Saturday, October 21, 2017

Botanico at The Garage, Botanic Gardens

oyster | avocado jalapeño emulsion | smoked salmon roe

pork belly | charred pineapple | sherry glaze

lamb tartare | capers | mustard ice cream

roasted pigeon | risotto | walnuts

carabinero | saffron mellow rice | pork crackers | pine nuts

jalapeño ice cream | bacon financier | Sarawak pineapple | coriander

malt ice cream | 70% dark chocolate | Guinness stout | thyme

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Trippa from Saizeriya

Saizeriya has tripe on the menu. Must have been a recent thing. No it's definitely not the best or even one of the better one around. Sadly. But one doesn't come here looking for great quality. The flavour from the tripe was a little lacking, however the tomato based broth packed more than a little bit of heat. With a generous application of their powdered Parmesan cheese and some pepper, one can also pretend it's almost a trippa alla Fiorentina with chilli.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Diwali brunch at Zam Zam

So we spent our first meal of Deepavali at Zam Zam (697-699 North Bridge Road).

We've never been able to get past their mutton murtabak. The mince crusted texture and flavour sufficiently defined that I could eat this without gravy. One of the things that makes Zam Zam better than most if not all of the rest is that they don't get lazy with the onions. Those onions are diced small enough and sufficiently sweated to a pleasant sweetness. Something that I find most of the stalls making murtabaks never figured out for some reasons.

They've a nice creamy kurma on the menu too. A good rendition but definitely not the best around. The mutton was a dusky pink and fork tender.

What do we have here?  A briyani it appears to be.

Fish briyani. It's fried mackerel with a tangy gravy that's flavourful with onions and a moderate heat from the spices. There was much more of that gravy than there was enough rice to go around.

Very little beats a milky sweet teh tarik to wash down all that food.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Noo Cheng Adam Road Prawn Noodle, Zion Road Riverside Food Centre

For quite a while, I could never figure out if this stall (Stall 4, 70 Zion Road) was Noo Cheng Adam Road Prawn Noodle or if they were simply call Fresh Taste Prawn Noodles.

There's a batch of big assed prawns on ice at the front of the stall. That's a preview of the kind of prawns one can possibly get with their bowl of prawn noodles. Needless to say, the cost of the bowl is commensurated by the size of those bugs.

This was a $16 bowl. It came with two of those large prawns - each half of those makes two mouthfuls of springy prawn flesh. There're braised pork ribs and pig skin and the bowl is topped with fried lard & shallots. The broth was delicious. Flavourful, spicy and heart warming.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Amò, Hong Kong Street

I remember reading somewhere about Amò (33 Hong Kong Street, tel : +65 6723 7733) - about them being by Beppe De Vito and the Il Lido Group. The first thought that came across my mind was that they're probably expensive. But we ended up visiting anyway.

No bread, but we got olives. Stuffed with garlic I think. Pretty salty and it succeeded in getting us to order some of their Moscato d'Asti which did little to quench our thirst. But we enjoyed the floral sparkling white anyway.

We had a starter of zucchini flowers. The menu described mortadella, pistachio and lemon honey. Some of those pistachios were sugar crusted. I'm assuming that they meat mousse in the flower to be the mortadella. It's nice. Luncheon meat and salted egg in a mousse texture kind of nice. Kinda pricey too.

Pizza was passable. This one had wild garlic pesto and anchovy salsa verde. And bone marrow which we couldn't quite taste. And sliced baby beets and some pink stemmed leaves that lent neither texture nor flavour to the pizza. I'm pretty sure plain old arugula would have worked better.

The outstanding item we had was their grilled sea bass. A fresh fish without much to distract from the flavours. Very competently done and very enjoyable fish. The greens on the side were tossed with olive oil and salt so that scored some points because it wasn't just token or decoration on the plate.

The fish came with what was described as a mint casserole. Which didn't taste like it had mint except for a tiny sprig on top. This tasted cheesy/buttery; had artichokes, fava beans and tiny strips of guanciale I think. Not bad, but the mint casserole name seemed out of place.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Chow Kee (秋记), Tiong Bahru Food Centre

I have never noticed this stall (#02-37) before, but then again, I don't come to Tiong Bahru FC often enough to have remembered every one of them. Anyways, they do hor fun, sang meen and mui fan with either sliced beef or seafood. Here's a look at their sliced fish hor fun. The gravy that they ladled over had cabbage flavour; which wasn't something I had expected. The entire plate was light on salt. While it wasn't anything to write home about, I thought it was pretty edible. Went down easily with those pickled green chilli.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Bakalaki Greek Taverna, Seng Poh Road

Nice Greek restaurant (3 Seng Poh Road, tel : +65 6836 3688). The decor looked like quite a bit of work had gone into making the place look the part but we've had mixed feelings over the food.

Their patates tiganites were described on the menu as handmade fried potatoes with Graviera cheese. Those potatoes definitely look like regular shoestring fries to me and who would've known they're handmade. Pretty sure I can get frozen ones that look and taste the same. So much for that Graviera cheese. Here's where the flavour from the fried potatoes have drowned out whatever there might have been from the cheese. I recognize this as a bad call and a waste of money on our part.

Moving on to the keftedes which were suppose to come with mint. Not seeing nor tasting any of that mint. We had imagined them to be grilled or in sauce but these were just fried beef meatballs that were lacking in fat and texture and flavour. The thing that might have saved it a little would be salt and that was also lacking. Boring would be the right word. 

Thankfully, their pan fried feta cheese was tasty. The cheese was done with a light and slightly crisp skin with honey.

Their paidakia was nicely grilled with respectable char marks to a medium doneness. Meat was tender that only the butter knife was needed. While we enjoyed it, we found the lamb-y flavour lacking. Potatoes were nice.

For some reasons, we were given a complementary dessert of Greek yoghurt with honey and walnuts. Not bad.

Monday, October 09, 2017

The nameless Teochew ba chor mee at Seng Poh Road

Stumbled upon this minced meat noodle stall in a time capsule of a coffeeshop (71 Seng Poh Road) just across the road from Tiong Bahru Market. It’s coincidentally located in that same coffeeshop where Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice can be found currently.

Why was this ba chor mee stall mention worthy? A few things that had gotten my attention. It looked really old like they’ve been around for ages. Their bowl of accompanying soup was light yet peppery and sweet. Couldn’t identify what was the base flavour but I’m presuming that it has something to do with the ingredients which they used that required boiling. I had almost finished that soup before I started on the noodles.  

How was the bowl of noodles you might wonder? It was not too bad. The kind of "not too bad" that I wouldn’t mind eating if I was in the vicinity and it didn’t have a queue. There were only about four people ahead and it was an half hour wait. While they weren’t soft or soggy, their noodles didn’t have that firm consistency that I typically prefer. The taste was a little different from the usual flavour profile of ba chor mee even though the only thing I saw them adding was the chilli paste, vinegar and lard. Sure beats Hua Bee though. 

But there's more! Those prawns were surprisingly tasty. Imagine flavours of prawns and their sweetness coming through all the sauces. Not forgetting their minced meat dumplings which had dried sole in them, packing extra flavours from the desiccated fish.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Fried chicken sandwich from Park Bench Deli

I haven't had much fried chicken sandwich for comparison but I thought this one from Park Bench Deli was not bad. To their usual form, there's no skimping on the fillings. That buttermilk fried chicken was the size of the onion bread they used - end to end. While I appreciated the little bit of extras from the cabbage slaw and cucumber, they were subdued in both flavour and textures by the chicken. Imagine that. Sure went down easily with a bit of Siracha.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Nasi padang from Hajjah Mariam Cafe

I decided to go a la carte at Hajjah Mariam since I've already tried their nasi ambeng previously. Nothing too special or exotic a selection. Some paru goreng, sambal goreng and ayam goreng. Yeah, it's all goreng there with a lemak gravy and some sambal belachan for invigorating heat. You know what? It's kinda pricey at $9.50. If I had to put in my two cents, I prefer a slightly less chewy paru and thought that the chicken while deliciously spiced had lost some of the crisp after staying out in the trough for a bit. Still, there was a very competent representative of each of the dishes I had even though I have favourites elsewhere.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Re-revisiting Nirai Kanai

Nirai Kanai just gets better and better. We've been avoiding them for so long (from a first lacklustre visit) and missing out at the same time. Happenstance decided that we would get the counter seats today - which was pretty spacious.

This visit also happened to be a re-evaluation of their peanut tofu. It had that nutty flavour with a texture that was creamy - somewhat akin to panna cotta. I didn't remember it being that good the first time we had it. We had some chilled umi budou to start with that tofu. Those sea grapes, bursty and refreshing with the also chilled ponzu dip.

So I finally got to try an Okinawan taco rice. A dish that was a result of the Americans that were stationed in Okinawa back in the 60s I heard. Shredded lettuce, tomatoes & salsa, spicy minced beef and cheese over rice.

I was initially wondering where had all the cheese gone. It was somewhere inside. It's not as much cheese as I would normally prefer but after all the tossing, this was delicious. Those beef bits were so good. I believe comforting and tasty are suitable adjectives for this bowl.

Their hamburg was well seasoned and quite peppery. While it was not normally the kind of beef patty that I shoot for, it was pretty tasty. What was outstanding was that brown paste beside the pickled daikon. I believe it's something they call pork miso. The texture was like a paste with bits of dried pork. The sweet flavour was a cross between char siew bao fillings and pork floss. I found them very addictive with the rice.

Here's their chanpuru which we are ordering for the first time. A different beast from the rendition at Keria and also appears to be the more commonly seen rendition. This was good. The bitter gourds weren't as bitter as I had imagined. Altogether a dish without pretence and great comforting flavours.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Spicy shrimp fried rice from Machida Shoten

The last time we were here at Machida Shoten, the neighbouring table had ordered this spicy shrimp chahan and we had thought that it looked pretty good. We didn't like it much. It was greasier than we had imagined. Whatever chilli they had used got inevitably compared to our hae bi hiam which was invariably much tastier. Stick to the regular chahan we will.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Sens, Raffles Holland V

It seems that on certain spectrums, there are some restaurants that are lacking of confidence with whom they are. Or perhaps I am mistaken and that these guys are simply inarticulate. With social media profile and website states next to nothing but meaningless marketing drivel about what they represent, it feels as though an effort is made to mask themselves behind anonymity while pretending to introduce themselves - at the risk of sounding much like the next restaurant.

We were here at Sens (#B1-12/13, Raffles Holland V, 118 Holland Avenue, tel : +65 6262 5618) for a meal. Food was pretty decent.

Their grilled fishes were quite nicely done and there's a kaisen chahan that was unexpectedly peppery. The latter wasn't a bad thing.

I'm glad they didn't gut their sanma so that we could still enjoy those bitter sweet innards.

Got ourselves a grilled kinmedai which had a flavour that reminded me of toasted shrimp or crab.