Monday, June 29, 2009

Ebisboshi: Many-in-one!

New malls are sprouting up everywhere! Tampines One.. Iluma.. And the recent soft opening of Orchard Central and the soon-to-come Orchard Ion! That simply means more eateries to try out!

I go to Iluma rather frequently, because of its close location to my girlfriend's place and also because I like the spacious feel of the mall. And after taking that never-ending escalator up to Level 4, you will be in a dilemma on what to eat!

This particualr japanese restaurant has 7 brands under its flag, each specialising in certain japanese dishes such as sushi, ramen and teppanyaki etc. Their ordering system is rather unique which you use an audio pan to scan barcodes on the menu, reading out loud your orders (can be irritating after some time) and therefore confirming it wirelessly.

Salmon Yukke Gunkan ($4.00)

My girlfriend is a sucker for egg yorks, especially gleaming watery ones. So when she saw this gunkan topped with raw salmon and quail egg york, there was almost no hestitation in ordering it! I don't really like raw-like yorks so I gave it a pass, and she could only described the combo as tasty and satisfying!

Pork Loin Katsu Curry Rice ($10.80)

I gotta ask, how different is pork loin from pork fillet? I heard that one had more fats than the other but I couldn't remember which is which. Anyway, the breaded coating was rather good, remaining crunchy till the last bite. However, I was a tad disappointed that the meat was lukewarm when served. Also, the pork was too lean and tough for my liking.

The japanese curry on the other hand was pretty good, sweet tasting and thick in texture. I was also surprised that they actually used beef stock for the curry when it wasn't even stated in the menu. Not very good for buddhists.

Gyoza with Spring Onion Mayonnaise ($9.00 for 10 pieces)

The base wasn't burnt enough, but still nice with a firm skin and minced pork and vegetables (cabbage I guessed?) filling. Drizzled in mayonnaises and bits of spring onions, it tasted even better when dipped in the vinegar provided.

Total bill was $28 after taxes. Hits and misses aside, I think the concept was rather good, able to try a variety of specialised restaurants under one roof. A unique dining experience, I will be back to try out its selection of okonomiyaka!
Monday, June 22, 2009

Swensen's Breakfast: Good Morning!

I'm not really a breakfast person. Most of the time I rather sleep right past it. But just sometimes when you feel like having something different to start off the day, a great breakfast is the perfect way to do it!

Actually there are plenty of breakfast or brunch places I want to visit. But unfortunately, most of the locations are pretty "ulu pandan" that I'm just too lazy to travel. Luckily for me, Swensen's joints were promoting their breakfast sets, so I popped by their suntec outlet on one saturday morning!

All of their sets came with a choice of juices (apple/orange) and Gloria Jeans coffee/tea. Pretty worth it if you ask me, where most places allowed you to choose only one drink.

All American Set ($10.90), Pancakes Set ($8.90)

The ASS had thick toasts, choice of eggs, ham slices, bratwurst sausage, grilled tomato, hash brown and creamy mushrooms. There were so many items that I was rather lost on what to start first! The toast was a familiar sight from Hong Kong cafes, eaten with honey and butter, while I particularly liked the smooth buttery taste of chopped mushrooms.

My girlfriend chose cheese for her pancake and was expecting creamy cheese fillings in the pancake. Alas, she was already halfway through and found nothing, only to realise they added a single slice of cheese at the bottom to be pan-fried with the pancake. Not very good as the cheese had already hardened and was slightly burnt. That aside, the pancake itsef was rather nice with a soft and fluffy texture.

Bill for two was $23.30 after taxes. More upmarket than your usual kopi/teh with half-boiled eggs and frankly, the quality wasn't outstanding. What did matter was that the overall package felt rather good with a laid-back environment, generous portions and perking up your day on a pleasent note!
Monday, June 15, 2009

Saizeriya: Affordable Italian!

I was at Boat Quay with my girlfriend on a Saturday evening, having spent hours in Minds Cafe. We decided to walk to the nearby Liang Court for dinner, newly renovated and occupied with interesting restaurants, one of them being Saizeriya.

Having walked past several times, I was attracted by their menu of Japanese styled Italian cuisine (kind of like Ma Maison). There was already a long queue at about 7 and we were lucky to get seats quickly as big groups were in front of us. The atmosphere was more casual bistro than classy Italian, staffed by very busy and yet still friendly waitresses.

Focaccia ($1.88), Baked Escargots ($5.58)

The homemade bread was soft and piping hot, pleasant enough to be eaten on its own. Not everyone is a fan of eating snails but I’m rather fond of it. Served in a buttery garlic sauce, it was a perfect soak for the foccacia!

Hawaiian Pizza ($7.48)

The crust was the thick-doughy type, sprinkled with pineapples and bacon slices. I think it tasted better than a certain pizza chain, way cheaper and bigger too!

Grilled Chicken with Melted Cheese and Sunny-Side Up ($7.68)

The chicken thigh was reasonably alright but not fantastic. Served on a hotplate with wedges, broccoli and sweet corn, the cheese hardened soon after we began eating.

Shrimp Doria ($7.18)

I admitted I kind of over-ordered for two persons, but I was just too greedy to have a try of everything! The baked rice was the best among the 3 main courses, with bubbling cheese and crunchy prawns laid on the surface, drenching the rice in a rich creamy sauce. It tends to get overkilled if eaten on your own, so best is share it with someone else!

Total bill for 2 was $35.05 after taxes, reasonably cheap if you consider the amount I ordered (seriously stuffed) and in a restaurant setting. For an extra $3 or so, you can help yourself to their free flow drinks counter. Will be back for more Doria!
Monday, June 08, 2009

Astons Prime: Great Steak, Good Price!

Astons Specialities are sprouting everywhere, thanks to their affordable prices and tasty treats. Despite patronising many times myself, I had never tried before their upmarket branch Astons Prime, which sells quality cuts at a higher price. So it was one evening when four of my best friends gathered, I suggested dinner at the steakhouse!

House Red Wine ($43 per bottle)

Tucked at Joo Chiat Road near their first specialites outlet, the decor was about the same as the rest, but with better funishing and cutleries. The 5 of us had a semi-private partition to ourselves, delighted with the arrangement and started off the dinner with a bottle of their fruity smooth house pour.

Maryland Crab Cake ($16.50), Fried Oysters ($12.90)

The crab cake was fantastic! None of that cheapskate stuff with thick flour and potato, but bursting of succulent crabmeat! Great for lazy people!

The oysters weren't of too much surprise, but decently done with crispy coating and pipping hot juicy inside. Even a friend who's afraid of raw oysters liked this!

Long Fed Ribeye Extra Cut ($22.90)

The sheer size of the red meat with gleaming fats was enough to make us salivate. I had mine medium grilled, and it was just nice with a pink center. The bbq sauce was a good addition but trust me, you should savour the outstanding beefy flavour on its own! Came with a selection of sides such as house specials Mac N Cheese and sauteed buttered mushrooms.

King Salmon Steak ($23.90), Kurobuta Pork Rib ($29.90)

Salmon was fresh and delicate, thumbs up from my friend who preferred not to have red meat.

The black gem among pigs, US breed kurobuta pork was even more expensive than our steak! One bite and you would know why: Soft and tender, it was like nothing else you tried and just somehow don't feel or think its possible for grain-fed pork to reach this kind of level. Nice!

Kobe Beef Burger ($16.90)

And the greedy boys couldn't resist the temptation to share a burger. The minced kobe beef simply melted like butter in your mouth. Ahh.. Top-notch!

Aston's Mud Pie ($6.90), Mango Orange Sorbet ($5.90), Pineapple Sorbet ($5.90)

To conclude, we had their recommendations of mud pie and fruit sorbets, which was interestingly served in the fruit that they were made of. Intensively flavoured, we preferred the pineapple for its more memorable taste, not that the others were bad!

Total bill for 5 was $230.50, exempted from taxes! A very good place to go for quality grills at wallet-friendly price, while extra points go to warm services and the toasting, merry-making company I was with. Will be back for my steak craving!