Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Lime House, Jiak Chuan Road


Lime House (2 Jiak Chuan Road, tel : +65 6222 3130) is possibly the only Caribbean establishment of any sort on our shores. They were set up a few years ago as a bar/restaurant by a native from the Caribbeans who has gotten himself rooted in this part of the world while churning out the flavours of food from this hometown. To that, they have survived for half a decade. Not something to be scoffed at here. We were here to try their food.    


I've been eyeing that goat curry of theirs since I've read about it. Not curry as we South East Asian know it from part of the word. It would probably come across here as a sort of stew flavoured with plenty of spices. Yes, it was good. More on that later.


We topped up with an order of lemon lime slaw and plantains. The former wasn't as refreshing as the name might have suggested. While the lime was definitely going on in the slaw, it wasn't impactful as a flavour component. Plantains were unexpectedly sweet. I remembered those things to be dry and textured like sweet potatoes but these weren't that sort. They were rather tasty if a little greasy.


There was a hot sauce made with Scotch bonnet chilli. I thought it completed that goat curry. The sauce packed respectable heat but was not very spectacular by itself. When mixed with the curry, it added a noticeable kick that elevated the complexity of the said curry bringing the flavour up by a couple of notches.


Dessert was a spiced banana cake. We were imagining something moist but this was dry and crumbly. They also ran out of the honey and fig ice cream that was mentioned and gave us chocolate instead. We didn't dislike it, but it's nothing we'd come back for.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Of chickens and eggs at Maxwell Food Centre


The first and also last time I've had Tian Tian's chicken rice was a decade ago. There are still as many tourists these days. Prices have gone up. There're two separate queues processing orders for the stall now. One to for order and the other for collection like how it was done at the old Mei Ling location of Sin Kee. They got my order wrong today but I didn't feel like arguing the difference. That was almost 10 bucks worth if anyone's wondering.

Chicken was slurp off the bone tender and their lime spiked chilli still kicks ass. But I can definitively settle with the knowledge that they don't do very good rice. But all these tourists probably will never know.


I do not recall ever having had Zhen Zhen Porridge (#01-54) before. The queue was never "encouraging" and I still am generally not big on porridges. I tried a chicken and century egg bowl today and I liked it. There was definitely an appeal to the gut sticking gruel-ly consistency with the raw egg stirred in and I enjoyed how it tasted with the generosity of the ingredients. I'll be back.


So I finally got to try something at Lad & Dad (#01-79) as well. The greasy and salty bacon and chip butty that's been bolstered with a fried egg an melted mozzarella cheese. Nothing like a conventional English chip butty but I could appreciate how it would be less of a mess with hash browns rather than actual chips. I felt my artery clog a little but it sure was good.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Re-visiting Mustard


I discovered Mustard and first ate in the restaurant back in 07. It was another of those places that I've been meaning to go back to and it's never happened. Until now. About 11 years later. I'm glad they're still around.


Started with a Kalibadi chop which was described as a potato chop that was stuffed with green peas. This was delicious. Came with a dip that they mentioned was made with mustard. I thought that dip tasted like tamarind chutney.


I wanted to have another go at their Kolkata Special Mutton Biryani. It was quite obvious that the recipe has changed from the last time I had it. The briyani was lot more savoury (colourful as well) and appropriately salted. We were getting a lot of fragrance from what appeared to be fried shallots and the delicious raita that they served with it were nicely spiked with cumin. It was good. But the irony was that it now tasted like a regular briyani which I'm not likely to miss in the future.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Gandhi Restaurant, Chander Road


I'm surprised that I had never noticed Gandhi Restaurant (31 Chander Road, tel : +65 6299 5343) until recently when we were heading towards Jaggi's. Anyways, the place was a unpretentious and frills free South Indian meal eatery. 


We got ourselves a set meal which included a couple of vegetables on the side with pickles, papadam and a choice of curry that would be ladled over the rice. It was between chicken and fish today. We had the chicken which was pretty good. 

One could also order add ons either by indicating from the troughs of food or from a menu which was stuck on the door. Rice and curry were bottomless but I never verified if that were true because I only had room for one refill. :p


The question was never if we added on but what we added. That's curried mutton tripe and fish cutlet - the latter a fried ball of minced fish and potato. That chewy tripe was a little more offal-y in flavour rather than mutton-y. More of the mutton flavour were in the curry than the tripe. Fish cutlets were pretty good. 

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Of offals and turtle shells at Toa Payoh


I was looking forward to giving the noodles at Master Shifu (#02-30 HDB Hub, 500 Toa Payoh Lorong 6) a go because I liked what they did with the lamb broth at their parent restaurant Chuan Yang Ji Mutton Steamboat. So I got myself a bowl of lamb offal sliced noodles (刀削面) only to be disappointed by how bland the broth was. To be more precise - it was floury, a little herbal and had just a little of the mutton flavour. Couldn't even save itself after I had dumped in the salted vegetables and roasted chilli. Even Curry Times made a better lamb broth.

It's too bad because they did a bloody good job out of the sliced lamb meat (they didn't give me offal) which was in the bowl. Tender, appropriately salted and readily falling apart in the mouth with fats.


So we moved on because I never finished the bowl of lamb noodles. Was brought to this Lau Pa Sat Pig's Organ Soup Bak Kut Teh Kway Chap at Super 28 Coffee Shop (184 Toa Payoh Central). Yeah, that stall name was a mouthful. I don't know if these folks were originally from Lau Pa Sat though.

This single serving portion featured added on braised intestines. The braised stuff were flavoursome. Loved that braised-in taste of their hard boiled egg. Also liked that their kuey had a rice-y flavour which is often missing from other bowls.


Moving on to desserts. I've had guilin gao since I was a kid. Was told that it was made with turtle shells. From what I've heard, not everyone makes these bitter jellies with them. I don't know if the guilin gao here (Hoong Woh Tong, 190 Toa Payoh Lorong 6) contains actual powdered turtle shell but the herbal flavour for theirs wasn't too intense. Ducking into this shop for a bowl was definitely a reprieve from the warm humidity.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

A chilli crab 'O from Old Chang Kee


Here's a chilli crab 'O from Old Chang Kee. I'm not exactly one of the bigger fans of chilli crab out there so I'm definitely not an expert on their flavours. I don't recall the last time I've had those things. But I do remember how they tasted like so I guess I could venture an opinion that these puffs do taste like chilli crab. I guess it's just the gravy and a little of the minced crab meat mixed into the potatoes. Good enough as a curiosity I suppose.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

More Zion Riverside Food Centre-ing


More dinnering at Zion Riverside. I grabbed a half spring chicken with rice from Seng Huat Western Food. Chicken was kinda dried out from the deep fry but otherwise I hadn't any complains. I also much preferred their beef burger with rice.


We got ourselves a bit of satay supplement as well from Chong Pang 1 Chicken Wing & Satay. Yes, these guys do barbequed chicken wings and satay. I've heard people mention that the satay aren't the best in town. Seriously, what the fuck does "best in town" even mean? These aren't bad at all in my opinion and I certainly won't let the "best" get in my way of enjoying them.


I guess it's finally settled that this stall is known as Fresh Taste Big Prawn noodles. They're also a new inclusion to this year's Bib Gourmand. The soup's still good but I think I've outgrown their big prawns so I'll order the cheaper bowls in the future. 

Monday, July 23, 2018

Getting Lucky


It seems that New Lucky Claypot Rice have gotten themselves into the Bib Gourmand List of our 2018 Michelin Guide. I've always imagined that getting listed is a luck of the draw. To be sifted out systematically requires two important and very improbable variables. Categorization and coverage. Does categorization even exist for a sub genre like this? I'm pretty sure it doesn't. And we're all pretty damn sure that the inspectors haven't tried even an eighth of all claypot rice around to determine that this makes Bib Gourmand and the others don't. No?  Tell me that's not just Lady Luck smiling.


Since this entry has been written, I might as well inject a little more verbosity. About how one could eat claypot rice. We normally remove the ingredients onto a separate plate as a first step before drizzling the dark soy sauce and oil into the rice. I've personally known someone who hadn't done that before the mixing and accidentally had a piece of hot chicken fly into their face. True story. So I guess this particular method has been vindicated. Haha!

By the way, I've just noticed that there's actually waxed pork belly that they've added as part of the ingredients. Never realized that those were available.


So the next involves getting the dark soy sauce and oil into the rice and mixing them up. I feel it's optional to have the rest of the toppings back again into the rice for a second round of tossing since it helps coat them with the dark soy sauce and also to distribute the bits of salted fish around. Still not a fan of "soccarat".

Sunday, July 22, 2018

O Mamma Mia, Clementi Mall


I've been holding back from visiting this pizza shop (#01-11 The Clementi Mall, 3155 Commonwealth Avenue West) which originated from Spain for a while. But since I needed to be in the vicinity, I thought I could give them a go.


To begin, the toppings of their pizza were pretty thin. I would have enjoyed them more if they had been more generous with the ingredients but I suppose all the money had to go to better things like the rental for the location with such footfall. Pity cos I kinda liked the one with mushroom, egg and ham. The pizza also had a crust that didn't taste anything like the pizza al taglio it might have resembled. Not even close to the defunct Pizza da Donato. I didn't dislike them but I'm not keen on coming back.

I was initially surprised by how their ravioli was swimming in oil from the pesto. In the end, it didn't taste too bad. Just fish them out from all the oil.

so hard to get this shot...can anyone guess why?

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Roasted pork and char siew from Soon Heng


Just a quick update with this roasted pork and char siew combo plate from Soon Heng. I asked for fattier char siew today which the stall mentioned is available only on request since they actually had people complaining about the fat. This was better than the first round. If you asked me, I like the char siew more than the roasted pork which seemed to have some really hard bits in the crackling.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

A lamb chops with rice lunch from Renga-ya


Renga-ya has some pretty decent looking lunch sets. The one in particular that caught our eye was the set with lamb chops - something which we have had previously and thought they did a pretty good job of. No reason for us to think this wouldn't be as good since it costed the same.


A salad came with the lunch. Crisp leaves with some perky goma dressing and some hijiki.


The lamb chops were as good. Tender, medium doneness and nothing on but pepper and salt. Awesome with rice. I neglected to mention previously that the accompanying black pepper sauce was delicious as well. Sweet, spicy and savoury in a creamy consistency. Reminded me of the one from Wooloomooloo Steakhouse. What was subpar were those accompanying asparaguses that were too fibrous.


Yes, it's that strawberry snow again. Because it was nice.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Blue Ginger, Tanjong Pagar Road


I've been wanting to try Blue Ginger (97 Tanjong Pagar Road, tel : +65 6222 3928) for a long time. The restaurant has been around for at least a couple of decades but I never really knew how long they've been in business until they were listed under the Bib Gourmand last year.


Each table was served with some achar and sambal belachan. The dangerous pairing of pickles and chilli were just the tip of the iceberg to what makes some eat copious amounts of rice in such restaurants. But if I had to put in another two cents, the achar would have benefitted greatly with more generous amounts of crushed peanuts. I suppose the matriarch either didn't know or didn't care.


We had a serving of their signature ayam panggang which was topped with a lemak curry gravy. It's not bad. I was hoping for a "wow this would make me come back" but it wasn't quite that. The grilled chicken didn't quite have that edge that many freshly grilled chickens do. While I enjoyed that coconut laden gravy, it was just half of what made the dish.


Their sotong keluak was interesting. There was something that tasted like fermented bean in the gravy for the squid besides the buah keluak. The menu mentioned tamarind juice but we couldn't taste any of that. Still those squids were impressively tender and together with its gravy, made very good pairing with servings of their white rice.


We sidestepped the usual chap chye and went for a kangkong lemak that was cooked with sweet potatoes in coconut milk, dried shrimp and whatever spices it was that flavoured the dish. Not bad at all. It was fragrant from both the coconut milk and hae bi. It wasn't not too rich yet still enjoyable. I had secretly hoped that it would be more lemak.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

D24 durian kaya toast from Ya Kun


These looked like their regular kaya toast but were actually the durian variety that are up for a limited time. I thought it tasted pretty good but ymmv. There was enough of the D24 in between those slices of toasts that I could barely taste the kaya but I'm not complaining. It was pretty sweet so a good option of their coffee to pair this with I thought was a kopi-o di lo.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Punjab Grill, Marina Bay Sands


Punjab Grill (B1-01A, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands South Podium, tel : +65 6688 7395) opened their doors back in 2011. Certainly didn't feel like it was 7 years ago, but it had been. Both the media and local blogosphere had performed their obligatory coverages but I was curious because I felt that these guys might be a place better experienced than read about in some uninspired and obligatory work literature.


We were served papadums and chutneys along with a shot of mango lassi shortly after orders were taken. The white chutney in the middle tasted like it was yoghurt and garlic. Reminded me of toum. Nice when paired with the fruit chutney on the papadum.


It was unfortunate that their saffron lassi with pistachio didn't cut it. The crushed bits of pistachio were obviously there just to make the drink look good. This couldn't even be compared to the mango saffron rendition at Dabbawalla which managed to coax a surprising balance of flavours between the mango and saffron. Barely getting the saffron here.


Service was efficient. Didn't managed to get a snap of their chicken tikka and lychee chaat before the wait staff started portioning out.


It's a cold chaat of shredded bits of chicken tikka tossed with cream cheese and bits of lychee. This was further enhanced with some tamarind sauce. Not quite getting the cream cheese or lychee individually but as a whole, this was pretty good. Smoky, sweet and sour with texture akin to chicken mayo salad with added crispy bits. Pretty sure no where else here does a chaat like this.


The item that I was looking forward to was their guchchi pulao. Guchchi or gucchi refers to morel mushrooms. The wild morels used here are imported from Kashmir. Harvesting I gather (pun intended) is a labourious process since these cannot be cultivated and quantities can be unpredictable.

Anyways, the mushrooms are dried and rehydrated in water over the course of a day. The water that was used to rehydrate the mushrooms is used to cook the rice - dum styled along with spices which included saffron and cumin. Those morels were large and stuffed with a mix of cottage cheese flavoured with more saffron and cumin. The menu mentioned those stuffings to be milk cakes. Since those are not mutually exclusive with cottage cheese, they could mean the same thing.

Damn this was good. The rice was well infused with the flavours of the morel and it was obvious that the other spices that was included in the pulao was meant to be delicate and not overpowering for the mushroom. The morels themselves were flavourful and meaty.


The supplement to the pulao was a saag gosht. Plump morsels of moist lamb served in a spiced spinach gravy. The palak was scented with the aroma of fried onions amidst the other spices. Lamb was tender and flavoursome on its on. Yum!


To close the meal, we were given a shot of betel leaf with sweet vanilla concoction as a freshener after the food. Service here was pretty good. Would like to come back again.