Friday, 28 August 2015

SINGAPORE: Fika and 320 Below Nitro Cream Cafe


Jia here~ As with most of our posts this is one that is looooong overdue, and I thought I'd pick up the slack a little since the mid-semester break has started. This post is from way back in January-ish when we were in Singapore. 320 Below Nitro Cream Cafe is a icecream place that makes their icecream with liquid nitrogen. It is located in several locations(Geylang, Paya Lebar, and in Tampines) and claims to be the only Nitro Cream cafe in Singapore. The one we decided to go to was located all the way in Paya Lebar's OneKM mall and we wanted to go with our friends so it took a while to organise. Eventually we decided on a good time and met up at the Paya Lebar MRT(mass rapid transport) station, then walked to OneKM mall.

Our lovely companions Amanda and Louise
Of course, by the time we got there we were pretty hungry since it was lunchtime, and we walked around the mall trying to think of a good place to eat. Eventually, Fika Swedish Cafe and Bistro caught our eye and we went in.

Fika Swedish Cafe and Bistro

It was a bit odd, like a little piece of suburban neighborhood just plonked in the middle of the mall, complete with hanging pot plants, lampposts, a white picket fence, fake grass and other homely decor.

As I said, the decor was really suburban neighborhood, which was cute I reckon. This is probably rather novel because Singapore is a very urban city and majority of the housing is in flats and those with houses have a rather different sort of neighborhood; beautiful houses all crammed together with usually very little garden space if any, and high security imposing gates and such, nothing like the typical American Dream white picket fence house type. It was also very.. white, which made for good photos when the food came. 

 "Jia Wen, go behind that fence and look through it""Like some creepy stalker?""Yeah"

We didn't want to be too stuffed when it came to dessert time, so we only got 3 dishes between the 4 of us. This turned out to be quite enough, as we struggled to finish it all. 

The first dish was the Smoked Salmon Salad. I don't know why but this year I've really been getting into the whole smoked salmon and cream cheese and salad kind of thing, I just find it absolutely delicious. I wasn't too keen on the random hard rye crispbread as I was more focussed on the salmon. It was pleasantly tangy, with the mixture of feta cheese, cucumbers, lemon, cherry tomatos and mixed greens. I'm not too sure what dill mayo is but it tasted like normal mayonnaise to me. 

The second dish was the Meatball Melt, and oh my gosh  they were good. I'm writing this review like 8 months later and I still remember it. On the other hand I was really hungry at the time and let's be honest, any combination of meatball and cheese is a winner. And that is exactly what this was. The only gripe I'd have about this dish is that ciabatta bread at the bottom, it was a bit of a pain to cut up. I'll admit when the dish first came I looked at Songie and like "Really? this is what you ordered?" but I definitely enjoyed it.

The third dish was the Pasta Bake which was apparently a family recipe. This consisted of melted cheddar cheese, creamy sauce and pasta, minced beef and those little cherry tomatoes on top. It's a lot smaller than it looks in the picture but still pretty filling, and I liked it but probably not as much as the meatballs? The pasta was a bit too creamy and cheesy and I honestly had no stomach for it in the end.

It's pretty hard to dress up pasta, salad and meatballs so there's not much to judge here.. it didn't look awful, I can say that at least haha.

Service was fine, food was fairly prompt and the staff were friendly enough. We didn't have much interaction with them beyond ordering, really.

The salad was $19.90, the meatballs also $19.90, and the pasta bake was $17.50. It is quite pricey but that is generally the price range of Singapore cafes when you're out of the hawker centres. Average pricing, in general I guess.

Pricing aside, I found this place to be quite nice. Due to it's location and the abundance of cute cafes around Singapore, however, I probably would not find myself travelling out to eat there again.

OK back to the main point of our expedition, we located 320 Below near the entrance where we walked in, and quickly made our way down.

320 Below

I discovered this place because my friend raved about the coconut ice-cream and chocolate lava cake(shout out to Kerry!) It was really awesome because you got to watch the ice-cream being made right in front of you, and the cooling sensation of the nitrogen was a  nice contrast to the hot weather(albeit in the mall you don't feel the heat). 

There are tubs available for takeaway, which I will probably try to get next time, but this time I just had a scoop, being too full from the lunch. I tried the Earl Grey flavour, Songie tried theapple cinnamon icecream and the chocolate lava cake, and A and L got apple cinnamon and coconut.

They had their menu on these screens

 The Earl Grey one was nice, having the faint taste of the tea without being bitter. I actually really enjoyed the texture of the icecream, it was rather like frozen yoghurt but a little more brittle than that, if cream can be brittle... then it just melted away in your mouth with a refreshing feeling, perhaps similar to shaved ice? We all sampled each other's and I must say I wish I'd gotten the Thai coconut one too because that was really nice, capturing the essence of a sweet coconut without being overpowering.

Songie's Lava cake looked reeaaally good I have to say, and it had a rich, dark chocolate tinge to it, which was enhanced with the ice-cream. I liked the fact that the apple cinnamon had apple bits in it too, rather than just the flavouring.

Now I don't remember the price but I do know it was definitely under $10, which is pretty normal for icecream. Songie didn't find it too amazing but I would probably head back to 320 Below to try all the flavours and maybe take a tub or two home if it could last the train ride home in the blistering heat of Singapore. 

Cheers for reading this long post!!
Just the one Lamb

Sunday, 9 August 2015


Helloo Ladles and Jellyspoons~

As mentioned previously it was Songie's birthday(yes I realise it was more than a month ago...) and we went to Ebisu to celebrate. We left around 7pm because you can't make reservations for dinner; you have to physically go there, "book" a table and wait for it(unless you are a group of 8 or more, which we weren't). Now, they recently had a change in menu that introduced some new things that are apparently rave-worthy, but I reserve judgement I suppose.


 The decor of the restaurant was pleasantly classy and they made use of floral ornaments, with orchid pot plants scattered artfully around, and then(probably fake but I didn't check) sakura trees in a row behind a glass screen, warm tones to their seats, either with wooden chairs or tan, leather(?) seats. I guess you could say it had a kind of relaxing, zen vibe to it, especially with the low lighting. It's not so low you can barely see your dining companions but neither is it overly wonderful for your instagram photos, and you'd probably need a few lightening filters to see the food in the lower quality cameras of phones.
I suppose that like the seating, the whole area had a warm colouring. The brick walls patched up with concrete here and there left something to be desired but for once it wasn't the ceiling that was construction like. I guess the brick wall adds a bit of a edgy feel to it, like a warehouse or something, especially with all the open space.

view from the bar

View from our seat

Jia and the sakura background and edamame
Despite the relaxing decor, the place was just buzzing with chatter and it was quite hard to hear ourselves, let alone the waiter. In fact at one point a group of women were seated near us and they nearly broke our eardrums with their extremely loud laughter. I winced every time they laughed, and counting the number of times I did, there must have been quite a few comedians in that group. I probably looked like I had a tic or something. I do know it's a lot quieter at lunch though, so perhaps a lunch setting it would be better if you're looking for quiet.


We started off with Edamame, as everyone should. They're delicious. Steamed/boiled immature soybeans still in their pods, that are salted lightly. You can alternatively suck or encourage the bean with your teeth out of the husk(both together for maximum enjoyment!). In my opinion they're best eaten warm because the bean hardens up a bit when it gets colder and it's not as nice. We ended up getting a second order of it.

The next dish to come was the Hamachi Kingfish sashimi.

This. This was my favourite dish of the night. It didn't have a strong fish taste(which I usually hate and therefore end up not eating any sashimi but salmon) but it had the slightly crunchy flesh feeling of some sashimi. I'm not really sure how to explain it if you've never had it. On top, they sprinkled crunchy potato(?) crisps, and rolled inside were paper-thin slices of radish. The overall result? A refreshing, slightly tangy, mix of textures and flavours, with the slight aftertaste of the vegetables, but not strong or cloying. Oddly satisfying but not filling, and leaves you wanting a little more. It might have benefited from a sauce that gave a hint of saltiness though. Then again they do give you soy sauce at the table that I didn't try it with, maybe that's what I was looking for.

 Free-range karaage chicken 

I'm a fan of this one. The skin was a bit hard but it was thick and crunchy and just perfect, not dry or anything. It also came with Japanese mayonnaise which we all know is great.  

 Steamed prawn dumplings

Apparently this one was the most popular dish of the moment but personally I did not find it all that great. Maybe it was the factor that as an Asian, I eat delicious dumplings a lot and also the fact it was spicy so I couldn't really find it comparable. People love the sauce apparently(it has almonds so watch out you nut allergic people) and ask the servers for spoons a lot. I mean it's not bad; not too spicy, homemade almond oil and bit tangy. (Song here: The sauce is actually kind of addicting. It's incredibly oily, but the tangy-ness keeps you craving more. Not entirely sure if thats a good thing or not but I reckon this dish is worth a try just for the sauce alone.) The dumpling itself I found to be disappointing, I find the prawn dumplings at Yum Char to be much better. The skin was thick and the filling didn't taste of much, so I guess that whole appeal is in the sauce.

Soft shell crab 

It's basically deflated crunchy stuff. It's quite oily because it was deepfried, the wasabi sauce was quite buttery, which is good because otherwise it would be too potent for me. The crab itself has no discernable taste so the wasabi sauce is the main flavour. I recommend you dip it with sauce in the container; it becomes a pleasant creamy mix of buttery wasabi, the odd texture of the soft shelled crab, and the sauce that is salty and strong.

 Seared Hokkaido scallops 

I'm not really a scallop person and I think if I'd had more than one I'd be less praising but for now, I found them to be plump and tender, buttery but not too oily, and overall it was pleasant but still not something I'd eat a lot of. There's just something about scallops that's a tiny bit nauseating, I can't put my finger on it. Others love it though. 

Tuna Ceviche Roll

All I tasted was ginger, which was put inside of the roll instead of on the side as usual. It tasted a lot better with soy sauce, but it still did not have much of it's own flavour.

Seared Cambridge Duck Breast 

This was my second most favourite dish of the night. I am quite partial to the taste and soft texture of braised duck rather than the typical crunchy skin duck of Chinese restaurants, and this was no exception. In addition to the duck, there was an arrangement of sliced pear on the side with two piles of different powders; chilli powder and some type of green looking salt. The idea is to eat them all together. I tried the salt+Sliced pear+duck combination and that was nice, but i think the salt isnt necessary unless you like stronger flavours. Otherwise the simple flavours of the sweet pear and braised duck would be a perfectly compatible mouthful for one's palate also.


The staff were friendly, but because they were really busy they forgot things sometimes and were a little difficult to get the attention of. The manager went around constantly and talked to everyone, so kudos to him.


As with most Japanese foods, all the dishes were presented beautifully.

I didn't get the receipt because someone treated us and it's kind of awkward to as gok for the receipt but I gather it was around $120 give or take. It is a bit pricey but it feels reasonable. Top 3 are definitely the kingfish hamachi, the seared duck and the chicken karaage.

Thanks for reading~
The Lambs.

P.S. Thank you to those who have been asking after the blog, made me(Jia.. And maybe secretly Songie) feel warm and fuzzy :D