Sunday, July 19, 2009

Delicious Confusion

There are some who will debate at lengths about the authenticity of a dish. But where's the fun I wonder? Especially when one's tired and hungry... More important is that the food tastes good, no?


Cos last weekend, Ryan brought me to Saizeriya- an Italian restaurant. Or at least that's what's stated on the signage. But the menu does have glimpses of French and Japanese influence. Not that it mattered to this hungry cow and friend.

The Glazed Escargots ($5.58) was probably the cheapest escargots I have ever seen in Singapore! Incredible value for six plump, tender morsels sitting in a pool of what I thought to be butter, salt and garlic. Yums.

Seafood Spaghetti with Tomato ($7.18) had firm pasta, though it was not quite al dente. The sauce was packed with seafoody, briny flavours though that meant that the tomato taste was a little lost. But twirl a strand or two around your fork and dip it into the pool of garlicky, salty oil from the escargots and pwahhh! Instant perk up.

Hamburg Steak with Mushroom Sauce ($7.98) was oyishi! The thick patty of minced beef exuded a sweet onion and Worcestershire sauce flavour. With the slices of shitake mushroom topping the hamburg steak, it's no secret that mushrooms and beef are best friends. This dish also came with grilled potato wedges, boiled broccoli and corn on the side...for vegetable goodness. A pity the fried egg didn't have a runny yolk. That would have intensified the dish.

Soup, ironically, was the last to arrive. This Seafood Chowder was a little watered down for my taste. But there was a sweet, cream flavour with chopped up seafood bits.

All in all, it was very decent at an almost unbelievable value. I wouldn't classify them as an Italian restaurant but that's not really important. Good food, good price is.

Liang Court Shopping Centre
Tel: 6337 9001

Chew On This: According to Wikipedia, Saizeriya apparently started up as a Western restaurant in Japan and later switched to become an Italian restaurant but business dropped. So after reducing the price by 70%, it became an instant hit! Today, they have over 750 stores in Japan. Something must be right with them.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Foodie Preview @ ION Orchard

New malls seem to be sprouting up in Singapore and even in the recession, the Orchard belt is not tightening. What is comforting to know is that instead of the usual mix of the you-know-who tenants, malls like ION Orchard are differentiating themselves by offering new and new-to-market concepts.

Fashionistas are already anticipating the mall's launch. But foodies need not feel left out. ION Orchard has set aside more than 21% of their 640 000 sq ft space for food and dining options.

A briefing and sampling session was arranged for media to get a preview of some of the F&B offerings at ION Orchard.

I didn't manage to cover every booth in picture and sampling but already it looks promising.

The above was a shot of the special juice extractor that Fruit Frolic uses. What's so special is that, unlike most extractors, it doesn't generate heat and hence preserves more vitamins, enzymes and nutrients. I tasted the pineapple as well as the green apple and loved both for their natural goodness. The green apple was surprisingly sweet with a refreshing tartness. I normally cringe at green apples as they are normally sour but not the ones here. Fruit Frolic also uses NO sugar and chooses ripe fruits that are in season for maximum taste and nutrition.

Mei Hong Yuan, a popular tong sui (Chinese desserts) place in Chinatown is opening their first outlet in ION Orchard. Black sesame seed paste, and mango, pomelo and sago, anyone?

Also joining them and from the same Chinatown neighbourhood is Lim Chee Guan. The famous bak kwa (Chinese BBQ pork jerky) establishment that attracts an infamous queue during Chinese New Year, will also be launching its first expansion in Orchard. The 3rd generation boss, Jerre Lim, truly lives and breathes bak kwa! He believes that bak kwa is for any occassion and rattles off anecdots of adding bak kwa strips to instant noodles when he was a student in London, steaming rice with a piece of bak kwa and rolling pork floss into an omelette.

Touted as a tai-tai's favourite hang-out place, the Marmalade Pantry will be relocating from the current Palais Renaissance to ION Orchard. Apparently they've got some new offerings up their sleeves but are keeping mum for now.

Itacho Sushi has stated their aim quite clearly.

Fine tea specialist, TWG Tea, will be setting up their flagship store too. TWG Tea's has over 800 different types and blends of tea from every tea producing country in the world! Woah. That's plenty for three letters- T E A.

A familiar brand, Swensen's, will be setting up their biggest outlet. And only at ION Orchard, Swensen's will offer an ice cream buffet featuring 50 flavours of ice cream and 30 sundae toppings and sauces!! I'm just dizzy thinking about it but I'm sure ice cream fans will rejoice.

And with the rain pouring down outside during the preview session, it was warm comfort from Nespresso. A hot cup of coffee with its rich aromas and good body is such a pleasure after nibbling around. The machine is stylishly cool and the coffee powder comes encapsulated in a range of bright-coloured foil. Nespresso offers the Grand Crus of coffee.

Other shops to look out for includes:

- Watami, with 599 outlets in Japan, offers casual Japanese dining with Yakult cocktails.

- Ginza Bairin, a Ginza-based specialty Tonkatsu resturant. Tonkatsu sandwich, anyone?

- Taste Paradise, their flagship will be helmed by a Masterchef from Hong Kong.

- Canton-i, serving dim sum and Hong Kong cuisine. Springy noodles air-flown in from Hong Kong!

There are also a few restaurants featuring celebrity chefs and keep a look out for gourmet supermarket, Three-Sixty from Hong Kong, which features epicurean offerings from Cordon Bleu, Fauchon, Dean & Deluca and Fortnum & Mason.

Sounds like foodies will certainly be checking out ION Orchard. ION Orchard opens 21st July (Tuesday).

Thanks to Ashwin of Weber Shandwick for the invitation, and the management of ION Orchard for hosting this cow.

ION Orchard

2 Orchard Turn

Chew On This: Guess which donut shop will be making a come back after many years? This is one for those who enjoyed their donuts during childhood.

*new addition to this post on 20 July*

It's been a long while.

Friday, July 10, 2009

An Un-Singaporean Saturday

Yay! Photos can be posted on blogger once again and I'm ready to roll.

After TGIF, comes Saturday. A perfect day to sleep in, watch telly, laze at home with newspapers, chill out with friends, try a new recipe at home....everything but wake up at 7am to climb Bukit Timah Hill. (Oh yes. Laugh at it being labelled a 'hill' but it's still quite an effort especially on a Saturday.)

Anyway, after the morning trek, and after lunch, four wheels brought us to Mimolette- a place also unlike Singapore. How apt after an un-Singaporean morning activity on SATURDAY.

Ahh. Air-con comforts after the humid hill trek is a big welcome. Such urban creatures we are.

Feeling a little uneasy in my tummy, I heeded the advice of the SAF Medic and opted for Camomile Tea with Honey ($5) instead of coffee. Calming it is.

Since it was brunch after lunch for us, we ordered the Lemon Souffle Hotcakes ($14). The small pancakes were average and I could'nt quite taste any lemon but slap on some whipped cream, drizzle on maple syrup and add in a strawberry slice, it all went down deliciously.

We also shared a Scone ($3) which came with a small mound of whipped cream dotted with a variety of different berries. I love anti-oxidants. On the side was also a fresh-tasting blueberry jam and a tart orange marmalade. The scone itself was a tad dry for me but hey, that's what a hot cup of tea or coffee is for.

And finally giving in to the inner caveman's call for meat, we went with the Ox Tail Fettucini ($22). The sauce was very tasty- meaty, earthy, slightly sweet to lift the savoury-ness. The pieces of ox tail were fork-tender and accompanied the flat, fat strips of pasta well.

What a great way to spend Saturday...after climbing Bukit Timah Hill of course.

55 Fairway Drive
Tel: 6467 7748

Chew On This: After you're done eating, take a leisurely walk around and explore! There's lots to see...

Including strange people eating wild rambutans from trees.

There are many deserted single-storey buildings that have an old charm. Come night, I think it's a different thing. But before you try to barge into one of these buildings, take a peep through the window....

For you might discover a monitor lizard sun-bathing inside. And if there's a whole family of them.... *!@#$%^*

Probably safer to stick to the horses. Most importantly, take the time to explore and enjoy the afternoon wandering around an atypical Singapore landscape.

Thursday, July 02, 2009