Thursday, March 31, 2016

Jin Ji Teochew Braised Duck (金記潮州卤鸭), Chinatown Food Centre

Jin Ji Teochew Braised Duck (金記潮州卤鸭), Chinatown Food Centre

That's the bento combo jumbo set from Jin Ji Teochew Braised Duck (#02-156 Chinatown Food Centre, 335 Smith Street). A Japanese influenced take on our local braised duck rice upsized with a variety of side dishes that are found in kuey chap. From what I could discover, the current proprietor is a second generation hawker from the stall that's been around for over three decades. Remember what Charles Xavier mentioned on evolution taking a leap? Here's a small metaphorical leap from the relatively unchanging pool of tradition which resulted in an idea taking shape. I'm still talking about the bento duck rice if you're still confused.

Food was in no way bad, but nothing so extraordinary that I'll be back in a hurry to revisit. The only things that were different from the usual apart from the presentation was the egg which was attempted in the style of ajitama (the operative word is attempted) and the yam rice which were served in balls. Also perhaps, that cup of broth which they had also provided was much more spiced that I'm used to.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Revisiting the fish maw soup from Seng Kee

The queue at Seng Kee is much less of a pain during the weekdays it seems. Today's bowl was the large one and it came with a large piece of ti poh (dried sole). The soup wasn't cheap by hawker food standards, but it was a satisfying bowl with little other mettle out there to match.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Another lunch at Japanese Restaurant Suju

Suju Japanese Restaurant, suntory

We sat at the other side of Suju today. Light came from the sun instead of the lamp.

Suju Japanese Restaurant, beef hayashi

Their beef hayashi was listed in a rather isolated front portion of the menu. I wonder if that meant anything. Anyway, it was good. I detected a good bit of red wine and also tomatoes in the stew. The flavour was robust and texture creamy even though most of that hayashi was beef. I rather liked this.

Suju Japanese Restaurant, tori karaage teishoku

There was a tori karaage teishoku on the specials list. It was the same specials list that was available the last time we were here. This was possibly the first time we've ordered a tori karaage set. Or a tori karaage anything. Ever. One of those things up there don't belong. Guess which?

Suju Japanese Restaurant, rice

Time's up. It's the egg which we added on to be stirred into the hot rice and eaten. Instead of shoyu, they added fermented soy bean for that aroma and bit of saltiness. This added a richness to the rice. 

Suju Japanese Restaurant, tori karaage

The tori karaage? It was good. Fried to a crisp exterior without excessive oil while the meat of the chicken was tender and moist. Strange that this isn't on the regular menu.

Suju Japanese Restaurant, Mandarin Gallery

Monday, March 28, 2016

Clinton St. Baking Company : The sugar bacon burger and a slice of cherry pie

Clinton Street Baking Co., sugar bacon burger

Guess what? I liked this sugar bacon burger from Clinton Street Baking Company. Rather quietly unassuming with no hype; and of course I wished that there was a bit more of that blue cheese to go along, but this was tastier than I had been expecting. They got the medium doneness for the patty spot on and the seasoning was just right that all the beefiness could be tasted. Even through that bit of blue cheese and sweet bacon. Speaking of which, their sugar bacon is pretty much like bak kwa which also means, blue cheese works with bak kwa!

The apple pie which we saw previously was no longer around, but they had cherry pie. The one that's supposed to put a smile on your face ten miles wide and bring a tear to your eye. The fillings were pretty tart, but that kinda worked out since I didn't need anything that was more sweet.

Clinton Street Baking Co., cherry pie

Sunday, March 27, 2016

A martabak from JTown Cafe

JTown Cafe, martabak

I've been meaning to check out this shop (#B1-04/05, Midpoint Orchard, 220 Orchard Road) for their martabak manis - an Indonesian sweet pancake which is quite similar to the Chinese styled peanut pancakes commonly known as ban chang kueh. This was their campur option which had a sprinkle of ground peanuts, shredded cheese, some butter (or perhaps margarine) and chocolate rice. The martabak was made on order - so that freshness spoke some for the moist and springy texture. Yes, it was both sweet and a little salty. Wouldn't mind dropping by once in a while for one of these. Perhaps another time with their bakmie.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Another lunch at Kaiho Sushi

Kaiho Sushi, scallops uni

It's been a while since the last time at Kaiho. Their anago don seems to have been taken off the lunch menu. We ordered some hotategai and uni while waiting for their slower than usual table service. A little bit of extras above their regular lunch items. Both were pretty good.

Friday, March 25, 2016

A tonkatsu sandwich from Hoshino Coffee

Hoshino Coffee, tonkatsu sandwich

Hoshino Coffee (#01-651 Suntec City Mall, 3 Temasek Boulevard, tel : +65 6836 9881) is probably the only Japanese coffee place where I actually remember enjoying their coffee. They have a tonkatsu sandwich - which featured freshly fried crisp pork cutlet with a crunch and I liked that they didn't overdo the tonkatsu sauce.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Chinatown Special, Chinatown Food Centre

Chinatown Special, fried rice

Dad used to tell me that he had heard that the owner/cook of this stall (#02-12 Chinatown Food Centre, 335 Smith Street) used to come from a hotel kitchen. But I read that it was just a restaurant, not from a hotel. The first time I had heard that was back in the day when the stall was located at People’s Park Food Centre where we had a fairly regular ritual of fried rice along with guo tie from Tian Jin Fong Kee nearby on Saturdays. Back in the day when most people still worked Saturdays and we’d meet dad after his work for family lunch. And strangely like that dumpling stall, we stopped patronizing at a certain point and never really came back again until many many years later.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Monday one for one burgers at Medzs

Medzs (#01-01 Clifford Centre, 24 Raffles Place, tel : +65 6536 1917) has certainly transformed itself. Gone is the Mediterranean theme which was really the basis for their name. With the exception of their slogans and perhaps grudgingly, the decor - there wasn't much that was Mediterranean anymore. The menu has been whittled down into a somewhat generic western with a smudge of faux American Italian. Did the management change?

This current bar/restaurant setup does one for one burgers on Mondays and that applies as long as you get a regular priced alcoholic beverage. The selection for drinks wasn't much nor did I find very appealing, so I picked the cheapest - a San Miguel Light just to qualify for those burgers. It doesn't come with fries for this particular deal.

Verdict? That USDA brisket and chuck patty was not bad at all. The surprising thing about it was, these burgers were much better built than those I've had recently. Well, the brioche was barely holding up past half the burger, but it held. There was American cheese, a couple of rashers of bacon, pickles, thick cut tomatoes and onions; all of which could be tasted and worked as a burger. Kudos for not killing it with too much sauce. The bottom line was nothing fancy but it came together decently. Shame on Butchers Club and their dry aged BA blend they're so proud of. I'd take this over them. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Ginza Kushi Katsu, Paragon

From what little I could gather, this shop (#B1-47 Paragon, 290 Orchard Road, tel : +65 6262 1304 ) is a kushikatsu joint that also specializes in gyu katsu. Armed with the notion that their gyu katsu is the first of its kind in this country. I would beg to differ. The difference between the first and any runner ups is an eternity because there can only be one first. So these guys aren't even close.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

An aburi-ed foie gras and toro don from Maguro Donya Miura Misakikou Sushi & Dining

Maguro Donya Miura Misakikou Sushi & Dining, foie gras toro don

Maguro Donya Miura Misakikou Sushi & Dining, foie gras toro don

Maguro Donya Miura Misakikou Sushi & Dining, foie gras toro don

This was simply indulgence from our friendly blue fin tuna specialist. Torched slice toro, minced toro and foie gras. And some truffle soy sauce. Need I even say more? I just realized after taking the photo that there was just so much pink, even on the little sakura prints on the bowl.

Friday, March 18, 2016

A cheese dosai from Komala's

Komala's, cheese dosai

This was originally supposed to be a stop for some masala tea, but ended up with more than just tea. Along came this cheese dosai which was from the main shop down in Little India (330-332 Serangoon Road); apparently not available from their deli outposts which understandably has a much smaller menu. I remember not being so impressed with their dosai previously but today was kinda nice. Crispy at the edges, the salty cheese to go along and a nice warm sambar. Maybe I should drop by this location for tea more often and see what else is good.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

A nasi goreng kampung from Dahlia Cafe

Dahlia Cafe, nasi goreng kampung

Hmmm...I succumbed after seeing numerous people getting a plate of this nasi goreng kampung. It didn't taste as good as I had imagined. The rice was a little too greasy and the sambal used for the frying was so weak that I needed their sambal belachan and the pickled green chilli to make it a better eat. Those ikan bilis were also salty without being fragrant and I thought they were a little too hard. I'll stick to their nasi goreng ayam if I ever come back.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Fruit juice mee siam from Famous Sungei Road Trishaw Laksa

Famous Sungei Road Trishaw Laksa, fruit juice mee siam

In spite of the name Famous Sungei Road Trishaw Laksa (#02-66 Hong Lim Market & Food Centre, Blk 531A Upper Cross Street), this stall is also rather well known for their mee siam. A fruit juice mee siam - unique even as a local dish by local standards. The lady proprietor had suddenly become very loquacious at my asking about what fruits were used. After artfully (somewhat) dodging the question with something about not using tamarind (the traditional ingredient for the tangy/sour element) and something about onions, she proceeded with how they had purchased their crayfish fresh every morning and that quality of their ingredient was of the utmost importance to them which adds to the cost and blah blah blah. I don't think they were keen on sharing their secret

But I liked it. An accurate word to describe the broth would be fruity. It was tangy like most mee siam with just a light warmth from the chilli. But that tangy element was just different. Maybe less sharp and more refreshing. I'm not too sure. Liked it enough that I finished up to the last drop.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A first visit to Tampopo this year

Tampopo, tori paitan ramen

It's been a while since the last time. This was a quick dinner. One of the items that wasn't around the last time we were here was the Sakura tori paitan ramen. There was a mini-bowl option which was really perfect if you wanted to test drive for flavour. It turned out to be good. I'm getting the regular bowl the next time. Broth was creamy, savoury and had a hint of yuzu. Marutama it seems has a real competitor now.

Tampopo, barachirashi

There was an expensive seasonal menu premium barachirashi which had crab legs and little blobs of uni amongst the usual suspects. The rice was unfortunately not vinegared. But one cannot argue against the generosity of the seafood they piled on top of the bowl. The quantity of those seafood was at least that of the rice.

Tampopo, negitoro don

Tampopo's negitoro don is an old favourite of ours. Seems like it will remain an old favourite still in the foreseeable future. The price of the bowl has gone up by about a dollar since I last remember.

Tampopo, negitoro don

But look at the amount of chopped toro versus the rice. Though I remember a time when there was a lot more negi to go along with the tuna. In retrospect, the ones from the past did seem like they were also fattier than the ones they served today.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Singapore Shui Kueh, Whampoa Food Centre

Singapore Shui Kueh, Whampoa Food Centre

These chwee kueh were what we were trying to get the last time we were here though I must admit that today was actually the first time I had paid attention to the name of the stall (#01-25, Whampoa Drive Makan Place Block 91, 91 Whampoa Drive). Such ubiquity. But this was a taste of childhood - while it might not have been exactly the same, it was close. They're pretty generous with the chai por and the chilli was pretty good. Located right beside that delicious kuey chap stall.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Butchers Club Burger, Clark Quay

So this was the same burger shop from Wan Chai in Hong Kong that has set themselves up here (3A River Valley Road, #01-01B Clarke Quay). This local joint in comparison, was much more spacious and the area behind the counter looked like a luxury considering the staff to working space ratio. The vibe was also different. This space felt contrived.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Nakasei Sushi Restaurant, Central Mall

Nakasei Sushi Restaurant, Central Mall

I had never noticed that Nakasei (#01-06/07 Central Mall, 1 Magazine Road, tel : + 65 6836 5325) had existed until recently. But then again, it's been quite a while since I was last in the vicinity. While trying to google for an address, I found out that they had previously been located at Gallery Hotel.

Nakasei Sushi Restaurant, chirashi

The menu looked traditional. So no truffle what-have-yous to be found. This was their chirashi which costs more to be had in dinner over lunch. The rice was served on a separate lacquer bowl rather than with the raw fish.

Nakasei Sushi Restaurant, chirashi

The quality of the seafood was pretty good. And a decent selection there was of tai, kanpachi, chutoro, amaebi, tamago, hotategai, ikura and crab sticks. Nothing fancy or exotic. If I had to remark a noticeable quality, the chef had a very light hand with the vinegar on the rice. Their wasabi was probably half grated and half from the paste.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Pasta Brava without pasta

Pasta Brava

Pasta Brava. A seemingly unwavering custodian on our sunny island for Italian food. The menu hasn’t changed since the first time I visited a decade ago. There are seldom/no specials of the week/day, no frills. Just the menu. Steadfast and steadfastly moving into what could be construed as retro. But not yet a relic like Pete’s Place. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Soto ayam from Rahim Muslim Food

Rahim Muslim Food, soto ayam

There were a couple things that stood out. The first was the amount of chicken that they gave and the second was the begedil. That begedil was so dense that it couldn't absorb any of the broth. After a bite, I found that the interior was totally dry even though it had been soaking for a while. Neither were complains. Just observations.

If anyone is wondering about that broth, it was boosted with their dark soya sauce with chilli. A "rivulets of perspiration down the scalp into the face" kind of heat. Which was not unenjoyable but pretty much killed any of the more subtle flavours. But in retrospect, I'm pretty sure I'd pick their mee rebus over their mee soto if I had to eat at Rahim's again. 

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Revisiting The Pelican

The Pelican, One Fullerton

We came The Pelican Seafood Bar and Grill (#01-01 One Fullerton, One Fullerton Road, tel : + 65 6438 0400) for dinner once some time back. As it had turned out, I didn't say much and the only thing that I had mentioned was their seaweed sourdough loaf. So that became another wall of digital portraits frozen in their silence. 

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Humpback, Bukit Pasoh Road

Humpback (20 Bukit Pasoh Road, tel : +65 6750 4461) was opened by the people behind Jigger & Pony and Sugarhall, both of which I've never visited. The name of the bar/restaurant refers to the whale which is directly referenced to their seafood theme; which from what I've read is Seattle styled. Not that I know what that means. The wait staff there are generally young, friendly and are fortunately, not clueless about the food they're selling.

Humpback, clam dip
clam dip, cream cheese, ritz crackers

Clam dip was rich and creamy. As a dip, I suppose it was okay. As a clam dip, I thought little of it. While we could tell that there were clams in the dip, we couldn't really taste the clams. I think it was reasonable to expect a clam dip to taste of clams. No?

Humpback, roquefort honey bread
roquefort blue, honey, bread

I had told myself not to order this because I could make it at home. I had wanted to get the sea urchin brioche, but they were out of it so I got kinda thrown off the track and fell back onto a safe routine. This was not bad but honey and blue cheese are one of those things that's kinda hard to screw up. And I am pretty sure they didn't make the cheese nor the honey, so...repackaged food.

Humpback, kale
kale, buttermilk, pear, kale chips, pecan nuts

We heard that Humpback was good with vegetables. So we had kale. There was crispy kale and regular kale and I think the buttermilk had dill in it. All in all very enjoyable. I think more pear would definitely make this better.

Humpback, brussels sprouts
brussels sprouts, chipotle, egg, raisin

The brussels sprout were good. An appreciable hit of savoury and heat from the chipotle and the whole plate was more umami than we had been expecting. Liked those plump sultanas and the eggs were a good idea.

Humpback, cabbage
cabbage, herb cheese, crispy quinoa, chilli oil

Cabbage was actually juicy underneath all that char. Sweet from the freshness too. That smear of herb cheese didn't quite do anything for this plate.

Humpback, pumpkin
pumpkin, burnt butter, hazelnut crumb, vinaigrette

We might have been pulling out all the stops with the vegetable thing so here's pumpkin. It was fried I think and there was a flavour in that that made me think Indian or Middle Eastern. Maybe it was cumin. That blob on the side was a puree made with the pumpkin too. That was also good. 

At this point of time, I was starting to be aware of the fact that while we had been eating a lot of vegetables, there was a also a lot of grease and fat. Caveat cenator.

Humpback, rainbow trout
rainbow trout, egg yolk, almond milk, mustard seeds

And so fish. Sous vide rainbow trout which they had recommended and was really delicious. I'm definitely getting one of this again if I come back.

Humpback, churros

We managed to get dessert. There were only two and the other was a chocolate mousse. This churros was competently done and came with a nice salted caramel cream on the side.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Revisiting Islamic Restaurant

I tried their prawn beryani this time round. Couldn't taste any flavours particularly crustacean in the rice or rempah. Generous with the prawns, but the rice was a little too little. Yes, there was quite a fair bit of prawns in there. It didn't help at all that the whole bowl was littered with bits of coriander. I will stick to their mutton rice in the future. 

Still there was a bright spot. Their lamb shank korma had a kickass and heart clogging rich nutty gravy. Stuff that will make you scarf down loads of rice.

And some nice susu halia to wash the food down.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

French beets, boudin noir and turbot at Le Bistrot du Sommelier

Le Bistrot du Sommelier

I think the restaurant is still on the winter menu.

Le Bistrot du Sommelier, beetroot
chataigne, bettrave et Sabayon aux Cèpes
chestnut mousseline, steamed beetroot and cèpes mushroom sabayon

That explains the steamed beetroot, which by the way were really delicious. From France. These beetroot had none of that earthy taste that most of us associate with beetroots and they come in other colours than just purple. Though those were mostly hidden under the spinach salad which was ladled with their also delicious savoury cèpes sabayon. Also hidden at the bottom of the plate was the sweet and creamy chestnut mousseline and some brown crust on the beetroot which they did not list on the menu. That brown crust thing tasted like some sort of sweet hazelnut crust. Also awesome. This must have been the most impressive warm salad I've had in years.

Le Bistrot du Sommelier, boudin noir
boudin noir

I never realised that Le Bistrot du Sommerlier had boudin noir on the charcuterie menu before. So we just had to order it. Because reasons. This was their rendition, more pâté than sausage and equally delicious. Served simply with just mustard and a little salad. The boudin noir rocks with their bread.

Le Bistrot du Sommelier, turbot

The turbot was from the board and for the night only. Cooked in a robust citrusy lemon butter and stuffed with thyme. The portion as you can see from above was huge; could have fed three persons quite easily. The fish tasted fresh with tender and flaky meat. Pretty impressive.

This on record would be my first time ordering a whole fish in a French restaurant. My first time probably getting owned by a fish as well. We could barely finish it and ran out of room for dessert. Maybe the next time.