herb-infused menu of every single item, making it probably the first and only buffet to do so for all their food.
There are a total of 3 sections to the whole buffet spread, namely a sweet section, a savoury section, and finally, a sandwich section in which sandwiches are made and toasted upon orders.
For the record, we had a bite of everything.
Starting with the Savoury section, here, the array include bite-sized Skinny Pizzas, such as the Squid-ink Seafood Pizza, Ham and Cheese Pizza, Truffled Mushroom Pizza, as well as the Ginger Butter Chicken (which was served on papadums instead). There is also a salad bar, complete with fresh-fruits and cherry tomatoes. There are also Red Peppers stuffed with Goat’s Cheese with a dollop of Balsamic vinegar, American slides, as well as Spiced Beef Tarts and Sesame-crusted Sausage Rolls. The bite-size pizza served on the spread retain the same flavours as you get from Skinny Pizza, minus probably the messiness of all the ingredients falling everywhere. Each piece is generously loaded with the respective ingredients, which include some greens as well.
The ginger butter chicken served on papadum induced a nice mix of flavours, particularly since the papadums have a slightly salty flavouring to it which goes well with the rich flavour of the spice-marinade of the chicken and coriander scent. Mango chutney, cucumber relish and fried curry leaves are served on the side, and depending on your preference, makes an interesting combination together with the chicken as the sweet chutney elicit a sweet taste onto the meat, and the curry leaves fills your mouth with it’s fragrance as a aftertaste.
The American sliders and tarts are both made of beef fillings, and in our opinion, are best eaten when they are served up as they get exceptionally dry after a while. The sesame-crusted sausage rolls are pretty much the same case too, and the only redeeming quality were the chilli flakes as the heat takes the thought away from the overly-salty and dry pastry from you for a moment.
Nestled on a tomato and lettuce, the cajun chicken had hints of spices, and went well with the roasted mushrooms, which held a hint of thyme. For the cajun chicken, our only gripe was that it could be slightly juicier, and perhaps, may have gone better with Pumpkin bread instead. The medium-rare beef slices on the other hand went very well with the otherwise plain Turkish bread too, as the meat juices moistened the bread. Nonetheless, the best were still the mushrooms as the earthy taste were still retained and prominent.
Moving onto the Sweets, the must-have here would be the Avocado Chocolate Cake – infused with dill and having avocado replace the sinfulness of cream, the flavour of avocado is surprisingly delicate and not at all blanketed by chocolate. Topped with sourish fruits, the mildly bitter and sweet chocolate come across as refreshing instead – interesting for a chocolate cake really!
The Baked Fruit Tart, topped atop a flaky crust with peach, strawberry, blueberry and pear with herbs is a burst of colour on the plate – a classic dessert combination to say the least. Of the choices here, we were drawn to the chilli chocolate cupcake, a fairly popular combination in the recent years that has House jumping onto the bandwagon as well. The fiery tinge on the tongue with the bits of chilli packs quite a punch in this bite-size bitter-sweet cupcake, making it quite an eye-opener. The strawberry and cream cheese cupcake was a letdown however, despite the fact that the frosting was dense and almost chewy, the cupcake itself was unnaturally dry instead.
Cheesecakes are common as a dessert at almost every buffet – here at House, what they did was to infuse sweet basil and orange into it instead, giving it a sweet and tangy taste to uplift one’s appetite. We felt that the crust could be slightly firmer though, although for those who like it moist and crumbly, this would be to your delight.
Made of a banana base, with dehydrated coffee and walnut as the soil and basil herb planted in, the coffee lent an aromatic dimension to the cupcake, and a added texture. Lightly sprinkled with salt too, the savoury taste complemented the coffee aroma well, and lifted the character of the dessert.
Infused with peppermint leaves, the chocolate cookies were kind of a letdown, as one is unable to taste the peppermint amongst the chocolate, although it does make a good chocolate cookie. The coriander butter shortbread on the other hand had a nice crumbly grit and fragrance that is really enjoyable in the mouth, making it a great pairing with teas as a before or after snack. We find the sweet potato tart (pictured above in purple) an interesting dessert to have, as it has a grainy texture but wasn’t too cloying either.
Other desserts that are made available here (but not pictured) include Sun-dried Tomato Cheese Parsley Muffins, Curry Leaf Almond Brownies, and Charcoal Scones, of which as we previously started, worked in herbs into their ingredients. Unfortunately for these, majority were pretty dry in our opinion, although they do go well with teas such as the ones we had: Vanilla Skye and Peppermint.
The Vanilla Skye tea may seem strong judging from its colour, but surprisingly, is light on taste instead. With the faint scent of vanilla mixed within the black tea leaves, it is a great complement to both sweet and savoury snacks. The Peppermint tea on the other hand, works better as a palate cleanser, such that you would not get a mixture of both sweet and savoury flavours vying for attention in your mouth at any given point of time.
If buffet aren’t what you are looking for, House serves up ala carte desserts as well such as the: A Slice of Paradise – Coconut biscuit, marscapone cream layered with pineapple, Guiltless Chocolate Cake – Gluten free dark chocolate cake serve with salted caramel and vanilla ice cream, and the Marilah Onde Onde cake – Pandan sponge layered with Pandan cream and serve with a Gula Melaka sauce.
A Slice of Paradise is an interesting cake to be honest, looking like a thick custard cake and tasting like a steamed one. Tropical and fruity, the pastry top and base complemented with the soft, moist centre and fruit fillings really nicely, giving it a pretty light touch to the palate. The Guiltless Chocolate Cake on the contrary was pretty intense – filled with the taste of rich dark chocolate, this is extremely satisfying for fans of dark chocolate who may shun from chocolate cakes as they usually find them a tad too sweet. The Marilah Onde Onde here, which can also be found on Skinny Pizza’s menu, had a lovely grit from the palm sugar in the sauce poured over, making it pretty much like eating the actual onde onde itself.
With vinyl record quality music playing in the background as if it was from a gramaphone, the layout for House is rustic and bordering the feel of Old England, with the exception of a corner or two that had a huge tentage indoor, suitable for those with young children. The pillarss and shelves made of wood give it a nice country-house feel, peppered with the placement of ornaments such as hanging cups, dried flowers and vintage flower pots. Overall, a relaxing location for a spot of tea or two.
At $30++ per head for Hi-Tea, the spread is conclusive enough as it offers everything from appetizers to mains to desserts. The savoury section offers food best enjoyed warm while the sweet section’s selections aren’t too cloying either, make the spread a true spectrum of taste that’s bound to satisfy any tastebud at anytime of the day – particularly hi-tea in this case.
8D Dempsey Road
Mon – Fri: 12pm – 11pm
Sat: 11am – 12am
Sun: 9am – 11pm
by Foo Rong En
A contemporary pizza bar, Alt. Pizza offers an array of pizza that will cause any pizza lover to be mind-blown. For the adventurous, create your own pizza ($10 with one sauce, additional supplement for toppings) with a myriad of sauces, cheeses ($3 each) and toppings ($3-$5 each) to choose from. Do the math and you’ll get a total of 650,000 unique pizza combinations! Sauces range from the classic organic tomato sauce to roasted garlic pesto, and cheese fanatics will be spoilt for choice, with smoked cheddar, goat cheese, feta and even Manchego cheese available. Toppings, like its namesake, are unconventional yet inventive. $3 will get you a choice of smoked bacon, fennel sausage, chipotle chicken, country ham or white anchovies, while $5 opens the door to premium ingredients like blue crab, wagyu short rib meatballs, chorizo, shaved prosciutto, pepperoni or skirt steak. Alt. Pizza is definitely not your usual pizza place. First world problems of being swarmed with too many choices can also be solved with the comprehensive menu of signature pizzas.
We tried both The Hangover ($17) and Truffle Shuffle ($17), aptly named with a strong burst of flavours. Amongst the two pizzas, the Truffle Shuffle was a clear winner, with a liberal dose of the prized white truffle oil. The heady smell of truffles fill the air as the pizza was served, and not surprisingly the roasted button mushrooms were plump with truffle oil, enhancing their natural earthy flavour. There was no skimping on ingredients here- fennel sausage and caramelized onions were blanketed with mozzarella cheese on a base of creamy white sauce and sprinkled with parmesan cheese.
Unfortunately, since we were not big fans of alcohol we could not test the magical abilities of The Hangover pizza to cure the dreaded hangovers. Meat lovers will love the generous amount of pepperoni and fennel sausage on an organic tomato sauce base. Similar to the Truffle Shuffle pizza, it is topped with mozzarella and parmesan cheese and caramelized onions. Encompassing sweet and savoury flavours with a zesty kick, it is hard not to get drunk on this addictive pizza, but it can be on the salty side.
For sides, we were served the Alt. Wings ($13). Marinated in craft beer to get those chicken wings a plump, juicy texture, the cooked wings are tossed in hot sauce and then served with a choice of either a homemade blue cheese or BBQ dipping sauce on the side. The glistening marinade warned us nothing about the searing effects of the hot sauce, but we were reassured that for non-spice lovers, the hot sauce marinade can be served separately upon request.
Dessert was both a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach. Though we were stuffed by then, the highly photogenic Pizza Doughnuts ($8) married savoury balls of fried pizza dough with the tantalizing sweetness of cinnamon powder and icing sugar. This dessert can be easily shared amongst 3-4 people, with the bite-sized pieces almost too easy to dip into the decadent Nutella dip, which is served warm. Tiny flakes of salt provided a salty contrast, reminding us that this is chewy and crispy pizza dough instead of the usual airy doughnuts. My companion, an ardent doughnut fan, prefers the texture to be fluffier, but I enjoyed the chewy consistency of the Pizza Doughnuts.
For a perfect end to our meal, we had the Kapiti Organic New Zealand Ice Cream ($4/scoop). Rarely available at dining establishments in Singapore, the large scoop of Hokey Pokey ice cream was amazingly creamy and studded with honeycomb chunks. Other flavours include Affogato and Vintage Strawberry.
Stepping into Alt. Pizza, it feels very much like entering an 80s-style American diner and a futuristic world all at once. The industrial chic décor pairs surprisingly well with the funky metallic chairs – much like how the combination of pizzas and craft beers is a match made in heaven for the crowd here.
Great for sharing, the prices of the pizza is lower than that charged by most pizzerias, which is great since you can have more for cheaper the price. Currently, Alt. Pizza is offering a special deal to Campus readers: Get a free Old School Pizza (worth $15) with every delivery order placed via the Alt Pizza mobile app. Offer is valid till 15th November 2015 and for selected locations only – check app for details!
Suntec Tower 4, #01-602
Opening hours: 11am – 1opm
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