Friday, June 30, 2006

Tatsu Sushi

Ok, you're thinking - Japanese food two days in a row?!?

But I LOVE Japanese food!!

This is one of those places I've walked past before and thought to myself - hmm, must be pretty expensive. Straight off, I'm going to say that it IS pretty expensive... especially if like me, you're more used to Sakae Sushi prices... but the sushi was so amazingly fresh and looked so absolutely gorgeous, that I think it's something that I can indulge in, oh, every once in a while :)

The restaurant is actually made up of three areas - Tatsu Teppanyaki, Tatsu Sakae Bar and Tatsu Sushi, which is where I ended up eating.

There wasn't anything particularly exciting on the menu... and it was just a little overwhelming with the Japanese men next to us ordering in Japanese... so we decided to order Tatsu Omakase ($80 for 2 persons). Omakase is when you leave it up to the chef to prepare whatever he wants to, which is normally using the freshest ingredients he has.

So it was quite exciting, not knowing what would be served... and when the food was served to us, I could not get over how pretty everything looked.

For the very first time, here is a picture of what I ate. Applause please! :)

Not a bad picture considering it was taken with a handphone camera!

In the front row, from right to left :
* Unagi Sushi - sushi topped with a piece of eel
* Ikaru Sushi - seaweed wrapped sushi topped with salmon roe
( erm, four pieces of mystery sushi that I could not identify but tasted pretty good)
* Sake Sushi - salmon sushi
(another piece of mystery sushi)
* Maguro Sushi - tuna sushi

In the centre portion :
* Tamagoyaki - rolled omelette (look closely - there are words printed on it!)
* Three pieces each of two different types of maki (not too sure what was in them but three of them had something in it that had more kick than wasabi)

There was also a bowl of miso soup and chawan mushi served with the sushi.

A meal that satisfied both the eyes and the stomach! Would you believe I'm craving sushi again?!?

Tatsu Sushi
30 Victoria Street
#01-16 CHIJMES
Tel : 63325868

Thursday, June 29, 2006

En Japanese Dining Bar

Over the past year, many new Japanese restaurants have sprung up in the Mohamed Sultan area. The fact that you see so many Japanese eating here says something about the quality and authenticity of the food...

First up, if you ever do come here to eat, call ahead and reserve a table in the air-conditioned part of the restaurant. If you end up on a table outdoors, you'll have to bear with the smell of grilling and have that horrible smell cling to your clothes and your self... Yucky! So much nicer to enjoy the food in air-conditioned comfort :)

The menu here is pretty varied and they have all the usual suspects (sashimi, sushi, handroll, noodles etc)... but what is a must try here are the grilled items.

Everyone is familiar with yakitori - bite-sized pieces of chicken skewered and charcoal-grilled... but what is really popular at the Japanese restaurants in this area is all types and combinations of meats and vegetables skewered and cooked over a charcoal grill. If I'm not mistaken, it's called sumiyaki.

Thrown by the variety, we decided to make life simple and just order the assorted platter. This consisted of one yakitori, one chicken wing, one stick of five tiny green peppers, one stick of enoki bacon and one stick of five pieces of chicken cartilage.

The enoki bacon was yummy yummy yummy! So glad we added an extra order :) I'm a total sucker for anything with enoki mushrooms in it. I decided to be adventurous and try the chicken cartilage - it was plain bizarre! It was so tough I couldn't even bite into it! It was very quickly abandoned...

The other dishes were pretty good too - Salmon Sashimi ($10 for 5 pieces) was very fresh, Agedeshi Tofu was very nicely fried with a crispy exterior. Look out for the Unagi Fried Rice $12 - it's a really big portion and can easily feed two.

There's something about charcoal-grilled skewers that's just very... comforting. Also, the small portions make me feel like I haven't eaten much and I'm so pleased with myself for not over-eating... but really the "small" portions add up to quite a full meal :)

This place opens till 2am on weekends so it's definitely a good option after a late night out.

En Japanese Dining Bar
207 River Valley Road
#01-57 (UE Square)
Tel : 67352212

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Cellar Door

Had a lovely birthday dinner here last year - the food was good, the desserts yummy, and the wines were apparently not bad too (so I was told - I have NO IDEA how to appreciate good wine).

While I had a reasonably enjoyable time this time round, it was definitely not as good as the last time.

First thing I noticed was that they had renovated the place. For some reason they added a huge bar counter that kinda overwhelms the place. But the place is still very cosy and gives you the feeling that you're in a quaint restaurant in the middle of Napa Valley... or something like that :)

Service was great! After the horribly rude waitress at Morton's, I was so happy to get some good service. The waiter who served us was young, enthusiastic and very friendly. Had similarly good service at Corduroy & Finch nearby - am beginning to wonder what these suburban restaurants did to poach these great waiters!

What was slightly disappointing was the food. For a starter, we had 'Delicious Dips Plate with Crispy Bread' $9++. There was a choice of dips and I chose sundried tomato pesto and hummus. The dips tasted ok, but they were not of a spreadable consistency and you had to use a knife to spread it on the bread.

For the main course, I had the Morrocan Lamb Pie $18++ (which was the pie of the day). It was a generous serving of very tender chunks of lamb under a flaky pie crust, accompanied by some steamed asparagus and french beans.

For dessert, we had the Strawberry Kiwi Pavlova $8++. I think not everyone has heard of a Pavlova?... Yes, it's named after the famous ballet dancer, Anna Pavlova. It's actually an Australian invention - a meringue topped with fruits. A meringue is made by beating egg whites and salt to a stiff consistency before folding in sugar, vanilla and vinegar. After baking, it becomes crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. I love the way it just melts in your mouth... and as you can imagine, it's extremely sweet. Topped with strawberries, kiwis and passionfruit, it was exactly what my sweet tooth was craving :)

All in all it was a pretty good dining experience, so I wouldn't mind coming back here again. And, yes, I still cannot remember to take photos of the food before I eat!

The Cellar Door
619 Bukit Timah Road
Tel : 64635296

Friday, June 23, 2006

Happy Hour at Morton's

Haven't been here in nearly a year so was quite happy to re-visit :)

What so special about Happy Hour at Morton's? For one, you can get martinis for $9.95++ (actually it's gone up in price - it used to be $7.90++). The chocolate martini is supposed to be pretty good, but looking at the glass at the next table, it didn't LOOK very appealing. So I had my usual lychee martini - YUMMY! :P The other flavours available are Appletini and Cosmopolitan. Despite all the publicity that Sex and The City gave to the Comso, I never quite acquired a taste for it...

The other really good reason to go for Happy Hour at Morton's is the simple yet amazingly tasty filet mignon sandwiches - totally free! Every half an hour or so, the waiters will saunter into the bar area with trays of the sandwiches and it runs out pretty fast. One extremely tender and flavourful slice of filet mignon wrapped between two slices of lightly mayo-ed soft buns. Ahh.... heaven. I think there's a more extensive finger food menu that you can order from, but why would anyone do that when the sandwiches are free :P

Happy hour lasts from 5-7pm, but to get a seat - you HAVE to get there early. A major gripe though, we got really bad service. The place was full when we got there and the waitress was so grumpy about trying to get us some seats... even though I asked really nicely. And when we got the bill, the waitress said very loudly to "sign the receipt also". There was just something in the tone, and the volume that was just so rude!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Argh! How to choose...

Teddy Geiger is having a showcase at Balaclava tonight and I've been trying to figure out a way to score tickets... then kinda gave up since the guy only has one album and two songs that I know (although I have to say that I'm really impressed by the fact that he's only 17!).

Yesterday afternoon, I was invited to go to the Jamie Cullum concert - also on tonight - yeah free tickets!! Not a huge fan of Jamie Cullum but an evening of soothing jazz music sounds totally awesome...

And then last nite, I get an sms from a friend who said that she had two tickets to the Teddy Geiger showcase and wanted to go with me as she felt her husband would not really enjoy it.

Finally decided to give up the chance to go to the Teddy Geiger showcase (free!) and am watching Jamie Cullum tonight instead (also free!). Dunno why but I find this happens to me quite often - that there times when I'm totally free and bored with nothing to do... and then there are days when I have a thousand things going on at the same time! Why couldn't the two concerts have been on different days?!? :(

On a brighter note, Spain thrashed Ukraine 4-0 last nite. Besides playing really good football, one of the other reasons why I'm supporting Spain is because I think Torres is really cute - really really cute :)

Monday, June 12, 2006

High Tea at Equinox

I've never eaten at Equinox before... well, actually I've had dinner there when it used to be Compass Rose but that can hardly be counted. I also haven't had high tea in AGES so I was quite happy to try out high tea at Equinox. Especially since my friend could get a 50% discount off the price of the buffet :)

The spread was more extensive than I expected. There were dishes that were more for lunch then tea - slices of chicken breast (suprisingly yummy!), lamb patties (not bad), veal sausages, chawan mushi, sushi, thai fish cakes, spring rolls, pizza, even a pasta station!

Of course there were the same dishes that you always find at local high tea buffets - finger sandwiches, roti prata, scones, cakes, longan with almond jelly etc.

But what I thought was one of the better dishes was the laksa. After my friend raved about it, I just had to give it a try. It was DIY-style so you can put as much of the ingredients as you wanted. The laksa gravy was tasty and lemak - would have been really nice with some cockles though...

Well, you can hardly go to Equinox and not spend some time admiring the view... and having only seen it at night, it was quite a change to see everything in the daylight... i felt like a tourist :)

The buffet cost S$35+++ (S$40) but with the 50% discount it cost only S$20 per person. A so-so buffet that's only worth it if you have the Raffles Card which gives you the 50% discount.

For the record, I was so full after that that I could only think about food 24 hours later. Sorry, Sasha! Your shepherd's pie and chicken wings looked really yummy but I really really could not put any more food into my stomach :P

Thursday, June 08, 2006

333 Bak Kut Teh (Balestier Road)

Bak kut teh is the best thing to eat on a cold day... the hot soup warms you up and the peppery stock sets your insides on fire all the way from the mouth to the stomach. Mmm.... very satisfying :)

The more famous bak kut teh shop was closed so I ended up eating here instead. But it was really good! One bowl of bak kut teh ($6), a bowl of rice ($0.50) and the requisite you char kway ($2). You can top up as much soup as you like, so I ended up having two bowls :) Each bowl comes with around three ribs which doesn't seem like much when you start out, but you feel quite full at the end of the meal. I guess the soup takes up quite a bit of space in the stomach... but the soup is so good that I could not stop drinking it until I actually started feeling slightly sick :P

It's really cold and rainy today and I'm totally craving bak kut teh again!

Erm, I'm still trying to get used to the idea of carrying a camera around with me and taking photos of the food I eat. I remembered to bring the camera out, but was so excited to dig in that I totally forgot to take photos until the meal was over. Photos of three meatless ribs and an empty bowl is not really a picture worth taking :)

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

On a serious note...

I normally read the newspapers everyday... but for some reason, I didn't read the papers last Friday. Because I missed the article in Friday's papers, and the obituaries, it took me two days to find out the news that a girl I knew from the national women's rugby team had passed away in a road accident on Thursday.

I didn't know Jane well, but had met her many times at various rugby events. I remember her as being very out-going and friendly. When I heard the news, the image of her that came to mind was one of her laughing and smiling. That is how I know many will remember her.

It's times like this that I am reminded how extremely fragile life is... that it could all be gone in a heartbeat. Here's the preachy bit - we should all remember to live life to its fullest, live every day like it's our last, appreciate the people around us, and be thankful for those who love us.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Sin Hoi Sin Eating House (Tze Char)

Yay! Eating at somewhere new! Ok, not exactly new, but at least it was somewhere I have not been to in the last 12 months...

Had a craving for tze char and Daphne suggested trying the Tiong Bahru area. Being the first one to reach there, I got to decide where to eat. I ate in one of the tze char restaurants in that area a while back, and I remember the food was not too bad so we ended up eating there. It's really hard to describe the place as it's kinda located in an alleyway between two buildings... but I think it's supposed to be quite famous.

We ordered pai kuat wong (spare ribs), sweet and sour pork, baby kai lan and hotplate tofu. The pai kuat wong was super yummy! Hotplate tofu was my choice - there's something about a sizzling hotplate that makes food extra appealing :) came up to about $12 per person for the four of us.

After that we wanted to check out late nite shopping at Raffles City (opened till 12am for the Great Singapore Sale) but the queue going into the car park was so ridiculous that we ended up going to Bugis Village pasar malam instead. That was the start of retail therapy for the weekend - as mentioned on Daphne's blog, we also did major shopping (4 hours!) on Sunday afternoon at Zouk Flea Market and Far East Level One.

Shopping - my other vice... er, I mean indulgence :)

Friday, June 02, 2006

Samy's Curry

A meal at Samy's Curry always means that I end up being so full that I actually can't even IMAGINE eating my next meal...

It's hard not to over-order when you're at Samy's Curry, especially when you're starving and the waiter keeps bringing dishes of yummy yummy food... but I've figured out my favourite dishes and how much I can actually eat, so I always tell the waiter very firmly to just bring me the chicken tikka, fried mutton and fish cutlet. Together with rice, portions of vegetables, plenty of papadums... And a big glass of lime juice to hose down the burning taste buds. All for just $12! :D

All that delicious and spicy food always puts me in a food coma for a good half an hour - being in a total daze, feeling light-headed etc. It's really quite funny because there's normally a few people around looking the same way too... nobody eats and runs here. You eat, sit there in food coma after your meal, eventually find some way to peel yourself off the chair and in a fog, trudge down the suddenly treacherous steps to the car park...

I've been making a conscious effort to order different dishes nowadays... I'm way too predictable when it comes to food. I once had a waiter in Olio Dome ask me why I wasn't ordering my usual pasta! Embarrassing! But also kinda creepy that he was keeping track of what I normally order...

Anyway, in the spirit of change, I ordered the chicken masala instead of my usual chicken tikka. Yummy too, but my gripe about chicken masala is that there's never enough "gravy" to eat the chicken with and the spicy flavour doesn't quite permeate the whole piece of chicken.

And yes, I'm still trying to remember to bring a camera out with me so I can take pictures of the food to post on this blog...