Sunday, May 27, 2012

Casa Latina, Waterloo Street

I've had this recent bout of craving for Mexican food after a recent disappointing experience. Hence, Casa Latina (42 Waterloo Street, tel : +65 6884 6929).

We were pretty intrigued by their Casa Latina melted cheese starter which was basically mozzarella cheese in a hot stone bowl with a lightly spicy green sauce (yes, it was laced with coriander/cilantro). The cheese was melted, hot and gooey and one could just basically scoop them into tortillas that came along on the side and carefully slide them into the mouth. The bonus came from the burnt cheese that were at the bottom of the bowl.

The Jarocha seafood soup turned out to be another pretty random well made choice. To be honest, it was kinda hard to discern the flavors of the soup. If I had to, it was savory, umami and spicy altogether in a robust broth. And in spite of appearances, it didn't taste of any tomatoes as I had initially suspected might and the heat does pack a bit of punch. Very good stuff. Will order them again if I come back.

It was a pity that the starters filled us up much more than we had anticipated. It could have directly influenced how I felt about the enmolada poblana which was my first time having mole. The flavors were a mixture of mild sweetness, spice and a hint of pepper in there somewhere amidst a pronounced chocolate body. The shredded chicken that came in the fried tortillas were really just shredded chicken. This dish was really about the mole. And the taste did become monotonous after a while. What it did remind me a little of, was the sweet sauce from chee cheong fun.

And there, more green cilantro flavored sauce ladled over their crab enchilada. This thing was really loaded with shredded crab meat. I couldn't say that it was close to the best crab I've had, but a lot could be mentioned about the generosity of the portions of said meat. Honestly. Very tasty refried beans on the side as well.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Battle Sisig

No, there won't be any Alton Brown styled motormouth commentary from me here, but here's a look between the sisig from Gerry's Grill (bottom) and 7107 Flavors (top).

I have to say that the rendition from 7107 wins hands down for both flavors and texture. The latter attribute of which can obviously bee seen from the sliced chilli and chopped onions along with bits of unknown cartilage things and thickened by a raw egg beaten over as they served the hot plate. There was also a whole lot more flavors going on.

As much as I liked some of the other items at Gerry's the sisig simply tasted burnt and it looked like it was just minced meat, some onions and garlic.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Bilbao Restaurant and Gastrobar, TripleOne Somerset

The name of this Spanish restaurant (111 Somerset Road, #02-16 TripleOne Somerset, tel : +65 6737 0150) reminded me of the uncle of a certain furry footed individual that bore an almost indestructible ring of power into the volcanoes of a bleak and desolated land. It also actually happens to be a name of a city in Spain.

This was a serving of octopus with olive oil, salt and paprika on sliced potatoes. The simplicity of the preparation allowed the natural flavors of octopus to savored, enhanced by the ubiquitous crystals that the world harvests from the seas and adding dimension with the help of the sprinkled spice. I rather liked these as they were tender and chewy at the same time.

I didn't remember the name of this particular tapas, but it was balls of goat cheese encrusted with crushed almonds with tomato jam (which was fruity and delicious by the way) and squid ink toast. I thought this was pretty good.

I didn't quite think too highly of the strips of fried potatoes. It was really the prosciutto and egg that really tricked me into ordering this item. Were they any good?  I suppose it was better than the regular ham and eggs. But I don't kid myself into thinking that these were anything along the leagues of jamon Iberico. The eggs were of course, just eggs.

Couldn't remember what this was called, but it looked like an unthemed mash up of more of those fried potato strips, some pretty well bodied and salty fried prosciutto, eggs, pan fried foie gras and a carpaccio of pork trotters which is the thin film of jelly just below the foie gras and diced root vegetables.

That carpaccio packed a surprising amount of great flavor that shone in spite of its feeble appearances and the red wine sauce on the side.

And there was an enjoyably chilled sweet rice and milk pudding dusted with some cinnamon.

As lackluster as this entry appears to sound, the food from Bilbao was actually pretty tasty. I wouldn't rule out coming back.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Pizza & Empanadas, Tanglin Halt Food Centre

Given my lack of familiarity with empanadas as a Latin American pastry, I couldn't say how the ones from this stall (48A Tanglin Halt Road, #01-34 Tanglin Halt Market & Food Centre,  tel : +65 8151 1406) stack up against the real thing. But I do quite like these (enough that we bought back another 20 pieces destined for the freezer) and I think they do make pretty tasty snacks that weighs up less on the guilt factor.

While there wasn't anything in particular that would make Guy Fieri exclaim "Dynamite!", the offerings from the stall resonated with the charm of street food, if not from the pastry's locale of origins. I did quite enjoy the light tasting mozzarela and mushroom fillings (which uses fresh button mushrooms, no less) and the minced beef with hard boiled egg empanada with a touch of spiciness that definitely worked there.

A little off the beaten track were also some deep fried spring rolls stuffed with chives and oysters (pretty decent there) and one with chilled durian puree. Both of which featured crispy skin that was well drained of excessive oil. Not too bad I must say.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Level 3 curry from Coco Ichibanya

This level 3 spiciness option from Coco Ichibanya's (313 Orchard Road, #B3-25/27 313 @ Somerset, tel : +65 6636 7280) beef curry packed quite serious heat. I seem to recall less of a punch from their tasty clam curry from previous visit, but then I might have gotten something that was one step down from the one this time. In introspect, there was definitely more viscosity and grain to the texture of the curry. I'm pretty sure I enjoyed it even though I wasn't really in the mood for something that was so hot this time. The "simmered to death" bits of stringy beef were pretty tasteless and a bore. That being said, I will refrain from commenting on how little meat it all had. Haha!

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Piedra Negra, Beach Road

For a long time, I had the distinct impression that this place (241 Beach Road, tel : +65 6291 1297) served Spanish food, but I've recently discovered that they do Mexican and a little bit of their menu are actually styled like tapas.

They had a nicely chilled and refreshing fruit guacamole that was whipped up with diced mango, grapes and sweet pomegranate seeds. I also detected a dash of heat which made the flavors a little more interesting.

The other nicely chilled item which we had was a wild salmon ceviche that came laden with strawberries and green apple, sliced green chilli and mango. There was a very robust burst of refreshing lime from the ceviche itself counterbalanced by sweetness from both the mango and strawberry. And then a dash of heat from the green chillies. Texture came from a balance of fruit, vegetables and meat. The one thing that I liked of it all apart from the fact that it made a good tropical weather eat was that the ingredients that they had used were really generous and fresh tasting.

We ordered up a deep fried fish and shrimp taco which we thought was pretty tasty. What I liked was that every element of the fillings in the wrap (including a base of refried beans) could be tasted individually and still, it was all brought together by a creamy and spicy cilantro based sauce. I know how I generally gripe about the weed that is the bane of my eating experiences, but I think this one was really pretty good.

And then, there was a flap steak which I didn't really know what to expect since the description on the menu only mentioned a certain black sauce and coarse salt. This stuff was actually pretty damn good in spite of appearances. The meat was tender and well naturally flavored. I think there was some of that fat flavor distributed in the steak as well. What impressed me was also the presence of a well time char that added that dimension of broiled flavor onto the meat. I wished it was larger though.

Apple pie dessert was pretty much what it was. It didn't taste like it came from a factory, but it wasn't much to talk about neither.

I think this is definitely Mexican for me. As much as it looks like a street side watering hole, Piedra Negra is definitely run by someone in the kitchen that can cook. It has certainly washed off that less than satisfactory residual from Baja Fresh so all's good. Will definitely come back.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

A Reuben sandwich from Brewerkz

I liked that there was actually enough pastrami that I could actually taste the spices in them. Even with the gooey cheese and sauerkraut. I don't think anywhere else locally comes close for pastrami on rye but I'll be very glad to be proven wrong. You hear me out there?!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Baja Fresh, Rendezvous Hotel

Hmmmm....this place (9 Bras Basah Road #01-03, tel : +65 6337 7300) turned out to be quite  disappointing. Their shrimp burritos were really a bore that was pretty much a flat tasting filler of rice with barely trace amounts of Monterey Jack and cheddar. Just in case you were wondering why I said it's flat tasting, it's because it's mostly rice and nothing else and the rice has a flavor quality I reserve the word 'indiscernable' to describe. There is a flavor, I just can't tell what it is and it doesn't have any depth.

For what they charged, I think it wouldn't be too much at all to expect a little more generosity with the shrimps in there. They're not exactly loading the roll up with premium fresh crustaceans in the first place. Quesadillas were very ordinary and I think Chili's did a better job at them. I suppose it was too much to ask for something decent out of overpriced fast food.

As little as I know about Tex Mex, I'm gonna file this for myself as Mexican't.