Sunday, July 27, 2014

East Ocean Teochew Restaurant

It was a public holiday lunch at East Ocean Teochew Restaurant with the family; A much vaunted restaurant where we usually purchase our supply of deep fried fish skin from (only available during Chinese New Year). And after so many years, we finally got down to trying their dim sum. 

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The Place

Situated on the fifth floor of the upclass Ngee Ann City at Orchard Road, East Ocean had a large crowd of people milling outside, waiting for a table. Thankfully we had reservations but even then, we had to get in line to approach the wait staff for our table. The place was rather noisy which definitely isn't great for conversation.

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Crispy Roasted Pork Belly

Sporting a crackling crisp skin and a good fat to meat ratio, the roasted pork belly did seem a little wobbly and lacked finesse. But still pretty good in my humble opinion.

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Steamed Har Gao

Crunchy prawns enveloped in relatively thin, translucent skin. Pretty decent as well.

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Steamed BBQ Pork Rice Rolls

The cheong fun was average; Relatively thin skin but lacked silkiness. Chunks of BBQ pork evident.

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Steamed Siew Mai

Topped with a smattering of roe and a green pea, the siew mai didn't overwhelm with its porkiness, probably due to the low fatty meat ratio.

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Pan Fried Carrot Cake

The pan fried carrot cake was awfully soft and mushy; Almost gross. No wonders it didn't have many takers.

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Steamed Carrot Cake

Now the steamed rendition came out slightly better. Soft sans the silkiness with the topping of dried shrimp, dried sausages, onion etc failing to boost the inherently bland flavours. Palatable but not great.

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Mini Steamed Glutinous Rice

Great consistency in the rice but sorely lacking in flavour. Need I say more?

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Deep Fried Beancurd Skin

The beancurd skin wasn't crisp enough and the prawn paste lacked flavour. Starting to see the trend?

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Deep Fried Silver Fish With Salt

This dish was a serious joke. The layer of flour amassed around a single silver fish was so dense that all I could taste was flour. I certainly didn't order deep fried flour!

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Century Egg Congee

Starchy yet flavourful, the porridge had bits of meat and a rather generous serving of century egg. Pretty nice considering how terrible the previous few items were.

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Steamed Custard Bun

This was probably one of the best dishes that afternoon; Runny custard that wasn't cloyingly sweet with a hint of egg yolk sediment. Only gripe I had was that the salty contrast wasn't evident enough.

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Baked BBQ Pork Bun

Think polo bun (菠萝包) with BBQ pork. Crusty, semi sweet top with bits of BBQ pork filling. Pretty decent but would have appreciated more pork and a little more viscosity in the filling.

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Steamed Custard Layered Cake

I've never had this at a dim sum restaurant before and honestly, I found it rather insipid. Dry layers of cake sandwiching dried, overly sweet custard that just made me give up after my third mouthful.

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Baked BBQ Pork Pie

Though the BBQ pork filling was chunky, it could have done with a little more gooeyness (as with the BBQ pork bun) whilst a little more butter would have helped the pastry.

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Mini Egg Tart

The egg tarts showcased a flaky pastry with a smooth and semi sweet custard center. A pity the pastry just wasn't buttery enough. Still a decent eat nonetheless.

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5 of us racked up a bill of about $142, which isn't too expensive given the quantity of food we had. Compare that however, to the quality of food that Wah Lok offers at a similar price point and the result is clear; East Ocean just doesn't measure up. There are more misses than hits and I'll probably just stop by for my yearly fish skin purchases, nothing more.

Final Verdict:

Ambience: 6/10 (rather noisy and chaotic)
Service: 6/10
Food: 6/10
Value for money: 6/10
Overall: 6/10

Address: 391 Orchard Road, #05-08/09 Ngee Ann City

Contact: 6235 9088

Opening Hours:

Monday to Friday - 11:30am to 3pm, 6pm to 11pm

Saturday, Sunday & Public Holiday - 10am to 3pm, 6pm to 11pm


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Potato Head Folk - Three Buns

I had an off day so popped by for an early lunch at Three Buns @ Potato Head Folk, apparently the latest and greatest F&B joint, fresh off the beaches of Bali. 

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Ground Floor Sitting Area

Housed in the iconic, former Tong Ah Building (東亞) along Keong Saik Road, Three Buns @ Potato Head Folk offers takeaway and alfresco dining on the ground floor, table service on the second and a cocktail bar on the third. The kitchen is also located on the ground floor so you can pretty much have a good view of the workings if you choose to sit along the passageway.

Dining alone, I didn't quite fancy any table service and wanted a look at the kitchen hence I made myself comfortable on one of the tiny wooden bar chairs along the passageway. On hindsight, that probably wasn't a great decision as passers-by kept bumping into me due to the rather narrow path. And lets not forget about the afternoon humidity and heat.

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Naughty Fries

Naughty fries. How catchy. Instead of the usual rectangular shaped strips of fries, these came in wide, thinly shaved pieces and topped with the likes of Parmesan, spiced Bearnaise, shallots, parsley, chopped spring onions and a smattering of mildly spicy hot beef chilli. Apart from the rather interesting Asian twist to an otherwise Western dish, it was essentially Carl's Junior's chilli beef fries with a little more finesse; Fresher tasting with a slightly spicier kick. $9++ gets you a sharing portion for 2pax.

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Baby Huey

A thick and juicy but mildly overcooked 150g beef patty topped with melted cheese, lettuce, spiced mayo, pickles and 'Notorious T.O.M Sauce' (whatever that means). Served up between two soft and fluffy buns (like the one's from Triple O's), this was one pretty good burger. I personally liked the mild tanginess of the of the whole burger and the crunchiness provided by the pickles. An abundance of sauce made for a very messy burger but it was all good. I'm definitely trying out the double patty burger on my next visit!

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A rather sweaty but filling lunch cost me about $37, which seriously isn't cheap by any standards for a burger, fries and an iced coffee (which incidentally tastes like the $1 ones at a local coffeeshop. But don't quote me on that as I know nuts about coffee). No service charge was levied because it was pretty much self serve but I assume a 10% service charge would be tagged on if you were to sit on the second floor. The burger alone is worth a revisit though!

Final Verdict:

Ambience: NA
Food: 6.5/10 (7.5/10 for the burger)
Value for money: 6.5/10

Overall: 6.5/10

Address: 36 Keong Saik Road

Contact: 6327 1939

Opening Hours: Tue - Sun: 11:00 - 00:00 (Closed on Mon)


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Pepper Steakhouse & Bistro

It was a Saturday afternoon and we wanted some lunch. Pepper Steakhouse seemed to offer a rather decent lunch proposal on a weekend so we settled for it.

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Located at a corner of Great World City, Pepper Steakhouse sported a sombre interior with dark  leather bound seats and wooden tables. The place was empty when we walked in but started filling up when the clock struck noon. 

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Soup of The Day

A tad runny but at least the mushroom taste was still apparent. The accompanying slice of toast was bland and the grill marks were apparently just for show.

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Pork Loin

The pork loin honestly looked gorgeous but the old adage holds true; Appearances can be deceiving. Spotting a weirdly soft texture (I had expected something tougher with more bite), the pork was topped with a layer of mushroom and melted cheese. All were bland and could do with a little more salt or flavour.

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Done medium as per my request, the sirloin was a tad too salty for my liking and a tad soft as well. Having said that, the sweetness of the meat was sufficiently evident and all in all, a pretty decent piece of steak.

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The tiramisu's sponge to mascarpone ratio was largely skewed in favour of the mascarpone and a teetotaler's version at that. The coffee taste was apparent but the mascarpone wasn't rich enough. Still a decent eat.

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Sticky Date Pudding

Not many places serve sticky date pudding so I usually make it a point to order one if I spot it on the menu. Topped with chocolate sauce, Pepper's rendition of this classic English dessert was palatable at best; The pudding wasn't spongy enough while coming across as a little too dry and dense and lacking the oomph factor. Maybe a scoop of ice cream would have done it good.

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Weekend lunch was relatively cheap for the quantity and variety of food, at about $22/head. However quality of food hovered around the average mark though service was acceptable. I don't suppose I will be back again but I guess it might be a cheaper alternative amongst the higher end options at Great World City.

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

Overall: 6.25/10

Address: Great World City, #01-66/67

Contact: 6440 7071

Opening Hours:

Monday - Friday: 10am - 10:30pm
Saturday & Sunday: 9am - 10:30pm


Sunday, July 06, 2014

Chin Lee Restaurant Part II

The title is a bit of a misnomer really, as it isn't my second time dining at Chin Lee (more like the 5th time) but I've only bothered to bring my camera there twice (hence Part II). Nonetheless, we had dinner at this familiar Teochew restaurant @ Bedok one Sunday evening.

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Homemade Teochew Prawn Ball

The heh zhor was pretty nice; Deep fried till crisp on the outside with nice crunchy bits on the inside (probably from the chestnut) sans the excessive fat meat. Accompanied with a mildly sweet plum sauce.

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Stir Fried Broccoli with Prawns

Competently executed, the broccoli wasn't overcooked and sported a nice garlicky stir fry whilst the prawns were reasonably sized and crunchy. 

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Teochew Braised Duck

Thickly sliced and trickling with runny but flavourful gravy, the braised duck was tender with a nice roughness to it and flavourful. Served on a bed of sliced, relatively silky beancurd. Nice!

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Beancurd with Shimeiji Mushroom

Smooth, savoury beancurd topped with minced pork and Shimeiji mushrooms. What's not to like? I could just have this with rice!

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Teochew Yam Paste with Pumpkin

Ending off our satisfying meal was the orh nee, which I make it a point to order at every Teochew restaurant, regardless of how stuffed I may be. And Chin Lee's rendition is still one of the best in my humble opinion. Wonderfully smooth and fragrant without coming across as cloyingly sweet even though it seemed to be sitting in a pool of syrup. I had seconds, naturally.

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Prices seem to have crept up a little but still remain relatively reasonable at about $90 for 4pax. Food quality is definitely a few notches above average and service is decent, considering the amount of part timers they hire. Reservations are highly recommended unless you don't mind dining early (530pm).

Final Verdict:
Ambience: 6/10
Service: 6.5/10
Food: 7.5/10
Value for money: 7/10

Overall: 6.75/10

Address: Blk 115 Bedok North Road #01-285

Contact: 6449 5454

Opening Hours:

Lunch: 11.30am - 2.30pm
Dinner: 6.00pm - 10.30pm

Sat, Sun & PH:
Lunch: 11.30am - 2.30pm
Dinner: 5.30pm - 10.30pm