Thursday, December 30, 2010

Yan Ting Part VII - A Christmas Special

Christmas (aside from New Year and Chinese New Year) seems like the perfect excuse for restaurants to jack up prices to justify some "special and painstakingly prepared" celebration menu in commemoration of the yuletide season. And I fell for it, line, hook and sinker. Only difference was I decided to skip dinner on the eve in favour of dinner on the actual day itself. And my venue of choice was rather unconventional - Yan Ting.





Hong Kong BBQ Platter

From a list of about 6 items, I opted for the quintessential BBQ pork, roasted pork and roasted duck combination - staple favourites of mine that I personally hold high standards to (or at least I think I do).
The BBQ pork was rather lean and tender which is definitely a plus for health conscious folks unlike myself and the gravy came across as a little too watery and mild for my liking. Faring slightly better was the roasted pork, which met the crackling crispy skin prerequisite. However, the pork taste was a wee bit too overwhelming for my liking. As for the roast duck, it was tender but a little bland. I'm sure many places do a meaner rendition.



Deep Fried Prawn Filled with Fresh Mango

Delicately wrapped in beancurd skin and deep fried, the prawns were mind blowingly crispy but I couldn't make out any taste of mango even though I could see a slice of the fruit sandwiched between. Reminds me of the deep fried prawn dumplings that are usually served during dim sum.



Claypot Chicken with Basil and Golden Garlic

This ever popular Taiwanese dish, better known as 三杯鸡, was good in my humble opinion. Fragrant, tender and savoury chicken slivers infused with a nice heavy dose of garlic. Best enjoyed with steamed white rice.



Homemade Spinach Tofu

Smooth and silky with a layer of spinach atop, the homemade tofu lacked that little bit of savouriness which I personally like. Portions were a little small as well but overall a very palatable dish and something that I wouldn't hesitate to order again. The side of stir fried spinach was great by the way.



Dou Miao in Superior Stock

We were recommended the dou miao as apparently the restaurant received a batch of really good ones and that prompted us to say yes. On hindsight, that probably wasn't the wisest thing to do, considering that none of us at the table were big fans of the vegetable. And things weren't just about to change because of this dish. I'll give it credit for looking really green and fresh but other than that, this dish was pretty normal.



Seafood Olive Fried Rice

Homogeneously fried with a pop of wok hei and a tinge of olive, this dish was simple yet satisfyingly tasty. A medium serving is good for 5 pax.



Char Siew Pastry

My absolute favourite and to date, I have yet to find a better Char Siew Sou in Singapore. Sublimely fragrant and buttery crust coupled with an ample BBQ pork filling made for a delectable treat. It's so good that I usually go for seconds and have a couple more to go.



Chinese Pan Cake

Now this dessert didn't look like any red bean paste pancake I was familiar with, reminding me instead of goreng pisang, which is essentially banana coated with flour and deep fried. Well it wasn't too far off the mark. The red bean (I believe was azuki bean) was coated with a rather improportionate amount of flour and deep fried. Appearance aside, it was decent but could have really done with alot less flour.



Toffee Banana

Interesting and reminiscent of candy apples, except that it was banana with a nice shiny coating of caramelised toffee. You crack the hardened caramelised exterior and bingo, a filling of soft warm banana. I didn't quite take to it though as the banana didn't seem to gel well with the toffee, which had a nice baked taste to it but also a dominant sweetness that overwhelmed any inherent sweetness the banana might have had.



Bill

I was lucky to get a 10% discount during Christmas and the 5 of us chalked up a bill of about $320 for a decent but not outstanding dinner. Nonetheless, it was still enjoyable and the company was great!

ps: As this will be my last post for 2010, here's wishing everyone a smashing 2011! I'll be gone until the middle of Jan so no updates till then. Cheers!



Final Verdict:

Ambience:8/10
Service:8/10
Food:7/10
Value for money:6/10 (without discount)

Overall:7.25/10

Address: St. Regis Singapore, 29 Tanglin Road

Contact: 6506-6888

Opening Hours: 11.45am to 3.30pm, 6 to 11pm

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bukit Batok Teochew Cuisine - A Pictorial








Address: Blk 132 Bukit Batok West Ave 6 #01-300

Contact: 6560 0050

Opening Hours: 24 hrs daily

Website: www.teochew-cuisine.com

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mortons Part IV

Dropped by Mortons on a busy Saturday evening for a little culinary pampering as well as to rest our weary feet from the rigours of a frenzied shopping spree.




Interior

We got lucky and managed to snag one of the few booth seats that line the sides of the restaurant. Business was good even though I noticed a marked increase in prices for quite a few of the dishes, so reservations are definitely necessary to ensure that you do not get turned away at the door.



Onion Loaf

The all too famous onion loaf - deliciously warm and crusty with a strong onion presence. Both of us ate about a quarter and doggy bagged the remaining to save our precious stomach space for the impending onslaught of food.



Mashed Potato

Smooth but a little lacking in butter, the mashed potato was well complemented by unlimited toppings of sour cream and fresh, crisp bacon bits (no oily sensation or rancid oil taste). Well worth an order, but sharing would be advisable due to the portion size.



Steamed Fresh Broccoli

I'm not sure if my eyes were playing tricks on me but the broccoli did seem a little smaller than I remembered. Maybe its inflation. Nicely steamed with a tinge of buttery aftertaste.



Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes

At $95++ for 3 jumbo crab cakes, it's really not my idea of reasonable. But to be fair, they were in a league of their own. Chunky and sweet crab meat sans any traces of flour (which most places use to "beef up" their crab cakes) lumped together and pan fried till a little charred on the surface. Couple that with a nice mustard mayonnaise sauce that helped to cut through the fishiness of the crab, this dish was clearly excellent.



Single Cut Fillet Mignon

Executed to a perfect medium well, the fillet mignon was succulent and boasted an unadulterated beefy goodness that lingered on long after the dish was done. If you crave for more, go for the double cut instead of the single.



Morton's Hot Chocolate Cake

Desserts form an integral part of every meal in my humble opinion so how could I resist ordering Morton's legendary Hot Chocolate Cake? A crusty shell encapsulating viscous molten hot chocolate that threatened to ooze out through every chink in the exterior. Add a nice huge scoop of smooth vanilla ice cream to "cool the heat" and you have a marriage made in heaven. Never mind that it costs a steep $27++.



Upside Down Apple Pie

Another of Morton's signature desserts, the Upside Down Apple Pie had a good balance of sour and sweet through the addition of raisins. A scoop of vanilla ice cream accompanied and the combination was a pleasure to savour.



Bill

The two of us had a wonderful, belly bursting meal at the expense of my poor wallet, with the bill standing at just over $300. Prices have definitely gone northwards since my last visit and portions sizes did seem a tad smaller. However, having said that, I see no reason why I shouldn't return, this time with a bigger appetite of course.



Final Verdict:
Ambience:7/10
Service:8/10
Food:8/10
Value for money:7/10
Overall:7.5/10

Address: 4th Storey, Mandarin Oriental Singapore

Contact: 6339-3740

Opening Hours:

Bar
Monday - Saturday 5pm - 11pm
Sunday 5pm - 10pm

Dining Room
Monday - Saturday 5:30pm - 11pm
Sunday 5pm - 10pm

Website: http://www.mortons.com/singapore/

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Ootoya



Had dinner at Ootoya, a casual Japanese restaurant chain with outlets in Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, HK, Indonesia and more recently, Singapore. I've seen the outlets in Tokyo, but it never really occurred to me to try them out, especially with no dearth of excellent food options there.




Interior & Menu

With its discreet and minimalistic frontage, Ootoya could well be mistaken for an upclass Japanese restaurant. But walk in and be greeted by a casual, almost cafe like amostphere complete with shouts of Japanese greeting and a long U shape table (a little like a teppanyaki table except that this one doesn't have a chef standing in front of you preparing food) and small "semi private" rooms for those who have a bigger group (which we were lucky to get).





Stuff that I didn't eat



Charcoal Grilled Pork with Special Sauce ($16)

To be honest, how exciting can grilled pork get? But I was quite taken aback by how well Ootoya grilled its generous pieces of hog - Relatively tender with grilled lines to show for it and a flittering taste of charcoal smokiness. Coupled with plump, mildly sticky rice grains, it made for a wonderful combination.



Banana Parfait ($8)

I am rather skeptical about Japanese desserts as they always seem to prefer form (aesthetics) over substance (might be a misconception). Ootoya's Banana Parfait sought to realign that misconception with a surprisingly good and sweet ending to my meal. The parfait didn't come across as too gelatin and sat on a bed of azuki beans which hinted of coffee. 2 small slices of banana and sponge completed the picture.

Overall I spent about $28 for a wonderful dinner inclusive of free flow green tea. Well worth the money in my humble opinion and definitely worth a revisit.



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

Overall:7.25/10

Address: #B1-057 Suntec City & #08-12 Orchard Central

Contact: 6884-8901 (Suntec) & 6837-3718 (Orchard)

Opening Hours: Daily: 12pm – 9.30pm

Website: http://www.ootoya.com

Monday, November 29, 2010

Tang Dian Wang 汤点王



It was one of those quiet weekday evenings that we headed to town to grab a bite while running some errands. Chinese food was on the list and Tang Dian Wang (汤点王)seemed decent enough for us to pop by for dinner. This Shanghainese restaurant is owned by the folks who brought you New York New York, Xin Wang HK Cafe, Thai Express etc - restaurants that leave much to be desired in my humble opinion. But hey, life is full of second (or maybe third or fourth) chances.



Interior

Prominently situated amongst the ring of eateries that circle the Fountain of Wealth in the basement, Tang Dian Wang practises a open dining concept where passers by and customers alike are free to let their gaze roam. The decor is decidedly modern Chinese with a nod to tradition in the form of round laterns hanging from the ceiling. During our visit, the place was barely a quarter full, though I can't say the same for weekends.



Roasted Meat & Salted Egg Fragrant Rice in Lotus Wrappers (烧肉咸蛋荷叶饭)

I don't usually order rice in lotus leaf wraps (荷叶饭) when dining out because of the high oil content but apparently Tang Dian Wang is known for it so I made an exception. Oily as usual but moist with a nice lingering aroma. However I did find the roasted meat way too fatty for my liking and overall a little too bland for my liking. Decent but nothing fantastic.



Prawns with Golden Pumpkin Sauce (金瓜奶虾球)

Initial impressions of this dish were good as the prawns were crunchy with a crisp along the edges due to the light batter coating. But it soon became nausea inducing due to the starchy and bland pumpkin sauce that masked any sweetness the prawns might have to offer. Overall a rather insipid dish.



Deep-fried Bean Curd with Bak Kwa (炸肉干豆腐)

The bean curd with bak kwa (dried meat jerky) was a let down honestly. Deep fried till crisp on the outside but lacking the smoothness that I was expecting. Granted, I could make out tiny shards of bak kwa embedded within but they were too little, too small to have any impact on the dish. Although bean curd is one of my favourite dishes, I gave up after the second piece.



Sauteed Horfun with Seafood

The humble horfun(河粉) was the most unlikely star of the evening with its silky smoothness and hint of wok hei. Another plus point was the relatively fresh seafood that it came served with. On the flip side, I did think that the egg gravy was a little too starchy for my liking, which added to the nausea from the earlier dishes.



Bill

The 2 of us chalked up a bill of about $65 for dinner which I felt was a little pricey given the quality of food. Every seemed to be heavy on the starch/flour which made me squeamish after a while. Service was okay but that's not enough reason for me to ever step in again.



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

Overall:6.5/10

Address: #B1-033/036 Suntec City

Contact: 6334 3007

Opening Hours:

Mondays – Thursdays:
11am to 3pm
5pm to 10pm (Excluding PH)

Fridays – Sundays:
11am to 10.30pm

Website: http://tangdianwang.com.sg/

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Live @ Teppan - A Pictorial











Overall the food was average but service, though friendly, was haphazard. We waited for a very long time in between our dishes and had to remind the wait staff repeatedly. They really need to be more efficient and organised.



Address: #B1-49 West Coast Plaza

Contact: 6778 9690

Opening Hours: 11am to 10pm daily

Website: http://www.liveteppan.com/

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Most Original Burgers



Specialty burger stalls are a dime a dozen these days so I procrastinated in trying out the one of the latest burger offering at Most Original Burgers (MOB for short) even though I am quite a sucker for new burger outlets. I was finally swayed when MOB ran a joint promotion with a website to offer a set meal at a discounted rate (cheapo me!)




Interior & Menu

The location isn't ideal, tucked away in a nondescript corner of Vivo City, along a small section of eateries that include the more illustrious Tung Lok Signatures. The decor reminds me of a typical fast food type casual eatery usually associated with the likes of the big M and slightly more "upclass" offerings like New York New York (yucks!).



Wild Mushroom Soup

A little runny but the generous chunks of mushroom more than made up for it. The reduced usage of cream as an ingredient was a welcome change and overall a decent rendition of this classic soup.



The Goodfellas

The Goodfellas actually refer to a trio of mini burgers, selected by the customer from a preset list of flavours/combinations. Yours truly chose the safest option - Classic Beef, Philly Cheese Steak and Grilled Chicken, all on MOB's signature brioche. Aesthetics wise, this dish as a whole was rather pleasing to the eye and the brioche came linked together, which I personally found a tad amusing. It didn't taste like the brioche I knew and instead, carried a hint of beer in every bite. And it was rather dry. I thought that the classic beef, which came in the form of a ball, was quite decent but a tad dry. The philly was just way tough and I couldn't quite make out the taste of cheese even though it was visually very evident. Nothing like the real deal from Philadelphia. Best of the lot was the grilled chicken, which had a nice smokiness to it that I personally like. It also helped that the meat was tender.



Grilled Oregano Chicken

This dish seemed like a super sized up version of the grilled chicken burger and no, I'm definitely not complaining. Nicely grilled and tender with a sizeable portion to boot, the chicken was well complimented by the oregano and pommery mustard sauce, which imbued a rich saltiness to it.



Waffle with Ice Cream

Crisp but a little too hard. And the ice cream tasted like hardened milk, lacking the usual richness I would expect even from lower end brands like Kings, which is easily available at most supermarkets. I ate a quarter and gave up.



Bill

Apparently my set (mushroom soup + good fellas + waffle & ice cream + drink) would have cost in excess of $40 without the voucher but I only paid $17, which I personally thought was still within the reasonable range. But have me pay the original price for the set and its definitely a big no no. Also, I'm not sure the grilled chicken was worth the $18.90++. Overall it is my personal judgment that this place falls into the same category as Swensens and the likes - not worth a revisit.



Final Verdict:
Ambience:6.5/10
Service:6.5/10
Food:6.5/10
Value for money:5.5/10 (Based on non discounted pricing)

Overall:6.25/10

Address: VivoCity #01-52

Contact: 6376 9681

Opening Hours: 11:30 am - 11:00 pm

Website: http://www.moburgers.com/