Monday, January 25, 2010

Straits Cafe @ Hotel Rendevous: More Durians, More!

Awhile ago, the girlfriend had a craving for buffet and durians, both at the same time. I couldn't stand a full durian buffet at Goodwood Park, and since Hotel Rendevous is having a 20% discount for UOB cardholders, off we go then!

Walking past the restuarant many times, I had seen them promoting heavily about their award-winning nonya laksa and durian desserts selection, marking a mental note for a visit. Decor-wise, light wooden furnitures were paired with green cushions while large glass panels seperated the streets and hungry diners.

As for the food selection, they didn't have a very comprenhensive spread, but rather touch and go on the options, with sashimi/bbq counters, hot/cold dish selections and a small noodles/dimsum corner.

Clockwise from top-left: Portuguese Baked Chicken, Grilled Steak, Lamb Stew, Grilled Tiger Prawns

I particularly took notice of the steak as it tasted much better than I expected. Juicy with charred linings, I went back many times for this! The tender lamb stew was also to my liking, but my girlfriend distanced herself from its gamely taste. Another item worth mentioning would be the grilled scallops from the bbq counter, never mind the small size as you could always go back for more!

Nonya Laksa

As a signature, this certainly didn't disappointed! Rich in flavour with suitable spiciness, it was so pleasently addictive that I ended up refilling this with little noodles and plenty of stock, tau poks and sliced eggs!

The dessert counter were adequete with mini tarts, nonya kwehs and sliced cakes, but really, we pushed all of this aside and saved stomach space for what's coming up next!

Durian Mousse Cake

I managed to get a pretty shot before people started dismembering it! The mousse was defintely more durian than cream, which was what all the cake needed for success! They also had a logcake version which had drier sponge and less mousse, I rather take the first one! And if you are still not satisfied..

Durian Pengat

A lazy durian lover's fantasy! The pengat was served in little shooter cups that made it oh-so-convienient for sinful scooping. Smooth, thick and and creamy, the distinct strands of pulp within made you felt like as if eating the fruit itself!

Still asking for more? Have the durian puffs in the background! Just wondering, why didn't they create a durian ice cream to complete the collection?

Total bill for two was $80.90 after taxes and discount. Girlfriend was immersely satisfied with her durian haven. Admittedly, the buffet itself wasn't that great with only a few outstanding dishes. But if you are a durian fanatic, do drop by to pay homage! Remember to drink plenty of fliud to avoid sore throats though!
Monday, January 18, 2010

Udders: M18 Flavours with Waffle!

I first visited Udders last year and was won over by its unique blend of "Adult-rated" ice cream flavours, such as Choya Lime Sorbat and Bailey's & Bourbon. But do you know that they serve excellent waffles too?

The Novena outlet has alfresco seatings along the pavement as well as bartop seatings on the inside. You can help yourself to the ice water (Comes pretty standard these days) while waiting for your waffle order, and vote for a new creation on the blackboard too!

Mao Shan Wang and Rum n Raisin, $2.50 for waffle alone

Fresh from the stove, the waffle's exterior was slightly crispy with a hot fluffy inside. Served with liquid chocolate, you can give me this over cones anytime!

But of course, we shouldn't let a good waffle go to waste without equally good ice creams, and our choices certainly didn't disappoint. We went for the Mao Shan Wang as it was sweeter than its D24 counterpart, while the Rum n Raisin spared no usage of rum and fat chewy raisins. Hot and cold, yet matches so darn well!

If memory serves me well, I think this is even better than the one at Ben & Jerry's, cheaper with a wide range of local flavours too!

And don't forget to leave a message! (Shameless marketing for self..)
Monday, January 11, 2010

Old Hong Kong: Dim Sum For The New Year!

Where would you go for dim sum? The consistent, convenient and affordable Crystal Jade had always been my favourite choice, with a good bowl of congee and basket of Siew Mai for comfort Sunday brunch. But I think Old Hong Kong had just opened up a new option for me!

I think many had visited their 24hour cafe at Katong, but this branch at Square2 specialised in dim sum during lunch and tea, while serving up stir fries at night. The shopping centre was rather sleepy for New Year Day, but when I turned around the corner leading to the restaurant, it was packed beyond expectations!

Appetising Snack ($1.00), Iced Milk Tea ($2.80)

The staffs were speedy and well-trained, overhearing quite a number of them conversing in Cantonese. Unlike most places serving salted peanuts as table snack, they had a more local varient with long bean, ikan bilis and dried beancurd.

As I usually judged a so-called Hong Kong restaurant by the standard of its milk tea, the one here had its own pros and cons. At first impression, it was rather fragrant and had a solid good flavour to it. However, the aftertaste was bad, leaving a dry, scaley feel when you rub your tongue against the roof of your mouth. This, according to a milk tea expert (aka mom), was not the fault of technique, but due to leaving the tea leaves boiled for way too long.

Siew Mai ($4.20), Char Siew Bun ($3.20)

I ordered pretty standard things when it came to dim sum, but for me its the normal stuffs that kept me happy when done well. The inclusion of abalone clam in the Siew Mai might be gimicky, but I actually liked how it tasted overall, with a solid texture of minced pork and prawn.

The other one was definitely A grade. Soft fluffy exterior with juicy sweet barbecued pork, one of the best I had in ages!

Pan Fried Flour Roll with XO Chilli ($3.80), Shrimp Roll with Cheese ($3.80)

Flour rolls were usually steamed and wrapped with prawns, scallops or char siew. But another way to eat it was to pan fried with XO chilli sauce. More savoury than fiery, it was a good one for me!

The shrimp roll looked interesting on menu, but taste-wise the cheese could be a bit more heavier, while I had to complement the generous amount of shrimps used in each roll.

Deep-fried Yam Dumpling ($3.20), Mini Egg Tart ($2.80)

Another well-done snack, the dumpling was piping hot and stuffed full of savoury yam and minced meat. The egg tart however, paled in comparison to Crystal Jade, with a diluted custard center and a crust just not flaky enough.

Chinese Pancake with Diced Scallop ($6.00), Steamed Rice with Chicken and Chinese Sauasage ($6.00)

The pancake was a mistake made on impulse. I had an impression that it would be the crispy prata-like type, but instead it was lumpy and tasteless, with the scallops hardly able to save it.

Still feeling hungry? Go for the rice selections! Fragrantly steamed and eaten with a dash of soy sauce, it will fill you up with satisfaction!

Bill for two was $40.20 after taxes, and that was a lot of food! Not exactly a Crystal Jade replacement, Old Hong Kong did have dishes to my liking, but there were some that could be further improved or avoided during my next trip!
Monday, January 04, 2010

La Strada: Italian Lunch!

Sometime back before Christmas, the food bloggers met up for another outing. We splitted into two groups, with one visiting Gordons' Grill at Goodwood Park and the other (including me) going to La Strada, the Italian wing of Les Amis Group!

Kaelyn had made a reservation for six beforehand so we were able to have a rather cosy corner to ourselves. The place had a casual modern decor, elegent but not as stiff as fine-dining would be. Staffs were warm and friendly, dictating the lunch menu to us patiently and were meticulate in details.

Compliementary Bread and Oven-baked Pizza

The bread was pretty average but the pizza, which was offered halfway through our appetisers, was a pleasent surprise. Smeared simply with tomato paste and herb, it had a slight chewy texture with crispy edges. I would prefer the dough to be a bit more thin but really it was a nice bonus to our meal.

Duo Of Crostini, Apple and Carrot Soup

I opted for the first one as my starter, and it turned out to be a good choice! The olive spread topped with tomotos complimented each other perfectly, with the deep, saltiness of the spread pairing well with the light juicy tomatoes. The other bread was topped with pork ragu which the flavour faintly reminded me of canned tuna, but richer with a much better texture. Nice!

Gavin was the only one who had the soup, so you should read his review about it!

Salmon Salad, Tuna Salad with Poached Egg

Kaelyn asked for her salad to be served with tuna but it came with salmon instead, realising it only after a few confirmation bites. We joked that we should have eaten more of the salmon before asking for an exchange! The proper one came awhile later with a nice runny poached egg in the middle.

Char-grilled Sirloin, Pan-fried Salmon

All of us chose these two for mains, conveniently leaving out the chicken option. I had my steak to medium-rare doneness and it was wonderfully tender and juicy, good ol beefy taste with a charred flavour. Served with salad and mashed potato, there was no need for sauces at all!

Replacing mashed with roasted potatoes, the salmon was also commented to be very well-done. Seems like all of us enjoyed our mains rather well!

Pecan Tart with Basil Ice Cream

With a two course meal, you can choose to have a main with either a appetiser or desserts. The pecan tart was average for me, but the basil ice cream was really interesting. Usually used as seasonings, it had a savoury sweet flavour that was really unique!

Mini Madeleines

And what's a better way than to finish an excellent lunch with a cup of hot tea and freshly baked madeleines?

With the two-course set lunch at 28++ (three-course for 34++), La Strada is a nice place to pamper yourself for a slow, enjoyable lunch experience. And its even better to do so in the company of like-minded friends!

And then we headed straight for Checkers' Deli desserts selection, but thats for another post!

Check out the other reviews:

Justin, j2k3blogs
Kaelyn, My Food Sirens
Gavin, Amasou Umasou
Friday, January 01, 2010

Ushering in The New Year!

I actually wanted to write something yesterday, but the Wireless@SG in Tan Tock Seng was failing me rather badly.

There's a first for everything, and it was my first time counting down in a hospital. I spent the past few days in TTSH as my mom was down with an acute case of apendicitis. She had her operation and thankfully, will be discharged tomorrow!

Well anyway, 2009 was an eventful one for me. Spending CNY in Hong Kong, travelling to Taiwan twice, had a fruitful four month stint at Exxonmobil and embarking on my undergraduate studies.

Food-wise, I tried plenty of new places and bookmarked quite a number as favourites. And late into the year, I made many new friends who shared the same makan passion, which I am sure that will be well carried into 2010!

Lastly, I would like to wish everyone a healthy, fruitful new year. Happy eating!