Friday, August 31, 2018

Small Potatoes Make The Steak Look Bigger : Year Twelve


Twelve. The number of hour markers on the dial of a watch. An alleged claim to the number of knights at Arthur's Round Table. The number of disciples Jesus reportedly had excluding the one that supposedly betrayed him. The number of books in John Milton's Paradise Lost. The number of signs of the Zodiac in western astrology. The largest number with a single-syllable name in English.  The number of edges in a cube.  The number of lunar months that maketh the lunar year. The number of years Solomon Northup spent as a slave. The number of function keys most keyboards have. The number of food blogs one can buy with a dime these days. The number of counts of twelve in this paragraph.

And also the number of anniversaries Small Potatoes has made the steak look bigger.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Hock Shun Traditional Home-made Curry (富順正宗咖喱), Redhill Food Centre


We were drawn by the bright signage and queue at the front of this stall (#01-66 Redhill Food Centre, 85 Redhill Lane). Here's a bowl of their creamy earthy orange curry with toasted bread (one can choose to have it with rice as well). It packed a manageable heat and tasted rich. It was not bad - reminded me a little of the one at Uncle Sim. I didn't think much of the chicken thigh that came with the curry though.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Chiew Kee Noodle House, Upper Cross Street


This (32 Upper Cross Street) was the other soya sauce chicken shop which is related to Chew Kee in the past but had now become competitors. It seemed that this shop had seen more recent renovations while Chew Kee looked a little rustic.


There were definitely some differences in the braising sauce that they have concocted for their soya sauce chicken. Chew Kee's sauce had a little more herbal flavour. I'm not sure if I had imagined it but their sauce tasted a little sweeter. That being said, the one here was not slouch. Both shops featured very tender chickens.


We had a side of eggs and tau kwa which were flavoured with a similar braising sauce. These were pretty good.


What was noticeably different were the noodles. I thought the texture of those noodles from Chew Kee were better because they had more bite.


It seems also that both stalls differentiated themselves with their chicken rice. Chiew Kee here had a light but flavoursome rice which was a little garlicky while Chew Kee's rice had a light flavour from ginger. Needless to say, I preferred the rice here. Chew Kee also has tastier boiled dumpings (水餃).

If you were looking for a verdict on which one is better, it's not happening here. It's a preference thing. I liked both and would have no qualms eating at either. Maybe I do like Chew Kee a little bit more.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Satay from Tangs Market


Here's some satay from Tangs Market. Half of them were chicken and the other half pork. I haven't had pork satay in quite a while. The grill that the satays were done in didn't look like a proper charcoal grill so it hasn't got that edgy aroma or charred bits that the properly made ones have. But these didn't taste too bad and their satay sauce was halfway decent.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Nyonya Chendol, Redhill Food Centre


If anyone was wondering, allow me to confirm - that's durian paste on top. XO durian according to the stall (#01-57 Redhill Food Centre, 85 Redhill Lane). There're also sweet corn and red bean toppings to be had but since we were going for topping, we went the biggest. This wasn't too bad. A bit of sweet and saltiness from the coconut milk and gula melaka. I enjoyed this bowl a lot more than the one from Violet Oon's Satay Bar.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Patties & Wiches, Ngee Ann City


Patties & Wiches (#03-10A, Ngee Ann City, 391 Orchard Road, tel : +65 62687237) was opened a little over a couple of years back by Ginza Kuroson - which incidentally also has its own branch set up just next door but that's another story. This was a Japanese cafe with burgers and sandwiches. Which is also a thing if you didn't already know. I hear their cakes/pastries are from Chef Yamashita and bread is sourced from Asanoya Bakery.


We tried the burger with blue cheese which was topped with the Danish Emborg blue. While not as pronounced (read sharp) as a Gorgonzola piccante or a Stilton, there was enough of the funk around that also had a smoother finish. The patty was competent if ordinary tasting. Not enough flavour or char to have much of character so I'm not sure if that patty was meant shine on it's own even though there were the words 'wagyu beef' being bandied about. 


They had a nicely done mushroom Swiss which featured a generous pile of mushrooms under melted cheese. Over the same wagyu patty. Pretty mushroomy. Nicely done. Absolutely dripping with grey mushroom juices.

If there was one thing I wasn't satisfied with, it was the size of their burgers. The portions were pretty small even for the larger option. They didn't come cheap either.


Dessert was a bit of letdown. That's their apple cobbler which featured an apple tart/crumble with ice cream. Not much spices coming through from the apples except a bit of cinnamon and the pastry wasn't crunchy or buttery much. Caramel drizzle tasted flat and could possibly come from a squeeze bottle. Tasted like something that was stuck in an oven and served - something that one can also get from Coffee Bean or Starbucks. But at twice the price.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Dancing Fish Signature, Tangs


Dancing Fish Signature (Level 4 TANGS a@ Tang Plaza, 310 Orchard Road, tel : +65 63391048) a Malay-Indo restaurant from Kuala Lumpur has taken over the space left behind by the zombie of Island Cafe after the real Island Cafe was dead and gone. Much of the previous decor has been left untouched. 

We were curious because sauces and sambals and rempahs and salsas and curries on rice were our kind of thing. The lure of grilled food was taken into consideration as well.


Speaking of grills, the restaurant had a pretty decent cumi cumi bakar - grilled squid in spices and kecap manis. The latter which was basted onto the squid and subsequently caramelized into a sweet veneer. Meat was kinda chewy but we thought it was still good. Came with a scalp prickling kick ass sambal belachan on the side which I reserved for the rice.


Following was their Bandung styled cha kangkong. This was a stir fried kangkong dish we've never had before. Flavoured very nicely with bits of sliced chilli, onions and fermented beans. The vegetable that was used was also more tender, more wilted and less fibrous than what most local stalls normally use. Underdog of the day and a memorable one at that. Great with rice.


That's the ikan seabass bakar - grilled fish with a spice paste marinade. This was the option with sambal hijau dan merah - green and red chilli paste. If anyone was wondering, both chilli paste packed no discernible heat. The green one was tangy and the red one was slightly sweet. Both were great with white rice. This particular marinade for the fish reminded me of satay. The crispy carcinogenic caramelized bits were delicious.


We had their omelette petai sambal matah - an omelette folded with sliced chilli, onions and petai beans that came with a side of finely minced salsa made with onions, chillis, terasi (the equivalent of belachan) and kaffir lime leaves amongst possibly other things. I thought I tasted coconut. The omelette was tender and not over greasy while the sambal matah notched the flavour game upwards. Speaking of which, that sambal was also good with white rice.


With numerous mentions of white rice, how could we not have nasi putih with this meal?

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Prime rib and creamed corn from Lawry's


I've never tried the creamed corn at Lawry's until recently and I can't believe that I've been overlooking them all these years. These tasted exactly like the sweet milky creamed corn that I liked from ONO. A contrast from the savoury gravy for the mashed potatoes and salty au jus. Well, while it is still a good thing to be enjoyed!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Shi Mei Hainanese Chicken Rice (實美芽菜雞飯), Bukit Gombak


We came to Shi Mei (371 Bukit Batok Street 31) to try their sesame chicken rice. What was that you ask? That would be their fried roasted chicken crusted with sesame seeds. Even though we knew that this stall was pretty popular, we hadn't expected the lengthy post lunch queue. Fortunately that line moved along pretty quickly. 

The sesame chicken was pretty good. The meat was much more tender than the dry looks suggested and had nicely browned skin which was also more crisp than I had imagined. On top of that, there was a layer of nutty flavour from all those sesame seed. That was the first thing that set them apart from regular roasted chicken. The other was the sweet sauce the bird was served with which tasted like those that are used for chee cheong fun.


These guys also did a pretty garlicky chicken rice which I liked and thought was tasty enough to eat on its own. Greasy and savoury. Ultimately, I too did enjoyed it equally if not more with their also garlicky and lime-y chilli that packed some heat. Nicely done there.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Chix Hot Chicken, Jalan Pisang


This was a relatively new shop (1 Jalan Pisang) that did Nashville styled hot chicken. A first for us if you didn't count Meatsmith. While our popular crowdsourced web encyclopedia did mention that one of the two key ingredients used is lard, it was obvious that lard wasn't used here because Chix Hot Chicken is a Muslim owned restaurant. I read that these guys have done some work researching and have imported Ghost Peppers, Trinidad Moruga Scorpion and Carolina Reapers to be used as part of their dry rub recipe. Oooo....exotic.

The slaw and fries came first. Slaw was relatively simple but nice. Couldn't put my finger to the spice that they had but I kept thinking cumin. Fries were pretty good. Portions were however puny.


There were these soul sliders which were their hot chicken sandwiches. Not bad. Sloppily build but pretty tasty combination which I thought needed more pickles and less of that mayo thingy. There's already flavours going on and too much mayo simply became pointless and self defeating.


We didn't get any of the spicy birds this time round but we had a regular buttermilk chicken with a spice rub of their design which was already slightly spicy, sending rivulets of sweat down my scalp. It's not bad. The chicken was tender but not as tender as Arnold's for sure. The brining was also not on par with the brining that Clinton Street Baking Company does. But this one wasn't as expensive as well. Not sure what was that sambal/dip thing on the side was but I liked it.


Nothing like a milk shake to temper all the heat? I don't alway agree with that. But we did like their extra thick vanilla shake. Pretty satisfying after the fried chicken.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Wong po lou meen from Quan Ji


Came across this wong po lou meen by Quan Ji on social media. That name translated into 'yellow cloth blanched noodles' in Cantonese. Curiosity piqued even though we kinda knew what it was and how it might taste like. There's option for sang meen, lou meen or mai fan for this dish. This was the blanched egg noodle option. There wasn't much flavouring on those noodles so it was great with their cut chilli (green one was spicy). Shrimps were fresh and full of bite. Not bad at all.

My additional two cents was that since lard was tossed with those noodles, they should've considered using enough because the flavours were barely there. If there were what some people claimed to be a pretty generous use of lard, something clearly is wrong with that lard they were using. Those fried bits weren't particularly fragrant too. So while this was a nice noodle dish, it was also some ways to being outstanding.

Kentucky Grilled Chicken


I've never been a good customer to old man Sanders and curiosity got the better of me this time because for the first time, it wasn't fried chicken. Did anyone noticed that the box said prepared fresh? So nothing else must be fresh or otherwise they would have mentioned it.


Here's that supposed signature grilled chicken. The box mentioned that they're cooked in store but I didn't notice any grills in any KFCs anywhere. It looked more roasted/baked than grilled. Tasted like those that you could get in Cold Storage/NTUC. But those Cold Storage chickens cost less than this for a whole roasted bird so are effectively better value for the dollar. 


There's a slightly spicy and slightly sweet seasoning of sorts. The meat was not hard, just a little stiff. But it's KFC. If they were any good, it would not have become the case where all their competitors are better than them. How did this product that did not even exist months ago suddenly become a signature? These guys must have English as poor as everyone else's.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Mui Kee Congee (妹記), Shaw Centre


I've never heard of Mui Kee (#01-12 Shaw Centre, 1 Scotts Road, tel : +65 6737 2422) before it was announced on the news that Les Amis would be partnering up with them to establish a branch of their congee shop here. Trust Les Amis to come up with a pricey congee shop. Anyways, curiosity got the better of us and here we were.

Porridge was okay. Not sure why these fellas are generating such crowds but I suppose novelty would be one of the reasons. I wouldn't queue for it though. The congee I had became watery pretty quickly. It had a sweetness from the scallops. I was thinking that they might have had consistency along the lines of Zhen Zhen but these were not as gloopy. This particular bowl was not worth what we paid for.

What was impressive was the threadfin belly bowl that featured thick slices of scorched belly meat. We were informed that it was one of their signature congee and those came with wok hei. Yes, that smoky aroma was definitely infused into the congee. I'd come back just for that.


We had some dishes on the side. Drunken chicken was not bad, but then again, it's not bad in many places. So not a selling point.


This however was. Thick sliced kanpachi done up like Chinese yu sang. The fish used was of good quality with a superb dressing that included soy sauce, sesame oil and a squeeze of lime.


While the food was generally good, one had to be the obvious weakest link. The fried crullers which were a little too greasy and too dense. Not very good at soaking up the congee. Didn't like these.


I'd eat their fried bean curd skins again anytime.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Tongue Tip Lanzhou Beef Noodles (舌尖尖兰州牛肉面), Tiong Bahru Plaza


A new Chinese noodle shop (#02-107/108, Tiong Bahru Plaza, 302 Tiong Bahru Road) from Lanzhou has sprung up at Tiong Bahru Plaza in the unit where Baba Wins' used to be featuring pulled noodles - apparently a dish from the Muslim Chinese that's been passed on since the Tang Dynasty. These guys are also a member of the Lanzhou Beef Noodle Industry Association which they seemed to be proud of. 

We tried a couple of bowls and thought that they were pretty good. One could choose from a variety of noodle type they had to offer for each of those bowls and there were some options for customization. Their flat noodles had a very good bite where you could tell that they were freshly made while the broth had a beefy savoury flavour coupled with some spices. Vinegar was great with the dry noodle option which had chilli that seemed more flavourful than the ones you could help yourself with on the tables. I found it odd that their chilli didn't pack much heat at all though. I'm definitely coming back again.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

A new thought on the annual ritual at Lawry's


I've been lamenting musing for some years about how Lawry's is still undisputed for slow roasted prime rib and to that point, whether if that's a good thing or not. This year, I've reconciled with myself that the reason for the status quo isn't important. I'm just going to enjoy it while it is still a good thing to be enjoyed.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Atout, Harding Road


My history with the food by Patrick Heuberger started back in the days of Au Petit Salut at Jalan Merah Saga. That might have been the pioneering of casual French cuisine on our shores followed by his subsequent venture, Le Bistrot Du Sommerlier. Before we knew it, he had started an off-the-beaten-track location at Casse Croûte for a short stint and then dove into charcuterie making at Huber's Butchery. I recalled that he successfully attempted to sell us some fruity Spanish olive oil then.

I don't know if this could be considered the coming back into a circle of sorts but today, Monsieur Heuberger is back into the restaurant/bistro business with Atout (40C Harding Road, tel : +65 6679 1800). Ironically located in the building where Au Petit Salut had been for some time. A rebirth spawning from the site of a legacy he had left behind.

Sidestepping further forewordplay, Atout was nice.


It's been noted that charcuterie is an interest and forte of the chef. So we got our selves some thinly sliced beef tongue which was salty and fatty and delicious. 


We had pink radishes with butter. Interesting pairing.


Bread which is chargeable here was in order (pun intended) because of the food we had. No better vehicle for those and their sourdough was good.


Followed up by Atout's rendition of boudin noir. A take that was mousse-like perfumed with onions and a crusty exterior. Not so different from the rendition at Le Bistrot du Sommerlier which could have been the way it was because of influence. Very nice with their delicious apple sauce.


This was a redemption of lobster bisque for us. Creamy and robust with the crustacean flavour, unlike the poorer rendition which we had very recently. This one even came with little chicken dumplings we liked like those that they make in Le Bistrot du Sommerlier.


The andouillette here tasted different from the ones we had at Casse Croûte. This one seemed fatter and a little less densely packed. The scent of the offal sausage was strong when it was served but the flavour was a lot better than the smell suggested. It was nicely spiced and paired pretty nicely with the sharp mustard on the side.


Their black forest gateau was nice. The liquor was sufficiently robust, cherries sufficiently intoxicating and the chocolate nicely sweet. Reminded me of the outstanding tiramisu from the defunct Angeleno. Stuttgart has a competent competitor now.


Un café marked the end of lunch.