Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Koh Sushi & Grill: Sure Makes You Say Shiooook

Time to time I will have a craving for sushi. While I do like my little morsels of vinegar rice with raw fish slices, my all-time favourite are actually aburi sushi; how the blowtorch imparts a smokey flavour while releasing the oily bits within the fish is amazing, not to mention melting cheese that adds a creamy touch overall. And over at Koh Sushi & Grill, they sure know how to match the blowtorch with maki rolls.

Located within the Food Republic of Wisma Atrium, the little Japanese eatery has built a growing fanbase with its highly-praised creations and fuss-free concept. While the dinner queue is awfully long, turnover isn't all that bad and you can actually make reservations if you have planned ahead.

Iced Green Tea ($1.50)

Funny how the hot one is free of charge but costs you a dollar fifty more for adding ice cubes. Law of demand and supply I guess.

Aspara Buta Maki ($3.00), Salmon Belly Soup ($12.00)

While the first one should have easily been decent, it was a tad disappointing with its dry, burnt texture and the lack of crunch and moisture in the asparagus. Needs better attention on the grills perhaps. The miso soup, on the other hand, was great with the generous chunks of vegetables and fatty belly cubes. Really comfort stuff for the tummy.

Nasu Miso Yaki ($5.00), Tofu Hotplate ($6.00)

Still looking for an excellent grilled eggplant, the variant here was good on the surface but could have been marinated a little longer with miso to allow the flavour to sap in. The other one, served impressively sizzling away, exceeded my expectation as the crispy battered skin and smooth interior was very well paired with the savoury sauce.

Shiok Maki ($16.80)

Now the one that got everyone raving! With grilled prawns and creamy avacado wrapped within, layered with a piece of salmon, smoothered with a buttery cream-like sauce and gently flamed for that melting effect, then finally topped with a healthy dose of fish roe for a glittering, bursting effect. How to not close your eyes and indulge in the shiokness of it all coming together? Will take plenty of willpower to stop at one piece!

Total bill for two was $47.40 after GST only. While not exactly jaw-dropping cheap, it is more affordable than most of your sushi joints. As one will easily compare Shiok Maki to Sushi Tei's Dragon Roll, each has their own plus points with the former giving a slightly more value-for money feel. Back for version 2 of the hit maki? Soon!

Koh Grill & Sushi Bar
435 Orchard Road #04-21
Wisma Atria Shopping Centre
Tel: 9180 3805

Taken with iPhone 5
Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Kim Gary II: The Seduction of Nissin Noodles

Okay I admit it, I have a very bad habit of criticizing people who order instant noodles outside of home. I mean, 5 (or more) bucks for a bowl of noodles with sunny side-up and picnic ham that one can easily whip up at home in 5 minutes and at a quarter of the price? Are there nothing else better on the menu, really? Well, I'm just about to slap myself in the face at Kim Gary Plus.

At the basement of Ion Orchard, Kim Gary has opened its third outlet in Singapore and seem to have tweaked its menu slightly for the more fast-paced dining crowd. The eatery filled up fast during peak hours but tables changed hand rather quickly too. Menu choices were aplenty but it was the nissin noodles selections that looked particularly enticing. Oh well, temptation over stubbornness then.

All Day Set C Meal ($9.90) , Fried Nissin Noodles with Mixed Toppings ($9.50)

And in attempts to justify the choices, I will argue that it is not just the plain old soup noodles, egg and ham combo that we are talking about. $9.90 for the noodles, plus a crispy hot chicken wing and half a fluffy french toast, top it off with a decent cup of hk-style milk tea? Made the option much more value for money eh.

Also, wok fried instant noodles have always been a cafe favourite of mine in Hong Kong, much like how I will go for maggi goreng among beehoon and black noodles. So topping it off with a variety of meat and a cookie-cutter sunny side-up became my comfort food for the night.

Bill for two was $22.85 after taxes. As much as I try to avoid such overly-simple dishes outside, food cravings can just go against you sometimes. Oh well, just eat what you want and be happy that your cravings are satisfied lah, that's what really matters!

Kim Gary Plus
2 Orchard Turn #B4-66
ION Orchard
Tel: 6835 7048

Taken with iPhone 5
Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Bangkok Jam: Quick Fix for Thai Craving

While Thai food may not be as popular as Japanese or Korean cuisine on our island, there is still no lack of it with the many Thai-themed eateries around. As chains like Thai Express and Siam Kitchen have been dominating the scene for a good long while, its good to have Bangkok Jam as a breath of fresh air for diners.

I might be wrong, but I think the outlet at Wheelock Place was the first, with new ones sprouting up at Plaza Singapura and Marina Square. With quirky street-like design in bistro setting, tables filled up rather quickly on a weekend evening.

Strawberry Lychee ($6.50)

Something cooling to start, but tasted too artificial for my liking. Next.

Tom Yum Seafood ($7.90)

Spice level packed quite a punch for this one, though I'm not exactly a fan of soups that make me sweat this much.

Soft Shell Crab in Yellow Curry ($15.50), Sambal Kang Kong ($9.00)

Served hot and crispy, the meaty fellow was good on its own and made even better with a mild curry sauce which somehow tasted like the Twisties snack's curry flavour, in a good way that is.

No surprises for the greens, pretty good "wok-hei" though.

Phad Thai ($11.50)

The very staple of Thai stir-fry, the rendition here was pretty decent with the rice noodles being chewy and slightly sticky and had flavours well absorbed within.

Total bill for two was $59.30 after taxes. A tad expensive when you realize that all you had were thai hawker fare, but pretty much comparable to other Singapore Thai eateries of similar quality and setting. A pleasant choice to have when the craving comes.

Bangkok Jam
501 Orchard Road
Wheelock Place, #02-04/05
238880 Singapore
Tel: 6836 0989

Taken with HTC Sensation
Friday, July 05, 2013

Halia at Raffles II: Rise and Shine to Brunch

This is an invited session

Weekend brunches are always tempting; Wake up late, no rush to the office, and tuck into lovely eggs and toasts. While many independent cafes have tempting brunch options, quite a handful are also located at places that are rather hard to reach without a car (Think Robertson Quay). So when Halia at Raffles started a brunch menu, the convenience was just too hard to resist.

Halia at Raffles hardly needs an introduction as I have posted a invited dinner session recently, and have been back to the restaurant myself no less than two times. Located smack in the city with reasonable pricing, it naturally became a place for gatherings and celebrations. Now with brunch menu on weekends and public holidays (11:00am to 5:30pm), the perk list grew even longer.

Freshly Shucked Irish Oysters ($5.50/piece), Heirloom Tomato ($20.00)

Fancy some oysters for brunch? We do! These freshly-shucked fellows were creamy and juicy, perfect on its own or with a little lemon juice or vinegar pepper. If you need something light and appetizing to get the tummy rolling, the medley of tomatoes will do the trick, paired with tasty slices of Iberico ham.

Assorted Bread and Pastries ($12.00), Pancake with Bacon Butter, Fresh Strawberries and Puree ($12.00)

If a good mix of bread kickstarts your day, then the basket of in-house bakes will be your choice. Came with clotted cream for the scones too. The other one was a classic done right with its slightly crisp skin and chewy texture, a little heavy to finish on your own but surely great for sharing.

White bean Iberico Chorizo Leek Stew ($16.00), Mushroom Capellini ($22.00)

While chuckling at the mention that this made perfect hangover treatment, I couldn't help but to agree. A hearty, slightly sourish stew that was chokeful of ingredients; the mouthfuls of beans, diced sausages and egg mix would be very comforting on a cold morning, or after a long night's out. While the other one was pretty simple on paper, it was yet another awesome comfort food with its bursts of truffle aroma and creamy flavour.

Grilled Breakfast with any Style Eggs ($23.00)

Why of course, brunch is never quite complete without the "Big Breakfast" treatment. Being the only permanent item on the brunch menu (the previous ones will be updated/refreshed regularly), it came with a huge pork sausage, good ol portobello mushroms and my personal favourite of candied bacons.

Potato Fries with Truffle Aioli and Piquant Mayo ($8.00), Celeriac "Lasagna" ($12.00)

As the regular ala-carte items are also available during brunch, the popular fries will be one good item to share around the table, as well as the signature "lasagna" which I will order for every single visit.

Sous Vide Baharat Chicken Leg ($28.00), Halia Chilli Crab ($25.00)

Not going into details since these have already been covered for the dinner post, but happy that they are as good as before.

Mushroom, Lentil and Walnut Bake ($24.00)

A new attempt for me, I thought it was like a savoury dessert with its brownie-like texture. Not a fan of vegetarian stuff but won't hurt when taken with a lot of meat, I guess.

Halia Infusion ($10.00)

As always, a pleasure to end the meal with their iconic ginger tea.

With its rotating menu and great quality, brunching at Halia at Raffles is definitely an option on those lazy days. Wake up to the thought of candied bacons and pancakes? Count me in please.

Special thanks to Ivy of Foodnews for the invite!

Halia at Raffles Hotel
1 Beach Road
#01-22/23 Raffles Hotel
Tel: 9639 1148

Taken with Nikon D70