Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dinner @ Intercontinental Hotel



Attending dinners as part of work hardly appeal to me largely because you have to entertain and normally food takes a second beating since the focus is on the whole intent of the meeting anyway. Even if you were served the best food, the appetite would be mangled somehow even before the food is served. With a heavy heart and expected empty tum, I attended one at Intercon Hotel.

My eyes sparkled when I saw the long drawn menu...looking good at least, sans the usual Chinese sitdown dinner.



Crispy White Bait with Dipping Sauce

Crunchy lovelies, the bait was inflated to bulb-shaped snacks. Nice way to start the meal!

Vietnamese Rice Rolls with Spicy Dipping Sauce

Was pleasantly surprised when the usual acquired tasting bay leaves were not in sight. The popiah-like contents were wrapped in a sesame-studded thin rice roll. Yum!



Romaine Lettuce with Tomato, Feta Cheese, Cucumber and Parsley

Hardly a stranger to salads, this was refreshing with feta cheese that I've got a new love for.



Honey Roasted Pumpkin Soup served with Naan Bread

Thick well-flavoured soup that I slurped down greedily. The Naan was not spectacular but I wolfed down three slices in sheer hunger.



Steamed Mussels with Herb and Garlic Bread

Fresh fragrant mussels with crunchy garlic bread...I wish there was more to go round. The gravy was slightly sour though.




Buttered Steamed Vegetables with Basil

The spread of vegetables was a visually very pleasing with the colours (carrots, brocolli, yellow peppers) and cooked to the right degree, not too soft nor too hard. Loved the buttery gravy that it was doused in.



Pan-seared Salmon Medallions with Caper and Leek Emulsion

The caper and leek emulsion was the main draw. The thinly shredded leeks were like dried vegetable strings but these went awesomely with the melt in your mouth pan-seared salmon. Very fresh salmon used (no fishy smell nor taste!), paired with the creamy emulsion..the rest they say is history.

Baked Scallops and Prawns with Olives and Tomatoes, Zucchini Fritters and Cous Cous

The Zucchini Fritters were pasty, cous cous was bland but the plump scallops and prawns scored with its succulence.



Chicken Satay with Grilled Banana and Peanut Sauce

I was looking forward to this somehow, the sticks of fried satay, the chicken meat was laced with lemongrass which made it tasty. Grilled bananas replaced the usual ketupat (rice cakes), chopped onions and cucumber...nice move!

Stir Fried Garlic Rice

The garlic was not obvious in this, well-cooked dish.



Profiteroles with Vanilla Custard with Icecream and Chocolate Shavings

Individual desserts of three cream puffs and vanilla icecream. I found the ice-cream ordinary and slightly stiff, unlike the usual creamy-milky overload. The puffs were just ordinary as well.

Assorted Fruit Platter

Usual.

I left the dinner impressed with the quality of Middle Eastern food spread that Intercon had to offer.

Intercontinental Hotel

Friday, October 30, 2009

Dallas @ Boat Quay



Boat Quay in comparison with Clarke Quay pales in terms of activity and atmosphere. I offered Dallas as an option for dinner largely because of their "4-for-3" ongoing promotion that was supposed to have ended in June. Reservations are not necessary unless you want that particular window seat overlooking the river and the museum. Dinner is served upstairs whilst drinks downstairs.



The nice scenic view from the second floor.



Crab and Prawn Fritters with Chilli Lime Dipping Sauce

My favourite of the list of appetizers. Of course they could not topple the pricey cousins from Morton's. I prefered the prawn fritters, the cubes of prawns were succulent and blended in nicely with the fritters.


Soup of the day served with toasted ciabatta
Corn Soup

Pleasantly surprised by this! Homemade cream soup with chockfuls of sweet corn kernels...loved it! Pity the toasted ciabatta was too crunchy.


Tandoori Chicken Salad with Pappadums

Honestly, the tandoori chicken came across more like grilled chicken. Pappadums were somewht too small, this famous Indian snack was too dry and tasted more like spiced crackers. Otherwise, I felt the salad was wholesome with a nice Indian twist to it.




Chicken Parmigana
Crumbed chicken breast topped with chunky tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, baked to golden brown and served with salad greens and Dallas Fries

Major disappointment, this tasted like Mcd's McChicken Patty. Props has to be given for the generous layer of mozzarella cheese, loved it! Dallas Fries are basically thick cut fries with parprika, we requested for the usual chilli, ketchup, ranch sauce, mayo and mustard. The mustard has a certain bean paste taste to it instead of the usual nose-tickling English Mustard.



Wagyu Burger (additional $6)
Quality Wagyu mince grilled and served on a sesame seed bun and topped with lettuce, tomato, caramelized onions, cheddar cheese and BBQ Sauce with coleslaw and Dallas Fries


This was what sealed the decision to come for all of us. The additional $6 charge was not highlighted at all, until the bill came which leaves you with not much choice but to pay for it. The portion was quite big and we were salivating over it when it was served. It would have been better if hte buns were slightly toasted. At first bite, it reminded me of Burger King. It could have been the BBQ sauce or the patty. I liked the firm patty, it was not peppered with spices or over marinated, the natural beefy taste was retained. Not too bad a rendition but unless I was told, I would never have guessed it was a Wagyu.




Baby Back Pork Ribs (Fiery)
Slowly braised and served with seasoned wedges and coleslaw

Dallas is famous for ribs and I'm glad we had a portion of it. Knocks out Tony Roma's in a heartbeat! The ribs although "slowly braised" were not babyfood soft but had a certain firmness in the meat. One great pity though, it was nowhere near fiery. Tasted like BBQ sauce ribs.



Beef Lasagne with Salad Greens

We were all fawning over the rest of the mains and left this to the last to eat. By that time, it was slightly cold, the cheese was a chewy crust..not that I minded. Quite a decent lasagne though I was not wowed.




Baked Banana in Puff Pastry
Sweet Banana baked with brown sugar, cinnamon and wrapped in puff pastry. Served with caramel sauce and ice-cream.


One major grouse is throughout the whole experience, we were never given an option of "another dessert" since there was no choice. Yet after we polished it off and thank goodness the dessert was good enough, we saw plates of strawberry cheesecake being served to the next table! When questioned, the innocent looking waitress tried to explain that we "did not request" and fuelled the discussion further with "normally we try not to give alternatives, unless customers ask". So now the thing is, you can ask for anything beyond the set dinner menu and it can be done, without an extra charge.

That being said, I liked the banana puff pastry, the warm chewy pastry. The cinnamon was hardly obvious. This is one of those hot desserts that I adore, the sticky caramel sauce paired with lovely banana pastry and ice-cream too! No doubt it was not vanilla bean, it was pure happiness for me.



Coffee/Tea

Dallas wows with their wide range of beverages even for sets! Not just a regular tea/coffee...get confused with latte, cappucino, earl grey, lipton, peppermint, chamomile! They do offer soft drinks like sprite and coke too.

Dallas ranks high in terms of cozy factor though it got a little too cold towards the end. Hits and misses overall. Being too flexible has its disadvantages and Dallas gives too many options, hidden and obvious choices to customers. I do not appreciate the non-informing one bit. That being said, I had a good time and so did the company.

Set Dinner $28++
4-for-3 promotion

Dallas
31 Boat Quay
Mon-Sat

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Da Paolo Takeaway



2 for $7.
Colourful swirls on cupcakes.
Da Paolo.
All for a Marmalade Pantry cupcake lover.



Nope, they did not topple Marmalade Pantry off its cupcake tower. The cakes are buttery smooth and frosting's melt in your mouth delightful..yet I am not about to switch camps. Cupcakes though made from cake batter taste different in cups and well, in whole cakes. Sounds almost greek to some but in a nutshell, I shall stick to their White Chocolate Cornflake scones which are by far, drop dead addictive.

Da Paolo

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Spruce @ Phoenix Park



Alas, added Spruce to the list of "have tried", after hearing and reading so much about this place. Phoenix Park is located near Orchard, Brunei Embassy...and unfortunately or not, I had a chauffeur with a ghastly sense of direction. Finally being able to locate it was...pure ecstacy. We made reservations but was obviously late for almost 45 minutes..thankfully our indoor table was not given away.



Up the wooden planked path...reminds me of PS.Cafe at Dempsey somehow.


Chalk boards...I find that charming.



A rather limited menu.



Chilli and Ketchup..



The outdoor.



The indoor that was a little to chilly for my liking.



Rotisserie Chicken with Desiree Potato Puree and Sauteed Broccoli ($18)

Tender chicken with a milky potato puree and crunchy broccoli. R adored this more than I did, though I give Spruce props for the juicy chicken.



The European Burger with Blue Cheese, Bacon and Onion Compote ($19)

The moment I spied it on the menu, I knew I had to get it. The portion was good enough for me, and enticing enough for R's straying fork to inch closer to the food gem.



I'll have to declare this THE burger of all that I have attempted so far. I dig my food stacked up, a food fetish perhaps. The toasted fluffy buns hugging the plump beef patty smeared with cheese, rockets, onions and bacon. The bacon is not the usual tough strips but was a meaty slice. It would have been better if the blue cheese was crumblier.



Now, stare at the delicious crimson hue. The beefyness of the burger was maxed out, well ground beef with bite! The juices was well balanced and for once, I had my beef patty in the doneness I so desired. The patty was not overly minced, neither was it bland...well marinated and the best part of it, there was a certain home-cooked-ness about it that sealed the deal. At least I was not reaching for my glass of water..a clear sign that minimal MSG was used.

The magic does not end there...loved the thick cut potato fries.



Purple Velvet ($9)

I could not resist dessert. They were displayed the same way as P.S. Cafe's..in clear glass dome-shaped containers for the hungry and greedy to oogle at. I settled on Purple Velvet, a latest addition. The waiter claimed and confirmed twice it had "no chocolate". The moist cake had a whiff of chocolate in it and I risked a major outbreak for this! The delish orange cheese cream and chopped nuts upped the stakes for this. Loved it and risked it all for this decadence.

Service was decent and the food was more than that. Ambience is perfecto, outdoor for those who do not mind random bug visitors, indoor for those who do not mind the chills. Nay to those who say this place does not wow. I liked the idea of the open concept kitchen, for you to peer and peep at the busy chefs. Free parking coupled with prices friendlier than P.S. Cafe, Spruce sets to convert P.S.' fans. I am one major convert as it is. It is just a pity that the menu is limited but given time I'm sure this gem will sparkle bright!

Reservations are highly recommended.

http://www.spruce.com.sg/

Spruce

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tian Tian Yuan Dessert House @ Tiong Bahru Market



Somehow the local dessert bug has caught up with me and I found myself checking them out at hawker centres.



Avocado Mango Ice

Looking oh-so-pretty with the myriad of colours! The avocado mango combination was quite amazing, how the flavours blended in so beautifully and with shaved ice, I was pleased as punch. The mango cubes are generous too!

Tian Tian Yuan Dessert House
Tiong Bahru Market

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Forgettable at East Coast Lagoon Food Village

East Coast Lagoon Food Village boasts of quite a large variety of dishes at affordable prices but there is just some charm about this hawker centre that sets it apart from the rest. I choose to think it is the location, by the crashing waves...near the sandy beaches.

Here's a showcase of the bad, boring and well, good to miss at East Coast Lagoon.



Fish Ball Noodles that were on the bland side. Very very normal.



Soup Kambing that was oily, thin in consistency and best of all, the mutton pieces were so tough.



Satay that every single table had. Bitter cucumber slices, chicken was too sweet, gravy flooded with oil.



Roti John! The best I had was at the now defunct Botanical Gardens..ever since, finding something decent has been arduous.



The beef bits were just fat, so bland it did zilch to the toast. Basically toasted bread with chilli sauce if you ask me.



I spy a Laguna Curry Puff (formerly from Lorong Stangee), back in its heydays..it could rival Old Chang Kee's.



Now, it is but an overfried pastry stuffed with heavily salted chicken curry. If you are lucky, you may get more than one bite of chicken.

$30 later, I was far from satisfied nor satiated.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Meng Kee Satay Bee Hoon @ East Coast Lagoon Food Village



The stall with one of the longest queues at ECP Hawker centre has to belong to Meng Kee Satay Bee Hoon, be prepared to wait for at least 20 mins.

In light of the recent friendly debate over the origins of certain dishes...some sources say this is a "Singaporean delicacy" combining "Thai Satay Sauce" and "Chinese style Rice Vermicilli". Not quite a huge fan of this dish though many years back the famous one was from Beauty World which has since dimmed out of limelight.



Satay Bee Hoon $4

Boiled Bee Hoon drenched in sweet satay sauce with a slight hint of crushed peanuts. Ingredients are sliced liver, sliced pork, plenty of bean sprouts and boiled cuttle fish. Personally felt the dish was a tad sweet and would have been better if it were served piping hot rather than warm, perhaps the queues created an overhype for this dish.

Meng Kee Satay Bee Hoon
Stall No. 17, East Coast Lagoon Food Village

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Stamford Catering Dinner Box



Bento sets never fail to bring a smile to my face, packaging rules..even for food. Somehow putting things into a box makes food seem more appetizing.

Fragrant Rice

Overcooked and dry.

Hong Kong Style Roast Chicken (Served with Chicken Rice Chilli)

Well marinated tender chicken. The chilli was quite good with blended ginger too! Would have been better if it were stronger in spice.

Lemon Grass Dory Fillet in Exotic Sauce

Firm fleshy fillets in tasty sauce. If the rice was not so hard, it would have been a perfect "cai peng" dish.

Crispy Battered Prawn with Oat Cereal

The prawns were not crispy by the time I consumed them, lacked the delicious crunch I was looking for but otherwise thankfully not overly crunchy nor stale!

Broccoli with Mock Scallops and Wolfberries

The mock scallops tasted like fishcakes, I liked the idea of wolfberries with broccoli...adds the whole "homemade herbal" taste to it.



Bland dry fruits.



Chilled Cheng Tng with Snow Fungus and Dry Longan

Good one! Not too sweet and generous with ingredients.

Stamford Catering

Friday, October 23, 2009

Lagoon Leng Kee Beef Kway Teow @ ECP Hawker



Another that you have to queue till the cows come home for that steaming bowl of beef kuay teow. Pun intended.



Three huge screaming words: No Big Deal. Yes they have the greenbook cert stating how awesome the beef kuay teow is, the long queues are a statement of its popularity. The beef was tough, requiring more chewing than normal. By the way, the cook counts the slices of beef he plonks into each bowl (at least he was for mine!). Ordinary kuay teow noodles with tough beef and super long queues, I am unfortunately not sold.

Lagoon Leng Kee Beef Kuay Teow
East Coast Lagoon Food Village, Stall 33