Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fatboy's the Burger Bar, Upper Thomson Rd

The birth of Fatboy's (187 Upper Thomson Road, tel : +65 6252 8780) might have been a baby step moving forward for the state of burgers in this country. The sort of place to be raising the standards of the burgers that is. That being said, the quality of the beef patties were a disappointment. Especially so for a place that sells itself as a burger bar. Truly.

We ordered the Fat Basterd which was on menu, the largest burger available with 150g patties X 2. There wasn't anything particularly special about it - unless you counted the fact that it was larger than the rest of the burgers and featured a dubious sounding "homemade bbq sauce". Cheese slices were thin and looked like they were of the individually wrapped variety. That cheese was also overwhelmed by everything else in the burger.

The liquids that oozed out of the patties didn't look nor taste like meat juices to me. It tasted like water squeezed out of cooked meat. The meat was far too lean and bland. Note to self : never order beef burgers from this place again.

On the positive side The Elvis kinda rocked as a burger. The pork patty was a league above the beef version. Cooked pink on the insides, it had much more of meaty flavour coupled with the char fragrance from the grill. The grilled bananas and peanut butter just made it better. Am likely to come back just for this.

Somebody needs to tell them that their peanut butter and banana shake should just be called peanut butter shake. Where're the bananas people?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Izakaya Nijumaru Restaurant, Cuppage Plaza

So here are a couple of teishoku sets from a izakaya place (5 Koek Road, #02-10 Cuppage Plaza, tel : +65 6235 6693) down at Cuppage. The restaurant actually consists of quite a few units and business must be really good for them to be able to afford such space. There seemed to an even mix of local and Japanese clientele. I've heard about this place from a few sources so decided to drop by for what looked to be the the popular items that people order.

The food here was definitely straight forward and frills free. It was also probably not someplace that I would like to order sashimi based on the samples I've had from the Nijumaru bento which also came with some forgettable grilled saba, pieces of mixed tempura and a piece of braised pork which was really the best item from the set. Even though as my memory serves, it probably wasn't as tasty as the rafute from Mimigar, it was definitely still good. And there was also a decent unajyu set which featured fatty eels as well.

I've yet to order much of anything else beyond a agedashi tofu so I couldn't really say if I liked this place much or not. I'm sure there must be an appeal somewhere and perhaps, it lies with the grills.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Le Bistrot, Stadium Walk

Le Bistrot, Stadium Walk
I've been meaning to come to Le Bistrot (2 Stadium Walk, #01-03 Singapore Indoor Stadium, tel : +65 6447 0018) for quite some time. I'm not sure how many people were aware of its existence but it didn't look as filled up as I was expecting on a Friday night. The location probably had a part to play with the crowd as well since it wasn't all that accessible. Since it was our first visit, we took a while to actually find it. But all was good and I'm pretty glad we made this trip.

Le Bistrot, salmonGravlax (Saumon Cru Mariné), Oeuf Mollet Croquant, Crème Fraîche à la Menthe

I'd have to admit that their cured salmon slices were actually pretty good and tasted refreshing with their mint crème fraîche. There was also the flavour of the dill from that added to it. This was also the first time I've had a deep fried soft boiled egg. Must have been some effort to get an egg cooked to the point where it was almost solid enough to hold shape; and then to finish it with a light breading and deep fry. The salmon was supposed to come with truffle oil It was only at the point when most of the fish was done that we realised that the flavour could hardly be discerned. A feedback to the restaurant resulted in a fresh portion being brought in as replacement and subsequently doused with a generous dose of the oil. Wow.

Le Bistrot, foie grasfoie gras terrine w/ Cadillac

The smooth and creamy foie gras terrine came in a generous slice, topped with what I thought were forgettable pan fried pineapples. While the fruit was to serve as a counter for the rich foie, the accompanying Cadillac did a much better job. In fact, I really liked that white wine.

Le Bistrot, wagyu beef cheek crumbleCrumble au Joue de Boeuf Wagyu, Pommes Sarladaises

Haven't had beef cheeks much. I picked the wagyu beef cheek crumble to try their savoury crumble and was curious how wagyu beef cheek would be like. It was in the end like decently done beef pie with cheese and crumbles. Wouldn't say it was impressive. The duck fat potato slices were on the other hand very nice.

Le Bistrot, herb crusted spring lambherb crusted spring lamb

I hadn't expected the spring lamb to be a baked dish at all. In fact, I was thinking along the lines of what I had at Mietta's. Still it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Lamb was tender and despite lacking the natural flavour of the meat, was quite enjoyable. I liked that they didn't overdo the herb crust. Liked the sliced potato gratin that served as the base - that had goat's cheese in it. 

Le Bistrot, pastillaPastilla au Pistache-Chocolat Noir

Don't think we were wowed by the dessert. Most of its saving grace came from the dark chocolate. The skin of pastilla was tough and the pistachio cream did taste oddly soapy. I'm quite sure it wasn't imagined on my part, but I couldn't understand what could have happened.

While I didn't quite agree with all the things we had, I was impressed by the service. Am quite sure I'll be back.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Takeaway chicken rice at lunch

chicken rice

This was a takeaway from a JTC canteen near my workplace where lunch options are actually quite limited if one doesn't depart the premises of the building. The options out of convenience for many is usually the food court which I would really prefer to avoid most of the time. This chicken rice was an example of how much a better choice it was since it costed me almost the same as the one at the food court and I get a portion of roast pork and eggs with them as well. Now this wasn't anywhere amongst the better chicken rice I've had, it didn't have to be and still was certainly a couple of notches better in taste and portions than the one in the food court.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Some Korean beef and rice set from SGH food court

Having had to spend quite a few evenings at the hospital recently put me through some dinner options that I normally would avoid. One such option is the food court which serves, in my not so humbled opinion, generally expensive food with mediocre quality and poor taste to boot. There are definitely exceptions and this beef and rice set from the Korean stall in the Kopitiam at SGH was unexpectedly satisfying. I've gotten into my head that this isn't really Korean food and I needed not to view them as such.

In the end it was a very decently done beef still simmering in the it's own juices along with that of the shredded cabbage and onions. The seasoning was well handled in a way whereby the added flavours didn't overwhelm the beefiness and I could actually taste the natural sweetness of the cabbage from the residual broth left at the bottom of the bowl of meat. Rice was unexpectedly soft and very agreeable.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Chili's, Tanglin Mall

Chili's, Tanglin Mall
As a student many many dozens of moons ago, I've visited Chili's (#02-23 Tanglin Mall, 163 Tanglin Road, tel : +65 6733-3317) once. It was such a long time back that I have little to no recollection of my experience there. Then again, it could have been that it wasn't memorable at all. This impromptu visit could be consider a clean slate for myself in getting acquainted with the food from this Tex Mex restaurant.

The food was pretty decent tasting with generous portions. There was a curiously named fajita quesadillas which was basically just quesadillas with chunks of beef (or chicken) in them. The skins were buttery, meat was a little more cooked than I would have preferred and the lime flavoured rice was addictive. Unexpectedly better than I had anticipated was their Southern Smokehouse Bacon Big Mouth Burger. Big mouthful there for the name as well. Lol. Wasn't expecting much from the meat which was surprisingly not too bad in the department of beefiness. What got my attention was the description of the brown sugar and chilli rubbed bacon which tasted very much like ba kwa.

All in all rather meaty meals that were heavy on grease, cheese and carbs. Reminded me of the early days of Tony Romas. I have suspicions on the decline of the food quality as time passes. We'll have to see about that.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mang Kiko's Lechon, Lau Pa Sat

Mang Kiko's Lechon, lechon rice

This stall (18 Raffles Quay, Stall #27 Lau Pa Sat Festival Market) was brought to my attention by a Filipino colleague at work. Mang Kiko's Lechon basically serves roasted pork (lechon) and chicken on a rotisserie.

The food stood out. Roast pork belly was quite similar Chinese roast pork but had a much more smokey aroma from the roast. These guys were quite generous with the portions as well. Which might or might not be a good thing since roast meat was laced with quite a bit of fat. Some of the skin was a little tough though. Chicken was well roasted, greasy and had breast meat which was surprisingly tender. Loved the spicy vinegar and a black sauce - which tasted much like dark soya sauce. There was an aroma from chilli though it wasn't really spicy. On the side, there was also a sour and garlicky soup that one could have free refills on. Needless to say, we're going to come back.

Mang Kiko's Lechon, chicken

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Bratwurst Shop, Plaza Singapura

It must have been a few years since I've last eaten at The Bratwurst Shop (68 Orchard Road, #B2-39C Plaza Singapura, tel : +65 6884 4093). I was thinking about coming down after seeing them grill a beef patty the last time I was around. It did look pretty good on that grill. This place as some of you might already know is a no frills sandwich and hotdog stall. There's not too much to look forward to aside from a variety of sandwiches and hotdogs while the burgers were something that I've only noticed recently. 

We tried the basic burger so that we could get an opinion on the patty. The patty of the burger was quite marinated which resulted in a tussle between the marinate and the flavour of the beef. Despite that, I've to admit that the nicely grilled patty was decent and the first couple of bites drew dripping juices. What could have made it much better were onions that were surprisingly absent. The cheese used was sadly the regular pre-packed sliced variety (major disappointment here) which I remember someone once telling me that they tasted like plastic. Lol. Sliced cheddar from the block would have been great. As you can see, we're just a couple of steps away from a decent burger here.

The initial reaction to the chilli dog was also a tad underwhelming as the sauce didn't look like it was of that meaty consistency that I was hoping for. True enough, it was forgettable there. To be fair, the entire hotdog pretty much held up with the hearty sausage (spicy beef and pork option there). What's up with the scarcity of onions?

Friday, October 02, 2009

The Handburger, Raffles City

So this was a relatively new burger joint (252 North Bridge Road, #B1-77/78 Raffles City Shopping Centre, tel : +65 6334 4577) that's opened in town. Seems that they are by the management that runs Soup Spoon just next door. I recalled seeing the unit boarded up for renovation previously and made a mental note to watch out for the opening even though I hadn't any idea then what they could be about. There were some things that that I liked and didn't about them but the impression that was left was quite favourable.

What they called The Works was pretty much.....well, the works. Onion jam, sunny side up, cheese, mushrooms with pesto, lettuce and bacon. The issue I have with stacked burgers like these are that they are next to impossible to eat with your hands unless you start taking out some of the extras that are piled on top of the patty. Eating them with a fork and knife just felt different. Apart from that, they had a reasonably well made patty which had a nice char on the exterior, juicy on the insides and beefy enough for me. The bacon was unfortunately dry-ish and a little hard.

The blue cheese burger had potential to be good if not for the fact that the amount of blue cheese was underwhelming in terms of quantity. In some of the bites, I could barely taste the cheese. It was the singular and big disappointment for this one, Not likely to ever want to order this again even though I really like those generous slices of poached pears they had on top. Interestingly, the chilled tomato stuffed with coleslaw on the side could have been pretty good if not for the carrot and sesame dressing which I thought ruined it. I guess burgers in this country have a lot of catching up to do if that's the standards we're getting out of a new, dare I say, specialist. Personal peeves aside, I wouldn't mind coming back to try something else from the menu. These guys did a decent peanut butter and banana shake with some barely toasted marshmallow. Again, portions have room for improvement.