Wild Honey, Scotts Square

It may sound really incredible but I have never once visited Wild Honey, whether it is the branch at Mandarin Gallery or the newer outlet at Scotts Square. I have heard good reviews about the food served up but also of the off-putting queues, especially since the outlet at Mandarin Gallery does not take reservations, meaning if you want to dine there you will need to brave whatever crowds who share similar thoughts as you on the same day at the same time. Besides, I don’t think I am really a brunch person. I can eat any time of the day, and I love breakfast foods like grains, breads, yogurts and the likes, but the likes of bacon, sausages and eggs are not exactly within the repertoire of foods that enter my list of indulgences. Eggs maybe but depends on how they are done.

Anyway, Wild Honey at Scotts Square provides online reservation through Chope, and I made a 1:30pm reservation for two. The reservation was promptly confirmed via the system and on the day itself, there is actually an automatic call to you to confirm the booking. Good first impressions! Unfortunately, that didn’t last long. When we reached at slightly before our reserved time-slot, I saw a whole bunch of people waiting outside, and I tried to tell myself that these could be the walk-ins who are waiting for free tables beyond those who have made reservations. It was kind of a weak reassurance but nevertheless I wanted to stay positive. We asked about our booking and was told that they are preparing the table for us and clearing up. Ok.

15 minutes passed and still the host did not come out for us. We kept going to check with them and they kept telling us the table will be ready soon, until at one point I think they told us that the guests are paying and leaving soon. Well, by the time these guests finally left and the table was cleared, we got seated at 2pm. To be honest, I find it ridiculous if for restaurant bookings, we have to endure the same kind of wait like when we visit the doctors, where appointments are futile because you never get to fulifll your objective at the designated time. To add on to this, it was stated in the reservation that we have a maximum of 1.5 hours so that the next reservation can be kept to, something along those lines. Quite obviously, this wasn’t adhered to and if there wasn’t an intention to adhere to it, then it shouldn’t even be mentioned.

Done with the rants. We were at least given a decent seat, a table that although was near to the entrance/exit, was by the side so that we were not really in the midst of thoroughfare of wait staff rushing to and fro with the orders. Ordering was a little questionable as well, even for just the 2 of us, they got the order of our drinks mixed up when I asked for a coffee to be served after the meal but was instead presented with it while my friend’s tea didn’t come until we asked for it.

This was my order of the Californian, an egg-white scramble with tofu, fresh herbs, peppers, mushrooms and scallions char-grilled ciabatta. I really enjoyed this despite that the taste of the scallions was pretty strong and overwhelming, but the egg white scramble was quite a nice change for me from usual scrambled eggs (that I wouldn’t have ordered if it was regular eggs) and it was really very filling! Imagine all that protein goodness. However, the char-grilled bread that was used as the base for the eggs was too soggy for my liking. My friend commented that I should have eaten them together but I had wanted to keep them for last and also because there was really a lot of egg-white!IMG_0073.JPGA closer look at the dish.

IMG_0076.JPGMy friend’s order of the Boulevard St. Michel, which is savoury French toast with double baked cheese & spinach souffle, parmesan crumbed poached egg, slow-roasted tomatoes, grilled back bacon and spicy tomato chutney. The souffle sounded really interesting to me and I would have liked to order it too but felt iffy about French toast and I am so not a bacon person. The egg didn’t turn out that good though, as the yolk was already cooked by the time my friend sliced through it, half-hoping and wondering if the yolk would be oozing or squirting out when the knife went into it.

IMG_0074.JPGBut it was probably good because the entire plate was gone quickly! Although I guess it could also be because we were hungry from all that waiting.

IMG_0075.JPGBy the time we were done, it was just about 3-ish and then asking for the bill took a bit of effort because nobody seemed interested in generating our bill. It took about 15-20 minutes for the bill to be presented and we left at 3:30pm. So food is good, and by where we sat, I guess ambience is pretty ok. Service of food is fairly prompt but aside from that, I would not say service is good, in fact, it borders on poor. Maybe it’s the timing, that 1:30pm is just a bad timing when most would still be in the thick of action devouring their brunch. Around 3:30pm when we left, the restaurant was not as busy even though it was still full but at least there wasn’t that daunting crowd of people waiting outside.

maison kayser – first thoughts

I first read about Maison Kayser from bookjunkie, I think, while I was searching for reviews on the Paris Baguette outlet in Wisma Atria. While I knew that they had a store in Scotts Square, I kept procrastinating on checking it out because somehow, Scotts Square just appeared to be a place I don’t generally need to step into. It is a little like Paragon perhaps, just by looking at its facade, adorned with brands that I don’t think I will become a customer in the near future. Maybe, maybe not.

By chance, I found out that there was a Maison Kayser in Tokyo, at Mid Town in Roppongi, while I was on vacation earlier this month. However, it was not a standalone shop, and it was just a bakery, without the benefit of seating space, and it opened only at 11am, so when I was there, I chose to have breakfast elsewhere instead. When the shop finally opened at 11am, I walked in and took a look at the display and honestly, the breads look like most other breads/pastries that other bakeries serve up. I guess where baked goods are concerned, there isn’t too much difference to expect, unless of course it is very badly made or something. Otherwise, most of these breads have that heavenly golden brown baked look that simply made me want to sink my fangs into them.

So I still didn’t get to try it. And as most of you would have known, the basement of Wheelock Place in Singapore is going to have its branch of the Maison Kayser cafe too. The boards have finally been taken down, and you can see that the display cases and furniture are already in place, but it is past mid December and it is still not opened yet. I guess maybe when they say opening in December 2012, we can’t really expect that to mean anything early. That was the reason I didn’t pop into Scotts Square, because I kept hoping they would open in Wheelock soon, so that I can grab something on the way to my classes, or on the way to the MRT station home. It would offer an alternative to Sun Moulin in Isetan supermarket, Bread Society and also now Marks & Spencer’s bakery.

But no, it remained un-opened. So on Monday, before I went for my class, I finally walked into Scotts Square and made my maiden visit to Maison Kayser. Being a Monday evening, the mall was extremely empty, and so was the basement where the cafe was. I don’t know if it being in Scotts Square has intimidated me, but I didn’t generally feel very welcomed when I walked into the shop’s space and started browsing the display counter. Then I decided to get just one item since it was going to be a quick bite during class, and I chose the chocolate bread (no pictures, sorry), an elliptical-shaped bread roll with chocolate chips, which costs S$3. While I ate it in class, I wasn’t really wowed by it. I mean, it is not bad, but from what I saw in its display case and the taste, I got reminded of Paris Baguette and Tiong Bahru Bakery. They seem to offer similar kinds of baked items and where the taste is concerned, to me, they don’t appear to vary too much, as are the prices.

Besides, since it was just one thing I bought, the person serving me asked if I needed a carrier (in addition to the paper envelope-bag that the bread was put into), and I said no, since I already had another bag with me. And it was only when I declined the carrier when she offered a smile. Service? Or is it only reserved for patrons who sit down and order food and drinks? Maybe next time when I have a little more time, I will sit down for a coffee too, and see how things go. But still, I am glad we have more choices now where breads are concerned, we can never have too many cafes and bakeries! What can I say, I love bread!