Sunday, November 27, 2011

12 Inch Pizzas & Records



I've always been a fan of Timbre's pizzas so when they came a knocking with an invitation to try out their latest offering, 12 Inch Pizzas & Records, I gladly jumped at the opportunity.




The Place & Menu

The restaurant is located on the 4th floor or V Hotel, a newly opened hotel directly above Lavender MRT and opposite the ICA. Getting up to the 4th floor can pose quite a problem as the hotel requires you to scan your card in the lift before you can select your desired floor. However, there is apparently a fireman's lift which doesn't have such requirements so you might want to consider utilising it.
The alfresco dining area occupies a huge section; one that's at least twice as large as the indoor dining area (which is very noisy and not conducive for conversations in my humble opinion). Sitting alfresco allows you a view of the neighbouring and distant buildings (ICA is one of them) and the blue skies that pervade the emptiness in between.
Interestingly, the menu comes in the form of a record, back from the days when gramophones were still in vogue. Catchy, really.



Seafood Chowder

Nothing like a bowl of good soup to get things going. But unfortunately, the soup was lacklustre. A little too diluted without the creaminess of chowder and richness of seafood. Forgettable.



Cheese Fries

I actually love cheese fries but this was disappointing as well. The cheese was a little too watery for my liking and lacked the "gooeyness" I was expecting. Credits to the fries though, which were of a nice thickness and decently done.



The Cranbellies

With absolutely no affiliation to the Irish pop group, "The Cranberries", this pizza was one of the many with names playing on various song titles and group names. What I particularly liked about this pizza was the nice comforting taste it brought to the table. Mild cranberry sauce coupled with pork belly, cheese and a nice thin and chewy pita like base and topped with slivers of crunchy green apple. Not your conventional pizza but I love it!



Goodfellas

Shrimps, sweet garlic butter, curry leave sauce, cheese and topped with crispy egg and cereals - sounds like a mish mash of ingredients but in reality, a combination that worked well! Sandwiched between the cheese and pita like base was a generous layer of sweet garlic butter while the crunchy shrimps (probably soaked in alkaline water) were topped with crunchy cereal and fluffy egg swirls (just like the kind you would find in fried fish soups). Delicious! However, too much of it made me nauseous because it did come across as very oily. So eat in moderation or share!



Tutti Frutti

Our first dessert came in the form of a 12 inch pizza as well but well, I'm not complaining. A layer of chocolate sauce beneath the cheese, sprinkled with fruits and topped with copious amounts of whipped cream. Not exactly the healthiest dessert, but it tasted interesting - Slightly savoury from the cheese but predominantly chocolatey. If you can't accept chocolate together with cheese, I would suggest you not to try this.



Deep Fried Ice Cream

Our other dessert and the only one in the current dessert menu that wasn't a pizza, the kid friendly deep fried ice cream. I didn't think too much of it though as the flour was too thick and hard for my liking. Also, the coconut ice cream encased within tasted really artificial. I would skip this in a heartbeat.

Overall, I had a wonderful and belly bursting lunch. Though the sides were merely pedestrian, the focus should be on the wonderful pizzas, which Timbre has grown to be associated with. On this note, I would like to thank Timbre for the invitation once again!


Ambience:6.5/10
Service:NA
Food:7.5/10 (Only for the pizzas. 6/10 for the sides and 5/10 for the fried ice cream)
Value for money:NA

Overall:7/10

Address: Level 4, V Hotel

Contact: 6296 1622

Opening Hours: 6:30 am - 10:00 pm (Mon - Sun)

Website: https://www.facebook.com/12inchPizzas

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Tastings Room



Had the opportunity to drop by The Tastings Room one Saturday afternoon by virtue of an invitation. This newly minted restaurant's selling point is that it has suggested wine pairings (by the glass or bottle, if you so wish) on the menu to go along with each individual food item as well as an extensive wine collection that wouldn't cost you an arm or a leg to sample. And it's helmed by Executive Chef Elvin Chew, the current president of the Singapore Junior Chefs Club (SJCC).




The Place & Menu

The Tastings Room is hidden along the perimeter of Marina Square, sandwiched between Qiji and a Vietnamese coffee house. Its location isn't what I would call prominent and it probably attracts more lunch time office crowds than weekend crowds in my personal opinion. The place is simply done up with a "cafeish" vibe and a seemingly well stocked wine cellar at one corner. Take the booth seats if you can.




Truffle Mushroom Puree Soup ($8.90) & Smoked Vine Tomato Soup with Seafood ($9.90)

We started off with the mushroom soup, which had loads of mushrooms and a rather heady taste due to the inclusion of truffle oil. However it did seem a little watered down and lacked any real oomph I would have liked in a mushroom soup.
The tomato soup fared much better though. Light and not too tangy with a hint of smokiness coupled with morsels of fresh seafood. Rather appetising.



Heirloom Tomato Salad ($13.90)

Visually arresting with its vibrant colours but unfortunately didn't quite live up to expectations taste wise. The balsamic dressing was a little overwhelming while the buffalo cheese didn't come across as sufficiently soft yet firm.



White Truffle Salted House Fries ($9.90)

Nice and thick with a nice strong smell and taste of truffle oil. Pity about the frying inconsistency. Some were done just right while others tended towards the charred side.



Egg Royale ($15.90)

I'm honestly not a big fan of smoked salmon, or any variant of salmon for that matter. However, the egg royale was surprisingly good. Well smoked salmon (still a little too salty for my liking though) soaked in rich and buttery hollandaise sauce, sitting on a well toasted piece of bread. Very good!




Poached Eggs in Red Wine Hollandaise ($16.90)

I loved the fact that the egg yolk was liquid but bemoan its tastelessness! However, the sauce more than made up for the flaw - buttery goodness that was so familiar and comforting. Add a well toasted bread to the list as well as crispy bacon and you get something which I wouldn't hesitate to order again (But please work on the poached egg).



Sous Vide Pork Belly with Crackling Skin ($26.90)

Food preparation involving Sous vide, where food is vacuum packed in bags and cooked for a long period of time in a water bath, is seemingly the up and coming approach favoured by many professional restaurants in Singapore. The Tastings Room has hopped onto the bandwagon as well and to give it credit, the pork belly was good. Insanely crackling crispy skin coupled with tender but rather fatty meat for that heart stopping guilty indulgence. The rose wine apple sauce lent a gentle sweetness to the dish, which was rather refreshing in my humble opinion.



Confit of French Duck Leg (Price not available)

The duck confit came across as a little too dry and tough although the meat spotted a nice reddish hue. The sauce was a saver though - mildly sweet with tangy overtones. Overall still a decent dish.



Miso Glazed Sea Bass ($25.90)

The sea bass tasted a little overcooked and had a strong miso taste (probably too strong!) on top of a mild peppery intonation. Not exactly my cup of tea but decent nonetheless.



Vanilla Creme Brulee ($8.90)

We started our desserts with the vanilla creme brulee, which was less than ideal. The first thing that hit me when I took a mouthful of the pudding, was the strong egg taste. And it definitely didn't help that the layer of sugar was a tad too thin and came across as flimsy. The only consolation was that the creme brulee used real vanilla beans and not vanilla essence.



Chocolate D24 Durian Cake ($9.90)

I love durian but this dessert honestly didn't work for me. The durian, though rich and relatively fresh, was way too dominant in flavour and I couldn't make out any chocolate taste at all. The sponge was also a little too dry and I could make out ice chips in the durian puree, which definitely wasn't ideal.



Molten White Chocolate Fondant with Ice Cream (Price not available)

The white chocolate fondant wasn't quite what I was expecting as the texture seemed more like madeleines than your typical fondant. The oozing white chocolate was extremely sweet and the strong orange zest from the fondant itself wasn't enough to balance the sweetness out. The strawberries and blueberries did help a little though. Personally I didn't think that chocolate ice cream was a good pairing with the fondant. Rich chocolate + more chocolate just makes me queasy. Maybe vanilla would have been a better bet.




Wine Pairings

Overall, I appreciate the effort by The Tastings Room to allow consumers easy and affordable access to wine pairings with their food which would be good for novices like myself. However, the quality of food was a case of hits and misses and generally, the brunch dishes fared better. I personally wouldn't go back for lunch or dinner but would consider doing brunch. Prices fall flatly in the mid range and a 3 course dinner for 2 would probably cost in the vicinity of $120 - $150 (inclusive of tax) with a glass or two of wine each.

Thanks for the invite!


Ambience:6.5/10
Service:NA
Food:6.5/10 (7/10 for the brunch items)
Value for money:NA

Overall:6.5/10

Address: #01-08, Marina Square

Contact: 6338 1829

Opening Hours:

Sun–Thu: 10am – 10pm

Fri–Sat: 10am – 12am

Website: http://www.thetastingsroom.com/

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Yung Kee Restaurant - Hong Kong



Yung Kee. A legend in Hong Kong and one that I definitely couldn't afford to miss even though I was only in Hong Kong for a whirlwind weekend. And it definitely helped that I love geese.





The Place & Menu

Walk along Wellington Street and you definitely won't miss the huge the huge golden facade with the words 鏞記 inscribed on it. Or ask anyone on the street. How Yung Kee operates is rather interesting. The lowest level serves walk in customers who want their fix of roasted meat rice or noodles where the second level takes reservations. There is also a club/VIP floor as well, which apparently serves better quality food at a steeper pricing of course. To get to the club/VIP floor, you would have to take a special lift at the corner of the building. Talk about making a different entrance.



Char Siew Sou

Being a geese specialty store, I didn't expect much from Yung Kee's char siew sou. And I'm glad I didn't. It wasn't bad, just that it came across as pedestrian. For one, aesthetics were quite lacking and each piece looked rather shabbily done. I do applaud the generous amount of char siew within but it was a little bit too sweet for my liking. And the pastry was a little limp and lacking in butter.



Century Egg Congee

Century egg. Lots of it. All nestled within a bowl of nice, smooth congee that had a serving of lean pork as well. Only problem is, the pork was seriously too salty, even when eaten with the porridge.



Prawn Congee

As with the century egg congee, the prawn congee was smooth but had the addition of thinly sliced ginger, which I personally dislike. Along with 6 fresh prawn balls, the congee provided a stop gap measure against hunger before our goose arrived.



Roast Goose

We ordered half a roast goose and it sure was huge. The skin carried a little crisp but honestly, I found the meat a little too tough for my liking. And my aching jaws bore testament to that. I loved the flavours though - salty with a tinge of sweetness. Very good!



Bill

At 440 HKD or about 72 SGD, our lunch certainly wasn't cheap but I wouldn't call it expensive either. Food was generally decent, with the goose standing out (but I would much prefer more tender meat though) in terms of flavours. Service wasn't great but I guess that's Hong Kong for you, especially at old establishments.


Ambience:6.5/10
Service:6/10
Food:7/10 (7.5/10 for the goose)
Value for money:6.5/10

Overall:6.5/10

Address: 32-40 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong

Contact: (852) 25221624

Opening Hours:

11:00a.m - 11:30p.m (Daily)

Dim-Sum Dining:

2:00p.m - 5:30p.m (Mon to Sat)

11:00a.m -5:30p.m (Sunday & Public Holiday)

Closed The 1st 3 days of Chinese New Year

Website: http://www.yungkee.com.hk/index.html

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Australia Dairy Co. (澳洲牛奶公司) - Hong Kong











If there's anything you should drop by Australia Dairy Co. for, it's the Steamed Egg White Pudding with Milk (蛋白燉鮮牛奶). We had the chilled version and boy oh boy, was it good. Smooth with a nice complementary sweetness and a rather moderate aftertaste of egg white. Even if you can't really stand the taste of egg white, you should still give it a shot! The other stuff like the macaroni, toast, eggs and milk tea were fairly decent but not something I would travel back for.

Service was hasty and probably not the friendliest I've encountered in Hong Kong but I could live with that.


Ambience:Are you serious?
Service:Don't bother
Food:6.5/10 (7.5/10 for the egg white pudding)
Value for money:7/10

Overall:6.75/10

Address: 47-49 Parkes Street

Contact: 2730 1356

Opening Hours: Daily: 7:30 am – 11 pm

Monday, November 07, 2011

New York Fries - Hong Kong


And the arduous trek to have a taste of my much loved "authentic" poutine after almost 10 years is finally over. I found 3 outlets of New York Fries (NYF) scattered all over Hong Kong during my recent visit. And even though I was really really stuffed from my lunch at Lung King Heen, I insisted on getting the largest serving of original poutine NYF had on offer.


The Original Poutine

The very basic poutine and my absolute favourite over all the other fancy variants with foie gras and the likes. Medium cut russet potatoes with skin intact that seemed a tad too soft, topped with copious amounts of cheese curds and delish brown gravy. As I tug at the fries and the warm gravy melts through the cheese curds, a gooey line of cheese stretches out before making its way into the deep recesses of my mouth. Very nice but I must say standards are a little lower than what I used to have in Canada. But this will have to do. For now. And don't expect cheap fries. A poutine set consisting of a large poutine, drink and a small salad will set you back 54 HKD, which is roughly SGD 13.


Ambience:NA
Service:NA
Food:7.5/10
Value for money:7/10 (All in the name of good poutine!)

Overall:7.25/10

Address:

Outlet 1 - Shop no. 1B, Ground Floor, The Peak Galleria

Outlet 2 - Shop no. F1, Level 4, Langham Place, Mongkok, Kowloon.

Outlet 3 - Shop 2602, Level 2, Gateway Arcade, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui

Contact:

Outlet 1 - 2849 7968

Outlet 2 - 3427 9689

Outlet 3 - 3106 4686

Website: http://www.newyorkfries.com.hk/catalog/index.php

Friday, November 04, 2011

Tsui Wah Restaurant - Hong Kong










Tsui Wah has quite a few outlets in Hong Kong and they are your regular Char Chan Teng with food quality and service of a certain standard. I love their 奶油豬仔包 though. Such simplicity yet so sinfully delicious. Believe it or not, I had it twice during my very short stay in Hong Kong. Says how good it is, doesn't it? ;)


Address: Various outlets across Hong Kong (see website)

Website: http://www.tsuiwahrestaurant.com/eng/info_e.html