Sunday, April 27, 2014

Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh Eating House, Havelock Road

salted vegetables

pig stomach

braised fallopian tubes


boiled pig livers and kidney

This was decent bak kut teh.

What I liked a lot more was the braising liquid for the fallopian tubes which made a good dip for the dough fritters and was also simply good ladled over rice. There was a noticeable bit of garlic flavor in that soy based broth. More than what was the bak kut teh.  I actually preferred most of the other stuff we ordered to the actual bowl of pork ribs here.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Han, Odeon Towers

As far as I am aware, Han (#01-04, Odeon Towers, 331 North Bridge Road, tel : +65 6336 2466) is the only kushikatsu specialist here. The chef, a Seiichiro Arakawa who formerly ran a cool little place called Si Bon at the Amara Santuary Spa at Sentosa serving kushikatsu that I never got a chance to visit, heads this place.

This would be another one of those places that I've been wanting to visit for quite a while. It's also one of those places that constantly went out of sight and out of mind for me, so until recently when I stumbled upon a piece from a certain someone who might have grown up eating rubbish that coincidentally shares a similarly pronounced first name as a certain Mr Sinister, I stopped the procrastination and forgetting and made my way down.

The menu isn't too extensive, but it offers a variety. There's sashimi to be had and a dedicated counter for that. There's rice bowls, sushi and sukiyaki. A curated list of offerings. But who are we kidding? I didn't come to a pricey kushikatsu specialist to eat all that other stuff. Not on a first visit anyway. I wanted to try the deep fried things on sticks.

Actually, we kinda took the advice from the previously mentioned article and ordered the cheapest lunch set along with supplementary sticks of their kushikatsu.

Otoshi. I think it's salmon.

There's generally nothing much to say about accompanying salads from these Japanese sets. I just had to mention that the dressing for this particular one was refreshingly tangy. It made me want to finish up everything.

First up from the order of 3 sticks of supplementary kushikatsu was the angel prawns. It had a nice firm texture, was slightly sweet and very fresh tasting. I can't tell if there's supposed to be any difference from regular shrimp.

Next came the scallop.

Sweet and juicy inside.

Cherry tomato stuffed with cream cheese.

Light tang, some sweetness and rich creamy insides.

The main lunch item was the Ohmi beef tendon omelette rice with kushikatsu. The bits of beef were probably trimmings off those cuts that made the sukiyaki. And because they were just bits, all I could taste of it was a pleasant beefy flavor that was fairly pronounced, but not exactly robust which I was really hoping for. The pork kushikatsu sticks on the sides were done with shiso leaves. The meat was remarkably tender.

At this point of time, we were more than convinced that the man behind the copper frying dome was indeed an expert in his craft. None of the batter and panko mixture had the slightest excess grease.

The yuzu ice cream was...well, okay. I think the fruit works better as sorbet.

This black sesame ice cream in wafer shell thing with red bean was very nice.

I think I like the food at Han so far. The prices are on the high side, I'm kinda cool with lunch. There's definitely no dispute about the quality of their kushikatsu while service was attentive and prompt if not altogether unintrusive. I'm not sure about dinner though.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Kampong Corner, Sembawang Road

Kampong Corner, lontong

I've eaten at this nasi padang stall (602B Sembawang Road) a couple of times previously. The noteworthy thing for me included a chicken liver dish, their rather tasty paru and generally comforting food with a good amount of spices and richness in the gravies that were great accompaniments to both their respective dishes and nasi putih (white rice). Special mention goes to the sayur lodeh for the lontong which featured a heart clogging and delicious flavour in the gravy that's further enriched when added with shredded coconut and their sweet and spicy sambal (chilli paste). It's one of those things to crave for during rainy days.

sotong hitam, paru, telur

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Gæst, McCallum Street

salt boiled potato, lemon and salt marinated leeks, hazel nut and rye crunch, watercress, smoked mayonnaise

I read about this Nordic deli (21 McCallum St, #01-01 The Clift, tel : +65 6634 0922) opened by a couple of Danish a few months back.  The food menu's relatively simple with focus on a few sandwiches made from their brand of sourdough that's baked daily, a couple of breakfast options and a salad of the day. 

roasted pork with crackling, orange marinated red cabbage with parsley, red apple, mustard mayonnaise

You know what? The sandwiches were really good quality and easily one of the better ones I've had. The fillings were fresh and the variety formed a medley of flavors & textures between the nicely done bread. The smoked mayonnaise from the potato sandwich was certainly memorable. I think these guys could impart a thing or three about sandwich crafting to everyone else.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Katanashi, Boat Quay

Asahi on half and half - Super Dry and Kuronama

This was a lively little izakaya (77 Boat Quay, tel : +65 6533 0490) that serves up some fun food. Nothing too sophisticated that was prepared entirely from scratch, no grills on sticks, no exotic sounding seafood to be found but there were loads of friendly staff providing relatively quick service and top of the lung greetings. There were definitely some items on the menu that scored better than the others. Like the torched shime saba which was delicious, an udon that came with rather generous portions of mentaiko that paired off with tangy spicy kimchi and the hanpen stuffed with cheddar that came with a mentaiko mayo dip. Tasty explosions of flavor there.

I noticed that they had a daily specials menu which we didn't get any of this time round. Perhaps, the next time.

shime saba, aburi-ed

mentaiko kimchi udon

cream cheese, honey, toast

tar tar - maguro and avocado

Hanpen cheese

takoyaki in tomato and cheese

I forgot what this is called, but it's bean sprouts, meat sauce and spring onions.

Katanashi Fried Chicken

warabi mochi, chestnut ice cream

an unexpected visitor

Thursday, April 17, 2014


That's referring to the pile of vegetables on the left corner which a co-worker informed is called urap, a salad of sorts of Javanese origins. I haven't seen or heard of these before until recent months. Boy have I been missing out.

Basically, it consisted of lightly cooked long beans, kang kong and bean sprouts that's done up with the slightly sweet brown shredded coconut (kinda like those that are served in lontong) and bits of finely sliced chilli padi. This packed in a light sweetness along with a deep savoury base that's accentuated with heat from the chillis. Along with that, lots of crunch and texture from the mixed vegetables. Good stuff.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Ramen Bari-Uma at United Square

Ramen Bari-Uma

A couple of things registered about Ramen Bari-Uma. First of which was the tonkotsu shoyu broth which I didn't dislike but couldn't quite form an opinion on. The second was their flame scorched charshu which I remember enjoying. We came by their second outlet (#B1-08 United Square, 101 Thomson Road, tel : +65 6354 3711) at United Square for a quick dinner.

Their Charshu-Uma bowl featured pork that was both tender and crumbly with lattices of soft fat that barely held the slices together. It didn't look as impressive as the picture on the menu (I know...) nor taste as good as the first time round.

What also got my attention this time round were the noodles. It's a little softer than I like. I'm still searching for that properly done harigane texture.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Artichoke Fried Chicken

Artichoke Fried Chicken

That's the fried chicken from Artichoke which was basically their take on a Southern fried chicken plate with a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern twist. It featured chicken that's been brined overnight and then massaged with a shish taouk marinated before being fried and getting a veneer of honey lemon glaze. The slaw on the side is flavoured with tahini, there's paprika fries and Lebanese pickles, a toum on the side and chutney like thingy...yada. 

One must surely be wondering about the verdict. The savoury flavoured batter was crisp and the meat was juicy. It was also more salty than I had expected. But that worked since the sodium element was really low for everything else on the plate. There was a wing, a drumstick and a thigh and the portions were pretty generous. The only thing that I couldn't quite reconcile was the tahini slaw. The flavour profile doesn't quite scream tahini. Would have been great if there were more of that fragrant sesame.

Artichoke, the old rascal

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Miso hire katsu from Tonkichi

Wow, this was actually quite impressive. Today's hire katsu featured a very robust crisp sans excessive oil and the tender fillet was juicy. There is definitely differences in the quality between this shop at Ngee Ann City versus the one at Shaw House. We also got to try their kaki katsu which I recall being recommended from some time back (yes, it sure took a long time to happen). Those were fat and creamy specimens that were served. That simply means another option for fried oyster fixes.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Hot Reuben now with Asahi Kuronama beer bread at Nassim Hill Bakery

I was really looking forward to revisiting their Grimbergen Ambrée beer bread that impressed me previously when I noticed that it's now Asahi Kuronama beer bread as stated in the menu instead. Seems like I'm running into a bit of the Asahi Black lately. What got my attention too was that that the Grimbergen Ambrée is off the tap as well. Are they rotating or did that last brew not work out for the bakery? While I enjoyed this particular bread as well (it's still a nice tasting bread) and probably can't tell what were the subtle differences, I do feel that the older beer bread left a deeper impression.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Kazu has updated

Kazu Sumiyaki, Cuppage

Kazu has changed. Well, visibly so since it hadn't changed very much from the first time I had visited. The place is looking a little more sleek these days with a very visible varnished wooden counter hewn from a single cross section of some tree. That came accompanied with elevated stools to match, replacing the old setup. Cabbage is no longer free and the main grill seems to have gotten an upgrade as well. There're now black curtains along the windows and Asahi Kuronama on tap to match. Yay for the last part!

Well, the menu has changed some. The almost always available ankimo is noticeably missing from the menu along with the Brussels sprouts with cheese that we had from the last visit that I was really looking forward to. The majority of the staples remain and rightly so since those are the consistently good items that has kept us coming back. The tori hatsu and lamb chops are still awesome.

And I've pretty much said all there is to say about the food save for the occasional seasonal item and perhaps, a new thing which I haven't tried previously like the soy braised fish innards which consisted of fish intestines and stomach. That was really good and would make the perfect pairing with rice. Enjoyed their salted chocolate ice cream too. The only thing that we would give a pass on the next time is probably those bacon wrapped lobsters. There's too little of the lobster to really tell and most of the smoky salted flavor came from the bacon anyway.

Kazu Sumiyaki, aosa tofu uni
home made aosa tofu with aburi-ed uni

Kazu Sumiyaki, tomato

Kazu Sumiyaki, lamb chops
lamb chops

Kazu Sumiyaki, fish innards
fish innards stewed in soy broth

Kazu Sumiyaki, hotaru ika
hotaru ika with asparagus

Kazu Sumiyaki, kushiyaki
lobster in bacon/oyster in bacon

Kazu Sumiyaki, scallops prawns
scallops and prawn

Kazu Sumiyaki, kushiyaki
tori hatsu and zucchini with cheese and minced chicken

Kazu Sumiyaki, kushiyaki
Australian wagyu gyutan and tontoro ringo

Kazu Sumiyaki, foe gras

Kazu Sumiyaki, sweet potato
sweet potato

Kazu Sumiyaki, sweet potato
glistening sweet potato porn

Kazu Sumiyaki, salted chocolate ice cream
salted chocolate ice cream

Kazu Sumiyaki, salted chocolate ice cream
salted, bitter and not too sweet

Kazu Sumiyaki, Cuppage

Kazu Sumiyaki, Cuppage