Thursday, December 31, 2015

Toro porn and some seasonal stuff from Ryoshi Sushi Ikeikemaru

Yeap, this is a post with gratituous toro porn and a couple of other items off the regular menu from Ryoshi Sushi Ikeikemaru at Liang Court. The ones with the clear streaks running across the marbled slices are hon maguro and the other one with more homogenous marbling is albacore tuna. We ate a lot more toro than this, but I guess there's only so much pictures I should be putting up. And while it was cheaper than eating at a formal sushi restaurant, the cost does add up. Not to mention that the prices weren't indicated clearly. So, caveat lector!

Shirako was on the non regular menu as well since it's the season and it was actually pretty good. Nice and creamy kinda good. Unfortunately the oyster chawanmushi was mediocre. They mentioned it was Hokkaido oysters and I thought it was rather small ones at that. None of the oyster flavour went into the steamed egg so perhaps they were steamed separately? Anyways, not that it would matter. It was oyster-ly and not in a good way.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Black truffle ramen from Kanshoku Ramen Bar

Kanshoku Ramen Bar, black truffle ramen

As far as I could gather, Kanshoku (#01-06 Orchard Central, 277 Orchard Road, tel : +65 6384 4770) is formed by two local guys. Not that I don't support the local guys venturing out into foreign food, but my opinion is that their shop brought nothing new to the table considering that there's already loads of ramen shops around. And already, a handful of those shops are clearly superior (read as something I prefer) to this one. I know it's Dutch pork for the charshu, Japanese egg for the ajitama and Hakata styled noodles made in house; it doesn't change the status quo that I described, no?

Monday, December 28, 2015

Island Cafe version whatever...

Island Cafe has recently completed renovations. The place no longer resembles the tropical retro stained restaurant that had been its look for the past years. It’s now clean, white and almost colonial-industrial from the expose pipings without the false ceiling to conceal. Along with the facelift was also a change with the kitchen crew.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Kay Lee Roast Meat, Upper Paya Lebar

Kay Lee Roast Meat, Upper Paya Lebar

Truth be told, I've never heard of Kay Lee (125 Upper Paya Lebar Road) until the recent years when they were mentioned online about the sale of their stall/name/recipe which went for 4 million SGD by the way. Living in the smallest country in the world and blogging about food I've been eating in general for almost a decade; I have never prior to that buzz heard of this apparently famous roast meat stall. That about sums up my relationship with them.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Dehesa, North Canal Road

Dehesa, North Canal Road

This was an eve of the eve Christmas dinner at the newly opened Dehesa (12 North Canal Road, tel : +65 6221 7790) helmed by a Joe Pantoliano-esque (Cypher in the kitchen!) chef/owner Jean-Philippe Patruno. Apparently, they are claiming to be the first nose to tail dining in this country and I'm giving them credit for it. This restaurant kicks lupine ass for what it's worth!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Wildfire Burgers, 313 Somerset

These guys must have been doing quite well for some reasons to be able to expand into the current premise at 313 (#01-28 313@Somerset , 313 Orchard Road, tel: +65 6509 4408). So well in fact that I was convinced to stop for another couple of burgers even though I didn't think so much of them previously. In retrospect, I still don't agree with their burgers. Half the people were eating with fork and knife which likely meant the sandwiches were too stacked to be eaten comfortably with just hands.

Let's look at the Umami burger (obviously inspired by Umami Burger) above for example. The bottom bun was a little hard. Maybe it was meant to be to catch the juices. But it couldn't be reasonably compressed and even I had difficulty trying to fit both buns and the contents in a bite. On the other plate, the Black Ebi (breaded prawn patty burger) had soft but dense squid ink buns which also didn't squeeze well.

The Umami burger was tastier. Even though we couldn't taste any of that smoke from the smoked mushrooms, the Parmesan crisp should have been a Parmesan chew and their Umami dust would never truly rise beyond a marketing gimmick. 

I was disappointed that the shrimp patty from the Black Ebi was even less shrimpy that the one at McD and that the only flavour that was outstanding in it was their spicy yuzu sauce thing. Just that one dominant flavour. It's all a pile up of frills with little care over whether they worked with the burger or if they would be lost in translation.

I don't see a third time happening.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Hakumai, International Plaza

Hakumai, truffle tekka don

I've been wanting to come down to Hakumai (#01-50A International Plaza, 10 Anson Rd, tel : +65 6224 4790) since they opened up so I guess it took quite a while for that to happen. Here's a truffle tekka don for lunch which featured ingredients that are a little contemporary for Japanese food; their truffle sauce being the first obvious ingredient for the bowl. That sauce over the slices of yellowfin tuna with the finely chopped negi was rather pleasant and the flavours were not overpowering. I also suppose this would be the first donburi I've had that featured arugula in them. And if you looked a little more closely, there was dried sakura ebi to spruce up flavours in the rice too.

Hakumai is not so traditional as traditional goes for Japanese food. That has been said and done by its chef Gary since the days of Hinoki so I ate what I had without much surprises. While the basis of the food stems from tradition, the ones here have definitely gone through evolution; an evolutionary bent for the locals if I might say so. And I say that passing no judgement.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

More sandwiches from Park Bench Deli

Park Bench Deli, cold cuts sandwich

Quick update. This cold cuts sandwich from Park Bench Deli was quite nice, but I realized that I could easily make this myself at home.

Park Bench Deli, vegetarian sandwich

Their vegetarian sandwich was a warm one. It wasn't so much fresh greens rather than processed vegetables of some slaw, tomato salsa and guacamole (which had cilantro!). While this was nothing like the one from Sarnies, I'd have to admit it was pretty good especially with the cheese and egg. There was also a flavour which I would associate with a commonly used spice in Indian cooking, but can't for the life of me recall what it was at this point.

Park Bench Deli, Telok Ayer

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

An update with Two Blur Guys

An update with Two Blur Guys

I had thought that Two Blur Guys have been doing a fine job of keeping their basic Prime beef burger simple in their own ways and affordable until the past weekend. Prices have gone up by about $3 since my last recollection and the menu seemed to have evolved with more options which kept me wondering if that was really what people had wanted?

The part that bothered me was the change in the setup of their burger. That Prime beef patty did not taste as good as I remembered it while the requested medium doneness of the patty was hovering just past medium well. In fact, it did not taste of very much. To further complicate things - they've added a slice of tomato and even a pat of sweet relish into the burger. Sweet relish? Was that even necessary? Maybe that's what that $3 was about.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Hajah Maimunah this year

Hajah Maimunah, Jalan Pisang

Hajah Maimunah, sayur lodeh
sayur lodeh

Hajah Maimunah, sambal goreng
sambal goreng

Hajah Maimunah, gulai nanka
gulai nangka

Hajah Maimunah, siput sedut
siput sedut

Hajah Maimunah, paru balado
paru balado

Hajah Maimunah, rice begedil

I thought this was a pretty good lunch down at Hajah Maimunah except for one little thing. The rice was kinda dry in spite of appearances and couldn't even quite absorb the curries or sauces well. But the paru belado was tender, sambal goreng was surprisingly creamy and the siput sedut was kinda fun to suck out of their shells up to the point that the lemak gravy was burning my lips. Those begedil were delicious too.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

More of that hon maguro nodo from Nakajima Suisan

Nakajima Suisan, hon maguro nodo

Yeah, I guess I got lucky and scored myself another serving of the flavoursome oily nodo. As much as I enjoyed the food, the queue at this grilled fish shop is still a pain.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Back in Pizzeria Mozza

It's been more than three and a half years since the last visit to Pizzeria Mozza.

I don't remember if these fried pig's ears were available the last times. They were pretty good for snacking. Those ears tasted like they had been braised in something flavourful before deep frying and the cartilage weren't as crunchy as I thought.

There was lardo which I had wanted to get previously. Thinly sliced melt in your mouth fat which was so agreeable.

These are crostinis with butternut squash puree/mash, bacon and shredded cheese. Actually, I thought the best tasting component was the butternut squash. 

That's the pizza with Yukon Gold potato slices. I never understood why it was so expensive compared to the rest, considering the ingredients. I still don't understand why. Doesn't taste bad at all, just that the ingredients don't quite justify the cost.

And we have the pizza with fennel sausage. This was pretty good though. The meat wasn't as salty as I had thought. The scallions and onions really made it work.

Olive oil ice cream. I'm not sure if it was the temperature but I didn't think that this was very flavourful olive oil. Still enjoyable though.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Burosu Honten Gyoza & Ramen, Marina Square

Marina Square has a new Japanese produce and live seafood market, Emporium Shokuhin which houses a few restaurants. Gurosu Hoten (#01-18 Marina Square, 6 Raffles Boulevard, tel : +65 62243433) is the ramen shop amongst that few. As with the some of the specialist entrants in the recent years, these guys have something that they specialize in and allow a modicum of customization (the meta aspects if you know what I mean) for each bowl. What appears to be the selling point for their bowls are their seafood broth. 

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Ryu's (柳's), Capitol Piazza

Ryu's (15 Stamford Road, #01-87 Capitol Piazza, tel : +65 6384 9087) was a Japanese restaurant we stumbled upon the last time we happened by this corner of Capitol Piazza. I recalled that the menu looked promising so we came back today to try their seasonal anko nabe (anglerfish/monkfish hotpot). I believe this is the first time ever that we've seen anko nabe in this country.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

El Mero Mero, Chijmes

El Mero Mero, Chijmes

This place (#01-20 Chijmes, 30 Victoria Steet, tel : +65 6337 1377) was delicious. Progressive and undeniably delicious. Whether it is Mexican or Mexican’t or if the contemporary and internationalised take of the dishes was close enough to truly represent the humble street food which inspired its menu or not, there wasn’t any doubt that the ingredients that they had used were of high quality.

El Mero Mero, smoked huitlacoche quesadillas

We started off with a couple of their small plates. Here's the smoked huitlacoche quesadillas with Mozzarella and truffle oil. These didn't look like quesadillas as most of us are familiar with but the corn fungus was delicious. We didn't even mind that none of the truffle oil could be tasted.

El Mero Mero, huitlacoche donuts

Then came the street corn sampler which might have been a deconstruction of elotes or an analogous play between the host and the parasite. Just like a face hugger victim with a chest burster. Grilled baby corn, huitlacoche donuts and in the tube, some Cotija chilli mayo.  Oddly, the freshly made donuts tasted like it had a crustacean aroma; but it was crisp on the surface, tender on the inside and very addictive.

El Mero Mero, grilled baby corn

Those grilled baby corn are organic and sourced from Thailand. Sweet and lightly crunchy; it was good on its own or with the Cotija chilli mayo.

El Mero Mero, dorper lamb tacos

Their tacos featured meats finished in a Josper Grill. The first of what we had was roasted Dorper lamb with eggplant tahini, burnt onions and little thin discs of beets. Actually the burnt onions were present in all the tacos we had today. The lamb was in your face kickass with its melting fats. Which meant that it was gamey as lamb should be. The roasted chilli sauce they had on the side was aromatically smoky and packed some heat.

I'd eat these again in a heartbeat.

El Mero Mero, angus tenderloin bone marrow tacos

Next came the ones with New Zealand Angus tenderloin and bone marrow. The salsa on the side and the bone marrow were the ones carrying this taco through here since the meat didn't have so much flavour. But it was tender and in a nice shade of medium rare on the insides.

El Mero Mero, veal tongue tacos

The third taco we tried was the one with veal tongue. Veal tongue that would almost disintegrate in the mouth like how Wagyu does. Served with the same smoky roasted chilli sauce as the lamb.

El Mero Mero, blue foot mushroom skillet

This was a Blue Foot mushroom skillet. Done with an organic egg, some home made goat cheese and served with corn tortilla on the side. The mushrooms we were told, were imported from France. Woodsy and earthy. The home made goat's cheese was mostly salty and not pungent. This could be eaten on its own or mixed up and wrapped with the tortilla like a sort of mushroom fajita.

El Mero Mero, mum's lime custard

Dessert was called Mum's Lime Custard. I watched for a while as the kitchen struggled to create the foam that would eventually be frozen in liquid nitrogen to form this dome. But the lime custard was refreshingly delicious and I wished that the portions were bigger.

El Mero Mero, Chijmes

Not to be Captain Obvious but, the food in El Mero Mero was elevated and refined beyond their origins. Some interpreted into new forms and also honestly, tagged to a price disproportionate to the petite portions. But this is Chijmes and nobody should be expecting to eat at this locale economically. As much as I appreciated the quality of the ingredients used in the tacos that they had served and the delicious corn tortillas that were used, I'll also say they were expensive tacos. Not something I could drop by for one or four on any regular basis.

But I'll be back. 

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Ramen & Tonkatsu Ma Maison, Capitol Piazza

Ramen & Tonkatsu Ma Maison, Capitol Piazza

Ma Maison has a new shop (13 Stamford Road, #B2-51 Capitol Piazza, tel : +65 6384 6211) down at the shiny new Capitol Piazza that sells mainly ramen and tonkatsu. And from their ramen selection, there's Hokkaido cheese ramen; made from a gouda cheese from Hanabatake Bokujo, a dairy farm in Hokkaido. I'm again easily sold sometimes. 

So that cheese, a mild variety by the way added some milkiness and another dimension to their tonkotsu shio broth. Doesn't hit hard at all. I guess the obvious purpose of being mild allows it not to mask the flavour of their broth and they weren't willing to entertain request for extra cheese. The bowl turned out much lighter than I had imagined and rather enjoyable. I wouldn't travel here specifically just for this, but certainly wouldn't mind eating it again if I'm around the corner. 

Ramen & Tonkatsu Ma Maison, Capitol Piazza

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Megumi gunkans and fried hohoniku from Maguro Donya Miura Misakikou Sushi & Dining

Maguro Donya Miura Misakikou Sushi & Dining, megumi gunkan

Here's a couple of stuff that we didn't notice on the menu before. The Megumi gunkan above which was a holy trinity of minced hon maguro, uni and ikura. So easily are we thus seduced by these fruits of the sea. The quality of the seafood was very decent and yes, they served this with grated wasabi.

Maguro Donya Miura Misakikou Sushi & Dining, fried hohoniku

And then some breaded and deep fried hononiku (tuna cheek). The flavour of the breading had a hint of ginger which was reminiscent of karaage. That ginger part normally bothers me, but I was able to overlook that this time.

Maguro Donya Miura Misakikou Sushi & Dining, uni otoro ikura

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Park Bench Deli, Telok Ayer Street

Park Bench Deli, Telok Ayer Street

I've been wanting to check out this fairly new sandwich shop since they opened but never got the time until recently. While the name is Park Bench Deli (179 Telok Ayer St, tel : +65 6815 4600), it isn't a deli per se. It's a sandwich shop. Period. The menu's quite focused, on board and you kinda get different stuff depending on whether it's breakfast, lunch or dinner. If what I have been observing is correct, it does change. They're open weekdays only it seems.

Park Bench Deli, cheesesteak

Above is their cheesesteak. I enjoyed it. It may or may not be close to the original stuff, but that doesn't matter. It raises the bar here for cheesesteak subs or the other sad pretenders out there by being better than the rest. That's in terms of both quality and quantity. Bread was soft, sliced beef was tender and the taste of the sauce wasn't half bad at all. It was absolutely dripping with sauce. 

The peanut butter and jelly sandwich crusted with cereals didn't sit very well with me. The sandwich was a little hard. The peanut butter was dry and I couldn't taste any of that jelly. I could make plain pb&j without the trimmings at home and I'd enjoy it more. In fact, I could make pb and other things at home and enjoy it more. But there are other things on the board so I think I'll come back another time.

Park Bench Deli, peanut butter & jelly