Saturday, May 28, 2011

Jiu Jiang Shao La, Ghim Moh

I'm not really a religious person at heart. At least that's what I think of myself. But, I've picked up the habit of swearing with religious references at times.

And goddamned, this was a pretty awesome plate of mixed roasted meats and rice down at Jiu Jiang (20 Ghim Moh Road, #01-45 Ghim Moh Food Centre).

I came to this stall by way of referral and this was definitely one of the good recommendations. Three options of mixed meats pretty much inverted the ratio of meats to rice in comparison to what one normally gets. The char siew looks like pork chop here and the chilli on the side is definitely recommended! And I have colleagues that have been ordering from this stall for consecutive visits. Good call there.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lunch at Old Airport Road Food Centre

This foray started out with us looking for lunch down at Airport Road Food Centre (51 Old Airport Road) and being pretty much overwhelmed by the options there.

While wandering and wondering, we happened by a little bread stall (#01-43) at the back and saw that what they sold was pretty tempting. The breads were being replenished with small and freshly baked batches and they were sold out almost as fast as they were made. So lunch kinda started with a bunch of stuff which looked interesting and we ended up with warm tiny loafs with banana, hae bi hiam (dried chilli shrimp) and an egg tart.

Being freshly made, the breads were sweet, light textured and soft. My favorite has got to be the one with a whole banana on the inside which has pretty much melted and molten like those found in banana fritters.

Then we decided on a bowl of pork ribs and intestine noodles from Albert Court Prawn Noodles down that was located at the front of the food center, facing the car park. The thick bee hoon was unexpectedly al dente. That along with the prawn infused crustacean sweetness and chilli powder in the broth will bring me back for revisits in the future.

Walking off the bread and prawn noodles with a stroll of 60 seconds, the paths of our feet were drawn to the queue of Blanco Court kuey chup (#01-136). Took me but a few seconds to decide that it looked good enough with the pots of steaming entrails, meat and egg. If I had to summarize, the kuey which was swimming in a light and shallot perfumed broth was smooth and very comforting. Plus points to this store including having pork tripe on menu and hard boiled eggs that were truly infused with the flavor of the dark sauce they were sitting in.

Will come back again for more since they ran out of pig skin and tau kwa this time round.

While strolling down the stalls, we spied goreng pisang and made a note to come back for them after the rest of the food. They were not bad. I liked that the batter wasn't overly soaked with the grease.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Salted egg yolk ice cream from Tom's Palette

Good stuff there! I don't think I would be exaggerating if I said that these things tasted half as potent in those salted yolk buns that one finds in dim sum places. And it was indeed refreshing to have those flavors on the opposite end of the temperature spectrum for a change. There were even tiny granules of the salted egg yolk in there.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Indian rojak with paru goreng

Haji Johan Indian Muslim Food Temasek Indian Rojak

Hey, this stall down at Tekka Food Centre (Haji Johan Indian Muslim Food Temasek Indian Rojak, 665 Buffalo Road, #01-254) was pretty good. Though the activities in the back felt a little haphazard, the proprietor was whipping up an endless chopper frenzy dicing customer picked orders for the quick deep fry before serving. What I liked most from the variety of picks was the paru goreng (fried cow lungs) which was lightly crisp on the outside and chewy on the insides.

We had a pick of tempeh, hard boiled eggs, cuttle fish, fish cakes, fried cow lungs and even ngoh hiong that paired up with the sliced raw onions and green chillis with the sweet nutty dipping sauce. The stall and their operations definitely looked a old school compared to the templated Indian food stalls in food courts these days. Judging from the quick turn overs, the food was probably fresher.

Haji Johan Indian Muslim Food Temasek Indian Rojak

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A bánh mì from Baguette

If you're wondering if why this bánh mì looked a little unusual and haven't quite figured it out, it is because there is no coriander. That aside, this sandwich from Baguette (10 Sinaran Drive, Novena Square 2, tel : +65 6397 2078) was pretty good. I liked how the pickles, ham and pate lent additional texture to the slightly crispy loaf that was nicely warmed up just as they were making the sandwich. The unsubtle flavors were a nice riot of sour from the pickled vegetables, a bit of spiciness from the red chilli slices and a healthy dose of saltiness from both the meat and the fish sauce. If only they had cost less, it would definitely have given Subway a run for the money. These things don't really fill up as much as I would have liked. I don't mind coming back though.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A ox liver lunch from Colbar

Colbar, ox liver
I find this strangely addictive even after having had them for a few times already. Must be the nice char.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pizzeria Mozza, Marina Bay Sands

I'm skipping the introduction to this place since everyone else seems to enjoy writing about celebrity chefs and their restaurants. Didn't make sense for me to add another tiny voice to it. Pizzeria Mozza practices dual seating for their meals. I generally don't like that of a restaurant since the onus would then be on me to vacate shortly after I eat. It gives the feeling of being rushed through the meal even though there is probably sufficient time allocated into each seating slot. That being said, I liked this place (2 Bayfront Ave, #B1-42/46 The Shoppes @ Marina Bay Sands, tel : +65 6688 8522) and will make plans to come back another time.

chicken livers, capers, parsley and guanciale

We started off with an order of chopped chicken livers on bruchetta. Man this stuff was surprisingly refreshing for something that came with chicken liver, bacon and toast. The taste of the toppings were not as "livery" as I had expected. It was more of a balance between the tart and savoury married with a granular meaty texture riding atop the crisp of the bread. I am guessing that those flavours were probably because of the bits of parsley and capers. I could have sworn that there was lemon juice in there, but hey, I don't know any better. Good enough for seconds I'll say.

cauliflower fritti

In my mind, the cauliflower fritti I was envisioning looked a la Tenshin. Lol. The reality was that they came with a hard crispy batter that had fortunately not held on to too much of the grease. The batter was much harder and crispier than I had imagined. I doubted that they would have broken if I had dropped one of them onto the floor but I never found out.

I'm not generally a fan of deep fried batter so what helped this along was their spicy mint sauce which I thought was pretty good. A tart and minty dip that cut through all the batter.

crispy goat cheese with Umbrian lentils

This was a pretty respectable breaded and fried goat's cheese they had there. Again, it was a play of some of the basic flavours putting together savoury and the sweetness from the lentils. And also the bitter from the rockets if one liked them. I would have preferred more lentils here.

fresh goat cheese, leeks, scallions, garlic & bacon

The pizza was pretty impressive. It was quite a while since I've gotten excited over pizza. So the crust of the pizza that people talk about. That crust was very different from any pizza I've tasted. It reminded me a little of Taiwanese scallion pancakes (cong you ping), dough fritters (you tiao) and roti prata. It was layered, airy and had a nice crisp.

Was this good? Sure, if you like goat cheese. And melted bacon fat over sweet scallions and leeks. And sweet garlic bulbs that were baked till they would disintegrate into your mouth. I know I did. Even though it looked a little grassy.

caramel copetta with marshmallow sauce & salted Spanish peanuts

I made room for dessert because their caramel copetta sounded interesting. The gelato component was a little smokey and bitter while the marshmallow sauce was simply sweet. Topped with a rich bittersweet caramel and what I thought to be the best part of all - toasted and salted peanuts which added a new dimension to the texture and the "after-chew" aroma. Another successful marriage of saltiness and sweet if I had to make a call.

Mario Batali loves his salt!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sole Pomodoro, MacKenzie Road

Sole Pomodoro

This was lunch over some beer, a couple of glasses of wine and pizza over at Sole Pomodoro (19/21 Mackenzie Road, #01-01, tel : +65 6884 3671).

Sole Pomodoro burrata

Starting bites included some light and refreshing buffalo mozzarella and boiled salami with a lime mayo that seemed to have misplaced the citrus element of the lime. The cheese was light and milky, served Caprese style. The boiled meat of the salami appeared crumbly in texture and didn't have much of flavour.

Sole Pomodoro pizzaspeciale

Sole Pomodoro pizzasiciliana

Sole Pomodoro calzonecalzone tradizionale

The pizzas were pretty much as they had looked. Thin crispy crusted pies that became a little soggy after a while, soaked from the grease and folding from the weight of the toppings. The speciale could have done much better in my opinion with more of those miserable bits of prawn and of course, Gorgonzola. The siciliana was in spite of appearances, very nicely spread with the salty anchovies. Don't think the traditional calzone should come with shiitake mushrooms. Those mushrooms aren't part of tradition are they? Their particular type of strong flavour also ruined the calzone for me.

I didn't think that there would be anything in particular that would make me come back. That said, I'm not saying that they sucked. The food was passable. Just a little pricey for the location.

Sole Pomodoro tiramisu

Friday, May 13, 2011

Teck Hin Fried Hor Fun, Ghim Moh

Teck Hin Fried Hor Fun, Ghim Moh

I've never really liked stir fried hor fun with starchy gravy. It was more because of the starchy gravy than anything else and I have never understood it. To that, I've also never enjoyed stir fried beef from hawker stalls because they tasted nothing like cow to me. Not in the slightest bit in their texture or taste. Maybe it was the sweat drenched proprietor behind his flaming wok fueled by a queue, I decided to make an exception and gave the stall a go. Here was a serving of Teck Hin's (Ghim Moh Food Centre, Blk 20 Ghim Moh Road, #01-44) fish and beef hor fun. The freshly fried hor fun turned out to be pretty decent, imbued with the char aroma from the wok that was enjoyable. On hindsight, I should have opted for just fish slices. I still don't think much of the pre-made viscous gravy that was ladled from plastic containers and the unidentifiable meat substance tasted exactly like how I had expected it.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Ramen and Tonkatsu Fair at Tampopo

Tampopo, foie gras tonkatsu
Hear ye, I'm back at Tampopo. They seem to be holding up some sort of Ramen and Tonkatsu Fair with a bunch of new items on the menu probably for a limited period. This visit actually came about through tip off from a little bird about a certain foie gras tonkatsu that they had.

Tampopo, steamed black pig dumplings
For a start, we ordered a serving of their steamed black pig dumplings which tasted very much like the Chinese renditions (hong you chao shou) with the moderated splashes of black vinegar and chilli oil. The smooth skinned dumplings were a little smaller than I had expected but they were pretty juicy and flavourful from the fatty pork fillings that we were rather tempted to go for seconds.

Tampopo, kani ramen
The kani ramen was the only ramen item from this fair that looked interesting. Basically a bowl of squiggly yellow noodles soaked in a starchy crab flavoured broth that was filled with a pretty generous amount of shredded Japanese crab meat and shimeiji mushrooms. The extra portions of added vinegar and La Yu on the side made it tastier and easier to go down. That in effect turned it to something akin to Taiwanese mee sua.

Tampopo, foie gras tonkatsu
The foie gras from their tonkatsu was subjected to enough of the heat that the fat from the livers had seeped into the pork creating an almost subtle heady aroma into the fatty pork from the first mouthful. I was initially hoping for the flavour of the fatty liver to be more prominent, but it turned out to be a balanced equilibrium between the savoury deep fried crust and the foie.

If such a thing could be described by the word 'equilibrium'.

Tampopo, chocolate chiffon cake
We wrapped up with their innocuous looking chocolate chiffon cake which tasted more strongly of chocolate than the milky hue of the cream suggested. If I had to describe, it was both light and not excessively sweet.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Stall # 15 at Tanglin Halt market

To be more precise, this was stall #15 in the food centre just beside the wet market down at Tanglin Halt. A small food centre that actually had four cooked duck vendors.

If I were asked if this was a great roast meat stall, I probably wouldn't have come back with a boolean response. Great isn't what everyone is looking for all the time and mostly, good is good enough. The stall serves pretty good roasted duck, sliced diagonally across the grains of the meat resulting in tender slices of duck. With enough fat under the skin to render the flavors into each bite. The crackling of the roasted pork belly was crispy to boot.

A very straightforward and down to earth meal prepared by a proprietor that apparently will not be rushed into submission by the queue as he took his time with this knife to neatly arrange the cut meat, fanning them across the edges of the plate.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Forty Hands, Tiong Bahru

Forty Hands, Tiong Bahru
I thought that their (78 Yong Siak St, #01-12, tel : +65 6225 4623) coffee was a little on the acidic side and lacked body. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't mind dropping by again for breakfast, but it'll probably be breakfast with beer!

Forty Hands, Tiong Bahru
Forty Hands, Tiong Bahru
Forty Hands, Tiong BahruForty Hands, Tiong Bahru

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Prata Wala, Tiong Bahru Plaza

Prata Wala, Tiong Bahru Plaza
Woah, this was pretty good stuff at Prata Wala (302 Tiong Bahru Road, #01-12 Tiong Bahru Plaza). I remembered their greasy prata and not so spectacular teh halia from the outlet at Nex, but this was really quite a different experience. Definitely a pleasant surprise.

I could start with the vegetable briyani which featured moist and aromatic grains of basmati rice that was good enough to eat on its own. Portions were generous. The sambar was delicious in its own bean-y way and I guess that they only thing that wasn't up to scratch was the limp papadum which I was quite willing to overlook.

Prata Wala, Tiong Bahru Plaza
Here's another rendition of butter chicken which I would definitely come back for. This one by far, comes the closest resembling Jaggi's. There was a little more tomato flavour and the spice packed just a little more heat. But those were still nicely paired with the characteristic smoky flavour and creamy textures of the gravy smothered over bits of tandoori chicken.

And those delicious squids they had with sauce tasted a little of sardines and sambal. Another great option that we picked up by chance.

Prata Wala, plaster prata
Here's their plaster prata that featured slightly molten yolk. The fish curry on the side was actually spicy.

Prata Wala, Tiong Bahru Plaza
And the milky sweet beverages to sooth out the spices at the afterward.