Thursday, October 28, 2010

Canton - i



We were enticed by the $1++ soya sauce chicken offer dangled by Canton-i in conjunction with DBS credit cards. Us and a ton of other people as well, judging by the long queue that had formed by 6pm on a Saturday evening. If you are not interested in queuing, reservations would probably be recommended.



Interior

Hailing from neighbouring Malaysia, Canton-i's Singapore outlet is located on the 3rd level of swanky ION Orchard. The interior is awash in white with hues of red radiating from bird cage lamps hanging from the ceiling - traditional in a fun sort of way. Wooden tables and chairs complete the whole outlook.




Roasted Meat Combination

The roasted meats (烧腊) are apparently a signature of Canton-i. And it's honestly not difficult to understand why. The BBQ pork (叉烧) was literally melt in your mouth with a high fat to meat ratio (50%-50%). Absolutely heart stopping (literally!) but simply delightful, especially with the little charred bits along the edges and the robust sweet sauce that didn't overwhelm.
I wasn't too taken by the Roasted pork (烧肉) though, seeing that I've had better ones at Imperial Treasure Cantonese. That's not to say it wasn't any good though. The skin had a noticeable (and audible!) crisp but as the fat to meat ratio was very high, it left a greasy aftertaste in my mouth which was a little overbearing in my humble opinion.



Soya Sauce Chicken

Call us cheapo but this was the main reason why we were at Canton-i; for the $1++ soya sauce chicken. And what a disappointment it turned out to be. The meat was tender but I honestly didn't find it anything out of the ordinary. It tasted like chicken with a hint of sugar sweetness, which sort of defied my preconceived notion that soya sauce chicken should be salty. I probably haven't eaten much soya sauce chicken to know but it wasn't exactly my cup of tea.



Long Beans Fried with Minced Pork

Not many places do this dish well and Canton-i falls into the minority. The long bean was fried till crunchy while retaining a wee bit of moisture, boasting a wonderful hint of wok hei and topped with savoury minced pork. An excellent dish, but only if you aren't adverse to oil.



Beancurd with Luffa (Loofah) in Abalone Sauce

This is the first time I've ever eaten luffa/loofah (胜瓜) and I must say that it was rather interesting. Soft with a mildly raw vegetable taste that hits you towards the end. I can't say that I'm a fan of it but I wouldn't mind having another go at it, especially when paired with the flavourful and not too starchy abalone sauce. The beancurd was egg based and came across as smooth and silky. Pity about the lack of savouriness though.



Bill

The 3 of us chalked up a bill of about $82, which was honestly a little on the high side considering that the soya sauce chicken was a mere $1. Sky juice is chargeable at $1++/pax and so are the wet towels and tidbits, all pretty much standard stuff at a Chinese restaurant (save for the water though but they do tell you upfront that it's not free). However, the quality of food is undeniable and service is decent, making it a viable, albeit pricier alternative to Imperial Treasure Noodle & Congee House a couple of floors down.



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

Overall:7/10

Address: #03-14 ION Orchard

Contact: 65098368

Opening Hours: Daily: 11am – 10pm

Website: http://www.canton-i.com/

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tian Tian Kitchenette - A Pictorial










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

Overall:6.375/10

Address: 443 Joo Chiat Road

Contact: 63459443

Opening Hours: 10:30 am - 9:30 pm (Tues - Sun). Closed on Mondays.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck



Met up with my former classmates for a long awaited dinner at Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck (ITSPD for short), a branch of the esteemed chain of restaurants which I personally like. As the name suggests, the restaurant is well known for what else but its peking duck. I do think that the name could be a little more polished though as the current one sounds downright cheesy. But that's just me.




Interior & Menu

The interior has a dated elegance to it and a portion of the sitting area consists of semi private partitioned areas linked by a common corridor which can comfortably fit a table of 4. Lighting is dim but adequate and the whole atmosphere has a somber tone to it, perfect for a business gathering.



Appetiser

The glazed cashew nuts were a nice start to the dinner. Crunchy and fresh without the rancid oil taste and topped with a smattering of sesame seeds.



Asparagus with Garlic

A simple dish yet well executed with the asparagus crunchy and fried alongside diced garlic. Fragrant and tasty.






Peking Duck

The signature dish of ITSPD - Peking duck. Honestly I wasn't very wowed by it, seeing that the skin, though crisp to a certain extent, did seem a little limp. Best eaten with sugar. Crepes were provided for the loose slivers of skin and meat but they were a little too thick for my liking. I personally liked the plain and simple chunks of duck served up in a swan like platter - no frills, just juicy and tender and probably the sole saving grace.
We opted to use the remaining duck to do a noodle dish and well, let's just say it was very decent but not something that I personally would have gone for.



Sauteed Scallops with Italian White Truffle Oil

One of my must order dishes whenever I visit any Imperial Treasure outlet (provided they carry it of course!), ITSPD's rendition of the scallops with white truffle oil was a wee bit lacklustre as compared to its cousin at Crowne Plaza Hotel. That's not to say it wasn't any good though. As a matter of fact, the scallops were fragrant from the aromatic truffle oil and tasty to say the least. The only gripe I had was that they seemed a little too soft. Still the pièce de résistance nonetheless.



Sauteed Beancurd with Mushrooms

Smooth but not exactly savoury, the beancurd was decent and I liked the generous topping of mushrooms - comfort food for the soul.



Steamed Custard Bun

This is usually a dim sum item but apparently it's so popular that they stock up some for dinner as well. Having eaten this quite a few times, I am still of the opinion that Peach Garden does a better rendition (at least they used to!), but Imperial Treasure's offering comes in a close second with its oozing sinful custard infused with egg yolk sediment.



Durian Pudding

The moment I set my eyes upon the durian pudding, I had a hunch it wasn't going to turn out well. And I was right. The pudding wasn't rich enough and tasted way too gelatin for my liking. More durian please.



Bill

The 4 of us spent a total of $204 for dinner, which isn't too expensive considering the decent quality of food and the reasonably good service. I personally like the privacy that the restaurant offers and I'm sure ITSPD will give nearby Crystal Jade Golden Palace a run for it's money.



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

Overall:7.125/10

Address: #05-42/45 The Paragon

Contact: 6732 7838

Opening Hours:

Mon – Fri: 11.30am – 2.45pm, 6pm – 10.30pm;

Sat: 11am – 3pm, 6pm – 10.30pm;

Sun: 10.30am – 3pm, 6pm – 10.30pm

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The White Rabbit



In 1865, Lewis Carroll published the widely popular Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. To this date, this fictional story lives on in literature, movies and memorabilia. There is even a restaurant whose theme is based loosely on one of the memorable characters in the novel - The white rabbit, whom Alice follows down the rabbit hole.






The Place & Menu

Hidden in the secluded enclave of Dempsey Village, The White Rabbit (TWR for short) is a restaurant cum watering hole that is housed in a beautifully restored church. The interior is sparse yet cosy with booth seats lining the edges of the restaurant. Natural sunlight (if you go in the day) flitters in through the huge arch shaped windows and creates a relaxing, welcoming atmosphere. It definitely helped that the place wasn't operating at full capacity. As a matter of fact, it was probably only a quarter full on a Saturday morning.




Complimentary Bread

The complimentary bread was served warm and served as a nice hunger management tool while we patiently waited for our orders.



Truffle Mac & Cheese

Apparently this is one of the signature dishes of TWR and I am most inclined to agree. The Mac & Cheese was probably one of the best I've had in ages. What stood out was the topmost layer of cheese, which was baked till a nice crisp, oozing a strong cheesy taste. This dish also featured bits of black truffle intermixed with the cheese and slivers of asparagus to combat any "over cheesiness". In short, excellent!



Wagyu Quarter Pounder

Although I've always reiterated that it is a terrible waste to use wagyu to make beef patties, somehow or rather, I am always tempted to prove my own perception wrong (which usually just ends up in more disappointment). TWR's wagyu patty straddled the fine line between proving me right or wrong. It didn't seem hand chopped because of its smooth texture but brought with it a certain tenderness and flavour, not to mention an overly generous salt influx (just a tad). The bun did seem a little too burnt but was unbelievably crispy with a tinge of sweetness. Nice! Chips were thinly sliced and deep fried with an adequate amount of salt. Another plus point.



Lobster Omelette

What's brunch without eggs? A relatively generous serving of lobster meat entrenched within the moist and smooth omelette that had hints of cheese. Simple yet decadent. Thumbs up to the chips as well.




Mars Bars Souffle

Here's when our brunch started sliding downwards, with the introduction of our first dessert, the Mars Bars Souffle. The souffle wasn't fluffy enough and the sugar residue clung on tightly to my teeth. There was the problem of a overly strong egg taste as well. I did like the ice cream though, which boasted a rich mars bars flavour with bits of mars bars stuffed in it for authenticity.



Profiteroles

The profiteroles continued the dismal slide by coming across as average at best. The pastry was too hard and the chocolate sauce, hardly sufficient. Sandwiched between was vanilla bean ice cream that did seem a little too creamy for my liking.



Belgian Waffles

I found the waffles rather dense and chewy, which wasn't exactly my cup of tea as I personally prefer lighter and crispier waffles. The maple syrup was a little runny as well.



Bill

At $155 for a 2 pax brunch, it certainly isn't cheap. Mains were of a certain standard but desserts didn't quite make the mark in my humble opinion. Throw in decent service, a great environment and chances are, I'll return for the food, minus the desserts of course.



Final Verdict:
Ambience:8/10
Service:7/10
Food:6.5/10 (6/10 for the desserts. 8/10 for the Mac & Cheese, 7/10 for the other mains)
Value for money:6/10

Overall:6.875/10

Address: 39C Harding Road

Contact: 6473 9965

Opening Hours:

Lunch - Tues to Sun, 12pm to 230pm

Brunch - Sat & Sun, 11am to 330pm

Dinner - Tue to Sun, 6pm to 1030pm

Website: http://www.thewhiterabbit.com.sg (You have to check it out!)

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

手拉手

Was wandering around Jurong Point one Saturday evening when we chanced upon this tiny Chinese eatery within one of the food courts at the new extension. Seeing that it was the least crowded eatery in the entire mall, we decided to give it a shot.




Interior & Menu

The interior isn't big and the decor, simple and frill free, with black dominating the entire theme. The place works very much like a typical eatery, where you indicate your choice on a sheet of paper and pass it to any of the wait staff.



Yang Chow Fried Rice

Homogeneously fried with egg to a nice yellowish hue, the fried rice was kept simple and fuss free but lacked the quintessential wok hei taste. Still very palatable though, especially with the bits of shrimp and pork that came embedded within.



Mushroom and Chicken La Mian

Springy noodles coupled with a lightly herbal but a tad oily (from the pieces of chicken skin) stock made for a decent bowl of la mian. It could do with more chicken meat though.



Steamed Meat Dumplings

Save for the thicker than ideal skin, the steamed meat dumpling (小笼包) proved quite decent with its flavourful stock bursting out through a nibble at the corner. The filling didn't overwhelm with a distinctive pork taste either, which was definitely a plus point.



Red Bean Paste Pancake

The red bean pasta pancake was probably one of the best I've eaten so far. A thin, crispy layer of flour enveloping the less than generous red bean filling - light and definitely not nausea inducing, which is usually the case with flour laden products. More red bean filling would have been greatly appreciated though.



Bill

For about $26 for a 2 pax dinner, this place beats the likes of Crystal Jade in terms of food quality and value for money. Sure, service is rather lacking but I can compromise as long as the wait staff aren't rude. To that point, 手拉手 looks to be a main stay in my frequent visits to Jurong point.



Final Verdict:
Ambience:6/10
Service:6/10
Food:7/10 (8/10 for the red bean paste pancake)
Value for money:7/10

Overall:6.5/10

Address: #03-37A Jurong Point Shopping Centre 2

Contact: 67900696

Opening Hours: 10am to 10pm

ps: There are other outlets at 141 Jalan Besar (Main)and #05-11 Causeway Point