Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ippudo Ramen

Pork Buns - $3++ per piece
Ippudo's pork buns are delicious - so delicious that they overshadow their very average tasting ramen. A piece of stewed and well marinaded fatty pork enveloped within a warm steamed leaf bun, with japanese mayonnaise and lettuce. This is like kong bak pau, but with a dainter piece of meat, as well as lovely Japanese mayonnaise. Japanese mayo makes everything taste better. Ippudo serves hakata ramen, so their noodles are off white and thin (think something in between mee sua and yu mian), and comes with a rich and very oily tonkotsu (pork) broth. It's really very oily and I could see fat globules floating in my soup. Taste wise, it's rich and milky, and not to salty. However, I've tasted more robust broths (like Santouka and Tampopo's), so Ippudo's didn't bowl me over. I decided to go all out and try the $17++ Akamaru Tamago Ramen. It comes with the full works, which is miso paste (the red stuff), buta bara (pork belly), black fungus, lots of chopped spring onions, and with a generous douse of garlic oil. The stewed egg (can't see in the photo) was pretty much a dissappointment because it was slightly over cooked, and the yolk wasn't runny and soft.
Spicy RamenGyoza - 6 pieces for $6++
The gyoza tasted pretty good, but at nearly $7.20nett for 6 really small pieces (about 2/3rd the size of the usual gyoza) it's pretty steep. The skin was thin, slightly crispy and translucent; pork filling tasted pretty good - but not good enough that I'll eat it again.

Lots of hype and average ramen, nothing to rave about... if the queue's long, just walk over to Tampopo or something. I really don't think it's worth the queue.

Ippudo Singapore
Mandarin Gallery
333A Orchard Road
#04-02/03/04 Mandarin Gallery
Tel: 6235 2797
Daily: 11am–11pm

Monday, December 28, 2009

Trattoria L’Ancora

Trattoria L’Ancora is a newly opened restaurant, located where the former Borgo used to be. I think it's by the same management that ran Borgo.
As recommended by the manager, we ordered the antipasta dish for sharing. It's $20 per person, for 2 people, and has a mixture of the different appetisers available. I really liked the parma ham and bruschetta, as well as the burffalo mozzarella. There's also some seared tuna crusted with black pepper, grilled vegetables and calamari, served with arabiatta sauce for dipping.
Parma ham with sweet rock melon <3>Since my friend didn't want to eat the Rabbit pasta (which I was hankering for), we ordered a portion of braised wild boar pasta, which they so kindly split into 2 portions cos we were sharing. The sauce had a light tomato flavour, as well as the strong meaty stew smell of wild boar. The wild boar wasn't as gamey as I expected, and didn't quite taste like pork either.
I really liked the noodles, which had a nice eggy taste, was al dente, chewy and went deliciously well with the robust and flavourful sauce.
(Come to think of it, I ate it at Borgo really long ago, though I can't really remember the taste).
They're currently having an opening promotion for ala carte lunch, and it's 30% off the food bill. We ended up paying $25 nett per person for the meal, which is pretty alright, though I don't think I'll want to pay the full price for this. It's a nice place to have a quiet lunch if you're in the area.
Trattoria L’Ancora
789 Bukit Timah Road
(At the junction of Sixth Avenue and the main road)
Tel : 6467 3778
Daily: 12pm-3pm, 6pm-10pm

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Canele's Fruit Cake

Yikes I didn't update my blog over christmas, so HAPPY BOXING DAY (since I missed Christmas). I'm on my 1 week pseudo-break, which was filled up with some school stuff. Having to study during the festive seasons makes me feel like scrooge! Even though I hardly cover more than a few pages at a time:/ My brain feels like a pea whenever I have to memorize stuff. If I could, I'd wish for a bigger hard disc and ram for my brain. Anyway, for the past 7 days of pseudo-holiday, I've been happily not waking up before 7 am :D, and having much better food than I've had in the past 2-3 months! I've been 'storing' up lots of good food during this break, in preparation for my starvation and deprivation in the Far East for the next 6 weeks. My mum brought this home... I like the box, but not the bringt pink ribbon (cos I don't like pink unless it's in my food).It's drier than I expect a fruit cake to be, but the highlight is the brandy steeped fruits - whole pieces of cherry, apricots, dates and almonds which had a nice glossy finish.

The cake itself is pretty normal tasting, not buttery or brandy soaked - and a bit on the dry side. Some hints of spices. Plus, it isn't packed with fruits and raisins like how I like my fruit cakes to be.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tang Yuan

Yesterday was the 'coldest day in winter' (not so sure what it's called in Chinese, but it's dong1 something), which is the middle of winter. Not that we have winter in sunny (or rainy) Singapore. But my grandma still has the tradition of making tang yuans (when I request for them). Anyway, because the 'coldest day in winter' follows the Lunar calendar, I'm always very confused as to when it is. Fortunately, during my neuro lectures on Monday, the lecturer mentioned that it was time to eat tang yuans:D
I like my grandma's tang yuans because they're filled with sugar which will burst in your mouth, something like how good ondeh ondeh explodes in your mouth. And they are soft, smooth and chewy, and the soup is infused with lots of pandan. It's a rarity cos I don't get to eat it every year (especially the years that I forget to ask my grandmother), and I've never made them before (dunno where she gets all the blobs of sugar? I think from the market?). Maybe someone can enlighten me on where they get the flour and sugar from... And how do people know which day it is anyway??

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Aoki Awsomeness

Awsomeness. I just had one of my most fantastic Jap lunches of the year! And much sooner than I expected too. Braved the heavy rains and horrendous carpark to get my Japanese lunch fix - after being deprived of Japanese food for so long.

Otoshi and salad
Salad with vinegrette and boiled spinach (I think?) ootoshi topped with bonito flakes.
Mazechirashi zushi
Check out all that glistening roe! And the pieces of sweet and fresh uni (sea urchin), abalone, toro (fatty tuna belly), maguro (tuna), hotate (scallop), squid, hamachi (yellowtail) and finely sliced mini Japanese cucumbers. And instead of normal tamago, they have this egg pancake thing, which is sweet and cakey.
The rice smells really nice - it's the woody smell from that wooden rice basket thing they put it in I think? And it's topped with seaweed and sliced shisho leaves.Side dishes: Pickles with eggplant, some root (lotus?) and daikon. And my blob of fresh wasabi (asked them to separate it since I only like a little dot of it with my food). Miso soup -Steaming and not too salty, but full of flavour.
Sushi set (9 pieces and 1 roll)
The tamago here is great! Firm, sweet and just the right amount of moisture. And I ate the ika (squid) since my friend didn't want to eat it - it's super fresh, smooth and chewy. The sushi set comes with chawanmushi, which is incredibly smooth and wobbly.
Dessert was fantastic - not one but three mini desserts.
Corn ice cream was nothing like the sweet corn ice cream you get from Magnolia at all. It was very very creamy, smooth, and had the subtle taste of corn. I was really sad when I finished my little scoop of ice cream. Plum wine jelly and Milk Pudding.
Loved the milk pudding, which had brown sugar syrup at the bottom. Fatty Tuna (not mine though)
I was so amazed by their White Fish in Truffle oil with truffle slices (see the link for the picture and review) that I could only gwak in awe while watching the chef slice a neat little pile of truffle slivers from a huge-ass truffle onto the white fish. It's 95 bucks plus plus for a small plate of that, but it smells so heavenly. I'm so envious of the 5 other people there who ate it.
No better way than this to kick start my 1 week holiday! (Although it's already filled up with open houses and STUDYING T-T)

$35++ for the mazechiraishi zushi
$50++ for the 9piece sushi set with 1 roll
$3++ per person for otoshi
$40-something for a slice of paradise ($35+$3+taxes). Why didn't I discover this place sooner?!

Aoki Restaurant
1 Scott Road#02-17 Shaw Centre
Tel: 6333 8015
Opening Hours
Mon-Sat: 12pm-3pm, 6.30pm-11pm
Sun: 6.30pm-11pm

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Lychee Martini Log Roll from Pine Garden

Log cakes are glorified swiss rolls -my brother

I've never tried Pine Garden's famous lychee martini cakes before, but this year, I finally got to try it, in the festive log cake form.
The log cake is simply decorated, and the fresh cream layer has a light pinkish hue. The sponge cake as a light pink blush, and its light and fluffy. There's pieces of juicy, sweet lychee embedded in the thick center roll of cream. and a very mild hint of vodka (I think it's vodka).

Personally, I don't like Lychee Martini (too sweet!) and I don't like cream cakes, so this swiss roll isn't one of my particular faves, though I'm sure that other people who appreciate lychee martini and fresh cream would really enjoy this cake. It's not too sweet either, but the cream was too much for me.

Friday, December 18, 2009

La Fromagerie @ Chip Bee Gardens

Drats again. Was looking forward to brunch at Bunalun, after being totally demolished by the horrible OSSES, and where my computer terminal decided to "end slide show" after I clicked on the screen while I was at question 18 (with lots of blanks in the middle).
But when I called, the lady assured me that there was no need to book - and of course, that turned out to be a huge mistake because their tiny counter was full when we arrived just after noon. Fortunately, a quick thinking Pok suggesed La Fromagerie, saving us from a boring lunch.
Other than La Fondue, which I went to a nearly 2 years ago, I haven't had cheese fondue,Of course, we had to try their cheesey specialities such as the Cheese Foudue ($28 for 2 persons) which has a melted mixture of 3 grated cheeses (Emmental, Gruyere and Beaufort).
It comes with a mixture of bread cubes, and I spied some wholemeal looking cubes of bread with nuts in the basket.Super gooey cheese fondue, which was meant for 2 but was polished off in a jiffy (was busy snapping some shots, and before I knew it, the volume of cheese in the pot had dropped to half), partially because the alcohol evaporated? We had too much bread for the amount of cheese, but it didn't go to waste as we used the bread for our Cheese Raclette (see below).
The Chesse Raclette ($22 for 2 persons) was a pretty interesting dish. Its a huge plate of squares of Raclette cheese, with some pickles, preserved onions and fresh baby tomatoes, served with a dish of boiled baby potatoes.
First, you have to place your baby potatoes, into this little non-stick pan, cover it with raclette cheese, and then place it under this grill and wait for the cheese to melt and bubble. So you'll get delicious melted cheese, which is nice and toasty and right out of the grill on your table. Hard work but nevertheless, it's pretty fun melting your own cheese over the potatoes. We had too much cheese leftover, so we used the excess bread from the fondue for this.
The Traditional Onion Soup ($$12) with Gratinated toast of Gruyere.
I didn't try this cos I thought it would have beef stock, but according to the waitress, they use pure vegetable stock and onions for this.
The Mac and Cheese ($16) is fantastic. It's extremely cheesey and comes with a really intense cheddar cheese sauce. It's wise not to attempt this dish alone as it is very filling. I thought it would have been better if they had browned the top a bit more, so that it'll be crispier, but the sauce here is really good.
La Fromagerie also stocks lots and lots of cheese. They also have a takeaway $20 cheese platter, which I was eyeing, but couldn't get as I wasn't going home. The cheese that I was eyeing - Truffle Brie! Yums!
We did come out of the restaurant smelling of cheese and oil, but it was worth it as the lovely warm cheese was happily digesting in our tummies.
Prices are pretty reasonable, and they don't have service charge :) Plus, the huge amounts of cheese in most of their dishes make them very filling, so you definitely won't spend so much. And they serve iced water.
For people who dislike cheese (shouldn't even come here, cos the whole place smells of cheese) can their mains like Coq au Vin (braised chicken leg with red wine) or Navarin d'Agneau (braised lamb stew with baby potato).
La Fromagerie
43 Jalan Merah Saga
#01-64 Chip Bee Gardens
Tel: +65 6732 6269

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Boomerang Brunch

Went to Boomerang after a failed attempt to try Epicurious' brunch. Boomerang is an Australian (prob Sydney? at least, its menu has name of places in Sydney) pub/bar which becomes a charming riverside brunch place on weekends.
Corn Cakes ($14++)
Bacon avocado roma tomatoes rocket
Really nothing fantastic about this. Streaky bacon, grilled plump and juicy roma tomatoes and corn cakes, which were more like pancakes, with some herbs and a few bits of corn. Though they did give me a whole half an avocado (which I really like!)
I thought that it would have been much nicer if this came with scrambled eggs. They were kind enough to give me some additional hollandaise sauce, because I really felt that the corn cakes were too dry when eaten by itself, especially since the salad had vinegrette dressing, which really didn't go well with the corn cakes.
Buttermilk Pancakes ($12++)
With maple syrup caramelized banana and natural yoghrt
Shouldn't have ordered this cos the pancake base was essentially the same base as my corn cakes. They were pretty stingy on the yogurt cos there was only a small blob for 3 pancakes, and the caramelized banana was more like banana puree, and also in a painfully small amount. The pancakes themselves were thick and fluffy, but I thought it would have been much better if they had been more generous with the yoghurt and the banana.
Granola Muslei ($10)
Banana, strawberries natural yoghrt

Tea ($5)

Overall, the place is really nice - by Singapore River, and the restaurant is bright and airy. It's mostly patronized by the expats - so a plus point is that their service is pretty good and efficient. Though the food's nothing to rave about.

60 Robertson Quay
#01-15 The Quayside
Tel: +65 6738 1077

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Wah Loke Cantonese Restaurant

My cousin hosted a weekend dimsum lunch at Wah Loke, this popular cantonese restaurant, which I've never head of till today, cos I'm really unadventurous when it comes to dimsum. Didn't know that there was such a nice dian xin restaurant so near Lei Garden at Chijmes too!Siew mai, Har Kau and char siew pau - the must have staples of any dim sum lunch.
The roasted chicken was not bad - though I'm not one to appreciate crispy skin.
The XO carrot cake was very good - with a good amount of shredded white carrot embedded in soft morsels of flour. Moist, not too oily and with a little touch of chilli.
Eefu noodles with seafood - nicely done, and again, not too oily.

Other dishes that we tried: The chee cheong fun with Prawn, which was silky and smooth. the century egg porridge, which was boiled to a smooth, milky paste, true to the Cantonese style cooking.
My favourite dish of the day is the char siew polo bun, which was simply amazing. The polo bun had a crumbly sweetish tasting top, and the bun itself was cottony soft and warm. It was stuffed with chunks of char siew and sweet sauce, and was very very delicious.
It gets really crowded especially on weekend lunches, so do make a reservation before going down. The give complimentary carpark for the first 3 hours (or $6).

Wah Loke Cantonese Restaurant
76 Bras Basah Road
2F Carlton Hotel
Tel: +65 6311 8188