Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Lunch @ Garibaldi

Lunch with fatpig. I'm actually quite enamored with Garibaldi. The restaurant seems to have a certain charm or class which I don't quite sense elsewhere. The service is attentive and the ambience of the place while not mind blowing, can be pleasantly peaceful for a romantic dinner or warm for a gathering of friends...depending on when you turn up. Of course, this could all just be just an idiosyncrasy of mine.

Garibaldi does a 3 course lunch plus coffee at $29++ from 12pm to 2.30pm which I think is pretty good deal when other spots in town are having theirs for ten or twenty dollars more. The lunch menu is changed every Thursday and options are available for starters and mains.

Today, mine was a Vitello Tonnato (thinly sliced and cooked veal in tuna sauce and capers), followed by a penne al salmone spinaci e crema di zafferano (penne with salmon and spinach in saffron cream) and a dessert of hazelnut chocolate and pistachio gelato.

Vitello Tonnato


"Blue Steel"

penne al salmone spinaci e crema di zafferano
hazelnut chocolate and pistachio gelato

The Vitello Tonnato is something that really got my saliva flowing, I meant, it's the tuna sauce. That sauce was actually applied in moderation and you could taste the veal. In comparison, the one which I had a Papi was totally smothered you couldn't really taste anything else apart from the tuna.

The penne came with hot saffron cream sauce which was quite delicious. Some of those sauce actually bursted out as I bit into the pasta

Monday, January 29, 2007

Chin Chin Eating House, 19 Purvis Street

Located close to the Beach Road end of Purvis Street (across the road from Yet Con), this old styled coffee shop does Hainanese cuisine as well as chicken rice (both roasted chicken and steamed variety). I'm not sure if they're known for their chicken rice here or not since there is a bunch of stores selling them at around the area and in the next lane at Liang Seah Street. This area between Bugis and Beach Road seems to be a little hub of chicken rice stalls. Competition it seems, is about and Chin Chin looks to be doing better than a next door, also purported Hainanese coffeshop that too sells chicken rice.

We landed ourselves a serving of chicken rice for two along with stir fried sliced fish in black bean sauce and Hainanese pork chop. Does anyone know what makes Hainanese pork chop distinctively Hainanese?

sliced fish in black bean sauce

Hainanese pork chop

I guess the chicken rice here was pretty regular. It doesn't quite shine in any aspect. The rice wasn't fluffy and too felt a little dry. I wouldn't call it bad, just unremarkable. Still it seemed to be the popular choice. The sliced fish in black bean sauce disappointed with the sauce. There wasn't enough of the black bean flavour around, however the portions of the fish for a small size serving were generous and tasted fairly fresh.

The pork chops here shone noticeably in comparison with the other dishes. These fried pieces of pork were not overly thinly in sliced. Well, maybe it's not as good as freshly made ones, but it's not much worse off either. The total cost of for the dinner plus two lime juices come to $22.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Queen's Tandoor, Robertson Quay

I'm not sure if I got the name of the place right, so if anyone knows better, please let me know. This was apparently a new Indian joint down in the courtyard of Robertson Walk. The menu of the restaurant separates into Indian and Fusion; the latter comprises of food that looked Chinese, Indonesian and Japanese. I didn't note anything particularly Japanese about the menu, and the rest of the fusion portion looked pretty much like Peranakan food. Opting for the Indian menu was a no brainer and despite it looking quite run of the mill, it turned out pretty good. One thing I've gotta complain though was that the papadums were soft. They've been hanging around for pretty long. Their mint yoghurt dip also had way much to much of coriander and you probably know already what I think about them.

This place does very nice fish and lamb (in flavourful creamy curry sauces that probably rings cholesterol bells). There was also an exceptional palek paneer which was lighter than usual and had a more buttery taste. The cheese naan were also delicious and were freshly made.

fish makhanwala

Mutton handi (claypot masala mutton)

palek paneer

cheese naan

I had my suspicions about the mutton handi being cooked in clay pots as opposed to being just served in a clay pot. It was still on the whole, enjoyable. The fish makhanwala were chunks of firm white fish(I don't know what kind) in a creamy and spicy sauce. Very satisfyingly warm when served. Dinner for two was a little below $60, which I think was a little pricey.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Magma, Bukit Pasoh

My initial skepticism of this place is totally dispelled from this dinner. Magma is located at 2 Bukit Pasoh.

Atypical of German places (I guess), the menu at Magma is laden with a lot of options for meats, sausages, wine and beer. This shop-house restaurant houses a partial open concept kitchen without any glass walls so some the smoke crept into the rest of the room. It fortunately didn't look like the place has any problem with ventilation. Being a partially open concept kitchen, we observed that not all of the food was prepared in the main kitchen and we knew because we were seated right beside it.

Sausage platter

A regular plate of mixed sausages which was on the whole pretty good in the manner of sausages. I wasn't really able to identify specifics, but they were generally juicy and some were spicy as well. Liked the coarse ones.

German pizza (Flammkuchen) with smoked pork loin, garlic sauerkraut

What I liked about the German pizzas at Magma was that, instead of having a regular tomato based sauce, the bread was topped with cream cheese (woohoo!). They also come with a nice garlic flavor (woohoo again!) and bits of fragrant smoked pork loin that were lightly charred. The pizza actually looked like a sort of giant naan and the crust wasn't as thin as the Italian types. With the addition of sauerkraut, the pizza had a savoury and sourish flavour. It got thumbs up from me because there was cream cheese.

A mixed platter of supposedly pork specialties (Gemischte Schlachtplatte) , but I detected chicken and beef

This is pretty much a meat lover's dream. Big platter filled with thick slices meats, various sausages, a small pork knuckle and dumplings (German dumplings which look like meatloaves, not the wantons things). One of the sausages from this mixed platter was the boiled variety, giving it a softer and squishier texture. The heap of meat sat on potato salad, sauerkraut, mashed green peas (which were not bad actually) and cabbages braised in red wine. And the serving was meant for 3.

Hands with forks and knives get busy in the process...

Magma has a selection of interesting desserts. Maybe it's because I haven't eaten at too many German places. We did manage a toasted cheese dessert in cranberry sauce, chocolate mousses and a Gebackene Apfelscheiben mit Zimthonig (a tongue twister for baked apple slices in puff pastry with honey and powdered cinnamon).

Gebackene Apfelscheiben mit Zimthonig

a quaint cheese dessert with gooseberries and doesn't really taste of cheese at all

An interesting and not so regular chocolate mousse

The chocolate mousse was different because the white portion was made with jalapeno giving it a prickly spiciness. It was akin to eating wasabi ice cream. I'm not generally a mousse person so I haven't really paid too much attention to the dessert. It did come with a rather nice almond-y marzipan sauce. It was nice because I liked it and I generally, dislike marzipan.

From first impressions, Magma seemed to be pretty good. The food portions were pretty generous but leant towards being salty. On the top of that, we had very polite and prompt service from the staff that actually knew about what they're serving you. I think I'll come back another time.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Garibaldi, Purvis Street

Last time I was here, I mentioned desserts was a good start. So now I'm finally here for dinner. I think I was almost expecting to be wow-ed (as in totally blown away) by the food here after things that everyone had been saying about the place to me. But caught myself at the end asking how good could it get? Well, on hindsight I thought it was pretty good. This place is definitely worth a visit both for the food and for dates you want to take out to a nice place.

Garibaldi Italian Restaurant and Bar is located at 36 Purvis St. Purvis Street runs perpendicular along North Bridge Road just across from the current National Library near City Hall. The entrance of the restaurant is fronted by wooden framed glass sliding doors and an innocuous looking gentleman at the front who is the parking valet. The doorway leads directly into a little bar which also serves as a waiting area for people that are yet to be seated. Reservations are probably a must. Bar opens up on the left to the main dining area, and to the front, a private dining room.

This dinner  was not exactly the regular options for the most people. Meaning, the items weren't chosen off the menu. So it all started with this really nice toasted cheese foccacia with olive oil and followed by the best egg I've ever had. Seriously. And the most expensive too. I kid you not.

I do not know what was the name of this starter. Soft boiled eggs with white truffle shavings. I think there might have been some cheese inside too. "Best" is a term I usually reserve for something without the shadow of a doubt and that takes a lot of conviction to use. Lol. The could have been the best bloody egg I've ever had. Seriously, it must have been fungi magic involved here. And I'm at a loss as to how to describe the taste. You'll have to eat this to know how it tasted like and I was told by Roberto that after eating this, I will remember the flavour until the truffle season next year to come back for them again.

If I didn't recall wrongly, the general sequence for a traditional Italian dinner starts with pasta before the meats. Tonight they arrived together. A spaghetti pomodoro and a pan fried quail with mushrooms and foie gras.

The spaghetti was nicely done. That meant something as I don't usually like them in tomato based sauces. The quail on the other hand was a bit of a disappointment. Disappointment here meant it tasted like chicken chop. Lol. I'm positive that it's better prepared than a regular chicken chop and having foie gras with balsamic vinegar ups the ante. Still it reminds me of a well done chicken chop. The foie gras was a tad over cooked, but I'm not complaining since the other things on the plate were just chicken and button mushrooms.

I love that egg.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

More....salad dinner @ home

This is slightly different from the previous. The only greens are the butterhead and zucchini. There is an addition of grated mozarella cheese the ring like things are some salmon fish cakes. There's no more ham or pineapple in this too.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Pineapple rice with chicken leg

There is a Delights Corner just beside the entrance to Carrefour at Suntec. At the section selling barbecued items, you can get this pretty good pineapple rice with a barbecued chicken thigh. Well, the rice is actually a little bland, but they do not make large portions and fresh batches of them are fried as needed. In the queue, chances of getting freshly fried rice is pretty good. Apart from it being a little greasy, this was quite tasty. There was also option for the type of chicken thighs between black pepper and honey. It's packed into a microwaveable paper box with a small side of ah zhar (sourish spicy picked vegetables) for $3.50.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Salad dinner @ home

Here're some looks at home made salad I had for dinner. Quite easily done. The main ingredients are regular, red and butterhead lettuce, tomatoes (sliced), pineapple (fresh ones, chopped), ham (sliced) and chicken (from Cold Storage, deboned and shredded). The only condiments in the mix are lemon juice and some Japanese sesame salad oil. Which is good enough for flavoring.