Saturday, February 28, 2015

Bochinche, Martin Road


sea bream ceviche, tiger’s milk and sweet potato

Bochinche, provoleta
Provoleta, almonds and honey

Bochinche, argentinian rib eye
Argentinian grass fed rib eye 400g

Been wanting to visit Bochinche (22 Martin Road #02-01, tel : +65 6235 4990) for some time already and for some reasons, it's always been a case of out of mind from out of sight. 

As with the previous experiences at Salta with Argentine beef, the meat yielded noticeably less flavour than that what we're used to with the Australian/New Zealand/USDA imports. So while I didn't mind this , I'm not such a big fan. Especially when the bone marrow sauce on the side which was suppose to help was unimpressive to say the least. Their creamed spinach which looked like it was some spinach & cheese (in line with mac & cheese) was nicely done underneath the toasted cheese, flavoured by a hit of nutmeg. 

What we felt were more interesting were their ceviche and their Provoleta cheese. The former was lively with the citrus of limes on the firm but tender texture of the fish. All refreshingly chilled. The only bummer was the cilantro/coriander. What I'll definitely order again the next time would be their Provoleta cheese - rocked with it's milky saltiness, sweetness from the honey and the fragrance of the toasted almond shards.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Tonkotsu Ikkyu from Ramen Champion

Tonkotsu Ikkyu, spinach tonkotsu

Tonkotsu Ikkyu is the current resident "closest to Hakata styled" pork bone broth ramen at Ramen Champion in Bugis+. I suppose they're the successor to the prior Tokotsu Itto and even before that, the rather well known Ikkousha.

I didn't try their basic bowl but shot straight for the unusually green tinted spinach tonkotsu special bowl. The special part merely refers to an "upsize" in ingredients. Sadly, those pieces of sous vide charshu didn't quite look as big as featured in the menu or their social media photos. The broth was interesting because it tasted like it had a mellow nutty flavour rather than the leafy taste that one would expect out of spinach. And that little dollop of chilli paste really did nothing at all for the broth.

Didn't dislike this - I'm just not quite sure know how I feel about it. That being said, it doesn't taste bad at all. Scout's honour. And the ajisuke tamago was very properly done with the prerequisite golden molten yolk, nicely flavoured with shoyu. I must also admit to finding their black garlic tonkotsu option rather fragrant as well. The only real complain I have was the lack of proper firmness of the noodles. Maybe I should have indicated that specifically.

Tonkotsu Ikkyu, spinach tonkotsu

It's probably not very fair to declare and compare against the above mentioned predecessors at this point since I hadn't had the chance to let their basic bowl sit in, but I'm of the opinion at this point that Tonkotsu Ikkyu may not be in the same leagues as them. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Pizza Fabbrica, Bussorah Street

Pizza Fabbrica, Bussorah Street
Fior di latte, pancetta, portobello mushroom, onions, goat cheese

Pizza Fabbrica, Bussorah Street
Fior di latte, Gorgonzola, Grana Padano, Provola

Pizza Fabbrica, Bussorah Street
Fior di latte, porcini mushroom, scamorza cheese with truffle

Here's news. A fairly new Italian pizza place (70 Bussorah Street, tel : +65 6291 0434) in the Arab Street zone helmed by a chef that had previously stinted at the The Fat Duck. dropping credentials. And doppio zero flour.

While nothing out-of-the-world outstanding, their pizzas were pretty good. The base was light, doughy and chewy without being too dense and the toppings were of good quality. I liked that I could actually have a brimful of Gorgonzola flavours from their quattro formaggi. Will check back again for sure.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Feedlot Steakhouse Bar & Grill, Tanglin Road

This place was not bad at all. If you didn't know, Feedlot Steakhouse (56 Tanglin Road #B1-01, tel : +65 6463 8080) is owned by Swiss Butchery located just above them; the butchery that also supplies/sources the meat for their menu.

Their scallop starter was pretty good. The shellfish was seared nicely brown along the edges which provided that char aroma and wasn't overcooked. While these didn't quite match the quality that one can find in places like The Naked Finn, it was definitely not shabby. Would have liked for them to be larger though. 

Tenderloin linguine was very nice too. Meat was properly done, though a tiny shade above medium rare towards medium. This was basically a properly treated piece of filet unmasked by unnecessary seasoning on aglio olio pasta spiked with sliced chilli.

Remember macaroni chicken soup. Well, this was macaroni lobster bisque. Even though it was called a lobster mac & cheese on menu, it didn't have so much cheese and whatever they had was scorched fragrant. Which was a good thing since that lobster bisque was really what made the dish. Along with the little, yet discernible chunks of lobster meat. I'm impressed. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Nakhon Kitchen, Ang Mo Kio Ave. 10

Believe it or not, sitting down at a shop house along Ang Mo Kio and having some pretty delicious Thai food while being serenaded with Thai heavy metal blasting in the background can be somewhat surreal. And there I once was, thinking that Dream Theater was it. That was Nakhon Kitchen (#01-2371, 529 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10, tel : +65 6451 1332) for me, two separate visits so far. Heavy metal on both visits.

We've had quite a number of dishes from the two visits, so I'm going to just keep it down to those that I thought were memorable or mention worthy.

That above was the pineapple curry with mussels. It was rather good in a lemon grass-y sort of way that was also creamy and somewhat spicy. The draw for this was the meaty mussels - shelled, and the chunks of pineapple in curry. I'd come back again just for this.

We were initially skeptical about the prawn cakes. While I might not have had a lot of these Thai styled prawn cakes before, I remember having had pretty disappointing ones. These were actually pretty good. I'm gonna be lazy with the description this time and just say that these are best tried to understand what brand of goodness they pack. Again, good for returns.

Yes, that's their som tam mamuang, or commonly referred to as the Thai green mango salad. Not bad a rendition, but didn't beat Pra Ram Thai Cuisine for me. I suppose this one felt a little more muted in comparison without those more noticeable spikes of heat and pronounced fragrance from the dried shrimps.

I liked their pad krapaw with squid. It was pretty straight forward stir fry that was served hot and spicy and satisfying. The sauce, wonderful condiment to the rice.

I've never been a big fan of tom yam locally. But this clear rendition from Nakhon Kitchen was enjoyable. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Revisiting Baja Fresh

We were pretty sure that we weren't impressed at all the last time we visited; but for some reason, I was compelled to come back again and this time round, we had rather enjoyed it. Well, the food isn't mind blowing by any means, but it was certainly a lot better than we remembered of it. 

What possibly left the deepest impression were their smoky grilled shrimp which we had in both the tostada salad and their quesadilla. We had totally not expected the fact that we'd enjoy them as much as we did. The savoury tortilla soup was surprisingly tasty with bits of melted cheese, smoked chicken and avocados.

Dislikes? All the cilantro in the pico de gallo. It's just me and cilantro. And most of the sour cream in the food was probably unnecessary.

The churros were free, thanks to social media promotions. Go figure. It actually didn't taste too bad.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Burger-ed up!

Burger Up

At this point of time Burger Up is probably the top drawer for fast food burgers. Not counting Omakase Burger of course. This hefty double patty sandwich of theirs puts the sad excuses for quarter pounders and whoppers to shame. Sure there's room for improvement. For a start, they should drop those individually wrapped plasticky cheese and use something nicer. Even the American cheese from McD is a significant mile better.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

More sarnies from Sarnies

Sarnies, smoked salmon sarnie

Here's back at Sarnies, one of my favourite out of the way sandwich shop which unlike many cafes, does not rely on gimmicks to sell what they do while providing one of the best frills free "between sliced bread" option around town.

Sarnies, chicken schnitzel sandwich

While I certainly had nothing against their smoked salmon sarnie, it's usually not my thing and I don't think I'd be too enthused about a next. The chicken schnitzel on the other hand was pretty satisfying. Soft chewy rye with mayo spread wrapped around a chunk of piping hot and freshly fried chicken on a bed of lettuce. 

Sarnies, Telok Ayer

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Plaster Blaster from The Prata Place ......wait, or was that Springleaf Prata Place

The Prata Place, plaster blaster

This was the Plaster Blaster, the entry to the Ultimate Hawker Fest in 2014 by Springleaf Prata Place. That's "the location formerly known as The Prata Place" for you if you didn't realise. It would seem that as the years went by, the items that get cobbled up by this shop gets less thought. The borrowed idea this time fuses eggs Benedict with the plaster prata - a prata with the egg plastered over the top rather than on the inside. Hence the name I suppose. And because of the former counterpart in fusion, it's a poached egg with supposed curried hollandaise.

Idea was somewhat interesting but I didn't think so much of the actual outcome. While they managed a nice molten yolk out of the egg, their hollandaise was a little too sour and didn't taste of the curry it was supposed to. I'd be quite happy to order their previous Hawker Fest items again but I've no interest left in this. It simply felt sloppy as a dish and didn't taste that good.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

A rava idli from MTR 1924

MTR 1924, rava idli

I was initially concerned after seeing some of the coriander leaves peek out from those rava idli, but as fortune favours the bold, I was glad that I took the chance anyway. It turned out that the flavour of those coriander were washed out to the point where it was merely a residual overtone of aroma that I didn't quite mind. In fact it contributed to the overall fragrance (much to my surprise) of the steamed rice cake. Having that little container of glee ghee to perfume things up helped as well.

Say, this rava idli from MTR are the largest ones I've come across.

MTR 1924, badam milk

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Fried zucchini from Modesto's

I couldn't say that I'm a fan of this place, but strangely enough, it draws me back once in a while. The food here are generally a bunch of hits and misses. More misses than hits actually. These fried zucchini that they have on the menu were one of those surprising hits. The batter was dry and crispy with sufficient flavour while the zucchini on the inside were juicy. The portions were huge. If you're wondering if those looked like really large slices, you're right. They were.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Afterglow, Keong Saik Road

Afterglow - the name reminds me distinctively of Sarah McLachlan. Probably because that's the last I've heard of her music. But I digress. This Afterglow (24 Keong Saik Road, tel : +65 6224 8921) is a - well, restaurant. One that serves vegan food that's been talked about so it piqued my interest. As much as I enjoyed my greens, exploring vegan options has never really quite been my thing.

We tried some crackers. Corn and spinach crackers that came with a raw sun dried tomato nut "cheese". Those crackers which didn't crackle so much also didn't leave much of an imprint on me, but the nut cheese was rather tasty in a sourish and nutty kind of way.

Up next was their pureed broccoli soup with a dollop of walnut "cheese". If I'm not wrong, the food here doesn't really go through cooking - this arrived quite hot. So perhaps, it was just semi cooked. And a damned good broccoli soup it was. The flavours were right there and perhaps because of the heat, it didn't taste like it was raw at all. We liked it enough that we'd have no qualms ordering it again if we returned. 

And then some nori kimchi rolls. Instead of rice, the kimchi was enveloped in chopped nuts and then wrapped in seaweed. And it packed a surprising amount of heat. What was new to me were the nutty flavours that paired with the spicy sour of the kimchi. The latter, house made and aged for 7 days they said. Like.

After three small plates we agreed with, things were starting to look quite promising.

This was called Drag Pom salad. The ingredients are quite visible so I'll not say more on those. The dressing that they used was a very perky honey lemon that brought the elements together. I thought it was an impressive combination of lively tang and sweetness. The chopped macadamia nuts were fragrant. This was one delicious salad. Again, another item we'd order again in a heart beat.

Then came a zucchini lasagne. Topped and layered with more nut "cheese" thingys. For some reasons, I had the impression that the pastas were real pastas and not made of raw vegetables. I didn't dislike this, but it didn't quite impress as much as the previous dishes did.

The other "pasta" was a zucchini linguine. This too was tangy with flavours that remotely resembled som tam sans the heat. What rocked were those "walnut meatballs". Nuttily delicious and nicely salted by what tasted like a soy based condiment.

Dessert was a vegan key lime pie. This was also new for me since the pie was made with spinach and zucchini with a coconut base. We were a little skeptical at first but became totally convinced after a first bite. This had to be the most refreshing key lime pie I've ever had. Much thanks to the fact that it didn't contain the weight of condensed milk, the dessert was almost ethereally lime-y. That it was really chilled helped too.

All in all, this was a very encouraging foray here into vegan-ism. It's not converting me anytime soon, but I can see myself much more willing to check them out if more of them did food like Afterglow did. It does cost a pretty penny for a bunch of vegetables, but considering that it did require quite a bit of preparation and the ingredients were fresh, I guess I couldn't complain. 

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Another lunch at Luke's Oyster Bar......with steak!

Luke's Oyster Bar & Chop House

It's been a while, but I favour this location in town over the one at Gemmill Lane. I appreciate the dark wood and black that helps with the luminance of the mid day.

Luke's Oyster Bar & Chop House, bloody mary

I like their Bloody Mary. It's somehow better than the rest I've had. It was suggested that a certain brininess could be tasted within. I personally don't know. I just liked that there was enough of that tang, salt and heat within the chilled viscosity.

Luke's Oyster Bar & Chop House, corn bread

The corn bread were their usual. Just enough to go round in the mouth to make you remember that it's pretty good and that more would not be unwelcomed.

Luke's Oyster Bar & Chop House, clam chowder

The decision to serve a chowder in a jar is probably, largely aesthetics on stage. It's also probably not the best vessel for soup to work with their soup spoons.

Luke's Oyster Bar & Chop House, clam chowder

But of course, being served in a jar does nothing to take away the fact that the clam chowder is one of the better ones in town. With real briny clams and a rich but not overwhelmingly so base.

Luke's Oyster Bar & Chop House, tenderloin

I remembered someone having their lunch steak from across the table during the last visit. It looked delicious and so here I am having one. The steak was an excellent medium rare tenderloin, boldly salted and crusted on the sides with peppercorn. Crust was umami-azing.

I seem to recall the menu saying BĂ©arnaise on the side so I believe that's their rendition. A place with penchant for butter which shows when it is used in the food. I'm not complaining.

Luke's Oyster Bar & Chop House, travis burger

This was the first time we've had add ons to the "Travis" burger. It was just a fried egg and avocado, we didn't ruin the flavour profile. Even through the add ons, the results of the Maillard reaction still shone with the aged beef patty. The only thing that didn't quite work for me were the fries. Don't quite like the fries at this place.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Fried Camembert cheese and beer at Brotzeit

I hadn't eaten here in Brotzeit (1 HarbourFront Walk #01-149/151, VivoCity, tel : +65 6272 8815) in a while so some of the stuff that they have on menu were new to me. Like the fried Camembert cheese which I liked because of the dry crisp breading. And of course, the gooey and semi-pungent cheese which worked with or without their cranberry dip. Speaking of which, was much better than I had thought. There were flavours of the berry, something akin to yoghurt and it was even a little buttery. Tasty snack to go with their Russ'n, the weissbier with lemonade. 

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Ah Heng Duck Rice, Hong Lim Food Centre

Ah Heng Duck Rice, Hong Lim Food Centre

Word on the wire (yes, it still comes from wires these days; in fact, more than ever) that the proprietor of Ah Heng (#02-64, Hong Lim Food Centre, 531A Upper Cross Street) is the same person that used to run Heng Gi down at the Tekka Food Centre. In restrospect, the thin sliced duck did look rather familiar.

Ah Heng Duck Rice, Hong Lim Food Centre

I'm gonna have to file this Teochew styled braised duck as good, but not great. Even though their constant queue belied otherwise. There was just something I couldn't put my finger to that could have made this memorable. I did enjoy the flat kuey chap with their clear tasting broth though even though the fried shallots were oddly lacking in flavour.

Ah Heng Duck Rice, Hong Lim Food Centre

Monday, February 02, 2015

Nasi goreng mutton masala and pineapple cheese prata at The Roti Prata House

Prata House, nasi goreng mutton masala

Here's another visit to The Roti Prata House down at Thomson for more plates of greasy goodness. This nasi goreng was pretty good stuff. While it might not be so apparent from the picture, the plate of fried rice was filled with very generous portions of diced mutton. This particular fry was done with the curry from the curried mutton so the flavours were all infused into each mouthful. It might not be the picture of a healthy plate of food but who are we kidding? We didn't come here to order this in the hopes of eating healthy. That's what other places are for!

Moving on, we scored ourselves their canned pineapple and plastic wrapped sliced cheese prata which was..... rather enjoyable actually. I liked it better than I had initially thought. It was the citrus sweet of syrup-ed fruit with the salty melted cheese together with the semi-crisp and chew in the prata that's the magic. One should feel free to eat this without curry.

Prata House,