Friday, March 30, 2007

Some photos from Morton's

This was a belated dinner treat that was a long time in coming. :) Morton's of Chicago has so far, not disappointed. From the warm bustling ambience to the perceptive spontaneity in service, the restaurant makes visible effort to justify what one pays for eating here. Sure the prices are hefty but it would also be otherwise difficult to find a place that does better steak and service together.

This was the first time I am having them crab cakes. I have to say that they were $35 good. The same went for the excellent lobster bisque which I admit to being slightly skeptical towards before the actual tasting. It was a rich, hot and creamy lobster soup with a hint of brandy just on the edge and in my books, it could be the best one around.

the evil onion loaf

jumbo lump crab cake

lobster bisque

boneless prime rib
bone in ribeye

grilled asparagus in balsamic glaze

chocolate cake

to be continued...maybe....perhaps.....someday....possibly

Monday, March 26, 2007

Highlander Bar, Clark Quay

Decided to check out this place after seeing it mentioned in a blog. Highlander Bar ( #01-11, The Foundry) is located near the central junction of Clark Quay just beside Pump Room. This would be the first and probably for a long time, the only Scottish themed place. There isn't any others around that I know of. The "al fresco" seats of this bar/restaurant made use of rather eye catching cross section tree trunk table tops which while was interesting to examine, didn't really function that effectively as a table.

Highlander serves Scottish ales/larger from the tab and a small selection of other bottled beers. There was quite a selection of whiskeys which can be had pretty steep looking prices. A bottle of Baileys here costs $210. We opted for an all entree dinner which featured some outlandish/highlandish sounding items.

haggis -
This stuff was surprisingly quite addictive. Haggis is suppose to be a traditional Scottish dish that is made up of minced innards of sheep mixed with onion, oatmeal, spices, salt and stock. So the result is a pudding that has a texture akin to minced meat and tastes a lot like pate and oats. It came with a cream based sauce and a scoop each of mashed carrots (although it says turnips on the menu) and potatoes. This was probably the most interesting item in the starters section of the menu. Definitely worth a try. The ingredients were probably not too far off from what sausages are made of anyways.

grampian stovies - which was essentially pan fried herbed beef with potato and onion cake. It was quite bland with mashed potatoes (real mashed potatoes) being the most recognisable ingredient along with tiny bits of beef. And that was pretty much all there was with the grampian stovies.

scotch eggs
- I've never tried scotch egg before. For $10 you get 2 hard boiled eggs encased in minced beef, breaded and deep fried. Chris thinks that this would make an excellent all in one option for breakfast. The carbs, meat and egg, all in one package. I don't disagree and as a hot snack was great with beer.

tattie scones - the menu describe these as potato patties. They tasted like fried tapioca cakes, albeit one that was not sweet. Another unremarkable dish which is saved solely by the cheese dip on the side.

smoked kipper toasties - this was nice. Fragrant and crispy cheese toasted with some fish. I couldn't get any texture of fish meat in there, but the flavours were definitely present. Salty and went well with drinks.

A random ayam penyet from Chong Pang

This chicken didn't look quite smashed to me, but it probably had been. I was actually thinking of splintered bones, but apparently, all the smashing did was to break the meat (tenderised?!) and made them easily removable from the bones.

Aside from being "smashed", the ayam penyet pretty much tasted like the regular fried chicken from Muslim chicken rice stores. The only difference was the chilli sauce which did spruce things by quite a bit. That sambal was not bad. This stall in Swee Sian Yuen Eating House located at Chong Pang central claimed to be a branch of the original that hails from Changi Village where the ayam penyet rose to fame as a dish. I wonder how it stacks here versus the original. For Malay fried chicken rice, this is decent stuff. Otherwise, it just reeked of g-i-m-m-i-c-k.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Noodle House Ken, Orchard Plaza

I first stumbled upon this place along the side of the Orchard Plaza building a few years back and noticing that most of the people eating here were Japanese, I thought it would be a good idea to check out their ramen. The natural and logical conclusion that one would arrive at would be that the food here is probably close or as close as it can get without being in Japan itself. The setup did look promising as a Japanese noodle shop. Subsequently, I recalled having revisited this place a couple of other times and this time round, I realised that I have never really looked at the name of the place till today. And this is the Noodle House Ken (Orchard Plaza, 150 Orchard Road #01-17/18) that I hear people talking about very often. Talk about being oblivious to my surroundings.

char siew ramen

My last visit to this place was quite some time back, so I really do not remember so much about the ramen. This gives me a clean slate in getting re-acquainted with the food here. My first thoughts were, I recalled it being better. More delicious. But then memory can be a fickle mistress while taste and expectations do evolve. Certainly, I'm not complaining about the noodles here. At about $12 a bowl, it was a fair price. For additional $2, I got the top up options of a stewed egg. It's rather expensive for an egg, but it was good. I wished that they would used those straight noodles like the ones Ajisen does though.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Brotzeit, Vivo City

I didn't know what to expect of Brotzeit German Bier Bar and Restaurant (#01-149-151) which was opened towards the end of October 2006 in Vivo City. There hasn't been much that is notable about German cuisine on this sunny island beyond the pork knuckle and larger variety of sausage offerings (which I was sure is but a scratch on the surface compared to what's available in Germany). So I came here not wanting for very much except good beer

First impression of the place is that service was very spotty and almost, dare I say....... atrocious? After having been opened for about half of a year, I would assume that teething issues should have been more or less have been ironed out. Reservations were poorly handled and I'm still not quite sure if it was allowed for the outdoor seats. There seemed to be disagreement between different staff about this matter. To top it off, I was faced with a really sad attempt at a joke from the serving staff about getting me to share a table that has already been occupied by 3 ladies. I didn't think it was funny at all. Not a tiny bit. I've never been a proponent of numbered ratings for anything because quantifiability is subjective and three dimensional. But here's a 3 out of 10 for service.

The redeeming quality of Brotzeit was probably the food and drinks. The variety is comparatively, larger than Paulaners which actually did not have that much to choose from. Food portions were local sized. Not that I was expectig bigger. Speaking of which, Brotzeit serves Paulaner's brews so I don't know if there's any relation between the two.

The pork knuckles had a fragrant crispy skin and meat that wasn't excessively fatty. Apart from the beers and sausages we also had the fladen which were the German pizzas. I don't really know what about the pizzas here that makes them German. I'm quite sure I can find similar pizzas. It tasted quite mundane, making them pretty boring in comparison with what Magma offered in the way of cream cheese instead of the regular tomato base.

I don't mind coming back for the food. There's also the appeal from the selection of drinks on tap. The service crew needs some work but otherwise, here's not bad for a hangout after work.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Bab Noodle, Millenia Walk

I was not really sure how to tag Bab Noodles. It does pseudo Japanese & Korean food and also local flavours (like sambal kang kong?!) and fusions. For what their name's worth, it's odd that half the available offerings comes defaulted with rice and for a change of that rice to noodles, would require one to top up $2 more.

Nothing in particular looked really outstanding here, so I landed myself a tori kaarage & stewed beef in BAB's Special sauce set ($11.90).

"Special" is a word like "authentic". Overused. And probably for no good reason at that. So it's regular fried chicken with some cold hard stewed beef in a sauce that tasted bland. Food felt barely warm. There's nothing Japanese about this set. With the exception of the chilli powder condiment at the table. Maybe that was a Japanese brand.

An unexpected glimmer of hope in the food here was actually an item on their menu call Spicy Crayfish Ramen. The taste of it was actually not too bad. Despite the sauce being a little thin side, it's really was quite tasty. Now if they could get better crayfish and learn to nicer noodles, this could just be a local hit. Do not quote me on this.

Hogga hogga!

Yeah, I stayed of this place for a bit and now am back again. I really don't have much to say about the prime ribs at Hog's Breath that I've not already said before. In comparison to my previous visit which was a disappointment, the prime rib seemed to have gotten back to their regular standards. Though I must comment that medium rare seems to have gotten a bit more cooked and dryer than before. Still I like this enough to make this place a meat fix. It's definitely not Lawry's or Mortons, but it's good enough. And good enough that out of all my visits here, I've never actually ordered anything else in the main course. At least I think so.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

YY Ka Fei Dian, Beach Road

I think this place was called YY Ka Fei Dian. That's what it said on the signboard. They were one of the Hainanese chicken rice coffeeshops ($3.50 a plate here) in the locale; located at the junction where Purvis Street meets Beach Road which makes it a minute's walk away from Yet Con and Chin Chin Eating House. There was one thing that differentiated them from other chicken rice stalls in the vicinity. I was also told that they sold good donuts. I've seen people buy them by the bagloads so it might be true. Strange pairings indeed.

I've lunched here on a few occasions. Even though this coffee shop serves cze char, I've never gotten interested enough to try them. The chicken rice here was pretty decent. The chilli and the dark soy sauce helped with the rice. The condiments weren't too bad.

The colour of the rice was a little more yellowed than what's usual. It tasted a bit more heavy too. At $3.50 a plate, it was also a little costlier than the usual ranges between $2.50 to $3.00 in the most coffee shops. Then again, one gets non flattened chicken meat and the portions were anything but stingy.

There's pork chop to be had here and it was sadly mediocre. Would recommend to avoid. Unless overly greasy over fried breaded pork is your kind of thing. $6 felt a little expensive for the portions. No? I was thinking that since this was a Hainanese coffeeshop, the pork chops might have been something that were good at. That was just not true here. If you're looking for Hainanese chicken rice and pork chop together in the vicinity, stick to Chin Chin. Nicer pork chops there.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Lunch @ Paulaners

Paulaners Bräuhaus at Millenia Walk, does lunch at $18++ that comes with a appetizer, a main course and a drink. At an optional top up of another $8, you get 2 mugs of 0.3l of their beer instead of the regular soft drink, choice between the dark and light which made it really a good deal since it costed about $11 normally. Being located so close to where I work, I'll be definitely tempted to drop by again. This lunch from the restaurant (on the 2nd floor) is different from the other speedy lunch that is offered down at the bar. Being me, I picked the top up option of with the beer.

Avoiding the boring salads, I picked the Bavarian Cheese Soup with sliced Bratwurst and fresh Majoram.

It was altogether nothing special and quite different from what I expected out of something that was called cheese soup. It was more like onion soup with melted shreds of cheese. Would've done better with more of the cheese since it was suppose to be a cheese soup? Skimping on the bratwurst was just pathetic as well. And having bread would have made it a lot better. Are you guys from Paulaners reading this?

That's the grilled Gammon ham steak with onion sauce and cheese spätzle. Spätzles which I've had for the first time during my previous visit here, are pasta that look like some misshapen lumps. Cheese spätzles here of course simply implies that there is melted cheese over them. Kinda like mac and cheese. Sadly, none of the cheese was browned in the melting. This is one of the rare encounters that I have with ham steak so I just had to order it. The last time I did was at Colbar last year. It was definitely better here, less salty. It didn't too bad but the onion sauce was really bland and I'm pretty sure it ain't German portions they're serving for the food.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Awesome maw-some at myyyy.....McDonalds!

Nope, this is not the Big Mac indeed! This is ze quadruple cheese burger, special order without pickles and ketchup that ruins (IMO) the beefy cheesy flavour which cheeseburgers should just taste of. And no, it's not on the menu. One can simply order 2 double cheese burgers and request for all the meat to be in one bread and there you go, $4 worth of gut satisfaction that'll put a smile on your face ten mile wide.