Sunday, May 31, 2009

A One Year Affair!

This weekend marked the very 1st birthday of my food blog!

First of all, I would like to thank everyone who visited this site! Regardless of strangers that happened to pop by, or friends whom I had consistently bugged to visit. I hope that the entries had been an interesting read and the photos literally made you drool and hungry. I would truly appreciate it if comments can be left in the tagboard or a simple "Reactions" click after every post!

Also, I would like to thank all the people, especially my girlfriend, who had patiently waited for me to take photos before every meal, even though stomachs were already rumbling hard and loud. They wouldn't have turned out as good if not for you all!

In the forthcoming year, I will be attending university studies at NTU, and I would try my best to update the site weekly, despite the fact that I will be stuck in hostel most of the time and handling the hectic schedule that will come. (or so I have heard)

Nonetheless, I had created a new banner for the site, with the Wagyu Beef Patty with Delhi Rice taken in Hong Kong, hope it gives a refreshing look to the site!

Live to Eat, cheers!
Monday, May 25, 2009

Japanese Noodle Bowl: Oyishi!

My girlfriend just returned from a holiday trip to Tokyo/Osaka recently (Thank god she left before the flu outbreak), and I told her I don't really want souvenirs, but if possible, I want their cup noodles from convenience stores! I had been in Tokyo myself and was amazed by their instant noodles, tasted even better than some of the restaurant stuffs you find here!

The first one opened up to reveal 3 packets, basiaclly a powder satchet, dried condiments and a soup sauce, as well as a piece of air-blown noodles. Nothing fasicinating really, but if you have noticed, the condiments packet had a piece of air-dried meat that will later become a tasty slice of bacon! Why can't we have bak in our lor mee cup noodles?! Or maybe fish cake for instant laksa?!

After a few minutes in boiling water, its time to tuck in! The soup was not that special, with shoyu flavour which isn't too hard to achieve, while the bacon was an interesting addition. Its the noodles that was really special, flat and slightly yellow, it was springy and smooth in texture, none of the usual rubbery stuff you get!

This was another bowl eaten on a seperate occasion. The first thought that came to my thought was how come it weighs so much heavier? I opened and realised..

Instead of a dried wafer, the noodles is actually vaccumed sealed and in a moisturised form. And of course, the standard little packets that made up the rest of the bowl.

The end result was satisfying! Round yellowish noodles that were firm and chewy, it would be exaggerating to say its as good as a fresh bowl of ramen from specialised shops like Santouka, but really, you wouldn't feel that you are having a instant meal, more like the frozen packs you buy from Japanese supermarkets and using even less effort to cook! And I can't stop harping on the dried meat which tried to replicate an slice Char Siew. Not very convincing, but good try!

Again, I feel that it would be unfair to compare soups that had been simmered for hours to those in concentrated powder form, but the quality of noodles are simply good enough to be sold on the streets, a far cry from what our cup noodles could offer. If only our instant mee pok could really taste like one!
Monday, May 18, 2009

Equinox: Foie Gras Extravaganza!

Perched on level 70 of Swissotel the Stamford, Equinox is undisputedbly Singapore's best restaurant with a view. I was there recently with my parents for its semi-lunch buffet. At 58++, it definitely isn't cheap for a luncheon but once in a while, it would be really nice to indulge in gourmet food, excellent ambience and of course, good company.

The decor was contemporary chinese with pine (or is it peak?) wood funishing. Level 71 houses the hip NewAsia Bar and 72 is the modern french restaurant Jaan. The panoramic scenery of the island's skyline is captured within your sight and on a clear sunny day (which is about all the time), you can see the neighbouring islands of Indonesia and Malaysia. Simply fantastic.

Roasted Pork Belly with Five Spices, Duck Leg Confit, Poached Salmon with Barley Sauce

Since its a semi-buffet, we first selected our choice of main course, my dad was bent on trying the classic Cantonese pork belly and boy, it was wonderfully done with crackling skin and chewy meat.

I opted for the duck leg confit and wasn't disappointed. Crispy skin with a layer of melt-in-your-mouth fats beneath, followed by tender lean meat. Very good!

Frankly, the salmon wasn't bad but it was a little light for my mom's taste, and she didn't think highly of barley going along with salmon.

The selection of buffet wasn't very wide, but I could assure you they were going for quality instead of quantity. Appetisers included a fascinating cheese selection (my favourite was the flat round one which melts at room temperature!), buckets of fresh cold seafood and stylish tapas in spoons.

There were also japanese soba, sushi, soups and bread rolls, but I didn't really touch much of those. The dessert selection was delightful with creme brulee, bread puddding, many miniture tarts, chocolute fondues (dark, white and milk!) and movenpick ice cream.

Pan-seared Foie Gras with Apple Sauce and Mango Prulee

Now this was really the main attraction of the buffet: Unlimited servings of premium foie gras! Kudos to the poor chef who stood for a full 2.5hrs when people kept queueing and taking the little plates that he painstalking conjoured.

I simply closed my eyes when putting a slice into my mouth. The whobbly creamy texture dissolved on your tongue, follwed by an explosion of rich sinful flavour that could only be made possible by the liver of a fattened goose/duck. An uncontrollable smile widened and I opened my eyes again. My gullible mind was already urging me to go for a second, third, oh heck, many more rounds!

Alright alright, for the benefit of health, please eat foie gras in moderation as its cholestrol level is seriously a no joke. And better excerise plenty after that! But I'm oh-so-willing to run those milage just to get that gastronomic high again!
Monday, May 11, 2009

Lerk Thai: Value Set Dinner!

The economy isn't doing well, but people still have to eat! Restaurants everywhere are rolling out promotions and discounts to lure that precious consumer money. As my girlfriend and I were wandering about Bugis for dinner, Lerk Thai's promotion caught our eye: a 6 course set dinner for 2 at $18.80. Too good to be true?

Crackers ($1.00 per basket)

Lerk Thai had been around for quite some time, serving thai cuisine at reasonable prices. I had been here before for ala carte dining and they left a pretty good impression on me.

The crackers were served to us upon seating and I thought they were complimentary, until I saw the bill at the end. Oh well, at least they were alright with a resounding crunch and pepperly taste, wasn't outrageously priced either.

Tom Yum Chicken Soup

Served in a claypot, it filled about 4 bowls for the both of us. With hearty chunks of chicken, mushrooms and herbs, the soup was more spicy than sour. Not my ideal tom yam soup, but it still had a rather appetising effect.

Stir-fry Baby Kai Lan, Torpedo Prawns

The kai lan hinted faintly of some "wok-hei" , not overcooked and had enough flavour to it. The prawn was battered in a bread crumb-like coating and served with sweet chilli sauce. Not bad, but I suspected it was deep fried in large quantities and kept heated until served, thus not hot or crispy enough.

Minced Chicken with Basil, Deep-fried Beancurd with Chilli Sauce

The minced chicken was nicely marinated and great with rice, while the beancurd was your typical egg tofu drenched with the same chilli sauce as the prawns. Simple, but egg tofu just happened to be my girlfriend's favourite!

Thai Pudding with Coconut Jelly.

I'm a fan of coconut based desserts, so this suited me fine. One pudding each!

For its price, I would think that its really a good deal, with each dish costing minimum 8 dollars if you order ala carte. I'm not sure if portions are smaller in the set, but i felt it was enough for two person.

However, one fact that irked me was they do not serve plain water. So unless you can hold your thrist that well or immune to spicy food, you will be more or less forced to order its ridiculously-priced glass drinks such as ice lemon tea ($2.50) and lime juice ($3.50).

Overall bill was $30.40 after taxes. The experience would be rather pleasent if not for the water issue. Otherwise, the chances of me returning would definitely be much higher.
Monday, May 04, 2009

Il Lido: Italiano with a View!

Nestled on our little vacation island of Sentosa, Il Lido is one of Singapore's favourite Italian restaurant. It might be quite a hassle to visit if you don't drive but hey, its worth the effort if its your mom's birthday!

On a cool day, it would be rather nice to dine al fresco while watching the sunset, but with the stuffy humid heat wave around, I will opt for the cosy indoor with comtemporary funishing. The staffs were friendly and knowledgable in making recommendations, even made small talks and ensure dishes were to your liking throughout the meal.

Compliementary Bread

Its the first time I've seen bread being sliced so thinly that they were almost like potato chips! Quite an experience but I would still prefer my bread to be of the doughy warm type.

Pan-fried Foie Gras ($22.00), Parma Ham with Melon ($20.00), Beef Carpaccio ($22.00)

All my favourite Italian starters! The foie gras was of reasonable size given the pricetag, the crispy skin gave way to smooth rich interior and complemented by a sweet sauce, which I had sincerely forgot which fruit flavour it was.

The rock melon was sliced as thinly as the parma ham itself, leaving a sweet aftertaste among the aroma of cured pork. The beef carpaccio was also of excellent quality without any trace of unchewable fats, served simply with shaved cheese and rocket salad. Truly appetising!

Champagne Risotto with Tiger Prawns ($26.00), Seafood Spaghetti in White Wine Sauce ($25.00)

I couldn't really taste the champagne in this, but the semi-cooked rice was quite to my liking, slightly hardened and absorbing the sticky cream sauce, served with crunchy large prawns and asparagus.

The spaghetti was flawlessly al-dente, blended in smooth wine sauce and mixed with tomato bits and assorted seafood. Good ones!

Squid Ink Linguine ($23.00)

Now I'm really looking forward to this! It came in the form of a tower and was topped with well-cooked tender squid slices. Although the pasta itself was not infused with squid ink, the sauce was unmistakably black and one mouth of it confirmed my guesses.

The distinct yet not overwhelming taste of squid ink is really quite indescribible which might not suit everyone's taste. Well it definitely pleased mine and I'm wishing they could make their own black pasta like Pontini, served with the present sauce. That would be really perfect!

We were rather full from the mains and starters so we only shared one Creme Brulee ($12.00) for desserts, coming in a fairly large and flat bowl. Tastewise it was a tad too bland for our liking. Shots of it turned out rather bad as my camera couldn't focus on the gleaming burnt surface.

Total bill for 3 was $264.83 after taxes, balloned by a bottle of house red wine ($75.00). Otherwise, I would find the price rather reasonable for its meticulous presentation, excellent quality and comfortable ambience. Don't be turn off by the $2 Sentosa entrence fee, great food awaits!