Sunday, December 29, 2013

Oca Grassa

C says:

My faith in beef has been somewhat restored. New(ish) restaurant Oca Grassa on Bukit Pasoh Road is a charming Italian restaurant specialising in beef - specifically, their star dish, the Florentine steak. The menu lists a 1.2 kg cut, but you can ask for an 800g cut which is perfect for 2 people to share.

What sets their steaks apart is their unique technique of both curing and aging them in-house. When we went, they had two different types of Florentine steak available - aged for differing periods of time. We went for the longer one (either 14 or 30 days, sorry can't remember), since I wanted a full-on beefy experience.

The steak is grilled and served on a disc of Himalayan rock salt, imparting even more flavour and char to the meat. It also acts like a hot plate of sorts, and they provide you with an empty plate to transfer meat if you don't want it to carry on cooking. The steak comes with roasted new potatoes, and confit onions and garlic.

Wow. The combination of the curing/aging process and the flavour and char from the salt disc, makes for an intense flavour experience that made me very happy indeed. I enjoyed the sirloin part of the Florentine for its flavour and ring of very tasty fat; A predictably preferred the tenderloin side.

Their other offerings are worth a mention too. The bread comes with a tomato and basil jam, with a glass of olive oil and home-made balsamic jelly. The texture of  the balsamic jelly is a bit strange, but the syrupy flavour more than makes up for that.

They were out of their char-grilled foie gras starter, so they recommended one of their daily specials - a tortellini filled with foie gras and pork jowl, served with a mushroom and truffle emulsion. This was really good, particularly the sauce which we completely lapped up.

We managed to get a table at fairly short notice on a Friday night, which is good for us but not very good for the restaurant. It was about 3/4 full by 8+, but I somehow expected more of a demand for a table. We'll certainly be back, because at least for now, I think I've found my default place to satisfy my beefy cravings.

A says:

Fantastic. Great food and service. Will definitely be back.

Oca Grassa
6 Bukit Pasoh Road
Tel: 6534-9854
Mon to Sat: 12 noon - 3 pm; 6 pm - 12 mn
Closed Sundays

Thursday, December 26, 2013

"Tai Hwa" Bak Chor Mee at Ghim Moh Market

C says:

I recently found out that a relative (possibly a son but this isn't verified) of the legendary Crawford bak chor mee had opened a stall in Ghim Moh market. Given that the Crawford outlet proudly displays a sign saying they're the one and only with no branches, I assume this latest one is also likewise not an official outlet.

Nevertheless, we decided to try it one day, given (a) how convenient it is for us compared to driving and parking at Crawford, and (b) the queue would almost certainly be less than the almost 1 hour wait.

I managed to find the stall without much effort, and there was only 1 person in line. It's manned solely by the guy so if he needs any toilet breaks, the stall is empty.

Prices are $1 less than at Crawford - I ordered the medium bowl for $5. For the most acuurate taste test possible, I ordered what I usually do at Crawford - dry mee pok, with more chilli and vinegar.

So how did it compare? Well, it definitely wasn't as good, but I expected that. The question is - just how far off was it?

Noodles: The noodles weren't as "kiu" (al dente), which is Crawford's trademark. Here, the noodles were quite soft, without much springiness or bite.

Ingredients: You can't really go wrong with liver, minced pork and pork balls. If I had to criticise, it would be that the wontons here had a bit too much skin.

Soup: Fail. Maybe it was early in the day (11am+), but the soup had absolutely no flavour at all. Not even close to Crawford's rich, sweet soup.

Seasoning: Besides the noodles, one could say that this is the most important aspect of bak chor mee. Because I asked for more chilli and vinegar, I got a pretty tasty and flavourful result. Still, it was definitely lacking something, and I can't quite put my finger on it. It didn't have the savoury umani-ness of Crawford's - I reckon it could be the chilli blend, or maybe Crawford adds some secret tare-like concoction to each bowl; who knows?

All things considered, I'd say it was about 65-70% of the original. Given how much less of a palaver it is, I'd say it's acceptable for a quick fix to satisfy a craving, but I'd still go back to Crawford if I had time to kill.

A says:

It's okay. Good but nothing special. And at least there's no queue.

Friday, December 20, 2013


C says:

We celebrated our 10th (!!) anniversary at good ol' Ember. Judging by the clientele (ourselves included), Ember clearly doesn't bother trying to be the coolest place to be; it works on maintaining a consistent standard of excellent food, attracting regulars who want a good meal without the bells and whistles of the latest place to "be and be seen".

Because we went on a weekend, we didn't get to order the $100 4-course menu that lets you build your own menu from the a la carte selections - that's only available from Mondays to Thursdays. Luckily, their $88 menu happened to have "our" dish - the Chilean seabass so we both opted for the set.

To start, we had the crab cakes and the scallop carpaccio. The crab cakes definitely outshone the scallop, mainly because they were so aggressively flavoured in comparison.

For the next course, we had the deep fried tofu with foie gras mirin sauce, and the lobster bisque. Both are some of our favourite dishes there, as they represent exactly what we love about Ember - nothing fancy, no unnecessary ingredients, just very balanced flavours and great execution.

The Chilean seabass with bacon and mushroom needs no introduction, and as always, was comforting and satisfying. The beef tenderloin with red wine sauce was good too, but my loyalties are with the seabass.

Finally, A had the banana tart with vanilla ice cream, and I had the pear tart with Baileys ice cream. I think kitchen was in a bit of the weeds at this point, because all the tables seemed to be waiting for their desserts. Eventually they arrived - A's was better than mine this time. The pear tart was weighed down somewhat by the streusel topping.

I know we rave about Ember every year, but I love how a meal there, while not chi-chi or particularly current, is dependably always satisfying. A bit like us, eh?

A says:

Always awesome. Definitely a reliable favourite.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Our trip to Hong Kong

C says:

We took a whirlwind eating trip to Hong Kong a couple of weeks ago (one reason for the silence on atetoomuch, sorry!). Although Hong Kong definitely has loads of posh European restaurants, we decided to focus our attention on what they do best, and what simply cannot be replicated here.

Dim, sum, cha chan teng, dun nai (steamed milk) and more dun nai. Even A has been converted; the glorious early winter weather certainly didn't hurt. Can't believe it's been 6 years since our last visit - we'll definitely be back again a lot sooner.

Tai Ping Koon Restaurant

The famous dry fried beef noodles were just so-so, but the Swiss sauce chicken wings and more importantly, the TPK Roast Pigeon, were absolutely divine. The wings were some of the best soy-braised ones I've ever had, and the pigeon was tender, gamey and flavourful all at once.


Australian Dairy Company

Best cha chan teng ever, hands down. The steamed egg (the yellow one) was a bit heavy, but our first mouthful of the dun nai (steamed milk) was bliss. Their scrambled egg sandwiches are also the best we had in Hong Kong - buttery, creamy and eggy.

Pity they're located all the way in Kowloon, or we'd be here every day.

Yee Shun Milk Company

Second best dun nai, and much more conveniently located near our hotel in Causeway Bay. We actually had this twice in one day. They do a cold and a hot dun nai - A prefers the cold because it's like ice cream. I much prefer the hot because you can really taste the flavour of the milk.

Their macaroni soup with luncheon meat and pork chop sandwich were average. I heard that Lan Fong Yuen is better but they changed their opening hours and we missed them by half an hour, grr. Next time.

Kau Kee

Last time we came, we never made it to Kau Kee, and I've been regretting it for 6 years. Finally, I got closure. Their beef brisket noodles are unlike any I've had in Singapore. Firstly, they use fresh yee mien, which is pretty hard to come by and has a really light, springy texture. More importantly, here the broth is a clear yet flavourful beef stock, not the thick spice-laden sauce that you get when you order ngau lam mien here.

The beef brisket is also super tender and flavourful. A had his with hor fun but I think the unanimous consensus is that the yee mien rocks. A couple at our table had a delicious-smelling curry version, so next time we come back I'm going to be torn between the two.

Tim Ho Wan

We've still never managed to go to either of Tim Ho Wan's outposts here (Plaza Sing and Toa Payoh). The most central one in Hong Kong (for us) is the one in the basement of Hong Kong Station, where everyone goes after they've done their Airport Express check-in.

We had their 4 Heavenly Kings - the char siew bolo bao, cheong fun, carrot cake and steamed ma lai gao. The carrot cake and ma lai gao in particular were very good, but I can't help but feel that the char siew bao at Che's was better.

Che's Cantonese Restaurant

Cousin L recommended this dim sum restaurant in Wan Chai. The food was generally good, but their char siew bolo baos deserve special mention. They're overall better than the ones at Tim Ho Wan - more refined, the pastry is thinner and more buttery, and the char siew filling is tastier too. Best part is - the restaurant takes reservations.

Via Tokyo

This is a random mention. On the way back to our hotel we kept seeing queues outside a shop called Via Tokyo. We eventually realisde they sold soft serve ice cream/parfaits, so we tried the vanilla soft serve one day. It was absolutely divine - really thick, creamy and very fine. Best soft ice cream outside of Japan. Another must visit.

So there you have it. The highlights of our Hong Kong eating trip.

A says:

My must-visit place is Australian Dairy Company for egg sandwich and steamed milk. Queues are long but move fast, and it's worth the wait.

Also great is Che's, where the char siew bolo bao is better than Tim Ho Wan.

C left out the great value for money meals at - Tsui Wah. A definite reliable chain char chan ting.

And as usual, the best ice cream comes Via Tokyo. Love it.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Guzman Y Gomez (GYG)

C says:

Our friend KH seems to have achieved the impossible. First, with Two Fat Men he managed to get A to voluntarily drive all the way to East, and for Thai food, no less.

Now, with Guzman Y Gomez, he's managed to convert even me, a die-hard non-lover of Mexican food, into craving their burritos.

KH decided to bring GYG, a popular Mexican chain in Australia, to South East Asia after tasting some of their offerings on one of his trips to Sydney. They launched their first outlet in Singapore, at Asia Square, with a Free Burrito Day. No catch, no hidden terms. Literally, a free full-sized burrito of your choice as your reward for joining the queue.

The turnout was staggering, and they handled it like pros. The queues were insanely long, but they were such a well-oiled machine that the wait was no longer than 10 minutes. I was so impressed with the quality that A and I decided to go back again to do a proper review.

Unless you have a large appetite or are particularly hungry, the full-sized burrito is very filling and will pretty much guarantee a food coma after. The mini burrito may look small, but is more than sufficient for lunch. I had the mini with spicy grilled chicken, guacamole and brown rice - the chicken was tender, nicely grilled and just spicy enough to have some kick.

A tried a trio of tacos, and the great thing about GYG is that you're not forced to have 3 of the same filling. We therefore got a chance to try the steak, slow roasted beef, and the fish.

All 3 were delicious, and I would be hard pressed to pick my favourite filling. The steak was tender, the slow roasted beef packed a ton of flavour, and the fish (they use barramundi) was light and flaky.

They use good ingredients (like barramundi instead of the usual dory), and it shows in the quality and taste of the food. Plus, all orders are cooked and assembled only upon order, so they're freshly made and not sitting around waiting to be reheated.

The lines may look intimidating, but don't be deterred. They're as efficient as they were during Free Burrito Day so you barely have to wait at all. I must admit, I had my misgivings, but if they sustain their present quality then I think they're on to a winning formula. Can't wait for more outlets to open, and in the evenings/on weekends please!

A says:

Awesome except I hate beans. *fart fart fart*
Although I recently found out you can get the quesadillas which don't have beans, or request for no beans when it's not mad packed.
I especially like that when you order the tacos, you can pick different flavours. (My favourites are the two beef ones.)

Guzman Y Gomez
12 Marina View
#02-11 Asia Square Tower 2 Food Garden
Open Mon - Fri: 10 am - 4 pm
Closed on weekends

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Lady M Bakery

C says:

Lady M Bakery from New York allegedly created the concept of mille crepes, so when they opened their first outlet in Marina Square we were curious to find out just how good theirs were. Were they better than our favourite First Love Patisserie?

For one thing, they only have one flavour of mille crepes here at any given time. Due to production and manpower limitations, they can only focus on one flavour at a time.
They only had the original so we tried that. And yes, all things considered, I think it IS slightly better than the one from First Love. The vanilla cream is about the same standard, but Lady M's crepes are thinner and more fragrant.

Still, I don't think the difference is worth almost $2 more per slice, plus I like the varied flavours that First Love offers.

We also tried their cheesecake, which was light and creamy yet intensely cheesy.

All in all, while Lady M's flavours are limited (apparently it may improve when they open their second outlet at One Fullerton), my default will still be First Love.

A says:

The mille crepe here is better than the ones at First Love, but they are also $2 more each. So ultimately, it comes down to how much you want to pay.

Lady M Bakery
6 Raffles Boulevard
#02-103 Marina Square
Tel: 6822-2095
Open daily: 10-30 am - 9 pm

Monday, November 11, 2013

First Love Patisserie

C says:

Mille crepes are by no means new in Singapore. We first tried them a few years ago from Classic Cakes, and while we found it quite interesting, it didn't really grab us. Since then, more places have started offering it, but we've only recently become enamoured with the ones from First Love Patisserie at ION Orchard.

I think one of the reasons we like the mille crepes here is the fact that we can get individual slices, in a range of different flavours. They have original, cappuccino, matcha, oreo, strawberry, and 2 recent additions - belgian chocolate and blueberry.

We've actually tried most of the flavours, and our favourites are the original, cappuccino and oreo. The crepes are quite thin and fluffy, and the cream is light and not overpowering.

The matcha is probably the most underwhelming, and while the belgian chocolate is a good change from the original, die hard chocoholics will be disappointed because it's not particularly chocolatey.

If you buy 4 you get 1 free, which is a great deal but not very great for our diet at all.

A says:

I love mille crepes and these are awesome.

First Love Patisserie
2 Orchard Turn
#B4-63, ION Orchard
Tel: 6238-8006
Open daily: 11 am - 11 pm

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween from Ate Too Much!

RIP Brownie from W39. Deadly Vampire Bat (also known as Sir Simon) from Nici.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

W39 Bistro & Bakery

C says:

I'm glad that there are increasingly more good eats in the West now. W39, opened by 2 sisters whose parents ironically run The Royals Cafe in the East, is situated within a residential neighbourhood at West Coast, amidst fairly nondescript hardware stores, a 7-11 and some prata/briyani shops.

It's been open for a few months now and, despite the less than central location, has been doing pretty well ever since it opened. A taste of their food one Sunday evening explained why - a winning formula of a cheerful and unpretentious vibe, very tasty and well-executed food, at reasonable prices.

We tried their chicken wings (of course) and crab cakes. The wings weren't the best I've ever had, but they were pretty tasty and cooked really well - a nice gingery marinade with a hint of prawn paste, a crispy exterior and very tender and juicy inside. It didn't need the sweet chilli sauce at all. The crab cakes were pretty tasty too.

The seared tuna with avocado salsa, soy glaze and wasabi mayo was a very good version of a by-now rather ubiquitous dish. What differentiated this from bog-standard versions at almost every eatery was, quite simply, the flavours and the execution. Everything was seasoned and cooked perfectly.

The Baked Lamb Ribs with cucumber yogurt and fries was another outstanding dish. Yes, I may still have preferred my ribs to be doused with a little less BBQ sauce, but everything was else so good that I'm willing to concede on this. The meat was tender but not excessively so, and the lamb was really flavourful. The cucumber yogurt was a perfect accompaniment - it was cool, refreshing and added a perfect contrast to the heavier lamb.

Even a seemingly ordinary-looking cup of chocolate mousse was a pleasure. The chocolate was rich but not too intense, and there were nice little cookie bits inside to add texture and prevent it from becoming too monotonous.

This is a great addition to the food scene in the West. We'll definitely be back for more, including their weekend breakfast menu.

A says:

Like! Since we live relatively close by, this is probably going to be a new default place for a lazy weekend dinner.

W39 Bistro & Bakery
39 Jalan Mas Puteh (off West Coast Road)
Tel: 9646-5372
Tues - Fri: 11 am to 10 pm
Sat, Sun & PH: 9 am to 10.30 pm
Closed Mon (except on PHs)

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

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Jamie's Italian

C says:

Against our better judgment, we decided to try getting a table at Jamie's Italian for lunch on Sunday. When we arrived at about 11.45 (they open at noon), the queue was quite frightening. I wanted to give up, but A offered to stand in line while I ran a few errands (of the mooncake and shoe variety) in Vivocity. Sure enough, once they opened their doors and started seating people, we managed to get a table by 12.10.

They have a selection of antipasti planks, either meats, fish or vegetable, that come paired with cheese, bread, olives and some slaw. They charge per person, and I like that there isn't a minimum order - you can just order a portion for one no matter how many diners in your party.

The fish one comprised of some battered dory with an aioli dip, baked mussels and clams, a smoked mackerel terrine on toast with olives and pickled chilli, a carrot and beet slaw, beet-cured salmon and pecorino cheese with chilli jam. The baked shellfish and the mackerel terrine were particular standouts, though everything was quite tasty.

We'd heard that their pastas were good so we made a beeline for them. Again, I like that almost all their pastas are offered in 2 sizes - a smaller appetizer size, and a full main course size. This works perfectly for us, since we like to try as many items as possible. Also, pastas and risottos tend to get monotonous after a while, so smaller tasting portions are ideal.

Their crab meat risotto was quite good, with the lemony crab meat cutting through the richness of the risotto. The risotto itself was nice and oozy and al dente. I particularly liked the vongole tagliolini - it was flavourful yet clean-tasting at the same time, with a deliciously light white wine sauce.

The honeycomb canneloni that A ordered only comes in one portion size, probably because of the casserole dish that they use. There are 3 flavours of canneloni - aubergine and sun-dried tomato, pumpkin, and ricotta and spinach. This was super flavourful but really rich, and completely put us way over the edge.

Service was excellent. Everyone from the waiters to the busboys/girls were extremely professional - they were friendly, helpful and really knew what they were serving. They probably had to go through vigorous training, and it definitely showed.

Having been to Jamie's Fifteen bistro in London, I dare say that we're more impressed with the food here. I admit I had my doubts when he first opened, expecting it to be more of a gimmick than a decent restaurant, but I've been well and truly proven wrong. In fact, I already know what we're ordering next.

A says:

After a disappointing meal when we went to Jamie Oliver's Fifteen in London, this place turned out to be a pleasant surprise. The food was really good, and not super expensive. I especially liked the canneloni, although they could do with a smaller and cheaper portion size (6 instead of 9?).

What really impressed me was the quality of the service. Polite despite the rush and well versed in the dishes.

I'm not sure it's worth a long wait to get in, but if you want to go early or eat at weird hours, I highly recommend it.

Jamie's Italian
1 HarbourFront Walk,
VivoCity, #1-165-167
Tel: 6733-5500
Sun to Thurs: 12 noon - 10 pm
Fri & Sat: 12 noon -11 pm

Monday, September 23, 2013

Gurney Drive

C says:

As the name suggests, Gurney Drive offers Penang specialties, from char kuay teow to assam laksa. It's a good thing we went when we did, because a few days after our visit, the ceiling collapsed at JEM (which has been riddled with problems since before it even opened), and the mall is now closed indefinitely. We were there with A's folks for a rather early dinner, so we weren't all that hungry and ordered some stuff for sharing that we maybe otherwise wouldn't have.

We ordered a plate of their Penang Lor Bak, which had a portion of ngo hiang and fried tau kwa. I didn't have the tau kwa but the ngo hiang wasn't too bad. The sambal chicken wings were quite disappointing. Despite being described as being marinated with sambal, I could barely taste any sambal at all. In fact, it was just a generic, somewhat tasteless fried chicken wing.

Their "must order" Penang prawn noodle soup wasn't too bad, all things considered, though the soup was a bit thin until you mixed in the chilli paste that came with it.

The sambal seafood grill had its highs and lows. The prawns were quite good but the squid was really rubbbery. And as for the Penang char kuay teow, like the prawn noodle it was quite tasty, but just seemed to lack that extra oomph.

The food generally is decent, and at least prices are fairly reasonable. Service is excellent, which is a rarity these days in chain joints like this. If we ever go back to JEM though, I don't think we'll be making a beeline here.

A says:

The coffee and service are decent. The food is passable. Compared to the other Malaysian-style diners, it's not as good as Old Town, but better than PappaRich (which has good food but horrible coffee). And certainly better than the Singaporean branch of Madam Kwan's (which is bad in every way possible).

Thursday, September 19, 2013

L'Entrecote Express

C says:

Bruno Menard has opened a scaled-down version of his wildy popular L'Entrecote (at Duxton Hill) within the premises of &Made, at Pacific Plaza. Although the decor of the restaurant is now split, with half the restaurant now resembling the cramped bistro-like vibe of the Duxton joint, you can sit anywhere and order off both menus.

Almost all our favourites from the Duxton outlet are available here, with the one exception of the salted caramel waffles. Both the pate and the truffle brie are the same as the original, which is to be expected since I imagine they're probably made/sourced centrally.

Unfortunately, I think the steak frites fell a bit short, compared to the one at Duxton. The shoestring fries were quite tasteless, and the meat too was quite flavourless. At least the sauce seemed constant.

My main grouse isn't with the food, but with the pacing. I guess we were there early and the kitchen didn't have much to do, but having all our food arrive at once - yes, both starters and the main - doesn't seem like a smart thing to do. I don't see why they couldn't have waited to serve the steak. After all, neither the steak nor the fries were served hot, so they could at least have held it back till we were more than halfway done with our starters.

On the bright side, a peek at the &Made menu showed quite a large selection of new burgers, plus a brand new "create your own burger" section. When we come back here, it'll be for &Made, not L'Entrecote.

A says:

The food's good, but the fact that the steak came almost right after the starters kind of threw me off. It's definitely an option only if you're craving French bistro fare around Scotts.

L'Entrecote Express/&Made
9 Scotts Road
#01-04/05/06, Pacific Plaza
Sunday to Thursday 10AM to 10PM
Friday & Saturday 10AM to 10.30PM

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


C says:

Another place that we definitely wouldn't visit without the FAR Card discount, Mikuni took over what used to be Inagiku at Fairmont Hotel. Mikuni has some fairly elaborate set lunches, featuring their signature teppanyaki dishes, but we decided to try their Grand Tasting dinner menu for our first visit. At $220, the menu isn't cheap for what you get, but with the FAR Card 50% discount, it becomes somewhat more reasonable.

Before dinner, we were served some home-made shrimp chips that were quite tasty. First course was a soft tofu with uni and truffle that was pretty good, though the truffle may have overwhelmed the flavour of anything else. The soup course was some sort of a fish chowder, which had a faint bitterness that tasted a bit like fish liver.

The sashimi course was, a bit disappointingly, a seared tuna tataki with garlic chips and ponzu sauce, rather than a proper plate of fresh sashimi. For a supposedly fine dining Japanese restaurant, this seemed like a bit of a cop-out. The garlic chips also overwhelmed the delicate flavour of the fish.

Next up was abalone with sliced eringi mushroom, slathered with a slightly dubious cheesy sauce, served with an edible deep fried baby crab. The braised dish was, to A's horror, a whole braised kinki dish in a sweet soy sauce. Surprisingly, it wasn't that hard to debone and eat, and the fish was really fresh and sweet.

Next was tempura of sea prawn, with head and tail included. The texture of the prawn was almost like crayfish or lobster, and of course I appreciated that the head was included. I think the tail section could have been fried a bit more though - the shell near the tail was a bit tougher, so it didn't crisp up enough to be crunched up very easily.

The Kagoshimya Wagyu beef was admittedly delicious. The meat was perfectly cooked and really flavouful. The same couldn't really be said about the Hokkaido corn fried rice though. It was completely bland, and was only edible after we added some miso soup, and the onsen tamago from the soup, to the rice.

Dessert was a fresh momo peach, which I think was a really good, simple way to end the meal.

Was I impressed? Overall, besides the beef, nothing really blew me away, and if not for the 50% discount I would have said it wasn't worth the money. But given how expensive it is to eat out anywhere these days, with the FAR Card discount it's pretty decent. We'll try to come back for their lunch sets and, if time permits, perhaps once more to try their a la carte offerings.

A says:

The food is good, but for the price, I expected to be blown away. Sadly, I was very let down. Totally not worth it.

Level 3, Fairmont Singapore
Tel: 6431-6156
Open daily
Lunch: 12:00pm to 2:30pmDinner: 6:30pm to 10:30pm

Thursday, September 05, 2013


C says:

It's about time we posted about Esquina again. For those of you who are averse to their no-reservations policy, good news - they now accept reservations at lunch time! That, combined with a wallet-friendly set lunch ($33 for 2 courses, $40 for 3), should be more than enough to convert any Esquina cynics.

The set lunch is definitely a great deal - sitting at the counter watching the dishes come out of the kitchen, I can vouch for the fact that just as much care goes into preparing and plating the set lunch dishes as the regular a la carte ones.

A had the gazpacho with black olive burrata and heirloom tomatoes, and I had the slow cooked egg with curried rice and potato foam. A liked his dish because he likes all forms of gazpacho, but my egg and rice dish was exquisite. The curry was pronounced but not overpowering, and the oozy egg yolk from a perfectly slow cooked egg... mmmm.

A's main course was the roasted rump steak, and I had the pan fried snapper with sauteed prawns and a prawn bisque. Mine definitely was much better than A's, which was more ordinary. The snapper was perfectly cooked and really flavourful with the prawn bisque.

We had the same dessert though - the chocolate tea ice cream with a sacher sponge. Pity we couldn't swap the other set lunch dessert (the sliced manchego cheese with toast) to the very enticing-sounding churros on the regular menu. We'll try it next time.

We wouldn't be atetoomuch if we didn't add something to the set lunch selection. We ordered an additional dish - the honey chicken wings with artichoke foam and a bacon and oat crumble. Another classic Esquina-style dish, with intensely flavourful components and a killer sauce.

Quality is still excellent, but I hope it doesn't get too crowded at lunch time now. It's still my default go-to place whenever I have a precious day off work.

A says:

Still my favourite place to eat (lunch) in Singapore.