Monday, November 26, 2012

Hui Ji Fish Ball Noodles

This place (Hui Ji Fish Ball Noodle . Yong Tau Foo) serves one of my favourite meepok tars in Singapore,  and was recommended to me by the most famous food blogger in Singapore, Leslie Tay of ieatishootipost. Too bad it only opens until 2pm every day, so I can only come on a weekend (Saturday morning) to have my meepok tar fix.
But what a good meepok tar it is! Absolutely scrumptious. The chilli has the nice savouriness about it that comes from using good hae-bi, and the balance of the chilli, the sweetness, with a bit of sour, and with the hae-bi, was just perfect. And loads of crispy hae bi at the bottom for extra flavour and crunch. The meepok was also done perfectly textured -  al dente, not overcooked. I would say the noodles alone deserve (8.5/10), since you really cannot find alot of good meepok nowadays.
The yong tau foo soup that accompanied it was good as well - quite a savoury stock with a good natural sweetness about it, although it's not as flavourful as say the ones from Tanjong Pagar Food Centre and you can't choose your own ingredients. However it was competent: (7.5/10) I also loved the homemade fish balls. It was so good that I came back the next week - see the two photos for the difference between last week and this week. 
My appetite has been sorely whet just thinking of this mee pok tar. Too bad today's only Monday!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Laurent Bernard Chocolatiers, Robertson Quay

Enough of the NYC posts for now - as mentioned, I have to intersperse it with some Singapore reviews. I realise no one actually reads my NYC posts! 

Anyway, it's quite amazing that I haven't even reviewed this place before - actually there are many places which I have eaten at and have not yet reviewed, because my usual practice is to store these photos and taste memories in my KIV account to review later - but as you know, I never get there. As I scroll through my picture list I am amazed at the number of places that fall into that category. Laurent Bernard is just one of the places which fall into that category. 
I honestly believed that I had blogged about this place already but it appears, after scrolling through my archives, that that isn't the case!

Anyway Laurent Bernard is probably my favourite place in town to have a chocolate dessert - their chocolate desserts are probably the best in Singapore. 
This time, I ordered the chocolate souffle - and the waiting time is 30 minutes, mind you - but boy was it worth it. A nice light top which manages to keep its shape, push the fork in and it breaks delicately to reveal a soft supple texture underneath. A delicious taste too - full of chocolate (duh), not too sweet and not too bitter but very chocolatey. Perfect especially paired with the vanilla sauce which was replete with vanilla bean. The raspberry sorbet accompanying the souffle was delightful as well and helped to cleanse the palate from the heavy chocolate. (8.5/10)
My friend had the "Pure" which was made of ganache and mousse - this was really decadent - just a rich creamy mouthfeel and lots of chocolate. Just so sinful but so good. Perhaps 8/10. The chocolate truffle cake was nice as well - this one was with a chocolate sponge (8/10).

I realised that they've changed the shape of the chocolate tart - it used to be a slice of cake, now it's a round whole. Oh well, I'll have to come back to try that some time. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Jean Georges, NYC

Man I have to say this was probably the most awesome dining experience I had in NYC, and the funny thing was that I dined alone - maybe that contributed to the awesomeness because I do enjoy my alone time pretty much (but I also enjoy your company, moi friends, of course!). But seriously, lunching alone at Jean Georges (JG for short) was nothing short of an awesome experience, having a close personal time with Jesus, sharing and talking with Him, and having a good meal along to boot.
JG is located at Columbus Circle, next to Central Park, at the Trump International Hotel and Tower. It's actually a stone's throw from Per Se, the other fine dining place which I went to (Eleven Madison Park was the last fine dining place I went to but I'll review that another time). 

I was ushered into a lovely dining hall with high ceilings, and a wonderful view of the park. Even though it's situated on the ground floor, the elegant high windows means that you get a really good view, as you will see from the photos here. There's enough space for everyone such that it didn't get claustrophobic at all, and we could all concentrate on the food. Service was excellent as well, rather unobtrusive. Although I would have to say that I probably thought the service at Per Se and 11 Madison Park probably edged it.
I started off with some bread - sourdough and ciabatta - good but not outstanding. It was rather late so I guess a little food in my belly was very welcome.
Then a trio of amuse bouches came.There was a carrot purée blended with creme fraische which was tangy and refreshing, with flavours of Thai chilli, and sea salt - the flavours of sweet, salty and spicy really went very well together and gave the palate a nice little lift, or kick, if you like. Next up there was some  okra tempura with cilantro, which was rather light. And I saved the best for last - the most amazing sea urchin (uni) with yuzu - the flavours were extremely delicate yet full of flavour, remarkably floral and sweet, highly perfumed and full of umami. The addition of the yuzu really highlighted the floral flavours of the uni. Overall, an excellent trio of amuse Bouche. (8/10, 9/10 for the uni) 
The first course came out next - which was a trio of trout. It was a most outstanding dish - smoked trout with fried trout bits, and trout roe. The trout roe was just soooo delicious, full of umami, a bit like Ikura (salmon roe) but far more delicate and salty. There was an aerated lemon foam as well (as you see in the picture), which went well with the smoked trout which was very refreshing. There was the presence of some dill purée on the side which combined well with the trout. Overall a very refreshing and wonderful appetizer. Delicious. (9.25/10)

The second course didn't want to be outdone, equally impressive - sea scallops with caramelized cauliflower and a raisin-caper sauce. The scallops were sweet and succulent and the sauce was just pure genius -  sweet from the raisins, combined with the natural "grassy" flavours from the capers. It was a very intriguing combination and I remembered trying to guess the components of the sauce - at first I thought olives, mustard...I  just couldn't put my finger onto it until the captain said it was capers! Oh, capers! What a clever idea. The caramelized cauliflowers was a nice touch too. Again, excellent, and another (9.25/10).
My main course was a black bass with a sesame crust accompanied by a sweet and sour jus. The sesame and black pepper crust was extremely fragrant and the sweet and sour jus complemented the fish perfectly well. I don't have to tell you that the fish was perfectly cooked, of course. The sauce had some "bread"-like flavours, a kind of toasted bread-like sweetness (what was it? bread sauce?), and the tomatoes again added some sweetness and tanginess to balance the palate. Another genius dish. Another solid (9.25/10). 
I finished off with the usual petit fours - the chocolates were all delicious especially the blackberry macaron which was a joy to eat.

Overall, an exceptional place especially for the set lunch. The above set me back USD70, which is a steal when you consider the quality of the cooking, the quality of the ingredients used, and the immense creativity of the chefs who came up with the dishes. Absolutely divine dining experience, and definitely a must-visit if you're in the Big Apple. Quality, creative, delicious food at value-for-money prices. That's what I like. This place has 3 michelin stars, and definitely lives up to its immense reputation. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Teppei - Omakase

I am starting to believe that Teppei needs an entire "category" for itself, due to the number of times I've been here - probably around 50 times? Lost count already.

I'm glad to report that yesterday's Omakase was even better than the last 2 times! Actually not far better - the standard's maintained - just that yesterday's meal had a few nice treats. 

First up - the sashimi was done very well - the yellowtail was extremely tasty, firm and fresh, and so were the scallops - very sweet - salmon belly was just as good. Tuna was good too. 

I enjoyed the raw oysters which were apparently from Japan - very nice. 

The teriyaki fish was done very well also.

At the end (the sashimi rice course) the Aji Mackerel (raw) with the chef's own sauce was really tasty - he told me that it's in season now and it looks like that's the case, judging by the taste of the Aji. And of course, negi-toro on rice is always good.

Monday, November 5, 2012


Lolla's probably one of the most hyped-up new restaurants to have opened on our shores for a while, one of the places everyone raves about, from our good friend DY in the Business times to other food bloggers to friends posting on facebook, all of whom have descended down upon this latest hot spot in town at Ann Siang. A really chic place, Lolla's centrepiece is the open kitchen where people watch from their counters at the chefs preparing tasty morsels of everything good and wonderful. 

We were greeted by the effusive chef Ming, who happens to be one of our juniors from middle school! What a nice coincidence - my dining companion recognised him as one of his juniors from cca and that really started the night on a good note. 

I must say that service on a whole was great - the waiters appear to genuinely love their jobs and enjoy providing good service, which is a great thing - overall on the whole I think the service industry in Singapore has improved steadily, which is always a good thing.

Since we couldn't decide what to order, Ming took the orders himself, and we ordered, for 2 of us, the Sea-Urchin and Squid ink pudding (one each, since we'd be hard-pressed to be convinced to share), the daily special of Normandy vegetable (i can't quite remember the name - someone's gotta help me) in olive oil and shallots; another seasonal special of clams with some chorizo; the lamb ribs, and a sunny-side up eggs with chorizo and potatoes.

First up , we had the sea urchin and squid ink pudding - and if there's one word to describe this, it would be - decadence. This dish is decadence personified. The squid ink pudding had lots of umami, seafood savoury flavours, with a creamy mouthfeel that coated the mouth very well - and apparently it's made similarly like a creme brulee but with squid ink rather than vanilla. The sea urchin, flown twice a week from Tsujiki, added even more umami flavours and its usual complex floral notes - it was a pairing that surprisingly works, and works like a charm. What's actually very very crucial to the dish was the addition of some chopped chives in olive oil, which cut through the richness of the dish and added much needed texture to the creamy mouthfeel. A solid (9.5/10). 

(PS: I haven't given that many 9/10s this year, but this ranks up there with my meals at Jean Georges and some great dishes at Ember).

From then on, next came up a sunny-side up with chorizo and fried potatoes. This was alright, flavourful food I suppose, good solid dependable cooking. I enjoyed the fried potatoes more than the chorizo, truth be told. (7/10)

Next up were the lamb short ribs, and this was very nicely done, flavoured with some whole grain mustard and some cumin, giving it a Moroccan / Mediterranean touch. They were pretty tasty and made for good gnawing, forks and knives be damned. (8/10)
The clams in a tangy lemon butter-like sauce with hints of pepper with chorizos fared pretty well - clams were fresh and the sauce was quite interesting; I was trying to see what went into it and I figured, butter, lemon, peppers? jalapenoes? there was some heat, of some kind. (8/10)
Some vegetables were in order, and the vegetable that Ming did for us was interesting, - it tasted rather of broccoli, and elevated by the shallots fried in olive oil to perfection. Crisp, brown, not burnt, and just a joy to eat. (7.5/10; 8/10 for the shallots).

For dessert, we had our doughnuts with lemon curd, and this was pretty good. The doughnuts were crispy and doughy, and the lemon curd was well competently done, not too sweet and smooth as well. I'd prefer it more sour but you can't please everyone I guess. (7.5/10) 

Only sad thing is that they didn't have Fever-Tree tonic water which would have been a joy to drink with some of the much-touted gin! But never mind, I'm here at home sipping Hendrick's albeit with Schwepps as opposed to Fever-Tree. Hee hee.

Anyway, Lolla's a great place you should visit, and chef Ming definitely has a solid future ahead of him. It's lovely to see chefs cook with so much passion, and you can tell he knows his stuff. Highly recommended. BTW - no reservations, it's "egaliterian", he says. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Lamb Cupcakery

I stumbled upon this pretty amazing cupcake shop which had just been opened by a friend's friend, B. Entirely self-taught, she bakes some really beautiful cupcakes that tasted as good as it looks, at least for the cupcake that I tried.

There wasn't much when I was there, and I didn't have much money, so I just ordered one cupcake - the salted caramel cupcake - which was a shame since i wanted to try quite a few! but i guess it was just before dinner so I needed to save some space for my Paulauner dinner. haha. 

B's a really cheerful and affable person and I'm sure quite a lot of that personality went into the cupcake. The salted caramel cupcake I had had a light crumbly cake encasing gooey salted caramel, which thankfully was not too sweet and had some nice toasted notes. Just a hint of salt to make things interesting. (8/10)

I'll probably come back to try the other creations sometime soon.

Lamb Cupcakery is at Valley Point, opposite the cold storage.

Symmetry, Jalan Kubor

Methinks I should tone down the NYC posts and feature some posts about places in Singapore lest my readers get bored, since they probably won't be flying to the Big Apple anytime soon. Here's one of my most recent eats, and in fact was the last meal I ate - which is actually rather rare since I usually blog about places that I've eaten many months after I've eaten the food, which is not good practice since the impressions, tastes, etc. get clouded in my memory.

Symmetry is a relatively new cafe located at Jalan Kubor and I have to say it is really a quaint-looking place. The decor is, in my opinion, rather nice, although my friend Y disagreed - I quite liked the brick walls, the colour scheme, etc and in many ways it reminded me of Momofuku Ssam Bar. In a weird way. 

We didn't have much time, so it was really just a quick "lunch" so to speak as my friend Y had to go back to the office for a conference call (yes it's a weekday lunch). Well, we quickly ordered - my friend had a salmon / caper / cream cheese sandwich, a classic combination, while I ordered truffled eggs with bacon, mushrooms, salad - basically a big breakfast. 

The coffee is from Jimmy Monkey, which made me frown since I really don't like the style of coffee that they do - but I ordered a cappuccino anyway. 

The salmon / cream cheese / caper sandwich soon arrived, and it was huge, served with a mountain of fries. I pecked at the fries - no, rather, I kind of devoured the fries - they were quite tasty, salty, with good crisp and soft inside, but they could have done with more potato flavour. No truffle oil.

My big breakfast was rather excellent, I thought. (8.5/10). The scrambled eggs with truffle oil was very delicious, tasty, and soft enough. The mushrooms were done very competently, having enough flavour and salted well enough; the salad with balsamic vinegar was good as well, crisp and light. I enjoyed the bacon which was tasty (really how can you mess up bacon) and the toast was just the right texture for me, crisp and with enough 'bite'.
The cappuccino from Jimmy Monkey however, could have been better - I believe that the problem with their blend is the aftertaste, it has a rather strange aftertaste that doesn't seem to go down very well with me, perhaps it's a lack of acidity or a problem in the roasting. I have recommended some other outlets to them. It's a shame, though, since if their coffee were better, it would have been the perfect brunch spot. Come to think of it, there hasn't been one place in Singapore which serves the perfect combination of good coffee and brunch - Toby's serves great coffee but the brunch is so-so only; 40 hands has good brunch but the coffee is a fail, many of the good joints don't even serve good coffee. Oh, I forgot, stranger's reunion just might be the place for good coffee and brunch though I have yet to try anything else besides the eggs benedict, which were great. 
Anyway, Symmetry is at 9 Jalan Kubor. (one street away from Jalan Pinang).