Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Kuriya Restaurant & Market

With G in town, I'm always assured of Japanese food. As a creature of habit, I'm (still) always going to the same old places which is the main reason why I've never tried Kuriya... well, that and I've always thought the food here was exorbitantly expensive but I think that's only at Kuriya Fine Dining at Great World City.

We were not terribly hungry so ordered just a few dishes -

Tempura Mori $14.80++

The tempura was quite good and a pretty decent portion too - with three prawns, a piece of fish and some veggies.

Taketsutsu Sushi $13.80++

Isn't it really pretty? I really liked this sushi - besides being fresh, which is expected of a good Japanese restaurant, it's also a perfect size! I hate it when I take a bite of a piece of sushi and it makes a mess - this is exactly bite-size :)

Gyu-okura $8.80++

You can't quite see what it is under all that fried garnish, but it's actually asparagus wrapped with slices of beef. With just four small pieces, it's definitely not worth the price.

Sesame Ice Cream $5.80++ and Soba Crepe $8.30++

The Sesame Ice Cream was not too bad - the high price probably due to the fact that it's handmade? The crepe was extremely thin and light but the custard in the middle made it quite a filling dessert.

While it's not exorbitantly expensive, it is definitely a bit more expensive than your average Japanese restaurant. If you pick the right dishes, it's quite worth the price though. Try to get a seat inside the restaurant as it has a much nicer atmosphere and extremely attentive service.

Kuriya Restaurant & Market
252 North Bridge Road
#B1-06 Raffles City Shopping Centre
Tel : 6883 2020

Friday, May 25, 2007

Imperial Treasure La Mian Xiao Long Bao

Realised I've never been here before, so decided to give it a try one Sunday afternoon... Was quite surprised to see that there was no queue at all, compared to the hordes waiting outside any Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao outlets... but then there weren't queues outside *any* of the restaurants in Marina Square.

To make a fair comparison with Crystal Jade, of course I had to order all the same dishes - La Mian with Pork Rib $7.00+++ :

and Xiao Long Bao $3.60+++ :

Frankly, to my amateur tastebuds, the dishes tasted nearly exactly the same as that those at Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao. Not really a bad thing though - that meant that the Xiao Long Bao had skins of just the right thickness and flavourful soup that spills out when you take a bite out of it, the pork ribs were tasty and the noodles were perfectly al dente.

One of my favourite desserts that I seldom get to order (Tang Yuan in Ginger Soup always wins) is Red Bean Pan Cake $6.00+++ :

I'm not a big fan of red bean but this is an exception. I used to eat red bean pancake all the time, but seldom have it nowadays so this was a rare treat :)

And how can I not have the Tang Yuan in Ginger Soup $3.00+++ :

The Ginger Soup here was seriously "spicy" but that's how Ginger Soup should be - loved it! I was told the one at the Imperial Treasure Cantonese Restaurant is even better...

The food is as good as Crystal Jade, service was also prompt - perfect for when you want this kind of food but can't be bothered to battle the masses at Crystal Jade.

Imperial Treasure La Mian Xiao Long Bao
6 Raffles Boulevard
#02-138J Marina Square

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Whole Earth Vegetarian Restaurant

On a particularly adventurous evening, we decided to try out this vegetarian restaurant in Geylang - nowhere near the dodgier areas, rather it was right in between a few Buddhist centres.

The cuisine is a mix of tze char, Peranakan and Thai food. M quite likes Peranakan food so I thought it will be interesting for him to try the veggie versions, and not have to forgo Peranakan food just because he's now vegetarian.

So of course we had to order the classic Peranakan dish, Buah Keluak :

The last time we had Buah Keluak, Mother Hen Toh dug the "meat" out from the Buah Keluak for us. So we were a bit lost when the dish arrived and the buah keluak appeared to be whole... we asked the manager for, erm, assistance, and he pointed out to us that there was a slit on the side of the nut. Silly us. Still not all that fond of buah keluak but the rest of the dish (it also had some mock meat in it) was not too bad.

Another Peranakan favourite is Ngoh Hiang -

Like the gyozas at Indinine, the lack of meat in this dish was hardly noticed. Yummy!

Everyone knows how much I love Sambal Kangkong so it was no surprise that I ordered this -

It was deceivingly spicy!

We also ordered Sweet and Sour Fish -

This was the first time I've had mock fish and I was surprised to find that the texture of the "fish" was really close to that of real fish. We were raving about it so much that M (who normally avoids sweet and sour anything) decided to give it a try and quite liked it too!

And no vegetarian meal would be complete without a tofu dish so we ordered Mapo Tofu too -

The food here is all quite healthy - not too oily, not much MSG. All in all a good meal with reasonably attentive service. Parking was a bit of a pain though. Good option for when you want inexpensive and healthy vegetarian food in air-conditioned comfort.

The Whole Earth Vegetarian Restaurant
593 Geylang Road
Tel: 6841 3319

Monday, May 21, 2007

Coca Steamboat

It was a Girl's Night Out... and working around various dietary constraints and on C's suggestion, we ended up eating here. Apparently this is one of C's favourite places to eat but none of us knew that!

While waiting for the rest to turn up, we munched on the appetizers : Mango Salad -

and Deep Fried Crabsticks -

No one seemed to like this but I thought it was not bad. Ended up eating most of the two plates that was on the table :P

We also got served Otah in a Spoon -

of which I ate, erm, two :P

The dinner buffet costs $32.50+++. After you order, the waiter will bring all the ingredients and will put all the ingredients in for you. I kinda forgot to take a picture of the ingredients so made up by taking pictures of the steamboat itself. The first round was full of veggies -

C also ordered quite a few servings of enoki mushrooms which I love, and ate lots of.

Later we added in prawns and other meats to add flavour to the soup -

One of the specialities here is the fish paste, which I frankly don't see what the fuss is about. What were all loved were the finely sliced beef that PM cooked to perfection for us. They don't serve this on the onset so make sure you order it.

What this place is also famous for is its chilli sauce -

which I have to agree is pretty good, seeing how I had two whole bowls of it :)

A pretty good deal if you can eat more than the average person. Besides the thinly sliced beef, the other ingredients are pretty mediocre. Keep in mind for a rainy day when bubbling hot steamboat is just what hits the spot.

Coca Steamboat
360 Orchard Road
#02-05 International Building
Tel: 67382588

Thursday, May 17, 2007

My Blog is 1 Year Old Today!

I initially had all these elaborate plans to celebrate one full year of my blog's existence - including taking up a suggestion to eat at good food places for 24 hours non-stop - but due to lack of planning, today is just going to pass as a normal (eating) day :)

But I cannot let the day pass without saying a few 'Thank You's -

To Joe : Thanks for coming up with the url - I know I can always count on you to come up with, erm, creative suggestions. Hmm, come to think of it, I haven't actually had a kick-ass Char Hei Mee yet... Thanks also for being so nurturing and helping me to get this blog on its feet :)

To all my makan kakis (and you all know who you are) : Thank you for going with me to sometimes far-flung, sometimes obscure, sometimes weird, sometimes overrated places... Thank you for bearing with me the 15 seconds before we eat while I take a picture of the food... Thank you for all your suggestions on how to make the picture better... and I'm looking forward to more exciting makan adventures in the year to come.

To all my regular readers (yes, even those of you who just read and never leave any comments) : Thank you for your support! Very encouraging to know that some of you read my blog nearly everyday and it puts (welcomed) pressure on me to keep you guys constantly entertained.

Here's to another year full of good food :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Angus Steak House

I've noticed this place before (it's near Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao) but never knew what they served. It was B's birthday recently and he wanted to celebrate it here...

The reason for the multiple labels attached to this post is that while they serve western food, the food has a distinctly Japanese slant - steaks are served with a miso-type sauce and they have plenty of Japanese-style pastas (with salmon roe, sea urchin etc).

Walking into the restaurant, you can tell straight off that it's a pretty family oriented place (i.e. lots of kids)... but B booked a private room where we were shielded from all the noise outside. The decor in the private room was quaint and very retro - the place mats were a hideous pink and it looked like they have never been changed. The atmosphere was very reminiscent of Shashlik, another old-school Russian restaurant located at Far East Shopping Centre (love the Borscht soup there!).

I ordered the Rib-eye Steak 200g with the Set Menu $52.50+++, which started with the Hors D'oeuvre -

The crabmeat wanton was not bad but would have tasted much better warm rather than room temperature...

The Soup of the Day was a pretty tasty Cream of Mushroom Soup -

followed by a simple Salad -

and the main course Rib-eye Steak -

The steak came in three sizes - 200g, 250g and 300g. Wasn't too sure how much I could handle so I went for the smallest - which turned out to be just the right size. The doneness of the steak was as requested (medium well) and the miso sauce, while just a little salty, went quite well with it. Could have done with a few more veggies though...

And for dessert, there was Tiramisu -

Not a bad Tiramisu, seeing how this is hardly an Italian restaurant... and it's quite well plated too. I thought it might have been plated earlier and left in the fridge but the plate was not cold so that theory was thrown out the window.

Service was pretty attentive and we were quite impressed by the speed that the food was served - once the first course came, there was barely a pause between courses. Worth trying if you're in the area and wanting a good steak... or just because there is a long queue in every other restaurant in this building :)

Angus Steak House
391 Orchard Road
#04-25 Ngee Ann City
Singapore 238872
Tel: 67356015

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Basil Alcove

I first heard about this place on ieatishootipost. Not long after, it was also mentioned in the local newspapers, Chubby Hubby and 8 Days so I was avoiding this place for quite a while as it was sure to be crowded... nearly forgot about this place until I saw it while driving past recently, so suggested to S to come here for dinner one weekday evening.

It's the most unexpected place to find a restaurant - this building has a few 'health centres' on the higher floors and vegetarian stalls on the lower floors, such an odd combination! The restaurant itself is pretty small with most of the tables located outside the stall, giving it a very different and interesting ambience. And with "ambience" comes bad lighting so be prepared for some pretty dark photos...

We started off with Sauteed Shitake Mushroom $4.80 -

If you can't tell what's in the picture, it's two stacks of shitake mushrooms separated by a spoonful of balsamic vinegar. The simple sauteed mushrooms were juicy and flavourful in itself but the balsamic vinegar made quite the perfect compliment.

For the main course I had the Rack of Lamb $18.80 -

The lamb was cooked to the perfect donenes, but it wasn't as tasty as you would expect from good quality lamb and it was pretty evident when I ate it. But really for that price, it was an acceptable substitute...

S had the Basilico Duck $13.80 -

Yes, as you can tell the chef here is very big on presentation. The instructions from the waitress were - pour the ingredients on the little spoon into the shot glass, and this will generate bubbles (due to the bicarbonate soda on the spoon). The sauce can then be poured over the duck, or you can dunk the pieces of duck into the shot glass individually. So elaborate!!

S didn't like the duck being undercooked so we sent the dish back... when the dish returned, you could tell that the chef had used a handheld burner on the duck instead of throwing it back in to the pan - that would have totally overcooked it.

Come here for reasonably priced (i.e. cheap) haute cuisine. But at those prices, don't expect the world yah?

Basil Alcove
190 Middle Road
#01-07 Fortune Centre
Tel : 6336 1318

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


I put this post under 'pub grub' as I couldn't think of how else to categorise this place. It's not a pub at all - rather it's an alfresco bar and restaurant. Besides the fine dining Japanese Restaurant on the second floor, the main area also serves an extensive menu of finger food and main meals.

Thanks to the fact that we had a pretty big group, we managed to get a taste of quite a few things. We ordered :

Prosciutto Ham-wrapped Asparagus $10+++

Baked Escargot in White Button Mushroom Shell $11+++

Crispy Potato Wedges with Tartar Sauce $6+++

Shrimp-paste and Cilantro Chicken Wing $10+++

and Tofu Fritters with Thai Peanut Butter Sauce $7+++

All the dishes were just ok. What I found pretty tasty was the Tofu Fritters. The sauce was a surprising mix of flavours that I later discovered to contain peanut butter! So it turns out I *do* like absolutely anything that has peanut butter in it...

For those who needed to have their carbs, we ordered two pizzas :

Seafood Mania (with marinated scallop, prawn, dory fish, squid ring & baby clam) $18+++

and the Mushroom-lover Pizza (with shimeji, shitake, white button, portobello and enoki musrooms) $15+++

I didn't like the pizzas much - mainly because the tomato sauce they used tasted like it came out of a bottle. Either they made a batch of not very tasty tomato sauce or they took the easy way out and really used tomato sauce from a bottle...

What I do like about this place is how it's so huge and sprawling that it never gets very crowded. With different areas having a different feel and ambience - whether you want to sit amongst the lush greenery and waterfall or the busy "place to be seen" bar area - this is surely a good place to chill out with friends.

Block 22 Dempsey Road
Opening Hours : Sun - Fri 6pm to 1am, Sundays & Saturday 6pm to 2am
Tel : 6475 0002

Monday, May 07, 2007

Miharu Sapporo Ramen

I've been here before but S hasn't so we decided to come for dinner one evening. There was a bit of a queue the last time I was here - this place is quite popular with the Japanese expats, but there isn't much of a queue on a weekday night.

I ordered the Miso Tonkotsu Ramen $12.50+++ -

Can't remember if I had this the last time I was here, but definitely remember the bowl of noodles being as big :o The noodles were the perfect springy-ness, totally unlike the crappy ramen you get at other cheap ramen places. The reason for the good quality ramen? There are imported all the way from Sapporo! The soup is miso-based, flavoured with sesame oil and garlic - I found it quite salty, so much so that it made me quite thirsty. It's a good thing the waitresses here are pretty efficient with topping-up my glass of water.

The last time I was here, we thought that the char siew would not be enough and ordered an extra portion of char siew - that turned out to be more than two people could finish. So this time I ordered the Gyoza $5.00++ instead -

which turned out to be pretty unspectacular.

S nearly always orders what sounds / looks like the most spicy ramen - which today turned out to be Chilli Miso Ramen $12.00+++ -

and as usual it never turns out being as spicy as it sounds / looks :)

The ramen here is not yummy enough for me to crave coming here to eat, but I will definitely keep this place in mind when I have a ramen craving.

Happy Birthday, S!

Miharu Sapporo Ramen
76 Robertson Quay
The Gallery Hotel
Tel : 6733 8464

Thursday, May 03, 2007


This place is very discreet - nowhere in the signage, shopfront or menu does it say that it is a vegetarian restaurant. I'm sure some people have unsuspectingly walked in here for a meal only to discover that it serves vegetarian food. But this place does Asian/Fusion vegetarian food really well that I'm sure it will be a pleasant surprise for any meat-eaters...

A must-order dish for me is the All Veggie Gyoza $4.50++ -

It's never too oily, and goes perfectly with the vinegar. Have no idea what goes inside the gyoza instead of meat but it does a damn fine job of replacing it.

Some other starters that I've tried include the Papadum Surprise -

The surprise is the piece of tofu that's wrapped inside the papadum. This is a bit on the oily side, so I tried not to think of how unhealthy it was as I ate about five of these :)

Recently also tried the Pan Fried Eggplant -

The menu said it was supposed to be a Szechuan-type sauce but it seemed more like a tomato-based spaghetti sauce. Tasted pretty ok though, but I felt the eggplant should have been sliced into smaller pieces.

One of my favourite main courses here is Shrooms Simplifried $8.50++ -

Yes, it's kind of a corny name... but it's really yummy - tasty fried rice, chockfull of mushrooms including my ever favourite enoki.

The Curry Baked Rice was not quite what I expected -

Thought it would be white rice with a layer of curry and a further layer of cheese, but it turned out to be curry-flavoured rice with a layer of cheese. Spicy, and not quite what I expected, but still good.

I've also tried the Curry Craver $7.50++ -

Prata with "mutton" curry... decent attempt but the curry was a bit too thin for my liking.

And for dessert, you must have the Mango Lover's Dream $5.50++ -

Another perfect mango dessert in my book - the mango ice-cream with the glutinous rice, coconut milk and the sliver of mango is just a piece of heaven. It could definitely do with bigger servings of mango though...

If you are observant enough, you will be able to tell that this review was done over three visits :P Do use your Citibank credit card to pay here as there is a 15% discount.

9 Temasek Boulevard
#03-16 Sky Garden
Suntec City Mall
Tel : 6238 6755