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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Coffeeshop Thoughts

My head is 'wandering' and 'wondering'. 'Wandering' because it cannot stay as still as I like it to be; and 'wondering' what is going to come up next. The latter, robbing me of my present. 

The mind is both a friend and a foe, and it is crucial to know when one should call for a separation. A separation when it is needed to allow the soul to continue in peace. I have no two minds about that!

It is with a peaceful soul that one can command the mind to be its servant. Then the mind will synchronise and it too will be peaceful. Just like a grand tree, the soul is always peaceful. It is the emotional winds that blow that make the leaves of the grand tree (the soul) flutter. But emotions do not constitute the soul. They are merely temporary states of mind that will blow over.

 -- written using my iPhone while willing my time away in a coffeeshop.

ps. Why did the first sip of the tea tastes so different from the last sip of the tea? Did somebody swap the cup?

For more coffeeshop philosophy, click here.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Cozy Square

I wouldn't have noticed this little restaurant tucked away in this cozy corner of Telok Ayer Street if my friend had not told me about it. It is a family run restaurant serving Italian styled food. I was told that they are coming up with new dishes very soon too.

Pumpkin and Chicken Corn Veloute 

The ingredients are prepared entirely in-house - a rare treat these days - and that is why the food  tastes home-cooked.

Ceasar Salad served with turkey ham
... this one  is served with turkey ham, as the food here is halal.

Marinated Norwegian Salmon

Confit Sage Chicken
There is a local flavour to this dish with the inclusion of the Chinese Baby Kailan. I was told that there will be more such dishes with blended local character. Which is what the restaurant builds its character on.

Shank of Lamb
When I chose this dish, I told the chef that I did so because this is an "exam piece", as it has to be cooked gently and slowly, for othewise the meat will not be soft and would lose much of its flavour. So, I was delighted when it came out just right, keeping the succulent texture and the delicious taste.

What is delightful to note is that there is still a restaurant like this around in the city, one  that is family run with very friendly service, waiting staff that actually understands what the dishes are about, and a chef that keeps to the whole process of cooking. That is, food prepared from first principles and raw ingredients.

In this era of institutional funds and food franchises, Restaurant A'Square is a gem in the city. There are hardly any businesses in big cities that can still focus on the 'complete process' and the first principles. Sadly, most would focus on turnover and profits in the face of surviving in the harsh market of high shop rents. That usually means ready made sauces and hurried quick fixes. A'Square is therefore a place for ponder. Unhurried and unpretentious. A place also to relax and dine with some good friends. What more, the bill comes up to be surprisingly reasonable.