Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cafe D'Orient - A Pictorial



Interior & Menu



Hawaiian Toast



Fish & Chips



Seafood Pineapple Rice



Mushroom Ee Fu Noodle



Chicken Bamboo Rice & 3 Delight Bamboo Rice



Durian Roll



Bill

Monday, October 27, 2008

Canton Wok Part II

Yes I was back at Canton Wok once again with my family, bent on relishing the rather good experience I had almost 2 years ago.



Interior

Still housed in the refurbished bungalow along Joo Chiat Road, Canton Wok's hum and buzz of 2 years ago seemed to have died down quite a fair bite. They could even take in walk in reservations at 7pm on a Sunday, a far cry from the heydays.



Bacon Prawn Roll with Mayonnaise Cream

3 words. Overwhelmed by mayonnaise. This excellent comfort dish used to work wonders for me with the creaminess of mayonnaise complementing the saltiness of the bacon. This time round I could hardly taste or even see the bacon, not to mention the prawns. A drop in standard to say the least.



Homemade Beancurd with Egg White

I personally liked this dish quite abit - the beancurd was nice and firm on the outside while retaining its softness on the outside. It wasn't exactly very silky but had a pleasant savoury taste to it. The egg white was plentiful and had ginger bits in it to nullify the rawness of the egg I presume.



French Bean with Minced Meat

A simple yet well executed dish, the french beans were a tad crunchy and went well with the slightly salty minced pork. Add a mild dash of chilli and everythings good. The only gripe I had was the excessive oil that I spotted at the bottom of the plate.



Double Taste Pork Ribs

A signature dish of Canton Wok and one which I thought was quite decent. The double taste pork ribs was essentially 2 types of pork ribs - the normal one where you can get anywhere and coffee pork ribs. Both ribs were very well marinated and had bits of fat to give that nice chewy texture. However I did find them a tad too sweet for my liking.



Steamed Crab with Glutinous Rice and Garlic

Probably everyone's favourite dish for the evening, the crab was sweet while the glutinous rice didn't have the overly sticky texture that I personally dislike and more importantly, void of the nausea inducing catalyst that tends to plague most glutinous rice dishes. One such dish is good for 4 pax.



Bill

With a 10% discount, the total bill for 5 came up to $90, which is still rather acceptable in absolute terms. However food portions tend towards the small size and standards seemed to have dropped quite a fair bit. However to be fair, the food is still decently above average but Canton Wok might have to move the food quality up a notch if it still hopes to relive its glorious past.



Likes: Food is decent
Dislikes: Portions are a tad small

Final Verdict:

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

Overall:6.625/10

Address: 382 Joo Chiat Road

Contact: 62856919 / 63486919

Opening Hours: Tues - Sun: 11.30am - 3pm, 5.30 - 10.30pm

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tai Shek Hei



Was in the vicinity of Joo Chiat so decided to pop down to this kid on the block after reading rather favourable reviews of it by some food bloggers. It also helped that I was financially strapped and had to eat on a tight budget.



Interior & Menu

Located right at the junction of Joo Chiat Road and Koon Seng Road, Tai Shek Hei has only been in operations for about 2 months or so and the decor is typical of a Chinese type eatery. According to the writeup in the menu, Tai Shek Hei specialises in bamboo noodles, which are purportedly unique in the sense that the dough used in making the noodles are beaten with a long thick bamboo pole that promises a springy product without the lye (alkaline) taste.



Speciality Tobiko Dumpling

I had a go at the bamboo noodles, topped with their speciality tobiko (flying fish roe) dumplings. The noodles were thing and springy with lots of bite while the dumplings were quite good with the skin not too thick and the prawns crunchy with a little help from the roe. The soup base was supposedly made from boiling sole fish, prawn shells, dried scallops etc but though rather tasty, it didn't exactly wow me.



Cai Xin

A very normal dish and something you can find at any random cze char stall. $6 is still reasonable I guess.



Roast Combination

We opted for the Soy Chicken and Roast Duck combination which was surprisingly quite good. The meat was tender yet moist and had a nice chewy sensation to it. The amount of fats beneath the skin was also minimal, which is good for health conscious folks. I would have liked the skin to be a little crispier though.



Bill

To be honest, I think the food was quite decent and it wasn't exactly expensive either, standing at about $28 for 2 pax. Its a pity about the location and the lack of crowds though.



Likes: Food is decent
Dislikes: Nothing

Final Verdict:

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

Overall:6.75/10

Address: 283 Joo Chiat Road

Contact: 6345 5095

Opening Hours:

Lunch: 11am - 3pm

Dinner: 6pm - 11pm

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sentosa Food Trail Part I - Silk Road Of The Sea



The Silk Road or 丝绸之路 was an important cultural and trade route that linked China and the Far East to the West in ancient times. This was the very route that legendary explorer Marco Polo took from North and South China back to Venice during the 13th century. Banking on the success of this historic route, the Silk Road group of restaurants was born, with Silk Road of the Sea at Sentosa being the latest addition to the family.






Exterior, Interior, Menu & Appetiser

Nestled on the ground floor in a standalone building along Palawan beach, Silk Road shares the premises with Braise, a modern European restaurant that occupies the second floor. This cosy Chinese restaurant offers both air conditioned indoor dining and al fresco if you wish to experience the sea breeze and the sand that tags along with it. The interior is done up simply with white washed walls and pillars but more importantly, comes with floor to ceiling windows to allow an unobstructed view of the beach (provided no one blocks your view by sitting in front of you in the al fresco area).



Pumpkin Soup

An off the menu item as well as a signature dish of Silk Road, the pumpkin soup cost a hefty $18. Portions were big and the soup was probably just sufficient for 1 person. However I must give it credit for its rather interesting presentation - served in a pumpkin with its insides carved out. The soup came across as mildy sweet with a relatively strong hint of the raw ocean, which can be quite unsettling at times. I also thought that for the price, there would be a more generous serving of scallops, prawns, squid and seaweed in it.



Chef's Homemade Signature Beancurd

Besides the gravy being a wee bit too salty, I couldn't find any fault with the beancurd, which was a little crisp on the outside yet smooth and silky on the inside. Personally, I liked the layer of spinach atop which accentuated the savoury aftertaste. Polishing off this dish would have child's play to me.



Sichuan Smoked Duck with Camphor & Tea Leaves

My experiences with smoked duck in Singapore are limited to only Szechuan Court and Peach Blossoms, both of which doesn't exactly serve up good smoked duck I must say. Although Silk Road's rendition was better then both places, it still didn't impress me much. The duck meat was reddish (a little too reddish at some parts though) but not overly dry and carried a floating hint of smokiness. There was the problem of the missing tea taste though.



Stir Fried Asparagus

How bad can stir fried asparagus get? This dish was normal with the asparagus cooked just right, not too soft nor hard. And thats about it.



Supreme Fried Rice with Seafood

I thought that the rice was evenly fried, as evident by the homogeneous colour but lacked the quintessential wok hei taste. Fortunately, the rice still came across as relatively tasty with a reasonably generous amount of ingredients.



Bill

Dinner is a most relaxing environment coupled with a nice view of the beach cost the two of us about $98. Expensive? Definitely. However, if you take a look at the individual pricing of items, its more or less Crystal Jade prices except for the pumpkin soup, which is really over the hill IMHO. Take that away and suddenly, the total bill does seem a tad more reasonable. However, having said that, I don't see myself returning, especially with an upfront $7 ($6 entry + $1 parking) charge.



Likes: Nice place
Dislikes: Rather pricey

Final Verdict:

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

Overall:6.875/10

Address: Amara Sanctuary @ Sentosa, 1 Larkhill Road

Contact: 6377 4248

Opening Hours:

Mon-Thu: Lunch: 11.00am - 2.30pm

Mon-Thu: Dinner: 6.00pm - 9.30pm

Fri/Sat/Sun: 11.00am - 9.30pm

Website: http://www.amarasanctuary.com/fnb/silkroadofthesea.html

Note: Acting on a whim, I've decided to do a mini Sentosa food series on a monthly basis starting this month (October), which will probably run all the way until July next year. That makes 10 entries in total so if there is any place you would like to recommend me, please drop me a note and let me know =)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tetsu Part II

Yes its back at Tetsu once again, just that this time round it was through an invitation for a food tasting. To be honest, my last paid dinner at Tetsu was very average so I didn't dare harbour any hopes on Tetsu getting its act together even though it was a food tasting.




Menu & Sake




Sampling Platter

This opening platter was a selection of Kajiki(swordfish) Tataki, Agedashi tofu and braised pork belly. Personally I thought that the swordfish was good - well seared on the outside yet retaining its rawness on the inside with a faint smoky taste.
Interestingly, the agedashi tofu was miles apart from the usual ones that I was used to. Instead of being silkily smooth, the texture reminded me more of carrot cake (菜头粿), starchy and wobbly. I guess at this point, its really up to personal preference.
The braised pork belly was purportedly braised for 2 days but though it was tender and nice, it didn't exactly wow me. And its really fatty.



Mixed Sashimi

I didn't have the stomach for sashimi that evening so I skipped this dish entirely.



Teriyaki Chicken

To me, Teriyaki chicken is comfort food. So perhaps that was the reason I fancied it quite a bit. A tad charred and crispy along the exterior, the meat held a nice moist bite without being overwhelmed by the mildy sweet teriyaki sauce coating.



Sushi Roll

I liked this. The rice wasn't overly sticky nor loose with a fragrant sesame seed coating and copious amounts of roe atop. Wedged in the centre of the roll was a nice savoury crab meat filling layered by thin slices of vegetables that provided an extra crunch. I would have prefered a wee bit more vinegar in the rice though. If there's anything that I'm going back to Tetsu for, its definitely for the sushi.



Dragon Roll

Ditto to the comment I made in the previous paragraph about returning for the sushi. The dragon roll was good as well - firm rice enveloping a prawn tempura and topped with roe. A dollop of mayonnaise made for extra seasoning.



Rosu Katsu & Hire Katsu

Katsus tend to have this nauseating effect on me because its deep fried and too much flour just makes me go woozy. Tetsu's rendition was no different but I must admit that it was quite decent. I personally prefered the Rosu katsu (pork loin), which was juicier and carried more bite then the hire katsu (pork fillet). But of course the Hire katsu was more tender and of a leaner (equates healthier) cut. For both katsus, the bread crumbs absorbed quite a bit of oil so I called it quits after eating a piece each.



Assorted Tempura

Here is where Tetsu needs a major improvement IMHO. The tempura batter was way too thick and though very crispy due to the crumbs, I honestly feared for my health. Imagine the amount of oil absorbed. In the case of the prawn tempura, I could barely make out the taste of the prawn, which was overwhelmed by the taste of the batter.



Inaniwa Udon

Hailing from Akita Prefecture in northern Japan, the Inaniwa udon is supposedly one of the highest quality udon made in the country. Honestly I don't know much about udon but I did find tetsu's offering quite good as the udon was al dente without coming across as too starchy. But the funny thing is that it looked more like a fat version of glass noodles then udon.



Strawberry Mousse

A dessert of the day but definitely not your run off the mill sweet kind of strawberry mousse. This one had bits of real strawberries in it, making for a semi rough texture and sourish ending.

Overall I would say that I'm pleasantly surprised by the jump in quality of food this time round and the chef even came out to sit with us for about an hour to chit chat, which is quite a nice touch I feel. Thanks to Tetsu for the invite.


Likes: Sushi
Dislikes: Tempura needs improvement

Final Verdict:

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

Overall:7.25/10

Address: #03-18 Tanglin Mall

Contact: 68363112

Opening Hours:

Lunch: 1130am - 3pm

Dinner: 6pm - 10pm

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