Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sin Thor Bak Koot Teh

C says

Sin Thor Bak Koot Teh is apparently pretty famous; it’s the one that used to be at Eunos MRT, and later moved to Aliwal Road. It’s moved to the Kopitiam at Pasir Panjang Wholesale Centre, and colleague C was kind enough to give me the recommendation, since that area is now our kampong.

To be as objective as possible, we ordered our usual – the long pork ribs, giam chye, you tiao and added a braised tau pok as well.

The verdict? It was ok, and certainly better than Ng Ah Sio, but it still ain’t no Founder. The meat on the ribs came clean off the bone, but it was still quite tough and dry. The soup wasn’t very peppery, and big minus point for me is that they threw in a bunch of coriander, which I had to fish out asap. The giam chye wasn't too bad, though.

Founder is still the best bak kut teh, in my opinion. By a mile.

A says:

The soup was interesting and the you tiao was great. But otherwise, definitely not worth making a special trip down for.

Sin Thor Bak Koot Teh
Block 1, Pasir Panjang Wholesale Centre
Stall #01-02, Kopitiam

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


C says:

Another awesome meal at Valentino. This time we had the burrata and the lobster pasta, both of which eluded us during our last visit. This is kind of our last hurrah before we embark on a slightly more cholesterol-friendly diet next year. We’re still atetoomuch, and we won’t say no to a good burrata on a special occasion, but no more cheese platters for no real reason any more. Time to face facts – we ain’t no spring chickens no more.

Anyway, the burrata was outstanding. Paired with fabulous cherry tomatoes (the tomatoes here are always so wonderfully flavourful and sweet) and good olive oil, the creaminess of the cheese was to die for, and a fitting yet bittersweet farewell to the rich foods that we know and love. Sigh.

They had the octopus starter again so we ordered that, but I think it was grilled slightly too long so it wasn’t as orgasmic as when we first tried it. I still liked the contrast of the tender octopus and the smoky charred exterior, but some parts were a tad chewy.

The lobster pasta with pink sauce was excellent as usual. If I had one complaint, it would be that I wish they reverted to deshelling the lobster like they did previously. By the time I managed to shell both halves, the pasta was no longer piping hot. But I do appreciate that some people like to see the actual crustacean, so that they know that they’re getting what they paid for.

In the spirit of Christmas, we (perhaps erroneously, on hindsight) ordered the turkey roulade wrapped with parma ham, and served on a bed of mashed potatoes. The potatoes were great – creamy without being too rich and buttery, and the parma ham really added a kick to the turkey. Still, this lacked the oomph that the kitchen is capable of.

We need another special occasion to come back here soon. Maybe an early Valentine’s dinner? Hmm…

A says:

Another winning meal with awesome service.

Ristorante da Valentino
11 Jalan Bingka (off Rifle Range Road)
Tel: 6462-0555
Tuesday to Sunday: 12 pm to 2.30 pm, 6 pm to 10.30 pm

Carl’s Jr

C says:

Quick one. After hearing cousin C wax lyrical about Carl’s Jr’s Thickburgers, we decided to try it for ourselves when we were at Vivocity today. We shared the Portobello Mushroom one, which in my opinion is the best Carl’s Jr burger flavour.

Thank goodness we shared it, and now I know what their tagline “It’s gonna get messy” means. This was absolutely impossible to eat as a burger. I had to do the loser thing and asked for a knife, and ate it deconstructed.

It’s really good cos you get a full-on beefy rush, but personally I’ll stick to the regular Portobello burger in future. At least I can eat it as a proper burger. Oh, their hand cut skin-on fries rock as well. I’d much rather have the burgers here than the lacklustre one that we had at Meatworks.

A says:

It’s really expensive as fast food goes, but definitely worth it for a treat. If you’re not on a diet.

Monday, December 27, 2010


C says:

Another blast from the past. Presented with limited choices at IMM when we had dinner with A’s folks, he decided on… Swensen’s. He was probably trying to recapture his youth as he advances in age (happy birthday, A). Unfortunately, either the standard has deteriorated, or our palates have gotten more honed, but this really didn’t do very much for us.

A’s folks ordered a set, which came with a soup of the day. No effort was made to tell us what the soup was, so we were left guessing and even after tasting it, I still can’t figure out what the flavour was supposed to be. Maybe carrot? Possibly pumpkin? Oh well.

Between the 4 of us, we had the lasagne, fish and chips, a hamburger pizza, and beef stroganoff baked rice. The latter two were the only things that were noteworthy, mainly because they were fairly interesting. The pizza was a deconstructed hamburger on a pizza base – minced beef, cheese, onions and pickles.

The beef stroganoff rice was actually pretty decent, but quite Asian-inspired. The beef tasted like Chinese-style stewed beef brisket, so I wasn’t complaining.

The chocolate milkshake was the main reason that A chose Swensen’s, but I think he was slightly disappointed. The milkshake wasn’t properly blended, so there was a whole chunk of ice cream that still hadn’t melted.

Service was terrible. We had a very surly restaurant manager that looked and behaved like he’d rather be anywhere else. Trust me, dude, the feeling was mutual.

A says:

Old school blast from the past. The service (except for the cashier who went out of her way to help us) was horrible. The food came out quickly though. The standard’s passable if you stick to those labelled “All-time favourite”. And if you keep your expectations low. The biggest disappointment of the night was the chocolate milkshake. Sigh.

Not recommended unless you’re trying to be ironic.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Best. Christmas. Gift. Ever.

C says:

For the second year running, my lovely aunt presented us with a delectable Christmas gift – an entire side of smoked salmon. That’s 1 kg of smoky, savoury goodness just for us. I like smoked salmon but this is all A. He was practically salivating when I was carefully portioning the slices into separate bags for easy thawing.

I start out having grand plans of making everything from little hors d’oeuvres and pasta with a smoked salmon and lemon cream sauce. But the festive period laziness usually gets the better of me, and more often than not we end up savouring the salmon on toasted bagels with a schmear of cream cheese, a squeeze of lemon and some sliced red onion.

Merry Christmas, one and all.

A says:

Awesome. I might actually OD on salmon and get mercury poisoning.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ma Maison

C says:

We were at Parco at about 8 pm on a Friday so needless to say, there was a line outside Nantsuttei. We didn't want to wait, so instead we wandered around the rest of the restaurants and chanced upon Ma Maison, an eatery with somewhat of an identity crisis. The food is typical European done Japanese style – Hamburg steak (which seems to be their specialty), and Japanese-style pastas. The decor is also a mish mash, with curios from US, UK and Germany, to name a few.

We decided to try one of each – a Hamburg steak, and a pasta. We tried the special Hamburg steak, which was stuffed with a scallop. A bit strange, but quite a pleasant surprise to slice into it and find a whole scallop. The patty was quite flavourful and it had a nice char to it.

We had the Japanese pasta with egg, bacon and mushrooms, but more of a sautéed style rather than the expected carbonara. This was decent but the Hamburg steak was much better.

Service was good, and it’s interesting how they present you with the “bill” – a big key which you then bring to the cash counter to make payment.

We just missed the opening of their Ma Maison dessert cafe, which is slated to open tomorrow (18 December), also at Parco. Bummer, cos they sell Japanese style desserts and I really would’ve liked to try them. Guess another visit to Parco is on the cards.

A says:

This old school French-themed Jap coffee house is interesting to check out. The food’s decent and the service is excellent, but other than for a gimmicky kind of meal, not really someplace I’d regularly frequent.

Ma Maison
9 Raffles Boulevard
PARCO Marina Bay
Tel: 6338-9391

Friday, December 10, 2010

Madison Deli

C says:

The Marina Bay Link Mall is now our destination of choice when we have no other plans on a Friday night. Compared to the chaos of the mall at lunch times, it’s pretty deserted in the evenings, which means being able to get a table at practically any restaurant there without any prior reservations.

Tonight we decided to have something light, and tried the sandwiches at Madison Deli. Madison Deli is opened by an ex-banker from New York, who decided to open his own joint after not being able to find decent delis in Singapore that serve authentic New York fare. To ensure quality and standards, almost everything is made in-house, from the roast beef to the coleslaw. In fact, one of the reasons he doesn’t currently have a Reuben sandwich on the menu, is because he hasn’t been able to find pastrami that lives up to his high expectations.

The roast beef here is outstanding. Tender, flavourful and sliced into paper thin slices, it features in a number of sandwiches here. A tried the Jersey Special, which had roast beef, coleslaw, swiss cheese and Russian dressing on a Turkish bun. For someone who’s not a huge sandwich fan, this was a damn good one.

While many of the roast beef sandwiches looked enticing, we decided to try another meat so I had the Madison BBQ pork sandwich, with hand pulled pork, homemade bbq sauce, coleslaw and jalapeno relish on a toasted ciabattaThis was good too, but I found it a tad too tart and acidic for liking, specially compared to the awesome beef sandwich.

I must admit that as good as the sandwiches here are, I’m rarely in a mood where I actually crave a sandwich, but I know A sometimes does, so when I’m feeling ambivalent about where we eat and if he really wants this, I won’t be averse to it. Compared to, say, Subway.

A says:

Great sandwich. Although for $13 for a more premium sandwich, it’s a bit on the expensive side. We’ll definitely be back at some point though.

Madison Deli
#B2-68/69 Marina Bay Financial Centre
Weekdays: 8 am to 10 pm
Weekends: 10 am to 10 pm

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


C says:

We celebrated the end of our leave with lunch at Clifford at Fullerton Bay Hotel. One of the main reasons I wanted to come here was because I’d tried the food at Lantern, which apparently shares a kitchen with Clifford. The (albeit overpriced) truffle fries at Lantern were so awesome that I really wanted A to try them.

They have a set lunch at Clifford, but the menu was pretty sad today because I think some places are now pretty full on with their festive menus, and Clifford is no exception. Needless to say, pumpkin and chestnut soup or roast capon roll is not how I want to experience Clifford, so we ended up ordering off the a la carte menu. We decided to share 3 starters and a main.

To start, we had the lobster and scallop carpaccio with black truffle. I was a bit surprised because from the description on the menu, I expected the lobster to be raw as well. Still, this was very good. Maybe a tad too acidic and I don’t think the truffles were strictly necessary, but a promising first dish.

A wanted the French onion soup, but this was very ordinary and watered down, and the cheese crouton on top was almost like an afterthought and not very cheesy at all.

At least the fries didn’t disappoint. The truffle oil was a bit inconsistently distributed, but the shoestring fries were great – really crispy on the outside and still soft and fluffy inside. This gets my vote for best truffle fries in Singapore. Plus they serve Heinz ketchup, so bonus point there.

Then the main arrived, and standards dropped again. We ordered the roasted cod with a saffron and chorizo risotto. The seasoning on the dish was way too delicate, and the risotto was a terrible let down. It was overcooked, mushy, and still flavourless despite the chunks of chorizo which should have given it some serious flavour.

Except for the carpaccio and the fries, the food here was quite disappointing. Plus I was quite unimpressed with the service. First, they gave us the wrong menu – the dinner menu rather than the lunch menu. Then we were served by a waitress who, while being very civil to us, gave me the distinct impression that she was rolling her eyes at us internally for (a) not ordering sparkling or still water, (b) not having wine, and (c) sharing our orders.

Poor service seems to be the order of the day at the hotel in general – my visit to Lantern was also let down by terribly slow and simply inept service.

A says:

The food was totally not worth the price.

80 Collyer Quay
Fullerton Bay Hotel
Tel: 6597-5288
Breakfast: 6.30 am to 10.30 am
Lunch: 12 noon to 2.30 pm
Dinner: 6.30 pm to 10.30 pm

Friday, December 03, 2010


C says:

We’ve been put off by long snaking queues at ramen joints, so we’ve been refraining from trying places like Ippudo at Mandarin Gallery, and this one, Nantsuttei at Parco Millenia Walk. We happened to be here early on Friday, before 7, and managed to get a table right before the queues started forming.

Their specialty here is ramen with a tonkotsu broth – the milky white pork bone soup. Their unique feature is the addition of a fragrant black “ma yu”, created by frying garlic over 7 phases and blending it into sesame oil. We discovered only after dinner that upon request, they can also ramp up the garlic quotient even more with freshly squeezed “garlic juice”.

A ordered the traditional chashu ramen, which came with lots of spring onion, and a few slices of tender char siew. I ordered the “Dragon Ramen”, which was the same except I had just one slice of char siew, and had some spicy minced pork instead.

As far as ramens go, this was surprisingly light and not very jelak. I expected the broth to be thicker and richer, but this was actually quite delicate. I preferred mine because of the added flavour from the minced pork, but overall I expected more flavour from the ma oil.

So, this is good, but is it worth standing in line for more than 15 minutes during peak hours? Not in my opinion.

A says:

Between the two Ramen joints there, I’d recommend this one for sure.

9 Raffles Boulevard
#P03-06 Parco Marina Bay, Millenia Walk
Tel: 6337-7166
Open daily: 11.30 am to 10.30 pm

Bangkok Jam

C says:

This is a slightly random post, but we were at Great World City today and decided to try Bangkok Jam for lunch which, as its name suggests, serves Thai food with a modern twist.

We were both drawn to the fried noodles with crab and bacon. This was good – what’s there not to like, with noodles, crab and bacon? A found the noodles a tad too dry though, as they started clumping up and had to be loosened with some soup.

The tom yum kway teow soup was ok, but I found it a little too sweet and without the added chilli padi, it lacked a bit of kick. I must say they were very generous with the ingredients though – full of seafood and mushrooms.

My favourite, unsurprisingly, was the chicken wing starter. First off, they only serve the wing portion, and to make it even easier to eat, they cut that into half. It was served with dried chilli, cashew nuts and some very addictive but potent fried garlic.

We were quite surprised that the place was almost full for a weekday lunch, but after trying the food it was understandable. The food was better than expected and fairly reasonable, and I think we’ll be coming back for more whenever we’re at Great World.

A says:

Surprisingly good. The Thai Iced Tea wasn’t as great as I expected though.

Bangkok Jam
1 Kim Seng Promenade
#02-26 Great World City
Tel: 6732-4523
Weekdays: 11.30 am – 3 pm; 6 pm – 10 pm
Weekends: 11.30 am – 10 pm