Sunday, March 24, 2013

Canton Paradise

Popped by Canton Paradise @ I12 Katong one weekday afternoon for some dim sum to chase away the weekday blues. I honestly would have preferred Wah Lok but  didn't quite fancy jostling with the CBD crowd and it definitely helped that the porridge at Canton Paradise had a certain allure. Just for the record, as at time of writing, I've been to Canton Paradise a total of 9 times in 3 months, but this is probably going to be my only post on Canton Paradise (I am usually too famished during lunch to bother taking photos). And yes, I'm that crazy about dim sum.

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Interior

The place is huge and sports a rather "ancient Chinese" decor with its uneven brick walls and wooden decorative panels. If you can stand the cold air conditioning, ask for a booth seat (2-4 pax) because the other tables are spaced a tad too close for comfortable conversation. 

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BBQ Combination

We had the combination platter of BBQ pork belly with honey sauce and roasted pork, of which the former was sinfully better with a high fat to meat ratio and smothered in gooey honey marinade. I personally like to eat the BBQ pork belly with the salted peanuts that are served alongside. Makes for a nice contrast in both areas of taste and texture. Unfortunately, the BBQ pork's skin wasn't crisp enough and I think they need to add in a wee bit more salt for flavouring.

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Steamed Cheong Fun with BBQ Pork

The cheong fun featured translucent but rather limp skin with a reasonable amount of BBQ pork filling. Decent but no great shakes. And remember to eat immediately when served, lest it turns cold and clammy.

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Steamed Prawn Dumplings

Fresh, crunchy prawns coupled with translucent but mildly elastic skin. Pretty decent.

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Steamed Pork Dumplings

The "porkyness" of the siew mai wasn't too overwhelming and the fat to lean meat ratio was reasonable. As with most dim sum items, eat them while they are hot.

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Century Egg Porridge with Lean Meat

I personally think the porridge, especially the 皮蛋瘦肉粥, at Canton Paradise is quite good and this is one of the main reasons why I keep coming back. Consistently sticky with visible rice grains and a subtle, savoury aftertaste. And that's coming from someone who doesn't take century egg. The meatball porridge is nice as well but a little on the bland side.

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Baked BBQ Honey Pork Bun

This is reminiscent of the one I had at Tim Ho Wan in HK. Unfortunately, the standards did not quite match up. For starters, the base was overly oily and the BBQ pork wasn't gooey enough. Decent but try the real thing from Tim Ho Wan when it opens in Singapore!

If my memory serves me correct, the bill for this lunch came up to around $50, which is pretty much the range you pay for decent quality dim sum these days. However the staff did seem a little overwhelmed with the place running at almost full capacity, which naturally led to slower service and forgotten requests.


Final Verdict:
Ambience: 7/10
Service: 6.5/10 (probably need to hire more staff)
Food: 7/10 (7.5/10 for the porridge)
Value for money: 7/10
Overall: 6.875/10

Address: B1-15, I12 Katong, 112 East Coast Road (Various other outlets)

Contact: 63448201

Opening Hours:

Mon – Fri
11am – 10.00pm (last order at 9.30pm) 

Sat, Sun & PH
10.30am – 10.00pm (last order at 9.30pm)

Website: http://www.paradisegroup.com.sg/?page_id=683&mn=cp

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Private Room - A Pictorial

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In short, the food at The Private Room isn't that great even though wagyu burger and lobster is on the menu. But its a nice place to quench any hunger pangs and you can end off with Ben & Jerry's ice cream. One word of advice though. Skip the satay. It's ridiculously oily.


Final Verdict:
Ambience: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Food: 6.5/10
Value for money: NA

Overall: 7.5/10

Address: Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3, Silver Kris Lounge

Contact: Not available

Opening Hours: 0530hrs - 0200hrs daily

Thursday, March 14, 2013

&Made by Bruno Menard

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Popped by &Made by Bruno Menard for brunch one late Saturday morning since we were in the area. Read pretty good reviews about it and coupled with the fact that it is 3 Michelin Starred Chef Bruno Menard's (owner of the now defunct 3 star L'Osier in Tokyo) first restaurant in Singapore under his own name, we were pretty psyched about dining there. 

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Interior & Menu

&Made occupies one corner of the ground floor at Pacific Plaza and has a rather quirky (a cross between a typical 80's video game and Alice in wonderland) feel to it. Seating capacity isn't extensive, probably about 60 pax or so and the best pick seems to be that of the booth seats if you have no more than 4 pax. Interestingly, with all the hype surrounding the restaurant, it was practically empty, save for 2 tables. 

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The 'B' Burger

The 'B' Burger was a tad tinier than expected whilst the patty, though done a perfect medium well, came across as tender but a little dry. The onion confit atop also proved a little overwhelming and I could hardly make out any beefy taste from the patty. I did like the bread though, soft and lightly toasted. For sides, the truffle fries (+ $3) was definitely a good choice, lightly salted with the strong fragrance of truffle oil. Overall still a pretty decent burger.

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Viking Toastoo

It's the first time I'm seeing a Toastoo on a menu and apparently it is a new generation sandwich made with French buckwheat crepes (according to the menu). The viking version spotted smoked salmon, cream cheese, curry and broccoli, which sounded really interesting. Alas, it was nothing out of the ordinary. The sandwich had a crisp exterior with a stuffing of salmon (couldn't taste the smokiness unfortunately) and broccoli. The curry taste was hardly existent and honestly, the whole sandwich tasted healthily (probably due to all the broccoli) normal.

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Lollipop Waffle

One of the rather quirky desserts on offer at &Made, the lollipop waffle. In actual fact, it is nothing more than a waffle cooked in a huge lollipop mold and served on a stick with 3 cylindrical containers of white, dark chocolate and caramel sauce respectively. But I did appreciate the visual creativity and the dessert looked almost too good to be eaten. However, the waffle did seem a little limp but credit goes to the consistency in cooking and the crisp edges. Not something I would personally order again for dessert though. 

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Hot Caramel Lava Cake

This, in my humble opinion, is the star of the entire evening, the pièce de résistance, if you may. Warm, not cloyingly sweet caramel oozing out of a fissure in the soft shell and served with a scoop of salted caramel ice cream coated with crispy flakes. Simply decadent! If you like your chocolate fondants, you should definitely try this.

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Bill

The both of us literally stuffed ourselves and even had 2 smoothies to round up the meal, all at a cost of about $95. Cheap? Definitely not. The prices of individual items aren't really expensive per se but add everything up and the bill can be a tad alarming. After all, food quality is only slightly above average at best, save for the caramel lava cake. Service wasn't quite up to scratch with periods of inattentiveness. This I speak from two separate dining experiences (See pictures below from my 2nd visit). But to be fair, the wait staff were polite and responded promptly to requests made.


The 3 Little Pigs


Caramello

To sum up, I think &Made offers a decent meal proposition in a nice setting but lacks actual finesse in its food (bar desserts) and service can definitely be improved.


Final Verdict:
Ambience: 7.5/10
Service: 6.5/10
Food: 6.5/10 (7.5/10 for the hot caramel lava cake)
Value for money: 6.5/10

Overall: 6.75/10

Address: #01-04-06 Pacific Plaza, 9 Scotts Road

Contact: 6690 7566

Opening Hours:

Sunday to Thursday 10AM to 10PM

Friday & Saturday 10AM to 12AM

Website: http://andmade.sg/

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Ember VII - A Pictorial

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On a footnote, Ember has increased its prices again in 2013, starting at $42++/pax for the basic options (no foie gras). Food quality and service is still good though. Lets hope Ember keeps it current pricing for at least a year.

For all my other reviews on Ember, see here, here, here, here, here and here.  


Final Verdict:
Ambience:7/10
Service:7.5/10
Food:7.5/10
Value for money:7/10
Overall:7.25/10

Address: Hotel 1929, 50 Keong Saik Road

Contact: 63471928

Opening Hours:

Mon-Fri:

Lunch: 11.30am - 2.00pm
Dinner: 6.30pm - 10.00pm

Sat:

Dinner: 6.30pm - 10.00pm (Closed on Sundays)

Website: http://www.hotel1929.com/

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Majestic Bay Seafood Restaurant - An Invite

Had the opportunity to try out Majestic Bay Seafood Restaurant (冠華) one weekday evening, courtesy of an invite. Helmed by Chef Yong Bing Ngen, who was formerly executive chef for Hai Tien Lo @ Pan Pacific Hotel and Jade Restaurant @ Fullerton Hotel, Majestic Bay is the latest addition to his stable of 2 restaurants - Jing and Majestic Restaurant.

Just for the record, I've never dined at Majestic Restaurant but I have tried out Jing a couple of years back and found it average. Needless to say, personal expectations of Majestic Bay weren't very high.

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The Place

Being located at Gardens by the bay is really a plus point as you get a view of the sea, the Singapore Flyer and wide open spaces. The interior, though spacious with tables reasonably spaced apart, suffers from the typical "noise encapsulation" effect - the entire restaurant sounds like a market once the tables are filled and it is extremely difficult to carry a conversation, much less a meaningful one.

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Crispy Lychee, Crab Meat, Mushrooms & Soft Shell Crabs, Lemon Butter Milk Sauce

The crispy lychee, crab meat combination didn't quite work out the way I envisioned it, coming across as rather flat and lacking in either taste. Maybe subtlety isn't always a good thing? I did think the soft shell crab was marginally better - crisp crab sans the oily aftertaste but with a rather overwhelming lemon butter milk sauce.

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Braised Ocean Sunfish Maw, Crab Meat, Luffa, Thicken Yellow Soup

This soup wasn't too heavy on the palate (not too starchy) and had a respectable amount of vegetables coupled with strands of crab meat. Tasty but a wee bit too salty for my liking.

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Steamed Live Prawns, Minced Garlic

I love steamed prawns with garlic but this didn't quite appeal to me for two reasons. First, contrary to the name of the dish, the prawns didn't seem as fresh as claimed. Second, the copious amounts of garlic overran the entire dish, masking the taste of the prawns.

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Roast Chicken, Chilli Sesame Dressing

Whilst the chilli sesame dressing was a little too sweet for my liking, the roast chicken was pretty decent with its crisp skin and the load of fried garlic piled atop. Only pity was that the meat came across as a little too dry. 

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Live Crabs, Bay's Signature "Kopi" Sauce

The crab is first fried in butter with three types of coffee beans and apple jam and then served at the table where it is doused with coffee liqueur and flambéed. The aroma is almost instantaneous and the flames are a sight to behold. Theatrics aside, the crab tasted exactly like caramel popcorn, albeit of a different texture. Honestly, even though I do like the caramel taste, I  still think it's quite a waste of good crustacean as the inherent sweetness of the crab was overshadowed. 

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Stewed Boston Lobster, Mee Hoon

A signature dish from Majestic Restaurant, the Stewed Boston Lobster Mee Hoon. Having tried a similar dish from Imperial Treasure Cantonese (mee pok instead of mee hoon), I'm of the humble opinion that Majestic's rendition isn't quite in the same league as that of Imperial Treasure. Sure, the lobster was fresh and the mee hoon nicely stewed but it wasn't anything too exciting. Can someone pass the white truffle oil please? :P

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Sweet's Temptation

A platter of sweet desserts to end off our meal but I don't remember much except that I didn't quite take to the custard bun as it had too much flour. I did like the mochi with mango and cream as well as the pancake with seaweed topping though.

Thanks for the invite and the great company!


Ambience:7/10 (Nice place but can be very noisy)
Service:NA
Food:6.5/10
Value for money:NA

Overall:6.75/10

Address: Flower Dome, Gardens By The Bay, 18 Marina Gardens Drive #01-10

Contact: 6604 6604

Opening Hours:

Lunch (Mon-Fri) 11:45 am – 2:30pm

Lunch (Sat, Sun & PH) 11:30 am – 2:30pm

Dinner 5:45pm – 9:30pm

Website: http://majesticbay.sg/