Sunday, December 31, 2006

933 Roast Duck


Passed by 933 Roast Duck and saw many photographs of celebrities gracing the walls of this small eating house with tables spilling all over the sidewalks and decided to try it out since my gf and I were both hungry. We ordered 2 plates of Roasted Duck Rice and a bowl of Bak Kut Teh to share.



The store



Roasted Duck Rice



Bak Kut Teh


For a stall that has received many good reviews and is purportedly one of the best roasted duck rice stalls in Singapore, it certainly didn't meet my gf's or my expectations. The duck was merely average. No crispy skin, no flavourful meat. Just plain old simple duck meat and it came with a lot of bones to boot, even though I had ordered duck breast meat. The secret to the duck rice lies in the chilli I believe. Concentrated and packing a punch, it is good enough for my gf to like it. The Bak Kut in the Bak Kut Teh was a little too soft in my opinion, probably a result of cooking too long. However, I found the soup very much to my liking. It was clear with lots of pepper in it (Teochew style). Flavourful yet peppery! But I would have liked some more pepper though.

Total for the meal was $13.40, which included 2 glasses of barley. Relatively reasonable if you ask me.

Rating: 6.5/10 for both the Roasted Duck Rice and Bak Kut Teh

Address: 429 Balestier Road

Comments: 7.30am - 8pm daily, closed on 2 Wednesdays a month.

Donut Factory



After reading Juneoesque's entry on Donut Factory, I decided to grab one to go since I was in the vicinity. It wasn't difficult to find as it is one of the two stalls that have any queues at all (The other being Chippys). After a 15min wait, everyone in the queue was told that the donuts were sold out and the next batch would be coming out in about 30-45mins. I almost fainted when I heard the news but luckily for me, I managed to buy the last piece of Donut off the shelves because no one else wanted it.



The last donut - a Strawberry and White Chocolate version. First and foremost, I found it too cold. Donuts should be warm for them to taste good. The pastry itself was good, but not as fluffy as I would have liked it to be. Upon applying pressure onto the pastry, it sinks in and stays that way. The strawberry and white chocolate were rather sweet, but suited me just fine. Donut Factory is a worthy contender to Krispy Kreme (Don't even mention Dunkin Donuts, they are not in the same league), but still has room for improvement in order to even meet Krispy Kreme's level. However, the more pressing problem for now is to find ways to fine tune their supply chain. I honestly cannot see myself queuing up for about an hour just to buy a few donuts.

Rating: 7.5/10

Address: B1-61, Raffles City

Contact: 6337-6268

Comments: Opened from 12.30pm to 10pm daily

Updated: 13th Jan 07 - Tried the other flavours the past week and the rating stands.

Boon Lay Power Nasi Lemak


My stomach was grumbling after a rigorous badminton session so I decided to check out the famed Boon Lay Power Nasi Lemak at Boon Lay Place Food Village. It was close to midnight when my gf and I got there and my god, the queue stretch all the way to the main road! Fortunately, the queue moved at a relatively brisk pace and I got my order after about 30mins of waiting.



The mad queue at midnight


The stall


What I ordered


My order of a piece of Chicken Breast, Ikan Bilis, Fried Egg and Fish Fillet cost a whopping $4.50! That's a tad too expensive. Honestly, I couldn't see what the fuss was all about. Everything was just average tasting, except for the chicken, which was well seasoned before frying. The rice itself had a strong Coconut taste, but was light on the oil. Not bad, but nothing fanciful. It was probably the chilli then, which was sweet and not too spicy. But then again, I've tasted better chilli although I'm not a great fan of the spice. The only reason I can come up with is the freshness of the food. Everything is freshly cooked and comes piping hot because the turnover rate is high. Add on the fact that there is hardly any supper places in Boon Lay and you get a sure recipe for success!

Rating: 7/10 (Mainly because of the freshness)

Address: Boon Lay Place Food Village, just next to Boon Lay Shopping Centre (Not Jurong Point). You won't miss it. Its one of the only few stalls open at night.

Comments: Opens from 9pm to 3am. Take bus 240 or 246 from Boon Lay Interchange.

Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao



I'm sure everyone is familiar with the name Crystal Jade. Their restaurants just seem to be everywhere, albeit with a different permutation of the name. The one my gf and I went to on a sleepy Thursday afternoon was Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao at Ngee Ann City. We ordered the Sauteed Egg with Fish Meat, the recommended Fried Rice with Shrimp, Chicken & Ham, Xiao Long Bao on a Hot Plate and a Souffle Egg White Ball for dessert.

The Sauteed Egg with Fish Meat was very bland. I couldn't taste any thing in it except for the egg white. It wasn't salty neither was it sweet. A could have been good dish let down by poor execution. The version by Prima is way better. In fact, its just about the best I've eaten so far.

The recommended Fried Rice with Shrimp, Chicken & Ham was at best slightly above average. The rice was thoroughly fried, as evident by the homogeneity of colours, but it lacked the "Wok Hei" taste which is the mark of good fried rice. The fragrance was also lacking, so all in all a very average eat.

Crystal Jade is well known for its Xiao Long Bao but the Xiao Long Bao on a Hot Plate was far from its usual standards. Granted, the skin was thin and juices were aplenty, but I found the skin a little too dry and hard from being left in the hot plate. However I must give them credit for the thin layer of egg which served as a base on which the Xiao Long Baos sit upon to minimize the drying of the skin due to the heat emanating from the hot plate. Innovative way, but a pity it didn't work out too well.

The dessert of Souffle Egg White Ball was reminiscent of the one I had at Cheng Li Yuan, just that it had bananas to go along with the red bean filling. A nice extra if you ask me, but the pastry itself didn't really match up. I found it a little too soggy and not as fluffy. Also, I realised that most of the sweetness came from the mounds of icing sugar sprinkled atop each pastry and not from the red bean filling itself, which really isn't what I'm looking for. Still a good dessert nevertheless.

A late lunch for 2 cost about $36. Not too expensive, but service was haughty and unprofessional. My table was already so small and full and yet they kept trying to squeeze everything in. That irked me quite a bit. Food was slightly above average, but for that price, I feel a little short changed.



Sauteed Egg with Fish Meat



Fried Rice with Shrimp, Chicken & Ham



Xiao Long Bao on a Hot Plate



Souffle Egg White Ball



A peek into the Egg White Ball



The bill




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

Overall:6.375/10

Address: #04-19 Ngee Ann City

Contact: 6735 2388

ps: Merry Xmas! Here's a nice tree for the festive season!

Ice³ Part II

This marks the second trip to this dessert parlor just outside my house. (You can read up on my first visit here)My friends had a craving for some late night desserts and this was one of the limited options available which closed late. It so happens that Tuesdays are 50% off Crepes night so it was pretty much a no brainer for us to all have crepes, albeit of different combinations. I had the combination of brownie cubes for fillings, peanuts for toppings, chocolate syrup for sauce and creamy strawberry for ice cream.



My crepe


You are free to be creative and come up with your own combination from a list of available ingredients. I personally enjoyed my concoction with the crepe being thin and the ice cream rich and smooth with a creamy strawberry taste. You can't really go wrong with such a dessert. If you are unsure, you can always ask your server for recommendations.

Rating:7.5/10





We had a go at the Marshmallows dipped in Chocolate and Sprinkled with nuts. I personally found the combination a little weird as the marshmallow was a tad too soft for the hardened chocolate exterior. Didn't really like it.

Rating:6/10

Jurong Hill Top Restaurant Part II

My visiting friends and I braved the torrential rains to have dinner at the highest restaurant in the Jurong/Tuas area - the Jurong Hill Top Restaurant. Since I've done a review on this joint before, I shall not dwell any further into details. Here's a few random shots. No pictures of what we ordered though cause I was busy eating and it isn't nice to break a conversation just to take photos. But just for the record, we had their special beef, pork loins, king prawns, tofu and kailan.



The place



Our chef for the evening



Experienced hands deshelling the prawns



Flaming!



The bill


To sum it all up, my friends and I were rather satisfied with the food, pricing and overall experience. Unlike the first time I was there, this time round, the food was much better, probably due to the fact that we ordered some of the recommended stuff.



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

Overall:6.75/10

Comments: Please refer to this entry for my first review on this restaurant.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Bosses



Wouldn't you think that naming a restaurant after some kind of mafia or triad seems kind of weird and inappropriate? The owners of Bosses aka Hei She Hui(secret society) at Vivo City obviously don't think so. Black is the obvious choice of colour in this restaurant and everything from the tables, seats and even the menus are decked out in black. Truly in line with the theme of secret societies. Make your way to the inner reaches of the restaurant and be rewarded with an unobstructed view of Sentosa through the floor to ceiling windows while you dine. One interesting thing about this place. Their menu comes chained to a drawer under the table. Simply pull open the drawer to retrieve it. Something new!

Our first dish was the appetizer of Spring Rolls, Carrot & Cucumber. The spring rolls were very well fried. Crispy with no oily residue and no bad after taste arising from the usage of inferior or dirty oil. The carrots and cucumbers were nice and crunchy. Strangely enough, we didn't order this dish. It came as a standard appetizer to all tables and it certainly wasn't free. Personally, I find that $3.80 for such a meagre portion is outright ridiculous. Even my friend thinks so.

Following suit was the Shanghai Steamed Meat Dumplings aka Xiao Long Bao. I found this to be quite well done with plenty of goodness sealed within the thin and soft skin. Bite into one and the juice literally squirts out and fills your mouth. The meat could do with a little more robust flavour though. The Wagyu Beef Congee was rather average. The beef was too overcooked to really appreciate the goodness of the wagyu beef, if it indeed was wagyu beef. I honestly couldn't taste or see the difference between this and normal beef.

We were intrigued by the Deep Fried Scallion and Pork Floss Pastry which came looking a little like Cinnamon rolls. The pastry was flaky and not too oily, but the fillings were miserable. I had to eat until almost the end to actually even see signs of the filling, which consisted of Scallion and Pork Floss. Not that the filling was that great anyway. Salty and dispersed, it didn't make much of an impact to the whole dish.

With a name like Number One Bun aka Tian Xia Di Yi Bao, the bun must either be really good or the person who came up with the name must really be brazen. I'm inclined to think it is the latter. The exterior is lightly glossed with sweet syrup while the filling of pork is salty, which complements the sweetened exterior. Though nice, it definitely doesn't warrant the title of Number One Bun.

Rounding up our meal were the Souffle Ball with Fresh Durian and Signature Creamy and Flowy Custard Bun. I personally found the Souffle Ball with Fresh Durian quite good as the pastry was soft and fluffy. Dusted in icing sugar, it is sweet, fluffy and with a strong durian taste all at the same time. Only grouse I have is that the durian filling was not the least bit sweet at all. Sure, the icing sugar made up for it, but nothing beats the natural sweetness of durian. The amount of durian filling could also be increased so that it wouldn't feel like eating just plain fried flour. The Signature Creamy and Flowy Custard Bun probably pulled one of the biggest surprises that day. Served looking like cupcakes, they were soft and aromatic and with a filling that oozed into your mouth. Sweet, yet with a tinge of saltiness. Complementation and balance at its very best.

An enjoyable meal for 2 set us back by about $48/-. Not exactly the cheapest place to eat, but certainly not expensive. The quality of food is good and the prices don't seem very expensive. But beware, the everything can add up if you are not careful with what you order. Portions are average sized and service can be better, especially with the charging of service charge. An interesting find at Vivo City, so if you are considering an alternative to Crystal Jade, this is the place.



Nice view



Interior



Menu



Appetizer of Spring Rolls, Cucumber and Carrot



Shanghai Steamed Meat Dumplings aka Xiao Long Bao



Check out the amount of fluids



Wagyu Beef Congee



Deep Fried Scallion and Pork Floss Pastry



The filling



Number One Bun



The filling



Souffle Ball with Fresh Durian



A peek into the Souffle Ball with Fresh Durian



Complimentary Signature Creamy and Flowy Custard Bun



The Custard Bun filling



The bill




Final Verdict:
Ambience:7.5/10
Service:6.5/10
Food:7/10
Value for money:6.5/10

Overall:6.875/10

Address: Vivo City #02-156/157

Contact: 63769740

Soon Huat's Pig Organ Soup



Had a craving for Pig's Organ Soup so ordered a bowl to share from Soon Huat's Pig Organ Soup, which has a loyal following of customers, including myself.


The stall


The soup


$3 gets your a bowl of soup with a reasonable amount of ingredients thrown in. The ingredients in it are pretty normal, but what I like about this dish is the soup. It is slightly sourish and salty due to the salted vegetables and it is so good that it keeps me going back for more. Add a dash of pepper and you get a really great soup. Do try it!

Rating:7/10

Garden Street Kway Chup


Garden Street Kway Chup used to be situated at Blanco Court and queues were a common sight everyday. Now located at Serangoon Gardens Food Centre, it is but a shadow of its former self. I decided to try it out as I had fond memories of the days when I would queue up for about an hour on a Saturday afternoon just to get my hands(mouth rather) on their delicious Kway Chup. Alas, it turned out to be a wrong move. The Kway was very normal, so unlike the days when it was soft and silky and with a clear soup base to boot. The ingredients were very limited as well, with the Pig's tongue noticeably missing from the menu. Of those that I ordered, nothing stood out. Everything was just average. And it doesn't come cheap either. Expect to pay a premium of about 10-15% as compared to other neighbourhood Kway Chup stalls. This is yet another case of a once famous food stall biting the dust. Sorry but this will be the last time I'm eating here. For the price and quality of food, I'm better off eating elsewhere.


The Kway


The ingredients we ordered


Rating: 6/10