Friday, February 29, 2008

Santa Fe @ Riverboat



Santa Fe @ Riverboat is a most interesting venue to enjoy a meal as it offers the dining on a ship experience without actually having to charter the entire ship. Docked at the Marina South Pier, its history goes back to 2001 when it first berthed at Sentosa from 2001 - 2006.



Exterior, Interior & Menu

The sight of a lone brightly lighted steam ship is hard to miss and staff greet you amicably at the door. The interior is simple and exudes homely comfort through the use of wood and a low ceiling. There is even a piano at one corner for proficient/aspiring pianists to tinker with whilst waiting for your food.



Magarita



Soup of the day

The soup of the day was cream of mushroom and it came across as too salty and starchy. However there were copious amounts of sliced button mushrooms in it which upped the value factor a notch. The garlic bread was unremarkable though.



Caesar Salad

Nothing out of the ordinary here. The vegetables were fresh and juicy but how exciting can Caesar salad get? I would have preferred it with bacon bits though.



Tex Mex Grilled Chicken

First bite, the chicken was juicy and succulent even though it was breast meat. Nicely grilled and topped with a layer of cheese, the meat was slightly salty with a hint of BBQ sauce. However the strips of bacon didn't seem salty enough. I found the side of mash potatoes a little lacking in texture but still decent with its buttery overtones.



Bill

The above 3 course meal with an alcoholic drink came up to about $61. Portions are more than sufficient for a large eater or perhaps 2 small eaters. I wouldn't say the price is reasonable but I guess the novelty of dining on board a ship in a homely environment makes up for it.



Likes: Novelty of dining on ship, comfortable environment
Dislikes: Food quality merely average, not cheap

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

Overall:6.5/10

Address: Marina South Pier, 31 Marina Coastal Drive

Contact: 6278 5775

Opening Hours:

Mon-Fri: 6pm - 10pm

Sat: 6pm - 11pm

Sun: 12noon - 2pm, 6pm - 10pm


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mingles La' Brassarie



The once popular water theme park at East Coast known as Big Splash has recently been redeveloped as Big Splash @ Playground and is home to a handful of dining outlets, one of which is Mingles La' Brassarie.



Interior & Menu

Occupying a premise which can roughly seat about 60 people (estimate), Mingles's interior is simple and clean, tending towards a more casual setting. I personally found the cute half egg shell seats (or whatever you call them) rather appealing, especially for after dinner drinks or dessert.



Cheese Fries

A side order at $5.90, the portions were somewhat pathetic if you ask me. What was interesting about the fries was that the cheese had BBQ sauce in it, which made the whole concoction cheesy and BBQish at the same time - a nausea inducing combination for me. It didn't help that the fries weren't exactly very fantastic, coming in as average.



Bangers & Mash

You get to choose your sausages with this order so we had the Swiss Cheese Pork Sausage and Black Pepper Chicken Sausage. I thought that the black pepper sausage was quite good, bursting with flavour with sufficient amount of bite in every mouth. The cheese pork sausage, though not lousy, was a tad disappointing as the taste of the cheese threatened to overwhelm the sausage taste.



Mingles Ribeye Steak

Weighing in at just over 250g, the ribeye was done up medium rare according to specifications and boasted a saliva inducing lightly charred exterior. However the meat was a little disappointing, a tad lacking in firmness and chewiness. The red wine sauce it was topped with had no inkling of red wine and instead tasted like berry sauce - sweet and fruity. The same sauce overwhelmed the raw taste of the beef at times, which shouldn't be the case really.



Baked Alaska

The Baked Alaska is essentially ice cream and sponge cake encased within a thick layer of meringue which is then briefly placed in an extremely hot oven to firm the meringue. Mingles's rendition opted to omit the sponge cake which was a mistake in my humble opinion. It tasted exactly like ice cream with whipped cream on top! Give me Borshch's version anytime!



Bill

Dinner for 2 cost about $62 after a 10% credit card discount. I wouldn't call it expensive but it certainly isn't cheap for the average quality of food. Service is excellent though and thats a definite plus.



Likes: Good service
Dislikes: Food quality merely average

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

Overall:7/10

Address: Blk B Playground @ Big Splash, #01-11/12

Contact: 6346 3055

Opening Hours:

Mon-Thu: 11am - 10pm

Fri-Sun: 11am - 11pm

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Crystal Jade Golden Palace Restaurant



Was deciding on a place to eat along Orchard road one weekday evening and the only place that didn't seem to be spilling with people was Crystal Jade Golden Palace (CJGP). From what I know, CJGP hovers around the top tier of the Crystal Jade chain, which includes Crystal Jade Xiao Long Bao, Crystal Jade Kitchen etc.



Entrance & Interior



Menu

Located on the 5th floor of the high end The Paragon shopping mall, CJGP appeals with its sombre yet elegant entrance walkway and posh/classy interior complete with ambient lighting. Padded walls and carpets, thick cushioned chairs all give the impression of comfort at its finesse.



Shark's Fin in Coconut

This dish is out of the menu so please pardon my literal translation from Chinese to English. Served up in a coconut husk, the fins were of decent quality and in abundance together with stuff like prawns and fish maw in a nice and light broth which hinted of coconut towards the bottom.



Crystal Jade Suckling Pig

A rather impressive dish I must say, with the skin crackling crispy and the meat harbouring a light smoky taste. I liked the strings of jellyfish that came with it as well, springy with lots of bite. Not the least bit worth the price($23) though, with only a few slices of skin and meat.



Sauteed Scallop with Broccoli

Yet another dish of small proportions. Cooked just right, the broccoli was crunchy and tasty with the scallops slightly firm and not overwhelming.



Golden Palace Signature Fried Rice

I naturally had a certain level of expectation as this came billed as one of the restaurant's signature dish. Regrettably, it wasn't quite what I was looking for, coming across as decent but not outstanding. Probably the only highlight to it was the presence of salted egg yolk which gave the rice a slightly rough texture.



Mashed Taro with Gingko Nuts

The mashed taro aka Orh Nee, was smooth and light without being too moist or dry. However portions are really miserable and I can easily eat 2 bowls of equally satisfying Orh Nee for the same price.



Bill

Dinner for 2 didn't come cheap at about $128, especially with the small portions. However I can't deny that the quality of food is there and service is more than adequate. I guess that does provide some justification for the high prices. What do you think?



Likes: Nice place, good food
Dislikes: Small portions, expensive

Final Verdict:
Ambience:7.5/10
Service:7/10
Food:7.5/10
Value for money:6/10

Overall:7/10

Address: #05-10 The Paragon, 290 Orchard Road

Contact: 6734 6866

Opening Hours: Daily: 11.30am - 3pm, 6 - 11pm

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Dolphins Restaurant



I remember frequently patronising the now defunct Dolphins Restaurant around the Macpherson area when I was still a secondary school student for its value for money set lunches and dinners. Fast forward a decade and the only hint of Dolphins existence is its flagship outlet along Genting Lane.



Oddly located on the 7th floor of an aging industrial building, it is so obscure that you would have to actually know that such a place existed. The interior is homely and reminiscent of steak houses of yesteryear (think Jack's place in the early 90s), made complete with nice booth seats in one corner.



Cream of Mushroom

The soup came with my set lunch and was rather starchy. Beats a watered down version I guess. And I'm pretty sure it came straight out of a can.



Tenderloin with Slipper Lobster

Done up medium rare, the tenderloin was decent but not outstanding. The meat tasted a little flat and could have done with some seasoning. On the up side, the slipper lobster was relatively big and sweet. But as with all lobsters, meat is always limited.



Pasta with Beef

Surprisingly, the pasta was al dente and the addition of capsicum gave this dish a very interesting twist - one that did not sit too well with me however. The beef cubes were plentiful though but lacking in taste and texture.



Bill

I guess $47 for 2 for lunch isn't exactly cheap or value for money, but I would say its still decent and definitely a nice quiet place to have a meal. That, plus the nostalgic factor and decent service, is enough for a revisit.



Likes: Nice quiet place
Dislikes: Food average, difficult to find

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

Overall:6.375/10

Address: #07-01 Everich Industrial Building, 81 Genting Lane

Contact: 6744 2848

Friday, February 15, 2008

Sunset Grill & Pub



Made our way one rainy evening to Sunset Grill & Pub, an eatery/drinking hole equally known for its buffalo wings and very inaccessible location. Notoriously hidden in the inner realms of Seletar airbase, Sunset is a pain in the ass to find (pardon my language), even with the help of a map provided by the place. Just so that you know, Sunset doesn't appear on any streetdirectory the last I checked. Even if you manage to find the carpark, you still need to walk a short distance before you can actually see the joint itself. Talk about private dining.



Caesar Salad

The caesar salad was actually very normal tasting with slices of boiled egg, bacon bits and croutons. The vegetables were fresh but I found it terribly overpriced at $12.50.



Deep Fried Mushrooms

First the good. The breaded mushrooms were crispy on the outside with exploding juices in every bite. Now the bad. The batter was too thick and absorbed too much of the oil used in deep frying the mushrooms, so much so that it had an oily residue taste.



Buffalo Wings

Feeling intimidated by the level of spiciness the wings came in, we decided to stick to the safest bet - the mildest level 1. Even then, it was quite spicy for me (I don't really take chilli by the way), not to mention huge and juicy as well. However, because of its sourish nature, its really an acquired taste.



Hamburger Steak

The meat was too dry but at least the raw beef taste wasn't overpowering. The other gripe I had was that the meat was almost well done, which explains the dryness. Definitely not something I would order again.



Bill

Although no service charge or GST was imposed, $60 for the above dishes is really on the expensive side. Sure, the novelty is there and the prospect of watching planes take off is exciting, but for the quality of food and price, I'll be hard pressed to return. Oh and if you do decide to sit in the al fresco area, please watch out for the mosquitoes.



Likes: "Private" dining
Dislikes: Difficult to find, a little pricey

Final Verdict:
Ambience:7/10 (Rustic feel)
Service:6.5/10
Food:6/10
Value for money:6/10

Overall:6.375/10

Address: 140B Piccadilly, Seletar Airbase (from Piccadilly, turn into Lambeth Walk, Hampstead Gardens, Western Ave, into East Camp, all the way to Singapore Flying Club)

Contact: 64820244

Opening Hours: 4pm to 10pm; closed on Tuesdays

Heres the map to the place.



Map

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Nul Bom Korean Restaurant



This trip to Nul Bom Korean Restaurant marks my foray into Korean cuisine, with my prior experiences with Korean food limited to those at food courts and probably the stuff they sell at Seoul's Incheon airport.



Interior & Menu

Situated amongst a row of shophouses along Telok Ayer street, this nondescript eatery houses a small and simply done up interior. Tables are limited and although there are private rooms available, capacity probably wouldn't exceed 30 pax all in all.





Side dishes

The bean sprouts, Kimchi and anchovies are pretty much staple in any Korean restaurants where the other dishes vary from eatery to eatery. I didn't find any of the sides outstanding but I appreciated the variety as well as the seemingly complimentary gesture (the cost is all factored into the price of the dishes of course).



Kim Chi Chi Gae - Kim Chi with Rice

This dish was quite spicy and looked the part as well. However, it wasn't anything to shout about either. But thats coming from someone who has almost zero knowledge about kim chi or Korean food in general.



So Bul Go Gi - Beef BBQ

I'm at a loss as to how and where to begin describing the averageness of this dish. It tasted exactly like the ones I've have had from pseudo Korean stalls at food courts. This was much sweeter though through the addition of sugar(?) and had golden mushrooms to top it off.



Bill

I guess $39 for 2 pax isn't really expensive but I seriously doubt I'll be back in a hurry, especially when the food failed to impress. Did I mention that service wasn't very good as well?



Likes: Not too expensive
Dislikes: Average food

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

Overall:6/10

Address: 123 Telok Ayer Street

Contact: 6423-1552