Sunday, December 28, 2014

One of the Best Steamboats I've Had This Year

After catching the Dim Sum Dollies, it was time for a late dinner as the famooly headed to the newly opened One KM mall. Steamboat dinner at Beauty in a Pot (opened by the Paradise Group) happened to be one of the best I've had this year! 

We opted for a yuan yang pot which featured both their soups ($25), Beauty Collagen Broth made with shark's cartilage boiled for over 8 hours, and Spicy Nourishing Broth made with pork bones simmered with ginseng, red dates, dang gui, wolfberries among other herbs. I tasted both soups on their own before cooking any ingredients in them and immediately found favour with their tasty notes. The Beauty Collagen Broth was slightly creamy and rich while the Spicy Nourishing Broth tasted fortifying with a tingling touch from Szechuan peppers.

The soups were so tasty I barely used my dipping sauce of Sha Cha Jiang, sesame paste, sesame seed, sesame oil (you can tell I like sesame. Moohehe), minced garlic and chilli. Condiments for DIY dipping sauces are charged at $2 per person and comes with free-flow rice.

Beauty in a Pot offered a selection of handmade balls from fish to mushroom and pork but choose the Assorted Balls Platter ($10) for variety. On the whole, they were springy yet softly yielding to each bite.

Shaped like a fish, the Signature Handmade Fish Tofu ($5.40) was cute and interesting to eat. Made with egg white, soy beans and fish meat, it was delicate and reminded me a little of a dish my late grandma used to make.

The "real" fish of Pomfret ($8 per 100g) was less impressive as it could have been fresher.

Good thing the meats moore than made up for it. The Sliced US Short Ribs ($16 for 200g) were sweet with a lingering aftertaste and the Sliced Pork Collar ($10) flavoursome with any unpleasant porky taste. Two hooves up!

The menu offers a good selection of which we also picked quail eggs, luncheon meat, veggies, lotus roots, potato thick vermicelli (which becomes nicely chewy and translucent when cooked) and mushrooms (the bamboo fungus is a moost order!).

I will certainly be back for moore! :D

Beauty in a Pot
One KM
11 Tanjong Katong Road
Tel: 6702 2542

Chew On This: From now until 31 January 2015, get 50% off the bill when you dine here after 10pm and pay with a OCBC or ANZ card! The restaurant opens until 1am daily and 3am on Fridays, Saturdays and eve of PH.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tasty Nosh at Cool Kopitiam Chic Place

So Simpang Bedok has again revamped its 2nd storey makan space which was formerly a regular hawker centre which became a social enterprise-run hawker centre before closing down.

The current Bedok Marketplace is airy and quite cool with a modern, fresh feel. While many stalls have yet to be taken up, there are a couple which are already in business selling wanton noodles, mookata, ramen, grilled meats, wines, and frog porridge.

One of these stalls, The Chop Chop Selections even spots a Vespa parked in one corner.  

Feeling greedy and hungry, we ordered a few meaty dishes. Moohehe.

The Spanish Diablo Chicken ($9.50 for 1/2 chicken) was pretty juicy and tasty. Served with pasta salad and greens (romaine lettuce yo! not iceberg).

Somewhat reminding me of a western Roti John, the Beef Taco ($9.50) featured pieces of beef sausage, minced beef, lettuce, beans and onion atop a tortilla and drizzled with mayonnaise (wish it was sour cream instead) and what tasted like BBQ sauce. Messy and yummy!

The Beef Stew ($9.50) had very generous cubes of beef but unfortunately they were dry and quite tough. The flavour of the stew was lovely though! Rich and tomatoey with meaty pieces of shitake mushrooms.

The Chop Chop Selections
Level 2
Bedok Marketplace
348 Bedok Road

Chew On This: They have a display chiller with sausages, ribeye and chicken chops etc which one can choose and order to cook to one's preference.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Sampling The Westin Singapore's Christmas Specials

Hohoho! Time for moore festive grazing. Moohehe.

This time, I sampled some of The Westin Singapore's Christmas Specials.

Their traditional roasts available for takeaway from 1 to 25 December include this hot chick- Honey Apple Glazed Turkey & Chestnut Stuffing ($135 for about 6-7kg), a welcome at any diner party with its well-roasted skin, subtle smokiness and fine, meaty texture.

Spiked with cloves, the Pineapple Glazed Gammon Ham with Brussel Sprouts, Asparagus & Carrots, Roast Pumpkin, Mash Potato & Baby Roast Potatoes ($120 for 2 kg) was gently accented with the spice (rather Christmas-sy!). Its moist, juicy bite was accompanied with a freakinnnnng amazing mashed potato which the chef served up!  

Ok, actually I jumped the gun cos the dinner tasting started with this Christmas Walnut Frittata, Poached Egg with Cream Cheese Topping and Ranch Dressing, Salmon Caviar; and Smoked Duck Rillettes, Crispy Garlic and Herb Baguette prepared by the Seasonal Beats kitchen. Got too excited by the turkey and ham lah, Moohehe.

Ended the meal on a sweet note with the Snowy White Forest Chocolate Yule Log with Brandied Cherries, Yogurt Sorbet ($60 for 1 kg). Love the balance of this log cake. Certainly not overly sweet nor rich and would make a nice finale to a heavy festive dinner. By the way, look carefully and you might see my name on the plate!

Check out their full range of festive specials here.

Thanks to Trisha and Huishan of Mercury PR and The Westin Singapore for hosting me.

The Westin Singapore
12 Marina View
Asia Square Tower 2
Tel: 6922 6888

Chew On This: Indulge in chocolate without the calories with a decadent chocolate body treatment!

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Good Eats at Grub Noodle Bar

So now there's more to just bak kut teh at Rangoon Road with Grub Noodle Bar's opening. I somehow had the feel that they serve food with a Vietnamese influence but its influence is apparently South East Asian.

Their selection of appetisers were very good especially because several had alcohol. Venus Clams ($13) sauteed in beer, toasted ginger and lemongrass broth were sweet and plump. Tiger Prawns ($13) steamed in sake, garlic and ginger glaze tasted fresh though I couldn't really taste the seasoning. Looking like it came from a much less casual restaurant was the Hokkaido Scallop Tataki ($15). Loved the sweet, luscious slices of scallop against the mustard glaze and mandarin orange. Kang Kong Salad ($7) featured the crunchy vegetable blanched and dressed in a tangy achar mix.

Two appetisers were especially great with beer. Onion Rings ($7) had real onions in a crisp beer batter and served with a tomatillo salsa. Beer batter paired with beer? Elementary of course. Moohehe. The other would be Chicken Drumlets ($9), crispy-skinned fellas coated with curry leaves, garlic and sesame seed and drizzled with mayo. Very, very moreish!

On the happy, liquid side of things here, Grub Noodle Bar does carry some craft beers and ciders. On tap are Weihenstephan Original and Hefeweissbier which are one-for-one after 9pm daily!

Mooving on to the mains, it's called a noodle bar so no surprise that small section of mains are all noodles. Moohehe.

The Assam Laksa ($13) was pretty delicious with perky, tangy accents from assam, pineapples and the meaty, savoury flavours of canned tuna, and chewy noodles. I was later informed that chef uses sardines.

The Pork Noodles ($13) also packed a savoury punch and hunky slabs of pork shoulder, chorizo bacon and mince pork ragout, tappered by the pickled cucumber. Pity the egg noodles were tad too heavy and floury.

Ok, time for a disclaimer. This cow was so excited to see so many of his bovine counterparts in the Beef Noodles that he whacked the dish before remembering he forgot to take a photo. Moohaha. But seriously, it was beef balls, minced beef, beef soup and beef slices FTW. Prices depend on the type of beef you opt for from grass-fed brisket ($12) and rump ($15) to hormone-and-antibiotic-free 150-day grain-fed Angus sirloin ($17) and ribeye ($19).

Surprisingly, I found the grain-fed ones offering a more robust flavour.

My beef with this beef noodles is again the egg noodles being too heavy. It sat in the tummy like lead and destroyed bak kut teh plans for round two. The soup was also a tad too rich. Maybe for those who like their beef soup super cow cow!

After the heavy noodles, the Chendol Verrine ($4) was a welcome sight in its small shot glass. The fragrant icy waves from the coconut ice cream, and the gula melaka mousse was comforting.

The Mont Blanc Tart ($4) sounded interesting so we decided to have a go. In place of chestnut was a white lotus paste, with a matcha center and nice crumbly almond tart. Not too sweet and probably beckons for a cup of tea or coffee.

Overall, I think Grub Noodle Bar is a cosy space to chill out over drinks and some nibbles. Oh and they open till late so no need to content with getting chased away at the usual 10pm or 11pm.

Thanks to Maureen from Grub Noodle Bar for hosting moo.

Grub Noodle Bar
221 Rangoon Road
Tel: 6341 5631
Opens: 6pm to 12.30am

Chew On This: The seafood here is fresh because they get their supplies just two doors down the road from a seafood supplier!

Friday, December 05, 2014

Dang Gui & Mei Cai Turkey at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport

Turkeys are the hottest birds this festive season! And Crowne Plaza Changi Airport served up one pretty memoorable one with a unique local touch. The Festive Baked Turkey with Angelica Root ($165+ for takeaway) weighed about 5 kg and was slow cooked over 6 to 7 hours to result in tender flesh with a pleasant herbal hint of the TCM herb "dang gui". Stuffed with sweet corn, mei cai (preserved vegetables) and Cantonese waxed liver sausage, it invoked a familiar taste of home. This turkey is available for takeaways and at selected Azur Festive Buffet Dates (menu rotates).

Other goodies available on Azur's Festive Buffet lineup includes:

Festive Apple and Pomegranate Salad with Crushed Pecan Nuts, a lightly dressed salad with blue cheese and crunchy apple cubes and pomegranate seeds.

Chopped Salad with Smoked Turkey Ham and Cheddar Cheese was simple and a delightful medley of flavours and textures.

A favourite at my table was the Pan Seared Scallops with Warm Butternut Squash & Arugula Salad. And it is not difficult to see why with its plump, nicely seared scallops in an appetising balsamic dressing.

Like the turkey, this Prime Rib Eye of Beef ($255+ for takeaway) will also be on rotation on Azur's Festive Buffet Menu. With a good bite and gentle flavours that were teased out upon chewing, this cow was soon seen gnawing on the bone. Moohaha. Ahem.

Desserts were refreshing with the Yuzu Infused Log Cake ($62+ for takeaway) combining Valrhona's Dulcey chocolate, a white chocolate with a burnt caramel flavour, and the citrusy notes of yuzu, We also tried the Eggnog Panna Cotta which anchored the meal on a festive note.

Thanks to Jolyn and Carrie for the invitation.

Crown Plaza Changi Airport
75 Airport Boulevard

Chew On This: Continuing on the celebratory tone, usher in 2015 with live performances by 5 local bands, games and drink deals at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport's Loco Local 2015 Countdown Party on 31 December at 9pm!  

Monday, December 01, 2014

Epicurean Festive Delights at The St. Regis Singapore

The year-end festive season is upon us and what better excuse to indulge in good food than with good food that is aligned with the season. Mohehe.

Over at the ultra-premium The St. Regis Singapore, gourmands can expect a slew of treats from their in-house restaurants Brasserie Les Saveurs and LaBrezza. This wagyu cow takes a peek at some of the dishes from these 2 restaurants offering French and Italian cuisines respectively.

As a prelude to the evening's meal, Brasssie Les Saveurs' amuse bouche of Seared Yellow Fin Tuna with Sesame Seeds & Citrus Salsa was light, refreshing and with a decadent dollop of caviar.

The Italian Antipasti Platter offered nibbles of pleasure with the slightly earthy Veal Liver Pate, luscious Smoked Salmon & Mascarpone and classic flavour combination of San Danielle Ham with Melon. A white-gloved butler in a tux bringing a bottle of Champagne not included. Oh wait, no harm fantasizing. It is The St. Regis after all! Moohehe.

Ok, back to the French quadrant. A Trio of Appetisers were ushered to the table. While the Avruga Pearl with Poached Hokkaido Scallop was delicate and exquisite, the King Prawn Tempura was tough and a tad hard. Perhaps it would have been best enjoyed freshly fried and immediately served. Off with it's head!

The Pan-seared Wagyu Beef Tenderloin with Parmesan Espuma also disappointed with rather closed flavours.

Then LaBrezza's Homemade Cannelloni made me sit up. Encased within a crisp pasta shell was Boston lobster, the cured fish roe bottarga and porcini mushrooms, and surrounded with a rich, creamy King crab sauce that had a bright crustacean flavour. Mama mia!

Those who can't decide between the drumstick or the breast would be pleased with Brasserie Les Saveurs' Grand Marnier-flamed Roasted Duck Breast & Duck Leg Confit. Served with curls of house-smoked foie gras, steamed bok choy and winter truffle potato puree, one gets the best of both worlds.

Dessert took the form of Frozen Ice Nougat and Crispy Wafer with 70% Amedei Savarin. That. Dark. Chocolate. Ring. Stole. My Heart.

Speaking of stealing....Moohaha. This Christmas Stollen, available for takeaway orders, with dried fruit is perfect with a cup of hot spiced chocolate or mulled wine.

Also take home this gorgeous Honey Glazed Gammon Ham which will make for an impressive addition to the dining table.

Thanks to Jackson and Xavier of The St. Regis Singapore for hosting me.

The St. Regis Singapore
29 Tanglin Road

Chew On This: Check out here for their full offerings for Christmas and New Year!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Nutty-licious Black Ramen

The cooler rainy season is upon us and what better way to embrace it than to eat soupy dishes. So after shabu shabu, a few of us headed to the nearby Hakkata Ikkousha for some ramen! Moohehe.

The Black Tonkotsu ($13.50) was my personal favourite. The pork bone based soup was creamy and redolent with the fragrant, nutty notes of black sesame and garlic. This is probably the black ramen with the moost intense nuttiness I have tried. Hakkata-style noodles means the ramen was thin and straight. But you do get to pick your preferred noodle texture when ordering.

The original flavour version, Tonkotsu ($12), had the same creamy texture but was quite bland for me.

I guess this is where we needed to call upon the God Fire ($13.50)! LOL. This is level 1 out of 4 and had a mild heat which grew a bit more intense after a few seconds post-swallowing. Nothing too dangerous but then again that's probably what level 4 is there for.

Oh and the chasu here is on the lean, meaty side. So less guilt perhaps, and better mooderation? Moohaha.

Thanks to Katherine of WORD Agency for hosting us.

Hakkata Ikkousha
#01-07 CHIJMES (other outlets at Changi airport and Tanjong Pagar Plaza)

Chew On This: Still hungry? Add $2 for extra ramen after whacking the initial portion. Remember to leave some soup for this!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Handmade Fishballs from a 23 Year Old Hawkerpreneur

It is not often that one sees a young face behind a hawker stall given that most young Singaporeans would rather work in a more comfortable work environment. But it is encouraging that there seems to be a trend in young hawkerpreneurs who might just well be the bastion of hope for the continuation of local hawker food.

I first met Douglas from Fishball Story at the Ultimate Hawker Fest and had to visit his stall again after the event for more of that addictive chilli in his mee pok.

Fishball Story's Mee Pok ($3.50) is very good with soft, not mushy noodles, that had a certainly lightness to it. Doused with crispy lard, oil and heaps of a savoury fragrant chilli paste, the mix sent me to noodle heaven. I thought there was chye poh in the chilli but Douglas assured me there wasn't.

The fishballs are handmade by him (from 4am!) and boasted a firm, slightly rough rustic quality which was pretty appealing.

I certainly hope he won't stop telling this awesome story. Moohehe.

Fishball Story
Golden Mile Hawker Centre
Opens: 10.30am to 5pm daily

Chew On This: The fishballs here apparently use no flour! Only beaten sai tor her which is then seasoned and boiled.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tony Bilson x Tandoor

When the email invitation came, I was quite intrigued at how Australian and Indian cuisines would marry. On one hand is renown Australian celebrity chef Tony Bilson, on the other is Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre's Tandoor restaurant. With an open mind (and stomachs), I went, ate and now regurgitate. Moohehe.

The degustation menu started off with the Murgh Badam Ka Shorba (chicken soup brewed with fresh mint and truffles). Slightly thick and creamy, it was comforting though the mint and truffle flavours were hardly noticeable.

Next came the Roomali Red Snapper Chaat (carpaccio of red snapper with tangy chilli and lemon dressing), a beautiful plate of fresh fish slices topped with mussels, clams and caviar. Yes, it was a tad dry perhaps from sitting out a little longer than it should but this lightly flavoured dish paired really nicely with the Shaw & Smith Sauvignon Blanc. Loved the delicate flavours of this dish!  

Tawa Scallops (Indian spiced pan seared Norwegian scallops with saffron and fennel sabayon) featured a plump scallop against an aromatic kaffir lime leaf.

Mooving on to the mains, the Tandoori Australian Squab (bottom) and Tandoori Bharwan Duck (top) were both tender but offered different intensities of flavour. The former was delicate while the latter was more robust. That duck leg was apparently stuffed with foie gras too.

Moore meats! Hurray. Moohehe. Try the Pathar Ka Bataer (stone grilled quail with a black pepper sauce; on the left) and the Vilayati Sarson Gosht (Australian lamb shoulder; on the right). My favourite goes to the lamb. Slow cooked and crusted with a grainy mustard marinade, it was pleasantly meaty with a sweet, savoury flavour, smoky aroma and just a hint of lamby-ness. Excellent!

The meats generally went well with with medium-bodied, high acid Oyster Bay Pinot Noir.

Goat Cheese Pinwheel was a punchy, creamy fresh goat cheese that beckoned for moore naan! Oh the naan here is pretty awesome. ;)

Dinner ended on a sweet note with the flaky Caramelised Cardamom Fig Tart with raspberry sorbet and...wait for it...

Indian spiced chocolate! I'm partial to anything chocolate and not too sweet so this "exotic" creamy version with a hint of bitterness and spices was the perfect ending to the meal for me.

Overall, Chef Tony contributed in the contemporary presentation, the use of non-traditional ingredients and modern cooking techniques like sous-vide while working with Tandoor's head chef Suri to result in Indian flavours with a refined touch. Pretty interesting.    

Thanks to Yan Goh from Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre for the invitation.

Tony Bilson at Tandoor
14 to 23 November
11 Cavenagh Road
Tel: 6733 8333

4-course Lunch Set Menu
12 noon to 2.30pm
$48++ per person

Dinner Set Menu
7pm to 10.30pm
$58++ (6 courses) and $88++ (7 courses) per person

Chew On This: Vegetarian options are available for all set menus.