Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Hong Kong Kim Gary Part II

Revisited Kim Gary with my gf for lunch after my rather decent dining experience about a month back.



Cream Soup


The cream soup today was terrible. It tasted more of oil than anything else. It was so bad that my gf and I couldn't even finish one cup of it. To top it off, a layer of oil formed atop the leftover soup which totally grossed us out.



Fish Fillet with Sweet Corn Cream Sauce


This dish was terrible. The fish wasn't fresh and coated with egg in an attempt to mask the taste. The sweet corn cream sauce was almost tasteless and made the fish fillet rather soggy. Enough said.



Cap Kan Nissin Soup Noodles


This dish wasn't half as bad as the fish, but it was just normal instant noodles you can get off the shelves. The only difference is, they add a chicken wing, a stick of sausage and an egg in it, which I felt was rather expensive for the price. Also, I like my chicken wings crispy, not soggy and tasting of soup.



The bill


The price we paid ($16.55) wasn't too expensive, but the food was totally not worth the money. Maybe we were unlucky and ordered 2 of their lousier set lunches. I might just give Kim Gary another chance, given that my first experience there was still alright.

Rating: 5.5/10

Comments: Please refer to my previous post here for other relevant information.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ng Ah Sio Bak Kut Teh



Having breakfast at Ng Ah Sio was a case of third time lucky. The first time my gf and I visited, it was a Monday and the shop was closed. The second time, it was closed for Chinese New Year. Third time round, our perseverance finally paid off. For those not in the know, Ng Ah Sio is the infamous Bak Kut Teh stall which turned down Hong Kong's Chief Executive, Donald Tseng, when he wanted to visit for a late night meal.



Shop front



Bak Kut Teh



You Tiao


$5.50 gets you a relatively average sized bowl with 3 pieces of meat which are a little too dry and tough as compared to the one at Founder. The soup was the clear winner though, with its extremely heavy dosage of pepper and garlic. Very flavourful and guaranteed to make your nose run. I guess the word "Shiok" would be most apt in describing the feeling.

Please note that Ng Ah Sio opens early (6am) and closes early too (2pm) and its usually attracts quite a crowd whenever its open.

Rating:8/10

Address: 208 Rangoon Road

Contact: 62947545, 62946500

Opening Hours: Tuesday - Sunday 6am to 2pm.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Padang Palace




Another long overdue entry - my reunion dinner at Padang Palace. Please pardon my lateness as I've been very busy recently.


Exterior



Interior


Located at the Singapore Recreational Club, Padang Palace offered a Chinese New Year reunion dinner at 58++/pax. I shall not dwell into the interior of the restaurant as it was boringly plain and rather pathetic if you ask me.



Salmon Fish "Yu Sheng"


What can I say about this dish? They all taste almost the same to me year in year out. What's surprising is that this dish originated from Singapore and not Hong Kong as I would have expected.



Double Boiled Superior Shark's Fin with Sturgeon and Sea - whelk Soup


This is probably one of the better shark's fin soup that I've tasted. The soup was light on the palate without being overwhelming on the flavours and the fins were of reasonably good quality and quantity. The soup did look a little oily though.



Fried Prawns with Oats in French Style


The prawns weren't really fresh and that just about sounded the death knell for this dish. The oats were nicely fried with a tinge of sweetness. Pity about the prawns.



Baked Cod Fish with BBQ Honey Sauce


I honestly don't think the cod fish was baked. It looked more deep fried than anything else. Taste wise, the natural flavour of the fish was overpowered by the strong BBQ honey sauce, which was a pity really, considering that cod fish has an execellent taste.



Braised (8 head) Abalone with Mushroom


The abalone in this dish evidently came straight out of the can and I even know which brand of abalone (Hint: Its an Australian brand). The abalone tasted flat and came across as too tender. I'm certainly no expert at abalones, but I do know that it tasted more like top shell than abalone.



Steamed Glutinous Rice with Preserved Meat, Dried Shrimps and Mushroom


The dish was nicely done with the glutinous rice packing in the flavours of the preserved meat, dried shrimps and mushrooms. The rice wasn't too moist neither was it too hard and dry, with the overall texture oily and smooth. Every bite fills you up with a burst of flavours, very much like eating Ba Chang or Chinese dumplings.



Red Bean Soup


Simple fare but nicely done. The soup was of the right concentration and mildly sweet with a tinge of orange peel. A nice end to an average dinner.

Dinner worked out to be about $67 per pax. Terribly expensive for the quality of food. But then again, its Chinese New Year and the season to overcharge. Service was terrible (I will not elaborate) and if our experience that day was anything to go by, I will definitely not be back.

ps: no more 2 seating places for me next year.



Final Verdict:
Ambience:6/10
Service:5.5/10
Food:6.5/10
Value for money:/10 (Not fair to judge because its CNY)

Overall:6/10

Address: Level 2 Singapore Recreation Club

Contact: 63389595

Friday, February 23, 2007

Pasta Express



Spotted this pasta stall doing a brisk business during lunch so decided to give it a try since the prices looked quite reasonable.


Carbonara


I had the Carbonara, which cost a mere $4. That's really cheap, going by Italian food standards in restaurants. However, it honestly wasn't half as good. The cream sauce was a little watery and tasted rather bland. The pasta was a little overcooked and ingredients were minimal. But hey, its a good start for anyone who has a craving for pasta and not want to burn a hole in the pocket.

Rating: 6/10

Address: #02-42 Hong Lim Food Centre

Tuck Kee (Ipoh) Sah Ho Fun



Joined the snaking queues at Hong Lim for a taste of one of the best crayfish hor fun in Singapore. The countless awards that are plastered all over the stall are a testament to that.


$5 gets you a decent size plate of hor fun with 2 halves of crayfish and another 2 halves of a relatively big prawn. The hor fun was so silky and smooth that it slithered down my throat with much ease. The prawns and crayfish, though fresh, were not as sweet as I would have liked them to be. But then again, its $5 we are talking about and its more than worth it. The gravy only had a tinge of the 5 spices taste, which was a nice change from the heavily infused ones that I've tried before. If you intend to go on a weekday, my advice would be to go before 12pm, before the lunch crowd comes in.

Rating: 7.5/10

Address: #02-41 Hong Lim Food Centre

Opening Hours: 11am - 3pm Mon to Sat, including public holidays. Closed on Sundays.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Peony Jade



This entry is way overdue and I finally got off my butt to start doing it. Well had a Chinese New Year eve dinner with one of my good friends at Peony Jade that doubled up as a catch up session.



Exterior



Interior



Menu



Appetizer


Situated along Clarke Quay in a 2 storey refurbished shophouse, it faces the Singapore river and lies just a few doors down from Indochine. Traditionally furnished complete with mock up walls and heavy wooden doors reminiscent of the courtyards of old, it exudes scanty old world charm.



Deep Fried Live Prawns with Curry Leaves


A brilliant recommendation by our waiter I must say. I, for one, don't really fancy curry, but this dish kinda blew me away. The prawns were relatively huge, succulent and fresh, but the winner was the sauce which had a slight tinge of curry flavouring but was slightly sweet.



Deep Fried Pork Ribs with Golden Garlic


Another recommendation by our waiter and I found it quite interesting. The pork ribs were juicy and tender whilst the sauce was sweet and hinted strongly of garlic with a salty aftertaste. Every individual flavour carried itself very well, which made the dish very easy to appreciate.



Baked Cod Fish with Mango


I didn't find this dish outstanding, but it was still quite a gem. The fish was fresh, nothing less and baked till the exterior turned a hue of brownish red while the flesh remained white and firm. When eaten with the slices of mango, the natural sweetness of the fish blended in well with the sweetness of the mango, creating a delectable dish that didn't come down hard on the palate. But there's certainly room for improvement, given that the mango slices weren't chilled when served, which would definitely have gone down better with the fish.



Deep Fried Cod Fish with Oat Cereals


In all honesty, I didn't quite take to this dish simply because the oats taste was overwhelming. But my friend did fancy it, so to each his own I guess. Texture wise, the fish was well done with the flesh still firm and sweet while the exterior was slightly cripsy.



Yang Chow Fried Rice


I lament the fact that good Yang Chow Fried Rice is difficult to find. Peony Jade's rendition isn't too far off though. The rice was homogeneously cooked and had a slight "wok hei" taste. Ingredients were generous but overall I found the dish a little bland. Perhaps a little salt and sugar would be nice.



Chestnut with Egg White


Desserts kinda slided down the slope. Chestnut with egg white sounded intriguing to me so I ordered it and I regretted it right from the first sip. The chilled syrup tasted awfully weird and had this overpowering egg white taste. I took a few mouths and decided to call it quits, so you can guess how weird it was. According to the waiter, it is more popular with the older folks.



Yam with Sweet Corn Sauce


This was rather normal. The yam was a little too rough for my liking and the sweet corn sauce was way too sweet. Also, it felt weird eating yam with sweet corn. Somehow or rather, both flavours didn't go down well with each other.



The bill


Service was excellent and so was the food, barring the desserts of course. Price is rather steep though, standing at $122 for 2 pax. Do note that all portions are slightly smaller than average, so if you have 4 pax, it would be advisable to order at least 6 dishes. All in all, an enjoyable experience and definitely worth a visit if you have some spare cash to burn.



Final Verdict:
Ambience:7.5/10
Service:8/10
Food:8/10
Value for money:6.5/10

Overall:7.5/10

Address: Clarke Quay, 3A River Valley Road #02-02

Contact: 63380138/63380305

Comments: Ala Carte buffet dinner available. Check out www.quaysidedining.com.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Royal China



Had a leisurely dim sum lunch with my friend at the much acclaimed Royal China, with branches spanning London, Singapore and Shanghai. The Singapore branch is aptly located at one of Singapore's top and most historic hotel - Raffles Hotel.



Entrance



Interior



Menu


Reservations are a must at this restaurant as it is relatively small (probably about 15-20 tables) and is thronged by many executives especially during the lunch period. My friend and I learnt it the hard way and had to wait 30 minutes for a table. But then again, we got lucky as we were ushered into a private room due to the lack of available tables.
Decor at this restaurant revolves around wood, attempting to recreate a layout that shouts ancient imperial Chinese. Wooden beams and arched high ceilings complete with stained glass give the whole place a nice soothing feel.



Steamed Crystal Dumpling with Dried Scallop and Egg White


This is the first time I've actually tried this dish and I must say that I'm pretty impressed with it. The skin is thin, soft and tangy, yet strong enough to encapsule the delicious egg white and dried scallop. The entire dish came across as very smooth and light. A must try!



Prawns Dumpling


A must have for every dim sum session, the prawn dumpling or Har Gao was excellent with fresh and succulent prawns wrapped in a slightly chewy yet thin skin.



Steamed Seafood Roll with Minced Garlic


How misleading names can get. I certainly didn't expect the steamed seafood roll to come looking like noodles. But I'm certainly not complaining. The noodles were springy and shrouded a piece of scallop, asparagus and prawn. When eaten together with the light sauce, the lingering taste of the ocean meets with the earthly taste of the asparagus to exude a myriad of wonderful flavours.



Royal China Cheung Fan


This was no more than a serving of Char Siew Cheung Fan, Prawn Cheung Fan and Scallop Cheung Fan. However, the Cheung Fan in itself is commendable, with its soft and silky texture that guarantees to slither down your throat with great ease. Fillings are fresh as well of course.



Roasted Pork Bun


One of the very few normal tasting dishes that we ordered. It was definitely better than your average pau, but certainly not in the leagues of D'Bun or Teochew Handmade Pau.



Scallops Dumpling


This dish didn't bowl me over, but was of a certain standard. The scallops were fresh and the dumpling skin was nicely done. It just lacked the wow factor.



Shark's Fin Dumpling in Chicken and Ginseng Soup


Undoubtedly one of the star attractions of the dim sum at Royal China. The dumpling skin was soft and smooth, with the shark's fin relatively decent. Please note that its only $8.80, so do not expect top grade shark's fin or even something close. The soup was tasty yet not too heavy on the flavours, making it light on the palate.



Deep Fried Beancurd Roll


Another of my all time favourite dish. I couldn't help but compare Royal China's version to that of Wah Lok and I'm glad to say that both are equally good. The beancurd roll is deep fried to a crackling crisp and then dipped into quality soya sauce for maximum enjoyment.



Roasted Pork Puff


Ah. One of my favourite dim sum dishes. Royal China's rendition was quite good, but certainly not the best that I've tried. The crust was nicely baked with the sesame seeds putting on a strong showing. However, it lacked the baked taste that I like. The Char Siew filling, though rather tasty, was a teeny weeny bit too sticky.



Deep Fried Prawns Coated with Almond Flakes


Big, fresh and succulent prawns covered with lots of almond flakes. That's just about as exciting as it gets. Nothing special, but still a very decent and quality dish to try if you like almond with your prawns.



Donut with Red Bean Paste


East meets west in this dish and it turned out less than expected. I personally found the red bean paste too dry and hard and the donut a little too oily. A hot flowing red bean paste might have saved the dish. Marginally perhaps.



Carrot Cake


The old adage speaks true. Appearances can be deceiving. This was the case with the carrot cake. When it was served, we were dismayed as it looked rather unrefined and gave us the impression that it was hard like those you get in the hawker centres. To our amazement, it was smooth and soft without weighing in too heavy on our tastebuds. Having said that, I still reckon that Wah Lok serves a meaner rendition of this dish.



The Bill


An inspiring (at least for my friend) lunch for 2 pax cost about $75, which in my opinion is money well spent. The quality of dim sum is top notch and the ambience is great. Service is good but a small minority of the staff could show more patience. If given a choice between this or Wah Lok, I'll choose this over the latter simply because it has a much wider selection of dim sum items. I'll definitely be back, with reservations of course.



Final Verdict:
Ambience:7.5/10
Service:7/10
Food:8.5/10
Value for money:7/10

Overall:7.5/10

Address: #03-09 Raffles Hotel Arcade

Contact: 63383363