Sunday, June 27, 2010

Bosses Revisited

I used to be an ardent fan of Bosses tea time special at Vivocity, but 3 years down the road, I now think that the quality of their dim sum has dropped. So has their service.The har gau is lacklustre. Their limp dull skins is a stark contrast to what I've remembered it to be. No more nice translucent, thin glossy skins. Filling is ok - very average and nothing that can beat Crystal Jade. Their special Queen Siew Mai (or something like that) which a soggy prawn glazed in some starch based sauce. Nothing to rave about either - Crystal Jade is better...
Gyoza - acceptable but nothing to rave about again. Generous portion of meaty filling, seasoned with chives. Gyoza skin was not bad, neither too thick nor too thin and this was probably one of the better dishes that day.
Xiao Long Pau - very average with your usual spurt of soup.
The flowing custard bun which I liked so much the last time isn't half as nice as I'd remembered it to be. The skin is a bit too thin, and the whole thing just deflated even before I had a chance to bite in. The custard isn't as thick and creamy, and was more like a watery yellow puddle rather than a delicious spurt of salty and creamy goodness. Plus the flimsy skin didn't help as the pau became a soggy mess.

Prawn and Mango Roll - nothing to rave about again...
Wasabi mayo and century egg roll - this was very disagreeable and we didn't finish it. Wasabi mayo (copious amounts of it) slathered on century egg, with a piece of parsley and some cucumber wrapped in a smooth white skin. The wasabi mayo packed into each parcel was just too much and too overwhelming. Didn't finish this dish.
Char siew pau - acceptable but nothing to rave about again... Bosses really needs to try harder. I think that there's just a super long queue cos it's 30% off, but keep in mind that to begin with, the prices are already high. I think that Crystal Jade can beat it hands down... I'd rather go to Crystal Jade for their efficient service, and at least Crystal Jade serves drinks - there's alot of annoying restrictions during the 30% off 'special' like no free tap water, cannot take away (even though we paid for the service charge already! They refused to let us take away our pau and said we will be charged full price for it even though we finished 2/3 pieces).

Forget the gimmicky 30% off - the standard has plunged horrendously and I am very ashamed to say that I actually raved about and very highly recommended this place previously. I'll take back all my praises for Bosses - there's no use paying for pseudo-cheap dim sum when it's actually expensive to begin with, and of very low quality.

I think I'm better off at Crystal Jade. I've just eaten dim sum at Peach Garden - I still think that Crystal Jade has one of the better and affordable dim sums around... My current fave is still Peach Blossom at Marina Mandarin, but prices are too steep for me to patronise it on a regular basis.

No1 Harbour Front Walk
#02-156 Vivocity
Tel 63769740

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fifty Three

I've been wanting to go to Fifty Three for >1 year already! Can't believe that just last year I was enjoying myself so much during this period and now I'm slogging away in a place which doesn't employ enough people!!! Major manpower shortage!!! And I think the reason why I have so much inertia to blog is because during work, I have to type so freaking much that when I go home I don't want to do anymore typing. Anyway, here's my uber outdated post on Fifty Three: Starter was their signature tapioca chips with some tiny Japanese fish embedded in the deliciously crunchy batter. It's like keropok just tastier and thicker. It's prettily presented (every dish here was) in a lacquered block with charcoal pieces. The sauce in front is some cheese with ?wasabi dip.
Chicken skin glazed with honey. It's super crispy and doens't have that layer of chicken fat underneath. With freshly cracked black pepper. Its extremely fragrant and has a nice roasted honey-chicken smell.Amuse bouche - this one is smoked Iberico ham, which used to be banned in Singapore. The ham is intensely salty, and has a light meaty taste and smell. I think this must be either my first or second time eating fresh Iberico ham.Another amuse bouche - this one is some herb leaves with herb dressing on a special chip (my memory fails me yet again). It's very light and there's little flower buds amongst the greens.
Fennel and Coconut
Aloe vera and Douglas Fir
It's a very interesting dish of thinly sliced fennel, young coconut granita, little chopped bits of aloe vera with Douglas Fir oil (I really can't describe the taste of this but it went quite well together).
Amela Rubins and Basil
Burrata and Horseradish
This dish was very refreshing, and it was one of my more favourite dishes that night cos it had some of my more favourite foods in it.
The whitish irregular shaped blob on top is icy and frozen Horseradish (something like wasabi), and it's on top of a hemispherical shaped burrata (more about burrata here, it's a type of cheese that is partially fermented) and it's very creamy. The Japanese tomatoes were extremely sweet - and some of them even tasted like grapes to me. Their skins were removed and they were served chilled in the basil soup.
Fifty Three's signature gunny sack bread bag - there's plain bread as well as a black coloured charcoal bread. The gunny sack has some warm beads sewn into it, so it keeps the bread nicely warm. It's served with 2 kinds of butter - one has a special type of nut, and the other one has real bacon bits.Charcoal bread with the nutty whipped butter.
Lobster and Tongue
Textures of Apple
The next dish was a favourite amongst my mum and sister, but it caused me an allergy reaction so I wasn't able to throughly enjoy my lobster. Such a pity cos the lobster was so well done that the outside was evenly cooked, and there was a rim of slightly raw lobster on the inside. The lobster wasn't coated in any sauce, so its freshness and sweetness could be appreciated. It was served with finely sliced apple coins, apple puree as well as duck tongue and deep fried lobster brain (there's a more elegant name for it, but as usual, it has slipped my mind). Thedeep fried lobster brain was crispy on the outside, and dissolved into a tasty pool of cholesterol laden goodness in my mouth. Delicious!
Japanese Striped Shrimp
Jauk's Pumkinseed Oil and Beach Herbs
This dish was another one of my favourites. It's extremely fresh Japanese shrimp served raw, with lemon-thyme snow sprinkled over. The dish is supposed to be like a beach, and I suppose I have rather strong powers of imagination, so I thought that I could really taste the sea in the herbs and the prawn but none of my other dining companions could taste it... Oh well, then again, I freak myself out thinking about a certain Chinese girl with long black hair and red eyes (argh goosepimples on my arms now!)
The herbs used in this dish are very interesting, there's even a leaf (which is the herb I think tastes like the sea, just like how you can sort of taste the sea in super fresh sea urchin) which has litle bubbles of water on it's underside. It's not very well pictured here, but there's numerous small little watery bubbles on the surface of the leaf...
Caroll's Heritage Potatoes and Wild Yam
Coffee and Parmesan
Ths dish was like a garden - along with soil and flowers. Slow cooked potatoes which absorbed all the tasty marinade prettily presented on a warm rock, along with coffee 'soil' and parmesan cheese swirls. It was also served with potato consomme, which tasted like a very intense and concentrated Brands Chicken essence.
Kuroge Wagyu from Kagoshima
Smoked Bone Marrow and Sorrel
The main for that day - it was supposed to be Iberico ham/pig but their stock didn't come! So it was wagyu beef (much to my dismay, but not to my other dining companions). Fortunately they had an alternative to beef, which was the Welsh Lamb. Didn't try this dish (cos I don't eat beef) but everyone who ate it enjoyed it.
My Welsh Lamb, which didn't have a single bit of lamb smell/taste, served very pink.
It came with an assortment of multicoloured beetroot and sweet turnip (the little yellowish ball at the side).

Between this and my berry dessert, there's another chocolate and coconut mango and mangosteen dessert which I have no idea where the photos my sister took went! Anyway, it's a big blob of chocolate mousse, and it's probably the heaviest/creamiest dish of the day. Didn't taste particularly remarkable, but I did like the little strip of jackfruit it came with.
Mara des Bois Strawberries and Green Peppercorn
There were little spicy bits in this dish, which I suppose can be attributed to the pepercorn. There were some crunchy flakes, and a very prettily layered and sliced strawberry covering a pudding (with the ground peppercorn). This dish was served dry, and the waiter came to squirt the red coloured gravy over the dish, thus producing the frothy soup that you can see pictured above.
Pretty strawberry
A berry sorbet which came with the dessert - very light and refreshing. I really like fruity desserts especially if they're chilled.
As a suprise, they even gave me a chocolate mousse birthday cake, which had a crackling base (the crackling powder which sparkles and crackles when it comes in contact with water). Such a nice way to end off my meal.
The meal ended with their lemon and gin gummies (I can't find my picture, must be stuck in another computer, I shall retrieve it when I'm free sometime this week, cos I'm super sleepy now... )
I really like the food served at Fifty Three - It's a bit like Iggys and Blu, just that it has lighter, less salty/heavy/creamy dishes (with the exception of the Chocolate mousse thing). I like the Japanese inspired dishes, and how they use lots of flowers and herbs (all of which are edible) to decorate the dishes.n

The restaurant is located in a shop house in Armenian street, and it's designed by the chef Michael Han. I think he must be quite a stickler for details (not complaining about this tho, since the food is really delicious and presentation is exquisite), right down to the black toilet paper, the designer hand wash and lotion, and the wooden decor. He even answers the phone calls for reservations himself.
Hopefully I'll be able to come back for lunch soon! I think lunch would be really fun cos I'll be able to choose the dishes that I want to try... But it'll have to wait cos I'm saving money to buy a new handphone (and maybe I will blog more regularly)! Can't wait can't wait!!
Fifty Three
53 Armenian St S(179940),
Tel: 6334 5535

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Chikuwa Tei - ex-Wasabi Tei chef has been found!

Thought I'd never be able to see this familiar bowl and quiver in fear again whilst I sit and enjoy the thick slices of sashimi after I heard that the fierce Wasabi Tei chef was going to retire! Well, he's still alive and kicking, and has found himself a new spot along the densely populated food area in Mohammed Sultan Road. I was pleasantly suprised when ice messaged me and told me she hunted down the ex-Wasabi Tei chef so I scurried down within the next few days (which I thankfully was free) to grab a bite of that nostalgic chirashi. There were these tasty little morsels of Sawagani crab($15++ for seven) which potentially harbors an extremely dangerous parasite (Paragonimus westermani) but are oh so tasty and crunchy. These little crabs are shipped live to Singapore and are deep fried and seasoned lightly with salt. They're very crunchy, but please be careful when biting into them cos their sharp little legs are lethal especially when they spear your gums. (Of course, I found this out the hard way... ouch...)
The Chirashi set ($25++) which isn't that different from what you'll get at the old Wasabi Tei, just that it's now about $30 nett for the whole thing. If you count the extra $2 for the compulsary drink, it's still a whole $8 more, but you'll get 'real' service and free green tea, and proper table instead of a bar counter). I thought the sashimi wasn't that fresh and the tuna cut I got somehow had lots of fascia in between the layers of meat. Salmon was still fatty, oily and smooth, and as thick as I remembered it to be.
Hijiki seaweed appetiser - tasty and sweet, with some fried tofu.
The permanent scrowl on the chef's face has been replaced by *gasp* a SMILE of happiness as he potters about the restaurant pouring sake for his customers... Though I still have post-traumatic stress disorder when I see him walk about while I'm eating... Totally not used to the happier chef... Can't find his wife amongst his new staff tho... hope her absence hasn't got anything to do with his elevated mood... I still somehow can't bear to fork out $30 for something that used to cost $22... Though I'm really glad that there isn't that annoying queue and hushed/tense atmosphere that is associated with the Wasabi Tei experience...
Chikuwa Tei
9 Mohamed Sultan Road
Tel : +65 6738 9395 (yes! you can call to make reservations!!they are very polite and will answer your phone call)
On a sidenote: damn I've been shopping too much my first pay is dwindling at an astonishing rate!! Hope they start paying us on the 15th!! (Even though I still haven't submitted my claims >.<) I must stop eating so much or too much expensive food or shopping but there's so much to eat and even more to buy!!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bistro Du Vin

Bistro du Vin was reviewed in the Straits times quite a while back, and it was near impossible to book during that period of time. It's been some time now, and when I visited it on a Monday evening, business was brisk. It's a casual French restaurant, which serves simple, home-style dishes. Crusty bread served with butter (we requested for olive oil and balsamic vinegar, which they gladly obliged).
Seafood Bisque (I think it's about $10, can't remember the prices cos I don't have the receipt). It's pretty good, a nice bowl of thick, brown bisque with a sweet seafood flavour and a slightly bitter aftertaste. Served with cheese, bread and potatoes mashed with mayonnaise.
Niçoise salad (I think it was in the $10-$15 range) whigh was well dressed and tossed had a generous amount of flaked tuna and briney anchovies on an assortment of salad leaves.
My Braised Chicken Thigh in Red Wine ($23++) was a droolsome stew - the sauce was really tasty, and had the meaty flavours from the chicken, red wine and other stewed vegetables. The chicken thigh was so soft the meat fell of the bone. Mashed potatoes were very light and fluffy.
Grand Marnier Souffle ($15?) had a generous sloush of alcohol. It was light and fluffy with a brown skin-like top. Served with vanilla sauce and vanilla ice cream. I think I didn't like it cos Grand Mariner has a citrus base?
The Apple Tart ($10?) has a thin, flaky pastry base with finely sliced apples, topped with a sprinkling of icing sugar. The apple tart is not bad, but it can't rival my favourite Gunther's Apple Tart, which wins hands down with it's crushed candied almonds. Time to visit Gunthers when I get my next pay and maybe day off? Lunch it shall be...
I really like the simple and homely decor, including the tiled floor, red walls and many framed pictures. Looks just like a quaint cafe in France. Service here is above average, with friendly, efficient and knowledgeable waitstaff. Prices are slightly higher than what I'd like to pay, but then again, food and service is good.
So relaxing to sip a cup of tea and read a magazine inside the restaurant. I think it makes me forget that I'm in Singapore for a moment! But I doubt I'll be holidaying anywhere in the near future :(
Bistro Du Vin
1 Scotts Road, #02-12Shaw Centre
Tel: 6733 7763
Daily: 12pm-2.30pm, 6.30pm-10pm

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Honeymoon Dessert 满记甜品- Vivo City

Honeymoon dessert is a pretty new Hongkong Dessert restaurant at Vivo. I've visited it twice (before it got crowded), and attempted to visit it again a third time, but I was really put off by their incredibly long queues. The seating area isn't small, yet it's immensely popular thus the long queues. Hailing from Hong Kong, Honeymoon desserts have a huge variety of desserts, including the famous Mango Pomelo Sago. Prices aren't cheap (I think it costs about $4 for the mango pomelo sago), but taste wise, it's pretty good. Desserts have been consistently good the 2 times I visited it.
Mango Pomelo Sago with additional bean curd. The bean curd doesn't really go well with it, in case you're wondering... But the mango pomelo sago itself is delicious. Chilled sweet mango, sourish pomelo segments and lots of chewy sago balls in thick mango juice and milk. Looking at the picture makes me salivate... Crappy I just visited Vivo city yesterday, but I was too stuffed from lunch to go to Honeymoon :(
Sesame and Almond paste
I really like almond paste, but eating a whole bowl of that alone can be boring. So I usually get the mixed version with sesame and almond, so I can get the best of both worlds. I think that it usually comes with a nice half white and half black pattern on top, but then I prefer almond to sesame, and I'll usually ask them to put more almond, thus I never have the half black and half white pattern on my desesrts.
The sesame paste is thick and smooth, and doesn't have the bitter or oily aftertaste which I dislike. You can also have the option of adding other goodies and toppings to your desserts. I usually add tofu to my almond cream. It has a nice soyabean taste, but had a weird texture - it's more of a gelatinous texture than the freah beancurd you get from the market.
Mung Bean Pudding ($4.30++) - it's a coconut pudding with some mung beans (like the tau suan kind of bean). This isn't my personal favourite, but my grandmother loves this and she can eat 3/4 of this on top of her dessert (pretty amazing since she's usually very cautious about her diet). I don't particularly like mung beans unless they're in tau suan, but the coconut jelly is not bad, not too sweet and it's served chilled.
Service here, when it's not so crowded, is decent and the waitresses are helpful and polite. Though the super long queues are a major put off for me.
Honeymoon Dessert
#01-93, Vivo City