Saturday, July 28, 2012

Dim sum at My Little Spanish Place

My Little Spanish Place, Bukit Timah

This was my first time attempting to update the blog with an iPhone and there's been some hiccups. The Blogger app on iPhone sucks big time. It really needs to be updated. Nonetheless, it's given me some lessons about mobile blogging and this is My Little Spanish Place (619 Bukit Timah Road, tel : +65 6463 2810).

My Little Spanish Place, tortillas

We trudged off the Spanish dim sum with something safe and traditional; tortillas. This was something that would easily recognized by taste and texture to be comfort food by pretty much anyone. Essentially, chopped potatoes and onions in egg. The texture of the omelette felt a little bread-y. 

My Little Spanish Place, cheeses jamon bread

House platter. Featuring some mild and nutty lomo, some umami salchichon, chorizo aromatic with paprika and jamon Joselito. The last item being a grand reserve grade of the Iberico as I understand; made from pedigree Iberian pigs with a extended duration of curing. Full bodied, nutty, savoury and naturally sweet at the same time. I had never been able to reconcile with people whom had always described these things as melt in your mouth, because most of the ham doesn't melt in your mouth. It's the prolonging of sustained flavour from the continual mastication that makes this really an awesome jamon.

Also, Manchego cheese very nice.

My Little Spanish Place, chorizo fritos

To further elevate our blood pressure, there were some savoury and spicy chorizo fritos which we had with additional orders of bread. Altogether, it was akin to a salty and paprika laced lup cheong with more aromas.

Unfortunately, it seemed that their calamare fritos in its ink was really more aesthetics than substance. Couldn't taste any of that seafood-y flavour of the ink on the batter and it was in the end, a pretty boring fried calamari rescued by their aioli.

My Little Spanish Place, leche frita

Dessert was a leche frita, a traditional fried milk dessert from Spain. It tasted like hot custard in batter that was pretty good with the cinnamon dusted fresh cream. A heart clogging kind of good if you know what I mean.

My Little Spanish Place

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Supreme Pork Chop Rice, Beach Road

Supreme Pork Chop Rice, Beach Road

This particular stall (basement of 67 Beach Road) has had its history for sure. I can not so vaguely recall the time over a decade past when a camp mate of mine brought me for the first time to savour their freshly fried pork chop rice. Back then it was located in a coffeeshop in a shophouse just beside Allson Hotel. In my earlier working life, it shifted to the food court at Shaw Leisure Gallery. The next relocation saw them at the food court at Bras Brasah Complex. Then came the Middle Road unit and now, the current premise is a basement just at the junction of Middle Road and Beach Road.

And in the past 4 years, the price has gone up by a mere twenty cents. How good is that?  The chops were still pretty much as I remembered them. Backed up with frozen variety peas, corns and carrots. And an egg if you would.

They may not be the best (screw superlatives sometimes!) in the world, but they're still definitely freshly fried, thin crisp batter and enough moist meat in there to qualify itself as a real pork chop. And they're still pulling a pretty big crowd.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Milo butter prata from The Roti Prata House

The Roti Prata House, milo butter prata

Definitely guilty pleasure there in my books down at The Roti Prata House (246M Upper Thomson Road, Thomson Garden Estate, tel : +65 6459 5260) with all that Milo powder soaked with greasy margarine (I'm not so sure if it's all butter or if there's even any butter in there) folded within a crispy fried skin of flour that was eventually fried in more grease into a pastry of mottled golden brown. Well, not exactly that romantic with the real thing, but one gets the picture.

What I liked about them was that most of the crisp was contained in the surface so the end product was a textural mix of crispiness and chewiness. Just like pizza eh? Except that when one says this stuff doesn't do your arteries any favours, it's meant to be serious rather than jest. An extremely local representation of rich, sweet and savoury packed into a pastry snack.

In the scorching heat of these days, a great wash down would be a cup of ice cold and milky bandung.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Ba chor mee from Meng Kitchen

This place (246B Upper Thomson Road, Thomson Garden Estate, tel : +65 6455 4890) was one of those 24 hour joints which I had passed by numerous times and never had the opportunity to drop by until today. It was also one out of countless minced meat noodle stalls that dot this island doing rather brisk business.

This was the $5 bowl. A pretty decent bowl with fairly generous amounts of ingredient. I'm having a little difficulty thinking of how to describe it here so maybe there was nothing exceptional about what they had. It comes down to the point where I would mention that I wouldn't mind eating them again if I were in the vicinity, but I'll probably not make the effort to head to the stall just for a fix.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Brunch @ Hummerstons

While the attempt was applaudable at least in concept, the outcome wasn't so and didn't quite work out for me. I don't see myself coming back (11 Unity Street, #02-14 Robertson Walk, tel : +65 6737 8863) for brunch.

The Montreal styled poutine was fries, gravy, some mushrooms and a small piece of  foie gras. The gravy was salty, but stingy in portions. It wasn't curd cheese that they had used and the portions were so miserable that you could sometimes taste, but not really see them. You know what I'm saying?

The country eggs benedict looked to be an interesting option but fell short in execution. Just like the poutine. The texture of the sausage gravy felt curdled. It tasted of a lot of nothing but cream. Seriously, the visual representations also hints that there was a whole lot of nothing in them but cream. Sausage bits aside. In a sad revelation, Popeye's biscuits tasted even better than these ones. The only thing that was done properly were the poached eggs. Not worth a third of what they had charged for these at all.

The Grecian squid looked like it had a lot of spices and a good accompanying sauce going on, but had about one tenth of the flavors that one would expect. There was little char on the squid and apart from being tender, was mostly devoided of flavors.

The mildly spicy deep fried fish was seriously nice and so was the tasty and tangy slaw; which could have helped the the fish tacos if they came in larger portions. But having large crispy corn tortillas to eat this with is a fucking stupid idea. Think tacos breaking apart and greasy fish and slaw falling all over your hands.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Breakfast biscuit at Wendy's

Wendy's, breakfast biscuit

Following up from the offer in the previous week, this was what's available for $2.30 in the current. A rosemary chicken patty in some dense and not so crisp on the outside biscuit. And a cup of iced Milo. Interestingly, the biscuit was a little sweet in contrast with the salty chicken patty. The look and texture pretty much crushed my hopes of finding something similar to what McD used to offer a couple of decades back. 

In retrospect, the burrito tasted a lot better. This on the other hand was a lot more filling. Not that it really matters since I'm sure I will not be coming back for more. The blessing from this trip came in the form of a discovery that they're actually giving free Milo mugs for orders of breakfast that are on the regular menu.

If you're wondering why I'm writing about Wendy's breakfast all of the sudden, I could ask the same question of myself.

Monday, July 16, 2012

A tonkotsu ramen from RamenPlay

To my surprise the basic tonkotsu broth from RamenPlay (313 Orchard Road, #B3-04/06 313 @ Somerset, tel : +65 6634 0051) was actually not bad at all. I suppose I had initially been prejudiced since this was a venture by Breadtalk and local bakeries dipping their fingers into the already competitive ramen business wasn't exactly what I had felt to be something I would have thought to be "competitive".

Here was a creamy thick broth without some of the additional layer of dimension as compared to Ikkousha or perhaps Keisuke's Tonkotsu King, but it did possess the basic flavors that were sufficient that I wouldn't discount them so readily in the future. Even if they hadn't been using the firmer textured Hakata styled thin noodles which I would very much prefer. Even the soft and thin sliced charshu wasn't too bad as well. I couldn't say that RamenPlay is anywhere up amongst my favorites, but I still have to admit they're doing a decent job.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Limoncello Italian Pizza & Grill, Rivergate @ Robertson Quay

About the only thing I knew about Limoncello (95 Robertson Quay, #01-19/20 Rivergate, tel : +65 6634 5117) was that it was opened up by the chef that used to La Braceria. I remember having walked past the locale quite some time back and it had then been still the shop front of the previous occupant whom had subsequently gone out of business. Then a friend tipped me off and suggested that I give them a try.

We decided to give a poke on their antipasto Limoncello which turned out to be pretty enormous in portions. It was a pretty standard smorgasbord of cured meats that included salami, prosciutto di Parma, something else that might have been pancetta and a creamy burrata.  That and some tasty San Marzano tomatoes in olive oil and a spicy garlic toast. The cold cuts were aromatic and salty, cheese was milky rich which clicked with the rockets and the garlic bread was really delicious with the ham. Their unexpectedly large portions (which was described to be good for 2) was almost a meal for 2.

The inevitable comparison came about from their porcini and truffle risotto with the ones from La Braceria. This was pretty good and I had little reason to expect much discernable differences between the two. But if I had to say it, I think the latter had a stronger truffle flavour.

We had to pack half of their pizza della casa for take away because the antipasto and risotto already had us at the seams. Not to mention that this was one packed pizza with rolls of thinly sliced tenderloin and luxuriant amounts of mozzarella on top of a crust that was folding beneath all the weight of the toppings. The meat was unexpectedly tender and the portions altogether was generous on a not so thin and chewy crush. Della casa indeed, and a hearty one too. Will definitely consider this when I have a craving for pizza again.

Dessert was a crumbly Limoncello cake with almonds. Wasn't very exciting, didn't taste any of the liquor.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Breakfast burritos at Wendy's...?

Wendy's, breakfast burritos

This was what Wendy's passed off as a breakfast burrito. There's a certain veneer thin marketing attempt promotion for the week. Basically, one gets a "free" burrito for getting a coffee. For a dollar ninety. Get it?

To put into local context, this was really more poh piah than burrito. It looked to be about a third in thickness as the posters had misled me to believe and it was about as long as the plastic stirrer they dispensed for the coffee which was by the way, really lousy. What I did like about them was that they were freshly prepared. It was almost 5 minutes of wait for each order and they were served piping hot. They were filled with eggs, bits of chicken and cheese and I actually kinda liked them for what they were.

I wouldn't discount two of these for breakfast. Only if it's for a dollar ninety a piece.

Monday, July 09, 2012

A Diamond in July

Lawry's, diamond jim brady

It has been quite a while since we were last prime ribbing at Lawry's. This would be our second visit down at the current location in Mandarin Gallery (333A Orchard Road, #04-01/31 Mandarin Gallery, tel : +65 6836 3333). Since it's been a while, it was actually also a little exciting to see them carve up my Diamond Jimbo as the beefy fragrance wafted across the table. 

The meat as my last recollection, was tender and excellent. And it seems that the current service crew is noticeably a notch up from the last ones back in Paragon. Well done there.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Ten Restaurant, The Central

Here's a super deluxe tendon from Ten Restaurant (6 Eu Tong Sen Street, #01-68 The Central @ Clarke Quay, tel : +65 6221 2185). I'm going ahead to state the obvious that this joint specializes in tempura even though there is a display of some sushi certification at the front of the restaurant. Was that a point to be made about their sushi in the event no one likes their tempura?

While I wouldn't just write off the food here since it wasn't bad per se, I couldn't say that I was impressed by their tendon. I'm sure I've had better fried anago where the batter wasn't as dense and the meat wasn't as measly. Plus we were quite sure that there was a taste like shortening in the batter.

Funny thing is, the sashimi that the next table had ordered looked pretty good. Fat slices, firm looking meat from the fish, adept knife work, glistening and all.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Re-revisiting Etna

Two visits over the span of a week, I must have been voodoo-ed by something at Etna. This time round, it was really a series of hits and misses.

Here we have a grilled Asiago cheese wrapped in Parma ham on oregano toasts with porcini mushrooms. The flavors were pretty much how I expected, mostly earthy pungent with a rush of salt and laced with the tart of the vinegar that made them altogether pretty tasty.

The antipasto di mare was unfortunately a bore. I didn't quite take to the artificially crunchy texture of the prawns with semi translucent flesh. These didn't taste like the prawns that were used for their delicious risotto and were certainly also not the ones in the frittura mista as well.

There was a fettucini with black summer truffles. This was an oil based pasta (though I am unable to determine what oil that was) that was really perfumed by the fungus. None of the truffle oil infusion to boost the concentration of flavors. I thought this was pretty good on its own, but I couldn't help but compare it to the reminder of a buttery sauced rendition I had once at Bonta

Off their specials menu, was a filo pastry wrapped tenderloin. It was quite the bummer that the steak was cooked beyond the specified doneness. It had arrived pretty much medium well rather than the medium rare request. To their credit, it still turned out very acceptable in my opinion. Of that matter, steak aficionados would probably cry blasphemy; still I did like that the meat had been seared (char aroma!) before they had wrapped it up in the pastry and sent it into the oven. The Gorgonzola sauce helped the fact that the meat was a little dryer than I would have liked.

Didn't think much of the cannoli at all. The ricotta wasn't as rich and creamy as I was expecting and the shells were extra thick and hard. Here cues the happier memories of the much better ones from Gattopardo and Garibaldi.

Fortunately, their pistachio tiramisu was as good as we remembered it. Out of the variants of pick me ups as I can recall, this has got to be one of the more outstanding takes. The chocolate drizzles made up for the lack of cocoa, but it was the flavors from the bits of pistachio and mascarpone that I really liked.

In spite of some of the things that I didn't quite like here, their fairly extensive selection on menu combined with what I did enjoy will probably send me walking back again.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Bukang Tuna, Red Dot Traffic Building

I sure hadn't anticipated the spread that came along with the order of the tuna sashimi set from Bukang Tuna (28 Maxwell Road, #01-06 Red Dot Traffic Building, tel : +65 6327 4123). In fact, I had imagined that it could have been something along the lines of a Japanese teishoku styled meal serving. 

Certainly not one that filled the table literally right to the edges with servings of miscellaneous food that wasn't quite banchan. Those servings included octopus, a thin but tasty kimchee pancake, a deceptively clear as water yet spicy clam broth, freshly grilled saba, spicy flounder soup, fish porridge, a fish roe bibimbap, some top shell slathered with some red spicy paste, a little basket of vegetables and an interesting steamed/burnt egg dish that was bubbling for a long time in a hot pot. 

The highlight of the meal which were slices of chilled shiro maguro, regular maguro that tasted different from ones that I've previously had and strangely, mekajiki. What was different about having the sashimi here was a very fragrant dish of sesame oil which worked pretty well with the raw slices of fish. A change from the usual shoyu and wasabi combination.

The restaurant operated very much like any other Korean shops except that it had a sashimi counter and that most of the items available on menu were seafood or fish.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Pizzas at Etna

It was just coincidence that both pizzas that were ordered represented extremes in flavour. The Napoletana of anchovies and capers was generous with both ingredients resulting in it being heavy on the salt while the other pizza of black truffle paste and porcini mushrooms had the quantity of flavour from every ingredient moderated to the point that each of them could be tasted and neither overwhelmed one other. I certainly wouldn't have minded if the truffle paste was bolstered with generous lashings of truffle oil.

Still, thin crusted and light, both rather enjoyable pizzas from Etna.