Friday, January 31, 2014

Tanuki Raw

 I've never really felt the need to go for a drink after work. The food's the main draw for me. But of late, the prospect of having a drink (with good food, of course) has been extremely enticing. I've been wanting to try Tanuki for eons and eons (prob for the last year already) but never made it down successfully. They have this awesome happy hour from 5pm-8pm, where their cocktails go for $10, and each cocktail ordered gets you 6 pieces of oysters at $2 each.
 Freshly shucked oysters with lots of that delicious oyster brine.
Another close up
Nom nom nom nom nom 
Words can't describe how deliciously fresh the oysters were.

The cocktails weren't bad - pretty good but for me, the main draw were the oysters. They have a few anal rules - such as one table cannot have more than 12 oysters at one time -_- but it doesn't matter just as long as I get my maximum 6 pieces, eventually, I suppose. (Even better if some people in your group don't eat oysters - you can always eat theirs ^v^)
 We were hungry (sort of, anyway, cos everyone had dinner at home) so we decided to try some of the sushi rolls. A word of advice - DON'T. They're pretty expensive for the portion, and are a far cry of how you would envision proper sushi rolls to be (I kept picturing the Sushi Bar's rolls). Save your $ and calories and go to Everything with Fries (conveniently located downstairs) and eat your har cheong gai nuggets (best thing ever invented - it's like boneless har cheong gai).
Sad Sushi Roll 
Tanuki Raw
181 Orchard Road 
#02-03 Orchard Central
Tel 66365949
Opening Hours 1130am to 1030pm
Happy Hour 5-8pm daily

Go here to see their happy hour menu 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Let them eat (Chicken Floss) cake!

SF Chicken Floss Cake
 My mum's friend gave her a very interesting chicken floss cake. It's a level up from the chicken floss bun that we are all very familiar with. Instead of a soft bun, it's a sweet fluffy cake underneath the mountain of floss. The sauce tastes very similar to the sweet sauce in the Bread Talk bun.
Its a cake, not a bread!
The texture of the cake is perfect, especially when microwaved on each side for 10s. It tastes much better warm.

I think it can be improved by having an additional layer of the floss with sauce (much like the icing in the middle of the cake), and having less of the floss embedded within the cake itself (cos it's lumpy and weird, and doesn't have much taste).

Go check out their website here. There's really interesting cakes that I'm itching to try!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Bahn Mi 888

Vietnamese Original Sandwich $6.50

Bahn Mi 888 is a small cafe selling Vietnamese dishes in United Square. They're been open for a few months now, and I managed to try the Vietnamese Baguette for lunch (on the last day at work in my old workplace - super miss everything a lot )

The bread is soft and crusty, and is freshly toasted. I'm quite a fan of all these Vietnamese baguettes, my favourite used to be Saigon Baguette, till they all closed down. Nam Nam's is pretty ok but isn't my fave cos the bread to ingredient ratio is too much. There's a few cuts of Vietnamese Hams, together with pork pate, preserved vegetables (carrots, radish and cucumber), a few pieces of sliced chill and parsley. The portion is a bit small so I was hungry again before dinner, but if you supplement this with one of their rice paper rolls it should be sufficiently filling.  
 The menu is very compact and simple. Most of their dishes are $7 or less, and for lunch, there's a free cold drink with any mains (not sure if it's still on now, but they were giving out peach or lemon tea)

I'll definitely be back for the Vietnamese Glass noodles (the dry spring roll and chicken noodles look really awesome - saw someone eating it when I was there). 

Banh Mi 888
#B1-06 United Square Shopping Mall
101 Thomson Road
Phone 63543858
Daily 10am to 9pm

Monday, January 20, 2014


Izy isn't just an izakaya - but has a similar concept to a tapas sharing menu. Not that I'm complaining since the food here's freaking good. I was so impressed by the food I had at Izy, and declared to my friend that this was the best meal of the year - but my friend pointed out that only 17 days has passed since the start of the year -_-' 

I liked how they kept the one page menu neat, with columns lumping foods with similar cooking methods together, so that it was easier to decide and pick the dishes off the menu (especially since I had the honours of doing it, since my friend was running a bit late). 
 Nama Yasai ($8)
Chilled crispy vegetable sticks with miso and nuts sauce, served on a bed of ice . The nuts sauce was pretty interesting - with a peanut butter like creaminess, yet with the savoury component from the miso. It was really nice dipping and coating each vegetable stick with the sauce. 
Crispy Chicken Karaage ($16)
 I did some last minute research (in the restaurant itself - the wonders of 3/4G), and since Chubby Hubby declared it as the best Karaage in Singapore, I die-die had to eat it. I suppose I'm not a big deep fried foods fan, but this was pretty interesting, with a much lighter fluffier batter compared to the usual karaage chicken that you find in most places. The texture is somewhat closer to the beer-battered fish and chips kind of batter. Coupled with a balsamic mayonnaise sauce, and lots of lettuce and some sliced mushrooms, this was a winning bar snack (especially with some alcohol).
Kajiki Maguro - Grilled swordfish with seaweed sauce ($25)
 The grilled swordfish was another amazing dish - slightly oily and flaky swordfish being perfectly charcoal grilled, and coated with a layer of umami seaweed sauce. It was superb coupled with lots of spring onions  (+/- the lemon).
Lobster and Scallop Porridge
 I was very much impressed by their Lobster and Scallop Porridge ($40 for 2 -4 pax), which had lobster, scallop and oyster cooked with paprika spice. Our initial concerns of the portion being too big were really unfounded, and we easily devoured the warming soup, and proceeded onto another carbs dish.
 Succulent lobster in a thick, lobster bisque-like broth (super gao, super good), with the mild hotness from the paprika. It was incredible and can nearly rival the chicken collagen ramen that I love so much, for the best-after-work-warming-food.  This brings porridge to completely another level.
Uni Cha Soba ($24)
Sea urchin with buckwheat soba noodles with Tonato sea urchin sauce - it was either diminishing returns, or probably because I don't particularly like that fishy/bitter taste from uni (which isn't absolutely fresh?) that I didn't quite like this dish. No doubt it was interesting, but I didn't quite like the sauce.
Blue Cheese and Honey Ice Cream ($10)
Blue cheese ice cream with walnut and honey- cheese fans rejoice. Even if you're not a cheese fan, you might actually like this. It's topped with mascarpone cheese, chopped walnuts and honey. The cheese isn't too overpowering, more like a subtle aftertaste. Super good - I would come here again just for the ice cream.
Chocolate and white miso ($10)
Butter chocolate mousse with white miso cream - I'm not the greatest chocolate fan, so I found this dessert pretty average, but quite interesting. The white miso layer was slightly salty, and went very well with the luscious chocolate mousse. 
The menu, which changes with the chef's mood
The interior reminds me quite a bit of Lola's, just that their bar chairs are much more comfy and you can relax and lean back.

I'd suggest gathering some friends - 2 people with big appetites (so you can sample more) or 4 people with tiny appetites. You'll probably be able to conquer about 5-6 dishes for 2 people, or more if you're hungry (and have a deeper wallet). As you can see from the prices above, it's not cheap so expect to pay about $80 per person (without alcohol), but I am quite sure the dining experience will be worth it.

27 Club Street (near Senso/the carpark)
Tel 62203327
Mondays to Saturdays 6pm till late

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Tsukada Nojo - Bijin Nabe

Famous Bijin Nabe
I've been patronising Tsukada Nojo pretty often (to be exact, it's 4 times in the last 3 weeks) to nourish myself. It's incredibly satisfying, after spending the whole day at work freezing, to sit next to a hot pot and watch someone else cook the ingredients, and to drink the nourishing soup (private joke). It's probably one of the few highlights in the lousiest 2 weeks of all time (at least in the last 2 years). I hope it doesn't become the lousiest 3 weeks or 6 months for that matter.
For the unenlightened (like WKR), Tsukada Nojo is this famous chicken collagen hotpot ramen which hails from Japan. The queues have been horrendous, such that they have placed a time limit of 1h per table for lunch, and 1.5h for dinner. They serve only individual bowls of ramen for lunch (in a clay pot) and their collagen steamboat for dinner.

Their menu is very simple - choose the broth you want (shio, miso, spicy). You can choose the level of saltiness for the lunch ramen, but not for the dinner hotpot.
Then choose the noodles - either thick mochi-mochi ramen (like mer kia), thin egg noodles (like wanton mee), or rice noodles (I haven't tried this, but I'm generally like yellow noodles with my ramen).
Dinner - Chicken collagen pudding hotpot
The chicken comes from Malaysia, and all the vegetables used are grown organically (not that it really matters to me, just as long as it's tasty). The server will do all the cooking for you, so you can just sit back and relax and enjoy the process. It starts with you patiently waiting for the chicken collagen pudding to melt and boil, and then the server will scoop out half a teacup of soup to let you try it in it's pure and unadulterated form. The server will also take out 2 pieces of the half chicken, which is eaten either plain or with a selection of 4 different sauces (some yuzu salt, a garlic and ginger sauce, soy sauce or chilli).
After which, they will add the vegetables (yellow zucchini, mushrooms, ladies finger, corn, watermelon radish, lettuce and some other leafy green vegetable) as well as the tofu (which is really quite nice) and shape the chicken meat balls. The noodles will be brought after the ingredients have been thrown into the pot. There's also prawns to add at the end, and they give a small soup top up too.  They also give this preserved seaweed paste, which tastes vaguely like not too salty marmite. There's also yuzu peel, which I never ever add.

I suggest that you turn down the heat once the mixture boils, cos the soup is so precious and is happily evaporating while you slowly eat your chicken.

I really hope that they boil only chicken bones, salt and water to form that pudding thing because I am very curious to know how many calories I'm consuming every time I eat the hotpot, and slurp up every drop of soup. (Omg someone told me that it probably is, since bones are full of fat and marrow etc etc and fat embolisation syndrome exists zomg!)

Some of the other side dishes I've tried are the tamago (not too bad, nothing spectacular), the chicken karaage which is very oily and has a nice egg mayo salad sauce on top, the siew mai (which is really horrible, please avoid it, it has a weird frozen/processed food taste).
Dinner - Complimentary lime jelly 
This is probably the worst place you can choose to arrange meet ups with large groups of people.
They don't accept bookings, don't seat you till everyone is here and stop taking bookings (usually by 730-8pm) if they are too full. Your best bet will be to rush down at 530 after work, or risk spending 1-2hours waiting for your table. At least, it's a sms-queue system, so you can shop and not waste your life standing in the queue.

I hope they decide to open more outlets so that the queues improve and I will be able to get my hotpot whenever I visit. See my previous posts here and here

Tsukada Nojo
60B Orchard Road
The Atrium-Orchard Level #03-81

Singapore 238891
Tel 6336 5003

Friday, January 10, 2014

Tamoya Udon - United Square

Tamoya Udon is this really famous Udon chain from Japan. I've been hearing a lot about the outlet at Liang Court, but since Liang Court is really out of the way for me on weekdays (plus I would need to pay ERP) and I don't fancy going there on weekends (there's so many other places to checkout) I haven't made my way there. Until, by a stroke of luck, I chanced upon their outlet at United square. Somehow United Square has been surprising me again and again, with new food outlets that I never knew existed (perhaps cos it's further from Novena/Square 2 I seldom venture there, and it's overrun by screaming kids on the weekends). 
It's a no frills udon restaurant, pretty much like a fast food restaurant, where you order and pick up your food and pay for it at the cashier, before sitting down to enjoy your bowl of udon. They also have a few rice dishes, but obviously the udon is the star here. 
After ordering the udon, there's a nice long line of tempura (some freshly cooked, some which have been sitting there under a heat lamp for a while), which are very reasonably priced (in my opinion). I got tempted by the tempura x3, because my udon took 15 minutes to come. 

One of the things that my friends raved about was the unlimited toppings counter - where you can get unlimited servings of spring onions, tempura batter (everyone loves this, except me), and seaweed. There's also plum, grated ginger, radish (love this!) and some other toppings which didn't really appeal to me. 
 My Kama-tama udon ($5.80) which took forever to come. To be fair, they did tell me that the wait would be 15 minutes. And I ate 3 pieces of tempura while waiting. I picked this udon because I wanted to enjoy the udon with minimal distractions. It comes with dipping sauce (which I didn't use, cos I thought that the noodles were tasty by itself). Looks really plain in the picture, but you can always add the unlimited toppings.
 I tried  3 different tempura - the first one being this longish fish cake thing ($1.50), which was pretty good. Actually, I chose it because it was freshly cooked and just out of the deep frier, so it was nice and warm and crispy.
I also had the chicken cutlet ($2) and the pumpkin ($1.50). I really liked the pumpkin because it was a wedge, rather than a scrawny little slice.

 This is how the beef udon ($10.80) looks like after it's dressed up with the unlimited toppings.

If you go to the United square outlet soon, be sure to look for the 1 free tempura brochure which they have outside their store

Tamoya Udon
101 Thomson Road 
#B1-07 United Square
Tel 62587783

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Blinded Chocolate Fudge Cake Taste Test - To find the best chocolate fudge cake in Singapore

Vicky's, Awfully Chocolate, Lana

To find the best chocolate fudge cake in Singapore

3 chocolate fudge cakes - from Lana (800g), Vicky's (1kg) and Awfully chocolate (6inch, approximately   1.2 kg) were selected for this test as they are well established bakeries specializing in chocolate fudge cake.

Pardon the chilli stain 
The taste test was conducted at 830am on Monday, 6th Jan 2014, in the department pantry. A total of 30 testers from the same company and department,with an age range of  23-50s were included in this study. The cakes were removed from their boxes, and labelled as 1, 2, and 3. The testers were allowed to slice and eat as much cake as they wanted.  They were allowed to sample the cakes many times as they wanted during the study. After the test, they voted for the cake they liked best by writing their names into the respective columns. Implied consent was obtained and no tester was coerced into participating in the study. The end point was when any one of the cakes was completely consumed.

Vicky's came out as the top favourite, gaining 12 out of 30 votes. Testers who picked this cake generally liked the moist cakes texture. It was the sweetest cake, and there was a slight alcoholic taste to it (?rum) and a mild bitter aftertaste. This cake was the cake which was consumed the quickest.

Lana's came in second, with 11 votes. Most testers found the texture drier.

The 7 testers who like Awfully Chocolate's cake enjoyed the stronger chocolate taste and a milder sweetness.

One tester declined to choose his/her favorite cake, commenting that they were all not very good. The principle investigator thinks that he/she may just not be a desserts or a chocolate fudge cake-loving person, or have really high cake standards. The tester was not included in the final result tally.

Comments and Analysis
This was not a fully blinded taste test - and some of the testers who were foodies recognized the font and shapes of the cake easily. There was much speculation and discussion over the origins of each cake, however the testers who recognized the cakes were told not to share the answers until the test was over.

For a cake with similar dimensions to Lana's, Vicky's was about 200g heavier. Perhaps this is due to the higher moisture content of the cake. Cost wise, a 800g Lana's cake is priced similarly to a 1kg Vicky's cake. The Awfully Chocolate cake cost the most.

The cakes from Lana and Vicky's were 1 day older than the Awfully chocolate cake as the taste test was conducted on Monday, and Lana's and Vicky's were both closed on Sunday. (According to Vicky's, the cakes are good for 4 days after purchase, and although they suggested storing the cake in an airtight Tupperware, there was no such Tupperware to be found, with the limited resources available).

Greats pains were taken to ensure that the cakes remained moist. The cake boxes were cling wrapped tightly and stored in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge to minimise exposure to air.

The unblinded investigator felt that the Awfully Chocolate cake was the best in terms of chocolaty-ness, texture and sweetness - and was surprised to find that so many people liked Vicky's. The unblinded investigator who obtained all the cakes found that Awfully Chocolate's cakes were the most readily available, and had the best service, both on the phone and in-store (Star Vista outlet).

Lana's cake was the hardest to obtain, with multiple phone calls (over a span of 2 days) being unanswered. The unblinded investigator experienced their notorious, less than friendly (bordering on curt) service, both on the phone and in-store.

Vicky's service was average, but to ensure that you obtain a cake, you would have to call in advance. Also, Vicky's does not do any customised writing on the cake if you do not pre-order the cake.

The unblinded investigator strongly suggests that people who are looking to buy a chocolate fudge cake from any of the 3 bakeries go toVicky's, since it was the most popular cake and has average service. Cost wise, it was very similar to Lana's.  

As pointed out by the department's big boss, this was not a double blinded test. Hence, the test was not gold standard. In future, testers should be completely blinded by having the cakes in similar shape and size - which will mean having to pre order the cake from Awfully chocolate as the default off the shelf cake is round. Also, by not having any cream wordings on each cake will ensure that the testers did not recognize where each came came from, particularly for Lana's distinct cream wordings and decorations.

As recommended by some of the testers, other worthy contestants for future Blinded Chocolate Fudge Cake Taste Tests include Matts chocolate cake as well as Jane's Cake station.

Declaration and conflict of interest
The financial aspect was shared amongst 4 investigators, and none of the cakes were sponsored. None of the testers or investigators had any financial gain from this study - they only had caloric gain. 3 of the 4 investigators were blinded and were also testers. The unblinded investigator did not participate in the study.

The investigators were not held liable for any hyperglycemia that occurred post-test or for the post prandial stupor that occurred after. Also, having too much chocolate cake will have a negative impact on overall health and should only be done for special occasions. No cake was wasted during this study.

The investigators  would also like to thank the department for their participation in the study, and hope that the testers enjoyed the experience.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Supply and Demand

Time passes really fast, especially since I've been busy this festive season - I realised that this post has been lurking in the recesses of blogger for a really long time. Went to Supply and Demand for dinner before watching Swan Lake in November. I was suitably impressed by the food here, which is why I'm still going to blog about it. I intentionally picked dishes from their Peruvian menu (they also have an Italian menu - pizzas and pastas) since I haven't tried Peruvian food before.
Ceviche Mixto ($16) which is a light salad with raw seafood, and an assortment of vegetables - sweet potatoes, corn, cucumber, onions, sliced chillies etc. It's pretty good but I thought that the dressing was too lemony for my liking. 
The meats menu is pretty interesting - choose one meat and have it done whichever way the chef wants to that day - it'll also be served with 2 side dishes.
We had the chicken and the lamb - which were both done very well.
Lovely lamb chops

Unfortunately for me, the salad was rocket and tomato. So I ate all the tomato and left all the rocket. I would rather eat parsley than rocket. Somehow can't stand the bitter taste no matter what it's paired with, but if it's with pizza and parma ham, then that's an exception.
Dessert - I really can't remember which desserts we ordered, but I was really delighted to have the vanilla sponge cake with sweet cream (the one above) which was so delicious, light and creamy.
Diminishing returns by the time we reached the 2nd dessert - shouldn't have ordered this lol!

The Pisco cocktails here are really potent, especially considering the pricing. 

Supply and Demand
#01-13 Esplanade, Colours by the Bay (near Thai Express)
8 Raffles Avenue
Tel 63360588

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Otto - The Annual Truffle Menu

Outdated post again - but I went back to Otto to have my annual truffle treat!
Last year, I went to Valentinos but I think Otto is still my favourite place (not that I have much to compare to, but I really like their truffle menu). Their restaurant bread is one of the best - it's a huge platter of freshly baked onion/walnut/olive bread - must restrain myself next time cos I'm always full by the time the mains come.
Some smoked salmon appetiser
The obligatory parma ham and burrata cheese which everyone likes to eat at Italian restaurants. I still think Valentino's burrata tastes best but I'm biased.
Eating the yearly truffle menu is exciting - I love seeing them shave the truffles over my food. (Btw the article about truffle hunting by Tan Hsueh Yun was such a good read - makes me feel like booking my next holiday).
As a general rule of thumb, and due to budget constraints, I generally get 1g of truffle for the appetiser, and 2g for the main. Otto's truffle costs $10++ per gram, so it very quickly adds up. I would also recommend that you tell them exactly how much truffle to shave, and not just wait for them to shave and tell them to stop (like what you would do for freshly grounded pepper) cos 1g may look much less than you expect, and you don't want to end up with 5g of truffle in one dish.
The obligatory swimmer crab and scrambled eggs. Sweet chunks of tender swimmer crab with luxuriously creamy scrambled egg. This is probably the equivalent of Joel Robuchon's mashed potato in egg terms - probably has equal volume of cream in it!
I suppose that one of the best ways to really enjoy the truffle smell is to have it with plain, freshly cooked and made pasta, with minimal distractions.
See how 2g of truffle looks the same as the 1g of truffle on the main, compared to the appetiser of scrambled eggs? Looks are deceiving!!
The olive crusted atlantic cod (which I had last time, but not as part of the truffle menu)
The non-truffle dish for the day - lobster spaghetti - I somehow thought it was better the last time I tried
Truffle creme brûlée - for those uninitiated and unadventurous people, do give this a try. I had a hard time convincing my friends to try this dish (cos everyone was so full) but I didn't have any regrets - what is a truffle dinner without a truffle dessert??
Tiramisu - pretty good but not mind blowing, I prefer L'opretta's (post coming up soon!)
I'm not sure if they still have the truffle menu - depends on their supply of truffles, so give them a ring before going down.

28 Maxwell Road
#01-02 Red Dot Traffic Bulidling
Tel 62776819