Sunday, December 31, 2017

665°F, Andaz Singapore


This space (38/F Andaz Singapore, 5 Fraser Street, tel : +65 6408 1255) was intimate, a little classy and in almost dire need of upgrade for their ventilation. We left the restaurant smelling of the smoke and sizzled fat from their grill - being seated at almost the furthest spot from the grill. 


They serve garlic bread. Freshly made. Which was nice. Not sure what their recipe was but a bit more butter and garlic would have made it awesome-er. But I'm not complaining here.


We ordered their yellowfin tuna tartare after seeing pictures of it online. The amount of Kaluga Queen caviar from those pictures were easily 5 times or more of that tiny little mound we were given. So for $48, it was expensive and represented little value. The only way one would be able to taste those eggs was to eat them before the rest of the tartare. 


Crab cakes were not bad. We've had better though.


It came with some pepper dip, mostly capsicum flavoured - which we thought was totally unnecessary for those crab cakes. The only thing it did was to rob the crab of any flavours left on the meat after what I thought was grain mustard already mixed into those patties.


Double cut lamb chops were also okay. Some parts of the exterior were burnt and bitter. Medium rare was actually more medium. I'm thinking that whomever did these weren't very experienced with getting the outcome they were trying to achieve. These chops were generating an "it's alright" kind of vibe rather than a "wow, I'm coming back for this" feel on me. 


Their grain fed USDA Prime sirloin from Omaha was pretty good though. The grill and char was respectable and the meat sufficiently beefy with what I thought was a nice shade for the doneness. Didn't need the mustards or pepper sauces they had provided.


Mac & cheese was bland so we used the black pepper sauce from the steak for it. I'm not sure what these guys where thinking but something a little more sharp and aged with a little more salt was needed here.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

A chicken sharwarma rice from Arabica Kebab


That's a shop located in the food court at Jurong East MRT (10 Jurong East Street 12). It looked a little forlorn at lunch time but I decided to give it a go anyway. Only chicken, no lamb. Got the sharwarma with spiced rice which was kinda like briyani. The salad was pretty much a token pinch of the tongs. It wasn't too shabby nor was it expensive. Their briyani-like rice dried out a little in the heater but it was still pretty edible. It's another one of those things I wouldn't mind if I'm in the vicinity.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Tendon Kohaku (天丼琥珀), Suntec City


Finally down to Tendon Kohaku (#03-310/311 Suntec City, 3 Temasek Boulevard, tel : +65 6333 4386). The queue that I've been hearing about was still there but we managed to get there early so the wait was much less painful. Just 15 minutes. And another 20 or so after we got seated.

Here's their Ocean Gems tendon which featured snow/king crab, oyster, scallop, squid and shrimps in a aonori batter with a small shower of ikura. And a rather large crabstick. I'm quite sure the large chikuwa-like tempura was crabstick and not crab. 

This particular tendon is apparently on limited serving per day. It passed muster for a lack of a better description. The batter was sufficiently crisp and not too heavy with little residual grease. I liked that fried oyster in there even though I thought it was a little small. The seafood tasted pretty good except for the boring piece of squid.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Dynasty Ipoh Seafood, Bishan


Heard about the fried porridge for quite a while so curiosity finally got the better of me. It's a signature dish - amongst a few others, from Dynasty Ipoh Seafood (151 Bishan Street 11, #01-195, tel : +65 9122 3993). The chef had previously been cooking at a talked about place called Royal J's at Foch Road.

How was that? Pretty good. The flavour from the dried shrimp/cuttlefish and possibly lard made it taste like glutinous rice dumplings. With a viscous porridge texture that's kinda like the dry porridge from Raan Jay Fai.  


The fu rong egg was okay. Neither the better nor worst I've encountered.


This was green dragon vegetable (青龙菜), also known as royal chives. Stir fried. Not sure if I've ever had them before. They tasted like bean sprouts with the texture of chives. Rather fibrous chives if might say so. Very little salt in this so it was a little bland.


We ordered their baby lamb chops because we were curious and lamb is kinda rare in our local Chinese cze char stalls. Almost as rare as a unicorn sighting. It came with what was described as Mongolian sauce. A sauce that was thick and nutty which reminded me of satay gravy. It was also peppery. The flavours were sweet and spicy and it wasn't that much different from a sweet black pepper sauce. The lamb was a little chewy and filled with bones.


We had pickled mustard soup. Flavour from the kiam chye was lighter than what I had been expecting but there was quite a bit of ingredients that made it relatively tasty. Ingredients like dried sour plum, sliced fish cake, sliced pork and tofu.


Their prawn paste mid wings were well fried but quite lacking in flavours from the prawn paste.


What I personally found outstanding was their Thai styled steamed seabass with lemon and bee hoon. I liked that the lemon-y flavours were well absorbed into the bee hoon. The fish was tender and delicious while that lemon sauce/broth was also deliciously spicy. I don't know what those mint leaves were doing there though.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Wow Wow West, ABC Brickworks Market & Food Centre


A few friends and co-workers have been telling me for years about this local western food stall (#01-133, 6 Jalan Bukit Merah Lane 1). The commonality of those mentions was that they were supposed to be good. For reasons, I never had a the opportunity to check them out until today. Here's a chicken chop. 

Barely passed muster if you asked me. There was some browning on the meat but the skin was soft without crisp nor aroma. Sauce was pedestrian. Sausage was nice but they bought it from somewhere and simply pan fried it. Are these guys defining the standards for good these days? I'm don't know what's the big deal here.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Ami Ami by Kuriya Dining, Great World City


While the restaurant (#B1-03/04 Great World City, 1 Kim Seng Promenade, tel : +65 6835 9071) has the words tempura and robatayaki emblazoned above their counter, I knew enough to keep expectations lowered. They're in the basement of Great World City, cloistered in a corner with a couple of other restaurants. One doesn't expect to find specialists here. And it's managed by Kuriya Dining. There's more - the place features an award winning chef according to their web site. Must be plentiful of awards going around these days. 

Still I was curious because these guys apparently make their own dried mackerel and perhaps there was something interesting to be had from what's seasonal.


Their house dried mackerel was fine. Charcoal grilled they say but I thought it was nothing that would blow the socks off anyone. It was cool that they removed all the bones from the fish though. The entire thing could be eaten.


I was curious about their tempura onsen egg rice so I upgraded my teishoku with one. Not the same tempura-ed egg as the one from Tendon Ginza Itsuki as this one was wrapped in bean curd sheets. It's molten like what was expected. With a little shoyu or tendon sauce, it's good with the rice.


Scallops were supposed to be fresh according to them. For something that was hot off their grill, it didn't taste very flavourful. The sweetness from the shellfish felt muted.


Tempura ebi was okay-ish. The batter was a wee bit thicker than what I thought would be nice. The fried legs were crispy, crustacean-ly and awesome though.


They didn't feature much of a variety for seasonal fishes. We picked a kodai from what they had. This was very nice. Fish was nicely grilled, tender and moist.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Ramen Nagi, Suntec City


Ramen Nagi (#01-512/513 Suntec City Tower 2, 9 Temasek Boulevard, tel : +65 6266 1502)  from Japan opened up a couple of months back. Tonkotsu based and looks Hakata styled one at that. Like any ramen-ya with publicity, these guys attracted long lines during the opening.

I got their Black King. Their bowl of noodles with obsidian broth that's been blackened with squid ink, blackened garlic and black sesame. The broth was rich, slightly viscous even after mixing with what appeared to be a ball of black pepper sauced minced meat and quite delicious. The squid ink came through with the garlic. Even though I had opted for their extra hard option for the noodles - presumably harigane, it was still softer than I had expected. Pork belly was tender and had some nice melty fats.

I think I liked it enough to come back to try another bowl.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Din Tai Fung's black truffle chicken soup


Had this? This stuff is liquid gold and a much better application of black truffle than many places. There's enough of the truffle flavour infused into the soup that made the flavour exquisite. Enough salt for that delicious savouriness. Enough clarity to be delicate. And no, I'm neither a shareholder nor employee.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Yes! Nasi Kukus, Jurong East Central


These guys (BGAIN 130 Eating House, #01-211, 130 Jurong Gateway Road) are apparently from Kelantan. The sale pitch is steamed rice and their nasi dagang. So nasi kukus from what I gather is rice steamed in aluminium cups. The dagang version is rice steamed with coconut milk and they seemed to have differentiated it from their regular steamed rice by using brown rice. So one basically gets a rice plate with a choice of meat. The rest of the stuff like the hard boiled egg, keropok and bean sprouts come with the plate.

It's not bad but the flavour wasn't what I had in mind when I was thinking about rice with coconut milk. It didn't taste like nasi lemak for sure and it was doused with some lemak gravy. Fried chicken was tender and delicious though. Their fruity sambal was awesome.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Blue Label Pizza & Wine, Ann Siang Road


I was looking forward to this visit to Blue Label Pizza & Wine (#B1-01, 28 Ann Siang Road,). After all, this outfit was the product of Travis Masiero under his group of restaurants. Luke’s had always delivered, so a casual pizza and wine place would probably be a breeze and still deliver. Right?


We had their kale "Waldorf" salad on blind faith in the belief that it would be good since Luke's has an excellent kale salad. More goat's cheese and grapes would have made it kickass but we were just settling for "we liked it and would come back again for it". And we would.


This was where the faith got a little shakened. Their plate of Blue Label State Fair fries. I'll try to be succinct. Black pepper sauce was weak. Truffle was totally unnecessary even though I was hoping that I would be proven wrong. The pepper sauce, the aioli, the salty fries all made sure that those minuscule shavings never got a chance to even mutter. Not great fries, Les Bouchons across the road makes better ones. It was edible. Just greasy, salty and unimpressive.

It had occured to me at this point that I don't even like the fries at Luke's.


We got ourselves the pie In Honour of "Pepe". If you didn't know, Frank Pepe founded his pizzeria Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana in 1925 and made famous his white clam pies with coal oven crusts which are still around today. I'm assuming it's that Pepe even with those quote marks.

With the cheese, bacon and (maddening whispers saying) clam juice, there was quite a bit of salt. Fine for those days where one would grab a little pizza to go with beers. But not so much for nights when you’re just looking for a pizza dinner. I’m not getting much of flavour nor texture from the clams. Just mostly cheese and bacon and some garlic. Sorry Pepe. This tribute didn’t quite do you justice.

There was a saving grace. The crust was nice. The middle got soggy and was barely holding up the toppings. But the cornicione was crispy and delicious. Like what they used to say for Gardenia bread. The only similar type of crust I recall with that texture are those from Pizzeria Mozza. Must be the aged dough thing huh?


There was a killer carrot cake. It's not bad. It's a killer because after all the food, this was a large slice. And it was just half a slice. The other half had to be doggie bagged. There was a nice thick layer of cream cheese on top and an even thicker layer in the middle of the cake. That's probably the other reason why it's a killer. But as I said, not bad. Not too sweet. Cake was nice. Wished there was more cake to cheese ratio though.


Look at all those walnuts studded across the back of the cake. For some odd reasons, I got reminded of the faces of the souls trapped in the shell of Jinmen.


There was soft serve. This was a swirl of vanilla and spiced pumpkin. We liked this. It's pretty good. It's also not too sweet which was great. Those crumbs are apparently candied walnuts.

To say that we were a little disappointed would be an honest understatement. I'd give it another chance but that's gonna be a while before it happens.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Re-revisiting Brasserie Gavroche


I was thinking that the one thing in this era I can't stand about restaurants are the ones that do not bother with communicating their menu. By that, I mean that they do not update or do not manage the update of what's currently cooking. While I hold no such grievance against Brasserie Gavroche (yet!), they messed up their menu update which resulted in us being here today. An update they made that was suppose to come in next month. According to them that is.


Since we were here, we decided to just eat here. We liked their food anyway. One of their current specials was a saucisson with black truffle and a thin Parmigiano Reggiano crust. So thin you would barely notice that it was there. But there was a mild trailing aftertaste of the cheese amid the saltiness. Not bad. We stuffed ourselves with an extra basket of bread because of this.


The last time I had their fish quenelle was more than 5 years ago. I think it tasted the same. The quenelles were light and creamy. It was the cream in the bisque that was rich. Today's crawfish was especially crawfish-y. Another basket of bread we had to soak and wipe the plate clean for this.


Pan seared scallops with Jerusalem artichoke puree and black truffle. Nice. Don't know why the black truffle was there though since they didn't contribute any flavour. Pretty sure monsieur Frédéric Colin is beyond costly aesthetics that doesn't contribute to his dishes.


Their crepe Suzette was one dish we didn't expect burnt ends though. A little corner burned a little to fiercely than expected, raging its last bit of anger before I was forced to snuff it out with my breath. It's that or more of my crepe would have been burnt so I made the obvious choice. Haha. The Grand Marnier is strong in this one.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A bowl of bakkwa you mian from Yo Banmian


Yo Banmian (coffeeshop @ Blk 654 Yishun Ave. 4) looked no different from the numerous ban mian stalls that dot our sunny island. I'm normally not a fan except for that stall down at Toa Payoh Central which I know is good. The commonly seen soup rendition is way too hot for our weather. At least for me it is. So I got intrigued by their dry ban mian bowl with bak kwa. Yes, you heard that right. Bak kwa. It's chopped/cut into little bits like minced pork so one eats them like minced pork noodles. There's some dark soy sauce, some lard and the minced bak kwa with some vegetables and a poached egg.

And because of those ingredients the noodles were a little sweet. Interesting.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Revisiting Spring Court


Dinner at Spring Court. I suppose part of the appeal here was that the restaurant does what it does in the ever-changing nature of our constantly evolving food landscape. There is a certain character and a small measure of their charm created by that character. It's a little pricey but there are a bunch of things that are uniquely them that cannot be found elsewhere. Sweeping statements - I know.


This was a second go at their poh piah. The stuffings were not well drained again. Maybe that's how they roll here. Lol. The spring roll skins got soggy after a while. It's not bad tasting, but I don't think I'll develope much cravings for them after today


These are crab meat "rolls" with chicken liver and salted egg yolk. A signature deep fried egg shaped dish of theirs. Freshly fried, no residual grease and crispy on the shell. Each ingredient could be tasted individually and it's more delicious than the looks suggested. I'd get these again.


Their claypot lamb brisket were another good call. Tender and tasty and would have been great with white rice. There's even sliced water chestnuts and some tau kee (dried bean curd sheets) in there.


The carbs for this time round was their ee meen. The menu mentioned shredded chicken and crab but there were only mushrooms with the noodles. Strange. It's not bad, not too greasy but I personally felt that the noodles were a little too soft.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Tuna belly, collar and monkfish liver at Kuro Maguro


We were reeled in by the JPassport redemption for their tuna bowl. Only $9.90. It's not as big as their regular donburi but hell it's still a good value for that price. Rice topped with minced hon maguro toro, toro cubes and ikura. Temptation's the one thing we'll never resist.


Ankimo was in season. This one that they served was lacklustre in flavours (saved by the ponzu) for some reasons and was poorly handled - or manhandled. The liver was crumbling at the sides and not neatly portioned out. 


We had tuna collar. A medium sized piece that costed a pretty penny. It was good. We enjoyed it. But I suppose there's other collars that wouldn't cost so much for so little which represents better value.