Saturday, December 29, 2012

Delicious Boneless Chicken Rice, Katong Shopping Centre


I've been told about this particular chicken rice stall at Katong Shopping Centre (865 Mountbatten Road, #B1-85/87 Katong Shopping Centre) by some friends, but hadn't had the opportunity to come by until today.

As things would have it, this one turned out to be noteworthy based on serveral attributes. For one, the chickens that they served were rather meaty and weren't boneless at all in spite of their name. The meat was tender and reminded me more than a little of the ones at Ming Kee. Interestingly, the serving of the chicken was topped with crispy deep fried bits of garlic which was something that one simply doesn't encounter in other chicken rice stalls. They also had the saltiest seasame/soy sauce that I've come across.

Their yellow looking rice belonged to the camp where it was more subtle in the aroma but was unfortunately a little too dry from what I normally prefer. Fortunately, their chilli was up to the job as accompaniment. 

What I did find myself liking with special mentions was their creamy chicken livers and two very tasty soup options loaded with soft cabbages and the other, pig stomach. Most delicious cabbage soup served with chicken rice I've ever had. The option of having azhar (lightly pickled here) on unlimited refills scored for me as these guys used chunky pieces of pineapple which if you thought about it, were actually pretty good with chicken rice.

One can even order sides of char siew, roasted pork belly and lup cheong (with large chunks of lard) from them. I certainly didn't have room to try them all in a seating

I wouldn't mind eating here again at all if I find myself back at Katong. The aftermath felt rustically like a sodium and salt overload with overtones of garlic. Hearty and greasy if you would, but it would also mean that I wouldn't want to be having these very often. Certainly different from the revisitabilty of Sin Kee which is still the top of my list to date.






Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bakmie Jakarta by Jiak Bak Mee, Killiney Road


This was interestingly as I see it, an Indonesian and halal version of our local ba chor mee that uses minced chicken instead of pork. The place (117a Killiney Road) also claims that their noodles are hand made daily. Hmmm......

I ordered up one of their bakmie ayam specials which was really a little bit of everything that they had as options on menu just so that I could try them along with their curly noodles in ketchup manis. On first though, I was thinking that these noodles were pretty ok. I certainly would love a little more chew in them. After finishing up, I realised that I was so much into eating that I had totally forgotten about their home made chilli sauce that they had on every table.

Down to the toppings, the only item that I really thought was good were their beef balls. The crispy wanton was simply just that which I didn't really care for and the fried chicken was puny and little to write home about. The portions here were a little small for a hungry person and extra noodles cost a princely $1.50.

The other thing that I found myself liking that I had seconds was their soda susu. Which was soda with condensed milk. Yes, I do not think I've had them before and the condensed milk was really what sealed my decision for me there.

Would I eat here again? Sure, if I'm in the vicinity. The small portions here were still better than the Kolo mee stall down the road which costs more and comes in even smaller portions.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Indulging in some festive burgers from &Made


In other related news, I got suckered in by the promise of foie gras and lobster down in &Made. :p

How was it you ask? It was the same dry aged beef patty (still as good as I remember) from their B Burger that was retrofitted into their toasted sesame buns with options of either a surf and turf styled chopped lobster in mayo or a pan fried foie gras and some celeriac slaw. The former was poorly thought out since the flavors of the delicious beef masked all presence of the rather small portions of lobster. Honestly I was imagining a quarter or even half a roasted tail. That would have worked. Worked well!


On the brighter side, the foie gras topped burger was mouthwatering. I guess it had worked because there was enough of the liver to go around that their flavors oozed into the beef patty as you held them up between the buns and squeezed until the sandwich was short enough not to unhinge jaws. Decadent? Sure. The celeriac really was just texture.


And there was a hot caramel lava cake. Not bad, the supposed molten caramel heart didn't quite melt completely. Timing needs work. The crispy coated ice cream on the side was salted caramel.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Re-revisiting Eastern Chicken Rice


It's been a while since my last visit to Eastern Chicken Rice. Thanks to the declining standards of the food from Uncle Sim, I've manage to break out of the cycle of getting snagged before I hit the end of the food centre to get to this corner.


It was reassuring that this little stall still tasted like how I remembered it. There are no superlatives to be used here. Just the plain old competently done local favourite where I've pretty much said all there is to say. A trusty stall to get my fixes without frills.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Soya sauce chicken with barbequed pork rib noodle in Chinatown


Yes, this was from the ever esteemed Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle stall down in the food centre at Chinatown market. They had run out of char siew for the day so it was the bbq ribs on top of their tender and flavorful soya sauce chicken.

Comparing the noodles with the masters will only set one up for disappointment so I'm not going to be heading that way. What those were in fact, was pretty well done (not over or underdone), rather wiry and had some of that bite which I was looking forward to. Their chilli sauce was aromatic as well and the nicely caramelized sweet ribs were meaty to boot. If I had to gripe, it would be because they had ladled much to much liquids into a plate of dry noodles.

The queue at this stall was still healthy right in the middle of the day between lunch and dinner. Don't the people running the stall get to even rest?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ramen Keisuke Tori King,100AM


Much has probably been already said about Keisuke's Tori King (100 Tras Street, #03-15 100 AM, tel : +65 6604 6861) so I'm steering clear of any background behind the ramen-ya. What basially got my interest in this new joint was their third broth base (a chicken base this time, my only other experience with those was Marutama) that I am experiencing from Keisuke; the previous ones being the tonkotsu and even earlier, the "critically acclaimed" ebi broth.

Like the predecessor, Keisuke's Tori King provides several options to customise their bowl of ramen order for flavour, oil and noodle doneness. Free flow of spicy bean sprouts and hard boiled eggs are available as well. Here's a bowl of everything there is to include.

The Tori King ramen was a beast of it's own. For one, it was a lot less greasy in comparison with the Tonkotsu King. The broth was creamy and smooth with little particles and rich in the flavors of their chicken base. But I was a little disappointed with their hard option for noodles which bore little resemblance to textures that I had hope were closer to the Hakata styled ones by being less cooked. The chicken thigh which came with each bowl of their ramen had gone through an aburi treatment and was really fall off the bone tender.

The portions served here were in between what one gets from Ippudo and the generous Baikohken.

Now for the verdict. Let just say I wouldn't mind re-visiting or trying another flavor off the menu. At this point, I couldn't do much of a comparison with Marutama since that was quite a while ago, but these chicken based broth for ramen could probably be my number two in terms of favourites.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Pecori Japanese Egg Restaurant, Liang Court


If anyone is wondering at the peculiar name of the place (177 River Valley Road, #B1-50 Meidi Ya Food Court, Liang Court Shopping Centre, tel : +65 6339 1111), it's a kitchen counter adjacent to Ryoshi Sushi Ikeikemaru that specialises in Japanese omu rice.


Their soup of the day was a potato soup. It was creamy and had bits of cubed potatoes in it. Simple and comforting it was.


There were three basic sauces for the omu rice at Pecori. The mentaiko sauce was brimming with flavors of the seasoned pollack roe on a base of a rich creamy sauce. The richness of the sauce did feel heavy after a while, but something about its flavors kept us spooning mouth after mouth of the eggs, rice and sauce and shoveling them into our faces.


The demiglace sauce tasted pretty ordinary, but their accompanying hamburg was unexpectedly very good. It was really a thick ball of a meat patty that was stewed in a pot of gravy. The meat was not seared the least on the outside and had a bite texture akin to Chinese steamed pork patties. But the beefy flavors were very pronounced in here. In a good way. This was possibly the beefiest Japanese hamburg I've tasted so far.


Believe it or not, Pecori has fries that one can order on the side to stack more carbs onto the already carbo laden omu rice plates. This was probably little issue to the Japanese teenaged kids that were sitting beside us, wolfing both rice and fries down like they hadn't eaten for quite a while. Eating like they did for lunch for us was simply planning for a nap to happen. But their soft, soy sauce butter flavored fries which was probably not even French fried were very addictive. So addictive that we wiped an entire bowl out with relative ease even though there was already so much rice.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sarnies, Telok Ayer Street


This was quite a nice place (136 Telok Ayer Street, tel : +65 6224 6091) for an early day bite. It is unfortunately also quite out of my reach under usual circumstances, but I think they're open on Saturdays too. Coffee's decent, but the foam for the cappuccino was so insubstantial that it was measured by my eyes just marginally thicker than one of a rich latte. But it tasted better than it looks.


Sarnies as I read is a British slang for sandwich. It's quite strange that I was born in an era when children were mostly educated by people who had learnt the Queen's English and that I had spent some very formative years of my life growing up in pursue of "literature based" hobbies that are of English origins and I've never heard of such a term of theirs until very recently. Well, we all live and learn. This place seems to be well known for their sandwiches and even their friendly competitor acknowledges so.

Here's a look at their Australian grass fed steak sarnie with mixed greens, mushrooms and balsamic onions. I think it was ok. The meat was well done. I meant that as a description of the doneness and not as a quality of the cooking. Flavor from the meat was minimal and mostly imparted from the onions, dijon mustard and what I believe to be mayo. The state of the meat hence, was the connective tissue (no pun intended) to half a disaster in construction, considering that the bread was airy and soft and didn't quite do the job of holding a bunch of heavy fillings that were spilling out as I tried to rip of bits of sliced cow that couldn't be severed by my teeth. The chewy crust didn't help neither.

Maybe I'll try this again another time with a request for a less well cooked beef on rye instead.


The Sarnie's Fry Up was good. I loved that it was 2 eggs (at least), that the salty and crispy bacon were sodium glazed mouth watering and that the mushrooms were savory and tasty. Certainly enjoyed a difference of the warm juicy tomatoes were not burnt and tasted fresh, sausages that were meaty and macho, the airy toasts that were soaked in butter and the so excellent spicy beans that reminded me of chilli con carne. The ultimate platter of salt, protein, fat and vitamins with that swab of spice that was packaged into a breakfast of champions. For those champions hungover as well.


I liked the vibe from the people in this place. Their toasted buttered bread was a whole world of bready difference with the untoasted sandwich covers. Will definitely be back again.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Sandwiches at Nassim Hill Bakery Bistro Bar


Wow, I'm quite impressed with the sandwiches here (56 Tanglin Road, #01-03 Tanglin Post Office, tel : +65 6835 1128) so far and these guys do mean business when they claim artisanal bread; which is sadly not the case in many other establishments with business brains only capable of cashing in dated marketing words.

One of the things that really hit the spot for me was their signature Grimbergen Ambrée beer bread which was a winning combination of being in the state of dense, granularly coarse yet soft without being crumbly all at the same time. Those combined textures in my opinion made great holders for filling, in which a very decent job was done of their Reuben sandwich. Featuring warm sliced corned beef, enough Emmental that one could taste the nuttiness, sliced red onions and what tasted like a lightweight sauerkraut.

I would be remiss to neglect the mention of their their ham and cheese sandwich in between sliced raisin and walnut bread that wasn't quite the Grimbergen Ambrée beer bread, but delicious as well. Emmental inside too. If you haven't caught on already, it was really the bread here that was the star. Nicely washed down with some of their Grimbergen Blanche and a cappuccino.

Will. Be. Back.


Sunday, December 02, 2012

Omakase Burger, The Grandstand


I think I like the direction of that Omakase Burger (200 Turf Club Road, #01-05 The Grandstand, tel : +65 6763 2698) is heading. Which is making good burgers at a more affordable price point. These are by no means "standard fast food cheap" and them burgers were actually a tad small for my usual appetite. YMMV. But what I enjoyed about them are their blend of ground USDA Choice beef grilled into a medium rare to medium patty which was flavorful and very juicy to boot. The proportion of ingredients (mushrooms and onions!) with their deluxe cheeseburger was great as well and the salty melted American cheese came through it all between the soft buns they had used.

That being said, I thought there was certainly some room for improvement. The soft buns were actually a little too porous and light that the juices from the patty would soak through and turn them soggy. Truffle oil saved their fries. Let's hope this becomes part of an ongoing trend to raise the 'less expensive but still good' burger standards in this country.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Nam Nam Noodle Bar, Wheelock Place


Here's a mixed beef pho from Nam Nam Noodle Bar down at the basement of Wheelock Place. I must disclaim that I have not had pho in Vietnam and have no real basis for comparison except for our local Vietnamese joints. This was actually quite disappointing in terms of flavors from the broth. One could say it was a little bland. Coming from Annam (and by that virtue, Les Amis as well) I expected better quality control over the preparation of their ingredients. Sure the tripe was tasty and the miserable portions of sliced beef were nice and pink, but the briskets were rubbery and tough that I couldn't eat them at all. Is this how pho is suppose to taste like?

I would also recommend a pass on their Viet "drip coffee".  It didn't taste anything like it. I'm not sure I could bring myself back again even if I was curious about the bahn mi.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Smoke Shack, Republic Plaza

the New Yorker

I have been wanting to try the sandwiches at Smoke Shack (9 Raffles Place, #B1-06 Republic Plaza, tel : +65 6557 2214) for the longest time. Due to the cosmic alignment of their operating hours and the place that I work, it was really impossible for me to. Then chance presented itself one day.

I suppose I had been expecting to be impressed rather than just thinking that they weren't too bad. I wouldn't mind eating them again if the opportunity presented, but I guess we weren't left with "I need to come back again and soon".

Honestly, these guys are indeed on of the better sandwich places along with what I remember of Simply Bread. Sadly as well. Brewerkz still takes the cake for their pastrami fillings to date.

the Reuben

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Nasi Lemak Kukus, Upper Thomson Road


It's amazing how difficult it can be to find good nasi lemak rice these days. Most vendors today have either succumbed into sloth or subscribed to the religious fear of cholesterol causing their food downright bland and /or mediocre.

I'm not saying that Nasi Lemak Kukus (908 Upper Thomson Road, tel : +65 8222 9517) falls in either ends of the spectrum. I think they did a pretty decent job being somewhere favourable in between.

Their rice was moist and fragrant with the coconut, had a very decent & savory sayur lodeh and treated the ayam goreng in the correct manner that the meat wasn't overly dried out and fell off the bone with relative ease. I enjoyed their mutton rendang too, though their dry and very chewy paru goreng really wasn't my style at all.

I guess what else was attractive of it was that we got to serve ourselves (free flow of rice?) what we wanted and there were options for the sides. Their appeal altogether so far has gotten me to drop by twice. But all that came with a cost as well since it doesn't cost anything close to cheap for their food. Still I think this stall is doing something in the right direction.

Wok to Walk, La Rambla, Barcelona


We were to an extent, pretty amused by this dinner of Chinese food from a chain stall in Barcelona. Wok to Walk (95 La Rambla, Barcelona, tel : +31 02 06250721) does Chinese stir fried noodle and rice takeouts in those iconic little paper boxes that does not exist back home as a container. I don't think that people in China use them too, but I could be wrong. It was for the first time in our lives, eating with them.

How this place works is for the customer to select their choice of carbs from a small variety of noodle type or rice, followed by additional ingredients and then a sauce of choice. The bar of little ingredients looks like something from a pizza place, but seriously, most if not all Chinese food places don't even provide options to this level. This does and in a way, is great. And one shouldn't scoff at them since we had seen real Chinese cooking videos uploaded by tourist from the streets of Beijing and they cooked exactly like those street hawkers in China!

In any case, the food was actually reasonably tasty. No surprise considering the consistent queue and crowd that this joint generates even off the peak meal hours. Their hot sauce was expectedly a little milder than I had in mind, but the options of chilli that one could help themselves with resulted in a respectable heat more fiery than any chilli char kuey teow I've ever had.





I normally avoid faces in photos in here, but I thought these guys that were sweating behind the bar churning out endless orders of stir fried noodles looked amusingly bored.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Casa Guinart, El Raval, Barcelona


We walked by this location (La Rambla, 95 Barcelona, tel :   93 317 8887) a couple of times and noticed it because it looked notches better than most of the eating places in the vicinity and we remembered because it was just across from a Chinese food place that looked interesting. Not to mention too that it was located just beside Mercato San Josep where a certain very popular Bar Pinotxo can be found.

The other thing that piqued our interest was the progressive direction of the food which honestly, was not in abundance around this region. Food that looked a little more fun, welling from traditional roots.


We had some crusty bread rubbed in tomato and olive oil. Fruity from the oil and refreshing from the cold tomatoes that were stained onto the bread. It was a nice refreshing start for a meal.


Grilled squids from House Guinart were excellent. I would have preferred a little more char, but I guess the meat would also have turned out less tender than they would have wanted to serve.


Next came a platter of beans sauteed with diced jamón. The flavors came from probably a splash of vinegar and the smokiness of the ham that was cooked together with the legumes, brought together by some salt.


We were given a rather unusual knife for the food. The sharpened side was the straight side, not the curved. Most of the other people here still used the blunt curved end to cut their food.


We ordered seared chutoro for just to see how Casa Guinart does them. The flavors were decidedly very oriental with soy being a baseline note for the flavors. The insides of the tuna belly were fortunately still rare.


The tapas sized house burgers from Casa Guinart looked pretty interesting. I'm not too sure what went into them, but the flavors weren't as beefy as I liked and it was probably due to the heavy handed fruity/tart flavors that the makers tried to instill in them. I'm thinking it had to do with the onions, grain mustard and possibly the crystalline globules which I didn't know what it was. It was all a little too jam like for something that had beef and didn't have enough flavors of the cow as a balance.


The only thing that was truly disappointing came in the form of their baby lamb ribs. I was thinking grilled rather than breaded and deep fried since the menu describes nothing about how all their food is prepared. It just says baby lamb ribs. The flavors of the lamb were non existent and we were mostly chewing breading off bone that was fried in oil that had been sitting in the fryer for quite a while. We left it mostly untouched. The best part of this dish was their super airy aioli which was for dips.

These guys handled feedback quite graciously and didn't bill us for the lamb

Would I come back? Probably for some other things that I have yet to try.

Kapadokya, Rambla del Raval, Barcelona


It was a Sunday, many of the places weren't open and we definitely weren't interested in shops trying to rob us off more money than what it cost back home to eat paella. We had missed the opening hours for Suculent because we found out too late and in the end, ran into this really nice spot for kebabs (Rambla del Raval, 15, Barcelona). Just a 15 second stroll across the road right from our hotel. It seems that the Raval district is filled with kebab joints and I hear that they're pretty good.

It also didn't elude our notice that the name of this joint was a variant of Cappadocia.


The food here was affordably priced, good but not out of this world and came in hearty portions. Just what we needed after a series of disappointments of the dearth of options. If I could gripe, I only wished that their doner kebabs came in lamb options. But I wouldn't. The juicy köfte was skillfully spiced with enough flavors that didn't threaten the flavors of the lamb. It was such a pity that we only had one meal here and didn't have more time to explore the other similar joints of the neighbourhood.


Monday, November 26, 2012

My first taste of tapas in Barcelona

We stopped by this place, Cerveceria Baviera (La Rambla 127, Barcelona) right in the midst of the Ramblas. Touristy?  Sure, very. Atmospheric as well. Some of their bites were however pretty good though. The food was grounded, old school and a tad pricey for what they charged; but I didn't really have anything else to complain about. They were actually plenty on the options which was really what drew us in initially.

The grilled gambas were actually very tasty and so were the peppery blood sausages. The deep fried strips of potatoes coiled around shrimps were pretty good too.