Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Osho Singapore

I'm blogging this cos my tutor just postponed our tutorial by half an hour, and I'm rather sad because I paid the $1.50 ERP gantry fee because I was a bit late this morning, and missed the $0.50 ERP (before 8.30) and the $1 ERP (8.30-8.35). If I go after 9am, it'll be $0.50 :(Pirikara Ramen ($13)
This is a slightly spicy ramen, and comes with minced pork and bean sprouts. It's very very salty and other than that, I can hardly taste much except that the soup's really oily. The soup has a canned-tomato soup colour, but it doesn't taste of tomato at all.
This dish has a queer name (which I can't remember at the moment, I shall go home later to check the menu, which I photographed). It's fried chicken and fries, fried together with tomato ketchup. It reminds me of my primary school western stall, where the ketchup is much more watery and more sourish than the kind you get from the usual ketchup brands. And no suprise, this was extremely salty.
The dinner set (I think it was $16?) that they had that day, garlic fried rice, fried chicken, some chicken balls in a brown sauce and omelette. Clear soup. Gyoza not included. As usual, the dish was extremely salty. The omelette was excellent, not only because it was the only non-salty thing on the plate (besides the salad), but also because it was just cooked, soft and runny inside.
The gyoza was not bad, in fact, it wasn't salty either. The Pirikara ramen + gyoza costs $16, so it's worth getting the set if you want to eat the gyoza. I prefer noodle house ken's one though.

I really don't quite like Osho because the chef is way too generous with the salt. I really think that the dishes would taste much better without so much salt, cos I really can't taste anytyhing except the salt. Fortunately, they have lots of ice cold water so you can just keep topping up your water.
The prices here are very affordable, and there's aircon, and the service is passable (think something like an aircon coffeeshop, just that they take your orders and serve the dishes). But do note that you'll smell of fried food after eating at osho, cos the cooking's done really near the tables, and all the oil will get stuck in your hair.

Osho Singapore
5 Koek Road
#01-10 Cuppage Plaza
Tel: 6735 7068

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Buko Nero

I've tried Buko Nero, thanks to ice (go check out her comic strip on buko nero!) who booked it waaaaaay in advance. To secure a table in this tiny restaurant, you'll have to book a month before you want to eat there! AND they don't allow photographs :'( Anyway, we arrived there early and were hovering outside the locked doors and hungrily breathing in the delicious cooking smells. Their foccacia bread has a sweet tomato embedded in each slice, and is sprinkled with some herbs. Actually, our bread didn't come in a metal bucket - the table next to us had the bucket, and we had a funny looking basket (which isn't v nice so I didn't draw it). Being greedy that day, we had our bread refilled so we could use it to mop up the sauce/soup from our appetisers :P
The mushroom soup is a must try for truffle lovers like me - nearly 70% of the surface is covered in truffle oil slick. The smell is so heavenly. And even of you don't like truffle oil, the mushroom soup itself tastes great, but why order this if you don't like truffle? Ok I'm contradicting myself but there's so much truffle oil so you really shouldn't order it if you hate truffle oil.
Buko Nero's famous Tau Kwa Tower, which has a heap of sauteed and fresh vegetables, such as parsley, finely shredded carrots, enoki mushrooms etc etc towered on top of a big square of tau kwa. It comes with this sweetish black sauce (kecap manis) which was mopped clean with the extra serving of bread.
My main was the pork, and it didn't dissapooint. Actually, when it came, I thought it looked a bit dry and tough ( what if it's dry and yucky?) but my fears were completely unfounded. The pork was suprisingly tender - and for people like me who don't like the pork fats, this is perfect since it's nearly 95% worth of lean meat. There's no porky smell or taste at all. It comes with mashed potatoes and is garnished with lots of leaves.
ice ate the spaghetti with spicy crab and prawn, which looks like normal spaghetti, and which I don't know how to draw. So you can use your imagination here - looks like normal spaghetti, with the noodles al dente in this super fragrant garlic/tomatoey sauce.
My favourite dessert was the Apple Tart - if only it were bigger, cos it's so yummy. The tart is pretty small - smaller than the delifrance tarts. The apples are sauteed in butter (I suppose) and are firm to bite. The tart crust is golden and tastes delicious. And the caramel ice cream goes extremely well with the generous sprinkling of fleur de sel (spelt as fior di sale in the menu).
Also, we tried the Milk chocolate cake with coconut and gula melaka coulis. It also came with coconut cream foam, which I found pretty cool since it looked exactly like whipped cream. ice says that the cake remidns her of ondeh ondeh! Perhaps I was so blown away by the tiny apple tart so the chocolate cake didn't really impress me, but it's supposed to be very popular with buko nero diners.

We ended the meal with a scoop of milo ice cream, which is probably the most milo-packed ice cream I've ever eaten. The milo was so dense and creamy,
It's like how the milo van's milo is 100x creamier than the kind you make at home, and you can never get your home-made milo to taste the same. The other milo ice creams I've tried are not as creamy or milo-packed. The milo ice cream reminds me a bit of how those dense chocolate ice creams taste like, just that its nicer cos milo has this malted taste, and I always associate the taste of milo with milo vans. The milo ice cream here's the best one I've tasted. I can't imagine how their horlicks ice cream will taste like, but horlicks wasn't available the day I went.
I'm so going to come back and try their dinner menu, but I haven't had the time to call and make the booking. When I'm free-er I shall quickly book :D

Buko Nero also serves lunch sets at affordable prices but since we wanted to try other stuff, we didn't get tt one. But I will definitely want to return to try their lunch sets - the salmon with coriander crust looked absolutely delicious! (again, I was peering over at other people's food).

The restaurant has only 2 staff - the chef and his wife Tracy. She does everything from serving bread, water, clearing dishes, serving food etc etc by herself! Obviously, the service gets a bit slow when the restaurant is full, but I'm really impressed at her efficiency. And she doesn't sound the least bit harrassed. I'll be so stressed and drop all the dishes if I'm in her place :O

Buko Nero
126 Tanjong Pagar Road
Tel: 6324 6225
Parallel parking along the road.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Nara Japanese Restaurant

Appetiser - my sister stole more than half from me cos she was hungry :/Wasabi and Crab Tofu ($4++), pictured in the background

The crab tofu is battered and fried until golden brown, and has a huge dollop of wasabi mayonnaise and tasty morsels of crab meat. The wasabi here isn't too strong, and tastes more sweetish than anything else. Pretty good for a warm starter. Pitan Tofu ($4++) comes coated in the blackish goo of century egg. For century egg lovers, this is delicious, paired with the slightly salty flyingfish roe. The bland tasting tofu goes incredibly well with the piquant taste of century egg and crunchy roe.

Nara's Speciality sushi roll ($20++)

It's more expensive than the other makis because it comes with anago, which is salt water eels. It's different from the normal freshwater eel (unagi) that you find in most sushi. Anago is supposed to have a blander taste and is less oily. Also, it's not coated in the sweet brown sauce used for grilling unagi.
Deep Fried Maki ($15++)

Actually, I can't remember the name, just that it has deep fried inside. I didn't quite like this one though. Probably cos I didn't like the batter coating it. It comes with wasabi mayonnaise. We requested for the chef to separate it cos I don't like wasabi. However, it doesn't taste like wasabi, more of a sweetish creamy sauce with a slight hint of wasabi.

It comes with avocado, tamago (egg), crabstick and crunchy cucumbers. Very much like the califonia handroll, just that it's deep fried. Califonia Maki ($15++)

One of my more favourite sushis, even though it doesn't have any raw fish in it. It's actually created for the American market, where avocado was substituted for tuna (this piece of trivia is from Wikipedia btw). The califonia maki is coated in a generous layer of roe, unlike the kind you buy from Iseatan supermarket, where they are v stingy.

This is a teriyaki squid (can't remember price, but it's aroudn $9). It's pretty well done, with just the right amount of teriyaki sauce so that it's tasty and yet not too salty, and the squid was cooked just right so that it was chewy but not hard.
Complimentary fruits.
(actually I think i should give it 3.5 stars but I'm outside now and i don't have my stars with me. I'll edit it when I go home). Nara also has some set lunches ranging from around $12-$20. I haven't tried any of those though. The sushi that I ordered also comes in half portions, for people who want to try a greater variety. I'm definitely going to come back to try more stuff from their menu. I think this is a perfect place for people who like Japanese food, and yet don't like eating raw stuff. It's pretty empty during lunches, so I dont think you'll need to book.

Nara Japanese Restaurant 奈良
167 Thomson Road
Goldhill Centre
Tel: 6256 6568

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Zha Jiang Mian, Chinawtown Hawker Center

Zha Jiang Mian (炸酱面) $3.50 from the newly renovated Chinatown hawker center (Smith Street) from stall 02-135. It's a Northern Chinese stall, and it's name begins with 中國something something... The noodles here are hand-made/pulled and the chef will get a lump of dough and pull and pull and pull it to form noodles (Random thought: his deltoids must be super big! It looks so tiring to pull!), which he will throw into a boiling pot of water. His wife/assistant will use a pair of super long chopsticks to pick the noodles out, and top it with a thick, salty bean and pork paste, and garnish it with crunchy shredded cucumbers, carrots and beansprouts.

They also have all the other Northern Chinese foods such as Guo Tie, Xiao Long Pau, Da Bing (big pancake with red bean) etc etc. Don't forget to ask for vinegar to add to the noodles.

Great that I stumbled upon this stall, cos I was just craving for some Zha Jiang Mian from Qun Zhong restaurant along Neil Road. Makes me realize how un-worth it Kopitiam food is, even with the 20% discount. At least the food has improved, thanks to the Koran stall (I'm going to survive on that till my posting is done!)

Btw, the carpark sucks, I always bang my front right wheel on the stupid short kerb, which I can't see while going up the slope. The kerb is so freaking chipped from all the banging. I bet I contributed alot to it's chipping! I'm sure my wheel alignment is out now! D:<

Monday, February 16, 2009

2am Dessert Bar

I've been wanting to try 2am Dessert Bar since it has been opened (which is VERY long ago), but the thing is that I've been told it's not worth it so expensive for a miniscule amount of food. And there was that time that Juilie told us to meet at Crystal Jade Kitchen (and the early people happily went in, sat down and started eating the appetisers) but she actually booked a place at 2am dessert bar. The following desserts are rated in order of prefrence.

Daily Special ($13++), which was Deconstructed Strawberry Cheesecake.
There are many parts to the deconstructed chesecake, and it starts with the ice cream. I think it's a rose sorbet. It was extremely aromatic. The intense floral taste from the rose permeates the whole mouth, and there's a sweet undertone to the flowery rose.
The 'base' is puffed rice with white chocolate, the white part is the decadantly creamy and cheesey layer. The pink thing is strawberry parfait (I think?) and the sugar coated maroon cubes on top is wild strawberry jelly, which is bursting with strawberry flavour. The little dots (there's red and clear dots) are hibiscus and ginger essence respectively. The rose petals are edible (but doesn't taste of anything).
Blackberry parfait, lychee air, basil, pine nut cake, lychee rose ice cream ($14++)
The lychee rose ice cream was painfully small (think of a small melon-baller sized, and it was partially melted cos the waiter was explaining how to eat this dish, and we had to take pictures after that). The blackberry parfait is cold, smooth and creamy, and goes well with the lychee foam. The pine nut cake is moist and crumbly. The way to eat this dessert (as explained by the waiter) is to put a bit of the dessert into your mouth, and sniff the sprig of thyme before eating it. Though I think the thyme smells nice, I couldn't really appreciate how the thyme combined the different tastes of the dessert - it did make my dessert last longer though, since I had to take a sniff after putting some dessert into my mouth.
Cheesecake Espuma ($14++)
I didn't manage to get the description of this, but it's very light and airy cheesecake (think whipped cream cheese) with some buttery biscuit (can't remember what the waiter said) and raspberries and blueberries. The translucent paper-like thing is exactly what I ate at Macaron. I still don't know what it is though.
Chocolate warm tart, wild nettle, salted caramel, blood orange sorbet ($14++)
From my peering at the counter (next time I must get counter seats!), the chocolate tart is flamed with a blowtorch. Not so sure what the flaming does to the texture, but the chocolate tart is fantastic. The chocolate has a slight acidic taste (maybe they use Valrhona?) and oozes once the tart is broken. The blood orange sorbet (I took a tiny pinch) reminds me of Redoxon (the effervescent Vitamin C drink), and is orangey as ever (I'm biased against this dessert cos of the orange sorbet, but the tart is really good).
My Orchid Oolong Tea ($6.50++), because I think desserts are best washed down by slightly bitter tea. They have other interesting teas such as "Morning Dew" (which is citrusy, so I didn't get it) and a daily special (hibiscus). Though the price's pretty steep, they give quite a bit of tea leaves (more than enough for 2 refills). Though I think that buying teabags from NTUC is more worth it.

Before we could tuck into our desserts (or start snapping away), the waiter/waitress will explain what each and every component of the dessert is, including the little tiny drops of "ginger essence" and "hibiscus essence" (which are as big as the the size of this O, as well as how to eat the dessert.
What I liked about the desserts is the visual feasting. It reminds me of Macaron (which has closed down), where the desserts are pieces of art. It' just like Japanese Kaiseki. Considering that it opens till late, it's in Holland Village, and it's serving unique one of a kind desserts, I'm willing to pay the price. Don't come here expecting a Swensen's Earthquake (synonomous to me as big volume little quality, average price, bleagh presentation). But of course, if you need your desserts big (like how I need my desserts to be sometimes), please don't come here. The ambience is pretty nice, and there are some sofa seats (if you book early enough) but I'll definitely request for counter seats next time. They also serve water for free :)
Another thing is that the service here isn't good. I called to make a reservation for 11pm somewhere in the afternoon, and was told I'll be given bar seats. Since I was booking for 6 people, I also requested that if they had tables available, we would prefer to get a table. (Even though I wanted bar seats cos that's where the action is). At 9pm, I was suddenly given a call and told that my reservation had not been confirmed, and they were confirming it with me now. And they didn't have a table till 11.15pm. Apparently I had been told that my reservation wasn't confirmed (which is stupid, since the person who took my call even told me see me there at 11pm!).
In the end, I called to change from 6pax to 4 pax, and for a later slot at 11.30pm. We ordered 3 desserts first, and then another one later. After eating our first dessert, we ordered the 4th one. The waiter (who took our orders previously) casually said "it's pretty small to share amongst 4 people", because he had completely forgotten our orders. In fact, our 2 other desserts did not come until the 4th one was out already. And they took really long to come. I think they should seriously consider hiring more staff - the dining experience would have been briliant if not for the screw-ups.
2am Dessert Bar
21A Lorong Liput
Holland Village (opposite subway)
Tel: 6291 9727
Mon-Sat: 6pm - 2am
(Closed on Sun)
I'm feeling super enthusiastic about dessert restaurants now :D

Friday, February 13, 2009

Akashi Tonkatsu (Pork Cutlet)

I've recently been addicted to Akashi's Tonkatsu - and it doesnt help that Vivo's so nearby and has free parking (using the carpark redemption scheme). I think I've eaten this 3 times in the past 2 weeks! I'm pretty sure I'm having deep fried food >2 times a week now :/ If you count the time I went to Sushi tei and ate tonkatsu don (the one with the egg and rice), it'll be 4 times eating pork cutlet in the same timespan.

The pork cutlet is very good, plus there's good quality control - my 3 visits they were all equally delicious. The breadcrumb batter is super tasty, with the right amount of coarseness so that there'll be a crunch, and yet it's not too pokey (like how some cutlets will scratch your tongue/gums). It doesn't have the porkey smell and the meat is super juicy. I've realized how much I've been missing out cos I hardly choose the pork choices in Japanese restaurants.

The tonkatsu don ($10++) from Sushi Tei is completely incomparable to Akashi's. Not a very fair comparison though, since I'm comparing the pork cutlet in different dishes, but the batter isn't as crispy and tasty as Akashi's, and the pork just lacks the satisfyingly juicy crunch when you bite down.
This is the dinner set ($18++), which is more expensive than the lunch set ($16++) which comes with a side dish (the fried salmon thing, which has alot of bones and scales) and miso soup instead of clear soup. I'll go to Akashi over Sushi Tei anytime, unless I'm craving the Phoenix roll.

Maybe I should go to Tampopo (the pork cutlet specialist!) to satisfy my tonkatsu craving, but the ERP and carpark is putting me off. I've just realized I haven't been there for about a year already, and I've never been to their new place.
Akashi, Vivocity 1 Harbourfront Walk
#B2-07/08/09 VivoCity
Tel: 6376 9972

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Whisk is the newest food place at Wisma (although it's not that new now... I'm very slow la!), which is great since Wisma is seriously lacking in proper sit down food places. It reminds me of a Fish and Co/Cafe Cartel kind of restaurant. It was pretty empty in the afternoon I went, and the aircon there was super shiok.
My ebi soba salad ($15.90++), which I ordered cos I was so hot (from walking all the way to Wisma from my usual very far carpark). It's a pretty big bowl of salad, and comes with 6 big pieces of chilled, succulent prawns. There's crunchy sugar snaps, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, fresh muchrooms, tofu and soba, all tossed in a fragrant dressing, which had the fragrance of sesame oil.
Max Super Sandwich ($10.90++) which has crispy bacon and egg omelette with fresh lettuce and tomatoes. It smelt like an English Breakfast fry-up. The bacon wasn't as fatty as I had expected it to be- usually it's streaked with fat but this one looks more like back bacon. The sandwich is packed with bacon and egg, and has to be skewered together or it'll just explode.
Pete's Beef Sandwich ($13.90++) has sliced ribeye steak with parmesan cheese and roasted onion marmalde. It smelt quite good, and the people who were eating it said it was delicious. Like the other sandwich, it comes with a huge serving of fries, which aren't over-salted.
Whisk is somewhere I forsee myself going to next time when I'm too lazy to think of another new place to try. Cos it's conveniently located. Hope it isn't as crowded as the Coffee Club at taka, cos I hate queueing! There's quite alot of other stuff on the menu that I'll like to try... I shall bring my mother there next time:P
435 Orchard Road
#03-15 Wisma Atria
Tel: 6836 5080

Friday, February 6, 2009

Menya Sinchuan Ramen

Menya Sinchuan Ramen is one of the many ramen stalls near the Mohammad Sultan/Liang Court area (I tend to think of the 2 areas as the same place, cos it's walkable), and it's opened by a Japanese Ramen Lover (I'm obviously quoting the poster). Their Sinjiro Ramen is only available on weekdays, and it's supposed to be very popular.

Menya Sinchuan Ramen's menu is pretty confusing. Not only do they have a mind boggling choice of ramen, they also have lots of different soups (shoyu, miso, pork bone etc etc) and different types of noodles.

Since their speciality is Sinjiro ramen, so thats what most of us got. I got the Madam Miso Sinjiro ($15++), which has less noodles than the normal Sinjiro. The Madame Sinjiro also comes with a drink (green tea, soft drinks) or dessert (green tea ice cream). If you're a guy they will not allowed to order the Madame Sinjiro. The Miso Sinjiro comes with sweet corn, and the soups saltier and oilier than the shoyu version.There's really alot of veggies inside, I had to munch my way through heaps of cabbage and beansprouts before I could get to my noodles.
The normal Sinjiro Ramen ($13, no drink), which has a normal portion of noodles. Look at the heap of cabbage. The Madame Sinjiro Ramen is the same price, but comes with a drink/dessert.
Fatty Char siew, which was not bad, just that I don't appreciatte fatty cuts of meat. It's very soft. Anyway, in this picture, you can also see hte oil globules floating beside the fatty pork. I hope all the hard work of munching through the cabbage and bean sprouts negates some calories.
They even give a small metal ladle to scoop up the sweet corn.

Thick noodles. I didnt like my miso broth cos even though it was really tasty, it was way too salty and oily. Usually, I'll finish all my soup but this one was really too salty - I had to leave 3/4ths of it :(
I think this was the burnt garlic or black garlic ramen, which wasn't as salty as mine. The noodles which came with this was much thinner, and I thought that this was not bad. Much more palatable than my over salted one.
Gyoza ($5 for 5 pieces) which was not too bad, just that we were all so full from the veggies. There's also chilli oil and white vinegar to go with it. Gyoza is one of my must eats when I go to ramen restaurants. I still think Noodle House Ken does a better gyoza.
Actually, this is just something that doesn't agree with my personal taste - I suppose that it's because the ramen here is targetted to the Japanese crowd, that's why the soup is much oilier and saltier (really very salty!). But if you like your food salty, oily and robust ramen broth, this place is definitely for you.

Menya Shinchan Japanese Noodle Restaurant
30 Robertson Quay
#01-05 Riverside View
Tel: 6732 0114
Btw it's at some ulu corner which is easily missed.