Sunday, April 30, 2017

Another brunch at Geylang Serai Market

We came back to Geylang Serai Market for another round of good eating.

Azizah, dum briyani

That's a mutton dum briyani from Azizah (#02-127 Geylang Serai Market and Food Centre, 1 Geylang Serai). From what I gathered, the style of the briyani from their stall is Pakistani which uses less spices and oil than the Indian variety that we commonly see here. The traditional ingredient of ghee is replaced by low fat milk and yoghurt. Some may consider the differences in ingredients a travesty. And yes, it did taste noticeably lighter in flavour as compared to the others but I didn't think that much was diminished.

For one, the texture of the lighter basmati rice was more defined because those grains were light and separated. Their achar was a fruity tasting type that I've never had before and I loved it. Sweet, salty and sour very much like sng boey (Chinese pickled plums). There was a bowl of dalcha on the side and a little gravy from the curried mutton as well so nothing is really lacking in the department of flavour. Definitely coming back again some other time.

Geylang Corner Food Stall, mee rebus special

Geylang Corner Food Stall (#02-121) serves mee rebus, mee soto and satay. There's a mee rebus special that involves some peanut-y satay gravy and three sticks of satay in the bowl of noodles. I thought this was actually pretty good. One can immediately draw parallels with the mee rebus power from Rahim Muslim Food. This plate inches up a notch in comparison because the flavours of the gravy are enhanced by fried shallots. 

We also liked that those yellow noodles don't have the alkali taste. I'd eat this again.

Warong Solo, lontong

And for desserts, some lontong from Warong Solo (#02-123). If you aren't local or don't know what these are, I'm joking. The dish is a curried vegetable stew of sorts with rice cakes. The rice cakes here had a pandan aroma. Portion in the picture features extra shredded coconut (serunding kelapa) which was requested for. This was reminiscent of the bowls we had from Kampong Corner.

Hainan Kaya Toast, Geylang Serai Market

Today's hearty brunch was washed down by a stiff brew of Hainanese coffee from Hainan Kaya Toast (#01-125). This stuff was thick - like how it should be done instead of the watered down excuses for coffee that's rampant all over the island.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Roxy Laksa @ Timbre+

Roxy Laksa (#01-17 Timbre+, 73A Ayer Rajah Crescent) it seems is one amongst a handful of laksa stalls that's supposedly been around for years. From what I found out, the stall is currently run by the third generation of the family that had started the business and the current day incarnation is in partnership with Willin Low of Wild Rocket.

I've never had the older laksa when they were located at East Coast so I don't know if there was any difference. This was an okay bowl. I was hoping that it might have been exceptional or outright outstanding but this just wasn't the case with a gravy that was quite tempered and more lightweight than what I had been expecting. It's not a bad bowl at all. I enjoyed it. Kinda did.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Quan Xiang Mushroom Minced Meat Noodle, Redhill Food Centre

Quan Xiang Mushroom Minced Meat Noodle, Redhill Food Centre

I normally avoid queues. Mostly. Say 95% of the time. For some reasons, I was drawn to this particular ba chor mee stall (#01-80 Redhill Food Centre, 85 Redhill Lane) which had a queue.

Deciding to join that queue turned out to be a good move. A $3 bowl came laden with much more porky goodness than I had been expecting. Minced pork, sliced pork, pork balls, sliced pig liver, fish cake, mushrooms and lard. Those livers were also expertly cooked that it was tender and none too liver-y. If I had to criticize, the weakest link for the bowl was their noodles. There was that bit of alkali flavour and possibly because of the quality of the noodles, didn't hold up their texture as well as I would have liked from the cooking. That being said, I'm not adversed against eating here again if I'm in the vicinity.

This by the way was what I call a clean bowl. No chilli or vinegar. An option that is also commonly indicated as 白的. It's a good litmus for the quality of a bowl of bak chor mee.

Addenum 27/8/2018
Quan Xiang Mushroom Minced Meat Noodle, Redhill Food Centre

We came back for another bowl. It was noticeably below the standards of the previous visit. The mee pok was a little soggy and the kee flavour seemed much more apparent. I don't know why but this round was disappointing. I couldn't even finish it. Don't think I will be back. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Seng Huat Western Food, Zion Riverside Food Centre

Seng Huat Western Food, Zion Riverside Food Centre

Came across this stall (Stall 12, 70 Zion Road) the last time we were here and decided to try them out for the nostalgia of old school Hainanese styled western food. This was a beef burger with rice and a fried egg. That egg was good. Molten yolk with none of those over fried crispy borders along with a light drizzle of dark soy sauce. The meat tasted old school. Minced beef, onions and I don't know what else. I haven't had a flavour like that in a long time. Not forgetting that brown sauce reminded me of that gloop that they use for KFC's mashed potatoes.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Fukusen, Hotel Clover

Got tipped off about this place from a little bird. Location is hidden from plain sight, but not exactly hidden within Hotel Clover (#01-02, 33 Jalan Sultan, tel : +65 6291 4818). At a glance, Fukusen looks like another run of the mill generalist for Japanese food with the run of the mill array of dishes ranging from kushiyaki, yakimono, sushi, sashimi, salads, various teishoku and you get the point. 

They could probably be just that. I was specifically recommended the uni don and we also tried the foie gras hotate don. Both were good. Bursts of flavours coming from the shoyu marinated yolk, foie gras, tsukemono and ikura. I don't know if their other stuff is worth coming for but these sure were.

Monday, April 24, 2017

More weekend-ery at Huber's

Huber's Bistro, grevensteiner

Lunch at the bistro before a trip into the butcher/deli/supermarket. I just realized that these guys have an automated queue system that calls you when your table is ready.

Huber's Bistro, french onion soup

They have a pretty nice French onion soup. Savoury from the broth and sweetness from the onions.

Huber's Bistro, burger

Burger was okay. The flavour from the meat wasn't so intense. While it wasn't memorable that I would be telling myself I gotta come back for it, I couldn't complain. The gruyere got lost in everything. Everything meaning the brioche, bacon, beef and the sweet caramelized onions.

Huber's Bistro, meatloaf

Meatloaf was amazing with the egg, spinach and mash. Together. By the way, I really liked their creamy mash.

Huber's Bistro, custard cream

A custard cream dessert where the custard was buried by the flavours of the compote/jam thingy.

Huber's Bistro, coffee

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Brunch at Geylang Serai Market

Kacang Pool Mustafa, kacang pool

That above a kacang pool from Kacang Pool Mustafa (#02-142 Geylang Serai Market and Food Centre, 1 Geylang Serai). The dish, which originates from the Middle Eastern foul medames, is made with stewed/mashed fava beans. The dish was a little less viscous than I was expecting but that didn't stop it from rocking with those excellent fried eggs/chopped onions & chillis and some pepper. Something comforting warm and spicy for the morning.

Geylang Briyani, briyani kambeng

Geylang Briyani (#02-146) does a kickass briyani kambeng (mutton). Lightweight and flavoursome grainy basmati rice paired with tender curried mutton, dalcha and achar on the side. This stall sells only briyani and the only decision to be made is ayam (chicken, curried), ayam goreng (fried chicken) and kambeng. I'm definitely heading back for more these someday.

House of Gandos, gandos

And some gandos for the closure to the most important meal of the day.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Niku Kappo, ION Orchard

Watami has thrown in the towel at the basement of ION for whatever reasons. The current tenant which has taken over is Niku Kappo (#B3-23 ION Orchard, tel : +65 6509 9366) - brought in from Tsujiki in the land of the rising sun by…*Dave Lombardo drumroll*…Watami! Apparently another one of those first in the world outside of Japan kind of places.

Lots of beef options here and their niku nabe seems to be central to their offerings.

Niku Kappo, niku sushi

The thing that Niku Kappo does which isn't so common is niku sushi. Meat sushi of the wagyu variety served raw or torched in various styles. The wagyu uni gunkan and the wagyu rossini (the one with foie gras and truffle) are the tastier ones. The rest of the meat that wasn't aburi-ed weren't particularly outstanding even though the wagyu toro was fat marbled and supposed to be flavourful.

Niku Kappo, niku nabe

This was their yaki tetsu Kobe. A shiro miso based niku nabe. One gets to choose the type of beef used and this was their Akagi wagyu option

Niku Kappo, ION Orchard

The ingredients were brought to the table and cooked by the server.

Niku Kappo, ION Orchard

The beef and negi are first seared.

Niku Kappo, ION Orchard

Then set aside.

Niku Kappo, niku nabe

The first portions that were served included the caramelized negi and a little of the Akagi wagyu. We were told that the yellow stuff in the bowl is a tamago sauce - something to downplay the intensity from the shiro miso.

Niku Kappo, niku nabe

The rest of the ingredients are simmered in the shiro miso and what I think might have been dashi.

Niku Kappo, niku nabe

The remaining miso after we were done with the nabe was made into a sauce with egg.

Niku Kappo, ION Orchard

Which is then ladled onto the rice that comes with the order of their niku nabe.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Taste Affair, Amoy Street Food Centre

Taste Affair, Amoy Street Food Centre

This stall (#02-128 Amoy Street Food Centre, 7 Maxwell Road) is by Joshua Khoo, one half of the duo behind Saveur/Saveur Art. Apparently these couple of guys are no longer related to that Saveur Group they had created and are currently treading their own beaten paths. 

The food's pretty easy to figure out. A few meat/ingredient options to choose from and then a choice of either flavoured (saffron) rice or capellini. This was shrimp and chorizo with capellini. Plenty of umami going round from the bits of kombu, grated Parmigiano Reggiano, tobiko, chorizo and mushrooms underscored by a luxuriant coating of their soft poached egg. But a particular edge seemed missing from all the flavours.

I don't mind coming back to try their sake butter clams.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Zion Riverside Food Centre

For some reasons, I seldom eat here (70 Zion Road). This food centre is a landmark, albeit a small one, with a decent variety of local eats. While I'm pretty sure I've been here before at some point in the past, I don't remember when was the last time.

Lau Goh Teochew Chye Thow Kway (Stall 26) was something that was recommended. I heard these guys used to be a legend half a century ago but I couldn't taste the fish sauce or chai por in their chai tau kuey. The current guy running the stall is the son of the original owner. 

I suppose a little bland would be an appropriate description but it didn't taste bad. By the way, the way to place an order for their carrot cake would simply be to point at what you want from the pictures.

No 18 Zion Road Fried Kway Teow (Stall 17) always has a queue as far as I can remember. A lot of people come here for this particular stall. The noodles were sweet, peppered with bits of fried lard and a little wet. I prefer something that's dryer. It's not bad but unless I get a serious craving for char kuey teow, I'm not queueing for this again.

The pleasant surprise was Soon Lee Pig Organ's Soup (Stall 13). These guys are a little different from the regular pig organ's soup stall. The dark speckles that you see in the soup are fried bits of garlic which lends their aroma to the soup. Don't know of anyone else that does that. The broth also doesn't inherit much sour from the kiam chye - which is normally not the case for most pig organ soup. The flavour profile is hence not the usual. With some pepper, this bowl kicks ass.

Soon Lee's soup includes tender thin slices of pork belly. This is mention worthy because most stalls that also have sliced pork belly in their soup tends to also mean rubbery pork belly.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

London duck with summer truffle sauce from Grand Mandarina

We wanted to try this the last time we were here. They were out of duck and we were out of luck.  I'm not getting much of the truffle from the sauce. I would normally feel cheated but - the duck itself was really good. The skin was thin and crisp with a bit of fat for the flavour while the meat was tender and moist. As cliché as those descriptions might have sounded, it was true. I would come back for this.

That and also their char siew which we did not forget and even had seconds of this time round.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Gandos from House of Gandos

House of Gandos, gandos

We've never heard of gandos before. We came across these kueh from a neighbouring table at Geylang Serai Food Centre and thought it look both interesting and tasty so we ended up with a plate from the aptly named House of Gandos (#02-157 Geylang Serai Market and Food Centre, 1 Geylang Serai). From what we were told by the stall, these were made with rice flour and coconut. They're kinda like pancakes. The texture was soft, creamy on the inside and was lightly salted. Yes, you dip them into the orange sugar before popping them into your mouth. I'm sure they'll be excellent for breakfast.

House of Gandos, Geylang Serai Market

Monday, April 17, 2017

Izakaya Nijumaru after 2730 days...

Izakaya Nijumaru, Cuppage Plaza

It has been a very long while since the first and last time we were in Izakaya Nijumaru. Little has changed as far as I could see and the restaurant seemed as packed as I remember. I think perhaps, this particular re-visit was steered by a subconscious drive to understand the popularity behind this joint. Today, we sat very close to where we did the last time. Right at the opposite end from their little counter where one could steal occasional glances at a window into another world while waiting for the food.

Izakaya Nijumaru, beef skewers
Izakaya Nijumaru, asparagus bacon skewers

The servers recommended that we try their grilled beef on skewers claiming that it was very juicy. We topped that suggestion with an order of asparagus wrapped with bacon. As far as grills went, I couldn't say that it was bad. But we've been pampered by great places and as long as one doesn't start comparing with the King two floors up, these were actually quite edible. That comparison almost never ends well so we will not start.

Won't be ordering that beef skewer again though. I'm usually a meat with salt and pepper kind of person usually and this was very marinated.

Izakaya Nijumaru, gindara teriyaki teishoku
Izakaya Nijumaru, omureto teishoku

Their teishoku are well received here. We had one with gindara teriyaki. That particular one was quite sad. Two points to be made here. The quality of the fish was mediocre and it was doused with that same garlic sauce used on the beef skewers which pretty much buried any teriyaki flavours - not that I could even tell that there was teriyaki sauce. The second was that one could easily get very decent stuff at a similar cost or less at Nakajima Suisan Grilled Fish.

Fortunately there was a omureto (omelette if you didn't catch it) set that made up for the cod. Who would have thought this? The egg was light, tender and piping hot with bits of mince pork inside. An almost childhood-like simplistic tray of comfort food. By the way, the stewed hijiki that's part of their teishoku was forgettable. These don't even come close to those that the old Wasabi Tei provided.

Izakaya Nijumaru, horensou salad

We had a horensou salad which the menu described to be a bacon and spinach salad. I'm not sure what the vegetable was but I was imagining baby spinach. After being thrown off for a little bit, I realised that these were actually pretty similar to baby spinach. Meaning that there wasn't much flavour in them and after I had accepted that, this was actually a pretty good eat. Thanks to the bacon and their rendered fat of course.

Izakaya Nijumaru, nasu dengaku

And a nasu dengaku that arrived right at the end. The grilled juicy eggplant glazed with sweet miso was definitely something to be enjoyed while it is still hot.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Thai Gold Food, Sunshine Plaza

Thai Gold Food, Sunshine Plaza

Here (#01-14 Sunshine Plaza, 91 Bencoolen Street, tel : +65 68831575) be affordable home styled and tasty Thai food. When I mentioned home styled, I am describing the style - it's not meant to be a metaphoric abstraction that many people use for the sake of using because they don't understand what it means.

Thai Gold Food, yang moo

Normally the salads are the first to arrive because of the preparation time. But they got the salad order mixed up and we ended up with the yang moo (grilled pork) first.

Thai Gold Food, pad krapow moo

Their pad krapow moo tasted very homely - unpretentiously tasty but needed a bit more salt. I think we liked the one from Diandin Leluk better for the flavour for the krapow moo.

Thai Gold Food, green curry fried rice

I've never seen green curry fried rice in Thai restaurants around before. This one from Thai Gold Food was actually quite good - even though the flavour wasn't as robust as the punch from an actual green curry. It would also be the first time where I would describe such a dish as licorice-y from the basil. Embedded in the slightly damp fried rice, were also chunks of chicken and Thai eggplants.

Thai Gold Food, mango salad

I liked their yam mamuang. It was good after a spoonful of sugar and more than a few spoonfuls of crushed peanuts. Much tastier than the rendition that Sawadee Thai serves. 

Thai Gold Food, cha yen

If there was anything Thai Gold Food didn't do well at, it was their iced tea. I'm actually surprised this was lacklustre. These days, it's not so difficult to find a better representative of this beverage as it was some years back. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Hajjah Mona Nasi Padang, Geylang Serai Market

Hajjah Mona Nasi Padang, Geylang Serai Market

Believe it or not, this was our first time at the current Geylang Serai Market. My last memory of the market was the old single storied place by the road - which if I remember correctly was at a different site? Anyway, since it was a first time, we were a little overwhelmed by the options. As chaos theory fate would have it, we ended up at Hajjah Mona (#02-166, Geylang Serai Market and Food Centre, 1 Geylang Serai).

Hajjah Mona Nasi Padang, urap

Which also lead to my first urap. Aside from my first urap that is. This salad was more raw and herbal. There were bean sprouts, wing beans, something that looked like sweet potato leaves and some herbs which I couldn't recognize. I don't think all that rawness worked for me and it was precisely because there was some cooking of the vegetables that enjoyed it previously. But we managed to finish up the whole plate with help of the nutty sweet and spicy gravy from the quail eggs.

Hajjah Mona Nasi Padang, babat gulai

We had curried tripe - a curry that was rich and flavourful with coconut. That gravy was awesome with rice.

Hajjah Mona Nasi Padang, paru goreng

There was paru goreng too. In case anyone didn't remember, these are fried cow lungs. They aren't horrifying in flavour or texture and are more delicious than the looks suggest.

Hajjah Mona Nasi Padang, quail eggs sambal

These were the quail eggs I mentioned earlier. Just quail eggs in a nutty/sweet/spicy chilli sauce.