Sunday, December 27, 2015

Bedrock Bar & Grill - Decent Value Steak Set Lunches

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We were craving steak but didn't fancy splurging at Morton's so dropped by Bedrock Bar & Grill for their steak set lunch since we happened to be in town during the weekend.

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The Place

The interior isn't anything too fancy and sports wooden furniture, halogen lamps and a partially open concept kitchen with an island top and lots of overhanging pots and pans where you can view your bread being kneaded and baked. Window blinds provide cover from the adjacent pedestrian walkway. Overall a pretty cosy place if you happen to secure one of the booth seats.

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Complimentary Flat Bread

Served with a clove of roasted garlic and butter, the piping hot flat bread came fresh out of the oven; warm, chewy and reminiscent of naan.

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Classic Lobster Bisque

Relatively rich but salty even with the rather amount of chive cream, the lobster bisque boasted no lobster meat and the dubious honour of pairing best with a glass of water.  

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Confit Corned Chicken

This tasted like the chicken version of duck confit (duh!), just a touch more moist and a little less salty and flavourful. Accompanied by a sunny side up and crunchy, mildly salty sausages. Overall a very palatable dish but nothing to go wow over.

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Woodfire Grilled Sirloin

At $58++ for the steak set lunch, this was pretty good. Relatively flavourful with a touch of salt and done medium as per my request. Meat was tender but not as juicy as I would have liked it to be. Topped with a creamy Bearnaise sauce and a side of slick and buttery mashed potato. Bread Street Kitchen, Morton's and Ruth Chris still does a meaner piece of steak but for the price, I really can't compare or complain.

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Sticky Stout & Toffee Pudding

This dessert was pretty interesting - A scoop of gingernut ice cream (not a fan of ginger but this was pretty mild) plopped atop a rather sweet toffee pudding with a significant stout aftertaste. To counter the sweetness, tart red berries were placed alongside. Decent finish to our meal.

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Bill

HGW happened to be running a promotion during that period so we got $10 off each set lunch ($28++ for non steak and $48++ for the steak variant). Food quality came across as decent (steak was a notch above that) and so did service. I'm honestly not inclined to return, given that Bistro Du Vin does a reasonably good steak for lunch as well and offers a more compelling value proposition in my humble opinion.


Final Verdict:

Ambience: 6.5/10
Service: 6.5/10
Food: 6.5/10 (7/10 for the steak)
Value for money: 6.5/10 (without the $10 off promotion)

Overall: 6.5/10

Address: 96 Somerset Road, #01-05 Pan Pacific Serviced Suites

Contact: 6238 0054

Opening Hours:

Lunch: Mondays to Sundays, 12pm to 3pm (last order at 2:30pm)

Dinner: Mondays to Sundays, 6pm to 11pm (last order at 10:30pm)

Bar: 12pm to 12am (last drinks order at 11.30pm)

Website: http://bedrock.com.sg/

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Benjamin Browns Bistro & Bakery - What's All The Fuss About?

Met up with some friends for dinner at Benjamin Browns for dinner one weekday evening after seeing how over the top shakes seem to be the rage nowadays.

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The Place

Benjamin Browns, or BB for short, sits on the first floor of the relatively quiet Forum The Shopping Mall and by virtue of an earlier reservation, we managed to snag a corner table. Seating is rather limited (probably ~ 20-30 pax) and there was a queue to get in after we were done with dinner.

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Carbonara

This wasn't my first choice but since they were apparently out of their "Benjamin Burger", I had to make do with this. And it wasn't a great choice; less than al dente pasta coupled with creamy but a tad watery base. Only consolation was the generous serving of bacon slices. Nothing like La Strada's.

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Nutella Banana Milkshake

And the primary reason behind our choice to dine at BB, their over the top milkshakes. Honestly it was no great shakes (pun intended) and definitely didn't look as pretty in real life as in those instagram photos (presentation came across as a little slip shod). It was essentially diluted banana milkshake topped with layer upon layer (3 to be exact) of sliced bananas, whipped cream and sugar crackers (which looked and tasted suspiciously like they were from Khong Guan), finished off with a brownie as the crowning glory and a chocolate wafer wedged by the side. Pretzels adorned the side of the glass, held together by a layer of gooey nutella. Overall this was a giant sugar rush and too much of it made me a little sick. Lesson learnt - share it, hence the 2 straws provided. Definitely not worth the $16++ though.

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Bill

My share came up to about $42 which wasn't quite worth the money in my humble opinion. Food was average at best and even the much vaunted shake fell flat. Service was also found wanting. One of the wait staff was obviously unsure about the menu and had to repeatedly come back to us about the food we ordered. Conclusion? Yet another run of the mill place hyped up and glorified by social media.


Final Verdict:

Ambience: 6/10
Service: 5/10
Food: 6/10
Value for money: 5/10

Overall: 5.5/10

Address: #01-20/21 Forum The Shopping Mall

Contact: 6887 4117

Opening Hours: Daily: 10:00 - 22:00

Website: http://www.benjaminbrowns.com/

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Melt Bar - Nothing Like Toastface Grillah

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We were craving toasties a couple of weeks after our trip to Toastface Grillah in Perth and had heard that Melt Bar @ PasarBella purportedly served and I quote, "Singapore's best grilled sandwich". So off to Turf City it was, on a humid Saturday morning.

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The Place

One of the many dining areas littered around PasarBella but the biggest and the only one on the second floor with a bird's eye view of the various stalls below. But regardless of where you sit, the fumes will get to you so be prepared to smell of food when you leave the place.

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Classic ($10) + Fried Chicken ($5)

This grilled sandwich evidently didn't live up to the hype. For starters, the bread, though sporting a slight crisp on the surface, came across as a tad too thick and dry. The gooey mozzarella and sharp cheddar had a nice gooey texture but failed to make much of an impact with a less than generous serving and muted tastes; which was overshadowed by the taste of the ordinary tasting fried chicken. Overall still a palatable grilled sandwich but definitely not in the league of Toastface Grillah, at least in terms of taste and price.


Final Verdict:

Ambience: NA
Service: NA
Food: 6.5/10
Value for money: 5.5/10

Overall: 6/10

Address: Pasarbella @ The Grandstand - 200 Turf Club Rd, 287994

Contact: 8318 2326

Opening Hours: 11am-9pm Daily

Website: http://themeltbar.com/

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Pollen - Dining In Cool Comfort Of The Flower Dome

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The wife and I were both on leave and were eager to try out Jason Atherton's (former protege of Gordon Ramsay) Pollen @ Gardens By The Bay, which is similarly named after his Michelin starred restaurant in London, Pollen Street Social. Expectations, expectations, expectations.

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The Place

Situated within the world's largest glass greenhouse, Flower Dome @ Gardens By The Bay (free buggy ride and entrance), Pollen occupies two levels within the dome, with the upper level (terrace) serving up a selection of dishes in a garden like, cafe setting and the lower level boasting a proper restaurant with a dessert counter where you can choose to have your desserts and/or view them being prepared. I appreciate the novelty of dining in a chilled greenhouse surrounded by nature and sunlight but would appreciate more greenery being incorporated into the restaurant. Still cosy nonetheless.

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Complimentary Bread

The homemade white sourdough bread sported a crusty surface with a lightly spongy center and came served with hummus and mustard butter; both of which I'm originally not quite a fan of. However the mustard butter surprised me; smooth and creamy with an ever so slight hint of mustard. Pretty decent.

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Amuse Bouche

Our amuse bouche for the afternoon. a steamed bun with Gorgonzola and truffle oil - fluffy and chewy with a hint of truffle oil and a mild pungency of the cheese. A rather interesting and decent start to our lunch. 

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Cured Trout, Dill Sago, Japanese Cucumber, Ikura, Yuzu

Topped with frozen (by liquid nitrogen) cucumber (tasted like sorbet) for that smokey visual effect, the cured trout had a delicate sweetness to it coupled with firm, mildly chewy flesh. The saltiness came courtesy of the ikura (fish roe), balancing out the mild rawness from the cucumbers. Nice.

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Seared Foie Gras, Poached Quince, Walnut Cream (+$12)

Though quivery, the foie gras could do with a little more searing on the surface whilst the sweetness of the walnut cream and walnuts helped to cut through the gaminess. The latter also provided a nice crunchy element. What was new to me was the quince, which tasted a little like peach to me, albeit a little tougher. It apparently belongs to the same family as apples and pears and can't be eaten raw. Most interesting.

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Roasted Barramundi, Cauliflower, Grapes, Curry Cream

The roasted barramundi was pretty good; crisp skin coupled with firm, flaky flesh and drizzled over with a non spicy curry sauce, all on a bed of deliciously roasted cauliflower. I'm usually not a huge fan of fish but this was interestingly good.

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Roasted Butternut Risotto, Honey Croutons

Although I liked the butternut risotto for its creamy al dente-ness, chewy honey croutons and crunchy pistachios, I couldn't quite get over the fact that there was no protein in it; a vegetarian option. Portions were quite substantial and too much proved a tad nauseating, to me at least.

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Salted JAAL Chocolate

The JAAL in this dish presumably stands for Jason Atherton Andres Lara, the name of the owner and the pastry chef. Not that it had any bearing on this dessert, which featured an overly salty salted caramel fudge mixed in with chewy rice krispies, peanut powder, cocoa soil and topped with a scoop of unsweetened cocoa ice cream. The end result? Lots of drinking water required.

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Bill

At ~ $143 for 2 pax, lunch was a pricier than your average set lunch affair but I guess the complimentary entry into the Flower Dome ($12 for residents) and buggy ride does make up for it. Food overall leans towards fusion and comes across as competent but not wow. I was honestly expecting a little more in terms of flavours. Service was good though and I personally like the relaxing feel of the restaurant. Will I be back? Maybe, but probably not in the near future.


Final Verdict:

Ambience: 7/10
Service: 7.5/10
Food: 7/10
Value for money: 7/10

Overall: 7.125/10

Address: Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay

Contact: 6604 9988

Opening Hours:

Main Dining Room – Level 1
Lunch 12pm to 3pm (last order 2.30pm)
Dinner 6pm to 10pm (last order 9.30pm)
Closed on Tuesdays

Pollen Terrace - Level 2
Mon - Thu 11am to 9pm
Fri - Sun & PH 9.30am to 9pm
Afternoon Tea 3pm to 5pm

Website: http://www.pollen.com.sg/

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Carvers & Co - Yet Another Burger Joint

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Yes, yet another burger joint. While I'm happy about the variety and competition the various eateries offer, I'm honestly a little jaded by the "famous" or "must try" places that serve middling burgers. But I digress. We were at Carvers & Co for a taste of their much touted beef burger on a sweltering weekend afternoon.

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The Place

Occupying one of the small shophouse units along East Coast Road, just opposite Roxy Square, Carvers sports an industrial chic interior complete with overhanging halogen lamps and heavy steel chairs. One gripe I had about the place. We were seated next to the fold-able doors with the glass panels and could make out second hand cigarette smoke seeping in from outside (we later found out that there was a "designated" cigarette disposal tin just outside and folks from adjourning units were disposing of their cigarettes there as well).

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Pork Get In My Bellay!

As amusing as this dished sounded, it was average at very best. The pork belly came across as very crisp and way too dry; on a bed of crisp bread with a splattering of siracha mayonnaise for that spicy but less than useful kick. Finishing this proved quite a chore and we gave up after a while.

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The (AWOL) Sergeant

Grilled to a medium rare with a mildly salty bovine taste, the beef patty came topped with melted cheddar and a layer of caramelised onions for a dollop of sweetness; sandwiched between two mildly crisp burger buns spread with a thin layer of butter and mustard. Overall pretty decent but I personally would have preferred the buns without the mustard. The additional streaky bacon (+$3) came extremely crisp but was way too dry for my liking (it felt like I was eating a cracker instead of bacon).  

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Truffle Fries

Crisp and topped with grated cheese, served with mayonnaise but where's the truffle oil?

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Bill

At $44 for the both of us, it wasn't expensive but the food was rather disappointing. The beef burger was the only thing that was decent (but nowhere as good as Suprette's) and I don't foresee myself ever returning again. Once again, so much for the hype...


Final Verdict:

Ambience: 6.5/10 (this doesn't take into account the cigarette fumes)
Service: 6.5/10
Food: 5.5/10 (7/10 for the burger)
Value for money: 5.5/10

Overall: 6/10

Address: 43 East Coast Road

Contact: 6348 0448

Opening Hours:

Weekdays:
12:00 pm-5:30 pm
6:30 pm-10:00 pm

Weekends:
8:30 am-5:00 pm
6:30 pm-10:00 pm

Closed on Tuesday

Website: http://www.carversand.co/

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Lady M Singapore - The Famous Signature Mille Crêpe

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After our rather unsatisfying meal at Tanuki Raw, we popped by Lady M for some desserts to fill that gap in our stomachs. The funny thing is, I've never really been a fan of Lady M and my previous visit to the now defunct outlet at Marina Square (when it first opened in 2013) wasn't quite memorable.

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The Place

Spanning 2 levels at Orchard Central, Lady M boasts lots of seating and soaring floor to ceiling glass panels to allow for plenty of natural light. Very comfortable in my humble opinion. 

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Signature Mille Crêpe

Lady M's signature mille crêpe. There's something rather soothing about chomping down on thin layers of not too soggy crepe filled with light pastry cream that didn't threaten to give me a toothache. Very delicate and rather delicious in my humble opinion.

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Chocolate Mille Crêpe

The chocolate variant is apparently only available at Lady M's Orchard Central outlet. And it actually tastes similar to that of the signature, albeit filled with chocolate cream and topped with a chocolate ornament. I'm a little biased towards chocolate so I personally preferred this over the original.

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Bill

Two crêpes cost us ~ $20, which isn't exactly cheap but still acceptable in my humble opinion, given the location and quality. However service came across as rather inconsistent probably due to the relatively young and inexperienced wait staff on duty that afternoon.


Final Verdict:

Ambience: 7.5/10
Service: 5.5/10
Food: 7/10
Value for money: 7/10

Overall: 6.75/10

Address: #01-27 & #02-07 Orchard Central

Contact: 6509 3673

Opening Hours: Daily 11am to 10pm

Website: http://www.ladym.com.sg/

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Tanuki (たぬき) Raw - Decent Yakiniku Don In The Heart Of Orchard Road

The wife and I were in Orchard Road running some errands on a Saturday late morning and decided to do lunch in the area. A quick search online for Donburi led us to the relatively new Japanese bar & restaurant, Tanuki Raw, started by the same guy who started the relatively successful Standing Sushi Bar, Howard Lo.

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The Place

Located on the 2nd floor of Orchard Central, Tanuki offers rather closely packed tables amidst an industrial setting. Think cement screed floor, exposed ceiling and halogen lights; not my kind of style. Thankfully there wasn't a crowd when we dropped by.

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Bara Chirashi Don

Cubes of reasonably fresh scallop, sea bream, tuna, swordfish, salmon, striped jack salmon roe and tamago served on rice with Tanuki's signature sauce; lacking in bite as the cubes were cut too small while the signature sauce came across as mildly salty with a hint of ginger. Overall a decent bowl of chirashi don but in comparison to that of Hana Hana's, a more expensive (~ $3 more) but less tasty version. In short, if you want value for money chirashi dons, stick with Hana Hana.

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Truffle Yakiniku Don

Apparently Tanuki's pièce de résistance and the highly raved about dish (on social media at least), the truffle yakiniku don looked promising at the onset. Black angus short rib slices pan seared till medium that came across as tender with a slight hint of beefiness and topped with a creamy onsen egg. However the truffle soya sauce was way too salty for my liking (had to drink lots of water!) and I only tasted weak, random flashes of truffle oil (no fragrance to speak of). The presence of a rather distinct taste of ginger didn't quite do it for me as well (not a fan of ginger to be honest). All in all, still a decent but rather small serving of yakiniku don.

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Bill

There is an option to top up $2++ for a set lunch which includes a bowl of salad, miso soup and hot tea. The both of us went with this and chalked up a total bill of ~ $40; not too expensive but less than satisfied (ironic that Lady M a few shops down provided that satisfaction instead). Service was okay but I doubt I'll be returning anytime soon.


Final Verdict:

Ambience: 6.5/10
Service: 6.5/10
Food: 6.5/10
Value for money: 6.5/10
Overall: 6.5/10

Address: #02-03 Orchard Central

Contact: 6636 5949

Opening Hours:

11:30 AM - 10:30 PM daily

11:30 AM - 3 PM Lunch Sets daily

5 PM - 8 PM Happy Hour daily

Last order of food at 9:45 PM and drinks at 10:15 PM

No reservations

Website: http://tanukibar.com/

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Hana Hana (華花) - Value For Money Bara Chirashi Don

We had heard much about Hana Hana (an offshoot of the ever popular Teppei @ Tanjong Pagar) but never really fancied joining the queues (and the hype!) just to dine there. But as luck would have it, we were in the Tanjong Pagar area one Saturday late morning when we caught sight of an almost non existent queue just before opening hours and decided to give it a shot.

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The Place

Located just next to Teppei at a corner of Orchid Hotel along Tanjong Pagar Road (actually they sorta share the premises and staff), Hana Hana is the cheaper sibling to Teppei and serves up a rather limited menu that includes Teppei's signature Bara Chirashi Don. Seating is restricted to counter seats only and you have a view of the chefs preparing your food.

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Bara Chirashi Don ($17.60)

The famous Bara chirashi Don. A rather sizable bowl of fresh pieces of salmon, tuna and swordfish mixed in with a light soy sauce on a bed of rice, topped with roe and strips of seawood; certainly not wow or anything near the best chirashi I've eaten but definitely value for money.

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Higawari ($17.60)

The higawari or daily special of grilled wagyu was relatively lacklustre in comparison to the don, coming across as a little overcooked but still tender and relatively juicy, doused in a mildly sweet sauce. The wagyu lacked beefiness and I honestly couldn't tell it was wagyu, not from the lack of marbling. Served with a bowl of rice. Decent but not something I would specially order again.

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Bill

Advertised prices are nett (even though the bill breaks it down to include service charge and GST) and the both of us spent $35.20 on lunch. In my humble opinion, both the quality of ingredients and the taste aren't great so what draws the crowds and the rave reviews? My guess - very reasonable pricing, limited seating and herd/hype mentality.


Final Verdict:

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

Overall: 6.75/10

Address: #01-17, Orchid Hotel

Contact: 62227363

Opening Hours

Daily from 12:00pm - 2:30pm & 6:30pm - 10:00pm