Sunday, September 27, 2009

Cafeteria IL Lido



Upmarket restaurant IL Lido at Sentosa has apparently gone mass market with its latest offering - Cafeteria IL Lido, located at Suntec City Mall. Although I didn't think too much about the upscale IL Lido, I was tempted to find out what its "mass consumer centric" eatery offered.




Interior & Menu

The eatery seats beside other mass market eateries around the mall's fountain area at B1 and boasts a seating capacity probably in excess of 80 pax. The place is rather "cafeish" and comes across as cheery and soothing with its bright wall tones and wooden furniture.



Spaghetti Carbonara

This honestly smacked of convenience. The pasta wasn't al dente while the cream sauce was rather watery without any presence of egg yolk and tasted like the pre made bottled cream sauces you could get off the shelves at any supermarket. The only saving grace was the generous amount of bacon chips which could have used a little more salt.



Ham and Mushroom Pizza

The pizza base was thin, almost to the extent of biscuit like. While I appreciate the gooey cheese and generous toppings atop, I didn't quite take to the pizza in general because everything tasted bland. The crust was way too thin (and hard) to absorb any flavours from the tomato sauce or the cheese and essentially you are just eating biscuit topped with ingredients, something which I can probably do myself without too much hassle.



Tiramisu

This tiramisu has the dubious honour of being the worst tiramisu I have ever eaten in my life (sometimes I wonder if it is even edible) . For starters, it was served at room temperature and that resulted in the mascarpone cheese being soft and almost watery. To cut cost, they probably didn't add eggs in it as well, which made the whole dessert very flat tasting. The sponge fingers were terrible - drowned in what tasted like instant coffee and grossly soft. It came to a point where I was almost "drinking" the whole dessert. And if you are thinking alcohol, there is none of it present.



Black Forest

I would say the black forest was at least palatable. The cherries were a little dry but rather tart and the cream to sponge ratio was quite lopsided in favour of the cream. At least it was sweet though.



Bill

I don't know about you but $36 for such mind blowingly lousy food irritates me to no end. Compound the fact that service was seriously lacking ( I had to gesture for about 10 mins before I could catch the attention of any service staff and I wasn't the only table facing such problems) and that I had to pay a 10% service charge for that, I will never go back, not even step near it. Honestly, IL Lido has never enjoyed a high standing in my books but with Cafeteria IL Lido, the entire brand name has just slipped a few rungs.



Final Verdict:
Ambience:6.5/10
Service:5.5/10
Food:5/10 (2/10 for the tiramisu)
Value for money:5/10

Overall:5/10

Address: #B1-012 Suntec City Mall

Contact: 6883 2341

Opening Hours: Daily: 11.30am - 10pm

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Teochew City Seafood Restaurant



Had been meaning to try out Teochew City for quite a while now so made it a point to head down one weekend evening for dinner. Owned and operated by the Prima group, which also owns the historic Prima Towering Revolving Restaurant, Teochew City is one of the pioneers of Teochew fine dining in Singapore and apparently serves quite good Teochew food, if the hearsays are to be trusted.




Interior & Menu

Located in a corner at the top floor of Centrepoint Shopping Centre, the restaurant cuts a lone figure amidst the retail shops in the mall. A huge signboard makes known the restaurant as soon as the escalator takes you up but human traffic on that level is probably too scarce to make much of a difference. The restaurant's interior is rather spacious and offers a view of live seafood swimming around in huge tanks by the side - very typical Chinese restaurant decor.



Crab Meat & Fish Maw Soup

The soup was tasty and not overly starchy with relatively generous amounts of crab meat and fish maw. However, drinking too much still can make you woozy. And $8 gets you a decent sized bowl.



Braised Goose

I doubt the ban on fresh goose meat has been lifted so this is probably frozen meat. Not that it mattered though, because it was handled quite well and the only slip was the mild dryness of the meat. Portions were also generous for a small serving.



Hong Kong Kailan with Mushrooms

The vegetables weren't overcooked while the sauce didn't come across as too starchy. Mushroom servings were generous and though not the most exciting vegetable dish I've had, no complains really.



Lobster and Prawn Balls

This dish featured prawn paste and fresh prawn molded into balls and deep fried till crisp. Nice but a tad too oily for my liking. The pièce de résistance however, was the egg white with lobster meat served alongside. Savoury without any hint of rawness and a nice smooth texture, complemented by the shreds of lobster meat within. Could have done with a pinch less salt though.



Yam Paste with Gingko Nuts and Pumpkin

The hallmark of Teochew desserts and its most famous one yet - the humble yet time consuming to produce yam paste. Fragrant with a spoonful of not too sweet syrup atop, the paste was smooth and thick. And I like my yam paste without coconut milk.



Bill

After a 10% discount, the 3 of us chalked up a bill of almost $125 ($138 without discount), which isn't exactly cheap but consider the quality of food and I reckon it's still reasonable. Service was good and the place provided a nice respite from the mad Orchard Road crowds on a weekend.



Final Verdict:
Ambience:7/10
Service:7.5/10
Food:7.5/10
Value for money:6.5/10 (without discount)

Overall:7.125/10

Address: #05-16 Centrepoint, 176 Orchard Road

Contact: 6733 3338

Opening Hours:

Lunch:
10:30am - 3:00pm (Weekdays)
10:30am - 3:30pm (Weekends & PH)

Dinner:
6:30pm - 10:30pm (Daily)

Website: http://www.pfs.com.sg/restaurants/teochew_city/

Monday, September 21, 2009

Burger Shack



I read with much interest the opening of yet another burger joint, this time by the owners of Island Creamery who decided that they wanted to do something else besides making ice cream. And with prices starting at about $5.70 for a beef burger, who could resist the lure to try it out?



Interior

Occupying the space that used to house Melvados at King's Arcade along Bukit Timah Road, Burger Shack boasts a white spartan cafe like interior with a couple of tables and chairs for dine in customers. How this place works is simple. You place your order at the counter, make payment and wait for your order number to be called out to collect your food.




Double Original Burger

Greedy me couldn't be satisfied with a single patty hence I opted for the double ($7.70) with an addition of sauteed mushrooms ($1.50) and bacon ($1.50). To be honest, it was smaller then what I had expected and the quality was downright disappointing. The beef patties didn't taste fresh and had quite a bit of fatty meat in it. On the upside, you could see it as the patty being hand chopped rather then machine processed. Apparently their buns are made from scratch, like Everything with Fries so comparisons might seem inevitable. Actually no comparisons are needed as Burger Shack's buns came across as dry and hard - worse then most buns I've had. I honestly can't bring myself to believe that the buns are made from scratch.



Grilled Chicken Burger

The grilled chicken burger was sandwiched between the hard and stale buns but at least the breast meat was relatively tender. It would have been better if the fatty skin had been removed and they had added some seasoning into the otherwise bland and flat piece of meat. The tomato puree atop didn't help matters much. Don't get me started with the shoestring fries, which were hard, dry and proved quite a chore to chomp through. But at least there was seasoning.



Bill

We paid about $22 for our dinner and walked out of the place smelling of food from head to toe. They really need to do something about the ventilation of the place. Food for thought - Success in one area of F&B doesn't guarantee success when diversifying into other branches of the everchanging culinary landscape. And that is something Island Creamery has to think about. Should it leverage on its core competency and continue to sell ice cream or should it move into offering burgers? If the latter, I suggest they relook into their burger recipes before Burger Shack dilutes the Island Creamery brand name.



Final Verdict:
Ambience:6.5/10
Service:NA
Food:5.5/10
Value for money:6/10

Overall:6/10

Address: #01-01 King's Arcade, 559 Bukit Timah Road

Contact: 64663477

Opening Hours: Noon - 10pm. Last order at 9pm. (Closed on Mon)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Everything with Fries



It's interesting how eateries are named nowadays. Some allude to hidden references while others, like Everything with Fries, tells you straight up what to expect from the restaurant. Indulge in my lameness for a bit as I can't help but think that this cafe's name is in response to the "Would you like fries with that?" question. HAHA.




The Place

The eatery's stark white facade cuts a contrasting impression amongst the faded walls of its neighbours along Joo Chiat Road. Wait staff in pink tops and white shorts add to the overall "uplifting" ambience of the place. There is the problem of cramp spaces though. We got a seat next to the walkway and every time someone walked past, they had to squeeze their way in. Imagine someone's butt scraping past your table when you are eating. Definitely not a pleasant prospect.



Egg Soup

Apparently a signature and the only soup available on the menu, the one egg soup was essentially chicken broth with a slightly creamy texture and a sourish hint. The accompanying portion of deep fried whisked egg tasted a little like french toast sans the bread. Rather appetising I must say, especially with the addition of ground pepper.



Grilled Pork Chop

The pork chop's seasoning was quite good but probably a wee bit too flavourful for my liking. Grilling imbued it with a nice smoky taste but unfortunately the meat came across as a little too dry. And as the name of the eatery suggests, it came with a choice from a selection of fries (original, curry, salt and vinegar, sour cream and onion, garlic and herbs) as well as a salad, to balance out all that unhealthy stuff. I'm not too sure the fries were that fantastic though, nothing like my favourite fries from New York Fries.



Cheeseburger

My initial reaction upon seeing the burger was one of mild shock. The beef patty was probably only the size of 1.5 Macdonald patties, which is really quite small. Size aside, the texture of the patty was rather uneven, which probably means that it hasn't been machine processed. But I would have liked it a little juicier. The bun is purportedly made from scratch and I must say that I enjoyed it quite a bit. Light without being too dense and mildly sweet with a coating of butter, pan fried till lightly charred on the surface - very good!



Pear Tart

The nutella tart was sold out so we had to settle for the pear tart with an additional scoop of ice cream (+$1.80), which tasted suspiciously like Wall's ice cream. This dessert was a poor attempt at a tart in my humble opinion. The crust was suppose to be flaky but turned out rather elastic. And its a little odd if pear slices don't taste like pear. Overall still edible but don't expect much.



Bill

Dessert and cramp spaces aside, I must say that the meal was quite enjoyable, especially with the relatively economical price tag and chirpy service. I would definitely make it a point to return, but in the meantime, they might want to take a look into their table arrangement.



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

Overall:6.875/10

Address: 458 Joo Chiat Road

Contact: 6345 5034

Opening Hours: Daily: Noon - 10pm(Closed on Mon)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Crystal Jade Palace Restaurant



I had always been under the impression that Crystal Jade Palace and Crystal Jade Golden Palace were one and the same restaurant. But a chance dining encounter at Crystal Jade Palace some weeks back proved otherwise.



Interior & Menu

Like its equally upscale sibling, Crystal Jade Palace boasts a tastefully designed interior that oozes contemporary Chinese chic at its store in Ngee Ann City. And what's surprising is that amidst the recession, the place was packed to the rafters by about 8pm. And you would think that such an upscale Chinese restaurant would see a decline in patronage.



Double Boiled Shark Bone Soup

The restaurant's shark bone soup was honestly not my cup of tea. It came across as way too milky for my liking and rather bland. And the sticking point was the thick layer of residue it left on my tongue.



Roasted Pork Belly

I'm a sucker for roasted pork belly and this one had crackling crisp skin above proportionately lean meat that wasn't too dry or salty. I would have loved to have seconds if not for my very strained wallet.



Roast Duck

The roast duck's skin wasn't crisp and there was a lingering fowl taste. Decent nonetheless but I've had way better and definitely not worth the 18 bucks.



Broccoli with Crab Roe

Tasty but the gravy was a little too starchy which made me nauseous after a bit. However, the serving of crab meat was generous and the broccoli, cooked just right, which more then made up for it. Best eaten with rice.



Deep Fried Ice Cream

Overinflated best describes the deep fried ice cream, which had a thin hot air inflated crust that looked and tasted like what you would find in goreng pisang. And within that crust lay a scoop of peach flavoured ice cream that seemed to be melting at an exponential speed. Decent.



Durian Pudding

Durian shreds embedded within smooth and chilled pudding that promised a glimpse of the real mccoy. What's not to like? However I prefer puree or real durian flesh anytime.



Bill

Dinner for 2 crossed the century mark at about $106. I am not sure that the quality of food commands such a high price tag and I definitely favour Golden Palace over this, even with the not too recent disappointment. Service is generally good but I sure didn't like the idea of sitting only about 30cm away from the next table.



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

Overall:7/10

Address: #04-19 Ngee Ann City

Contact: 67352388

Opening Hours:

Monday – Friday: 11.30am – 3pm, 3pm – 11pm

Saturday: 11am – 3pm, 6pm – 11pm

Sunday: 10.30am – 3pm, 6pm – 11pm

Website: http://www.crystaljade.com/CrystalJadePalaceRestaurant.htm

Thursday, September 10, 2009

15 Minutes



Many of us go in search for our 15 minutes of fame in life and apparently you can get your 15 minutes in a newly opened cafe which goes by the name of 15 minutes. And with a tagline like Friends, Food, Fame, it doesn't leave much to the imagination.



Interior

The cafe is nestled within the premises of the modernly funky Lasalle and sports a certain chic and youthful vibe with its soaring windows that offer a view of the edgy campus and of course the stage where you are allowed your 15 minutes of fame. The cafe also has a rather interesting concept whereby upon placing your order, an RF device is allocated to you, which vibrates and emit red flashes to inform you that your food is ready for collection.



Kaya Muffin

Apparently the kaya muffin has been well raved about in the media but given what I had, I wasn't quite sure the muffin deserved the hype. Spongy but a little too dry with a funny smell. There was kaya in the center but I don't think it tastes any different from the ones I get in a tub at the supermarket. Overall a very mediocre muffin that I would expect to grab from any generic neighbourhood confectionery.



Chicken Avocado Linguine

The name of the dish intrigued me for I never had avocado with pasta before, especially with a cream based sauce. I was mildly disappointed though as it really didn't taste out of the ordinary. Sure, I could see little greenish blobs of avocado in the sauce but that's about it. Nothing special. Did I mention that the sauce was overly creamy and the pasta a wee bit too soft for my liking?



Banoffee

15 minutes had a different take on this classic English dessert. There was no pastry or cream, just solid bananas in a toffee mixture with lots of crushed biscuits. Interesting but can be a little too dry and sticky.



Bill

I don't quite fancy the food but prices aren't expensive and I love the youthful exuberance the place emanates. Makes me feel young all over again. Now that's reason enough to go back, don't you think so?



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

Overall:6.83/10

Address: Blk D #01-01, 1 McNally Street

Contact: 63335915

Opening Hours:

Mon to Thurs - 10am to 11pm

Fri - 10am to 12am

Sat - 1115am to 11pm

Website: http://www.15minutes.com.sg/

Sunday, September 06, 2009

California Pizza Kitchen III

Had a massive craving for thick crust pizzas but didn't fancy pigging out at Pizza Hut so the only other alternative was California Pizza Kitchen. It definitely helped that they were offering a national day promotion of 2 pizzas/pastas, 1 salad and 1 side for only $44++.



Interior



Crabcakes

Coagulated with flour - that was my first impression of the crabcakes. It certainly didn't help matters that the portion of shredded crab meat was dismal. Thought well deep fried, the crabcakes came across as rather nausea inducing if eaten in large quantities mainly cause of the oil.



BBQ Chicken Salad

Though simply done, I thought that the salad was quite appetising with chunks of chicken, crispy strips of flour and dollops of BBQ sauce, the heaviness of which was balanced out by the cut tomatoes and corn.



California Club Pizza

Interesting, the crust of the California Club was a little like prata - chewy and slightly elastic. Beneath the layer of mayonnaise lettuce and avocado lay bits and pieces of nicely smoked bacon and grilled chicken cubes. Honestly, it could have done with a little more mayonnaise as somehow the lettuce tasted really raw.



White Pizza

I am not sure how this pizza got its name but essentially it has 5 different types of cheese in it - Mozzarella, Fontina, Ricotta, Parmesan and Pecorino Romano. And you have the option of adding applewood smoked bacon for added flavour and texure, which I did. Honestly I love cheese but too much of it proved to be rather overwhelming for me.



Bill

I was rather disappointed with the standard of the food this time round as everything seemed rather slip shod. Perhaps it has to do with the promotion? I should probably stick to their signature pizzas next time round.

See my previous entry on CPK here.


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

Overall:6.75/10

Address: #01-42 Forum The Shopping Mall, 583 Orchard Road

Contact: 6836 0110

Opening Hours: Daily: 11.30am-11.30pm

Website: http://www.cpk.com/