Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Baan Khanitha & Gallery, Sathorn District, Bangkok

This restaurant (69 South Sathorn Road, Thungmahamek, Sathorn District, Bangkok 10120, tel : +66 0 2675 4200 1) came by a recommendation of a friend, who was also our unofficial day itinerary manager for this trip. In his words, eating Thai food at Baan Khanitha would be very similar to having local food in Long Beach or maybe Tung Lok. One generally gets a superficial representation of what people eat in Thailand, but the said representatives are reflective of the cuisine and are also well prepared.

The restaurant in the night was actually pretty charming. It looked like a wood furnished beach resort of sorts in the middle of the city with art pieces on display.

miang kham

We were first served with some miang kham, which was an appetizer. A Thai styled amuse bouche of sorts if you will. How this worked was basically, one picks a betel leaf and wraps the accompanying items on the side which included dried shrimp, peanuts, diced lime, shallots, ginger, chillis and dried coconut along with a fish sauce and tamarind dip. Of course, I did the wrap without the ginger. This was surprisingly very good for most of us that we ordered seconds. The ingredients that were provided worked very well together in an explosive blend of sweet, salty, sour and spiciness with a nutty element.

rice crackers

Another appetizer which we ordered was crispy rice crackers with a sweet, sour and spicy paste.

pandan leaf chicken

The pandan chicken was decent.. The nicely browned chicken was well cooked and tasted juicy.

deep fried prawn cakes

Another deep fried starter were prawn paste cakes. I think they would have made pretty good bar snacks and certainly did their part in keeping our mouths busy while waiting for the other dishes to be served. What I appreciated about them were that none of the fried stuff we had were overly greasy.

grilled seafood

Here's a grilled seafood platter which featured their gigantic river prawns, regular prawns, squid and crayfish. I'm kinda enjoying the fact that the common crustaceans here are generally bigger than the ones back home which tended to be smaller and more expensive. Nothing very exciting here except for the river prawns and crayfish which I liked better than the squid which suffered from the lack of char aroma and grill marks.

stir fried broccoli

This was the plate of obligatory vegetables for the evening which tasted pretty much like how they looked.

tom yam goong with coconut milk

We had opted for two renditions of their tom yam goong. This white version was very good. The sour and spicy flavors were heavily bolstered by a rich coconut flavor which resulted in a slightly more viscous consistency and reminded us of Thai green curry. Each of their tom yam goong came with two river prawns as well. Would definitely love to come back for this again.

tom yam goong

The red rendition of the tom yam goong tasted clearer, but it also had a more identifiable, yet almost subtle flavor of the prawn heads. Nicely done here.

roasted duck curry

The sweetish, hint of sour and spicy duck curry from Baan Khanitha was interesting. It contained certain things which I hadn't had in curries before. Besides duck, there were grapes, pineapple, eggplant and those curious looking baby eggplants which looked like green peas. The texture of those little green balls were crunchy with a hint of bitter.

omelette with minced sausage

Their non-excessively greasy omelette came fried with a nice chewy crust. I guess it was that nice browned crust that elevated this from the usual fried egg.

mango with sticky rice

I've seldom, if ever, have had this Thai dessert. So I just had to just order them since I was here and I guess it was pretty good. The coconut infused glutinous rice was soft and sticky, textured with crispy rice over the top while the mango was juicy and sweet. It would have been better with a stronger citrus, but I'm not complaining.

You & Mee, Grand Hyatt, Bangkok

This was a casual cafe (494 Rajdamri Road, Grand Hyatt Erawan Lower Lobby, 10330 Bangkok, Thailand, tel : +66 2 254 1234) that we hit for a quick lunch after we've checked into our hotels. As might be surmised from the name, You & Mee does noodles and quite a lot of it judging from the menu. That was mostly what was available.

I got a bowl of their beef kuey teow in thick soup. It was pretty decent bowl of beef rice noodles with salty meatballs and a savoury sweetish broth which perked up from the dried chilli powder that they had provided on each table. What made this regular bowl of beef noodles more enjoyable were the little dishes of deep fried pork rinds which they had provided. These fried bits were crispy, surprisingly light tasting and made good add on to soak up the broth for extra flavor and texture.

I wouldn't mind coming back again if I'm in the vicinity. Even if it's just for their thick and pulpy cantaloupe juice.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

SIN -> BKK and BKK -> SIN on SQ Economy

I'm guessing by logical deduction that airplane food must have gotten better over the years, but they still don't taste very good. In fact, the poached eggs that they served over on the flight to Bangkok was just weird. But I guess I shouldn't expect too much over massed packed microwaved food. Stay tuned for eats at Bangkok.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Gantetsu from Ramen Champion

Here's a bowl of special miso ramen sans ginger from Gantetsu, the guys who're representing Hokkaido styled ramen down at Ramen Champion. For some reasons, I had always had the impression that I never liked miso based ramen and hence, seldom if ever ordered them. With this experience, my perceptions of them have changed a little and the fact is, I do not dislike them. In fact, the thick and savory miso broth which was mixed with that knob of butter turned out to be quite good for me. It's now probably more of the fact that I prefer tonkotsu over these.

Yes, there was definitely the tender charshu that featured stratas of fat that disintegrated as you chewed them. There were some menma, negi and a healthy portion of corn as well along with an unimpressive ajitama. The noodles were chewy the way I liked as well. I wouldn't say that I've become a convert to a fan of this particular style, but at least I'll be more receptive the next time an option presents itself.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A blue swimmer crab burger from De Burg

Well, this turned out to be some kind of crab rendition of a sloppy joe from De Burg. I think there was suppose to be salted egg yolk in there, but the minced crab meat fillings which came in a pleasant creamy dressing with a hint of pepper had only the slightest bit of salted egg flavor. I must admit that I couldn't really identify what else went in there and while this burger of theirs didn't quite suck, it didn't exactly make me want to come rushing back for more again soon. There was actually quite a bit of minced crab meat in there and the whole thing was so light that it went down in short minutes.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Inaho's Kitchen Bar, Duxton Road

I've been meaning to update this post for a while, but have been caught up in the past few days with work and the blood soaked feud between the Lannisters and the Starks.

Inaho's Kitchen Bar (60A Duxton Road, tel : +65 9090 6948) is run by a disarmingly curious/friendly proprietress Miho, whom has been living here for the past sixteen years. Curiosity got the better hold of me and I asked about the establishment's clientele and it was mentioned that about 5% at an approximate, wasn't Japanese. When we asked what was the English in the menu for, her three word response was 'sometimes ang moh'.

We ordered up a bunch of dishes to try and I'd have to admit that the home styled preparation was definitely up my alley. Being both a kitchen and a bar, the food that they served did go pretty well with drinks.

cod roe cream omelette

First up was an almost scramble egg light omelette that was doused in a cream mixed with cod roe. The flavours of the roe were robust in that ethereal cream and we pretty much wiped the plate clean with an extra portion of their freshly toasted sliced baguette.

gyu tan

I couldn't resist having a shot at their chewy pan fried cow tongue which was served thinly sliced and beefy tasting. The portions were rather small though. Of course I wished there were more.

grilled squid with ponzu & mayo

I couldn't taste any grill off their grilled squid. In fact, the mollusc tasted like it was braised. To which I really didn't have any complains. The pairing of grated daikon along with their ponzu dressing and heavy drizzle of mayo perked flavours up a couple of notches.

black pepper Hiroshima oysters with bamboo shoots

Miho mentioned that these fat oysters were from her place of birth. They were the largest Hiroshima oysters I've had. Even after they were cooked, these oysters were still a literal mouthful for me. Good enough for returns for sure.

sauteed pork with kimchi 

The sliced pieces sautéed pork actually packed more sodium than spice but I guess this was really just bar food here. Or maybe Japanese kimchi wasn't meant to pack as much punch as the Korean ones? Apart from the lack of the kimchi flavour, this was pretty enjoyable and would have been great to eat with rice.

I'm was favourably disposed towards this hideout. Am going to consider coming back again.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sin Kee Famous Chicken Rice, Mei Ling Food Centre

I had only recently learned about the presence of this particular Sin Kee chicken rice (Mei Lin Food Centre #02-22, Blk 159 Mei Chin Road) stall after having eaten a number of times at the "other" one down at Queenstown which I had thought to be the old stall relocated from the old hawker at Margaret Drive. Whew, that was a long one.

This place turned out to be noticeably better than the previously mentioned location. The chilled meat from the boiled chook was probably slightly more tender, easier to suck off the bone and the savory sesame and soy sauces were probably tastier than the other. The rice however was good that one could simply eat them without the chilli. It had one of the rare winning combination of being greasy enough and yet, light at the same time while being infused with sufficient flavor. It wouldn't be difficult to find an excuse to come back.

Update: 19/08/2011

We returned for a second consecutive day of lunch and this time round, we topped the order up with a side of boiled greens (nai bai). Crunchy stemmed greens with leafy tops that held up their delicious sauce that it was drenched with. This time round, I managed two plates of their rice with nary a drop of chilli and not to any big surprise, it was still all good for me. I guess the broth that was used for cooking must have gone through the painstaking removal of excess grease for the rice to be so well flavored without being heavy. None of that garlic scented burps after lunch as well.

Yes, it's been a while since I've been excited over a chicken rice stall. This one is just gonna be tough to beat.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Basilico, Regent Hotel

We first noticed Basilico (1 Cuscaden Road, Level 2 The Regent Singapore, tel : +65 6725 3232) more than three years ago when we first visited Tenshin. At that time, the place was boarded up for renovations. It has taken us quite a long time to come to this place and I'm actually quite glad we made it.

Weekday dinners come in the form of semi buffet. One gets an order of a main and the antipasti along with desserts are there for you to gorge yourself with.

I don't eat as much as I used to, so I am generally more selective these days. It was a little bit of this and a little bit of that. And I gorged myself in quite a few pieces of Gorgonzola blanketed with generous portions of truffle honey. And yes, I enjoyed myself while at that. The vine ripened cherry tomatoes were flavorful, it's nice to help myself with as much asparagus wrapped in Parma ham as I felt like eating and they had a pretty good Bailey's creme brulee at the dessert section.

We ordered the grilled Angus tenderloin with shaven truffles from the menu. The beef, was excellent and nicely timed medium rare. The truffles, were wasted on it. If I had to gripe, I only wished that the surface was a little more charred for texture and aroma, but I'm really not complaining here. The meat was accompanied by a triangle of polenta which I really liked. Beats old boring small potatoes....haha.

The pan seared foie gras was excellent, came accompanied with Amarena cherries and what was described as Riesling wine gelatine. The latter didn't really appear so gelatinous to me and tasted quite amazing with on the crispy toast and truffles. I'll be damned if I don't order this again the next time I come. But then again, it'll be a damned if I do and damned if I don't situation since I would love to try something else on the menu.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Taste Paradise, ION Orchard

I've finally got to visit the much talked about Taste Paradise (2 Orchard Turn, #04-07 ION Orchard, tel : +65 6509 966) , the flagship restaurant of the Paradise Group. This place was a little pricier than I had expected, even for dim sum. While the food was quite tasty, the cost of eating here didn't quite commensurate against the taste for regular visits. Not when there are plenty of other more affordable options around.

century egg with lime sherbet

These spoonfuls of chopped century eggs came with coarse bits of ice and were more like granitas rather than sherbet. It was also quite sour and tasted much less interesting than I had imagined. I'm positive that they're something I will not be ordering again. The execution was just poorly thought out.

har gou

The har gous from this place were decent, but I really couldn't say much more about them. Somehow, I was expecting better from a place like this.

steamed prawns and golden mushrooms wrapped in seaweed

The steamed prawns wrapped in seaweed were quite good. The prawns were fresh and crunchy and the pairing of the savory superior sauce with seaweed simply clicked. The bonus for me here was that I like golden mushrooms as well.

steamed chicken claws with black bean

Not a mediocre rendition of steamed chicken claws here, but I know I've had better. The flavor of the black beans were sadly lacking. They looked and tasted like there were there for decoration rather than flavor.

siew mai

The dainty siew mai was again like others, pretty decent. I can never help but to compare these dumplings against the memorable ones.

foie gras

I like foie gras. These were pretty okay. I can understand that since this item is probably not their forte.

la mian with truffle oil and bacon bits

Yes, I've been reading on how truffle oil are brewed through food alchemy. That doesn't stop me from liking the aromas and the truth is, their noodles were firm and provided very nice texture for both chewing and slurping. And there's truffle oil and bits of crispy bacon in there.

char siew sou

I think here lies a decent rendition of char siew sou. The pastry was soft and packed a generous portion of the hot and sweet roasted pork and sauce. The true masters of this light and delicate skinned pastry, at least in ION, are however found seven floors below.

steamed pork ribs with black bean

Again, the black bean in the steamed pork ribs seemed more for presentation than flavor. These were okay, but I would not consider ordering them again if I came back.

duo of roasted pork belly and duck

Not bad, but didn't blow me away there.

X.O. sauce stir fried chee chong fun

These rice rolls took a very long time to arrive after repeated reminders. They were actually not bad, but the sauce a little too damp than I'm used to.

salted yolk custard buns

Everyone creates a rendition of these buns these days. I've to admit that the ones here in Taste Paradise are pretty good with a nice balance of custard and yolk.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King, Orchid Hotel

I only managed to get in here (1 Tras Link, #01-19 Orchid Hotel, tel : +65 6636 0855) on the second try. The first time round, we were turned away with the reason that they had run out of broth at 2pm and had to close early for the day. To be honest, I wasn't really impressed by Keisuke's first joint at Parco with their prawn based broth. But this was a specialized tonkotsu joint so I toed the line and joined the queue because I simply had to find out.

Here's a serving of the "special" option of their ramen which included shoyu egg with semi molten yolk and wood ear fungus. The most obvious element of the tonkotsu broth served in this establishment are the little chunks of lard floating in them. The flavors were clean and creamy and didn't taste excessively heavy in spite of the fat that was in the broth. There was the option for the level oiliness and how hard the noodles are to be done. Their hard noodles were chewy and right up my alley in terms of texture.

So what else was happening here? I find myself liking their large and more thinly sliced than usual sheets of charshu. Having free flow servings of their bean sprouts which made good munching while waiting for the noodles to be served and those chilled hard boiled eggs are definitely an appreciated attraction there. Will definitely be back to check out the black and red options they have for the ramen.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Hinoki, Cross Street

This was a first visit to Hinoki (22 Cross Street, #01-50/53 China Square Central, South Bridge Court, tel : +65 6536 7746) based on a recommendation from a friend. I thought the food was pretty good. Not that I'm an expert with all that stuff that the friendly men behind the counter with sharp knives and blowtorches were trying to stuff me with. One of whom was Lawrence Chia, sibling to Ronnie Chia of Tatsuya at Goodwood Park Hotel.

As usual, I have difficulty identifying some of the fishes that I've had over the course of the omakase, but I've labelled those that I had been able to tell. There were so many things which we had. From memory, the outstanding items that lingered were the fresh tasting chilled oysters, a fatty grilled tuna collar, the awesome skewer of beef which name is lost to me, the nicely torched foie gras over amaebi and the mekajiki toro from both the sashimi platter and the sushi with yuzu salt.

Was it all perfect for me? I suppose I would have enjoyed it more if there was uni. I've to admit that I didn't quite enjoy the bits of ginger on the aji sushi. But hey, that was something I should have indicated at the start so I only have myself to blame. In retrospect, I think impressions have been made to the point that I wouldn't mind a return trip here.

I just wish these things were more affordable.

some spicy octopus thingy

oysters in ponzu

fugu mirin boshi

sashimi platter

grilled tuna collar

lobster mentaiko yaki

some beef, I forgot the name....sublime stuff

daikon with white miso

shima aji

hotate with spicy mayo

mekajiki toro with yuzu wasabi salt

foie gras with amaebi


aburi toro



miso soup with lobster head

amaebi with bonito flakes


champagne grape and yuzu sorbet