Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Sushi Shiki Hanamaru @ Hokkaido Marche, Orchard Central

A new sushi shop (#B2-11/29/44/48 Orchard Central, 181 Orchard Road, tel : +65 6634 0211) has opened up at Hokkaido Marche - the latter a Japanese food court by Don Don Donki if you didn't already know. It's a better class of entry level of sushi-ya which was unique in its own way. Make no mistake about the food. It's not Nogawa or possibly their apprentices that have graduated into sushi making. It's also not in the same leagues some of the better joints run by local chefs. Sushi toppings are prepared in advance and refrigerated in drawers. Not sliced upon order. Sitting at the counter tells much.

Service was good.

But the food was definitely better than most of the mass market sushi places. Variety is wider and more interesting as well.

It's kinda troublesome to go through each item. That's almost like documenting a buffet so I'll just settle for some short notes.

I didn't think much of the chuturo. It's okay but we've had better. But we had better where we paid more. Speaking of which, the fishes here are a little too chilled. Flavour is muted from the temperature.

Shari was not well pressed. Some of the pieces were falling apart as I picked them up to dip in the shoyu. The vinegar was so light that I wasn't sure if there was vinegar as well. All orders come with wasabi or not as you indicate on the order chit. It's not if the chef thinks the fish requires them.

toro nishin
The hakkaku (sailfin poacher) and toro nishin were nice. Flavourful from the fattiness I guess. What also happened was when we asked for the omission of grated ginger, the spring onions were also left out. Hmmm.....

botan ebi
There was no frying of the head of the head/tail of their botan ebi negiri. Maybe we should have asked but I thought they might have offered. Speaking of the botan ebi, it was not bad. Definitely had better though. Guess all those heads went to waste.

The sushi makers behind the counter aren't very conversant with English so the servers double as translators.

taraba fundoshi
Some of the uncommon offerings include the taraba fundoshi. I think the menu translated those as crab loin. I'm not sure exactly which parts of the crab are those but it was a little cold and not as sweet as I had hoped. Sardine was nice though. 

ajiwai tarako
Ajiwai tarako is salted pollack roe. Kinda like mentaiko minus the spiciness. So salty fish eggs.

shoyu marinated sujiko
There's shoyu marinated sujiko. I think they are salmon eggs. They come in clustered lumps and the flavour is akin to extra salty ikura. I don't mind them though.

The hotate is likewise better less chilled. Maybe I'll have that aburi the next time. That's bound to coax out flavours.

dashimaki tamago
Even though prices are listed for most of the items on the menu, they eventually charged by counting the coloured plates that they used. The items that weren't charged by coloured plates and had to be ordered through the servers are the non-sushi stuff. Like the dashimaki tamago which was served piping hot. 

tempura wagasaki
Their tempura wagasaki (smelt) was nice. I'd eat these again.

tempura maitake
While not the best in class for tempura, what we had was pretty good. The ingredients were freshly fried and not excessively battered.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Zhong Yu Yuan Wei Wanton Noodle (忠于原味云吞面), Tiong Bahru Market FC

This (#02-30 Tiong Bahru Market, 30 Seng Poh Road) was the popular wanton noodle shop just right next door to Koh Brothers. The reason why these guys attract a queue is because of the char siew that they serve with their wanton noodles. Specifically, it was the cut of meat that they used. Known in these parts as 不见天 or the arm pits of the pig. Leg pits would be more accurate. The Spanish call it secreto o cruceta.

The meat was coarse grained, fat laced and pretty tasty with some char and caramelization from the marinade. Noodles were well timed that they were full of bite. As a bonus, their chilli packed a bit of heat and was delicious. The irony coming from this stall was that those wantons weren't very good. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Khachapuri Day at Beerfest

Apparently, Khachapuri Day happens at Beerfest every third Sunday of the month! So here's a khachapuri from our local microbrewery in Rochester. Freshly made upon order and of the same Adjarian variety like the one we had previously at Dacha. The cheese was a little different though. The ones used here was more curdy and sharp as opposed to a richer, heavier and stretchier cheese. Still very good coming fresh from the oven and worth the 20 minute wait.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

The Public Izakaya (大衆酒場) by Hachi, Tras Street

We have walked past The Public Izakaya (#01-09 100AM, 100 Tras Street, tel : +65 +65 6604 9622) countless times and wondered if they were any good in spite of the crowd. We finally found out today.

Their reba shoyuzuke was the first to land on our table. I liked that those chicken livers were not overcooked. Suitably flavoured with both shoyu and sesame sauce. The accompanying onions were crunchy and not sharp.

There was a negitoro don. I was thinking that this might be a substitute for the one at Tampopo that used to be better since they were at similar price points.

I think it could work. It was nicer toro that they used and I certainly couldn't argue against pickled daikon and ikura. More negi would be great but I don't think that's a deal breaker.

The momotoro tomato which we had thought would be the first to be served came after the negitoro don which we had expected to be served last. Sequence was a little wonky but I guess it wasn't such a big deal. But a little more salt for those nicely chilled tomatoes would have been nice.

We had an order of the jaga shiokara mistakenly thinking that it would be the same as the ones from Hokkaido Izakaya. Those had fermented squid guts while this one was just fermented squid. That explains why there was a lot more squid here since the guts had a much more intense flavour and saltiness.

Following up was some big assed tsukune in squid ink mayo. The tsukune was sweetened by a lot of minced carrot and I wasn't not getting much of those squid ink flavour.

Kushiyaki here were heartily portioned. No comparisons will be made to the king since they are obviously better at this - I thought these bacon wrapped hotate were pretty good. Each piece was a large mouthful.

This place also seemed to be less heavy handed with the salt. Which I suppose is sometimes a good thing. Still the hatsu skewers were enjoyable.

Both their tori momoniku and reba were also large and chunky. I think we liver-ed out here. These liver skewers were about twice the size of regular ones. Haven't had so much in one sitting before today. While those larger portions were good value for what they charged, it also meant a larger meat to surface ratio which by extension made these skewers less flavourful than the smaller "usual" skewer sizes that kushiyaki joints normally make them. 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Ginza Kamo Soba Kyudaime Keisuke, Holland Village

If a word were to be used to describe Keisuke Takeda, ‘prolific’ would be apt. To date, Takeda-san has 13 ramen-ya (according to his site) in Japan. Deep down south on our sunny shores; within a span of 8 years, 8 has been set up. More exhaustively, that doesn’t yet include his sake bar Takeda Shoten, the hamburg focused Teppanyaki Hamburg Nihonbashi Keisuke Bettei, Ramen Keisuke Gyoza King and the tendon shop Tendon Ginza Itsuki.

Be that as it may, Keisuke’s ramen may not be everyone’s bowl of noodles cup of tea. Undeniably, the efforts and branding of his group speaks for itself. This is the new kamo ramen shop Ginza Kamo Soba Kyudaime Keisuke at Holland Village (16A Lorong Mambong, tel : +65 6463 4148).

I got myself an upsized tsukemen. Order chit wrote kae which I presume means kaedama. I always had the impression that kaedama was additional serving or noodles and not specifically referring to a larger portion. Additional slices of duck goes at $3 per slice. Ouch!

I read that they use Irish ducks. I'm not sure what adjective I should be using for those ducks here. Bland perhaps? It's not what locals would expect out of the more flavoursome roasted or even braised variety as this had significantly less flavour. Significantly. Texture was tender and chewy. Kinda like their thick noodles. Ajitama lacked a little of the shoyu flavour I was expecting. 

What was outstanding was the broth. They had managed to coax a noticeable amount of that duck flavour (some would call it gaminess) into that rich creamy dipping broth. I thought it was nice.

Just make sure that you're really hungry if you want to upsize. In the words of certain circles of the ramen blogosphere - I crushed it.

And then washed it down with some sakura Cola which actually had flavour unlike their green tea or wasabi flavoured bottles.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Chicken rice from 303 Jurong East Street 32

I've eaten at this stall (coffeeshop in Blk 303 Jurong East Street 32) a couple of times previously. It's a as local as it gets shop selling the usual gamut of meats including roasted/boiled chicken, roasted/braised duck, roasted pork belly, char siew, some bird offal and braised eggs. Here's a lunch of white chicken thigh (鸡尾), duck breast meat and egg. Pretty decent stuff, greasy but not overly so. The chilli here is mild though and slightly garlic-y. Speaking of 鸡尾, that's the thigh isn't it? Why do some people think it's the tail?