Tuesday, March 31, 2009

t//r/st tr/p

I hardly know where to begin with this place (Sosis by Shiraz, 3D River Valley Road, #01-14, Clarke Quay). Maybe I could just start with the misspelled poutine on the menu.

It also occured to me that the service staff was "struggling" with the orders when there were 2 other persons in the queue. It must have been seriously gruelling, trying manage the insane load of 3 orders. The furtile attempt of trying to heat the buns atop the warm sausages was a total failure since work was done at a slug's pace and the buns, arrived cold and stiff. Even the freshly fried fries failed to stay warm enough to melt the little cubes of cream cheese for the "putin". And what's up with the stinge on the onions anyway? These had gone through 2 request for extra onions and I'm sure you can imagine how little there were at the start. For a $6.50 hotdog, one would think that when you asked for more onions, they'd be totally cool about giving you more.

I was left wondering, when I collected my order, what was that almost dried up brown goo in the heated container that was suppose to be the gravy. It was being spooned carefully onto the fries as I watched. Yeah, spooned. At my request for a little generosity with the gravy, the server alerted me that it was very saltish. In the end, that brown good turned out to be what I think is Brovil. Seriously, WTF! Barely melted cream cheese on barely lukewarm fries and that drizzle of Borvil. This stuff was just saltish and dry. Heart clogging and not so good there.

So, does anyone want to buy a vowel?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Alegro Spanish Street Food, Clark Quay

I was initially alerted of this place (3D River Valley Road, #01-13 Clarke Quay) from a Spanish fair at Isetan some time back when I purchased one of their borcadillo de Serrano and was handed a business card. I recalled being quite impressed with the sandwich down at the fair and decided to give this supposedly street food kiosk a try. I didn't expect to be underwhelmed by the selection of what they had to offer. Apart from the borcadillos with the jamon Serrano and chorizos, I was hard pressed to find something else of interest and had to settle for just that. In the end, the sandwich didn't taste as good as I remembered it from the fair and came across as rather pricey for a sandwich with what, 3 thin slices of chorizo and some tomatoes? The subtleties of their flavours was mostly lost on me tonight. Even the churros didn't quite feel like the other time.

I doubt I'll ever return if that's all there is and I'm pretty sure this is a poor showcase, if any, of Spanish street food. By that, I refer to both the variety and the quality. I can always get fried calamari and french fries elsewhere.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lorong Ah Soo Lor Mee, Hainanese Village Food Centre

This stall (Blk 105 Hougang Ave 1, #02-12) I was told, is supposed to be one of the go to places for lor mee. Judging from the queue in front of the stall, there was probably little debate about that fact. My initial expectations was something along the lines of a vague memory I could scrape from the days of the old Maxwell Food Centre.  Where the bowl of noodles was piled on the top with sliced pork belly, crispy fried meatballs, ngor hiong and chopped garlic. I was actually a little disappointed that this was not the case. There wasn't any fried meatballs nor strips of pork belly. Instead it was a just some fish cake and a bit of shredded braised duck. The saving graces were the sliced chilli padi, chopped garlic and vinegar which boosted the flavour. Otherwise didn't think that there was anything that was exceptional.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Founder Bak Kut Teh Restaurant, Balestier Road

Founder Bak Kut Teh
Founder Bak Kut TehI've lost count of the number of times I've passed by this place (347 Balestier Road, New Orchid Hotel, tel: 6352 6192) and wanted to give them a try. Today, we finally did and fortunately, we managed to get a table without too much of a wait at the queue. I had expectations since this was one of those places that people often mention when the topic gets onto ba kut tehs. It's not bad if you're wondering. There was a nice peppery broth (which gave me hiccups) that didn't diminish in flavour with each refill and I probably would have enjoyed the ribs better if they had been those that slipped off the bone more easily. Very decent garlic-ky salted vegetables and boiled tau kee on the sides there, but I didn't feel that it etched an impression as deep as the one at Kelantan Lane. I did notice that the broth was a little brownish instead of the usual white for these peppery types.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Viva Mexico, Cuppage Terrace

Viva Mexico, Cuppage Terrace

Viva Mexico (23 Cuppage Road, Cuppage Terrace, tel: 6235 0440) is a new Mexican restaurant that's opened at Cuppage Terrace after the renovation. From what I could discover, they're are run by the Palate Vine group that also manages Vintage India, Ras The Essence of India and also The Tent. I thought the food was not bad. Their prompt and polite service was definitely appreciated.
  Viva Mexico, Cuppage Terrace

I don't really know much about real Mexican food and I'm sure much more to it than the usual Tex Mex stuff locally. This eggplant starter for example. Could have been served in any other Mediterranean restaurant I wouldn't have known any better. Looked like something I could have had from someplace like the Original Sin. Oven baked and stuffed with spinach and cheese with semi crunchy texture, the eggplant retained enough taste that wasn't overwhelmed by the tomato based sauces. Did I mention that it was a rather generous portion as well? The hunk of meat in the first picture on top was a beef filet stuffed with something call Cuitlacoche mushrooms in the centre. This could have been a Mexican steak of sorts. I'm pretty sure the cut was a tenderloin. Tasted quite good with a nicely charred exterior and salty nutty flavour from those bits of mushrooms inside. Don't know much about the special sauce which the menu described, but it might have been the milky stuff over the top which tasted like it has been made with goat's cheese. There're also some very sweet caramelized onions served on the side. 
  Viva Mexico, Cuppage Terrace

Steak came with a side of beans and cheese as well. These guys got medium rare right so that's a good sign for me.
  Viva Mexico, Cuppage Terrace

The dessert here was their pumpkin en tacha. The chilled pumpkin sure tasted like it had been stewed. Sitting in a pool of brown cane sugar concentrate call piloncillo and a generous pour of heavy cream. There were some bits of chopped guava at the bottom as well, but nothing of those could actually be tasted or identified. Also couldn't discern any of the cinnamon and cloves that were suppose to be in this dessert. No complains about the pumpkin itself but the rest of it was too sweet.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Fisherios Fish N Chips, Bugis Junction

A couple of reasons drew me into Fisherios (200 Victoria Street, #B1-K15 Bugis Junction). Firstly, I remember seeing them around for quite a while and survivability of an eating establishment usually counts for something. Secondly, I saw the salmon fish and chips which intrigued me since I've never had that before. I was actually bordering between interest and skeptism since I've had my share of overfried salmons which I really don't care for. It was quite the fortunate thing that these ones were actually not cooked to death and to my surprise, we got a light crispy batter and the meat was actually a little fatty. I was expecting a dry filet and I guess I was wrong about that. Also noted was that, the color of the meat presented itself to be a tad faint instead of of a more vibrant shade of pink. Belly?

The other beer battered option of the snapper wasn't too shabby as well. Perhaps, I did come with really low expectations and being just borderline decent had surpassed those expectations. At this price point, Big D still takes the cake though.

But whatever you do here, it's my advice to avoid the clam chowder soup options from the sets and give the fried cheesecakes a pass. Really. Unless you enjoy a predominant aroma of stale oil in a soggy skin enveloping a dry, crumbly and weak tasting stuff that was the cheesecake. It didn't even arrive warm enough to melt the accompanying ice cream and for $2.90, it was criminal. I should have been paid to eat that stuff.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Big D's Grill, Holland Drive

I've only found out very recently that Big D's Grill (Block 46 Holland Drive, #01-359, S270046) has moved to a location rather accessible to my current place of work and coincidentally in the same coffeeshop with the XO fish beehoon place down at Holland drive (sadly, their standards have fallen far).

Prices at the stall aren't what one would normally associate with coffeeshop food and this place beats the crap out of even Botak Jones for price ranges that skim the top at $90 for a 200g piece of wagyu steak. They do have a variety of cow options I must say and it's one of the reasons that will bring me back here again. Getting to the meat of the matter, we got a very decent beer battered snapper which was really probably the best fish and chips ever to date to be served in a location like this with their generous portions of fluffly white fish in light crispy batter. A pity about the lack of vinegar.

The oily anchovy pasta with bits of garlic, thinly sliced of more pan fried garlic and bits of parsley was impressive in a way that I didn't quite expect. It was one of the better aglio olio renditions that I've had which is totally unexpected because I ordered anchovy pasta and this wasn't really what I had in mind. Honestly, the pasta was saltish, garlicky and spicy at the same time. One might have surmised, that those flavors really overwhelmed any anchovy-ness that I was hoping for. A treat if you're looking for your garlic and olive oil fix, but at prices that they charge in some Italian restaurants. I didn't quite think it was justified. Dude, where's my anchovies?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Zac Cafe, Jalan Pinang

For someone who has visited Nando's, one cannot be helped but to notice parallels of their Peri Peri sauces to Zac Cafe's (17 Jalan Pinang, tel : 6295 1816) pari pari chicken. Or at least silently snigger at the similarities in the name. In seriousness, this was pretty good. There was a nicely browned half bird with some char on the exterior. Meat was still juicy on the insides accompanied by a slather of spicy sauce on the chicken. The spiciness did pack a punch, albeit, it didn't knock one out by brute force. It crept into potency as one ate along...

The chicken had on the side some toasted "Arabic bread". Those reminded me a little of roti prata.

Their lamb bohari rice featured braised lamb on a bed of spiced rice. Portions were large. We enjoyed it but at the same time felt something was missing. Like perhaps more fragrance from the rice. The meat wasn't as tender as I had hoped for and didn't slide of the bone as easily as I would have liked. What got the nod of approval were the hearty samosas which were stuffed with minced beef. Delicious and relatively inexpensive. They would have been awesome if it weren't the small bits of coriander. The only other samosa I've had that were better than these were the kolkatta shingaras from Mustard.

Friday, March 20, 2009

A beer chilli bowl from Brewerkz

I've been having really lousy food for about 2 weeks now and this is probably my first decent chow since. What do I make out of this spicy bowl of ground beef and bean porridge with a blanket of runny cheese over the top? Not too bad I would say. Not that I've had a whole lot of these beef chilli stuff apart from them being served on fries or burgers. Pretty comforting in the belly at the least on a cold day and otherwise, good to go with a pint or three of their golden ale. I kinda like that crumbly sweet and savory corn bread/cake thingy that they had on top too.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Does anyone know where to get this?

I can't really recall how I landed myself one of these but I like them and I don't remember seeing them around in the supermarkets. Does anyone have any idea?

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Crystal's ohn no khao swe

ohn no khao swe

Imagine something along the lines of laksa with a less rich broth. That's would be how I'd describe this tasted like for a start.

From what I had seen, it all began with a cooked chicken - with the bones for the broth along with chopped garlic and coconut milk. The rest of the bird was deboned and has its meat boiled in the said broth which was actually rather mild in flavour on its own. The dried chilli, along with sliced raw onions and a squeeze of some lime helped perk things up noticeably and added some crunch to the slurpy noodles.

Many thanks for the Turkish coffee and delights Crystal.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Bella Pizza, Robertson Quay

Hey, here's one Italian restaurant that serves Hoegaarden. Despite a few kinks at the start, I kinda like Bella Pizza (30 Robertson Quay, #01-14 Riverside View, tel : 6734 0139) enough that I would like to come back again. Service was adequate and polite. The best part of it was snappy yet observant. That and having pizza bianca on the menu helped tipped the scales to my favour.

We started off with some tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella wrapped in thinly sliced Parma ham with the courtesy of just a drizzle of olive oil and freshly ground pepper. Cheese was soft, smooth and basically what I had imagined it to be. Light and enjoyable.

The menu described their home made fettuccine to be done with a touch of cream. It was more than a touch but fortunately not overwhelming The sauce was light that one could still taste the bits of shaven black truffles and morels in them. The burst of flavours came from the bits of salty sausages that tasted home made.

Which brings us to the pizza. I had only one gripe with the pizza cotto which was topped with mozzarella, cooked ham and Gorgonzola. It definitely needed more Gorgonzola. But it was otherwise one of the better ham and cheese based pizza I've had in a while. Nice thin crust that folded under the weight of the generous topping of milky mozzarella and ham. More Gorgonzola!

Usually, ordering desserts kind meant that I generally liked the food. But not ordering them doesn't always mean otherwise. Their crepe alla nutella con banane was a little let down because I had expected more. Crepe with mascarpone and Nutella served with bananas. It taste like the way it looked and was saved by the Nutella. I could have made this myself at home.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Another bowl of beef noodles from...

...Hong Heng down at Ang Mo Kio. It was one of those unplanned lunches on short notice and I remain impressed enough to want to come back again.