Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Soup Spoon: Soup fit for a meal!

Never thought that drinking soup only is fit for a meal? Think again. The Soup Spoon offers a variety of decent tasting soups that are heavy in ingredients. The soups come in different sizes and you can even upgrade it to a bread bowl. If you are really really hungry, they have sandwiches and sides to go along too.

My girlfriend and I went to the Raffles City outlet and it was fully packed near 7pm. Service was fast and friendly but I had a little trouble communicating with the foriegn staffs.

Tokyo Chicken Stew (Regular) combo meal, with half wrap Indochine Prawn and Iced Tea ($9.60)

I actually had a craving for their Boston Clam Chowder but alas, it was already sold out. I had to settle for the chicken stew and wasn't disappointed. The asian soup was filled full of tender chicken pieces and vegetables such as shitake, enoki mushrooms, bamboo shoots and lotus roots. The soup base was warming hot and hearty, tasty to the very last drop!

The prawn wrap was abit too "raw" for me though, I wasn't pointing to the prawns (crunchy!) but to the many types of vegetables not at least being boiled. The sesame dressing could be served more generously too. The wrap ended up a tad too bland and "grass-like".

Mushroom Chicken with puff pastry, mesclun salad and Iced Tea($10.80)

The puff pastry was slightly too dry and crispy, which resulted in crumbs flying when my girlfriend poked her fork in. The cream-based soup tasted pretty well with much chicken, carrots and mushroom bits. The salad was nothing to rave about but rather refreshing as a side.

Total bill for two was $20.40. Remember to get their loyalty card as every $5 spent warrants a stamp, redeeming a can drink at the 6 stampmark and a free Grande-sized soup at the 12 stampmark.

Pleasent surprise from the chicken stew, but improvements to be made on its wrap and puff pastry. Will be back for my fix of clam chowder!
Sunday, June 22, 2008

Tanjong Rhu Pau: Delicious one-mouth buns!

One day I was home from night's off and my mom told me a friend of hers brought some baos over. I brushed them aside initially until i took a look inside.

Instead of the usual cha siew and pork buns you get elsewhere, this is really a "mouth-size" one! One box is able to fit 9 of these small baos and my mom's friend brought 2 boxes, one cha siew and one minced pork filling.

Cha Siew Bao ($?)

The exterior texture is soft and fluffy, with no signs of hardened undercook flour anywhere. The fillings of the baos doesn't disappoint too. The cha siew is a mixture of roasted fat and lean pork, slightly chewy and juicy, well marinated with a sweet aftertaste.

Minced Pork Bao ($?)

The other one is like a miniture "da bao" without the egg, retaining the meat juice and having a savoury flavour. What i really like about these two baos is that you won't get an overkill of them compared to the normal sizes one. You can easily pop one in your mouth and satisfy your craving for them, yet not feeling stuffed with yeast and too full for anything else.

Any idea what other nice snacks Tanjong Rhu Pau sells? Drop me a message!
Sunday, June 15, 2008

Golden Mile Food Centre: Lotsa good food!

Golden mile food centre, AKA army market. Ahh seems like it was just not long ago I was a pre-enlistee, getting coaxed by the aunties to get alot of stuffs which I eventually didnt use. Anyway, some of the hawker stores here serve really good stuff!

Tom Yum Soup (S) ($4.00)

Kang Kong with Chilli ($5.00)

The tom yum soup here is great for small group sharing. The $4 portion was just nice for 2 people, with reasonable amount of prawns, mushrooms and squids in it. Off cause, the ingredients would be nothing without a good soup base. Tingly sour and not too spicy, its even better than what some thai restaurants offer.

Unfortunately, the kang kong that day wasn't too outstanding, lacked that chilli padi punch and "wok-hei". Next time should ask for extra chilli and see if it will be better.

Sweet and Sour Pork ($8.00)

This was from a stir-fry store beside the rather well-known healthy char kway teow. The pork has a good mixture of lean and fat meat without too much flour coating. The sweet and sour sauce has a good balance as well, not too much of each other. However, it will be even better if the meat has that feel of crunchiness on the first bite.

Belgian Waffle with Chocolate ($2.50)

You don't usually see these at hawker centres, but it sure opened at the right place! The quality chocolate used here is smooth and slightly bitter, maybe due to the higher cocoa content. The waffles are thick and drizzled slightly with honey, hardened crispness on the outside and soft on the inside. Being made on the spot, you are sure to get a fresh one everytime. Eaten with the chcocolate dip, its a instant hit and you will be licking off every drop of chocolate left!

Peanut Ah Balling (4 for $1.50)

A more traditional dessert, this all-time favourite has a soft and smooth skin which upon biting oozes out generous filling and fragrance smell of peanuts, while the bits are also great to nibble on. There are also other fillings such as yam, red bean and sesaeme, and also an alternate ginger soup for that spicy aftertaste.

There's this claypot rice store that I'm dying to try but deterred by its 50 mins queue, and a spicy chilli mee thats unfortunately closed that day, not forgeting about the sup tulang that I can't find enough people to share with.. Never mind, will write about them soon!
Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thai Village: Seriously 鱼翅捞饭!

My mom's cantonese friend always wanted to bring her to Thai Village for a meal, but she said that two person very difficult to order. As I was on off today, she decided to pull me along and gave us a treat!

I have seen plenty of TV/newspaper ads for this restaurant but never visited it before. This particular outlet is located within Goodwood Park Hotel and was pretty quiet during lunch time. My mom's friend is a regular at this restaurant so she knew the people and menu rather well. I didn't really have a chance to go through the menu as we just ordered by her recommendations.

First up, the shark fin soup that it is well known for.

Calm on the surface...

Braised Superior Shark Fin with Crab Meat ($~60-80, glanced through menu only)

Voila~! The claypot was as big as my face, making the fin almost as wide as an adult's palm. There were also generous amount of crab meat and slices of mushrooms in the soup. The stock was the thick and slightly sticky type (Edited: The word is starchy! Damn couldn't find it when i first wrote this..), with every mouthful richly flavoured by the sea delicacies. Note: Try not to take too long to finish it as the stock will become watery over time.

In the early 80's, Hong Kongers were going through a stock market boom and 鱼翅捞饭 became a symbol of being among the rich and powerful. From what I heard, the increasing affluent China people are now going through the same craze on this dish. Indeed, plain rice goes really well with it as every grain is soaked in the broth and soon enough you would be asking for more rice.

Baked Crab with Vermicelli ($?)

A thai classic. The vermicelli absorbed the juices of the crab and was cooked to perfection, springy and not too dry. The freshness of the crab demonstrated itself when u bite into its meaty claw.

Baked duck web ($?)

Though unimpressive in presentation, the duck webs were rather good, well marinated and having a sticky feel. A pity that goose webs weren't used, else it would have tasted even better.

Bill for three was about $280, after a $50 discount from newspaper voucher. Definitely steep in price, but worth a try if you are a diehard fan of shark fin and have some money to spare. You can invite me for another round too! =)
Saturday, June 07, 2008

Ria Ayam Penyet: The soul is in the chilli!

An army buddy recommended me this ayam penyet shop in Novena, basement of Square 2. Having never eaten one before, I decided to give it a try yesterday.

Apparently, Ria is a Indonesian restuarant specialising in ayam penyet (literally meaning "smashed chicken") and its popularity had spurned several franchise shops here. This particular outlet is located conveniently on the left side of Novena MRT exit, directly opposite the Harvey Norman store. The service was brisk and friendly, where you first make payment at the counter after ticking on a order sheet. There were no service charge and GST was already included in the price!

Teh Botol Sosro ($1.80)

Supposedly some Indonesian special tea, tastes pretty much like red tea with sugar though. Nevertheless, you will need a cold drink for the food to come.

Ayam Penyet ($6.50)

An entire thigh completed with a wing, served with kangkong, tofu and tempe (soybean cake). The chicken was crispy and already smashed, so the pieces were easy to eat. The chicken skin tastes delicious with marinated flavour but the meat was a tad too dry and tough.

However, the saving grace came in the form of its chilli, which is really the magic of the entire dish. Fiery spicy and slightly sweet, the chilli goes really well with the meat and the sides. One small mouthful was enough to make me sweat yet addicted, kept going for more and easily polishing off an extra bowl of rice. Even my girlfriend who is a hardcore chilli eater said that this was "challenging". Mind you, she has a very high tolerance level for spiciness!

Ikan Bawal Penyet ($6.50)

A whole fried pomfret with similar sides. Being a chinese, I would still think that pomfret is best cooked by steaming to retain its tender texture, so this fried version didnt really hit me well, where the dryness of the meat made it taste almost like chicken after awhile. Still, the chilli saved the dish and made it a lot more enjoyable.

A point to note is that the tempe and tofu tastes rather good, and you can order just these at $3.00. Also, both dishes were sprinkled with some fried batter bits which goes well with the rice too.

Es Campur ($3.00)

A dessert that is almost like Ice Kachang but overloaded with Bandung syrup and fruits at the bottom. Not a bad way to cool yourself down after all that spice.

Overall, a good place to eat if you have never tried Ayam Penyet before, but surprisely I had a better opinion of the supporting cast than the main. Will be back next time to try out its smashed beef steak and get some more kick out of that chilli!
Thursday, June 05, 2008

Rakuzen: Dining in private tatami room!

Some time back, we celebrated a friend's birthday at Rakuzen, a japanese restaurant at Millenia Walk. We had never dined in a private room before and thus tried to ask for one. We were told that a minimum spending of $200 was required. Considering that we had 8 people in total, this shouldn't be too difficult to hit.

The room was tatami-styled in which you remove your shoes before entering, but being Singaporeans, one wouldnt get used to such sitting style for a long time, so they actually had space underneath the table for leg placements. Ambience-wise was fairly japanese, with traditional music in the background, wooden walls and friendly staffs.

Lobster sashimi (Small) ($36.00)

This was recommended as a seasonal special so we decided to share one. It arrived on the table with the fillers still moving! Eerie, but absolutely fresh and delicious. Okay okay you might call me cold-blooded, but still, food is food.

After we are done with it, the waitress offered to simmer the remaining head and shell in miso soup(there were actually a choice of 3 soups, but I can't remember the other two). We gladly obliged(its free anyway! Kiasu la..) and were served 4 bowls of lobster miso soup later on. Nothing too special, but u can taste the lobster faintly and chew on the legs for any remaining meat.

Unagi Yanagawa ($14.00)

Unagi simmered in semi-liquid egg, served on a hot plate. Great with a bowl of plain rice.

Yasai Tempura ($10.00)

Assorted vegetables in tempura batter. Served hot and fluffily light, there's little hint of oil remaining on the vegetables.

Hotate no Mentai ($12.00)

Baked scallops with mayonnaise. Frankly, the scallop bits feels rather like crabstick meat to me. Not bad tasting though.

Kaki Fry ($12.00)

Deep fried oysters. This was my favourite for the night. Love the way its crunchy on the outside, hot and juicy on the inside. Almost tempted for a repeat order!

Tempura Zen ($30.00)

This was my set order. Comes with tempura, a few slices of sashimi, chawanmushi, miso soup, dessert jelly and some side dishes. Suits those who wants a variety of stuffs.

SakuChirashi Zen ($28.00)

Teriyaki Zen ($26.00)

Two different set dinner for my friends, sashimi rice and grilled chicken with assorted sushi. According to them, the sets tasted quite good.

My girlfriend had a Katsu Jyu ($16.00), which is a pork cutlet rice with egg on top that tastes really good too, too bad I had to omit the photo cos it turned out real shaky.

Suginoka Bojyou ($50.00)

And just for the birthday boy, we opened a bottle of Sake! The cups came in different shapes, sizes and colour. The girls were busy choosing them and left us guys with the grey ugly ones..haha.

Total bill was $366.05 after GST. Almost enough for two rooms! haha.. Not really cheap but well worth for the occasion and company I had. On a side note, they also have booth seats that are almost room-like, great for couples to have a quiet dinner.

Have a try next time you are craving for jap food!
Sunday, June 01, 2008

PS cafe: Love the Brunch!

PS cafe is located at the Dempsey Road area, where the unique feel of the place sprouted many hip dining options. It had since been renamed tanglin village as a whole. The 1st time I was here, the relaxing atmosphere and great food made me determined to come back for more. I eventually went back today to try more of their brunch options.

Ice Wildberry ($8.90)

This drink bears great resemblences to the Chinese version of Sour Plum Soup (Note: It's called soup, but served more as an iced drink) drank mostly by Taiwanese and Hong Kong-ers during steamboats. Good for those who like their drink sour and refreshing.

Portobello Stack ($22.00)

Consisting of portobello mushrooms, spinach, baked tomatos, 2 poached eggs, a potato gratin-like thing and grilled bacons, I would say the combo works really well. The mushrooms were juicy, eggs were nicely done on the outside and runny on the inside, and the gratin provided the carbo you would need. The bacons also gave the right amount of saltiness to the rather healthy dish.

Cheese Flan ($20.00)

One bite of this pastry and I immediately loved it. The savoury cheese custard is complemented by a layer of caramelised onions at the bottom, finished with a nicely done puff pastry. Pop the entire deck into your mouth and you will find yourself asking for more. Comes with spinach salad and grilled bacons as well.

PS Bolognaise ($19.00)

Dad had this the previous time we came. Spaghetti with minced beef bolognaise sauce. Nothing spectacular, seems to be a hot favourite among kids.

Cappuccino Cheesecake (~$12.00)

Picked by my mom the other time round. The aroma of cappuccino blends in nicely with the thick richly-flavoured cheesecake. One of the best cheesecakes i had.

Bill for two this time was $59.91. A great place for Sunday brunch!