Friday, May 31, 2013

Shami Banana Leaf Delights, Sembawang Road


Shami (349 Sembawang Rd, tel : +65 6754 3898) is a local Indian eatery of small fame up in the northen sector of this country that does a mean fiery red chicken masala with a spicy nutty paste. They used to be just a stall in the food court at Northpoint with a history for long queues. The food in recent times has become somewhat inconsistent. The same might be said for their queues. Not too far back, they setup up shop along Sembawang, somewhere just across the road from Khatib Camp.

The quality of the food I was told, is better here these days compared to the stall in the food court. Well, I'm not too sure about that. If this is an up in quality, does that mean that the one from the food court stall has truly fallen?

fish cutlet 

These balls of minced fish and potato were fairly tasty. As much as I'm avoiding comparison here, Samy's uglier looking ones are much better tasting than these.

butter chicken 

No complains about the butter chicken, but this will never beat Jaggi's.

Chennai cabbage?

 beans and beans

 briyani

All orders of rice comes with two choices of vegetables. The rice doesn't seem to be as good as I remember them. Those vegetables are apparently, nothing much to write home about neither.

mutton masala 

Kashmiri and cheese naan 

Naans are rather small serving, lack fluff and run of the mill. I suppose they're not so good with making these.

 deep fried fish roe

We loved those freshly fried fish roe. So much that after dinner, we did a portion for take away as after dinner snacks! Sadly, these seem to come by uncommonly these days.

gobi manchurian

While these stir fried cauliflowers are not the most memorable, I suppose they were okay.

the washdown

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Trattoria Gallo d' Oro, Central Mall

It was a quiet Wednesday evening down at Trattoria Gallo D' Oro (Blk 7 Magazine Road, #01-03 Central Mall, tel : +65 6438 8131) within the compounds of Central Mall. Luca of Bontá, perched on a chair near the entrance was in conversation, half watching any guest that might have appeared with his hawkish Stellan Skarsgård-like gaze.

Right till the point when the head chef Carlo Marengoni stood up and warm smiles broke out with 'hello's off the lips. They had probably meant 'benvenuto' as well. I hoped.

The website of the restaurant mentions northern Italian home style food. I'm not sure what was really northern Italian about it, but home style quite hits the mark. If you're still reading at this point, the portions of the food before the first plates are rather generous.

sliced pork loin with tuna mayo

This was basically vitello tonnato. Except that pork was used instead of veal and underneath, a salad. The sauce was rich and smooth, but remember, must share. Easily feeds three.

a misto fritto of sardines and calamari

We opted to leave out the prawns from their fried seafood plate so that we could have more of the calamari and sardines, the latter which was something they were known for. The fish was fresh tasting, had a crispy batter nicely salted and in summary - very delicious. The best part of the fry was the lack of excessive grease. I need to eat this again.

pappardelle with goose liver

Off menu was a goose liver pasta. We swapped the fettucine for pappardelle. Creamy and balanced off with spinach, it was served hot and a lot lighter than it looked. Good stuff.

sliced beef tenderloin sauteed with rosemary and spinach

I don't think beef is their forte here. Perhaps, I'm prejudiced with the treatment of bovine protein matter. And bias when it comes to the application of rosemary. I like my meat beefy and this was oiled with too much other flavors. It was in truth, a decently done up piece of meat, but I think this will be the last time I'm ordering sliced steaks that doesn't come with a Gorgonzola sauce in Italian restaurants.

strawberry panna cotta with cream pudding?

We pushed for a dessert in spite of being rather stuffed at this point. Strawberry panna cotta? It was really more of a regular panna cotta with a sliced strawberry and sauce. What really got me here was the spice that I tasted in the pudding. I think it might have been aniseed or licorice; faint and just enough presence to be felt without any dominating quality to the flavor. I liked it, I just can't tell what it was.

mystery diner "A"

Monday, May 27, 2013

Tsuru-Koshi Udon, IMM


Another udon specialist joint (2 Jurong East Street 21, #01-19 IMM). I like their kamatama udon which really trumps the one at Tamoya with a single ingredient. The one secret ingredient that the French use for their cooking. Butter. Uncomplicated and delicious.

Atsu atsu tan tan udon is not too bad as well with that moderated hit of spice and minced meat, but I'll skip the tempura the next time.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A durian Guinness milkshake from Udders


As odd as this combination sounds, it actually works. This was basically a combination of Guinness and the mao shan wang ice cream from Udders, if you didn't know. The bitter accents from the durian somehow got along with that of the stout. The taste was unusual for sure, but it worked.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A run in with white asparagus at Marché


Seems that the white asparagus season is upon us again. Marché has the asparagus offerings in almost all their stalls. Even a cream of white asparagus soup in their normally unchanging soup stand. It was actually pretty good with sliced pieces of the shoot. The flavors were rich from the cream and quite full of the sweet asparagus in spite of a very mundane look. A little Paremesan cheese and some spring onions were all that was needed to complete the bowl.


These guys also under tremendous order load, grill up one of the nicer budget steaks in town. The only problem with their rib eye usually is the quality of the meat which lacks the beautiful marbling of fat that is found in the more expensive steak places. Otherwise, we almost always get a medium rare spot on and sauces are always on the side.


From the pizza counter, one with white asparagus, egg and Black Forest ham. The sweet crunchy pieces of asparagus were paired nicely with the light salt from the cheese and ham. This topping profile was designed to allow the flavors of the white asparagus to shine.


Unfortunately, they didn't have white asparagus for desserts or we would have swiped one too......

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Menya Musashi, Raffles City


This (252 North Bridge Road, #01-16 Raffles City Shopping Centre, tel : +65 6336 6500) is another one of numerous ramen-ya that has been making headlines in the past year that I haven't yet had a chance to visit until today. A ramen-ya that originates from the Shinjuku ward in Tokyo. This one, comes with a odd story where the shop was named after a certain samurai with a double sword style. Much like a certain Drizzt Do'Urden I guess. Maybe not. I'll explain below.

So here goes their black thunder and a Tokyo Akiba curry ramen.

The former bowl of noodles was advertised in a poster with a large head of the oni on the back of what seemed to be a potent bowl of spicy ramen. An oni that perhaps Miyamoto Musashi was not skilled enough to defeat in the breath of his mortal existence and now permanently torments his spirit by appearing in bowls of his ramen. Lol! It wasn't as potent as it had looked. If I could break it down, I'm guessing that it's the regular tonkotsu broth that they have in the shop plus a little alchemy with what makes their reds and blacks and a small sprinkle of sliced chilli padi. Am I close? Not such a challenge for us locals. I've had more potent ba chor mee. Not delicious enough to have again too. 

Drizzt would have kicked oni butt. Easily. If not, there's always help from Wulfgar and Aegis-fang.

The latter ramen was probably a little more interesting. I'm thinking the regular broth with Japanese curry. The regular broth, being salty takes the sweetness off the curry - resulting in a broth that was still both savory and flavored with the curry. Nice portions of those shabu thin slices of pork in there and a half boiled egg to up the ante.

The noodles here are a class of their own aren't they? Needs more bite to gain my nod of approval. 


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

MexOut, Far East Square


Here's a rice bowl (mess tin actually) and some corn tortilla tacos from MexOut. I'm not sure how American Mexican this place (39 Peking St. #01-01, tel : +65 9770 7441) really is, but I actually quite like the food here. Those chopped up carne asada simply works on the tacos and I liked the heat from their salsa picanto. It's just too bad they were out of lamb today (already on a Wednesday afternoon?!). I'm not sure when's the next time I'll be able to come back. Food like these needs to be a little cheaper too.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Long Phung Vietnamese Restaurant, Joo Chiat Road


Delicious Vietnamese food to be found here (159 Joo Chiat Road, tel  : +65 9105 8519).


We had the obligatory goi cuon which was......rustic. The rice paper skin was a little soggy and chewy.


The serving of oc nhay or boiled conch was sweet and fresh tasting. Very tasty with and without the accompanying dip of fish sauce, pepper, salt and tamarind with sliced bits of chilli.


Following, was a very perky green mango salad with strips of pork belly and shrimp. Flavored with basil. The sour notes provided by the fruit were excellent and appetizing. I like this stuff.


And then a bo tai chanh, described as an underdone beef salad. This was basically beef that was cooked to medium doneness, enlivened by lemon and what appears to be a bit of sugar. A little salt would have upped the flavor profile noticeably, but I'm not sure how these are usually had.


My main bowl of a bun thit nuong cha gio. Rice noodles with grilled pork and a fried spring roll. Doused with the accompanying fish sauce and lime sauces with peanut, this rice noodles ended up a lot lighter and much tastier than it appears. The only thing I didn't quite take to were the raw bean sprouts.


I forgot what this is called, but it's rice noodles in a light savory broth that is loaded with ingredients like sliced pork, pork offal and shrimp. Also tasty this was.


And to finish in the sweltering humidity of our merciless sun, a milk and egg soda.

Food here feels very authentic Vietnamese and importantly, delicious without being expensive. Would like to come back again.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Yang Gui Fei (羊贵妃), Smith Street

The play of words involved in the name of this shop should bring a smirk or a chuckle at least. Yang Gui Fei (18 Smith Street, tel : +65 6100 0629) does food from the city of Xi'an, a northern region of China that is the home of a large Chinese Muslim population; and I hear too, famed for the discovery of the thousands of buried terracotta soldiers that served standing as sentinels to the soul of the first emperor of China.  The latter point not withstanding, it means there will be lamb! Was it anything like the real McCoy? I can't say because I don't know. But the food was pretty good.


Chilled tofu with with diced century eggs and soy sauce. The equally chilled bits of century eggs had developed an interesting texture akin to cooked mushrooms.


These pickled string beans were an excellent wake up for the taste buds. Boldly sour and packed some heat in the midst of their crunchy textures.


The gui fei deep fried lamb ribs were a signature from this shop. Basically deep fried lamb ribs in a savory cumin (amongst other spices) batter. Cholesterol bomb? Sure. Delicious? Sure as well. Batter was tasty and crispy, wrapped around fatty lamb meat on the bone.

All that grease also meant that it doesn't take very much before you'll want to stop.


yang rou pao mo was a very nicely done broth, made with broken bits of flatbread that will soak up all the flavor and slices of lamb. The broth was really nice. I meant, it was close to ramen grade broth kind of nice. Like a sort of lamb rendition of tonkotsu. Someone start making that already!


And some sour plum or haw juice to cut through all that grease. Who's kidding whom?

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Emerald Green Tonkotsu option from Ramen Bar Suzuki


So, I guess I came back here much faster than I expected. And at it, was their Emerald Green which was a powdered Parmesan cheese and basil flavor of their tonkotsu ramen.


In spite of the sodium bomb that it was, I actually liked it.  Pity that they don't entertain requests for additional cheese. The cheese added a dimension to the broth which was countered by a light touch of basil that skimmered on the surface. Their 'harigane' option for hardness was really not much harder than the previous visit.

Liked it enough to finish up.

Monday, May 06, 2013

A tokusen toriniku shoyu ramen with Iberico pork cheek from Ramen Santouka


It's been quite a long while since my last foray to Ramen Santouka (21 Cuppage Road, Cuppage Terrace, tel : +65 6235 1059) and it seems that they've upgraded their pork cheek ramen, using Iberico pork. While those slices of grilled pork cheeks were still tender and salty and ready to break apart in the mouth, I cannot in honesty tell the difference between this Iberico cut and the one that I had previously. The noodles were exactly as I remember them....not exactly my cup of tea for texture, but I would maintain that this shoyu broth is still my preferred one from this joint. With so many ramen-ya these days, I guess these guys aren't the force to be reckoned with anymore.

Now that I've tried it, time to move on again.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Triple Black Ramen from Tampopo



Steadily and surely, Tampopo unleashes more of their seasonal or limited run items on the world here. It has become difficult for me to revisit the stuff from the regular menu that I like.

I ordered this Triple Black Ramen because it looked badass. Like Darth Vader badass that's obsidian and reflects the abyss back to the approach.

It's triple black because of black broth, black noodles and black pig. The broth as I could gather, is a light vegetable and pork broth with squid ink. It came with noodles that were shaped like none of the variety that they're currently serving on the menu. Its a little like tagliatelle.

What isn't so obvious is that the within the inky broth, are fat laced minced pork and scattered bits of fish roe that provided abundant bursty texture (as fish roe does) and more chew to the textural medley. The orange stuff is a scallop with a really large coral and hidden just behind the shredded lettuce is an ajitama. Bleached white tone in contrast. Molten yolked and no less.


Friday, May 03, 2013

Ramen Bar Suzuki, Circular Road


Here's a bowl of basic tonkotsu ramen Ramen Bar Suzuki (61 Circular Road, #01-01) with 'hard' noodles and 'strong' flavored broth sans the red pickled ginger. The customizable options for each bowl was of greater granularity than what I've encountered before. One can choose items to omit on top of the usual slew of add on and strength of flavor and oil. On hindsight, I should have opted for 'harder' since 'hard' just fell right in the middle spectrum of options and it could've been a little chewier for texture.

While I felt it was an acceptable bowl of ramen, I don't think the broth was interesting enough that'll make me crave for it soon. Though flavorful, it had lacked a certain creamy depth which I preferred and it didn't make me want to finish up after the noodles. The charshu was thinly sliced and tender, but was otherwise ordinary. What was interesting were the "flavors" available for tonkotsu ramen which including squid ink, sakura ebi and even a cheese & basil rendition. There were free flow hard boiled eggs and steamed rice for dinner, but those eggs were certainly difficult to peel. Half the whites were lost, stuck to the shells. Or maybe I just suck at peeling eggs.