Thursday, August 13, 2015

Bincho - Where you can eat Cock's Comb

 The unassuming door to Bincho. In the morning it's a coffeeshop but it turns into a restaurant at night.
Since its a chicken speciality restaurant, it was a no brainer for us to select one of the chicken menus available. They also have a variety of other dishes, but since it was our first time there, we decided to stick to their sets.

I got the $65++ set, and 'shio' yakitori
 The assorted appetiser, which had this delicious chicken pate (see left bottom).
 Salad sticks and miso paste, as well as the "shio' platter with has chicken necks...

And a variety of chicken parts which also included the bishops nose (which is one of the things I don't eat), kidney etc.
The 'shime' of the day which was oyako don (chicken and egg on rice) - no complaints here - I really liked the chicken broth that came with the oyako don.
Dessert was a variety of jellies.

I added on 2 dishes to the above set :

 The Cock's Comb ($5) - which I was truly fascinated with. When I asked the waiter what this was - he said it was the red thing on top of the rooster () but just that it was not red after cooking anymore. No one else at my table wanted to try it. Surprisingly it tasted pretty good! It has the texture of chicken feet but not as soft, and slightly smoother.  I finished the whole plate myself :D In Mandarin it's called 
The grilled chicken hearts ($5) were also pretty awesome - I love the texture of the hearts and it doesn't have the gamey taste of the kidneys/liver. I thought that it went really well with the wholegrain mustard.

The rest tried the Chicken Hotpot ($150 for 2persons) but since I'm quite adverse to steamboat cos of all the double dipping and when people throw in raw stuff when I'm trying in vain to scoop out the cooked foods already. That's why my favourite steamboat is the Bijin Nabe from Tsukada Nojo (since they have tongs and cook everything for you).
The said hotpot - it's actually a portion for 4 people but since our table was too small they cooked it at the side for us.
 Fried chicken

 The yakitori from the hotpot set - no innards here - chicken neck, chicken wings etc

The delicious soup - it's similar to the soup I had with my oyako don. It was a really interesting dining experience - would definitely be back to try more of their yakitori dishes...

There's also a bar where you can get cocktails - about $20+ per drink

Since the 3 little pieces of dessert wasn't enough to satisfy, we trooped over to PS cafe for more desserts.

78 Moh Guan Terrace 
Singapore 162078
Tel 64384567

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


When I read about Babette in the papers, I sort of dismissed it cos it was in some funny place which I didn't know how to get to (easily). Too lazy to use my brain or google maps to search out new restaurants. I didn't realise that Babette was located right behind Lavender food centre - always thought it was hard to get to so I never attempted to go there myself. Big mistake cos the matcha lava cake is to die for.

I'm a great big fan of matcha flavoured stuff, even since having an matcha epiphany after eating the Haagen Daz green tea ice cream (my second most favourite flavour, just after coffee, which has been my favourite flavour the nearly the last 2 decades).

The piece de renaissance - the matcha lava cake is really to die for (I am salivating away as I type this). According to MT, who is the Babette expert, the standard of the cake varies and sometimes, the outer crust is too thick. As I am a novice matcha lava cake eater, I did think my cake was really well done - the thin crispy shell, oozingly sweet matcha lava flowing out after I dug a hole in it (didn't manage to take photos - too excited trying to eat it).  I really liked the ice cream (Kapiti, same as my favourite dessert from Marmalade pantry), and despite disliking adzuki beans, I felt that these went well with the whole Japanese dessert theme.

I don't know why more people don't come up with the same dessert - it's such a refreshing change from the run of the mill chocolate lava cake.

Sashimi Salad
So after learning of their awesome matcha cake, I revisited the place about 4x in the last 2 months. The chirashi don is very affordable, but I do wish they got rid of those interfering bits of pickled carrots and daikon. I don't particularly like the taste, and in the dark it's hard to see if it's a piece f salmon or a carrot - and when I'm expecting a soft fatty piece of salmon, I instead bit down into a hard, sour piece of pickled carrot.

I have a photo of the sashimi salad with their special house dressing. It's essentially the same toppings as the chirashi don, including the interfering bits of pickled vegetables.
No complaints about the roasted avocado , except that they have the same annoyingly interfering bits of carrots and daikon. I'm not sure if this is done to bulk up the filling or what, but it is really intensely annoying to me at least (my dining companion was definitely not bothered by the same things as me).
  The truffle fries are pretty average, not bad but nothing to shout about.
 I think this was some garlic rice or something - it was too gooey for my liking.
 The chilli crab linguine - sauce was way too sweet and tasted like the bottled Thai sweet chilli sauce .
 The wagyu beef don which everyone is raving about - topped with a piece of oozing foie gras no less. My friends seem to like this - keep eating this whenever we go to Babette.
The pork don with onsen egg - apparently can't compare to the wagyu don.
 The asparagus with sesame sauce - the sauce is really nice - rich and creamy. Chicken wings were pretty average.

The savoury food here's pretty much hit and miss, but the green tea lava cake is the best! I'll come back here as long as they serve it...

165 Tyrwhitt Road
Singaproe 207569
Phone 63417727

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Grand Mandrina

I'm not a big fan of Chinese Food (other than Dim Sum) but during special occasions/once in a (rare) while my parents do like to get some Chinese food. If I get it my way, I would go to a Japanese or Italian or French restaurant without a doubt. So we ended up at Grand Mandrina cos my parents friends invited them for a meal and I tagged along. 

The charsiew from Grand Mnadrina really lives up to its reputation. This is a charsiew not meant for daily nomms, it's a charsiew that should be reserved for special occasions (i.e. CNY, impress your MIL, impress your colleagues at some house party). I really love the crispy layer of caramelised sugar (think the surface of a perfectly done creme brûlée ). I'm not particularly fond of the layer of fat, but it does make the charsiew more juicy than the lean ones. Which is why I say that this isn't meant for daily consumption - not only will you get high cholesterol, you will very likely get diabetes too. The roasted duck was also perfectly done - with the skin shatteringly crispy and not a trace of fat under the skin. Paired with the truffle sauce, it was really memorable.

 The steamed Sea Bass - well executed and no complaints about this dish at all.

The prawn with egg white is a variation on the usual scallops and egg white, and goes really well when topped on white rice.

 Stir Fried Dou Miao with Garlic
The obligatory vegetable dish. I really love dou miao, especially the one from Ding Tai Fung. No complaints about this Dou Miao.

We also tried the Ee Fu Noodles but I've somehow lost the photo.
The ee fu noodles were really one of the best I have tasted - neither too soggy nor too dry, just perfectly braised with minimal interfering toppings so that the full texture and taste of the noodles could be enjoyed.

Out of the 3 desserts we sampled, I would strongly recommend you to take the hot hashima and red dates. For $15, you get a bowl that's packed with hashima. Not just a few miserable bits. Compared to the other desserts that I tried (coconut ice cream with ai yu jelly, and the pumpkin puree with yam ice cream, which costs $12 each), the hashima was the most worth it dessert. I would suggest that if you don't like desserts to be too sweet, do request for it to have less sugar added.

The parking here's a major pain. They should really build a huge multi-storey carpark somewhere...

Grand Mandrina 
325 New Bridge Road 
Singapore 088760
PHone 6222 3355

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Milo Ice Energy - Does it Really Taste like Milo Van Milo?

It's SG 50 this year so there's lots of hype, with lots of limited edition SG50 paraphernalia being sold and such. Milo has been an integral part of every Singaporean's childhood. It used to be THE morning drink that everyone drank before going to school. There's even a whole page of Milo related recipes from The Smart Local here.

The Milo Van used to be the highlight of my school life - whenever there was some sports related event (i.e. track and field/swimming competition/cross country), the Milo van was the sole and main attraction (for me at least). I used to hate all these sports days cos everyone will be packed under some horrible stifling hot tent, and we were forced to do cheers etc. I even felt that it would be much better having a regular school day than going for such events. Plus it usually meant that we would have to go to somewhere else (i.e. no transport back to school, since I live a stones throw away from school), eat some sad food, and the only facilities were superbly dirty toilets (also with long queues).
Nostalgia in a cup 
Whenever we saw the green milo van, there would be a mass exodus of students from the seating area, and snaking queues would be formed along the sides of the van. Once one side was empty, the metal shutter would come down. I could drink 5 cups at one go (since the cups were so small) and since I wanted to do it discretely, I used to drink from one side of the van, then walk over to the other side to get the next cup :D

I used to be very sad and disappointed when I saw the MacDonalds van instead, cos it meant that there was this really horrible tasting orange squash drink (even more so cos I hated orange). And the artificial orange squash drink could never compare to delicious milo.

I always felt that the powdered milo could never compare to the Milo Van milo, or the canned/packet milo. So when I found out about the SG50 Milo Ice Energy, which supposedly tasted like Milo Van milo, I couldn't pass up on the chance to try it.

"Normal" Milo 3-in-1
Perhaps I'm older and more cynical now, but even though I followed the measurements on the Milo Ice Energy packet, I felt that the drink still didn't taste like the Milo Van Milo. Then again, it's been a decade since I've had the real Milo van Milo (tragic, I know... but it also means that I haven't had to go to some stuffy sports meet).

I have been drinking the 'normal' powdered milo from the tea/coffee/milo machine in the tea lounge quite regularly, about 2-3x/week during my morning break, but I don't usually drink milo at home. I happened to have a pack of 3-in-1 Milo lying around at home, so here's a comparison of the ingredients from the Milo Ice Energy and Milo 3-in-1.
Milo Ice Energy
Milo 3-in-1

So both of them have Palm Olein (!!) which is the fancy word for palm oil. Can't be very healthy...
Other than having sugar as the first ingredient (which means that the amount of sugar is mor than the amount of coco or malt), both contain Protomalt (which is Milo's signature barley malt, think it's similar to Horlicks), and some minerals. There also isn't any skimmed milk in the Milo Ice Energy, perhaps that's why it can be dissolved easily in cold water.

The main different I can spot is that the Milo Ice Energy has 'Medium chain triglyceride'. On searching Wikipedia, I found that these medium chain TGs are supposed to help burn extra calories, promote fat oxidation and reduce food intake. You can also read more about it here from webMD.

Milo Ice Energy
Milo 3-in-1

Nutritional Information for both - it's pretty much comparable in terms of caloric content as well as sugars and fats (the main things I look out for when I read the labels) and despite not having any skimmed milk, the Milo Ice Energy has more calcium than the 3-in-1 milo.
Milo Ice Energy powder 
The powder is super fine compared to the usual milo powder, and it dissolves very easily in cold water. I made my first cup of Milo Ice Energy following the instructions on the packet, which was to dissolve 5 teaspoons of Milo Ice Energy into 150ml of cold water. It was VERY sweet, and noticeably thicker than the usual milo.
Milo Ice Energy Drink 
Because after the first cup, I couldn't decided if it did taste like Milo Van Milo, I decided to drink a second cup. But after the second cup, I was way too full to drink the 3-in-1 Milo to make a fair comparison. Also it was so sweet I felt worried for my pancreas #firstworldproblems

I do feel inclined to do a blinded study, just to check if it really tastes better than the 3-in-1 milo. I shall rope in my colleagues to do a taste test soon - stay tuned!

Each packet of Milo Ice Energy costs $7.95 and no this is not a sponsored post.