Monday, July 28, 2014

Restaurant Labyrinth

Orangey Amuse Bouche
I first heard about Labyrinth at the Savour Food Fair earlier this year, but didn't manage to eat their chili crab ice cream. So I had to try it and see for myself.

Their very interesting dips to go with the bread - the powdery thing is actually olive oil, I think the black stuff in the jar is balsamic reduction, and the white foamy thing is some garlic espuma (if I'm not wrong)
Mango Tomato Bruschetta
The meal kicked off with an interesting starter, which looked like beef tartare, but was actually tomatoes with a mango 'yolk'.
Tomato 'steak' tartare, mango yolk and tomato marshmallow (which are the fluffy white things at the side).
Labyrinth Chilli Crab
Their signature dish, which has a sea-side inspired theme.
Chilli Crab ice cream - which I found really queer, cos it was creamy and cold like and ice cream, yet packed lots of spiciness
Tempura Soft Shell Crab - which was battered and fried to perfection, no hint of oiliness here
Sturgeon Caviar  - which I'mn to a big fan of.
I did like the 'sand' which was actually pulverised mantou, though I still prefer my mantou in it's usual form.

The next 3 dishes are actually the 3 options for the mains, we decided to have one main each for variety:
Siew Yoke Fan
Roasted pork belly, risotto 'ramen' and pork scratching

I personally thought that this was the better dish (minus the beef) cos it was a really good sized portion. I'm not sure why the risotto was was called 'ramen' but overall, this dish was really well done. Risotto was perfectly cooked, with still enough bite to the rice grains, the pork skin was crispy (not that I like pork skin), and the meat tender and juicy.
Satay Steak
Satay Marinated Steak, pan seared foie gras and Japanese Peanut Mochin(which is inside the kutupat/green thing)
Black Cod Miso
Miso cod and textures, black cod brandale, potato cannoli
My ultra tiny main - I was still so hungry after it! I suppose foam and chocolate soil can't make you very full... To be fair, the cod was really well done, but I could do with a larger portion (though I do appreciate the fact that cod is really expensive!)
Palate Clenser for the Satay Steak

Chendol Xiao Long Bao
Molecular chendol soup dumpling, gula melaka syrup

This was the dish that I really wanted to try - it was delicious as expected. Pandan flavour infused xiao long bao skin, with chin chow, gula melaka ice, and coconut and red bean capsules inside.
It comes with a jar of 'vinegar', which is actually more gula melaka syrup
Apple Crumble 
Apple textures, White chocole crumble, yogurt ice cream
 The dessert was a deconstructed apple crumble. I really liked the yogurt ice cream. Quote of the day was "I'm ambivalent about this soil".
Petit Fours
The durian madeline wasn't very well received cos most of us didn't like durian. The puff thing was filled with salted caramel, not spectacular and quite forgettable really.
I liked the weird tasting starfruit jelly - I think that more people should do stuff with starfruit!

We went for the Signature Menu ($98++) - the alternative was a degustation menu at $138.
I'm not a big fan of all these molecular gastronomy, but I would recommend going here at least once in your life - it's not often you see Chili crab ice cream, isn't it?

Labyrinth
5 Neil Road
Singapore 088806
Tel62234098

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hashida

This post shall be loaded up with lots of sushi porn - partly because I can hardly remember what I ate just that the experience was so marvellous and delicious, I went into instant food coma after. 

I got the entry level sushi lunch set (Tsubaki), which costs $80++. Unless I'm not paying for it, budget is always a consideration, and I find that the $80 set sometimes gives me the same satisfaction as a slightly more expensive one. 

The meal kicked off with one of my favourite foods - yuba tofu, which is so insanely hard to find here.

 I think this was some white fish (can't remember what exactly)
 Snapper
 Isaki (Grunt fish)
 Katsuo (bonito)
 Hamachi (yellow tail)
 Ultra fresh roe and rice

 Tamago
 Chutoro
 Tuna maki
 Dessert


#02-37 Mandarin Gallery
Singapore 238897
Opened Tues to Sunday
12pm-3pm, 7pm-10pm
Tel 6733 2114

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Kilo by Pact


 Kilo is still one of my favourite restaurants in town - however, I'm sad to say that they've stopped serving their awesome sushiros for dinner!! The horrors.
Their blue corn crusted crab cakes with balsamic vinaigrette and roasted red peppers - crab cakes are always a hit amongst all people and these were no exception. They were a little drier and crispier on the outside than the usual crab cakes, but when paired with the roasted red peppers, were just the right texture.

The BBQ pork riblets and parmesan wedges were extremely addictive - sticky soft fall-off-the-bone ribs.
 They have happy hour between 530 to 8pm on Tues to Fridays.

All plates are 16, and you have the option of combining plates so that everyone can try a bit of each.

Stuffed Roasted Figs, walnuts, Danish Blue Cheese, crispy bacon and chives (usual size $20) - it's a heavenly combination with the soft mushy figs, and the intense umami flavour from the blue cheese, paired with the saltiness of the bacon - super delicious and its something that I definitely want to recreate at home.

On the right is the octopus- lime guacamole and flaxseed chips - which didn't have too much lime, and since avocado makes everything taste better, it was polished off in a flash.

The last starter we had was the Tequila cured salmon and roasted Jalapeño crostini (I think that was what we ordered, in the background, but my memory fails me).

 My favourite is still the warm baby eggplant with donburi sauce, marscapone cheese and tempura flakes ($12). It's a warm dish, served with sliced baby eggplants, in a sweetish Japanese sauce, and topped with a dollop of marscapone cheese for creaminess.
 The Kilo Smashburger which has 2 patties, cheddar, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, red onions on a brioche bun ($23)
No comment here since it's beef.
The squid ink fettucini with sautéed prawns, crispy baby squid, and raw egg yolk ($23)
They ran out of baby squid, so they gave us more prawns instead. I still think their appetisers trump their main courses!

It's a big pity about their non-existent sushiros, I really hope that they can bring those back for diner. Their website's menu was pretty much out of date (sadness cos I was all ready to order their awesome sushiros and pork belly donburi).

Kilo by Pact
#02-16/17/19 Orcahrd Central
181 Orchard Road
Tel 68847560

Monday, July 21, 2014

Ilao Ilao




I'm a big fan of frozen yogurt - my favourite is yami yogurt, followed by Yoguru. I prefer the icy/sour tasting yogurt rather than the creamy pseudo-soft serve ice cream kind.

I tried the Sanum ($6.90), which is what most people were having. It's essentially like a yogurt parfait. Don't deceive yourself that this is actually healthy - I'm sure that it packs the same amount of calories. But do eat it if you want a refreshing dessert. It comes with soft serve yogurt, with a choice of 3 fruits, a choice of one 'crunch' (think crushed oreos/chips ahoy/ granola/caramello biscuits etc).

I personally don't like my yogurt with chocolate, cos I think it spoils the taste of the yogurt.
Being the boring person that I am, I got strawberries plus strawberries plus blueberries for my 3 fruit. I got the strawberry sauce, which has lots of strawberry preserves, and caramello biscuits for the 'crunch'.

The yogurt here is quite similar to Yoguru's in taste, but has a creamier texture. I'll definitely be back for more! Probably going to order the same old thing cos I'm so boring.

Ilao Ilao

I went to the branch at 313 Orchard #B3-55 but there are 2 other branches:

Singapore Polytechnic 
500 Dover Road Polytechnic Food Court 3 

Marina Blvd
Marina Link #B1-04 Marina Square Shopping Mall

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Imperial Treasures Steamboat at Ion Orchard

I'm not a big fan of steamboat because I find it very stressful to eat - with people dumping in raw food when I'm trying to take out my cooked food (sure way to get gastroenteritis) and then there's the issue about eating beef. So as much as possible, I try to avoid eating steamboat. However, Imperial Treasures has proven me wrong and I actually was pretty satisfied with this steamboat.
 I was super impressed by their service - I requested to have a 2 sided pot so that the others could eat as much beef as they wanted, and I could have another side for the non beef stuff. At no extra charge. We had the pork bone soup which was highly recommended by our server.
 Something that's I don't get to eat often - the pig liver, which is actually really delicious when cooked just right (like al dente). My grandmother liked this so much that we got 2 more plates.
 Other note worthy stuff - I really liked the siew mai (found it intriguing that we can boil it rather than steam it), assorted balls (pork, mushroom, carp etc), wantons and lamb slices. I also liked this prawn noodle which you could squish out from a plastic bag with an edge cut off, to form a super long prawn noodle. And of course, the quintessential bean curd skin and spinach (not pictured here cos it was already eaten up).
Of course since it's one of the imperial treasures restaurants, you do pay a premium - it's much more expensive than your regular steamboat restaurant, and they charge you a fee for the array of sauces seen in the first photo. I still think that nothing else beats vinegar mixed with spring onions and parsley when it comes to condiments for steamboat (since I have low chilli tolerance). The place is really nice and clean and not stuffy or stinky at all. Still won't choose steamboat as my first choice but  I won't object if anyone chooses it now!

Imperial Treasures Steamboat
2 Orchard Turn 
#04-09/10 Ion Orchard
Singapore 238801
Phone 66369339

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Lobster Pince and Pints - my Pre-dinner snack


I was tasked to find a place for dinner on Friday, had spent the earlier part of the day checking out numerous (it's really numerous for such a new restaurant) blogs/articles about the Pince and Pints online, and salivating over my laptop and being hungry in general. If you've heard of Burger and Lobster, the dishes here are really similar, with a local twist.

However, I deemed it impossible to drag another 3 working adults over, especially since no reservations were allowed and there was so much buzz online, surely it would be crowded?

Being hungry and having to queue makes one even more hangry (no this is not a typo) - so that's why I really hate queueing for my food. Just as well that it was my pre-dinner snack or I would have been really grumpy. Rushed down like an aunty from work, and can you beat it? I was there at about 515 and there was a queue. Waited about 20 min before we got a seat.

I think their kitchen is too overwhelmed, and they refused to let us take a seat even though the restaurant was partially full - as their kitchen couldn't cope. Ordinarily I would have been quite pissed cos they have perfectly good and empty seats, and yet wouldn't let anyone sit. But since there was lots of other food places to explore nearby, we went on a short walk and picked up some cakes from Flor.

The lobster roll is nothing short of fantastic. Crispy buttered bun, with chunks of lobster in mayonnaise. Double and triple that serving of cholesterol. No need to struggle and dirty your fingers. I wasn't particularly fond of the sauce at the side, and thought the lobster roll tasted great the way it was. I can't wait to go back and try their grilled and steamed lobster. The fries on the side were forgettable (cos the lobster outshone everything else, and so was the salad.

The chilli lobster comes in a huge claypot bowl, and 5 deep fried mini-mantous. The sauce isn't too spicy (good for low chilli tolerance ppl like me), and is more sweet and ketchup-y. And there's lots of it. I wonder if there's an option of adding more mantous?

I would skip the chilli lobster next time (even though I really like the sauce) because it's just too damn difficult (and I am inherently lazy) to crack the shell especially since it's all covered in sauce, and risk splattering yourself with the sauce. Wear something dark if you intend to order this so you don't create a mess over your chest.

We sat at the bar counter cos we were too impatient to wait for normal seating, and anyway, we had to hurry off for our real dinner (more on that later...)
Well, I actually made a second trip back within the week just cos I was dying to try the grilled lobster.  The best way to taste the lobster in all its glory - completely unadulterated, and just served simply with a side of herbed butter.

Currently, they're opened at 5pm for dinner, and there isn't lunch yet. Hopefully, they start a lunch service soon! The lobster dishes are each $48++, and our 2 lobster dishes cost about $112 altogether. Not bad for such a lot of lobster. Next time I end at 430 you know where I'll be rushing off too...

Lobster Pince and Pints
33 Duxton Road
62257558
Monday - Saturday 5pm -11pm

I would suggest putting your name down in the queue then going over to one of the many many bars for a drink if the waiting time is >30 min, that way you won't be killing yourself in standing in the heat, and salivating over other people's food. At least, they're nice enough to not let you waste your life standing in the queue... 

Btw, if you're wondering how they humanely kill a lobster - they use a sharp knife and slice it into half - I suppose it's a much nicer way to die than being boiled alive or have the tail ripped out from the head (like how they do it when they make lobster sashimi). 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Shinji - Lunch

I've finally gotten my life back so I shall quickly blog about what I've been up to (in June, that is). 
Finally made it down to Shinji (for lunch, my wallet is bleeding) and I've been kicking myself since for not going down sooner.

Of course, it was for a special occasion - my friend was going to extract her wisdom teeth and wanted to have some nourishment before going on a fast. For me, it was so that I could boost up my omega 3 acid stores which will hopefully improve my poor memory.
Hamachi (yellow tail) - I declare that this has to be the best yellowtail - it tastes creamy and really unlike any othe yellow tail I've eaten
Squid - not particularly a big fan of squid, but I liked how they squeezed minimal lime juice on it that I couldn't even taste it very much.
Chutoro - I thought the chutoro was awesome, until the otoro came next
Otoro - to die for. I really didn't expect the Otoro to come with the entry level sashimi lunch set, but alas, it does! Such a treat.
Akami (lean tuna) - of course, after the otoro and chutoro, this was very unremarkable. Should have eaten this before the fatty tuna
Aji - not my favourite fish.
Katsuo (Bonito)- not my favourite fish either
Prawn - I'm not a big fan of prawn
Anago (sea eel) - so soft and delicious, melted in my mouth in a matter of seconds
 Tuna maki

Tamago and preserved radish
Clear clam soup
Dessert
 The counter, where all the magic happens.

The service here is so awesome. So my friend books the restaurant, and one day before we realise that she's booked the wrong one! Instead of the Raffles Hotel (which is the original branch), we have wrongly booked the St Regis branch. I call the Raffles Hotel branch to make a reservation, and mentioned that we wrongly booked the St Regis branch for lunch. Straightaway, they offered to help us call St Regis and cancel our reservation. And the dumbest thing was that my friend had booked the correct branch in the end (they gave me a call and told me that) -_-'

I'll probably never ever be able to afford dinner, but at $75++ this was to die for if you're a sushi fan.

Shinji by Kanesaka
Raffles Hotel
Tel 63386131

Monday, July 7, 2014

Red Lion Freehouse

So it was a sunny day in between Stonehenge, Avebury and Woodhenge, we had lunch at Red Lion. Since the weather was so awesome, we decided to have lunch al fresco, in the back garden (beats sitting inside the stuffy bar), and best of all, there were no flies or any uninvited critters joining us for lunch. The menu has specific instructions for the guests to not feed Stowford, the dog. Didn't see Stowford but we did see a lot of other animals there.
 We went poking around their back yard, and they have lots of egg laying hens
They even have 3 hairy pigs (see how they have long and hairy coats?)
The piglets are 11 weeks old and they will be made into bacon next year. But they're really super cute (like dogs, apparently their intelligence is on par with a 3yo child's intelligence according to this video), and I really like the middle piglet cos it looks like it's smiling. When we went over to the pig pen, the three of them rushed up and wanted to be fed. I didn't eat pork for the rest of the day, but my love for charsiew bao and wanton mee is just too great to give up pork!

Darn, I can't find some of my photos, but we had the Salad of Bombay Sapphire cured watermelon with pickled red onions and feta (7.5 pounds) and the chicken liver pate with Maderia jelly which was so awesome I don't think I can settle for other pates anymore. My liver is most definitely fatty after eating this...
Roast Sterling Halibut with English samphire, Jerseys, cherry tomatoes, brown shrimp and Noilly Prat veloute (25 pounds)
 -Loved the little pieces of shrimps, and the asparagus was extremely fresh.
Confit Creedy Carver duck leg with spring onions, cucumber, chilli, Burbage shitakes and master stock (18)
Duck Confit - which was done in a very Chinese style.
Herb Roasted Guinea fowl breast with sarladaise potatoes, chanterelles, broad beans and roasting juices (19)
I had the guinea fowl cos I haven't eaten it before - it just taste like chicken.
Dessert was Valrhona coca pound cake with confit fennel, chocolate pudding and orange blossom ice cream (8). The orange blossom ice cream was pretty interesting, very floral and with the slightest hint of orange smell (which I don't like). The fennel was cooked in such a way that it resembled celery (but not so crispy). The chocolate was extremely gorgeous.
We also had the carrot sponge with cream cheese ice cream, candied baby carrot, raisin coulis and walnuts (8)

I really enjoyed my lunch here - very unpretentious, casual and with great food. Prices are reasonable and lunch sets are available on weekdays (3 courses for 20 pounds). As usual, it's out of the way so you'll have to drive to get here.

Red Lion Freehouse
East Chisenbury, Pewsey, Wiltshire SN9 6AQ
Tel 01980 671124