Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Random Brasserie in Paris, St Michel

This is criminal since I do not have a NAME for this place (I forgot to take a photo and now it's too late to investigate): I can give u general directions though; it's right on Boulevard St Michel just outside the RER station, and overlooking the Seine River. It should have been very touristy, but it was not - pretty good food.

Duck confit was not bad - not as salty as the first one, with good meat; however the skin wasn't too crisp - which was a pity; still good duck fats when eaten is just so delicious - OOHHH the oomph in your mouth. just....bliss. (7/10)

Had a very good creme brulee after that as well - creme brulee always seems to taste nice in Paris, I wonder why. (8/10)

Monday, December 27, 2010

L'Ecu de France, Paris

L'Ecu de France is a little brasserie/bistro that we went to in Paris - like the rest of our eating places in Paris this is not a "big name" place where everyone must go to, like Pierre Gagnaire, but just a little bistro we stumbled upon to satisfy our hunger craving. Paris is like that - with a million and one different restaurants all serving french-style Parisian food, your best bet is to be equipped with a food guide which will tell you where to go: unfortunately this isn't one, and neither did we have one. So, no choice - the only way to decide properly is to see if there's alot of people inside, which would tend to SHOW that the food is of certain quality.

So - this place was quite full, and thankfully it turned out alright, and pretty good too. I started with some beer - to cleanse the palate - I think it was a Saisons, and it tasted pretty interesting. Quite nice =D.
We were quite full from lunch and snacks, so I had a Plat (main course) + Dessert: the Plat was really good! It was a braised rabbit with a delicious sauce of butter, parsley, some other herbs which, pardon me, I am unable to recognise, but safe to say that it went very well with the rabbit. Rabbit is awesome meat food: full of gamey flavour, and very tender too - the gamey flavour is interesting and so so delicious especially with the sauce which was rather buttery and complemented the meat perfectly. Good stuff. (8.5/10)

The dessert was a rather RICH chocolate mousse - this was pretty good as well - rich and chocolatey as mousse should be - not like the insipid chocolate we get here. i somehow think chocolate is nicer in Europe, but maybe that's just me - can someone educate me why? (7.5/10)

Anyway L'Ecu de france is located near Gare D' l'Est, between that station and the boulevard de Magenta, on the right of the road linking towards it.

Yauatcha, London

Yauatcha is a restaurant opened by Alan Yau in London, and has managed to garner one michelin star; so on Sunday after church at All Souls me J and K went to check it out. The location opposite Flat White made it relatively convenient for us to grab a latte before the meal - or for K, since she needed her coffee fix. Well, how was the food, and decor, and service?

Well upon entering it is admittedly quite pretty, being modern and minimalist with chic black interiors, and lots of nice touches like swimming goldfish located in a square "fish tank" which also serves as the counter.

Service was top notch, faultless. Friendly without being too intrusive. We were offered tea, sat down, removed our coats, before we proceeded to peruse the menu. So many choices! Dim sum is usually like that, and they had many "novel" items which are non-traditional, but all the same refined.

We thus ordered the "winter melon dumplings", which were, admittedly, refined; smooth skin housing quite crisp winter melon fillings which managed to retain its juiciness. A bit short on flavour but nevertheless quite good. (7/10)

Next up was some roasted pumpkin duck puffs - this was quite interesting, since the duck was quite flavoursome and quite mushy, housed in crisp pastry. (7/10)

Century egg congee had hints of salted egg and century egg - and was flavoursome enough. Good. (7/10)

I liked the "chee cheong fun" with fried beancurd skin inside which made for interesting clashes of texture (smooth, vs crispy): (7.5/10).

Overall Service deserved an 8.5/10
But the food was well, decent, but not mind-blowing, maybe because well the dishes we ordered did not allow the chef to show his true prowess. Still, competent refined Dim Sum if you are in London. It did not blow me away like l'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, but that is a 2 star restaurant and I guess there are some differences in comparison between french food and Chinese.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Hummingbird Bakery, London

I'm sure all you fellow foodies have heard of the ubiquitous Hummingbird Bakery, that famous Bakery selling wonderful cupcakes at Portobello Market (among other locations), which has been intensely blogged about before. It's a pity that I only managed to go down to Hummingbird this trip to London (having missed out on it the previous few times because I never went to Portobello), thus this time I went not once, but twice.

But boy was it worth it. You enter and the bakery is adorned with pink walls and delectable furnishings, almost out of a candy bar. The cupcakes are all lined out there, with plenty of flavours to choose from, Red Velvet, Vanilla with Vanilla Frosting, Chocolate with Vanilla Frosting, and so on.

The first time I went, i had the Red Velvet, my brother had the Vanilla, and my mother, the Rocky Road. Needless to say, the Red Velvet was extremely exquisite - one of the best cupcakes I have had in my life. Flavoursome Red velvet with sugary sweet and creamy toppings with luscious mouthfeel - what could be better (in cupcake world?) Worthy of a (9/10).

The second time I went, which was about a week later, i had the Vanilla with Vanilla Frosting, and this was good as well; light hints of vanilla in the cake, and another sweet, luscious, and also with hints of vanilla and a bit of tartness, frosting. I bought another Red Velvet for my family but my dad happily THREW AWAY THE FROSTING! (it's too sweet, he complained). BAHHHH. I was mad. haha. especially since I had taken the last red Velvet and the person behind me complained that there wasn't any more Red Velvet.

Worth a visit definitely, if a bit far away.
Hummingbird Bakery, London
Portobello Road
Notting Hill Gate tube station (central line, district line, circle line)

Le Zinc D'Honore, Paris

Had a quick bite at Le Zinc D'Honore, Marche de St Honore, before heading off for more sightseeing - so this was just a random restaurant we visited. It fared pretty, okay, with the French Onion Soup being slightly salty but palatable all the same, and my Assorted Fish being quite satisfactory; the fish (i think it was tilapia) tasted of the sea, really, the fresh ocean, which is quite awesome, although the fillet of fish was rather small - it was accompanied by salmon in mash, but I was really too full to be digging out salmon from the mash. Ha.

nothing spectacular, really!
Le Zinc d'honore

Au Baroudeur, Paris

Hello folks; I've just come back from a really LONG trip to London and paris filled with great eats, sightseeing, and family bonding. Here are some reviews of some restaurants I've been to: (the series starts). Nevertheless it must be said that, sometimes I can't remember exactly what the restaurant's name is, or the exact location; I will try to give you best locations as far as possible, especially for Paris, but it is really hard because there are really 1001 bistros in Paris.

Nevertheless, here goes.

Au Baroudeur, having finally looked it up on google, is a restaurant in Montparnasse, a bistro of sorts, located just outside the large square outside Gare Montparnasse. Glad to say that the food here was excellent.

I started off with some Foie Gras - I think i felt cheated because when I ordered Foie Gras i expected it to be a proper whole Foie Gras and instead I got Pate - but nevertheless the Pate was pretty delicious, being rich and sinful and smooth and livery, especially when smeared on toast. So I didn't mind. (7/10)

The main course was entrecote steak, which was, suffice to say, probably the best steak frites I have had in Paris over the course of 4 days (okay, it isn't alot, but I think i've had at least 3 steak-frites). Parisians love their steak frites, and almost every bistro will greet you with Entrecote Steak, or Bavette steak, or just 'Steak frites', nevertheless it's really just different cuts of beef served with Fries. This one was quite delicious, the meat having a flavour of its own that was so good you didn't really need the Onion sauce - which was a bit salty but complemented the dish pretty well. (8/10)

No desserts for me that day though - suffice to say in Paris and London i've been eating so well that i've put on a bit, so sometimes no desserts are good.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Au boradoeur

I've been having a great time eating in Paris, and I'm back in london now but I feel compelled to blog about some food now lest I forget the immaculate tastes amidst the new pleasures i am about to receive.
Here's a brilliant soup de poissons aka fish soup. I had quite a bit of this in Brittany since it is a specialty of that area, but this one was brilliant. Intense rich fish flavor with a complex smooth deep taste and aroma that seem to smell even better in the cold winter. Soak it with croutons spread with the special mustard sauce and dip it into the broth and you get a magical rich combination of flavors thats well quite irresistible. I'm tempted to give it a 9/10. Yes. 9/10 it is. Just for the sheer pleasure of drinking soup de poissons on a wintry day.

Ended off with some crepes with chocolate which was passable. Quite a nice texture from the crepe, suffciently fresh and pull-ey. 7/10

The service left much to be desired though. Absolutely bad.

Au boradoeur
Just outside gare du nord

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Les Bouchons

Will be off to London and Paris like in a few hours, so here's my last post before I go and take more photos of food and eat -in london and Paris, of course.
we celebrated Z's birthday at Les Bouchons this week, and surprisingly, it's my first time there. I know I sound like a fake foodie, but really unlike everyone else who's earning money and rolling in the dough I'm still a student, and I can't justify eating at those expensive places. So I've never been to Jaan, Les Amis, Gunther's, FiftyThree, OTTO, et al. The only real expensive places i've been to are well, Joel Robuchon (in London), and Steirereck (in Vienna). But name hawker food and I just love that - I just find hawker food to be so appealing especially in Singapore, where there's just so much tradition in all those hawkers. And you know, it'll be a shame to let it all go to waste.

Back to les Bouchons, it's quite a famous bistro in Singapore for all the Francophiles, serving a mean steak-frites, and nothing much else. I mean, that's what they're famous for. So I guess all of us ordered the steak-frites; some ordered Sirloin and some Rib-Eye; I had my Rib-Eye medium rare, just the way I like it. It came with free flow of double-cooked fries that were pretty awesome.

Of course, before the steak there was plenty of "openers", namely the bread, and salad - they were alright. Nothing much to shout at - I've eaten at Parisian bistros, and of course the bread there is much better, but i'm not complaining. The salad - nuff. 'nuff said.

Back to the real meat, the beef, or boeuf - steak frites - this was pretty good, for Singapore standards.Quite a large slab of steak, well marbled, cooked to perfection - the insides were nicely red without being bloody - the outside, slightly charred. The taste: good, robust, beefy taste, characteristic of a well-done steak. I'm not such a steak person to be honest - but this was good. Definitely the real thing, perhaps, if Morton's is way too expensive (of course it is for an everyday meal) then Les Bouchons will be better. (S$32.50 for the steak). Oh yeah - the butter spread on top of the steak made for a heavenly pairing - the butter went so so well with the steak. Smooth, rich, delicious, and satisfying.

We headed over for drinks across the road, and there's a real quaint Parisian "wine bar" there. Ann Siang Hill's really trying to be little Paris - there's even a fake Parisian "blue" road sign - (those who've been to Paris will know what I mean) - along the walls. But it's a very nice little side street; reminds me of a little European town, with its little hills and all that. Nice.

Les bouchons
Ann Siang Road
(behind maxwell)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dong Ji CKT

All the food bloggers have recently been raving about Dong Ji CKT at Old Airport Road Food Centre (next to To-Ricos kway chap) and so i guess i had to find out what the big fuss was. Went down the other day after one of my papers to try it out - and what was the verdict?

Quite good wok hei, the kway teow was slippery and lively. Not too sweet, unlike some places; full of chives, a prawn here and there. I don't think it was as flavourful as the Hill Street or Outram Park one, unfortunately - but maybe that's just me. Still, quite a goodplate! (7.5/10)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bee Kia Seafood

M and L wanted to have dinner, and so suggested a place near M's house - a little zhi char called Bee Kia seafood, located at Balestier Hills Shopping Centre. It is pretty non-descript, just a little coffeehouse by the road, but my word the food was good. The four of us (L brought his girlfriend along) only paid about S$8 each for the meal, which was a steal.

We had sliced beef with kailan - this was really nice; the beef was in the beef-hor-fun style gravy (except with no hor fun, of course), with tender beef and kailan. Nice. (8/10)

I was very impressed with the HotPot Beancurd as well; the gravy was just soooo yummy, you know, it was starchy and gooey and eggy at the same time but there was a wonderful smokiness of flavour to it, that made it all the more yummy and perfect for splashing on rice. a great find - worth recommending! (8.5/10)

Everyone loved the fried baby squid and i have to concur - though I don't really like baby squid but this was done very well. (7/10)

Sweet and sour pork's their specialty: this was pretty good, with the right amount of tanginess and crispness. (7/10)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Michel Cluizel's Mandago

Bought a bar of Michel Cluizel's Mandago from Culina (S$7) for the studying haul - it's been excellent! dark, rich, with full of texture; and a flavour reminiscent of spices, namely spice cake, cinammon, and i swear, even a bit of smokiness from the cigars. Which sometimes is amazing considering it's chocolate, but sometimes I like to eat just chocolate - methinks I might go back to try another bar. It's got a long, incredibly long, aftertaste - after I uploaded all the photos and done all the editing, it's still in my mouth. haha. Exams are until the end of this week so time for another bar, i'd reckon.

Xu Jun Sheng Teochew Porridge

the great thing about having exams in the east is that i get to try all the yummilicious east food which is just yummy. and today i went to a place highly recommended by ieatishootipost and by makansutra called Xu Jun Sheng Teochew Porridge, located at 59 Joo Chiat Place. Seriously joo Chiat Place must be the king of food streets - it has fei fei wantan mee, kim choo bak chang, and xu jun sheng teochew porridge just a block from each other. and of course, Private affairs.

This place was absolutely rustic - a little corner shophouse; and well, alot of things we could order. of course - as in teochew porridge. We, having just finished our exams, were famished beyond belief - so we just ordered away. Here goes nothing!

Otah - freshly made, soft.

the freshly fried sweet potato leaves was a revelation - very fresh shoots, and with garlic. yums.

fresh squid was not bad - not too chewy, with just the right texture.

Chai Po Neng, aka "chai po omelette" was extremely nice - freshly fried, full of aroma of the hot wok and oil.

Fish cake - can't go wrong; i suspect this was homemade.

And the piece de-resistance was the Duck with Chestnuts - braised duck so tender that the meat just fell-off-the-bone, with "san cheng rou" on the side in the sauce to make it a lovely slurpadelicious sauce to go with porridge. this was a standout.

I really wanted to order the 'Orh-nee' because apparently that's their speciality which, word has it, can thrash some top Teochew restaurants, and since I'm teochew and I love orh-hee, had to order that. Unfortunately, (fortunately for my waistline), they were out that day. hmmph.

One of the best teochew muay places, I can give it a (8.5/10). Great stuff! worth going, especially if you live in the east and love teochew porridge like i do.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fremantle Seafood Market

Clarke Quay's having some kind of promotion now, where most places serve a $15 nett set lunch, with free parking to boot. Thus one of these days after our class we hopped down to clarke quay to look for some good eats. and this place sprang out - fremantle seafood market. for $15, they served a pretty nice set lunch, consisting of three courses, namely a Seafood Minestrone Soup that came with mussels, and quite a lot of choices for the mains. My dining companions had a Roasted Barramundi over risotto, which was nice - fresh fish, flaky, and also, the risotto was not overcooked, with the right kind of texture.

I had the fish and chips which was pretty awesome. one of the best i've tried. very fresh, flaky fish, with a very nice "batter" of sorts that was just crisp and light, and the fries were quite awesome and went well with chilli. i mean, fish and chips is a dish that you really cannot go very wrong with - so long as the fish is fresh, the batter nice and crisp, that's good enough for me.

Dessert was just a light "strawberry-cheese" thinggum that was just aww-right, you know. nothing much to shout about but i'm happy with it.

Quite a good meal for S$15! Do try.'

Monday, October 18, 2010

Loo's Hainanese Curry Rice

Decided to flip the Makansutra after school (course) today for some food ideas, which led me to Loo's Hainanese Curry Rice - an institution, it was given 6 chopsticks (the highest rating) by makansutra, and with such high praise from THE food guide of singapore, I decided to check it out. Haha. So off we went.

Loo's Hainanese Curry Rice is located along Eng Hoon Street, at the corner with Seng poh Road, ie. just opposite tiong bahru market. There was a queue, which means - good stuff. There's not much ambience by the way, it's just located in a traditional old shophouse that hasn't changed for many eons, but usually these sort of places serve excellent food - tradition just makes it better.

So two friends of mine and myself ordered, well, loads of dishes: Squid in curry gravy, cabbage with tang hoon, sweet/sour fish, stewed pork, curry chicken, and pork chops. And of course, rice with curry slathered on top. And I'm happy to report that most dishes passed muster.

in fact, some were really excellent. the pork chops were simple and homely, the squid was very very good, tender and flavourful in the curry, and the curry was quite nice as well. The fish had just the right amount of sweet/sour, and well, the stewed pork was flavourful and fatty. just the way, well, i shouldn't like it. Hmm. but this was good. A very good choice.

Worth going!
Overall: (8/10)

PS: it's a bit different from the beo-crescent style curry rice, i mean, but i guess each place has their own fans. the pork at beo is crispier, but this one has more meat.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

40 Hands

40 hands is a relatively new cafe located in Tiong Bahru: it is very ulu, like you probably need a car to reach it, but it's a hidden gem. RIght now im trying to find the location of it, but i just can't: it's located well, if you travel along Tiong Poh Road all the way to the end, and then turn right, and then turn left into the condos, and then turn left again, you'll find 40 hands on your right in the low-rise HDB shophouses. Opened by Harry, who hails from Perth, this place boasts fantastic coffee, with beans imported from Australia (five senses, a household name). Apparently they even made a blend for him, so that's how serious he is about the coffee.

And the coffee, my goodness, is excellent. Very excellent. The latte has a roundedness and smoothness that cuts through the milk, and it is rich with nicely balanced flavours - I cannot describe it, just go try it. All that i know was that it was as fragrant and aromatic and yummy as good coffee should be. They use a Synesso and a Mazzer, serious stuff.

Only gripe potentially is the price: $5 for a single latte is a bit on the steep side. Still you get what you pay for, top quality coffee that's hard to beat in singapore.

Definitely a must-try and worth many return visits. I heard the almost croissant is nice as well.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Por Kee Eating House

Por Kee, is apparently, a very old institution well known among the Cantonese for serving authentic Canto zhi char. My family was there last sunday to try out the food. Located in the neo-deco low-rise blocks of tiong bahru, it makes for a very retro setting: outdoor seating amidst the car park, night breeze, and low rise buildings all around. quite old school, and nicely so.

NOTE: SORRY for the poor images, we were outside and the lighting was bad.

I heard that the hor fun was good, and so we had to order that. When it came, we weren't disappointed: the hor fun was very fragrant, delicious, and full of that wok-hei. Very flavourful, perfect to go with a bit of red chilli they serve on the side for that little kick. the seafood accompanying it was very fresh as well: prawns, fish, squid. Only thing was that the vegetables were a bit overcooked, but well, the positives far outweigh the negatives. (8.5/10)

The next dish was their "zhao pai (signature) bean curd" - and this was truly wonderful; the beancurd was homemade, the sauce had this smoky flavour to it, perfect for spooning over rice. It was a complex mix of flavours that was very alluring. nice stuff. (8.5/10)

the stir-fried venison with ginger and spring onions was just okay: nothing much to shout about. (7/10)

Stir-fried sweet potato leaves with garlic was alright as well, but I prefer the one at Siang Hee - this one was a bit too well-cooked (6.5/10)

And the last dish, the piece de resistance, was the 'champagne pork ribs'. I'm not so sure where the champagne was, in all of that, i suppose there were hints of some acidic stuff used in the marinade, but overall the pork ribs were smoky, charred, flavourfully robust, and a joy to eat. tender as well. great dish. (8.5/10)

Great zhi char worth a visit.

69 SENG POH LANE #01-02

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Platypus test Kitchen

S's friend recently opened this place located at clifford centre and urged us all to go down, so we went with him yesterday to try out platypus test kitchen, located at 2nd floor, clifford centre, in raffles place. It occupies a little corner, and is decored in the cafe style, with wooden chairs and stuff. They specialise in pastas, which are, according to owner nicholas, made fresh everyday - and there are of course dried pastas as well. And another great thing is that there's no gst/service charge, and upgrading to a set-meal is just an additional S$3 for drinks and soup, which you have a choice of.

Well, first up was the wild mushroom soup, which was quite nice; quite full of garlicky goodness, a bit of truffle oil perhaps and loads of wild mushrooms. you could tell the flavour was there and the chef really did his homework. nice work. (7.5/10)

The pasta I had was the recommended 'Summer truffles with reggiano pasta' - and this was really quite awesome! Shaved truffles accompanied fresh pasta, and the earthly reggiano cheese (with some truffle oil) to create a powerful, rich, complex, and earthly flavour - more complex than mushrooms with a delicious aftertaste. no wonder truffles are so sought after. but this was very very good. didn't need any other ingredients to liven up the taste, this was great on its own. (9/10) - yah usually i don't give 9s but this was quite amazing.

The other pastas were nice as well: crab meat tagilitale (how do you spell it) tastes of the sea, while squid ink pasta with marinara sauce had alot of seafood goodness as well.

And kudos to nicholas the owner for indulging us with some drinks afterwards +) go support him!

Worth a return visit, and many more.

Platypus test kitchen
Clifford centre, level 2.
walk right to the end