Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Rui Kee



Rui Kee - A descendant of the now defunct Swee Kee chicken rice stall which was pretty much a household name in the 80s and 90s. Well almost a descendant. Word has it that some relatives of the original Swee Kee came together to set up Rui Kee (Don't quote me on this. Its all hearsay).



Interior



Menu


Located along North Bridge Road just opposite Famous Islamic Nasi Padang stall, it is but a small shop sandwiched between pubs and whats not, which makes it rather easy to miss.



The secret chilli



Half a chicken



The rice


Rui Kee boasts traditional Hainanese chicken, which is left lying flat after cooking instead of hanging like most places. This is supposedly to retain all the juices and fluids within the chicken instead of letting it drain away. The tried and tested result? A chicken which is much juicier and more succulent than your average one. However it did come across as a little bland without much flavours and not to mention a little fatty under the skin as well. The rice, which had looked promising from the start, was but a shade of good chicken rice. It wasn't as fluffy and tasty as I had expected it to be. But on the upside, it was less oily, which is great for health conscious people. Here comes the winning formula - the chilli which is made from a secret recipe. Although I don't really take chilli, but this was simply great. All of us just couldn't seem to get enough of it. If anything, I'll be back just for the chilli.



Stir fried Kailan


The vegetables were very normal and not worth a mention. But hey, greens are good and make sure you stuff yourself on lots of them.


Dinner with drinks for 3 pax came up to about $25, which is actually breaching the expensive mark. But then again, the chicken is pretty decent and the chilli just gives you that kick so it might be a place to consider revisiting.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Royal China Part II

And so here I am, back once again at Royal China for their exquisite Dim Sum, which I had been longing for since my last visit about a month back. This time I was back with an excellent food companion, my gf of course.



Crispy Pork Belly


This dish was a daily special and we sure didn't regret ordering it. The skin was crackling crispy and the meat tender yet slightly chewy. It had a layer of fat to give texture and add another dimension to the taste. However I did find it a tad too fatty. When eaten with mustard and sugar, it brings the taste up another level, with the stinging mustard taste blending well with the sugar to make the pork belly a blend of salty and sweet. A must try if they offer it!



Har Gao


Still as good as I remembered it to be. Bamboo shoots were added in to give it the crunchy experience and the prawns were mind blowing fresh.



Beancurd Puffs


Interestingly, this dish had tofu with minced meat ala Ma Pou Tofu style wrapped up in a wanton skin and deep fried. The result? A not so fantastic dish which was a little plain. Some condiments or stronger spices would have been good.



Deep Fried Beancurd Roll


What can I say? A classic dish that has never failed to tantalize my tastebuds. The skin is thin and crispy, making for a loud affair.



Steamed Seafood Roll with Minced Garlic


This dish was a little lacklustre this time round, with the arrangement of items a little slip shod. The scallop wasn't as sweet as before, but all in all still a rather impressive dish. Please remember to stuff it all down in one mouthful for maximum enjoyment.



Century Egg Porridge


Not too bad sort of summarizes this dish up. The porridge was not too watery not starchy, but came across as rather bland. Ingredients were aplenty though. Wah Lok takes the cake for this dish.



Sago with Pomelo


A nice closure for our meal. The pomelo added an angle of sourness to the not too sweet mango sago. Light and uplifting.



Red Bean Paste Pancake


I'm a fan of red bean paste pancakes and this certainly didn't impress me much. The batter was a little too thick but to give it credit, the red bean paste was smooth and not too sweet. Not something I'll try again though.



The bill


$63 for an excellent Dim Sum session is well worth the money, especially when the service this time round seemed to have edged up a notch. If anyone is looking for khakis to visit Royal China, I'm always available ;)



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

ps: I had a rather good slice of Chocolate cake which I bought from PK Express at Serangoon Garden Food Centre for tea.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Checker's Cafe

Popped by Checkers for lunch with my ex colleagues from my previous company. I forgot to take a photo of their signage though. For those who are interested, Checkers used to be known as Dennys, which used to be situated at Holland Village (at least it was when I was a kid). It has since shifted and renamed itself to Checkers (the name change is only in Singapore. The other outlets in other countries are still called Dennys).



Interior



Menu


Situated along Shenton Way, Checkers now sits where Partyworld Shenton used to partially sit (I'm not sure if Partyworld is still operational though). The interior is simple and the crew friendly. The air conditioning could be upped a little though.



International Delight


I had a craving for breakfast items, so I had the International Delight, which was essentially French toast, waffles, eggs, bacon and sausages. Everything was as normal as they get, with the exception of the waffles, which had a rather odd aftertaste. But all in all, it did satisfy my cravings.



Apple Pie with Ice Cream


Decent tasting, but nothing close to good. The apple pie was not warm as I would have expected it to be and the ice cream was obviously from the supermarket.



The bill


Overall it wasn't too expensive and the food offered no surprises nor disappointments. The good thing about this place is that it opens 24hrs a day and only closes on Tuesdays, so if you need a place to chill out till the wee hours of the morning, this might just fit your bill.

Rating: 6.5/10

Address: 25 Shenton Way

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Hai Tien Lo Part II



My second writeup on Hai Tien Lo. This time with better pictures of course. (For an idea how bad the previous trip's photos turned out, read my first entry here.) Was at Hai Tien Lo with a few of my friends to celebrate my recent "promotion" in the job market.



Interior



Menu


I guess no introduction is needed about Hai Tien Lo, especially with the writeup in my first entry, so I'll just leave it at that.



Hai Tien Lo Trio of Treasures (Pan - fried Scallop with minced Ginger, Sliced skin of Beijing Duck, Deep - fried Prawn with Japanese Sesame Sauce


A chef's recommendation, this dish didn't particularly impress me with the exception of the fried prawn with Japanese Sesame sauce. The prawn (note: singular) was huge, fresh, succulent and interestingly, I couldn't make out the taste of the sesame sauce. Instead, the prawn was covered in a sweet curry like gravy which proved to be a nice complement to the prawn. The sliced Beijing duck skin was nice and crisp, but of meagre proportions, hardly enough for a giant like me. The scallop with minced ginger reeked too strongly of ginger which turned me off totally.



Classic Peking Duck



Simply delectable!


A timeless favourite, the Peking duck was a hit with everyone. The skin was crisp with little to no fats beneath and rolled up in white egg less crepes, which don't make you feel nauseous from eating too much of it, unlike the yellow egg ones that are the norm nowadays. This is probably one of the best Peking duck that I've ever tried and ranks up there with Min Jiang @ One North's mouthwatering rendition. The duck meat was nicely carved up and served with no condiments whatsoever, allowing us the wonderful and unadulterated taste of the Peking duck in its tender and juicy glory.



Braised homemade Spinach Beancurd with minced Pork and Pine Mushroom sauce


This dish was also a hit with everyone. The tofu was soft and silky with a tinge of spinach aftertaste. Add in a slight spice and pine mushrooms and you get a dish that sweeps you off your feet. Well almost.



Spinach with 3 types of Egg


An interesting dish which I first came across at Szechuan Court. Hai Tien Lo's rendition paled in comparison though. The vegetables were a tad too soggy and the eggs tasted really out of sorts.



Fragrant Coconut Seafood fried Rice


Fancy Nasi Lemak in a high class setting? The coconut seafood fried rice fits the bill! However the coconut taste wasn't as pronounced and the rice far less oily and much fluffier. Well executed but didn't exactly wow us.



Steamed Prawns with mashed Garlic in a bamboo basket


The freshness of the prawns sealed the fate for this dish. It was out of the ocean fresh and juicy with every bite. However, I did find the garlic taste a little too overwhelming. Sure its nice during the initial bite, but as you chew on and eat more, the garlic taste starts getting to you. A little reduction in the garlic would be much appreciated.



Tang Yuan with crushed peanuts


My dessert for the evening and a non spectacular one at that. Just your run off the mill Tang Yuan dabbed in crushed peanuts. Not exactly my idea of a sweet ending though.



The bill


We chalked up about $313 for an excellent and heart warming dinner. Service was still good, but seemed to have dropped a notch since my last visit (maybe it was because I was in shorts and slippers?). The food was good, view was great and with excellent company to boot, what more can I ask for?



Final Verdict:
Ambience:8.5/10
Service:7.5/10
Food:8/10
Value for money:7/10 (Without discount)

Overall:7.75/10

Comments: Please refer to my first entry for the address and contact details.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Chef Chan



The news is out - Chef Chan will be closing its doors for the last time on the 27th of May and the chef cum owner, chef Chan Chen Hei, will be moving on to do private dining. Hence it was imperative that my gf and I tried it out for the last time.



Exterior



Interior



The antique collection



Menu



Appetizer


Located at Odeon Towers along North Bridge Road, Chef Chan the restaurant boasts exquisite food at nearer to earth prices, helmed by chef Chan who used to be the master chef of restaurants in quite a few 5 star hotels. The interior is rather unique, with one area dedicated solely to Chef Chan's personal collection of Chinese antiques and the other for dining purposes. The decor, rather haphazard in my opinion, boasts floor to ceiling windows, which offer a view of the sidewalks. But what that means is that people can peer in as well as the seats are just slightly elevated about ground level.



Chef Chan's Famous Crispy Roast Chicken


A perennial favourite and one of Chef Chan's signature dish, the chicken's skin was crackling crispy and the flesh was tender and juicy. It was quite good, but I found it lacking in flavours. A little herbs or spice and salt would do just well.



Pan Fried Bean Curd Rolls


Nicely done, but the filling of meat and prawns could have been cut down in order to go well and give the right amount of bite to complement the slightly crispy skin. In all honesty, the excess meat filling made me nauseous after a while. Oh and yes, the skin could have been crispier, just like the one I had at Royal China or Wah Lok.



Choy Sum Lightly Boiled


Nothing fantastic about this dish, plain normal and a little too salty if you ask me. The only nice touch to it was the addition of Ti Pou. Portions are generous for 2 pax, but hey its $18.



Gold Medal Fried Rice


With a name like Gold Medal Fried Rice, one would assume that it was top notch or something to that effect. Well it wasn't top notch, but pretty close. The rice had a strong Wok Hei taste and ingredients were aplenty. Interestingly, tomatoes were added in as well, giving the dish added colour and taste.



Bill


A button bursting lunch for 2 pax cost about $67 (after 25% discount), which is rather reasonable for the amount of dishes we had. But having said that, I don't see myself patronising again because the quality of food, though reasonably good, is really a far cry from the early days when it was situated at Toa Payoh Safra and pretty much a one man show.

AdiĆ³s Chef Chan!



Final Verdict:
Ambience:7/10
Service:7/10
Food:7/10
Value for money:7/10 (with the 25%)

Overall:7/10

Address: #01-02 & 01-05/08 Odeon Towers, 331 North Bridge Road

Contact: 62503363/4

Comments: From now till 27th May, diners get 25% off the food bill.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Arnold's Fried Chicken



Arnold's Chicken? What's that? Thoughts of yet another generic deep fried chicken stall flashed across my mind when my friend brought it up. When informed that it was a rather famous outlet selling chicken that rivaled Popeye's and beat KFC's hands down, I embarked on a trip with my gf that very same day to verify the claims.



Exterior



Interior



Menu


Located on the 2nd floor of City Plaza, the main outlet of Arnold's is tucked away in a rather obscure corner and very much resembles a fast food joint except that they do take and serve orders at your table. Please note that you still pay at the counter though.



2 Person Combo Meal


We had the 2 person combo meal, which consisted of 5 pieces of chicken, potato fries, 1 regular coleslaw, 2 buns and 2 soft drinks. The highlight was of course the chicken, which was very crispy on the outside with a tinge of herbs yet tender and moist on the inside. And the best part was, it didn't have the used oil aftertaste that usually came along with KFC chickens. The coleslaw was also quite a refreshing change from the funny tasting and smelling ones that KFC serves. Even my gf who dislikes coleslaw commented so. The buns were way too oily though, being deep fried in oil and the fries really tasted like frozen fries that had been deep fried.



The cost


$18.10 for the above is rather pricey actually, especially when you can get the exact same stuff at KFC for about $5 less. Quality wise, no thoughts of comparison between Arnold's and KFC should even cross your mind because there is simply no competition. Unfortunately, location wise, KFC is a clear winner.

Rating: 7.5/10

Address: #02-99/101 City Plaza, 810 Geylang Road (Main) & 94 Pasir Ris Central (Express Kiosk)

Contact: 67462372 (Main), 65850584 (Express)

Opening Hours: 11.30am - 10pm daily. Last order at 9.45pm.

Comments: Delivery limited to the East areas only. Visit their website at http://www.arnoldsfriedchicken.com