Sunday, July 29, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Muse Bar, at the National Museum is definitely a place that I would never think about visiting if not for the article. The reasons are almost blatantly obvious. The place is also not atypical of somewhere I would hang out and to my pleasant surprise, the offerings in the tapas menu turned out pretty decent. I certainly hope these places mark the beginning of an era better snacks in local drinking places. The mini prawn laksa burritos turned out pretty good. I meant, there was really identifiable laksa flavor in the fried rolls. That flavor is definitely not the most robust of its kind, but was however definitive of laksa and definitely asian. In the burrito along with real prawns and quail eggs. I think I can actually eat loads of this stuff.
Following which I decided that the duo of mini burgers just had to make their way down my gullet along with curried chicken wings. I might have gotten a little too carried away by my hopes of a thick patty even in a mini burger. But it sure as hell didn't look like what I saw from the mentioning above. Still I have to concede that quite decent for a tiny burger and if you like the patty dripping with juices, this is definitely one of them. The curried chicken wings had an unexpectedly soft and damp batter surface, but commendable seasoning which made it moderately spicy and salty at the same time. If anything is good for drinks, these probably are. I really need to get this out, the mojitos here are really bad. I mean, it's so damn lime-y with no mint and little hint of rum bad.
Wild Oats (emily hill, 11 upper wilkie road, next door to Wild Rocket) in comparison was what I felt to be a much better spot to chill with friends than Muse is. The availability of more outdoor seats was probably the factor on a cool evening and the drink selection didn't look as dull. The ambience is ultimately much more appealing to me and when I say chill, I meant non-intrusive music. This place scores well enough with this factor that I will probably re-visit, but tonight, it's really just bar food. And a couple of drinks. Before I forget, I just need to mention that the Hoegaarden that I had here is probably the most chilled glass of the beer I've ever had. It's "it beats Ice Cold Beer" good and the glass wasn't even frosted to boot. Simply awesome but rather pricey at $12 for the half pint. And I'm genuinely curious how it was done to that effect
The parmesan wings served in this place features gorgonzola sauce and chicken rice chilli sauce. Honestly, the gorgonzola sauce is far too weak. The taste barely registered and that really says something for cheese like that. It's something I probably wouldn't bother with again. The chilli however does pack a noticeable kick which was definitely a nice surprise. That is something I could get again when I come back. Feta cheese, tofu and spinach wanton does sound very intrigueing, but again, Wild Oats slips up in the cheese factor. I can't imagine not being able to taste feta cheese in a wanton that is suppose to contain them; and the other other fillings were tofu and spinach. The surprising factor about this item is that the very prominent flavor here is actually tofu which was really much stronger than I've had anywhere. And it was almost a reminder of a fried ravioli. Lol.
This place features a pear cider which I tried. It was unfortunately very common tasting and unidentifiable of the fruit it was made of. I'll be back for the hot bitches the next time!
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Monday, July 23, 2007
Also, the bulgogis are difficult to differentiate. Each one that I've had taste very similarly to one another and really, is that all there is to them. One can only have them for so often before you get weary of the taste and even though the ones here are noticeably better than what you can get from supposed Korean food stalls in the food courts, there doesn't seem to be much identifying factor to them apart from the fact that they are prepared better. What I found defining for Hansang is that, they do a very good beef rib soup, something which I've never really had before elsewhere. Despite its plain and uninteresting appearance, the soup comes flavorsome of the beef and having meat that slides off the bone easy is always a plus point for me. This comes recommended if you ever visit. The other definition for this restaurant comes from the rice which are steamed with some root vegetables. There was a slice of carrot, some sweet potato, a piece of pumpkin and interestingly a date served with the rice that stays piping hot up to the last mouthful.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Notably, a few items won my taste buds over. The claypot sea cucumber with roasted pork features very good chewy sea cumbers and firm roasted meat braised in the gravy. There is an interesting apple pork rib soup that which is boiled with real apple wedges. You can also tell that the soup has gone through a lengthy boiling process with the pork by the taste of the soup and how easily the meat slides off the bone. The soup didn't really taste of apples but was otherwise of a sweetness that adds a lightness to the taste. Very nice stuff, considering that I'm usually not a fan of most Chinese soups. Another rather tasty item from the menu are the paper wrapped chicken which are essentially chicken thigh meat marinated in some Chinese cooking wine before they are wrapped in some oiled paper to be cooked. The flesh of the chicken is quite excellent with the juices preserved in each paper package and the scent of the cooking wine very noticeable in each bite. The big plus for me on this dish is, no bones in the meat! This is something I could come back for again despite the rather out of the way location. If it helps, this restaurant is less than half a minute's drive from the Centre for Animal Welfare and Control Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority. That means, really close.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
This was something that I thought was quite enjoyable, served piping hot. It's essentially pappardelle with scallops and prawns that's served in a rich creamy saffron sauce. I'm quite pleasantly surprised that the prawns weren't tiny shrimps and that they were quite the crunchy ones. Scallops came whole with their 'wings'. This was probably the most interesting pasta option on the menu.
I've never been really a fan of lasagna and truly, this isn't bad. It's just me being not very into tomato sauce. From the menu's description of having two cheeses, I was hoping that it would up the cheese factor of the lasagna by a notch. It was unfortunately not the case and turns out to be very typical of its kind.
And this would be the rum infused Black Forest Cake ($9 a slice) which I had mentioned earlier. Truly, this is a delicious chocolate cake. For chocolate cake lovers, this is probably a dessert you shouldn't pass on. This is the good stuff with dense & rich chocolate cream and chocolate shavings over the top and it's really harder to get it any more chocolate-ty without changing the type of chocolates that is being used. That was also a lot of chocolate in the last sentence so I hope I got the point across. I really don't have complains on this if not for the fact that I had honestly expected more of the rum than just a bare hint of flavor. It wasn't really what I had in mind for a Black Forest Cake, but hey, I've not much to complain here.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Lunch day 1
This is looks really local in style, name aside. The presentation speaks little of elegance. It turns out to be pretty tasty and pricey at $15 a serving. What you get is unagi and avocado in rice topped with strips of salmon, blanketed some cheesy mayo like mixture followed with ebi roe. The whole is then torched for the char effect. Simple, fairly unimaginative, but tasty.
I was recommended this by the waitress and it turns out to be clams in a miso based soup. It's not too bad in the cold weather actually. There's quite a bit of clams hidden at the bottom. The only minor gripe is that the miso flavor didn't quite come out as rich as I hoped. There's an option to have ramen/soba in them for a top up of additional $2.
I was a little taken aback when I saw the chicken liver for the first time from the color and some dripping blood. This is also the first time I am ordering these from a Japanese grill and to my surprise, this is more like foie gras, being soft and creamy than the usual chinese styled cooked chicken livers. Nope, do not expect melt in your mouth, it's only $2 a stick. It's actually also not too bad despite it's slightly gruesome appearances.
You must be wondering if this is good. I'm just wondering if it was duck or goose. At $8 a stick, this is more expensive than Kazu, and I can only say that it's definitely better there than here. An Israeli colleague of mine also happens to be having them for the first time in his life. I think he's found himself a new sin. The crisp on the surface from the foie gras here was a tad lacking and the still creamy insides didn't disintegrate as smoothly as I hoped, but what the hell.
Lunch Day 2
The menu describes this as white tuna and the meat comes lightly flavored with a hint of soy sauce. The consistency of the meat is quite firm and on the whole, not bad. The chill factor does need a bit of work though. Does anyone have any idea what's the difference of this from the regular tuna?
This soba shio isn't too large a piece and despite the grill, somehow retains quite a lot of juice in the meat. The greens on the side are topped with a citrus and sesame based sauce which is quite appetizing. On the whole, quite decent, but not remarkable.
This is actually disappointing. Not that I expect top notch sobas to be had here, but the noodles are seriously, limp. Also it neither the soba nor the dripping sauce comes sufficiently chilled. Do not order this if you like soba.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
maguro tataki salad
This tuna salad here is pretty good. The slices of meat are seared along the edges and are served with some greens and then topped with some citrus sauce mixed with Dijon mustard I think. I found this very enjoyable.
unagi fried rice
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
On the side is a pretty interesting mashed potato which contains bits of stuff which I couldn't really point out. I was thinking along the lines of really fine shredded carrots or sweet potato, but the proprietor mentioned pumpkin and other vegetables when I asked about what went into the mash.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
'To me, it doesn't matter if it is fusion so long as the taste is there,' says Ho. One of the dishes he served at Le Papillon was a laksa cappuccino served with crabmeat salad, but he took it off the menu after some comments from diners about 'why should I pay top dollar for something I can get at a hawker centre'.
He adds that while some do appreciate the flavours, most don't. However, when he did a cooking promotion overseas and served the laksa cappuccino, it was a great hit.
He reckons that Singaporeans are generally biased towards chefs cooking Western food with local flavours. 'If fusion is done by a Western chef, people go 'wow'. But when a Chinese guy does it, they don't like it. I'm sorry, but that's a fact.'
For example, he referred to Saint Pierre's Emmanuel Stroobant who created an entire molecular gastronomy menu in April for the World Gourmet Summit based on local hawker food. His deconstructed versions of kaya toast, nasi lemak and chicken rice won raves. 'But if I do that at my restaurant, do you think people would come?' asks Ho.
Ooo....now we're pointing fingers.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Apart from the black squid which was suppose to be an outlet specialty not available elsewhere, the other items were pretty much very standard offerings of Indian cuisine which we had. The feel is that, the food here generally didn't generate the same amount of satisfaction level as the outlet at Suntec. My personal note on it amounts to some minor criticism. I think the fish head had to little meat for a large portion and the briyani lacks the fragrance which I was expecting. It was almost like having just plain basmati rice which probably might have been a better idea in this case. There's really nothing to the black squid that makes it outstanding even though it didn't taste too bad. And this time round, the palek paneer didn't have any noteable fragrance in the fried cheese which I was looking out for since I remember having that from Suntec. I'll probaby stick to the latter location the next time round. Seriously, I think little things like this count and this looks to me like compromises in cooking standards or just plain negligence.