Monday, October 30, 2006

Dinner @ Home @ 9 p.m.

Yum, more of the squido rice. I know it's probably ringing unhealthy cholesterol sirens in some of you , but the Hokkaido Fair doesn't really happen often so while it's still there.... why not? After all, I'm probably not going to be able to get this until the next one comes along and whom knows...I might have decided to go the vegan path then.

And then we have tonkatsu sandwich from Romankan Yokohama.

Notice the vibrant greens and reds of the vegetables in the sandwich. And excuse the phone that was used to take the photo. No fast food can ever look this good packed home.

The slice of fried pork actually looks abit thinner than the dish in real life, but it still taste good the same. For $3+, it beats many other similarly priced sandwiches in terms of quality and taste.

Always good to have them fresh fruits, especially home cut in your diet. Remember this kids. And I'm not the first one to tell you that.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

OOO : The Importance of being Elite

The importance of being elite? The fruit that blossoms often falls not far from the tree. What's about being elite? Maybe it's about being too good to keep a leash onto your little blooded beast. In the 21st Century, the walls have ears and mouths. Be careful what you utter lest yourself be owned. Especially pretentious trend seekers who understand not what they do. Fools that do not realise that sound reverbrates. An apt self labelled vivid nothingness in the head indeed, that fails even at sanctimony. Ridiculed.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Dinner @ home

Home grilled mackerel and squido rice (take away from the Hokkaido Fair) for tonight. The rice stuffed squid tasted like I remembered it from last year. Which is much better than the tiny ones that were sold in the Umaimono Fair. This one has soft sticky grains while the former has rice that taste like they were undercooked. The squid is a little harder than usual, with a bite, however not rubbery. There is a slightly smoked flavour to the meat.

The mackerels are actually bought frozen and grilled at home. I find that the whole ones taste better than pre-cut slices actually, but this is pretty decent as well.

Romankan Yokohama, Takashimaya

This Japanese katsu shop is located at the basement of Takashimaya. The menu consist mostly of pork, chicken and prawn based katsu rice and wrapped sandwiches with the sets accompanied by pickles, rice, shredded lettuce and miso soup. There are servers dressed in French maid outfits. The food here is pretty similar to another that serves katsu and curry at the basement of Liang Court in Meidi Ya.

Chicken and Prawn Katsu set

Pork Katsu set minus rice
Juicy close up of the Pork Katsu

More hot and juicy meat

Hokkaido Fair, Takashimya

This year's Hokkaido Fair located at the basement of Takashimaya seemingly looked much more lacklustre in comparison to the one last year even on a Saturday afternoon. Maybe it's just today. Apart from the ramen store, the crowd was thin at most of the booths. In comparison, the Umaimono Fair looked like a better success. The fair started on the 26th Oct and ends on the 5th of November so if you wanna go check out the offerings, don't wait too long. The following are a some random pics of what one might find.

Boiled squids stuffed with rice

A very busy ramen master at ceaseless work

And the small loot from the fair today are...

Fish cake cheese...

...filled with delicious cream cheese. $3.60 a piece.

And 2 packs of squido rice to go!

Desserts at Menotti, Re-revisited

Talk about ad hoc. This is yet again, unplanned and the 3rd dessert stop at Menotti in 2 weeks. Starting from the bottom left at counterclockwise, we have the Canoli, Duomos, Baba', Tiramisu, Strudel and the Cassata Siciliana.

The Tent, Clark Quay

The Tent is a Mongolian themed all you can eat place located in the central area of Clark Quay. I said themed above because the people who work there aren't Mongolian and the food is definitely not Mongolian unless we're saying that they have celery and rasin salad and make use of green curry. The only telling Monglian-ism is that the staff are uniformed in some style(I don't know if that look is really Mongolian) and the food is all fried in a glass enclosure like they do in Kublai Khan.

How it works here is, each seat comes with a respectively numbered metal token. You'll have get your vegetables and meat which are placed in chilled bars and then you select your combinatin of over 40 different spice and condiments which will be stir fried with your vegetables and meat on a hot pan. There are some pre-designed recipes hanging over the condiment bar which one can use, but I think it's too much of a hassle and made mostly whatever caught my fancy. The selection of you food along with the token from your seat is passed to the cooks behind the glass enclosures. You then return to your seat and wait to be served once it is done. It turns out that most of the servings looked different and the same. Here's a look at some random shots of about half the servings for the night.

All in all, it felt like eating at a better and pricier Seoul Garden. The food is decent, but I don't think it's an experience that I will bother to repeat.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Dessert at Menotti, Revisited!

Well, since I happened to be around the corner after dinner at Szechuan Court, decided to dropping by for something. Actually did not plan to return again so soon after the previous visit, but heh, 50% off after 10 for desserts/pastries is a pretty neat offer. Here's what $13+ got.

"A trio of Mascarpone UFOs on the loose!"

This is the Canoli, a chilled crispy pastry roll filled with creamy ricotta cheese with citrus fruit bits. The whole thing is sprinkled with crushed pistachio nuts. It's not too bad actually.

Szechuan Court, Raffles the Plaza

Szechuan Court is located on the 3rd floor of Raffles the Plaza. The placement of the restaurant entrance isn't very visible to pedestrians, it can be found in one of the passageways in the middle of the mall which also leads to Inagiku. It was unfortunate that I didn't get the red curtained dining booths from my reservations, but if I do ever re-visit, I'll remember to specifically request for those which look to provide a pleasant semi-private ambience.

This restaurant offers a decent selection of chinese cuisine. I'm not sure if these are specifically Szechuan, but I did note some signs of fusion like the use of edamame, Boston Lobsters and red wine. So I guess it's not a totally traditional place here. Service here is just acceptable. It also sees the common problem of having servers that purposely avert their eyes from customers as they brisk past in the pretentiously busy pace. I noted that the captains avoided this behavior and appeared to be more observant, though cooly polite. Also they serve a wild chrysanthemum tea in this place that taste distinctively different from the normal ones. Comes with flower buds in the tea.

The below dishes were dinner for 4 tonight.

Thick soup of pumpkin with prawn and water chestnut served in pumpkin

I don't know what's with the last part of the name of this dish, but you can see that it certainly is not served in a pumpkin. In any case, the soup is pretty decent with a hint of the pumpkin flavor. The 'thick' from the name of the soup comes from starch added into the soup making it viscous. There are some small chunks of prawn and chestnut in the soup. For $15, I think I'm not being unreasonable to expect more prawns in soup. And it arrived lukewarm. Would have been great piping hot. Yes, I'm complaining.

Spinach with 3 eggs

This dish is not available on the menu. It's basically stewed spinach with egg, century egg and salted duck egg. It tastes pretty much the same as the ones available in everywhere else. This place has larger cut up pieces of the eggs. The broth in the dish is a little saltish and rich tasting.

Spicey pine seed fried rice with minced mushrooms, asparagus, bamboo shoots and raisins

This fried rice does come a little spicy which helps in rousing the taste buds. It comes from the vegetarian section of the menu. At $16 dollars, this is actually the small portion recommended for about 4 persons. The rice is a little greasy and apart from the ingredients which are not so generally used in "regular" fried rice, there isn't really much to mention of it. I generally like fried rice so I think it was pretty decent on the whole. I managed to get 2 helpings of it so I guess it isn't too bad.

Szechuan smoked duck with camphor wood and fragrant tea leaves

I was told that this place has one of the better Szechuan smoked ducks locally. So that kinda establishes for me that smoked duck around here isn't of any particular difference from roasted ones. For one, this tastes like regular roasted duck with difference only in the texture and crisp of the skin. There is no taste of tea leaves (let alone fragrance) nor was it camphor ish in any manner, whatever it may mean. So what you get is fairly tasty smoked duck that is accompanied by rather cute looking clam shaped buns (akin to those used for kong ba pau), which really cannot be used to wrap any of the duck meat effectively. Look at how it works out if you try. The meat of the duck retained enough moisture and wasn't too dry and is actually fairly tender too. Otherwise, it isn't remarkable and a bit pricey at $28 for half a duck.

Deep fried cod with superior sauce

This cod is actually one of the more memorable dish, unanimously agreed to be one of the highlight of the night. The skin of the fish was crispy and fragrant. The exterior of the fried fish possesses the same level of crispiness with the insides retaining the moisture and tenderness which is not the norm of my experience with deep fried fishes that tend to have dry meat. It however is also quite expensive. The picture above features a double portion and single portions cost $18 a piece. It was however, a very good piece of fried cod. The only complain I have about this dish is the described superior sauce which really taste like regular soy sauce to me.

Edamame stir fried with prawn, scallop and sweet turnip

I was thinking of whole prawns and scallops stir fried with this, but I guess it was not to be. The ingredients are diced and stir fried together with water chestnut, chilli slices and mushroom. The dish is slightly greasy mildly spicy. Despite that, it has a very light touch to it and was on the whole quite good. The portions were also dainty for 4 persons.

Red bean pancake

And here's the red bean pancak, a rather common dessert in Chinese restaurants. This one comes very densely packed with sesame seeds on the very light pastry top layer of skin which breaks apart quite easily. There is a secondary layer which is softer and oilier wrapping hot fillings of red bean paste. Apart from the more generous amount of sesame seeds on the crust, this is quite the normal red bean pancake.

The bill for dinner for 4. One can conceivably order something else different from the menu and have the bill easily doubled or even tripled. And UOB cards get you 15% off the bill so arm yourself.