Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pupella Pizza, ION Orchard

This was another relatively new pizza joint down at the basement of ION. I've been walking past them on numerous occasions and finally decided to give these fellas, which reminded me of Donatos a try.

Understandably, there was only so much in the "freshly made" taste that one can derive from pizza that's sold over the counter that were heated up only when you ordered them. These were their unheated Parma ham with rocket and their quad cheese pizza which had unexpectedly featured two thickness of crusts. The former being thicker and much chewier since it was left unheated and the other, pretty nice thin crust. I did like the salty Parma ham over a generous bed of rockets, nicely concealed under the pizza. But it was kind of tough chewing through the cold crust. Couldn't complain there since I turned down their offer to have them heated up.

As usual, I would have preferred more blue cheese from that quattro formmagi.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Eating at the Noodle Place

It's been quite a long time since I last visited this place (176 Orchard Road, #01-53/56 Centrepoint, tel : +65 6733 3171). That was way before that chef from Mak's Noodle in Hong Kong had come across and created a little stir over wanton noodles. I thought that it would be interesting to see how the food was with the new chef and also gauge how the noodles compared versus the pretty good one over at Canton-i.

We got ourselves an order of roast duck and char siew rice and found them to be pretty decent. Their char siew is done in a similar style as they do in Hong Kong - which meant much less caramelization on the outsides, little to no charred surface and has a much more savoury taste. Different from the sweeter versions that are more common locally.

It certainly didn't hurt to top up our dosage of greens.
Back to the wanton noodles, I prefer this one over the Canton-i rendition. The wiry noodles here had chewy textures that were comparable. Wantons here were noticeably smaller in comparison but I couldn't really discern much of a difference in flavour. What won me over was the superb soup that they had over here. This wasn't just the regular wanton noodle soup - there's also dried prawn roe and sole fish for flavour. Certainly made a hell of a difference when compared to the regular variety.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Smiths Fish and Chips, Tanjong Katong Rd

Smiths Authentic British Fish and Chips
Little had expected that a British styled fish and chips joint would open up in such a location (230 Tanjong Katong Road, tel : +65 9639 8348) here. What's more, this shop had brought in their own frying range to do their job.

Let's was all golden brown on the battered fried fish and the chips with a healthy amount of grease to soak. White, piping hot, firm and flaky fish meat on the insides. I definitely preferred the haddock over the cod. The sour pickled eggs were a novelty for me and I probably preferred the nutty tasting dried up mashed peas at the defunct Fisherman's Wharf than the gooey one over here. These weren't bad, but it just reminded me of unsweetened green bean.

Wouldn't mind visiting again if it weren't such an effort just to reach this location.

Smiths Authentic British Fish and Chips
Smiths Authentic British Fish and Chips

Monday, November 15, 2010

Huhu Udon, ION Orchard

So this is a new joint (2 Orchard Turn, #B4-56 ION Orchard, tel : +65 6509 3256) brought in by the En Group after Go!Go! Curry! down at the basement of ION Orchard. As the name implies, it's a place that sells udon and I've never really been big on those thick chewy noodles except for the unfortunate Wakashachiya.

I had to admit that the creamy mentaiko broth base attracted me more than a little and it turned out to be a very good thing. The piping hot soup was milky, yet light tasting and was quite generously laden with the flavors of the roe with the associated spiciness. Each mouthful brought eggs that burst between the teeth. So good that I practically drank it all up after finishing the udon. They also had the curry with shabu beef version which wasn't as spectacular, but featured a very decent light curry that was not slouch on the spice like most Japanese curry. The meat was however quite forgettable, but this was probably one of the better curry udons I've had along with that one from Bon Goût.

Wait a minute, I haven't had that much curry udon to speak of......

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Al Qasr, Holland Village

I've found another place to return to for Lebanese food at Al Qasr (46 Lorong Mambong, Holland Village, tel : +65 6467 7793). I had heard about this place some time back when they started business and had always been wanting to visit. This was another one of those places that had been put on the "to check out" list for quite a long time until today.

The restaurant started off serving some appetizers which was consisted of olives, vegetable sticks and pickles. Which looked pretty much like what I remember from a neighbouring Lebanese restaurant Al Hamra.

We ordered a serving of their flat breads for the benefit of the hummus which we were also getting. The flat bread were surprisingly fragrant. They were freshly made and steaming hot and puffy when they were served.

The grilled Halloumi cheese were really good. These mozzarella-like cheese have a richer milky flavour and a higher content of salt, making them pretty salty if you ate them on their own. The melting point of these cheeses were also higher due to their composition. Hence they can be grilled or pan fried without melting into a gooey mess. The texture was enjoyably chewy coupled with fragrance from the charred parts.

Their hommos karwarma was our order of hummus. Topped with pan fried minced lamb and a sprinkle of pine nuts. Nothing better than this creamy meaty dip for the flat bread. Nothing on their menu at least.

To satiate the craving of lamb, we also went with a serving of sawda ghanam. Pan fried lamb livers with butter, some spices and lemon juice. The livers were a little tough after the cooking but made up for themselves from their lamb-y livery flavour and an appetizing sauce paired with the squeeze of lemon. Also great with the flat bread.

To top off the bunch of Lebanese tapas, we ordered a Sultani kebab which featured a spiced, but unidentifiable as lamb piece of grilled meat and a couple of kebab koobideh accompanied by saffron infused basmati rice. The kebabs were finely minced and and had a taste that reminded me of sausages. Not really how I had expected them but I guess the important thing was that they were tasty.

Dessert was a chilled almond pudding scented with rose and topped with bits of ground pistachio. This was very delicious. Sweet and creamily textured, they reminded me of a very milky panna cotta.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Big mixed grill from Colbar

Colbar, mixed grill

It's been quite a while since I've last visited Colbar. I haven't eaten here much so I still found the menu slightly overwhelming. Today, I discovered that their trick was pretty much rearrangement of ingredients over different plates so there wasn't that much else I haven't eaten over the little times I've been here. 

Ordered the big mixed grill since the little one cost just 4 dollars less. Turned up to be a plate laden with some meats that one can get from other dishes on menu (as with all mixed grills). There was the cow, the lamb, some sliced pig, unidentified pig parts in a tube form, a fried egg and a generous slice of cow liver; slathered in a ubiquitous brown sauce along with peas, mushrooms and chips. I can't say that it was anything that I hadn't expected except for the liver - which I'm pretty sure no one else includes into their mixed grill. This was probably one of the largest mixed grills I've had and also possibly the most expensive that I've come across for $25. A load of red meat, grease and stuff that your heart won't forgive you for in one seating.

Colbar, wychcraft

Thursday, November 11, 2010

L'Entrecote, Duxton Hill

L'Entrecote, steak
This was some enjoyable steak frites at L'Entrecote (36 Duxton Hill, S089614, tel : +65 6238 5700). Unlike the other French bistro styled eateries we have, this one specializes in only steak frites. That was the only item on the mains section of the menu that one can order.

What they served was a no pretension plate of what was claimed to be striploin (approximately 180-200g) cooked to the choice of doneness and served with their specialty sauce with a stack of golden shoestring fries. The steak, pre-sliced, was served in two portions. The picture above was the first half.

Was it a good steak? I enjoyed it. Even liked the tangy sauce that it came with. Creamy and robust, that sauce which I found so familiar but was unable to put a finger to didn't overwhelm the flavours of the meat. No complains about their crispy and adequately salted fries as well.

L'Entrecote, bone marrow
There were a bunch of options for entrée and we thought that the rich roasted bone marrow and creamy duck rillettes were good enough that we could come back again just for them.

One however needs to get used to the tightly spaced tables in the restaurant. Conversation from the next table spills over easily. Not the place you'll wanna be at if you're looking for privacy or a quiet dinner. Also not a place I expected to make a conversation with a neighbour an elbow away to discover that he's actually Lamine Guendil, CEO of Senso Holdings.

L'Entrecote, salad

Monday, November 08, 2010

Li Xin Teochew Fishball Noodles, Food Opera @ ION

Li Xin Teochew Fishball Noodles

This was probably the most expensive fishball noodles I've ever had. Apart from those large ivory globules of hamachi fishball, it was also the constant queue that piqued my curiosity over the stall. Yeap, it is mentioned that yellowtails are used for the making of those fishballs which were honestly pretty good. Thee texture was both light and bouncy. What I didn't think that much of was their supposedly special blend of chilli sauce which tasted a little sweet and tangy like that of the bottled variety. It was definitely that pork lard that salvaged that chilli sauce for me.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Rosti with raclette cheese and egg from Marché

I say it's a pretty good way to start the day, don't you think?

Friday, November 05, 2010

Pietrasanta, Portsdown Road

I'd be tempted to drop by this place (5B Portsdown Road, #01-03 Wessex Estate, tel : +65 6479 9521) more often if not for the location. Funny thing that I used to work a few minutes drive away and I've never came by even though I was aware of it's existence then.

Pietrasanta themes itself as a Tuscan styled restaurant. As much as can be seen, the setup was comfortably country. It's a little unfortunate about the weather here or otherwise, outdoor sitting would have been great.

We started off with some trippa alla Fiorentina which was a delicate balanced mix of flavors that wasn't overly tangy from the tomato base with a healthy dose of Parmesan cheese and a very appropriate use of rosemary on the soft stewed tripe and beans. Definitely wasn't excessive on the herbs and that made the stew aromatic rather than overpowering. Portions and flavors were nothing short of hearty. I think I liked this better than the one over at La Braceria.

The same heartiness could be used to describe their polenta with bits of spicy sausage. It did arrive looking quite similar with their stewed tripe, but here, the flavors was a nice mix of smokiness and spiciness. The meaty textures were also of a different type since this was really minced sausage over a steaming hot cake of comforting polenta that disintegrated after you popped it into your mouth.

Very nice tagliatelle con salsiccia e tartufo they have here. The sauce was both light in texture and rich in flavors, fairly intensely of the truffle coupled with generous bits of more sausage. Quite the best representative of Italian ba chor mee I've ever had. This one, for it's lack of oregano and a much more truffle-y flavors beats the rendition from Da Mario.

Their cannelloni di cinghiale gratinati did look rather ubiquitous, but pleasantly surprising were the fillings of intense flavors. The minced wild boar was gamey enough to remind me of mutton which I found myself enjoying, blended in almost equal parts of intensity with the chopped olives and Parmesan cheese on the insides. Juicy!

The cannoli was unfortunately a little disappointing for me. It wasn't so much of the fruit filled ricotta cheese than the not so crispy chocolate tube. I was really imagining something like the one over at Garibaldi.

Blood orange sorbet here was pretty good. There was a nice mix of bitters and citrus there. The texture was surprisingly creamy and one might have thought that there was cream until it melted in the mouth and the flavors told otherwise.

This is the part where I'm suppose to say, I'll be back. :p

Monday, November 01, 2010

Angelo's, Killiney Road

Extremely disappointing. Has got to be the worst Italian food I've had this year. Will not return. Waste of money.

Ayam Penyet Ria, Lucky Plaza

I admit to being a little skeptical on first sight at this place (304 Orchard Road, #01-45 Lucky Plaza tel : +65 6235 6390) from the huge crowd and lengthening queue. The first thing that had occurred to me was simply how the kitchen could've kept up with what must have been a mad demand for their fried chicken since it was pretty much what everyone was having. The pessimist in me imagined greasy battered chicken fried in a rush resulting in what I thought to be another over rated chicken joint.

To my surprise, it was all pretty damn good in spite of their flash fast service after the order. And no, the chicken wasn't excessively greasy at all. What surprised me was that the crispy thin batter was nicely done, encapsulating meat that wasn't overly dehydrated. Even their fried tempeh has a creamy quality about it. Not to mention a really tasty gado gado with a rich and sweet peanut gravy. I'm definitely coming back again.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Our Food Story, Chinatown Point

Wasn't much of a story to be told here (Chinatown Point, Block 133 New Bridge Road, #01-01A) in this little restaurant attached to the Korean grocery joint down in Chinatown Point. The food might have been home styled but it left us little interest in returning. Let's see - their spicy tuna jigae was made from shredded canned tuna instead of pieces of the fish.

Couldn't find much redemption from that small portioned kimchi fried rice which packed the barest of flavour of kimchi. It looked like it was microwaved with some sliced cheese. Not that I was expecting a dizzying spread out of the banchan but they were quite forgettable and there wasn't any refills to speak of. I've had much better kimchi from Koufu at Toa Payoh Central.

So there you go, my food story.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Specials from Da Mario

Well, these didn't exactly look that special, but they were picked from the Specials section of their menu. Basically, a starter of scamoza cheese wrapped in some prosciutto crudo di Parma with a sprinkle of pepper and some rockets followed by egg tagliatelle with Porcini and shaven black truffles in a light cream sauce.

The choice of starter turned out to be the most satisfying for me since I had pretty much had a Warrior's diet for the day and the onrush of the salt from the milky curd cheese and ham was exactly what my body was craving for. The chewy cheese weren't the smoked variety and were probably just lightly pan fried with very little browning. Still things came together very nicely with the nutty ham for a great savory finish.

So, what did I think of the pasta? It was timely cooked, still had the hint of egg even though it was doused in the cream sauce loaded with various fungi. I did think that the flavors tonight could have been one of those good instances of a well balanced robustness, redolent of mushrooms instead of being excessive at that. It lingered with my burps even after a bottle of wine and a pint. Overall, was an enjoyable choice for my late impromptu dinner.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pu Tien Restaurant, Marina Square

I had been wanting to give this place (6 Raffles Boulevard, #02-205 Marina Square, tel : +65 6336 4068) a try for the longest time now. Now that I have, I ended up with pretty mixed feelings about the restaurant. I did honestly find the food enjoyable in spite of the small portions for each serving. The wait staff like troopers, put up with an admirable plasticity to the incessant queries from the maddening queue on the statuses of the tables. What threw off a possibly good impression for a start was that we still had to wait for over half an hour despite having made reservations already.

If I were to be asked what I had liked about the food, I guess it would be pretty much everything was enjoyable except for the desserts. The sweet and sour pork was decently done and their signature fried bee hoon was probably a little bit overrated in my opinion. Still liked it though. Their sweet chilled seaweed and springy textured braised pig intestines (that looked like it was stuffed with more intestines) flavored in some Chinese wine more than made up it. Not to mention too, a very plate of fresh tasting fried Chinese mustard and their interesting rendition of what tasted like a stir fried sweet and sour century egg.

A pity about that pumpkin cream which was really drowned out by the coconut flavors and sweet potatoes that were suspiciously soft to the point that I didn't quite enjoy them. It didn't quite help that the ginger tea that was served along with them was more sugary than gingery. Didn't enjoy the lukewarm fried potato balls that was a tad greasy and floury tasting with the fillings neither.

And oh yeah, I did say that the bee hoon was overrated. I didn't say it was bad. Au contraire.


Putien styled century egg

braised stuffed pig intestines

sweet and sour pork with lychee

stir fried Chinese mustard

fried "Hing Wa" bee hoon

pumpkin cream with ice cream

Japanese sweet potato