Monday, January 31, 2011

Tung Lok Signatures @ Vivocity

The first lo hei session well ahead of Chinese New Year at Tung Lok Signatures and it was packed with people. One week before CNY, crowds are such a common sight. I do not even dare to venture into Chinatown at this rate.

tunglok signatures

Longer chopsticks made for tossing of yusheng!

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Treasure Platter "Yu Sheng"

The first lo-hei always tastes good, this was no exception.

shark's fin bowl

Braised Shark's Fin with Crab Meat and Shredded Fish

Let's just say this had all the rich good stuff inside without coming across as too gooey.

shark's fin

With all the "save the sharks" protests going on, I am one rebel.
scallops w lily bulb

Sauteed Scallops with Asparagus and Lily Bulbs in X.O.

Adored the appetizing dish! Plump scallops with lily bulbs that had a starchy texture, they could pass off as yam anytime!

soon hock

Steamed Live Soon Hock Fish in Traditional Style

Surprised to find sliced pork in this dish. Fish was a tad soft though it was undoubtedly really fresh.

hoe see fatt choy

Braised Dried Oysters with Fresh Prawns, Black Moss and Vegetables

Not a fan of artificially enhanced prawns ever and this had it. Lacked the full bodiedness of a dish stewed over days which my Mom does so beautifully.

kampung chicken with ginger

Chilled Kampong Chicken with Ginger Paste

Strange but Five Star could pull of kampong chicken with more bite yet this dish was executed quite well. Served cold, I adored the ginger paste that left a lovely lingering aftertaste.

truffle eefu noodles

Braised Ee-fu Noodles with Snow Fungus and Truffle Fungus Oil


Truffle fungus oil made it tick, at least from the sound of it. A really sorry rendition of eefu noodles which tasted just like yee mian. Barely a trace of truffle oil, or perhaps truffle fungus oil and truffle oil are not the same thing!

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Chilled Snow Lotus Seeds with Aloe Vera and “Gui Hua” Honey

A change from red bean soup or mango pudding, this arrived looking like hashima. This had gooey clumps of colourless jell-o and aloe vera cubes. Moderately sweet dessert which ended the meal quite nicely.

Unimpressed by Tunglok, pretty ordinary fare.

Tunglok Signatures
VivoCity #01-57

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pierside @ One Fullerton

 pierside

Under the same group as Marmalade Pantry and Toast, Pierside is located at One Fullerton overlooking Marina Bay Sands and Singapore Flyer. The atmosphere was odd with a resident deejay churning out house music while the crowd was clearly not there for the music. Not that I was bothered too much by it though.

banana creme brulee

Banana Creme Brulee with Caramel Tart-fine, Lemon Verbena and Mascarpone Icecream ($15)

Crazily fragrant, the banana essence infiltrated every mouthful. I have to add this interpretation of creme brulee complete with a crunchy pastry base was been entirely changed. Pierside did an awesome job infusing banana with creme brulee most complementarily. L-o-v-e-d it!

white choc souffle baileys icecream


White Chocolate and Baileys Souffle with Irish Bailey's Icecream ($15)

White chocolate souffle had me at hello, how often to you meet the evil twin of dark chocolate and souffle together?

white choc souffle

Pillowy soft and foamy souffle, so light like gossamer...a pity that Baileys were barely tasted. Same for the icecream which was rich and smooth but the same grouse, the alcohol was too subtle.

With marmalade pantry down for desserts, I'm game to replace it with Pierside. More promising ones on the menu include Apple Charlotte and Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta!

http://www.piersidekitchen.com/html/restaurant.html


Pierside
One Fullerton

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Buko Nero @ Tanjong Pagar

buko nero

The story behind this visit started off months before the official lunch date. Buko Nero only does lunch on Fridays and Saturdays and getting company on these two hot days of the week was as hard as getting a table. Word has it that an exact month is needed for booking a table, yet some have suggested a shorter wait these days.

I've never tried booking a table so far ahead but there's always a first for anything.

We were the only two occupied tables for the afternoon and I thought it would be cosy for the rest of the meal. Within minutes of being served the appetizer, the restaurant started filling up with walk-ins. As much as I'd love to have pictures in this entry, I have to give due respect to the restaurant who firmly stands by their no-photography policy. It was nice, truly nice...not having to take photos before eating...tucking into a meal pipping hot and best of all, the company was actually surprised they did not have to wait.

If my words don't bore you, just read on...if all else fails..just pay attention to the bold.

Quirky taglines like these are scattered through the restaurant and the quote that caught my attention was "Chocolate, men, coffee, Some things are better rich." Ah hah! I'm seconding that, completely.

Complimentary tomato bread, soft...fluffy and toasty! I'm glad I had refills of this!

Appetizer from the chef of zucchini with tuna salad and preserved fruit. A refreshing start to a meal.

Parma Ham and Melon is always a must order for me, the same way beef is. Thinly seared salty Parma Ham with fresh rockets and juicy cubes of Melon...as common as the combination sounds, Buko Nero's version was one of the better ones attempted.

The friend's Ginger Carrot soup with Sea Scallops was hearty too. Made from scratch without diary, we were surprised by the milky texture.

Gnocchi or Panfried Threadfin in Sweet Bell Pepper Coulis was up for the mains. Not quite the fish fan under most circumstances but I'm glad I chose this. Crispy skin I could eat entirely on its own with succulent fresh fish. Loved the appetizing mash potato and tomato gravy.

Tiramisu Cheesecake

This barely had the much needed coffee dosage but the mascarpone cheese was the closest to tiramisu. Adored the crunchy biscuit base.

Milk Chocolate Cake Gula Melaka and Fior Di Sale

Like huat kueh, this milk chocolate cake was reminiscent of a pudding. Yummy enough for spoons to be scrapping the base of the plate.

Back to basics of Italian food with Buko Nero, service was warm. Unpretentious italian fare which warrants a return to venture beyond set lunch. I hear Tau kwa tower and cod fish beckoning.

$28+

Buko Nero
97 Tanjong Pagar Road

Friday, January 28, 2011

Bar on 5 @ Meritus Orchard

This is definitely backdated...one of the many Christmas related chillings that I indulged in. Social butterfly me overpacked the schedule and ended up with clashing commitments. Bad way to end 2010 but that's the only way to accomodate everyone and meeting up (in my honest defence).

Bar on 5 was one of those alma mater gatherings I am glad I decided to attend inspite of the rain. Food was surely not on the agenda but I was pleasantly surprised at the spread.

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No cheezy cliche logcakes or gingerbread men nor turkey..it was probably too early in the month for that. When this took place, it was about 2 weeks shy of christmas.

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All things fried makes alcohol a good companion.

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Chocolate dipped strawberries tasted so good...! Never expected the combination to be so extraordinary.

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Lost count of the refills I had for the smoked salmon..

Smoked Salmon Cheese Roulade
Proscuitto with Parma Ham
Zucchini Roll
Roasted Chicken
Beef
Baby Potatoes
Mini Fish Burgers
Dumplings with Wasabi Mayo Dip

William Pears with Mascarpone Cheese
Date Creme Brulee Tart
Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

As far as the memory can take me, I was stuffed for the night. Lovely canapes. Particular mention goes to smoked salmon roulade, baby potatoes, chocolate dipped strawberries and creme brulee tart! There's the option of sitting by the balcony to take in the sights of Orchard Road. White wine in hand, christmas lightings galore...christmas has always been and will always be my favouritest season of the year.

Bar on 5
Meritus Orchard.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gelare @ Vivocity

gelare vivo

Gelare replaces a nut house (sounds odd saying that...but it was a place setting nuts) at Vivocity. Not sure where Gelare has whittled to but welcome back to the icecream scene!

gelare promo

1-for-1 promotion which swerved us in its direction.Only valid at Vivo and Changi terminal.

incredibly smooth

The promise made.

1-for-1

Rum and Raisin, Mango

Okay, Gelare lived up to its promise of "smooth and thick", quite a decadent after dinner fix and richer than it used to be. Rum and Raisin's a tad sweet without the oomph while Mango was a decent. YET, I'm totally abhoring the ice shards found. Until they improve...I'm still a hardcore Icecream chef-Australian NewZealand fan.

$4.60 for 2 cups
Valid Mon-Fri except Tue
Only at Vivo/Changi Airport Terminal 2

Gelare

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wanhao @ Marriott Hotel

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Headed to Wanhao for lunch one weekend as all of us were craving chinese. Reservations are highly recommended if you want to nab a cosy corner seat or risk being given a random table out in the open. Dimsum comes in portions of 2 pieces but they can be ordered to the number of pax per table.

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Table shots.

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Roasted cashews...a healthier alternative to oily peanuts.

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Char Siew Sou ($3.60/2pcs)

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Flashes of the buffet came screaming back the moment I bit into the pastry. At least it was cooked this time round yet the familiar soft as can be pastry with sweet char siew came flooding back. Still not a fan.

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Steamed Char Siew Pau with Oyster Sauce ($3.60/2 pcs)

Not variantly different from the pastry, the pau bread was fluffy and sweet lacking in bite...the same old sweet char siew filling which I did not fancy.

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Pumpkin Pudding

Skip it, please.

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Black Bean Pork ($3.60/portion)

Unimpressionable.

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Crispy Roast Pork Belly ($20)*

This has become a must order each time I visit a chinese restaurant. A proper judge of the chef's skills perhaps. Loved the crunchy skin! Take it whole and let the juices overflow, fats, cackling...meat..all of which comes together quite brilliantly. The proportion of fats here is a tad more here, hence the oilier finish. Not mindblowing but I loved it enough.

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Poached Live Prawns with  Seasonal Greens and Wolfberries in Shark's Bone Consomme ($20)*

Shark's Bone Consomme was what I was looking forward to. Unlike most cantonese soups, this lacked a certain oomph about it. Otherwise, the fresh prawns were finger licking yummy.

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Wok-fried Beef Tenderloin topped with Light Wasabi Sauce  served with Chilled Fresh Pear Marinated in Sour Plum ($20)*

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Over tenderised.
Wasabi was really light.
Chilled pear reeked of vanilla essence.
'Nuff said.

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Oven-baked Sea Perch Fillet with Chinese Ham in Pineapple Sauce ($18 per person)*

Lovely presentation...looks quite a bit like an octopus with the french beans. Unctuous bites of sea perch, always thought of perch as the distant (and cheaper) cousin of cod! Either way, both are yummy fish. Pineapple sauce was a nice tweak, tasted quite like assam.

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Stewed Eefu Noodles with Duck and Eggplant ($20)

Two options for eefu noodles, duck and eggplant or seafood. We decided to try something different. Well worth the gamble! Didn't think duck and eggplant go so well together. Noodles were a tad oily but we emptied our bowls all the same.

* Chef's reccommendations

Of the chef's reccommendations, I only agree with the pork belly being outstanding. Wanhao didn't wow during the buffet, barely wowed during ala carte. Not returning so soon.

Wanhao
Marriott Hotel

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

La Villa @ River Valley Road

It was one of those days where the moons and stars align that I was surprised for dinner with the clue "You wouldn't travel so far for food."

Well, technically not true since I'd go anywhere for food! Anyhow, La Villa we went! Located not too far away from Great World City, the accessibility of this place is limited but then again, cabs are just a holler away.

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There's a choice of indoor or outdoor sitting. Indoor is a tad cosier with the warm lights while outside makes you feel you're dining in someone's backyard.


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Freshly baked!


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Breadbasket sprung quite a few surprises with what looked like pizza slices but tasted like dry naan bread, multigrain bread and ciabatta. Personal favourite goes to ciabatta.

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Balsamic vinegar and olive oil...

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Or rock hard butter?

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Parma ($22)
Tomato, Mozzarella, Parma Ham, Rucola Salad, Shaved Parmesan

Their pizzas come in 20" which feed two more than comfortably. Seeing they have an open concept kitchen and spying pizzas being wood fired excited me already. Thin crusted with the fluory of ingredients laid on top, this was nice not great. It could be the bread that fell short of expectations, instead of my preferred chewy bread..this was leaning more towards a cracker at the edges and dense bread towards the middle.

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Cappellini ($26, Large) 
Angel hair Pasta with Lobster Ragout, "Sardinia" style

The only other place I attempted cappellini was at Iggy's, though I must add..I'm really not comparing. Well, just the texture of pasta! :P I blurted out "Looks like meesiam" when it was placed on the table. Capellini tasted just like mee sua, in fact the dish tasted like mee sua tossed in tomato sauce. Fresh lobster came with the pasta. It could be the flavours but Iggy's pulled it off more brilliantly, the latter's pasta had a tad more bite.

Of the pizza and pasta attempted, I'm still a fan of the pasta.

Service is warm and attentive. I really wish I had time and space for dessert but next time perhaps? Their set lunches are screaming value for money at $26++. Was I surprised? Not by the food.

http://www.lavilla.sg/

La Villa
341 River Valley Road
#01-03

Monday, January 24, 2011

Lei Garden @ Chijmes

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Instead of the usual Christmas brunch with eggs benny and smoked salmon, we headed dimsumdollies this time. Reservations are mighty encouraged as the place is packed over weekends. I spotted a couple of foreigners which I reckon came from hearsay.

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Yumcha time!

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There's something colonial that made yumcha at Lei Garden like Royal China..

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Sheets that worsens hunger.

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Duo of chopsticks for whatever reason I've yet to discover.

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Barbequed Roasted Pork ($13.80)

Hooked onto roasted pork, this joins the stables of must order. Puny could be an understatement even to describe them. Measuring 1.5cm x 1.5cm, each morsel was pricey. Crispy layer with jellied fatty pork beneath. Dunk in their tangy sour-spicy mustard sauce, I did not mind it too much. Not too huge a fan of jellied pork, unfortunately.

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Steamed Fresh Shrimps Dumpling ($4.80)

Fresh but did not wow. 

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Steamed Pork Dumpling with Black Mushroom ($4.30)

Lacked the wow factor once again.

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Steamed Custard Bun with Salted Egg Yolk ($3.80)

Chocolate swirl buns that exuded a lovely fragrance as I did the rudimentary peeling of the bun to rate its ooze-factor.

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Ooze it did but the taste gave this away. The custard was too sweet while salted egg was barely discernible.


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Steamed BBQ Honey Pork Bun ($4.80)

"Those that ought to flow did not, those that ought not to did". That roughly sums it up.

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The sauces flowed out the way my egg yolk custard bun should have. Found it too watery and pau bread a tad too soft.


scallop cheong fun

Steamed Cheong Fun with Scallop ($4.80)

The most decent of the lot. Unlike Paradise Dynasty's silken smooth skin, this was alot fimer but kudos given to the fresh plump scallops.

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Deep fried Taro Dumpling with Minced Chicken ($4.30)

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The first taro dumpling eaten that barely has any mashed taro within. Simply put, it was a yam shell stuffed with minced chicken.

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Rainbow Egg and Shredded Pork Porridge ($5.80)

Not too bad.

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Baked Mini Egg Tarts ($3.80)

Neither a Tai Cheong or Lord's Stow here, this was oh-kay kind of alright. In all its bite-size morsel, it was nothing spectacular.

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Ma Lai Goh

Painfully dry.

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wagyu beef

Deepfried Wagyu Beef Roll with Black Pepper Sauce ($8)

Daily special of wagyu, I lept at the opportunity. Thinking it was cubes of pan seared wagyu beef, I made an order without thinking twice. A fried springroll stuffed with potatoes and wagyu beef, it was an utter letdown. Finding wagyu beef was harder than finding nemo, do not bother with this.

Once upon a time, I ranked Lei Garden's fried rice as the best.I was half hearted about ordering a plate but after such a lacklustre performance, I was put off completely. There are better dimsum options just across the road at Royal China. Why oh why did we not go back to the familiar favourite?

Lei Garden
Chijmes