Tuesday, July 22, 2008

London - Four Seasons Restaurant (Duck)

First day in London!
(photos will be uploaded soon, when i get back to Singapore) - right now just marvel at the food.

Touched down at 2.40pm local time (+1 GMT), took the tube to my friend's place at Holborn. Having figured we were very near The Lamb, one of those "old-school" Victorian pubs heavily recommended in London Guides such as the Beerfly, BeerAdvocate's travel counterpart (www.beeradvocate.com), we went in to the pub to take a look.

Indeed the ambience was really quite traditional. Dark panelling, wooden floors, chairs, tables, ceiling, everything; large mirrors and antique lights - you get the point. This is how a pub in one of Thomas Hardy's novels would really look like.

However the beer was nothing fantastic. Young's ale was disgusting, like drinking urine. I'd try something better next time. The fries and garlic bread were nothing much to shout at also, poor british.

Okay, so for dinner we went to this really authentic Hong kong restaurant called Four Seasons (no relation to the hotel) - which serves the best roasted duck you'd ever find in the world, and I'm not joking. Everyone has been raving about it (anyone who has gone to London, that is), and so I had to try it out for myself! So was it any good? you bet.

First bite - ooohhhh, wow, in heaven, there's something just undescribable, just magic, the heady flavourful duck meat, the crisp tasty skin and the ooohh-so-unhealthy-but-so-darn-delicious fat underneath - and doused in the sweet, salty, oyster, slightly caramelised sauce (im not sure what they put in that, but it sure tastes good) - wow. that was really nice. i was quite impressed i finished many slices of the duck. And I'm a duck fanatic, seriously. goodwood park hotel's duck was superb, but this was really quite extraordinary (although it wouldn't be fair to compare the two). Mm. still brilliant.
The duck: 9.5/10

The other dishes were good; the black pepper beef steak was nice, the beef was nicely tender without being too spicy; the kung-pao chicken was a bit more tomato based than I'm used to and without the Sichuan dried red chillis that are supposed to characterise the dish, while the squid was not too bad; but still, go there fo rthe duck. It's in the heart of Chinatown, at Gerrard Street off Leicester Square.

Mm for more shopping for tomorrow's entry!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hong Lim FC

Hong Lim FC is an institution - i've blogged about it before (go check the archives) and the food there has been consistently good - and moreover it is so good that it keeps drawing in the lunch crowds - esp the office crowds. when we were there at about 1pm the place was packed like sardines in tins - there were people eating, waiting for tables, waiting around, sharing tables, queiineg for food, super hot and stuffy. argh. but all for the food. which in Hong Lim is really really good.

so i had the famous Heng Kee Curry Mee, which had spawned a legion of imitators, and is one of the special dishes hong lim is known for, so much so that in maxwell there is even a stall stating that it is the special 'hong lim curry mee' - well, can't beat the original one eh. but it was soooo soo good. the curry gravy itself is very robust, hot, spicy, rich, full of indian spices, like the way curry is meant to be, u know, it leaves a lingering punch to the tongue but is rich and aromatic - it was great amazing stuff - that's what good cholestrol laden food should taste like, rich, sinful, artery-cloying, all that good stuff - and the great thing about curry mee is that the chicken itself is smooth and chill (in temperature) so it adds a nice contrast to the curry, and in fact both compliment each other so that the curry actaully makes the chicken tatse much better and have much more flavour! the chickenly flavour realy comes out......and the noodles were cooked just right, al dente.
my first time trying. ill definitely be back.
rating: 8.5/10

Hiong Kee Dumplings
Here are the famous hiong kee dumplings at the 2nd floor next to the duck stall; and these were given 2 and a half chopsticks by makansutra and it certainly lived up to the billing. i ordered the one with chestnuts, mushrooms, pork and salted egg and everything was very good; the rice was very fragrant and absorbed all the flavour of the ingredients inside, while the salted egg was super delicious and savoury and all the ingredients very fresh giving the dumpling so much rich savoury flavour. mm.
rating: 8.5/10

Marmalade Pantry boys night out

1 July 2008

Went with J and D to marmalade pantry for eats. fine dining, they call it. this place at palais renaissance is great if you want some really good food and don't mind paying the extra 5 or 10 bucks on top of the norm of what you would pay at a place like swensens, but of course the food quality is ten times better. marmalade pantry is really best known for the famous sticky date toffee pudding, being one of the first to introduce this dish, and being one fo the best at it, at the same time. so, we went there, since i haven't had their sticky date in a while.

D had the pork kurabota aglio olio which he said wasn't very good, something about the pork being too fatty. J had the ultimate beef burger, which i was a big fan of, but since I have been eating too many burgers, i decided against it and opted for the crab meat linguine with pine nuts in tomato cream instead. and it was a very good choice. tomato and crab meat always go well together for a certain reason - think marinara pasta, etc - and this one was no different. the crab was quite fresh, and had a nice savoury flavour that went well with the tomato-based sauce, which was not too sour that it just killed everything but it had a nice balance and roundness to it that comes from using good tomatoes (or you can add sugar, but that's another kitchen trick). mm i can still remember the taste. yummy. hehs.
pasta: 8/10

sticky date toffee pudding was classic, as usual, and it did not disappoint - it matched its high standards, even though there was a period of time where the pudding seemed to be a bit smaller than usual. here it was, fragrant, brown, rich, dark, sweet, and went extermely well with the toffee sauce they drape over it and with the vanilla ice cream that comes with it (which contains vanilla beans, yay!) . good as usual: 8.5/10 (im being generous but i really do like sticky date)

Nan Hwa Fish Head Steamboat

29 June 2008

We went (with my family) to Nan Hwa Fish Head Steamboat at the corner of North Bridge Road and Jln Sultan. It was a really rustic place, a road corner with tables and chairs spilling out onto the busy jln sultan, most families just have their steamboat along the road. how quaint - old-world style.

For a really good fish head steamboat, you need really fresh fish, and a good stock to really capture the flavours of the fish as the fish boils in the stock. most of the time they will add yam, fried yam, fried tee-po fish, to give the stock that delicious oomphy flavour and remove any fishy odours that may come from the fish.

Wah, and it was good. Seh. The fish was really fresh (red snapper) and the stock extremely delicious; each mouthful of soup and fish was a real delight to drink as the stock was really sweet from all the fish boiling inside it and yet very balanced at the same time.

Steamboat: 8.5/10

The other side dishes were not bad; the fried prawn paste chicken was quite crisp and tasty if a bit salty; and the fish cake was quite unique. good place to go.
side dishes: 7/10 (average)

Hoe Nam Prawn Noodles

25 June 2008

This is Hoe Nam Prawn Noodles at Jackson Kopitiam (next to it, more accurately) along Tai Thong Crescent; to go there, just take the PIE and exit at macpherson and turn left into tai thong crescent - can't miss it. apparently it's one of the best prawn noodles in Singapore, so i had to visit it, to give it a try. hehs. so to speak. makansutra gave it a perfect 6 chopsticks rating - well, so how did it fare?

the shop is a bustling coffeeshop, in the sweltering sun, no air-con, chairs and tables and people waiting for more tables - almost like east coast prawn noodles (beach road); and so i ordered pork rib prawn noodles and my friends had the normal prawn noodles.

it was alright - but not fantastic. i expected the soup to be mind-blowingly prawny, but this one was just prawny enough to be tasty but not really woahhhh brilliant, sigh, which was a pity. anyway it came with nice big prawns and pork ribs. oh well. i guess. perhaps it was the weather.