Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao

I'm totally a creature of habit so I always end up ordering the same things everytime I'm here - Xiao Long Bao, La Mian with Deep Fried Pork Ribs and Tang Yuan in Ginger Soup. But since I've started this blog, I've made a conscious effort to try new things so here are some new things I've tried on two recent trips to the branches in Holland Village and Great World City -

At the Holland Village branch, I saw something on the menu that sounded like Deep Fried Beancurd Skin with Prawn so I ordered it. But it turned out like this!

While I liked the fact that there were whole prawns, it doesn't taste as good as the normal one with minced-up prawn meat. And kinda annoying to have the prawn shell to contend with...

Another dim sum item that I saw on menu at the Great World City branch was Mushroom and Radish Pastry $3.20+++, which turned out to be this -

Not what I imagined it would be... the outer layer was tough and it was quite oily - didn't like it at all.

The Drunken Chicken here is quite good -

Very tender with a strong shaoxing wine taste... only thing that bothers me about this dish is that it's served cold. Doesn't taste bad or anything, I just prefer food that's hot.

I've recently noticed that vegetable dishes, despite it's simplicity, always taste really good when you have them at restaurants!

Why is it veggies never taste quite as good when you cook them at home?? It was just plain old kailan but it was cooked just right and so delicious!

Ok, so I'm trying to be more adventurous and try new stuff, but how can I come here and not have the Xiao Long Bao $3.60+++? :)

Still one of the best Xiao Long Baos in town, I reckon. I love the flavourful soup that bursts into your mouth when you take a bite of it, and the skin is the right thickness.

Whenever I'm in Hong Kong, I will go to this dodgy street stall in Mongkok that serves the yummiest beef brisket noodles (ngau lan meen). So while beef brisket noodles is not something new, I've never had it at Crystal Jade before :)

The Beef Brisket Noodles $7.00+++ are not bad - the beef is quite tender, but the soup could stand to be a tad tastier.

This is one of the restaurant's signature desserts, Egg White Puff with Banana and Red Bean Filling (not sure what the exact name is) -

It's really light and airy and the dusting of icing sugar on the top is a nice touch, and who would have thought to put red bean and banana together?? But I'm not terribly fond of banana OR red bean...

Which is why I always end up ordering my favourite dessert - Tang Yuan in Ginger Soup :)

Love the kick in the ginger soup and the tang yuan here is always boiled to perfection. Never ever have the tang yuan at Tong Shui Cafe - it's nearly always mushy and overcooked.

Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao
1 Kim Seng Promenade
#03-30 Great World City
Tel : 6738 5595

241/241A Holland Avenue
Tel: 6463 0968

Monday, February 26, 2007

Menotti - The Original Italian Café (revisited)

Everyone knows how much I like eating breakfast foods at non-breakfast times, so of course I had to have Eggs Florentine when I saw it on the menu at Menotti during lunch time. Oh, that and I love creamed spinach - despite the fact that it looks quite unappetising...

Eggs Florentine is a variation of Eggs Benedict - poached eggs with hollandaise sauce, resting on a bed of creamed spinach and mushrooms, with toast. I had the Eggs Benedict the last time I was here so I decided to try the Eggs Florentine $14.00+++ this time -

Don't ask me why but I just like creamed spinach... it was really filling and I couldn't finish all of it, but I did like it.

Didn't get to try any desserts the last time I was here so I purposely saved some stomach space to try some of the scrumptious looking desserts...

Looks gorgeous, yah? The receipt says it's called Morbida $5.90+++ - what an awful name for a dessert! It was all chocolate mousse - and it's a tiny little thing, but so rich that it took quite a bit of effort to finish it. Yes, I'm willing to leave food behind but no matter how rich the dessert is, I always finish all of it - totally sacrilegious to leave any dessert behind :)

Menotti - The Original Italian Café
252 North Bridge Road
#01-17 Raffles City Shopping Centre
Tel : 6333 9366

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Organic Café Experience

Was at Velocity @ Novena Square with M looking for a place to have lunch, when we noticed this place. M is currently into eating healthy so this seemed like the perfect place to try out...

For a place called "Organic Café", you would expect most of the items on the menu to be organic right? Not quite...

M ordered the Lambloin S$10.90+ -

and I had the Grilled Seafood $12.90+ -

The food was actually quite good. There was lots of seafood and the slightly ginger-y sauce went remarkably well with it... but can you really call your restaurant "organic" if the only thing that's organic is some of the ingredients for the sauces??? Felt a bit gypped and think they should seriously consider a name change...

Organic Café Experience
Velocity @ Novena Square
Tel : 6352 7837

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Jang Shou Korean Charcoal BBQ

The Korean obsession continues!

I mentioned in a previous post that my friends and I are currently obsessed about all things Korean - so when MP & I were meeting the others for drinks at the Esplanade, we decide to take the opportunity to try out the Korean restaurant here.

Of course I was super excited when the waiter started serving all the side dishes -

Like all Korean BBQ restaurants, the side dishes are "free-flow" as in you can order as much as you want... which I think is something they have factored into the price of the rest of the dishes...

The side dishes here were not that great - I much prefer the ones at Ju Shin Jung. Always want to order more but normally end up being too full after eating everything else we ordered.

For the meats, we had the Grilled Brisket Meat $28++ -

And a Pork dish $22++ (sorry can't remember the exact name) -

The brisket was really good, the pork was just so-so. I realised that Korean BBQ tends to be pretty expensive - I end up spending at least $30 per person each time. Which is about the same as a Japanese buffet - but for that you get lots more food...

Apparently they brought Rain here for a late dinner when he was in town recently... well, if it's good enough for Rain, it's good enough for me ;)

By the way, this is the 100th post on my blog!!

Jang Shou Korean Charcoal BBQ
Esplanade Mall
Tel: 6337 8880

Friday, February 16, 2007

Lee Heng Restaurant

To me, this place is known as Joe's Tze Char place - I had to drive by again recently to get the proper name of this place :) Joe introduced a bunch of us to this place years ago, and we had dinner here the last few times he was back from Melbourne.

We started with a soup - can't remember what type of soup it was though... Watercress and Pork Rib maybe?

There are a few "standard" tze char dishes that we always end up ordering, and the usual suspects include -

Yam Ring - with all the fried crispy stuff, you can't quite see the yam ring, but that's what I end up eating most coz I'm not terribly fond of yam...

I love Deep Fried Baby Squid (Sotong Kia). The colour looks a bit weird in this picture, but it tastes better than it looks...

Another one of my favourite tze char dishes - Cereal Prawns. Not as good as the last few times I've had it but still pretty decent... I'm one of those weird ones who eats the whole prawn, including the shell :)

The Pai Kuat Wong (Spare Ribs) here is pretty yummy too - oops, picture's a little blurry :P

The Prawn Paste Chicken (Har Jiong Kai) here is not too bad but it's been a long time since I've had REALLY GOOD Har Jiong Kai - does anyone have any place to recommend?

Still one of my favourite tze char places and it would be nice to eat here a little more often than once a year :)

Lee Heng Restaurant
118 Commonwealth Crescent
Tel : 6475 9953

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Corduroy Café

Just as I'm drafting this post, I find out that two of my friends just ate here recently! I quite like the original Corduroy & Finch so was eager to check out their latest outlet...

Loved the decor of the place - it's done up like a European café with a few cosy-looking sofa seats and a fantastic view of Sentosa... but surprised to find out that there is no table service - i.e. you place your order and pay at the counter and the food will be served to you. Didn't sit all that well with me...

Forgot to bring my camera with me so had to use Karen's camera (Thanks, dearie!). We took a picture of the Beef Pie $7.00+++ when it was served -

Then decided it made sense to show what it looked like inside so took another photo...

Not very appetizing eh? :P

Karen had the Beef Lasagne $9.00+++ -

And Jo (or was it Aaron??) had the Vegetarian Quiche -

The food was just ok but what we all loved were the desserts. Actually that was the main reason I suggested this place - walked past here the last time I was in Vivo City and the desserts looked realy good...

We tried the Chocolate Royal $6.80+++ -

Panna Cotta $6.80+++ -

And Cheese Cake $6.80+++ -

The desserts were so good that they didn't last very long on the table - and Aaron made sure there were no crumbs were left behind :)

Nice place to hangout for an afternoon chat and a light meal... but definitely try the desserts.

Corduroy Café
1 Harbourfront Walk
#01-106 Vivo City
Tel : 6376 9895

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Netsuretsu Ichiban-Tei

It was on a day when S & I were craving something hot and soupy that we ended up eating here... S had heard that there was a pretty good Japanese restaurant at Robertson Quay so we decided to go check it out.

For a starter we had Agedashi Tofu $9.00+++ -

I love it when the Agedashi Tofu comes with lots of gravy. S wasn't all that hungry so I ate most of this :)

S had the TanTan Men $9.80+++ -

It looked really spicy in the picture in the menu, and looked less spicy in real life... and was even less spicy when eaten.

I had the Tonkotsu Ramen $9.80+++, which was just nothing spectacular.

This hit the spot in that I was craving something hot and soupy, but the food was mediocre. Lots of other Japanese restaurants around this area, largely due to the many Japanese expats living here... If you gauge the authenticity of a Japanese restaurant by the fact that Japanese eat there, then literally every Japanese place here should be good!

Netsuretsu Ichiban-Tei
60 Robertson Quay
#03-01 Quayside
Tel : 6733 3923

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Ju Shin Jung Korean Charcoal BBQ Restaurant

My friends and I are currently obsessed with all things Korean - Korean shows (My Lovely Samsoon! Full House!), Korean guys (Hyun Bin! Rain!) and Korean food. My love for Korean food started in 2001 when on a visit to LA, Janelle brought me to Korea-town and I had my first taste of sundubu (spicy tofu soup) and since then I've been a real fan of Korean food...

The Korean wave has hit Singapore as well, and I have heard rave reviews about this Korean BBQ restaurant so I was quite eager to check it out.

The moment you walk into this place you know you’re in an authentic Korean restaurant – many of the customers are Koreans and quite a few of the staff all are Korean too.

My favourite part of the meal is when the waitress comes to the table and starts laying out all the side dishes – it seems to be a never-ending process! And when they are done, there is barely space on the table for anything else! Just take a look at the number of dishes served –

Next to sundubu, this has got to be my favourite thing about Korean food... I love love love kimchi. When I’m having Korean food at the food courts, I normally order extra servings of kimchi :)

Some of the dishes were not at all familiar, but I enjoyed nearly everything… If I’m not wrong, you can ask for more servings of the side dishes without additional cost, but like me, you’ll probably be too stuffed to have any more than what was served to you.

Now authentic Korean BBQ is totally unlike what we Singaporeans are familiar with (i.e. Seoul Garden Korean BBQ). Here, the waitress will prepare and cook the meat for you – but you are also free to take over the cooking if you wish. Best of all, the hotplate here never gets very dirty – our’s was changed about 3 times throughout the course of the meal. Unlike at Seoul Garden where at the end of the night, there is a thick layer of carbon on the hotplate.

From the BBQ menu, we ordered Galbisal (short rib) $32.00+++ and Bulgogi (marinated beef) $25.00+++. It also came with Korean rice cakes which were really chewy and not all that tasty (at top of picture). You will also notice that they put slices of onions on the hotplate… while the onions are totally edible, you are actually supposed to place the cooked meats on top of them so that the meat doesn’t get overcooked but is still kept warm. How did the meat taste? Absolutely yummy! :)

How can I come to a Korean restaurant and not try the Sundubu $12.00+++?

The sudubu wasn’t all that great. I have a feeling that it was modified for local tastes… either that or it’s been a while since I’ve had it and I’ve forgotten what authentic sundubu tastes like… sigh, I would love to make a trip to Korea just to eat truly authentic Korean food :P

Like I mentioned, my friends and I are Korean obsessed right now, so look out for a post on another Korean BBQ place coming up real soon… but between the two, this one is much better. I think they also recently opened a branch in the east. I really liked this place – go try it out!!

Ju Shin Jung Korean Charcoal BBQ Restaurant
27 West Coast Highway
#01-18/19 YESS Centre
Tel : 6464 0872

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Pump Room

This is one of the many new restaurants that have opened up at Clark Quay. The only reason why it was one of the first places that we checked out was because my favourite guitarist Addy plays here with the band Jive Talking. First time we were here, we found out that they had a pretty interesting menu... which is how we ended up eating here on another particularly indecisive day.

For starters, we tried the Chargrilled Mediterranean Vegetables and Goat's Cheese Stack $14.00+++ -

Crabcakes $16.00+++ -

and the Octopus Salad $12.00+++

Nothing was particularly great, but I'll probably order the Chargrilled Vegetables if I came here again as I love chargrilled vegetables and they went quite well with the goat's cheese.

For the main, I had the Ribs $28+++ -

It was a really huge serving and it was impossible to finish it by myself. As for the meat itself, it fell right off the bone as it's supposed to.

Also tried a bit of the Rack of Lamb $32+++ -

Should have had this - the portion size was perfect for me :)

Despite being really full, we just had to have dessert as I really wanted to have the Pavlova $8.00+++ -

and V really wanted to have his Sticky-date Pudding $8.00+++ -

As long as there is pavlova, I'm sure to order it - I love how the combination of sugar and egg-white becomes something so sweet, crispy and just totally melts in your mouth :) The sticky-date pudding was ok - the Aussies at the table started a conversation about where the best sticky-date pudding was back in Sydney, so I'm pretty sure it wasn't quite up to their expectations.

This trip here was when the place was opened for just a few weeks and they had quite a few operational problems. Besides getting orders mixed up, not bringing things when requested, they also didn't seem to have stocked up enough inventory... What do I mean? When we got our menus, the waiter told us that there were only a limited number of steaks left! It's been a while since they've been open, so hopefully they have ironed the kinks out.

The Pump Room
3B River Valley Road
#01-09 The Foundry
Tel : 6334 2628