Monday, December 31, 2007

Some random home made hotdog


Looks and tastes much better than the hot bitches! These are pork sausages encased in butter toasted hot dog buns topped with mustard, jarred relish and yellow onions sauteed in butter. Everything can be pretty much bought off supermarkets and assembled except for the onions which have to be diced and fried.

Greenwood Fish Market & Bistro, 34 Greenwood Ave


I found this shop to be a rather pleasant place nestled in the folds of homes along Hillcrest just off Bukit Timah road. Which also meant that the shophouses it is located at isn't visible at all from the main road. Greenwood Fish Market is really, a tiny fish market with a dining dining room built into the back of the stall which sells fresh seafood. Right at the front of the fish shop, is a small al fresco area which sits approximately 15 persons. Presumably, the seafood that the restaurant serves are the same seafood that is sold at the stall front and the menu has a surprising variety for a small place. There were a variety of fishes like yellowfin tuna, barramunda, cod, halibut and a bunch of others which I don't remember. Most of them could be cooked to order based on availability.


The food here was interesting, if not so mundane in execution. What I meant was that while not exotic, it was served in a not so commonly seen (you could say boring) manner. The foie gras and sea scallop ($24.95) were on top of a bread pudding soaked in a port and fig reduction. It came with a small bunch of vine ripen cherry tomatoes and a piece of grilled pineapple on the side. Well, I'm not sure about how this is suppose to be interpreted, but I did enjoy both scallops and foie gras. There's nothing exceptional here, both the liver and the shellfish come as I had expected, so this is actually not bad. It's my first time having them on bread pudding though.


The escargots ($14.95 for half dozen) here weren't drench in garlic butter or olive oil or any of that oil and garlic combinations. It was actually served in what the menu describes as a 'patty case' which was in reality a kueh pie tee shell. So we got here were snails in a kueh pie tee shell blanketed over with a bechamel sauce and topped with a very fine garlic paste and then dizzled with some balsamic vinegar. I thought this wasn't too bad, just unexpected because I had expected escargots to be just served plain. I was initially wondering if something was wrong with the snails to be so covered up in sauces and condiments, but after having the first, I realised that the meat doesn't taste as drenched in the other flavours as I had thought they might have. They were actually fine.


The crab meat vongole was pretty decent. This coming from someone who's usually wary of vongole because of either the miserable portions or lousy quality of clams that are used very often. Or both. This plate from Greenwood was actually vongole that's topped with shredded crab meat. What's more, the spaghetti was al dente. I think I would like liked it better if the crab meat weren't so shredded. This shredded state reminded me of leftovers from other crab dishes, but I'm not complaining. I was just stating a suggestion that might by chance be enacted upon. Lol. The clams here weren't too bad and it was good to know that this plate wasn't propped up with just shells. I don't know why,  I was envisioning a plate filled with crab shells when I ordered this pasta.

I have a feeling that I'll be back another time. I ought to check out their fish and chips.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Obento lunch at Nanbantei


Previously I have had a similar yakitori obento lunch set from Kushigin. Now that I'm having it at Nanbantei (Far East Plaza #05-132, 14 Scotts Road, S228213), I realised that they are exactly the same thing and cost the same amount. A $12.50 bento box with 5 sticks of grills, pickles, rice topped with minced chicken, sauteed mushrooms and seaweed. The difference between the two bento boxes are probably just the rice that is being used and as I recall, the former didn't use the short grained Japanese rice. Otherwise, lunch at both places (same management if you didn't know) are pretty much the same deal. Now I'm not too sure why I was expecting any differences at all.

Friday, December 28, 2007

A second take at Prego


The last time I visited this place was also my first time having dinner here with an ossobuco wanna be on a very cheesy saffron risotto. This time round, it's pasta for the dinner since Prego is Italian and I thought it might be interesting to see what they have up their sleeves. Apparently, there was just a very recent change in the menu.

One of the things I liked about Prego was their nice wheel of complimentary bread that they served. It has always been the same bread that Prego has been putting on the table ever since I could recall. 

bread

calamari fritti

These calamari from Prego are probably the most expensive ones I've ever had. For $28, it was certainly quite unremarkable with an almost tasteless batter. The saving graces of the starter came from the squid that I thought had a enjoyable bite and the "spicy tartare dressing" which really livens up the fried squid. I didn't think they were worth how much was charged.

spinach gnocchi stuffed with prawn topped with minced crab meat on a crustacean bisque

The gnocchi's here tasted Asian. Maybe it's just me, but it had consistency like Chinese yam cakes and the pasta did look slip shod. Those gnocchi looked like it had meat rolled into them in tubes before they were cut. There weren't scored after they were cut. I was reminded of the fallopian tubes from kuey chup stores since these essentially appeared like short stuffed tubes. The taste of the crustacean bisque reminded me spicy dried shrimps (hay bee!). The minced crab meat definitely didn't taste sweet like fresh ones. Even for pasta made in house, these were the most un-gnocchi like gnocchi I've ever had. We were not impressed.

pappardelle della befana
saffron pappardelle tossed with sauteed pancetta and eggplant aglio with provolone piccante cheese

The pappardelle was the better of the two pastas that we picked. This one was actually something that was from the festive selections on their menu. Didn't know what was so festive about it. In fact, the kitchen could come up with something like this anytime for a change of menu, but let us not venture further in that matter. There was just the barest hint of saffron in the pappardelle and most of the rest of the flavour came from the tangy tomato based sauce and the piccante cheese which I have just found out is a variant of gorgonzola.

Zucotto

To demystify, this was just a Kahlua flavored ice cream with a cookie crumble shell. It was actually not too bad.

I don't think I'll be returning for at least for a long while.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

La Petite Cuisine, Serene Centre

Le Petit Cuisine (#01-05 Serene Centre, 10 Jalan Serene) has been on and off my radar for a while now. The place is known to do a bistro styled French cuisine with no frills and an affordable price. Truly, the place is not fancy at all at the slightest. The food's rather simple with no fancy embellishments and if you're expecting ambience that accompanies the usual imagery of dining in a French place, you can burst that bubble. There is none of that there. Think plastic table sheets, laminated card menus and cash only payment. This is about affordable French food which would probably make a good introduction to anyone who is curious about what one can expect of bistro styled dining.

foie gras panfried with orange confit and salad ($15)

For a $15 foie gras, I cannot complain much. But if I had to say it, I would have liked a more crispy surface. These ones here aren't really well caramelised. The insides do literally dissolve in your mouth and for the price here, is definitely a better deal than a pseudo fancy rendition that features a bigger price tag and noticeably smaller portions. The one gripe that I had with the foie gras was that the supposed orange confit tasted a lot like a Worcester sauce reduction.

ravioli of prawn and foie gras in lemon creme ($12)

Honestly, this ravioli would have better scores if the skin was better made. That's because, in each one of them comes a single shrimp and an identifiable big enough piece of foie gras and the accompanying lemon creme sauce was actually pretty decent. Instead of stuffed squares of pasta, these were shaped much like wanton or other Chinese styled dumplings. There were only three pieces.

confit de canard with gratin ($14)

I've don't have much complains about the confit de canard apart from really small portions. It's might not be the best out there but it's a decent rendition  served with a tasty gratinated potatoes on the side.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Of fast food, chilli fries and Carl's Jr


Just wondering out loud if there is another place that does and equivalent or better chilli fries than Carl's Jr. The ones from KFC aren't really to my liking. I understand that Botak Jones does something similar, but I'm pretty much against the over fried crinkle cut fries which really makes them no fun to eat and it makes me feel that I'm killing myself with something that doesn't taste as good. Though I'm essentially not big at all on fast food, these usually chained outlets are definitely ubiquitous enough to the point that they are probably on most people's consideration list when one does not have time to spare and really need a quick meal. And apart from this place that still serves the best (and most expensive) fast food burgers since they've opened up here, there doesn't seem to be any better player in the horizon. The portabello burger definitely beats the mushroom swiss at BK. Speaking of burgers in this place, the chilli cheese burger could definitely do with more sauces. The mix is pretty decent, it's the quantity that could improve. That being said, it'll probably make eating them a messier affair.

So, good chilli fries anywhere anyone?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Teh Tarik ice cream from Island Creamery


I've just dropped by Island Creamery (Serene Centre, 10 Jln Serene #01-05) recently and tried a couple of their flavors. The teh tarik ice cream is pretty good that I bought 2 tubs home. I thought it wasn't excessively sweet and certainly had enough of the tea flavor to be enjoyable.

If you happen to be the owner and reading this, your Tiger Sorbet was mildly interesting too. However, the tigeresses that you employ behave as if they were loaded with PMS and really need a dosage of discipline. Selling nice ice cream is certainly no excuse for bad attitude and obvious display of lackadasical behavior. I'm talking about one particular lady who informed me that the dry ice packing that could keep the ice cream cold for an hour and a half while another that did the actual packing said 45 minutes and insisted that she was correct about the duration. I had to ask the first other lady again to confirm and both of them looked like they weren't in agreement. Seriously, I needed the ice and what's with not wanting to ask and not providing ice and still arguing with the customer about the duration of the cold packing?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Marché, VivoCity


It's been quite some time since I've walked into Marché. I had actually thought that they had departed the local food scene with Vila'ge being more visible in town but apparently, they still are around in Vivocity (VivoCity, 1 Harbourfront Walk, #03-14). Things apparently have changed a little on the menu. The old favorites like the rosti and the savory crepes are apparently still around. The food doesn't seem to be as tasty as I remember them to be except for the greasy rosti with their greasy sausages. The banana crepe had rubbery skin thicker than prata and for something that comes from a hot pan, the bananas actually arrived cold. Wtf?! The pasta drenched in some weak cream sauce is apparently not to my liking if you can realise from the picture that it's smothered in cheese flakes and chilli powder.

The pleasant surprise is that Marché actually has König Ludwig at rather inexpensive pint which I found was a rather good substitute for Hoegaarden during the shortage period some months back where everywhere was serving them with extra thick foam with some other places charging more while at that. But that's for another day.

rosti with garlic sausage

pan fried mushrooms and potatoes

creamy mushroom soup

some curly carrot pasta

banana crepe with maple walnut ice cream

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Festive lunch from Il Lido


Il Lido (Sentosa Golf Club, Bukit Manis Road) is up again this year end with a festive menu for Christmas. Apparently, this festive menu has been ongoing since the 5th of November and will continue until the 28th December before the switch into the New Year Menu. I haven't had the opportunity to visit before so we decided to try the 4 course festive lunch ($58 before tax) just to go with that festive mood. The restaurant is located at the not so accessible spot in the golf club at Sentosa. Which can be a hassle if one is not driving. On the other hand, it was a pleasant place with a rather scenic view of the sea looking past the blistering sun or the sweltering humidity or both. I wisely requested for an indoor seat near the al fresco area to get both the air conditioning and most of the view which was far from the stunning portrait that it is often imagined to be.

complimentary bread crisps

These dry bread crisps are surprisingly quite enjoyable to munch. They were served in a coral patterned metal bowl which I've noticed have turned up in photos everywhere. The crisps were lightly flavoured with a hint of olive oil and bits of garlic. A fresh bowl was brought out just as we were a third done with the first. I'm not complaining though.

insalata di granseola con avocado e salsa di agrumi siciliani
blue swimmer crab salad with avocado and sicilian citrus sauce

These crab salads felt overdone, but there wasn't anything else I could choose. Does the minced crab salad with avocado and orange slices look familiar to anyone? I didn't think that these things would be the "caesar's salad" of starters in restaurants everywhere. I thought this felt quite uninspiring. Light flaky crab meat over creamy avocado that was abruptly interrupted by a boring diced local tomatos. I don't know what went into the sicilian citrus sauce, but I was glad it did contain enough of the citrus.

tagliolini con fegato d'oca e pere al marsala
homemade tagliolini pasta with goose liver, pears and marsala wine sauce

This was the most enjoyable course for me. It wasn't a very fanciful plate of pasta. What was like-able about it included the poached pears which was not overdone. The diced pears had both a light residual crunch and the soft texture of cooked fruit. The complement flavours between the goose liver and the pears was enjoyable. Pasta was al dente. I haven't figured out the marsala wine sauce which was well flavoured without being overbearing. Now if only the portions were bigger...

involtino di tacchino farcito al tartufo con puree di mele e castagne
roasted turkey stuffed with pancetta and truffle, apple and chestnut puree

Tiny pieces of turkey breasts that Il Lido serves. The mixed stuffings tasted mostly of the pancetta. The rest flavours were mashed up and lost. Credit though goes to the meat for retaining a measure of succulence and a rather delectable flavour on the surface. All in all, quite enjoyable.

merluzzo nero con porcini, crema di patate e salsa al vino rosso
chilean seabass with porcini mushroom, potato cream and red wine sauce

What was remarkable about this chilean seabass were actually the char grilled mushrooms on the side. Nothing so much about fish here. This was certainly one of the more delicious enjoyable grilled mushrooms that I've had. I thought the creamy potato bed was rather good as well, light in flavour and texture. As for the chilean seabass, it's just a chilean seabass. Fresh enough, firm and soft but otherwise a very regular small piece of fish. The red wine sauce was mostly aesthetics since it didn't contribute much in the way of flavour for that small drizzle.

sorpresa natalizia
traditional italian festive pudding

I'm not sure how far this tradition goes back for the making of festive pudding or if tradition has changed for puddings over the years for the Italians. It certainly did look quite contemporary for a traditional pudding. This was a heavy layered mousse clad in a super thin chocolate shell and dusted with a very fine chocolate powder topped with a meringue. According to the server, the three different layers of the insides were chocolate, coffee and vanilla. I thought I had tasted mascarpone in there. There were some bits of candied chestnuts on the side with a golden brown drizzle which was distinctively bitter-ish sweet which that the server insisted was just honey. Hmmm......

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Chew on this!


I took a plunge and decided to check out a couple of the gimmicky sounding desserts from Ah Chew in this re-revisit. As I had suspected, they were no big deals. The green bean soup with seaweed tasted nothing of seaweed. I was actually disappointed since I was actually hoping to taste it in the soup.

There was a sign on the counter that mentioned their steamed milk egg with cookies which was not on the menu. The adventurous soul in me decided to order it and it turned out to be nothing more than a regular steamed egg dessert with a thin layer of cookie crumbs blanketed over the top. The crumbs didn't really enhance the steamed egg much IMNSHO. Seriously, I thought very little of it. To reiterate, gimmick!

Lai Lai again!



Not that I'm too surprised with myself for heading back to this place for late evening grub again since the last visit left us with a rather favourable impression of their food. This time round, we ordered almost exactly the same. The tasty lu rou fan, braised intestines and their signature beef noodles. In this second run in with their lu rou fan, I managed to eat them slowly enough to notice that the gravy contained minced pork apart from the braised pork belly. We also noticed that there is a store by the name of Taiwan Delights along Bugis next to the entrance of Liang Seah Street that is doing similar food. I'll probably check them out when I'm next in the vicinity.

For the beef noodles, we opted for the potato noodle option which I remembered seeing from the last time. Those turned out to be akin to what I had thought to be glass noodles. These potato noodles are rather "Q" as they would describe, to coin from a Taiwanese term. Which really meant that they were springy in consistency. The texture was smooth and coupled with the chewy consistency, reminded me of eating that crab tang hoon in Geylang which I've had some months back. This made them very easy to slurp down the throat without even actually chewing them which I though was fun.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hyang To Gol Korean Restaurant, Amara Hotel


I was told that this place (Amara Singapore Hotel Level 2, 165 Tanjong Pagar Road) was pretty good by word of mouth from a friend who got it straight from a Korean guy. So my guess is that there must be a certain level of authenticity in the food here. That being said, I still feel that Korean food isn't so much my cup of tea as Japanese is even though I don't really mind them now and then. There's simply too much of a similar taste of spicy and sour here which makes many things a little difficult to distinct from one another. But I suppose it could also be the fact that my palate isn't quite as discerning for all things kimchee.

small array of condiments

spread shot

spread shot II

cold appetizer soup

Kimcheejeon

Here's the almost obligatory pancake. I'm not too sure of how good these are against the original things since I've only had them once in Togi, but the ones here were pretty good with a crispy exterior and hot soft insides. In fact, these pancakes are quite akin to Chinese carrot cakes in texture. The differences comes in the fillings of onions and chilli and that it's orange. You could think of them as a hybrid between Indian dough fritters and Chinese pan cakes in some strange manner.

vegetables for the grilled meat wrap

Saeng-Galbi (non marinated beef short ribs)

Yangnyeom-Galbi (marinated beef ribs)


The marinated meats here were pretty standard of how it is done in other Korean places. You get to choose the cuts and quantity over the menu and the meat is served and grilled in front of you by the servers. After which you can choose to eat them as they are or attempt to wrap them in lettuce with a salty sauce, slices raw garlic, grilled onion and raw green chilli. The cost of the meats can be quite pricey. In fact, the more expensive options cost more than some steaks Morton's. And the meats here didn't even look to be as nice as those I've had back in Aburiya. So really, do the wrap and enjoy the kick of the spices. I don't think they're that big here on the original flavor of the meat.

Gopchang-Jeongol (beef mixed innards with noodles in soup)

The gopchang-jeongol was something that I haven't seen elsewhere and was recommended. This dish was essentially a beef innards stew with intestines, tripe, tofu and some miscellaneous vegetables and noodles. I must admit to being surprised by the fact that the flavour of the beef was well in the broth and not drowned out by all the spiciness. This was definitely a reminiscence of a beef kuey chap.


Jajangmyeon

As you may gather from the Korean name jajangmyeon which sounds similar to the Chinese zha jiang mian, this noodle was basically very much the same. You get a bowl of noodle topped with thick sticky gravy that's filled with diced meat (probably pork) and vegetables. The main difference was that in zha jiang mian, there isn't vegetables in the gravy apart from shredded cucumbers. Also, instead of being savoury, this jajangmyeon's gravy was actually sweet. Coupled with the viscosity and a rather generous portion, these noodles became cloying after a bit. I suppose I much prefer the Chinese version to this anytime.

what do you think?!

ginger drink