Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Burger, Bench and Bar @ Cineleisure



Brought to you by the folks of Relish and Wild Rocket, none of which I've attempted. B3 has the modern fittings of a barely open concept kitchen, wide chalkboard with the menu scribbled on...and bench seats. Layout and appearance wise, I cannot help but compare it with The Handburger.



Sitting by the bar, perfect for those who don't fancy table sharing.




Saute Mixed Mushroom Beef Burger ($8.20)



Lady-like portions, even then...eating it was a messy affair. Burgers are messy affairs, to begin with. Any burger that leaves you as clean as you first started obviously aren't the real deals..or so the advertisers claim.

Between two toasted than longer sesame buns is a garden of chopped lettuce (almost like MOS burger), a juicy beef patty with cheese and mushrooms. I adore how the juices overflow, the beefyness of the droolicious patty. For once, the patty did the beef some justice. The toasty buns survived without ending up soggy, nice! Strangely, the guilt when eating junk food does not exist for B3.

The menu has expanded quite abit since it opened with 10 different burgers to further confuse. Desserts are limited to their soft serve dark chocolate icecream, chocolate fudge and jam sponge cake.

I say...it won't be long before I return for seconds!

Burger, Bench and Bar
Cineleisure

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Arteastiq @ Mandarin Gallery



I first walked past it weeks ago and chose Jones The Grocer over but their liquor teas were an impression made.



Window seats!



Hot on the heels of the movie, Alice in Wonderland...here comes Arteastiq with a similar dreamlike quality in terms of furniture, decor and layout. Totally girlie with velvet chairs in candy dandy colours. The weekly PoshNosh section of Urban never fails to inject life into any newbie in the F&B scene, first with K Ki and now, Arteastiq. Tables were reserved in their petite tea shop.



A kitchen off the pages of an IKEA magazine.



Service is painfully s.l.o.w. Three servers to an almost full capacity of 15 at best but saw them moving at such leisurely paces, it was too slow for comprehension.



Our warm water took eternity of a lifetime and arrived in mismatched wine glasses. In fact, the cutlery arrived before the beverages did. The bill required enough waiting to drive you to sleep.




After what seemed like eons and neons and...Adam In Wonderland (15.90) made its grand appearance. The Mao Shan Wang fragrance wafted by moments before the dessert was served. Potent stuff, I silently mused.

Two scoops of Premium Gelato served with 2 slices of Artestiq Famous Apple Cake

Smooth. Creamy. Lethal. Slight tinge of bittersweet. The best durian icecream ever from an unassuming place like this! If all durians tasted this good, I'd gladly risk the foul breath and nasty lingering smell.

Lychee Tea gelato had an icy sorbet texture with lychee bits. Starkly bland next to the heavy weight, most expectedly.

Signature apple cake fell short, was totally outdone by the premium gelatos. Albeit decent by apple cake standards with a torched sugary layer and apples sliced so fine..the cake was aaaah, just soft.



Chopped dried strawberries and cocoa powder to taste!

Cake options are by far the fewest; either apple or orange. Their range of gelatos are fairly limited but at a glance I've already got flavours I want to try next! Liquor infused teas (only available after 5pm, drinking before evening is seemingly highly disregarded) and gelatos are beckoning me...Skip the cake, head for the gelatos!

In wonderland it was and wishing I was Alice, way too leisure teas Arteastiq offers. Great for taking half a day leave without worrying about the next appointment and I wouldn't mind waiting forever for tea.

Arteastiq
Mandarin Gallery

Monday, March 29, 2010

Marutama Ramen @ The Central


Japanese eateries and queues go hand in hand...majority of the time, the queues are an indication of its quality of food. The case for Marutama was lingering queues that put me off time and again. We chanced upon Marutama without a queue for once and without hesitation nabbed the counter seats.

Call me pure weird but seating by the counter completes Japanese dining, somehow. They serve cold water instead of hot green tea, found it strange since drinking cold beverages after food exacerbates indigestion.



7 nuts Ramen with egg ($15)



The Japanese know where to get me, when it comes to eggs. Eggs and runny yolks are never me..yet I caved in for their dafodil coloured semi-runny yolk with tea-egg coloured egg whites. The closest you could get to tea eggs, I say, with a slight sweet tinge!

Handmade noodle consistency, thinner than the usual ramen...reminded me of Fei Fei Wanton Noodle once upon a time. The broth is where the magic all begins, robust and flavourful. I could not help but slurp every drop of it. Hardly do I ever embrace MSG so wholeheartedly but for Marutama, I did. For once, I peppered my ramen with fried garlic and sesame seeds...the fried garlic chips were light on the palette!

And then comes handmade meatballs with a smatter of ingredients within. Lovely!

Marutama Ramen, the queues justify it. Don't bother with the service though. I'll be back!

Marutama Ramen
The Central
#03-90/91

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Fortune City @ Albert Centre Food Centre

Albert Centre Food Centre recently re-opened at its new premises with one of the latest energy saving features, UGS. Saving the earth has always been a concerted effort, good to know the government is doing every bit possible to make the earth a greener place.



Certified fit for the President, with pictures of him and the humble roll. Watching food being prepared is one of my quirks at hawker centers, strangely therapeutic.

Lay out popiah skins flat - smear the garlic-chilli-peanut paste in concentric circles - drain the gravy from the turnip stew - scatter shredded cucumber and carrot - fold in the popiah - slice and ready to serve.

My supposedly healthy fix.



I should have known better, they have an outlet at Marine Parade as well, was not impressed the last. Mental note: If food does not please, changing an outlet hardly makes a difference. This was too raw with the cucumber, turnip and carrots hence rendering this runnier than it should with all the water content. Flavours were leaning towards the sweet side, not a favourite.

$1.20/roll

Fortune City
Albert Centre Food Centre

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Kei Wah Souvenirs @ Hongkong










Shortcakes




Original (Pineapple)

Pineapple shortcake with Walnut


Mango Shortcake

Honeydew Melon Shortcake


The same buttery crust with the velvety finish I fell in love with in Hongkong. I'm still very much head over heels in love with the pineapple shortcake, the other flavours were plain artificial to taste




Ginger cookies

My favourite, delicious ginger biscuits with candied ginger bits within.




Butter Egg Rolls

Light egg rolls with a nice milky aftertaste, not as dense as those found here.







Mini Walnut Cookies

Crumbly goodness.


Handmade Almond Biscuits

Prefer Chan Yee Jai's, this was less fragrant somehow.

Sesame Biscuits

Butter cookies with sesame seeds. As separate as they sound.

Panda Cookies

Milo and butter cookies, these are more to please the kid in us.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Kettle Chips - Honey Dijon




Kettle chips have long been lauded as top of the range. Some top notch sandwich places pair their sandwiches with them...but I've never sat down with a bag in hand, before.

$4.20 for a bag of chips, pricey. Did I also mention it's all of 142g? Premium in price, premium in packaging - aluminum packaging is so passe. I never could understand the hype about Kettle chips..simply because I could not bear to part with the 4 buckeroos. For this bag, I gave up one of the following...

2 Double cheese burgers
4 Jollibean Min Jiang Kuehs
6 Mcdonald Vanilla Cones

For possibly triple the calories but, quadruple the enjoyment.

There I said it, there can only be one humanely possible outcome upon opening the bag - Mad snacking. If Pringles set the standard of irresistible, Kettle Chips are obsessive. Chips with bite, firm and crunchy. Strong flavourful smokey bites with a tinge of sweetness, the closest you can ever get to potatoes.

Honey Dijon was mind blowing. I foresee couch potato days ahead...! New York Cheddar with Herbs, Tuscan Three Cheese...Spicy Thai...!

Kettle Chips

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Rocky Master @ MapleTree Anson



Anywhere with Aircon and decent looking food is a success recipe for an eatery located within CBD.

I took shelter at Rocky Master for that very same reason, to evade the sweltering heat.



Smoked Chicken Sandwich ($6.50)


First impression of it was; it's very put together..almost as if the kitchen had different people handling different parts of the meal. For this, it felt like someone was holding an opened can of Pringles dishing out stacks of chips, another with the cups of salsa...and so on.

The chips made me laugh, seriously. I've had kettle chips, potato chips but not Pringles chips yet.

Multigrain bread stuffed with chicken. I daresay it's one of the heartier sandwiches I've had in a long while! Lightly salted chicken slices plump up the sandwich, every bite was meaty. I gave up on the fork and knife (and being a lady) and used my hands.

One surprising start at Rocky Master!




Chicken Sausages with Wedges ($6.50)


The cheese dip made me wish there were nachos. After tasting sausages from kiosks at shopping centres, I realise there is such a thing as "bad" sausages, those that taste bleah, literally. These are decent ones at least! Oh, liked the wedges, somehow these did not taste as salty as the usual thaw-and-deepfry ones.



Carrot Walnut Cake ($4)

Moist. Nutty. Light Frosting. Yum. Pleasantly impressed by their take on the good old traditional. Not the best, not the worst but coming from a sandwich joint, I say it's boleh lah!



Bite-sized cheesecakes were given out after lunch. Fluffy morsels of delight.

Burgeoning lunch crowds are a testimony of this place, given strong competition from Mcdonalds and Han's just opposite. Service is warm, food is decent for shenton way...I'll be back not on the basis to evade the heat.

Rocky Master
Maple Tree Anson
60 Anson Road

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Jones The Grocer @ Mandarin Gallery



Me and Mrs Jones, We got a thing going on, We both know that it's wrong But its much too strong to let it go now.

~ Me and Mrs Jones, a jazz hit of Billy Paul's.

As frivolous as it sounds, anything "jones" reminds me of this song.
I've always wondered if Jones the Grocer would be a lust-worthy secret affair.

If there's anything lust-ing, it had to be brunch.

Brunch has been my favourite meal of the day over weekends especially, for the last one month. There's just something lazy and leisurely about it. Jones the Grocer at Dempsey has always been a fond place to visit, just for browsing. Thank goodness for Sticky Candy Store that saved the wretched in me from splurging on rock candies at Jones.

So this adventure took a neat 20 minute wait in the queue, nope they make no attempt at offering drinks like the Japanese places do...they do best at throwing apologetic glances and proceed down the line for possible table fillers.

We ended up sharing the table with another three ladies. Weird as it sounds but the comfort level was contrived..almost like sharing a table in a hawker center but paying at least thrice the price.



Menu on the wall!



Browse their grocery selection for ingredients should you fancy what you're eating.



Strawberry and Banana Smoothie ($7.50)

More strawberry than banana, only reaffirms how much of a non-strawberry fan I am.



Vanilla Milkshake ($7.50)

Brimming with richness, I actually liked this.




Jones English Breakfast ($22)
Eggs, sauteed mushrooms, toast with butter, tomato, bacon

The presentation was very much in your face, nary the fanciful pan that Graze serves nor full-plate-brimming visuals that Wild Honey offers. Looked as it the food was cooked and laid, simple as that.



Eggs on Toast ($9.50)

Literally two poached eggs with two toasts.




French Macaroons ($5.50 for 3)

Not sure why they spelt it that way...I find it hard to resist these delights always.

Rum and Raisin

Just macaroons with raisin. Rum was nowhere to be found.

Pistachio

The only thing nutty about it is the green shade used.

Chocolate

Did not try.

Crispy shells with buttercream innards...with Jewels that blew my socks away, these were plain boring.

Brunch is on till 3pm. Seems that brunch is the way to go these days, with more than one place offering longer than usual brunches within Mandarin Gallery..there are better alternatives.

Not bowled over their service. Sharing a table was weird enough, coupled with facing the wall and taking forever and waving like a nutcase to get anybody's attention...

Unfortunately, I don't have a thing with this Jones..the way Billy Paul had.

Jones The Grocer
Mandarin Gallery
4th Floor

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Aroma Takeaway @ Intercontinental Hotel

The sweetest sis dropped a post-dinner surprise on all of us, takeaways from Aroma Bakery of Intercontinental Hotel!

I'm not that familiar with Intercontinental's goodies save for their delicious croissants and substandard High Tea.




Raspberry Roulade (Low Sugar)

Have your cake and eat it, is what this declares. Low Sugar for the health conscious, not too sure if this interfered with the slight artificial flavouring. Tight sponge with raspberry cream layers, so very ordinary.



Tiramisu

I should have known better, judging from the darker bottom sponge layers. Soaked right through the layers the espresso and rum did, resulting in thick soggy cake.



Apple Caramel Cake


Yet another soggy one, chocolate cake base drowned in liquid with a passable caramel layer. Preserved mini apples stud the cake, which could have been the major culprit of the excess fluid.




Strawberry and Pistachio Breton


I was holding my breath for this, if the cakes were soaked through, what more the tarts? Crumbly tart with chopped pistachios, custard and strawberries. Pity the strawberries were not sweet, the better of the lot.



American Cheesecake


One of the few with peanut butter bases, fork-licking good! Spongey-fluffy cheesecake, I declare this the best of the lot.

These cakes nailed the outlook bit, tastewise...miles and miles away from the creme of the crop. I say stick with their bakery items, croissants sweet and savoury are safe!

All cakes are priced between $6-8+ for takeaway.

Aroma
Intercontinental Hotel

Monday, March 22, 2010

Morton's Steakhouse @ Mandarin Oriental



Mypaper did a short writeup on Morton's $95 set dinner and I decided I had to go...in a heartbeat! Morton's is one of those places I'd go without thinking, especially more so if a good deal comes along.

There was no special occasion to speak of but R was sweet enough to agree to Morton's, without hesitation. ;)

Logically speaking, who can possibly pass a good deal up? Effectively a 3 course meal that would otherwise cost more than $150, thinking about it made me jittery happy. Even more so what some establishments have already started upping their prices in view of the "booming" economy.

Patsy, their marketing manager was the sweetest over the phone. She probably received enough calls regarding the promotion and regurgitated till she could memorize the script backwards but she was still nice enough to explain and make suggestions. They were full for Saturday dinner but offered 530 or after 9pm. Strangely enough, Morton's did make it different....even over a phonecall. She bothered to call back to reconfirm my change in reservation and offered to send an email confirmation as well.

No pretense, no falsities, just warm service. Impressive, for a start...without even stepping into the restaurant.




The warm lighting, jazzy numbers played over the stereo ups the romanticism in Morton's by a few notches...the 6pm reservation we had seemed like 7 or even 8pm inside the restaurant. A warm welcome by the staff, we were shown to our table..and it stopped there. Nobody bothered with the drinks nor the menu nor the "Morton's display" of huge chunky meats and live lobster.




When the menu was finally picked, I still missed the regurgitation of the day's special and the wringling live lobster! Not that I'm super anal about it but it's like going to Lawry's without the famous spinning bowl salad, no matter how routine it is.

The first attempt bringing D5000 out, pictures weren't totally satisfactory. :(



Morton's Salad
Blue Cheese, Romaine Salad

Served chilled, lacked the pizzazz Lawry's Spinning Bowl Salad would have offered. Otherwise, a normal salad with blue cheese.



Egg and Onion Loaf, great for stuffing yourself silly even before the meal began! In the day and age where these complimentaries are petite, Morton shocks with a bun as big as my face. Texture is normal though, making me miss Gordon's Onion loaf more. Light onion fragrance permeates through the soft layers.



Macaroni and Cheese

Second time round, I realise what the gfs mean by Bedrock's version is better. This is drier despite the crispy top layer. Ended up more jelard than expected, it was left mostly unfinished.



Single Cut Filet with broiled sea scallops
8.5 ounce

"Temperatures that reach up to 1800 degrees. Numbers that sear. Warm and pink, charred and rare... juicy and flavor-rich to turn taste buds... and heads. It's called USDA prime-aged steak for a reason. Come taste for yourself... "

The website describes the signature.

Undoubtedly divine, without the pompous display of root vegetables or sauce drippling around the plate. Seared to medium, the pretty pink...meat so tender, flavourful and melt in your mouth. Lightly salted, all of 250 grams seemed too little for pleasure. Yes, it's Morton's and its signature steak...pleased as punch the stellar lived up to expectations. Bearnaise sauce and french mustard on hand for the extra punch!

The same could not be said of the broiled scallops wrapped in bacon paired with plum sauce. Felt the scallops were a tad overcooked, bacon was bland...despite them all, I have to admit how huge the scallops are. Knocks out the hokkaido relatives anyday.



American Cheesecake ($18)

It's the Morton's spell that makes you want to try something from all courses, and naturally...dessert was not to be missed. Be prepared for a 40 minute wait if you're eyeing the chocolate souffle, chocolate molten cake or apple crumble. American cheesecake over the key lime pie and whipped cream.

Supposedly flown in from US of A, this cheesecake did not have the usual biscuit base though. Slightly sweeter than usual, there was a likable fragrance about it. Decent cheesecake though I'm not a fan of the artificial sweetness.

Portions are huge, more than enough for two. Truth be told, the menu's of great value given the pricing of the items ala carte. Steak is outstanding, as expected. The current ranking of steak places for me stands at...
  1. Gordon's Grill
  2. Mortons
  3. Bedrock
  4. Lawry's
As much as I wish to crown it "the meal of 2010" with Gordon's nabbing 2009's...the shortfalls were too glaring.

It is most unfortunate their good service could not extend beyond the phonecall, pretentious "How's the meal" were dished out very regularly. Nearing the end of the meal, the bill was subtly placed on the table...nobody bothered to pass your card back. I had to show myself to the door as well. Almost felt like "Ok, I'm done with you..now off you go!".

I will be back, as always for awesome steak, filet mignon sandwiches and their to-die-for martinis.

The $95++ Set Menu's on till 31 Mar...so do go if you can!

http://www.mortons.com/steak/menu.php?id=MSG

Morton's The Steakhouse
Mandarin Oriental Singapore
Fourth Storey