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