Thursday, September 30, 2010

Nasi padang from Mr Rawon

Very delicious selection of rice and dishes there (Block 291, Yishun St. 22) just minutes of walk from Darul Makmur mosque. It kinda helped that this was done over a rainy afternoon where all the spices and gravy made the food so comforting. This was my first time trying the dark keluak gravy over rice. I did like it but I also had difficulty understanding what I liked about it. There were some nice chewy paru goreng, tempeh, begedil and cauliflower/broccoli that formed a mixture of savoury, spicy and sweet flavours (mound of brown shredded coconut on the side). I have this place marked for returns.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Heng Gi Goose and Duck Rice, Tekka Food Centre

This stall down in Tekka food centre (665 Buffalo Road, #01-335 Tekka Market & Food Centre) is apparently an institution for Teochew styled braised duck and has been in operation for decades. I had previously never been one for braised ducks until the recent induction to these Teochew styled variety which had made me reevaluate my preferences. Another reason why this place captured my interest was probably because of the fact that they had goose which is altogether relatively uncommon here.

So, there went a half and half mix of duck and geese along with my usual works of hard boiled eggs, liver and tau kwa accompanied with their vinegar based chilli sauce which spiced the spot, in a manner of speaking. In retrospect, I couldn't really tell what was the difference between their duck and goose. The bottom line however was that I liked what they did for their generous portions of tender sliced meat and a greasy dark sauce which added a dimension of fragrance when eaten with the rice. I would have to say that Tai Dong had a much flavorful sauce, but I couldn't really decide which one was the better stall since they were both very nicely done. I'm gonna have to file these two up as equals in terms of preference.

Monday, September 27, 2010

$1 soy sauce chicken from Canton-i

Get them before they're history!

But I digress.... this soy sauce chicken from Canton-i was honestly not too bad coming from someone who normally doesn't really fancy them. I would have to say that in the department of meat tenderness, I would have to give it to the Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken place down in Chinatown which I felt, was a little better on the overall. The was definitely a better balance of sweet and savory and the skin felt like they were more delicate. Still, a dollar for a whole chicken these days in a restaurant is a deal not to be passed up.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cocotte, Dickson Road

It was quite the heartening thing to discover that another rustic, bistro styled French restaurant (2 Dickson Road, Wanderlust Hotel, tel : +65 6298 1188) has opened and even more so, to find out that the food was enjoyably warm and hearty. In line with the communal theme of the restaurant, we ordered up a bunch of stuff for sharing so that we could have a little bit of various things that the place serves. And still, we were spoilt for choice because many things looked good.

We started things off with a bunch of items from the appetizers which included a very tasty slow cooked and subsequently deep fried tripe. I've had tripe in various forms, but these breaded and deep fried ones were a first and I thought they were pretty good. The pork rillettes were pretty decent if ordinary, but I discovered today that French mustard with butter on baguettes were delicious. The pissaladiere as I have gathered is a sort of onion paste tart. The soft and flaky pastry was nicely done, but I had expected more in the way of anchovies since it was really described as an onion and anchovy tart.

pork rillettes


fried tripe

Moving on to the mains, I'd have to say that both Cocotte's roasted pork collar and boeuf à la ficelle were outstanding in their own different ways. The former was a nicely done pork dish with delicious fatty bits slathered in what was a creamy Dijon mustard sauce that surprisingly, didn't come close to overwhelming the flavors of the meat. To top it off, a very tasty side of nicely buttered Brussels sprouts that came with expertly toasted almonds which were impressively, very fragrant.

Away from the complexity of differing layers of flavors on the other end of the spectrum was their boeuf à la ficelle which was pristinely, a simple beef broth poached tenderloin with baby vegetables on the side. The flavoring on the top were no more than the said beef broth and some crystals of salt, so much of the natural sweetness remained. Oh yes, I liked the accompanying gruyère on toast too. This was for me, really good comforting food.

The steak tartare didn't quite look as minced as I thought when it was served, but it was all good after the condiments went it with a nice short knead. I'm thinking that the texture and flavor balance of this item would be an important determinant as to whether I liked it or not and I'm thinking, this would benefit from some capers and more chopped onions.

roasted pork collar in creamy Dijon mustard sauce

boeuf à la ficelle

steak tartare

After meals were a citron tart and a small selection of cheeses. We finished the tart before moving on to the cheeses and on hindsight, I thought that the sourish and fruity tart of creamy lemon would have been good with the cheeses. On to the tart itself, it was a buttery base with a nice density with fillings that packed a nice sour punch. A lucky me got the section with the candied orange peel.

citron tart


Monday, September 20, 2010

Gyudons from Yoshinoya

Yoshinoya has come up with a few variations to their beef bowl lately by the addition of extra toppings like eggs and tofu. Here's a look at their tamago and rutan beef bowls which basically features a half boiled egg and a hard boiled version respectively. The latter of which was probably briefly cooked in the said sauce since the penetration of the brown coloring was barely beyond the surface of the egg.

I've never been much for this particular Japanese fast food joint that serves what I feel to be really mediocre food, but I've to admit that there are no other places that I know of that does a savory gyudon without the sweet component of the sauce. And a very comforting one at that. Without picking on the quality of meat that was used, one got pretty nice thinly sliced beef with the dripping gravy permeating a bowl of piping hot short grained rice. With the egg now in the formula, I thought it was a smart move for them to get me to start dropping by again. Sometimes.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Maggi goreng from Jalan Kayu Prata Cafe

Now, this wasn't too bad at all. I wasn't too sure of what to make out of a "Jalan Kayu" branded stall right smack in town (60B Orchard Road, #01-16A The Atrium @ Orchard, tel : +65 9237 9005) but it looked like it attracted it's fair share of clientele. Beside having better dressed cooks, the place looks and smells the part of a Indian run coffee shop. What I liked about the maggi goreng with mutton was that it wasn't too damp. There was a spiciness that was respectable. Nice enough that I would definitely consider this again if I'm around town.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Breakfasting at Selera Johor

This ad hoc breakfast trip turned out to be more interesting than I had anticipated. I was brought by a friend who recommended me to this little food centre (Selara Johor Food Court, Plaza Larkin, Johor Bahru, 80350) located just beside Plaza Larkin where there was a pretty tasty mee rebus stulang. A supposed landmark of sorts of the locals. For some reasons, the stall had ran out of prawns and we couldn't get to order "the works". Still we ended up with a simple yet different mee rebus which wasn't too bad in my opinion. The gravied noodles had some savoury fritters sprinkled over the top. There was a nice consistency to the gravy and the flavour was precise.

Just across from that mee rebus stall, there was something called kachang pool which turned out to be what I think of as an Asian version of chili con carne. The minced meat and bean stew wasn't very spicy, but the chopped fresh onion and green chillis with a squeeze of calamansi made them pretty irresistible with their thick buttered toast. Bonus points goes to having an egg in there was well.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle, Chinatown Food Centre

I've been on to this place (Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle, Blk 335 Smith Street, #02-127 Chinatown Complex Food Centre) for a few visits now by recommendation. Have never been a person for soy sauce based chicken until this particular stall and surprising even myself, these few visits have seen me standing in line under sweltering heat for the food. This is one of those places where the queue actually made sense. One of the reasons why the queue endures is due to the fact that the food here is very affordable and that the cook doesn't yield under the pressure of the said queue. Apparently too, all the meats are done by himself.

What I liked about the chicken was the tender meat and sweet sauce that's been soaked into the skin of the bird. The other factor that drove me back was the delicious char siew which was a nice balance of sweet and savory goodness. The stall stings on the portion of neither. Truly, the pictures doesn't do any justice to the flavors.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Run Ji Cooked Food, Chinatown Food Centre

Spurred by the delicious meal of braised duck at Tai Dong, I was encouraged to seek out another similar stall to continue changing my opinion of braised duck. Run Ji Cooked Food (Blk 335 Smith Street, #02-140 Chinatown Complex Food Centre), a straightforward stall as such was another which was brought to my attention recently.

Being hungry, we pulled little punches with the order and topped up the order of the bird with innards and eggs. I've got to say that I enjoyed this one as well even though they didn't have a sauce which was as flavorful as Tai Dong. The interesting thing that set this stall apart from the rest was that they had hae bi hiam (spicy dried shrimp) as a topping option for the rice that they served and while it wasn't one of the best I've had, it did add a dimension to the relatively tame flavors of the sauce. The food wasn't really mind blowing in any way, but it was also a simple and comforting meal with little fuss. I couldn't say that I would mind returning.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Revisiting Canton-i

Encouraged by the wanton noodles from the previous visit at Canton-i, we decided to return to try some of the other items that they have on menu.

This would be the equivalent of the twin roast meats with rice. Surprisingly good was their char siew, which was nicely caramelized with the sweet fatty half of each slice melting nicely in the mouth. The roast duck was unfortunately lean and dry. The lack of fat also rendered the meat of the duck a little bland.

Nicely done too, was their stir fried Chinese chives & bean sprouts with dried shrimp, dried cuttlefish and cashew nuts. The dried shrimps used were of a much larger variety than usual. The flavors from the sauce of this stir fried vegetable dish was robust and definitely paired very nicely with white rice. Can't really break down what that was in there apart from the listed ingredients, but it was good stuff.

The XO sauce radish cake was decently executed and probably might have made a better better dim sum or breakfast order rather than dinner because of the grease, but we had wanted to try them out. Each piece was coated with a light layer of crisp with creamy insides.

Another order of wanton noodles here. This time round, we opted for the dry noodles. Strangely, the firm and chewy texture of the noodle that was experienced previously was less apparent in this than the one in the soup rendition.

There wasn't that much in the way of desserts on menu, so we settled for the jiang zhi zhuang nai. Milk curdled in ginger juice. Moderately spicy and sweet and textured like very soft bean curd, this was not bad at all.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Back in Anatolia

Decided to head here (14 Scotts Road, #02-58/59 Far East Plaza, tel : +65 6836 3352) for lunch because of some kebab craving that sparked off by Deli Turk. Invariably, comparisons were made since it was just a day ago that we were eating Turkish food.

Here's just talking about the doner kebabs here and the most obvious difference was in the serving of the meat. I had noticed that the spits were only switched on when the order was taken on a quiet weekend lunch and presumably, things were not as warm compared to a busy spit. Still, the beef kebab was pretty tasty and the half green chilli added a nice spicy depth to the food. Chicken was kinda boring and the cold fries which had been laying around somewhere were totally forgettable.

Regarding their "special" rice. It's merely the same butter rice that was used with the frozen peas/carrot/corn and some almonds.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Deli Turk, Suntec City

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I used to work in the vicinity. Deli Turk (3 Temasek Boulevard, #03-004, Suntec City Mall, tel : +65 6336 8082) was yet another one of those places that I must have passed by countless times and overlooked until today when I decided to give these guys a try. Even though I thought that the proprietor looked like a insurance sales person with a chip on the shoulder.

We started off with a safe order of hummus which was quite generous with the lemon and also had enough paprika to almost paint the dish Szechuan. Lol! I thought it was strange having chopped spring onions sprinkled on the top since that really added to the effect of making the dish look really Chinese and spicy. But all was good with the nicely chilled and creamy chick pea paste served with warm bread.

This yoghurt slathered dish, Kara lahana domasi was something we got off the daily special menu. The tubular shapes were cabbage leaves stuffed with rice and minced meat. It was altogether quite good.

The lamb doner kebab was delicious with sufficient gaminess from the meat on top of moist butter rice. In spite of the grease from both the meat and rice, I did feel that portions were a little small. My not so spider sense detects a repeat order item here in subsequent visits.

The kunefe was a dessert that was recommended by the grumpy looking proprietor and wow, this was pretty good stuff indeed. I would come back just to have them again. It appeared to be a shredded filo pastry like tart/thing/disc with unsalted cheese on the inside. The pastry which was lying on cream was sweetened by a topping of syrup and served piping hot with a shower of crushed pistachio over the top. The texture of the kunefe allowed it to soak up the cream from the bottom, so it ended up being cool yet warm, and was both crispy and juicy (from the soaked cream) at the same time.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Nantsuttei, Parco Marina

Finally gotten down to this ramen-ya (9 Raffles Boulevard, #P3-06 Parco Marina Bay, Millenia Walk, tel : +65 6337 7166). I've been curious about this joint since the time I read about them opening up here. Thinking to beat the novelty crowd, I had decided not to be in such a hurry to visit them like I did for Ippudo, but apparently the queues have not abated. It was a good thing that the turnover was pretty quick and this was really a good place for me. I might just have found my favorite tonkotsu ramen joint!

Overlooking the other options, I decided to just head straight for the maru-toku negi chashu-men which was really their basic ramen with additional portions for the negi and chashu. The rich creamy broth was lightly accented by the flavors of the black ma-yu, which was still to me a bit of a curiosity as it was more of a fragrance than a intense flavor for garlic that had been fried multiple times. Their slightly stiff slices of chashu relented after being soaked in the broth for some moments, absorbing some of that flavorful essence and having the fat turned soft. Resisting the temptation for more enhanced flavors, I gave the extra garlic options a pass this first time round just so that I could experience their ramen straight up as they were done. I might have gotten a little enthusiastic over the order and forgot my usual topping of egg. Still, these Hakata styled ramen with straight firm noodles have been a favorite of mine and it seems that I might just have found one of the best ones locally.

On the side, we gave their Fuufu Enman Gyoza (amusingly named Happy Couple gyoza by translation) a shot and it arrived slightly burnt. They were just small gyozas, albeit a little meatier than I was expecting.

Definitely coming back again.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Skinny Pizza, Raffles City

Yet another outlet has opened for Skinny Pizza (252 North Bridge Road, #B1-63/64 Raffles City Shopping Centre). What drove us to visit this time was their expended menu which looked like it has much more than what we remembered from the last visit.

We got ourselves the 'salami & pesto' pizza this time round. Turned out to be one which we thought was pretty good with a smattering of different flavours coming from the salty salami, bitter rockets, sweet roasted capsicum, sour from the bits of chopped olives and pungence from the crumbled goat cheese. I'm surprised that I even managed to list all of them out.

Nibbles on the sides now come in a three item option (costing a little less than three separate orders) which we decided to take advantage of. The truffle fries were an obvious choice. We picked a seared brie crusted with pistachio and garlic grilled prawns with cauliflower cous cous. Damn, the cous cous (which was just finely shredded cauliflower) was good! I wished they had been more generous with the portions though.

Dessert was a rumbaba which was served with a shot of rum. I'm not sure how these cakes are done traditionally but I thought this rendition was pretty good with the vanilla bean sauce and preserved orange rinds.

There was a red latte which was basically roobois tea with milk. If the color of the drink wasn't apparent, this was a robust brew of the tea. Didn't taste as milky the looks might have suggested. There was definitely more tea in this stuff.

Thursday, September 02, 2010


Leaving things up to the hands of the chef is choice spruced by the mystery appeal. One does not know what one gets and for many, the anticipation of the delivery works a certain amount of magic. It's not something that I do very often and if I did, it's usually for Japanese food and it's more of the fact that it allows me to sample what's good for the day/week rather than getting a surprise.

Maybe I'm lacking in the spirit of adventure in respect to this. I don't really like surprises (still saying this even though I'm generally willing to try weird stuff) and I want to know what I'm going to eat.

No disparagement to Luca and his selection, but I guess this was just one of those meals which I didn't choose and turned out to be not too exciting.

Pumpkin flower fritters stuffed with cheese would probably be something that would catch my eye if it turned up on menu. I'm not sure how eating these were suppose to go but the flavors were mostly cheese and some bits of vegetable texture which didn't quite identify itself as anything. I noticed that the rockets looked a little tired. Lol.

Nice refreshingly tasty tomato hearts, a light and a creamy mozzarella. Maybe I didn't feel like Parma ham, but it tasted a little washed out. Definitely not a perky nuttish aroma which I was hoping for.

This was affectionately termed the kuey teow a la Papermoon. It was a mimic of a certain pasta dish which a friend had over at Paper Moon at Milan. The pasta was nicely al dente, tomato based sauce wasn't overly tart and there were chunks of scallops and some shrimps. I'm guessing that this didn't quite taste as good as the original since it was an attempt to duplicate. Sure didn't blow my mind there.

This is the first time for me with goose confit. I'm not expert with them, but I thought the meat was a tad too dry and lacked flavors of the bird.