Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Wakanui Grill Dining, Boat Quay

Wakanui Grill Dining, canterbury spring lamb

Wakanui Grill Dining, ocean beef

Wakanui Grill Dining, beef

Wakanui Grill (70 Boat Quay, tel : +65 6438 6321) is Japanese, originating from Tokyo and specializing in meat from New Zealand; namely their brand of hormone and antibiotic free Ocean beef and Canterbury spring lamb that is raised in natural pastures leading stress free lives until the moments they're sliced up and shipped from New Zealand, dry aged locally and subsequently grilled over bintochan upon order. 

Here's their tenderloin and a full rack of spring lamb. I'd go with the lamb again easily. Tender, pink and juicy at medium doneness with little else but pepper and salt. There was just enough of that lamb flavour to be satisfying. The medium rare beef was expectedly tender and very mild in flavour. Both meats inherited the smoky aroma from that white charcoal grill.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The ghost of Wasabi Tei

The title of the post might have been a little dramatic. Long gone has been the irascible chef who has moved on and again; I haven’t a clue what’s happened to that man at present time. Left behind was a legacy in the form of his old little frills free “hole in the wall” counter seating shop at the 5th floor of Far East Plaza. Run by a current management that had in honesty, made an effort to keep things very much the same as before. Right down to the $2 per seated person "cover" charge that comes with a drink. The vintaged decor had never changed too and apparently, not much has changed with the food as well.

Otoshi still came in the recognizeable form of braised hijiki seaweed and minced chicken. The flavours do seem a little thinner though.  

Here's an oyako jyu, a cooked chicken and egg over rice bento which I've never tried before. Brimming with sweetness from the mirin and onions, that went comfortingly delicious with a splash or three of light soy sauce.

For supplement, some sliced maguro. Thick and chunky replicas of those lack of finesse knife-work that this little joint was known for.

But what's changed are the people running the restaurant. The don't look so much on the edge and are visibly more amicable. And I think I have an idea......

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A five dollar dinner

chicken rice poh piah

Yeah that's a $2 chicken rice from Ananas at the train station and a couple of fat poh piah for a dollar fifty each. Something local, comforting and very satisfying. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Men-ichi, Northpoint

Men-ichi, prawn fried rice

Men-ichi (930 Yishun Ave 2, #01-22/23 Northpoint, tel : +65 6794 5125) is a casual family joint run by the RE&S group which operates a spectrum of Japanese restaurants. It includes Sumiya which I am rather fond of for their lunch, the Ichiban chains which I do not like and even someplace rather respectable looking like Kuriya which I have never eaten at. I had never given this place beyond an occasional glance until quite recently I had ended up eating there.

I still wouldn't order from the most of the menu but their ebi yakimeshi was an unexpectedly decent fried rice with shreds of real prawn, lots of egg and not excessively greasy. I actually kinda enjoyed their aburi-ed mentai-mayo sake harasu sushi also. The latter reads thick slices of torched salmon belly with mentaiko mayonnaise draped over vinegared rice.

Men-ichi, mentai salmon belly sushi

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Some charcuterie from Carne Meats

Carne Meats are apparently a house brand of Indoguna Singapore, a local food purveyor which I've never took note of before. Anyway, they had a counter where they were handing out samples of their charcuteries and pan fried sausages down at Meidi Ya and we were impressed enough to get some of their smokey air dried meats back. They were actually pretty good.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Butahage, Liang Court

This shop from Hokkaido has got to be the first butadon specialist that has been set up on our shores (#02-32/33 Liang Court, 177 River Valley Road, tel : +65 6268 4821). It's taken over the corner where Shakey's used to be. Good riddance to that since this shop was a much worthier use of limited space.

Their menu is pretty straight forward. There's just grilled pork over rice bowls with literally a couple of sides that you could order. Those rice bowls come in various size options and a Premier version featuring Japanese pork which is supposedly limited to 30 servings a day. That's the Premier version up there; tender, fatty and savoury sweet slices of grilled pig in their tare glaze resting on top of Yumepirika rice. Which I inhaled in no time. We definitely liked this and will back to try the USDA pork bowls.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Udon Goen, Food Republic @ Wisma Atria

Udon Goen, katsu curry rice

Yes, that is indeed a big assed pile of katsu from Udon Goen (#04-02/14, Wisma Atria, 435 Orchard Road) in Food Republic. And no, we did not try out any of the udon because it would have meant passing up on this katsu curry. A tonkatsu and torikatsu rice plate with curry made with tonkotsu broth. All that for an affordable $10.80. How's that for something different?

Here's the part where I mention that there are indeed differences with their curry with say, the generic Japanese curry. It was more savoury than sweet-ish from the undertones of the tonkotsu base. The big assed slab of chicken katsu had a rather bland crust while those pork katsu tasted a little salty. While these guys might not hold up in comparison versus the old guards of fried pork, they do represent an uncommon quantity to quality value. Udon Goen charges a dollar for additional curry which one is likely to need since the regular serving doesn't quite have enough to go around.

Udon Goen, Food Republic @ Wisma Atria

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The unadon from Nakajima Suisan

Nakajima Suisan, unadon

This piping hot teriyaki glazed eel freshly off the grill was not bad at all. The meat was tender and well, the picture speaks for itself. My fondness for this place grows. By the way, those yellow shreds scattered on the plate are eggs.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Some sushi from Oceans of Seafood

Here's some nigiri sushi from Oceans of Seafood (200 Turf Club Road, #02-06 PasarBella @ The Grandstand) down at PasarBella. The cooked food area seems to have revamped a little with some of the older stalls disappearing and some new ones taking over the previously empty spaces. This order of sushi was actually not bad if I might say. It was very affordable for one (that chutoro was merely $3 because of their ongoing bluefin tuna promotion) and it tasted very decent. I'm aware that the tuna was barely not-akami. And there was an interesting kurogoma tamago that had a nice sesame aroma in the grey-ish sweet egg.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Yoyogi, The Grandstand

An old friend of mine had told me about Yoyogi (200 Turf Club Road, #01-12 The Grandstand, tel : +65 6468 8826) a long time back when they were still at Mohd Sultan. I agreed to check out the place and subsequently only managed the visit a few years later today. This was a lunch of their truffle set.

Which started off with dainty slices of kanpachi with shoyu and truffle. The truffle looked to be of the jarred variety, it's not expensive stuff and was definitely not aromatic like what one would generally expect. The fungus was mostly just a little nutty. Here, I'm not sure what to make out of this starter. The fish was so thinly sliced that most of the texture couldn't really be felt and the flavours consisted mainly of just the ponzu. With a little truffle of course.

The next item that came with the set was chilled truffle capellini with ebiko and crispy sakura ebi. The portions were literally just a few mouthfuls, but this was delicious. The serving plate and fork were also chilled for the serious chilled noodle experience. I sure hope the a la carte portions are much larger because I can see us coming back for it.

The soup was simply described as a black truffle dobinmushi.

There were some seafood in it. The truffle flavour was much too little to even warrant mention, but the soup was quite nice.

The highlight of the truffle set was their ohmi gyu donburi; with the same black truffle that they had used for the rest of the set. We were taught to plunge our spoons into the middle of the egg to scoop out the liquid yolk which would then be drizzled over the bowl of thinly sliced beef and rice. 

It was then that we realised that the preparation of the rice was done with a rather heavy hand with the vinegar. In spite that ohmi gyu had a high ratio of fat to meat and the bowl was doused with the egg yolk, none of the rice bowl came across as rich. There was enough vinegar to have somehow "balanced" flavours and I'm not sure if that was such a good thing. But then, I'm not complaining. We were just not so impressed.

This black truffle set should have ended with a dessert of yuzu sorbet.

But because we were sitting at the counter where certain prized cuts of tuna were chilled, we gave in to a post dessert dessert.

Note to self. The portions here are really lightweight. Needed to get more food afterward.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Les Bouchons Rive Gauche, Robertson Quay

Les Bouchons Rive Gauche, ribeye

We hadn't gone back to Les Bouchons for quite a long while and couldn't get seats on short notice, so we ended up at the outlet on the left bank (41 Robertson Quay, tel : +65 6733 4414). The menu is pretty much the same as the one at Ann Siang and little has changed throughout the years. This would be the cosy French steak frites place you go to when you seek something that's not fancy and dependable. But then again, it also really depends on how you define those two words. Since I'm not the qualified person to be providing lessons in vocabulary, to the food....

Les Bouchons Rive Gauche, sirloin

The meat quality is not fancy but very serviceable. The cooking has been pretty much the same standards throughout the past years; up to the point where their medium rare (I call it the French medium rare) is still a little more rare than most other people's medium rare. Consistently so, so to speak. Like I mentioned earlier, dependable. Barring accidents. Fries seem to be nicer than I remember it. Despite the large portions, I finished them. There's actually little need to exercise the botttomless option since the primary potions are already pretty generous.

Les Bouchons Rive Gauche, creamed spinach

What I didn't recall them ever having previously was creamed spinach. And blue cheese sauce which is chargeable. That sauce if you are wondering works for the sirloin, their bread and their fries. Both items taste to be from the same recipe from their sister L'angelus. The spinach was the same tasty nutmeg scented and wilted in cream rendition which I rather liked.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Soup Stock Tokyo, 313 Somerset

This was our first visit to Soup Stock Tokyo (313 Orchard Road, #B-14 & B2-53/53A, 313@Somerset). Have been seeing them around for some time but haven't actually been interested in trying until now. For the most of the part, it's just various soup options with bread or a few selection of rice types, not much beyond that. One of the non-soup item on the menu was their butter chicken curry which I had naively been hoping would taste like a kickass local Indian rendition. Guess not. This was a lot thinner without the creaminess.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Tomato broth tsukemen from Menya Musashi

Menya Musashi, tomato tsukemen

This sure was disappointing and things seemed to have gone further downhill since the last time. I'm talking room temperature noodles with a barely lukewarm tomato broth that was a lot less tomato-y than I had been expecting. The consistency of that broth was so thin that barely anything clung onto the noodles and I've always had the impression that the broth, for tsukemen, ought to be a lot richer and saltier since it was for dipping. Even the just passable grilled pork neck was cold and their charshu was still stiff and dry.

What with all the competition around, I'm getting the impression that these guys trying hard to wind down the business.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Scalloping at Itacho Sushi Changi T3

Itacho Sushi (#03-03/31, Changi Airport Terminal 3) seems to be having a scallop festival ongoing right now with the said shellfish going on sushi for a little less than the usual price they're charging. What had actually bowled me over (pun initially not intended) was the butter scallop small rice bowl that was part of the promotion. Shoyu, pan fried scallops and salted butter over rice...one doesn't even need to do the math to know it all adds up to something comforting and delicious.

And I couldn't resist a little bit of their wagyu nigiri while at it. A few more moments under the flame and a bit more salt would be nicer. This was barely browned.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

A Philly Submarine from Yellow Submarines

Well, it doesn't look very pretty all opened up but it actually tasted quite good. This time round, I peeked through the collection counter and verified that the meat was actually griddled with chopped onions and not boiled. The only difference between this and their classic sub was the cheese (mozzarella for this and cheese sauce for the classic). The bread was warm & lightly toasted, the thinly sliced beef was actually a little juicy and the only thing that bothered me was, this was simply too damned small.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Hainanese Delicacy, Far East Plaza

Hainanese Delicacy, Far East Plaza

This shop (#05-116 Far East Plaza, 14 Scotts Road, tel : +65 6734 0639) remains a sort of an institution to locals for chicken rice. That being said, I collect myself with a little refrain by acknowledging that I don’t really know the history behind the stall and if in the past decades, ownership remained the same. But the first times that I had eaten here was a long time back (yes, I was once a school kid with little money to eat better while hanging out in town) so I know it has been around. Straightforward, fuss free and occasionally, a little brusque.

Hainanese Delicacy, chicken

To trim the proverbial fat of verbosity, to the chicken rice! It’s not bad actually. I liked it then and I still find them a decent rendition now. There’s no excessive use of sesame oil (not that it’s always a bad thing but…) and the tender meat tasted clean flavoured with the light soy sauce. Rice wasn’t overly greasy or heavy which is on hindsight a good thing. The after-burps will not be a bother and it also simply means that there’s less guilt when you silently exclaim to yourself ‘...I like it. Another!’. The chilli was just okay, nothing particularly memorable. But then these guys are old school and sometimes, old school simply means stopping at just adequate.

Hainanese Delicacy, chicken rice

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Ghost Pepper Wings from Popeyes

I'm not sure if any real ghost peppers were involved in the flavouring of these things, but they're only a little spicier than usual. Which means that it's not getting anybody looking for a level up excited about the heat. It seems that the biscuits are honey glazed these days and they've stopped giving out the jams because of that.

Monday, June 01, 2015

London Fat Duck, Scotts Square

The name was a little misleading upfront. For a start, this fairly new restaurant (6 Scotts Road #B1-16/17 Scotts Square, tel : +65 6443 7866) was not from London, hadn’t anything to do with that Four Seasons (which has also opened here recently by the way) from London that is famed somewhat for their Cantonese styled roast duck and was certainly in no way associated with Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck in Bray. What I read was that the ducks here were imported from Ireland. Otherwise, this place was local as local as can be - a joint venture by the Akashi Group and the Fei Siong Group.

Compared to the other Chinese restaurants of their market, food was passable and service was pretty atrocious. The wait staff looked like they were reluctant to serve and importantly, overwhelmed by a morning crowd that filled only half the restaurant. The crew looked like they didn't have experience running the shop and every request took a long time. I'm rather surprised at the management considering that the groups that collaborated have more than a fair bit of experience across the ranges in the F&B sector.

Obviously, what they are known for are their roast ducks amongst other things. Those weren't bad, but I honestly thought I had a better time eating ducks at Dian Xiao Er. Truly. I'm not even sure what getting ducks from Ireland had brought to the table here.

We tried egg tarts. Those were rather boring. The crust was neither fragrant nor buttery.

Har gow was decent but very small. Not something I can see myself looking forward to.

It sure took quite a long time, but I'm seeing local restaurants starting to up the ante for char siew in recent years. This was actually quite nice. But you do get better portions and equal if not more satisfaction for the same price at Grand Mandarina.

Pan fried carrot cake was passable.

This was their black pepper London duck bun. The other thing that was quite nice because it was different from the other crusty buns with sweet fillings. The strength of the black pepper was quite moderated for balance. Very present, but not overwhelming as many black pepper items can be.

We had originally though these "signature" rice rolls from London Fat Duck to be regular zha leong, which were steamed rice rolls wrapped around dough fritters. As it turned out, the dough fritters themselves were also stuffed with shrimps.

There was actually more food that we had ordered, but they never arrived and we decided that with the poor service and the generally average quality of food, it wasn't worth wasting our lives waiting further and shortening already shortened fuses by trying unsuccessfully to get the attention of the overwhelmed (and clumsy too if I might add) wait staff whom obviously didn't want anymore attention from the crowd.