Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Eve Party!

Ho ho ho! This is the 2nd year that I organised a Christmas Eve dinner party at my house, and this time with my mom (AKA the great chef) around, we had a even better celebration at the balcony!

Salad with Assorted Toppings

Fresh salad with 7 types of vegetables, accompanied by pinenuts and walnuts, salami, smoked duck breast, capsicums, avocado cubes and hard-boiled eggs. An appetising way to kick off the meal!

Platter Combo (Bacon with Asparagus, Parma Ham with Melon, Cheese Cocktail with Pineapple)

Finger food for all! A pity that the bacon and cheese cocktail was cold as we prepared it way in the afternoon. And for the picky ones, the parma ham wasn't of excellent quality. But I think my friends find all of them rather good already.

Green Pea Soup

The frozen peas were put into a mixer and filtered through to get their juices, and slowly simmered with butter and milk. Sinfully tasty!

Honey Baked Ham with Homemade Peach/Pineapple Sauce
Salmon Sashimi

Both the ham ($26 for 2kg) and salmon ($21 for 1.1 kg) were bought direct from factory, thus alot more cheaper than what you get off the shelves. The ham was served with warm honey sauce and the fresh sashimi dipped simply in soy sauce and wasabi. Ahhhh..

Hand-beaten Prawn Ball
Roasted Pork Knuckle

Large prawns were manually mashed and beaten, stirred with water chestnut and a bit of fatty pork, squeezed into sizes of a ping-pong ball and deep fried individually. The result was a golden brown ball that was juicy and bursting with prawn flavour. I bet I could never find a better one outside!

The german pork knuckle was a little burnt, but the skin was wonderfully crunchy with a thin layer of sticky fats, as well as tender lean meat that was marinated with just pepper and salt. I only had a bit of this before all that was left was the bone!

Seafood Baked Rice

My mom added much prawns, squids, scallops and brocolli to the base of fried rice and drizzled even more chedder cheese on top before baking it. And voila! A delicous-looking baked rice that tasted even better. A mouthful of the baked rice with strands of cheese still lingering was beyond words!

Chocolate Log Cake from Coffee Club Express

The chocolate cake wasn't too sweet and had layers of gooey chocolate and wafers in between, complete with cute little sugar figurines. Very nice for an ending!

The estimated cost was about $240 for 8 person. Well of course I did not factor in labour/electricity/gas cost, but I guess you could not get a 9 course meal like this anywhere else! And besides wonderful food, its the company that really contributes to the jolly atmosphere. Happy holidays everyone!
Monday, December 22, 2008

Donna Carmela: Family-owned Italian Eatery!

I had this opportunity to drive to Greenwood Ave last week, supposed to lunch at this italian restaurant which my mom's group frequent but unfortunately they were closed for renovations. But there was this just-opened italian eatery beside which we decided to give it a try anyway.

Donna Carmela was barely opened for a month and you can see the newly-renovated interior sparkling bright and comfortable. I supposed there's a kids party going on at night with all the ballons and party hats decorated at the next table.

The friendly waiter made some recommendations on the dishes and also chatted with us that the place is a family business, with different members working in the kitchen and front desk etc (can't remember who did what actually).

Compliementary Bread

I'm not sure if its meant to be served cold, but i preferred my bread to be warm and soft, so this didn't really cut out for me. It did however came with a interesting selection of spreads, but I only went for the tuna while the rest politely requested for the more familiar vinegar and virgin oil.

Seafood Risotto

It came in a aluminium bag which sealed in all the juices and flavour. You can see that the hot air fogged my lens as it was opened up! The risotto was delicious and moist, without that uncooked feeling of rice. It can be a tad salty for some but works out fine for me. The selection of fresh squid and large tiger prawns was great too.

Squid Ink Linguine

Yet another disappointing version of squid ink pasta. This was pan-fried in olive oil and tasted very little to none of squid ink, even a little spicy with its chilli bits. A far cry from Pontini.


Now this was much better. The fettucini was al dente while the sauce wasn't too creamy. Topped simply with bacon pieces, it was a pleasure to be eaten on its own!

Parma Ham Pizza

The pizza base was not exactly thin crust, but was slightly thicker for that chewy texture of the dough, and yet cripy burnt on the outside. Though the quality of parma ham wasn't as good as i expected, its generous amount and rocket salad toppings had sort of made up for it.

Quad-cheese Pizza

This was actually not on the menu, but requested by one of my friend. It has no other toppings but baked with 4 different types of cheese, which turned out very good indeed! Will be on my list for something vegetarian!

Total bill for 6 was a vague $100+ (didn't see the bill clearly), completed with sparkling water and another so-so pizza. We didn't had desserts as we were rather full with all the carbo stuffs. Worth a try if you have the convenience of a car!
Sunday, December 14, 2008

汤点王: New Shanghainese Restaurant!

While walking past Suntec's fountain basement the other day, I saw a sparkling new chinese restaurant of Shanghainese cuisine. Being half a Shanghainese, I was rather curious of their offering and had dinner there with my family.

The decor of the place was comtemporary modern with bright lightings, comfortable plush seats and soft chinese music. But i do find it ironic that many of the staffs were conversing in Cantonese among themselves, not that their service wasn't good though.

To be honest, I felt abit cheated by their name because I straight away assumed that they had xiao long bao, but oh my, it wasn't on the menu at all! Usually I would judge a Shanghainese restaurant's authenthicity by its standard of xiao long bao so I was rather disappointed by its absence. On the plus side, they had plenty of other interesting items available.

Grilled River Eel in Lotus Wrapped Rice ($13.80)

The rice was fragrantly wrapped in lotus leaf and left plenty of flavour in your mouth. The eel was cooked almost the same way as Japanese unagi and was soft yet not overcooked, with strands of meat noticable on your tongue. Though it was meant to be shared among 2, we felt that the rice was more than enough while the amount of eel could be increased.

Double-styled Pork Ribs ($13.80)

I couldn't remember what the two styles were, but I'm quite sure one of it was sweet and sour sauce with the other something like sweet vinegar. The meat was juicy with suitable mixture of fat and lean meat, but eventually both sauces tasted about the same to me. The portion was also abit small given its price.

Roasted Duck and Egg in Simmered Bee Hoon ($9.80)

This combination was rather tasty! The bee hoon was delightfully cooked in a slight gooey and tasty soup, with strands of cooked egg and pieces of tender roasted duck. Again, we realised the portion was suitable to be shared instead of a single eater.

Steamed Egg Tofu with Baby Clams ($10.80)

This was something my mom certified as authenthic! The clams was steamed on a bed of tofu, lightly drizzled with soy sauce and spring onion (actually I'm not sure if thats what you call 大葱). Alas, it will be much better if they used fresh clams that doesn't stick onto the shells, as well as using pure egg tofu instead of mixing it with normal cubes of tofu.

Glutinous Rice Siew Mai (4 for $4.50)

Another orignal street snack from Shanghai. This was rather well done with chewy glutinous rice, savoury bits of cured meat and a soft layer of skin. I think its a better rendition than the ones at Ding Tai Fung.

Lime and Sea Coconut ($3.80)
Egg White and Milk Custard ($.80)

We were rather full with the mains so only shared two bowls of desserts. The sea coconut was somewhat artificial that tasted a tad too syrupy, while the egg custard was acceptable with its smooth texture and milky taste.

Total bill for 4 was $96.40 after taxes, including table snacks and towels. We also had two more orders of Steamed Vegetable Buns (Bad choice of vegetables used!) and Chicken with Chives & Onions (Plain-tasting unless eaten with given sauce) that was rather forgetable.

A series of hits and misses, perhaps I should go back and try out their series of double-boiled soups that I saw on almost every table. And maybe, they might just include xiao long bao later on?
Sunday, December 07, 2008

Batam Getaway!

I went Batam for a 3D2N trip with 3 others and man, its good to spend money there! With the exchange rate favouring Singapore, spending on food and shopping is cheaper than before! A sad thing was that I lost my camera and could only rely on my friends for photos..

We had dinner at this seafood kelong restaurant which was highly recommended in my online searches. Golden Prawn was outrageously huge, wuth air-condtioned options and even a stage to hold your wedding! The menu all came with pictures which made ordering easy for us and we were shown to an area with large tanks to choose live seafood!

Soy Sauce Crab (1.1kg, IDR170,500 ~ SGD22.70)

Yes I know I said soy sauce, but it looked (and tasted too) exactly like chilli. We even double checked its called soy sauce. We chose a really big crab and the meat was full and succulent. The sauce was a real killer, with crab roe and other seasonings in it, heavenly!

Too bad we didn't have any mantous to go with it, or maybe its because we don't know how to say mantou in Indonesian (Roti, perhaps?) and their command of English wasn't really good either.

Steamed Fish (700gram, IDR98,000 ~ SGD13.00)

Steamed simply in cantonese style, the fish was a pleasure to eat, you can taste the freshness and slightly chewy texture of the fish. This was favoured by the girlfriends, thumbs up!

Hotplate Tofu (small) (IDR35,000 ~ SGD4.60)
Sambal Kangkong (small) (IDR25,000 ~ SGD3.30 )

Standard Zi Char items, but its rather well-done here. Kangkong chilli was abit different from ours, and a special mention for the tofu which they topped with sotong bits instead of minced meat, gave more biting texture.

A&W Waffle Ice Cream (IDR22,000 ~ SGD2.90)

I bet many of you all missed this! Honestly, its nothing spectecular but just a taste of childhood. The set meal of 2 piece chicken, curly fries and root beer float costed SGD5.40 was a good buy too.

With only 30mins ferry ride away, I think I will be going back on a 1 day trip soon for more seafood and curly fries!