Sunday, June 30, 2013

Mentaiko tonkatsu from Tonkichi

Tonkichi, mentaiko tonkatsu

Between this one and Tampopo, I think I like this better. The mentaiko was less cooked and comparatively more oozy. And that mean more flavour from the roe between the layers of pork.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Skirt, W Singapore

Skirt, W Singapore

Skirt is a lovely place (21 Ocean Way, tel : +65 6808 7278). A contemporary-ish steak joint clad in some swank facing the marina, that houses an  Argentinian parilla and their own ageing cabinets for cuts of meat from various sources. Great smiley service. Have been wanting to come here since I first heard of them.

Skirt, bread
bread with chorizo oil and seaweed dip

The seaweed dip works with their freshly toasted bread. To be tried to understand.

Skirt, roasted tomato soup
roasted tomato, basil soup

Skirt, vegetables roquefort
grilled baby vegetables, Roquefort

Skirt, beef tongue
braised and grilled beef tongue, shallot, scallion, beef salt

We started with some soup, grilled baby vegetables with some crumbled pungent Roquefort and beef tongue. No real complains here, but I think I would have been more impressed if the soup was smoked tomato rather than just roasted.

sheathed weapons for the real battle...looks so druidic

Skirt, donald russell tenderloin
Donald Russell Irish Grass fed Hereford 21 days dry aged tenderloin

This was meat from a Hereford cattle, branded by Donald Russell. If you're wondering what does that mean, it's generally a recognition for meat that's dry aged for 3 weeks on the bone. The cows graze on grass mostly and are certified to have no growth or appetite hormones administered in their diet or any other form.

Which means what? That one is eating meat that's organic and natural as far as an administration can ascertain that's matured for great flavoring. Fluff aside, it was a lovely cut of tenderloin, done in a good spot of none too bloody medium rare.

Skirt, asparagus
asparagus, quail egg, burnt butter

The asparagus from the sides were fresh and crunchy. The burnt butter was unsalted and hence, a bore without additional condiments.

Skirt, blackmore wagyu skirt
Blackmore Australian full blood 9+ Wagyu skirt

Blackmore full blood is pedigreed from Wagyu that doesn't contain any inferior bloodline in the family tree. In short, the cream of bovine as far as quality categorization goes. The skirt was lovely, intensed in flavoring with minimal fat. Possibly not the best cut to get one's eyes glazed over for Wagyu, but still pretty enjoyable meat there.

Skirt, granny smith apple crumble
some flamed Granny Smith apple crumble

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Mr Rawon Hong Kong Seafood, Yishun Central

I had initially mistook this place (Block 935, Yishun Central 1, #01-45) for the other Mr Rawon near the Darul Makmur mosque that might have relocated here, but it turned out that they were different altogether. The difference came from the quality of the food. It was a notch better at the latter location which also had a larger variety in both dishes and condiments. Still there was enough of some of my favourite staples going around like the paru goreng, sotong hitam and a decent begedil. But I scratch my head over the name.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The most important meal of the day for $10

Famous Bedok Kuey Chap, Whampoa Food Centre

Filled with wholesome intestines, pig skin, braised pork belly and eggs. This!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Coocci Contemporary Japanese, Commonwealth Crescent Market

smoked chicken

The operative word for this stall (#02-92, Commonwealth Crescent Market, 118 Commonwealth Crescent) is 'contemporary'. Beyond aesthetics which are nice by the way, it was a little difficult for me to categorise this as Japanese food and I probably wouldn't have recognized it as such if not for the name of the stall. Even the short grained rice that they used was not sticky at all, which was unusual there.

chicken roulade

Now that we've gotten past the superficial, the food was pretty good and good value as well. Be it their light and tender apple wood smoked half spring chicken that was aromatic in tandem with some black pepper or the torched chicken roulade that arrived with somen in a lightly sweet and savoury broth of pumpkin and chicken. The tori nanban laced with tartar sauce was pretty decent too. For what they were charging, their food, especially that smoked chicken certainly represented unbeatable value.

tori nanban

For what appeared to be a two person show in the stall, I'd give them marks for effort, given all the preparation they had to do. Certainly no qualms revisiting if I'm in the vicinity. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Blue skies and mentaiko cream

Wow, did the winds of change blow in our favor today. The sudden return of clear skies made things look pretty HD. So much has been taken for granted that we didn't realise until it got all smoggy. Like eating out which became a whole lot more daunting a task with everyone not feeling well and not wanting to be out anywhere outside of work.

This was a trip down to Meidi Ya for some grocery top up and hence a quick dinner as well. Pecori is still around fortunately and they've finally gotten round to serving their mentaiko cream rice with shrimps like they show in the menu. Sushi Ikeikemaru still has that crazy queue at dinner time and I'm buying stuff to fill up the space in the fridge which we've been trying hard to free up. Seems like normalcy has returned for a bit.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

San Laksa Steamboat, Telok Blangah Road

San Laksa Steamboat

I quite liked the laksa broth for steamboat here (404 Telok Blangah Road, tel : + 65 6275 7069). It had initially appeared to be a little thin but the wisdom of that was that after some cooking, it thickens up. Considerably. Unfortunately, that was all about it that was really appealing for me. The dishes weren't of even good quality and the plates of relatively tasteless meat were too thin even for shabu shabu standards. Certainly didn't like the powdery tasting pig livers that they served. Most of the options were pretty run of the mill. If that was the quality of food we were getting charged for a la carte orders, I would think that the cheap steamboat joints along Beach Road would be a better bang for buck. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

More meat from Hippopotamus

Hippopotamus, hanger steak

Nice intense flavouring and char grill from the tender hanger steak and rack of lamb from Hippopotamus. As family styled as they look, they actually serve pretty decent meat. Not to mention also their delicious Roquefort sauce that comes as an option for all orders.

Hippopotamus, rack of lamb

Friday, June 14, 2013

Tsukemen from Menya Musashi

Menya Musashi

That's the black chashu tsukemen from Menya Musashi (1 Vista Exchange Green #B1-08, tel : +65 6694 2515) with triple portions of noodles from Star Vista. I admit, I got defeated by the portions which were much more than what the picture showed.

While the broth appeared black, it was basically a black layer of oil that was floating above their base tonkotsu broth which also didn't quite pack the punch I was looking for. The noodles from the tsukemen were much chewier than the regular noodle in broth bowls which was a good thing but I ultimately didn't feel impressed by the whole thing. These cold sliced charshu simply didn't do it for me and the menma was pretty pungent.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Chicken rice at Malaysia Boleh

Malaysia Boleh chicken rice

Well, this wasn't too bad a rendition coming from Ipoh Buntong Bean Sprout Chicken Kuitiew/Rice at Malaysia Boleh (Jurong Point 2, #03-28, Jurong West Central 2). It's pretty much similar to what we are well acquainted with as local chicken rice. The meat was smooth, tender and this set option comes with a healthy serving of crunchy boiled bean sprouts and a side of real chicken soup. Too bad for me that the chilli that they use is so heavily laced with ginger.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Uncle Leong Seafood, Punggol East

what's the horror behind the taxidermied quad claw crustaceans Uncle Leong didn't say?

Let's begin this with Mellben.

I was introduced to Mellben some years ago. Back then, the first taste of the broth from the crab bee hoon was mind blowing. I had never had anything that tasted like that. In fact, the milky and crabby broth left such a deep impression that it gave quite a bit of leeway to the subsequent decline of standards.

The last visit to Mellben that I made was probably about half a year back. While the crab broth was still good, it was nothing like the earlier years. Fast forward to today, I managed to try the ones at Uncle Leong (6 Tebing Lane, #01-03, Punggol East, tel : +65 6441 1848) for the first time. Never had the chance to visit them when they were back in AMK. These two are related though I am not exactly sure how. While I felt that the crab bee hoon was a passable okay, it wasn't up to the standards of what was served in Mellben today. Remember what I said about about plenty of leeway. A pale shadow here of the old Mellben but arguably, a decent soup still.

What's well known about them is that they have their suppliers that provide them with really large crabs and they're generally fresh and meaty which is the way most people like them. The ones that come with the bee hoon are generally better in my view as they they don't get overcooked as often - which results in flesh that gets stuck onto the shells.

Those golden sand crabs which are a signature at Uncle Leong aren't as impressive as I would like. The creamy buttery sauce spiked with peppercorns and fried curry leaves somehow lacked body.

Maybe it's time for a re-visit to Mellben just to compare broths.

stir fried nai bai with garlic

Guinness pork ribs

crab bee hoon

jin sha (golden sand) crab

corridor of claws

Sunday, June 09, 2013

The Market Grill, Telok Ayer Street

The Market Grill, Telok Ayer Street

My first encounter with the product of a certain Loh Lik Peng, restaurateur and hotelier, was a number of years back. At Restaurant Ember in Hotel 1929. And subsequently, Cocotte and Esquina. In retrospect, I have to admit that this man knows what people want, understands the concepts that work in the ever thriving F&B realm and sells those crystallized themes to the rest of us.

Market Grill (208 Telok Ayer Street, tel : +65 6221 3323) is one such conceptualization made material. I'm not too sure what people label them, but I personally think it's a rather clean concept with straightforward food with little frills, probably focused preparation from skilled kitchen staff and attention to quality. Of course, such things comes with a price tag to match. 

Their cod croquetas are balls of mashed potatoes and minced cod. Crispy on the outside, hot and soft on the inside. I'm sure those aren't very difficult to imagine. On top of that, seasoned with enough paprika to pack a little bit of heat. Not bad, but I guess these are one of those things that I'll never order again after having had them once.

Market Grill, lobster roll

We were rather looking forward to the lobster sliders. I mean, fresh live tank lobsters slain upon order so that we could have them stuffed brioche rolls at our pleasure. This is as fresh as freshness gets in this country. I think this is good. Good here means large chunky springy pieces of lobster mean tossed in a mayo-mix, looking as if it were about to burst out of the rolls. Even the fries tasted good. Expensive it is too.

Market Grill, hanging tender

They had run out of ox tongue which was what I had originally wanted, so I settled for a hanging tender. It came very nicely execute medium rare and no less. As the name implies, the meat is tender and has a very defined grainy texture. It was juicy, beefy and a lot more chewy than the regular prime cuts of meat. I thought that the exterior sear was well done to seal up the meat with that you know, umami meat crust that meat eaters generally like? Yes, that was pretty much what it was.

I did like the accompanying black pepper sauce they do, but I had to hold them in reserve for their 'salardais styled' duck fat potatoes rather than mess up the flavors of a nice piece of seared meat.

Market Grill, lamb rack

Lamb rack was also pretty good. The meat was laced with quite a lot of flavorful fat. So the trick is to eat them fast before the fat becomes brains. From this order, we discovered that the mashed potatoes that they do here are excellent. Milky and buttery in flavor, smooth and creamy in texture. Excellent accompaniment with the lamb jus on the side.

Market Grill, banana rum pockets

Banana rum pockets for dessert. But hey, I tasted no rum in those bananas? Fortunately, the rum and raisin ice cream was nice.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013


Some home cooked colorful farfalle which we had previously picked up from the Marco Polo airport. So my knowledge of cooking pasta inches up a trifle more. These need to be boiled a little longer. Al dente wings means harder knots in the centre, so I'll have to settle for softer pasta the next time. If anyone wonders, it's just bacon and mushrooms. Flavoured by butter, truffle salsa and truffle salt.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

PasarBella at the Grandstand

I am having difficulty trying to reconcile what the theme for PasarBella is after hearing words bandied about like 'freshest ingredients' and 'gourmet farmers' market' against what I've experienced there. Does anyone honestly think that those things exist and that we could truly establish an artisanal market for niche produce? We hardly have farmers. What fresh produce? Everything grown or organic that is sold is imported. I certainly didn't see any home grown brands for produce. So as much as they like to call it a market, it's really more of a mall with a market theme and a glamorized food court attached.

And do we really honestly need another Shiraz kebab stand or another Da Paulo's anything down in Bt Timah? The prominence of established brands point towards what most of this country has been doing with malls and food courts. Cut and paste templates spending a whole load of money, a little bit of effort and no originality.

End of rant.

Start of another.

Here's a look at the paella from Le Patio. I'm not sure if these guys are doing Spanish or French, but it's probably just the aesthetic charm that they're selling. The hook that lured me into the queue was a large cast iron platter of seafood on top of rice. And judging from the queue, these guys seem pretty popular.

The first thing I was expecting was freshness and value in a real farmer's market. The stock for the rice was to me, sub par. A random paella I had previously eaten in a food court in the airport in Barcelona seemed much better tasting. No, I don't have a picture to back that up. And soft mushy textured prawns? This wasn't anything I would associate with fresh or great quality. Yes I'm also about to gripe about the empty mussel I had there as well. And no, the drumstick is not part of the box. That's another $2.50 you've gotta top up.

To be fair, the crepe was quite good. Then again, it was freshly made and one simply shouldn't mess up sugar, butter and a squeeze of lemon.

The veal dog from Huber's was actually quite boring. I appreciated the freshly toasted buns and certainly better quality sauces that they were providing, but the fillings of the sausage are smoothly textured factory processed protein matter. It ends there for me. No texture to look forward to each bite, not big on flavors neither. Not exactly gourmet if you asked me.