Thursday, November 30, 2006

Akashi, Paragon

I'm running out of adjectives and cliché phrases to describe the things I've been eating. If you dear reader have been tickled/amused and secretly enjoyed this literary food soft porn of mine, I'm sorry to have to tell you that all good things must come to an end. You'll have to go else where for your reading fixes. Nah. I'm kidding. If you go off now, you'll never get to find out (for some of you at least) about the fantastic Japanese place Akashi is.

It's difficult to describe Japanese food without inevitably having to reuse the same old words. Not to mention of the challenge of trying to remember all the names in Japanese. So from what I've had at Akashi, it's been consistently good quality fresh food which deserved mention. There's no overly fanciful presentation or stylish decor at the restaurant. They get by with a decent setup and delicious food. Grated wasabi root fresh!

Fresh ground wasabi

angler fish liver
tamago yaki
beef ribs

some maki rolls


I'd like to believe that Akashi makes sushi as it should be. A generous portion of the fish topping a wad of rice that's smaller than the said topping. Something most of the pseudo Japanese restaurants are guilty of not practicing.

If I had to pick something I really liked here, I would say the uni. Very nice. Comparable with the one I had from Ten-Jyaku. There seem to be a particular fragrance from the uni here though. Also, it's $10 a piece which makes having them cheaper.

I recommend this place.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Hokkaido Fair at Meidi Ya

Here're some pics from the Hokkaido Fair at Meidi Ya supermarket located at the basement of Liang Court. I have probably missed the interesting part from the first 3 days, but oh well... better late than never.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Helio Cafe, Marina Square

This wasn't a place that one could drop by for food with advance notification. Some of the items required preparation. Thanks to Junie (and Clement too for your time) for the invite down to this lunch. Helio Cafe was just 4 or 5 tables outside Prestige Helio Asia Spa. Headed by an enterprising Chef Clement Ronald Ng who has more than a few tricks up his sleeves in his world of culinary fusion.

I cannot remember what this dish was called, but it involves lemons, seedless grapes, ground rose petals and a bunch other spices that I do not recall in the chicken which is subsequently encased in a dense hard pastry to be baked.

If you've noticed from the first picture, the plate was dry. Subsequently, its filled with a brown juice. That's the "chicken au jus" - natural and delicately accented with the fruits and herbs that were baked with the bird. The pastry shell sealed in all the moisture from the chicken so that little of the natural flavouring and juiciness is lost in the process of high heat baking. The result is a very tender and juicy chicken which tasted quite herbal to me. I thought the grapes were really nice.

That's a beef cooked in red wine sauce on a bed of whipped potato. The beef was ok I guess. I do enjoy a good ribeye, so this isn't exactly the kind of style I'd go for in red meat generally. This tastes more like braised beef. What was interesting to me about this dish is the red wine sauce which slowly eroded away at the whipped potato creating a very pleasant cloudy soup which actually tasted pretty good

This strawberry yoghurt parfait with brandy snap and strawberry/raspberry sauce is a sort of ice cream like dessert which has raspberries trapped frozen in the cold creamy yoghurt hull. Notably mouth watering (literally) is the brandy snap which was the sweetness to the tart profile of the dessert.

And the strawberry cheese in filo pastry was probably one of best pastry stuff I've ever had. I kid you not. The pictures do no justice to the dessert. The layered crispy pastry shell was crispily awesome. I thought that the filling of the strawberry cheese may have been better served with more cheese. I'm not complaining though.

That's Helio's take on the molten chocolate cake. I'm sure you didn't see that coming. Yeah, molten choc cake and it looks little like the other molten chocolate cakes. This rendition of the cake doesn't come with molten chocolate, but very warm soft chocolate and topped with apricot that is aged in rum over two months. There was very pleasant diffusion of the flavour from the alcohol.

What we noticed about the desserts from Helio was that we didn't suffer from sugar saturation. Even after all of these. According to Clement, there is no added sugar in his cooking.

Chicken rice @ My Rice, Balestier Road

My Rice is a chicken rice stall with a claim to fame which is kinda unique. From what they stall was saying, the chef was formerly from Chatterbox. I don't really know how many chefs have transited over at Chatterbox but assuming things are as they claimed, a serving at $5 beats paying $20 at Mandarin Hotel. My Rice is located at the first coffee shop along Balestier road. If it helps, this coffee shop is known for frog porridge.

First thing I noticed was that there was a fairly generous amount of chicken. Almost Ming Kee portions. Many chicken rice stalls are guilty of flattening the meat of the chicken before chopping them up. I never understood the rationale. It seemed to me that the only reason was create an illusion of a larger portion of meat; and that also incidentally squeezes whatever moisture there might have been out of the meat. Hence dry chicken. This stall didn't do that.

I am often a chicken breast person because I don't like to deal with bones. I got breast meat this time round. Again. That meat was more tender and succulent than I had anticipated. The rice came with saucers of ginger, dark soy sauce and chilli. The latter was more ginger-y than garlic-ky. Their soup for some odd reasons reminded me of french onion soup. I actually finished it so I guess that meant it could have been pretty good.

Besides chicken rice, My Rice also has pan fried vegetables and tofu on their menu. I didn't get the vegetables on recommendation, however the tofu was quite nice.