Monday, November 30, 2009
The gf excitedly told us about Shin Yeh and truth be told, I am not a huge fan of dining in chinese restaurants, save for dimsum. As such, her bubbling excitement hardly rubbed off me.
The "zen" entrance with bamboo.
The gorgeous night view was a draw but at the expense of glaring bright lights. We opted for a table nearer the entrance with warmer lighting.
Somewhat ready to fill the tum!
The appetizers are different everyday, for the gf who went 3 days in a row, she was lemming for the sauteed bittergourd which was not available.
In return, we were served this plain looking appetizer which is really quite "Boomz". Think plum sauce drizzled over young papaya slices. It tastes like a cross of apple and guava, refreshing and tantalizing. For once, I was so glued onto the appetizer.
Cooling sliced cucumbers!
Beancurd in XO Sauce ($18)
A veg is a must hence this order. Strips of fried beancurd with straw mushrooms and a measly portion of veg. It's one pricey vegetable dish.
Wok Seared Pig's Liver with Coriander ($14) *
I'm no fan of liver but was egged on to try. No regrets. Sliced to an ideal thickness, they resembled stir fried beef slices. It melts in your mouth like foie gras should without the rancid intestinal aftertaste certain liver dishes have. Paired with raisins, the lovely combination of sweet and savoury was plain good.. this dish was polished off in no time.
Crisp Fried Fresh Oysters with Dip ($16)
Doesn't this resemble KFC's Popcorn Chicken or the famous Taiwanese street delight; 鹽 酥雞?
Balls of crispy batter with a curled up oyster nested within, loved the crunch of this dish.
Panfried Turnip Cake ($10) *
Just chye poh egg, nothing to shout about.
Sauteed Prawns with Pineapple ($22) *
A different interpretation of Wasabi Prawns, with pineapple. The absurdly fresh and crunchy prawns that was not doused in bicarbonate, tossed in pineapple sauce and pineapple cubes. Lastly, black and white sesame seeds to finish. It would have been better if the pineapples were sweeter. Nonetheless, a stunning one here!
Steamed Pork Petites topped with Egg Yolk ($12) *
I wonder where the plurality of 'Petites' came about when it was a pork patty in chunk form. Certainly was a jawdropper in terms of portions. Well minced meat marinated in spices and the salted egg did much to spice this dish nicely. It's a good to try, not must try.
All the dishes were eaten with sweet potato porridge ($1.50) without a trace of sweet potato. I found it just ordinary white porridge. Even when eaten without porridge, these dishes were not overly salty.
Taiwan Taro Paste ($5) *
The portion of this was well, small. Fits a bowl nicely and a spoon and a half each. Smooth yam paste with osmanthus flower buds strewn into the sweet gravy. I wish they took this further with the sin-factor, coconut milk, pumpkin or even lard if need be!
Glutinous Rice Ball coated with Ground Peanuts ($0.80/pc)
Every table received this complimentary. One per diner. I'd say the main delight came from the ground peanut powder, so fine and melt in your mouth. The muah chee was really just all dense and slightly bland. Was expecting it to be stuffed with red beans though.
Taiwan-style Baked Yam Pastry ($4.50/3 pcs) *
The description failed me. Basically just yam dough wrapped around red bean paste and fried. Icing sugar or even condensed milk would have done the trick.
Taiwan-style Mango and Milk Shaved Ice ($7) *
The story behind this last minute addition came about because a certain waiter paraded it in such jest to the table next to us, under the warm lighting the dessert glistened. It could have been fantasy playing up but when we were served, the portion seemed to have shrunk (not considerably) and appeared less appetizing. True enough, it was just shaved ice (not even the snow ice tendency, closer to ice kachang) with condensed milk and barely ripe mangoes.
* denotes signature.
Quality food you'll find in Shin Yeh, I left surprised that I actually enjoyed the meal despite the misses. There's no issue of promptness of the food served here in Shin Yeh, in fact the dishes are served so quickly, it barely leaves you enough time between dishes to slowly savour the food. The plates are also cleared with such promptness, it leaves you wondering what's the haste?
Liang Court #02-19
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Mango Mousse Cake
The parents were raving about Amara Hotel cakes from yonks ago so I decided to get that out of a whim. The F and B Manager was kind enough to entertain my questions on both visits before fickle me could decide on the flavour. Elements at Amara Hotel focuses alot on mousse cake. (which somehow I was not a huge fan of but I decided to give them a go anyway!) I guess what bought me over was their local range of cakes which not many places does not offer though the irony of it all was I picked Mango from Cempedek, Passionfruit, Apple, Bitter Banana, their signature Tiramisu Cheesecake...don't the flavours get you salivating?
The layers of sponge was generous and fluffy with a custard like mousse which went well with me. I totally dislike the mousse dissolving into mush. I'd say, not too bad a decent mousse-effort on Element's part...I'm all ready to try the other flavours!
Saturday, November 28, 2009
After 2 previous failed attempts at this place over the last couple of years and each attempt left me with a bitter aftertaste, ask me not why I chose to return for a third. The 1-for-1 deal was a good enough draw for the poor pocket wrung dry of its capabilities.
From the selection of crepes, you can mix and match the flavours of the crepes; ranging from tomato, wheat and original..if the memory does not fail me. We made it a point to order those with "chef recommendations" to play safe.
Seafood Jungle ($16.50)
Tangy spicy yogurt with citrus fruits, crabmeat, prawns and scallops
I remember trying this years back and I was not impressed. This time round the only thing I discerned were the juicy wedges of oranges which gave this a sweet twist.
Wok Fried Butter Cream Prawns ($16.50)
Wok fried butter cream prawns with curry leaves and chilli padi
Between this and the Seafood Jungle, no major taste differences..in fact they tasted the same.
Korean BBQ Pork ($14.50)
Flavoured pork with korean chilli paste served with kimchi
On the whole, this was probably the best of the lot. The BBQ Pork had a slight hint of spice and paired with kimchi, though nowhere near the real McCoy, it was good enough.
Peking Duck ($15.50)
Roasted duck with sambal olek, lychees and dark sweet sauce
This was too sweet. If you are expecting a healthier version of Peking Duck wrapped in Popiah skin, you'd be disappointed. Lychees and dark sweet sauce made this sweeter than it ought to be.
All in, the crepe flavours were barely discernible or perhaps the tongue was confused by all the flavours packed into a roll. For the most part, the crepe was soggy by the time we made it through all 4 flavours. The only saving grace, the generous amounts of shredded lettuce stuffed into each roll..which satisfied the vegetarian in me.
Out of the Pan
Friday, November 27, 2009
Wedding Dinner at Civil Service Club! I honestly was not aware that they had a ballroom to begin with, though prior visits only pointed to a somewhat lacking in outlook Chinese Restaurant.
47 tables it could fit nicely in the Ballroom.
Suckling Pig Cold Dish
All dishes fared quite well.
Prawn Salad that was fresh. Chewy spicy Jelly Fish. Spicy Shellfish that I could not resist seconds, thirds and even forths. The crunchy suckling pig could have been crispier but I gobbled, fats and meat down. Delicious fried spring roll and ngor hiang.
Braised Shark's Fin Soup with Crab Meat
真材實料, stare hard at the thick fan of fins.
Steamed Red Garoupa
Slightly overcooked but still succulent.
Braised Mixed Superior Seafood
Don't the plump scallops just appeal to the senses? It's probably just me and plump seafood that screams juicy.
Fried Prawn with Cereal
Uber yummy, the cereal was great to taste save for the over bearing milk powder aftertaste after the numerous spoonfuls I was shoving down the throat.
Braised Abalone with Spinach
Such is seafood decadence. Scallops, Shark's Fin, Abalone, Prawns...my heartfelt apologies to the creatures of the sea.
Fried Rice in Lotus Leaf
The blandness somehow rounded off this rich meal nicely.
Yam Paste with Gingko Nuts
This rivals Peony Jade's, the rich smooth starchy paste in creamy coconut milk with gems of gingko...two bowls of sin.
I left the dinner absolutely sold on restaurant food rather than hotel food. Good job done by HillTop Restaurant, I certainly classify this as hidden gem! Service was bearable with all the aunties "tsk-ing" and muttering when you made a request for extra drinks or changing of plates.
I should think this will be my last wedding dinner for the year..until the next! To date, I already have 2 to attend in 2010 and 1 in 2011. Do people really plan so ahead?
Thursday, November 26, 2009
The cartoon cracked me up..what has turtles have anything to do with Ang Ku Kuehs? Or is there a myth somewhere?
The Mom brought these back one night and she claimed they were "bestsellers". Come to think of it, I've only been exposed to Bengawan Solo or the usual off the rack hawker centre ones and I have not had a "famous" one yet.
They are usually sold out by noon and come in a variety of flavours like durian and sesame, which are the other flavours I did not get to try.
Kuehs in pretty colours, like a eyeshadow palette.
Smooth yam paste that was more pasty than creamy but still good.
The favourite of the lot! The thick peanut paste was pure decadence, the best take on the Americanized peanut butter ever!
Savoury Green Bean
Oh. So. Smooth. I liked this though, not the least bit salty, a nice balance in fact.
Sweet Green Bean
Melt in your mouth kind of good.
The texture of the ang ku kueh skin is delicately thin and soft. Almost like mochi, only the skin is way finer and the ingredients stuffed into one is so generous! More than three quarts of it is stuffing! I love such generosity though it may come across as more than you bargain for. With melt in your mouth fillings and delicious skin, Ji Xiang's a keeper for good ole' ang ku kuehs.
Ji Xiang Confectionery (Ang Ku Kueh)
Block 1 Everton Park
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
For Chinatown's Hawker Centre, the length of the queues is a good gauge of the quality of food. Though this assumption may not run through for all places. Jia Ji dishes out your typical "chinese breakfast", think fried bee hoon, steamed rice rolls with sweet sauce, peanut congee, yam cake and glutinous rice dumplings.
It bemused me greatly when the Uncle was taking everyone's orders in Cantonese but chose to speak to me in Mandarin..to think I was figuring out how to speak it fluently in my mind before my turn! *dang*
$2 worth of yam cake, diced so haphazardly but for all the fluffyness and wholesome kueh like savoury kueh with yam cubes, this one's worth watching out for.
Jia Ji Mei Shi
Chinatown Hawker Centre
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Chinatown wet market holds deep childhood memories for me. Tottering after the Mom who would weave in and out of the market with such familiarity during her weekly marketing sessions. Chinatown market then, was wetter than wet, dirty and the people were loud. Cantonese speaking folks all over, imagine pot bellied uncles and plump aunties who associated volume with authority, the way they clucked like hens when customers tried to bargain an extra ten cents down...I relish wet market visits till this day..nevermind getting my sponge slippers all wet and sodden with fish scales, that bit of the past that still enthralls me. Chinatown market's one of those places that still kills upon order (as gross as that sounds), I saw jumping bull frogs, slithering eels...
Of course, years later...I'm grateful to the mother for all those wet market visits. And what's a wet market visit without the yummy food upstairs? Teochew Market Bak Chor Mee had queues that dragged for ages. Two conclusions, the cook is slow or, the food is really so good.
Sometimes choices are a bad thing..or leaves you confused after awhile.
Mee Kia, Mee Pok, Kuay Teow
Anyway, the above was a $3 order.
The chilli oil-vinegar kind of bothers me, in all density. But otherwise, I'm quite liking the punch both condiments pulled off with the springy noodles. The ingredients used are quite generous as compared to the other bak chor mees I've tried, relative to the price. I've already had it for two weeks running, the only grouse...the slow cook! A rough guide? Be prepared to wait for at least 20 minutes, if you are lucky.
Teochew St Minced Meat Noodle
#02-021 Chinatown Hawker
Monday, November 23, 2009
Dinner without dessert is a sin, more so when dinner was not fulfilling. Dropped by Ben and Jerry's for the waffles and ta-dah...! Belgian Waffle with 3 scoops of ice-cream to round off another indulgent meal.
My first experience with it was good, mini tub whilst watching a movie. On its own it was one of my preferred flavours. Weirdly enough, this with waffle came across funny..as if they do not belong together.
Coconut 7 Layer
Same goes for the coconut ice-cream. Not a huge fan..
This is the only flavour that tasted right with waffles.
Mental note; sorbets and selected cake flavoured ice-creams do not go well with waffles. Ben and Jerry's waffle was soggy and lacking in fluff-factor.
Ben and Jerry's
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Chili's has been making waves as the American chain for beef burgers, replacing Spagheddies at good ole Tanglin Mall. To be honest, I was wavering between this and Oomphatico's one floor down.
Mismatched ketchup and chilli sauce..
Mugs of warm and cold water..
The rest of the place with an american feel to it and reminded me of Outback Steakhouse somehow.
BOTTOMLESS TOSTADA CHIPS™ $6.90
Warm and crispy tostada chips with our flavourful house-made salsa.
Being the cheapest starter on the menu, many tables ordered this. It arrived in a huge flowerbasket worth of thin chips. These lacked in bite, tasting mostly light and almost like crackers. The house-made salsa was good though.
The amusing pairing of a huge knife with a medium sized fork just for the mains.
This was simply a blander version of Kentucky Fried Chicken with 2 sides (Potato salad and fries) and Garlic Toast. What baffled me was having both the chicken and salad drenched in teh same sauce.
Fresh sautéed mushrooms, aged Swiss cheese, mayonnaise, shredded lettuce, tomato & pickle.
This is a decent burger though the major thing that gives it away is the high sodium used. Other than that, the beef patty was flavourful and appetizing. Swiss cheese used gave the burger a layer of sheen (visually, it was pleasing! :P)
I figure the best part of Chili's is the American-sized portions served, service is brisk and so is business. A return anytime soon? Maybe not.