Sunday, August 23, 2015

Lunch at Bincho

C says:

The lunch sets at Bincho, available daily even on weekends, are a slightly less extravagant way to sample what Bincho has to offer. Even better, most of their a la carte menu is still available at lunch time too if, like us, you can't resist supplementing your lunch sets with an extra side or two. 


We ordered the Beef Tongue Don ($38) and the Pork Jowl Ikura Don ($40). First is an amuse bouche and a chicken skin salad. 


Next up was karaage - fried drumlets coated in a sweet teriyaki sauce. Both the salad and the karaage were good, but were really just there to pave the way for the awesome mains. 


The beef tongue was sensational. It was perfectly cooked, so flavourful and so incredibly unctuous. Bliss at first bite. 


The pork jowl and ikura don was also amazing. The pork had a wonderful texture, and the flavour combination of the fatty seared pork, sweet glaze and savory ikura was heavenly. 


Even the black sesame ice cream dessert was simple but really good. 

We honestly can't get enough of Bincho. Always immensely satisfying, and now with the lunch sets, maybe just a little easier on the wallet. 

A says:

Awesome.



Sunday, August 16, 2015

Flock Ghim Moh

C says:

Flock Ghim Moh, a branch of Flock Cafe at Tiong Bahru, has a nice, easygoing vibe. The menu isn't very extensive, so I don't think we can come here that often without getting bored, but so far there are definitely some dishes worth coming back for. 


Like the waffles with scrambled egg and bacon. The waffles were super light and crispy, but what surprised me the most was the scrambled egg. A lot of places overcook their scrambled eggs so they're dry and rubbery (like buffet breakfast style). Here though, the eggs were silky smooth and creamy. Really good. 


The rigatoni with pulled pork was quite tasty too, but I found the pulled pork was a tad too sweet for my liking. I think it's because they also use it as a topping for one of their eggs Ben dishes, so the sweetness makes it more of a brunch offering.

I'm also impressed that they offer coffees other than lattes and flat whites here. They have a piccolo latte and, to my peasant surprise, a cortado too. 

Definitely a viable brunch or even dinner place when we're short of ideas. 

A says:

A much better option to the hipster-y one at Tiong Bahru.



Monday, August 10, 2015

Bincho

C says:

Calling Bincho a yakitori joint is doing it a disservice. The term brings to mind casual izakayas serving all manner of (fairly cheap) food on sticks. At Bincho, on the other hand, the food is served not on sticks, but artfully sliced, plated and accompanied by the perfect condiments for each dish.

If, like us, you crave a full-on grilled meat experience, I would recommend passing on the omakase menus in favour of ordering from the a la carte menu. We had the omakase on our first visit and found it ok but not stellar. This time, on our second, we just went with a la carte orders and were completely blown away.

 
The neck was excellent. I expected actual bony portions of neck, but somehow they've managed to extract the tastiest fillet of meat from the neck - tender and juicy. Our first order was served with a simple ponzu sauce. 



When we ordered a second helping, they recommended it Miyazaki-style. Those massive sky-high flames? Yes, they were for the charred Miyazaki necks. This version packed loads of flavour, but I think I preferred the cleanliness of the normal ponzu necks. 



Not many places do chicken ass well; most of the time it's under-charred and therefore a bit icky, and the central cartilage isn't removed. Not so here. They were crispy nuggets of juicy fattiness, with all bones and cartilage removed. The hearts were also perfectly cooked, with a char yet still very tender. 



The marinated thigh grilled with cedar wood had a lovely fragrance from the wood and the light dusting of lime zest, and went really well with the mushroom salt. We also ordered the cock's combs, which turned out to be like tender bits of gelatinous cartilage.


One of their new dishes is the unagi clay pot rice. They advise you to eat one helping with just the rice and unagi, and another helping almost as a porridge, with dashi broth, freshly grated wasabi and sesame seeds. 


This was excellent. The eel was perfectly cooked - I dare say it was even better than the eel we had at the speciality eel restaurant we went to in Arashimaya. Adding the dashi turned it into the perfect comfort food to end the meal. 


I couldn't resist ordering the uni pudding for dessert. It was a base of creme caramel topped with maple syrup, and a couple of lobes of uni. It was a bit strange to have uni for dessert but it actually worked very well. 

This may be my new favourite splurge restaurant. Granted, it's not cheap (budget about $120 per person), but everything is executed perfectly. Try to get a counter seat, it's great watching the chefs work their magic right before their creations are placed before you. 

A says:

The omakase is overrated. But if you go early and order the right things a la carte, you'll actually get amazing food and amazing service.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Long Chim

C says:

At first glance, Long Chim is a bit puzzling. It's located at the posh side of Marina Bay Sands, directly above the casino, so you expect it to be quite fancy, and the decor certainly is. But then you get seriously old school music blasting from the speakers (Backstreet Boys? Ace of Base?!), and it all seems a bit incongruous. Eventually we figured that it's meant to channel the whole street food in Thailand vibe. It's strange but I like it. 

As for the food, we had all been warned that the food was unrelentingly spicy. While I was looking forward to it, the rest of the party wasn't. In the end, I think we ended being steered towards all the non-spicy dishes, so I was a bit let down on the spice front. 



Definitely not disappointed taste-wise though. Everything was very tasty and surprisingly not pretentious. The starters of fish cake and cured pork nuggets both packed a ton of flavour.


The chargrilled squid was really good, with very tender squid and a tasty rempah that was more spice than heat. 



Even the beef noodles with sriracha and the glass noodle salad were oddly not spicy. They were tasty but I can't help but feel like they could have benefited from a bit more heat. 


The only dish that packed some heat was a stir-fried soft shell crab, and even then, it was spicy simply relative to everything else. 

They do really yummy Thai-inspired cocktails, including one that channels all the flavours of mango sticky rice. Pity that the dessert menu is so uninspired though.

Their last orders are at 10.30 so it's a pretty good place for a late-ish meal. Next time I'm definitely going to seek out the spicy dishes. 

A says:

Surprisingly affordable. Great way to have Thai street food without getting diarrhoea. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Wanton - Seng's Noodle Bar

C says:

This place exudes such a hipster vibe that we were all prepared to dislike it... Until we tasted the food. And now we can't wait to go back. 

At dinner time, it becomes a higher end noodle bar, where you order the plain noodles (Nudles), and order separate proteins and other accompaniments. 


I could honestly just keep going back for the Nudles alone. The noodles were perfectly springy, and even though they looked plain, they packed serious flavour. I reckon it was a combination of shallot oil and lard. Absolutely delicious. 



We ordered one each of the char siew and roast pork. The char siew was really tender and sweet. The roast pork had some of the best cracking we've had in a while, but the non-fatty part of the meat was a bit dry and tough. 


Even their baby gailan was tasty. It was topped with their "gangster sauce" - a mix of oyster sauce and mushrooms and probably more of that tasty lard. Even A enjoyed this. And he normally doesn't like gailan.



Their eggs were a bit ordinary in comparison with everything else. One was an ordinary ramen egg topped with chili sauce, and the other was a scotch egg of sorts which pretty tasty. 

They have free flow lard (whee!), as well as a simple soup. But the Nudles are really the main thing worth going back for. 

A says:

The best noodles I've had. Everything else is average. The roast pork skin was amazing but the pork itself was dry. He char siew was good but nothing to shout about. The eggs were interesting but not super special. So yeah. Go for the noodles. 



Saturday, July 18, 2015

Lollapalooza

C says:

Lollapalooza is Lolla's sister restaurant, serving a constantly changing menu that's designed for sharing. It's best experienced with a group of 4, I think. Enough for each person to have just enough of each dish.


Helps if you're adventurous too, since some of their dishes include sautéed lamb hearts, and a whole veal tongue.

The lamb hearts were so good that we actually ordered a second portion. They were perfectly cooked and still medium rare, so still tender and juicy. 


I liked how they served the veal tongue unapologetically straight up, no slicing or disguising. The outer skin is meant to be discarded, but the meaty inner portion was very tasty; almost like a corned beef brisket. 


The sweetbreads fared a little less well. They were a bit overcooked and therefore a bit dry.



We had 2 perfunctory vegetable dishes - grilled Jap corn with bottargo di muggine, and artichokes with anchovy purée. I quite enjoyed the artichokes, but overall they both felt like fillers. 


The burrata with honeycomb and peaches was really good. Valentino's burrata is still oozier and creamier, but this was still really tasty with the peach and honey.


A roasted quail looked quite boring on the outside, but was stuffed with foie gras and mushrooms, and tasted heavenly. 


 
The charred tuna collar and grilled Iberico secreto rounded off what I thought was a very satisfying first time visit to Lollapalooza. I like the fact that the menu regularly changes, based on what's available. Keeps it interesting, and makes us want to go back for more. 

A says:

Not exactly cheap. but service and food are very good. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Portico's SG50 menu

C says:

For the months of July and August, Portico is offering a local-inspired 5-course menu for $50, to celebrate SG50. It's great value for the quality of the food, and I'm now convinced that our first trip to Portico (where nothing blew me away except for the chicken wings) wasn't a proper representation of what the restaurant could offer. 


First course consists of 2 snacks - chili crab on brioche, and bak kut teh terrine. The former was predictably good. The latter was a bit subtle. The first bite was overwhelmed by the chilli. On the second bite, I could taste the salted vegetable and herbal bak kut teh more.


Next was a very interesting rendition of rojak. The vegetables were compressed and infused with ginger flower and kaffir lime. You're supposed to cut it open and mix it yourself, in the stone bowl with grilled tofu puffs, cuttlefish and beansprouts. The sauce is in the form of a hae kor (shrimp paste) espuma. Despite all the fancy techniques, it still tasted like a really good rojak. Well done. 


Next course was my favourite - a play on wanton noodle soup. It was a smoked pork tortellini topped with fried garlic, in a pork bone broth with konjac noodles. The tortellini filing had hints of bak kwa, and the pork bone broth was amazingly flavourful. 


What's a local menu without laksa, and their version is a sambal 3-grain risotto (barley, orzo and quinoa) with laksa pesto, tiger prawn and coconut foam. Again, a very good rendition of laksa, full of big hits of flavour.


Dessert was a Tehramisu - obviously a tiramisu infused with milk tea. The mascarpone could have been a bit richer and creamier, but this was a nice, refreshing way to end the meal.

I was very impressed, and for $50 this really is quite a steal. Highly recommended. If the food had been this good when we first went there, we'd have been back a lot sooner.  

A says:

Interesting.

Some dishes were great; overall, not bad. Worth a try for the relatively cheap price.