Sunday, July 29, 2012

Fukuichi @ 111 Somerset

K and J were back in town and we were trying to figure out what to have for dinner, and so K suggested Japanese food. I remembered my friend D telling me that Fukuichi has great Japanese food, so I suggested that we come here for our dinner. So off we came.

Located on the 2nd floor of Triple One Somerset i.e. the old Singapore Power building now refurbished into a swanky mini-mall, Fukuichi is apparently owned by CCF which is a leading cold room cum fishery which specialises in storing frozen fish. We expected great things from the sashimi, being, well, owned by a frozen fish expert. J and I ordered the chirashi zushi, while K ordered the Bento (which had slices of sashimi in it as well).

The famous dish here at Fukuichi was the Century Egg with Crab Tofu, and so we ordered a helping of that to share, as well.

After a while, our chirashi zushi arrived, and we tucked in, ravenous. The fish itself was really really fresh - the swordfish had plenty of fish oils, even the tuna was quite delicious and firm, not insipid or mushy; the salmon was a delight to eat being extremely tasty; the tamago was well done, and so was the amaebi - very sweet. The rice was also well-seasoned in the requisite vinegar. However, if I had one grouse, it was that it was extremely expensive and not value-for-money, I mean, we paid $32 for the chirashi but we got ONE piece of each fish. I mean, I'm not asking for chikuwa tei's generosity, but surely, couldn't we have had 2 of each variety of fish? I felt like going over ala Oliver Twist to ask them if I could have some more. Bah! 

Quality: 8.5/10; Value: 5/10 = Average: 7.25/10

Next up was the famous century egg with crab tofu, which was quite delicious: the century egg was nice and overpowering which suits me perfectly since I'm a big fan of century egg. (8/10)

We also ordered some beef in goose liver sauce to share - this was a welcome burst of flavours in the mouth - goose liver sauce was full of umami which went well with the charred flavours of the beef. Calorie-laden, but so good. (8.5/10)

Fukuichi's a good mid-tier Japanese restaurant, but at this price point I guess I could eat far better at places like Teppei Japanese Restaurant. Ha! 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Kan Eang @ Pier, Chalong Bay, Phuket

I had the most amazing trip to Phuket this week at this lovely resort called the Racha. If you haven't already seen photos of the Racha, you should take a look - it really looks like you were in Santorini, albeit that you were actually in a little offshore island off mainland Phuket, called Ko Racha Yai. Think white sun-bleached beaches, azure skies, turquoise waters - the way a beach holiday should be. The Racha is definitely a place one should return to again and again to get a little slice of paradise, and my last trip was made all the more enjoyable by the presence of my closest friends who went with me. Thank God. After having to leave the island (due to work commitments as usual), M and I stumbled onto this lovely restaurant which was recommended by the management of the Racha, called Kan Eang, which is apparently a very famous local restaurant here in Phuket. It's predominantly a Thai-Chinese seafood place, and so M and I sat down by the sea, alfresco, yearning to eat up a storm. And a storm it was. 

As you can see from the photo, it's got a fairly chill, rustic vibe about the place, with a lovely sea view. I started off with some fresh oysters (i just adore oysters), but this was quite a mistake, as the oysters were actually a bit muddy-tasting and not at all briny. It got much better once I added the condiments which were a hot garlic-spring onion concoction and some raw garlic, which helped to mask the muddy-taste of the oysters. Definitely not for me though. (4/10)

But from there on, everything was smooth sailing. Young coconut to wash down all the lovely morsels that were to arrive....First up was live tiger prawns, BBQ style. You could not imagine how large these prawns were  - the photo below shows you the size of those beauties in contrast to a mound of rice: that's how large they were. And very tasty too. They were very fresh (live seafood is always good) and sweet, retaining its firmness, and imbued with a slight BBQ flavour from the method of cooking. There was lots of roe in the prawn heads, which made for delicious sucking. (8.5/10)

We then had a live black garoupa steamed Kan Eang style which is basically the Thai way of steaming fish, i.e. with a bit of lime, soya sauce, etc - sour and savoury at the same time. This was just delicious. The meat was incredibly sweet and fresh and tasty and the gravy was a joy to slurp and went surprisingly well with rice. Steamed to perfection. (8.5/10) 

The other tiger prawn dish was grilled with garlic and butter and that was very good too: the richness of the butter and the garlic permeating through the fresh prawn meat. Also something highly recommended. (8.5/10)

We then had some curry: crab in coconut gravy. Not too bad, although we were getting quite full by then. (7.5/10)
I didn't take a photo of the vegetables, but the local vegetables (can't remember the name now) cooked with dried shrimp was just delightful to eat. Not a tad overcooked, crunchy, and the dried shrimp gave it the umami which coated the vegetables very well. Another excellent dish. (8.5/10)

Save for the oysters, everything else was top notch. An excellent place to have seafood if one gets the chance to go to Phuket. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Lee Kui (Ah Hoi) Teochew Restaurant

My father, being Teochew, sometimes has cravings for Teochew food, being reminiscent of the times when grandma and relatives used to cook really home-style teochew food, i.e. steamed pomfret with mushrooms, salted vegetables, preserved prunes; braised goose; etc. He had heard about this restaurant and had decided to bring us along to try the food here - so we came. Located at Mosque street, Lee Kui is really an old-school eatery, reminiscent of the places that my grandma / grandpa used to hold their big birthdays or the Chinese New Year reunions, and indeed it was a throwback to the old days. Even the people who were tucking away at their fish / goose / oyster omelette etc were all of that "generation". I mean, tradition can't be bad right, and indeed the food was great. Let's see what we had...

First up was pork in aspic, with a chilli-vinegar sauce. This was pretty delicious. The aspic was done pretty well and the pork, while being gamey enough, was not too smelly. Went well with the sauce. (7.5/10)

I was extremely impressed with the next dish which was the cold crab. Cold crab, as everyone already knows, is eaten for the roe, or milt, which is so full of umami (usually) and sweet. This one was an excellent example of a good cold crab: firm tasty sweet meat, excellent roe / milt - full of roe and milt. It didn't even need the accompanying sweet sauce. (8.5/10)

Next up was the braised duck, which was frankly nothing much to shout about. A good braising sauce, reasonably tender. However, it would have been better had it been goose. I always love goose; not so partial to duck in comparison. (7.5/10)
Prawn balls were so-so; fried to a crisp, yes. But not much texture inside being relatively one-dimensional (7/10).

What was a revelation was the vegetables - fried with tee poh dust and containing flakes of tee poh (dried sole), the vegetables were aromatic, flavourful, and full of umami at the same time, and cooked to perfection in the typical Teochew way, that it was a delight to eat. Just yummy. (8.5/10).

The best dish was at the end - Orh Nee! Absolutely, absolutely, delicious. This was one of the best Orh-Nees I have ever eaten in my entire life, and I'm serious. I grew up eating Orh-Nee because my grandmother is a true-blue Teochew ah-hia and we'd go with the entire extended family to stalwart Teochew Restaurants like Hung-Kang, and the dish at the end would inevitably be the Orh-Nee. Hence, having tried alot of Orh-Nees, I can safely say that the Orh-Nee at Lee Kui really matches those at the top echelon of Teochew Restaurants. This is seriously good stuff. It is just so full of yam flavour, as evidenced by the dark, purple colour of the yam paste. The more purple it is, the more flavour there is. And this was just that - intensely flavourful. Rich, yammy paste. Burst of flavour. Intense flavour. Long lasting flavour. Oh, and did I say, very rich? Yeah. this is how orh-nee should be. I have no qualms giving it a (9/10). I didn't even need any of the pumpkins and gingko nuts to lighten the dish. Pure, unadulterated yam. mm. This was exceptional.

Overall, Lee Kui is a great place to have a traditional Teochew dinner. Not cheap, but the food's as traditional as it gets. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Liberty Coffee's Gula Melaka Pandan Cake

Popped down to Terence's Liberty Coffee which was open yesterday - and I finally tried Pauline's gula Melaka pandan cake which was absolutely delicious - very moist with a slight caramelization which brings out the flavours of the gula melaka. Absolutely delicious - oh did I say that already? (9/10)

The coffee was also pretty good this time round. Nutty. Probably because it has been well-aged (8/10).

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Henry Congressional

I haven't been updating this blog - poor blog - so let me let you in on a little secret, Henry Congressional. This is a little cafe located at Henry Park Apartments which is actually already en-bloced, which means this place is, really, just temporary. It will be gone by February 2012. But hey it is such a nice place to go to, that I hope they find some new place to relocate after February 2012. 

Henry Congressional focuses on coffee, tea, and craft beers. With some food, of course, to munch it all down. The coffee is from Smitten Coffee aka Darren & Hongyuan, who are also partners here at Henry Congressional. The craft beers are sourced by Mr Goh, who doubles up as chef, and you get really interesting beers that you can't find elsewhere such as Hair of the Dog which is a Portland craft brewery. They even have some Westvleteren from Mr Goh's travels to Belgium last year, but of course those are not for sale.

Moving on, Mr Goh is a really good baker as well. Every little morsel I've tried from him has really lived up or even surpassed my expectations. The pandan chiffon cake was exquisite: use of fresh pandan leaves and pandan juice meant that the cake had a very natural pandan fragrance, and it was very fluffy as well. Excellent and one of the best I've eaten in Singapore (8.5/10).

I don't really need to blog about the coffee because it's the same standard that you'll expect from Smitten - quality coffees, usually on the bright side, fruity. Their thumper is redolent of strawberries (this version, at least).

Moving on to the beers, I was really quite thrilled with Hair of the Dog's Adam, which is an "old ale". Whatever that means I don't know, all I know is that Adam is a great beer to savour, with notes of toffee, warm caramel, a bit of coffee, dark sweet notes, etc. It goes down well and before you know it, it's gone. It's a little pricey but hey you can't get this anywhere. (8.5/10).

I had the Chicken with Watercress sandwich this morning before church and it really did me alot of good. Extremely delicious, rosemary roasted chicken with raw watercress which, once toasted with the panini, absorbed some of the flavours of the chicken whilst giving the chicken the slight bitterness to cut through the richness. As another food blogger noted, it's quite a genius combination. (8/10)

I found that the Tomato and Mozzerella sandwich I had the other day shaded even the chicken and watercress, as the former was just wholesome goodness personified: fresh mozerella, tomatoes, and nice garlic. (8.5/10). No photo, unfortunately.

The setup is really quite minimalist which is understandable considering that they would be moving by February 2012. But it's nice and chill and very homely - the people are really nice. So just come in and enjoy the homely vibes and have some good food, beer, coffee, tea, while you're at it! 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Ga Hock Seafood

One of the usual suspects for zhi char is ga hock seafood - famous for its crabs and fish head curry. We had the black pepper crab which was quite delicious - savoury, peppery, buttery sauce and the crab meat was really sweet and firm. good stuff, and the Roe was delicious especially in the sauce.

The fish head curry was delicious as well- the gravy was not too heavy and the fish head meat was cooked perfectly - sweet, fresh and not overcooked. some of the bits were really delicious in the gravy (8/10)