Monday, April 30, 2007

A few glimpses of Glutton Bay

Glutton Bay (Esplanade Mall) emerged after Glutton Square (Orchard Road) was closed and the premise is suppose to be representation of Asian food, or rather, popular local street food at it's better. Seriously, after a tryout, I'm far from being impressed. To be fair, I did not manage to eat all there is to be offered. But I think I can positively claim that I know of more than a small handful of people who are able to recommend a better player for most of the stall. And I wouldn't be too sure about Makansutra's claims about the term "top hawkers" which is probably a very loose and superficial reference. It's probably just a gathering spot for tourists to sample local fares though. Since it's tourist prices here anyway. A note to remember if you do try, avoid the horrible sambal squid.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Muddy pub grub

Irish themed ale tavern that has chunky chilli crab dip for chips. That's something to say about Muddy Murphy (442 Orchard Road #B1-01/01-06, Orchard Hotel Shopping Arcade). Well, maybe not in here. I generally like these Irish themed pubs and it has to do with the cider Strongbow. I suppose that now, I can find a couple of other reasons come back. Their bar snacks which while was not truly amazing were things that I didn't mind and could see myself returning for again. Chilli crab dip and green lip mussels.

The chilli crab dip taste like what one can expect from regular chilli crab. Well, it probably isn't as spicy, but it's the local tasting chilli crab sauce and not just an attempt do a western rendition of chilli. The mussels are fresh, large and chewy. And chewy in a good way full of bite. Something that the sweeter smaller varieties from Norway that Brussels Sprouts serve, doesn't have.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Marmalade Pantry, Palai Renaissance

Marmalade Pantry (Palai Renaissance, B1-08/11, Orchard Road) is a spiffy tai tai canteen that is secluded in the basement of a building laden with branded boutiques. I learnt of the ultimate beef burger and I came here just to try them. Well, I had soup too. And service here on Saturday is pretty bad and the entire place looks pretty understaffed with only half the seats filled

The parsnip sweep potato and butternut soup was a bad call on my part. I didn't really like it since I was really expecting the just a butternut soup. It tasted more like a carrot flavored dahl. It was what I thought to be totally boring except for the cheese filled loaf that's accompanied on the side.

I thought it might have been better without the mayo but I'm not complaining. It would definitely have scored more points with cheese, but again, I'm not complaining. This is a serious heavyweight beef burger with a firm and thick patty atop slices of gherkins that makes holding the burger together a tad slippery. Juice were dripping out of the patties as I ate, that was really quite impressive. The thick looking buns were also much softer than they looked and it was actually not bad. Though it's probably a bit pricey at $19.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Quarter chicken lunch at Kenny Rogers

We live in a world where commercial fast food restaurant chickens are sold by aged country singers and even long dead colonels. Kenny Rogers is but, another of those that used to have better tasting roasted chickens in the past, but has seen declining standards on their quality of food, very much like many other restaurants. It seems that all commercial food businesses are condemned somehow into a slow downward spiral which is a sad thing.

The chicken here is still edible actually if you asked me. The portions are however wildly inconsistent and very much dependent on the "luck of the draw". Sometimes, the portions can be just pathetic. The lack of consistency for that is a major drawback for me. Also, the signature roast chicken doesn't get into the lunch deals which offers the option of some chicken filet instead. I had to get the regular quarter chicken ($13.55 with tax) off the menu. Where's the deal here really? The people that decided on the menu of their lunch packages obviously didn't not care so much about what people come to this place for as opposed to how to sell meal boxes that cost less to produce. How much more obvious can that get when you throw in shitty lunch deals that make people not want to come back again after having them one time? So said my new Israeli colleague.

The side of macaroni with cheese and corn muffin fortunately still delivers.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Miss Clarity Smoked Gnocchi

Wow, this is probably the cheapest place I've encountered gnocchi so far. I'm pleasantly surprised that Miss Clarity is making inroads into the not so commonly available pasta around here. At $9.80 and no service charge in the cafe, there is probably no one else that makes this available at a lower price. It's almost three times more across the road at Garibaldi. This one comes with a smoky cabonara like sauce topped with artichokes, sundried tomatoes and real bacon. The cooking was done with good timing as none of them looked like they were about to be disssolved.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Taman Serasi Food Garden, Botanic Gardens

This not so hidden gem of a food court located near the Napier Road entrance of the Botanic Gardens reminds me of King Albert Park. And it's actually quite a pleasant place at the spacious outdoors from the serenity during the quieter week evenings. I hear that it gets really crowded in the weekends and holidays. Food courts generally are boring pretty boring with almost the same configurations everywhere since they are currently monopolised (mostly) by the food court conglomerates that inject little variables into individual outlets. With the exception of a few like the Food Republic at Wisma. The generally impression that was left in me was that they are costly and do not taste very good. Once in a while, exceptions happen.

The stalls in Taman Serasi Food Garden (1 Cluny Road) are named after the food types which they sell, so it's pretty easy to figure out what you want from the huge labels hanging overhead at the stall fronts. There's the usual nasi padang, fish soup, chinese mixed rice, roasted meats, dessert and drink stall. The drink store here actually has Erdinger. Wow. A unique vendor in this place that doesn't go by the regular labels is Yummy Crab. Yummy Crab does a variety of food items with crab ( e.g. noodles & rice). And they whip up a mean fried rice with crab meat!

Apart from the regular diced roasted pork (larger chunks here!), egg and shrimps (larger shrimps too!), you get a generous amount of crab meat with the roe in their fried rice. This fried rice does come at a fairly hefty cost. This portion which feeds one hungry big eater or two smaller ones for $18.

For a week night, the crowd was sparse. I was told that it does get horrendously long during the weekends and crab noodles (which seem to be a trend nowadays) are also one of their specialty. I don't like do deal with shells and bones normally, so this fried rice works for me.

There also a roasted meat stall which serves excellent char siew. They to have the usual roast pork belly and duck which was unexceptional though they came in rather generous portions.

There is a combo murtabak which is available in the Indian food store. I was told that this used to be a stall back in the old hawker centre (gone a long time ago) with leaky roofs during the rain. Which I fondly remember for the Roti John and teh tarik.

What makes the combo murtabak was the use of variety in the fillings instead of a single meat option. We got one with shredded chicken and ground mutton. There is the addition of sliced fresh green chilli which gives the prata more kick. I certainly appreciated that. There seens to be a crab murtabak on menu as well and I'm speculatiing is that it's might something to do with Yummy Crab.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Homemade burgers for dinner

These are one of my guilty pleasures in life. Buttered and lightly oven toasted buns, double patty, double cheddar cheese, lettuce and marinated ground beef hand made patties. It's a lot more work than it looks getting everything prepared. I'm still trying to find out how to make the patties more firm. Also trying to find someone who will hand chop the meat instead of getting minced ones. Suggestions will be entertained.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Baladi, 709 North Bridge Road

Baladi at North Bridge Road (across the road from the mosque at Arab Street) purports to be a place that serves authentic Lebanese food. This was the first time I am having Lebanese and it seemed that parallels can be drawn with what they eat with the Persians. In fact, I'm not really sure what is the difference between the cuisine of the two cultures. It's grilled meats, flat bread, hummus, rice, more vegetable dips and arrays of spiced teas.

artichoke hearts
hummus & moutabbalstuffed grape leaves

I think we didn't start off too well with the appetizers. The hummus doesn't quite taste like what I'm used to. The moutabbal was delicious, but still didn't taste like any eggplant dip I've had. And the artichokes was acidic that I felt needle prick sensations on my tongue. The stuffed grape leaves had rice that didn't taste too well cooked and the leaves themselves were too fibrous.

Seriously, I didn't enjoy them very much.

beef sharwarma

beef kafta kebab
Grilled meats on the other hand fared a lot better. The amusing thing about the presentation here was that it tried to look sophisticated with the powdered paprika stenciling and the smudge of herbed yoghurt on the side. Both dishes are served on rectangular "crockery" which aren't actually plates but are actually tiles. The beef sharwarma came with semi charred chunks of well cooked pieces of spiced beef on some tasty brown rice. I don't know what went into the rice, but it was good.

I really doubt I'll be back to re-visit anytime soon. Probably will not return at all. There're a couple of other interesting places around the corner in the locale near Baghdad St that I noted so if I'm back in the vicinity, they'll be the ones I'll be checking out. Meanwhile, I'll take Banoo anytime!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Lobster a la carte buffet @ Honjin

Honjin offers a self termed lobster a la carte buffet at $52++ if I remember correctly. Disappointing is the word to describe the experience here. Even for fact that I was already prepared knowing that such an offer comes probably with fine print. Is that bad or what? The buffet includes a tiny menu tiny various sashimi, sushis, tempura, yakimono, agemono, ramen, temakis and so forth. UOB card holders get a 1 for 1 deal in this buffet. Now that "buffet" and "1 for 1" is mentioned, one would think you're probably geared up for what's to expect for the lobster. You think! Behold the lobster butter yaki portion for 2!

Yeah, that's pretty much 2 mouthfuls for you there. The condition attached to this a la carte lobster buffet is that each table is only eligible for one serving. One serving per table, not per patron. Yippieee!!! I wonder why is it that with foresight did I not see that coming. This place is suppose to be run by a top notch executive chef that has 15 years of experience in places like Nadaman and Keyaki? This puts into me some questionable light about what kind of experience was that. Dish washing is experience too.

Doesn't the sashimi presentation look just fabulous??!!

The food was palatable. Certain items turned out to be pretty good (tasting better than they look) while others fared worse than Sakae Sushi. This is definitely not a place that I would re-visit. One can reasonably expect lowered standards because of the nature of buffets in the effort to churn food out en mass to mobs hungry people. This, was simply a lack of effort with respect to the quality. Without the benefit of the UOB card offer, it would have been seriously overpriced with mediocre food to boot.

I shall refrain from further visual terrorism. I'm positive that in the realms of a la carte buffets, I've had better.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Changing Appetites, Marina Square

Changing Appetites at Marina Square does a sort of western/japanese fusion in the menu. I can't really put a finger into their identity, but there's a variety. The food's fairly affordable with a more creative menu. I actually didn't really think too much of them apart from being a novelty when I first visited them a few years back when they were just opened.

The Classic Double 2 Thick burger ($15.90) is really, just thick. The patty despite it's appearances isn't as firm as I was hoping for. It broke apart easily and there is no option for done-ness. The marinate of the meat was so strong that it took the beef out of beefiness. I actually couldn't from the taste what meat it was. The saving grace was that, it actually tasted not too bad. Unexpectedly for me, they too used a brown rye bread which was quite good with the buttered insides.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Brewerkz, Riverside Point

Brewerkz, conspicuously located at the ground floor of Riverside Point by virtue of the unit, position itself to be one of the really attractive watering holes around. In spite of the emergence of competitors and those that arm themselves with the shiny spiffy arsenal of a microbrewery, this place to me still remains one of the better locations for good beer at pretty reasonable prices. In the afternoons, Brewerkz does have the cheapest beer in town. Bar none.

This also makes it a good place to do dinner because there is really little need to adjourn for drinks. Ever since I can recall, it's always had a healthy crowd and coming by with no reservation is usually never a good idea. Decent selection of reasonable food, great drinks, reasonable prices....note down the secret formula the rest of you!

To the Bistro Burger...

Brewerkz actually serves pretty decent burgersThe Bistro Burger ($19.90) is just a regular hearty burger which is the way burgers should be everywhere else that thinks to justify their upscaled prices. These people should know whom I am refering to. The main factor that drove me to order this is the smelly blue cheese.

Yes, on the patty sits a lump of mould infused pungent milk curdle. This is definitely not the stinkiest of it's varietal, but packs enough stench for most blue cheese lovers to be drawn by the taste. The patty is a good medium done as requested, firm and not crumbly. Very much like the hand chopped patty from the sirloin burger from ├╝berburger. Paired with the evergreen Golden Ale (truly a nectar among beers), it isn't very hard to understand why people keep coming back.