Sunday, December 11, 2011

Latteria Mozzarella Bar, Duxton Hill

Quietly and unbeknownst by many, The Jackson Plan fell apart and was replaced by Latteria Mozzarella Bar (40 Duxton Hill, tel : +65 6866 1988). Run by Beppe de Vito of Forlino and Il Lido. This new restaurant which was barely 2 weeks old had kept intact, the decor and even the land line from the previous establishment.

We were served some hard and crusy bread at the start. It would have been tough for my poor teeth and rather bland if not for the accompanying olive oil and vinegar.

We hit up a pan of their garlic prawns, chick peas and pesto. The prawns were fresh and crunchy and the flavors were surprisingly quite moderated. The garlic didn't dominate the palate like how most garlic prawns tend to taste and one could even taste the natural flavors of the chick peas.

This came from the specialty section of the menu which contains mostly mozzarella based cheeses in various forms. This was known as a stracciatella, which consisted of "rags" of mozzarella with burrata cream. Heaped on top of roasted zucchini and topped with bottarga. I liked the idea of serving the cheese in this manner, but the actual dish fell a little short as there was vinegar in the zucchini and the flavors of the creamy cheese was outstanding. This really just relegated the "moderated" portions of bottarga to second or third place. I could hardly taste them.

We ordered the Latteria mac and cheese pretty much for the novelty of having mac and cheese baked and served in a squash. The fact that it has four cheese in them helped, but the flavours of the cheeses were very subdued to the point that it tasted just milky. I could only positively identify the mozzarella on top. Lol.

Portions were extremely generous. I do mean extremely. What really shone for this particular bake, was actually the pumpkin which was nice and naturally sweet.

As usual, we were bought in by their smoked mozzarella risotto with black truffle puree. No prizes for guessing what made us order this. The risotto turned out to be the better of the mains which we ordered. I guess it was because this was simply a nice savoury blend of flavors that were buffed by the truffle puree and smokey accents of the mozzarella. Said flavours were saved from being overly monotonous by the rockets.

At this point, were already quite stuffed. We couldn't even finish the mac and cheese. It was quite a testimony to their lemon panna cotta that we still managed to finish most of the dessert in spite of the huge portions. The texture of the panna cotta wasn't so wobbly, but rather heavy and creamy. The flavours were milky and light and very much aided by those balsamic vinegar strawberries.

Wouldn't mind coming back to try more of their cheeses.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

This happened on 20th November

Yeap, I just got married. Thank you all that turned up. I'll be busy for a while with more activities so......

Monday, November 14, 2011

Tenderloin and oyster set from Saboten

It seems that this wasn't the first time that Saboten had these seasonal oyster promotions where one could order sets of their tonkatsu paired with oysters. And pretty large oysters they served here, expertly breaded and deep fried to the point where it wasn't excessively greasy and the crust maintained crisp throughout. These large oysters that are on their seasonal menu now were large, fat, creamy and juicy. These must be Hiroshima oysters right?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Itacho, itacho, itacho.......

I've to admit that Itacho Sushi makes a very good quick fix for Japanese food. It wouldn't be the type of place where one gets top notch items, but we do get what we pay for. That being said, one also does get some of the fun stuff that might not be altogether a traditional item from Japanese foodlore, but is probably very much contemporary menu items tempered from a loose basis of the rich history of Japanese cuisine.

My ususal/boring selection of ankimo again. I love this stuff.

Smoked duck croquettes which wasn't too spectacular for me. Lacked much of the smoked duck flavors.

This is one of the fun stuff that I was mentioning above. Deep fried oysters with udon. I was initially quite apprehensive since it was fried oysters and I haven't had much that was really worthy of mentions. These ones were surprisingly decent. The oysters were coated in a light batter, fat and not dried out. Not tempura styled. But still tasty. The second surprise came from the udon which looked to me like a bore. I mean, tomato sauce?

The tomato sauce, which wasn't of any pre-made variety was actually pretty damned good. It was honestly, a very surprising enjoyable blend of tart, garlic, sweetness from the onions and a healthy dash of accompanying heat. I liked it even though the noodles weren't as QQ. I think what mattered was that the sauce tasted fresh.

The tempura ebi sushi with curry powder was served literally. But I was glad that they tempura-ed the shrimp much better than I was expecting out of a crowded main street joint like this.

Engawa. Cheap, greasy and not too bad.

I'm not sure what kind of wagyu Itacho uses, but it was definitely a passably decent aburied sushi. One notices the nice fatty marbling.

Inari pouchs are a guilty pleasure for me. This spicy sakura ebi variety that Itacho did didn't really taste spicy at all. In fact, the dominant flavors came from the sweetness of the beancurd skin. The unexpected burst of flavor, came from the dried or toasted sakura ebi. That was nice.

Their aburi foe gras sushi wasn't what I had in mind. The slice of foie gras was a little too thin. Any possibility of a creamy innard was lost. To be fair, the torched crust was nicely done.

Another of those fun stuff were their stuffed tamago. These ones were stuffed with curry mayo lobster. It wasn't a particularly spicy curry actually. It tasted more creamy and the textures from the bites did unveil little chunks of lobster. Maybe it was crayfish. I couldn't tell.

Another fun sushi of mayo lobster on a sake roll.

Next fun stuff, tobiko and cream cheese. This was quite nice.

Another guilty pleasure. Figuratively. Though there really isn't any of that guilt element in there.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Whole pork fillet tonkatsu and tempura asari from Tampopo

It seems that every time I get to visit Tampopo, these guys would come up with something new on their tonkatsu menu. The foie gras stuffed rendition which I had from the last time seemed to have become a permanent item on menu now. There's been so much of items on the menu that I believe haven't actually ordered anything twice from their selection of fried pork cutlets. This time round, they seem to have come up with one for what looked to be the whole tenderloin for a small pig!

The nicely golden brown breaded fillet was pretty much how I expected to taste like and I must say that it was quite a bit of pork there. The lean meat didn't resonate with much flavors, but was decided quite tender and juicy. Sauces and dips on the side compensated for the minimal flavors, which was really the only thing lacking about this item. Nothing that a little squeeze of lemon or a dip of shoyu or ponzu dressing couldn't fix.

We got an order of the asari tempura for novelty's sake. They tasted pretty much like how they looked and the tempura batter was nothing to write home about. For those few clams that arrived, didn't represent any value from what the restaurant charged for them.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lee Kui (Ah Hoi) Restaurant, Mosque Street

This restaurant (8/9/10 Mosque Street, tel : +65 6222 3654) is an institution for rustic Teochew food.

pork aspic

We started off with an order of pork in aspic. Little chunks of pig trapped in a chilled gelatinous stock. This would be considered an Asian cold cut of sorts which is unfortunately, not commonly found anymore. I was glad to discover that the flavors of the stock could be found in the jelly surrounding the meat.

liver rolls and prawn balls (hae cho)

The next dish that was to quickly follow were assorted deep fried rolls of liver and chestnut along with prawn balls. I was expecting more liver-y flavors from the liver rolls, but the balance of flavors turned out quite moderated. Both the rolls and balls were pretty tasty and weren't excessively greasy.

Teochew styled braised duck

There was also a plate of braised duck in dark sauce which is one of the hallmarks of Teochew cuisine. It was fairly tasty, but I wouldn't say that it's any of the better duck that I've had.

oyster omelette

The oyster omelette was a winner here. Unlike the common variety that one can find in hawker centres, there isn't any flour involved in the omelette. It was just a hundred percent slab of fried beaten egg topped with semi-cooked small fat oysters and spring onion leaves.

sea cucumber stuffed with minced pork patty

The texture of the sea cucumber was a little chewy, but no real complains here about this dish. At what the restaurant charged, I am guessing that they aren't of the top tier quality.

cold crab

Cold crabs were pretty good. The flesh was a little stiff from the cold, but tasted sweet. The bodies were filled with heady tasting crab fat.

orh nee

Dessert was another trad item of yam paste with sweetened pumpkin and ginko nuts. I think there was a lack of lard and fried shallots in there for the aroma, but I guess it was still one of the better ones outside of a pricey Chinese restaurant.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A second take on Ikkousha

The pictures on the menu of Ikkousha's charshu ramen seemed to suggest large sheets of ham like charshu similar to what they have at Keisuke's Tonkotsu King rather than these thicker sliced pieces of meat that they had actually served. Even though I am not complaining, I need to admit that they didn't do as nicely in the department of pork in comparison with Gantetsu (which had excellent soft sliced charshu by the way) or even Tetsu. Still the volume of meat was almost on par with the servings of the not so chewy noodle in a bowl that was laden to the brim.

Yes, I think their Hakata styled noodles here was a little of a let down as they weren't as chewy as I would have liked. The broth tasted thicker than I remember it from the first time and to expand on my thoughts on their particular brand of tonkotsu broth, was really tastier right at the start as soon as you had your first mouthful. The strength of this stronger and smoky tasting rendition however, might not have held out in a test of time against a more regular broth that feels almost "clearer". This particular strength of theirs in terms of a robust flavor wore off pretty fast if one ate too slowly once the weight and the singular dimensions kicked in.

The ajitama today tasted like plain boiled eggs!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tetsu from Ramen Champion

I've been hearing quite a bit of mention on the Very Rich Special Paitan Tsukemen from Ramen Champion and curiosity got the better of me. What is suppose to be special from this stall is a rich viscous broth that was made from pork, chicken and seafood. I really couldn't identify any of the former two flavors as the dominant one was a smoky bonito base that wasn't really very different from the uobushi tonkotsu from the defunct Kusabi. Tetsu just created a richer version in tsukemen style.

I did enjoy this more nonetheless, even if the thick firm noodles felt a little sparse with only a single slice of charshu and tiny strips of menma. The dispenser with the light dashi stock that could be added to the remaining dipping broth would have been a better idea for me if not for those blazing spotlights.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Jellyfish in my ramen

Here's the hiyashi chuka from Baikohken. And what I didn't expect to find in the cold ramen today were chilled jellyfish. I suppose it made a lot of sense to put them in since they certainly enhanced to some extent, the textures of the already springy cold noodles together with the crunch from the shreds of cucumbers. It was certainly fun to eat for that and their unassuming agi tama tasted much more flavorful of the soy sauce that the looks might suggest. The generous slices of almost tuna like charshu were enjoyable as well.

Based on my somewhat limited experience with hiyashi chuka, I'm going to rate this as my second favorite because the number one spot sealed the deal with a sesame based sauce which I prefer over the shoyu variety that this was.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Dry ba chor mee sua from Yan Kee

The specialty from this stall (21 South Bridge Road, BK Eating House) apparently, is their minced meat noodles that uses mee sua rather than the commonly served options of mee kia or mee pok. That was really the main difference there apart from the fact that there wasn't any sliced pig liver and the default portions were definitely small for a hungry person at $3.50 a bowl.

So how did that went? It turned out to be pretty good and I liked it. Having used mee sua instead of the other noodles seemed to allow the flavors of their brand of mixed sauce to be absorbed rather than just being coated over the surface of the noodles. The flavors that stood out were the vinegar and some heat from the chilli. Excellent post drinking snack it made too. Certainly wouldn't mind eating them again if I were round the corner, but I still think they're a little pricey for such puny portions. The fish balls that they're selling look pretty big, so it'll probably be that for the next time.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Oso revisited

This was an overdue visit back to Oso. Have been wanting to come back for quite a while. Strangely, the service was almost exactly like how it was in the previous visit. A little splotchy, but not enough that I would make a fuss over. It was as if they wanted to not get just that little bit right.

Their servings of bread hasn't changed. I still like their cake-y textured foccacia and like the previous visit, I asked for seconds.

Italian mixed cold cut “affettati” served with shallot, onion and gherkin

We started off with a nice savory platter of cold cuts which included prosciutto di Parma, bresaola and some mortadella ham.

Pan fried eggs “tegamino” with black truffle purée and mixed cheese fondue

This was quickly followed up by a rather hearty combination of eggs and cheese with truffle puree and thin slices of crispy bread. I wouldn't have minded if it were regular non toasted bread as well. This would truly make a very awesome breakfast. But too bad Oso doesn't do breakfast.

With black truffle “tartufo” puree and mascarpone cheese

The flavors of the black truffle puree risotto and mascarpone cheese were very good in a simple and direct way. There was really nothing much but the savory factor apart from three prominent flavors of truffle, the cheese and pepper. This was marred by the fact that the rice was slightly under done and that the "splotch" of the service staff insisted that it was done just right and was suppose to be al dente. I suppose he either couldn't care less about a feedback or thought we didn't know anything.

Pan roasted sea bass with fennel and coffee and thick potato sauce

I made an uncommon decision to order fish off their daily menu. And I really liked this. The thick potato sauce was really a finely mashed potato puree and the coffee that went into this dish was barely registered. But the fish tasted fresh and juicy beneath the crisp of the charred skin.

Oven baked almond “Amaretto” liquor cake, Amaretti ice cream

Almond-ish dessert. Not too bad there.