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"There is no sincerer love than the love of food" – George Bernard Shaw


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Malaysian Food Adventures #18: Rakuzen at Oasis Damansara

 

 

Since it is the Lenten season, the meat free Fridays continue until Lent is over. The parents and I decided to have Japanese for dinner and we managed to catch up with my bestie too! We decided to have dinner at Rakuzen at Oasis Damansara because the place is so pretty at night, with lights floating on the pond while its surroundings are restaurants. If you haven’t been to Oasis Damansara, I highly recommend you to check it out.

Back in the days when I was still living in KL, my family and I used to dine in Rakuzen at SS15, Subang Jaya. Now Rakuzen, which is under the same company (Superdining) as Hokkaido Ichiba, Zen and Kura, has expanded its business all over KL, bringing locals quality and authentic Japanese food. So, check out the Superdining website and you may find a Rakuzen franchise near you!

To start off, we had the Chuka Iidako (RM10), Mame Aji Karaage (RM10) and Agedashi Tofu (RM12). The Chuka Iidako is a seasoned baby octopus. It was very fresh in flavour. The Mame Aji Karaage is a baby horse mackerel and it was deep fried to perfection. Put side by side with Sake and I think the Mame Aji Karaage will make a fantastic snack. The Agedashi Tofu was lovely. It was lightly fried on the outside while retaining its soft and silky tofu textures.

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 Chuka Iidako

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Mame Aji Karaage

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Agedashi Tofu

Not long after, our Ikura Chawanmushi (RM20) arrived. I love Chawanmushi with a passion and it’s probably one of my favourite Japanese dishes. Ikura Chawanmushi usually comes with salmon roe on the top of the steamed egg. In Rakuzen, you can find a generous amount of salmon roe floating on top. Put your spoon through the chawanmushi and you will find yourself savouring the smooth and silky steamed egg. Oh so good.

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Ikura Chawanmushi

We also had the Salmon (RM22) and Toro Salmon Sashimi (RM30). The sashimi at Rakuzen was very fresh and was sliced to perfection. How I wish that I could have more.

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Salmon and Toro Salmon Sashimi

Our Dragon Maki Roll (RM30) and Cranky Salmon and California Temaki Roll (RM8) arrived. Presentation was spot on and both of the rolls were wrapped neatly. For the Dragon Maki Roll, a big tiger prawn is deep fried to perfection and is used to make the dish. So with every bite of the roll, you will get a nice crunch. Delicious. Temaki is also known as a Hand Roll. Just like the Dragon Maki Roll, presentation was topnotch and clean cut, with fresh flavours.

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Dragon Maki Roll

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Cranky Salmon and California Temaki Roll

We shared the Saba Shioyaki (RM16) and the Shishamo (RM10). Saba Shioyaki is a grilled mackerel with salt. The Saba Shioyaki is grilled to perfection and the mackerel was very fresh and tasty, with a tinge of salt. Shishamo is a Japanese delicacy and is usually served grilled or fried whole with its roe intact. The Shishamo at Rakuzen was also fresh. Yes, you are meant to eat the whole fish, including the fins, head and tail.

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Saba Shioyaki

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Shishamo

We thought that the Shirasu Chahan (RM13) was going to be our last dish but as we still have rooms in our stomachs, we decided to add on a Tempura Mori (RM26) and Crunchy Salmon Maki (RM16) to our order. The Shirasu Chahan is a Japanese style fried rice with anchovies. The fried rice was full of flavour. The Tempura Mori consisted of  assorted vegetables and prawns which were lightly fried. The tempura batter was very light in flavour with a hint of crispiness. Just like our rolls we ordered before, the Crunchy Salmon Maki had a nice and neat presentation. It was lovely too.

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Shirasu Chahan

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Tempura Mori

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Crunchy Salmon Maki

To finish off, we shared some desserts. We had the Nama Choco Ice (RM13) and Yukimi Daifuku (RM8). Basically, the Nama Choco Ice is green tea ice cream coated with green tea powder and the same for chocolate too. The Yukimi Daifuku consists of a ball of vanilla ice cream wrapped in a thin layer of mochi or rice cake. My verdict? I love both desserts and I thought that they were really good!  

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Nama Choco Ice  and Yukimi Daifuku

As we were at Rakuzen on a Friday night, we were lucky to get a table although the table we were seating at was reserved at 8.30pm. So we had to leave before 8.30pm, but it was all good as our food arrived promptly and the service was quick and efficient. Rakuzen at Oasis Damansara is busy during the weekends and bookings are highly recommended to avoid disappointment.

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Mel’s Rating : mmmm (excellent)

RAKUZEN JAPANESE RESTAURANT @ OASIS DAMANSARA

R-03A, Oasis Square,
Oasis Damansara,
2 Jalan PJU 1A/7A,
Ara Damansara,
47301 Petaling Jaya.

Tel : 012 310 8400


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Malaysian Food Adventures #17: FIQS Gastronomy

Yes yes yes, I think FIQS Gastronomy is what the suburb of SS19 needs! Food, Innovation, Quality is what the acronym of FIQ stands for and has already lived up to it. The chef/owner of FIQS is Syafiq. Drawing upon his learning experience from the Johnson and Wales Culinary School to work experience at pubs, burger joints, cafes, hotels in America and training with a best chef in the world holding 3 Michelin Stars, Syafiq brings affordable and quality food to FIQS which will tantalise your tastebuds.

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To start off our dinner at FIQS, mum and I had the Roasted Carrot Soup (RM12), dad had the Crunchy Calamari (RM11) and we shared a Mac and Cheese (RM14). At first glance, the Roasted Carrot Soup looked similar to a pumpkin soup. The soup was smooth and creamy in texture along with bright flavours from the roasted carrot. The bread on the side complimented the soup well too. It was a winner for mum and I. I had a taste test of the Crunchy Calamari and it was deep fried to perfection maintaining a crisp on the outside with fresh flavours. The Mac and Cheese was not too creamy and was perfect. One spoonful and you just can’t stop wanting more. With a sprinkle of beef bacon on top, it took the Mac and Cheese dish to the next level.

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  Roasted Carrot Soup

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Crunchy Calamari

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Mac and Cheese

 Not long after we had our starters, our mains arrived. Mum had the Sea Bass (RM26), dad had the Mushroom Risotto, which was the Specials of the Day and I had the Boneless Short Ribs (RM30). My short ribs were cooked to perfection and it was very soft and tender. Melt in your mouth. It was lovely with the beef jus reduction and the garlic pommes puree. I tried Mum’s Sea Bass and it was as good as the short ribs. The Sea Bass was very fresh and delicious. I had a taste test of dad’s Mushroom Risotto which was presented with a generous amount of mushrooms on the top. It was a great dish but I thought that if the risotto could be a bit softer, it would be perfect! As it is challenging to execute a perfectly cooked risotto, I think FIQS still did a very good job overall at cooking risotto.

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 Sea Bass

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Mushroom Risotto

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Boneless Short Ribs

Finally, it’s time for dessert! We shared a Baked Alaska (RM15) and the Deconstructed Cheese Cake (RM15).The Baked Alaska consists of Mango Gelato, meringue, toasted bread and fruit coulis. One spoonful of the Baked Alaska and I was sent to dessert heaven. That’s how good it was. The top layers and its surround were soft in texture and the bottom was crunchy. It was executed perfectly. The Deconstructed Cheese Cake was very interesting. There may be a lot of elements happening on one plate but with a play on flavours, everything makes sense and blends well nicely. From popping candy to reminisce about childhood days to super soft cheese cake and butterscotch foam, topped with cookie crumble, almond powder and strawberry coulis. Voila! You get your Cheese Cake!

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Baked Alaska

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Deconstructed Cheese Cake

From sitting inside the restaurant and being a part of the kitchen atmosphere to enjoying alfresco dining with ceiling fans keeping you cool, Fiqs Gastronomy makes a great place not to only hang out but for good and honest food. The atmosphere at FIQS is bright, bubbly, friendly and approachable. Take a look around and you can see families, couples and friends.  Fiqs Gastonomy is not only for the hip, but it is the place to be in SS19 for all.

Mel’s Rating : mmmm (excellent)

FIQS Gastronomy Subang
34 Jalan SS19/1D, Subang Jaya
Tel: 03-5613-0473


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Alfred’s Kitchen

Think 50s style burger joints. Imagine devouring your burger by the bonfire on a cold winter night. Yep, you get the picture. If you haven’t been to Alfred’s before, that is what you get. Since 1946, Alfred’s Kitchen has been an institution for their burgers and their legendary pea and ham soup. When you go to Alfred’s, be prepared for a crowd or long queues during the peak hours. (Yes, it is that popular!) Usually the wait is around 30 minutes, which depends on how busy it is. Alfred’s Kitchen may not be a proper sit down style restaurant with tables and chairs but don’t worry, there are benches around and if you are feeling cold, go sit near the bonfire! It will keep you warm. :)

This is not my first time to Alfred’s Kitchen. The family and I have been here on many visits and the drive down from the North to Guildford is worth it! The burgers may not be like your average gourmet burger but the burgers at Alfred’s are really tasty, hearty and oh so good. What do we usually order? To start off, we have a Large Pea and Ham Soup ($6.50). For our burgers, dad usually orders the CRAM ($14.10) and mum and I would usually share an Alfred Special ($11.10).

The Pea and Ham Soup is heart warming and lovely. Drink it on a cold night and your tummy will be warm and happy. Both the CRAM and Alfred Special burgers are delicious! The CRAM burger is basically a steak hamburger with egg, cheese and bacon. It is one hearty, massive burger with generous fillings which is quite fitting for the name “CRAM”. The Alfred’s Special is like a steak sandwich which also consists of bacon, egg, pickle, bacon, lettuce, tomato, cheese. Like the CRAM, the Alfred’s Special was also very generous in portion (that’s why mum and I usually share!) and the ingredients were fresh and flavoursome.

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Ham and Pea Soup

 

 

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The CRAM burger

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Alfred’s Special

If you have not been to Alfred’s Kitchen before, now is time go and give the burgers and ham and pea soup a try. Even Matt Preston, one of the judges from Masterchef Australia has given his thumbs up on the burgers here – his favourite is the CRAM.  Whether you are coming after your night shift or just looking for a supper run, Alfred’s Kitchen caters for all and their burgers have been enjoyed by many. One handy tip – Alfred’s Kitchen only opens from 5pm onwards 7 days a week!

Mel’s Rating : mmmm (excellent)

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Stewart’s at Brookleigh

Sometimes during the weekends, the family and I will take a drive down to the heart of Swan Valley for a good lunch, away from the hustle and bustle of Perth City. One of the places that my family and I have often dined in Swan Valley, is the picturesque Stewart’s at Brookleigh. Apart from the restaurant, the Brookleigh Estate also features an equestrian centre, function centre, health and spa retreats and luxury and affordable accommodation options.

To start off, we had some Small Plates to share. We had the Fresh figs, gorgonzola, arancini, shaved parma ham, vincotto and basil ($18), Seared Rottnest Scallops, summer tomatoes, mint and haloumi ($14) and San Danielle Prosciutto and El Conquistador Serrano Jamon, marinated feta and grilled bread ($18).  Each of the small plates stand out alone and they were really fresh in flavour and delicious! It was actually hard choosing which small plate to order as all of them sounds good! But I am sure that there is always a next time!

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Fresh figs, gorgonzola, arancini, shaved parma ham, vincotto and basil

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Seared Rottnest Scallops, summer tomatoes, mint and haloumi

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San Danielle Prosciutto and El Conquistador Serrano Jamon, marinated feta and grilled bread

For the mains, I had the Duck confit, fondant potato, chorizo casoulette, radicchio and Manchego salad ($39). Mum had the Fish of the Day ($38) which was the Grilled Salmon, Mash Potato and Asparagus. The Duck Confit was tender and cooked to perfection. Together with the chorizo casoulette, radichio and Manchego salad, it gave a rustic twist to the dish. It was an impeccable dish. I had a taste test of Mum’s Fish of the Day dish. The salmon was grilled to perfection, giving a bit of crisp on the skin and a soft and tender texture underneath. The sprinkle of sesame around the salmon gave a hint of sweetness to the dish and the mash potato was very smooth and creamy. Overall, it was a lovely dish.

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Duck confit, fondant potato, chorizo casoulette, radicchio and Manchego salad

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Fish of the day

To finish off a scrumptious lunch, we had some desserts. We had the Vanilla Creme Brulee, balsamic and brown sugar marinated strawberries ($10) and Peach Pavlova, berry coulis and Chantilly cream ($12.50). The Peach Pavlova was very generous and it was a mountain full of melt-in-your-mouth goodness. The Creme Brulee was beautiful. It was soft and light in texture under the caramelised sugar on top. After finishing my Creme Brulee, I was left wanting more.

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Peach Pavlova, berry coulis and Chantilly cream

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Vanilla Creme Brulee, balsamic and brown sugar marinated strawberries

I think the reason why the family and I will always go back to Stewart’s at Brookleigh is because of the consistency of the food at every visit. It simply never failed to impress! Service was very attentive and friendly and the restaurant is very spacious and cosy with plenty of light coming in from outside. Stewart’s at Brookleigh is a gem in Swan Valley that one must visit for good food with a lovely ambience.

If you have the 2013/2014 Gold Entertainment Card, you can use it at Stewart’s at Brookleigh too!

Mel’s Rating : mmmm (excellent)

Stewart's at Brookleigh on Urbanspoon


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Fortysevenkirwanstreet

Situated in the heart of the Floreat suburb, along Kirwan Street, lies Fortysevenkirwanstreet. Matt and I decided to catch up for brunch and we decided that Fortysevenkirwanstreet would be perfect since it is not too far from where we live. When Matt and I arrived, the cafe was quite busy and crowded as it was during the peak hour brunch towards lunch time. This shows how popular the cafe is among the locals in the area. Luckily, we were able to find a table to ourselves inside as it was really hot on that day!

Matt had the Potato and Leek Bake with Smoked Salmon, Hollandaise and Poached Egg ($19.90). Here is Matt’s review of the dish he had: The presentation of the dish was nice. Even people across the table said it looked yummy! The serving size was generous and the potato complimented the smoked salmon and fresh green perfectly. It was a nice dish and I would recommend anyone who are around the area to try it!

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Potato and Leek Bake with Smoked Salmon

As it is currently the season of Lent, I have to abstain from meat every Friday until Easter. I was lucky that Fortysevenkirwanstreet offers a few vegetarian or meat-free dishes. In the end, I settled for the Grilled Mushies on Brioche, caramelised onions, goats cheese and endive ($17.90). There was a generous amount of mushrooms which have been grilled to perfection. The brioche, which was soft and buttery complements the grilled mushrooms well. Together with the goats cheese and endive, it gave the dish its freshness and an added punch in flavour. It was lovely a dish.

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Grilled Mushies on Brioche, caramelised onions, goats cheese and endive

How I wish that I have an extra stomach, so I could try the other dishes on their menu but I must also say that the cakes and baked goods on the counter looks really tempting! The service was very friendly, efficient and attentive too. Yes, Fortysevenkirwanstreet can get busy during lunch hour but don’t worry, there are plenty of tables available, so you can choose to sit inside the cafe or outside as you wish. Will I be back again? Yes, for sure! Considering how near it is to where I live!

Mel’s Rating : mmmm (excellent)

Fortysevenkirwanstreet on Urbanspoon


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Ciao Italia

While waiting outside for Valerie to arrive at Ciao Italia, a customer asked us “Why do Asians like to dine at Ciao Italia?”. We answered, “If a place offered good food, that’s where you will find asians because we, asians love our food.” As a local institution for Italian fanfare, Ciao Italia has been very popular not only among us university students, but to locals living around the area too. The space at Ciao Italia may be confined, as tables and chairs are very close to each other, but this creates an atmosphere of a classic Italian restaurant in Italy. Did I forget to mention that the waitstaff are mostly Italians too?

We started off with the Open Calzone Pizza ($29.50). Here is Siti’s review of the Calzone Pizza: The Calzone pizza is a must try! Personally, I like the opened style Calzone to the traditional folded style. This thin crust pizza that is topped with fresh sliced juicy tomatoes, lovely mushrooms, tasty chicken slices and yummy cheese is to die for. The pizza is baked to perfection and seriously finger licking good (sorry KFC). And why is it yummy again? when i said it’s baked to perfection, it means that the pizza crust is light and crisp, not even too hard or chewy on the sides. The ingredients are well cooked, leaving the mushrooms, chicken slices and tomatoes still juicy and tender. So the next time you go to Ciao’s, be sure to get your hands on the mouthwatering, opened style, Calzone pizza!

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Calzone Pizza

Here’s the Spaghetti Marinara ($33.50) – a combination of marinated seafood in fresh tomato sauce. The Spaghetti was cooked perfectly to al dente and firm in texture. The fresh and succulent seafood compliments the tomato based sauce well, giving it a hint of saltiness from the seafood and the sauce. Overall, the spaghetti marinara was very generous in portion, delicious and flavoursome. A great choice if you love seafood with your pasta!

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Spaghetti Marinara

Here is Valerie’s review of the Squid Ink Fettuccine: The squid ink fettuccine with tomato base sauce was tasty. The light tomato sauce gave a sweet and sour taste to the spaghetti, making it irresistibly good! The prawns that went with this dish was fresh and juicy. There were two choices of sauce for the squid ink spaghetti, one was the tomato and the other was the cream sauce. I tried the cream sauce on my previous visit and personally preferred the tomato sauced squid ink spaghetti. The cream sauce was too thick and creamy which made the whole dish really filling whilst the tomato sauce was light and good. I would definitely go for the tomato sauced squid ink spaghetti again on my next visit!

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Squid Ink Fettucine

Here is Chloe’s review of the Fettucine Ciao Italia ($29.50) - Fettucine Ciao Italia is one of our must-haves whenever we go to Ciao Italia. The creamy sauce is not too thick and not too runny, it’s done just nice, without leaving you feeling too full. It is also extremely flavourful and with the combination of chicken and tomatoes, it’s simply one of my favourite pasta dishes at Ciao Italia.

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Fettucine Ciao Italia

The reason why we shared most of the dishes was that the portions at Ciao Italia are very generous. To complement a great catch up session filled with laughter and happiness, a hearty and generous meal is always a must.

A few handy hints: Expect long queues at Ciao Italia especially on the weekends because they don’t accept bookings. Make sure your whole party arrives on time because they won’t offer you a table if everyone is not present.

Mel’s Rating : mmm (good)

Ciao Italia on Urbanspoon


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Paris Cafe at Cambridge Forum International Food Court

During my usual lunch hour run at the Cambridge Forum International Food Court, I noticed a new resident at the food court. The empty store (previously Vietnamese) next to Malaysian Hawker has been replaced by Paris Cafe, a stall specialising in cafe-style French food. Think of sweet and savoury crepes and ratatouille.

For our first visit during lunch, we shared a Mushroom Crepe and a Roasted Garlic. There was a generous amount of mushrooms and the crepe was really fluffy, smooth and delicious. The garlic was also roasted beautifully too! A handy hint- Paris Cafe only serve savoury crepes for lunch but they do serve dessert crepes for both lunch and dinner!

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Mushroom Crepe and Roasted Garlic

We were back again to the food court on a different day for dinner, hoping to get a taste of the Lamb Shank. Unfortunately, we were there for dinner on two different days and by the time we arrived, the Lamb Shanks had run out! That is how popular the Lamb Shanks are! In the end, I had the 200g Scotch Fillet with Salad and Garlic Butter ($15) and dad had the Roast Pork with Apple Sauce ($14). All of the mains are under $20 including the Crepes.

The Scotch Fillet was cooked perfectly to medium. Together with the garlic butter sauce, it gave the scotch fillet an additional flavour. It was delicious and fresh in flavour.

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Scotch Fillet with Garlic Butter Sauce

I tried the Roast Pork with Apple Sauce and it was as good as the Scotch Fillet too. The Roast Pork was not too dry and it was very tender. Together with a drizzle of apple sauce, it was full of flavour.

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Roast Pork with Apple Sauce

For dessert, we had the Strawberry and Banana Crepe with Raspberry Sauce ($9) and Honey Lemon Crepe ($5). Just like the savoury crepe, the dessert crepes were lovely. They way the crepes were folded were like a piece of art, with precision, love and care put into making a crepe.

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Honey Lemon Crepe

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Strawberry and Banana Crepe with Raspberry Sauce

From time to time, Paris Cafe offers desserts ($5) on their bain marie. So far I have tried the Lemon Meringue and Clafoutti and they were really good! Yes, they run out quickly too!

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Clafoutti

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Lemon Meringue Tart

Please do check out the Paris Cafe stall, which is located next to Malaysian Hawker for authentic, delicious, cafe-style French food. Oh and be sure to be there early in the evening for the Lamb Shanks with Mash because they sell quickly! Who can say no to reasonably priced and delicious French food?

Mel’s Rating : mmmm (excellent)

Cambridge Forum International Food Court on Urbanspoon

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