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. The bulk of the drinks menu contained a variety of whiskeys which can be had and prices looked pretty expensive. 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 ame with a cream based sauce and scoops 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 and if not anything else, this would be 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. The taste was quite bland with mashed potatoes (real mashed potatos) being the most recognisable ingredient along with small bits of beef. And that was pretty much all there was about the grampian stovies. It's really fairly unremarkable.

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 actually tasted like tapioca cakes can be found at pasar malams. Albeit one that is not sweet. Another unremarkable dish which is saved solely by the cheese dip on the side.

smoked kipper toasties - this was another excellent bar snack and came as you would imagine it. Fragrant and crispy cheese toasted with flavor of some fish. I couldn't actually get the texture of fish meat in there, but the flavors were definitely in. Salty and goes well with drinks.

A random ayam penyet from Chong Pang

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

In all, apart from being "smashed" before served, this is pretty much tastes like the regular fried chicken from most Muslim chicken rice stores. The only difference was the chilli sauce which does spruce flavors by quite a bit. The chilli was really not bad. This store at Swee Sian Yuen Eating House located at Chong Pang central states to be a branch of the original that hails from Changi Village where the ayam penet 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 reeks 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 really 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 expecting very much except good beer

First impression of the place is that service was very spotty and almost, dare I say....... atrocious? Having been opened for almost half of a year, teething issues of running a restaurant 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 hit by a really sad attempt at jest 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 which were local sized. Not that I had expect anything different. Speaking of which, Brotzeit does serve Paulaners brews so I don't know if there's a relation between the two.

The pork knuckles had a fragrant crispy skin and meat that wasn't excessively fatty which works for me. Apart from the beers and sausages is the fladen which are 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 like the regular thing making them pretty boring in comparison with what Magma offered in the way of cream cheese instead of the regular tomato base on the crust.

I could be back again for the selection of the menu. The draw of this place apart from the food were a variety of drinks (read as beer) that was available on tap and bottle. 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 is called YY Ka Fei Dian. At least that's what it says on the signboard. It's another one of the Hainanese chicken rice coffeeshops ($3.50 a plate here) 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 is this one thing that sets them apart from other chicken rice stalls in the vicinity. I was also told that they sell really good donuts and I've seen people buy them by the bagloads. Strange pairings indeed.

The crowd does build up and one has to come by early to avoid waiting for tables. I've lunched here on a few occasions and even though this coffee shop serves cze char, I've never gotten interested enough to try them. The chicken rice here was pretty good. The chilli and the dark soy sauce helped with the rice, but that's not to say that the rice itself isn't good in the first place. The condiments weren't too bad at all.

The colour of the rice here was a little more yellowish than the usual. It was a more heavy than fluffy rendition of chicken rice. 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.

Unfortunately the pork chop was really mediocre and is something I would recommend to avoid. Unless you have a thing for overly greasy over fried breaded pork. The small portion costing $6 seemed a little expensive too. 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 same place nearby, 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.