Sunday, April 25, 2010


Lovely Russian Streets

Dine at Botanika and you'll forget you've gone green. The dishes produced by this street side cafe are top notch; meat cleverly replaced with healthy veg without compromising on presentation or flavor, you won't feel like you're missing out on the real thing.


Traditional Russian dumpling, pelminis look like the Chinese dumplings we have back in Singapore, and in this cabbage filled case, the taste is almost similar. This being Russia, the chewy, juicy little gems are thus served with sour cream on the side, and I *heart* sour cream, which made this dish go down a treat.

Summer Frittata & Lemon Custard Tart

More good eats, their summer frittata is loaded with seasonal root vegs, primarily pumpkin and fragrantly roasted pine nuts. I love this mainly coz it's a monster-ass omelette in disguise. That said, I hereby proclaim, going veg will be no problem for me, so long as I get to enjoy my eggs, cheese and salmon in peace.

And for dessert, their Lemony Custard Tart. In desserts you'll hardly note any difference from the non-veg versions, unless it's made the vegan way i.e. no eggs or butter. No butter?!? *Gasp* The HORROR! Banish that evil thought I say!

Where was I? Oh yes, the tart, so lovely, wobbly and warm, sweet with a bit of lemony twang, served alongside softly whipped cream, oh so good. So very very good.

Almond & Pumpkin Torte

This was a thoughtful dessert, think pumpkin pie, only better. Do away with the boring crust and bring in some roasted almond slices, which made this my preferred dessert of the two.

Cinnamon Surprise

Though I have no literature on the subject, from the looks of the wait staff and kitchen crew, I would fathom a guess that Botanika is run by a group of teenagers. These weren't the expressionless zombies you get at your local fast food chain, mind you. They were a fun-loving, enthusiastic and excitable bunch.

We had gone there for dinner, being the last diners to clear out of the premise, and the chef (or shall I say cook?), a young lad, came out with a plate his latest experiment, and to our greedy delight, offered us some as a parting gift. You can't beat service like that. It helps, of coz, that the chef was kinda cute. :p

Cute Chef

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Triotsky Most

Window View

Another lovely find, courtesy of the Lonely Planet, is Triotsky Most. Sitting prettily along a canal, next to the Trinity Bridge and overlooking a neighbourhood park, vegetarianism doesn't get anymore Zen-like than this.

With its eclectic mix of Georgian, Indian, Italian and of coz Russian specialities, we were spoilt for choice, in which case we referred to the tried and tested Chef's Recommendation. Top on the list was their killer lasagna.

Over exposed picture aside, the lasagna was cooked perfectly, crispy pastry case, creamy filling and a tart salad to balance out the richness, it was better than the meat versions I have tried in some Italian restaurants.

Risotto Rolls & Pasties

The Risotto Rolls were filled with perfectly cooked rice, slightly creamy but still al dente, seasoned with a good amount of chilli, fried till crispy and served with a unique and savoury bean sauce. The pasties, filled with chilli con "carne" worked a treat with the handmade salsa dressing.

No two dishes taste alike, a problem with many (lazy) vegetarian eateries, which is what made this place stand out for me. And very reasonably priced from $3 - $7 for mains, this one's a winner.

The Feast

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Idiot Restaurant


Pronounced "zdrah-stvooy" i.e. "Hello!" in Russian. Don't bother trying, I couldn't say it the whole time I was there. Speaking of which, have I ever mentioned being in Russia way back in 2006? It was one of my proudest trips taken, simply coz it was so far and so very exotic.

After almost half a decade, I now bring you the highlights of my amazing trip. First up, The Idiot Restaurant, widely acclaimed by Lonely Planet and local sources alike, you can therefore understand why I just had to go there. & I maintain it has absolutely nothing to do with its name. *snicker*

Amazing Bread & Butter, Amazing *Mystery* Dishes

Now Russia, being so big and so Russian, made locating anything a challenge. After an hour consulting the Lonely Planet, various passer-bys and shop owners alike, I finally located the dark alley where the restaurant was located. If you guys ever decide to make your way there, if it helps, it sits right next to a river /canal, which would have made it quite a picturesque dining spot if the sun hadn't set by the time I got there.

The restaurant is vegetarian, which made it twice as exotic. Think about it: Russian and vegetarian! How often do you get that!?!

Through the ages memories fade and I unfortunately can no longer give you detailed play-by-play of each dish I had. I can however, recall they were superb. I was especially blown away by their bread basket: multi grain, dark rye, hand made and fresh out of the oven, all served with equally lovely flavored butter. I like my flavored butter, I liked them in Mumbai, and I liked them here. 

Fingers & Parcels

What can I say? The fingers were finger licking good, the parcels packed a punch. That's what you get for procrastinating, folks: fuzzy memories and lame substitution for quality reporting. I've learnt my lesson now, but take my word for it, the food tastes as good as it looks, so if you're ever in the region (never say never), give it a go. & give me some play-by-play of it while you're there. :)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Berry Fancy & Lime Sombrero ¡Arriba!

Fancy Nancy

Here's another gold from the early days and first attempts at primping the results for the camera. 

The Cook's Book, & One Of The Best

This book is still one of my best go-to's whenever I feel like making something old, something new, something special. 

The berry cake wasn't much to write about, unfortunately, with the texture of a nonya kueh, which is great, when you're trying to make kueh. In any other case, it's called a flop.


This was a fun variation that actually came out pretty good, so I thought I'd have some fun with the presentation.

Aerial View

I'd like to think I've come some way since then, what do you think? ;p