Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Majestic Restaurant

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Twas the weekend before Mother's day so we decided to beat the crowds (not to mention the ridiculously priced menus) and celebrate beforehand. A decision was made to try out Majestic Restaurant this year and honestly, my expectations were high as many people have raved about it. 

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Interior & Menu

The place wasn't big and the interior leaned towards western influences rather than Chinese, with a huge open kitchen and booth seats. We had a corner booth to ourselves which was pretty nice and cosy although I must say that the air conditioning that evening was underwhelming. 

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Wasabi Chips

Things got off to a good start with the wasabi chips - lightly salted, thin and crisp chips with a mild wasabi kick. Pretty addictive.

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Pan Seared Foie Gras

Served up on a slice of watermelon, the foie gras's crisp, well seared exterior belied a soft quivery composition whose sweetness was complemented by that of the watermelon. One of the best foie gras dishes I've ever eaten in a Chinese restaurant.

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Double Boiled Sea Treasures with Superior Shark's Fin and Black Truffle

I thought that the soup was deliciously sweet yet light. It definitely helped that there was a plethora of ingredients, from baby abalone to sea cucumber, fish maw, dried scallops, chicken etc. I'm usually not much of a soup person but this was one soup that had me yearning for more. One question though, where is the truffle taste?

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Deep Fried Brinjal with Pork Floss

I actually dislike brinjal but this dish was surprisingly quite palatable, with a crisp coating of flour and pork floss, very much like tempura. What I didn't quite take to was the oil content though.

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Scallops Wrapped with Bacon

Looks can be deceiving and the scallops wrapped with bacon was one prime example of that. The scallops were huge and the bacon looked like it had nice charred bits along the edges. Alas, the scallops weren't sweet and had a flour like texture whilst the bacon came across as soft and limp. Seriously seriously disappointing.
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Salted Egg Yolk Prawn

A seemingly common dish in most Chinese restaurants these days, Majestic's variation came with slices of watermelon and chopped mango. The prawns were quite a size but I couldn't make out any taste or texture of egg yolk. Decent but there are probably loads of restaurants that do this dish better.

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Zhejiang Spare Ribs

This was another disappointing dish, with the meat coming across as too hard. But at least the zhejiang vinegar was nicely tart with a hint of sweetness. 

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Signature Stewed Mee Sua with Baby Abalone

As much as I would like to understand the hype behind this signature dish, I am afraid I fail to comprehend. For starters, the baby abalone was, well, tiny and the soup base wasn't flavourful enough nor was the Mee Sua (面线) silky enough. Overall, a rather average dish in my humble opinion.

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Signature Claypot Chicken Rice

Another signature dish from Majestic - the Claypot Chicken Rice. I can't say that I was wowed by it as it was evidently high class chicken rice. Sure, the rice was more fragrant than usual and less oily while the chicken was tender and reasonably plentiful. But seriously?

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Durian Paste

We opted for the Mao Shan Wang (猫山王) durian paste to end off our meal and whilst rich, it didn't taste any different from eating straight out of the fruit as the gula melaka taste was non existent. Maybe I should have gone for the fried durian ice cream instead.

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One word. Overrated. Dinner was a case of more misses than hits and wasn't cheap by any yardstick, standing at about $577 for 6 pax ($96/pax). Service was very good but I don't think that justifies the high price tag and less than stellar quality of food. I am pretty sure with $96/pax, I can get seriously better food elsewhere. Also, the choice of music played in the restaurant is pretty weird. Why would you play English pop music in a Chinese restaurant?

Final Verdict:
Food: 6.5/10 (7.5/10 for the foie gras and soup)
Value for money: 5.5/10
Overall: 6.75/10

Address: New Majestic Hotel, 31-37 Bukit Pasoh Road

Contact: 6511 4718

Opening Hours:

Lunch: 1145hrs to 1500hrs

Dinner: 1800hrs to 2230hrs

Closed on Mondays


ps: I will be away for 2 weeks with no access to the internet so my next post will probably be in the later half of June. Eat well and prosper!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cocotte Part II - An Invite

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Although Cocotte's brunch was a great experience on my first (and only visit), I never really got down to revisiting as I didn't fancy jostling for parking space on a weekend. But now Cocotte has launched an all week brunch menu during its lunch time slot and thanks to the restaurant, I had the opportunity to try it out again.

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Interior & Menu

The place hasn't changed a bit since my last visit and is still rather spartan in some ways. The only difference is the apparent lack of crowds. I can say this from visiting Cocotte twice on my own accord (and expense) after this invite. But the lack of crowds may not be a bad thing from a customer's perspective (but definitely not from a restaurant's!) as it offers peace and quiet and of course a choice of seats.

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Hot Smoked Salmon ($12)

We got off to a great start with the hot smoked salmon sandwich, which featured thin slices of beautifully smoked Norwegian salmon sitting prettily on a bed of moist and creamy scrambled eggs atop a slice of nicely toasted white loaf. Absolutely beautiful. However, just a note of caution. On my return visit during a weekday, the bread was smaller, the eggs were less creamy and the quantity of salmon, significantly lesser. Which of course raises questions on consistency. One might also be inclined to suggest that quality and quantity during tastings don't reflect the actual standards of day to day operations. But to be fair, I will give it another try before passing any judgement.

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Provencal Tuna ($12)

Next up was the provencal tuna, which was essentially Nicoise salad with tuna on a toasted baguette. I honestly didn't find this too special although the sliced eggs and tuna chunks were aplenty. The baguette was also a little too hard for my weak jaws and wrists (had to slice it with a knife) to handle. But if you are a huge Nicoise salad fan, you might just like it.

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Pan Fried Seabass ($14)

Based on this invite and my 2 individual outings, this dish was the most consistent. And at $14, I personally find it a steal. Very fine, almost silky texture coupled with crisp skin and a light flavour. Easily one of the best fish dishes I've had in a long time.

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Dessert Platter

Desserts are evidently not Cocotte's forte as neither of the 3 desserts in the dessert platter shone, with all coming across as average. Nonetheless, it was a sweet way to end off our wonderful meal. 

In a nutshell, Cocotte offers some really good dishes at a very reasonable price. However consistency needs to be worked on. Service is decent.

Thanks to Cocotte for the invite!

Final Verdict:
Food: 7/10
Value for money: 7/10
Overall: 7/10

Address: 2 Dickson Road

Contact: 6298 1188

Opening Hours:

Mondays to Fridays
1200hrs – 1430hrs

Saturdays to Sundays
1200hrs – 1500hrs

Mondays to Thursdays
1830hrs – 2230hrs

Fridays to Saturdays
1830hrs – 2300hrs


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Other Eats II, Hong Kong

Yee Shun Dairy Company (義順牛奶公司)

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I had the steamed milk pudding (驰名双皮燉奶) and felt that it was a little too milky for my liking. Personally I think the one from Australia Dairy is still better.

Rating: 6.5/10
Address:  Various outlets across Hong Kong and Macau

Hui Lau Shan Healthy Dessert (許留山)

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The desserts from 許留山 are mainly fruit based and taste pretty good. Lots of variety as well.

Rating: 7/10
Address: Various outlets across Hong Kong

New York Fries

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I am still in love with the poutine (though they aren't as good as the ones in Canada) but the fries were a little soggy this time round. Still can't find a comparable one in Singapore though!

Rating: 7.25/10
1) Shop no. 1B, Ground Floor, The Peak Galleria 
2) Level 1 (Portion B), 9 Tong Yin Street, Tseung Kwan O, New Territories, Hong Kong
3) Shop G08B, Ground Floor, Stanley Plaza, 23 Cape Road, Stanley, Hong Kong

Kong Chai Kee 

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Apparently this place has a factory that makes its own fishballs/wantons and the walls are plastered with pictures of celebrities and reviews. But I didn't quite take to the fishballs, which I found a little lacking in texture. But it was nice to have a hot bowl of flat rice noodles in soup, sitting along the pavement on a chilly afternoon.

Rating: 6.25/10
Address: G/F, 2 Kau U Fong Road & G/F, 2 Canal Road East

Monday, May 06, 2013

Hung's Delicacies 阿鴻小吃, Hong Kong

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Craving for more goose after our satisfying dinner at Chan Kan Kee Chiu Chow Restaurant, we decided to have our final meal in Hong Kong at the 1 Michelin starred Hung's Delicacies's outlet at the airport.

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The Place & Menu

Surprisingly/thankfully, the crowds weren't apparent and we had plenty of tables to choose from. The decor wasn't much to speak of except that it had a cafe-ish vibe to it. Service was also a little lacking and we had to seek out a staff member to take our orders. But to be fair, it slowly improved once we had our orders taken. Food was promptly served and the staff were polite.

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Milk Tea

Pretty decent but then again, most places I've been to in HK serve a pretty decent one. But the best I've had in HK is from Cafe De Coral. 

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Sliced Braised Goose

Comparisons between Hung's braised goose and Chan Kan Kee's (CKK) are inevitable and though Hung's rendition was admirable, CKK's goose was less salty and had more bite, edging out Hung's in my humble opinion.

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Our relatively inexpensive lunch (by HK standards) stood at HKD 154 (~ SGD 25) and it presents a pretty good meal option if you happen to be at the airport. However, I am quite skeptical of it's 1 Michelin star rating. Nonetheless, food quality is decent and personally, it's a toss between Hung's for its goose or Tsui Wah for it's 奶油豬仔包 the next time I step into HKIA.

Final Verdict:
Food: 7/10
Value for money: 7/10
Overall: 6.5/10

Address: Terminal 2, HK International Airport, 3p116-117, Level 3, Sky Plaza

Contact: (852) 3197 9331

Opening Hours: 7am to 10pm daily