Friday, September 19, 2014

Platypus Kitchen, Bugis Junction

This (200 Victoria Street, #03-29 Bugis Junction, tel : +65 6333 4434) is the same group that operates Platypus Lobster Shack down at China Square that does pastas and risottos. Apparently, they have brought over a few of their items down from the lobster shack into this restaurant, which makes it much more convenient than the latter location. Items like their allegedly limited crustacean bowl and some of their lobster rolls. What they do not have here, is the option for their lobster rolls to be ordered without the set. But the set here comes with fries and not chips.

This was actually a little disappointing. I was looking forward to their crustacean bowl which features a plethora of items including uni creme with the lobster. In execution, most of the flavours were lost except for the aburi-ed cheddar, the lobster and perhaps, those fish roe. The rest of the stuff were a jumble of flavours that didn't quite identify itself as anything. They could have taken out the uni cream and passed on the savings to us and no one would be wiser miss it. The portion was rather small for what they charged, but it tasted pretty good.

The lobsters from their roll here were a step down from the ones at the shack. The meat was literally shreds, not even small chunks. All that butter poaching didn't even leave behind much of the butter flavours. Oh yes, that urchin and lobster bisque is really just at best a cream of crustacean soup. It's not a bisque. I could buy frozen bisque from Fassler, microwave it and it would taste a lot more like a real lobster bisque. No uni flavours too. Which made us quite glad that we didn't shell out more for their uni roll. Their crab cakes are horrible. The meat was obviously frozen and minced to the point when it was close to being mushy. One could also see that a sizeable percentage of those cakes were the breaded crust.

One notices that a lot of their ingredients are obviously recycled into different dishes.

I wonder if their pastas would fare better.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Saveur, Far East Plaza

Association with big names by the way of alumni-hood is a pretty sure fire way of drawing attention. For Saveur (Far East Plaza, 14 Scotts Road, #01-7B, tel : +65 6736 1121), I'm reading Guy Savoy, Fi53fty Three (once upon a time locally) and Tetsuya in Sydney. The restaurant opened a couple of years ago IIRC and made some waves with the queues they garnered. I didn't pay much attention at that point because I had thought that they were just another one of those places trying to create affordable local interpretations of French bistro food. Not that I have anything against that. It doesn't work all the time. And it is not really uncommon knowledge that the path is not easy and it's much easier to fail at it than one would think. 

But there are bright spots. Saveur is one of them.

Remember that their name of the game is affordability. These guys managed to pull off a modest piece of foie gras, nicely pan fried and well flavoured in a pool of creamy lentils. I would have loved for the portions to be bigger, but it would be asking too much for what they charged. It actually tastes pretty good.

There's a small 'Premium' section in their menu. There's only three items and one of them was their entrecĂ´te, a 300g ribeye. The steak was not bad at all and I wouldn't mind eating this again. Even though they had it slightly overdone from the requested medium rare. However this piece of meat certainly also blows the affordability image that they're trying to maintain out of the water. For one, one can get something similar for less in town. If I top up another 8 bucks, I could have a nice rendition with proper table service down at L'Angelus.

Potatos au gratin here was lip licking good. The spuds were buttery, creamy and filled with garlic flavour. I liked that they were not shy with the salt. 

Tarte au citron was decent. I would have liked more lemon curd than custard.

The pistachio panna cotta fared better with me. What really worked was the layer of crushed nuts that brought forth the flavors, pairing nicely with the creamy green pudding.

We tried the duck confit which I didn't take a photo of. It was honestly pretty decent duck for what they charged with the food being very valid effort. I could eat two of these and still get change with what some French restaurant charges for their confit. Will come back another time.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A recent China Street frittering

Nothing has really changed with China Street Fritters (#01-64, Maxwell Food Centre, 1 Kadayanallur Street). They're a specialist doing their very focused variety of wu xiang, trumping most competitors if not all at what they do in their curated selection and remains somewhat a bastion of consistency and nostalgic flavours in our ever evolving food options. The food's good. I just thought I would update a picture from a recent eat in the way of fiddling with my current Canon S120. Still trying to figure out some filters and what works for which conditions.

Hey, those delicious liver rolls that they make actually have braised preserved mustard greens in them too! And the egg & lard fritters are still awesome.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A special nasi lemak from 1983 – A Taste of Nanyang

This was a stall down at the Cookhouse food court at JEM (50 Gateway Road, #05-01) that sold some local dishes. Such as beef rendang and chicken curry with rice. This was their special nasi lemak which was basically a pre-configured set with their works. It was kinda expensive as nasi lemak went, but these are food court prices and it didn't taste too bad. The fried chicken thigh was crispy on the outside at least and the rice was decent if not exceptionally fragrant. The only real gripe that I had was the sambal which really works only with the fried egg for me because it was far too sweet for my preferences. I was really hoping for that to be more savoury.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Breakfast at Kampong Corner

Today's serving of lontong (which I've mentioned previously) literally had our lungs flooded with the rempah. Well, not my own lungs obviously, but that of the additional top up of the paru goreng which soaked up the gravy in their tiny lung cavities. It's become a little bit like a beefy chewy tau pok if you would. 

There's also that soft roti jala which was accompanied by a bowl of nutty rich chicken curry on the side. This was so much better than I had in mind. And definitely one of the better breakfasts I've had in a while. If you're not doing your heart any favors, be sure to not do them for the right reasons.

I hope these pictures do justice as a tribute to our local "artisanal" dishes. Each individual component is an effort. I don't know how to cook them, but I do know that the sambal takes a lot of ingredients to simmer over hours. Ditto for the rempah for the gravy which eventually also serves as the cooking gravy for the long simmers that soften the vegetables. Those beef lungs need laborious effort cleaning and deep frying as well. Roti jala is something that many don't make in house anymore and you'll find that most of them aren't tender because they're probably mass produced stuff that's chewy. These local eats need some recognition.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Re-visiting Swaadhisht

We're back in Swaadhisht for a re-visit. No goat meat for us this time round, but there was lamb.

We ordered a neichoru with mutton ishtoo. The former is ghee rice.

While the ishtoo is stew. One that was made with quite a bit of coconut milk, curry leaves, onions and generous quantities of cracked black pepper it seems. As the name implies as well, there's chunks of mutton inside. This stuff packed slow building heat and was pretty darn good. Ghee rice or not. It got me spooning mouth after mouth.

We ordered curd rice. Which is rice mixed with unsweetened yoghurt. There's generally a variety of other items that can be added into the rice and yoghurt mixture. This was the first time that I've had them with both coriander and ginger. That really got to me. Note to self, never order curd rice here again.

That's gobi 65, which wasn't on the menu. But the restaurant was able to fry them up on request. Very nicely crisp cauliflower done here. The batter had excellent flavour and texture.