The views expressed in this blog are based entirely on personal tastes and opinions. They should not be construed as professional reviews in anyway. Any resemblance to actual reviews, living or deceased, is entirely coincidental.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Friends at Jelita
I’m pleased to report that after a slightly mixed reaction to the food and service at Friends at Jelita, our second visit tonight fared much better. A was having a mild pasta craving, and since Valentino’s was fully booked (what’s new?), we decided to satisfy his craving with the squid ink pappardelle at Friends.
The last time we were here, the food was good but inconsistent – the pasta was incredible, but the other main course and dessert were a letdown. What really put us off that time was the service, or rather, how long it took for us to get our food. With that experience in mind, and because we were starving, we made an early booking for 6.45 pm.
I think that’s probably the key to having a good experience at Friends. If you get there before 7.30 pm, service is good and your food arrives promptly. We had absolutely no problems this time; however, we overheard a few other tables, who arrived later when the restaurant was filling up more, having to chase the waiters for their starters.
The squid ink pappardelle was as delicious as we remembered. They’ve since added ham to the ingredients, although you can barely taste it with the much stronger-tasting squid ink, sun dried tomato, parmesan and slivers of garlic. The slices of barely-cooked garlic really pack a punch, but don’t overpower the dish either. We’ll be hard pressed not to order this dish whenever we come here.
They also have something called Kami Sakura chicken on the menu. There are 4 different ways of preparing it, or you can order a sampler platter for two, that has tasting portions of all 4 dishes. What’s Kami Sakura chicken, you’re probably wondering? Well I was, anyway. Apparently it’s chicken that’s reared in a Japanese way, where the chickens are fed a special Yakult-esque feed that introduces good bacteria into their systems. As a result, growth hormones and other injections aren’t used. The chickens aren’t very big – about 1.5 to 1.8 kg, but their meat is especially tender.
The 4 different dishes were, clockwise from top:
- wood-smoked sakura chicken leg with ginger aioli sauce
- sauteed sakura chicken scallopini in brown almond butter sauce
- confit of sakura chicken leg
- roasted sakura chicken supreme stuffed with ricotta mushroom
A and I had different favourites. My top choice was the scallopini, a typically Italian dish. The chicken pieces, although they were breast meat, were unbelievably tender. I’ve never had chicken breast that juicy and tender before, and the brown butter sauce ensured that it wasn’t too bland.
My second favourite was the roast chicken stuffed with ricotta mushrooms. The bits that had the mushroom stuffing were very good, but a few bites of just chicken breast alone were a little dull.
Next on my list was the wood smoked chicken. This was a chicken thigh/leg portion, smoked till the skin was nice and crispy and served with a ginger aioli. While the chicken was definitely flavourful thanks to the strong smoky flavour, I found it a tad overbearing. The aioli helped to cut through the flavour somewhat, though.
A and I were both least impressed with the chicken leg confit. Expecting it to be prepared duck confit style (slow-cooked in its own fat, then pan seared so that the skin is nice and crispy), this only reflected half of the traditional confit preparation – the oil/fat bit. The chicken was slow-cooked in olive oil, but that was it. It wasn’t finished in a pan or on the grill, so the result was a bit insipid. It tasted almost like steamed herbal chicken.
We shared the cinnamon banana with raisins and filo pastry for dessert, which was pretty average. Methinks that desserts aren’t exactly their forte here – the last time we had the lava cake was quite a disaster.
Still, I really like the squid ink pasta here, and there are a few other pasta dishes that I’m keen to try, like their home-made oxtail ravioli. Guess we’ll come back here whenever we can afford to have an early dinner, and want to go somewhere close to home.
They also do take-out, as well as catering and special requests. You have to give them a few days’ notice depending on the complexity of your catering or special requirements, but for take-out, you just need to call about half an hour before you plan to swing by to collect your food. Their menu can be viewed here.
Note: free private parking is available for restaurant patrons. Instead of parking at the usual Jelita carpark, turn right into the loading/unloading area, and inform the restaurant that you’ve parked there.
The waiters (and the owner) are always polite but I’d still advise going early if you want the food to come at a decent pace. Food-wise, I’m sticking with just my squid ink pasta. Sun-dried tomatoes rock!
Friends at Jelita
293 Holland Road
#02-04 Jelita Cold Storage Building
Tel: 6463 1011
Open 12 noon to 10 pm daily
Saturday, July 28, 2007
We’ve been trying to get more people to come to A-Roy Thai with us, so that we can try more dishes other than the tom yum noodles and pineapple rice that we inevitably order when it’s just the two of us. We hadn’t been successful until Saturday night, when we finally managed to find takers in the form of M, J and baby E.
Some of the new dishes that we ordered were the Pad Thai, A-Roy Thai Fried Rice (rice fried with garlic, carrots and spring onion), Fried Kailan with Roast Pork, Green Curry Chicken and the Claypot Tung-hoon with Prawns.
The fried rice was pretty ordinary. The Pad Thai though, was excellent. Light, not greasy, and savoury, spicy and sour all at the same time, thanks to the generous dose of lime that was added (in addition to the lime wedge that came with the dish). Beansprouts and diced taupok added to the texture. If Pad Thai is the mark of how good a Thai restaurant is, then A-Roy Thai is way up there.
The baby kalian with roast pork was barely Thai – indeed, it looked like a typical vege stirfry from any zi char stall. One bite and you can tell that it’s on a different level from zi char though. The taste of the gravy just blew us away – garlicky, rich and intense, it somehow absorbed the flavours of the roast belly pork. Delicious.
The green curry wasn’t spectacular, but the claypot vermicelli (tung hoon) with prawns was a winner. Huge amounts of ginger, garlic and peppercorns were buried under the pile of tunghoon, infusing the noodles with an amazing medley of flavours. An added bonus – the prawns were shelled! Woohoo!! I’m SO ordering this for myself when we next go.
Besides sharing a couple of bowls of the awesome red ruby, the four of us also shared a small plate of the tapioca with coconut milk. Bearing in mind that A and I are both not fans of this dish, we still ate a considerable amount of it. They do it so well here that it’s really addictive.
Another truly satisfying meal here. I needn’t have worried that they may close down, because the place was packed on Saturday night, with a number of Thais dining there. Another sign that this place is the real thing.
Very good desserts. While the food is good, I think I’d rather go to Tuk Tuk (a more convenient one, not the Beach Road one).
109 North Bridge Road
#04-06 Funan Centre
Open daily: 11.30 am to 3 pm; 6 pm to 10 pm
This place is a tad out of the way, but if you’re prepared for a 5 minute walk, it’s a good pre or post-movie meal option when you’re next at The Cathay.
Sultan Kebab is a simple little diner tucked away in Peace Centre. I’d call it a hole-in-the-wall place, but the phrase may give the wrong impression that it’s a bit seedy and less than hygienic. It couldn’t be further from the truth, though. In sharp contrast from the rest of the joints at Peace Centre, Sultan Kebab is clean, bright, and a welcome breath of fresh air.
Fresh from Turkey (well, not so fresh, cos Sultan Kebab has been open for just over a year), the place is run by 3 family members who, while harbouring a dream to open a full-fledged Turkish restaurant here, are in the meantime selling some no-frills but very tasty kebabs.
The menu here is pretty small – chicken or beef kebab (by kebab, I mean meat sliced off large rotating spits, not satay-esque skewered meat), served either with rice, in a tortilla, a hotdog bun, or Iskender style, which is meat piled on top of cubes of bread, with mayonnaise and sweet chilli sauce. I went for the chicken with rice, and A had the beef in a tortilla.
The beef seems to be more popular, if the size of the spits is anything to go by. The chicken one still had lots of meat on it, but the beef was more considerably skimpier. Strangely enough, I actually preferred the chicken. It was marinated with some chilli and spices, and was flavourful without being overpowering. The chicken was also very tender and not dry at all. The rice was surprising, because it was a little on the sweet side, but together it was really addictive. I could easily have polished off another plate…
The beef, on the other hand, was a bit too strong, with the flavour of the meat overshadowing any marinade. The tortilla was definitely up A’s alley, but I’ll take my chicken and rice any day.
My one complaint about this place is that they don’t sell hot drinks – only cold canned drinks. I would have loved a latte or a cappuccino with my meal. Still, I’m glad we’ve found a new place to have lunch after catching a movie, and prices are definitely reasonable. The rolls and tortillas are only $5 each, and the rice and Iskender are $7. There was a fairly decent flow of customers ordering a few rolls to go, but it would be nice to see a bit more support for these guys who, judging from the immaculate nature of their store, are just interested in working hard and serving good food.
Friendly staff. Decent food. Relatively reasonable price. Although I think that the food at the Turkish restaurant at Rendezvous Hotel is better, overall, I’d rather come here. My only complaints would be the lack of hot drinks (i.e. coffee) and that they don’t have lamb on the menu.
1 Sophia Road
#01-15 Peace Centre
Open daily, 11 am to 9 pm (or until the meat runs out, whichever comes first)
Monday, July 23, 2007
Brasserie Wolf revisited
The end of July is fast approaching, as is our deadline to take advantage of the DBS promotion at Brasserie Wolf, so when A had another early night at work tonight, we decided to head over there to get it over with, so to speak.
The place was packed, even on a Monday night. Not really sure why; maybe everyone’s rushing to dine there before month end. Or perhaps it’s partly due to the fact that Brussels Sprouts next door was closed…
Our dinner tonight confirmed that we won’t be coming back here unless there’s another promotion. Sure, the food wasn’t too bad, but I’d rather just pay a little more and go to L’Angelus instead. We ordered the lobster bisque to start with, and I had the Veal Chop with forest mushrooms and mashed potatoes, and A had the Rack of Lamb with ratatouille.
I have no major complaints about the food. The mushroom sauce that accompanied the veal was very flavourful, and the mashed potatoes were light and fluffy. The veal was slightly tough and bland, possibly due to the inherent nature of veal. A’s lamb was ok but again, nothing great.
What really got to me, and what will prevent me from returning, was how long the food took. When we arrived the place was about a third full; it only started filling up later. And yet, we waited almost half an hour with no sign of the lobster bisque. Imagine our surprise when after half an hour, the waiter came bearing our main courses. I pointed out that our soup hadn’t even arrived yet, but we were so hungry that we just accepted the order and had the soup halfway through. I wasn’t too impressed with the waiter’s rather blasé attitude as well. Sure, he was apologetic, but not particularly sincerely so.
Well, we got a free main course out of them, so we got what we set out to achieve. I won’t say this place isn’t recommended, cos the food is pretty good and it’s quite reasonable. Just don’t come here for a quick dinner.
Last time wasn’t a fluke. This place has friendly staff, but the service is really damn slow. Definitely a place to go only if you are willing to wait, and are fine to just wine before you dine. So while the food is great (the bread they have RAWKS), I wouldn’t go back unless there was a special offer.
80 Mohamed Sultan Road
#01-13 The Pier at Robertson
Sunday to Thursday: 11 am to 10.30 pm (last order)
Friday and Saturday: 11 am to 11 pm (last order)
Sunday, July 22, 2007
After a previous experience where we tried in vain to get a table here without any reservations, we wised up and called up on Sunday itself for a table at lunchtime. Good thing we did – when we got there at 12.30 the tiny restaurant in Far East Plaza was almost full.
This restaurant is apparently the first restaurant to introduce yakitori dining to Singapore over 20 years ago. The ambience is unpretentious, and on Sunday afternoon it was just full of families or couples enjoying a yakitori meal. The yakitori menu itself isn’t quite as varied as Kazu, where there seem to be over a hundred different varieties. The choice here is more limited, with the standard chicken parts (including the pantat, heh), some bacon/belly pork-wrapped selections, and a few other meat and seafood skewers.
We ordered the following skewers:
- asparagus wrapped with pork belly
- eggplant with shiso leaf
- chicken liver
- duck with leek
- chicken wing
- beef with bean paste
- salmon wrapped with bacon
Actually, that’s the general impression that I have of Nanbantei. I won’t hesitate to come back here again if I feel like Japanese in the area, but if I really had a serious yakitori craving, I would probably still go to Kazu instead.
I prefer the garlic rice and asparagus wrapped in pork belly here, but overall, I think Kazu is better.
Nanbantei Japanese Restaurant
14 Scotts Road
#05-132, Far East Plaza
Tel: 6733-5666 / 6738-7470
Open daily – Lunch: 12 noon to 2.30 pm; Dinner: 6 pm to 10.30 pm
Saturday, July 21, 2007
La Petite Cuisine
Just a quick update on La Petite Cuisine at Serene Centre. Where it used to be a casual dining offshoot of French restaurant La Cuisine next door, La Cuisine has since closed down, and they’re now operating solely out of La Petite Cuisine.
The menu has expanded slightly, and now includes terrine of foie gras, and duck leg confit, which is what I ordered on Saturday. This was surprisingly good, and one of the best value duck confits around. It may not have been as meltingly tender as the one at Le Bistrot, but at $14, who’s complaining? The gratin that accompanied the dish was rich, creamy and sinfully delicious.
A had the Choucroute Alsacienne, which was essentially a platter of different cuts of pork, with a pile of sauerkraut. Right up A’s alley. While the meats weren’t spectacular individually, the sauerkraut and hot English mustard just pulled everything together.
I feel a little sad that the owners had to downsize by shutting down their main restaurant, but I hope that by doing so, they can concentrate fully on developing La Petite Cuisine as a casual dining outlet. It seems to be doing much better than La Cuisine, so I hope their business continues to improve.
I like sauerkraut.
La Petite Cuisine
#01-05 Serene Centre
10 Jalan Serene
Tel: 6314 3173
Weekdays 11.30 am to 10 pm, Weekends 11 am to 9.30 pm
(possibly closed on Mondays)
Friday, July 13, 2007
I needed another steak sandwich fix today because I couldn’t stop thinking about the one I had on Tuesday. A wasn’t feeling very hungry so he had the smoked salmon sandwich, but I went straight for the steak sandwich again.
If it’s even possible, today’s sandwich was even better than Tuesday’s, maybe because our group of about 8 overwhelmed them with steak sandwich orders. Today it was just us and another table, and the sandwich was exquisite. The steak was medium rare, tender and juicy, and the meat was sweeter than quite a few restaurant steaks I’ve had.
The salmon sandwich was a bit dull in comparison, but we expected that. At $6 it’s still good value, given that $6 will get you only a measly sandwich at Pret A Manger or Simpy Sandwich.
Salmon RuleZ! Except in this case, where the steak sandwich RAWKS! RAWKS! RAWKS!!!
Still, there was a substantial amount of smoked salmon filling in my sandwich so at less than half the price of a steak sandwich, it’s definitely a good buy.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
We came here quite by accident on Thursday night. A got off work extraordinarily early for a change, so we decided to take the opportunity to explore the Robertson Quay area before it got dark. The whole Robertson Quay area is unrecognisable from a few years ago. Loads of restaurants have popped up, and the area emits quite a nice vibe – not quite Clarke Quay’s current hip factor but that suits us just fine. I don’t know if it’s a spillover from Clarke Quay, or whether Thursday is the new Friday, but at 7 pm on a Thursday some joints were already more than half full.
Having read quite a bit about this place, and after S said she had a pretty good and reasonable meal here, we decided to give it a try. The restaurant may look slightly intimidating from the outside, but the ambience is actually a lot more casual.
I’m currently in a weird phase, where I’m inclined to order dishes where I can’t predict how they’ll taste before they even arrive. That means no stock-standard seared tenderloins or roast rack of lambs. Instead, I seem to be drawn towards duck or pork dishes, just to try different tastes and flavours. Today for some reason, the Braised Crispy Pork Trotter called out to me, so I decided to order it, despite some warnings by the waiters that it was a fairly uncommon request. A decided to be even more adventurous by having just starters and not any mains, so instead of the both of us having a starter and main each, we decided to order 4 starters – the Salmon Rillette, French Onion Soup, Escargots and Frisee Salad with Bacon and Poached Egg – and just the Pork Trotter to share.
Out of the starters, I actually liked the soup the best. It was loaded with cheese and baked till brown and bubbly, and was one of the most rustic, hearty onion soups I’ve had in a while. It was thick and sweet, and chockfull of onions. The escargots were quite generic and a little boring, but the salmon rillette was pretty good – it was like a very rich smoked salmon pate. The Frisee salad was good only because of the bacon chunks and the dressing made from the rendered bacon fat. Yum.
As you can see from the photo (a little blur because I didn’t have my digital camera with me, so that was taken on my phone camera), the pork trotter isn’t served with the whole foot or knuckle. Instead, they braise the trotter, debone and shred the meat, fat and gelatinous tendon from it, season and reconstitute it into a patty, then the patty is pan fried till the crust is golden brown and really crispy. It was served with potatoes and mushrooms. It was definitely a very interesting dish, but ridiculously rich and gelak. There’s no way I could have finished it on my own.
The waiters here are all really friendly, without being obsequious or TGI Fridays-esque manic. The only complaint would be the speed at which our food arrived. They kept apologising, saying the large group there for a company dinner was slowing things down in the kitchen. Maybe the fact that we had a strange combination of orders threw them off as well.
Because we had only one main course, we weren’t able to take advantage of the current promotion with DBS/POSB credit cards – one for one main course, valid for lunch and dinner every day. This is quite a good deal, unlike most promotions that limit it to Mondays to Thursday, or only to lunch. This deal is on until the end of July, so we’ll probably be heading there one more time to have a proper two courses per person.
Parking is not bad. Service is superb at tableside but the food is slow coming out. I don’t think it was because of our confusing order because my simple dessert and latte took forever to come.
The food itself is not bad, but the starters are way more interesting than the mains. Since it’s not exactly cheap, I think this place is worth it only with a promotion on. Otherwise, I’d rather go to L’Angelus.
80 Mohamed Sultan Road
#01-13 The Pier at Robertson
Sunday to Thursday: 11 am to 10.30 pm (last order)
Friday and Saturday: 11 am to 11 pm (last order)
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Farewell to PaPi
Aaarrrrggghhh!!!!!!!! Once again, the Curse of A&C lives on! To those of you who are unfamiliar with it, this curse plagues restaurants that A and I are fond of and frequent quite regularly. Simply put – they close down. It has so far afflicted Tamade, which used to be at Robertson Quay, and TeaSpa, which steadily closed down each and every one of their outlets (all of which we used to frequent).
Our latest victim is PaPi. I’m extremely upset, because I thought that we’d found the perfect place to get takeout pizza on our way to my folks’ place for dinner. In fact, I found out because I was there tonight collecting 2 pizzas, and when I casually asked them how business was, I was told that this is their last week, and from next Monday (16 July) PaPi is no more.
I thought they were another victim of poor clientele, but apparently they initially had no plans to close down; they were going to close for renovations when they received an offer for their premises that they couldn’t refuse. So they decided to sell it and make a profit, and concentrate their efforts on their main restaurant (Oso) as well as Oso Privato, their private dining concept.
Well for what it’s worth, even though it’s now a moot point, I ordered the Regina (cooked ham, mozzarella and tomato sauce) and Pomo (sliced tomatoes, shitake mushrooms, onion rings, garlic and chilli) for take-out, and while nowhere near the Salmone, the Pomo wasn’t too bad. The chilli added a nice kick, and I liked the pungency of the garlic too. The Regina was a bit bland, and the ham was too finely chopped so it ended up turning soggy quite fast.
Oh well, PaPi was good while it lasted. Guess we have to get our takeout pizza from Peperoni in future.
Indeed, a sad day for pizza kind.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
I think we’ve found the perfect steak sandwich. A’s friends R and T suggested dinner here with the gang on Tuesday night, for a joint birthday celebration. Tuckshop is barely a couple of months old, and is located along Tanjong Pagar Road, next to Oso restaurant. Since a couple of the guys work right upstairs from here, they’ve already been here a few times and raved about the steak sandwich.
They certainly weren’t exaggerating. This is nothing like the roast beef sandwiches or Philly cheese steak sandwiches that you can get at high-end sandwich shops or delis, that pile on the vegetables and skimp on the meat, and where the meat itself tastes like corned beef at best, or strips of leather at worst. No, this is a no holds barred, proper steak sandwich without any frills or trappings. It consists of the simplest ingredients – a good-sized piece of steak, fairly thick and done medium rare/medium, topped with a Portobello mushroom and caramelized onions, sandwiched between ciabatta bread.
It’s classic proof that simple is best. No wagyu or foie gras or aioli or any other fancy schmancy ingredients. They just rely on a good cut of steak. For $12, you get the steak sandwich with fries and coleslaw (both of which are pretty good too). M told us that we can switch the fries to a salad, so we ordered one with fries, and another with a caesar salad.
The sandwich is pretty amazing, and good value if you factor in the quality of steak that you get. It’s juicy, not too greasy, and the Portobello mushroom gives it even more of an earthy, meaty taste. The caeser salad is very good too – they make their own salad dressing, and serve it with proper bacon bits.
We tried the calamari as well, which was another winner. The squid was tender, the batter light and crispy, and it came with a really good tartar sauce. The salami and basil pesto pizza fared less well, though. I guess it’s not that bad per se, but the steak sandwich and calamari rings are a pretty hard act to follow. Maybe if they had called this salami foccacia or something along those lines, it would’ve been ok; it just wasn’t really a pizza.
Another of our friends ordered the ale-battered Fish and Chips, which looked good too. We swiped some of the batter (in our defence, she wasn’t eating the batter anyway…we’re not such shameless freeloaders…) and it was very tasty. Definitely another promising dish, although as M puts it, anything else on the menu, while good, just isn’t the steak sandwich.
This place is literally down the road from A’s office, so I can foresee him coming here for lunch pretty often. He’s already eyeing the smoked salmon sandwich…
Food RAWKED! This place is pretty cool and I’ll keep going until it gets crowded. The alcohol isn’t watered down (from what I hear), but I think they should add coffee to the drink selections.
21 Tanjong Pagar Road, #01-05
(Between Play Bar and Oso Restaurant)
Mon to Thurs: 11.30 am to 2.30 pm; 5.30 pm to midnight
Friday: 11.30 am to 2.30 pm, 5.30 pm to 3 am
Saturday: 5.30 pm to 4 am
Mon & Tues: 5.30 pm to 10 pm.
Wed to Fri: 5.30 pm to 8.30 pm
Monday, July 09, 2007
Rong Guang BBQ Seafood
We ended up at Alexandra Village quite by accident on Monday night. The Hainanese pork chop place near Henderson Road was closed, so I had a flash of inspiration and suggested trying our luck here, since it was fairly close by. I had watched/read about a few noteworthy stalls here, so we crossed our fingers that they were open (being a Monday night)
Jackpot. The main stall we wanted to try, after seeing it on Yummy King – the seafood bbq one – was open. We ordered the stingray, sambal kangkong and their speciality – the seafood fried rice that comes with a generous dollop of sambal.
Everything was really good. The stingray was nice and charred, and the fried rice had a peppery kick to it. What really blew me away, though, was their sambal. I’m not sure if they use the same sambal for all their sambal dishes, but it was just the way I like it – not too sweet (I find the sambal that the Adam Road guys use for their seafood a little too sweet) and lots of hay bee (dried shrimp).
The nearby fruit stall was selling avocado juice, which is something I’d read about in another blog, so despite the dubious colour, I decided to try it. Turns out the stall we ordered from wasn’t the one I’d read about, but I’m sure avocado juice/shake can’t vary all that much from stall to stall. I took an apprehensive sip, and I swear it was nothing like I imagined it to be. I thought it would be pseudo-healthy tasting, but this was thick and creamy; basically like a Chendol milkshake. It tasted like coconut and gula melaka, and nothing like an avocado at all. A big mug is only $2, but I would seriously recommending sharing, because it’s quite filling, and you’ll want to save space for the food proper from Rong Guang.
I never thought I’d find a seafood bbq place I’d like as much as Adam Road’s. This place is as good but in a different way. While it doesn’t match Adam’s delicious smoky and oily flavour, its chilli has a real addictive quality.
Avocado shake was definitely interesting and not gross like I expected. The watermelon juice (huge mug for just $1.50) was very good too.
The only drawback to this place is the parking. If you don’t want to illegally park like everyone else, you’ll have to go past the hawker centre and park in the trailer area where the wild dogs roam.
Rong Guang BBQ Seafood
Block 120, #01-07
Bukit Merah Lane 1 (Alexandra Village)
Closed on Tuesdays
Sunday, July 08, 2007
We came back here for dinner on Saturday, and A brought an appetite, thank goodness (compared to the shadow of his former self when he had food poisoning on our last visit here).
We ordered the Black Pig Shabu Ramen again, but this time we asked for the chilli powder to be served on the side, so that we could fully appreciate the Kyushu (pork bone) soup that apparently takes 2 days to brew. The soup was flavourful without being too oily, the noodles were of the perfect thickness (in my opinion), and the black pig slices were again out of this world. Still, if I were asked to compare, I think that the ramen at Marutama may actually be more satisfying. While the noodles themselves at Tampopo rock, I think the char siew, stewed egg and the chicken broth at Marutama make for a more satisfyingly shiok bowl of noodles. Note: Y (of Y&J) did mention that the soup at Marutama was unbearably salty when they went a couple of months back, so maybe their standard has dropped since we were last there.
We ordered the tonkatsu set this time, cos it was better value than just ordering an a la carte tonkatsu. The pork was good but somehow lacked the oomph of the one that we had the last time. This may be a strange thing to rave about, but the rice was really good. You may think that all rice is the same, but this one was fluffy, and each grain was distinct; not too hard yet not soft and mushy. It was also well seasoned with more than a hint of vinegar but again not too strong.
We went the whole hog (har har) and decided to have yet another black pig dish – we ordered a side order of mini black pig gyozas. They were bite-sized and adorable, and came on a mini hot plate, sizzling away. The filling was very well-seasoned and because of the quality of the pork, it was soft and tender. One heck of a gyoza, it was.
We couldn’t resist their special desserts, so I had a scoop short cake, and A had a milk pudding. Given that I have a weakness for strawberry shortcake-type cakes, the scoop short cake was really up my alley – light sponge cake, whipped cream and peaches rather than strawberries. Not too heavy or sweet, this was a perfect end to the meal. A had the slightly more gelak milk pudding, which was essentially a panna cotta topped with butterscotch sauce. It was richer than the short cake but still quite light, as far as panna cottas go.
Because we had dessert, we didn’t have room to try the Japanese gelato place Haato, that’s also located in Meidi-ya. Maybe next time we’ll try to resist ordering dessert.
This place does good carbs. Both the rice and the ramen rocked. I was actually more impressed with that than the black pig actually. The homemade desserts were also surprisingly good. Anyway, I think Marutama is better for ramen, but if it’s going to be perpetually crowded, this place is a decent alternative. It’s also got the most convenient parking of all the ramen joints we’ve tried.
#B1-50 Liang Court Shopping Centre
Opens: 11.30am to 10pm daily
(No reservations for weekend dinners – walk-in only)
Saturday, July 07, 2007
The Cathay is our current cinema of choice, mainly because the seats are comfy and it’s not too crowded on a Saturday morning. The problem is a lack of good eating places in the vicinity. After the disappointment of the Rendezvous Nasi Padang, we were a but stuck on Saturday for a lunch option after watching Transformers. In the end we decided to try the Turkish café in Rendezvous Hotel – Cappadocia.
This place seems to be fairly authentic, since it was mentioned in an article about eating places frequented by homesick expats. It’s a nice causal place, simply decorated, with only a flag, some cushions and a shisha pipe to distinguish it as a Turkish joint.
We ordered a couple of dishes to share. The Doner Iskender is one of their specialities, and comprises sliced chicken kebab on a pile of bread cubes, topped with a sweet chilli sauce and yogurt. This turned out a lot better than I expected – the chicken was charred and flavoured, and the combination of the sauce and yogurt was creamy, tart and sweet all at once. And I like the fact that the bread was cut up into cubes – it soaked up the sauce really well.
We also ordered a Turkish version of pizza with sliced roast lamb, mozzarella and egg. This had a cleaner, more subtle taste than the Doner, but was good too. I liked the fresh tomatoes on the pizza, and the egg gave it a rich and creamy finishing touch.
The Turks certainly take their coffee seriously. I ordered the Turkish coffee, and while it was an interesting experience, I think I’ll pass next time. It was really strong and thick, and I only managed to drink half of it because the second half was pretty much all coffee grounds. A’s cappuccino fared much better.
This turned out a lot better than expected. I won’t come all the way just to eat here, but it’s certainly a viable option whenever we’re at the Cathay for a movie. Also worth noting: their main branch is apparently at Robertson Walk where the menu may be more comprehensive, and some internet searches show that there’s another branch at Rail Mall too, though I’m not sure how up to date that info is.
Very good flavour, but the taste of the meat tends to get lost. It’s also just a bit pricy for the size of the portions. It’s an interesting place to try if you’re in the area, but nothing I’d go out of my way for.
Note to self: Cappuccino is rich and foamy.
Cappadocia Café & Restaurant
9 Bras Basah Road
#01-02, Hotel Rendezvous
Open daily, 11 am to 10 pm (last order 9.30 pm)
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Krispy Kreme – assorted
My colleague P went to London on a business trip, and brought back 3 dozen Krispy Kremes for our team (mad props to P, as A would say). He brought back an assortment, which was a good chance for me to try some of their other flavours, since we only ever bother carting home the Original Glazed.
Some of us cut up the donuts into bite sizes pieces so that we could try as many varieties as possible. The Glazed Lemon-filled was pretty good, and better than the strawberry and raspberry filled ones. Out of the 2 Chocolate Iced filled donuts, the Custard-filled was better than the Kreme-filled – it was more subtle and less cloyingly sweet. I personally didn’t like the Glazed Cruller and Glazed Chocolate Cake varieties (the 2 slightly oddly-shaped ones) because they were quite dense and heavy, and more cake-like than light and airy. The Maple Iced one was a little too sweet, but the Apple-filled Cinnamon one was pretty good.
This has reinforced my opinion that the Original Glazed ones are still the way to go. The rest of the flavours, while certainly interesting and novel, are similar in texture to most generic bakery donuts, and simply don’t have that lighter than air feature that only the Original Glazeds have. Maybe it’s because only the Original Glazeds are made with their patented conveyor belt system.
Still, it was loads of fun sampling all the flavours, and all things said and done, a Krispy Kreme is a still Krispy Kreme.
C never get for me!
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
We ordered take-out pizza tonight from PaPi – the Salmone pizza, which has smoked salmon, marscapone cheese and arugula. This was a seriously good pizza. They were extremely generous with the smoked salmon, and the mouthfuls with the creamy marscapone were absolutely heaven.
Note: if you intend to call ahead and jump out of the car to pick it up, give them a longer lead time. I gave them 10 minutes and although they said on the phone that it would be ready within that time, I had to wait inside for another 8 minutes or so. Better give them about 20 minutes to be safe.
I had to wait quite awhile in the car but this pizza was worth the wait. Loads of salmon and cheese toppings. Could be one of the best pizzas EVER!
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
F&N Alive Yogurt
Let me just say at the outset that I am not being paid/sponsored for this post (I wish, sigh…). I just wanted to do a quick write-up of a fairly new (I think) yogurt to hit supermarkets.
I’m not sure why more advertising dollars haven’t been spent to publicise F&N’s ‘Alive’ range of yogurts, cos I think they’re pretty damn good. They’re certainly better than most of the other local brands out there. I like that they don’t have the typical super-sour taste that most yogurts have. They currently come in four flavours:
- Banana and Pear
- Apple and Pomelo
- Aloe Vera and Nata de Coco
My favourite is the Banana and Pear one. It almost tastes like a smoothie, with tiny bits of pear thrown in for texture. The Strawberry is a bit ordinary, but quite generous with the strawberry chunks. Apple and Pomelo is interesting but the least sweet of the lot, and Aloe Vera and Nata de Coco is the sweetest but also lacks a firm flavour.
This range of yogurts is quite watery, not thick and filling like some yogurts, so it definitely can’t act as a meal substitute. They’re good as desserts though, and since they’re low-fat, you can’t help but feel almost martyr-like as you reach for the bag of potato chips or the bar of chocolate.
I can only go for the banana and pear so I can only comment to that. It’s nice.