Saturday, December 20, 2008

Fast breaking roundup

Well, this one is just a little about some fast food breakfast options that we have here. They've been around for years mostly and I haven't really paid attention to them until lately, when I had the sudden urge to.

I forgot what this is called actually, but it's one of those sourdough sandwiches with bacon, eggs and cheese in them and it's probably one of the better, if not best amongst the small realm of fast food breakfast sandwiches. The real bacon used help me decide that and cheese scores points with me. What's nice about the sourdough sandwiches from CJ is that it comes nicely buttered and the proof of that is in the taste. And those little wheels of hash brown nuggets are actually pretty addictive.

I remember that they used to have some bacon cheese burger that uses these sourdough bread slices in the past, but it's kinda unfortunate that it's no longer on the menu since I thought they were pretty good.

The bacon and eggs burritos were slightly disappointing in terms of size since I was fooled by the menu into thinking that they were thick rolls filled with creamy scrambled eggs and bacon and cheese. The burrito itself was skinner than I had thought though it didn't taste too bad. Though it was more of an omelete than scrambled eggs.

A breakfast croissant from BK that tastes really bready rather than what a croissant should be like. It was tasty largely because of the saltish ham, but this is something that I probably could make at home.

These are a couple of "big" breakfast sandwiches from Burger King. Of course, it would be just wishful thinking on my part to really expect them to be big because they are anything but. Again it was probably the generic salty sausage (tastier than McDs it seems there) patties that made them good to eat. I still dislike those fake bacon strips. What was clearly different were the hash brown nuggets here in comparison with CJ. These just didn't taste as good. Not even close.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Banana Leaf Apolo, Race Course Road

I really cannot recall if I've ever visited Banana Leaf (56 Race Course Road, tel : 6293 8682 / 6293 5054) in my life, but here I am at dinner with some friends who're back from Ozland and missing the taste of spicy local food. Honestly, there wasn't really much of a defining attribute to the taste of their supposedly signature curry fish head here in comparison to say another venue like Muthu's. So there really isn't much of a difference to be brought up. I also couldn't say that the fish head here was of the best tasting or freshest which I've had, but that being said, it wasn't all that bad neither. I have heard though from friends that have patronized this place in the older dinghy days when the quality of the curry fish head was said to be noticeably better. Unfortunately or fortunately, I don't have such memories to make these kind of comparisons. The premise does have an air of commercialism to me.

What I had in some minor enthusiasm, anticipated for comfort feeding in their rice and curried vegetables wasn't quite the thing I had in mind neither. The warm hearty rice was fine, but it sure took a long time to get refills and the vegetables on the side was subconsciously stacked against a much superior offerings from Komala Vilas. Perhaps their thali could present better options. The masala chicken's fine in the most casual sense of the word, but I don't really have anything else to say about it.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Buddy Hoagies, Bt Timah

I came upon this place (170 Upper Bukit Timah Road, #B1-05 Bukit Timah Shopping Centre, tel : 6466 1505) only quite recently and amongst the things to be had here, the sandwich was surprisingly, one of what I thought to be the better things that are offered here. The food was quite affordable, but the downside to the pricepoint here is that it wasn't really what I was looking for in terms of quality especially for their NY strip steak which despite looking like something from Astons, was quite a far cry from theirs. It was a letdown from the start, arriving very undercooked and had to be redone. The sauce on the side was also surprisingly, much better than I had though, tasting somewhat similar to what one can get at Hog's Breath.

Quite unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a nice picture of their mince beef and bacon sandwich, which was what I thought to be rather enjoyable without unnecessary sophistication. There was a good minced beef patty and real bacon amidst the greens, some cheap sliced cheese and mayo. Beats those fake strips of bacon at BK anytime anyday.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A key lime pie from CPK

This was really not what I had in mind after having that delicious one down at PS Cafe. California Pizza Kitchen's rendition turned out to be excessively sweet for me with a sugar rush in a bad way. Despite having a discernible flavor of the lime, the lack of the limey zest was quite obvious and the curd like fillings tasted rather milky. The crust in truth was simply pathetic. Overly sweet with the taste of honey, there wasn't anything crusty about it at all. In fact, the texture felt like a soggy muesli bar. I remember having had it years back and I recalled that it was rather enjoyable then, but something must have changed over here. It's either my taste, or a new recipe at work.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A hiyashi chuka from Ohsho

There has always been some kind of appeal at Ohsho and for me it's the fried rice. For others, it could be the old school charm of a tze char like environment. It seems that I've found sometihng else about them which I like. This cold noodle from Ohsho was actually pretty good. Not that I've noticed it on menu before which makes me wonder if this was an addition to the menu from not to far back. What was really enjoyable about this hiyashi chuka for me was the firm and springy noodles in that soy sauce that seemed to contain some kind of yuzu zest. The omelette strips on the side was actually still warm as it was fried and shredded as they did the noodles.

I wouldn't say that this can displace Ken's cold ramen anytime. The ingredients were a little different (e.g. ham strips here versus real strips of charshu at Ken, different style of eggs) but I think it's good enough as an alternative. There seems to be a sesame flavored version so I could just drop by another time for that. Something else that I could look forward too apart from their fried rice.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Four all beef special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions in a sesame seed bun

Well, it's really just an additional slice of the beef patty in each deck of the sandwich and though that I had suspected it was probably psychological, the patties felt thinner. So it's a four all beef special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions in a sesame seed bun now. The nice thing about the Mega Mac over my favourite bite from McD is that it has vegetables. I believe I'll still stick to ordering the latter for any fast food fix from this particular joint.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Five Star Hainanese Chicken Rice, Bt Timah

I had almost missed this place (6/7 Cheong Chin Nam Road, tel : 6466 3000) walking past despite knowing roughly where it was located since I had noticed it on numerous occasions previously. Five Star certainly didn't look like a very chicken rice place at all now that I've taken a much closer look with the plethora of other tze char items found on the menu.

I don't know if all that diversification is doing the place much of a good service for their core specialty since everything else looked pretty mundane and for a place that is supposedly famed for their chicken rice, it was definitely nothing outstanding in my books. Now I'm not saying that it's bad, but I don't suppose I would head out here again or even think about wanting to have chicken rice when I'm in the vicinity. The preserved vegetable with pork (mei chai kou rou) wasn't quite what I had hoped soaked in that mildly viscous gravy. Honestly, there are places that have diversified and done a much better job at the preservation of their core dish.

I'm surprised that no one has ever mentioned that their chilli sauce is seriously a tad too saltish.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Chellas ella ella, eh eh eh.....

It seems that my favourite spot for a nice cup of masala chai has gone noticeably upmarket with the prices of the tea going from $1.50 to $2.50. That's a whopping 66.6% increase in the cost and it seems that apart from having a different cup on serving, nothing much has changed with the tea. Man, this was some unexpected surprise after not turning up for a while. A new menu, new bits on the decor, and the place is still as crowded as ever. I may have to search for a new spot now for a similar nice cheap beverage. The only thing that I'm gonna miss if I stop visiting is the masala milk.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


So apparently, the local fast food joints of McD and Burger King are suddenly embroiled in some form of competition in an attempt to measure which has the larger e-peen in the form of their quad stacked patties in their burgers. Damn, didn't anyone notice how many 'in's I had used in the previous sentence? I was (being me) nonetheless intrigued despite somewhat knowing what to expect out of them and here's the supposedly ballsy option from BK which features 4 patties and their crappy turkey bacon slices. It didn't quite pack the satisfaction as the triple whopper did and it's probably because there wasn't any onions. Then again, the triple whopper didn't have so much cheese. They probably would have won McD hands down if they had used real bacon, but that aside, really, it's cheaper to just eat this. Doesn't take a lot of balls really.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ristorante de Parma, Kensington Park Road

This particular entry sure took quite a while to be completed due to other "pressing engagements" which I've had over the past fortnight. Heh. Anyways, this is a long overdue post on my visit to Ristorante de Parma (14B Kensington Park Road, Serangoon Garden Estate, tel : 6281 3380 / 6280 1096) down at Serangoon Gardens. One of the numerous outlets of Italian places secluded amidst some private housing estate which I've been hearing about and haven't quite made the effort to visit until now.

We started off lunch with some pomodori al forno and a mixed mushroom soup with pine nuts. Despite it's regular sounding name of the tomato starter, it contains bits of minced crab meat on the insides of the fruit and topped with a very token amount of mozzarella cheese. The portions of the crab could have benefitted with more generosity. Mushroom soup's creamy and comforting and was really quite decent. Appreciably, the pinenuts added an additional fragrance to the taste of the soup once you bit into them.

Truth to be said, I didn't personally find the selection for the mains here too exciting (in the realm of my humble opinion and taste naturally) and we managed to pick up the 4 cheese tagliatelle and pizza di menzo which turns out to be the most interesting items after scouring the menu a couple of times. I've to disclaim that I'm not actually griping over the sauces and having comparisons to be made, I did feel that the light sauce on the pasta, though flavorful of the gorgonzola didn't quite pack as much punch I had hoped. Your mileage may vary of course. Not much to say about the pizza except that it was decent, fairly meaty as well and certainly turned out noticeably better than the ones back in Finalmente Gastronomia.

Not that I was really expecting it, but the tiramisu was actually not bad despite the glaring lack of alcohol flavor. This is probaly one of the better done ones around being creamy and moist, yet not overly so. It would have been great if I could taste the marsala wine.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Screening Room, Ann Siang Road

I suppose I can say that I've found another place for pretty good steak down at the Screening Room (12 Ann Siang Road, tel : 6221 169) along Ann Siang Hill and it happens to be at a rather unsuspecting looking location that does proper restaurant food along with gastrobar snacks along with movie screening options to go with your food. It must be coincidence that a place like this is located within proximity to Les Bouchons and L'Angelus which serves very decent steaks as well.

What I'm talking about here were their wagyu new york strip and boneless ribeye (both at a decent 340g) from Australia. Admittedly, I had expected a little more flavor out of the cattle type that the meat is gleaned from and the servers weren't even informed of the meat marbling grade. Since it was suppose to be wagyu, I would presume the grading to be much lower than they had claimed, but it still didn't stop them from being the properly medium rare done hunks of juicy pieces of cow, professionally browned on the exterior without char while the insides remained prerequisitely pink and moist. Not that I mind a little bit of char at all for the fragrance.

Clean and straightforward with a little salad on the side with extra options for side orders which we then decided to go for the duck fat potato cake which was basically a hefty potato lump patty deep fried in duck fat and seemed to be infused with a very distinct flavor of rosemary. I'll say all these warrants a return in the future.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Natural cut fries from Carls Jr

Wow, Carls Jr now has these natural cut fries with skin on and they're actually not too bad. If you are wondering, it does taste different from the regular fries that other fast food places offer and that's in a good way. There seems to be more flavor in the mealy strips of potatoes compared to the flatter tasting regular shoestrings. It seems like I've found my favourite fast food french fries for now.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Some dinner stuff from Din Tai Fung

assorted vegetables and tau kwa strips

It's been quite a while. Possibly two years or more since I've last visited Din Tai Fung (290 Orchard Road, #B1-03 The Paragon, tel : 6836 8336) and the previous times were not at this particular outlet.

Most of the food were pretty much as I remembered them. I liked their vegetable and meat buns. More delicious when they're hot. I've discovered that the portions of meat to vegetables in those are 1 to 9. One of the things that I hadn't seen on menu before are the assorted vegetables with strips of those hard tau kwa which I liked. Their xiao long baos are still one of the better around.

the 90/10 vegetable and pork buns

xiao long bao

chilled drunken chicken

fried rice with pork chops

noodles....neat....kind of

braised beef noodles

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Japanese sweet potato soup from Ah Chew

While down at Ah Chew for their papaya double boiled in milk we came across this dessert. It tasted just like most sweet potato soups with ginger. Except that it's Japanese sweet potatoes and they were less fibrous than the local variety. Unless I get a very specific craving for these, I don't think I'll be having them again.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pho from Madam Saigon

That brimming bowl of pho down here at Madam Saigon wasn't too bad at all. Altogether it was definitely a hearty deal for their special (eeks!) pho which essentially features thin slices of beef, brisket and beef balls. I just had to request for the addtional tendons since I spied the tendon pho option from the menu and as you can probably notice, it was quite loaded with ingredients. The lightly spiced beef balls tasted home made too and was filled with some grits. But I have to say that the only minor gripes that I have is what I consider to be the lacking of robustness of the soup which made it less beefy than I liked and that the soup didn't quite come as hot as I had hoped, resulting in the bean sprouts being less than ideally cooked with their raw-ish flavor still intact. I was told that the pho in Vietnam comes with really hot soup and that Pho24 did deliver that. Can anyone clarify if the cooked bean sprouts thing is a preference or are they meant not to be thoroughly cooked?

Of course, there was also that savory pancake which we couldn't quite resist with that appetizing condiment that is served with it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Song Fa Bak Kut Teh, New Bridge Road

Despite the appearance of Song Fa (11 New Bridge Road, #01-01, tel : 6533 6128) with all that crowd, I didn't feel like it was one of the better ba kut teh around town. The soup was less peppery and robust in comparison with Imperial and definitely wasn't on par with the Sin Min outlet down at Kelantan Lane. The lack of kick was a bit of a let down. Refills of the soup fared even worse. Must have been a separate batch of that broth there. I'm going to put this at the bottom of the list of options if I ever get a craving. What was good was the cloves of garlic that were so soft and you could just suck them out of their skins. Their bowls of clear soup mee sua with pig kidneys was always welcomed on a cool evening.

Despite the seeming popularity of the pork rib soup, I thought that their braised fallopian tubes in dark sauce was actually the better dish. They seem to taste better than the usual ones I've had in kuey chup stores.