Wednesday, October 31, 2007
I'd always thought Parkway Parade desperately lacked a Thai restaurant. Then I realised, oh there is one, in the basement - Parkway Thai. But that's not really Thai. It's really more Thai-wannabe. Oh well, not too many good Thai places in the East (that I know of).
The fried glass noodles are colourful but quite tasteless. Order this only if you like stuff soft and bland. Lots of egg though.
The tom yum doesn't really taste much like tom yum. A rather salty broth with seafood that isn't too fresh. Not enough of a spicy or tangy kick.
The papaya salad was OK. Generously doused with dressing, it was a simple dish with enough flavour.
Since I'm not a regular, I am not too familiar with the dishes that Parkway Thai might be better at (are there any at all?). It seems to have been around for a long time, and features buffets at lunch, tea time and recently dinner as well. There's a branch at Centerpoint as well.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
I revisited this place couple weeks ago to see if the herbal strength of the dishes did vary. The first time I came, the herbal notes were very strong for the bak kut teh. This time, it was the braised pork trotters that were heavily herbal, almost a bit too much. It was slightly bitter but then again, some people may like it this way.
The bak kut teh comes bubbling and steaming hot in the claypot. I actually preferred the bak kut teh over the braised pork trotters this time. A hearty, robust brew with pork ribs falling off the bone. The other plus about this place is the really good thick dark premium soy sauce they use. Goes so well with the meats.
Photos above are both for a one-person portion (around $4.50), about 5-6 pieces of meat. For address and details, please refer to earlier blog.
Monday, October 29, 2007
My first try at making focaccia! This is a simple one, and can be ready within 2 hours. Recipe adapted from those found online. I'm really just jotting it down here for my own reference what I tried, so I'll remember next time.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2.25 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1-2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
- 1 teaspoon each dried basil and rosemary (you can use thyme, oregano, etc)
- 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
- around half a cup of water (or as much as is required to get dough together)
- olive or vegetable oil to coat surface
- grated cheese of your liking (you can even mix, say parmesan and mozzarella)
- sprinkle of sea salt
- rosemary or any other herbs you like, fresh ones infinitely better than dried. You can also experiment with chopped olives, cherry tomatoes, garlic, caramelized onions, etc
- Mix all items under "INGREDIENTS" together, taking care to add the water bit by bit to get the dough going
- Knead just briefly, just so that dough is elastic (5-10 mins by hand)
- Leave dough in oiled bowl to rise until doubled (at least an hour)
- Preheat oven to 230 degrees Celsius
- Punch down the risen dough; shape into flat rectangle and lay on greased/parchment-lined pan or baking sheet (I used a Pyrex tray)
- Spread some olive oil on the top surface of your dough, sprinkle sea salt, grated cheese and any other toppings you like
- Bake for about 15-20 mins (longer if you prefer a harder crust)
Sunday, October 28, 2007
I have never been impressed with Fish & Co after they expanded as a chain restaurant. But I recently discovered to my surprise that they can do a calamari like nowhere else I've seen in Singapore. The fried version (S$8.90) gives you generous, wide-cut slices of squid that's crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. No chewiness! And just nicely seasoned.
Hubby took the New York style fish and chips (S$14.90), a large slab of crispy battered fillet of white fish with fries. It's OK, but a tad expensive I guess. Forgot to ask what kind of fish it was, but at least it didn't taste muddy.
I took the seafood platter for one (actually wanted the version for two but hubby didn't want to veer away from fish and chips). Oh my god, it's a huge portion. Got more calamari here, this time the grilled version (which is also good, but the fried one is better). Five grilled prawns split open and a sliver of grilled fish (see base of photo). Loads of fries and some really tasty rice (saffron pilaf?) with raisins. Great value for money at S$18.90!
I've heard people complain about bad service at Fish & Co but so far, I've not experienced that yet (it probably varies from outlet to outlet). The server we had at Parkway Parade was prompt, friendly and proactively announced soup of the day and even credit card promotions. One waiter even gave Nadine a balloon, which delighted her to no end. Oh, yes, Nadine liked the food too (bits of fish and fries).
FISH & CO
Click here for Singapore locations
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Another nice family outing, this time to Asia Grand which has taken over Chef Chan's spot at Odeon Towers. This Cantonese restaurant, formerly at Scotts Road, has gained quite a reputation for its Peking duck in particular.
The carrot cake with XO sauce, chili and beansprouts (S$7) was a nice opener. Very tasty. Mother-in-law said if they served something as tasty as this at the hawker centre downstairs, she would buy it every day.
This is what we came for. The Peking duck (currently on promotion, S$28 per bird) is done to rave reviews and certainly is one of the best I've had. The minute I bit into one, I wanted to come back another day and eat it again. Crisp duck skin with just enough fat (not too much) wrapped in thin, soft crepes with scallions and cucumber. Lovely plum sauce that thankfully isn't overpowering. And a bonus of pink prawn crackers - Nadine loved these!
This is the first time I've seen an anchovy-based sambal chili accompaniment in a Cantonese restaurant. It tasted delicious on its own but hubby didn't think it went well with the traditional Chinese dishes. I liked it anyhow. The ubiquitous "pickles" (you get charged S$3 for this) were oddly an assortment of diced capsicum and cucumber with fishcake.
This is called having the best of both worlds. Garoupa done both ways (S$28). Lovely, tender, thick slices of boneless garoupa stir-fried with sugar snap peas, carrots, straw mushrooms and onions. The other half is well-seasoned, deep-fried pieces - these came with skin, and unfortunately, bones as well.
This normally nondescript dish (S$12) is done very well here - the stems of the kai lan have been shaved, so they are tender but still crunchy to the bite. No overly strong bitterness. Thumbs up! (Sorry, picture shows only half the portion!)
The remaining meat from the Peking duck we requested to be stir-fried with ee-fu noodles (S$10). It was a large portion served with red vinegar on the side. Not bad but not the best I've had. The meat was fairly gamey - I didn't mind so much but I think the rest of the table did. Well, no matter, more noodles for me!
We also tried some of their dim sum (S$3-4). Regular har kow (shrimp dumplings), siew mai (pork dumplings) and chicken feet. All competently done but nothing outstanding. Dessert was cold pomelo mango sago (S$5) - very nice, creamy and thick.
Service is friendly, decor adequately posh but the atmosphere is kept casual enough. The food is all right, just slightly above average - the Peking duck is really the highlight. I wonder if I can come back on my own someday to eat just that...mmmh!
ASIA GRAND RESTAURANT
331, North Bridge Road
#01-02 Odeon Towers
Tel : 6887-0010
Friday, October 26, 2007
Finally, Aburiya and its divine grilled wagyu! Yes, this is the way wagyu is meant to be eaten. Sliced into thick cubes, lightly seasoned with salt and gently seared on each side. The result is buttery, aromatic, char-grilled heaven, the kind that makes you close your eyes and go, "Mmmmmmhhh!"
Most people already know about this place - it's packed on weekends. Aburiya is a Japanese charcoal grill restaurant that lets you BBQ your own meats. It was my first blog post here. The mobile phone photos did not do it justice then. This time I came with proper camera but halfway through I just gave up shooting and concentrated on cooking and eating! Some things are just more important than blogging!
If you come to Aburiya and eat only one thing - make it the wagyu ribeye. Unfortunately the price has gone up quite a bit - from S$17.90 the last time to about S$25. Ah sigh. But it's still worth it. The jo karubi is not bad either. Tender and tasty. Just don't order the harami (outside skirt - very tough meat).
Of course, they have many other cuts (tongue, loin, karubi, innards) in addition to various kinds of meat - pork, lamb, seafood, duck, chicken - plus vegetables and rice (you must try the onigiri). On top of that you frequently get a choice of different sauces/seasoning - shio (salt), tare (BBQ), wasabi shoyu, miso, etc. You can see their menu online but take note, this is not updated - the one at the restaurant is far more extensive!
We also had a set menu (S$80) for the family to share. Pretty good value with at least four cuts of meats and it allowed us to sample some of their lovely side dishes plus dessert. The niku jaga (stewed beef and potatoes) was very nice. I even liked the kim chee (normally a hated dish).
The other outstanding thing about Aburiya is the service. So far their staff have been very gracious, humble and attentive. The atmosphere is invitingly casual, you can choose to dine indoors or al fresco.
(has two locations, I have only patronised the Robertson Quay one, as I hear the quality control and craftsmanship at Holland Village can be questionable)
60 Robertson Quay,
#01-03 The Quayside
Tel : 6735 - 4862
Reservations highly recommended, especially for weekends (packed!)
Open mostly in evenings but 3pm onwards on Sundays (not reflected on their website)
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Oh, the joy of moules et frites! Mussels paired with fries are such a luscious snack! Plus beer! We caved in to temptation and joined the crowd at Brussels Sprouts even though we had dinner at Ichiban-Tei.
This is yet another eatery by celebrity "Chef in Black" Emmanuel Stroobant. He's Belgian, so the food here goes back to his childhood roots. This casual but chic bar and bistro is themed in yellow and black, with an energetic vibe. Staff are prompt and attentive.
You can have your mussels done in 18 different styles (including Asian flavours like curry and tom yum). I chose the Vin Blanc (white wine). Since we already had dinner, we ordered just a starter portion of mussels - $18 for 300g, but you can also have 700g for $38 as a main.
These Norwegian mussels are not your large, meaty green lip types but they were succulent and sweet nonetheless. Fresh and very clean, not a bit of dirt in any of them. I dug in with relish, using my hands. The correct way to eat them is to use the empty shells as pincers. But I think it's easier to use one half-shell as eating utensil. Scrape the mussel off the shell with it, scoop up some of the delicious stock and enjoy!
Free-flow fries come with the mussels. These are thick planks hand-cut and seasoned lightly with salt. The thinner ones were fried crisp on the outside but thicker ones ended up a bit soggy. Served with homemade mayonnaise but I preferred to dunk them in the mussels broth. Yummy! Unfortunately we were too full to go for seconds.
Hubby found his beer heaven here - 70 different varieties of Belgian beer! He wasn't going to go for the happy hour commercial brews, he was going to have the more exotic stuff. This Biere du Boucanier delighted him. Belgian beers are quite often fruity, and this was not an exception.
Mmmh, I'm quite a late-comer to this joint but I know we'll be back.
80 Mohamed Sultan Road
01-12 The Pier @ Robertson
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
We came to Ichiban-Tei not really meaning to have a full dinner (were hoping to get a place at Aburiya next door when a table opened up). I had heard mixed reviews about Ichiban Tei, so never made it a point to try it. But we were pleasantly surprised. The hiyashi ramen (cold noodles) was more than palatable. Could almost give Noodle House Ken's a run for its money. Almost.
We liked the hiyashi ramen so much, we decided to try another dish - the cold tan-tan ramen. This too, was surprisingly good. Salty, robust and slightly tangy. The bamboo shoots here too, don't have that offensive smell/taste (not so much) like they do at Miharu. Oh, we also shared a plate of plain fried gyoza (also decent).
By the time we finished, we were too full for Aburiya (well, we decided to save that for the next day). Hmm, I might come back to Ichiban-Tei to try the hot ramen, especially the tonkotsu. Did smell rather nice from the next table.
NETSURETSU ICHIBAN TEI
60 Robertson Quay
Tel: 6733 3923
Mon to Fri: 11.30 am - 2.30 pm, 6.00 pm - 11 pm
Sat & Sun: 11.30 am - 10.30 pm
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Mmmh, what can I say? This is still my favourite instant noodle of all times. Dry and spicy. Best done al dente!
I've been guilty of wolfing down a pack at 2am sometimes when I wake up hungry. Yeah I know it's over 400 calories and gives you half your daily quota of saturated fat but it just tastes so good...
Feeling carnivorous? Nothing better to satisfy that meat craving than the enormous 12-ounce Texas Burger (S$21.75) from Seah Street Deli. However, the burger this time around did not seem that formidable - two of us chowed down the thing in minutes. And fries seem a lot less too. Cost-cutting? Or were we just that hungry?
I also had a smoked salmon bagel (S$14.95). Thick slabs of gravlax piled on top of lettuce with onions and capers. Lots of cream cheese cubes given in a paper cup separately. However, the bagel, although toasted, was cold and a bit stale. Fries were good though.
Service is prompt and chirpy as ever, but this time the food was not so great. Oh well. It's not as if I didn't know this joint can be inconsistent.
SEAH STREET DELI
Raffles Hotel #01-22
1 Beach Road
Monday, October 22, 2007
There are so many famous bak kut teh (pork rib tea) shops in Singapore. I would really like to do a roundup to see how they compare to one another. Plus my doctor has just told me I'm not putting on enough weight for my pregnancy - 7 months along and I'm only 5kg heavier, instead of 8kg minimum! How is that possible, despite all the food intake evidenced on this blog? Eat more, the doctor advised, especially protein. Well, all too happy to oblige any request to eat more!
Song Fa at Rochor Centre was conveniently close to KK Hospital. So I gladly indulged in a spot of afternoon tea - protein-packed pork rib tea!
The soup is light, clear and peppery, a la Teochew style (i.e. not thick, dark or herbal like the Hokkien style). Lots of garlic just the way I like it! But a tad too sweet...and the sweetness is almost too simple - as in probably achieved by the addition of simple sugars, instead of the more complex meaty sweetness derived from stewing the ribs for long hours. The ribs themselves too, told me they hadn't been stewed more than two hours - the cartilage/soft bones were still hard to the bite.
The beancurd skin with chicken feet was quite bland (probably good for elderly folks) and the sliced "you tiao" (dough fritters) pieces were cold (okay, well, it's rare to get any fresh and piping hot at bak kut teh places).
The meal above was about S$8.50 with rice. It's a filling meal, the bak kut teh is decent but did not blow me away.
SONG FA BAK KUT TEH (click for details of both branch locations, menu, prices and food photos)
Blk 1 Rochor Road Rochor Centre #01-506 Kopitiam
(look for it tucked away in the corner behind a mirrored pillar)
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Ah Liang Fried Hokkien Mee is an award-winning stall at Marine Parade, helmed by a young man who believes in using fresh prawns (not frozen) and less pork. (Oh and he does takeaways with the "orpeh" leaf, which some say infuses extra flavour into the dish)
I've eaten a couple times here - his version is not for everyone. It's almost like "Hokkien Mee Light". Some may find it bland (like I did the first time) but every strand is indeed coated with gooey seafood goodness. Stir in the sambal for more flavour, if you like. I appreciate the freshness of the ingredients but I do yearn for more fried lard for that extra kick!
AH LIANG FRIED HOKKIEN MEE
Blk 84 Marine Parade Central #01-135
Open 11am- 9pm; Closed on Mondays
Saturday, October 20, 2007
We really missed the food we had in Japan. And for some reason, I was craving okonomiyaki. So we went to Nanjya Monjya which we knew had that and other stuff. Yes, you pay almost twice the price of what you would in Japan but what to do. The okonomiyaki here is a neat little pancake - many varieties (fillings) available. It tasted good, yes, but I decided I would in future make my own rather than eat out.
We also sprung for some wagyu - but instead of the tare (BBQ sauce) which we heard can overwhelm the taste of the meat, we requested for shio (salt) seasoning instead. We were a bit taken aback by the paltry thin slices presented though - that's it for S$35? You can easily get twice that amount at Aburiya, which was the wagyu experience that really wowed us (ah how I really need to revisit that place, this time with proper camera in tow!). Tastewise, these few thin slices were just passable. I'm now even more convinced wagyu needs to served be in thicker slices, to retain the delicious fats it's so well-known for.
The gyoza was all right but expensive for just six pieces. Served piping hot with a tangy vinegary soy sauce, these disappeared fast.
We also had to order more dishes, given that the wagyu portion was so tiny. I love garlic fried rice, so this was an easy choice. My, my, it was the largest portion I have ever seen, a full large plate, easily four times that of Kazu's. It was also the most garlicky I've ever had. Oh, don't get me wrong - it was all quite tasty. I finished it, not caring about dragon breath.
Heard raves about this dish, so gave it a go, even though hubby is not a mentaiko fan. He liked the cheese though. I liked the bits of mentaiko I could detect, tiny eggs bursting with a pop at every bite. Still, it was pretty pricey, as are most of the dishes here. Nanjya Monjya is a nice place but I wouldn't be able to afford frequent jaunts here.
Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel
390A Havelock Road
#01-03/05 Waterfront Plaza
Open from 5pm-12 midnight daily
Friday, October 19, 2007
UPDATE: March 2009 - I went back for a repeat visit, and was disappointed that the gravy has become watery and tasteless. I guess the recession is making many hawkers cut corners...sadly!
Sim Lim Square is turning out quite a few goodies besides electronics and gadgets. At the basement food court, I chanced upon some really tasty "kway chap" at the Pig's Organ Soup Stall.
Maybe the serving had everything I liked - especially generous pieces of large intestines (I prefer the large over small) stewed til they almost melt in your mouth, pieces of braised pork belly, taupok (fried beancurd) that's soaked up all the savoury goodness. The sauce was wonderfully tasty and sweet.
What a nice surprise. I certainly will be back for more of this. In fact, this is my favourite so far at this food court (for now at least - I stil haven't tried everything).
PIG'S ORGAN SOUP
Stall 20, Sim Lim Square Food Court
Basement, Sim Lim Square
1 Rochor Canal Road,
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Ahh, back to the droll and mundane. I can't imagine blogging about stuff like wantan mee after so much yummy authentic Japanese food. Such a comedown but well, what to do, I can't move to Japan! :P
There are three wantan (or wan ton?) noodle stalls at the Old Airport Road that are "famous" - I can never remember their names but only know their signboards colours (red, yellow and green). I shall begin with the red one, or rather, pink as it looks nowadays after the renovation.
My first bite was wantan heaven! I thought to myself - hey, this is really a good bowl! But that's where the divine experience stopped. Subsequent mouthfuls were strangely not as satisfying, as if my tongue got numbed a bit. It's not a large bowl but I felt tired working my way through it. Oh well.
Forgot to take down stall number, but this joint faces the main road and is more to the left side of the huge food centre.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Our final meal before leaving Batu Pahat - we were lucky to get a Chinese restaurant on a Sunday (most weekends they are fully booked for weddings, or tour groups). Sea View Restaurant in particular! Even with its multiple-storeys, it's really hard to get seats. Is the food really that good? Well, I think it used to be a bit better in the days before it got so popular (and thus more expensive).
I did like the kung pao chicken slightly more than at Ocean's. The chili had more bite here although this could just be a fluke.
We splurged on a steamed fish - a fairly large and meaty bugger covered with crispy chye poh (preserved radish) and doused with a lovely fragrant soy-sesame sauce. Oh I ate a lot of this fish.
Healthy dose of greens - some "ti wang miao" (I'm not sure what it's called in English!) stir-fried very simply with garlic. Yummy and addictive. I hate chye sim but this vegetable I like. None of that metallic bitterness.
The ubiquitous yam ring. This one was fairly ordinary. The yam tasted quite pre-prepared and the stir-fried ingredients within were just so-so tastewise.
There were at least two siew mai fans (not me) at the table, so we had this platter. I thought it was also quite ordinary. The one we had at the dim sum restaurant was much tastier.
Altogether the meal for four adults and two kids cost about RM80 (S$35 or US$20). Service is fairly good. Ambience - typical Chinese banquet restaurant (unfortunately complete with public karaoke and big video screen).
SEA VIEW RESTAURANT
21 Jalan Zabedah
Batu Pahat, Johor, Malaysia
Tel: +607-434-6999 (3 lines)