Sunday, June 21, 2015

Dario Pizza & more

C says:

Finally! Decent thin crust pizza in our 'hood! Actually, more than decent. The first time we tried it to go, it had gotten a bit cold and was a bit soggy and chewy, but on Friday we decided to have it there, and what a difference it made. 


We ordered half Bufala, and half 4 Stagioni. When eaten freshly made, the crust was just the right thickness - crispy and slightly chewy, and the toppings were very fresh and tasty too. Definitely much better than the pizza at 2it&drink, where the toppings felt like they were just tossed on top, rather than being properly integrated into the pizza. 


Their special pasta of the week was an Amatriciana, which we had to try since its not commonly available here. It was quite good, but the pizza was far better.


A was happy with their tiramisu too, which was traditional style, i.e. non alcoholic. Portion was a tad small though. 

Chef Dario is a true blue Italian, so it doesn't get much more authentic than this. There are some pizza flavours that I can't wait to try next (like one with salame, gorgonzola and garlic, yum). I foresee this being quite a regular haunt for us.

FYI: It's located in a corner shophouse just down the road from Fong Seng, at the junction of Clementi Road and Pasir Panjang Road.

A says:

Great neighbourhood pizza. Seating can be a bit of a problem, though. 



Sunday, June 07, 2015

The Hitsuji Club

C says:

Dinner at The Hitsuji Club was surreal. We were seriously the only non-Japanese in the entire restaurant. Everyone was speaking Japanese, and for a brief moment we could almost imagine we were in Hokkaido. 

Yes, Hitsuji Club sells Hokkaido jingiskan - grilled lamb and vegetables on top of a dome-shaped grill. We ordered the premium set, which came with a selection of loin and shoulder meat, lamb chops and a selection of vegetables. 


They even provide cubes of lamb fat to oil the grill. Can't decide if I prefer the loin or the shoulder meat. Both were good. 


The lamb chops were great (look at the layer of fat!), but note to self: get the professionals to help grill them next time. They grilled them perfectly for the couple next door, whereas our first one was a tad overdone.  



Desserts were outstanding so definitely save some space. The ice cream with kinako and brown sugar syrup was good, but the adzuki panna cotta was divine. It tasted like the essence of good Hokkaido milk. Amazing. 

Meat-wise, I think the quality and variety at Gyu Kaku is better, but I love the charm and vibe of this place, and how I can pretend that I'm in Japan for a couple of hours. 

A says:

Surreal. This is exactly like Japan, in that all the patrons are Japanese. 

Best panna cotta ever. 

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Sacha & Sons

C says:

Sacha & Sons at Mandarin Gallery sells New York-style Jewish deli food. Think bagels and lox, corned beef on rye, toast with schmaltz and chicken skin, and latkes.


A is very happy with the Reuben here - pastrami with sauerkraut. For me, I prefer Sacha's roast beef. It's rare, tender and very sweet and flavourful. 


While the usual roast beef sandwich comes with basic add-ons of sliced tomatoes or cheese, you can ask for an off-menu special - roast beef and chopped liver. Oddly, it wasn't as good as the standard roast beef with Swiss cheese. The liver was a bit overpowering, and masked any flavour of the roast beef. 


If you're here in a larger group, you can opt to share their platters too. There's a meat platter and a fish one. Except for a really good smoked trout dip though, I think the meats here are far better than the smoked fish. 

A says:

Finally. One of only two places in Singapore to get a decent Reuben. 




Thursday, June 04, 2015

Koskos

C says:

The lovely people behind SPR MRKT have opened Koskos, a takeout joint at the basement of Hong Leong Building (opposite Lau Pa Sat).


Catering to the time-strapped folk in the area, they offer soups, sandwiches and salads to-go. Some of their offerings include a smoked duck, pear and spinach sandwich, and garden and Ni├žoise salads. You can also mix and match from a range of more substantial salads, like quinoa with roast chicken and beetroot, sausage and corn fusilli, and a delicious but oh-so-hard to justify after a gym session potato salad.



They also have a range of (constantly changing) desserts available all day, like their classic bread pudding and a wicked double chocolate cake (above).

A small retail section sells goodies like Two Rabbits Smoky Chilli, Second Helpings' Ori Beenut Butter, and this adorable hedgehog doorstop. 


Can't. Continue. Hedgehog. Too. Cute. 

A says:

Yums.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Sanpoutei

C says:

Now that Taishoken has left Ramen Champion and Menya Musashi's standard has dropped, our new go-to place for tsukemen-style ramen is Sanpoutei at the basement of Shaw Centre.


Their dipping broth comes with a generous dose of powdered anchovy powder, adding a delicious umami complexity. I also like that they automatically provide a flask of soba-yu with your order, though we almost always never have much left over by the time we're done slurping...


Ironically, the tsukemen is not on their regular menu but on an insert instead. They're actually better known for their shoyu ramen which, granted, was good in a light, clean way. But give me the tsukemen any day. 

Be warned - they have a Tori X Miso ramen which sounded very promising, with descriptions of stir-fried chicken and vegetables on top of a miso ramen, but it turned out to be way too rich and heavy. 

A says:

New favourite ramen in Singapore, strictly for the tsukemen. 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

2it & drink

C says:

We've been silent for a while because, to be honest, it was getting too time consuming, and we've been too busy, to maintain atetoomuch. 

Still, it seemed a shame to give up completely so we've decided to launch atetoomuch v2.0 - a pared-down, more streamlined version with just photos and comments on what we ate. No more hyperlinks, addresses, opening hours or detailed research on the restaurants. 

First entry is on 2it & drink (pronounced to eat and drink), by the guys from Otto. We had an Agnolotti with braised beef in a mushroom sauce, and a pizza with spinach, bufala and bacon.



Pasta was hand-made and therefore very smooth. I was less enamoured with the pizza - I would have liked the toppings to be more integrated into the pizza. 


A had a banana chocolate tiramisu, which was decent though the banana didn't go quite as well as I thought it would. 

Keen to try the tagliatelle bolognese next, to see how it compares with the ones we had in Italy.

A says:

Good but a tad pricey. But then nowadays, everything is. 


Sunday brunch at Catalunya

C says:

I find Catalunya somewhat overpriced - $85 for lobster rice, $135 for half a suckling pig or $20 for a plate of 4 tiny Bikini (jamon, cheese and truffle) sandwiches is, to me, a bit prohibitive. That’s why their Sunday brunch buffet is such a good deal, relatively speaking. For $98 (add $48 for free flow cava, wines, cocktails, coffee and tea), you get an amazing buffet spread featuring various cured meats, steak tartare, rillette, grilled quail, asparagus spears, anchovies, sardines and all manner of other tasty tapas-like items.


The best part is that you can also order unlimited portions of their sandwiches (yes, including the Bikinis) and their scrambled eggs and tortillas (Spanish omelettes). Our table of 10 told them to just keep replenishing our plates of the Bikinis. Just polishing off a few plates of these alone is probably almost worth the $98 price tag.


Brunch starts at 12.30 pm, and at about 1.30 pm, the main courses are presented to much fanfare (and plate smashing). These will include a few paellas, a fish dish, a roast of the day (usually lamb), and the signature suckling pig. Portions of these will be delivered to your table, and again you can ask for more portions once you're done.

Finally, desserts are served and if you haven’t paced yourself then you’re in trouble, because the desserts are definitely worth a try. By the time brunch comes to a close around 3 pm, be prepared for a food coma for the rest of the day/evening.

Definitely not something you can or should be having very often, but definitely worth trying at least once.

A says:

The brunch buffet is probably the only time you'd get your money's worth here. Even then, it's still very expensive. And the starters and sandwiches are really the star (over the overrated pig). So if you've got lots of cash to spare, give this place a try.

Catalunya
The Fullerton Pavillion
82 Collyer Quay
Tel: 6534-0886
Sunday brunch: 12.30 pm - 4pm

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Our trip to Hong Kong 2014

C says:

Hong Kong is our new happy place for a short holiday – it’s less than 4 hours away, requires minimal planning, and there’s no shortage of good food. And shopping. And hiking!

Yardbird

On our trip in 2013, we made a point to only have Asian food but this time, we decided to diversify a little. Yardbird has been open for a few years but still seems to be a very hot place to be. They don’t take reservations, so we were there at about 6 and got a table quite easily. When we left at around 8 there were quite a few people milling around outside, waiting for a  table.


Yardbird serves primarily yakitori, in its truest form – skewers of all parts of the chicken. They have a cursory pork belly skewer which was nothing to shout about – go for the tried and tested chicken ones here. What amazed me is, like in traditional Japanese yakitori joints, all parts of the chicken are available. Besides the typical wing, breast and thigh, they also have inner thigh, knee, tail and oyster (that little nugget of dark meat between each thigh and the back ribs). The oyster was great, but the star was the tail – basically chicken ass. It was grilled to such a perfect crisp that the outside was crispy, and it just melted to a delicious nugget of fat. Mindblowing.


The tsukune with a tare and egg yolk dip was also really good. That tare dip is like crack – we were scarpetta-ing it with everything we could. This is definitely top of our list when we come back to Hong Kong.

Akrame HK

Many of the fine dining restaurants in Hong Kong offer very good value degustation lunches, one of them being Akrame. The flagship is in Paris, but they’ve recently opened a branch in Hong Kong. We’ve never been to the Paris one, but lunch at Akrame Hong Kong was very good.


The fish course, with a crisp skin, lardo and a rich sauce dotted with parsley oil, is worth a mention, as is one of the desserts, an inky black combination of charcoal ice cream and charcoal mousse, which looked evil but tasted so clean, simple and restrained.

Lan Fong Yuen

On our last trip, we missed out on Lan Fong Yuen by just a few minutes. This time we were there bright and early, but that too was our downfall. Before 11, they don't serve their signature “Lo Ting”, which is fried instant noodles, served with a green onion sauce *facepalm*. This means we need to make yet another trip, after 11, to try the Lo Ting…


Still, that’s definitely no hardship, since their chicken chop (which we tried with the instant noodle soup) is great, as is their pork chop bun and the milk tea.

Kau Kee

To somewhat incredulous stares from both the guy who took our order and the other diners with whom we shared a table, we ordered, between the 2 of us, 2 bowls of the regular beef brisket yee mien, and one curry brisket yee mien. In my defence, the bowls are pretty small, and I really wanted to try the curry this time, and still wanted my fix of the regular.


Alas, I’m no closer to deciding which one I’ll order when we next return. The regular one has a clear, clean-tasting yet flavourful broth that you really can’t find anywhere else. The curry one, however, packs an amazing punch, with a ridiculously fragrant curry aroma, umami and stickiness from the beef tendon, and just the right level of spice. I just need to get A, who isn’t a big curry nor beef tendon fan, to somehow agree to half and half one bowl each with me…

Delicious Kitchen

We wouldn’t have given this place a second glance, but my friend raved about it and said we had to go, since it’s fairly close to our hotel. I’m so glad we went, because their signature pork rib rice here was heavenly.


It’s primarily a Shanghainese restaurant and the menu is pretty comprehensive, but we were there for the pork rib rice. A single serving comes with a bowl of plain rice with some diced vegetables mixed into it, and a rather sizeable amount of pork on top. The pork rib is lightly coated in a faintly sweet batter, fried to a perfect golden brown without any oiliness, and the pork is juicy, sweet and with just the right amount of fat. The double serving comes with an extra portion of pork, but I think that could be a bit overkill, so stick with the single serving.

Australia Dairy Company

No trip is complete without a trek to Kowloon to visit ADC – in our view the best cha chan teng in Hong Kong. This time I wised up and just ordered the open-face scrambled egg sandwich, and a hot steamed milk custard. Heaven. The scrambled egg is so good it’s scary. One of the most satisfying meals of the trip.


A says:

Milk pudding rawks! And the one at ADC is the best (though Yee Shun is a close second). This is pretty much a must-try on any Hong Kong trip.

Yardbird has great yakitori with the best weird chicken parts ever. The chicken ass tasted better than the oyster. Not cheap if you want the good stuff though, and the vibe is super poser. Go early to avoid the hipsters.

Akrame is a nice break from all the Asian food. Excellent food and amazing dessert. Expensive but you get great value for what you pay. Worth a vist but not really a must-try.

We also had the best Char Siew Bolo Bun and it's not at Tim Ho Wan. We have been sworn to secrecy as to where so it's not overrun. HA!