Sunday, September 29, 2013

Some cheese crusted steaks from Chili's

Every once in a while, something draws me back to Chili's. This time round, it's their cheese crusted steaks which seem to be something on menu for a limited period. Something totally unimaginatively appealing. Were they any good? I think I like the fragrance of the Parmesan crust much better than the cheddar bacon. More crust would have been great as well.

While Chili's does not serve the most memorable food out there, they're what they are.  Honestly, there seems to be little room for complaints; however I need to get this off my chest. They don't serve very good beef here. I've had better for sure. For less as well. In fact, for what they had charged here after discounts, I could've eaten at Aston's twice. No cheese crust of course, but much better bang for buck quality of meat and flavor. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Foie gras tonkatsu with truffle from Tampopo

Tampopo, foie gras truffle tonkatsu

It seems that Tampopo has just upped the ante of their own game by introducing truffle paste into their foie gras stuffed tonkatsu. This item has already made it into their regular tonkatsu menu if anyone's wondering. If anything could be described as indulgent, this would be one of them. Needless to ask, I was sold. How did that taste? It was exactly like what I had in mind with both the flavour of the black truffle and the fatty melting liver coming through like butter across those tender layered pork beneath a crispy breaded crust.

Tampopo, foie gras truffle tonkatsu

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Itacho Sushi's new spot and blue fin tuna

Itacho Sushi, ION Orchard

Itacho Sushi has been working on their new outlet (ION Orchard, #B3-20) for a while now and it's finally opened recently. It seems that they've decided to up the publicity factor by introducing a limited offering of bluefin tuna on their menu which one can have on sushi, sashimi or even a don.

On hindsight, the regular bluefin slices tasted the best. These guys here aren't exactly the most skilled at doing aburi-ed anything and any other add on anything else simply detracts from the natural flavors of the fish. Say, aren't they suppose to be on the endangered list or something?

Moving away from tunas, there's mantis shrimp and snow crab on sushi now. The shrimp was actually pretty tasty and sweet even though I suspect it's been frozen. As for the snow crab.....don't waste your money.

Itacho Sushi, mantis shrimp
mantis shrimp 

Itacho Sushi, hon maguro maki
bluefin tuna roll 

Itacho Sushi, engawa

Itacho Sushi, kani miso
kani miso

Itacho Sushi, seaweed tamago
tamago with seaweed

Itacho Sushi, sushi
assortment of bluefin tuna, hamachi, Kagoshima wagyu 

Itacho Sushi, hon maguro toro
bluefin toro

Itacho Sushi, snow crab
snow crab 

Itacho Sushi, cod liver
cod liver

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A negi miso rosu katsu from Tonkatsu by Ma Maison

Tonkatsu by Ma Maison, negi miso rosu katsu

That would be Tonkatsu by Ma Maison in case you didn't know. They had these miso sauced katsu which I was curious in measuring up against the ones by Tonkichi. As it turned out, the ones from Tonkichi tasted sweeter while these were more salty. I'm not as favourably disposed towards Tonkichi these days as I was in the past but I think they still do a dryer crisp breading compared to here.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fu Xiang Chicken Rice, Toa Payoh Central

Fu Xiang Chicken Rice, Toa Payoh Central

This place (J99 Eating House, 186 Toa Payoh Central) was a good call for chicken rice and the stall certainly had the queue to back up the quality of their food.

Let's see what they did right here. The flavour in the rice was a little lighter than I expected and it was a little bit greasy. Still within what I considered the boundaries of a properly done chicken rice and this case just meant that their ginger/garlic chilli sauce gets put to used. Now to the better accomplishments...

The turn over must have been quick that their roasted chickens had the opportunity to be served warm and still with that slight crisps on some of the edges of the skin. Their livers were just so pleasantly creamy and the roasted pork was tasty with their lightly crisp crackling and balanced meat to fat proportions. Sure puts some of the supposedly branded names to shame.

I was told that this particular coffee shop is well known for their ban mian as well. 

Fu Xiang Chicken Rice, Toa Payoh Central

Friday, September 13, 2013

Rajah Inn, Tiong Bahru Plaza

Rajah Inn, Tiong Bahru Plaza

We have passed by this place (302 Tiong Bahru Road #02-13/14/15, Tiong Bahru Plaza, tel : +65 6835 0080) at least a couple of times before and had never really paid attention until the last time when we realised that there was actually a porridge buffet going on and that the spread was actually rather decent looking. So we came here to eat at the next opportunity to be in the vicinity.

For less then ten bucks, a modest spread of staple dishes that can be found commonly in Teochew porridge stalls with sweet potato porridge, fried bee hoon and fried rice. I actually liked most of the things we had, including that braised pork belly at the end that surprisingly had fats that dissolved in the mouth and the not so spicy, but lemak laden chicken curry. Don't come here expecting to be blown away by the food. It's a small simple selection of properly prepared comfort food that's familiar. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Kian Seng Seafood Restaurant, Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park

Was introduced to this place (4013 Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park 1, tel : +65 6458 2552) via a friend that doesn't live anywhere close to here. The tze char was pretty good and on the whole, wallet friendly enough to visit with some regularity.

Unfortunately, the spinach with three eggs was a little disappointing for me. It was suppose to be a recommended rendition that was better than the usual offerings, but it tasted rather regular to me and the starchy sauce didn't help. I was expecting a base of broth.

The fried rice was nicely done. There was enough oil and char aroma (I mean wok hei) and almost no excessive residual grease. I think that's a fairly reliable benchmark dish there for tze char. It means to me that the cook has measurement and control over the base ingredients which is rather lacking these days. Yeah, they used crab sticks.

Ngor hiong was pretty ok I guess. I prefer the types with chunky textures which this one doesn't quite have. Needs more water chestnut. The accompanying sticky plum sauce made up for it.

These steamed cabbages with dried scallop was probably my favorite of the bunch tonight. The flavors permeated which lent the savory aroma from the scallops to the soft vegetables. It was also the most expensive item, costing almost a third of the total bill at the end.

And then, deep fried pork collar marinated in nam yu (fermented bean curd). The meat was relatively juicy, moderately fat laced and had enough chew for texture. Tasty.

The taste of the broth from the steamed frog legs with chicken essence was rather unexpected. I was expecting a deeper savory punch akin to a soy based flavor. This one was herbal and lightly salted. Still it was good enough that we drank it to the last drop after sucking all the tender meat off the bones of the frogs.

Kian Seng's orh nee uses a generous blanket of thickened coconut milk. So no fried shallots nor lard to be found; which I feel are essential ingredients to a solid (fragrant) rendition of this Teochew dessert.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

SweetSpot Deli, Marina Bay Sands

SweetSpot Deli, reuben sandwich

Woah, sweet! This (Bay Level, L1-30, The Shoppes at MBS, 10 Bayfront Avenue, tel : +65 6688 8584) was definitely the best one yet and was incidentally also the answer to an indirect question that I had some time back. The mixed thin slices of warm layered Pastrami and corned beef paired with savoury melted Gruy√®re and the Russian slaw for texture....I think you know where I'm getting at. Oh yeah, throw that between buttered & toasted rye as well.  

While this wasn't NY sized, it was a still very generous fillings by local standards. Hmmm....this is a tough one against the hot Reuben from Nassim Hill Bakery. The latter just had that amazing bread which this one didn't, but this pretty much takes the cake for everything else on the middle. Not to mention that it's actually less expensive here.

SweetSpot Deli, pastrami sandwich

The pastrami with mustard on rye paled side by side in comparison. It wasn't a mediocre sandwich per se, but their Reuben really blows this one out of the water.

SweetSpot Deli, matzo ball soup

Matzo ball soup was serviceable sick person's food. But I've had better chicken soup.

SweetSpot Deli, lemon meringue pie

This was an unusual lemon meringue pie/tart that they had. Unusual because of the meringue which was so eggy that we had initially thought that some of the egg flavour came from the lemon curd. Until we scraped the fillings off separately to taste, then realise that all that egg came solely from the meringue. After a while, it was just unsettling considering that the eggy-ness actually powered over the lemon curd.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Wee Nam Kee Hainanese Chicken Rice Restaurant, United Square

Wee Nam Kee Hainanese Chicken Rice Restaurant, United Square

I haven't been eating at Wee Nam Kee for years so we decided to check out their current location (#01-08 United Square, 101 Thomson Road) since they had just shifted from the original Novena Ville not to long back.

The queue was pretty long, service was still trying to gain its own footing and the prices were much higher than I had expected. In the end, the chicken rice turned out to be just passable. I don't think the poached chicken are in the same leagues as Boon Tong Kee and certainly have nothing on Sin Kee.  It was just not smooth or even tender enough (a little too chewy sometimes) for a start and made me wonder what made so many people queue for them. If I have craving for chicken rice in the vicinity again, I'm sure I'll like it better at Big Bird with their ferocious chilli sauce just around the corner. Another place I can cross off my list.

Wee Nam Kee Hainanese Chicken Rice Restaurant, United Square

Friday, September 06, 2013

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

A chicken rice & laksa dinner at Food Opera

Food Opera, sergeant hainanese chicken rice

That would the medium sized serving from Sergeant Hainanese Chicken Rice (#B4-03, Stall 20, ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn) above. The only difference with the regular serving as I was informed by the stall was that it comes with more meat. For a whopping $7.50, it was easily twice (maybe more, depending on where you eat chicken rice) what most places charged. Have to admit that it was pretty good as a whole. The rice was flavoured sufficiently without being overly greasy and the chicken was smooth and tender. Still, it's not cheap for a quick fix or guilty pleasure in town. If I had been famished, the portions would have been inadequate.

Below is a bowl of medium sized laksa from 3rd Generation Laksa & Prawn Noodle also from Food Opera. The broth was quite creamy and it came with usual suspect ingredients of rice noodle, hard boiled egg, shrimp, tau kwa, some fish cake and cockles. Even as it might be not an apple to apple comparison, this looked better, tasted more satisfying and had better quality ingredients than what I had at Laksania. For just 30 cents more. Which also incidentally implied that Laksania was pretty expensive too.

Food Opera, 3rd Generation Laksa & Prawn Noodle