Friday, August 31, 2012

Jaded


This was a second time at Jade (1 Fullerton Square, GF Fullerton Hotel, tel : +65 6877 8188) for dim sum. The first occasion was a couple of years back where it was a 2 month wait with reservations. Thinking back, it was actually kinda ridiculous considering that after these two visits spanned some short years apart, I had gotten the same impression that the food was really unexceptional for what they charged. I could easily go a la carte in many places which would fare better and cost less.

To gripe, they had a braised birds nest with truffle egg white in superior broth (a one order per guest item) which was really extra-ordinary with both the quality and quanity of the ingredents. It was pretty much a dressed up starch filler that one would normally douse with splashes of vinegar and a generous blanket of pepper. For credit that was due, the truffle flavoring did not come from truffle oil.

A lobster porridge they had with said porridge that was obviously not cooked with any lobster parts and a stiff piece of lobster flesh that was pretty much devoided of flavors from the crustacean. The other assortment of items on both visits had either been passable or ho hum with the exception of a truffle yam pastry which was largely elevated by the truffle oil.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wagyu steak and chicken rice dinner at Serangoon Gardens


We were actually heading down to iSteaks (56 Serangoon Garden Way, Stalls 5 & 6) seeing that it could be good and while waiting for the steaks to arrive, spotted Poh Poh Roasted Chicken rice located at the other end of the same coffee shop which looked to be a pretty attractive proposition. So what pretty much happened was an order of their chicken rice while the cow was making progress on its grill.

This turned out to be pretty good. In fact, I'm going to go on record and state that I wouldn't have an qualms picking this over Pow Sing nearby should I need a fix of chicken rice in the vicinity. The rice was moist, sufficiently greasy without being excessive and also grainy enough for texture. Their roasted chicken was pretty respectable. It's definitely one those where the chilli sauce (commendably decent) was an option rather than a requisite since the rice was good enough to stand on its own.


iSteaks has a lower grade marbling Australian Wagyu on menu and hence, a 200g for $35 fix was available. This tasted pretty much like the one that Aston's had, possessing a noticeably increase in buttery beefiness in comparison to a regular ribeye.  The meat that I had was a little inconsistent in doness from a shade of medium moving towards a juicer medum rare as I got along. I'm sure this stall gives Aston's a run for their money judging from the crowd, but it could be a little early for me to make that call.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

New Ubin Seafood, Sin Ming Industrial Estate


This was a bit of an unusual spot (Block 27 Sin Ming Road, #01-174 Sin Ming Industrial Estate Sector A, tel : +65 6466 9558) for a weekend lunch. For one, I hadn't known of its existence until quite recently even though I have had ba kut teh just around the corner. The location in the middle of an industrial park amidst vehicle workshops wouldn't quite advertise its presence as well.


Erdinger is served here.


We ordered up a tofu with golden mushroom which tasted pretty much like how it looked except for the gravy which didn't taste as bland as what one would expect the usual renditions of this dish.


What was pretty impressive was their deep fried fish eggs with chinchalok and sambal petai sauce. There was a tamarind base to the flavour of the viscous sauce. Tasted just a little sweet and with a burst of a sour that was very appetizing. That sour helped cut through the richness from the fried fish eggs with a richness of its own.


The unusual, but apparently pretty popular dish to order here was their beef, a platter of grilled and sliced USDA Choice ribeye. The preparation of the dish was rather impressive as the cooking achieved a very close medium rare with the meat suffering from little adulteration apart from salt and pepper. The wedges on the side was made in house of plain cut potatoes and there was also an excellent pile of sweet caramelised onions to go with. Not the best steak by any stretch, but a surprisingly good one coming from a seafood cze char place.


The order of the beef comes with a second component of a the dish, which was dubbed by the establishment as the heart attack fried rice. Essentially stir fried with dark soy sauce and fat trimmed off from the ribeye that are fried to a crisp. This was pretty tasty, but it tasted a lot more like claypot rice rather than any fried rice that I know of.


The next cholesterol bomb was battered and deep fried oysters in salted egg yolk. The flavors of the salted yolk were robust and the oysters were actually pretty fresh tasting. Would make excellent pairing with white rice if I may say so.


This would be the first component of their shovel nose ray which was stir fried meat from the ray with sliced bitter gourd in a sweet and garlicky dark sauce. The sauce was concentrated in flavors and would have been great with white rice. Which I'm glad we hadn't ordered any. The quality of this dish approaches the standards of some of the claypot items I've tried at Imperial Treasure, so I guess it says something about the guy sweating in the kitchen in this establishment.


We ordered a plate of nai bai to help alleviate the guilt from all the rich food that we had. The crunchy vegetables were light and clean tasting.


The last item that was served arrived after we were done with the other dishes. We had been informed earlier at the start that it would take a while. This, was the second part to the shovel nose ray which contains collagen rich gelatinous parts surrounding a proboscis like soft bone structure. Both the outside and the interior were filled with the light gelatinous matter which tasted very much like eating hashima or bone marrow in chicken essence. The last part came from the rich broth that the ray was steamed in which could have been what is normally passed as superior sauce in Chinese restaurants.


I think this place would be for keeps.

A diamond in August


So here is Lawry's traditional lump crab cake which we have never had before to accompany our prime rib dinner.  It's not as expensive as the delicious ones Morton's or even Wooloomooloo's. That could be because as soon as the brought it out, the smell reminded me distinctively of Sea Shanty's. After popping one of those breaded crabcakes into my mouth, I realised that these things tasted like Sea Shanty's as well! Albeit one that has bits of crab meat in them. I couldn't say that I was totally unsurprised.


Some eats from the food court at Platinum Mall


Here're some pork with rice from level 6 at Platinum Mall (222 Petchaburi Road, Ratchathevee, Bangkok 10400).

The above was a khao kha moo that came with generous bits braised in collegen, fats and tender meat from pork trotters (along with bits of bone) in a light and tasty umami sauce. This was delicious and the accompanying fish sauce with small sliced green chilli couldn't have been better pairing for an additional kick of flavors, though one must be generally cautious of the heat they pack.

Below was something that was described as red pork and I guess it was just how Thailand attempts char siew. This rendition on rice wasn't so impressive and had meat that tasted nothing like those I've previously tried at Otoko market.


Bird's nest was sold as well, but it wasn't flavored with pandan so it tasted a little unusual. I'm not sure much of it is real though since it wasn't expensive. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Zanotti, Bangkok


This was a pretty disappointing dinner. I suppose I had been expecting more since this was suppose to be a talked about place and I had the idea that if it's so much on the wire, there has to be something about them that was great. The only thing about Zanotti that looked appealing was the ambiance.

I didn't like the way starters were pre-made. The porcini and mushroom soup along with the eggplant with anchovies along with the amuse bouche were served so quickly that I hadn't even touched the first loaf from the bread bowl before they all had arrived. Lukewarm.  There was a primi piatti described as a creamy lamb pasta that was creamy in neither taste nor texture. The lamb had also lost all it's natural flavour drowned in rosemary. Drowning food in rosemary is incidentally one of my pet peeves.

Their Castelmagno cheese risotto wasn't something I could get exited about as well. It became a little two dimensional before long. This I suppose was not their fault.

There were too much wait staff standing around and service was at best, ineffective.

Such a pity and waste of time.
 

A death of Spiderman in Bangkok


I bought this Krispy Kreme donut solely because it was amusingly dressed up to look like Marvel's iconic web slinger. I had no idea what flavour it was. I just wanted to eat it. Hahahaha......


So there you go, I've taken a bite and drew first blood on the jaws of Peter Parker. I win.  It was a red chocolate coated donut with strawberry jam fillings.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Nara Thai Cuisine, Central World, Bangkok


This visit to Nara Thai Cuisine (7th Floor, Beacon Zone, Central World, tel : +662 613 1658-9) was unplanned. It was getting late and we were just looking for a place to dinner, quite desperately while roaming and getting lost in Central World. I'm going to venture a guess that it is largely targeted at either tourists like us and the locals that are a bit more affluent since it was a rather nice setup in a large mall in the middle of town. The presentation was more refined and food was pricier than what could be had in the streets or food courts.

It's kinda like eating at Grandma's.


The first item was basically a som tum (green papaya salad) with roasted pork belly. I don't remember if I've ever had them before, but these were pretty good in a refreshing tangy and savoury manner. The raw-ish looking green beans didn't taste as raw as it had looked while the roast pork, which was pretty ordinary, just added texture to the bed of crunchiness.


The menu described this as a sambal fried rice with caramelized pork. The bits of pork were definitely not caramelized were actually pretty soggy and boring. The salted egg however was a nice touch and the small fried shrimps on the top were thumbs up fragrant.


We had our first and only tom yam goong on this trip. As common as they are back home, these always seem to taste smoother in Thailand where there seemed more harmony in the sour, heat and sweetness.


And my favourite (still) Thai dessert, an order of khao neow mamuang. The mango was sweet with a hint of sour and juicy; paired with firm and moist glutinous rice in the coconut sauce. Some day, I'm going to try to make a full meal out of it.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Streetside roti










If anyone was wondering, these were quite commonly found in the streets of Bangkok. They are exactly the same fried pastry that is commonly known as roti prata in Singapore or roti canai in Malaysia. These pastries which are freshly fried in margarine have beaten eggs and banana inside the crust and are later topped with drizzles of condense milk and sugar. Pretty yummy.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Chandrphen Restaurant, Sathorn District, Bangkok


Chandrphen Restaurant  (1030/1 Rama 4, Toongmahamek, Sathorn, Bangkok 10120, tel :  02-287-1535-6, 02-679-7930-1) is an old school Chinese institution that has been operating for 4 generations. They apparently have a prestigious history behind them since their humble beginnings till this day which has earned them a Garuda emblem from one of the kings in Thailand.


One of the dishes they had on appetizer was the salt and pepper stuffed squids. The squids were stuffed with minced bits of chicken and the flavour came mostly from the bits of lightly fried garlic over the top. These slightly chewy squids would excellent beer snacks if I might say so.


A little salad of tropical vegetables on the side which we had apparently neglected to use except for the sliced cucumbers which served as a placebo cleanser after all the grease in the food. On hindsight, a squeeze of the lime would have been great on the squids.


The choice of carbs was crab fried rice. Even though I was hoping for chunky pieces of crab, the generous portions of shredded meat gave me little reasons to gripe.


There was also an order of some crab nuggets which are akin to what is commonly known as hae cho in Chinese cuisine. The only difference was that the fillings beneath the thin and crispy skin of beancurd sheets were crab instead of prawn.


The insides were packed with crab meat, diced water chestnuts and even bits of lard! Certainly the best crab nuggets of any sort I've ever had.


We had an order of har gou after seeing that the menu included dim sum, but after trying them, we knew we've had much better.


One of the signature items that Chandrphen Restaurant is known for is their half century famous barbequed chicken. It was a salt, garlic and pepper flavoured chicken with a delicious salty paste (can't tell what went in there) that really made the bird. While nothing mind blowing, it was a pretty good roasted chicken.

 
To add on, we had fish maw stir fried with eggs and bean sprouts. A dish what worked on a nice medley of textures from the separate ingredients combined and was probably the most lightly salted dish we had here.


Dessert was black sesame tang yuan in ginger soup. What we loved about it was the thin skin of the dumplings that threatened to burst and unleash the hot black sesame paste fillings when you bit into them. The other pleasant surprise was that the soup was made from spicy old ginger which warmed the stomach.

The variety of dishes here were quite astounding. We've just scratched the surface of what Chandrphen had to offer. This is going to be one of those places I'll look forward to if I visit Bangkok again.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Thai styled scotch eggs


These aren't actual bread crumbed and sausage wrapped scotch eggs as they are commonly known, but are very similar. The salty, spicy and lemongrass infused wrappings taste very much like otah or fish cakes with diced long beans and they come in various egg options, including miniature quail egg versions.

Unfortunately, the salted egg versions were an overload on the sodium since the skins were already pretty well salted and the double whammy with the eggs were really too much. They would have been great pairing with rice. Or beer. The century egg versions were however, a pretty good combination of flavors that worked.