Thursday, July 20, 2017

Yet another night at One Night Only

We tried the meat loaf this time round. For perhaps the first time since we've came here, we weren't impressed by the food. Oh, the corn bread and creamed corn were still delicious - it was just the meat loaf. It was relatively bland and I suppose the texture reminded me of a poorly made meatball. For the first time in a long while, I found something that tasted better with ketchup. It's like that.

Good news is, their shrimp etoufee is still as good. I didn't get a photo of their strawberry milkshake but it doesn't appear like the usual pink shake. They've blended frozen strawberries with vanilla ice cream so it looked pretty much like their vanilla shake. We had that malted too.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

More food from Tian Fu Ren Jia (天府人家)

We found ourselves back here for more dinner. Yeah, we got ourselves another order of those sour and spicy potato strips on rice (酸辣土豆丝饭) again. Something savoury about those crunchy potatoes that made them so tasty when you're hungry.

That's their fu rong egg rice. There's apparently nothing inside their fu rong egg except some spring onion leaves. No lup cheong, no prawns, no undercooked strips of onions or bean sprouts. Just mostly egg.

Their fried green beans with dried chilli is pretty good. There's actually bits of minced pork in there as well. The beans were thoroughly cooked with a soft crunch. Not as salty, spicy or oily as one would generally expect from these Chinese cooking.

The other item we had was simply called garlic sauce shredded meat. Both the English and Chinese name on the menu doesn't quite describe the dish which is shredded pork - with potato strips, wood ear fungus, chopped garlic, chilli and vinegar. Pretty appetizing stuff that's good with rice.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Spring Court (詠春园), Upper Cross Street

I recall reading somewhere that Spring Court (52-56 Upper Cross Street, tel : +65 6449 5030) is the oldest Chinese restaurant in Singapore. We must have passed by this area a few hundred times while being none the wiser that that the establishment held such accolade. To be fair, there wasn't any indication that it was so as they had been set up in another location back in 1929; that location doesn't exist anymore. Moved a few times before settling in the current premise in the 21st century.

The restaurant charges for stuff like wet napkins and pickles. Personally, I'd pay for those because I like their pickles which are made with sliced radishes and lotus roots. I suppose those agree with me because there's quite a bit of sugar that's gone into them to ease up on all the sour from the vinegar. Their particular balance works for me. Not forgetting, they do a pretty good fermented bean chilli sauce too. Note to self, chrysanthemum tea here is kinda thin.

Their roasted chicken stuffed with minced prawns is one of the dishes that I thought was rather nicely done. The chook looked fried rather than roasted. Minced prawn is layered under the crispy skin and meat.

Spring Court is known for their poh piah. These were expensive and huge. Are these supposed to be filled with prawns and minced crab meat inside? Because I don't think I got any. Each slice of the roll were two large mouthfuls for me, packed with stuffings. The stewed radish/vegetable stuffings were pretty tasty and I'm quite sure it's a unique recipe of their own since it doesn't quite taste like the regular ones. Our spring rolls were also pretty wet today so I guess they didn't drain the stuffings properly.

Along with their poh piah and prawny chicken, this cabbage with dried scallops is also part of what's listed as their signature dishes. I caught a hint of ginger in those soft cabbages but this was otherwise pretty good. Those dried scallops were so tender.

We got a serving of their lala beehoon. That reads as braised rice vermicelli with clams. I believe those are Manila clams. The noodles as one might have guessed have soaked up all the flavour from the stock that was used to braise them. Didn't taste so much of those clams in that stock but it was packed with flavour the same. This item is something that's not listed on the menu but can be requested for.

There's a whole bunch of other items that looked good, but we only had so much room. Will likely be back.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Hunan Cuisine Restaurant (密斯湘菜馆), Mosque Street

Hunan cuisine, also known as Xiang cuisine is known for being spicy. The comparison that comes to mind would be with Szechuan food which is also reputed for their heat. The chillis/peppers and their application onto dishes from these regions work differently from what I understand. The former is suppose to pack more direct heat while Szechuan cuisine which is famously associated with the mala element is more nuanced.

Hunan Cuisine Restaurant (7/8/9 Mosque Street, tel : +65 6225 5968) obviously serves Hunan food. By the way, the location is right where the old Teochew institution Lee Kui used to be

We had a pork tripe stir fried with garlic shoots and chillis. Both the red and yellow variety. We had opted for the least spicy option (小辣) but it was still quite a bit of heat to handle. To their credit, there was a nice umami with the dish that made it very addictive even with the heat. Sweat inducing heat that is. The chilli, garlic shoots and strips of pig stomach formed a medley of textures. Awesome dish to be had with white rice.

And we had dumplings. These were rather ordinary. I had the impression that Chinese dumplings had thick skins but these hadn't. There was supposed to be vegetables in them but I could only taste pork.

That's stir fried green peas with dried pickled mustard (梅干菜) and chilli. The flavours were unexpectedly much better than I had imagined. There was some aroma coming from the peas, a nice aromatic saltiness from the mustard and  heat from the chilli. 

The restaurant has double boiled mutton soup. We ordered it sans ginger and cilantro/coriander because I wasn't about to let them ruin the flavours.

The heated pot of soup was a little milky, peppery and just a little bit herbal. Bolstered with bit of heat from slices of chilli, cloves of garlic, some meat and gelatinous sheets (凉粉?) which had soaked up the broth. We were also getting that mutton flavour in the broth so this was nice.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Anzu (あんず), Japan Food Town @ Wisma Atria

Anzu (#04-48, Wisma Atria, 435 Orchard Road, tel : +65 6262 3408) from Kyushu opened up later than most of the other shops in Japan Food Town. In their early days, Anzu had struck me as uninteresting because the menu was very limited to a few tonkatsu options which were also more expensive then the other shops in town. That menu had definitely expanded to include more these days.

There was something that struck me as rather unique from these guys. It's the flavour of their dressing for the bottomless cabbage. It made me eat more cabbage than I had intended. Yeap, you would be looking at that white bottle in the picture up there and it isn't any sort of goma.

There was a tonkatsu with grated daikon and grapefruit. Something that wasn't part of their regular menu. The idea was that one would squeeze the grapefruit over the daikon which would soak up all the juices.

There was plenty of grapefruit to go around so I had enough remaining to flavour my glass of Kirin. The katsu was crisp and dry like I liked them. The one thing that didn't quite understand was the particular cut of rosu that they had used. It didn't even have the usual strip of fat for flavour and the meat was pretty lean and dry.

Anzu has a type of ebi katsu which they name as shrimp ball katsu that's made with chunks of shrimp.

The shrimp flavours for those kicked ass. Kicked Saboten's ass that is. This could be the best tasting shrimp katsu in town. Did I just say best? It's a rare use of a superlative in this parts. 

These tonkatsu sets came with the option of either regular or asari miso soup. The asari ones have tiny clams, eat about half the size of a thumb's nail. There was a lot of flavour from the meat but none of that flavour was the soup. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Tian Fu Ren Jia (天府人家), Jalan Bukit Ho Swee

We came across this Chinese stir fry shop (#01-864, 34 Jalan Bukit Ho Swee, tel : +65 6878 0087) which might have opened up not too long ago, whipping up a range of cooked food dishes. We had eaten a couple of times and thought that their cooking was pretty decent with a good variety of options. Their range includes stir fried dishes, stir fried dishes on rice, fried rice/noodles, a small selection for economic rice during dinner, shui jiao/guo tie/buns and they even have a small section for mala xiang guo.

I guess what I liked about this shop was a bunch of options that most, and I do mean most of the other local stir fry/cze char shops do not have. Like the stir fried pig intestines with dried chilli or even the stir fried sour and spicy potato strips with rice. Carbs on carbs but it sure was tasty.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Chicken rice from 40 Beo Crescent

I didn't get the name of this stall but it's located at the same coffee shop as Yang Zhou Fried Hokkien Mee. I guess these guys were okay in an old school kind of way. There wasn't much to write home about on the standard trinity in chicken rice. On the contrary, I found the flavour from the rice a little lacking. So that would actually be a good thing if you're thinking of dousing the plate with their chilli sauce. There wouldn't be any guilt from "wasting" any delicious flavours from the grains. 

The chicken was passable with nice portions. The added roasted pork was very edible stuff but again nothing that was outstanding. I suppose it falls into a hearty ordinary (I just made that up!) category which I wouldn't mind eating but wouldn't wait in line for or go out of the way to.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Tapas Club, Orchard Central

Apparently the group D+1 Holding that opened Tapas Club (#02-13/14/15 Orchard Central, 181 Orchard Road, tel : +65 3163 7577) holds the master franchise for Llaollao in Asia. No wonder those yoghurt in the pineapple dessert tasted so much like them! 

I'm seeing that the management group is pedestal-ing this as a premium tapas restaurant. It's about as much a tapas restaurant as SEPA is a real bacaro, but hey, what do I know right?

Pretty decent grilled asparaguses wrapped in thin slices of pork belly. But of course it was Iberico pork belly. Of course I couldn't tell that too. I'm not sure if less salt is a trend around here these days but I'm pretty damned sure this dish would have benefitted from a bit more salt. Under salting these small plates is inexcusable.

We ordered these baby squids because they looked like they might have been grilled from the picture in the menu. We had also been imagining that they might have been the size of firefly squids but these were actually about half as large as those and were deep fried in batter. I didn't dislike this. I just didn't think they were that good. In retrospect, I wouldn't order these again even if they were half of what was charged for them.

Some anchovies with onions and peppers on some stiff coca bread. These were pretty edible I guess but nothing so special that I would return for. 

Things started picking up from their tuna tartare. That's tuna tartare with avocados, tomatoes, some black pepper and something that had citrus flavour. I rather liked this with that almond soup.

Cold cuts were pretty good. But cold cuts aren't an indication of cooking skills. These ones were rather thinly sliced though. One could also tell that the olive oil used on their pan con tomate wasn't exactly the the good fruity stuff from the flavour alone. I was quite disappointed by that.

When the lamb ribs arrived, I thought they were tiny. When we started on them, we realized that probably a good two third of what's on the rib was fat. Flavourful lamb-y fat. Then I was glad that those ribs were tiny. But, a little more meat in the ratio would have been nice.

The grilled seabass was not bad. Garlic, chillis and I believe lemon infused oil. I was oozing oil from the pores of my face after this but I'm not complaining.

These guys do very nice patatas. The potatoes were in small cubes, had a very nice exterior crisp while the insides were slightly sweet. 

So here's the pineapple dessert I mentioned earlier. The menu described them to be sauteed with spices so I had thought it to be warm. But these were chilled. So I'm pretty sure this was assembled rather than prepared upon order. There was a noticeable more sour than sweet which wasn't what I was expecting.

Tapas Club is not quite La Taperia, the latter is classier and on the whole, tastier. All that name dropping of having the executive chef from Binomio (which I admit to knowing nothing about) and a Manuel Berganza of two Michelin star pedigree....I'm not feeling any of it here.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Yang Zhou Fried Hokkien Mee (洋洲福建苏东虾面), Beo Crescent

We noticed this stall (Lian Seng Eating House, #01-16, 40 Beo Crescent, tel : +65 6273 0429) from a while back and decided to try their Hokkien mee which almost everyone else in the coffee shop seemed to be having. If the address looked familiar, it's probably because the location is at the very same block where the nameless Hainanese curry rice and noodle stall is at, but in the other coffee shop with that Seng Kee vegetarian noodle stall.

The noodles weren't too bad, but it wasn't on par with the Serangoon Gardens stall at Redhill Food Centre which had a more robust prawny flavour from the stock. Yang Zhou's noodles had a creamy texture. The chilli that they provided was pretty good and somewhat unusual from what's normally offered. That was a tangy element to it which reminded me of the type of sambal used for barbecued stingrays. Kicks butt with the noodles.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Re-visiting iO Italian Osteria

Here's back in iO and a couple of noir filters shots from the iPhone. Coming back and seated where we were allowed me to absorb the decor in a different light from the first visit. These full glass panels and industrialized theme ceilings brought back memories of Beef & Liberty.

I noticed that they have a house brew on menu. It wasn't as smooth as the server described it to be but I suppose they're not known for beers. 

We grabbed some gnocco fritti off their board featuring weekend specials. That's the fried bread stuffed with cheese and some salumi - a trio of fennel (finocchiona perhaps), chilli and pepper salami along with some shaven prosciutto of sorts. Looked and tasted like speck. More bread would have been nice.

That's spinach spatzle with Fontina fondue, braised onions and bacon bits. The sauce made the pasta deliciously buttery and cheesy.

There was baked stingray with a honey citrus sauce thing. I don't think it was fresh stingray. The texture of the meat didn't feel like it. Possibly a frozen fish but I cannot be sure. But the sauce made up for the slightly lacklustre textures and as a dish, it was quite enjoyable.

Their pistachio tiramisu was nice. But then again, we were expecting it to be so because Etna.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Chicken dum briyani from Anjappar

This would be the Anjappar at Westgate (#04-08, 3 Gateway Drive, tel : +65 6566 5545). I wasn't quite in the mood to run through the menu and thought that it's probably a good time to just fall back on a simple dum briyani to see if these were any good here.

Now how did that go? The rice was light and fragrant from the spices while the chicken was tender. I suppose it would be fair to say that it was a competently done chicken dum briyani if not more. I didn't think it wow-ed me. I realized that I had actually been more impressed by the one at Shami's much more than this. The chicken thigh I had gotten wasn't very meaty too. But maybe it's because these guys don't use the GM birds? *cues flashback of stringy quail*

Friday, July 07, 2017

A vanghi bath from MTR 1924

Something a little out of my usual way, I came by to MTR for lunch and got myself a vanghi bath - a Southern Indian dish of brinjal rice. This isn't available everyday though and if my memory serves, just Tuesdays and Fridays. Now I didn't dislike this but I very much prefer their pudina bath because it was a much more savoury rice dish. This however was more spicy so to speak - a lot more warmth and some tanginess which I believe is from taramind that was used. I definitely wouldn't mind if there was more brinjal in it. Well, at least I've tried this. I'll pick another of their rice dish the next time.

Didn't/couldn't pass on their rava idli. So good, especially with that splash of ghee and that warm sambar. I have gotten a conjoined twin today so yay, more idli!