Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Boca, Bt. Pasoh Road


I don't remember having had Portuguese food before, not even when I was in Malacca ages ago or at Macau so Boca (6 Bukit Pasoh Rd., tel : +65 6221 0132) sounded interesting for something a little different. Well, maybe it's not all so different.


We started off with some of their bread. The basket came with three types of them - a regular one, one with pine nuts and the shadowy looking pieces are squid ink with sweet potato. The latter two were good. The former of the latter was fragrant with the nut (that good) and the latter of the latter tasted slightly crustacean. Not what I expected of squid ink, but it was quite nice. Especially with their very fruity EVOO. 


This was their bacalao fritters. I'm not sure if there are good representatives of Portuguese bacalao but they're quite different from the Italian ones. I'm not talking about the fried part. The mixture of the cod was probably just of different ingredients. If you wanted to know, I didn't think these were impressive. 


What got our attentions was their bife à café, or coffee steak. A seared medium rare tenderloin in cognac and espresso cream sauce. The experience of each mouthful felt like a teaser of a strong latte just before it reaches the lip before it transforms into a savoury velvet sauce in the mouth. We liked it. Wiped the plate clean with bread. A little expensive though.


The coffee steak came with almond rice. This was nicely done with the flavours of the nut infused into the rice. With a little bit of salt, it would have been awesome comfort food. With the aroma of almond.


The other interesting looking item on menu was their bread porridge. Made with bread obviously - doused in olive oil and seafood stock and folded in with bits of shrimp as far as we could tell. Quite nice, should be eaten hot or warm. Don't wait for it to cool.


On hindsight, what we ordered were a little too heavy on the carbs. But now we know.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Hainanese chicken rice stall at Tangs Market


Wow, as ordinary as this might have looked, this chicken rice was quite good (Tangs Plaza Basement 1, 310 Orchard Road). Their rice was flavourful enough that one could simply eat them on their own and the chilli sauce was pretty competent too. The roasted chicken drumstick had meat that was smooth and delicious while the soup that they had provided on the side was real chicken soup rather than the sorry excuse for cabbage broth that many stalls try to pass off as soup. I'm definitely coming back again.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The large butadon from Butahage


Here's the large butadon from Butahage featuring what turned out to be a chewier US beef in comparison to the more tender Premier Japanese option. I'm definitely sticking to the Japanese one in the future since it was noticeably much more tender, fat laced and flavourful. There was so much contrast in the flavour that I had even suspected that the glaze that they used for both meats were different.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Chicken rice from The Ship


I heard about the existence of the chicken rice from The Ship some years ago, but have never actually had a chance to try it since the only time that it was available is during Thursday lunches. So today it finally happened. It seemed that almost every neighbouring table is either having this or their fish soup noodles.


To be fair, it was a very competent chicken rice. I would have preferred a bit more flavour in the rice but being lightweight on the palate meant that I could decisively use more of the chilli which was limey and pleasant. The amount of chicken that came with it was the equivalent of at least two regular servings (or more depending) than if you had gotten chicken rice from a regular shop.


While this is not going to give me yearnings like Sin Kee does, it was really good enough to be an anytime fall back option. A go to that I wouldn't think twice about. Assuming that I happen to be here on Thursday afternoons and felt like spending $12.90 for a chicken rice lunch. Oh, it's a dollar twenty for an additional bowl of that rice there.


Dessert today was a cream puff.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

And perhaps one last Shashlik


Got swept up with the rest of the lemmings and ended up at Shashlik for lunch for another taste of their shashlik before they are closed for good as reported in the news. I had actually read about this online which happened to have a writer who's more imaginative than factual, describing the trolleys in the restaurant as rickety. The trolleys that are in the restaurant look anything but rickety to me.


But anyways, it's an opportunity for a bowl of their localized borsch soup with an extra scoop of sour cream and their really delicious chicken livers with caper sauce. These are the items that I'll be missing if the restaurant closes. The actual shashlik was fine if not fancy. A flavour of nostalgia which one cannot quite get elsewhere here.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Fei Lou Porridge, Telok Blangah Cresent Market & Food Centre

Although the name goes by Fei Lou Porridge (#01-116 Telok Blangah Crescent Food Centre, 11 Telok Blangah Crescent), this shop serves much more than just porridge.


The stall does serve up a number of types of porridge. This one that I had comes with ham and century egg. The texture was smooth and the flavours lightweight with a dash of soy sauce and sesame oil. Comfort food it was.


Here's some boiled cabbage with cuttlefish. This was nicely done too. The cabbage were just soft enough with a light residual crunch and the flavours of the cuttlefish permeated the dish. The only thing we didn't like were the fried shallots. It came from a plastic pack which meant that apart from a little texture, there wasn't much flavour to speak of. This dish would have been much better served without those shallots.


Fei Lou does boiled chicken as well. This came on a bed of toasted peanuts which was a nice addition. The meat was pretty tender, but the skin was a tad dimply and for some parts, too thick for my preferences. Decently done but otherwise, nothing to raise brows over.


I read that they were famous for their deboned fried chicken wings and since this was a first visit, we tried them out. I don't think this works for us. This was greasier than I had been hoping for and the flavour of the batter isn't quite my thing. Another lesson in life telling us that long queues sometimes doesn't mean what we think it means.


On the side, the braised tau kee (dried bean curd sheets) with pig stomach was excellent. Both the bean curd and tripe were suitably tender from all the braising sauce.


And because there was bee hoon, we ordered some. This was actually quite nice. Both with and without the chilli sauce on the side. The texture had a good bite and the flavours were present. Best of all, it didn't make me feel overly greased up.


Both proprietors of the stall looked dour, worked quietly and never did I see them speak to each other. But, I doubt telepathy is at play here.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Kaiware Japanese Restaurant, TripleOne Somerset

shiro maguro don

some pretty smooth seafood dumplings

gindara mentaikoyaki

I found out about this place (#02-15 TripleOne Somerset, 111 Somerset Road, tel : +65 6735 2345) from a tip off. The location is actually where Ikkousha used be in the same building. It's not a place I visit with any regularity anymore and would not have paid attention to if not for that fact that I had been informed that Peter Ho - formerly of Wasabi Tei and Chikuwa Tei, runs this joint. I never understood the reasons for his patterns of activity with his past track record, but I'm not here do a thesis of his business model. I'm just visiting for a false hit of nostalgia.

There's a shiro maguro don on menu here. They only response they could give to my inquiry was oil fish but I'm pretty convinced it's escolar. So proceed to eat with caution and responsibility. The bone white slices of the fish were actually rather smooth and buttery, comparable to chutoro. There's some rather tasty seafood shu mai which I've never seen them do before and a very decent gindara mentaikoyaki to be had too. One can even get a similar cod hotpot just like the ones they used to do that comes with a fantastic lemon chilli soy dip.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Nobu-ya (信屋), Middle Road


baigai

soy braised hijiki

 what the menu describes as grilled squid tentacles and guts

Miyazaki beef tataki 

tamago 

 buta kakuni

tempura hamo (pike eel)

tempura maitake 

suji nikomi (soy braised beef tendon stew) 

oden mori


If I had to gripe, I thought the maitake tempura had a bit too much batter and was more grease logged than I liked. That kinda robbed the mushroom of its delicate flavours. But otherwise, I think we rather enjoyed all the other food that we had at Nobu-ya (#01-05 Fortune Centre, 190 Middle Road, tel : +65 6338 3450). Special mention goes to the baigai, the rich livery broth that the squids came in and those braised pork belly that simply fell apart even from the chopstick. Will be back. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Nantsuttei, Orchard Central


I had been wanting to visit Nantsuttei since they moved over to Orchard Central (#07-12/13 Central, 181 Orchard Rd, tel : +65 6337 7166) and had been planning to get myself reacquainted with their tonkotsu bowl to remind myself why I liked them so much previously. But as things went, I got suckered into ordering their spicy tomato miso bowl which ran for a limited 20 bowls a day.

On hindsight, it wasn't such a good decision. I didn't enjoy this as much as I hoped, leaving unsatisfied. The flavours were a muddle which resulted in.....well, nothing I had really recognized or expected. I certainly didn't get much tomato out of the broth and the measly slice of processed cheese didn't do really anything at all. The hard noodles were also softer than what I had been hoping for texture. I'm definitely going for the tonkotsu the next time and staying off miso for a while.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Some bites from this year's Ramadan bazaar


I hadn't visited the Ramadan bazaars for years. In retrospect, I didn't miss much in those years. Everything was pretty much the same as the last ones that I remember. There wasn't even much to look forward to to eat because little of the food stalls have changed. I could visit one of those roving pasar malam and pretty much find the same stuff for the most of it.  But here's a couple of items which we had.


These are deep fried Oreos. I had been expecting the cookies in the batter to be crunchy, but for some reasons, they were as soft as the batter. These are probably only good as a novelty snack.


The same stall that did the deep fried Oreos also did deep fried mac & cheese. The heart clogging street snack stalls might have made some progress beyond fried chicken parts after all.


This was unexpectedly tasty and it came with nacho cheese dips. I didn't think that I would enjoy it but I did.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

More artichokes this year from Le Bistrot du Sommelier


The artichoke season is back upon us again! This year Le Bistrot du Sommelier has done up their steamed Brittany artichoke with a beef and tomato fondue, a change from the previous years where it was served with just vinaigrette. 


First up was their baby purple artichoke off the regular menu; this was not the seasonal item. The plant was stuffed with anchovy, ratatouille and a number of herbs. I think I tasted dill amongst a bunch of others. The flavour profile was surprisingly quite foreign for us and it did ring a little Middle Eastern-ish. Didn't quite enjoy this. It was way inferior in our opinion as a whole for flavours and experience compared to those seasonal Brittany ones that pop up in the middle of the year.


We got ourselves a steamed artichoke with the tomato fondue since the fondue option was new this year. It wasn't so much a fondue than a sort of Bolognese sauce. Sort of. Which was actually rather good by the way. Tangy, meaty and works with the little bits of "flesh" you scrape off the bottom of the scales.


This was their garbure, a vegetable soup of duck stock and bacon with chicken dumplings. The chicken dumplings were awesome. I'd come back here for this again easily.


I believe there was some sort of pesto involved in the garbure, but otherwise, the other main profile of the flavours were the slight smoky saltiness from the bacon. I couldn't sum it up beyond calling it an honest to goodness comforting soup. And one of the more memorable ones that we've had from recent times.


We finally made the heart of the artichoke halfway through the garbure. The best part.


And an onglet which we can never seem to get past during lunch. I don't know if this would qualify as one of the best onglet in town, but it's very competently done everytime we've had it. A nice caramelized crusty exterior encasing a warm red and juicy interior. Along the lines of what many lesser beings would described as "seared to perfection".  Lesser beings because only they understand perfection. I don't.