Wednesday, December 31, 2014

More sandwiches from Smoke Shack


Yes, these are the sandwich guys (2 Amoy Street, #01-01 Far East Square, tel : + 65 6557 2214) that used to be down at the basement of Republic Plaza. I've seen rather nice pictures of their sandwiches and somehow, I never get that whenever I'm there. My opinion of them hasn't changed very much from the last time. Good but not great. Would be nice if portions are a little bigger. I could definitely get something from them if I'm in the vicinity, but wouldn't go out of my way just for it. I would love for more blue cheese and apples in their smoked duck sandwich though. 

smoked duck, apple, blue cheese

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Traditional Handmade Yong Tau Fu, Whampoa FC

I liked this. For $3.30, it was also a darn good deal. As much as this stall (#01-32, 91 Whampoa Drive) looks like another ubiquitous yong tau fu shack, it was noticeably better than the run of the mill. While it might be true that one cannot have the choice pick of the ingredients, the ones that they had tossed in were pretty good. Those tofu with meat paste on them even had chunks of water chestnut inside. And don't the minced meat ladled over the noodles look tempting? I'm definitely coming by another time for their larger portions. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Basmati nasi lemak from Island Cafe

Island Cafe, nasi lemak

Wow, this was very nice indeed. The fragrance of pandan and coconut infused into the savoury basmati rice - and maybe a secret ingredient or two? This beats the other basmati nasi lemak at Selera Rasa hands down. But then again, this was also a lot more expensive. And for the additional we're paying for over here, one gets a very competently done beef rendang which wasn't too sweet (awesome!), a couple of tasty sambal shrimps, properly roasted peanuts and also nicely done sambal on the side. So good was the sambal and the rice that I had to eat them separately as not to muddle up the flavours. Things like these and that delicious wagyu beef and black bean sauce hor fun that keeps me coming back to Island Cafe.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

More chicken rice from Mat Noh & Rose

Mat Noh & Rose, chicken rice

This was an unplanned re-visit to Mat Noh & Rose. We had known that we'd be back but hadn't expected it to be so soon. This time round, we opted for the chicken breast and fried livers on the sides. I'm going to be boring here and state that both were delicious. Apparently, the stall uses only fresh chicken, not the frozen variety. Which explains the tenderness of the breast meat. And the sides of livers came with 3 hearts today!

Mat Noh & Rose, chicken rice

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The orange ciabatta toast from Good Morning Nanyang Cafe

Good Morning Nanyang Cafe, orange ciabatta toast

Buttered, kaya-ed and sporadically flecked with the aroma from the bits of orange peel.

Good Morning Nanyang Cafe, orange ciabatta toast

Friday, December 26, 2014

Hong Kong Street Chun Kee (香港街珍记), Ang Mo Kio Ave. 5

Hong Kong Street Chun Kee (香港街珍记) Ang Mo Kio

Hong Kong Street Chun Kee (香港街珍记) Ang Mo Kio

Hong Kong Street Chun Kee (香港街珍记) Ang Mo Kio

Hong Kong Street Chun Kee (香港街珍记) Ang Mo Kio

There seem to be a few of these Hong Kong Street Chun Kee outfits around. I have no idea if there's any relation between them or if any of them are the original stalls. Does anyone know? The first one I remember eating at was at Alexandra. This particular stall (Blk 151, Ang Mo Kio Ave 5) happens to be located in the same coffeeshop as the Soi 19 Thai wanton noodles.

Objectively, the food here was pretty decent. I'm pretty sure many people remember the branding for the sum lou hor fun and their X.O. fish noodle soup. Both of which are competent but seem to lack a little something I can't readily wrap my head around. Meanwhile, the back of my head seems to think that the old stall back in Alexandra was better. Memory can be a fickle mistress.

Honestly, I'm not too concerned if this particular outfit is the original or not. I think the food is good enough for revisits.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Café & Bar Gavroche, Tras Street

Café & Bar Gavroche, foie gras terrine
foie gras terrine

Café & Bar Gavroche, le parisien
Le Parisien

Café & Bar Gavroche, tartine reblochon smoked pork belly
tartine with smoked pork belly and Reblochon cheese

I had previously eaten at their brasserie just across the road and liked the food, so here's some lunch from the cafe (69 Tras St, tel : +65 6225 4869). The menu was straightforward with little beyond some charcuterie, tartines, salads and some sandwiches. And in the simplicity of the offerings, I found their Parisien sandwich very appealing. Cooked ham and butter between sliced crisp baguette. I think I could probably recreate everything that I had here after a trip to a deli.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Imakatsu, Star Vista

Another quick one. This was a second visit to Imakatsu (1 Vista Exchange Green #01-17,  tel : +65 6694 6148), another tonkatsu specialist that has opened up here not too long ago. I get the impression that they're advertising the fact that their chicken tenderloins are a specialty of the restaurant. Haven't tried those, but probably will another time. While I rather liked what I had so far from the restaurant, I'm wondering if they have what it takes to endure on this sunny island. Actually, I hope they do.

I checked out their tonkatsu stuffed with sliced garlic previously and I thought those garlic flavours came through rather nicely. Enjoyed that. My only complain over that one was that it was a little small. Much smaller than the other fried pork options on the menu. Today, I picked the extra large minced meat cutlet. It turned out to be pretty good too. The minced meat was spiced, peppered and well mixed with chopped onions. Packed none too tightly at that and it was still both moist and slightly crumbly. With a little bit of salt that they had on the table and a smudge of mustard, it was totally enjoyable. I had seconds of their Koshihikari rice with it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Mat Noh & Rose, Whampoa Makan Place

Mat Noh & Rose, nasi ayam

Just a quick update on my first visit to Whampoa Food Centre after their recent renovation. Pretty sure that I hadn't seen this stall (#01-27, 91 Whampoa Drive) beside Granny's Pancake prior to the renovation. Certainly not one with an unusual name like that. Anyway, they claimed to sell authentic ginger fried chicken rice. I haven't a clue what that was but it certainly looked like very agreeable fried chicken. That turned out to be delicious. The fried chicken was quite tender and each order came topped with some crispy crumbs which might have been what the ginger was about. There was even option for adding deep fried chicken skin amongst the other offal.

I thought the rice deserved mention. It was moist, savoury and well flavoured. One could pair them with their chilli sauce; which was a nice balance of heat and sweetness rather than mostly sweetness. This won't be the last time I'm seeing this place for sure.

Mat Noh & Rose, Whampoa Makan Place

Monday, December 22, 2014

Sakari Sushi, Orchid Hotel

Sakari Sushi, barachirashi

This was a lunch at that other relatively new Japanese shop (#01-05, 1 Tras Link) located at the quieter perpendicular to that "popular" stretch under the watch of both the Dons (not donburi but pun coincidented) Yamashita and Takeda. It's actually kinda quiet for lunch in the weekday in here. The stand out item at Sakari Sushi seemed to be the bara-chirashi. While I may not be the expert, I'm going to have to say that the rendition here was good. It was very much a meticulously put together bowl of diced seafood over room temperature vinegared rice prepared with some effort. I know because saw mine being made. Did I mention grated wasabi too?

Sakari Sushi, shako nigiri

They had shako (mantis shrimp) on nigiri too. From what we were told by the chef, these are the smaller variety that are used for sushi. The sushi were dusted with some yuzu zest before serving. The meat was firm and sweet.

Sakari Sushi, yaki hamaguri

And some yaki hamaguri (some large saltwater clam) which were grilled on shell and glazed with sweetened soy just before serving.

Sakari Sushi, Orchid Hotel

Sunday, December 21, 2014

COMNAM Broken Rice, Raffles City

pimping the soup cơm tấm can cost a pretty penny

The mainstay of this shop (252 North Bridge Road #B1-46, tel : +65 6334 7377) is cơm tấm, a Vietnamese dish made with broken grained rice. Which I liked and felt better about than Nam Nam next door. While I couldn't tell at all if any of the renditions served here came close to the original dish, the food was pretty tasty. I liked the soup option which one could basically trick out in flavours after a few splashes of fish sauce and that Maggi condiment on the table.  The shredded cabbage salad with peanuts and grilled chicken was appetisingly delicious too. 

If I had to gripe over anything, it would be that I would have preferred more grilled meat options on the menu rather than the deep fried ones. And really, charging for chilli padi here?

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sacha & Sons, Mandarin Gallery

Try the potato salad with capers. It's actually pretty good.
Trust me, it's worth the calories. But who's counting?

I had been wondering to myself after stepping into Sacha & Sons (333A Orchard Road. Mandarin Gallery, #03-02, tel : +65 6735 6961) if there was a difference between a New York-styled delicatessen and a shop that is merely styled after a New York-styled delicatessen. Don't know if that's occurred to anyone but I guess it's food for thought. 

Anyway, to keep this short, the chopped liver sandwich was really good. Comes recommended to anyone who doesn't have aversion to livers. The pastrami in their Reuben was just passable for me. Smoked in house I hear. The meat was somewhat dried out and definitely not so tender. For the quality of the meat, these guys should have used a meat slicer (of the non-human kind) which would have achieved thinner and more tender stacks. 

For what it's worth, the defunct Sweet Spot Deli at Marina Bay Sands had a much more delicious corned beef and pastrami Reuben for probably half of what this place charges; the same sandwich from even Brewerkz was more enjoyable. And for a sandwich experience, I personally feel that Nassim Hill Bakery's hot Reuben was much more worth the while than this was. I'm not too impressed here. But I probably will come back, even if it's just for the chopped liver.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Murtaburger from The Prata Place

The Prata Place

From what I understood, this was suppose to be the amalgamation of a murtabak and a Ramly burger. Which effectively only makes sense in this part of the world since most of the rest of the world would probably have no idea what were those. Hence making this a uniquely regional beast that could only be appreciated (in idea) by the people here and our northern neighbours. It also happens to be the item that The Prata Place had put up for last year's Ultimate Hawker Fest.

The idea I'm sure was to produce flavours and maybe some textures that resembled both. In that, they had quite succeeded. I enjoyed those crusty mutton patties that they had stuffed into the prata along with eggs and a generous portion of gooey mozzarella cheese. What didn't quite work for me were the sauces. It was quite a bit of sweet chilli, mayo and sweet black pepper sauce that they had gleefully squeezed into the pastry and as much as it helped replicate the Ramly flavour, it was also a sweetness overload for me. Perhaps, I should ask for less sauce the next time. If a next time happens. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Auntie Kim's Korean Restaurant, Upper Thomson Road

Auntie Kim's Korean Restaurant, saeng galbi

Auntie Kim's Korean Restaurant, kimchi fried rice

Auntie Kim's Korean Restaurant, kimchi mandu

I've lost count of the number of times I've passed by Auntie Kim's (265 Upper Thomson Road, tel : +65 6452 2112) and telling myself that I'm dropping by some day. Now that it's finally happened, I suppose the overarching impression is that they're home styled Korean cooking at CBD prices.

Here's us opting the lazy way out with the saeng galbi by getting them to grill the meat for us instead of breaking out the grill (and our perspiration) at the table. On hindsight, this should be the last time we don't cook our own meat. Their kimchi fried rice with pork was altogether comforting, quite delicious and rather pricey. Certainly not so much value for what we paid in comparison with the one at Kim Dae Mun which was equally satisfying, but what the heck. Those kimchi mandu aren't actually stuffed with real kimchi much?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Sarnies, the evening edition

Sarnies, Telok Ayer Street

Sarnies, burger

Sarnies, risotto

I've been meaning to drop by at Sarnies for some time during the evenings and it's never happened until recently when they had started a beer and burger for $15 on Thursdays and Fridays. Which sounded like a pretty cool idea to get people heading to this part of town after work. 

What I was basically curious about was their burger and what they could deliver at that price point. As much as it was something between sliced bread - something they've proven to be pretty competent at, this wasn't part of their usual sarny repertoire. I'd say they did a decent job (but nothing to really get too excited over) with the burger if I wasn't comparing the quality of their patty to my last, but I did wish it was a bit more substantial. Buttered brioche with black sesame seeds, sautéed onions, sliced tomatoes, lettuce, well melted cheese over the meat and mayo. Pretty much the standard works.

There was a risotto which turned out to be some sort of a wet rice (like mui fan without the starchy gravy) than what I had expected of risotto. Done with Kabocha pumpkin and some prosciutto.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

The Ultimate Black Truffle Burger from Omakase Burger

Omakase Burger, black truffle burger

This did not look as impressive as the name sounded nor even as good as the product shot on their social media. But these guys still managed to sucker me into dropping $22.90 to try it out. Apparently a Christmas special from their outlet at The Grandstand. Let's see, the truffle shavings were nowhere near the "generous" portions that they had claimed and the black truffle honey that was "slathered" over was so subtle that I tasted nothing of it. At all. I'm not sure if they achieved any success with that ash grey black truffle cheese but it tasted very much like their regular cheese. There was truffle flavour in the burger, just don't expect too much of it. And for what it costed, shame on me.

The beef patty was still good though.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Sumiya Charcoal Grill Izakaya, Orchard Central

mixed bara kaisen don 

nama hon maguro don 

Here's lunch from Sumiya (181 Orchard Rd, #12-02 Orchard Central, tel : +65 6509 9618), so not so much on the sumiyaki stuff but rather their raw fish over rice bowl lunch sets. The quality of their fish was very good. Notably from the maguro don which featured the trimmed off basic cuts of akami, chutoro and otoro which were very enjoyable. You get to choose between regular rice and vinegared rice too. Those little browned chunks on skewers were wagyu and remarkably tender.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

A nasi goreng from Habib's Mee Stall

Here's a rather random pick from ABC Market (#01-08, 6 Jalan Bukit Merah). I'm aware that this food centre is a local hotspot, but I've found myself at a loss for what to eat more than a couple of times whenever I'm here. This was nasi goreng from one of the stalls that looked it it had a little queue going on. I requested for a little more mutton and an egg. The portion turned out little smaller than I had expected. I think it was rather decent nasi goreng; I remember having had better but at least this was rustic and properly fried up as I had been expecting. The thing I couldn't get past was how brown the edges of the egg were. The oil they had been using definitely needs a change.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Gindara mentaikoyaki from Chikuwa Tei

Chikuwa Tei, gindara mentaikoyaki

There are talks on how standards of food have declined in Chikuwa Tei after the founding chef Peter Ho has left and started another restaurant, Mitsuba by Yurine (I hear he split from that place too). Even before he had left, there had been comparisons on how Chikuwa Tei was different from his first gig, Wasabi Tei. I happened to be one of those that have been eating his food from the days of yore at Wasabi Tei so I guess I can personally attest to those degrees of truth.

So it's been a while and we decided to drop by to check out how things are with what they are serving these days. Sadly, while food remains very edible, it wasn't on par with ancient history. The ankimo servings were dry and minuscule in portions. The chirashi don looked like it had gone on a diet as well. But I found their gindara mentaikoyaki good. It was a very nicely grilled cod that was flaky, juicy (or oily) and tasted like it was good cod along with that nice salty flavourful crust of mentaiko. But it sure was pricey at $28 for a set option. For that price, I had hoped for a fish more substantial. And I was disappointed that the rice that they're serving these days aren't even close to the quality of what they did in the past. Barely sticky. Not to mention that there's less of it these days in the bowl too.

Sometimes, one cannot blame the older folks from missing the good old days eh? There's probably a very good reason why the word 'nostalgia' exists in the dictionary.