Monday, June 30, 2008

The Lord of Terror returns!

[fanboy mode]ZOMG!! Blizzard is releasing Diablo 3!!! [/fanboy mode]

I was thrillingly and unexpectedly usurped by this piece of news, strangely, on Camemberu's blog. Seriously, I haven't been so excited in a while. Having been entrenched deep in the predecessors, I admit to being a huge fan of the game and have wasted countless hours into the ungodly hours of the night button mashing my mouse to death and risking permanent injury to my wrists for it. This is something to look forward to apart from eating, lol! Oh, for those of you initiated Diablolites, remember the theme song at Tristram? It's gotten loads sexier.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Comically Lovecraftian


One of the curious sights that I was greeted with as I walked into this Hokkaido Fair at Isetan was a half man, half scallop in the midst of the bustling crowd promoting the dried and seasoned scallops that is one of the signature items of such a fair. After numerous attendance, the boil of enthusiasm has somewhat simmered down for me. The offerings have somewhat become quite expected and very little is new. There's still something that they have against photography in the fair itself, but scallopman obliged for a couple of shots.


Here's more of some of the stuff/loot I managed this time round.


Hotate pachi balls which had whole small scallops in them. These are better made than the usual ones that you find in stores. They're actually creamier and I find that scallions is also a much tastier topping rather than bonito flakes.


A Hokkaido curry bun. Just as you may surmise, it's a breaded bun filled with curry.


There you go.


I forgot what these are called, but they're like Japanese pancakes and this one has a creamy custard filling in it. It's actually pretty good when you eat them hot.


As usual, some economically priced otoro from the sushi section. They tend to be better when there are Japanese fairs about. The usual ones that come up normally don't deserve to be called otoro.


These are sliced katsuo, or bonito. I don't remember having had them before and the taste was a little fishy.


Ikura and sake sushis. As with the otoro, the salmon and their eggs seems better during the fairs.


This egg was from the croquette store. I got one of them because they reminded me of scotch eggs and true enough, the wrappings surrounding the egg is actually minced meat. They're so very tasty...


My favorite squido rice.


These otaru sweet potato are regular Japanese sweet potatoes that have been halved. The insides are scraped out to be mashed with custard leaving the the skin with some of the flesh behind like a shell. The shell is then filled with some custard and then topped over with the flesh and custard mixture and then baked. They're supposed to be eaten chilled and if you know of Japanese sweet potatoes, it's really nothing surprising in terms of taste. That means it's quite good.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bishan 504 Boneless Chicken Rice


I had heard that this chicken rice store in the coffeeshop just across the field from Junction 8 wasn't too bad, but on hindsight, I thought that they were a bit pricey and the whole deal wasn't anything much to boot. For one, the rice was quite bland and lacking of grease and the garlicky taste. The chilli sauce was decently spicy (this was sadly the best item of it all) and was put into good use because of the rice. I've had quite a bit of roasted chickens and I must say that this one was definitely not something that I look for as well. Apart from lacking in the regular roasted fragrance, the skin felt limp and was it almost felt like eating brown steamed chicken. I was quite surprised that the serving of bean sprouts came cold instead of hot which prompts me to quite correctly assume that it has been blanched before and left for serving rather then cooked upon order. There was a rather generous smothering of pepper on the said bean sprouts, but the taste of the spice was lacking which brings to question what's being used.

Needless to say, I won't be returning.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Menya Shinchan Japanese Noodle Restaurant, Robertson Quay


I've noticed this place (30 Robertson Quay, #01-05 Riverside View, tel: 6732 0114) for quite a while already since I have the habit of unknowingly ending up at Robertson Quay more often than I think I would. I've never really paid it much attention since it's wedged at the back, behind Ryoriya Sangokushi and out of sight often means out of mind. Until the mentioning by a couple of friends, I probably wouldn't have recalled this ramen place that reminds me of Crayon Shinchan. Lol.

Names aside, I'm quite impressed with this place due to an incident that I will not mention. Suffice it is to say that the owner belongs to the category of someone who takes pride in his business in food. Which kinda goes along with what is explained of the history of this place which is set up by a Japanese guy living here who likes ramen.


This is something that one probably doesn't see often in ramen places which is called mazesoba. It's essentially a bowl of dry (non soup based) ramen heaped with fried shallots, some toasted and crispy noodle bits, crunchy pieces of cabbages, bean sprouts, shredded pork and sliced pork. Interestingly, there was a also a dollop of mayo and a slice of cheese. Honestly, I tried this because it didn't look like any other ramen and I'm not so concerned if this wasn't traditionally authentic. The presence of cheese helped in that decision too even though it was just of the regular sliced variety. As it turned out, this is pretty damn tasty with a nuttish and mildly spicy gravy at the bottom.

The ramen that was used was much thicker than usual and there was an option to choose between soft and hard noodles which was determined by how long the noodles were cooked. This is something that I really appreciate since I feel that most ramen too soft for me. The thicker noodles here, despite being unfamiliar to me was quite firm and I thought it wasn't too bad. The yolk of those eggs that you see are amazingly soft despite them looking not runny at all. The sliced pork? Very tender indeed.


There are a couple of options for the soup here. One gives you the choice between rich or thin flavor. Another option which was available is the seafood one on top of the standard shio, shoyu and miso soup base. This ones as they explained had sardines in the soup base, but it really tasted to me like dried anchovy in the soup (ikan bilis). These fellas really exercised the hard noodle option and the al dente like texture was definitely very agreeable with me. I spied a large bowl of their signature sinjiro ramen sitting in the front of another diner. Something tells me I'll be back to try some of that.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Scones on parade


These are some parmesan/cheddar cheese scones in their virgin incarnations. That means that they've been baked for the first time by 2 bumbling chef wannabes. It turned out pretty good for a first attempt. In fact, I like them much better than the one that I tried at Sun Moulin which while was more of a traditional scone in terms of texture and hardness, lacked the cheese flavor. I guess that the benefit of making them oneself is that you can definitely tailor the ingredients to your tastes.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Xing Wang Hong Kong Cafe, Anchorpoint


I'm generally not big on Hong Kong Cafes because of the type of food they serve, the lack of effort in the preparation of the simpler dishes and the fact that there is a whole lot of them around making them feel like clones of each other. I've eaten in them a couple of times and haven't really thought much of the food. Most of them cannot even do a decent luncheon meat and egg noodle which is usually a signature item of such cafes. This place (370 Alexandra Road, #01-07/08 Anchorpoint, tel: 6474 4498) came under the recommendation of a friend who mentioned a good French toast. Needless to say, I was initially rather skeptical about French toasts in such places, but it turned out to be a good call after all.

The french toast arrived with a generous amount of honey drizzled over and what made me think better of it was the fact that this was actually coated with a visible layer of egg. It definitely tasted eggy and request for extra butter and honey was met with a rather generous response. The staff was also polite to the point that I almost felt that it was a strange thing. I'm picking up good vibes here and I'm encouraged to re-visit.

One of the pleasant surprises here was also the pork rib bee hoon which was again, much better than what I thought I could be getting. I'm not sure if the ribs are of the canned variety, but it was soft and slid off the bone with ease. Not to mention that the bee hoon was actually pretty fragrant and moist.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Weekend roast at Molly Malone's


Well, it seems that Molly Malone's does a weekend roast which rotates between beef, lamb, chicken and pork for $25 with accompanying soup. It turned out to be a little disappointing for the portions and the taste wasn't too impressive neither. I didn't think very much at all of the thinly sliced roast in pepper sauce and it has got one of the saddest looking (and tasting) Yorkshire pudding I've ever come across. Looking quite shriveled. Here's a first and a last time for that matter. Stick to the regular items from the menu. They're much better.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Another lunch at Paulaners...



This pork loin stuff from the a la carte menu at Paulaners Bräuhaus (9 Raffles Boulevard, #01-01 Millenia Walk, tel: 6883 2572) was pretty good. Well, it was just a tasty piece of salted pork loin on the bone, but in medium well doneness.  Must have helped in preserving the juices in the meat. I'm not too sure why is there a frankfurter in there though. I guess with all the salt in the cooking, the sauerkraut helped take some edge off. The starter of the boiled asparagus and air dried ham on rosti turned out to be pretty tasty as well, especially with the thick creamy mushroom sauce. That sauce was magic!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Riverside Indonesian grilled squid rice


Here's a grilled squid rice from the Riverside Indonesian BBQ store at the Kopitiam at Plaza Singapura. I've some mixed feelings about it. It was on one hand pretty darn good with the mouth watering sweet dark sauce and the coconut ladened curry sauce on the soft steaming rice. It tastes just like the chicken curry served at the restaurant down at Riverside Point. What I didn't like was that the squid had been so hastily grilled that there was barely any char fragrance. The squids done at the mentioned restaurant were grilled to much better standards. And that curry was only a little ladleful.

So I can't decide if this was a good thing or not, but I guess I wouldn't mind having it again and I'll be sure to ask for an extra ladleful of the curry if I do.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Shish Mahal, Albert Court


Apart from the ill fated attempt at located Gorkha Grill some months back (does it even exist anymore anyone?), Shish Mahal (180 Albert Street, #01-20 Albert Court, tel: 6837 3480) is our second foray into Nepalese food. Well - to be precise, this place does both Indian and Nepalese. We weren't too impressed with the chicken momo which was in many ways like Chinese steamed xiao long baos which are generally better tasting, juicier and better flavoured. I guess the melted fat in the latter helped.

We had an order of the garlic prawns which felt neither Indian nor Nepalese. The prawns were quite crunchy and de-shelled (yay!). Apart from that, the starchy sauce was unremarkable and the garlic certainly fell short of what I would expect from garlic prawns. I've definitely had a much better rendition at Mango Tree.


There wasn't much to complain (or sing praises of for that matter) about the tandoori chicken (which was quite tender), the boti kebab (some rather chewy lamb heavily marinated in a tandoori paste that left nothing of the meat's original flavour) or the chewy cheese naan; but the aftermath of this dinner left little to be desired for a return.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Mini sliders from Barracks


This is actually my second visit to Barracks (8D Dempsey Road, #01-01 to 06 Tanglin Village, tel: 6475 7787 / 6479 9212) and I have returned mostly for their sliders ($22). The previous visit, I had a foie gras ravioli soup which turned out quite disappointing with a single wanton like ravoli that didn't taste like it had any foie gras inside. But that's not what this is really about; it's the sliders that take centrestage for this visit. These tiny burgers are great. Small thick and hearty patties with your choice of toppings along with the sides of truffle oiled fries and sugared sweet potato nibbles.

I like beef and burgers and generally tend to pick on the quality of the patties and the doneness of them. My unit of measurement for a burger quality is done in a very human way by the taste and heartiness. I like these sliders that I didn't even think to pick on the well doneness of the meat here. It tasted good the same. Well, perhaps, the blue cheese and bacon topping needs work on that blue cheese which was more creamy than pungent. No complains for the subtlety accented truffle aioli version which kept the beefiness of the patty intact along with a light buttery truffle flavor. Great stuff. I'm definitely coming back for them again another time.

Barracks does have a bunch of cakes that you don't often see in run of the mills cafes and confectionery. They're however, not always as interesting as they're described with note to the zucchini chocolate which really didn't taste like it had shredded zucchini. The apple cider and butterscotch cake wasn't too bad. Though I must say that the hot butterscotch was what made it good and there's really nothing of apple cider to expect in the taste if you're looking for that.

I recommend coming for the sliders and truffled fries.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Waffletown, Balmoral Plaza


Waffletown (#01-02 Balmoral Plaza, 271 Bukit Timah Road, tel : 6836 6536) definitely looks old school as an establishment with barely discernible air conditioning. It reminds me of fast food restaurant from 20 years back with a service person at the counter that is taking orders just a couple of meters from the kitchen crew, yet using a microphone to get the orders processed. The food is well.....ordinary, as greasy fried chickens go but it seems to be one of the few places doing fried chicken apart from KFC and I thought it would be interesting to see what they're about.


Interesting as a place that does both waffles and fried chicken and also some burgers, there wasn't anything good enough to warrant another visit. The small meat patties from the burger with cold buns taste like the frozen variety made with an unidentifiable meat which is something that I do not really like about burgers. Honestly, McDonalds is better if you're talking about taste. The waffles are rather ordinary as well and probably because of the way the business is, they charge for extra maple syrup and butter. Oh well.

Creperie des Art, Prinsep Place


I thought the crepes here (44 Prinsep Street, #01-02/02 Prinsep Place, tel: 6333 5330) weren't too bad and would have been better if they weren't so pricey. But of course, I'm no expert on crepes and certainly haven't had any from France, so I guess I wouldn't be able to make much comparisons. Actually, the crepe does kinda reminds me of the crispy edges of dosai, keeping in mind that I've been having quite a bit of Indian food lately. It's not the same of course, but I wouldn't say that I cannot draw parellels. Interestingly, there was some French apple cider which they deigned to serve in a mug instead of the usual glasses. I wonder why is that.

saint caradec

trois vallees

complete du pays

crepe suezette

A starting salad of creamy goat cheese on toast and mesclun turned out pretty decent, but unexceptional. Of the few crepes that I managed to try on this first visit, the ones that held out as noteable were the buckwheat crepes of saint caradec (creamy leeks and scallop) and the trois vallees (Rebl0chon, Rocquefort and goat cheese). The former had a filling creamed leeks that was sweet along with also sweetish and savoury scallops while the latter packed a decent punch with the tripartite of pungent cheeses. I didn't really like the crepe suezette which reeked rather strongly of the alcohol and it didn't help much that the pear sorbet tasted very much like the Grand Marnier used for the flambe. I'm not too familiar with crepe suezettes apart from the rather delicious one from Lawry's but this lacked the cream or butter which I was looking forward to.

I probably wouldn't mind try some of the other stuff here, but I thought that a bunch for crepes for a hundred dollars was quite expensive.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Ramen Santouka, The Central


We seem to be getting lots of chain outlets from Japan that are opening their branches here. Bypassing the option for Marutama first which I'm positive that everyone knows at least a someone whom has tried it, I've decided to give Ramen Santouka (6 Eu Tong Sen Street, #02-76 The Central, tel: 6224 0668) a check out; decked in a hype dampener. The premise itself turned out a little different from what I had in mind after hearing numerous comments on the place. Apparently, many people have different concepts of what a small place is and most of them have navigation issues to think feel that the unit is cloaked in any level of obscurity. And for those of you out there who're doling out helpful commentaries on the accepted mode of payment, I paid by Mastercard.


This turns out to be pretty good, and despite the fact that the noodles didn't floor me in any sense, I found them to be enjoyable enough that there's a good chance that I could be back again when I feel like having more ramen. What was distinctively appreciable about them is the ultra tender pork cheeks from their toro niku ramen which I had in the shio option for soup. The thin slices of very soft pork cheeks which are served separately from the ramen are saltish and flavored in an appetising manner. There wasn't anything really special about the ramen which I thought were a little too soft for my liking. The oily rich broth was decent, but tends to sit in heavily after a while. I must say that I'll be hard pressed not to order the toro niku again should I re-visit.


This charhan shoyu set (fried rice and shoyu broth ramen) did come with noodle texture that was less soggy than the toro niku bowl. I found this shoyu broth to be more enjoyable in comparsion with the shio which became quite flat tasting after a while. The soft slices of fatty pork here was in it's own ways, pretty delicious and left behind an enjoyable smoky aftertaste. The charhan wasn't anything special, but I tend to be favorably disposed towards fried rice. I thought it was quite decent.


I like eggs as well and the komi tamago on the side order wasn't too bad despite the fact that I was really hoping for a runny yolk. I guess I can forgive that since it was a dollar which was half of what I was charged at Ken's which also, didn't have a runny yolk.