Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bangkok Eats

Thip Samai




Thip Samai is probably the most famous Pad Thai place in Bangkok and many articles have been written about it in various publications all over the world. This place is literally a legend and home to the original Pad Thai, which is different from what you would get in most parts of Bangkok or Singapore. You get Pad Thai wrapped in a thin layer of egg and served, very much like Omu rice or 蛋包飯. The rice noodles were al dente and dry with a pleasant mild ketchup taste. Fried with tiny ebi and with the option of adding all the crushed peanuts that you fancy, the whole combination was just lovely. And the price? A mere 70 baht a plate.

Address: Samran Rat, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200

Contact: 6622216280

Chua Kim Heng



Bittergourd Soup (40 baht)

I am usually not a fan or bittergourd, much less to mention bittergourd soup. However, Chua Kim Heng's rendition was simply too good to resist. Very tasty with a hint of bittergourd sans the bitterness. They should definitely consider bringing this recipe to Singapore.



Braised Goose (240 baht)

Goose is a rare commodity in Singapore so I was eager to get my fix in Bangkok. And braised goose is what this small roadside eatery is known for. The goose meat was well braised (very tasty!) with a certain roughage to it, giving it a nice chewy texture. Portions were generous for the price too.

Total bill for 2 pax - 320 baht (soup 40 baht, goose 240 baht, rice & drinks 40 baht). Remember to go early before the braised goose finishes!

Address: 81, 83 Thanon Phatthanakan, Suan Luang, Bangkok 10250, Thailand

Contact: 02-319-2510/ 02-729-8822/ 02-314-4486/ 02-314-7829

T&K Seafood









I don't see the fuss behind T&K seafood, which is in Chinatown. Apparently many food shows from various countries have been to this road side eatery (there is no shop front, just some tables and chairs on the pavement and a cooking station). Prices are cheap but I don't find the food very good. Average to slightly above average would be my humble opinion. But I won't eat there again. I don't fancy squeezing with people at tables that harbour tiny little cockroaches that sashay away while I'm eating.

Address: 49-51 Phadung Dao Rd, Bangkok

Contact: 02 223 4519

Lenotre







This dessert place isn't cheap but it sure serves up a mean Chocolate Banana Tart. And I like the watermelon smoothies (About $5.50 SGD each) as well. Have a couple and you will be gasping in shock at the final bill.

Address: 991 Siam Paragon

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hummerstons



When a kind anonymous reader left me a comment on my blog about discovering a place that served poutine a couple of weeks back, I was naturally delighted as it's been almost a decade since I had poutine (bar Yella Fellas, which has gone the way of the dodo). And so there I was at Hummerstons, on a lovely Saturday morning, just 2 weeks into brunch service.




Interior & Alfresco Dining Area

Hummerston's interior features visible white bricks and warm lighting coupled with a bar counter and wooden furniture. Rather inviting I must admit but we chose to sit outside on the sidewalk instead, in acknowledgement of the beautiful weather.



Cutlery

I just posted this picture for the fun of it. I personally find it quirky to use a gardening pail to put your cutlery, but hey, its practical. The handle prevented the serviettes from sliding down or flying away.



Classic Poutine

Evenly cut fries with skin? Check. Brown gravy? Check. Cheese curds? Where's my cheese curds?! Apparently emmental cheese is used in Hummerston's rendition of this classic Canadian dish but honestly, the cheese was almost nonexistent - pathetic to say the least. Give me copious amounts of fresh cheese curds any day. The gravy tasted like the real deal although it did come across as a little too sweet for my liking. Having said that, I'll still recommend giving this dish a try, even if it costs $11 for a rather small portion (think Macdonalds regular fries portion).



Carbonara

This was a very different carbonara from what I'm used to. Al dente spaghetti with generous bacon bits and mushrooms but surprise surprise, no cream sauce. Lots of oil though, which reminded me more of aglio olio than carbonara. But the absence of the cream sauce meant that I could chug down more pasta without feeling nauseous. I sincerely hope, for everyone's health, that the oil Hummerston uses in this dish is olive oil.



Brunch Burger

I loved the burger bun to bits. I kid you not. It was probably the best I've had in eons. Warm, crusty, topped with sesame seeds and layered with a thin spread of mayonnaise. So good that I could just eat it on its own! The patty was done medium well as per request and had crisp bits on the surface with a nice grilled beefy taste. Topped with cheese, egg, bacon, caramelised onions and mushrooms. How's that for a mouth watering combination? A couple of gripes though. The meat had a nicely uneven texture but came across as a little too soft for my liking. Also, get a load on the amount of oil! The accompanying fries were a little too limp and oily for my liking as well. But I did like the tomato chili aioli dip, which had a sweet mild chilli taste sans the heat.



Flourless Chilli Chocolate Torte

Although we were stuffed through and through, we were adamant about trying out Hummerston's desserts. First up was the flourless chocolate torte - dense, rich and not too sweet. I couldn't make out any chili though even though I am quite sensitive to it. Still a decent eat though.



Blackforest Gateau

The blackforest cake was decent but not impressive. Light and airy but lacking in the taste of kirsch. Honestly it would have tasted like pure chocolate cake if not for the pockets of cherries.



Bill

A fantastic but heart seizing (oily!) brunch cost the both of us to the tune of $84 after taxes. Not ridiculously expensive if you ask me, especially for the quality of food (desserts are optional though). And service was warm and heart felt. I would definitely be back in a heartbeat for the burger or if I'm craving for poutine. Only condition? Less oil please.


Final Verdict:

Ambience: 7.5/10
Service: 7.5/10
Food: 7/10 ( I would have given 7.5 if not for the oil)
Value for money: 6.5/10
Overall: 7.125/10

Address: #02-14 Robertson Walk

Contact: 6737-8863

Opening Hours:

Tues - Fri: 12:00 pm - 12:00 am
Sat - Sun: 10:00 am - 12:00 am

Website: http://www.hummerstons.com

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Wo Peng Part III



It was a homecoming of sorts as Chef Julian Tam of Wo Peng expanded on the Wo Peng brand name to include a new outlet at the site where he used to ply his trade years ago. Well almost.




Interior & Menu

Located on the 3rd floor of Furama Hotel, just one level below Furama Palace where Chef Tam used to preside over, Wo Peng carries a rather traditional Chinese decor with its gold table cloths and red carpet. They are probably targeting the older crowd.



Kampong Chicken

First thing that struck me about this dish was how yellow the chicken was. I have nothing against yellow chicken but this was really at one end of the scale. Initial shock aside, the chicken meat was tender but tasted merely like lightly salted chicken. Some people would probably appreciate the simplicity of it all, but not me. I personally prefer my chicken to be more flavourful.



Smoked Duck

The main reason why I love dining at Wo Peng - The ever so flavourful smoked duck. Although I must admit that standards at the Furama outlet seem to be a little lower than that of the Macpherson outlet, the duck still oozed goodness. Tender, reddish meat with smokey overtones. Tasted a little like ham. The 5 of us had the biggest serving but no, it still wasn't enough.



Stuffed Homemade Beancurd

This dish was something different. Meat paste surrounded by beancurd and wrapped up in beancurd skin. Personally I didn't find it fantastic as there was a mishmash of textures and no outstanding flavours.



Steamed Cod with Garlic

I love cod but this was a little overcooked which resulted in the flesh being firmer than desired. However, the copious amount of garlic atop managed to salvage the situation a little. I'm just biased because I love garlic too.



Asparagus with Scallop in XO Sauce

Plentiful scallops with the asparagus crunchy and not overcooked, what's not to like? Well, nothing except for maybe the price, which at $42++, was a little steep honestly.



Bill

With a $30 voucher I got from dining at Wo Peng's Macpherson outlet just a couple of weeks back, dinner for the 5 of us cost something to the tune of $137. Reasonable but save for the smoked duck, nothing else was good and portions weren't exactly big. I should probably just stick to the Macpherson outlet in future.


Final Verdict:
Ambience:6.5/10
Service:7/10
Food:6.5/10 (7.5/10 for the duck)
Value for money:6.5/10
Overall:6.625/10

Address: #03-1/02 Furama Hotel

Contact: 65332282

Opening Hours: 11am–2.30pm, 6pm–10.30pm

Monday, July 11, 2011

KHA



Kha, a modern Thai restaurant under the Epicure group (which also counts modern Australian outfit, Graze, in it's stable of restaurants) has not so recently relocated from it's original site in Hort Park to No.38 Martin Road, a rather upscale residential condominium. To that note, I had the opportunity to dine there one evening, courtesy of the restaurant.




Interior & Menu

The restaurant is dim by default and I like the use of dark furniture and various vintage items to bring out a contemporary yet authentically Thai feel to the whole place. The faded Thai newspaper lookalike menu completes the picture. One gripe I have though, is that the place is a holding area for noise due to its boxed up interior and concrete ceilings, to a certain extent.



Appetisers

We started off with crisp rice cakes which seemed a little too dry but the spicy dipping sauce did help things a little.



Ruby Starlet ($12)

This mocktail was great - lychee sweetness coupled with a refreshing breath of mint in a lemony twist. So good that I couldn't resist the offer of a second glass.



Rare Grilled Red Curry Rubbed Wagyu Beef ($29)

The wagyu beef was very good. Well grilled, as evident by the dark lines running down the meat, yet succulent with a nice brush of salt and smoky tenderness. Great way to start off the meal!



Tom Yum Goong ($18)

Nicely spicy but overly salty with the prawns a little too soft for comfort. Personally I also thought that the soup could do with a little more tartness.



Toad Man Poo ($17)

Meaty without being overly nausea inducing due to the use of minimal flour and the addition of sweet chilli sauce. Probably one of the better crab cakes I've eaten so far.



Papa Adun's Phad Tow Hu ($14)

The tofu cubes were crisp but boringly pedestrian. I couldn't make much much flavour from the tofu itself and the center seemed hollow. The supposed three flavour sauce was almost non existent. A richer sauce would have probably saved this dish from the deep abyss of disappointment.



Phad Pak ($8)

Greens are healthy but this wok fried vegetable dish was laden with so much oil that it was gross. And there was no wok hei even though the vegetables had a nice fragrant whiff to it. Tasted more like a dish of convenience than one of quality.



Kheaw Wan Poo ($30)

The soft shell crab green curry wasn't anything to shout about in my humble opinion. The crabs had a nice crispy layer but somehow the overall bite was missing. I didn't quite take to the curry as well as it seemed a little lacking in flavour.



Crispy Whole Chilli Filled with Pork and Herbs ($14)

I'll be upfront and state that I'm not a fan of stuffed peppers or chillis. So that means no stuffed jalapenos and the likes. But this was something interesting. For starters, the chilli was coated with a layer of batter and deep fried, giving it a nice crisp on the outside and as you bite into it, you get hit by a bitter taste which slowly melts into a hint of pork and herbs. Nice to try in small quantities but probably not something I would order again.



Khao Neaw Ma Muang ($14)

I'm a sucker for mango/durian sticky rice so this dessert suited me just fine. I liked the coconut pandan sauce which infused the not overly sticky rice with a nice pandan fragrance. I can't say the same for the mango slices though, which lacked any discernible fragrance but still came across as sweet.



Thap Thim Krwap ($13)

I didn't find the red ruby dessert to be anything really special. It was essentially chilled coconut jasmine syrup with shaved ice and chewy red rubies. There were also these flower petals that had a bitter taste to them.



Espresso

We ended our meal with a big mug of espresso. Great way to end off a filling but hardly satisfying dinner. There were honestly more misses than hits. Maybe I'm just not their target audience. Nonetheless, I must still thank Kha and its PR consultancy for presenting me the opportunity to dine there. Thank you!


Final Verdict:
Ambience:7/10
Service:NA
Food:6.5/10
Value for money:NA
Overall:6.75/10

Address: 38 Martin Road

Contact: 6476 9000

Opening Hours:

Lunch
Monday – Saturday
12pm – 3pm(last order at 2.30pm)

Dinner
Daily
6pm – 11pm(last order at 10.30pm)

Website: http://kha.sg/