Sunday, November 29, 2009

The croissants that made me go wow......

The whispers of a not so little bird told me that Mirabelle Patisserie (27 Mackenzie Road, tel : +65 6238 6235) had good croissants and since it was located at an old haunt of mine, I decided to take a look. Took me three Saturdays of attempts before I managed to get my hands on the ham and cheese croissant. I tried thrice because I had managed by chance to get the regular ones on the first attempt and they were really good. Croissants are available easily here. Getting those that are crispy and buttery with enough grease for the moist innards without being overly heavy or soggy was another matter entirely and these ones from Mirabelle were just that. And as mentioned by the not so little bird, the ham and cheese version was really excellent value for the quality of ham and cheese that was used. The picture unfortunately does no justice to the taste of the pastry.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A breakfast uncommon......

chicken rice

Well, at least for me it is not the usual thing when I grab breakfast since all that grease and fat is really quite heavy even for the morning. Left me with a garlic breath for some time throughout the day. Roast chicken rice with roast pork would presumably be something that sounds like lunch or dinner for the most of us. This is one of the random stalls which featured the Channel U logos. I've never put much stock into those endorsements but this one was pretty decent.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Itacho Sushi, ION Orchard

I've been hearing quite a bit about Itacho Sushi (2 Orchard Turn, #B2-18 ION Orchard, tel : +65 6509 8911) which originated from Hong Kong from various people and decided to give them a try. Got some mixed feelings about the place because they were not quite there but yet I'm not ready to write them off. It did feel like a family restaurant but I think they've got more than what a family restaurant would serve. It's not exactly mid range as well. Prices were likewise somewhere in between, which means that it can get a little pricey, depending on what you order.

Mention worthy include the uni gunkans which were decent but I thought didn't match the value for the buck in comparison with Botan which costed the same. The anago on the sushi looked pretty impressive for a large but thin slice and the toro sashimi was also very edible. The latter wasn't really so much more affordable since the the individual pieces were quite small but the quality of the belly was surprisingly not bad at all. Aburi-ed items were a teaser as they lacked a fuller bodied scorch aroma. 

Didn't like the fish liver items. Wouldn't order again since they were in so tiny that they barely registered. The niku udon was nasty featuring not so thinly sliced meat that was overcooked to death. Udon wasn't as springy and had a mild starchy film. Definitely to be avoided. Service was also spotty as the waitresses barely understood English nor knew the Japanese names of the items on menu. There's an irony here since I'm not conversant in Japanese at all and I couldn't clarify if those items listed as dorsal fin sushi were engawa. They didn't seem to understand the word flounder and it took a while before someone could come up to clarify the items they had on menu which were in English. Sigh...... 

hotate sashimi

seared salmon with dill mayo?

some rolls with fish liver

the uni war ships

aburied hotate with fish liver

aburied wagyu, toro and engawa

anago sushi

pumpkin tempura

toro sashimi

niku udon

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tonkichi, Ngee Ann CIty

What I liked about Tonkichi (391 Orchard Road, #04-24 Ngee Ann City, tel : +65 6735 7522) from the first time a number of years back was the free flow of shredded cabbage and rice. Seems that the cabbage dressing now comes with seaweed which adds another depth of fragrance, albeit seaweed-y, to the already delicious sauce.

Noticed some promotional kurobuta items on the menu and I had thought that the minced cutlets with cheese looked appealing. In introspect, it wasn't bad with a fairly generous amount of gooey mozzarella in the meat; it was also something that I probably wouldn't be ordering again.

The braised pork option on the side was actually pretty delicious. It was a greasy medley of umami, sweetness and savoury packed into a chunk of soft fatty meat. While there are possibly better renditions of these braised pork bellies around, the ones here are pretty tasty.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Prawn noodles from Hiap Chiang Eating House

I had stumbed upon this little gem (Hiap Chiang Eating House, 215 Selegie Road, S188337) by chance in a really old school coffeeshop down at Selegie. This was just almost next door to Ananda Bhavan. A couple of notes grabbed my attention as I walked by; one being a bowl of that steaming prawn noodles on some else's table and the other, the fact that this place only has a single stall that serves only that.

In the shady refuge of this nondescript space in time of an old shophouse, I found myself a really heart warming bowl of prawn noodles. In a broth that was really moderated with the prawn flavor accented with pork lard (yum!) and fried shallots. And in them, sliced pork, halved prawns and smooth kuey teow. The flavors of the soup wasn't overwhelming rich, but it was definitely good in the sense that it was fragrant without being overbearing. In the timeless words of a certain governor, I'll be back.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Osvaldo Ristorante Italiano, Maxwell Road

Osvaldo Ristorante Italiano, Maxwell Road

This is the current place (32 Maxwell Road, #01-03 Maxwell Chambers, tel : +65 6224 0978) which Osvaldo Forlino of the restaurant Forlino, has set up. Word around was that this was the opportunity for his family to create the restaurant they've been wanting, to creating dishes that have been rooted in their tradition. Word also was that the food that people could expect would homely and nothing of the fancy schmancy stuff that is generally expected from upmarket restaurants. 

The place reminds me of PS Cafe. Not exactly the kind of homely place that I had envisioned. Service was on the whole, apart from a couple of wait staff, mediocre. Nothing came out of the warm homely thingy that seems to be the catch phrase here.

Starters was a plate, not so much of an actual platter, of their mixed home cured meats and I think, San Daniele ham. This salumi was good eating along with the generous portions of chewy in house bread that they made.

We had spaghettini alla carbonara. I've been educated that the meat could have been guanciale, a cured but unsmoked cheek of the pig. It wasn't half as salty as bacon and had more of that porky flavour. While it was the eggy and cheesy carbonara, the pasta wasn't as dry as I was expecting. There was a pool of liquid at the bottom of the plate.

There was roasted rabbit with rosemary potatoes. I suppose when they said homely food, it also meant simply done as well. It tasted pretty much as it looked like. Chicken.

Dessert was a non dairy apple cake which was surprisingly good. Surprising for me because the dessert menu/trolly didn't quite look interesting and I was actually debating whether to even get dessert or not. The chunks of semi crunchy apples worked well with that floury cake with bits of sugar. I'm not too sure if the sugar part was intended but it was all lighter than it looked and went down pretty fast.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

An anago don from Kaiho Sushi

Kaiho Sushi, anago don

Landed myself the anago don from Kaiho Sushi which I spied on the lunch menu from the previous visit. First time I've noticed an anago don. To form, the less fatty sea eel had a more delicate texture. Something which I find quite enjoyable since most of the easily available fresh water counterparts normally aren't so good here. Didn't have much gripes about it except that I would have liked a little more grill in them. I've noticed that there always seems to be small slices of inari in their rice, as does the chirashi. Today, we got a lump of wasabi that was made from half grated root and half paste.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

A chirashi from Kaiho Sushi

Kaiho Sushi, chirashi
Kaiho SushiSo I've heard about Kaiho Sushi (5 Koek Road, #03-01/02 Cuppage Plaza, tel : +65 6738 1315) for a while now and have been meaning to come check the place out. This little restaurant located in the little Japanese hub around the Cuppage area is run by an affable Bernard Tang who is the man with the knives behind the counter. Here's a chirashi from the lunch set that comes pretty packed with a selection of sliced raw goodies over the top. Here we have some toro, bonito, ama ebi a small blob of uni, some small slices of sake, some white fish which I couldnt really identify, and another silver skinned fish which I couldn't tell and a couple of slices of chilled tamago.... all resting above a dusting of the sweet pink fish floss over the rice.

One week later...

Kaiho Sushi, chirashi
A second visit exactly one week later saw some differences in the offerings of the chirashi bento. Noticeably this time round, there was no more ama ebi and bonito but the lunch box got a little more uni, a fresh addition of ikura and hamachi.

While it didn't quite feel as laden as the offerings from Sushi Yoshida, this was really quite a compelling alternative as it comparatively didn't cost as much too.

Friday, November 06, 2009

From dandelions...

This was our first visit actually to the current location of Tampopo (177 River Valley Road, #01-23/24 Liang Court Shopping Centre, tel : +65 6338 3186). It was previously located at the basement in Liang Court. If you didn't know already, this family restaurant is quite well known for their fried kurobuta pork cutlets. Those are not bad but also tend to be overrated. 

Tampopo, maguro head don
The thing that caught my attention was a maguro head don that they had on the specials menu. According to them, they're on a limited serving each day. Probably because there's only so much meat in the head of a tuna. Sounds like Santouka. We were here for dinner and managed to snag a bowl.

The bowl included slices of shoyu marinated tuna. Those were nice. What was strange was that the bowl also came with two pieces of sushi - both of which aren't tuna.

Tampopo, pork liver chives bean sprouts
A serving of the pan fried pork livers with chives. This was one of those Japanese dishes that bore much similarity to Chinese cooking. The combination of ingredients for this particular dish made it tough to go wrong. Unsophisticatedly, if there's such a word, good.

Tampopo, kyushu ramen
Felt like having ramen because I had one recently that I didn't enjoy. The basic kyushu ramen with creamy tonkotsu broth did the job. I also much prefer the slim straight noodles in this than the other types. What I wondered about kyushu ramen is, how much mentaiko was there suppose to be to flavour the broth?

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Kuro ma-yu ramen from Menya Shinchan

This kuro ma-yu bowl from Menya Shinchan smturned out a quite different from what I imagined. Their pork bone broth ramen featured scorched black sesame and I was assuming that it was toasted in some way in the process. To my dismay, the flavours were just of regular sesame. Beside being rather oily, the broth tasted a little bland as well. I guess this was just not my type of soup.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Hatched, Evans Lodge

Relatively new establishment that serves almost everything with eggs, hence the name Hatched (26 Evans Road, #01-06 Evans Lodge, tel : +65 6735 0012). Most of the dishes look like breakfast food - which is a good idea since breakfast menu items are normally available till the early afternoons and this breaks that circle of practice. Probably makes many people happy to have the options that they offer.

I must have been lucky to have gotten a table without reservations on a weekend since the word around is that they seem to be under spotlight.

Food on the whole was pretty decent. Since I like eggs, I'm bent towards being more forgiving than usual and gripe on less things...... gripes like the foie gras from their Le Rossini being a little overcooked and not having a crispy enough exterior. Truffle oil on that was a nice touch. The Burly Benedict (nothing burly about them) had a bland tasting corned beef. That I didn't expect since I was imagining the salted and hashed variety. Cappuccino needed a lot more body with the foam.

There seems to be little or no salt on their food. For the beer people, there's a variety of bottled stuff that includes Trappist brews and the small selection was really nicely thought out.

Location within Evans Lodge was definitely a charm though.