Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Brown Sugar

Had dinner with jeremy and yanying today at brown sugar. Actually i've been wanting to come to this place alot of times already but they were either closed, or not open, or we came too late, or what; so this time we were very fortunate to have reserved the place, for once. and so we came to brown sugar to try out what this place which had won so many accolades could offer our tastebuds in our culinary journey to find good food in Singapore.

They offered us first bread with olive oil again; a good sign - means that there's certain standrad - i lapped it all up, asked for more bread , and for more olive oil. heh.

So what did we order? Basically we ordered their specialty, which was the Wagyu Hand-chopped burger. Now, i have to declare - THIS IS THE BEST BURGER IN SINGAPORE - BY FAR. nothing comes close. WHY? Because it uses very very good beef - this is wagyu beef, and the difference is extremely noticeable. the flavour is delicate, rich, and yet with a certain beefiness that is not extremely in-your-face beefiness but more delicate and feminine, perhaps; whiel because it is hand-chopped it is not too fine, so you can see the beef strands which lends a certain chewy chopped texture to it, meaning you could savour the beef more since the beef strands have more texture and give more surface area than compared to just chopped beef. but the flavour was excellent, seriously - i cant really describe it because words fail me and sometimes my memory fails me - all i remember was that, it was very very good. and what was also good was the truffle mushroom sauce they had on the top of the thing - it combined really well with the natural juices of the beef, so much so that eating the bun by itself soaked in all those juices became such a wonderful treat, with the OOHHHHHHHHHHHHMMMMM flavours of the truffle sauce all soaked in that lightly toasted bun, hence allowing you to savour all of it with the bun, which is extremely tasty. the fries were also good, fried to a crisp and very uniform; however, it could have been a bit more salty. haha.
but it was really good; no this is the best burger by far in singapore!
Wagyu Burger: 9/10

On to desserts: we shared the Tarte Tatin and the Sticky Date Toffee Pudding. Okay. This place also serves the Best sticky date toffee pudding in Singapore! it was very very well done. extremely delicious with very nice texture and just the rough hints of toffee and sticky date all drenched in a nice caramel sauce. bagus: 8.5/10

the tarte tatin was good too! very crisp along the edges and with nice cooked apples inside.

Wild Rocket

Jeremy had his birthday party at Wild Rocket - we actually wanted to go to brown sugar but it was closed so we decided to go to wild rocket instead - and boy was it a brilliant choice! First, i have to talk about the ambience. Perched at the top of Mt Emily, Wild Rocket has a cosy laid-back comfy feel to it; only about 15 tables, each with nice candles, and warm pastel hues and carpets and even natural plants and glass windows that look out to the open sky outside; it was a very inviting place to go for a chit-chat or any sort of party.
Ambience: 9/10

And the food was really quite exceptional. Wild Rocket specialises in fusion food, which means that there are both western and asian influences in a single dish. All the dishes we tried had this "fusion" element but all were very artfully done and really brought out the flavours well, as compared to fusion being a confusion instead.

The olive oil bread was good. good olive oil really brings out the best in bread and here the olive oil was extremely flavourful and i just kept grabbing more and more. sigh. really whets the appetite.

We first had a nice Roasted Pumpkin Salad. Here the argula of the salad was peppered by some nice nuts which added crunch and all drizzled in a balsamic vinegerratte of some sort which was just enough to provide some moisture to the leaves - and the roasted pumpkins were delicious - they had the caramel flavour, being roasted till the sugars caramelised - and added some sweetness to the dish.

The next dish was the Kaffir Lime Prawn Bisque; now this was an absolute winner. I'm not joking. It was an inspired match; to match the richness and the seafood taste of prawn bisque (made by flambeeing the prawns, no doubt, with butter) with the slightly tart taste of thai tom yam soup by probably adding kaffir leafs and lemongrass (probably); hence the first sip is very seafoody and prawnish and sweet and savoury and seafoodish before giving way to a slightly tart and spicy aftertaste from the kaffir - a perfect match of west and east. (west --> east) . absolute winner. i was still drinking from it even though there was nothing left - it was that tasty, i volunteered to clean up my friend's bowl. (9.5/10)

I had the Laksa Pesto Spaghetti which was their speciality. another mix of east and west, this time pesto (made from basil leaves) mixed with laksa leaf which combined the aromas of the basil with the pungence of the laksa leaf (as you know if u've tried laksa there is this aroma and flavour you get from laksa leaves) and this is well done here; comes with a few big prawns and quail egg; but probably this is more for the novelty factor; after a while it got quite boring. haha.
(7.5/10). still i can tell everyone i've tried it.oh well. that's what you do with a specialty dish.

My dining companions had the lamb shank and the duck confit. unfortunately i only took a photo of the duck confit. the duck confit was quite good. salty and fatty and tasty duck underneath crisp skin. unfrotunately it was a bit too burnt. think there was chocolate sauce drizzled over it. but it was good. my dining companion says that the brussel sprouts one is still better and i have to probably agree, probably because of the addition of kriek cherry beer sauce which really helped to counteract the richness. (7/10)

The lamb shank was very very good. very tender and moist and flavourful, with the braised sauce of thick gooey brown richness accentuating the lamb flavours. and one more thing, the spuds were brilliant. must have been cooked iwth lots of butter, for they were excellent. brilliant stuff. (8/10)

And on to desserts.
I had the Deconstructed Strawberry Cheesecake, and no doubt, this is one of the best desserts yet in Singapore, and that i've had in a long time. the key is the texture; the texture of the cream cheese was just so creamy and dense and luscious and soft at the same time (not like cake at all, if you know hwat i mean - it kind of pulls away slowly thread by thread almost like durian) while the taste was incredible - cheesey and cold and well just beautiful - married well with the more tart strawberry sauce at the bottom which you mix for a nice contrast of tart and creamy. the biscuits were also very nice, very fragrant - guess they used almond in it. overall brilliant. (9/10).

tried the chocolate pudding with ice cream - not bad as well. comparable to other places though, even if nothing spectacular. (7.5/10).

Overall a brilliant meal.

Serangoon Gardens FC

So much good food at serangoon gardens! not chomp chomp, which has become a tourist hangout or a night-chill place, but the other food centre at serangoon gardens, which has 3 6-chopstick rating stalls from makansutra, namely the Newton Circus CKT, the Ah Seng Duck Rice, and the Garden Street Kway Chap.

The CKT was closed, so i tried the other two.

the garden street kway chap was good. quite a long queue, but the kway was very smooth but what was outstanding was the inner parts because the innards were stewed to a soft consistency while retaining much taste of the innards - this is comparable to guan kee (see below) - really it's hard to tell the difference since they all have that same quality to it.
good stuff. (8/10)

the duck was just as impressive. this is not the more noveau type such as can be found in lim seng lee (buona vista) where the sauce is so sweet - but this one is sliced very well so you really taste the flavour of the duck (the duck flavour is - well - u cant describe it can you - kinda musky, fragrant, earthly so to speak) and the sauce complements it well, being a mixture of star anise and probably soy sauce, more salty than sweet (as compared to buona vista) - very good it went with the duck very well and really accentuated the flavours. good stuff. (8/10)

Hooked on Heads

Had lunch with D at Hooked on Heads; we ordered zhi char - rice with dishes - and they were famous for their fish head curry so we decided to order a fillet curry since 2 people couldn't eat, and foot the bill, for the whole head; the curry was good; spicy, pungent, and quite aromatic, the fish was fresh but i didnt really like fillet; head would have been better;
the kangkong (no photo, unfortunately) was good and so were the beancurd rolls.

i shall come back again and try the rest of the food.

fish curry (7/10)

Baa Baa Black Sheep - smoking frogs

Apparently here the burgers were very good; so i had to try; so i popped down with my dinner kaki to try the burger here.
and so what was the verdict? good, but not mind-blowingly good; the patty was a bit too cooked, maybe i should have specified medium rare; oh well. but the cheese and condiments were good; ti was really the greasy cheese that i like; grilled to a perfection and slathered all over the beef. okay. good stuff. but there are better burgers around (relish, brown sugar, come to mind);

Wala Wala Pizza

Wala Wala has great bands.
I have been chilling out a great deal and so far wala wala and pump room offer the best music; pump room has an awesome band called Jive Talking which can play you litereally anything from top 40s to rock such as coldplay, etc, to heavy rock such as guns and roses, to r&b such as stevie wonder's superstition, as well as stuff even like dance music, eg. 'don't you want me baby' (80s) or 'heaven is a place on earth' or anything! you just request it, they play it! and they do it very very well. probably the best band in singapore; extremely tight and very very groovy that you can dance to it.

but wala wala does have some good bands as well; i like esp monday's band because they play alot of 90s music, music that i listened to when i was growing up such as oasis, blur, cardigans, verve, manic, radiohead, etc; and moreover, the food is good! the pizzas are very good for a pub, while the beers are great as well. for a note: try little creatures ale. that is really very good.

anyway we had this garlic mushroom pizza the other day which was really very shiok. big pieces of mushrooms whcih had a wonderful earthly aroma topped with fresh garlic which was very fragrant and lots of cheese - the perfect combination for mushrooms.

Godiva Chocolixir

Here is the best drink (cold) in Singapore, by far; the godiva chocolixir; the dark chocolate decadance which brings squeals of chocolate joy to my tastebuds; because it is brilliant. what happens is that pieces of godiva, yes, godiva chocolate are crushed in a blender, and chocolate powder added, and blended with ice, topped with whipped cream; the end result has the lovely chocolate flavour of the godiva, being bittersweet, sensuous, luscious, delicious, mmmmmmm, shiokadelicious, etc.....the list goes on..chocolatey?! while having the lovely chocolate bits go up your straw and allowing you to savour the little bits at the tip of your tongue. brilliant stuff.

(it can be better! i'm not sure how)

Wah Kee Big Prawn Noodles (Cambridge Road)

Everyone has been lauding this 'wah kee big prawn noodles' as outstanding; so we went down to pek kio market for lunch to try out the delicious prawn noodles. and it was good, actually; the noodles were done very well, and the prawns were big and succulent; but the highlight was the soup, because it was done bisque-style (apparently a bisque is flambeed with butter or something as compard to a normal soup) and thus the flavour was very much, as ieat had rightly pointed out, to a seafood bisque, in that it had that prawn flavour without being too salty, rather you had a depth of flavour with a lingering aftertaste like in a bisque, an aftertaste of seafood, the sea, and all things seafoody. very nice. and the pork lard in it and all the savoury bits were a welcome addition also, although my lunch partner had dissed it for putting lard. but well, it's still good to me.
PS: the zion road prawn noodles is terrific as well - i think that one edges this by just a bit.
rating: 7.5/10

Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice

Here is the famous 'tian tian hainanese chicken rice' that i've blogged about before! - and it's really good.
tasty, tender chicken; with a strong chicken flavour; and not being overcooked thus still remaining tender; and the savoury sauce is just right.

however the rice was abit dry that day. but never mind.

still (7.75/10)

Maxwell Food Centre

Maxwell food centre is my favourite food centre of all time (old airport road a close second) ; because it has so much wonderful food, as i've blogged about before.

anyway today i went there, but since zhen zhen porridge had no queue so i decided to buy zhen zhen porridge. and was pretty happy that i did; because it was really good. the grains had all been boiled down till it was just starch and there was alot of century eggs and pork which added sweetness to the broth - and the ingredients were really quite fresh; and moreover it was cheap (2.50 for alot of ingredients);
porridge: 8/10

but actually to tell you the truth the raw fish at zhen zhen is even better than the porridge! seriosuly; it comes with alot of condiments; chilli, alot of ginger, fried onions, spring onions, lime, shallots, vegetables, etc, coriander, the fish of course, and the nice zesty salty-sour sauce that they drizzle over it; it's a wonderful combination of flavours; the crunch of the vegetables, the smoothness of the fish, the tartness, the ginger giving it spice; great stuff.

PS cafe

PS cafe has nice food la; esp the desserts.
this is the sticky-date toffee pudding ; which was not bad.

(but i still prefer marmalade pantry's, and brown sugar's)


Guan Kee Kway Chap - Toa Payoh

I'm a big sucker for kway chap though it is chao (extremely) unhealthy; anyway makansutra said this kway chap is great so i went to have a bite just after my practice one friday night. it's at toa payoh lorong 8 (near bradell road) just in case you need to find it.
and it was good.
since i didn't eat it side by side to-ricos and garden street kway chap i can't really compare; but then again it was good on its own. i remembered that the soup was not too salty but had a nice pleasant herbal taste to it and the kway was smooth and not cluttered; the innards were done well; they were stewed in a nice dark herbal sauce and had the nice flavour of the innards while remaining tender and soft.

Hong Lim FC

There is alot of good food at hong lim - too bad i havent been there loads; even though my aunty used to go there pretty often - but the food there is absolutely brilliant; there's famous curry mee (2 shops), ipoh hor fun, prawn noodles (2 shops), bak chor mee (2shops), char kway teow, bak zhang, almost everything thats' singaporean can be found there.

in fact it's a very dingy place. it's a place where the ceiling seems to have been alive with ants and insects and termites; etc; you know that kinda thing, that somehow the insects will drop from the ceiling into your food - okay enough of the gross stuff, but you know what i mean; and the tables are really old concrete slabs; sigh.
back to the food.

i went to hong lim only once, so i thought i might as well try out more food.

so i had BOTh the "char kway teow" from outram park char kway teow and also the bak chor mee from 'ah kow bak chor mee'.

both were good.
i had the bak chor mee first; this bak chor mee had a very nice sauce and the ingredients were really fresh, esp the teochew dumplings, and all the pork balls and the pork - the mushrooms were good too; the soup was full of porkish flavour; however what was a let down was the noodles, they were a bit too soft; would have preferred them a bit more al-dente.
never mind.
still good.
(7/10) - not as good as tai hwa though;

Outram Park CKT:
outram park ckt came in a plastic plate and it was a brown gooey mess; seriously, everyting was the same colour; however, what was great was that the kway teow was fried very well, until it was very lively, slippery, and not broken or strachy at all (the kway teow) and that somehow it slid down your throat; the dish also had the wok hei flavour which was good; however the hum was a bit overcooked, if i remember correctly; and there wasn;t much ingredients (think zion road is more generous) - still for the texture of the kway teow,t his is a good CKT.


Had menotti the other night; in fact it was a long time ago; a friend and i shared the parma ham pizza - which was topped with parma ham and arugula leaves (aka rocket) - and it was good - this is the usual combination of salty parma ham balanced by the "tartness" of the arugula (okay it's not tart, i cant describe it properly haha) - so yeah. so that was really very good.
parma ham wild rocket pizza: 7/10

and of course, we rounded it of with their famous "soffiato", which is really molten chocolate fondant; and i'm sure you've already tried it and i've blogged about it already. anyway it is nice because it is quite sweet; the outside has a pleasant chocolate taste to it and the molten chocolate is sweet gooey creamy and luscious everything you want good chocolate to be - i'd prefer it a bit less sweet and more dark, but this is a matter of personal preference.

Alexandra Village FC

Went to Alexandra Village FC with my family - had the teochew style (see ieatblog) roast duck, the bak kut teh, and the avocado milkshake. the avocado milkshake was still good; tasting (as ieat pointed out) like chendol, liquid chocolate, white chocolate; so creamy as it slithers down your throat. the roast duck was good, i liked the bean sauce which was quite sweet and went well with the thing - and the bak kut teh was the more herbal kind, but the soup was good.

Hence: avocado milkshake: (8/10)
roast duck (6.5/10)
bak kut teh (6.5/10)

Wisma Atria -Fried Hokkien Mee

Here is the famous Thye Hong Hokkien Mee at Wisma Atria Food Court (Food Republic); what i like about it is that it's fried with such savoury seafood stock that makes it so full of "unami" and such a joy to eat - even though it's expensive - it's almost like pasta, seafood pasta - in a wet prawn stock with each mouthfull chock-filled with the sweetness of prawns in the sauce, with hints of black pepper and spring onions and chilli for the balance to it; nice.
still good.

Good Hawker Food (1) Jiu-jiang, ghim moh

It's been ages since my last post - and boy have i been to so many places it's almost criminal; food is a Singaporean hobby - ask almost anyone and what we always speak of is food - we argue over it, critique it, go and visit it - and find it so ingrained in our heritage that it's just a part of us Singaporeans. because boy are we blessed, with so much food around us, being so cheap, and of such high quality from all price ranges that, it is such a blessing not to indulge.

So i shall go by chronological order.

First up, jeremy and I went to Ghim Moh and had "Jiu Jiang"; when we speak of duck places in the west this one obviously springs to mind, because it's one of the few very famous ones (aka makansutra rated, etc) of the roasted variety. and moreover jiu jiang brings back nostalgic memories having been from the old market opposite our old school (rjc).

So how was the duck? It was not bad - we ordered the drumstick, but frankly the skin could have been crisper and the meat more flavourful; next time i shall order the breast; even though alot of my friends are converts of jiu jiang, i'm still not that big a fan.