Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Basilico 2017

The last time we were here was about 3 years ago. I remember that that episode didn't leave such a good impression. Fast forward 3 years to today, we found ourselves back again. I think we liked the antipasti and dessert buffet. There was Ghedetti Provolone Piccante which was outstanding, sweet rock melon that paired off beautifully with their prosciutto di Parma and truffle honey which was kinda nice with almost everything. 

The mains were still not up to scratch as much as they sounded good. Execution simply fell short compared to the idea of the dishes.

Like the haddock fillet wrapped with smoked pancetta. It was a reliable setup. Possibly infallible too. It even looked good on the plate. But the fish was dry and being the main item, it was kinda disappointing. Edible disappointment. 

I ordered the persimmon risotto mascarpone because it was one of those things that was a "what? I've never had that before....gotta try it!" Couldn't identify the persimmon nor mascarpone in the rice. That's a total failure when the primary and secondary ingredients end up being unidentifiable. Reiterating that while the idea was good, execution floundered.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Marinated tofu bibimbap from Paik's Bibim

Paik's Bibim, marinated tofu bibimbap

My thoughts on what draws me into Paik's bibimbaps are the vegetables and the fact that their bowls taste like a savoury warm rice salad. Something I can see myself falling back to on a fairly regular basis. Yeah, I kinda enjoy this stuff. Here's the bowl with marinated tofu, a meat free configuration which in retrospect, didn't taste very different from the minced pork bowl that I had previously. It's the vegetables.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Quan Ji (權记), Amoy Street Food Centre

Quan Ji (權记), black bean sauce hor fun

Seems like I've found a good spot (#01-56/57 Amoy Street Food Centre, 7 Maxwell Road) for black bean sauce hor fun. This changes things now, knowing that there's a very decent cze char that opens in the even at Amoy FC and it located just right beside SAP Thai Food which also operates these days into the evening too.

Anyways, it was supposed to be a sliced fish black bean sauce hor fun. For some reasons, there were also chicken and prawn in there. The flavour of the sauce was pretty good. Not as intoxicatingly potent as those from the days of yore but what the heck. I'd return for this.

Quan Ji (權记), prawn paste chicken

Quan Ji makes very competent prawn paste chicken. The golden brown and crispy (sounds familiar?) skin dry without excessive grease and the meat's really moist. What's more, sufficient flavouring from the prawn paste. There's nice kang kong too but the sambal needed more aroma. Maybe a step up with the heat and more hae bi would be great.

Quan Ji (權记), sambal kangkong

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Revisiting Sawadee Thai

Sawadee Thai, Tan Quee Lan Street

We ended back in Sawadee Thai for a few reasons. The food was enjoyable, the place was comfortable and it didn't have the queue that Ah Loy Thai had.

Sawadee Thai, por pea poo

We ordered their por pea poo again because we liked them previously. Have these fried rolls gotten larger or am I imagining it?

Sawadee Thai, stuffed chicken wings

Sawadee Thai's stuffed chicken wings were pretty good. Those wings were clad in a nice golden brown crispy skin with no excess grease. Look at those fat mid sections. We could even find entire caps of small straw mushrooms in them.

Sawadee Thai, som tam mamuang

Unfortunately, the som tam mamuang was a little weak. For some reasons, these guys hold back on the fish sauce for their salads. More crushed peanuts would have been great.

Sawadee Thai, tom kha gai

Tom kha gai was awesome. This was the spicy counterpart to Gin Khao's rendition. The flavour from the coconut milk was just brilliant. This alone would be worth a return trip.

Sawadee Thai, panaeng roast duck curry

We fell back on the panaeng roast duck curry because it was just so damn good with white rice. I can't get over those warm lychees in the curry.

Sawadee Thai, stir fried vegetables

Some stir fried vegetables were also ordered for the quota of dietary fibre. This was actually a pretty good stir fry.

Sawadee Thai, durian sticky rice

Dessert this time round was khao neow turian - their rendition using mao shan wang durian over the sticky rice accented by the aroma of the black sesame seeds and coconut milk. I'd eat this again. In a heartbeat.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Kuro Maguro, Tanjong Pagar Centre

Kuro Maguro, toro aburi meshi

This shop (#01-04 Tanjong Pagar Centre, 7 Wallich Street, tel : +65 6386 8561) is from the people who operate Maguro Donya Miura Misakikou Sushi & Dining at Suntec. What they do is mostly various kaisen donburi using seafood that is shipped in via the parent partnership business. Their toro aburi meshi featuring torched sliced and minced toro was pretty good but that was to be expected for the amount that they were charging. The other bowl with sake and hon maguro akami was a less impressive than the picture on the menu led us to believe. 

Still, it's an option in this vicinity for a frills free raw fish rice bowl when the craving hits.

Kuro Maguro, salmon tuna meshi

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Coffee Academics, Scotts Square

The Coffee Academics, coffee black pepper agave

We've been to Hong Kong a number of times and have for some reasons never noticed The Coffee Academics. Never had an inkling that such a place existed. Not a caffeine-y whiff. Nada. While I couldn't say that I was particularly intrigued, we came by the outpost here (#02-01/02 Scotts Square, 6 Scotts Road, tel : +65 6538 1940) for coffee and a bite.

That coffee that they have with black pepper and agave....needs better/more pepper. But that's just me. Or maybe just the one that I had. That aroma was there but not quite. 

The Coffee Academics, naked torpedo

We tried something called naked torpedo. Some crusty fried tube of bechamel and crab with skin akin to goreng pisang. I actually kinda liked it.

The Coffee Academics, crumbs

But simply couldn't understand why it had to be served in a little wooden tray thingy. Maybe they just enjoyed cleaning up the crumbs.

The Coffee Academics, Scotts Square

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

SBCD Korean Tofu House, Guoco Tower

SBCD Korean Tofu House, sundubu jigae

This sundubu jigae shop (#B1-01,02 Tanjong Pagar Centre, 7 Wallich Street, tel : +65 6386 6441) claims to be a tofu soup specialist. Personally I didn't think there was much to write home about. My option with beef and intestines had really chewy intestines and no discernible beefy flavour. Those tofu in the broth were also crumbly and soft, none of that tofu flavour I was looking forward to. Maybe it's just not for me.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Brunch at Lolla

Lollapalooza has sadly been shuttered. But its progenitor, if you would, Lolla which has taken root long before in Ann Siang still perseveres with brunch on Sundays. 

We started with their sea urchin pudding. The very same one that had previously launched a thousand ships Instagrams. If anyone's wondering, it's still good. Sugar, squid ink and egg yolk which forms that obsidian custard base and very decent quality uni.

There's toast with peaches and foie gras. Those peaches look and taste familiar. Like a particular jarred variety that I've once bought at a store in Serangoon Gardens. The sweet fruit, the fatty liver and the toasted bread make great friends.

As it happened at this point, the munching got punctuated by a glass of flavoursome cashew nut milk.

Off the daily specials, thick cut bacon with burrata and chocolate soil. Granted that the chocolate soil was probably not just chocolate and would benefit from more generosity considering how much burrata it had to pair against - chocolate cheese and bacon sound good don't it?

Three slivers of nicely charred lamb tenders with yoghurt, pine nuts and carrots. Nice.

The last thing we ordered was unfortunately the only thing that was somewhat disappointing. It's a beef tongue hash. What we didn't agree with was the treatment of the tongue. Braised and pulled and then fried, it ended up stringy with none of its associated textures. This tasted like hydrated beef jerky. Cubed ox tongue would have definitely made better hash and honestly, we thought this was not well thought out.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Ocean Curry Fish Head, Telok Ayer Street

Ocean Curry Fish Head, claypot curry fish head

Ocean Curry Fish Head, kang kong

Ocean Curry Fish Head, salted yolk prawns

Ocean Curry Fish Head, sweet and sour pork

This trip certainly explains why there is usually so many people packed into this coffeeshop (181 Telok Ayer Street, tel : +65 6324 9226) during lunch hours. The fish head curry was delicious that I was drinking it while the quality of the fish head that they used was good. In fact, the quality of the cooked food like that salted yolk sauce shrimps or sweet and sour pork were a couple of notch better than most of the economic rice stalls around. No qualms revisiting even though they're a little pricier than most.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

PerBacco continues to impress


I suppose that when I say that PerBacco continues to impress, I had also meant that its chef Marco Fregnon continues to impress. Through the cooking in the restaurant, no less. We haven't been back in a bit and a new rotation of the menu has come in.

Perbacco, oysters

There were very good looking oysters going for $1.50 each that night. Loaded with minerality and brine.

Perbacco, crab croquette

Followed by little cubes of breaded spicy crab croquette. Those little blobs on top of the croquettes are suppose to be tuna sauce.

Perbacco, spinach chittara

PerBacco has of recent introduced half portions for their primi piatti.

This was a chilled spinach tagliolino, sometimes referred to as chittara, with crustacean-y sweet Mazara prawns, spinach and Caviar d'Aquitaine. This was awesome. Flavours were light and meant to pair with the sweetness of the prawns allowing their natural flavours to come through. I have got to return for a full portion another time.

Perbacco, spaghetti black truffle sea urchin

Could you tell that this was spaghetti in a black truffle emulsion? Because it was. An eggy and buttery black truffle emulsion with fresh sea urchin. Am definitely coming back for a full plate of this again. 

Perbacco, risotto amarone foie gras

Delicious Amarone risotto with a piece of nicely browned foie gras. What made this amazing was the translucent bits of caramelized onions which added a pleasant sweetness to the rich wine flavoured rice. Signore Marco Fregnon is quietly outdoing himself and everyone else.

Perbacco, lamb aged balsamic

We had lamb with aged balsamic sauce. Good lamb like we've always had here and since we graduated from fork and knife into fingers as we ate - it was finger licking good as well.

Perbacco, apple cake

Dessert was apple cake. Freshly made and piping hot, it was very good.

Perbacco, hazelnut panna cotta

The standards of their hazelnut panna cotta have fortunately not declined. The rich cream and those perfectly toasted hazelnut brittles have totally prevailed every time we've had one.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Ah Yat Kitchen, Capitol Piazza

Ah Yat Kitchen, duck rice

Ah Yat Kitchen, radish cake

Ah Yat Kitchen, har gow

Ah Yat Kitchen, abalone siew mai

This was supposed to be a Kaiserhaus lunch. We ended up at Ah Yat Kitchen (#B1-20/27 Capitol Piazza, 13 Stamford Road) because it seemed that they are no longer in operation. From appearances, they were closed for good. #disappointed

Well, the food at Ah Yat was better than we had thought though. Their slices of duck breast were moist and tender and the gravy was actually not just another unidentifiable brown starch substance. Pan fried radish cake was quite tasty, siew mai was competent if not outstanding and the same could be said for their har gow. This wouldn't be the first place that I'd pick or specially head to for dim sum and roasts meats but I wouldn't mind if I had to eat here again.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Wagyu roasted beef donburi and chika karaage from Hokkaido Izakaya

This (#04-51 Wisma Atria, 434 Orchard Road) was that same Hokkaido Izakaya - a branch that opened up in Japan Food Town in Wisma Atria. That gyudon didn't look nor taste as impressive as its name would lead one to believe but it was still a decent eat. Their chika karaage was freshly fried and surprisingly tasty though.

What pleasantly surprised us was that this place had free soft boiled eggs! Almost always a welcomed thing for donburi.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Shirokane Tori-Tama, Robertson Walk

Shirokane Tori-Tama, Robertson Walk

We finally made our way to Shirokane Tori-Tama (#01-02 Robertson Walk, 11 Unity Street, tel : +65 6836 5680), an outpost of the Tori-Tama Group which originates from Tokyo. And yes, these guys who do yakitori in the true sense of the word are grilled chicken specialist. There's a good variety of chicken parts to choose from, more than a few of which I never even knew existed or had names.

I'll try to keep this short and just mention some items of interest since it was all good. 

Shirokane Tori-Tama, toritama don
toritama don

Shirokane Tori-Tama, maruhatsu
maruhatsu - whole heart
Maruhatsu was a first time for us since prior to this, we've only ever had hatsu.

Shirokane Tori-Tama, hatsu
hatsu - heart

Shirokane Tori-Tama, saezuri
saezuri - windpipe
Not much taste from the windpipe, but excellent chewy texture.

Shirokane Tori-Tama, otafuku

otafuku - could be esophagus, lymph nodes or meat from side of the neck
The otafuku was fatty and flavourful, I gathered that the name represented those few parts of the chicken so it could be either the neck or sweetbread from the chicken. But honestly, I couldn't really tell what part it was.

Shirokane Tori-Tama, chigimo
chigimo - liver

Shirokane Tori-Tama, tebamoto
tebamoto - drum stick

Shirokane Tori-Tama, kanmuri
kanmuri - cockscomb/crown

Shirokane Tori-Tama, inariyaki with raclette cheese
inariyaki with raclette cheese

Shirokane Tori-Tama, jaga
jaga - baby potatoes

Shirokane Tori-Tama, gyutan
gyutan - ox tongue

Shirokane Tori-Tama, gyutan jaga

Shirokane Tori-Tama, lamu
lamu - lamb
There weren't much non-chicken meat options but gyutan and lamb were a couple of them. Their lamb was pretty gamey, fatty and delicious. For those that would enjoy this particular flavour like we did, this skewer was kickass tasty. And expensive too at $12 a stick.

Shirokane Tori-Tama, Robertson Walk