Saturday, September 29, 2007

Munchy Donut

C says:

“Around since 1991”, the sign proudly states, and I’m thinking “Eh? Really?” After surfing their website, it turns out that they started out in a humble pushcart, and eventually opened a store, probably in the East (from whence all good food seems to come…)

Most of their outlets seem to be within Cold Storage supermarkets, but lately they’ve opened a stand outside Shaw Centre. We walked past today and it was empty, so we bought half a dosen to share with A’s friend M.

(clockwise from top left: oreo x2, peanut butter, cinnamon, latte, dark chocolate)

We tried the oreo and peanut butter varieties. While not as light and fluffy as the Original Glazed Krispy Kreme, or to a lesser extent Donut Factory’s glazed variety, I must say these were quite impressive. In fact, I think they’re actually better than the flavoured ones from Donut Factory, which I find just too sweet and heavy. The oreo one was really pretty good, with cookie bits liberally sprinkled over white chocolate. The peanut butter one was actually filled with peanut butter and topped with milk chocolate. Now I’m quite interested in tasting the other flavours too.

A says:

C doesn’t seem to realise that the booth they have outside Lido isn’t permanent. She really ain’t that bright.

Anyway, the donuts were better than expected. Not great, but definitely worth considering if you have a craving.

East Ocean Teochew Restaurant

C says:

Third time’s a charm. For the past two Sundays, we’ve tried to get a table at East Ocean for yum cha at lunch time, only to be thwarted by snakingly long queues, and a booking system that simply doesn’t stand up to the insane lunch crowd. This time, we got there at 2 pm, and a table was readily available. The only downside to coming late is that you have to order the dim sum from the menu – the trolleys stop making their rounds at around 2. Also, last order is at 2.30 and the restaurant shuts promptly at 3, so no lingering over your tea.

Still, I guess it does live up to the hype and queues. While the har kow and chee cheong fun were only slightly above average (chee cheong fun had kng chye/coriander/cilantro, a big no-no in my books), the char siew pao and the feng zhao/phoenix claw (chicken feet) were one of the better ones I’ve had in Singapore. The steamed carrot cake even surpassed the one at Victor’s, which was already very good in my opinion.

We also ordered a few appetizers – the drunken chicken wing, and chilled pork belly. The chicken was a bit of a let down. I expected the wine marinade to be more fragrant. The chilled pork belly was great though, and extremely addictive. It even came with a traditionally Teochew dipping sauce of vinegar, garlic and diced chilli padi (sng nee chou).

This is probably a good place to introduce kids to dim sum, because they have a whole selection of dim sum in cute little animal shapes – cobra-shaped cha siew and mui choy buns, mushroom and shrimp paste turtles, and coconut and egg white bunnies. We ordered too much this time to try these out. Maybe next time. Their a la carte menu looks pretty interesting too, so even though they don’t serve dim sum for dinner, I’ll still be happy to come here and try their other dishes. Maybe it’ll be less manic than at lunchtime too.

A says:

Good food and excellent service once you get inside, but with the queues, getting a place is just too much of a hassle for it to be worth it.

East Ocean Teochew Restaurant
1 Scotts Road
#02-18 Shaw Centre
Tel: 6235-9088
Mon to Fri: 11.30 am to 3 pm/6 pm to 11 pm
Sat, Sun and Pub Hol: 10 am to 3 pm/6 pm to 11 pm

Friday, September 28, 2007

Wishbone and Fairprice Finest - Update

C says:

We decided to give Fairprice Finest a second chance, so we headed over to Bukit Timah Plaza tonight and had dinner at Wishbone again. I wasn’t very hungry because I had a drinks party at work, with finger food catered by Penny Black, so we ordered a Malay Nasi Goreng, and a Pi Pa Beancurd to share.

We ordered the rice because we had a vague recollection that my grandfather ordered it once and it was very good. Perhaps we were mistaken, because although the rice was pretty good, it was nothing to shout about. Maybe it was the mee goreng instead…

The Pi Pa Beancurd, which is beancurd that has been mashed with some seafood and vegetables and reshaped into quenelles, wasn’t too bad, but slightly bland. We were once again too full for one of their gula melaka or pulut hitam sundaes.

Perhaps next time, because I realise that Fairprice Finest is better than I gave it credit for. My previous comments that it was no better than a regular NTUC were made without doing a proper tour of the produce aisles. I made sure I scoped it out properly this time, and I must say I’m duly impressed. Their vegetable section sells exotic vegetables like fennel, artichokes and parsnips, and I even managed to buy a blood orange from there.

Their in-house butcher is run by the sons of the Swiss Butchery guy (something Huber), so you can expect more than just the usual grocery counter cold cuts. Slabs of meat await cutting to your specifications, ranging from grain-fed sirloins to Wagyu rib-eyes, and there are sausages and cold cuts as well, probably straight from the Swiss Butchery store. Their seafood section even has clams, and they stock a range of Borges infused olive oils developed by Ferran Adria of El Bulli fame. I couldn’t resist and bought a soy and ginger infused olive oil, for an Asian twist to my salads.

While I don’t think this place will overtake Cold Storage Jelita as my all-time favourite supermarket, I do have to take back my previous dissing. I will go back again for sure, especially with the lure of Wishbone next door.

A says:

Wishbone rocks the old-school coffee house milkshake!

Wishbone Restaurant
1 Jalan Anak Bukit
#B2-05 Bukit Timah Plaza
Tel: 6733-3777

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Uno Beef House

C says:

My friend L has been telling me about a value-for-money joint in Toa Payoh selling good no-frills steaks. The other day I received a text message from her, saying the stall has opened a branch at Dover Crescent. That’s when I realised that the Uno Beef House that opened in the coffee house at our place was the one she was talking about. We had always assumed they were a regular Western food stall, with decent chicken chops and the like, but after the penny dropped, we went there on Wednesday night to try out the beef.

We ordered a sirloin steak and a ribeye steak (the one pictured is the ribeye). It comes on an old-school cow hot plate, with black pepper sauce, sautéed onions and mushrooms, baked beans and a giant pomme noisette. I think the sirloin was better; it had more flavour, although the ribeye was admittedly more tender.

Unlike most hawker centre Western stalls, you actually get to select the doneness of your steak here. Bear in mind that it’s served on a hot plate, so go for a level below your usual. We went for rare, which was perfect after it had spent a few minutes sizzling on the plate.

The pomme noisette was awesome – it was buttery, creamy and smooth inside, and the crust was crispy and savoury, with a slight hint of cheese. Another good thing is that they provide decent steak knives, that do justice to the meat. A steak’s worst enemy is a dull knife – a lesson that Stuart Anderson’s Black Angus has yet to learn.

All in all, I’m really quite impressed. It’s great that it’s literally right at our door-step (or rather, block-step). Next time when I have friends over for dinner and my cooking experiments go all pear-shaped, we can all just troop downstairs for what could well be a better meal anyway.

A says:

Not really a fan of hot plate steak but I must say that this was better than expected. A bit steep for a neighbourhood coffee shop but definitely worth it once you consider you get garlic bread and the RAWKING pomme noisette.

Uno Beef House
Block 19A Dover Crescent
Jumbo Food Hub

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Swirl Gelateria - Update

C says:

We popped over to Swirl for a sweet ending to a light yet satisfying meal of carpaccio at En Dining next door. In addition to a scoop of chai masala gelato (way too sweet). We decided to try the Gelo-Shot, consisting of jello topped with a scoop of the gelato of your choice. We went with trusty vanilla bean, to complement the traditional raspberry jello.

At just $4, and with a name like Gelo-Shot, we expected a tiny portion, possibly served in a shot glass, so imagine our shock when something akin to the size of a highball glass appeared. That’s my hand holding it in the picture, to give you some perspective.

I think this is the best thing there. I loved the pairing of the jello with vanilla gelato. It’s really good value at $4, but if that’s too much (it’s enough for two to share), there’s a mini version at just $2. I think we’ll just go for that next.

A says:

Actually, the $4 one is perfect for 2 to share. Just nice after a meal at En or burger at Renaldo’s.

Swirl Gelateria
#01-04/05 Crown Centre
557 Bukit Timah Road
Tel: 6464-6180
Open daily, 11 am to 11 pm

Loong Fatt Tau Sar Piah

C says:

Even with 611 Tau Sar Piah’s departure from Balestier Road (they’ve moved to concentrate solely on their VivoCity outlet, and rebranded themselves as “Little Red Shop”), there’s still no shortage of tau sar piah shops there. Today we decided to try the original Loong Fatt Tau Sar Piah, right at the end of Balestier Road, towards the Thomson Road junction.

They make everything by hand here, and it’s hard to imagine being the person meticulously rolling out the shortcrust pastry blob by painstaking blob. The kitchen is as old-school as it gets, but somehow there’s a very chill-out vibe amongst the kitchen helpers as well as the people taking the orders. For a famous joint, they’re all very friendly, nothing like the surly and grouchy people at the other famous confectionary, Tan Hock Seng along Telok Ayer Street.

The effort certainly shows in the finished product. These tau sar piahs are absolutely fabulous – the pastry is soft, flaky and buttery, and there are no gaping hollows between the filling and the pastry, indicating that it’s freshly baked. They’re also much more generous with the filling than 611 Tau Sar Piah.

This is definitely my new favourite tau sar piah place, but the queue and shortage of parking means I don’t think we’ll be coming here all that often. Still, I guess that makes it all the more special when we do have it.

A says:

I prefer the Little Red Shop ones just because the sweet ones are sweeter and salty ones are saltier. May not be as refined, but they’ve got a bit more ummph.

Loong Fatt Eating House and Confectionery
639 Balestier Road
Tel: 6253-4584

Friday, September 21, 2007

Joycelyn Shu’s Cupcake Class

C says:

I’ve come to the conclusion that for commercially viable cupcakes, taste is secondary. Prettily decorated cupcakes are bound to be a hit, and no one really cares whether they taste good or not. I attended Joycelyn Shu’s cupcake workshop this afternoon with C (last minute cancellations and being on the waitlist ensured us a space), and while it was very informative and instructional, the bulk of the teaching and hands-on process was devoted to icing and decorating, not baking the cupcakes. In fact, out of 12 cupcakes – 6 Valrhona Chocolate and 6 Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla – we only got to bake the Valrhona ones ourselves. The vanilla ones were pre-baked for us so that we could concentrate on decorating.

We were taught feathering techniques using an icing made with just icing sugar and cream. The icing can be flavoured or tinted, but it’s still really sweet. This was quite an easy technique – just apply one coat of icing all over the cake, pipe stripes of a different coluor before the base sets, and draw a toothpick to and fro to create the feathering.

We also worked with marzipan, something that doesn’t taste too good but is good to decorate with. The coloured marzipan was pre-made for us, so the shades were a bit garish for my liking. We learnt how to make a rose, creating petals by pressing a few balls of marzipan flat, curling one into a cone for the rose ‘bud’, then adding the rest of the petals around the bud.

Apparently, as a better-tasting alternative to marzipan, we can use chocolate putty, made from melted chocolate and corn syrup. If we use white chocolate putty, it can be tinted just like marzipan. I’m keen to try this out, but at class we just worked with dark chocolate putty. I made another rose, just to see if it was as malleable as marzipan. It’s slightly more fiddly but the rose turned out ok in the end.

We also made marzipan bees, and sweetpea pods, so as you can see, I did learn a lot in terms of decorating techniques, but not how to make a kick-ass base cake. Then again, that doesn’t seem to be the emphasis when it comes to cupcakes. Well, I’m aiming to reach a compromise, between cakes that taste decent, and reasonably prettily decorated. Aiming is the operative word – watch this space :)

A says:

Not a big fan of the frosting. Pretty, but I prefer a nice, simple taste (that’s not like a neighbourhood bakery’s). As good as the chocolate base one was, I prefer some of the other cupcakes C has made.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Donut Factory

C says:

Behold! A box of Glazed Donut Factory donuts! And the best part is, we didn’t have to queue more than 5 minutes for them. Because we were at Suntec, we decided to pop by the new branch there, and figured if the queue wasn’t too insane, we’d join it. Well, at about 8 pm on a Monday night, there were only about 5 people in the queue, so I got my donuts in no time at all.

This branch has an adjoining café as well, where you can actually sit down and order coffee, sandwiches and, yes, donuts. A way to beat the queues (cos I’m sure this branch will start getting crowded once more people cop on to the fact that it’s here) is to order the donuts two at a time, because there’s a separate takeaway queue for coffee, sandwiches and up to 2 donuts.

Being a purist, I didn’t bother with the weird flavours like kaya white chocolate, spicy cheese and lotus mocha. I went straight for the glazed so that I can compare them to Krispy Kreme. Although I did change my mind while waiting for A, and got 2 extra flavoured ones from the takeaway counter – a strawberry white chocolate, and a mint dark chocolate. The white chocolate was way too sweet; the mint dark wasn’t bad but I’ll just stick to the glazed.

Verdict? Eaten fresh on the day itself, this possibly rivals Krispy Kreme Original Glazed that have been kept for a day or so, i.e. those that we bring back with us on our overseas trips after surviving the flight. It doesn’t come close to ‘hot off the line’ Original Glazed ones though, nor even at the store within a few hours after they’re made, but then again those are in a class of their own.

Having said that, we kept the rest in the fridge and had them the next morning, microwaving them a few seconds. Quite a disappointment – whereas Krispy Kreme keeps and reheats reasonably well, at least for a few days, these really don’t. Less than 12 hours after buying them, and they tasted quite stodgy and flat. That’s not to say that we won’t keep buying them, as long as there’s no queue. For lack of Krispy Kreme here, these are a fairly ok substitute. Just eat them within a few hours of buying them.

This just in: I went to their website and it appears that they’re opening a third branch in Novena Square soon. This could either be a good thing, or else quality may suffer from having too many outlets. Time will tell.

A says:

These taste good only when fresh so don’t keep ’em for too long. Would like to try the café and check out the savoury donuts. Won’t get my hopes up though as the non-original glazed donuts are rather blah.

Donut Factory
#01-193 Suntec City Tower 3

Monday, September 17, 2007

Hamoru Japanese Restaurant

C says:

Hamoru is located within the fairly new Food Republic at Suntec City. Amidst the usual offerings at a Food Republic, like the prawn noodles and chicken rice, Hamoru is actually a Japanese restaurant within the food court, with its own separate seating area. A was a little hesitant at first (maybe he didn’t trust “food court” Japanese), but after seeing a particularly interesting offering on the menu, we decided to give it a try.

That item was the Shiok!!! Maki. A creation of the restaurant, this features grilled eel and avocado with sushi rice, wrapped with slices of salmon then seared with a blowtorch, and finally topped with cod roe and a wicked mayo-based sauce. Quite a mouthful just to describe, but this was amazing. I would come back here just for this dish. They don’t skimp on the ingredients, and the seared salmon is incredibly flavourful, and goes very well with the creamy mayo sauce. And at $15 for 8 pieces of sushi, it’s not expensive considering all the ingredients.

Speaking of their aburi skills, we also tried their aburi salmon, for $3.50 a pair. Portions are slightly smaller than the Sushi Tei ones, but it made up for its size by the burst of aburi flavour. Very good; better than the one at En Dining that costs twice as much.

We ordered a couple of other dishes to go with their garlic rice – a stir fried ginger-miso pork, and a grilled giant squid. The garlic rice was good, albeit a bit heavy on the garlic. The pork was a tad too gingery, even for me. We ordered the squid grilled just with salt (you can choose between salt grilled, and teriyaki sauce), which was nice and smoky when it first arrived. Unfortunately it was served with a salad with sesame dressing, so after a while the dressing soaked into the squid and made it a bit soggy.

Halfway through the meal, I noticed the additional menu on another table, and reached over to take a look. It turned out to be a yakitori menu! Argh! If I had known they served yakitori, I wouldn’t have ordered the pork or the squid. Undeterred, we ordered a couple of skewers for future reference – a chicken liver, and asparagus wrapped with bacon. The asparagus was pretty good, quite salty and the asparagus was nice and tender. The chicken was out of this world. Lightly brushed with teriyaki sauce, a nice charred smokiness and best of all, the liver was perfectly cooked so it was still a bit runny inside.

This was quite a find, and I’ve already spotted a few other things on the yakitori menu that I’d like to try. They’re not as cheap as I thought, because prices quoted are per stick, not per pair, but still fairly reasonable compared to some other joints.

A says:

The Shiok!!! Maki is exactly that. It wasn’t crowded since it was a Monday night and the service was excellent. Definitely tops amongst the many things to eat at Suntec.

Hamoru Japanese Restaurant
Suntec City Convention Hall, Unit 16 (Food Republic)
Tel: 6820-8569
Open: 10am to 10pm (Sundays to Thursdays), 10am to 11pm (Fridays, Saturdays and eve of public holidays)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Pasta again

C says:

Broke out the new pasta machine today. I got a rather el cheapo one from Isetan, because I still don’t know how much mileage I’m going to get out of it. Sure, I get a kick out of making pasta now, but it could well be a phase, so I didn’t want to invest in an over-posh one, only to have it become a kitchen white elephant.

It’s a simple little thing, with a clamp that affixes it to your worktop to keep it steady while you’re cranking away. The pasta dough itself was simple enough to make – 100g of all purpose flour for every egg, and just knead away. This is where A came in handy. After resting the dough for a while, I was ready to roll it out, through the various settings from 1 to 9.

(Unintentional artistic shot – check out A’s reflection in the pasta machine)

I must say the cutting functions didn’t work too well. Not sure if the pasta sheet wasn’t floured enough when I passed it through the cutters, but they didn’t cut cleanly. Or maybe it’s because it's an el cheapo machine… In the end it was easier to just cut it manually.

I tried to make a seafood pasta with a prawn and cream sauce, using a stock that I made out of the prawn shells. The sauce tasted prawny enough on its own, but once the pasta was added I could barely taste it. Have to remember next time to make the sauce way more concentrated, so that it holds its own once the pasta comes along.

Not sure what my next pasta will be – a simple Bolognese, or maybe a repeat of the clam one that I made a few weeks ago.

A says:

I was scared it would taste like chinese prawn noodles (hae mee, which I hate). Thankfully, it wasn’t bad with the scallops being quite meaty. I still don’t like prawns though.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


C says:

It probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do, starting to make these at 10.30 pm on Friday night. The whole process took way longer than expected, and I ended up sleeping at 3.30 am. *yawn*

Each aspect is actually fairly easy to make – the pastry cream filling is just a simple custard, lightened with whipped cream. The Pate A Choux pastry used to make the actual éclairs and the chocolate glaze were also quite quick. The time consuming parts were piping the pastry into éclair shaped strips (they ended up decidedly uneven), waiting for each batch to be baked (takes almost 40 minutes per batch), and the hardest and most fiddly part – filling them with the pastry cream.

Still, when you combine whipped cream and chocolate, most people will forgive a few cracks, splits and oozes. These éclairs seemed to be fairly well received, so I guess I’ll be making them again soon. Only next time, I’m devoting an entire day to going through each step at my leisure.

A says:

C’s best baking bounty to date!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Les Bouchons

C says:

Les Bouchons is the casual neighbourhood bistro version of its sister restaurant L’Angelus. The branch that we went to is just up the road from L’Angelus, on Ann Siang Road, but they have recently opened a second branch – Les Bouchon Rive Gauche – at Robertson Quay, at what used to be River Café at the Tyler Print Institute.

While L’Angelus is more chi-chi and fine dining, Les Bouchons is decidedly more casual and friendly. It also has a very limited one-page menu, focusing solely on grilled steaks (with some perfunctory seafood thrown in).

I like the ambience here much more. It’s unintimidating, and there aren’t as many chi-chi folk and whiners to make us feel out of place. The young waitstaff are very polite, if just a tad all over the place, but that just serves to make me feel more at ease. A and I were pretty hungry on Friday night, and were up for a big hunka meat (heh), and we were in luck – when I called at 6.45 they still had a couple of tables available for the night. (Reservations recommended – while we were there, a family was turned away because they were fully booked).

We shared the terrine maison with pork and chicken liver. In a word – rustic. This wasn’t silky smooth or refined, but rather chunky and comforting. It wasn’t served with toast, but we had it with the complimentary bread rolls so that was ok.

We decided to take advantage of the fact that we were hungry, and ordered the Cote de Boeuf – a massive 1 kg prime rib on the bone for 2 persons. This was a pretty good piece of meat; sweet and flavourful, and well grilled. It was grilled on the bone, and apparently meat cooked on the bone is always tastier, because of the connective tissue that holds the meat to the bone. The meat was slightly unevenly cooked, with some parts almost medium and some were rare, even though we asked for medium rare, but all in all, it was a good steak. I can’t help but think that the entrecote steak that we had at L’Angelus on our first visit was still better though.

Every steak order comes with a free flow of home-made frites, as well as a house salad with mustard vinaigrette. These were no- frills fries, but some of the best I’ve had, and the salad was perfectly dressed, with each leaf coated with dressing. I would’ve have had more if I didn’t have the mound of meat to finish.

While the entrecote at L’Angelus (the first time anyway) is probably a more superior steak, I’ll probably head to Les Bouchons if I get another steak craving. Because of its ambience, L’Angelus is more of an event restaurant, whereas I’ll feel quite comfortable popping into Les Bouchons any day.

A says:

Like Iron Maiden in their prime, the rib RAWKED!

But unless you’re really hungry, it’s way too huge and you’ll probably get sick halfway through. The free-flow fries and salad are really good too. Plus as C forgot to mention, they give you a selection of 5 different kinds of condiments. I think I’ll stick with a mix of regular and whole-grain mustard for the meat, and the mayo for the fries. Rawking strong but not bitter coffee too.

Les Bouchons
7 Ann Siang Road
Tel: 6423-0737
Lunch: Monday to Friday 12 to 2 pm
Dinner: Monday to Saturday 7 – 10 pm

Thursday, September 13, 2007

King George at Adam Road: Update

C says:

AAARRRRGGGHHH!!! The latest place to fall victim to the A&C curse is none other than King George Delights at Adam Road Food Centre. After a rather long (about 2 months) hiatus from the gym due to A’s workload and illness, we’re getting back into our gym groove and went to Adam Road for a post-gym dinner tonight.

King George is GONE! When I asked the Seafood BBQ man whether they were renovating, he said they closed down due to lack of business.

SOB. Their fish soup ROCKED! And it was the only place to get a healthy post-run dinner too. Where on earth can we go now?!

If anyone out there knows where King George might have relocated to, please please let us know.

A says:

I preferred the fried rice.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tuckshop: Update

C says:

Since our last trip 2 months ago, the word on Tuckshop has certainly spread, because it was absolutely packed when we tried to go tonight. We ended up getting take-out, because there was a 10 – 15 minute wait just to get a table.

The menu has changed slightly. They’ve removed the loser pizzas (not a moment too soon), and added a few new sandwiches, like Chicken Satay, and Grilled Halloumi. They’ve also got a new main – Lamb Racks, which we decided to try, in addition to the steak sandwich that we couldn’t not get.

The Lamb Racks come with a portion of house salad and nutmeg mash. They were very good, even after a 30 minute trip in the car before eating. At $18 they’ve very pricey though, and in my opinion not quite worth it. The lamb was very flavourful but very small, and to make things worse, while the menu clearly states “4 nice pan seared lamb racks”, we only got 3!!

The steak sandwich was, as usual, faultless, and the calamari was very good tonight as well. Pity the place is so packed now, but I guess that’s what happens when you serve good food at reasonable prices.

A says:

Standards are inconsistent. Have had so-so calamari and steak sandwich before. Still, this meal was really good, even after 30mins in the take-out box.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

“Christmas” dinner

C says:

I’ve been meaning to try my hand at roasting a turkey for ages now, and I certainly don’t want my virgin turkey attempt to be Christmas Eve, and risk depriving the family of dinner. I decided to practice on some guinea pigs… er, friends… and ordered a turkey from The Butcher. Gotta give credit to the Butcher for sourcing a turkey for me at this odd time of year. I made inquiries at Indoguna and Tierneys, both of whom don’t sell turkeys till at least October. The Butcher even thawed my turkey so that it was perfectly defrosted on the day I collected it. Props to them.

I wanted to go the whole hog, and decided to both brine the turkey and stuff butter under the skin, for maximum moistness potential. For the brine, I added flavour with honey, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaves (one of the most underrated herbs, in my opinion), and brined the bird overnight. I then stuffed garlic butter under the skin, dumped it in the oven and hoped for the best.

Turned out pretty ok, I guess. It was a challenge ensuring the legs were cooked while preventing the breast from being overdone, and as a result the breast wasn’t quite as moist as I would’ve liked, but all things considered, I’m quite pleased. The biggest challenge was hefting the 6 kg bird in and out of the oven while trying not to get burned, spilling the juices or dropping the whole thing. I have until December to pump some iron before I tackle my next bird…

W brought the most amazing garlic mashed potatoes, topped with sliced potatoes and rosemary, nicely browned in the oven. The mash rocked – it was smooth and creamy (and W didn’t even use a ricer, heh), and just garlicky enough.

I made a starter of magret de canard with grilled peppers, rocket and baby spinach, tossed with my standard balsamic dressing. I got the frozen duck breasts from Tierney’s, and marinated them with soy, honey and grated ginger for a few hours before pan frying them. It’s insane how much fat was rendered from the skin. Very flavourful fat though, so I couldn’t resist using some of it to grill the red peppers, and also added a couple of spoonfuls to the salad dressing.

I made lava cakes for dessert but they were quite a disappointment. I’m not sure what I did wrong – maybe it’s because I used couverture rather than my usual Carrefour chocolate. Or maybe it’s because I hand whisked it using of using an electric mixer.

All in all, I would’ve been pretty pleased with the dinner if my lava cakes hadn’t let me down. Still, notwithstanding those, I’m glad I managed to pull off the roast turkey. A few tweaks to the recipe and process, and I should be all set for Christmas.

A says:

Duck RAWKED! C’s turkey was very good and tender, even if it didn’t taste very turkey-ish. W’s mash was also quite good. Too bad the lava cakes weren’t up to C’s usual standard. Or it would have been an awesome 3-course meal.

Update: I had turkey cold the next day and it tastes more like regular turkey now. And it’s even better.

Saturday, September 08, 2007


C says:

We headed over to Bukit Timah Plaza on Saturday morning to check out the new FairPrice Finest. Overrated, in my opinion. It does have an interesting bakery and patisserie section, but for posh ingredients like Maldon sea salt, you still have to go to Cold Storage Jelita or Jason’s.

We had lunch at Wishbone, an old school restaurant at B2 which has been around for absolutely eons. It’s a family restaurant serving traditional Hainanese food and Chinese takes on Western food. A bit like Han’s, really. A had the chicken rice, and I had the curry chicken.

They weren’t the best chicken rice or curry chicken I’ve ever had, but I like the whole vibe of the place. And while we were too full that day, they do good ice cream sundaes too.

They weren’t very crowded compared to the rest of the eating places in Bukit Timah Plaza, but the fact that they’re still around after so many years means I guess they must be doing something right.

A says:

Blast from the past! I used to come here way back in the day and I’m happy to see it’s still around. It’s smaller now and the ice cream parlor has merged with the restaurant but the food has pretty much stayed the same. The rice and soup were very good even if the chicken was only so-so. Best thing about the place is still the desserts. Milkshake here is under $3 and they’ve got other cool desserts with a local twist.

Wishbone Restaurant
1 Jalan Anak Bukit
#B2-05 Bukit Timah Plaza
Tel: 6733-3777

Friday, September 07, 2007

En Dining

C says:

This is a branch of the joint on Mohamed Sultan Road. They opened their Bukit Timah branch at Crown Centre (next to Renaldo’s) a few months ago, but somehow they don’t seem to be doing as brisk a business as I expected. They ought to be able to tap the well-heeled Bukit Timah set who doesn’t want to brave the crowds and parking situation at Mohamed Sultan, but on Friday night it was ¼ full at best.

We ordered a few old favourites from the other branch, like the Wafu Spaghetti (cod roe sauce) and the Garlic Fried Rice, both of which were as good as I remember. The crispy garlic slices in the rice were really fragrant, and while the wafu spaghetti was more subtle in comparison, I still really like the flavour.

We ordered some aburi sushi, to compare it to the one at Sushi Tei.We had the aburi swordfish and salmon belly – while the fish was very good and very fresh, it was barely seared so it didn’t have that nice smoky flavour that the Sushi Tei one has.

We also tried their mixed yakitori platter, which consists of tsukune (chicken meat balls), teriyaki chicken, enoki mushroom wrapped with bacon, chilli peppers, chicken soft bone (the centre bit in between the breasts – not cleavage, har har) and chicken wing. The soft bone was a disaster – it wasn’t well grilled, and was hard, crunchy and tastless. I only managed to eat 2 small pieces. The rest of the skewers weren’t bad but not as good as those from a specialty yakitori place like Kazu.

The best item here, and what we’ll be returning for again and again, is the beef carpaccio. Unlike the carpaccios served in Western/Italian joints, the meat here isn’t wafer thin. I find that a good thing, since you’re supposed to be able to actually taste the meat in a good carpaccio. The meat here was cut to about 3 mm in thickness, slightly seared, and incredibly tender and flavourful thanks to the marbling. It was drizzled with a tart ponzu sauce, and was one of the best carpaccios I’ve ever had. At $15 for that large plate, I think it’s pretty good value too.

A perfect light meal here would be the carpaccio, garlic rice and wafu spaghetti. In fact, we might come back next week for more.

A says:

Awesome carpaccio! And not horribly expensive too. I’ll definitely be back for this and the garlic rice. And we probably should go soon. Considering the place was only half full on a Fri night, it may soon be hit by the A&C curse.

En Dining
557 Bukit Timah Road
#01-14/16 Crown Centre
Tel: 6468-5710

Corduroy Cafe

C says:

Corduroy Café at VivoCity is no different from the rest of the joints in the Corduroy & Finch network. Just like Corduroy & Finch along Bukit Timah Road and the now defunct Uberburger, I give it top marks for ambience, but where it matters (to us, anyway) – the food and the service – it falls woefully short.

We were on leave on Friday, and were strolling around VivoCity trying to find a place for brunch before watching Ratatouille (good show!). A felt like sandwiches, so we decided to give Corduroy Café another try. The last time we came here was for supper, so we didn’t get to sample much of the food.

I was immediately a bit put off by the fact that everything that I wanted to order wasn’t available. There was no pate, and there wasn't any panini for my steak sandwich so I had to have it on ciabatta instead.

When my sandwich eventually arrived (long after A had finished his sandwiches), it was ok but nothing special. The ciabatta was over toasted, and the steak was a bit tough and dry, and not particularly flavourful. Only the sautéed mushrooms and cheddar cheese saved it. Give me the steak sandwich at Tuckshop any time.

A was craving something, anything, with smoked salmon, and surprisingly there was nary a smoked salmon sandwich on the menu. We eventually spotted some finger sandwiches in the display counter - $2 each and $10 for 6 – so we got a selection of them. Smoked salmon, salami, chicken & cucumber and mushroom. The toppings were good but nothing spectacular, and the scrambled egg just tumbled everywhere when we tried to bite it.

I must say that the décor of the place is lovely, and the view of the sea is quite stunning. But the food itself is vastly overrated. Maybe it’s more of a dessert place than a place for savoury fare, but I’m not sure that we’ll be back to give their desserts a try.

A says:

The sandwiches were really good, but not something I’d specifically go for. This is probably a cool place for dessert, but I’d skip the food. The milkshake is over rated as well.

Corduory Café
1 Harbourfront Walk
#01-106 VivoCity
Tel: 6376-9895
Sunday to Thursday & Public Holidays: 10.30 am to 11 pm
Friday, Saturday & Eve of Public Holidays: 10.30 am to 12 am