Thursday, October 24, 2013

Shoebox Canteen: Western Bites for Lunch

Working in the Clarke Quay area has its perks. I can either walk to Hong Lim for cheap and good stuff or head over to the bars side for value-for-money $15nett set lunches. Also, cafes pop up here and there to serve the lunch crowd, one of them being Shoebox Canteen.

Occupying one of the shophouses along North Canal Road, the fuss-free eatery has a westernised menu catering to office warriors who wants something more than just your usual chicken cutlet. With a small dine-in area, what spiked my interest was Bitters & Love, the bar hidden behind that opens up only at night. Seems like a pretty good place to chill out after work.

Truffled Fries ($5.00 I think)

Pretty generous with the sprinkling of truffled oil, these shoestring fries made pretty good munches as we waited for our main courses.

Red Snapper Fish & Chips ($18.00), Chicken Paillard ($17.00)

Coated with a thin layer of crispy batter, the red snapper was definitely a class above the usual frozen dory, served with a handful of refreshing greens and fries. The other one, essentially an angmo version of chicken rice, did well in the fragrance of rice but the tough chicken breast meat was not to my liking.

Chef's Special Seafood Linguine ($22.00)

Touted as its signature, I was honestly a tad disappointed as it was too watery in my opinion while the linguine itself was rather bland. The topping of chunky scallops scrapped back some points but that was about it.

Bill for four was about $60 odd and considering that we shared only three mains, it is much pricier than the usual lunch options. Still tempted to come back for drinks though!

Shoebox Canteen
36 North Canal Road
Tel: 9296 4836

Taken with HTC One
Thursday, October 17, 2013

W Sentosa Cove: Breakfast at The Kitchen Table

A really short post this week as I'm feeling tired despite the recharging Tuesday break. A while ago I had a staycation at W Hotel Sentosa Cove and while I prefer to sleep in these days, the package came with buffet breakfast at The Kitchen Table. Although I contemplated with skipping it altogether, I was glad that I eventually chose not to.

While there wasn't tons of options available, they sure didn't compromise on quality as we enjoyed every almost every single one on display. From Norwegian Smoked Salmon to Asian fried Mee Tai Bak to Italian Parma Ham, I was ready for seconds

Which of course happened with more fruit juices served in chilled bottles. Very W indeed.

The live eggs station can whip up any egg dishes you want, including my Egg Benedict with a perfect runny yolk and a bowl of creamy hollandaise sauce. Awesome stuff

And here I encountered the best bowl of Cantonese Beef Brisket Noodles that I had in the longest time (probably because I haven't been back in HK for two years), as the tender briskets were very well braised and served with springy egg noodles and home-like soup. So much so that I asked the chef to skip the carbo and just load me with meat on the return attempts.

At 48++ per pax, buffet breakfast at W Sentosa will probably not be your top choice on weekends but if you are here on a staycation package, why not?

W Singapore - Sentosa Cove
The Kitchen Table
21 Ocean Way, 098374
Tel: 6808 7288

Taken with HTC One
Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ocean Restaurant: Dining with the Fishes

I don't think this place needs much introduction. With the opening hype of the world's largest Aquarium, S.E.A. Aquarium, the Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora within has also been fully booked beyond words as everyone wants a piece of the "Under the Sea" dining experience. So when the family friend came from Hong Kong a while back, I was lucky enough to get a table to bring her here for the experience too.

And I must say the view is very pretty. Flocks of stingrays and fishes that I can't name constantly glides past the huge glass panels throughout our meal and while everyone wants a table right beside the tank, it really doesn't matter too much as you can get a good view even when seated right at the back (the rectangular-shaped restaurant isn't that big in the first place). Mirrors are also mounted on the opposite wall for you to catch the view even with your back facing the tank.

With the 3 course set lunch priced at $60++, there is very little reason for you to go Ala Carte (Do the maths, an order of appetizer and mains will easily cost you more than $55) unless you are really not a desserts person.

42 Degrees Celsius Sous Vide Salmon, Tuna Tartare

Chef Cora's signature starter, this was fork tender and had a melt-in-your-mouth texture as the light seasonings brought out its nature flavour. The other one was rich and creamy with a thick layer of avocado, blending rather well with the raw tuna cubes.

Crispy Kurobuta Pork Belly, Braised "Boneless" Wagyu Beef Short Ribs

While the pork was moist enough and had nothing much to fault on taste, I'm starting to believe that the term Kurobuta has been overused these days. Same goes for Wagyu as I think a decent piece of US Prime beef will do the same trick.

Chocolate Passion, Dark Chocolate Brownie

Honestly, these two didn't leave much of an impression, though I remembered the caramelized banana in the first one being a tad too artificial for our liking.

Bill for three was $229.52 after taxes. Definitely pricey for lunch and you could probably name plenty of places with set lunches of lower prices and better quality. Then again, none of the rest could boast the unique view that Ocean Restaurant has, which will then perhaps justify a visit to satisfy the curiosity for a one-of-its-kind meal.

Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora™
S.E.A. Aquarium, Resorts World Sentosa
Tel: 6577 6688

Taken with HTC One
Thursday, October 03, 2013

Table Manners: Looking Good, Tasting Less

With the city centre getting more and more crowded by the weekends, suburb malls are becoming the places to go for reduced shoulder rubbing. Unless you got a huge John Little sale or IT fairs at Expo next door, Changi City Point is pretty nice to relax with a number of fresh-looking eateries. Table Manners is one of them.

With a quirky, minimalist decor that reminded much of the Awfully Chocolate/Everything with Fries people, Table Manners served modern European cuisine as well as bar snacks catering to Happy Hours. While it was absolutely packed on a weekend, tables seem to clear fast and one could probably easily walk in for a late dinner.

Spicy Wings ($6.00)

A classic example of looks are deceiving, these fiery-coloured one were pretty mild and in fact, leaning slightly to the sweet side. Goes well with a cold glass of beer nonetheless.

Truffle Capellini ($18.00), Baked Salmon ($20.00)

While this also sounded very promising on paper, the excitement lasted as soon as it was served with the truffle aroma dissipating quickly after a few good toss. Sauce was also too wet for my liking. The other mains was slightly better with miso paste and sides of sauteed mushrooms and fries, though I felt that the portion could be a little more generous.

Total bill for two was $57.45 after taxes with half a pint of Stella during Happy Hour. A tad pricey given the serving sizes, also when the food quality failed to give a lasting impression. Wrong day with the wrong items, perhaps? As I have heard much good words about the place. Plenty of other places to try first before a return.

Table Manners
The Oasis, Changi City Point
Tel: 66047669

Taken with iPhone 5