Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Catching Up at The Catch

Living in the ulu east of Singapore, it is always a delight when a friend suggests to meet up at an eatery near my place. Near my place you say? Yes! Moohehe.

Seeing that I now have moore time and less money, I figured I might as well take a leisurely walk to The Catch, a seafood restaurant nestled within a cluster of prisons. It was a catch up with foodie friends and that can only mean one thing- a great yummy time!

I didn't know my friend who made the reservation was a VIP here. All the staff seem to know her and she knows the menu inside out. Jokingly, we thought she was doing the PR for the restaurant! Moohaha. But nope. She's a regular here lah so we left the ordering to her. :)

La La Boiled in Chinese Wine ($14 for small portion; the above was about 1/5 of the small portion) featured clams in a delicate and appetising broth of Chinese wine, ginger and strips of black fungus.

The Deep Fried Cuttlefish with Pepper & Salt ($8; foreground) were tasty pieces of firm cuttlefish tentacles battered and fried to a golden brown although the "oil taste" was a tad heavy. In the background, the Crispy Brinjal with Salted Egg Yolk ($6) beckoned with their crisp exterior and moist interior. Both would be great with beer! :p

We also tried the Marble Goby Deep Fried with Superior Soy Sauce ($6.80/100g) which was excellent. The fish was perfectly fried and its flesh fragrant from the deep frying and the accompaniments. Now if only the bones were fried until crispy so they can be eaten...

Originally wanting to order Flower Crabs, we opted for the Mud Crab Steamed with Chinese Wine & Egg White ($6.80/100g) as the former was unavailable that evening. I am not a big crap crab person but did enjoy its clean, sweet complementary flavours. Reserving some of the egg white, we separately ordered a plain wok-fried bee hoon to soak up all those lovely juices.  

I was intrigued when told that the mee pok is a moost try here. Instead of the common bak chor mee version, it appeared as Braised Noodles with Seafood in XO Sauce ($28 for large portion). The depth of flavour was solid in this one! I could inhale the whole plate but had to restrain or risk ruining friendships. Moohaha.

As a second carbs dish, we had the "Yuan Yang" Poached Rice with Seafood in Superior Broth ($24 for small portion). I didn't take a photo but posted an Instagram video here. See and hear the puffed rice sizzle upon hitting the hot soup!

Lastly, we had the Signature Roast Chicken Stuffed with Glutinous Rice ($45) which needed to be ordered a day in advance. The meat was a little dry but its taut glistening skin and flavourful glutinous rice stuffing made it scrumptious nonetheless. Glutinous rice after two carb dishes plus a bowl or white rice. Ok, I think that's why the Titanic sank. #itwasnoticeberg LOL

An organic Gerard Bertrand Autrement Sauvignon 2012 from the South of France boasting citrus notes and medium acidity was the night's tipple.

With good food and a unique location (moohehe), The Catch is certainly a good catch! Hey by the way the owners are seafood suppliers hor, so you can be guaranteed of fresh seafood.

The Catch
27 Cosford Road
Tel: 6546 2155

Chew On This: Feel free to BYO. Corkage-free!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Gordon Ramsay's Bread Street Kitchen Opens at Marina Bay Sands

I was running 10 minutes late for dinner and was terrified that Gordon Ramsay would make me an idiot sandwich. Moohaha! But thankfully that wasn't on the menu at his newly opened restaurant Bread Street Kitchen at Marina Bay Sands.

Bread Street Kitchen, his first restaurant venture in Singapore, is a casual duplex with a balmy waterfront-facing dining space with a bar on level one and a moore intimate private dining area on basement one.       

Here's moo take on the experience at the media diner.

We started from the "Cold Starters" section of the menu, A take on the Italian classic, the Roasted Veal Carpaccio, Dill Pickles, Quail's Egg, Tuna Dressing ($26) was delightfully scrumptious with thin, lightly chilled slices of veal still spotting a blushing pink accompanied by a balanced slightly acidic tuna sauce.

The Spicy Tuna Tartare, Chilli, Garlic, Sesame Oil, Wonton Crisps ($19) had a touch of local flavours that were familiar and easy to relate to while the Potted Salt Beef Brisket, Grain Mustard, Piccalilli, Caraway Crackers ($19) boasted bold flavours with a punchy mustard note. The beef brisket was coarse and a tad dry. Piccalilli, essentially pickled vegetables similar to achar, cut the richness nicely.

Then suddenly there was a flurry of excitement which drew my attention to the other end of the table. Standing there was the man himself who came to check on how dinner was progressing. It was surreal being in the same dining room as Gordon Ramsay and the fact that he "complained" that it was far too quiet at the table probably reflected how mooch we were in awe (or some said terrified) of him. Moohaha.

Mooving on to the hot starters, the Flatbread, Butternut Squash, Taleggio Cheese, Mushrooms, Pine Nuts, Basil Pesto ($20) was simple and enjoyable with a medley of sweet, meaty and herb flavours.

The Tamarind Spiced Chicken Wings, Spring Onions, Coriander ($18) drew mixed reaction at the table. Some felt it was slightly bitter while others said the tamarind was indiscernible. I agree with the latter but looking past its name, I did enjoy this tasty dish which somehow reminded me of a cross between Marmite chicken and Japanese curry. Moohehe. Except of course this wasn't a fusion dish at a cze char stall but Gordon Ramsay's restaurant.

 Then Miss Tam Chiak flashed. Ahem. Not what you're thinking lah!

The mains landed on the table and presented themselves. The Slow-Roasted Dingley Dell Pork Belly, Spiced Apple Puree ($28) was my favourite among these. Leaning towards the well, lean, side, it had a good bite and was still tender and flavourful. Its skin was crisp and almoost crunchy. The dish went well with the pretty safe spiced apple puree but it worked.

The Traditional Fish & Chips, Crushed Peas, Tartar Sauce ($26) was disappointing. The fish was meaty and moist but the crust could be moore crispy and without that heavy, oil flavour. The Lamb Chops ($48) were simple and cooked perfectly though nothing terribly exciting.

Sides were also available. The Macaroni Cheese with Garlic Roasted Crumbs ($16) was creamy and rich with pasta that retained their texture. Spiced Honey Carrots were like delectable sweet orange sticks of Christmas spices.
Roasted Black Cod with Crushed Potatoes, Salted Capers, Artichoke, Red Wine and Lemon Sauce ($44) was one of my favourite main courses. The fish skin could do with a better crisp but the flavours of the dish as a whole all came together beautifully.

Order up drinks from their bar which can whip up off-menu specials such as this Shiraz-based giant of a cocktail. This is what I will have if I limit myself to only one drink. Moohehe.

Desserts were served in a combine platter for our tasting purpose. Beginning from left to right: The Monkey Shoulder Cranachan Cheesecake with Roasted Balsamic Strawberries ($18) was creamy and rich. My personal favourite was the Coffee and White Chocolate Parfait with Poached Blackberries ($18). Boasting varying textures and flavours, it had oomph while being balanced. The Chocolate Fondant with Salted Caramel and Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream ($20) was a classic pairing of chocolate and mint. Like the chunky bits of chocolate in the mint ice cream. The Pineapple Carpaccio, Passion Fruit, Coconut Sorbet ($15) would be great for someone who enjoys ending the meal on a refreshing, lighter note. 

Then just when we thought it was over, the Treacle Tart ($18) appeared because Gordon said that "this is the dessert to go to bed with". It was my first experience with Treacle Tart. Very homely; sweetness was quite intense with a slight caramelised sugar flavour.

Photo with Gordon Ramsay (priceless). 

I am seldom star struck but I guess having watched one too many episodes of MasterChef, MasterChef Junior and Hell's Kitchen, I couldn't help but to beam like an idiot at this photo opportunity. Moohehe. 

Thanks to Amy Kim and Sara Varela from MBS for the invitation, and to Camemberu for that photo with Chef Gordon.

Bread Street Kitchen
Bay Level, L1-81
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

Tel: 6688 5665

Chew On This: Watch out for a brunch menu soon!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Birthday Makan

I woke up one moorning to the aroma of ginger being stir-fried in sesame oil and felt extremely blessed and thankful for all those who love me and for all of God's goodness in my life. My moother prepared a simple bowl of mee sua with hard boiled eggs. No meat, No seafood. Just a splash of (Hua Tiao) wine. Moohehe.

It was my birthday. Even though mee sua is not a birthday tradition in my famooly, that bowl was heartwarming and reminded me that often, the simplest things in life bring such honest joy. :)

Instead of eating out this year, I opted to have a shabu shabu dinner with the famooly at home. It was immensely gratifying and I bet I'll be craving this in the months to come.

Dinner was also set with the League and we had bak kut teh at Ng Ah Sio at my request...

...before heading across the road to Grub Noodle Bar for a frosty pint and some nibbles. Moohehe.

Chew On This: Cos memoories are meant to be savoured.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Taking Delicious Shelter in the Woods

I was somehow expecting to find a little girl with a red hood or a big bad wolf at Shelter in the Woods but ended up finding a pretty satisfying dinner cooked by Consultant Chef Masashi Horiuchi instead. Chef Masashi is Japanese and brings with him over 20 years of culinary experience in Michelin-starred restaurants across Europe.

Dinner was off to a great start with the Shelter Charcuterie Board ($35). Nibbling at the pork rilette, pate and foie gras was pure joy with their sweet meatiness, savoury punch and comforting allure. I think this, a bottle of wine and some good bread and French butter would make for a happy meal for this cow.

But wait. There's moore!

My heart skipped a beat when I saw my fellow bovine nearly naked on a plate. It was love at first sight and confirmed with a bite. Moohehe.  The DIY Steak Tartar ($33) featured 200g of lightly chilled, hand-chopped Australian black Angus hanger steak with shallots, capers, moostard, herbs and a raw quail's egg. Mix everything up on the plate for a sexy serving of flavoursome beef tartar.

For those carnivores whose perception that a salad is nothing but a bunch of boring leaves, try the Lyonnaise Salad ($12). Dutch smoked bacon. Soft boiled egg. Confit pearl onions. Croutons. Sherry vinaigrette. It was a wonderful mix of hearty flavours and varied textures, all with a sense of good balance.

Another winner at the table was the Shelter Quiche ($14.50) with forest mushrooms adding an earthy component to the eggs, Swiss Gruyere cheese, herb butter and onions.

Then the Creamy Corn Soup Trio ($15) arrived. Warm, creamy and tasting of the natural sweetness of corn, it was comforting on the palate. Its three style of cooking the corn kernels- boiled, roasted and popped- added variety.    

Mooving on to the mains, first up was the Rotisserie Suckling Pig ($35 for small portion). Unfortunately, the flavourful meat was dry while its skin was a tad hard. The grilled pineapples that accompanied the suckling pig were excellent.

Seafood fans should order the Seafood Casserole ($39). Beaming with seasonal fish and seafood cooked in a rich-tasting seafood and saffron broth, the dish was perfect for dunking in pieces of crusty bread.

The Rotisserie Rack of Lamb was anything but meh. Moohehe. The racks of New Zealand lamb were grilled perfectly and bathed in garlic confit oil for a lovely effect.

The last savoury course was the Rotisserie Chicken ($40 for whole chicken). With Shelter in the Woods being a rotisserie specialty restaurant, the majority of their meat main courses were roasted in the rotisserie. I didn't take to this chicken due to its dry texture and overall muted flavour.

Desserts made the people with sweet tooth at the table all very happy. Moohehe. I was pretty satisfied with the Thin Crispy Apple Tart ($12) which had thinly sliced Fuji apples laid on top a short crust pastry. Served with a vanilla ice cream, it was simple and good with a balance between tart and sweet, crisp, flaky and soft.

The Meringue Glacee ($12) was pretty and seemed to call out to the ladies. Meringue cones atop a scoop of raspberry sorbet and vanilla ice cream. The other dessert right at the top of the above photo was the Raspberry Clafoutis ($12)- featuring egg custard, sugar dough and raspberries.

The woods does sound like a mysterious place. One filled with part adventure and part rustic lushness. Over at Shelter in the Woods, it does have that some of that feel plus a warm welcoming environment.

Thanks to Bing for the invitation and for hosting me.

Shelter in the Woods
22 Greenwood Avenue
Tel: 6466 6225
Opens: 6pm to 10pm daily
          : 11.30am to 2.30pm on Sundays for brunch

Chew On This: Sunday brunch is now available! See here for the brunch and dinner menus.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

JB Day-tripping!

Being lured by the Sing dollar to Ringgit exchange rate, this cow and his family made a day trip to Johor in search of makan, jalan and moo-ssage.

The first thing we wallop-ed were the noodles from Restoran Sekee, a small kopitiam with old school rustic lok kok charm. The smell of burning charcoal added to its appeal. For the tam jiak or gao jiak ones, opt for the full works which include small oysters from Muar, pork slices, kidney, liver and lard.  

Moore old school goodness can be found at Hiap Joo Bakery & Biscuit Factory. Think curry buns, butter buns, banana cake (very sedap!) etc from yesteryear. The blackened wood-fired oven in the bakery seems to have been there for eons, faithfully churning out buns and bread.

After an hour of moo-ssage and some jalan-ing (my grammar very power I know. Moohehe), it was time for a hearty Bak Kut Teh meal at Restoran Shoon Huat in the Taman Sentosa area. The soup seems a little sweeter and less robust than my previous visit. The moother and sister were pretty happy with the variety of ingredients though I was sorely missing the chewy strips of pork I had the last time.

Heading back to the area near the Causeway, we wandered around City Square Mall and Komtar JBCC before deciding on Azuma at the latter for dinner. The food was cheap but the sashimi unfortunately, could be fresher. Maybe we should stick to the faster mooving items or the cooked dishes the next time.

JB is still a nice spot for a quick one-day getaway with charming locales that were probably what Singapore was like 30 years ago.

May the Ringgit be forever in our favour!

Chew On This: Spending in Ringgit makes it moore enjoyable and forgiving. Moohehe.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Puffs of Sweet Dreams

I don't exactly have a sweet tooth but couldn't say no to a small, light puff pipped with freshly made cream and sprinkled with fairy dust. Moohehe.

My sister baked these one late night which moost have tempted the whole block. Bad. Very bad. But I guess sweet dreams are made of these...

Chew On This: No. Inhale these.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Peranakan Mother's Love

At the new shopping centre Paya Lebar Square just next to Paya Lebar MRT station is O'nya Sayang, a casual restaurant which aims to provide authentic Peranakan food and share its rich culture with especially the younger generation.  

Opened by a young baba, Zhan Ho, O'nya Sayang, which translates to a mother's love, boasts recipes handed down from his grandma who started Dulukala Peranakan Restaurant in 1999.

Here's moo account from a recent tasting.

The star for me that evening was this Babi Pongteh ($13.90). It looks simple but was superb with its tender pork pieces and potato cooked in a rich and balanced bean sauce. Spoon this over hot steamed rice. A lot of hot steamed rice. Moohehe.  

The subtle, sweet flavours from crab, minced pork and bamboo shoots showed in the classic Peranakan favourite, Bakwan Kepeting ($12.90).

For something with a little modern twist without being overly un-Peranakan, try the Lor Bak Noodles Meal ($12.90) featuring well-braised chunks of pork belly and a hard-boiled egg with springy egg noodles. The latter is not traditionally part of the Lor Bak dish but was added to appeal to younger diners. I also loved the thick slabs of Otah Otah and the small mound of Sambal Kang Kong on the side.  

Sadly, both dishes in the above photo did not appeal to me. The Chilli Garam Seafood ($17.90) in the foreground was tasty with a nice mix of spices but I felt its seafood medley of prawns, squid and fish could have been fresher and cooked a little less. The Beef  Rendang ($14.90) was plagued with a very watery gravy. :(

Ayam Keluak Fried Rice ($14.90) was an interesting dish with a flavoursome Nonya chicken stew served with rice fried with keluak, onions and chilli for a fragrant, slightly earthy touch. Perk up the palate with the homemade sambal balacan and achar.

Mooving on to desserts... they were pretty scrumptious! Even for this non-sweet-tooth bovine.

The Burbur Cha Cha ($4.90) reminded me a bit of my own paternal grandma's homely version I had as a kid. Cubes of sweet potato and yam in a light, warm sweetened coconut milk-based "broth" lifted by pandan leaves. And like years ago, I still fish for the chewy colourful gummy starch bits. Guess some things never change. Moohehe.

The Chendol with Ice Cream ($5.90) was equally toothsome. Rich gula Melaka (sourced from Surabaya which apparently is of a higher quality) combined with squiggly green Chendol and red beans matched the sweet, milky notes of the coconut ice cream.

Another way to enjoy the coconut ice cream (which they got from Thailand and is really good!) is to order it with the Gula Melaka Sago ($5.90 with ice cream).

I was pretty impressed with the desserts and would definitely recommend ending any meal at O'nya Sayang with them.

Overall, prices are quite wallet-friendly and the cuisine here has a homely appeal. Cheers to a mother's love.

Thanks to Alicia for the invitation and for Zhan and Esmond for hosting moo.

O'nya Sayang
Paya Lebar Square (other outlet at Tampines Mall)
Tel: 6783 8140

Chew On This: There are future plans to bottle their sauces so keep a look out if you fancy any!