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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sarpino's Pizza

So do you guys remember that write-up I did on RITE Pizza awhile back?
Well I finally got around to ordering another couple of pizzas.

So I remember Sarpino's Pizza being around for ages. In fact I think I even remember seeing it as far back as when I was kid! But I also remember it was not Halal. Well that seems to have all changed recently.
Not only has Sarpino's gone Halal, they're rapidly expanding their reach around Singapore's pizza lovers!

Let me start with the website.
I'm kinda impressed to be honest. This here is a website that gives you a proper viewing of what you're gonna be ordering and is super easy to navigate. The menus are sorted out for you and the types of pizzas are given a full ingredient run-down to make your decision-making easier.

Another bit of good news? Sarpino's also has a 'One for One' menu of pizzas.
The main difference compared to others - the one-for-one menu is slightly different from the ala-carte menu.
This means that you may see certain pizzas on the 'one-for-one' menu that will not be available ala-carte or listed under the 'Gourmet Special Pizza' section. From the looks of it, the more extravagant pizzas like 'Maui Luau' and Spicy Beef Twister' are Gourmet specials. Suffice it to say that the pizzas in the 'One-for-One' section are a little more on the simpler side.

But that's not necessarily a bad thing. Example? The Double Pepperoni is in the 'One for One' menu.

And speaking of Double Pepperoni...

Double Pepperoni Pizza

And that's a large size by the way.
And they aren't that stingy with the cheese as you can see so all you mice out there can rejoice!

I've taken quite a liking to Pepperoni pizzas in recent years and I guess this wasn't the worst I've had.
But then again I kinda expected a name like Sarpino's Pizzaria to pack a little more punch I guess.
Maybe a little (or A LOT) more pepperoni slices would have been (very very) nice.

PS doesn't that look a little burnt to you?

As you can see it's a actually quite solid slice of pizza.
As you can see, that's actually quite a lot of pepperoni.
As you can see, that's actually quite a lot of cheese.
As you can see, I obviously think that there can never be enough pepperoni and cheese on a pizza.

Okay lah maybe it's not the toppings.
I mean, the RITE Pizza we had had like so much less toppings compared to the Sarpino's.
But I still gave the RITE Pizza a high score because it was tasty. This one was just.. well...

Aloha Pizza

Oh and the 2nd 'One' from the 'One for One' deal we ordered was the Aloha Pizza which is just basically their version of the all-time favourite Hawaiian.

Come to think of it, the Hawaiian pizza seems to have lost its #1 position in terms of pizza rankings eh.
I remember in the past, when it came to pizza, COMFIRM PLUS CHOP got Hawaiian on the way.
Nowadays, it seems like people order Hawaiian if they have no other choice.
Or maybe it's just me.

And yes you are looking at the photo correctly.
It does look a little overly-burnt in some places. Don't get me wrong. I love a little charring.
But when you can taste the 'burnt' taste, something went wrong.

Maybe it was just our bad luck we got a batch of pizzas where the guy overshot the cooking time.
Oh well.

One final thing I'd like to point out please.

This was the underside of the top-half of the pizza box.
I (and I'm sure the rest of you will agree with me on this one) like my topping to be ON the pizza.
Not the pizza box.

So dear Sarpino's - I know you want to be different from the other pizza joints in Singapore...
But... this is the one thing that I think you should follow.

Makes a difference.
Trust me.

Adam's Verdict:
Double Pepperoni 2.5/5 -- Aloha 1.5/5

Maryah's Verdict:
Double Pepperoni 3.5/5 -- Aloha 2/5

Sarpino's is rapidly expanding.
They have small shops everywhere when you can have a sit down and a slice of pizza. And I even saw them set up a small stall during the recent Bazaar Geylang. Deliveries must be booming (my darling wife ordered 3 times already lah!)

Maybe next time I'll sit down and have a slice on-site.
I wouldn't mind trying their 5-Cheese pizza cos it looks good.

Sarpino's Pizzeria

Delivery Hotline: 6636 3636
Please see website for outlet listing

Delivery Hours: 10am - 10pm

Friday, October 19, 2012

Olivye - Gelato

You guys remember my previous post about HalalDeals.sg right?
Well one of the deals I purchased was for this place called Olivye.

I actually first spotted it when we went for supper at Mr Teh Tarik Cafe at Changi.
But of course, it was closed at that late hour of the night. Well it wasn't going to be closed this time because we're going for some Gelato!

So Olivye is this nice little cozy nook in the middle of Changi. In fact, it's just beside Mr Teh Tarik!
At first I thought it was just a gelato cafe but apparently they have a food menu too which apparently includes ribs! Something to try in the future!! And I've never come across a place that sells Halal Gelato so this was definitely something very unique.

But when it comes to the gelato, believe you me - they have a long list.
Check it out.

(image from website)

Okay so they won't have ALL the flavours at one go but they had at least 19 flavours on offer that night when we visited the cafe. So don't look at me because I had a hard enough time choosing just the few out of that long list okay.

Well the easiest way for me to classify the flavours is 1) fruity and 2) non-fruity.
We decided that were going to have two cups (with two flavours in each cup) so we had a good idea of what we might like.

We actually had the pleasure of meeting Mr Gregory when we visited.
He introduced himself as one of the siblings who proudly opened and operated Oliyve.
The Changi Village outlet was not the only one however. They also had smaller stalls at NIE and NTU which served mainly the food aspect of their menu.

Well on with the gelato!!!

There are a few choices for sizes...
Small ($3.00-$3.90), Medium ($4.50-$5.50) and  Large ($6.50-$7.50)
They also have take-away sizes by the way.

Strawberry & Salted Caramel

So for the non-fruity cup, we decided on Strawberry and Salted Caramel.
Yeah yeah I know you think it's boring but I like it okay.

The Strawberry was delicious I have to say. It was very smooth and not too sweet.
But for the Salted Caramel, I can't put my finger on it but I found that something was amiss.
Maybe I was basing my taste on my previous encounters with Salted Caramel so I didn't really like this one because it tasted different. Kind of like a burnt taste you know what I mean?

Chempedak & Melon

We were so busy with the other cup we neglected this one and it started melting!!
But this fruity cup was the bomb.

The Chempedak and the Melon gelato had such a natural fruit flavour.
It was not overpowering or anything but once you taste it you know that it's the real deal.

And we didn't select the flavour but Mr Gregory gave us a sampling of the Durian flavour...
And we immediately regretted not choosing the Durian... It tasted like the real thing!
Next time it's a must!

Adam's Verdict:
Strawberry 3/5 -- Salted Caramel 1.5/5 -- Melon 3.5/5 -- Chempedak 3/5

Maryah's Verdict:
Strawberry 3/5 -- Salted Caramel 2.5/5 -- Melon 4/5 -- Chempedak 4.5/5

So the next time you want some place to relax and have some gelato with some buddies after makan (or in fact you can even makan there) check out Olivye.

PS they also have an ice-cream buffet on weekends! Check it out!


Blk 5 Changi Village Road #01-2009
Tel: 6543 9518

Operating Hours:
11.30am til 9.30pm Daily 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Charco's Part II

Beef Ribs + 3 Salad Choices (16.90)

So do you guys remember my first post about Charco's?
Well the last time, everyone had the Beef Ribs and nothing else I figured that the next time I'd have something else... and the time had come.

So my darling wife again had the Beef Ribs and this time, the ribs were nice and tender unlike the last time where consistency seemed to be a bit of a problem. And the only difference she made to her 3 salad choices was that she took the Fruit Salad for one of 'em.

And her verdict on the Fruit Salad? - Don't take it.

But you know what still rocks?

 Creme Potato ($5.60)

Simply delicious lah I tell you.

So what is this "something different" that I decided to try in the end?

Chicken Schnitzel and 3 Salads ($10.30)

Firstly, let me start by saying that the Egg Salad is still the BOMB!

The Schnitzel itself was basically a big piece of boneless chicken (most likely the breast in this case) which is hammered out til it's flat then breaded and deep fried. This means it's cripsy chicken goodness!
And I'll be honest, I don't know of anywhere else that serves a Halal Schnitzel.

Well I guess you gotta like chicken if you're order this because it's a damn big piece of chicken.
Seriously. It's big enough for 2 to share I reckon. I couldn't even finish it lah.
But the Egg Salad is the bomb.

And this is all killer no filler okay.
100% chicken meat and the breading is really good too. How can you tell? Because even after it cools down, it's still crispy! A sign of a good schnitzel?

See that little plastic bowl in the back? They actually serve this dipping sauce with it.
I guess it's kind of a cross between a black pepper and a mushroom sauce. But not really.
I had a little but the schnitzel itself is actually pretty tasty without the sauce but they still have good old chilli and BBQ sauce if you'd like.

And last but not least - the Egg Salad is the bomb.

And in case you were wondering.

My brother had the chicken too but the roasted variety. And I think I'll review the chicken properly next time because they have at least 2 types on offer at Charco's.

Definitely seems like it's worthy of a separate review based on the first tastes.

Adam's Verdict:
Chicken Schnitzel 2.5/5

Maryah's Verdict:
Beef Ribs 3.5/5

Well I guess we'll be having a few more visits to Charco's in future.
Their extensive menu looks like it has a lot more in store for us!


Blk 80 Marine Parade Central #01-770
Tel: 6455 3711

Operating Hours: 11.00am til 10.00pm Daily

Friday, October 5, 2012


A reader commented on one of our earlier posts calling for reviews to be done on the (few) Halal buffet spreads offered here in Singapore. Now, there may not be that many, but you'd be surprised that some of them are actually quite good. My darling wife and I have been to quite a few but this time we wanted to try out one of the relatively newer buffets to offer a Halal spread - Aquamarine.

So we made our way to The Marina Mandarin Hotel to celebrate my darling wife's birthday ( she just turned 24 by the way) and also get a review in at the same time.

Coincidentally, we also bumped into @NatalieTrog who was also celebrating a friend's birthday there. At the next table. I think she was stalking us. Kidding. Were you? Kidding. Am I?
Shout out to @NatalieTrog.

So there's gonna be too many dishes for us to review individually since this is a buffet. So this is what we're going to do. I'm going to lay out a whole series of pictures to whet your appetite and then we'll start with the major dishes that must be pointed out. How's that?

Welcome to Aquamarine.

The Cold Seafood Spread

The Salad Spread


Snow Crab Legs

Prawn Salad

Smoked Salmon with capers and sweet onions

Lamb Curry (they also had Beef and Chicken Curry)

Grilled Fish with Tomato Sauce

Lamb Chops

Chilli Crab

Stir-Fried Clams


The 'Singapore' Spread

 D.I.Y Pai Tee


Bread Pudding

Assorted Chocolates

Tow Suan

So have you seen anything you might fancy yet?
Oh I'll bet you have :)

Okay so let's run this through.
There's about 5-6 hotels that offer a Halal buffet spread (that I can think of off the top of my head) and as far as I know, Aquamarine is one of the newest.

As far as first impressions go, I'd say it was not too bad.
Unfortunately they seem to reserve the tables nearest to the food for large groups of 10 or more. My darling wife and I were seated quite a distance away but I guess the distance was not so bad. What bothered us more was the space constraint within the dining area itself. If you encounter a fellow diner or a member of the staff on the way to or from your table, prepare to turn sideways a bit.

And if you ask me personally, I think they overcrowded the whole place.
And when it gets crowded (which it was that evening), things can get a bit noisy.
But that's just me.

Anyways.. on to the food!

As always, the salads a cold dishes came first for us.
They had a good selection of fresh salads and also cooked salads. I really enjoyed the baby carrot and baby radish salad they had.

They also had fresh oysters and also other shellfish. This includes Snow Crab legs and also crayfish.
The oysters were very fresh but the crab flesh was a little on the soft side to be honest.

Beef Pastrami & Turkey Ham

For those of you who like your meats, they had a selection of cold cuts and cheeses to enjoy.
The meats were excellent but I can't help but mention that the selection of cheeses is very minimal. And the type of bread were also very disappointing. I think they had like.. 3 or 4 type of bread and that's it.

Mushroom Salad

Smoked Duck Breast with Mango Salad

Prawn Salad

I actually really enjoyed the Mushroom Salad but my darling wife thought it was a little too earthy. And the other salads were actually not so bad. Okay-okay only lah. (At least the duck wasn't gamey)

Sashimi & Sushi

Aha all you Japanese food lover can rejoice!

They have a special counter (that's kind of hard to spot actually) where there's a dude who slices the sashimi to order. They have a selection of Tuna, Salmon and Sea Bream.

Now here's the funny thing. Wen my wife asked for a few slices of sashimi, the guy asked how many she would like and she said just 5 would do for starters (because we didn't want to get too full on the sushi) and the guy gave use this weird look like "Sure or not 5 only?". And we later found out why.

The sashimi was very fresh and of an excellent quality.
The guy probably has people asking him for 10-20 slices at a time and here we are asking for 5.
"Amateurs" he must have been thinking.

Oh and before I forget - The Soup.

Crab Bisque

They had 2 types of soup for us to choose from.
One was Crab Bisque (as seen above) and the other was some Summer Vegetable stuff I think.
And we're always gonna choose the soup that's creamy right? (Admit it!!)

But boy oh boy was that a mistake.
The bisque was damn fishy to the max. Or rather, damn crabby. It was actually overwhelming lah.
And I've had all kind of seafood based soups like chowder and stuff but this was really un-appetizing.
3 spoons later and we pushed it to the side.

I wonder if @NatalieTrog enjoyed the soup?

If you look at the first few pictures above, you'll see one for a 'Singapore Spread'.
This actually consist of several things that seem to rotate when they top it up.


Pandan Leaf Chicken

The otak-otak was okay (a bit on the dry side) and the Ngoh Hiang (which I didn't manage to snap) was suprisingly quite tasty. But I absolutely did not enjoy the Pandan Leaf Chicken. I'm not sure what they were aiming for but it wasn't at all what I know Pandan Leaf Chicken to taste like.

Tempura & Chawanmushi

And to add on to the Japanese spread, we had some Tempura and Chawanmushi.
Mediocre at best.

Okay how about some mains?

Lamb Chop

Another one for the meat lovers.
My darling wife took it and I just had a bite. I guess it was not bad and my wife seemed to enjoy it.

 Stir Fried Clams

My wife says it looks like mini-people and I said it looks like mini-frogs.
But please don't let that put you off. This was one of the tastiest things we had that evening.
Nice salty sauce hit just the right notes when paired with the rice.

Baked Fish

So they baked this red snapper and poured some sambal over it.
Normally that seems like a good idea right? Well when the guy cut us off a piece of the fish, I guess he forgot about the sambal because we got like all of 3 drops of it.

Anyways the flesh itself was already dried-out so I'm guess that fish had been waiting for quite awhile before the first customer came around. I wonder how it would have tasted like if it were a bit fresher.

And for those who spotted the Chilli Crab picture above and were wondering how it was?
Don't ask. The Chilli Crab sucked big time. I don't even wanna talk about it.

Okay I'd like to call the next section the Comedy Section.
Because some of it is quite laughable. I'm not saying I'm making fun of Aquamarine but maybe it's just a humorous bit of feedback.

Okay here's number 1

The Chicken / Duck Station

This would be quite a familiar sight at some of the other Halal buffets like Carousel and Straits Kitchen.
So at least you can get your Chicken Rice fix right? Errrr... Yeaanoooooo.

You see that rice pot near the end of the picture?
You'd expected to be filled will steaming chicken rice to go hand-in-hand with your roasted chicken or duck meat and chicken rice chilli waiting for you.

Well it was steaming. But it wasn't chicken rice.
It was actually just normal white rice.

I know what traditional Ayam Penyet serves with normal rice... but this was not Ayam Penyet right?
I've actually never had roasted chicken rice... without the chicken rice.

Roasted Duck

Okay so never mind no need to complain.
I still took some roasted duck meat and paired it with some chicken rice chilli and plum sauce.
The first few bites were fine but as I reached my 4th slice, that familiar gamey duck taste came around.
Sorry Daffy. Maybe another day.

Okay here's number 2.

The thing above was labelled as "Meat Lover" and it was apparently a pizza.
It was either that or the Veggie Pizza. We skipped both.
Because that's WAY too much meat for me to handle at one go. NOT.

Okay here's number 3.

My darling wife said "There's Nachos!" and she came back with this.

 Nachos (?)

One look and I began to wonder... those don't look like Nachos.
I took one bite and I swear to you it was Calbee Hot & Spicy Potato Chips.
You think I'm kidding? I went to check out the Nacho bowl.

You tell me that's not a bowl 3/4 filled with potato chips.
I can spot like 3 actual nacho chips there lah.

And I think some of the staff may have heard me and guess what?

Some one changed the bowl to actual Nachos.
No doubt it was the type you get when you buy a pack of Doritos but at least your label matches the food.
Anyways the Nachos seemed to be the only thing that was completely out of the pack.

The nachos were Doritos. The cheese was definitely from a packet.
And I know Tostitos Salsa when I taste it. But nachos always rock right?

Okay enough about that.
How about some desserts? And to be honest, almost all of them were absolutely delicious.


The pralines were absolutely delicious.
We tried the Mango, Strawberry and the Dark Chocolate. The white one was delicious but I couldn't place the taste for the life of me.

Strawberry Mousse

This was absolutely delicious.
The bottom layer is a dark chocolate cream which went so well with the tart strawberry mousse.

Bread Pudding

This is a must-have when you spot it anywhere.
The best Bread Pudding (as concurred by so many others) can be found at Carousel.
So how does the one at Aquamarine match up?

To be honest with you, I found it quite good actually. The vanilla sauce was tasty and the pudding was still warm with plump sweet raisins. But my wife says it is nothing close to the one at Carousel.
@HamidahHanim later told me she thinks Carousel still comes out on top in this battle of Bread Pudding.
I wonder if anyone else has tried it at Aquamarine yet?

Durian Pengat

Another favourite which is normally found at Asian Market Cafe's buffet is the Durian Pengat.
It's basically the durian flesh all prepped and ready for your eating pleasure.
For you durian lovers - you're obviously going to enjoy this.

I personally still favour the one at Asian Market Cafe because it's still in it's purest and natural form.
You'll still get some of the durian pulp on your tongue there.
The one at Aquamarine is still a delicious and creamy durian paste but they blend it till it's extra smooth.
Some may like it that way. Anyways it's still a must for the durian lover.

Black Forest In a Glass

Okay this may surprise you - this was my favourite dessert there.
It's basically as the name implies. And it's bloody delicious!!

Red Velvet Cakes

Believe it or not - these sucked big time.
The Red Velvet didn't even taste like Red Velvet. It was just red coloured cakes.
Putting cream cheese and berry on a red coloured cake does not a Red Velvet Cake make.

Now here's an interesting thing to note about Aquamarine.
The individual food sections are certified Halal literally individually.

For example, the section which has the Cold Seafood spread has a Halal certificate displayed.
The Desserts section - has its own Halal certificate displayed.
Even the Salads section had its own certificate displayed.

Okay normally that would not seem very odd but I'm mentioning it because...
I noted that some tables were being served alcohol. Some wine here. Some beer there.
And I'm not sure if it was BYO or perhaps from the bar/lounge situated just outside the restaurant but I found it quite odd.

Perhaps the individual certificates mean that just the individual food sections are certified Halal as opposed to one universal certificate for the whole restaurant. And since the whole restaurant was not certified, this would allow alcohol in the dining sections wouldn't it?

Perhaps I should send Aquamarine an email to try and clarify things.

Adam's Verdict:
Buffet 2/5 

Maryah's Verdict:
Buffet 2.5/5

Well anyways, overall I would say that the food is quite okay overall.
But if you're gonna compare to some of the other Halal buffets in town, this one definitely doesn't match up.
Perhaps if you wanna enjoy a buffet spread at a slightly lower price, this is your place.

Buffet Prices:
Breakfast - $40++ (Adult) / $20++ (Child)
Lunch - $58++ (Adult) / $29++ (Child)
Dinner (Sunday to Thursday) - $68++ (Adult) / $34++ (Child)
Dinner (Friday & Saturday) - $78++ (Adult) / $39++ (Child)


Marina Mandarin Singapore
6 Raffles Boulevard
Marina Square

Tel: 6845 1111

Operating Hours:
Breakfast: 6.30am - 10.30am
Lunch: 12.00pm - 2.30pm
Dinner: 6.30pm - 10.30pm