Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Meat Smith

C says:

We had an unexpectedly good dinner at Meat Smith, a smokehouse on Telok Ayer Street. Their menu is quite limited - no more than 10 choices each for appetizers and mains, but what they do, they do really well.

The starters were very good. The sliced beef tongue had an unexpected heat from the Szechuan aioli, and while I normally don't really like peanuts as a garnish, these worked very well. 

The smoked burrata, which was a special for the day, was excellent. It was served with slices of prosciutto and cubes of compressed melon. The burrata was creamy and smokey, and the melon had a very interesting texture and a very intense melon flavour.

The brisket burger with rocket on a soft brioche bun was also very good. Nothing fancy, just very flavourful. 

We had a half slab of pork ribs, which you can order either dry or wet. Because I don't like ribs slathered in sauce, we opted for dry. These were fall-off-the-bone tender, with a smokey spice rub. There's a range of sauces at the table to accompany them; our favourite was the Honey BBQ sauce. 

The menu isn't too varied, so if there aren't any specials then it may be hard to come here very often, but definitely worth going back at some point.

A says:

The meat is indeed well smithed.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Anniversary at Ember

C says:

Our anniversary is on Sunday, and because Ember is closed, we had dinner there on the Friday before. 

Imagine our surprise when we realised that the entire menu had been overhauled. No more old favourites - not the deep fried tofu, the cold capellini with konbu and abalone, and the greatest travesty, no more Chilean seabass anniversary dish.

This then, was their final audition, to convince us that it was worth continuing to make Ember our anniversary restaurant when everything that we knew and loved was gone. 

Unfortunately they didn't. Some dishes were quite tasty, like the Sakura ebi capellini and the lobster, but they were only good relative to the meal in general. Certainly not memorable dishes in their own right.

The main courses - a duo of duck and a pan roasted Welsh lamb rack, were a bit incongruous with the rest of the dishes. Everything thus far had been prettily plated on clean white crockery. The mains, on the other hand, were very rustic and hearty. Taste-wise, they weren't particularly outstanding either.

It's pretty much a different restaurant now, so we don't feel that bad about making the decision to stop coming back for our anniversaries. Now we just need to create new atetoomuch traditions. 

A says:

The food is tasty, but sadly not as good as before. 

Monday, November 02, 2015

Tribute to Wholefoods

C says:

I really wish we had a Wholefoods in Singapore. The one at High Street Kensington is drool worthy. Granted, it may be overpriced for basic staples, but check out some of their amazing offerings:

Cheese room, with some varieties that I haven't seen in Singapore, like Brie de Melun (a more aged version of the Brie de Meaux that you can find at home), and a Shropshire blue. 

Their hot deli items look really good too. If this sort of choice was readily available at supermarkets at home, I probably won't even bother cooking any more.

I could just have a bucket of chicken wings every day! 

They even have a DIY station for you to freshly grind your own nut butters!

I love checking out supermarkets whenever we're on holiday, and this Wholefoods is definitely one of the nicest ones we've seen.

A says:

Overpriced but very good.


Maltby Street Market

C says:

Borough Market is still the place to get a sensory overload - brilliantly coloured fruit and veg, piles of fresh bread, and stores selling cheeses, olives and truffles. 

It's also gotten quite crowded, especially on weekends, so a calmer alternative is nearby Maltby Street Market. The Ropewalk there is made up of about 20 vendors, and the vibe is a lot less frenetic. 

Highlights are The Cheese Truck, which serves gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. There were 4 options, all sounding very enticing - Stilton bacon and pear chutney, queso chihuahua with chorizo and rocket, cheddar and bacon, and goats cheese honey and rosemary butter. The Stilton one was probably the best bite of the day. 

There was a stall dedicated to scotch eggs, which was good but could have been great if the eggs were served hot and crispy. They were at room temperature, i.e. 15 degrees or so, which was a bit cold for my liking. 

We walked past a stall just as they were unveiling their cauldron of Tartiflette, and both the sight and smell stopped us dead in our tracks. It was worth the food coma just to have that plate of deliciousness. The oozy cheese, potato, ham and onion combination was out of this world. 

Other stalls include a chocolate/cookie stall, artisanal gin, honey beer and even one selling beard balm. It's a lovely alternative to Borough; I just hope it continues to retain its charm.

A says:

Fantastic hipster food without the over-the-top hipster douchiness.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Halloween at Bincho

C says:

Bincho is all decked out for Halloween, with a special Halloween menu to boot. 

Infant hand, which is actually a cheese tsukune. 

Eyeballs and brains - quails egg and wagyu beef tartare. Unfortunately, to make the tartare sufficiently bloody and brain-like, they used a bit too much hot sauce so I couldn't really taste the beef. 

This isn't on the Halloween menu but it looks like it could well be. It's actually goose barnacles which chef brought from a recent trip to Spain. After pinching off the tough skin, you get to the sweet clam-like flesh inside. Very interesting.

Granted, the Halloween dishes are slightly gimmicky and the regular food is still better, but it was a fun experience nonetheless. 

A says:

The claw... 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Two Fat Men is back!

C says:

After a change of ownership last year, Two Fat Men's shutters were down until a few months ago, when we saw their Facebook feed come alive again with a post about their re-opening.

The menu is a little different - no more creamy tom yam with instant noodles or fish and chips, but old favorites like the grilled pork neck and mid-joint wings are still around. There are also a few new gems, like the pad thai, green curry and chicken skin. 

Ah, the chicken skin. Perfectly fried so that it's all crispy and not greasy, served with a tart dip that really complements it.

The pork neck with tamarind dip is a little less fatty and charred than it used to be - which is probably good news to most people except us - but it's still very good.

I daresay the skinny wings are even better now. They still use the best part - the juicy mid joint - but they don't split it in half any more. At first I didn't approve, preferring them split because that makes it so much easier to eat, but that also runs the risk of the wings being overfried and dried out. Now they're perfectly golden and juicy on the inside. 

Both the pad thai and the basil chicken rice are very good if you want some substantial carbs to go with the finger foods. Both have a very good wok hei, and good balance of flavours. 

Prices are slightly higher than before, and parking is still a bitch, but I couldn't be happier that they're back. A great option for weekends because they open on both Saturday and Sunday till late, and there's no need to make reservations.

A says:

Cheap(ish) and good. Wish they had the Thai iced tea permanently on the menu.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

@Atetoomuchsg is now on Instagram!

C says:

We've decided to jump on the Instagram bandwagon. Find us @atetoomuchsg. Bear with us (me) as we figure out what goes where, and how much repetition there should be. 

I'd say we're too old for this, but I guess we ought to move with the times. I draw the line at meaningless hashtags though.

A says:


Sunday, October 04, 2015

Sous vide at home

C says:

I've always been intrigued by sous vide cooking. The thought of being able to cook a protein to a perfect doneness each and every time, without the stressful guesswork of just over or just under-done  meat/fish, is a major plus point for investing in a sous vide machine. However, until recently, most home sous vide machines were still quite expensive and most of all, still occupied quite a large footprint in the kitchen.

All that's changed in the last year or so. Portable sous vide machines for approximately US$200, which you simply attach to your pot or other receptacle, make it so much more practical for home cooks to make sous vide part of their cooking routine. 

I did a fair amount of research, and it came down to 2 brands - Sansaire and Anova. Honestly, both looked good, and the only reason I went with the Anova is because they had stock of the International version; Sansaire was sold out.

The device clamps onto the side of any receptacle, and heats and circulates the water, effectively turning any pot or even plastic container into a sous vide machine. What I love about it is that when you're done with it, you just put it away; it doesn't take any countertop space at all. 

Ever since I got it, I've been on a sous vice rampage. It's especially good for salmon and chicken breast. Salmon overvcooks way too easily, particularly when we (and especially A) like our salmon very much on the rare side. 

Chicken breast also dries out when cooked using normal methods (roasting or pan frying), because by the time the centre is cooked, the outside is overdone and dry. When cooked sous vide, it's perfectly moist all the way through, and just needs a quick sear to finish it off and add some colour and flavour. 

Note: after I bought my Anova Precision Cooker in June, they've since launched a Wifi version. In theory it sounds amazing, since it lets you program and operate it remotely. However, from a food safety perspective, I don't think there'll be much practical benefit. 

Think about it - if you leave the house at 8 am, and want the Anova to start at 6 pm for a 90 minute cooking time so that the food is ready at 7.30 pm, that means the meat has to be in room temperature water from 8 am to 6 pm, which is a big no-no, especially at Singapore's room temperature.

This may not be for everyone, because it does have the potential to be a white elephant if you buy it just for the novelty, but I've been using it every weekend since I got it, and eating much healthier as a result. 

A says:

Sous vide, so good.