Sunday, February 28, 2010

Fatboy's The Burger Bar



And my pursuit of a great burger continues, with a visit to Fat Boys, which has recently been voted by "users" as the best burger joint in a popular local food website. I am skeptical about the validity of the data but no harm giving Fat Boys a try anyways, seeing that it's about a 15 min drive from my place and prices seem reasonable enough.



Interior & Menu

The place is casual and laid back, with bench seats and high bar tables accommodating about 20-30 pax or so. If it's only you and your partner, sharing a table during meal periods might be the norm rather than the exception. The menu is rather simple and the main focus is on the burgers where you can choose from existing options or have your burger customised.



DIY Burger

This burger was customised to include a chicken patty topped with sauteed mushrooms, drizzled with their homemade BBQ sauce on a white sesame bun. First looks, the huge patty oozed appetising with evident grill streaks running the breadth of the patty. Now came the bummer(s). The patty was made up from minced chicken and wasn't the whole piece of meat I was expecting. That meant a loss in texture and taste. The mushrooms were a little dry while the bun was merely average. And to be honest, the BBQ sauce tasted, well, like bottled BBQ sauce.



Fat Bastard

Apparently one of the respresentative dish of Fat Boys, the Fat Bastard was a mean double beef patty with an egg sandwiched between and topped with bacon strips. Greedy me opted for extra sauteed mushrooms with that and the end result was a humongous burger that threatened to burst my belly. That would have been an ideal scenario if the burger had been good. Unfortunately, the converse was true. The beef patty was overcooked but was surprisingly "juicy", which led to the conclusion that it was frozen patty. Also, the texture was very fine, probably machine chopped. Most disappointing!



Bill

After a 15% discount, the bill stood at about $23 ($27 before discount). In absolute terms, that price isn't too expensive but factor in quality and there seems to be some disparity. In short, inexpensive but average burgers at best. Service was decent though, if that's any consolation.



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

Overall:6.5/10

Address: 187 Upper Thomson Road

Contact: 6252 8780

Opening Hours: Daily: 12pm – 12am

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Roland Restaurant



What used to be the famous Sin Leong Restaurant is now renamed as Roland Restaurant and apparently its original owner and the god father of current owner Roland Lim, Chef Sin Leong, was one of the "four heavenly kings" in the culinary world who created yusheng as we know it today. And to add to that history, Roland's family was the "founder" of chilli crab as well as the esteemd Palm Beach Seafood Restaurant, which was sold off in the 80's when the family moved to New Zealand for 15 years.



Interior

The restaurant is located at the most unlikely of places, on the top floor of a multi story carpark next to Parkway Parade Shopping Centre - reminiscent of another old time restaurant, Red Star, whose owner was also one of the four "heavenly kings". Roland's interior, however, is more modernised and even boasts a water wall feature at the entrance.



Asparagus with Japanese Mushrooms

An excellent first dish augured well for our dinner. The asparagus were crunchy without being undercooked and in the midst of the mushrooms were generous bits of dried shrimp (虾米) that imparted a distinct unami taste. Most delightful! Look out for chopped chilli in the mix though, because it can get quite spicy.



USA Duck

Purportedly one of the signature dishes of Roland, the USA duck was nothing but a let down. Dry and bland meat led to the conclusion/belief that the duck was frozen. Sure, the skin was a little crisp but that's probably the only positive. And the sauce, which tasted a little like plum sauce - sweet with a little sourish contrast, certainly didn't make things any better.



Prawns with Salted Egg

The prawns were a pretty sight - sizeable and coated with tons of egg frills. But when it came down to what mattered most, the taste test, they faltered. For starters, the prawns were huge and crunchy but not sweet (we couldn't make out any taste of prawn actually). Add to the fact that anything coated with too much soft and paste like egg yolk is a sure recipe for nausea, this dish left us feeling queasy after a few bites.



Bill

Owing to Chinese New Year, I am presuming the prices have been marked up (the menu stated CNY menu). Nonetheless, $83 for dinner for 3 pax isn't exactly reasonable, considering that it was still a week before CNY when we patronised. Food quality was average at best, saved only by the asparagus. Some people might argue that Roland is best known for their chilli crab, but with such average dishes, I find it hard to justify a return trip for their crabs, or anything else for that matter.



Final Verdict:
Ambience:6.5/10 (
Service:6.5/10
Food:6/10
Value for money:6/10 (Based on CNY menu pricing)

Overall:6.25/10

Address:

Contact: 6736 2118

Opening Hours: Daily: 11am to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10.30pm

Website: http://www.rolandrestaurant.com.sg/index.html

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Imperial Treasure Teochew Cuisine II



Back in 2008, we had a delightful Chinese New Year reunion dinner at Imperial Treasure Teochew Cuisine. Fast forward two years and with that experience still lingering on, we returned with high hopes and an emptier stomach (We had only managed to snag the 3rd seating at 845pm).



Fatt Choy Salmon Raw Fish

My very first yu sheng of the year and quite a good one at that. The sauce didn't come across as cloyingly sweet and the addition of pomelo gave it a nice lightly bitter/sourish taste.



Double Boiled Superior Shark's Fin Soup with Shark Bone

This is the first time I'm having shark bone together with shark's fin and I must say that it was quite a good combination. The soup wasn't too milky/coagulated and came across as smooth on the palate, leaving a seemingly smooth layer of sediment on the tongue. The fins were quite a size and generous as well. Very good!




Roasted Goose & BBQ Meat Platter

I've always been a fan of Imperial Treasure's roasted meats (especially their roast pork and goose) and this meat platter wasn't just about to disappoint. The goose's skin was crisp and the meat, tender and flavourful. Spotting an even crispier skin was the roasted pork, which had a very good fat to lean meat proportion. Only gripe I had was the mild overdose of salt. I wasn't too taken by the char siew even though it was tender and mildy sweet with nice bits of fats wedged throughout. It was good, just not outstanding.



Sauteed Chicken with Prawn

After splitting this dish up, everyone around the table got exactly 1 prawn and a few slivers of chicken. So much for portion size. That aside, the chicken did seem a tad too oily but I liked the crisp edges and nice savoury taste. I also appreciate the freshness, crunchiness and size of the prawn(s), save for the minor over zealousness in the adding of salt.



Braised Sliced Abalone with Dried Oyster & Fish Maw

The sliced abalones were quite substantial (both in quantity and size) and carried quite a bit of bite without coming across as too raw. The fish maw was springy and soft but could have done with a little less cooking. There were quite a few huge dried oysters as well, but honestly, I'm not a big fan of them, so no comments.



Steamed Live "Soon Hock" Fish with Plum Sauce

Honestly, the soon hock looked a little out of sorts when I first saw it. But aesthetics aside, the fish was very fresh with flesh being firm and sweet. The sauce was a little sourish and savoury, making for a very appetising eat.



Fried Glutinous Rice with Waxed Meat & Waxed Sausages

An integral part of a CNY reunion dinner, the glutinous rice symbolises family cohesion. Imperial Treasure's rendition of this symbolic dish was fragrant without being too oily or dry. The bits of waxed meat and sausages added to the bite while the egg shreds gave it colour. Very good.



Sweetened Walnut Cream with Glutinous Dumpling

The walnut cream was very smooth, harbouring a lightly burnt taste sans the sugar overload. A lone sesame filled tang yuan in the equation made this dessert a nice and not too sweet ending to the excellent meal.



Bill

Our bill this year was more reasonable, standing at just above $750 for 5 pax (as compared to almost 1k the past 2 years). However, food quality hasn't been compromised and service still remains top notch. It definitely helped that we were seated in a private room as well. With such positive experiences with Imperial Treasure thus far, I'll be most eager to return again.



Final Verdict:
Ambience:7.5/10 (Private room)
Service:8/10
Food:8/10
Value for money:6.5/10

Overall:7.5/10

Address: #04-20A Ngee Ann City

Contact: 6736 2118

Opening Hours: Daily: 11am to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10.30pm

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Republic of Steak



Apparently one of the owners of Ministry of Steak had a disagreement with his partners and left to open his own steak house in town. Lured by the prospect of having good and inexpensive steak for lunch, I popped by the eatery one afternoon with my colleague.



Interior & Menu

Occupying a slightly spruced up shop lot on the ground level of Victoria Hotel which used to house a Chinese eatery that sold mixed rice for lunch, the eatery focuses mainly on steak, with the obligatory pork, chicken and fish dishes to cater to non beef eaters. One thing to note is that prices are seemingly steeper then Ministry of Steak, but if my memory serves me well, there seems to be slightly more variety.



Cream of Mushroom

This came complimentary while I waited for my steak to be recooked. I didn't think too much of it as the soup seemed a little too starchy/coagulated for my liking but at least the mushroom bits were plentiful.



Chicken & Sausage Combo

The chicken was nicely grilled with charred bits providing a nice burnt taste and texture while the grilled sausages were pretty decent - a little juicy but a overly oily. I took issue with the mushroom sauce though, which came across as rather limp and failed to provide the extra oomph I was looking for.



Cowboy Sirloin

The sirloin had 2 variations - one for the guys and one for the ladies, with 2 different weights and price points. I had requested for steak to be done medium rare but it came out rare instead. The official explanation was that the meat had been sitting in the freezer truck and should have been thawed first before putting it on the grill. Nonetheless, it was sent back to get the doneness right. Unfortunately, meat when recooked, becomes a little dry and rubbery and loses flavour, which was the case with my steak. Fortunately, the boss practiced excellent service recovery and apologized, presenting me a complimentary soup (above) as well as a "voucher" for a complimentary steak on my next visit, with the promise that he would personally grill my steak.



Bill

Overall I thought that the lunch was a little lacklustre, probably due to the disappointment from my steak. However, I am heartened by the good service rendered by the boss and with a complimentary steak in hand, I would be hard pressed to find a reason not to give them one more chance. Let's just hope things get better.



Final Verdict:
Ambience:6.5/10
Service:7/10 (8/10 for the boss)
Food:6.5/10
Value for money:6.5/10

Overall:6.625/10

Address: #01-01 Victoria Hotel, 89 Victoria Street

Contact: 67208103

Opening Hours: 11.30am - 10pm daily

Monday, February 08, 2010

Tonkichi



We were wondering around Suntec City on a weekday evening, surprised by how empty most restaurants were. A certain craving for pork led us to Tonkichi, owned and operated by the Pokka group, which also has the Domani and Rive Gauche brand under its fold. And to think I only associated Pokka with their namesake line of drinks!




Interior & Menu

Tonkichi is one of the many restaurants that surround the fountain of wealth at the basement of Suntec City. Occupying a reasonably large space, the restaurant's decor is simple and definitely catered to the masses.



Sesame Seeds for you to pound/grind



Kuro Cheese Katsu

My initial plan was to order the Kurobuta Hire Katsu but they were out of it so I had to settle for the Kuro Cheese Katsu, which turned out to be a mistake. Sure, the katsu was nicely breaded and deep fried without coming across as overly oily, but being minced up meant that the texture was left wanting. To me, mincing kurobuta up is akin to mincing wagyu beef up to make patties - a total waste. Not even the very elastic cheese could save this dish.



Prawn & Hire

On the contrary, I thought that this "normal" pork (and prawn) dish fared a great deal better than its more illustrious cousin. The pork was tender, juicy and nicely breaded without the oily residue. Personally I preferred the prawns though, which were relatively large and bursting with natural sweetness that there was no need for any tartar sauce to give it taste.



Bill

I see promise in Tonkichi's food. And at about $50 for 2 pax , it would be a great place to have a nice tonkatsu dinner without bursting your wallet. Service was good and I'll be sure not to order any minced pork tonkatsu or the likes.



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

Overall:6.75/10

Address: #B1-009, Suntec City Mall

Contact: 63394231

Opening Hours: Only applies to the Suntec outlet

Weekdays/Eve of PH

11.30 am ~ 3.00 pm

6.00 pm ~ 10.30 pm

Weekends/PH

12.00 noon ~ 3.00 pm

5.30 pm ~ 10.30 pm

Website: http://www.pokkafood.com.sg/tonkichi/index.php

Friday, February 05, 2010

Imperial Treasure Noodle & Congee House



We finally decided to take the plunge and revisit Ion Orchard after so many months in the hope that the crazy crowds would have abated. But I guess our hope was in vain. Nonetheless, we decided on dinner at Imperial Treasure Noodle & Congee House (ITNCH for short), seeing that it was the only eatery that still had space to accommodate us.



Interior

Located at B3 of the swanky shopping mall, ITNCH utilises an electronic queue system, which seems to be more rampant nowadays. The interior is seemingly cramp and reminiscent of your typical casual dining Chinese restaurant.



BBQ Combination

We opted for a roast pork/BBQ pork combination which was quite decent. The roasted pork had a thin layer of crisp skin coupled with a nice proportion of fat whereas the BBQ pork was mildly fibrous without coming across as overly sweet.



Fried Hor Fun with Egg and Prawn

Carrying a fleeting hint of wok hei, the hor fun was smooth without clumping together. The gravy was a little lacklustre even though it was flush with egg strands. I did like the prawns though, which were relatively big in size with a nice crunch to them.



Beancurd with Oyster Sauce

An average dish, the beancurd wasn't silky smooth nor savoury but the oyster sauce did help though. Came served with mushrooms and vegetables.



Yang Chow Fried Rice

I personally thought that this was quite well done. The rice had a comforting wok hei taste with a nice homogenous egg coating and little bits of BBQ pork and prawns that made for a rather enjoyable plate of fried rice. Then again, maybe we were hungry.



Bill

The bill totaled about $61 for the 3 of us, which wasn't too unreasonable given the decent service and food. This place beats any of the lower end Crystal Jade outlets that I've tried and I'll certainly be looking out for the Imperial Treasure brand name the next time I'm searching for a casual, convenient and inexpensive Chinese restaurant option.



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

Overall:6.75/10

Address: #B3-17 ION Orchard

Contact: 6509 8283

Opening Hours: Mon - Sun : 10:0am - 10:00pm