Sunday, September 28, 2014

Orchid Live Seafood

It was our monthly dinner again and we decided to have some cze char for a change. Being the pampered strawberry generation (草莓族) aka Gen Y we were, an air-conditioning prerequisite was thrown into the equation. And we finally settled on Orchid Live Seafood or OLS for short.

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We opted for the outlet at Jalan Kelulut, in the sleepy Seletar estate just off Yio Chu Kang Road on a hectic weekday evening. Parking posed a problem as the parking lot in front was rather small and there were quite a fair bit of vehicles but we managed. The interior of the place is like any typical heartland Chinese restaurant with just the basic decor and pictures of the food adorning the walls. 

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Deep Fried Baby Squid

This was an additional order on top of our set menu and got us off to a decent start. A rather miniscule portion of extremely crispy squid mixed in with tons of onions made it more of a snack than a main in my humble opinion. And it honestly tasted very similar to the packets of dried squid snack that are sold in supermarkets. 

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Smoked Duck

The smoked duck was a tad too thinly sliced and rather lacking in chewy fats. The meat also lacked a certain smokiness that made this dish pale in comparison to that of Wo Peng

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Mixed Vegetables

Our quintessential greens for the evening; Decently stir fried mixed vegetables with a tinge of wok hei.

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Steamed Patin Fish

The fish was fresh but the meat wasn't really sweet. Decently executed but doesn't really stand out.

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Steven's Chicken

One of the signatures of OLS, the Steven's Chicken was unique, I'll give it that. A crunchy exterior coupled with a mildly savoury/sweet flavour that belied its rather dry texture. A decent eat but nothing spectacular in my humble opinion.

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Lobster Porridge

And the undisputed star of the evening, the lobster porridge. The broth was watery yet tasty with the individual grains of rice still visible. Cooking the lobster in the broth infused a crustacean sweetness to the latter and made for a very homely and delicious porridge. Only small gripe I had was that we had 1kg of lobster to share between the 5 of us but as lobsters have pretty heavy shells, neither of us got much meat.
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Dinner for 5 pax coupled with a couple of drinks cost us just shy of $230, which wasn't really expensive per se but food quality, for the most part, hovered around average (save for the lobster porridge). Service was decent but I'm not sure if I'll return, especially with other air conditioned cze char places offering better quality cooking at around the same price point. Unless I develop a craving for lobster porridge of course.

Final Verdict:

Ambience: 6/10
Service: 6.5/10
Food: 6.5/10 (7.5/10 for the lobster porridge)
Value for money: 6/10

Overall: 6.25/10

Address: 16 Jalan Kelulut & 1 Bah Soon Pah Rd

Contact: 64842495 (Jln Kelulut) & 67560311 (Bah Soon Pah)

Opening Hours: 11:00am - 11:00pm daily


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Hide Yamamoto II

It was a return visit for dinner since we were craving for some decent Japanese food and it had been a while since our last visit to Hide Yamamoto.

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Booking a few days in advance notched us the elusive round sofa seat, which on hindsight, wasn't a great choice as it was situated directly below an air conditioning vent. And we spent a good part of our dinner shivering.

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Chawanmushi Black Truffle Flan with Fresh Sea Urchin

The chawanmushi boasted a silky smooth texture with truffle undertones in every spoonful. Topped with a fresh piece of sea urchin, it was just sublime. Portion sizes are a tad small so do order another one if you are a fan.

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Tiger Prawn & Tamago Sushi

Sweet and crunchy prawn served atop fluffy, not too sticky rice with a mild vinegar aftertaste and a spot of wasabi in the centre. Nice and simple. Ditto the tamago sushi as well. A sizable piece of mildly sweet tamago towering over a bed of excellent sushi rice.

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Sea Scallop with Spinach and Butter Soy Sauce

The scallop was huge and the buttery taste gave it a very western slant whilst the saltiness of the soy sauce yanked it towards an eastern orientation. Interestingly good but not exactly mind blowing for $20++ a pop. 

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Teppanyaki Wagyu Sirloin

Done up medium as per my request, the wagyu (100g) clocked in a fat to meat ratio of about 30-70 with the meat tender and flavourful, albeit a tad too salty for my liking. Certainly not the best I've tried but decent enough. Served up with awesome crisp garlic chips and vegetables. Not too sure if its worth the $98++ though.

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Snow Crab and Mushroom Claypot Rice with Ankake Sauce, Truffle Flavour

Served on a hot plate with the sauce mixed in separately (a little like Pepper Lunch), the rice was moist and plump with a nicely savoury, mild truffle aftertaste. Topped with copious amounts of succulent and sweet snow crab. Pretty nice!

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Seafood Miso Ramen

One of the reasons we wanted to return to Hide Yamamoto - the awesome ramen, which is apparently made from a 110 year old recipe. Alas, it wasn't as good as we remembered it to be. The ramen was al dente but the broth did seemed a little too diluted. And this time round, the sweet corn failed to lift it up with its mild sweetness. The seafood (tiger prawn, scallop) was fresh though.

One other comment. I have no idea why the wait staff hesitated in serving us the ramen in parallel with the claypot rice. I was having the rice while my wife was having the ramen so it wasn't cool that we had to chase them for the ramen. 

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Apart from the chawanmushi, dinner wasn't exactly memorable. And it certainly wasn't cheap either, at $260 for two (diluted green tea @ $9++/pax. Seriously?). Food quality seems to have taken a dip and even the once great ramen has fallen from the peak. Would I return? Probably not.

Final Verdict:

Ambience: 6.5/10
Service: 6.5/10 (thanks to the ramen fiasco)
Food: 7/10
Value for money: 6/10

Overall: 6.5/10

Address: #02-05 Marina Bay Sands

Contact: 6688 7098

Opening Hours

12pm – 3pm | 6pm - 11pm


We weren't full after dinner so Au Chocolat it was, for desserts! But seriously, the Au Chocolate take out counter doesn't do very good desserts in my humble opinion. The restaurant serves up better ones but I'm not sure they are worth the price.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Old Crow, Perth WA

The Old Crow is purportedly one of Perth's best new restaurants and it was with rather high expectations that I took to Northbridge for a little Southern indulgence on a rain soaked Sunday morning. 

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The Place & Menu

Apparently if you want a table for dinner, it would be wise to book well ahead. But as we were doing brunch, there wasn't much of a queue to speak of and we plonked ourselves on the rather uncomfortable high stool seats that front the walkway. The al fresco sitting was rather cozy though as the whole "greenhouse" concept allowed for lots of natural sunlight.

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Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Hot Cakes, Maple, Egg (AUD 20)

One of the hallmarks of soul food, the buttermilk fried chicken sported a crisp exterior with succulent flesh but lacked seasoning in my humble opinion. The hotcakes were good though; Fluffy with a nice sweetness from the maple syrup coupled with a gooey egg yolk texture from the sunny side up. I also liked the grated green apple shreds that provided a contrasting tartness.

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3 mains and 2 coffees cost us about AUD 70 and my share was AUD 20 (~ SGD 24), which was a tad on the high side for the slightly above average quality of food. Service was decent but I personally don't quite understand the hype behind this place but I wouldn't mind dropping by again just to give it another shot.

Final Verdict:

Ambience: 7/10 (based on the al fresco sitting area on a cool day)
Service: 7/10
Food: 6.5/10
Value for money: 6.5/10

Overall: 6.75/10

Address: 172 Newcastle St

Contact: 08 9227 9995

Opening Hours:

Mon to Thurs - 6pm - 10pm

Fri - 6pm till late

Sat - 9.30am till late

Sun - 9.30am - 10pm


Feeling peckish after our meal, we stopped by 鮮芋仙 (a dessert franchise from Taiwan) for some less than stellar desserts.

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Red Beans Tofu Pudding

The red beans were quite a size and sweet but the tofu pudding (豆腐花) lacked the silky smoothness and came across as rather coarse and firm. Not exactly the best value for AUD 5 (if I remember correctly). 

Monday, September 08, 2014

Ti Amo Cafe, Perth WA

We were in a fix. I was in shorts, slippers and t shirt and there weren't many decent eating places in the vicinity that would allow me in. But thankfully Ti Amo did, without so much as batting an eye lid.

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The Menu

I'm fuzzy as to the exact location of the place but it struck me as a dimly lighted Italian restaurant targeted more at couples than a raucous bunch aka yours truly and friends. And with a name like Ti Amo (Italian for I love you), I would probably assume so as well.

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American Platter

God knows what possessed us to order an American dish in an Italian restaurant. Maybe it was the chicken wings. But whatever the reason, it was a bad choice. The buffalo wings were way too drenched in sweet sauce and were rather miniscule as compared to the real deal. The deep fried potato skins fared a little better but could do with a little more crisp.

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Scotch Fillet

The scotch fillet, or more commonly known as the ribeye in Singapore, was quite good. Done to a medium well instead of the requested medium and sitting on a bed of mashed potatoes, the meat was still tender and flavourful with a beautiful crusty surface. Only small gripe I had was that it was a touch too salty. And to top off, two large and fresh shrimps beautifully cooked and drizzled with a mildly creamy sauce. Delicious!

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Sticky Date Pudding

A decent sticky date pudding to end off dinner; Moist and not too sweet but a tad too kueh (steamed cake) like for my liking. The accompanying scoop of ice cream was forgettable though, with ice chips in it and a lack of vanilla bean.

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Dinner was a pretty relaxed affair and cost the 3 of us about AUD 110 (~ SGD 130), which wasn't too expensive by Aussie standards. Though the food quality was generally average, the scotch fillet did stand out. And for that, I might just drop by again.

Final Verdict:

Ambience: 7/10 (definitely more for couples)
Service: 7/10
Food: 6/10 (7.5/10 for the scotch fillet)
Value for money: 7/10 (I'm being a little generous here because of the scotch fillet)

Overall: 6.75/10

Address: 57 Hampden Road, Nedlands

Contact: (08) 9386 6611

Opening Hours: 7 days a week, 7am till late