Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bon Goût, Robertson Quay

I think I've found another place which I could get myself some pretty good home styled Japanese cooking right down at Robertson Quay (60 Robertson Quay, #01-01 The Quayside, S238252). After hearing about the rather unfortunate change of management down at Wasabi Tei, Bon Goût could just be the next best thing to happen across. And the funny thing is, I've actually ate here once quite a few years back and it didn't really register much except for the fact that it was a bookstore of sorts as well. This time round, I found myself liking the food that I dropped by twice in consecutive nights for dinner.

Having little idea of what was good from the place apart from hearing about their curry, I decided to wander off the beaten path to try something else instead and landed myself a maguro zuke don and their beef steak don. Both of which turned out to be really good choices. I couldn't really identify what about the tuna that was great. Perhaps it was the fact that the slices of tuna was of a really appropriate temperature. The result was tender and flavourful meat. Delicious with just a drizzle of shoyu and accompanied with a bit of that strong wasabi, it was something that I couldn't get enough of and I'm already deciding to come back again.

The beef steak don came in a form of sliced pan fried beef done medium with little but shoyu and butter. Again, this was also really good stuff. These couple of dons have assured my return at least for the next couple of times.

2nd dinner

Having had a good impression of their "beef steak" we landed ourselves a beef steak curry with rice which was very decent by its own. But it wasn't something that wowed me to the point that I would order again soon since I would have preferred enjoy the flavours of the beef without having the sweetish and mildly spicy curry come into the picture. But still, it wasn't bad at all.

Another pleasant surprise came from their curry pork udon which featured a more savoury curry in comparison to the one that was used for the rice. I don't normally order udon much and I guess this would be one of those times that I'm pretty glad that I did. The noodles were soft and springy without being overly chewy and I'm guessing that this ought to be the correct texture of how they should be. Now that Wakashachiya is no longer around, this would probably be the next place I'll be seeing myself getting curry udon, even though there wasn't a cheese option available. The generous portions of shabu thin slices of pork buried underneath that savoury curry made up enough for it. Awesome option for those cool weathers, if only they would come more frequently.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Ootoya again and again!

I'm getting to like Ootoya quite a bit. Even though the Atka mackerel didn't endear itself to me because it had so many bones which made them a hassle to eat. We've actually been back here a couple of times again and tried out more of their teishoku set dinners. The appeal was because these guys weren't very expensive  and the food was unpretentiously comforting and unsophisticated. Those were pretty compelling reasons.

The fried chicken with orange sauce set was unexpectedly good. I was thinking that the orange sauce would be viscous taste like the local sweet and sour variety. It wasn't as thick. The flavour was savory and sour.

I also liked their Japanese hamburg. I'm thinking that these guys could just give Ma Maison a run for the money. The quality of the beef patty was pretty good. This one I had was with the plum sauce option (there is also the regular demiglace option as well) and daikon. Tasted very much like how I imagined it. Pretty glad that their beefy patty wasn't ruined by excessive fillers. I could see myself looking forward to this.

The tonkatsu was a little disappointing. The meat was fine but batter felt a little too thick and greasy for my liking. I'll pick Tonkichi over this any day.

There was a cold spinach dish with sweet black sesame paste and some black beans. Liked it.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Another lunch at Sushi Yoshida

It's definitely been some time since my last visit here and I've noticed a couple of changes. For starters, the plastic lobster under the bridge at the entrance of the restaurant doesn't exist anymore. I'm not sure where that crawled to but the area where it once resided is now filled with plants. And also, it seems that there's otoro these days in the chirashi box. Or has that become the norm for that?

I decided to try something different today from what I would tend to normally order and managed a unagi shiroyaki set from the lunch menu (the onsen tamago from the lunch set is still good). As implied in the name, it's white as it is grilled without the usual teriyaki sauce and the flavoring comes from the accompanying shoyu and grated wasabi. The eel was served hot from the grill with the oils on the surface of the fish still bubbling. In the end, I guess it was really just okay. I was actually thinking that it might have tasted something like anago, but I guess they're just different.

I recalled that I've never actually had uni here so here's the obligatory uni test for myself. This stuff here was pretty damned good. Although they weren't as chilled as I would have liked, the creamy texture and aroma made up for it. It seemed that there is a typhoon happening in Japan according to the chef and that the prices of uni had gone up. Although the restaurant didn't raise any prices, the prices of the uni gunkan here were already one of the higher ones I've come across. In the end, it still etched a smile on me so I guess that was the thing that really counted for $16 a pop.

And then, there was still the chirashi. But I'm pretty sure enough's been said about them. Nice of them to have otoro instead of chutoro as they did serve previously. I've thus incentive to come back again for that. I've noticed, the sushi set for the lunch looked pretty decent as well. Hmmmmmmmm...

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Xin Wang Taiwan Cafe, Citylink Mall

Only at the second time when I passed by this place (CityLink Mall, Raffles Link, # B1-23, tel : +65-6341 9542) that I did a double take and realised that this was actually a Taiwan themed cafe instead of the usual HK cafe that Xin Wang has numerous branches of. It did give me pause for a little while before I walked over to the menu which made me decide to check out the food they had. I was never one for the HK cafes that seems to be opening everywhere else. These franchised outlets were interesting when they first came about, but after a while, success formulas inevitably get whored with the same template applied repeatedly and en mass that it was really, just mediocre food that was priced way above what it was worth. What made them worse was, I could probably cook more than a handful of what they had on menu myself at home and apart from convenience and an occasional craving for something that they had, there is really little reason why I would walk into one of them. But this was the Taiwan version and being the sucker for stuff like lu rou fan, I bit the bait.

Somehow, we didn't end up with the lu rou fan. It was the mei cai kou rou fan (braised pork belly with mustard greens) that got us instead. While it wasn't too appealing in the department of looks, the taste of it was pretty decent and to my surprise, the sliced pork belly underneath the gooey vegetable stew was actually not bad at all. I meant, it was one of those with fats that would disintegrate in the mouth. The beef bowl with rice was decent, but nothing really special in particular. I'm looking at you, solid egg yolk. Still in search for a good beef bowl that would really, bowl me over.

Moving down the sides, there was a crispy fried pig intestines which was really done with very little seasoning, but left little room for much complains and a very regular deep fried breaded chicken that one could always find in the night market. These were a little better done in comparison to the greasy stuff that normally doesn't appeal to me.

Dessert was also surprisingly quite pleasant as well. It was listed on the menu as a peanut smoothie and I was thinking of a peanut shake of some sort. Turns out that, it was something akin to a frozen version of peanut paste that one could find in Cantonese dessert stores. The bowl of it was covered by peanut butter and then blanketed in finely ground peanuts. I'm pretty sure I'd like to come back for this again in the future.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Gary Baldy

I've been meaning to come back to Garibaldi for some time since it's been quite some time since I've eaten here. So that would make it my first visit since they time they closed up for a little while for renovations and the prices inched up noticeably higher from the time before. Still, one could find pastas at a price that could reasonably be considered non exorbitant or excessively overpriced. And I did have some good impressions of them from before.

Hence this lunch which started with some prosciutto & gnocco as it was called. It was described on the menu as a Romagna fried dough. Might have been street food from the place of origins and possibly something one could get real cheap since the price of it was pretty much about how much parma ham that came along. The taste of the freshly fried dough was akin to a sugarless fried doughnut or from another perspective of it, hum chim pang. The fun part about eating it was that one could just stuff the thinly sliced Parma ham into them before eating. It was otherwise pretty much as it looked.

One of the reasons for wanting to come back again was also, the selection of risotto that the restaurant has these days on the menu. One of those that got me curious was the risotto alla carbonara which was basically, a carbonara styled risotto which was something I've never tried before.

It was on the whole, rather predictable in taste being both eggy and cheesy at the same time with very defined beads of rice that's cooked in the reduced sauce. I could consider this comforting for abit, but it became a little boring after a while and the portions were rather generous for something that was so rich in texture. The crispy parma ham on the top wasn't too exciting really.

What was surprisingly quite good was the cannelloni stuffed with minced wagyu beef that came in a cheese sauce and some leeks confit. The winning factor for me in this dish was mostly because of the meat which did remind me more than a little of that braised boar stracci from Oso and they were savoury in a very good way. The bonus was the cheese sauce which contained Gorgonzola that was really the icing quivalent of this cake. Unfortunately, the sauce came in really miserable portions and that was about the only thing I had gripes on for this pasta. Leeks were pretty good if ordinary. Funny thing is, I've been looking for places that serves cannelloni that's not baked and here I find one that is, and I actually like it quite a bit.

As you might have already noticed, this lunch was filled with rolls that come with stuffings. Even for dessert. It might have been because, I wasn't really thinking much in the way of expectations for their cannolo siciliano. Not that I think they're not good. This did turn out much nicer than the no-expectaions that I've set for it. I would have to say that it was probably because of the creamy ricotta fillings and encrusted with a genorous amount of pistachio bits at the end and some of the pistachio sauce at the sides. The bar of chocolate that the pastry rested on was even filled with more of the pistachio stuff. Unexpectedly pleasant surprise there.