Saturday, April 30, 2016

Patty Melt on rye from Park Bench Deli


Here's a quick warm sandwich for dinner. Chuck patty with cheese, bread & butter pickles and caramelised onions between toasted rye from Park Bench Deli. Greasy and a little salty for the most of it, but also delicious.

Monday, April 25, 2016

iO Italian Osteria, HillV2


This place (#02-01 HillV2, 4 Hillview Rise, tel : +65 6710 7150) is by the people who runs Etna. I wanted to check them out because I liked Etna and I was hoping to see what they would do out of the concept of an osteria.


We had porchetta, a roasted layered pork stuffed with herbs. The portions were pretty large so my advice is to share it. As a starter, it could have been easily split two or three ways. I thought it was not bad; super crisp (I do mean super crisp) on the outside while moist and fatty on the insides. But they were very light handed with the salt on the meat. I supposed that worked with the accompanying mustard which seemed to have been nicely salted.


The other thing was their schiacciata, an Italian flatbread. This one was stuffed with ricotta, mushrooms and some truffle oil. Again, the portions were huge. This could have been breakfast for two. But it was also quite nice. The bread was served hot and crisp with the cheese oozing out of the edges.


Feeling adventurous, I tried a home made tagliolini with prawns and lemon. It was something that was probably off my usual flavour train and I was hoping that having lemons would zest up the noodles or the sauce. I couldn't taste the lemons and the sauce was a generic one that was made with the ingredients on the plate. Being adventurous doesn't always pay off. While I liked the texture of the pasta, the rest of the flavours was kinda boring. #disappointment

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The steamed bullfrog with chilli is back, now on the regular menu of Paradise Dynasty


I've previously said all there is to say about this particular dish which was on a limited run menu. I'm guessing that it had been well received enough for the restaurant to have included it into the regular menu. Still burning hot and tasty this is, so this is really not for beginners.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Lollapalooza - ɒzoolɒqɒllo⅃


Here's back to Lollapalooza. If there was one thing I felt that they could have improved, it would be to update their menu of the week/day instead of waiting for people asking for them. That's why there is social media, yes? To facilitate incessant timely updates?

But I bear no grudges. Table service was good and the food was enjoyable.

glazed Brussels sprouts with chestnuts
We had Brussels sprouts with chestnuts. Nothing surprising going on here. I just like them

cockscombs braised in veal jus with sautéed sweetcorn
Cockscombs has texture like a slightly crunchy abalone or cockle. Kinda nice to chew on but isn't by itself big on flavour. I don't think it absorbs flavour well too. But the accompanying corn was good. Very nice. As a dish altogether, I thought this worked.

sea urchin and crab tart
This tart sounded good on paper, but I had my suspicions otherwise before ordering it. We ordered it anyway because it sounded good on paper. As it turned out, I was spot on about the part on the uni. It was a waste of a nice piece of sea urchin because the flavour in the stuffings of tart were rich and creamy. Which by itself was a good thing but didn't work with something with the subtle floral of uni. And hence knowing that already, we were ate them apart.

white asparagus (Mazan, France) with diced Bayonne ham and hazelnuts
White asparagus season has started. These ones that Lollapalooza had gotten were amazing. I meant that they were naturally sweet, char etched with a smokiness from the grill and very juicy. I guess that's why they costed so much.

leeks poached in nut-brown butter and vanilla served with hazelnut crumble
Leeks were tender and juicy too. The hazelnuts worked better here than on the asparaguses because there was more and there's no ham here to distract from the aroma of the nuts. But between this and the asparagus, we preferred the latter.

roasted Australian wild-caught scampi (langoustine) with seaweed butter
The scampi was not bad, but it was an odd pair. We had a little difficulty removing the flesh off the first one which had a head full of delicious fat. The second one had flesh that was easily stripped off the shell, but didn't have so much head fat. At this point, I cannot in good conscience say that it was amazing because these were not yet at that level. Our benchmarks had once upon a time been established and sadly may never be met again.

roasted lamb hearts with wild garlic shoots
Lamb hearts were nice. Actually, I'm still surprised that a muscular organ like the heart would be so tender and chewy. I was glad that it was respectfully treated in the grill with little but salt and pepper. That orange blob at the side - I think it's some kind of tomato pesto. I'm not too sure exactly.

spicy dark chocolate ice cream with milk chocolate mousse and chocolate brownie
This triple chocolate dessert was not bad. The brownie was rather fudgy which I liked and the spicy dark chocolate was rich, smooth and spicy enough.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Mushidori Original Curry Rice from Washoku Goen

Mushidori Original Curry Rice, Washoku Goen

This branch of Washoku Goen down at Clifford Centre's Foodfair (#B1-01/10 Clifford Centre, 24 Raffles Place) features a Mushidori curry rice which uses their rendition of poached chicken instead of the usual tori katsu. I kinda liked it. It was pretty tender, well flavoured and while it might not have rivalled the best of local chicken rice we have for the chook, it didn't taste too shabby at all. Too bad it's only available at this particular outlet.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Tim Ho Wan, Westgate

So I've finally visited Tim Ho Wan (#01-13/14 Westgate, 3 Gateway Drive, tel : +65 6686 2000). And yes, it had taken me a while. But I didn't see any reason to hurry to a cloned proxy of a Michelin starred dim sum joint, be it a deserving luminance or not. 


Their century egg and minced meat porridge was quite nice. It was a good effort having the porridge as close as the ones in Hong Kong. I shall not compare.


These baked buns with char siew are apparently one of their signatures. Or one of their big four heavenly kings as they term them. The crusty exterior doesn't preserve their crisp texture very well over time so we've learnt after doing a takeaway. I didn't dislike these but I don't think I'll be ordering them again.


Har gow was good. Fresh firm chunks of shrimp found in these steamed dumplings.


The steamed spinach dumplings with shrimp were also good. In fact, it was one of the more outstanding items we've had in this visit and I intend to get them again if I ever come back.


Steamed rice rolls were decent if unexceptional. I'm pretty sure it was the sweet and sesame sauces that did the trick.


Tim Ho Wan's pan fried radish cakes are also another of their four heavenly kings. Sadly, these don't come close to those from Imperial Treasure which are noticeably superior with a tastier crust and creamier inside.


The third of the four heavenly king of theirs we tried was their steamed egg cake. Or also commonly known as 马来糕. The texture was light and quite fluffy, but these didn't quite taste like the usual eggy ones. I'm not sure if they have been localized but there was a distinctive flavour of gula melaka in them.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A mega maguro katsu don from Maguro Donya Miura Misakikou Sushi & Dining


It's always a mouthful handful trying to enunciate type the name of our friendly neighbourhood hon maguro specialist. Here's a hefty maguro katsu donburi from Maguro Donya Miura Misakikou Sushi & Dining which features tuna wrapped in seaweed and then battered in panko before the deep fry. The resultant crust was rather firm, crisp and dry while the meat on the inside was moist and fully cooked. It was probably much too thin a slab for any lesser doneness which I was actually hoping for and I was glad that they didn't overdo the tonkatsu sauce. In retrospect, I very much prefer tuna that is less cooked or even raw.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Fish paste noodles in shark cartilage broth from Cove99


Well there's wolfberry, some pieces of cod and bitter gourd as well. I've been kinda fascinated with fish noodles after being introduced to them years back. The fish flavour and the springy texture are what sets them apart from the regular flour ones. This one was pretty good. I thought it was a much better deal than the cod fish soup noodles at Amara. I'm definitely coming back (72 Peck Seah Street, tel : +65 6224 0991) for another bowl sometime.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Restaurant Manchurian (满族全羊铺), Smith Street


This space (18 Smith Street, tel : +65 6225 8663) was previously occupied by Yang Gui Fei, another Chinese restaurant that also served lamb. Now that Restaurant Manchurian has taken over, the decor of the interior seems to have been upgraded - albeit into something touristy tackier looking. But the menu still has a lot of lamb so giggity giggity goo! Manchuria if my interpretation holds, refers to a northern region that covers China and Russia. The part that falls under China is commonly referred to as Dong Bei (东北). And hence by association, I could assume there would be similarities between the food here and those from Dong Bei Ren Jia?

Anyway, here's a scratch on the surface of what they restaurant serves over two visits.


Here be lamb skewers. These here were more expensive than those skewers that can be found in the main road shops. But from the aroma that hit us when they arrived, we couldn't complain. 


They had stir fried long beans and eggplant which were really good. The flavours of both vegetables came through even with the seasoning. No mean feat since these vegetables were light on the palate in the first place. Those eggplants were also really tender.


Imagine xiao long bao with stuffings of minced lamb rather than pork; in flour wrappers that were thicker like mee hoon kuey. Wrappers that were filled with "juices" from the meat/fat stuffings. That was pretty much how their boiled lamb dumplings were like.


Something they described as dry pot cauliflower (干锅花菜) that came with little strips of pork belly. Another tasty vegetable dish.


We had a lamb hotpot somewhere along the way. Delicious spicy herbal broth filled with root vegetables, generous potion of meat and a flat noodle portion that was cut from a single strand.


The above lamb chops were a specialty of the restaurant. They were boiled lamb ribs served with two dips. A garlic infused soy sauce and a fragrant chilli oil. One was supposed to dip each rib of meat into the soy sauce and then the chilli oil for flavours. I thought that these were quite similar to the boiled pork ribs from bak kut teh minus the broth and using mutton instead of pork.


There was braised pulled lamb served in griddled bread. To be honest, this wasn't one of the dishes I had preferred, ironically because of the well done braising. The flavours had permeated the meat so much that I couldn't tell that it was lamb. But otherwise this was a pretty good Chinese "burger".


And there were crunchy vinegared strips of potato that the menu describes as potato silk. Vinegar that made us believe that we had cleansed ourselves of the grease and fat from all that mutton after a few chopsticks-ful of the potatoes. This stuff was good too.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Poh piah from Tangs Market


Ouch, this was the most expensive poh piah I've ever had. $3.50 a roll which is more than twice what most people usually charged. Then again, I thought it was pretty good. What's more - the roll was packed, thick and was larger than the size they're usually rolled into. Each slice could barely fit into my mouth.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

A shio iwashi set from Nakajima Suisan


There were a couple of hon maguro parts available last night at Nakajima Suisan and then my eyes fell onto something that was possibly even more uncommon. Freshly grilled sardines with just salt. And I knew I had to order them. 


Was that a good fish? Sure it was. The skin was a nice crisp and the meat was tender and moist and almost boneless. Well, almost because most of those bones were so fine that one could just eat them. What I had enjoyed especially were the regions in the head and the belly just past the gills. Those livery bittersweet dark parts. 

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Bakmie and sio may from JTown Cafe


So we finally got back to try the bakmie from JTown. This was their bakmie ayam cabe ijo - the option with a green chilli sauce/stew and bits of chicken. I rather liked the green chilli stew. I thought there was sufficient flavour going on in the sauce to be likeable while there was some heat to keep the flavours interesting. I suppose the noodles were okay. Would have like them more springy but they were okay. Though I wouldn't be in a hurry to come back, I wouldn't mind eating them again if I'm in the vicinity.

The sio may on the other hand I didn't quite take to. The staff paraphrasing my order had called it siew mai which I guess is what sio may was. But it wasn't exactly siew mai as most people here would know of it. It was a sort of fish cake and it wasn't even the type of fish cake that most of us were familiar with. These were basically chewy pieces of flour flavoured with some fish. It was as far removed from what is commonly regarded as fish cake as those mutants from The Hills Have Eyes are from humanity.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

A tendon from Kanda Wadatsumi


I don't know if the price had anything to do with it but I'm getting the feeling that this tendon from Kanda Wadatsumi was of a better quality than the one from Tendon Ginza Itsuki just a few minutes walk away. And no, I don't have any proof or appropriate points of comparison. I just felt that there was a noticeable difference in the quality of the tempura for both the ingredient and the batter that they had. Even the pearly beady starch-less rice felt like it was better.

This bowl here had kurumaebi, diamondback squid, takenoko (bamboo shoot) and canola. Drizzled with some tempura sauce. The two tiger prawns - separated body and heads were well fried to a nice crisp that none of the shell was chewy.  Bamboo shoots were literally the best I've tasted anywhere (I haven't eaten them that much, so...) and tempura-ed canola was a first time for me.

Their miso soup came with two prawn heads and had flecks of orange bits floating about. I was initially excited thinking that this would be a prawny one, but it just tasted like the regular thing. There wasn't much to suck out of those heads too.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Suigei Sake Salon, Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel


Long introduction short, this sake lounge (#01-04 Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel, 320 Orchard Road, tel : +65 6235 5514) is a collaboration between Ginza Sushi Ichi and the sake producer Suigei Shuzo from the Kouchi prefecture located at the ground floor of Marriott. There is a limited menu which comes directly from Ginza Sushi Ichi just next door. Apparently, some of their sets like the chirashi are limited to 5 servings per day only during lunch.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Hokkaido Izakaya, Tg Pagar Road


Hokkaido Izakaya (95 Tg Pagar Road, tel : +65 6221 7118) has gotten quite a bit of buzz recently online, so I guess we have gotten intrigued by what they had to offer. What stands them apart from the rest of the izakaya here is that the focus of their food is on Hokkaido produce. Namely what they term as the best imported from the towns Yakumo, Akkeshi, Furano and Kamishihoro.

Friday, April 01, 2016

Japanese styled curry beef rice at home


It's sometimes hard to beat home made stuff. This one had slices of shabu slices of beef on top of the minced meat plus a scoop of secret sambal to up the heat factor. So while Japanese curry cubes were used, it didn't taste exactly like a traditional variety. I dare say this was better.