Thursday, May 31, 2007

Another attempt at homemade burgers!

In the beginning there was just......

270 grams of hand chopped flank steak

And then, there was chopped onions...

I said, "Let there be pepper!"

And the temperance through oil and iron.

A bond was formed between them.

Nature found her way and the shape was realised.

As with all things, there was trial by fire.

The fire was a tad strong.

Allies came forth to...

...share the heat.

Culture came along and from the primeval sludge rose...

Man it sure was a lot of effort.

One became two.

And of course, there were more.

To the same horrifying end they all went.

Really, that was a lot of work. It's definitely backbreaking sweat being a creator. Not to mention the Creator. From the arduous chopping of the steak and onions to the shaping of the patties. There was actually addition of half egg and breadcrumbs into the patty mix that I didn't manage to get into photo. I was hoping that they would work serve as a better binding agent for the mat. The end still resulted in a patty that wasn't firm enough, though it tasted much better then my previous attempts. This time round, it was very juicy too. I actually forgot about the salt so the patty tasted more bland than I would have liked. It was about 2 hours worth of preparation that was eaten up in 10 minutes. Phew!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Beach Road Prawn Mee Eating House, 370 East Coast Road

I presume this to be another one of the stores that made their claim to fame back in the original location where they started off. There's so many of these supposedly famous noodle stores that I don't really take stock in whatever claims they make anymore. As long as they're good, I guess people will always flock through word of mouth. This prawn mee place attracts a pretty large crowd that dwarfs the Chai Chee Noodle Village place a few units down the road. For a prawn and a half and some pieces of pork ribs, this $8 bowl of prawn mee (which uses a mix of regular yellow noodle and the thick bee hoon) is pretty expensive. To be fair, the prawns are fresh tasting and the flesh is easily stripped off the shells. The soup base for the noodle is flavorful, though I think I recall having had better. What I don't know is whether the better one from my hazy memory contains MSG.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Perle Noir Oyster & Grill Bar, Siglap

Perhaps it was because of the timing of the visit. The name of this place just reminded me of Barbossa and Jack Sparrow. Did I mention having caught the latest installment of Pirates and that you might want to stay till the end of the credits for something extra? I digress....Perle Noire (687 East Coast Road) located just beside Cheesecake Cafe is a western restaurant that does excellent pork. Their talked about Yorkshire Pork Rack was simply exceptional. I'm not too sure of the cuisine direction of the restaurant but the mood tries to be Spanish? Didn't see any paella on menu though.

The meat served in this restaurant are mostly from Australia from what I can recall. It's Australian beef, lamb, pork. And then there was a foie gras and a grilled French duck breast. And Japanese sweet potato mash. Ok, I'll really not go into that. Very pleasantly surprising start to the dinner we were served piping hot hot cross buns. Seriously, I haven't seen these around much. My last recollection of these things were.....nursery rhymes. Lol. But the ones which the Black Pearl provided were fragrant with onion bits in the bun and piping hot. With the option of olive oil and butter. It was so good we asked for extras.

The shared starter of foie gras and oysters were far from impressive. So these are a couple of things that I'll be avoiding if I come back. The foie gras with rice honey and soy was sliced and pan fried. Being sliced meant that the timing of the sear must be impeccable or it gets overcooked. I hear that it's goose liver that was used, but I couldn't tell the same. It wasn't something I would recall fondly upon. I very much prefer what I had at Ember. The Perle Noir Deluxe Oven Baked Oysters sounded pretty good on the menu with spinach, crab meat, topped with Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese. The oysters sealed in cheese didn't have enough crab meat to be even noticeable while the shellfish didn't taste fresh and was a little watery.

Moving on, I do have something good to say about the mains which were really the highlights.

Yorkshire pork rack

This pork, I reiterate, was excellent. It came slightly under cooked which the chef was rather apologetic about, explaining that it was due to having have to do a thick slice of meat. And that the pork which was a grain fed white hog is actually very edible at medium doneness. It was brought back to be redone and the result came out to be one of the best tasting pork I've ever had. Honestly, I do not remember having better. The fat was along the edges of the meat with the rest was pretty lean yet very juicy. The seasoning was but salt and pepper. Along with a very nice cream sauce. This dish is highly recommended.

braised lamb shank

This lamb shank didn't have a nice sauce, but the meat was was good. The flavour was almost subtle and the meat tender. A friend of mine who doesn't normally eat them thinks this is good stuff. My gripe was that I wished it had a bit more meat. The Japanese sweet potato that served as the bedding didn't taste as fragrant as I remember of them. Again, I compare this to Ember with their sweet potato mash that came with their rack of lamb which was presented in a way where you could just taste the potatoes, neat. Yeap, I said neat.

roasted honey pork knuckle

The pork knuckles were very ordinary. The meat was a little too dry. The only honey that was detected was the honey mustard that came on the side. The positive part to this dish was the crispy skin which by far is the best I've ever had.

Would I come back again? Maybe. Perhaps just for the pork rack.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Pork Trotters Bee Hoon, Dragon Valley Eateries

I'm amused, Dragon Valley Eateries. It's actually a coffee shop located across the road from the main entrance of Technopark @ Chai Chee. One of the food stalls does this pork trotter bee hoon. And the cooking remind me vividly of the cookhouses in SAF. I think you get my point. Noticeably, more than half of the pork trotters are actually bone, skin and fat. And those trotters are canned as displayed from the front of the said stall. The redemption factor is the wonderful chilli which made the dish much more palatable.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Wan Hao, Marriott Hotel

I've been hearing aplenty about this place from friends.

The food on the whole is not too bad. Service was however, sub-standard. That's as simple as it can described. From the reception to the delivery of menu, it started off on a bad foot. Yeap, a bad foot. The manager at the reception didn't look too interested in receiving and we were ushered in with the Golden 60s menu with the waitress looking at the border of confusion when I mentioned a la carte menu. To someone who is visiting the restaurant for the first time, it would appear that the Golden 60s menu is all they have. I understand that it happens to be the current promotion for the restaurant, but haven't they heard of options? I don't think it's unreasonable for them to present a regular menu without specific request. Maybe it's just me.

sliced Yunan ham enveloped in vegetable wrap topped with crab meat and roe in egg white gravy

a close up

I'm seriously hard pressed to find the sliced Yunan ham in this one. Apart from the crunchy prawns, this dish is expensive and unremarkable. It tastes exactly as it looks.

wok fried egg with shredded fish maw, crab meat, dried scallops and bean sprouts topped with crispy dried scallops

deep fried spare ribs with fresh strawberries & Grand Marnier sauce

The fried ribs I thought was not too bad. There wasn't excess in oil in the ribs I could taste the strawberries from the sauce. Nothing on the Grand Marnier though, so if you're expecting some of it, you get zilch of that. The residual sauce looked and tasted very suspiciously like jam from the excessive sweetness. I'm fairly positive that a fresh strawberry with Grand Marnier doesn't produce a nectar that comes in a gel like consistency. But I have no proof that it was truly jam that was used.

stir fried bean curd sheet with fresh mangoes, pineapples and mixed capsicums

crispy boneless chicken coated with almond slices in a light tempura batter with orange liqueur sauce

This was very regular fried chicken bolstered in fragrance by the sliced almonds. The supposed light tempura batter tasted like very regular flour coating in very regular fried chicken. Perhaps, my tongue is not discerning enough in the department of tempura batters. The orange liqueur sauce was the most vitalizing factor of the dish which came in diced orange pieces. The citrus tanginess being flavorful, however strongly suggested to me that this is just an upmarket variant fried lemon chicken. I'm not saying that it is, however parallels can obviously be drawn if you strip away the almond slices and replace tasty orange sauce.

cashew nut paste with peanut tang yuan

This is pretty good. The portions are pretty damn small too. It is definitely not the best cashew paste I've had. I'm quite sure the ones that cost 2 dollars or less in Chinatown taste as good if not better and comes in larger portions than this.

chilled black glutinous rice with soursop ice cream

I'm not sure if this is experimental in nature, however the combination is actually not bad. Whom would have thought, black glutinous rice and soursop ice cream.

some lotus paste pastry

This is probably one of the worse desserts I've had. Apart from the light pastry, there's no appeal to this for me at all as a dessert.

Granted that there's probably a whole lot more options from the menu which I haven't eaten. I'm sure a mark of a good chinese restaurant does not have to stem from sharks fin, expensive fishes and abalone. This first visit definitely left me with little desire to patronize again. I'm not saying that's definite, but I could just give it another chance and try something else completely different from the menu. For now, this was one unanimous agreement at the table on a mediocre dining experience. And shame on that.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Mini pork burgers @ home

Home made meat in bread again. Again, the meat is bought minced. This pork patties are done with minimal seasoning. Just salt actually. I'm wondering if there are differences in how pork and beef patties are prepared. The bread are actually Gardenia butter rolls. So you get the idea of the sizes of these little burgers. The butter rolls are great because of their buttery flavor and they are lightly toasted with jam inside. A piece of lettuce and a slice of tomato in each. And little pigs little pigs let me in.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Harry's Mexican Restaurant and Bar, Orchard Hotel

This place used to be Chicos & Charlies. I remember them from about 18 years or so ago which was the very first time I had Mexican food and magaritas. Since I hadn't had real Mexican food before and haven't had them locally in a really long time, I have no basis for comparisons beyond the fact that I think is place is very pricey for their food. I'll probably try out someplace like Cha Cha Cha for more of these stuff.

nacho mamasita

carne asada

grilled prawn fatijah

The food wasn't lousy, just isn't outstanding. The prawns are honestly, small. And the freshness of the wraps isn't top notch neither. And to be truthful, I tend to be a little prejudiced against food from Harry's anything. Because this place like Marrakesh, while greets with a very pleasant veneer which doesn't truly leave you true statisfaction. With a jug of margarita, the total bill was about $140. I think it's gotta be mexican't for this.