Friday, October 31, 2014
By happenstance, I chanced upon another monthly special at Curry Times (238 Thomson Road, #02-33/34 Velocity @ Novena Square, tel : +65 6354 3206) just a day or two before the dish gets rotated out just like the previous time I visited. This time round, it was a salted egg curry chicken. Really? I've never come across something like this all my life and it sounded too good to pass up. When the dish was served, it looked disappointingly nothing like what was shown on their menu. I was initially feeling a little let down thinking that they had passed off what they claimed to be salted egg curry chicken by sprinkling some crushed salted egg yolk over the top.
Until I took the first bite of the cubed chicken without the salted egg crumbs. The flavours of the salted egg hit me in the palate and I realized that they had actually, as I had in mind, infused the salted egg into the curry itself. And there were actually some finely sliced chilli padi that helped add additional spikes of heat on that already moderately spicy nutty curry. This was so good.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
So, now you know where I've been revisiting. I bought this partially based on a mention previously and decided to try out the Grilyarch from Laman's Delight. What does the name even mean? Anyway, it's as one can tell, a layered chocolate cake with cream and caramelized walnut bits in between. And supposedly brown sugar as well, but I can't tell. It was actually all quite nice eating from the tip end. The cake was largely moist and crumbly at the same time and the flavours played nicely with bits of bite from those nuts. Until we got to the back part which had noticeably more walnuts plastered across. And because there was much more of those caramelized walnuts, it was wayyy too sweet. Didn't enjoy the last part.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
So I got suckered again by the specials at Omakase Burger. This time round, it was their Gorgonzola bacon burger so I guess it's not my fault. I hadn't really read anything about it before ordering and as it turned out, it was a Gorgonzola cream cheese mousse rather than crumbs of the actual cheese And the bacon came in the form of crumbs that were scattered onto the cheese mousse rather than strips laid between the buns.
If you're wondering how it tasted, it the flavours of the blue cheese was really mild. I couldn't say that I could taste any of those bacon crumbs either. And I should have known that a mass market friendly place like them wouldn't have gone the whole nine yards with Gorgonzola. But then again, doing so would have really muted the flavours of their liquid steak oozing patty. Between the rock and a hard case then. Speaking of which, today's buns were a disintegrating mush by the time I got to the end of the burger.
Monday, October 27, 2014
This chilli hot chocolate from The Providore (333A Orchard Rd, #02-05 Mandarin Gallery, tel : +65 6732 1565) was unexpectedly pleasant. Each sip sent motes of tingling heat down the back of the throat which lingered for a little bit.
Sunday, October 26, 2014
I've been asked a number of times by a few friends if I've had dim sum at Wah Lok (Lvl 2 Carlton Hotel, 76 Bras Basah Road, tel : +65 6311 8188). Well, I haven't until today.
This was their steamed radish cake. I was hoping that it would impress me like the ones from Wai Kee, but this was really just a nicely done version that we have locally. Nothing more.
We ordered some bolo buns with char siew fillings.
The fillings were quite sweet, but wasn't cloyingly so for me. So I guess I liked that, but didn't quite think so much of the bun itself.
These were described as deep fried octopus tentacles and was on the chef's recommended menu. It was surprisingly not so expensive for a recommended dish. Lol. But seriously, this rocks. It's actually, deep fried octopus tentacles with prawn paste. And that prawn paste really elevated the flavours.
These are one of my yardsticks at dim sum. I don't know why since it's an illogical method, but I'm pretty sure many other people measure the quality of their dim sum experience by the standards of har gao of the eatery, amongst others. These were just okay I guess. Definitely had more satisfying ones.
Deep fried century eggs which tasted pretty much like how they looked. To be a little more specific, they were rather decent if unremarkably so. The brown stuff on top are hae bi hiam (chilli dried shrimp).
I forgot what these vegetables were, but this dish tasted a lot better than the looks suggested. The light brown broth was actually a full flavoured savoury chicken soup.
Lobster mee pok. Not bad, but nothing to get excited over as well.
While it cannot be seen on the picture, these cheong fun (rice flour rolls) are stuffed with scallops. Quite liked them.
The other common yardstick of many, also one of mine, siew mai. My expectations may have been elevated by all the queries about this place, but these were really just okay.
These are chicken and diced abalone pies. Sounded and looked better than they tasted. While it was obvious that there were meat inside, it was a little difficult to tell which was chicken or abalone. The pastry had a heavy cloy of oil which wasn't pleasant.
Phoenix claws which were competently steamed and flavoured. I rather enjoyed these.
Passable egg tarts.
These were known as mei ren yao (美人腰), or beauty's hips? They were essentially pastry puffs that were filled with custard and topped with what tasted like burnt cashews. The custard quality tasted retro if you catch my drift. While I couldn't say that I disliked them, I probably will never order them again.
The fillings of their liu sha bao were disappointing. It was a simple case of having a mixture with too much custard and too little salted egg yolk. It turned out to be too sweet and flat to be enjoyable. With these buns on everyone else's menu, I had expected Wah Lok's rendition to be competent.
Some large dumpling in broth. This one was really quite good.
Saturday, October 25, 2014
We stumbled upon this stall while getting Thai food at Toa Payoh. This beef noodle stall is located in the very same coffee shop. I've long heard of the famed Empress Place beef noodles, but have never gotten a chance to try them. Certainly didn't know that they had opened a branch at Toa Payoh. This beef noodle stall by the way, from the point of its founding, forms part of the legacy of the more well known Hock Lam beef noodle business. Story can be Googled so I won't be going into the details here.
How was it? This was a bowl of their rice noodle with tendons. It was not bad. I think I liked this. From what I could detect, there was just their broth, sesame oil and some of their chilli sauce that flavoured the kuey teow. Which was really the main reason why I was keen to give them a go as it didn't come with the regular brown starchy gravy that Hainanese beef noodles are usually topped with. This one is apparently, Teochew styled beef rice noodles. Their stewed tendons were soft that you could just slurp them.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Here's another visit to my current favourite guo tie shop and a look at the other stuff that they have on menu which we did not try previously.
These above are blanched bean sprouts topped with the minced meat bean sauce that they use for their zha jiang mian. Those sprouts were well timed in the hot water and cooked to the point where the raw edge was off while retaining a great deal of crunch. Good stuff.
We tried their (pan fried?) pancake stuffed with the same fillings for their guo tie. Crusty on the outside, juicy on the insides.
And then, a tasty spicy and sour soup. There wasn't so much heat from the chilli oil and the sour element seemed to taste like sour plum rather than vinegar. I kinda liked this.
That's a fried pancake filled with lotus seed paste, a departure from the common ones stuffed with red bean paste. While I generally don't quite appreciate thick pancake skins, this was actually not bad. The skin tasted like fried mochi.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
This shop (179 Toa Payoh Central) was a good find. It certainly inspired some confidence that the people running the place were all Thai serving up the common representation of their food as this country knows it. While I don't pretend to know what forms the range of authenticity for Thai food, it felt like it was a very good rendition as far as preparation went. I'm pretty sure that there's some nuances that cannot be replicated from perhaps a particular brand of fish sauce that cannot be gotten here or the quality of the pork that was used for the khao kha moo or type of mango for their som tam mamuang. One thing we knew for sure was that the pork that we had in Bangkok were a lot more tender and over there, they were certainly also less shy about having the rendered pork lard in their braising liquid than here did.
That being said, the food was very enjoyable. I especially liked the spikes of heat in the sour from the mango salad that paired up well with the aroma from the bits dried shrimp; we also felt that the olive fried rice was straight up comfort food. Notice the intensely yellow eggs that they have.
Monday, October 20, 2014
I had previously mentioned Keith Crackling Roast in passing so here's a picture of their honey roast pork (or in my humble opinion, char siew). To put it in casual street terms, this stuff was pretty dope. It's caramelization without artificial coloring and their meat was fatty if not so juicy. Lots of sweet & savoury flavour from the charred exterior and the container of rich dipping sauce which really pushes those flavours to another level.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
This was one of few succeeding outlet (271 Bukit Timah Road, #01-02 Balmoral Plaza, tel : +65 6737 9313) of Smith's Fish and Chips. They've done quite well for themselves that it seemed they have been opening themselves a new shop almost once a year since then.
I found out today that one can actually get fish without chips so it was a cod with beef & Guinness pie. The pie had a pretty soft and buttery crust. The crisp on the crust was so light it almost wasn't there. But the fillings were quite tasty. The cod was a decent fried fish as I remembered it.
These could be my first fried Mars bar. It was actually pretty good. The flavours got more pronounced as the insides melted in the heat from the fryer and the batter provided contrasting textures gooey innards.
Saturday, October 18, 2014
No. 1 Western Food (Blk 1A Commonwealth Drive, #01-13 Tanglin Halt Food Centre) is one of of two institutional Hainanese western food stalls at the Tanglin Halt Food Centre. British influenced Hainanese styled western food which we affectionately term as local western food here. A necessity borne from a bygone era that has endured with a legacy till this day.
I've eaten on occasions over the years at the other stall. I'm not sure if I have ever at this. Their old school chicken cutlet that they do was actually rather tasty. The meat was tender and the golden brown breading was dry and crispy without retaining excessive grease. Ubiquitous canned baked beans and frozen crinkle cut fries to complete the works for that nostalgia. Don't think much of that sauce that they ladled over though.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
The Mont d'Or cheese season is back and it can be had at Le Bistrot du Sommelier! We missed the last season so we came early for this one.
Since we had interest in some of the cheese items from the menu, we avoided being too ambitious with the orders. While waiting for the Mont d'Or to be prepared, it was a salad of chicory with blue cheese on figs. This was pretty good.
And of course, the Mont D'Or. Light tasting, creamy and rich at the same time served with small potatoes and bread to dip. These waxy little potatoes were nice. The skins were smooth...almost human. A single order of this feeds 2-3.
Monday, October 13, 2014
We've seen a number of outlets of Pizza Express over town and have never really paid it much attention. This time round, we just needed to get a quick meal before boarding and since the rest of the restaurants in the departure area were pretty much filled to the brim, it was a good opportunity as any to check them out.
This was something with burrata, olives, cherry tomatoes and basil. While this might not have used the better quality burrata around, we thought this was noticeably much more enjoyable than Motorino.
Sunday, October 12, 2014
I had forgotten that Motorino (G/F, 14 Shelley Street, Central, Hong Kong, tel : +852 2801 6881) had opened up in Hong Kong until we were walking past Ship Street on the way to Landale Street and stumbled upon their Wan Chai branch. But since we weren't headed to Wan Chai and Central has another outlet, it was here.
I got tempted by the Gragnano, which was a cold sparkling red made from Campanian grape varieties that the pizzeria had claimed was their "pizza wine". It was so good and easy going in the summer heat that I was halfway through my second before the food arrived. This stuff can seriously be addictive.
Their cockle clam crostino was pretty delicious. The clams were fat and fresh while the salty wine broth was great with the garlic bread.
Unfortunately, I didn't think much of the pizza at all. This was their Brussels sprouts pizza.
There were too much burnt elements on the pie (both the Brussels sprouts and the crust) that left a bitter after taste. The crust was soggy in the middle with texture was akin to appam. The rest of it was kinda like naan. While I'm not an expert on New York styled pizza, I'm pretty sure this didn't quite represent it well. We didn't get any fruitiness from the EVOO neither. Even with pancetta and Pecorino cheese, the salt in the pie was a little too little. Something was just not right with the ingredients.
Not impressed in the slightest.
Saturday, October 11, 2014
For Kee (Shop J-K., 200 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, tel : +852 2546 8947) has been memorable for me for various reasons. It's not so much of the fact that it's the go to place for many locals. It's partially because it's in a less touristy corner down at the Central/Sheung Wan region I remember being in. Mostly, it is likely due to the fact that we stumbled upon it purely by chance when we were staying at the Mid Levels some years back and hadn't a single clue what this shop was to the place. We just wanted to get food.
Speaking of which, it was my first meal then as an adult in Hong Kong a few years back. My first milk tea here too. Any time before that time, was way far too far back for me to remember as a child. So this memory of recent years stay. And that their pork chops are really good. Crisp on the outside, respectable chew texture for the meat, savoury from the soy and the sweet from the sugar. I may not be local or a frequent enough visitor to eat with any regularity, but it still resonates a familiar hum of comfort. Especially with rice and molten yolk-ed fried egg. My words don't have to be taken as sole value for that. Just observe the crowd when you're there and watch what the locals order.
This now would be my first iced lemon tea in HK. Another first for me in this place. It's usually been milk tea but the weather was sweltering and I needed the citrus and ice.
This was an order mistake. Probably mine and I blame in on poor pronunciation on my part. Where the word 饭 inflected in a different tone (in this case 粉) could mean the difference between rice, or rice noodles. I wanted the former but got the latter. The pork chops tasted pretty much the same as the one with the rice except that these were cut to smaller bits. The rice noodles were however too greasy, tasteless and pretty damn lousy. I'm kinda sorry to have to say that for a place I liked.