Thursday, January 31, 2008

Generic food court beef noodles


The so dubbed Hainanese beef noodle has become ubiquitous everywhere here. That means almost every food court sees a store that sells them and I'm sure most people don't really think of them as a Hainanese dish anymore. It's just generic food court beef noodles which uses mass produced ingredients and can be whipped up to serve the masses in short order with relatively little sophistication in the course of preparation. For $4.50 as a set, this beef noodle from the food court at Century Square (2 Tampines Central 5, S529509) is actually something with little complains apart from the fact that the sauce is uninspiringly flat and the beef balls taste of flour fillers. Still, it beats numerous other food court options of a similar kind and the noteable thing of this dry beef noodle is that the gravy is actually mixed pretty well without the starchy lumps that are commonly present from those in other unnamed places.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Some pizzas from Mondo Mio


Mondo Mio (Riverside View #01-02A, 30 Robertson Quay, S238251, tel:67362503), an Italian place just out of the courtyard at Robertson Quay across the street from Harry's which does a very regular array of the usual Italian stuff actually provides delivery of their pizzas down to Wine Connection. One can actually request for a menu from the latter location as a drinking customer with a phone number to reach the former restaurant to make orders. Speaking of which, the pizzas are decent if not extraordinary. The parma ham and rocket variety is reasonably tasty and their Mondo Mio flavor which features prosciutto, mushroom and a very nicely done egg with a still runny yolk is pretty awesome though. The awesome part comes mostly from the runny egg. Still, the restaurant looks fairly respectable and I may just drop by some time for the pastas.I spy gnocchi on their menu and their prices are pretty affordable as Italian places go.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Kazu Sumiyaki 2008


The main reason for this visit to Kazu (5 Koek Road, #04-05 Cuppage Plaza, tel: 6734 2492) apart from the great grills was the attempt to get some more of their seasonal items from their menu for the winter harvest before it goes away soon. Primarily it would be their creamy anko kimo (angler fish liver) which I rather enjoyed. I'm sure a lot been said in this blog about most of the regular items that we tend to order from our previous visits, so the pictures will be doing the majority of the telling. Despite that, I find myself discovering new things every time we visit. One of the discoveries was that the owner and chef was apparently a star of a certain Japanese drama serial before turning his chef skills of 13 years into use in this restaurant. What we also noticed from the regular items, was that the fatty pork with apple have gotten larger pieces of apple in the skewers and a more flavorful apple sauce over the top which was a good thing. The lamb chops were still as tender, oily and full of flavor from the charcoal grill. Chicken hearts were as chewy and well salted as I remember them and the hot, soft foie gras sticks were still dripping with heart clogging oil. Oh, did I mention too that Kazu also has oysters and they're still filled with briny juices in each bite, sweet potato's as sweet and fragrant and I remembered them with that awesome butter melt and the crunchy prawn and scallops in pork belly that hasn't disappointed yet even once.

uni tofu with ikura

anko kimo

asparagus in pork belly

kurobuta pork

avocado in pork belly

halibut

chicken with mentaiko

chicken hearts

chicken skins

foie gras

fatty pork with apple

shishamo tempura

oysters in bacon

cheese hotate

lamb chop

sweet potato


australian wagyu tongue

scallop and prawn in bacon

...and finally, the score cup

Some items were apparently new on the menu and the choices are still dizzying. Previously a salmon tofu with ikura has become a uni tofu with ikura. I thought that the salmon rendition was more flavourful in comparison with the current uni version which didn't quite carry the flavor of the sea urchin across. This was especially so when paired up with those ikuras that were firm and bursting with flavour. We also had a tasty avocado wrapped in pork belly that held up pretty good on it's own, some pretty good grilled halibut and chicken skewers with a generous portion of mentaiko. The cheese hotate didn't turn up as cheesy as much as it was creamy and it probably would have been great if it was served hot rather than lukewarm. In spite of their fairly hefty prices, this joint still places the smile of satisfaction on my lips when I leave and that's a good thing.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Moondarra's honey and pistachio cream cheese


I bought these sweet cheese from Marketplace some time back and had almost forgotten about them after leaving them in the fridge. These are flavoured cream cheese and this particular one is flavoured with pistachio and honey. This didn't taste as rich as some others which I've had before, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The flavour is sweet because of the honey, however there were very little of the pistachio. It's mostly bits at the base of the cheese. While you could actually tell was that there were bits of the nuts in the cheese, there isn't really much of the pistachio aroma, so I guess it might not have made much of a difference if it were another nut. This was basically a honey scented sweet cream cheese with soft bits of nuts.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

More eats from Isetan....and a crab



Ok, I've been guilty of lurking around Orchard on Saturday again because of the Japanese fairs and some other appointments that I have in that area. It's the last weekend of the fair and I really wanted to drop by Isetan for some of the winter goodies before it's all gone. The only thing I ended up buying home was more of the shio based ramen. It's a good thing to go at the end of the fair because that's when stocks have to be cleared and offers get better. The ramen which I had purchased were going at 1 free packet for every 3 that was purchased. Here's lunch and some pre-dinner snacking. Also, I saw a very big crab there. It looks cold, angry and lonely....

Lunch...




After having tasted the umaki tamago from Botan, I decided to grab these chilled and takeaway version from the supermarket in Isetan. These were cut in really big pieces. The topping which was teriyaki unagi encased in tamago were much larger than the vinegared rice base. That made it a challenge to pick them up with chopsticks. Being chilled, the flavours of the egg and eel were much less compared to the warm and freshly made ones.

You might also have noticed that I liked the otoro sushi quite a bit to be eating them again. The batch from today looked fattier and indeed tasted more flavourful than the ones which I had last week. In fact, I enjoyed them so much that I got a second round of them later in the day. The swordfish sashimi wasn't too bad as well.

Before dinner...



pumpkin croquette


This ice cream was strangely shaped like a jester's cap. The light pink side is actually sakuramochi flavour. There're some chewy bits which was supposed to be the mochi according to the person at the booth selling. Of the sakura, I didn't quite detect. The yellow side of the jester's cap is pumpkin. IT was more light rather than rich for the pumpkin.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Botan, Far East Square


Until the time I had discovered that Botan (36 Pekin Street, #01-01 Far East Square, tel : 6536 4404) was located at this spot, I had never taken note of what location was I passing through every time I happened by this specific unit in Far East Square. So I hadn't any idea how long this Japanese restaurant has been around. Or if it was another tenant in the prior times I had walked past. Rather innocuous looking joint that's wedged between the more conspicuous Harry's Mirchi and Shin Kushiya, this place is easily overlooked since there was very little apart from a menu stand that reaches the pedestrian path. Since I have discovered it, I've been telling myself to drop by one day to try the food. Now that I've actually tried it, the next thing I'll be wondering to myself would be, when will I come back? Because I'm quite sure I will. Pretty verbose way of saying that I discovered a place and that I liked it eh?

The interior of the restaurant appears simply furnished with little frills. I suppose there is a greater emphasis on the food that is served rather than the upkeep of veneers. Prices here are by no means cheap - but I suppose could be considered fair and affordable.

anko kimo ($7)

Their anko kimo (angler fish liver) here was pretty good though wasn't as creamy nor as chilled as the ones that they serve at Kazu.

mentaiko chazuke ($6)

This was my first chazuke. It didn't quite taste like what I had imagined as a tea based porridge, I found myself quite enjoying this. I'm not sure if the mentaiko or the nori had that much to do with the final flavour of the broth, but it tasted quite like fish soup rather than any sort tea and the heap of toasted sesame seeds added a depth to the fragrance. Imagine Teochew fish porridge without fish slices nor the hint of ginger in the broth.

uni gunkan maki ($12 for 2)

I liked the uni sushi here. The portions of the sea urchins toppings were quite generous. For $6 a pop, it was certainly much more affordable than many other Japanese places. I'll be sure to get more of these the next time I'm back here.

umaki tamago ($8)

These umaki tamago were quite good. They were actually oozing with juices when I tried to pick them up with chopsticks and they are served piping hot. The sweet egg was soft and really just slides down your throat. Packed in the tamago were tender pieces of teriyaki marinated eel. I've been avoiding unagi for ages because they generally don't taste very good to me. These were exceptions. Another something which I am sure go for again.

chirashi bento ($30)

Chirashi bentos are the way to go. Apart from their own brand of aesthetics which I generally find pleasing, it represents what I enjoy about Japanese food. For $30, Botan delivered a rather generous serving of the bento with the usual slices of sashimi and tamago, a dry smoked mackerel, simmered vegetables (a couple of pieces were wrapped in egg yolk!), teriyaki chicken, potato salad ball, 3 pieces of tempura, more unidentified mix of root vegetables/green battered crabsticks/fungus like things, chawanmushi, miso soup and watermelon. The quality of the raw fish slices were actually not bad and there is certainly no complains about the portions. The rice below the raw fish was a medley of sweet from the pink fish floss, brininess from the ebiko, seaweedy-ness from shredded nori and some aroma from sesame seeds.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Pancakes from Mr Obanyaki

These Japanese pancakes have been around in some form or another for as long as I can recall. I remember eating them as a kid back in the days when it was Daimaru in Liang Court and a Yaohan in Plaza Singapura. Throughout these years, there has been relatively little changes to these pancakes apart from the fillings. It used to be just red bean paste back in the old days. As the years went by, the fillings have gotten more variety. The same can be said for the standards of the pancakes. Mr Obanyaki, which I thought does pretty decent ones is located at the basement level of Takashimaya. I've been meaning to try their pancakes for some time and finally got to do it. I was also fortunate to get the cheese with kaya and the cheese with blueberry ones while they were still warm.


I guess the pictures themselves will do their own talking and I'll save myself the trouble. They're as good as they look.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

1st attempt at mentaiko pasta


As you can probaby see, there isn't really much mentaiko on the pasta. That is because I have never had the experience in making them and grossly underestimate the amount of roe needed. Not to mention, I didn't think that I'll be cooking for 4. Scrapping the eggs out of the sac for the first time turned out to be a messy affair too. The result did turn out to be pretty tasty, but I wouldn't call it a success since the main element for the sauce which is the spicy roe could barely be tasted. The ingredients used were modified from a relatively well known blog. The main reason for the deviation is because, I couldn't get my hands on some of the items on time and other recipes do suggest other viable alternatives which was obtainable at the said time of cooking. The steps for making the sauce stays pretty much like the original recipe which I had derived from. Basically, it's a sautee-ing of the onions in butter, addition of soy sauce and sake for the reduction before adding the cream and then, the mentaiko.



The ingredients if anyone is interested are

  • 250g angelhair pasta
  • a chunk of butter (I used SCS)
  • one whole yellow onion, diced
  • 10 soup spoonful of sake
  • 5 soup spoonful of cream (mine was President)
  • 1 sac of mentaiko (I think 3 would have been better)
  • shredded nori

There wasn't any chicken stock readily available so I had substituted that with Japanese soy sauce. It was the closest thing to chicken stock that I could find at home. Seriously. If anyone has a good method of removing the roe from the sac, please let me know how. Comments and suggestions are welcomed as well.