Sunday, May 31, 2015

Mentaiko rosu katsu from Imakatsu

The mentaiko that they used were pretty generous in portions and very tasty. Totally worked with their well fried rosu cutlet. Unfortunately, these guys seemed understaffed during this visit and somebody in particular had been getting the orders wrong that some of the orders never arrived while others came in the wrong portions. But still, I like this enough to come back again.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Hot Reuben now with Guinness Stout bread at Nassim Hill Bakery

Nassim Hill Bakery, hot reuben

This was the third beer bread at Nassim Hill Bakery for their sandwich, with the previous ones being made with Asahi Kuronoma and prior to that, Grimbergen Ambrée. What seemed different from this visit was texture (and flavour) of the bread. Previously, they were soft, chewy and warm. This time round, it had lightly toasted and didn't seem to taste as good as the previous visits. The toast had taken the chew and the soft out of the equation.

I'm guessing that it's probably a better idea to visit in the morning when the bakes are fresher; which was exactly when the previous two visits occurred. Hopefully it's not the downfall of their bread because of a change in recipe.

In the other news, they have a Po Boy on menu. It's didn't quite look like what I expected out of a po boy but it was a decent sandwich I wouldn't mind having again. Shrimp, ham and lettuce between a cheesy sun dried tomato focaccia.

Nassim Hill Bakery, po boy

Friday, May 29, 2015

Royal Noodle, Circular Road

This (27 Circular Road) was kinda disappointing. The only thing that helped me finish the bowl was an extra helping of their tasty chilli paste. The noodles were ordinary and I didn't find anything memorable with the sauces. What's worse was that the peanuts where just shy of turning stale. Those nuts really bugged me about the quality of their food here. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Grand Mandarina, New Bridge Road

Grand Mandarina (#01/02-00 Thye Shan Mansion, 325 New Bridge Road, tel : +65 6222 3355) opened about a year ago and I had never heard about them until recently. From what I could gather online, they're a new player in the local scene with no ties to any of the better known restaurant groups which could mean that they are a little bit more interesting with what they do rather than the usual formulaic themes.

The restaurant is located at a spot just a short walk from Outram Park MRT exit at Bt Pasoh's side.

This was chicken and cordycep soup. It happened to be soup of the day which is going for less than $2 due to some promotion that they were having. Pretty well done double boiled soup and just for a song, I'd easily return for them.

One of the items that they are apparently known for is their honey glazed barbecued pork loin. Char siew in other words and yes, it was as good as people were saying. We had seconds of those glazed pork which possessed a light sweet glaze shattering crunch. The meat was relatively tender and fat layered.

Fried fish skin with salted egg yolk, curry leaves and chilli padi. Rather addictive. Even for the pieces that had gotten a little bit soggy.

This was described as soya poached foie gras with 20 year "Shao Xin" wine jelly. The idea was good, but the foie gras tasted funny. It was livery without the buttery element, might have something to do with the poaching. The Shao Xin jelly sounded impressive if I had understood that 20 year part correctly; the flavours were present but not extraordinary for something that sounded like it had been aged. Did I read this wrong?

Their stir fried vermicelli with pork collar and XO sauce was not bad too. The generous amount of sprouts lent texture to each mouthful of noodles.

Steamed rice rolls with scallops were quite ordinary.

Those crystal dumplings aren't my thing. The dominant flavour was chinese mushrooms which I'm not big on in the first place and we've definitely had better done crystal dumplings with mushroom.

Competent if ordinary har gow.

Also competent if ordinary siew mai. If I'm giving the impression that these were mediocre, dispel those impressions. 

Their phoenix claws with black bean sauce was a mishap. Those chicken feet tasted a little sour (not quite the vinegary manner) and that sour didn't come from the sauce. We stopped after a couple of bites and feedbacked to the restaurant. They were gracious and took it off the bill.

That's pan fried carrot (radish) cake with lup cheong and a sprinkle of chicken floss. Again, competent.

We liked the char siew bao. Skin was fluffy enough, sufficiently voluminous for balance of proportions between meat & bun and the fillings were more savoury than sweet. 

The other let down was the salted yolk custard buns. There's not enough salted yolk flavour and it was a little too sweet for us to like them.

Apparently, the one thing Grand Mandarina seems to be known for is the empurau fish; reputed to be the most expensive edible fish from Sarawak in Malaysia. Expensive like a couple of thousands of dollars perhaps for a single fish. Obviously, it's not going to be something that's landing plated on my table anytime soon.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Sugisawa, Robertson Quay

Sugisawa, chirashi

I remember reading about the origins of chirashi which began as a way to utilize the unattractive looking cuts of fish that were leftovers from making nigiri sushi or sashimi. On certain occasions, I've actually tried to relate that possibly dated (or geographically inapplicable) fragment of history to the ones that we're having. I'm pretty sure that's not how it works these days here with the most of them far too prettied up or voluminous to be treated as discards. 

This chirashi donburi from Sugisawa (30 Robertson Quay, Riverside Village Residences, tel : +65 6235 0212) could just possibly be one of those bowls that fit in to the category of repackaging remnant cuts of fish - plus a little more on the side. Either that or the knife work was especially lacking in finesse. The quality of the fish had passed the decent muster but wasn't extraordinary.  I didn't quite take to the extra chewy slice of octopus tentacle. What I liked was the sakura denbu. Not so many places include them. And the butter fried scallops were actually rather good. Weren't overcooked at all and had that residual natural sweetness intact.

Sugisawa, butter scallops

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Chir Chir Fusion Chicken Factory, 313 Somerset

Chir Chir Fusion Chicken Factory

Chir Chir Fusion Chicken Factory

Chir Chir Fusion Chicken Factory, grape salad

Just to be clear, I didn't queue to get into Chir Chir (313 Orchard Rd #B3-04/05/06). I happened to be there at a time when the insane queue hadn't yet begun for dinner. Their food was a fairly interesting experience if not altogether anything new.

I liked the grape salad with honey and ricotta but the restaurant doesn't used freshly toasted flatbread and was careless with the freshness of the nuts that they used. Otherwise, the rest of the food was pretty much how it looked. Those "cajun" spiced chicken with cheese & cream weren't as heavy as they looked though.

I could eat it again, but I sure as hell wouldn't queue for it.

Chir Chir Fusion Chicken Factory

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Gurih Restaurant, Arab Street

ayam lado hijau

sotong hitam

sambal paru

begedil & sambal telur

sayur lodeh

Pretty decent nasi pandang from this shop (150 Arab Street, tel  : +65 6299 1643) located at the junction of Arab Street and Victoria Street. The proprietor claimed that the food is Padang styled and that we should expect their sayur lodeh to taste different from the local variety. Since I don't really have any frame of reference for actual Padang styled food, I don't know any better. In retrospect, perhaps the gravy was less rich than some local renditions, but the savoury depth was impressive. Their sotong hitam had an unexpected but welcomed hit of heat and I rather liked the ayam lado hijau too. 

This looked to be a fairly dependable frills free comfort food place I could come back to again.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Tracy's Special Udon from Tracy Juice Culture

Tracy Juice Culture, tracy's special udon mushroom

This was the other item that we noticed many people ordering down at Tracy Juice Culture. Granted that there wasn't that many things that one could order from the shop apart from their beverages. This was a mushroom udon of sorts. Why so? The "broth" was pureed mushroom and totally delicious. Served piping hot, topped with some broccoli, a couple of cherry tomato, mock meat and some dried mushrooms. Not complaining here but I've observed that the consistency of the broth is not always consistent.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Neh Neh Pop

New ice cream shop brought to the world by the folks at Artichoke. It's at where Overdoughs, the old pastry shack selling baklava is. Speaking of which, the one encrusted with crushed nuts is the baklava flavour. Although it says orange blossom flavour for the ice cream, I'm pretty sure I tasted something like rose. It's not bad.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Black Angus Steakhouse, Orchard Parade Hotel

Black Angus Steakhouse, Orchard Parade Hotel

I had only been here (1 Tanglin Road, #01-08 Orchard Parade Hotel, tel : +65 6734 1181) once years ago for lunch and haven't stepped in ever since. This old school stage of a restaurant was actually kinda refreshing ironically.

Black Angus Steakhouse, coleslaw

The mains came with salad/soup options. This was their coleslaw. Never had it served that way before and it's actually not bad.

Black Angus Steakhouse, soup

I remembered this thick stewy soup from the last time I ate here. I did not seem to have changed with those chunky pieces of beef amidst the barley and carrot.

Black Angus Steakhouse, fried zucchini

Their fried zucchini to start had a batter that tasted suspiciously like the one next door at Modesto's. But those zucchini at Modesto's were larger and juicier. Better value for money spent there than the ones here, which were upstaged.

Black Angus Steakhouse, prime rib

We ended up with prime rib which looked a lot better than the weak measly slice for lunch that I had years ago. By the way, the potato above was the one that came with the works. The toppings sure looked really sad for a steakhouse potato.

Black Angus Steakhouse, prime rib lobster tail

I got suckered (by the menu) for an option with lobster tail and butter. This wasn't bad but I still think Lawry's does a better job with a more tender slow roast and possibly with better quality meat paired with a more flavoursome au jus

Friday, May 15, 2015

Create Your Taste at the Golden Arches

No shit, this is MacDonald's. Apparently this is part of their new strategy introduced at limited outlets where one can customise a burger order from a kiosk along with limited table service. Basically we get to be able to choose the component(s) that maketh the burger inclusive of any add ons based on the options they have. And it all gets served up on a wooden board with fries that comes in the little metal baskets. This would probably be the first time in my life with fast food where the food actually looks like something from the menu.

Honestly, this tasted better than the generic menu items that they have (except for the fries which are their regular fries). The glazed bun was a little buttery, the lettuce was fresh and there were real sliced tomatoes in there. You probably cannot tell from the picture, but there were also jalapeño, a spicy tomato relish and wild rockets as well. Neatly packed into the buns. Burger Up had better start sweating. McD had obviously gotten themselves a superior team to work their order kiosk software.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

T&K Seafood, Yaowarat Road, Bangkok

T&K Seafood, Yaowarat Road, Bangkok

Much has already been said about this tourist packed seafood joint down at Bangkok's Chinatown (458 Yaowarat Road, Samphanthawong, Bangkok 10100). Since we were curious enough, we came down to see what was it about the establishment that attracted the throngs. 

We came by for an early dinner deliberately to avoid the crowd. Just as we made the place and got seated, it started getting packed.

Bangkok, T&K Seafood, scallops

Grilled scallops were very edible and far from the better ones we've had. Strangely, it didn't arrive very warm like what I would have expected of grilled shellfish. A little disappointed that they didn't have larger corals.

Bangkok, T&K Seafood, river prawns

These were grilled river prawns. They're not the largest around and the texture of the flesh of those bugs were pretty decent if not spectacularly firm. It was a lot less meat than the plate of it suggested since they had such big heads. But I wouldn't argue against the affordability.

Bangkok, T&K Seafood, sea snails

Those grilled sea snails above as I've recently learnt, are known as babylonia areolatas. I was thinking that they would taste like those conches commonly known as gong gong, but these weren't the same mollusk. The meat of these snails was a lot chewier and tougher like whelk. Don't think I'll be ordering these things again.

Bangkok, T&K Seafood, fried squid roe

This was deep fried squid roe. It tasted a lot better than what the very mundane looks suggested.

Bangkok, T&K Seafood, steamed fish chilli lime

The thing that got me was their fish steamed with limes and chillis. Specifically the broth that packed an impressive heat and lime citrus that kept me spooning mouthful after mouthful in spite of the sweltering humidity. The fish was tender, but the flesh didn't feel as firm as I though it would. Maybe these kind are like that.

While I couldn't say that we were blown away by the quality, it remained a very affordable option compared to the cost of seafood back home. Don't think I would mind coming back.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

More daybreak grubbery from BKK Bagel

Bangkok, BKK Bagel, show stopper bagel
show stopper

Bangkok, BKK Bagel, corned beef hash bagel

Bangkok, BKK Bagel, grilled cheese bacon sandwich

We found ourselves here for breakfast a couple of times because it was literally right around the corner across the road from where we were staying and that we remembered that the food's pretty decent. It seems that they're doing a pretty good grilled cheese with bacon sandwich (it definitely tasted better than it looked). That house cured bacon was delicious.