Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Republic of Steak II

Armed with a promise from the head honcho of Republic of Steak that he would personally grill my steak for me on my next visit, I shrug off the threat of what seemed like an impending thunderstorm to arrive at the eatery just in time for dinner.



Menu



Mushroom Soup

The eatery has introduced an "add on" concept which is essentially topping up a couple of dollars ($6.90 in this case) to get a full set, comprising a soup, a drink and a dessert. The mushroom soup tasted straight out of the can, save for bits of grounded mushrooms that added to the texture and taste. A little more stirring would have been appreciated though as I could make out hardened clumps of the soup.



Cowboy Sirloin

The very reason why I was here and yes, the boss did make good on his promise to personally do up my steak for me (he did seem a little exhausted after that though). The steak was done to medium rare in most areas but certain spots were undercooked. That aside, the meat was tender and flavourful with a wonderfully subtle grilled aftertaste. My option of red wine sauce had a nice tinge of red wine, which is a change from the watered down ones I usually get. And if you are feeling guilty over the meat, go for the vegetable sides.



Pork Chop

The grill lines were apparent on the pork chop as well and it showed in the flavour. Smokey grilled taste coupled with decently tender meat, it was actually very decent for the price. The accompanying mushroom sauce was a washout though, coming across as watered down. You might take heed to go for the black pepper sauce instead, as recommended by the eatery.



Lava Cake with Ice Cream

Besides being aesthetically disastrous with the cake looking like it would crumble at any minute and a softer than expected crust (I believe they didn't bake it long enough), the lava cake was surprisingly, decent. Thick chocolate oozed out from the huge dent in the crust, whose texture was a cross between cake and kueh. And they might want to consider putting their ice cream in a less cold environment, considering that I had a hard time initially trying to eat my ice cream because it was simply too hard.



Bill

I personally thought that the dinner was rather value for money, considering the location and the quality of food. Service did seem a little lacking though as the wait for the food was quite long and I noticed a number of customers attempting to catch the wait staffs' attention for prolonged periods of time. Fix that and I'll be happy to return again. And again.



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

Overall:6.75/10

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

Contact: 67208103

Opening Hours: 11.30am - 10pm daily

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Miss Clarity Cafe



I remember patronising Miss Clarity Cafe when it was still a small obscure cafe at Purvis Street back in 2005/2006. What drew me to this cafe was the reasonably priced set meals (for its location). Fast forward 4-5 years and the eatery has expanded to include an outlet along Upper Thomson Road.



Interior & Menu

The interior at the Thomson outlet is reminiscent of the original shop at Purvis, with its predominantly pink theme and girlish intonations. Even the menu is pink! And for all the eatery's success, it was empty on a Saturday evening (maybe standards have dropped or the crowds are limited to the outlet at Purvis).



Chicken Ballotine

One of the apparently popular and signature dish of the eatery, the Chicken Ballotine was essentially boneless thigh meat stuffed with mushrooms and roasted. Personally I thought the idea was good but the execution was terrible. For starters, the meat was very dry and rubbery. I could make out the mushrooms but the chicken itself didn't have much inherent taste. Disappointing as compared to what I had many years back.



Soft Shell Crab Linguine

If my Chicken Ballotine was bad, the soft shell crab linguine was a total disaster. Limp pasta swimming in artificial tasting cream based sauce and topped with crisp but flour laden soft shell crab pieces. This is as bad as it gets.



Blueberry Pie

Any hopes of dessert salvaging the meal was torn to shreds as soon as I had the first bite of the blueberry pie. First please allow me to qualify that I personally am not used to having warm blueberry pies. I prefer my blueberry pies chilled. So it came as quite a bummer when mine came served warm with a gooey, seemingly mass produced blueberry filling, sandwiched between 2 layers of hard, dry and tasteless biscuit. The sad fact of the matter is, even Han's blueberry pie, at just over 2 bucks for a slice, enjoys a better standing in my books.



Bill

A ruined dinner for 2 wasn't expensive, at almost $27. But seriously, I'll rather stuff myself with 3 big mac meals than step foot into Miss Clarity ever again. Did I mention that I have a weakness for fast food? ;)



Final Verdict:

Ambience:6.5/10
Service:6.5/10
Food:5.5/10 (3/10 for the pasta)
Value for money:5.5/10

Overall:6/10

Address: 5 Purvis Street, #01-04 & 205 Upper Thomson Road

Contact: 63394803(Purvis) & 62562008 (Thomson)

Opening Hours:

11am - 11pm. Closed Sundays (Purvis)

11am - 11pm. Closed Mondays (Thomson)

Website: http://missclaritycafe.com/

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Ban Heng 萬興大酒樓



If you have ever tried out Ban Heng's buffet selection, you might probably agree that it's skewed pretty much to the quantity and not so much the quality aspect of things. However we decided to give Ban Heng's ala carte menu a chance, to see how it would stack up against the likes of Liang Kee and Guan Hin, both reputable Teochew restaurants which were mere minutes walk away. And failing to make prior reservations, we were "relegated" to the corridor seats to dine amongst the fumes of vehicles attempting to snare a parking lot right in front of the restaurant.



Broccoli with Dried Scallops

Nice crunchy texture from the broccoli meant that it wasn't overcooked. Coupled with a not so generous serving of dried scallop, this dish was decent. Well at least it wasn't bland and the lightly salty/starchy gravy went well with rice.



Braised Goose

Ban Heng's rendition of this classic Teochew dish was simple yet appetising (portions were miserable though). Tender meat with a nice roughness that was complemented by the flavourful gravy. Very good! And for once I can actually say that the accompanying beancurd was good. Soft and silky unlike the dry and much firmer species that usually plonk themselves alongside this dish.



Braised Beancurd with Seafood

I was actually quite surprised to find scallops, pacific clams, sea cucumber, fish slices and the likes in this dish. In most places (high end restaurants are the exception) you honestly wouldn't expect to see anything close to sea cucumber or scallops served up with beancurd. The word "seafood" usually just entails fish slices, a couple of mushrooms, a tiny prawn or two and that's it. Technicalities aside, everything in the pot was well simmered in the rich gravy, resulting in a wonderful seafood feast.



Orh Nee

Another hallmark of Teochew cuisine, the simple yet notoriously tedious to make, yam paste aka Orh Nee. Blanketed under a layer of coconut milk, the paste was a little moist and very smooth without being overly sweet. Personally I still prefer the drier variants but this one was undoubtedly good.



Bill

Apart from the long waiting time for our food, we had no real complains. Food quality was above average but price (almost $66 for 3 pax) was a wee bit on the high side. Service was decent but only from a couple of wait staff. If they can improve on their kitchen turn around time, I'll sign on as a regular customer.

ps: Remember not to try their buffet unless quantity, not quality, is what you are looking for.



Final Verdict:

Ambience:6/10
Service:6.5/10
Food:7.5/10
Value for money:7/10

Overall:6.75/10

Address: Blk 22 Boon Keng Road, #01-21

Contact: 62985285/62910407

Opening Hours: 11.30am–2.30pm, 6.30pm–10.30pm

Website: http://www.banhengrestaurant.com/