Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dry curry chicken and dry laksa goreng from Curry Times


Just a quick one. While I wouldn’t consider Curry Times cheap, they do manage to capture slices of nostalgic flavours. Perhaps not all of it, but enough that I pop by once in a while. Sometimes for their interesting specials that aren’t found elsewhere.

So here’s their dry curry chicken which was actually quite good. For all the times where cooking was described to taste like grandma’s (not mine for sure) and didn't make the cut for me, this one did taste quite like the ones that my grandma used to make. It had what I thought to be a nice balance of nutty spice and heat. 


There's also a laksa goreng which was...well, okay I guess. I don't have much of a basis for comparison apart from the one back in Laksania. Quite edible, but I had expected more out of them.

Monday, September 28, 2015

McGangBang


You can Google it. I didn't make this up. In fact, McGangBang has been supposedly around as part of the secret menu of the Golden Arches for some years already. You can find YouTube videos on them too. Why did I do this?  For fun. Why did I blog it? For posterity.

But I wasn't about to ask the auntie who could barely process an order with a change of drink from the usual soft drink to a green tea latte. Telling her that I wanted a McGangBang and explaining what it was would probably destroy her, so I ordered the components and build it myself.


So it's a McDouble and a McChicken. Some sites say it's a Double Cheese, but it doesn't really matter here. Nobody's getting anal over a McGangBang. Lol!


It's really just as straight forward as it looks. The McDouble is split into two with a slice of meat on each half. Place the McChicken onto the middle of the half of the McDouble.


And the cover goes back on.


A little squeeze on the buns doesn't hurt the McGangBang.


And here're the innards shots. What I didn't expect though, was that the dominant flavour came from the McChicken. I was barely tasting the beef from the McDouble. There was a quite a bit of textures going on from the lettuce and chopped onions and meats, definitely much more than my old favourite. But this doesn't quite do it if you're hoping for more of that taste from the beef or the cheese.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Re-revisiting Pizza Fabbrica


This was just a return trip waiting to happen since we pretty much enjoyed what we had from the last visit to Pizza Fabbrica. This time round, a pasta and a pizza. 

The former - pappardelle made in house with Challans duck and orange ragout. There was a light perfume of orange in the sauce while most of the actual orange bits came from carrots. I had been imagining more citrus from the orange though. The ragout was both savoury and hearty while the noodles had excellent bite texture, just like the ones from Cicheti. What really rounded up all the good flavours were the decent portions which proved that there is much better value to be found here than the tiny servings Gattopardo. Definitely good for returns.

Pizza was one with prosciutto di Parma, walnuts, Gorgonzola and figs. A light punch from the blue cheese bolstered with more saltiness from the strips of prosciutto and a countering touch of sweetness from the figs. I thought we would have done as well without those walnuts.

Friday, September 25, 2015

A tenderloin from Saveur


This piece of tenderloin from Saveur was very decent. A well seared exterior with warm red insides full of moisture. And for what they were charging, I honestly don't think there's any better price to quality to be had around. I could be wrong, but I don't think I am.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

OverEasy, Liat Towers


That's the truffle burger up there from OverEasy (541 Orchard Road, #01-01 Liat Towers). It was rather good. The patty was a nice beefy medium with sufficient char and natural flavours which were well balanced with the truffle mayo and the light Swiss cheese. Their "mac & cheeks" was a very nicely done mac & cheese with beef cheeks and was sufficiently rich and cheesy rather than simply going the creamy route that most people do here. I'm actually a little surprised by how much I liked what we had. 

If I had to complain - it'll be that the restaurant suffers from poor acoustics, the tables are a little too small with very odd space to table placement and their blue cheese dip for their buffalo wings was really diluted. Seriously weak stuff. Food's also a little overpriced. But I could see myself coming back.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Bistecca alla Singapura from District 10 at Suntec


I'm kidding about the title, the Florentians would not have legitimized this as a bistecca alla Fiorentina anyways. The folks from District 10 have set up a new shop down at Suntec (#01-514/515 Suntec City Mall, 3 Temasek Boulevard) with a menu that focuses on beef. So that's their 45 days dry aged USDA Prime Black Angus done alla Fiorentina over open flamed grill with Japanese charcoal. No Chianina cattle involved. It's a mixed beast of a steak, but it's probably as close as what we can get over here.

So the $220 question here would be how was the steak? I liked it. This was a flavourful t-bone grilled in a nice medium rare with the prerequisite burnt ends with little but salt to allow the meat to shine. I'll admit it's rather pricey, let's also consider that it's dry aged USDA versus the Australian beef that most of the other places that offers bistecca this style.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Home delivery from Spizza


It's been a really long time since I've had anything from Spizza and here's a Quinta from their home delivery. The one with the black truffle paste. I kinda liked it for its simplicity and the truffle flavour which got through. The egg was totally cooked by the time it arrived though. While these things still don't look exactly like what they put up in the menu, it wasn't too far off and if I might say so, Spizza is probably one of the better ones that you get amidst the other options. But I may try another service the next time just for comparisons.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Gattopardo Ristorante di Mare, Tras Street


I was debating over whether to put up this entry, so now we know how that particular debate with myself ended.

Gattopardo Ristorante di Mare (34 Tras Street, tel : +65 6338 5498) is the same as the Gattopardo previously located at Fort Canning which I had visited twice. Run by the same Lino Sauro whose specialty is southern Italian styled cooking. They've relocated to this current spot, rebranded and made some changes to their food. The current setup was more upmarket than the previous and pizza had been taken off the menu.

Even though I am no expert on that brand of cuisine, I'm pretty sure I won't be getting the same kind of food as the ones here if I were in that part of Italy. On both occasions, I have had mixed feelings. Today, I've finally gotten off the fence on how I feel about them.


Something that they didn't do previously was amuse bouche. But maybe there was a need to keep up with that upmarket status and perhaps also to justify why the menu has gotten more expensive. This was ricotta foam on rice crackers and paprika. The rice crackers wasn't so crispy but the foam was nice.


We liked the chilled heirloom tomato salad. With a little bit of knife skills and some administrative diligence, this was difficult to get wrong. The freshness of the fruit paired with olive oil and sea salt - it was nothing less than refreshing and certainly spoke nothing of the skills of the kitchen. I just wanted to be sure that the last part of the previous sentence got through as a point to be made.


Figs were in season so it was some figs and prosciutto di Parma. I wished there was more of that nice ham. The figs were not bad, but somehow, we've been having difficulty finding the same flavour from figs since that time at Valentino's. While this was nice, it wasn't as good as that. Again, we were yet to see what came out of the cooking since we've been eating imports so far that hasn't been further processed beyond what could have been done with a blade.


I was initially excited over their fregola. With sea urchin sauce and no less. In that excitement, I had been imagining a clean looking fregola infused with sea urchin bits/sauce/whatever. Certainly didn't expect the dish to be so tiny and it looked like it had been in al forno. This particular pasta tasted of crab and cheese. And yes, we were disappointed. 

As I had said earlier, I'm not an expert on southern Italian, so maybe that's their take on sea urchin sauces.


The menu described the busiate to be accompanied with zucchini flowers and bottarga. Small portions aside, there was no zucchini flowers. Leaves perhaps and probably enough zucchini to form an eighth of a gourd. No flowers. That those little sprinkles over the top does not constitute bottarga. Or otherwise, we would have to add a "pepper" at the end of the name of every dish wouldn't we?

We inquired with the wait staff about the portion and the reason we were given was because it was prima platti portions. When inquired further about a large plate of vongole pasta over at the neighbouring table, the response was that it was because that was an off the menu special and all linguine came in larger potions. And hence without proper explanation, we poor customers were expected to know all these things? I smell something here.


Some crespelle infused with orange liqueur and orange jam. The jam was non-existent and the pancake tasted underdone. For all the pretentious sprinkling of crumbs to beautify the dessert, this tasted worse than an amateur cook's attempt. It tasted like it was made by someone who didn't know how to cook at all.


The EVOO cake fared better. That being said, it looked better than it tasted. The menu mentioned poached fruit and ice cream. Obviously, there wasn't a single piece of fruit, poached or not in there. Ice cream?  It's just cream. No ice. But the cream was kinda nice and the rosemary perfume was a good idea. Still, I found the slightly chewy dense texture of the cake odd for a dessert. 

I will not come back and I'm striking this restaurant off my list for good. This place may work for people with a extra money to spend with not enough sense to spend wisely and possibly for those to impress a date who doesn't know any better about good food.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Surf and Turf at Lawry's

This was some September deal for Surf or Turf from Lawry's. The operative word here is 'or' so basically, it's a dinner option of either seafood or meat.

The Surf


The starter for seafood were seared Hokkaido scallops and shrimp. No complains about the seafood, but nothing to embellish neither. The stuff at the bottom was a mango an strawberry salsa of sorts. It would have been awesome if not for coriander. Why?!


The main frutti di mare were their lobster tails which can also be found on their regular menu. It's not bad. I've just noticed that the clarified butter that they used were unsalted. I guess salted would have been nicer with the lobster


The dessert was called Sweet Creation. It looked like a Lovecraftian wedge reaching through a smudge of an ochre portal with squirmy tentacles. Brownie points for that coming from Lawry's. Imaginations aside, it was a chocolate cake with chocolate mousse and raspberry and "fronds" of fried cinnamon thingys/crackers. It's not bad. Actually, most of the their desserts apart from their raspberry trifle was not bad.

The Turf


The earth bound starter was a 7 spice duck confit. 7 spices were too much for me to comprehend so I had no idea what was in it. I thought it wasn't too bad, but two thin slices of duck was simply miserable. The little round thing at the top was macaron with their horseradish cream. That was also quite good. I've always liked their horseradish cream.


We picked their Prime Black Angus ribeye for the main. It was actually not the best show of Prime meat or Black Angus cattle. While the flavour and the aroma were so, the meat was dry and rather sinewy. Not sure if this was a one off, but I'll stick to their prime rib in the future. 

Odd contraption for serving the steak on which I found amusing. Each piece of vegetable were mounted on a fork that was soldered onto the hanger attached to the serving board.


The terrestrial dessert was called Secret Garden. On the top was a lemon tart. Most of that little tart was crust with a thin spread of lemon curd on top. I personally felt that it was too much crust and too little lemon.


The rest of the dessert was at the top (or bottom depending on perspective) of the inverted glass - to be had with what was described as salted yolk sauce.


This dessert was rich. It was made of mascarpone cream and so yes - it tasted like tiramisu. Because everything was rich and creamy, the salted yolk sauce simply added on to the richness. All I could taste of the sauce was butter. But it was quite nice so as a whole, no complains here too.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

East Bistro, Jalan Tampang


We would never have figured out that this place (10 Jalan Tampang, tel : +65 6752 4844) sold dim sum from the name of the restaurant if not for having read about them online. Apparently, the chef used to be in charge of Lei Gardens here and had also come from the Michelin starred Lei Gardens in Hong Kong.


We had fried rice. With generous bits of chicken and salted fish. There was only one thing that I didn't like about that. It was a little too greasy. It is apparent that having had the glow of a Michelin star once doesn't quite mean that one can beat mass produced fried rice. Or even Paradise Dynasty for that matter.


Their har gao was pretty decent, but not particularly outstanding. I guess many of us are all pampered by more refined skin for these dumplings.


These were deep fried fish skin with salted egg yolk. Those salted egg yolk were so poorly distributed that I had thought that there wasn't any of them initially. We've definitely had better.


That was East Bistro's equivalent of chicken marinated in shao xing. These weren't chilled like the commonly found variety. We preferred those commonly found variety.


Spinach with three eggs even though the menu said two. This was good. The broth was light and clean tasting and the spinach was suitably tender.


Crispy chicken crusted with sesame seeds. Pretty tasty too. The meat was rather tender and the crisp skin was aromatized further by the sesame seeds.


Their phoenix claws were quite forgettable. While the feet were slurp off the bone tender, the sauce didn't taste very good. At least for me it didn't.


These were their "mushroom" char siew bao. There were no mushrooms in them, they were named so for their appearances.


The fillings didn't tasted like what I had expected from the colour. It had a flavour that I was used to getting with the darker sauce. But as char siew bao went, this was quite nice.


Siew mai were chunky, flavourful and competent. I'd order these again.


Century egg porridge was pretty good too. But for a chef from Hong Kong, I would have expected porridge like those in Hong Kong, but these weren't it. The texture of the gruel was quite local. I'm not complaining though.


Osmanthus jelly for dessert. These had some plum flavour in them.

Monday, September 14, 2015

An Ji, Chinatown Complex Food Centre


An Ji (#02-193/194 Chinatown Complex Food Centre, 335 Smith Street) is the other shop beside Chen Ji that sells $13 steamed fish heads. We were here for a cze char dinner with intentions of getting a fish head and a bunch of other dishes. Because we've tried the one with the fermented bean sauce before, we got the one with fermented black bean sauce this time round.


To fulfil the quota for the obligatory greens, we had a plate of stir fried nai bai. These were rather large bunches, tender yet filled with crunch. We quite impressed with the quality of the vegetable and how tasty it was after that stir fry.


This is sang meen with beef and black bean sauce. The first part of the name translates to 'crispy noodles'. These noodles are deep fried to a crisp before being laden over with the stir fried beef in black bean sauce. The beef was tenderised with sodium bicarbonate, but fortunately, that was not overdone to the point when it became a gooey mess of protein matter. We could still tell that it was beef. And the sauce was quite adequately flavoured. It was definitely not the standard starched up goo that is commonly passed off as gravy.

Usually, I like these crispy noodles to absorb the sauce. It might defeat the purpose of eating crispy noodles, but I like them for their fried aroma rather than the crisp. These ones remained crispy for a really long time.....to my dismay.....somewhat. I think this would be excellent for takeaway. That would give it ample time for the sauce to seep in.


This dish above was just described as stir fried fish intestines with sliced bitter gourd. But in fact, there were also chunks of fish eggs and fish liver. The latter ingredients were a pleasant surprise and I was so bought over that I intend to come back in the future just for this. Judging from the cuts of the egg and liver, they must have been taken off a sizeable fish. This dish was excellent with white rice.


And then there was sliced fish bee hoon soup. The broth was both light and flavourful in a savoury way. It didn't look like very much when it arrived, but trust me, that tasted better than it looked. If I had to complain, it'll be about the stingy portions of the sliced fish.

"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn"