Showing posts with label Chinese. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chinese. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Char

C says:

Clearly we're not the only ones who've heard/read the buzz about new restaurant Char at Guillenmard. So much has been said of their sticky black char siew and crispy roast pork that despite the location, I insisted that we try it one Saturday.

It was a good thing we made a reservation, because the place was packed. I don't think they were prepared for it, because we still had to wait about 10 minutes while they sorted out our table and fended off walk-in vultures who tried to steal tables from under the noses of those of us waiting patiently.

Thanks to online tips, we also pre-ordered a portion each of the char siew and the siew yok. Both cost $5 per 100g, with a minimum order of 300g.


Without further ado, let's talk about the char siew. We never got a chance to try the legendary char siew at Oversea Restaurant before they closed, so we can't compare it to Char's. I can say, though, that Char's is superb. It's everything I thought it would be - sticky caramelised exterior, with fatty, juicy, tender pork inside. It's not for the faint-hearted because the flavours are very intense, but that's exactly what I love about it.


The siew yok was also really tender and boasted incredibly crisp crackling. My one criticism though, is that they're a bit too heavy handed with the five spice powder, which tended to overwhelm everything else.


We also tried the claypot eggplant with minced pork, which was very tasty and went perfectly with hot steamed white rice.

Food is excellent, and the owners are very friendly, but the service staff, though polite, seemed a bit frazzled because of the crowds. Once they sort that out, I think they're on to a winning combination.

A says:

As befitting the name, the char siew is superb. Everything else is above average. The only drawback is the chaos in getting a seat. Even with our reservations,we had to put up with pushy people barging in and just grabbing their own seats. The staff try hard, but they really need a proper greeter to manage the crowds that gather at the door. Once you're finally seated though, the food comes to the table fairly fast, so at least the kitchen is a well-oiled machine.

Char
393 Guillemard Road
Tel: 6842-7759
Tues - Sun: 11.30 am - 2.30 pm; 6 pm - 10 pm
Closed Mondays
www.char.com.sg


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Victor's Kitchen

C says:

After the stellar dim sum and dun nai (steamed milk) that we had in Hong Kong, we were wondering where we could go in Singapore that could measure up. I recalled that Victor's used to serve some versions of dun nai so we thought we'd try our luck.


Alas, they no longer do; probably too labour intensive. They still serve pretty damn good dim sum though. Their king prawn har gow is packed with really fresh prawns, and lots of them, and the char siew bao is really light and fluffy.


2 items we had deserve special mention - the steamed carrot cake with XO sauce, and the HK Silk Stocking Iced Tea. The carrot cake is the best I've had - it's soft, smooth and you can really taste the radish, lup cheong and dried shrimp. Almost doesn't need the XO sauce, though it does add an additional flavour element. Don't expect the texture of the pan fried variety though - this is really soft, without much bite, but I think that's precisely why it's unadulterated and so good.

The milk tea is served inside an ice bath, which keeps it cool without diluting it - genius. The tea is the perfect strength, milkiness and sweetness. I daresay better even than what we had in HK.

Even the ambience is like being in HK - elbow to elbow seating and efficient but brusque waiters. As good as it gets, I think. But my dun nai search continues.

A says:

Awesome carrot cake and milk tea. And the milk tea here is better than in Hong Kong cause it's sweeter. I'll definitely be back more. Just have to remember to go early to avoid the inevitable queue.

Victor's Kitchen
91 Bencoolen Street
#01-21 Sunshine Plaza
Tel: 9838-2851


Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Imperial Treasure Shanghai Cuisine

C says:

Is there anything that the Imperial Treasure group can't do? This time they take on Shanghainese food, occupying what used to be Coca Steamboat's premises at Ngee Ann City. We went there with W one Saturday evening, and there were so many dim sum offerings on the menu that we just barely scratched the surface.


Their deep fried scallion pastries were delicious - fragrant, light and flaky. I really like the chicken curry pastry too, though A was less enamoured because it was too reminiscent of a curry puff.


Their xiao long bao was very good too. Were they better than the ones at Din Tai Fung or Paradise Dynasty? I'm not sure but they certainly were quite comparable. We also had a chicken wanton soup, brewed with chicken and Chinese cured ham, that really hit the spot.


We tried a vegetable dish that's classically Shanghainese - thin strips of beancurd skin with edamame and preserved vegetable. A didn't even realise it was beancurd skin till we got home. He thought it was some sort of noodle. It was interesting but because I prefer greener, crunchier vegetables, I probably won't order this next time. The pig's ear terrine was the same as their other outlets, and just as good.

Next time when A and I come, we'll probably order more xiao long baos and other dim sum items, and try some of their la mian offerings as well.

A says:

Good. But high-end Shanghainese isn't exactly my thing.

Imperial Treasure Shanghai Cuisine
Takashimaya S.C., #04-22
391 Orchard Road
Tel: 6836-6909
Monday to Friday: 11.30am to 3pm; 6pm to 10.30pm
Saturday: 11am to 2.30pm; 6pm to 11pm
Sunday: 10.30am to 2.30pm; 6pm to 11pm


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Central Hong Kong Cafe

C says:

We have a new default choice at Star Vista - Central, a cha chan teng that also has/had branches at Vivocity and Ngee Ann City. For some reason, I think the turnover is pretty high; we've never had to wait in line for more than 5 minutes.


The menu is quite comprehensive, though some of the items may not be very well described. A side of Swiss chicken wings, for example, turned out to be soya sauce braised wings, rather than something Western/with cheese, like the name suggests.



Their noodle dishes are very good; better than the rice ones. Over a few visits we've tried their Hong Kong noodles with beef, ginger and scallions, and the fried instant noodles with beef and XO sauce. Both were surprisingly full of flavour, with the noodles absorbing lots of flavour from the respective sauces.



The instant noodle soup with luncheon meat and egg was a bit more ordinary in comparison, as was the rice with fried chicken (which replaced the crispy duck which they ran out of). Still quite decent but paled in comparison to the noodles.


My favourite dish by far, though, is the sliced fish noodle soup. For $7.50, you get a huge bowl with lots of salted vegetables, bee hoon and generous slices of perfectly cooked fish in a tasty milky broth. I've always loved this dish, and the version here is one of my new favourites.

One major reason we're coming here more often is that their drinks are way, way better than both Papparich and Owl Cafe.

A says:

Cheap and good (for the price). I approve.

Central Hong Kong Cafe
1 Vista Exchange Green
#B1-07/41 The Star Vista
Tel: 6268-9628


Thursday, February 28, 2013

MAD

C says:

For the most part, A and I have fairly similar tastes in food; I guess our tastes have evolved together after over 10 years of being influenced by the same food culture.

Still, we're fundamentally different where nostalgic comfort food is concerned. I tend to crave Asian food, whereas A can happily subsist on burgers and pizzas. Given a choice between bak chor mee and a Subway sandwich, for example, for me it's a no-brainer; bak chor mee every time. A's choice is just as vehemently for the Subway.

Which is why MAD, the new collaboration between Dick Lee and the Tung Lok group, is perfect for us. The restaurant serves both dim sum and Asian rice/noodle dishes, as well as tapas and Josper-grilled western fare.


The restaurant has a snazzy ordering system where you browse the menu and select/submit your order via tablet. The system gets the order right, but there are still a few minor glitches - the kitchen/servers weren't sure which table had ordered what, so we kept having incorrect dishes brought to us.



From the dim sum side, we ordered a char siew pau, and a fried yam puff. Both were decent but not very memorable.


We also tried the minced beef fried rice, which I found a tad oily, but otherwise quite tasty, with a good amount of wok hei.

The tapas kitchen is helmed by the ex chef of Bodega Y Tapas, and it certainly shows. I hate to admit it but the western dishes definitely shone more than the Asian ones.


The teriyaki mushrooms with cuttlefish "tagliatelle" was really good. The tagliatelle was thin strips of cuttlefish which were cooked till tender but still retaining a distinctively sweet cuttlefish flavour. They paired well with the juicy teriyaki-glazed button mushrooms.


The Iberico top loin with apricot chutney and braised cabbage, from the Josper grill section, was also outstanding. We selected "medium rare" for doneness on the tablet, and it arrived slightly pink, juicy and really tender. The flavours of the pork and apricot also went very well together.

We decided to have gelato from a nearby joint for dessert, but otherwise the dessert offerings here look pretty interesting.

The restaurant is quite big, but they recommend that you make reservations on weekends. Their website has an online reservation system, which allows you to see if your selected timeslot is still available or not.

I didn't expect to like MAD this much, expecting more of a gimmicky theme restaurant than a proper one, but they've proved me wrong. Definitely a new go-to place, especially when A and I can't agree on what genre we want.

A says:

My expectations were low so I was pleasantly surprised. The Asian dishes were average, but the "tapas" was pretty good. And with the variety, both C and I can find something. Plus the Asian dishes have a decent portion size and are not expensive.

Overall, we'll probably go back.

MAD - Modern Asian Diner
200 Turf Club Road
#01-20/21, The Grandstand
Tel: 6466-3303
Open daily: 11:30 am till late
www.modernasiandiner.com



Sunday, January 06, 2013

Hong Kong Kim Gary Restaurant

C says:

An early trip to Vivocity on Sunday morning saw us wandering around aimlessly whilst the mall woke up. Most of the food outlets only opened at 11.30, so when we walked past HK Kim Gary and saw them open and pretty bustling, we decided to mosey in and give them a go.

They have a huge menu with somewhat of an identity crisis, since they have everything from Korean spicy noodles, to baked rice/spaghetti, to Spanish rice and Norwegian salmon platters.


I was spoilt for choice, with a huge array of different noodle soup dishes to choose from. Korean spicy noodles with shredded pork? Nissin noodles with luncheon meat? Hong Kong spicy noodles? Help! I decided on the Hong Kong spicy noodles with chicken wings, Typhoon shelter style. This arrived looking a lot spicier and more menacing than it actually was.

I don't know what Typhoon Shelter style is, but this came with bean sprouts, a spicy bean sauce-based soup and lots of fried garlic on top. Not bad at all - the chicken wings were pretty tasty too.


A had a baked pork chop spaghetti with two sauces - minced beef and sweetcorn white sauce. This was surprisingly less tasty than it looked. Somehow it was a bit bland despite so much sauce and cheese.


We also shared a luncheon meat sandwich, which was let down by extremely greasy, butter-soaked bread. Don't get me wrong, everyone knows how much I adore butter, but I like it when it's still slightly cold and solid, not melted and soaked into the bread.

I certainly wouldn't travel to Vivocity for this, nor would I wait in line, but if there were no queues and we weren't craving anything else, I wouldn't mind coming here for some instant noodle comfort food.

A says:

The quality of the food and service is average. But what this place has going for it is its giant menu. Full of weird hybrid dishes right up my alley. It wouldn't be my first choice, especially with the long queues that usually form here, but it's definitely a number 2 or 3 option.

Hong Kong Kim Gary Restaurant
1 Harbourfront Walk
#02-128 Vivocity
Tel: 6376-8183
Open daily: 11 am to 10 pm


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Noodle Place Restaurant

C says:

This little unassuming restaurant tucked away at the back of Centrepoint (opposite Prima Taste) boasts a consultant chef who used to be executive chef at the famous Mak's Noodles in Hong Kong.

Mak's Noodle's is known for their springy egg noodles, so of course we ordered various versions. I had the wonton noodle soup, and A had the dry char siew noodle.



Both were a pleasant surprise. The taste and texture of the noodles were excellent - thinly delicate, springy and eggy without any obvious alkalinity. The shrimp wontons were good too, as was the char siew, but they really just worked to highlight the noodles.

Portions are tiny, especially the wonton noodle soup, so go ahead - have seconds. We did.

A says:

I used to love places like this when I was growing up. So it's no surprise that I love this place. Win!

Noodle Place Restaurant
176 Orchard Road
#01-53/56 The Centrepoint
Tel: 6733-3171
Open daily: 10 am to 10 pm
www.pfs.com.sg/restaurants/noodle_place/



Thursday, June 21, 2012

Taste Paradise


C says:

This is probably the last Paradise Group outlet that we hadn't tried (not counting their catering and seafood joints). We started a long weekend of decadent excess with a dim sum lunch at the Ion branch.

They have 2 different versions of chicken feet - the ubiquitous black bean sauce version, and one stewed in abalone sauce. I love chicken feet and decided to try the more interesting option.


When the plate arrived I was shocked at the sheer amount. It was a lot of chicken feet for one person to plow through. The sauce was pretty good but I would've preferred if it had been stewed just a little bit longer, so that the cartilege came more cleanly off the bones.


Their liu sha bao (custard lava bun) is a specialty, and for good reason. The filling was really oozy, with a good sweet-salty balance. There was an interesting dim sum with bacon wrapped with tofu skin, and steamed with silken tofu. 


Another interesting dim sum item was fried cheong fun stuffed with eggplant and minced pork. I liked the different textures - the creamy filling, the slightly chewy cheong fun and the crisp exterior of the fried skin.


One of their signature dishes is their XO carrot cake. This has been recreated in many restaurants but their version is definitely a cut above the rest. The carrot cake cubes are full of flavour and really soft and not starchy, and the XO sauce is pretty spicy and packs quite a punch.


We ordered a token vegetable dish in the form of chilled asgaragus with a truffle and mustard vinaigrette. This would've been ordinary but for the very interesting vinaigrette.


We shared a single portion of their chilled ramen with bacon and truffle sauce. This was a bit strange, because the flavours seemed to be more appropriate for a hot dish rather than a cold one.

Overall, I wasn't particularly blown away. Maybe we had to try more of their fusion items to get a better idea of what they're really good at.

A says:

Maybe we should come back for the really expensive dishes if we want to be blown away. But for a regular meal with cheaper dishes, I’d rate it as okay only.

Taste Paradise
2 Orchard Turn
#04-07 ION Orchard
Tel: 6509-9660
Mon – Fri         
11.30 am – 3 pm; 6 pm – 11 pm
Sat, Sun & PH  
11 am – 4.30 pm; 6 pm – 11 pm 


Sunday, June 03, 2012

Kungfu Paradise


C says:

Kungfu Paradise is probably the most casual outpost in the Paradise Group. Located mainly in heartland malls (though a new one has opened in Bugis+, the renovated Iluma), this is kind of their version of a cha chan teng. It's a bit gimmicky though, with weird dish/food names like Bumger instead of burger, and Babe Rice for their baked rice. Yes...




Their chicken wings were decent, and the Kungfu Bumger, a snack-sized (but larger than a slider) burger with chicken thigh, mayo and a soft burger bun, was pretty tasty.




We went for their fusion pastas. I had the Hokkien Mee one, and A had the chilli crab. Both were ok - mine was a tad salty but pretty flavourful, but A's got a tad goopy after a while. The laksa pasta that A's brother ordered was actually the best.

They have such a large selection that you're quite spoilt for choice. Service was choppy though - they're generally polite, but also a bit blur. They missed an entire section of our order, and food arrived at erratic intervals. Quality is ok for the price (budget about $20 - $30 per person), but I'm not sure it's worth a long wait in line. One good thing is that they're open quite late (4 am on weekends), so they're a viable option if you have late night hunger pangs.

A says:

There are some interesting dishes such as the surprisingly tasty laksa vongole pasta. And overall, the food is good for the price range, but really, it’s not worth the wait. And the coffee is awful.

Kungfu Paradise
2 Jurong East Central 1
#01-07 JCube
Tel: 6684-4606
Mon – Thurs: 11 am – 2 am
Fri and eve of PH: 11 am – 4 am
Sat: 10 am – 4 am
Sun: 10 am – 2 am 



Saturday, May 12, 2012

Canton Paradise


C says:

We're big Paradise Group fans, though not all their offerings are stellar. Granted, their higher end Paradise Pavilion has some misses as well as hits, but their more casual outlets - Paradise Inn and Paradise Dynasty - always satisfy.

We were pretty psyched to hear that 2 more Paradise concepts were opening at JCube, the new Jurong East entertainment complex across the street from where A's parents live. Kungfu Paradise is a casual cha chan teng, and Canton Paradise is a dim sum, noodle and congee house.

We tried Canton Paradise with A's family tonight, and got a bunch of dim sums as well as some noodle dishes. It's worth mentioning that we were there at about 8 pm and a number of the dishes that we wanted to order were already sold out.




We won't write about everything that we had, just some of the dishes worth mentioning. They have a section of innovative dim sums, from which we ordered the HK honey bbq pork bun and the bacon cheese rolls. Both were very good. The bacon rolls had bacon and cheese wrapped round shrimp then deep fried. The bbq pork bun was a combination of a HK polo bun and a char siew bao. They have this at Paradise Pavilion  too, and it was just as good here.


The belly pork char siew was super fatty, even for me. I would've preferred it with a bit more lean meat for contrast, because right now it was about 80% fat. 


The Canton steamed chicken was a bit disappointing. It was ordinary chicken rice chicken that lacked oomph. It came with a dipping sauce that I thought was some kind of ginger oil, but turned out to be a rather bland chicken jus. 




I had the shrimp wonton noodle soup, and A had the roast pork dry noodle. The roast pork on his was good, but I found everything else - the wonton and the noodles themselves - to be a bit disappointing. 


At least the liu sha bao here was good, with a very good oozy centre and light soft bun.

All things considered, with the exception of some of the dim sum dishes, I think the standard at Canton-i  is much higher for the same kind of food. And you don't have to wait an hour for a table.

A says:

Nice, but when it’s crowded, I don’t think it’s worth queuing up for.

Canton Paradise
2 Jurong East Central 1
#02-09 JCube
Tel: 6684-5080
Mon to Fri: 11 am – 9.30 pm
Sat, Sun & PH: 10.30 am – 9.30 pm

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant


C says:

Plaza Singapura on a Saturday night is chaos. We were there to watch a movie and decided to grab a late dinner first. Itacho Sushi was packed so we settled for Nanxiang next door.

This is a branch of the outlet at Bugis, which is known for their giant xiao long bao which they serve with a straw to slurp up the soup.


We decided on their regular xiao long bao instead. The broth was really good, but the pork filling itself was a bit bland and disappointing.



The drunken chicken was a tad predictable but still pretty good. We also ordered a green bean noodle with crab roe, expecting it to be tung hoon. Instead, the noodles were like an al dente hor fun. This was really quite one note, till I had a brainwave to use the xiao long bao vinegar to add some much needed tartness.


The best dish was the shanghai fried rice. We had it with a special sauce duck, but the duck was pretty dry and chewy and the sauce was nothing special. The fried rice was good enough on its own, with lots of wok hei flavour.

We didn't really have any expectations, since we just wanted something quick, but all in all it was a bit meh, and not somewhere we'll go again unless we were really out of options.

A says:

Ermmm… Not bad I guess.

Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant
68 Orchard Road
#02-01 Plaza Singapura
Tel: 6337-7446
www.nanxiang.com.sg

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Dim Sum at Paradise Pavillion


C says:

I had one last voucher that I got from signing up for the Paradise Group privilege card - $25 off weekend dim sum lunch (with a minimum spend of $60). We didn’t have a stellar first visit here, but since we had the voucher we thought we’d give their dim sum a try. I’m glad we did – their dim sum offerings were far more impressive than the peking duck and other a la carte dinner dishes that we had previously.

They have quite a comprehensive dim sum menu. In addition to the usual items like siew mais and char siew baos, they have a selection of unique dishes that were interesting and surprisingly very tasty.



We had a char siew snow bun, which I think was steamed then baked so it was light yet slightly crispy outside, with a nice sweet char siew filling. Another interesting bun was a pan fried bun with peking duck, bacon and pineapple. This had so many different levels of flavour, from the smokiness of the duck and bacon to the surprising sweetness of the pineapple. The bun was super soft as well.

The scallop cheong fun was also very good. At most places, the scallop more or less merges with a seafood paste so you can’t really taste anything besides a generic “seafood” flavour, but here the scallop flavour really comes through.



We had a crystal dumpling with peking duck, which was again better than expected. What we were really impressed with however, was the siew mai skewer. They creatively take a couple of siew mais, stick them on a skewer and grill them yakitori-style, complete with a sweetish glaze. This is not for siew mai purists, but I think it really works, because the skin gets a little crispy from the grill, and the sweet (but not cloyingly so) glaze tied everything together.


Their custard buns, with the oozing salted egg lava custard, were slightly disappointing. The filling was good, but the buns were a bit too heavy and dense. We also tried their sesame mochi balls with truffle and chocolate filling. I expected a milk or dark chocolate, but it was actually a truffle-infused melted white chocolate filling that was almost like condensed milk. Definitely an acquired taste, but I like the texture of the mochi.

They’ve somewhat redeemed themselves in my book. I maintain that when they don’t try to overreach themselves with overly fancy fine-dining, and just stick to what they do best, that’s when their food is always satisfying.

A says:

After a disappointing dinner here previously, I was really surprised by how good the dim sum here was. I wouldn’t say it’s very traditional though. My fav dish was the siew mai on skewers. Naise!
  
Paradise Pavilion
8A Marina Boulevard
#02-01 Marina Bay Financial Centre
Tel: 6509-9308
Lunch: 11.30 am – 3 pm (Mon to Fri); 11 am – 4 pm (Sat, Sun & PH)
Dinner: 6 pm – 11 pm daily