Saturday, August 26, 2006

Hai Tien Lo

Since I had gotten my Pan Pacific Privileges for Diners (PPPD) card, it was time for me to make full use of it! I made a reservation for 2 people(my gf and I), for 1830hrs and we requested for good seats. We were late for the reservation, as usual, due to the fact that I had to send my car's sideskirt for respraying (That's another story altogether). The nice people at Hai Tien Lo actually kept the reservation for me and even called and smsed me to remind me of it. A nice gesture on their part I feel.

We were greeted right from the moment the lift doors opened and were ushered to our seats, which I must admit, was one of the best seats in the house, one which overlooked the harbour as well as Sheares bridge. It was really a pretty sight, especially when you are 37 stories high and with all the twinkling night lights from the city below.

We ordered the set menu 3, which @ $58+++ per pax, was one of the cheaper packages available. There was a BBQ platter, shark's fin soup with crab meat, Canadian cod with mango and strawberry, homemade tofu with mushrooms and abalone and bird's nest with sago. We ordered an addtional Peking duck skin with pan fried foie gras, which was $16+++ per pax. (Please note that each of these dishes come in individual servings)

The BBQ platter came first and it consisted of Char Siew, roast duck and spicy jellyfish. I was pretty impressed by the succulent and juicy Char Siew, but the roast duck was just slightly above average. The spicy jellyfish didn't attract me as well as I simply don't like eating jellyfish. Next up was the Peking Duck skin with foie gras. This is definitely a must try! The peking duck skin had a little meat stuck onto it and had no fat at all. It was crisp and tasty and ranks up there with the Peking Duck from Min Jiang(Review coming soon). The pan fried foie gras was nicely done, a little crispy on the outside and soft and quivery on the inside. (God, its a miracle anyone can survive the high cholesterol)Following which was the shark's fin soup. I found it a little too flavourful for my liking, but my gf swears by it. It came with this little beancurd bag that was stuffed with real crab meat and other good stuff. The home made beancurd with mushroom and abalone was next on the list and I personally like the soft and smooth tofu. I was hoping that I could get another serving of it, but alas! The abalone was quite sizeable and though not top grade, it was good. The mushroom was a little too soft and chewy for my liking. (Reminded me a little of eating kway). The highlight of the day was the Canadian cod with mango and strawberries(I don't remember the name of the dish, but the cod comes with diced mangoes and strawberries) It was a pretty weird combination to say the least, but imagine my surprise when the dish actually tasted good. The cod was soft and flavourful and the accompanying sauce was a little sweet. Add the sweetness of the mangoes and strawberries and you get something sweet yet subtle. Dessert followed, but it was nothing fantastic. There were only a few strands of bird's nest and it was essentially mango with sago. An anti climax really, after all the top notch dishes that preceeded it.

The damage? Pretty steep @ $177 inclusive of tax etc. After a 50% discount on the food itself, I still had to fork out just over a hundered dollars. The dishes are quite small, but add them all up and you will be surprised how full you'll be. Its a very romantic place to bring your date, especially if you manage to get harbour view seats. However I do feel that the tables are a wee bit too close to each other. The service is impeccable and staff are patient and polite. Overall, I feel that its money well spent. (Not too often though) Try out the weekly promotion menus if you have spare cash to burn. Its well worth it.



Hai Tien Lo (Picture courtesy of Pan Pacific)



BBQ platter



Peking Duck Skin with pan fried foie gras



The interior of Hai Tien Lo



Shark's fin soup with crab meat



Home made beancurd with abalone and mushroom



Canadian cod fish



Mango and sago with bird's nest



The bill





Final Verdict:
Ambience:8.5/10
Service:8/10
Food:7.75/10
Value for money:7/10

Overall:7.8125/10

Address: Level 37 Pan Pacific Hotel. Valet parking available.

Guess where we went after dinner? Hehe.


My favourite ice cream store

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Lai Wah Restaurant

The last time round when my parents and I went to Guan Hin for dinner, we passed by Lai Wah @ Bendeemer Road and my mum was quick to point out that the Cantonese food there was quite good the last time she ate there, about 10-20 years ago. So it was with great anticipation that we ventured to Lai Wah for dinner. We had a special guest with us today, my aunt, who is really particlar about food.
We got there about 1930hrs and the place was quite packed with families. The interior had this very cosy and nostalgic feeling about it. The ceilings were low and the decor simple.

We ordered Yam basket, white chicken with ham and vegetables, home made tofu (can't remember the exact name) and belachan kang kong. The Yam basket came first and I really liked it. The yam was cripsy and not soggy like some others that I have eaten. The yam was also not too starchy and the prawns that came with it were tasty and crunchy. The tofu was next and I found it a little too coarse for my liking. (I prefer silken tofu). Next up was the white chicken with vegetables and ham. According to my parents, this is a very old dish which used to be served at wedding dinners in the olden days. Honestly, I was quite disappointed with it. The chicken and the ham didn't have much taste as they were soaked in the thick gravy. The gravy itself wasn't really flavourful. But having said all that, it was a decent dish. The belachan kang kong was quite good, but a little too salty.

The damage worked out to be $51.80 for 4 pax. Although the type of food we ordered wasn't the expensive, the dinner itself was quite reasonable if you ask me. No GST & service charge. Thumbs up for the Yam Basket as well. Will patronise again but probably not in the near future. My mum feels that the standard has dropped though, but overall still a decent and value for money eatery.


Lai Wah



The cut up and eaten but delicious Yam basket



The home made tofu



The white chicken with ham and vegetable





Final Verdict:
Ambience:6.75/10
Service:6.5/10
Food:6.5/10
Value for money:7/10

Overall:6.6875/10

Address: Blk 44 Bendeemer Road. Ample HDB parking available.

The week's makan in summary

Sorry folks, been busy with my exams lately so haven't been updating my blog. Not much food outings as well due to the same reason. Anyway, I did pop by Ichiban Boshi @ Esplanade to check it out and to collect my Pan Pacific Privileges for Diners(PPPD) card from Pan Pacific Hotel at the same time. Food was average, but definitely better then Sakae Sushi! Nice place as well as it overlooks the Singapore River and has nice cushion seats.

Patronised Xin Wang cafe @ Marina Square with my gf last night after catching Mission Impossible III @ the Class 95 event @ the Padang. Got there about 2145pm and it was quite packed with people. Decor was simple and they had nice looking circular booths, which could seat up to 4 people. Got a seat pretty fast and we proceeded to order a Macau style cheese baked rice with pork chop, chicken porridge and red bean snow ice(or something like that).Our food came within 10 mins and we were quite pleased with the presentation. The food actually looked good. However, imagine our disappointment when the porridge tasted bland and the portion was pathetic. I'm sure the $2.50 porridge at the hawker centre outside my house tasted better then that and with a bigger portion to boot. The baked rice was cold on the inside and hot on the outside (the cheese). The rice was drenched in oil(I could actually see the layer of oil!). The saving grace was the red bean snow ice which was actually an oversized ice kachang, but with just red bean, grass jelly and lots of condensed milk in it. I found it quite ok, probably due to the fact that I kinda like ice kachang.

Damage was $25.55/- which I feel is hardly worth it. One of the worst places I've eaten so far. Service is hardly existent as well. Will not be going back EVER! One other thing to note. They charge 40 cents for their iced water (refillable) and they have this practice of rounding up the bill to the nearest 5 cents.


Xin Wang Cafe



The uber gross baked rice



The Red Bean Snow Ice




Final Verdict:
Ambience:5/10
Service:6/10
Food:3/10
Value for money:3/10

Overall:4.25/10

ps: some additional pictures of the week.


My PPPD card!



Our bill for Ichiban Boshi



Movies @ the Padang organised by Class 95

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Guan Hin

Dinner at Guan Hin used to be a regular affair when my grandfather was still around. After a lay off of about a decade, my parents and I decided to revisit Guan Hin to see if anything had changed. We made a booking for 7pm but arrived there slightly earlier. The place was quite packed, probably due to the limited amount of tables. The decor was as how my parents and I remembered it some 12 years back, even the table arrangements looked the same. It was still as cramp as ever. We proceeded to order fish maw soup, braised goose, hand made tofu and asparagus with scallops.

The tofu came first. It was a little too rough for my liking, because I personally prefer smooth silken tofu. But the prawns that came with it were nice and crunchy. Next up was the asparagus with scallops. The asparagus was crunchy and cooked just right, but the scallops didn't seem too fresh. The soup followed and it was pretty normal, nothing much to shout about. They gave us 3 pieces of fish maw with minced meat filling for the 3 of us. My favourite dish was last; the braised goose. It came with tofu and the meat was tender. But the meat seemed a little fatty under the skin on this particular occasion. To top it up, the 3 of us had yam paste with ginko nuts (Orh Nee), which the 3 of us agreed that it was good. The yam was very smooth and there wasn't much coconut milk in it. Orh Nee the way it should be!

Breakdown of the bill:
Tofu - $13
Veg - $13
Soup - $6
Or Nee - $2 x 3 = $6
Braised duck - $16
Rice, tea, towel, GST - $9
Total damage: About $63

I recommend Guan Hin for its Orh Nee and braised duck. I personally haven't tried the other recommended dishes such as cold crab and kong ba pow, so I can't pass any comments.


The yummy braised goose



Yam paste with ginko nuts (Or Nee) after mixing


Final Verdict:
Ambience:6.5/10 (Very traditional teochew restaurant)
Service:6/10
Food:6.5/10 (I give the Or Nee 7.5/10)
Value for money:7/10

Overall:6.5/10

Address: Blk 34 Whampoa West.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Tao's part II (Pictures)

Went to Tao's again today with my gf. Will only post pictures of the food. The review can be found here. Enjoy!

Ham and Cheese Gratin


Farm Boy Splendour


Fruit Salad


Fish Soup


Grilled Chicken (Sorry took a bite before taking the pic)


Grass Jelly Mint Tea


Creme Brulee


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Hog's breath

After hearing all the good things about Hog's breath @ Chijmes, my gf and I decided to give it a try today. To ensure a seat, I made a reservation for 1830hrs. To my surprise, it was pretty empty when we arrived, probably due to the National Day Parade. The outfit was pretty cosy and had a very cottage feel to it. (In my opinion at least)We took our seats and after some recommendations from the friendly waitress, I ordered the natural cut of their prime ribs (300g) while my gf ordered the Jamaican chicken. (She doesn't take beef)

After a short wait, (about <10mins) our dishes arrived and we tucked in. First impressions, the beef I had was very well done and the meat was tender and a little juicy. (I had ordered it medium well)The sides were nothing to shout about though. The hog tail fries tasted like the curly fries from MacDonalds and the salad looked like it could use some sprucing up. I managed to try some of my gf's chicken and it tasted kinda weird with peachy-mangoey sauce on top of the chicken. The sauce tasted like those you would find in puddings.

My take on this one? The beef is good, but only the beef. Didn't get to try the dessert as we had plans to head on to Haagan Dazs after that. The waitresses were friendly, but a little lacking in service. I ordered a refillable glass of Coke and I had to wait for quite some time to even see a waitress to get it filled up. Nice laid back atmostphere though.



Hog's Breath



Nice laid back decor



The Natural Rib



The Jamaican Chicken



The total bill






Final Verdict:
Ambience:7.5/10
Service:6.5/10
Food:7/10 (Just for the steak)
Value for money:6/10

Overall:6.75/10


After dinner, we headed down to the Haagan Dazs cafe @ Raffles City to have our fill of ice cream. I tried the new summer berries delight and my gf had the triple chocolate chip. Total damage for ice cream - about $17/-.
Total damange for the night - about $90/-


Summer Berries Delight (Sorry for the half eaten ice cream. Couldn't resist taking a bite first)



The Bill again


Monday, August 07, 2006

Tao's

Today marks my second visit to Tao's @ Paradiz centre, but with new makan khakis, namely, my parents.
Made a reservation for 1930hrs and there weren't too many people around when we arrived. Took some time to ponder over our orders, but the waitress was very patient and accomodating. I chose a farm salad, cream of mushroom soup as starters, baby back ribs as main, grass jelly mint tea and creme brulee for dessert. Just for those who have never been to Tao's, they only serve a 7 course dinner, out of which you are allowed to choose your salad, soup, dessert, main course and tea. The rest is fixed, like the cheese and ham gratin as a starter and fried wild mushrooms. Rose tea is complimentary and so is the shot of raspberry sorbet. I won't list what my parents had simply because the list would be too long.

The mushroom and cheese gratin, as expected, was good and I had a craving for more. Pity about the small serving though. The toasted bread was good together with the gratin. Next came the salad. My farm salad was average, albeit a small serving. My parents had the fruit salad and it was unique with a fusion of fruits, mayonnaise and grinded crab sticks. Weird combination, but tasted good. Next up was the fried wild mushrooms. Have never really been a fan of wild mushrooms, so this dish was just normal to me. The soup that came after that was pretty good though. The cream of mushroom I ordered had mushrooms grinded into little bits with fresh ground pepper. Heavenly I must say. The shark's fin melon soup that my mum had was very light and had a slice of shark's fin in it. Not too shabby.
Main course wise, I had the award winning baby back ribs. I personally like this as I absolutely hate having to literally tear the meat off the bones. Tao's ribs are soft(maybe too soft for some peoples' liking. ie my mum)and that makes it easy to seperate the meat from the bone. By this time, all of us were pretty stuffed up. The grass jelly mint tea served to help me digest(well it felt like it)and it was refreshing because of the mint leaves. The final course was the dessert, which I felt was only average, although this time round, I got a much bigger portion of creme brulee(probably because its a weekday)

All in all, I liked it for its great service, good food (in general). On weekends you even get to listen to a live band perform.

The damage? $28.80+++ per pax, which works out to be $33.40 each. Ended up paying $25.50 each only as I had a 24% discount.



Final Verdict:
Ambience:6.5/10
Service:8/10
Food:6.5/10
Value for money:7/10

Overall:7/10



Sorry no pics as of now as my stupid phone went bonkers and the pictures I took got erased. Will update when I go to Tao's again on the 24th of Aug. Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Seah Street Deli

After a 6 month hiatus, I decided to renew my acquaintance with Seah Street Deli @Raffles hotel as I happened to be in the vicinity to help my mum pick up her handphone from the repair shop. I've always liked the upbeat atmostphere at Seah Street Deli. It never fails to bring back the good days of eating at the diners near my apartment in Canada.

Well, we stepped into the eatery at around 1930hrs and it was seriously packed. We had to wait for about 5 mins for an empty table, which I felt was reasonable, given that it was a saturday and it was dinner time. I ordered beef pot roast while my gf ordered cheese macaroni with chicken. The dishes came in about 10 mins and I was pleasently surprised how tasty my pot roast was. The beef was thinly sliced and the gravy wasn't too salty. Sure, it wasn't top grade beef or anything, but it sure tasted great.(To me that is)My gf's cheese macaroni was good too, with lots of cheese and grilled chicken to top it up.(I think they used cheddar cheese)My gf doesn't usually take macaroni, so its relatively rare that she would comment that the macaroni is nice.

The highlight of the day was the chocolate decadence. It was a huge slice of chocolate cake with lots of chocolate and a little rum(I think. Tasted like it.) in between.It was pretty sweet and we liked it. (We have sweet tooths)Although it was shared between the both of us, we couldn't finish it.

Overall, I liked it for the ambience and service, but it would be better if it wasn't so noisy. The jukebox could hardly be heard. No complaints about the price though. Cost us about $58/- including taxes and free flow ice tea. Will definitely be back to patronize.


Beef Pot Roast


Macaroni with cheese and grilled chicken


The humongous Chocolate Decadence




Final Verdict:
Ambience:6.5/10
Service:7/10
Food:7/10
Value for money:7/10

Overall:6.875/10

On a side note, after dinner we happened to walk past the Padang and lo and behold, we managed to catch the fireworks display. It was simply breathtaking. Happy birthday Singapore!

Friday, August 04, 2006

First post!

First post in my blog! Am so thrilled by the thought of it. Never really blogged in my life so just doing this food blog just for fun and remembrance. Don't know how I should start, but nevertheless, here goes!

Attack of the foodies part 1 - Had dinner at Plaza Market Cafe @ Raffles the Plaza with my gf and 3 other friends. The place wasn't too crowded when we stepped in at about 1930hrs and it was done up to bring back the nostalgia of the 60s. The atmostphere was relaxed, which was exactly what I needed to unwind after a whole week of work.

Food wise, the spread was at best, average, with the usual stuff like sushi, salmon, crabs, prawns, oysters, duck, popiah etc. Everything was passable, with nothing especially outstanding. The roasted pork was too fatty and oily, the satay was burnt at some areas(those that weren't burnt tasted dry and tough) The only things worth mentioning were the desserts. The tiramisu was above average, the green tea pudding with chocolate syrup was surprising good and the chocolate fountain only had marshmellows and strawberries. The highlight of the meal,(or so I thought) was to have been the durian pengat, which was said to be of equal standards to the one at Ellenborough cafe @ Merchant Court Hotel. Sadly, it was a pale shadow of the real McCoy. The pengat was not as smooth as the one at Ellenborough and it was a tad too bitter for my liking. I gave up after eating just half a bowl of it.

The damage? $42+++ per pax before discount. After discount, $24.50/- each. (Because my friend works @ Raffles and is entitled to 50% off)

All in all, a pretty unsatisfying experience. I like it for its prompt service and laid back atmostphere, but the food leaves much to be desired. With such a high price tag of $42+++ per pax, I wouldn't be returning anytime soon, not even with 50% off.


The hugely disappointing Durian Pengat



Final Verdict:
Ambience: 6.5/10
Service: 7/10
Food: 6/10
Value for money: 5/10

Overall: 6.125/10