Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sushi Kou, Orchid Hotel

Sushi Kou

Sushi Kou

Sushi Kou, otoro nigiri

Sushi Kou, kaisen don

It was actually supposed to be Sakari Sushi at the other corner, but they happened to be closed for lunch without notice and thus we decided to give Sushi Kou a go (1 Tras Link, Orchid Hotel #01-16, tel : +65 6444 8433). This wasn't too bad at all. I've been hearing excessively about their affordable omakase (which we did not have today). Instead, we went the a la carte route getting their spinach with a creamy goma sauce and also trying their otoro nigiri which was priced...... at a rather unbelievable point. The latter was actually pretty good. The tuna belly wasn't very large or thick, but it had good marbling and was noticeably cheaper than anywhere else I've had so far.

Their kaisen don was definitely worth the dip. There was a nice variety of fish and pretty decent quality at that for what they charged. Even their mekajiki was fat laced and the only fish that disappointingly wasn't belly was the salmon. Well, maybe that and the knife work has room for improvement, but I quite sure that icing isn't the point at Sushi Kou. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Grilled cheese ramen from Buta God

This was the other seasonal cheese ramen that got my attention from my last visit to Buta God. I think it was cheddar that they used. Like the snow cheese, the portions of the cheese were moderated so as not to overwhelm the flavours of their broth. Meaning that while you could taste that cheese, you're not getting a whole load of them. The grilling helped impart additional flavour but this didn't dissolve like powdered Parmesan and hence, no even distribution. I did like the bits of melted cheese over the noodles and sliced pork. Today's soup tasted intense with very pronounced sweet and salty. The flavour of the broth felt really rich. I'm probably going to lay off Buta God for a while now that the sweetness has gotten to me.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Prata Place, Thong Soon Ave

I've seen this place around (1 Thong Soon Ave., tel : +65 6459 5670) but the first time I've actually visited was sometime in the past year to try their thosai stuffed with mozzarella cheese and portobello mushroom. It didn't leave much of impression at that time and my attention was drawn to them again recently because these guys were participating in the Ultimate Hawker Fest 2014; a third year in participation for them. They were running with a dish that was essentially a prata based eggs Benedict with masala Hollandaise. No less.

The humble flatbread that originated from India, paratha, which was the predecessor of the local prata that we have today has evolved. Truly. The flatbread had survived a few decades as prata by the grace of the immigrants from India that had settled in this part of the world with little frills generally beyond eggs and onion until it further juiced up into the multi flavoured/stuffed pastry that we know from the past decade plus. Think Milo, cheeses, Nutella, bananas, condensed milk, chocolate sauce, canned fruit, ice cream and even more.

Today, I'm plunged my fork into an Ultimate Murtabak (their dish from the Hawker Fest two years back) with mozzarella cheese, portobello mushrooms, chopped onions, eggs and chunks of tandoori chicken. Check out the Frankenstein-ian patchwork we have done to that street eat. If anyone's wondering, it tasted pretty much as good as it sounded, but I'll have to remember to ask for no onions the next time. The large chunks of their onions didn't work for me because doneness was inconsistent due to the inconsistent sizes. But having the tandoori chicken in the murtabak rocked.

The other "contemporary flavour" we got was a red bean paste prata. Which resembled very closely the Chinese red bean pancake. Except that this one had a much thinner and crisp pastry skin and I think I liked it much better because of that. This was pretty unique as flavoured prata went since I don't think any of other shops do that. 

Will come by again another day but this would not a place I see myself coming to with frequency. There must be a ton of oil in the food, seeing that it also made me feel greasy after eating.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Revisiting Dong Bei Ren Jia (东北人家)

A revisit because we liked what we had the previous time we were here.

Dong Bei Ren Jia

Previously we had tried their steamed cabbage and pork dumplings, so today, we hit the pan fried version. These were rather competent as guo tie went. The skin was nicely browned at the base and the stuffings were decent but my favourite are still those from Jing Hua Restaurant (京华小吃).

Dong Bei Ren Jia

I don't remember what these were called, but they're strips of potatoes that are flavoured with vinegar, fresh green chilli and dried red chilli. In spite of the chillis, it wasn't as spicy as it might have sounded. The texture of the strips of potatoes were excellent. It was cooked sufficiently, yet retained a light crunch.

Dong Bei Ren Jia

More big headed bean sprouts that we had from the last visit.

Dong Bei Ren Jia

And then some stir fried omelette with tomatoes. These tasted better than they sounded. A blend of savoury and sweetness from the fruit.

Dong Bei Ren Jia

Their stir fried bitter gourd and sliced beef was good. Well, I liked it. Because the meat tasted like what beef should taste like. The local cooks should learn from them and stop bicarbonating them to undeath. This was altogether a rather light savoury and bitter dish. In some ways, it was actually refreshingly clean on the palate. 

Dong Bei Ren Jia

That's the salted vegetable and mutton soup which we had previously as well that's not on the menu. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Tai Loke Hainan Chicken Rice, Queen Street

Tai Loke Hainan Chicken Rice, Queen Street

Tai Loke Hainan Chicken Rice, Queen Street

Tai Loke Hainan Chicken Rice, Queen Street

Tai Loke Hainan Chicken Rice, Queen Street

I've been trying to get a plate from this stall (269B Queen Street) for quite a while so this has finally happened. This stall doesn't even open until dinner time. While their chicken rice wasn't something that was so impressive that it'll blow your socks off, Tai Loke had some redeeming qualities. Their blend of drizzle sauce for the chicken was deliciously fragrant from the sesame and the meat was slurp off the bone tender. Their rice, of the light flavoured variety, was rather easy to inhale - especially with a drizzle of their chicken sauce concoction and/or even the aromatic dark soy. What didn't work out for me here was the their chilli which was both watery and garlicky.

I'd eat this again easily if I were in the vicinity but it's not exactly one of those stalls that I'd go out of the way for.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Snow cheese ramen from Buta God

If you're thinking that this looks like just a simple sprinkle of powdered Parmesan cheese on top of the regular bowl from Buta God, you're probably right. I'm not sure if any further thought process had been gone through to create this supposedly seasonal bowl but we're looking at a clash blend of two strong flavours here. The rich, sweet & savoury broth and the powdered cheese. This turned out to be pretty tasty for me. If you like powdered cheese in your food that is. There was just enough of the cheese to tell without making a mess of the original broth. I wonder how does the grilled cheese bowl fare.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Da Paolo Bistro Bar, Rochester Park

Da Paolo Bistro Bar, pea soup gorgonzola cream

This was the other Da Paolo (3 Rochester Drive, tel : +65 6774 5537) left today that's still a proper restaurant. The food is nothing much like their restaurants in the past. It's much easier to label what they do as generic European rather than specifically Italian. Of course, the lines blur these days.

Here's some pea soup with Gorgonzola cream and a tagliatelle with sweetbread ragu. That pea soup was surprisingly quite good. It was sweet, smooth and creamy; peppered and drizzled with light Gorgonzola cream and some chorizo. I enjoyed this. The real reason for me coming here was for their pasta with sweetbread ragu. Sweetbread is still a rarity here. I think there was mention of bone marrow in the sauce as well but I certainly didn't taste it. It wasn't bad. 

While I wouldn't say that I disliked the food here, I am pretty sure at this point and forward, Da Paolo will unlikely be a consideration for me if I'm feeling like Italian. Maybe it's the rental at Rochester. The portions were also a little small and prices a little high for those small portions. One can certainly venture guesses at their business goals from why those things are and the direction their food is taking.

Da Paolo Bistro Bar, tagliatelle sweetbread ragu

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Tian Shui Chicken Rice, Tanglin Halt Food Centre

Tian Shui Chicken Rice, Tanglin Halt Food Centre

Until recently, I've never noticed this chicken rice stall (Stall #22, Tanglin Halt Market, 48A Tanglin Halt Road). Since then, I've eaten at it twice so here's some thoughts.

Their chicken was slightly chilled and doused with a sticky sauce which was different from the majority of chicken rice. Can't say that I'm a big fan of that sauce but it's probably just me and gloopy sauces. The meat from the chicken was pleasantly tender. Rice was grainy and inconsistently flavoured across and when there was some flavour, it was lightweight. In a nutshell, it would look to be another faceless stall that delivered competent if an ordinary plate.

Until that chilli sauce with a respectable heat that peaked fast and sustained a consistent but gradually increasing burn, topped with a citrus-y note. If one were to take a step back and examine the triage that made chicken rice, it certainly made sense to not have that much flavour in the rice. The chilli, which rocked by the way, would have killed it. I'm still trying to figure out what's in their soup. Not the commonly available thin cabbage broth they're doing.

Tian Shui Chicken Rice, Tanglin Halt Food Centre

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Red bean soup from Tanglin Halt Market

This was the second time I'm getting this from stall #10 at the food centre beside the market (48A Tanglin Halt Road) which actually sells bee hoon. I thought it was good because of the mandarin peel that was used to flavour the soup and the beans were whole and soft rather than mushy and broken. Just the thing for the recent rainy days.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Recent developments with McDonald's

McDonald's, ebi burger

So, here's the ebi burger from McD. I'm just wondering out loud here if any other countries are getting this as well. I'm sure that generally, fast food is not terribly exciting and this largest chain out there would probably qualify as one of the least interesting ones. What I didn't expect to find in the ebi patty was that there were actually whole little shrimps in them. The texture was there if not any exceptional flavours. Which would probably have been drowned by that wasabi mayo anyway. 

In other news, they are also doing this green tea latte which comes with a shot of espresso. I've been drinking this stuff more often that I'd like to admit.

McDonald's, ebi burger

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Hanare Japanese Café, Tanjong Pagar Road

This casual shophouse eatery (99B Tanjong Pagar Road, tel : +65 6222 1976) was opened by Teppei-san of Teppei/Hana Hana, both of which were merely a couple of minutes walk away. We came by for lunch. This was one option for a taste of their talked about barachirashi bowl without having to queue (at Hana) or put yourself though an outrageously advanced reservation (at Teppei).

Their barachirashi set includes some of the buffet spread during lunch. This represented very good value for a couple of reasons. The first being the quantity of raw fish that one gets in that barachirashi bowl. There's a very generous portion of cubed raw fish with ikura. While one doesn't get premium cuts of fish since this isn't priced for it, it's a decent meal with decent quality freshness that you won't walk away hungry from. Which leads me to the unlimited rice that you get as well. It's excellent with the furikake if you're out of fish. What was pleasantly surprising, was their use of grated wasabi rather than the paste. 

This was the rice meal portion that came from their buffet set. It's steamed anago with rice. Steaming soft rice steeped with the sweet sauce and flavours from the eel.