Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Eve Winter Feast at Nude Seafood

C says:

Nude Seafood's Winter Feast was one of the best, and certainly one of the most enjoyable, meals we've had this year. We had 9 amazing courses, cooked and served by an amazing group of people who have so much passion and love for what they do.

We started out with their take on the Thai snack "ma haw", prepared with Angus short rib, passionfruit and pineapple jam and served on a tapioca chip. 

Next up was an insanely flavourful Hokkaido scallop carpaccio with ikura, raspberry purée and a chili jam. The flavours went together perfectly and the scallops were amazingly sweet.

Then came the foie gras and mushroom ravioli in a potato consommé. The clear consommé had strong yet clean flavours of potato; overall a very comforting and moreish dish.

Root vegetables with smoked eel and mentaiko again packed a ton of flavour. There was a brightness from the blood orange sabayon that prevented the dish from being too heavy.

A meat dish came next - lamb rack with sauerkraut, pearl couscous, lotus root crisps and wolfberry yogurt. The chargrilled lamb tasted quite strongly of satay, which wasn't quite what we were expecting. Again the sauerkraut added a tart balance to an otherwise quite rich dish.

The two main courses came next - land and sea, so to speak. Sea in the form of kibinago, a Japanese herring, with sprouts and an amazing smoked potato purée. Land was Poussin, a French chicken which had been deboned, then stuffed with chestnuts, cabbage and bone marrow. 

Until this dish, portion sizes were manageable, with each dish just nice for sharing. But the Poussin completely felled us. Even for atetoomuch, it was seriously a LOT to finish. Super tasty though.

The first of two desserts was Eggnog served in festive eggshells - a light foam of rum and cinnamon. 

By this time we were dying, and were happy to split the normal-sized pecan pie with salted caramel ice cream and home made marshmallow. To our horror, when we were about halfway through, they brought another portion, saying we were meant to have one pie each. We were almost expecting them to say they were joking, but nope, they were serious...

Despite being so full we were about to explode, we had an incredible evening. The team at Nude poured their heart and soul into creating and cooking the meal, and it really showed. 

We're looking forward to more amazing meals in the new year from the great people at Nude. Cheers.

A says:

O.M.G. So full. Gonna sleep. For the next year. Seriously, one of the best meals I've had all 2015.

Thursday, December 24, 2015


C says:

The folks behind SPR MRKT and Koskos have opened Kite on Craig Road, a cocktails and small plates concept. On weekdays (Tuesdays to Fridays) they offer  selected items from their main menu as part of a lunch set - $25 for 3 dishes and $30 for 4 dishes. 

We had the somen with sautéed prawns and lup cheong oil. The prawns were fresh and perfectly cooked, and the aroma and flavour of the lup cheong oil really came through. 

This is one of our favourite dishes here - Saba Rillette. They used slightly vinegared mackerel to make the rillette, and the balance of the tartness is perfect. 

They had a festive menu with a pork dish that called to me, with Mangalica pork jowl, porcini mushrooms and smoked quail's egg. The pork was deliciously fatty, and the dish was appropriately comforting and festive, but I still prefer their regular Spanish Pork dish (which we'll have next time and write about).

And we come to possibly their best dish - Uncle William's Quail, with barley risotto and mushrooms. The quail is cooked perfectly, and is ridiculously flavourful and tender. 

Although it's not available at lunch time, I have to give a shout out to their super addictive bar bite - chicken skins with maple glaze. Unlike typical fried chicken skins (which, don't get me wrong, I also love), these are elevated to the next level. They're thin, crisp and delicate, with a maple syrup glaze that makes it both sweet and salty. I could polish off bowls of this.

We predict coming here pretty often indeed. For starters, they're business as usual over the Christmas holidays so we hope to be back fairly soon. 

A says:

Exceptional value for money set lunch. $25 gets you an awesome amount of flavour. I approve. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Cheng's 27

C says:

Cheng's 27 is the new generation of Hainanese curry rice at the corner of Yong Siak Street at Tiong Bahru. I like how they didn't overdo the renovations and overly hipster the place. Instead, they just spruced it up and made it much more welcoming. 

That's pretty much how I'd describe the whole meal. From the moment we walked in, we were treated like old friends/regulars, when it was actually our first visit. 

The crispy pork curry rice was good - the curry could have been more potent (A found it perfectly fine, I just like more spice and heat generally), but I loved the pork chop. Lots of flavour.

It was a toss up between the steamed pork and the crispy chicken with ginger. We went with the steamed pork - lovely tender pork belly drenched in a garlicky black vinegar sauce. My only bugbear is a personal one - there was a lingering scent of coriander in the dish that I just couldn't ignore. 

The home-made omelette, aka foo yong egg, was particularly well executed. It looked like a fairly generic omelette but it was light and fluffy, and the onions inside were cooked just right - no more harshness but not soft and mushy either. 

We also tried their signature gula melaka chiffon cake and a mini chocolate eclair. The eclair was ok, but I really loved the chiffon cake. Light and airy, yet really moist from the gula melaka and organic coconut oil.

They also let us sample their home made kaya, which impressed us so much that we bought a jar to go. The texture is so light, it's almost like a mousse, and there's a perfect pandan to gula melaka ratio. There's also a hint of a floral/fruity fragrance which I can't identify, but it adds a nice brightness. 

The food may not be the cheapest, and it doesn't exactly help that the menu on the table doesn't state prices, but the food is great and the owners really make you feel at home and welcome. It's rare to see store owners in Singapore who take such pride in what they're offering. For that, and simply because the food is great, they get our support.

A says:

A bit pricey, but definitely worth it for the good food and great service.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Meat Smith

C says:

We had an unexpectedly good dinner at Meat Smith, a smokehouse on Telok Ayer Street. Their menu is quite limited - no more than 10 choices each for appetizers and mains, but what they do, they do really well.

The starters were very good. The sliced beef tongue had an unexpected heat from the Szechuan aioli, and while I normally don't really like peanuts as a garnish, these worked very well. 

The smoked burrata, which was a special for the day, was excellent. It was served with slices of prosciutto and cubes of compressed melon. The burrata was creamy and smokey, and the melon had a very interesting texture and a very intense melon flavour.

The brisket burger with rocket on a soft brioche bun was also very good. Nothing fancy, just very flavourful. 

We had a half slab of pork ribs, which you can order either dry or wet. Because I don't like ribs slathered in sauce, we opted for dry. These were fall-off-the-bone tender, with a smokey spice rub. There's a range of sauces at the table to accompany them; our favourite was the Honey BBQ sauce. 

The menu isn't too varied, so if there aren't any specials then it may be hard to come here very often, but definitely worth going back at some point.

A says:

The meat is indeed well smithed.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Anniversary at Ember

C says:

Our anniversary is on Sunday, and because Ember is closed, we had dinner there on the Friday before. 

Imagine our surprise when we realised that the entire menu had been overhauled. No more old favourites - not the deep fried tofu, the cold capellini with konbu and abalone, and the greatest travesty, no more Chilean seabass anniversary dish.

This then, was their final audition, to convince us that it was worth continuing to make Ember our anniversary restaurant when everything that we knew and loved was gone. 

Unfortunately they didn't. Some dishes were quite tasty, like the Sakura ebi capellini and the lobster, but they were only good relative to the meal in general. Certainly not memorable dishes in their own right.

The main courses - a duo of duck and a pan roasted Welsh lamb rack, were a bit incongruous with the rest of the dishes. Everything thus far had been prettily plated on clean white crockery. The mains, on the other hand, were very rustic and hearty. Taste-wise, they weren't particularly outstanding either.

It's pretty much a different restaurant now, so we don't feel that bad about making the decision to stop coming back for our anniversaries. Now we just need to create new atetoomuch traditions. 

A says:

The food is tasty, but sadly not as good as before. 

Monday, November 02, 2015

Tribute to Wholefoods

C says:

I really wish we had a Wholefoods in Singapore. The one at High Street Kensington is drool worthy. Granted, it may be overpriced for basic staples, but check out some of their amazing offerings:

Cheese room, with some varieties that I haven't seen in Singapore, like Brie de Melun (a more aged version of the Brie de Meaux that you can find at home), and a Shropshire blue. 

Their hot deli items look really good too. If this sort of choice was readily available at supermarkets at home, I probably won't even bother cooking any more.

I could just have a bucket of chicken wings every day! 

They even have a DIY station for you to freshly grind your own nut butters!

I love checking out supermarkets whenever we're on holiday, and this Wholefoods is definitely one of the nicest ones we've seen.

A says:

Overpriced but very good.


Maltby Street Market

C says:

Borough Market is still the place to get a sensory overload - brilliantly coloured fruit and veg, piles of fresh bread, and stores selling cheeses, olives and truffles. 

It's also gotten quite crowded, especially on weekends, so a calmer alternative is nearby Maltby Street Market. The Ropewalk there is made up of about 20 vendors, and the vibe is a lot less frenetic. 

Highlights are The Cheese Truck, which serves gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. There were 4 options, all sounding very enticing - Stilton bacon and pear chutney, queso chihuahua with chorizo and rocket, cheddar and bacon, and goats cheese honey and rosemary butter. The Stilton one was probably the best bite of the day. 

There was a stall dedicated to scotch eggs, which was good but could have been great if the eggs were served hot and crispy. They were at room temperature, i.e. 15 degrees or so, which was a bit cold for my liking. 

We walked past a stall just as they were unveiling their cauldron of Tartiflette, and both the sight and smell stopped us dead in our tracks. It was worth the food coma just to have that plate of deliciousness. The oozy cheese, potato, ham and onion combination was out of this world. 

Other stalls include a chocolate/cookie stall, artisanal gin, honey beer and even one selling beard balm. It's a lovely alternative to Borough; I just hope it continues to retain its charm.

A says:

Fantastic hipster food without the over-the-top hipster douchiness.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Halloween at Bincho

C says:

Bincho is all decked out for Halloween, with a special Halloween menu to boot. 

Infant hand, which is actually a cheese tsukune. 

Eyeballs and brains - quails egg and wagyu beef tartare. Unfortunately, to make the tartare sufficiently bloody and brain-like, they used a bit too much hot sauce so I couldn't really taste the beef. 

This isn't on the Halloween menu but it looks like it could well be. It's actually goose barnacles which chef brought from a recent trip to Spain. After pinching off the tough skin, you get to the sweet clam-like flesh inside. Very interesting.

Granted, the Halloween dishes are slightly gimmicky and the regular food is still better, but it was a fun experience nonetheless. 

A says:

The claw... 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Two Fat Men is back!

C says:

After a change of ownership last year, Two Fat Men's shutters were down until a few months ago, when we saw their Facebook feed come alive again with a post about their re-opening.

The menu is a little different - no more creamy tom yam with instant noodles or fish and chips, but old favorites like the grilled pork neck and mid-joint wings are still around. There are also a few new gems, like the pad thai, green curry and chicken skin. 

Ah, the chicken skin. Perfectly fried so that it's all crispy and not greasy, served with a tart dip that really complements it.

The pork neck with tamarind dip is a little less fatty and charred than it used to be - which is probably good news to most people except us - but it's still very good.

I daresay the skinny wings are even better now. They still use the best part - the juicy mid joint - but they don't split it in half any more. At first I didn't approve, preferring them split because that makes it so much easier to eat, but that also runs the risk of the wings being overfried and dried out. Now they're perfectly golden and juicy on the inside. 

Both the pad thai and the basil chicken rice are very good if you want some substantial carbs to go with the finger foods. Both have a very good wok hei, and good balance of flavours. 

Prices are slightly higher than before, and parking is still a bitch, but I couldn't be happier that they're back. A great option for weekends because they open on both Saturday and Sunday till late, and there's no need to make reservations.

A says:

Cheap(ish) and good. Wish they had the Thai iced tea permanently on the menu.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

@Atetoomuchsg is now on Instagram!

C says:

We've decided to jump on the Instagram bandwagon. Find us @atetoomuchsg. Bear with us (me) as we figure out what goes where, and how much repetition there should be. 

I'd say we're too old for this, but I guess we ought to move with the times. I draw the line at meaningless hashtags though.

A says:


Sunday, October 04, 2015

Sous vide at home

C says:

I've always been intrigued by sous vide cooking. The thought of being able to cook a protein to a perfect doneness each and every time, without the stressful guesswork of just over or just under-done  meat/fish, is a major plus point for investing in a sous vide machine. However, until recently, most home sous vide machines were still quite expensive and most of all, still occupied quite a large footprint in the kitchen.

All that's changed in the last year or so. Portable sous vide machines for approximately US$200, which you simply attach to your pot or other receptacle, make it so much more practical for home cooks to make sous vide part of their cooking routine. 

I did a fair amount of research, and it came down to 2 brands - Sansaire and Anova. Honestly, both looked good, and the only reason I went with the Anova is because they had stock of the International version; Sansaire was sold out.

The device clamps onto the side of any receptacle, and heats and circulates the water, effectively turning any pot or even plastic container into a sous vide machine. What I love about it is that when you're done with it, you just put it away; it doesn't take any countertop space at all. 

Ever since I got it, I've been on a sous vice rampage. It's especially good for salmon and chicken breast. Salmon overvcooks way too easily, particularly when we (and especially A) like our salmon very much on the rare side. 

Chicken breast also dries out when cooked using normal methods (roasting or pan frying), because by the time the centre is cooked, the outside is overdone and dry. When cooked sous vide, it's perfectly moist all the way through, and just needs a quick sear to finish it off and add some colour and flavour. 

Note: after I bought my Anova Precision Cooker in June, they've since launched a Wifi version. In theory it sounds amazing, since it lets you program and operate it remotely. However, from a food safety perspective, I don't think there'll be much practical benefit. 

Think about it - if you leave the house at 8 am, and want the Anova to start at 6 pm for a 90 minute cooking time so that the food is ready at 7.30 pm, that means the meat has to be in room temperature water from 8 am to 6 pm, which is a big no-no, especially at Singapore's room temperature.

This may not be for everyone, because it does have the potential to be a white elephant if you buy it just for the novelty, but I've been using it every weekend since I got it, and eating much healthier as a result. 

A says:

Sous vide, so good.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Sushi Bar

C says:

The Sushi Bar at Ngee Ann City opened quite recently. Its first/original outlet, a nondescript unit in Far East Plaza, is well known for its chirashi dons brimming with generous slices of fish, and it appears that the Ngee Ann City outlet is no different. 

The small kaisen chirashi don ($22.90) was already smothered with seafood - salmon, salmon belly, tuna, swordfish, hamachi, scallop, ikura and tamago. I can't imagine how much bigger the large would be. There's also a premium version where you get seasonal premium offerings like uni and ebi.

For some variety, we also ordered one aburi kaisen chirashi don ($26.90), which is basically the same, but with the seafood slightly torched. 

I'm actually not sure which I prefer. The aburi adds a nice char, and some of he seafood like the salmon does benefit from it. Others, however, like the swordfish, are actually better completely raw. 

The scallop mentaiko was quite tasty too, but I think they could have gone a bit lighter with the mentaiko so that we could appreciate the sweetness of the scallop more. 

I'm not sure how crowded this outlet gets; we were there early-ish on a Sunday so we didn't have to queue. Definitely worth coming back for the chirashi dons. 

A says:

Not cheap but very good. Probably the best in the mid to high range.