Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Jai Thai Part II



Popped by Jai Thai for a quick and inexpensive Thai fix on a humid Sunday evening. Just a quick reminder, the place is rather smallish and parking lots are very limited (driving is probably the only way you are going to get there unless you don't mind walking quite a fair bit from the main road), so either get there early (6pm) or late (after 830pm).



Thai Prawn Cake

Having grown a little weary of the usual Thai fish cakes, we opted for the prawn cake, which came looking like deep fried fish fillets - golden brown on the outside and oozing a generous amount of oil. Health concerns aside, the prawn cakes had a mild prawn taste with minimal flour. Huge portions were also a plus.



Deep Fried Beancurd

Normal stuff you can get almost anywhere. Palatable but probably not worth another mention.



Pandan Chicken

3 huge piece for $5. Now that's a steal, especially when the chicken was nicely marinated without being overly oily. Tender and tasty flesh coupled with an easy to remove pandan leave wrapper, what's not to like?



Pineapple Fried Rice

As per my first visit, the pineapple fried rice wasn't too much of a crowd pleaser. The rice was bland and the only taste stemmed from the meat floss.



Phad Thai

I am actually a big fan of phad thai but Jai Thai's rendition wasn't anything I would term as fantastic. For starters, the fish sauce was overly generous, resulting in a mildly nauseating taste that didn't sit too well with me (but if you like fish sauce, then this might work for you). The noodles came across as the moist kind, whereas I prefer the drier versions. Ingredients were a little lacking but at $5 a pop, no complaints really.



Stir Fried Kailan

Some people might argue that vegetables with holes in them are considered pesticide free. I never quite took to that theory but still managed to polish off the kailan, which was stir fried with garlic. I love my vegetables.



Crab Vermicelli

I thought this dish was a steal at a mere $12 that included two reasonably sized pincers sitting on a bed of vermicelli. The crabs were relatively fresh but the vermicelli was almost soaked in oil towards the bottom of the pan.

Dinner, including 2 chendols and a glass of lime juice, set us back by $45 - A very reasonable price for the huge variety and acceptable quality of food. Service was acceptable this time round even with the eatery operating at full capacity.



Final Verdict:

Ambience:6/10
Service:6.5/10
Food:6.5/10
Value for money:7.5/10

Overall:6.625/10

Address: 7 Clover Way

Contact: 62580228

Opening Hours:

Mon-Sat: 11am - 3pm, 6pm - 9pm

Sun: 6pm - 9pm

Website: http://www.jai-thai.com/index.htm

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hua Ting Part II



It was with much trepidation that I stepped into Hua Ting again, after my last disappointing dinner some three years ago. But with favourable reviews all this while, I just had to give it another shot, lest my previous experience was just a one off slip. And with reservations relatively difficult to secure, it added to the allure of a revisit. After all, if so many people are clamouring to get a table there, the restaurant must be doing something right, right?



Interior & Menu

The interior hasn't changed since my last visit and honestly I think it looks a little dated (it applies to the whole hotel for that matter!) so some mild restoration would probably be in order. We managed to snag a corner window seat that offered a little privacy and personal communication space.



Roasted Duck

One of the renowned dishes of Hua Ting and partly why I was inclined to return. The duck was, to put it simply, excellent. Juicy and tender meat under a layer of crisp skin sans the fats. Coupled with a nice mildly sweet gravy, this dish garnered glowing reviews around the table. It might be good to take notice of the price tag though, as at $38 for half a duck, it's more expensive than half a peking duck in most Chinese restaurants.



Broccoli with Fresh Scallops

I personally liked the scallops, which weren't overcooked (great texture!) and didn't have the overwhelming raw shellfish taste that I dislike. And they were full of natural sweetness to boot. No complaints about the broccoli as well but the addition of walnuts into the picture seemed a little odd, especially when walnuts have a slightly bitter taste to them. But that's just my personal opinion.



Pan Fried Cod Fish

The sight of a chunk of deep fried cod fish sitting atop a sea of algae lookalike gravy (it was spinach) was weirdly soothing but not as appetising as I had envisioned it to be. The fresh cod fish had a nice crisp on the surface but being deep fried, it lost most of its natural sweetness and became rather nausea inducing, especially when the gravy was very bland and failed to add any flavour.



Seafood Fish Noodles

Simply put, the fish noodles were a delight to eat. Thicker than your average noodle with an evident springy texture, the noodles had a hint of fish. Throw in the fresh seafood as well as a savoury, not too coagulated shark bone soup base and you have a recipe for success. Just watch how much you eat as it can get really nauseating after a while.



Bill

In all fairness, our meal this time round was better than my previous experience but I am still not quite convinced of Hua Ting's quality, save for the fish noodles and roasted duck. Sure, $202 for 4 pax isn't that expensive but it wasn't exactly a satisfying dinner. Good but lacking in depth.



Final Verdict:
Ambience:7/10
Service:7.5/10
Food:7/10 (8/10 for the duck)
Value for money:6.5/10

Overall:7/10

Address: 2nd Floor Orchard Hotel, 442 Orchard Road

Contact: 67396666 or 67343872

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Dining Room, Raffles Town Club



Had lunch at The Dining Room at Raffles Town Club, which shares the same name as a Chinese restaurant in the upclass Crockford Towers at Resort World Sentosa, though the former has been in existence long before RWS made its foray Singapore. On a side note, Sheraton Towers Hotel has a restaurant named The Dining Room as well. Is the name generic or what?




Interior

Hidden in one corner of the club (the whole clubhouse is quite a maze actually), The Dining Room features a modernly styled interior with touches of classic European grandeur, giving rise to an understated luxurious yet cozy setting.










Stuff that I didn't get to try



Lobster Risotto

Though this came as an appetiser (very small portions), the risotto was al dente, with a nice overall smooth and creamy feel to it. I could make out a whiff of truffle oil as well. Lobster portions were minimal of course and I thought that there was a mild overdose of salt. But other than that, it was a good starter.



Pan Fried Goose Liver

Nicely pan fried with little charred bits, the foie gras was smooth but not exactly what I would term as silky. And check out the copious amounts of oil in this tiny piece of liver. I'm not sure the 2 sticks of asparagus did any good in making this dish "healthier" so to speak.



Prime Rib of Beef

Deviating a little from my request, my prime rib was done medium well instead of medium rare and didn't carry much natural sweetness. On the upside, it was nicely grilled with a dash of salt for seasoning. Overall still quite decent.



Tiramisu

I certainly wasn't expecting a lychee in my tiramisu but I'm not complaining as I have a certain penchant for lychees, rambutans and the likes. I like the generous serving of mascarpone cheese but that's just about it. The sponge was a little hard but not dry, reminding me more of moist brownie, which isn't too bad if you can get past the psychological expectations part. If you like coffee, you will definitely appreciate the apparent coffee taste.



Bill

We had a leisurely and filling lunch in the comfort of an empty restaurant. Food in general hovered around the average to slightly above average level, which didn't quite justify the price tag ($173 for 4 pax) in my humble opinion. Still, brownie points for excellent service and professionalism. And it beats both the Japanese and Chinese restaurant at the club.



Final Verdict:
Ambience:8/10
Service:8/10
Food:6.5/10
Value for money:5.5/10

Overall:7/10

Address: Third Storey, Whitley Wing, Raffles Town Club

Contact: 6357 3337

Opening Hours:

Lunch – 12:00noon to 3:00pm (Daily)
Dinner – 6:30pm to 11:00pm (Daily)

Website: http://www.rafflestownclub.com.sg/03_w&d_western.html

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Taste Paradise Part II



It was meant to be a Chinese New Year dim sum gathering with a couple of my makan kakis at Taste Paradise Ion. Unfortunately, only the ala carte menu was available because it was still within the CNY period. Which was fine with me, considering that I had a great meal at Taste Paradise Mosque Street 2 years back.




The Place & Menu

It must be posh interior fatigue that I was suffering from because the dim lighted luxurious interior with huge paintings of past Chinese emperors certainly didn't impress me much. But I must say it's definitely nicer than alot of the Chinese restaurants out there.



Crispy Silver Bait

We got off to a great start with the crispy silver bait, as recommended by our waitress. The silver fish was crisp and sweet with a touch of sour. Portion size was quite small so get more to share if you have a big group.



XO Carrot Cake

What used to wow me back then turned out to be sheer disappointment this time round. It was overly soft and I couldn't make out any savoury aftertaste. The only thing I could make out was the spice from the chilli, if you consider that a taste. I reckon your local hawker centre could do a much better job at a less than half the price for the same portion size.



Roasted Pork

This dish of roasted pork takes edibility to a new low and I'm not kidding. Each tiny cube was literally one layer skin, one layer lean meat and two layers of fats. Sure, the skin was crisp but the pork taste was just too overwhelming (they probably didn't blanch it long enough) and they tried to mask it by seasoning it with more salt. Someone commented it was akin to literally biting into a raw pig and I can't help but agree. Gross.




Peking Duck

At least the peking duck didn't suffer the same fate as the roast pork. It was decently crisp but overall could have been better. The crepes were a little too thick and could have done with less sweet sauce. Oh and the crackers that came alongside were just plain bland.
We opted to have the meat fried with rice and it was average at best. Rather tasteless and a tad too moist with an evident fowl smell. Poor duck.



Yuan Yang Prawn Ball

Finally a dish that presented a glimmer of hope - the yuan yang prawn ball, comprising of one wasabi prawn and one laksa prawn, served up in a martini glass. While both were big and crunchy, I personally favoured the wasabi prawn over the latter as the laksa seasoning did seem a little bland and lacklustre as compared to the more provocative wasabi.



Garoupa in Two Ways

This was apparently the special for the day and it honestly didn't look or taste as great as what our waitress had described to us. Presentation wise, it looked haphazard at best with the steamed garoupa and asparagus occupying the centre and flanked by fried pieces of garoupa. Generally speaking, the fish meat was fresh but sticky (too much corn flour!) and not very sweet. I couldn't quite make out the delicateness of the fish.



Tofu with Crab Roe

Another bordering on average dish. I appreciated the generous serving of crab meat shreds in the gravy but could have done with a little more flavour. ie. crab taste. Same goes for the tofu as well, which was barely in existence. One interesting/weird thing about the gravy was that it had a sourish overtone that didn't sit too well with either of us.



Bill

The bill dealt a $360 blow to the 7 of us. Food quality was average but service was decent. I cannot fathom how an excellent dinner at Taste Paradise Mosque Street could culminate in such a poor showing at the Ion outlet. Looks like I'll be placing my trust elsewhere in future.



Final Verdict:
Ambience:8/10
Service:7/10
Food:6/10
Value for money:5/10

Overall:6.5/10

Address: #04-07, ION Orchard

Contact: 6509 9660

Opening Hours:

Mon – Fri
11.30am- 3.00pm (last order at 2.30pm)
6.00pm - 11pm (last order at 10.00pm)

Sat, Sun & PH
11.00am – 5.00pm (last order at 10.30pm)
6.00pm - 11.00pm (last order at 10.00pm)

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


At least desserts were decent.