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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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:

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

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

Closed on Tuesday


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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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


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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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


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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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

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Toastface Grillah, Perth WA - Interesting Name, Awesome Toasties

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There is a scene in the movie "Chef" where professional chef Casper (played by Jon Favreau) whips up an unbelievably delicious looking and sounding (at least on screen) grilled sandwich for his son. As the wife and I drooled over the sandwich, the scene was inevitably etched into our memory and we longed for something similar. As luck would have it, on the recommendation of our friend, we dropped by Toastface Grillah in Perth on a weekday morning for some apparently awesome toasties.

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The Place & Menu

Located right smack in the middle of Perth's CBD and across the road from Perth station, Toastface Grillah is hidden away in a small side lane (Grand Lane), boasting exposed brick walls, grafitti and of course the ghetto styled, cute bad-ass sandwich mascot. Seating is al fresco and the place can probably seat ~ 10 pax. Place your order, pay at the counter (cash only) and your food will be served to you in a bit. Or if you prefer, you can do a takeaway.

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Ol' Faithful (AUD 7.50)

The classic ham and cheese sandwich, elevated to an all new level with the gooey viscous cheddar, smoked ham all packed betwen 2 slices of mind-blowingly crispy grain bread. Coupled with a mild sweetness from the sweet pickle relish, this was a very good grilled sandwich.

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Steaks Is High (AUD 9)

Although the steak sandwich sported a similar, crisp bread base, the filling of slow cooked beef, grilled marinated onions and capsicum and BBQ sauce came across as a little too sweet and lacking in texture for my liking. I personally would have liked it better had it leaned towards the savoury side. Nonetheless, still a very decent toastie.

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Trillacheese (AUD 7.50)

Undoubtedly the star of our meal, the Trillacheese toastie, which boasted a molten, lip smacking concoction of cheddar, gruyère and emmental cheese, sandwiched between two slices of delightfully crispy toast. I kid you not, this is simplicity at its best!

This place probably serves the best toasties I've had to date and I'll definitely be back in a heartbeat!

Final Verdict:

Ambience: NA
Service: NA
Food: 7.5/10 (8/10 for Trillacheese)
Value for money: 7.5/10

Overall: 7.5/10

Address: Grand Lane, Perth (Corner of Wellington & Barrack street)

Contact: +61 409 115 909

Opening Hours:

Mon to Fri - 0700hrs to 1600hrs

Sat - 0900hrs to 1600hrs

Closed on Sundays


Sunday, November 01, 2015

Ribs & Burgers, Perth WA - Decent Burgers

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We were back in Perth and our friends brought us to a popular chain store, Ribs & Burgers (with outlets across Australia and in the US), for dinner.

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The Place

Owing to the dinner crowd, we waited about 30mins for a table even though it was already at the tail end of the dinner rush. How this place works is you place your order and pay for it at the counter and it will be delivered to your table. If you need drinking water, help yourself to the ridiculously slow water dispenser within the restaurant.

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The wife and I had a medium serving of their signature thick cut chips to share and it came across as moist on the inside with a crusty exterior and a little lacking in salt. Not my cup of tea.

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Cajun Chicken Burger

While I personally like chicken breast meat, this was a little too dry. Sandwiched between two soft but pedestrian buns and layered with a spicy cajun mayo sauce that had creamy nuances. Decent but no great shakes.

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Not content with just a plain burger, I added swiss cheese (+ $1.50) and bacon (+ $2) to spruce it up. Done to a perfect medium, the patty came across as tender with a satisfying beefy oomph while the semi molten cheese gave it a nice smooth texture. However the buns needed work; more time on the grill and more butter please. Nonetheless a very decent burger overall.

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Dinner was a pleasant affair with rather reasonable prices (AUD 33.50 or ~ SGD $33.50). While the food might not have been outstanding, it's decent enough if you are craving a burger in Perth.

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: Shop 24, 140 William Street, Perth WA 6000

Contact: 08 9321 4888

Opening Hours:

Sun-Thurs: 11am – 9:30pm

Fri-Sat: 11am – 10pm