Sunday, April 17, 2016

Angelina Singapore - The Famed Parisan Pâtisserie's First Foray Into Singapore

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The entrance of the famed Parisan pâtisserie, Angelina, into Singapore sparked rave media (both conventional and unconventional) reviews as well as long queues in the initial stages. Fast forward almost a year later and the queues seem to have vanished (at least on a Friday afternoon during the lunch period) and only a handful of tables were occupied.We were ushered to a table in a corner with an adjourning extension, presumably for us to place our drinks/side orders as our main table was rather tiny. It was so small that we had problems trying to sit around it comfortably as our knees were hitting the legs. Talk about impracticality! To be fair, only a few tables (rounded ones) had this issue. 

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Old Fashioned Ice Chocolate “L'Africain

Touted as one of the definite must tries in Angelina (albeit the hot version, not the cold one), the ice chocolate is apparently made from blending cocoa beans from Niger, Ghana, Cote D'Ivoire and Papua New Guinea and served with unsweetened whipped cream. My humble take on this? Rich and satisfying but the whipped cream didn't quite do it for me especially since the drink was cold and the cream remained in clumps for quite a fair bit of time (stirring didn't actually help much). And personally, 15 bucks a pop (after tax) is a rather ludicrous amount to pay for a glass of chocolate.

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Complimentary Bread

Crusty on the outside yet compact on the inside with a tinge of sour dough-ness, the mini baguette wasn't really warm and came served with chilled butter. Which presented a small problem. The bread was warm enough to melt the butter and we ended up having to exert quite a fair bit of pressure to apply a smooth layer of butter onto the bread. 

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Seafood Risotto

What a feast for the eyes the Seafood Risotto was; boasting a variety of colours from the prawns, squid, scallop, clams and cheese shavings. Unfortunately it really did look much better than it tasted. The risotto was al dente (I'll give it that!) but lacked creaminess whilst the seafood just didn't quite make the cut. The huge singular scallop, for example, was a little too soft througout and lacked any discernible sweetness. Ditto the prawns, which didn't come across as very fresh. Overall palatable but no great shakes.

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Truffle Croque Monsieur

I was enticed by the truffle quotient in this particular rendition of Croque Monsieur and on hindsight it probably wasn't the wisest equation to select. Two crisp slices of toast bearing onto a slices of ham and cheese and topped with a layer of gooey melted cheese, followed by a generous drizzle of truffle oil and finished off with two thin slices of black truffle (more for that visual effect honestly). The wonderful aroma (from the truffle oil) aside, it was nothing much than a decent ham and cheese sandwich with truffle oil; nothing more, nothing less.

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Mont Blanc

Another of Angelina's signature dishes, the famed Mont Blanc pureed chestnut dessert. Maybe the issue lies with me but I really didn't quite fancy it. The chestnut puree came across as a little too heavy and stodgy which made this small dessert rather nauseating to consume after a few bites. So much so that I left half of it untouched. So much for the high expectations.

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Lunch for 2 came up to about $60 after a 50% discount only on the food (~ $105 without discount) which was still acceptable for the rather pedestrian quality of food. However, take away that discount and Angelina would be seriously overpriced in my humble opinion. Service was reasonably competent but stiff.

Final Verdict:

Ambience: 7/10 (I would have given it a 7.5 if not for the impractical tables!)
Service: 7/10 (Fairly competent but stiff)
Food: 6/10
Value for money: 6/10 (3.5/10 without the 50% discount)

Overall: 6.5/10

Address: #01-82 Capitol Galleria

Contact: 6688 5657

Opening Hours:

Mon-Fri: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm

Sat-Sun: 10:00 am - 10:00 pm


Sunday, April 03, 2016

Seletar Hill Restaurant 鱼香亭 - Just Another Secluded Chinese Restaurant

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A colleague had recommended Seletar Hill Restaurant so a couple of us got together for lunch one weekend to give it a shot. This place apparently sells "westernised" Chinese food like General Tso's Chicken as well as Szechuan dishes which the owners picked up whilst cooking in the kitchens of Chinese restaurants in New York. Having lived in the Americas for quite a few years, that little bit of history honestly didn't quite assure me.

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The Place

Facing a neighbour park/playground along Jalan Selaseh (along Yio Chu Kang Road and a few lanes down from Orchid Live Seafood @ Jalan Kelulut), Seletar Hill Restaurant (or SHR for short) is an unassuming eatery that has a typical, dated interior that is commonplace in many older Chinese restaurants.

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Cold Dish

A rather typical old school Chinese restaurant starter; the appetiser platter aka "cold" dish. Consisting of the usual sliced prawns with thousand island sauce, ngoh hiang (五香), jellyfish etc. Everything was palatable but nothing quite memorable honestly.

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Fish Maw, Fresh Crabmeat, Chicken and Mushroom Potage

Not too starchy with relatively generous shreds of crab meat, chicken and pieces of fish maw. I personally prefer double boiled soups (like the ones from Lei Garden) but this was pretty decent. 

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Camphor Tea Smoked Duck

One of SHR's signature dishes. On my first bite, I could make out the pleasantly faint smokiness that permeated through the entire piece of meat. However the entire duck didn't seem evenly smoked as parts of it seemed a little bland. Also, the meat did come across as a tad dry. Still a very decent eat nonetheless and definitely one of the better ones I've had. 

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Claypot Duck Wing with Sea Cucumber

I personally wasn't a fan of this dish. Although the duck wing was well braised, the gravy came across as one dimensional. Don't quite fancy sea cucumber as well.

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Fried Red Garoupa with Sweet and Sour Sauce

The fish was quite fresh and sported a crisp exterior drizzled with a mildly sweet and appetising sweet and sour sauce. Not too bad honestly. 

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"Tung-po" Pork Belly with Steamed Buns

Another of SHR's signature dishes, the Tung-po pork belly with steamed buns aka kong ba pau (扣肉包) was melt in your mouth tender but the gravy did seem a little bland. Nothing quite like the one I usually have from Beng Hiang (I have yet to visit them since their move to Jurong so I am unsure if standards have been maintained).

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Our set lunch for 6 pax cost just over $240, which honestly wasn't too expensive given the quantity of food. However food quality isn't much to shout about and I guess SHR is just another ulu Chinese restaurant; worth a try but not worth a revisit in my humble opinion.

Final Verdict:

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

Overall: 6.25/10

Address: 16 Jalan Selaseh

Contact: 64830348

Opening Hours: 1130am-230pm, 530pm to 10pm daily