Thursday, November 30, 2006

Nexus Gourmet

Dinner was a simple affair at Nexus Gourmet along Telok Ayer Street. Located just opposite the mosque, Nexus Gourmet blends in well with its surroundings and looks just like any other shophouse along the row. No signages, no newspaper clippings, nothing. One could hardly be blamed for mistaking it for anything but a food outlet. Only through word of mouth will you know that such a place even exists. Well I was one of those who have heard about it and so I was all geared up to try. I had a companion of course, namely, my gf. Only a table was occupied when we got there at about 1845hrs. They had gone out of pizzas, so we had the Rib Eye Steak and BBQ Chicken with a Duck and Mango Salad to share.

I personally found the Duck and Mango Salad a little lacklustre. The slightly spicy sauce did add some zest to the duck, but some pieces of the duck itself tasted rather flat. Other pieces of duck had a very strong fowl aftertaste, which I am immune to, but it was quite pronounced. The shredded vegetables were a nice touch as they were crunchy and provided a little moisture to the salad.

My Rib Eye Steak exceeded my expectations a little. I had ordered it medium rare, but it turned out medium well, which was still fine with me. The meat was still relatively tender and sweet, so no grouses there. The accompanying mushroom sauce was tasty without being too flavourful. Mashed potatoes came as a side and it was moist and smooth. I'm not sure if it came from a ready made package, but if it did, it sure didn't taste like it. My gf's BBQ Chicken tasted a little too sweet for me, but she found it ok. The chicken was cooked just right, not overdone nor undercooked.

Dinner for 2 pax cost $32.80/-, which is quite reasonable. What Nexus Gourmet lacks in its culinary section, it more than makes up for in its service and ambience. Overall, a very decent experience. It could well do with more signages to promote itself and to attract walk in customers. Oh and a wider variety would be greatly appreciated. Happy Nexusing!



The menu

Duck and Mango Salad

Rib Eye Steak

BBQ chicken thigh

Mashed potato

The bill

Final Verdict:
Ambience:7/10 (Quiet and peaceful)
Value for money:7/10


Address: 161 Telok Ayer Street
Contact: 6223 3376
Opening Hours: 11.30am – 9.30 pm (Monday – Saturday)
12.30pm – 9.30 pm (Sunday & Public Holidays)
Comments: Cash terms only.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Dessert Boutique of Delectable Blessings!

Make no mistake, Dessert Boutique of Delectable Blessings! is actually the name of a dessert shop housed along the newly refurbished Market Street Carpark. Just 7 weeks old and located just a few doors down from RoGues, this outfit prides itself on selling healthy desserts. No more oily and excessively sweet or salty desserts. Everything here is freshly made and natural flavours are key to the desserts. I had a few samples, courtesy of a lovely lady, who also happens to be one of the owners of the shop and found them quite delectable. The In All Fairness (trust them to come up with such names), which was essentially Barley, Gingko with Beancurd Skin, was very light and refreshing. This dish is best taken chilled. The Mango Tango!, on the other hand, was a little creamy with Sago, Pomelo and Watermelon. I didn't quite taste the Watermelon, but the Pomelo provided an added zest to the dish. It tasted like your normal day to day Mango Sago, albeit a creamier and less sweet rendition. My favourite was the White Fungus with Chinese Almonds and Papaya, which happened to be the Delectable Experiment of the week. For $3, you get a huge cup of White Fungus swirling in a sweet but light syrup and lots of Chinese Almonds. I could see the pieces of Papayas, but they were too mashed up too have any taste. Experience the chilled syrup trickle down your throat and all memories of a bad lunch quickly dissipates.

Do try it if you happen to be in the area. They do delivery to nearby areas within a 10 minute walk from the shop, but the minimum order is $10. Other than that, the minimum order goes up to $30 and a delivery charge of between $5-$10 is imposed, depending on location. They also serve healthy breakfast items which might be a good alternative to those MacDonalds or Char Kuay Teows. There is a small dining area which can seat up to 6(?) people, but it is rather cramp, so you are better off eating on the go.

Shop facade

Samples anyone?

Pots of goodness

Another view

The experiment of the week - White Fungus with Chinese Almond and Papaya

White Fungus, Chinese Almond and Papaya

Mango Tango!

In All Fairness

For all your dessert needs

Address: 146 Market Street #01-41
Contact: 65366739


Based on recommendations from the nice folks at the Makansutra forums, Tamago (or TMG for short) and I had a go at the newly reopened Wham!Burger at the China Square Food Court. It was originally located at Turf City some two years back, but closed down as the owner wanted to pursue her other interests. The menu was really simple and $4.80 gets you a chicken/beef burger. Add another dollar ($5.80) and you get an extra side (rather small serving though). I had the Beef Burger with a side of Crinkle Fries , whereas TMG had the Chicken Burger.

My Beef Burger was quite a size - smaller than Aston's ieat SuperBurger, but slightly bigger than Burger King's Whopper. The beef patty was moist, a little chewy and best of all, it didn't make me feel the least bit queasy after eating it. Such a great beef patty must surely go with nicely toasted buns, but the truth be said, they sucked. It isn't really the fault of the owner as she gets her buns from suppliers. She promises to work on it though. My miserable portion of fries tasted nicely done - crispy and freshly fried with a sprinkling of salt and probably Monosodium Glutamate (MSG).

As with my Beef Burger, TMG's Chicken Burger had the same flat tasting buns but he commented that the chicken tasted like Satay Chicken and it was good.

My take on Wham!Burger is, definitely must try! It beats Botak Jones's Botak Burger and Aston's ieat SuperBurger hands down. I will definitely be back to try the Chicken Burger or when I have a beef burger fix.

The store

The menu

Doesn't the packaging remind you of Mos Burger?

Check out the size of the beef patty

The huge patty again

Moist and juicy patty

Chicken Burger

Side of Crinkle Fries

The receipt

Rating: 8/10
Address: China Square Food Court B1-22
Opening Hours: 11am - 4pm Mondays to Fridays
Contact: 90080604 (Wendy)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Boulevard Chicken Pie

Walking along Joo Chiat Road can be quite exciting at times. You never know what food shop or eatery you are going to find next. I happened to chance upon Boulevard Chicken Pie during one of my trips and as the name suggests, it only sells chicken pies. They come in small, medium and large. I had a small one to try and I was amazed by the fluffy yet crispy crust. The butter taste wasn't overpowering and it tasted better than most of the Chicken Pies that I've eaten. The filling was tasted a little creamy, but could do with a bigger serving. However, having said that, what do you expect for something that costs only $1.50? If you want a bigger pie with more filling, go for the large ones. One gripe though. The pie could do with a lot less oil. It definitely has more oil than the other pies that I've tried. Oh and yes, its Halal, so Muslim friends out there rejoice ;)

Pies, pies and more pies

The pie

The filling

Address: 422 Joo Chiat Road (Formerly from the now defunct Boulevard Hotel)

Puteri Mas's Famous Durian Puffs

Along Joo Chiat Road lies this discreet small shop with a seemingly run down facade which sells only Durian pastries. For the uninitiated, this tiny shop houses Puteri Mas, one of the most famous names in Durian pastries, aside from Goodwood Park Hotel's Deli. Bite sized durian puffs are sold in boxes of 20 and they have other stuff like Durian rolls, cakes etc. Bite into one of the Durian puffs and the Durian literally explodes from within the thin pastry. Only gripe I had was that the puff was too thin and thus became a little soggy. $9 for 20 mini puffs isn't cheap, but its worth it. Miss trying it at your own loss. ;)

The pricing of the puffs

Durian puffs

Look at the oozing Durian!

Address: (Main) 475 Joo Chiat Road 0930hrs - 1900hrs
(Branch) Tasty Treats @ Suntec, just next to Carrefour 1100hrs - 2130hrs
Contact: 63448629

Lau Hock Guan Kee Bak Kut Teh

On my family's previous dinner trip to My Mum's Place, we had spotted a few stalls beside it which we had meant to try. One such stall was Lau Hock Guan Kee Bak Kut Teh, which I was told, sold decent Bak Kut Teh. As with Tasty Penang just 2 doors down, Lau Hock Guan Kee is rather old school, opting for fans in favour of air conditioners. Read, it can get quite stuffy and warm if you choose to sit inside. Manned by a few old ladies, Lau Hock Guan Kee doesn't offer a menu unless you specifically request for it. The old ladies rattle off whatever's available and are very warm and hospitable, although in a rather loud sense. We had the Fried Baby Kailan with Oyster Sauce, Beancurd with Minced Meat and Bak Kut Teh.

The Fried Baby Kailan with Oyster Sauce was a little too "sweet" for me due to the excessive oyster sauce. The generous serving of fried shallots atop was a bonus and added flavour to the dish. Beancurd with Minced Meat might seem like an easy dish to prepare. Just get good beancurd, throw some minced meat and garnishes in and you are done. Even a novice cook like myself can easily whip up Beancurd with Minced Meat, but doing it well is an art by itself. Lau Hock Guan Kee's version exceeded expectations. What looked like a pathetic excuse for the dish turned out to have soft and silky tofu (similar to the Agedashi Tofu in Japanese eateries) and a tantalising gravy owing to the hearty mix of minced meat, carrots, spring onions, mushrooms and other garnishes. But then again, it would have been better if the cook had gone a little easier on the salt.

I'm sure everyone has eaten quite a bit of Bak Kut Teh in their lives and I'm no exception. The 2 most popular versions of Bak Kut Teh are the Teochew version, which has a clear and peppery soup and the Hokkien version, which has a dark and herbal soup. Lau Hock Guan Kee's rendition belonged to neither group. It's soup was slightly darkish and had seaweed and vegetables in it. It had no Bak Kut taste but tasted strongly of the seaweed. Rather weird, but still very decent in my opinion. The Bak Kut itself was nice though. The meat was tender and we had no difficulty tearing the meat off the bones. If they can do something about the soup, I'm sure this will be a smashing Bak Kut Teh.

Dinner for 3 pax with drinks cost a mere $30/-. For the huge portions (all of our dishes can feed 4 pax), this is definitely a steal. We had actually wanted to try their fish head and Fish Stomach with Bittergourd, but were too stuffed to even harbour such thoughts at the end of our meal. As such, I'll definitely be back to pick up from where we left off.

Bak Kut Teh

Tofu with minced meat

Fried Baby Kailan with Oyster Sauce

Final Verdict:
Value for money:7.5/10


Address: 328 Joo Chiat Road #01-02

Red Star Restaurant

Woke up bright and early on a Sunday morning for some Dim Sum with my gf. Had been wanting to do so ever since we had Dim Sum at Yan Palace some time back. This time we decided to visit one of the old names in Dim Sum - Red Star Restaurant at Chin Swee Road. Located on the top floor of a HDB flat, Red Star is one of the very few Dim Sum places that still serves Dim Sum in pushcarts, just like the old days. The interior in itself is reminiscent of the 80s. We got there at about 0830hrs and the place was more than half filled (It can easily seat about 200+ pax).

It would be sheer madness if I were to review everything I ate, so I'll just list out what I find is good and what isn't. You might probably want to avoid the Xiao Long Bao because the skin was a little too starchy and the filling was too dry. The Chee Cheong Fun was a little too rough for my liking and could do with more filling. The Banana with Shrimp Roll was rather unique, with the sweetness of the banana complementing with the taste of shrimp. Other than that, the rest of the items were pretty normal.

The 2 of us paid almost $40/- for the meal, which is expensive by Red Star's standards, considering the last time we ate there, it only cost us about $30. They probably increased the price or something. However, having said that, they are still quite reasonable for the average quality of food that they provide. So if you are looking to relive the old days of the push cart or wish to have Dim Sum as early as 0730hrs, then this is the place for you. As for me I won't be rushing back to patronise anytime soon as I'm still reeling from the shock at my bill. Yan Palace does seem like a more viable option now.

The interior

Fried stuff

Dim Sum trolley

Fried Fish Ball

Chee Cheong Fun

Kong Ba with Yam

Salad You Tiao

Banana with Shrimp Roll

Har Gao

Siew Mai

Almond Jelly with Longan

The bill

Final Verdict:
Ambience:6.5/10 (Traditional Dim Sum restaurant)
Value for money:6.5/10


Address: Blk 54 Chin Swee Road #07-23
Contact: 65325266