Friday, May 30, 2008

Sushi Tei



Journeyed to Big Splash for lunch one afternoon and chanced upon a newly opened Sushi Tei outlet without the usual crowds that throng its other outlets. Decided to give it a try since the last time I ate at Sushi Tei was probably about 4 years ago at the outlet near my place. As Sushi Tei is relatively well known, I shall just do a quick writeup on it.



Interior & Menu

Located just opposite The Seafood International Market & Restaurant, Sushi Tei offers a view of the carpark driveway and a glimpse of East Coast Park through its floor to ceiling windows. And the problem with huge glass windows in the afternoon is the heat that penetrates through, which fortunately, was minimal during my visit.



Jo Una Ju

This was essentially unagi with rice. I didn't get to try it but I understand that it was quite salty from the excessive sauce and I guess the substantial leftovers supported that point.



Oyako Don

A staple dish in most Japanese restaurants, the oyako don didn't really impress much with its less than flavourful egg and chicken cubes. But served steaming hot, it was actually still quite palatable especially with its soft sticky rice. And for $8 a serving, it sure beats what sakae sushi's offering hands down.



Golden Roll

Its actually the first time I'm trying something like this and honestly, I liked it quite a fair bit. Prawn pieces sandwiched between rice, just like sushi and layered with mango strips. Sweetness from the prawn and the mango - a very complementing taste. But its $13 for 6 rolls, which is really quite expensive.



Bill

Overall an average meal for a not so average pricing, standing at about $44. But having said that, I would definitely prefer dining at Sushi Tei as opposed to Sakae Sushi, which IMHO serves unpalatable food. Service could be friendlier but I like the place for being crowd free - something that would probably change soon given the brand's popularity.



Likes: Food is decent, nice place
Dislikes: A little pricey, service could be better

Final Verdict:

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

Overall:6.5/10

Address: #01-06 Blk B, Playground@Big Splash

Contact: 6348 7077

Opening Hours: 11.30am to 10.00pm daily(last order 9.30pm)

Website: http://www.sushitei.com

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ramen Santouka



Heard many good things about Santouka or らーめん 山頭火 since its opening at Central a couple of months back so popped by for dinner one weekend. Santouka originates from Hokkaido and has a chain of about 50 stores in Japan. Their shio (salted) ramen has been praised by many as one of the best around.



Interior

Hidden in an obscure corner of Central just behind Grains, Santouka occupies a small dining area which overlooks Clarke Quay and the river. Sitting capacity probably peaks at about 30 pax so queues are a common sight. Just for the record, I had to wait for a good 25 mins for a table at 745pm on a Saturday evening.




Char Siew Rice Shio

This came as a set consisting of char siew rice, char siew ramen (shio) and an egg. Honestly, the ramen looked like instant noodles to me but thankfully, it tasted a whole lot better - springy and light. The milky pork base broth was rather rich and intense in flavour and had a very distinctive pork taste. Not that its really a good thing though because it made me nauseous after a while. The char siew slices were a little too soft for my liking and it didn't help that they were salty.
The char siew rice was average, but at least the rice helped to neutralise the saltiness of the char siew. As for the egg, I've never eaten such stuff before but I didn't quite take to it as the texture of the egg white was a little jelly like, which turned me off.



Toro Niku Shio Ramen

Toro Niku is precious cheek meat from a pig and is said to have the right amount of fat and tenderness. I agree to a certain extent. Right amount of fat, yes. Tenderness, a little too tender if you ask me. And it was plain salty which made me uneasy after a while. It definitely didn't help that the broth was rich. Salty and milky equals a recipe for nausea, for me at least. As with the char siew shio ramen, the ramen itself was springy and light.



Tokusen Toroniku

This was a side order of the pork cheek, which did seem like a mistake after all. A little too tender and salty, just like the ones that came with the Toro Niku Shio Ramen. And $8 for 6 slices of meat isn't exactly value for money honestly.



Bill

Dinner for 2 came up to a nice round figure of $50 and we walked out feeling nauseous. That's too much milky and salty stuff for you. In all fairness, the ramen was actually very decent but I still prefer Tampopo's rendition, if anything, for the pork. For me, once is enough. I really don't fancy queuing up for 30 mins just to have a go at Santouka again.



Likes: Ramen is quite decent
Dislikes: Long queues, food in general not my cup of tea, not cheap

Final Verdict:

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

Overall:6.375/10

Address: #02-76 The Central

Contact: 6224 0668

Opening Hours: Daily: 11.00am - 9.30pm

Website: http://www.santouka.co.jp/

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Tampopo



Popped by Tampopo (タンポポ) for dinner one evening since I was in the vicinity. Tampopo, which means dandelion(a kind of flower) in English, shares the same name with a popular culinary movie in Japan in the mid eighties. The movie focuses on Ramen, which incidentally, is what Tampopo is known for.
Located within Liang Court, Tampopo portrays itself as a casual Japanese diner and shares the premises with Tomton, its sister restaurant which specialises in Kurobuta pork.



Shabu Ramen

Billed as THE ramen to try, as featured in the Straits Times, the shabu ramen had a flavourful soup base with a strong hint of pork yet didn't come across as too overwhelming. According to the menu, the soup is made by boiling pork bones for 2 days, which I guess explains its rich flavour. The ramen was springy with lots of bite while the thinly sliced pork was tender and a tad chewy.



Omelette Rice

The omelette rice, or Omurice, was quite well done in my humble opinion (not that I've tried alot though). Moist and fluffy Japanese rice with a few token pieces of chicken wrapped up in a nice thick layer of soft and milky scrambled eggs.



Special Loin

This is Tomton's specialty and I am most inclined to agree. The meat was lightly breaded and very crispy on the outside yet retaining its tenderness and moisture inside. It tasted fresh with not a bit of the oily residue taste that tends to plague deep fried pork cutlets. Really excellent piece of pork but rather small for $17.



Cheese Chiffon

I ordered this dessert because the other chiffons were sold out. And I actually regretted it as it spoilt what would have been a satisfying meal. The chiffon, though light, was practically tasteless and I certainly didn't appreciate sporadic gratings of cheese which did nothing more than allow the chiffon to live up to its name? Maybe it just didn't do it for me.



Bill

I liked the food and $55 for 2 pax isn't too expensive a price to pay. There is a wee bit of a ventilation problem there so you might walk out faintly smelling of food. The place can get crowded so going early especially on weekends is recommended.



Likes: Good food, not too expensive
Dislikes: Expect to wait especially during peak periods

Final Verdict:

Ambience:6.5/10
Service:6.5/10
Food:7.5/10
Value for money:6.5/10

Overall:6.75/10

Address: #01-23/24, Liang Court Shopping Centre

Contact: 6338 3186

Opening Hours: Mon-Sun: 11.30am-10pm

Website: http://www.cfc.com.sg/

Friday, May 23, 2008

Canele Patisserie Chocolaterie

Canele Patisserie Chocolaterie - A high end dessert cafe under the Les Amis group of restaurants and helmed by Executive Pastry Chef Pang, who was an ex member of the Singapore National Culinary Team.



Menu

Located at the picturesque and upmarket Roberston Walk, Canele's flagship outlet is a rather nice place to chill for after dinner desserts or afternoon tea. Takeaways are also available but if you choose to dine in, please be aware that a 10% service charge will be levied.



Nougatine - Filled with Nutella, Salty Caramel, Caramelized Filos, Nougatine Ice Cream, Vanilla Creme Chantilly

For starters, the Nougatine seemed rather interesting with the addition of salty caramel. However, taken as a whole, it reminded me uncannily of peanut butter with its smooth sticky texture and buttery undertones. I liked the caramelized filos, which are essentially paper thin pastry dough coated with a layer of caramel and left to harden. Flaky yet stick to your teeth.



Jupiter

A most aesthetically pleasing slice of cake which was bought off the display shelf. Extremely rich and topped with a thin cylindrical shell of chocolate, Jupiter boasted caramel and a layer of wafer in between the spongy cake. Did I mention the dark glistening chocolate that engulfed the entire cake? Overall a very nice but sinful dessert.



Black Forest 2007

I cannot comprehend the rationale behind inserting a year into the name of a cake. But that's besides the point. The point is, as pretty and minute a piece as the black forest cake may be, it certainly wasn't outstanding, not even close. The berries were soaked in Kirsch but the amount of cream was too much for me to stomach. And it certainly didn't help that the cake did come across as a little too dense and moist.



Berry Black & Bushman Brew

Interesting names for the teas but unfortunately rather overpriced for the mediocre quality. And its all because Canele doesn't serve ice water.



Bill

With the prices Canele is charging, I can see why its a high end dessert outfit. I appreciate the creativity and quality behind the desserts but certainly not the prices nor the tiny portions.



Likes: Creative desserts
Dislikes: Expensive, small portions

Final Verdict:

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

Overall:6.75/10

Address: #01-09 Robertson Walk, 11 Unity Street

Contact: 6738 8145

Opening Hours:

Monday to Wednesday : 10am - 8pm

Thursday to Saturday : 10am - 11pm

Sunday : 10am - 6pm

Website: http://www.canele.com.sg/

Monday, May 19, 2008

Brown Sugar Cafe Bistro



Brown Sugar - A tiny little cafe/bistro that opened up in November 2006 and the brainchild of a former fund manager turned chef, Yuan Oeij. Following in the footsteps of yet another local restaurateur, lawyer turned chef Willin Low of Wild Rocket fame, Oeij was a part time chef for hire before deciding to give up his job to open a restaurant.



Interior

Nestled in a nook just off River Valley Road within the StarDus clubhouse premises, Brown Sugar is a small cafe that can probably seat about 30 pax. Its limited capacity means that reservations are highly recommended especially for dinners on Fridays and Saturdays. The decor is kept simple yet cosy through the use of ambient lighting.



Complimentary Bread

The bread was served warm and interestingly, had a slightly spicy aftertaste. Though crisp, I found it a tad too dry for my liking, which is where the olive oil comes into play.



Deconstructed Apple Salad

The salad consisted of apple slices, rocket leaves, walnuts and not to forget, cheese, which was cleverly hidden from view between the layers of apple slices. I personally liked this harmonious combination of flavours with the sweetness of the apple complimenting the contrasting flavours of the cheese and the rocket leaves. But its small and its $13.



Linguine of Organic Mushrooms in Cream Sauce with Sliced Parma Ham

According to the wait staff, the organic mushrooms in this dish are sourced from a local farm which ensures its freshness. True enough, the mushrooms were fresh and plentiful. However, the linguine was a tad too overcooked and the parma ham, though nice, did seem a little too thickly sliced. On the upside, the cream sauce wasn't overwhelming hence you can easily stuff more down without feeling nauseous.



Hand Chopped Wagyu Burger, Truffled Mushroom Sauce, Salad and Fries

As mentioned in my entry on Iggy's sometime back, its a total waste of good beef if you chop wagyu up and make it into a beef patty. Brown Sugar's rendition wasn't just about to change my view on that. The beef, though evidently hand chopped from the unevenness of the patty, didn't taste much different from other beef patties that I've eaten. It could have been normal beef and I honestly wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Sure, the meat was more tender with more fats but lacked the beefy taste and the texture seemed more more like minced pork than beef. It definitely didn't help that the patty was done medium well instead of medium rare as per my request. All in all a very decent burger but not exactly one to bowl me over. Oh and the fries were a tad dry and overcooked.



Tarte Tatin of Pears with Honey & Fig Ice Cream

A rather interesting dessert if I may say. The pastry was flaky but did seem a little too hard from the hardened caramel glaze. The pears were firm and not too sweet, providing a nice crunch to the flimsy looking pastry.When paired with the honey and fig ice cream, it was truly enjoyable. Order this before hand because there is a wait time of 15 minutes.



Molten 100% Valrhona Chocolate Cake, Raspberry Coulis, Vanilla Ice Cream

I think I'm just a sucker for chocolate cakes, especially ones with the word molten chocolate attached to them. Brown Sugar's offering had a rather soft crust which I personally dislike, but the decadent molten chocolate more than made up for it. The vanilla ice cream was made from vanilla beans, not extract, as evident by the black dots on the ice cream. Together with the chocolate cake, it made for a nice and not too sweet ending. Please note that this dessert has a wait time of 15 minutes as well.



Bill

An appetiser, 2 mains and 2 desserts cost something to the tune of $98 which does seem a little high for a cafe hidden in a small government building. Quality of food is of a reasonably high standard and service is quite good. Add the nice homely environment to the mix and Brown Sugar is worth a revisit. For those who wish to experience Brown Sugar for less, there is the set lunch option, at $23 for 2 courses and $27 for 3 courses.



Likes: Good food, nice cosy place, free but limited parking
Dislikes: Limited seating, a little pricey

Final Verdict:

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

Overall:7.125/10

Address: 277 River Valley Road, Stardus Clubhouse (enter via Institution Hill)

Contact: 63336612

Opening Hours:

Tue-Sat, lunch & dinner,

All Day Sunday Brunch 10am-4pm,

Closed Monday (unless Public Holiday)

Public Holidays: Fri & Sat - open as usual, other Public Holidays, even Monday - All Day Brunch 10am-4pm

Website: http://www.brownsugar.com.sg/

Friday, May 16, 2008

Jaan - A Pictorial Journey

Had dinner at Jaan some time back. However I'm unable to remember much about it hence I shall let my pictures do the talking instead.









Appetisers & Mains




Desserts



Bill

Food at Jaan is probably a few rungs above average at best and prices are very steep, with the above dinner for 2 settling in at about $338. Service is excellent and so is the small cosy ambience that Jaan projects especially in the night, when a breathtaking view of the surrounding twinkling city landscape come into play. A much better option to its sister restaurant, Equinox in my humble opinion.



Likes: Excellent view, good service
Dislikes: Very pricey, food not fantastic for the price

Final Verdict:

Ambience:8.5/10
Service:7.5/10
Food:7/10
Value for money:6/10

Overall:7.25/10

Address: Level 70, Swissotel The Stamford

Contact: 68373322

Opening Hours:

Lunch - 12pm -230pm, Mon - Sat

Dinner - 7pm - 11pm, Mon - Sun

Website: http://www.equinoxcomplex.com